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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 59, September, 1862 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
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 10, No. 59, September, 1862 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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Was ihr den Geist der Zeiten heisst, Das ist im Grund der Herren eigner


What kind of sword, do you think, was that which old Christian had in
that famous fight of his with Apollyon, long ago? He cut the fiend to
the marrow with it, you remember, at last; though the battle went hardly
with him, too, for a time. Some of his blood, Banyan says, is on the
stones of the valley to this day. That is a vague record of the combat
between the man and the dragon in that strange little valley, with its
perpetual evening twilight and calm, its meadows crusted with lilies,
its herd-boy with his quiet song, close upon the precincts of hell. It
fades back, the valley and the battle, dim enough, from the sober
freshness of this summer morning. Look out of the window here, at the
hubbub of the early streets, the freckled children racing past to
school, the dewy shimmer of yonder willows in the sunlight, like drifts
of pale green vapor. Where is Apollyon? does he put himself into flesh
and blood, as then, nowadays? And the sword which Christian used, like a
man, in his deed of derring-do?

Reading the quaint history, just now, I have a mind to tell you a modern
story. It is not long: only how, a few months ago, a poor itinerant, and
a young girl, (like these going by with baskets on their arms,) who
lived up in these Virginia hills, met Evil in their lives, and how it
fared with them: how they thought that they were in the Valley of
Humiliation, that they were Christian, and Rebellion and Infidelity
Apollyon; the different ways they chose to combat him; the weapons they
used. I can tell you that; but you do not know--do you?--what kind of
sword old Christian used, or where it is, or whether its edge is rusted.

I must not stop to ask more, for these war-days are short, and the story
might be cold before you heard it.

       *       *       *       *       *

A brick house, burrowed into the side of a hill, with red gleams of
light winking out of the windows in a jolly way into the winter's night:
wishing, one might fancy, to cheer up the hearts of the freezing stables
and barn and hen-house that snuggled about the square yard, trying to
keep warm. The broad-backed old hill (Scofield's Hill, a famous place
for papaws in summer) guards them tolerably well; but then, house and
barn and hill lie up among the snowy peaks of the Virginian Alleghanies,
and you know how they would chill and awe the air. People away down
yonder in the river-bottoms see these peaks dim and far-shining, as
though they cut through thick night; but we, up among them here, find
the night wide, filled with a pale starlight that has softened for
itself out of the darkness overhead a great space up towards heaven.

The snow lay deep, on this night of which I tell you,--a night somewhere
near the first of January in this year. Two old men, a white and a
black, who were rooting about the farm-yard from stable to fodder-rack,
waded through deep drifts of it.

"Tell yer, Mars' Joe," said the negro, banging the stable-door, "dat
hoss ort n't ter risk um's bones dis night. Ef yer go ter de Yankee
meetin', Coly kern't tote yer."

"Well, well, Uncle Bone, that's enough," said old Scofield testily,
looking through the stall-window at the horse, with a face anxious
enough to show that the dangers of foundering for Coly and for the Union
were of about equal importance in his mind.

A heavily built old fellow, big-jointed, dull-eyed, with a short, black
pipe in his mouth, going about peering into sheds and out-houses,--the
same routine he and Bone had gone through every night for thirty
years,--joking, snarling, cursing, alternately. The cramped old routine,
dogged, if you choose to call it so, was enough for him: you could tell
that by a glance at his earnest, stolid face; you could see that it need
not take Prospero's Ariel forty minutes to put a girdle about this man's
world: ten would do it, tie up the farm, and the dead and live
Scofields, and the Democratic party, with an ideal reverence for
"Firginya" under all. As for the Otherwhere, outside of Virginia, he
heeded it as much as a Hindoo does the turtle on which the earth rests.
For which you shall not sneer at Joe Scofield, or the Pagan. How wide is
your own "sacred soil"?--the creed, government, bit of truth, other
human heart, self, perhaps, to which your soul roots itself
vitally,--like a cuttle-fish sucking to an inch of rock,--and drifts out
palsied feelers of recognition into the ocean of God's universe, just as
languid as the aforesaid Hindoo's hold upon the Kalpas of emptiness
underneath the turtle?

Joe Scofield sowed the fields and truck-patch,--sold the crops down in
Wheeling; every year he got some little, hardly earned snugness for the
house (he and Bone had been born in it, their grandfathers had lived
there together). Bone was his slave; of course, they thought, how should
it be otherwise? The old man's daughter was Dode Scofield; his negro was
Bone Scofield, in degree. Joe went to the Methodist church on Sundays;
he hurrahed for the Democratic candidate: it was a necessity for Whigs
to be defeated; it was a necessity for Papists to go to hell. He had a
tight grip on these truths, which were born, one might say, with his
blood; his life grew out of them. So much of the world was certain,--but
outside? It was rather vague there: Yankeedom was a mean-soiled country,
whence came clocks, teachers, peddlers, and infidelity; and the
English,--it was an American's birthright to jeer at the English.

We call this a narrow life, prate in the North of our sympathy with the
universal man, don't we? And so we extend a stomachic greeting to our
Spanish brother that sends us wine, and a bow from our organ of ideality
to Italy for beauty incarnate in Art,--see the Georgian slaveholder only
through the eyes of the cowed negro at his feet, and give a dime on
Sunday to send the gospel to the heathen, who will burn forever, we
think, if it never is preached to them. What of your sympathy with the
universal man, when I tell you Scofield was a Rebel?

His syllogisms on this point were clear, to himself. For slavery to
exist in a country where free government was put on trial was a tangible
lie, that had worked a moral divorce between North and South. Slavery
was the vital breath of the South; if she chose to go out and keep it,
had not freemen the right to choose their own government? To bring her
back by carnage was simply the old game of regal tyranny on republican
cards. So his head settled it: as for his heart,--his neighbors' houses
were in ashes, burned by the Yankees; his son lay dead at Manassas. He
died to keep them back, didn't he? "Geordy boy," he used to call
him,--worth a dozen puling girls: since he died, the old man had never
named his name. Scofield was a Rebel in every bitter drop of his heart's

He hurried to the house to prepare to go to the Union meeting. He had a
reason for going. The Federal troops held Romney then, a neighboring
village, and he knew many of the officers would be at this meeting.
There was a party of Confederates in Blue's Gap, a mountain-fastness
near by, and Scofield had heard a rumor that the Unionists would attack
them to-morrow morning: he meant to try and find out the truth of it, so
as to give the boys warning to be ready, and, maybe, lend them a helping
hand. Only for Dode's sake, he would have been in the army long ago.

He stopped on the porch to clean his shoes, for the floor was newly
scrubbed, and Miss Scofield was a tidy housekeeper, and had, besides, a
temper as hot and ready to light as her father's pipe. The old man
stopped now, half chuckling, peeping in at the window to see if all was
clear within. But you must not think for this that Dode's temper was the
bugbear of the house,--though the girl herself thought it was, and shed
some of the bitterest tears of her life over it. Just a feverish blaze
in the blood, caught from some old dead grandfather, that burst out now
and then.

Dode, not being a genius, could not christen it morbid sensibility; but
as she had a childish fashion of tracing things to commonplace causes,
whenever she felt her face grow hot easily, or her throat choke up as
men's do when they swear, she concluded that her liver was inactive, and
her soul was tired of sitting at her Master's feet, like Mary. So she
used to take longer walks before breakfast, and cry sharply,
incessantly, in her heart, as the man did who was tainted with leprosy,
"Lord, help me!" And the Lord always did help her.

My story is of Dode; so I must tell you that these passion-fits were the
only events of her life. For the rest, she washed and sewed and ironed.
If her heart and brain needed more than this, she was cheerful in spite
of their hunger. Almost all of God's favorites among women, before their
life-work is given them, pass through such hunger,--seasons of dull, hot
inaction, fierce struggles to tame and bind to some unfitting work the
power within. Generally, they are tried thus in their youth,--just as
the old aspirants for knighthood were condemned to a night of solitude
and prayer before the day of action. This girl was going through her
probation with manly-souled bravery.

She came out on the porch now, to help her father on with his coat, and
to tie his spatterdashes. You could not see her in the dark, of course;
but you would not wonder, if you felt her hand, or heard her speak, that
the old man liked to touch her, as everybody did,--spoke to her gently:
her own voice, did I say? was so earnest and rich,--hinted at unsounded
depths of love and comfort, such as utter themselves in some
unfashionable women's voices and eyes. Theodora, or -dosia, or some such
heavy name, had been hung on her when she was born,--nobody remembered
what: people always called her Dode, so as to bring her closer, as it
were, and to fancy themselves akin to her.

Bone, going in, had left the door ajar, and the red firelight shone out
brightly on her, where she was stooping. Nature had given her a body
white, strong, and womanly,--broad, soft shoulders, for instance, hands
slight and nervous, dark, slow eyes. The Devil never would have had the
courage to tempt Eve, if she had looked at him with eyes as tender and
honest as Dode Scofield's.

Yet, although she had so many friends, she impressed you as being a shy
home-woman. That was the reason her father did not offer to take her to
the meeting, though half the women in the neighborhood would be there.

"She a'n't smart, my Dode," he used to say,--"'s got no public sperrit."

He said as much to young Gaunt, the Methodist preacher, that very day,
knowing that he thought of the girl as a wife, and wishing to be honest
as to her weaknesses and heresies. For Dode, being the only creature in
the United States who thought she came into the world to learn and not
to teach, had an odd habit of trying to pick the good lesson out of
everybody: the Yankees, the Rebels, the Devil himself, she thought, must
have some purpose of good, if she could only get at it. God's creatures
alike. She durst not bring against the foul fiend himself a "railing
accusation," being as timid in judging evil as were her Master and the
archangel Michael. An old-fashioned timidity, of course: people thought
Dode a time-server, or "a bit daft."

"She don't take sides sharp in this war," her father said to Gaunt, "my
little girl; 'n fact, she isn't keen till put her soul intill anythin'
but lovin'. She's a pore Democrat, David, an' not a strong
Methody,--allays got somethin' till say fur t' other side, Papishers an'
all. An' she gets religion quiet. But it's the real thing,"--watching
his hearer's face with an angry suspicion. "It's out of a clean well,
David, I say!"

"I hope so, Brother Scofield,"--doubtfully, shaking his head.

The conversation had taken place just after dinner. Scofield looked upon
Gaunt as one of the saints upon earth, but he "danged him" after that
once or twice to himself for doubting the girl; and when Bone, who had
heard it, "guessed Mist' Dode 'd never fling herself away on sich
whinin' pore-white trash," his master said nothing in reproof.

He rumpled her hair fondly, as she stood by him now on the porch.

"David Gaunt was in the house,--he had been there all the evening," she
said,--a worried heat on her face. "Should not she call him to go to the

"Jest as _you_ please, Dode; jest as you please."

She should not be vexed. And yet--What if Gaunt did not quite appreciate
his girl, see how deep-hearted she was, how heartsome a thing to look at
even when she was asleep? He loved her, David did, as well as so holy a
man could love anything carnal. And it would be better, if Dode were
married; a chance shot might take him off any day, and then--what? She
didn't know enough to teach; the farm was mortgaged; and she had no
other lovers. She was cold-blooded in that sort of liking,--did not
attract the men: thinking, with the scorn coarse-grained men have for
reticent-hearted women, what a contrast she was to her mother. _She_ was
the right sort,--full-lipped, and a cooing voice for everybody, and such
winning blue eyes! But, after all, Dode was the kind of woman to anchor
to; it was "Get out of my way!" with her mother, as with all milky,
blue-eyed women.

The old man fidgeted, lingered, stuffing "old Lynchburg" into his pipe,
(his face was dyed saffron, and smelt of tobacco,) glad to feel, when
Dode tied his fur cap, how quick and loving for him her fingers were,
and that he always had deserved they should be so. He wished the child
had some other protector to turn to than he, these war-times,--thinking
uneasily of the probable fight at Blue's Gap, though of course he knew
he never was born to be killed by a Yankee bullet. He wished she could
fancy Gaunt; but if she didn't,--that was enough.

Just then Gaunt came out of the room on to the porch, and began
loitering, in an uncertain way, up and down. A lean figure, with an
irresolute step: the baggy clothes hung on his lank limbs were
butternut-dyed, and patched besides: a Methodist itinerant in the
mountains,--you know all that means? There was nothing irresolute or
shabby in Gaunt's voice, however, as he greeted the old man,--clear,
thin, nervous. Scofield looked at him wistfully.

"Dunnot drive David off, Dody," he whispered; "I think he's summat on
his mind. What d'ye think's his last whimsey? Told me he's goin' off in
the mornin',--Lord knows where, nor for how long. Dody, d'ye
think?--he'll be wantin' till come back for company, belike? Well, he's
one o' th' Lord's own, ef he is a bit cranky."

An odd tenderness came into the man's jaded old face. Whatever trust in
God had got into his narrow heart among its bigotry, gross likings and
dislikings, had come there through the agency of this David Gaunt. He
felt as if he only had come into the secret place where his Maker and
himself stood face to face; thought of him, therefore, with a reverence
whose roots dug deep down below his coarseness, into his uncouth
gropings after God. Outside of this,--Gaunt had come to the mountains
years before, penniless, untaught, ragged, intent only on the gospel,
which he preached with a keen, breathless fervor. Scofield had given him
a home, clothed him, felt for him after that the condescending, curious
affection which a rough barn-yard hen might feel for its adopted poult,
not yet sure if it will turn out an eagle or a silly gull. It was a
strange affinity between the lank-limbed, cloudy-brained enthusiast at
one end of the porch and the shallow-eyed, tobacco-chewing old Scofield
at the other,--but a real affinity, striking something deeper in their
natures than blood-kinship. Whether Dode shared in it was doubtful; she
echoed the "Poor David" in just the voice with which high-blooded women
pity a weak man. Her father saw it. He had better not tell her his fancy
to-night about Gaunt wishing her to be his wife.

He hallooed to him, bidding him "hap up an' come along till see what the
Yankees were about.--Go in, Dode,--you sha'n't be worrit, child."

Gaunt came closer, fastening his thin coat. A lean face, sharpened by
other conflicts than disease,--poetic, lonesome eyes, not manly.

"I am going," he said, looking at the girl. All the pain and struggle of
years came up in that look. She knew where he was going: did she care?
he thought She knew,--he had told her, not an hour since, that he meant
to lay down the Bible, and bring the kingdom of Jesus nearer in another
fashion: he was going to enlist in the Federal army. It was God's cause,
holy: through its success the golden year of the world would begin on
earth. Gaunt took up his sword, with his eye looking awe-struck straight
to God. The pillar of cloud, he thought, moved, as in the old time,
before the army of freedom. She knew that when he did this, for truth's
sake, he put a gulf between himself and her forever. Did she care? Did
she? Would she let him go, and make no sign?

"Be quick, Gaunt," said Scofield, impatiently. "Bone hearn tell that
Dougl's Palmer was in Romney to-night. He'll be down at Blue's Gap, I
reckon. He's captain now in the Lincolnite army,--one of the hottest of
the hell-hounds,--he is! Ef he comes to the house here, as he'll likely
do, I don't want till meet him."

Gaunt stood silent.

"He was Geordy's friend, father," said the girl, gulping back something
in her throat.

"Geordy? Yes. I know. It's that that hurts me," he muttered,
uncertainly. "Him an' Dougl's was like brothers once, they was!"

He coughed, lit his pipe, looking in the girl's face for a long time,
anxiously, as if to find a likeness in it to some other face he never
should see again. He often had done this lately. At last, stooping, he
kissed her mouth passionately, and shuffled down the hill, trying to
whistle as be went. Kissing, through her, the boy who lay dead at
Manassas: she knew that. She leaned on the railing, looking after him
until a bend in the road took him out of sight. Then she turned into the
house, with no thought to spare for the man watching her all this while
with hungry eyes. The moon, drifting from behind a cloud, threw a sharp
light on her figure, as she stood in the door-way.

"Dode!" he said. "Good bye, Dode!"

She shook hands, saying nothing,--then went in, and shut the door.

Gaunt turned away, and hurried down the hill, his heart throbbing and
aching against his bony side with the breathless pain which women, and
such men as he, know. Her hand was cold, as she gave it to him; some
pain had chilled her blood: was it because she bade him good-bye
forever, then? Was it? He knew it was not: his instincts were keen as
those of the old Pythoness, who read the hearts of men and nations by
surface-trifles. Gaunt joined the old man, and began talking loosely and
vaguely, as was his wont,--of the bad road, and the snow-water oozing
through his boots,--not knowing what he said. She did not care; he would
not cheat himself: when he told her to-night what he meant to do, she
heard it with a cold, passive disapproval,--with that steely look in her
dark eyes that shut him out from her. "You are sincere, I see; but you
are not true to yourself or to God": that was all she said. She would
have said the same, if he had gone with her brother. It was a sudden
stab, but he forgave her: how could she know that God Himself had laid
this blood-work on him, or the deathly fight his soul had waged against
it? She did not know,--nor care. Who did?

The man plodded doggedly through the melting snow, with a keener sense
of the cold biting through his threadbare waistcoat, of the solitude and
wrong that life had given him,--his childish eyes turning to the gray
depth of night, almost fierce in their questioning,--thinking what a
failure his life had been. Thirty-five years of struggle with poverty
and temptation! Ever since that day in the blacksmith's shop in Norfolk,
when he had heard the call of the Lord to go and preach His word, had he
not striven to choke down his carnal nature,--to shut his eyes to all
beauty and love,--to unmake himself, by self-denial, voluntary pain? Of
what use was it? To-night his whole nature rebelled against this carnage
before him,--his duty; scorned it as brutal; cried out for a life as
peaceful and meek as that of Jesus, (as if that were not an absurdity in
a time like this,) for happiness, for this woman's love; demanded it, as
though these things were its right!

The man had a genial, childish temperament, given to woo and bind him,
in a thousand simple, silly ways, into a likeness of that Love that
holds the world, and that gave man no higher hero-model than a trustful,
happy child. It was the birthright of this haggard wretch going down the
hill, to receive quick messages from God through every voice of the
world,--to understand them, as few men did, by his poet's soul,--through
love, or color, or music, or keen healthy pain. Very many openings for
him to know God through the mask of matter. He had shut them; being a
Calvinist, and a dyspeptic, (Dyspepsia is twin-tempter with Satan, you
know,) sold his God-given birthright, like Esau, for a hungry, bitter
mess of man's doctrine. He came to loathe the world, the abode of sin;
loathed himself, the chief of sinners; mapped out a heaven in some
corner of the universe, where he and the souls of his persuasion,
panting with the terror of being scarcely saved, should find refuge. The
God he made out of his own bigoted and sour idea, and foisted on himself
and his hearers as Jesus, would not be as merciful in the Judgment as
Gaunt himself would like to be,--far from it. So He did not satisfy him.
Sometimes, thinking of the pure instincts thwarted in every heart,--of
the noble traits in damned souls, sent hellwards by birth or barred into
temptation by society, a vision flashed before him of some scheme of the
universe where all matter and mind were rising, slowly, through the
ages, to eternal life. "Even so in Christ should all be made alive." All
matter, all mind, rising in degrees towards the Good? made order,
infused by God? And God was Love. Why not trust this Love to underlie
even these social riddles, then? He thrust out the Devil's whisper,
barred the elect into their narrow heaven, and tried to be content.

Douglas Palmer used to say that all Gaunt needed to make him a sound
Christian was education and fresh meat. Gaunt forgave it as a worldly
scoff. And Palmer, just always, thought, that, if Christ was just, He
would remember it was not altogether Gaunt's fault, nor that of other
bigots, if they had not education nor spiritual fresh meat. Creeds are
not always "good providers."

The two men had a two-miles' walk before them. They talked little, as
they went. Gaunt had not told the old man that he was going into the
Northern army: how could he? George's dead face was between them,
whenever he thought of it. Still, Scofield was suspicious as to Gaunt's
politics: he never talked to him on the subject, therefore, and to-night
did not tell him of his intention to go over to Blue's Gap to warn the
boys, and, if they were outnumbered, to stay and take his luck with
them. He nor Dode never told Gaunt a secret: the man's brain was as
leaky as a sponge.

"He don't take enough account o' honor, an' the like, but it's for
tryin' till keep his soul right," he used to say, excusingly, to Dode.
"That's it! He minds me o' th' man that lived up on th' pillar,

"The Lord never made people to live on pillars," Dode said.

The old man looked askance at Gaunt's worn face, as he trotted along
beside him, thinking how pure it was. What had he to do with this foul
slough, we were all mired in? What if the Yankees did come, like
incarnate devils, to thieve and burn and kill? This man would say "that
ye resist not evil." He lived back there, pure and meek, with Jesus, in
the old time. He would not dare to tell him he meant to fight with the
boys in the Gap before morning. He wished he stood as near to Christ as
this young man had got; he wished to God this revenge and
bloodthirstiness were out of him; sometimes he felt as if a devil
possessed him, since George died. The old fellow choked down a groan in
the whiffs of his pipe.

_Was_ the young man back there, in the old time, following the Nazarene?
The work of blood Scofield was taking up for the moment, he took up,
grappled with, tried to put his strength into. Doing this, his true life
lay drained, loathsome, and bare. For the rest, he wished Dode had
cared,--only a little. If one lay stabbed on some of these hills, it
would be hard to think nobody cared: thinking of the old mother he had
buried, years before. Yet Dode suffered: the man was generous to his
heart's core,--forgot his own want in pity for her. What could it have
been that pained her, as he came away? Her father had spoken of Palmer.
_That_? His ruled heart leaped with a savage, healthy throb of jealousy.

Something he saw that moment made him stop short. The road led straight
through the snow-covered hills to the church where the meeting was to be
held. Only one man was in sight, coming towards them, on horseback. A
sudden gleam of light showed him to them clearly. A small, middle-aged
man, lithe, muscular, with fair hair, dressed in some shaggy dark
uniform and a felt hat. Scofield stopped.

"It's Palmer!" he said, with an oath that sounded like a cry.

The sight of the man brought George before him, living enough to wring
his heart He knocked a log off the worm-fence, and stepped over into the

"I'm goin', David. To think o' him turnin' traitor to Old Virginia! I'll
not bide here till meet him."

"Brother!" said Gaunt, reprovingly.

"Don't hold me, Gaunt! Do you want me till curse my boy's old
chum?"--his voice hoarse, choking.

"He is George's friend still"--

"I know, Gaunt, I know. God forgi' me! But--let me go, I say!"

He broke away, and went across the field.

Gaunt waited, watching the man coming slowly towards him. Could it be he
whom Dode loved,--this Palmer? A doubter? an infidel? He had told her
this to-day. A mere flesh-and-brain machine, made for the world, and no
uses in him for heaven!

Poor Gaunt! no wonder he eyed the man with a spiteful hatred, as he
waited for him, leaning against the fence. With his subtle Gallic brain,
his physical spasms of languor and energy, his keen instincts that
uttered themselves to the last syllable always, heedless of all
decencies of custom, no wonder that the man with every feminine, unable
nerve in his body rebelled against this Palmer. It was as natural as for
a delicate animal to rebel against and hate and submit to man. Palmer's
very horse, he thought, had caught the spirit of its master, and put
down its hoofs with calm assurance of power.

Coming up at last, Gaunt listened sullenly, while the other spoke in a
quiet, hearty fashion.

"They tell me you are to be one of us to-night," Palmer said, cordially.
"Dyke showed me your name on the enlistment-roll: your motto after it,
was it? 'For God and my right.' That's the gist of the whole matter,
David, I think, eh?"

"Yes, I'm right. I think I am. God knows I do!"--his vague eyes
wandering off, playing with the horse's mane uncertainly.

Palmer read his face keenly.

"Of course you are," he said, speaking gently as he would to a woman.
"I'll find a place and work for you before morning."

"So soon, Palmer?"

"Don't look at the blood and foulness of the war, boy! Keep the cause in
view, every moment. We secure the right of self-government for all ages:
think of that! 'God,'--His cause, you know?--and 'your right,' Haven't
you warrant to take life to defend your right--from the Christ you
believe in? Eh?"

"No. But I know"--Gaunt held his hand to his forehead as if it
ached--"we have to come to brute force at last to conquer the right.
Christianity is not enough. I've reasoned it over, and"--

"Yet you look troubled. Well, we'll talk it over again. You've worked
your brain too hard to be clear about anything just now,"--looking down
on him with the questioning pity of a surgeon examining a cancer. "I
must go on now, David. I'll meet you at the church in an hour."

"You are going to the house, Palmer?"

"Yes. Good night."

Gaunt drew back his hand, glancing at the cold, tranquil face, the mild
blue eyes.

"Good night,"--following him with his eyes as he rode away.

An Anglo-Saxon, with every birthmark of that slow, inflexible race. He
would make love philosophically, Gaunt sneered. A made man. His thoughts
and soul, inscrutable as they were, were as much the accretion of
generations of culture and reserve as was the chalk in his bones or the
glowless courage in his slow blood. It was like coming in contact with
summer water to talk to him; but underneath was--what? Did Dode know?
Had he taken her in, and showed her his unread heart? Dode?

How stinging cold it was!--looking up drearily into the drifting heaps
of gray. What a wretched, paltry balk the world was! What a noble part
he played in it!--taking out his pistol. Well, he could pull a trigger,
and let out some other sinner's life; that was all the work God thought
he was fit for. Thinking of Dode all the time. _He_ knew her! _He_ could
have summered her in love, if she would but have been passive and happy!
He asked no more of her than that. Poor, silent, passionate Dode! No one
knew her as he knew her! What were that man's cold blue eyes telling her
now at the house? It mattered nothing to him.

He went across the cornfield to the church, his thin coat flapping in
the wind, looking at his rusty pistol with a shudder.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dode shut the door. Outside lay the winter's night, snow, death, the
war. She shivered, shut them out. None of her nerves enjoyed pain, as
some women's do. Inside,--you call it cheap and mean, this room? Yet her
father called it Dode's snuggery; he thought no little nest in the world
was so clean and warm. He never forgot to leave his pipe outside,
(though she coaxed him not to do it,) for fear of "silin' the air."
Every evening he came in after he had put on his green dressing-gown and
slippers, and she read the paper to him. It was quite a different hour
of the day from all of the rest: sitting, looking stealthily around
while she read, delighted to see how cozy he had made his little
girl,--how pure the pearl-stained walls were, how white the matting. He
never went down to Wheeling with the crops without bringing something
back for the room, stinting himself to do it. Her brother had had the
habit, too, since he was a boy, of bringing everything pretty or
pleasant he found to his sister; he had a fancy that he was making her
life bigger and more heartsome by it, and would have it all right after
a while. So it ended, you see, that everything in the room had a meaning
for the girl,--so many mile-stones in her father and Geordy's lives.
Besides, though Dode was no artist, had not what you call taste, other
than in being clean, yet every common thing the girl touched seemed to
catch her strong, soft vitality, and grow alive. Bone had bestowed upon
her the antlers of a deer which he had killed,--the one great trophy of
his life; (she put them over the mantel-shelf, where he could rejoice
his soul over them every time he brought wood to the fire;) last fall
she had hung wreaths of forest-leaves about them, and now they glowed
and flashed back the snow-light, in indignant life, purple and scarlet
and flame, with no thought of dying; the very water in the vases on the
table turned into the silver roots of hyacinths that made the common air
poetic with perfume; the rough wire-baskets filled with mould, which she
hung in the windows, grew living, and welled up, and ran over into
showers of moss, and trailing wreaths of ivy and cypress-vine, and a
brood of the merest flakes of roses, which held the hot crimson of so
many summers gone that they could laugh in the teeth of the winter
outside, and did do it, until it seemed like a perfect sham and a jest.

The wood-fire was clear, just now, when Dode came in; the little room
was fairly alive, palpitated crimson; in the dark corners, under the
tables and chairs, the shadows tried not to be black, and glowed into a
soft maroon; even the pale walls flushed, cordial and friendly. Dode was
glad of it; she hated dead, ungrateful colors: grays and browns belonged
to thin, stingy duty-lives, to people who are patient under life, as a
perpetual imposition, and, as Bone says, "gets into heben by the skin o'
their teeth." Dode's color was dark blue: you know that means in an
earthly life stern truth, and a tenderness as true: she wore it
to-night, as she generally did, to tell God she was alive, and thanked
Him for being alive. Surely the girl was made for to-day; she never
missed the work or joy of a moment here in dreaming of a yet ungiven
life, as sham, lazy women do. You would think that, if you had seen her
standing there in the still light, motionless, yet with latent life in
every limb. There was not a dead atom in her body: something within,
awake, immortal, waited, eager to speak every moment in the coming color
on her cheek, the quiver of her lip, the flashing words or languor of
her eye. Her auburn hair, even, at times, lightened and darkened.

She stood, now, leaning her head on the window, waiting. Was she
keeping, like the fire-glow, a still, warm welcome for somebody? It was
a very homely work she had been about, you will think. She had made a
panful of white cream-crackers, and piled them on a gold-rimmed China
plate, (the only one she had,) and brought down from the cupboard a
bottle of her raspberry-cordial. Douglas Palmer and George used to like
those cakes better than anything else she made: she remembered, when
they were starting out to hunt, how Geordy would put his curly head over
the gate and call out, "Sis! are you in a good-humor? Have some of your
famous cakes for supper, that's a good girl!" Douglas Palmer was coming
to-night, and she had baked them, as usual,--stopping to cry now and
then, thinking of George. She could not help it, when she was alone. Her
father never knew it. She had to be cheerful for herself and him too,
when he was there.

Perhaps Douglas would not remember about the crackers, after all?--with
the blood heating and chilling in her face, as she looked out of the
window, and then at the clock,--her nervous fingers shaking, as she
arranged them on the plate. She wished she had some other way of making
him welcome; but what could poor Dode do? She could not talk to him, had
read nothing but the Bible and Jay's "Meditations"; she could not show
glimpses of herself, as most American women can, in natural, dramatic
words. Palmer sang for her,--sometimes, Schubert's ballads, Mendelssohn:
she could not understand the words, of course; she only knew that his
soul seemed to escape through the music, and come to her own. She had a
strange comprehension of music, inherited from the old grandfather who
left her his temper,--that supernatural gift, belonging to but few souls
among those who love harmony, to understand and accept its meaning. She
could not play or sing; she looked often in the dog's eyes, wondering if
its soul felt as dumb and full as hers; but she could not sing. If she
could, what a story she would have told in a wordless way to this man
who was coming! All she could do to show that he was welcome was to make
crackers. Cooking is a sensual, grovelling utterance of feeling, you
think? Yet, considering the drift of most women's lives, one fancies
that as pure and deep love syllables itself every day in beefsteaks as
once in Sapphic odes. It is a natural expression for our sex, too,
somehow. Your wife may keep step with you in keen sympathy, in brain and
soul; but if she does not know whether you like muffins or toast best
for breakfast, her love is not the kind for this world, nor the best
kind for any.

She waited, looking out at the gray road. He would not come so
late?--her head beginning to ache. The room was too hot. She went into
her chamber, and began to comb her hair back; it fell in rings down her
pale cheeks,--her lips were crimson,--her brown eyes shone soft,
expectant; she leaned her head down, smiling, thanking God for her
beauty, with all her heart. Was that a step?--hurrying back. Only Coly
stamping in the stable. It was eight o'clock. The woman's heart kept
time to the slow ticking of the clock, with a sick thudding, growing
heavier every moment. He had been in the mountains but once since the
war began. It was only George he came to see? She brought out her work
and began to sew. He would not come: only George was fit to be his
friend. Why should he heed her poor old father, or her?--with the
undefinable awe of an unbred mind for his power and wealth of culture.
And yet--something within her at the moment rose up royal--his equal. He
knew her, as she might be! Between them there was something deeper than
the shallow kind greeting they gave the world,--recognition. She stood
nearest to him,--she only! If sometimes she had grown meanly jealous of
the thorough-bred, made women, down in the town yonder, his friends, in
her secret soul she knew she was his peer,--she only! And he knew it.
Not that she was not weak in mind or will beside him, but she loved him,
as a man can be loved but once. She loved him,--that was all!

She hardly knew if he cared for her. He told her once that he loved her;
there was a half-betrothal; but that was long ago. She sat, her work
fallen on her lap, going over, as women will, for the thousandth time,
the simple story, what he said, and how he looked, finding in every
hackneyed phrase some new, divine meaning. The same story; yet Betsey
finds it new by your kitchen-fire to-night, as Gretchen read it in those
wondrous pearls of Faust's!

Surely he loved her that day! though the words were surprised,
half-accident: she was young, and he was poor, so there must be no more
of it then. The troubles began just after, and he went into the army.
She had seen him but once since, and he said nothing then, looked
nothing. It is true they had not been alone, and he thought perhaps she
knew all: a word once uttered for him was fixed in fate. _She_ would not
have thought the story old or certain, if he told it to her forever. But
he was coming to-night!

Dode was one of those women subject to sudden revulsions of feeling. She
remembered now, what in the hurry and glow of preparing his welcome she
had crushed out of sight, that it was better he should not come,--that,
if he did come, loyal and true, she must put him back, show him the
great gulf that lay between them. She had strengthened herself for
months to do it. It must be done to-night. It was not the division the
war made, nor her father's anger, that made the bar between them. Her
love would have borne that down. There was something it could not bear
down. Palmer was a doubter, an infidel. What this meant to the girl, we
cannot tell; her religion was not ours. People build their faith on
Christ, as a rock,--a factitious aid. She found Him in her life, long
ago, when she was a child, and her soul grew out from Him. He was a
living Jesus to her, not a dead one. That was why she had a healthy
soul. Pain was keener to her than to us; the filth, injustice, bafflings
in the world,--they hurt her; she never glossed them over as
"necessity," or shirked them as we do: she cried hot, weak tears, for
instance, over the wrongs of the slaves about her, her old father's
ignorance, her own cramped life; but she never said for these things,
"Does God still live?" She saw, close to the earth, the atmosphere of
the completed work, the next step upward,--the kingdom of that Jesus;
the world lay in it, swathed in bands of pain and wrong and effort,
growing, unconscious, to perfected humanity. She had faith in the
Recompense, she thought faith would bring it right down into earth, and
she tried to do it in a practical way. She did do it: a curious fact for
your theology, which I go out of the way of the story to give you,--a
peculiar power belonging to this hot-tempered girl,--an anomaly in
psychology, but you will find it in the lives of Jung Stilling and St.
John. This was it: she and the people about her needed many things,
temporal and spiritual: her Christ being alive, and not a dead sacrifice
and example alone, whatever was needed she asked for, and it was always
given her. _Always_. I say it in the full strength of meaning. I wish
every human soul could understand the lesson; not many preachers would
dare to teach it to them. It was a commonplace matter with her.

Now do you see what it cost her to know that Palmer was an infidel?
Could she marry him? Was it a sin to love him? And yet, could _she_
enter heaven, he left out? The soul of the girl that God claimed, and
the Devil was scheming for, had taken up this fiery trial, and fought
with it savagely. She thought she had determined; she would give him up.
But--he was coming! he was coming! Why, she forgot everything in that,
as if it were delirium. She hid her face in her hands. It seemed as if
the world, the war, faded back, leaving this one human soul alone with
herself. She sat silent, the fire charring lower into glooming red
shadow. You shall not look into the passion of a woman's heart.

She rose at last, with the truth, as Gaunt had taught it to her, full
before her, that it would be crime to make compact with sin or a sinner.
She went out on the porch, looking no longer to the road, but up to the
uncertain sky. Poor, simple Dode! So long she had hid the thought of
this man in her woman's breast, clung to it for all strength, all
tenderness! It stood up now before her,--Evil. Gaunt told her to-night
that to love him was to turn her back on the cross, to be traitor to
that blood on Calvary. Was it? She found no answer in the deadened sky,
or in her own heart. She would give him up, then? She looked up, her
face slowly whitening. "I love him," she said, as one who had a right to
speak to God. That was all. So, in old times, a soul from out of the
darkness of His judgments faced the Almighty, secure in its own right:
"Till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me."

Yet Dode was a weak woman; the trial went home to the very marrow. She
stood by the wooden railing, gathering the snow off of it, putting it to
her hot forehead, not knowing what she did. Her brain was dull,
worn-out, she thought; it ached. She wished she could sleep, with a
vacant glance at the thick snow-clouds, and turning to go in. There was
a sudden step on the path,--he was coming! She would see him once
more,--once! God could not deny her that! her very blood leaping into
hot life.

"Theodora!" (He never called her the familiar "Dode," as the others
did.) "Why, what ails you, child?"--in his quiet, cordial fashion, "Is
this the welcome you give me? The very blood shivers in your hand! Your
lips are blue!"--opening the door for her to go in, and watching her.

His eye was more that of a physician than a lover, she felt, and cowered
down into a chair he put before the fire for her,--sheltering her face
with her hands, that he might not see how white it was, and despise her.
Palmer stood beside her, looking at her quietly; she had exhausted
herself by some excitement, in her old fashion; he was used to these
spasms of bodily languor,--a something he pitied, but could not
comprehend. It was an odd symptom of the thoroughness with which her
life was welded into his, that he alone knew her as weak, hysteric,
needing help at times. Gaunt or her father would have told you her
nerves were as strong as a ploughman's.

"Have you been in a passion, my child?"

She chafed her hands, loathing herself that she could not deaden down
their shiver or the stinging pain in her head. What were these things at
a time like this? Her physician was taking a different diagnosis of her
disease from his first. He leaned over her, his face flushing, his voice
lower, hurried.

"Were you disappointed? Did you watch--for me?"

"I watched for you, Douglas,"--trying to rise.

He took her hand and helped her up, then let it fall: he never held
Dode's hand, or touched her hair, as Gaunt did.

"I watched for you,--I have something to say to you,"--steadying her

"Not to-night," with a tenderness that startled one, coming from lips so
thin and critical. "You are not well. You have some hard pain there, and
you want to make it real. Let it sleep. You were watching for me. Let me
have just that silly thought to take with me. Look up, Theodora. I want
the hot color on your cheek again, and the look in your eye I saw there
once,--only once. Do you remember?"

"I remember,"--her face crimson, her eyes flashing with tears. "Douglas,
Douglas, never speak of that to me! I dare not think of it. Let me tell
you what I want to say. It will soon be over."

"I will not, Theodora," he said, coolly. "See now, child! You are not
your healthy self to-night. You have been too much alone. This solitude
down there in your heart is eating itself out in some morbid whim. I saw
it in your eye. Better it had forced itself into anger, as usual."

She did not speak. He took her hand and seated her beside him, talked to
her in the same careless, gentle way, watching her keenly.

"Did you ever know the meaning of your name? I think of it often,--_The
gift of God,--Theodora_. Surely, if there be such an all-embracing Good,
He has no more helpful gift than a woman such as you might be."

She looked up, smiling.

"Might be? That is not"----

"Lover-like? No. Yet, Dode, I think sometimes Eve might have been such a
one as you,--the germ of all life. Think how you loathe death, inaction,
pain; the very stem you thrust into earth catches vitality from your
fingers, and grows, as for no one else."

She knew, through all, that, though his light words were spoken to
soothe her, they masked a strength of feeling that she dared not palter
with, a something that would die out of his nature when his faith in her
died, never to live again.

"Eve fell," she said.

"So would you, alone. You are falling now, morbid, irritable. Wait until
you come into the sunshine. Why, Theodora, you will not know yourself,
the broad, warm, unopened nature."

His voice faltered; he stooped nearer to her, drew her hand into his

"There will be some June days in our lives, little one, for you and
me,"--his tone husky, broken,--"when this blood-work is off my hand,
when I can take you. My years have been hard, bare. You know, child. You
know how my body and brain have been worn out for others. I am free now.
When the war is over, I will conquer a new world for you and me."

She tried to draw away from him.

"I need no more. I am contented. For the future,--God has it, Douglas."

"But my hand is on it!" he said, his eye growing hard. "And you are
mine, Theodora!"

He put his hand on her head: he never had touched her before this
evening: he stroked back her hair with an unsteady touch, but as if it
and she belonged to him, inalienable, secure. The hot blood flushed into
her cheeks, resentful. He smiled quietly.

"You will bring life to me," he whispered. "And I will bleach out this
anger, these morbid shadows of the lonesome days,--sun them out

There was a sudden silence. Gaunt felt the intangible calm that hung
about this man: this woman saw beneath it flashes of some depth of
passion, shown reluctant even to her, the slow heat of the gloomy soul
below. It frightened her, but she yielded: her will, her purpose slept,
died into its languor. She loved, and she was loved,--was not that
enough to know? She cared to know no more. Did Gaunt wonder what the
"cold blue eyes" of this man told to the woman to-night? Nothing which
his warped soul would have understood in a thousand years. The room
heated, glowless, crimson: outside, the wind surged slow against the
windows, like the surf of an eternal sea: she only felt that her head
rested on his breast,--that his hand shook, as it traced the blue veins
on her forehead: with a faint pleasure that the face was fair, for his
sake, which his eyes read with a meaning hers could not bear; with a
quick throb of love to her Master for this moment He had given her. Her
Master! Her blood chilled. Was she denying Him? Was she setting her foot
on the outskirts of hell? It mattered not. She shut her eyes wearily,
closed her fingers as for life upon the hand that held hers. All
strength, health for her, lay in its grasp: her own life lay weak,
flaccid, morbid on his. She had chosen: she would hold to her choice.

Yet, below all, the words of Gaunt stung her incessantly. They would
take effect at last. Palmer, watching her face, saw, as the slow minutes
passed, the color fade back, leaving it damp and livid, her lips grow
rigid, her chest heave like some tortured animal. There was some pain
here deeper than her ordinary heats. It would be better to let it have
way. When she raised herself, and looked at him, therefore, he made no
effort to restrain her, but waited, attentive.

"I must speak, Douglas," she said. "I cannot live and bear this doubt."

"Go on," he said, gravely, facing her.

"Yes. Do not treat me as a child. It is no play for me,"--pushing her
hair back from her forehead, calling fiercely in her secret soul for God
to help her to go through with this bitter work He had imposed on her.
"It is for life and death, Douglas."

"Go on,"--watching her.

She looked at him. A keen, practical, continent face, with small mercy
for whims and shallow reasons. Whatever feeling or gloom lay beneath, a
blunt man, a truth-speaker, bewildered by feints or shams. She must give
a reason for what she did. The word she spoke would be written in his
memory, ineffaceable. He waited. She could not speak; she looked at the
small vigilant figure: it meant all that the world held for her of good.

"You must go, Douglas, and never come again."

He was silent,--his eye contracted, keen, piercing.

"There is a great gulf between us, Douglas Palmer. I dare not cross it."

He smiled.

"You mean--the war?--your father?"

She shook her head; the words balked in her throat. Why did not God help
her? Was not she right? She put her hand upon his sleeve,--her face,
from which all joy and color seemed to have fallen forever, upturned to

"Douglas, you do not believe--as I do."

He noted her look curiously, as she said it, with an odd remembrance of
once when she was a child, and they had shown her for the first time a
dead body, that she had turned to the sky the same look of horror and
reproach she gave him now.

"I have prayed, and prayed,"--an appealing cry in every low breath. "It
is of no use,--no use! God never denied me a prayer but that,--only

"I do not understand. You prayed--for me?"

Her eyes, turning to his own, gave answer enough.

"I see! You prayed for me, poor child? that I could find a God in the
world?"--patting the hand resting on his arm pitifully. "And it was of
no use, you think? no use?"--dreamily, his eye fixed on the solemn night

There was a slow silence. She looked awe-struck in his face: he had
forgotten her.

"I have not found Him in the world?"--the words dropping slowly from his
lips, as though he questioned with the great Unknown.

She thought she saw in his face hints that his soul had once waged a
direr battle than any she had known,--to know, to be. What was the end?
God, and Life, and Death, what were they to him now?

He looked at her at last, recalled to her. She thought he stifled a
sigh. But he put aside his account with God for another day: now it was
with her.

"You think it right to leave me for this, Theodora? You think it a sin
to love an unbeliever?"

"Yes, Douglas,"--but she caught his hand tighter, as she said it.

"The gulf between us is to be the difference between heaven and hell? Is
that true?"

"_Is_ it true?" she cried suddenly. "It is for you to say. Douglas, it
is you that must choose."

"No man can force belief," he said, dryly. "You will give me up? Poor
child! You cannot, Theodora!"--smoothing her head with an unutterable

"I will give you up, Douglas!"

"Think how dear I have been to you, how far-off you are from everybody
in the world but me. Why, I know no woman so alone or weak as you, if I
should leave you!"

"I know it,"--sobbing silently.

"You will stay with me, Theodora! Is the dull heaven Gaunt prates of,
with its psalms and crowns, better than my love? Will you be happier
there than here?"--holding her close, that she might feel the strong
throb of his heart against her own.

She shivered.


She drew away; stood alone.

"Is it better?"--sharply.

She clutched her hands tightly, then she stood calm. She would not lie.

"It is not better," she said, steadily. "If I know my own heart, nothing
in the coming heaven is so dear as what I lose. But I cannot be your
wife, Douglas Palmer."

His face flashed strangely.

"It is simple selfishness, then? You fear to lose your reward? What is
my poor love to the eternity of happiness you trade it for?"

A proud heat flushed her face.

"You know you do not speak truly. I do not deserve the taunt."

The same curious smile glimmered over his mouth. He was silent for a

"I overrate your sacrifice: it costs you little to say, like the old
Pharisee, 'Stand by, I am holier than thou!' You never loved me,
Theodora. Let me go down--to the land where you think all things are
forgotten. What is it to you? In hell I can lift up my eyes"--

She cried out sharply, as with pain.

"I will not forsake my Master," she said. "He is real, more dear than
you. I give you up."

Palmer caught her hand; there was a vague deadness in her eye that
terrified him; he had not thought the girl suffered so deeply.

"See, now," she gasped quickly, looking up, as if some actual Presence
stood near. "I have given up all for you! Let me die! Put my soul out!
What do I care for heaven?"

Palmer bathed her face, put cordial to her lips, muttering some words to
himself. "Her sins, which are many, should be forgiven; she loves much."
When, long after, she sat on the low settle, quiet, he stood before her.

"I have something to say to you, Theodora. Do you understand me?"

"I understand."

"I am going. It is better I should not stay. I want you to thank God
your love for your Master stood firm. I do. I believe in you: some day,
through you, I may believe in Him. Do you hear me?"

She bent her head, worn-out.

"Theodora, I want to leave you one thought to take on your knees with
you. Your Christ has been painted in false colors to you in this matter.
I am glad that as you understand Him you are true to Him; but you are

She wrung her hands.

"If I could see that, Douglas!"

"You will see it. The selfish care of your own soul which Gaunt has
taught you is a lie; his narrow heaven is a lie: my God inspires other
love, other aims. What is the old tale of Jesus?--that He put His man's
hands on the vilest before He blessed them? So let Him come to
me,--through loving hands. Do you want to preach the gospel, as some
women do, to the Thugs? I think your field is here. You shall preach it
to the heart that loves you."

She shook her head drearily. He looked at her a moment, and then turned

"You are right. There is a great gulf between you and me, Theodora. When
you are ready to cross it, come to me."

And so left her.


The stranger in Paris, exploring its southern suburbs along the
Fontainebleau road, comes upon an ancient pile, extended and renovated
by modern hands, whose simple, unpretending architecture would scarcely
claim a second look. Yet it was once the scene of an experiment of such
momentous consequences that it will ever possess a peculiar interest
both to the philanthropist and the philosopher. It was there, in that
receptacle of the insane, while the storm of the great Revolution was
raging around him, that a physician, learned, ardent, and bold, but
scarcely known beyond the little circle of his friends and patients,
conceived and executed the idea, then no less wonderful than that of
propelling a ship by steam, of striking off the chains of the maniac and
opening the door of his cell. Within a few days, says the record,
fifty-three persons were restored to light and comparative liberty. In
that experiment at the Bicêtre, whose triumphant success won the
admiration even of those ferocious demagogues who had risen to power,
was inaugurated the modern management of the insane, as strongly marked
by kindness and confidence as the old was by severity and distrust. It
was a noble work, whose benefits, reaching down to all future
generations, are beyond the power of estimation; but its remote and
indirect results are scarcely less important than those more immediate
and visible. Here began the true study of mental disease. To the mind of
Pinel, his experiment opened a track of inquiry leading to results
which, like those of the famous discoveries in physical science, will
never cease to be felt. A few collections of cases had been published,
medical scholars, in the midst of their books, had composed elaborate
treatises to show the various ways in which men might possibly become
insane, but no profound, original observer of mental disease had yet
appeared. Trained in that school of exact and laborious inquirers who at
that period were changing the whole face of physical science, he was
well prepared for the work which seemed to be reserved for him, of
laying the foundations of this department of the healing art.

