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Title: The Crayon Papers
Author: Irving, Washington, 1783-1859
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Crayon Papers" ***

Craig, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed



MOUNTJOY: or Some Passages out of the Life of a Castle-Builder

THE GREAT MISSISSIPPI BUBBLE--"A Time of Unexampled Prosperity"

DON JUAN: A Spectral Research

BROEK: or the Dutch Paradise

SKETCHES IN PARIS IN 1825--From the Traveling Note-Book of Geoffrey Crayon,

My French Neighbor The Englishman at Paris English and French Character The
Tuileries and Windsor Castle The Field of Waterloo Paris at the Restoration

AMERICAN RESEARCHES IN ITALY--Life of Tasso: Recovery of a Lost Portrait of

THE TAKING OF THE VEIL The Charming Letorières

THE EARLY EXPERIENCES OF RALPH RINGWOOD--Noted Down from his Conversations





ABDERAHMAN: Founder of the Dynasty of the Ommiades in Spain

THE WIDOW'S ORDEAL: or a Judicial Trial by Combat

THE CREOLE VILLAGE: A Sketch from a Steamboat


       *       *       *       *       *


I was born among romantic scenery, in one of the wildest parts of the
Hudson, which at that time was not so thickly settled as at present. My
father was descended from one of the old Huguenot families that came over
to this country on the revocation of the edict of Nantz. He lived in a
style of easy, rural independence, on a patrimonial estate that had been
for two or three generations in the family. He was an indolent,
good-natured man, who took the world as it went, and had a kind of laughing
philosophy, that parried all rubs and mishaps, and served him in the place
of wisdom. This was the part of his character least to my taste; for I was
of an enthusiastic, excitable temperament, prone to kindle up with new
schemes and projects, and he was apt to dash my sallying enthusiasm by some
unlucky joke; so that whenever I was in a glow with any sudden excitement,
I stood in mortal dread of his good-humor.

Yet he indulged me in every vagary; for I was an only son, and of course a
personage of importance in the household. I had two sisters older than
myself, and one younger. The former were educated at New York, under the
eye of a maiden aunt; the latter remained at home, and was my cherished
playmate, the companion of my thoughts. We were two imaginative little
beings, of quick susceptibility, and prone to see wonders and mysteries in
everything around us. Scarce had we learned to read, when our mother made
us holiday presents of all the nursery literature of the day; which at that
time consisted of little books covered with gilt paper, adorned with
"cuts," and filled with tales of fairies, giants, and enchanters. What
draughts of delightful fiction did we then inhale! My sister Sophy was of a
soft and tender nature. She would weep over the woes of the Children in the
Wood, or quake at the dark romance of Blue-Beard, and the terrible
mysteries of the blue chamber. But I was all for enterprise and adventure.
I burned to emulate the deeds of that heroic prince who delivered the white
cat from her enchantment; or he of no less royal blood, and doughty
enterprise, who broke the charmed slumber of the Beauty in the Wood!

The house in which we lived was just the kind of place to foster such
propensities. It was a venerable mansion, half villa, half farmhouse. The
oldest part was of stone, with loop-holes for musketry, having served as a
family fortress in the time of the Indians. To this there had been made
various additions, some of brick, some of wood, according to the exigencies
of the moment; so that it was full of nooks and crooks, and chambers of all
sorts and sizes. It was buried among willows, elms, and cherry trees, and
surrounded with roses and hollyhocks, with honeysuckle and sweetbrier
clambering about every window. A brood of hereditary pigeons sunned
themselves upon the roof; hereditary swallows and martins built about the
eaves and chimneys; and hereditary bees hummed about the flower-beds.

Under the influence of our story-books every object around us now assumed a
new character, and a charmed interest. The wild flowers were no longer the
mere ornaments of the fields, or the resorts of the toilful bee; they were
the lurking-places of fairies. We would watch the humming-bird, as it
hovered around the trumpet creeper at our porch, and the butterfly as it
flitted up into the blue air, above the sunny tree-tops, and fancy them
some of the tiny beings from fairyland. I would call to mind all that I had
read of Robin Goodfellow and his power of transformation. Oh, how I envied
him that power! How I longed to be able to compress my form into utter
littleness; to ride the bold dragonfly; swing on the tall bearded grass;
follow the ant into his subterraneous habitation, or dive into the
cavernous depths of the honeysuckle!

While I was yet a mere child I was sent to a daily school, about two miles
distant. The schoolhouse was on the edge of a wood, close by a brook
overhung with birches, alders, and dwarf willows. We of the school who
lived at some distance came with our dinners put up in little baskets. In
the intervals of school hours we would gather round a spring, under a tuft
of hazel-bushes, and have a kind of picnic; interchanging the rustic
dainties with which our provident mothers had fitted us out. Then, when our
joyous repast was over, and my companions were disposed for play, I would
draw forth one of my cherished story-books, stretch myself on the green
sward, and soon lose myself in its bewitching contents.

I became an oracle among my schoolmates on account of my superior
erudition, and soon imparted to them the contagion of my infected fancy.
Often in the evening, after school hours, we would sit on the trunk of some
fallen tree in the woods, and vie with each other in telling extravagant
stories, until the whip-poor-will began his nightly moaning, and the
fireflies sparkled in the gloom. Then came the perilous journey homeward.
What delight we would take in getting up wanton panics in some dusky part
of the wood; scampering like frightened deer; pausing to take breath;
renewing the panic, and scampering off again, wild with fictitious terror!

Our greatest trial was to pass a dark, lonely pool, covered with
pond-lilies, peopled with bullfrogs and water snakes, and haunted by two
white cranes. Oh! the terrors of that pond! How our little hearts would
beat as we approached it; what fearful glances we would throw around! And
if by chance a plash of a wild duck, or the guttural twang of a bullfrog,
struck our ears, as we stole quietly by--away we sped, nor paused until
completely out of the woods. Then, when I reached home, what a world of
adventures and imaginary terrors would I have to relate to my sister Sophy!

As I advanced in years, this turn of mind increased upon me, and became
more confirmed. I abandoned myself to the impulses of a romantic
imagination, which controlled my studies, and gave a bias to all my habits.
My father observed me continually with a book in my hand, and satisfied
himself that I was a profound student; but what were my studies? Works of
fiction; tales of chivalry; voyages of discovery; travels in the East;
everything, in short, that partook of adventure and romance. I well
remember with what zest I entered upon that part of my studies which
treated of the heathen mythology, and particularly of the sylvan deities.
Then indeed my school books became dear to me. The neighborhood was well
calculated to foster the reveries of a mind like mine. It abounded with
solitary retreats, wild streams, solemn forests, and silent valleys. I
would ramble about for a whole day with a volume of Ovid's Metamorphoses in
my pocket, and work myself into a kind of self-delusion, so as to identify
the surrounding scenes with those of which I had just been reading. I would
loiter about a brook that glided through the shadowy depths of the forest,
picturing it to myself the haunt of Naiads. I would steal round some bushy
copse that opened upon a glade, as if I expected to come suddenly upon
Diana and her nymphs, or to behold Pan and his satyrs bounding, with whoop
and halloo, through the woodland. I would throw myself, during the panting
heats of a summer noon, under the shade of some wide-spreading tree, and
muse and dream away the hours, in a state of mental intoxication. I drank
in the very light of day, as nectar, and my soul seemed to bathe with
ecstasy in the deep blue of a summer sky.

In these wanderings nothing occurred to jar my feelings, or bring me back
to the realities of life. There is a repose in our mighty forests that
gives full scope to the imagination. Now and then I would hear the distant
sound of the woodcutter's ax, or the crash of some tree which he had laid
low; but these noises, echoing along the quiet landscape, could easily be
wrought by fancy into harmony with its illusions. In general, however, the
woody recesses of the neighborhood were peculiarly wild and unfrequented. I
could ramble for a whole day, without coming upon any traces of
cultivation. The partridge of the wood scarcely seemed to shun my path, and
the squirrel, from his nut-tree, would gaze at me for an instant, with
sparkling eye, as if wondering at the unwonted intrusion.

I cannot help dwelling on this delicious period of my life; when as yet I
had known no sorrow, nor experienced any worldly care. I have since studied
much, both of books and men, and of course have grown too wise to be so
easily pleased; yet with all my wisdom, I must confess I look back with a
secret feeling of regret to the days of happy ignorance before I had begun
to be a philosopher.

       *       *       *       *       *

It must be evident that I was in a hopeful training for one who was to
descend into the arena of life, and wrestle with the world. The tutor,
also, who superintended my studies in the more advanced stage of my
education, was just fitted to complete the _fata morgana_ which was
forming in my mind. His name was Glencoe. He was a pale, melancholy-looking
man, about forty years of age; a native of Scotland, liberally educated,
and who had devoted himself to the instruction of youth from taste rather
than necessity; for, as he said, he loved the human heart, and delighted to
study it in its earlier impulses. My two elder sisters, having returned
home from a city boarding-school, were likewise placed under his care, to
direct their reading in history and belles-lettres.

We all soon became attached to Glencoe. It is true, we were at first
somewhat prepossessed against him. His meager, pallid countenance, his
broad pronunciation, his inattention to the little forms of society, and an
awkward and embarrassed manner, on first acquaintance, were much against
him; but we soon discovered that under this unpromising exterior existed
the kindest urbanity of temper; the warmest sympathies; the most
enthusiastic benevolence. His mind was ingenious and acute. His reading had
been various, but more abstruse than profound; his memory was stored, on
all subjects, with facts, theories, and quotations, and crowded with crude
materials for thinking. These, in a moment of excitement, would be, as it
were, melted down, and poured forth in the lava of a heated imagination. At
such moments, the change in the whole man was wonderful. His meager form
would acquire a dignity and grace; his long, pale visage would flash with a
hectic glow; his eyes would beam with intense speculation; and there would
be pathetic tones and deep modulations in his voice, that delighted the
ear, and spoke movingly to the heart.

But what most endeared him to us was the kindness and sympathy with which
he entered into all our interests and wishes. Instead of curbing and
checking our young imaginations with the reins of sober reason, he was a
little too apt to catch the impulse and be hurried away with us. He could
not withstand the excitement of any sally of feeling or fancy, and was
prone to lend heightening tints to the illusive coloring of youthful

Under his guidance my sisters and myself soon entered upon a more extended
range of studies; but while they wandered, with delighted minds, through
the wide field of history and belles-lettres, a nobler walk was opened to
my superior intellect.

The mind of Glencoe presented a singular mixture of philosophy and poetry.
He was fond of metaphysics and prone to indulge in abstract speculations,
though his metaphysics were somewhat fine spun and fanciful, and his
speculations were apt to partake of what my father most irreverently termed
"humbug." For my part, I delighted in them, and the more especially because
they set my father to sleep and completely confounded my sisters. I entered
with my accustomed eagerness into this new branch of study. Metaphysics
were now my passion. My sisters attempted to accompany me, but they soon
faltered, and gave out before they had got half way through Smith's Theory
of the Moral Sentiments. I, however, went on, exulting in my strength.
Glencoe supplied me with books, and I devoured them with appetite, if not
digestion. We walked and talked together under the trees before the house,
or sat apart, like Milton's angels, and held high converse upon themes
beyond the grasp of ordinary intellects. Glencoe possessed a kind of
philosophic chivalry, in imitation of the old peripatetic sages, and was
continually dreaming of romantic enterprises in morals, and splendid
systems for the improvement of society. He had a fanciful mode of
illustrating abstract subjects, peculiarly to my taste; clothing them with
the language of poetry, and throwing round them almost the magic hues of
fiction. "How charming," thought I, "is divine philosophy;" not harsh and
crabbed, as dull fools suppose,

  "But a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
   Where no crude surfeit reigns."

I felt a wonderful self-complacency at being on such excellent terms with a
man whom I considered on a parallel with the sages of antiquity, and looked
down with a sentiment of pity on the feebler intellects of my sisters, who
could comprehend nothing of metaphysics. It is true, when I attempted to
study them by myself, I was apt to get in a fog; but when Glencoe came to
my aid, everything was soon as clear to me as day. My ear drank in the
beauty of his words; my imagination was dazzled with the splendor of his
illustrations. It caught up the sparkling sands of poetry that glittered
through his speculations, and mistook them for the golden ore of wisdom.
Struck with the facility with which I seemed to imbibe and relish the most
abstract doctrines, I conceived a still higher opinion of my mental powers,
and was convinced that I also was a philosopher.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was now verging toward man's estate, and though my education had been
extremely irregular--following the caprices of my humor, which I mistook
for the impulses of my genius--yet I was regarded with wonder and delight
by my mother and sisters, who considered me almost as wise and infallible
as I considered myself. This high opinion of me was strengthened by a
declamatory habit, which made me an oracle and orator at the domestic
board. The time was now at hand, however, that was to put my philosophy to
the test.

We had passed through a long winter, and the spring at length opened upon
us with unusual sweetness. The soft serenity of the weather; the beauty of
the surrounding country; the joyous notes of the birds; the balmy breath of
flower and blossom, all combined to fill my bosom with indistinct
sensations, and nameless wishes. Amid the soft seductions of the season, I
lapsed into a state of utter indolence, both of body and mind.

Philosophy had lost its charms for me. Metaphysics--faugh! I tried to
study; took down volume after volume, ran my eye vacantly over a few pages,
and threw them by with distaste. I loitered about the house, with my hands
in my pockets, and an air of complete vacancy. Something was necessary to
make me happy; but what was that something? I sauntered to the apartments
of my sisters, hoping their conversation might amuse me. They had walked
out, and the room was vacant. On the table lay a volume which they had been
reading. It was a novel. I had never read a novel, having conceived a
contempt for works of the kind, from hearing them universally condemned. It
is true, I had remarked that they were as universally read; but I
considered them beneath the attention of a philosopher, and never would
venture to read them, lest I should lessen my mental superiority in the
eyes of my sisters. Nay, I had taken up a work of the kind now and then,
when I knew my sisters were observing me, looked into it for a moment, and
then laid it down, with a slight supercilious smile. On the present
occasion, out of mere listlessness, I took up the volume and turned over a
few of the first pages. I thought I heard some one coming, and laid it
down. I was mistaken; no one was near, and what I had read tempted my
curiosity to read a little further. I leaned against a window-frame, and in
a few minutes was completely lost in the story. How long I stood there
reading I know not, but I believe for nearly two hours. Suddenly I heard my
sisters on the stairs, when I thrust the book into my bosom, and the two
other volumes which lay near into my pockets, and hurried out of the house
to my beloved woods. Here I remained all day beneath the trees, bewildered,
bewitched, devouring the contents of these delicious volumes, and only
returned to the house when it was too dark to peruse their pages.

This novel finished, I replaced it in my sisters' apartment, and looked for
others. Their stock was ample, for they had brought home all that were
current in the city; but my appetite demanded an immense supply. All this
course of reading was carried on clandestinely, for I was a little ashamed
of it, and fearful that my wisdom might be called in question; but this
very privacy gave it additional zest. It was "bread eaten in secret"; it
had the charm of a private amour.

But think what must have been the effect of such a course of reading on a
youth of my temperament and turn of mind; indulged, too, amid romantic
scenery and in the romantic season of the year. It seemed as if I had
entered upon a new scene of existence. A train of combustible feelings were
lighted up in me, and my soul was all tenderness and passion. Never was
youth more completely love-sick, though as yet it was a mere general
sentiment, and wanted a definite object. Unfortunately, our neighborhood
was particularly deficient in female society, and I languished in vain for
some divinity to whom I might offer up this most uneasy burden of
affections. I was at one time seriously enamored of a lady whom I saw
occasionally in my rides, reading at the window of a country-seat; and
actually serenaded her with my flute; when, to my confusion, I discovered
that she was old enough to be my mother. It was a sad damper to my romance;
especially as my father heard of it, and made it the subject of one of
those household jokes which he was apt to serve up at every meal-time.

I soon recovered from this check, however, but it was only to relapse into
a state of amorous excitement. I passed whole days in the fields, and along
the brooks; for there is something in the tender passion that makes us
alive to the beauties of nature. A soft sunshiny morning infused a sort of
rapture into my breast. I flung open my arms, like the Grecian youth in
Ovid, as if I would take in and embrace the balmy atmosphere. [Footnote:
Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book vii] The song of the birds melted me to
tenderness. I would lie by the side of some rivulet for hours, and form
garlands of the flowers on its banks, and muse on ideal beauties, and sigh
from the crowd of undefined emotions that swelled my bosom.

In this state of amorous delirium, I was strolling one morning along a
beautiful wild brook, which I had discovered in a glen. There was one place
where a small waterfall, leaping from among rocks into a natural basin,
made a scene such as a poet might have chosen as the haunt of some shy
Naiad. It was here I usually retired to banquet on my novels. In visiting
the place this morning I traced distinctly, on the margin of the basin,
which was of fine clear sand, the prints of a female foot of the most
slender and delicate proportions. This was sufficient for an imagination
like mine. Robinson Crusoe himself, when he discovered the print of a
savage foot on the beach of his lonely island, could not have been more
suddenly assailed with thick-coming fancies.

I endeavored to track the steps, but they only passed for a few paces along
the fine sand, and then were lost among the herbage. I remained gazing in
reverie upon this passing trace of loveliness. It evidently was not made by
any of my sisters, for they knew nothing of this haunt; besides, the foot
was smaller than theirs; it was remarkable for its beautiful delicacy.

My eye accidentally caught two or three half-withered wild flowers lying on
the ground. The unknown nymph had doubtless dropped them from her bosom!
Here was a new document of taste and sentiment. I treasured them up as
invaluable relics. The place, too, where I found them, was remarkably
picturesque, and the most beautiful part of the brook. It was overhung with
a fine elm, entwined with grapevines. She who could select such a spot, who
could delight in wild brooks, and wild flowers, and silent solitudes, must
have fancy, and feeling, and tenderness; and with all these qualities, she
must be beautiful!

But who could be this Unknown, that had thus passed by, as in a morning
dream, leaving merely flowers and fairy footsteps to tell of her
loveliness? There was a mystery in it that bewildered me. It was so vague
and disembodied, like those "airy tongues that syllable men's names" in
solitude. Every attempt to solve the mystery was vain. I could hear of no
being in the neighborhood to whom this trace could be ascribed. I haunted
the spot, and became daily more and more enamored. Never, surely, was
passion more pure and spiritual, and never lover in more dubious situation.
My case could be compared only to that of the amorous prince in the fairy
tale of Cinderella; but he had a glass slipper on which to lavish his
tenderness. I, alas! was in love with a footstep!

