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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 120, October, 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. 120, October, 1867." ***

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


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

VOL. XX.--OCTOBER, 1867.--NO. CXX.

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




What the nature of the telegram was which had produced such an effect on
the feelings and plans of Mr. William Murray Bradshaw nobody especially
interested knew but himself. We may conjecture that it announced some fact,
which had leaked out a little prematurely, relating to the issue of the
great land-case in which the firm was interested. However that might be,
Mr. Bradshaw no sooner heard that Myrtle had suddenly left the city for
Oxbow Village,--for what reason he puzzled himself to guess,--than he
determined to follow her at once, and take up the conversation he had begun
at the party where it left off. And as the young poet had received his
quietus for the present at the publisher's, and as Master Gridley had
nothing specially to detain him, they too returned at about the same time,
and our old acquaintances were once more together within the familiar
precincts where we have been accustomed to see them.

Master Gridley did not like playing the part of a spy, but it must be
remembered that he was an old college officer, and had something of the
detective's sagacity, and a certain cunning derived from the habit of
keeping an eye on mischievous students. If any underhand contrivance was at
work, involving the welfare of any one in whom he was interested, he was a
dangerous person for the plotters, for he had plenty of time to attend to
them, and would be apt to take a kind of pleasure in matching his wits
against another crafty person's,--such a one, for instance, as Mr.
Macchiavelli Bradshaw.

Perhaps he caught some words of that gentleman's conversation at the party;
at any rate, he could not fail to observe his manner. When he found that
the young man had followed Myrtle back to the village, he suspected
something more than a coincidence. When he learned that he was assiduously
visiting The Poplars, and that he was in close communication with Miss
Cynthia Badlam, he felt sure that he was pressing the siege of Myrtle's
heart. But that there was some difficulty in the way was equally clear to
him, for he ascertained, through channels which the attentive reader will
soon have means of conjecturing, that Myrtle had seen him but once in the
week following his return, and that in the presence of her dragons. She had
various excuses when he called,--headaches, perhaps, among the rest, as
these are staple articles on such occasions. But Master Gridley knew his
man too well to think that slight obstacles would prevent his going forward
to effect his purpose.

"I think he will get her, if he holds on," the old man said to himself,
"and he won't let go in a hurry. If there were any real love about it--but
surely he is incapable of such a human weakness as the tender passion. What
does all this sudden concentration upon the girl mean? He knows something
about her that we don't know,--that must be it. What did he hide that paper
for a year ago and more? Could that have anything to do with his pursuit of
Myrtle Hazard to-day?"

Master Gridley paused as he asked this question of himself, for a luminous
idea had struck him. Consulting daily with Cynthia Badlam, was he? Could
there be a conspiracy between these two persons to conceal some important
fact, or to keep something back until it would be for their common interest
to have it made known?

Now Mistress Kitty Fagan was devoted, heart and soul, to Myrtle Hazard, and
ever since she had received the young girl from Mr. Gridley's hands, when
he brought her back safe and sound after her memorable adventure, had
considered him as Myrtle's best friend and natural protector. These simple
creatures, whose thoughts are not taken up, like those of educated people,
with the care of a great museum of dead phrases, are very quick to see the
live facts which are going on about them. Mr. Gridley had met her, more or
less accidentally, several times of late, and inquired very particularly
about Myrtle, and how she got along at the house since her return, and
whether she was getting over her headaches, and how they treated her in the

"Bliss your heart, Mr. Gridley," Kitty said to him, on one of these
occasions, "it 's ahltogither changed intirely. Sure Miss Myrtle does jist
iverythin' she likes, an' Miss Withers niver middles with her at ahl,
excip' jist to roll up her eyes an' look as if she was the hid-moorner at a
funeril whiniver Miss Myrtle says she wants to do this or that, or to go
here or there. It's Miss Badlam that 's ahlwiz after her, an' a-watchin'
her,--she thinks she 's cunnin'er than a cat, but there 's other folks that
's got eyes an' ears as good as hers. It's that Mr. Bridshaw that's a
puttin' his head together with Miss Badlam for somethin' or other, an' I
don't believe there 's no good in it,--for what does the fox an' the cat be
a whisperin' about, as if they was thaves an' incind'ries, if there ain't
no mischief hatchin'?"

"Why, Kitty," he said, "what mischief do you think is going on, and who is
to be harmed?"

"O Mr. Gridley," she answered, "if there ain't somebody to be chated
somehow, then I don' know an honest man and woman from two rogues. An' have
n't I heard Miss Myrtle's name whispered as if there was somethin' goin' on
agin' her, an' they was afraid the tahk would go out through the doors, an'
up through the chimbley? I don't want to tell no tales, Mr. Gridley, nor to
hurt no honest body, for I 'm a poor woman, Mr. Gridley; but I comes of
dacent folks, an' I vallies my repitation an' charácter as much as if I was
dressed in silks and satins instead of this mane old gown, savin' your
presence, which is the best I 've got, an' niver a dollar to buy another.
But if iver I hears a word, Mr. Gridley, that manes any kind of a mischief
to Miss Myrtle,--the Lard bliss her soul an' keep ahl the divils away from
her!--I 'll be runnin' straight down here to tell ye ahl about it,--be
right sure o' that, Mr. Gridley."

"Nothing must happen to Myrtle," he said, "that we can help. If you see
anything more that looks wrong, you had better come down here at once, and
let me know, as you say you will. _At once_, you understand. And, Kitty, I
am a little particular about the dress of people who come to see me, so
that if you would just take the trouble to get you a tidy pattern of
gingham or calico, or whatever you like of that sort for a gown, you would
please me; and perhaps this little trifle will be a convenience to you when
you come to pay for it."

Kitty thanked him with all the national accompaniments, and trotted off to
the store, where Mr. Gifted Hopkins displayed the native amiability of his
temper by tumbling down everything in the shape of ginghams and calicos
they had on the shelves, without a murmur at the taste of his customer, who
found it hard to get a pattern sufficiently emphatic for her taste. She
succeeded at last, and laid down a five-dollar bill as if she were as used
to the pleasing figure on its face as to the sight of her own five digits.

Master Byles Gridley had struck a spade deeper than he knew into his first
countermine, for Kitty had none of those delicate scruples about the means
of obtaining information which might have embarrassed a diplomatist of
higher degree.



"Is Miss Hazard in, Kitty?"

"Indade she 's in, Mr. Bridshaw, but she won't see nobody."

"What 's the meaning of that, Kitty? Here is the third time within three
days you 've told me I could n't see her. She saw Mr. Gridley yesterday, I
know; why won't she see me to-day?"

"Y' must ask Miss Myrtle what the rason is,--it 's none o' my business, Mr.
Bridshaw. That 's the order she give me."

"Is Miss Badlam in?"

"Indade she 's in, Mr. Bridshaw, an' I 'll go cahl her."

"Bedad," said Kitty Fagan to herself, "the cat an' the fox is goin' to
have another o' thim big tahks togither, an' sure the old hole for the
stove-pipe has niver been stopped up yet."

Mr. Bradshaw and Miss Cynthia went into the parlor together, and Mistress
Kitty retired to her kitchen. There was a deep closet belonging to this
apartment, separated by a partition from the parlor. There was a round hole
high up in this partition through which a stove-pipe had once passed.
Mistress Kitty placed a stool just under this opening, upon which, as on a
pedestal, she posed herself with great precaution in the attitude of the
goddess of other people's secrets, that is to say, with her head a little
on one side, so as to bring her liveliest ear close to the opening. The
conversation which took place in the hearing of the invisible third party
began in a singularly free-and-easy manner on Mr. Bradshaw's part.

"What the d is the reason I can't see Myrtle, Cynthia?"

"That's more than I can tell you, Mr. Bradshaw. I can watch her goings on,
but I can't account for her tantrums."

"You say she has had some of her old nervous whims,--has the doctor been to
see her?"

"No indeed. She has kept to herself a good deal, but I don't think there's
anything in particular the matter with her. She looks well enough, only she
seems a little queer,--as girls do that have taken a fancy into their heads
that they 're in love, you know,--absent-minded,--does n't seem to be
interested in things as you would expect after being away so long."

Mr. Bradshaw looked as if this did not please him particularly. If he was
the object of her thoughts she would not avoid him, surely.

"Have you kept your eye on her steadily?"

"I don't believe there is an hour we can't account for,--Kitty and I
between us."

"Are you sure you can depend on Kitty?"

["Depind on Kitty, is it? O, an' to be sure ye can depind on Kitty to kape
watch at the stove-pipe hole, an' to tell all y'r plottin's an' contrivin's
to them that 'll get the cheese out o' y'r mousetrap for ye before ye catch
any poor cratur in it." This was the inaudible comment of the unseen third

"Of course I can depend on her as far as I trust her. All she knows is that
she must look out for the girl to see that she does not run away or do
herself a mischief. The Biddies don't know much, but they know enough to
keep a watch on the--"

"Chickens." Mr. Bradshaw playfully finished the sentence for Miss Cynthia.

["An' on the foxes, an' the cats, an' the wazels, and the hen-hahks, an'
ahl the other bastes," added the invisible witness, in unheard soliloquy.]

"I ain't sure whether she's quite as stupid as she looks," said the
suspicious young lawyer. "There's a little cunning twinkle in her eye
sometimes that makes me think she might be up to a trick on occasion. Does
she ever listen about to hear what people are saying?"

"Don't trouble yourself about Kitty Fagan, for pity's sake, Mr. Bradshaw.
The Biddies are all alike, and they 're all as stupid as owls, except when
you tell 'em just what to do, and how to do it. A pack of priest-ridden

The hot Celtic blood in Kitty Fagan's heart gave a leap. The stout muscles
gave an involuntary jerk. The substantial frame felt the thrill all
through, and the rickety stool on which she was standing creaked sharply
under its burden.

Murray Bradshaw started. He got up and opened softly all the doors leading
from the room, one after another, and looked out.

"I thought I heard a noise as if somebody was moving, Cynthia. It's just as
well to keep our own matters to ourselves."

"If you wait till this old house keeps still, Mr. Bradshaw, you might as
well wait till the river has run by. It's as full of rats and mice as an
old cheese is of mites. There's a hundred old rats in this house, and
that's what you hear."

["An' one old cat; that's what _I_ hear." Third party.]

"I told you, Cynthia, I must be off on this business to-morrow. I want to
know that everything is safe before I go. And, besides, I have got
something to say to you that's important,--very important, mind you."

He got up once more and opened every door softly and looked out. He fixed
his eye suspiciously on a large sofa at the other side of the room, and
went, looking half ashamed of his extreme precaution, and peeped under it,
to see if there was any one hidden there to listen. Then he came back and
drew his chair close up to the table at which Miss Badlam had seated
herself. The conversation which followed was in a low tone, and a portion
of it must be given in another place in the words of the third party. The
beginning of it we are able to supply in this connection.

"Look here, Cynthia; you know what I am going for. It's all right, I feel
sure, for I have had private means of finding out. It's a sure thing; but I
must go once more to see that the other fellows don't try any trick on us.
You understand what is for my advantage is for yours, and, if I go wrong,
you go overboard with me. Now I must leave the--you know--behind me. I
can't leave it in the house or the office: they might burn up. I won't have
it about me when I am travelling. Draw your chair a little more this way.
Now listen."

["Indade I will," said the third party to herself. The reader will find out
in due time whether she listened to any purpose or not.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the mean time Myrtle, who for some reason was rather nervous and
restless, had found a pair of half-finished slippers which she had left
behind her. The color came into her cheeks when she remembered the state of
mind she was in when she was working on them for the Rev. Mr. Stoker. She
recollected Master Gridley's mistake about their destination, and
determined to follow the hint he had given. It would please him better if
she sent them to good Father Pemberton, she felt sure, than if he should
get them himself. So she enlarged them somewhat, (for the old man did not
pinch his feet, as the younger clergyman was in the habit of doing, and
was, besides, of portly dimensions, as the old orthodox three-deckers were
apt to be,) and worked E. P. very handsomely into the pattern, and sent
them to him with her love and respect, to his great delight; for old
ministers do not have quite so many tokens of affection from fair hands as
younger ones.

What made Myrtle nervous and restless? Why had she quitted the city so
abruptly, and fled to her old home, leaving all the gayeties behind her
which had so attracted and dazzled her?

She had not betrayed herself at the third meeting with the young man who
stood in such an extraordinary relation to her,--who had actually given her
life from his own breath,--as when she met him for the second time. Whether
his introduction to her at the party, just at the instant when Murray
Bradshaw was about to make a declaration, saved her from being in another
moment the promised bride of that young gentleman, or not, we will not be
so rash as to say. It looked, certainly, as if he was in a fair way to
carry his point; but perhaps she would have hesitated, or shrunk back, when
the great question came to stare her in the face.

She was excited, at any rate, by the conversation, so that, when Clement
was presented to her, her thoughts could not at once be all called away
from her other admirer, and she was saved from all danger of that sudden
disturbance which had followed their second meeting. Whatever impression he
made upon her developed itself gradually,--still, she felt strangely drawn
towards him. It was not simply in his good looks, in his good manners, in
his conversation, that she found this attraction, but there was a singular
fascination which she felt might be dangerous to her peace, without
explaining it to herself in words. She could hardly be in love with this
young artist; she knew that his affections were plighted to another,--a
fact which keeps most young women from indulging unruly fancies; yet her
mind was possessed by his image to such an extent that it left little room
for that of Mr. William Murray Bradshaw.

Myrtle Hazard had been just ready to enter on a career of worldly vanity
and ambition. It is hard to blame her, for we know how she came by the
tendency. She had every quality, too, which fitted her to shine in the gay
world; and the general law is, that those who have the power have the
instinct to use it. We do not suppose that the bracelet on her arm was an
amulet, but it was a symbol. It reminded her of her descent; it kept alive
the desire to live over the joys and excitements of a bygone generation. If
she had accepted Murray Bradshaw, she would have pledged herself to a
worldly life. If she had refused him, it would perhaps have given her a
taste of power that might have turned her into a coquette. This new
impression saved her for the time. She had come back to her nest in the
village like a frightened bird; her heart was throbbing, her nerves were
thrilling, her dreams were agitated; she wanted to be quiet, and could not
listen to the flatteries or entreaties of her old lover.

It was a strong will and a subtle intellect that had arrayed their force
and skill against the ill-defended citadel of Myrtle's heart. Murray
Bradshaw was perfectly determined, and not to be kept back by any trivial
hindrances, such as her present unwillingness to accept him, or even her
repugnance to him, if a freak of the moment had carried her so far. It was
a settled thing: Myrtle Hazard must become Mrs. Bradshaw; and nobody could
deny that, if he gave her his name, they had a chance, at least, for a
brilliant future.



"I'd like to go down to the store this marnin', Miss Withers, plase. Sure I
've niver a shoe to my fut, only jist these two that I 've got on, an' one
other pair, and thim is so full of holes that whin I 'm standin' in 'em I
'm outside of 'em intirely."

"You can go, Kitty," Miss Silence answered, funereally.

Thereupon Kitty Fagan proceeded to array herself in her most tidy apparel,
including a pair of shoes not exactly answering to her description, and set
out straight for the house of the Widow Hopkins. Arrived at that
respectable mansion, she inquired for Mr. Gridley, and was informed that he
was at home. Had a message for him,--could she see him in his study? She
could if she would wait a little while. Mr. Gridley was busy just at this
minute. Sit down, Kitty, and warm yourself at the cooking-stove.

Mistress Kitty accepted Mrs. Hopkins's hospitable offer, and presently
began orienting herself, and getting ready to make herself agreeable. The
kind-hearted Mrs. Hopkins had gathered about her several other pensioners
besides the twins. These two little people, it may be here mentioned, were
just taking a morning airing in charge of Susan Posey, who strolled along
in company with Gifted Hopkins on his way to "the store."

Mistress Kitty soon began the conversational blandishments so natural to
her good-humored race. "It's a little blarney that 'll jist suit th' old
lady," she said to herself, as she made her first conciliatory advance.

"An' sure an' its a beautiful kitten you 've got there, Mrs. Hopkins. An'
it's a splindid mouser she is, I 'll be bound. Does n't she look as if she
'd clane the house out o' them little bastes,--bad luck to 'em!"

Mrs. Hopkins looked benignantly upon the more than middle-aged tabby,
slumbering as if she had never known an enemy, and turned smiling to
Mistress Kitty. "Why, bless your heart, Kitty, our old puss would n't know
a mouse by sight, if you showed her one. If I was a mouse, I 'd as lieves
have a nest in one of that old cat's ears as anywhere else. You could n't
find a safer place for one."

"Indade, an' to be sure she 's too big an' too handsome a pussy to be after
wastin' her time on them little bastes. It 's that little tarrier dog of
yours, Mrs. Hopkins, that will be after worryin' the mice an' the rats, an'
the thaves too, I 'll warrant. Is n't he a fust-rate-lookin' watch-dog, an'
a rig'lar rat-hound?"

Mrs. Hopkins looked at the little short-legged and short-winded animal of
miscellaneous extraction with an expression of contempt and affection,
mingled about half and half. "_Worry_ 'em! If they wanted to _sleep_, I
rather guess he would worry 'em! If barkin' would do their job for 'em,
nary a mouse nor rat would board free gratis in my house as they do now.
Noisy little good-for-nothing tike,--ain't you, Fret?"

Mistress Kitty was put back a little by two such signal failures. There was
another chance, however, to make her point, which she presently availed
herself of,--feeling pretty sure this time that she should effect a
lodgement. Mrs. Hopkins's parrot had been observing Kitty, first with one
eye and then with the other, evidently preparing to make a remark, but
awkward with a stranger. "That's a beautiful par't y've got there," Kitty
said, buoyant with the certainty that she was on safe ground this time;
"and tahks like a book, I 'll be bound. Poll! Poll! Poor Poll!"

She put forth her hand to caress the intelligent and affable bird, which,
instead of responding as expected, "squawked," as our phonetic language has
it, and, opening a beak imitated from a tooth-drawing instrument of the
good old days, made a shrewd nip at Kitty's forefinger. She drew it back
with a jerk.

"An' is that the way your par't tahks, Mrs. Hopkins?"

"Talks, bless you, Kitty! why, that parrot has n't said a word this ten
year. He used to say Poor Poll! when we first had him, but he found it was
easier to squawk, and that 's all he ever does now-a-days,--except bite
once in a while."

"Well, an' to be sure," Kitty answered, radiant as she rose from her
defeats, "if you 'll kape a cat that does n't know a mouse when she sees
it, an' a dog that only barks for his livin', and a par't that only squawks
an' bites an' niver spakes a word, ye must be the best-hearted woman that
's alive, an' bliss ye, if ye was only a good Catholic, the Holy Father 'd
make a saint of ye in less than no time."

So Mistress Kitty Fagan got in her bit of Celtic flattery, in spite of her
three successive discomfitures.

"You may come up now, Kitty," said Mr. Gridley, over the stairs. He had
just finished and sealed a letter.

"Well, Kitty, how are things going on up at The Poplars? And how does our
young lady seem to be of late?"

"Whisht! whisht! your honor."

Mr. Bradshaw's lessons had not been thrown away on his attentive listener.
She opened every door in the room, "by your lave," as she said. She looked
all over the walls to see if there was any old stove-pipe hole or other
avenue to eye or ear. Then she went, in her excess of caution, to the
window. She saw nothing noteworthy except Mr. Gifted Hopkins and the charge
he convoyed, large and small, in the distance. The whole living fleet was
stationary for the moment, he leaning on the fence with his cheek on his
hand, in one of the attitudes of the late Lord Byron; she, very near him,
listening, apparently, in the pose of _Mignon aspirant au ciel_, as
rendered by Carlo Dolce Scheffer.

Kitty came back, apparently satisfied, and stood close to Mr. Gridley, who
told her to sit down, which she did, first making a catch at her apron to
dust the chair with, and then remembering that she had left that part of
her costume at home.--Automatic movements, curious.

Mistress Kitty began telling in an undertone of the meeting between Mr.
Bradshaw and Miss Badlam, and of the arrangements she made for herself as
the reporter of the occasion. She then repeated to him, in her own way,
that part of the conversation which has been already laid before the
reader. There is no need of going over the whole of this again in Kitty's
version, but we may fit what followed into the joints of what has been
already told.

"He cahled her Cynthy, d' ye see, Mr. Gridley, an' tahked to her jist as
asy as if they was two rogues, and she knowed it as well as he did. An' so,
says he, I 'm goin' away, says he, an' I 'm goin to be gahn siveral days,
or perhaps longer, says he, an' you 'd better kape it, says he."

"Keep _what_, Kitty? What was it he wanted her to keep?" said Mr. Gridley,
who no longer doubted that he was on the trail of a plot, and meant to
follow it. He was getting impatient with the "says he's" with which Kitty
double-leaded her discourse.

"An' to be sure ain't I tellin' you, Mr. Gridley, jist as fast as my breath
will let me? An' so, says he, you 'd better kape it, says he, mixed up with
your other paäpers, says he," (Mr. Gridley started,) "an' thin we can find
it in the garret, says he, whinever we want it, says he. An' if it ahl goes
right out there, says he, it won't be lahng before we shall want to find
it, says he. And I can dipind on you, says he, for we 're both in the same
boat, says he, an' you knows what I knows, says he, an' I knows what you
knows, says he. And thin he taks a stack o' papers out of his pocket, an'
he pulls out one of 'em, an' he says to her, says he, that 's the paper,
says he, an' if you die, says he, niver lose sight of that day or night,
says he, for its life an' dith to both of us, says he. An' then he asks her
if she has n't got one o' them paäpers--what is 't they cahls
'em?--divilops, or some sich kind of a name--that they wraps up their
letters in; an' she says no, she has n't got none that 's big enough to
hold it. So he says, give me a shate o' paäper says he. An' thin he takes
the paäper that she give him, an' he folds it up like one o'
them--divilops, if that 's the name of 'em; and then he pulls a stick o'
salin'-wax out of his pocket, an' a stamp, an' he takes the paäper an' puts
it into th' other paäper, along with the rest of the paäpers, an' thin he
folds th' other paäper over the paäpers, and thin he lights a candle, an'
he milts the salin'-wax, and he sales up the paäper that was outside th'
other paäpers, an' he writes on the back of the paäper, and thin he hands
it to Miss Badlam."

"Did you see the paper that he showed her before he fastened it up with the
others, Kitty?"

"I did see it, indade, Mr. Gridley, and it's the truth I 'm tellin' ye."

"Did you happen to notice anything about it, Kitty."

"I did, indade, Mr. Gridley. It was a longish kind of a paäper, and there
was some blotches of ink on the back of it,--an' they looked like a face
without any mouth, for, says I, there 's two spots for the eyes, says I,
and there 's a spot for the nose, says I, and there 's niver a spot for the
mouth, says I."

This was the substance of what Master Byles Gridley got out of Kitty Fagan.
It was enough,--yes, it was too much. There was some deep-laid plot between
Murray Bradshaw and Cynthia Badlam, involving the interests of some of the
persons connected with the late Malachi Withers; for that the paper
described by Kitty was the same that he had seen the young man conceal in
the _Corpus Juris Civilis_, it was impossible to doubt. If it had been a
single spot on the back of it, or two, he might have doubted. But three
large spots--"blotches" she had called them, disposed thus
·.·--would not have happened to be on two different papers,
in all human probability.

After grave consultation of all his mental faculties in committee of the
whole, he arrived at the following conclusion,--that Miss Cynthia Badlam
was the depositary of a secret involving interests which he felt it his
business to defend, and of a document which was fraudulently withheld and
meant to be used for some unfair purpose. And most assuredly, Master
Gridley said to himself, he held a master-key, which, just so certainly as
he could make up his mind to use it, would open any secret in the keeping
of Miss Cynthia Badlam.

He proceeded, therefore, without delay, to get ready for a visit to that
lady, at The Poplars. He meant to go thoroughly armed, for he was a very
provident old gentleman. His weapons were not exactly of the kind which a
house-breaker would provide himself with, but of a somewhat peculiar

Weapon number one was a slip of paper with a date and a few words written
upon it. "I think this will fetch the document," he said to himself, "if it
comes to the worst.--Not if I can help it,--not if I can help it. But if I
cannot get at the heart of this thing otherwise, why, I must come to this.
Poor woman!--Poor woman!"

Weapon number two was a small phial containing spirits of hartshorn, _sal
volatile_, very strong, that would stab through the nostrils, like a
stiletto, deep into the gray kernels that lie in the core of the brain.
Excellent in cases of sudden syncope or fainting, such as sometimes require
the opening of windows, the dashing on of cold water, the cutting of stays,
perhaps, with a scene of more or less tumultuous perturbation and afflux of
clamorous womanhood.

So armed, Byles Gridley, A. M., champion of unprotected innocence, grasped
his ivory-handled cane and sallied forth on his way to The Poplars.



Miss Cynthia Badlam was seated in a small parlor which she was accustomed
to consider her own during her long residences at The Poplars. The entry
stove warmed it but imperfectly, and she looked pinched and cold, for the
evenings were still pretty sharp, and the old house let in the chill
blasts, as old houses are in the habit of doing. She was sitting at her
table with a little trunk open before her. She had taken some papers from
it, which she was looking over, when a knock at her door announced a
visitor, and Master Byles Gridley entered the parlor.

As he came into the room, she gathered the papers together and replaced
them in the trunk, which she locked, throwing an unfinished piece of
needlework over it, putting the key in her pocket, and gathering herself up
for company. Something of all this Master Gridley saw through his round
spectacles, but seemed not to see, and took his seat like a visitor making
a call of politeness.

A visitor at such an hour, of the male sex, without special provocation,
without social pretext, was an event in the life of the desolate spinster.
Could it be--No, it could not--and yet--and yet! Miss Cynthia threw back
the rather common-looking but comfortable shawl which covered her
shoulders, and showed her quite presentable figure, arrayed with a still
lingering thought of that remote contingency which might yet offer itself
at some unexpected moment; she adjusted the carefully plaited cap, which
was not yet of the _lasciate ogni speranza_ pattern, and as she obeyed
these instincts of her sex, she smiled a welcome to the respectable,
learned, and independent bachelor. Mr. Gridley had a frosty but kindly age
before him, with a score or so of years to run, which it was after all not
strange to fancy might be rendered more cheerful by the companionship of a
well-conserved and amiably disposed woman,--if any such should happen to
fall in his way.

That smile came very near disconcerting the plot of Master Byles Gridley.
He had come on an inquisitor's errand, his heart secure, as he thought,
against all blandishments, his will steeled to break down all resistance.
He had come armed with an instrument of torture worse than the thumb-screw,
worse than the pulleys which attempt the miracle of adding a cubit to the
stature, worse than the brazier of live coals brought close to the naked
soles of the feet,--an instrument which, instead of trifling with the
nerves, would clutch all the nerve-_centres_ and the heart itself in its
gripe, and hold them until it got its answer, if the white lips had life
enough left to shape one. And here was this unfortunate maiden lady smiling
at him, setting her limited attractions in their best light, pleading with
him in that natural language which makes any contumacious bachelor feel as
guilty as Cain before any single woman. If Mr. Gridley had been alone, he
would have taken a good sniff at his own bottle of _sal volatile_; for his
kind heart sunk within him as he thought of the errand upon which he had
come. It would not do to leave the subject of his vivisection under any
illusion as to the nature of his designs.

"Good evening, Miss Badlam," he said, "I have come to visit you on a matter
of business."

What was the internal panorama which had unrolled itself at the instant of
his entrance, and which rolled up as suddenly at the sound of his serious
voice and the look of his grave features? It cannot be reproduced, though
pages were given to it; for some of the pictures were near, and some were
distant; some were clearly seen, and some were only hinted; some were not
recognized in the intellect at all, and yet they were implied, as it were,
behind the others. Many times we have all found ourselves glad or sorry,
and yet we could not tell what thought it was that reflected the sunbeam or
cast the shadow. Look into Cynthia's suddenly exalted consciousness and see
the picture, actual and potential, unroll itself in all its details of the
natural, the ridiculous, the selfish, the pitiful, the human. Glimpses,
hints, echoes, suggestions, involving tender sentiments hitherto unknown,
we may suppose, to that unclaimed sister's breast,--pleasant excitement of
receiving congratulations from suddenly cordial friends; the fussy delights
of buying furniture and shopping for new dresses,--(it seemed as if she
could hear herself saying, "_Heavy_ silks,--_best_ goods, if you
please,")--with delectable thumping down of flat-sided pieces of calico,
cambric, "rep," and other stuffs, and rhythmic evolution of measured yards,
followed by sharp snip of scissors, and that cry of rending tissues dearer
to woman's ear than any earthly sound until she hears the voice of her own
first-born,--(much of this potentially, remember,)--thoughts of a
comfortable settlement, an imposing social condition, a cheerful household,
and by and by an Indian summer of serene widowhood,--all these, and
infinite other involved possibilities had mapped themselves in one long
swift flash before Cynthia's inward eye, and all vanished as the old man
spoke those few words. The look on his face, and the tone of his cold
speech, had instantly swept them all away, like a tea-set sliding in a
single crash from a slippery tray.

What could be the "business" on which he had come to her with that solemn
face? she asked herself, as she returned his greeting and offered him a
chair. She was conscious of a slight tremor as she put this question to her
own intelligence.

"Are we like to be alone and undisturbed?" Mr. Gridley asked. It was a
strange question,--men do act strangely sometimes. She hardly knew whether
to turn red or white.

"Yes, there is nobody like to come in at present," she answered. She did
not know what to make of it. What was coming next,--a declaration, or an
accusation of murder?

"My business," Mr. Gridley said, very gravely, "relates to this. I wish to
inspect papers which I have reason to believe exist, and which have
reference to the affairs of the late Malachi Withers. Can you help me to
get sight of any of these papers not to be found at the Registry of Deeds
or the Probate Office?"

"Excuse me, Mr. Gridley, but may I ask you what particular concern you have
with the affairs of my relative, Cousin Malachi Withers, that's been dead
and buried these half-dozen years?"

"Perhaps it would take some time to answer that question fully, Miss
Badlam. Some of these affairs do concern those I am interested in, if not
myself directly."

"May I ask who the person or persons may be on whose account you wish to
look at papers belonging to my late relative, Malachi Withers?"

"You can ask me almost anything, Miss Badlam, but I should really be very
much obliged if you would answer my question first. Can you help me to get
a sight of any papers relating to the estate of Malachi Withers, not to be
found at the Registry of Deeds or the Probate Office,--any of which you may
happen to have any private and particular knowledge?"

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Gridley; but I don't understand why you come to me
with such questions. Lawyer Penhallow is the proper person, I should think,
to go to. He and his partner that was--Mr. Wibird, you know--settled the
estate, and he has got the papers, I suppose, if there are any, that ain't
to be found at the offices you mention."

Mr. Gridley moved his chair a little, so as to bring Miss Badlam's face a
little more squarely in view.

"Does Mr. William Murray Bradshaw know anything about any papers, such as I
am referring to, that may have been sent to the office?"

The lady felt a little moisture stealing through all her pores, and at the
same time a certain dryness of the vocal organs, so that her answer came in
a slightly altered tone which neither of them could help noticing.

"You had better ask Mr. William Murray Bradshaw yourself about that," she
answered. She felt the hook now, and her spines were rising, partly with
apprehension, partly with irritation.

"Has that young gentleman ever delivered into your hands any papers
relating to the affairs of the late Malachi Withers, for your safe

"What do you mean by asking me these questions, Mr. Gridley? I don't choose
to be catechised about Murray Bradshaw's business. Go to him, if you
please, if you want to find out about it."

"Excuse my persistence, Miss Badlam, but I must prevail upon you to answer
my question. Has Mr. William Murray Bradshaw ever delivered into your hands
any papers relating to the affairs of the late Malachi Withers, for your
safe keeping?"

"Do you suppose I am going to answer such questions as you are putting me
because you repeat them over, Mr. Gridley? Indeed I sha' n't. Ask him, if
you please, whatever you wish to know about his doings."

She drew herself up and looked savagely at him. She had talked herself into
her courage. There was a color in her cheeks and a sparkle in her eye; she
looked dangerous as a cobra.

"Miss Cynthia Badlam," Master Gridley said, very deliberately, "I am afraid
we do not entirely understand each other. You must answer my question
precisely, categorically, point-blank, and on the instant. Will you do this
at once, or will you compel me to show you the absolute necessity of your
doing it, at the expense of pain to both of us? Six words from me will make
you answer all my questions."

"You can't say six words, nor sixty, Mr. Gridley, that will make me answer
one question I do not choose to. I defy you!"

"I will not _say_ one, Miss Cynthia Badlam. There are some things one does
not like to speak in words. But I will show you a scrap of paper,
containing just six words and a date,--not one more nor one less. You shall
read them. Then I will burn the paper in the flame of your lamp. As soon
after that as you feel ready, I will ask the same question again."

Master Gridley took out from his pocket-book a scrap of paper, and handed
it to Cynthia Badlam. Her hand shook as she received it, for she was
frightened as well as enraged, and she saw that Mr. Gridley was in earnest
and knew what he was doing.

She read the six words, he looking at her steadily all the time, and
watching her as if he had just given her a drop of prussic acid.

No cry. No sound from her lips. She stared as if half stunned for one
moment, then turned her head and glared at Mr. Gridley as if she would have
murdered him if she dared. In another instant her face whitened, the scrap
of paper fluttered to the floor, and she would have followed it but for the
support of both Mr. Gridley's arms. He disengaged one of them presently,
and felt in his pocket for the _sal volatile_. It served him excellently
well, and stung her back again to her senses very quickly. All her defiant
aspect had gone.

"Look!" he said, as he lighted the scrap of paper in the flame. "You
understand me, and you see that I must be answered the next time I ask my

She opened her lips as if to speak. It was as when a bell is rung in a
vacuum,--no words came from them,--only a faint gasping sound, an effort at
speech. She was caught tight in the heart-screw.

"Don't hurry yourself, Miss Cynthia," he said, with a certain relenting
tenderness of manner. "Here, take another sniff of the smelling-salts. Be
calm, be quiet,--I am well disposed towards you,--I don't like to give you
trouble. There, now, I must have the answer to that question; but take your
time,--take your time."

"Give me some water,--some water!" she said, in a strange hoarse whisper.
There was a pitcher of water and a tumbler on an old marble sideboard near
by. He filled the tumbler, and Cynthia emptied it as if she had just been
taken from the rack, and could have swallowed a bucketful.

"What do you want to know?" she asked.

"I wish to know all that you can tell me about a certain paper, or certain
papers, which I have reason to believe Mr. William Murray Bradshaw
committed to your keeping."

"There is only one paper of any consequence. Do you want to make him kill
me? or do you want to make me kill myself?"

"Neither, Miss Cynthia, neither. I wish to see that paper, but not for any
bad purpose. Don't you think, on the whole, you have pretty good reason to
trust me? I am a very quiet man, Miss Cynthia. Don't be afraid of me; only
do what I ask,--it will be a great deal better for you in the end."

She thrust her trembling hand into her pocket, and took out the key of the
little trunk. She drew the trunk towards her, put the key in the lock, and
opened it. It seemed like pressing a knife into her own bosom and turning
the blade. That little trunk held all the records of her life the forlorn
spinster most cherished;--a few letters that came nearer to love-letters
than any others she had ever received; an album, with flowers of the
summers of 1840 and 1841 fading between its leaves; two papers containing
locks of hair, half of a broken ring, and other insignificant mementos
which had their meaning, doubtless, to her,--such a collection as is often
priceless to one human heart, and passed by as worthless in the
auctioneer's inventory. She took the papers out mechanically, and laid them
on the table. Among them was an oblong packet, sealed with what appeared to
be the office-seal of Messrs. Penhallow and Bradshaw.

"Will you allow me to take that envelope containing papers, Miss Badlam?"
Mr. Gridley asked, with a suavity and courtesy in his tone and manner that
showed how he felt for her sex and her helpless position.

She seemed to obey his will as if she had none of her own left. She passed
the envelope to him, and stared at him vacantly while he examined it. He
read on the back of the package: "_Withers Estate_--old papers--of no
account apparently. Examine hereafter."

"May I ask when, where, and of whom you obtained these papers, Miss

"Have pity on me, Mr. Gridley,--have pity on me. I am a lost woman if you
do not. Spare me! for God's sake, spare me! There will no wrong come of all
this, if you will but wait a little while. The paper will come to light
when it is wanted, and all will be right. But do not make me answer any
more questions, and let me keep this paper. O Mr. Gridley! I am in the
power of a dreadful man--"

"You mean Mr. William Murray Bradshaw?"

"I mean him."

"Has there not been some understanding between you that he should become
the approved suitor of Miss Myrtle Hazard?"

Cynthia wrung her hands and rocked herself backward and forward in her
misery, but answered not a word. What _could_ she answer, if she had
plotted with this "dreadful man" against a young and innocent girl, to
deliver her over into his hands, at the risk of all her earthly hopes and

Master Gridley waited long and patiently for any answer she might have the
force to make. As she made none, he took upon himself to settle the whole
matter without further torture of his helpless victim.

"This package must go into the hands of the parties who had the settlement
of the estate of the late Malachi Withers. Mr. Penhallow is the survivor of
the two gentlemen to whom that business was intrusted.--How long is Mr.
William Murray Bradshaw like to be away?"

"Perhaps a few days,--perhaps weeks,--and then he will come back and kill
me,--or--or--worse! Don't take that paper, Mr. Gridley,--he isn't like you;
you wouldn't--but he would--he would send me to everlasting misery to gain
his own end, or to save himself. And yet he is n't every way bad, and if he
did marry Myrtle she 'd think there never was such a man,--for he can talk
her heart out of her, and the wicked in him lies very deep and won't ever
come out, perhaps, if the world goes right with him." The last part of this
sentence showed how Cynthia talked with her own conscience; all her mental
and moral machinery lay open before the calm eyes of Master Byles Gridley.

His thoughts wandered a moment from the business before him; he had just
got a new study of human nature, which in spite of himself would be shaping
itself into an axiom for an imagined new edition of "Thoughts on the
Universe,"--something like this,--_The greatest saint may be a sinner that
never got down to "hard pan."_--It was not the time to be framing axioms.

"Poh! poh!" he said to himself; "what are you about, making phrases, when
you have got a piece of work like this in hand?" Then to Cynthia, with
great gentleness and kindness of manner: "Have no fear about any
consequences to yourself. Mr. Penhallow must see that paper,--I mean those
papers. You shall not be a loser nor a sufferer if you do your duty now in
these premises."

Master Gridley, treating her, as far as circumstances permitted, like a
gentleman, had shown no intention of taking the papers either stealthily or
violently. It must be with her consent. He had laid the package down upon
the table, waiting for her to give him leave to take it. But just as he
spoke these last words, Cynthia, whose eye had been glancing furtively at
it while he was thinking out his axiom, and taking her bearings to it
pretty carefully, stretched her hand out, and, seizing the package, thrust
it into the sanctuary of her bosom.

"Mr. Penhallow must see those papers, Miss Cynthia Badlam," Mr. Gridley
repeated calmly. "If he says they or any of them can be returned to your
keeping, well and good. But see them he must, for they have his office seal
and belong in his custody, and, as you see by the writing on the back, they
have not been examined. Now there may be something among them which is of
immediate importance to the relatives of the late deceased Malachi Withers,
and therefore they must be forthwith submitted to the inspection of the
surviving partner of the firm of Wibird and Penhallow. This I propose to
do, with your consent, this evening. It is now twenty-five minutes past
eight by the true time, as my watch has it. At half past eight exactly I
shall have the honor of bidding you good evening, Miss Cynthia Badlam,
whether you give me those papers or not. I shall go to the office of Jacob
Penhallow, Esquire, and there make one of two communications to him; to
wit, these papers and the facts connected therewith, or another statement,
the nature of which you may perhaps conjecture."

There is no need of our speculating as to what Mr. Byles Gridley, an
honorable and humane man, would have done, or what would have been the
nature of that communication which he offered as an alternative to the
perplexed woman. He had not at any rate miscalculated the strength of his
appeal, which Cynthia interpreted as he expected. She bore the heart-screw
about two minutes. Then she took the package from her bosom, and gave it
with averted face to Master Byles Gridley, who, on receiving it, made her a
formal but not unkindly bow, and bade her good evening.

"One would think it had been lying out in the dew," he said, as he left the
house and walked towards Mr. Penhallow's residence.


    So! Ye drag me, men of Athens,
      Hither to your council-hall,
    Armed with judges and informers,
      That your doom on me may fall,--
    Doom that Athens oft hath levelled
      On her noblest sons of yore,--
    Doom that made her foes triumphant,
      And each heart that loved her sore.
    Oft, as I have seen her heroes
      Brought to this ignoble end,
    Have I pondered,--when should Fortune
      To my lips the cup commend?

    Read the foul indictment, falsehood
      After falsehood rolling on;
    Far away my thoughts shall wander,
      Thinking of the moments gone,
    When with tears and prayers ye dragged me
      Hither to your council-hall,
    Young and old, and wives and children,
      Echoing one despairing call,--
    "Speak some word of comfort, Archon,
      Ere the Persian dig our grave!
    Speak, Themistocles, and save us,--
      Thou alone hast power to save!"

    Is it over? Let me hear it,--
      Let me hear once more the end,--
    "For Themistocles betrays us,
      And is sworn the Persian's friend--"
    No, not that! Take back the falsehood!
      Curse the hand that wrote the lie;
    Charge what deadly crime it lists you,
      'Tis no dreadful thing to die.
    But shall all my free devotion,
      All my care for Athens' weal,
    Turn to treason and corruption,
      Stamped with such a lying seal?
    Was 't for Persia then I led you
      Up to proud Athena's height,--
    Bade you view this barren country,
      And the sea to left and right,--
    Bade you leave your plain and mountain,--
      Save to dig their shining ore,--
    Bade you grasp the ocean's sceptre,
      Spoil the wealth of every shore,
    Spread your white sails to the breezes,
      Unrestrained like them and free,
    Lords of no contracted city,
      But the monarchs of the sea!

    Persia's friend! Have ye forgotten
      How the lord of Persia came,
    Bridging seas, and cleaving mountains,
      With the terrors of his name,--
    How he burst through Tempe's portal,
      Trod the dauntless Spartan down,
    Dragged the vile Boeotian captive,
      Dared e'en Delphi's sacred crown?
    And the craven wail of terror
      Rang through Athens' every street;
    Then ye came and begged for counsel,
      Kneeling, clinging to my feet.
    Then I bade you leave your city,
      Leave your temples and your halls,
    Trusting, as the god gave answer,
      To your country's wooden walls.
    And the Persian, entering proudly,
      Found a city of the dead;
    Athens' corpse his only victim,
      Her immortal soul had fled!

    Was 't for Persia in the council
      With your false allies I toiled,
    Bade the Spartan, "Strike, but hear me,"
      Ere my country should be spoiled?
    Or that all that night their galleys
      In the narrow strait I kept?
    For we felt the Persian closing,
      And no son of Athens slept.
    But when broke the golden dawning
      O'er Pentelicus afar,
    Rose the glad Hellenic pæan,
      Bursting with the morning star.
    For we saw the Persian squadrons
      Ship on ship in thousands pour,
    And we knew the pass was narrow
      'Twixt the island and the shore.
    Calmly, as no foe were near us,
      All our morning tasks we wrought,
    Lying there in silent order,
      As though fight we never fought.
    But we grasped our oars all eager
      Till the tough pine burned each hand,
    Watching till the steersman's signal
      For the onset gave command.
    Then we smote the sea together,
      And our galleys onward flew,
    While from all the Hellenic navy,
      As we dashed along the blue,
    Pealed one loud, triumphant war-cry,--
      "Now, ye sons of Hellas, come,
    Conquer freedom for your country,
      Freedom each one for his home,
    Freedom for your wives and children,
      For the altars where ye bow,
    For your fathers' honored ashes,
      For them all ye 're fighting now!"[1]

    On the mountain height the tyrant
      Bade them set his golden throne,
    And in pitch of pride surveyed them,--
      All the fleet he called his own,--
    Heard the war-cry far resounding,
      Heard the oars' responsive dash,
    And the shock of squadrons smiting
      Beak to beak with sudden clash,--
    Saw them locked in wild confusion,
      Prow on prow and keel on keel,--
    Heard the thundering crash of timbers,
      And the ring of clanging steel,--
    Saw his ponderous ships entangled
      In the close and narrow strait,
    And our light-winged galleys darting
      Boldly in the jaws of fate,--
    Saw the mad disorder seize them,
      As we grappled fast each prow,
    Leaped like tigers on the bulwarks,
      Hurled them to the depths below,--
    Saw his bravest on the island
      Slaughtered down in deadly fight,
    Whom he fondly placed to crush us,
      If perchance we turned to flight,--
    Saw one last despairing struggle,--
      Then the shout that all was lost,
    And his matchless navy turning,
      Fleeing from the hated coast,--
    Saw them stranded on the island,
      Rent and shattered on the main,--
    Heard the shrieks of myriads wounded,
      Saw the heaps of thousands slain,
    While the sea was red with carnage,
      And the air with shouts was wild,
    "Woe to Persia's slaves and tyrant!
      Hail to Athens, ocean's child!"

    No, ye have not all forgotten,
      All your hearts have not grown cold,
    When of Athens' countless triumphs,
      This, the noblest tale, is told.

    Oft perchance my acts have wronged you,
      But ye dare not charge me this,
    That the Persian is my master,
      When ye think of Salamis.
    More I might; but it sufficeth,--
      Here I wait the word of doom;
    Strike! But think that I, the culprit,
      Raised your city from the tomb.


    Guilty! Well! The fate of others
      Now at length descends on me;
    Envy strikes the loftiest ever,
      As the lightning on the tree.
    Banished! Athens aye hath willed it
      For her truest souls of yore;
    Now I know thee, Aristides,
      As I never knew before.
    O forgive me, gallant rival,
      If I e'er have wrought thee ill;
    Think but of the glorious morning
      When we stood on yonder hill,
    When Miltiades arrayed us
      In the central ranks to stand,
    When we charged adown the mountain
      On the motley Persian band,
    When the shouting wings swept forward,
      And we stood, like sea-cliffs fast,
    Smiling to behold the nations
      Break in foam upon us cast;
    When we chased them to the galleys,
      Slaughtered thousands by the wave,
    Sent them back in rout to Susa,
      Heaped the mound above our brave,
    And forever through the ages
      Sounds our glory, rolling on,
    For Miltiades and Athens,
      For ourselves and Marathon.

    Men of Athens! By your sentence
      I am banished from your state;
    Humbly to that doom I bow me,
      And I leave you to your fate.
    Not to me thine awful ending,
      Athens, shall the years unfold;
    Long shall night have closed these eyelids
      Ere that ruin men behold.
    Still, when I am long forgotten,
      Shall thy haughty sway extend,
    Isles and cities, lords and kingdoms,
      Forced to court, to sue, to bend,
    As, from year to year increasing,
      Still thy marts new wealth enclose,
    And thy far-resplendent treasures
      Dazzle e'en thy fiercest foes.
    Wider ports and swifter navies,
      Broader fields and richer mines,
    Deadlier fights and braver armies,
      Statelier halls and fairer shrines,
    Loftier accents poured in council,
      Nobler thoughts in sweeter song,
    Loud proclaim the crown of Hellas
      Doth of right to thee belong;
    Till thy heart be drunk with glory,
      And thy brain be crazed with power,
    And the gods o'erhear thy boasting
      In some mad, triumphant hour.

    Then, when one by one thy subjects
      Turn and beard thee in despair,
    Calling Sparta to the rescue,
      In thy death and spoil to share,--
    When thy vines and groves lie desert,
      And within thy crowded wall
    Pest and famine slay thy chosen,
      Slay the foremost chief of all,--
    When thy armies throng the dungeons,
      And thy shipwrecks heap the strand,--
    When thine ancient strain of heroes
      Gives no more the proud command,
    But thy wisest heads turn faithless,
      And thy truest hearts grow dull,
    Making all thy counsel folly,
      All thy desperate valor null,--
    When each fond and mad endeavor,
      Clutching at thy fallen crown,
    Deeper in the roaring whirlpool
      Of perdition sucks thee down,
    When at last thy foes surround thee,
      Dig the trench, and hem thee in,--
    When the dreadful word is spoken,
      Which to whisper were a sin,--
    When at length, in vile subjection,
      Unto Sparta thou shalt sue,
    Swearing thou wilt humbly serve her,
      Will she but thy life renew,--
    In that hour of keenest torture,
      When thy star is sunk in night,
    Think!--but not of me, whose valor
      Thou so foully didst requite;--
    Think not of thine outraged heroes,
      But of her who banished these,
    Think of Athens, false and fickle,
      Think not of Themistocles.

    But if e'er, in after ages,
      Once again thy star _should_ rise,--
    If some noble son _should_ save thee,
      Like a god that left the skies,
    If thy shackles should be broken,
      And thou leap to new renown,
    Then remember me, my darling,
      City of the violet crown!
    Then shall endless shouts of triumph
      Sound the glories of thy name,
    And the songs of generations
      All thy matchless gifts proclaim;
    Then be every wrong forgotten,
      Then be every debt repaid,
    And the wreath of every hero
      On Athena's altar laid.