Without following him in the successive stages of his work, it is
sufficient here to say, that the first step--that of showing that the
insane are not necessarily under the dominion of brute instinct,
incapable even of appreciating the arts of kindness and of using a
restricted freedom--was soon succeeded by another of no less importance
considered in its relations to humanity and psychology. Pinel, who began
his investigations at the Bicêtre in the old belief that insanity
implies disorder of the reasoning faculty, discovered, to his surprise,
that many of his patients evinced no intellectual impairment whatever.
They reasoned on all subjects clearly and forcibly; neither
hallucination nor delusion perverted their judgments; and some even
recognized and deplored the impulses and desires which they could not
control. The fact was too common to be misunderstood, and having been
confirmed by subsequent observers, it has taken its place among the
well-settled truths of modern science. Not very cordially welcomed as
yet into the current beliefs of the time, it is steadily making its way
against the opposition of pride, prejudice, ignorance, and self-conceit.

The magnitude of this advance in psychological knowledge can be duly
estimated only by considering how imperfect were the prevalent notions
concerning mental disease. For the most part, our ancestors thought no
man insane, whatever his conduct or conversation, who was not actually
raving. If the person were quiet, taciturn, apathetic, he was supposed
to be melancholy or hypochondriacal. If he were elated and restless,
ready for all sorts of undertakings and projects, his condition was
attributed to a great flow of spirits. If, while talking very sensibly
on many subjects and doing many proper things, he manifested a
propensity to wanton mischief, why, then he was possessed with a devil
and consigned to chains and straw,--unless he had committed some
senseless act of crime, in which case he received from the law the usual
doom of felons.

One of the first fruits of the new method of study introduced by Pinel
was a more philosophical notion of the nature of disease. The various
diseases that afflict mankind had been regarded as so many different
entities that could almost be handled, and many attempts to define and
measure them exactly are on record. They came to be regarded somewhat as
personal foes, to be combated and overcome by the superior prowess of
the physician. It was not until such views were abandoned, and insanity,
as well as every other disease, was considered as an abnormal action or
condition, that true progress could be expected. One of the results of
inquiry into the nature of insanity, starting from this point, has been
a growing conviction that it implies defect and imperfection, as well as
casual disorder. Attention is now directed less to occasional and
exoteric incidents, and more to conditions which inhere in the original
economy of the brain. We are sometimes required to look beyond the
individual, and beyond the nervous system even, if we would discover the
primordial movement which, having passed through one or two generations,
finally culminates in actual disease. We say, in popular phrase, that
the cause of insanity in this person was disappointed love, or reverse
of fortune, and in that, a fever, or a translation of disease; the
popular voice finds an echo in the records of the profession, and it all
passes for very good philosophy. Now, the more we learn, the more reason
have we to believe that the amount of truth in the common statistics
respecting the causes of insanity bears but a very small proportion to
the amount of error. That such things as those just mentioned are often
deeply concerned in the production of insanity cannot be doubted, but
their agency is small in comparison with those which exist in the
original constitution of the patient, and are derived, in greater or
less degree, from progenitors. We would not say that insanity has never
occurred in a person whose brain was not vitiated by hereditary morbid
tendencies, but we do say that the proportion of such cases is
exceedingly small. All the seeming efficiency of the so-called "causes
of insanity" requires that preparation which is produced by the
deteriorating influences of progenitors, and without which they would be
utterly powerless. Let us consider this matter a little more closely by
the light which modern inquiry sheds upon it.

All the conditions of the bodily organs that determine the character of
the function are not known, but all analogy shows that what in popular
phrase is called _quality_ is one of them. Exactly what this is nobody
knows, nor is it necessary for our present purpose that we should know;
but when we talk of the good or bad quality of an organ, we certainly do
not talk without meaning. We have an intelligible idea of the difference
between that constitution, of an organ which insures the highest measure
of excellence in the function and that which admits of only the lowest.
In the brain, as in other organs, size is to some extent a measure of
power. The largest intellectual and moral endowments no one expects to
see in connection with the smallest brain, and _vice versâ_, setting
aside those instances of large size which are the effect of disease. The
_relative_ size of the different parts of the brain may have something
to do with the character of the function, but this is a contested point.
Education increases the mental efficiency, no doubt, but it is too late
in the day to attribute everything to _that_. So that we are obliged to
resort to that indescribable condition called _quality_, as the chief
source and origin of the differences of mental power observed among men.

It is easier to say what this condition is not than what it is. It is
not manifested to the senses by weight or color, dryness or moisture,
hardness or softness. In these particulars all brains are pretty nearly
alike. When the cerebral action stops and the man dies, we may find
lesions visible enough to the sense,--vessels preternaturally engorged
with blood, effusions of lymph, thickening of the membranes, changes of
color and consistency,--but no one imagines these to be the cause and
origin of the disturbance. Behind and beyond all this, in that intimate
constitution of the organic molecules which no instrument of sense can
bring to light, lies the source of mental activity, both healthy and
morbid. There lies the source of all cerebral dynamics. Of this we are
sure, unable, as we are, to demonstrate the fact to the senses.

Scientific observation has made us acquainted with some of the agencies
which vitiate the quality of the brain, and it is our duty to profit by
its results. The principal of them is morbid action in the brain itself,
producing, more or less directly, disorder and weakness. But its
deteriorating influence does not cease with the individual. In a large
proportion of cases it is transmitted to the offspring; and though it
may not appear in precisely the same form, yet the tokens of its
existence are too obvious to be overlooked.--Another agency scarcely
less efficient is that of _neuropathies_, to use the medical
term,--meaning the various forms of disorder which have their origin in
the brain, and comprising not only epilepsy, hysteria, chorea, and other
convulsive affections, but that habit of body and mind which makes a
person _nervous_. While they may abridge the mental efficiency of the
patient comparatively little or not at all, they may exert this effect,
and often do, in the highest degree, on his offspring. The amount of
insanity in the world attributable to insanity in the progenitors, and
therefore called, _par éminence_, hereditary, is scarcely greater than
that which originates in this manner, and of which the essential
condition is no less hereditary.--Another agency, acting on a large
scale in some localities, is exerted by those diseases which are
attributed to some disorder of the lymphatic system, as scrofula and
rickets. Though not entirely unknown to the affluent classes, yet it is
chiefly in the dwellings of the poor that these diseases find their
victims. Cold, moisture, bad air, deficient nourishment,--too frequent
accompaniments of poverty,--are peculiarly favorable to their
production. The physical depravation thus induced is frequently
transmitted to the brain in the next generation, and appears in the
shape of mental disorder.--Again, it is now well known that the
qualities of the race are depreciated by the intermarrying of relatives.
The disastrous influence of such unions is exerted on the nervous system
more than any other, and is a prolific source of deaf-mutism, blindness,
idiocy, and insanity. Not, certainly, in all cases do we see these
results, for the legitimate consequences of this violation of an organic
law are often avoided by the help of more controlling influences, but
they are frequent enough to remove any doubt as to their true cause. And
the chances of exemption are greatly lessened where the marriage of
consanguinity is repeated in the next generation. The manner in which
the evil is effected may be conjectured with some approach to
correctness, but to speculate upon it here would lead us astray from our
present purpose. The amount of the evil may be thought to be
comparatively small, but they who have a professional acquaintance with
the subject would hardly undertake to measure the dimensions of all the
physical and mental suffering which it involves. In one State, at least,
in the Union, it has seemed formidable enough to require an act of the
legislature forbidding the marriage of cousins.--The last we shall
mention, among the agencies concerned in vitiating the quality of the
brain, is that of excessive or long-continued intemperance; and for many
years it has been a most fruitful source of mental deterioration: not,
however, in the way which is generally imagined; for, though it may add
some effect to a popular harangue to attribute a very large proportion
of the existing cases of insanity directly to intemperance, yet, as a
matter of fact, very few, probably, can be fairly traced to this cause
solely. And yet, at the present time, it is unquestionably responsible
for a very large share of the mental infirmities which afflict the race.
The germ of the evil requires a second, perhaps a third, generation to
bring it to maturity. And then it may appear in the form of mania, or
idiocy, or intemperance. As a cause of idiocy, its potency has been
placed beyond a doubt. Dr. S.G. Howe, whose thorough investigations
entitle his conclusions to great weight, says, that, "directly or
indirectly, alcohol is productive of a great proportion of the idiocy
which now burdens the Commonwealth." There is this curious feature of
its deteriorating influence, that the primary effect is not always
persistent, but may be removed by removing the cause. In the Report of
the Hospital at Columbus, Ohio, for 1861, the physician, Dr. Hills, says
of one of his patients, that his father, in the first part of his
married life, was strictly temperate, "and had four children, all yet
remaining healthy and sound. From reverses of fortune, he became
discouraged and intemperate for some years, having in this period four
children, two of whom we had now received into the asylum; a third one
was idiotic, and the fourth epileptic. He then reformed in habits, had
three more children, all now grown to maturity, and to this period
remaining sound and healthy." Another similar case follows. An
intemperate parent had four children, two of whom became insane, one was
an idiot, and the fourth died young, in "fits." Four children born
previous to the period of intemperance, and two after the parent's
reformation, are all sound and healthy. Often, it is well known,
intemperance in the child is the hereditary sequel of intemperance in
the parent. The irresistible craving, without the preliminary gradual
indulgence, and in spite of judicious education, generally distinguishes
it from intemperance resulting from other causes.

All these agencies have this trait in common, that their damaging effect
is often felt by the offspring as well as the parent, and, in most
cases, in a far higher degree. The common doctrine of hereditary disease
implies the actual transmission of a specific form of disease fully
developed,--or, at least, of a tendency to it that may or may not be
developed. The range within which it operates is supposed to be the
narrow limits covered by a single specific affection. Daily experience,
however, shows that the deviation from the primitive type is limited
only by some conditions of structure. Any pathological result may be
expected, not incompatible with the structure of the organ. And thus it
is that the cerebral affection which fell upon the parent is represented
in one child by insanity, in another by idiocy, in another by epilepsy,
in another by gross eccentricity, in another by moral perversities, in
another by ill-balanced intellect,--each and all implying a brain more
or less vitiated by the parental infirmity. There is nothing strange in
all this diversity of result. In the healthy state, organic action
proceeds with wonderful regularity and uniformity; but when controlled
by the pathological element, all this is changed, although the change
has its limits. This diversity in the results of hereditary transmission
is as strictly according to law as the similarity of features exhibited
by parent and child. No presumption against the fact can be derived from
this quarter, and therefore, if well-authenticated, it must be admitted.
Many a man, however, who admits the general fact, refuses to make the
application where it has not been usually made. When mania occurs in two
or three successive generations, nobody overlooks the hereditary
element; but when the mania of the parent is followed by great
inequalities of character, or strange impulses to criminal acts, then
the effects of disease are straightway ignored, and we think only of
moral liberty and free-will. It may be difficult, sometimes, to make the
proper distinction between the effects of hereditary physical vitiation
and those of bad education and strong temptations; but the difficulty is
of the kind which stands in the way of all successful inquiry, to be
overcome by patient and profound study.

Some light may be thrown on this deviation from the original type by
considering the forces that are concerned in the hereditary act. The
statement that like produces like is the expression of an obvious law.
But we must bear in mind that the law is only so far observed as is
necessary to maintain the characters of the species. Within that range
there is every possible variety, and for a very obvious reason. Every
individual represents immediately two others, and, indirectly, an
indefinite number. This is done by uniting in himself qualities and
features drawn from each parent, without any obvious principle or law of
selection and combination. One parent may be, apparently, more fully
represented than the other; the defects of the parent may be
transmitted, rather than the excellences; the tendencies to health and
strength may be outnumbered and overborne by the tendencies to disease.
No individual, of course, can receive, entirely and completely, the
features and attributes of both parents, for that would be a sort of
practical absurdity; but in the process of selecting and combining,
Nature exhibits the same inexhaustible variety that appears in all her
operations. Even in the offspring of the same parents, however numerous,
uniformity in this respect is seldom so obvious as diversity. This
cerebral deterioration is subject to the same laws of descent as other
traits, with a few exceptions without much bearing on the present
question. We might as reasonably expect to see the nose or the eyes, the
figure or the motions of either parent transmitted with the exactest
likeness to all the offspring, as to suppose that an hereditary disease
must necessarily be transmitted fully formed, with all the incidents and
conditions which it possessed in the parent. And yet, in the case of
mental disease, the current philosophy can recognize the evidence of
transmission in no shape less demonstrative than delusion or raving.
Contrary to all analogy, and contrary to all fact, it supposes that the
hereditary affection must appear in the offspring in precisely the same
degree of intensity which it had in the parent. If the son is stricken
down with raving mania, like his father before him, then the relation of
cause and effect is obvious enough; but if, on the contrary, the former
exhibits only extraordinary outbreaks of passion, remarkable
inequalities of spirit and disposition, irrelevant and inappropriate
conduct, strange and unaccountable impulses, nothing of this kind is
charged practically to the parental infirmity.

The cerebral defect once established, the modes in which it may be
manifested in subsequent generations present no uniformity whatever.
Insanity in a parent may be followed by any possible form of mental
irregularity in the descendant,--insanity, idiocy, epilepsy,
drunkenness, criminal impulses, eccentricity. And so, too, eccentricity,
even of the least prominent kind, may be followed by grosser
eccentricity, or even overt insanity, in the descendant. The cerebral
defect is not necessarily manifested in an uninterrupted series of
generations, for it often skips over one, and appears with redoubled
energy in the next; and thus, in looking for proof of hereditary disease
or defect, we are not to stop at the next preceding generation. We are
too little acquainted with the laws of hereditary transmission to
explain these things. We know this, however, that, side by side with
that law which decrees the transmission of defects as well as
excellences, there exists another law which restrains deviations from
the normal type, which extinguishes the errant traits, and reestablishes
the primitive characters of the organism. The combined and alternate
action of these two laws may produce some of the inscrutable phenomena
of hereditary transmission.

The transmission of the cerebral defect is often manifested in a manner
exceedingly embarrassing to all who hold to the prevalent notions
respecting sanity and insanity. It is sometimes confined to a very
circumscribed range, beyond which the mind presents no material
impairment. The sound and the unsound coexist, not in a state of fusion,
but side by side, each independent of the other, and both derived from a
common source. And the fact is no more anomalous than that often
witnessed, of some striking feature of one parent associated in the
child with one equally striking of the other. It is not the case exactly
of partial insanity, or any mental defect, super-induced upon a mind
otherwise sound,--for such defect is, in some degree, an accident, and
may disappear; but here is a congenital conjunction of sanity and
insanity, which no medical or moral appliances will ever remove. These
persons may get on very well in their allotted part, and even achieve
distinction, while the insane element is often cropping out in the shape
of extravagances or irregularities in thought or action, which,
according to the stand-point they are viewed from, are regarded either
as gross eccentricity, or undisciplined powers, or downright insanity.
For every manifestation of this kind they may show no lack of plausible
reasons, calculated to mislead the superficial observer; but still the
fact remains, that these traits, which are never witnessed in persons of
well-balanced minds, are a part of their habitual character. When people
of this description possess a high order of intellectual endowments, the
unhealthy element seems to impart force and piquancy to their mental
manifestations, and thus increase the embarrassment touching the true
character of their mental constitution. When the defect appears in the
reflective powers, it is often regarded as insanity, though not more
correctly than if it were confined to the emotions and feelings. The man
who goes through life creditably performing his part, but feeling, all
the while, that everybody with whom he has any relations is endeavoring
to oppose and annoy him, strays as clearly from the track of a healthy
mind as if he believed in imaginary plots and conspiracies against his
property or person. In neither case is he completely overcome by the
force of the strange impression, but passes along, to all appearance,
much like other men. Insane, in the popular acceptation, he certainly is
not; but it is equally certain that his mind is not in a healthy
condition. Lord Byron was one of this class, and the fact gives us a
clew to the anomalies of his character. His mother was subject to
violent outbreaks of passion, not unlike those often witnessed in the
insane. On the paternal side his case was scarcely better. The loose
principles, the wild and reckless conduct of his father procured for him
the nickname of "_Mad Jack Byron_"; and his grand-uncle, who killed his
neighbor in a duel, exhibited traits not very characteristic of a
healthy mind. With such antecedents, it is not strange that he was
subject to wild impulses, violent passions, baseless prejudices,
uncompromising selfishness, irregular mental activity. The morbid
element in his nervous system was also witnessed in the form of
epilepsy, from which he suffered, more or less, during his whole life.
The "vile melancholy" which Dr. Johnson inherited from his father, and
which, to use his own expression, "made him mad all his life, at least
not sober," never perverted nor hampered the exercise of his
intellectual powers. He heard the voice of his distant mother calling
"Sam"; he was bound to touch every post he passed in the streets; he
astonished people by his extraordinary singularities, and much of his
time was spent in the depths of mental distress; yet the march of his
intellect, steady, uniform, and measured, gave no token of confusion or

In common life, among an order of men unknown beyond the circle of their
neighborhood, this sort of mental dualism witnessed with remarkable
frequency, though generally regarded as anomalous and unaccountable,
rather than the result of an organic law. In some, the morbid element,
without affecting the keenness of the intellect, is more active,
intruding itself on all occasions, characterizing the ways and manners,
the demeanor and deportment. Under the influence of peculiarly adverse
circumstances, they are liable to lose occasionally the unsteady balance
between the antagonistic forces of their mental nature, to conduct as if
unquestionably insane, and to be treated accordingly. Of such the remark
is always made by the world, which sees no nice distinctions, "If he is
insane now, he was always insane." According as the one or the other
phasis of their mind is exclusively regarded, they are accounted by some
as always crazy, by others as uncommonly shrewd and capable. The
hereditary origin of this mental defect in some form of nervous
affection will always be discovered, where the means of information are

In some persons the morbid element appears in the shape of insensibility
to nice moral distinctions. Their perception of them at all seems to be
the result of imitation rather than instinct. With them, circumstances
determine everything as to the moral complexion of their career in life.
Whether they leave behind them a reputation for flagrant selfishness,
meanness, and dishonesty, or for a commendable prudence and judicious
regard for self,--whether they always keep within the precincts of a
decent respectability, or run into disreputable courses,--depends mostly
on chance and fortune. This intimate association of the saint and the
sinner in the same individual, common as it is, is a stumbling-block to
moralists and legislators. The abnormal element is entirely overlooked,
or rather is confounded with that kind of moral depravity which comes
from vicious training And, certainly, the distinction is not always very
easily made; for, though sufficient light on this point may often be
derived from the antecedents of the individual, yet it is impossible,
occasionally, to remove the obscurity in which it is involved. However
this may be, it is a warrantable inference from the results of modern
inquiry, that the class of cases is not a small one, where the person
commits a criminal act, or falls into vicious habits, with a full
knowledge of the nature and consequences of his conduct, and prompted,
perhaps, by the ordinary inducements to vice, who, nevertheless, would
have been a shining example of virtue, had the morbid element in his
cerebral organism been left out. In our rough estimates of
responsibility this goes for nothing, like the untoward influences of
education; and it could not well be otherwise, though it cannot be
denied that one element of moral responsibility, namely, the wish and
the power to pursue the right and avoid the wrong, is greatly defective.

There is another phasis of cerebral defect not very unlike the last,
which of late years has been occurring with increasing frequency,
embarrassing our courts, confounding the wise and the simple, and
overwhelming respectable families with shame and sorrow. With an
intellect unwarped by the slightest excitement or delusion, and with
many moral traits, it may be, calculated to please and to charm, its
subjects are irresistibly impelled to some particular form of crime.
With more or less effort they strive against it, and when they yield at
last, their conduct is as much a mystery to themselves as to others.
Ordinary criminals excite some touch of pity, on the score of bad
education or untamed passions; but if, in the common estimation of the
world, there is one criminal more reprehensible than another, it is he
who sins against great light and under the smallest temptations,--and,
of course, the hottest wrath of an incensed community is kindled against

At the bar of yonder courtroom stands a youth with an aspect and manner
indicative of culture and refinement far above those of the common herd
of criminals. He was detected in the very act of committing a grave
criminal offence. He has been educated under good moral influences, and
possessed a patrimony that supplied every reasonable want. No looseness
of living, no violent passion is alleged against him, and no adequate
motive appears for the act. For a year or two past he has been unusually
restless by day and by night, has slept poorly, and his countenance has
worn an expression of distraction and anxiety. Various little details of
conduct are related of him, which, though not morally censurable, were
offensive to good taste and opposed to the ordinary observances of
society. His friends are sure he is not the man he once was, but no
expert ventures to pronounce him insane. Looking behind the scene, the
mystery clears up, and we behold only a simple operation of cerebral
dynamics. A glance at the family-history shows us a great-grandfather,
an aunt, two second-cousins, and a brother unequivocally insane, the
father and many other members widely noted for eccentricities and
irregularities of a kind scarcely compatible with the idea of sanity.
Considering that the brain does not spring out of the ground, but is the
final product of all the influences which for generations have been
working in the cerebral organism, it is not strange that the quality of
his brain became so vitiated as to be incapable of some of its highest
functions.--Looking a little farther back in our forensic experience, we
behold a youth scarcely arrived at the age of legal majority, with a
simple, verdant look, arraigned for trial on the charge of murder. He
was the servant of a farmer, and his victim was an adopted daughter of
the family, and some years younger than himself. One day they were left
together to take care of the house, a little girl in the neighborhood
having come in to keep them company. While engaged in the domestic
services, quietly and pleasantly, he invited his companion to go with
him into another room where he had something to show her, and there,
within a few minutes, he cut her throat from ear to ear. He soon came
down, told what he had done, and made no attempt to escape. They had
always been on good terms; no provocation, no motive whatever for the
act was shown or suspected. When questioned, he replied only,--"I loved
her, no one could tell how much I loved her." He had been drinking cider
during the morning, but his cool and collected manner, both before and
after the act, showed that he was not intoxicated. His employers
testified that they had always found him good-natured and correct, but
considered his intellect somewhat below the average grade. A few months
subsequently he died in jail of consumption. Regarded from the ordinary
moral stand-points, this was a strange, an unaccountable, a monstrous
act, and we are unable to take the first step towards a solution of the
mystery. Looking, however, at the material conditions of his affections,
his propensities, his impulses,--his cerebral dynamics,--we get a clew,
at least, to the secret. His father was an habitual drunkard, and a
frequent inmate of the poor-house. He had two children,--one an idiot,
and the other the prisoner; and the mental deficiency of the former, and
the senseless impulses to crime manifested by the latter, were equally
legitimate effects of the father's vice.--Here, again, is one who might
justly be regarded as a favored son of fortune. Fine talents, a
college-education, high social position, an honorable and lucrative
business in prospect were all his; but before leaving college he had
made considerable proficiency in lying, drinking, forgery, and
hypocrisy, besides evincing a remarkable ingenuity in concealing these
traits. His vices only increased with years, notwithstanding the various
parental expedients to effect reform,--a voyage to sea, establishment in
business, confinement in a hospital for the insane, a residence in the
country, a settlement in a new territory. All this time his intellect
was cool and clear, except when under the influence of drink, and he was
always ready with the most plausible explanations of his conduct. At
last, however, delusions began to appear, and unquestionable and
incurable insanity was established. The philosophy of our times utterly
fails to account for a phenomenon like this. Had the hand of the law
been laid upon him for his offences, he would have been regarded as one
of those examples of depravity which deserve the severest possible
punishment; and when the true nature of his case appeared at last,
doctors only wondered how so much mental disorder could happen to one
whose progenitors were singularly free from mental infirmities. In
noticing the agencies calculated to vitiate the quality of the brain, we
mentioned the neuropathies as among the most efficient, though their
effect is chiefly witnessed in subsequent generations, and the present
case is an illustration of the fact. His mother was a highly nervous
woman, and for many years a confirmed invalid.

This, then, being admitted, that a vitiated quality of the brain may be
transmitted to the offspring with accumulating effect, let us see what
are the general characteristics of this effect. We have no reason to
suppose that the brain is exempt from the operation of the same organic
laws which govern the rest of the animal economy. Observation abundantly
shows that its working capacity is diminished, and its activity becomes
irregular in one or more of the various degrees of irregularity, ranging
from a little eccentricity up to raving mania. Occasionally, such defect
is accompanied by remarkable manifestations of mental ability, but it is
no part of our doctrine that such conjunctions are incompatible. Byron
and Johnson accomplished great things; but who will deny that without
that hereditary taint they would have done more and done it better? The
latter, it is well known, was much dependent on moods, and spent long
periods in mental inactivity. The labors of the other were fitful, and
his views of life betray the influence of the same cerebral defect that
led to so much domestic woe. The narrow-chested, round-shouldered
person, whose lungs barely oxydize blood enough to maintain life, is not
expected to walk a thousand miles in a thousand hours, or to excel as a
performer on wind-instruments. We impute to him no fault for this sort
of incompetence. We should rather charge him with consummate folly, if
he undertook a line of exercises for which he is so clearly unfitted. We
do not wonder, in fact, when this unfortunate pulmonary constitution
sends its possessor to an early grave. Why not apply the same philosophy
to the brain, which may partake of all the defects incident to organized
matter? Why expect of one among whose progenitors insanity, idiocy,
scrofula, rickets, and epilepsy have prevailed in an extraordinary
degree all the moral and intellectual excellences displayed by those
whose blood through a long line of ancestors has been untainted by any
of these affections?

It is chiefly, however, in abnormal activity that the presence of this
cerebral depreciation is indicated. And here we find the same
disposition to insist on positive and absolute conditions, overlooking
those nicer shades of diversity which mark the movements of Nature. It
is the common belief that between eccentricity and insanity a great gulf
is fixed; and in courts of justice this notion is often used with great
effect to overthrow the conclusions of the medical expert, who, while he
admits their essential difference, finds it not very easy to avoid the
trap which a quick-witted lawyer is sure to make of it. Let him
recognize the fact that they are the results of a common agency,
differing chiefly in degree, and then his path is clear, though it may
not lead to popular confidence in his professional views.

Neither is the cerebral depreciation confined to any particular portion
of the organ; and therefore its effects may be witnessed in any of those
manifestations which are known to depend upon it. The affective powers,
meaning thereby the passions, affections, and emotions, are, like the
intellectual, connected with the brain, and, like them too, are shaped,
in a great degree, by the quality of that organ. It is curious, however,
that, while this fact is admitted in general terms, there is a prevalent
reluctance to make the legitimate practical application. It is denied
that the moral powers and propensities can be affected by disease,
though connected with a material organ. Everybody believes that a man
who thinks his legs are made of glass is insane; but if his affections
only are disordered,--love and kindness being replaced by jealousy and
hate,--an habitual regard for every moral propriety, by unbounded
looseness of life and conversation,--the practice of the strictest
virtue, by unblushing indulgence of crime, and all without apparent
cause or motive,--then the morbid element in the case is overlooked and
stoutly repudiated. We admit that a man may be a fool without any fault
of his own; but if he fall short of any of the requirements of the moral
law, he is regarded as a sinner, and perhaps punished as a criminal.
Before we utterly condemn him for failing to recognize all the sharp
distinctions between right and wrong, for yielding to temptation, and
walking in evil courses, we are bound in justice to inquire whether a
higher grade of moral excellence has not been debarred him by the
defective quality of his brain, the organ by which all moral graces are
manifested,--whether it has not become deteriorated by morbid
predispositions, transmitted with steadily accumulating force, to
insanity, or other affections which are known to spread their noxious
influence over the nervous system.

A scientific fact is supposed to be entitled to credence, when
accompanied by proper scientific proof; but, nevertheless, many worthy
people cannot resist the conclusion, that, if a man's moral character is
determined by the quality of the brain, then there is no such thing as
responsibility. And so we are brought up all standing against the old
problem of moral liberty, on which oceans of ink have been shed to
little purpose. Heaven forbid that we should add another drop! for our
object will be served by stating very briefly the scientific view of
this phenomenon. Every creature is free, within the limits of the
constitution which Nature has given him, to act and to think, each after
his kind. The horse rejoices in the liberty of acting like a horse, and
not like an ox; and man enjoys the privilege of acting the part of a
man, and not of a disembodied spirit. If the limbs of the former are
struck by an atrophy, we do not expect him to win the race. If the brain
of the latter is blasted by disease or deterioration, we cannot expect
the fruits of a sound and vigorous organism. When we say that a person
with a brain vitiated by an accumulation of hereditary defects is
incapable of that degree of moral excellence which is manifested by men
of the soundest brains, we utter a truism as self-evident, apparently,
as when we say that the ox is incapable of the fleetness of the horse or
the ferocity of the tiger. It is immaterial whether the cerebral
condition in question is one of original constitution or of acquired
deficiency, because the relation between the physical and the moral must
be the same in the one case as in the other. In the toiling masses, who,
from childhood, are brought face to face with want and vice, we do not
expect to find the moral graces of a Channing or a Cheverus; and we do
not hold them to a very strict responsibility for the deficiency. But
they are not utterly destitute of a moral sense, and what we have a
right to expect is, that they improve, in a reasonable degree, the light
and opportunities which have fallen to their lot. The principle is
precisely the same as it regards those whose brains have been vitiated
by some noxious agency. To make them morally responsible in an equal
degree with men more happily endowed would be repugnant to every idea of
right and justice. But within the range of their capacity, whatever it
may be, they are free, and accountable for the use of their liberty.
True, there is often difficulty in making these distinctions, even where
the necessity for it is the greatest; but we dissent from the
conclusion, that therefore the doctrine can have but little practical
value. It is something to have the fact of the intimate connection
between organic conditions and moral manifestations distinctly
recognized. The advance of knowledge will be steadily widening the
practical application of the fact. A judge might not be justified in
favoring the acquittal of a criminal on the ground of his having
inherited a brain of vitiated quality; but, surely, it would not be
repugnant to the testimony of science, or the dictates of common sense
and common justice, if he allowed this fact to operate in mitigation of


Once to my Fancy's hall a stranger came,
    Of mien unwonted,
And its pale shapes of glory without shame
    Or speech confronted.

Fair was my hall,--a gallery of Gods
    Smoothly appointed;
With Nymphs and Satyrs from the dewy sods
    Freshly anointed.

Great Jove sat throned in state, with Hermes near,
    And fiery Bacchus;
Pallas and Pluto, and those powers of Fear
    Whose visions rack us.

Artemis wore her crescent free of stars,
    The hunt just scented;
Glad Aphrodite met the warrior Mars,
    The myriad-tented.

Rude was my visitant, of sturdy form,
    Draped in such clothing
As the world's great, whom luxury makes warm,
    Look on with loathing.

And yet, methought, his service-badge of soil
    With honor wearing;
And in his dexter hand, embossed with toil,
    A hammer bearing.

But while I waited till his eye should sink,
    O'ercome of beauty,
With heart impatience brimming to the brink
    Of courteous duty,--

He smote my marbles many a murderous blow,
    His weapon poising;
I, in my wrath and wonderment of woe,
    No comment voicing.

"Come, sweep this rubbish from the workman's way,
    Wreck of past ages,--
Afford me here a lump of harmless clay,
    Ye grooms and pages!"

Then, from that voidness of our mother Earth,
    A frame he builded
Of a new feature,--with the power of birth
    Fashioned and welded.

It had a might mine eyes had never seen,
    A mien, a stature,
As if the centuries that rolled between
    Had greatened Nature.

It breathed, it moved; above Jove's classic sway
    A place was won it:
The rustic sculptor motioned; then "To-day"
    He wrote upon it.

"What man art thou?" I cried, "and what this wrong
    That thou hast wrought me?
My marbles lived on symmetry and song;
    Why hast thou brought me

"A form of all necessities, that asks
    Nurture and feeding?
Not this the burthen of my maidhood's tasks,
    Nor my high breeding."

"Behold," he said, "Life's great impersonate,
    Nourished by Labor!
Thy Gods are gone with old-time faith and Fate;
    Here is thy Neighbor."


One evening, after seeing Booth in "Richard III.," three of us fell
a-talking about the authorship of the play, and wondering how far
Shakespeare was responsible for what we had heard. Everybody knows that
Colley Cibber improved upon the text of the old folios and quartos: for
what was listened to with delight by Ben Jonson could not satisfy
Congreve, and William III. needed better verses than those applauded by
Queen Elizabeth. None of us knew how great or how many these
improvements were. I doubt whether many of the audience that crowded the
theatre that evening were wiser than we. The next day I got an acting
copy of "Richard III.," and, with the help of Mrs. Clarke's
Concordance,[1] arrived at the following astonishing results.

"Shakspeare's Historical Tragedy of Richard III., adapted to
Representation by Colley Cibber," (I quote the full title for its
matchless impudence,) makes a pamphlet of fifty-nine small pages. Of
these, Cibber was good enough to write twenty-six out of his own head.
Then, modestly recognizing Shakespeare's superiority, he took
twenty-_seven_ pages from him, (not all from this particular play, to be
sure,) remodelled six other pages of the original, and, mixing it all up
together, produced a play, and called it Shakespeare.

With Mrs. Clarke's touchstone it is easy to separate the base metal from
the fine gold; though you have only to ring most of Cibber's
counterfeits to see how flat they are. Would any one take the following
for genuine coin, and believe that Shakespeare could make a poor ghost
talk thus?

"PRINCE E. Richard, dream on, and see the wandering spirits
Of thy young nephews, murdered in the tower:
Could not our youth, our innocence, persuade
Thy cruel heart to spare our harmless lives?
Who, but for thee, alas! might have enjoyed
Our many promised years of happiness.
No soul, save thine, but pities our misusage.
Oh! 'twas a cruel deed! therefore alone,
Unpitying, unpitied shalt thou fall."

Or thus:--

"K. HENRY. The morning's dawn has summoned me away;
And let that wild despair, which now does prey
Upon thy mangled thoughts, alarm the world.
Awake, Richard, awake! to guilty minds
A terrible example!"

No wonder that Gloucester finds it quite hopeless to reply to such
ghosts in the words Shakespeare put into his mouth, and so has recourse
to Cibber. We are not told what (Cibber's) ghosts say to Richmond; but
he declares,--
"If dreams should animate a soul resolved,
_I'm more than pleased with those I've had to-night._"

Just after this, it is rather confusing to find him straying off into
"Henry V." Still, "In peace there's nothing so becomes a man," seems to
promise Shakespeare at least,--so compose yourself to listen and

"In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As _mild behavior_ and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
_Let us be tigers in our fierce deportment_."

After this outrage, I defy you to help hoping that the comparatively
innocent Richard will chop off Richmond's head,--in spite of history and

It does not follow that all change or omission is unlawful in placing
Shakespeare's plays on the stage. Though in the pit or parquet we sit
(more or less) at our ease, instead of standing as the groundlings did
in old days, yet a tragedy five hours and a half long would be rather
too much of a good thing for us. There must have been a real love of the
drama in those times. Fancy a fine gentleman, able to pay his shilling
and sit with the wits upon the rush-strewn stage, listening for such a
length of time to "Hamlet," with no change of scenes to help the
illusion or break the monotony, beyond a curtain or two hung across the
stage, a wooden gallery at the back whence the court of Denmark might
view "The Mouse-Trap," and, perhaps, a wooden tomb pushed on or
"discovered" in the graveyard-scene by pulling aside one of these
curtains or "traverses." No pretty women, either, dressed in becoming
robes, and invested with the mysterious halo of interest which an
actress seems to bring with her from the side-scenes. No women at all.
Poor Ophelia presented by a great lubberly boy, and the part of the
Queen very likely intrusted to him who was last year the "_jeune
première_," and whose voice is now somewhat cracked within the ring. To
be sure, in those days every gentleman took his pipe with him; and the
fragrant clouds would be some consolation in the eyes, or rather in the
noses, of some of us. But still,--almost six hours of tragedy! It is too
much of a good thing for these degenerate days; and we must allow the
prompter to use his pencil on the actors' copy of "Hamlet," though he
strike out page upon page of immortal philosophy.

But there are certain parts of this play omitted whose loss makes one
grieve. Why do the actors leave out the strange half-crazed exclamations
wrung from Hamlet by his father's voice repeating "Swear" from beneath
his feet?

    HAM. Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
    GHOST [_beneath_]. Swear.
    HAM. Ah, ha, boy! say'st thou so? art thou there, true-penny?--
         Come on,--you hear this fellow in the cellarage--

       *       *       *       *       *

         Swear by my sword.
    GHOST [_beneath_]. Swear.
    HAM. _Hic et ubique_? then we'll shift our ground.--
         Come hither, gentlemen,
         And lay your hands again upon my sword:
         Never to speak of this that you have heard,
         Swear by my sword.
    GHOST [_beneath_]. Swear.
    HAM. Well said, old mole! Canst work i' the ground so fast?
         A worthy pioneer I....
         ... This not to do,
         So grace and mercy at your most need help you, swear.
    GHOST [_beneath_]. Swear.
    HAM. Rest, rest, perturbed spirit!

The sensitive organization which makes Hamlet what he is has been too
rudely handled: the machine, too delicate for the rough work of
every-day life, breaks down, under the strain. The horror of the
time--beginning with Horatio's story of the apparition, and growing more
fearful with every moment of reflection, until Hamlet longs for the
coming of the dread hour--reaches a point beyond which human nature has
no power to endure. If he could share his burden with his friend
Horatio,--but Marcellus thrusts himself forward, and he checks the
half-uttered confidence, and struggles to put aside their curiosity with
trifling words. Anything, to be alone and free to think on what he has
heard and what he has to do. And then,--as he is swearing them to
secrecy before escaping from them,--_there_, from under their feet and
out of the solid earth, comes the voice whose adieu is yet ringing in
his ears. In terror they hurry to another spot; but the awful voice
follows their steps, and its tones shake the ground under them. What
wonder, if, broken down by all this, Hamlet utters words which would be
irreverent in their levity, were they not terrible in their wildness?
Have you never marked what pathos there is in a very trivial phrase used
by one so crushed down by grief that he acts and speaks like a little

It is wonderful that a great actor should neglect a passage that paints
with one touch Hamlet's half-hysterical state. Given as it might be
given, it would curdle the blood in your veins. I asked the best Hamlet
it has been my fortune to see, why he left out these lines. "I have
often thought I would speak them; but I don't know how." That was his
answer, and a very honest one it was. But such a reason is not worthy of
any man who dares to play Hamlet,--much less of one who plays it as ----

It is curious to observe how persistently the players, in making up the
stage-travesties of Shakespeare's plays, have followed the uncertain
lead of the quartos, where they and the folio differ. It almost seems as
if the stage-editors found something more congenial in a text made up
from the actors' recollections, plentifully adorned with what we now
call "gag." They appear to forget one capital fact: that Shakespeare was
at once actor, author, and manager,--that he wrote for the stage
exclusively, producing plays for the immediate use of his own
company,--and that his plays may therefore be reasonably supposed to be
"adapted to representation" in their original state. Does Mr. Crummles
know better than Master Shakespeare knew how "Romeo and Juliet" should
be ended with the best effect,--not only to the ear in the closet, but
theatrically on the stage? The story was not a new one; and the
dramatist deliberately followed one of two existing versions rather than
the other. In Boisteau's translation of Bandello's novel, Juliet wakes
from her trance before Romeo's death; in Brooke's poem, which the great
master chose to adopt as his authority, all is over, and she wakes to
find her lover dead. Garrick must needs know better than Shakespeare,
the actor-author; and no stage Romeo has the grace to die until he has,
in elegant phrase, "piled up the agony" with lines like these:--

"JULIET. ... Death's in thy face.
ROM. _It is indeed_. I struggle with him now:
The transports that I felt,
To hear thee speak, and see thy opening eyes,
Stopped, for a moment, his impetuous course,
And all my mind was happiness and thee:--
But now," etc.,
"My powers are blasted;
'Twist death and love I'm torn, I am distracted;
_But death is strongest_."

And then, to give a chance for the manoeuvre beloved by dying
actors,--that getting up and falling back into the arms of the actress
kneeling by him, with a proper amount of gasping and eyes rolling in
delirium,--the stage Romeo adds:--

"ROM. She is my wife,--our hearts are twined together:--
Capulet, forbear:--Paris, loose your hold:--
Pull not our heart-strings thus;--they crack,--they break:--
Oh, Juliet, Juliet!"
[_Dies. Juliet faints on his body._

Is this Garrick or Otway? (for I believe Garrick borrowed some of his
improvements from Otway's "Caius Marius.") I don't know, and don't care.
It is not Shakespeare. It may "show something of the skill of kindred
genius," as the preface to the acting edition says it does. I confess I
do not see it. I would have such bombast delivered with the traditional
accompaniment of red fire; and the curtain should descend majestically
to the sound of slow music. That would be consistent and appropriate.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has always been a consoling thought to Englishmen that Shakespeare
exists for them alone,--or that a Frenchman's nature, at least, makes it
hopeless for him to try to understand the great dramatist. They confess
that their neighbors know how to construct the plot of a comedy, and
prove the honesty of their approval by "borrowing" whatever they can
make useful. French tragedies they despise--(though a century ago the
new English tragedies were generally Corneille or Racine in disguise).
As to Shakespeare, it has time out of mind been an article of faith with
the insolent insulars that he is quite above any Frenchman's reach. One
by one they are driven from their foolish prejudices, and made to
confess that Frenchmen _may_ equal them in some serious things, as well
as beat them in all the lighter accomplishments. French iron-clad
steamers have been followed by the curious spectacle of a French actor
teaching an English audience how Shakespeare should be acted. I would
give a good deal to see M. Fechter in Hamlet, Othello, or Iago,--the
only parts he has yet attempted; the rather, because the low condition
of the stage in England, where Mr. Macready and Mr. Charles Kean are
called great actors, makes the English newspaper-criticisms of little
value. In default of this, I have been reading M. Fechter's acting
edition of "Othello," which a friend kindly sent me from London. It is a
curiosity,--not the text, which is incorrect, full of arbitrary changes,
and punctuated in a way almost unintelligible to an English eye: colons
being scattered about with truly French profusion. The stage-directions
are the interest of the book. They are so many and so minute that it
seems a wonder why they were printed, if M. Fechter is sincere in
declaring that he has no desire to force others to follow in his exact
footsteps in this part. But they are generally so judicious, as well as
original, that actors born with English tongues in their heads may well
be ashamed that a foreigner could find so many new and effective
resources on their own ground. For example: when Othello and Iago are
first met by the enraged Brabantio, the Moor is standing on the
threshold of his house, having just opened the door with a key taken
from his girdle. He is going in, when he sees the lights borne by the
other party. Observe how Othello's honest frankness is shown by the

"OTH. But look: what lights come yonder?
IAGO. These are the raised father and his friends.
[_Othello shuts the door quickly and takes the key._
You were best go in.
OTH. [_coming forward_], Not I: I must be found!"

Again, at the end of this scene, see how thoroughly the editor has
studied the legitimate dramatic effect of the situations, preserving to
each person his due place and characteristic manner:--

"BRAB. [_To his followers_]. Bring him away!
[_They advance to take Othello, who puts them back with a look._
Mine's not an idle cause:
[_Passes before Othello, who bows to him with respect._
The Duke himself," etc.
[_Exit, preceded by the servants of the Senate. His followers are about
    to pass; Othello stays them, beckons to Cassio, and exit with him.
    The rest follow, humbly._

The scene wherein Iago first begins to poison the Moor's mind is
admirable in the situations and movements of the actors. A great variety
is given to the dialogue by the minute directions set down for the
guidance of the players. It would be tedious to give them in detail; but
I must point out the truth of one action, near the end. The poison is
working; but as yet Othello cannot believe he is so wronged,--he is only
"perplexed in the extreme,"--not yet transformed quite out of his noble

"OTH. [dismissing Iago with a gesture]. Farewell! farewell!
[Stopping him, as he goes to the door on the right.
If more thou dost perceive, let me know more:
Set on thy wife to observe----
[He stops, suffused with shame, and crosses before Iago, without looking
    at him.
Leave me, Iago.
IAGO. My lord, I take my leave."

This is an idea worthy of a great actor; and of M. Fechter's acting here
an English critic says,--"Delicate in its conception and marvellous in
its close adherence to Nature is the expression that accompanies the
words. The actor's face is literally suffused with a burning blush; and,
as he buries his face in his hands, we almost fancy we see the scalding
tears force their way through the trembling fingers and adorn the
shame-reddened cheeks." The same writer goes on to praise "the ingenuity
and novelty of the glance at the reflection of his dark face in the
mirror, which suggests the words, 'Haply for I am black.'" I cannot
agree. Othello had been too often reproached with his swarthy skin and
likened to the Devil by Desdemona's father to need any such commonplace
reminder of his defects, in his agony of doubt. It is, however, a fair
ground for difference of opinion. But when the same artifice is resorted
to in the last act to explain the words, "It is the cause, it is the
cause, my soul!!"--and Othello is made to take up a toilet-glass which
has fallen from Desdemona's hand,--it becomes a vile conceit, unworthy
of the situation or of an actor like Fechter. A man does not look in the
glass, and talk about his complexion, when he is going to kill what he
loves best in life; and if the words are broken and unintelligible, they
are all the truer to Nature. The whole of the last act, as arranged by
Fechter, is bad. There is no propriety in directing Desdemona to leave
her bed and walk about,--to say nothing of the scramble that must ensue
when Othello "in mad fury throws her onto the bed" again. But what shall
we say of this?

"OTH. What noise is this?
[_He turns to the side whence the noise comes, and raises the pillow,
    but, as Desdemona stirs, replaces it abruptly._
Not dead! Not yet quite dead!
I, that am cruel, am yet merciful;
I would not have thee linger in thy pain.
[_Passing his poignard under the pillow, and turning away his eyes,_

What, but that it is utterly vile and melodramatic, contrary to
Othello's expressed resolve, and quite unnecessary?--for a better effect
would be produced, if the actor averted his head and with both hands
pressed hard upon the pillow, trembling in every limb at the horrible
deed he is forced, in mercy, to bring to a quick end. This idea of
stabbing Desdemona at last is not original with Fechter,--who here, and
in several other places, has consented to follow our stage-traditions,
and has been led astray.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shakespeare on the stage is a sad falling off from Shakespeare in the
closet. (I do not mean on the American stage only: the theatre in
England is, if possible, lower than with us.) To a great extent this is
unavoidable. Our imaginations are not kept in check by the pitiless
limits that make themselves felt in the theatre. An army, when we read
of it, seems something far grander than all that can be effected by the
best-appointed company of actors. The forest of Ardennes has for us life
and motion beyond the reach of the scene-painter's skill. But these
necessary shortcomings are no excuse for making no attempt to imitate
Nature. Yet hardly any serious effort is made to reach this purpose of
playing. The ordinary arrangement of our stage is as bad as bad can be,
for it fails to look like the places where the action is supposed to
lie. Two rows of narrow screens stretching down from the ends of a broad
screen at the back never can be made to look like a room, still less
like a grove. Such an arrangement may be convenient for the carpenters
or scene-shifters, and is very likely cheaper than a properly designed
interior. But it does not look like what it pretends to be, and has been
superseded on every stage but ours and the English by properly
constructed scenery. Who ever went into a French theatre for the first
time without being charmed by the _reality_ of the scene? They take the
trouble to build a room, when a room is wanted, with side-walls and
doors, and often a ceiling. The consequence is, you can fancy yourself
present at a scene taken from real life. The theatre goes no farther
than the proscenium. Beyond that, you have a parlor, with one wall
removed for your better view. It is Asmodeus's show improved. I went to
a Paris theatre with a friend. The play began with half a dozen
milliners chattering and sewing round a table. After a few moments, my
friend gave a prodigious yawn, and declared he was going home, "for you
might as well sit down and see a parcel of real milliners at work as
this play." Tastes differ; and I did not find this an objection. But
what a compliment that was to the whole corps,--actors, actresses, and
scene-painter!--and how impossible it would be to make the same
complaint of an English play!

"But," I have been told by theatrical people, "such an arrangement is
all very well in French vaudevilles, where one scene lasts through an
act; but it will not do for English plays, with their constant
scene-shifting." I grant it is less convenient to the stage-manager than
the present wretched assembly of screens; but it is not impracticable in
any play. Witness the melodramas which are the delight of the patrons of
the minor Paris theatres,--_pièces à spectacle en 4 actes et 24
tableaux_, that is, twenty-four changes of scene. I remember sitting
through one which was so deadly stupid that nothing but the ingenuity of
the stage-arrangements made it endurable. Side-scenes dropped down into
their places,--"flats" fell through the stage or were drawn up out of
sight,--trees and rocks rose out of the earth,--in a word, scenery that
looked like reality, and not like canvas, was disposed and cleared away
with such marvellous rapidity that I forgot to yawn over the play.
Attention to these matters is almost unknown with us: perhaps, in strict
justice, I ought to say was unknown until very lately. Within a few
years, one or two of our theatres have profited by the example set by
stage-managers abroad. At Wallack's, in New York, _rooms_ have to a
great extent taken the place of the old _screens_; and only the other
night at the Boston Museum I saw an arrangement of scenery which really
helped the illusion.

