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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 20. December, 1877.
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

OF

_POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE_.

DECEMBER, 1877.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT
& Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



A MONTH IN SICILY.

FIRST PAPER.


[Illustration: LA FAVORITA.]

Early on the morning of the first of February we stood on the deck of the
steamer for Palermo, watching the sun rise over the water. Far away in the
south the blue edge of the sea began to grow bluer with the rising of the
distant land. A fresh breeze blew from the shore--not a pleasant feature in
February weather at home, but suggesting comparisons with the warmest
morning of a New England May. With the swift advance of the steamer the
blue line in the south rapidly rose above the level of the sea into the
definite shape of a rugged mountain-range: gradually the blueness of
distance changed to rich shades of brown and red on the jagged, treeless
summits, and to deepest green where long orange-farms border the bases of
the mountains.

Who has not longed to see Sicily? Every one who loves poetry, romance or
the history of ancient civilization must often turn in thought to this
beautiful and famous Mediterranean island. To the most ancient poets it was
a mysterious land, where dwelt the monster Charybdis and the bloody
Læstrigones; where Ulysses met the Cyclops; where the immortal gods waged
battles with the giant sons of Earth, and bound Enceladus in his eternal
prison. No doubt it was the terrific natural phenomena of Sicily--the
earthquakes and the outbursts of Etna--which rendered it so much a land of
horrors to the early Greek imagination. But in that far-distant age it was
not only the terrors of the place that had worked upon the imaginative
Greeks: the almost tropical luxuriance of the country, the unrivalled
scenery, the brilliancy of the sky, made it a fitting ground for the
adventures of nymphs, heroes and gods. In the fountain of Sicilian Ortygia
dwelt Arethusa, the nymph dear to the poets; beside the Lake of Enna, where
rich vegetation overran the lips of the extinct volcano, was the spot
called in mythology the meeting-place of Pluto and Proserpine--the power of
darkness and the springing plant personified; and so through all the
country places were found made sacred by the presence of the great
divinities, and temples were erected in their honor.

When the age of fable had passed away, far back in the early dawn of
European history begins authentic knowledge about Sicily. While wicked Ahaz
reigned in the kingdom of Judah, and Isaiah had not ceased to utter his
prophecies, the Greek colonization of Sicily began. Seven hundred and
thirty-five years before Christ, Theocles with his band of Greeks from
Euboea founded Naxos on the coast, hard by the fertile slopes of Etna.
Within three centuries from that time the whole Sicilian coast had been
studded with Greek cities, and to such wealth, power and splendor of art
had they attained that all succeeding epochs of the island's history seem
degenerate times when compared with that early golden age.

It has been truly said that "there is not a nation which has materially
influenced the destinies of European civilization that has not left
distinct traces of its activity in this island." Phoenicians, Greeks,
Romans, Saracens, Normans, Spaniards, French and English have successively
occupied the island, and noble monuments of the varied civilizations are
standing to this day. Scattered through the island, their architectural
remains crown the mountain-tops or lie in confusion along the Mediterranean
shore, a series of ruins extending through twenty-five centuries, unmatched
in any other country for variety of age and style.

At ten o'clock our steamer entered the Gulf of Palermo, passing near the
base of Monte Pellegrino, a wild promontory which towers up two thousand
feet from the sea. On the day before I had entered for the first time the
famous Bay of Naples, but with less delight than I now looked upon the
beauties of this Sicilian gulf. Flanked with lofty mountains, colored with
the matchless blue of the Mediterranean, studded with picturesque lateen
sails, the bay is a fitting entrance to this fair historic island: a more
beautiful approach could hardly be imagined even to the Islands of the
Blessed.

The Italians call Palermo _la felice_ ("the happy"). It is most happy in
its climate, its situation and its noble streets and gardens. Below the
city lies the lovely bay: behind it stretches back for miles, between
converging mountain-chains, the fruit-producing level of the Golden Shell
(_La Conca d'Oro_). The plain is one vast orchard of oranges and lemons
which every year distributes its huge crop over half the habitable globe.
The city is worthy of its position. The chief streets are broad, clean and
handsomely built--a contrast to the universal shabbiness and squalor we had
found in Naples.

[Illustration: CATHEDRAL OF PALERMO.]

A traveller is sure to be put in a good humor with the place by the many
and unusual comforts which he meets in the great sea-fronting hotel; and
the first look from the windows of his apartment confirms the opinion that
Palermo is the fairest of Southern cities. The outlook is upon the grand
seashore drive, the Marina, as gay and pretty a sight as can be found in
any European capital. The broad, tree-shaded avenue, bordered on one side
by hotels and palaces, on the other by the waters of the bay, is thronged
with private carriages. Beginning at the sea-facing gate of the city, the
road commands through all its length a view of the mountains, the bay and
the open sea: at its terminus lie the public flower-gardens--acres of our
choicest hothouse plants growing in tropical profusion.

In Palermo, as in so many European towns, the cathedral is the chief
architectural attraction. To approach it from the bay the whole length of
the city must be traversed on the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, the chief
business street. This corso is crossed at the centre of the town by another
of equal width, which also commemorates by its name Italian unity--the
Corso Garibaldi. There is one other broad and important street which no
American can enter without remembering that even in this distant land the
interest and sympathy of the people have been with our country in its
struggles and successes: it is the Via Lincoln.

The drive up the Corso gives an opportunity for seeing a remarkably
handsome street lined with gay shops, and for studying the peculiar and
often fine faces of the Sicilian people; but nothing of striking interest
appears until, near the centre of the town, a street opening on the left
discloses a vista ending in a small forest of white marble statues. On a
nearer view it is found that the statues belong to the immense fountain of
the Piazza Pretoria, a work erected about A. D. 1550 by command of the
senate of Palermo. It is perhaps the largest and most elaborate fountain in
Europe, and, though it is easy to criticise the countless sculptures that
adorn it, the whole effect of their combination into an architectural unit
is most imposing.

Continuing the drive up the Corso, a broad piazza suddenly opens on the
right, flanked by the cathedral. The abruptness of the transition from
between the dark lines of buildings into the sunlight of the square adds to
the first strong impression produced by the beauty of the vast duomo. In
its external architecture the church is unique: the charm of it to one who
has been travelling through Italy is its utter dissimilarity to all the
Italian churches. Architectural writers call it a building of the "Sicilian
Gothic style;" and, though the expression does not convey a vivid image
except to the student of art, any one can see its essential difference from
the style of the North, and can recognize the rare grandeur and beauty of
the church. The form is simple, but the dimensions are grand. Without the
boldness of outline of true Gothic churches, the walls are so covered with
ornaments of interlacing arches, cornices and arabesque slightly raised on
the masonry as to produce an effect of wonderful richness. The style is
peculiarly Sicilian, yet every observer of mediæval churches will at once
detect the Norman, Italian and Saracenic influences blended in an exquisite
harmony. Connected with the church by light arches, but separated from it
by a street, stands the campanile, a mass of enormous solidity, terminating
in many pinnacles and one slender and graceful tower rising above them all.
Four other lofty towers, springing from the corners of the church, give
additional lightness to its elegant design: they were added to the building
nearly three centuries after the Norman conquest of Sicily, and yet their
minaret-like form and pointed panel ornaments show how strong and lasting
had been the influence of Arabian art upon the mediæval architects of
Sicily.

[Illustration: GROTTO OF SANTA ROSALIA.]

It is seven hundred years since the foundations of the duomo were laid. In
that distant age, and in a land so remote, it is a curious circumstance
that its founder was an Englishman: _Gualterio Offamilio_ is the amusing
Italian corruption by which the name of Walter of the Mill was suited to
the Southern tongue. After Roger and his Normans had driven from Sicily the
Arab power which had held the land for more than two centuries, and when
Christianity had succeeded the Mohammedan religion throughout the island,
Archbishop Walter assumed spiritual sovereignty in Palermo, and founded
this cathedral on the site of an ancient mosque. Only a part of the
original building remains in the crypt and two walls of the present church.
All subsequent ages have changed and added to its original simple form, but
often have taken from its beauty. Within the church only a part of the
south aisle commands close attention: there in canopied sarcophagi of
porphyry reposes the dust of Roger, king of Sicily (1154), of Henry VI.,
emperor of Germany, and of Frederick II., Roger's most illustrious
grandson, king of Sicily, king of Jerusalem and emperor of Germany. In a
chapel at the right of the high altar, sacred to Santa Rosalia, rest the
bones of the saint enshrined in a sarcophagus of silver. Thirteen hundred
pounds of the precious metal are wrought into the shrine, and the whole
chapel is sumptuous with marble frescoes and gilding, for to the pious
souls of Palermo this is the very holy of holies. The cathedral is
dedicated to Rosalia, and almost divine honors are paid to her by the city
from which she fled in horror at its wickedness.

Every summer a festival of three days is held in honor of this favorite
saint; and again in September a day is kept to commemorate her death, when
a vast concourse of people from Palermo climb the side of the neighboring
Monte Pellegrino to worship at the grotto of St. Rosalia, a natural cavern
situated under an overhanging crag of the summit. Here the faithful
Sicilians believe that the holy maiden dwelt in solitude for many years;
and here were found in 1624 the bones of the saint, which put a stop to the
plague then raging in Palermo. The cave has been made a church by building
a porch at the entrance. Twisted columns of alabaster support the roof of
the vestibule, but within the cavern the walls are of the natural rock,
contrasting strangely with the magnificent workmanship of the high altar,
beneath which lies the marble statue of the saint overlaid with a robe of
gold, while about the recumbent figure are placed a book and skull and
other objects of pure gold. It is a figure of a fair young girl,
represented by the artist as dying, with her head at rest upon one hand.
Though the statue is the work of no very famous artist, Goethe in the
narrative of his Sicilian travel has truly said of it, "The head and hands
of white marble are, if not faultless in style, at least so pleasing and
natural that one cannot help expecting to see them move."

Under the southern precipices of this Mountain of the Pilgrim lies a royal
park, and in the midst of it stands a gaudy and fantastic villa called La
Favorita. The house is worth a visit for the sake of seeing what a
half-crazy fancy will produce when united with royal wealth. King Ferdinand
I., during his stay in Sicily early in this century, amused himself by
building this country palace in the style of a Chinese villa, and adorned
it with innumerable little bells, to be rung by every movement of the wind.

It was in the Favorita that the old king found himself cornered by Lord
William Bentinck and his army during the British occupation of the island
in 1812. It is said that his faithful subjects from Palermo encamped by
thousands in the neighborhood--not, however, for the sake of defending
their aged monarch, but to enjoy the fun of witnessing a fight in which
both sides were hated by them with equal cordiality.

To an enterprising traveller some of the pleasantest hours of a long tour
are those when, cutting loose from all guides and books, he wanders alone
through the streets of an old city, enjoying with a sense of discovery the
scraps of antiquity not described in any book which he is sure to meet
with. Palermo and its neighborhood afford a most fertile field for such
researches. The Saracenic villas of the suburbs and the early Norman
buildings of the town will repay considerable patience spent in looking up
the beauties to be found in the details of their construction. For
instance, in the plain old church of S. Agostino there is a doorway and
wheel window one sight of which is an ample reward for much wandering and
searching.

[Illustration: MONREALE]

On a morning too fresh and beautiful for staying in the city we rendered a
vivacious cabman ecstatically happy by an engagement to drive us to
Monreale. A brisk drive past the royal palace, out of the southern gate and
five miles across the orange-covered plain brought us to the foot of an
abrupt mountain. Not a half mile away, but far above, on the seemingly
unapproachable heights, was perched the quaint village which was our
destination: its ancient towering buildings glittered white and hot in the
February sun under the canopy of cloudless blue. Ascending for half an hour
on the well-constructed zigzag road, we stopped at the gate in the
town-wall to buy the luscious-looking fruit of the cactus from a road-side
vender, one of those ideal hags, apparently preserved by desiccation under
the torrid sun, whom only Italy can produce in perfection. Then onward and
upward we pushed through the village street--a street characteristic of
these Southern walled villages, narrow, dark, festooned above with
interminable lines of drying macaroni, covered below with abundant filth,
and bordered by house-walls of enormous thickness, built for resisting
heat. At every house-door or on the pavement in front sits the man of the
house plying his trade, that all the world may know whether his goods are
well made or ill. Up and down the street flow the lines of dark-eyed,
swarthy people--women robed in rags, occasionally set off by a bit of
striking color; children who in their astonishment become rigid at the
sight of a foreigner; here and there an officer of the Italian army
carefully picking his way through the mud; and everywhere produce-laden
asses driven toward Palermo by the most picturesque of cut-throats, for
without its ever-present force of soldiers Monreale would at once relapse
into a hotbed of brigandage, as its recent history shows.

Almost at the summit of the town, facing a broad, paved square, stands the
cathedral and its adjacent Benedictine monastery, both built upon the brink
of the precipitous mountain, and both in external appearance severely
plain, almost to shabbiness.

William II., king of Sicily, called the Good, founded on this Royal Mount a
monastery for the Benedictine friars, and built it up with all the strength
of a fortress and the magnificence of a palace. Little is left of that
original building, which was finished in 1174, but in its few remains have
fortunately been preserved the most splendid of cloisters. This scene of
centuries of Benedictine meditations is a large quadrangle surrounded by an
arcade of multitudinous small pointed arches resting upon pairs of slender
white marble columns, like stalks of snow-white lilies in their grace and
lightness. Some of the marble shafts are wrought with reliefs of flowers
and trailing vines, while most of them were inlaid in bands or spirals of
mosaic in gold and colors, now injured by age. The capitals which crown
these shafts are exquisitely carved, and all mythology, the legends of the
Church and the book of Nature have been ransacked to furnish subjects for
the designs; so that out of two hundred or more no two are similar. All the
decaying magnificence of the great building is pervaded by an oppressive
silence, for it is one of the innumerable religious houses suppressed by
the Italian government.

From the monastery to the cathedral is a walk of but a few steps. All
disappointment at the external plainness is forgotten in approaching the
chief entrance of the church. Michael Angelo said of Ghiberti's doors at
Florence that "they were worthy to be the entrance to Paradise." They have
rightly become famous through all the world, and yet these doors of
Monreale leave on the mind of the beholder a strong impression of their
beauty not less lasting than the Baptistery gates at Florence. In the
execution of the biblical reliefs which completely encrust the massive
leaves of bronze they must yield, of course, to the mature art of
Ghiberti's later age; but the stately height of the solid metal doors, the
alternate bands of mosaic and wrought-stone arabesques which flank them and
surround over head the Arabian arch, and, above all, the sense that they
conceal from view unparalleled splendors beyond, leave on the mind an
impression which cannot be effaced.

Perhaps no other building deserves the epithet "splendid" so exactly as the
cathedral of Monreale: the whole interior is radiant from the vast extent
of its pictured walls. All the walls and vaulting of the nave and aisles,
transepts and tribune, are overspread with ancient mosaics on a golden
ground. It is natural to compare St. Mark's cathedral at Venice with this
church, on account of its immense mosaic-covered surface: its sumptuous
interior delights every beholder with the satisfying completeness which
belongs to it; yet in all the Oriental splendor of the Venetian church
nothing can equal in impressiveness a glance down the nave of Monreale.
Wherever the eye turns it rests upon the glowing colors of some sacred
picture--scenes from the Old Testament history, bright-robed figures of
flying angels, haloed saints in the quaint Byzantine style, apostles and
martyrs, patriarchs and prophets, and, high above them all, from a great
picture in the vaulting of the apse, a startling face of Christ looking
solemnly down through the length of the cathedral. Half the stiffness which
characterizes these early mosaics seems to have been cast aside in treating
this supreme subject. The colossal size of the figure, the hand raised in
blessing the multitude, the sad but awful expression of the countenance,
make it an all-pervading presence in the church. Amid all the glittering
splendor of the building, while the gorgeous pomp of a holiday mass
progressed and rippling strains of organ-music ran echoing through the
arches, through all the bewildering brightness of the spectacle, the
majesty of that Presence could not for a moment be forgotten, nor could the
eyes avoid straying off from the glitter below to answer again and again to
that solemn gaze above.

[Illustration: LA ZIZA.]

It is impossible, in any ordinary picture, to convey more than a very faint
idea of this building, in which the peculiar beauties are dependent upon
color, unlike the Gothic churches of the North: nothing but an oil painting
of minute details could render the effects produced by the bars of sunshine
descending through the twilight of the church and striking on the glowing,
pictured walls. The extent of surface covered by the mosaics is said to be
more than sixty thousand square feet.

By the bounty of the same pious monarch who endowed the neighboring
monastery the cathedral was completed just seven hundred years ago. His
body lies entombed in the transept: his monument is the wonderful pile
whose construction has made his name to be remembered by succeeding ages
more than all his other deeds.

Outside the cathedral, adjoining the monastery-wall, a commanding terrace
is built upon the verge of the precipice. Leaning from its edge, we gazed
almost vertically into the orange-groves below, where the ripe fruit glowed
with the brightness of a flame contrasted with the darkness of the foliage.
Far and wide were spread the fruit-gardens over the plain, to where the
mountains towered up in the east, and northward to the city and the sea. It
is one of those bright and satisfying scenes from which a traveller can
hardly turn away without a tinge of bitterness in the thought of never
seeing them again.

The drive back to the town was pleasantly varied by a détour which brought
us to the Capuchin monastery and the Saracenic villa of La Ziza. The vaults
of the monastery are mentioned as one of the interesting sights, but it
must be a very ghoulish soul that would take pleasure in them. The horrors
of the more famous Capuchin vaults at Rome are tame in comparison with
these. There the ornaments are skulls and skeletons in a tolerable state of
cleanliness: here the departed brethren have been subjected to some
mummifying process, and as they lie piled in hideous confusion their
withered faces stare horribly in the twilight of the cellar. Numerous
fiery-eyed cats run about with much scratching and scrabbling over the dry
bodies, making the place none the pleasanter with their uncanny wails. A
very brief visit is sufficient.

La Ziza, the only Saracenic house of this region which is still inhabited,
is simply a massive, battlemented tower of unmistakably Arabian appearance.
The outside walls are adorned with the depressed panels characteristic of
the Saracenic style, but within the Oriental look has almost vanished under
the repairs and decorations of many centuries. Only the lofty hallway,
arched above with a kind of honeycomb vaulting and cooled by a little
cascade of water rushing through it, retains much of the Oriental beauty,
and seems like a hall of the Alhambra. Along a wall of the vestibule runs
an inscription in Arabic which has been a puzzle to Orientalists, and of
which no undisputed interpretation is given. The palace was built as a
country pleasure-house by one of the Saracenic princes of Palermo, and can
be little less than a thousand years old; indeed, an inscription on its
walls, inscribed by one of the Spanish proprietors, claims for the house an
antiquity of eleven hundred years.

From the battlements of La Ziza one has the loveliest near view of Palermo
and the plain of the Golden Shell. An enthusiastic verse, written over the
doorway of the palace, declares it to be the most beautiful scene upon our
planet, and while the eyes are resting on the view it is easy to believe
the poet; but many of the mountain-views about the city surpass it.

One of the most attractive of the mountain-excursions from Palermo is that
to the monastery of San Martino. At a height of seventeen hundred feet
above the city, in a lonely spot, the monastery stands on another flank of
the mountain on which Monreale is also perched. The mule-path from the
suburban village of Boccadifalco to San Martino would be worth traversing
for its own wild beauty alone. It first enters a gorge between grand
cliffs: then, climbing a rocky ascent which commands a superb view of the
plain, it runs through a fruitful valley, where the monastery suddenly
appears in the front.

[Illustration: Palermo.]

The monastery of San Martino has been the wealthiest in Sicily. The
entrance-hall is on a scale of regal magnificence, adorned with
many-colored marbles. The brethren were all of noble extraction. Though the
external architecture of the building is not in the best taste, the grand
scale on which it is built, and still more the wild, picturesque site, give
to the monastery a beauty which even an Italian architect of the last
century could not disfigure. Ascending a grand staircase with balustrades
of purple marble, an upper hall is reached, from which the wonderful view
may be seen to the best advantage. Turning the eye to the north and east
across the savage-looking mountains, a short reach of the coast is seen,
and beyond is the boundless expanse of sea, dotted on the horizon by the
volcanoes of the Æolian Islands, which lie more than a hundred miles away.
The abbey abounds in pictures by masters of the seventeenth century, and
there is also a museum of Greek and Saracenic remains, but nothing within
the walls compares with the interest of the window-views.

Attractive as are the sights of Palermo, most of them must be passed over
or very hastily visited if the tour of the island is to be made in a month,
for the Greek cities beyond demand a greater share of time by reason of
their immense antiquity and the grandeur of their remains.

Being well prepared for the inland journey, and eager to see antiquities so
little known to the outer world, one question arose to give us pause--a
question which every year keeps thousands of prudent tourists from
exploring a country as full of glorious scenery as Switzerland, possessing
more of Greek antiquities than Greece itself, and a far lovelier winter
climate than Italy--"Is it safe?" The doubtful question whether this
rarely-attempted journey should be accomplished was settled by the friendly
advice of the courteous consul of the United States at Palermo. That advice
may be of use to travellers in the future: it was to the effect that for
two American gentlemen travelling alone and without ostentation through
Sicily there is no more danger of capture or violent death than in any
civilized country. It is admitted that highway robbery is not impossible,
as in many places nearer home, but the simple preventive is to carry as
little ready money as possible over the short spaces of unsettled country,
and to forward superfluous baggage by steamer. That there are banditti in
certain districts of the island no one denies, but their object is the
capture of wealthy Sicilians, whose ransom is sure and ample, while that of
a foreigner is uncertain and necessarily long delayed.

A dark afternoon found us comfortably established in the best seats of an
old-fashioned stage-coach in front of the general post-office of Palermo,
whence the stage-lines radiate to the various parts of the island. After
the long deliberation which seems to characterize all business (especially
official business) transacted outside of England and America, the mail-bags
were delivered, and our journey began in the midst of a shower descending
with all the tremendous impetuosity of a semi-tropical rainy season. The
cumbersome vehicle dashed on with considerable spirit through streets
almost emptied by the violence of the shower, and out through the broad
arch of the stately Porta Nuova crowded by multitudes seeking shelter from
the storm. Late twilight found us at the end of the first stage in
Monreale. From thence onward the journey continued for a while through
pitchy darkness. The broad highway is engineered with admirable skill along
the sides of mountains and over deep ravines, through a region of most
uncommon beauty, it is said, but now hidden from us by the impenetrable
gloom. However, as the night advanced the clouds rolled away with
surprising suddenness, and left a bright moon rising over the mountains. We
began to see something of the beautifully varied country, though viewing
it at a disadvantage through the narrow window of a covered coach. Wherever
the rugged nature of the country permitted every rood of ground was under
exquisite cultivation, and already had its first soft covering of springing
vegetation. The night-air was sweet with the spring-like odors of
freshly-turned earth and of wild-flowers: from time to time white masses of
flower-laden almond trees flashed past the window, looking in the moonlight
wonderfully like the snow-drifts which at this season line the roads in New
England.

[Illustration: CONVENT OF SAN MARINO, NEAR PALERMO.]

After nightfall the surface of the rich and well-cultivated country seemed
as solitary as a wilderness: not a creature was stirring along the road.
The intense silence of the night was broken only by the hum of our
coach-wheels and the sharp snap of hoofs from our cavalry guard. How unlike
were all the surroundings to those of an ordinary modern night-journey over
the mail-routes of Europe! The primitive conveyance, the quiet of the
lonely road, the arms of the attendant troop of horsemen flashing in the
light of the moon,--all the concomitants of an old-time night-journey
seemed to carry us back from the age of railroads to an earlier time.

Eleven drowsy hours of staging, and then a long, slow ascent, brought us up
to the hilltop where stands the village of Calatafimi. The chief inn of the
town is probably not surpassed in Europe in the number of its small
discomforts, animate and inanimate, but it must be made the base of
operations for visiting the ruins of Segesta. The remnant of the night
spent in sleep prepared us for our investigations on the following day. It
was pleasant, rising in the cool early morning, to step out from the
comfortless interior of the tavern to enjoy on a southern balcony the
temperate warmth of the low sun and to look down on the lovely landscape.
Before us lay a fertile rolling country clad with verdure, and rising
gradually upward toward the south to an elevation deserving to be called a
mountain from its great height, yet from its gentle slope and cultivated
sides rather to be called a hill. A field near the crest of that distant
hill, marked only by a few white crosses, is a spot memorable in Sicilian
history, for there lie the heroes who fell fighting with Garibaldi for the
unity of Italy on May 15, 1860. Sicily has in all ages been a battle-ground
for the contending races of two continents: on Sicilian soil Athens
received her most disabling blow, and here too the Punic power was broken;
yet there is hardly one among the battlefields of Sicily upon which greater
destinies have been settled than on this field of Calatafimi.

Before the morning was far advanced we started out in search of the village
curé, the unfailing friend of strangers, that we might inquire of him about
the safety of visiting the ruin and in regard to the pleasantest way of
reaching it. Picking our way about through the mud of the squalid village,
we at length found the old gentleman just coming from his little church on
the side of the castle hill at the end of the town. Filled with unfeigned
delight that the monotony of his existence should be broken by the advent
of two foreigners, especially such living wonders as Americans, the benign
priest took a lively interest in our case, gave us the information for
which we had asked, vouching for the safety of the country, and begged us
to walk on with him. For five minutes we followed on together the road cut
in the hillside beneath the walls of the Saracenic citadel, our companion
all the while talking vehemently, and helping out our lame knowledge of the
language with gestures so dramatic that an understanding of his words was
hardly needed. Suddenly the road curved round the side of the hill; we
stood on the floor of a deserted quarry; the old man ceased speaking and
pointed forward: "_Ecco!_" Before us the hill dropped abruptly down in a
precipice: far below a deep valley spread out before our eyes, "fair as the
garden of the Lord." As the light of the morning sun streamed down through
its length, bringing out in great brilliancy the fresh green of spring, it
looked like a paradise of luxuriant vegetation. The gray of olive trees and
the darkness of orange-groves contrasted with the color of springing
plants, and everywhere were scattered the pink-and-white plumes of the
blossoming almonds. Beyond the valley a rugged, saddle-shaped mountain
rose to an imposing height, and upon the summit line stood in solitary
majesty the Doric temple of Segesta, each column in clear relief against
the blue of the sky. It is so far removed from all abodes of men, standing
alone for thousands of years in the region of the clouds--so grand in its
severe and noble outlines--so venerable in its mysterious antiquity--so
blended with the natural beauties of the place,--that it seems rather to
belong to the power that raised the mountains than to any workmanship of
man. The world cannot show a more wonderful example of art exquisitely
harmonized with the grandeur of natural scenery.

Eager for a closer view of the temple, we returned immediately to the town,
and, being provided with a guide and a beast, were soon on the way down the
winding road to the valley. A bridle-path diverged from the main road: an
avenue of over-arching olive trees shaded the way, and on all sides here,
as everywhere through the country, the orange-crop loaded the trees almost
to breaking--the most beautiful of all crops as the fruit hangs upon the
branches. As we passed the lower slopes dotted with browsing sheep, and
began the rugged ascent of the mountain on which the temple stands, the
pathway crept up the edge of a profound gorge: it was a perilous way,
clinging close to the edge of the bank, and at some points, where we could
look down a thousand feet to the torrent below, the path was so narrow and
broken that even our sure-footed mountain-donkeys hesitated to advance. The
picturesque but hard climb at length came to an end at the edge of the
broad, flattened summit of the mountain. Again the temple suddenly came in
sight, but now near at hand. The mountain-shepherds have planted with wheat
the level of the summit, and the pale yellow of the volcanic rock from
which the temple is built harmonizes well with the color of its
surroundings. It cannot be called a ruin. It stands as the builders left it
in the fifth century before Christ. Not a column is broken, not a stone has
fallen. The interior was never finished, but the outside is perfect.

The pure outlines of a Doric temple are beautiful in any situation, but the
impression which this one made upon us in the bright morning sunlight,
standing in the midst of verdure and flowers on the brink of that
stupendous chasm and overlooking that glorious country, is not a thing to
be conveyed in words.

The interest of the temple is comprised in its size, antiquity and beauty,
for no mention of it is made in history. Its approximate age is inferred
from the internal evidence of the structure. The subjection of the city of
Segesta from B. C. 409 to the powers of Carthage and Rome successively, and
the subsequent decline of its own power and wealth, render it certain that
no such work as this temple would have been undertaken after that date:
moreover, the purity of its simple Doric form places it in the earlier ages
of Sicilian history. The Carthaginian invasion of the island was doubtless
the event which arrested the building. Cicero has described a wonderful
statue of Diana in bronze which the people of Segesta showed him with pride
as the greatest ornament of their city: it was of colossal size and
faultless beauty, belonging to the best period of Greek art. As the statue
was in existence before the Carthaginian invasion, it seems to me highly
improbable that the citizens of Segesta would have built so grand a temple
for any other purpose than to enshrine their most admired and revered
statue and to make it a place of worship for Diana. This theory may explain
in part the reason why the building was arrested, for it is known that the
image was stolen to adorn the city of Carthage,[A] and its loss, as well as
the subsequent poverty of Segesta, would have been a sufficient reason for
ceasing to build a temple to contain it. Diana's worshippers of old must
have looked upon these lovely mountain-ranges as an abode dear to the queen
of the nymphs and the hunter's patron deity. It seems as if nothing less
than the presence of the mountain-goddess lingering round her shrine could
have kept the temple in its marvellous perfection through the lapse of
ages in a land of wars and earthquakes. The houses of the neighboring city
are indistinguishably levelled with the earth, but hardly a stone of the
sacred building is displaced.

The position of the temple was outside and below the limits of the ancient
city. The mountain-ridge rises near at hand to a somewhat greater height,
and terminates in a peak, on the summit and sides of which the town was
built. Warned by the decline of the sun, we turned from the Segestan house
of worship and began to climb the slope toward the Segestan place of
amusement: the Greek theatre still remains with little loss or change. The
ascent was interrupted by many lingering backward looks toward the grand
colonnade as it appeared at fresh points of view from above. Hardly a
living creature appeared on the lonely heights, except that one wandering
shepherd, seeing the dress of foreigners, came forward to offer his little
stock of coins ploughed from the earth or found in ancient buildings. As
usual, most of the pocketful were corroded beyond recognition, but one
piece bore a noble head executed in the Greek style, and the clear
inscription, [Greek: PANORMITAN], a coin of Panormus; which is, in modern
speech, Palermo. A few coppers were accepted as an ample equivalent for a
coin which will not circulate.

The scattered fragments of a fortress crown the peak; and immediately
below, cut in the solid rock of the western slope, lies the theatre. It is
not large as compared with buildings of its class at Athens and Syracuse,
yet I believe that in its seating capacity it exceeds any opera-house of
our time. Entering by a ruined stage-door and crossing the orchestra, we
rested on the lower tiers of seats. The great arc, comprising two-thirds of
a circle, upon which the spectators were ranged, has still its covering of
fine cut-stone seats, complete except at one extremity. Every part of the
desolate building gains a new interest when peopled in imagination with its
ancient occupants, and when we recall to mind the vast multitudes of many
generations who have watched with breathless and solemn interest the
stately progress of Greek tragedy before that ruined _scena_.

As we lounged upon the lowest seats, whereon the high dignitaries of the
town used to sit, and looked across the open space of the orchestra, there
at the centre of its farther side lay the slab which supported the altar of
Bacchus, where stood the chorus-leader: near it a line of stone marks the
front of the stage, and beyond it is spread an expanse of stage-scenery
such as no modern royal theatre can boast. The whole broad prospect
commanded from the colonnade below is seen across the stage of the theatre,
but widened by the greater height and finished in the foreground by the
majestic presence of the temple. All the north-western mountains of the
island are taken in with one glance of the eye: beneath us the valley of
the little river Scamander opens a long vista northward to the
Mediterranean Sea, and far away the port of Castellamare glitters, in
contrast with the blue, as white as a polished shell upon the shore. Most
distant among the group of peaks is Mount Eryx, the lonely rock by the sea
on whose summit stood the temple of Venus Erycina, more renowned in the
ancient world than all other shrines of the goddess.

We climbed to the brow of the hill in order to descend through the entire
length of the city. Hardly one stone is left upon another of all the
streets through which the Segestans proudly conducted Cicero. Here and
there appear the circular openings of cisterns which occupied the centres
of ancient courtyards. The stones once hewn and carved which are strewn
over the slope are now reduced to the roughness of boulders, so that one
might cross the tract and catch no sign that it was once a city. Little has
been done to discover what remains lie beneath the surface, but at one
point, where a small excavation has been made, a heap of fallen Ionic
columns cover the fragments of a tomb built on a scale of regal
magnificence; and a little lower on the mountain two rooms of a house have
been exhumed, the floors of which are still covered with beautiful mosaics.

ALFRED T. BACON.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] The statue was restored to Segesta by Scipio.



"FOR PERCIVAL."


CHAPTER IX.

SISSY LOOKS INTO THE MIRROR.

[Illustration]

A lady's hero generally has ample leisure. He may write novels or poems, or
paint the picture or carve the statue of the season, or he is a statesman
and rules the destinies of nations, or he makes money mysteriously in the
city, or even, it may be, not less mysteriously on the turf; but he does it
in his odd minutes. That is his characteristic. Perhaps he spends his
morning in stupendous efforts to gratify a wish expressed in smiling
hopelessness by the heroine; later, he calls on her or he rides with her;
evening comes, he dances with her till the first gray streak of dawn has
touched the eastern sky. He goes home. His pen flies along the paper--he is
knee-deep in manuscript; he is possessed with burning enthusiasm and
energy; her features grow in idealized loveliness beneath his chisel, or
the sunny tide of daylight pours in to irradiate the finished picture as
well as the exhausted artist with a golden glory. He has a talent for
sitting up. He gets up very early indeed if he is in the country, but he
never goes to bed early, or when would he achieve his triumphs? Some
things, it is true, must be done by day, but half an hour will work
wonders. The gigantic intellect is brought to bear on the confidential
clerk: the latter is, as it were, wound up, and the great machine goes on.
Or a hasty telegram arrives as the guests file in to dinner. "Pardon me,
one moment;" and instantly something is sent off in cipher which shall
change the face of Europe. Unmoved, the hero returns to the love-making
which is the true business of life.

There are poetry and romance enough in many an outwardly prosaic life. How
often have we been told this! Nay, we have read stories in which the hero
possesses a season-ticket, and starts from his trim suburban home after an
early breakfast, to return in due time to dine, perhaps to talk a little
"shop" over the meal, and, it may be, even to feel somewhat sleepy in the
evening. But, as far as my experience goes, the day on which the story
opens is the last on which he does all this. That morning he meets the
woman with the haunting eyes or the old friend who died long ago--did not
the papers say so?--and whose resurrection includes a secret or two. Or he
is sent for to some out-of-the-way spot in the country where there is a
mysterious business of some kind to be unravelled. At any rate, he needs
his season-ticket never again, but changes more or less into the hero we
all know.

It is hard work for these unresting men, no doubt, yet what is to be done?
Unless the double-shift system can in any way be applied for their relief,
I fear they must continue to toil by night that they may appear to be idle
men.

And, after all, were the hero not altogether heroic, one is tempted to
doubt if this abundant leisure is quite a gain.

Addie Blake, planning some bright little scheme which needed a whole day
and an unoccupied squire, said once to Godfrey Hammond, "You can't think
what a comfort it is to get some one who hasn't to go to business every
day. I hate the very name of business! Now, you are always at hand when you
are wanted."

"Yes," he said, "we idle men have a great advantage over the busy ones, no
doubt; but I think it almost more than counterbalanced by our terrible
disadvantage."

"What is that?"

"We are at hand when we are not wanted," said Godfrey seriously.

And I think he was right. One may have a great liking--nay, something
warmer than liking--for one's companions in endless idle _tête-à-têtes_,
but they are perilous nevertheless. Some day the pale ghost--weariness,
_ennui_, dearth of ideas, I hardly know what its true name is--comes into
the room to see if the atmosphere will suit it, and sits down between you.
You cannot see the colorless spectre, but are conscious of a slight
exhaustion in the air. Everything requires a little effort--to breathe, to
question, to answer, to look up, to appear interested. You feel that it is
your own fault, perhaps: you would gladly take all the blame if you could
only take all the burden. Perhaps the failing _is_ yours, but it is your
fault only as it is the fault of an electric eel that after many shocks his
power is weakened and he wants to be left alone to recover it.

Still, though there may be no fault, it is a terrible thing to feel one's
heart sink suddenly when one's friend pauses for a moment in the doorway as
if about to return. One thinks, If weariness cannot be kept at bay in the
society of those we love, where can we be safe from the cold and subtle
blight? As soon as we are conscious of it, it seems to become part of us,
and we shrink from the popular idea of the Hereafter, assured of finding
our spectre even in the courts of heaven.

Godfrey Hammond expressed the fear of too much companionship in speech,
Percival Thorne in action. He was given to lonely walks if the weather were
fine--to shutting himself in his own room with a book if it were wet. He
would dream for hours, for I will frankly confess that when he was shut up
with a book, his book as often as not was in that condition too.

His grandfather had complained more than once, "You don't often come to
Brackenhill, Percival, except to solve the problem of how little you can
see of us in a given time." He did not suspect it, but much of the strong
attraction which drew him to his grandson lay in that very fact. The latter
confronted him in grave independence, just touched with the courteous
deference due from youth to age, but nothing more. Mr. Thorne would have
thanked Heaven had the boy been a bit of a spendthrift, but Percival was
too wary for that. He did not refuse his grandfather's gifts, but he never
seemed in want of them. They might help him to pleasant superfluities, but
his attitude said plainly enough, "I have sufficient for my needs." He was
not to be bought: the very aimlessness of his life secured him from that.
You cannot earn a man's gratitude by helping him onward in his course when
he is drifting contentedly round and round. He was not to be bullied, being
conscious of his impregnable position. He was not to be flattered in any
ordinary way. It was so evident to him that the life he had chosen must
appear an unwise choice to the majority of his fellow-men that he accepted
any assurance to the contrary as the verdict of a small minority. Nor was
he conscious of any especial power or originality, so that he could be
pleased by being told that he had broken conventional trammels and was a
great soul. Mr. Thorne did not know how to conquer him, and could not have
enough of him.

It is needful to note how the day after the agricultural show was spent at
Brackenhill.

Godfrey Hammond left by an early train. Mrs. Middleton came down to see
about his breakfast with a splitting headache. The poor old lady's
suffering was evident, and Sissy's suggestion that it was due to their
having walked about so much in the broiling sun the day before was
unanimously accepted. Mrs. Middleton countenanced the theory, though she
privately attributed it to a sleepless night which had followed a
conversation with Hammond about Horace.

Percival vanished immediately after breakfast. As soon as he had
ascertained that there were no especial plans for the day, he slipped
quietly away with his hands in his pockets, strolled through the park,
whistling dreamily as he went, and passing out into the road, crossed it
and made straight for the river. He lay on the grass for half an hour or
so, studying the growth of willows and the habits of dragon-flies, and
then sauntered along the bank. Had he gone to the left it would have led
him past Langley Wood to Fordborough. He went to the right.

It was a gentle little river, which had plenty of time to spare, and amused
itself with wandering here and there, tracing a bright maze of curves and
unexpected turns. At times it would linger in shady pools, where, half
asleep, it seemed to hesitate whether it cared to go on to the county-town
at all that day. But Percival defied it to have more leisure than he had,
and followed the silvery clue till all at once he found himself face to
face with an artist who sat by the river-side sketching.

The young man looked up with a half smile as Percival came suddenly upon
him from behind a clump of alders. A remark of some kind, were it but
concerning the weather, was inevitable. It was made, and was followed by
others. Young Thorne looked, admired and questioned, and they drifted into
an aimless talk about the art which the painter loved. Even to an outsider,
such as Percival, it was full of color and grace and a charm half
understood, vaguely suggestive of a world of beauty--not far off and
inaccessible, but underlying the common, every-day world of which we are at
times a little weary. It was as if one should tell us of virtue new and
strange in the often-turned earth of our garden-plot. Percival was rather
apt to analyze his pains and pleasures, but his ideal was enjoyment which
should defy analysis, and he found something of it that morning in the
summer weather and his new friend's talk.

It was past noon. The young artist looked at his watch and ascertained the
fact. "Do you live near here?" he asked.

Percival shook his head: "I live anywhere. I am a wanderer on the face of
the earth. But my grandfather lives in that gray house over yonder, and I
am free to come and go as I choose. I am staying there now."

"Brackenhill, do you mean? That fine old house on the side of the hill? I
am lodging at the farm down there, and the farmer--"

"John Collins," said Percival.

"Entertains me every night with stories of its magnificence. Since we have
smoked our pipes together I have learnt that Brackenhill is the eighth
wonder of the world."

"Not quite," said Thorne. "But it is a good old manor-house, and, thank
Heaven, my ancestors for a good many generations wasted their money, and
had none to spare for restoring and beautifying. I don't mean my
grandfather: he wouldn't hurt it. It's a quaint old place. Come some
afternoon and look at it. He shall show you his pictures."

"Thanks," the other said, but he hesitated and looked at his unfinished
work. "I should like, but I don't quite know. The fact is, when I have done
for to-day I'm to have old Collins's gig and drive into Fordborough to see
if there are any letters for me. I am not sure I shall not have to leave
the first thing to-morrow."

"And I have made you waste your time this morning."

"Don't mention it," said the young artist with the brightest smile. "I'm
not much given to bemoaning past troubles, and I shall be in a very bad way
indeed before I begin to find fault with past pleasures. I may not find my
letter after all, and in that case I should like very much to look you up.
To-morrow?"

"Pray do." The tone was unmistakably cordial.

"Your grandfather's name is Thorne, isn't it? Shall I ask for young Mr.
Thorne?"

"Percival Thorne," was the quick correction: "I have a cousin."

They shook hands, but as Thorne turned away the other called after him: "I
say! is there any name to that little wood out there, looking like a dark
cloud on the green?"

"Yes--Langley Wood." Percival nodded a second farewell, and went on his way
pondering. And this was the subject of his thoughts: "Then, my brother, I
have to go through Langley Wood to-morrow evening, and I am afraid to go
alone."

Of course he had not forgotten his promise to Addie, but having made his
arrangements and worked it all out in his own mind, he had dismissed it
from his thoughts. Now, however, it rose up before him as a slightly
disagreeable puzzle.

What on earth did Addie want toward nine at night in Langley Wood? The day
before, in haste to answer her request and anxiety not to betray her, he
had not considered whether the service he had promised to render were
pleasant to him or not. In very truth, he was willing to serve Addie, and
he had professed his willingness the more eagerly that he had expected a
harder task. She asked so slight a thing that only eager readiness could
give the service any grace at all.

But when he came to consider it he half wished that his task had been
harder if it might have been different. He liked Addie, he was ready to
serve her, but he foresaw possible annoyances to them both from her hasty
request. He had no confidence in her prudence.

"Some silly freak of hers," he thought while he walked along, catching at
the tops of the tall flowering weeds as he went. "Some silly girlish freak.
Why didn't she ask Horace? Wouldn't run any risk of getting him into
trouble, I suppose."

Did Horace know? he wondered. "I'm not going to be made use of by him and
her: they needn't think it!" vowed Percival in sudden anger. But next
moment he smiled at his own folly: "When I have given my word, and must go
if fifty Horaces had planned it! I had better save my resolutions for next
time." He did not think, however, that Horace _did_ know. "Which makes it
all the worse," he reflected. "A charming complication it will be if I get
into trouble with him about Addie. Suppose some one sees us? Suppose Mrs.
Blake is down upon me, questioning, and I, pledged to secrecy, haven't a
word to say for myself? Suppose Lottie--Oh, I say, a delightful arrangement
this is and no mistake!"

He could only hope that no one would see them, and that Addie's mystery
would prove a harmless one.

He got in just as they were sitting down to luncheon. Horace and Sissy had
spent the morning in archery and idleness, Mrs. Middleton in nursing her
headache. Mr. Thorne was not there.

"Been enjoying a little solitude?" Horace inquired.

"Not much of that," was the answer. "A good deal of talk instead."

"What! did you find a friend out in the fields?"

"Yes," said Percival, "a young artist." As he spoke he remembered that he
was ignorant of his new friend's name. At least he knew it was "Alf," owing
to some story the painter had told: "I heard my brother calling 'Alf! Alf!'
so I," etc. Alf--probably therefore Alfred--surname unknown.

They were halfway through their meal when Mr. Thorne came noiselessly in
and took his accustomed place. He was very silent, and had a curiously
intent expression. Horace, who was telling Sissy some trifling story about
himself (Horace's little stories generally were about himself), finished it
lamely in a lowered voice. Mr. Thorne smiled.

There was a silence. Percival went steadily on with his luncheon, but
Horace pushed away his plate and sipped his sherry. The birds were
twittering outside in the sunshine, but there was no other sound. It was
like a breathless little pause of expectation.

At last Mr. Thorne spoke, in such sweetly courteous tones that they all
knew he meant mischief. "Are you particularly engaged this afternoon?" he
inquired of Horace.

"Not at all engaged," said the young man. His heart gave a great throb.

"Then perhaps you could give me a few minutes in the library?"

"I shall be most--" Horace began. But he checked himself and said,
"Certainly. When shall I come?"

"As soon as you have finished your luncheon, if that will suit you?"

"I have finished." He drank off his wine, and, without looking at the
others, walked defiantly to the door, stood aside for his grandfather to
pass, and followed him out.

Mrs. Middleton and Sissy exchanged glances. "Oh, my dear!" the old lady
exclaimed. "Oh, I'm so frightened! I am afraid poor Horace is in trouble.
Godfrey Hammond was saying only last night--"

She paused suddenly, looking at Percival. He sat with his back to the
window, and the dark face was very dark in the shadow. It was just as well
perhaps, for he was thinking "Told you so!" a train of thought which seldom
produces an agreeable expression.

"What did Godfrey Hammond say?" Sissy asked. But nothing was to be got out
of Aunt Middleton, so they adjourned to the drawing-room to wait for
Horace's return. Percival read the paper; Mrs. Middleton lay on the sofa;
Sissy flitted to and fro, now taking up a book, now her work, then at the
piano, playing idly with one hand or singing snatches of her favorite
songs. There was a mirror in which, looking sideways, she could see herself
reflected as she played and Percival as he read--as much of him, at least,
as was not swallowed up in the _Times_. There is something ghostly about a
little picture like this reflected in a glass. It is so silent and yet so
real: the people stir, look up, their lips move, they have every sign of
life, but there is no sound. There are noises in the room behind you, but
the people in the mirror make none. The _Times_ may be rustling and
crackling elsewhere, but Percival's ghost turns a ghostly paper whence no
sound proceeds. Sissy is playing a little tinkling treble tune, but at the
piano yonder slim white fingers are silently wandering over the ivory keys,
and the girl's eyes look strangely out from the polished surface.

Sissy gazed and mused. Perhaps some day Percival will reign at Brackenhill.
And who will sit at that piano where the ghost-girl sits now, and what
soundless melodies will be played in that silent room?

Sissy's left hand steals down to the bass, striking solemn chords. "If one
could but look into the glass," she thinks, "and see the future there, as
people do in stories! What eyes would look out at me instead of mine? Ah,
well! If I could but see Percival there I would try to be content, even if
the girl turned away her face. I _would_ be content. I would! I would!"

She turns resolutely away from the mirror, and begins that old royalist
song in which yearning for the vanished past and mourning for the dreary
present cannot triumph over the hope of far-off brightness--"When the king
enjoys his own again." To Mrs. Middleton, to Percival, a mere song--to
Sissy a solemn renunciation of all but the one hope. Let her king enjoy his
own, and the rest be as Fate wills.

The last note dies away. Moved by a sudden impulse, she lifts her eyes to
the ghost Percival. He has lowered his paper a little, and is looking at
her with a wondering smile. A voice behind her exclaims, "Why, Sissy!" She
darts across the room to the speaker and pushes the _Times_ away
altogether. "Percival," she says in a low, breathless voice, "does Miss
Lisle play?"

"Miss Lisle!" He is surprised. "Oh yes, she plays. But not as well as her
brother, I believe."

"And does she sing?"

"Yes. I heard her once. But no better than you sang just now. What has come
to you, Sissy? You have found the one thing that was wanting."

"What was that?"