[1] The foregoing description is nearly a translation from the _Persæ_ of


Authors are apt to be popularly considered as physically a feeble folk,--as
timid, nervous, dyspeptic rhymers or prosers, unfitted to grapple with the
rough realities of life. We shall endeavor, in the following pages, to
present our readers with the image of one calculated to reverse this
impression,--the image of a stalwart man of letters, who lived two
centuries and a half ago, in the greatest age of English literature,--who
undeniably had brawny fists as well as forgetive faculties,--one who could
handle a club as readily as a pen, hit his mark with a bullet as surely as
with a word, and, a sort of cross between the bully and the bard, could
shoulder his way through a crowd of prize-fighters to take his seat among
the tuneful company of immortal poets. This man, Ben Jonson, commonly
stands next to Shakespeare in a consideration of the dramatic literature of
the age of Elizabeth; and certainly, if the "thousand-souled" Shakespeare
may be said to represent mankind, Ben as unmistakably stands for
English-kind. He is "Saxon" England in epitome,--John Bull passing from a
name into a man,--a proud, strong, tough, solid, domineering individual,
whose intellect and personality cannot be severed, even in thought, from
his body and personal appearance. Ben's mind, indeed, was rooted in Ben's
character; and his character took symbolic form in his physical frame. He
seemed built up, mentally as well as bodily, out of beef and sack, mutton
and Canary; or, to say the least, was a joint product of the English mind
and the English larder, of the fat as well as the thought of the land, of
the soil as well as the soul of England. The moment we attempt to estimate
his eminence as a dramatist, he disturbs the equanimity of our judgment by
tumbling head-foremost into the imagination as a big, bluff, burly, and
quarrelsome man, with "a mountain belly and a rocky face." He is a very
pleasant boon companion as long as we make our idea of his importance agree
with his own; but the instant we attempt to dissect his intellectual
pretensions, the living animal becomes a dangerous subject,--his
countenance flames, his great hands double up, his thick lips begin to
twitch with impending invective; and while the critic's impression of him
is thus all the more vivid, he is checked in its expression by a very
natural fear of the consequences. There is no safety but in taking this
rowdy leviathan of letters at his own valuation; and the relation of
critics towards him is as perilous as that of the juries towards the Irish
advocate, who had an unpleasant habit of challenging them to personal
combat whenever they brought in a verdict against any of his clients. There
is, in fact, such a vast animal force in old Ben's self-assertion, that he
bullies posterity as he bullied his contemporaries; and while we admit his
claims to rank next to Shakespeare among the dramatists of his age, we beg
our readers to understand that we do it under intimidation.

The qualities of this bold, racy, and brawny egotist can be best conveyed
in a biographical form. He was born in 1574, the grandson of a gentleman
who, for his religion, lost his estate, and for a time his liberty, in
Queen Mary's time, and the son of a clergyman in humble circumstances, who
died about a month before his "rare" offspring was born. His mother,
shortly after the death of her husband, married a master-bricklayer. Ben,
who as a boy doubtless exhibited brightness of intellect and audacity of
spirit, seems to have attracted the attention of Camden, who placed him in
Westminster School, of which he was master. Ben there displayed so warm a
love of learning, and so much capacity in rapidly acquiring it, that, at
the age of sixteen, he is said to have been removed to the University of
Cambridge, though he stated to Drummond, long afterwards, that he was
"master of arts in both the Universities, by their favor, not his studie."
His ambition at this time, if we may believe some of his biographers, was
to be a clergyman; and had it been gratified, he would probably have
blustered his way to a bishopric, and proved himself one of the most
arrogant, learned, and pugnacious disputants of the English Church
Militant,--perhaps have furnished the type of that peculiar religionist
compounded of bully, pedant, and bigot which Warburton was afterwards, from
the lack of models, compelled to originate. But after residing a few months
at the University, Ben, deserted by his friends and destitute of money,
found it impossible to carry out his design; and he returned disappointed
to his mother's house. As she could not support him in idleness, the
stout-hearted student adopted the most obvious means of earning his daily
bread, and for a short time followed the occupation of his father-in-law,
going to the work of bricklaying, according to the tradition, with a trowel
in one hand, but with a Horace in the other. His enemies among the
dramatists did not forget this when he became famous, but meanly sneered at
him as "the lime-and-mortar poet." When we reflect that in the aristocratic
age of good Queen Bess, play-writing, even the writing of Hamlets and
Alchymists, was, if we may trust Dr. Farmer, hardly considered "a
creditable employ," we may form some judgment of the position of the
working classes, when a mechanic was thus deemed to have no rights which a
playwright "was bound to respect."

We have no means of deciding whether or not Ben was foolish enough to look
upon his trade as degrading; that it was distasteful we know from the fact
that he soon exchanged the trowel for the sword; and we hear no more of his
dealing with bricks, if we may except his questionable habit of sometimes
carrying too many of them in his hat. At the age of eighteen he ran away to
the Continent, and enlisted as a volunteer in the English army in Flanders,
fully intending, doubtless, that, as fate seemed against his being a Homer
or an Aristotle, to try if fortune would not make him an Alexander or a
Hannibal. As ill-luck would have it, however, his abundant vitality had
little scope in martial exercise. He does not appear to have been in any
general engagement, though he signalized his personal prowess in a manner
which he was determined should not be forgotten through any diffidence of
his own. Boastful as he was brave, he was never weary of bragging how he
had encountered one of the enemy, fought with him in presence of both
armies, killed him, and triumphantly "taken _opima spolia_ from him."

After serving one campaign, our Ajax-Thersites returned, at the age of
nineteen, to England, bringing with him, according to Gifford, "the
reputation of a brave man, a smattering of Dutch, and an empty purse." To
these accomplishments he probably added that of drinking; for, as "our army
in Flanders" ever drank terribly as well as "swore terribly," it may be
supposed that Ben there laid, deep and wide, the foundation of his
bacchanalian habits. Arrived in London, and thrown on his own resources for
support, he turned naturally to the stage, and became an actor in a minor
play-house, called the Green Curtain. Though he was through life a good
reader, and though at this time he was not afflicted with the scurvy, which
eventually so punched his face as to make one of his satirists compare it,
with witty malice, to the cover of a warming-pan, he still never rose to
any eminence as an actor. He had not been long at the Green Curtain when a
quarrel with one of his fellow performers led to a duel, in which Jonson
killed his antagonist, was arrested on a charge of murder, and, in his own
phrase, was brought "almost at the gallowes,"--an unpleasant proximity
which he hastened to increase by relieving the weariness of imprisonment in
discussions on religion with a Popish priest, also a prisoner, and by being
converted to Romanism. As the zealous professors of the old faith had
passed, in Elizabeth's time, from persecutors into martyrs, Ben, the
descendant of one of Queen Mary's victims, evinced more than his usual
worldly prudence in seizing this occasion to join their company, as he
could reasonably hope that, if he escaped hanging on the charge of
homicide, he still might contrive to be beheaded on a charge of treason.
In regard, however, to the original cause of his imprisonment, it would
seem that, on investigation, it was found the duel had been forced upon
him, that his antagonist had taken the precaution of bringing into the
field a sword ten inches longer than his own, and thus, far from intending
to be the victim of murder, had not unsagaciously counted on committing it.
Jonson was released; but, apparently vexed at this propitious turn to his
fortunes, instead of casting about for some means of subsistence, he almost
immediately married a woman as poor as himself,--a wife whom he afterwards
curtly described as "a shrew, yet honest." A shrew, indeed! As if Mrs.
Jonson must not often have had just occasion to use her tongue tartly!--as
if her redoubtable Ben did not often need its acrid admonitions! They seem
to have lived together until 1613, when they separated.

Absolute necessity now drove Jonson again to the stage, probably both as
actor and writer. He began his dramatic career, as Shakespeare began his,
by doing job-work for the managers; that is, by altering, recasting, and
making additions to old plays. At last, in 1596, in his twenty-second year,
he placed himself at a bound among the famous dramatists of the time, by
the production, at the Rose Theatre, of his comedy of "Every Man in his
Humor." Two years afterwards, having in the mean time been altered and
improved, it was, through the influence of Shakespeare, accepted by the
players of the Blackfriars' Theatre, Shakespeare himself acting the
characterless part of the Elder Knowell.

Among the writers of the Elizabethan age, an age in which, for a wonder,
there seemed to be a glut of genius, Ben is prominent more for racy
originality of personal character, weight or understanding, and quickness
of fancy, than for creativeness of imagination. His first play, "Every Man
in his Humor," indicates to a great extent the quality and the kind of
power with which he was endowed. His prominent characteristic was
will,--will carried to self-will, and sometimes to self-exaggeration almost
furious. His understanding was solid, strong, penetrating, even broad, and
it was well furnished with matter derived both from experience and books;
but, dominated by a personality so fretful and fierce, it was impelled to
look at men and things, not in their relations to each other, but in their
relations to Ben. He had reached that ideal of stormy conceit in which,
according to Emerson, the egotist declares, "Difference from me is the
measure of absurdity." Even the imaginary characters he delineated as a
dramatist were all bound, as by tough cords, to the will that gave them
being, lacked that joyous freedom and careless grace of movement which
rightfully belonged to them as denizens of an ideal world, and had to obey
their master Ben, as puppets obey the show-man. His power of external
observation was pitilessly keen and searching, and it was accompanied by a
rich, though somewhat coarse and insolent vein of humor; but his egotism
commonly directed his observation to what was below, rather than above
himself, and gave to his humor a scornful, rather than a genial tone. He
huffs even in his hilarity; his fun is never infectious; and his very
laughter is an assertion of superior wisdom. He has none of that humanizing
humor which, in Shakespeare, makes us like the vagabonds we laugh at, and
which insures for Dogberry and Nick Bottom, Autolychus and Falstaff, warmer
friends among readers than many great historic dignities of the state and
the camp can command.

In regard to the materials of the dramatist, Jonson, in his vagrant career,
had seen human nature under many aspects; but he had surveyed it neither
with the eye of reason, nor the eye of imagination. His mind fastened on
the hard actualities of observation, without passing to what they implied
or suggested. Deficient thus in philosophic insight and poetic insight, his
shrewd, contemptuous glance rarely penetrated beneath the manners and
eccentricities of men. His attention was arrested, not by character, but by
prominent peculiarities of character,--peculiarities which almost
transformed character into caricature. To use his own phrase, he delineated
humors rather than persons, that is, individuals under the influence of
some dominant affectation, or whim, or conceit, or passion, that drew into
itself, colored, and mastered the whole nature,--"an acorn," as Sir Thomas
Browne phrases it, "in their young brows, which grew to an oak in their old
heads." He thus inverts the true process of characterization. Instead of
seeing the trait as an offshoot of the individual, he individualizes the
trait. Every man is _in_ his humor, instead of every humor being in its
man. In order that there should be no misconception of his purpose, he
named his chief characters after their predominant qualities, as Morose,
Surly, Sir Amorous La Fool, Sir Politic Would Be, Sir Epicure Mammon, and
the like; and, apprehensive even then that his whole precious meaning would
not be taken in, he appended to his _dramatis personæ_ further explanations
of their respective natures.

This distrust of the power of language to lodge a notion in another brain
is especially English; but Ben, of all writers, seems to have been most
impressed with the necessity of pounding an idea into the perceptions of
his countrymen. His mode resembles the attempt of that honest Briton, who
thus delivered his judgment on the French nation: "I hate a Frenchman, sir.
Every Frenchman is either a puppy or a rascal, sir." And then, fearful that
he had not been sufficiently explicit, he added, "Do you take my idea?"

With all abatements, however, the comedy of "Every Man in his Humor" is a
remarkable effort, considered as the production of a young man of
twenty-three. The two most striking characters are Kitely and Captain
Bobadil. Give Jonson, indeed, a peculiarity to start with, and he worked it
out with logical exactness. So intense was his conception of it, that he
clothed it in flesh and blood, gave it a substantial existence, and
sometimes succeeded in forcing it into literature as a permanent character.

Bobadil, especially, is one of Ben's masterpieces. He is the most colossal
coward and braggart of the comic stage. He can swear by nothing less
terrible than "by the body of Cæsar," or "by the foot of Pharaoh," when his
oath is not something more terrific still, namely, "by my valor"! Every
schoolboy knows the celebrated passage in which the boasting Captain offers
to settle the affairs of Europe by associating with himself twenty other
Bobadils, as cunning i' the fence as himself, and challenging an army of
forty thousand men, twenty at a time, and killing the whole in a certain
number of days. Leaving out the cowardice, we may say there was something
of Bobadil in Jonson himself; and it may be shrewdly suspected that his
conceit of destroying an army in this fashion came into his head in the
exultation of feeling which followed his own successful exploit, in the
presence of both armies, when he was a soldier in Flanders. Old John Dennis
described genius "as a furious joy and pride of school at the conception of
an extraordinary hint." Ben had this "furious joy and pride," not only in
the conception of extraordinary hints, but in the doing of extraordinary

Jonson followed up his success by producing the plays of "Every Man out of
his Humor," and "Cynthia's Revels," dramatic satires on the manners,
follies, affectations, and vices of the city and the court. One good result
of Jonson's egotism was, that it made him afraid of nothing. He openly
appeared among the dramatists of his day as a reformer, and, poor as he
was, refused to pander to popular tastes, whether those tastes took the
direction of ribaldry, or blasphemy, or bombast. He had courage, morality,
earnestness; but then his courage was so blustering, his morality so
irascible, and his devotion to his own ideas of art so exclusive, that he
was constantly defying and insulting the persons he proposed to teach.
Other dramatists said to the audience, "Please to applaud this"; but Ben
said, "Now, you fools, we shall see if you have sense enough to applaud
this!" The stage, to be sure, was to be exalted and improved, but it was to
be done by his own works, and the glory of literature was to be associated
with the glory of Master Benjamin. This conceit, by making him insensible
to Shakespeare's influence, made him next to Shakespeare perhaps the most
original dramatist of the time. He differed from his brother dramatists not
in degree, but in kind. He felt it was not for him to imitate, but to
produce models for imitation; not for him to catch the spirit of the age,
but to originate a better. In short, he felt and taught belief in Ben; and,
high as posterity rates the literature of the age of Elizabeth, it would be
supposed from his prologues and epilogues that he conceived his fat person
to have fallen on evil days.

In "Every Man out of his Humor" and "Cynthia's Revels," he is in a raging
passion throughout. His verse groans with the weight of his wrath. "My
soul," he exclaims,

    "Was never ground into such oily colors
    To flatter vice and daub iniquity.
    But with an arméd and resolvéd hand
    I 'll strip the ragged follies of the time
    Naked as at their birth,
                  ... and with a whip of steel
    Print wounding lashes on their iron ribs."

But though he exhausts the whole rhetoric of railing, invective, contempt,
and scorn, we yet find it difficult to feel any of the indignation he
labors to excite. Admiration, however, cannot be refused to Jonson's prose
style in these as in his other plays. It is terse, sharp, swift,
biting,--every word a die that stamps its object in a second. Occasionally
the author's veins, to use his own apt expression, seem to "run
quicksilver," and "every phrase comes forth steeped in the very brine of
conceit, and sparkles like salt in fire." Yet, though we have whole scenes
in which there is brightness in every sentence, the result of the whole is
something like dulness, as the object of the whole is to exalt himself and
depress others. But in these plays, in strange contrast with their general
character, we have a few specimens of that sweetness of sentiment,
refinement of fancy, and indefinite beauty of imagination, which, occupying
some secluded corner of his large brain, seemed to exist apart from his
ordinary powers and passions. Among these, the most exquisite is this Hymn
to Diana, which partakes of the serenity of the moonlight, whose goddess it

    "Queen and huntress chaste and fair,
      Now the sun is laid to sleep,
    Seated in thy silver chair,
      State in wonted manner keep.
        Hesperus entreats thy light,
        Goddess excellently bright!

    "Earth, let not thy envious shade
      Dare itself to interpose;
    Cynthia's shining orb was made
      Heaven to clear when day did close.
        Bless us, then, with wishéd sight,
        Goddess excellently bright.

    "Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
      And thy crystal-gleaming quiver;
    Give unto the flying hart
      Space to breathe how short soever,--
        Thou that mak'st a day of night,
        Goddess excellently bright."

If, as Jonson's adversaries maliciously asserted, "every line of his poetry
cost him a cup of sack," we must, even in our more temperate days, pardon
him the eighteen cups which, in this melodious lyric, went into his mouth
as sack, but, by some precious chemistry, came out through his pen as

It was inevitable that the imperious attitude Jonson had assumed, and the
insolent pungency of his satire, should rouse the wrath of the classes he
lampooned, and the enmity of the poets he ridiculed and decried. Among
those who conceived themselves assailed, or who felt insulted by his
arrogant tone, were two dramatists, Thomas Dekkar and John Marston. They
soon recriminated; and as Ben was better fitted by nature to dispense than
to endure scorn and derision, he in 1601 produced "The Poetaster," the
object of which was to silence forever, not only Dekkar and Marston, but
all other impudent doubters of his infallibility. The humor of the thing
is, that, in this elaborate attempt to convict his adversaries of calumny
in taxing him with self-love and arrogance, he ostentatiously exhibits the
very qualities he disclaims. He keeps no terms with those who profess
disbelief in Ben. They are "play-dressers and plagiaries," "fools or
jerking pedants," "buffoon barking wits," tickling "base vulgar ears with
beggarly and barren trash," while his are

            "The high raptures of a happy Muse,
    Borne on the wings of her immortal thought,
    That kicks at earth with a disdainful heel,
    And beats at heaven's gate with her bright hoofs."

Dekkar retorted in a play called "Satiromastrix; or, the Untrussing of the
Humorous Poet"; but, though the scurrility is brilliantly bitter, it is
less efficient and hearted than Jonson's. This literary controversy,
conducted in acted plays, had to the public of that day a zest similar to
that we should enjoy if the editors of two opposing political newspapers
should meet in a hall filled with their subscribers, and fling their
thundering editorials in person at each other's heads. The theatre-goers
seem to have declared for Dekkar and Marston; and Ben, disgusted with such
a proof of their incapacity of judgment, sulked and growled in his den, and
for two years gave nothing to the stage. He had, however, found a patron,
who enabled him to do this without undergoing the famine of insufficient
meat, and the still more dreadful drought of insufficient drink; for, in a
gossiping diary of the period, covering these two years, we are informed,
"B. J. now lives with one Townsend, and scorns the world." While, however,
pleasantly engaged in this characteristic occupation, for which he had a
natural genius, he was meditating a play which he thought would demonstrate
to all judging spirits his possession equally of the acquirements of the
scholar and the talents of the dramatist. In the conclusion of the
Apologetic Dialogue which accompanies "The Poetaster," he had hinted his
purpose in these energetic lines:--

                          "Once I 'll say,--
    To strike the ears of Time in these fresh strains,
    As shall, beside the cunning of their ground,
    Give cause to some of wonder, some despite,
    And more despair to imitate their sound.
    I that spend half my nights and all my days
    Here in a cell, to get a dark, pale face,
    To come forth with the ivy and the bays,
    And in this age can hope no better grace,--
    Leave me! There 's something come into my thought,
    That must and shall be sung high and aloof,
    Safe from the wolf's black jaw, and the dull ass's hoof!"

Accordingly, in 1603, he produced his weighty tragedy of "Sejanus," at
Shakespeare's theatre, The Globe,--Shakespeare himself acting one of the
inferior parts. Think of Shakespeare laboriously committing to memory the
blank verse of Jonson!

Though "Sejanus" failed of theatrical success, its wealth of classic
knowledge and solid thought made it the best of all answers to his
opponents. It was as if they had questioned his capacity to build a ship,
and he had confuted them with a man-of-war. To be sure, they might
reiterate their old charge of "filching by translation," for the text of
"Sejanus" is a mosaic; but it was one of Jonson's maxims that he deserved
as much honor for what he made his own by _Jonsonizing_ the classics as for
what he originated. Indeed, in his dealings with the great poets and
historians of Rome, whose language and whose spirit he had patiently
mastered, he acted the part, not of the pickpocket, but of the conqueror.
He did not meanly crib and pilfer in the territories of the ancients: he
rather pillaged, or, in our American phrase, "annexed" them. "He has done
his robberies so openly," says Dryden, "that one sees he fears not to be
taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch, and what would be
theft in any other poet is only victory in him."

One incident connected with the bringing out of "Sejanus" should not be
omitted. Jonson told Drummond that the Earl of Northampton had a mortal
enmity to him "for beating, on a St. George's day, one of his attenders";
and he adds, that Northampton had him "called before the Councell for his
Sejanus," and accused him there both of "Poperie and treason."

Jonson's relations with Shakespeare seem always to have been friendly; and
about this time we hear of them as associate members of the greatest of
literary and the greatest of convivial clubs,--the club instituted by Sir
Walter Raleigh, and known to all times as the "Mermaid," so called from the
tavern in which the meetings were held. Various, however, as were the
genius and accomplishments it included, it lacked one phase of ability
which has deprived us of all participation in its wit and wisdom. It could
boast of Shakespeare, and Jonson, and Raleigh, and Camden, and Beaumont,
and Selden, but, alas! it had no Boswell to record its words,

    "So nimble, and so full of subtile flame."

There are traditions of "wit-combats" between Shakespeare and Jonson; and
doubtless there was many a discussion between them touching the different
principles on which their dramas were composed; and then Ben, astride his
high horse of the classics, probably blustered and harangued, and
graciously informed the world's greatest poet that he sometimes wanted art
and sometimes sense, and candidly advised him to check the fatal rapidity
and perilous combinations of his imagination,--while Shakespeare smilingly
listened, and occasionally put in an ironic word, deprecating such austere
criticism of a playwright like himself, who accommodated his art to the
humors of the mob that crowded the "round O" of The Globe. There can be no
question that Shakespeare saw Ben through and through, but he was not a man
to be intolerant of foibles, and probably enjoyed the hectoring egotism of
his friend as much as he appreciated his real merits. As for Ben, the
transcendent genius of his brother dramatist pierced through even the thick
hide of his self-sufficiency. "I did honor him," he finely says, "this side
of idolatry, as much as any other man."

On the accession of James of Scotland to the English throne, Jonson was
employed by the court and city to design a splendid pageant for the
monarch's reception; and, with that absence of vindictiveness which
somewhat atoned for his arrogance, he gave his recent enemy, Dekkar, three
fifths of the job. About the same time he was reconciled to Marston; and in
1605 assisted him and Chapman in a comedy called "Eastward Hoe!" One
passage in this, reflecting on the Scotch, gave mortal offence to James's
greedy countrymen, who invaded England in his train, and were ravenous and
clamorous for the spoils of office. Captain Seagul, in the play, praises
what was then the new settlement of Virginia, as "a place without
sergeants, or courtiers, or lawyers, or intelligencers, only a few
industrious Scots perhaps, who indeed are dispersed over the whole earth.
But as for them, there are no greater friends to Englishmen and England,
when they are out on 't, in the world, than they are; and, for my own part,
I would a hundred thousand of them were there, for we are all one
countrymen now, ye know, and we should find ten times more comfort of them
there than we do here." This bitter taunt, which probably made the theatre
roar with applause, was so represented to the king, that Marston and
Chapman were arrested and imprisoned. Jonson nobly insisted on sharing
their fate; and as he had powerful friends at court, and was esteemed by
James himself, his course may have saved his friends from disgraceful
mutilations. A report was circulated that the noses and ears of all three
were to be slit and Jonson tells us, that, in an entertainment he gave to
Camden, Selden, and other friends after his liberation, his old mother
exhibited a paper full of "lustie strong poison," which she said she
intended to have mixed _in his drink_, in case the threat of such a
shameful punishment had been officially announced. The phrase "his drink"
is very characteristic; and, whatever liquid was meant, we may be sure that
it was not water, and that the good lady would have daily had numerous
opportunities to mix the poison with it.

The five years which succeeded his imprisonment carried Jonson to the
height of his prosperity and glory. During this period he produced the
three great comedies on which his fame as a dramatist rests,--"The Fox,"
"The Silent Woman," and "The Alchymist,"--and also many of the most
beautiful of those Masques, performed at court, in which the ingenuity,
delicacy, richness, and elevation of his fancy found fittest expression.
His social position was probably superior to Shakespeare's. He was really
the Court Poet long before 1616, when he received the office, with a
pension of a hundred marks. We have Clarendon's testimony to the fact that
"his conversation was very good, and with men of the best note." Among his
friends occurs the great name of Bacon.

In 1618, when "Ben Jonson" had come to be familiar words on the lips of all
educated men in the island, he made his celebrated journey on foot to
Scotland, and was hospitably entertained by the nobility and gentry around
Edinburgh. Taylor, the water poet, in his "Pennylesse Pilgrimage" to
Scotland, has this amiable reference to him. "At Leith," he says, "I found
my long approved and assured good friend, Master Benjamin Jonson, at one
Master John Stuart's house. I thank him for his great kindness; for, at my
taking leave of him, he gave me a piece of gold of two-and-twenty
shillings' value, to drink his health in England." One object of Jonson's
journey was to visit Drummond of Hawthornden. He passed three or four weeks
with Drummond at Hawthornden, and poured out his mind to him without
reserve or stint. The finical and fastidious poet was somewhat startled at
this irruption of his burly guest into his dainty solitude; took notes of
his free conversation, especially when he decried his contemporaries; and
further carried out the rites of hospitality by adding a caustic, though
keen, summary of his qualities of character. Thus, according to his dear
friend's charitable analysis, Ben "was a great lover and praiser of
himself; a contemner and scorner of others; given rather to losse a friend
than a jest; jealous of every word and action of those about him
(especiallie after drink, which is one of the elements in which he liveth);
a dissembler of ill parts which raigne in him, a bragger of some good that
he wanteth; thinketh nothing well bot what either he himself or some of his
friends and countrymen have said or done; he is passionately kynde and
angry; careless either to gaine or keep; vindictive, but, if he be well
answered, at himself." It is not much to the credit of Jonson's insight,
that, after flooding his pensively taciturn host with his boisterous and
dogmatic talk, he parted with him under the impression that he was leaving
an assured friend. Ah! your demure listeners to your unguarded
conversation,--they are the ones that give the fatal stabs!

A literal transcript of Drummond's original notes of Jonson's
conversations, made by Sir Robert Sibbald about the year 1710, has been
published in the collections of the Shakespeare Society. This is a more
extended report than that included in Drummond's works, though still not so
full as the reader might desire. The stoutness of Ben's character is felt
in every utterance. Thus he tells Drummond that "he never esteemed of a man
for the name of a lord,"--a sentiment which he had expressed more
impressively in his published epigram on Burleigh:--

    "Cecil, the grave, the wise, the great, the good,
    What is there more that can ennoble blood?"

He had, it seems, "a minde to be a churchman, and, so he might have favour
to make one sermon to the King, he careth not what thereafter sould befall
him; for he would not flatter though he saw Death." Queen Elizabeth is the
mark of a most scandalous imputation, and the mildest of Ben's remarks
respecting her is that she "never saw herself, after she became old, in a
true glass; they painted her, _and sometymes would vermilion_ her nose."
"Of all styles," he said, "he most loved to be named Honest, and hath of
that one hundreth letters so naming him." His judgments on other poets were
insolently magisterial. "Spenser's stanzas pleased him not, nor his
matter"; Samuel Daniel was a good honest man, but no poet; Donne, though
"the first poet in the world in some things," for "not keeping of accent,
deserved hanging"; Abram Fraunce, "in his English hexameters, was a foole";
Sharpham, Day, and Dekkar were all rogues; Francis Beaumont "loved too much
himself and his own verses." Some biographical items in the record of these
conversations are of interest. It seems that the first day of every new
year the Earl of Pembroke sent him twenty pounds "to buy bookes." By all
his plays he never gained two hundred pounds. "Sundry tymes he hath
devoured his bookes," that is, sold them to supply himself with
necessaries. When he was imprisoned for killing his brother actor in a
duel, in the Queen's time, "his judges could get nothing of him to all
their demands but I and No. They placed two damn'd villains, to catch
advantage of him, with him, but he was advertised by his keeper"; and he
added, as if the revenge was as terrible as the offence, "of the spies he
hath ane epigrame." He told a few personal stories to Drummond, calculated
to moderate our wonder that Mrs. Jonson was a shrew; and, as they were
boastingly told, we must suppose that his manners were not so austere as
his verse. But perhaps the most characteristic image he has left of
himself, through these conversations, is this: "He hath consumed a whole
night in lying looking to his great toe, about which he hath seen Tartars
and Turks, Romans and Carthaginians, feight in his imagination."

Jonson's fortunes seem to have suffered little abatement until the death of
King James, in 1625. Then declining popularity and declining health
combined their malice to break the veteran down; and the remaining twelve
years of his life were passed in doing battle with those relentless enemies
of poets,--want and disease. The orange--or rather the lemon--was squeezed,
and both court and public seemed disposed to throw away the peel. In the
epilogue to his play of "The New Inn," brought out in 1630, the old tone of
defiance is gone. He touchingly appeals to the audience as one who is "sick
and sad"; but, with a noble humility, he begs they will refer none of the
defects of the work to mental decay.

    "All that his weak and faltering tongue doth crave
    Is that you not refer it to his brain;
    That 's yet unhurt, although set round with pain."

The audience were insensible to this appeal. They found the play dull, and
hooted it from the stage. Perhaps, after having been bullied so long, they
took delight in having Ben "on the hip." Charles the First, however, who up
to this time seems to have neglected his father's favorite, now generously
sent him a hundred pounds to cheer him in his misfortunes; and shortly
after he raised his salary, as Court Poet, from a hundred marks to a
hundred pounds, adding, in compliment to Jonson's known tastes, a tierce of
Canary,--a wine of which he was so fond as to be nicknamed, in ironical
reference to a corpulence which rather assimilated him to the ox, "a Canary
bird." It is to this period, we suppose, we must refer his testimony to his
own obesity in his "Epistle to my Lady Coventry."

    "So you have gained a Servant and a Muse:
    The first of which I fear you will refuse,
    And you may justly; being a tardy, cold,
    Unprofitable chattel, fat and old,
    Laden with belly, and doth hardly approach
    His friends, but to break chairs or crack a coach.
    His weight is twenty stone, within two pound;
    And that 's made up, as doth the purse abound."

As his life declined, it does not appear that his disposition was
essentially modified. There are two characteristic references to him in his
old age, which prove that Ben, attacked by palsy and dropsy, with a
reputation perceptibly waning, was Ben still. One is from Sir John
Suckling's pleasantly malicious "Session of the Poets":--

    "The first that broke silence was good old Ben,
    Prepared before with Canary wine,
    And he told them plainly he deserved the bays,
    For his were called works where others were but plays.


    Apollo stopped him there, and bade him not go on;
    'T was merit, he said, and not presumption,
    Must carry 't; at which Ben turned about,
    And in great choler offered to go out."

That is a saucy touch,--that of Ben's rage when he is told that presumption
is not, before Apollo, to take the place of merit, or even to back it!

The other notice is taken from a letter from Howel to Sir Thomas Hawk,
written the year before Jonson's death:--

"I was invited yesternight to a solemn supper by B. J., where you were
deeply remembered. There was good company, excellent cheer, choice wines,
and jovial welcome. One thing intervened which almost spoiled the relish of
the rest,--that B. began to engross all the discourse, to vapor extremely
by himself, and, by vilifying others, to magnify his own Muse. For my part,
I am content to dispense with the Roman infirmity of Ben, now that time has
snowed upon his pericranium."

But this snow of time, however it may have begun to cover up the solider
qualities of his mind, seems to have left untouched his strictly poetic
faculty. That shone out in his last hours, with more than usual splendor,
in the beautiful pastoral drama of "The Sad Shepherd"; and it may be
doubted if, in his whole works, any other passage can be found so exquisite
in sentiment, fancy, and expression as the opening lines of this charming
product of his old age:--

    "Here she was wont to go! and here! and here!
    Just where those daisies, pinks, and violets grow:
    The world may find the Spring by following her;
    For other print her airy steps ne'er left:
    Her treading would not bend a blade of grass,
    Or shake the downy blow-ball from his stalk!
    But like the soft west-wind she shot along,
    And where she went the flowers took thickest root,
    As she had sowed them with her odorous foot!"

Before he completed "The Sad Shepherd," he was struck with mortal illness;
and the brave old man prepared to meet his last enemy, and, if possible,
convert him into a friend. As early as 1606 he had returned to the English
Church, after having been for twelve years a Romanist; and his penitent
death-bed was attended by the Bishop of Winchester. He died in August,
1637, in his sixty-fourth year, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The
inscription on the common pavement stone which was laid over his grave
still expresses, after a lapse of two hundred years, the feelings of all
readers of the English race,--


It must be admitted, however, that this epithet is sufficiently indefinite
to admit widely differing estimates of the value of his works. In a
critical view, the most obvious characteristic of his mind is its bulk; but
its creativeness bears no proportion to its massiveness. His faculties,
ranged according to their relative strength, would fall into this
rank:--first, BEN; next, understanding; next, memory; next, humor; next,
fancy; and last and least, imagination. Thus, in the strictly poetic action
of his mind, his fancy and imagination being subordinated to his other
faculties, and not co-ordinated with them, his whole nature is not kindled,
and his best masques and sweetest lyrics give no idea of the general
largeness of the man. In them the burly giant becomes gracefully _petite_;
it is Fletcher's Omphale "smiling the club" out of the hand of Hercules,
and making him, for the time, "spin her smocks." Now the greatest poetical
creations of Shakespeare are those in which he is greatest in reason, and
greatest in passion, and greatest in knowledge, as well as greatest in
imagination,--his poetic power being

    "Like to the fabled Cytherea's zone,
    Binding all things with beauty."

His mind is "one entire and perfect chrysolite," while Jonson's rather
suggests the pudding-stone. The poet _in_ Ben, being thus but a
comparatively small portion _of_ Ben, works by effort, rather than
efficiency, and leaves the impression of ingenuity rather than
inventiveness. But in his tragedies of "Sejanus" and "Catiline," and
especially in his three great comedies of "The Fox," "The Alchymist," and
"The Silent Woman," the whole man is thrust forward, with his towering
individuality, his massive understanding, his wide knowledge of the baser
side of life, his relentless scorn of weakness and wickedness, his vivid
memory of facts and ideas derived from books. They seem written with his
fist. But, though they convey a powerful impression of his collective
ability, they do not convey a poetic impression, and hardly an agreeable
one. His greatest characters, as might be expected, are not heroes or
martyrs, but cheats or dupes. His most magnificent cheat is Volpone, in
"The Fox"; his most magnificent dupe is Sir Epicure Mammon, in "The
Alchymist"; but in their most gorgeous mental rioting in imaginary objects
or sense, the effect is produced by a dogged accumulation of successive
images, which are linked by no train of strictly imaginative association,
and are not fused into unity of purpose by the fire of passion-penetrated

Indeed, it is a curious psychological study to watch the laborious process
by which Jonson drags his thoughts and fancies from the reluctant and
resisting soil of his mind, and then lays them, one after the other, with a
deep-drawn breath, on his page. Each is forced into form by main strength,
as we sometimes see a pillar of granite wearily drawn through the street by
a score of straining oxen. Take, for example, Sir Epicure Mammon's detail
of the luxuries he will revel in when his possession of the philosopher's
stone shall have given him boundless wealth. The first cup of Canary and
the first tug of invention bring up this enormous piece of humor:--

                      "My flatterers
    Shall be the pure and gravest of divines
    That I can get for money."

Then another wrench of the mind, and, it is to be feared, another inlet of
the liquid, and we have this:--

    "My meat shall all come in in Indian shells,
    Dishes of agate, set in gold, and studded
    With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies."

Glue that on, and now for another tug:--

                              "My shirts
    I 'll have of taffeta-sarsnet, soft and light
    As cobwebs; and for all my other raiment,
    It shall be such as might provoke the Persian,
    Were he to teach the world riot anew."

And then, a little heated, his imagination is stung into action, and this
refinement of sensation flashes out:--

    "My gloves of fishes' and birds' skins perfumed
    _With gums of Paradise and Eastern air_."

And now we have an extravagance jerked violently out from his logical

    "I will have all my beds blown up, not stuffed;
    Down is too hard."

But all this patient accumulation of particulars, each costing a mighty
effort of memory or analogy, produces no cumulative effect. Certainly, the
word "strains," as employed to designate the effusions of poetry, has a
peculiar significance as applied to Jonson's verse. No hewer of wood or
drawer of water ever earned his daily wages by a more conscientious putting
forth of daily labor. Critics--and among the critics Ben is the most
clamorous--call upon us to admire and praise the construction of his
plays. But his plots, admirable of their kind, are still but elaborate
contrivances of the understanding, all distinctly thought out beforehand by
the method of logic, not the method of imagination; regular in external
form, but animated by no living internal principle; artful, but not
artistic; ingenious schemes, not organic growths; and conveying the same
kind of pleasure we experience in inspecting other mechanical contrivances.
His method is neither the method of nature nor the method of art, but the
method of artifice. A drama of Shakespeare may be compared to an oak; a
drama by Jonson, to a cunningly fashioned box, made of oak-wood, with some
living plants growing in it. Jonson is big; Shakespeare is great.

Still we say, "O rare Ben Jonson!" A large, rude, clumsy, English force,
irritable, egotistic, dogmatic, and quarrelsome, but brave, generous, and
placable; with no taint of a malignant vice in his boisterous foibles; with
a good deal of the bulldog in him, but nothing of the spaniel, and one
whose growl was ever worse than his bite;--he, the bricklayer's apprentice,
fighting his way to eminence through the roughest obstacles, capable of
wrath, but incapable of falsehood, willing to boast, but scorning to creep,
still sturdily keeps his hard-won position among the Elizabethan worthies
as poet, playwright, scholar, man of letters, man of muscle and brawn; as
friend of Beaumont and Fletcher and Chapman and Bacon and Shakespeare; and
as ever ready, in all places and at all times, to assert the manhood of Ben
by tongue and pen and sword.


I hold society responsible for a great deal.

I wondered once where all the disconsolate came from,--where all the human
wrecks tossed up by the waves of misfortune received their injuries, and
what became of those who sailed from port in early youth and were never
heard of more. I marvelled, too, that there were so many unhappy bachelors,
so many forlorn maids, so many neither wife nor maid; but at all these
things I wonder no longer. I have solved the problem I set myself. Society
makes them all.

I am not going to analyze society to please any one. I make mine own.
Hyacinth, I dare swear, makes his. Why shall I paint it? It is you, it is
I, it is both of us, and many more. Can I sketch the figures in a
kaleidoscope ere they change? If I could, I might say what society is or
was. To-day members of circles marry, or are given in marriage. Disease
comes and war decimates; foul tongues asperse, and the unity that was
perfect is so no longer. The whole world is society, and I believe there
was not so much confusion at the Tower of Babel after all. Men speak in
different tongues, but their motives are the same in all climes.

I love or I hate my Celtic friend. The sea rolls between us, but from afar
the same sun warms us. If he does a good deed, I shall applaud it; or, if
he is mean, shall I not smite him? The world looks on, and puts us all to
the test alike. We love or we hate.

Are there no Procrustean couches in these days? If my neighbor is too
short, what shall I do but stretch him? if he is too long, I am the one who
shall hack off his superfluous inches.

Ah! believe me, sceptic, there is a mote in thine eye, but in mine there is
no beam. It is I who am immaculate. "The king can do no wrong." I am a
king unto myself; but, whether king or commoner, how lenient I am to my own
faults,--how intensely alive to my neighbor's!

If Kubla Khan decide to build his pleasure dome,--nay, if he but hint at
it,--I set myself to wonder where he can possibly have obtained the funds.
Not in commerce surely. Not in that vulgar little furnishing-store in which
he has toiled early and late for twenty years. He is doubtless a spy of the
government,--a detective of some kind; and, now that I recall it, he
certainly was away some time during the Rebellion. In short, there are many
ways by which he may have procured this money dishonestly. Rather than
believe my neighbor quite honest and beyond reproach, I discuss the topic
of his supposed fall from virtue with our mutual neighbors, until at last I
bring them to the conclusion I have long ago arrived at, which is, if the
truth were known, that Kubla Khan is no better than the law compels him to

I do this, of course, solely from a regard for virtue, from a sense of
duty. The times, I say in my discussions, are such that one must know his
associates thoroughly; and so I believe, or profess to believe, K. K. to be
a rogue rather than an honest, upright man.

I have a right to my opinion, have I not? Most unquestionably. While this
tongue and beard can wag, I will assert the privilege of free speech. But
have I a right to traduce my neighbor? What business is it of mine if he
has money, and sees fit to build a house with it? Am I his banker, that I
give heed to his concerns? Why cannot I look on with delight, and even help
select the site of the future edifice? All of his previous life has been
blameless and without reproach; but now I suddenly discover that my
neighbor is not trustworthy. Is this charity?

Perhaps I do not touch upon Kubla Khan and his prospective chateau at all.
My neighbors in the house adjoining engross my attention. Come! let us
watch for the butcher and the baker, that we may see what our neighbors'
fare is. I will engage that I can fix to a shilling the amount of their
weekly bills. Such meanness are some people guilty of, that they live upon
a sum that would not keep my boy in tarts. I am certain that our neighbors
take ice but every other day in the summer, and if the milk they buy is not
swill-fed, then I am no judge. The steaks are not porter-house, but
rump-steaks. Last Saturday night I saw Pater-familias bring home a smoked
shoulder,--not a _ham_, because that is much dearer; and--will it be
believed?--the bonnets the girls wear are revamped from those of last year.
Young Threadpaper dances attendance upon them, and I am sure of all low
things a man milliner is the lowest. Two weeks ago Pater-familias rode down
town with me, and I saw upon his shoe an immense patch, while his hat was
so shiny, with frequent caressings from a silk handkerchief, that it seemed
to be varnished and polished.

His clothes are very unfashionable, too. He is invariably a year behind the
style; and how can one respect a person who does not wear garments of the
prevalent cut?

There must be something mysterious about this man. If there is, I am the
one to ferret it out. Let me see. His manner is reticent. From this I
deduce the fact that he has at some time been a convict. All men who have
been incarcerated are just so quiet. I was once in a jail in Massachusetts,
with other persons, and one poor fellow, taking advantage of our presence,
whispered to his neighbor, whereat the jailer swore awfully, and punished
him; but the rest were very quiet, just like my neighbor. It is certainly

He is economical, too. Ah! that follows quite naturally. Remorse has seized
him, and he is now endeavoring to pay off his indebtedness, or do something
else which I cannot fathom just now; thus making his family suffer doubly
for his misdeed.

O, I cry in the pride of my heart, truly "the sins of the fathers are
visited upon the children," and I not only fix the nature of my neighbor's
transgression, but the very jail in which he was incarcerated.

Fool and blind that I am! If I had but a tithe of that intuition I boast, I
might have discerned that my neighbor was one of those rare individuals we
sometimes read of in tracts, but seldom meet in the flesh,--one of those
heroes who fight daily battles with trial, temptation, suffering, and
privation in many shapes, that he may live honorably before men, and leave
a heritage of honor to his children when he goeth to his long home. I might
have seen that this man worked early and late without complaint, that he
might pay debts his dead father incurred for his education, and that the
poor decrepit old lady whom no physician can cure is his mother. She costs
him a pretty penny for her support, I warrant me, and accuses him in her
dotage with harboring a desire to get rid of her. What wonder if he is
reticent to the world? Look in his eye. It is the eye of an honest man.
Take his hand. 'T is a true palm, and many a beggar shall be refused at
Dives's door, but not at his.

But he is poor; he looks downcast. Come, let us beslime him with the breath
of suspicion. Let us gossip about him. Let us look askance at him, and
direct our children to avoid his,--when they play their little hour, to run
swiftly past that wretched abode of silence.

Silence! said I. Ah! that is a queer silence which reigns in my neighbor's
dwelling. When he comes to his family there are shouts and laughter, and
rosy-mouthed roisterers stand ready to pillage the plethoric pockets laden
to the flaps with bananas and oranges he has starved himself to procure. I
do not hear that he discusses his neighbor's affairs, or that he distils
into his oolong one drop of bitter scandal by way of flavor. Nay, I am
certain that I might lose five hundred dollars per diem, and the world
would be none the wiser through him.

So much for externals.

How sharply we see things which have no existence! How quickly we discern
faults in our neighbors, but how slow we are to find out our own!

Now I look at it, there is a grievous rent in my neighbor's doublet; but
look at mine own. How it fits! Is it not immaculate? I have a suit of
character in which I am triply armed,--a coat of mail of reputation which I
defy slander to pierce. The man who wrote

    "He that is down need fear no fall,
    He that is up no pride,
    He that is humble ever shall
    Have God to be his guide,"

knew nothing about human nature. I fancy I could teach that genius a thing
or two. The springs of human action are not concealed to me. Ah, no! I see
them all, in my own conceit, and no mean motive of other people escapes me.

But how shall my neighbor fare at my hands in argument? Well, I trust, if
he agree with me. That is, provided he sees things as I do. If he sees the
shield to be gold, and I see it so also, what sagacity he has! what
judgment! "A man of fine talents," I say to my son. "See that you emulate
him. Mark how quickly he grasps the same points that I did,--with what nice
discrimination he avoids irrelevant matters, and treats only the main
idea." Next to myself, I say in my heart, there is no one but my neighbor
who could have solved this riddle so quickly.

But let him dare to disagree with me,--let him say the shield is gold when
I say it is silver, or brass if I like,--and what depth of stultification
is too deep for him,--what pit of error too dark for him to stumble in? He
is a sophisticator, a casuist; he chases every paltry side-issue until his
brains are so muddled that he cannot tell what he does think; he is a mole,
an owl, a bat; he is a blockhead, to boot.

What! differ from _me_?--the idiot! I say the shield _is_ silver; how can
it be gold? Is it not white? doth it not glisten? hath it not lustre? what
else can it be?

My neighbor suggests sportively that it is tin; whereupon I impugn my
neighbor's good-sense; and that is a logical conclusion of the controversy.
It does not occur to me that a man may differ in opinion from his fellows,
and yet not be a convicted felon or a disturber of the peace. His views are
his; foolish, perhaps, from my standpoint; yet, because he is not so wise
as I, is he any the less entitled to courtesy, to consideration and
charity,--is he the less a fond father, a patriot, or an honorable man? Why
insist that of all the world I am sagest and always right?

Why shall I break the images men set up? Iconoclast that I am, reflection
would show me what long years ago my copy-book told me, _Humanum est
errare_,--and that violence, intolerance, and discourtesy are poor weapons
to fight prejudice and bigotry with. Come! let us throw them aside
hereafter; let none be persecuted or derided in social circles for their
opinions' sake. There are more forcible arguments than vituperation and
personality, and if we cannot convince, let us be content.

The world is made for all. When my Uncle Toby took the fly and let him out,
he did as men should to others who differ in opinion. Go! I say to the
sceptic, the world is wide enough for thee and me.

At the commencement of this paper, I said it was no mystery where the
disconsolate came from,--society made them; and I reassert it as my
conviction that the supply is far ahead of the demand. I say too many in
society are hollow and false, and not true to themselves, nor to the
instinct planted in every human breast.

By word or deed I convey to my _vis-à-vis_ in the crowded _salon_ my
opinion that our host's daughter is a failure; the money spent upon her
education is thrown away. She has no air, no manner, no tone. My
_vis-à-vis_ understands me, and, taking her cue, goes to the cherished of
her heart, and straightway repeats the slander, and we smile and smile and
are villains.

"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, saith the Preacher," and I say after
him, Is there nothing but nettles in the world's garden,--nothing but
noxious weeds? Have we no traits and sentiments which are lofty and
ennobling? Why cannot we see these and talk about them? But whoever went to
a party where the guests talked of virtue?

Here is Straitlace. His wife is in the country; he will therefore bear
watching. Come! let us invent and suppose, let us pry and peek. Ah, ha! I
see a letter,--a _billet-doux_, a delicately scented one, and he is so
close to me in the cars that, by the merest accident I assure you, I am
able to read the beginning,--"Dearest of my soul."

There, that is quite enough. Dearest of her soul, indeed! Do wives begin
letters in that way? Not many. Shocking! Dreadful! And then my comrades and
I roll the sweet morsel under our tongues, when, after all, the model
husband was only reading his model wife's letter.

Or look at this phase of uncharitableness. What a happy faculty my
countrymen have for finding out each other's business. I move into some
country village, where a small but select community meet and agitate
various topics for the moral regeneration of all. I am from the city, and
therefore have some ways easily noticed. I am unquestionably "stuck up,"
and am hardly settled in my place before a tea-party is held, not to do me
honor, but to sit in inquest upon me and my family.

Are our virtues discussed at the inquest? Have we any good qualities? Are
we not almost outcasts? How we drawl our words, for example. We wear white
skirts, when balmorals are good enough for most folks. We starve our
children, too, because they get only bread and milk for tea, and no pies
or cakes. In short, how very far below our neighbors we are in social

Go to, ye shallow dissemblers, retailers of scandal, disturbers of the
peace! Leave _us_ in peace, and possess your souls in patience. We are
human, and frail even as you are. We have faults and virtues. Why not
extend the hand of friendship to us? Why not be courteous, instead of
making us detest your presence,--instead of souring our tempers, and making
us feel as though every one's hand was against us?