The imagination is alternately a cheat and a dupe; nay, more, it is the
most subtle of cheats, for it cheats itself and becomes the dupe of its own
delusions. It conjures up "airy nothings," gives to them a "local
habitation and a name," and then bows to their control as implicitly as
though they were realities. Such was now my case. The good Numa could not
more thoroughly have persuaded himself that the nymph Egeria hovered about
her sacred fountain and communed with him in spirit than I had deceived
myself into a kind of visionary intercourse with the airy phantom
fabricated in my brain. I constructed a rustic seat at the foot of the tree
where I had discovered the footsteps. I made a kind of bower there, where I
used to pass my mornings reading poetry and romances. I carved hearts and
darts on the tree, and hung it with garlands. My heart was full to
overflowing, and wanted some faithful bosom into which it might relieve
itself. What is a lover without a confidante? I thought at once of my
sister Sophy, my early playmate, the sister of my affections. She was so
reasonable, too, and of such correct feelings, always listening to my words
as oracular sayings, and admiring my scraps of poetry as the very
inspirations of the muse. From such a devoted, such a rational being, what
secrets could I have?

I accordingly took her one morning to my favorite retreat. She looked
around, with delighted surprise, upon the rustic seat, the bower, the tree
carved with emblems of the tender passion. She turned her eyes upon me to
inquire the meaning.

"Oh, Sophy," exclaimed I, clasping both her hands in mine, and looking
earnestly in her face, "I am in love."

She started with surprise.

"Sit down," said I, "and I will tell you all."

She seated herself upon the rustic bench, and I went into a full history of
the footstep, with all the associations of idea that had been conjured up
by my imagination.

Sophy was enchanted; it was like a fairy tale; she had read of such
mysterious visitations in books, and the loves thus conceived were always
for beings of superior order, and were always happy. She caught the
illusion in all its force; her cheek glowed; her eye brightened.

"I daresay she's pretty," said Sophy.

"Pretty!" echoed I, "she is beautiful." I went through all the reasoning by
which I had logically proved the fact to my own satisfaction. I dwelt upon
the evidences of her taste, her sensibility to the beauties of nature; her
soft meditative habit that delighted in solitude. "Oh," said I, clasping my
hands, "to have such a companion to wander through these scenes; to sit
with her by this murmuring stream; to wreathe garlands round her brows; to
hear the music of her voice mingling with the whisperings of these groves;

"Delightful! delightful!" cried Sophy; "what a sweet creature she must be!
She is just the friend I want. How I shall dote upon her! Oh, my dear
brother! you must not keep her all to yourself. You must let _me_ have
some share of her!"

I caught her to my bosom: "You shall--you shall!" cried I, "my dear Sophy;
we will all live for each other!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The conversation with Sophy heightened the illusions of my mind; and the
manner in which she had treated my daydream identified it with facts and
persons and gave it still more the stamp of reality. I walked about as one
in a trance, heedless of the world around and lapped in an elysium of the

In this mood I met one morning with Glencoe. He accosted me with his usual
smile, and was proceeding with some general observations, but paused and
fixed on me an inquiring eye.

"What is the matter with you?" said he, "you seem agitated; has anything in
particular happened?"

"Nothing," said I, hesitating; "at least nothing worth communicating to

"Nay, my dear young friend," said he, "whatever is of sufficient importance
to agitate you is worthy of being communicated to me."

"Well; but my thoughts are running on what you would think a frivolous

"No subject is frivolous that has the power to awaken strong feelings."

"What think you," said I, hesitating, "what think you of love?"

Glencoe almost started at the question. "Do you call that a frivolous
subject?" replied he. "Believe me, there is none fraught with such deep,
such vital interest. If you talk, indeed, of the capricious inclination
awakened by the mere charm of perishable beauty, I grant it to be idle in
the extreme; but that love which springs from the concordant sympathies of
virtuous hearts; that love which is awakened by the perception of moral
excellence, and fed by meditation on intellectual as well as personal
beauty; that is a passion which refines and ennobles the human heart. Oh,
where is there a sight more nearly approaching to the intercourse of
angels, than that of two young beings, free from the sins and follies of
the world, mingling pure thoughts, and looks, and feelings, and becoming,
as it were, soul of one soul and heart of one heart! How exquisite the
silent converse that they hold; the soft devotion of the eye, that needs no
words to make it eloquent! Yes, my friend, if there be anything in this
weary world worthy of heaven, it is the pure bliss of such a mutual

The words of my worthy tutor overcame all further reserve. "Mr. Glencoe,"
cried I, blushing still deeper, "I am in love."

"And is that what you were ashamed to tell me? Oh, never seek to conceal
from your friend so important a secret. If your passion be unworthy, it is
for the steady hand of friendship to pluck it forth; if honorable, none but
an enemy would seek to stifle it. On nothing does the character and
happiness so much depend as on the first affection of the heart. Were you
caught by some fleeting and superficial charm--a bright eye, a blooming
cheek, a soft voice, or a voluptuous form--I would warn you to beware; I
would tell you that beauty is but a passing gleam of the morning, a
perishable flower; that accident may becloud and blight it, and that at
best it must soon pass away. But were you in love with such a one as I
could describe; young in years, but still younger in feelings; lovely in
person, but as a type of the mind's beauty; soft in voice, in token of
gentleness of spirit; blooming in countenance, like the rosy tints of
morning kindling with the promise of a genial day; an eye beaming with the
benignity of a happy heart; a cheerful temper, alive to all kind impulses,
and frankly diffusing its own felicity; a self-poised mind, that needs not
lean on others for support; an elegant taste, that can embellish solitude,
and furnish out its own enjoyments--"

"My dear sir," cried I, for I could contain myself no longer, "you have
described the very person!"

"Why, then, my dear young friend," said he, affectionately pressing my
hand, "in God's name, love on!"

       *       *       *       *       *

For the remainder of the day I was in some such state of dreamy beatitude
as a Turk is said to enjoy when under the influence of opium. It must be
already manifest how prone I was to bewilder myself with picturings of the
fancy, so as to confound them with existing realities. In the present
instance, Sophy and Glencoe had contributed to promote the transient
delusion. Sophy, dear girl, had as usual joined with me in my
castle-building, and indulged in the same train of imaginings, while
Glencoe, duped by my enthusiasm, firmly believed that I spoke of a being I
had seen and known. By their sympathy with my feelings they in a manner
became associated with the Unknown in my mind, and thus linked her with the
circle of my intimacy.

In the evening, our family party was assembled in the hall, to enjoy the
refreshing breeze. Sophy was playing some favorite Scotch airs on the
piano, while Glencoe, seated apart, with his forehead resting on his hand,
was buried in one of those pensive reveries that made him so interesting to

"What a fortunate being I am!" thought I, "blessed with such a sister and
such a friend! I have only to find out this amiable Unknown, to wed her,
and be happy! What a paradise will be my home, graced with a partner of
such exquisite refinement! It will be a perfect fairy bower, buried among
sweets and roses. Sophy shall live with us, and be the companion of all our
enjoyments. Glencoe, too, shall no more be the solitary being that he now
appears. He shall have a home with us. He shall have his study, where, when
he pleases, he may shut himself up from the world, and bury himself in his
own reflections. His retreat shall be sacred; no one shall intrude there;
no one but myself, who will visit him now and then, in his seclusion, where
we will devise grand schemes together for the improvement of mankind. How
delightfully our days will pass, in a round of rational pleasures and
elegant employments! Sometimes we will have music; sometimes we will read;
sometimes we will wander through the flower garden, when I will smile with
complacency on every flower my wife has planted; while in the long winter
evenings the ladies will sit at their work, and listen with hushed
attention to Glencoe and myself, as we discuss the abstruse doctrines of

From this delectable reverie, I was startled by my father's slapping me on
the shoulder. "What possesses the lad?" cried he; "here have I been
speaking to you half a dozen times, without receiving an answer."

"Pardon me, sir," replied I; "I was so completely lost in thought, that I
did not hear you."

"Lost in thought! And pray what were you thinking of? Some of your
philosophy, I suppose."

"Upon my word," said my sister Charlotte, with an arch laugh, "I suspect
Harry's in love again."

"And if were in love, Charlotte," said I, somewhat nettled, and
recollecting Glencoe's enthusiastic eulogy of the passion, "if I were in
love, is that a matter of jest and laughter? Is the tenderest and most
fervid affection that can animate the human breast to be made a matter of
cold-hearted ridicule?"

My sister colored. "Certainly not, brother!--nor did I mean to make it so,
or to say anything that should wound your feelings. Had I really suspected
you had formed some genuine attachment, it would have been sacred in my
eyes; but--but," said she, smiling, as if at some whimsical recollection,
"I thought that you--you might be indulging in another little freak of the

"Ill wager any money," cried my father, "he has fallen in love again with
some old lady at a window!"

"Oh, no!" cried my dear sister Sophy, with the most gracious warmth; "she
is young and beautiful."

"From what I understand," said Glencoe, rousing himself, "she must be
lovely in mind as in person."

I found my friends were getting me into a fine scrape. I began to perspire
at every pore, and felt my ears tingle.

"Well, but," cried my father, "who is she?--what is she? Let us hear
something about her."

This was no time to explain so delicate a matter. I caught up my hat, and
vanished out of the house.

The moment I was in the open air, and alone, my heart upbraided me. Was
this respectful treatment to my father--to _such_ a father, too--who
had always regarded me as the pride of his age--the staff of his hopes? It
is true, he was apt sometimes to laugh at my enthusiastic flights, and did
not treat my philosophy with due respect; but when had he ever thwarted a
wish of my heart? Was I then to act with reserve toward him, in a matter
which might affect the whole current of my future life? "I have done
wrong," thought I; "but it is not too late to remedy it. I will hasten back
and open my whole heart to my father!"

I returned accordingly, and was just on the point of entering the house,
with my heart full of filial piety and a contrite speech upon my lips, when
I heard a burst of obstreperous laughter from my father, and a loud titter
from my two elder sisters.

"A footstep!" shouted he, as soon as he could recover himself; "in love
with a footstep! Why, this beats the old lady at the window!" And then
there was another appalling burst of laughter. Had it been a clap of
thunder, it could hardly have astounded me more completely. Sophy, in the
simplicity of her heart, had told all, and had set my father's risible
propensities in full action.

Never was poor mortal so thoroughly crestfallen as myself. The whole
delusion was at an end. I drew off silently from the house, shrinking
smaller and smaller at every fresh peal of laughter; and, wandering about
until the family had retired, stole quietly to my bed. Scarce any sleep,
however, visited my eyes that night! I lay overwhelmed with mortification,
and meditating how I might meet the family in the morning. The idea of
ridicule was always intolerable to me; but to endure it on a subject by
which my feelings had been so much excited seemed worse than death. I
almost determined, at one time, to get up, saddle my horse, and ride off, I
knew not whither.

At length I came to a resolution. Before going down to breakfast, I sent
for Sophy, and employed her as embassador to treat formally in the matter.
I insisted that the subject should be buried in oblivion; otherwise I would
not show my face at table. It was readily agreed to; for not one of the
family would have given me pain for the world. They faithfully kept their
promise. Not a word was said of the matter; but there were wry faces, and
suppressed titters, that went to my soul; and whenever my father looked me
in the face, it was with such a tragi-comical leer--such an attempt to pull
down a serious brow upon a whimsical mouth--that I had a thousand times
rather he had laughed outright.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a day or two after the mortifying occurrence just related, I kept as
much as possible out of the way of the family, and wandered about the
fields and woods by myself. I was sadly out of tune; my feelings were all
jarred and unstrung. The birds sang from every grove, but I took no
pleasure in their melody; and the flowers of the field bloomed unheeded
around me. To be crossed in love is bad enough; but then one can fly to
poetry for relief, and turn one's woes to account in soul-subduing stanzas.
But to have one's whole passion, object and all, annihilated, dispelled,
proved to be such stuff as dreams are made of--or, worse than all, to be
turned into a proverb and a jest--what consolation is there in such a case?

I avoided the fatal brook where I had seen the footstep. My favorite resort
was now the banks of the Hudson, where I sat upon the rocks and mused upon
the current that dimpled by, or the waves that laved the shore; or watched
the bright mutations of the clouds, and the shifting lights and shadows of
the distant mountain. By degrees a returning serenity stole over my
feelings; and a sigh now and then, gentle and easy, and unattended by pain,
showed that my heart was recovering its susceptibility.

As I was sitting in this musing mood my eye became gradually fixed upon an
object that was borne along by the tide. It proved to be a little pinnace,
beautifully modeled, and gayly painted and decorated. It was an unusual
sight in this neighborhood, which was rather lonely; indeed, it was rare to
see any pleasure-barks in this part of the river. As it drew nearer, I
perceived that there was no one on board; it had apparently drifted from
its anchorage. There was not a breath of air; the little bark came floating
along on the glassy stream, wheeling about with the eddies. At length it
ran aground, almost at the foot of the rock on which I was seated. I
descended to the margin of the river, and drawing the bark to shore,
admired its light and elegant proportions and the taste with which it was
fitted up. The benches were covered with cushions, and its long streamer
was of silk. On one of the cushion's lay a lady's glove, of delicate size
and shape, with beautifully tapered fingers. I instantly seized it and
thrust it in my bosom; it seemed a match for the fairy footstep that had so
fascinated me.

In a moment all the romance of my bosom was again in a glow. Here was one
of the very incidents of fairy tale; a bark sent by some invisible power,
some good genius, or benevolent fairy, to waft me to some delectable
adventure. I recollected something of an enchanted bark, drawn by white
swans, that conveyed a knight down the current of the Rhine, on some
enterprise connected with love and beauty. The glove, too, showed that
there was a lady fair concerned in the present adventure. It might be a
gauntlet of defiance, to dare me to the enterprise.

In the spirit of romance and the whim of the moment, I sprang on board,
hoisted the light sail, and pushed from shore. As if breathed by some
presiding power, a light breeze at that moment sprang up, swelled out the
sail, and dallied with the silken streamer. For a time I glided along under
steep umbrageous banks, or across deep sequestered bays; and then stood out
over a wide expansion of the river toward a high rocky promontory. It was a
lovely evening; the sun was setting in a congregation of clouds that threw
the whole heavens in a glow, and were reflected in the river. I delighted
myself with all kinds of fantastic fancies, as to what enchanted island, or
mystic bower, or necromantic palace, I was to be conveyed by the fairy

In the revel of my fancy I had not noticed that the gorgeous congregation
of clouds which had so much delighted me was in fact a gathering thunder
gust. I perceived the truth too late. The clouds came hurrying on,
darkening as they advanced. The whole face of nature was suddenly changed,
and assumed that baleful and livid tint, predictive of a storm. I tried to
gain the shore, but before I could reach it a blast of wind struck the
water and lashed it at once into foam. The next moment it overtook the
boat. Alas! I was nothing of a sailor; and my protecting fairy forsook me
in the moment of peril. I endeavored to lower the sail; but in so doing I
had to quit the helm; the bark was overturned in an instant, and I was
thrown into the water. I endeavored to cling to the wreck, but missed my
hold; being a poor swimmer I soon found myself sinking, but grasped a light
oar that was floating by me. It was not sufficient for my support; I again
sank beneath the surface; there was a rushing and bubbling sound in my
ears, and all sense forsook me.

How long I remained insensible, I know not. I had a confused notion of
being moved and tossed about, and of hearing strange beings and strange
voices around me; but all this was like a hideous dream. When I at length
recovered full consciousness and perception, I found myself in bed in a
spacious chamber, furnished with more taste than I had been accustomed to.
The bright rays of a morning sun were intercepted by curtains of a delicate
rose color, that gave a soft, voluptuous tinge to every object. Not far
from my bed, on a classic tripod, was a basket of beautiful exotic flowers,
breathing the sweetest fragrance.

"Where am I? How came I here?"

I tasked my mind to catch at some previous event, from which I might trace
up the thread of existence to the present moment. By degrees I called to
mind the fairy pinnace, my daring embarkation, my adventurous voyage, and
my disastrous shipwreck. Beyond that, all was chaos. How came I here? What
unknown region had I landed upon? The people that inhabited it must be
gentle and amiable, and of elegant tastes, for they loved downy beds,
fragrant flowers, and rose-colored curtains.

While I lay thus musing, the tones of a harp reached my ear. Presently they
were accompanied by a female voice. It came from the room below; but in the
profound stillness of my chamber not a modulation was lost. My sisters were
all considered good musicians, and sang very tolerably; but I had never
heard a voice like this. There was no attempt at difficult execution, or
striking effect; but there were exquisite inflections, and tender turns,
which art could not reach. Nothing but feeling and sentiment could produce
them. It was soul breathed forth in sound. I was always alive to the
influence of music; indeed, I was susceptible of voluptuous influences of
every kind--sounds, colors, shapes, and fragrant odors. I was the very
slave of sensation.

I lay mute and breathless, and drank in every note of this siren strain. It
thrilled through my whole frame, and filled my soul with melody and love. I
pictured to myself, with curious logic, the form of the unseen musician.
Such melodious sounds and exquisite inflections could only be produced by
organs of the most delicate flexibility. Such organs do not belong to
coarse, vulgar forms; they are the harmonious results of fair proportions,
and admirable symmetry. A being so organized must be lovely.

Again my busy imagination was at work. I called to mind the Arabian story
of a prince, borne away during sleep by a good genius, to the distant abode
of a princess of ravishing beauty. I do not pretend to say that I believed
in having experienced a similar transportation; but it was my inveterate
habit to cheat myself with fancies of the kind, and to give the tinge of
illusion to surrounding realities.

The witching sound had ceased, but its vibrations still played round my
heart, and filled it with a tumult of soft emotions. At this moment, a
self-upbraiding pang shot through my bosom. "Ah, recreant!" a voice seemed
to exclaim, "is this the stability of thine affections? What! hast thou so
soon forgotten the nymph of the fountain? Has one song, idly piped in thine
ear, been sufficient to charm away the cherished tenderness of a whole

The wise may smile--but I am in a confiding mood, and must confess my
weakness. I felt a degree of compunction at this sudden infidelity, yet I
could not resist the power of present fascination. My peace of mind was
destroyed by conflicting claims. The nymph of the fountain came over my
memory, with all the associations of fairy footsteps, shady groves, soft
echoes, and wild streamlets; but this new passion was produced by a strain
of soul-subduing melody, still lingering in my ear, aided by a downy bed,
fragrant flowers, and rose-colored curtains. "Unhappy youth!" sighed I to
myself, "distracted by such rival passions, and the empire of thy heart
thus violently contested by the sound of a voice, and the print of a

       *       *       *       *       *

I had not remained long in this mood, when I heard the door of the room
gently opened. I turned my head to see what inhabitant of this enchanted
palace should appear; whether page in green, a hideous dwarf, or haggard
fairy. It was my own man Scipio. He advanced with cautious step, and was
delighted, as he said, to find me so much myself again. My first questions
were as to where I was and how I came there? Scipio told me a long story of
his having been fishing in a canoe at the time of my hare-brained cruise;
of his noticing the gathering squall, and my impending danger; of his
hastening to join me, but arriving just in time to snatch me from a watery
grave; of the great difficulty in restoring me to animation; and of my
being subsequently conveyed, in a state of insensibility, to this mansion.