"Earnestness, depth. You sang it as if your soul and the soul of the song
were one. Now I can tell you that I fancied you only skimmed over the
surface of things--like a bird over the sea. I can tell you now, since I
was wrong."

Her cheeks are glowing. "And Miss Lisle?" she says.

"What, now, about Miss Lisle?" He is amused and perplexed at Sissy's
persistence.

"She is one of your heroic women;" and Miss Langton nods her pretty head.
"Oh, I know! Jael and _Judith_ and Charlotte Corday."

"I don't think I said anything about Judith: surely _you_ suggested her.
And, to tell you the truth, Sissy, I looked in the Apocrypha, and I
thought I liked I her the least of the trio. It wasn't a swift impulse like
Jael's, who suddenly saw the tyrant given into her hands, and it wanted the
grace of Charlotte Corday's utter self-sacrifice and quick death. Judith
had great honor, and lived to be over a hundred, didn't she? I wonder if
she often talked about Holofernes when she was eighty or ninety, and about
her triumph--how she was crowned with a garland and led the dance? She ran
an awful risk, no doubt, but she was in awful peril: it was glory or death.
Charlotte Corday had no chance of a triumph: she must have known that
success, as well as failure, meant the death-cart and the guillotine.
Judith seems to have played her part fairly well to the end, I allow, but
don't you think the praises and the after-life spoil it rather?"

Sissy, passing lightly over Percival's views about Charlotte Corday and the
widow of a hundred and five who was mourned by all Israel, pounced on a
more interesting avowal: "So you looked Judith out and studied her? Oh,
Percival!"

"My dear Sissy, shall I tell you how many times I have seen Miss Lisle?" He
was answering her arch glance rather than her spoken question. "How few
times, I should say. Twice."

"I've made up _my_ mind about people when I've only seen them once," said
Sissy, apparently addressing the carpet.

"Very likely: some people have that power," said Percival. "Besides, seeing
them once may mean that you had a good long interview under favorable
circumstances. Now," with a smile, "shall I tell you all that Miss Lisle
and I said to each other in our two meetings?" He paused, encountering
Sissy's eyes, brilliantly and wickedly full of meaning.

"What! do you remember every word? Oh, Percival!"

"Hush!" said Mrs. Middleton, lifting her head from the cushion: "listen!
isn't that Horace?"

"I think so;" and Percival stooped for the _Times_, which had fallen on the
floor. Sissy stood with her hand on his chair, making no attempt to conceal
her anxiety. The old lady noted her parted lips and eager eyes. "Ah! she
does care for Horace. I knew it! I knew it!" she thought.

He came in, looking white and angry: his mouth was sternly set, and there
was a fierce spark in his gray eyes. Mrs. Middleton beckoned him to her
sofa, and would have drawn the proud head down to her with a tender whisper
of "Tell me, my dear." But the young fellow straightened himself and faced
them all as he stood by her side. She clasped and fondled his passive hand.
"What is the matter, Horace?" she said at last.

"As it happens, there is nothing much the matter," he replied,

"You look as if a good deal might be the matter," said Sissy.

He made no answer for the moment. Then he looked at her with a curious sort
of smile: "Sissy, when we were little--when you were very little indeed--do
you remember old Rover?"

"That curly dog? Oh yes."

"I used to have him in a string sometimes, and take him out: it was great
fun," said Horace pensively. "I liked to feel him all alive, scampering and
tugging at the end of the string. It was best of all, I think, to give him
an unexpected jerk just when he was going to sniff at something, and take
him pretty well off his legs: he was so astonished and disappointed. But it
was very grand too, if he would but make up his mind he wanted to go one
way, to pull at him and _make_ him go just the opposite. He was obstinate,
was old Rover, but that was the fun of it. I was obstinate too, and the
stronger. How long has he been dead?"

"I'm sure I don't know--twelve or thirteen years. Why?"

"Is it as long as that? Well, I dare say it is. It has occurred to me
to-day for the first time that perhaps it was rather hard on Rover now and
then.--Aunt Harriet, why did you let me have the poor old fellow and
ill-use him?"

"My dear boy, what _do_ you mean? I don't think you were ever cruel--not
really cruel, you know. Children always will be heedless, but I think
Rover was fond of you."

"I doubt it," said Horace.

"But what do you mean?" The old lady was fairly perplexed. "What makes you
think of having poor old Rover in a string to-day? I don't understand."

"Which things are an allegory." Horace looked more kindly down at the
suffering face, and attempted to smile. "It was very nice then, but to-day
I'm the dog."

"String pulled tight?" said Percival.

"Jerked." He disengaged his hand. "I think I'll go and have a cigar in the
park." Percival was going to rise, but Horace as he passed pressed his
fingers on his shoulder: "No, old fellow! not to-day--many thanks. You
lecture me, you know, and generally I don't care a rap, so you are quite
welcome. But to-day I'm a little sore, rubbed up the wrong way: I might
take it seriously. Another time."

And he departed, leaving his lecturer to reflect on this brilliant result
of all his outpourings of wisdom.


CHAPTER X.

IN LANGLEY WOOD.

At Brackenhill they invariably dined at six o'clock, nor was the meal a
lengthy one. Mr. Thorne drank little wine, and Horace was generally only
too happy to escape to the drawing-room at the earliest opportunity.
Percival could very well dine at home and yet be true to his rendezvous in
Langley Wood.

As the time drew near he became thoughtful and, to tell the truth, a little
out of temper. He liked his dinner, and Addie Blake interfered with his
quiet enjoyment of it. He would have chosen to lie on the sofa in the cool,
quaint, rose-scented drawing-room, and get Sissy to sing to him. Instead of
which he must tramp three miles along a dusty white road that July evening
to meet a girl he didn't particularly want to see, and to hear a secret
which he didn't much want to know, and which he distinctly didn't want to
be bound to keep. Decidedly a bore!

It was only twenty minutes past seven when they joined the ladies. Sissy
represented the latter force, Aunt Middleton having gone to lie down in the
hope of being better later in the evening. Mr. Thorne fidgeted about the
room for a minute, and then went off to the library, whereupon Horace
stretched himself with a sigh of relief. "Come out, Sissy, and have a turn
in the garden."

"But, Percival," she hesitated, "what are you going to do?"

"Don't think about me: I must go out for a little while." He left them on
the terrace and started on his mysterious errand. As he let himself out
into the road by a little side-gate of which he had pocketed the key, it
was five-and-twenty minutes to eight. He had abundance of time. It was not
three miles to the white gate into Langley Wood, a little more than three
miles to the milestone beyond which he was on no account to go, and he had
almost an hour to do it in. Nevertheless, he started on his walk like a man
in haste.

The great Fordborough agricultural show lasted two days, and on the second
the price of admission was considerably reduced. It had occurred to
Percival that the roads in every direction would probably be crowded with
people making their way home--people who would have had more beer than was
good for them. Addie would never think of such a possibility. It was true
that the road from Fordborough which led past Brackenhill would be quieter
than any other, but still young Thorne was seriously uneasy as he strode
along. It was also true that he met hardly any one as he went, but even
that failed to reassure him. "A little too early for them to have come so
far, I suppose," was his comment to himself: "at any rate, she shall not
wait for me."

He passed the white gate, having encountered only a few stragglers, but
before he reached the milestone he saw Addie Blake coming along the road to
meet him.

She was flushed, eager, excited, and looked even handsomer than usual.
Percival would never fall in love with Addie. That was very certain, but
the certainty did not prevent a quick thrill of admiration which tingled
through his blood as she advanced in her ripe dark beauty to meet him. By
it, as by a charm, the service which had been almost a weariness was
transmuted to a happy privilege, and the half-reluctant squire became
willing and devoted.

"You are more than punctual," was his greeting.

She smiled as she held out her hand: "I may say the same of you."

"I was anxious," he confessed. "The roads are not likely to be very quiet
to-day. And after sunset--"

"Yes," said Addie. "No doubt it seems strange to you that I should choose
this day and this time--"

"I hardly know what I should have done if I had seen nothing of you when I
reached the milestone," he went on, interrupting her. His curiosity was
awakened now that he was so close to Addie's little mystery, but he was
anxious that she should not feel bound to tell him anything she would
rather keep to herself--very anxious that she should understand that he
would not pry into her secrets.

"If you had gone much farther you would have missed me," she said.

"Which way did you come?"

"I did not come straight from home. Do you see that little red house? I am
drinking tea there, and spending a quiet evening."

"How very pleasant!" said Percival. "And who has the privilege of
entertaining you?"

"Mrs. Wardlaw. She is the widow of an officer--quite young. She is a friend
of mine: she lives with an invalid aunt, an old Mrs. Watson."

"And what does Mrs. Wardlaw think of your taking a little stroll by
yourself in the evening?"

"Mrs. Wardlaw asked me there on purpose. Yesterday I saw her at the show,
and gave her a little note as we shook hands. This morning came an
invitation to me to go and drink tea there. I told mamma and Lottie I
should go--papa is out--so one of the servants walked there with me at
half-past six, and will call for me again at ten or a little after."

"Very ingeniously managed," said Percival. "And the invalid aunt?"

"Went up to her room and left Mary and me to our devices," smiled Addie. "A
delightful old lady. Ah, here is the wood."

"We shall probably have this part of our walk to ourselves," Percival
remarked as he swung the gate open. "People going home from the show are
not likely to stop to take a turn in Langley Wood."

The sound of a rattling cart and shouts of discordant laughter, mixed with
what was intended for a song, came along the road they had just quitted.
Addie took a few hurried steps along the path, which curved enough to hide
her from observation in a moment. Safe behind a screen of leaves, she
paused: "What horrible people! Is that a sample of what I may expect as I
go back?"

"I fear so," said Percival. "I shall see you safe to Mrs. Wardlaw's door."

"You shall see me safe if you have good eyes," she answered. "But you will
not go to the door with me."

"Ah!" he said. "Mrs. Wardlaw is only half trusted?"

Addie smiled: "What people don't know they can't let out, can they?"

"Pray understand that you are quite at liberty to apply that very
wise--mark me, that very wise--discovery of yours to my case," said Thorne,
looking straight at her. "You talked about good eyes just now. Mine are
good or bad as it suits me." At any rate, they were earnest as they met
hers.

"Don't shut them on my account," said Addie. "No, Percival: you are not
like Mrs. Wardlaw. I mean to tell you all about it."

But for a moment she did not speak. They were fairly in the wood; the trees
were arching high above their heads; their steps were noiseless on the turf
below; outside were warmth and daylight still, but here the shadows and the
coolness of the night. A leathern-winged bat flitted across their path
through the gathering dusk. "They always look like ghosts," said Addie.
"Doesn't it seem, Percival, as if the night had come upon us unawares?"

As she spoke they reached a little open space. The path forked right and
left. "Which way?" said Thorne.

"I don't know, I'm sure. There's a cottage on the farther side of the wood,
toward the river--"

"Is that your destination? To the right, then." And to the right they went.

"When you promised to help me," Addie began, "do you remember what you
said? I was to consider you as--" She paused, fixing her questioning eyes
on him.

"As a brother. What then? Have I failed in my duty already?"

She shook her head, smiling: "Percival, what do you think that means to
me?"

"Ah, that's a difficult question. Of course we who have no brothers can
only imagine--we cannot know. But I have sometimes fancied that the idea we
attach to the word brother is higher because no commonplace reality has
ever stepped in to spoil it. For it is an evident fact that some people
have brothers who are prosaic, and even disagreeable, while all the noble
brothers of history and romance are ours. We may take Lord Tresham for our
ideal (you remember Tresham in _A Blot in the 'Scutcheon?_), and declare
with him--

    I think, am sure, a brother's love exceeds
    All the world's love in its unworldliness."

"Stop!" said Addie. "You are going into the question much too
enthusiastically and much too poetically. I don't know anything about your
Tresham. And you mustn't class me with yourself, 'we who have no brothers.'
I have one, Percival."

"A brother? You have one? Why, I always fancied--"

"Well, a half-brother." Addie made this concession to strict truth with
something of reluctance in her tone, as if she did not like to own that her
brother could possibly have been any nearer than he was. "It is my brother
I am going to meet to-night."

Percival, fluent on the subject of brothers in general, was so astonished
at the idea of this particular brother or half-brother that he said "Oh!"

"Papa married twice," Addie explained--"the first time when he was very
young. I don't think his first wife was _quite_ a lady," she said, lowering
her voice as if the beeches might be given to gossiping.

Percival would not have been happy as a dweller in the Palace of Truth. He
thought, "Then Mr. Blake's two wives were alike in _one_ respect."

"And though Oliver was a dear boy," she went on, "he hasn't been very
steady. He has had a good deal of money at one time or another, and wasted
it; and he and mamma don't get on at all."

"Ah! I dare say not."

"Naturally, she thinks more about Lottie and me; and Oliver has been very
tiresome. He was to be in the business with papa, but he didn't do
anything, and he got terribly into debt, and then he ran away and enlisted.
Papa bought him off, and found him something else to do; but mamma was
dreadfully vexed: she said it was a disgrace to the family."

"Did he do better after that?"

"Not much," Addie owned. "In fact, I think he has spent most of his time
since then in running away and enlisting. I really believe he has been in a
dozen regiments. We were always having to write to him, 'Private Oliver
Blake, Number so and so, C company, such a regiment.' It didn't look well
at all."

(Addie, as she spoke, remembered how her mother used to sneer, "No doubt
some day you'll meet your _brother_ in a red jacket with a little cane, his
cap very much on one side, and a tail of nursemaids wheeling their
perambulators after him." Such remarks had been painful to Addie, but even
then she had felt that Mrs. Blake had cause to complain.)

"He was always bought off, I suppose?" said Percival.

"Once papa declared he wouldn't. Oliver went on very quietly for a little
while, and was to be a corporal. Then he wrote and said he was going to
desert that day week, and he was afraid it might be very awkward for him
afterward, especially if he ever enlisted again, but he would take his
chance sooner than stop. Papa knew he would do it, so he had to buy him off
again."

"But is this going on for ever?"

"No: for the last three years Oliver has been in dreadful disgrace, I don't
exactly know why, and we were not allowed to mention his name at home. But
I don't care," said Addie impetuously: "if he were ever so foolish, and if
he had enlisted in every regiment under the sun, he's my brother."

"And Lottie? Does she stand by him as valiantly?"

"Oliver is nothing to Lottie: he never was. He is nine years older than she
is, and when she would really begin to remember him he and mamma were
always quarrelling. Besides, he always petted me--not Lottie. And now she
despises him because he doesn't stick to anything and get on. No--poor old
Noll is _my_ brother, only mine. No one else cares for him, except papa."

"Mr. Blake hasn't given him up, then?"

"Oh, he is angry with Oliver when they are apart, but he always forgives
him when they meet. He was really angry this last time, but Oliver wrote to
him, and they made it up. Only, my poor old Noll is to be sent over the sea
to Canada with a man papa knows something of."

"And this is good-bye? But surely they can't mind your meeting him before
he goes?"

"They do," said Addie. "Papa and mamma saw him in London ten days ago, and
he was only forgiven on condition that he went away quietly and said
nothing to any one. As if he wasn't sure to tell me! Mamma knows how it has
been before: she thinks if papa or I saw him alone he might get round us,
and then he wouldn't go. If he is steady and does well there, he is to come
and see us all in two years."

"That isn't very long, is it?" said Percival cheerfully. It was evident to
him that this black sheep would be much better away.

"Long! Oh no! Only, you see, Oliver _won't_ do well unless there's
something very converting in Canadian air. So I may as well say good-bye to
him, mayn't I? Mind, Percival, you are not to think he's wicked. He won't
do anything dreadful. He'll spend all the money he can get, and then drift
away somewhere."

"A sort of Prodigal Son," Thorne suggested.

"Yes. You won't understand him--how should you? You are always wise and
well-behaved, and a credit to every one--more like the son who stayed at
home."

"Not an attractive character," was his reply. And he remembered Horace a
few hours before: "Not to-day, old fellow: you lecture me, you know." He
was startled. "Good Heavens!" he thought, "am I a prig?"

Addie laughed: "Well, I am trusting to you to understand _me_, at any rate.
Just like Oliver!" she went on. "He came once, years ago, to stay with old
Miss Hayward, who left us the house, and he knew something then of the man
at this cottage; so he tells me to meet him there, without ever thinking
how I should get to the place by myself at nine at night. Hush! what's
that?--Oh, Noll! Noll!"

A man's voice was heard at a little distance singing, and she darted
forward, her eyes alight with joy. Percival followed, slackening his pace
and listening to Mr. Oliver Blake's rendering of "Champagne Charlie is my
name." It ceased abruptly. He doubted what to do, took a step or two
mechanically, and came suddenly out on the open space at the farther side
of the wood, where was the cottage in question. Addie had run forward and
forgotten him. He strolled with elaborate unconsciousness to some palings
near by, turning his back on Addie and her brother, rested his folded arms
there and gazed at the placid landscape. Below ran the little stream by
which he had loitered in the morning, hurrying now in a straighter course,
like an idle messenger who finds that time has fled much faster than he
thought. The river-mist hung white above the level meadows, and it seemed
to Percival as if Nature, falling asleep, had glided into a pallid and
melancholy dream. The last gleams of day were blending with a misty flood
of moonlight, beneath which the world lay dwarfed and dark. On the horizon
a little black windmill with motionless sails stood high against the sky,
looking like a toy, as if a child had set it there and gone to bed.

To Percival, as he stood, came the sound, though not the words, of a rapid
flow of talk, broken by a short, often-recurring laugh. But at last there
was a pause, and the two came toward him. He turned to meet them, and saw
in the moonlight that Oliver Blake was big and broad-shouldered, with black
hair, curling thickly under a jaunty cap, and bright restless eyes. Addie
had her arm drawn fondly through her brother's.

"Oliver," she said, "this is Percival: you have heard me speak of him."

Oliver bent his head in a blunt, constrained way and looked doubtfully at
the other. Percival, who was going to extend his hand, withheld it, and
made a stately little bow in return.

"That's very magnificent," said Addie to him.--"Why, Noll," she laughed,
"you needn't be so cautious. Percival knows. He is to be trusted."

"Ah!" said Oliver. "What does that feel like, now?"

"What does what feel like?" said Thorne as they shook hands. "Being
trusted, do you mean?"

"Ay. Being trusted or being to be trusted. I don't know either sensation
myself."

"Not likely, dear boy," said Addie, "with your way of going on. And yet Mr.
Osborne must have trusted you, or how did you get the money and get away?
You weren't to have any till you sailed, were you?"

"Would you like to know?" said Oliver, his dark eyes twinkling. "I tried to
persuade him--no good. Then I told him a--don't be horrified--it was a very
fine specimen of fiction--"

"Oliver!"

"Which is no doubt set down to the governor's account."

"Did he believe you?"

"Well, he didn't know what to do. I don't think he would have, only if it
wasn't true it was so stupendous, you see. He hesitated, and that made him
relax his watchfulness a little. So I gave him the slip and pawned part of
my outfit, which we bought together the day before."

"You bad boy!"

"I left him a bit of a note. I told him that if he held his tongue I would
surely be there again to-morrow, we'd get the things, and no one would be
any the wiser. But if he made a row he might whistle for me, and catch me
if he could."

"And you don't know the effect of that, I suppose?" said Percival.

"Well, no. I read it over when I'd done to try and judge it impartially.
And I made up my mind--considering the character he'd had of me--that if I
were Osborne I should say that Blake meant to back out of his bargain with
all he could lay his hands on, and was trying to secure two days'
start.--What do you think I did, Addie?"

"Something silly, I've no doubt."

"Well," he said, looking at her with an admiring gaze, which partly
explained to Percival the secret of her fondness for her brother, "_I_
thought it was rather clever. I just popped in the letter I had from you,
and your photograph, and if that doesn't convince him, I give him up."

"Oh, Noll! How _could_ you? What is he like?"

Blake burst out laughing: "Listen to her! A man has got her photograph: he
instantly becomes an interesting object.--Oh, he isn't a bad-looking
fellow, Addie. I dare say he's glaring at you now through his spectacles."

"Spectacles! Oliver, you've no business to go giving my photograph to all
sorts of people. And I hate him too, because if it hadn't been for him
perhaps you wouldn't have been going away to Canada."

"What then?" said he philosophically. "Your mother would have had a dear
friend on the point of starting for the Cannibal Islands."

Percival began to feel a little anxious about time, and to wonder when the
real leave-taking was to commence. He looked at his watch after the manner
of a stage-aside, and Addie took the hint.

Five minutes later she came toward him with bent head and averted eyes:
"I'm ready, Percival." But they had not gone a dozen steps when she sobbed,
"Oh, my poor Noll!" and rushed back. As young Thorne looked after her he
heard the quick spurt of a match. Oliver had turned on his heel already and
was lighting his cigar. "Heartless brute!" said Percival.

The verdict was unjust. Oliver had taken infinite pains to secure this
glimpse of his sister, but since it was over it _was_ over. He loved her,
and she knew it, but he was not the man to stand sentimentally staring at
Addie's back as she disappeared into the shadows of Langley Wood. Now,
Percival could not have failed in such a matter, though he might have
thought no more about it than did Oliver Blake.

When he and Addie were once more on their way he occupied himself solely
with the slight difficulties of her path, but before they had gone halfway
she was making an effort to talk in her usual style, and succeeding fairly
well. They were just at the place where the paths branched off, and
Percival was stooping to disentangle her dress, which was caught on a
bramble. As he raised himself he heard an approaching step, and quick as
thought he laid his hand on Addie's arm. A couple of yards farther and they
would be in the one path, and must meet the newcomer. Standing where they
were, it was an even chance: he might pass them or might go the other way.
Addie stood breathless, and Percival's heart gave a quick throb, more for
Addie's sake than his own. But, after all, it might be no one who knew
them, and in that dim light--

The moon glided with startling swiftness from behind a fleecy cloud and
shone on their white faces. The man, passing close by, started and stepped
back, recovered himself with a muttered ejaculation, and said, "Fine
evening, Mr. Thorne," as he passed.

"Very," Percival replied. "Good-night."

The other returned a "Good-night, sir," and disappeared in the twilight.

"He knew you," said Addie. She looked frightened. Her parting from Oliver
had unnerved her: difficulties which she had made light of in the happiness
of anticipation seemed more formidable now. Standing there in the white
moonlight and dim shadows of the wood, she suddenly realized the strange
and doubtful aspect her expedition with Percival Thorne must wear to
ordinary eyes. Nor was her companion likely to reassure her. An air of
sombre resolution was more in his line than the light-hearted confidence
which would have treated the whole affair as a trifle. He was, as Addie
herself had called him, "well behaved." She would have trusted him to the
death, only just at that moment a little touch of happy recklessness would
have been a greater comfort to her than his anxious loyalty. But Percival
could never be reckless: deliberately indifferent he might be, but reckless
never.

"He knew you," said Addie, as they resumed their walk.

"Yes, but he would not know you. It does not signify much," was Percival's
reply.

"But he does know me."

"Impossible! Oh, you mean he knows your name."

She nodded: "He often passes our house. Always on Thursday, when a lot of
people go by. Isn't it a market somewhere?"

"Brookley market. Oh yes, he would go there, no doubt."

"Once or twice I have been walking on the road, and he has driven past. I
know his face quite well, and I'm sure--I should think--he knows mine."

"Very likely he may not have recognized you in this half-light," said
Percival.

She shivered: "He did. I felt him look right through me."

"Well, suppose he did. After all, there is no reason why we should not take
a walk together on a summer evening if we like, is there?"

"Where is he going?" said Addie. "To the cottage?"

"Oh dear, no! There are endless paths in the wood. He will turn off still
more to the right: he cuts off a corner so going from Fordborough to his
home."

"Who and what is he?" was Miss Blake's next question as they emerged into
the road.

"Silas Fielding. He farms a little bit of old Garnett's land, and I rather
think he rents an outlying field or two of my grandfather's. A horsey sort
of fellow. I am not particularly fond of Mr. Silas Fielding," said
Percival, and they walked a little way in silence.

"You mustn't come any farther," said Addie. "Percival, I don't know how to
thank you."

"Don't do it, then. I see no occasion."

"But I see occasion--very great occasion."

"Then we will consider it done," said Percival.

Mrs. Wardlaw's house was very near. "I'm not late, am I?" said Addie.

He looked at his watch: "A little more than a quarter to ten--very good
time. I shall watch you along this last little bit of road, and see you let
in. Good-night."

"Good-night." She went quickly away, and he waited as he had promised. She
looked back at him once, and saw him stand, dark and motionless like a
bronze statue. She reached the garden-gate, and just as a farmer's gig,
with one man in it, dashed past, she ran up the little flight of steps,
knocked, and was instantly admitted, as if Mrs. Wardlaw stood inside with
her hand on the latch. Percival, seeing this, turned to begin his homeward
walk, but as the gig rattled up to him its speed was slackened.

"Mr. Thorne! Isn't it Mr. Percival Thorne?"

It was the young artist driving back to the farm in Mr. Collins's old gig,
and inducing Mr. Collins's old horse to go at a headlong pace. "I thought
it was you standing in the moonlight," he said. "Can't I give you a lift?"

Percival accepted, and they started off, if possible more vehemently than
before.

"I must look sharp," explained the young man whose name was Alf, "or I
shall be late at the farm."

"You have only just come from Fordborough?" said Percival.

"No. I put up the horse and stayed later than I meant. I'd no idea that
dull little hole of a town could wake up so. Why, it is flapping with flags
from one end to the other. I never saw such a lot of tramps and drunken men
in my life."

"Charming idea you have of waking up!"

"And brass bands and gypsies," the other went on. "When I wanted to come
away the hostler was drunk and couldn't find the horse, and I couldn't find
the gig; that is, I could find a score all exactly like this one, but as to
knowing which of all the gigs in the yard belonged to old Collins, I
couldn't have told to save my life."

"You got it at last, I suppose?" said Thorne.

The other was cautious: "Well, I got _this_. The man put the horse in
somehow, and then he was so far gone he began to talk to himself and undo
the harness again. I believe he thought he'd put in a pair by mistake, and
was trying to take one out. However, I stopped that, and got away after a
fashion."

"They are early birds at the farm, no doubt?"

"Early? Rather! At half-past nine old Collins creaks up stairs, and Mrs.
Collins goes into the kitchen and rakes out the cinders for fear of fire. I
was out late one night last week, and she couldn't wake the old man up to
let me in. It was twenty minutes to eleven."

"Did she come herself?" said Percival. "I know Mrs. Collins by daylight,
but I can't imagine Mrs. Collins aroused from her first sleep."

"'Where ignorance is bliss.' The dear old lady kept me on the doorstep for
ten minutes or so while she was trying to make up her mind whether she
would keep her nightcap on, or whether she would take it off and put on
the light-brown front she ordinarily wears. At last she made up her mind to
retain the nightcap and add the front by way of a finish. But I have it on
her own authority that she was flurried and all of a shake, so she didn't
carry out her idea skilfully. The cap was half off and the front was only
half on. I saw her forehead getting lower and lower as she spoke to me."

"Could she ever forgive you for seeing her so?"

"Oh yes. I'm rather a favorite, I think. She beamed on me just the same the
next morning."

"She did?" said Thorne. "A wonderful woman!"

"I think I shall ask her for a lock of her chestnut hair to-morrow before I
go, to show that my faith in it is--well, as implicit as ever. Ah! by the
way, I got my letter. I thought most likely I should. I leave the first
thing in the morning."

"Sorry to hear it," said Percival. But it occurred to him that the artist's
departure would prevent any talk the next day of the circumstances of their
meeting that evening. He jumped down, with hasty thanks to his new friend
when they came to the little gate. "You'll be in a ditch if you don't look
out," he called after him.

"All right!" was shouted back, and old Collins's gig vanished into the
outer darkness with the young artist, whom Percival Thorne has never
chanced to meet again to this day.

He let himself in with his key and hurried up to the house. The door which
opened on the terrace was unfastened as usual. The lights were burning in
the drawing-room, but no one was there, and the bright vacant room had a
strange ghostly aspect, a little island of mellow radiance in the vast
silence and darkness of the night. He felt like one in a dream, and stood
idly thinking of the young painter rattling in old Collins's gig to Willow
Farm; of Silas Fielding striding across the meadows with thoughts intent on
his bargains; of Oliver Blake turning in with a yawn when his cigar was
done; of Addie forcing back her unshed tears and hiding deep in her heart
the well-spring of her tenderness for her poor Noll. He had not done
justice to Addie Blake. Something of the feeling of underlying beauty,
unsought or ignored, which he gained from his artist-friend's talk in the
morning, had come to him in a slightly altered form with Addie that
evening. With Alf it was the every-day world which revealed new
beauty--with Addie it was shown in what Percival had taken for a prosaic
and commonplace character. He found himself wondering whether he might not
have failed to do justice to others besides Addie. He had looked far away
for his ideal, and had found a fair faint dream, when it might be that the
reality was close at hand. Since the wayside had blossomed with unexpected
loveliness, what grace and charm and hidden treasure might be his prize who
should win his way into the fenced garden of Sissy's sweet soul!

He started from his reverie, and was surprised to find that it had lasted
only two or three minutes: it seemed to him as if he had been dreaming a
long while in that bright loneliness. He walked to the window, with "Where
can they all be?" on his lips. And for an answer to his question, standing
at the far end of the terrace was Sissy. As he hurried through the hall to
join her the library-door opened an inch or two and a voice inquired, "Who
is that?"

"It is I--Percival," he answered in haste.

At the word "Percival" the door opened wider, and Mr. Thorne looked out:
"Oh! where is Sissy?"

"On the terrace."

"And Horace?"

"I don't know," still chafing to be gone.

"Sissy ought to come in. It's a quarter-past ten." He looked up at the
great hall-clock. "Yes, a quarter-past ten, and she will be catching cold."

"I'll tell her."

"Did you come in for a shawl for her? Take her one--anything."

"I will;" and Percival made a dash at the row of pegs and caught down the
first thing which looked moderately like a cloak. Then he escaped.

Sissy was coming to the house, but so leisurely that the journey was likely
to take her a considerable time. "At last!" she said as he came up to her:
"Why, which way--Oh, it's _you_, Percival!"

"You thought I was Horace?" he said as he put the cloak round her.

"Yes, for the moment I did. What are you muffling me up like this for?"

"Orders," said Percival. "My grandfather said you were to come in, and that
I was to bring you a shawl."

"What is the good of this thing if I'm to go in?"

"Very sensibly put. Evidently no good at all. So we will turn round and go
to the end of the terrace and back, unless you are tired."

She was not tired.

"And you took me for Horace? I always said we were alike."

"You are not a bit alike."

"Oh no, of course not."

"Don't be absurd," said Sissy. "Anybody's like anybody if it's pitch dark
and they don't speak."

"I rather suspect Horace and I might be alike if it were a half-light, and
if we _did_ speak," said Percival. "Remember the photograph. But where is
Horace all this time? What have you been doing with yourself?"

"He's somewhere about," said Sissy. "First of all, we had a little croquet.
Then it got too dark to play, so I went to see after Aunt Harriet. Her head
was worse; so she said she would go to bed."

"Poor old lady! Best thing she could do. She'll be better to-morrow, I
hope."

"Then Horace and I thought we would go and look up his old nurse. She has
been teasing me ever so long, wanting to see 'Master Horace,' and it's only
across a couple of fields. But she wasn't at home, and the cottage was shut
up."

"Gone to Fordborough for the day, most likely."

"I dare say. She has a niece there. Then we came back, and Horace didn't
much want to go in, because of this afternoon, you know; so we stayed in
the long walk, and he smoked and we listened to the nightingales."

"Very delightful," said Percival. "The long walk and the nightingales, I
mean."

"And then there was a little pinkish light in the sky, and he thought there
was a fire somewhere. So he went into the park to get a better view, and
after I had waited for him a little while I came up here and met you."

A quick step was heard on the gravel behind them.

"Oh, here you are!" said Horace. "The fire doesn't seem to be anything,
Sissy, after all. The light got fainter and fainter, and it's all gone
now."

"Where did you think it was?" Percival inquired.

"Well, I thought from the direction that it must be at old Garnett's Upland
Farm, but it can't have been much. So you have got back?"

"Yes. Hadn't we better go in? You must mind what you are about, Horace,
though it _is_ warm. That cough of yours--"

"Stuff and nonsense about my cough!" But he turned to go in nevertheless.

"By the way," said Percival, as he walked between them, "you've been out
all the evening: does any one know I've been away?"

"No," said Sissy. "Why, don't you want--"

"I would rather they didn't," he replied. (The stars in their courses
seemed to fight for Addie and her secret, had it not been for that untoward
meeting with Silas Fielding.)

Horace wore a knowing expression. He was rather pleased that his lecturer
should be compelled to seek a pledge of secrecy from him. It made him feel
more on a level with the well-conducted and independent Percival. "All
right!" he said.

"You may trust me," in a softly earnest voice on the other side.

"Thank you both," said Percival, but his eyes thanked Sissy.

"What have you been after?" asked Horace. "I thought most likely you were
off to the friend you met this morning."

The astonishing way in which circumstances conspired to aid in guarding the
mystery! "I have been with him," said Percival.

(We value the opinion of others too much very often for our own peace.
Queer, unsubstantial things those opinions often are. "I have been with
him." Sissy felt a little glow of kindliness toward the unknown: it might
have been, "I have been with her." She was prejudiced in his favor, and
sure that he was a nice fellow. Horace was ready to stake something on his
conviction that he was a bad lot, this fellow Percy had picked up, and that
Percy knew it.)

Percy was still warm with the chivalrous devotion which had been kindled in
him that evening. It was reserved for the colder morning light to reveal to
him that what with Lottie on the hillside and Addie in Langley Wood he was
plunging into little adventures which were hardly consistent with the
character of a most prudent young man. Yet such was the character he was
supposed to have undertaken to support in the world's drama.

They reached the door, and Horace went in, but Sissy lingered yet a moment
on the threshold. "Isn't it all beautiful?" she said, taking one more look:
"if it could only last!"

Percival smiled: "Sissy, have _you_ learnt that?"

"November--bare boughs and bitter winds--I hate to think of it," she said.

"I would say, 'Don't think of it,' but it would be no good," he replied.
"When the thought of change has once occurred to you while you look at a
landscape, it is a part of every landscape thenceforward. But it gives a
bitter charm."

"Spring will come again," she said; "but death and parting and loss--they
are so dreadful! And growing old! Oh, Percival, why must they all be?"

He shrugged his shoulders: "The whole world echoes your 'Why?' Sissy, I
wish I could help you, but I can't. I can only tell you that I understand
what you feel. It is very terrible looking forward to age--to loss of
powers, hopes and friends. One feels sometimes as if one could not tread
that long gray road to the grave."

Sissy shivered, as if she saw it drawn out before her eyes.

"But after all it may be brighter than we think," he went on after a pause.
"There is joy and beauty in change, as well as bitterness. If everything in
the world were fixed and unalterable, would not that be far more terrible?
As it is, we have all the possibilities on our side. Who knows what
gladness may grow out of endless change?" Yet even as he spoke he was
conscious of a wild, impotent longing to snatch her--she was so delicate
and sweet--from beneath the great revolving wheels of time, with a cry of

    Stay as you are, and be loved for ever.

But the poet's very words carry the sentence of doom in the memory that the
blossom to which they were uttered must have perished years ago.

"Sissy," he said suddenly, "surely there cannot be much suffering reserved
for you. Oh, poor child! I wish I could take it all in your place." He
spoke in all earnestness, yet could he have looked into the future he would
have seen that her suffering would not be long, but very keen, and his not
to bear, but to inflict.


CHAPTER XI.

MEANWHILE.

Percival Thorne had never thought much on the subject of revenge. He rather
took it for granted that deliberate revenge was an extraordinary and
altogether exceptional thing. People give way to bursts of passion which
pass away and leave no trace: they are so hot with fury which comes to
nothing at all that at the first glance it seems as if the anger which
bears fruit must be something different in kind. But it is possible that if
Percival had considered the matter he might have arrived at the conclusion
that revenge does not depend only on intensity of passion, but on intensity
of passion and aptness of opportunity together. Disembodied hate soon dies
unless it is fiendish in its strength.

[Illustration: "ADDIE STOOD BREATHLESS, AND PERCIVAL'S HEART GAVE A QUICK
THROB."--Page 676.]

He had had fair warning at the birthday party. Lottie, smarting with
humiliation, had looked him full in the face with a flash of such bitter
enmity as springs from the consciousness of one's own folly. And Lottie's
eyes conveyed their meaning well. That very afternoon, when Percival
looked up as he lay on the turf at her feet, they had been most eloquent of
love. "Foolish child!" he had thought, "she is only seventeen to-day, and
childish still." When he encountered the sudden flash of hate he would
hardly have been surprised at some instant manifestation of it. Had she
carried a dagger, like

    Our Lombard country-girls along the coast,

vengeance might have come at once. But she spoke to him later in her
ordinary voice, and touched his hand when she bade him good-night; and it
was only natural to conclude that nothing would follow her glance of fury.
Something of bitterness might linger for a while, but Lottie was only
seventeen, and that afternoon she had loved him.

He was right enough. There was nothing fiendish in Lottie's hatred: it
would soon have spent its strength in helpless longings and died. But that
very night it flew straight to Horace Thorne, and unobserved found shelter
there. It assumed a shape not clearly defined as yet, but a shape which
time would surely reveal. It drew Lottie to the young man's side while the
tears of pain and shame were hardly yet dry upon her burning cheeks.

In spite of the talk on her birthday morning, Lottie hardly understood the
relative positions of the Thornes. Percival was disinherited and Horace was
the heir. Naturally, she supposed that Horace was the favorite, and that
the old man was displeased with Percival. She concluded that the small
income of which the latter had spoken was probably a grudging allowance
from Mr. Thorne. His grandfather protected and patronized him now, and no
doubt it would be in Horace's power to protect and patronize him hereafter.
Lottie hardly knew what she dreamed or wished, but she felt that she should
indeed be avenged if the dole might in any way be regulated by her caprice,
given or withheld according to the mood of the moment.

Meanwhile, Percival drifted contentedly on, unconscious that Lottie had
vowed vengeance and Sissy devotion. Mr. Thorne went about with an air of
furtive triumph, as if he were tasting the sweetness of having outwitted
somebody. Horace divided his time between divers pleasures, but contrived
to run down to Fordborough once just before he went yachting with a friend.
He took to letter-writing with praiseworthy regularity, and yet his
accustomed correspondents were curiously unaware of his sudden energy. He
too had his look of triumph sometimes, but it was uneasy triumph, as if he
were not absolutely certain that some one might not have outwitted him.
Oliver Blake on board the good ship Curlew had passed the period of
sea-sickness, and was flirting desperately with a lively fellow-passenger,
while Addie followed him with anxious thoughts. About this time his father
went in secret to consult a London doctor, and came away with a grave face
and a tender softening of his heart toward his only son. A visit to his
lawyer ensued, and of this also Mrs. Blake knew nothing. The girls played
croquet as before, Lottie won the ivory mallet on the great field-day of
the Fordborough club, and Mrs. Rawlinson and Miss Lloyd hated her with
their sweetest smiles. Week after week of glorious weather went by.
Brackenhill lay stretched in the sleepy golden sunshine, and the leaves in
Langley Wood, quivering against the unclouded blue, had lost the freshness
of the early summer. The shadows and the sadness were to come.


CHAPTER XII.

              Well, what's gone from me?
    What have I lost in you?--R. BROWNING.

Percival awoke one day to the consciousness that the world was smaller,
grayer and flatter than he had supposed it. At the same moment he became
aware that a burden was lifted from his shoulders and that a disturbing
element was gone out of his life.

This is how the change in the universe was effected. Percival met Godfrey
Hammond, and they talked of indifferent things. As they were parting
Hammond looked over his shoulder and came back: "I knew there was something
I wanted to ask you. Have you heard that the young lady with the latent
nobility in her face is going to be married?"

"What young lady?" said Percival stiffly. He knew perfectly well, and
Hammond knew that he knew.

"Miss Lisle."

"No, I hadn't heard. Who is he?"

"The happy man? Lord Scarbrook's eldest son."

"Who told you?"

"You are incredulous, but I fear I can't soften the blow. The man who told
me heard Lisle talking about it."

"There's no blow to soften," said Percival, "I assure you I don't feel it."

"Ah," said Hammond, "there was once a man who didn't know that his head had
been cut off till he sneezed--wasn't there? Take great care of yourself,
Percival." And nodding a second farewell Godfrey left him, and Percival
went on his way through that curiously shrunken world.

And, after all, the blow was premature. Mr. Lisle had only talked of a
probability which he earnestly hoped would be realized.

But Percival did not doubt it. He tried to analyze his feelings as he
walked away. He had known but little of Judith Lisle, but when first he saw
her face he felt that the vague dream which till then had approached, only
to elude him, in clouds, in fire, in poems, in flowers, in music, had taken
human shape and looked at him out of her gray eyes. Percival had no certain
assurance that she _was_ his ideal, but from that time forward he pictured
his ideal in her guise.

He did not dream of winning her. Mr. Lisle had boasted to him one evening,
as they sat over their wine, of all that he meant to do for his daughter,
and of the great match he hoped she would make. Percival had a feeling of
peculiar loyalty to Mr. Lisle as the friend whom his dead father had
trusted most of all. He could not think of Judith, for he could never be a
fit husband for her in Mr. Lisle's eyes. Had he been heir to
Brackenhill--But he was not.

So he acquiesced, patiently enough. He did not attempt to do anything. What
was there to do? By the time that he had struggled through the crowd and
got his foot on the first round of that ladder which _may_ lead to fortune,
Judith would probably be married. He did not even know certainly that she
was the woman he wanted to win. Why should he force the lazy stream of his
existence into a rough and stony channel that he might have a
chance--infinitesimally small--of winning her.

Yet there were moments of exaltation when it seemed to him as if his
acquiescence were tame and mean--as if his life would miss its crown unless
he could attain to his ideal. At such moments he felt the stings of shame
and ambition. Yet what could he do? The mood passed, and left him drifting
onward as before.

But now all thought of Judith Lisle was over. Even if she were in truth his
ideal woman, it was certain that she was no longer within his reach. That
haunting possibility was gone. All that it had ever done for him was to
make him dissatisfied with himself from time to time, and yet he found
himself regretting it.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



CAPTURED BY COSSACKS.

EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS OF A FRENCH OFFICER IN 1813.[B]

[Illustration: COSSACKS AND FRENCH PRISONERS.]

WISMAR, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, March 8, 1813.

MY DEAR PARENTS: I regret to announce that recent public events have sadly
disturbed the relatively comfortable circumstances which favored my
convalescence. Since the 26th ult. our lines have been drawn in, and I have
accompanied my detachment to this place, where the expected arrival of
General Morand from Pomerania will probably be the signal of a hasty
retreat. The lamentable fate of our grand army in barbarous Russia is now
casting its shadows upon us. It is because so many of our friends remained
_there_ that we shall have to move from _here_. Possibly, a speedy return
to the home I left nine years ago may afford some compensation for this
inglorious retreat. The cities of Hamburg and Lubeck are in open revolt and
ill-treating and driving away the French authorities. If only we had once
the Elbe in our rear! The Cossacks are not far off, and the whole country
is awaiting them with open arms. Adieu for to-day.


WISMAR, 13th March, 1813.

General Morand and his command arrived here at noon to-day. My brothers,
Frank and Louis, are with him and in the best of health. Our trio held a
council of war an hour ago, and unanimously resolved to remain at the post
of honor whatever may betide. I reported in person to the general, who,
after viewing my scar from the Hamburg bullet, assured me that my name
would appear on the next recommendation for promotions. All the members of
our brigade who had been on coast-guard duty in Mecklenburg are being
reorganized into a special battalion, in which I retain the rank of first
lieutenant. Frank holds a sergeant's commission, while little Louis remains
a private fusilier. An order of the day announces that furloughs are out of
the question, and that deserters will be dealt with as every one knows how.
The latter bit of information is for the special benefit of our Saxon
allies, of whom our command embraces twelve hundred. The remainder of it
consists of three hundred artillery-men, four hundred marines, two hundred
and fifty coast-guards and a squad of civil and military functionaries--all
French and well armed and equipped. To-morrow the homeward march begins.


ACROSS THE ELBE! WINSEN-ON-THE-LUCKE, 18th March.

As the enemy is close upon our heels, we left Wismar in double-quick time.
On the 16th, on leaving Moellen, Frank and I visited the grave of the
famous German jester Eulenspiegel, but did not take time to drive memorial
nails into the surrounding trees, as thousands of pilgrims had done before
us.

Not far from there we suddenly came upon a band of Cossacks resting their
jaded nags in a marshy meadow. It was something of a mutual surprise. A
single glance down our line convinced the hostile commander that we could
not consistently give him time to get away. Hence, waving a white streamer
at the butt end of a lance, he rode forward and called in passable German
for a _parlementaire_. My anxiety to learn all about this new and singular
race of people induced me to request this appointment, which was promptly
granted by the commander of our van. No diplomatic chicaneries hampered my
mission, which was accomplished in a very few minutes. The result was an
unconditional surrender. The poor fellows were the victims of an excess of
zeal, having ridden ahead of us while they imagined themselves on our
flank. The terms of our future relations being mutually agreed upon, the
commander, who had acquired his German in the Prussian service, and was no
stranger to Virgil and Horace, offered me a hearty shake of his right hand,
while the other, deftly unbuckling a holster, drew forth a sample of
genuine Mecklenburger Kuemmel schnapps, which proved not unworthy of
cementing a treaty of peace. While the prisoners were being marshalled into
custody I had ample opportunity to scan the fifty specimens of exotic
humanity before me, but utterly failed to discover in their outward
features the proverbial elements of popular terror. Though generally nimble
and well-proportioned, they were scarcely above the average French
voltigeur in stature, and a bullet or rapier would find the way through
their untanned sheepskin jackets just as easily as through any more
civilized uniform. Apart from their lances, which they are said to handle
with dangerous skill, these scouts carry no weapons worth mentioning. Their
rusty horse-pistols are almost harmless toys. A more uncouth-looking
soldier than a Cossack on foot can hardly be imagined. Perhaps it is not
fair to judge them in this abnormal predicament. When they were informed
that they would be treated just like ordinary prisoners, a grin of
satisfaction lighted up their countenances with an expression of droll
humor not suspected before. In the pockets of their cloaks
and _portemanteaux_ were found an amount and variety of pelf somewhat
difficult to account for in the possession of warriors who had not yet
reached the enemy's country. Among the rest I will only mention gold,
silver and copper coins, medals, breastpins, ear- and finger-rings, watches
and chains, seals, meerschaum pipes, snuff-boxes, brass buttons, beads,
tea-spoons, feminine miniatures, locks of flaxen hair of the same sex, and,
last and strangest, bottles of Jean Marie Farina's veritable eau de
Cologne! It may be charitably assumed that the latter three suggestive
articles were the heart's gifts of patriotic North German maidens to their
long-prayed-for liberators. _Honni soit qui mal y pense._ But it is hardly
probable that the original possessors of the more intrinsic valuables had
parted with them from equally sentimental motives. Hence our lads wisely
discriminated in their disposition of the captured treasures, the coins,
jewelry, tea-spoons and meerschaums being temporarily confiscated "until
the proper owners could be found." _À la guerre comme à la guerre._

In the night of the 16th-17th we reached Bergdorff, where we halted until
next afternoon. Just before dusk, at the crossing of a stream, we (the van)
were attacked by a partisan column, who relieved us of a dozen prisoners,
and in exchange left a few dead upon the field. We are looking for more of
this sort of warfare until strongly reinforced. We have to contend not only
with the Russians and Prussians, but with all the people on our way, who
have raised their hands against the French. Evidently, we have made few
friends in this country, which--_entre nous_--to an unbiassed mind does not
seem at all strange. Somehow, even when not personally molested, we are
continually losing baggage. I carry only my most indispensable effects on
my horse. My large trunk, though far behind me now, is in trusty hands,
with your address in case anything serious should befall its owner. Frank's
baggage is on the general train, while Louis carries all his worldly
possessions in his knapsack, which begins to act as a powerful sudorific
upon the dear little fellow.


BREMEN, 24th March.