There is that Abigail, whom I have often seen lounging at the next door
below. She snuffeth scandal from afar. She heareth the whisperings and
innuendoes of them that traffic in reputations, and she loseth little time
ere she adorns the secret meetings of the conspirators with her presence.
Away with her to the scaffold! she is chiefest among the malefactors. Offer
her up a sacrifice to charity, and let none say nay!

Suppose I stand by when the tale-bearer begins his monotonous song, what am
I to lose by keeping silent, as he tears my neighbor to pieces?

There were two maidens, saith the fable, one of whom was lovely to look
upon, while the other was plain; but when the former spake, toads and
serpents fell from her lips, while from the unlovely lips came diamonds and
pearls. I know which I should have wooed, and I hope won, for I value more
a quiet life than false lips and a tongue that speaketh lies.

"Speech is silvern, but silence is golden." I shall be silent when the
detractor begins his tale.

    "Teach me to hide the faults I see,
    And feel for others' woe,"

saith the poet, and, though he may be accused of uttering a platitude, I
subscribe to it. I am willing to forgive and forget, instead of enlarging
upon all the flaws, all the weaknesses, of human nature. I shall not
thunder on the roof of some hapless wretch who has stumbled, fallen by the
wayside, and cry, "Come out! come out! thou villain, and do penance for
thy sin." I will rather give him my hand and help him arise. I will set him
up again, and I will back him against all takers that he never slips again.

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin," saith another poet; but he
meant good, not bad nature, for he knew full well how to set communities by
the ears with his sharp sayings.

To-day it is the sister against her brother, the son against his father,
and the world is so full of evil, if we might believe the scandal-mongers,
that no good will ever exist again in it.

"Let those who dance pay the piper," says Worldly-mindedness, and he
chuckles as he says it for a sharp thing. But there are some who like
dancing that have not the wherewithal, and to those I offer my purse. If a
man fall down, I am not going to jump upon his back and jeer him. He has
danced, and cannot pay now; but what of that? Some day he will.

Here is one hand and one heart that shall never betray. Come to me, ye
scandal-torn and society-ridden. Come to me, ye whom venomous tongues have
harried, and ye whose characters hang in shreds about you, come also. Ye
have faults, and so have I. Somewhere ye have good traits, and these are
what I respect.

Let us defy the "they-says," and as for those whose shibboleth is, "I have
it upon good authority," we will give them the go-by.

We will laugh to see the tribulation of them that sit in council, and hold
foul revelry over their neighbors' shortcomings; they shall read of our
resolutions, and there shall be no comfort in the cup of tea any more which
Tabbies sip delectably, while they tear Miss Bright-eyes to pieces. There
shall lurk a maggot in the shreds of dried beef which these modern ghouls
rend, as they rend my fair name; and may the biscuits be as heavy upon
their stomachs as tale-bearing shall one day be upon their consciences.

_Thou shalt not bear false witness._

If I am unlike you, gentle reader, guiltless of this crying sin, I know you
will not condemn me, will not decry me, make little of me, or seek to
poison men's minds against me. You will have that charity for me which is
not puffed up; and where I err, or you are ignorant of my motive, hold your

To-day there are dear ones in exile, or in the bonds of sin, for this very
practice. There are lives hopelessly lost to virtue, and others imbittered
forever. Families are separated, and high hopes and aspirations crushed,
while the fountains of affection which should be filled to the brim afford
only a trickling stream, or, worse still, foul lees which never will
subside. There are shadows in many homes, and empty chairs that never will
be filled. The child on the floor misses its playfellow, the wife her
husband, the mother her son, the betrothed her lover, and still the
tale-bearers go upon their rounds, and their feet never, never rest.



There lived a few years ago in one of the small seaport towns of New
England a solitary, friendless man, of the name of John Chidlaw,--a
gray-headed, stoop-shouldered, hollow-chested person of about fifty years
of age at the time our story begins. He was sober, steady, and industrious,
and always had been so since his first appearance in the place, but somehow
he never got ahead. He was thriftless, people used to say, and they got in
the habit of calling him "Johnny," and then "Old Johnny," until nobody
called him anything else, unless it were here and there some poor child or
sympathetic woman, who said "Uncle Johnny," with that sort of gentle
kindness that is never bestowed on the prosperous.

He did not resent anything, even pity, but took his hard fortune as a
matter of course, and the heavier the burden, why, the more he bent his
shoulders, but he did not complain. Nobody had ever asked his history,--the
history of a man who has patches at his knees, and whose elbows are out, is
not, by those more fortunate persons who have no patches at their knees,
and whose elbows are not out, generally supposed to be of an interesting
character. John Chidlaw was, therefore, never bothered with questions.

Could he lift a heavy log? Could he tend a saw-mill? Could he drive a team,
or carry a hod of bricks? These, and the like, were the questions that were
asked him mostly; and as he could say yes to any and all of these, and as
people did not require him to say more, he seldom did say more, but lifted
the log, or drove the team, as the case might be, in silence.

He looked a good deal older than he was,--not that his head was so gray,
and not that his shoulders bent so much, but the rather that there was an
utter absence of buoyancy, an indurated and inflexible style and expression
about the whole man, as if, in fact, he had been born old. You could not
think of him as having ever been a boy, with cherry cheeks, and laughing
eyes, and steps that were careless and fleet as the wind, but he had had
his boyhood and his boyhood's dream, as will appear by and by.

It had happened to him at one time that a saw had gone into his hand, and
left a jagged and ugly scar across the back; another time it had happened
that his horse had run away, upsetting his cart, and breaking one of his
legs, so that he limped thereafter, and was disabled from some of the
harder kinds of work he had been used to do. He had been dismissed by one
and another, in consequence of his inability to make a full day's work, and
was sitting one day on a pile of bricks in the outer edge of the town where
he lived, quite down-hearted, and chewing, not the cud of sweet and bitter
fancies, but, instead thereof, a bit of pine stick, which he held partly in
and partly out of his mouth.

His eyes looked solemnly out from under his gray eyebrows as now and then a
whistling teamster drove by, throwing a whole cloud of hot, suffocating
dust over him. Sometimes a pedler, or some stroller with a monkey on his
shoulder and an organ on his back, would nod to him as he passed; but the
pedler did not think of exhibiting his wares, nor the organman of grinding
out a tune, or of setting his monkey to playing tricks, for the like of old
Johnny. The sun was growing large toward the setting, and nothing had
turned up, when all at once there was a wild whirl of wheels, and a crying
and shouting and holding up of hands by all the men and boys along the
road. A horse was running away. On he came, galloping furiously, while the
old heavy-topped buggy to which he was attached rattled and creaked and
swayed from side to side frightfully,--frightfully, because it was in
imminent danger of being crushed all to pieces; and sitting still and
solemnly upright, swaying with the buggy, and in imminent danger of being
crushed to pieces too, was a child,--a beautiful little girl, with a cloud
of yellow curls rippling down her bare shoulders. Her white dress fluttered
in the wind, and her hat was swimming on the pond half a mile in the rear;
but still she sat, sober and quiet as though she had been on her mother's
knees, and not so much as puckering her pretty lip for all the tumult and

A dozen men were in the road, some with rails in their arms, with which
they no doubt intended to intercept the mad creature; but the best
intentions fail sometimes, and the men with rails in their arms threw them
down, and got themselves out of the way, as soon as the danger came near

John Chidlaw went into the road among the rest, but without a rail in his
arms. He did not, however, get himself out of the way,--not he. He threw
himself with might and main upon the neck of the frightened beast, and
there he held, and was dragged along,--half the time, as it seemed, under
his very feet.

"That's you, Johnny!" "Go it!" "Good for you!" were the cheers and calls of
encouragement that followed him. The horse was valuable, and he was in
danger of breaking his neck; and what matter about John Chidlaw! He had no

He required not to be thus stimulated, if they had but known it: he had
been stimulated sufficiently already, by the tossing hair and fair face of
the little girl, to peril his life, and he was not the man to look back
when he had his hand to the plough.

The blood besmeared his face, and streamed down his neck, and wet his
shirt-bosom and sleeves, and still the voices cried, "Hold on, Johnny!"
They thought he was being battered to death, though the blood was from the
mouth of the horse, for the entire weight of the man was being dragged by
the bit.

At the toll-gate an old woman ran out with a broom,--she could have shut
the gate, but did not,--and when Johnny had stopped the horse, which he did
a little farther on, she told him that but for his being in the way she
could have stopped the beast at once, and that, if he was as badly battered
as he seemed, she would be at the pains of getting the poor-house cart, and
seeing that he was carted away! The old carriage was surrounded in a few
minutes, and the child lifted out, and kissed and coaxed, and petted and
praised, and fed with candies and cakes, and handed from the arms of one to
another; and the feet and legs of the horse were carefully examined, and he
was dashed with cool water, and combed and rubbed, and petted and patted,
and given a variety of either grand or endearing names; but nobody looked
after Johnny, and the only kindness shown him was that of the old woman
with the broom.

But even Fortune tires of frowning at last, and the time of her relenting
toward John Chidlaw was at hand.

He was washing the blood from his face in a wayside puddle, when the man
who owned the horse and buggy came breathlessly up. "My good friend," he
said, slapping him on the shoulder, "you have saved my child's life!" And
then his hand slipped from shoulder to waist, and he positively hugged the
astonished Johnny, who was almost awe-struck at first, for the hugger was
well to do, and he that was hugged was exceeding poor, as the reader knows.

"My name," he said, introducing himself, "is Hilton, David Hilton, and I
keep the ferry at the lower end of the town; should n't wonder if I could
put business in your way! You can turn your hand to a'most anything, I
reckon,--a man of your build mostly can."

A fortnight later, and John Chidlaw was the master of a little black
sailboat not much bigger than a canoe, and his business was to carry
butchers' meat, bread, poultry, and vegetables from the market-town in
which he lived to the great hotels situated on the hills above the opposite
shore. His boat had, therefore, in his eyes, somewhat the dignity of a
merchantman; and as he was entitled to a part of the profits of the trade
he carried on, he was at once a proud and a happy man. He had christened
his boat "The Rose Rollins," and kept her as neat and trim as she could be.
He wore a sailor's jacket, from professional pride, and used all the
nautical phrases he could muster. His shoulders got the better of their
stoop, and his chest of its hollowness, in a wonderfully short time; and
one day, when he was asked about the scar on his hand, he answered that he
had been bitten by a whale when he was a young man at sea. It will be
perceived that he was gaining confidence, and growing in worldly wisdom.
The questioner was a very timid person, but she said she guessed she could
trust herself with an old sailor like that, and at once went aboard. She
was a milliner, laden with boxes for the ladies in the opposite hotels, and
was the first female passenger the master of the Rose had had;--for his
legitimate trade was merchandise, and not the transportation of men and
women; but occasionally, as his confidence grew, he had taken a passenger
or two across the ferry, on his own hook, as he phrased it.

"I took such a wiolent fancy to the name o' your wessel," says the
milliner, "and that is how I come to take passage with you. Ain't she a
nice little thing, though?"

"Trim as a gal o' sixteen!" says John. "But had n't you better unlade
yourself o' your merchandise, and fix to enjoy the sail some?"--and he
began taking the boxes from her lap.

"O sir, you 're wery good!" says the milliner, quite blushing. And then she
adjusted her skirts, and flirted them about as she adjusted them, and then
she untied her bonnet-strings and knotted them up again, for nothing in the
world but the pleasure of tying knots in ribbon apparently; but John
Chidlaw thought he had never in his life seen such a graceful and
enchanting performance. He brought his jacket directly, and offered to
spread it over the board on which she was sitting.

"Oh, you 're wery good, wery good, I am sure, sir,--but I 'm a-givin' you
too much trouble!"--and, saying so, she partly rose and allowed the seat to
be cushioned as proposed. The wind caught the bright ribbons, and fluttered
them in the man's face as he was thus employed.

"Oh!" says the milliner, with a little start; and then she says, "The nasty
winds have such a wulgar way of catchin' up a body's things"; and she pulls
back the innocent strings and holds them against her bosom by main force.

"Pray, miss, don't haul 'em round that way on my account; they did n't hurt
me none! Why, I thought 't was a butterfly at fust, and then I thought 't
was a hummin'-bird, and them was allers pleasin' things to me, both on

The woman was flattered. In the first place she was not young,--not much
younger than he, in fact,--and he had addressed her as "miss"; and in the
next place his comparing her ribbons to butterflies and humming-birds
seemed the same as a personal compliment.

"O Captain!" she says, coloring up, "did you think so, werily?"--and then
she changes the subject, and talks about the appearance of the clouds, and
the prospect of rain. "I suppose you old sailors can tell, purty much," she
says, "whether it 's a-goin' to rain, or whether the clouds will ewaporate
into mist; and I should really walue your judgment, for if my things
should git wet, you see, it would cost me a wery considerable sum!"

"I'll just take an obserwation!" says John; and he set his foot on a
bread-basket, and cocked up one eye. He had never given the sound of _w_ to
his _v_ before, but he had noticed that his fair passenger did so, and he
adopted the pronunciation, partly in gallantry, partly because it struck
him as elegant. While he was taking the observation, a bright thought came
to him. "I guess we shall have foul weather afore long," says he. "When the
clouds hev sich disjinted shapes as they hev this mornin', it 's generally
portentous; but I can knock up a canvas kiver in a minute, and if it still
looks like fur rain when we go into port, why, I would adwise you just to
stay aboard,--it sha'n't cost you a cent more, not if you make a dozen

"I 'm sure I 'm wery much obliged, Captain, and I 'll take your adwice when
we come to port, and if the weather still looks wacillating, I won't wenter
ashore. It would n't be worth while to risk my goods,--some of 'em welwets,
too, of great walue!"

"The keepin' on 'em aboard sha'n't cost you nothin'," says John, "if that
'll be any object to you."

He wished to convey the idea, that, to a person of her fabulous wealth,
dealing in velvets and the like, a fare more or less could not possibly be
an object, and at the same time to show a magnanimous disposition on his
own part.

"Money is money," says the milliner, "there is no denying of that; and it
has its adwantages, on account o' which I set a certain walue upon it; but
just for its own sake I can't say that I do walue it,--not over and above!"

"I hev n't hed no great on 't," says John, "but I 've hed enough, sense I
've come into business, to know that if I hed to keep it a-chinkin' into my
pocket I should n't value it much."

Then he corrected himself, and said _walue_.

"I 'll tell you how money is waluable to me," says the milliner, "if I may
wenter so far?"

"Most certainly!" exclaimed John. "You could n't venter nothin' that would
n't be to your credit,--I 'll vouch a fippenny bit on that!"

Then he repeated himself, substituting _wenter_, and _wouch_, in the places
of the words previously used.

"Dear me! I should become wain o' myself if I thought your compliment was
walid," says the milliner, dropping her eyes; but the next moment she gives
her bonnet-strings a little flirt, and goes on in the sprightliest way
about a hundred trifles,--one of which had no connection with another.

"You 've forgot what you sot out on!" says John, interrupting her at last;
"and you kerried me away so, I was a-forgittin' on 't too. Howsever, it 's
no odds, as I know on,--you make whatever you touch so interestin'!"

"O Captain! how you do warnish me up! I shall certainly wacate the premises
when we come to port, if you don't stop sich things!--that is, if there's a
single westige o' clear sky. But we were talking of the walue of money, was
n't we?" She cast down her eyes again, and spoke with a sweet seriousness.
"I walue money," she says, "when I see I can make another happy with it."
And then she says her lot in life has been a wery lonely and sad
one,--wersatile, but on the whole lonely, sometimes to the wery werge of

"You don't say?" says John. "I certainly should n't 'a' thought it
possible! Why, you don't mean to say you 've allers been alone in the

Then she tells him how she thought she fell in love, at seventeen, with a
green-grocer that turned out to be a miserable wagabond, inwesting all her
earnings in whiskey and rum, and drinking them himself.

"The villain!" cried John;--and then, finding that he had not done justice
to his feelings, he repeated, with great stress of indignation, "The
willain! the black-hearted willain! But he never dared to lay
violent--wiolent, I mean--hands onto you!"

"Dear me, how my heart wibrates!" says the woman,--"not so much with the
memory of what I have suffered as that--that anybody should manifest such
a--such a wery kind feeling toward me now!"

"How anybody that seen you should 'a' helpt from doin' on 't," says the
boatman, "is awful curus to me!"

"Law mercy, how selfish I am, never offering you a seat all this while!"
says the artful woman. And she hitched along, and smoothed out the jacket.

"Well, whatever your trouble 's been," says John, "I hope your red on 't!"

It was an ingenious method of saying he hoped the vagabond was out of the

He turned toward her as he spoke, and the wind once more fluttered the gay
ribbons in his face. She lifted her hand to draw them back. "Don't you be
a-mindin' on 'em," says John; "they're just as sweet as rose-leaves, and I
like to hev em a-blowin' over me so."

You may smile, reader, if you will, but you would not smile if you had seen
the soul yearning in the eyes of the man, if you had heard the pleading in
the sad sincerity of his tone. He was fifty years old now, and I dare say a
woman's ribbon had never touched him till then. He was wrinkled and gray,
and old to look upon, but his heart in its tender sentiment was as fresh
and young as a boy's.

So, with the ribbons fluttering on his cheek, and his boat drifting as it
would, John Chidlaw listened to the story of the woman's life, and as
Desdemona loved the Moor for the dangers he had passed, so he loved her for
the sorrows she had borne.

"Yes, Captain," she says, "my troubles is over now, pretty much. I've been
a widder this ten year,"--(he hitched a little closer,)--"I 've been a
widder, and I 've had peace o' mind, and I 've laid up money; but, law me
when a body has nobody to lay up for, what 's the use?"

"Sure enough, what is the use on 't?" says John.

"Why, it's no use," she answers; "it's wanity and wexation! that's what it

"Wanity and wexation!" he repeats.

And then she says, if anybody had ever showed a warm heart toward her, she
'd 'a' been a different woman to what she is.

"A different woman!" says John. "How different to what you be?" He could
not conceive of the possibility of a difference for the better.

"Why, I would 'a' been ten year younger and ten year smarter," says the
widow, "and then may be somebody might 'a' took a notion to me! Who knows?
We women never cease to hope, you know!"

"And hev n't they, as 't is?" says John, eagerly bending toward her.

"What a saucy Captain you are, to ask me such questions!"--and she put him
gently back with her white hand. "But here we are almost ashore!"--and she
began gathering up her band-boxes and paper parcels with great energy.

"I thought you said you was a-goin' to take my advice?" says John, with a
soft reproach in his voice.

"Did I? O, then I will!" she answers, with the most innocent air possible,
and leaning quite across his knee to replace one of her boxes. "What is
your adwice, now? But you must bear in mind the walue of the welwets. I 've
one bonnet in the lot, of a wermilion color, that's worth a wast deal; and
you know welwet, when it 's once wet, looks just like a drownded cat. No
dressing can make anything of it. Some ladies wears it, but _my_ ladies
does n't."

"I never knew clouds look like them," says John, "when it did n't pour;
and, if you take my adwice, you 'll stay just where you be."

"I 'll take your adwice," says the widow, touching his hand lightly with
her soft fingers, and smiling upon him with that unpremeditated coquetry
that always makes a woman charming. It was especially charming to this
man, for no woman had ever smiled upon him like that; and then to think
she had asked and accepted his advice, withal! It was enough to turn his
head, and it did.

"I'll take your adwice, Captain," she says, "and keep the welwets dry, for
it would cost a pretty penny to replace that wermilion, to be sure! I shall
lose some time by it; and time is money. But what 's money but wanity and
wexation, when nobody has a warm heart toward us?"

John Chidlaw sighed a long, long sigh, and then he turned his boat about
and they sailed back again. By and by, as if to push him toward his fate,
there flashed down a few big drops of rain. The sun was shining all the
while, but he bestirred himself, and worked with a will, and the widow lent
her little hindering help, and directly the canvas was spread and securely
drawn down, and they were sitting beneath it, side by side, cosey as could
be. She became more communicative now, and told him in what street she was
born and who her father was.

"What! not ---- Street, of our town here? And your father's name Peter
Rollins, too?"

"Yes, Peter Rollins, coffin-maker, satin-lined and silver-screwed! The wery
tiptop. None but quality come to him. When I was a little girl, I used to
get into 'em, when we played hide and seek. Why, if you believe me, I 've
been into many a hundred-dollar one, and had my head into the satin piller
of it! That's the way I happened to cultiwate a taste for satins and
welwets and the like, I guess."

She did not heed the intimation of her companion that he had known her
father, but went on for half an hour without once stopping to take breath.

"Ah, Captain," she says, "I 've been dethroned in the world! I was born to
riches and a proud position, but I married beneath me, a poor green-grocer
that turned out a wagabond; and in my trials with him, I lost all my good
looks; for I may say, without wanity, that I was good-looking in my
girlish days, and lost all my wiwacity, and come to be the sober, staid
old woman you see me."

"Old woman, to be sure!" says John. "Why, nobody would think o' callin' you
old. You look a'most like a girl o' sixteen to me!"

"O Captain!" says the widow; and then she says his sight must be failing,
though his eyes do look so uncommon bright; and then she says, with a
little sigh, that she is upwards of forty.

She had observed John's wrinkled face, and her confession was not without
method, though she might have added five to the forty years, if she had
chosen to be very accurate.

"Up'ards o' forty!" says John, charmed alike with her sincerity and her
well-preserved beauty. "Why, I snum, you might marry a man o' twenty-five
any day, if you had a mind."

"Ah, Captain, but I have n't the mind. I want a man--that is, if I ever
wenter to marry agin--who is older than myself,--say from ten to fifteen
year older. I would n't be so wery particular." And then she says to
John,--for a possibility crosses her mind,--"Does your family live

John blushed up to his eyes. "Family!" says he. "I never was so fortinate
as to hev one."

"Not even a wife, to be sure?"

"No, miss." And then he says he never expects to hev one.

"Law, Captain, why? if I may wenter."

"Cause nobody 'd hev me, miss; and to say truth, I never thought on 't much
till sense we 've been a-takin' this voyage"; and he glanced at her slyly,
and touched the ends of her ribbon.

"And what could 'a' put it into your head now, Captain Chidlaw?"

"Can you ask me that in airnest?" says John, still holding the ribbons as
for dear life. "Then I must tell you to just look into the glass, and you
'll see what."

"O Captain, you ought to be ashamed to plague a poor lone woman like me
that way; it 's wery bad of you, wery, and I 've a great mind to box your
ears!" and she put out her little hand to him in a sweetly menacing manner.

John seized the hand and kissed it, and then, frightened at himself, ran to
the other end of the boat and looked hard at the clouds.

"O, come back! come back!" screamed the widow; "the boat 'll upset, with me
at one end and you at the other!"

"Sure enough!" says John, and he went sheepishly back, and again seated
himself by her side.

She gave him a little tap on the ear, and asked him if he would promise
never to run away and frighten her so again.

John said he would promise her anything in the world that was in his power
to grant; and he looked at her with such adoration that the woman overcame
the coquette, or the coquette the woman,--which shall I say?--and she went
as far from the "dangerous edge of things" as possible, and told him
demurely that the only promise she exacted was, that he should listen to
the long and techin' story of her life. It all came back upon her, and she
felt as if she must tell it to somebody. "May be, though, you don't want to
hear it?" says she.

"May be I don't want to hear it! How can you?" says John, edging up. And
she began:--

"I told you, Captain, that I had been dethroned, and I have,--wilely
dethroned, and brought low, by my own woluntary act."

"Dear heart!" says John, "so much the worse, if it was woluntary, so few
pities you."

"Ah, that 's it," says the widow; "nobody pities me,--nobody in the wide
world has got a warm heart toward me." She broke quite down, and the tears
came to her eyes.

"What may your name be?" says John, seizing both her hands and gazing
tenderly in her face.

"Why do you ask? I 'm but a transient wisitor to your boat; you can't have
no interest in me; and, besides, my name is hateful to me."

"But I must call you somethin'!"

"Well, then, inwent a name. My maiden name reminds me of the royal hours
when my father's position gave me rank, and before the wicissitudes of
fortune brought me low; I cannot therefore consent to be called by that;
and my married name is the name of a wagabond, and I despise it. O sir,
inwent a name, for mercy's sake!"

"I 'll inwent it for love's sake," says John, slipping his arm round her
waist, and drawing her close to him; "and I 'll call you my dove, coz you
see you 've got all the timidity and gentleness o' that lovely bird, and
your voice is sweeter than the turtle's, I 'm sure."

"O Captain, my woice is n't a nice woice now-a-days,--my woice went with
the rest of my attractions when I was dethroned. I had a nice woice once.
If we could have met then!"

"My dove!" says John, "whatever your woice hes ben, I would n't hev it no
sweeter than what it is now; it kerries me back to the years that hed hope
in 'em,--the years when I was a boy, and in love."

"Say no more," says the widow; "my heart already tells me that you love
another,"--and she began to pout.

"Lord bless us!" says John; "our boat is aground. I was so took up with
you, Rose, that I did n't see she was driftin' down stream, and here we be,
high and dry, and a storm a-comin' on; but you can't blame me so ha'shly,
my dear Rose, as what I blame myself. Can you forgive me?"

"Forgive you?" cries the widow, reproachfully. "Can you forget that I am an
undertaker's daughter?"

This speech did not convey any very clear meaning to the mind of John
Chidlaw; but he attributed that to his own dulness, and as this struck him
as being very great, somehow or other, though he could not tell how, he
bowed his head in shamefaced silence.

In spite of what he had said about being in love in his youth, the widow
took great courage. He had said "our boat" instead of "my boat," and he
had called her Rose,--her real name,--how should he know that? She could
not tell, but somehow she augured favorably from it; besides, they were
aground, and must wait for the rising of the tide, and in the intervening
time who knew what might be done? She would tell all her story; and its
pathos, she fancied, must subjugate the most obdurate heart.

"Yes," she renewed, "I am, or rather was, an undertaker's daughter, with
the most brilliant prospects before me that ever allured a wile wagabond of
a fortune-hunter, for such he was who stole me from the satin pillers my
young head had played among, and give me a piller of husks, and cold
wittles, and wulgar lodgings."

"The wretch!" cries John. "The wile wretch! if he yet lived, I would wow
myself to wengeance!" And, like Jacob of old, he lifted up his voice and

"Don't take on so," says the widow. "I would not cause you a moment's
sorrow for the world."

"To think any man should have abused the like o' you!" says John. "But
surely he never laid wiolent hands ont' you? I think I shall lose my senses
if you say that."

"Then I won't say it," says the widow, tenderly stroking his hand.

"That touch is wivifying," says John; "so, dear Rose, you may go on and
tell the wust on 't."

Then the widow came to the worst; for after all the trials she had with the
old wagabond, she said, she could have put up with him but for one nasty
habit,--he walked into his sleep! "And now a man that walks into his
sleep," says she, "is a trial and a torment to his wife which there is no
tongue can tell it."

"Ah, to be sure," says John, "you ought to hev been divorced, and to have
recovered big damages into the bargain. To think that the willain dared to
walk into his sleep, and frighten a poor timid dove like you! But the
hearts o' some does seem manufactured o' flints, and his'n was one on 'em,
I guess."

"Yes, as you say wisely, some is flint," says the widow; "but then some is
n't!" And she dropped her eyes, and gave his hand a confiding little
squeeze. And then she says that, once married, diworce is n't got for the
asking,--"you are tied for good and all." And then she says, that brings
her to the p'int.

"To be dethroned was bad enough," says she; "and then to see my royal
dowery conwerted into whiskey, which it was dewoured by him, the same being
took continual; but what was most intolerable of all was that he walked
into his sleep! I tried every way to contrawene the wile habit that could
be inwented. I coaxed and I scolded, and I got up late, and I give him hot
winegar with a little whiskey into it,--he would swaller anything that had
a drop of whiskey into it,--and I prewailed on him to sing psalms, and,
that failing, I prewailed onto him to inwest into a wiolin and play onto
that till late into the midnight, thinking by that means his witality would
be exhausted, and he would lie into his bed like any other man; but lo and
behold! he inwested into the wiolin a-Monday, and a-Monday night he played
till along towards ten o'clock, and I got clean wore out, and, says I, 'Do
leave off playing onto that wiolin,' says I, 'for my head aches like all
possess'; and with that he up and went to bed, and after a while I hears
something fingering the latch, and I riz onto my elbow, and says, in a
whisper, 'Dan'l, there 's a man a-trying to break in, as sure as you 're
alive!' He did n't answer, and thinks says I, the wiolin has done it, and
he is a-sleeping with a wengeance, and then I feels along, and says I,
'Dan'l, Dan'l!' but still no answer; then I felt for the piller, and there
was no head onto it, and I scraped a match, and it went out, and I scraped
another, and it went out, and I scraped another, and a leetle blue flame
just started and flickered, and before I could see what it was a-fumbling
at the door, _it_ went out. Thinks says I, I 'll make sure work now; and I
took two of the nasty things into my hand and scraped so hard I crushed
them all up together, and they flashed out and seared my finger-ends and
burnt a hole into my nightgownd-sleeve, and, seeing I was like to burn up,
I slapped my arm with all my might, and at last I slapped the flame down,
and at last, by persewerance, I slapped it out; and yet I had n't seen a
thing, but I could feel the hole into my nightgownd-sleeve, and my arm all
burnt into a light blister. 'Dan'l!' says I again; but Dan'l did n't
answer, and then I was full sure it was him, and I scraped with a steadier
hand, and the match--it was one of them nasty lucifers, may be you know--"

"Yes, I 've heerd tell on 'em," says John.

And the wretched woman went on: "It was one of them nasty lucifers, and it
choked me so I could not find the candle; and though I could just see a
ghostly object at the door, I could not tell at all whether it was Dan'l or
not, for he never looked like himself when he walked into his sleep; and
the match--they are nothing but splinters, you know--was burning closer and
closer to my fingers, and I just dabs it wiolently into the washbowl, and
puts it out. And then says I, 'Dan'l! Dan'l!' again; and this time he
answers, and says he, 'You wixen,' says he, 'shut up your mouth!'

"There was no mistaking that, and all in the dark I wentered after him, and
grabbed and ketched him by the end of his neck-tie, and hild with all my
might; and at that he began to wociferate at the top of his woice, and,
thinks says I, better than rouse all the neighbors and have them broke o'
their rest, I 'll just let him go and walk into his sleep till he 's
satisfied. I took the key out of the door, and then I tried to find my way
back, for, thinks says I, I 'll retire and take my rest anyhow, and, if you
believe it, I was so turned round I could n't find the piller! So I went
feeling here and there, and every minute I come back to him, and every time
I touched him he wociferated at the top of his woice; and then I 'd say,
'Dan'l, it was n't woluntary!' and then I 'd feel and feel by the chairs
and the wall, and by one thing and another, as a body will when they can't
see, and the first thing I 'd know I 'd be right back to him agin. My
blistered arm, meantime, was a-burning like fire, but, thinks says I, it 's
no use, I can 't find the water-pitcher, I 'm so turned round; and I just
sot down where I was, and there I sot till daylight, blowing all my breath
away onto my arm, and the minute I could see I made for the pitcher; but,
happening to take it by the snout instead of the handle, away it went, and
spilt all the water, and broke the pitcher past all mending,--and a fine
pitcher, too!--one that my own father give me in cholera times, when his
business was at the best."

"I declare," says John Chidlaw, "it 's enough to make a body's blood run
cold!" And then he says he does n't wonder she 's agin matrimony!

Now the widow had said nothing of the sort, and stoutly protested that she
had not, but that, on the contrary, she thought it an adwantage to any
woman to be married, prowided she could find an indiwidual that had a warm
heart toward her; to which John replied that she had found such a one; and
she answered, "How you do go on!" and resumed her story.

"Well, a-Tuesday night he took to the wiolin again, and played and played
and played and played all the old dancing tunes in creation, and I sot by
and never said a word till 'leven o'clock come, and then till twelve
o'clock come, and then till one o'clock come, and then till two o'clock
come, and at last, thinks says I, my brain will go wild, and says I,
'Dan'l, I ain't a bit sleepy, but I do feel some as if I could go to sleep
if you 'd just keep on a-playing; I 've got kind o' used to it, and I don't
believe I can go to sleep without it.' With this he flung the wiolin into
the cradle,--my father had presented me with a cradle that he had made out
of some boards that had been used once and rejected on account of knots,
but just as good, you know,--and then he flounced into bed, and he never
walked into his sleep that night!"

"You cunnin' little thing!" cries John, overcome with her smartness, and
hugging her close. "Who but you would ever 'a' thought on 't? Such a sleek

"Well, a-Wednesday night he would n't touch his wiolin, and that night, or
rather along towards morning, he walked into his sleep, and a-Thursday
night he would n't play a stroke agin; in wain I put the wiolin into his
sight; and that night he just dewoted himself to walking,--making himself
wisible to the neighbors, even. So thinks says I, this won't do; and
a-Friday night, says I, I says to him, says I, 'I hate the old wiolin,'
says I; 'and I 've a good notion to burn it up!'

"'You just wenter!' says he, and he takes it up and slants it agin his
shoulder, and turns his head kind a sideways, all the time a-keeping his
eye onto me, and he seesaws and seesaws till I falls asleep into my chair,
and then he seesaws and seesaws till I wakes and rubs my eyes, and still
his head is kind a sideways, and his wiolin agin his shoulder, aslant like,
just as if he had n't moved; and then I pertends to sleep, and I pertends
and pertends and pertends, and at last pertence is clear wore out, and I
wakes up like, and I says, says I, 'Dan'l, it must be a'most ten o'clock,
ain't it?'--I knew it was daylight. And all at once his wisage changed, and
the wiolin fairly dropt from his shoulder, and he hild up his head that had
been kind a sideways all that while, and went to bed peaceable as a lamb,
he did, and for the rest of the night he did n't walk into his sleep at

"You angel!" says John,--"to get round him so."

"Just wait," says the widow; "there's something a-coming that 'll make you
open your eyes. A-Saturday night says I, 'I feel like dancing,' says I;
'so, Dan'l, give us one of your liveliest tunes!' and with that I began to
hop about like a lark. Of course he was took in, and the wiolin was n't
touched; but O how he did walk into his sleep! Wisible to everybody! In
wain I argued that walking into sleep was wulgar, in wain I coaxed, and in
wain I cried,--though tears will sometimes prewail when nothing else will,
that is, if they ain't too woluntary. Some women seems to shed 'em
woluntary, and then they are not so prewailing, which it was never my case,
Captain, never! I cried for sheer spite and for nothing else; it was always
the way with me, especially after I was dethroned; and when tears did n't
prewail, thinks says I, I must take adwice, which I took it,--adwice here
and adwice there,--and one adwised one thing and one another; but the
adwice I took was adwice that it liked to have landed me where I never
should have seen the light of this blessed day, nor seen, nor seen, nor

John put both arms round her instead of one, and held her fast, lest she
might vanish like a phantom.

"You seem so like a sweet wision of the night!" he said. And then he asked
her what was the wicious adwice.

"I do feel as if I 'd wanish, sure enough," says the widow, "if it was n't
for your wine-like arms a-holding me up so nice, for I never can repeat
this part of my sufferings without being quite wanquished,--just a leetle
closer, if you please; now your shoulder, so that it will catch my head if
it should happen to fall. You have wisely called the adwice which I was
adwised to wicious," says she; "but what will you say when you hear the
adwice which I was adwised? Nerve yourself up, Captain, but don't let go of
me, not the least bit, I am so liable to be wanquished by my feelings.
There, that 'll do,--the dear knows it 's all because of my fear. Well,
the adwice I was adwised was, as you wisely said, wicious,--indeed it was
wery wicious,--and yet the woman that she adwised the adwice was a woman of
wast experience,--the wife of a wiolent drinker, and the mother of fourteen
children. More than this, her father had been constable once, and she wore
French thread-lace altogether! Would you suppose, Captain, considering her
adwantages, especially as regards her father and her laces, that she could
have adwised me with adwice that it was unadwisable?"

"No, I should n't a-dreampt on 't," says the Captain; "but what was the
adwice that she adwised you that warn't adwisable?"

"I really can't get my consent to tell," says the widow, "now that I 've
sot out, for I never expected to reweal it to anybody, unless it was
to--well, to some one that either was, or was like to be, my husband. Dear
me, I've undertook too much!"

"There," says the enraptured lover; "now can't you go on?"

"I don't know," says the widow, blushing, but not withdrawing her cheek.

"Try, for my sake!" says the Captain, "it 's so interestin'. You 've
undertook a good deal, but whatever consarns you consarns me."

"Well, I won't wacillate no more,--not if it plagues you!" And the widow
looked fondly in his face, and then, quite supporting herself upon his arm,
she drooped her eyelids modestly and resumed.


There is an American lady living at Hartford, in Connecticut, whom the
United States has permitted to be robbed by foreigners of $200,000. Her
name is Harriet Beecher Stowe. By no disloyal act has she or her family
forfeited their right to the protection of the government of the United
States. She pays her taxes, keeps the peace, and earns her livelihood by
honest industry; she has reared children for the service of the
Commonwealth; she was warm and active for her country when many around her
were cold or hostile;--in a word, she is a good citizen.

More than that: she is an illustrious citizen. The United States stands
higher to-day in the regard of every civilized being in Christendom because
she lives in the United States. She is the only woman yet produced on the
continent of America to whom the world assigns equal rank in literature
with the great authoresses of Europe. If, in addition to the admirable
talents with which she is endowed, she had chanced to possess one more,
namely, the excellent gift of plodding, she had been a consummate artist,
and had produced immortal works. All else she has,--the seeing eye, the
discriminating intelligence, the sympathetic mind, the fluent word, the
sure and happy touch; and these gifts enabled her to render her country the
precise service which it needed most. Others talked about slavery: she made
us _see_ it. She showed it to us in its fairest and in its foulest aspect;
she revealed its average and ordinary working. There never was a fairer nor
a kinder book than "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; for the entire odium of the
revelation fell upon the Thing, not upon the unhappy mortals who were born
and reared under its shadow. The reader felt that Legree was not less, but
far more, the victim of slavery than Uncle Tom, and the effect of the book
was to concentrate wrath upon the system which tortured the slave's body
and damned the master's soul. Wonderful magic of genius! The hovels and
cotton-fields which this authoress scarcely saw she made all the world see,
and see more vividly and more truly than the busy world can ever see remote
objects with its own unassisted eyes. We are very dull and stupid in what
does not immediately concern us, until we are roused and enlightened by
such as she. Those whom we call "the intelligent," or "the educated," are
merely the one in ten of the human family who by some chance learned to
read, and thus came under the influence of the class whom Mrs. Stowe

It is not possible to state the amount of good which this book has done, is
doing, and is to do. Mr. Eugene Schuyler, in the preface to the Russian
novel which he has recently done the public the service to translate,
informs us that the publication of a little book in Russia contributed
powerfully to the emancipation of the Russian serfs. The book was merely a
collection of sketches, entitled "The Memoirs of a Sportsman"; but it
revealed serfdom to the men who had lived in the midst of it all their
lives without ever seeing it. Nothing is ever _seen_ in this world, till
the searching eye of a sympathetic genius falls upon it. This Russian
nobleman, Turgenef, noble in every sense, saw serfdom, and showed it to his
countrymen. His volume was read by the present Emperor, and _he_ saw
serfdom; and he has since declared that the reading of that little book was
"one of the first incitements to the decree which gave freedom to thirty
millions of serfs." All the reading public of Russia read it, and _they_
saw serfdom; and thus a public opinion was created, without the support of
which not even the absolute Czar of all the Russias would have dared to
issue a decree so sweeping and radical.

We cannot say as much for "Uncle Tom's Cabin," because the public opinion
of the United States which permitted the emancipation of the slaves was of
longer growth, and was the result of a thousand influences. But when we
consider that the United States only just escaped dismemberment and
dissolution in the late war, and that two great powers of Europe were only
prevented from active interference on behalf of the Rebellion by that
public opinion which "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had recently revived and
intensified, we may at least believe, that, if the whole influence of that
work could have been annihilated, the final triumph of the United States
might have been deferred, and come only after a series of wars. That book,
we may almost say, went into every household in the civilized world which
contained one person capable of reading it. And it was not an essay; it was
a vivid exhibition;--it was not read from a sense of duty, nor from a
desire to get knowledge; it was read with passion; it was devoured; people
sat up all night reading it; those who could read read it to those who
could not; and hundreds of thousands who would never have read it saw it
played upon the stage. Who shall presume to say how many soldiers that book
added to the Union army? Who shall estimate its influence in hastening
emancipation in Brazil, and in preparing the amiable Cubans for a similar
measure? Both in Cuba and Brazil the work has been read with the most
passionate interest.

If it is impossible to measure the political effect of this work, we may at
least assert that it gave a thrilling pleasure to ten millions of human
beings,--an innocent pleasure, too, and one of many hours' duration. We may
also say, that, while enjoying that long delight, each of those ten
millions was made to see, with more or less clearness, the great truth that
man is not fit to be trusted with arbitrary power over his fellow. The
person who afforded this great pleasure, and who brought home this
fundamental truth to so many minds, was Harriet Beecher Stowe, of Hartford,
in the State of Connecticut, where she keeps house, educates her children,
has a book at the grocery, and invites her friends to tea. To that American
woman every person on earth who read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" incurred a
personal obligation. Every individual who became possessed of a copy of the
book, and every one who saw the story played in a theatre, was bound, in
natural justice, to pay money to her for service rendered, unless she
expressly and formally relinquished her right,--which she has never done.
What can be clearer than this? Mrs. Stowe, in the exercise of her vocation,
the vocation by which she lives, performs a professional service to ten
millions of people. The service is great and lasting. The work done is
satisfactory to the customer. What can annul the obligation resting upon
each to render his portion of an equivalent, except the consent of the
authoress "first had and obtained"? If Mrs. Stowe, instead of creating for
our delight and instruction a glorious work of fiction, had contracted her
fine powers to the point of inventing a nutcracker or a match-safe, a
rolling-pin or a needle-threader, every individual purchaser could have
been compelled to pay money for the use of her ingenuity, and everybody
would have thought it the most natural and proper thing in the world so to
do. There are fifty American inventions now in use in Europe from which the
inventors derive revenue. _Revenue!_--not a sum of money which, once spent,
is gone forever, but that most solid and respectable of material blessings,
a sum per annum! Thus we reward those who light our matches. It is
otherwise that we compensate those who kindle our souls.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," like every other novelty in literature, was the
late-maturing fruit of generations. Two centuries of wrong had to pass,
before the Subject was complete for the Artist's hand, and the Artist
herself was a flower of an ancient and gifted family. The Autobiography of
Lyman Beecher has made known this remarkable family to the public. We can
all see for ourselves how slowly and painfully this beautiful genius was
nourished,--what a narrow escape it had from being crushed and extinguished
amid the horrors of theology and the poverty of a Connecticut
parsonage,--how it was saved, and even nurtured, by that extraordinary old
father, that most strange and interesting character of New England, who
could come home, after preaching a sermon that appalled the galleries, and
play the fiddle and riot with his children till bedtime. A piano found its
way into the house, and the old man, whose geniality was of such abounding
force that forty years of theology could not lessen it, let his children
read Ivanhoe and the other novels of Sir Walter Scott. Partly by chance,
partly by stealth, chiefly by the force of her own cravings, this daughter
of the Puritans obtained the scanty nutriment which kept her genius from
starving. By and by, on the banks of the Ohio, within sight of a slave
State, the Subject and the Artist met, and there, from the lips of sore and
panting fugitives, she gained, in the course of years, the knowledge which
she revealed to mankind in "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

When she had done the work, the United States stood by and saw her deprived
of three fourths of her just and legitimate wages, without stirring a
finger for her protection. The book sold to the extent of two millions of
copies, and the story was played in most of the theatres in which the
English language is spoken, and in many French and German theatres. In one
theatre in New York it was played eight times a week for twelve months.
Considerable fortunes have been gained by its performance, and it is still
a source of revenue to actors and managers. We believe that there are at
least three persons in the United States, connected with theatres, who have
gained more money from "Uncle Tom's Cabin" than Mrs. Stowe. Of all the
immense sums which the exhibition of this story upon the stage has
produced, the authoress has received nothing. When Dumas or Victor Hugo
publishes a novel, the sale of the right to perform it as a play yields him
from eighty thousand to one hundred and twenty thousand francs. These
authors receive a share of the receipts of the theatre,--the only fair
arrangement,--and this share, we believe, is usually one tenth; which is
also the usual percentage paid to authors upon the sale of their books. If
a French author had written "Uncle Tom's Cabin," he would have enjoyed,--1.
A part of the price of every copy sold in France; 2. A share of the
receipts of every theatre in France in which he permitted it to be played;
3. A sum of money for the right of translation into English; 4. A sum of
money for the right of translation into German. We believe we are far
within the truth when we say, that a literary success achieved by a French
author equal to that of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" would have yielded that author
half a million dollars in gold; and that, too, in spite of the lamentable
fact, that America would have stolen the product of his genius, instead of
buying it.

Mrs. Stowe received for "Uncle Tom's Cabin" the usual percentage upon the
sale of the American edition; which may have consisted of some three
hundred thousand copies. This percentage, with some other trifling sums,
may have amounted to forty thousand dollars. From the theatre she has
received nothing; from foreign countries nothing, or next to nothing. This
poor forty thousand dollars--about enough to build a comfortable house in
the country, and lay out an acre or two of grounds--was the product of the
supreme literary success of all times! A _corresponding_ success in sugar,
in stocks, in tobacco, in cotton, in invention, in real estate, would have
yielded millions upon millions to the lucky operator. To say that Mrs.
Stowe, through our cruel and shameful indifference with regard to the
rights of authors, native and foreign, has been kept out of two hundred
thousand dollars, honestly hers, is a most moderate and safe statement.
This money was due to her as entirely as the sum named upon a bill of
exchange is due to the rightful owner of the same. It was for "value
received." A permanently attractive book, moreover, would naturally be more
than a sum of money; it would be an estate; it would be an income. This
wrong, therefore, continues to the present moment, and will go on longer
than the life of the authoress. While we are writing this sentence,
probably, some German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, or English
bookseller is dropping into his "till" the price of a copy of "Uncle Tom's
Cabin," the whole of which he will keep, instead of sending ten per cent of
it to Hartford on the 1st of January next.

We have had another literary success in these years,--Mr. Motley's
Histories of the Dutch Republic and of the United Netherlands. As there are
fifteen persons in the world who can enjoy fiction to one that will read
much of any other kind of literary production, the writers of fiction
usually receive some compensation for their labors. Not a fair nor an
adequate compensation, but _some_. This compensation will never be fair nor
adequate until every man or woman in the whole world who buys a copy of a
novel, or sees it played, shall, in so doing, contribute a certain
stipulated sum to the author. Nevertheless, the writers of fiction do get a
little money, and a few of them are able to live almost as well as a
retired grocer. Now and then we hear of an author who gets almost as much
money for a novel that enthralls and enchants two or three nations for many
months, as a beardless operator in stocks sometimes wins between one and
two P. M. It is not so with the heroes of research, like Motley, Buckle,
Bancroft, and Carlyle. Upon this point we are ready to make a sweeping
assertion, and it is this. No well-executed work, involving original
research, can pay expenses, unless the author is protected in his right to
the market of the world. This is one of the points to which we particularly
wish to call attention. Give us international copyright, and it immediately
becomes possible in the United States for a man who is not rich to devote
his existence to the production of works of permanent and universal value.
Continue to withhold international copyright, and this privilege remains
the almost exclusive portion of men of wealth. For, in the United States,
there is scarcely any such thing as honest leisure in connection with
business or a salaried office.

Now, with regard to Mr. Motley, whose five massive volumes of Dutch History
are addressed to the educated class of all nations,--before that author
could write the first sentence of his work he must have been familiar with
six languages, English, Latin, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish, besides
possessing that general knowledge of history, literature, and science which
constitutes what is called culture. He must also have spent five laborious
years in gaining an intimate knowledge of his subject, in the course of
which he must have travelled in more than one country, and expended large
sums in the purchase of books and documents, and for copies of manuscripts.
Living in the cheap capitals of Continental Europe, and managing his
affairs with economy, he may have accomplished his preparatory studies at
an expenditure of ten thousand dollars,--two thousand dollars a year. The
volumes contain in all about three thousand five hundred large pages. At
two pages a day, which would be very rapid work, and probably twice as fast
as he did work, he could have executed the five volumes, and got them
through the press (a year's hard labor in itself), in seven years. Here are
twelve years' labor, and twenty-four thousand dollars' necessary
expenditure. Mr. Motley probably expended more than twelve years, and twice
twenty-four thousand dollars; but we choose to estimate the work at its
necessary cost. Two other items must be also considered:--1. The talents
of the author, which, employed in another profession, would have brought
large returns in money and honor; 2. The intense and exhausting nature of
the labor. The production of a work which demands strict fidelity to truth,
as well as excellence in composition,--which obliges the author, first, to
know all, and, after that, to impart the essence of his knowledge in an
agreeable and striking manner,--is the hardest continuous work ever done by
man. It is at times a fierce and passionate joy; it is at times a harrowing
anxiety; it is at times a vast despair; but it is always very hard labor.
The search after a fact is sometimes as arduous as the chase after a deer,
and it may last six weeks, and, after all, there may be no such fact, or it
may be valueless. And when all is done,--when the mountain of manuscript
lies before the author ready for the press,--he cannot for the life of him
tell whether his work is trash or treasure. As poor Charlotte Brontë said,
when she had finished Jane Eyre, "I only know that the story has interested
_me_." Finally comes the anguish of having the work judged by persons whose
only knowledge of the subject is derived from the work itself.