"But where am I?" was the reiterated demand.

"In the house of Mr. Somerville."

"Somerville--Somerville!" I recollected to have heard that a gentleman of
that name had recently taken up his residence at some distance from my
father's abode, on the opposite side of the Hudson. He was commonly known
by the name of "French Somerville," from having passed part of his early
life in France, and from his exhibiting traces of French taste in his mode
of living, and the arrangements of his house. In fact, it was in his
pleasure-boat, which had got adrift, that I had made my fanciful and
disastrous cruise. All this was simple, straightforward matter of fact, and
threatened to demolish all the cobweb romance I had been spinning, when
fortunately I again heard the tinkling of a harp. I raised myself in bed
and listened.

"Scipio," said I, with some little hesitation, "I heard some one singing
just now. Who was it?"

"Oh, that was Miss Julia."

"Julia! Julia! Delightful! what a name! And, Scipio--is she--is she

Scipio grinned from ear to ear. "Except Miss Sophy, she was the most
beautiful young lady he had ever seen."

I should observe, that my sister Sophia was considered by all the servants
a paragon of perfection.

Scipio now offered to remove the basket of flowers; he was afraid their
odor might be too powerful; but Miss Julia had given them that morning to
be placed in my room.

These flowers, then, had been gathered by the fairy fingers of my unseen
beauty; that sweet breath which had filled my ear with melody had passed
over them. I made Scipio hand them to me, culled several of the most
delicate, and laid them on my bosom.

Mr. Somerville paid me a visit not long afterward. He was an interesting
study for me, for he was the father of my unseen beauty, and probably
resembled her. I scanned him closely. He was a tall and elegant man, with
an open, affable manner, and an erect and graceful carriage. His eyes were
bluish-gray, and, though not dark, yet at times were sparkling and
expressive. His hair was dressed and powdered, and being lightly combed up
from his forehead, added to the loftiness of his aspect. He was fluent in
discourse, but his conversation had the quiet tone of polished society,
without any of those bold flights of thought, and picturings of fancy,
which I so much admired.

My imagination was a little puzzled, at first, to make out of this
assemblage of personal and mental qualities a picture that should harmonize
with my previous idea of the fair unseen. By dint, however, of selecting
what it liked, and giving a touch here and a touch there, it soon furnished
out a satisfactory portrait.

"Julia must be tall," thought I, "and of exquisite grace and dignity. She
is not quite so courtly as her father, for she has been brought up in the
retirement of the country. Neither is she of such vivacious deportment; for
the tones of her voice are soft and plaintive, and she loves pathetic
music. She is rather pensive--yet not too pensive; just what is called
interesting. Her eyes are like her father's, except that they are of a
purer blue, and more tender and languishing. She has light hair--not
exactly flaxen, for I do not like flaxen hair, but between that and auburn.
In a word, she is a tall, elegant, imposing, languishing blue-eyed,
romantic-looking beauty." And having thus finished her picture, I felt ten
times more in love with her than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

I felt so much recovered that I would at once have left my room, but Mr.
Somerville objected to it. He had sent early word to my family of my
safety; and my father arrived in the course of the morning. He was shocked
at learning the risk I had run, but rejoiced to find me so much restored,
and was warm in his thanks to Mr. Somerville for his kindness. The other
only required, in return, that I might remain two or three days as his
guest, to give time for my recovery, and for our forming a closer
acquaintance; a request which my father readily granted. Scipio accordingly
accompanied my father home, and returned with a supply of clothes, and with
affectionate letters from my mother and sisters.

The next morning, aided by Scipio, I made my toilet with rather more care
than usual, and descended the stairs with some trepidation, eager to see
the original of the portrait which had been so completely pictured in my

On entering the parlor, I found it deserted. Like the rest of the house, it
was furnished in a foreign style. The curtains were of French silk; there
were Grecian couches, marble tables, pier-glasses, and chandeliers. What
chiefly attracted my eye, were documents of female taste that I saw around
me; a piano, with an ample stock of Italian music: a book of poetry lying
on the sofa; a vase of fresh flowers on a table, and a portfolio open with
a skillful and half-finished sketch of them. In the window was a canary
bird, in a gilt cage, and near by, the harp that had been in Julia's arms.
Happy harp! But where was the being that reigned in this little empire of
delicacies?--that breathed poetry and song, and dwelt among birds and
flowers, and rose-colored curtains?

Suddenly I heard the hall door fly open, the quick pattering of light
steps, a wild, capricious strain of music, and the shrill barking of a dog.
A light, frolic nymph of fifteen came tripping into the room, playing on a
flageolet, with a little spaniel romping after her. Her gypsy hat had
fallen back upon her shoulders; a profusion of glossy brown hair was blown
in rich ringlets about her face, which beamed through them with the
brightness of smiles and dimples.

At sight of me she stopped short, in the most beautiful confusion,
stammered out a word or two about looking for her father, glided out of the
door, and I heard her bounding up the staircase, like a frightened fawn,
with the little dog barking after her.

When Miss Somerville returned to the parlor, she was quite a different
being. She entered, stealing along by her mother's side with noiseless
step, and sweet timidity; her hair was prettily adjusted, and a soft blush
mantled on her damask cheek. Mr. Somerville accompanied the ladies, and
introduced me regularly to them. There were many kind inquiries and much
sympathy expressed, on the subject of my nautical accident, and some
remarks upon the wild scenery of the neighborhood, with which the ladies
seemed perfectly acquainted.

"You must know," said Mr. Somerville, "that we are great navigators, and
delight in exploring every nook and corner of the river. My daughter, too,
is a great hunter of the picturesque, and transfers every rock and glen to
her portfolio. By the way, my dear, show Mr. Mountjoy that pretty scene you
have lately sketched." Julia complied, blushing, and drew from her
portfolio a colored sketch. I almost started at the sight. It was my
favorite brook. A sudden thought darted across my mind. I glanced down my
eye, and beheld the divinest little foot in the world. Oh, blissful
conviction! The struggle of my affections was at an end. The voice and the
footstep were no longer at variance. Julia Somerville was the nymph of the

       *       *       *       *       *

What conversation passed during breakfast I do not recollect, and hardly
was conscious of at the time, for my thoughts were in complete confusion. I
wished to gaze on Miss Somerville, but did not dare. Once, indeed, I
ventured a glance. She was at that moment darting a similar one from under
a covert of ringlets. Our eyes seemed shocked by the rencontre, and fell;
hers through the natural modesty of her sex, mine through a bashfulness
produced by the previous workings of my imagination. That glance, however,
went like a sunbeam to my heart.

A convenient mirror favored my diffidence, and gave me the reflection of
Miss Somerville's form. It is true it only presented the back of her head,
but she had the merit of an ancient statue; contemplate her from any point
of view, she was beautiful. And yet she was totally different from
everything I had before conceived of beauty. She was not the serene,
meditative maid that I had pictured the nymph of the fountain; nor the
tall, soft, languishing, blue-eyed, dignified being that I had fancied the
minstrel of the harp. There was nothing of dignity about her: she was
girlish in her appearance, and scarcely of the middle size; but then there
was the tenderness of budding youth; the sweetness of the half-blown rose,
when not a tint of perfume has been withered or exhaled; there were smiles
and dimples, and all the soft witcheries of ever-varying expression. I
wondered that I could ever have admired any other style of beauty.

After breakfast, Mr. Somerville departed to attend to the concerns of his
estate, and gave me in charge of the ladies. Mrs. Somerville also was
called away by her household cares, and I was left alone with Julia! Here,
then, was the situation which of all others I had most coveted. I was in
the presence of the lovely being that had so long been the desire of my
heart. We were alone; propitious opportunity for a lover! Did I seize upon
it? Did I break out in one of my accustomed rhapsodies? No such thing!
Never was being more awkwardly embarrassed.

"What can be the cause of this?" thought I. "Surely, I cannot stand in awe
of this young girl. I am of course her superior in intellect, and am never
embarrassed in company with my tutor, notwithstanding all his wisdom."

It was passing strange. I felt that if she were an old woman, I should be
quite at my ease; if she were even an ugly woman, I should make out very
well: it was her beauty that overpowered me. How little do lovely women
know what awful beings they are, in the eyes of inexperienced youth! Young
men brought up in the fashionable circles of our cities will smile at all
this. Accustomed to mingle incessantly in female society, and to have the
romance of the heart deadened by a thousand frivolous flirtations, women
are nothing but women in their eyes; but to a susceptible youth like
myself, brought up in the country, they are perfect divinities.

Miss Somerville was at first a little embarrassed herself; but, somehow or
other, women have a natural adroitness in recovering their self-possession;
they are more alert in their minds, and graceful in their manners. Besides,
I was but an ordinary personage in Miss Somerville's eyes; she was not
under Hie influence of such a singular course of imaginings as had
surrounded her, in my eyes, with the illusions of romance. Perhaps, too,
she saw the confusion in the opposite camp and gained courage from the
discovery. At any rate she was the first to take the field.

Her conversation, however, was only on commonplace topics, and in an easy,
well-bred style. I endeavored to respond in the same manner; but I was
strangely incompetent to the task. My ideas were frozen up; even words
seemed to fail me. I was excessively vexed at myself, for I wished to be
uncommonly elegant. I tried two or three times to turn a pretty thought, or
to utter a fine sentiment; but it would come forth so trite, so forced, so
mawkish, that I was ashamed of it. My very voice sounded discordantly,
though I sought to modulate it into the softest tones. "The truth is,"
thought I to myself, "I cannot bring my mind down to the small talk
necessary for young girls; it is too masculine and robust for the mincing
measure of parlor gossip. I am a philosopher--and that accounts for it."

The entrance of Mrs. Somerville at length gave me relief. I at once
breathed freely, and felt a vast deal of confidence come over me. "This is
strange," thought I, "that the appearance of another woman should revive my
courage; that I should be a better match for two women than one. However,
since it is so, I will take advantage of the circumstance, and let this
young lady see that I am not so great a simpleton as she probably thinks

I accordingly took up the book of poetry which lay upon the sofa. It was
Milton's Paradise Lost. Nothing could have been more fortunate; it afforded
a fine scope for my favorite vein of grandiloquence. I went largely into a
discussion of its merits, or rather an enthusiastic eulogy of them. My
observations were addressed to Mrs. Somerville, for I found I could talk to
her with more ease than to her daughter. She appeared alive to the beauties
of the poet and disposed to meet me in the discussion; but it was not my
object to hear her talk; it was to talk myself. I anticipated all she had
to say, overpowered her with the copiousness of my ideas, and supported and
illustrated them by long citations from the author.

While thus holding forth, I cast a side glance to see how Miss Somerville
was affected. She had some embroidery stretched on a frame before her, but
had paused in her labor, and was looking down as if lost in mute attention.
I felt a glow of self-satisfaction, but I recollected, at the same time,
with a kind of pique, the advantage she had enjoyed over me in our
tete-a-tete. I determined to push my triumph, and accordingly kept on with
redoubled ardor, until I had fairly exhausted my subject, or rather my

I had scarce come to a full stop, when Miss Somerville raised her eyes from
the work on which they had been fixed, and turning to her mother, observed:
"I have been considering, mamma, whether to work these flowers plain, or in

Had an ice-bolt shot to my heart, it could not have chilled me more
effectually. "What a fool," thought I, "have I been making
myself--squandering away fine thoughts, and fine language, upon a light
mind and an ignorant ear! This girl knows nothing of poetry. She has no
soul, I fear, for its beauties. Can any one have real sensibility of heart,
and not be alive to poetry? However, she is young; this part of her
education has been neglected; there is time enough to remedy it. I will be
her preceptor. I will kindle in her mind the sacred flame, and lead her
through the fairy land of song. But after all, it is rather unfortunate
that I should have fallen in love with a woman who knows nothing of

       *       *       *       *       *

I passed a day not altogether satisfactory. I was a little disappointed
that Miss Somerville did not show more poetical feeling. "I am afraid,
after all," said I to myself, "she is light and girlish, and more fitted to
pluck wild flowers, play on the flageolet, and romp with little dogs than
to converse with a man of my turn."

I believe, however, to tell the truth, I was more out of humor with myself.
I thought I had made the worst first appearance that ever hero made, either
in novel or fairy tale. I was out of all patience, when I called to mind my
awkward attempts at ease and elegance, in the tete-a-tete. And then my
intolerable long lecture about poetry to catch the applause of a heedless
auditor! But there I was not to blame. I had certainly been eloquent: it
was her fault that the eloquence was wasted. To meditate upon the
embroidery of a flower, when I was expatiating on the beauties of Milton!
She might at least have admired the poetry, if she did not relish the
manner in which it was delivered: though that was not despicable, for I had
recited passages in my best style, which my mother and sisters had always
considered equal to a play. "Oh, it is evident," thought I, "Miss
Somerville has very little soul!"

Such were my fancies and cogitations during the day, the greater part of
which was spent in my chamber, for I was still languid. My evening was
passed in the drawing-room, where I overlooked Miss Somerville's portfolio
of sketches. They were executed with great taste, and showed a nice
observation of the peculiarities of nature. They were all her own, and free
from those cunning tints and touches of the drawing-master, by which young
ladies' drawings, like their heads, are dressed up for company. There was
no garish and vulgar trick of colors, either; all was executed with
singular truth and simplicity.

"And yet," thought I, "this little being, who has so pure an eye to take
in, as in a limpid brook, all the graceful forms and magic tints of nature,
has no soul for poetry!"

Mr. Somerville, toward the latter part of the evening, observing my eye to
wander occasionally to the harp, interpreted and met my wishes with his
accustomed civility.

"Julia, my dear," said he, "Mr. Mountjoy would like to hear a little music
from your harp; let us hear, too, the sound of your voice."

Julia immediately complied, without any of that hesitation and difficulty,
by which young ladies are apt to make company pay dear for bad music. She
sang a sprightly strain, in a brilliant style, that came trilling playfully
over the ear; and the bright eye and dimpling smile showed that her little
heart danced with the song. Her pet canary bird, who hung close by, was
awakened by the music, and burst forth into an emulating strain. Julia
smiled with a pretty air of defiance, and played louder.

After some time the music changed, and ran into a plaintive strain, in a
minor key. Then it was that all the former witchery of her voice came over
me; then it was that she seemed to sing from the heart and to the heart.
Her fingers moved about the chords as if they scarcely touched them. Her
whole manner and appearance changed; her eyes beamed with the softest
expression; her countenance, her frame, all seemed subdued into tenderness.
She rose from the harp, leaving it still vibrating with sweet sounds, and
moved toward her father, to bid him good-night.

His eyes had been fixed on her intently during her performance. As she came
before him he parted her shining ringlets with both his hands, and looked
down with the fondness of a father on her innocent face. The music seemed
still lingering in its lineaments, and the action of her father brought a
moist gleam in her eye. He kissed her fair forehead, after the French mode
of parental caressing: "Goodnight, and God bless you," said he, "my good
little girl!"

Julia tripped away, with a tear in her eye, a dimple in her cheek, and a
light heart in her bosom. I thought it the prettiest picture of paternal
and filial affection I had ever seen.

When I retired to bed, a new train of thoughts crowded into my brain.
"After all," said I to myself, "it is clear this girl has a soul, though
she was not moved by my eloquence. She has all the outward signs and
evidences of poetic feeling. She paints well, and has an eye for nature.
She is a fine musician, and enters into the very soul of song. What a pity
that she knows nothing of poetry! But we will see what is to be done? I am
irretrievably in love with her; what then am I to do? Come down to the
level of her mind, or endeavor to raise her to some kind of intellectual
equality with myself? That is the most generous course. She will look up to
me as a benefactor. I shall become associated in her mind with the lofty
thoughts and harmonious graces of poetry. She is apparently docile: besides
the difference of our ages will give me an ascendency over her. She cannot
be above sixteen years of age, and I am full turned to twenty." So, having
built this most delectable of air castles, I fell asleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next morning I was quite a different being. I no longer felt fearful of
stealing a glance at Julia; on the contrary, I contemplated her steadily,
with the benignant eye of a benefactor. Shortly after breakfast I found
myself alone with her, as I had on the preceding morning; but I felt
nothing of the awkwardness of our previous tete-a-tete. I was elevated by
the consciousness of my intellectual superiority and should almost have
felt a sentiment of pity for the ignorance of the lovely little being, if I
had not felt also the assurance that I should be able to dispel it. "But it
is time," thought I, "to open school."

Julia was occupied in arranging some music on her piano. I looked over two
or three songs; they were Moore's Irish melodies.

"These are pretty things!" said I, flirting the leaves over lightly, and
giving a slight shrug, by way of qualifying the opinion.

"Oh, I love them of all things," said Julia, "they're so touching!"

"Then you like them for the poetry," said I, with an encouraging smile.

"Oh, yes; she thought them charmingly written."

Now was my time. "Poetry," said I, assuming a didactic attitude and air,
"poetry is one of the most pleasing studies that can occupy a youthful
mind. It renders us susceptible of the gentle impulses of humanity, and
cherishes a delicate perception of all that is virtuous and elevated in
morals, and graceful and beautiful in physics. It--"

I was going on in a style that would have graced a professor of rhetoric,
when I saw a light smile playing about Miss Somerville's mouth, and that
she began to turn over the leaves of a music-book. I recollected her
inattention to my discourse of the preceding morning. "There is no fixing
her light mind," thought I, "by abstract theory; we will proceed
practically." As it happened, the identical volume of Milton's Paradise
Lost was lying at hand.

"Let me recommend to you, my young friend," said I, in one of those tones
of persuasive admonition, which I had so often loved in Glencoe, "let me
recommend to you this admirable poem; you will find in it sources of
intellectual enjoyment far superior to those songs which have delighted
you." Julia looked at the book, and then at me, with a whimsically dubious
air. "Milton's Paradise Lost?" said she; "oh, I know the greater part of
that by heart."