Let us hope there may be a speedy reform in the matter of the costume of
the players,--at least in plays where the dresses are of our own time.
You may count on your fingers the actresses in America who dress on the
stage as _ladies_ dress in polite society. And as for the actors, I am
afraid one hand has too many fingers for the tally. Because people go to
the President's Ball in frock-coats is no reason why actors who
undertake to look like fashionable gentlemen should outrage all
conventional rules. I once saw a play in which a gentleman came to make
an informal morning-visit to a lady in the country, in that dress which
has received the bitterly ironical name of "full American uniform," that
is to say, black dress-coat and trousers and black satin waistcoat; and
the costume was made even more complete by a black satin _tie_, of many
plaits, with a huge dull diamond pin in it, and a long steel watch-chain
dangling upon the wretched man's stomach. He might have played his part
to perfection,--which he did not, but murdered it in cold blood,--but he
_might_ have done so in vain; nothing would or could absolve him from
such a crime against the god of fashion or propriety. "Little things,
these," the critic may say: and so our actors seem to think. But life is
made up of little things; and if you would paint life, you must attend
to them. Ask any one who has spent (wasted?) evening after evening at
the Paris theatres about them; and, ten to one, he begins by praising
the details, which, in their sum, conveyed the impression of perfection
he brought away with him.

Unless you are a little cracked on the subject of the stage, (as I
confess I am,) and have talked with a French actor about it, you have no
idea how systematically they train their young actors. I will tell you a
few of the odd facts I picked up in long talks with my friend Monsieur
D----. of the Théâtre Français.

The Conservatoire, their great school for actors, is, like almost
everything else in Paris, more or less under Government control,--the
Minister of State being charged with its superintendence. He appoints
the professors, who are actors of the Français, and receive a salary of
two thousand francs. The first order a pupil receives, on presenting
himself for instruction, is this: "Say _rose_." Now your Parisian rather
prides himself on a peculiar pronunciation of the letter _r_. He neither
rolls it like an Italian, nor does he make anything like the noise
standing for _r_ in our conversational English,--something like
_uhr-ose_,--a sound said to be peculiar to our language. A Parisian
rolls his r, by making his _uvula_ vibrate, keeping the tongue quite
still: producing a peculiar gurgling sound. This is an abomination in
the ears of the Conservatoire. "Ne _grasseyez_ donc pas, Monsieur," or
"Mademoiselle," says the professor, fiercely,--this peculiar way of
saying _r_ being called _grasseyement_. The pupil tries again, using the
tip of his tongue this time. "Ah! I thought so. Your _r_ is pasty
(_empâté_). Say _tuddah!_" (I spell this sound _à l'Anglaise_.)
"_Tuddah_" repeats the wondering candidate. "_Thuddah?_" the professor
repeats, with great disgust: "I did not ask you to say _thuddah_, but
_tuddah_." The victim tries again and again, and thinks he succeeds; but
the master does not agree with him. His delicate ear detects a certain
thickness of enunciation,--which our _th_ very imperfectly
represents,--a want of crispness, as it were. The tip of the tongue does
not strike the front teeth with a single _tick_, as sharp as a
needle-point; and until he can do this, the pupil can do nothing. He is
dismissed with the advice to say "_tuddah, tuddah, tuddah_," as many
hours a day as he can without losing his mind. D---- told me he often
met young men walking about the streets in all the agonies of this first
step in the art of learning to act, and astonishing the passers-by with
this mysterious jargon. A pupil of average quickness and nicety of ear
learns to say tuddah in about a month. Then he is told to say _rose_
once more. The training his tongue has received enables him to use only
its very tip. A great point is gained: he can pronounce the _r_. Any
other defects in pronunciation which he has are next attacked and
corrected. Then he is drilled in moving, standing, and carriage. And
finally, "a quantity of practice truly prodigious" is given to the
_ancien répertoire,_--the classic models of French dramatic literature,
Corneille, Racine, Molière, Beaumarchais, etc. The first scholar of each
year has the right to appear at once at the Théâtre Français,--a right
rarely claimed, as most young actors prefer to go through a novitiate
elsewhere to braving the most critical audience in the world before they
have acquired the confidence that comes only with habit and success.
After he has gained a foothold at this classic theatre, an actor still
sees prizes held out to stimulate his ambition. If he keeps the promise
of his youth, he may hope to be chosen a stockholder (_sociétaire_), and
thus obtain a share both in the direction of affairs and in the profits,
besides a retiring pension, depending in, amount upon his term of

_Panem, et circenses_ is the demand of modern Paris, as it was of old
Rome,--and the people expect the Government to see that neither supply
fails. While the Opera receives large sums to pay for gorgeous scenery
and dresses, the Français is paid for devoting three nights in the week
to the classical school: a real loss to the theatre at times when the
fickle public would gladly crowd the house to applaud the success of the
hour. The Minister of State interferes as seldom as possible with the
management; but when he speaks, his word is law. This was queerly shown
in a dispute about Rachel's _congés_. At first she played during nine
months of the year three times a week; later her duties were reduced to
six months in the year, playing only twice a week, at a salary of forty
thousand francs, with five hundred francs for every extra performance.
Spoiled by indulgence, she demanded leave of absence just when the Queen
of England was coming to Paris. The manager indignantly refused. The
next day the Minister of State politely requested that Mlle. Rachel
might have a short _congé_. "It is not reasonable," said the poor
manager. "We have cut down her duties and raised her salary; now the
Queen is coming, Paris will be full of English, and they are always
crazy after Mlle. Rachel. It is really out of the question, _Monsieur le
Ministre_." The Minister was very sorry, but hoped there would be no
real difficulty. The manager was equally sorry, but really he could not
think of it. "_Monsieur,_" said the Minister, rising and dismissing the
manager, "_il le faut," "Oh, il le faut?_ Then it _must_;--only you
might as well have begun with that." And so Rachel got her leave of

(I must insert here from my note-book a criticism on Rachel,--valuable
as coming from a man of talent in her own profession who had worked with
her for years, and deserving additional weight, as it was, no doubt,
rather the collective judgment of her fellow-actors than the opinion of
the speaker alone.)

"Rachel," said M. D----, "was a great genius,--but a genius that ever
needed the hand of a master to guide its efforts. Without this, she
could do nothing: and Samson was forever behind her, directing her
steps. Mme. Allan, who weighed almost three hundred pounds and had an
abominable voice, was infinitely her superior in the power of creating a
part. But Rachel had the voice of an angel. In the expression of disdain
or terror she was unapproachable. In the softer passions she was feeble.
We all looked upon her _Lady Tartuffe_ as a failure."

       *       *       *       *       *

Such a school of acting as the Conservatoire and the Français form could
of course never be seen in America. The idea of our popular practical
Government undertaking to direct the amusements of the people is quite
ludicrous. In France, the Government does all it can for the people.
With us, the people are left to do everything for themselves, with the
least possible amount of Government interference. Our play-writers and
play-actors could do a great deal to raise the standard of
stage-literature and of acting, if they would but try. But they do not
try. I went the other evening to see that relic of the Dark Ages, a
sterling English comedy. If any one thinks I go too far in saying that
there is no attempt on our stage to imitate Nature, and that the writing
and acting of English plays are like the landscape-painting of the
Chinese,--a wonderfully good copy of the absurdities handed down through
generations of artists,--let him go and look at one of these plays. He
will see the choleric East-India uncle, with a red face, and a Malacca
cane held by the middle, stumping about, and bullying his nephew,--"a
young rascal,"--or his niece,--"you baggage, you." When this young
person wishes to have a good talk with a friend, they stand up behind
the footlights to do it; and the audience is let into secrets essential
to the plot by means of long "asides" delivered by one, while the other
does nothing and pretends not to hear what is spoken within three feet
of him. The waiting-maid behaves in a way that would get her turned out
of any respectable house, and is chased off the stage by the old
gentleman in a manner that no gentleman ever chases his servants.
Something is the matter with the men's legs: they all move by two steps
and a hitch. They all speak with an intonation as unlike the English of
real life as if they talked Greek. The young people make fools of the
old people in a way they would never dream of in life,--and the old
people are preternaturally stupid in submitting to be made fools of.
After seeing one of these classics, let the spectator sit down and
honestly ask himself if this is an attempt to hold the mirror up to
Nature, or an effort to reflect the traditional manners and customs of
the stage.

If he thinks he has ever seen anything of the sort in real life, we will
agree to differ.

[Footnote 1: Are we as grateful as we should be to Mrs. Cowden Clarke?
Did you ever try to find anything by the help of Ayscough, when that was
the best guide to be had? If you have, you remember your teasing search
for the principal word in the passage,--how _day_ seemed a less likely
key than _jocund_, and yet, as this was only an adjective, perhaps
_tiptoe_ were better; or, if you pitched upon _mountain-tops_, it was a
problem with which half of the compound to begin the search. Consider
that Mrs. Clarke is no dry word-critic, to revel in pulling the
soliloquy to pieces, and half inclined to carry the work farther and
give you the separate letters and the number of each, but a woman who
loves Shakespeare and what he wrote. Think of her sitting down for
sixteen years to pick up senseless words one by one, and stow each one
away in its own niche, with a ticket hanging to it to guide the search
of any one who can bring the smallest sample of the cloth of gold he
wants. Think of this, whenever you open her miracle of patient labor,
and be grateful.]


Rock, little boat, beneath the quiet sky!
Only the stars behold us, where we lie,--
Only the stars, and yonder brightening moon.

On the wide sea to-night alone are we:
The sweet, bright, summer day dies silently;
Its glowing sunset will have faded soon.

Rock softly, little boat, the while I mark
The far-off gliding sails, distinct and dark,
Across the west pass steadily and slow.

But on the eastern waters sad they change
And vanish, dream-like, gray and cold and strange,
And no one knoweth whither they may go.

We care not, we, drifting with wind and tide,
With glad waves darkening upon every side,
Save where the moon sends silver sparkles down,

And yonder slender stream of changing light,
Now white, now crimson, tremulously bright,
Where dark the light-house stands, with fiery crown.

Thick falls the dew, soundless, on sea and shore;
It shines on little boat and idle oar,
Wherever moonbeams touch with tranquil glow.

The waves are full of whispers wild and sweet;
They call to me; incessantly they beat
Along the boat from stem to curvèd prow.

Comes the careering wind, blows back my hair
All damp with dew, to kiss me unaware,--
Murmuring, "Thee I love,"--and passes on.

Sweet sounds on rocky shores the distant rote.
Oh, could we float forever, little boat,
Under the blissful sky drifting alone!






Rain ends, as even Noah and the Arkites discovered. The new sensation of
tickling frogs could entertain us for one day; bounteous Nature provided
other novelties for the next. We were at the Umbagog chain of lakes, and
while it rained the damster had purveyed us a boat and crew. At sunrise
he despatched us on our voyage. We launched upon the Androscoggin, in a
_bateau_ of the old Canadian type. Such light, clincher-built,
high-nosed, flat-bottomed boats are in use wherever the fur-traders are
or have been. Just such boats navigate the Saskatchawan of the North, or
Frazer's River of the Northwest; and in a larger counterpart of our
Androscoggin bark I had three years before floated down the magnificent
Columbia to Vancouver, bedded on bales of beaver-skins.

As soon as sunrise wrote itself in shadows over the sparkling water, as
soon as through the river-side belt of gnarled arbor-vitae sunbeams
flickered, we pushed off, rowed up-stream by a pair of stout lumbermen.
The river was a beautiful way, admitting us into the _penetralia_ of
virgin forests. It was not a rude wilderness: all that Northern woods
have of foliage, verdurous, slender, delicate, tremulous, overhung our
shadowy path, dense as the vines that drape a tropic stream. Every giant
tree, every one of the Pinus oligarchy, had been lumbered away: refined
sylvan beauty remained. The dam checked the river's turbulence, making
it slow and mirror-like. It merited a more melodious name than harsh

Five miles of such enchanting voyage brought us to Lake Umbagog. Whiff's
of mist had met us in the outlet. Presently we opened chaos, and chaos
shut in upon us. There was no Umbagog to be seen,--nothing but a few
yards of gray water and a world of gray vapor. Therefore I cannot
criticize, nor insult, nor compliment Umbagog. Let us deem it beautiful.
The sun tried at the fog, to lift it with leverage of his early level
beams. Failing in this attempt to stir and heave away the mass, he
climbed, and began to use his beams as wedges, driving them down more
perpendicularly. Whenever this industrious craftsman made a successful
split, the fog gaped, and we could see for a moment, indefinitely, an
expanse of water, hedged with gloomy forest, and owning for its dominant
height a wild mountain, Aziscohos, or, briefer, Esquihos.

But the fog was still too dense to be riven by slanting sunbeams. It
closed again in solider phalanx. Our gray cell shut close about us.
Esquihos and the distance became nowhere. In fact, ourselves would have
been nowhere, except that a sluggish damp wind puffed sometimes, and
steering into this we could guide our way within a few points of our

Any traveller knows that it is no very crushing disappointment not to
see what he came to see. Outside sights give something, but inside joys
are independent. We enjoyed our dim damp voyage heartily, on that wide
loneliness. Nor were our shouts and laughter the only sounds. Loons
would sometimes wail to us, as they dived, black dots in the mist. Then
we would wait for their bulbous reappearance, and let fly the futile
shot with its muffled report,--missing, of course.

No being has ever shot a loon, though several have legends of some one
who has. Sound has no power to express a profounder emotion of utter
loneliness than the loon's cry. Standing in piny darkness on the lake's
bank, or floating in dimness of mist or glimmer of twilight on its
surface, you hear this wailing note, and all possibility of human
tenancy by the shore or human voyaging is annihilated. You can fancy no
response to this signal of solitude disturbed, and again it comes sadly
over the water, the despairing plaint of some companionless and
incomplete existence, exiled from happiness it has never known, and
conscious only of blank and utter want. Loon-skins have a commercial
value; so it is reported. The Barabinzians of Siberia, a nation "up
beyond the River Ob," tan them into water-proof _paletots_ or
_aquascutums_. How they catch their loon, before they skin their loon,
is one of the mysteries of that unknown realm.

Og, Gog, Magog, Memphremagog, all agog, Umbagog,--certainly the American
Indians were the Lost Tribes, and conserved the old familiar syllables
in their new home.

Rowing into the damp breeze, we by-and-by traversed the lake. We had
gained nothing but a fact of distance. But here was to be an interlude
of interest. The "thoro'fare" linking Umbagog to its next neighbor is no
thoro'fare for a _bateau_, since a _bateau_ cannot climb through
breakers over boulders. We must make a "carry," an actual portage, such
as in all chronicles of pioneer voyages strike like the excitement of
rapids into the monotonous course of easy descent. Another boat was
ready on the next lake, but our chattels must go three miles through the
woods. Yes, we now were to achieve a portage. Consider it, _blasé_
friend,--was not this sensation alone worth the trip?

The worthy lumbermen, and our supernumerary, the damster's son,
staggered along slowly with our traps. Iglesias and I, having nothing to
carry, enjoyed the carry. We lounged along through the glades, now sunny
for the moment, and dallied with raspberries and blueberries, finer than
any ever seen. The latter henceforth began to impurple our blood. Maine
is lusciously carpeted with them.

As we oozed along the overgrown trail, dripping still with last night's
rain, drops would alight upon our necks and trickle down our backs. A
wet spine excites hunger,--if a pedestrian on a portage, after voyaging
from sunrise, needs any appetizer when his shadow marks noon. We halted,
fired up, and lunched vigorously on toasted pork and trimmings. As pork
must be the Omega in forest-fare, it is well to make it the Alpha. Fate
thus becomes choice. Citizens uneducated to forest-life with much pains
transport into the woods sealed cans of what they deem will dainties be,
and scoff at woodsmen frizzling slices of pork on a pointed stick. But
Experience does not disdain a Cockney. She broods over him, and will
by-and-by hatch him into a full-fledged forester. After such incubation,
he will recognize his natural food, and compactest fuel for the lamp of
life. He will take to his pork like mother's milk.

Our dessert of raspberries grew all along the path, and lured us on to a
log-station by the water, where we found another _bateau_ ready to
transport us over Lakes Weelocksebacook, Allegundabagog, and
Mollychunkamug. Doubters may smile and smile at these names, but they
are geography.

We do not commit ourselves to further judgment upon the first than that
it is doubtless worthy of its name. My own opinion is, that the scenery
felt that it was dullish, and was ashamed to "exhibit" to Iglesias; if
he pronounced a condemnation, Umbagog and its sisters feared that they
would be degraded to fish-ponds merely. Therefore they veiled
themselves. Mists hung low over the leaden waters, and blacker clouds
crushed the pine-dark hills.

A fair curve of sandy beach separates Weelocksebacook from its neighbor.
There is buried one Melattach, an Indian chief. Of course there has been
found in Maine some one irreverent enough to trot a lame Pegasus over
this grave, and accuse the frowzy old red-skin of Christian virtues and
delicate romance.

There were no portages this afternoon. We took the three lakes at easy
speed, persuading ourselves that scenes fog would not let us see were
unscenic. It is well that a man should think what he cannot get unworthy
of his getting. As evening came, the sun made another effort, with the
aid of west winds, at the mist. The sun cleft, the breeze drove.
Suddenly the battle was done, victory easily gained. We were cheered by
a gush of level sunlight. Even the dull, gray vapor became a
transfigured and beautiful essence. Dull and uniform it had hung over
the land; now the plastic winds quarried it, and shaped the whole mass
into individuals, each with its character. To the cloud-forms modelled
out of formlessness the winds gave life of motion, sunshine gave life of
light, and they hastened through the lower atmosphere, or sailed
lingering across the blue breadths of mid-heaven, or dwelt peacefully
aloft in the region of the _cirri_; and whether trailing gauzy robes in
flight, or moving stately, or dwelling on high where scope of vision
makes travel needless, they were still the brightest, the gracefullest,
the purest beings that Earth creates for man's most delicate pleasure.

When it cleared,--when it purveyed us a broadening zone of blue sky and
a heavenful of brilliant cloud-creatures, we were sailing over Lake
Mollychunkamug. Fair Mollychunkamug had not smiled for us until
now;--now a sunny grin spread over her smooth cheeks. She was all
smiling, and presently, as the breeze dimpled her, all a "snicker" up
into the roots of her hair, up among her forest-tresses. Mollychunkamug!
Who could be aught but gay, gay even to the farcical, when on such a
name? Is it Indian? Bewildered Indian we deem it,--transmogrified
somewhat from aboriginal sound by the fond imagination of some
lumberman, finding in it a sweet memorial of his Mary far away in the
kitchens of the Kennebec, his Mary so rotund of blooming cheek, his
Molly of the chunky mug. To him who truly loves, all Nature is filled
with Amaryllidian echoes. Every sight and every sound recalls her who
need not be recalled, to a heart that has never dislodged her.

We lingered over our interview with Mollychunkamug. She may not be
numbered among the great beauties of the world; nevertheless, she is an
attractive squaw,--a very honest bit of flat-faced prettiness in the

Above Mollychunkamug is Moosetocmaguntic Lake. Another innavigable
thoro'fare unites them. A dam of Titanic crib-work, fifteen hundred feet
long, confines the upper waters. Near this we disembarked. We balanced
ourselves along the timbers of the dam, and reached a huge log-cabin at
its farther end.

Mr. Killgrove, the damster, came forth and offered us the freedom of his
settlement in a tobacco-box. Tobacco is hospitality in the compactest
form. Civilization has determined that tobacco, especially in the shape
of smoke, is essential as food, water, or air. The pipe is everywhere
the pipe of peace. Peace, then, and anodyne-repose, after a day of
travel, were offered us by the friendly damster.

A squad of lumbermen were our new fellow-citizens. These soldiers of the
outermost outpost were in the regulation-uniform,--red-flannel shirts,
impurpled by wetting, big boots, and old felt-hats. Blood-red is the
true soldierly color. All the residents of Damville dwelt in a great
log-barrack, the Hôtel-de-Ville. Its architecture was of the early
American style, and possessed the high art of simplicity. It was solid,
not gingerbreadesque. Primeval American art has a rude dignity, far
better than the sham splendors of our mediaeval and transition period.

Our new friends, luxurious fellows, had been favored by Fate with a
French-Canadian cook, himself a Three of Frères Provinciaux. Such was
his reputation. We saw by the eye of him, and by his nose, formed for
comprehending fragrances, and by the lines of refined taste converging
from his whole face toward his mouth, that he was one to detect and
sniff gastronomic possibilities in the humblest materials. Joseph
Bourgogne looked the cook. His phiz gave us faith in him; eyes small and
discriminating; nose upturned, nostrils expanded and receptive; mouth
saucy in the literal sense. His voice, moreover, was a cook's,--thick in
articulation, dulcet in tone. He spoke as if he deemed that a throat was
created for better uses than laboriously manufacturing words,--as if the
object of a mouth were to receive tribute, not to give commands,--as if
that pink stalactite, his palate, were more used by delicacies entering
than by rough words or sorry sighs going out of the inner caverns.

When we find the right man in the right place, our minds are at ease.
The future becomes satisfactory as the past. Anticipation is glad
certainty, not anxious doubt. Trusting our gastronomic welfare fully to
this great artist, we tried for fish below the dam. Only petty
fishlings, weighing ounces, took the bit between their teeth. We
therefore doffed the fisherman and donned the artist and poet, and
chased our own fancies down the dark whirlpooling river, along its dell
of evergreens, now lurid with the last glows of twilight. Iglesias and I
continued dreamily gazing down the thoro'fare toward Mollychunkamug only
a certain length of time. Man keeps up to his highest elations hardly
longer than a _danseuse_ can poise in a _pose_. To be conscious of the
highest beauty demands an involuntary intentness of observation so
fanatically eager that presently we are prostrated and need stimulants.
And just as we sensitively felt this exhaustion and this need, we heard
a suggestive voice calling us from the front-door of the mansion-house
of Damville, and "Supper" was the cry.

A call to the table may quell and may awaken romance. When, in some
abode of poetized luxury, the "silver knell" sounds musically six, and a
door opens toward a glitter that is not pewter and Wedgewood, and, with
a being fair and changeful as a sunset cloud upon my arm, I move under
the archway of blue curtains toward the asphodel and the nectar, then, O
Reader! Friend! romance crowds into my heart, as color and fragrance
crowd into a rose-bud. Joseph Bourgogne, cook at Damville on
Moosetocmaguntic, could not offer us such substitute for aesthetic
emotions. But his voice of an artist created a winning picture half
veiled with mists, evanescent and affectionate, such as linger fondly
over Pork-and-Beans.

Fancied joy soon to become fact. We entered the barrack. Beneath its
smoky roof-tree was a pervading aroma; near the centre of that aroma, a
table dim with wefts of incense; at the innermost centre of that aroma
and that incense, and whence those visible and viewless fountains
streamed, was their source,--a Dish of Pork-and-Beans.

Topmostly this. There were lesser viands, buttresses to this towering
triumph. Minor smokes from minor censers. A circle of little craterlings
about the great crater,--of little fiery cones about that great volcanic
dome in the midst, unopened, but bursting with bounty. We sat down, and
one of the red-shirted boldly crushed the smoking dome. The brave fellow
plunged in with a spoon and heaped our plates.

_A priori_ we had deduced Joseph Bourgogne's results from inspection of
Joseph. Now we could reason back from one _experimentum crucis_ cooked
by him. Effect and cause were worthy of each other.

The average world must be revenged upon Genius. Greatness must be
punished by itself or another. Joseph Bourgogne was no exception to the
laws of the misery of Genius. He had a distressing trait, whose
exhibition tickled the _dura ilia_ of the reapers of the forest. Joseph,
poet-cook, was sensitive to new ideas. This sensitiveness to the
peremptory thought made him the slave of the wags of Damville. Whenever
he had anything in his hands, at a stern, quick command he would drop it
nervously. Did he approach the table with a second dish of
pork-and-beans, a yellow dish of beans, browned delicately as a Sèvres
vase, then would some full-fed rogue, waiting until Joseph was bending
over some devoted head, say sharply, "Drop that, Joseph!"--whereupon
down went dish and contents, emporridging the poll and person of the
luckless wight beneath. Always, were his burden pitcher of water, armful
of wood, axe dangerous to toes, mirror, or pudding, still followed the
same result. And when the poet-cook had done the mischief, he would
stand shuddering at his work of ruin, and sigh, and curse his too
sensitive nature.

In honor of us, the damster kept order. Joseph disturbed the banquet
only by entering with new triumphs of Art. Last came a climax-pie,
--contents unknown. And when that dish, fit to set before a
king, was opened, the poem of our supper was complete. J. B. sailed to
the Parnassus where Ude and Vattel feast, forever cooking immortal
banquets in star-lighted spheres.

Then we sat in the picturesque dimness of the lofty cabin, under the
void where the roof shut off the stars, and talked of the pine-woods, of
logging, measuring, and spring-drives, and of moose-hunting on
snow-shoes, until our mouths had a wild flavor more spicy than if we had
chewed spruce-gum by the hour. Spruce-gum is the aboriginal quid of
these regions. Foresters chew this tenacious morsel as tars nibble at a
bit of oakum, grooms at a straw, Southerns at tobacco, or school-girls
at a slate-pencil.

The barrack was fitted up with bunks. Iglesias rolled into one of these.
I mummied myself in my blankets and did penance upon a bench. Pine-knots
in my pallet sought out my tenderest spots. The softer wood was worn
away about these projections. Hillocky was the surface, so that I beat
about uneasily and awoke often, ready to envy Iglesias. But from him,
also, I heard sounds of struggling.



Mr. Killgrove, slayer of forests, became the pilot of our voyage up Lake
Moosetocmaguntic. We shoved off in a _bateau_, while Joseph Bourgogne,
sad at losing us, stood among the stumps, waving adieux with a
dish-clout. We had solaced his soul with meed of praise. And now, alas!
we left him to the rude jokes and half-sympathies of the lumbermen. The
artist-cook saw his appreciators vanish away, and his proud dish-clout
drooped like a defeated banner.

"A fine lake," remarked Iglesias, instituting the matutinal conversation
in a safe and general way.

"Yes," returned Mr. Killgrove, "when you come to get seven or eight feet
more of water atop of this in spring, it is considerable of a puddle."

Our weather seemed to be now bettering with more resolution. Many days
had passed since Aurora had shown herself,--many days since the rising
sun and the world had seen each other. But yesterday this sulky
estrangement ended, and, after the beautiful reconciliation at sunset,
the faint mists of doubt in their brief parting for a night had now no
power against the ardors of anticipated meeting. As we shot out upon the
steaming water, the sun was just looking over the lower ridges of a
mountain opposite. Air, blue and quivering, hung under shelter of the
mountain-front, as if a film from the dim purple of night were hiding
there to see what beauty day had, better than its own. The gray fog, so
dreary for three mornings, was utterly vanquished; all was vanished,
save where "swimming vapors sloped athwart the glen," and "crept from
pine to pine." These had dallied, like spies of a flying army, to watch
for chances of its return; but they, too, carried away by the
enthusiasms of a world liberated and illumined, changed their
allegiance, joined the party of hope and progress, and added the grace
of their presence to the fair pageant of a better day.

Lake Moosetocmaguntic is good,--above the average. If its name had but
two syllables, and the thing named were near Somewhere, poetry and
rhetoric would celebrate it, and the world would be prouder of itself
for another "gem." Now nobody sees it, and those who do have had their
anticipations lengthened leagues by every syllable of its sesquipedalian
title. One expects, perhaps, something more than what he finds. He finds
a good average sheet of water, set in a circlet of dark forest,--forests
sloping up to wooded hills, and these to wooded mountains. Very good and
satisfactory elements, and worth notice,--especially when the artistic
eye is also a fisherman's eye, and he detects fishy spots. As to
wilderness, there can be none more complete. At the upper end of the
lake is a trace of humanity in a deserted cabin on a small clearing.
There a hermit pair once lived,--man and wife, utterly alone for fifteen
years,--once or twice a year, perhaps, visited by lumbermen. Fifteen
years alone with a wife! a trial, certainly,--not necessarily in the
desponding sense of the word; not as Yankees have it, making trial a
misfortune, but a test.

Mr. Killgrove entertained us with resinous-flavored talk. The voyage was
unexcitingly pleasant. We passed an archipelago of scrubby islands, and,
turning away from a blue vista of hills northward, entered a lovely
curve of river richly overhung with arbor-vitae, a shadowy quiet reach
of clear water, crowded below its beautiful surface with reflected
forest and reflected sky.

"Iglesias," said I, "we divined how Mollychunkamug had its name; now, as
to Moosetocmaguntic,--hence that elongated appellative?"

"It was named," replied Iglesias, "from the adventure of a certain
hunter in these regions. He was moose-hunting here in days gone by. His
tale runs thus:--'I had been four days without game, and naturally
without anything to eat except pine-cones and green chestnuts. There was
no game in the forest. The trout would not bite, for I had no tackle and
no hook. I was starving. I sat me down, and rested my trusty, but futile
rifle against a fallen tree. Suddenly I heard a tread, turned my head,
saw a Moose,--took--my--gun,--tick! he was dead. I was saved. I feasted,
and in gratitude named the lake Moosetookmyguntick.' Geography has
modified it, but the name cannot be misunderstood."

We glided up the fair river, and presently came to the hut of Mr. Smith,
fisherman and misogynist. And there is little more to be said about Mr.
Smith. He appears in this chronicle because he owned a boat which became
our vehicle on Lake Oquossok, Aquessok, Lakewocket, or Rangeley. Mr.
Smith guided us across the carry to the next of the chain of lakes, and
embarked us in a crazy skiff. It was blowing fresh, and, not to be
wrecked, we coasted close to the gnarled arbor-vitae thickets. Smith
sogered along, drawling dull legends of trout-fishing.

"Drefful notional critturs traout be," he said,--"olluz bitin' atwhodger
haänt got. Orful contrairy critturs,--jess like fimmls. Yer can cotch a
fimml with a feather, ef she's ter be cotched; ef she haänt ter be
cotched, yer may scoop ther hul world dry an' yer haänt got her. Jess so

The misogynist bored us with his dull philosophy. The buffetings of
inland waves were not only insulting, but dangerous, to our leaky punt.
At any moment, Iglesias and I might find ourselves floundering together
in thin fresh water. Joyfully, therefore, at last, did we discern
clearings, culture, and habitations at the lake-head. There was no
tavernous village of Rangeley; that would have been too great a
contrast, after the forest and the lakes, where loons are the only
disturbers of silence,--incongruity enough to overpower utterly the
ringing of woodland music in our hearts. Rangeley was a townless
township, as the outermost township should be. We had, however, learnt
from Killgrove, feller of forests, that there was a certain farmer on
the lake, one of the chieftains of that realm, who would hospitably
entertain us. Smith, wheedler of trout, landed us in quite an ambitious
foamy surf at the foot of a declivity below our future host's farm.

We had now traversed Lakes Umbagog, Weelocksebacook, Allegundabagog,
Mollychunkamug, Moosetocmaguntic, and Oquossok.

We had been compelled to pronounce these names constantly. Of course our
vocal organs were distorted. Of course our vocal nervous systems were
shattered, and we had a chronic lameness of the jaws. We therefore
recognized a peculiar appropriateness in the name of our host.

Toothaker was his name. He dwelt upon the lawn-like bank, a hundred feet
above the lake. Mr. Toothaker himself was absent, but his wife received
us hospitably, disposed us in her guest-chamber, and gratified us with a

This was Rangeley Township, the outer settlement on the west side of
Maine. A "squire" from England gave it his name. He bought the tract,
named it, inhabited several years, a popular squire-arch, and then
returned from the wild to the tame, from pine woods and stumpy fields to
the elm-planted hedge-rows and shaven lawns of placid England. The local
gossip did not reveal any cause for Mr. Rangeley's fondness for
contrasts and exile.

Mr. Toothaker has been a careful dentist to the stumps of his farm. It
is beautifully stumpless, and slopes verdantly, or varied with yellow
harvest, down to the lake and up to the forest primeval. He has
preserved a pretty grove of birch and maple as shelter, ornament,
partridge-cover, and perpendicular wood-pile. Below his house and barns
is the lovely oval of the lake, seen across the fair fields, bright with
wheat, or green with pasture. A road, hedged with briskly-aspiring young
spruces, runs for a mile northward, making a faint show at attacking the
wilderness. A mile's loneliness is enough for this unsupported pioneer;
he runs up a tree, sees nothing but dark woods, thinks of Labrador and
the North Pole, and stops.

Next morning, Mr. Toothaker returned from a political meeting below
among the towns. It was the Presidential campaign,--stirring days from
pines to prairies, stirring days from codfish to cocoanuts. Tonguey men
were talking from every stump all over the land. Blatant patriots were
heard, wherever a flock of compatriots could be persuaded to listen. The
man with one speech containing two stories was making the tour of all
the villages. The man with two speeches, each with three stories, one of
them very broad indeed, was in request for the towns. The oratorical
Stentorian man, with inexhaustible rivers of speech and rafts of
stories, was in full torrent at mass-meetings. There was no neighborhood
that might not see and hear an M. C. But Rangeley had been the _minus_
town, and by all the speech-makers really neglected; there was danger
that its voters must deposit their ballots according to their own
judgment, without any advice from strangers. This, of course, would
never do. Mr. Toothaker found that we fraternized in politics. He called
upon us, as patriots, to become the orators of the day. Why not? Except
that these seldom houses do not promise an exhilarating crowd. We
promised, however, that, if he would supply hearers, we between us would
find a speaker.

Mr. Toothaker called a nephew, and charged him to boot and saddle, and
flame it through the country-side that two "Men from New York" were
there, and would give a "Lecture on Politics," at the Red School-House,
at five, that evening.

And to the Red School-House, at five, crowded the men, ay, and the women
and children, of Rangeley and thereabout. They came as the winds and
waves come when forests and navies are rended and stranded. Horse, foot,
and charioteers, they thronged toward the rubicund fountain of
education. From houses that lurked invisible in clearings suddenly burst
forth a population, an audience ardent with patriotism, eager for
politics even from a Cockney interpreter, and numerous enough to stir
electricity in a speaker's mind. Some of the matrons brought bundles of
swaddled infants, to be early instructed in good citizenship; but too
often these young patriots were found to have but crude notions on the
subject of applause, and they were ignominiously removed, fighting
violently for their privilege of free speech, doubling their unterrified
fists, and getting as red in the face as the school-house.

Mr. Toothaker, in a neat speech, introduced the orator, who took his
stand in the schoolmaster's pulpit, and surveyed his stalwart and gentle
hearers, filling the sloping benches and overflowing out-of-doors.
Gaffer and gammer, man and maiden, were distributed, the ladies to the
right of the aisle, the gentlemen to the left. They must not be in
contact,--perhaps because gaffer will gossip with gammer, and youth and
maid will toy. Dignity demanded that they should be distinct as the
conservative Right and radical Left of a French Assembly, Convenient,
this, for the orator; since thus his things of beauty, joys forever, he
could waft, in dulcet tones, over to the ladies' side, and his things of
logic, tough morsels for life-long digestion, he could jerk, like bolts
from an arbalist, over at the open mouths of gray gaffer and robust man.

I am not about to report the orator's speech. Stealing another's thunder
is an offence punishable condignly ever since the days of Salmoneus.
Perhaps, too, he may wish to use the same eloquent bits in the present
Olympiad; for American life is measured by Olympiads, signalized by
nobler contests than the petty States of Greece ever knew.

The people of Rangeley disappeared as mysteriously as they had emerged
from the woods, having had their share of the good or bad talk of that
year of freedom. If political harangues educate, the educated class was
largely recruited that that summer.

Next day, again, was stormy. We stayed quietly under shelter, preparing
for our real journey after so much prelude. The Isaac Newton's
steam-whistle had sent up the curtain; the overture had followed with
strains Der-Frei-schutzy in the Adirondacks, pastoral in the valleys of
Vermont and New Hampshire, funebral and andante in the fogs of
Mollychunkamug; now it was to end in an allegretto gallopade, and the
drama would open.

At last the sun shone bright upon the silky ripples of the lake. Mr.
Toothaker provided two buggies,--one for himself and our traps, one for
Iglesias and me. We rattled away across county and county. And so at
full speed we drove all day, and, with a few hours' halt, all
night,--all a fresh, starry night,--until gay sunrise brought us to
Skowhegan, on the road to Moosehead Lake.

As we had travelled all night, breakfast must be our substitute for
slumber. Repletion, instead of repose, must restore us. Two files of
red-shirted lumbermen, brandishing knives at each other across a long
table, only excited us to livelier gymnastics; and when we had thus
hastily crammed what they call in Maine beefsteak, and what they infuse
down East for coffee, we climbed to the top of a coach of the
bounding-billow motion, and went pitching northward.

Two facts we learned from our coachman: one, that we were passing that
day through a "pretty sassy country"; also, that the same region was
"only meant to hold the world together." Personal "sassiness" is a trait
of which every Yankee is proud; Iglesias and I both venture to hope that
we appreciate the value of that quality, and have properly cultivated
it. Topographical "sassiness," unmodified by culture and control, is a
rude, rugged, and unattractive trait; and New England is, on the whole,
"sassier" than I could wish. Let the dullish day's drive, then, be
passed over dumbly. In the evening, we dismounted at Greenville, at the
foot of Moosehead Lake.



The rivers of Maine, as a native observed to me, "olluz spread 'mselves
inter bulges." Mollychunkamug and her fellows are the bulges of the
Androscoggin; Moosehead, of the Kennebec. Sluggish streams do not need
such pauses. Peace is thrown away upon stolidity. The torrents of Maine
are hasty young heroes, galloping so hard when they gallop, and charging
with such rash enthusiasm when they charge, hurrying with such Achillean
ardor toward their eternity of ocean, that they would never know the
influence, in their heart of hearts, of blue cloudlessness, or the glory
of noonday, or the pageantries of sunset,--they would only tear and rive
and shatter carelessly. Nature, therefore, provides valleys for the
streams to bulge in, and entertain celestial reflections.

Nature, arranging lake-spots as educational episodes for the Maine
rivers, disposes them also with a view to utility. Mr. Killgrove and his
fellow-lumbermen treat lakes as log-puddles and raft-depots. Moosehead
is the most important of these, and keeps a steamboat for tugging rafts
and transporting raftsmen.

Moosehead also provides vessels far dearer to the heart of the
adventurous than anything driven by steam. Here, mayhap, will an
untravelled traveller make his first acquaintance with the birch-bark
canoe, and learn to call it by the affectionate diminutive, "Birch."
Earlier in life there was no love lost between him and whatever bore
that name. Even now, if the untravelled one's first acquaintance be not
distinguished by an unlovely ducking, so much the worse. The ducking
must come. Caution must be learnt by catastrophe. No one can ever know
how unstable a thing is a birch canoe, unless he has felt it slide away
from under his misplaced feet. Novices should take nude practice in
empty birches, lest they spill themselves and the load of full ones,--a
wondrous easy thing to do.

A birch canoe is the right thing in the right place. Maine's rivers are
violently impulsive and spasmodic in their running. Sometimes you have a
foamy rapid, sometimes a broad shoal, sometimes a barricade of boulders
with gleams of white water springing through or leaping over its rocks.
Your boat for voyaging here must be stout enough to buffet the rapid,
light enough to skim the shallow, agile enough to vault over, or lithe
enough to slip through, the barricade. Besides, sometimes the barricade
becomes a compact wall,--a baffler, unless boat and boatmen can
circumvent it,--unless the nautical carriage can itself be carried about
the obstacle,--can be picked up, shouldered, and made off with.

A birch meets all these demands. It lies, light as a leaf, on
whirlpooling surfaces. A tip of the paddle can turn it into the eddy
beside the breaker. A check of the setting-pole can hold it steadfast on
the brink of wreck. Where there is water enough to varnish the pebbles,
there it will glide. A birch thirty feet long, big enough for a trio and
their traps, weighs only seventy-five pounds. When the rapid passes into
a cataract, when the wall of rock across the stream is impregnable in
front, it can be taken in the flank by an amphibious birch. The
navigator lifts his canoe out of water, and bonnets himself with it. He
wears it on head and shoulders, around the impassable spot. Below the
rough water, he gets into his elongated chapeau and floats away. Without
such vessel, agile, elastic, imponderable, and transmutable,
Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot would be no thoro'fares for human
beings. Musquash might dabble, chips might drift, logs might turn
somersets along their lonely currents; but never voyager, gentle or
bold, could speed through brilliant perils, gladdening the wilderness
with shout and song.

Maine's rivers must have birch canoes; Maine's woods, of course,
therefore, provide birches. The white-birch, paper-birch, canoe-birch,
grows large in moist spots near the stream where it is needed. Seen by
the flicker of a campfire at night, they surround the intrusive
traveller like ghosts of giant sentinels. Once, Indian tribes with names
that "nobody can speak and nobody can spell" roamed these forests. A
stouter second growth of humanity has ousted them, save a few seedy ones
who gad about the land, and centre at Oldtown, their village near
Bangor. These aborigines are the birch-builders. They detect by the
river-side the tree barked with material for canoes. They strip it, and
fashion an artistic vessel, which civilization cannot better. Launched
in the fairy lightness of this, and speeding over foamy waters between
forest-solitudes, one discovers, as if he were the first to know it, the
truest poetry of pioneer-life.

Such poetry Iglesias had sung to me, until my life seemed incomplete
while I did not know the sentiment by touch, description, even from the
most impassioned witness, addressed to the most imaginative hearer, is
feeble. We both wanted to be in a birch: Iglesias, because he knew the
fresh, inspiring vivacity of such a voyage; I, because I divined it. We
both needed to be somewhere near the heart of New England's wildest
wilderness. We needed to see Katahdin,--the distinctest mountain to be
found on this side of the continent. Katahdin was known to Iglesias. He
had scuffled up its eastern land-slides with a squad of lumbermen. He
had birched it down to Lake Chesuncook in by-gone summers, to see
Katahdin distant. Now, in a birch we would slide down the Penobscot,
along its line of lakes, camp at Katahdin, climb it, and speed down the
river to tide-water.

That was the great object of all our voyage with its educating
preludes,--Katahdin and a breathless dash down the Penobscot. And while
we flashed along the gleam of the river, Iglesias fancied he might see
the visible, and hear the musical, and be stirred by the beautiful.
These, truly, are not far from the daily life of any seer, listener, and
perceiver; but there, perhaps, up in the strong wilderness, we might be
recreated to a more sensitive vitality. The Antaean treatment is needful
for terrestrials, unless they would dwindle. The diviner the power in
any artist-soul, the more distinctly is he commanded to get near the
divine without him. Fancies pale, that are not fed on facts. It is very
easy for any man to be a plagiarist from himself, and present his own
reminiscences half disguised, instead of new discoveries. Now, up by
Katahdin, there were new discoveries to be made; and that mountain would
sternly eye us, to know whether Iglesias were a copyist, or I a Cockney.

Katahdin was always in its place up in the woods. The Penobscot was
always buzzing along toward the calm reaches, where it takes the shadow
of the mountain. All we needed was the birch.

The birch thrust itself under our noses as we drove into Greenville. It
was mounted upon a coach that preceded us, and wabbled oddly along, like
a vast hat upon a dwarf. We talked with its owner, as he dismounted it.
He proved our very man. He and his amphibious canoe had just made the
trip we proposed, with a flotilla. Certain Bostonians had essayed
it,--vague Northmen, preceding our Columbus voyage.

Enter now upon the scene a new and important character, Cancut the
canoe-man. Mr. Cancut, owner and steerer of a birch, who now became our
"guide, philosopher, and friend," is as American as a birch, as the
Penobscot, or as Katahdin's self. Cancut was a jolly fatling,--almost
too fat, if he will pardon me, for sitting in the stern of the
imponderable canoe. Cancut, though for this summer boatman or bircher,
had other strings to his bow. He was taking variety now, after
employment more monotonous. Last summer, his services had been in
request throughout inhabited Maine, to "peddle gravestones and collect
bills." The Gravestone-Peddler is an institution of New England. His
wares are wanted, or will be wanted, by every one. Without
discriminating the bereaved households, he presents himself at any door,
with attractive drawings of his wares, and seduces people into paying
the late tribute to their great-grandfather, or laying up a monument for
themselves against the inevitable day of demand. His customers select
from his samples a tasteful "set of stones"; and next summer he drives
up and unloads the marble, with the names well spelt, and the cherub's
head artistically chiselled by the best workmen of Boston. Cancut told
us, as an instance of judicious economy, how, when he called once upon a
recent widow to ask what he could do in his line for her deceased
husband's tomb, she chose from his patterns neat head- and foot-stones
for the dear defunct, and then bargained with him to throw in a small
pair for her boy Johnny,--a poor, sick crittur, that would be wanting
his monument long before next summer.

This lugubrious business had failed to infect Mr. Cancut with
corresponding deportment. Undertakers are always sombre in dreary
mockery of woe. Sextons are solemncholy, if not solemn. I fear Cancut
was too cheerful for his trade, and therefore had abandoned it.

Such was our guide, the captain, steersman, and ballaster of our vessel.
We struck our bargain with him at once, and at once proceeded to make
preparations. Chiefly we prepared by stripping ourselves bare of
everything except "must-haves." A birch, besides three men, will carry
only the simplest baggage of a trio. Passengers who are constantly to
make portages will not encumber themselves with what-nots. Man must have
clothes for day and night, and must have provisions to keep his clothes
properly filled out. These two articles we took in compact form,
regretting even the necessity of guarding against a ducking by a change
of clothes. Our provision, that unrefined pork and hard tack, presently
to be converted into artist and friend, was packed with a few delicacies
in a firkin,--a commodious case, as we found.

A little steamer plies upon the lake, doing lumber-jobs, and not
disdaining the traveller's dollars. Upon this, one August morning, we
embarked ourselves and our frail birch, for our voyage to the upper end
of Moosehead. Iglesias, in a red shirt, became a bit of color in the
scene. I, in a red shirt, repeated the flame. Cancut, outweighing us
both together, in a broader red shirt, outglared us both. When we three
met, and our scarlet reflections commingled, there was one spot in the
world gorgeous as a conclave of cardinals, as a squad of British
grenadiers, as a Vermont maple-wood in autumn.


A sense of the importance of rifle-practice is becoming very generally
prevalent. Rifle-clubs are organizing in our country-towns, and
target-practice by individuals is increasing to a degree which proves
incontestably the interest which is felt in the subject. The chief
obstacle to the immediate and extensive practical operation of this
interest lies in the difficulty of procuring serviceable guns, except at
such a cost as places them beyond the reach of the majority of those who
would be glad to make themselves familiar with their use. Except in
occasional instances, it is impossible to procure a trustworthy rifle
for a less price than forty or fifty dollars. We believe, however, that
the competition which has already become very active between rival
manufacturers will erelong effect a material reduction of price; and we
trust also that our legislators will perceive the necessity of adopting
a strict military organization of all the able-bodied men in the State,
and providing them with weapons, with whose use they should be
encouraged to make themselves familiar--apart from military drill and
instruction--by the institution of public shooting-matches for prizes.
The absolute necessity of stringent laws, in order to secure the
attainment of anything worthy the name of military education and
discipline, has been clearly proved by the experience of the drill-clubs
which sprang into existence in such numbers last year. To say, that, as
a general rule, the moral strength of the community is not sufficient to
enable a volunteer association to sustain for any great length of time
the severe and irksome details which are inseparable from the attainment
of thorough military discipline, is no more a reflection upon the class
to which the remark is applied than would be the equally true assertion
that their physical strength is not equal to the performance of the work
of an ordinary day-laborer. Under the pressure of necessity, both moral
and physical strength might be forced and kept up to the required
standard; but the mere conviction of expediency is not enough to secure
its development, unless enforced by such laws as will insure universal
and systematic action. A voluntary association for military instruction
may be commenced with a zeal which will carry its members for a time
through the daily routine of drilling; but it will not be long before
the ranks will begin to diminish, and the observance of discipline
become less strict; and if the officers attempt to enforce the laws by
which all have agreed to abide, those laws will speedily be rescinded by
the majority who find them galling, and the tie by which they are bound
together will prove a rope of sand.