This city has not yet risen in open rebellion, though the faces here are
sullen enough. General Carra St. Cyr, with two battalions of cohortes and
fifteen hundred coast-guards, has succeeded so far in keeping down the
popular temper. But Bremerloe, six leagues from here, is occupied by a
formidable band of armed rebels, and at this very moment a detachment is
being sent out to attend to them. Among the young recruits of St. Cyr's
command I found quite a number of Alsatians, some from my own birthplace,
Saverne. They are all in the highest of spirits and eager to go ahead.
Considering the sacrifice of precious lives our country has made within the
last twenty years, the enthusiasm of these boys is truly wonderful.


25th March.

Bremerloe was captured and the enemy routed. None of your sons were at the
fray, but while I write my horse is being saddled and all is getting ready
for a return march toward the Elbe. Has a victory improved the situation in
our rear, or do some of our retreating brethren need our support? We do not
know. The order is to march.


LÜNEBURG, Braunschweig, 1st April, 10 P. M.

Since our departure from Bremen no bed but the open field or the barest
floor has rested my limbs until this evening, when, for the first time in a
week, I enjoyed the luxury of a change of clothes. How sweet it is to rest
after a hard day's work! This town, surrounded by an old-style ditch and
wall, was even this forenoon in possession of the enemy. About eighty
Cossacks, eight hundred German recruits and the whole male population,
armed with muskets, spears and pitch-forks, defended the place for two
hours. But as we had sixteen field-guns, and they none fit for use, we
defeated them with inconsiderable loss. The greater part of the civilians,
fearing severe punishment, fled with the Cossacks. Our gunners poured in
the shot and grape until there is scarcely a whole window in the western
half of the town. Two of our companies headed the Saxons in the assault
over the wall, while the rest pressed in through the battered-down gates.
Louis was in the lead, and landed inside without a scratch. Having lost his
knapsack in a skirmish on the road, he had no surplus weight to carry.
Frank was close behind me in the rush through the Bardowicker gate. Though
this day may never be honored with a line in the annals of the great
Napoleonic wars, it was quite as hot for a while as any other of greater
fame for those immediately concerned. The street-scenes were ghastly, and
forcibly reminded me of certain others of saddest memory, when, a boy of
only nine years of age, I followed you, my dear parents, over the dead and
mangled bodies of citizens and soldiers out of the town of Saverne,
disgraced and blood-stained by a revolutionary mob. With this difference,
however, that here the dead and wounded were our inveterate foes, while
there they wore the features of our most cherished friends and neighbors.

[Illustration: DON COSSACKS AND BASHKIRS.]


IN A VILLAGE NEAR BOITZENBURG, 4th April.

How quickly the leaf has turned! At the date of my last we were victors:
to-day we are not only vanquished, but prisoners.

Do not be alarmed, however, dearest parents. All three of your sons are
alive and well, even relatively comfortable. No complaint even from poor
Louis, who was caught by the Cossacks, robbed of his coat and purse, then
turned over to the citizens, who, after unspeakable insults and brutal
treatment, stripped him of everything but his shirt and drawers. My own
story is too complex to be related to-day. I will only state in brief what
you may have already divined--that on the day following the capture of
Lüneburg we were surprised in and around the town by a vastly superior
force, and worsted after a resistance which was all the more desperate that
we knew what to expect from such an enemy in case of defeat. The ferocity
of the German burgher, backed by his liberators in overwhelming strength,
literally baffles description. I fell in a melée in front of the eastern
gate under a blow from a spear-shaft, which broke the visor clasp of my
shako right over my left ear. When I recovered my senses I was in the
custody of a young "Death Hussar," of whose generous treatment of me more
hereafter.


SAME DAY, afternoon.

The number of my companions in misfortune now collected here is nearly
three hundred. Our departure Russia-ward, which had been fixed for noon
to-day, seems to have been countermanded for the present.

Our surprise is mainly attributed to some laxity on the part of our Saxon
friends, whose German hearts have naturally mellowed since the French
eagles have taken their homeward flight. This forenoon our brave general,
mortally wounded in his effort to retrieve the disgrace, was buried with
the honors of war at Boitzenburg, half a mile from here. We lost altogether
five hundred dead and wounded, but inflicted a severe loss on the enemy,
who was the attacking party. As near as I can learn, his force consisted of
a large brigade of cavalry, four companies of Russian and three of Prussian
infantry, artillery in proportion, besides the few hundred Cossacks and
armed citizens we had scared out of Lüneburg on the day before.

Now to return to my story. Perhaps you have not forgotten, my dear parents,
my reference, four years ago, to the notorious Schill, chief of a corps of
Prussian partisans, a brave and devoted patriot, who gave us no little
trouble. Shortly after that time he was pursued by a force of Danes and
Hollanders, our allies, all the way to Stralsund, and killed in a brave
fight. His brother now commands the "Death Hussars" in the Prussian
service. My captor is a Brunswicker of noble birth and character, who
speaks very good French, and recognized me by name and face in connection
with an incident near Hamburg which had impressed him favorably with my
humanity. He seemed to have resolved to do all in his power for my
protection except directly favoring my escape. After he had shielded me
from the burghers' mob and furnished me with a modest suit of citizen's
clothes in order to disguise my rank, I was still encumbered by my
regulation hat, which betrayed me to every eye. He proposed to provide me
with a skull-cap from a friend's wardrobe, and left me to wait for him in a
seemingly deserted lane, a square only from his lodgings. Scarcely,
however, had he turned the corner when I was overtaken by an athletic
journeyman baker, who, pouncing upon me with frantic yells, attracted two
other citizens to the spot, and all now seized hold of me with a vigor
conveying the soothing impression that my agony would be brief. Acting upon
the old adage, that while there is life there is hope, I protracted my
existence by twining my arms around a small linden tree and dealing out
such blows with my heavy riding-boots as I could in that awkward position.
At the same time I summoned to my aid all the power of a healthy pair of
lungs, which my mother often predicted would yet make some noise in the
world, and just before my wind gave out under the pressure of the
bakerman's thumbs, my strategy resulted in the desired success. Shouting
and running at the top of his might, my noble rescuer was soon on the spot
with the skull-cap in one hand and his drawn sabre in the other. In a
twinkling the flat of his blade had loosened the hold of my executioners,
whom he fearlessly berated as cowardly villains for laying hands upon a
prisoner already in his power, and whom he pursued with threats that
visibly quickened their retreating pace. Thanking Heaven for the favor of
permitting him to save my life once more, he now informed me that he had
done all for me that his own oath and duty permitted, and hoped I should be
able to make the best use of my improved situation. At my urgent request,
however, he consented to accompany me to my lodgings, where I had that very
morning left my portfolio and a gold watch, not dreaming of the surprise
that subverted my fate in the course of the day. My landlord, still
gratefully reminiscent of my courteous behavior toward him and his family
on the day of our victory, promptly delivered my property, with hearty
apologies for his inability to do more for me at present; and,
significantly referring to a Prussian captain then at supper in the lower
story, he quietly pressed into my hand a shining silver thaler, which I as
quietly returned with thanks, for the simple reason that I was even then
more able to give than he. "God bless you, my gracious gentleman!" were his
last words as I pressed his honest fist and assured him that if ever in my
power his kindness should be remembered.

Night had closed around me when I reached the sombre street with my
magnanimous protector. After exchanging names, birthplace and the residence
of our respective parents in our memorandum-books, I thanked him for all
with a fulness of heart to which the moisture of his own thoughtful blue
eyes most eloquently responded, and as he rapidly walked away my
reflections upon the humanity of war were not such as would have
recommended my promotion to the great captain in whose thankless service I
am daily exposing my life.

[Illustration: BASHKIR.]

Here, then, I was left absolutely friendless in a hostile town in which my
life was at the mercy of almost every inhabitant. And my poor brothers,
what had become of them? How could I find out? My rescuer had informed me
that the prisoners had already been transported into the country, and that
the wounded were being cared for at the town-hall. In this dilemma my
choice was not difficult. Deliberately walking into a tavern where the
Russian staff were engaged in brewing punch, I declared myself a prisoner,
hungry, and anxious to join my comrades, whose fate I wished to share. I
did not conceal the fact that I hoped to find two brothers among them. To
my agreeable surprise, I found these officers kindly-disposed,
well-educated men, speaking either French or German fluently. Supper was
instantly ordered for me, but, though a fast of fifteen hours was gnawing
at my stomach, I could not prevail upon myself to taste anything before
having seen our wounded, which I asked and obtained leave to do
immediately. An orderly was directed to conduct me to the town-hall across
the square. Here I was distressed to find over sixty of our men and
officers of all arms more or less severely hurt, but none fatally, the
unfortunates of that category, as rumor goes, having been _finished by the
citizens_ before the military took charge of them. I anxiously looked into
every familiar face, but my brothers were not there. No one could tell me
the names of our dead. Frank was seen alive after I fell, just before the
close of the fight, but of Louis nothing whatever was known. Still, I
breathed more freely. A Prussian surgeon in attendance with our own having
called my attention to the contusion over my left ear, which had now
swollen to the size of a small egg, I had it bathed and dressed.

During my supper at the tavern two of the Russian officers, taking seats
around my table, conversed very freely upon the topics of the day, and, I
must confess, with much delicate regard for the feelings of an enemy in my
condition. They had seen Napoleon in Moscow, and hoped soon to return his
visit in Paris. All Europe was tired of him, his own people not excepted.
The Bourbons would be restored and universal peace would follow. This was
their favorite theme, to which, I candidly own, your son's heart was not a
total stranger. I have long been convinced that Germany could not be
permanently subdued, and that French rule was the most unpopular of all. My
impression is that this nation will henceforth unite and fight until the
foreign yoke is shaken off for ever.

Supper over, I was informed that I could not be conveyed to my
fellow-prisoners until morning, and that I might share the mattress of a
French sergeant-major confined in an upper room, which turned out to be the
garret. Imagine my surprise on recognizing my favorite Delâtre, though his
face was black with mud and powder and his elegant form disguised in the
linen gown of a Mecklenburger teamster! His sleep was too sweet and
precious to be disturbed, and I much enjoyed his wonder when, awaking at
the break of day, he beheld the countenance of one whom he had numbered
among the dead. Our mutual stories were soon told. Delâtre had made an
attempt to escape, but was recaptured, did not tell a very plausible tale,
and was held for better identification in the morning. Of my brothers he
knew only that they were both alive when I fell. It was supposed by the
survivors of the company that if I was not killed by the blow I must have
been crushed to death by horses' hoofs and cannon-wheels soon afterward.

My presence in the house proved to be a fortunate coincidence for my friend
Delâtre, since it required my written statement and parole of honor to
clear him of the suspicion of being a spy. These formalities accomplished,
three very slightly wounded fusiliers from the hospital were added to our
number, and we were at once conveyed to this hamlet, on the east side of
the Elbe, where we found our fellow-sufferers quartered in the spacious
outbuildings of a comfortable-looking farm. A deafening shout arose from
one corner of the captive throng so soon as our faces could be
distinguished; and need I, dear parents, describe the scene which
immediately followed when all three of your sons, after a heart's agony of
twenty-four hours, once more, alive and well, fell into each other's arms?

Frank, with the exception of a few buttons, was still in possession of his
full regimentals, but poor Louis's condition, as already mentioned, was
pitiable enough. My vest and overalls and half of my necktie restored him
to relative decency, and out of a blanket which I purchased at the
farmhouse he is at this moment engaged in planning an elegant-looking Talma
cloak.

It is significantly remarked that among the three hundred
prisoners--destined to Siberia, I suppose--there is not a single Saxon.
There are reasons of state for this discrimination without a doubt.


ON A HALT, 5th April, noon.

It was not far from sunset last evening when we began to move under the
escort of about sixty Cossacks. Our course lay along the east bank of the
Elbe, and we are _promised_ to be taken to Russia by way of Berlin. It was
near ten o'clock last night before we reached an enclosed farmyard secure
enough to hold so many birds, and we went supperless to bed on a munificent
litter of straw. Frank's humorous stories and mimicry of our friends the
enemies answered admirably for dessert.

I was one of the first on foot this morning to take a good look at our
escort. These semi-barbarians feel so secure in our utter helplessness that
scarcely half a dozen of them remained on guard after the break of day.
Here they lay stretched in the dew in every conceivable attitude of
well-earned repose, snoring in concert almost under the very feet of their
ponies, who enjoy in a standing position their equine dreams of home on the
distant steppe. The whole barnyard scene, riders, horses and prisoners,
composed one of the most striking pictures of which I ever formed a part,
and to which my hasty sketches, herewith enclosed, do not aspire to do
justice.

These Cossacks, or more properly Bashkirs, seem to belong to a different
tribe from the Knights of the Don we captured nearly three weeks ago, and
represent mentally and physically a less advanced type. There is no
picturing to yourself exactly such faces as these unless you have once seen
a specimen, upon which your imagination may then work _ad libitum_,
without fear of exaggeration in the direction of the grotesque. A
mythological cross between the fabled satyr and the domestic creature which
furnishes the Westphalia ham is the nearest approach I can suggest to this
type of humanity. How much of their dusky complexion is due to the sun and
how much to the earth could only be determined by an exhaustive experiment
with soap and water, the virtue of which, to them, is still an undiscovered
blessing. To describe the extent to which the Bashkir carries his contempt
for cleanliness in every function of daily life would require pages, and
prematurely disgust you with my interesting subject. The atmosphere for
half a hundred feet around a middle-aged Bashkir has no parallel in any
sensation known to the human nostril. His sheepskin cloak, jacket or vest,
as the case may be, teems with animal life, of which the wearer alone seems
to be unconscious. In feature these people approach the Tartar type, of
which, however, the stiff, wispy, yellow hair and beard, the small piggish
eye, flat nose and fleshy Ethiopian lips seem to mark a characteristic
variety. Many of them walk clumsily or with a stoop, and show other
symptoms of grovelling habits and strong drink. As a rule, the Bashkirs,
like the Cossacks, are armed with lances; among our custodians several
carry long rifles; and at Lüneburg I even saw a few of these singular
warriors with bows and arrows, though perhaps more for show than for use.
As fighting soldiers they strike me as greatly overrated: their native
instincts seem to qualify them much better for scouts and marauders. Both
the Bashkir and Cossack when in action excel in the arts of
self-preservation, skilfully manoeuvring around the verge of danger,
seeking the weak points, and if by force of numbers and long lances now and
then succeeding in a charge _à fond_ upon a baggage-train, yet easily
persuaded into wholesome prudence by a bristling line of bayonets or a
well-directed volley. Their battle-cry is the same as that of the English,
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" only more melodious; and the same may be said of
their songs, which fall much more agreeably upon a musical ear than the
popular ballads and comical rhymes of our Britannic neighbors. I wish I
could speak as favorably of their religious devotions, which combine the
most bigoted and ludicrous exercises I ever heard of in a Christian sect.
Both the Don and the Bashkir Cossacks belong to the Greek Church, but
whether their mode of worship is the orthodox form or adulterated with
Bashkir improvements, I am not able to state. It is interesting to note
here that the most extravagant professions are indulged in by the older
members of the congregation, while the younger seem content to go through
the principal motions, and not a few even slyly exchange quizzical glances
over the prostrate backs of their seniors in superstition. Perhaps light
will dawn some day even on the benighted banks of the Don and the Volga.

[Illustration: CIBULSKY.]

Of the most rudimentary education these simple people do not exhibit a
trace. Reading and writing appear to them the acme of human science, which
the poor Cossack may never hope to reach on this side of the Styx. When a
map is spread before them at random, they promptly inquire which is the
side of the rising sun, and then turn that very properly to their right,
but beyond that their intelligence comes to a halt. Streams, roads and
boundary-lines are to them only a labyrinth of confusion. Even as scouts
and foragers they would be nearly useless without local guides; hence
German officers have been added to their native leaders since they left the
Russian border. The commander of this force is a renegade Pole, a Prussian
subject, by name Cibulsky, _anglicé_ onion-man--a remarkable coincidence,
in view of his favorite diet. Though he treats me with becoming respect, he
is not the sort of man to win my affections.

Though intellectually obtuse, the Cossack must not be supposed to lack
either sagacity or common sense. On the contrary, the keenness of his
instinct and perception, as in the case of most savages, is quite
remarkable. Human nature seems to him an open book, and it is instructive
to watch his ingenuity in getting the upper hand in a bargain, a bet or a
game of chance. This morning I felt anxious to secure a sketch of one of
their typical faces, undisfigured by the traditional beard, but coaxing did
not succeed. A few silbergroschen which I then displayed--all I claimed to
possess--were merrily gobbled up by right of conquest and divided among the
group around me. I felt near the end of my wits, when, observing a dirty
pack of cards protruding from the pocket of my subject, I asked permission
to show him a trick. It was one of those parlor-magic sleights of
hand--like Columbus's egg, the simplest trick in the world when you know
it. I never saw Bashkirs' eyes look half as large as on that occasion, and
half a dozen beards at once were put upon the market at the same price. For
want of time, however, I had to decline all except the one I had first
selected, which rapidly fell under the dexterous scissors of brother Frank;
and opposite is my sketch.

Of military drill there is very little in Cossack training in the French or
Prussian sense of the word, although the discipline is much better than
might be expected from such irregular troops. Their control of their horses
is unsurpassable, and greatly assisted by the natural docility of the
animal itself. In size below the standard of our lightest cavalry, these
ugly little beasts display uncommon strength and endurance. Possibly a
cross between the Arab and the Percheron might, on a larger scale, produce
a heavy and yet spirited head like that of the bright-eyed Cossack or
Ukraine horse, but to attain an equally fantastic neck and rump some less
symmetrical elements would have to be resorted to.

Speaking of horses, I am on foot at present, as you may well suppose, but
that only brings me all the nearer to my fellow-sufferers, who, like
myself, are in need of all the sympathy within their reach. Our Bashkirs
being, upon the whole, a good-natured set of fellows and much the worse for
wear, we hope to get along without serious trouble; and for my part I shall
keep a sharp lookout once we reach a familiar section of country. It looks
as if our route would take us through Dömitz, one of my former posts. If
so, patience!


COLIS, near Dömitz, Tuesday, 6th April.

Yesterday, at 2 P. M., we halted near a village five miles from here to
secure the first decent meal since we broke camp. Our sub-officers and
privates received good pickled meat with vegetables, pumpernickel (black
bread) and rye whiskey. The officers were taken into the village and
billeted on comfortable houses for refreshments. Before I started I cut out
of the belt of my drawers six napoleons d'or, which I divided between my
brothers, informing them that we were not far from Dömitz. They understood
me well, and wished me God-speed, promising to follow my example if any
opportunity occurred before they were exchanged. Their last injunction was
to report them to you, my dear parents, in good health and spirits and
bravely resigned to fate; and it was mainly the hope and desire to treat
you to this satisfaction that nerved me to the risk and pain of separation
from the dear boys in their deplorable condition. I would have given one
half of my remaining life to be able to carry them away in my breeches
pockets. It was because they truly felt this that they cheerfully forgave
me this desertion. God bless and protect them for ever, for better sons and
brothers and truer soldiers never lived!

[Illustration: BASHKIR SHORN AND COMBED.]

It was here that I had resolved to attempt my escape, as for many miles
around I had, during a protracted occupancy, gained a number of personal
friends, whose feelings I hoped to find unaltered by reverse of fortune. By
the favor of Heaven I was destined to succeed, so far, beyond expectation.
My captain, sub-lieutenant and myself were billeted on one of the last
houses on the road leading to Dömitz, and in charge of a single Bashkir, a
grizzly, good-humored old fellow, and not the very brightest of the lot.
After seeing us comfortably seated around a savory dinner, he squarely
established himself in the front-door, where he was soon absorbed in the
dissection of a huge plate of fishes steeped in fragrant linseed oil. I
should here add that spoons and forks seem unknown to the Bashkir family,
except as trophies of war, especially when they happen to be of silver.
After replenishing my French stomach by means of a regular Mecklenburger
appetite, I left my companions engaged in garnishing their pockets with the
remnants of the feast, and stepped out into the yard bareheaded and
carelessly picking my teeth. Having secured the good-will of my Bashkir
friend by tasting a bite or two of his greasy fish, I proceeded to
entertain him with a variety of gymnastic pranks, especially challenging
his admiration by balancing his lance on the end of my nose until it looked
as flat as his own. This complimentary trick delighted him to such an
extent that the corners of his mouth carried the tips of his broom-sedge
moustache several inches behind his ears. There was not a human being in
the street or yard, the bulk of the population having flocked out to stare
at the rest of the prisoners. Pretending to play with the Bashkir's horse,
which was despatching its oats near the garden-gate, I passed repeatedly
around the corner of the house, gradually increasing the intervals of my
reappearance until I had succeeded in fastening the bridle to the fence by
the nearest imitation possible of a gordian knot. Then coming into view
once more, and beholding my confiding jailer about to seal the fate of his
last fish, I again put the corner of the house between him and me, this
time to return no more.

My next prank was to leap from the saddle of the Cossack steed over the
fence into the garden, and thence over another fence into a shady orchard,
without being seen by mortal eye. At the outer end of an adjoining barnyard
an old shed with a sunken thatched roof beckoned me into its friendly
shelter, and there, between some old hay-ladders and broken wheels, I
twisted myself through the rotten straw into a cavity to which I confided
my trembling body until dusk. There was of course a moment of critical
suspense, but except the faint, hesitative bark of a small dog that rushed
past my hiding-place and suddenly turned back as if on a false alarm, there
was not a sound or a sign indicating that my movements had been observed or
that search was being made for the fugitive. Did not the jolly old hero
know the difference between two and three, or had he forgotten me over his
fish?

However that may be, the last stroke of the village curfew found me once
more in the open air. There were just stars enough peeping out between the
fleeting clouds to light my devious path through brush and field to the
house of a trusty friend, whom I aroused from his peaceful slumber at
eleven o'clock. He is the same forester (_Oberförster_) of whose attachment
for me I mentioned several instances in my last year's correspondence. His
delight on recognizing me was unfeigned, and he would have been too happy
to shelter me for any length of time but for the fact that the same hostile
command that had captured us in Lüneburg was now retreating toward Dömitz,
having again been driven across the Elbe by the expected advance of Marshal
Davoust's corps. Of course I cannot remain here to compromise my friend,
but shall proceed two leagues farther, to the house of a wealthy farmer,
where I may be concealed until enabled to reach the South Baltic coast.
There, at Christinenfeld, near Klütz, I shall find more friends, my trunk
with money, clothes and other effects, if this property has not been
betrayed into the enemy's hand.


ELDENA, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 15th April.

Here I am, since the 8th, safely housed with my old friend, the hospitable
farmer. Yesterday, in a suitable disguise, I visited a public functionary,
son of the county judge (_Oberamtmann_), with whom I was quartered four
years ago, and upon whose discretion I could rely. I broached the subject
of a pass under an assumed name and nationality wherewith to reach Klütz,
only twenty-four leagues away. Speaking as I do the German language, and
even the Plattdeutsch dialect, almost like a native, I had hoped that my
friend would not hesitate to assume that risk. But upon his exhibiting to
me the stringent orders lately received upon that subject, and mentioning
the penalty attached to detection, I did not insist upon my request. I
shall undertake the journey as best I can, without a passport, _à la garde
de Dieu_.


CHRISTINENFELD, 17th April.

Yesterday morning, Good Friday, I rode from Eldena to Ludwigslust in
company with a gamekeeper well known in this section. Thence I walked to
Schwerin, the capital of the duchy, thence took stage to Gravismühlen, and
lastly footed it again to Klütz, accomplishing the journey of twenty-four
leagues between 3 A. M. and 9 P. M. Here I found the people as kindly
disposed as ever, and my trunk unmolested. My dear mother, who never rated
me as the wittiest if the most accomplished of her boys, may possibly feel
more hopeful upon learning by what _ruse de guerre_ I managed to traverse
the capital of Mecklenburg-Schwerin without a passport in such times as
these. In addition to the usual civil police, every gate of the city was
guarded by a military argus not likely to be caught napping. In Ludwigslust
I had read a proclamation offering a reward for every Frenchman captured
within the state. While resting on a milestone a short distance out of
Schwerin, and wiping the sweat of agony from my brow, I noticed the
establishment of a florist on the other side of the road. Thither I stepped
at once, and selecting a beautiful early rose in full bloom, I had it
potted for transportation. Then dusting off my boots and disarranging my
cravat, I placed the flower-pot in my cap, and taking this novel passport
upon my left arm, I abstractedly sallied forth toward the redoubtable gate.
Very much as I expected, all eyes were turned upon the beautiful early
flower, whose carrier passed unobserved. I felt so exultant over the
success of my stratagem that I had the audacity to call for half a bottle
of French wine, with bread and cheese, at the first inn I came to, and to
enjoy my treasonable meal right under the nose of a vociferous Prussian
_Kürassier-hauptmann_ expounding the latest news from the seat of war to
what I took to be a knot of terrified civil functionaries. The drift of it
all was that the beak of the French eagle was once more turned to the East.
_Inde Iræ._


AT A COUNTRY-SEAT IN HOLSTEIN, Danish ground.

My stay near Klütz was of short duration, owing to another proclamation
from the ruler of this duchy, ordering the arrest of all straggling
Frenchmen, and their delivery to the nearest Russian or Prussian outpost,
under penalty of treason. My friends, whom I did not wish to expose any
longer, kindly recommended me to this place, where I have been very
hospitably received. How long this may last is, however, uncertain, as it
is feared Sweden may compel Denmark into an alliance against the French.


SCHWANENSEE, Mecklenburg, 29th May.

I was driven from Danish soil by a false alarm in regard to Swedish
movements, and am the guest here of another old friend, Baron Hässeler,
with whom I was quartered three years ago. But this is Mecklenburg again,
and not safe either for me or my generous host. This Wandering-Jew sort of
a life is demoralizing me fast: I cannot hold out much longer.


CASTLE BÜLOW, at Gudow, Duchy of Lauenburg, 6th June.

Thank Heaven! Mecklenburg is once more behind me. This is still the enemy's
country, but its little sovereign has not yet issued any proclamation
thirsting for French blood. After leaving my Danish retreat I spent a few
weeks at Klütz under the tile-roof of a henhouse, where I was nearly crazed
by the heat and confinement. Dropping crumbs to a family of friendly mice
who have not heard of the proclamation was my only pastime. At Schwanensee
I made the acquaintance of the Landmarschallin von Bülow, a noble and
accomplished lady, who managed to convey me to this manor, her place of
residence. She is one of the few in the land who has not yet learned to
hate us Frenchmen "as we deserve." She is the mother of two sons, the elder
of whom, like all young men of his class, is in the field against us. To
the younger, a bright lad of sixteen, I was introduced this morning as his
preceptor, Mr. Fr. J. Dierks, a native of Freiburg, Baden. This is my
identity for all who may know me here. The lord of this manor, who, for
reasons of public business, resides at Ratzeburg, a few miles from here,
knows me in no other capacity. He seems to think much of me, and placed a
horse and his hunting-ground at my disposal. Even my trunk was sent after
me here through the kindness of the countess. But in the midst of all this
comfort, right from the Klützer henhouse, I feel restless and unhappy. My
place is not here. Had I remained on the Danish side I could now, as things
have turned out, pass through Holstein to Hamburg, which is again in
possession of Davoust's corps. I may accomplish it yet.


GUDOW, 7th July.

I hope soon to be able to forward you my letters, which I have just now
finished transcribing from the cipher. Since the middle of last month there
reigns some sort of a truce, but up to date I have tried in vain to get off
my mail or to slip through the outposts in person. The Cossacks are
swarming through this section, and have doubled all the picket-lines. It is
part of my duty here to furnish supplies to those stationed within the
Landmarschall's domain; and though, in that capacity, I am on the best of
terms with our protectors, they have shown no disposition yet to help me
across the Stekenitz, a muddy stream which forms the neutral line between
the hostile armies. Think of it, my dear parents, only a few miles off I
should find the French flag, French uniforms, comrades, friends, almost
home once more! It is very trying to hold up my head under a false rôle and
to sign my false name daily to a dozen papers. If detected now, so near the
lines, no power on earth could save me from the death of a spy, and it is
very difficult for me sometimes not to look upon myself as a deserter.


July 10th.

From the countess I learned to-day that the crown-prince of Sweden
(ex-Marshal Bernadotte), commanding the invading army, having learned that
a French officer or spy was concealed on Baron Hässeler's domain, quartered
upon him a squad of hussars, who are making diligent search for me. They
may find my trail to this place at any hour. I am on the wing this moment.


STOWE, a country-seat near Ratzeburg, 1st August.

If ever I was in a tight place, it is now. General Tettenborn, a Badener by
birth, commanding the Russian forces posted five miles from Gudow, wishes
to make the personal acquaintance of his countryman, Mr. Dierks. The
Swedish hussars have furnished him my description, and the protégé of the
countess von Bülow is suspected to be no other than the mysterious guest of
Baron Hässeler. My disguise and concealment here at the house of a most
generous friend has successfully baffled detection so far, but the old
Landmarschall having joined in the pursuit of me to vindicate his own
loyalty, I am not safe here any longer. My devoted host has just devised a
plan for my conveyance to Klütz, whence I must absolutely try to reach
Holstein and Hamburg without delay.


KLÜTZ, 6th August.

The night of the 2d-3d inst. saw me safely landed here. The place is full
of Swedish troops, and several officers are quartered in the house of which
my hen-coop is a dependancy. I have but little paper left to write for
pastime, but my faithful mice have not forgotten me. Very unlike many human
beings, they are gratefully looking up toward the source of their daily
bread, and even standing on their hind legs against the wall, as if anxious
to pay me a visit.


9th August.

No change yet in the situation within or without. If I could hope that
Davoust's corps would push across the Elbe at once and drive the Swedes,
Russians and Prussians to where they belong, I would remain here and await
his coming. But that is still uncertain, and my position is becoming
untenable. I have wished a thousand times I had never left my brothers.
Their fate is enviable compared to mine. To-night I shall get a reply to a
proposition I made for my transfer to Holstein by water. I have ample funds
to accomplish it if all else is favorable. The French advance has reached
Lubeck.


LUBECK, 12th August.

Heaven be praised, dearest parents! I am free and once more among my own!

In the night of the 10th-11th my plans culminated at last in my conveyance
in a fisherman's boat across the south-west corner of the Baltic to
Neustadt, in Danish Holstein, whence I proceeded to this city as fast as
the best horse within reach could carry me. I must forbear, from want of
time, giving you to-day the particulars of this dangerous and providential
escape, which would appear to you almost incredible. I cannot but attribute
the special protection of a kind Providence to a recognition of such of my
qualities of heart as you, my dear parents, have so religiously cultivated
in your children, and which nine years' absence from home and the varied
experiences of a cruel and relentless war have never yet obliterated. I
believe I have always striven to be faithful to my duty, kind and just to
my inferiors and humane to our enemies. It is this consciousness that ever
sustained my hope in the darkest hour of peril. It told me that I was too
good to die ignominiously at the end of a Mecklenburger pitchfork or hempen
rope. Again, thanks and praise to Whom they are due!


LÜNEBURG, 25th August.

I lost no time in reporting to head-quarters at Lubeck, and was at once
ordered here, where I found again united all of our command who fought
their way out of this place on the day of my capture. Of our poor
prisoners, only one, Sautier, a corporal of artillery, seems to have made
his escape. This occurred at Colberg, Prussia, on the Baltic, where our
boys were embarked for Russia, Riga being their port of destination. At
that time both Frank and Louis enjoyed remarkably good health, and, summer
approaching, Russia had lost much of its terror in their minds. The trip by
land was performed in short marches and without any unusual hardships. Long
before they reached Berlin their escort was replaced by another of
exclusively Don Cossacks. Sautier reached Denmark by water from Wismar,
where he had travelled in various disguises, principally following the
coast. My own escape was not discovered by Captain Cibulsky until next day.
It appears that the old Bashkir, on returning my captain and sub-lieutenant
to the caravan after dinner, made no report concerning the missing
lieutenant, and when the roll-call betrayed my absence next morning the
clannish Bashkirs played so adroitly into each other's hands that the
commander could not determine whom to hold accountable for the offence,
and, after notifying the civil authorities to keep a lookout for me,
resumed his march. After that accident, however, the captive officers were
not permitted to leave camp for any purpose except under escort equal to
their own number--one Cossack one prisoner, one Cossack one prisoner, and
so on--which would not leave room for miscounts. I heartily rejoice over
the impunity of my old friend of the doorsill, and only regret now not
having had the presence of mind to tie a napoleon d'or into that
treacherous knot in his bridle. But, _qui sait?_ we may meet again!


27th August.

Yesterday I received my full pay in arrears, and am again blazing forth in
complete regimentals after a _bourgeois_ negligé of nearly five months.
To-day, when taking my first official round through the town, I suddenly
found myself face to face with the journeyman baker who had undertaken to
put a stop to my earthly career on the fatal 2d of April. He turned pale as
death, and seemed riveted to the ground. Taking hold of his chin, I asked
him whether he would think it strange to be sent before a court-martial and
shot before next sunrise. The cowardly bully looked so contrite and
chapfallen that I pitied him, and the fear that he might be dealt with just
as he deserved caused me to dismiss him with an impressive admonition, of
which the bystanders of his class may have taken to heart their respective
shares. Before night the magnanimity of the French officer was the gossip
of the town.

I almost forgot to mention that I have also recovered my horse, which had
been appropriated by a civil functionary and smuggled into the country
upon the return of our forces. Although I shall not be reassigned to the
coast-guard service, I am permitted to retain the animal at my own expense.
We learn to-day that Marshal Davoust is advancing rapidly through
Mecklenburg, and has already issued a proclamation from Schwerin, where
roses count for passports. In a very few days we shall be sufficiently
reorganized to follow. Every step will bring me nearer to my brothers. God
bless you all, my dear parents and sisters! These leaves at last will be
wafted homeward to-day. More in a few days from our eastward line of
march.

NOTE.--Lieutenant Diss Debar served in the corps of Davoust until the
departure of Napoleon for Elba. The second invasion found him promoted to a
captaincy, and engaged in the defence of Neu Breisach, which closed his
military career. After the restoration of the Bourbons the influence of his
father's Legitimist friends procured for him a comfortable position in the
administration of "Waters and Forests," which he retained through all the
political changes up to within a few years of his death, in 1864, in the
eighty-fifth year of his age. His brother Frank was exchanged in 1815, and
returned to France, but "poor little Louis" was not destined to the same
good fortune. He died at Riga in January, 1814, from amputation of his
frozen feet, the result of barbarous exposure.

FOOTNOTES:

[B] The writer of these letters, Joseph Diss Debar, served with the corps
of Marshal Davonst. Before the French Revolution his father had filled the
office of intendant of domains of the prince-cardinal de Rohan-Guéménée, of
royal necklace memory, then residing on his estates at Saverne, Alsace, in
the diocese of Strassburg, of which he was the beneficiary. Soon after the
capture of the Bastille the revolutionary movement spread to this locality,
and destroyed, imprisoned or drove into exile all the avowed adherents of
the royal cause, including the cardinal and his friends. The greater part
of the Saverne refugees gathered at Ettenheim in Baden, only one league
from the Rhine, where a large stipend, allowed to the cardinal by the
British government, enabled him to keep his friends and followers above
want until they could find other means of support. Thirteen years later
Ettenheim also attracted the unfortunate duc d'Enghien, who in March, 1804,
was kidnapped by orders of Bonaparte and shot in the ditch at Vincennes.
The terror inspired by this high-handed _coup d'état_, which destroyed the
_émigrés'_ safety upon neutral soil, caused many of the younger generation
of exiles to return to their native country and to enter the army, the
military career being the only one open to them. Among these were the
writer and his two brothers, the oldest being then twenty-four and the
youngest seventeen years of age.



A PORTRAIT.


Every day I passed there in going between the room where I lodge and my
business. It was an old shop, full of trash, ambitious of being a
bric-à-brac establishment, but its contents had neither beauty nor pedigree
to recommend them, only age and cheapness. Its doorsill lay even with the
pavement, inviting custom by an easy access, while repelling it by its
squalor. The light entered hesitatingly through a cobwebbed window, as if
loath to touch the unsightly objects within. Of these, some few had strayed
through the door and stood in blinking confusion on the sidewalk--chairs
with three legs, desks with no shelves, sofas without seats, clocks
eternally silent, and ornaments maimed, cracked, and seamed with glue.

It was in this company I first saw him. He had dark eyes with heavy lids,
that gave a pathetic look to his face, and one eyebrow was slightly pointed
near its termination on the temple, while the other was straight--an
irregularity often found in persons of erratic temperament. His nose,
sensitive and refined, was in beautiful proportion to the face: his full
lips and square chin were partly concealed by a curling brown beard and
moustache, and the hair, which met a forehead rather broad than high, was
of the same color. Perhaps I should have mentioned that _he_ was a
portrait.

How had he arrived among his present surroundings, standing on the dirty
street, smeared with mud that passing feet cast in his face, splashed by
rain, and torn from contact with the edges of chairs or the careless canes
of pedestrians--even showing the print of a boot-heel impressed on one
cheek? At times he disappeared for days together, as if lost in the maze
within: then again I would see his tragic eyes gazing at me through a
pelting storm or his skin blistering under a blinding sun. Was it any
wonder that I sought to save him from his capricious fate--that I pitied
him, that I bought him?

I took the opportunity of doing so when the owner of the shop, whom I
respectfully christened Sticks, was absent, and was thereby enabled to
purchase the portrait from a shock-headed boy in charge for the modest sum
of two francs.

My acquisition gave me much pleasure, but, unfortunately, it immediately
became the subject of an altercation between my two selves. I must here
say that my inner and outer self seldom agree, the latter being a
practical man and a clerk in a retail lace business, while the former is an
idealist who despises the other's employment and ridicules his opinions,
frequently bewailing the lot that links him to a clod without aspirations.

It was to settle this dispute that I resolved, if possible, to discover
some facts about the portrait's history, and for this purpose I stopped at
the shop next morning, fortunately finding the shock-headed boy alone. Old
Sticks would not have _given_ even an answer, his business being buying and
selling.

"Where did you get that picture I bought of you yesterday?" I began.

"Think it's an old master?" he asked with a wink.

"Will you answer my question, you blockhead?" I said, threatening him with
my stick.

"I brought it from No. 42 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette," he whimpered,
avoiding the cane as if it recalled disagreeable memories.

"To whom did it belong?"

"I don't know."

"Speak out, my man, and you shall have this for your reward." The proffered
half-franc made him voluble.

"I was sent for it to No. 42. The concierge gave it to me. He had it
carefully wrapped up: that made me laugh when I saw it opened."

"How long ago did this happen?"

"About six months. Where do _you_ live?"

"What is that to you, my young friend?"

"You had better not pass here often: the old man is furious that I sold the
picture--asked me all about how you looked, and if you ever passed the
shop. I told him I never saw you before, and that you had black hair and
squinted."

"Why did you say that?"

"I owe him one. He beat me last night, and went off this morning without
giving me a bite to eat. Last thing he said was, 'You are sure he squints?'
I said, 'Yes, sure.'"

Then, as I gave him the silver, the boy said, "Just mind the shop a moment,
while I run and get something to eat;" and off he went, leaving me in
charge.

"What are you going to do about it?" asked my inner self ironically.

"I am going to No. 42;" and without awaiting the boy's return I set out.

A few minutes brought me to the street. I passed No. 42 in review from the
opposite side of the way, thinking I might get some idea of its occupants
from the exterior. The house, wedged in by similar houses, possessed no
particular physiognomy. I gazed at each window in turn, and finally
crossing the street asked the concierge, "What is the name of the artist
living in this house?"

"Only respectable people live here," he answered in a surly tone.

"When did he leave?" I went on, determined not to notice his rudeness.

"There has never been one here since I came."

"How long have you been here?"

"I can't remember."

"But you can remember a picture that you sold to a furniture-dealer in the
Rue St. Lazare about six months ago."

"No I can't. I never sold one."

"His boy told me he got it from you."

"He is mistaken: I never sold one."

"Perhaps it merely passed through your hands. No harm will come to you if
you tell me what you know about it."

"I know nothing," he exclaimed angrily, and began to pick up some scraps on
the floor, so that I could not see his face.

Evidently suspecting there was something wrong, and that he might be held
accountable, the man was prepared to deny everything, and my time being
limited I left. As I did so I saw a plainly-dressed individual approach
him, and on once looking back I thought from their gestures they were
speaking of me. Of course my inner self exclaimed, "Absurd!"

For two days after I was confined to my room by a slight illness, but on
the third, as I neared the furniture-shop, I noticed Sticks disconsolately
seated in what might be called his best chair, seeing that the cover,
though faded, was whole, and it lacked but one arm. This total disregard
for the sanctity of his wares struck me as ominous, but confident, from the
boy's description of me, that I should not be recognized, I went boldly
forward. What was my astonishment to see him as I passed start from his
seat and exclaim, "Is it you?"

"The boy has betrayed us," said I to my inner self.

"Perhaps he was bribed by another half-franc," replied he, as if sneering
at my liberality.

"Let us see what old Sticks will do," I remarked in order to change the
subject.

Thereupon we stopped before the excited man, who was trying vainly to calm
himself while he asked nervously, "Can I show monsieur something? Something
cheap, _cheap_--a bargain, artistic, grand, beautiful."

"Not this morning, thanks."

"Ah, this is not kind. Enter a moment: the opportunity is there; do not
disappoint it."

He stood before me, and laying one knotty hand on my sleeve gently pushed
me over the threshold, while he murmured, "A bargain, beautiful, cheap."
Mephistopheles could not have looked more persuasive as, pointing his other
hand--which matched his wares by the loss of a finger--to a worm-eaten
cabinet, he leered at me with the only eye he had left.

"I could not carry it," I said with a shrug.

"I will send the article," he answered, eagerly pulling a soiled bit of
paper and the end of a pencil from his pocket. "What is monsieur's
address?"

"He is anxious to know where I live: that is evident," said I to my usual
confidant as I moved on and stopped before a table which had once been
inlaid, but which now presented the appearance of a painted beauty whose
rouge has dropped off.

"Monsieur's choice is wise," said the merchant, following me. "Real Louis
Quatorze: and besides its beauty it has a secret drawer to recommend it.
That, however, I can only show you in the privacy of your own apartment."

"I think he wants to steal the portrait," I remarked to the invisible
presence accompanying me. Then I asked the dealer, watching him closely the
while, "Have you any pictures to sell?"

Sticks coughed nervously, looked about him, and walked the whole length of
his shop, dusting the things with his red cap, before he spoke. He must
have been much preoccupied thus rashly to destroy the venerable appearance
of his stock. Then he said, "Perhaps _you_ might have one you would sell?"

"I suppose you mean the one I bought of you. Why do you want it? In what
does its value lie? What is the secret connected with it?"

The old man could not repress an involuntary "Hush!" Then recovering
himself, he asked, "Will you sell it? I offer double what you gave."

I shook my head negatively.

"Name your price," he begged eagerly.

I obstinately continued to shake my head. There must be some reason for his
wanting it back, and I resolved to find this out before I parted with it.
Thereupon my inner self ejaculated "Nonsense!" but the dealer's anxiety was
too evident, and his liberality too unusual, not to be suspicious.

"I must bid you good-morning," I said, in order to bring the matter to a
crisis.

"Stay a moment: I will explain, I will tell you all. A poor widow sold me
the picture: it was a portrait of the husband of her youth. Yesterday she
came to buy it back: she had saved the money for this purpose sou by sou.
Monsieur will not be cruel, and I promise to divide the profits equally
with him."

"I can name my price?" I asked, stopping at the door.

"Certainly, monsieur."

"Tell the poor widow she had better spend her savings in buying a new
husband instead of an old portrait. You can mention me as a pretender."
With that I walked off, believing that I could come sooner to the truth by
feigning indifference.

Several times during the day I imagined some one was watching me, and
returning home at night I was sure I was followed; which proved to be
true, as on reaching my door the shock-headed boy from the shop passed and
whispered, "Be careful! They are on your track;" then disappeared before I
could ask an explanation.

"I wonder if Sticks meditates a night-attack, and has sent the boy to
reconnoitre?" said I to my confidential friend.

"You had better bribe him to tell you," replied this ironical adviser.

But nothing happened until morning, when a woman, the concierge of the
house I live in, knocked at the door and asked if it would be convenient
for me to pay my rent that day: it would oblige the proprietor. This was an
unusual request, the rent not being due for a week to come; but I counted
out the necessary sum, and handing it to her went on with my preparations
to go out. Still she remained, and when I turned to see what detained her,
I saw her eyes fixed on the portrait.

"It is so like my son," she said, observing my regard. "Monsieur has not
had it long?"

"No, a few days only."

"My poor son was killed," she continued, wiping her eyes: "he was a mason
and fell from a scaffolding. If he had only been contented to be a
street-paver, as I begged him, he would never have fallen."

"Blessed are the lowly-minded, for being already down they cannot fall!"
This voiceless remark I made to my other self as a warning.

"It is such a broken-up portrait that monsieur cannot want it. I would like
to buy it for a little sum if monsieur would sell it. My poor son! That
hole in the forehead especially looks like Jean when I saw him last." Here
she covered her eyes.

"How much did that one-eyed man give you to come and buy that portrait?"
asked I, guessing that this was an envoy of Sticks.

"He?" she said, confused: "it was no _he_." Then recovering herself:
"Monsieur is mistaken if he thinks I would take a bribe;" after which the
lady withdrew.

"Was not my question well thought of?" asked I of my other self in triumph.

"I think you are becoming a monomaniac," was his complimentary reply.

The day passed uneventfully, although I still had a suspicion that I was
watched, but I had no means of making it a certainty. When I returned home
my first look was toward the portrait. It was still safe.

At that moment there was a knock at the door. I opened it, and found there
my washerwoman, or I should say my washerwoman's substitute, one whom I had
never before seen. She was a bright, talkative little thing, a pearl of
soapsuds, and said glibly that my usual attendant was ill, and she had come
instead. I told her I was glad she had.

While putting down her basket her brown eyes took in the whole of my room,
and she remarked with a shiver, "What a sad home you live in!--gloomy, ugly
little chamber."

"Does your young man have a better one, my dear?"

"You are not my confessor," she answered saucily.

"I wish I were."

"Let me be yours."

"No objections."

"Who is the _joli garçon_ you condemn to share with you this gloomy
apartment?" She pointed to the portrait.

"A dear friend of mine."

"He looks as if he drank absinthe, and had broken his head on the pavement;
nevertheless, I like him. Bring him to see me."

"Willingly: when shall we call?"

"As soon as possible: meanwhile I will carry this with me." She lightly
jumped on a chair, took my portrait and retreated with it to the door,
saying, "Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, No. 42, to-morrow."

"Not so fast, please," said I, taking the canvas from her hand.

"Stingy fellow! you might let me have it. He would be so much surprised
when you brought him _chez moi_ to see it hanging on the wall. Give it to
me;" and she held out her hand with a charming gesture.

"No, no, my dear: you may come and see it here whenever you like, but here
it must remain."

I turned and hung it on its accustomed nail: when I looked again she was
gone. Not even the sound of her foot on the stairs nor a moving shadow on
the steps when I looked over the balustrade.

"Either the world is going mad, or I am," I exclaimed.

"You need not be in doubt which."

"Any one would think it odd. Could she be the forlorn widow in search of
the portrait of the husband of her youth?"

"No."

"Does old Sticks look as if he could play a practical joke?"

"No."

"Or my concierge?"

"No."

"Or my washerwoman?"

"No."

"And this radiant little bubble of soapsuds who was just here, what do you
think of her?"

But my other self, having nothing more to say, was sensible enough to keep
silent, and we slept.

In dreams the pretty washerwoman and the portrait became mixed
inextricably. I believed she looked like the portrait--that she was the
portrait; and when I awoke in the morning and saw the melancholy eyes
hanging opposite my bed, I could not help exclaiming, "Pardi! she does look
like him! It is true her eyes are brighter and her dimpled chin rounder;
otherwise the faces are the same. And did she not invite me to the house
from which the portrait had been brought? I must see her again--the sooner
the better." With this I arose and hurriedly dressed, my other self
protesting against my resolution the while; but as the physical power is
all on my side, he was obliged to accompany me.

We went to No. 42 Notre Dame de Lorette, and were met by the same
disagreeable concierge that we had seen before. To my questions he answered
that no washerwoman lived in the house, and when I insisted he exclaimed
pathetically, "For Heaven's sake go away! I have a wife and six children."

I was so impressed by this startling information that I ejaculated, "What a
philanthropist!" whilst my inner self, who luckily has not the gift of
speech, said, "What a fool!" Then I remembered that asking after a
washerwoman in Paris without knowing her name was rather quixotic, and I
went my way.