I had not expected to find my pupil so far advanced; however, the Paradise
Lost is a kind of school book, and its finest passages are given to young
ladies as tasks.

"I find," said I to myself, "I must not treat her as so complete a novice;
her inattention yesterday could not have proceeded from absolute ignorance,
but merely from a want of poetic feeling. I'll try her again."

I now determined to dazzle her with my own erudition, and launched into a
harangue that would have done honor to an institute. Pope, Spenser,
Chaucer, and the old dramatic writers were all dipped into, with the
excursive flight of a swallow. I did not confine myself to English poets,
but gave a glance at the French and Italian schools; I passed over Ariosto
in full wing, but paused on Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. I dwelt on the
character of Clorinda: "There's a character," said I, "that you will find
well worthy a woman's study. It shows to what exalted heights of heroism
the sex can rise, how gloriously they may share even in the stern concerns
of men."

"For my part," said Julia, gently taking advantage of a pause, "for my
part, I prefer the character of Sophronia."

I was thunderstruck. She then had read Tasso! This girl that I had been
treating as an ignoramus in poetry! She proceeded with a slight glow of the
cheek, summoned up perhaps by a casual glow of feeling:

"I do not admire those masculine heroines," said she, "who aim at the bold
qualities of the opposite sex. Now Sophronia only exhibits the real
qualities of a woman, wrought up to their highest excitement. She is
modest, gentle, and retiring, as it becomes a woman to be; but she has all
the strength of affection proper to a woman. She cannot fight for her
people as Clorinda does, but she can offer herself up, and die to serve
them. You may admire Clorinda, but you surely would be more apt to love
Sophronia; at least," added she, suddenly appearing to recollect herself,
and blushing at having launched into such a discussion, "at least that is
what papa observed when we read the poem together."

"Indeed," said I, dryly, for I felt disconcerted and nettled at being
unexpectedly lectured by my pupil; "indeed, I do not exactly recollect the

"Oh," said Julia, "I can repeat it to you;" and she immediately gave it in

Heavens and earth!--here was a situation! I knew no more of Italian than I
did of the language of Psalmanazar. What a dilemma for a would-be-wise man
to be placed in! I saw Julia waited for my opinion.

"In fact," said I, hesitating, "I--I do not exactly understand Italian."

"Oh," said Julia, with the utmost naivete, "I have no doubt it is very
beautiful in the translation."

I was glad to break up school, and get back to my chamber, full of the
mortification which a wise man in love experiences on finding his mistress
wiser than himself. "Translation! translation!" muttered I to myself, as I
jerked the door shut behind me: "I am surprised my father has never had me
instructed in the modern languages. They are all important. What is the
use of Latin and Greek? No one speaks them; but here, the moment I make my
appearance in the world, a little girl slaps Italian in my face. However,
thank heaven, a language is easily learned. The moment I return home, I'll
set about studying Italian; and to prevent future surprise, I will study
Spanish and German at the same time; and if any young lady attempts to
quote Italian upon me again, I'll bury her under a heap of High Dutch

       *       *       *       *       *

I felt now like some mighty chieftain, who has carried the war into a weak
country, with full confidence of success, and been repulsed and obliged to
draw off his forces from before some inconsiderable fortress.

"However," thought I, "I have as yet brought only my light artillery into
action; we shall see what is to be done with my heavy ordnance. Julia is
evidently well versed in poetry; but it is natural she should be so; it is
allied to painting and music, and is congenial to the light graces of the
female character. We will try her on graver themes."

I felt all my pride awakened; it even for a time swelled higher than my
love. I was determined completely to establish my mental superiority, and
subdue the intellect of this little being; it would then be time to sway
the scepter of gentle empire, and win the affections of her heart.

Accordingly, at dinner I again took the field, _en potence._ I now
addressed myself to Mr. Somerville, for I was about to enter upon topics in
which a young girl like her could not be well versed. I led, or rather
forced, the conversation into a vein of historical erudition, discussing
several of the most prominent facts of ancient history, and accompanying
them with sound, indisputable apothegms.

Mr. Somerville listened to me with the air of a man receiving information.
I was encouraged, and went on gloriously from theme to theme of school
declamation. I sat with Marius on the ruins of Carthage; I defended the
bridge with Horatius Cocles; thrust my hand into the flame with Martius
Scaevola, and plunged with Curtius into the yawning gulf; I fought side by
side with Leonidas, at the straits of Thermopylae; and was going full drive
into the battle of Plataea, when my memory, which is the worst in the
world, failed me, just as I wanted the name of the Lacedemonian commander.

"Julia, my dear," said Mr. Somerville, "perhaps you may recollect the name
of which Mr. Mountjoy is in quest?"

Julia colored slightly. "I believe," said she, in a low voice, "I believe
it was Pausanius."

This unexpected sally, instead of re-enforcing me, threw my whole scheme of
battle into confusion, and the Athenians remained unmolested in the field.

I am half inclined, since, to think Mr. Somerville meant this as a sly hit
at my schoolboy pedantry; but he was too well bred not to seek to relieve
me from my mortification. "Oh!" said he, "Julia is our family book of
reference for names, dates, and distances, and has an excellent memory for
history and geography."

I now became desperate; as a last resource I turned to metaphysics. "If she
is a philosopher in petticoats," thought I, "it is all over with me." Here,
however, I had the field to myself. I gave chapter and verse of my tutor's
lectures, heightened by all his poetical illustrations; I even went further
than he had ever ventured, and plunged into such depths of metaphysics that
I was in danger of sticking in the mire at the bottom. Fortunately, I had
auditors who apparently could not detect my flounderings. Neither Mr.
Somerville nor his daughter offered the least interruption.

When the ladies had retired, Mr. Somerville sat some time with me; and as I
was no longer anxious to astonish, I permitted myself to listen, and found
that he was really agreeable. He was quite communicative, and from his
conversation I was enabled to form a juster idea of his daughter's
character, and the mode in which she had been brought up. Mr. Somerville
had mingled much with the world, and with what is termed fashionable
society. He had experienced its cold elegances and gay insincerities; its
dissipation of the spirits and squanderings of the heart. Like many men of
the world, though he had wandered too far from nature ever to return to it,
yet he had the good taste and good feeling to look back fondly to its
simple delights, and to determine that his child, if possible, should never
leave them. He had superintended her education with scrupulous care,
storing her mind with the graces of polite literature, and with such
knowledge as would enable it to furnish its own amusement and occupation,
and giving her all the accomplishments that sweeten and enliven the circle
of domestic life. He had been particularly sedulous to exclude all
fashionable affectations; all false sentiment, false sensibility, and false
romance. "Whatever advantages she may possess," said he, "she is quite
unconscious of them. She is a capricious little being, in everything but
her affections; she is, however, free from art; simple, ingenuous, amiable,
and, I thank God! happy."

Such was the eulogy of a fond father, delivered with a tenderness that
touched me. I could not help making a casual inquiry, whether, among the
graces of polite literature, he had included a slight tincture of
metaphysics. He smiled, and told me he had not.

On the whole, when, as usual, that night, I summed up the day's
observations on my pillow, I was not altogether dissatisfied. "Miss
Somerville," said I, "loves poetry, and I like her the better for it. She
has the advantage of me in Italian; agreed; what is it to know a variety of
languages, but merely to have a variety of sounds to express the same idea?
Original thought is the ore of the mind; language is but the accidental
stamp and coinage by which it is put into circulation. If I can furnish an
original idea, what care I how many languages she can translate it into?
She may be able also to quote names and dates and latitudes better than I;
but that is a mere effort of the memory. I admit she is more accurate in
history and geography than I; but then she knows nothing of metaphysics."

I had now sufficiently recovered to return home; yet I could not think of
leaving Mr. Somerville's without having a little further conversation with
him on the subject of his daughter's education.

"This Mr. Somerville," thought I, "is a very accomplished, elegant man; he
has seen a good deal of the world, and, upon the whole, has profited by
what he has seen. He is not without information, and, as far as he thinks,
appears to think correctly; but, after all, he is rather superficial, and
does not think profoundly. He seems to take no delight in those
metaphysical abstractions that are the proper aliment of masculine minds. I
called to mind various occasions in which I had indulged largely in
metaphysical discussions, but could recollect no instance where I had been
able to draw him out. He had listened, it is true, with attention, and
smiled as if in acquiescence, but had always appeared to avoid reply.
Besides, I had made several sad blunders in the glow of eloquent
declamation; but he had never interrupted me, to notice and correct them,
as he would have done had he been versed in the theme.

"Now, it is really a great pity," resumed I, "that he should have the
entire management of Miss Somerville's education. What a vast advantage it
would be if she could be put for a little time under the superintendence of
Glencoe. He would throw some deeper shades of thought into her mind, which
at present is all sunshine; not but that Mr. Somerville has done very well,
as far as he has gone; but then he has merely prepared the soil for the
strong plants of useful knowledge. She is well versed in the leading facts
of history, and the general course of belles-lettres," said I; "a little
more philosophy would do wonders."

I accordingly took occasion to ask Mr. Somerville for a few moments'
conversation in his study, the morning I was to depart. When we were alone
I opened the matter fully to him. I commenced with the warmest eulogium of
Glencoe's powers of mind and vast acquirements, and ascribed to him all my
proficiency in the higher branches of knowledge. I begged, therefore, to
recommend him as a friend calculated to direct the studies of Miss
Somerville; to lead her mind, by degrees, to the contemplation of abstract
principles, and to produce habits of philosophical analysis; "which," added
I, gently smiling, "are not often cultivated by young ladies." I ventured
to hint, in addition, that he would find Mr. Glencoe a most valuable and
interesting acquaintance for himself; one who would stimulate and evolve
the powers of his mind; and who might open to him tracts of inquiry and
speculation to which perhaps he had hitherto been a stranger.

Mr. Somerville listened with grave attention. When I had finished, he
thanked me in the politest manner for the interest I took in the welfare of
his daughter and himself. He observed that, as it regarded himself, he was
afraid he was too old to benefit by the instruction of Mr. Glencoe, and
that as to his daughter, he was afraid her mind was but little fitted for
the study of metaphysics. "I do not wish," continued he, "to strain her
intellects with subjects they cannot grasp, but to make her familiarly
acquainted with those that are within the limits of her capacity. I do not
pretend to prescribe the boundaries of female genius, and am far from
indulging the vulgar opinion that women are unfitted by nature for the
highest intellectual pursuits. I speak only with reference to my daughter's
tastes and talents. She will never make a learned woman; nor, in truth, do
I desire it; for such is the jealousy of our sex, as to mental as well as
physical ascendency, that a learned woman is not always the happiest. I do
not wish my daughter to excite envy, or to battle with the prejudices of
the world; but to glide peaceably through life, on the good will and kind
opinions of her friends. She has ample employment for her little head, in
the course I have marked out for her; and is busy at present with some
branches of natural history, calculated to awaken her perceptions to the
beauties and wonders of nature, and to the inexhaustible volume of wisdom
constantly spread open before her eyes. I consider that woman most likely
to make an agreeable companion, who can draw topics of pleasing remark from
every natural object; and most likely to be cheerful and contented, who is
continually sensible of the order, the harmony, and the invariable
beneficence that reign throughout the beautiful world we inhabit."

"But," added he, smiling, "I am betraying myself into a lecture, instead of
merely giving a reply to your kind offer. Permit me to take the liberty, in
return, of inquiring a little about your own pursuits. You speak of having
finished your education; but of course you have a line of private study and
mental occupation marked out; for you must know the importance, both in
point of interest and happiness, of keeping the mind employed. May I ask
what system you observe in your intellectual exercises?"

"Oh, as to system," I observed, "I could never bring myself into anything
of the kind. I thought it best to let my genius take it own course, as it
always acted the most vigorously when stimulated by inclination."

Mr. Somerville shook his head. "This same genius," said he, "is a wild
quality that runs away with our most promising young men. It has become so
much the fashion, too, to give it the reins that it is now thought an
animal of too noble and generous a nature to be brought to harness. But it
is all a mistake. Nature never designed these high endowments to run riot
through society, and throw the whole system into confusion. No, my dear
sir, genius, unless it acts upon system, is very apt to be a useless
quality to society; sometimes an injurious, and certainly a very
uncomfortable one, to its possessor. I have had many opportunities of
seeing the progress through life of young men who were accounted geniuses,
and have found it too often end in early exhaustion and bitter
disappointment; and have as often noticed that these effects might be
traced to a total want of system. There were no habits of business, of
steady purpose, and regular application, superinduced upon the mind;
everything was left to chance and impulse, and native luxuriance, and
everything of course ran to waste and wild entanglement. Excuse me if I am
tedious on this point, for I feel solicitous to impress it upon you, being
an error extremely prevalent in our country and one into which too many of
our youth have fallen. I am happy, however, to observe the zeal which still
appears to actuate you for the acquisition of knowledge, and augur every
good from the elevated bent of your ambition. May I ask what has been your
course of study for the last six months?"

Never was question more unluckily timed. For the last six months I had been
absolutely buried in novels and romances.

Mr. Somerville perceived that the question was embarrassing, and, with his
invariable good breeding, immediately resumed the conversation, without
waiting for a reply. He took care, however, to turn it in such a way as to
draw from me an account of the whole manner in which I had been educated,
and the various currents of reading into which my mind had run. He then
went on to discuss, briefly but impressively, the different branches of
knowledge most important to a young man in my situation; and to my surprise
I found him a complete master of those studies on which I had supposed him
ignorant, and on which I had been descanting so confidently.

He complimented me, however, very graciously, upon the progress I had made,
but advised me for the present to turn my attention to the physical rather
than the moral sciences. "These studies," said he, "store a man's mind with
valuable facts, and at the same time repress self-confidence, by letting
him know how boundless are the realms of knowledge, and how little we can
possibly know. Whereas metaphysical studies, though of an ingenious order
of intellectual employment, are apt to bewilder some minds with vague
speculations. They never know how far they have advanced, or what may be
the correctness of their favorite theory. They render many of our young men
verbose and declamatory, and prone to mistake the aberrations of their
fancy for the inspirations of divine philosophy."

I could not but interrupt him, to assent to the truth of these remarks, and
to say that it had been my lot, in the course of my limited experience, to
encounter young men of the kind, who had overwhelmed me by their verbosity.

Mr. Somerville smiled. "I trust," said he, kindly, "that you will guard
against these errors. Avoid the eagerness with which a young man is apt to
hurry into conversation, and to utter the crude and ill-digested notions
which he has picked up in his recent studies. Be assured that extensive and
accurate knowledge is the slow acquisition of a studious lifetime; that a
young man, however pregnant his wit, and prompt his talent, can have
mastered but the rudiments of learning, and, in a manner, attained the
implements of study. Whatever may have been your past assiduity, you must
be sensible that as yet you have but reached the threshold of true
knowledge; but at the same time you have the advantage that you are still
very young, and have ample time to learn."

Here our conference ended. I walked out of the study a very different being
from what I was on entering it. I had gone in with the air of a professor
about to deliver a lecture; I came out like a student who had failed in his
examination, and been degraded in his class.

"Very young," and "on the threshold of knowledge!" This was extremely
flattering to one who had considererd himself an accomplished scholar and a
profound philosopher.

"It is singular," thought I; "there seems to have been a spell upon my
faculties, ever since I have been in this house. I certainly have not been
able to do myself justice. Whenever I have undertaken to advise, I have had
the tables turned upon me. It must be that I am strange and diffident among
people I am not accustomed to. I wish they could hear me talk at home!"

"After all," added I, on further reflection, "after all there is a great
deal of force in what Mr. Somerville has said. Somehow or other, these men
of the world do now and then hit upon remarks that would do credit to a
philosopher. Some of his general observations came so home that I almost
thought they were meant for myself. His advice about adopting a system of
study is very judicious. I will immediately put it hi practice. My mind
shall operate henceforward with the regularity of clock-work."

How far I succeeded in adopting this plan, how I fared in the further
pursuit of knowledge, and how I succeeded in my suit to Julia Somerville,
may afford matter for a further communication to the public, if this simple
record of my early life is fortunate enough to excite any curiosity.



In the course of a voyage from England, I once fell in with a convoy of
merchant ships bound for the West Indies. The weather was uncommonly bland;
and the ships vied with each other in spreading sail to catch a light,
favoring breeze, until their hulls were almost hidden beneath a cloud of
canvas. The breeze went down with the sun, and his last yellow rays shone
upon a thousand sails, idly flapping against the masts.

I exulted in the beauty of the scene, and augured a prosperous voyage; but
the veteran master of the ship shook his head, and pronounced this halcyon
calm a "weather-breeder." And so it proved. A storm burst forth in the
night; the sea roared and raged; and when the day broke, I beheld the late
gallant convoy scattered in every direction; some dismasted, others
scudding under bare poles, and many firing signals of distress.

I have since been occasionally reminded of this scene, by those calm, sunny
seasons in the commercial world, which are known by the name of "times of
unexampled prosperity." They are the sure weather-breeders of traffic.
Every now and then the world is visited by one of these delusive seasons,
when "the credit system," as it is called, expands to full luxuriance,
everybody trusts everybody; a bad debt is a thing unheard of; the broad way
to certain and sudden wealth lies plain and open; and men are tempted to
dash forward boldly, from the facility of borrowing.

Promissory notes, interchanged between scheming individuals, are liberally
discounted at the banks, which become so many mints to coin words into
cash; and as the supply of words is inexhaustible, it may readily be
supposed what a vast amount of promissory capital is soon in circulation.
Every one now talks in thousands; nothing is heard but gigantic operations
in trade; great purchases and sales of real property, and immense sums made
at every transfer. All, to be sure, as yet exists in promise; but the
believer in promises calculates the aggregate as solid capital, and falls
back in amazement at the amount of public wealth, the "unexampled state of
public prosperity."

Now is the time for speculative and dreaming or designing men. They relate
their dreams and projects to the ignorant and credulous, dazzle them with
golden visions, and set them madding after shadows. The example of one
stimulates another; speculation rises on speculation; bubble rises on
bubble; every one helps with his breath to swell the windy superstructure,
and admires and wonders at the magnitude of the inflation he has
contributed to produce.