With the return of the troops who are now acquiring military knowledge
in the best of all possible schools, we shall possess the necessary
material for executing whatever system may be decided upon as best for
the military education of the people; but meantime we may lay the
foundation for it, and take the most efficient means of securing
legislative action, by the immediate organization of rifle-clubs for
target-practice throughout the State. These clubs may be commenced very
informally by a simple agreement among those who are interested and are
provided, or will provide themselves, with weapons, to meet together at
stated intervals for target-practice, which should be conducted
according to the rules which have been found most effectual for securing
good marksmanship. The mere interest of competition will be sufficient
to insure private practice in the intervals; and if properly and
respectably conducted, the interest will increase till it becomes
general, and the target-ground will become a central object of

We earnestly invite the attention not only of all who are impressed with
the necessity of inculcating a thorough practical knowledge of the use
of weapons, as a measure of national interest, but of all who are
interested in the subject of physical, and we may add, moral education,
to the field which is here opened, and which, if not improved, as it may
be, for noble and useful ends, will certainly be perverted for low and
immoral purposes.

The interest which is beginning to be awakened in rifle-practice is the
germ of a great movement, which it is the duty of all who have the
national welfare at heart to use their influence in guiding and
directing, as may easily be done, so that only good may result from it.
Let it be countenanced and encouraged by the men, in every community,
whose words and example give tone to public opinion, and it will become,
as it ought, a means of health-giving and generous rivalry, while it
infuses a sense of national power, which we, of all people on earth,
ought to derive from the consciousness that it is based upon the
physical ability of the people to maintain their own rights. If,
however, it is frowned upon and sneered at, as unworthy the attention of
a morally and intellectually cultivated people, we shall draw upon
ourselves the curse of creating a sin,--of poisoning at its source a
fountain whose elements in themselves are not only innocent, but
abounding in the best ingredients for the development of manly physical
and intellectual character.

We trust, however, that such a caution is unnecessary. If there are any
among us who, after the past year's experience, can look with doubt or
coldness upon such a movement as we have indicated, we should hardly
care to waste words in arguing the point. That such a feeling should
have heretofore existed is not, perhaps, surprising. The possibility of
such an emergency as has come upon us has seemed so improbable, not to
say impossible, that it has appeared like a waste of time and labor to
prepare for it; and the result has been, that we had come to look upon
military education with much the same feeling as that with which we
regard the pugilistic art, as of questionable, if not decidedly
disreputable character, and such as a nation of our respectability could
by no possibility have occasion for.

From this dream of security we have been unexpectedly and very
disagreeably awakened, by finding ourselves engaged in a war whose
magnitude we were at first slow to appreciate; and it was not till we
found ourselves ominously threatened by a foreign power, while still
engaged in a fearful struggle at home, that we seemed to be fully
aroused to the necessity of being at all times prepared for defence.

Then there came over us a universal consciousness of undeveloped
strength,--the feeling of a powerful man, who knows nothing of "the
noble art of self-defence," at finding himself suddenly confronted by a
professional boxer, who demands, with an ominous squaring of the
shoulders, what he meant by treading on his toes,--to which he, poor
man, instead of replying that it was so obviously unintentional that no
gentleman would think of demanding an apology, is fain, in order to
escape the impending blow, to answer by assuring the bully in the most
soothing terms that no insult was intended, that he never will do so
again, and hopes that the occasion may serve as a precedent for Mr.
Bully himself to avoid the corns of his neighbors for the future.

It is comparatively but few years since the success of Colonel Colt in
the application of the repeating principle to fire-arms was regarded as
a feat in which every American felt a national pride. It was such a vast
improvement upon anything which had previously existed, and the
importance of it was so obvious, that it became as much a matter of
necessity to the whole civilized world as iron-clad steamers have become
since the demonstration of their power which was given by the
performances of the Merrimack and the Monitor. And, indeed, the best
evidence of the universal acknowledgment of this fact is afforded by the
innumerable imitations and attempts at improvement which have since made
their appearance at home and abroad.

We have used Colt's 51-inch rifle, and also his rifled carbine, very
freely, and tested them thoroughly for range, precision, penetration,
and capacity for continued service, and for our own use in hunting are
entirely satisfied with the performance of this rifle, and should be at
a loss to imagine any possible demand of a hunter's weapon which it
would fail to meet.

An able and interesting article on "Rifled Guns" in the "Atlantic
Monthly" for October, 1859, has the following passage: "No
breech-loading gun is so trustworthy in its execution as a
muzzle-loader; for, in spite of all precautions, the bullets will go out
irregularly. We have cut out too many balls of Sharpe's rifle from the
target, which had entered sidewise, not to be certain on this point; and
we know of no other breech-loader so little likely to err in this

We cannot speak of Sharpe's rifle from our own experience, but from one
of the best riflemen of our acquaintance we have heard the same
report,--that the cones will occasionally turn and strike sidewise. We
do not believe, however, that this fault is a necessary consequence of
the peculiar method of loading; but, whatever may be the cause, with
Colt's rifle the evil does not exist. For the past year we have
practised with it at ranges of from fifty to six hundred yards, and have
fired something like two thousand rounds; and only three balls have
struck the target sidewise, two of which were ricochets, and the third
struck a limb of a bush a few feet in front of the target. In no other
instance has the shot failed to cut a perfectly true round hole, and
these exceptions would of course be equally applicable to any gun. With
the latest pattern of Colt's rifle we have never known an instance of a
premature discharge of either of the chambers; though, from the repeated
inquiries which have been made, it is obvious that such is the general
apprehension. In reply to the common assertion, that much of the
explosive force must be lost by escape of gas between the chamber and
the barrel, we simply state the fact that we have repeatedly shot
through nine inches of solid white cedar timber at forty yards. Finally,
at two hundred yards, we find no difficulty in making an average of five
inches from the centre, in ten successive shots, of which eight inches
is the extreme variation. This is good enough for any ordinary purposes
of hunting or military service,--for anything, in short, but gambling or
fancy work; and for our own use, against either man or beast, we should
ask no better weapon. But we should be very far from advocating its
general adoption in military service; and, indeed, our own experience
with it has brought the conviction that the repeating principle in any
form is decidedly objectionable in guns for the use of ordinary troops
of the line. We do not extend the objection to pistols in their proper
place, but speak now solely of rifles in the hands of infantry.

In action, the time of each soldier must of necessity be divided between
the processes of loading and firing; and it is better that these should
come in regular alternate succession than that a series of rapid shots
should be succeeded by the longer interval required for inserting a
number of charges. It would be hard to assign definitely the most
important reasons for this conviction, which are based upon, elements
that prevail so generally in the moral and physical characters of men,
and which we have so often seen developed in the excitement of hunting
large game, that we can readily appreciate the motives which have made
sagacious military men very shy of trusting miscellaneous bodies of
soldiers with a weapon whose possible advantages are more than
counterbalanced by the probable mischief that must ensue from the want
of such instinctive power of manipulation as could result only from
constant and long-continued familiarity, and which even then might be
paralyzed in very many instances by nervous excitement.

We would not, however, be understood as condemning breech-loading guns
for military service. On the contrary, we are firm in the conviction
that they are destined to supersede entirely every species of
muzzle-loaders, which will thenceforward be regarded only as curious
evidences of the difficulty of making an advance of a single step,
which, when taken, seems so simple that it appears incredible that it
was not thought of before. The ingenuity of thousands of our most
skilful men is now turned in this direction, and stimulated by a demand
which will obviously insure a fortune to the successful competitor. The
advantages of a breech-loading gun consist in the greater rapidity with
which it can be loaded and fired, and the avoidance of the exposure
incident to the motions of drawing the ramrod and ramming the cartridge.
We are well aware that rapid firing is in itself an evil, and that a
common complaint with officers is that the men will not take time enough
in aiming to insure efficiency; but granting this, it by no means
follows that the evil will be increased by the ability to load rapidly.
Its remedy lies in thorough discipline and practical knowledge of the
use of the gun; and the soldier will be more likely to take time for
aiming, if he knows he can be ready to repeat his shot almost instantly.

The contingencies of actual service demand the use of different kinds of
guns to suit the different circumstances which may arise. In rifle-pits,
against batteries, or for picking off artillerymen through the
embrasures of a fort, the telescope-rifle has established its reputation
beyond all question during the war in which we are now engaged. In
repeated instances the enemy's batteries have been effectually kept
silent by the aid of this weapon, till counter-works could be
established, which could by no possibility have been constructed but for
such assistance. During the siege of Yorktown, especially, the fact is
historical that the Confederates acquired such a dread of these weapons
that they forced their negroes to the work of serving the guns, which
they did not dare attempt themselves, and our men were reluctantly
compelled, in self-defence, to pick off the poor fellows who were
unwillingly opposed to them. In more than one instance after an
engagement, members of the "Andrew Sharp-shooters" have indicated
precisely the spot where their victims would be found, and the exact
position of the bullet-holes which had caused their death; for with the
telescope-rifle the question is not, whether an enemy shall be hit, but
what particular feature of his face, or which button of his coat shall
be the target. That this is no exaggeration may be easily proved by the
indisputable evidence of hundreds of targets, every shot in which may be
covered by the palm of the hand, though fired from a distance at which
no unassisted eye could possibly discern the object aimed at.

But the telescope-rifle is utterly useless, except for special service.
The great body of infantry comprised in an army must be provided with
guns whose general appearance and character admit of no essential
variation from the standard which experience has proved to be the best
for the wants of the service.

We have given our objections to the whole class of repeating guns in
what we have said of Colt's rifles; and we proceed to note the defects
of other breech-loading guns, some of which would constitute no ground
of objection to the sportsman, but are inadmissible in the soldier's
gun. It is, of course, essential that any breech-loading gun which is
offered for introduction in the army should be at least equal in range,
penetration, and precision, to the best muzzle-loader now in use. It
must be so simple in its construction and mode of operation that its
manipulation may readily become an instinctive action, requiring no
exercise of thought or judgment to guard against errors which might
effect a derangement,--for a large portion of any miscellaneous body of
men would be found incapable of exercising such judgment in the
excitement of action. The limbs and joints comprised in the arrangement
for introducing the charge at the breech must not only be so simple as
to avoid the danger of making mistakes in their use, but of such
strength as will bear the rough usage incident to field-service. They
must, of course, make a perfectly tight joint, and there must be no
possibility of their becoming clogged by fouling, so as to affect the
facility with which they are worked. And finally, it is vitally
important that no special ammunition be required, a failure in the
supply of which may render the weapon useless.

As this last objection would rule out the whole class of guns requiring
metallic cartridges, and as there are undeniable advantages connected
with their use, we deem it necessary to give our reasons for this
decision somewhat at length. The cartridges are made of copper and
filled with powder, and the ball being inserted in the end, they are
compressed about its base so as to render them perfectly water-tight.
The fulminating powder, being in the base of the cartridge, is exploded
by the blow of the hammer, which falls directly upon it. The advantages
are, that there is no escape of gas, and no liability of injury from
water; and experience has abundantly proved the excellence of the system
in the essential qualities of precision and force. The most obvious
objection to them is the one above alluded to. The cartridges must, of
necessity, be made by special machinery, and can be supplied only from
the manufactory. To this it is replied, that the same objection may be
urged against the use of percussion-caps. We grant it; and if it were
possible to dispense with them, it would be an obvious gain. But because
we must have caps, in spite of their disadvantages, it does not follow
that we should increase unnecessarily the equipments against which the
same objection exists in a much greater degree, owing to the more
intricate process of manufacture and the very much greater difficulty of
transportation. The additional weight for the soldier to carry, also, is
no trifle, and will not be overlooked by those who appreciate the
importance of every ounce that is saved. But apart from minor
objections, a fatal one lies in the fact that every cartridge-box filled
with this ammunition may be considered as a shell liable to explode by
concussion and spread destruction around it. The powder and fulminating
composition being always in contact in every cartridge, it is obvious
that a chance shot may explode the whole boxful; and we have proved by
experiment that this is not an imaginary danger.

Since the appearance of our previous article on "The Use of the Rifle,"
our attention has been called to several new inventions for
breech-loading, some of them exceedingly ingenious and curious, but only
one of which has at once commended itself as being so obviously and
distinctly an improvement as to induce a further test of its powers, and
has proved on trial so entirely efficient, and free from the faults
which seemed to be inseparable from the system, as to lead to the
belief, which we confidently express, that its general adoption as a
military weapon must be a necessary consequence of its becoming known.

As a full description and report of the trial of this gun has been
officially prepared by a commission appointed for the purpose, and will
probably be published, we shall only say of it here that its performance
is equal in all respects to that of the best muzzle-loader, and, while
possessing all the advantages, it is entirely free from any of the
objections which pertain in one form or another to every breech-loading
gun we have heretofore had an opportunity to inspect. In appearance it
is so nearly like the ordinary soldier's musket that the difference can
be perceived only on examination; and, indeed, it may be used as a
muzzle-loader either with a cartridge or with loose powder and ball. It
is so simple in its mode of operation that there is less danger of error
than with a muzzle-loader; yet the anatomical construction of the limbs
and joints secures a degree of strength equal to that of a solid mass of
iron. The force of the explosion causes so perfect a closing of the
joint as to prevent any possible escape of gas, yet the breech may be
removed by as simple a process as that of cocking the gun; and we have
in the course of experiment fired the gun three hundred times, and have
since seen it fired five hundred times, without once wiping or cleaning,
and the working of the joints was as easy and the shooting as good at
the last as at first.

It is a singular fact in the history of arms, that the successive
improvements in their construction have occurred at long intervals, and
have made but slow progress towards general adoption even when their
advantages were apparent. It was more than a century after muskets were
first used in war before they were introduced in the English army to the
exclusion of bows and arrows; more than fifty years passed after the
invention of flint-locks before they were substituted for match-locks;
and many years elapsed after the invention of the percussion-lock before
it came into general use.

It is probable that the introduction of breech-loading guns will be
proportionally slow. A distinguished English military writer says: "With
respect to the choice between muzzle-loaders and breech-loaders, I am
quite satisfied that the latter will eventually carry the day. The best
principles of construction may not yet have been discovered; but I have
no more doubt of their advantage over the muzzle-loaders than I have of
the superiority of the percussion--over flint-lock guns."

We coincide entirely in this opinion, and we have a very strong feeling
of confidence that the gun we have alluded to is destined to achieve the
consummation here predicted.

For clubs which propose to combine a military drill with
target-practice, it is of course essential that the guns should be of
uniform pattern. But in our country-towns, until some definite system of
military organization is established by law, it is not likely that
volunteer associations will be formed for anything more than the object
of perfecting themselves in marksmanship. Great numbers of able-bodied
men may be found in every community, who will be very ready to join
associations to meet at stated intervals for simple target-practice, but
who could not afford the time which would necessarily be required for
the attainment of anything like efficient discipline as soldiers. For
such associations it is not only unimportant that the arms should be of
uniform pattern, but a diversity is even desirable, as affording the
means of testing their comparative merits, and thus giving the members
the opportunity of learning from actual observation the governing
principles of the science of projectiles.

It is essential, however, to the attainment of any proper degree of
skill in the use of the rifle that it should be acquired systematically.
Experience has proved to the instructors at the Hythe School, that, "the
less practice the pupil has previously had with the rifle, the better
shot he is likely in a limited period to become; for, in shooting, bad
habits of any kind are difficult to eradicate, and such is the Hythe
system that it does not admit of being grafted upon any other. Those who
have been zealously engaged in maturing it have left nothing to chance;
they have ascertained by innumerable trials the best way in which every
minute portion of the task to be executed should be performed, and no
deviation, however slight, should be attempted from the directions laid
down. By rigid adherence to them, far more than average proficiency in
shooting is attainable without the expenditure of a single
ball-cartridge. Paradoxical as this may seem, it is nevertheless
strictly true. It is only, however, to be accomplished by a course of
aiming and position drill."[2]

We have seen too many instances of poor shooting by men who passed for
good riflemen, owing to ignorance of principles whose observance would
alone enable them to adapt their practice to varying circumstances, to
have any doubt of the important truth contained in the above extract;
and we would urge its careful consideration and a compliance with its
suggestions upon every association of riflemen.

With all the instruction which can be got from books and teachers,
however, it is only by constant practice that one can attain the degree
of skill which inspires entire confidence in his capacity to develop the
best powers of the rifle. It seems a very simple thing to bring the line
of sight upon the target, and to pull the trigger at the right moment;
but, in reality, it is what no man can do without continued practice,
and he who has attained the power will confirm the assertion that the
art of doing it is indescribable, and must be acquired by every man for

For the sake of first becoming familiar with the powers of the weapon,
we advise beginners to practise for a time with a rest. This should be a
bag of sand, or some equally inelastic substance, on which the gun can
repose firmly and steadily; and a little practice with such aid will
enable the shooter to realize the relation of the line of sight to the
trajectory under varying circumstances of wind and light, and thus to
proceed knowingly in his subsequent training. But we are unwilling to
give this advice without accompanying it with the caution not to
continue the practice till it becomes habitual. It is very difficult for
one who is accustomed to use a rest to feel the confidence which is
essential to success, when shooting from the shoulder; and no one is
deserving the name of a rifleman who requires such aid.

It is difficult for an inexperienced person to conceive of the effect of
even a light wind upon so small an object as a rifle-ball, when shot
from the gun. The difficulty arises from the impossibility of taking in
the idea of such rapid flight, or of the resistance produced by it, by
comparison with anything within the limits of our experience. We may
attain a conception of it, however, by trying to move a stick through
the water. Moving it slowly, the resistance is imperceptible; but as we
increase the velocity, we find the difficulty to increase very rapidly,
and if we try to strike a quick blow through the water, we find the
resistance so enormous that the effort is almost paralyzed.
Mathematically, the resistance increases in the ratio of the square of
the velocity; and although the air is of course more easily displaced
than water, the same rule applies to it, and the flight of a ball is so
inconceivably rapid that the resistance becomes enormous. The average
initial velocity of a cannon- or rifle-ball is sixteen hundred feet in a
second, and a twelve-pound round shot, moving at this rate, encounters
an atmospheric resistance of nearly two hundred pounds, or more than
sixteen times its own weight. Perhaps a clearer idea may be attained by
the statement of the fact, that, were it possible to remove this
resistance, or, in other words, to fire a ball in a vacuum, it would fly
ten miles in a second,--the same time it now requires to move sixteen
hundred feet. Bearing in mind this enormous resistance, it will be more
readily apparent that even a slight motion of the element through which
the ball is struggling must influence its course. For this reason it is
that the best time to shoot, as a general rule, is in the morning or
evening, when the air is most apt to be perfectly calm. It will often be
found, after making very satisfactory shots at sunrise, that by ten
o'clock, even on what would be called a calm day, it is impossible to
attain to anything like the accuracy with which the day's work was
begun; and, owing to the irregular motion of the air, the difficulty
cannot be overcome, except to a limited degree, by making allowance for

It is well, however, to practise in all possible conditions of weather,
and not to be discouraged at finding unaccountable variations at
different times in the flight of balls. A few weeks' experience will at
least enable the learner to judge of the veracity of a class of stories
one often hears, of the feats of backwoodsmen. It is not long since we
were gravely assured by a quondam travelling acquaintance, who no doubt
believed it himself, that there were plenty of men in the South who
could shave off either ear of a squirrel with a rifle-ball at one
hundred yards, without doing him further injury. A short experience of
target-shooting will suffice to demonstrate the absurdity of all the
wonderful stories of this class which are told and often insisted on
with all the bigotry of ignorance. A somewhat extended acquaintance with
backwoodsmen has served only to convince us, that, while a practical
familiarity with the rifle is more general with them than with us, a
scientific knowledge of its principles is rare; and the best
target-shooting we have ever seen was in New England.

[Footnote 2: _Hand-Book for Hythe._ By Lieut. Hans Busk.]


Last summer, when athwart the sky
  Shone the immeasurable days,
We wandered slowly, you and I,
  Adown these leafy forest-ways,

With laugh and song and sportive speech,
  And mirthful tales of earlier years,
Though deep within the soul of each
  Lay thoughts too sorrowful for tears,

Because--I marked it many a time--
  Your feet grew slower day by day,
And where I did not fear to climb
  You paused to find an easier way.

And all the while a boding fear
  Pressed hard and heavy on my heart;
Yet still with words of hope and cheer
  I bade the gathering grief depart,

Saying,--"When next these purple bells
  And these red columbines return,--
When woods are full of piny smells,
  And this faint fragrance of the fern,--

"When the wild white-weed's bright surprise
  Looks up from all the strawberried plain,
Like thousands of astonished eyes,--
  Dear child, you will be well again!"

Again the marvellous days are here;
  Warm on my cheek the sunshine burns,
And fledged birds chirp, and far and near
  Floats the strange sweetness of the ferns.

But down these ways I walk alone,
  Tearless, companionless, and dumb,--
Or rest upon this way-side stone,
  To wait for one who does not come.

Yet all is even as I foretold:
  The summer shines on wave and wild,
The fern is fragrant as of old,
  And you are well again, dear child!



Katie (the doctor's name for her) said consolingly, as we went

"I am going to sleep in Miss Lettie's little dressing-room; the door is
close beside her bed. If you want me, you can speak,--I shall be sure to
hear"; and she lighted my footsteps to the door.

I went in hastily, for Katie was gone. The statuesque lady became
informed with life; she started violently, and said,--

"Who is it?"

"I beg pardon for the noise," I said; "how are you?"

"Thank you, a pain up here, Kate"; and she put her hand, so long giving
support to her chin, upon the top of her head.

"It isn't Kate"; and I came into full view.

She looked up at me.

"Why, you are--yes, I know--Miss Percival," she said.

"I am."

"Have you been here long?"

"Only since yesterday."

Why did she seem relieved at my reply?

"Do they think me ill enough to have a stranger come to me?"

"Almost as polite as the grum brother," I thought; but I said, "You
mustn't let me be a stranger to you. I came,--I wasn't sent for."

She made an effort to rise from her seat, but, unable, turned her eyes
toward the windows.

"What is it?" I asked.

"I thought I'd like to know what the weather looks like."

"Then let me lift the curtains"; and I drew aside the folds, but there
was nothing to be seen. The moon was not yet up; and even had it been,
there was slight chance for seeing it, as the sun had stayed behind
clouds all the day.

"Put them down, please; there's no light out there."

"The doctor left some medicine for you; will you take it?"

"No, I thank you. I hate medicines."

"So do I."

"Then pray tell me what you wish me to take it for."

"You mistake; it was the doctor's order, not mine."

"The very idea of asking that image of calm decision there to do
anything!--but then I must, I am nurse"; so I ventured, "Had you not
better go to bed?"

"After a little. Would you bathe my head? this pain distresses me, and I
don't want to dream, I'd rather stay awake."

As I stood beside her, gently applying the cooling remedy, trying to
stroke away the pain, she asked,--

"Did they tell you that my mother is dead?"


"She was my mother. Oh, why didn't I tell her? Why? why?" and great
spasms of torturesome pain drew her beautiful face. I didn't tell you
how beautiful she is. Well, it doesn't matter; you couldn't understand,
if I should try.

She turned suddenly, caught my dress in her hands, and asked,--

"Have you a mother, Miss Percival?" and before I could answer my sad
"No," she said, "Forgive me. I forgot for one moment"

My mother had been twenty years dead. What did she know about it? I,
three years old when she died, but just remembered her.

Katie came in, bringing "thoughts of me" condensed into aromatic
draughts of coffee, which she put upon the hearth, "to keep warm," she

I asked her to bring some "sweet" to mix the powder in.

"I hate disguises," said Miss Axtell; "I'd rather have true bitters than
cover them just a little with sugars. Give it me, if I must take it."

"But you can't,--not _this_ powder."

"A glass of water, Kate, please"; and she actually took the bitter dose
of Dover in all its undisguised severity.

"There! isn't that a thousand times better than covering it all up in a
sweetness that one knows isn't true?"

She looked a little as if expecting an answer. I would have preferred
not saying my thought, and was waiting, when she asked,--

"Don't you think on the subject?"

"Yes; I think that I like the bitter better when it is concealed."

"You wouldn't, if you knew, if you had tried it, child."

"Oh, I have taken a Dover's-powder often, and I always bury it in

She looked a little startled, odd look at me.

"Do you think I'm talking about that simple powder that I've been

"Weren't you?"

"Come here, innocent little thing!" she said, and motioned me to a
footstool at her feet.

Her adjectives were both very unsuitable, when applied to me; but I was
nurse, and must yield to the whim of my patient.

"Kate, look after Mr. Axtell."

Poor Kate went out, more from the habit of obedience than apparently to
obey any such behest; but she went, nevertheless.

"I know who you are; I knew your mother," she said. "Never attempt to
cover up bitterness; it has its use in the world."

"Will you go to bed now? It's very late," I ventured.

She went on as though I had not spoken at all,--

"There's somebody dead down-stairs, there,--now,--this minute;--but
dead,--dead,--gone beyond my reach.--Child! child! do you know, do you
feel what I mean?"

"How can I? I haven't seen her; I never saw her."

"She's dead,--she's dead,--and I meant to--oh! I meant to do it before
she died. Why didn't something tell me? Things do come and speak to me
sometimes,--why not last night?"

I got anxious. Was this what the doctor meant by incoherent talking?
Away up the village-street I heard the bell striking for midnight.

"It is time you were asleep; please try and sleep."

My words did not stay her; she went on,--

"If it only had,--then,--at the last,--she might have
forgiven;--yes,--think, it might have been,--and it _is_ not,--no, it
_is not_!--and she lies dead, down-stairs, in the very room!--But are
you sure? Perhaps she isn't dead. Such things have been."

Oh! what should I do? I thought of Katie. "The next door," she said;
there were but two in the room; it must be this one, then. I opened it.
"No, this is a closet,--dresses are hanging there," I thought; "but
there is a door leading out from it." I looked back to the chair, where
Miss Axtell still sat; she was talking to herself, as if I had not left
the room. I could not venture to open this unknown door without a light
to flow into its darkness. I went back into the room and took up a lamp.

"What are you doing?" Miss Axtell stopped to ask; then, forgetting me,
she resumed her self-questioning.

I lighted the lamp and went into the closet. I said that there were
dresses hanging there. Among them my eyes singled out one; it was not
bright,--no, it was a grave, brown, plaid dress. I tried to call Kate.
My voice would not obey me. My tongue was still. I grasped the knob and
turned it; the door opened. Poor Katie! she was asleep. She started up,
bringing the larger half of a dream with her, I'm sure. "It's not so
dreadful. You have me left, father," she said, with her young face rosy,
and very sleepy. I went close to her, put my hand upon the cover, and

"You must call Mr. Axtell, Katie."

"For what? Is Miss Axtell worse?"

"I think so; she will not lie down."

"Do you think I might try to coax her?"--and Katie rubbed her heavy
eyelids, open too soon.

"If you think you can."

Miss Axtell had ceased to talk; she had fallen back into the old
absorbed state. Katie kneeled down beside her chair, and spoke.

"Miss Lettie!" she said.

Miss Lettie did not answer. Katie put out one finger only. I saw it
shake a bit, as she laid it upon Miss Lettie's hand. As when the doctor
touched her forehead, she came back to her proper self, and said,--

"What is it, Kate? Isn't it time you were asleep?"

"Don't you know that my mother is dead?" said poor motherless Katie.

"And so is mine," said Miss Axtell.

"And mine," added I.

"And is it for that that you don't sleep, Kate?"

"No, Ma'am; but it is because you won't try to sleep; and you told us
all, when my mother died, that"--and Katie stopped there.

"Why don't you go on?" I asked, in a low voice.

"I can't,--I don't remember the words; but you said, Miss Lettie, that
too much sorrow was wicked."

"And so it is; and mine is, if it keeps you awake. I will lie down."

The little maid so kindly, gently arranged the pillows, and made the
lady comfortable, that there was little left for me to do.

When she went back to bury the dream that I so suddenly drew out of the
balmy land, I had only to shade the light, stir the fire a little, and
then wait. From afar up the street came the stroke of one. Miss Axtell's
face was turned away from me. I could only fancy that her eyes were
closed. Once she put an arm over the pillow. I touched it. It burned
with fever-heat. Then all was still. I sat upon a lounge,
comfort-giving, related to the chair in style of covering. I fancied,
after a long quiet, that my patient was asleep. I kept myself awake by
examining this room that I was in. It was, like most of the other rooms,
a hexagon, with two windows looking eastward. An air of homeness was
over, and in, its every appointment. It seemed a room to sing in; _were_
songs ever heard there? I laid my head upon my hand, and listened to one
that Fancy tried to sing,--I, who never sing, in whose soul music rolls
and swells in great ocean-waves, that never in this world will break
against the shore of sound; and so I builded one, very wild and porous
and wavering, a style of iceberg shore, far out in the limitless,
waters, and listened to the echoes that came,--and, listening, must have
fallen into sleep.

I awoke with a chill feeling, as if the fire had gone down. A draught
seemed blowing upon me. I got up with a full sense of my position as
keeper of that fire, and went to it. The door into the hall was open. I
glanced at the bed; Miss Axtell was not there. The hall was dark. I
caught up the lamp and hurried out. I leaned over the balustrade and
looked down the stairway. Slowly going down I saw Miss Axtell. Was she a
somnambulist? Perhaps so. I must be cautious. I hastened after her,
moving as noiselessly as she. I took the precaution to leave the lamp in
the upper hall. She was leaning against the wall-side of the staircase.
Just as she reached the lower step, I put my arm around her. There was
no need; she was fully awake.

"Will you go back to sleep?" she asked of me, before I could find time
to make the same request of her.

"No,--I came here for you. Where are you going?"

"In there"; and she pointed to the room where I had seen the doctor and
Katie go,--where she who was dead lay.

"Oh, come back! please do! that is no place for you"; and I endeavored
to turn her steps.

"It is well that you say it. She's in there; perhaps she isn't dead.
Such things have been. It was sudden, you know. Let me go."

I held her with all the strength I had.

"Leave me to myself. I'm going to tell her,--to tell her _now_. She'll
hear me better than to-morrow; they'll have a fathom of earth over her
heart then: that will be deeper than all that love of Abraham which
covered up her heart from me."

What could I do? Despite my holding arms, she was gaining toward that
fatal door, and the light was very dim. I called Katie three times, Miss
Axtell still getting near to that I dreaded.

I heard a door open. I looked back, and saw Mr. Axtell coming from the
library. He came quickly along the hall, arrested his sister's progress,
and said gently, as twice he had spoken before,--

"Lettie, where are you going?"

"In there, Abraham."

"No, Lettie, you are sick; you must go back up-stairs."

"I will, when I have told her what I wish."



What could Mr. Axtell have meant? He asked me to bring down the lamp; he
took it in his own hand, and, supporting his sister, moved on. Was he
going to take her in there. He did. I fled back to the library;
trembling in affright, I sank into the first chair, and, covering my
face with my hands, thought,--

"What terrible people these are! Why did I come here, where I was not

"Poor child!"

I started up at the words. Mr. Axtell left the door open.

"You think it strange that I let my sister follow out such a sick fancy,
I suppose."

"I think it is dreadful,--terrible."

"Oh, no, it is not. Why do you think so?"

"Talking to dead people!"


"They don't hear you."

"Perhaps not."

"You _know_ they _can't_."

"No, I do not."

"Then go and learn it. Will you go and listen in there?"

"I will not."


"Lettie wished to be alone."

"You're very strange people."

"We are."

He got up quickly, confusedly, crossed the room, and turned a picture
that was upon the sofa. I had not noticed it before. I glanced up at the
wall. The face was gone. The picture that be turned must have been that.
He came back and stood before me.

"Were you frightened when Lettie came down?" he asked.

"Yes; how could I help it?"

"Why didn't you turn the lock?"

"I was asleep when she went out."

"What awakened you?"

"The cold air from the hall."

"A careful nurse, you are!"

"I am not careful."


He teased me, this man. I hate to be teased. And all this time, whilst
he stood questioning me, Miss Axtell was in that lone, silent room,
confessing to the dead. It was worse than the tower-confessional; and
besides, what had she done that was so bad? Nothing, I felt convinced.
Why would she do such a thing?

I think I must have spoken the last thought; for Mr. Axtell answered it
in his next words.

"Lettie is only working out a necessity of her own spirit. She is not
harming any living soul. I cannot see why you should look so white and
terrified about it. Have you tasted the coffee?"

I had not thought of it: I told him so.

"Did you give my sister what the doctor left for her?"

Honestly, I had forgotten that the powders were to be given every
half-hour, and I had offered only one.

"I don't think you have chosen your vocation wisely," he said, when I
had told him of my forgetfulness.

"It seems not."

He went out. Very gently he entered the place of the soulless one. I
heard a low, murmurous sound, with a deal of contentment in it. After a
few moments they came out. He asked me again to carry the lamp. I went
up before them. I couldn't go after; I was afraid of words, or I knew
not what, coming from that room.

Mr. Axtell gave the second powder, evidently afraid to trust me. Miss
Lettie seemed quite tranquil,--a change had come over her. Her brother
poured a cup of coffee and _told_ me to drink it. What right had he to
tell me to do anything? What right had I to notice it amid the scenes of
this night? but I did, and the coffee remained untasted.

"I cannot trust you alone," he said; and leaving me sitting there in
Miss Lettie's chair before the fire, he lay down upon the lounge and
went to sleep.

The half-hour went by; this time I would remember my duty. Miss Axtell
was awake still, but very quiet. Her face was scorched with fever, when
I gave her the third powder. I began to feel excessively sleepy; but to
fail the second time,--it would never answer. The coffee was the
alternative; I drank of it.

Again Miss Axtell asked that I would bathe her head. That, with the
half-hour powders, which quite forgot their sleep-bestowing
characteristic, was the only change until the day began to dawn.

Katie crept in with it, all in the little shivers March mornings bring.

She didn't see Mr. Axtell. She asked,--

"How has Miss Lettie been?"

"I haven't been asleep, I believe," answered Miss Axtell.

She called Katie to her, and gave some house-orders, in which I thought
I heard an allusion to breakfast, in connection with my name. I knew
nothing about the arrangements of this house, but ventured to follow
Katie out, and ask if there was any one to take my place, should I go
home. Finding that my longer stay was unneedful, I went. How lovely the
earth seemed on that morning, not long ago, and yet so long! Why could
not people live with quiet thoughts, and peaceful quietness of life, in
this little country-village, where there seemed nothing to wake up

       *       *       *       *       *

Sophie stood beside me, with a tempting little cup in her hand; upon the
table lay a breakfast,--for somebody destined, I was sure.

"I thought I'd waken you, so that you might not lose your night's
sleep," she said.

"Thank you. What time is it?"

"Look at what the sun says."

She put up the shade, and the sun came in from the west.

"So long? Have I slept?"

"So long, my dear"; and Sophie gave me a kiss.

Sophie was not demonstrative. I answered it with--

"What queer people you sent me to stay with!"

"You make a mistake, Anna; think a moment; you're dreaming; I did not
send you there at all."

"Well, what queer people I went to stay with!"

"How was Miss Axtell, when you came away?"

"Really, I don't know; better, I should think. But, Sophie, pray tell me
how it is that I should never have heard of them before."

"Partly because they have been away during the three years that you have
been in the habit of visiting us,--and partly because Mr. Axtell, and
his sister, too, I think, have a very decided way of avoiding us. What
induces Mr. Axtell to perform the office of sexton is more than any one
in the congregation can divine."

"I intend to find out, Sophie."


"In some way,--how, I cannot tell."

"In the interim, take some breakfast, or you'll lose your curiosity in

Aaron sent for Sophie just here, and, as usual, I was deserted for him.

I began to scheme a little. "If Miss Axtell had only been the sexton, I
could have found a thread; there must be one. Where shall I look for

"How did you manage with our surly Abraham last night? would he let you
stay?" asked Aaron, when I joined the family of two.

"He was not very surly; I managed him considerably better than I did his
beautiful sister," I said.

He proceeded to question me of the night-events. I told only of the
visit to the dead, leaving out the conversations preceding the event.

"An unwarrantable proceeding of Abraham's," said Aaron.

"And that room, so cold, as they always keep such rooms. I expect to
hear that Miss Axtell is much worse to-day," was Sophie's comment, when
I had told all that I thought it right to tell.

Aaron went away early in the afternoon, to visit some parishioners who
lived among the highlands, where the snows of winter had made it
difficult to go.

Sophie said, she would read to me. My piece of "knitting-work" was still
unfinished, and I, sitting near a window looking churchward, knitted,
whilst Sophie pushed back from her low, cool brow those bands of softly
purplish hair, and read to me something that strangely soothed my
militant spirit, lifted me out of my present self, carried me whither
breezes of charity stirred the foliage of the world, and opened sweet
flower-blooms on dark, unpromising trees. I had been wafted up to a
height where I thought I should forever keep in memory the view I saw,
and feel charity toward all erring mortals as long as life endured, when
a noise came to my ears. I knew it instantly, before I could catch my
dropping stitch and look out. It was the first stroke on hard Mother
Earth, the first knocking sound, that said, "We've come to ask one more
grave of you."

Sophie did not seem to have heard: she went on with her reading. I
looked out. Two men were in the church-yard: one held a measuring-line
in his hand, the other a spade. The one with the spade went on to mark
the hard winter-beaten turf,--the knotted grass he cut through. I saw
him describe the outline of a grave,--the other standing there, silently
looking on. When the grave was marked, the one wielding the spade looked
up at the silent looker-on, who bowed his head, as if to say, "It is
right." Then he began to strike deeper, to hit the stones under the sod.

"What is it?" asked Sophie, looking up, for now she heard.

"I think it's Mrs. Axtell's grave that is to be made," I said.

Sophie came to the window.

"It's a wonder he don't make it himself."

"Who make it?"

"Why, Abraham Axtell. Look now,--see him look at it. It would be very
like him. He's fond of such doleful things. He has a way of haunting the
Church-yard. Aaron sees him there sometimes on moonlight nights."

Even while she spoke, Mr. Axtell did take the spade from the man; and
striking down deeper, stronger than he, he rolled out stones, and the
yellow, hard earth, crusty with the frost not yet out of it.

"There! I thought he would. Just watch now, and see of how much use that
man is; he might as well be away," exclaimed Sophie.

We two watched the other two in yonder church-yard, until the pile of
earth grew so high that it half-concealed them. Two or three times the
man seemed to offer to take the spade from Mr. Axtell, but he kept it
and worked away. At last the excavation grew so deep that one must needs
go down into it to make it deeper. Would Mr. Axtell go? We watched to
see. Sophie said "Yes" to the question; I thought "No." There grew a
pause. Mr. Axtell stopped in his work, looked at the man, and must have
spoken; for he picked up his coat and walked away.

"I wonder what is coming now," said Sophie.

"Nothing," answered I; "for Mr. Axtell evidently is going."

"Time enough to finish to-morrow," she said.--"Where are you going,

"To ask after his sister," I answered, and hastened out, for I had seen
Mr. Axtell pick up the spade as if to go.

But he did not go; he stood leaning upon the spade, looking into the
open grave, forgetful of everything above the earth. I thought to
approach him unheard and unseen; but it was willed otherwise, for I
stepped upon some of the crispy earth thrown out, and set the stones to
rattling in a very rude sort of way. He turned quickly upon me.

"You have chosen a very sad place to meditate over," I said.

"Does it trouble you, if I have?" he asked, not changing his position.

"No, not in the least, Sir. I came to ask after Miss Axtell."

"Lettie is much worse, very ill indeed, to-day."

"I am very sorry to hear it. I ought not to have thought myself wise
enough to take care of her last night."

"Yes, you ought; you pleased her; she has asked for you several times
to-day,--only she calls you another name. I wish you wouldn't mind it,
or seem to notice it either."

"What is the name?"

"Never mind it now; perhaps you will not see her until she is sane, and
then she will give you only your own."

"I wish you would tell me."

The spade upon which Mr. Axtell leaned seemed suddenly to have failed to
do its duty, for it slid along the distance to the very edge of the
grave. Mr. Axtell regained his position and his strength, that had
failed only for the moment.

"No, you do not wish it," he said.

What had become of all my sweet charity-blossoms, that unfolded such a
little time ago, when Sophie was reading to me? Surely the time of
withering had not come so soon? An untimely frost must have withered
them all, for I answered,--

"You are dogmatical."

"No, I am not. I only see farther on than you."

"A pleasant way to say, 'You're blind.'"

"And if it is true?"

"To say it to one's self, I suppose, is the better way; for others
certainly will of you."

"A sensible conclusion. Who taught you it?"

"You, perhaps."

"Did I? Then my life has been of some little use."

"I saw you very usefully employed not long ago."

"Doing that?" and he pointed to the open place.

"Yes, the strangest occupation I ever saw a man engaged in."

"The man did it awkwardly."

"And you?"

"Better, as you can see."

"I'm no judge."

"Yes, you are."

I saw Aaron coming, driving slowly on. I knew that I must go in.

"Shall I come and stay with Miss Axtell to-night?" I asked.

"You do not look able."

"I am. I've not been long awake. I am quite restored."

He looked up at me. It was the very first time that I had seen him do

"Do you wish to come?" he asked.

What a question! I couldn't answer. I thought of my tower-secret, which
I felt convinced was wrapped up in that large, sombre mansion, where his
dead mother (whom I had never seen) lay, and his beautiful sister was. I
had not answered him. He spoke again,--

"As if it could please you to come where death and suffering are! I will
find some one; if not, I can stay up."

"I will come, if you can trust me, after last night's errors."

"You look like one to be trusted."

"I am glad you think so. Are my services accepted?"

"Gratefully, if you'll promise one thing."

"Ask it."

"Sleep until I send for you."

"I can't promise."

"You'll try?"

"Perhaps"; and I went back to the parsonage.

Sophie had deserted the reading and the window to do something that she
imagined would please Aaron when he came home. It was nearly evening.
The sun was gone. I resumed my seat and work.

"You look gloomy, Anna,--what is it?" asked Aaron's evergreen voice, as
Aaron's self came into the room, somewhat the worse for mud and mountain
wear. "Was last night's watching too much for you?"

"Oh, no; I'm going again to-night."

"Going where?" Sophie was the questioner.

"To stay with Miss Axtell."

"I wouldn't, Anna; one night has made you pale," she said.

"You're a frightened little thing," I said. "You've Aaron's headachy
eyes of yesterday."

"Have you promised to go?" Aaron asked.

"I have. Mr. Axtell is to send for me in time."

No more was said on the subject. Aaron had learned many things in his
visit to the people's homes. I fancy that he gathered much material for
Sunday-sermons that afternoon. I could not help wishing that he knew all
of last night's teaching to me. An idle wish; how could he? What is
knowledge to one is but dry dust to another soul. The soils of the human
heart are as various as those of our planet, and therein as many and as
strange plants are grown. Why had I always thought mine to be adapted to
the aloe?

The evening was dull. I asked Aaron to lend me a sermon. He inquired,--

"What for?"

"To go to sleep over," I said.

"And are they so soporific?" he laughingly asked.

"It's a great while since I've read one. What have you been doing lately
in your profession? anything remarkable?"

He brought me one. It aroused me. The evening passed on. I finished the
sermon. Bedtime came in the parsonage, and no messenger from Mr. Axtell
for me.

Aaron offered to go. I said, "No, they were such strange people, I would
rather not." Chloe came in from the kitchen to say that "Kate, Miss
Axtell's girl, had come, and said, 'Miss Lettie was too ill for Miss
Percival to take care of her. Mr. Abraham couldn't leave her.'"

The funeral was to be on the morrow.

       *       *       *       *       *

The morrow came. Early after breakfast I went to the house whereto I had
gone with the neighbor's boy two nights before. I met Mr. Axtell just
leaving. I inquired after his sister.

"A bad night," he said; "the doctor is here; are you come to stay?"

"If I can be of use."

He walked back with me, went to the sick-room, and left me there with
the doctor and Miss Axtell.

She didn't refuse medicines, it seemed; for Doctor Eaton was
administering something when I went in.

The same eager look flashed out of his eyes when she spoke to me. She
did not remember me,--she called me Mary. Common name it is, but the
change seemed to please this quaint M.D.

"Have you found out about the face?" he asked, when he had answered my
inquiries after his patient.

"I have not."

"It isn't there any longer. Somebody's taken it away."


"Don't you care to know about it?"

"Yes, it was a pleasant face,--a prettiness of youth about it."

"Ask him,--do you hear, young lady?--ask him"; and giving me directions
for the morning, he left.

Curious old doctor,--what care should he have concerning it?

The opiate, if opiate it was, that Doctor Eaton gave Miss Axtell,
quickly worked its spell; for after he had gone, she scarcely noticed
me; she only moaned a little, and turned her head upon the pillow, as if
to ease the pain that made her face so flushed. The room was darkened;
the fire upon the hearth was almost out. It didn't seem the same room as
that in which I had heard my song so recently. I had nothing to do but
to sit and watch,--a sad, nerve-aching woman-work, at the best. In my
pocket I had put the bit of woman's wear that I had taken from the iron
bar in my tower. I longed to open the closet-door, and compare it with
the dress that I had seen hanging there. No opportunity came. Miss
Axtell was very drowsy, if not asleep. For full three hours not a
varying occurred. Where had every one gone? Was I forgotten, buried in
with this sick lady out of the world? Not quite; for I heard the
vitalizing charm of a footstep, followed, by the gentlest of knocks,
which I rejoicingly answered. It was the brother, come to look at his
sister. He walked quietly in, stood several moments looking at her face,
as she lay with half the repose of sleep over it, then came to me and

"She looks better."

"I am glad you think so," I replied; "she seems very ill to me. She
called me Mary, when I first came in; since then she hasn't noticed me."

"She called you Mary?" he said. "Are you Mary?"

"My name is Anna," I answered.

"Then you are not Mary?"

"Of course not; I am not two."

After a little while of silence, he said,--

"My mother's funeral will be this afternoon."

"Is there anything that I can do for you before the time?"

"Yes, if you will."

"I am ready."

"Wait here a little," he said, and went down.

Katie came up, her young rosy face delightful to behold in the half-way
gloom that filled the place.

"Mr. Abraham is waiting to see you in the library," she said. "I'll stay
till you come up."

In my short journey down, I marvelled much concerning what he might
want. As I entered the room, I saw no visible thing for hands to do.
Now, if it were but a hat to fold the winding badge of sorrow about, or
a pair of gloves to mend; but no,--he, this strange man, a sort of
barbaric gentleman, looked down at me as I went in. "The doctor was
right; somebody has taken the face down," I thought, as my glance went
up the wall.

"What is there for me to do?" I asked; for Mr. Axtell seemed to have
forgotten that he had intimated the possibility of such an event.

"Simply to look upon the face of my mother ere it goes forever away."

"Do you wish it?"

"Very much."

"I would rather not."

"As you will"; and he turned away proudly, with that high style of
curling pride that has a touch of soul in it.

"No, Mr. Axtell, it is not as I will; it is very much as I will not. I
can go in there, and look at the face you wish; but it will unfit me for
the duties of life for days to come. The face that I see there will
tenant this house forever, and not this only,--it will be seen wherever
I go."

"Can you not overcome it?"

"Oh, yes."

"Why not, then?"

"It takes such sweet revenge that my overcoming is the sorriest kind of

"It _is_ strange," he said.

"What, Sir?"

"I beg your pardon; I was thinking in words," he replied.

"I am sorry that I cannot do as you wish," I said, and resumed my
profession in the room above.

The day went on, never pausing one moment for the sorrow and the
suffering that another day had brought to this house in Redleaf.

Just before the funeral-bell began to toll, Mr. Axtell came again to the
sickroom door. There was no change. I told him so. Why did the man look
as if he had been crying? Was it because he had, I wonder?

He did not come in. Poor man! He was the only relative, the only one to
stand at the last beside the grave he opened yesterday. I could not help
it, I held out my hand to him as he stood there in the hall, I had no
words wherewith to convey sympathy. He looked at it very much as he
might have done at one of the waxen hands that belong to waxen figures
in a shop-window, without one ray of the meaning it was intended to
convey entering into his mind. I felt confused, uncomfortable. It seemed
to me, then, irreverent to his sorrow, that I, a stranger, should have
attempted the proffer of sympathy; but I must make him comprehend me.

"I wanted to say that I am sorry with you," I said.

"Will you say it the same way again?"

"How?" for this time it was I who did not comprehend.

He held out his hand. I fulfilled my original intention.

"I thank you," he said, and went down alone to his mother's funeral.