During the day I still had the disagreeable sensation of being watched. Men
appeared to be noticing me from alleys, street-corners and windows, and
once I made a sale to an individual who I was sure observed me more than
the lace he was purchasing. When I passed the shop in the evening, Sticks
neither looked at me nor returned my salutation, and when I half stopped to
examine a new piece of dilapidation on the sidewalk he whispered abruptly,
"Move on, I beg of you: _your_ custom is not wanted here."

Was it strange that a series of the wildest conjectures should fill my
mind? It was just before the Franco-German war, when the whole of Paris was
in a fever of excitement and every event seemed to predict a political
crisis. But in what manner could I, a simple lace-selling clerk, be
connected with it? This last reflection of course emanated from my
plain-talking self, who would rather believe the whole world mad than that
anything important should happen to me. I was "not made of the stuff that
distinction loves," he said, and begged me not to think that the eyes of
the Empire were upon me.

As I entered the house I tried to question my concierge about the pretty
girl who had brought home my clothes, but found my efforts useless. The
woman said she knew nothing of my washerwoman, not even her name. I tried
by describing the girl to get a more definite answer. She intimated that
she would have little to do if she looked at every one going up or down the
stairs; then burst into tears, and begged me to leave her--that she was
dependent on her place for support; that her reputation was all she had;
and more to the same effect, which I avoided by making a precipitate
retreat.

I rushed to my room and to my glass, eagerly scanning the reflection
therein to see if any change in my appearance within the last few days
could cause people thus to avoid me, suspect me, and treat me as if
contaminated. It was the same insignificant face I had known from
childhood, with what my other self called a "stupidly innocent expression."
I next thought of examining the portrait, taking it from the wall for this
purpose. It was certainly modern: the slightest acquaintance with art
settled this beyond doubt. (I must here acknowledge that my second self is
rather a cultivated man; his discrimination has often been praised by the
members of our firm; and it is owing to his delicate taste that I have been
sent several times to Belgium to make large purchases of lace for our
house; therefore I could rely on his judgment in this matter.) But might it
not conceal another? I held it between me and the light, and could see
through it, not only where there were holes, but everywhere between the
interstices of the thinly-painted, badly-made canvas. I turned the back:
there was nothing but the name of the seller stamped upon it: it was not
likely he would remember who had bought this particular article. There was
no frame, and I detached the cloth from the stretcher, that nothing might
escape me. Not the slightest clew--no bit of paper, message or token. I put
back the tacks, and was hanging my unsolved puzzle on the wall when I heard
a knock at the door.

This time it was my _bonâ-fide_ washerwoman, who came for the soiled
clothes the other in her hasty retreat had forgotten, and as she gathered
them together I carelessly asked after the fair unknown.

"She is my niece," was the reply.

"Does she live with you?"

"No: she lives in the country."

"Where?"

"I don't know."

"What is her name?"

"I don't know."

By this time the dame ended her task by tying the clothes in a bundle, and
seemed in haste to be off.

"Is it not rather strange that you should know neither your niece's name
nor where she lives?"

"I don't care," she said, defiantly resting a hand on either hip: "I will
have nothing more to do with it." Here the bundle at her feet received a
kick which sent it spinning over the floor, and she would have left the
room had I not stood in her way.

"Why did you begin it?" I asked quickly, seeing here a chance of solving
the mystery.

"She would take no refusal; and besides, she gave me twenty francs."

"What for?"

"Merely to allow her to carry home your wash. I hope you found nothing
missing?"

"Nothing. But listen: I will give you another twenty francs if you tell me
all you know about her."

"Make it thirty," she said eagerly.

"It shall be thirty."

"The young girl--"

"The brown-eyed one who brought my wash?"

"Yes. She came to my house on Friday last. Madame Trois, your concierge,
had given her my address. The girl said she must see you in your room, and
must have an excuse for going there--all for a bit of fun. But Madame Trois
told me to-day that it was a picture she wanted, for she gave her fifty
francs the day before for trying to get it, and promised her as much more
as it might cost if you should consent to sell it. When Madame Trois
failed, the girl asked what other woman went to your room, and she sent her
to me."

"Then she is no niece of yours?"

"If I had a niece she would not be running about alone in that way; but the
girl said if you should question me I must tell you she is my niece, and
give her any name I pleased. As if I did not have enough trouble naming my
own children without puzzling over one for her! especially when she gave me
but twenty francs, and Madame Trois throwing it in my teeth that she got
fifty! I am even with her now;" and she held out her hand for the money
with the pose of a malignant Victory.

"Is that all?"

"All about her, but Madame Trois says there is something wrong, for the
house is watched by the police."

"Police!"

"Yes. Madame Trois is up to their tricks. Her husband that is dead was a
policeman, and she says those that don't dress in uniform are the worst."

"Madame Trois says a great deal; for instance, she told me she knew nothing
about the girl, nor of you either, not even your name," I remarked.

"_She_ was paid enough not to tell; besides, she is dreadfully afraid of
the police; and no wonder. Such a dance as her husband led her! though I
must say she deserved it. We have been friends for years."

I saw there was nothing more to gain, so I paid the woman and dismissed
her, while my two selves both talked at once, making a distracting duet
that nearly set me wild.

Here was confirmation of my worst fears. I was under suspicion, for what
cause I knew not, but the picture must be in some way connected with it.
Had the portrait been stolen, and did its possession implicate me in the
theft? Yet who would care to recover so worthless a thing? Should I destroy
it and thus end the ravel? No, if innocent why should I fear? and was not
this the only connecting link between me and the brown-eyed girl who
strangely resembled it?

"Come what will, the picture shall be preserved," I exclaimed finally.

Nevertheless, my night was restless, and the day following it more so. I
went about my business distraught, mixing the distinctions between Alençon
and Chantilly, and not having even the poor satisfaction of quarrelling
with my confidant, who now kept up a moody silence. I was glad when evening
came that I might be free to think, but evening brought a new complication.

On entering the Rue St. Lazare, I saw a person who in the shadow of a
porte-cochère appeared to await me. As I passed him he leaned forward and
placed in my hand a packet wrapped and rewrapped with twine, whispering,
"For the cause." Then I recognized the shock-headed boy from the
furniture-shop. I was too much surprised at this to notice, as I should
otherwise have done, two men who at this moment seemed to start from the
darkness and keep near me until I reached my door. There they seized me by
the arms, and before I could think of resistance had placed me in a cab
standing in readiness.

We drove very quietly along the street until we stopped at what I found to
be the police head-quarters. I omitted to say that one of my captors had
grasped my hand holding the packet when he first seized me. This man never
relaxed his grasp during our ride, nor while descending from the cab, nor
while we threaded a long corridor leading to an antechamber; and when we
finally stood before a person who appeared to be high in authority he still
retained my hand. Thus I had no chance of getting rid of what I feared
might be my ruin.

"Confront the prisoner," ordered the high personage briefly.

"I am here," replied one of my captors, whom I now recognized as the same
individual to whom I had sold lace two days before.

"What is your charge?"

"This man is suspected of being connected with a secret society the
principles of which are inimical to the Empire."

"Have you any proofs?"

"I saw him receive a secret communication to-night: it is here." With this
he raised my hand.

"Stand forward."

I moved toward the light, while the officer unclosed my fingers, to which I
offered no resistance. There lay the packet enclosed with its many cords.

"What does it contain?" asked the great man.

"I have not ventured to touch it," answered he at my right obsequiously.

"Cut the cords."

This was done amid profound silence: my anxiety may be imagined as I
awaited the result. There was as much wrapping-paper as string, and when
the last fold had been carefully undone it revealed--two large sous. I
breathed more freely.

There was a pause of blank amazement on the part of the officials, a
whispered conference, and the paper was held to the light, heated by the
fire, and examined with a glass, without result. The sous were handled in
the same manner, and finally their date and description were written in a
book; after which came an order in the same quiet tone that had been used
before: "Search the prisoner."

In five minutes more all the clothing upon me had been cut into shreds and
minutely examined: even my hat did not escape, and my watch was opened. Of
course nothing was found, but that did not alter the fact that my best suit
of clothes was a heap of ruins. My pocket-book was turned inside out, and
my passport, that I always carry with me, it being often necessary to start
on my employers' business at a moment's notice, received a great deal of
attention. At last other clothes nearly identical with those I had lost
were handed me, and when I donned them I was given a hat; my pocket-book,
passport and watch were returned; and the conductor of ceremonies begged my
pardon for the slight (he called it _slight_) trouble he had occasioned me,
said he found the suspicions of my accuser unfounded, and ordered him to
"conduct the gentleman to his residence;" which was accordingly done.

When there, I could neither read nor sleep, and to escape the tormenting
round of questions and answers that brought no solution to the mystery
surrounding me, I resolved to spend the evening at the theatre. I went to
the Français. It was useless: the dialogue unremittingly kept up between my
two selves prevented my hearing that on the stage.

My eyes were wandering in dreamy abstraction over the mass of faces partly
turned toward me during the entr'acte, when I was suddenly roused to full
consciousness by recognizing in one of them the features of my portrait.
The man was regarding me as if waiting to catch my eye: when he saw by my
start of surprise that he had succeeded, he made a movement with his lips
and turned away. In a moment he was lost in the crowd.

My inner self, who always doubts the evidence of the senses, suggested that
it was a mistake. "Would this person, even were he the original of the
portrait, know you or make you a sign?" said he, adding thereto other
arguments, which, though I emphatically disbelieved, I was too agitated to
contradict.

I tried to remain during the second act, hoping to verify my first
impression, but after twisting my neck in order to look behind, and
straining my eyes in front, receiving angry glances and "'Sh! 'sh!" from my
neighbors, annoyed by these movements, I concluded to leave.

Close to the Fountain Molière I thought I heard footsteps following me:
there was one pair besides my own in the street. I listened to them for
some time, and finally they seemed to regulate themselves with mine.

"'Tis the police!" I confided to my other self.

"Always fearful," was his reply.

"You can be very cool: _you_ have no neck in danger."

"I am happy to say _my_ ideas need not be influenced by such paltry
considerations. In fact, you are a coward!"

"You are a fool!" I returned.

At this desperate juncture the quarrel fortunately ended by its object
coming nearer and in a deep musical voice saying, "Good-evening, friend."

"Good-evening," I answered gruffly.

"You don't appear to know me."

He took a shabby cap from his head and turned his face: a chill ran through
me when in the dim street-light I recognized my portrait, moving, speaking,
living. A black patch above the brow made me wonder if the wound it
concealed passed through the head, as did that in the picture, and his eyes
were more brilliant and eager than the painted ones, with their pathetic
look changed to one of defiance, as if a devil had taken possession of
those beautiful features. For a moment superstition kept me silent, then I
said briefly, "I don't know you."

"Allow me to introduce myself--Favart the International. You are delighted
to make my acquaintance, no doubt. Calm your transports: time does not
admit of them. We start for Belgium to-night."

"Who start?" I asked, now thinking the man a maniac.

"I, you, all of us."

"I am none of you."

"But you are suspected of being, which is worse, much worse. Hold! I will
sketch your position accurately. Let us enter this cabaret: it is kept by
one of us." I followed him mechanically, and when we were seated in a dark
corner, with some wine he called for before us, he continued: "I divide the
sketch into three heads, historical, personal and political. There is a
theory called Socialism--a people called Socialists, or Chartists, or
Communists: they have different names in different countries. You may have
heard of them in the past: you shall hear more of them in the future. They
have a good organization and magnificent sympathies."

"But you called yourself an International."

"Just so. Socialism is the idea, Internationalism is its result. And now
the historic is mingled with the personal. This society was lately
meditating a _coup:_ it was necessary to have meetings, and we had to
devise a signal for rallying. I submitted one to the committee, which was
unanimously adopted as simple yet efficient. My portrait--I was not then
sufficiently known to make it suspicious--was to stand outside the door of
the shop where you found it on the days when a meeting would be held. The
old furniture-dealer is one of us: so is the concierge of No. 42 Notre Dame
de Lorette. About a week ago the former came to me in distress, saying the
portrait had been sold in his absence: he did not even know to whom. I told
him it must be recovered at all hazards, as it would cause great
inconvenience and loss of time to fix on another signal. The next day you
were supposed to have it through the inquiries you made at No. 42, where
you frightened the concierge nearly out of his wits, he taking you for a
spy. He immediately informed his friend the furniture-dealer that the
police were on our track, and when told of the sale of the picture said you
must have it. However, they did not dare bring mere conjectures to me: they
watched and waited. On the third day after you passed the shop: the dealer
knew you through the concierge's description, inveigled you in, and easily
obtained the information he wanted about the picture, but failed to gain
possession of it. Then Sidonia took the matter in hand--Sidonia always
helps us out of a difficulty--but her attempts also failed, though she
discovered not only that you were no spy, but that you were yourself under
suspicion. The police were following us closely: they had found out the use
we made of the portrait, which rendered its recovery profitless to us. I
resolved to drop both you and it. Shortly after I perceived that it would
be necessary for us to leave the city, and you being implicated, Sidonia
insisted on my warning you before we went, though, as you do not belong to
us, I could see no use in it."

"So, then, it was not the dealer's boy who informed on me?"

"No: he gave a description calculated to mislead. I believe he has by
listening gained some half truths, and thinks _you_ are an International:
it was for that cause he gave you the packet which brought you into trouble
this evening. Ha! ha! ha!"

"How do you know I have been in trouble?"

"Through one of our spies in the police service: he was present at your
examination, and was detailed to watch you to-night. He told me of your
being at the theatre; hence my opportunity of speaking to you. I can say no
more: the political part of my sketch you have had a specimen of at the
police-station to-night; if you stay you are likely to see more. Believe
me, they only liberated you so politely in order, by watching you, to find
your companions. To-morrow, after we are gone, there will be discoveries
made through this same agent of ours in their employ. As they are already
on our track, we take this method to gain their confidence for our man. If
you fancy another examination by the police, remain."

"But I am innocent!"

"Unfortunately, you are. You know absolutely nothing with which to buy your
liberty. What I have told you will be of no service: it will be already
theirs. If you wish to go to Belgium ask at No. 33 Rue Lafitte for a
travelling suit: you will receive one like mine."

He looked down at his heavy shoes, soiled overalls and tattered blouse,
then touching the latter with his fingers, continued: "I use it now for a
disguise, but the day will come when this blouse will be our standard--the
laborer shall possess the earth. He who works shall live, and idleness,
with the riches that foster it, will end. Necessities shall be plenty and
luxuries unattainable. Palaces shall fall to give material for poor men's
dwellings; monuments that glorify one man at the expense of his brothers
must disappear; and churches, promises of another world, can no longer
trick us out of our share, our birthright, in this. Paris will arise a new
and better Sparta. Sparta, great mother of communes! I salute you!
Leonidas! Favart aspires to eclipse your glory! Not for one nation does he
labor, but for humanity--for the workers of the world, whose rightful dues
are filched from them by the drones. Nature resents this wrong: the drones
must die."

He had risen as he pronounced these words, low but rapidly: a moment he
stood before me, his face glowing, his hand clenched, then his expression
rapidly changed, and he said briefly, "It is a time for action, not for
words. Good-night!"

A conflagration, an electric spark, was this shabby man, and I could easily
believe what I afterward heard of his influence with the people.

He left me with my mind more perplexed than ever. What had been the _coup_
these people were meditating, in which I, in the eyes of the police, was
implicated? Murder? Treason? Arson? Nothing was beyond them with their
magnificent sympathies. Perhaps this might be my only chance of escape;
yet in doing so did I not cast my lot with theirs? should I not make myself
doubly suspected? Embarrassing questions, to which neither self was ready
with an answer. There was the prospect, too, of losing my situation if I
remained long away, but in opposition to this practical consideration was
the remembrance of my air-bath and the doubt about my future if I remained.
In this chaos of thought can you guess what decided me? It was Favart's
words: "We are all going." Did not _we_ include her whom he called Sidonia,
who had visited my room and had insisted I should be warned? Yes.

Not in disguise: I was in no humor to complicate the situation. Having my
passport in my pocket, and knowing the policeman who was watching me would
not prevent my flight, I simply walked to the station and took a
first-class ticket to Brussels. First class, for I knew the man in the
blouse must travel third, and I was anxious to be as far from him as
possible.

I reached the frontier in safety. My examination ended, the officer turned
to my only travelling companion, a lady who up to this time appeared to
have been sleeping. As he threw the light of his lantern into her face I
also looked at her. Good Heavens! could I be mistaken? The hair, it is
true, was blond, and the dress a robe of deep mourning, but the eyes were
the eyes of my portrait, the eyes of Favart, the eyes of my pretty
washerwoman--Sidonia! The ordeal passed, the door shut, the train moved on.

"Have I your permission to speak, mademoiselle?" I asked in an agitated
voice.

"If you wish, monsieur." She turned toward me a sad, tear-stained face that
well suited her mourning.

"You are suffering: you have been weeping. Has anything occurred? Why this
dress?"

"Nothing has occurred _yet_," she answered, trying to smile. "The danger
for my brother is over once more. This dress is simply a disguise. God
grant I may not soon be wearing it in token of sorrow!"

"Is Favart your brother?" I asked eagerly.

"Yes, my only one. I cannot bear to lose him. And you too have become
implicated: it seemed as if Fate led you on."

I did not dare tell her how I felt that any fate was blessed that brought
me to know her, to see her again. The thrill I experienced at this
unexpected meeting revealed to me the strength of my feelings.

"In a few days I think matters will be arranged so that you can return to
Paris," she went on, "but I thought it best for you to be absent at first.
I hope it will not put you to inconvenience. What do you do?"

I told her my employment, not without wishing it was higher, but she said
sweetly, "I am glad you are a working-man: your hands are so white I feared
you were an idler."

"You endorse your brother's principles, mademoiselle? You too are a
Socialist?"

"I honor labor--any and all kinds of labor. They say they admire it, but do
they work? Ah no! Once my Charles was different. We come of laboring
people. Our father owned a few fields, which we cultivated ourselves. I
kept the dairy and assisted in harvest and at the vintage. Those were happy
days. The good curé taught us to read and write, and lent my brother books,
but Charles has forgotten his kindness. He was discontented even then, and
would throw stones at the park-wall that surrounded the château near our
property, and scowl at the little marquises as they passed us on horseback
when we were afoot."

"How did you come to Paris?" I asked, seeing that in her present state of
excitement speaking relieved her.

"Our parents died: my brother had a taste for painting, and wished to go to
Paris and study. Monsieur le curé had given him some lessons and was proud
of his talent: he counselled me to accompany Charles, and came with us to
get me a place in a shop and recommend Charles to an artist of his
acquaintance; and yet Charles says the curés are not our friends! The rent
of our fields, with what I received, supported us. We had two little rooms
and lived together, Charles and I. He made such rapid progress! The
portrait you bought he painted at my request in the evening, while I sewed
beside him. We were so happy. O mon Dieu! why could it not have lasted?"

She covered her face with her hands and burst into tears, but only for a
moment: before I could think what to say to comfort her she was again
speaking: "I do not often weep, but this dress depresses me: it is
ill-omened."

"Do not think so: you are tired, over-wrought, to-night. The danger is
past, and maybe you can persuade your brother to return to his art, and
happier days will come."

"Impossible! When he first joined the society I tried in vain. Now he
belongs to it heart and soul. He has set an example of communism by selling
our land and giving the proceeds to the cause, and he now lives on
contributions, which he is not ashamed to take, because he believes that
what the earth produces is common to all, and he only receives his rightful
share."

"But you also belong--is it not so?"

"When I found he would not return I followed: we could not be separated."

"And you share all his danger?"

"All," she answered firmly. "Danger shared is lessened, you know. Where he
is, I am. But I wished to speak of your affairs. I forgot myself: sorrow is
selfish. You must write to your employers and give some explanation of your
absence: in a week at furthest I trust you will be able to return without
annoyance. I will see that information which will exculpate you is given to
the authorities. And, as far as my brother and myself are concerned, I know
from your face I can trust you."

I would sooner have had my homely features at that moment than those of
Apollo. When I arrived in Brussels I wrote to my employers, as she
requested, but after excusing my sudden departure I begged them to
recommend me to some firm in that city, for I resolved not to leave until I
had offered Sidonia the protection of a husband. The answer to my letter
was most favorable. I had the pleasure of showing it to Sidonia and telling
her my plans, from which she tried to dissuade me with all the eloquence in
her power.

"We are dangerous acquaintance, dangerous friends and dangerous enemies.
The sooner we fade from your life the better," she said; but I would not
listen.

The happiest month of my life I spent in Brussels. I found employment: I
saw Sidonia every day, and if possible admired her hourly more. She had a
quick judgment, born of the experience she had gained through the part she
took in her brother's affairs. She knew whom to trust, and I am happy to
say she trusted me; but, though frank, I never again saw the manner she had
adopted when she came to my room: inclining naturally to be gay, she was
always dignified. Once I ventured to apologize for the way I had spoken to
her during that visit.

"My behavior gave rise to it," she answered. "I was obliged to act a part.
But you gentlemen should have more respect for those poor girls whose daily
wants often expose them to insult."

"After a man loves one good woman he learns to respect all women for her
sake. You have taught me that lesson."

She taught me much more, my wise, my sensible Sidonia. With the example of
her busy hands and the advocacy of her sweet lips my second self was
brought to recognize the beauty and nobility of honest toil. Favart's life
afforded an illustration of how the most exalted opinions can lead a man
astray; and he humbly confessed that had my course been modelled according
to his views, I should not now be able to offer Sidonia a home, which he
heartily approved of my doing. I in turn acknowledged that I owed much in
the estimation of my darling to his cultivation. I saw that she respected
his acquirements, and that his longest conversations were agreeable to her;
while had I been left with only the merits of lace to expatiate upon I
should have failed to please.

But with my love my fears for her increased. Favart was seldom at home--now
in England, now in Germany, now in Italy. What new scheme was he
meditating? what new danger was he recklessly preparing for his sister?
Tormented by misgivings, I resolved to make an effort to turn him from his
course, and, failing in that, to gain his consent to a speedy marriage
between me and Sidonia. Knowing his egotism, I approached him with a
compliment: "Sidonia tells me you are the painter of the portrait that
brought me into trouble: from its merit I should venture to predict great
things of your future."

"Your prediction is likely to be fulfilled, but my fame will rest on
something more profitable to humanity than painting."

"Do you never intend to paint again?" I ventured.

"Never: my time is employed in nobler work."

"Do you ever think of the danger you incur? do you ever count the suffering
to others you may cause in attaining your object?"

"I think of success!" As he said these words the devil in his eyes flashed
a triumphant glance, and I noticed for the first time the change for the
worse that a few weeks had made in him. His face was haggard, his movements
were restless: a life of constant excitement was telling on mind and body.

"And your sister?"

"She is worthy of me. With a mind fertile in resources she has an undaunted
courage: we could not do without her. Twice she has saved my life, and once
her address turned away the police from a meeting where there would have
been at least twenty of our leading men arrested had they found us."

"And you never think of the danger she is exposed to? You never realize
what an improper, what a cruel position it is in which to place a young and
beautiful girl--you who are her natural protector? Listen to me, I beseech
you: leave this life before it is too late; spare yourself, spare her;
return to the ambition that made you happy before this frenzy seized you.
I know now of some lace designs you could get to make: it would be a
beginning, and--"

"Lace designs!" he interrupted, contemptuously. "He seeks to bind a man's
ambition with _lace_! he would stifle the breath of purpose with _lace_! he
would swaddle a sublime project in _lace_, until it is as weak as his own
courage, as petty as his own soul! The noble idea!"

"I suppose it is nobler to live on contributions," I answered hotly.

"I take but my own. Nature provides enough for all if we behave as children
of one parent and divide her bounty."

"Live as you please, run what risks you like, but spare your sister."

"That is, give her to you," he sneered.

"Yes, give her to me. I love her: _my_ ambition will be to protect her. I
ask for none better. And surely if you are not utterly selfish, when in
peril you will be glad to know of her safety. Give her to me."

"Never! never! never! I waste time in talking to you. Your understanding is
less even than I thought, but if Sidonia likes to have a tame cat about to
amuse her leisure, I have no objections. As for a marriage with you,
neither she nor I would think of it." So saying, with his usual abrupt
manner he left me.

I made a passionate appeal to Sidonia. "Be my wife and leave the
Internationals," I said. "What is the use of your sacrificing yourself for
principles in which you do not believe? It is true, I can only offer you
safety and love."

"Safety?" she repeated sadly. "Could it include my brother I would ask
Heaven for no other blessing."

I begged, I pleaded, I argued, but to all she answered, "Who will save him
if I am absent?"

I was obliged to wait and hope.

Now came the war, when disaster followed disaster until the Germans had
completed the investment of Paris: then she begged me to go.

"Your country needs you: join the army of the Loire and do what you can to
help it. You have been with us too long: already it would be difficult to
make people believe that you do not belong to us. But if you serve
suspicion will be averted. For my sake, go!"

"For your sake I stay."

"You are mistaken: if I need your protection you will be in a better
position to give it by going than by staying."

"If you need my protection, will you let me give it?"

"I will."

"The protection of my name, the protection of a husband?"

"Yes, the protection of a husband."

It was an invention of her goodness, my darling! Knowing the monstrous plot
the Socialists were meditating, she wished me to be absent. And I went,
regretting only our present separation and fearing nothing for the future.

I was defeated with Motterouge, and afterward fought with D'Aurelle and
Chanzy until hostilities ceased. On the third of March Paris was evacuated
by the Germans, and fifteen days after followed the revolt of the Commune.
Heaven only knows how I suffered during that time. I would have given my
life to know she was safe: I would have risked it by deserting could I have
hoped to find and protect her. But had she not said, "Where he is, I am"?
and would not Favart be in the thickest of the fight? Oh cruel necessity!
My best chance of meeting her was at the point of the bayonet with the
troops.

Fort Valérien was taken: we entered Paris, and like a living web encircled
the insurgents. Step by step they retreated, step by step we followed: we
could not miss the way; ruin and blood marked their path.

On the twenty-sixth of May but one barricade remained standing. I was in
the front rank when the order was given to charge on it, and amid smoke and
noise and the glare of burning buildings we obeyed. There I saw Favart:
almost face to face we met. His eyes the color of blood and starting from
his head, his nostrils distended, his face livid, his hair and moustache
bristling with rage, his hoarse voice shouting commands, he stood
indifferent to danger, fighting like a wild beast, furious as a madman. A
moment, and then, a bullet entering his forehead, he fell, and a woman's
shriek rang on the air.

Oh for the strength of a thousand men! oh for wings! oh for power! Might my
whole life be contained in that moment could I but save her! Suddenly the
street, the barricade, the houses on either side, trembled, heaved and
leapt into the air. A tremendous explosion, with flame and debris, forced
what remained of us to retreat--forced also the poor remnant of our enemy
to surrender. A cordon was formed around the quarter, so that none escaped.
Wounded, blackened, bleeding, torn, they crawled by, and she was among
them, my darling, my angel--among those shameless women, those hardened
men!

I could not save her, tried, convicted and sentenced at Versailles, my
beautiful, innocent Sidonia. I wrote letters; my perseverance gained me
admission to the highest authorities; I prayed, I wept, I pleaded, but the
name of Favart closed every avenue to pity. The most active, the most
cruel, the most merciless in the Commune, foremost in destruction,
indefatigable in barbarity, her brother, the shadow of her life, was the
cause of her death.

I heard the sentence pronounced, "Transportation for life:" it did not seem
to move her. Wan, her once neat dress in disorder, a shadow of her former
self, she sat immovable. Once I met her eye, but she did not recognize me:
only when the wind accidentally blew back the torn sleeve from her white
arm I saw a moment's consciousness, and she blushed as she replaced it.
Haply, she was deaf to the cries of "Pétroleuse!" and shouts of imprecation
that met her as she was taken through the crowd; but what fearful suffering
must that sensitive mind have endured before its faculties were thus
benumbed!

I gained one slight concession: I was permitted to write one letter to her
before she was sent away. I begged her not to lose hope that after the
first excitement was over I might gain for her a commutation of the
sentence--to have courage and trust me. I received no answer. I do not even
know if her condition permitted her to receive one ray of comfort from my
love: I only know she died. She never reached Cayenne. The transport-ship
was her deathbed, and the ocean my martyr's grave.

But I cannot die. Memory, the portrait, and I live together--the portrait
at once recalling the angel, the devil, the joy, the sorrow of my life. Yet
let me not curse him: he was her brother, and she loved him. I would not
vex my Sidonia in heaven.

ITA ANIOL PROKOP.



"GOD'S POOR."

    Who are "God's poor"?
      Not they alone who stand
      With empty, pleading hand
    At Dives' door
      (Thou mayst be sure
      Such only are _man's_ poor);
    But they who therein stay,
      And every soul deny
      That lifts its needy cry.
    "God's poor"--ay, _poorest_ they!

                  E. R. CHAMPLIN



DAYS OF MY YOUTH.


The life depicted in the Waverley novels seems to me scarcely more remote
than that in Virginia before the war. As is well known, the land, the
wealth, the influence, the education were possessed by comparatively few
families; and I think there has never been so much happiness enjoyed by any
other community or class of people in this country as those families
enjoyed for generations. Whatever may be said of their social system--and I
am aware that it was not the best--it was perfect of its kind. From their
point of view, everything was as it should be, always excepting the acts of
one or the other party in politics. Life was made easy, and such exacting
cares and responsibilities as could not be honorably evaded were met
without friction, without struggle, without question. Beyond the observance
of a few perfectly-defined habits and customs we did not feel it necessary
to wander in search of social law. What a vast amount of the worry that
perplexes too many other people we escaped! What does the world think? what
will people say? whom shall we recognize? how do we appear?--such
questions, that bring so many of my sex to premature gray hairs, disturbed
us not. If one's standing was what it should be, all Virginia knew it; and
that was the end of it. If one's standing was not what it should be, all
Virginia knew that; and there, again, was the end of it. It is not easy for
ladies reared under less settled conditions to realize how much this
heritage meant to us. We loved our time-honored pleasures; we loved our
friends; we loved the old homes and old ways in which our ancestors,
undisturbed by the restlessness of the North and West, had lived and died
before us; we loved our State.

To voluntarily put all this behind me after the meridian of life was
passed; to take poverty for my companion and go forth into a world I had
never seen; to send an only son to fight against the traditions, the
kindred, the State that were so dear,--what this cost may Heaven spare the
women of the North from ever knowing! _They_ could hope and pray for the
preservation of what they cherished and for the destruction of what they
condemned. But the Southern woman who was loyal, view it as she would,
could but hope and pray for the destruction of what she loved. Looking back
now on those dreadful days, sorrowing for the sad necessities of the case,
I can but thank God for the fortitude and insight with which He then
endowed me, for the result that at length justified my trust, and put away
all other recollections of the later time as something too painful to dwell
upon even in thought. The Virginia that shall live in my memory is one that
is gone for ever.

Living as we did on a spur of the Blue Ridge, in the most salubrious part
of the State, one would have thought there was no necessity for going
elsewhere during the hot months. But my mother, near half a century ago,
thought differently. About the first of July we always started on what I
used to call, when a girl, our "pilgrimage." In an old-fashioned coach,
round as an apple and lifted high in the air--which in my childish fancy
was ever associated with the one the fairy made from Cinderella's
pumpkin--with a fat old coachman, and horses as fat and lazy as he, we
would make the distance of twenty miles a day. We accomplished about half
this in the cool morning, stopping at some country tavern during the heat
of the day, and driving another ten miles amid the shades of evening.
Behind us, at a respectful distance, trundled our baggage-wagon. We had
relations in every county, as all true Virginians were bound to have; and
we would tarry for days with them on our journeys, with as little regard to
reaching a definite place at a definite time as if a thousand years
remained to us.

One of these summer jaunts, when I was a girl, on which I first saw Mr.
Madison, is particularly impressed on my memory. We sojourned several days
at his lovely seat, Montpelier, Mrs. Madison being an old friend of my
mother's. The venerable ex-President was then much emaciated, and I thought
was failing rapidly. He lay most of the time on a couch in the middle of
the room adjoining the dining-room, wrapped in a black silk dressing-gown
elaborately quilted, and did not look larger than a boy of thirteen. At
dinner the first day I was attacked by ague, and Mrs. Madison, leading me
into the next room, placed me on his couch. I awoke an hour or two after in
a high fever, and the look of his face which has outlived all others in my
recollection is that of amusement which lighted the wan features on
beholding the expression of bewilderment and confusion which overspread
mine as I opened my eyes, half delirious, and found him lying beside me.

In her long talks with us on this occasion Mrs. Madison told many incidents
of her life in Philadelphia and Washington. The two following are in her
own words, as nearly as I can repeat them: "One day in Philadelphia," she
said, "I was sitting in my parlor with a very dear friend, Mrs. R. B. Lee,
when in walked Payne Todd [her son] dressed in my calico bed-gown. While we
were laughing at the figure he cut, the servant threw open the door and
announced General and Mrs. Washington. What to do with that dreadful boy I
didn't know. He could not face the President in that garb. Neither could he
leave the room without meeting them, for the door they were entering was
the only one. I made him crawl quickly under a low, broad settee on which I
was sitting. I had just time to arrange the drapery when the Washingtons
entered. After the courtly greeting and the usual compliments of the
season, there came from under the settee a heavy sigh, which evidently
attracted the general's notice. However, I only talked and laughed a little
louder, hoping to divert his attention, when--oh me!--there came an outcry
and a kick that could not be ignored. So I stooped down and dragged Payne
out by the leg. General Washington's dignity left him for once. Laugh? why
he fairly roared! He nearly went into convulsions. The sight of that boy in
that gown, all so unexpected, coming wrong end first from under my
seat,--it was too much."

Mr. and Mrs. Madison would in private sometimes romp and tease each other
like two children, and engage in antics that would astonish the muse of
History. Mrs. Madison was stronger as well as larger than he. She
could--and did--seize his hands, draw him upon her back and go round the
room with him whenever she particularly wished to impress him with a due
sense of man's inferiority. Speaking of their flight from Washington on the
24th of August, 1814, she said: "After Mr. Madison had left the White House
for Fairfax, I busied myself in gathering up the little things I prized and
packing them in the carriage, which stood ready at the door. I had placed a
servant at the gate to warn me of the approach of the English troops. I had
just left the sitting-room with a cup and saucer which had belonged to
Marie Antoinette when in rushed my sentinel. After securing the portrait of
Washington, and getting that into the carriage, I jumped in myself, and
away we went for the Chain Bridge. I was dreadfully frightened, and
expected to be pursued. We drove as fast as we could without breaking the
carriage to pieces. I looked out of the back window, thinking I might see
what was going on in Washington; and, sure enough, to my horror there was a
British officer galloping after us at full speed, followed by some
soldiers. I was so alarmed that I opened the door and sprang into the road.
I had no bonnet--only a purple turban--on my head, and my face, I knew, was
red as a poppy. In my excitement I thought I could run faster than the
carriage. The officer passed me, wheeled suddenly, bowed low, and asked me
if he saw Mrs. Madison, the President's lady, at the same time placing his
hand in the bosom of his coat. I inclined my head, expecting that he would
draw forth nothing less than a pistol. But it was a package instead of a
pistol that he offered, saying, 'I was requested to place this in your
hands by Lady ---- of England, and finding you had just left your
residence, I questioned your servants and took the liberty of following
you.' He turned with a low bow, and was gone, leaving me overwhelmed with
mortification."

The seat that inspired _Swallow Barn_ was the home of my aunt. John P.
Kennedy was her nephew and my cousin. In its main features the book is
singularly true, as an artist would say, in its effects. The prominent
character of Mr. Tracy is almost a literal portrait. To me, so familiar
with the real scenes, there seemed an appearance of rather too much
restraint, as if the conscientious author felt too constantly the fear that
his hand, gentle as it was, might transgress the laws of hospitality and
decorum. This feeling on my part arose, no doubt, from the single fact that
I did know the reality, and thus knew many episodes that would have made
the sketches richer to us giddy young people of that jolly household, but
which did not commend themselves to the practised writer. He took pains to
place Swallow Barn on the lower James. But it was west of the Blue Ridge,
in Jefferson county. The mother of Kennedy was a very beautiful and highly
accomplished woman. She was known among her friends as "Kennedy's angel."
She excelled particularly in music, always tuning her piano herself, and
giving her preference to the works of Mozart. Here at her sister's, Mrs.
Dandridge's--at "Swallow Barn," as we may now call it--she and Kennedy's
father passed their later years, and here many of Cousin John's happiest
days were spent. He always retained his boyish love of fun. He and
Washington Irving would come up to the old place together, and then beware!
No one escaped their mischief. They spared neither age, sex nor previous
condition. Such pranks, such absurdities, such good-natured deviltry, as
reigned supreme till they were gone! During harvest they would take their
seats under the trees with the hands at the long dinner-tables, and
assiduously bottle up quaint sayings and odd doings for future use.

One adventure in particular, which I think is not alluded to in _Swallow
Barn_, should have formed a chapter there. Kennedy himself was the
ringleader, and his wife's father the victim. The old gentleman was
expected to arrive on a certain day, as a visitor, from Baltimore. It was
not long after Nat Turner's insurrection, and he had conceived an
exaggerated idea of the affair. He was a little timid, in consequence,
about travelling into Virginia alone at that particular time. John knew
that his father-in-law was decidedly "nervous" on the subject. So he, with
what we used to call "the clan," the endless line or circle of
cousins--Dandridges, Kennedys, Pendletons--blacked their faces, clothed
themselves like plantation hands, carrying old muskets, spades and forks,
with cocks' feathers in the hats of the leaders, and marched to meet their
prey. When "attacked" by the gang, the old gentleman gave himself up for
lost. They surrounded his carriage, but before dragging him forth to his
doom they began delivering to him the most preposterous harangue; which,
notwithstanding his fright, led him to detect a son-in-law under the
disguise of the principal desperado. Anger was useless with such a party,
and by the time he reached the house his prayers for mercy had changed to
laughter. Prominent in "the clan" and its diversions in those days was
Colonel Strother, subsequently "Porte Crayon:" "Cousin Dave" was his title
then.

When Hon. Charles J. Faulkner was married he was keeping bachelor's hall,
and it was proposed that he should give his bride a breakfast the next
morning. Kennedy was the master spirit in the arrangements. The table was
covered with a cloth that was far from immaculate, and set with broken,
cracked and odd pieces of china. The viands were bacon, corn-bread, etc.,
arranged in the most grotesque manner possible. When the bridal-party were
ushered in, profoundly ignorant of the joke, they stood horror-stricken.
Kennedy, solemn as an owl, clad as a butler and with white apron, advanced
and presented to the bride about a peck of great rusty keys strung on a
chain that might have drawn a plough, the whole so heavy she could not lift
them. And the speech in which he presented them! Any attempt to repeat or
describe its drollery would only spoil it. I believe he never wrote
anything so witty, so inimitably funny. He wound up by saying that he
resigned, with tears in his eyes--which were tears of laughter--all
authority and control over the establishment. When the farce was played out
there was another announcement, and then a breakfast fit for the gods was
served in earnest.

John P. Kennedy had no children, but was passionately fond of the children
of his relations, especially those of his brothers, who in turn almost
worshipped him. Making all allowances, of course, for the differences in
their surroundings, the geographical difference in their homes, it always
seemed to me that there was an interesting resemblance between him and
Irving in many little things that the world could scarcely know. In what
they have written the similarity of their humor and style must be apparent
to every one, and Kennedy's literary character was fashioned very much, I
think, by the influence of his more famous friend's. When quite a young man
Kennedy edited, with some kindred spirits, a kind of Salmagundi paper in
Baltimore, ridiculing most effectively a certain class of people whose
pretensions so far exceeded their social worth as to make them legitimate
game for his shafts. It was called _The Red Letter_. Many suspected, but
none of the victims knew, who were the writers. Some amusing incidents grew
out of it, the aforesaid victims being afraid to invite the aforesaid
kindred spirits to their parties, but still more afraid not to invite them.
Lest some reader should have a doubt about the attitude of this genial,
gentle and true man on one important public question, let me add that one
of the last things I knew of his doing was to induce Sheridan to send an
escort of cavalry through to Martinsburg to bring out a young girl whose
parents were Unionists and were then cut off by Southern troops, taking her
to his house and educating her as if she had been his daughter. The last
time I saw his friend Irving was when Kennedy was retiring from the
Secretaryship of the Navy. The new administration had come in, and the
members of the old cabinet were very busy in closing up and turning over
their portfolios and arranging their personal affairs for departure. The
domestic concerns of the retiring Secretary, whose guest Irving had been
during the winter, were therefore in the same state of upheaval as were
affairs at the department. I called to take leave of the family, but not a
soul was in the house except Irving. I inquired lightly how he would
dispose of himself in the general break-up, "Well," answered the quizzical
old bachelor with mock plaintiveness, "I suppose Mrs. Kennedy will pack me
up with the rest of the old crockery."

American country-life can hardly again be so picturesque as it was on some
of the plantations of Virginia in my young days. The cavalcades of huntsmen
returning with a fox-brush in the cap of the foremost rider, or counting
their partridges on the porch before the ladies--partridges being the birds
known as quails in the North; the riding in the great carriage to church,
surrounded by a retinue on horseback; the coming and going of company to
spend the day, which meant from noon till twilight; the gathering of the
rose-leaves to be dried and sprinkled over the table- and bed-linen for the
odor they imparted;--an atmosphere whose charm cannot be reproduced
envelopes these scenes of the far-away past.

The chief agricultural event of the year in the region where I lived was
the harvesting of the grain. All the laboring white men who could be of
service were employed with the slaves at such times. Their dinners were
eaten at long tables under the trees, with a tub of iced toddy or
mint-julep in the shade near by. Supper, when the day's work was done,
brought hot coffee, rolls and biscuits, and a dance on the grass to the
music of fiddle and banjo closed the scene at bedtime. The long lines of
"cradlers," following their leader and laying the golden swaths smoothly
across hill and valley, were a sight which was lost with keen regret by me.
I shall never forget when the first reaping-machine came clattering into
the wheat-fields, sounding the knell of all that was most pleasing in the
harvest-time. What a commotion that first reaper made! A certain
distinguished Senator of the United States--I think he was then Speaker of
the House--came from afar to witness its operations and to consider its
introduction on his own rather unproductive plantation. After silently
taking in its movements, his hands meditatively in his pockets and his chin
buried solemnly in his neckcloth, he turned away in disgust, with a comment
that was brief and to the point: "Wouldn't have such a d----d _fast_ thing
on my place!" Much of the distrust, however, with which improved utensils
were regarded had a better reason. Complicated and delicate machines in the
hands of plantation negroes were too much like "all the modern
improvements" in the terrible hands of Biddy.

I saw personally but little of the darker side of slavery. The worst
pictures I could draw from my own personal knowledge would not be
sufficiently hideous to be interesting. The fairest I could draw would be
of my old black "mammy." From my infancy she was the comforter, counsellor
and guide whose sympathy and assistance never failed me. As dignified as a
duchess; as neat in her striped, home-made dress, kerchief and turban as it
was possible for mortal to be; jealous of the honor of the family; serene,
affectionate, proud of her usefulness,--she is among the first from whom I
expect a loving welcome in heaven. My father gave her free papers after she
had nursed a sick member of the family with especial faithfulness on one
occasion. She locked them up in her trunk, and that was the end of them,
except when she took them out to show to her friends. I think it gratified
her to receive them, however. I recollect the incredulity of a good lady
from Boston, who asked her if she would not like to live there, where there
were no masters and mistresses. "No indeed, honey!" was the reply.

When a girl I passed a winter in the White House. It was during the last
term of General Jackson. That high white head; the perpendicular hair; the
clear blue eyes--one moment melting with a woman's tenderness, the next
blazing like an angry lion's--peering earnestly from under the great shaggy
eyebrows and over the top of the silver spectacles; the furrowed, pained
face, worn with suffering and perpetual warfare, but occasionally lighted
by a sudden gleam of the old fire, which nothing but death could quench,
when his cane would come down with a thump and "By the Eternal!" would
break forth--the nearest approach to profanity ever heard from his lips by
me, or by anybody, I think, at that period of his life,--how vividly all
these come back! I saw him at his best. The storms of life had wellnigh
passed. His beloved wife was beckoning him to a world of rest and peace. He
was the idol of a majority of his countrymen. He occupied a second time, in
obedience to their voices, what he regarded as the most honorable position
that any man could hold on earth--the Presidency of the United States. In
pursuing what he took to be right he had conquered everybody and everything
that opposed him. He had ever been the incarnation of chivalry toward
women. It is natural, therefore, that under all these circumstances, in
those last days of his and first days of mine, he should have appeared to
me a higher type of man than many people would judge him to be from a
strictly dispassionate consideration of his whole life. I was never given
to hero-worship, but at that time I did come near worshipping this old
hero. I am not here questioning the justice of his latest and completest
biography--Mr. Parton's--but would simply remark how difficult it is for
me, seeing him as I did, and only so, to realize that he was the same being
who enlivens some of the earlier scenes of that book. Toward the women he
respected--and there hardly seemed to be one whom he did not respect--he
had a courtliness of bearing, a considerateness, a gentleness, a
nobility--in short, a charm of manner--which made him, as a mere "carpet
knight," the most winning old _gentleman_ I ever knew.

In speaking of the superstitions of the Scotch-Irish, Mr. Parton says:
"General Jackson himself, to the end of his life, never liked to begin
anything of consequence on Friday, and would not if it could be avoided
without serious injury to some important interest." So far from abstaining
from any undertaking on Friday, the general has told me himself that he
made it a point to start on a journey and begin such things on that day;
and he laughed at the superstition. Nevertheless, I am inclined to suspect
that this very fact should be taken as evidence that the superstition did
exist in him; that he was conscious of it; that his judgment told him it
was an unworthy weakness; and that he was determined to conquer it. He
acknowledged its influence by the care he took to defy it.

In those days visitors to the White House knocked or rang as they would at
the mansion-door of any private gentleman. One rainy day a visitor thus
announced himself, but for some reason no servant appeared immediately to
admit him. The family heard it, and so did the general in his office, where
he was writing. It did not occur to me or any one else that interference
with the servants' duties was necessary. Suddenly there was a rustle of
papers and an apparition. "What!" thundered the President. "A citizen of
the United States stands knocking at my door in the rain, and it isn't
opened!" The door was opened soon after that remark.

One day the general received a letter of four or five pages of foolscap
from Ireland--I do not know whether it came from Carrickfergus or not--in
which the writer said that he was a cousin of the President's, and that he
recollected perfectly when the general was born, and gave the exact
locality and all the attendant circumstances. He closed by saying he would
like to come over. Jackson laughed over the letter, and expressed his
surprise that he should have been born in Ireland and in Carolina too.

It was his custom, when he had no one dining with him besides the family,
to say, as he raised his single glass of wine, "Here's to absent friends!"
Then, glancing toward me, he would add in a low tone, "And sweethearts,
too,----."

On one occasion, when I was ill, the general called in Dr. Hunt, his family
physician. The doctor was a tall, lank, ugly man--"as good as gold," but
with none of the graces that are supposed to win young ladies; yet he was
married to one of the loveliest young creatures I ever knew. General
Jackson accompanied him to my room, and after my pulse had been duly felt
and my tongue duly inspected, they drew their chairs to the fire and began
to talk.

"Hunt," suddenly exclaimed the President, "how came you to get such a young
and pretty wife?"

"Well, I'll tell you," replied the doctor. "I was called to attend a young
lady at the convent in Georgetown. Her eyes were bad: she had to keep them
bandaged. I cured her without her ever having had a distinct view of me.
She left the institution, and a year afterward she appeared here in
society, a belle and a beauty. At a ball I introduced myself, without the
slightest ulterior design, as the physician who had restored her sight,
although I supposed she had never really seen me. She instantly expressed
the most heartfelt gratitude. It seemed so deep and genuine that I was
touched. That very evening she informed me that she had a severe cold, and
that I must again prescribe for her. Well! it don't look reasonable, but I
did it. I wrote my name on a bit of paper, folded it and handed it to her,
telling her she must take that prescription. She read it and laughed. 'It's
a bitter pill,' she said, 'and must be well gilded if ever I take it.' But
whether it was bitter or whether it was gilded, we were married."