Speculation is the romance of trade, and casts contempt upon all its sober
realities. It renders the stock-jobber a magician, and the exchange a
region of enchantment. It elevates the merchant into a kind of
knight-errant, or rather a commercial Quixote. The slow but sure gains of
snug percentage become despicable in his eyes; no "operation" is thought
worthy of attention that does not double or treble the investment. No
business is worth following that does not promise an immediate fortune. As
he sits musing over his ledger, with pen behind his ear, he is like La
Mancha's hero in his study, dreaming over his books of chivalry. His dusty
counting-house fades before his eyes, or changes into a Spanish mine; he
gropes after diamonds, or dives after pearls. The subterranean garden of
Aladdin is nothing to the realms of wealth that break upon his imagination.

Could this delusion always last, the life of a merchant would indeed be a
golden dream; but it is as short as it is brilliant. Let but a doubt enter,
and the "season of unexampled prosperity" is at end. The coinage of words
is suddenly curtailed; the promissory capital begins to vanish into smoke;
a panic succeeds, and the whole superstructure, built upon credit and
reared by speculation, crumbles to the ground, leaving scarce a wreck

  "It is such stuff as dreams are made of."

When a man of business, therefore, hears on every side rumors of fortunes
suddenly acquired; when he finds banks liberal, and brokers busy; when he
sees adventurers flush of paper capital, and full of scheme and enterprise;
when he perceives a greater disposition to buy than to sell; when trade
overflows its accustomed channels and deluges the country; when he hears of
new regions of commercial adventure; of distant marts and distant mines,
swallowing merchandise and disgorging gold; when he finds joint-stock
companies of all kinds forming; railroads, canals, and locomotive engines,
springing up on every side; when idlers suddenly become men of business,
and dash into the game of commerce as they would into the hazards of the
faro table; when he beholds the streets glittering with new equipages,
palaces conjured up by the magic of speculation; tradesmen flushed with
sudden success, and vying with each other in ostentatious expense; in a
word, when he hears the whole community joining in the theme of "unexampled
prosperity," let him look upon the whole as a "weather-breeder," and
prepare for the impending storm.

The foregoing remarks are intended merely as a prelude to a narrative I am
about to lay before the public, of one of the most memorable instances of
the infatuation of gain to be found in the whole history of commerce. I
allude to the famous Mississippi Bubble. It is a matter that has passed
into a proverb, and become a phrase in every one's mouth, yet of which not
one merchant in ten has probably a distinct idea. I have therefore thought
that an authentic account of it would be interesting and salutary, at the
present moment, when we are suffering under the effects of a severe access
of the credit system, and just recovering from one of its ruinous

Before entering into the story of this famous chimera, it is proper to give
a few particulars concerning the individual who engendered it. John Law was
born in Edinburgh in 1671. His father, William Law, was a rich goldsmith,
and left his son an estate of considerable value, called Lauriston,
situated about four miles from Edinburgh. Goldsmiths, in those days, acted
occasionally as bankers, and his father's operations, under this character,
may have originally turned the thoughts of the youth to the science of
calculation, in which he became an adept; so that at an early age he
excelled in playing at all games of combination.

In 1694 he appeared in London, where a handsome person, and an easy and
insinuating address, gained him currency in the first circles and the
nickname of "Beau Law." The same personal advantages gave him success in
the world of gallantry, until he became involved in a quarrel with Beau
Wilson, his rival in fashion, whom he killed in a duel, and then fled to
France, to avoid prosecution.

He returned to Edinburgh in 1700, and remained there several years; during
which time he first broached his great credit system, offering to supply
the deficiency of coin by the establishment of a bank, which, according to
his views, might emit a paper currency equivalent to the whole landed
estate of the kingdom.

His scheme excited great astonishment in Edinburgh; but, though the
government was not sufficiently advanced in financial knowledge to detect
the fallacies upon which it was founded, Scottish caution and suspicion
served in the place of wisdom, and the project was rejected. Law met with
no better success with the English Parliament; and the fatal affair of the
death of Wilson still hanging over him, for which he had never been able to
procure a pardon, he again went to France.

The financial affairs of France were at this time in a deplorable
condition. The wars, the pomp and profusion, of Louis XIV., and his
religious persecutions of whole classes of the most industrious of his
subjects, had exhausted his treasury, and overwhelmed the nation with debt.
The old monarch clung to his selfish magnificence, and could not be induced
to diminish his enormous expenditure; and his minister of finance was
driven to his wits' end to devise all kinds of disastrous expedients to
keep up the royal state, and to extricate the nation from its

In this state of things, Law ventured to bring forward his financial
project. It was founded on the plan of the Bank of England, which had
already been in successful operation several years. He met with immediate
patronage, and a congenial spirit, in the Duke of Orleans, who had married
a natural daughter of the king. The duke had been astonished at the
facility with which England had supported the burden of a public debt,
created by the wars of Anne and William, and which exceeded in amount that
under which France was groaning. The whole matter was soon explained by Law
to his satisfaction. The latter maintained that England had stopped at the
mere threshold of an art capable of creating unlimited sources of national
wealth. The duke was dazzled with his splendid views and specious
reasonings, and thought he clearly comprehended his system. Demarets, the
Comptroller-General of Finance, was not so easily deceived. He pronounced
the plan of Law more pernicious than any of the disastrous expedients that
the government had yet been driven to. The old king also, Louis XIV.,
detested all innovations, especially those which came from a rival nation;
the project of a bank, therefore, was utterly rejected.

Law remained for a while in Paris, leading a gay and affluent existence,
owing to his handsome person, easy manners, flexible temper, and a
faro-bank which he had set up. His agreeable career was interrupted by a
message from D'Argenson, Lieutenant-General of Police, ordering him to quit
Paris, alleging that he was "_rather too skillful at the game which he
had introduced_."

For several succeeding years he shifted his residence from state to state
of Italy and Germany; offering his scheme of finance to every court that he
visited, but without success. The Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus, afterward
king of Sardinia, was much struck with his project; but after considering
it for a time, replied, _"I am not sufficiently powerful to ruin

The shifting, adventurous life of Law, and the equivocal means by which he
appeared to live, playing high, and always with great success, threw a
cloud of suspicion over him wherever he went, and caused him to be expelled
by the magistracy from the semi-commercial, semi-aristocratical cities of
Venice and Genoa.

The events of 1715 brought Law back again to Paris. Louis XIV. was dead.
Louis XV. was a mere child, and during his minority the Duke of Orleans
held the reins of government as Regent. Law had at length found his man.

The Duke of Orleans has been differently represented by different
contemporaries. He appears to have had excellent natural qualities,
perverted by a bad education. He was of the middle size, easy and graceful,
with an agreeable countenance, and open, affable demeanor. His mind was
quick and sagacious, rather than profound; and his quickness of intellect,
and excellence of memory, supplied the lack of studious application. His
wit was prompt and pungent; he expressed himself with vivacity and
precision; his imagination was vivid, his temperament sanguine and joyous;
his courage daring. His mother, the Duchess of Orleans, expressed his
character in a jeu d'esprit. "The fairies," said she, "were invited to be
present at his birth, and each one conferring a talent on my son, he
possesses them all. Unfortunately, we had forgotten to invite an old fairy,
who, arriving after all the others, exclaimed, 'He shall have all the
talents, excepting that to make a good use of them.'"

Under proper tuition, the duke might have risen to real greatness; but in
his early years he was put under the tutelage of the Abbe Dubois, one of
the subtlest and basest spirits that ever intrigued its way into eminent
place and power. The abbe was of low origin and despicable exterior,
totally destitute of morals, and perfidious in the extreme; but with a
supple, insinuating address, and an accommodating spirit, tolerant of all
kinds of profligacy in others. Conscious of his own inherent baseness, he
sought to secure an influence over his pupil, by corrupting his principles
and fostering his vices; he debased him, to keep himself from being
despised. Unfortunately he succeeded. To the early precepts of this
infamous pander have been attributed those excesses that disgraced the
manhood of the regent, and gave a licentious character to his whole course
of government. His love of pleasure, quickened and indulged by those who
should have restrained it, led him into all kinds of sensual indulgence. He
had been taught to think lightly of the most serious duties and sacred
ties; to turn virtue into a jest, and consider religion mere hypocrisy. He
was a gay misanthrope, that had a sovereign but sportive contempt for
mankind; believed that his most devoted servant would be his enemy, if
interest prompted; and maintained that an honest man was he who had the art
to conceal that he was the contrary.

He surrounded himself with a set of dissolute men like himself; who, let
loose from the restraint under which they had been held, during the latter
hypocritical days of Louis XIV., now gave way to every kind of debauchery.
With these men the regent used to shut himself up, after the hours of
business, and excluding all graver persons and graver concerns, celebrate
the most drunken and disgusting orgies; where obscenity and blasphemy
formed the seasoning of conversation. For the profligate companions of
these revels, he invented the appellation of his _roués_, the literal
meaning of which is men broken on the wheel; intended, no doubt, to express
their broken-down characters and dislocated fortunes; although a
contemporary asserts that it designated the punishment that most of them
merited. Madame de Labran, who was present at one of the regent's suppers,
was disgusted by the conduct and conversation of the host and his guests,
and observed, at table, that God, after he had created man, took the refuse
clay that was left, and made of it the souls of lackeys and princes.

Such was the man that now ruled the destinies of France. Law found him full
of perplexities, from the disastrous state of the finances. He had already
tampered with the coinage, calling in the coin of the nation, restamping
it, and issuing it at a nominal increase of one-fifth; thus defrauding the
nation out of twenty per cent of its capital. He was not likely, therefore,
to be scrupulous about any means likely to relieve him from financial
difficulties; he had even been led to listen to the cruel alternative of a
national bankruptcy.

Under these circumstances, Law confidently brought forward his scheme of a
bank, that was to pay off the national debt, increase the revenue, and at
the same time diminish the taxes. The following is stated as the theory by
which he recommended his system to the regent. The credit enjoyed by a
banker or a merchant, he observed, increases his capital tenfold; that is
to say, he who has a capital of one thousand livres, may, if he possess
sufficient credit, extend his operations to a million, and reap profits to
that amount. In like manner, a state that can collect into a bank all the
current coin of the kingdom, would be as powerful as if its capital were
increased tenfold. The specie must be drawn into the bank, not by way of
loan, or by taxations, but in the way of deposit. This might be effected in
different modes, either by inspiring confidence or by exerting authority.
One mode, he observed, had already been in use. Each time that a state
makes a recoinage, it becomes momentarily the depositary of all the money
called in, belonging to the subjects of that state. His bank was to effect
the same purpose; that is to say, to receive in deposit all the coin of the
kingdom, but to give in exchange its bills, which, being of an invariable
value, bearing an interest, and being payable on demand, would not only
supply the place of coin, but prove a better and more profitable currency.

The regent caught with avidity at the scheme. It suited his bold, reckless
spirit, and his grasping extravagance. Not that he was altogether the dupe
of Law's specious projects; still he was apt, like many other men,
unskilled in the arcana of finance, to mistake the multiplication of money
for the multiplication of wealth; not understanding that it was a mere
agent or instrument in the interchange of traffic, to represent the value
of the various productions of industry; and that an increased circulation
of coin or bank bills, in the shape of currency, only adds a proportionably
increased and fictitious value to such productions. Law enlisted the vanity
of the regent in his cause. He persuaded him that he saw more clearly than
others into sublime theories of finance, which were quite above the
ordinary apprehension. He used to declare that, excepting the regent and
the Duke of Savoy, no one had thoroughly comprehended his system.

It is certain that it met with strong opposition from the regent's
ministers, the Duke de Noailles and the Chancellor d'Anguesseau; and it was
no less strenuously opposed by the Parliament of Paris. Law, however, had a
potent though secret coadjutor in the Abbe Dubois, now rising, during the
regency, into great political power, and who retained a baneful influence
over the mind of the regent. This wily priest, as avaricious as he was
ambitious, drew large sums from Law as subsidies, and aided him greatly in
many of his most pernicious operations. He aided him, in the present
instance, to fortify the mind of the regent against all the remonstrances
of his ministers and the parliament.

Accordingly, on the 2d of May, 1716, letters patent were granted to Law, to
establish a bank of deposit, discount, and circulation, under the firm of
"Law & Company," to continue for twenty years. The capital was fixed at six
millions of livres, divided into shares of five hundred livres each, which
were to be sold for twenty-five per cent of the regent's debased coin, and
seventy-five per cent of the public securities; which were then at a great
reduction from their nominal value, and which then amounted to nineteen
hundred millions. The ostensible object of the bank, as set forth in the
patent, was to encourage the commerce and manufactures of France. The louis
d'ors and crowns of the bank were always to retain the same standard of
value, and its bills to be payable in them on demand.

At the outset, while the bank was limited in its operations, and while its
paper really represented the specie in its vaults, it seemed to realize all
that had been promised from it. It rapidly acquired public confidence, and
an extended circulation, and produced an activity in commerce unknown under
the baneful government of Louis XIV. As the bills of the bank bore an
interest, and as it was stipulated they would be of invariable value, and
as hints had been artfully circulated that the coin would experience
successive diminution, everybody hastened to the bank to exchange gold and
silver for paper. So great became the throng of depositors, and so intense
their eagerness, that there was quite a press and struggle at the bank
door, and a ludicrous panic was awakened, as if there was danger of their
not being admitted. An anecdote of the time relates that one of the clerks,
with an ominous smile, called out to the struggling multitude, "Have a
little patience, my friends; we mean to take all your money;" an assertion
disastrously verified in the sequel.

Thus, by the simple establishment of a bank, Law and the regent obtained
pledges of confidence for the consummation of further and more complicated
schemes, as yet hidden from the public. In a little while, the bank shares
rose enormously, and the amount of its notes in circulation exceeded one
hundred and ten millions of livres. A subtle stroke of policy had rendered
it popular with the aristocracy. Louis XIV. had several years previously
imposed an income tax of a tenth, giving his royal word that it should
cease in 1717. This tax had been exceedingly irksome to the privileged
orders; and in the present disastrous times they had dreaded an
augmentation of it. In consequence of the successful operation of Law's
scheme, however, the tax was abolished, and now nothing was to be heard
among the nobility and clergy but praises of the regent and the bank.

Hitherto all had gone well, and all might have continued to go well, had
not the paper system been further expanded. But Law had yet the grandest
part of his scheme to develop. He had to open his ideal world of
speculation, his El Dorado of unbounded wealth. The English had brought the
vast imaginary commerce of the South Seas in aid of their banking
operations. Law sought to bring, as an immense auxiliary of his bank, the
whole trade of the Mississippi. Under this name was included not merely the
river so called, but the vast region known as Louisiana, extending from
north latitude 29° up to Canada in north latitude 40°. This country had
been granted by Louis XIV. to the Sieur Crozat, but he had been induced to
resign his patent. In conformity to the plea of Mr. Law, letters patent
were granted in August, 1717, for the creation of a commercial company,
which was to have the colonizing of this country, and the monopoly of its
trade and resources, and of the beaver or fur trade with Canada. It was
called the Western, but became better known as the Mississippi Company. The
capital was fixed at one hundred millions of livres, divided into shares,
bearing an Interest of four per cent, which were subscribed for in the
public securities. As the bank was to co-operate with the company, the
regent ordered that its bills should be received the same as coin, in all
payments of the public revenue. Law was appointed chief director of this
company, which was an exact copy of the Earl of Oxford's South Sea Company,
set on foot in 1711, and which distracted all England with the frenzy of
speculation. In like manner with the delusive picturings given in that
memorable scheme of the sources of rich trade to be opened in the South Sea
countries, Law held forth magnificent prospects of the fortunes to be made
in colonizing Louisiana, which was represented as a veritable land of
promise, capable of yielding every variety of the most precious produce.
Reports, too, were artfully circulated, with great mystery, as if to the
"chosen few," of mines of gold and silver recently discovered in Louisiana,
and which would insure instant wealth to the early purchasers. These
confidential whispers of course soon became public; and were confirmed by
travelers fresh from the Mississippi, and doubtless bribed, who had seen
the mines in question, and declared them superior in richness to those of
Mexico and Peru. Nay, more, ocular proof was furnished to public credulity,
in ingots of gold conveyed to the mint, as if just brought from the mines
of Louisiana.

Extraordinary measures were adopted to force a colonization. An edict was
issued to collect and transport settlers to the Mississippi. The police
lent its aid. The streets and prisons of Paris, and of the provincial
cities, were swept of mendicants and vagabonds of all kinds, who were
conveyed to Havre de Grace. About six thousand were crowded into ships,
where no precautions had been taken for their health or accommodation.
Instruments of all kinds proper for the working of mines were
ostentatiously paraded in public, and put on board the vessels; and the
whole set sail for this fabled El Dorado, which was to prove the grave of
the greater part of its wretched colonists.

D'Anguesseau, the chancellor, a man of probity and integrity, still lifted
his voice against the paper system of Law, and his project of colonization,
and was eloquent and prophetic in picturing the evils they were calculated
to produce; the private distress and public degradation; the corruption of
morals and manners; the triumph of knaves and schemers; the ruin of
fortunes, and downfall of families. He was incited more and more to this
opposition by the Duke de Noailles, the Minister of Finance, who was
jealous of the growing ascendency of Law over the mind of the regent, but
was less honest than the chancellor in his opposition. The regent was
excessively annoyed by the difficulties they conjured up in the way of his
darling schemes of finance, and the countenance they gave to the opposition
of parliament; which body, disgusted more and more with the abuses of the
regency, and the system of Law, had gone so far as to carry its
remonstrances to the very foot of the throne.

He determined to relieve himself from these two ministers, who, either
through honesty or policy, interfered with all his plans. Accordingly, on
the 28th of January, 1718, he dismissed the chancellor from office, and
exiled him to his estate in the country; and shortly afterward removed the
Duke de Noailles from the administration of the finances.

The opposition of parliament to the regent and his measures was carried on
with increasing violence. That body aspired to an equal authority with the
regent in the administration of affairs, and pretended, by its decree, to
suspend an edict of the regency, ordering a new coinage and altering the
value of the currency. But its chief hostility was leveled against Law, a
foreigner and a heretic, and one who was considered by a majority of the
members in the light of a malefactor. In fact, so far was this hostility
carried, that secret measures were taken to investigate his malversations,
and to collect evidence against him; and it was resolved in parliament
that, should the testimony collected justify their suspicions, they would
have him seized and brought before them; would give him a brief trial, and,
if convicted, would hang him in the courtyard of the palace, and throw open
the gates after the execution, that the public might behold his corpse!

Law received intimation of the danger hanging over him, and was in terrible
trepidation. He took refuge in the Palais Royal, the residence of the
regent, and implored his protection. The regent himself was embarrassed by
the sturdy opposition of parliament, which contemplated nothing less than a
decree reversing most of his public measures, especially those of finance.
His indecision kept Law for a time in an agony of terror and suspense.
Finally, by assembling a board of justice, and bringing to his aid the
absolute authority of the king, he triumphed over parliament and relieved
Law from his dread of being hanged.