How do people ever live through funerals? The solemn tolling of the bell
went on. The village-people came, one by one. Aaron's voice it was that
was heard in the burial-service that came sounding in to me, sitting
close beside the bed whereon the sick one lay. There seemed a comfort in
getting near to her. At last--what a cycle of thought! time it was at
last--I heard the moving sound of many feet, and then I knew that they
were carrying her out, out of the house where she had lived, out of the
house wherein she had died, carrying her forth for burial,--forth to the
grave her only son had made for her; and I, little, shivering, cowardly
soul, hid my face in my hands, and let my tears fall,--not because I
knew this proud lady dead,--not because a fibre from my warm heart was
being drawn out to be knitted into that fathom-deep grave, for it never
would be one of _my_ graves,--but because this death and sorrow _were in
the world_, and I must live my life out in a world _with them_. The
funeral-bell stirred me. I looked out from the window, and saw the long
procession moving slowly on.

Katie startled me, coming in.

"The minister's wife is down-stairs; she wants to know if she may come
up," she said.

"She is my sister, Katie; yes, I think she may come."

I was so relieved to see Sophie; it was getting back to self again, out
of which I had gone in this house. I could not help expressing my

"There's no one down there to close the house and put away the sad
reminders," Sophie said, after asking about my patient. "Some one ought
to make it more cheerful down there before Mr. Axtell comes."

"Won't you, Sophie, since there's no one else?"

I could not yet go into the one room. Death had been too recently there.

"I cannot put away the feeling that I am not wanted; but it has no place
here, now at least, and I will go," she said.

So, with Katie to help, she went to throw an air of light into the rooms
below, to waft away the sombre shadows that clouded them, to let in a
little of the coming life that must still be lived. And I waited on,
up-stairs, and listened, counting each long, low peal of the bell, as it
shook out its solemn meaning into the March air, and lost itself in
quivering distances. They, the kindly hearts, who had come to perform
the last rite, must have moved very slowly on; for I counted out the
years that the one gone had lived, ere the bell stopped.

Then was silence. In that stillness they were gently lifting down the
once more little one,--for are not our dead all little ones, to be
watchfully thought of, to be tenderly cared for?--yes, lifting her
gently down into the cradle that God hath prepared, and set the sun to
rock, until His smile shall awaken, and His arms lift us out of it.

The opiate's power was past. Miss Axtell turned upon the pillow, and
asked Kate for a glass of water.

I carried it to her, lifted her head, and she drank of it without
opening her eyes. She asked for Abraham.

"He will be here soon," I replied.

"I thought it was Kate," she said, calling me my own name. "Have you
been here long?"

"Since morning."

"Is it afternoon?"

"Yes, three o'clock."

"Why doesn't Abraham come?"

"He was here not very long ago," I said, and asked her to take some
food, not wishing her to question me.

"Food!" she said, "what an odd word! Yes, so that you give it to me in
pleasant guise."

"What is pleasant to you to-day?"

"Something soft and cool."

What could I give her? It was very convenient having Sophie so near.
This must be Miss Axtell's self who had spoken. Delighted with the
change, I ran quickly down to beg of sister Sophie a little skill in
preparing some dish suitable to the illness up-stairs.

"I'll go and make something," she said.

And straightway taking off her hat and cloak, and tossing them just
where mine had gone two nights before, she followed willing Katie to
regions where I had not been, and I went back to find my patient
perfectly herself,--only oblivious of time. She asked me if the various
preludes to the sad event had been properly done. I answered that it was

"And I was not to know it?"

I had heard that tone of voice, surely, somewhere else in life. Where
could it have been? I thought of my tower, and of that dress in there.
Was never to come chance of seeing it? It seemed quite probable, for the
lady asked to have the doors opened through.

"Through where?" I asked.

"All of them," she said.

I opened the two into the dressing-room; there was still another out of
that. Uncertain if she might mean it as well, I went back to ask.

"Yes," she said; and I opened it.

The first object that met my sight was the painting--the young girl's
face--that had been in the library. The hair was covered, as if one had
been trying effects of light and shade. I saw this instantly, and turned

"I would like you to raise the shades in there," Miss Axtell said. "I
like the light that comes in through the distance, the afternoon light;
how much it sees upon the earth!"

Going in again, I drew up one, put the drapery of the curtains back, and
laid my hand upon the second, when the door from the hall opened,
admitting the owner of the place.

Mr. Axtell did not look window-ward. He did not see me. A stillness of
thought and being crept over me. I stood, with fingers clasped about the
curtain-cord, enduring conscious paralysis. And he? He laid his overcoat
across one chair; next to it was the one on which the portrait of the
young girl had been placed. In front of it Mr. Axtell kneeled down,
buried his face in his hands, and remained motionless. A second tower I
was imprisoned in, higher up than the first,--a well, deep with veins of
liquid soul, such as man nor patriarch hath ever builded, and I, a bit
of rock-moss, unable to reach out to the light. I heard Miss Axtell's
voice, and yet I could not move. She called, "Miss Percival!"--Mr.
Axtell did not lift his head; she called, "Abraham!"--then I moved. With
a slow swiftness of silence I passed by the kneeling figure, and should
have gained the door, had not Mr. Axtell risen up. His eyes were, for
the second time, upon me. A dark, thunderous look of anger clouded his
face. I stood still and looked at him. If he had evinced emotion at my
presence in any other mode, I could not have met his look.

"Your sister wished me to raise the shades in here," I said; "she likes
western light."

"Why not do it, then?"--the anger rolling sombrous as at the first,--he

I looked back. Noticing that only one of the shades was lifted,--

"I will leave it for you to do," I said; and with one involuntary glance
at the young, life-young face, painted there, I went.

"I thought I heard Abraham's footsteps in the hall," said Miss Axtell,
when I entered the room.

"You did," I replied. "He is come in."

The second time the sister called, "Abraham!"

"Yes, Lettie," he answered; but he did not come.

"What is the matter, Abraham?" she asked. "Why do you not come?"

"I'm coming, Lettie."

I thought of the "something soft and cool" that Sophie was making for
the invalid; and the thought took me up and carried me away before he
came in.

It was not destined that I should be long gone; for I met Katie bringing
up something, whose odor was not even a temperate one.

"How is this?" I asked of her; "did Mrs. Wilton send it?"

"Yes, Miss Percival."

"Where is she, Katie?"

"Gone home, she told me to tell you."

Why must Sophie run away? She fancies Aaron might not see the stars come
out, if she were not near to point their coming. I would not be so
simple, I think; but, whatever I thought, I took from rosy-faced Katie
the bowl of warm and fragrant gruel, and carried it in to Miss Axtell.

She took it, looked up smilingly at me, and said, "Something soft and

Mr. Axtell held it for her, whilst slowly she took the gruel.

Doctor Eaton came in.

"How is this?" he asked; "we shall take great skill and credit to our
individual self for this recovery. Now tell me, Miss Lettie, am I not
the very best physician in all Redleaf?"

"There being none other in the village, I'll permit you to quaff the
vain draught, so that you will season it with a little of my gruel; I
cannot fancy, even, where it came from," she said, playfully extending
to the doctor her spoon, half filled.

Doctor Eaton bent forward, and put his lips to the spoon she had not
meant him to touch.

Miss Axtell seemed surprised.

"Why did you do it?" she asked, with a little bit of childish petulance.

"Because I think that you have taken all of it that is good for you at
present. I made use of the speediest remedy; vital cases demand sure
means, you know, Miss Lettie."

Mr. Axtell held the bowl of gruel no longer. Doctor Eaton turned to me.

"Have you been here all day?" he asked.

"I have."

"Will you put your hat on and walk in the air? There's just time enough
for you to walk to the parsonage and come back, before dark."

Did Doctor Eaton know how to prescribe for cases which were not vital?
It so seemed; for he had given me my need this once. I put my hat on, as
he had recommended, and went out. The day was saying its soft, genial
farewells, that mingle so charmfully with the promise to come again,
that is repeated throughout the great city of Nature. Doctor Eaton
evidently intended to watch the effect of his dictation, for he joined
me, giving me voice-intimation of his presence.

"Have you asked him yet?" he said, coming to my side, and speaking in
his peculiar way, very much as if I were a little child, and he its

"Please tell me what I am expected to do," I replied.

"To ask Abraham Axtell about that picture, Miss Percival. It will do him

"I am afraid your prescriptions are not always the most agreeable," I

"Maybe not; it seems quite possible; but bitters are good,--try them."

"I would rather not, Doctor Eaton."

"No? Then offer them to others. Abraham Axtell is one needing them."

"You are his physician."

"You think so?"

"No, I take the seeming."

"Unsafe road, young lady! don't take it,--take mine. Just ask Abraham
whose face that is, then come and tell me what he tells you."

"Breach of confidence, Doctor Eaton. I couldn't do it possibly."

"You'll tell me, though, depend upon it," he said, and was carried off
in great haste to repair a broken bone, and I saw him no more,

I found the reason why Sophie must go home without one word for me.
Aaron had said that he would like some peculiar admixture of flour,
etc.; and she had feared that he might meet disappointment, unless she
prevented it by hurrying home and adding the ingredient of her hands for
his delectable comfort, which bit of spicery he undoubtedly appreciated
to the complete value of the sacrifice. Sophie is wise in her day and
generation. I look with affectionate, reverent admiration upon her life.
It seems that she is in just the position that Creating Wisdom fitted
her for. I saw Aaron looking at her across the table. She was preparing
for him his cup of tea; and of course he had nought to do save to wait,
and in waiting he watched her. What was it that I saw? I cannot tell.
Why, how is this? the world has two sides, two phases; how many more I
cannot know. That which I saw in Aaron's face was a something
transitory, a nebulous luminousness of an existence that I had not
known, had not imagined, having never before received intimation of it.
Why will light evanish so soon?--the fragment that shone in on this
_Terra Incognita_ went out, was submerged in the Cup of _Thea Sinensis_
that Aaron received from Sophie's hand. I cannot divine why all this new
world of being should fancy to unroll itself, an endless panorama of
pansophical mysteries, before my eyes. I do not appreciate it in the
least. Philip Bailey's "Mystic" is more comprehensible to me. This is a
practical, matter-of-fact world; I know it is. Sophie Percival, my
sister, is the wife of Aaron Wilton, country-clergyman in
Redleaf,--nothing more; and I thought of my untasted cup of tea, in
which lay condensed all the fragrance of Wooeshan hill-sides.

"Why not take your tea, Anna?" Sophie asked, just as I had decided not
to think of the things that misted around me.

My answer was a taste of it. I really thought I was doing my duty, when
Sophie's words came upon me, a little distractingly,--

"Will you have more sugar in your tea, Anna?"

"No, I thank you."

Aaron said,--

"The house of Axtell seems to have stolen away your proper self, Anna.
I've been watching you, and I don't really think you've any idea of what
you are subsisting on. Tell me now, what _is_ upon the table?" and Aaron
held a newspaper, lying conveniently near, before my eyes.

"Confession and absolution are synonymous with you, aren't they, Aaron?"
I asked. "Please give me some bread"; and I put the disagreeable paper

There was no bread upon the table.

"My wisdom is confirmed," said Aaron; and he gave me the delectable
substitute, Sophie's handiwork.



If I succeeded in explaining my subject clearly in the last article, my
readers will have seen that the five Orders of the Echinoderms are but
five expressions of the same idea; and I will now endeavor to show that
the same identity of structural conception prevails also throughout the
two other Classes of Radiates, and further, that not only the Orders
within each Class, but the three Classes themselves, Echinoderms,
Acalephs, and Polyps, bear the strictest comparison, founded upon close
structural analysis, and are based upon one organic formula.

We will first compare the three Orders of Acalephs,--Hydroids being the
lowest, Discophorae; next, and the Ctenophorae highest. The fact that
these animals have no popular names shows how little they are known. It
is true that we hear some of them spoken of as Jelly-Fishes; but this
name is usually applied to the larger Discophore, when it is thrown upon
the beach and lies a shapeless mass of gelatinous substance on the sand,
or is seen floating on the surface of the water. The name gives no idea
of the animal as it exists in full life and activity. When we speak of a
Bird or an Insect, the mere name calls up at once a characteristic image
of the thing; but the name of Jelly-Fish, or Sun-Fish, or Sea-Blubber,
as the larger Acalephs are also called, suggests to most persons a vague
idea of a fish with a gelatinous body,--or, if they have lived near the
sea-shore, they associate it only with the unsightly masses of
jelly-like substance sometimes strewn in thousands along the beaches
after a storm. To very few does this term recall either the large
Discophore, with its purple disk and its long streamers floating perhaps
twenty or thirty feet behind it as it swims,--or the Ctenophore, with
its more delicate, transparent structure, and almost invisible fringes
in parallel rows upon the body, which decompose the rays of light as the
creature moves through the water, so that hues of ruby-red and
emerald-green, blue, purple, yellow, all the colors of the rainbow,
ripple constantly over its surface when it is in motion,--or the
Hydroid, with its little shrub-like communities living in tide-pools,
establishing themselves on rocks, shells, or sea-weeds, and giving birth
not only to animals attached to submarine bodies, like themselves, but
also to free Medusae or Jelly-Fishes that in their turn give birth again
to eggs which return to the parent-form, and thus, by alternate
generations, maintain two distinct patterns of animal life within one
cycle of growth.

Perhaps, of all the three Classes of Radiates, Acalephs are the least
known. The general interest in Corals has called attention to the
Polyps, and the accessible haunts of the Sea-Urchins and Star-Fishes
have made the Echinoderms almost as familiar to the ordinary observer as
the common sea-shells, while the Acalephs are usually to be found at a
greater distance from the shore, and are not easily kept in confinement.
It is true that the Hydroids live along the shore, and may be reared in
tanks without difficulty; but they are small, and would be often taken
for sea-weeds by those ignorant of their true structure.

Thus this group of animals, with all their beauty of form, color, and
movement, and peculiarly interesting from their singular modes of
growth, remains comparatively unknown except to the professional
naturalist. It may, therefore, be not uninteresting or useless to my
readers, if I give some account of the appearance and habits of these
animals, keeping in view, at the same time, my ultimate object, namely,
to show that they are all founded on the same structural elements and
have the same ideal significance. I will begin with some account of the
Hydroids, including the story of the alternate generations, by which
they give birth to Medusae, while the Medusae, in their turn, reproduce
the Hydroids, from which they spring. But first, a few words upon the
growth of Radiates in general.

There is no more interesting series of transformations than that of the
development of Radiates. They are all born as little transparent
globular bodies, covered with vibratile cilia, swimming about in this
condition for a longer or shorter time; then, tapering somewhat at one
end and broadening at the other, they become attached by the narrower
extremity, while at the opposite one a depression takes place, deepening
in the centre till it becomes an aperture, and extending its margin to
form the tentacles. All Radiates pass through this Polyp-like condition
at some period of their lives, either before or after they are hatched
from the eggs. In some it forms a marked period of their existence,
while in others it passes very rapidly and is undergone within the egg;
but, at whatever time and under whatever conditions it occurs, it forms
a necessary part of their development, and shows that all these animals
have one and the same pattern of growth. This difference in the relative
importance and duration of certain phases of growth is by no means
peculiar to the Radiates, but occurs in all divisions of the Animal
Kingdom. There are many Insects that pass through their metamorphoses
within the egg, appearing as complete Insects at the moment of their
birth; but the series of changes is nevertheless analogous to that of
the Butterfly, whose existence as Worm, Chrysalis, and Winged Insect is
so well known to all. Take the Grasshopper, for instance: with the
exception of the wings, it is born in its mature form; but it has had
its Worm-like stage within the egg as much as the Butterfly that we knew
a few months ago as a Caterpillar. In the same way certain of the higher
Radiates undergo all their transformations, from the Polyp phase of
growth to that of Acaleph or Echinoderm, after birth; while others pass
rapidly through the lower phases of their existence within the egg, and
are born in their final condition, when all their intermediate changes
have been completed. We have appropriate names for all the aspects of
life in the Insect: we call it Larva in its first or Worm-like period,
Chrysalis in its second or Crustacean-like phase of life, and Imago in
its third and last condition as Winged Insect. But the metamorphoses of
the Radiates are too little known to be characterized by popular names;
and when they were first traced, the relation between their different
phases of existence was not understood, so that the same animal in
different stages of growth has frequently been described as two or more
distinct animals. This has led to a confusion in our nomenclature much
to be regretted; for, however inappropriate it may be, a name once
accepted and passed into general use is not easily changed.

That early stage of growth, common to all Radiates, in which they
resemble the Polyps, has been called the Hydra state, in consequence of
their resemblance to the fresh-water Hydra to be found in quantities on
the under side of Duck-Weed and Lily-pads. For any one that cares to
examine these animals, it may be well to mention that they are easily
found and thrive well in confinement. Dip a pitcher into any pool of
fresh water where Duck-Weed or Lilies are growing in the summer, and you
are sure to bring up hundreds of these fresh-water Hydrae, swarming in
myriads in all our ponds. In a glass bowl their motions are easily
watched; and a great deal may be learned of their habits and mode of
life, with little trouble. Such an animal soon completes its growth: for
the stage which I have spoken of as transient for the higher Radiates is
permanent for these; and when the little sphere moving about by means of
its vibratile cilia has elongated a little, attached itself by the lower
end to some surface, while the inversion of the upper end has formed the
mouth and digestive cavity, and the expansion of its margin has made the
tentacles, the very simple story of the fresh-water Hydra is told. But
the last page in the development of these lower Radiates is but the
opening chapter in that of the higher ones, and I will give some account
of their transformations as they have been observed in the Acalephs.

[Illustration: Coryne mirabilis, natural size]

On shells and stones, on sea-weeds or on floating logs, there may often
be observed a growth of exquisitely delicate branches, looking at first
sight more like a small bunch of moss than anything else. But gather
such a mossy tuft and place it in a glass bowl filled with sea-water,
and you will presently find that it is full of life and activity. Every
branch of this miniature shrub terminates in a little club-shaped head,
upon which are scattered a number of tentacles. They are in constant
motion, extending and contracting their tentacles, some of the heads
stretched upwards, others bent downwards, all seeming very busy and
active. Each tentacle has a globular tip filled with a multitude of
cells, the so-called lasso-cells, each one of which conceals a coiled-up
thread. These organs serve to seize the prey, shooting out their long
threads, thus entangling the victim in a net more delicate than the
finest spider's web, and then carrying it to the mouth by the aid of the
lower part of the tentacle. The complication of structure in these
animals, a whole community of which, numbering from twenty to thirty
individuals, is not more than an inch in height, is truly wonderful. In
such a community the different animals are hardly larger than a
good-sized pin's head; and yet every individual has a digestive cavity
and a complete system of circulation. Its body consists of a cavity
inclosed in a double wall, continuing along the whole length of each
branch till it joins the common stem forming the base of the stock. In
this cavity the food becomes softened and liquefied by the water that
enters with it through the mouth, and is thus transformed into a
circulating fluid which flows from each head to the very base of the
community and back again. The inner surface of the digestive cavity is
lined with brownish-red granules, which probably aid in the process of
digestion; they frequently become loosened, fall into the circulating
fluid, and may be seen borne along the stream as it passes up and down.
The rosy tint of the little community is due to these reddish granules.

[Illustration: Single head or branch of Coryne mirabilis magnified, with
a Medusa bud: a, stem; c, club-shaped body; o, mouth; tt, tentacles; d,
Medusa bud.]

This crowd of beings united in a common life began as one such little
Hydra-like animal as I have described above,--floating free at first,
then becoming attached, and growing into a populous stock by putting out
buds at different heights along the length of the stem. The formation of
such a bud is very simple, produced by the folding outwardly of the
double wall of the body, appearing first as a slight projection of the
stem sideways, which elongates gradually, putting out tentacles as it
grows longer, while at the upper end an aperture is formed to make the
mouth. This is one of the lower group of Radiates, known as Hydroids,
and long believed to be Polyps, from their mode of living in communities
and reproducing their kind by budding, after the fashion of Corals. But
if such a little tuft of Hydroids has been gathered in spring, a close
observer may have an opportunity of watching the growth of another kind
of individual from it, which would seem to show its alliance with the
Acalephs rather than the Polyps. At any time late in February or early
in March, bulb-like projections, more globular than the somewhat
elongated buds of the true Hydroid heads, may be seen growing either
among the tentacles of one of these little animals, or just below the
head where it merges in the stem,[3] Very delicate and transparent in
substance, it is hardly perceptible at first; and the gradual formation
of its internal structure is the less easily discerned, because a horny
sheath, forming the outer covering of the Hydroid stock, extends to
inclose and shield the new-comer, whom we shall see to be so different
from the animal that gives it birth that one would suppose the Hydroid
parent must be as much surprised at the sight of its offspring as the
Hen that has accidentally hatched a Duck's egg. At the right moment this
film is torn open by the convulsive contractions of the animal, which,
thus freed from its envelope, begins at once to expand. By this time
this little bud has assumed the form of a Medusoid or Jelly-Fish disk,
with its four tubes radiating from the central cavity. The proboscis, so
characteristic of all Jelly-Fishes, hangs from the central opening; and
the tentacles, coiled within the internal cavity up to this time, now
make their appearance, and we have a complete little Medusa growing upon
the Hydroid head. Gradually the point by which it is attached to the
parent-stock narrows and becomes more and more contracted, till the
animal drops off and swims away, a free Jelly-Fish.

[Illustration: Little Jelly-Fish, commonly called Sarsia, the free
Medusa, of Coryne mirabilis.]

The substance of these animals seems to have hardly more density or
solidity than their native element. I remember showing one to a friend
who had never seen such an animal before, and after watching its
graceful motions for a moment in the glass bowl where it was swimming,
he asked, "Is it anything more than organized water?" The question was
very descriptive; for so little did it seem to differ in substance from
the water in which it floated that one might well fancy that some drops
had taken upon themselves organic structure, and had begun to live and
move. It swims by means of rapid contractions and expansions of its
disk, thus impelling itself through the water, its tentacles floating
behind it and measuring many times the length of the body. The disk is
very convex, as will be seen by the wood-cut; four tubes radiate from
the central cavity to the periphery, where they unite in a circular tube
around the margin and connect also with the four tentacles; from the
centre of the lower surface hangs the proboscis, terminating in a mouth.
Notwithstanding the delicate structure of this little being, it is
exceedingly voracious. It places itself upon the surface of the animal
on which it feeds, and, if it have any hard parts, it simply sucks the
juices, dropping the dead carcass immediately after; but it swallows
whole the little Acalephs of other Species and other soft animals that
come in its way. Early in summer these Jelly-Fishes drop their eggs,
little transparent pear-shaped bodies, covered with vibratile cilia.
They swim about for a time, until they have found a resting-place, where
they attach themselves, each one founding a Hydroid stock of its own,
which will in time produce a new brood of Medusae.

This series of facts, presented here in their connection, had been
observed separately before their true relation was understood.
Investigations had been made on the Hydroid stock, described as
_Coryne_, and upon its Medusoid offspring, described as _Sarsia_, named
after the naturalist Sars, whose beautiful papers upon this class of
animals have associated his name with it; but the investigations by
which all these facts have been associated in one connected series are
very recent. These transformations do not correspond to our common idea
of metamorphoses, as observed in the Insect, for instance. In the
Butterfly's life we have always one and the same individual,--the
Caterpillar passing into the Chrysalis state, and the Chrysalis passing
into the condition of the Winged Insect. But in the case I have been
describing, while the Hydroid gives birth to the Medusa, it still
preserves its own distinct existence; and the different forms developed
on one stock seem to be two parallel lives, and not the various phases
of one and the same life. This group of Hydroids retains the name of
Coryne; and the Medusa born from it, Sarsia, has received, as I have
said, the name of the distinguished investigator to whose labors we owe
much of our present knowledge of these animals.--Let us look now at
another group of Hydroids, whose mode of development is equally curious
and interesting.

The little transparent embryos from which they arise, oval in form, with
a slight, scarcely perceptible depression at one end, resemble the
embryos of Coryne already described. They may be seen in great numbers
in the spring, floating about in the water, or rather swimming,--for the
motion of all Radiates in their earliest stage of existence is rapid and
constant, in consequence of the vibratile cilia that cover the surface.
At this stage of its existence such an embryo is perfectly free, but
presently its wandering life comes to an end; it shows a disposition to
become fixed, and proceeds to choose a suitable resting-place. I use the
word "choose" advisedly; for though at this time the little embryo seems
to have no developed organs, it yet exercises a certain discrimination
in its selection of a home. Slightly pear-shaped in form, it settles
down upon its narrower end; it wavers and sways to and fro, as if trying
to get a firm foothold and force itself down upon the surface to which
it adheres; but presently, as if dissatisfied with the spot it has
chosen, it suddenly breaks loose and swims away to another locality,
where the same examination is repeated, not more to its own satisfaction
apparently, for the creature will renew the experiment half a dozen
times, perhaps, before making a final selection and becoming permanently
attached to the soil. In the course of this process the lower end
becomes flattened, and moulds itself to the shape of the body on which
it rests. Once settled, this animal, thus far hardly more than a
transparent oblong body without any distinct organs, begins to develop
rapidly. It elongates, forming a kind of cup-like base or stem, the
upper end spreads somewhat, the depression at its centre deepens, a
mouth is formed that gapes widely and opens into the digestive cavity,
and the upper margin spreads out to form a number of tentacles, few at
first, but growing more and more numerous till a wreath is completed all
around it. In this condition the young Jelly-Fish has been described
under the name of _Scyphostoma_. As soon as this wreath of tentacles is
formed, a constriction takes place below it, thus separating the upper
portion of the animal from the lower by a marked dividing-line.
Presently a second constriction takes place below the first, then a
third, till the entire length of the animal is divided across by a
number of such transverse constrictions, the whole body growing,
meanwhile, in height. But now an extraordinary change takes place in the
portions thus divided off. Each one assumes a distinct organic
structure, as if it had an individual life of its own. The margin
becomes lobed in eight deep scallops, and a tube or canal runs through
the centre of each such lobe to the centre of the body, where a
digestive cavity is already formed. At this time the constrictions have
deepened, so that the margins of all the successive divisions of the
little Hydroid are very prominent, and the whole animal looks like a
pile of saucers, or of disks with scalloped edges and the convex side
turned downward. Its general aspect may be compared to a string of
Lilac-blossoms, such as the children make for necklaces in the spring,
in which the base of one blossom is inserted into the upper side of the
one below it. In this condition our Jelly-Fish has been called

[Illustration: Scyphostoma of Aurelia flavidula, our common white
Jelly-Fish with a rosy cross.]

[Illustration: Strobila of Aurelia flavidula.]

While these organic changes take place in the lower disks, the topmost
one, forming the summit of the pile and bearing the tentacles, undergoes
no such modification, but presently the first constriction dividing it
from the rest deepens to such a degree that it remains united to them by
a mere thread only, and it soon breaks off and dies. This is the signal
for the breaking up of the whole pile in the same way by the deepening
of the constrictions; but, instead of dying, as they part, they begin a
new existence as free Medusae. Only the lowest portion of the body
remains, and around the margin of this tentacles have developed
corresponding to those which crowned the first little embryo; this
repeats the whole history again, growing up during the following season
to divide itself into disks like its predecessor.

[Illustration: Strobila of Aurelia flavidula: a, Scyphostoma reproduced
at the base of a Strobila, bb, all the disks of which have dropped off
but the last.]

As each individual separates from the community of which it has made a
part, it reverses its position, and, instead of turning the margin of
the disk upward, it turns it downward, thus bringing the mouth below and
the curve of the disk above. These free individuals have been described
under the name of _Ephyra_. This is the third phase of the existence of
our Jelly-Fish. It swims freely about, a transparent, umbrella-like
disk, with a proboscis hanging from the lower side, which, to complete
the comparison, we may call the handle of the umbrella. The margin of
the disk is even more deeply lobed than in the Hydroid condition, and in
the middle of each lobe is a second depression, quite deep and narrow,
at the base of which is an eye. How far such organs are gifted with the
power of vision we cannot decide; but the cells of which they are
composed certainly serve the purpose of facets, of lenses and prisms,
and must convey to the animal a more or less distinct perception of
light and color. The lobes are eight in number, as before, with a tube
diverging from the centre of the body into each lobe. Shorter tubes
between the lobes alternate with these, making thus sixteen radiating
tubes, all ramifying more or less.

[Illustration: Ephyra of Aurelia flavidula.]

[Illustration: Aurelia flavidula, the common white Jelly-Fish of our
sea-shores, seen from above: c, mouth; eeeeee, eyes; mmmm, lobes or
curtain of the mouth in outlines; ooo, ovaries; ttt, tentacles; ww
ramified tubes.]

From this stage to its adult condition, the animal undergoes a
succession of changes in the gradual course of its growth,
uninterrupted, however, by any such abrupt transition as that by which
it began its life as a free animal. The lobes are gradually obliterated,
so that the margin becomes almost an unbroken circle. The eight eyes
were, as I have said, at the bottom of depressions in the centre of the
several lobes; but, by the equalizing of the marginal line, the gradual
levelling, as it were, of all the inequalities of the edge, the eyes are
pushed out, and occupy eight spots on the margin, where a faint
indentation only marks what was before a deep cut in the lobe. The eight
tubes of the lobes have extended in like manner to the edge, and join it
just at the point where the eyes are placed, so that the extremity of
each tube unites with the base of each eye. Those parts of the margin
filling the spaces between the eyes correspond to the depressions
dividing the lobes or scallops in the earlier stage, and to those
radiate the eight other tubes alternating with the eye-tubes, now
divided into numerous branches. Along each of these spaces is developed
a fine, delicate fringe of tentacles, hanging down like a veil when the
animal is at rest, or swept back when it is in motion. In the previous
stage, the tubes ramified toward the margin; but now they branch at or
near their point of starting from the central cavity, so extensively
that every part of the body is traversed by these collateral tubes, and
when one looks down at it from above through the gelatinous transparent
disk, the numerous ramifications resemble the fine fibrous structure of
a leaf with its net-work of nervules.

On the lower side, or what I have called in a previous article the oral
region of the animal, a wonderfully complicated apparatus is developed.
The mouth projects in four angles, and at each such angle a curtain
arises, stretching outwardly, and sometimes extending as far as the
margin. These curtains are fringed and folded on the lower edge, so that
they look like four ruffled flounces hanging from the lower side of the
animal. On the upper side of the body, but alternating in position with
these curtains, are the four ovaries, crescent-like in shape, and so
placed as to form the figure of a cross, when seen from above through
the transparency of the disk. I should add, that, though I speak of some
organs as being on the upper and others on the lower side of the body,
all are under the convex, arched surface of the disk, which is
gelatinous throughout, and simply forms a transparent vaulted roof, as
it were, above the rest of the body.

[Illustration: Aurelia flavidula, seen in profile]

When these animals first make their appearance in the spring, they may
be seen, when the sky is clear and the sea smooth, floating in immense
numbers near the surface of the water, though they do not seek the glare
of the sun, but are more often found about sheltered places, in the
neighborhood of wharves or overhanging rocks. As they grow larger, they
lose something of their gregarious disposition,--they scatter more; and
at this time they prefer the sunniest exposures, and like to bask in the
light and warmth. They assume every variety of attitude, but move always
by the regular contraction and expansion of the disk, which rises and
falls with rhythmical alternations, the average number of these
movements being from twelve to fifteen in a minute. There can be no
doubt that they perceive what is going on about them, and are very
sensitive to changes in the state of the atmosphere; for, as soon as the
surface of the water is ruffled, or the sky becomes overcast, they sink
into deeper water, and vanish out of sight. When approached with a
dip-net, it is evident, from the acceleration of their movements, that
they are attempting to escape.

At the spawning season, toward the end of July or the beginning of
August, they gather again in close clusters. At this period I have seen
them at Nahant in large shoals, covering a space of fifty feet or more,
and packed so closely in one unbroken mass that an oar could not be
thrust between them without injuring many. So deep was the phalanx that
I could not ascertain how far it extended below the surface of the
water, and those in the uppermost layer were partially forced out of the
water by the pressure of those below.

It is not strange that the relation between the various phases of this
extraordinary series of metamorphoses, so different from each other in
their external aspects, should not have been recognized at once, and
that this singular Acaleph should have been called Scyphostoma in its
simple Hydroid condition, Strobila after the transverse division of the
body had taken place, Ephyra in the first stages of its free existence,
and Aurelia in its adult state,--being thus described as four distinct
animals. These various forms are now rightly considered as the
successive stages of a development intimately connected in all its
parts,--beginning with the simple Hydroid attached to the ground, and
closing in the shape of our common Aurelia, with its white transparent
disk, its silky fringe of tentacles around the margin, its ruffled
curtains hanging from the mouth, and its four crescent-shaped ovaries
grouped to form a cross on the summit. From these ovaries a new brood of
little embryos is shed in due time.

There are other Hydroids giving rise to Medusae buds, from which,
however, the Medusae do not separate to begin a new life, but wither on
the Hydroid stock, after having come to maturity and dropped their eggs.
Such is the _Hydractinia polyclina_. This curious community begins, like
the preceding ones, with a single little individual, settling upon some
shell or stone, or on the rocks in a tide-pool, where it will sometimes
cover a space of several square feet. Rosy in color, very soft and
delicate in texture, such a growth of Hydractinia spreads a velvet-like
carpet over the rocks on which it occurs. They may be kept in aquariums
with perfect success, and for that purpose it is better to gather them
on single shells or stones, so that the whole community may be removed
unbroken. These colonies of Hydractinia have one very singular
character: they exist in distinct communities, some of which give birth
only to male, others to female individuals. The functions, also, are
divided,--certain members of the community being appointed to special
offices, in which the others do not share. Some bear the Medusae buds,
which in due time become laden with eggs, but, as I have said, wither
and die after the eggs are hatched. Others put forth Hydroid buds only,
while others again are wholly sterile. About the outskirts of the
community are more simple individuals, whose whole body seems to be
hardly more than a double-walled tube, terminating in a knob of
lasso-cells. They are like long tentacles placed where they can most
easily seize the prey that happens to approach the little colony. The
entire community is connected at its base by a horny net-work, uniting
all the Hydroid stems in its meshes, and spreading over the whole
surface on which the colony has established itself.

[Illustration: Hydractinia polyclina: _a_, sterile individual; _b_,
fertile individual, producing female Medusae; _d_, _e_, female Medusae,
containing advanced eggs; _f_, _g_, _h_, _i_, Cluster of female Medusas,
with less advanced eggs; _o_, peduncle of month, with short globular
tentacles; _c_, individual with globular tentacles, upon which no
Medusae have appeared, or from which they have dropped.]

There is a very curious and beautiful animal, or rather community of
animals, closely allied to the _Hydractinia polyclina_, which next
deserves to be noticed. The Portuguese Man-of-War--so called from its
bright-colored crest, which makes it so conspicuous as it sails upon the
water, and the long and various streamers that hang from its lower
side--is such a community of animals as I have just described, reversed
in position, however, with the individuals hanging down, and the base
swollen and expanded to make the air-bladder which forms its brilliant
crested float. In this curious Acalephian Hydroid, or _Physalia_, the
individuality of function is even more marked than in the Hydractinia.
As in the latter, some of the individuals are Medusae-bearing, and
others simple Hydrae; but, beside these, there are certain members of
the community who act as swimmers, to carry it along through the
water,--others that are its purveyors, catching the prey, by which,
however, they profit only indirectly, for others are appointed to eat
it, and these feeders may be seen sometimes actually gorged with the
food they have devoured, and which is then distributed throughout the
community by the process of digestion and circulation.

[Illustration: Physalia, or Portuguese Man-of-War.]

It would be hopeless, even were it desirable, to attempt within the
limits of such an article as this to give the faintest idea of the
number and variety of these Hydroids; and I will therefore say nothing
of the endless host of Tubularians, Campanularians, Sertularians, etc.
They are very abundant along our coast, and will well reward any who
care to study their habits and their singular modes of growth. For their
beauty, simply, it is worth while to examine them. Some are deep red,
others rosy, others purple, others white with a glitter upon them, as if
frosted with silver. Their homes are very various. Some like the fresh,
deep sea-water, while they avoid the dash and tumult of the waves; and
they establish themselves in the depressions on some low ledge of rocks
running far out from the shore, and yet left bare for an hour or two,
when the tide is out. In such a depression, forming a stony cup filled
with purest sea-water, overhung by a roof of rock, which may be fringed
by a heavy curtain of brown sea-weed, the rosy-headed, branching
Eudendrium, one of the prettiest of the Tubularians, may be found.
Others like the tide-pools, higher up on the rocks, that are freshened
by the waves only when the tide is full: such are the small, creeping
Campanularians. Others, again, like the tiny Dynamena, prefer the
rougher action of the sea; and they settle upon the sides of rents and
fissures in the cliffs along the shore, where even in calm weather the
waves rush in and out with a certain degree of violence, broken into
eddies by the abrupt character of the rocks. Others seek the broad
fronds of the larger sea-weeds, and are lashed up and down upon their
spreading branches, as they rock to and fro with the motion of the sea.
Many live in sheltered harbors, attaching themselves to floating logs,
or to the keels of vessels; and some are even so indifferent to the
freshness of the water that they may be found in numbers along the

Beside the Jelly-Fishes arising from Hydroids, there are many others
resembling these in all the essential features of their structure, but
differing in their mode of development; for, although more or less
Polyp-like when first born from the egg, they never become attached, nor
do they ever bud or divide, but reach their mature condition without any
such striking metamorphoses as those that characterize the development
of the Hydroid Acalephs. All the Medusas, whether they arise from buds
on the Hydroid stock, like the Sarsia, or from transverse division of
the Hydroid form, like the Aurelia, or grow directly from the egg to
maturity, without pausing in the Hydroid phase, like the Campanella,
agree in the general division and relation of parts. All have a central
cavity, from which arise radiating tubes extending to the margin of the
umbrella-like disk, where they unite either in a net-work of meshes or
in a single circular tube. But there is a great difference in the oral
apparatus; the elaborate ruffled curtains, that hang from the corners of
the mouth, occur only in the Species arising from the transverse
division of the Polyp-like young. For this reason they are divided into
two Orders,--the Hydroids and the Discophorae.

The third Order, the Ctenophorae, are among the most beautiful of the
Acalephs. I have spoken of the various hues they assume when in motion,
and I will add one word of the peculiarity in their structure which
causes this effect. The Ctenophorae differ from the Jelly-Fishes
described above in sending off from the main cavity only two main tubes,
instead of four like the others; but each of these tubes divides and
subdivides in four branches as it approaches the periphery. From the
eight branches produced in this way there arise vertical tubes extending
in opposite directions up and down the sides of the body. Along these
vertical tubes run the rows of little locomotive oars, or combs, as they
have been called, from which these animals derive their name of
Ctenophorae. The rapid motion of these flappers causes the decomposition
of the rays of light along the surface of the body, producing the most
striking prismatic effect; and it is no exaggeration to say that no
jewel is brighter than these Ctenophorae as they move through the water.

[Illustration: Idyia roseola; one of our Ctenophorae: a, anal aperture;
b, radiating tube; c, circular tube; d, e, f, g, h, rows of locomotive

       *       *       *       *       *

I trust I have succeeded in showing that the three Orders of the
Acalephs are, like the five Orders of the Echinoderms, different degrees
of complication of the same structure. In the Hydroids, the organization
does not rise above the simple digestive cavity inclosed by the double
body-wall; and we might not suspect their relation to the Acalephs, did
we not see the Jelly-Fish born from the Hydroid stock. In the
Hydroid-Medusae and Discophorae, instead of a simple digestive sac, as
in the Hydroids, we have a cavity sending off tubes toward the
periphery, which ramify more or less in their course. Now whether there
are four tubes or eight, whether they ramify extensively or not, whether
there are more or less complicated appendages around the margin or the
mouth, makes no difference in the essential structure of these bodies.
They are all disk-like in outline, they all have tentacles hanging from
the margin, and a central cavity from which tubes diverge that divide
the body into a certain number of portions, bearing in all the same
relation to each other and to the central cavity. In the Ctenophorae,
another complication of structure is introduced in the combination of
vertical with horizontal tubes and the external appendages accompanying

But, whatever their differences may be, a very slight effort of the
imagination only is needed to transform any one of these forms into any
other. Reverse the position of any simple Hydra, so that the tentacles
hang down from the margin, and let four tubes radiate from the central
cavity to the periphery, and we have the lowest form of Jelly-Fish.
Expand the cup of the Hydra to form a gelatinous disk, increase the
number of tubes, complicate their ramifications, let eyes be developed
along the margin, add some external appendages, and we have the
Discophore. Elongate the disk in order to give the body an oval form,
diminish the number of main tubes, and let them give off vertical as
well as horizontal branches, and we have the Ctenophore.

In the Class of Polyps there are but two Orders,--the Actinoids and the
Halcyonoids; and I have already said so much of the structure of Polyps
that I think I need not repeat my remarks here in order to show the
relation between these groups. The body of all Polyps consists of a sac
divided into chambers by vertical partitions, and having a wreath of
hollow tentacles around the summit, each one of which opens into one of
the chambers. The greater complication of these parts and their
limitation in definite numbers constitute the characters upon which
their superiority or inferiority of structure is based. Here the
comparison is easily made; it is simply the complication and number of
identical parts that make the difference between the Orders. The
Actinoids stand lowest from the simple character and indefinite increase
of these parts; while the Halcyonoids, with their eight lobed tentacles,
corresponding to the same number of internal divisions, are placed above

We have the key-note to the common structure of the three Classes whose
Orders we have been comparing in the name of the division to which they
all belong: they are _Radiates._ The idea of radiation lies at the
foundation of all these animals, whatever be their form or substance.
Whether stony, like the Corals, or soft, like the Sea-Anemone, or
gelatinous and transparent, like the Jelly-Fish, or hard and brittle,
like the Sea-Urchins,--whether round or oblong or cylindrical or
stellate, in all, the internal structure obeys this law of radiation.

Not only is this true in a general way, but the comparison may be traced
in all the details. One may ask how the narrow radiating tubes of the
Acalephs, traversing the gelatinous mass of the body, can be compared to
the wide radiating chambers of the Polyp; and yet nothing is more simple
than to thicken the partitions in the Polyps so much as to narrow the
chambers between them, till they form narrow alleys instead of wide
spaces, and then we have the tubes of the Jelly-Fish. In the Jelly-Fish
there is a circular tube around the margin into which all the radiating
tubes open. What have we to compare with this in the Polyps? The outer
edge of each partition in the Polyp is pierced by a hole near the
margin. Of course when the partition is thickened, this hole, remaining
open, becomes a tube; for what is a tube but an elongated hole? The
comparison of the Acalephs with the Echinoderms is still easier, for
they both have tubes; but in the latter the tubes are inclosed in walls
of their own, instead of traversing the mass of the body, as in
Acalephs, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

In preparing these articles on the homologies of Radiates, I have felt
the difficulty of divesting my subject of the technicalities which cling
to all scientific results, until they are woven into the tissue of our
every-day knowledge and assume the familiar garb of our common
intellectual property. When the forms of animals are as familiar to
children as their A, B, C, and the intelligent study of Natural History,
from the objects themselves, and not from text-books alone, is
introduced into all our schools, we shall have popular names for things
that can now only be approached with a certain professional stateliness
on account of their technical nomenclature. The best result of such
familiarity with Nature will be the recognition of an intellectual unity
holding together all the various forms of life as parts of one Creative

[Footnote 3: See lower wood-cut, p. 294, _d_.]

[Footnote 4: Those who care to know more of the habits and structure of
these animals will find more detailed descriptions of all the various
species, illustrated by numerous plates, in the fourth volume of my
_Contributions to the Natural History of the United States,_ just


In exploring among dusty files of newspapers for the true records of
Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner, I have caught occasional glimpses of a
plot perhaps more wide in its outlines than that of either, which has
lain obscure in the darkness of half a century, traceable only in the
political events which dated from it, and the utter incorrectness of the
scanty traditions which assumed to preserve it. And though researches in
public libraries have only proved to me how rapidly the materials for
American history are vanishing,--since not one of our great institutions
possesses, for instance, a file of any Southern newspaper of the year
1800,--yet the little which I have gained may have an interest which
makes it worth preserving. I have never been able to see why American
historians should be driven to foreign lands for subjects, when our own
nation has furnished tyrannies more terrible than that of Philip of
Spain, and heroes more silent than William of Orange,--or why our
novelists must seek themes in Italy, on the theory avowed by one of the
most gifted of their number, that this country is given over to a "broad
commonplace prosperity," and harbors "no picturesque or gloomy wrong."
But since, as the Spanish proverb says, no man can at the same time ring
the bells and walk in the procession, so it has perhaps happened that
those most qualified to record the romance of slave-institutions have
been thus far too busy in dealing with the reality.

Three times, at intervals of thirty years, has a wave of unutterable
terror swept across the Old Dominion, bringing thoughts of agony to
every Virginian master, and of vague hope to every Virginian slave. Each
time has one man's name become a spell of dismay and a symbol of
deliverance. Each time has that name eclipsed its predecessor, while
recalling it for a moment to fresher memory: John Brown revived the
story of Nat Turner, as in his day Nat Turner recalled the vaster
schemes of Gabriel.

On September 8th, 1800, a Virginia correspondent wrote thus to the
Philadelphia "United States Gazette":--

   "For the week past, we have been under momentary expectation of a
   rising among the negroes, who have assembled to the number of nine
   hundred or a thousand, and threatened to massacre all the whites.
   They are armed with desperate weapons, and secrete themselves in the
   woods. God only knows our fate; we have strong guards every night
   under arms."

It was no wonder, if there were foundation for such rumors. Liberty was
the creed or the cant of the day. France was being rocked by revolution,
and England by Clarkson. In America, slavery was habitually recognized
as a misfortune and an error, only to be palliated by the nearness of
its expected end. How freely anti-slavery pamphlets had been circulated
in Virginia we know from the priceless volumes collected and annotated
by Washington, and now preserved in the Boston Athenaeum. Jefferson's
"Notes on Virginia," itself an anti-slavery tract, had passed through
seven editions. Judge St. George Tucker, law-professor in William and
Mary College, had recently published his noble work, "A Dissertation on
Slavery, with a Proposal for the Gradual Abolition of it in the State of
Virginia." From all this agitation a slave insurrection was a mere
corollary. With so much electricity in the air, a single flash of
lightning foreboded all the terrors of the tempest. Let but a single
armed negro be seen or suspected, and at once on many a lonely
plantation there were trembling hands at work to bar doors and windows
that seldom had been even closed before, and there was shuddering when a
gray squirrel scrambled over the roof, or a shower of walnuts came down
clattering from the overhanging boughs.

Early in September, 1800, as a certain Mr. Moseley Sheppard, of Henrico
County in Virginia, was one day sitting in his counting-room, two
negroes knocked at the door and were let in. They shut the door
themselves, and began to unfold an insurrectionary plot, which was
subsequently repeated by one of them, named Ben Woodfolk or Woolfolk, in
presence of the court, on the fifteenth of the same month.

He stated that about the first of the preceding June he had been asked
by a negro named Colonel George whether he would like to be made a
Mason. He refused; but George ultimately prevailed on him to have an
interview with a certain leading man among the blacks, named Gabriel.
Arrived at the place of meeting, he found many persons assembled, to
whom a preliminary oath was administered, that they would keep secret
all which they might hear. The leaders then began, to the dismay of this
witness, to allude to a plan of insurrection, which, as they stated, was
already far advanced toward maturity. Presently a man named Martin,
Gabriel's brother, proposed religious services, caused the company to be
duly seated, and began an impassioned exposition of Scripture, bearing
upon the perilous theme. The Israelites were glowingly portrayed as a
type of successful resistance to tyranny; and it was argued, that now,
as then, God would stretch forth His arm to save, and would strengthen a
hundred to overthrow a thousand. Thus passed, the witness stated, this
preparatory meeting. At a subsequent gathering the affair was brought to
a point, and the only difficult question was, whether to rise in
rebellion upon a certain Saturday, or upon the Sunday following. Gabriel
said that Saturday was the day already fixed, and that it must not be
altered; but George was for changing it to Sunday, as being more
convenient for the country negroes, who could travel on that day without
suspicion. Gabriel, however, said decisively that they had enough to
carry Richmond without them, and Saturday was therefore retained as the
momentous day.

This was the confession, so far as it is now accessible; and on the
strength of it Ben Woolfolk was promptly pardoned by the court for all
his sins, past, present, or to come, and they proceeded with their
investigation. Of Gabriel little appeared to be known, except that he
had been the property of Thomas Prosser, a young man who had recently
inherited a plantation a few miles from Richmond, and who had the
reputation among his neighbors of "behaving with great barbarity to his
slaves." Gabriel was, however, reported to be "a fellow of courage and
intellect above his rank in life,"--to be about twenty-five years of
age,--and to be guiltless of the alphabet.