The hospitality of the White House at that time, like that of the
Hermitage, has become proverbial. Very few brought letters of introduction
who were not invited to dinner. Consequently, the table was almost always
full. It seemed to me that Jackson never heard of a wrong to any human
being, or what he conceived to be such, without trying to right it.

When Aaron Burr was at the Hermitage in 1805 he wrote in his diary, for the
entertainment of Theodosia: "The general has no children, but two lovely
nieces made a visit of some days, contributed greatly to my amusement, and
have cured me of all the evils of my wilderness jaunt. If I had time I
would describe to you these two girls, for they deserve it." The temptation
is strong to give the descriptions omitted by Mr. Burr, but it would lead
me too far. They were nieces of Mrs. Jackson rather than the general's. One
of them, whom he had adopted as his daughter, married her cousin, A. J.
Donelson--her own maiden name being also Donelson--who was secretary to the
President when I knew them, afterward minister to Austria, and candidate
for Vice-President in 1856 on the ticket with Mr. Fillmore.

One Sunday evening, after dinner, Mrs. Donelson, Mrs. Jackson and I, with
several other ladies, were gossiping in the Blue Room. This Mrs. Jackson,
who had been a pretty Philadelphia girl, was the wife of another cousin and
nephew who was born a Donelson, but who was adopted by the general, took
the name of Jackson and inherited the Hermitage. Mr. Van Buren, then
Secretary of State, had what is now known as "the inside track" for the
succession. He, was the friend and choice of Jackson; and that settled it
in the minds of those who knew both men. Mrs. Jackson--the lady mentioned
above, of course, for the General's wife did not live to see the White
House--disliked Van Buren for some reason. Mrs. Donelson, turning to me
with affected gravity, said, "When you are Mrs. President Van Buren, I want
you to send my husband to England as minister." I solemnly assured her she
should have whatever she wished. Then Mrs. Barker appealed to me in behalf
of her husband as collector at Philadelphia. Turning to Mrs. Jackson, I
asked what she would like. "Nothing at Mr. Van Buren's hands," was the
sudden reply. At that instant I heard a rustle behind me. There stood Mr.
Van Buren! He was smiling, and evidently amused. We were so completely
caught that there was no resource but the suppressed giggling little scream
that never fails a true woman when no other strategy is possible. He gave
no intimation of having heard a word. Indeed, I never saw Mr. Van Buren's
perfect self-possession fail him but once: that was when he fell off his
horse for me on Pennsylvania Avenue. And with this ridiculous performance
these rambling reminiscences must end.

One fine spring morning the President insisted that we should invite the
Cass girls, the Forsyths and some others, make a riding-party, and return
with them all to the White House for lunch. He sent to Mr. Blair for the
white horse he had ridden in a grand procession at New York, which Blair
had bought. This fiery charger, very appropriate for such a horseman as
General Jackson on a state occasion, was so spirited and appeared so
unmanageable that I was afraid to touch him. But the general had made up
his mind that I should ride that horse on that occasion, and I knew what it
meant when his mind was made up. He put me on himself, saying, "Why, child,
if you can't ride him, you couldn't ride a sheep." We reached the avenue
very well, when the horse seemed to remember New York and General Jackson.
He reared, plunged and dashed off. Mr. Van Buren, in trying to seize the
reins, was drawn from his own saddle and dragged some distance. His
position for a few moments was rather undignified, but he came up smiling
and unhurt, and made as creditable an appearance as could be expected. We
had a happy day in spite of the mishap, but not even the will of General
Jackson ever got me on that horse again.

M. T.



A LAW UNTO HERSELF.


CHAPTER XIX.

The reason which Mr. Van Ness offered for Jane's disappearance, he
protested, would suggest itself to everybody as the only possible one: her
grief had deranged her, and she had wandered away bent on self-destruction.
But the house was filled now with the friends of the captain, among them
Judge Rhodes and Mrs. Wilde, and he read doubt and lurking suspicion on
every face. The judge, it is true, directed the hurried searches through
the grounds and the dragging of the lake.

"But I wish the captain had not pushed the marriage so hard. Drill-major to
the last gasp. I was to blame in suggesting it at first," he said,
point-blank to Van Ness.

"Suicide? Nothing of the kind," said Mrs. Wilde. "Jane is eccentric, as
every thoroughly truthful woman is. But sane. One of the sanest people I
know."

She summoned Betty, and the two women were closeted together for half an
hour.

"You should have sent for me," she said when the story was ended. "The
child should not have been left to the tender mercies of these men. Call
him in."

When Van Ness appeared he saw that the old lady's eyes were red.

"You are going in pursuit of her? Mrs. Nichols has told me all," she said
blandly.

"I shall search for her, undoubtedly. Her mind was evidently shaken. There
is a bare chance that she may have gone on the train. But the river being
so near and her grief so great, I fear the worst, Mrs. Wilde."

"No doubt, no doubt! But if you do follow her on the train--How was she
dressed, Betty?"

"In gray. Black hat and gray feather," said Betty like a parrot.

"Thank you! That will be of assistance to me.--They are trying to help her
escape," he thought as he went out, with a bow and melancholy smile. He had
waited to talk with Mr. Lampret. He asked him for a certificate of the
marriage.

"If my wife is living and wandering insane through the country, it will be
necessary to prove my right to claim her."

To his surprise, the clergyman grew red and stammered, with a painful
anxiety in his boyish face.

"I fear we were too hasty, Mr. Van Ness. Are you quite sure she consented
freely to the marriage? There was no moral compulsion used?"

"There was none," coldly. "My marriage, as I believe, had in it all the
elements of future happiness. Besides, that is hardly a question, it
appears to me, for you to consider now. Whether suitable or not, the
marriage was legal. When can you give me the certificate?"

Mr. Lampret did not speak for a moment. "I suppose it is irrevocable," he
said with a long breath. "The making out of the certificate will involve a
delay of a couple of hours."

"I shall wait for it," said Van Ness.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was midnight before he left The Hemlocks and took the train into New
York. There he had other work to do, which consumed an hour or two. He must
lay plans to free himself from any hold which Charlotte had upon him. He
had not courage to live, in even the rare delights to which he looked
forward as Jane's husband, with that sword at his throat. He could find no
trace of Charlotte. But he wakened up a lawyer (not the eminent counsel who
systematized his vast benevolent schemes), and gave him full instructions
and a blank cheque.

"I must have this connection closed at once. And at any price," he said as
he left the door at one o'clock in the morning.

"To Desbrosses street ferry. In time to catch the Philadelphia express," he
ordered the cabman.

He had not tried to find a clew to her in New York. She was unknown
there--not likely to be recognized even by officials on the trains running
up to The Hemlocks.

"She would try to escape from a place where she is a stranger. But it would
cut her deeply to leave her father unburied," he argued shrewdly. "She
would go direct to their old home in Philadelphia, where the associations
with him were strongest. She is full of such foolish notions!" He glowed
with admiration of these warm affections, so becoming to a beautiful woman,
as he leaned back in his seat in the car. Van Ness had indeed a keen
appreciation of fine sentiments in books or in people. A noble thought
fitly uttered or a pathetic strain of music would bring the tears to his
eyes. All his friends will testify to-day that he is a man of most
sensitive nature. He remembered this admirable trait in himself as he sat
thinking over his future married life that night. It was one of the means
by which he would be sure to win the love of his wife, and drive away her
grief for the poor old captain. He took out a tiny volume from his pocket
and studied it carefully by the dull light of the lamp overhead. The
conductor, who knew the great Christian financier by sight, looked on
reverently at a distance. It was some epitome of wisdom that he pored over:
perhaps the Book of books. There was, in fact, a little mirror set in the
inside of the binding. Van Ness studied the glisten on his yellow beard,
the gluey softness of his blue eyes. "There never was a woman who would not
yield to me," he thought, shutting the book. "But it does not matter
whether she does or not," he added, his fingers searching for the marriage
certificate in his pocket and closing on it with a fierce grip.


CHAPTER XX.

Van Ness had really but slight knowledge of the places in which Jane's
early life had been passed. On reaching Philadelphia he was forced to
search through old directories for the houses in which the captain had
lived, and go to them in turn--a tedious process enough, as the old man had
migrated, as his whim or purse dictated, from Kensington to Southwark, from
a close-built block in the business quarter to a tumble-down cottage on the
Wissahickon. It was near night before he arrived at the old house
surrounded by trees in the Neck which had been their last home in
Philadelphia. Disappointment and secret rage had only made the unctuous
sweetness of his manner a little coarser in flavor. The woman who came to
the door adjusting a pink bow at her collar found his familiar greeting
exactly suited to the level of her own breeding.

"A young lady? With blue eyes and yellow hair? Oh yes, sir. Colored pretty
much like yourself. But she don't favor you, either. Come in! come in! My
name's Crawford. Young lady's yer sister, likely?"

"At what time was she here?"

"Just at breakfast-time. Well, say seven. She didn't come in no furder than
this room. Said she'd lived here with a friend, and would like to take a
look ag'in at the old place. She sat there, on that settee, and looked in
the fire a while, and then went out to the garden and walked up and down. I
suspicioned she wa'n't right in her mind," volubly. "The idee of comin'
back to look at a house and yard! I guess I was right. Somethin'
wantin'--eh?" touching her forehead.

"Yes. Do you know in which direction she went, Mrs. Crawford?"

"I haven't the least notion. If I'd ha' had any intimation, now, that she
had escaped from her friends, I'd ha' done all I could to help 'em. My
George could hev' followed her all day, for that matter. What was the
cause, now? Religious excitement? Disappintment?"

"Both, both! You did not observe her dress, I suppose?"

"Oh yes, I did. Brown waterproof and brown hat. 'Twouldn't be easy to trace
her by her dress."

"Did she speak of returning here?"

"No. I wish I'd incouraged her!" her zeal reaching fever-heat in this
hinted tragedy. "She come in an' thanked me very gravely, an' said she
would probably never see the old house ag'in. Poor thing! She gave George
some money, which wa'n't at all necessary, I'm sure."

"If she did not expect to see the house again, she meant to leave the
city," said Van Ness when he was again in the street. "She will be easily
traced at the railway-stations."

But in this he was disappointed. Young women dressed in the uniform
travelling costume daily came and went in troops through the avenues of
travel: a dozen indifferent ticket-agents had hazy recollections of this
especial traveller on her way to Boston, to San Francisco, to Baltimore.
Mr. Van Ness, too, found that his own social dignity and prominence sorely
hindered his researches. Everybody in the city knew Pliny Van Ness by
sight. It would not do for him, as for any common man, to go from office to
office inquiring for the heroine of a mysterious elopement. The Christian
humanitarian must keep his garments clean of suspicion as jealously as
Caesar's wife.

Reporters, too, had their eyes upon him, turn which way he would, for the
opinions and movements of Mr. Van Ness had long furnished welcome material
for the columns of "Personals" in the morning journals. What if a hint of
this episode of his marriage and his wife's disappearance should creep into
the blatant newspapers? He moved, threatened, hampered, by this open-day
terror, one unsuccessful day slipping into another until three weeks had
gone by.

Early one chilly October morning he found himself without any definite aim
knocking at Mrs. Crawford's door, and was welcomed by her with effusion,
for she had supposed her chance of any share in the tragedy to be gone.

"And you hain't found her yet, eh? Dear! dear! If I'd only knowed in time!
It's told on you, sir. Yes, indeed. You've aged considerable in this
month."

The only real change in Van Ness was a certain new alien expression which
was now and then perceptible under the blandishment of his smile, like some
savage beast peeping out from behind the painted canvas of his cage. His
news from the lawyer in New York was unsatisfactory; he was baffled at
every turn by insignificant difficulties in his search for Jane; there was
every temptation for the beast which was in him to break its bonds. But
luck had turned for him.

"Dear! dear!" continued Mrs. Crawford. "Have you tried the police? Though
they're of little account. She could not have come to any bodily harm. The
dog would protect her."

"Dog? You said nothing about a dog. Had she that damnable brute with her?"
starting up.

"A large hound; sir. Why, to be sure, I told you!--Lord! he's gone!"

Here at last was a clew! It proved effectual. The agent at the Pennsylvania
Railroad office remembered distinctly the young girl who wished to take her
dog with her down to some station on the coast, and the difficulty which
the train-master meant to make about it. "But she took him," he added. "She
was a very beautiful woman. Nobody cared to refuse her."

Van Ness went down to the Branch, to Beach Haven, Manasquan, all the
fishing-villages along the coast, among the rest to Sutphen's Point. He
talked to old Sutphen himself, his foot resting on a barnacle-eaten log
where Jane herself had sat the day before. But the old man was loyal. He
was stupid, stared vacantly at Van Ness, had seen no young woman and no
dog: there had never been any such at the Point. Van Ness went hurriedly on
to the next station, spent a couple of days in the search, and returned to
Philadelphia.

"So the young lady came back before you?" said the agent, nodding
familiarly as he passed the ticket-window.

"Yes. You saw her?"

"Oh, she bought her ticket of me. Yesterday, you know."

"For what point?" Van Ness's voice was so hoarse that the man heard him
with difficulty.

"Richmond. Took the dog, too."

"Give me a ticket for Richmond, please. When does the next train go?"

"In half an hour. She has twenty-four hours the start of you, sir," with a
significant laugh as he handed out the ticket and change.

Van Ness arrived at dawn the following morning at the little wooden shed
with its garden of dahlias and lilacs which called itself a dépôt on the
outskirts of the drowsy country town so lately the focus on which had
rested the eyes of the civilized world. Two or three negroes bustled into
activity as the train rolled in: an old woman dusted the rocking-chairs
about the stove. They all remembered the tall, handsome young lady with the
dog, who had flung about her money so freely the day before.

"I brought her breakfast, sah. I'm Dabney. Everybody knows Dabney's
reliable. Mighty fine hound, sah. De young lady went on to Morganton, Nothe
Callina. Oh, tank you, sah!"

Morganton is a village perched on a spur of the Blue Ridge, made dusky by
shadows of overhanging hills. The garrulous landlord of the inn was ready
to point out his prey to Van Ness.

"A lady? Miss Swendon, you mean? I've known her since she was a child.
Captain Swendon came to the Balsam Mountings for years for the hunting.
Allays brought the little girl. She's broken down terrible. Her father's
death's interrupted her, powerful."

"She is here, then?" lowering his voice.

"No. She went on to the captain's camping-ground on the Old Black. Seemed
as if she must go every place where he had been. He allays buried himself
among the mountings. I doubt if you can find the place."

"Where Miss Swendon can go I surely can follow."

"Dunno. She's used to the mountings. P'raps you can get a guide at
Asheville. It's the last place whah human beings live--high up on the
Black: an old hunter, Glenn and his wife--kind, decent people, but not jest
civilized. The captain was allays in cahoot with them, and they was
powerful fond of Jane."

There was no regular conveyance then across the Blue Ridge to Asheville.
Van Ness crossed the range on horseback with a guide: the horse broke down,
and caused a delay of a day. He arrived, therefore, at the little hill-town
late in the afternoon of Friday. Miss Swendon had gone up into the
mountains two days before, he learned, with the old hunter Glenn, who
happened to be in the village with a load of roots and peltry.

"I must go on to-night," said Van Ness urgently.

The ex-Confederate colonel who kept the inn surveyed him leisurely.
"Glenn's house lies about thirty miles up in the Balsam Range," he said
deliberately. "The passes are dangerous in daylight: it would be impossible
to make the ascent at night. I shall not be able to find a guide for you
until to-morrow."

Van Ness was exhausted in mind and body. The night's rest was tempting.

"I shall find her at this man Glenn's? She will not go farther?"

The colonel laughed: "Not unless she turns hermit or takes up her lodging
with the wild beasts. Glenn's hut is the last human habitation on the
mountains. You have her, sure."

"Then I will take supper and a bed."

He slept soundly that night, and sipped his coffee at breakfast
comfortably, smiling now and then to himself. The silly creature was making
herself happy this morning in the mountain-fastness, going over her
father's old haunts, thinking that she was hidden where he would never find
her. But how easily he had run her down! The horses and guide were waiting
at the door. Before the sun set he would have her in his hold securely, as
easily as he could grasp that bird in its cage yonder.

       *       *       *       *       *

Glenn's house was in fact but a rambling log hut built under the shelter of
one of the peaks of the Old Black. The Appalachian ranges at this point
reach their highest altitude on the continent. The unbroken primeval forest
came up to the very door of the hut. A few feet off a stream, the
head-water of the Swannanoa, dashed over the precipice.

As the sun was setting that evening, the old hunter's wife waited in the
door to meet Jane, who came slowly down the gorge, with the dog beside her.
The two women stood together watching the red ball of fire go down behind
Old Craggy. It threw sharp shafts of light into the heavy cloud that hung
halfway up the peak, while overhead the sky was green and translucent as
the sea.

The hunter's wife did not speak to Jane as she stood beside her, and did
not watch her. The incurious habit of silence of these mountaineers rested
the girl. They had been her friends when she was a little girl: she had
come back, as sure of finding their friendship as the rock on which their
house was built. She had come up with her heart and brain full of
unwholesome sickness to be cured in these silent solitudes of the world.
The cure was begun. Her eye was clearer, the hopeless load was lifted from
her life. What did pain matter? Or death? There was about her here a great
repose in which these things faded out.

She looked at the glittering stream close by, at the unending slopes of
underbrush blazing scarlet with the rowan and the shonieho, and then beyond
these lower hills--fold and fold of living color--to the great bare peak
wrapped in clouds, a few dead trees climbing its base, which stands like a
mighty warder of the Atlantic coast. The tears rose to her eyes.

"One must have a mean and selfish soul to be unhappy here," she thought.
The twilight fell suddenly. The sides of the mountains went into shadow:
only the sky about the peaks burned redly. Jane went in and sat down by the
old hunter before the big log-fire.

"I wish you to let me stay with you," she said. "I have a little money,
which will last a long time here. After it is gone I can make more,
somehow."

Glenn for answer only put out his hand and touched hers gently. The hand
was as bony as her father's, and his hair was as white. That comforted the
girl more than any words. His wife, who was always the speaker, said,
"You've always been welcome, Jane. You know that. You won't need money. We
get our living out of the mountings for the taking of it. When your father
was gone it was nateral for you to come straight here, an' to stay."

"Yes, I will stay," said Jane.

Presently the old man raised his hand: "Hark! There's folks coming."

"I hear nothing, father," said Mrs. Glenn.

"Yes. There's horses at the lower ford. Two of 'em. They're acrost now.
It's more'n a year since anybody's bin up the mounting. Kin it be any one
a-followin' you, Jane?"

She got up slowly: "Who could follow me?"

The next moment the hoofs of the horses rang on the shelving rocks outside.
The door opened, and Van Ness stood on the threshold.


CHAPTER XXI.

The Scotia was within a few hours of Liverpool. The passengers were all
gathered on deck--the women, eager and garrulous, eying each other a little
curiously in their new costumes--even the most _blasé_ traveller among them
roused by the smell of land. Miss Fleming, however, sat quietly apart, with
Mr. Neckart beside her. The other passengers were accustomed to see these
two together, silent and uncommunicative even to each other. Cornelia had
early understood that Neckart's ailment, whatever it was, whether mood or
disease, craved quiet. She instantly suited herself to its need. Captain
Swendon had always rejoiced in her as one of the most loquacious and
sociable of human beings. Bruce, on the contrary, was strongly attracted by
the aloofness and unconscious repose of this taciturn woman, who held
herself apart from the vulgarly fashionable crowd in the cabins, not being
of their kind. He fell into the habit of taking his seat near her, partly
to avoid the others, partly for the comfort of being able to sleep, talk,
or be silent undisturbed. After a few days he began to be conscious of a
fine similarity of taste and convictions between them. Whether it was a
question of political law or the color of a curling wave, Cornelia's
thought about it evidently ran in the same groove as his own, though more
weakly, as became the intellect of a woman. A word or a laughing glance was
enough to convey this subtle sympathy between them. It had undeniably
soothed and brightened the passage.

Bruce Neckart, at night, alone in his state-room, knew that he had left
ambition, love, happiness, behind him--that he was cut off from all the
chances of life. At night the indescribable feeling of vacancy at the base
of the brain, the stricture as of an iron band about his jaws, the
occasional sudden numbness of nerve and thought, as though he were stricken
for the instant with extreme old age, were hints which brought his
approaching fate before him as with a horror of great darkness. But on
deck, in daylight, the swell lapping the vessel, his feeble appetite
gratified by a well-cooked meal, there was some interest yet to be found in
the Southern problem or the claims of the Pre-Raphaelites; and he was
grateful to Chance for this companion who sat ready to grasp any subject
which attracted him, with a woman's fine intuition, but who demanded only
the personal courtesy due to an innocent, manly boy. She showed him, too,
during the voyage, much womanly, personal kindness, for which, being of an
honest, affectionate nature, he was grateful.

Now that they were nearing land, therefore, Mr. Neckart's thoughts as he
sat beside her were wholly busied with his companion. He was heartily sorry
for her. Ordinary observers, he reflected, would mistake her for one of the
strong-minded Advanced Sisterhood, but he knew her to be sensitive and
delicate in the extreme. He felt a certain sense of ownership in her as his
discovery. How was she to find her way alone in Europe? He had meant to
cut absolutely loose from every tie of his past life on landing, but this
thread held him still. Could he arrange any future occasional intercourse
with her? He did not mean to hamper himself at all. Still, he might be
useful to her, etc., etc. In short, the pillow on which he had rested his
aching head had been warm and pleasant to him, and he threw it away
reluctantly. There really was no reason, he argued (according to the
invariable argument of men concerning this woman), no reason whatever, why
firm and fervent friendships should not exist between persons of opposite
sex. He would have been insulted at a hint that this sympathy, _bonne
camaraderie_, with the little woman in green beside him involved disloyalty
to Jane. The little woman, however, gave neither of these fine names to
their traffic of sentiment. The Cornelias of their sex make no mistakes in
this matter.

It was a sombre, foreboding day. The passengers were gathered on the
forward deck. Neckart and Cornelia were alone, the gray fog shutting them
in. She sat with her head turned from him, immovable, but he was conscious,
through the strong subtle magnetism that belonged to this woman, of the
powerful excitement which she controlled. He quite forgot his own trouble.
This delicate, lonely creature venturing into the world! He asked her some
questions as to her plans on landing, but she answered vaguely. She heard
only the throb of the steamer beating out the few moments left to her. Her
whole life was risked upon this voyage. Had she failed? There was but an
hour left. What woman could do she had done. Good God! why must she be
silent? Her whole soul had called out for this man for years: she had loved
him with a man's force of passion. Why could she not speak now and tell him
so? She must sit beside him dumb, lifeless, unless he put out his hand to
take her!

"Half-past four," said Neckart, looking at his watch. "I am sure you are
sorry the voyage is so nearly over."

She did not speak, but he caught a gleam in her eye that startled him.
Under all her coldness she was a strange, vivid creature well worth study.
He leaned forward eagerly,

"Your undertaking terrifies you, now that the time has come. You would
rather turn back?"

She moved restlessly under his keen scrutiny, as though it hurt her. Her
hands were clasped on her knees, her eyes fixed on the black line on the
horizon which marked land. "No, I will go on."

"Cornelia," with warm kindness in his face and voice, "I am afraid you have
overrated your devotion to your work. A woman must be possessed by her art
as by a demon to enable her to endure years of solitude in a foreign
country, homeless and friendless. Have you counted all the cost? When you
leave me you cut yourself loose from all your old life." She turned her
head away, but made no reply. "I do not believe you are strong enough, poor
child!" he said presently.

Silence pleaded for her as no words of her own could have done. Neckart saw
the strained eyes, the quivering chin: his interest suddenly became alive,
intense--a feeling quite apart from the kindliness which his words
expressed.

"I begin to think you have mistaken your vocation altogether. You are too
dependent, too tender a woman, for an artist. You should have chosen a
domestic life, Cornelia." And, after an embarrassed pause of a moment, "You
should have married."

He saw the quick shudder: his own blood beat feverishly. He had always been
curious about women. He would push the probe a little deeper: "If there had
been any friend who was more to you than your art?--"

She turned her head slowly. The bleached face and burning eyes fastened on
his own told her story before she spoke: "I have had no friend but you,
Bruce."

Neckart started to his feet, hot from head to foot like a blushing girl. He
paced the deck dumb with shame and confusion. It was long before he found
courage to look at her. Her hands were clasped over her face: she was
sobbing in a helpless, strengthless way that seemed to put her on the
ground at his feet. He looked toward the land. Would it never come nearer?
Finally, feeling himself wholly a scoundrel, and moved by a great
compassion and as great annoyance, he pushed the green cloak aside and sat
down hastily on the bench beside her, beginning to talk rapidly. If the
limb must come off, the quicker the better.

"I understand just what you mean, Miss Fleming. You need a friend, an
adviser, being here in Europe alone. Of course you turn to me, remembering
old times in Delaware, and--and--" She had stopped sobbing now, and was
watching him breathlessly, her eyes following his lips as he spoke.
Neckart, looking at her, broke down.

"How can I do it?" he thought. "This woman's whole life has been given to
me, and I did not know it!--It's natural," he began again aloud, "that you
should turn to me. You know how gladly I would be your friend--"

She shook her head, her straining eyes on his. "Yes, gladly--thankfully!"
(Surely, it was only right to soften the blow.) "You cannot know how--how
dear you have always been to me, Cornelia. But I can have nothing to do
with friendship or any other relation which makes a man's life worth
endurance. I am barred out from so much of my birthright by my blood."

"What do you mean, Bruce?"

"You know the fate of the Davidges: I need not go over the story. God knows
it is not a pleasant subject for me to dwell upon. But for the last year I
have had unmistakable proof that I have the hereditary disease. That is the
reason why I have given up my business and every tie in life, and
expatriated myself."

As he spoke she rose, shaken with excitement; her face took on a new
meaning; for the moment she was a young and beautiful woman: "Oh, Bruce!
Bruce! you are all wrong! Is it possible that you have never been
undeceived? There is not a drop of the Davidge blood in your veins!"

"What do you mean?"

"I have heard the story from my mother a hundred times. Your father was
married twice--the first time in Maryland, where you were born. Your mother
died at your birth. He came to Kent county and married Miss Davidge, who
never had any children. It was the first symptom of her insanity that she
conceived the idea that you were her own son, and your father willingly
humored her in the belief. You were deceived too as a child, lest you might
betray the real facts to her. But I thought when you were a man you would
be told the truth."

"How could I?" said Neckart, bewildered. "My father died when I was a boy
of ten, and my mother--But she was not my mother!" His eyes filled: he
turned hastily away. It seemed to him as if the dear old mother had just
then died to him.

Cornelia timidly touched his arm: "But you do not understand. You are not a
Davidge. You are free from the Davidge disease."

"Free?" It was not easy to turn back the convictions and terrors of a
lifetime in a moment. He stared at her stunned: "Then these symptoms have
been only caused by overwork, as the doctors said? I--I am like other men?"

"Yes."

"Merciful God!"

Cornelia leaned over the taffrail. Would he come to her? The blood ebbed
weakly in her veins; the rush of the water below roared like thunder; as
the minutes passed a deadly sickness came into her breast. She looked to
find him. He was at the other end of the deck, talking with the captain,
his swarthy face glowing, his eyes like coals of fire.

"The Russia is the first steamer to New York," she heard the captain say.
"You can board her to-night. This is a very sudden resolution, Mr.
Neckart?"

"Yes. But I must return to my business at once. There are other matters too
which--matters which I have neglected."

"But your health? You mentioned a cerebral disorder which required rest?"

"Oh, I am much better! The sea-voyage--I am another man, sir!"

He walked down the deck, his back toward her. It was the heavy figure, the
swinging awkward gait, which she remembered twenty years ago on the old
farm-road. The world was born anew to him: health, work, chances--he had
but to stretch out his hands and clutch them all again, and under all was
the sweet triumphant passion.

"Jane! Jane!"

His eyes strained back over the long waste of water. But as for Cornelia,
he had forgotten that she was in the world.

When the people were leaving the steamer to go on the tug, she came up to
him. It was easier to bear another turn of the rack than be utterly dropped
out of remembrance.

"We part here, Mr. Neckart," with an admirably cordial little smile,
holding out her gloved hand.

Neckart stammered with sudden remorse and pity: "'Pon my soul, Miss
Fleming, I forgot that you were going ashore! Forgive me. But a man
reprieved with the axe at his neck can't be expected to have his senses at
call."

"You go back, then?"

"Oh, immediately! I must regain my--my work. What can I do for you?"
zealously. "Your baggage, now? There will be nothing dutiable, of course.
Will you have it sent to London or direct to the Continent? You told me
your plans, but--"

"You have forgotten them," smiling. "The baggage is already on its way. You
forget I am one of the capable, self-reliant sisterhood. No. You can do
nothing for me but to say good-bye."

Neckart caught her hand and wrung it vehemently, but it lay with its smooth
kid covering passive in his palm. He began to say something to her about
her art and success, but the words seemed a ghastly mockery and died in his
throat.

"Oh, I shall succeed, undoubtedly, but in a low grade. My ability is of
inferior quality. I know all my limitations," with a sudden metallic laugh.

"You will return in a year or two, and--"

"No, I shall not return. I shall never see you again," looking for the
first time in his face.

Neckart glanced beyond her to the strange city, vast and dreary in the
twilight and drizzle and falling soot. The docks were swarming with life.
Some of their fellow-passengers had already landed and been met by eager
friends, and were driven away to their homes. This woman was going
friendless into the night and crowd. She was so little and lonely and
hardly used! But what could he do? He had not a minute to lose if he would
board the Russia.

"Miss Fleming, I owe a fresh lease of life to you. I shall always think of
you with gratitude."

"What I gave you was a free gift," she said in a very quiet voice. "I want
no gratitude in return for it. Good-bye."

"Good-bye."

She suddenly raised his hand and kissed it.

"Cornelia!"

But she was gone, and in a moment was lost in the hurrying crowds, on which
a sullen rain was beginning to fall.

Before midnight Neckart was ploughing his way back. His brain was quite
clear--no threats of paralysis or sudden age. He lay awake building honest
air-castles--new plans for the paper, dreams of happiness for Jane as fresh
and sweet as a boy's of his first love. But through them all the kiss on
his hand burned like fire. He rubbed it again and again angrily.

He wanted no guilty damned spot about him when he came to Jane.


CHAPTER XXII.

When the door of the hut opened Bruno growled furiously. Mr. Van Ness
appeared on the threshold, smiling, benign, a goodly sight, from his blond
head and the yellow topaz on his snowy shirt-front to the polished boots.

"Down, Bruno, down!" said Jane.

The old hunter observed that though she stood erect she could not bring her
voice above a whisper. She looked at Van Ness like a kid that the dogs
were going to tear to death. Glenn came up hastily between her and the
stranger. He had the dog's sudden antipathy to him and to his smile.

"What is your business?"

Van Ness advanced and held out his hand cordially. The mountains had had
their effect upon him: his irritated nerves lay now quieted out of sight in
the thick cool flesh. As he ascended the heights he had laid his plans.
Gentleness first, force if need be: gentle measures would no doubt suffice.
The law would ensure to him immediate possession of his wife. She had the
devilish obstinacy of a mule, but she was his wife. He would bring her to
love him at last, and their future life would be eminently respectable and
comfortable. Laidley's estate must yield now, on an average? The remainder
of the ride had passed in pleasant calculation. Never had his temper been
more serene or firm than when he presented himself before his wife.

"What's your business?" said the old man.

"My business," gently, "is with that lady. I have followed her here from
New York, and I thank you heartily, sir, for taking care of her."

"Of course I'll take care of Jane. I'll not allow her to be follered or
disturbed, neyther.--Do you want to see this man, child?"

Jane did not hear him. Her eyes were fastened on the handsome figure, all
light and benignity. She had thought she was done with it for ever. It
seemed to her now as if it never would leave her sight again.

"You kin see clearly that you're unwelcome to her," said Glenn.--"Wife,
take Jane into her own room until this gentleman is gone."

"When I go," said Van Ness with a pleasant, airy wave of the hand, "she
goes with me. You are kind, my dear sir, but unreasonable. I have a claim
upon this lady which even you will allow is sufficient."

"What claim has he on you, Jane?" turning his back abruptly on Van Ness.
"Has he any right to talk in this way?"

"Yes. I am his wife."

"Wife! Married! Not accordin' to law?"

"There is the certificate."

At the sight of this slip of paper, and with the rustle of it in Glenn's
hand, her strength ebbed away from Jane. It was the Law. Her prejudices and
dislikes seemed suddenly insignificant, helpless, in this mighty force. It
had the same effect on the ignorant, law-abiding mountaineer.

"I don't see but as it's correct," turning it over, perplexed. "She's yer
legal wife."

"No matter ef she were his wife a hundred times," cried his wife: "she
shall not go back ef she chooses to stay. P'raps he's abused her. He shall
not force her away."

"I have no wish to force her to leave you," in the same gentle, cheerful
tone. "Be rational, dear friends. I leave Jane to answer whether I have
ever used toward her a word or action that was not loving and tender."

"No," said Jane, dully.

"Do you know anything of me which would justify your flight? Answer me
candidly. Is there a single reason why you should not honor and respect me
as your husband?"

Jane was silent. The law within her gave a savage answer. But what was that
but blind prejudice? She must answer according to the judgment of the
outside world.

"Is there any reason?"

"No--none."

Van Ness nodded cheerfully, and motioned the hunter and his wife
confidentially to his side: "I will explain the matter to you precisely as
it stands," his light eyes looking over their heads to Jane.

She stood irresolutely a moment, and then went into the little room which
had been set apart for her. She could not draw her breath so near to him.

Van Ness, peering through the open door, saw that there was but one narrow
window inside, opening over a sheer descent of rocks. "It is quite natural
that you should love Jane and wish to defend her, as you knew her when she
was a child," he said, raising his voice that she might hear. "But you do
not understand. She married me of her own free will by the bedside of her
dying father. His last act was to give her to me with his blessing. You can
judge whether he would have chosen an unworthy husband for her."

"'Tain't likely," said Glenn. But his wife shook her head.

"An hour after his death Jane escaped: left her dead father--left me whom
she loved. The only rational way of accounting for her course is that the
nervous strain had proved too much for her, and that she was temporarily
insane. You can question her whether I have stated the facts correctly."

The old people glanced doubtfully in at the tall figure standing motionless
at the open window.

"She don't contradict you in nothin', sir. I'm sorry ef I was onjust to
you," said the old man slowly.

"I honor you for it! You could have no claim to my friendship as strong as
your affection for my wife."

"Yes," with deliberation, "we've allays been powerful fond of Jane. But
marriage is marriage. We won't interfere. Them as God hes jined together--"

Van Ness rose: "I shall take her with me to Asheville. Her mental trouble
may make her seem disinclined to go. But firmness and affectionate care
will soon restore her." He walked to the door: "Come, my dear wife."

Jane turned and faced him. Her very lips seemed withered: "I have given you
the money."

"I want _you_."

Van Ness waited smiling, without a word after that, his white hands held
out.

"Come, my pretty!" whispered the old woman, stroking her arm soothingly.
"Suppose you don't like him so much at first? You'll grow into it. Hundreds
of women marry without love. You must give up to the law."

The law, the whole world, were against her.

Van Ness came closer, step by step, with the inexorable steadiness of Fate
in his eye. Mrs. Glenn drew back and left them alone.

"You married me."

"I wanted to give you the money. There was my mistake."

"You cannot repair it. There is no one to help you."

She looked out at the bare peaks and the sky near at hand, and raised her
arms, clasping her hands back of her head. Her lips moved. "God will help
me," Van Ness thought he heard her say.

He put his hand on her shoulder: "Come. We must return to-night, at least
part of the way," with quiet authority.

He drew her toward him, stooped to kiss her lips.

At that moment there was a loud knocking at the outer door, and a man and
woman entered. Van Ness saw them. His hand fell from Jane's arm, his
countenance relaxed: for a moment he stood unnerved: then with quick
decision he stepped boldly forward to meet them, drawing to the door of the
chamber behind him.

"Charlotte?"

"Yes," with a shrug, "or Princess Trebizoff, Madame Varens, what you
choose. By any other name I am as dear to you. Heavens! what a chase!"
perching herself airily on the settle in front of the fire. "I am one
living ache.--I can't congratulate you on your roads, madam. But your
scenery! Ah, that goes to the heart!"

Mr. Neckart stood beside her, calmly waiting until Van Ness should turn to
him. The great reformer was brought to bay: he was alert, prompt, ready.

"You followed me here, Mr. Neckart?" turning sharply.

"Yes."

"For what purpose?"

"To bring your wife to you," glancing at Charlotte.

"I inferred that was the story which this poor creature had imposed upon
you. Surely, you know her character, Neckart? Why, she has levied blackmail
for years by just such ingenious devices. I did not suppose any statement
of hers would bear a minute's investigation from a shrewd, practical man
like yourself. So she really deceived you, eh?" with a discordant laugh.

Charlotte, drying her dainty feet at the fire, looked contemptuously over
her shoulder at him.

"There is no need of any discussion in the matter," said Neckart dryly. "We
are not here to play melodrama. The matter is easily understood. I returned
from Europe last week, and went direct to the Hemlock Farm. From the
servants I heard the details of the forced marriage and of Jane's flight. I
followed her."

"How did you find her here?"

"Betty Nichols knew that she was coming."

"Damn her! She hid it from me, her husband!"

Neckart stepped hastily forward, then controlled himself and drew back:
"She had given the route to Charlotte also. I overtook her at Baltimore.
She had stopped to obtain legal proof of your marriage to her in 1847. We
followed an hour behind you from Richmond."

Even in this imminent moment Van Ness secretly wondered how this passionate
brute of a Neckart held himself in check and talked coolly to the man who
had stolen from him the woman that he loved. It would have been in
character for him to tear his life out, like Bruno. But this was admirable
self-command! It really gratified Van Ness's taste, tottering on the verge
of ruin as he was. The truth was, that Neckart was conscious of little else
than that Jane was in the hut. The rage against this scoundrel which had
maddened him through the long journey had strangely died out. He had not
harmed her. He was like a fangless snake, to be trampled under foot at any
moment.

But she was there! He had caught a glimpse of the proud, delicate head and
its crown of yellow hair behind the door as Van Ness closed it.

The door moved. It opened, and she came out among them. Neckart rose, his
head bent upon his breast. He was deaf and blind for the time--could not
tell whether she spoke to him or not.

She went directly up to Van Ness: "I am not your wife?"

He cowered for a moment. Then, rapidly shifting his defence, he stood up,
benevolent, impregnable: "I do not deny that I was once married to this
woman. It was a mad error of my youth, long since repented of. I was
divorced from her last June."

"Ta, ta, Pliny, take care!" interrupted Charlotte. "The application for
divorce was not made until after your marriage to Miss Swendon. I told you
you would not risk a criminal trial for her sake. But I underrated your
affection. You did it."

"Then I am free?" said Jane.

"You are free," said Charlotte.

Jane turned to the door and went into the open air without a word.

"I took a good deal of trouble to come here," resumed Charlotte, brushing
some dust from her flounces, "to tell her that. I shouldn't have done it
for any other woman. But you remember that day when I was shamming death,
how she kissed me, Pliny? I didn't forget that kiss."

Van Ness stood silent, hesitating. The firelight shone upon his tall
figure, the dainty gray clothes, the shining stone, like a watchful evil
eye, upon his breast. He was a perfect presentation of prosperity and
peace. He looked at Neckart, but he was looking through the open door at a
slight figure moving among the rocks.

Van Ness rubbed his hands softly. "I do not see," he said with unctuous
precision, "that further discussion will be of any use in this matter. I
was evidently mistaken as to point of time in the divorce. No one who knows
me will suspect me of any worse error than a mistake. I will accompany you
to Asheville, Charlotte, with pleasure. I owe you no grudge for the bitter
wrong you have done me."

Charlotte rose and laughed good-naturedly: "You have your virtues, no
doubt, Pliny. So have I. I always thought we were well mated. Shall we
continue one? You may have to fall back upon my blackmailing devices, after
all. I forgot to tell you that there was an inquiry last week into the
disposition of the funds entrusted to you for the Home for Friendless
Children, and that they were reported _nil_."

For the first time in his life Van Ness blenched. The story of the marriage
could be smothered. But this was total ruin.

"The sooner you go the better," said the hunter, tapping him on the
shoulder. "Ef I understand right, you're not the kind of man as ought to
pizen these mountings long."

Van Ness moved heavily to the door. But he turned on the threshold with a
sickly smile: "I forgive you your rudeness, my friend. It is not my nature
to bear malice.--Farewell, Mr. Neckart. You have mistaken my motives in
this matter. But I shall think of you kindly.--I shall bear you all to the
throne of grace in my prayers." He shook his hand as if scattering
blessings, and went out with a lofty step and head erect.

Charlotte lingered and went up to Neckart.

"You are going to cling to that poor wretch?" he said.

"Well, he's down now, you see. There's nobody but me to stay by him. And I
can always draw on him when I'm out of funds."

"You will remember what I told you of the school in Indiana? You could live
in respectability and comfort; bring your boy home too."

"My boy? Home?" Her eyes filled with tears. "These are very tempting words,
Mr. Neckart. But oh-h! Respectability is such a bore! I must go my own gait
to the end;" and with a merry laugh and shrug she followed Van Ness.

When they were out of sight down the gorge, Neckart rose and went slowly
out to the cleft in the rock where the girl sat alone.

"Jane," he said, "the way is open between us at last. Will you come to me?"

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot write Finis to the story of any of these people. They are all
alive to-day, and the current of each life goes on with very little change.

You may still see Van Ness on the platform at all large religious or
benevolent meetings in the great cities. There was much talk of the missing
funds, but he quieted it satisfactorily. Cynical reporters throw out hints
of ugly shadows in his life, but his disciples gather more solidly about
him, trust their souls to his direction and their money to his pockets.
Simple followers of Jesus fear to condemn a light which shines so
splendidly in the market-place, and men who are not His followers accept it
as Christianity, and damn the religion as spurious and a fraud.

Charlotte is just now the successful leader of an English opera-bouffe
company which is travelling in the West. She gave the proceeds of her
benefit in every town to the poor last winter, which was supposed by all
respectable people to be an advertising trick. But it was not. The little
woman would do more than that to buy herself an entrance into the heaven
where her boy is going. She would do anything, in fact, but lead a decent
life.

Miss Fleming is still in Rome. She belongs to the modern school which
regards the nice reproduction of drapery and dry goods as the highest art.
She sends home pictures, which sometimes gain a place by sufferance in a
dark corner at the spring exhibition.

Mr. Neckart once bought one, a _Lady's Toilette_.

"A fair specimen of the millinery cult," he said, showing it to Judge
Rhodes, "Poor Cornelia! Why is it that she never, even by chance, paints a
clean-minded woman?" He sent a cheque for double the price asked for it.
But he threw the picture on the market again, not wishing to take it home.
He had married a singularly clean-minded woman.

Cornelia's first impulse was to send the cheque back. But, instead, she
bought a ring with a single costly ruby in it, and has worn it ever since,
though she has been hungry for bread many a time. Hungry or not, she makes
her studio one of the pleasantest resorts for the young artists in Rome.
She has cut her hair short, wears a jaunty velvet coat and man's collar:
her arms are bony, but she bares them, and still shoots languishing glances
from out of the crowsfeet. The young men laugh to each other. "A good
fellow, Corny," they say, "but what a pity that she is not a man!"

The Home for Friendless Children is at last a reality in New York, though
Van Ness is not a director. It was established by the editor Neckart, whose
wife, it is said, endowed it with her own fortune. This charitable deed
left them with but a very moderate competency. Neckart managed to buy in
the Hemlock Farm, out of his income, for her and the boy.

He drives them over once a week to see the children in the Home, each of
whom Jane knows and tries to spoil.

"You are glad that we made this act of reparation, Jane?" he said to her
one day.

"Reparation?" She hesitated, and then said, "I know that I made many
mistakes when I was a law to myself. You are my law now, Bruce."

"But you are satisfied that it was right to give back the money?" he
insisted.

"Oh, of course! The money was unlucky! It made you uncomfortable too. And I
look on it as a free gift from Swendon here to the poor little babies,"
taking her boy on her knee and stroking his curls. "But," she added in a
low voice, "the money was mine. I was quite right when I burned the will."

Neckart laughed good-humoredly, and touched the horses with his whip. There
is no man living who loves his wife more tenderly; and Jane is the most
simple and prosaic of women. Yet there are times when she seems, even to
him, a woman whose acquaintance he has scarcely made, and whom he can never
hope to know better.

REBECCA HARDING DAVIS



OUIDA'S NOVELS.


For a number of years the novels of Ouida have been the delight of their
readers and the scorn and laughing stock of reviewers. Every new volume
that has appeared has given a thrill of occasionally guilty delight to
those whose studies are confined to the shelves of the circulating library,
while critics have beaten the air with their attacks against this writer's
frequent coarseness of tone, her hodge-podge of learning, and the superfine
elegance which makes the air of most of her stories so heavy and
enervating. Nothing could show more thoroughly the futility of criticism
than the powerlessness of all the evil-minded notices of her many books.
The reviewer may have spoken words of wisdom that would have honored
Solomon, but the public did not care how inaccurate Ouida's Latin
quotations and classical references were: they were entertained by her
novels, and disregarded him who denounced her, just as those who are
running to a house where they will hear music, breathe perfumes and see
fine dresses pass by the hungry man who stands outside shaking his fist and
growling at pleasure-seekers. People who are anxious to waltz do not care
to stop and discuss with political economists the advisability of giving up
luxuries, nor to hear the band begin the best of Beethoven's symphonies:
they want to hear the opening notes of one of Strauss's compositions. The
same love of amusement is at the root of all novel-reading--unless indeed
it be a feeling of social duty which brings so many readers to George
Eliot's novels--and Ouida is pretty sure to give her admirers a full dose
of highly-seasoned entertainment which cannot fail to please unsensitive
palates.

The materials with which she brews her fiery and somewhat heady draughts
are almost monotonously alike. Her heroes are beauteous, long-limbed,
silky-haired, graceful men: if the scene is laid in England, they are
generally officers, always of high family and terribly dissipated. Beneath
a quiet, courteous demeanor they hide passionate feeling, indomitable
bravery and great capacity for friendship. They are adorned by every vice,
and are consequently loved by every woman. As for the women, who except
Ouida can describe them? They are faultlessly beautiful, exceedingly
headstrong and full of fascinating peccadilloes. Next to the _beaux
sabreurs_ come the gifted artists, and alongside of the wicked ladies of
rank appear the ladies without rank, but with every other charm of the
sinful sort. Brandy and soda, hock and seltzer and cigarettes almost
deserve mention among the _dramatis personæ_: they serve to delight her
aristocracy, and for the aristocracy Ouida has a most plebeian esteem. Its
faults are virtues in disguise: gambling away a large fortune in a night is
heroism; faithlessness in love is its first duty; anything like decorum is
the most "caddish" Philistinism. These being Ouida's literary principles,
and also the delight of her readers, it is easy to see how absolutely
useless would be any solemn attempt to prove that there is anything good in
the world except wickedness. Ouida has pages of pseudo-rhythmical soliloquy
in which she alleges the truth of her statements about lords and ladies,
but, whether true or false, there is a charm to her readers in her flowery
account of what their social betters do. Scandal never fails of a listener,
and who can serve such huge banquets of scandal as will Ouida at a moment's
notice? She offers no mere crumb that has dropped from a rich table, but a
mass that concerns every duke and duchess and earl and countess in the
peerage. Victor Hugo has taught a docile generation the power of the
melodrama, and Ouida, an apt pupil, has written in English the most violent
protests against human beings as they are, and has encouraged the use of
exaggeration in the representation of life. She employs the much-abused
method of contrast. She draws a man who is stained with every vice, and to
outweigh his crying faults she makes him tell the truth under difficult
circumstances, or keep a promise, or possibly do a generous action, and the
reader, who has admired the hero at his worst, thrills with fervent pride
in his colossal right-doing at last.

The air of worldly wisdom with which her books are filled is another
powerful attraction. Persons who know so much about wickedness must have,
it would seem, a rare knowledge of human life and human beings; and the
poor reader, whose worst notion of vice is working embroidery on Sunday,
has forced down her throat stenographic reports of the talk in demireps'
parlors, with occasional interludes in which the author charges her critics
with squeamishness for objecting to her parade on the dung-hills of life.
But it is useless to make too much mention of her faults. She is like most
of the writers who reject all limitations and say they must describe people
as they are, and then seek in the mire for people to write about.