The system now went on with flowing sail. The Western or Mississippi
Company, being identified with the bank, rapidly increased in power and
privileges. One monopoly after another was granted to it; the trade of the
Indian seas; the slave trade with Senegal and Guinea; the farming of
tobacco; the national coinage, etc. Each new privilege was made a pretext
for issuing more bills, and caused an immense advance in the price of
stock. At length, on the 4th of December, 1718, the regent gave the
establishment the imposing title of "The Royal Bank," and proclaimed that
he had effected the purchase of all the shares, the proceeds of which he
had added to its capital This measure seemed to shock the public feeling
more than any other connected with the system, and roused the indignation
of parliament. The French nation had been so accustomed to attach an idea
of everything noble, lofty, and magnificent to the royal name and person,
especially during the stately and sumptuous reign of Louis XIV., that they
could not at first tolerate the idea of royalty being in any degree mingled
with matters of traffic and finance, and the king being in a manner a
banker. It was one of the downward steps, however, by which royalty lost
its illusive splendor in France, and became gradually cheapened in the
public mind.

Arbitrary measures now began to be taken to force the bills of the bank
into artificial currency. On the 27th of December appeared an order in
council, forbidding, under severe penalties, the payment of any sum above
six hundred livres in gold or silver. This decree rendered bank bills
necessary in all transactions of purchase and sale, and called for a new
emission. The prohibition was occasionally evaded or opposed; confiscations
were the consequence; informers were rewarded, and spies and traitors began
to spring up in all the domestic walks of life.

The worst effect of this illusive system was the mania for gain, or rather
for gambling in stocks, that now seized upon the whole nation. Under the
exciting effects of lying reports, and the forcing effects of government
decrees, the shares of the company went on rising in value until they
reached thirteen hundred per cent. Nothing was now spoken of but the price
of shares, and the immense fortunes suddenly made by lucky speculators.
Those whom Law had deluded used every means to delude others. The most
extravagant dreams were indulged, concerning the wealth to flow in upon the
company from its colonies, its trade, and its various monopolies. It is
true nothing as yet had been realized, nor could in some time be realized,
from these distant sources, even if productive; but the imaginations of
speculators are ever in the advance, and their conjectures are immediately
converted into facts. Lying reports now flew from mouth to month, of sure
avenues to fortune suddenly thrown open. The more extravagant the fable,
the more readily was it believed. To doubt was to awaken anger, or incur
ridicule. In a time of public infatuation, it requires no small exercise of
courage to doubt a popular fallacy.

Paris now became the center of attraction for the adventurous and the
avaricious, who flocked to it, not merely from the provinces, but from
neighboring countries. A stock exchange was established in a house in the
Rue Quincampoix, and became immediately the gathering place of
stock-jobbers. The exchange opened at seven o'clock, with the beat of drum
and sound of bell, and closed at night with the same signals. Guards were
stationed at each end of the street, to maintain order and exclude
carriages and horses. The whole street swarmed throughout the day like a
bee-hive. Bargains of all kinds were seized upon with avidity. Shares of
stock passed from hand to hand, mounting in value, one knew not why.
Fortunes were made in a moment, as if by magic; and every lucky bargain
prompted those around to a more desperate throw of the die. The fever went
on, increasing in intensity as the day declined; and when the drum beat,
and the bell rang, at night, to close the exchange, there were exclamations
of impatience and despair, as if the wheel of fortune had suddenly been
stopped when about to make its luckiest evolution.

To engulf all classes in this ruinous vortex, Law now split the shares of
fifty millions of stock each into one hundred shares; thus, as in the
splitting of lottery tickets, accommodating the venture to the humblest
purse. Society was thus stirred up to its very dregs, and adventurers of
the lowest order hurried to the stock market. All honest, industrious
pursuits, and modest gains, were now despised. Wealth was to be obtained
instantly, without labor and without stint. The upper classes were as base
in their venality as the lower. The highest and most powerful nobles,
abandoning all generous pursuits and lofty aims, engaged in the vile
scuffle for gam. They were even baser than the lower classes; for some of
them, who were members of the council of the regency, abused their station
and their influence, and promoted measures by which shares rose while in
their hands, and they made immense profits.

The Duke de Bourbon, the prince of Conti, the Dukes de la Force and D'Antin
were among the foremost of these illustrious stock-jobbers. They were
nicknamed the Mississippi Lords, and they smiled at the sneering title. In
fact, the usual distinctions of society had lost their consequence, under
the reign of this new passion. Bank, talent, military fame, no longer
inspired deference. All respect for others, all self-respect, were
forgotten in the mercenary struggle of the stock-market. Even prelates and
ecclesiastical corporations, forgetting their true objects of devotion,
mingled among the votaries of Mammon. They were not behind those who
wielded the civil power in fabricating ordinances suited to their
avaricious purposes. Theological decisions forthwith appeared, in which the
anathema launched by the Church against usury was conveniently construed as
not extending to the traffic in bank shares!

The Abbe Dubois entered into the mysteries of stockjobbing with all the
zeal of an apostle, and enriched himself by the spoils of the credulous;
and he continually drew large sums from Law, as considerations for his
political influence. Faithless to his country, in the course of his
gambling speculations he transferred to England a great amount of specie,
which had been paid into the royal treasury; thus contributing to the
subsequent dearth of the precious metals.

The female sex participated in this sordid frenzy. Princesses of the blood,
and ladies of the highest nobility, were among the most rapacious of
stock-jobbers. The regent seemed to have the riches of Croesus at his
command, and lavished money by hundreds of thousands upon his female
relatives and favorites, as well as upon his _roués_, the dissolute
companions of his debauches. "My son," writes the regent's mother, in her
correspondence, "gave me shares to the amount of two millions, which I
distributed among my household. The king also took several millions for his
own household. All the royal family have had them; all the children and
grandchildren of France, and the princes of the blood."

Luxury and extravagance kept pace with this sudden inflation of fancied
wealth. The hereditary palaces of nobles were pulled down, and rebuilt on a
scale of augmented splendor. Entertainments were given of incredible cost
and magnificence. Never before had been such display in houses, furniture,
equipages, and amusements. This was particularly the case among persons of
the lower ranks, who had suddenly become possessed of millions. Ludicrous
anecdotes are related of some of these upstarts. One, who had just launched
a splendid carriage, when about to use it for the first time, instead of
getting in at the door, mounted, through habitude, to his accustomed place
behind. Some ladies of quality, seeing a well-dressed woman covered with
diamonds, but whom nobody knew, alight from a very handsome carriage,
inquired who she was of the footman. He replied, with a sneer: "It is a
lady who has recently tumbled from a garret into this carriage." Mr. Law's
domestics were said to become in like manner suddenly enriched by the
crumbs that fell from his table. His coachman, having made his fortune,
retired from his service. Mr. Law requested him to procure a coachman in
his place. He appeared the next day with two, whom he pronounced equally
good, and told Mr. Law: "Take which of them you choose, and I will take the

Nor were these _novi homini_ treated with the distance and disdain
they would formerly have experienced from the haughty aristocracy of
France. The pride of the old noblesse had been stifled by the stronger
instinct of avarice. They rather sought the intimacy and confidence of
these lucky upstarts; and it has been observed that a nobleman would gladly
take his seat at the table of the fortunate lackey of yesterday, in hopes
of learning from him the secret of growing rich!

Law now went about with a countenance radiant with success and apparently
dispensing wealth on every side. "He is admirably skilled in all that
relates to finance," writes the Duchess of Orleans, the regent's mother,
"and has put the affairs of the state in such good order that all the
king's debts have been paid. He is so much run after that he has no repose
night or day. A duchess even kissed his hand publicly. If a duchess can do
this, what will other ladies do?"

Wherever he went, his path, we are told, was beset by a sordid throng, who
waited to see him pass, and sought to obtain the favor of a word, a nod, or
smile, as if a mere glance from him would bestow fortune. When at home, his
house was absolutely besieged by furious candidates for fortune. "They
forced the doors," says the Duke de St. Simon; "they scaled his windows
from the garden; they made their way into his cabinet down the chimney!"

The same venal court was paid by all classes to his family. The highest
ladies of the court vied with each other in meannesses to purchase the
lucrative friendship of Mrs. Law and her daughter. They waited upon them
with as much assiduity and adulation as if they had been princesses of the
blood. The regent one day expressed a desire that some duchess should
accompany his daughter to Genoa. "My lord," said some one present, "if you
would have a choice from among the duchesses, you need but send to Mrs.
Law's, you will find them all assembled there."

The wealth of Law rapidly increased with the expansion of the bubble. In
the course of a few months he purchased fourteen titled estates, paying for
them in paper; and the public hailed these sudden and vast acquisitions of
landed property as so many proofs of the soundness of his system. In one
instance he met with a shrewd bargainer, who had not the general faith in
his paper money. The President de Novion insisted on being paid for an
estate in hard coin. Law accordingly brought the amount, four hundred
thousand livres, in specie, saying, with a sarcastic smile, that he
preferred paying in money as its weight rendered it a mere encumbrance. As
it happened, the president could give no clear title to the land, and the
money had to be refunded. He paid it back _in paper_, which Law dared
not refuse, lest he should depreciate it in the market.

The course of illusory credit went on triumphantly for eighteen months. Law
had nearly fulfilled one of his promises, for the greater part of the
public debt had been paid off; but how paid? In bank shares, which had been
trumped up several hundred per cent above their value, and which were to
vanish like smoke in the hands of the holders.

One of the most striking attributes of Law was the imperturbable assurance
and self-possession with which he replied to every objection, and found a
solution for every problem. He had the dexterity of a juggler in evading
difficulties; and what was peculiar, made figures themselves, which are the
very elements of exact demonstration, the means to dazzle and bewilder.

Toward the latter end of 1719 the Mississippi scheme had reached its
highest point of glory. Half a million of strangers had crowded into Paris
in quest of fortune. The hotels and lodging-houses were overflowing;
lodgings were procured with excessive difficulty; granaries were turned
into bedrooms; provisions had risen enormously in price; splendid houses
were multiplying on every side; the streets were crowded with carriages;
above a thousand new equipages had been launched.

On the eleventh of December, Law obtained another prohibitory decree, for
the purpose of sweeping all the remaining specie in circulation into the
bank. By this it was forbidden to make any payment in silver above ten
livres, or in gold above three hundred.

The repeated decrees of this nature, the object of which was to depreciate
the value of gold, and increase the illusive credit of paper, began to
awaken doubts of a system which required such bolstering. Capitalists
gradually awoke from their bewilderment. Sound and able financiers
consulted together, and agreed to make common cause against this continual
expansion of a paper system. The shares of the bank and of the company
began to decline in value. Wary men took the alarm, and began to
_realize_, a word now first brought into use, to express the
conversion of _ideal_ property into something _real_.

The prince of Conti, one of the most prominent and grasping of the
Mississippi lords, was the first to give a blow to the credit of the bank.
There was a mixture of ingratitude in his conduct that characterized the
venal baseness of the times. He had received from time to time enormous
sums from Law, as the price of his influence and patronage. His avarice had
increased with every acquisition, until Law was compelled to refuse one of
his exactions. In revenge the prince immediately sent such an amount of
paper to the bank to be cashed that it required four wagons to bring away
the silver, and he had the meanness to loll out of the window of his hotel
and jest and exult as it was trundled into his portecochère.

This was the signal for other drains of like nature. The English and Dutch
merchants, who had purchased a great amount of bank paper at low prices,
cashed them at the bank, and carried the money out of the country. Other
strangers did the like, thus draining the kingdom of its specie, and
leaving paper in its place.

The regent, perceiving these symptoms of decay in the system, sought to
restore it to public confidence by conferring marks of confidence upon its

He accordingly resolved to make Law Comptroller General of the Finances of
France. There was a material obstacle in his way. Law was a Protestant, and
the regent, unscrupulous as he was himself, did not dare publicly to
outrage the severe edicts which Louis XIV., in his bigot days, had
fulminated against all heretics. Law soon let him know that there would be
no difficulty on that head. He was ready at any moment to abjure his
religion in the way of business. For decency's sake, however, it was judged
proper he should previously be convinced and converted. A ghostly
instructor was soon found, ready to accomplish his conversion in the
shortest possible time. This was the Abbe Tencin, a profligate creature of
the profligate Dubois, and like him working his way to ecclesiastical
promotion and temporal wealth, by the basest means.

Under the instructions of the Abbe Tencin, Law soon mastered the mysteries
and dogmas of the Catholic doctrine; and, after a brief course of ghostly
training, declared himself thoroughly convinced and converted. To avoid the
sneers and jests of the Parisian public the ceremony of abjuration took
place at Melun. Law made a pious present of one hundred thousand livres to
the Church of St. Roque, and the Abbe Tencin was rewarded for his edifying
labors by sundry shares and bank bills; which he shrewdly took care to
convert into cash, having as little faith in the system as in the piety of
his new convert. A more grave and moral community might have been outraged
by this scandalous farce; but the Parisians laughed at it with their usual
levity, and contented themselves with making it the subject of a number of
songs and epigrams.

Law now being orthodox in his faith, took out letters of naturalization,
and having thus surmounted the intervening obstacles, was elevated by the
regent to the post of comptroller-general. So accustomed had the community
become to all juggles and transmutations in this hero of finance, that no
one seemed shocked or astonished at his sudden elevation. On the contrary,
being now considered perfectly established in place and power, he became
more than ever the object of venal adoration. Men of rank and dignity
thronged his antechamber, waiting patiently their turn for an audience; and
titled dames demeaned themselves to take the front seats of the carriages
of his wife and daughter, as if they had been riding with princesses of the
blood royal. Law's head grew giddy with his elevation, and he began to
aspire after aristocratical distinction. There was to be a court ball, at
which several of the young noblemen were to dance in a ballet with the
youthful king. Law requested that his son might be admitted into the
ballet, and the regent consented. The young scions of nobility, however,
were indignant and scouted the "intruding upstart." Their more worldly
parents, fearful of displeasing the modern Midas, reprimanded them in vain.
The striplings had not yet imbibed the passion for gain, and still held to
their high blood. The son of the banker received slights and annoyances on
all sides, and the public applauded them for their spirit. A fit of illness
came opportunely to relieve the youth from an honor which would have cost
him a world of vexations and affronts.

In February, 1720, shortly after Law's installment in office, a decree came
out uniting the bank to the India Company, by which last name the whole
establishment was now known. The decree stated that as the bank was royal,
the king was bound to make good the value of its bills; that he committed
to the company the government of the bank for fifty years, and sold to it
fifty millions of stock belonging to him, for nine hundred millions; a
simple advance of eighteen hundred per cent. The decree further declared,
in the king's name, that he would never draw on the bank until the value of
his drafts had first been lodged in it by his receivers-general.

The bank, it was said, had by this time issued notes to the amount of one
thousand millions; being more paper than all the banks of Europe were able
to circulate. To aid its credit, the receivers of the revenue were directed
to take bank notes of the sub-receivers. All payments, also, of one hundred
livres and upward were ordered to be made in banknotes. These compulsory
measures for a short time gave a false credit to the bank, which proceeded
to discount merchants' notes, to lend money on jewels, plate, and other
valuables, as well as on mortgages.

Still further to force on the system an edict next appeared, forbidding any
individual, or any corporate body, civil or religious, to hold in
possession more than five hundred livres in current coin; that is to say,
about seven louis d'ors: the value of the louis-d'or in paper being, at the
time, seventy-two livres. All the gold and silver they might have above
this pittance was to be brought to the royal bank and exchanged either for
shares or bills.

As confiscation was the penalty of disobedience to this decree, and
informers were assured a share of the forfeitures, a bounty was in a manner
held out to domestic spies and traitors; and the most odious scrutiny was
awakened into the pecuniary affairs of families and individuals. The very
confidence between friends and relatives was unpaired, and all the domestic
ties and virtues of society were threatened, until a general sentiment of
indignation broke forth, that compelled the regent to rescind the odious
decree. Lord Stairs, the British embassador, speaking of the system of
espionage encouraged by this edict, observed that it was impossible to
doubt that Law was a thorough Catholic, since he had thus established the
_inquisition_, after having already proved _transubstantiation_,
by changing specie into paper.

Equal abuses had taken place under the colonizing project. In his thousand
expedients to amass capital, Law had sold parcels of land in Mississippi,
at the rate of three thousand livres for a league square. Many capitalists
had purchased estates large enough to constitute almost a principality; the
only evil was, Law had sold a property which he could not deliver. The
agents of police, who aided in recruiting the ranks of the colonists, had
been guilty of scandalous impositions. Under pretense of taking up
mendicants and vagabonds, they had scoured the streets at night, seizing
upon honest mechanics, or their sons, and hurrying them to their
crimping-houses, for the sole purpose of extorting money from them as a
ransom. The populace was roused to indignation by these abuses. The
officers of police were mobbed in the exercise of their odious functions,
and several of them were killed; which put an end to this flagrant abuse of

In March, a most extraordinary decree of the council fixed the price of
shares of the India Company at nine thousand livres each. All
ecclesiastical communities and hospitals were now prohibited from investing
money at interest, in anything but India stock. With all these props and
stays, the system continued to totter. How could it be otherwise, under a
despotic government that could alter the value of property at every moment?
The very compulsory measures that were adopted to establish the credit of
the bank hastened its fall; plainly showing there was a want of solid

Law caused pamphlets to be published, setting forth, in eloquent language,
the vast profits that must accrue to holders of the stock, and the
impossibility of the king's ever doing it any harm. On the very back of
these assertions came forth an edict of the king, dated the 22d of May,
wherein, under pretense of having reduced the value of his coin, it was
declared necessary to reduce the value of his bank-notes one-half, and of
the India shares from nine thousand to five thousand livres.

This decree came like a clap of thunder upon shareholders. They found
one-half of the pretended value of the paper in their hands annihilated in
an instant; and what certainty had they with respect to the other half? The
rich considered themselves ruined; those in humbler circumstances looked
forward to abject beggary.

The parliament seized the occasion to stand forth as the protector of the
public, and refused to register the decree. It gained the credit of
compelling the regent to retrace his step, though it is more probable he
yielded to the universal burst of public astonishment and reprobation. On
the 27th of May the edict was revoked, and bank bills were restored to
their previous value. But the fatal blow had been struck; the delusion was
at an end. Government itself had lost all public confidence, equally with
the bank it had engendered, and which its own arbitrary acts had brought
into discredit. "All Paris," says the regent's mother, in her letters, "has
been mourning at the cursed decree which Law has persuaded my son to make.
I have received anonymous letters stating that I have nothing to fear on my
own account, but that my son shall be pursued with fire and sword."