Further inquiry made it appear that the preparations of the insurgents
were hardly adequate to any grand revolutionary design,--at least, if
they proposed to begin with open warfare. The commissariat may have been
well organized, for black Virginians are apt to have a prudent eye to
the larder; but the ordnance department and the treasury were as low as
if Secretary Floyd had been in charge of them. A slave called "Prosser's
Ben" testified that he went with Gabriel to see Ben Woolfolk, who was
going to Caroline County to enlist men, and that "Gabriel gave him three
shillings for himself and three other negroes, to be expended in
recruiting men." Their arms and ammunition, so far as reported,
consisted of a peck of bullets, ten pounds of powder, and twelve
scythe-swords, made by Gabriel's brother Solomon, and fitted with
handles by Gabriel himself. "These cutlasses," said subsequently a white
eyewitness, "are made of scythes cut in two and fixed into well-turned
handles. I have never seen arms so murderous. Those who still doubt the
importance of the conspiracy which has been so fortunately frustrated
would shudder with horror at the sight of these instruments of death."
And as it presently appeared that a conspirator named Scott had
astonished his master by accidentally pulling ten dollars from a ragged
pocket which seemed inadequate to the custody of ten cents, it was
agreed that the plot might still be dangerous, even though the resources
seemed limited.

And indeed, as was soon discovered, the effective weapon of the
insurgents lay in the very audacity of their plan. The scheme, as it
existed in the mind of Gabriel, was as elaborate as that of Denmark
Vesey, and as thorough as that of Nat Turner. If the current statements
of all the Virginia letter-writers were true, "nothing could have been
better contrived." It was to have taken effect on the first day of
September. The rendezvous for the blacks was to be a brook six miles
from Richmond. Eleven hundred men were to assemble there, and were to be
divided into three columns, their officers having been designated in
advance. All were to march on Richmond,--then a town of eight thousand
inhabitants,--under cover of night. The right wing was instantly to
seize upon the penitentiary building, just converted into an arsenal;
while the left wing was to take possession of the powder-house. These
two columns were to be armed chiefly with clubs, as their undertaking
depended for success upon surprise, and was expected to prevail without
hard fighting. But it was the central force, armed with muskets,
cutlasses, knives, and pikes, upon which the chief responsibility
rested; these men were to enter the town at both ends simultaneously,
and begin a general carnage, none being excepted save the French
inhabitants, who were supposed for some reason to be friendly to the
negroes. In a very few hours, it was thought, they would have entire
control of the metropolis. And that this hope was not in the least
unreasonable was shown by the subsequent confessions of weakness from
the whites. "They could scarcely have failed of success," wrote the
Richmond Correspondent of the Boston "Chronicle," "for, after all, we
could only muster four or five hundred men, of whom not more than thirty
had muskets."

For the insurgents, if successful, the penitentiary held several
thousand stand of arms; the powder-house was well stocked; the capitol
contained the State treasury; the mills would give them bread; the
control of the bridge across James River would keep off enemies from
beyond. Thus secured and provided, they planned to issue proclamations
summoning to their standard "their fellow-negroes and the friends of
humanity throughout the continent." In a week, it was estimated, they
would have fifty thousand men on their side, with which force they could
easily possess themselves of other towns; and, indeed, a slave named
John Scott--possibly the dangerous possessor of the ten dollars--was
already appointed to head the attack on Petersburg. But in case of final
failure, the project included a retreat to the mountains, with their
new-found property. John Brown was therefore anticipated by Gabriel,
sixty years before, in believing the Virginia mountains to have been
"created, from the foundation of the world, as a place of refuge for
fugitive slaves."

These are the statements of the contemporary witnesses; they are
repeated in many newspapers of the year 1800, and are in themselves
clear and consistent. Whether they are on the whole exaggerated or
understated, it is now impossible to say. It is certain that a Richmond
paper of September 12th (quoted in the "New York Gazette" of September
18th) declares that "the plot has been entirely exploded, which was
shallow; and had the attempt been made to carry it into execution, but
little resistance would have been required to render the scheme entirely
abortive." But it is necessary to remember that this is no more than the
Charleston newspapers said at the very crisis of Denmark Vesey's
formidable plot. "Last evening," wrote a lady from Charleston in 1822,
"twenty-five hundred of our citizens were under arms to guard our
property and lives. But it is a subject _not to be mentioned_ [so
underscored]; and unless you hear of it elsewhere, say nothing about
it." Thus it is always hard to know whether to assume the facts of an
insurrection as above or below the estimates. This Virginian excitement
also happened at a period of intense political agitation, and was seized
upon as a boon by the Federalists. The very article above quoted is
ironically headed, "Holy Insurrection," and takes its motto from
Jefferson, with profuse capital letters,--"The Spirit of the Master is
abating, that of the Slave rising from the dust, his condition

In view of the political aspect thus given to the plot, and of its
ingenuity and thoroughness likewise, the Virginians were naturally
disposed to attribute to white men some share in it; and speculation
presently began to run wild. The newspapers were soon full of theories,
no two being alike, and no one credible. The plot originated, some said,
in certain handbills written by Jefferson's friend Callender, then in
prison at Richmond on a charge of sedition; these were circulated by two
French negroes, aided by a "United Irishman," calling himself a
Methodist preacher,--and it was in consideration of these services that
no Frenchman was to be injured by the slaves. When Gabriel was arrested,
the editor of the "United States Gazette" affected much diplomatic
surprise that no letters were _yet_ found upon his person "from Fries,
Gallatin, or Duane, nor was he at the time of his capture accompanied by
any United Irishman." "He, however, acknowledges that there are others
concerned, and that he is not the principal instigator." All Federalists
agreed that the Southern Democratic talk was constructive
insurrection,--which it certainly was,--and they painted graphic
pictures of noisy "Jacobins" over their wine, and eager, dusky listeners
behind their chairs. "It is evident that the French principles of
liberty and equality have been effused into the minds of the negroes,
and that the incautious and intemperate use of the words by some whites
among us have inspired them with hopes of success." "While the fiery
Hotspurs of the State vociferate their _French babble_ of the natural
equality of man, the insulted negro will be constantly stimulated to
cast away his cords and to sharpen his pike." "It is, moreover,
believed, though not positively known, that a great many of our
profligate and abandoned whites (who are distinguished by the burlesque
appellation of _Democrats_) are implicated with the blacks, and would
have joined them, if they had commenced their operations.... The Jacobin
printers and their friends are panic-struck. Never was terror more
strongly depicted in the countenances of men." These extracts from three
different Federalist newspapers show the amiable emotions of that side
of the house; while Democratic Duane, in the "Aurora," could find no
better repartee than to attribute the whole trouble to the policy of the
Administration in renewing commercial intercourse with San Domingo.

I have discovered in the Norfolk "Epitome of the Times," for October 9,
1800, a remarkable epistle written from Richmond jail by the unfortunate
Callender himself. He indignantly denies the charges against the
Democrats, of complicity in dangerous plots, boldly retorting them upon
the Federalists. "An insurrection at this critical moment by the negroes
of the Southern States would have thrown everything into confusion, and
consequently it was to have prevented the choice of electors in the
whole or the greater part of the States to the south of the Potomac.
Such a disaster must have tended directly to injure the interests of Mr.
Jefferson, and to promote the slender possibility of a second election
of Mr. Adams." And, to be sure, the "United States Gazette" followed up
the thing with a good, single-minded party malice which cannot be
surpassed in these present days, ending in such altitudes of sublime
coolness as the following:--"The insurrection of the negroes in the
Southern States, which appears to be organized on the true French plan,
must be decisive with every reflecting man in those States of the
election of Mr. Adams and General Pinckney. The military skill and
approved bravery of the General must be peculiarly valuable to his
countrymen at these trying moments." Let us have a military
Vice-President, by all means, to meet this formidable exigency of
Gabriel's peck of bullets, and this unexplained three shillings in the
pocket of "Prosser's Ben"!

But Gabriel's campaign failed, like that of the Federalists, and the
appointed day brought disasters more fatal than even the sword of
General Pinckney. The affrighted negroes declared that "the stars in
their courses fought against Sisera." The most furious tempest ever
known in Virginia burst upon the land that day, instead of an
insurrection. Roads and plantations were submerged. Bridges were carried
away. The fords, which then, as now, were the ordinary substitutes for
bridges in that region, were rendered wholly impassable. The Brook
Swamp, one of the most important strategic points of the insurgents, was
entirely inundated, hopelessly dividing Prosser's farm from Richmond;
the country negroes could not get in, nor those from the city get out.
The thousand men dwindled to a few hundred,--and these half paralyzed by
superstition; there was nothing to do but to dismiss them, and before
they could reassemble they were betrayed.

That the greatest alarm was instantly created throughout the community,
there is no question. All the city of Richmond was in arms, and in all
large towns of the State the night-patrol was doubled. It is a little
amusing to find it formally announced, that "the Governor, impressed
with the magnitude of the danger, has appointed for himself three
Aides-de-camp." A troop of United States cavalry was ordered to
Richmond. Numerous arrests were made. Men were convicted on one day and
hanged on the next,--five, six, ten, fifteen at a time, almost without
evidence. Three hundred dollars were offered by Governor Monroe for the
arrest of Gabriel; as much more for another chief named Jack Bowler,
_alias_ Ditcher; whereupon Bowler, _alias_ Ditcher, surrendered himself,
but it took some weeks to get upon the track of Gabriel. He was finally
captured at Norfolk, on board a schooner just arrived from Richmond, in
whose hold he had concealed himself for eleven days, having thrown
overboard a bayonet and bludgeon, which were his only arms. Crowds of
people collected to see him, including many of his own color. He was
arrested on September 24th, convicted on October 3d, and executed on
October 7th; and it is known of him further only, that, like almost all
leaders of slave insurrections, he showed a courage which his enemies
could not gainsay. "When he was apprehended, he manifested the greatest
marks of firmness and confidence, showing not the least disposition to
equivocate or screen himself from justice,"--but making no confession
that could implicate any one else. "The behavior of Gabriel under his
misfortunes," said the Norfolk "Epitome" of September 25th, "was such as
might be expected from a mind capable of forming the daring project
which he had conceived." The "United States Gazette" for October 9th
states, more sarcastically, that "the General is said to have manifested
the utmost composure, and with the true spirit of heroism seems ready to
resign his high office, and even his life, rather than gratify the
officious inquiries of the Governor."

Some of these newspapers suggest that the authorities found it good
policy to omit the statement made by Gabriel, whatever it was. At any
rate, he assured them that he was by no means the sole instigator of the
affair; he could name numbers, even in Norfolk, who were more deeply
concerned. To his brother Solomon he is said to have stated that the
real head of the plot was Jack Bowler. Still another leader was "General
John Scott," already mentioned, the slave of Mr. Greenhow, hired by Mr.
McCrea. He was captured by his employer in Norfolk, just as he was
boldly entering a public conveyance to escape; and the Baltimore
"Telegraphe" declared that he had a written paper directing him to apply
to Alexander Biddenhurst or Weddenhurst in Philadelphia, "corner of
Coats Alley and Budd Street, who would supply his needs." What became of
this military individual, or of his Philadelphia sympathizers, does not
appear. But it was noticed, as usually happens in such cases, that all
the insurgents had previously passed for saints. "It consists within my
knowledge," says one letter-writer, "that many of these wretches who
were or would have been partakers in the plot have been treated with the
utmost tenderness by their masters, and were more like children than

These appear to be all the details now accessible of this once famous
plot. They were not very freely published even at the time. "The
minutiae of the conspiracy have not been detailed to the public," said
the "Salem Gazette" of October 7th, "and, perhaps, through a mistaken
notion of prudence and policy, will not be detailed, in the Richmond
papers." The New York "Commercial Advertiser" of October 13th was still
more explicit. "The trials of the negroes concerned in the late
insurrection are suspended until the opinions of the Legislature can be
had on the subject. This measure is said to be owing to the immense
numbers who are interested in the plot, whose death, should they all be
found guilty and be executed, will nearly produce the annihilation of
the blacks in this part of the country." And in the next issue of the
same journal a Richmond correspondent makes a similar statement, with
the following addition:--

   "A conditional amnesty is perhaps expected. At the next session of
   the Legislature [of Virginia] they took into consideration the
   subject referred to them, in secret session, with closed doors. The
   whole result of their deliberations has never yet been made public,
   as the injunction of secrecy has never been removed. To satisfy the
   court, the public, and themselves, they had a task so difficult to
   perform, that it is not surprising that their deliberations were in

It is a matter of historical interest to know that in these mysterious
sessions lay the germs of the American Colonization Society. A
correspondence was at once secretly commenced between the Governor of
Virginia and the President of the United States, with a view to securing
a grant of land whither troublesome slaves might be banished. Nothing
came of it then; but in 1801, 1802, and 1804, these attempts were
renewed. And finally, on January 22d, 1805, the following vote was
passed, still in secret session:--"_Resolved_, that the Senators of this
State in the Congress of the United States be instructed, and the
Representatives be requested, to use their best efforts for the
obtaining from the General Government a competent portion of territory
in the State of Louisiana, to be appropriated to the residence of such
people of color as have been or shall be emancipated, or hereafter may
become dangerous to the public safety," etc. But of all these efforts
nothing was known till their record was accidentally discovered by
Charles Fenton Mercer in 1816. He at once brought the matter to light,
and moved a similar resolution in the Virginia Legislature; it was
almost unanimously adopted, and the first formal meeting of the
Colonization Society, in 1817, was called "in aid" of this Virginia
movement. But the whole correspondence was never made public until the
Nat-Turner insurrection of 1831 recalled the previous excitement, and
these papers were demanded by Mr. Summers, a member of the Legislature,
who described them as "having originated in a convulsion similar to that
which had recently, but more terribly, occurred."

But neither these subsequent papers, nor any documents which now appear
accessible, can supply any authentic or trustworthy evidence as to the
real extent of the earlier plot. It certainly was not confined to the
mere environs of Richmond. The Norfolk "Epitome" of October 6th states
that on the sixth and seventh of the previous month one hundred and
fifty blacks, including twenty from Norfolk, were assembled near
Whitlock's Mills in Suffolk County, and remained in the neighborhood
till the failure of the Richmond plan became known. Petersburg
newspapers also had letters containing similar tales. Then the alarm
spread more widely. Near Edenton, N.C., there was undoubtedly a real
insurrection, though promptly suppressed; and many families ultimately
removed from that vicinity in consequence. In Charleston, S.C., there
was still greater excitement, if the contemporary press may be trusted;
it was reported that the freeholders had been summoned to appear in
arms, on penalty of a fine of fifteen pounds, which many preferred to
pay rather than risk taking the fever which then prevailed. These
reports were, however, zealously contradicted in letters from
Charleston, dated October 8th, and the Charleston newspapers up to
September 17th had certainly contained no reference to any especial
excitement. This alone might not settle the fact, for reasons already
given. But the omission of any such affair from the valuable pamphlet
containing reminiscences of insurrections in South Carolina, published
in 1822 by Edwin C. Holland, is presumptive evidence that no very
extended agitation occurred.

But wherever there was a black population, slave or emancipated, men's
startled consciences made cowards of them all, and recognized the negro
as a dangerous man, because an injured one. In Philadelphia it was
seriously proposed to prohibit the use of sky-rockets for a time,
because they had been employed as signals in San Domingo. "Even in
Boston," said the New York "Daily Advertiser" of September 20th, "fears
are expressed, and measures of prevention adopted." This probably refers
to a singular advertisement which appeared in some of the Boston
newspapers on September 16th, and runs as follows:--


   "The officers of the police having made returns to the subscriber of
   the names of the following persons who are Africans or negroes, not
   subjects of the Emperor of Morocco nor citizens of any of the United
   States, the same are hereby warned and directed to depart out of this
   Commonwealth before the tenth day of October next, as they would
   avoid the pains and penalties of the law in that case provided, which
   was passed by the Legislature March 26, 1788.



   "By order and direction of the Selectmen."

The names annexed are about three hundred, with the places of their
supposed origin, and they occupy a column of the paper. So at least
asserts the "United States Gazette" of September 23d. "It seems
probable," adds the editor, "from the nature of the notice, that some
suspicion of the design of the negroes is entertained, and we regret to
say there is too much cause." The law of 1788 above mentioned was "an
act for suppressing rogues, vagabonds, and the like," which forbade all
persons of African descent, unless citizens of some one of the United
States or subjects of the Emperor of Morocco, from remaining more than
two months within the Commonwealth, on penalty of imprisonment and hard
labor. This singular statute remained unrepealed until 1834.

Amid the general harmony in the contemporary narratives of Gabriel's
insurrection, it would be improper to pass by one exceptional legend,
which by some singular fatality has obtained more circulation than all
the true accounts put together. I can trace it no farther back than Nat
Turner's time, when it was published in the Albany "Evening Journal";
thence transferred to the "Liberator" of September 17th, 1831, and many
other newspapers; then refuted in detail by the "Richmond Enquirer" of
October 21st; then resuscitated in the John-Brown epoch by the
Philadelphia "Press," and extensively copied. It is fresh, spirited, and
full of graphic and interesting details, nearly every one of which is
altogether false.

Gabriel in this narrative becomes a rather mythical being, of vast
abilities and life-long preparations. He bought his freedom, it is
stated, at the age of twenty-one, and then travelled all over the
Southern States, enlisting confederates and forming stores of arms. At
length his plot was discovered, in consequence of three negroes' having
been seen riding out of a stable-yard together; and the Governor offered
a reward of ten thousand dollars for further information, to which a
Richmond gentleman added as much more. Gabriel concealed himself on
board the Sally Ann, a vessel just sailing for San Domingo, and was
revealed by his little nephew, whom he had sent for a jug of rum.
Finally the narrative puts an eloquent dying speech into Gabriel's
mouth, and, to give a properly tragic consummation, causes him to be
torn to death by four wild horses. The last item is, however, omitted in
the more recent reprints of the story.

Every one of these statements appears to be absolutely erroneous.
Gabriel lived and died a slave, and was probably never out of Virginia.
His plot was voluntarily revealed by accomplices. The rewards offered
for his arrest amounted to three hundred dollars only. He concealed
himself on board the schooner Mary, bound to Norfolk, and was discovered
by the police. He died on the gallows, with ten associates, having made
no address to the court or the people. All the errors of the statement
were contradicted when it was first made public, but they have proved
very hard to kill.

It is stated at the close of this newspaper romance,--and it may
nevertheless be true,--that these events were embodied in a song bearing
the same title with this essay, "Gabriel's Defeat," and set to a tune of
the same name, both being composed by a colored man. The reporter claims
to have heard it in Virginia, as a favorite air at the dances of the
white people, as well as in the huts of the slaves. It would certainly
be one of history's strange parallelisms, if this fatal enterprise, like
that of John Brown afterwards, should thus triumphantly have embalmed
itself in music. But I have found no other trace of such a piece of
border-minstrelsy, and it is probable that even this plaintive memorial
has at length disappeared.

Yet, twenty-two years after these events their impression still remained
vivid enough for Benjamin Lundy, in Tennessee, to write,--"So well had
they matured their plot, and so completely had they organized their
system of operations, that nothing but a seemingly miraculous
intervention of the arm of Providence was supposed to have been capable
of saving the city from pillage and flames, and the inhabitants thereof
from butchery. So dreadful was the alarm and so great the consternation
produced on this occasion, that a member of Congress from that State was
some time after heard to express himself in his place as follows: 'The
night-bell is never heard to toll in the city of Richmond but the
anxious mother presses her infant more closely to her bosom.'" The
Congressman was John Randolph of Roanoke, and it was Gabriel who had
taught him the lesson.

And longer than the melancholy life of that wayward statesman,--down
even to the beginning of the present civil war, and perhaps to this very
moment,--there lingered in Richmond a memorial of those days, most
peculiar and most instructive. Before the days of Secession, when the
Northern traveller in Virginia, after traversing for weary leagues its
miry ways, its desolate fields, and its flowery forests, rode at last
into its metropolis,--now slowly expanded into a city of twenty-eight
thousand inhabitants,--he was sure to be guided erelong to visit its
stately Capitol, modelled by Jefferson, when French minister, from the
Maison Carrée. Standing before it, he might admire undisturbed the
Grecian outline of its exterior, or criticize at will the unsightly
cheapness of its stucco imitations; but he found himself forbidden to
enter, save by passing an armed and uniformed sentinel at the door-way.
No other State of the Union has thus found it necessary in time of
profoundest quiet to protect its State-House by a permanent cordon of
bayonets; indeed, the Constitution expressly prohibits to any State a
standing army, however small. Yet there for sixty years has stood
sentinel the "Public Guard" of Virginia, wearing the suicidal motto of
that decaying Commonwealth, "_Sic semper Tyrannis_"; and when one asked
the origin of the precaution, one learned that it was the lasting
memorial of Gabriel's insurrection, the stern heritage of terror
bequeathed by his defeat.


We mustered at midnight, in darkness we formed,
And the whisper went round of a fort to be stormed;
But no drum-beat had called us, no trumpet we heard,
And no voice of command, but our Colonel's low word,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

And out, through the mist and the murk of the morn,
From the beaches of Hampton our barges were borne;
And we heard not a sound, save the sweep of the oar,
Till the word of our Colonel came up from the shore,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

With hearts bounding bravely, and eyes all alight,
As ye dance to soft music, so trod we, that night;
Through the aisles of the greenwood, with vines overarched,
Tossing dew-drops, like gems, from our feet, as we marched,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

As ye dance with the damsels, to viol and flute,
So we skipped from the shadows, and mocked their pursuit;
But the soft zephyrs chased us, with scents of the morn,
As we passed by the hay-fields and green waving corn,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

For the leaves were all laden with fragrance of June,
And the flowers and the foliage with sweets were in tune;
And the air was so calm, and the forest so dumb,
That we heard our own heart-beats, like taps of a drum,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

Till the lull of the lowlands was stirred by a breeze,
And the buskins of Morn brushed the tops of the trees,
And the glintings of glory that slid from her track
By the sheen of our rifles were gayly flung back,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

And the woodlands grew purple with sunshiny mist,
And the blue-crested hill-tops with rose-light were kissed,
And the earth gave her prayers to the sun in perfumes,
Till we marched as through gardens, and trampled on blooms,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

Ay! trampled on blossoms, and seared the sweet breath
Of the greenwood with low-brooding vapors of death;
O'er the flowers and the corn we were borne like a blast,
And away to the fore-front of battle we passed,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

For the cannon's hoarse thunder roared out from the glades,
And the sun was like lightning on banners and blades,
When the long line of chanting Zouaves, like a flood,
From the green of the woodlands rolled, crimson as blood,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

While the sound of their song, like the surge of the seas,
With the "Star-Spangled Banner" swelled over the leas;
And the sword of DURYEA, like a torch, led the way,
Bearing down on the batteries of Bethel, that day,--[5]
                                   "Column! Forward!"

Through green-tasselled cornfields our columns were thrown,
And like corn by the red scythe of fire we were mown;
While the cannon's fierce ploughings new-furrowed the plain,
That our blood might be planted for LIBERTY'S grain,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

Oh! the fields of fair June have no lack of sweet flowers,
But their rarest and best breathe no fragrance like ours;
And the sunshine of June, sprinkling gold on the corn,
Hath no harvest that ripeneth like BETHEL'S red morn,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

When our heroes, like bridegrooms, with lips and with breath,
Drank the first kiss of Danger and clasped her in death;
And the heart of brave WINTHROP grew mute, with his lyre,
When the plumes of his genius lay moulting in fire,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

Where he fell shall be sunshine as bright as his name,
And the grass where he slept shall be green as his fame;
For the gold of the Pen and the steel of the Sword
Write his deeds--in his blood--on the land he adored,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

And the soul of our comrade shall sweeten the air,
And the flowers and the grass-blades his memory upbear;
While the breath of his genius, like music in leaves,
With the corn-tassels whispers, and sings in the sheaves,--
                                   "Column! Forward!"

[Footnote 5: The march on Bethel was begun in high spirits at midnight,
but it was near noon when the Zouaves, in their crimson garments, led by
Colonel Duryea, charged the batteries, after singing the "Star-Spangled
Banner" in chords. Major Winthrop fell in the storming of the enemy's
defences, and was left on the battle-field. Lieutenant Greble, the only
other officer killed, was shot at his gun soon after. This fatal contest
inaugurated the "war of posts" which has since raged in Virginia.]




Peaceable voyagers in the West Indies were much astonished at their
first sight of certain men, who might have been a new species of native,
generated with slight advances upon the old stock by the principle of
selection, or spontaneous growths of a soil well guanoed by ferocity.
They sported the scarlet suit of the Carib, but of a dye less innocent,
as if the fated islands imparted this color to the men who preyed upon
them. A cotton shirt hung on their shoulders, and a pair of cotton
drawers struggled vainly to cover their thighs: you had to look very
closely to pronounce upon the material, it was so stained with blood and
fat. Their bronzed faces and thick necks were hirsute, as if overgrown
with moss, tangled or crispy. Their feet were tied up in the raw hides
of hogs or beeves just slaughtered, from which they also frequently
extemporized drawers, cut while reeking, and left to stiffen to the
shape of the legs. A heavy-stocked musket, made at Dieppe or Nantes,
with a barrel four and a half feet long, and carrying sixteen balls to
the pound,[6] lay over the shoulder, a calabash full of powder, with a
wax stopper, was slung behind, and a belt of crocodile's skin, with four
knives and a bayonet, went round the waist. These individuals, if the
term is applicable to the phenomena in question, were Buccaneers.[7]

The name is derived from the arrangements which the Caribs made to cook
their prisoners of war. After being dismembered, their pieces were
placed upon wooden gridirons, which were called in Carib, _barbacoa_. It
will please our Southern brethren to recognize a congenial origin for
their favorite barbecue. The place where these grilling hurdles were set
up was called boucan, and the method of roasting and smoking,
_boucaner_. The Buccaneers were men of many nations, who hunted the wild
cattle, which had increased prodigiously from the original Spanish
stock; after taking off the hide, they served the flesh as the Caribs
served their captives. There appears to have been a division of
employment among them; for some hunted beeves merely for the hide, and
others hunted the wild hogs to salt and sell their flesh. But their
habits and appearance were the same. The beef-hunters had many dogs, of
the old mastiff-breed imported from Spain, to assist in running down
their game, with one or two hounds in each pack, who were taught to
announce and follow up a trail.

The origin of these men, called Buccaneers, can be traced to a few
Norman-French who were driven out of St. Christophe, in 1630, by the
Spaniards. This island was settled jointly, but by an accidental
coincidence, by French and English, in 1625. They lived tranquilly
together for five years: the hunting of Caribs, who disputed their title
to the soil, being a bond of union between them which was stronger than
national prejudice. But the Spanish power became jealous of this
encroachment among the islands, which it affected to own by virtue of
Papal dispensation. Though Spain did not care to occupy it, Cuba and the
Main being too engrossing, she determined that no other power should do
so. She therefore took advantage of disturbances which arose there, in
consequence, the French writers affirm, of the perfidious ambition of
Albion, and chased both parties out of the island. The French soon
recovered possession of it, which they solely held in future; but many
exiles never returned, preferring to woo Fortune in company with the
French and English adventurers who swarmed in those seas, having
withdrawn, for sufficient reasons, from civilized society before a
graceful retreat became impossible. This medley of people settled at
first upon the northern and western coasts of San Domingo,--the latter
being as yet unoccupied. A few settlements of Spaniards upon the
northern coast, which suffered from their national antipathies and had
endeavored to root them out, were quickly broken up by them. The Dutch,
of course, were friendly, and promised to supply them with necessaries
in payment for hides, lard, and meat, _boucané_.

Their favorite haunt was the little island Tortuga,[8] so named, some
say, from its resemblance to a turtle afloat, and others, from the
abundance of that "green and glutinous" delight of aldermen. It is only
two or three leagues distant from the northern coast of San Domingo, off
the mouth of Trois Rivières. Its northern side is inaccessible: a boat
cannot find a nook or cove into which it may slip for landing or
shelter. But there is one harbor upon the southern side, and the
Buccaneers took possession of this, and gradually fortified it to make a
place tenable against the anticipated assaults of the Spaniards. The
soil was thin, but it nourished great trees which seemed to grow from
the rocks; water was scarce; the hogs were numerous, smaller and more
delicate than those of San Domingo; the sugar-cane flourished; and
tobacco of superior quality could be raised. About five-and-twenty
Spaniards held the harbor when these adventurers approached to take
possession. There were, besides, a few other rovers like themselves,
whom the new community adopted. The Spaniards made no resistance, and
were suffered to retire.

There was cordial fellowship between the _Flibustiers_ and Buccaneers,
for they were all outlaws, without a country, with few national
predilections,--men who could not live at home except at the risk of
apprehension for vagrancy or crime,--men who ran away in search of
adventure when the public ear was ringing with the marvels and riches of
the Indies, and when a multitude of sins could be covered by judicious
preying. The Spaniards were the victims of this floating and roving St.
Giles of the seventeenth century. If England or France went to war with
Spain, these freebooters obtained commissions, and their pillaging grew
honorable; but it did not subside with the conclusion of a peace. They
followed their own policy of lust and avarice, over regions too far from
the main history of the times to be controlled.

The word _Flibustier_ is derived from the Dutch _Vlieboot_, fly-boat,
swift boat, a kind of small craft whose sailing qualities were superior
to those of the other vessels then in vogue. It is possible that the
English made freebooter[9] out of the French adaptation. The fly-boat
was originally only a long, light pinnace[10] or cutter with oars,
fitted also to carry sail; we often find the word used by the French
writers to designate vessels which brought important intelligence. They
were favorite craft with the _Flibustiers_, not from their swiftness
alone, but from their ease of management, and capacity to run up the
creeks and river-openings, and to lie concealed. From these they boarded
the larger vessels, to plunder or to use them for prolonged freebooting
expeditions. The _Flibustier_, then, was a sea-hunter or pirate, as the
Buccaneer was a land-hunter, but ready also for pillaging expeditions,
in which they coöperated. And their pursuits were interchangeable: the
Buccaneer sometimes went to sea, and the _Flibustier_, in times of
marine scarcity, would don the hog-skin breeches, and run down cows or
hunt fugitive negroes with packs of dogs. The Buccaneers, however,
slowly acquired a tendency to settle, while the _Flibustiers_ preferred
to keep the seas, till Europe began to look them up too sharply; so that
the former became, eventually, the agricultural nucleus of the western
part of San Domingo, when the supply of wild cattle began to fail. This
failure happened partly in consequence of their own extravagant
hunting-habits, and partly through the agency of the Spaniards of the
eastern colony, who thought that by slaughtering the cattle their French
neighbors would be driven, for lack of employment, from the soil.

The Buccaneers generally went to the chase in couples, attended by their
dogs and _Engagés_. These hired or _engaged_ men first appear in the
history of the island as valets of the Buccaneers. But, in their case,
misfortune rather than vice was the reason of their appearance in such
doubtful companionship. They were often sold for debt or inability to
pay a rent, as happened in Scotland even during the eighteenth century;
they were deluded to take ship by the flaming promises which the
captains of vessels issued in the ports of different countries, to
recruit their crews, or with the wickeder purpose of kidnapping simple
rustics and hangers-on of cities; they sometimes came to a vessel's side
in poverty, and sold their liberty for three years for the sake of a
passage to the fabled Ind; press-gangs sometimes stole and smuggled them
aboard of vessels just ready to sail; very young people were induced to
come aboard,--indeed, one or two cases happened in France, where a
schoolmaster and his flock, who were out for a walk, were cajoled by
these purveyors of avaricious navigators, and actually carried away from
the country. There was, besides, a regular method of supplying the
French colonies in the different islands with voluntary _engagés_, who
agreed to serve for three years at certain wages, with liberty and a
small allotment of land at the expiration of the time. These were called
"thirty-six months' men." Sometimes their regular indenture was
respected, and sometimes violently set aside to make the signers
virtually slaves. This was done occasionally by the French in imitation
of the English. A number of _engagés_ at St. Christophe, finding that
they were not set at liberty at the expiration of their three years, and
that their masters intended to hold them two years more, assembled
tumultuously, and threatened to attack the colony. This was in 1632.
Their masters were not in sufficient force to carry out their plan, and
the Governor was obliged to set at liberty all who had served their
time. In 1719, the French Council of State decreed, in consequence of
the scarcity of _engagés_, that all vagabonds and criminals sentenced to
the galleys should be transported for colonial service; and in order to
diminish the expense of shipping them, every vessel leaving France for
the Antilles was compelled to carry three _engagés_ free of expense.

The amount of misery created by these various methods of supplying the
islands with human labor cannot be computed. The victims were very
humble; the manner of their taking-off was rarely noticed; the spirit of
the age never stooped to consider these trifles of sorrow, nor to
protect by some legislation the unfortunates who suffered in remote
islands, whence their cries seldom reached the ears of authority. It
would have been surprising, if many of these _engagés_ had not assumed
the habits of their masters, and kept the wandering hordes by land and
sea recruited. Some of the most famous Buccaneers--for that name
popularly included also the _Flibustiers_--were originally thirty-six
months' men who had daring and conduct enough to make the best of their
enforced condition.

These _engagés_ were in all respects treated as slaves, especially when
bound to agricultural service. Their master left them to the mercies of
an overseer, who whistled them up at daybreak for wood-cutting or labor
in the tobacco-fields, and went about among them with a stout stick,
which he used freely to bring the lagging up to their work. Many
cruelties are related of these men, but they are of the ordinary kind to
be found in the annals of all slave-holding countries. The fact that the
_engagés_ were indentured only for three years made no difference with
men whose sole object was to use up every available resource in the
pursuit of wealth. Bad treatment, chagrin, and scurvy destroyed many of
them. The French writers accused the English of treating their _engagés_
worse than any other nation, as they retained them for seven years, at
the end of which time they gave them money enough to procure a
lengthened debauch, during which they generally signed away their
liberty for seven more years. Oexmelin says that Cromwell sold more than
ten thousand Scotch and Irish, destined for Barbadoes. A whole ship-load
of these escaped, but perished miserably of famine near Cape Tiburon, at
a place which was afterwards called _L'Anse aux Ibernois_.

The first _engagés_ were brought by the French from Dieppe: they signed
contracts before notaries previously to quitting the country. This class
of laborers was eagerly sought by all the colonists of the West Indies,
and a good many vessels of different nations were employed in the trade.
There was in Brazil a system of letting out land to be worked, called a
_labrados_,[11] because a manager held the land from a proprietor for a
certain share of the profits, and cultivated it by laborers procurable
in various ways. The name of Labrador is derived by some writers from
the stealing of natives upon our northern coast by the Portuguese, to be
enslaved. It is certain that they did this as early as 1501,[12] and
named the coast afterwards _Terra de Laborador_.

The Buccaneers, hunting in couples, called each other _matelot_, or
shipmate: the word expresses their amphibious capacity. When a bull was
run down by the dogs, the hunter, almost as fleet of foot as they, ran
in to hamstring him, if possible,--if not, to shoot him. A certain
mulatto became glorious in buccaneering annals for running down his
game: out of a hundred hides which he sent to France, ten only were
pierced with bullet-holes. When the animal was stripped of its skin, the
large bones were drawn from the flesh for the sake of the marrow, of
which the two _matelots_ made their stout repast. Portions of the flesh
were then _boucané_ by the followers, the rest was left to dogs and
birds, and the chase was pursued day by day till a sufficient number of
hides were collected. These were transported to the little coves and
landing places, where they were exchanged for powder and shot, spirits
and silver. Then a grand debauch at Tortuga followed, with the wildest
gratification of every passion. Comrades quarrelled and sought each
other's blood; their pleasure ran _amôk_ like a mad Malay. When wine was
all drunk and the money gamed away, another expedition, with fresh air
and beef-marrow, set these independent bankrupts again to rights.

The _Flibustiers_ had an inexpensive way of furnishing themselves with
vessels for prosecuting their piratical operations. A dozen of them in a
boat would hang about the mouth of a river, or in the vicinity of a
Spanish port, enduring the greatest privations with constancy, till they
saw a vessel which had good sailing qualities and a fair equipment. If
they could not surprise it, they would run down to board it regardless
of its fire, and swarm up the side and over the decks in a perfect fury,
which nothing could resist, driving the crew into the sea. These
expeditions were always prefaced by religious observances. On this point
they were very strict; even before each meal, the Catholics chanted the
Canticle of Zacharias, the Magnificat, and the Miserere, and the
Protestants of all nations read a chapter of the Bible and sang a psalm.
For many a Huguenot was in these seas, revenging upon mankind its
capability to perpetrate, in the name of religion, a St. Bartholomew's.

Captain Daniel was a _Flibustier_ with religious tendencies. Finding
himself out of poultry, as he lay between Les Saintes and Dominica,
(1701,) he approached the former island by night, landed and carried off
the _curé_ and some of the principal inhabitants. These were not the
fowls he wanted, but rather decoys to the fattest poultry-yards. The
account of his exquisite mingling of business and religion gives us a
glimpse into the interior of flibustierism. We translate from Father
Labat, who had the story from the astonished _curé_. They were very
polite to them, he says, "and while the people were bringing in the
provisions, they begged the _curé_ to say mass in their vessel, which he
did not care to refuse. They sent on shore for the proper accessories,
and set up a tent on the quarter-deck, furnished with an altar, to
celebrate the mass, which they chanted zealously with the inhabitants
who were on board. It was commenced by a discharge of musketry, and of
eight pieces of cannon with which their bark was armed. They made a
second discharge at the Sanctus, a third at the Elevation, and a fourth
at the Benediction, and, finally, a fifth after the Exaudiat and the
prayer for the King, which was followed by a ringing _Vive le Roi_. Only
one slight incident disturbed a little our devotions. One of the
_Flibustiers_, taking an indecent posture during the Elevation, was
reprimanded by Captain Daniel. Instead of correcting himself, he made
some impertinent answer, accompanied with an execrable oath, which was
paid on the spot by the Captain, who pistolled him in the head, swearing
before God that he would do the same to the first man who failed in
respect for the Holy Sacrifice. The _curé_ was a little flustered, as it
happened very close to him. But Daniel said to him, 'Don't be troubled,
father; 't was a rascal whom I had to punish to teach his duty': a very
efficacious way to prevent the recurrence of a similar fault. After
mass, they threw the body into the sea, and paid the holy father
handsomely for his trouble and his fright. They gave him some valuable
clothes, and as they knew that he was destitute of a negro, they made
him a present of one,"--"which," says Father Labat, "I received an order
to reclaim, the original owner having made a demand for him."

Such was Captain Daniel's rubricated copy of the Buccaneers' [Greek:
Leitourgia]. One may judge from this what the early condition of
religion must have been in the French colony of San Domingo, which
sprang from these pirates of the land and sea. And it seems that their
reverence for the observances diminished in an inverse proportion to
their perils. Father Labat said mass in the little town of Cap Français,
in 1701. The chapel was not much better than an _ajoupa_, that is, a
four-posted square with a sloping roof of leaves or light boards. The
aisle had half a foot of dust in the dry season, and the same depth of
mud during rain. "I asked the sacristan, who also filled the office of
chanter, if he should chant the Introit, or begin simply with the Kyrie
Eleïson; but he replied that it was not their custom to chant a great
deal, they were content with low mass, brief, and well hurried up, and
never chanted except at funerals. However, I did not omit to bless the
water and asperse the people; and as I thought that the solemnity of the
day demanded a little preaching, I preached, and gave notice that I
should say mass on the following day." This he did, but was infinitely
scandalized at the behavior of the people, comparing it with that of the
thorough-going Catholics of the other French islands. "They came into
the chapel as to an assembly, or to some profane spectacle; they talked,
laughed, and joked. The people in the gallery talked louder than I did,
and mingled the name of God in their discourse in an insufferable
manner. I mildly remonstrated with them three or four times; but seeing
that it had no effect, I spoke in a way that compelled some officers to
impose silence. A well-behaved person had the goodness to inform me,
after mass, that it was necessary to be rather more indulgent with the
_People of the Coast_, if one wanted to live with them." This was an old
euphemism for _Flibustiers_. The good father could expect nothing
better, especially as so many of his audience may have been Calvinists,
for the first habitant at Cap Français was of that sect. These men were
trying to become settled; and the alternative was between rapine with
religion and raising crops without it. The latter became the habitude of
the island; for the descendants of the Buccaneers could afford the
luxury of absolute sincerity, which even their hardy progenitors were
too weak to seize.

In the other Islands, however, the priest had the colonists well in
hand, as may be understood from the lofty language which he could assume
towards petty sacramental infractions. At St. Croix, for instance, three
light fellows made a mock of Sunday and the mass, saying, "We go
a-fishing," and tried to persuade some neighbors to accompany them.

"No; 't is Trinity Sunday, and we shall go to mass."

"And will the Trinity help you to your dinner? Come, mass will keep for
another time."

The decent neighbors refusing, these three unfortunate men departed, and
were permitted by an inscrutable Providence to catch a great number of
little fishes, which they shared with their conforming neighbors. All
ate of them, but with this difference, that the three anti-sabbatarians
fell sick, and died in twenty-four hours, while the others experienced
no injury. The effect of this gastric warning is somewhat weakened by
the incautious statement of the narrative, that a priest, who ran from
one dying man to another, became overheated, and contracted a fatal

The Catholic profession brought no immunity to the Spanish navigators.
Our _Flibustiers_, strengthened by religious exercises, and a pistol in
each hand, stormed upon the deck, as if they had fallen from the clouds.
"_Jesus, son demonios estos_": "They are demons, and not men." After
they had thus "cleared" their vessel, they entered into a contract,
called _chasse-partie_, the articles of which regulated their voyage and
the disposition of the booty. They were very minutely made out. Here are
some of the awards and reimbursements. The one who discovered a prize
earned one hundred crowns; the same amount, or a slave, recompensed for
the loss of an eye. Two eyes were rated at six hundred crowns, or six
slaves. For the loss of the right hand or arm two hundred crowns or two
slaves were paid, and for both six hundred crowns. When a _Flibustier_
had a wound which obliged him to carry surgical helps and substitutes,
they paid him two hundred crowns, or two slaves. If he had not entirely
lost a member, but was only deprived of its use, he was recompensed the
same as if the member had disappeared.

"They have also regard to qualities and places. Thus, the captain or
chief is allotted five or six portions to what the ordinary seamen have,
the master's mate only two, and other officers proportionable to their
employ, after which they draw equal parts from the highest to the lowest
mariner, the boys not being omitted, who draw half a share, because,
when they take a better vessel than their own, it is the boys' duty to
fire their former vessel and then retire to the prize."

Among the conventions of English pirates we find some additional
articles which show a national difference. Whoever shall steal from the
company, or game up to the value of a piece of eight, (piastre,
translated _écu_ by the French,--rated by the English of that day at not
quite five shillings sterling,--about a dollar,) shall be landed on a
desert place, with a bottle of water, gun, powder, and lead. Whoever
shall maltreat or assault another, while the articles subsist, shall
receive the Law of Moses: this was the infliction of forty consecutive
strokes upon the back, a whimsical memento of the dispensation in the
Wilderness. There were articles relative to the treatment and
disposition of women, which sometimes depended upon the tossing of a
coin,--_jeter à croix pile_,--but they need not be repeated: on this
point the French were worse than the English.

The English generally wound up their convention with the solemn
agreement that not a man should speak of separation till the gross
earnings amounted to one thousand pounds per head. Then the whole
company associated by couples, for mutual support in anticipation of
wounds and danger, and to devise to each other all their effects in case
of death. While at sea, or engaged in expeditions against the coasts of
Terra Firma, their friendship was of the most romantic kind, inspired by
a common feeling of outlawry, and colored by the risks of their
atrocious employment. They called themselves "Brothers of the Coast,"
and took a solemn oath not to secrete from each other any portion of the
common spoil, nor uncharitably to disregard each other's wants. Violence
and lust would have gone upon bootless ventures, if justice and
generosity had not been crimped to strengthen the crew.

These buccaneering conventions were gradually imposed upon all the
West-Indian neighborhood, by the title of uncompromising strength, and
became known as the "Usage of the Coast." When the Brothers met with any
remonstrance which referred the rights of navigators and settlers back
to the Common Law of Europe, they were accustomed to defend their Usage,
saying that their baptism had absolved them from all previous
obligations. This was an allusion to the marine ceremony called in later
times "Crossing the Line," and administered only upon that occasion; but
at first it was performed when vessels were passing the Raz de
Fonteneau, on their way to and from the Channel, and originated before
navigators crossed the Atlantic or passed the Tropic of Cancer. The Raz,
or Tide-Race, was a dangerous passage off the coast of Brittany; some
religious observance among the early sailors, dictated by anxiety,
appears to have degenerated into the Neptunian frolic, which included a
copious christening of salt water for the raw hands, and was kept up
long after men had ceased to fear the unknown regions of the ocean.
Perhaps an aspersion with holy-water was a part of the original rite, on
the ground that the mariner was passing into new countries, once thought
uninhabited, as into a strange new-world, to sanctify the hardiness and
propitiate the Ruler of Sea and Air. The Dutch, also, performed some
ceremony in passing the rocks, then called Barlingots, which lie off the
mouth of the Tagus. Gradually the usage went farther out to sea; and the
farther it went, of course, the more unrestrained it grew.

This was the baptism which regenerated Law for the Buccaneers. It also
absolved them from the use of their own names, which might, indeed, in
many cases have been but awkward conveniences; and they were not known
except by _sobriquets_. But when they became _habitans_ or settlers, and
took wives, their surnames appeared for the first time in the
marriage-contract; so that it was a proverb in the islands,--"You don't
know people till they marry."

The institution of marriage was not introduced among the Buccaneers for
many years after their settlement of the western coast. In the mean time
they selected women for extemporaneous partners, to whom they addressed
a few significant words before taking them home to their _ajoupas_, to
the effect that their antecedents were not worth minding, but _this_,
slightly tapping the musket, "which never deceived me, will avenge me,
if _you_ do."

These women, with the exception of one or two organized emigrations of
poor, but honest, girls, were the sweepings of the streets of Paris and
London. They were sometimes deported with as little ceremony as the
_engagés_, and sometimes collected by the Government, especially of
France, for the deliberate purpose of meeting the not over nice demands
of the adventurers; for it was the interest of France to pet Tortuga and
the western coast. All the French islands were stocked in the same
manner. Du Tertre devotes a page to the intrigues of a Mademoiselle de
la Fayolle, who appeared in St. Christophe with a strong force of these
unfortunate women, in 1643. They were collected from St. Joseph's
Hospital in Paris, to prevent the colonists from leaving the island in
search of wives. Mademoiselle came with letters from the Queen and other
ladies of quality, and quite dazzled M. Aubert, the Governor, who
proposed to his wife that she should be accommodated in the chateau. She
had a restless and managing temper, and her power lasted as long as her

In 1667 there was an auction-sale of fifty girls without character at
Tortuga. They went off so well that fifty more were soon supplied.
Schoelcher says that in the twelfth volume of the "Archives de la
Marine" there is a note of "one hundred nymphs for the Antilles and a
hundred more for San Domingo," under the date of 1685.

Here were new elements of civilization for the devoted island, whose
earliest colonists were pirates pacified by prostitutes. They were the
progenitors of families whom wealth and colonial luxury made famous; for
in such a climate a buccaneering nickname will soon flower into titles
which conceal the gnarled and ugly stock. Some of these French Dianas
led a healthy and hardy life with their husbands, followed them to the
chase, and emulated their exploits with the pistol and the knife. Some
blood was thus renewed while some grew more depraved, else the colony
would have rotted from the soil.

Nature struggles to keep all her streams fresh and clear. The children
of adventurers may inherit the vices of their parents; but Nature
silently puts her fragrant graft into the withering tree, and it learns
to bud with unexpected fruit. Inheritance is only one of Mother Nature's
emphatic protestations that her wayward children will be the death of
her; but she knows better than that, unfortunately for the respectable
vice and meanness which flourish in every land and seek to prolong their
line. California and Australia soon reach the average of New York and
London, and invite Nature to preserve through them, too, her world. She
drains and plants these unwholesome places; powerful men and lovely
women are the Mariposa cedars which attest her splendid tillage. But a
part of this Nature consists of conservative decency in men who belong
to law-abiding and Protestant races. For want of this, surgery and
cautery became Nature's expedients for Hayti, which was one of the worst
sinks on her great farm.

If a greater number of female emigrants had been like Mary Read, pirate
as she was, the story of Hayti would have been modified. She had the
character which Nature loves to civilize.