Putting aside the question of the impropriety which taints by no means all
her work, it is well to find what constitutes her power in other
directions. She has a large following, and many who utterly condemn her
gross faults are very anxious to read her new books as fast as they appear.
In the first place, she has a good deal of real power. It is not accuracy,
or refinement, or the accomplishment of much by moderate means, but a great
accumulation of effective points, that carries the reader through her
books. It is not a man whom she takes for a hero, but a picturesque
combination of attractive failings, united with an impossible beauty and
grace. It is a vulgar ideal that she worships, and it is vulgarer in fact
than as she sees it; but she worships it with positive adoration, and she
warms the reader with something of her own fervor. She is in earnest, and
she has the gift of expression, often of tawdry, bombastic expression, but
often powerful and impressive.

Take _Chandos_, for instance: it is the melodrama run mad. Chandos belongs
to one of the best families in England; he has genius in all directions; he
writes books that sell as only very good and very poor books sell; he is as
beautiful as the figures that adorn tailors' patterns; his wealth seems
boundless; in immorality Don Juan was but a blundering schoolboy by his
side. This cold description does him no manner of justice: any one who
knows Ouida's novels will readily recall the type, and he stands head and
shoulders above the rest. He warms a snake in his bosom in the guise of a
friend, who manages his affairs and leads the lordly Chandos to total
bankruptcy. The languid voluptuary goes out into the world and knows every
kind of suffering: at length, twenty years afterward, he is restored to his
rights, and by a magnanimous effort he pardons the treacherous friend, who,
he finds, is his illegitimate brother, and all ends well. But the reader's
feelings are reached in a way that no one would suspect from this meagre
statement. Chandos lives in halls of porphyry, and does everything for the
man who betrays him; he is absolutely above suspicion, just as the other
man is without a scrap of virtue or kindliness; and the contrast between
his high and his low estate is done in black and white, with lights and
shadows as distinct as if the book had been written under a calcium flame.
That the book has considerable crude force cannot be denied even by those
who are ready to sneer most loudly at its glaring faults. By dint of
exaggerating virtues and vices the author dulls for a time the inevitable
revolt of the reader against such unnatural representations of life. This
story--or it may be other readers have been struck by some other of the
series--impresses itself upon the memory for a time, just as a play would
in which we seem to see a man jump out of a third-story window, but in both
cases we should be inclined to question the author's respect for
literature. All such work is like scene-painting, but if a man prefers
gazing at chromo-lithographs to visiting the Pitti Gallery, he cannot be
talked out of his tastes.

The reaction against realism shows itself now-a-days in many curious ways.
Alongside of an intense devotion to science there flourishes the vulgarest
superstition regarding the occupations and intellectual capacity of
departed spirits, and the imagination of the present day finds its frequent
expression in coarse melodrama. But even for the melodrama Ouida, clever as
she is, lacks one important element--namely, a sense of humor. There is a
monotonous seriousness in her stories, and frequently an unrelieved pathos,
which is in direct violation of the law that commands grotesqueness and
misery to be put in close antithesis by the writer who is anxious to win
fame. The airy _badinage_ of some of her characters is singularly void of
lightness and frolicsomeness. Their unfailing cynicism alone makes good
this noticeable deficiency. This fault distinguishes Ouida very clearly
from Dumas and Victor Hugo, for Dumas's high spirits seldom failed him,
while Victor Hugo combines contrasting qualities in his novel as carefully
as if he were making a salad. But Ouida can relieve the strain she makes
upon her readers' feelings only by a profuse display of worldly wisdom.
Every-day experience shows that vulgar, unrelieved cynicism is an
easily-learned accomplishment: any credulous person, inclined to gossip and
ashamed of being thought decorous, can be hand and glove with Ouida in a
very short time, although it is by no means every one who out of such
tawdry material can weave a story that shall be generally interesting. The
double nature of this writer is an instance of a rather rare combination.
She can be as vulgar as a gossiping dressmaker with a keen love of scandal,
and yet she has a vein of poetical sensitiveness, of strong feeling, which
stands in strange contrast with her heavy-handed cynicism. In fact, she
gilds in her own fashion the crudest display of coarseness and selfishness.
Possibly it is too much to say that she _gilds_: she hangs round with
tinsel all sorts of subjects, over which she rejoices as a raw schoolboy
rejoices over his first cigar; and this with an infantile delight in her
own _savoir vivre_ and an ecstatic vain-glory in her faults which throw
real merits into the shade.

A melodramatic imagination--by which is meant a proneness to look at things
as Ouida looks at them, an inclination to see crude picturesqueness of
effect--apparently fills its owner or victim with the most puffed-up pride.
Anything like moderation or exactness is despised, good workmanship is
regarded as the plodding of stupidity, and all chance of cultivating what
talents the writer may have is thrown over to find place for strong effect.
All of Ouida's desultory reading seems to have taught her nothing except
that by heaping up agonizing incidents a point will be reached at last when
even the most hardened reader will have to succumb and give his sympathy to
much-persecuted innocence or to fascinating guilt; and her power of
inventing harrowing scenes is practically unlimited. So many writers are
cold and unlifelike that Ouida's exaggeration seems to many a most
pardonable fault, so far indeed as it seems to be a fault. Her perpetual
references to the classics probably appear to the ignorant reader like the
profoundest lore: her chatter about French literature, especially about
books seldom discussed in mixed company, furthers this delusion. Indeed, it
is pitiable to go through one of her novels and pick out the rubbish she
collects and sets in order for the delight of an eager public. Here are
some gems from _In a Winter City_. The present condition of Florence,
disguised as Floralia, is thus compared with its past glories: "It is
Belisarius turned croupier to a gaming-table; it is Cæsar selling cigars
and newspapers; it is Apelles drawing for the _Albums pour Rire_; it is
Pindar rhyming the couplets for _Fleur de Thé_; it is Praxiteles designing
costumes for a calico ball; it is Phidias forming the poses of a ballet."
That gem is on the first page of the book, which is more like a tenth-rate
French novel than any English story that has appeared for some time.

Here are a few lines from _Chandos_, describing the revels of the
aristocracy in a "summer villa at Richmond belonging to him [the hero, of
course], where most of these Bohemian dinners and suppers _à la Régence_
were given--a charming place, half covered in flowering trees and pyramids
of May blossoms,... with the daintiest and cosiest banqueting-room in the
world, hung with scarlet silk, drawn back here and there to show some
beautiful picture by Titian, Greuze, Regnault or La Tour; large enough to
hold twenty people, but small enough to fill _à huis clos_ like a cabinet;
with the air scented by dreamy incenses and dishes and wines under the
mellowed light that would have entranced even Lucullus had he been throned
there on his ivory chair....

"'The art of life is--to enjoy!' cried Chandos that night, lifting up to
crown the sentiment a deep glass of glowing red Roussillon.

"'Toast worthy of Lucullus and Ovid! and you are a master of the science,'
said John Trevenna, who was perhaps the only one who saw quite clearly
through that intoxicating atmosphere of pastilles, and perfumes, and wines,
and crushed flowers, and bruised fruits, and glancing tresses, and languid
eyes, and lips fit for the hymns of a Catullus.

"'He is the darling of the gods!' cried Flora de l'Orme, that magnificent
Arlésienne, with her melting, Greek-like glance, and her cheek like a peach
in the sun, while she leaned over him and twisted, Catullus-like, in the
bright masses of his long, golden hair a wreath of crimson roses washed in
purple Burgundy."

Probably, if the pink-cheeked beauties on glove- and handkerchief-boxes
could be filled with the breath of life, and be set down in a land of which
the only authentic representations are those on a drop-curtain, this is the
way they would talk and act; and the same refined taste that goes to the
painting of such figures and scenery is manifested in the production of
such literature as makes up the bulk of many of Ouida's novels.

And yet a writer who so handicaps herself with vulgarity and actual
indecency and the grossest snobbishness has underneath that unattractive
varnish a fervent passion that is at least impressive. While revelling in
such scenes as made the notoriety of the author of _Guy Livingstone_, she
has touches of real pathos, over-wrought possibly, but cold in comparison
with her absurdest writings. In _Signa_, for instance, the whole story of
Bruno's love for his betrayed sister's child has certain elements of
fineness which atone for much of the rubbish swept into some of Ouida's
earlier novels. The book is not one for the Sunday-school library, nor will
any one be injured by not reading it, but there is more ability in it than
one will find in a great many books by more discreetly-admired writers. It
is a romance of a kind not over common in English fiction, and it forms a
grateful change from the arid records of the cool love-making of English
curates and home-bred young women as sung by this writer's contemporaries.
The book has the faults that surely mark an untrained writer, but there is
nothing petty in it: indeed, there is a generous breadth of treatment which
shows most strongly how Ouida's natural gifts, which had been wasted by
glorifying club-talk and midnight suppers, blossomed forth under the
influence of Italy. She was possessed by its charm, and inspired by it to
put all her new feeling into this story of passion. There is no trace of
the confining bounds that had previously kept her busy turning over
unworthy material: she spoke out boldly; and if this is not a great book,
it is at least a book with some of the qualities of greatness in it.
Indeed, it is of a sort that makes one regret that the author had not been
exposed to more favorable influences: wiser blame and more temperate praise
might possibly have freed her from the faults that show their head even
here much more than is desirable. But what is fine in it is something no
one could have taught her--the sympathy with ambitious youth, the struggle
for fame on the part of the hero, his uncle's stern nature, and the
cleverness with which some of the lesser characters are drawn: all these
things, which are to be found beneath the facile sing-song of the prose and
the perpetual exaggeration of everything good as well as of everything bad,
are surely the proof of rare original power. Her very excellence at times
serves but to make the reader impatient with her faults, which more than
anything are _vulgar_; and genius and vulgarity do not agree well.

But her good qualities are best seen in some of her short stories, and most
of all in those collected in a single volume entitled _Leaf in the Storm,
and Other Stories_, the others being entitled "A Dog of Flanders," "A
Branch of Lilac," and "A Provence Rose;" all of which first appeared in
_Lippincott's Magazine_. These are free from the faults of taste which so
generally mar her work, although at times the reader comes on exaggerated
touches which lessen rather than intensify the pathos; but on the whole it
is impossible not to admire, and to admire warmly, the author's power.
Ouida here shows her true feeling, and feeling is not over-abundant in
contemporary fiction. There is plenty of acute observation, clever
description and more or less good-natured satire, but all these things are
slight and meagre by the side of strong and genuine feeling. The greatest
novel-writer will combine both, and will not sacrifice one to the other;
but only too often Ouida throws aside actual and imaginary probability for
the sake of melodramatic effect. Of these short tales just mentioned, the
one giving its name to the book and "A Branch of Lilac" are especially to
be mentioned with respect, and they justify almost any amount of wrath on
the part of the reader with the author's excessive abuse of her gifts. In
her reaction against conventionality and everything that is humdrum she
continually falls into worse pitfalls, but here she is really tragic and
really pathetic. In three of these tales she draws the sufferings of
struggling genius, which she is fond of describing, though she has never
done it so well as here; and in two of them, "A Dog of Flanders" and "A
Provence Rose," she combines in the story unusual ingredients, one being
told by a rose that witnesses the incidents, while in the other the dog's
feelings are set forth at great length. This is always a difficult thing to
do; and it is to be noticed that in both disguises we find Ouida under
other names, but yet there is enough that is touching in the treatment to
dispel harsh criticism. This is not the only time that Ouida has introduced
this transmigration of souls into her books, for _Puck_ is a story told by
a dog, but unfortunately the dog has the author's ineradicable preference
for low company, and a sort of nineteenth-century Moll Flanders has an
undue prominence in the book. _Bébée_, on the other hand, reminds the
reader of the innocent short tales: it is a charming little story without
the ambitious tawdriness of the longer romances. _In a Winter City_, again,
reeks with fashionable follies and is written in Ouida's most approved
worst style.

_Ariadne_, the latest of her novels, shows in many ways a marked
improvement over her earlier work. The story is an admirably invented one:
almost every incident is of course crammed with pathos, while the main plot
is exceedingly touching. It is supposed to be narrated by an accomplished
Roman cobbler, who is a sound critic of art as well as an expert repairer
of shoes. He comes across one day a young girl of great beauty who has been
wonderfully educated in the classics by her father, and who now, after her
parent's death, has come to Rome to find her grandfather, a miserly Jew.
This unnatural grandfather drives her from his door, and the cobbler,
finding her in great misery, offers her his room, when she at once falls
sick, while he lives in his stall. When she has recovered she begins to
carve statues--her father had been a sculptor--and these coming to the
sight of a great French artist, Maryx by name, he makes her his pupil.
Gradually her teacher comes to love her, but there appears on the stage a
great poet, Hilarion--there is never any lack of greatness in these
novels--who is faultlessly beautiful and whom every woman infalliby loves
at sight. Of course, Ariadne is not an exception, so that one day Maryx and
the cobbler are surprised to find that Hilarion and she have run away
together. It would be unnecessary to describe the book too closely from
this point: it is enough to say that Hilarion soon wearies of her, while
she never changes in her feeling toward him. When she is deserted in Paris
the cobbler goes there and brings her back to Rome, when Maryx learns again
the hopelessness of his love, and later Hilarion shoots him in a duel.
After a time Ariadne dies broken-hearted, just as Hilarion has learned
really to love her, so that he survives to mourn hopelessly the evil he has
done. However this may sound in a cold abstract, it cannot be denied that
the reader receives a deep impression of the tragedy which is the subject
of the book. Ouida never fails to supply the tragic element in great
abundance, but here it is given us not on the writer's mere assertion, but
with such exposition of the characters as marks some of her later stories,
but is perhaps more prominent here than elsewhere. The heroine, for
instance, is well drawn: her intensity and purity, and indeed her genius,
are all clearly brought before the reader. It is something rare to conceive
such a character, but it is infinitely rarer to find any definite image of
it conveyed by a writer to any one else. To be sure, this is done with a
great waste of purple ink, but yet there are touches which indicate not
power alone, but also that acuteness of observation and intelligent
knowledge of method which are needed to give even great power its value.
Maryx too is well represented, and everywhere, even when the captious would
complain of too much melodrama, there are scenes and bits of talk that are
good because they are natural. In time justice will be done to the ability
of a writer who, when the short-hand report of talk over tea-cups was the
fashion, was able to rise above such mechanical handiwork and write a story
full of passion. Faulty, tawdry and theatrical as much of Ouida's writing
is, she does know--and knowing she at times describes--genuine passion, as
she has done here. Much as she has spun out the tale, it is a fine one, and
an admirable example of her best side. The revenge that Ariadne makes in
carving a statue of Hilarion as he seemed to her, so that even he felt some
shame at his inferiority to her conception of him, is impressive. The way,
too, in which Rome is kept as a background for all the events described is
worthy of notice. But here as elsewhere the main fault is this, which is
best described in her own characteristic language: "How one wishes that
they had told us the fate of Nausicaa! When she leaned against the pillar
and bade her farewell to the great wanderer, we know her heart was heavy:
never again could she play by the shore glad-hearted with her maidens: when
she had passed, that day, out between the silver dogs of Hephæstus, through
the west wind and the pomegranate-blossoms, to the sea, she had left her
happy youth behind her. So much we feel sure of, but we would fain know
more. Were it a modern poem, how it would be amplified! how much we should
hear of her conflict of silence and sorrow! No modern would have the
coldness to leave her there, leaning against the column in Alcinöus's hall,
and never add a word of her fate. But that is our weakness: we cannot
'break off the laurel-bough' shortly and sharply, unburnt, as they did of
old."

Not only is she unable to "break off the laurel-bough:" she decks it with
gewgaws and tinsel; she sets the reader's teeth on edge with references to
the "Scipii" and to the "gens Quintilii," and never lets pass a chance to
bring some bit of ancient or mediæval Roman history into the story, which
is also weighed down with superfluous sentiment. It would be hard to find a
writer more affected by the "weakness" of redundant description and
expression. Then, too, the glorification of all her characters, her way of
giving them unlimited wealth, beauty or genius, is like that play of the
imagination of children which they exhibit by talking of the time when they
will be rich and will give one another hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Every one of the longer novels is marred by this fictitious extravagance:
it is in her short stories alone that she manages to touch the earth, and
in them her pathos is genuine and direct.

THOMAS SERGEANT PERRY.



A KENTUCKY DUEL.

TWO PARTS.--II.


CHAPTER IV.

When Walter Brown heard of the delicacy of his clerk in keeping the name of
his family out of that foolish altercation, and saw the masterly summary he
had made of the business confided to his hand, the bold operator in pork
recognized a value in his clerk. To his remonstrances Bob said, "It's a
closed account, sir, and I must pay the balances. If I let the police
interfere, I shall have a dozen rows on hand, and could not manage the
roughs in the yard."

But, though Mr. Brown saw that he could not interfere without injuring
Bob's reputation, he resolved that she who had made the quarrel should stop
it. He sent the dowager, packed with her prejudices, to the police
magistrate. "Hold up your hand. You swear L. B. Mason, Esq., and ----
Nettles contemplate a breach of the peace?" said the judge.

"I can't swear of my own knowledge," said she. "It is incredible a nettles
"--with a small _n_--"should meet a Brown," with a four-line pica _B_. And
it did seem incredible to the august dowager.

"Really, madam, we have nothing to found a warrant upon," said the
court.--"Show the lady out, and call the next case."

In fact, as decided in _Ex-parte Jones_, the right of personal redress was
recognized by law in Kentucky, and an elective judiciary cared neither to
ignore nor acknowledge the case. But in going out she heard a policeman
make some reference to the duel in conversing with a comrade.

"Of what were you speaking just now?" asked the dowager.

"Of a little game between a low-down dead-beat and a gent," said the
policeman.

"If I understand you," said the dowager, "I am glad to find such correct
feeling in men of your class."

"Oh, it's so on the Force," said the man. "Short-stop is quite a favo-rite
with the tip-toppers. You may ha' heerd o' him. T'other's a sort o'
stool-pigeon--name Mason. They do say as a rich aunt o' his'n got him into
it. Blest if she'll get much of him out of it when Nettles is done with
him! Why, Nettles beats professionals!--Now, boy, you going to drive your
missis' carriage, or shall I? This ain't no place to scrouge about and
stare."

Aunt Fanny sank back astounded. Was she a Moabitish mother who had
sacrificed her nephew to a professional duellist? "Drive to Lawyer
Winnett's," she said--"quick!"

"Your information was sufficient," said the lawyer with that contempt the
profession has for irregular police proceedings, "but the code is a bastard
child of the law. If you had a warrant the officers would not execute it."

"But," said the dowager, brought face to face with a family prejudice in
favor of the code, "it is too horrible to suppose that peace-officers will
stand coolly by and see homicide contemplated and executed without
interference."

"True, nevertheless," said the lawyer, too familiar with contradictions of
the law to regard it. "But, in fact, I wished to speak to you of your
nephew's affairs. Captain Mason sent a schedule of his liabilities this
morning, saying you had authorized their settlement. I don't regard Captain
Mason's stories usually, but there was something about a family marriage
included, which, knowing your wishes, I think justifies me in referring to
it."

"The wretch!" said his aunt. "I have authorized nothing of the kind."

"No? Well, excuse my reference to it. It just occurred to me if such an
arrangement was contemplated we might kill two birds with one stone."

"How?" asked the dowager. "I want this atrocious duel stopped. The rabble
have my name mixed in it, as if I counselled or approved. I am shocked at
it, and it must be stopped at any cost."

"Of course," said the lawyer, his professional coolness contrasting with
the dowager's fierce temper. "I might buy up Captain Mason's notes in the
hands of Walker or Levi, and have him arrested in civil proceedings as
about to leave the State to avoid his creditors. That writ would go into
the hands of the sheriff, and I do not doubt its execution. Captain Mason's
credit is such at present he cannot find security. If necessary, I could
put on some others," looking over the schedule. "I have no doubt it will
hold him until the matter is stopped. If you instruct me to that effect,
you can go home, madam, and leave it to me."

How refreshing it was to meet a practical, sound head in all that
confusion! Much relieved, Aunt Fanny hurried home to comfort Sudie, just
wakened to grief by her father's visit.

The dowager's appreciation of the shrewd lawyer's hypothesis was heightened
almost immediately by a visit from Wylde Payne with a note from her nephew
soliciting pecuniary assistance. The dowager fairly clapped her hands. It
began to assume all the interest of a race or a match game at whist. "We
shall take every trick, child," said she; "and this Mister Payne, my
overseer's grandson, who made all this trouble, shall be laid by the heels
to begin with."

She kept him in the anteroom while she despatched a swift messenger to her
lawyer asking for a policeman to take Payne into custody. Lind Mason's
second, it will be observed, had had every assurance that his principal was
fighting his aunt's quarrel, and looked for no small share of commendation
for his own zeal and services. He had time to hear the regular movements of
a great household revolving about the pivotal dinner-hour before he rang a
second time. Then the mulatto maid, Memmie, appeared: "This way, sah. Yalla
Memmie done knowed ye when ye could tie you'se'f in a cawnah o' yo'
pock't-hankchah and put yo'se'f in yo' pock't."

Pondering on such precocious jugglery of his early years, he was ushered
into the dowager's boudoir, where she sat with Sudie and ma'amselle.

"Be seated, Mr. Payne," she said with that royal gesture of command
habitual to power in her sphere. "I am glad to see you. You are at the
bottom of this bloody business."

Payne took breath as from a sudden douche, and began a speech conned over
in the carriage: "In a crisis involving the honor of a noble family--"

"I know the false and criminal jargon by which you justify your barbarous
code," interrupted the haughty dowager. "It lacks that manly directness I
require in all who address me. Why, sir, did you avail yourself of a
quick-tempered old woman's hasty words to force her wretched nephew into
wicked folly? How dared you intercept my messenger?" sharply, as if at a
new and sudden offence just sprung.

All this was astounding to Payne as the caresses of a tigress; but his too
was a bold, high temper when aroused, and he retorted: "Madam, if you
desire your nephew to be kicked and cuffed and driven from his cousin's
house, it cannot be as Wylde Payne's friend. Your messenger was excluded by
Captain Mason's orders, he having matters more important in hand than the
intermeddling of a lady who had forced him into this business, but who now
makes a merit of deserting him and abusing those who decline to act as
treacherously."

The hot shot went home to the magazine, for the dowager rose blazing: "I
know you for murder's lackey, and the cheap notoriety you seek, at the cost
of your friend's courage and life, as the witness of his assassination,
ready to testify it was well and fairly done--the base policeman of murder,
to guard guilt in its guiltiness as the law protects the innocent in
innocency. But you shall not escape: mark that!"

"I am responsible for my actions and easy to find," said Payne. "I scorn a
law that presumes to enter into my feelings and judge the measure of my
wounded honor."

"Weigh your words well," said the dowager--"you who presume to sit in
judgment on the honor of a Brown! Public opinion is ripe to break the
shackles of this vile code. No mail of chivalry protects the second who
stands coolly by, a participant and accessory without risk or danger, to
justify the black murder done on his bosom friend. When wealth and social
influence are thrown into the scale against one who caught up a rash
woman's hasty word, as hastily repented, we shall know what the law thinks
of one who excluded her messenger of peace and pressed his victim on to the
murdering-ground."

Angry as she was, the old lady was putting her points well. Payne's
position was already very equivocal. Common rumor presented him as forcing
that Boabdil Mason to the mark; but he answered contemptuously, "You have
already appealed to the law, and know the result."

"I do," interrupted the dowager, crumpling the lawyer's unread note in her
hand. "You will find your friend's quarters in the Louisville jail, and a
policeman at the door to escort you to him."

Payne rose hastily and left the room without ceremony.

"Oh, aunty!" said little Sue, who had listened to the roar of great guns in
awe and terror, "it will make you sick."

"Sick!" said the dowager, looking almost real in her affected youth with
congenial excitement: "it is life, child. But let us see what Winnett
says."

Before reading the lawyer's note let us follow Payne. The reader will
understand that Mason was now in the condition of Ivanhoe after his wager
with the Templar of the precious reliquary, and before he was relieved by
the gratitude of Isaac of York. He lacked the means to get to his Ashby de
la Zouche. But at Payne's rueful face in telling of his interview with the
dowager the graceless scamp threw his fat figure on the bed, cracking his
sides with laughter.

"I don't see the fun," said Payne sulkily. "I wish I was well out of it.
The dowager talked devilish strong."

"If my aunt won't help us," said Mason, "my uncle will. You must just take
my stop-watch to the three balls.

    Farewell to my golden repeater!
    We've come to my uncle's old shop!"

Payne was just leaving when a voice in the next room stopped him. "It's
that infernal pawnbroker," said he in a rage.

The man came in, smooth, civil, obsequious. "I thought you'd like to have
this thing off your mind," said he, presenting a note of Mason's.

The two looked at each other blankly.

"See here, Levison," said Mason coaxingly: "you know my aunt will settle
all these things, and I want money right now. Payne was just going to see
you."

"She'll pay some--not this," said the man coolly. "In fact, I am just from
Winnett's. He has paid Levi and Walker"--at which Mason stared--"and taken
out a writ in summary proceedings. In fact, I come to warn you, and one
good turn deserves another: pay it and go."

Mason by chaffering got a small sum on his watch over the debt. He was
clear at last. Payne had left, and Mason was taking a final drink at the
bar when a man tapped his shoulder. Aunt Fanny had played her trump and
won: it was the sheriff.

"All right!" said Levison, laughing. "Whenever you _have_ anything, you
know, I am accommodating, but--"

We can now return and read Aunt Fanny's correspondence.


CHAPTER V.

When the lawyer's note, by anticipation, announced the arrest described in
the last chapter, Aunt Fanny, like an old spirit of the turf, began to
groom for that other match. I declare it was not an unlovely sight to see
the two women, youth and its affectation, wrapping arms about each other in
joyous mood over this double victory.

The dowager took occasion to praise her nephew's gallantry, the chivalry
that prompted him to take up an old woman's quarrel, with hints that the
other party, even if his rhymes had been unintentional, betrayed a rudeness
that ill became the Vere de Vere. Perhaps this part, as it included little
Sue, had as well have been left out, but Aunt Fanny had her points to make,
and always played a bold, high game.

As the two sang pæans of victory another note came from the lawyer, which
quite altered the complexion of things. That ready gamester, Lind Mason,
had played again and completely turned the tables on Aunt Fanny, using her
own weapons to wrench victory from her:

"DEAR MRS. BROWN: I regret to say your nephew and his accomplice Levison
have played us a scoundrelly trick. Levison came to me and proposed to bail
your nephew. Not knowing the parties were in collusion, and satisfied that
your nephew was in the sheriff's custody, I tried to put Levison off. But
he told me coolly that he knew my object was to detain Captain Mason--that
if I had taken up his first note for fifty dollars, he might have let this
other one for two hundred and fifty alone; but he must take care of
himself. He intended to bail every writ until his claim was taken up. If I
chose to assume all the captain's liabilities first, very well, but it was
in my discretion to secure him first. No one else would try the same bold
game. Under your instructions, which were peremptory, I had no choice but
to accept the offer; which I did. There was necessarily a minute's interval
in preparing the new writ on Levison's claim, which I sued out at once,
Captain Mason and the sheriff being in the room, and your nephew
acquiescing in the arrangement, as I thought. But he stepped out: the
sheriff went instantly in pursuit by my directions, but with unexampled
effrontery Captain Mason demanded by what authority he was detained. Of
course, as, technically speaking, the writ of arrest was not yet served,
the sheriff could do nothing, and Mason taking the streetcar, the minute's
interval of returning for the writ allowed him to get off. The sheriff has
gone to the ferry and put officers at the bridge and elsewhere, but it is
impossible yet to know the result.

"We must now seize the other party. I have heard of one Joe Skinner, who
could testify certainly to the contemplated breach of the peace by Mr.
Nettles. If there was any way to detain that gentleman an hour, until the
lawyer could get his hands on Skinner!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Humph! detain Mr. Nettles!" said the dowager, glancing from the lawyer's
note to the pale, pretty face before her. "You look pale, child: a drive
will help you.--Memmie, have the double racing-buggy and the trotter
Marmette brought to the door."

"Oh no, aunty," said Sue, shrinking: "it would be wrong while--" While her
lover was going to his death, Sue thought.

"Pshaw, child!" said the dowager, writing. "We'll see.--Ma'amselle, dress
Miss Sue for a drive; and a touch of rouge, Hortense: she is too pale."

While the yielding child, ignorant of her aunt's scheme, was being dressed
like a victim for sacrifice, Bob Nettles read the tinted note:

     "DEAR MR. NETTLES: My niece, Susie Brown, tells me you
     have an engagement to drive with her this afternoon.
     Being unwilling to trust the dear child in a vehicle at
     livery, permit an old lady to put one of her buggies
     and fast trotters at your service."

If Bob Nettles had one dearer wish than another, it was to see his little
playmate once more, and make up that dispute before facing her cousin's
pistol. Aunt Fanny's plan of detaining him was likely to thrive.

Sudie came down, pale and tremulous as a little white withering
rosebud--very pretty and timid and tender. There was a forced smile at
meeting, and but few words. He had intended to say how sorry he was to have
offended her, but he did not. He saw or felt that there was nothing to
forgive between them now. His was but a shallow, practical mind, and she
was only a timid, silly little girl; yet they knew of that unspoken love
between them, and that there was a great trouble, without words.

The mare stooped to her work and shook herself into a trot, the spokes
whirling into feathery fans down the silvery-dusted pike cityward, and
then, skirting its southern flanks, on golden-cushioned country roads,
rolling smoother and lighter, and the swift wheels growing more wing-like
at top speed; under silver-leafed poplars and lombardies tapering like
road-side steeples; by thoroughfare and farm-gate; under beech and maple
copses and broad oaks on the park-like common; by scarp and counterscarp
and over the smooth glacis of earthworks, memorials of the late war; by
woodlands of ash and beech, and over low fallow of redeemed marsh, right
into the golden eyelashes of the sun. The great summer city lay northward
under its nebulous canopy of dust, a soft hazy picture, dimpled with domes
and spires. By surburban villas; by farmsteads overflowed by the swelling
city; by log churches in cool nooks, contradicting the pretentious
architecture about them; by happy evening lovers, and wives waiting at the
gate for their home-coming husbands; by noisy German gardens, and revellers
in quaint picturesque costumes; by rival coaches, and racing-buggies of the
sporting gentry that tried to pass them, but soon gave out under the black
mare's long, tireless stride; about the great city till the broad river lay
all ablush before them with sunset. And then curving back into town, the
soft dazzle melting into umber; through streets breaking into brilliants of
parallel burners that end in a star, to the utter confusion of geometric
definition; through streets of home-going multitudes, and by open summer
windows showing the spread cloth and tableware; over the hoarse drum-beat
of the bridge, and by the marble palaces of the dead looking cool and
tranquil in the rising moon; winding the shell drive between Osage orange
hedges; and then the half-aërial flight of those wing-like wheels is over
for ever and for ever.

Then Sudie spoke. She felt she must say something, utter some protest of
her womanhood against that wicked, wicked business: "Mr. Nettles, do you
not think it wrong to fight a duel?"

"Yes, Miss Sue," said he gravely, "it is a very wicked thing."

She looked for some equivocation, some excuse or palliation of the wrong,
which she would have to controvert--poor little logician of love!--and show
him how bad it was; and then he would not do it. She hardly knew what to
say to that speech.

"I don't think I could love any one that fights duels," was the next
effort, still, poor child! offering her coin, her woman's affections, in
that cruel, heedless market of men.

He said nothing: he felt it was right she should say that, and that he
should bear it in silence.

At the door he stopped to part with her for ever. She could not bear it.
She was deathly white, the touch of rouge starting out like a blood-spot.

"Cannot you help it?" she asked.

"No, Miss Sue," he said simply, "I can't."

She said nothing: just put up her lips and kissed him, and fled up stairs
swiftly and softly, poor weeping, breaking little heart, crushed under the
iron wheels of that cruel code!

"Come in, Mr. Nettles," said the dowager: "there is some one waiting here
to see you."

He entered and found Mr. Winnett, a short, stout, dark-eyed gentleman, who
shook hands with him laughingly as he said, "We have heard of this
business, Mr. Nettles, and mean to stop it: it involves Mrs. Brown's name,
you see. But she will send you with the officer in her carriage to avoid
any exposure."

"Has Captain Mason been arrested?" asked Bob.

"No, but--"

He could say no more. Bob laid a hand on the broad sill of the open window,
and crashed down among the running roses.

"Stop him!" cried Mr. Winnett.

"Here, my little feller!" said Policeman X----.

Bob was not short-stop for nothing. The man's heels went up as Bob leaped
into the buggy and drove off, the policeman following.

"The man's a fool," said Aunt Fanny.

"You mean Nettles?"

"The man who tries to beat my trotter," said she. "Well, we have played and
lost."

Yes, lost; for that artful gamester, Mason, after his arrest had taken
Levison aside and put it to that bold operator that his aunt's object was
to break up the duel, and that she would pay any claim to do it, but if he
was detained by the writs of Levi and Walker the opportunity was lost. He
agreed to give Levison a pre-dated note for two hundred and fifty dollars
for one hundred and twenty-five dollars cash if he (Levison) would release
him from the present arrest. We know the result. Instead of stopping her
nephew, Aunt Fanny had lent him wings to fly. While the lawyer explained
this the bell rang and a card--Deane Lee, to see Captain Nettles--was
brought in.

"Who is Deane Lee?" she asked.

"How fortunate!" said the lawyer. "It is Mr. Nettles's second."

"We can appeal to his feelings," said the dowager.

"Do," said he. "I will remain outside, and use an appeal men of his sort
understand better."

"Pray be seated, Captain Lee," said the dowager.

"This," thought Lee, "is the lady who made the duel: she looks game to
carry it through;" but he only bowed.

"I may be the first to inform you," said she, "that my nephew will
necessarily require a postponement of his affair with your friend. We hope
to have your help, sir."

Deane fingered his cap and bowed again.

"To be entirely frank," said she graciously, "Captain Mason lacks means. He
applied to me, but of course I cannot furnish it for such a purpose."

"Certainly not," said Lee: "the matter has been too much talked of already;
but not by our side, ma'am."

"Yes," said she. "You will, I trust, give us your assistance."

"Certainly--yes'm," said Lee: "it shall be done accordin' to Hoyle. Beg
pardon, but give yourself no trouble about it."

"What a burden you remove!" said the dowager. "Such a delicate matter, and
my nephew feels that his honor is involved. Oh, you men! you men! But I am
so fortunate to have met you!"

The dowager was really impressed and pleased with his prompt acquiescence
in the postponement.

"Yes'm," continued Deane, "I'll see to it at once. Nettles needn't know a
word."

"Thank you," said the dowager, sunning him with a royal grace of
manner--"so delicate and considerate in you! Yes, I should prefer that."
She evidently thought he referred to her nephew's impecuniosity; and he
did, but not as she supposed.

"Not a word," continued Deane, thinking she must be a right jolly old girl,
after all. "Of course, ma'am, you couldn't advance the money to Captain
Mason: it 'ud look ugly for a lady. But the boys shall have their fun: I'll
lend him the shads myself."

"Sir!" shrieked the dowager.

"I beg, ma'am, you'll take no trouble," said Deane, anxiously polite. "It's
no inconvenience whatever--in fact, to my advantage. I've got two or three
little bets out the thing'll come off; so I'm bound to come out even."

The dowager flashed up, and rang the bell violently, her whole face
convulsed with passion: "Show this man out! show him off the place!"

Lee walked out gravely, fingering his cap. At the door he turned to the
mulatto and said sympathetically, "Does she have 'em often?"

"What, young marsta?"

"Fits," said Lee sententiously, and walked off.

But he was not through yet. The lawyer waited under the gaslight, and as
the soldier, pondering the late interview curiously, approached, he
addressed him: "Captain Lee, I believe?"

"Them's my initials," said Deane. "What about it?"

"A shrewd young fellow like you might make something out of this duel."

"As how?" asked Deane.

"The old lady would pay handsomely to have it postponed," said the lawyer.

"Whe-ew-ew!" whistled Lee, a light breaking on him. "What a mule's head
I've been!"

"You see the chance, eh?" asked the lawyer.

"Lookee here," said Deane, taking him confidentially by the arm: "I don't
mind letting you into a secret if you'll keep dark."

The lawyer nodded gravely.

"_You_ can make a pot of money out of it," continued Deane.

It was not exactly the line of suggestion anticipated, and it was Mr.
Winnett's turn to ask "How?"

"I've strictly private and confidential information, you know--"

"Of course, of course," acquiesced the lawyer.

"That the other side is devilish hard up," said Deane in an emphatic
whisper. "See 'em privately on that p'int. It's no use talking to us: we're
flush."

With that he strode abruptly into the dark, leaving Mr. Winnett to puzzle
out whether he had just heard a serious proposition or had been subjected
to the hoax of a solemn wag.

That ended the efforts to stop the duel, and night with its grief and
penitence came on all interested in the parties to it. On the dowager in
her cushioned chair, with a finger in the prayer-book, seeing the portrait
of her only son brought home stricken to death by his own gun thirty years
ago, as it changed from the long curls and blue eyes of childhood to a
handsome but weak bearded face of a man, dreadfully like that other face as
she saw it on the bed under the white seals of death. On a homely old
mother lying in the back room of a village store, and a short, square man
walking up and down and saying, "Don't take on so, old gal: you'll hurt
yourself. It's just them newspaper lies. Our Bob wouldn't fight no dule."
And the woman's sob: "Lost, body and soul! soul and body!--our boy Bob,
John! our boy Bob!" On poor little Sue with her headache as she answers her
mother's inquiry that she's "Better, mamma;" but as her father asks the
same question she puts up her arms about his neck, and says, "Oh, papa! oh,
papa!" and the shrewd, worldly man kneels down and prays with her for the
life of that alien sinner yonder as he has not prayed since he was a man.
On Bob himself at the hotel quietly reading to the listening major, "I am
the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were
dead, yet shall he live," as if every comforting word was a denunciation.


CHAPTER VI.

After his victory over his aunt, Mason's spirits had been continually
rising. That humorist Payne, who thought it such a hoax to pit two
cocktails against each other and pull the strings of the puppets, writhed
under his merciless chaff. Mason had called for candles, and, chipping
balls of the spermaceti blacked in an æsthetic spirit with pencil-dust, had
used them for practice with a parlor pistol, alleging that the leaden balls
damaged the furniture. When Lee came to cast bullets, using the brazier's
furnace in the room, Mason made him sit down, took the moulds and threw
them in the Brown duelling pistol-case, and set himself to entertain the
party and chaff Payne. He lolled back in his chair, his handsome figure
showing to advantage, now rallying Payne on the prospect of figuring in a
"ring-tailed gaberdine" as a victim of the dowager's anger, and now
reciting marvellous horse-stories, mixed with anecdotes pertinent and
impertinent. The party consisted of an editor, a surgeon, a German
geologist prospecting that wonderful fossil bed of the Falls, and evidently
looking on Mason as a miracle excelling anything dug up, and the seconds.

Mason rattled on with his racing and racy anecdotes: "Yes, sir, it was a
perfectly white mare, sky-blue mane and tail. I put her in the racing-buggy
on Aunt Fanny's round quarter-track, and she spun around so fast the off
wheels never touched the turf from the quarter-post to the judges' stand.
Fact, gentlemen! fastest trotting-time on record. Rather peculiar color
too."

"Very," said the German in admiration of his host. "A remarkable
peculiarity in the pigment granules. What became of this singular animal?"

"Singular, as you say," said Mason easily. "She took navicular and jolted
off her pins: trotted ten miles an hour on the stubs after she cast her
hoofs."

"Eggsdraordinary vitality!" ejaculated the German in deep gutturals, and
looking around as if distrustful of Mason's rapid utterance. "How did you
call it?"

"Skylight," said Mason carelessly. "Imp. Milky Way by dam Cerulean, as the
stud-books rather profanely style it. Tremendous vitality, though!" passing
a pair of moulds to Lee and winking to attract his attention, "I thought to
preserve the hair and hide as a curiosity. Wouldn't do--wouldn't begin to
do! Digestive function so strong action continued from the skin. Had to
substitute brickdust and charcoal. Drop into my private museum some day.
Happy to show you that and some other curiosities picked up in my rather
remarkable adventures."

Lee was now busy casting bullets, and Mason's spirits seemed to rise with
the operation. Some listened, others laughed, but Mason had a cool way of
perking up his eyebrows and going on negligently, as much as to say, "If
you deprive yourself of the satisfaction of believing, the fault lies with
the listener." He seemed divided between a wish to distract Lee from
careful observation of his employment and to chaff Payne. Once Payne
started suddenly as if about to say something to Lee, but a look quenched
him.

"Friend of my youth, this goblet sip," laughed Mason. "For what says the
Psalmist?--'Let the galded jade wince, our wethers is unwrung.' But never
be it said," rising and speaking with theatrical emotion--"Not while Reason
holds her throne in this distracted globe--never, while Mason lives, shall
his Damon, his caster, be cast in prison-bonds by a ravaging female
she-aunt. Never shall penitential garb encase those manly limbs nor base
turnkey's shears clip those auburn locks for which ripe beauty in melting
accents is wont to plead in vain."

"You're devilish generous," growled Payne. "You know the old griffin
doesn't propose to bag me unless you get hit."

"Is it possible," asked the German, catching a meaning in this raillery,
"the second of an American duel is imprisoned if his principal is shot? I
ask for information."

"You have come to the right shop now," said Lind. "He is, invariably. Some
rather curious contretemps grow out of it. Duelling is very popular among
us, very--especially with the fair sex," kissing his hand to an indefinite
noun of multitude. "A great favorite being imprisoned for acting as second,
the people took it up--elected him governor by an overwhelming majority. It
was supposed, of course, he would pardon himself; but no: he was a Roman,
the noblest Roman of them all. 'The prerogative of executive clemency,' he
said, 'had already been grossly abused. It would ill repay the generous
confidence of his constituents to exercise it in his own behalf and in
order to escape the just penalty of the law.' He refused to pardon himself,
and so served out his term in both offices."

This struck the German as something heroic.

"True, sir, true," said Lind: "rather inconvenient, however. When the
legislature met, as it necessarily did, in the penitentiary, you could not
tell a member from a convict. Rather awkward, you see, if the wrong body
adjourned itself by mistake."

The party broke up late, and Mason, throwing off his coat, called for
Webster's _Quarto_ and Watson's _Poetical Quotations_, saying he would
address his aunt in such an Orphic strain as would make her wig curl and
ma'amselle's rouge-pot chalky. Watson's _Poetical Quotations_ was not in
the hotel; but with the big _Quarto_ before him, arms akimbo, his legs
spread out under the table, Mason went at his task, pausing to shout a
passage at Payne, and swear it would liquefy the crystal of his aunt's
frigid humor like a hot collar in July, or to scratch his head over some
fickle-vowelled monosyllable that defied orthography; and the soft dark
night deepened to the gray, lustreless morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

An early marketer from Jeffersonville spread a rumor that R. Nettles was
shot through the lungs, and poor little Sue read it in the paper an hour
later. An eager reporter recognized the hotel-van from over the river, with
a tarpaulin thrown over its contents. "Anything of Captain Mason's party?"
he asked.

"Stout, rosy man, good deal o' gas?" asked the porter.

"Yes! yes! what of him?"

"Nothing: I guess he won't gas no more," motioning toward the tarpaulin.
"Them's his'n. Do you know where his aunt lives?"

Anybody knows; the van drives off; the rumor flies--both parties slain.

Let us follow the van. At Aunt Fanny's the tarpaulin is thrown off, and
reveals nothing worse than a trunk, gun-case, etc., but the man's story
confirms the worst. He has a letter for the dowager, and it is sent up. The
dowager calls ma'amselle to read, which she does with strong emotion and
French accent:

"MY DEAR AND VENERATED AUNT--"

"Hand me the vinaigrette, and don't read so loud: I am not deaf," said the
dowager.

The poor maid subdued her tones as she best could, and read:

"Now is the hour when churchyards yawn and graves give up their dead. It is
midnight's holy hour. I hear the rush of the Falls like a mill-sluice, and
it recalls 'the happy, happy hours of childhood.' But ere another day I may
ride upon the Styx, and hear the dam loud roaring no more."

"Ride upon a stick, and hear _what_?" ejaculated the dowager at poor Lind's
rhetoric.

"Mais oui, madame," translates the French maid, "c'est la fleuve de l'enfer
et les cris des âmes perdues."

"Oh, the Styx!" said the dowager, taking snuff.--"Use your handkerchief,
Hortense, and go on."

She obeys:

"Ere my venerated aunt peruses this calligraphy an eagle soaring in its
pride of place will be by a mousing Nettles hawked at and killed."

"Poor boy!" said his aunt. "I must have a black grenadine, trimmed with
bugles and flounced very deep, for mourning.--Don't forget it, Hortense."

"My last thoughts," continued the reader, "are with my revered relative;
for who forgave the boyish trick, and fed me on a candy-stick, and nursed
me when it made me sick?--My aunt. Who taught me to back a colt or make a
book? Who entered me for the purse with Cousin Fanny Alison, but the filly
bolted with Bob Ascot?--My aunt."

"Patience alive!" cried the dowager: "what does the man mean, with his
doggerel poetry and slang of the stables at such a time?"

"Oh, madame! it is noble," said the poor maid with streaming eyes, and then
continued:

"She besought me with the salt rheum in her optical organs to suppress my
fury; but who can restrain the wrath of a Brown? She denied me the
spondulics--a Latin word for cash--to carry out my nefarious purpose,
though it grieved her generous heart."

"That's well thought of," said the dowager. "People talk so. We must get it
to those newspaper-men. Poor Lind!"

"To those who assert a mercenary motive I triumphantly respond, 'She paid
up my little bills, and has doubtless destroyed the evidences of them.'"

"They are in the steel casket," said the dowager. "Burn them. But he never
would have paid."

"When she honors my sight draft," read ma'amselle, "for two-fifty to settle
up my present expenses in this business, she will pay the last debt of him
who has paid the last debt of Nature. For if the knave do cut but deep
enough, I'll pay it instantly with all my heart. (_Shakespeare_.)

L. BROWN MASON."

"Give me the cheque-book, and let the man come up," said the dowager.

The man was questioned, and had but little to tell. He was told Captain
Mason had been shot, and to bring the letter. After he was dismissed the
dowager said, "Let Fanny bring the chocolate. I hope the cream is better:
it curdled yesterday. Poor Lind! He had a good heart."

       *       *       *       *       *

About the time his aunt was cashing his last draft, and reckoning that that
little enterprise of marrying Sue Brown to Captain Mason had cost her a
thousand dollars for failure, Captain Mason, with a party in the carriage,
stood on Mrs. Walter Brown's front steps explaining to her that at a little
expense in cutting down her ornamental trees and grubbing up her rare
exotic shrubbery the front lawn could be converted into a beautiful
quarter-track, and offering his services to effect the desirable change.
Then advancing, he graciously held out his hand to poor, pale, red-eyed
little Sudie, still hysterical over that dreadful paragraph.

"No," said Sue tartly. "Mamma may shelter you from the police, but you
ought to be hung. There! And I won't shake a _murderer's_ hand. There! I
won't! I won't! I won't! There!"

Mason's jolly face looked queer. "I see," said he. "'Twas ever thus from
childhood's hour. I never bucked a card or colt, but what some fellow held
the bower or else that horse was sure to bolt. When, at pensive evening's
hour, I stroll among the tombs, I read the virtues of the--erra--clammy,
the clammy. As I read the testimony of the rocks, of the rocks, it strikes
me the wicked never die, and I long to be--erra--wicked. There is no
raising that card," wagging his head solemnly at little Sue, who stared in
spite of herself, "until Gable--I believe his name is Gable--turns trump.
But I have brought you all that is mortal of the late R. Nettles."

He turned to the door as he spoke, while the shocked, terrified girl hid
her face, thinking of the vision in that very parlor under the white seals
of death.

But Bob Nettles's cheery, commonplace tones interrupted: "How'd do, Miss
Sue? how'd do, Mrs. Brown? Captain Mason said he'd break it to you, and I
thought--"

But Sue had turned her face to the wall in a corner, and stood shaking her
plump shoulders and stamping her little feet like a pettish child, as she
said, "Go 'way from me, Bob Nettles! I'll never speak to you again as long
as I live; and as for Cousin Lind," with a shake and a stamp, "I hate him!"