The regent now endeavored to avert the odium of his ruinous schemes from
himself. He affected to have suddenly lost confidence in Law, and, on the
29th of May, discharged bin from his employ as comptroller-general, and
stationed a Swiss guard of sixteen men in his house. He even refused to see
him, when, on the following day, he applied at the portal of the Palais
Royal for admission; but having played off this farce before the public, he
admitted him secretly the same night, by a private door, and continued as
before to co-operate with him in his financial schemes.

On the first of June the regent issued a decree, permitting persons to have
as much money as they pleased in their possession. Few, however, were in a
state to benefit by this permission. There was a run upon the bank, but a
royal ordinance immediately suspended payment, until further orders. To
relieve the public mind, a city stock was created, of twenty-five millions,
bearing an interest of two and a half per cent, for which bank notes were
taken in exchange. The bank notes thus withdrawn from circulation were
publicly burned before the Hotel de Ville. The public, however, had lost
confidence in everything and everybody, and suspected fraud and collusion
in those who pretended to burn the bills.

A general confusion now took place hi the financial world. Families who had
lived in opulence found themselves suddenly reduced to indigence. Schemers
who had been reveling in the delusion of princely fortune found their
estates vanishing into thin air. Those who had any property remaining
sought to secure it against reverses. Cautious persons found there was no
safety for property in a country where the coin was continually shifting in
value, and where a despotism was exercised over public securities, and even
over the private purses of individuals. They began to send their effects
into other countries; when lo! on the 20th of June a royal edict commanded
them to bring back their effects, under penalty of forfeiting twice their
value; and forbade them, under like penalty, from investing their money in
foreign stocks. This was soon followed by another decree, forbidding any
one to retain precious stones in his possession, or to sell them to
foreigners; all must be deposited in the bank, in exchange for depreciating

Execrations were now poured out on all sides against Law, and menaces of
vengeance. What a contrast, in a short time, to the venal incense that was
offered up to him! "This person," writes the regent's mother, "who was
formerly worshiped as a god, is now not sure of his life. It is astonishing
how greatly terrified he is. He is as a dead man; he is pale as a sheet,
and it is said he can never get over it. My son is not dismayed, though he
is threatened on all sides; and is very much amused with Law's terrors."

About the middle of July the last grand attempt was made by Law and the
regent to keep up the system and provide for the immense emission of paper.
A decree was fabricated, giving the India Company the entire monopoly of
commerce, on condition that it would, in the course of a year, reimburse
six hundred millions of livres of its bills, at the rate of fifty millions
per month.

On the 17th this decree was sent to parliament to be registered. It at once
raised a storm of opposition in that assembly, and a vehement discussion
took place. While that was going on a disastrous scene was passing out of

The calamitous effects of the system had reached the humblest concerns of
human life. Provisions had risen to an enormous price; paper money was
refused at all the shops; the people had not wherewithal to buy bread. It
had been found absolutely indispensable to relax a little from the
suspension of specie payments, and to allow small sums to be scantily
exchanged for paper. The doors of the bank and the neighboring streets were
immediately thronged with a famishing multitude, seeking cash for bank
notes of ten livres. So great was the press and struggle that several
persons were stifled and crushed to death. The mob carried three of the
bodies to the courtyard of the Palais Royal. Some cried for the regent to
come forth and behold the effect of his system; others demanded the death
of Law, the impostor, who had brought this misery and rum upon the nation.

The moment was critical, the popular fury was rising to a tempest, when Le
Blanc, the Secretary of State, stepped forth. He had previously sent for
the military, and now only sought to gain tune. Singling out six or seven
stout fellows, who seemed to be the ringleaders of the mob: "My good
fellows," said he, calmly, "carry away these bodies and place them in some
church, and then come back quickly to me for your pay." They immediately
obeyed; a kind of funeral procession was formed; the arrival of troops
dispersed those who lingered behind; and Paris was probably saved from an

About ten o'clock in the morning, all being quiet, Law ventured to go in
his carriage to the Palais Royal. He was saluted with cries and curses, as
he passed along the streets; and he reached the Palais Royal in a terrible
fright. The regent amused himself with his fears, but retained him with
him, and sent off his carriage, which was assailed by the mob, pelted with
stones, and the glasses shivered. The news of this outrage was communicated
to parliament in the midst of a furious discussion of the decree for the
commercial monopoly. The first president, who had been absent for a short
time, re-entered, and communicated the tidings in a whimsical couplet:

  "Messieurs, Messieurs! bonne nouvelle!
  Le carrosse de Law est reduite en carrelle!"

  "Gentlemen, Gentlemen! good news!
  The carriage of Law is shivered to atoms!"

The members sprang up with joy; "And Law!" exclaimed they, "has he been
torn to pieces?" The president was ignorant of the result of the tumult;
whereupon the debate was cut short, the decree rejected, and the house
adjourned; the members hurrying to learn the particulars. Such was the
levity with which public affairs were treated at that dissolute and
disastrous period.

On the following day there was an ordinance from the king, prohibiting all
popular assemblages; and troops were stationed at various points, and in
all public places. The regiment of guards was ordered to hold itself in
readiness; and the musketeers to be at their hotels, with their horses
ready saddled. A number of small offices were opened, where people might
cash small notes, though with great delay and difficulty. An edict was also
issued declaring that whoever should refuse to take bank notes in the
course of trade should forfeit double the amount!

The continued and vehement opposition of parliament to the whole delusive
system of finance had been a constant source of annoyance to the regent;
but this obstinate rejection of his last grand expedient of a commercial
monopoly was not to be tolerated. He determined to punish that intractable
body. The Abbe Dubois and Law suggested a simple mode; it was to suppress
the parliament altogether, being, as they observed, so far from useful that
it was a constant impediment to the march of public affairs. The regent was
half inclined to listen to their advice; but upon calmer consideration, and
the advice of friends, he adopted a more moderate course. On the 20th of
July, early in the morning, all the doors of the parliament-house were
taken possession of by troops. Others were sent to surround the house of
the first president, and others to the houses of the various members; who
were all at first in great alarm, until an order from the king was put into
their hands, to render themselves at Pontoise, in the course of two days,
to which place the parliament was thus suddenly and arbitrarily

This despotic act, says Voltaire, would at any other time have caused an
insurrection; but one half of the Parisians were occupied by their ruin,
and the other half by their fancied riches, which were soon to vanish. The
president and members of parliament acquiesced in the mandate without a
murmur; they even went as if on a party of pleasure, and made every
preparation to lead a joyous life in their exile. The musketeers, who held
possession of the vacated parliament-house, a gay corps of fashionable
young fellows, amused themselves with making songs and pasquinades, at the
expense of the exiled legislators; and at length, to pass away time, formed
themselves into a mock parliament; elected their presidents, kings,
ministers, and advocates; took their seats in due form, arraigned a cat at
their bar, in place of the Sieur Law, and, after giving it a "fair trial,"
condemned it to be hanged. In this manner public affairs and public
institutions were lightly turned to jest.

As to the exiled parliament, it lived gayly and luxuriously at Pontoise, at
the public expense; for the regent had furnished funds, as usual, with a
lavish hand. The first president had the mansion of the Duke de Bouillon
put at his disposal, already furnished, with a vast and delightful garden
on the borders of a river. There he kept open house to all the members of
parliament. Several tables were spread every day, all furnished luxuriously
and splendidly; the most exquisite wines and liqueurs, the choicest fruits
and refreshments, of all kinds, abounded. A number of small chariots for
one and two horses were always at hand, for such ladies and old gentlemen
as wished to take an airing after dinner, and card and billiard tables for
such as chose to amuse themselves in that way until supper. The sister and
the daughter of the first president did the honors of the house, and he
himself presided there with an air of great ease, hospitality, and
magnificence. It became a party of pleasure to drive from Paris to
Pontoise, which was six leagues distant, and partake of the amusements and
festivities of the place. Business was openly slighted; nothing was thought
of but amusement. The regent and his government were laughed at, and made
the subjects of continual pleasantries; while the enormous expenses
incurred by this idle and lavish course of life more than doubled the
liberal sums provided. This was the way in which the parliament resented
their exile.

During all this time the system was getting more and more involved. The
stock exchange had some time previously been removed to the Place Vendome;
but the tumult and noise becoming intolerable to the residents of that
polite quarter, and especially to the chancellor, whose hotel was there,
the Prince and Princess Carignan, both deep gamblers in Mississippi stock,
offered the extensive garden of the Hotel de Soissons as a rallying-place
for the worshipers of Mammon. The offer was accepted. A number of barracks
were immediately erected in the garden, as offices for the stock-brokers,
and an order was obtained from the regent, under pretext of police
regulations, that no bargain should be valid unless concluded in these
barracks. The rent of them immediately mounted to a hundred livres a month
for each, and the whole yielded these noble proprietors an ignoble revenue
of half a million of livres.

The mania for gain, however, was now at an end. A universal panic
succeeded. "_Sauve qui peut!_" was the watchword. Every one was
anxious to exchange falling paper for something of intrinsic and permanent
value. Since money was not to be had, jewels, precious stones, plate,
porcelain, trinkets of gold and silver, all commanded any price in paper.
Land was bought at fifty years' purchase, and he esteemed himself happy who
could get it even at this price. Monopolies now became the rage among the
noble holders of paper. The Duke de la Force bought up nearly all the
tallow, grease, and soap; others the coffee and spices; others hay and
oats. Foreign exchanges were almost impracticable. The debts of Dutch and
English merchants were paid in this fictitious money, all the coin of the
realm having disappeared. All the relations of debtor and creditor were
confounded. With one thousand crowns one might pay a debt of eighteen
thousand livres!

The regent's mother, who once exulted in the affluence of bank paper, now
wrote in a very different tone: "I have often wished," said she in her
letters, "that these bank-notes were in the depths of the infernal regions.
They have given my son more trouble than relief. Nobody in France has a
penny.... My son was once popular, but since the arrival of this cursed
Law, he is hated more and more. Not a week passes, without my receiving
letters filled with frightful threats, and speaking of him as a tyrant. I
have just received one threatening him with poison. When I showed it to
him, he did nothing but laugh."

In the meantime, Law was dismayed by the increasing troubles, and terrified
at the tempest he had raised. He was not a man of real courage; and fearing
for his personal safety, from popular tumult, or the despair of ruined
individuals, he again took refuge in the palace of the regent. The latter,
as usual, amused himself with his terrors, and turned every new disaster
into a jest; but he too began to think of his own security.

In pursuing the schemes of Law, he had no doubt calculated to carry through
his term of government with ease and splendor; and to enrich himself, his
connections, and his favorites; and had hoped that the catastrophe of the
system would not take place until after the expiration of the regency.

He now saw his mistake; that it was impossible much longer to prevent an
explosion; and he determined at once to get Law out of the way, and then to
charge him with the whole tissue of delusions of this paper alchemy. He
accordingly took occasion of the recall of parliament in December, 1720, to
suggest to Law the policy of his avoiding an encounter with that hostile
and exasperated body. Law needed no urging to the measure. His only desire
was to escape from Paris and its tempestuous populace. Two days before the
return of parliament he took his sudden and secret departure. He traveled
in a chaise bearing the arms of the regent, and was escorted by a kind of
safeguard of servants in the duke's livery. His first place of refuge was
an estate of the regent's, about six leagues from Paris, from whence he
pushed forward to Bruxelles.

As soon as Law was fairly out of the way, the Duke of Orleans summoned a
council of the regency, and informed them that they were assembled to
deliberate on the state of the finances, and the affairs of the India
Company. Accordingly La Houssaye, comptroller-general, rendered a perfectly
clear statement, by which it appeared that there were bank bills in
circulation to the amount of two milliards, seven hundred millions of
livres, without any evidence that this enormous sum had been emitted in
virtue of any ordinance from the general assembly of the India Company,
which alone had the right to authorize such emissions.

The council was astonished at this disclosure, and looked to the regent for
explanation. Pushed to the extreme, the regent avowed that Law had emitted
bills to the amount of twelve hundred millions beyond what had been fixed
by ordinances, and in contradiction to express prohibitions; that the thing
being done, he, the regent, had legalized or rather covered the
transaction, by decrees ordering such emissions, which decrees he had

A stormy scene ensued between the regent and the Duke de Bourbon, little to
the credit of either, both having been deeply implicated in the cabalistic
operations of the system. In fact, the several members of the council had
been among the most venal "beneficiaries" of the scheme, and had interests
at stake which they were anxious to secure. From all the circumstances of
the case, I am inclined to think that others were more to blame than Law,
for the disastrous effects of his financial projects. His bank, had it been
confined to its original limits, and left to the control of its own
internal regulations, might have gone on prosperously, and been of great
benefit to the nation. It was an institution fitted for a free country; but
unfortunately it was subjected to the control of a despotic government,
that could, at its pleasure, alter the value of the specie within its
vaults, and compel the most extravagant expansions of its paper
circulation. The vital principle of a bank is security in the regularity of
its operations, and the immediate convertibility of its paper into coin;
and what confidence could be reposed in an institution or its paper
promises, when the sovereign could at any moment centuple those promises in
the market, and seize upon all the money in the bank? The compulsory
measures used, likewise, to force bank-notes into currency, against the
judgment of the public, was fatal to the system; for credit must be free
and uncontrolled as the common air. The regent was the evil spirit of the
system, that forced Law on to an expansion of his paper currency far beyond
what he had ever dreamed of. He it was that in a manner compelled the
unlucky projector to devise all kinds of collateral companies and
monopolies, by which to raise funds to meet the constantly and enormously
increasing emissions of shares and notes. Law was but like a poor conjurer
in the hands of a potent spirit that he has evoked, and that obliges him to
go on, desperately and ruinously, with his conjurations. He only thought at
the outset to raise the wind, but the regent compelled him to raise the

The investigation of the affairs of the company by the council resulted in
nothing beneficial to the public. The princes and nobles who had enriched
themselves by all kinds of juggles and extortions, escaped unpunished, and
retained the greater part of their spoils. Many of the "suddenly rich," who
had risen from obscurity to a giddy height of imaginary prosperity, and had
indulged in all kinds of vulgar and ridiculous excesses, awoke as out of a
dream, in their original poverty, now made more galling and humiliating by
their transient elevation.

The weight of the evil, however, fell on more valuable classes of society;
honest tradesmen and artisans, who had been seduced away from the safe
pursuits of industry, to the specious chances of speculation. Thousands of
meritorious families also, once opulent, had been reduced to indigence, by
a too great confidence in government. There was a general derangement in
the finances, that long exerted a baneful influence over the national
prosperity; but the most disastrous effects of the system were upon the
morals and manners of the nation. The faith of engagements, the sanctity of
promises in affairs of business, were at an end. Every expedient to grasp
present profit, or to evade present difficulty, was tolerated. While such
deplorable laxity of principle was generated in the busy classes, the
chivalry of France had soiled their pennons; and honor and glory, so long
the idols of the Gallic nobility, had been tumbled to the earth, and
trampled in the dirt of the stock-market.

As to Law, the originator of the system, he appears eventually to have
profited but little by his schemes. "He was a quack," says Voltaire, "to
whom the state was given to be cured, but who poisoned it with his drugs,
and who poisoned himself." The effects which he left behind in France were
sold at a low price and the proceeds dissipated. His landed estates were
confiscated. He carried away with him barely enough to maintain himself,
his wife, and daughter, with decency. The chief relic of his immense
fortune was a great diamond, which he was often obliged to pawn. He was in
England in 1721, and was presented to George the First. He returned shortly
afterward to the continent; shifting about from place to place, and died in
Venice, in 1729. His wife and daughter, accustomed to live with the
prodigality of princesses, could not conform to their altered fortunes, but
dissipated the scanty means left to them, and sank into abject poverty. "I
saw his wife," says Voltaire, "at Bruxelles, as much humiliated as she had
been haughty and triumphant in Paris." An elder brother of Law remained in
France, and was protected by the Duchess of Bourbon. His descendants have
acquitted themselves honorably, in various public employments; and one of
them is the Marquis Lauriston, some time lieutenant-general and peer of

       *       *       *       *       *



  "I have heard of spirits walking with aerial bodies, and have been
  wondered at by others; but I must only wonder at myself, for if they
  be not mad, I'me come to my own buriall."--SHIRLEY's _Witty Fairie

Everybody has heard of the fate of Don Juan, the famous libertine of
Seville, who for his sins against the fair sex and other minor peccadilloes
was hurried away to the infernal regions. His story has been illustrated in
play, in pantomime, and farce, on every stage in Christendom; until at
length it has been rendered the theme of the operas, and embalmed to
endless duration in the glorious music of Mozart. I well recollect the
effect of this story upon my feelings in my boyish days, though represented
in grotesque pantomime; the awe with which I contemplated the monumental
statue on horseback of the murdered commander, gleaming by pale moonlight
in the convent cemetery; how my heart quaked as he bowed his marble head,
and accepted the impious invitation of Don Juan: how each footfall of the
statue smote upon my heart, as I heard it approach, step by step, through
the echoing corridor, and beheld it enter, and advance, a moving figure of
stone, to the supper table! But then the convivial scene in the
charnel-house, where Don Juan returned the visit of the statue; was offered
a banquet of skulls and bones, and on refusing to partake, was hurled into
a yawning gulf, under a tremendous shower of fire! These were accumulated
horrors enough to shake the nerves of the most pantomime-loving schoolboy.
Many have supposed the story of Don Juan a mere fable. I myself thought so
once; but "seeing is believing." I have since beheld the very scene where
it took place, and now to indulge any doubt on the subject would be

I was one night perambulating the streets of Seville, in company with a
Spanish friend, a curious investigator of the popular traditions and other
good-for-nothing lore of the city, and who was kind enough to imagine he
had met, in me, with a congenial spirit. In the course of our rambles we
were passing by a heavy, dark gateway, opening into the courtyard of a
convent, when he laid his hand upon my arm: "Stop!" said he, "this is the
convent of San Francisco; there is a story connected with it which I am
sure must be known to you. You cannot but have heard of Don Juan and the
marble statue."

"Undoubtedly," replied I, "it has been familiar to me from childhood."

"Well, then, it was in the cemetery of this very convent that the events
took place."

"Why, you do not mean to say that the story is founded on fact?"