Mary Read was the illegitimate daughter of an Englishwoman, who brought
her up as a boy, after revealing to her the secret of her origin,
apparently wishing to protect her against the mischances which befell
herself. She was first a footman, then a sailor on board a man-of-war;
afterwards she served with great bravery in Flanders in a regiment of
infantry. Then she entered a cavalry regiment, where she fell deeply in
love with a comrade, and her woman's nature awoke. Obeying the
uncontrollable instinct, she modestly revealed her sex to him, and was
married with great _éclat_, after he had sought in vain, repelled by her
high conduct, to make her less than wife. He died soon after, and the
Peace of Ryswick compelled her to assume her male attire again and seek
employment. She went before the mast in a vessel bound for the West
Indies, which was taken by English pirates, with whom she afterwards
enjoyed the benefit of a royal proclamation pardoning all pirates who
submitted within a limited period. Their money gave out, and they
enlisted under a privateer captain to cruise against the Spaniards; but
the men, finding a favorable opportunity, took the vessel from the
officers, and commenced their old trade. Mary was as brave as any in
boarding Spanish craft, pistol in hand, to clear the decks; no peril
made her falter, but she was disarmed again by love in the person of a
fine young pirate of superior mind and grace. She made a friend of him,
revealed her sex, and married him. Her husband had a falling-out with a
comrade, and a duel impended. Torn with love and dread, she managed to
pick a quarrel with his antagonist, appointed a meeting an hour before
the one which her husband expected, and was lucky enough to postpone the
latter indefinitely. At her trial in Jamaica, she would have escaped
through the compassion of the court, if some one had not deposed that
she often deliberately defended piracy with the argument that pirates
were fortunately amenable to capital punishment, and this was a
restraint to cowards, without which a thousand rascals who passed for
honest people, but who did nothing but pillage widows and orphans and
defraud their neighbors, would rush into a more honorable profession,
the ocean would be covered with this _canaille_, and the ruin of
commerce would involve that of piracy. She died in prison of a fever.

Ann Bonny was born in Cork. She was of a truculent disposition, and the
murdering part of piracy was much to her taste. When her husband was led
out to execution, the special favor was granted of an interview with
her; but her only benediction was,--"I'm sorry to find ye in this state;
if ye had fought like a man, ye would not be seein' yerself hung like a

But what could angels themselves have done to make Captain Teach
presentable in the best society? _Blackbeard_ was his _sobriquet_, for
he had one flowing over his chest which patriarchs might be forgiven for
coveting. The hair of his head was tastefully done up with ribbons, and
inframed his truculent face. When he went into a fight, three pairs of
pistols hung from a scarf, and two slow-matches, alight and projecting
under his hat, glowed above his cruel eyes. Certainly, the light of
battle was not in his case a metaphor.

On board his vessel, one day, Captain Teach, just combing upon
strong-water, summoned his crew. "Go to, now, let us make a hell," he
cried, "and get a little seasoned. We'll find who can stand it longest."
Thereupon they all went down into the hold, which he had carefully
battened down; then he lighted sundry pots of sulphur, and showed
superior qualifications for the future by smoking them all out.

On the day of his last combat, when advised to confide to his wife where
his money was hid, he refused, saying that only he and the Devil knew
where it was, and the survivor was to have it.

Whenever these English pirates found a clergyman, they acted as if
pillaging had been only a last resort, owing to the scarcity of that
commodity in those seas. Captain Roberts took a vessel which had on
board a body of English troops with their chaplain, destined for
garrison-duty. His crew went into ecstasies of delight, as if they had
separated themselves from mankind and incurred atrocious suspicions from
their desire to seek for religious persons in all places. They wanted
nothing but a chaplain; they had never wanted anything else; he must
join them; he would have nothing to do but to pray and make the punch.
As he steadily refused, they reluctantly parted with him; but, smitten
with his firmness, they retained of his effects nothing but three
prayer-books and a corkscrew.

These were but common villains. The genuine _Flibustier_ mingled
national hatred with his avarice, and harried the Spanish coasts with a
sense of being the avenger of old affronts, at least the divine
instrument of his country's honest instincts, whose duty it was to smite
and spoil, as if the Armada were yet upon the seas as the Inquisition
was upon the land. Frenchmen and Englishmen, Huguenot and Dutch
Calvinists, Willis, Warner, Montbar the Exterminator, Levasseur,
Lolonois, Henry Morgan, Coxon and Sharp, Bartholomew the Portuguese,
Rock the Dutchman, were representative men. They gave a villanous
expression, and an edge which avarice whetted, to the religious
patriotism of their countrymen. The sombre and deadly prejudices which
lay half torpid in their cage at home escaped from restraint in these
men, and suddenly acted out their proper nature on the highways of the

We have no space to record particular deeds and cruelties. The stories
of the exploits of the _Flibustiers_ show that their outlaw-life had
developed all the powerful traits which make pioneering or the
profession of arms so illustrious. Audacity, cunning, great endurance,
tenacity of purpose, all the character of the organizing nations whence
they sprang, appeared in them so stained by murder and bestiality of
every kind, that the impression made by their career is revolting, and
gets no mitigation from their better qualities. They were generous to
each other, and scrupulously just; but it was for the sake of
strengthening their hands against mankind. They fought against the
enemies of their respective nations with all the fiendishness of popular
hate that has broken loose from popular restraints and civilizing checks
and has become a beast. Commerce was nothing to them but a convenience
for plunder; a voyaging ship was an oasis in the mid-waste on which they
swarmed for an orgy of avarice and gluttony; the cities of the Spanish
Main were hives of wealth and women to be overturned and rifled, and
their mother-country a retreat where the sanctimonious old age of a few
survivors of these successful crimes could display their money and their
piety, and perhaps a titled panel on their coach. Henry Morgan was
knighted, and made a good end in the Tower of London as a political
prisoner. Pierre le Grand, the first _Flibustier_ who took a ship,
retired to France with wealth and consideration. Captain Avery, who had
an immense fame, was the subject of a drama entitled "The Happy Pirate,"
which inoculated many a prentice-lad with cutlasses and rollicking
ferocity. Others became the agents of easy cabinets who always winked at
buccaneering, because it so often saved them the expense of war. What
gift or place would a slave-holding cabinet, or a Southern Confederacy,
have thought too dear to bestow upon Captain Walker, whose criminal acts
were feeding the concealed roots of the Great Conspiracy, if his murder
and arson had become illustrious by success?

The _Flibustiers_ were composed of many nations. The Buccaneers were
mostly French. Their head-quarters, or principal _boucans_, upon San
Domingo, were on the peninsula of Samana, at Port Margot, Savanna Brulée
near Gonaives, and the landing-place of Mirebalais. The Spaniards gained
at first several advantages over them by cutting off the couples which
were engaged in chasing the wild cattle. This compelled the Buccaneers
to associate in larger bands, and to add Spaniards to their list of
game. The word _massacre_ on the maps of the island marks places where
sanguinary surprises were effected by either party; but the Spaniards
lost more blood than their wily antagonists, and were compelled to
abandon all their settlements on the northern and northeastern coasts
and to fall back upon San Domingo and their other towns. The
_Flibustiers_ blockaded their rivers, intercepted the vessels of
slave-traders of all nations, made prizes of the cargoes, and sold them
to the French of the rising western colony, to the English at Jamaica,
or among the other islands, wherever a contraband speculation could be
made. This completed the ruin of Spanish San Domingo; for the
Government, crippled by land- and sea-fights with English, French, and
Dutch, was unable to protect its colonies. It is very strange to notice
this sudden weakness of the nation which was lately so domineering; the
causes which produced it have been stated elsewhere[13] with great
research and power.

The Spaniards had made a few settlements in the western part of the
island, the principal one of which was Yaguana, or Leogane. They were
too far from the eastern population to be successfully defended or
succored, in case of the attacks which were constantly expected after
Drake's expedition. In 1592, the town of Azua was taken and destroyed by
an English force under Christopher Newport, who was making war against
the Spaniards on his own account. He afterwards attacked Yaguana, was at
first repulsed, but took it by night and burned it to the ground. In
consequence of this, all the western settlements were abandoned; and not
a Spaniard remained in that part of the island after 1606. Cruisers of
other nations seized the ports for their private convenience.

A brief outline will suffice to conduct us to the secure establishment
of the French in Western San Domingo. Tortuga was attacked by the
Spaniards in 1638; the Buccaneers were surprised, put to the sword, and
scattered. A few joined their brethren in San Domingo. Their
discomfiture was thought to be so complete that no garrison was left
upon Tortuga. At the same time the Spaniards organized bands of fifty
men each, called _la cinquantaine_ by the French Buccaneers, to serve as
a kind of rural police to hunt down the latter and exterminate them. For
safety the French collected, and put at their head Willis, an
Englishman, who had just then appeared with two or three hundred men,
with the view of joining those of his countrymen who were Buccaneers. He
led them back to Tortuga, and threw up some rude works to command the
harbor. But the national antipathies soon appeared, on the occasion of
some encroachment of Willis, whose countrymen were the more numerous
party. The French despatched secret agents to St. Christophe, who made
it clear to M. de Poincy, the Governor of that island, that the English
could be easily dispossessed by a small force attacking them from
without, while the French rose within. The Governor thought it was a
good opportunity to weed the Huguenots, who were always making trouble
about religious matters, out of his colony; he did not hesitate,
therefore, to cooperate with the outlaws for so nice a game as driving
out the English by getting rid of his heretics. The operation was
intrusted to M. Levasseur, a brave and well-instructed Huguenot officer,
who took with him about a hundred men. Willis decamped at their first
summons, knowing the temper of his French subjects; and Levasseur
landed, and immediately began to fortify a platform-rock which rose only
a few paces from the water's edge. This he intrenched, surrounding an
open square capable of accommodating three or four hundred men. A
never-failing spring gushed from the rock for the supply of a garrison.
From the middle of this platform there rose conveniently another rock
thirty feet high, with scarped sides, upon which he built a block-house
for himself and the ammunition, communicating with the platform by a
movable ladder of iron. He made the place so formidable as a
buccaneering centre that the Spaniards resolved to attack it. They tried
it at first from the sea, but, being well battered, retired and
disembarked six hundred men by night to make a land-attack. They were
defeated, with the loss of a hundred men.

Levasseur appears to have grown arrogant with his success. He began to
abuse and persecute all the Catholics, burned their chapel, and drove
away a priest. He had stocks set up, made of iron, which he called his
Hell, and the fort where he kept it, Purgatory. Du Tertre says that he
wanted to make of Tortuga a little Geneva. He disavowed the authority of
M. de Poincy, and when the latter demanded restitution of a _Nôtre Dame_
of silver which the _Flibustiers_ had taken from a Spanish vessel, he
sent a model of it, constructed of wood, with the message that Catholics
were too spiritual to attach any value to the material, but as for
himself, he had a liking for the metal. Levasseur was assassinated by
two of his captains after a reign of a dozen years.

The next Governor sent by De Poincy to Tortuga was a Catholic, the
Chevalier Fontenay. The religion of this stronghold changed, but not its
habits. The Spaniards planned a second attack upon it in 1653, and
succeeded by dragging a couple of light cannon up the mountain so as to
command the donjon built by Levasseur. The French took refuge upon the
coast of San Domingo, where they waited for an opportunity to repossess
their little island. This soon followed upon an application made by De
Rausset, one of Levasseur's old comrades, to the French West India
Company for a sufficient force to drive out the Spaniards. De Rausset's
plan succeeded, Tortuga passed permanently into French hands, and the
Spaniards confined themselves for the future to annoying the new
colonies of Buccaneers which overflowed upon San Domingo. But their
efforts disappear after a terrible defeat inflicted upon them in 1665,
which the _Flibustiers_ followed up by the sack and destruction of
Santiago, the town second in importance to San Domingo. Henceforth the
history of the island belongs to France.

[To be continued.]

[Footnote 6: This musket was afterwards called _fusil boucanier_. _Fusil
demi-boucanier_ was the same kind, with a shorter barrel.]

[Footnote 7: _Histoire des Avanturiers Flibustiers, avec la Vie, les
Moeurs, et les Coutumes des Boucaniers_, par A.O. Oexmelin, who went out
to the West Indies as a poor _Engagé_, and became a Buccaneer. Four
Volumes. New Edition, printed in 1744: Vol. III., containing the Journal
of a Voyage made with _Flibustiers_ in the South Sea in 1685, by Le
Sieur Ravenau de Lussan; and Vol. IV., containing a History of English
pirates, with the Lives of two Female Pirates, Mary Read and Ann Bonny,
and Extracts from Pirate-Codes: translated from the English of Captain
Charles Johnson.--Charlevoix, _Histoire de St. Domingue_, Vols. III. and
IV.--_The History of the Bucaniers of America, from the First Original
down to this Time; written in several Languages, and now collected into
One Volume._ Third Edition, London, 1704: containing Portraits of all
the Celebrated _Flibustiers,_ and Plans of some of their
Land-Attacks.--_Nouveaux Voyages aux Isles Françoises de l'Amérique_,
par le Père Labat, 1724, Tom. V, pp. 228-230. See also Archenholtz.]

[Footnote 8: Not to be confounded with the Tortugas, the westernmost
islands of the Florida Keys (_Cayos_, Spanish for rocks, shoals, or

[Footnote 9: Charlevoix will have it reversed, and derives _flibustier_
from _freebooter;_ but this English word is not old enough to have been
a vagrom in those seas at that time. Webster derives it from the Dutch
_Vrijbuiter;_ but that and the corresponding German word were themselves
derived. Schoelcher says that it is a corruption of an English word,
_fly-boater_, one who manages a fly-boat; and he adds,--"Our _flibot_, a
small and very fast craft, draws its origin from the English _fly-boat,
bateau mouche, bateau volant_." But this is only a kind of pun. Perhaps
the Dutch named it so, not from its swiftness, but from its resemblance,
with its busy oars and darting motions, to a slender-legged fly. There
appears to be no ground for saying that the boat was so called because
it first came into use upon the river Vlie in Holland. It might have
been a boat used by the inhabitants of Vlieland, a town on the island of
the same name, north of Texel. _Freebooter_ is such a good word for
_flibustier_ that it was easy to accuse it of the parentage.]

[Footnote 10: Pinnaces of five or six tons, which could be packed on
shipboard in pieces and put together when wanted, were built in the
reign of Elizabeth. The name is of Spanish origin, from the pine used
for material.]

[Footnote 11: See a contract of this kind in _Histoire Générale des
Antilles_, Du Tertre, Tom. I. p. 464.]

[Footnote 12: Bancroft's _United States_, Vol. I. p. 14.]

[Footnote 13: Buckle's _History of Civilization_, Vol. II. chap. 1.]


If things would not run into each other so, it would be a thousand times
easier and a million times pleasanter to get on in the world. Let the
sheepiness be set on one side and the goatiness on the other, and
immediately you know where you are. It is not necessary to ask that
there be any increase of the one or any diminution of the other, but
only that each shall preempt its own territory and stay there. Milk is
good, and water is good, but don't set the milk-pail under the pump.
Pleasure softens pain, but pain embitters pleasure; and who would not
rather have his happiness concentrated into one memorable day that shall
gleam and glow through a lifetime, than have it spread out over a dozen
comfortable, commonplace, humdrum forenoons and afternoons, each one as
like the others as two peas in a pod? Since the law of compensation
obtains, I suppose it is the best law for us; but if it had been left
with me, I should have made the clever people rich and handsome, and
left poverty and ugliness to the stupid people; because--don't you
see?--the stupid people won't know they are ugly, and won't care if they
are poor, but the clever people will be hampered and tortured. I would
have given the good wives to the good husbands, and made drunken men
marry drunken women. Then there would have been one family exquisitely
happy, instead of two struggling against misery. I would have made the
rose-stem downy, and put all the thorns on the thistles. I would have
gouged out the jewel from the toad's head, and given the peacock the
nightingale's voice, and not set everything so at half and half.

But that is the way it is. We find the world made to our hand. The wise
men marry the foolish virgins, and the splendid virgins marry dolts, and
matters in general are so mixed up that the choice lies between nice
things about spoiled and vile things that are not so bad after all, and
it is hard to tell sometimes which you like best or which you loathe

I expect to lose every friend I have in the world by the publication of
this paper--except the dunces who are impaled in it. They will never
read it, and if they do, will never suspect I mean them; while the
sensible and true friends, who do me good and not evil all the days of
their lives, will think I am driving at their noble hearts, and will at
once haul off and leave me inconsolable. Still I am going to write it.
You must open the safety-valve once in a while, even if the steam does
whiz and shriek, or there will be an explosion, which is fatal, while
the whizzing and shrieking are only disagreeable.

Doubtless friendship has its advantages and its pleasures; doubtless
hostility has its isolations and its revenges: still, if called upon to
choose once for all between friends and foes, I think, on the whole, I
should cast my vote for the foes. Twenty enemies will not do you the
mischief of one friend. Enemies you always know where to find. They are
in fair and square perpetual hostility, and you keep your armor on and
your sentinels posted; but with friends you are inveigled into a false
security, and, before you know it, your honor, your modesty, your
delicacy are scudding before the gales. Moreover, with your friend you
can never make reprisals. If your enemy attacks you, you can always
strike back and hit hard. You are expected to defend yourself against
him to the top of your bent. He is your legal opponent in honorable
warfare. You can pour hot-shot into him with murderous vigor; and the
more he wriggles, the better you feel. In fact, it is rather refreshing
to measure swords once in a while with such a one. You like to exert
your power and keep yourself in practice. You do not rejoice so much in
overcoming your enemy as in overcoming. If a marble statue could show
fight, you would just as soon fight it; but as it cannot, you take
something that can, and something, besides, that has had the temerity to
attack you, and so has made a lawful target of itself. But against your
friend your hands are tied. He has injured you. He has disgusted you. He
has infuriated you. But it was most Christianly done. You cannot hurl a
thunderbolt, or pull a trigger, or lisp a syllable, against those
amiable monsters who with tenderest fingers are sticking pins all over
you. So you shut fast the doors of your lips, and inwardly sigh for a
good, stout, brawny, malignant foe, who, under any and every
circumstance, will design you harm, and on whom you can lavish your
lusty blows with a hearty will and a clear conscience.

Your enemy keeps clear of you. He neither grants nor claims favors. He
awards you your rights,--no more, no less,--and demands the same from
you. Consequently there is no friction. Your friend, on the contrary, is
continually getting himself tangled up with you "because he is your
friend." I have heard that Shelley was never better pleased than when
his associates made free with his coats, boots, and hats for their own
use, and that he appropriated their property in the same way. Shelley
was a poet, and perhaps idealized his friends. He saw them, probably, in
a state of pure intellect. I am not a poet; I look at people in the
concrete. The most obvious thing about my friends is their avoirdupois;
and I prefer that they should wear their own cloaks and suffer me to
wear mine. There is no neck in the world that I want my collar to span
except my own. It is very exasperating to me to go to my bookcase and
miss a book of which I am in immediate and pressing need, because an
intimate friend has carried it off without asking leave, on the score of
his intimacy. I have not, and do not wish to have, any alliance that
shall abrogate the eighth commandment. A great mistake is lying round
loose hereabouts,--a mistake fatal to many friendships that did run
well. The common fallacy is, that intimacy dispenses with the necessity
of politeness. The truth is just the opposite of this. The more points
of contact there are, the more danger of friction there is, and the more
carefully should people guard against it. If you see a man only once a
month, it is not of so vital importance that you do not trench on his
rights, tastes, or whims. He can bear to be crossed or annoyed
occasionally. If he does not have a very high regard for you, it is
comparatively unimportant, because your paths are generally so diverse.
But you and the man with whom you dine every day have it in your power
to make each other exceedingly uncomfortable. A very little dropping
will wear away rock, if it only keep at it. The thing that you would not
think of, if it occurred only twice a year, becomes an intolerable
burden when it happens twice a day. This is where husbands and wives run
aground. They take too much for granted. If they would but see that they
have something to gain, something to save, as well as something to
enjoy, it would be better for them; but they proceed on the assumption
that their love is an inexhaustible tank, and not a fountain depending
for its supply on the stream that trickles into it. So, for every little
annoying habit, or weakness, or fault, they draw on the tank without
being careful to keep the supply open, till they awake one morning to
find the pump dry, and, instead of love, at best, nothing but a cold
habit of complacence. On the contrary, the more intimate friends become,
whether married or unmarried, the more scrupulously should they strive
to repress in themselves everything annoying, and to cherish both in
themselves and each other everything pleasing. While each should draw on
his love to neutralize the faults of his friend, it is suicidal to draw
on his friend's love to neutralize his own faults. Love should be
cumulative, since it cannot be stationary. If it does not increase, it
decreases. Love, like confidence, is a plant of slow growth, and of most
exotic fragility. It must be constantly and tenderly cherished. Every
noxious and foreign element must be carefully removed from it. All
sunshine, and sweet airs, and morning dews, and evening showers must
breathe upon it perpetual fragrance, or it dies into a hideous and
repulsive deformity, fit only to be cast out and trodden under foot of
men, while, properly cultivated, it is a Tree of Life.

Your enemy keeps clear of you not only in business, but in society. If
circumstances thrust him into contact with you, he is curt and
centrifugal. But your friend breaks in upon your "saintly solitude" with
perfect equanimity. He never for a moment harbors a suspicion that he
can intrude, "because he is your friend." So he drops in on his way to
the office to chat half an hour over the latest news. The half-hour
isn't much in itself. If it were after dinner, you wouldn't mind it; but
after breakfast every moment "runs itself in golden sands," and the
break in your time crashes a worse break in your temper. "Are you busy?"
asks the considerate wretch, adding insult to injury. What can you do?
Say yes and wound his self-love forever? But he has a wife and family.
You respect their feelings, smile and smile, and are villain enough to
be civil with your lips, and hide the poison of asps under your tongue,
till you have a chance to relieve your o'ercharged heart by shaking your
fist in impotent wrath at his retreating form. You will receive the
reward of your hypocrisy as you richly deserve, for ten to one he will
drop in again when he comes back from his office, and arrest you
wandering in Dreamland in the beautiful twilight. Delighted to find that
you are neither reading nor writing,--the absurd dolt! as if a man
weren't at work unless he be wielding a sledge-hammer!--he will preach
out, and prose out, and twaddle out another hour of your golden
even-tide, "because he is your friend." You don't care whether he is
judge or jury,--whether he talks sense or nonsense; you don't want him
to talk at all. You don't want him there any way. You want to be alone.
If you don't, why are you sitting there in the deepening twilight? If
you wanted him, couldn't you send for him? Why don't you go out into the
drawing-room, where are music, and lights, and gay people? What right
have I to suppose, that, because you are not using your eyes, you are
not using your brain? What right have I to set myself up as judge of the
value of your time, and so rob you of perhaps the most delicious hour in
all your day, on pretence that it is of no use to you?--take a pound of
flesh clean out of your heart and trip on my smiling way as if I had not
earned the gallows?

And what in Heaven's name is the good of all this ceaseless talk? To
what purpose are you wearied, exhausted, dragged out and out to the very
extreme of tenuity? A sprightly badinage,--a running fire of nonsense
for half an hour,--a tramp over unfamiliar ground with a familiar
guide,--a discussion of something with somebody who knows all about it,
or who, not knowing, wants to learn from you,--a pleasant interchange of
commonplaces with a circle of friends around the fire, at such hours as
you give to society: all this is not only tolerable, but
agreeable,--often positively delightful; but to have an indifferent
person, on no score but that of friendship, break into your sacred
presence, and suck your blood through indefinite cycles of time, is an
abomination. If he clatters on an indifferent subject, you can do well
enough for fifteen minutes, buoyed up by the hope that he will presently
have a fit, or be sent for, or come to some kind of an end. But when you
gradually open to the conviction that _vis inertiae_ rules the hour, and
the thing which has been is that which shall be, you wax listless; your
chariot-wheels drive heavily; your end of the pole drags in the mud, and
you speedily wallow in unmitigated disgust. If he broaches a subject on
which you have a real and deep living interest, you shrink from
unbosoming yourself to him. You feel that it would be sacrilege. He
feels nothing of the sort. He treads over your heart-strings in his
cow-hide brogans, and does not see that they are not whip-cords. He
pokes his gold-headed cane in among your treasures, blind to the fact
that you are clutching both arms around them, that no gleam of flashing
gold may reveal their whereabouts to him. You draw yourself up in your
shell, projecting a monosyllabic claw occasionally as a sign of
continued vitality; but the pachyderm does not withdraw, and you
gradually lower into an indignation,--smothered, fierce, intense.

Why, _why_, WHY will people inundate their unfortunate victims with such
"weak, washy, everlasting floods"? Why will they haul everything out
into the open day? Why will they make the Holy of Holies common and
unclean? Why will they be so ineffably stupid as not to see that there
is that which speech profanes? Why will they lower their drag-nets into
the unfathomable waters, in the vain attempt to bring up your pearls and
gems, whose lustre would pale to ashes in the garish light,--whose only
sparkle is in the deep sea-soundings? _Procul, O procul este, profani!_

Oh, the matchless power of silence! There are words that concentrate in
themselves the glory of a lifetime; but there is a silence that is more
precious than they. Speech ripples over the surface of life, but silence
sinks into its depths. Airy pleasantnesses bubble up in airy, pleasant
words. Weak sorrows quaver out their shallow being and are not. When the
heart is cleft to its core, there is no speech nor language.

Do not now, Messrs. Bores, think to retrieve your characters by coming
into my house and sitting mute for two hours. Heaven forbid that your
blood should be found on my skirts! but I believe I shall kill you, if
you do. The only reason why I have not laid violent hands on you
heretofore is that your vapid talk has operated as a wire to conduct my
electricity to the receptive and kindly earth; but if you intrude upon
my magnetisms without any such life-preserver, your future in this world
is not worth a crossed six-pence. Your silence would break the reed that
your talk but bruised. The only people with whom it is a joy to sit
silent are the people with whom it is a joy to talk. Clear out!

Friendship plays the mischief in the false ideas of constancy which are
generated and cherished in its name, if not by its agency. Your enemies
are intense, but temporary. Time wears off the edge of hostility. It is
the alembic in which offences are dissolved into thin air, and a calm
indifference reigns in their stead. But your friends are expected to be
a permanent arrangement. They are not only a sore evil, but of long
continuance. Adhesiveness seems to be the head and front, the bones and
blood of their creed. It is not the direction of the quality, but the
quality itself, which they swear by. Only stick, it is no matter what
you stick to. Fall out with a man, and you can kiss and be friends as
soon as you like; the recording angel will set it down on the credit
side of his books. Fall in, and you are expected to stay in, _ad
infinitum_, _ad nauseam_. No matter what combination of laws got you
there, there you are, and there you must stay, for better, for worse,
till merciful Death you do part,--or you are--"fickle." You find a man
entertaining for an hour, a week, a concert, a journey, and _presto!_
you are saddled with him forever. What preposterous absurdity! Do but
look at it calmly. You are thrown into contact with a person, and, as in
duty bound, you proceed to fathom him: for every man is a possible
revelation. In the deeps of his soul there may lie unknown worlds for
you. Consequently you proceed at once to experiment on him. It takes a
little while to get your tackle in order. Then the line begins to run
off rapidly, and your eager soul cries out, "Ah! what depth! What
perpetual calmness must be down below! What rest is here for all my
tumult! What a grand, vast nature is this!" Surely, surely, you are on
the high seas. Surely, you will now float serenely down the eternities!
But by-and-by there is a kink. You find, that, though the line runs off
so fast, it does not go down,--it only floats out. A current has caught
it and bears it on horizontally. It does not sink plumb. You have been
deceived. Your grand Pacific Ocean is nothing but a shallow little brook
that you can ford all the year round, if it does not utterly dry up in
the summer heats, when you want it most; or, at best, it is a fussy
little tormenting river, that won't and can't sail a sloop. What are you
going to do about it? You are going to wind up your lead and line,
shoulder your birch canoe as the old sea-kings used, and thrid the deep
forests, and scale the purple hills, till you come to water again, when
you will unroll your lead and line for another essay. Is that
fickleness? What else can you do? Must you launch your bark on the
unquiet stream, against whose pebbly bottom the keel continually grates
and rasps your nerves--simply that your reputation suffer no detriment?
Fickleness? There was no fickleness about it. You were trying an
experiment which you had every right to try. As soon as you were
satisfied, you stopped. If you had stopped sooner, you would have been
unsatisfied. If you had stopped later, you would have been dissatisfied.
It is a criminal contempt of the magnificent possibilities of life not
to lay hold of "God's occasions floating by." It is an equally criminal
perversion of them to cling tenaciously to what was only the
_simulacrum_ of an occasion. A man will toil many days and nights among
the mountains to find an ingot of gold, which, found, he bears home with
infinite pains and just rejoicing; but he would be a fool who should
lade his mules with iron-pyrites to justify his labors, however severe.

Fickleness! what is it, that we make such an ado about it? And what is
constancy, that it commands such usurious interest? The one is a foible
only in its relations. The other is only thus a virtue. "Fickle as the
winds" is our death-seal upon a man; but should we like our winds
un-fickle? Would a perpetual Northeaster lay us open to perpetual
gratitude? or is a soft South gale to be orisoned and vespered

I am tired of this eternal prating of devotion and constancy. It is
senseless in itself and harmful in its tendencies. The dictate of reason
is to treat men and women as we do oranges. Suck all the juice out and
then let them go. Where is the good of keeping the peel and pulp-cells
till they get old, dry, and mouldy? Let them go, and they will help feed
the earth-worms and bugs and beetles who can hardly find existence a
continued banquet, and fertilize the earth which will have you give
before you receive. Thus they will ultimately spring up in new and
beautiful shapes. Clung to with constancy, they stain your knife and
napkin, impart a bad odor to your dining-room, and degenerate into
something that is neither pleasant to the eye nor good for food. I
believe in a rotation of crops, morally and socially, as well as
agriculturally. When you have taken the measure of a man, when you have
sounded him and know that you cannot wade in him more than ankle-deep,
when you have got out of him all that he has to yield for your soul's
sustenance and strength, what is the next thing to be done? Obviously,
pass him on; and turn you "to fresh woods and pastures new." Do you work
him an injury? By no means. Friends that are simply glued on, and don't
grow out of, are little worth. He has nothing more for you, nor you for
him; but he may be rich in juices wherewithal to nourish the heart of
another man, and their two lives, set together, may have an endosmose
and exosmose whose result shall be richness of soil, grandeur of growth,
beauty of foliage, and perfectness of fruit; while you and he would only
have languished into aridity and a stunted crab-tree.

For my part, I desire to sweep off my old friends with the old year and
begin the new with a clean record. It is a measure absolutely necessary.
The snake does not put on his new skin over the old one. He sloughs off
the first, before he dons the second. He would be a very clumsy serpent,
if he did not. One cannot have successive layers of friendships any more
than the snake has successive layers of skins. One must adopt some
system to guard against a congestion of the heart from plethora of
loves. I go in for the much-abused fair-weather, skin-deep, April-shower
friends,--the friends who will drop off, if let alone,--who must be kept
awake to be kept at all,--who will talk and laugh with you as long as it
suits your respective humors and you are prosperous and happy,--the
blessed butterfly-race who flutter about your June mornings, and when
the clouds lower, and the drops patter, and the rains descend, and the
winds blow, will spread their gay wings and float gracefully away to
sunny southern lands where the skies are yet blue and the breezes
violet-scented. They are not only agreeable, but deeply wise. So long as
a man keeps his streamer flying, his sails set, and his hull above
water, it is pleasant to paddle alongside; but when the sails split, the
yards crack, and the keel goes staggering down, by all means paddle off.
Why should you be submerged in his whirlpool? Will he drown any more
easily because you are drowning with him? Lung is lung. He dies from
want of air, not from want of sympathy. When, a poor fellow sits down
among the ashes, the best thing his friends can do is to stand afar off.
Job bore the loss of property, children, health, with equanimity. Satan
himself found his match there; and for all his buffetings, Job sinned
not, nor charged God foolishly. But Job's three friends must needs make
an appointment together to come and mourn with him and to comfort him,
and after this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day,--and no wonder.

Your friends have an intimate knowledge of you that is astonishing to
contemplate. It is not that they know your affairs, which he who runs
may read, but they know you. From a bit of bone, Cuvier could predicate
a whole animal, even to the hide and hair. Such moral naturalists are
your dear five hundred friends. It seems to yourself that you are
immeasurably reticent. You know, of a certainty, that you project only
the smallest possible fragment of yourself. You yield your universality
to the bond of common brotherhood; but your individualism--what it is
that makes you you--withdraws itself naturally, involuntarily,
inevitably, into the background,--the dim distance which their eyes
cannot penetrate. But, from the fraction which you do project, they
construct another you, call it by your name, and pass it around for the
real, the actual you. You bristle with jest and laughter and wild whims,
to keep them at a distance; and they fancy this to be your every-day
equipment. They think your life holds constant carnival. It is
astonishing what ideas spring up in the heads of sensible people. There
are those who assume that a person can never have had any grief, unless
somebody has died, or he has been disappointed in love,--not knowing
that every avenue of joy lies open to the tramp of pain. They see the
flashing coronet on the queen's brow, and they infer a diamond woman,
not recking of the human heart that throbs wildly out of sight. They see
the foam-crest on the wave, and picture an Atlantic Ocean of froth, and
not the solemn sea that stands below in eternal equipoise. You turn to
them the luminous crescent of your life, and they call it the whole
round globe; and so they love you with a love that is agate, not pearl,
because what they love in you is something infinitely below the highest.
They love you level: they have never scaled your heights nor fathomed
your depths. And when they talk of you as familiarly as if they had
taken out your auricles and ventricles, and turned them inside out, and
wrung them, and shaken them,--when they prate of your transparency and
openness, the abandonment with which you draw aside the curtain and
reveal the inmost thoughts of your heart,--you, who are to yourself a
miracle and a mystery, you smile inwardly, and are content. They are on
the wrong scent, and you may pursue your plans in peace. They are
indiscriminate and satisfied. They do not know the relation of what
appears to what is. If they chance to skirt along the coasts of your
Purple Island, it will be only chance, and they will not know it. You
may close your port-holes, lower your draw-bridge, and make merry, for
they will never come within gun-shot of the "Round Tower of your heart."

There is no such thing as knowing a man intimately. Every soul is, for
the greater part of its mortal life, isolated from every other. Whether
it dwell in the Garden of Eden or the Desert of Sahara, it dwells alone.
Not only do we jostle against the street-crowd unknowing and unknown,
but we go out and come in, we lie down and rise up, with strangers.
Jupiter and Neptune sweep the heavens not more unfamiliar to us than the
worlds that circle our own hearth-stone. Day after day, and year after
year, a person moves by your side; he sits at the same table; he reads
the same books; he kneels in the same church. You know every hair of his
head, every trick of his lips, every tone of his voice; you can tell him
far off by his gait. Without seeing him, you recognize his step, his
knock, his laugh. "Know him? Yes, I have known him these twenty years."
No, you don't know him. You know his gait, and hair, and voice. You know
what preacher he hears, what ticket he voted, and what were his last
year's expenses; but you don't know him. He sits quietly in his chair,
but he is in the temple. You speak to him; his soul comes out into the
vestibule to answer you, and returns,--and the gates are shut; therein
you cannot enter. You were discussing the state of the country; but,
when you ceased, he opened a postern-gate, went down a bank, and
launched on a sea over whose waters you have no boat to sail, no star to
guide. You have loved and reverenced him. He has been your concrete of
truth and nobleness. Unwittingly you touch a secret spring, and a
Blue-Beard Chamber stands revealed. You give no sign; you meet and part
as usual; but a Dead Sea rolls between you two forevermore.

It must be so. Not even to the nearest and dearest can one unveil the
secret place where his soul abideth, so that there shall be no more any
winding ways or hidden chambers; but to your indifferent neighbor, what
blind alleys, and deep caverns, and inaccessible mountains! To him who
"touches the electric chain wherewith you're darkly bound," your soul
sends back an answering thrill. Our little window is opened, and there
is short parley. Your ships speak each other now and then in welcome,
though imperfect communication; but immediately you strike out again
into the great, shoreless sea, over which you must sail forever alone.
You may shrink from the far-reaching solitudes of your heart, but no
other foot than yours can tread them, save those

  "That, eighteen hundred years ago, were nailed,
  For our advantage, to the bitter cross."

Be thankful that it is so,--that only His eye sees whose hand formed. If
we could look in, we should be appalled at the vision. The worlds that
glide around us are mysteries too high for us. We cannot attain to them.
The naked soul is a sight too awful for man to look at and live. There
are individuals whose topography we would like to know a little better,
and there is danger that we crash against each other while roaming
around in the dark; but, for all that, would we not have the
Constitution broken up. Somebody says, "In heaven there will be no
secrets," which, it seems to me, would be intolerable. (If that were a
revelation from the King of Heaven, of course I would not speak
flippantly of it; but, though towards Heaven we look with reverence and
humble hope, I do not know that Tom, Dick, and Harry's notions of it
have any special claim to our respect.) Such publicity would destroy all
individuality, and undermine the foundations of society.
Clairvoyance--if there be any such thing--always seemed to me a stupid
impertinence. When people pay visits to me, I wish them to come to the
front-door, and ring the bell, and send up their names. I don't wish
them to climb in at the window, or creep through the pantry, or, worst
of all, float through the keyhole, and catch me in undress. So I believe
that in all worlds thoughts will be the subjects of volition,--more
accurately expressed when expression is desired, but just as entirely
suppressed when we will suppression.

After all, perhaps the chief trouble arises from a prevalent confusion
of ideas as to what constitutes a man your friend. Friendship may stand
for that peaceful complacence which you feel towards all well--behaved
people who wear clean collars and use tolerable grammar. This is a very
good meaning, if everybody will subscribe to it. But sundry of these
well-behaved people will mistake your civility and complacence for a
recognition of special affinity, and proceed at once to frame an
alliance offensive and defensive while the sun and the moon shall
endure. Oh, the barnacles that cling to your keel in such waters! The
inevitable result is, that they win your intense rancor. You would feel
a genial kindliness towards them, if they would be satisfied with that;
but they lay out to be your specialty. They infer your innocent little
inch to be the standard-bearer of twenty ells, and goad you to frenzy. I
mean you, you desperate little horror, who nearly dethroned my reason
six years ago! I always meant to have my revenge, and here I impale you
before the public. For three months, you fastened yourself upon me; and
I could not shake you off. What availed it me, that you were an honest
and excellent man? Did I not, twenty times a day, wish you had been a
villain, who had insulted me, and I a Kentucky giant, that I might have
the unspeakable satisfaction of knocking you down? But you added to your
crimes virtue. Villany had no part or lot in you. You were a member of a
church, in good and regular standing; you had graduated with all the
honors worth mentioning; you had not a sin, a vice, or a fault that I
knew of; and you were so thoroughly good and repulsive that you were a
great grief to me. Do you think, you dear, disinterested wretch, that I
have forgotten how you were continually putting yourself to horrible
inconveniences on my account? Do you think I am not now filled with
remorse for the aversion that rooted itself ineradicably in my soul, and
which now gloats over you, as you stand in the pillory where my own
hands have fastened you? But can Nature be crushed forever? Did I not
ruin my nerves, and seriously injure my temper, by the overpowering
pressure I laid upon them to keep them quiet when you were by? Could I
not, by the sense of coming ill through all my quivering frame, presage
your advent as exactly as the barometer heralds the approaching storm?
Those three months of agony are little atoned for by this late
vengeance: but go in peace!

Mysterious are the ways of friendship. It is not a matter of reason or
of choice, but of magnetisms. You cannot always give the premises nor
the argument, but the conclusion is a palpable and stubborn fact. Abana
and Pharpar may be broad, and deep, and blue, and grand; but only in
Jordan shall your soul wash and be clean. A thousand brooks are born of
the sunshine and the mountains: very, very few are they whose flow can
mingle with yours, and not disturb, but only deepen and broaden the

Your friend! Who shall describe him, or worthily paint what he is to
you? No merchant, nor lawyer, nor farmer, nor statesman claims your
suffrage, but a kingly soul. He comes to you from God,--a prophet, a
seer, a revealer. He has a clear vision. His love is reverence. He goes
into the _penetralia_ of your life,--not presumptuously, but with
uncovered head, unsandalled feet, and pours libations at the innermost
shrine. His incense is grateful. For him the sunlight brightens, the
skies grow rosy, and all the days are Junes. Wrapped in his love, you
float in a delicious rest, rocked in the bosom of purple, scented waves.
Nameless melodies sing themselves through your heart. A golden glow
suffuses your atmosphere. A vague, fine ecstasy thrills to the sources
of life, and earth lays hold on heaven. Such friendship is worship. It
elevates the most trifling services into rites. The humblest offices are
sanctified. All things are baptized into a new name. Duty is lost in
joy. Care veils itself in caresses. Drudgery becomes delight. There is
no longer anything menial, small, or servile. All is transformed

   "Into something rich and strange."

The homely household-ways lead through beds of spices and orchards of
pomegranates. The daily toil among your parsnips and carrots is plucking
May violets with the dew upon them to meet the eyes you love upon their
first awaking. In the burden and heat of the day you hear the rustling
of summer showers and the whispering of summer winds. Everything is
lifted up from the plane of labor to the plane of love, and a glory
spans your life. With your friend, speech and silence are one,--for a
communion mysterious and intangible reaches across from heart to heart.
The many dig and delve in your nature with fruitless toil to find the
spring of living water: he only raises his wand, and, obedient to the
hidden power, it bends at once to your secret. Your friendship, though
independent of language, gives to it life and light. The mystic spirit
stirs even in commonplaces, and the merest question is an endearment.
You are quiet because your heart is over-full. You talk because it is
pleasant, not because you have anything to say. You weary of terms that
are already love-laden, and you go out into the highways and hedges, and
gather up the rough, wild, wilful words, heavy with the hatreds of men,
and fill them to the brim with honey-dew. All things great and small,
grand or humble, you press into your service, force them to do soldier's
duty, and your banner over them is love.

With such a friendship, presence alone is happiness; nor is absence
wholly void,--for memories, and hopes, and pleasing fancies sparkle
through the hours, and you know the sunshine will come back.

For such friendship one is grateful. No matter that it comes unsought,
and comes not for the seeking. You do not discuss the reasonableness of
your gratitude. You only know that your whole being bows with humility
and utter thankfulness to him who thus crowns you monarch of all realms.

And the kingdom is everlasting. A thin, pale love dies weakly with the
occasion that gave it birth; but such friendship is born of the gods,
and is immortal. Clouds and darkness may sweep around it, but within the
cloud the glory lives undimmed. Death has no power over it. Time cannot
diminish, nor even dishonor annul it. Its direction may have been
unworthy, but itself is eternal. You go back into your solitudes: all is
silent as aforetime, but you cannot forget that a Voice once resounded
there. A Presence filled the valleys and gilded the mountain-tops,
--breathed upon the plains, and they sprang up in lilies
and roses,--flashed upon the waters, and they flowed to spheral
melody,--swept through the forests, and they, too, trembled into song.
And though now the warmth has faded out, though the ruddy tints and
amber clearness have paled to ashen hues, though the murmuring melodies
are dead, and forest, vale, and hill look hard and angular in the sharp
air, you know that it is not death. The fire is unquenched beneath. You
go your way not disconsolate. There needs but the Victorious Voice. At
the touch of the Prince's lips, life shall rise again and be perfected


When one thinks of a bird, one fancies a soft, swift, aimless, joyous
thing, full of nervous energy and arrowy motions,--a song with wings. So
remote from ours their mode of existence, they seem accidental exiles
from an unknown globe, banished where none can understand their
language; and men only stare at their darting, inexplicable ways, as at
the gyrations of the circus. Watch their little traits for hours, and it
only tantalizes curiosity. Every man's secret is penetrable, if his
neighbor be sharp-sighted. Dickens, for instance, can take a poor
condemned wretch, like Fagin, whose emotions neither he nor his reader
has experienced, and can paint him in colors that seem made of the
soul's own atoms, so that each beholder feels as if he, personally, had
been the man. But this bird that hovers and alights beside me, peers up
at me, takes its food, then looks again, attitudinizing, jerking,
flirting its tail, with a thousand inquisitive and fantastic
motions,--although I have power to grasp it in my hand and crush its
life out, yet I cannot gain its secret thus, and the centre of its
consciousness is really farther from mine than the remotest planetary
orbit. "We do not steadily bear in mind," says Darwin, with a noble
scientific humility, "how profoundly ignorant we are of the condition of
existence of every animal."

What "sympathetic penetration" can fathom the life, for instance, of
yonder mysterious, almost voiceless, Humming-Bird, smallest of feathery
things, and loneliest, whirring among birds, insect-like, and among
insects, bird-like, his path untraceable, his home unseen? An image of
airy motion, yet it sometimes seems as if there were nothing joyous in
him. He seems like some exiled pigmy prince, banished, but still regal,
and doomed to wings. Did gems turn to flowers, flowers to feathers, in
that long-past dynasty of the Humming-Birds? It is strange to come upon
his tiny nest, in some gray and tangled swamp, with this brilliant atom
perched disconsolately near it, upon some mossy twig; it is like
visiting Cinderella among her ashes. And from Humming-Bird to Eagle, the
daily existence of every bird is a remote and bewitching mystery.

Pythagoras has been charged, both before and since the days of Malvolio,
with holding that "the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a
fowl,"--that delinquent men must revisit earth as women, and delinquent
women as birds. Malvolio thought nobly of the soul, and in no way
approved his opinion; but I remember that Harriet Rohan, in her
school-days, accepted this, her destiny, with glee. "When I saw the
Oriole," she wrote to me, "from his nest among the plum-trees in the
garden, sail over the air and high above the Gothic arches of the elm, a
stream of flashing light, or watched him swinging silently on pendent
twigs, I did not dream how near akin we were. Or when a Humming-Bird, a
winged drop of gorgeous sheen and gloss, a living gem, poising on his
wings, thrust his dark, slender, honey-seeking bill into the white
blossoms of a little bush beside my window, I should have thought it no
such bad thing to be a bird, even if one next became a bat, like the
colony in our eaves, that dart and drop and skim and skurry, all the
length of moonless nights, in such ecstasies of dusky joy." Was this
weird creature, the bat, in very truth a bird, in some far primeval
time? and does he fancy, in unquiet dreams at nightfall, that he is
one still? I wonder whether he can enjoy the winged brotherhood
into which he has thrust himself,--victim, perhaps, of some rash
quadruped-ambition,--an Icarus doomed forever _not_ to fall.

I think, that, if required, on pain of death, to name instantly the most
perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird's egg.
There is, first, its exquisite fragility of material, strong only by the
mathematical precision of that form so daintily moulded. There is its
absolute purity from external stain, since that thin barrier remains
impassable until the whole is in ruins,--a purity recognized in the
household proverb of "An apple, an egg, and a nut." Then, its range of
tints, so varied, so subdued, and so beautiful,--whether of pure white,
like the Martin's, or pure green, like the Robin's, or dotted and
mottled into the loveliest of browns, like the Red Thrush's, or
aqua-marine, with stains of moss-agate, like the Chipping-Sparrow's, or
blotched with long weird ink-marks on a pale ground, like the Oriole's,
as if it bore inscribed some magic clue to the bird's darting flight and
pensile nest. Above all, the associations and predictions of this little
wonder,--that one may bear home between his fingers all that winged
splendor, all that celestial melody, coiled in mystery within these tiny
walls! Even the chrysalis is less amazing, for its form always preserves
some trace, however fantastic, of the perfect insect, and it is but
moulting a skin; but this egg appears to the eye like a separate unit
from some other kingdom of Nature, claiming more kindred with the very
stones than with feathery existence; and it is as if a pearl opened and
an angel sang.

The nest which is to contain these fair things is a wondrous study also,
from the coarse masonry of the Robin to the soft structure of the
Humming-Bird, a baby-house among nests. Among all created things, the
birds come nearest to man in their domesticity. Their unions are usually
in pairs, and for life; and with them, unlike the practice of most
quadrupeds, the male labors for the young. He chooses the locality of
the nest, aids in its construction, and fights for it, if needful. He
sometimes assists in hatching the eggs. He feeds the brood with
exhausting labor, like yonder Robin, whose winged picturesque day is
spent in putting worms into insatiable beaks, at the rate of one morsel
in every three minutes. He has to teach them to fly, as among the
Swallows, or even to hunt, as among the Hawks. His life is anchored to
his home. Yonder Oriole fills with light and melody the thousand
branches of a neighborhood; and yet the centre for all this divergent
splendor is always that one drooping dome upon one chosen tree. This he
helped to build in May, confiscating cotton as if he were a Union
provost-martial, and singing many songs, with his mouth full of plunder;
and there he watches over his household, all through the leafy June,
perched often upon the airy cradle-edge, and swaying with it in the
summer wind. And from this deep nest, after the pretty eggs are hatched,
will he and his mate extract every fragment of the shell, leaving it,
like all other nests, save those of birds of prey, clean and pure, when
the young are flown. This they do chiefly from an instinct of delicacy;
since wood-birds are not wont to use the same nest a second time, even
if they rear several broods in a season.