No matter for all that: we are speaking of money. This work, we repeat,
cost the author twenty-four thousand dollars to produce. Messrs. Harper
sell it at fifteen dollars a copy. The usual allowance to the author is ten
per cent of the retail price, and, as a rule, it ought not to be more. Upon
works of that magnitude, however, it often is more. Suppose, then, that Mr.
Motley receives two dollars for every copy of his work sold by his American
publishers. A meritorious work of general interest, i. e. a book not
addressed to any class, sect, or profession, that costs fifteen dollars, is
considered successful in the United States if it sells three thousand
copies. Five thousand is decided success. Seven thousand is brilliant
success. Ten thousand copies, sold in the lifetime of the author, is all
the success that can be hoped for. Ten thousand copies would yield to the
author twenty thousand dollars, which is four thousand dollars less than it
cost him.

But Mr. Motley's work is of universal interest. It does not concern the
people of the United States any more than it does the people of England,
France, and Germany, nor as much as it does the people of Spain and
Holland. Wherever, in the whole world, there is an intelligent, educated
human being, there is a person who would like to read and possess Motley's
Histories, which relate events of undying interest to all the few in every
land who are capable of comprehending their significance. Give this author
the market of the world, and he is compensated for his labor. Deny him this
right, and it is impossible he should be. England buys a greater number of
fifteen-dollar books than the United States, because, in England, rich men
are generally educated men, and in the United States the class who most
want such books cannot buy them. Our clergy are poor; our students are
generally poor; our lawyers and doctors are not rich, as a class; our
professors and schoolmasters are generally very poor; our men of business,
as a class, read little but the daily paper; and our men of leisure are too
few to be of any account. Nor have we yet that universal system of town and
village self-sustaining libraries, which will, by and by, abundantly atone
for the ignorance and indifference of the rich, and make the best market
for books the world has ever seen. England would readily "take" ten
thousand copies of a three-guinea book of first-rate merit and universal
interest. A French translation of the same would sell five thousand in
France, and, probably three thousand more in other Continental countries. A
German translation would place it within the reach of nations of readers,
and a few hundreds in each of those nations would become possessors of the
work. Or, in other words, an International Copyright would multiply the
gains of an author like Mr. Motley by three, possibly by four. 20,000 × 3
= 60,000.

We are far from thinking that sixty thousand dollars would be a
compensation for such work as Mr. Motley has done. We merely say, that the
reasonable prospect of even such a partial recompense as that would make it
possible for persons not rich to produce in the United States works of
universal and permanent value. The question is, Are we prepared to say that
such works shall be attempted here only by rich men, or by men like Noah
Webster, who lived upon a Spelling-Book while he wrote his Dictionary?
Generally, the acquisition of an independent income is the work of a
lifetime, and it ought to be. But the production of a masterpiece,
involving original research, is also the work of a lifetime. Not one man in
a thousand millions can do both. Give us International Copyright, and there
are already five publishers in the United States who are able and willing
to give an author the equivalent of Gibbon's sixteen hundred pounds a year,
or of Noah Webster's Spelling-Book, or Prescott's thousand dollars a month;
i. e. maintenance while he is doing that part of his work which requires
exclusive devotion to it. Besides, a man intent upon the execution of a
great work can contrive, in many ways, to exist--just exist--for ten years,
provided he has a reasonable prospect of moderate reward when his task is
done. There are fifty men in New England alone who would deem it an honor
and a privilege "to invest" in such an enterprise.

Mr. Bancroft's is another case in point. Mr. Buckle remarks, that there is
no knowledge until there is a class who have conquered leisure, and that,
although most of this class will always employ their leisure in the pursuit
of pleasure, yet a few will devote it to the acquisition of knowledge.
These few are the flower of their species,--its ornaments and
benefactors,--for the flower issues in most precious fruit, which finally
nourishes and exalts the whole. We are such idle and pleasure-loving
creatures, and civilization places so many alluring delights within the
reach of a rich man, that it must ever be accounted a merit in one of this
class if he devotes himself to generous toil for the public good. George
Bancroft has spent thirty years in such toil. His History of the United
States has stood to him in the place of a profession. His house is filled
with the most costly material, the spoils of foreign archives and of
domestic chests, the pick of auction sales, the hidden treasure of ancient
bookstores, and the chance discoveries of dusty garrets. His work has been
eminently "successful," and he has received for it about as much as his
material cost, and perhaps half a dollar a day for his labor. When the
third volume of the work was about to appear, a London publisher offered
three hundred pounds for the advance sheets, which were furnished, and the
money was paid. The same sum was offered and paid for the advance sheets of
the fourth volume. Then the London publisher discovered that "the courtesy
of the trade" would suffice for his purpose, and he forbore to pay for that
which he could get for nothing. Six hundred pounds, therefore, is all that
this American author has received from foreign countries for thirty years'
labor. His work has been translated into two or three foreign languages,
and it is found in all European libraries of any completeness, whether
public or private; but this little sum is all that has come back to _him_.
Surely, there cannot be one reader of this periodical so insensible to
moral distinctions as not to feel that this is wrong. The happy accident of
Mr. Bancroft's not needing the money has nothing to do with the right and
wrong of the matter. No man is so rich that he does not like to receive
money which he has honestly earned; for money honestly earned is honor as
well as reward, and it is not for _us_, the benefited party, to withhold
his right from a man because he has been generous to us. And the question
again occurs, Shall we sit down content with an arrangement which obliges
us to wait for works of permanent and universal interest until the accident
occurs of a rich man willing and able to execute them? It is not an
accident, but a most rare conjunction of accidents. First, the man must be
competent; secondly, he must be willing; thirdly, he must be rich. This
fortunate combination is so little likely to occur in a new country, that
it must be accounted honorable to the United States that in the same
generation we have had three such men,--Bancroft, Motley, and Prescott. Is
it _such_ persons that should be singled out from the mass of their
fellow-citizens to be deprived of their honest gains? Besides, riches take
to themselves wings. A case has occurred among us of a rich man devoting
the flower of his days to the production of excellent works, and then
losing his property.

It will be of no avail to adduce the instance of Dr. J. W. Draper. We have
had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Draper relate the history of his average
day. Up at six. Breakfast at seven. An hour's ride to the city. Busy at the
New York University from nine to one. Home in cars to dinner at three. At
four P. M. _begins_ his day's literary work, and keeps steadily on till
eleven. Then, bed. Not one man in many millions could endure such a life,
and no man, perhaps, ought to endure it. Dr. Draper happens to possess a
most sound and easy-working constitution of body and mind, and he has
acquired a knowledge of the laws which relate to its well-being. But, even
in his case, it is questionable whether it is well, or even right, to
devote so large a part of his existence to labor. It is probable, too, that
an International Copyright would, ere this, have released him from the
necessity of it, or the temptation to it.

Few of us are aware of the extent to which American works are now reprinted
in England. We noticed, the other day, in an English publication, a page of
advertisements containing the titles of thirteen volumes announced to be
sold at "1_s._" or "1_s._ 6_d._" Twelve of the thirteen were American.
Among them, we remember, were Mrs. Stowe's "Little Foxes," Dr. Holmes's
"Humorous Poems," and Mr. Lowell's "Biglow Papers." The cheap publication
stores of Great Britain are heaped with such reprints, the sale of which
yields nothing to the authors. We have even seen in England a series of
school writing-books, the invention of a Philadelphia writing-master, the
English copies of which betrayed no trace of their origin. Nor have we been
able, after much inquiry, to hear of one instance in which an English
publisher has paid an American author, resident in America, for anything
except advance sheets. Mr. Longfellow, whose works are as popular in
England as in America, and as salable, has derived, we believe,
considerable sums for advance sheets of his works; but, unless we are
grossly misinformed, even he receives no percentage upon the annual sale of
his works in Great Britain.

And the aggravating circumstance of all this spoliation of the men and
women who are the country's ornament and boast is, that it is wholly our
fault. We force the European publishers to steal. England is more than
willing, France is more than willing, Germany is quite willing, Sweden,
Denmark, and Russia are willing, to come at once into an international
arrangement which shall render literary property as sacred and as safe in
all civilized lands as tobacco and whiskey. All the countries we have named
are now obliged to steal it, and do steal it. Who would have expected to
find the Essays of Mr. Emerson a topic in the interior of Russia? We find
them, however, familiarly alluded to in the Russian novel "Fathers and
Sons," recently translated. If authors had their rights, a rill of Russian
silver would come trickling into Concord, while a broad and brimming river
of it would inundate a certain cottage in Hartford. How many modest and
straitened American homes would have new parlor carpets this year, if
henceforth, on the first days of January and July, drafts to their address
were to be dropped in the mail in every capital of the world which the
work done in those homes instructs or cheers! Nor would new carpets be all.
Many authors would be instantly delivered from the fatal necessity of
over-production,--the vice that threatens literature with annihilation.

There is another aggravating circumstance,--most aggravating. The want of
an International Copyright chiefly robs our best and brightest! A dull book
protects itself; no foreigner wants it. An honest drudge, who compiles
timely works of utility, or works which appease a transient curiosity, and
which thousands of "agents" put under the nose of the whole population, can
make a fortune by one or two lucky hits. There are respectable gentlemen
not far off, who, with pen and scissors, in four months, manufactured
pieces of merchandise, labelled "Life of Abraham Lincoln," of which a
hundred thousand copies each were sold in half a year, and which yielded
the manufacturer thirty thousand dollars. This sum is probably more than
twice as great as the sum total of Mr. Emerson's receipts from his
published works,--the fruit of forty years of study and meditation. It is
chiefly our dear Immortals and our best Ephemerals who need this protection
from their country's justice. It is our Emersons, our Hawthornes, our
Longfellows, our Lowells, our Holmeses, our Bryants, our Curtises, our
Beechers, our Mrs. Stowes, our Motleys, our Bancrofts, our Prescotts, whom
we permit all the world to plunder. We harmless drudges and book-makers are
protected by our own dulness. We are panoplied in our insignificance. The
stupidest set of school-books we ever looked into has yielded, for many
years, an annual profit of one hundred thousand dollars, and is now
enriching its third set of proprietors. No one, therefore, need feel any
concern for _us_. _We _can do pretty well if only we are stupid enough, and
"study to please." But, O honorable members, spare the few who redeem and
exalt the country's name, and who keep alive the all but extinguished
celestial fire! If American property abroad must be robbed, let cotton and
tobacco take a turn, and see how _they_ like it. Invite Manchester to come
to the Liverpool Docks and help itself. Let there be free smoking in
Europe. Summon the merchants of London to a scramble for American bills of
exchange. Select for spoliation anything but the country's literature.

The worst remains to be told. It is bad to have your pocket picked; but
there is something infinitely worse,--it is to pick a pocket. Who would not
rather be stolen from, than steal? Who would not rather be murdered, than
be a murderer? Nevertheless, in depriving foreign authors of their rights,
it is still ourselves whom we injure most. The great damage to America, and
to American literature, from the want of an international copyright law, is
not the thousands of dollars per annum which authors lose. This is, in
fact, the smallest item that enters into the huge sum total of our loss.

It maims or kills seven tenths of the contemporary literature that must be
translated before it is available for publication here. Charles Reade, in
that gallant and brilliant little book of his, "The Eighth Commandment,"
quotes from a letter written in Cologne, in 1851, the following passage:--

"About thirty years ago the first translations from English were brought to
the German market. The Waverley Novels were extensively circulated, and
read with avidity by all classes. Next came Bulwer, and after him Dickens
and other writers. Rival editions of the same works sprang up by the
half-dozen; the profits decreased, and the publishers were obliged to cut
down the pay of the translators. I know that a translation-monger at Grimm
pays about £6 for a three-volume novel.

"These works, got up in a hurry, and printed with bad type on wretched
paper, are completely flooding the market; and, as they are much cheaper
than original works, they are a serious obstacle to our national
literature. Thus much for our share in the miseries of free trade[2] in

"Now for yours. There are able men in Germany, who, were it made worth
their while, could and would put the master works of your novelists and
historians into a decent German garb. But under the present system these
men are elbowed out of the field."

Change a few names in this passage, and it describes, with considerable
exactness, the state of the translation market in the United States. Works,
which in France charm the _boudoir_ and amuse the whole of the educated
class, sink, under the handling of hasty translators and enterprising
publishers, into what we call "Yellow-Covered Literature," which is to be
found chiefly upon the wharves. Respectable publishers have a well-founded
terror of French and German translations; since, after incurring the
expense of translation, they have no protection against the publication of
another version except "the courtesy of the trade,"--a code of laws which
has not much force in the regions from which the literature of the Yellow
Cover emanates. We are not getting half the good we ought from the
contemporary literature of France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Holland, Italy,
and we never shall, until American publishers can acquire property in it by
fair purchase, which the law will protect. The business of furnishing the
American public with good translations from the French would of itself
maintain two or three great publishing houses. There is a mine of wealth
there waiting for the removal of the squatters and the recognition of the
rightful title-deeds. What would California have been worth to us, or to
itself, or to anybody, if its treasures had been _left_ to the hurried
scratchings over the surface of uncapitalled prospecters? Capital and skill
wait until the title is clear. Then they go in, with their ponderous
engines, and pound the rocks till the gold glitters all over the heap.

Messrs. Appleton, of New York, have recently ventured to publish good
translations and good editions of Madame Mühlbach's historical novels. The
name of this lady being new to America, the enterprise was a risk,--a risk
of many thousand dollars,--a risk which only a wealthy house would be
justified in assuming. The _great_ expense of such an undertaking is
incurred in making the new name known, in advertising it, in shouting it
into the ears of a public deafened with a thousand outcries. An enormous
sum of money may easily be spent in this way, when advertising costs from
twenty cents to two dollars a line. Suppose the efforts of the publishers
are successful, see how beautifully the present system works! The more
successful they are, the more perilous their property becomes! It is safe
only as long as it is worthless. Just as soon as they have, by the
expenditure of unknown thousands, created for the works of this German lady
a steady demand, which promises to recompense them, they are open to the
inroads of the Knights of the Yellow Cover! See, too, the effects upon the
Berlin authoress. Playing such a dangerous and costly game as this, the
American publisher dare not, cannot treat with her in the only proper and
honorable way,--open a fair bargain, so much for so much. Messrs. Appleton
did themselves the honor, the other day, to send her a thousand dollars,
gold, which was an act as wise as it was right. We enjoyed an exquisite
pleasure in looking upon the lovely document, duly stamped and
authenticated, which has ere this given her a claim upon a Berlin banker;
and we have also a prodigious happiness in committing the impropriety of
making the fact public. Nevertheless, it is not thus that authors should be
paid for their own. All we can say of it is, that it is better than nothing
to her, and the best a publisher can do under the circumstances.

This business of publishing books is the most difficult one carried on in
the world. It demands qualities so seldom found in the same individual,
that there has scarcely ever been an eminent and stable publishing house
which did not consist of several active and able men. Failure is the rule,
success the rare exception. The shores of the business world are strewn
thick with the wrecks of ventures in this line that gave every promise of
bringing back a large return. It has been proved a task beyond the wisdom
of mortals, to decide with any positive degree of certainty whether a heap
of blotted manuscript is the most precious or the most worthless of all the
productions of human industry. Young publishers think they can tell: old
publishers know they cannot. This is so true, that for a publisher to have
a knowledge of the commodity in which he deals is generally a point against
his success as a publisher; and it will certainly ruin him, unless he has a
remarkably sound judgment, or a good, solid, unlearned partner, whose
intuitive sense of what the public wants is unbiased by tastes of his own.

It is this terrible uncertainty as to the value of the commodity purchased,
which renders publishing a business so difficult, precarious, and
unprofitable; and the higher the character of the literature, the greater
the difficulty becomes. Publishers who confine themselves chiefly to works
of utility and necessity, or to works professional and sectarian, have an
easy task to perform, compared with that of a publisher who aims to supply
the public with pure science and high literature. If any business can claim
favorable consideration from those who have in charge the distribution of
the public burdens, surely it is this. If in any way its perils can be
justly diminished by law, surely that protection ought not to be withheld.
We believe it could be shown that the business of publishing what the trade
calls "miscellaneous books," i. e. books which depend solely upon their
intrinsic interest or merit, yields a smaller return for the capital and
talent invested in it than any other. The Harpers have a grand
establishment,--one of the wonders of America. Any one going over that
assemblage of enormous edifices, and observing the multitude of men and
women employed in them, the vast and far-reaching enterprises going
forward,--some of which involve a large expenditure for years before any
return is possible,--the great numbers of men of ability, learning, and
experience who are superintending the various departments, and the amazing
quantities of merchandise produced, the mere catalogue of which is a large
volume,--any one, we say, observing these things, would naturally conclude,
that the proprietors must be in the receipt of Vanderbiltian incomes. The
same amount of capital, force, experience, and talent employed in any other
branch of business could not fail to put the incomes of the proprietors
high up among those which require six figures for their expression. Compare
the returns of these monarchs of the "trade" with those of our dry-goods
magnates, and our mighty men in cotton, tobacco, and railroads. A dealer in
dry-goods in the city of New York has returned as the _income_ of a single
year a sum half as large as the whole capital invested in the establishment
of the Harpers. If the _signal_ successes of publishing--successes which
are the result of the rarest conjunctions of talent, capital, experience,
and opportunity--are represented by incomes of twenty and thirty thousand
paper dollars a year, what must be the general condition of the trade? But
it is the difficulty of conducting the business at all, not the slenderness
of its profits, upon which we now desire the reader to reflect. That
difficulty, we repeat, arises from the fact that a publisher buys his pig
in a poke. He generally knows not, and cannot know, whether what he buys is
worth much, little, or nothing.

But there is one branch of his business which does not present this
difficulty,--the reprinting of works previously published in a foreign
country. He has the advantage of holding in his hand the precise article
which he proposes to reproduce,--a printed volume, which he can read with
ease and rapidity; and this is nearly as great an advantage as a manager
has who sees a play performed before buying it. He has the still greater
advantage of a public verdict upon the book. It has been tried upon a
public; and it is a rule almost without exception, that a book which sells
largely in one country will not fail in another. Dickens, Thackeray, Reade,
Miss Mulock, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Dumas, Hugo, George Sand, have
in all foreign countries a popularity which bears a certain proportion to
that which they enjoy in their own; and even the Chinese novel published
some years ago in England was a safe speculation, because it was
universally popular in China. The Russian novel before alluded to was a
prudent enterprise, because Russia had previously tasted and enjoyed it.
Literature of high character is always pervaded with the essence of the
nationality which produced it, but it is, for that very reason, the more
interesting to other nations. Don Quixote has more Spain in it than all the
histories of Spain; but in the library of the German collector of
Cervantes, whose death has been recently announced, there were more than
twice as many foreign editions as Spanish. According to the Pall Mall
Gazette, there were 400 editions in Spanish, 168 in French, 200 in English,
87 in Portuguese, 96 in Italian, 70 in German, 4 in Russian, 4 in Greek, 8
in Polish, 6 in Danish, 13 in Swedish, and 5 in Latin. Poor Cervantes! How
eloquently this list pleads for International Copyright!

It is, then, in the republication of foreign works that our publishers
ought to find an element of certainty, which cannot appertain to the
publication of original and untried productions. But it is precisely here
that chaos reigns. In the issue of native works, there is but a single
uncertainty; in the republication of foreign, there are many. No man knows
what his rights are; nor whether he has any rights; nor whether there
_are_ any rights; nor, if he has rights, whether they will be respected.
This chaos has taken to itself the pleasant and delusive name of "Courtesy
of the Trade." Before the "reign of law" is established in any province of
human affairs, we generally see men feeling their way to it, trying to find
something else that will answer the purpose, endeavoring to reduce the
chaos of conflicting claims to some kind of rule. The publishers of the
United States have been doing this for many years, and the result is the
unwritten code called the Courtesy of the Trade,--a code defective in
itself, with neither judge to expound it, jury to decide upon it, nor
sheriff to execute it. This code consisted at first of one rule,--If a
publisher issues a foreign work, no other American publisher shall issue
it. But it often happened that two or three publishers began or desired to
begin the printing of the same book. To meet this and other cases, other
laws were added, until at present the code, as laid down by the rigorists,
consists of the following rules:--

1. If a publisher issues an edition of a foreign work, he has acquired an
exclusive right to it for a period undefined.

2. If a publisher is the first to announce his intention to publish a
foreign work, that announcement gives him an exclusive right to publish it.

3. If a publisher has already issued a work of a foreign author, he has
acquired thereby an exclusive right to the republication of all subsequent
works by the same author.

4. The purchase of advance sheets for publication in a periodical gives a
publisher the exclusive right to publish the same in any other form.

5. All and several of these rights may be bought and sold, like any other
kind of property.

There is a kind of justice in all these rules. If we could concede that a
foreign author _has_ no ownership of the coinage of his brain,--if anything
but that author's free gift or purchased consent _could_ convey that
property to another,--if foreign literature _is_ the legitimate spoil of
America,--then some such code as this would be the only method of
preventing the business from degenerating into a game of unmitigated grab.
In its present ill-defined and most imperfect state, this system of
"courtesy" scarcely mitigates the game at all; and, accordingly, in "the
trade," instead of the friendly feeling that would naturally exist among
honorable men in the highest branch of business, we find feuds,
heart-burnings, and a grievous sense of wrongs unredressed and
unredressable. Some houses "announce" everything that is announced on the
other side of the Atlantic, so as to have the first choice. Smaller firms,
seeing these announcements, dare not undertake any foreign work, even
though the great house never decides to publish the book upon which the
smaller had fixed its attention. It is only under the reign of law that the
rights of the weak have any security. In the most exquisitely organized
system of piracy, no man can rely upon the enjoyment of a right which he is
not strong enough personally to defend. It is not every house that can
crush a rival edition by selling thousands of expensive books at half their
cost. Between the giant houses that tower above him, and the yellow-covered
gentry that prowl about his feet, an American publisher of only ordinary
resources has a game to play which is really too difficult for the limited
capacities of man. Who can wonder that most of them lose it?

One effect of this courtesy system is, that many excellent works, which it
would be a public benefit to have reprinted here are not reprinted. Another
is, that corrected or improved editions cannot be given to the American
reader without bringing down upon the publisher the enmity or the vengeance
of a rival. It is not common in Europe for the first editions of important
works to be stereotyped; but in America they always are. The European
author frequently makes extensive additions and valuable emendations in
each successive edition; until, in the course of years, his work is
essentially different from, and far superior to, the first essay. _We_
cannot have the advantage of the improved version. There is a set of old
and worn stereotype plates in the way, the proprietor of which will not
sacrifice them, nor permit another publisher to produce the corrected
edition, which would as completely destroy their value as though they were
melted into type metal. Who can blame him? No one likes to have a valuable
property suddenly rendered valueless. "It is not human nature." Mr. Lewes
is not justified in so bitterly reproaching Messrs. Appleton for their cold
entertainment of his offer to them of the enlarged version of his "History
of Philosophy."

"I felt," says Mr. Lewes, "that Messrs. Appleton, of New York, had, in
courtesy, a prior claim, on the ground of their having reprinted the
previous edition in 1857. Accordingly I wrote to them, through their London
agent, stating that I considered they had a claim to the first offer, and
stating, further, that the new edition was substantially a new book. [As
this is an important element in the present case, allow me to add, that the
edition of 1857 was in one volume 8vo, published at sixteen shillings,
whereas the new edition is in two volumes 8vo, published at thirty
shillings; and the work is so considerably altered and enlarged that a new
title has been affixed to it, for the purpose of marking it off from its
predecessors.] Questions of courtesy are, however, but ill understood by
some people, and by Messrs. Appleton so ill understood that they did not
even answer my letter. After waiting more than three months for an answer,
I asked a friend to see their London agent on the subject, and thus I
learned that Messrs. Appleton--_risum teneatis, amici?_--'considered they
had a right to publish all future editions of my work without payment,'
because ten years ago they had given the magnificent sum of twenty-five
pounds to secure themselves against rivals for the second edition."

The omission to answer the author's letter, we may assume, was accidental.
It is not correct to say that the publishers founded their claim to issue
the new edition upon their payment of twenty-five pounds. The real
difficulty was, that Messrs. Appleton possessed the plates of the first
edition, and could not issue the enlarged edition without, first,
destroying a property already existing, and, secondly, creating a new
property at an expenditure about four times as great as the sum originally
invested. The acceptance of Mr. Lewes's offer would have involved an
expenditure of several thousand dollars, at a time when, for a variety of
reasons, works of that character could hardly be expected to return the
outlay upon them. The exclusive and certain ownership of the work might
well justify its republication, even now, when it costs exactly three times
as much to manufacture a book in the United States as it did seven years
ago. But nothing short of this would warrant a publisher in undertaking it.
The real sinners, against whom Mr. Lewes should have launched his sarcasm,
are the people of the United States, who permit their instructors, both
native and foreign, to be robbed of their property with impunity. Thus we
see that a few hundred pounds of metal are likely to bar the entrance among
us of a work which demonstrates, in the clearest and most attractive
manner, the inutility of all that has hitherto gone by the name of
"metaphysics," and which also indicates the method of investigation from
which good results are to be rationally hoped for.

It is the grossest injustice to hold American publishers responsible for
the system of ill-regulated plunder which they have inherited, and which
injures them more immediately and palpably than any other class, excepting
alone the class producing the commodity in which they deal. There are no
business men more honorable or more generous than the publishers of the
United States, and especially honorable and considerate are they toward
authors. The relation usually existing between author and publisher in the
United States is that of a warm and lasting friendship,--such as that which
subsisted for so many years between Irving and Putnam, and which now
animates and dignifies the intercourse between the literary men of New
England and Messrs. Ticknor and Fields, and which gathers in the well-known
room of the Harpers a host of writers who are attached friends of the
"House." The relation, too, is one of a singular mutual trustfulness. The
author receives his semiannual account from the publisher with as absolute
a faith in its correctness as though he had himself counted the volumes
sold; and the publisher consigns the manuscript of the established author
to the printer almost without opening it, confident that, whether it
succeeds or fails, the author has done his best. We have heard of instances
in which a publisher had serious cause of complaint against an author, but
never have we known an author to be intentionally wronged by a publisher.
We have known a publisher, in the midst of the ruin of his house, to make
it one of the first objects of his care to save authors from loss, or make
their inevitable losses less. How common, too, it is in the trade for a
publisher to go beyond the letter of his bond, and after publishing five
books without profit, to give the author of the successful sixth more than
the stipulated price! Let every one speak of the market as he finds it. For
our part, after fifteen years of almost daily intercourse with publishers,
we have no recollections of them that are not agreeable, and can call to
mind no transaction in which they did not show themselves to be men of
honor as much as men of business. We have not the least doubt that Mr.
Peterson honestly thought he had acquired a right, by fair purchase, to
sell the property of Charles Dickens in the United States as long as he
should continue in business, and then to dispose of that right to his
successor. We are equally confident that Messrs. Harper felt themselves
completely justified in endeavoring to crush the Diamond Edition of
Thackeray. All this chaos and uncertainty, all these feuds and enmities,
have one and the same cause,--the existence in the world of a kind of
property which is at once the most precious, the easiest stolen, and the
worst protected.

Almost to a man, our publishers are in favor of an International Copyright.
We have been able to hear of but one exception, and this is the publisher
of but one book,--Webster's Dictionary,--the work of all others now in
existence that would profit most from just protection in foreign countries.
There is an impression in many circles that the Harpers are opposed to it.
We are enabled to state, upon the authority of a member of that great
house, that this is not now, and never has been, the case. Messrs. Harper
comprehend, as well as we do, that they would gain more from the measure
than any other house in the world; because it is the natural effect of law,
while it protects the weak, to legitimate and establish the dominion of the
strong. International Copyright would benefit every creature connected with
publishing, but it would benefit most of all the great and wealthy houses.
The Harpers have spent tens of thousands in enforcing the observance of the
courtesy of the trade, but they cannot enforce it. It is a work never done
and always beginning. It cost them four hundred of our ridiculous dollars
for the advance sheets of each number of Mr. Dickens's last novel; and
within forty-eight hours of the publication of the Magazine containing it,
two other editions were for sale under their noses. The matter for
"Harper's Magazine" often costs three or four thousand dollars a number;
can any one suppose that the proprietors _like_ to see Blackwood and half a
dozen other British magazines sold all over the country at a little more
than the cost of paper and printing? They like it as little as the
proprietors of Blackwood like it. This is a wrong which injures two
nations and benefits one printer; and that printer would himself do better
if he could obtain exclusive rights by fair purchase. No; Messrs. Harper,
we are happy to state, are decidedly in favor of an International
Copyright, and so is every other general publishing house in the country of
which we have any knowledge.

Consider the case of our venerable and beloved instructor, "The North
American Review," conducted with so much diligence, energy, and tact by the
present editors. Not a number of it has appeared under their management
which has not been a national benefit; and no country more needs such a
periodical than the United States, now standing on the threshold of a new
career. The time has passed when a review could consist chiefly of the
skilfully condensed contents of interesting books, which men could execute
in the intervals of professional duty, and think themselves happy in
receiving one dollar for a printed page, extracts deducted. At the present
time, a review must initiate as well as criticise, and do something itself
as well as comment upon the performances of others. We believe that no
number of the North American Review now appears, the matter of which costs
as little as a thousand dollars. But it has to compete, not only with the
four British Reviews sold here at the price of paper and printing, but with
several periodicals made up of selections from the reviews and magazines of
Europe. Nor is this all. A public accustomed to buy books and periodicals
at a price into which nothing enters but manual labor and visible material
is apt to pause and recoil when it is solicited to pay the just value of
those commodities. A man who buys a number of the Westminster Review for
half a dollar is likely to regard a dollar and a half as an enormous price
for a number of the North American, though he gets for his money what cost
a thousand dollars before the printer saw it. For forty years or more we
have all been buying our books and reviews at thieves' prices,--prices in
which everybody was considered except the creators of the value; and the
consequence is, that we turn away when a proper price is demanded for a
book, and regard ourselves as injured beings. How monstrous for a volume of
Emerson to be sold for a dollar! In England and France, when the price is
to be fixed upon works of that nature, the mere cost of paper and printing
is hardly considered at all. Such trifles are felt, and rightly felt, to
have little to do with the question of price. The publisher knows very well
that he has to dispose of one of those rare and beautiful products which
only a very few thousands of his countrymen will care to possess, or could
enjoy if it were thrust upon them. He fixes the price with reference to the
facts of the case,--the important facts as well as the trivial, the rights
of the author as well as the little bill of the printer,--and that price is
half a guinea. The want of an International Copyright, besides lowering and
degrading all literature, has demoralized the public by getting it into the
habit of paying for books the price of stolen goods. And hence the North
American Review, which would naturally be a most valuable property, has
never yielded a profit corresponding to its real value. People stand aghast
at the invitation to pay six dollars a year for an article, the mere
unmanufactured ingredients of which cost a thousand times six dollars.

Good contemporary books cannot be very cheap, unless there is stealing
_somewhere_, for a good book is one of the most costly products of nature.
Fortunately, they need not be cheap, for it is not necessary to own many of
them. As soon as an International Copyright has given tone to the business
of writing and publishing books, and has restored the prices of them to the
just standard, we shall see a great increase of those facilities for
purchasing the opportunity to read a book without buying it, which have
placed the whole literature of the world at the command of an English
farmer who can spare a guinea or two per annum. It is not necessary, we
repeat, to possess many new books; it is only necessary to read them, get
the good of them, and give a hearty support to the library from which we
take them. The purchase of a book should be a serious and well-considered
act, not the hasty cramming of a thin, double-columned pamphlet into a
coat-pocket, to be read and cast aside at the bottom of a book-case. It is
an abominable extravagance to buy a great and good novel in a perishable
form for a few cents; it is good economy to pay a few dollars for one
substantially bound, that will amuse and inform generations. A good novel,
play, or poem can be reread every five years during a long life. When a
book is to be selected out of the mass, to become thenceforth part and
parcel of a home, let it be well printed and well bound, and, above all,
let it be of an edition to which the author has set the seal of his consent
and approbation. No one need fear that the addition of the author's ten per
cent to the price of foreign books will make them less accessible to the
masses of the people. It will make them more accessible, and it will tend
to make them better worth keeping.

When we consider the difficulties which now beset the publication of books
in the United States, we cannot but wonder at the liberality of American
publishers toward foreign authors,--a liberality which has met no return
from publishers in Europe. The first money that Herbert Spencer ever
received in his life from his _books_ was sent to him in 1861 by the
Appletons as his share of the proceeds of his "Essays upon Education"; and
every year since he has received upon all his works republished here the
percentage usually paid to native authors. This is so interesting a case,
and so forcibly illustrates many aspects of our subject, that we will dwell
upon it for a moment.

It will occasionally happen that an author is produced in a country who is
charged with a special message for another country. There will be something
in the cast of his mind, or in the nature of his subject, which renders his
writings more immediately or more generally suitable to the people of a
land other than his own. We might cite as an example Washington Irving,
who, though a sound American patriot, was essentially an English author,
and whose earlier works are so English that many English people read them
to this day, we are told, who do not suspect that the author was not their
countryman. Washington Irving owed his literary career to this fact! His
seventeen years' residence abroad enabled him to enjoy part of the
advantage which all great authors would derive from an International
Copyright, that is to say, he derived revenue from _both_ countries. During
the first half of his literary career, he drew the chief part of his income
from England; during the second half, when his Sketch-Book vein was
exhausted, and he was again an American resident, he derived his main
support from America. If he had never resided abroad, we never should have
had a Washington Irving; if he had not returned home, he would have been
sadly pinched in his old age. Alone among the American authors of his day
or of any day, he had the market of the world for his works; and he only,
of excellent American authors, has received anything like a compensation
for his labor. The entire proceeds of his works during his lifetime were
$205,383, of which about one third came to him from England. His average
income, during the fifty years of his authorship, was about four thousand
dollars a year. Less than any other of our famous authors he injured his
powers by over-production, and it was only the unsteadiness of his income,
the occasional failure of his resources, or the dread of a failure, that
ever induced him to take up his pen when exhausted nature cried, Forbear!
Cooper, on the contrary, who was read and robbed in every country, wrote
himself all out, and still wrote on, until his powers were destroyed and
his name was a by-word.

A case similar in principle to that of Irving was Audubon, the
indefatigable and amiable Audubon. The exceeding costliness of his "Birds
of America" protected that work as completely as an International Copyright
could; and, but for this, we never could have had it. Audubon enjoyed the
market of the world! The price of his wonderful work was a thousand
dollars, and, at that period, neither Europe nor America could furnish
purchasers enough to warrant him in giving it to the press. But Europe
_and_ America could! Europe and America _did_,--each continent taking about
eighty copies. The excellent Audubon, therefore, was not ruined by his
brave endeavor to honor his country and instruct mankind. He ended his days
in peace in that well-known villa on the banks of the Hudson, continuing
his useful and beautiful labors to the last, and leaving to his sons the
means of perfecting what he left incomplete.

But to return to Herbert Spencer, the author of "Social Statics"; or, as we
call it, Jeffersonian Democracy, illustrated and applied. Unconnected with
the governing classes of his own country, escaping the universities, bred
to none of the professions, and inheriting but a slender patrimony, he
earned a modest and precarious livelihood by contributing to the
periodicals, and wrung from his small leisure the books that England
needed, but would not buy. An American citizen, Professor Youmans, felt all
their merit, and perceived how adapted they were to the tastes and habits
of the American mind, and how skilfully the ideas upon which America is
founded were developed in them. He also felt, as we have heard him say,
that, next to the production of excellent works, the most useful thing a
man can do in his generation is to aid in giving them currency. Aided by
other lovers of his favorite author, he was soon in a position to bear
part of the heavy expense of stereotyping Mr. Spencer's works; and thus
Messrs. Appleton were enabled, not only to publish them, but to afford the
author as large a share of the proceeds as though he had been a resident of
the United States. Thus Herbert Spencer, by a happy accident, enjoys part
of the advantage which would accrue to all his brethren from an
International Copyright; and we have the great satisfaction of knowing,
when we buy one of his volumes, that we are not defrauding our benefactor.

Charles Scribner habitually pays English authors a part of the profit
derived from their republished works. Max Müller, Mr. Trench, and others
who figure upon his list, derive revenue from the sale of their works in
America. Mr. Scribner considers it both his duty and his interest to
acquire all the right to republish which a foreign author can bestow; and
he desires to see the day when the law will recognize and secure the most
obvious and unquestionable of all rights, the right of an author to the
product of his mind.

We trust Messrs. Ticknor and Fields will not regard it as an affront to
their delicacy if we allude here to facts which recent events have in part
disclosed to the public. This house, on principle, and as an essential part
of their system, send to foreign authors a share of the proceeds of their
works, and this they have habitually done for twenty-five years. The first
American edition of the Poems of Mr. Tennyson, published by them in 1842,
consisted of one thousand copies, and it was three years in selling; but
upon this edition a fair acknowledgment in money was sent to the poet.
Since that time, Mr. Tennyson has received from them a certain equitable
portion of the proceeds of all the numerous editions of his works which
they have issued. Mr. Fields, with great labor and some expense, collected
from periodicals and libraries a complete set of the works of Mr. De
Quincey, which the house published in twenty-two volumes, the sale of which
was barely remunerative; but the author received, from time to time, a sum
proportioned to the number of volumes sold. Mr. Fields has been recently
gathering the "Early and Late Papers" of Mr. Thackeray, one volume of which
has been published, to the great satisfaction of the public. Miss Thackeray
has already received a considerable sum for the sale of the first edition.
Mr. Browning, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Reade, the Country Parson, Mr. Kingsley, Mr.
Matthew Arnold, Dr. John Brown, Mr. Mayne Reid, Mr. Dickens, have been
dealt with in a similar manner; some of them receiving copyright, and
others a sum of money proportioned to the sale or expected sale of their
works. Nor has the appearance of rival editions been allowed to diminish
the author's share of the profits realized upon the editions published with
their consent. Mr. Tennyson counts upon the American part of his income
with the same certainty as upon that which he derives from the sale of his
works in England, although he cannot secure his Boston publishers the
exclusive market of the United States. We dare not comment upon these
facts, because, if we were to indulge our desire to do so, the passage
would be certain "to turn up missing" upon the printed page, since Messrs.
Ticknor and Fields live two hundred miles nearer the office of the Atlantic
Monthly than we do. Happily, comment is needless. Every man who has either
a conscience or a talent for business will recognize either the propriety
or the wisdom of their conduct. Upon this rock of fair-dealing the eminent
and long-sustained prosperity of this house is founded.

The following note appeared recently in "The Athenæum":--

     "May I, without egotism, mention in your paper that
     Messrs. Harper, of New York, have sent me, quite
     unsolicited, a money acknowledgment for reprinting, in
     their cheap series, two of my novels, 'Lizzie Lorton of
     Greyrigg' and 'Sowing the Wind.' At a time when so many
     complaints are being made of American publishers, it
     is pleasant to be able to record this voluntary act of
     grace and courtesy from so influential a house.

                       "E. LYNN LINTON."

Complaints, then, are made of American publishers! This is pleasant. We say
again, that, after diligent inquiry, we cannot hear of one instance of an
English publisher sending money to an American author for anything but
advance sheets. Mr. Longfellow is as popular a poet in England as Mr.
Tennyson is in America, and he has, consequently, as before remarked,
received considerable sums for early sheets, but nothing, we believe, upon
the annual sale of his works, nothing from the voluntary and spontaneous
justice of his English publishers. We have no right, perhaps, to censure
men for not going beyond the requirements of law; but still less can we
withhold the tribute of our homage to those who are more just than the law
compels, and this tribute is due to several publishers on this side of the
Atlantic. But then there remains the great fact against us, that England is
willing to-day, and we are not, to throw the protection of international
law around this most sacred interest of civilization.

Would that it were in our power to give adequate expression to the mighty
debt we owe, as a people, to the living and recent authors of Europe! But
who can weigh or estimate the invisible and widely diffused influence of a
book? There are sentences in the earlier works of Carlyle which have
regenerated American souls. There are chapters in Mill which are reforming
the policy of American nations. There are passages in Buckle which give the
key to the mysteries of American history. There are lines in Tennyson which
have become incorporated into the fabric of our minds, and flash light and
beauty upon our daily conversation. There are characters in Dickens which
are extinguishing the foibles which they embody, and pages of Thackeray
which kill the affectations they depict. What a colossal good to us is Mr.
Grote's "History of Greece"! Miss Mulock, George Eliot, Charles Reade,
Charlotte Brontë, Kinglake, Matthew Arnold, Charles Kingsley, Ruskin,
Macaulay,--how could we spare the least of them? Take from our lives the
happiness and the benefit which we have derived from the recent authors of
Europe; take from the future the silent, ceaseless working of their
spirits,--so antidotal to all that remains in us of colonial, provincial,
and superstitious,--and what language could state, ever so inadequately,
the loss we and posterity should experience? And let us not lay the mean
unction to our souls that money cannot repay such services as these. It
can! It can repay it as truly and as fully as sixpence pays for a loaf of
bread that saves a shipwrecked hero's life. The baker gets his own; he is
satisfied, and holy justice is satisfied. This common phrase, "making
money," is a poor, mean way of expressing an august and sacred thing; for
the money which fairly comes to us, in the way of our vocation, is, or
ought to be, the measure of our worth to the community we serve. It is
honor, safety, education, leisure, children's bread, wife's dignity and
adornment, pleasant home, society, an independent old age, comfort in
dying, and solace to those we leave behind us. Money is the representative
of all the substantial good that man can bestow on man. And money justly
earned is never withheld without damage to the withholder and to the
interest he represents.

We often think of the case of Dion Boucicault, the one man now writing the
English language who has shown a very great natural aptitude for telling a
story in the dramatic form. For thirty years we have been witnessing his
plays in the United States. A fair share of the nightly receipts of the
theatres in which they were played would have enriched him in the prime of
his talent, or, in other words, have delivered him from that temptation to
over-production which has wellnigh destroyed his powers. He never received
any revenue from us until he came here and turned actor. He gets a little
money now by associating with himself an American friend, who writes a few
sentences of a play, then brings it to New York and disposes of it to
managers as their joint production. But what an exquisite shame it is for
us to compel an artist to whom we owe so many delightful hours to resort to
an artifice in order to be able to sell the product of his talent! Our
injustice, too, damages ourselves even more than it despoils him; for if we
had paid him fairly for "London Assurance" and "Old Heads and Young
Hearts," if he had found a career in the production of plays, he might not
have been lured from his vocation, and might have written twenty good
plays, instead of a hundred good, bad, indifferent, and atrocious. We cheat
him of our part of the just results of his lifetime's labor, and he flings
back at us his anathema in the form of a "Flying Scud." Think of Sheridan
Knowles, too, deriving nothing from our theatres, in which his dramas have
been worn threadbare by incessant playing! To say that they are trash is
not an infinitesimal fraction of an excuse; for it is just as wrong to
steal paste as it is to steal diamonds. We liked the trash well enough to
appropriate it. Besides, he really had the knack of constructing a telling
play, which, it seems, is one of the rarest gifts bestowed upon man, and
the one which affords the most intense pleasure to the greatest number of

Why, we may ask in passing, did the English stage languish for so many
years? It was because the money that should have compensated dramatists
enriched actors; because the dramatist that wrote "Black-eyed Susan" was
paid five pounds a week, and the actor that played William received four
thousand pounds during the first run of the play. In France, where the
drama flourishes, it is the actor who gets five pounds a week, and the
dramatist who gets the thousands of pounds for the first run; and this
just distribution of profits is infinitely the best, in the long run, for

There is still an impression prevalent in the world, that there is no
connection between good work and good wages in this kind of industry. There
was never a greater mistake. A few great men, exceptional in character as
in circumstances, blind like Milton, exiled like Dante, prisoners like
Bunyan and Cervantes, may have written for solace, or for fame, or from
benevolence; but, as a rule, _nothing gets the immortal work from
first-rate men but money_. We need only mention Shakespeare, for every one
knows that he wrote plays simply and solely as a matter of business, to
draw money into the treasury of his theatre. He was author and publisher,
actor as well, and thus derived a threefold benefit from his labors.
Molière, too, the greatest name in the literature of France, and the second
in the dramatic literature of the world, was author, actor, and manager.
Play-writing was the career of these great men. It was their business and
vocation; and it is only in the way of his business and vocation that we
can, as a rule, get from an artist the best and the utmost there is in him.
Common honesty demands that a man shall do his best when he works for his
own price. His honor and his safety are alike involved. All our courage and
all our cowardice, all our pride and all our humility, all our generosity
and all our selfishness, all that can incite and all that can scare us to
exertion, may enter into the complex motive that is urging us on when we
are doing the work by which we earn our right to exist. Nothing is of great
and lasting account,--not religion, nor benevolence, nor law, nor
science,--until it is so organized that honest and able men can live by it.
Then it lures talent, character, ambition, wealth, and force to its support
and illustration. The whole history of literature, so far as it is known,
shows that literature flourishes when it is fairly rewarded, and declines
when it is robbed of its just compensation. Mr. Reade has admirably
demonstrated this in his "Eighth Commandment," a little book as full of
wit, fact, argument, eloquence, and delicious audacity as any that has
lately appeared.

There has been but one country in which literature has ever succeeded in
raising itself to the power and dignity of a profession, and it is the only
country which has ever enjoyed a considerable part of the market of the
world for its literary wares. This is France, which has a kind of
International Copyright in its language. Educated Russia reads few books
that are not French, and in every country of Christendom it is taken for
granted that an educated person reads this language. Wherever in Europe or
America or India or Australia many books are sold, some French books are
sold. Here in New York, for example, we have had for many years an elegant
and well-appointed French bookstore, in which the standard works of French
literature are temptingly displayed, and the new works are for sale within
three weeks after their publication in Paris. Many of our readers, too,
must have noticed the huge masses of French books exhibited in some of the
second-hand bookstores of Nassau Street. French books, in fact, form a very
considerable part of the daily business of the bookstores in every capital
of the world. Nearly one hundred subscribers were obtained in the United
States for the _Nouvelle Biographie_ in forty-six volumes, the total cost
of which, bound, was more than two hundred of our preposterous dollars.
Besides this large and steady sale of their works in every city on earth,
French authors enjoy a protection to their rights at home which is most
complete, and they address a public accustomed to pay for new books a
price, in determining which the author was considered. Mr. Reade informs us
that a first-rate dramatic success in Paris is worth to the author six
thousand pounds sterling, and that this six thousand pounds is very
frequently drawn from the theatre after a larger sum has been obtained for
the same work in the form of a novel.

What is the effect? Literature in France, as we have said, is one of the
liberal professions. Literary men are an important and honorable order in
the state. The press teems with works of real value and great cost. The
three hundred French dramatists supply the theatres of Christendom with
plays so excellent, that not even the cheat of "adaptation" can wholly
conceal their merit. Great novels, great histories, great essays and
treatises, important contributions to science, illustrated works of the
highest excellence, compilations of the first utility, marvellous
dictionaries and statistical works, appear with a frequency which nothing
but a universal market could sustain. In whatever direction public
curiosity is aroused, prompt and intelligent efforts are made to gratify
it. Nothing more surprises an American inquirer than the excellent manner
in which this mere task-work, these "booksellers' jobs," as we term them,
are executed in Paris. That _Nouvelle Biographie_ of which we have spoken
is so faithfully done, and is so free from any perverseness or narrowness
of nationality, that it would be a good enterprise in any of the reading
countries to publish a translation of it just as it stands. French
literature follows the general law, that, as the volume of business
increases, the quality of the work done improves. The last French work
which the pursuit of our vocation led us to read was one upon the
Mistresses of Louis XV., by Edmond and Jules de Goncourt. We need not say
how such a subject as this would be treated by the cheated hirelings of the
Yellow Cover. This work, on the contrary, is an intelligent historical
study of a period when mistresses governed France; and the passages in the
work which touch upon the adulterous tie which gave fair France over to
these vampires are managed with a delicacy the most perfect. The present
hope of France is in her literature. Her literary men are fast educating
that interesting and virtuous people to the point when they will be able to
regain their freedom and keep it safe from nocturnal conspirators. They
would have done it ere now, but for the woful fact that only half of their
countrymen can read, and are thus the helpless victims of a perjured
Dutchman and his priests.