"See what it is to lose the virtues of the clammy," said Mason, pulling his
beard and grinning at Bob's blank looks. "But I must go to my aunt. By a
shocking oversight we forgot to settle the hotel-bill at Jeffersonville,
and I am afraid the greedy landlord has forwarded a note to have been
delivered to her in case of accident, and a draft. It is humiliating to
think she has paid it, and honor requires I should promptly settle it with
an I.O.U. As for Payne--"

"Dry that up," said Payne.

"Well, I'll only say the next duel I fight may Payne load the pistols!"
added the captain.

What that meant is the unsolved mystery of the duel. Deane Lee insists that
it was a fair, honest, stand-up fight. True, he had used the wrong moulds
the night before in casting bullets, but he had seen Payne load the famous
Brown duelling-pistols.

But Mason's old comrades wink at the story of the wax bullets blacked with
pencil-dust by Mason to represent the real thing, and say Payne was so
cowed by the dowager's threat and Mason's chaff that no power could have
made him charge with dangerous missiles. Mason himself says that neither he
nor Nettles could have hit a barn-door; but a mere index of the veracious
stories of that famous duel, as told by Mason, would fill a book. As his
debts were paid and the dowager keeps him in feather, and as Bob and Sue
were married, that game-bird is right in declaring it the only duel that
was ever "satisfactorily adjusted honorably to all parties."

WILL WALLACE HARNEY.



FOLK-LORE OF THE SOUTHERN NEGROES.


All tribes and peoples have their folk-lore, whether embodied in tales of
daring adventure, as in our own doughty Jack the Giant-killer, or in
stories of genii and magic, as in the _Arabian Nights_, or in legends of
wraiths, witches, bogles and apparitions, as among the Scotch peasantry;
and these fables are so strongly tinged with the peculiarities--or rather
the idiosyncrasies--of the race among whom they originate as to furnish a
fair index of its mental and moral characteristics, not only at the time of
their origin, but so long as the people continue to narrate them or listen
to them.

The folk-lore of Africo-Americans, as appearing in our Southern States, is
a medley of fables, songs, sayings, incantations, charms and superstitious
traditions brought from various tribes along the West African coast, and so
far condensed into one mass in their American homes that often part of a
story or tradition belonging to one tribe is grafted, without much regard
to consistency, upon a part belonging to another people, while they are
still further complicated by the frequent infusion into them of ideas
evidently derived from communication with the white race.

Any one who will take the trouble to analyze the predominant traits of
negro character, and to collate them with the predominant traits of African
folk-lore, will discern the fitness of each to each. On every side he will
discover evidences of a passion for music and dancing, for visiting and
chatting, for fishing and snaring, indeed for any pleasure requiring little
exertion of either mind or body; evidences also of a gentle, pliable and
easy temper--of a quick and sincere sympathy with suffering wheresoever
seen--of a very low standard of morals, combined with remarkable dexterity
in satisfying themselves that it is right to do as they wish. Another
trait, strong enough and universal enough to atone for many a dark one, is
that, as a rule, there is nothing of the fierce and cruel in their nature,
and it is scarcely possible for anything of this kind to be grafted
permanently upon them.

Of their American-born superstitions, by far the greater part are
interwoven with so-called religious beliefs, and go far to show their
native faith in dreams and visions, which they are not slow to narrate, to
embellish, and even to fabricate extemporaneously, to suit the ears of a
credulous listener; also showing their natural tendency to rely upon
outward observances, as if possessed of some _fetish_-like virtue, and in
certain cases a horrible debasement of some of the highest and noblest
doctrines of the Christian faith. These superstitions must of course be
considered apart from the real character of those who are sincerely pious,
and upon which they are so many blemishes. They are, in fact, the rank and
morbid outgrowth of the peculiarities of religious denominations grafted
upon the prolific soil of their native character.

Of the few which may be mentioned without fear of offence, since they
belong to the negro rather than to his denomination, the following are
examples: Tools to be used in digging a grave must never be carried through
a house which any one inhabits, else they will soon be used for digging the
grave of the dweller. Tools already used for such a purpose must not be
carried directly home. This would bring the family too closely for safety
into contact with the dead. They must be laid reverently beside the grave,
and allowed to remain there all night. A superstition in respect to posture
is by some very rigorously observed. It is, that religious people must
never sit with their legs crossed. The only reason given--though we cannot
help suspecting that there must be another kept in concealment--is, that
_crossing the legs is the same as dancing, and dancing is a sin_.

These are fair samples of Americanized superstitions--puerile, it is true,
but harmless. It is only when we come into contact with negroes of pure
African descent that we discover evidences of a once prevalent and not
wholly discarded demonolatry. The native religion of the West African,
except where elevated by the influence of Mohammedanism, was not--and,
travellers tell us, is not yet--a worship of God as such, nor even an
attempt to know and honor Him, but a constant effort at self-protection.
The true God, they say, calls for no worship; for, being good in and of
himself, He will do all the good He can without being asked. But there are
multitudes of malignant spirits whose delight is to mislead and to destroy.
These must be propitiated by gifts and acts of worship, or rendered
powerless by charms and incantations.

No one knows, or has the means of ascertaining, to what extent real
devil-worship is practised in America, because it is always conducted in
secret; but we have reason to believe that it has almost entirely ceased,
being shamed out of existence by the loveliness of a purer and better
faith, and a belief in the agency of evil spirits, and consequent dread of
their malign powers, although still more or less dominant with the negroes,
has also greatly declined.[C] To give a sample of this last: The time
was--but it has nearly passed away, or else the writer has not been for
many years in the way of hearing of it, as in the days of childhood--when
one of the objects of greatest dread among our seaboard negroes was the
"Jack-muh-lantern." This terrible creature--who on dark, damp nights would
wander with his lantern through woods and marshes, seeking to mislead
people to their destruction--was described by a negro who seemed perfectly
familiar with his subject as a hideous little being, somewhat human in
form, though covered with hair like a dog. It had great goggle eyes, and
thick, sausage-like lips that opened from ear to ear. In height it seldom
exceeded four or five feet, and it was quite slender in form, but such was
its power of locomotion that no one on the swiftest horse could overtake it
or escape from it, for it could leap like a grasshopper to almost any
distance, and its strength was beyond all human resistance. No one ever
heard of its victims being bitten or torn: they were only compelled to go
with it into bogs and swamps and marshes, and there left to sink and die.
There was only one mode of escape for those who were so unfortunate as to
be met by one of these mischievous night-walkers, and that was by a charm;
but that charm was easy and within everybody's reach. Whether met by marsh
or roadside, the person had only to take off his coat or outer garment and
put it on again inside out, and the foul fiend was instantly deprived of
all power to harm.

Multifarious, however, as are the forms and aspects of folk-lore among this
remarkable and in some respects highly interesting people, the chief bulk
of it lies stored away among their fables, which are as purely African as
are their faces or their own plaintive melodies. Travellers and
missionaries tell us that the same sweet airs which are so often heard in
religious meetings in America, set to Christian hymns, are to be recognized
in the boats and palm-roofed houses of Africa, set to heathen words, and
that the same wild stories of Buh Rabbit, Buh Wolf, and other _Buhs_ that
are so charming to the ears of American children, are to be heard to this
day in Africa, differing only in the drapery necessary to the change of
scene.

Almost without exception the actors in these fables are brute animals
endowed with speech and reason, in whom mingle strangely, and with
ludicrous incongruity, the human and brute characteristics. The _dramatis
personæ_ are always honored with the title of _Buh_, which is generally
supposed to be an abbreviation of the word "brother" (the _br_ being
sounded without the whir of the _r_), but it probably is a title of respect
equivalent to our Mr. The animals which figure in the stories are chiefly
Buh Rabbit, Buh Lion, Buh Wolf and Buh Deer, though sometimes we hear of
Buh Elephant, Buh Fox, Buh Cooter and Buh Goose. As a rule, each Buh
sustains in every fable the same general character. Buh Deer is always a
simpleton; Buh Wolf always rapacious and tricky; Buh Rabbit foppish, vain,
quick-witted, though at times a great fool; Buh Elephant quiet, sensible
and dignified.

Of the Buh fables, that which is by all odds the greatest favorite, and
which appears in the greatest variety of forms, is the "Story of Buh Rabbit
and the Tar Baby." Each variation preserves the great landmarks,
particularly the closing scene. According to the most thoroughly African
version, it runs thus: Buh Rabbit and Buh Wolf are neighbors. In a
conversation one day Buh Wolf proposes that they two shall dig a well for
their joint benefit, instead of depending upon chance rainfalls or going to
distant pools or branches, as they often have to do, to quench their
thirst. To this Buh Rabbit, who has no fondness for labor, though willing
enough to enjoy its fruits, offers various objections, and finally gives a
flat refusal.

"Well," says Buh Wolf, who perfectly understands his neighbor, "if you no
help to dig well, you mustn't use de water."

"What for I gwine use de water?" responds Buh Rabbit with affected disdain.
"What use I got for well? In de mornin' I drink de dew, an' in middle o'
day I drink from de cow-tracks."

The well is dug by Buh Wolf alone, who after a while perceives that some
one besides himself draws from it. He watches, and soon identifies the
intruder as Buh Rabbit, who makes his visits by night. "Ebery mornin' he
see Buh Rabbit tracks--ebery mornin' Buh Rabbit tracks." Indignant at the
intrusion, he resolves to set a trap for his thievish neighbor and to put
him to death. Knowing Buh Rabbit's buckish love for the ladies, he fits up
a _tar baby_, made to look like a beautiful girl, and sets it near the
well. By what magical process this manufacture of an attractive-looking
young lady out of treacherous adhesive tar is accomplished we are not
informed. But listeners to stories must not be inquisitive about the
mysterious parts: they must be content to hear.

Buh Rabbit, emboldened by long impunity, goes to the well as usual after
dark, sees this beautiful creature standing there motionless, peeps at it
time and again suspiciously; but being satisfied that it is really a young
lady, he makes a polite bow and addresses her in gallant language. The
young lady makes no reply. This encourages him to ask if he may not come to
take a kiss. Still no reply. He sets his water-bucket on the ground,
marches up boldly and obtains the kiss, but finds to his surprise that he
cannot get away: his lips are held fast by the tar. He struggles and tries
to persuade her to let him go. How he is able to speak with his lips
sticking fast is another unexplained mystery; but no matter: he does speak,
and most eloquently, yet in vain. He now changes his tone, and threatens
her with a slap. Still no answer. He administers the slap, and his hand
sticks fast. One after the other, both hands and both feet, as well as his
mouth, are thus caught, and poor Buh Rabbit remains a prisoner until Buh
Wolf comes the next morning to draw water.

"Eh! eh! Buh Rabbit, wah de matter?" exclaims Buh Wolf, affecting the
greatest surprise at his neighbor's woeful plight.

Buh Rabbit, who has as little regard for truth as for honesty, replies,
attempting to throw all the blame upon the deceitful maiden by whom he has
been entrapped, not even suspecting yet--so we are to infer--that she is
made of tar instead of living flesh. He declares with all the earnestness
of injured innocence that he was passing by, in the sweet, honest
moonlight, in pursuit of his lawful business, when this girl _hailed_ him,
and decoyed him into giving her a kiss, and was now holding him in unlawful
durance.

The listener ironically commiserates his captive neighbor, and proposes to
set him free; when, suddenly noticing the water-bucket and the tracks by
the well, he charges Buh Rabbit with his repeated robberies by night, and
concludes by declaring his intention to put him to immediate death.

The case has now become pretty serious, and Buh Rabbit is of course
woefully troubled at the near approach of the great catastrophe: still,
even in this dire extremity, his wits do not cease to cheer him with some
hope of escape. Seeing that his captor is preparing to hang him--for the
cord is already around his neck and he is being dragged toward an
overhanging limb--he expresses the greatest joy by capering, dancing and
clapping his hands--so much so that the other curiously inquires, "What for
you so glad, Buh Rabbit?"

"Oh," replies the sly hypocrite, "because you gwine hang me and not trow me
in de brier-bush."

"What for I mustn't trow you in de brier-bush?" inquires Mr. Simpleton
Wolf.

"Oh," prays Buh Rabbit with a doleful whimper, "please hang me: please trow
me in de water or trow me in de fire, where I die at once. But don't--oh
don't--trow me in de brier-bush to tear my poor flesh from off my bones."

"I gwine to do 'zactly wah you ax me not to do," returns Wolf in savage
tone. Then, going to a neighboring patch of thick, strong briers, he
pitches Buh Rabbit headlong in the midst, and says, "Now let's see de flesh
come off de bones."

No sooner, however, does the struggling and protesting Buh Rabbit find
himself among the briers than he slides gently to the ground, and peeping
at his would-be torturer from a safe place behind the stems, he says,
"Tankee, Buh Wolf--a tousand tankee--for _bring me home_! De brier-bush _de
berry place where I been born_."

Another favorite story is that of the "Foot-Race." Buh Rabbit and Buh Frog
are admirers of the beautiful Miss Dinah, and try their best to win her.
The lady likes them both, but not being permitted to marry both, she
resolves to make her choice depend upon the result of a foot-race. The
distance is to be ten miles--that is, five miles out and five miles
in--along a level road densely bordered with bushes. The day arrives. Miss
Dinah, seated at the starting-point, is to give the word to the rivals, who
stand one on either side, and the goal for the winner is to be a place _in
her lap_. By agreement, Buh Rabbit is to take the open road, and Buh Frog,
who prefers it, is allowed to leap through the bushes, and both are to
halloo to each other at the end of every mile. Buh Rabbit, however, with
all his cunning, has this time met his match; for Buh Frog has engaged five
of his kinsmen, so nearly like himself in appearance that they cannot be
distinguished from him, and has stationed one in concealment near each
mile-post, with instructions how to act, while he has provided for himself
a nice hiding-place in the bushes near Miss Dinah's seat. At the word Go!
the rivals start, Buh Frog leaping into the bushes, where he disappears,
and Buh Rabbit capering along the road and flaunting his white tail merrily
at the thought of distancing the other so far that he shall never see or
hear of him again till after Miss Dinah has been won. At the end of the
first mile Buh Rabbit turns his head back and tauntingly halloos, "I here,
Buh Frog! How you git 'long?"

To his dismay, however, he hears the voice of the other in the bushes ahead
of him singing out, "Boo-noo! I here too! I beat you here, I'll beat you
there: I'll beat you back to Miss Dinah's lap!"

On hearing this boast repeated ahead of him in the bushes at each
mile-post, Buh Rabbit becomes frantic, and rushes through the last mile as
he had never run before. But all in vain. Just as he comes within easy view
of the coveted goal he sees Buh Frog leap from the bushes plump into Miss
Dinah's lap, and hears him sing, with as good breath as though he had not
run a mile,

    "Boo-noo! Before you!
    I beat you there, I beat you here:
    I've beat you back to Miss Dinah's lap!"

Another version makes the competitors Buh Deer and Buh Cooter (the negro
name for terrapin or land-tortoise), in which Buh Cooter wins the day by
collusion with some of his closely-resembling kin. Substantially the same
story is to be heard from the natives of each of the four continents, but
whether the African gained his idea of it from Europe or Asia, or whether
the European or Asian gained it from Africa, is perhaps past determining.
The writer can testify that the story as above narrated, or rather the
substance of it, was told him in childhood by negroes supposed to have
obtained it direct from Africa.

Some of these stories are mere laudations of Buh Rabbit's shrewdness and
common sense. Buh Wolf has long had a watering of the mouth for
rabbit-flesh, but has never been able to gratify it. He finally hits upon
the following expedient: He causes a report to be spread that he has
suddenly died, and all his neighbors, especially Buh Rabbit, are invited to
his funeral. He has no doubt that his plump, short-tailed neighbor, being
once enclosed within the walls of his house, will fall an easy prey to
himself and his attending cousins. Buh Rabbit, however, is not to be easily
ensnared. He goes demurely to the house of mourning, but does not enter. He
seats himself on the steps by the side of Buh Cat, who is enjoying the
sunshine in the doorway.

"Is Buh Wolf dead, for true and true?" he inquires.

"I suppose so. Eberybody say he dead," answers Buh Cat.

"How did he die, and when?" he continues to inquire.

Buh Cat gives the particulars as reported to him, and Buh Rabbit pretends
to receive them with all faith, expressing great sorrow for the loss
experienced by the neighborhood. But after a little musing he seems to be
struck with a new idea, and turning to Buh Cat he inquires in hopeful tone,
"But did he _grin_ or _whistle_ before he died? People who die _must_ do
one or t'other; and some, who die hard, do both. I'm a doctor, you know."

This is said in the doorway, near the stiff-looking corpse, and in a
whisper loud enough to be heard all through the room. Very soon Buh Wolf is
heard to whistle, and then his lips settle into a grin so broad as to show
his teeth.

"Buh Cat," says Buh Rabbit, putting his hand on his stomach and screwing up
his face as if seized with mortal sickness, "I mus' hurry home and take
some yarb tea, or mebbe I'll have to grin and whistle like our poor
neighbor. Good-bye, Buh Cat. Come to me, please, after Buh Wolf done berry
and tell me all about it. Good-bye."

To the surprise of all who are not in the secret, the corpse gives a loud
sneeze, then leaps from the table, throws off his "berryin' clothes," and
joins his friends in eating heartily of his own funeral dinner.

His hankering, however, for rabbit-mutton still continues, and he resolves,
notwithstanding his recent inglorious defeat, to attempt again to gratify
it. With this end in view he makes frequent visits to his neighbor and
talks with him across the fence, but is never invited beyond. One day, in
the course of conversation, he informs him that there is a fine pear tree
on the other side of a neighboring field, loaded with luscious fruit just
in condition to be gathered.

"I will go get some."

"When?"

"To-morrow, when the sun is about halfway up the sky."

"Go: I will join you there."

Buh Rabbit rises very early, goes to the tree soon after daybreak, finds
the pears uncommonly good, and is laughing to himself to think how he has
outwitted his enemy, when he hears a voice under the tree: "Ho, Mr. Rabbit!
in the tree a'ready?"

"Yes," replies Buh Rabbit, trembling at the sight of his dreaded foe: "I
wait for you, and tink you nebber gwine come. I tell you w'at," smacking
his lips, "dem here pear too good."

"Can't you trow me down some?" inquires Buh Wolf, so strongly impressed by
the sound of that eloquent smack that he longs to get a taste of the fruit.

Buh Rabbit selects some of the finest, which he throws far off in the soft
grass, in order, he says, to avoid bruising, and while Buh Wolf is engaged
in eating them, with his head buried in the grass, Buh Rabbit slides
quietly from the tree and hurries home.

A few days thereafter Buh Wolf makes still another attempt. He pays a visit
as before, and speaks of a great fair to be held next day in a neighboring
town. "I am going," says the rash Buh Rabbit; and he does go, although we
might suppose that he would have sense enough to keep out of harm's way. On
returning home, late in the day, he sees Buh Wolf sitting on a log by the
roadside, at the bottom of a hill, waiting for him. His preparations for
escape have already been made in the purchase of a quantity of hollow
tinware. Slipping quietly into the bushes, without being seen by the
waylayer, he puts a big tin mug on his head and a tin cup on each hand and
foot, and, hanging various tin articles around his body, he comes rolling
down the hill toward Buh Wolf, who is so frightened at the unearthly noise
that he runs off with his tail between his legs, and never troubles Buh
Rabbit again.

The struggle between them, however, does not cease even with this triumph
of the weaker party. There is a contest now of love and strategem. They
both pay their addresses to the same young lady, making their visits to her
on alternate evenings. In the progress of the courtship Buh Rabbit learns
that his rival has spoken of him contemptuously, saying that he is very
dressy and foppish, it is true, but that he has no manliness; adding that
he (Buh Wolf) could eat him up at a mouthful. To this Buh Rabbit retorts
the next evening by assuring Miss Dinah that Buh Wolf was nothing but his
grandfather's old _riding horse_; adding, "I ride him, and whip him too,
whenever I choose, and he obeys me like a dog." The next afternoon Buh
Rabbit tempts his unsuspecting rival to join him in the play of riding
horse, which consists in each in turn mounting the other's back and riding
for a while. Buh Rabbit, who has thought out the whole case beforehand,
offers to give the first ride, and so times it that the ride ends at his
own door about the time for the usual visit to Miss Dinah. He runs into the
house and puts on his dandy clothes, pleading that he cannot enjoy a ride
unless he is in full dress; and pleading, moreover, that he cannot ride
without saddle and bridle and all that belongs to a horseman, he persuades
Mr. Fool Wolf to allow a strong, rough bit to be put into his mouth and a
close-fitting saddle to be girded to his back, upon which Buh Rabbit
mounts, holding in his hand a terrible whip and having his heels armed with
a pair of long sharp spurs. Thus accoutred, he prevails upon Buh Wolf to
take the road toward Miss Dinah's house, on approaching which he so
vigorously applies both whip and spur as to compel his resisting steed to
trot up to the door, where Buh Rabbit bows politely to his lady-love,
saying, "I told you so: now you see for yourself." Of course he wins the
bride.

There is a class of stories approaching somewhat in character those related
of our own Jack the Giant-killer, leaving out the giants. The one given
below seems to have a common origin with the Anglo-Saxon story of the
"Three Blue Pigs." This is entitled "Tiny Pig."

A family of seven pigs leave home to seek their fortunes, and settle in a
neighborhood harassed by a mischievous fox. Each of these pigs builds
himself a house of dirt, except Tiny Pig, who, though the runt of the
litter, is a sensible little fellow and the hero of the tale. He builds his
house of stone, with good strong doors and a substantial chimney. In due
course of time, Fox, being hungry, comes to the house of one of the
brothers, and asks to be admitted, but is refused. The request and refusal,
as told by the negroes, is couched in language which is intended to be
poetical, and is certainly not without some pretension to the picturesque.
Fox's request in each case is--

    "Mr. Pig, Mr. Pig, oh let me in:
    I'll go away soon, and not touch a thing."

And the refusal is--

    "No, no, Mr. Fox, by the beard on my chin!
    You may say what you will, but I'll not let you in."

On being refused, Fox threatens to _blow down_ the house and eat up the
occupant. Pig continuing to refuse--as what pig would not?--the house is
blown down and the owner eaten up. This sad fate befalls in turn each of
the six who had been so foolish or so lazy as to build their houses of
dirt. Fox, having finished all six, and becoming again hungry, comes at
last to the stone house, where he makes the same hypocritical request, and
meets the same heroic refusal. He now threatens to blow down the house.
"Blow away and welcome!" retorts the little hero. Fox blows "until his wind
gives out," but cannot move the first stone. He then tries scratching and
tearing with his paws, but only succeeds in tearing off two of his own
toe-nails. "I will come down your chimney," he threatens, leaping as he
says so to the roof of the house. "Come soon as you please," sturdily
replies Tiny Pig, standing before his fireplace with a big armful of dry
straw ready to be thrown upon the fire. As soon as Fox has entered the
chimney, and come down too far to return quickly, Tiny Pig throws the dry
straw upon the fire, which creates such a blaze that Fox is scorched and
smoked to death, and Tiny Pig lives the rest of his life in peace, the hero
of his neighborhood.

This story certainly furnishes foundation for a moral which we will leave
the reader to construct for himself, remarking as we pass that, so far as
we know, no moral has ever been drawn. Several other stories may be
regarded as inculcating, though feebly, some moral precept.

One of these bears some features of American negro life, grafted probably
upon African stock: The denizens of a certain farmyard--ducks, geese,
turkeys, pea-fowls, guinea-fowls, hens, roosters and all--were invited by
those of another farmyard to a supper and a dance. They all went as a
matter of course, headed by the big farmyard rooster, who strutted and
crowed as he marched. They were a merry set, and such an amount of
quacking, cackling and gabbling as they made was seldom heard. After a few
rounds of dancing, just to give them a better appetite for supper and fit
them for a longer dance afterward, they were introduced to the supper-room.
There they saw on the table a pyramid of eatables high as the old gobbler's
head when stretched to its utmost; but, alas! it was, or seemed to be, a
pyramid of _corn bread_ only--pones upon pones of it, yet nothing but corn
bread.

On seeing this the rooster becomes very indignant, and struts out of the
house, declaring that he will have nothing to do with so mean a supper, for
he can get corn bread enough at home. As he is angrily going off, however,
the others, who are too hungry to disdain even the plainest fare, fall to
work; and no sooner has the outer layer of corn loaves been removed--for it
is only the outer layer--than they find within a huge pile of bacon and
greens, and at the bottom of the pile, covered and protected by large
dishes, any amount of pies and tarts and cakes and other good things.

Poor Rooster looks wistfully back, and is sorry that he had made that rash
speech. But it is too late now, for his word is out, and no one ever knew
Rooster take back his word if he had to die for it. He learned, however, a
valuable lesson that night, for from that time to this it has been observed
that Rooster always _scratches_ with his feet the place where he finds, or
expects to find, anything to eat, and that he never leaves off scratching
until he has searched to the bottom.

Our last story is more purely African, at least in its _dramatis personæ_.
Buh Elephant and Buh Lion were one day chatting upon various subjects, when
the elephant took occasion to say that he was afraid of no being on earth
except man. On seeing the big boastful eyes of the lion stretching wider
and his mane bristling, as if in disdain, he added, "You know, Buh Lion,
that, although you are held as the most to be dreaded of all beasts, I am
not afraid of any of your tribe, for if any of them should attack me I
could receive him on my tusk, or strike him dead with my trunk, or even
shake him off from my body and then trample him to death under my feet. But
man--who can kill us from a distance with his guns and arrows, who can set
traps for us of which we have no suspicion, who can fight us from the backs
of horses so swift that we can neither overtake him nor escape from him--I
do fear, for neither strength nor courage can avail against his wisdom."

Buh Lion, on hearing this, shook himself, and said that he was no more
afraid of man than he was of any other creature which he was in the habit
of eating; and added that the only beings on earth he was afraid of were
_partridges_.

"Partridges!" exclaims Buh Elephant in wonder. "What do you mean?"

"Why this," says Buh Lion, "that when I am walking softly through the woods
I sometimes rouse a covey of partridges, and then they rise all around me
with such a whir as to make me start. I am afraid of nothing but
partridges."

Not long afterward Buh Elephant heard a gun fired near a neighboring
village, followed by a loud, prolonged roar. Going there to learn what was
the matter, he saw Buh Lion lying dead by the roadside with a great hole in
his body made by a musket-ball. "Ah, my poor friend," said he, "partridges
could never have treated you in this way."

WILLIAM OWENS.

FOOTNOTES:

[C] Of the terrible forms of superstition prevalent under the names of Obi,
Voodooism, Evil-eye or Tricking, in which a trick-doctor or witch-doctor
works against another person's life or health or plans, or seeks to
neutralize the influence of another doctor, our subject leads us to say
nothing.



SELIM.


    Surrender your soul to the spell of enchantment,
        And wander with me
    Where, river of magical fancies, Euphrates
        Flows down to the sea.

    What city sleeps fair and mysterious by moonlight
        Upon the dark shore?
    Oh, those are the minarets gleaming of Basrah
        That heavenward soar.

    And bright are her flower-lit gardens, whose fountains
        Unceasingly rise,
    Where oft, when the locust grew shrill and the summer
        Shone red in the skies,

    The caliph would hasten from camp and from council
        To rest and to dream.
    To forge, in the workshop of silence, such weapons
        As deadliest gleam.

    And with him came Selim, the friend of his spirit--
        Friend favored and true--
    Whose palace of marble Euphrates encircled
        With girdle of blue.

    There oft by the murmuring waters the caliph
        Would calmly recline,
    And mark how the stars on that earth-sullied bosom
        Seemed trembling to shine,

    Until, as one evening the moon rose serenely,
        Fair pearl of the sky,
    And filled with her presence the palace and desert,
        The far and the nigh,
    A trouble which hung On the aspect of Selim
              Fell dark on his king,
    As clouds 'twixt the sun and the sand-billowed ocean
              Their dusky shapes fling.

    "O friend of my heart!" quoth the caliph, "what sorrow
              Lies deep in thy breast?"
    And Selim, replying, the source of his anguish
              Thus humbly confessed:

    "Great lord of my being! life trembles and quivers
              With fulness of joy:
    The rays of my hopes are as gold in my pathway,
              Undimmed by alloy;

    "Thy banners float far on the breezes of India,
              Thy counsels are wise;
    The thoughts of thy valor and strength to thy people
              As light to their eyes;

    "Yet still, in the midst of thy glory and power,
              Thou deignest to rest
    Thy soul on the soul of thy servant, whom daily
              Thy favors have blest,

    "Till he who once couched on his sheepskin reposes
              On cushions of down,
    And holds a fair wife in his arms who had only
              A steed for his own.

    "Thus over the heaven thy grace has illumined
              No shadow appears,
    Save one, at whose coming thy servant unworthy
              Shrinks, falters and fears--

    "The shadow of Azraël, angel of terror,
              Surpassingly strong,
    The roar of whose onrushing wings soundeth louder
              Than laughter or song;

    "Till I, even I, from the conflict of battle,
              The scimitar's sweep,
    Turn cowering, fearful of glory's last service
              And manhood's best sleep.

    "Behold! now the heart of thy servant is open,
              And bare to thy view."
    Then slowly the caliph replied, while his gaze sought
              The firmament blue:

    "Dread Prophet of Allah! thou knowest my spirit,
              My heart and my life;
    Thou knowest the desolate years of my manhood,
              Their unended strife;

    "Thou knowest that never a friend have I cherished
            Save only this one,
    And now I have lost him; but, Allah il Allah!
            Thy will still be done!"

    Then, turning, the caliph departed, and Selim,
            Like one drunk with wine,
    Arose all unconscious and turned to his dwelling,
            His heart's inmost shrine,

    And followed the gleam of his lamp to the chamber
            Where, sheltered and calm,
    She peacefully slumbered who faithfully loved him--
            That wild heart's "sweet balm."

    One arm half encircled her baby, who sturdily
            Clenched his round fist,
    And lay with his rosy lips parted and eager,
            As though lately kissed;

    While over them both her soft tresses, all fragrant,
            Had rolled in their play:
    How fair and how childish they looked in the moonlight,
            Scarce purer than they!

    One moment stood Selim, while over his being
            Hell's bitterness passed:
    The next, and his dagger flashed forth like the lightning,
            And fell like its blast.

    And Selim was wifeless and childless! In silence
            He stood by the bed
    Where still lay the wife and the child in the moonlight--
            Not sleeping, but dead.

    One moment he gazed at the faces, still peaceful,
            Still tender, still fair,
    Then fled to the desert, whose vastness could only
            Give space to despair.

    But when, in the red eastern morning, the caliph
            Stood sternly alone,
    And watched the proud river, now mournful for ever
            For all that was gone,

    Lo! Selim knelt calmly before him: "Great caliph!
            Behold now thy slave,
    For Azraël, angel of death, have I conquered
            And bound in the grave."

                  ANNIE PORTER.



ENGLISH DOMESTICS AND THEIR WAYS.


An American lady, on coming to England and observing the workings of
domestic life, is apt to think English servants perfection, and to listen
to any complaints of them which she may hear with an ill-concealed smile.
"What! complain of these excellent, admirable, respectful, hard-working
servants!" she exclaims to her English friends. "If you could only see what
we have to endure from these women in our American households, then indeed
you would appreciate the quiet and efficient hand-maids whose services you
can command here in the mother-country." And, to make good her case against
the "help" which hinder our happiness so much in America, she will speak of
the high wages given them, the kind treatment they receive, the ingratitude
with which they take all favors, their inefficiency, and so on.

But after a short sojourn in England our American lady will see many things
in respect to the duties and demands of English servants which were not
quite apparent to her at first; and by dint of observation she will soon
become aware that an English servant has privileges and requirements which
would be thought excessive in our country. In the first place, no English
servant will do any washing and ironing, not even for herself. Everything,
down to the smallest towel, must be done up by the laundress. Some servants
go so far as to stipulate what amount of linen, etc. they may have
laundried each week; and in the case of "nice young persons," who like to
keep themselves neat and fresh with light calico dresses and tiny white
caps and spotless collars and large white aprons, the bill for the
servants' washing is apt to swell into quite an item. Again, all English
servants exact either beer or beer-money. (How surprised an American
housekeeper would be if a new aspirant for the situation of cook or
chambermaid should say, "Do you supply me with lager, or give me money to
buy it myself?"!) After various struggles with the difficulties presented
by this beer question, the generality of English housekeepers have come to
the conclusion that it is better to give beer-money than to furnish beer to
their servants. When money is given it is likely not to be spent for beer
at all, which is quite as well; whereas if there is a servants' cask of
beer on tap in the kitchen, there are constant disputes as to how much has
been drunk, given away or wasted. The usual allowance for beer when money
is given is a shilling a week--a sum which in theory means twenty-five
cents of our money, but in actual practice, as prices now range, we may
calculate as representing about fifty cents. Thus, fifty cents for beer,
and certainly fifty cents more for personal laundry-work, add a dollar a
week to the wages of each servant. It is impossible to calculate the cost
of the family washing and ironing, but whatever it be, it must come out of
the housekeeper's pocket; for, as I have said, no servant will do it. Five
dollars a week is not a large calculation for the laundry-bill of a family,
especially if there are children. In America this money is generally saved,
but at what a price!--the house in disorder with wash-tub and ironing-board
during the beginning of every week, grumbling from all servants, anxiety on
the part of the members of the family about overcrowding the soiled-linen
basket, and often the clean clothes sent up "not fit to be seen."

Another privilege which I find English servants possess, and which I
confess surprises me, is that of inviting friends to tea at the mistress's
expense. Every Sunday evening one or another servant holds a symposium of
choice spirits below stairs, for whom flows the infusion of the costly leaf
from far Cathay. No meat is allowed at these repasts, but tea, milk, sugar
and bread and butter are permitted to be offered. There is going on now an
earnest effort to put a stop to this practice. Economical housekeepers
very justifiably object to paying for treats to their servants' company.
But the custom has been handed down from the feudal days, when drinking and
eating were the only amusements within the scope of even the very rich, and
when every soul who in a friendly spirit passed the castle-walls was
welcome to all he could gorge or swill, or carry away in his two arms for
those he had left behind in his poor cottage. In what is known now as
"noble houses" the practice is still in force to a great extent. Does
master or mistress receive a call? Then wine and sweet biscuits are at once
to be carried into the drawing-room to beguile the caller's tedium in
waiting. Has a tradesman brought a package? Give the good man a mug of
beer. Have you come in a cab, and kept it standing outside? Here, quickly
take out some beer in a pewter tankard to comfort Cabby, which he tosses
off as he sits perched on the high seat of his hansom. In houses as lavish
as this a veritable banquet is served each day in the servants' hall, to
which the upper servants have the privilege of inviting their friends. And
so the custom goes on, dwindling in costliness until it reaches the homes
of people in fairly comfortable circumstances, who are struggling, but
almost in vain, to crush it. The trouble is, that when an English servant
enters a house where giving tea to her friends is not allowed, she is apt
to receive such pressure from her mother, who has been probably a servant
in the "good old days," and other conservative domestics of the lavish
school, that she will make the matter square by slyly appropriating that
which she believes should have been legitimately given; and once in this
path her peculations are apt to extend to things more valuable than bread
and tea. This is a great pity, for as a rule English servants are as honest
as the sun. There is not one drop of that Chinese blood which sets the
almond-eyed John to pilfering everything he can lay hands on flowing in
these honest Saxon veins. Of course there are always exceptions to any
rule, but for these exceptions there exists in England that inflexible
system of punishment by law whose motto most emphatically is, "It is a sin
to steal a pin." To be a thief in England is as poor a business as one
would wish to follow.

In engaging a cook in England you find that she makes many demands you
never heard of in America. I have alluded to the refusal of all such
servants to have any hand in the laundry-work. In rich households
(especially in the country) a laundress and laundry-maid are regularly
employed, who have no work of any kind to do outside the laundry: they wash
and iron for the household, including the servants. In cities, however, and
in small families even in the country, the washing is generally done by a
laundress outside. No cook would tolerate washing and ironing anywhere
about the kitchen.

The next imperative demand your cook will make will probably be to ask you
if you keep a scullery-maid or an "under-servant." If your purse will not
permit this luxury, what "assistance" is your cook to be furnished with?
This means, is she to have a "charwoman" once a week or oftener for the day
to clean pots and pans, scrub steps and passage-ways, and scour, dust and
rub up generally in the kitchen and rooms adjoining? In England this
cleaning business is far more formidable than with us. We lay down so much
oilcloth on our stairways and passage-ways, paint or cover with carpeting,
matting or oilcloth so many floors, that it is rather an infrequent
experience to see our servants down on their hands and knees scrubbing away
for dear life. Even in neat Philadelphia, where there is so much of brick
sidewalk and of marble doorstep to be cleaned, the use of hose and broom
has to a great extent superseded the scrubbing-brush oiled with
elbow-grease. But in England there are so many stone floors and steps to be
scrubbed, so much brass-work to be cleaned and polished, so many steel
grates, with tongs, poker and shovel, to be brightened till you can see
your face in them, that it is no wonder your cook would like to have
assistance in these heavy manual exertions.

Ladies in England have found that when the work in their houses is such
that assistance must be had, it is better to keep an "under-servant" for
the cook (a position even less exalted than the "scullery-maid" in this
complex system of domestic gradations) than to have a charwoman come
occasionally. We have no special name for the "charwoman" in America,
unless it be simply the generic term, "a woman," or, to be Victor Hugoish,
the woman who cleans. Char (pronounced _chair_) is simply the old-fashioned
word still popular in New England, _chore_, and the charwoman is merely the
woman who does chores. English ladies say she does other and more
objectionable things. She drinks, for instance, and finds it necessary to
bring a basket with her, which, they think, would be found to be more
weighty on leaving (if the matter were tested) than it is when she arrives.
Another favorite plan for lightening labor, even with families who are in
moderate circumstances, is to keep a "Buttons," a useful little urchin, who
is forced to make himself respectable in appearance by wearing a livery
provided for him, the distinguishing feature of which is its lavishness in
the way of buttons. This boy is expected to do anything and everything--to
clean boots, fetch coal, run errands, open the door, assist in waiting at
table, rub up knives and silver; in short, to be at the beck and call of
everybody in the house for each and any duty. He may be called a sort of
light brigade or sharpshooter on the outposts between the heavy cavalry in
the kitchen in the shape of cook and the solid infantry which moves with
regular step through the housemaid's set round of duties. And whenever the
wheels of a household in England are found to creak, additional help in the
shape of under-servants is engaged, the matter of the efficiency of the
upper-servants being of course first satisfactorily settled. Here is the
very kernel of the nut of the question: this it is which makes "all the
difference" between the management of a house say in New York and a similar
one in London. A family without children, occupying a brown-stone front in
New York, will consider that two servants should do all the work of the
household, and do it well. I am not speaking of people who live on the
"swell" avenues and keep carriages or give frequent balls and parties: I
mean unpretending people who own or rent a nice three- or four-story house,
and want to live with entire comfort and freedom from rows or disputes with
servants, and expect to be well waited on. They engage cook and
chambermaid--the chambermaid to act also as waitress, both to act as
laundresses. High wages are given, and when the work is done
unsatisfactorily more money is offered as a bribe, or else there are
disagreeable scenes, ending with the lady saying hotly, "Well, if you can't
do my work, I'll find some one else who can." But she is mistaken. She will
never find two women who can cook, wash, iron, clean, dust, wait at table
and do the work generally of a three- or four-story house as it should be
done. In a household of that importance in England there would be hired, at
the least, cook and under-servant, housemaid and Buttons, and all the
laundry-work put out.

And oh how smoothly life passes in such an English home! How brightly every
inch of brass shines! how well dusted is every article you touch! how clear
is the crystal for table use! how spotless the napery! how noiselessly your
servants move about! how respectfully each addresses the heads of the
household whenever required to do so, not otherwise! It is the very
perfection of service, and a luxurious satisfaction which we in America
rarely get a chance to enjoy. But the times are changing now. It may be
possible that in the future the demand-and-supply market for domestic
service may have so settled itself that for the money we have hitherto paid
as yearly wages to two only tolerable servants we shall obtain the services
of as many efficient ones as are needful to make our American homes the
equal of those in England for the quiet perfection of their interior
management.

OLIVE LOGAN.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.


FERNAN CABALLERO.

About thirty years ago there appeared in the _Heraldo_ of Madrid a novel
called _La Gaviota_ ("The Sea-gull"). Spanish literature at the present day
is poor in novels, and thirty years ago it was much poorer. _La Gaviota_
was like a tall tiger-lily suddenly appearing among low-growing exotics.
The book was what the French call a _roman de moeurs_: it was signed with
an unknown name--Fernan Caballero. Nobody knew Fernan Caballero. Madrid
concluded that it must be one of those great living writers whose names
could be counted on the first five sticks of a lady's fan. Seville ascribed
it to an author of local fame, and Cadiz was amazed by the fact that
anything so good could come out of Spain. The novel was eagerly read, even
by the Gallicanized element in society, and pronounced a success in all
things, except that it was not French. Following _La Gaviota_, _La España_
published _Elia_ in its columns: then followed _La Familia Alvareda_, _Una
en Otra_, _Pobre Dolores_, _Lucas Garcia_ and others. It became evident
that the masked writer was a woman, but not one of those _femmes auteurs_
of whom Louis Veuillot says, with more force than elegance, "Il me semble
que si ma femme signait tels livres, j'aurais scrupule à signer ses
enfants." Her thoughts were pure and high, and every detail was gifted with
life.

The Spanish public was not particularly pleased to discover that its
admired Fernan was a woman. If Cervantes had been a woman, there would have
been a precedent for it; but Cervantes was a man. Fernan Caballero's
readers would have wavered in their allegiance had her stories not become a
part of themselves. It was unfortunate that a woman should write such
things. "A blue-stocking!" cries Don Judas Tadéo Barbo, representative of
this feeling, in _Una en Otra_. "Ave Maria! A woman who writes and rushes
into print! It is a mortal sin! A woman has as much business to write a
book as a man would to have a baby. And a pretty woman, too! Who would have
believed it? A woman who writes should be old, ugly and decrepit."

In spite of the attention excited by her stories, she was still tenacious
of her mask. In a letter to Germonde de Lavigne, one of the French
translators of her works, she said: "It was cruel of you to tear away my
pseudonym. You know how much I value it. You perhaps wished me to make a
buckler of my fan; but, believe me, the beautiful things I have gathered do
not need it. I have not tried to put into my stories studies of the heart
or the world: there is neither art nor invention nor inspiration, only the
exact painting of our actual society. Spanish types of all classes, the
manners, the feelings, the witty and poetical language, I have painted from
the life. My personality and my name are things outside of these. All that
I have written is true. I cannot invent: I possess only the talent of
dovetailing facts and placing them in relief. I have passed my life in
collecting those treasures of tradition, poetry, stories, legends, pious
and poetic beliefs which make an atmosphere of picturesque purity--proverbs
like Sancho's, maxims as beautiful as Don Quixote, couched in the forcible
and flowery language of the people. I am as proud as an artist of the
beauty of my model. The story of _Lucas Garcia_ is true; I have known Simon
Verde; an old woman told me the story of the lottery in _La Estrella_; in
_Una en Otra_ everything is true. I have caught nearly all my dialogues
from the lips of the people who spoke them. I have gleaned the last grain
from a beautiful field, already growing desolate. I have made a sheaf,
despised perhaps to-day, although the world has gathered some corn-flowers
which fell from it, but which some day will be appreciated."

"Like Sir Walter Scott," says M. de Mazade in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_,
"Fernan Caballero has a lively feeling for the traditional and local in
regions of which she writes. Her first and only inspiration is Spain. She
loves even its miseries, which are not without their grandeur. Her
creations, her characters, her combinations, have no reflection of
imitation: they are taken from the heart of the national life. They proceed
from an observation of the reality and a feeling of the poetry of
things--two sentiments which, balancing each other and uniting, form true
and original invention.

"Another trait in this rare talent," continues M. de Mazade--"a trait in
which the imagination of the woman is shown--is the absence of complication
in her tales: they have none of those hard knots that bind up action.
Fernan Caballero has a genius for details. She makes everything live. She
has an intuition of a thousand shades, often imperceptible to ordinary
eyes, which give each mood of Nature a distinct physiognomy. Like Sir
Walter--more than Sir Walter Scott--she enjoys digressions, sinuous
conversations; she abandons herself to them with delight; she draws
pictures and portraits, full of freshness, one after the other; she is
prodigal of all that can throw light on manners or character. She passes
with graceful ease from the refinements of the aristocratic world to the
most humble scenes of popular life."

An author, it seems, is never _sui generis_ in the estimation of the
critics. Fernan Caballero, compared by M. Mérimée to Sterne and by others
to Scott, imagined that if her talent was similar to anybody's it was like
Émile Souvestre's; but her models and method were as much like Souvestre's
as Spain is like France. Fernan Caballero--or, as she was known in real
life, Doña Cæcilia de Baer, marquesa de Arco-Hermosa--may be compared,
reservedly, to Miss Mitford. It is true that fiery thoughts and violent
passion are not to be found in Miss Mitford's beautifully-enamelled
miniatures; but fire and passion were not apparent in the English life she
painted, while in the works of the Spanish artist passion glows under the
simplest forms, as the red of an orange among its leaves and blossoms. It
has been truly said of Madame de Baer that she gave a new world to Castile
and Leon--an Andalusian world--almost Arcadian in its newness and
simplicity. She showed to the world that the Spain of thirty years ago was
still the Spain of Don Quixote. "What was true yesterday," she quotes from
Calderon, "is true to-day." Our Don Quixote is not the Spanish Don Quixote.
"Sir Roger de Coverley, Sir Charles Grandison and Don Quixote," said
Colonel Newcome, "are the finest gentlemen in the world." The Spaniards see
in Don Quixote something higher. "In Cervantes," says Madame de Baer, "the
mind stifled the heart. It was not his heart that made of Don Quixote a
thing for laughter. Neither the casque of Mambrino nor the love of
Maritornes makes me laugh: it makes me weep."

Progress--as the word is generally understood--also makes her sad. The
Andalusian, surrounded by a world of poetry and beauty, is happy in his
ignorance. He reads sermons in the lives of animals, poems in the trees,
maxims and proverbs everywhere. Why should he read them in books? In _La
Gaviota_, Frederick Stein, a German surgeon who has been thrown upon the
charity of some Spanish peasants, hears a shepherd mention an infallible
cure for pain in the eyes. Stein asks where this remedy is to be found.

"I cannot tell you," answered the shepherd: "I know that there is such a
thing."

"Who can find it, then?" asked Stein.

"The swallows," said José.

"The swallows!"

"Yes, sir. It is an herb called _pito real_, which nobody knows or sees
except the swallows. When their little ones lose their sight they rub the
little eyes with the _pito real_, and cure them. This herb has also the
virtue of cutting iron and everything it touches."

"What absurdities this José swallows like a real shark!" cried Manuel,
laughing.--"Don Frederico, he actually believes that snakes never die."

"No, they never die," said the shepherd gravely: "when they see death
coming they escape from their skin and run away. When old they become
serpents: little by little scales and wings appear. They become dragons,
and return to the desert.--But you, Manuel--you do not wish to believe
anything. Do you also deny that the lizard is the friend of man? If you do
not believe it, ask Miguel."

"Does he know it?"

"Without doubt. He was sleeping in a field; a snake glided near him; a
lizard, which lay in the furrow, saw the snake, and presented itself to
defend Miguel. The lizard was large, and it fought with the snake; but
Miguel not awaking, the lizard pressed its tail against his nose, and ran
off as if its paws were on fire. The lizard is a good little beast: it
never sleeps in the sun without descending the wall to kiss the earth."

Imagination in the Andalusian supplies the place of knowledge. He has a
precedent for everything. Tradition is the light that guides his feet. Let
him alone, says Fernan Caballero. Would he be happier if his wants were
greater--if his life were less simple? Would he be happier if he believed
less? If he thinks, with the good Maria in _La Gaviota_, that the Jews
formerly had caudal appendages, and that they are only now prevented from
wearing them by the ring that governs in place of the queen, _qu' importe_
so long as a sick Jew will be treated as tenderly as a sick Christian? If
you could alter their ardent natures, if you could cut out the firm love
that often changes to fierce jealousy and deadly hate, you would improve
them and lessen crime; but that you cannot change until you can change the
climate. Change Spain to England, and you can have schools, trades-unions,
and all the modern improvements; but while Spain is Spain you of the North
can neither understand nor reform her.