The subdued tints and notes which almost always mark the female sex,
among birds,--unlike insects and human beings, of which the female is
often more showy than the male,--seem designed to secure their safety
while sitting on the nest, while the brighter colors and louder song of
the male enable his domestic circle to detect his whereabouts more
easily. It is commonly noticed, in the same way, that ground-birds have
more neutral tints than those which build out of reach. With the aid of
these advantages, it is astonishing how well these roving creatures keep
their secrets, and what sharp eyes are needed to spy out their
habitations,--while it always seems as if the empty last-year's nests
were very plenty. Some, indeed, are very elaborately concealed, as of
the Golden-Crowned Thrush, called, for this reason, the Oven-Bird,--the
Meadow-Lark, with its burrowed gallery among the grass,--and the
Kingfisher, which mines four feet into the earth. But most of the rarer
nests would hardly be discovered, only that the maternal instinct seems
sometimes so overloaded by Nature as to defeat itself, and the bird
flies and chirps in agony, when she might pass unnoticed by keeping
still. The most marked exception which I have noticed is the Red Thrush,
which, in this respect, as in others, has the most high-bred manners
among all our birds: both male and female sometimes flit in perfect
silence through the bushes, and show solicitude only in a sob which is
scarcely audible.

Passing along the shore-path by our lake, one day in June, I heard a
great sound of scuffling and yelping before me, as if dogs were hunting
rabbits or woodchucks. On approaching, I saw no sign of such
disturbances, and presently a Partridge came running at me through the
trees, with ruff and tail expanded, bill wide open, and hissing like a
Goose,--then turned suddenly, and with ruff and tail furled, but with no
pretence of lameness, scudded off through the woods in a circle,--then
at me again fiercely, approaching within two yards, and spreading all
her furbelows, to intimidate, as before,--then, taking in sail, went off
again, always at the same rate of speed, yelping like an angry squirrel,
squealing like a pig, occasionally clucking like a hen, and, in general,
so filling the woods with bustle and disturbance that there seemed no
room for anything else. Quite overawed by the display, I stood watching
her for some time, then entered the underbrush, where the little
invisible brood had been unceasingly piping, in their baby way. So
motionless were they, that, for all their noise, I stood with my feet
among them, for some minutes, without finding it possible to detect
them. When found and taken from the ground, which they so closely
resembled, they made no attempt to escape; but, when replaced, they
presently ran away fast, as if conscious that the first policy had
failed, and that their mother had retreated. Such is the summer-life of
these little things; but come again in the fall, when the wild autumnal
winds go marching through the woods, and a dozen pairs of strong wings
will thrill like thunder through the arches of the trees, as the
full-grown brood whirrs away around you.

Not only have we scarcely any species of birds which are thoroughly and
unquestionably identical with European species, but there are certain
general variations of habit. For instance, in regard to migration. This
is, of course, a Universal instinct, since even tropical birds migrate
for short distances from the equator, so essential to their existence do
these wanderings seem. But in New England, among birds as among men, the
roving habit seems unusually strong, and abodes are shifted very
rapidly. The whole number of species observed in Massachusetts is about
the same as in England,--some three hundred in all. But of this number,
in England, about a hundred habitually winter on the island, and half
that number even in the Hebrides, some birds actually breeding in
Scotland during January and February, incredible as it may seem. Their
habits can, therefore, be observed through a long period of the year;
while with us the bright army comes and encamps for a month or two and
then vanishes. You must attend their dress-parades, while they last; for
you will have but few opportunities, and their domestic life must
commonly be studied during a few weeks of the season, or not at all.

Wonderful as the instinct of migration seems, it is not, perhaps, so
altogether amazing in itself as in some of its attendant details. To a
great extent, birds follow the opening foliage northward, and flee from
its fading, south; they must keep near the food on which they live, and
secure due shelter for their eggs. Our earliest visitors shrink from
trusting the bare trees with their nests; the Song-Sparrow seeks the
ground; the Blue-Bird finds a box or a hole somewhere; the Red-Wing
haunts the marshy thickets, safer in spring than at any other season;
and even the sociable Robin prefers a pine-tree to an apple-tree, if
resolved to begin housekeeping prematurely. The movements of birds are
chiefly timed by the advance of vegetation; and the thing most
thoroughly surprising about them is not the general fact of the change
of latitude, but their accuracy in hitting the precise locality. That
the same Cat-Bird should find its way back, every spring, to almost the
same branch of yonder larch-tree,--that is the thing astonishing to me.
In England, a lame Redstart was observed in the same garden for sixteen
successive years; and the astonishing precision of course which enables
some birds of small size to fly from Australia to New Zealand in a
day--probably the longest single flight ever taken--is only a part of
the same mysterious instinct of direction.

In comparing modes of flight, the most surprising, of course, is that of
the Swallow tribe, remarkable not merely for its velocity, but for the
amazing boldness and instantaneousness of the angles it makes; so that
eminent European mechanicians have speculated in vain upon the methods
used in its locomotion, and prizes have been offered, by mechanical
exhibitions, to him who could best explain it. With impetuous dash, they
sweep through our perilous streets, these wild hunters of the air, "so
near, and yet so far"; they bathe flying, and flying they feed their
young. In my immediate vicinity, the Chimney-Swallow is not now common,
nor the Sand-Swallow; but the Cliff-Swallow, that strange emigrant from
the Far West, the Barn-Swallow, and the white-breasted species, are
abundant, together with the Purple Martin. I know no prettier sight than
a bevy of these bright little creatures, met from a dozen different
farm-houses to picnic at a way-side pool, splashing and fluttering, with
their long wings expanded like butterflies, keeping poised by a constant
hovering motion, just tilting upon their feet, which scarcely touch the
moist ground. You will seldom see them actually perch on anything less
airy than some telegraphic wire; but, when they do alight, each will
make chatter enough for a dozen, as if all the rushing hurry of the
wings had passed into the tongue.

Between the swiftness of the Swallow and the stateliness of the birds of
prey, the whole range of bird-motion seems included. The long wave of a
Hawk's wings seems almost to send a slow vibration through the
atmosphere, tolling upon the eye as yon distant bell upon the ear. I
never was more impressed with the superior dignity of these soarings
than in observing a bloodless contest in the air, last April. Standing
beside a little grove, on a rocky hill-side, I heard Crows cawing near
by, and then a sound like great flies buzzing, which I really
attributed, for a moment, to some early insect. Turning, I saw two Crows
flapping their heavy wings among the trees, and observed that they were
teasing a Hawk about as large as themselves, which was also on the wing.
Presently all three had risen above the branches, and were circling
higher and higher in a slow spiral. The Crows kept constantly swooping
at their enemy, with the same angry buzz, one of the two taking
decidedly the lead. They seldom struck at him with their beaks, but kept
lumbering against him, and flapping him with their wings, as if in a
fruitless effort to capsize him; while the Hawk kept carelessly eluding
the assaults, now inclining on one side, now on the other, with a
stately grace, never retaliating, but seeming rather to enjoy the novel
amusement, as if it were a skirmish in balloons. During all this,
indeed, he scarcely seemed once to wave his wings; yet he soared
steadily aloft, till the Crows refused to follow, though already higher
than I ever saw Crows before, dim against the fleecy sky; then the Hawk
flew northward, but soon after he sailed over us once again, with loud,
scornful _chirr_, and they only cawed, and left him undisturbed.

When we hear the tumult of music from these various artists of the air,
it seems as if the symphony never could be analyzed into its different
instruments. But with time and patience it is not so difficult; nor can
we really enjoy the performance, so long as it is only a confused chorus
to our ears. It is not merely the highest form of animal language, but,
in strictness of etymology, the only form, if it be true, as is claimed,
that no other animal employs its tongue, _lingua_, in producing sound.
In the Middle Ages, the song of birds was called their Latin, as was any
other foreign dialect. It was the old German superstition, that any one
who should eat the heart of a bird would thenceforth comprehend its
language; and one modern philologist of the same nation (Masius
declares) has so far studied the sounds produced by domestic fowls as to
announce a Goose-Lexicon. Dupont de Nemours asserted that he understood
eleven words of the Pigeon language, the same number of that of Fowls,
fourteen of the Cat tongue, twenty-two of that of Cattle, thirty of that
of Dogs, and the Raven language he understood completely. But the
ordinary observer seldom attains farther than to comprehend some of the
cries of anxiety and fear around him, often so unlike the accustomed
carol of the bird,--as the mew of the Cat-Bird, the lamb-like bleating
of the Veery and his impatient _yeoick_, the _chaip_ of the Meadow-Lark,
the _towyee_ of the Chewink, the petulant _psit_ and _tsee_ of the
Red-Winged Blackbird, and the hoarse cooing of the Bobolink. And with
some of our most familiar birds the variety of notes is so great as
really to promise difficulties in the American department of the
bird-lexicon. I have watched two Song-Sparrows, perched near each other,
in whom the spy-glass could show not the slightest difference of
marking, even in the characteristic stains upon the breast, who yet
chanted to each other, for fifteen minutes, over and over, two elaborate
songs which had nothing in common. I have observed a similar thing in
two Wood-Sparrows, with their sweet, distinct, accelerating lay; nor can
I find it stated that the difference is sexual. Who can claim to have
heard the whole song of the Robin? Taking shelter from a shower beneath
an oak-tree, the other day, I caught a few of the notes which one of
those cheery creatures, who love to sing in wet weather, tossed down to
me through the drops.

(Before noticing me,)                      _chirrup, cheerup_
(pausing in alarm, at my approach,)        _che, che, che;_
(broken presently by a thoughtful strain,) _caw, caw,_
(then softer and more confiding,)          _see, see, see;_
(then the original note, in a whisper,)    _chirrup, cheerup;_
(often broken by a soft note,)             _see, wee;_
(and an odder one,)                        _squeal;_
(and a mellow note,)                       _tweedle._

And all these were mingled with more complex combinations, and with
half-imitations, as of the Blue-Bird, so that it seemed almost
impossible to doubt that there was some specific meaning, to him and his
peers, in this endless vocabulary. Yet other birds, as quick-witted as
the Robins, possess but one or two chirping notes, to which they seem
unable to give more than the very rudest variation of accent.

The controversy between the singing-birds of Europe and America has had
various phases and influential disputants. Buffon easily convinced
himself that our Thrushes had no songs, because the voices of all birds
grew harsh in savage countries, such as he naturally held this continent
to be. Audubon, on the other hand, relates that even in his childhood he
was assured by his father that the American songsters were the best,
though neither Americans nor Europeans could be convinced of it.
MacGillivray, the Scottish naturalist, reports that Audubon himself, in
conversation, arranged our vocalists in the following order:--first, the
Mocking-Bird, as unrivalled; then, the Wood-Thrush, Cat-Bird, and Red
Thrush; the Rose-Breasted, Pine, and Blue Grosbeak; the Orchard and
Golden Oriole; the Tawny and Hermit Thrushes; several Finches,
--Bachmann's, the White-Crowned, the Indigo, and the Nonpareil;
and finally, the Bobolink.

Among those birds of this list which frequent Massachusetts, Audubon
might well put the Wood-Thrush at the head. As I sat the other day in
the deep woods beside a black brook which dropped from stone to stone
beneath the shadow of our Rattlesnake Rocks, the air seemed at first as
silent above me as the earth below. The buzz of summer sounds had not
begun. Sometimes a bee hummed by with a long swift thrill like a chord
of music; sometimes a breeze came resounding up the forest like an
approaching locomotive, and then died utterly away. Then, at length, a
Veery's delicious note rose in a fountain of liquid melody from beneath
me; and when it was ended, the clear, calm, interrupted chant of the
Wood-Thrush fell like solemn water-drops from some source above--I am
acquainted with no sound in Nature so sweet, so elevated, so serene.
Flutes and flageolets are Art's poor efforts to recall that softer
sound. It is simple, and seems all prelude; but the music to which it is
the overture must belong to other spheres. It might be the _Angelus_ of
some lost convent. It might be the meditation of some maiden-hermit,
saying over to herself in solitude, with recurrent tuneful pauses, the
only song she knows. Beside this soliloquy of seraphs, the carol of the
Veery seems a familiar and almost domestic thing; yet it is so charming
that Audubon must have designed to include it among the Thrushes whose
merits he proclaims.

But the range of musical perfection is a wide one; and if the standard
of excellence be that wondrous brilliancy and variety of execution
suggested by the Mocking-Bird, then the palm belongs, among our
New-England songsters, to the Red Thrush, otherwise called the Mavis or
Brown Thrasher. I have never heard the Mocking-Bird sing at liberty; and
while the caged bird may surpass the Red Thrush in volume of voice and
in quaintness of direct imitation, he gives me no such impression of
depth and magnificence. I know not how to describe the voluble and
fantastic notes which fall like pearls and diamonds from the beak of our
Mavis, while his stately attitudes and high-born bearing are in full
harmony with the song. I recall the steep, bare hill-side, and the two
great boulders which guard the lonely grove, where I first fully learned
the wonder of this lay, as if I had met Saint Cecilia there. A
thoroughly happy song, overflowing with life, it gives even its most
familiar phrases an air of gracious condescension, as when some great
violinist stoops to the "Carnival of Venice." The Red Thrush does not,
however, consent to any parrot-like mimicry, though every note of wood
or field--Oriole, Bobolink, Crow, Jay, Robin, Whippoorwill--appears to
pass in veiled procession through the song.

Retain the execution of the Red Thrush, but hopelessly impair his organ,
and you have the Cat-Bird. This accustomed visitor would seem a gifted
vocalist, but for the inevitable comparison between his thinner note and
the gushing melodies of the lordlier bird. Is it some hopeless
consciousness of this disadvantage which leads him to pursue that
peculiar habit of singing softly to himself very often, in a fancied
seclusion? When other birds are cheerily out-of-doors, on some bright
morning of May or June, one will often discover a solitary Cat-Bird
sitting concealed in the middle of a dense bush, and twittering busily,
in subdued rehearsal, the whole copious variety of his lay, practising
trills and preparing half-imitations, which, at some other time, sitting
on the topmost twig, he shall hilariously seem to improvise before all
the world. Can it be that he is really in some slight disgrace with
Nature, with that demi-mourning garb of his,--and that his feline cry of
terror, which makes his opprobrium with boys, is part of some hidden
doom decreed? No, the lovely color of the eggs which his companion
watches on that laboriously builded staging of twigs shall vindicate
this familiar companion from any suspicion of original sin. Indeed, it
is well demonstrated by our American oölogist, Dr. Brewer, that the eggs
of the Cat-Bird affiliate him with the Robin and the Wood-Thrush, all
three being widely separated in this respect from the Red Thrush. The
Red Thrush builds on the ground, and has mottled eggs; while the whole
household establishment of the Wood-Thrush is scarcely distinguishable
from that of the Robin, and the Cat-Bird differs chiefly in being more
of a carpenter and less of a mason.

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, which Audubon places so high on his list of
minstrels, comes annually to one region in this vicinity, but I am not
sure of having heard it. The young Pine Grosbeaks come to our woods in
winter, and have then but a subdued twitter. Every one knows the
Bobolink; and almost all recognize the Oriole, by sight at least, even
if unfamiliar with all the notes of his cheery and resounding song. The
Red-Eyed Flycatcher, heard even more constantly, is less generally
identified by name; but his note sounds all day among the elms of our
streets, and seems a sort of piano-adaptation, popularized for the
million, of the rich notes of the Thrushes. He is not mentioned by
Audubon among his favorites, and has no right to complain of the
exclusion. Yet the birds which most endear summer are not necessarily
the finest performers; and certainly there is none whose note I could
spare less easily than the little Chipping-Sparrow, called hereabouts
the Hair-Bird. To lie half-awake on a warm morning in June, and hear
that soft insect-like chirp draw in and out with long melodious
pulsations, like the rising and falling of the human breath, condenses
for my ear the whole luxury of summer. Later in the day, among the
multiplicity of noises, the chirping becomes louder and more detached,
losing that faint and dream-like thrill.

The bird-notes which have the most familiar fascination are perhaps
simply those most intimately associated with other rural things. This
applies especially to the earliest spring songsters. Listening to these
delicious prophets upon some of those still and moist days which slip in
between the rough winds of March and fill our lives for a moment with
anticipated delights, it has seemed to me that their varied notes were
sent to symbolize all the different elements of spring association. The
Blue-Bird seems to represent simply spring's faint, tremulous, liquid
sweetness, the Song-Sparrow its changing pulsations of more positive and
varied joy, and the Robin its cheery and superabundant vitality. The
later birds of the season, suggesting no such fine-drawn sensations, yet
identify themselves with their chosen haunts, so that we cannot think of
the one without the other. In the meadows, we hear the languid and
tender drawl of the Meadow-Lark,--one of the most peculiar of notes,
almost amounting to affectation in its excess of laborious sweetness.
When we reach the thickets and wooded streams, there is no affectation
in the Maryland Yellow-Throat, that little restless busybody, with his
eternal _which-is-it, which-is-it, which-is-it_, emphasizing each
syllable at will, in despair of response. Passing into the loftier
woods, we find them resounding with the loud proclamation of the
Golden-Crowned Thrush,--_scheat, scheat, scheat, scheat_,--rising and
growing louder in a vigorous way that rather suggests some great
Woodpecker than such a tiny thing. And penetrating to some yet lonelier
place, we find it consecrated to that life-long sorrow, whatever it may
be, which is made immortal in the plaintive cadence of the Pewee.

There is one favorite bird,--the Chewink, or Ground-Robin,--which, I
always fancied, must have been known to Keats when he wrote those few
words of perfect descriptiveness,--

    "If an innocent bird
    Before my heedless footsteps _stirred and stirred
    __In little journeys_."

What restless spirit is in this creature, that, while so shy in its own
personal habits, it yet watches every visitor with a Paul-Pry curiosity,
follows him in the woods, peers out among the underbrush, scratches upon
the leaves with a pretty pretence of important business there, and
presently, when disregarded, ascends some small tree and begins to carol
its monotonous song, as if there were no such thing as man in the
universe? There is something irregular and fantastic in the coloring,
also, of the Chewink: unlike the generality of ground-birds, it is a
showy thing, with black, white, and bay intermingled, and it is one of
the most unmistakable of all our feathery creatures, in its aspect and
its ways.

Another of my favorites, perhaps from our sympathy as to localities,
since we meet freely every summer at a favorite lake, is the King-Bird
or Tyrant-Flycatcher. The habits of royalty or tyranny I have never been
able to perceive,--only a democratic habit of resistance to tyrants; but
this bird always impresses me as a perfectly well-dressed and
well-mannered person, who amid a very talkative society prefers to
listen, and shows his character by action only. So long as he sits
silently on some stake or bush in the neighborhood of his family-circle,
you notice only his glossy black cap and the white feathers in his
handsome tail; but let a Hawk or a Crow come near, and you find that he
is something more than a mere lazy listener to the Bobolink: far up in
the air, determined to be thorough in his chastisements, you will see
him, with a comrade or two, driving the bulky intruder away into the
distance, till you wonder how he ever expects to find his own way back
again. He speaks with emphasis, on these occasions, and then reverts,
more sedately than ever, to his accustomed silence.

After all the great labors of Audubon and Wilson, it is certain that the
recent visible progress of American ornithology has by no means equalled
that of several other departments of Natural History. The older books
are now out of print, and there is actually no popular treatise on the
subject to be had: a destitution singularly contrasted with the variety
of excellent botanical works which the last twenty years have produced.
Nuttall's fascinating volumes, and Brewer's edition of Wilson, are
equally inaccessible; and the most valuable contributions since their
time, so far as I know, are that portion of Dr. Brewer's work on eggs
printed in the eleventh volume of the "Smithsonian Contributions," and
four admirable articles in this very magazine.[14] But the most
important observations are locked up in the desks or exhibited in the
cabinets of private observers, who have little opportunity of comparing
facts with other students, or with reliable printed authorities. What do
we know, for instance, of the local distribution of our birds? I
remember that in my latest conversation with Thoreau, last December, he
mentioned most remarkable facts in this department, which had fallen
under his unerring eyes. The Hawk most common at Concord, the Red-Tailed
species, is not known near the sea-shore, twenty miles off,--as at
Boston or Plymouth. The White-Breasted Sparrow is rare in Concord; but
the Ashburnham woods, thirty miles away, are full of it. The Scarlet
Tanager's is the commonest note in Concord, except the Red-Eyed
Flycatcher's; yet one of the best field-ornithologists in Boston had
never heard it. The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak is seen not infrequently at
Concord, though its nest is rarely found; but in Minnesota Thoreau found
it more abundant than any other bird, far more so than the Robin. But
his most interesting statement, to my fancy, was, that, during a stay of
ten weeks on Monadnock, he found that the Snow-Bird built its nest on
the top of the mountain, and probably never came down through the
season. That was its Arctic; and it would probably yet be found, he
predicted, on Wachusett and other Massachusetts peaks. It is known that
the Snow-Bird, or "Snow-Flake," as it is called in England, was reported
by Audubon as having only once been proved to build in the United
States, namely, among the White Mountains, though Wilson found its nests
among the Alleghanies; and in New England it used to be the rural belief
that the Snow-Bird and the Chipping-Sparrow were the same.

After July, most of our birds grow silent, and, but for the insects,
August would be almost the stillest month in the year,--stiller than the
winter, when the woods are often vocal with the Crow, the Jay, and the
Chickadee. But with patient attention one may hear, even far into the
autumn, the accustomed notes. As I sat in my boat, one sunny afternoon
of last September, beneath the shady western shore of our quiet lake,
with the low sunlight striking almost level across the wooded banks, it
seemed as if the last hoarded drops of summer's sweetness were being
poured over all the world. The air was full of quiet sounds. Turtles
rustled beside the brink and slid into the water,--cows plashed in the
shallows,--fishes leaped from the placid depths,--a squirrel sobbed and
fretted on a neighboring stump,--a katydid across the lake maintained
its hard, dry croak,--the crickets chirped pertinaciously, but with
little fatigued pauses, as if glad that their work was almost done,--the
grasshoppers kept up their continual chant, which seemed thoroughly
melted and amalgamated into the summer, as if it would go on
indefinitely, though the body of the little creature were dried into
dust. All this time the birds were silent and invisible, as if they
would take no more part in the symphony of the year. Then, as if by
preconcerted signal, they joined in: Crows cawed anxiously afar; Jays
screamed in the woods; a Partridge clucked to its brood, like the gurgle
of water from a bottle; a Kingfisher wound his rattle, more briefly than
in spring, as if we now knew all about it and the merest hint ought to
suffice; a Fish-Hawk flapped into the water, with a great rude splash,
and then flew heavily away; a flock of Wild Ducks went southward
overhead, and a smaller party returned beneath them, flying low and
anxiously, as if to pick up some lost baggage; and, at last, a Loon
laughed loud from behind a distant island, and it was pleasant to people
these woods and waters with that wild shouting, linking them with
Katahdin Lake and Amperzand.

But the later the birds linger in the autumn, the more their aspect
differs from that of spring. In spring, they come, jubilant, noisy,
triumphant, from the South, the winter conquered and the long journey
done. In autumn, they come timidly from the North, and, pausing on their
anxious retreat, lurk within the fading copses and twitter snatches of
song as fading. Others fly as openly as ever, but gather in flocks, as
the Robins, most piteous of all birds at this season,--thin, faded,
ragged, their bold note sunk to a feeble quaver, and their manner a mere
caricature of that inexpressible military smartness with which they held
up their heads in May.

Yet I cannot really find anything sad even in November. When I think of
the thrilling beauty of the season past, the birds that came and went,
the insects that took up the choral song as the birds grew silent, the
procession of the flowers, the glory of autumn,--and when I think, that,
this also ended, a new gallery of wonder is opening, almost more
beautiful, in the magnificence of frost and snow, there comes an
impression of affluence and liberality in the universe, which seasons of
changeless and uneventful verdure would never give. The catkins already
formed on the alder, quite prepared to droop into April's beauty,--the
white edges of the May-flower's petals, already visible through the bud,
show in advance that winter is but a slight and temporary retardation of
the life of Nature, and that the barrier which separates November from
March is not really more solid than that which parts the sunset from the

[Footnote 14: "Our Birds and their Ways" (December, 1857); "The
Singing-Birds and their Songs" (August, 1858); "The Birds of the Garden
and Orchard" (October, 1858); "The Birds of the Pasture and Forest"
(December, 1853);--the first by J. Elliot Cabot, and the three last by
Wilson Flagg.]


In the rapid alternations of opinion produced by the varying incidents
of the present war, a few days effect the work of centuries. We may
therefore be pardoned for giving an antique coloring to an event of
recent occurrence. Accordingly we say, once upon a time, (Tuesday, July
1, 1862) a great popular convention of all who loved the Constitution
and the Union, and all who hated "niggers," was called in the city of
New York. The place of meeting was the Cooper Institute, and among the
signers to the call were prominent business and professional men of that
great metropolis. At this meeting, that eminently calm and learned
jurist, the Honorable W.A. Duer, interrupted the course of an elaborate
argument for the constitutional rights of the Southern rebels by a
melodramatic exclamation, that, if we hanged the traitors of the country
in the order of their guilt, "the next man who marched upon the scaffold
after Jefferson Davis would be Charles Sumner."

The professed object of the meeting was to form a party devoted to the
support of "the Constitution as it is and the Union as it was." Its
practical effect was to give the Confederates and foreign powers a broad
hint that the North was no longer a unit. The coincidence of the meeting
with the Federal reverses before Richmond made its professed object all
the more ridiculous. The babbling and bawling of the speakers about "the
rights of the South," and "the infamous Abolitionists who disgraced
Congress," were but faint echoes of the Confederate cannon which had
just ceased to carry death into the Union ranks. Both the speeches and
the cannon spoke hostility to the National Cause. The number of the
dead, wounded, "missing," and demoralized members of the great Army of
the Potomac exceeded, on that Tuesday evening, any army which the United
States had ever, before the present war, arrayed on any battle-field.
Jefferson Davis, on that evening, was safer at Richmond than Abraham
Lincoln was at Washington. A well-grounded apprehension, not only for
the "Union," but for the safety of loyal States, was felt on that
evening all over the North and West. It was, in fact, the darkest hour
in the whole annals of the Republic. Even the authorities at Washington
feared that the Army of the Potomac was destroyed. This was exactly the
time for the Honorable Mr. Wickliffe and the Honorable Mr. Brooks, for
the Honorable W. A. Duer and the Honorable Fernando Wood, to delight the
citizens of New York with their peculiar eloquence. This was the
appropriate occasion to stand up for the persecuted and down-trodden
South! This was the grand opportunity to assert the noble principle,
that, by the Constitution, every traitor had the right to be tried by a
jury of traitors! This was the time to dishonor all the New England
dead! This was the time to denounce the living worthies of New England!
Hang Jeff. Davis? Oh, yes! We all know that he is secure behind his
triumphant slayers of the real defenders of the Constitution and the
Union. Neither hangman nor Major-General can get near _him_. But Charles
Sumner is in our power. We can hang him easily. He has not two or four
hundred thousand men at his back. He travels alone and unattended. Do we
want a constitutional principle for combining the two men in one act of
treason? Here is a calm jurist,--here, gentlemen of the party of the
Constitution and the Laws, is the Honorable W. A. Duer. What does he
say? Simply this: "Hang Jeff. Davis and Charles Sumner." Davis we cannot
hang, but Sumner we can. Let us take one-half of his advice;
circumstances prevent us from availing ourselves of the whole. There is,
to be sure, no possibility of hanging Charles Sumner under any law known
to us, the especial champions of the laws. But what then? Don't you see
the Honorable W. A. Duer appeals, in this especial case, to "the higher
law" of the mob? Don't you see that he desires to shield Jeff. Davis by
weaving around his august person all the fine cobwebs of the Law, while
he proposes to have Sumner hanged on "irregular" principles, unknown to
the jurisprudence of Marshall and Kent?

But enough for the New York meeting. It was of no importance, except as
indicating the existence, and giving a blundering expression to the
objects, of one of the most malignant and unpatriotic factions which
this country has ever seen. The faction is led by a few cold-blooded
politicians universally known as the meanest sycophants of the South and
the most impudent bullies of the North; but they have contrived to array
on their side a considerable number of honest and well-meaning dupes by
a dexterous appeal to conservative prejudice and conservative passion,
so that hundreds serve their ends who would feel contaminated by their
companionship. Never before has Respectability so blandly consented to
become the mere instrument and tool of Rascality. The rogues trust to
inaugurate treason and anarchy under the pretence of being the special
champions of the Constitution and the Laws. Their real adherents are
culled from the most desperate and dishonest portions of our population.
They can hardly indite a leading article, or make a stump speech,
without showing their proclivities to mob-law. To be sure, if a known
traitor is informally arrested, they rave about the violation of the
rights of the citizen; but they think Lynch-law is good enough for
"Abolitionists." If a General is assailed as being over prudent and
cautious in his operations against the common enemy, they immediately
laud him as a Hannibal, a Caesar, and a Napoleon; they assume to be his
special friends and admirers; they adjure him to persevere in what they
conceive to be his policy of inaction; and, as he is a great master in
strategy, they hint that his best strategic movement would be a
movement, _à la_ Cromwell, on the Abolitionized Congress of the United
States. Disunion, anarchy, the violation of all law, the appeal to the
lowest and fiercest impulses of the most ignorant portions of the
Northern people,--these constitute the real stock-in-trade of "the
Hang-Jeff.-Davis-and-Charles-Sumner" party; but the thing is so managed,
that, formally, this party appears as the special champion of the Union,
the Constitution, and the Laws.

Those politicians who personally dislike the present holders of
political power, those politicians who think that the measures of
confiscation and emancipation passed by the Congress which has just
adjourned are both unjust and impolitic, unconsciously slide into the
aiders and abettors of the knaves they individually despise and
distrust. The "radicals" must, they say, at all events, be checked; and
they lazily follow the lead of the rascals. The rascals intend to ruin
the country. But then they propose to do it in a constitutional way. The
only thing, it seems, that a lawyer and a jurist can consider is Form.
If the country is dismembered, if all its defenders are slain, if the
Southern Confederacy is triumphant, not only at Richmond, but at
Washington and New York, if eight millions of people beat twenty
millions, and the greatest of all democracies ignominiously succumbs to
the basest of all aristocracies, the true patriots will still have the
consolation, that the defeat, the "damned defeat," occurred under the
strictest forms of Law. Better that ten Massachusetts soldiers should be
killed than that one negro should be illegally freed! Better that
Massachusetts should be governed by Jeff. Davis than that it should be
represented by such men as Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson, notoriously
hostile to the constitutional rights of the South! Subjection, in
itself, is bad; but the great American idea of local governments for
local purposes, and a general government for general purposes, still,
thank God! may survive it. To be sure, we may be beaten and enslaved,
The rascals, renegades, and liberticides may gain their object. This
object we shall ever contemn. But if they gain it fairly, under the
forms of the Constitution, it is the duty of all good citizens to
submit. Our Southern opponents, we acknowledge, committed some
"irregularities"; but nobody can assert, that, in dealing with them, we
deviated, by a hair's-breadth, from the powers intrusted to the
Government by the Fathers of the Republic. While the country is
convulsed by a rebellion unprecedented in the whole history of the
world, we are compelled by our principles to look upon it as lawyers,
and not as statesmen. We apply to it the same principles which our
venerated forefathers applied to Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts and
the Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania. To be sure, the
"circumstances" are different; but we need not remind the philanthropic
inhabitants of our section of the country, that "principles are
eternal." We judge the existing case by these eternal principles. We may
fail, and fail ignominiously; but, in our failure, nobody can say that
we violated any sacred form of the ever-glorious Constitution of the
United States. The Constitution has in it no provisions to secure its
own existence by unconstitutional means. It is therefore our duty, as
lawyers as well as legislators, to allow the gentlemen who have
repudiated it, because they were defeated in an election, to enjoy all
its benefits. That they do not seem to appreciate these benefits, but
shoot, in a shockingly "irregular" manner, all who insist on imposing on
them its blessings, furnishes no reason why we should partake in their
guilt by violating its provisions. It is true that the Government
established by the Constitution may fall by a strict adherence to our
notions of the Constitution; but even in that event we shall have the
delicious satisfaction of contemplating it in memory as a beautiful
idea, after it has ceased to exist as a palpable fact. As the best
constitution ever devised by human wisdom, we shall always find a more
exquisite delight in meditating on the mental image of its perfect
features than in enjoying the practical blessings of any other
Government which may be established after it is dead and gone; and our
feeling regarding it can be best expressed in the words in which the
lyric poet celebrates his loyalty to the soul of the departed object of
his affection:--

"Though many a gifted mind we meet,
  And fairest forms we see,
To live with them is far less sweet
  Than to remember thee!"

It is fortunate both for our safety and the safety of the Constitution,
that these politico-sentimental gentlemen represent only a certain
theory of the Constitution, and not the Constitution itself. Their
leading defect is an incapacity to adjust their profound legal
intellects to the altered circumstances of the country. Any child in
political knowledge is competent to give them this important item of
political information,--that by no constitution of government ever
devised by human morality and intelligence were the rights of rascals so
secured as to give them the privilege of trampling on the rights of
honest men. Any child in political knowledge is competent to inform them
of this fundamental fact, underlying all laws and constitutions,--that,
if a miscreant attempts to cut your throat, you may resist him by all
the means which your strength and his weakness place in your power. Any
child in political knowledge is further competent to furnish them with
this additional bit of wisdom,--that every constitution of government
provides, under the war-power it confers, against its own overthrow by
rebels and by enemies. If rebels rise to the dignity and exert the power
of enemies, they can be proceeded against both as rebels and as enemies.
As rebels, the Government is bound to give them all the securities which
the Constitution may guaranty to traitors. As enemies, the Government is
restricted only by the vast and vague "rights of war," of which its own
military necessities must be the final judge.

"But," say the serene thinkers and scholars whom the rogues use as
mouthpieces, "our object is simply to defend the Constitution. We do not
believe that the Government has any of the so-called 'rights of war'
against the rebels. If Jefferson Davis has committed the crime of
treason, he has the same right to be tried by a jury of the district in
which his alleged crime was committed that a murderer has to be tried by
a similar jury. We know that Mr. Davis, in case the rebellion is
crushed, will not only be triumphantly acquitted, but will be sent to
Congress as Senator from Mississippi. This is mortifying in itself, but
it still is a beautiful illustration of the merits of our admirable
system of government. It enables the South to play successfully the
transparent game of 'Heads I win, tails you lose,' and so far must be
reckoned bad. But this evil is counterbalanced by so many blessings,
that nobody but a miserable Abolitionist will think of objecting to the
arrangement. We, on the whole, agree with the traitors, whose designs we
lazily aid, in thinking that Jeff. Davis and Charles Sumner are equally
guilty, in a fair estimate of the causes of our present misfortunes.
Hang both, we say; and we say it with an inward confidence that neither
will be hanged, if the true principles of the Constitution be carried

The political rogues and the class of honest men we have referred to
are, therefore, practically associated in one party to oppose the
present Government. The rogues lead; the honest men follow. If this new
party succeeds, we shall have the worst party in power that the country
has ever known. Buchanan as President, and Floyd as Secretary of War,
were bad enough. But Buchanan and Floyd had no large army to command, no
immense material of war to direct. As far as they could, they worked
mischief, and mischief only. But their means were limited. The
Administration which will succeed that of Abraham Lincoln will have
under its control one of the largest and ablest armies and navies in the
world. Every general and every admiral will be compelled to obey the
orders of the Administration. If the Administration be in the hands of
secret traitors, the immense military and naval power of the country
will be used for its own destruction. A compromise will be patched up
with the Rebel States. The leaders of the rebellion will be invited back
to their old seats of power. A united South combined with a Pro-slavery
faction in the North will rule the nation. And all this enormous evil
will be caused by the simplicity of honest men in falling into the trap
set for them by traitors and rogues.


_The Tariff-Question, considered in Regard to the Policy of England and
the Interests of the United States; with Statistical, and Comparative
Tables_. By ERASTUS B. BIGELOW. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 4to.

Under this modest title, the American public is presented with a work of
uncommon research, and of great practical utility and value. Its author
is well known as a skilful and most successful inventor, in whose
admirable power-looms nearly all the carpets of the world are now woven.
On the subject of manufactures few can speak with more authority,
whether in reference to its general bearings or its minute details. The
work before us affords ample proof of his ability to discuss one of the
most important questions in political economy.

The hundred pages of text are followed by two hundred and thirty-four
pages of tabular statistics. This large and well-arranged body of
invaluable information, though styled an appendix, was, in fact, the
precursor of the argument, and constitutes the solid base on which it
rests. These tables are "not mere copies or abstracts, but the result of
labored and careful selection, comparison, and combination." In this
treasury of facts, derived for the most part from official records, the
commercial and industrial interests of the United States and of England,
especially, are presented in all their most important aspects and
relations. The amount of information here given is immense; and knowing,
as we do, the scrupulous care of the collector, we cannot doubt its
accuracy. Independently of its connection with the author's argument,
this feature of the work cannot fail to give it value and a permanent
place in every library, office, counting-room, and workshop of the

In his discussion of the tariff question, Mr. Bigelow assumes it as a
settled principle of national policy that revenue should be raised by
duties on imports. To clear the ground from ambiguity, he states exactly
what he means when he uses the terms "free-trade" and "protection," and
then proceeds to describe and explain the tariff-policy of Great
Britain. Not without good reason does he give this prominence to the
action of that great power. It is not merely that England stands at the
head of manufacturing and commercial nations, or that our
business-connections with her are intimate and extensive. The fact which
makes English policy so important an element in the discussion is found
in the persistent and too often successful efforts of that country to
shape American opinion and legislation on questions of manufacture and
trade. Nowhere else have we seen the utter fallacy of the free-trade
argument, as urged by Great Britain on other countries upon the strength
of her own successful example, so clearly shown. The nature, object,
extent, and motive of the tariff-reforms effected by Sir Robert Peel and
Mr. Gladstone are made plain, not only by the quoted explanations of
those statesmen, but by statistical facts and figures. Until she had
carried her manufactures to a height of prosperity where competition
could no longer touch them, England was, of all nations, the most
protective. Then she became of a sudden wondrously liberal. Her
protective laws were abolished, and, with a mighty show of generosity,
she opened her ports to the commerce of the world. Foreign producers
were magnanimously told that they could send their goods freely into
England at a time when English manufactures were underselling and
supplanting theirs in their own markets. The sacrifice of duties
actually made by England on foreign manufactures, and which she paraded
before the world as a reason why other nations should imitate and
reciprocate her action, amounted, as we learn from the work before us,
to this immense annual sum of two hundred and eighteen thousand dollars,
being "less than one-fourth part of the tax which Englishmen annually
pay for the privilege of keeping their dogs!"

It is true that the exports and trade of England have increased with
extraordinary rapidity since 1853, and that the free-trade economists of
that country ascribe this great prosperity in large degree to their
alleged reforms. That they have no good ground for such a representation
is shown conclusively by Mr. Bigelow. During the same period, France,
with high protection, and the United States, with moderate protection,
made equal or even greater advances. The causes of this increased
prosperity must, therefore, have been general in their nature and
influence. The progress of invention and discovery, and the increased
supply of gold, are mentioned by the author as among the most efficient.

The immense extent and vast importance of English manufactures, and
especially of the cotton-manufacture, are fully unfolded, and we cannot
wonder at the earnest and unceasing efforts of that country to preserve
and to extend this great interest. This necessity is strikingly evinced
in the section on "The Dependent Condition of England." We can only
allude to this part of the argument, as full of striking suggestions,
and as showing that in some very important respects England is the most
dependent of all countries, and that the continued maintenance of her
life and power rests on the maintenance of her manufacturing supremacy.
In the section headed "Efforts of England to extend her Manufactures,"
we have some curious and instructive history, and we specially commend
this part of the work to those who have been accustomed to lend a
willing ear to British talk on the subjects of protection and

Mr. Bigelow devotes a short, but graphic and comprehensive, section to
the "Condition and Resources of the United States." "The Tariffs of the
United States," their merits and defects, are briefly considered. His
"Reasons in Favor of a Protective Policy" leave, as it seems to us, very
little to be said on the other side. From a multitude of passages which
we have been tempted to quote, we select the following, as a not
unfavorable specimen of the work:--

"War is an evil to which we are always liable, and shall continue to be
liable, until the Millennium comes. With reference to this always
existent danger, no nation which is not willing to be trampled on can
safely take its position on Quaker ground. That the possible event may
not find us unprepared, we build fortresses and war-ships, and maintain
armies and artillery at vast expense. No one but the mere visionary
denies the propriety or the necessity of this. Yet it is demonstrable
that a nation about to be involved in war will find a well-developed
industrial and productive power of more real value than any or than all
of the precautionary measures above mentioned; since, without such
power, neither forts nor armies can long be sustained.

"It is obvious that the doctrine of free-trade (I mean, of course,
genuine free-trade, and not the British counterfeit) ignores the
probability, if not, indeed, the possibility of war. Could peace,
perpetual and universal, be guarantied to the world, the argument
against protection would possess a degree of strength, which, as things
now are, does not and cannot belong to it. May it not be well for us to
consider, whether, on the whole, we can do better than to take things as
they are, by conforming our national policy, not to an imaginary era of
universal peace and philanthropy, but to the hard and selfish world in
which we happen to live?

"Lest this remark should be misinterpreted, I disclaim all intent to
intimate that men acting in communities are released from those
obligations of morality and justice which bind them as individuals. As
civilization advances and mankind become more enlightened and virtuous,
the beneficial change cannot fail to show itself in the public councils
of the world, and in the kinder and broader spirit that will animate and
control the intercourse of nations. Meanwhile, let us not expect to find
in collective humanity the disinterested goodness which is so rarely
exhibited by the individual members. Let us rather assume that other
nations will act, in the main, on selfish principles; and let us shape
our own course as a nation in accordance with that presumption. Few, I
think, will call this uncharitable, when they recall to mind our own
experience during the year past. Why were so many among us surprised and
disappointed at the course pursued by the English, generally, in
reference to our domestic difficulties? Simply because they forgot,
that, with the mass of mankind, self-interest is a far stronger motive
than philanthropy. That England should sympathize, even in the slightest
degree, with a rebellious conspiracy against a kindred and friendly
nation,--a conspiracy based openly and confessedly on the extension and
perpetuity of an institution--which Englishmen everywhere professed to
regard with the deepest abhorrence,--was certainly very inconsistent;
but it was not at all strange. In fact, it was precisely the thing which
we might expect would happen under the circumstances. Those who made the
mistake have learned a lesson in human nature which should prevent them
from repeating the blunder."

From the past opinions and present condition of our Southern States, and
from the history of the war thus far, the author strongly argues the
necessity of a policy designed and fitted to build up a diversified
industry and a vigorous productive power. In regard to the degree of
protection, he advocates no more than is necessary to equalize
advantages. In consequence of her abundant capital, lower rate of
interest, and cheaper labor, England can manufacture at less cost than
we can; and this disadvantage can be counteracted only by protective
legislation. The benefits which have accrued to the manufacturers of
England from a governmental policy on whose stability they could rely,
the advantage of a long and firmly established business with all its
results of experience and skill, and the collateral aid of a widely
extended commerce, are points clearly brought out and presented to the
consideration of American economists.

But our limits forbid that we should attempt any further exposition of
this excellent work. The section on "Free Trade" cannot fail to arrest
attention, and that upon "The Harmony of Interests among the States" is
full of common sense inspired by the broadest patriotism.

Our imperfect abstract gives but a meagre notion of the fulness and
completeness of this admirable work. It will accomplish its object, if
it send the reader to the book itself. The appearance of the volume is
timely. Events and circumstances have prepared the minds of our
countrymen to understand and to appreciate the argument. The book cannot
fail to diffuse sounder views of the great topics which it discusses,
and will exert, we trust, a beneficial influence on the legislation of
the country.

_The Slave-Power; its Character, Career, and Probable Designs: being an
Attempt to explain the Real Issue involved in the American Contest_. By
J. E. CAIRNES, M. A, London: Parker, Son, & Bourn. 8vo.

This book, which is dedicated to John Stuart Mill, and is in excellent
keeping with that writer's article on "The Civil War in America,"
deserves a respectful and even cordial welcome from the people of this
country. It has grown out of a course of university-lectures on
North-American Slavery, more especially considered in its economical
aspects. But the author has been led to enlarge his view, and has
brought before the public one of the most significant works that have
yet appeared on this momentous subject. So far as the treatise is a
speculative one, it has an interest for all inquirers. So far as it is
intended to influence or modify the current estimate of the great
conflict in this country, it bears more directly on the people of
England; but, unless we have determined neither to seek nor to miss the
sympathy of intelligent Englishmen, we ought to hail so manly and
powerful an attempt to correct the errors which prevail in the
mother-country. We do not undertake at this time to subscribe to
everything we find in this book, nor are we now about to criticize its
contents. Our wish is to introduce it to our readers as a comforting
proof that there is a leaven yet working among our English kinsmen which
it would be extremely unjust in us not to recognize. We quote an English
critic, who says:--"The work is exceedingly able, as well as exceedingly
opportune. It will do much to arrest the extraordinary tide of sympathy
with the South which the clever misrepresentations of Southern advocates
have managed to set running in this country, and to imprint the picture
of a modern slave-community on the imagination of thoughtful men."
Professor Cairnes sets himself at the start against the endeavor to
refer this great crisis to superficial and secondary causes. He pierces
the question to the core, and finds there what has too often been
studiously kept out of sight, the cancer of Slavery. Acknowledging what
has been so diligently harped upon, that the motive of the war is not
the overthrow of the slave-power, he still insists that Slavery is the
cause of the war. This he attempts to establish historically and
economically; nor does he leave the subject without a searching look
into Southern society and a prospective glance at the issues of the
contest. He has freely consulted American authorities, most of which are
familiar to many of our readers; he has also turned to good account the
reports of open-eyed English travellers, and the opinions of sensible
French writers, not overlooking the remarkably clear narrative of our
political history in the "Annuaire des Deux Mondes" for 1860. He handles
his materials with great skill, and, in a word, has brought to bear on
his difficult subject an amount of good sense and sound thought quite
remarkable in a foreigner who is dealing with the complex politics of a
distant country.

Professor Cairnes, in opposition to the Southern doctrine proclaimed at
home and abroad, views the present rebellion as unconstitutional, and as
therefore amenable to the usual tests by which a revolutionary movement
is justified or condemned. He refers to the manner in which the English
people allowed their sympathies "to be carried, under the skilful
management of Southern agency acting through the press, round to the
Southern side"; and while he admires the spectacle of a people rising
"for no selfish object, but to maintain the integrity of their common
country, and to chastise a band of conspirators, who, in the wantonness
of their audacity, had dared to attack it," he attributes the "cold
criticism and derision" of the English public to a shallow, but natural,
misconception of the real issue. So far as in him lies, he does not
intend that the case shall be so misconceived any longer. Without
declaring himself an advocate or apologist of American democracy, he
warmly pleads that democracy ought not to bear the burdens of
oligarchy,--that the faults and mistakes in the policy of this country
ought not all to be laid at the door of the present National Government,
and thus redound to the benefit of its Southern foes, when so many of
those faults and mistakes were committed under the sway of the very
class in whose behalf they are now quoted. Our sensitive countrymen, who
have so keenly smarted under English indifference or hostility, may
console themselves with the thought that there is one Englishman of
undoubted ability and sincerity who calls the Southern Confederation
"the opprobrium of the age."

Near the close of the volume the author strives to penetrate the
darkness which hangs over the present conflict. He does not think "that
the North is well advised in its attempt to reconstruct the Union in its
original proportions." He would have the North supported in striving for
"a degree of success which shall compel the South to accept terms of
separation, such as the progress of civilization in America and the
advancement of human interests throughout the world imperatively
require." The terms of his proposed settlement we have not room here to

With this hasty notice, and without any attempt at criticism, we dismiss
a thoughtful and interesting book, which, however in some particulars it
may fail to meet the entire acceptance of all American readers, is well
worthy of their calm and deliberate perusal.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 59, September, 1862 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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