What the general knowledge of the French language has done for French
literature, all of that, and more than that, an International Copyright law
would do for the literature of Great Britain and the United States. Here
are four great and growing empires, Great Britain, the United States, the
Dominion of Canada, and the states of Australia, in which the same language
is spoken and similar tastes prevail. In all these nations there is a
spirit abroad which will never rest content until the whole population are
readers, and those readers will be counted by hundreds of millions. Already
they are so numerous, that one first-rate literary success, one book
excellent enough to be of universal interest, would give the author leisure
for life, if his rights were completely protected by international law.
What a field for honorable exertion is this! And how can these empires fail
to grow into unity when the cultivated intelligence of them all shall be
nourished from the same sources, and bow in homage to the same commanding
minds? Wanting this protection, the literature of both countries
languishes. The blight of over-production falls upon immature genius,
masterpieces are followed by labored and spiritless repetitions, and men
that have it in them to inform and move mankind grind out task-work for
daily bread. One man, one masterpiece, that is the general law. Not one
eminent literary artist of either country can be named who has not injured
his powers and jeoparded his fame by over-production. We do not address a
polite note to Elias Howe, and ask him how much he would charge for a
"series" of inventions equal in importance to the sewing-machine. We
merely enable him to demand a dollar every time that _one_ conception is
used. Imagine Job applied to for a "series" of Books of Job. Not less
absurd is it to compel an author to try and write two Sketch-Books, two
David Copperfields, two Uncle Toms, two Jane Eyres, or two books like "The
Newcomes." When once a great writer has given such complete expression of
his experience as was given in each of those works, a long time must elapse
before his mind fills again to a natural overflow. But, alas! only a very
short time elapses before his purse empties.

It was the intention of the founders of this Republic to give complete
protection to intellectual property, and this intention is clearly
expressed in the Constitution. Justified by the authority given in that
instrument, Congress has passed patent laws which have called into exercise
an amount of triumphant ingenuity that is one of the great wonders of the
modern world; but under the copyright laws, enacted with the same good
intentions, our infant literature pines and dwindles. The reason is plain.
For a labor-saving invention, the United States, which abounds in
everything but labor, is field enough, and the inventor is rewarded; while
a great book cannot be remunerative unless it enjoys the market of the
whole civilized world. The readers of excellent books are few in every
country on earth. The readers of any one excellent book are usually very
few indeed; and the purchasers are still fewer. In a world that is supposed
to contain a thousand millions of people, it is spoken of as a marvel that
two millions of them bought the most popular book ever published,--one
purchaser to every five hundred inhabitants.

We say, then, to those members of Congress who go to Washington to do
something besides make Presidents, that time has developed a new necessity,
not indeed contemplated by the framers of the Constitution, yet covered by
the Constitution; and it now devolves upon them to carry out the evident
intention of their just and wise predecessors, which was, to secure to
genius, learning, and talent the certain ownership of their productions. We
want an international system which shall protect a kind of property which
cannot be brought to market without exposing it to plunder,--property in a
book being simply the right to multiply copies of it. We want this property
secured, for a sufficient period, to the creator of the value, so that no
property in a book can be acquired anywhere on earth unless by the gift or
consent of the author thereof. There are men in Congress who feel all the
magnitude and sacredness of the debt which they owe, and which their
country owes, to the authors and artists of the time. We believe such
members are more numerous now than they ever were before,--much more
numerous. It is they who must take the leading part in bringing about this
great measure of justice and good policy; and, as usual in such cases, some
one man must adopt it as his special vocation, and never rest till he has
conferred on mankind this immeasurable boon.


[2] Upon this expression Mr. Reade justly remarks: "This is a foolish and
inapplicable phrase. Free trade is free buying and selling, not free


    A man should live in a garret, I think,
      And have few friends, and be poorly clad,
    With an old hat stopping the wind in the chink,
      To keep the Goddess constant and glad.

    Of old, when I walked on a rugged way,
      And gave much work for but little bread,
    The Goddess dwelt with me night and day,
      Sat at my table, haunted my bed.

    The narrow, mean attic, I see it now!--
      Its window o'erlooking the city's tiles,
    The sunset's fires, and the clouds of snow,
      And the river wandering miles and miles.

    Just one picture hung in the room,
      The saddest story that Art can tell,--
    Dante and Virgil in lurid gloom
      Watching the Lovers float through Hell.

    Wretched enough was I sometimes,
      Pinched, and harassed with vain desires;
    But thicker than clover sprung the rhymes
      As I dwelt like a sparrow among the spires.

    Midnight filled my slumbers with song;
      Music haunted my dreams by day:
    Now I listen and wait and long,
      But the Delphian airs have died away!

    I wonder and wonder how it befell:
      Suddenly I had friends in crowds;
    I bade the house-tops a long farewell;
      "Good by," I cried, "to the stars and clouds!

    "But thou, rare soul, that hast dwelt with me,
      Spirit of Poesy! thou divine
    Breath of the morning, thou shalt be,
      Goddess! for ever and ever mine."

    And the woman I loved was now my bride,
      And the house I wanted was my own;
    I turned to the Goddess satisfied,--
      But the Goddess had somehow flown!

    Flown, and I fear she will never return!
      I'm much too sleek and happy for her,
    Whose lovers must hunger, and waste, and burn,
      Ere the beautiful heathen heart will stir!

    I call,--but she does not stoop to my cry;
      I wait,--but she lingers, and ah! so long!
    It was not so in the years gone by,
      When she touched my lips with chrism of song.

    I swear I will get me a garret again,
      And let the wee wife see the sunset's fires,
    And lure the Goddess, by vigil and pain,
      Up with the sparrows among the spires!

    For a man should live in a garret aloof,
      And have few friends, and be poorly clad,
    With an old hat stopping the chink in the roof,
      To keep the Goddess constant and glad!


Early on the morning of the 13th of September, 1855, a most fantastic and
picturesque procession--in which the formal and arrogant simplicities of a
nice Western civilization, and the grotesque and insolent ostentations of a
crude Oriental barbarism, with all the splendid riddles of its far-fetched
type-and-symbolry, were blended in a rich bizarreness--formed in the main
street of the western suburb of "the Immortal City" of Amarapoora, and
moved toward the palace of "him who reigns over the kingdoms of
Thunaparanta, Tampadépa, and all the great umbrella-bearing chiefs of the
Eastern countries,"--the Lord of Earth and Water, King of the Rising Sun,
Lord of the Sacred White Elephant and of all white elephants, Master of the
Celestial Weapon, and Great Chief of Life and Righteousness,--called, "for
short," Mendoon-men, King of Ava. An imposing deputation of Woons and other
grandees, with their respective "tails," were escorting the newly arrived
Envoy of the Governor-General of India, and his suite, from their Residency
on the south shore of the lake Toung-ah-mah-Eing below the city, to the
Hall of the Throne of the Golden Foot, there to have audience of that
great, glorious, and most excellent Majesty, whose dominions are bounded
only by the imagination--and here and there a British customhouse; and
whose excursions of dreadful power are stayed only by the forbearing fiat
of Boodh--and now and then some British bayonets.

The escort was illustrious: there were the old Nan-ma-dau-Phra Woon, or
Lord-Governor of the Queen's Palace; the Woondouk Mhoung Mhon, a minister
of the second order in the High Court and Council; and the Tara-Thoogyi, or
Chief Judge of Amarapoora; besides other magnificos of less note, but all
very fine in their heavy, wide-sleeved court robes of crimson velvet, laced
with a broad edging of Benares brocade. On their heads they wore high
mitres, also of crimson velvet, curving backward in a volute, and encircled
at the base with a coronet of tinsel spear-heads. It is the _ton_ at court
to wear these mitres excessively tight, and to carry a little ivory blade,
modelled like a shoe-horn, with which the cap of honor is drawn on, and all
"vagrom" locks of hair "comprehended." The _tsalwé_ (a Burman badge of
nobility, derived from the Brahminical triple cord, and having three, six,
nine, or even twelve threads, according to the distinction conferred on the
wearer), and a trumpet-shaped ear-tube of gold, complete the official

The royal presents from England, guarded by the British-Indian cavalry
escort, had been sent forward over a long bridge which spanned the southern
end of the Toung-ah-mah, to await on the other side the arrival of the
Envoy. There was a superb carriage for the King, which, being too wide to
pass the bridge, was towed across the lake on a raft.

That was a brilliant scene, the passage of the lake; and the picturesque
elements almost surpassed the fantastic;--the jolly-boats of the steamers,
leading the way with the men of her Majesty's 84th, followed by the
Zenobia's gig, bearing the Governor-General's letter, with the Honorable
East India Company's jack saucily flaunting at the bow; then other gigs and
cutters, with the Envoy's suite; and, lastly, a gorgeously gilded war-boat,
carrying the Envoy and the Woons, with fifty Burman oarsmen rowing to a
wild chant. The white spire and pinnacles of the Ananda temple, with its
grove of noble cotton-trees and tall palms, sharply defined against the
boldly diversified ranges of the Shan Mountains, formed the background of
the picture, which derived rich color and grotesque action from the Burmese
soldiers of the Envoy's guard lining the banks, and the hurly-burly of
half-naked, splashing villagers, waist-deep in the lake,--_salvages

First in the procession went the cases of royal presents, borne by Burmese
porters on bamboo litters, and followed by four Arab horses and an English
carriage for the King; next came the cavalry and infantry of the Envoy's
Anglo-Indian escort, preceded by a band; behind these, the Secretary of the
mission on an elephant, with the Governor-General's letter under the
Company's jack; the Envoy (Major Phayre) in a _tonjon_, attended by the
Nan-ma-dau Woon and the Woondouk on elephants; the British superintending
surgeon in Pegu, and the Tara-Thoogyi; a British special deputy
commissioner for the frontier, and one of the Tsa-re-dau-gyis, or Royal
Scribes; and all the rest of the British officials, each paired with a
Burmese _thoo-gyi_ or "great man," in a Burmese howdah.[3]

The route lay through the street called Ambassador's Row,--the very one by
which the Chinese Envoys entered Amarapoora sixty years before,--toward the
western central gate of the city. From lake to palace the way was fenced
with troops; but such troops!--fishermen and convicts, old men and
boys,--probably old women too, and girls,--the he and she Warts, Mouldys,
Shadows, Feebles, and Bullcalfs of the Immortal City. At every cross street
were officers on elephants, "men in gilt Mambrino helmets and mountebank
costumes, decked out with triple buckram capes, and shoulder lappets, and
paltry embroidery." But there were men in red jackets and _papier-maché_
helmets accompanying the procession, who appeared to be more at home with
their arms than these motley musketeers. Inside the city the streets were
flooded with water from a heavy rain the night before, and here the
soldiers were propped on little stools of bamboo, to keep them out of the
mud, while the officers occupied higher perches, each with his spittoon and
his box of betel. A great rabble of spectators, of whom many were
women,--not all uncomely or shabbily attired,--peeped through the endless
white lattice, or thronged the cross-streets,--all still and silent, with
wonder or suspicion.

Just as the escort, with fixed bayonets and martial music, turned up the
street leading to the eastern gate of the palace, and, halting, faced
inward for the party to pass, the procession of the Ein-shé-men, or heir
apparent, (Lord of the Eastern Palace,) came suddenly up from another road,
and crossed before them to enter the enclosure,--a stale trick of Burmese
jealousy and insolence to keep them waiting at the palace gate. Precedent,
which is a god in Burmah, has bestowed a sort of respectability upon this
exploit in bad manners, every British envoy having been treated so, from
Fleetwood to Phayre. The prince himself was conspicuous in a massive gilded
litter, borne by many sturdy fellows elaborately tattooed, while eight
long-shafted gold umbrellas flashed over his head. When he had entered the
gate, and it was closed behind him, his retinue, consisting of several
hundred soldiers, performed some intricate and tedious evolutions,
countermarching round an open circle, with the manifest purpose of
magnifying the apparent strength of the force, as well as of prolonging the
detention of the unwelcome strangers.

When Colonel Burney, who was sent as Resident to Ava in 1830, was detained
by the same manoeuvre at the stockade which encircles the palace wall,
some of his party were sharp enough to discover that many of the retainers,
as well as of the elephants and bands of music, after passing in the suite
of one prince, made a sly circuit to the rear, and appeared as part of the
tail of another prince.

As the Envoy and his suite dismounted, noon was struck by alternate strokes
on a great bell and a great drum, mounted on a square tower within the gate
called "Ywé-dau-yoo-Taga," or the Royal Gate of the Chosen, because it is
guarded by picked troops. By this gate they entered; but first the Envoy
took the Governor-General's letter from the Secretary, and carried it
himself. The Nan-ma-dau-Phra Woon and his august colleagues now threw off
their shoes, and the Woondouk strove ineffectually to induce the
representative of Great Britain to follow their loyal example. At four
different points, as they advanced to the inner gate, they even dropped on
their knees, and _shikhoed_, with their faces in the dust, toward the
palace; and again Burmah pressed Bull to take part in the pious services,
but the obstinate infidel _Kalá_[4] would not; for you see the world has
moved, and Anglo-Saxon backbones have stiffened, since Fleetwood wrote, in
1695: "As the palace gates were opened we fell down upon our knees, and
made three bows (_shikhos_), which done, we entered the garden, the
presents following; and having gone about half-way from the gate to the
place where the king was seated, we made three bows again as before. When
we got within fifteen yards of the king, we made three bows again, and were
ordered to sit down." Between Fleetwood and Phayre are two wars, several
annexations, "a lot" of custom-houses, and "no end" of bomb-shells.

The gilded colonnade, and the many-storied spire, conspicuous from all
sides of the city; the great inner court, with its groups of tumblers,
jugglers, and dancers, performing in the corners for the entertainment of
privileged spectators; the dirty grand-staircase, where, to their lively
disgust, the distinguished strangers, Envoy and all, had to leave their
shoes; the long wings of the structure, curiously resembling the transepts
of a cathedral; the choir-like centre; the altar-like throne; the tall,
lacquered columns, picked out in red at the base, and all ablaze with
gilding;--by these the great Hall of Audience was known; and here, on a
carpet in the centre, facing the throne, the Envoy and his party seated
themselves, doubling their legs behind them.

On a broad dais blazed the high throne, in all its barbaric gorgeousness of
carving and gilding,--competing in splendor with the awful seats of Guadma
in the temples, and surpassing the glory of the pulpit from which the High
Poonghyi[5] chants the beatitudes of the Boodh. On the top it was
luxuriously mattressed with crimson velvet, and on the left was a tall
elbow-cushion for the king. A carved portal, with gilded lattice doors,
opened from behind to the top level of the throne, which was wrought in a
sort of mosaic of gold, silver, and mirror-work. A few small figures,
representing the progenitors of the human race, occupied niches in the
central band, while on the edge of the dais stood five royal emblems, in
the shape of gilded shafts, with small gilt labels or scrolls, like flags,
attached to them.

On each side of the dais were pew-like recesses, with railings; and rows of
expanded white umbrellas, fringed with muslin valances, (the royal
insignia,) were displayed along the walls behind the throne. The central
hall or aisle, in which the gentlemen of the mission sat, was laid with
velvet-pile carpet of Axminster or Lasswade; elsewhere there was matting
merely, except where the more distinguished officers of the court had their
separate carpets. A double row of young princes, in surcoats of gold and
silver brocade, with gay silk _putsos_, occupied the centre aisle in front
of the Envoy;--on the right, four sons of the King; on the left, four sons
of the Crown Prince. Farther forward, near the steps of the dais, the
Ein-shé-men himself was installed, in a sort of couch or carved litter,
scarcely raised above the floor. In his robes of Benares gold brocade, and
his superb mitre set with precious stones, he sat still as an effigy, never
turning round, but betraying his curiosity by the use he slyly made of a
small looking-glass. Behind the pillars on each side, and a little in
advance of the Englishmen, were the Woongyis, or principal minister of
state, constituting the Hlwot-dau, the High Court and Council; and nearer
to the steps of the dais were several elderly princes of the blood, "men of
sensual aspect and heavy jowl, like the heads of some of the burlier
Cæsars,--or, with their stiff robes and jewelled tiaras, perhaps recalling
certain of the old Popes."[6] Close to the Envoy's party were two of the
_Atwen-woons_, or Ministers of the Interior (Household) Council, and some
_Nekhan-daus_, "Royal Ears," besides other officers of the Palace and

The Envoy, on taking his seat, had deposited the salver with the
Governor-General's letter on a gilt stool covered with muslin, which had
been placed there to receive it. Little gilt stands, containing trays of
tobacco, pawn, _hlapet_, or pickled tea, and other curious confections,
neatly set out in golden cups and saucers, together with water-goglets and
gold drinking-cups, were then laid before the Kalá guests, the water being
faintly perfumed with musk.

At last, from some mysterious inner court of the palace came a burst of
music. From the verandas behind the throne a party of musketeers filed in,
and, taking position between the pillars on each side of the centre aisle,
knelt down, with their double-barrelled pieces between their knees, and
their hands clasped before them in an attitude of prayer.

As the last man entered the golden lattice doors, the doors rolled back
into the wall, and the King was seen, mounting a stair leading from a
chamber behind to the summit of the throne. He ascended slowly, using his
golden-sheathed _dhar_ as a staff to his laboring steps; and no wonder, for
his jewelled robe alone weighed one hundred pounds. Having dusted the
_gudhi_ with his own hand, by means of a small _chowree_, or fly-flapper,
he had brought with him, he took his seat on the left side of the throne,
resting his elbow on the velvet cushion, which had been covered with a
napkin. Then the Queen, who had followed him closely, seated herself by his
side,--on the right, and a little behind him,--where she received from the
hands of female attendants, who showed themselves but for a moment, the
golden spittoon and other ungraceful conveniences, which, on all occasions
and in all places, must be at the elbow of every Burmese dignitary. Next,
she fanned herself for a few moments, and then she fanned the King; and
finally, having been served with a lighted cheroot by the shy fingers of
some mysterious maid of honor, she smoked in silent expectation.

The Lord of White Elephants and Righteousness is a portly man, with refined
features, an agreeable and intelligent expression, and delicate hands. He
wore a sort of long tunic, or surcoat, so thickly set with jewels that the
material, a kind of light-colored silk, was overlaid and almost hidden.
_Tha-ra-poo_, the crown, is a round tiara of similar material, in shape
like an Indian morion, surmounted by a spire-like ornament several inches
high, and expanding in flaps or wings over each ear.

The Queen, who, like all her predecessors, is her husband's half-sister,
wore a perfectly close cap, covering hair and ears, and forming, as it
rose, a conical crest, with the point curved forward in a volute, like the
horn of a rhinoceros, or the large nipper of a crab's claw; close lappets
hung over the cheeks. The rest of her Majesty's dress was oddly
Elizabethan; the sleeves and skirt in "successive overlapping scalloped
lappets"; around the throat a high collar, also scalloped or vandyked, and
continued in front to the waist, where blazed a stomacher, or breast-plate,
of great gems. Both cap and robe were stiff with diamonds. The Queen's name
is Tsoo-phragyi, and she is the eldest daughter of her husband's father,
King Tharawadi.

On a pedestal between their Majesties, in front of the throne, stood a
great golden figure of the _Henza_, or Sacred Goose,--the national emblem.

When the awful pair had fairly entered, the Englishmen for the first time
took off their hats; but the entire audience of subjects bowed their faces
to the earth, and clasped their hands before them. "The two rows of little
princes, who lay in file, doubled over one another like fallen books on a
shelf, and the two Atwen-woons, grovelled forward, in their frog-like
attitude, to a point about half-way to the throne."

Then some eight or ten Brahmins (two of whom are court astrologers), in
white stoles, and white mitres encircled with gold leaves, entered the
screened pew-like recesses near the throne, and struck up a choral chant in
Sanscrit; which done, one of them immediately followed in a solo hymn in
Burmese, which is thus translated by the Envoy, Major Phayre:--

1. "May the dangers and enmity which arise from the Ten Points be calmed
and subdued! May the affliction of disease never attach itself to thee; and
in accordance with the blessings declared in the sacred Pali, mayest thou
be continually victorious! May thy life be prolonged for more than a
hundred years, and may thy glory continue till the end of the world! Mayest
thou enjoy whatever is propitious, and may all evil be far from thee,--O

2. "Thy glorious reputation diffuses itself like the scent of the
sandal-wood, and exceeds the refulgence of the moon! Lord of the Celestial
Elephant,--of the Excellent White Elephant! Master of the Celestial Weapon!
Lord of Life, and Great Chief of Righteousness! Lineal descendant of
Mahatha-mada and Mahadha-mayadza! Like unto the Kings of the Universe, who
governed the four great islands of the solar system, and were versed in
charms and spells of fourteen descriptions, may thy glory be prolonged, and
thy life be extended, to more than a hundred years! Mayest thou enjoy
whatever is propitious, and may all evil be far from thee,--O KING!

3. "Great Chief of Righteousness! whose fame spreads like the fragrance of
sandal-wood, and exceeds the glorious light of the moon,--in whom is
concentrated all glory and honor,--who, with her Majesty, the Queen, the
lineal descendant of anointed kings, happily governest all,--may thy rule
extend, not only to the great Southern Island (the earth), which is tens of
thousands of miles in extent, but to all the four grand and five hundred
smaller Islands! May it equal the stability of the mountains Yoo-gan-toh,
Myen-mo, and Hai-ma-garee; and until the end of the world mayest thou and
thy descendants continue in unbroken line, unto the royal son and royal
great-grandson, that thy glory may endure for countless ages! And may thy
royal life be prolonged for more than a hundred years,--O KING!

4. "May our king be continually victorious! When the divine Buddha ascended
the golden throne, all created beings inhabiting millions of worlds became
his subjects, and he overcame all enemies. So may kings by hundreds and
thousands, and tens of thousands, come with offerings of celestial weapons,
white elephants, flying horses, virgins, and precious stones of divers
sorts, and do homage to the Golden Feet, which resemble the germs of the
lotos,--O KING!"

Now, even for an exploit in poetical license, that is sublimely cool,
considering that a mere yesterday of thirty years has sufficed to strip the
Throne of the Golden Foot of dominions which were the gradual acquisition
of more than two bloody centuries of drunken lust, and that the dread Lord
of Life and Master of the Celestial Weapon well knew that day that he no
longer had access to the sea save through many leagues of British
territory,--considering that the chronicle of the Burmese kings is one of
the bloodiest chapters in the book of Time, a record of hell-engendered
monsters, conceived in incest, brought forth in insanity, trained to the
very sport of slaughter, and doomed to quick assassination or the most
summary deposition and disgrace,--considering that even this "just and
humane" Mendoon-men himself had deposed his cock-fighting brother, the
Pagán-men, and sacked and burned his capital, and that even now he held him
a close prisoner, poor and despised, in a corner of the fortified
city,--and finally, that even as that pæan of infatuation ascends to the
besotted ears of the King, given up of God to believe lies, his own
brother, the Ein-shé-men, possessed of a devil of precedent, crouches like
a tiger below the dais, and plots assassination and usurpation in his
cunning bit of looking-glass.

The chants concluded, the Tara-Thoogyi read from a _parabeik_, or black
note-book, an address to the King, stating that the offerings his Majesty
purposed making to certain pagodas at the capital were ready. "Let them be
dedicated!" said one of the officials solemnly; and the music was renewed.
This dedication, the chant of the Brahmins, and the singular ceremony of
_A-beit-theit_ (literally, a pouring out of water on a solemn occasion),
together constitute the formal inauguration of a royal sitting. Then the
Governor-General's letter was drawn from its cover, and read aloud by a
Than-daugan, or Receiver of the Royal Voice, who also read the list of
presents for the King and Queen. A railway model, contributed by Sir
Macdonald Stephenson, was immediately produced and exhibited in the
Hall,--the only one of the presents uncovered there,--and excited lively
interest among the Burmese. All the readings were intoned in a high
recitative, like the English Cathedral service; and the long-drawn
"Phrá-á-á-á!" (My Lord!) was delivered like the "Amen" of the Liturgy.

After this, his Majesty, without moving his lips, but speaking by an
Atwen-woon, who discharged for that occasion the function of Royal Tongue,
condescended to address to the Envoy three formal questions, prescribed by
custom and precedent, thus:--

_Royal Tongue._ "Is the English ruler well?"

_Envoy._ "The English ruler is well."

_Receiver of the Royal Voice_ (in a loud tone). "By reason of your
Majesty's great glory and excellence, the English ruler is well; and
therefore, with obeisance, I represent the same to your Majesty."

_Royal Tongue._ "How long is it since you left the English country?"

_Envoy._ "It is now fifty-five days since we left Bengal, and have arrived,
and lived happily, at the Royal City."

_Receiver of the Royal Voice._ "By reason of your Majesty's great glory
and excellence it is fifty-five days since the Envoy left the English
country, and he has now happily arrived at the Golden Feet. Therefore, with
obeisance," &c., &c.

_Royal Tongue._ "Are the rain and air propitious, so that the people live
in happiness and ease?"

_Envoy._ "The seasons are favorable, and the people live in happiness."

_Receiver of the Royal Voice._ "By reason of your Majesty's great glory and
excellence, the rain and air are propitious, and the people live in

And here the awful conversation came to a profound close. Gifts were
presently bestowed on all the officers of the mission;--to the Envoy a gold
cup embossed with the zodiacal signs, a fine ruby, a tsalwé of nine cords,
and a handsome putso; to other officers, a plain gold cup, ring, and putso,
or a ring and putso only.

Then the King rose to depart, the Queen assisting him to rise, and
afterward using the royal dhar to help herself up. "They passed through the
gilded lattice, the music played again, the doors rolled out from the wall,
and we were told that we might retire."

On the twenty-first, Major Phayre had a private interview, by appointment,
with the King. The reception was almost _en famille_. As the Envoy
approached the palace, he found the assembled court under a circular
temporary building, called a _Mandat_, where music and dancing were going
on,--the King half reclined on a kind of sofa in a room raised several feet
above the level of the mandat. The Envoy was led forward and shown to a
place among the ministers, who, as well as all the rest of the company,
were seated on the ground,--only the dancers standing. Outside squatted
guards in red jackets, with red _papier-maché_ helmets, and muskets with
the buts resting between their legs. Eight couples of men and women were
dancing. The King did not speak to Major Phayre, but, on the contrary,
retired as he entered, and sent him word that he would see him in another
room; where again he found his Majesty reclining on a sofa, no longer in
imperial costume, but the ordinary garb of the country,--a silk putso, or
waist-cloth, of gay colors, a white cotton jacket, reaching a little below
the hips, and a single fillet of book-muslin twisted round his head. On his
left, at a little distance, were some half-dozen of his sons, "of all ages
up to sixteen years," crouching on the ground, with their chins touching
it. A band of girls in fantastic court-dresses were in an anteroom,
discoursing soft music on stringed instruments. One of the Atwen-woons,
with several other officers of the court, and a few pages, had followed the
Envoy, and now sat together near the end of the room. The King held up his
hand, and the music ceased. He then requested the Envoy to notice some
large imitation lotos-flowers in a vase; and as he spoke, the buds, which
had been closed, suddenly expanded, and out of one of them flew a solitary
sparrow. The king smiled, and one of the company said, "Each bud had a bird
imprisoned, but they managed to escape, all but this one."

Then the King said to the Envoy, "Have you read the Mengala-thoot?"

"I have, your Majesty."

"Do you know the meaning of it?"

"I do. I have read the Burmese interpretation."

"How many precepts does it contain?"


"Do you remember them?"

The Envoy did not; so the King repeated some of the precepts of this
summary of beatitude,--a sermon of Guadma's, containing thirty rules of
life, against pride, anger, evil associates, and the like.

Then followed much talk about a treaty which the Envoy was anxious to
procure; but the King, with diplomatic adroitness, put him off; for the
Burmese hate treaties, and always break them. Said his Majesty, very dryly:
"I have heard a great deal of you, and that you are wise and well
disposed. I should not have taken the same pains to receive every one; I
should have done according to custom. You have commenced well. But in a
man's life, and in every transaction, there is a beginning, a middle, and
an end,"--illustrating the remark by running his finger along the hilt of
his dhar of state, which lay on a stand before him.

"Did you receive the marble pagoda I sent you?"

"I did, your Majesty, and have brought a singing-bird box, as a token of my

"I am going to bestow on you a ring, which you will find very curious."

Here a ring, half sapphire and half topaz, was brought in, and presented to
the Envoy.

The King expressed a wish to engage some one to take charge of his ruby
mines, and especially his lively desire to procure a model of a human
skeleton, made of wood, and so arranged that the action of the joints in
sitting and rising should be shown. The Envoy promised to attend to this.
Some trays of cakes and sweetmeats were then brought in, and the King,
having particularly recommended one or two of the dishes to the Envoy,
retired. During the interview his Majesty behaved with much courtesy and
kindness. One of his children, about eighteen months old, ran in two or
three times, naked as he was born, and climbed up on the couch; the young
sons now and then lighted the King's cheroot, and gave him water to drink.

On the 2d of October the Envoy is again with the King in the small
pavilion; about a hundred persons are present, including two Atwen-woons,
the Nan-ma-dau-Phra Woon, and several Shan Tsaub-was, but none of the
Woongyis. The King asked the Envoy if he had been to the Pyee-Kyoung to see
the Tshaya-dau, or Royal Teacher, Patriarch or Bishop of all the Monks.

"I have, your Majesty."

"Did he discourse to you, and did you approve of what he said?"

"He discoursed on moral duties, and what he said was very proper."

"You know what we call the Ten Virtues.[7] Do you approve of them?"

"They are most excellent."

"What length of time, according to your books, is a Kamba?" (A complete
revolution of nature, a geological period, it might almost be called.)

"Our books, your Majesty, do not contain that."

"Well, we say that in a Kamba the life period of man gradually advances
from the limit of ten years to an Athenkhya,[8] and then gradually
diminishes from that down to ten years again. When that has been repeated
sixty-four times it constitutes a period, which again is repeated
sixty-four times; and when four such compound periods have been repeated,
the whole era is called a Kamba, or a grand revolution of the universe. The
world is then destroyed, and a new era commences."

The King then entered into a long discourse on the history of the
Mahan-Zat, or life of Guadma in one of his former births, the gist of which
was that a king who had a wise minister could get anything he set his heart
upon. After which he related the story of a king of Benares, who had three
birds' eggs brought to him; one produced a parrot, one an owl, and the
other a _mainah_; and to each of these, in course of time, a department of
the state was intrusted, but the highest, politics, fell to the parrot.

"I believe," to the Envoy, ironically, "your English kings have existed for
two hundred years or more. Have they not?"

"The English nation, your Majesty, have had kings to reign over them for
fifteen hundred years."

"_My_ ancestors have come in regular descent from King Mahatha-mada" (the
first king who established government on the earth,--many millions of years
ago, at the beginning of the present Kamba, in fact).

_Envoy_ (to one of the Atwen-woons, to show that he knew that no such king
had ever reigned in Burmah). "Which of the royal cities did Mahatha-mada

The Atwen-woon only stared.

"O," said the quick-witted Woondouk, "that king reigned in
Myit-tshe-ma-detha [_the Middle land_, India]."

_King._ "Our race once reigned in all the countries you hold. Now the Kalás
have come close up to us."

_Envoy._ "It is very true, your Majesty."

"Have you read any part of our Maha-Radza-Weng [_Chronicles of the

"I have read portions of them, your Majesty, and am very anxious to read

"Well, I will present you with a complete copy, and also a copy of the 550
Zats, and the Mahan-Zats; and when you come again I shall expect to find
that you have studied them. I should like to have a copy of your Radza-Weng
[_History of Kings_]."

"That I will present to your Majesty."

"It is only right, and the part of a wise man, to gather instruction from
the records of the past and the works of sages. By the study of these books
you will be enabled to divine people's thoughts from their appearance, and
may aspire to the most difficult of all attainments,--the discerning of
which is the greater principle, matter or spirit."

The King then inquired if the Envoy had visited the Royal Tanks, at
Oungben-lé and other places, which had been recently constructed.

"I have not, your Majesty; but I purpose going."

"I have caused ninety-nine tanks and ancient reservoirs to be dug, or
repaired, and sixty-six canals, whereby a great deal of rice land will be
made available. In the reign of Naurabha-dzyai 9999 tanks and canals were
constructed. I purpose renewing them."

"Ninety-nine" in Burmese signifies a large number merely. Thus, Captain
Hannay was told that there were ninety-nine _jheels_, or lakes, in the
district of Tagoung. An ancient king of Aracan is said to have founded
ninety-nine cities on each side of the Aracan River. The Burmese speak of
the ninety-nine towns of the Shan country. Duttagamini, king of Ceylon, is
said to have built ninety-nine great temples. The Buddhist physiology
reckons ninety-nine joints and ninety-nine thousand pores of the human

At a later interview, the Envoy took particular note of the personal
appearance of this royal barbarian. His skin was smooth and clear, and his
bright black eyes twinkled, and displayed a true Chinese obliquity when he
laughed, as he did every two or three minutes. His mustache was good, his
throat and jaws were very massive, his chest and arms remarkably well
developed, and his hands clean and small. The retreating forehead, which
marked him as a descendant of Alompra, was especially conspicuous.

He reclined, in a characteristic attitude, on a splendid sofa, wrought in
mosaic of gilding and looking-glass, spread with a rich yellow velvet
mattress, bordered with crimson; and a corresponding rug, of crimson
bordered with yellow, was spread below for the regalia. These consisted of
a fantastic gilded ornament, "in size and shape much like a pair of stag's
antlers," festooned with a muslin scarf, and intended to receive the royal
dhar; and of the large golden Henza, set with precious stones. Other royal
paraphernalia, such as the golden spittoon and salver, and the stand for
the water-goglet, with its conical golden cover set with gems, were brought
in and deposited on the rug when his Majesty appeared. Dancing-women were
performing in the central aisle before the throne, to the music of a group
of female minstrels, gayly attired, and crowned with pagoda-shaped tiaras,
like those worn by the princes in the plays.

Speaking of the Maha-Radza-Weng, and other books which he had ordered to be
brought for the Envoy, the King said: "The mass of earth, water, and air
which composes the Great Island [the earth] and Mount Myen-mo is vast, but
learning is more stupendous still, and great labor is necessary to acquire
it. Do you [the Envoy] know how many elements there are in a man's body?"

"I cannot inform your Majesty."

"The body consists of a great number of particles, small as flour or dust.
One hair of the head appears like a single fibre, yet it is made up of a
great number of smaller fibres; just as one of the long ropes you sound the
depth of water with is composed of many short fibres. Of the elements,
earth enters into the bones, and water into the hair."

In this connection, Captain Yule has an interesting note to the first
chapter of his narrative:--"There seems to turn up now and then in the
science of the Buddhists a very curious parody, as it were, or chance
suggestion, of some of the great truths or speculations of modern science;
just as there are circumstances of their religion which seem to run
parallel with circumstances and forms of Christianity or Christian
churches, and which made the old Jesuit fathers think that the Devil had,
of malice aforethought, prepared these travesties of Christian rites and
mysteries among the heathen, in order to cast ridicule on the Church, and
bar her progress. An example of what I allude to is found here, as regards
electricity, in their apparent knowledge of the non-conducting power of
glass. In the Buddhist theory of the universe, we have an infinity of
contemporary systems, each provided with its sun and planets, analogous to
the commonly received opinion of the plurality of worlds. We have also
their infinite succession of creations and destructions by fire or water,
analogous to a formerly popular geological theory. They hold the
circulation of the blood, after a fashion. The King's conversations at
Amarapoora indicated his belief in the atomic constitution of the body, and
of the existence of a microscopic world, though his illustrations were not
accurate. And when Mr. Crawfurd published his account of fossil elephant
bones from the Irrawaddi, Colonel Burney tells us that the Burmese
philosophers expressed much satisfaction at the discovery, as establishing
the doctrine of their books. These taught that in former times there were
ten species of elephants, but that the smallest species alone survived."

The King inquired who of the English gentlemen were then present.

_Woondouk._ "There are Captain Yule, the Secretary to the Mission (_Letya
Bogyee_, or right-hand chief); Dr. Forsyth (_Tshaya Woon_, or supreme over
the teachers); Professor Oldham, the geologist (_Kyouk Tshaya_, or rock
teacher); and Major Allan (_Meaday Woon_ and _Mhan Byoung Bo_, telescope

_King._ "Major Allan is a good man. Does he speak Burmese?"

"A little, your Majesty."

"Not so much as the Envoy, I suppose. He should study. Parrots, by
diligence, learn languages. Have you parrots that can speak English?"

_Envoy._ "We have, your Majesty."

"And we have parrots that even understand writing. What stones is the Rock
Teacher acquainted with?"

"He knows all kinds, your Majesty."

"In my country there are mountains, along the side of which if horses,
elephants, or men go, a green shadow is cast on their bodies. Your black
coat would appear green there. How does he explain this?"

Professor Oldham suggested that it might arise from copper on the surface.

"No, it cannot be that, as the copper is not seen. I think it results from
emeralds below."[10]

_To Dr. Forsyth._ "How many elementary substances are there in the human

_Dr. F._ "Four substances."

"That is correct. Could a man have one of them destroyed, and yet survive?"

"It might be partially injured, and he yet survive."

"But suppose the element on which the issues of the body depend were to be
destroyed, could the man survive?"

"In that case he must die, if the action could not be restored."

"That is true. It is proper for every physician to be conversant with the
elementary substances. There are a great number of books on the subject of
medicine in the Burmese language,--books _so_ deep,"--raising his hand
above his head.

_Envoy._ "I have received from your Majesty a fossil alligator's head,
which is very much prized by the Rock Teacher; and I have heard there are
Biloos'[11] (monsters') bones in some parts of the country."

_King._ "There are Biloos' bones in the Yau district, and you can have as
many as you choose, or a whole Biloo even." (_To the Woondouk_,) "See that
this is attended to." (_To the Atwen-woons_,) "These people cannot sit long
thus without being cramped."

His Majesty then flung himself brusquely off the sofa, turned his back, put
on his shoes, and strode away without any leave-taking. His manner was easy
and full of good-humor; but he chewed betel to almost disgusting excess;
the golden pawn-box was never out of his hand, and he played with it as he

When he was gone, refreshments were brought in,--pancakes filled with
spiced meats, jellies of rice-starch, in various colors, and other viands.
But the most Oriental and by no means the least palatable dish consisted of
fried locusts, stuffed with spiced meat. They were brought in
"hot-and-hot," in relays of saucers, and tasted like fried shrimps.

In the large audience-hall, adjoining the pavilion, ten or twelve richly
dressed dancing-girls slowly circled to passionate music, brandishing in
both hands bunches of peacock's feathers, throwing themselves into a
variety of difficult and curious attitudes, and chanting all the while in a
pleasing chorus, which singularly resembled the psalmody of a choir in an
English parish church.

A few days later the Envoy called, _pour prendre congé_, on the
Ein-shé-men, whose physiognomy he describes as that of a strong-willed,
boisterous, passionate, and energetic man, with but little intellect or
refinement, but not, perhaps, without kindly impulses. He was full of
questions,--among others, "What nation first made gunpowder?"

_Envoy._ "I am not quite sure, your Highness, whether it was first made in
England or Germany. Our books say that it was known from an earlier period
in China."

"Ah!" interposed the sly old Woondouk. "You won't say where gunpowder was
first made, because you want it to appear that it was in England."

"Not at all; the point is a doubtful one. I tell you exactly what I know."

"Then where were muskets first invented?"

"I cannot tell you. The first use of cannon on record was by the English,
some five hundred years ago."

_Prince._ "What nation first made steamships?"

"America, your Highness. The steam-engine was invented in England, and an
American adapted it to ships."

_Woondouk._ "Those are the people who went out from you, and you could not
govern them, and they set up for themselves."

_Envoy._ "Precisely. Just as the people of Aracan, of your own race and
religion, settled in that country, and had a king of their own, and you
lost dominion over them." (_Much good-humored laughter at this reply._)

Speaking of the friendly relations between England and France, the Envoy
explained that communication is kept up constantly between the two
countries by means of the electric telegraph. (_To the Woondouk._) "You
have seen the telegraph in Bengal, and will be able to inform his Highness
about it."

_Woondouk._ "They put a wire on posts above the ground, or bury it
underneath, carrying it over mountains and through rivers; and at certain
stations apart there are magnetic needles, which shake to denote the
letters of the words of a message that is sent. Thus they converse
together, though they are hundreds of miles apart."

This Woondouk, Moung Mhon, was a very astute and ingenious man. When he
accompanied the old Dalla-Woon on a mission to the Governor-General, he was
taken on one occasion, by Major Phayre and Colonel Baker, to make a short
excursion on the East India Railway. When his attention was called to the
great speed at which they were travelling, he made no remark, except to
ask the interval between two telegraph posts on the line; and then,
counting the beats of his own pulse, and making a mental estimate of the
rapidity with which he passed those intervals, he quietly said, "Yes, we
_are_ going very fast."

_Woondouk._ "Now where was the electric telegraph first discovered?"

_Envoy._ "I believe the discovery was nearly contemporaneous in England and

_Woondouk._ "But it must have been in one place or the other."

_Envoy._ "In Europe, where men of science are engaged in a great variety of
studies, and publish their views and opinions, similar discoveries are
frequently made about the same time in different countries."

The visits of ceremony to the four Woongyis, and to old Moung Pathee, the
Nan-ma-dau Woon, were marked by circumstances of peculiar interest. At the
house of the Magwé Menghi (Great Prince of Magwé), the most intellectual
and influential of the Woongyis, the floor was laid with carpets, and
chairs for the visitors were set at a long table. The large silk curtain
which separated the reception-room from the women's apartment was partly
raised at one corner; and there, on carpets, were seated all the ladies of
the family. Breakfast was served, at first in English fashion, with bread
and butter, muffins and tarts. But presently the hospitable Woongyi called
out cheerily, "Come, come! they know an English breakfast well enough; let
us have Burmese dishes now." Then came sweetmeats and dainties of various
kinds, and in profusion,--in all, fifty-seven dishes. After the breakfast
the usual Burmese dessert of betel-nut, pawn, pickled tea,[12] salted
ginger in small strips, fried garlic, walnuts without the shells, roasted
groundnuts, &c., on little gold and silver dishes; and, last of all,

The Woongyi led in his wife, and would have her attempt an English chair,
next the Envoy; but the old lady, after several amiable efforts to
reconcile herself to the foreign situation, bravely tucked in her scanty
robes, and doubled her legs under her.

From the Magwé Menghi's they passed to the houses of the Mein-loung, the
Myo-doung, and the Pakhán Menghi, (all Woonghis,) and of the venerable
Nan-ma-dau Woon,--breakfasting at each. At the residence of the Pakhán
Menghi several ladies joined the party at table; these were the Woongyi's
wife, who had been one of Tharawadi's queens, with her mother and two
sisters,--all really lady-like and self-possessed, fairer than the
generality of Burmese women, and of delicate and graceful figures, though
not pretty. They wore the usual _tawein_, or narrow petticoat of gorgeously
striped silk, polka jackets of thin white muslin, and ornaments of
extraordinary brilliancy. Their ear-cylinders were gold; but instead of
being open tubes, as commonly worn at the capital, they were closed in
front, and set with one large cut diamond, ruby, or emerald, surrounded by
smaller brilliants. The necklace consisted of a narrow chain of gold,
plain, or set with pearls, and bearing table diamonds in two rows, one
fixed and the other pendent. They also wore superb rings, in which were
rubies of noble size.

Among the ladies seated on the ground were two strongly resembling one
another, and with the receding forehead which marks all the descendants of
Alompra. These were daughters of the Mekhara-men, that uncle of King
Tharawadi who used to translate articles from Rees's Cyclopædia into
Burmese, and who assisted Mr. Lane, a merchant of Ava, in the compilation
of the English and Burmese Dictionary which bears the name of the latter.

For a Kalá at Amarapoora not to know the Lord White Elephant is to argue
himself unknown. Consequently a presentation to that Buddhistic demi-god in
bleached and animated India-rubber was a crowning ceremonial, essential, in
a political as well as religious point of view, to the success of the
embassy. He "receives" in his "palace," a little to the north of the Hall
of Audience. On the south are sheds for the vulgar monsters of his retinue,
and brick _godowns_, in which the state carriages, and the massive and
gorgeous golden litters, are stowed.

Captain Yule says the present white elephant is the very one mentioned by
Padre Sangermano as having been caught in 1806,--to the great joy of the
king, who had just lost the preceding incumbent, a female, which died after
a year's captivity. "He is very large, almost ten feet high, with a noble
head and pair of tusks. But he is long-bodied and lank, and not otherwise
handsome for an elephant. He is sickly too, and out of condition, being
distempered for five months in the year, from April to August. His eye, the
iris of which is yellow, with a reddish outer annulus, and a small, clear,
black pupil, has an uneasy glare, and his keepers evidently mistrust his
temper. The annulus round the iris is pointed out as resembling a circle of
the nine gems. His color is almost uniform,--about the ground-tint of the
mottled or freckled part of the trunk and ears of common elephants, perhaps
a little darker. He also has pale freckles on the same parts. On the whole,
he is well entitled to his appellation."

His royal paraphernalia are magnificent. The driving-hook is three feet
long, the stem a mass of small pearls, girt at frequent intervals with
bands of rubies, and the hook and handle of crystal, tipped with gold. The
headstall is of fine red cloth, plentifully studded with choice rubies, and
near the extremity are some precious diamonds. Fitting over the bumps of
the forehead are circles of the nine gems, which are supposed to be charms
against malign influences.

When caparisoned, he also wears on the forehead, like other Burmese
dignitaries, including the king himself, a golden plate inscribed with his
titles, and a gold crescent set with circles of large gems between the
eyes. Large silver tassels hang in front of his ears, and he is harnessed
with bands of gold and crimson set with large bosses of pure gold. He is a
regular estate of the realm, having a Woon, or minister, of his own, four
gold umbrellas, the white umbrellas which are peculiar to royalty, and a
suite of thirty attendants. The Burmese remove their shoes on entering his
palace. He has an appanage, or territory, assigned to him to "eat," like
other princes of the Empire. In Burney's time it was the rich cotton
district of Taroup Myo.

The present king never rides the white elephant; but his uncle used to do
so frequently, acting as his own mahout, which was one of the royal
accomplishments of the ancient Indian kings.

"The importance attached to the possession of a white elephant," says
Captain Yule, "is traceable to the Buddhist system. A white elephant of
certain wonderful endowments is one of the seven precious things the
possession of which marks the _Maha chakravartti Raja_, 'the great
wheel-turning king,' the holy and universal sovereign, a character who
appears once in a cycle, at the period when the waxing and waning term of
human life has reached its maximum of an _asanhkya_ in duration. Hence the
white elephant is the ensign of universal sovereignty."


[3] Narrative of a Mission to the Court of Ava, in 1855. By Captain Henry
Yule, Secretary to the Envoy.

[4] Western foreigner.

[5] Priest; literally, "Great Glory."

[6] Yule's Narrative.

[7] 1. Charity; 2. Religious Observances; 3. Self-denial; 4. Learning; 5.
Diligence; 6. Patience; 7. Truth; 8. Perseverance; 9. Friendship; 10.

[8] _Athenkhya_ is a corruption, or Burmese pronunciation, of _asankhya_,
Sanscrit, from the negative _a_ and _sankhya_, "number,"--literally,
"innumerable"; but as a Buddhist period, it is expressed by a unit and _one
hundred and forty ciphers_. Yule.

[9] Yule's Narrative.

[10] "Amid lovely prospects of rich valleys, and wooded hills, and winding
waters, almost every rock bore on its surface the yellow gleam of gold.
True, according to the voyager, the precious metal was itself absent; but
Sir Walter [Raleigh], on afterward showing the stones to a Spaniard of the
Caracas, was told by him that they were _madre del oro_, mother of gold,
and that the mine itself was further in the ground."--_Hugh Miller._

[11] A sort of demon-monkeys, grotesquely hideous and fearfully
funny,--generally depicted as black Calibans, with tusks. Judson defines
them as "monsters which devour human flesh, and possess certain superhuman
powers." According to a Buddhist legend, Guadma, when he attempted to land
at Martaban, was stoned by the Nats and Biloos, who then inhabited that
country, as well as Tavoy and Mergui; and Captain Yule imagines there may
be some dim tradition here of an alien and savage race of aborigines (akin,
perhaps, to the quasi-negroes of the Andamans), who have become the Biloos,
or Ogres, of Burman legend, "just as our Ogres took their name, probably,
from the Ugrians of Northeastern Europe." The description of the Andaman
negroes by the Mohammedan travellers of the ninth century, as quoted by
Prichard, would answer well for the Biloos of Burmah: "The people eat human
flesh quite raw; their complexion is black, their hair frizzled, their
countenance and eyes frightful; their feet are almost a cubit in length,
and they go quite naked." The comic element, however, always enters into
the Burmese conception of a Biloo. On the pavement of a royal monastery at
Amarapoora is a set of bas-reliefs representing Biloos in all sorts of
impish attitudes and antics.

[12] _Hlapet_, or pickled tea, made up with a little oil, salt, and garlic,
or assafoetida, is eaten in small quantities by the Burmese, after dinner,
as we eat cheese. They say it promotes digestion, and they cannot live in
comfort without it. Hlapet is also passed around on many ceremonial
occasions, and on the conclusion of lawsuits.