And strange it is that this author, who has identified herself with Spain,
is not Spanish. Her father was John Nicolas Böhl de Fabre, who migrated
from Hamburg to Cadiz: to him Spain owes a collection of ancient poetry,
_Floresta de Rimas Antiquas Castellanas_. His daughter Cæcilia was born in
1797 at Morges in Switzerland. The publication of her first work was due to
the advice and encouragement of Washington Irving. She first wrote an
exquisite idyl of Andalusian life, _The Alvareda Family_, in German, and
then translated it into Spanish. Irving admired it in manuscript, and
induced her to go to work on another, which appeared under the title of _La
Gaviota_--a title borrowed from its wild and untamable heroine, Marisalada
Santalo. This second story at once made her reputation in Europe. It stands
at the head of her numerous works. The character of the uncontrollable
heroine is developed as by a master-hand, and the handling of the story
until it culminates in Marisalada's passion for Pepe Vera and the despair
of her husband, Stein, is graphic and almost too pitiless. Don Modesto,
commandant of Fort San Cristobal, is worthy of the hand of Cervantes. The
author has received the greatest compliment that unliterary Spain could pay
her: a complete edition of her works was issued--_not_ at the expense of
the queen--by Don Francesco de Mallado at Madrid.

Madame de Baer was married three times; so, besides her three cognomens, it
is well that she has one that will always be remembered--Fernan Caballero.
During the reign of Isabella she occupied apartments in the Alcazar of
Seville, but after the revolution she removed to the Calle de Burgos, where
she lived quietly among those lifelong friends, her flowers and books.
During her last illness the ex-queen and the duke and duchess de
Montpensier were her frequent visitors. She died on the seventh of April of
this year.

M. F. E.


THE OCTROI.

Those travellers who, after an excursion to the suburbs of Paris, see their
carriage stopped by an official in a green tunic with silver buttons, who
asks solemnly, "Have you anything to declare?" are usually far from
imagining that they are witnessing a manifestation of one of the most
important of the Parisian financial functions. For such undoubtedly must
the _octroi_ be considered. It is the tax that supports Paris--that pays
for her improvements, her cleansing, her lighting, her poor-fund--that
supports the hospitals, keeps her pavements and sewers in repair, and, in a
word, pays all her necessary expenses. It encircles Paris as with an iron
hand; it watches at every gate, at every quay, at every entrance-point to
the city; it is for ever on the alert to discover fraud. One hundred and
twenty-five officers and three thousand subordinates are employed in
collecting this colossal tax and in guarding against its being evaded. The
revenue thus produced has amounted during the last few years to over
twenty-five millions of dollars annually. No wonder that Paris can afford
to beautify herself with new adornments continually. She is a millionaire
among cities, and can pay for new decorations at will.

The octroi, in its present form, is a comparatively modern institution. It
dates from the 18th of October, 1798. Before the law was passed Paris had
fallen into a piteous plight. The contractors threatened to cease all
operations; nobody had been paid for a long time; the city was not even
able to pay the pitiful sum of sixteen thousand francs which was owing to
the street-sweepers. Out of this municipal poverty arose the octroi, and
during the first year of its functions it produced over a million and a
half of dollars. Yet it was far from bringing in at that time all that it
should have done, owing to the insufficient force of agents employed and
the gigantic frauds that were perpetrated on all sides. As soon as night
came the smugglers set to work at all the unprotected points--and they were
many--of the fortifications. Ladders were planted against the walls, and
barrels of wine, bottles of brandy, packets of butcher's meat, etc. were
lowered into the city by means of cords. Subterranean passages were dug,
establishing a communication between the interior and the exterior of the
city. It was not till the reign of the First Napoleon that these abuses
were definitely suppressed.

Nearly every article of daily consumption that enters Paris is taxed by
the octroi--meat, wine, spirits, fruits, vegetables, ice, wood, coal,
etc.--and also all building materials. It has been estimated that the
octroi-tax on an edifice in Paris that costs twenty thousand dollars
amounts to one thousand dollars. The largest part of the revenue is
acquired from wines and spirits. Wine pays about twenty-three francs on the
hectolitre: it is taxed by quantity, and not _ad valorem_; which is an act
of crying injustice to the poor man, whose cup of _petit bleu_ must pay as
much as does the goblet of old Burgundy of the millionaire. One of the
heaviest taxed of all articles is absinthe, owing to the desire of the
authorities to suppress the use of it as much as possible. After all claims
upon it are acquitted a bottle of absinthe will be found to have been
charged nearly four hundred per cent. on its original value.

This law, which strikes not only absinthe, but all other kinds of liqueurs
and of spirits, with excessive duties, was passed in 1871, and the effects
were immediately manifest, only sixty thousand hectolitres of alcohol being
brought into Paris in 1872, against one hundred and sixty-nine thousand in
1871. The immense consumption of absinthe, which just before the war was so
marked a feature of the café-life of Paris, has now greatly decreased. But
to make this temperance movement on the part of the French authorities
fully effectual, the tax on _vin ordinaire_ should have been taken off
altogether.

These heavy duties have naturally called into being among the quick-witted
French an active system of frauds against the octroi; and that is not the
least interesting part of the question to study. Against these petty
smugglers a band of picked officials, selected for their probity and
intelligence from among the whole force of the service of the octroi, has
been organized. Eighteen among these act as detectives. They wear no
uniform, assume various disguises, and are well acquainted with all the
mysterious nooks of Paris and with all the holes and corners of the
suburbs. They seem to scent out a fraud as a hunting-dog does game. Thus,
a few years ago two huge blocks of Swiss granite passed the barriers
unquestioned. Some keen-witted detective immediately asked himself why and
for what purpose had those great masses of stone been brought from such a
distance. He prowled about them for a little while, observed a curious
depression in one end of the largest block, and ended by discovering that
both were hollow and were packed full of contraband goods.

The custom-house authorities have formed a museum of the most curious of
the objects that have been captured whilst passing the barriers, and that
were constructed for the purposes of fraud. The list is an interesting one,
and reflects great credit upon the ingenuity of the smugglers, if not upon
their honesty. False busts worn by make-believe wet nurses, false abdomens,
hats with double crowns, hollow horse-collars, footstools lined with tin,
carriage-seats concealing tin boxes, etc., etc., abound. There, too, may be
seen a pile of pieces of linen fastened together with a cord, each of which
is simply a box of zinc covered with linen. This trick was really
ingenious, and was detected in a very odd way. The wagon that conveyed this
merchandise into Paris was marked on the side "Toiles et Nouveautés," and
the letters struck the custom-house agents as being a great deal too large
and conspicuous. Hence arose suspicion and a thorough examination.

The museum also preserves among its curiosities an ordinary-looking cab,
which is a hollow structure made of painted tin. There, too, are to be seen
piles of common plates, as innocent-looking as it is possible for crockery
to be. The first half dozen plates are all right: the rest are perforated
and conceal a tube of tin. It will be seen that all these contrivances are
directed toward the smuggling of one article--namely, spirits.

The product of the octroi averages about sixty francs per annum for every
inhabitant of Paris. It is an indirect income-tax which is exacted from
every dweller in the city. Unfortunately, its operations weigh heavily only
on the very poorest classes. The banker of the Faubourg St. Honoré or the
noble of the Faubourg St. Germain troubles himself very little about the
extra price that he is thus forced to pay for his salmon or his chambertin.
But among the very poor, those whose daily expenditure is counted not by
sous, but by centimes, this tax is very severely felt. It is argued,
however, that the poor man profits even more by the product of this tax
than does the rich one, the hospitals, for instance, being chiefly
maintained by its means.

L. H. H.


FOREIGN LEADERS IN RUSSIA AND TURKEY.

There is an old regimental tradition, which meets the Eastern traveller at
times in Egyptian hotels and Indian mess-rooms, that an English interpreter
in the Turkish service, being present at a conference between his pasha and
a Russian general, was just commending the two as "admirable specimens of
their respective races," when suddenly General Kormiloff and Selim Pasha,
after staring at each other for a moment, broke out simultaneously, "Eh,
Donald Campbell, are _ye_ here?"--"Gude keep us, Sandy Robertson! can this
be _you_?"

This is merely a grotesque version of an actual and very significant
fact--viz. that both the Russian and his hereditary enemy have achieved
many of their greatest triumphs under the command of foreigners. The
prominence of the latter in the military history of both nations is of
considerable antiquity. As early as 1397, Sultan Bajazet formed the
Christian captives of Nikopolis into the formidable brigade whose title of
_Yengi Scheri_ ("new soldiers") gave rise to the terrible name of
_Janissary_; while several of the earlier czars in like manner surrounded
themselves with a foreign body-guard. Coming down to later times, we find
the Tartar Skuratoff acting as the right-hand man of Ivan the Terrible
(1531-84). In the ensuing century the Russian centre at Smolensk was
commanded by the terrible Sir Thomas Dalziel of Binns, afterward the
fiercest persecutor of the Scottish Covenanters. Peter the Great's best
officer was General Gordon, a cadet of the Huntley family, and his best
engineer was M. Lefort, a native of Geneva. The Turkish service, too,
contained at this time several Swiss and Frenchmen (mostly refugees from
the religious persecutions of Louis XIV.), some of whom attained high rank.

In the earlier part of the eighteenth century the fame of the new military
system established by Frederick William of Prussia and his son, Frederick
the Great, led the sovereigns of Russia to give the most liberal
encouragement to any German officers who could be persuaded to undertake
the training of their ill-disciplined levies. Among these imported
generals[D] the most distinguished was the celebrated Marshal Münnich,
commander-in-chief of the Russian army under the empresses Anne and
Elizabeth, the latter of whom at length banished him to Siberia, whence he
was not recalled till the accession of Peter III. in 1762. His Russian
successor, Apraxin, was speedily superseded by an Englishman named William
Fermor, a distant relation of the beautiful heroine of Pope's _Rape of the
Lock_; but the total defeat of this new leader by Frederick the Great at
Zorndorf in 1758 ousted _him_ in his turn, and the imperial troops were
commanded by native Russians up to the end of the Seven Years' War. But
under the far-sighted rule of Catherine II., who ascended the throne in
1763, the German element began to predominate once more, and speedily
attained such prominence that toward the middle of her reign, before
Suvaroff's formidable renown had raised the prestige of the native stock,
the proportion of foreign officers (chiefly Germans) in the Russian service
was estimated at not less than eighty-five per cent. It was in allusion to
this circumstance that the grim old marshal, himself a Russian _pur sang_,
answered Catherine's gracious inquiry how she could best reward his
services by saying, with characteristic bluntness, "Mother Katrina, make me
a German!"

About the same period several Irish soldiers of fortune, driven from home
by political troubles, appeared in the Turkish ranks, as well as not a few
Poles, dispossessed by the "second partition" of their country, and longing
for a chance of avenging the wrong. Several of these adventurers adopted
the Mohammedan faith, and, gaining the entire confidence of their adopted
countrymen, were enabled to inflict considerable injury upon the invading
armies of Russia. But the greatest service rendered to the Crescent by a
foreigner at that time (we might almost say the greatest which it ever
received) was achieved in 1802 by the French envoy, Colonel (afterward
General) Sebastiani. When a British squadron lay off Prinkipos Island,
within easy reach of Constantinople, threatening it with instant
bombardment, the undaunted ambassador, defying alike the hostile guns and
the fury of the fanatical mob, calmly set himself to achieve the same task
which General Todleben accomplished in the Crimea half a century later.
Under his vigorous superintendence the city was impregnably fortified by
the incessant labor of a single week, while a show of negotiation diverted
the attention of the English admiral; and the hostile squadron, suddenly
confronted by twelve hundred heavy guns, was forced to retire with
considerable loss.

The enlightened rule of Alexander I., whose zeal for the improvement of
Russia quickened instead of keeping down his appreciation of foreign
talent, filled the Russian camp with officers from Western Europe.
Benningsen, the most formidable antagonist of Napoleon in 1807; Pfuhl, who
constructed the fortified camp of Drissa in 1812; Barclay de Tolly, the
Russian commander-in-chief in the early part of that memorable campaign;
Wittgenstein, who bore the palm of valor during the invasion of France in
1814; the great strategist Jomini, who was Alexander's aide-de-camp; and
Langeron, whose storming of Montmartre sealed the fate of Paris,--were all
men of foreign blood. Even after the accession of the Russomaniac Nicholas
in 1825, the "over-the-frontier men," as the natives emphatically call
them, continued to hold the same prominent place. The Russian navy, indeed,
which in the time of Catherine II. owed to Western Europe the only three
competent seamen whom it possessed--Greig, Elphinstone and Dugdale--was by
this time officered chiefly by native Russians, though still manned by
Finns, Greeks and Livonians; but in the army Count Diebitsch himself, the
hero of 1828-29, and his two principal subordinates, Generals Roth and
Rüdiger, were of German descent. In the Crimean war the array of foreign
names on either side was still more striking. Omar Pasha, perhaps the
greatest general whom Turkey has ever possessed, was a Hungarian deserter
from the Austrian army, his true name being Theodore Lattos. The defence of
Silistria was the work of two English subalterns, Lieutenant Nasmyth and
Captain Butler. Ibrahim Aga, the veteran of Sultan Mahmoud's Egyptian wars,
was originally Thomas Keith, a gunsmith from the "Old Town" of Edinburgh.
Omar Pasha's best cavalry officer in 1853, Iskander Bey, was a Polish
refugee, by name Michael Tchaikovski, whose stirring war-songs are still
affectionately preserved by his countrymen. Bairam Pasha was merely the
Turkish alias of General Cannon. Among the Russians, again, General
Todleben, incomparably the greatest name of the war on their side, was a
Courlander from Mitau. Prince Paskievitch, the conqueror of Erivan and
besieger of Silistria, sprang from a Slavonian family in Transylvania.
Generals von Schilders, Aurep and von Lüders, though Russian subjects, were
all of foreign extraction, as were also Count Osten-Sacken and General
Dannenberg.

But it is in the present war that the foreign element has asserted itself
most conspicuously. Whether on the Russian or the Turkish side, almost
every leader of note is a foreigner. The Turkish fleet is commanded by an
Englishman, who still retains his own name of Augustus Hobart. Another
Englishman--the notorious Colonel Valentine Baker, called, like his
brother, Sir Samuel, "Baker Pasha"--heads the cavalry of the army of the
Danube. The sultan's two best engineers, under whose guidance Shumla has
been refortified, though now known to fame as Reschid Pasha and Blum Pasha,
were serving not many years since in the German army as Captains Strecker
and Blume. Mehemet Ali Pasha himself, the late commander-in-chief, is a
Prussian, born in Berlin. Suleiman Pasha's chief of staff is Bielowski, a
Pole, known in the Turkish army as General Nihad, and General Mina,
recently appointed to the command of a cavalry division at Rasgrad, is a
Belgian. On the Russian side, again, Generals Loris-Melikoff and
Tergukassoff are Armenians, the former having made his first step to renown
by attracting Count Mouravieff's notice as an active young dragoon officer
in the Kars campaign of 1855. General Oklobschio, who commanded before
Batoum last summer, though for many years in the Russian service, is by
birth a Montenegrin, and has the rashness as well as the valor of his
warlike countrymen. Baron Krudener, of Plevna notoriety, comes of a German
family which settled in Russia toward the close of the last century. The
gallant Scobeleff is said to belong to the Ayrshire family of Scobie.
General Nepokoitchitski is a Pole. Prince Tcherkasski has a tinge of
Tartar, Prince Mirski of Polish, blood. General Gourko springs from a
Cossack family of formidable renown in the Turkish and Polish wars of the
seventeenth century; and the family name of General Zimmermann, the leader
of the Dobrudscha army, speaks for itself.

Nor is all this to be wondered at. The Turk and the Russian, closely alike
in many points, are more especially so in this--that both can follow and
neither can lead. In steadfast obedience and endurance of every extreme of
hardship they have no superior on the face of the earth, but the prompt
energy of the man who is accustomed to think and act for himself in every
emergency is wanting to both. Under the command of a skilful general both
Russian and Turkish troops will advance unflinchingly against the strongest
position, or hold their ground with that stubborn tenacity which Frederick
the Great aptly illustrated by saying that "when you fight with a Russian
you must kill him first and knock him down afterward." But let them once be
deprived of their leader or lose their solid formation, and their
helplessness becomes instantly manifest.

D. K.


THE DEPARTURE OF THE IMPERIAL GUARDS.

Moscow, Sept. 11 (Aug. 30, Russian style), 1877.

Excitement here is now a veritable epidemic. Go where you will,
charity-boxes, designating the purpose for which alms are solicited, and
each boasting the bright crimson cross stamped on a pure white surface,
meet your eye. They are affixed to the walls of the various _ooclitzas_ (or
roads) traversing this mighty city; they greet you at the entrance of every
church and cathedral, the charming little English church occupying a site
in the Tchernetchefsky Perculok forming no exception to the rule; do you
happen to enter "Gurin's," the well-known Muscovitish restaurant, the
probability is that your charity "on behalf of the sick and wounded" is
instantly demanded by a lady, who, duly escorted by some member of the
"nobler sex," has taken upon herself the duty of "begging" in this
particular district. The topic of--as also endless incidents attendant
upon--this deplorable war meets one at every point--in the lowest
_peeteny-dom_ (drinking-house); in every shop; in the very _droshky_ which
one hires, the driver (_eezvostchik_) being invariably well versed in the
latest phases of the combat.

To-day a fresh impetus has been given by the departure from Moscow, after a
two days' stay here, of a portion of the Imperial Guards from St.
Petersburg _en route_ for the field--were it not better to say many
fields?--of battle. This body, numbering about thirty-six hundred officers
and soldiers, was despatched from the modern capital in instalments of six
hundred men. The Guards, it must be remembered, constitute the flower and
pride of the Russian army, and it is impossible that they could be regarded
in any other light. A veritable set of giants, so to speak, they one and
all appeared, clad in their rough brown winter gear, with heavy top-boots,
and carrying heavy knapsacks with superfluous pairs of nailed high boots
strapped thereon.

The organization of the Imperial Guard dates from the reign of the most
autocratic of the czars. Peter the Great, left fatherless at an early age,
spent his childhood in the village of Preobragensky, situated not many
versts from Moscow, where his greatest delight, as he grew in years, was to
assemble the youths of the village and train them into a fighting corps,
constituting himself their captain. But the youthful hero was not content
with this venture. He also made friends with the boys of the neighboring
village--Semenovsky by name--and assembled them in like fashion. Hence the
names attached to the first and second regiments of the _Infanterie de la
Garde_--Preobragensky and Semenovsky. In after-life Peter retained the rank
in early days thus self assumed, remaining captain of his favorite
Preobragensky regiment.

The Infanterie de la Garde consists of three divisions, each comprising
four regiments. The first division, besides the two already named, includes
the regiments designated as Ismailovsky and the Chasseurs de la Garde. The
regiments of the second division are named, respectively, Pavlovsky, Les
Grenadiers de la Garde, Moscovsky, and De Finlande. The third division
embraces the Volensky and Letovsky regiments, as also those dubbed
L'Empereur d'Autriche and L'Empereur de Prusse. The cavalry has also three
divisions, the first comprising the four regiments named Les Chevalier
Gardes, Les Gardes à Cheval, Les Cuirassiers de l'Empereur and Les
Cuirassiers de I'Impératrice; the second, Les Hussards de l'Empereur, Les
Lanciers du Grand Duc Nicolas, Les Grenadiers à Cheval, and Les Dragons de
l'Empereur; and the third, two regiments, Les Lanciers de l'Empereur and
Les Hussards de Grodno.

Soon after six o'clock A. M., on a bleak and rainy morning, I found my way
in a horribly shaky and shabby droshky to the railway terminus, where the
soldiers were gathered, many of them accompanied by friends and near
relations, principally, however, women--mothers, wives and children.
Nearly all were seated on the wide platforms stretching in various
directions. They sat in clusters, some drinking the inevitable _chipeet_
(tea), but perhaps quite as many _votky_ (a kind of brandy). The majority
were talking fast and gesticulating vigorously in true Russian style. Many,
however, were singing and shouting, out of sheer bravado, as it seemed.
"Yes, they would meet their fate thus. It were better far than weeping; and
there were but two alternatives: why choose the last named?" One
bronze-featured Muscovite specially attracted my notice. A burst of noisy
song--little short of a scream in fact--came from his lips ever and anon,
alternating with a stormy burst of laughter or a sudden flow of tears. I
watched him with considerable interest. This, I reflected, was a type of
the wellnigh universal Russian temperament--sad to-day, gay to-morrow: in
the very depths of despair one moment, brimming over with joy the next. But
there were other groups; and herein lay another characteristic feature in
the picture. Here and there a soldier was endeavoring to drown not only his
own feelings, but also those of the surrounding circle, by plunging into
all the wild vagaries of the Russian dance; and furiously his arms as well
as his legs worked to do full justice to the famous national jig. "Hurrah!
hurrah!" rang cheerily from the lips of many around, still struggling hard
with their tears. "Apait! apait!" ("Again! again!"). Knapsacks lay
scattered all around. The troops were all ready to be summoned at a word
and packed into the various carriages, or rather vans, holding an average
number of thirty-five. Alongside the station stood a regiment newly
arrived, and waiting to take the place of that which was about to leave.

We passed slowly along the line, glancing at the many heavily-laden wagons,
and then at compartment after compartment filled with fine-looking but
highly-disconcerted horses, rebelling at the restrictions as regarded space
imposed upon them.

"I declare I am as utterly sorry for the horses as for the men," exclaimed
a soft-hearted Russian lady. "To think of the poor dumb brutes all going
thus helplessly to their fate!"

A tent erected for the officers and their friends stood on our left, and,
forming part of a privileged party, we entered it. A long table, supplied
with the daintiest of viands, provided by the citizens, extended through
its entire length. Many ladies were present, some weeping bitterly. Few
waited for a formal introduction before exchanging words. "Your son,
madame? it is from him you are about to part?"--"And my husband, madame.
All my other sons are there already. May God help and protect
them!"--"Amen!" is the involuntary answer.

The officers--most of them chatting, and many of them even laughing
gayly--are drinking wine, exchanging felicitations and good-wishes, and
touching glasses across the table. In the midst of all I spied a mouse--a
tame one, surely--careering about at pleasure.

But in another minute the aspect of affairs had changed. The word of
command had suddenly been given, the officers marched out, the troops
crouched in such numbers on the platforms rose promptly to their feet,
grasping their knapsacks; and then the women's arms were bound fast around
the necks of those stepping, now fast, according to orders, into the
carriages immediately facing them. The notes of the Russian hymn rose and
fell from time to time: many of the voices were more than half choked.

In flocked all, the sobbing women left behind, with heads wrapped up in the
thick woollen Russian shawl or extemporized _bashlik_, "crossing" their
departing friends three times in earnest and true Russian fashion, praying
Heaven to bless them. And then all waited, all was ready: the long line of
carriages was already moving off.

"Preicheit!" ("Good-bye!") rose from the lips of those around, but
the word was quickly supplemented by another more suggestive of
pleasantness--"Dussvedinia!" ("Au revoir!"), which was echoed again and
again. The train moved now more quickly. The soldiers shouted, cried and
laughed alternately, waving their caps in signal of adieu. "What matters
it?" shouted one: "we must all die once." The officers grasped firmly the
hands of those yet marching bareheaded by their side along the platform:
the lonely women left behind, many of them gray-headed, fell, some of them,
senseless on the ground.

E. S.


A MISSING ITEM.

Among the long and varied list of reasons assigned for the financial
reverses of the past five years, we do not recollect to have discovered the
falling off of European immigration. This would appear one of the most
obvious and controlling of them all. About a million less have been added
from abroad to the population of the Union within that time than the
figures of a like number of years immediately preceding caused to be
expected. If, according to the prevailing estimate, each individual thus
acquired is worth a thousand dollars to the country, its aggregate loss in
this way far exceeds the sum sunk in superfluous railways, to which
extravagance almost exclusively the custom is to ascribe the revulsion.
Eight hundred or a thousand millions of money which the country had under
its hands as it were, reckoned among its available assets and used in
gauging the immediate future of its industry, suddenly vanished. The direct
abstraction from its resources of so large an item could not fail to be
seriously felt. It amounts to the reduction of an average State to a desert
condition--to the loss of twice as many pairs of stout hands as were
sacrificed in the four years of civil war. The homes marked out for them
are desolate, the waste places they would have made to bloom given to the
weeds, the industries which craved them paralyzed, and the wealth they were
to create cancelled.

Such is undoubtedly the economic aspect of this check to the movement of
human freight upon the Atlantic. Viewed from the politico-social side, its
effects will not be deemed so unfortunate even by those whose confidence in
the assimilative power of our institutions is most unqualified. A million
and a half or two millions of matriculates at the great modern political
school is quite a liberal allowance for one decade. Twice the number might
press heavily on the provision made for adequate tuition. The results of
the course upon those who have already graduated, born at home or abroad,
are not at all too flattering. In the West, where our European guests most
do congregate, notions are discoverable of a very helter-skelter
description upon divorce, the "rights of labor," and religion in the public
schools--notions which, whether sound or the reverse, clearly need settling
rather than additional disturbance. The case is similar in cities and
densely-peopled districts at the East, where the same element has especial
weight. At the same time, it is difficult to say how far this association
of facts is accidental or necessary and significant. The proportion of
crotchety agitators among the population of foreign birth we believe to be
actually less than among the natives. Certainly, our most mischievous
"ringmasters" in partisan politics have been Americans. Immigrants do not
usually bring that class of men with them. As to the masses, it can rarely
be said that the European peasant, as he reaches our shores, is calculated
to demoralize his new neighbors in personal and social habits. He is never
intemperate, unless he come from the British Isles, and his tastes and
amusements are simple and often refined. We are in the habit of supposing
that what inferiority the Briton of the lower classes may labor under in
these respects is made up by his superior political information and
training to free institutions.

The arrivals on our shores represent so many different nationalities that
the faults of each may be balanced by the better traits of others, and that
the chances of good qualities overpowering bad in the resultant compound is
inferable from the exceptionally favorable conditions of life which draw
them so far from home. They are so many convergent threads of different
strength and fineness, twisted into one on the Cisatlantic spindle, to be
then woven into the broad and ever-widening web. The weaving process may
possibly be too much hurried; and that is about the only compensation we
have for the loss of so many hundreds of thousands of allies in our contest
with the wilderness.


A CRYING EVIL.

Is there no grand jury for the train-boy? Can he not be presented and
abated as a nuisance? He runs every day the gauntlet of hundreds of these
inquests, strung along the thousands of miles he makes hateful to the
traveller. Yet he still treads unchecked and unabashed his endless round of
evil-doing. To realize the enormity of the wrong let us fancy him
abandoning his stronghold in the railway carriage and adventuring his raids
on terra firma. How long would the most patient of publics endure his
promenading the sidewalk three times an hour each way, and every time
thrusting upon the occupants of every house, at work, at amusement or at
meals, a package of candy, a semi-rancid orange, or a wholly rancid novel?
He would be clapped into quod and permanently extinguished before
completing his third tour of the square.

The railways have no police to do us this good turn. If they have any, this
youth of the period has purchased their silence. The passenger is handed
over to him like a sheep, his helpless victim, bought with a price. No
means of escape are left open. Frowns and cold shoulders are thrown away on
him. A calm ignoring of his existence is but a spur to his determination to
conquer you. He sets you down as a foeman worthy of his steel. "Ah, old
fellow!" he soliloquizes as he takes your measure, "I'll have you yet. If
you are not politician enough to want yesterday morning's triple sheet
_Tomahawk_, you will want to bury yourself from my reach in the mazy tables
of last year's _Railway Guide_, or, if not that, you'll be glad, after a
while, to let me soothe you with a willow-leaf Havana." Revolving these
thoughts, he strolls imperturbably on, for he understands you perfectly, as
he does all the rest of his various victims.

Discouragement is a word he has no use for. He does not seem to sell
anything. Sometimes you will listlessly yet curiously observe his career,
and settle back into your seat in luxurious satisfaction as he emerges
through the rear door without having effected a solitary transaction.
Better still, he caught his basket in the doorway, and spilled some of his
oranges under the feet of yon slumbering rustic: no, he recovered himself
too soon. He never drops anything except of set purpose--a circular or the
book it recommends. A passenger will occasionally do it, or be made to seem
to do it, and then have of course to purchase the article under foot; but
that is a trick of trade, and one the average train-boy is not master of,
the leaders of the craft only being adepts in it.

On some lines the train-boy was formerly utilized in summer by handing
round ice-water to the thirsty at stated intervals. But the thirsty were a
minority: the cans would splash on the sufficiently moist majority, and
that device for contriving a _raison d'être_ for the train-boy was
abandoned. He is now more inexcusable and more ubiquitous than ever. He and
cinders are twin evils born of fast schedules. To add four or five miles an
hour to the old rate, station refreshment-booths and platform-peddlers and
spark-catchers have been abolished. The local peanut interest has been
ruthlessly immolated on the altar of Hurry, and the incense of the same
rite poured in, thick and black, at every car-window and ventilator. Let us
hope for an early change in the mode of worship. This acolyte is unknown in
Europe. Travellers there manage to lunch, read and smoke very comfortably
without him; and they can do it here with perfect ease if similar methods
are adopted for supplying their real wants.

E. B.

FOOTNOTES:

[D] These adventurers are easily distinguished from their native comrades
by the fact of all purely _Russian_ names terminating either in "-off" or
"-in."



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


     The Life of Count Cavour. Translated from the French of
     Charles de Mazade. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

In this substantial volume M. Charles de Mazade has related in a very
interesting manner the history of an extraordinarily interesting career.
Cavour's career was a short one--the space of eleven years covers the whole
of it, and the shorter space of six years witnessed its most striking
achievements--but it was nevertheless one of the most remarkable and most
active in the annals of statesmanship. Clearly and harmoniously unfolded as
it is in these pages, it reads indeed like a romance or a fairy-tale: there
seems almost an element of magic in Cavour's inveterate successes. M. de
Mazade is a passionate admirer of his hero, and the story loses in his
hands none of its brilliancy of coloring. But it needs no retouching: the
naked facts themselves are a drama, with all the necessary requisites--the
large and moving argument, the skilful performers, the thickening plot, the
moment of suspense, the happy dénouement, the attentive auditory. The work
accomplished by Cavour had a peculiar completeness and unity: it was a
single, consistent task cut out for him by circumstances. It is sometimes
said of him that circumstances had more part in the result than the man
himself, and that if they had not happened to combine themselves again and
again in a peculiarly favorable manner the liberator of Italy would not
have been known beyond the limits of the quiet little kingdom of Piedmont.
But M. de Mazade points out that Cavour's greatness was precisely in his
marvellous talent for making his occasion--for knowing just the way in
which to take hold of circumstances. From the day on which, of his own
moment and as the first step in a far-seeing plan, he sent, in the face of
domestic opposition, a Piedmontese contingent to the Crimean war, he
pursued this vigilant culture of opportunity without faltering or going
astray. M. de Mazade characterizes him as an extraordinary mixture of
prudence and boldness; and these qualities with him always went hand in
hand. He knew equally well how to wait and when to act. But it is the
element of discretion, the art of sailing with the current of events, that
enabled him to effect a great revolution by means that were, after all, in
relation to the end in view, not violent--by measures that were never
reckless, high-handed or of a character to force from circumstances more
than they could naturally yield. For M. de Mazade, Cavour is the model of
the moderate and conservative liberal. Liberal he was, as a friend said of
him, "as he was fair-complexioned, lively and witty--by birth." But M. de
Mazade constantly emphasizes the fact that his liberalism was untinged by
the radical leaven, and that if he was a liberator, he had nothing in
common with some of the gentry who aspire to this title. All this is very
obvious. Cavour was not only the champion of his country: he was also the
servant of his king, and his dream was to see Italy not only united, but
brought under the sway of the old Piedmontese crown. He often said,
according to M. de Mazade, that no republic can give as much liberty, and
as real liberty, as a constitutional monarchy that operates regularly. It
is noticeable that, keeping in view his hero's conservative side, M. de
Mazade relates in considerable detail the story of the liberation of Italy,
with no allusion to Mazzini beyond speaking of him two or three times as a
vulgar and truculent conspirator, and with a regrettable tendency to stint
the mixture of praise to the erratic but certainly, during a most important
period, efficient Garibaldi. But Cavour's nature was a wonderfully rich and
powerful one; and there is something very striking in such religious
devotion to an idea when it is unaccompanied with fanaticism or narrowness
of view, and tempered with good sense and wit and the art of taking things
easily.

Cavour had had his idea from the first: he cherished it for a long time
very quietly: he was awaiting his opportunity. "We will do something," he
said one day in 1850, rubbing his hands--his legendary gesture--as he
looked across Lago Maggiore to the Austrian shore. It was not till 1855
that the first serious opportunity came, but he attached himself to this
with the quiet zeal and obstinacy of a man who feels that he is driving in
the narrow end of the wedge. There were all sorts of telling objections to
be made to the co-operation of Piedmont in the Crimean war, and Cavour was
at the disadvantage, for a man who was rigidly and supremely practical, of
having to defend his course on ideal and far-fetched grounds. But his
idealism proved to be plain good sense: it brought little Piedmont to the
notice of Europe, and gave her the right to call attention to her affairs.
The young Italian officer spoke the truth who said to a poor soldier
struggling with the mud in the Crimean trenches, "Never mind--make the best
of it: with this mud we are making Italy!" As Piedmont had had a hand in
the war, so she had a seat at the Congress of Paris which followed it; and
here Cavour, finding his auditory ready made to his hand, introduced--a
little perhaps by the shoulders--the then comparatively novel "Italian
question." This was his second opportunity. The emperor Napoleon had asked
him, from an impulse of imperial civility, "If there was any thing he could
do for Italy?" and Cavour, taking him at his word, and more than his word,
had instantly drawn up a list of _desiderata_. M. de Mazade gives a
detailed and very interesting account of the gradual adoption by the
emperor of his Italian policy--of the various phases through which it
passed, of its complications and interruptions, and of Napoleon's curiously
fitful, illusive and at times evasive attitudes. Cavour's relations with
Napoleon III. may serve as the best example of his disposition to use the
best instruments and opportunities that offered themselves, and not quarrel
with them because they were not ideally perfect. This was what the Italian
"patriots" of the mere romantic type could never forgive: that Italy should
appeal for liberation to the oppressor of France was to them a displeasing
and monstrous anomaly. But Cavour had a lively sense of reality in human
affairs, and for him the best thing was the best possible thing. It was
enough that--for reasons best known to himself--the "Man of December" had
taken a fancy to this idea of lending a hand to the oppressed Peninsula:
his own duty was to fan the flame. The emperor's sympathy with Italian
independence is certainly the most interesting and honorable feature in his
career, and its mingled motives and mysterious fluctuations present a very
curious study. The desire to do something for Italy was, however,
steadfast, and had been an early dream; and the reader of M. de Mazade's
pages can easily believe that Cavour's personal influence and magnetism
had something--had even a good deal--to do with bringing it to a climax.
Napoleon appreciated the Piedmontese statesman, and felt his superiority.
From a certain ideal point of view there is something displeasing in seeing
the advocate of so noble a cause dancing attendance upon an unscrupulous
adventurer, and hanging as it were upon his lips; but we know not what
other ways there may have been: we only know that, in fact, a great deal of
generous French blood was shed upon the plains of Lombardy.

After the Congress of Paris, Cavour spent two years of eager, anxious
waiting and of the most active private agitation. It was by the aid of
England and France combined that he proposed to compass his aim, but he
had, in the case of England, to content himself with a strictly Platonic
sympathy. His mingled ardor and tact during this period, his tension of
purpose, and yet his self-restraint, his inveterate skill in turning events
to his advantage, are vividly narrated by M. de Mazade. At last, in the
summer of 1858, Napoleon sent for him to Plombières, drove him out in a
dog-cart, and during the drive told him that he was now ready to "do
something" for Italy. Then and there the outline of the war of 1859 was
resolved upon. The abrupt conclusion of the war was, at least momentarily,
a profound disappointment to Cavour: the Peace of Villafranca, which left
half its fruits ungathered, seemed to the Italian party almost an act of
treachery on the part of the French emperor. Napoleon was, in fact, alarmed
at his work: he had been almost too successful, and he determined to throw
up the game. Cavour, in irritation, disgust and despair, immediately
withdrew from the ministry, his place being taken by Urbano Rattazzi. The
new minister presided at that great breaking-up throughout the rest of
Italy for which the expulsion of the Austrians from Lombardy had given the
signal, and which took place under the direct patronage of Piedmont. The
attitude of the latter state was a very difficult one, and Rattazzi proved
but half master of the situation: at the end of six months Cavour was
recalled to power. From this point in his work one step succeeds another
with a sort of dramatic effectiveness. He was confronted with the constant
necessity of presenting an unflinching front to Austria; the necessity,
equally imperious, of checking reactionary excesses in Parma and Modena,
Bologna and Tuscany; the need of keeping what had been gained, and at the
same time reaching forth for more; of keeping on good terms with France,
who had drawn back almost as far as she first advanced; of remaining free,
especially, from the reproach of meddling with the papacy--an enterprise
for which the occasion was not ripe; of stimulating England, who had
advanced in proportion as France withdrew; and of being supremely careful,
generally, to commit no faults. The cession of Savoy and Nice brought down
upon Cavour a storm of denunciation, but he had counted the cost, and the
resolution with which he paid the price of Napoleon's assistance was
extremely characteristic of him. It was apparently equally characteristic
of Garibaldi, born at Nice and her most illustrious son, that he felt it a
mortal affront that by this diplomatic bargain he should have been
"deprived of a country." M. de Mazade characterizes very happily Cavour's
attitude during Garibaldi's invasion of the Two Sicilies--his silent
complicity, his skill in giving his terrible associate rope, as it were,
and yet keeping him in hand. Cavour did not live to see the last two acts
of his great drama--the occupation of Venetia and of Rome--but they were
only, as it were, the epilogue: they were implied in what had gone before.
He died of overwork--broke down in the midst of his labors. Great innovator
as he had been, he was remarkable for the moderation of his attitude toward
the Church; and the last words he uttered to the good friar who attended
his deathbed were a repetition of his famous formula--"Libera chiesa in
libero stato."


     Egypt as it Is. By J. C. McCoan. New York: Henry Holt &
     Co.

During the three quarters of a century which have elapsed since the French
invasion a voluminous Egyptian library has been built up, but it is almost
wholly scientific, sentimental or "entertaining." Of the antiquities and
the natural history of the country, the temples, mummies and crocodiles,
and the humors of Fellah-life, we have been told a great deal. An account
of the condition and prospects of the country from an economic point of
view has remained a desideratum. This seems the less remarkable when we
recall the fluctuations through which the industry, commerce and politics
of Egypt have passed since Mehemet Ali seized and commenced repolishing
the sceptre of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies. He and his four successors
stood forth as the absolute lords of the land; but it was subject not only
to the accidents of their character and policy, but to the capricious and
almost always mischievous interference of their suzerain the Porte, and the
often beneficial, but never quite disinterested, control of the great
Christian powers.

The progress of the past fourteen years has been more palpable than that of
the preceding half century. The khedive Ismaal succeeded the
reactionary Abbas, who stopped, and, as far as in him lay, nullified, the
work of Mehemet in 1865. Since that year 971 out of 1126 miles of railway
have been built; three or four hundred miles of telegraph have grown to
fifty-five hundred; 112 miles of canal have been dug, and a great part of
the old system deepened or restored; the great Suez Canal, additional to
that, has been undertaken and completed at a net cost to Egypt of
sixty-seven millions of dollars; the barrage, or damming for irrigation
purposes, of the Lower Nile has been pushed at a cost of five millions; ten
millions have been spent on the harbor of Alexandria, one upon lighthouses,
which make the coast as safe as that of any European power, and half a
million on the bridge at Cairo; schools have been multiplied, remodelled
and endowed in like proportion; the judiciary has been recast with the best
results, so far as time has permitted them to be shown; and the exports,
excluding the transit-trade, which the opening of the Isthmus Canal has
diverted from Alexandria, raised from twenty-four millions in 1866 to
sixty-three millions in 1875. The cotton production, created about the
beginning of the present reign by the civil war in the United States, shows
a recovery and re-advance since the loss of that stimulus, shipments from
Alexandria having grown from 1,288,797 quintals in 1866 to 2,615,120 in
1875. The blow dealt the commerce of that city by the transfer of the
Indian trade to Port Saïd has similarly been "discounted," the mercantile
sagacity of Alexander the Great continuing to assert itself in a movement
of business and population which cannot fail to be largely aided by the
extension of the arable area of Egypt proper and the railway development of
Nubia and the Soudan. The population of the first of these three districts
has grown to five and a half millions, or 484 to the square mile--a
density exceeding that of Belgium. Its multiplication, and the more
wonderful advance in the products of its industry, go to support Mr.
McCoan's assertions of its general well-being. In this regard he maintains
that the Egyptian peasantry compare favorably with those of any Eastern
country. Their mode of life, rude enough in the eyes of Western tourists,
is, he holds, the same as under the builders of Thebes, and much the same
with what the climate and other local conditions will always make it. Their
oppression by the old system of tax-collecting and military conscription
has been greatly relieved. We cannot see, indeed, why an army nominally of
thirty, but actually of less than twenty thousand, and recruited in great
measure from Nubia, should be burdensome. The navy has almost disappeared,
a veto from Constantinople having made iron-clads a prohibited luxury, so
that impressment for the fleet is unfelt.

Mr. McCoan, though generally fair and practical in his statements, tends to
the rose-colored side of things Egyptian. Thus it fares with slavery.
Slaves, white and black, are very numerous in Egypt, "nearly all the indoor
work of every family above the poorest" being done by slaves. In the town
of Mansourah in 1873 an English consular agent, "in rank not even a
vice-consul," used his power under a then existing privilege to liberate
"seventeen hundred in a single month." Mansourah has but sixteen thousand
of population, so that the slave-element must be great. But Mr. McCoan says
the institution is strictly patriarchal, and no way comparable to the
extinct Western form. This does not seem to be borne out by his other
statement, that "few black slaves (the most numerous by far) reach middle
age, ten or a dozen years generally sufficing to sweep away a generation,
at the end of which the whole have to be replaced." And how are they
replaced? By Arab raids among the negro tribes, costing the death, in
battle or on the march, of four or five for one that reaches the Nile or
the Red Sea. The Circassian supply has been brought pretty well to an end
by the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, and is kept up only in a feeble
way by the continued habit of selling their daughters yet prevalent among
the emigrants from that region who have sought refuge among their
coreligionists in the interior of Turkey.

The fortunes of Egypt must be affected by the Turko-Russian war; although,
as England is quite able, and seemingly quite determined, to cork up the
Dardanelles, it is not likely that the ships of the czar can threaten Port
Saïd for generations to come. The interest of the money-changers, too, is
to keep her quiet and the hands of her Fellaheen occupied only with the
implements of peace--the shovel and the hoe. She is far from warlike, is
indisposed in the extreme to quarrelling with Europe or any part of it, and
should the Turkish empire go to wreck, will be content to drift out of the
wreck as noiselessly as possible. She will, if allowed a chance, be able
ere long to set a shining and valuable example of thrift and liberality to
the rest of the Moslem world. She has already shown that its crust of
bigotry and case-hardened conservatism may be broken, and nobody of any
faith be one whit the worse. Her capacity for improvement will not be
questioned by any reader of this volume, which is the result of a thorough
study of her condition and recent progress.


HOLIDAY BOOKS.

The season for holiday publications has not yet fairly opened, but we
notice a few of those which have already reached us, hoping to present a
tolerably complete list in our next number.

_Californian Pictures in Prose and Verse_, by Benjamin Parke Avery (New
York: Hurd & Houghton), is not a record of travel, but a description of
scenes visited by the author, whose observations extend over a large
portion of California, from Mount Shasta to the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is
written in a clear and fluent style, but "word-painting" is a form of
writing requiring exceptional nicety of execution, and Mr. Avery has not
the power or delicacy of language which would be needed to sustain the
interest of a volume of this size with little or no aid from incident.
There is no _sauce piquante_ to set forth attractively the real merits
which the volume possesses. A sincere feeling for Nature appears to have
been turned by Mr. Avery into the special channel of enthusiasm for the
Sierra scenery, which he has studied with loving and minute care. He
explored no new region, but he went beyond the beaten track, and has sought
to avoid a repetition of the most worn Californian themes. Yet it is to
Californians and to those who have visited the State that the book must
chiefly appeal; and to these it may safely be recommended as a memorial
volume, agreeably written, handsomely got up, and embellished with
illustrations by various artists and engravers, some of Mr. Thomas Moran's
familiar light-bathed distances being perhaps the most noticeable.

Three volumes, bearing the imprint of G. P. Putnam's Sons, are suitable for
children of almost any age. Of these, _Six Sinners; or, School-Days in
Bantam Valley_, by Campbell Wheaton, is a pleasantly-written story, the
warm-hearted, clever, impulsive little heroine being very naturally and
sympathetically drawn. There is a good deal of reality in the delineation
of the other characters, and the school in which the sensitive Dora was so
miserable is no doubt a faithful picture of some boarding-school in New
England of twenty years ago. The miseries, though pathetic, are not of long
duration: we take leave in the last chapter of a very happy little girl,
with friends reconciled and circumstances adjusted in the most delightful
way. The story is nicely constructed, and the interest well sustained, but
the title seems to have no special fitness beyond that of alliteration.

_Patsy_ (by Leora B. Robinson) goes through all the stages of girlhood,
from pinafores and paper dolls to long dresses and young ladyhood, with
bewildering celerity. We find her on one page learning the Primer along
with the elements of flirtation, and on the next she is finishing her
education with all the philosophies and -ologies. There is no lack of funny
incidents in the book, but they are too crowded, and the characters are too
numerous. This, however, may be no obstacle to children, who have often a
faculty for unravelling genealogical problems, and like to have their fun
spread thick. They will not even have to skip the moral, which, such as it
is, is aimed entirely at parents and guardians.

_The Wings of Courage_, adapted from the French by Marie E. Field, with
illustrations by Lucy G. Morse, contains three rather long stories. But why
"adapted"? and why is not George Sand acknowledged as the author? There
ought to be an authentic translation of Madame Sand's fairy-tales, which
are full of fancy, earnestness and charm. These stories appeal to a more
imaginative and cultured audience of boys and girls than that to which the
realistic tales of American writers are addressed. The beauty and
simplicity of the antique will, we fear, appear dull when compared with the
adventures of hoydens and newsboys, and Young America is not partial to the
young naturalist unless he justifies the singularity of his pursuit by an
abundance of slaughter.



_Books Received._


Tales from Foreign Tongues, 3 volumes--"Memories," from the German of Max
Müller; "Graziella," from the French of Lamartine; "Marie," from the
Russian of Pushkin. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co.

Money and its Laws: Embracing a History of Monetary Theories and a History
of the Currencies of the United States. By Henry V. Poor. New York: H. V.
and H. W. Poor.

China-Painting: A Practical Manual for the Use of Amateurs in the
Decoration of Hard Porcelain. By M. Louise McLaughlin. Cincinnati: Robert
Clarke & Co.

History of the Ottoman Turks: From the Beginning of their Empire to the
Present Time. By Sir Edward S. Creasy, M.A. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Through Rome On: A Memoir of Christian and Extra-Christian Experience. By
Nathaniel Ramsay Waters. New York: Charles P. Somerby.

The Enchanted Moccasins, and Other Legends of the American Indians. By
Cornelius Matthews. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Biography of Alfred de Musset. From the French of Paul de Musset, by
Harriet W. Preston. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Last Series of Christian Aspects of Faith and Duty: Discourses by John
James Tayler. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Surly Tim, and Other Stories. By Frances Hodgson Burnett. New York:
Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

History of French Literature. By Henri Van Laun. Vol. III. New York: G. P.
Putnam's Sons.

Music in the House. By John Hullah, LL.D. (Art-at-Home Series.)
Philadelphia: Porter & Coates.

Will Denbigh, Nobleman. (No-Name Series.) Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Pauline. By L. B. Walford. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Diana. By Susan Warner. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.





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