At this present moment of time I am what the doctors call an interesting
case, and am to be found in bed No. 10, Ward II. Massachusetts General
Hospital. I am told that I have what is called Addison's Disease,--and that
it is this pleasing malady which causes me to be covered with large
blotches of a dark mulatto tint, such as I suppose would make me peculiarly
acceptable to a Massachusetts constituency, if my legs were only strong
enough to enable me to run for Congress. However, it is a rather grim
subject to joke about, because, if I believe the doctor who comes around
every day and thumps me, and listens to my chest with as much pleasure as
if I was music all through,--I say, if I believed him, I should suppose I
was going to die. The fact is, I don't believe him at all. Some of these
days I shall take a turn and get about again, but meanwhile it is rather
dull for a stirring, active person to have to lie still and watch myself
getting big brown and yellow spots all over me, like a map that has taken
to growing.

The man on my right has consumption, smells of cod-liver oil, and coughs
all night. The man on my left is a Down-Easter, with a liver which has
struck work; looks like a human pumpkin; and how he contrives to whittle
jack-straws all day, and eat as he does, I can't understand. I have tried
reading and tried whittling, but they don't either of them satisfy me, so
that yesterday I concluded to ask the doctor if he could n't suggest some
other amusement.

I waited until he had gone through the ward, and then I seized my chance,
and asked him to stop a moment.

"Well," said he, "what do you want?"

"Something to do, Doctor."

He thought a little, and then replied: "I'll tell you what to do; I think
if you were to write out a plain account of your life, it would be pretty
well worth reading, and perhaps would serve to occupy you for a few days at
least. If half of what you told me last week be true, you must be about as
clever a scamp as there is to be met with, and I suppose you would just as
lief put it on paper as talk it."

"Pretty nearly," said I; "I think I will try it, Doctor."

After he left I lay awhile thinking over the matter. I knew well enough
that I was what the world calls a scamp, and I knew also that I had got
little good out of the fact. If a man is what people call virtuous, and
fails in life, he gets credit at least for the virtue; but when a man is a
rascal, and breaks down at the trade, somehow or other people don't credit
him with the intelligence he has put into the business,--and this I call
hard. I never had much experience of virtue being its own reward; but I do
know that, when rascality is left with nothing but the contemplation of
itself for comfort, it is by no means refreshing. Now this is just my
present position; and if I did not recall with satisfaction the energy and
skill with which I did my work, I should be nothing but disgusted at the
melancholy spectacle of my failure. I suppose that I shall at least find
occupation in reviewing all this, and I think, therefore, that I shall try
to give a plain and straightforward account of the life I have led, and the
various devices by which I have sought to get my share of the money of my

I want it to be clearly understood, at the beginning, that in what I may
have to say, I shall stick severely to the truth, without any overstrained
regard for my neighbors' feelings. In fact, I shall have some little
satisfaction when I do come a little heavy on corn or bunyon, because for
the past two years the whole world appears to have been engaged in
trotting over mine with as much certainty as if there were no other
standing-room left in creation.

I shall be rather brief about my early life, which possesses little or no

I was born in Newark, New Jersey, and am therefore what those dreary
Pennsylvanians call a Jersey Yankee, and sometimes a Spaniard, as pleases
them best. My father was a respectable physician in large practice, too
busy to look after me. My mother died too early for me to remember her at
all. An old aunt who took her place as our housekeeper indulged me to the
utmost, and I thus acquired a taste for having my own way and the best of
everything, which has stuck to me through life. I do not remember when it
was that I first began to pilfer, but it must have been rather early in
life. Indeed, I believe I may say that, charitably speaking, which is the
only way to speak of one's self, I was what the doctors call a
kleptomaniac,--which means that, when I could not get a thing in any other
way, I took it. As to education, I took very little of that, but I had,
notwithstanding, a liking for reading, and especially for light literature.
At the age of sixteen I was sent to Nassau Hall, best known as Princeton
College; but, for reasons which I need not state very fully, I did not
remain beyond the close of the Junior year. The causes which led to my
removal were not the usual foolish scrapes in which college lads indulge.
Indeed, I never have been guilty of any of those wanton pieces of
wickedness which injure the feelings of others while they lead to no useful
result. When I left to return home, I set myself seriously to reflect upon
the necessity of greater caution in following out my inclinations, and from
that time forward I have steadily avoided the vulgar vice of directly
possessing myself of objects to which I could show no legal title. My
father was justly indignant at the results of my college career; and,
according to my aunt, his sorrow had some effect in shortening his life,
which ended rather suddenly within the year.

I was now about nineteen years old, and, as I remember, a middle-sized,
well-built young fellow, with large, dark eyes, a slight mustache, and, I
have been told, with very good manners, and a somewhat humorous turn.
Besides these advantages, my guardian held in trust for me about three
thousand dollars. After some consultation between us, it was resolved that
I should study medicine.

Accordingly I set out for Philadelphia, with many good counsels from my
aunt and guardian. I look back upon this period as a turning-point in my
life. I had seen enough of the world already to know that, if you can
succeed honestly, it is by far the pleasantest way; and I really believe
that, if I had not been endowed with such a fatal liking for all the good
things of life, I might have lived along as reputably as most men. This,
however, is, and always has been, my difficulty, and I suppose that I am
not therefore altogether responsible for the incidents to which it gave
rise. Most men also have some ties in life. I had only one, a little
sister, now about ten years of age, for whom I have always had more or less
affection, but who was of course too much my junior to exert over me that
beneficial control which has saved so many men from evil courses. She cried
a good deal when we parted, and this, I think, had a very good effect in
strengthening my resolution to do nothing which could get me into trouble.

The janitor of the College to which I went directed me to a boarding-house,
where I engaged a small, third-story room, which I afterwards shared with
Mr. Chaucer of Jawjaw, as he called the State which he had the honor to

In this very remarkable abode I spent the next two winters; and finally
graduated, along with two hundred more, at the close of my two years of
study. I should also have been one year in a physician's office as a
student, but this regulation is very easily evaded. As to my studies, the
less said the better. I attended the quizzes, as they call them, pretty
closely, and, being of quick and retentive memory, was thus enabled to
dispense, for the most part, with the six or seven lectures a day which
duller men found it necessary to follow.

Dissecting struck me as a rather nasty business for a gentleman, and on
this account I did just as little as was absolutely essential. In fact, if
a man takes his teckers, and pays the dissection fees, nobody troubles
himself as to whether or not he does any more than this. A like evil exists
as to graduation; whether you merely squeeze through, or pass with credit,
is a thing which is not made public, so that I had absolutely nothing to
stimulate my ambition.

The astonishment with which I learned of my success was shared by the
numerous Southern gentlemen who darkened the floors, and perfumed with
tobacco the rooms of our boarding-house. In my companions, during the time
of my studies so called, as in other matters in life, I was somewhat
unfortunate. All of them were Southern gentlemen, with more money than I.
They all carried great sticks, usually sword-canes, and most of them
bowie-knives; also they delighted in dress-coats, long hair, felt hats, and
very tight boots, swore hideously, and glared at every woman they met as
they strolled along with their arms affectionately over the shoulders of
their companion. They hated the "Nawth," and cursed the Yankees, and
honestly believed that the leanest of them was a match for any half-dozen
of the bulkiest of Northerners. I must also do them the justice to say that
they were quite as ready to fight as to brag, which, by the way, is no
meagre statement. With these gentry, for whom I retain a respect which has
filled me with regret at the recent course of events, I spent a good deal
of my large leisure. We were what the more respectable students of both
sections called a hard crowd; but what we did, or how we did it, little
concerns us here, except that, owing to my esteem for chivalric blood and
breeding, I was led into many practices and excesses which cost my guardian
much distress and myself a good deal of money.

At the close of my career as a student, I found myself aged twenty-one
years, and owner of twelve hundred dollars,--the rest of my small estate
having disappeared variously within the last two years. After my friends
had gone to their homes in the South, I began to look about me for an
office, and finally settled upon a very good room in one of the down-town
localities of the Quaker City. I am not specific as to number and street,
for reasons which may hereafter appear. I liked the situation on various
accounts. It had been occupied by a doctor; the terms were reasonable; and
it lay on the skirts of a good neighborhood; while below it lived a motley
population, amongst whom I expected to get my first patients and such fees
as were to be had. Into this new home I moved my medical text-books, a few
bones, and myself. Also I displayed in the window a fresh sign, upon which
was distinctly to be read:--

    Office hours, 7 to 9 A. M., 3 to 6
           P. M., 7 to 9 P. M."

I felt now that I had done my fair share towards attaining a virtuous
subsistence, and so I waited tranquilly, and without undue enthusiasm, to
see the rest of the world do its part in the matter. Meanwhile I read up on
all sorts of imaginable cases, stayed at home all through my office hours,
and at intervals explored the strange section of the town which lay to the
south of my office. I do not suppose there is anything like it elsewhere.
It was then, and still is, a nest of endless grog-shops, brothels,
slop-shops, and low lodging-houses. You may dine here for a penny off of
soup made from the refuse meats of the rich, gathered at back gates by a
horde of half-naked children, who all tell varieties of one woful tale.
Here, too, you may be drunk at five cents, and lodge for three, with men,
women, and children of all colors lying about you. It is this hideous
mixture of black and white and yellow wretchedness which makes the place so
peculiar. The blacks predominate, and have mostly that swollen, reddish,
dark skin, the sign in this race of habitual drunkenness. Of course only
the lowest whites are here,--rag-pickers, pawnbrokers, old-clothes-men,
thieves, and the like. All of this, as it came before me, I viewed with
mingled disgust and philosophy. I hated filth, but I understood that
society has to stand on somebody, and I was only glad that I was not one of
the undermost and worst-squeezed bricks.

You will hardly believe me, but I had waited a month without having been
called upon by a single patient. At last the policeman on the beat brought
me a fancy man, with a dog bite. This patient recommended me to his
brother, the keeper of a small pawnbroking shop, and by very slow degrees I
began to get stray patients who were too poor to indulge in uptown doctors.
I found the police very useful acquaintances; and, by a drink or a cigar
now and then, I got most of the cases of cut heads and the like at the next
station-house. These, however, were the aristocrats of my practice; the
bulk of my patients were soap-fat-men, rag-pickers, oystermen, hose-house
bummers, and worse, with other and nameless trades, men and women, white,
black, or mulatto. How they got the levies and quarters with which I was
reluctantly paid, I do not know; that indeed was none of my business. They
expected to pay, and they came to me in preference to the dispensary doctor
two or three squares away, who seemed to me to live in the lanes and alleys
about us. Of course he received no pay except experience, since the
dispensaries in the Quaker City, as a rule, do not give salaries to their
doctors; and the vilest of the poor will prefer a pay doctor, if he can get
one, to one of these disinterested gentlemen who are at everybody's call
and beck. I am told that most young doctors do a large amount of poor
practice, as it is called; but, for my own part, I think it better for both
parties when the doctor insists upon some compensation being made to him.
This has been usually my own custom, and I have not found reason to regret

Notwithstanding my strict attention to my own interests, I have been rather
sorely dealt with by fate, upon several occasions, where, so far as I could
see, I was vigilantly doing everything in my power to keep myself out of
trouble or danger. I may as well relate one of them, merely as an
illustration of how little value a man's intellect may be, when fate and
the prejudices of the mass of men are against him.

One evening late, I myself answered a ring at the bell, and found a small
black boy on the steps, a shoeless, hatless little wretch, with curled
darkness for hair, and teeth like new tombstones. It was pretty cold, and
he was relieving his feet by standing first on one and then on the other.
He did not wait for me to speak.

"Hi, sah, Missy Barker she say to come quick away, sah, to Numbah 709
Bedford Street."

The locality did not look like pay, but it was hard to say in this quarter,
because sometimes you found a well-to-do "brandy-snifter,"--local for
gin-shop,--or a hard-working "leather-jeweller,"--ditto for
shoemaker,--with next door, in a house no better or worse, dozens of human
rats for whom every police trap in the city was constantly set.

With a doubt, then, in my mind as to whether I should find a good patient
or some mean nigger, I sought out the place to which I had been directed. I
did not like its looks; but I blundered up an alley, and into a back room,
where I fell over somebody, and was cursed and told to lie down and keep
easy, or somebody, meaning the man stumbled over, would make me. At last I
lit on a staircase which led into the alley, and, after some inquiry, got
as high as the garret. People hereabouts did not know one another, or did
not want to know, so that it was of little avail to ask questions. At
length I saw a light through the cracks in the attic door, and walked in.
To my amazement, the first person I saw was a woman of about thirty-five,
in pearl-gray Quaker dress,--one of your calm, good-looking people. She was
seated on a stool beside a straw mattress, upon which lay a black woman.
There were three others crowded close around a small stove, which was
red-hot,--an unusual spectacle in this street. Altogether a most nasty den.

As I came in, the little Quaker woman got up, and said, "I took the liberty
of sending for thee to look at this poor woman. I am afraid she has the
small-pox. Will thee be so kind as to look at her?" And with this she held
down the candle towards the bed.

"Good gracious!" said I hastily, seeing how the creature was speckled, "I
did n't understand this, or I would not have come. Best let her alone,
miss," I added, "there 's nothing to be done for these cases."

Upon my word, I was astonished at the little woman's indignation. She said
just those things which make you feel as if somebody had been calling you
names or kicking you. Was I a doctor? Was I a man? and so on. However, I
never did fancy the small-pox, and what could a fellow get by doctoring
wretches like these? So I held my tongue and went away. About a week
afterwards, I met Evans, the Dispensary man.

"Halloa!" says he. "Doctor, you made a nice mistake about that darky at No.
709 Bedford Street the other night. She had nothing but measles after all."

"Of course I knew," said I, laughing; "but you don't think I was going into
dispensary trash, do you?"

"I should think not," says Evans.

I learned afterwards that this Miss Barker had taken an absurd fancy to
the man because he had doctored the darky, and would not let the Quakeress
pay him. The end was, that when I wanted to get a vacancy in the Southwark
Dispensary, where they do pay the doctors, Miss Barker was malignant enough
to take advantage of my oversight by telling the whole story to the board;
so that Evans got in, and I was beaten.

You may be pretty sure that I found rather slow the kind of practice I have
described, and began to look about for chances of bettering myself. In this
sort of location these came up now and then; and as soon as I got to be
known as a reliable man, I began to get the peculiar sort of practice I
wanted. Notwithstanding all my efforts, however, I found myself at the
close of three years with all my means spent, and just able to live
meagrely from hand to mouth, which by no means suited a person of my
luxurious turn. Six months went by, and I was worse off than ever,--two
months in arrears of rent, and numerous other debts to cigar-shops and
liquor-dealers. Now and then, some good job, such as a burglar with a cut
head, helped me up for a while; but on the whole, I was like Slider
Downeyhylle in poor Neal's Charcoal Sketches, and "kept going downer and
downer the more I tried not to." Something must be done.

One night, as I was debating with myself as to how I was to improve my
position, I heard a knock on my shutter, and, going to the door, let in a
broad-shouldered man with a white face and a great hooked nose. He wore a
heavy black beard and mustache, and looked like the wolf in the pictures of
Red Riding-Hood which I had seen as a child.

"Your name 's Sandcraft?" said the man, shaking the snow over everything.
"Set down, want to talk to you."

"That's my name. What can I do for you?" said I.

The man looked around the room rather scornfully, at the same time throwing
back his coat, and displaying a red neckerchief and a huge garnet pin.
"Guess you 're not overly rich," he said.

"Not especially," said I.

"Know--Simon Stagers?"

"Can't say I do," said I. Simon was a burglar who had blown off two fingers
when mining a safe, and whom I had attended while he was hiding.

"Can't say you do," says the wolf.

"Well, you can lie, and no mistake. Come now, Doctor, Simon says you 're
safe, and I want to do a leetle plain talk with you." With this he laid ten
eagles on the table; I put out my hand instinctively.

"Let 'em alone," cried the man sharply. "They 're easy earned, and ten more
like 'em."

"For doing what?" said I.

The man paused a moment, looked around him, eyed me furtively, and finally
loosened his cravat with a hasty pull. "You 're the coroner," said he.

"I! What do you mean?"

"Yes, you,--the coroner, don't you understand?" and so saying he shoved the
gold pieces towards me.

"Very good," said I, "we will suppose I 'm the coroner."

"And being the coroner," said he, "you get this note, which requests you to
call at No. 9 Blank Street to examine the body of a young man which is
supposed--only supposed, you see--to have--well, to have died under
suspicious circumstances."

"Go on," said I.

"No," he returned, "not till I know how you like it. Stagers and another
knows it; and it would n't be very safe for you to split, besides not
making nothing out of it; but what I say is this. Do you like the business
of coroner?"

Now I did not like it, but two hundred in gold was life to me just then; so
I said, "Let me hear the whole of it first."

"That 's square enough," said the man; "my wife 's got"--correcting himself
with a little shiver--"my wife had a brother that 's been cuttin' up rough,
because, when I 'd been up too late, I handled her a leetle hard now and
again. About three weeks ago, he threatened to fetch the police on me for
one or two little things Stagers and I done together. Luckily, he fell sick
with a typhoid just then; but he made such a thunderin' noise about opening
safes, and what he done, and I done, and so on, that I did n't dare to have
any one about him. When he began to mend, I gave him a little plain talk
about this business of threatening to bring the police on us, and next day
I caught him a saying something to my wife about it. The end of it was, he
was took worse next morning, and--well he died yesterday. Now what does his
sister do, but writes a note, and gives it to a boy in the alley to put in
the post. Luckily, Stagers happened to be round; and after the boy got away
a bit, Bill bribes him with a quarter to give him the note, which was n't
no less than a request to the coroner to come to our house to-morrow and
make an examination, as foul play was suspected."

Here he paused. As for myself, I was cold all over. I was afraid to go on,
and afraid to go back, besides which I did not doubt that there was a good
deal of money in the case. "Of course," said I, "it's all nonsense; only I
suppose you don't want the officers about, and a fuss, and that sort of

"Exactly," said my friend, "you 're the coroner; you take this note and
come to my house. Says you, 'Mrs. File, are you the woman that wrote this
note? because in that case I must examine the body.'"

"I see," said I; "she need n't know who I am, or anything else. But if I
tell her it's all right, do you think she won't want to know why there
ain't a jury, and so on?"

"Bless you," said the man, "the girl is n't over seventeen, and does n't
know no more than her baby."

"I 'll do it," said I, suddenly, for, as I saw, it involved no sort of
risk; "but I must have three hundred dollars."

"And fifty," added the wolf, "if you do it well."

With this the man buttoned about him a shaggy gray overcoat, and took his
leave without a single word in addition.

For the first time in my life I failed that night to sleep. I thought to
myself at last that I would get up early, pack a few clothes, and escape,
leaving my books to pay, as they might, my arrears of rent. Looking out of
the window, however, in the morning, I saw Stagers prowling about the
opposite pavement, and, as the only exit except the street door was an
alleyway, which opened alongside of the front of the house, I gave myself
up for lost. About ten o'clock I took my case of instruments, and started
for File's house, followed, as I too well understood, by Stagers.

I knew the house, which was in a small street, by its closed windows and
the craped bell, which I shuddered as I touched. However, it was too late
to draw back, and I therefore inquired for Mrs. File. A young and
haggard-looking woman came down, and led me into a small parlor, for whose
darkened light I was thankful enough.

"Did you write me this note?" said I.

"I did," said the woman, "if you 're the coroner. Joe, he 's my husband, he
's gone out to see about the funeral. I wish it was his, I do."

"What do you suspect?" said I.

"I 'll tell you," she returned, in a whisper. "I think he was made away
with. I think there was foul play. I think he was poisoned. That 's what I

"I hope you may be mistaken," said I. "Suppose you let me see the body."

"You shall see it," she replied; and, following her, I went up stairs to a
front chamber, where I found the corpse.

"Get it over soon," said the woman, with a strange firmness. "If there
ain't no murder been done, I shall have to run for it. If there is," and
her face set hard, "I guess I 'll stay." With this she closed the door, and
left me with the dead.

If I had known what was before me, I never should have gone into the thing
at all. It looked a little better when I had opened a window, and let in
plenty of light; for, although I was, on the whole, far less afraid of dead
than living men, I had an absurd feeling that I was doing this dead man a
distinct wrong, as if it mattered to the dead, after all. When the affair
was over, I thought more of the possible consequences than of its relation
to the dead man himself; but do as I would at the time, I was in a
ridiculous tremor, and especially when, in going through the forms of a
_post-mortem_ dissection, I had to make the first cut through the skin. Of
course, I made no examination of the internal organs. I wanted to know as
little as possible about them, and to get done as soon as I could.
Unluckily, however, the walls of the stomach had softened and given way, so
that I could not help seeing, among the escaped contents of the stomach,
numerous grains of a white powder, which I hastened to conceal from my
sight by rapidly sewing up the incisions which I had made.

I am free to confess now that I was careful not to uncover the man's face,
and that when it was over I backed to the door, and hastily escaped from
the room. On the stairs opposite to me Mrs. File was seated, with her
bonnet on, and a small bundle in her hand.

"Well," said she, rising as she spoke, and with a certain eagerness in her
tones, "what killed him? Was it arsenic?"

"Arsenic, my good woman!" said I; "when a man has typhoid fever, he don't
need poison to kill him."

"And you mean to say he was n't poisoned," said she, with more than a trace
of disappointment in her voice,--"not poisoned at all?"

"No more than you are," said I. "If I had found any signs of foul play, I
should have had a regular inquest. As it is, the less said about it the
better; and the fact is, it would have been much wiser to have kept quiet
at the beginning. I can't understand why you should have troubled me about
it at all."

"Neither I would," said she, "if I had n't been pretty sure. I guess now
the sooner I leave, the better for me."

"As to that," I returned, "it is none of my business; but you may rest
certain that you are mistaken about the cause of your brother's death."

As I left the house, whom should I meet but Dr. Evans. "Why, halloa!" said
he; "called you in, have they? Who 's sick?"

You may believe I was scared. "Mrs. File," said I, remembering with horror
that I had forgotten to ask whether at any time the man had had a doctor.

"Bad lot," returned Evans; "I was sent for to see the brother when he was
as good as dead."

"As bad as dead," I retorted, with a sickly effort at a joke. "What killed

"I suppose one of the ulcers gave way, and that he died of the
consequences. Perforation, you know, and that sort of thing. I thought of
asking File for a _post_, but I did n't."

"Wish you luck of them. Good-by."

I was greatly alarmed at this new incident, but my fears were somewhat
quieted that evening when Stagers and the wolf appeared with the remainder
of the money, and I learned that Mrs. File had fled from her home, and, as
File thought likely, from the city also. A few months later, File himself
disappeared, and Stagers found his way into the Penitentiary.

I felt, for my own part, that I had been guilty of more than one mistake,
and that I had displayed throughout a want of intelligence for which I came
near being punished very severely. I should have made proper inquiries
before venturing on a matter so dangerous, and I ought also to have got a
good fee from Mrs. File on account of my services as coroner. It served me,
however, as a good lesson, but it was several months before I felt quite
easy in mind. Meanwhile, money became scarce once more, and I was driven
to my wit's end to devise how I should continue to live as I had done. I
tried, among other plans, that of keeping certain pills and other
medicines, which I sold to my patients; but on the whole I found it better
to send all my prescriptions to one druggist, who charged the patient ten
or twenty per cent over the correct price, and handed this amount to me.

In some cases I am told the percentage is supposed to be a donation on the
part of the apothecary; but I rather fancy the patient pays for it in the
end. It is one of the absurd vagaries of the profession to discountenance
the practice I have described, but I wish, for my part, I had never done
anything worse or more dangerous. Of course it inclines a doctor to change
his medicines a good deal, and to order them in large quantities, which is
occasionally annoying to the poor; yet, as I have always observed, there is
no poverty so painful as your own, so that in a case of doubt I prefer
equally to distribute pecuniary suffering among many, rather than to
concentrate it on myself.

About six months after the date of my rather annoying adventure, an
incident occurred which altered somewhat, and for a time improved, my
professional position. During my morning office-hour an old woman came in,
and, putting down a large basket, wiped her face with a yellow cotton
handkerchief first, and afterwards with the corner of her apron. Then she
looked around uneasily, got up, settled her basket on her arm with a jerk,
which decided the future of an egg or two, and remarked briskly, "Don't see
no little bottles about; got to the wrong stall I guess. You ain't no
homoeopath doctor, are you?"

With great presence of mind, I replied, "Well, ma'am, that depends upon
what you want. Some of my patients like one, and some like the other." I
was about to add, "You pays your money and you takes your choice," but
thought better of it, and held my peace, refraining from classical

"Being as that 's the case," said the old lady, "I 'll just tell you my
symptoms. You said you give either kind of medicine, did n't you?"

"Just so," I replied.

"Clams or oysters, whichever opens most lively, as my Joe says. Perhaps you
know Joe,--tends the oyster-stand at stall No. 9."

No, I did not know Joe; but what were the symptoms?

They proved to be numerous, and included a stunnin' in the head, and a
misery in the side, and a goin' on with bokin' after victuals.

I proceeded of course to apply a stethoscope over her ample bosom, though
what I heard on this or similar occasions I should find it rather difficult
to state. I remember well my astonishment in one instance, where, having
unconsciously applied my instrument over a large chronometer in the
watch-fob of a sea-captain, I concluded for a brief space that he was
suffering from a rather remarkable displacement of the heart. As to the old
lady, whose name was Checkers, and who kept an apple-stall near by, I told
her that I was out of pills just then, but would have plenty next day.
Accordingly I proceeded to invest a small amount at a place called a
Homoeopathic Pharmacy, which I remember amused me immensely.

A stout little German, with great silver spectacles, sat behind a counter
containing numerous jars of white powders labelled concisely, Lach., Led.,
Onis., Op., Puls., etc., while behind him were shelves filled with bottles
of what looked like minute white shot.

"I want some homoeopathic medicine," said I.

"Vat kindst?" said my friend. "Vat you vants to cure?"

I explained at random that I wished to treat diseases in general.

"Vell, ve gifs you a case, mit a pooks";--and thereupon produced a large
box containing bottles of small pills and powders, labelled variously with
the names of diseases, so that all you required was to use the headache or
colic bottle in order to meet the needs of those particular maladies.

I was struck at first with the exquisite simplicity of this arrangement;
but before purchasing, I happened luckily to turn over the leaves of a
book, in two volumes, which lay on the counter, and was labelled,
"Jahr--Manual." Opening at page 310, Vol. I., I lit upon Lachesis, which,
on inquiry, proved to be snake-venom. This Mr. Jahr stated to be indicated
in upwards of a hundred maladies. At once it occurred to me that Lach. was
the medicine for my money, and that it was quite needless to waste cash on
the box. I therefore bought a small jar of Lach. and a lot of little pills,
and started for home.

My old woman proved a fast friend; and as she sent me numerous patients, I
by and by altered my sign to "Homoeopathic Physician and Surgeon,"
whatever that may mean, and was regarded by my medical brethren as a lost
sheep, and by the little-pill doctors as one who had seen the error of his

In point of fact, my new practice had decided advantages. All the pills
looked and tasted alike, and the same might be said of the powders, so that
I was never troubled by those absurd investigations into the nature of the
remedies which some patients are prone to make. Of course I desired to get
business, and it was therefore obviously unwise to give little pills of
Lach. or Puls. or Sep., when a man distinctly needed full doses of iron, or
the like. I soon discovered, however, that it was only necessary to
describe cod-liver oil, for instance, as a diet, in order to make use of it
where required. When a man got impatient over an ancient ague, I usually
found, too, that I could persuade him to let me try a good dose of quinine;
while, on the other hand, there was a distinct pecuniary advantage in those
cases of the shakes which could be made to believe that it was "best not to
interfere with nature." I ought to add, that this kind of faith is uncommon
among folks who carry hods or build walls.

For women who are hysterical, and go heart and soul into the business of
being sick, I have found the little pills a most charming resort, because
you cannot carry the refinement of symptoms beyond what my friend Jahr has
done in the way of fitting medicines to them, so that, if I had been
disposed honestly to practise this droll style of therapeutics, it had, as
I saw, certain conveniences.

Another year went by, and I was beginning to prosper in my new mode of
life. The medicines (being chiefly milk-sugar, with variations as to the
labels) cost next to nothing; and, as I charged pretty well for both these
and my advice, I was now able to start a gig, and also to bring my sister,
a very pretty girl of fourteen years old, to live with me in a small house
which I rented, a square from my old office.

This business of my sister's is one of the things I like the least to look
back upon. When she came to me she was a pale-faced child, with large,
mournful gray eyes, soft, yellow hair, and the promise of remarkable good
looks. As to her attachment to me, it was something quite ridiculous. She
followed me to the door when I went out, waited for me to come in, lay
awake until she heard my step at night, and, in a word, hung around my neck
like a kind of affectionate mill-stone.


"I Am indebted to you for a knowledge of life in the old cathedral towns of
England,--of the ecclesiastical side of society, so minute and authentic
that it is like a personal experience." Thus I replied to Anthony
Trollope's declaration that he lacked an essential quality of the
novelist,--imagination. "Ah," he replied, "when you speak of careful
observation and the honest and thorough report thereof, I am conscious of
fidelity to the facts of life and character; but," he added, with that
bluff heartiness so characteristic of the man, "my brother is more than an
accurate observer: he is a scholar, a philosopher as well, with historical
tastes and cosmopolitan sympathies,--a patient student. You should read his
books";--and he snatched a pencil, and wrote out the list for me.[13] Only
two of Thomas Adolphus Trollope's volumes have been republished in this
country,--one a novel of English life, in tenor and traits very like his
brother's, the other a brief memoir of a famous and fair Italian.[14] This
curious neglect on the part of American publishers induces us to briefly
record this industrious and interesting author's claims to grateful
recognition, especially on the part of those who cherish fond recollections
of Italian travel, and enjoy the sympathetic and intelligent illustration
of Italian life and history.

In a literary point of view "An Englishman in Italy," in the last century,
would be suggestive of a classical tour like that of Addison and
Eustace,--a field of study and speculation quite apart from the people of
the country, who, except for purposes of deprecatory contrast, would
probably be ignored; and, in our own times, the idea is rather identified
with caricature than sympathy,--we associate these insular travellers with
exclusiveness and prejudice. As a general rule, they know little and care
less for the fellow-creatures among whom they sojourn, holding themselves
aloof, incapable of genial relations, and owning no guide to foreign
knowledge but Murray and the Times. Farce and romance have long made
capital out of this obtuse and impervious nationality; and it is the more
refreshing, because of the general rule, to note a noble exception,--to see
an Englishman, highly educated, studious, domestic, and patriotic, yet
dwelling in Italy, not to despise and ignore, but to interpret and endear
the country and people,--making his hospitable dwelling, with all its
Italian trophies and traits, the favorite rendezvous for the best of his
countrymen and the native society,--there discussing the principles and
prospects of civic reform, doing honor to men of genius and aspiration,
irrespective of race,--blending in his _salon_ the scholarly talk of Landor
with the fervid pleas of "Young Italy," giving equal welcome to English
radical, Piedmontese patriot, American humanitarian, and Tuscan
_dilettante_,--and thus, as it were, recognizing the free and faithful
spirit of modern progress and brotherhood amid the old armor, bridal
chests, parchment tomes, quaintly carved chairs, and other mediæval relics
of a Florentine _palazzo_.

But this cosmopolitan candor, so rare as a social phenomenon among the
English in Italy, is no less characteristic of Adolphus Trollope as a
writer. As he entertained, in his pleasant, antique reception-room or
garden-terrace, disciples of Cavour, of Mazzini, and of Gioberti, with men
and women of varied genius and opposite convictions from England and the
United States, extending kindly tolerance or catholic sympathy to all, so
he sought, in the history of the past and the facts of the present in the
land of his love and adoption, evidences of her vital worth and auspicious
destiny. Long residence abroad liberalized, and long study enriched, a mind
singularly just in its appreciation, and a heart naturally kind and
expansive. All his friends recognize in Adolphus Trollope that rare union
of rectitude and reflection which constitutes the genuine philosopher. Mrs.
Browning aptly called him Aristides. Thus living in the atmosphere of broad
social instincts, and sharing the literary faculty and facility of his
family, this Englishman in Italy set himself deliberately to study the
country of his sojourn, in her records, local memorials, and social life,
and, having so studied, to reproduce and illustrate the knowledge thus
gleaned, with the fidelity of an annalist and the tact of a _raconteur_. It
was a noble and pleasant task, and has been nobly and pleasantly fulfilled.
Let us note its chief results, and honor the industry, truth, and humane
wisdom manifest therein.

The range of Mr. Trollope's investigations may be appreciated by the fact
that, while he is the author of "A History of Florence from the Earliest
Independence of the Commune to the Fall of the Republic in 1531," he has
also given to the press the most clear and reliable account of the
revolution of our own day, under the title of "Tuscany in 1849"; thus
supplying the two chronicles of the past and the present which together
reveal the origin, development, and character of the state and its people.
In the Preface to the former work he suggests this vital connection between
the ancient republic and the modern city. "It contains," he observes, "such
an exposition of the old Guelph community as sufficiently demonstrates the
fitness of this culmination of the grand old city's fortunes." It is this
liberal and comprehensive tone, this "looking before and after," which,
united to careful research and patient narration, renders the author so
well equipped and inspired for his task. He has brought together the
essential social and political facts of the past, and, associating them
with local traits and transitions, enabled us to realize the rise,
progress, and alternations of the Italian state, as it is next to
impossible for the Anglo-Saxon reader to do while exploring the partial,
prejudiced, and complicated annals of the native historians. This is a
needful, a timely, and a gracious service, for which every intelligent and
sympathetic traveller who has learned to love the Tuscan capital, and grown
bewildered over the complex story of her civil strifes, will feel grateful,
while his obligations are renewed by the moderate but candid statement of
those later movements, which, culminating in a childlike triumph, were
followed by a reaction whose hopelessness was more apparent than real, and
has subsequently proved an auspicious trial and training for the discipline
and privileges of constitutional liberty.

The "History of Florence" is remarkable for the skilful method whereby the
author has arranged, in luminous sequence, a long and confused series of
political events. He has confined his narrative to the essential points of
an intricate subject, omitting what is of mere casual or local interest,
and aiming to elucidate the civic growth of the little city on the banks of
the Arno. It is an admirable illustration of the conservative principles of
free municipal institutions in the Middle Ages, notwithstanding their
limited sway and frequent perversion. There is no attempt at rhetorical
display, but great precision and authenticity of statement, and a
conscientious citation of authorities; the style often lapses into
colloquial freedom, not inappropriate to the familiar discussion of some of
the curious details involved in the theme; and there are episodes of
judicious and philosophical comment, with apt historical parallels, not a
few of which come home to our recent national experience. The author's
previous studies in Italian history, and intimate familiarity with the
scene of his chronicle, give him a grasp and an insight which render his
treatment at once thorough, sensible, and facile. But it is upon the more
special subjects of Italian history that Mr. Trollope has expended his time
and talents to the best advantage,--subjects chosen with singular judgment
and imbued with fresh local and personal interest.

The scope and method of these historical studies are such as at once to
embody and illustrate what is normally characteristic in time, place, and
individual, while completeness of treatment is secured, and a person and
period made suggestive of a comprehensive historical subject. Thus in "The
Girlhood of Catharine de' Medici" we have the key to her mature and
relentless bigotry, the logical origin of the massacre of St. Bartholomew,
while, at the same time, the discipline of a convent and the intrigues of a
ruling family in the Middle Ages are elaborately unfolded. Grouped around
and associated with so remarkable an historical woman, they have a definite
significance to the modern reader, otherwise unattainable; the Palazzo
Medici, the Convents of St. Mark, Santa Lucia, and Murate, become scenes of
personal interest; the Cardinal Clement and Alessandro, in their relation
to the young Catharine, grow more real in their subtlety, family ambitions,
and unscrupulous tyranny; and the surroundings, superstition, fanaticism,
and domestic despotism which attended the forlorn girl until she became the
wife of Henry of France, explain her subsequent career and execrated
memory. Incidentally the life of mediæval Tuscany is also revealed with
authentic emphasis. In "Paul the Pope and Paul the Friar," all the singular
circumstances whereby a priest of Rome became the instrument of striking
the first effectual blow at her absolute spiritual dominion are narrated
with precision and tact. The prolonged quarrel between the Vatican and the
Republic of Venice, the ecclesiastical and civic power, then opened the way
to human freedom, and Sarpi is truly exhibited as the pioneer reformer. His
liberal studies, foreign friends, and independent and intrepid mind
rendered him admirably fitted for the task he undertook, and the Papal
government only added infamy to despotism by the baffled attempt to
assassinate him. It is difficult to imagine a better introduction to the
subsequent history of free thought and spiritual emancipation, which
culminated in the Reformation, than this biographical sketch, where a great
historical development is made clear and dramatic by the carefully told
story of the lives of the two chief actors and agents therein.

There is a power in the state, unofficial, but essential, and therefore
more intimately blended with its welfare and identified with its fortunes
than pope, emperor, or prince,--and that is the Banker. Even in modern
times the life of such a financier as Lafitte is part of the social and
political history of France; but in mediæval times, when "the sinews of
war" and the wages of corruption so often turned the scale of ambition and
success, the rich bankers of the Italian cities were among the most
efficient of their social forces and fame. In writing the memoirs of
Filippo Strozzi, Mr. Trollope struck the key-note of local associations in
the Tuscan capital. The least observant or retrospective stranger is
impressed with the sight of the massive walls and grated windows of the
Strozzi Palace, and is attracted by such a monument of the past to the
story of its founder. A standard drama and novel were long since made to
illustrate those annals,[15] but it was reserved for an Englishman in Italy
to record, in a well-digested and authentic narrative, the career of
Filippo, whose immense wealth, marriage to a Medici, family ambition,
scholarship, political and social distinction, enterprise, and luxury, and
especially his financial relations with both rulers and ruled, make him one
of those central figures of an historic group that serve as expositors of
the time. He was indeed, by his accomplishments and his profligacy, his
intrigues and associations, his alliances and enmities, his domestic and
his political life, a representative man, whose character and career aptly
embody and illustrate a most stirring era of European and Italian history.
He escorted Catharine de' Medici on her bridal journey from Florence,
talked philosophy at Medicean banquets, was closeted with popes and kings,
was the boon companion of reigning dukes, a courtier to princes and people,
a magnificent entertainer, a fugitive, exile, prisoner, sceptic, scholar,
and suicide,--typifying in his life the luxury and lawlessness, the culture
and the crime, the splendor and the degradation, the manners and morals, of
his country and his age,--and hence a most instructive biographical study,
which Mr. Trollope has treated with equal fulness, insight, and

But the most felicitous of the series is the "Decade of Italian Women." The
idea of this work is worthy of a philosopher, and its execution, of a
humane scholar. It has long been an accepted theory, that, to understand
the talent and pervasive spirit of an age or country, we must look to the
influence and character of the women. A subtile social atmosphere exhales
from their presence and power in the state and the family; and the dominant
elements of faith, as well as the tone of manners and the tendencies of
character, find in the best endowed and most auspiciously situated of the
sex, an embodiment and inspiration which are the most authentic, because
the most instinctive, test and trait of the life of the time. Shakespeare
has, with exquisite insight and memorable skill, illustrated this
representative function of woman by creating types of female character
which, while they modify and mould persons and events, preserve intact
their essential quality of sex, and yet represent none the less the spirit
and manners of their respective epochs. Scott has done the same thing in an
historical direction, that Shakespeare realized in a psychological way. We
regard it, therefore, as a most judicious experiment to indicate the
characteristics of mediæval Italy by delineating her representative women.
They inevitably lead us to the heart of things,--to the palace, the
convent, the court, the vigil of battle, and the triumph of art,--to the
loves of warrior, statesman, and priest,--to the inmost domestic
shrine,--to the festival and the funeral; and all this we behold, not
objectively, but through our vivid interest in a noble, persecuted,
saintly, impassioned, or gifted woman, and thus partake, as it were, of the
life of the age, realize its inspiration, recognize its meaning, in a
manner and to a degree impossible to be derived from the formal narrative
of events, without a central figure or a consecutive life which serves as a
nucleus and a link, giving vital unity and personal significance to the

The period of time embraced in these female biographies extends from the
birth of St. Catherine of Siena, in 1347, to the death of the celebrated
_improvvisatrice_ Corilla, in 1800. With the career of each is identified a
salient phase of Italian history, manners, or character; incident to the
experience of all are special localities, political and social conditions,
relations of art, of faith, of culture, of rule, and of morals, whereby we
obtain the most desirable glimpses of the actual life and latent tendencies
of Italy, considered as the focus of European civilization. We gaze upon a
woman's portrait, but beyond, beside, and around her are the warriors,
statesmen, prelates, poets, and people of her time. Through her triumphs
and trials, her renown or degradation, her love, ambition, sorrows,
virtues, or sins, we feel, as well as see, the vital facts of her age and
country. Nor is this all: each character is not only full of interest in
itself, but is essentially typical and representative. Thus we have the
fair saint of the Middle Ages, the energetic and sagacious ruler, the
gracious reformer, the artist, the near kinswoman of prince or
ecclesiastic, the poetess, the _châtelaine_, the nun, the profligate, the
powerful, the beautiful, and the base,--all the forms and forces of womanly
influence as modified by the life of the time and country. They move before
us a grand procession, now awakening admiration and now pity, here
ravishing in beauty or genius and there forlorn in disaster or disgrace,
yet always bearing with them the strong individuality and attractive
expression which, to the imagination, so easily transforms the heroines of
history into the ideals of the drama, or the characters of romance. And yet
in these delineations the author has indulged in no rhetorical
embellishments: he has arrived simply, and sometimes sternly, at the clear
statement of facts, and left them to convey their legitimate impression to
the reader's mind. The lives of many of these women have been written
before, some of them elaborately; but they are here grouped and contrasted
as illustrative of national life, and hence gain a fresh charm and
suggestiveness, especially as the fruits of research and the method of a
disciplined _raconteur_ are blent with the light and life of personal
observation as to scenes and memorials,--the land where they once dwelt,
its natural aspect and ancient trophies, being fondly familiar to the
biographer. Eloquent memoirs of female sovereigns have become popular
through the genial labors of Agnes Strickland and Mrs. Jameson, while
Shakespeare's women furnish a perpetual challenge to psychological critics;
but the "Decade of Italian Women" has a certain unity of aim and relative
interest which makes it, as a literary record, analogous to a complete,
though limited, gallery of family portraits, inasmuch as, however diverse
the characters, they own a common bond of race and nationality, and are
memorable exemplars thereof. First in the list is Catherine of Siena, the
Saint,--an accurate mediæval religious delineation which all who have
visited the old city where her relics are preserved and her name reverenced
will value. Then we have Catherine Sforza,--the fair representative of one
of those powerful and princely families whose history is that of the state
they rule. Next comes the noblest and most gifted woman of the Middle Ages,
the friend of Michel Angelo, the ideal of a wife, and a lady of culture,
genius, and patriotism,--Vittoria Colonna. The Bishop of Palermo's
illegitimate daughter--a famous poetess, Tullia d' Arragona--precedes the
learned, pure, intrepid Protestant, Olimpia Morata, who takes us to the
court of Ferrara in its palmy days, to show how "like a star that dwells
apart" is a woman of rectitude and wisdom and faith amid the shallow, the
sensual, and the bigoted. The renowned Paduan actress, Isabella Adrieni,
gives us a striking illustration of the influence, traits, and triumphs of
histrionic genius in Italy of old; while among the prone towers and gloomy
arcades of Bologna we become intimate with the chaste and charming
aspirations and skill of Elisabetta Sirani, whose pencil was the pride of
the city, and whose character hallows her genius. Of La Corilla it is
enough to say, that she was the original of Madame de Staël's "Corinne";
and no woman could have been more wisely selected to represent the
fascination, subtlety, force of purpose, ambition, resources, passion, and
external success of an unprincipled patrician Italian beauty of the Middle
Ages than Bianca Capello.

With such a basis of research it is easy to infer how authentic, as a
picture of life, would be the superstructure of romantic fiction by an
author adequately equipped. Accordingly, the Italian novels of Thomas
Adolphus Trollope are most accurate and detailed reflections of local
characteristics; they are full of special information; and, while they
enlighten the novice as to the domestic economy, habits, ways of thinking,
costume, and social traditions of the people, they revive, with singular
freshness, to the mind of one who has sojourned in Italy, every particular
of his experience,--not only the _corso_, the opera, and the carnival, but
the meals, the phraseology, the household arrangements,--all that is most
individual in a district, with all that is most general as nationally
representative. Indeed, not a fact or trait of modern Tuscan life seems to
have escaped the author's vigilant observation and patient record; the life
of the effete noble, the frugal citizen, the shrewd broker, the pampered,
ecclesiastic, the peasant, and the artist is revealed with the most precise
and graphic detail. We are taken to the promenade and the _caffè_, to the
_piazza_ and the church, to the farm-house and the _palazzo_; and there we
see and hear the actual everyday intercourse of the people. The Tuscan
character is drawn to the life, without exaggeration, and even in its more
evanescent, as well as normal traits; its urbanity, gossip, thrift,
geniality, self-indulgence, and latent courage are admirably delineated;
its superior refinement, sobriety, love of show, and class peculiarities
are truly given; the old feudal manners that linger in modern civilization
are accounted for and illustrated, especially in the relation of dependants
"occupying every shade of gradation between a common servant and a bosom
friend." The author's ecclesiastic portraits are as exact, according to our
observation, as his brother's. Each class of Italian priests is portrayed
with discrimination, and no writer has better exemplified the paralyzing
and perverting influence of Romanism upon the integrity of domestic life,
and the purity and power of political aspirations. The women, too, are
typical,--remarkably free from fanciful embellishment, eloquent of race,
instinct with nature. Their limited culture, social prejudices, artless
charms, frugal lives, naïve or reticent characters, as modified by town and
country, patrician or popular influences, we recognize at once as
identical with what we have known in the households or social circles of
Florence. Mr. Trollope, in all this, is a Flemish artist, and, as much of
the interest of his pictures depends on their truthfulness, perhaps they
are really appreciated only by those who have enjoyed adequate
opportunities of becoming intimate with the original scenes, situations,
and personages depicted. In the fidelity of his art he abstains from all
attempts at brilliancy, and ignores the intense and highly dramatic,
finding enough of wholesome interest in the real life around him, and well
satisfied to reproduce it with candor and sympathy; now and then indulging
in a philosophical suggestion or a judicious comment, and thus gradually,
but securely, winning the grateful recognition of his reader.

"La Beata" as completely takes those familiar with its scene into the life
and moral atmosphere of Florence, as does "The Vicar of Wakefield" into the
rural life of England before the days of railways and cheap journalism. The
streets, the dwellings, the people and incidents are so truly described,
the perspective is so correct, and the foreground so elaborate, that, with
the faithful local coloring and naïve truth of the characters, we seem, as
we read, to be lost in a retrospective dream,--the more so as there is an
utter absence of the sensational and rhetorical in the style, which is that
of direct and unpretending narrative. The heroine is a saintly model,
though at the same time a thoroughly human girl,--such a one as the
artistic, superstitious, frugal, and simple experience of her class and of
the place could alone have fostered; the artist-hero is no less
characteristic,--a selfish, clever, amiable, ambitious, and superficial
Italian; while the old wax-candle manufacturer, with his domicile,
daughter, and church relations, is a genuine Florentine of his kind. The
life of the studio, then and there, is drawn from reality. The peculiar and
traditional customs, social experience, church ceremonials, popular fêtes,
home and heart life, have a minute fidelity which renders the picture
vivid and winsome to one who well knows and wisely loves the Tuscan
capital. An English family delineated without the least exaggeration, and
with the striking contrasts such visitors always present to the native
scene and people of Italy, adds to and emphasizes the salient traits of the
story. Among the subjects described and illustrated with remarkable tact
and truth is that most interesting charitable fraternity, the
_Misericordia_, of which every stranger in Florence has caught impressive
glimpses, but of whose social influence and real significance few are
aware. Add to this the description of Camaldoli, with its famous pines, its
Dantesque associations, and its remorseful convent, and we have a scope and
detail in the scene and spirit of this little local romance which
concentrate the points of interest in Florentine life and bring into view
all that is most familiar and characteristic in the place and people. We
see the gay boats on St. John's eve from the bridges of the Arno, the
procession of the black Madonna, the interior of the studios, the
ceremonies, the saintly traffic and social subterfuge and naïve
manners,--the tradesman, painter, devotee, priest,--pride, piety, and
passion,--whereof even the casual observation of a traveller's sojourn had
given us so curious or attractive an idea, that, thus expanded and defined,
they seem like a personal experience. There is singular pathos in the
character and career of La Beata, as there is in the expression of Santa
Filomena for which she was the recognized and inspired model. The integrity
of her sentiment is as Southern-European as is her lover's falsehood and
voluntary expiation. That absolute ignorance of the world and childlike
trust, which we rarely meet except in Shakespeare's women, is a moral fact
of which the stranger in Italy, who has grown intimate with families of the
middle class, is cognizant, and which he is apt to recall as one of those
elemental and primitive phases of human nature which justify the most pure
and plaintive creations of the poet. Herein the author has shown an
insight as honest and suggestive as his keen and patient observation and
candid record thereof.

"Marietta" is the genuine embodiment of that local attachment and ancestral
pride so remarkable in the mediæval Florentines, and still manifest in an
exceptional class of their descendants. The modern life of a decayed branch
of the Tuscan nobility in the nineteenth century, the process and method of
its decadence, the charm of "a local habitation and a name," once
identified with the vital power of the old republic, and the sad,
effeminate, yet not unromantic sentiment incident to its passing away,
through the prosperous encroachments of new men, with whom money is the
power once only attached to birth, are most aptly described. The thrifty
farmer of the Apennine, and his slow and handsome son, are capital types of
the frugal and shrewd _fattore_ and rustic proprietor of Tuscany; and his
more astute and polished brother is equally typical of the old money-lender
and goldsmith of the Ponte Vecchio. Simon Boccanera well represents the
tasteful artificer of Florence, and the Gobbo the feudal devotee, whose
political faith has been expanded by French ideas. In the _bon vivant_, the
amateur musician, the amiable and easy Canonico Lunardi, what a true
portrait of the priestly epicure, the self-indulgent but kindly churchman
of the most urbane of Italian communities, and in the Canon of San Lorenzo,
how faithful a picture of the elegant and unscrupulous aspirant and
intriguer! The two girls of the story are veritable specimens, in looks,
dress, talk, domestic aspect and aptitudes, not only of Italian maidenhood,
but of that of the state and city of their birth,--such maidens as are only
encountered on the banks of the Arno. This pleasant story takes us into one
of those massive old Florentine palaces, with its lofty _loggia_
overlooking mountain, river, olive orchard and vineyard, dome and
tower,--its adjacent church with the family chapel and ancestral
effigies,--its several floors let out as lodgings,--its heavy portal,
stone staircase, faded frescos, barred windows, paved court-yard,
moss-grown statues, and damp green garden. We recognize the familiar
elements of the local life,--the frugal dinner, the wine flask, the
coal-brazier, the antique lamp, the violin, the snuff-box, the ample coarse
cloak, the frugality, _bonhommie_, shrewdness, proverbs, greetings, grace,
cheerfulness, chat, rural and city traits, prejudices, pride, and
pleasantness of Tuscan life and character. These all appear in suggestive
contrast, and with accurate detail, woven into a tale which breathes the
very atmosphere of the place.

"Giulio Malatesta," on the other hand, opens with distinctive glimpses of
an old Italian university town; initiates us into the prolonged and patient
political conspiracies of Romagna and the ideal hopes of Gioberti's
disciples. Its hero is a student at Pisa, and one of the brave champions of
Italy who led the Tuscan volunteers to patriotic martyrdom, in 1848, at
Curtone. Nowhere have we read so graceful and graphic a picture of that
noble episode in the history of Tuscany, which redeemed her character and
proved the latent manliness of her children. There is a touching similarity
between the description of the march of the Corpo Universitario from Pisa
to the Mincio,--the fight at the mill, and the death of the generous and
lovely boy, Enrico Palmieri,--and recent scenes in our own civil war,
wherein appeared the same youthful enthusiasm and utter inexperience, the
same hardships and fortitude, valor and faith. In striking contrast with,
these scenes of battle and self-sacrifice, including the tragic incidents
attending the third anniversary of the Tuscan martyrs in the church of
Santa Croce at Florence, three years later, are the episodes of fashionable
and carnival life in that delightful capital. The Cascine and the Pergola
are reproduced with all their gay life and license; the Contessa Zenobia
and her _cavalier servente_, so comical, yet true, are but slight
exaggerations of what many of us have witnessed and wondered at. Provincial
and conventual life in Italy is photographed in this story; fresh forms and
phases of the ecclesiastical element are incarnated from careful
observation; and the political feeling, faith, and transitions of the
period are vividly illustrated. Carlo, the young noble, is a true portrait
of the kindly, genial, but shallow and pleasure-seeking Florentine youth of
the day, such as we have loitered with on the promenade and chatted beside
at the Caffè Doney,--without convictions, playful, always half in love,
with a little stock of philosophy and a lesser one of religion, yet alert
to do a kindness,--full of tact, charming in manner, tasteful and tolerant,
with no higher aim than being agreeable and ignoring care,--impatient of
duty, fond of pastime, utterly incapable of giving pain or attempting hard
work. His friend Giulio Malatesta, on the other hand, adequately
personifies the earnest, thoughtful, and patriotic Italian, to whom _Viva
l' Italia!_ means something,--who is ready to suffer for his country, and
who knows her poets by heart, believes in her unity, and has boundless
faith in her future. Francesca Varini is described with an exactitude which
defines her peculiar charms and traits to any reader who has fondly noted
the modifications of female beauty and character incident to race and
locality in Italy; and old Marta Varini is such a stoical, acute, and
persistent woman as signalized the days of the Carbonari; while Stella and
Madalina are local heroines with characteristic national traits.

In "Beppo the Conscript" we are transported to "the narrow strip of
territory shut in between the Apennines and the Adriatic, to the south of
Bologna and the north of Ancona," where European civilization once centred,
Tasso sung and raved, and the Dukes of Urbino flourished. But not to revive
their past glories are we beguiled to the decayed old city of Fano, and the
umbrageous valleys that nestle amid the surrounding hills; it is the
normal, primitive, agricultural life and economy of the region, and the
late political and social condition of the inhabitants, which this story
illustrates. The means and methods of rural toil,--the "wine, corn, and
oil" of Scriptural and Virgilian times; the avarice, the pride, the love,
the industry, and the superstition of the _Contadini_ of the Romagna; a
household of prosperous rustics, their ways and traits; and the subtle and
prevailing agency of priest-craft in its secret opposition to the new and
liberal Italian government,--are all exhibited with a quiet zest and a
graphic fidelity which take us into the heart of the people, and the
arcana, as well as the spectacle, of daily life as there latent and
manifest. The domestic, peasant, and provincial scenes and characters are
drawn with fresh and natural colors and faithful outlines.

The scene of the last-published domestic novel[16] of the series is laid at
Siena; and, although the story is based upon one of those impassioned
tragedies of love and jealousy which can only be found in the family
chronicles of Italy, the still-life, social phases, and local traits of the
romance are delineated with the same quiet simplicity and graphic truth
which constitute the authenticity of the author's previous delineations of
modern Italian life. The grave, conservative, and old-fashioned Tuscan city
reappears, with its mediæval aspect and traditional customs. Convent
education, the homes of the patrician and the citizen, the little gig of
the _fattore_, with the small, wiry ponies of the region, the local
antiquarian and doctor, the letter-carrier, family servant, lady-superior,
pharmacist, the noble and plebeian, the costumes, phrases, and natural
language characteristic of that non-commercial and isolated Tuscan city
before the days of railroads and annexation, are drawn with emphasis and
significant detail. Shades and causes of character are finely
discriminated; the old mediæval _festa_ peculiar to Siena, with all its
original features and social phenomena, is vividly enacted in the elaborate
description of the "Palio" on the 15th of August; while the insalubrious
and picturesque Maremma is portrayed, from the Etruscan crypts of the
ravines to the desolate streets of Savona, by an artistic and philosophic
hand. Incidentally the solidarity of families and the antagonism of
_contrade_, dating from the Middle Ages, are defined in explanation of
modern traits. We pace the bastions of the fortress built by Cosmo de'
Medici for "the subjection of his newly conquered subjects"; we haunt the
cabinet of a numismatic enthusiast, and the forlorn palace-chamber of a
baffled and beautiful scion of the old, fierce Orsini race; we overhear the
peasants talk, and watch the exquisite gradations of color at sunset on the
adjacent mountains, across the lonely plains, or gaze down upon St.
Catherine's house in the dyers' quarter, and muse in deserted church, urban
garden, and precipitous street, consciously alive the while to the aspect
and atmosphere, not only of the Siena we have visited or imagined, but of
mediæval Tuscany, and its language and life of to-day, as they are
incidentally reflected in the experience of a few distinctly individualized
and harmoniously developed characters,--true to race, period, and locality,
and far more complete and authentic, as a record and revelation, than dry
annals on the one hand, or superficial travel-sketches on the other.

The _justice_ which these writings display, in revealing the latent
goodness in things evil, the instinctive and spiritual graces as well as
the social perversions of the Italian character, is quite as refreshing as
the correct observation of external traits and the true record of
historical causes. A generous and intelligent sympathy imparts "a precious
seeing to the eye" of the agreeable story-teller, who has thus patiently
and fondly explored the past, delineated the present, and hailed the future
of Italy, in a spirit of liberal wisdom and true humanity.


[13] _A History of Florence_, in four volumes; _Paul the Pope and Paul the
Friar_; _Filippo Strozzi_; _The Girlhood of Catharine de' Medici_; _A
Decade of Italian Women_; _Tuscany in 1849_; _La Beata_; _Marietta_;
_Giulio Malatesta_; _Beppo the Conscript_. London: Chapman and Hall.

[14] _Lindisfarn Chase._ Harper and Brothers, 1863. _Life of Vittoria
Colonna._ Sheldon & Co., 1859.

[15] _Filippo Strozzi_, Tragedia par G. B. Niccolini. _Luisa Strozzi_,
Romanzo par G. Rossini.

[16] _Gemma._ A Novel in three volumes. London: Chapman and Hall. 1866.


Nicholas Said, at the time of his enlistment in the army of the Union,
during the third year of the great Rebellion, was about twenty-eight years
of age, of medium height, somewhat slenderly built, with pleasing features,
not of the extreme negro type, complexion perfectly black, and quiet and
unassuming address.

He became known to the writer while serving in one of our colored
regiments; and attention was first directed to his case by the tattooing on
his face, and by the entry in the company descriptive book, which gave
"Africa" as his birthplace.

Inquiry showed that he was more or less acquainted with seven different
languages, in addition to his native tongue; that he had travelled
extensively in Africa and Europe, and that his life had been one of such
varied experience as to render it interesting both on that account and also
on account of the mystery which surrounds, notwithstanding recent
explorations, the country of his birth.

At the request of those who had been from time to time entertained by the
recital of portions of his history, he was induced to put it in writing.
The narrative which follows is condensed from his manuscript, and his own
language has been retained as far as possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reader, you must excuse me for the mistakes which this article will
contain, as you will bear in mind that this language in which I am now
trying to write is not my mother tongue; on the other hand, I never had a
teacher, nor ever was at school for the purpose of acquiring the English.
The only way I learned what little of the language I know was through
French books.

I was born in the kingdom of Bornoo, in Soodan, in the problematic central
part of Africa, so imperfectly known to the civilized nations of Europe
and America.

Soodan has several kingdoms, the country of the Fellatahs and Bornoo being
the most powerful,--the territorial extent of the latter being some 810,000
square miles.

These nations are strict Mohammedans, having been converted some two or
three centuries ago by the Bedouin Arabs and those from Morocco, who,
pushed by want of riches, came to Soodan to acquire them. Different
languages are found in each nation, some written and some not; but the
Arabic is very much in use among the higher class of people, as the Latin
is used by the Catholic priests. Especially the Koran is written in Arabic,
and in my country no one is allowed to handle the Sacred Book unless he can
read it and explain its contents.

Bornoo, my native country, is the most civilized part of Soodan, on account
of the great commerce carried on between it and the Barbary States of
Fezzan, Tunis, and Tripoli. They export all kinds of European articles to
Central Africa, and take gold-dust, ivory, &c., in return.

Bornoo has had a romantic history for the last one hundred years. The whole
of Soodan, more than two thousand miles in extent, was once under the Maïs
of Bornoo; but by dissensions and civil wars nearly all the tributaries
north of Lake Tchad were lost. In 1809 a shepherd arose from the country of
the Fellatahs and assumed the title of Prophet. He said to the ignorant
portion of his countrymen, that Allah had given him orders to make war with
the whole of Soodan, and had promised him victory. They believed his story,
and the legitimate king was dethroned and the false prophet, Otman
Danfodio, was proclaimed Emperor of the Fellatahs. The impostor went at
once to work, and in less than two years conquered almost the whole of
Soodan, excepting Kanem, a tributary to my country. Bornoo, after a manly
effort, was compelled by force of arms to submit to the yoke of the

In 1815 Bornoo arose from its humiliating position, to shake off the yoke
of Danfodio. Mohammed el Anim el Kanemy, the Washington of Bornoo, was the
man who undertook to liberate his country and restore her former prestige.
This immortal hero could collect from the villages of Bornoo but a few
hundreds of horsemen; but in Kanem he got eight hundred men, and accepted
an engagement with the enemy. He gained the first victory, and took such
good advantage of his success, that in the space of two months he won forty
battles, drove the enemy entirely out of Bornoo, and captured a great many
places belonging to the Fellatahs.

At the close of the war, El Kanemy found himself at the head of
twenty-eight thousand horsemen, and the real ruler of Bornoo. Like all
great men, he refused the sceptre, and, going to the legitimate heir of the
throne, Maïs Barnoma, told him he was at his disposal. Barnoma,
notwithstanding the noble actions of El Kanemy, was jealous of his fame,
and tried a plan to dispose of him, which he thought would be best, and of
which the public would not suspect him. Accordingly he wrote to the king of
Begharmi, promising to pay the expenses of his troops, and some extra
compensation beside, if he would make as though he were really at war with
Bornoo. He agreed to the proposal, and crossed with his army the great
river Shary, the natural frontier of the two kingdoms. El Kanemy was then
in the city of Kooka, which he had built for himself. He heard finally of
the war between Bornoo and Begharmi, and, hastily calling out his ancient
veterans, he reported to Engornoo, where the king resided. The combined
forces numbered some forty thousand men. El Kanemy knew nothing of the
infamous act of the king; but Allah, who protects the innocent and punishes
the guilty, was smiling over him. The armies pitched their camps opposite
to each other; and the king of Begharmi sent a messenger with a letter to
Maïs Barnoma, informing him that the heaviest assault would be made upon
the left, and that, if he would give El Kanemy command there, the bravest
of the assailants would surround and kill him at once. This letter the
messenger carried to El Kanemy instead of the king, who, at once seeing the
plot, immediately answered the important document, signing the name of
Barnoma, and loading the messenger with presents of all descriptions for
his master. The next morning El Kanemy went to the king and told him that
the heaviest assault would be made on the right, and that he should not
expose his precious life there. As Barnoma got no letter from the king of
Begharmi, he thought El Kanemy was right, and acted accordingly.

The battle finally began, and the Sycaries of Begharmi, attacking the left
where they thought El Kanemy was, surrounded Maïs Barnoma and killed him,
supposing him El Kanemy. The battle, however, went on, and the king of
Begharmi found out before long that he had killed the wrong lion. His army,
in spite of their usual courage, were beaten, and obliged to recross the
river Shary, at that place more than two miles wide, with a loss of half
their number. The victorious army of El Kanemy also crossed the river, and,
pursuing the retreating forces, captured Mesna, the capital of Begharmi,
and drove the king into the country of Waday.

El Kanemy now found himself the absolute ruler of Bornoo, nor had that
kingdom ever any greater ruler. Under his reign the nation prospered
finely. He encouraged commerce with Northern and Eastern Africa, and,
building a fleet of small vessels, sailed with a strong force against a
tribe who inhabited the main islands of Lake Tchad, and who used to commit
depredations upon the neighboring sections of Bornoo, and chastised them
severely. These islanders are the finest type of the African race,
possessing regular features, and large, expressive eyes, though they are
the darkest of all Africans. El Kanemy also subdued many of the surrounding
tribes and nations, until the population of Bornoo and its provinces
amounted to nearly fifteen millions.

My father was the descendant of a very illustrious family. He was the first
man who had a commission under El Kanemy when he went to Kanem to recruit
his forces. He was made a Bagafuby, or captain of one hundred cavalry, and
was in every engagement which El Kanemy went through. The name by which my
father was known was Barca Gana.[17] My great-grandfather was from Molgoi.
He established himself in Bornoo many years ago, and was greatly favored by
the monarchs of that country. My mother was a Mandara woman, the daughter
of a chief. I was born in Kooka, a few years after the Waday war of 1831.
We were in all nineteen children, twelve boys and seven girls. I was the
ninth child of my mother. All my brothers were well educated in Arabic and
Turkish. Two of them, Mustapha and Abderahman, were very rich, having
acquired their wealth by trading in ivory and gold-dust. Both had been to
Mecca as pilgrims. My father himself was rich, but when he was killed, our
elder brother seized the greater part, and those who were not eighteen
years of age had to leave their share in their mother's hands. Five cleared
farms and a considerable amount of gold fell to my share. I do not know how
much the gold amounted to, but my mother used to tell me, that, when I got
to be twenty years of age, I would have as much as either of my elder

After my father's death I was given to a teacher to be instructed in my
native tongue, and also in Arabic. In the space of three years I could read
and write both languages. I was tried in my native tongue, and passed; but
I could not pass in Arabic, and my mother and uncle returned me to the
teacher for eighteen months. I stayed the required time, and then was tried
and passed.

I was then old enough to be circumcised. Three hundred boys went through
the ceremony at once, and were then dressed in white clothes, and received
according to custom a great many presents. Fifteen days we ate the best
that Kooka had, the king himself giving us the best he had in his palace.
This generally happens only to the sons of those who have distinguished
themselves in the army, or, to explain myself better, to those of the
military aristocracy. At the end of this time all of us went home. For my
part, this was the first time I had slept in my father's house for four
years and seven months. I was very much welcomed by my mother, sisters, and
brothers, and was a pet for some time.

After returning from school to my father's house, I judge about four or
five years afterwards, I was invited, in company with three of my brothers,
by the eldest son of the governor of the province of Yaoori and Laree, who
lived in the town of the latter name, to visit him. This part of the
province is very charming. The forests are full of delicious game, and the
lake of fish and beautiful aquatic birds; while in the dry seasons the
woods and uncultivated plains are worthy to be called the garden of Eden.
In my childhood I had quite a passion for hunting, one of my father's great
passions also. In spite of the efforts of my elder brothers to check me in
it, I would persuade the other boys to follow me into the thick woods, to
the danger of their lives and mine. My worthy mother declared several times
that I would be captured by the Kindils, a wandering tribe of the desert.
Her prophecy was fulfilled after all, unhappily for myself, and perhaps
more so for those I had persuaded with me. While on the visit just spoken
of, one day,--it was a Ramadan day, anniversary of the Prophet's day,--I
persuaded a great number of boys, and we went into the woods a great way
from any village. We came across nests of Guinea fowl, and gathered plenty
of eggs, and killed several of the fowl. We made fire by rubbing two pieces
of dry stick together, and broiled the chickens and eggs. Then we proceeded
farther, and came across a tree called Agoua, bearing a delicious kind of
fruit. We all went up the tree, eating fruit and making a great deal of
noise. We frolicked on that tree for many hours. Presently several of the
boys told me they heard the neighing of horses. We then all agreed not to
make so much noise, but we were just too late. In about a quarter of an
hour we were startled by the cry, "Kindil! Kindil!" The boys who were
nearest to the ground contrived to hide themselves in the thicket. It
happened that I was higher than any one, and while coming down with haste,
I missed my hold and fell, and lay senseless. When I opened my eyes, I
found myself on horseback behind a man, and tied to him with a rope. Out of
forty boys, eighteen of us were taken captive. I wished then that it was a
dream rather than a reality, and the warnings of my mother passed through
my mind. Tears began to flow down my cheeks; I not only lamented for
myself, but for those also whom I persuaded into those wild woods.
Meanwhile, our inhuman captors were laughing and talking merrily, but I
could not understand them. About six hours' ride, as I suppose, brought us
to their camp. The tents were then immediately taken down, the camels
loaded, and we started again, travelling night, and day for three long
days, until we came to a temporary village where their chief was. After we
got there we were all chained together, except four, who were taken pity
upon, on account of their age and birth. It was then night, and nearly all
the camp was under the influence of hashish, an intoxicating mixture made
of hemp-seed and other ingredients, which when too much is eaten will
intoxicate worse than whiskey, or even spirits of wine. While the robbers
were drunk, we boys were consulting and plotting to run away. We succeeded
in breaking the chains, and four of the oldest boys took their captors'
arms, cut their throats, jumped on their horses, and succeeded in making
their escape. When it was found out, they gave each of us fifteen strokes
in the hollows of our feet, because we did not inform them.

A little while after our comrades' escape we started on again. This time we
had to go on foot for five days, until we reached a town called Kashna,
belonging to the Emperor of the Fellatahs, but situated in the country of
Houssa, where we were all dispersed to see each other no more. Fortunately,
none of my brothers were with me in the woods.

My lot was that of an Arab slave, for I was bought by a man named
Abd-el-Kader, a merchant of Tripoli and Fezzan. He was not an Arabian,
however, but a brown-skinned man, and undoubtedly had African blood in his
veins. He had at this time a large load of ivory and other goods waiting
for the caravan from Kano and Sacca-too. This caravan soon came, and with
it we started for Moorzook, capital of the pachalic of Fezzan. Although we
numbered about five hundred, all armed except slaves who could not be
trusted, a lion whom we met after starting, lying in our path, would not
derange himself on our account, and we had to attack him. Twelve men fired
into him. Four men he killed, and wounded five or six, and then escaped. He
was hit somewhere, as they found blood where he lay, but it was not known
where. When he roared, he scared all the horses and camels composing the
caravan. Abd-el-Kader was one of those who attacked the lion, but he was
not hurt.

Five days after we left Kashna, we came to the first oasis. Here the plains
were all barren and sandy, but full of gazelles, antelopes, and ostriches.
The principal tree growing here was the date-palm, and the water was very
bad, tasting salty.

As the caravan travelled toward the east, the ground rose by degrees. If I
am not mistaken, we passed five oases before we came into the country of
Tibboo, a mountainous region between Bornoo and Fezzan, the inhabitants of
which suffer considerably from the Kindils, though they are also robbers
themselves. The capital of Tibboo is Boolma, built on a high mountain. I
was disappointed when I saw the city, for I had heard that it was quite a
large place. Laree, the smallest town in Bornoo, is a place of more
importance. The people of Tibboo are of dark-brown complexion, and are
noted in Soodan for their shrewdness. The day that the caravan happened to
be at Boolma, two parties were in a warlike attitude about a fair maid whom
each wished their chief to have for a wife. We did not stay long enough to
see the issue of the fight, and two days' journey took us out of the
kingdom of Tibboo.

As soon as the oasis of Tibboo was left, the country became very
rocky,--the rock being a kind of black granite; and the Arabs had to make
shoes for both their camels and slaves, for the rocks were very sharp, and
if this precaution had not been taken, in a few hours their feet would have
been so cut that they could not have proceeded farther. Some Arabs would
rather lose four or five slaves than a single camel. They rode very seldom.
In a journey of ten or twelve weeks I saw Abd-el-Kader ride but once, and
the majority never rode at all.

In these rocky regions of the desert a great amount of salt is found
also,--what is called in our language Kalboo, and I believe, in English,
carbonate of soda. Soodan is supplied by the Moors and Kindils with salt
from the desert. Sea-shells are also occasionally found in this region.
After we left Tibboo fire was never allowed, even in the oases, but I do
not know for what reason.

The mountainous regions of the desert passed, we came to a more level
country, but it was not long before we saw other mountains ahead. As we
passed over the last of them, we found them very dangerous from their
steepness, and a few camels were lost by falling into the ravines. After
passing this dangerous place, a sign of vegetation was seen, oases were
more frequent, and at last forests of date-palm, the fruit of which forms
the principal food of both the inhabitants of Fezzan and their camels,
became abundant.

El Kaheni is the first town or human habitation seen after leaving Tibboo.
It is a small walled town, like all other places in Fezzan. Here I first
saw the curious way in which the Fezzaneers cultivate their land by
irrigation. Each farm has a large well, wide at the top and sloping toward
the bottom, out of which water is drawn by donkeys, and poured into a
trough, from which it runs into small ditches. This process is renewed
every few days until the crop no longer needs watering.

The people of El Kaheni were very courteous. I had a long talk with a young
man, who gave me a description of the capital, Moorzook, but his story did
not agree with that which Abd-el-Kader told me. I afterwards found that the
young man's story was correct. We left El Kaheni the next day, taking a
large load of dates, superior to those of Soodan in size and sweetness.
After three days' journey we could see in the distance a large flag on a
long pole, on the top of the English Consulate, the largest house in the
metropolis of Fezzan. We passed several villages of trifling importance,
and at about noon arrived within the walls of Moorzook. There the caravan
dissolved, and each man went to his own house.

I found Moorzook to be not larger than a quarter of my native town of
Kooka; but the buildings were in general better, every house being of
stone, though of course very poorly built in comparison with European
dwellings. The city has four gates, one toward each cardinal point of the
compass. The northern is the one by which the caravan entered; the eastern
is a ruin; the southern, which is behind the Pacha's palace, has mounted
by it two guns of large calibre; while the western, and the best of all, is
situated near the barracks, which are fine buildings, larger even than the
Pacha's palace. The pachalic of Fezzan is a tributary of the Ottoman Porte,
and the Pacha, a Turk, is very much hated by the Bedouins.

After reaching Abd-el-Kader's house, I found that he was a poor man. The
reader can form some idea from his living in the capital, and having but
one wife, all his property consisting of a piece of land about two and a
half miles from the city, a few donkeys, ten camels, old and young, an Arab
slave, and myself. While I was yet with him he bought also a young Fellatah
girl. As soon as we arrived, he sent me with Hassan, his slave, to the
farm, where I worked some fifteen days. I told him then that I was not used
to such work, and prayed him to sell me to some Turk or Egyptian. He asked
me what my father used to do, and I told him that he was a warrior and also
traded in gold-dust and ivory. On hearing my father's name he opened his
eyes wide, and asked me why I did not tell him that in Soodan. He had known
my father well, but had not seen him for fifteen rainy seasons. From that
day Abd-el-Kader was very kind to me, and said he had a great notion to
take me back. He, however, sold me after all to a young Turkish officer
named Abdy Agra, an excellent young man, full of life and fun. This officer
was always with the Pacha, and I believe was one of his aides. His wife was
a Kanowry woman. He used to bring home money every night and often gave me
some. After he had dressed me up, I accompanied him to the Pacha's every
day. He spoke my language very correctly, only with an accent, like all
strangers trying to speak Kanowry, and he began to teach me Turkish.
Strange to say, in Fezzan the Bornoo tongue is in great vogue, rich and
poor speaking Kanowry. I stayed with Abdy Agra more than three months; but
one day he told me that he had to send me to his father in Tripoli. So
long as I had to be a slave, I hated to leave so excellent a man, but I had
to go. Accordingly, when the caravan was to start, he sent me in charge of
Abd-el-Kader, the man from whom he had bought me. Before leaving the city
we went to a house that I had never seen before, and had our names
registered in a book by a very benevolent-looking man, who wore spectacles
on his eyes, something I had never seen before, and which made me afraid of
him. As we passed out of the city gate we were counted one by one by an

On our arrival at Tripoli, Abd-el-Kader took me to an old house in a street
narrow and dirty beyond description, where we passed the night. The next
morning he went with me to my new master, Hadji Daoud, the father of Abdy
Agra. When we found him he was sitting on a divan of velvet, smoking his
narghile. He looked at that time to be about forty-five years old, and was
of very fine appearance, having a long beard, white as snow. Abd-el-Kader
seemed well acquainted with him, for they shook hands and drank coffee
together. After this we proceeded to the Turkish Bazaar, where I found that
he was a merchant of tobacco, and had an extensive shop, his own property.
Hadji Daoud had three wives; the principal one was an Arabian, one was a
native of my country, and one, and, to do her justice, the best looking of
them all, was a Houssa girl. He believed in keeping a comfortable table,
and we had mutton almost daily, and sometimes fowls. He had but one son,
and he was far away. He told me that he intended to treat me as a son, and
every day I went to the shop with him. He treated me always kindly, but
madam was a cross and overbearing woman.

About this time my master started on his third pilgrimage to Mecca, leaving
a friend in charge of his store, and taking me with him. We went by sail
from Tripoli to Alexandria, touching at Bengazi. From Alexandria we went by
cars to Ben Hadad, thence to Saida and Cairo, the capital of Egypt. From
Cairo we travelled to Kartoom, at the forks of the Nile, and thence to
Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia, where we stayed only twenty-four hours,
my master being in continual fear of his life from the natives, who
differed from him in belief, and then started for Zela, a port on the Red
Sea. From Zela we sailed to Muscat, and thence proceeded to Mecca. I had
not come of my own free will and for the express purpose of a pilgrimage,
and therefore I was not permitted to go with Daoud to the grave of the
Prophet, and was obliged to content myself without the title of Hadji,
which is one much respected among the Mohammedans. We had returned as far
as Alexandria on our way home, when my master was informed that his store
and a great deal of property, in fact, all his goods and money, had been
destroyed by fire. This made the good man almost crazy. He did not hesitate
to tell me that he should have to sell me; but said that he would take care
that I should have a rich and good master, a promise which he kept. The
next day, with the present of a good suit of clothes, I was put on board a
vessel bound for Smyrna and Constantinople. I was to be landed at the
former city. On this vessel was a young man of eighteen, one of the crew,
who spoke my own language. I have heard it only twice, I think, since that

At Smyrna I was sold to a Turkish officer, Yousouf Effendi, a very wealthy
man, and brother-in-law to the celebrated Reschid Pacha, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs. He had a great many houses in Smyrna, as well as
Constantinople. We sailed the next day for the latter city in a man-of-war
steamer, the Abdul Medjid. My duty was that of a Tchidboudji, which
consists in filling and cleaning the pipes and narghiles. This was all that
I had to do, while I was well dressed in cloths and silks, and had plenty
of leisure time. After a service of eighteen months with Yousouf Effendi,
he gave me to his younger brother, Yousouf Kavass, less wealthy than
himself. This brother was, however, a very kind-hearted man, and treated
his slaves, a Nubian, a native of Sennar, and myself, very kindly. While in
this service I became known to Prince Mentchikoff, the Envoy Extraordinary
of Russia at Constantinople, and was finally sold to him by my master. At
the declaration of the Crimean war, after sending his things on board the
Russian steamer Vladimir, the Prince started with despatches for his august
master, via Corfu, Athens, Zara, Trieste, Vienna, Cracow, and Warsaw, to
St. Petersburg. I accompanied him on the journey, and, as the despatches
were of the utmost importance, we travelled with the greatest speed.

The house of my master, to which we went, in St. Petersburg, was situated
on the Nevskoi Prospekt, the Broadway of the city, and was built of
granite, in the Doric style, and very spacious. His family consisted of his
wife, one son, and three daughters, while his servants numbered about
thirty. The Prince, however, was not so immensely rich as some Russian
aristocrats of his standing. Shortly after his arrival at St. Petersburg,
Prince Mentchikoff was assigned to command in the army of the Crimea, and
he hastened there, leaving me in St. Petersburg. After his departure, not
being satisfied with the way in which the head servant treated me, I
engaged service with Prince Nicholas Troubetzkoy.

This family, better known as Le Grand Troubetzkoy, are descendants of the
Grand Duke of Lithuania. The Prince's father was noted for skill and
bravery in the war of 1828. The Troubetzkoys claim relationship with the
Emperor of France, the Duc de Morny, the half-brother of the Emperor,
having married the daughter of Prince Serges Troubetzkoy.

Prince Nicholas was the youngest of five sons, and lived with his brother
André, not far from the Italian theatre, both of them being single.

While in this service, I was baptized in St. Petersburg, November 12,
1855, into the Greek Church, my name being changed from
Mohammed-Ali-Ben-Said to Nicholas Said. Prince Nicholas was my godfather. I
shall always feel grateful, so long as I live, for Prince Nicholas's
kindness to me; but I cannot help thinking that the way I was baptized was
not right, for I think that I ought to have known perfectly well the nature
of the thing beforehand. Still, it was a good intention the Prince had
toward my moral welfare. After I was baptized he was very kind to me, and
he bought me a solid gold cross to wear on my breast, after the Russian
fashion. I was the Prince's personal servant, going always in the carriage
with him.

As the Czar Nicholas was godfather to the Prince, he had free access to the
palace. Though he had several chances to become minister at some European
court, he always refused, preferring to live a life of inaction. His
health, however, was not very good, and he was very nervous. I have seen
him faint scores of time in Russia; but when he left Russia, his health
began to improve very much.

Everybody acquainted with Russia knows that Czar Nicholas used to make all
the aristocracy tremble at his feet. No nobleman, to whatever rank he might
belong, could leave the country without his consent, and paying a certain
sum of money for the privilege. This measure of the Czar was not very well
liked by the nobility, but his will was law, and had to be executed without

Prince Troubetzkoy had several times made application for permission to
travel, but without success, so long as Czar Nicholas lived; for he hated
liberal ideas, and feared some of his subjects might, in the course of
time, introduce those ideas from foreign countries into Russia.

The Prince passed the summer season outside of the city, a distance of
about twenty-five versts, at a splendid residence of his own, a marble
house about the size of the Fifth Avenue Hotel of New York City. Adjoining
it was a small theatre, or glass house, containing tropical fruits, and a
menagerie, where I first saw a llama, and the interior of the palace was
lined with pictures and statues. It was a magnificent building, but was
getting to be quite old, and the Prince used to talk of repairing it,
though he remarked it would cost many thousand roubles. This estate
contained many thousand acres, and four good-sized villages, and was about
eight miles square. I had here some of the happiest days of my life.

About this time I went with the Prince to Georgia,--his brother-in-law, a
general in that department, having been wounded by the Circassians under
Schamyl. We reached Tiflis, the capital of Georgia, in January, and
remained there until after the capture of Kars by the English and Turks.
While in the Caucasus, the Prince visited some of the neighboring parts of
Persia, including Teheran and some smaller towns, and he returned to Russia
by way of Novgorod.

After the death of Czar Nicholas, Alexander, his successor, gave the Prince
permission to travel where he chose, without limit of time, and on the 24th
of February he started, going first to Warsaw, and thence, via Cracow, to
Vienna. Here I remained for two months, in charge of his effects, while he
visited a sister in Pesth, in Hungary. On his return we went to Prague, and
thence to Dresden. At this place, I was greatly bothered by the children.
They said that they had never seen a black man before. But the thing which
most attracted them was my Turkish dress, which I wore all the time in
Europe. Every day, for the three weeks we remained in Dresden, whenever I
went to take my walk I was surrounded by them to the number of several
hundred. To keep myself from them, I used to ride in a carriage or on
horseback, but this was too expensive. I thought the way I could do best
was to be friendly with them. So I used to sit in the garden and speak
with them,--that is, those who could understand French. They took a great
liking to me, for I used sometimes to buy them fruits, candies, and other
things, spending in this way a large amount. Prince Troubetzkoy had a
brother, Prince Vladimir, living in Dresden, a very handsome and a very
excellent man, but suffering from consumption. He treated me very kindly,
and when we left gave me several very interesting books, both religious and

From Dresden we went to Munich, thence to Baden-Baden, Wiesbaden, Coblenz,
Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, Brussels, and Ostende; then, returning to
Brussels, visited the field of Waterloo, and proceeded to Switzerland,
passing through Berne, Interlachen, over the Jura and St. Gothard's, to
Zurich. From Zurich we went to Como in Lombardy, where the Prince's eldest
brother, Alexander, had a villa on the borders of the lake. After a short
stay here, we went on to Verona, and then to Milan, where I was left while
the Prince made a short visit to Venice. Here, while left alone, I did not
behave as well as I might have done, sometimes drinking too much, and
spending my money foolishly. Here also I saw, for the first time since
leaving Africa, a countryman. He was named Mirza, and was born about
thirty-five miles from Kooka, my native place. He was considerably older
than I, and had been away from Africa some fifteen years. He was waiting on
a Venetian Marquis whose name I have forgotten.

After a stay of four weeks in Milan, we started, via Genoa, Leghorn, and
Pisa, for Florence. Here I attended my master at two levees,--one at the
palace of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, where I believe I had a better time
than the Prince, and the other at Prince Demidoff's. This latter gentleman
is a very wealthy Russian, and is very widely known. He is not a nobleman
in Russia, however, but has his title from the Grand Duke. He is well known
for the disagreeable propensity he has for beating his servants. While he
was in Vienna he was worsted in an attempt to chastise a Hungarian footman,
but he would not quit the practice, and has paid several fines imposed by
law in consequence.

Our next stopping-place was Rome, where the Prince remained for the winter,
making meanwhile a short visit to Naples, and leaving in the spring for
Paris. We were in Paris when the Prince Imperial was born, and stayed until
his christening, which was a very important day there. I remember well the
wonder of a young Russian servant-girl, that France should have still so
many soldiers as appeared in the procession,--a fraction only, of course,
of her army,--after losing so many in the Crimea. The Prince always took a
great pride in dress, both for himself and his servants, and particularly
here. I was always dressed in Turkish costume, embroidered with gold, and
never costing less than two or three hundred dollars.

After a three months' stay in Paris we went to London, where the Prince
took rooms at a first-class boarding-house; but he was invited almost all
the time to different country seats, where I had very gay times, for the
English servants live better than any in Europe.

At the conclusion of his English visit, the Prince returned to Baden-Baden,
this time renting a house. While there Napoleon III. passed through the
place on his way to meet the Czar Alexander; and Prince Troubetzkoy was
summoned to Frankfort-on-the-Main to attend on the latter. Here I was one
day told by the Prince to dress myself in my best, and go to the Russian
Ambassador's to wait on the Emperor at dinner. There were present beside
the two Emperors, the King of Wurtemberg, the Grand Dukes of Baden, Hesse
Darmstadt, and Nassau, the Ministers of France and Belgium, the Burgomaster
of Frankfort, Messrs. Rothschild, and many others. A splendid dinner was
served at six o'clock, the usual Russian dinner-hour, and was followed by
a ball, which continued until two in the morning. A day previous to the
monarch's departure Prince Gortchakoff handed my master thirty thalers as a
present for me.

About this time I began to think of the condition of Africa, my native
country, how European encroachments might be stopped, and her nationalities
united. I thought how powerful the United States had become since 1776, and
I wondered if I were capable of persuading the kings of Soodan to send
several hundred boys to learn the arts and sciences existing in civilized
countries. I thought that I would willingly sacrifice my life, if need be,
in realizing my dreams. I cried many times at the ignorance of my people,
exposed to foreign ambition, who, however good warriors they might be,
could not contend against superior weapons and tactics in the field. I
prayed earnestly to be enabled to do some good to my race. The Prince could
not but see that I was very sober, but I never told him my thoughts.

We stayed at Baden-Baden all summer and part of the fall, and then left for
Paris. The Prince made this journey to visit his niece, who had just been
married to the Duc de Morny, formerly the French Ambassador to Russia. She
was a most beautiful person, only seventeen years of age. I was taken to
see her, and kiss her hand, according to custom. She at first hesitated to
give me her hand, undoubtedly being afraid. I had never seen her in Russia,
as she was at the Imperial University, studying. After two weeks we again
left Paris for Rome, via Switzerland, again passed the summer at
Baden-Baden, again visited Paris, and various other points, until the year
1859 found the Prince again in London.

My desire to return to my native country had now become so strong, that I
here told the Prince I must go home to my people. He tried to persuade me
to the contrary, but I was inflexible in my determination. After he found
that I was not to be persuaded, he got up with tears in his eyes, and
said: "Said, I wish you good luck; you have served me honestly and
faithfully, and if ever misfortune happens to you, remember I shall always
be, as I always have been, interested in you." I, with many tears, replied
that I was exceedingly thankful for all he had bestowed on me and done in
my behalf, and that I should pray for him while I lived. I felt truly sorry
to leave this most excellent Prince. As I was leaving, he gave me as a
present two fifty-pound bills. It was many days before I overcame my
regret. Often I could hardly eat for grief.

I now went to board at the Strangers' Home, at the West India Dock, five
miles from where the Prince stopped. Here I waited for a steamer for
Africa. Hardly had I been there two weeks, when a gentleman from Holland
proposed to me a situation to travel with him in the United States and West
India Islands. I had read much about these countries, and my desire to see
them caused me to consent, and we left Liverpool soon after New Year's,

With this gentleman I went via Boston and New York to New Providence, Long
Keys, Inagua, Kingston, Les Gonaives, St. Marc, Demerara, Martinique,
Guadeloupe, and then back to New Providence, and from there by steamer to
New York. We remained in New York two months, and then visited Niagara,
Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec, and Ottawa, until, finally,
at a small village called Elmer, my employer's funds gave out, and I lent
him five hundred dollars of my own money. Of this five hundred I received
back only three hundred and eighty, and this failure compelled me to remain
in this country and earn my living by work to which I was unaccustomed.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this point the written narrative of Nicholas ends, at some date during
the year 1861. He afterward went to Detroit, and taught a school for those
of his own color, meeting there, I believe, a clergyman whom he had seen
years before in Constantinople, while a servant to Prince Mentchikoff. At
Detroit he enlisted in a colored regiment in the summer of 1863. He served
faithfully and bravely with his regiment as corporal and sergeant in the
Department of the South, and near the close of the war was attached, at his
own request, to the hospital department, to acquire some knowledge of
medicine. He was mustered out with the company in which he served, in the
fall of 1865. But, alas for his plans of service to his countrymen in his
native land! like many a warrior before him, he fell captive to woman,
married at the South, and for some time past the writer, amidst the changes
of business, has entirely lost sight of him.


[17] Barca Gana is alluded to in the Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. V. p.
54) as the general of the Scheik of Bornoo.--EDS.



"Out of France and into Spain," says the old nursery rhyme; but at the
eastern base of the Pyrenees one seems to have entered Spain before leaving
France. The rich vine-plains of Roussillon once belonged to the former
country; they retain quite as distinct traces of the earlier Moorish
occupancy, and their people speak a dialect almost identical with that of
Catalonia. I do not remember the old boundaries of the province, but I
noticed the change immediately after leaving Narbonne. Vine-green, with the
grays of olive and rock, were the only colors of the landscape. The tower,
massive and perched upon elevations, spoke of assault and defence; the
laborers in the fields were brown, dark-haired, and grave, and the
semi-African silence of Spain seemed already to brood over the land.

I entered Perpignan under a heavy Moorish gateway, and made my way to a
hostel through narrow, tortuous streets, between houses with projecting
balconies, and windows few and small, as in the Orient. The hostel, though
ambitiously calling itself an hotel, was filled with that Mediterranean
atmosphere and odor which you breathe everywhere in Italy and the
Levant,--a single characteristic flavor, in which, nevertheless, you fancy
you detect the exhalations of garlic, oranges, horses, cheese, and oil. A
mild whiff of it stimulates the imagination, and is no detriment to
physical comfort. When, at breakfast, red mullet came upon the table, and
oranges fresh from the tree, I straightway took off my Northern nature as a
garment, folded it and packed it neatly away in my knapsack, and took out,
in its stead, the light beribboned and bespangled Southern nature, which I
had not worn for some eight or nine years. It was like a dressing-gown
after a dress-coat, and I went about with a delightfully free play of the
mental and moral joints.

There were four hours before the departure of the diligence for Spain, and
I presume I might have seen various historical or architectural sights of
Perpignan; but I was really too comfortable for anything else than a lazy
meandering about the city, feeding my eyes on quaint houses, groups of
people full of noise and gesture, the scarlet blossoms of the pomegranate,
and the glitter of citron-leaves in the gardens. A one-legged fellow, seven
feet high, who called himself a _commissionnaire_, insisted on accompanying
me, and I finally accepted him, for two reasons;--first, he knew nothing
whatever about the city; and secondly, tourists are so rare that he must
have been very poor. His wooden leg, moreover, easily kept pace with my
loitering steps, and though, as a matter of conscience, he sometimes
volunteered a little information, he took my silence meekly and without
offence. In this wise, I gained some pleasant pictures of the place; and
the pictures which come with least effort are those which remain freshest
in memory.

There was one point, however, where my limping giant made a stand, and set
his will against expostulation or entreaty. I _must_ see the avenue of
sycamores, he said; there was plenty of time; France, the world, had no
such avenue; it was near at hand; every stranger went to see it and was
amazed;--and therewith he set off, without waiting for my answer. I
followed, for I saw that otherwise he would not have considered his fee
earned. The avenue of sycamores was indeed all that he had promised. I had
seen larger trees in Syria and Negropont, but here was a triple avenue,
nearly half a mile in length, so trained and sculptured that they rivalled
the regularity of masonry. Each trunk, at the height of ten or twelve feet,
divided into two arms, which then leaned outwards at the same angle, and
mingled their smaller boughs, fifty feet overhead. The aisles between them
thus took the form of very slender pyramids, truncated near the top. If the
elm gives the Gothic, this was assuredly the Cyclopean arch. In the
beginning, the effect must have been artificially produced, but the trees
were now so old, and had so accustomed themselves to the forms imposed,
that no impression of force or restraint remained. Through the roof of this
superb green minster not a beam of sunshine found its way. On the hard
gravel floor groups of peasants, soldiers, nurses, and children strolled up
and down, all with the careless and leisurely air of a region where time
has no particular value.

We passed a dark-haired and rather handsome gentleman and lady. "They are
opera-singers, Italians," said my companion, "and they are going with you
in the diligence." I looked at my watch and found that the hour of
departure had nearly arrived, and I should have barely time to procure a
little Spanish money. When I reached the office, the gentleman and lady
were already installed in the two corners of the _coupé_. My place,
apparently, was between them. The agent was politely handing me up the
steps, when the gentleman began to remonstrate; but in France the
regulations are rigid, and he presently saw that the intrusion could not be
prevented. With a sigh and a groan he gave up his comfortable corner to me,
and took the middle seat, for which I was booked! "Will you have your
place?" whispered the agent. I shook my head. "You get the best seat, don't
you see?" he resumed, "because--" But the rest of the sentence was a wink
and a laugh. I am sure there is the least possible of the Don Juan in my
appearance; yet this agent never lost an opportunity to wink at me whenever
he came near the diligence, and I fancied I heard him humming to himself,
as we drove away,--

    "Ma--nella Spagna--mille e tre!"

I endeavored to be reasonably courteous, without familiarity, towards the
opera-singers, but the effect of the malicious winks and smiles made the
lady appear to me timid and oppressed, and the gentleman an unexploded mine
of jealousy. My remarks were civilly if briefly answered, and then they
turned towards each other and began conversing in a language which was not
Italian, although melodious, nor French, although nasal. I pricked up my
ears and listened more sharply than good manners allowed,--but only until I
had recognized the Portuguese tongue. Whomsoever I may meet, in wandering
over the world, it rarely happens that I cannot discover some common or
"mutual" friend, and in this instance I determined to try the experiment.
After preliminaries, which gently led the conversation to Portugal, I

"Do you happen to know Count M----?"

"Only by name."

"Or Senhor O----, a young man and an astronomer?"

"Very well!" was the reply. "He is one of the most distinguished young men
of science in Portugal."

The ice was thereupon broken, and the gentleman became communicative and
agreeable. I saw, very soon, that the pair were no more opera-singers than
they were Italians; that the lady was not timid, nor her husband jealous;
but he had simply preferred, as any respectable husband would, to give up
his comfortable seat rather than have a stranger thrust between himself and
his wife.

Once out of Perpignan, the Pyrenees lay clear before us. Over bare red
hills, near at hand, rose a gray mountain rampart, neither lofty nor
formidable; but westward, between the valleys of the Tech and the Tet,
towered the solitary pyramid of the Canigou, streaked with snow-filled
ravines. The landscapes would have appeared bleak and melancholy, but for
the riotous growth of vines which cover the plain and climb the hillsides
wherever there is room for a terrace of earth. These vines produce the
dark, rich wine of Roussillon, the best vintage of Southern France. Hedges
of aloes, clumps of Southern cypress, poplars by the dry beds of winter
streams, with brown tints in the houses and red in the soil, increased the
resemblance to Spain. Rough fellows, in rusty velvet, who now and then dug
their dangling heels into the sides of the mules or asses they rode, were
enough like _arrieros_ or _contrabandistas_ to be the real article. Our
stout and friendly coachman, even, was hailed by the name of Moreno, and
spoke French with a foreign accent.

At the post-station of Le Boulou, we left the plain of Roussillon behind
us. At this end of the Pyrenean chain there are no such trumpet-names as
Roncesvalles, Fontarabia, and the Bidassoa. Hannibal, Cæsar, Charlemagne,
and the Saracens have marched through these defiles, and left no grand
historic footprint, but they will always keep the interest which belongs to
those natural barriers and division walls whereby races and histories were
once separated. It was enough for me that here were the Pyrenees, and I
looked forward, perhaps, with a keener curiosity, to the character and
forms of their scenery, than to the sentiment which any historic
association could produce. A broad and perfect highway led us through
shallow valleys, whose rocky sides were hung with rows of olive-trees, into
wilder and more abrupt dells, where vegetation engaged in a struggle with
stone, and without man's help would have been driven from the field. Over
us the mountains lifted themselves in bold bastions and parapets,
disforested now, if those gray upper plateaus ever bore forests, and of a
uniform slaty-gray in tone, except where reddish patches of oxidation
showed like the rust of age.

But, like "all waste and solitary places," the scenery had its own peculiar
charm. Poussin and Salvator Rosa would have seated themselves afresh at
every twist of the glen, and sketched the new picture which it unfolded.
The huge rocks, fallen from above, or shattered in the original upheaval of
the chain, presented a thousand sharp, forcible outlines and ragged facets
of shadow, and the two native growths of the Pyrenees--box and
cork-oak--fringed them as thickets or overhung them as trees, in the
wildest and most picturesque combinations. Indeed, during this portion of
the journey, I saw scores of sketches waiting for the selected artist who
has not yet come for them,--sketches full of strength and beauty, and with
a harmony of color as simple as the chord of triple tones in music. When to
their dark grays and greens came the scarlet Phrygian cap of the
Catalonian, it was brighter than sunshine.

The French fortress of Bellegarde, crowning a drum-shaped mass of rock,
which blocked up the narrow valley in front, announced our approach to the
Spanish frontier. The road wound back and forth as it climbed through a
stony wilderness to the mouth of a gorge under the fortress, and I saw,
before we entered this last gateway into Spain, the peak of the Canigou
touched with sunset, and the sweep of plain beyond it black under the
shadow of storm-clouds. On either side were some heaps of stone, left from
forts and chapels of the Middle Ages, indicating that we had already
reached the summit of the pass, which is less than a thousand feet above
the sea-level. In ten minutes the gorge opened, and we found ourselves
suddenly rattling along the one street of the gay French village of
Perthus. Officers from Bellegarde sat at the table in front of the smart
_café_, and drank absinthe; soldiers in red trousers chatted with the
lively women who sold tobacco and groceries; there were trees, little
gardens, arbors of vine, and the valley opened southwards, descending and
broadening towards a cloudless evening sky.

At the end of the village I saw a granite pyramid, with the single word
"Gallia" engraved upon it; a few paces farther two marble posts bore the
half-obliterated arms of Spain. Here the diligence paused a moment, and an
officer of customs took his seat beside the coachman. The telegraph-pole
behind us was of barked pine, the next one in front was painted gray; the
_vente de tabac_ became _estanco nacional_, and the only overlapping of the
two nationalities which I observed--all things else being suddenly and
sharply divided--was that some awkward and dusty Spanish soldiers were
walking up the street of Perthus, and some trim, jaunty French soldiers
were walking down the road, towards the first Spanish wine-shop. We also
went down, and swiftly, in the falling twilight, through which, erelong,
gardens and fields began to glimmer, and in half an hour drew up in the
little Spanish town of La Junquera, the ancient "place of rushes." Here
there was a rapid and courteous examination of baggage, a call for
passports, which were opened and then handed back to us without _visé_ or
fee being demanded, and we were declared free to journey in Spain. Verily,
the world is becoming civilized, when Spain, the moral satrapy of Rome,
begins to pull down her barriers and let the stranger in!

I inspected our "insides," as they issued forth, and found, in addition to
a priest and three or four commercial individuals with a contraband air, a
young French naval officer, and an old German who was too practical for a
professor and too stubborn in his views to be anything else. He had made
fifteen journeys to Switzerland, he informed me, knew Scotland from the
Cheviots to John o' Groat's, and now proposed the conquest of Spain. Here
Moreno summoned us to our places, and the diligence rolled onward. Past
groups of Catalans, in sandals and scarlet bonnets, returning from the
harvest fields; past stacks of dusky grain and shadowy olive-orchards; past
open houses, where a single lamp sometimes flashed upon a woman's head;
past a bonfire, turning the cork-trees into transparent bronze, and past
the sound of water, plunging under the idle mill-wheel, in the cool,
delicious summer air,--we journeyed on. The stars were beginning to gather
in the sky, when square towers and masses of cubic houses rose against
them, and the steady roll of our wheels on the smooth highway became a
dreadful clatter on the rough cobble-stones of Figueras.

The Pyrenees were already behind us; the town overlooks a wide, marshy
plain. But the mountains make their vicinity felt in a peculiar manner. The
north-wind, gathered into the low pass of Bellegarde and drawn to a focus
of strength, blows down the opening valley with a force which sometimes
lays an embargo on travel. Diligences are overturned, postilions blown out
of their saddles, and pedestrians carried off their feet. The people then
pray to their saints that the _tramontana_ may cease; but, on the other
hand, as it is a very healthy wind, sweeping away the feverish exhalations
from the marshy soil, they get up a grand annual procession to some
mountain-shrine of the Virgin, and pray that it may blow. So, when the
Virgin takes them at their word, the saints are invoked on the other side,
and the wonder is that both parties don't get out of patience with the
people of Figueras.

The diligence drew up at the door of a _fonda_, and Moreno announced that
we were to take supper and wait until midnight. This was welcome news to
all; but the old German drew me aside as we entered the house, and
whispered, "Now our stomachs are going to be tried." "Not at all," I
answered, "we shall find very good provender." "But the guide-book says it
is very bad," he persisted. And he looked despondent, even with a clean
table-cloth and a crisp roll of bread before him, until the soup steamed
under his nose. His face brightened at the odor, grew radiant at the
flavor, and long before we reached the roast pullet and salad he expressed
his satisfaction with Spanish cookery. With the dessert came a _vino
rancio_, full of summer fire, and the tongues of the company were loosened.
From the weather and the Paris Exposition we leaped boldly into politics,
and, being on Spanish soil, discussed France and the Mexican business. The
French officer was silent and annoyed: he was a pleasant fellow, and I, for
one, had a little sympathy with his annoyance, but I could not help saying
that all Americans (except the Rev. ----) considered the action of France
as an outrage and an impertinence, and were satisfied with her miserable
failure. The Spanish passengers nodded and smiled.

I should not have spoken, had I foreseen one consequence of my words. The
German snatched the reins of conversation out of our hands, and dashed off
at full speed, trampling France and her ruler under his feet. At the first
pause, I said to him, in German: "Pray don't be so violent in your
expressions,--the gentleman beside me is a naval officer." But he answered:
"I don't care,--I must speak my mind, which I could not do in Paris. France
has been the curse of Spain, as well as of all Europe, and there will be no
peace until we put a stop to her pretensions!" Thereupon he said the same
thing to the company; but the Spaniards were too politic to acquiesce
openly. The officer replied, "France has not injured Spain, but, on the
contrary, has protected her!" and he evidently had not the slightest
suspicion that there was anything offensive in his words. The Spaniards
still remained silent, but another expression came into their eyes. It was
time to change the subject; so the principle of non-intervention, in its
fullest, most literal sense, was proposed and accepted. A grave Majorcan
gentleman distributed cigars; his daughter, with her soft, melodious voice,
was oil to the troubled waters, and before midnight we were all equally
courteous and cosmopolitan.

Of the four ensuing hours I can give no account. Neither asleep nor awake,
hearing with closed eyes, or seeing with half-closed senses, one can never
afterwards distinguish between what is seen and what is dreamed. This is a
state in which the body may possibly obtain some rest, but the mind becomes
inexpressibly fatigued. One's memory of it is a blurred sketch, a faded
daguerreotype. I welcomed that hour when

          "The wind blows cold
    While the morning doth unfold,"

for it blew away this film, which usurped the place of the blessed mantle
of sleep. Chill, even here in African Spain, where the pale pearl of the
dawn foretold a burning noon, and where, in May, the harvests were already
reaped, the morning brightened; but we were near the end of the journey. At
sunrise, the towers of Giron stood fast and firm over the misty level of
the shimmering olive-groves; then the huge dull mass of the cathedral, the
walls and bastions of the hill-forts, which resisted a siege of seven
months during the Peninsular war, and finally the monotonous streets of the
lower town, through which we drove.

The industrious Catalans were already awake and stirring. Smokes from
domestic hearths warmed the cool morning air; cheerful noises of men,
animals, and fowls broke the silence; doors were open as we entered the
town, and the women were combing and twisting their black hair in the
shadows within. At the post some brown grooms lounged about the door. A
priest passed,--a genuine Don Basilio, in inky gown and shovel-hat; and
these graceless grooms looked after him, thrust their tongues into their
cheeks, and made an irreverent grimace. The agent at Perpignan came into my
mind; I winked at the fellows, without any clear idea wherefore, but it
must have expressed something, for they burst into a laugh and repeated the

The lower town seemed to be of immense length. Once out of it, a superb
avenue of plane-trees received us, at the end of which was the
railway-station. In another hour the train would leave for Barcelona. Our
trunks must be again examined. When I asked the reason why this annoying
regulation, obsolete elsewhere in Europe, is here retained, the Spaniards
gravely informed me that, if it were abolished, a great many people would
be thrown out of employment. Not that they get much pay for the
examination,--but they are constantly bribed not to examine! There was a
_café_ attached to the station, and I advised my fellow-passengers to take
a cup of the delicious ropy chocolate of Spain, after which one accepts the
inevitable more patiently.

I found the landscapes from Giron to Barcelona very bright and beautiful.
Our locomotive had fallen into the national habit: it was stately and
deliberate, it could not be hurried, its very whistle was subdued and
dignified. We went forward at an easy pace, making about fifteen miles an
hour, which enabled me to notice the patient industry of the people, as
manifested on every plain and hillside. The Catalans are called rough and
ungraceful; beside the sprightly Andalusians they seem cold and repellent;
they have less of that blue blood which makes the beggar as proud as the
grandee, but they possess the virtue of labor, which, however our artistic
tastes may undervalue it, is the basis from which all good must spring.
When I saw how the red and rocky hills were turned into garden-terraces,
how the olive-trees were pruned into health and productiveness, how the
wheat stood so thick that it rolled but stiffly under the breeze, I forgot
the jaunty _majos_ of Seville, and gave my hearty admiration to the
strong-backed reapers in the fields of Catalonia.

The passengers we took up on the way, though belonging to the better class,
and speaking Spanish whenever it was necessary, all seemed to prefer the
popular dialect. Proprietors of estates and elegant young ladies conversed
together in the rough patois of the peasants, which to me was especially
tantalizing, because it sounded so familiar, and yet was so unintelligible.
It is in reality the old _langue limousine_ of France, kindred to the
Provençal, and differs very slightly from the dialect spoken on the other
side of the Pyrenees. It is terse, forcible, and expressive, and I must
confess that the lisping Spanish, beside it, seems to gain in melody at the
expense of strength.

We approached Barcelona across the wide plain of the Llobregat, where
orange-gardens and factory chimneys, fountains "i' the midst of roses" and
machine-shops full of grimy workmen, succeed each other in a curious tangle
of poetry and greasy fact. The Mediterranean gleams in a blue line on the
left, the citadel of Montjoi crowns a bluff in front; but the level city
hides itself behind the foliage of the plain, and is not seen. At the
station you wait half an hour, until the baggage is again deposited on the
dissecting-tables of the customs officers; and here, if, instead of joining
the crowd of unhappy murmurers in the anteroom, you take your station in
the doorway, looking down upon porters, pedlers, idlers, and policemen, you
are sure to be diverted by a little comedy acted in pantomime. An outside
porter has in some way interfered with the rights of a station-porter; a
policeman steps between the two, the latter of whom, lifting both hands to
heaven in a wild appeal, brings them down swiftly and thrusts them out
before him, as if descending to earthly justice. The outsider goes through
the same gestures, and then both, with flashing eyes and open mouths, teeth
glittering under the drawn lips, await the decision. The policeman first
makes a sabre-cut with his right arm, then with his left; then also lifts
his hands to heaven, shakes them there a moment, and, turning as he brings
them down, faces the outside porter. The latter utters a passionate cry,
and his arms begin to rise; but he is seized by the shoulder and turned
aside; the crowd closes in, and the comedy is over.

We have a faint interest in Barcelona for the sake of Columbus; but, apart
from this one association, we set it down beside Manchester, Lowell, and
other manufacturing cities. It was so crowded within its former walls, that
little space was left for architectural display. In many of the streets I
doubt whether four persons could walk abreast. Only in the Rambla, a broad
central boulevard, is there any chance for air and sunshine, and all the
leisure and pleasure of the city is poured into this one avenue. Since the
useless walls have been removed, an ambitious modern suburb is springing up
on the west, and there will in time be a new city better than the old.

This region appears to be the head-quarters of political discontent in
Spain,--probably because the people get to be more sensible of the misrule
under which they languish, in proportion as they become more active and
industrious. Nothing could have been more peaceable upon the surface than
the aspect of things; the local newspapers never reported any disturbance,
yet intelligence of trouble in Catalonia was circulating through the rest
of Europe, and _something_--I could not ascertain precisely what it
was--took place during my brief visit. The telegraph-wires were cut, and
some hundreds of soldiers were sent into the country; but the matter was
never mentioned, unless two persons whom I saw whispering together in the
darkest corner of a _café_ were discussing it. I believe, if a battle had
been fought within hearing of the cannon, the Barcelonese would have gone
about the streets with the same placid, unconcerned faces. Whether this was
cunning, phlegm, or the ascendency of solid material interests over the
fiery, impulsive nature of the Spaniard, was not clear to a passing
observer. In either case it was a prudent course.

If, in the darkened streets--or rather lanes--of Barcelona, I saw some
suggestive pictures; if the court-yard of the cathedral, with its fountains
and orange-trees, seemed a thousand miles removed from the trade and
manufacture of the city; if the issuing into sunshine on the mole was like
a blow in the eyes, to which the sapphire bloom of the Mediterranean became
a healing balm; and if the Rambla, towards evening, changed into a shifting
diorama of color and cheerful life,--none of these things inclined me to
remain longer than the preparation for my further journey required. Before
reaching the city, I had caught a glimpse, far up the valley of the
Llobregat, of a high, curiously serrated mountain, and that old book of the
"Wonders of the World," (now, alas! driven from the library of childhood,)
opened its pages and showed its rough woodcuts, in memory, to tell me what
the mountain was. How many times has that wonderful book been the chief
charm of my travels, causing me to forget Sulpicius on the Ægean Sea, Byron
in Italy, and Humboldt in Mexico!

To those who live in Barcelona, Montserrat has become a common-place, the
resort of Sunday excursions and picnics, one fourth devotional, and three
fourths epicurean. Wild, mysterious, almost inaccessible as it stands in
one's fancy, it sinks at this distance into the very material atmosphere of
railroad and omnibus; but, for all that, we are not going to give it up,
though another "Wonder of the World" should go by the board. Take the
Tarragona train then with me, on a cloudless afternoon. In a few minutes
the scattered suburban blocks are left behind, and we enter the belt of
villas, with their fountained terraces and tropical gardens. More and more
the dark red earth shows through the thin foliage of the olives, as the
hills draw nearer, and it finally gives color to the landscapes. The vines
covering the levels and lower slopes are wonderfully luxuriant; but we can
see how carefully they are cultivated. Hedges of aloe and cactus divide
them; here and there some underground cavern has tumbled in, letting down
irregular tracts of soil, and the vines still flourish at the bottom of the
pits thus made. As the plain shrinks to a valley, the hills on either side
ascend into rounded summits, which begin to be dark with pine forests;
villages with square, brown church-towers perch on the lower heights;
cotton-mills draw into their service the scanty waters of the river, and
the appearance of cheerful, thrifty labor increases as the country becomes

All this time the serrated mountain is drawing nearer, and breaking into a
wilder confusion of pinnacles. It stands alone, planted across the base of
a triangular tract of open country,--a strange, solitary, exiled peak,
drifted away in the beginning of things from its brethren of the Pyrenees,
and stranded in a different geological period. This circumstance must have
long ago impressed the inhabitants of the region,--even in the
ante-historic ages. When Christianity rendered a new set of traditions
necessary, the story arose that the mountain was so split and shattered at
the moment when Christ breathed his last on the cross of Calvary. This is
still the popular belief; but the singular formation of Montserrat,
independent of it, was sufficient to fix the anchoretic tastes of the early
Christians. It is set apart by Nature, not only towering above all the
surrounding heights, but drawing itself haughtily away from contact with
them, as if conscious of its earlier origin.

At the station of Martorel I left the train, and took a coach which was in
waiting for the village of Collbató, at the southern base of the mountain.
My companion in the _coupé_ was a young cotton-manufacturer, who assured me
that in Spain the sky and soil were good, but the _entresol_ (namely, the
human race) was bad. The interior was crowded with country women, each of
whom seemed to have four large baskets. I watched the driver for half an
hour attempting to light a broken cigar, and then rewarded his astonishing
patience with a fresh one, whereby we became good friends. Such a peaceful
light lay upon the landscape, the people were so cheerful, the laborers
worked so quietly in the vineyards, that the thought of a political
disturbance the day before seemed very absurd. The olive-trees, which
clothed the hills wherever their bony roots could find the least lodgement
of soil, were of remarkably healthy and vigorous growth, and the regular
cubic form into which they were pruned marked the climbing terraces with
long lines of gray light, as the sun slanted across them.

"You see," said the Spaniard, as I noticed this peculiarity, "the
_entresol_ is a little better in this neighborhood than elsewhere in Spain.
The people cut the trees into this shape in order that they may become more
compact and produce better; besides which, the fruit is more easily
gathered. In all those orchards you will not find a decayed or an unhealthy
tree; they are dug up and burned, and young ones planted in their place."

At the village of Esparaguerra the other passengers left, and I went on
towards Collbató alone. But I had Montserrat for company, towering more
grandly, more brokenly, from minute to minute. Every change in the
foreground gave me a new picture. Now it was a clump of olives with twisted
trunks; now an aloe, lifting its giant candelabrum of blossoms from the
edge of a rock; now a bank of dull vermilion earth, upon which goats were
hanging. The upper spires of the mountain disappeared behind its basal
buttresses of gray rock, a thousand feet in perpendicular height, and the
sinking sun, as it crept westward, edged these with sharp lines of light.
Up, under the tremendous cliffs, and already in shadow, lay Collbató, and I
was presently set down at the gate of the _posada_.

Don Pedro, the host, came forward to meet and welcome me, and his pretty
daughter, sitting on the steps, rose up and dropped a salute. In the
entrance hall I read, painted in large letters on the wall, the words of
St. Augustine: "_In necessariis unitas; in dubiis libertas; in omnibus,
caritas._" (If these sayings are _not_ St. Augustine's, somebody will be
sure to correct me.) Verily, thought I, Don Pedro must be a character. I
had no sooner comfortably seated myself in the doorway to contemplate the
exquisite evening landscape, which the Mediterranean bounded in the
distance, and await my supper, than Don Pedro ordered his daughter to bring
the guests' book, and then betook himself to the task of running down a
lean chicken. In the record of ten years I found that Germans were the most
frequent visitors; Americans appeared but thrice. One party of the latter
registered themselves as "gentlemen," and stated that they had seen the
"prom_a_nent points,"--which gave occasion to a later Englishman to comment
upon the intelligence of American gentlemen. The host's daughter, Pepita,
was the theme of praise in prose and raptures in poetry.

"Are you Pepita?" I asked, turning to the girl, who sat on the steps before
me, gazing into the evening sky with an expression of the most indolent
happiness. I noticed for the first time, and admired, her firm, regular,
almost Roman profile, and the dark masses of _real_ hair on her head. Her
attitude, also, was very graceful, and she would have been, to impressible
eyes, a phantom of delight, but for the ungraceful fact that she
inveterately scratched herself whenever and wherever a flea happened to

"No, señor," she answered; "I am Carmen. Pepita was married first, and
then Mariquita. Angelita and myself are the only ones at home."

"I see there is also a poem to Angelita," I remarked, turning over the last

"O, that was a poet!" said she,--"a funny man! Everybody knows him: he
writes for the theatre, and all that is about some eggs which Angelita
fried for him. We can't understand it all, but we think it's good-natured."

Here the mother came, not as duenna, but as companion, with her distaff and
spindle, and talked and span until I could no longer distinguish the thread
against her gray dress. When the lean chicken was set before me, Don Pedro
announced that a mule and guide would be in readiness at sunrise, and I
could, if I chose, mount to the topmost peak of San Geronimo. In the base
of the mountain, near Collbató, there are spacious caverns, which most
travellers feel bound to visit; but I think that six or seven caves, one
coal mine, and one gold mine are enough for a lifetime, and have renounced
any further subterranean researches. Why delve into those dark, moist,
oppressive crypts, when the blessed sunshine of years shows one so little
of the earth and of human life? Let any one that chooses come and explore
the caverns of Montserrat, and then tell me (as people have a passion for
doing), "You missed the best!" The best is that with which one is

Instead of five o'clock, when I should have been called, I awoke naturally
at six, and found that Don Pedro had set out for San Geronimo four hours
before, while neither guide nor mule was forthcoming. The old woman pointed
to some specks far up in the shadow of the cliffs, which she assured me
were travellers, and would arrive with mules in fifteen minutes. But I
applied the words _in dubiis libertas_, and insisted on an immediate animal
and guide, both of which, somewhat to my surprise, were produced. The black
mule was strong, and the lank old Catalan shouldered my heavy valise and
walked off without a murmur. The sun was already hot; but once risen above
the last painfully constructed terrace of olives, and climbing the stony
steep, we dipped into the cool shadow of the mountain. The path was
difficult but not dangerous, winding upward through rocks fringed with
dwarf ilex, box, and mastic, which made the air fragrant. Thyme, wild flax,
and aconite blossomed in the crevices. The botany of the mountain is as
exceptional as its geology; it includes five hundred different species.

The box-tree, which my Catalan guide called _bosch_ in his dialect, is a
reminiscence, wherever one sees it, of Italy and Greece,--of ancient
culture and art. Its odor, as Holmes admirably says, suggests eternity. If
it was not the first plant that sprang up on the cooling planet, it ought
to have been. Its glossy mounds, and rude, statuesque clumps, which often
seem struggling to mould themselves into human shape, cover with beauty the
terrible rocks of Montserrat. M. Delavigne had warned me of the dangers of
the path I was pursuing,--walls on one side, and chasms a thousand feet
deep on the other,--but the box everywhere shaped itself into protecting
figures, and whispered as I went by, "Never fear; if you slip, I will hold

The mountain is an irregular cone, about thirty-five hundred feet in
height, and cleft down the middle by a torrent which breaks through its
walls on the northeastern side. It presents a perpendicular face, which
seems inaccessible, for the shelves between the successive elevations, when
seen from below, appear as narrow fringes of vegetation, growing out of one
unbroken wall. They furnish, indeed, but scanty room for the bridle-path,
which at various points is both excavated and supported by arches of
masonry. After nearly an hour, I found myself over Collbató, upon the roofs
of which, it seemed, I might fling a stone. At the next angle of the
mountain, the crest was attained, and I stood between the torn and scarred
upper wilderness of Montserrat on the one hand, and the broad, airy sweep
of landscape, bounded by the sea, on the other. To the northward, a similar
cape thrust out its sheer walls against the dim, dissolving distances, and
it was necessary to climb along the sides of the intervening gulf, which
sank under me into depths of shadow. Every step of the way was inspiring,
for there was the constant threat, without the reality, of danger. My mule
paced securely along the giddy brinks; and though the path seemed to
terminate fifty paces ahead, I was always sure to find a loop-hole or
coigne of vantage which the box and mastic had hidden from sight. So in
another hour the opposite foreland was attained, and from its crest I saw,
all along the northern horizon, the snowy wall of the Pyrenees.

Here a path branched off to the peak of San Geronimo,--a two hours' clamber
through an absolute desert of rock. My guide, although panting and sweating
with his load, proposed the ascent; but in the film of heat which
overspread the land I should have only had a wider panorama in which all
distinct forms were lost,--vast, no doubt, but as blurred and intangible as
a metaphysical treatise. I judged it better to follow the example of a
pious peasant and his wife whom we had overtaken, and who, setting their
faces toward the renowned monastery, murmured an _Ave_ from time to time.
Erelong, on emerging from the thickets, we burst suddenly upon one of the
wildest and most wonderful pictures I ever beheld. A tremendous wall of
rock arose in front, crowned by colossal turrets, pyramids, clubs, pillars,
and ten-pin shaped masses, which were drawn singly, or in groups of
incredible distortion, against the deep blue of the sky. At the foot of the
rock, the buildings of the monastery, huge and massive, the church, the
houses for pilgrims, and the narrow gardens completely filled and almost
overhung a horizontal shelf of the mountain, under which it again fell
sheer away, down, down into misty depths, the bottom of which was hidden
from sight. I dropped from the mule, sat down upon the grass, and, under
pretence of sketching, studied this picture for an hour. In all the
galleries of memory I could find nothing resembling it.

The descriptions of Montserrat must have made a powerful impression upon
Goethe's mind, since he deliberately appropriated the scenery for the fifth
act of the Second Part of Faust. Goethe was in the steadfast habit of
choosing a local and actual habitation for the creations of his
imagination; his landscapes were always either painted from nature, or
copied from the sketch-books of others. The marvellous choruses of the
fifth act floated through my mind as I drew; the "Pater Ecstaticus" hovered
in the sunny air, the anchorites chanted from their caves, and the mystic
voices of the undeveloped child-spirits came between, like the breathing of
an Æolian harp. I suspect that the sanctity of the mountain really depends
as much upon its extraordinary forms, as upon the traditions which have
been gradually attached to it. These latter, however, are so strange and
grotesque, that they could only be accepted here.

The monastery owes its foundation to a miraculous statue of the Virgin,
sculptured by St. Luke, and brought to Spain by no less a personage than
St. Peter. In the year 880, some shepherds who had climbed the mountain in
search of stray goats heard celestial harmonies among the rocks. This
phenomenon coming to the ears of Bishop Gondemar, he climbed to the spot,
and was led by the music to the mouth of a cave, which exhaled a delicious
perfume. There, enshrined in light, lay the sacred statue. Gondemar and his
priests, chanting as they went, set out for Manresa, the seat of the
diocese, carrying it with them; but on reaching a certain spot, they found
it impossible to move farther. The statue obstinately refused to accompany
them,--which was taken as a sign that there, and nowhere else, the shrine
should be built. Just below the monastery there still stands a cross, with
the inscription, "Here the Holy Image declared itself immovable, 880."

The chapel when built was intrusted to the pious care of Fray Juan Garin,
whose hermitage is pointed out to you, on a peak which seems accessible
only to the eagle. The Devil, however, interfered, as he always does in
such cases. He first entered into Riquilda, the daughter of the Count of
Barcelona, and then declared through her mouth that he would not quit her
body except by the order of Juan Garin, the hermit of Montserrat. Riquilda
was therefore sent to the mountain and given into the hermit's charge. A
temptation similar to that of St. Anthony followed, but with exactly the
opposite result. In order to conceal his sin, Juan Garin cut off Riquilda's
head, buried her, and fled. Overtaken by remorse, he made his way to Rome,
confessed himself to the Pope, and prayed for a punishment proportioned to
his crime. He was ordered to become a beast, never lifting his face towards
heaven, until the hour when God himself should signify his pardon.

Juan Garin went forth from the Papal presence on his hands and knees,
crawled back to Montserrat, and there lived seven years as a wild animal,
eating grass and bark, and never lifting his face towards heaven. At the
end of this time his body was entirely covered with hair, and it so
happened that the hunters of the Count snared him as a strange beast, put a
chain around his neck, and took him to Barcelona. In the mansion of the
Count there was an infant only five months old, in its nurse's arms. No
sooner had the child beheld the supposed animal, than it gave a loud cry
and exclaimed: "Rise up, Juan Garin; God has pardoned thee!" Then, to the
astonishment of all, the beast arose and spoke in a human tongue. He told
his story, and the Count set out at once with him to the spot where
Riquilda was buried. They opened the grave and the maiden rose up alive,
with only a rosy mark, like a thread, around her neck. In commemoration of
so many miracles, the Count founded the monastery.

At present, the monks retain but a fragment of their former wealth and
power. Their number is reduced to nineteen, which is barely enough to guard
the shrine, perform the offices, and prepare and bless the rosaries and
other articles of devotional traffic. I visited the church, courts, and
corridors, but took no pains to get sight of the miraculous statue. I have
already seen both the painting and the sculpture of St. Luke, and think him
one of the worst artists that ever existed. Moreover, the place is fast
assuming a secular, not to say profane air. There is a modern restaurant,
with bill of fare and wine list, inside the gate, ticket-office for
travellers, and a daily omnibus to the nearest railway station. Ladies in
black mantillas lounge about the court-yards, gentlemen smoke on the
balconies, and only the brown-faced peasant pilgrims, arriving with weary
feet, enter the church with an expression of awe and of unquestioning
faith. The enormous wealth which the monastery once possessed--the offering
of kings--has disappeared in the vicissitudes of Spanish history, the
French, in 1811, being the last pillagers. Since then, the treasures of
gold and jewels have not returned; for the crowns offered to the Virgin by
the city of Barcelona and by a rich American are of gilded silver, set with
diamonds of paste!

I loitered for hours on the narrow terraces around the monastery,
constantly finding some new and strange combination of forms in the
architecture of the mountain. The bright silver-gray of the rock contrasted
finely with the dark masses of eternal box, and there was an endless play
of light and shade as the sun burst suddenly through some unsuspected gap,
or hid himself behind one of the giant ten-pins of the summit. The world
below swam in dim red undulations, for the color of the soil showed
everywhere through its thin clothing of olive-trees. In hue as in form,
Montserrat had no fellowship with the surrounding region.

The descent on the northern side is far less picturesque, inasmuch as you
are perched upon the front seat of an omnibus, and have an excellent
road--a work of great cost and labor--the whole way. But, on the other
hand, you skirt the base of a number of the detached pillars and pyramids
into which the mountain separates, and gain fresh pictures of its
remarkable structure. There is one isolated shaft, visible at a great
distance, which I should judge to be three hundred feet in height by forty
or fifty in diameter. At the western end, the outline is less precipitous,
and here the fields of vine and olive climb much higher than elsewhere. In
an hour from the time of leaving the monastery, we were below the last
rampart, rolling through dust in the hot valley of the Llobregat, and
tracing the course of the invisible road across the walls of Montserrat,
with a feeling of incredulity that we had really descended from such a

At the village of Montrisol, on the river, there is a large cotton factory.
The doors opened as we approached, and the workmen came forth, their day's
labor done. Men and women, boys and girls, in red caps and sandals, or
bareheaded and barefooted, they streamed merrily along the road, teeth and
eyes flashing as they chatted and sang. They were no pale, melancholy
factory slaves, but joyous and light-hearted children of labor, and, it
seemed to me, the proper successors of the useless idlers in the monastery
of Montserrat. Up there, on the mountain, a system, all-powerful in the
past, was swiftly dying; here, in the valley, was the first life of the
only system that can give a future to Spain.



So you did not enjoy your first Phi Beta dinner, dear Tom, because you were
afraid all the time that the new members would be toasted, and then "the
fellows" had said you must reply for them. That is a pity. As, after all,
the fellows were not toasted, it is a great pity. I am glad you write to me
about it, however, and now it is for me to take care that this never
happens to you again.

I will tell you how to be always ready. I will tell you how I do.

My first Phi Beta dinner was, like yours, my first public dinner. It was on
the day, which this year everybody remembered who was old enough, when Mr.
Emerson delivered his first Phi Beta oration at Cambridge. How proudly he
has the right to look back on the generation between, all of which he has
seen, so much of which he has been! Well, he is no older this day, to all
appearance, than he was then,--and your uncle, my dear boy, though older to
appearance, is not older in reality. What is it dear G---- Q----
sings,--who sat behind me that early day at Phi Beta?

    "When we 've been there ten million years,
      Bright shining as the sun,
    We 'll _have more days_
    To sing God's praise,
      Than when we first begun!"

Remember that, my dear oldest nephew, as the ten million years go by,--and,
remembering it, keep young or grow young.

Mr. Emerson was young, I say,--and I. We were all young.

Mr. Edward Everett was young. He was then Governor,--and, I think,
presided, certainly spoke, at that Phi Beta dinner. By the almanac he must
have been that year forty-five years old,--just as old, dear Tom, as some
other people are this year by the almanac. He had been pretty much
everything, had gone most everywhere, had seen almost all the people that
were worth seeing, and remembered more than all the rest of us had
forgotten. And he was very young. To those who knew him he always was. The
day he died he was about the youngest man in most things that I knew.

And so it happened that he made the first dinner speech that I remember. We
were all in the South Commons Hall of University, now used as somebody's
lecture-room, say, at a guess, Professor Lovering's. And he gave some
charming reminiscences of Charles Emerson, brother of the philosopher, too
early lost, and everywhere loved,--and then, speaking of the oration of the
day, and of the new philosophy to which it belonged, and of which the
orator was, is, and will be the prophet, he said, in his gracious, funny,
courtly, and hearty way, that he always thought of its thunders as he did
of the bolts of Jupiter himself! Could one have complimented an orator more
than to compare him to Jupiter? And then he went on to verify the
comparison, by quoting the description,--

    "Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri,"--

and translated the words for his purpose,--

    "Three ports were raging fire, and three the whelming waves!
    But three were _thirsty cloud_, and three were _empty wind_!"

Ah well, my boy! You do not remember what all the world, except a few of
the elect, then said of "Transcendentalism." So you cannot imagine the
scream of fun and applause which saluted this good-natured analysis of its

And I,--I was delighted at this aptness of quotation. Should I ever bring
my capping lines to such a market? Here was a hit as good as the famous
parliamentary retorts, which were so precious to us in the I. O. H. and in
the Harvard Union. Should I ever live to see the happy day when I should
find that it was wise, witty, and just the thing to say,

    "Tu quoque litoribus nostris Æneia nutrix"?


    "Tityre dum redeo, brevis est via, pasce capellas,"

or any other of the T's? Or,

    "Æsopus auctor quam materiam reperit,"


    "Æacus ingemuit, tristique ita voce locutus,"

or any other of the Æ diphthongs? It did not seem possible, but we would

Now it happened that, in the vacation following, a French steamer, I think
the Geryon, came to Boston. And there was, perhaps a civic dinner,
certainly an excursion down the harbor, to persuade her officers, and
through them Louis Philippe, for this was in the early age of stone, that
Boston Harbor was the best point for the projected line of French packets
to stop at,--and somebody invited me to go. And it turned out that few of
the Frenchmen spoke English, and few of the Common Councilmen spoke French,
so that poor little I came to some miserable use as a half-interpreter. I
remember telling a Lieutenant de Vaisseau that the "Centurion" rock was
called so because the 74 Centurion was lost there; and that an indignant
civic authority, guessing out my speech, told me they did not want the
Frenchmen to know anything was ever lost in Boston Harbor! Perhaps that was
the reason the French packets never came. Well, by and by there was the
inevitable collation in the cabin. (A collation, dear boy, is a dinner
where you have nothing to eat.) And we went down stairs to collate. I began
to think of the speeches. Suppose they should call on the youngest of the
interpreters, what could he say? What Latin quotation that would answer?
Not Tityrus certainly! No. Nor Æneas's nurse certainly, for she went
overboard,--bad luck to her!--or was she buried decently? Bad omen that!
But--yes! certainly--what better than the thunderbolts of Jove?
Steam-navigation forever,--Robert Fulton, Marquis of Worcester, madman in
the French bedlam,--bolts of heaven secured for service of
earth,--Franklin,--the great alliance,--steam-navigation uniting the world!
Was not the whole prefigured, _messieurs, quand le grand poète_ forged the
very thunderbolts of the _Dieu des Cieux_?

    "Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri."

What better description of the power which at that moment was driving us

    "Three rays of writhen rain, of fire three more,
    Of winged southern winds, and cloudy store,
    As many parts the dreadful mixture frame"?

Could anything have been more happy? And fortunately no member of Phi Beta
was present but myself. But, unfortunately, there was no speaking, and for
the moment I lost my opportunity.

But not my preparation, dear Tom. And for this purpose have I written this
long story, to show you how, in thirty happy years since, when I have had
nothing else to say, "Tres imbris torti radios" has always stood me in
stead. One good quotation makes an after-dinner speaker the match of the
whole world. And if you have it in Latin, the people who understand that
language enjoy it especially, and those who do not always appear to enjoy
it more especially. Perhaps they do. There is also the advantage of slight
variations in the translation. Note the difference between Mr. Everett's
above, and John Dryden's.

Imagine yourself, for instance, an invited guest at a Cincinnati dinner in
Wisconsin. Unfortunately, my dear boy, none of your ancestors rose even to
the rank of drummer in the army of the Revolution. Your great-grandfather's
brother had Chastellux to dinner one day. If you can, make your speech out
of that. But I do not think you can. Still, you are called up to speak:
"Our friend from New England,"--"Connecticut,--Israel Putnam,--Bunker
Hill,--Groton,--Wooster," &c., &c. What will you do, my boy? You must do
something, and you must not disgrace old Wooster. Do! You have your

"This army,"--"gathered from North and South and East and West,"--"like
another army,"--"whose brave officers still linger among us,--cheer us,"
&c., &c.,--"this army,"--"combining such various elements of power,
endurance, and wisdom,--this army, always when I think of it,--more than
ever to-day, sir, when I see these who represent it in another
generation,--when I think of Manly coming from the yeasty waves of the
outstretched Cape,--of Ethan Allen descending from the cloudy tops of the
Green Mountains,--of Knox, sweaty and black from the hot furnace work of
Salisbury, where

    'He created all the stores of war,'--

all meeting at the same moment with the Morgans, and Marions, and the one
Washington from the distant South,--this army always seems to me to be the
prefigured thunderbolt which the Cyclops forged for Jupiter.

    'Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri.'

    'Three from the sultry South, three from the storm-beat shore,
    Three parts from distant mountains' cloudy store,
    While raging heat fused all with three parts more!'"

You see, dear Tom, these audiences are always good-natured, and by no means
critical of your version.

Why, at the only time I was ever at a regimental dinner on the Plains, long
before the war, you know, when to the untaught mind it did seem as if there
was no reason why we were there, and no pretence for mutual congratulation,
I remember when poor Pendergrast called me up to represent science, (I was
at that time in the telegraph business,) the dear old quotation came to my
relief like an inspiration. I got round to the Flag. Do you remember how
safe General Halleck always found it to allude to the Flag?

"The Flag, gentlemen,"--"colors,"--"rainbow of our liberties,"--"Liberty
everywhere." "Blue, white, and red of Low Countries,"--"Red, white, and
blue of France,"--"English Constitution,"--"Puritan fathers, Cavaliers,"
&c., &c.

"Does it seem too much to say, gentlemen, that, with the divine instinct of
poetry, the unequalled bard of the court of Augustus, looking down the ages
beyond the sickly purple of the palace, to the days when armies should be
the armies of freemen, and not the Prætorian guards of a tyrant,--that he
veiled the glad prophecy of the future in the words in which he describes
even the thunderbolt itself? The white crest of the foam, the blue of the
sky, the red of the fiery furnace, are all tossed together, and play
together, and rejoice together, there in the smiles or in the rage of the
very breeze of Heaven.

    'Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri.'

    'Three parts of white the crested billows lent,
    Three parts of blue the heavens themselves had sent,
    Three parts of fiery red with these were blent,
    And on the free-born wind across the world they went.'"

You are not old enough, my dear nephew, to remember the great consistory
which the Pope held at Somerville, when for a moment he thought that the
churches of the world had recognized that Union which in fact does make
them one, and were willing to offer one front to the Devil, instead of
fighting, as they always had done, on ten thousand hooks of their own. You
understand, it was not this pope, Pius IX. It was the pope who came after
Gregory XVII. and before Pius IX. Well, at that immense dinner-table, which
had been built on the plan of John O'Groat's, so that each of the eleven
thousand six hundred and thirty popes present might sit at the head,--I was
fortunate enough to be appointed to represent the Sandemanian clergy,--the
only body, as I will venture to say to you, which really preserves the
simplicity of Gospel institutions, or in the least carries into our own
time the spirit and life of fundamental Christianity. Now you may imagine
the difficulty of speaking on such an occasion. I had thought it proper to
speak in Latin. The difficulty was not so much in the language as in what
to say, that one might be at once brave as a Sandemanian, and at the same
time tolerant, and catholic as a Christian. Now it is not for me to say how
well I acquitted myself. If you want to see my speech, you had better look
in the _Annales de Foi_; and, if it is there, you will certainly find it. I
did not think it amiss, certainly, that I was able to close by comparing
the great agencies which the United Church would be able to employ to the
thunderbolt itself. We had there present bishops from England of perpetual
rain, from Sitka of perpetual cloud, from the eternal fires of the torrid
zone, and from the farthest south of Patagonia. When we selected our sacred
twelve, it was easy for us to take them, as if we were forging thunders.

    "Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri."

Now, my dear Tom, I am sure my lesson needs no moral. Of course I do not
think you had better start in life with my quotation. To tell you the
truth, I am still young. I am a life-member of many societies, and, as
they outlive other usefulness, the more frequently do they dine together. I
may therefore have some other occasion when I may be reminded of the
Cyclops. But if, at your dinner, I had happened to be called upon, I
think,--I do not know, but I think that, seeing such men as you describe, I
should have been irresistibly led to consider the varied gifts which the
University every year scatters over the land, and the exquisite harmony by
which, from such different callings, different homes, and different
destinies, they unite in the merriment or in the wisdom of her festivities.
The men of practice who have been taming the waterfall, and made it
subservient; the men of the gentle ministries of peace, whose blessings
distil upon us like the very dews of heaven; and the men of the spoken
word,--of the spirit of truth, of which, like the wind itself, no man
knoweth whence it cometh or whither it goeth,--these, and the men of war
who have passed through its fires to give us the free America of to-day,
all were around you. Surely in such a union I should have been reminded of
the divine harmony by which elements the most diverse were welded into the
bolts of Jove.

    "Tres imbris torti radios, tres nubis aquosæ
    Addiderant, tres rutili ignis, tres alitis Austri."

    "Three parts like dews from heaven, three from the wave-beat shore,
    Three from the soft-winged breeze, and three from blood-red war."

    Always, dear Tom, your affectionate uncle,

                    FREDERIC INGHAM.


     _The Champagne Country._ By ROBERT TOMES. New York:
     Hurd and Houghton.

The fear, or hope, that photography will supersede tourists, and at last
take travel out of literature, scarcely concerns this admirable book and
the books of its kind. The class is as yet small, but it increases; and it
is probable that in travel, which is a sort of contemporary history, there
will be more and more works devoted to a single phase of European life, as
studied in a particular city or province; just as, in the history of the
past, the tendency is toward the illustration of certain periods, or even
episodes, in the lives of nations.

The chief topic Mr. Tomes discusses is the manufacture of champagne wines;
but his book is also descriptive of life in Rheims and the adjacent
country, as he knew it during two years' residence in that ancient city.
Indeed, it is only when the reader remembers his former ignorance of
everything concerning champagne, excepting its pop and sparkle and flavor,
that he realizes how thoroughly instructive Mr. Tomes's agreeable pages
are. In them an intelligent sympathy follows the grape through all the
processes of its change to wine;--through the vintage, when it is gathered
by the yeomen of La Champagne, from their own land, and sold to the great
champagne lords of Rheims; through the expression of its juice in presses
obedient to the trained and sensitive touch of hands which give neither
more nor less strength than is adequate to the extraction of the most
delicate flavor; through the season of its first fermentation in casks, and
its second in bottles; through its "marriage" with the kindred juices,
whose united offspring is champagne; through the crisis when it is doctored
with the cordial that bestows a life-long sweetness; through its final
corking and sale in every civilized country. As Mr. Tomes's style is light
and easy, and as he has a quick, unforced sense of humor, his information
is as delightful as it is honest. He counts nothing alien to him that
concerns champagne, and he sketches with a pleasant and graphic touch the
champagne lords and their history, beginning with the great Clicquot
(whose widow, after inheriting him so many years, died only the other day),
and bringing down the list with the Heidsiecks, the Roederers, Moët and
Chandon, the Mumms, and De St. Marceaux, last but not least of the great
champagne houses. As appears from their names, most of these are Germans,
and, according to Mr. Tomes, most of the business of Rheims is conducted by
Germans, who far excel the French in capacity for commerce. They are the
agents and chief clerks even in French houses; it is some German of
enormous physique and iron constitution who is selected as
_commis-voyageur_ to sell the wines and attract custom, by pouring them out
and convivially drinking them wherever he goes. Mr. Tomes's conviction is,
that this commercial traveller leads a difficult and precarious life, for
he cannot eject the wine when once taken into the mouth, as is the custom
of the more fortunate dealers in selling to buyers at the manufactories.

It is around the wine-trade, the great central feature of life in Rheims,
that Mr. Tomes groups notices of the city's minor traits, and gossips of
its cathedral and ecclesiastical history, its picturesqueness, its
antiquities, its dulness, its contented and prosperous ignorance, its
luxury and depravity. His pictures are always artistic, and have an air of
fidelity, and we may believe that they reflect with sufficient truth
provincial society under the second French Empire. Society it is not, of
course, in our sense, and perhaps civilization is the better word. Many of
its characteristics are those common to all Latin Europe,--a religion and
an atheism alike immoral, an essential rudeness under a polished show of
good-breeding, an inviolable conventionality, and an unbounded license. But
to these the Empire has added some traits of its own,--an intellectual
apathy to be matched nowhere else, a content and pride in mere material
success, an enjoyment of none but sensual delights. The government seems to
have besotted the provinces in the same degree that it has corrupted Paris.

Mr. Tomes treats an unworn topic with freshness and authentic skill, and we
welcome his bright and candid book as a more valuable contribution to
literature than most contemporary novels and poems.

     _Deus Homo: God-Man._ By THEOPHILUS PARSONS. Chicago:
     E. B. Myers and Chandler.

The author of this book assures us that it is in no sense a criticism of
either of the two remarkable works which have lately agitated the religious
and philosophical world; that it is a reply neither to "Ecce Deus" nor to
"Ecce Homo," but that its title is rather descriptive of the belief which
inspired it, than indicative of a controversial purpose. Indeed, it is a
notably calm and uncontroversial statement of the Swedenborgian idea of
Christ's life and character, and presents with great clearness and
simplicity the doctrines of the very earnest sect to which its author
belongs. The author fully accepts the fact of Swedenborg's illumination,
but the reader is only asked to consider the reasonableness of his
philosophy, as applied to the elucidation of all Scriptural truth, and more
particularly the acts and essence of Christ. The people of the New Church
(as the followers of Swedenborg call themselves) affirm the divinity of
Christ with an emphasis which excludes from the Godhead any other
personality than his; and it is in the light of this creed that Mr. Parsons
regards his character, and discusses the facts of his birth, his sojourn in
Egypt, his temptations, his death, the miracles, the parables, the supper,
the Apostles. Naturally, the author has frequent recourse to that science
of correspondences by which Swedenborg interprets Scripture, and so far
there is an air of mysticism in his work; but it is on the whole a most
intelligible declaration of the main Swedenborgian ideas. As such, it must
have an interest for all candid thinkers; and it appears fortunately at
this time, when the life of Swedenborg has been made the subject of fresh
inquiry, as well as the Life which Swedenborg's philosophy is here employed
to illustrate.

     _The Sayings of Doctor Bushwhacker and other Learned
     Men._ By FREDERICK S. COZZENS. New York: A. Simpson &

The best thing in this book is that brief sketch of travel, called "Up the
Rhine," in which the British tourist is presented with a delightful
fidelity. Eyes that have once beheld him never forget him, and it is good
to gaze upon him here in his extraordinary travelling-costume, with all his
sightseer's panoply upon him. It affects one like a personal recollection,
when he addresses the American and says:--

"'Going to Switz'land?'


"'Y' got Moy for Switz'land?'

"'Moy? I beg pardon.'

"'Yes, Moy,--Moy; got Moy for Switz'land?'

"'Moy! Do you mean money? I hope so!'

"'Ged gad, sir, no! I say Moy.'

"'Upon my word, I _do not_ comprehend you.'

"'Moy, sir, Moy!' rapping vehemently on the red cover of my guide-book that
lay on the table, 'I say Moy for Switz'land.'

"'O, you mean Murray?'

"'Certainly, sir; did n't I say Moy?'"

This is a touch of nature; and nothing else in the book is done with a hand
so free and artistic. Doctor Bushwhacker is passably entertaining in his
talk of tea and coffee and chocolate and wine and salad; but when he comes
to speak of literature, he makes us suspect that the latest thing in
criticism which his professional duties have left him leisure to read is E.
A. Poe's "American Literati." He discourses of "Accidental Resemblances"
between Mr. Longfellow and other poets, defends the venerable Halleck from
the charge of copying "Don Juan" in his "Fanny," and pronounces Joseph
Rodman Drake the only original American poet.

Among the contributions to these "Sayings" by other learned men than Dr.
Bushwhacker, the most admirable are the two imitations of Macaulay by the
late Colonel Porter; of their kind they are nowhere surpassed. But the
editor of the book has left the retiring muse of criticism little to say of
these productions of his _collaborateurs_. In his Preface he efficiently
praises them all, specifying one as "sparkling," and another as
"excellent," and others as coming from persons who have exquisite taste for
true humor, and assemble in themselves great moral, religious, and literary
merits; and finally offers his thanks to the gentleman who indefatigably
urged him to publish the collection.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 120, October, 1867." ***

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