"Undoubtedly it is. The circumstances of the case are said to have occurred
during the reign of Alfonso XI. Don Juan was of the noble family of
Tenorio, one of the most illustrious houses of Andalusia. His father, Don
Diego Tenorio, was a favorite of the king, and his family ranked among the
_deintecuatros_, or magistrates, of the city. Presuming on his high
descent and powerful connections, Don Juan set no bounds to his excesses:
no female, high or low, was sacred from his pursuit: and he soon became the
scandal of Seville. One of his most daring outrages was, to penetrate by
night into the palace of Don Gonzalo de Ulloa, commander of the order of
Calatrava, and attempt to carry off his daughter. The household was
alarmed; a scuffle in the dark took place; Don Juan escaped, but the
unfortunate commander was found weltering in his blood, and expired without
being able to name his murderer. Suspicions attached to Don Juan; he did
not stop to meet the investigations of justice, and the vengeance of the
powerful family of Ulloa, but fled from Seville, and took refuge with his
uncle, Don Pedro Tenorio, at that time embassador at the court of Naples.
Here he remained until the agitation occasioned by the murder of Don
Gonzalo had time to subside; and the scandal which the affair might cause
to both the families of Ulloa and Tenorio had induced them to hush it up.
Don Juan, however, continued his libertine career at Naples, until at
length his excesses forfeited the protection of his uncle, the embassador,
and obliged him again to flee. He had made his way back to Seville,
trusting that his past misdeeds were forgotten, or rather trusting to his
dare-devil spirit and the power of his family to carry him through all

"It was shortly after his return, and while in the height of his arrogance,
that on visiting this very convent of Francisco, he beheld on a monument
the equestrian statue of the murdered commander, who had been buried within
the walls of this sacred edifice, where the family of Ulloa had a chapel.
It was on this occasion that Don Juan, in a moment of impious levity,
invited the statue to the banquet, the awful catastrophe of which has given
such celebrity to his story."

"And pray how much of this story," said I, "is believed in Seville?"

"The whole of it by the populace; with whom it has been a favorite
tradition since time immemorial, and who crowd to the theaters to see it
represented in dramas written long since by Tyrso de Molina, and another of
our popular writers. Many in our higher ranks also, accustomed from
childhood to this story, would feel somewhat indignant at hearing it
treated with contempt. An attempt has been made to explain the whole, by
asserting that, to put an end to the extravagances of Don Juan, and to
pacify the family of Ulloa, without exposing the delinquent to the
degrading penalties of justice, he was decoyed into this convent under a
false pretext, and either plunged into a perpetual dungeon, or privately
hurried out of existence; while the story of the statue was circulated by
the monks, to account for his sudden disappearance. The populace, however,
are not to be cajoled out of a ghost story by any of these plausible
explanations; and the marble statue still strides the stage, and Don Juan
is still plunged into the infernal regions, as an awful warning to all
rake-helly youngsters, in like case offending."

While my companion was relating these anecdotes, we had entered the
gateway, traversed the exterior courtyard of the convent, and made our way
into a great interior court; partly surrounded by cloisters and
dormitories, partly by chapels, and having a large fountain in the center.
The pile had evidently once been extensive and magnificent; but it was for
the greater part in ruins. By the light of the stars, and of twinkling
lamps placed here and there in the chapels and corridors, I could see that
many of the columns and arches were broken; the walls were rent and riven;
white burned beams and rafters showed the destructive effects of fire. The
whole place had a desolate air; the night breeze rustled through grass and
weeds flaunting out of the crevices of the walls, or from the shattered
columns; the bat flitted about the vaulted passages, and the owl hooted
from the ruined belfry. Never was any scene more completely fitted for a
ghost story.

While I was indulging in picturings of the fancy, proper to such a place,
the deep chant of the monks from the convent church came swelling upon the
ear. "It is the vesper service," said my companion; "follow me."

Leading the way across the court of the cloisters, and through one or two
ruined passages, he reached the distant portal of the church, and pushing
open a wicket, cut in the folding doors, we found ourselves in the deep
arched vestibule of the sacred edifice. To our left was the choir, forming
one end of the church, and having a low vaulted ceiling, which gave it the
look of a cavern. About this were ranged the monks, seated on stools, and
chanting from immense books placed on music-stands, and having the notes
scored in such gigantic characters as to be legible from every part of the
choir. A few lights on these music-stands dimly illumined the choir,
gleamed on the shaven heads of the monks and threw their shadows on the
walls. They were gross, blue-bearded, bullet-headed men, with bass voices,
of deep metallic tone, that reverberated out of the cavernous choir.

To our right extended the great body of the church. It was spacious and
lofty; some of the side chapels had gilded grates, and were decorated with
images and paintings, representing the sufferings of our Saviour. Aloft was
a great painting by Murillo, but too much in the dark to be distinguished.
The gloom of the whole church was but faintly relieved by the reflected
light from the choir, and the glimmering here and there of a votive lamp
before the shrine of a saint.

As my eye roamed about the shadowy pile, it was struck with the dimly seen
figure of a man on horseback, near a distant altar. I touched my companion,
and pointed to it: "The specter statue!" said I.

"No," replied he; "it is the statue of the blessed St. Iago; the statue of
the commander was in the cemetery of the convent, and was destroyed at the
tune of the conflagration. But," added he, "as I see you take a proper
interest in these kind of stories, come with me to the other end of the
church, where our whisperings will not disturb these holy fathers at their
devotions, and I will tell you another story that has been current for some
generations in our city, by which you will find that Don Juan is not the
only libertine that has been the object of supernatural castigation in

I accordingly followed him with noiseless tread to the further part of the
church, where we took our seats on the steps of an altar, opposite to the
suspicious-looking figure on horseback, and there, in a low, mysterious
voice, he related to me the following narration:

"There was once in Seville a gay young fellow, Don Manuel de Manara by
name, who, having come to a great estate by the death of his father, gave
the reins to his passions, and plunged into all kinds of dissipation. Like
Don Juan, whom he seemed to have taken for a model, he became famous for
his enterprises among the fair sex, and was the cause of doors being barred
and windows grated with more than usual strictness. All in vain. No balcony
was too high for him to scale; no bolt nor bar was proof against his
efforts; and his very name was a word of terror to all the jealous husbands
and cautious fathers of Seville. His exploits extended to country as well
as city; and in the village dependent on his castle, scarce a rural beauty
was safe from his arts and enterprises.

"As he was one day ranging the streets of Seville, with several of his
dissolute companions, he beheld a procession about to enter the gate of a
convent. In the center was a young female arrayed in the dress of a bride;
it was a novice, who, having accomplished her year of probation, was about
to take the black veil, and consecrate herself to heaven. The companions of
Don Manuel drew back, out of respect to the sacred pageant; but he pressed
forward, with his usual impetuosity, to gain a near view of the novice. He
almost jostled her, in passing through the portal of the church, when, on
her turning round, he beheld the countenance of a beautiful village girl,
who had been the object of his ardent pursuit, but who had been spirited
secretly out of his reach by her relatives. She recognized him at the same
moment, and fainted; but was borne within the grate of the chapel. It was
supposed the agitation of the ceremony and the heat of the throng had
overcome her. After some time, the curtain which hung within the grate was
drawn up: there stood the novice, pale and trembling, surrounded by the
abbess and the nuns. The ceremony proceeded; the crown of flowers was taken
from her head; she was shorn of her silken tresses, received the black
veil, and went passively through the remainder of the ceremony.

"Don Manuel de Manara, on the contrary, was roused to fury at the sight of
this sacrifice. His passion, which had almost faded away in the absence of
the object, now glowed with tenfold ardor, being inflamed by the
difficulties placed in his way, and piqued by the measures which had been
taken to defeat him. Never had the object of his pursuit appeared so lovely
and desirable as when within the grate of the convent; and he swore to have
her, in defiance of heaven and earth. By dint of bribing a female servant
of the convent he contrived to convey letters to her, pleading his passion
in the most eloquent and seductive terms. How successful they were is only
matter of conjecture; certain it is, he undertook one night to scale the
garden wall of the convent, either to carry off the nun or gain admission
to her cell. Just as he was mounting the wall he was suddenly plucked back,
and a stranger, muffled in a cloak, stood before him.

"'Rash man, forbear!' cried he: 'is it not enough to have violated all
human ties? Wouldst thou steal a bride from heaven!'

"The sword of Don Manuel had been drawn on the instant, and, furious at
this interruption, he passed it through the body of the stranger, who fell
dead at his feet. Hearing approaching footsteps, he fled the fatal spot,
and mounting his horse, which was at hand, retreated to his estate in the
country, at no great distance from Seville. Here he remained throughout the
next day, full of horror and remorse; dreading lest he should be known as
the murderer of the deceased, and fearing each moment the arrival of the
officers of justice.

"The day passed, however, without molestation; and, as the evening
approached, unable any longer to endure this state of uncertainty and
apprehension, he ventured back to Seville. Irresistibly his footsteps took
the direction of the convent; but he paused and hovered at a distance from
the scene of blood. Several persons were gathered round the place, one of
whom was busy nailing something against the convent wall. After a while
they dispersed, and one passed near to Don Manuel. The latter addressed
him, with a hesitating voice.

"'Señor,' said he, 'may I ask the reason of yonder throng?'

"'A cavalier,' replied the other, 'has been murdered.'

"'Murdered!' echoed Don Manuel; 'and can you tell me his name?'

"'Don Manuel de Manara,' replied the stranger, and passed on.

"Don Manuel was startled at this mention of his own name; especially when
applied to the murdered man. He ventured, when it was entirely deserted, to
approach the fatal spot. A small cross had been nailed against the wall, as
is customary in Spain, to mark the place where a murder has been committed;
and just below it, he read, by the twinkling light of a lamp: 'Here was
murdered Don Manuel de Manara. Pray to God for his soul!'

"Still more confounded and perplexed by this inscription, he wandered about
the streets until the night was far advanced, and all was still and lonely.
As he entered the principal square, the light of torches suddenly broke on
him, and he beheld a grand funeral procession moving across it. There was a
great train of priests, and many persons of dignified appearance, in
ancient Spanish dresses, attending as mourners, none of whom he knew.
Accosting a servant who followed in the train, he demanded the name of the

"'Don Manuel de Manara,' was the reply; and it went cold to his heart. He
looked, and indeed beheld the armorial bearings of his family emblazoned on
the funeral escutcheons. Yet not one of his family was to be seen among the
mourners. The mystery was more and more incomprehensible.

"He followed the procession as it moved on to the cathedral. The bier was
deposited before the high altar; the funeral service was commenced, and the
grand organ began to peal through the vaulted aisles.

"Again the youth ventured to question this awful pageant. 'Father,' said
he, with trembling voice, to one of the priests, 'who is this you are about
to inter?'

"'Don Manuel de Manara!' replied the priest.

"'Father,' cried Don Manuel, impatiently, 'you are deceived. This is some
imposture. Know that Don Manuel de Manara la alive and well, and now stands
before you. _I_ am Don Manuel de Manara!'

"'Avaunt, rash youth!' cried the priest; 'know that Don Manuel de Manara is
dead!--is dead!--is dead!--and we are all souls from purgatory, his
deceased relatives and ancestors, and others that have been aided by masses
of his family, who are permitted to come here and pray for the repose of
his soul!'

"Don Manuel cast round a fearful glance upon the assemblage, in antiquated
Spanish garbs, and recognized in their pale and ghastly countenances the
portraits of many an ancestor that hung in the family picture-gallery. He
now lost all self-command, rushed up to the bier, and beheld the
counterpart of himself, but in the fixed and livid lineaments of death.
Just at that moment the whole choir burst forth with a 'Requiescat in
pace,' that shook the vaults of the cathedral. Don Manuel sank senseless on
the pavement. He was found there early the next morning by the sacristan,
and conveyed to his home. When sufficiently recovered, he sent for a friar
and made a full confession of all that had happened.

"'My son,' said the friar, 'all this is a miracle and a mystery, intended
for thy conversion and salvation. The corpse thou hast seen was a token
that thou hadst died to sin and the world; take warning by it, and
henceforth live to righteousness and heaven!'

"Don Manuel did take warning by it. Guided by the counsels of the worthy
friar, he disposed of all his temporal affairs; dedicated the greater part
of his wealth to pious uses, especially to the performance of masses for
souls in purgatory; and finally, entering a convent, became one of the most
zealous and exemplary monks in Seville."

       *       *       *       *       *

While my companion was relating this story, my eyes wandered, from time to
time, about the dusky church. Methought the burly countenances of the monks
in their distant choir assumed a pallid, ghastly hue, and their deep
metallic voices had a sepulchral sound. By the time the story was ended,
they had ended their chant; and, extinguishing their lights, glided one by
one, like shadows, through a small door in the side of the choir. A deeper
gloom prevailed over the church; the figure opposite me on horseback grew
more and more spectral; and I almost expected to see it bow its head.

"It is time to be off," said my companion, "unless we intend to sup with
the statue."

"I have no relish for such fare or such company," replied I; and, following
my companion, we groped our way through the mouldering cloisters. As we
passed by the ruined cemetery, keeping up a casual conversation, by way of
dispelling the loneliness of the scene, I called to mind the words of the

                     "--The tombs
  And monumental caves of death look cold,
  And shoot a chillness to my trembling heart!
  Give me thy hand, and let me hear thy voice;
  Nay, speak--and let me hear thy voice;
  My own affrights me with its echoes."

There wanted nothing but the marble statue of the commander striding along
the echoing cloisters to complete the haunted scene.

Since that time I never fail to attend the theater whenever the story of
Don Juan is represented, whether in pantomime or opera. In the sepulchral
scene, I feel myself quite at home; and when the statue makes his
appearance, I greet him as an old acquaintance. When the audience applaud,
I look round upon them with a degree of compassion. "Poor souls!" I say to
myself, "they think they are pleased; they think they enjoy this piece, and
yet they consider the whole as a fiction! How much more would they enjoy
it, if like me they knew it to be true--_and had seen the very

       *       *       *       *       *



It has long been a matter of discussion and controversy among the pious and
the learned, as to the situation of the terrestrial paradise from whence
our first parents were exiled. This question has been put to rest by
certain of the faithful in Holland, who have decided in favor of the
village of Broek, about six miles from Amsterdam. It may not, they observe,
correspond in all respects to the description of the Garden of Eden, handed
down from days of yore, but it comes nearer to their ideas of a perfect
paradise than any other place on earth.

This eulogium induced me to make some inquiries as to this favored spot in
the course of a sojourn at the city of Amsterdam, and the information I
procured fully justified the enthusiastic praises I had heard. The village
of Broek is situated in Waterland, in the midst of the greenest and richest
pastures of Holland, I may say, of Europe. These pastures are the source of
its wealth, for it is famous for its dairies, and for those oval cheeses
which regale and perfume the whole civilized world. The population consists
of about six hundred persons, comprising several families which have
inhabited the place since time immemorial, and have waxed rich on the
products of their meadows. They keep all their wealth among themselves,
intermarrying, and keeping all strangers at a wary distance. They are a
"hard money" people, and remarkable for turning the penny the right way. It
is said to have been an old rule, established by one of the primitive
financiers and legislators of Broek, that no one should leave the village
with more than six guilders in his pocket, or return with less than ten; a
shrewd regulation, well worthy the attention of modern political
economists, who are so anxious to fix the balance of trade.

What, however, renders Broek so perfect an elysium in the eyes of all true
Hollanders is the matchless height to which the spirit of cleanliness is
carried there. It amounts almost to a religion among the inhabitants, who
pass the greater part of their time rubbing and scrubbing, and painting and
varnishing; each housewife vies with her neighbor in her devotion to the
scrubbing-brush, as zealous Catholics do in their devotion to the cross;
and it is said a notable housewife of the place in days of yore is held in
pious remembrance, and almost canonized as a saint, for having died of pure
exhaustion and chagrin in an ineffectual attempt to scour a black man

These particulars awakened my ardent curiosity to see a place which I
pictured to myself the very fountain-head of certain hereditary habits and
customs prevalent among the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of
my native State. I accordingly lost no time in performing a pilgrimage to

Before I reached the place I beheld symptoms of the tranquil character of
its inhabitants. A little clump-built boat was in full sail along the lazy
bosom of a canal, but its sail consisted of the blades of two paddles stood
on end, while the navigator sat steering with a third paddle in the stern,
crouched down like a toad, with a slouched hat drawn over his eyes. I
presumed him to be some nautical lover on the way to his mistress. After
proceeding a little further I came in sight of the harbor or port of
destination of this drowsy navigator. This was the Broeken-Meer, an
artificial basin, or sheet of olive-green water, tranquil as a mill-pond.
On this the village of Broek is situated, and the borders are laboriously
decorated with flower-beds, box-trees clipped into all kinds of ingenious
shapes and fancies, and little "lust" houses, or pavilions.

I alighted outside of the village, for no horse nor vehicle is permitted to
enter its precincts, lest it should cause defilement of the well-scoured
pavements. Shaking the dust off my feet, therefore, I prepared to enter,
with due reverence and circumspection, this _sanctum sanctorum_ of
Dutch cleanliness. I entered by a narrow street, paved with yellow bricks,
laid edgewise, and so clean that one might eat from them. Indeed, they were
actually worn deep, not by the tread of feet, but by the friction of the

The houses were built of wood, and all appeared to have been freshly
painted, of green, yellow, and other bright colors. They were separated
from each other by gardens and orchards, and stood at some little distance
from the street, with wide areas or courtyards, paved in mosaic, with
variegated stones, polished by frequent rubbing. The areas were divided
from the street by curiously-wrought railings, or balustrades, of iron,
surmounted with brass and copper balls, scoured into dazzling effulgence.
The very trunks of the trees in front of the houses were by the same
process made to look as if they had been varnished. The porches, doors, and
window-frames of the houses were of exotic woods, curiously carved, and
polished like costly furniture. The front doors are never opened, excepting
on christenings, marriages, or funerals; on all ordinary occasions,
visitors enter by the back door. In former times, persons when admitted had
to put on slippers, but this Oriental ceremony is no longer insisted upon.

A poor devil Frenchman, who attended upon me as cicerone, boasted with some
degree of exultation of a triumph of his countrymen over the stern
regulations of the place. During the time that Holland was overrun by the
armies of the French republic, a French general, surrounded by his whole
état major, who had come from Amsterdam to view the wonders of Broek,
applied for admission at one of these taboo'd portals. The reply was that
the owner never received any one who did not come introduced by some
friend. "Very well," said the general, "take my compliments to your master,
and tell him I will return here to-morrow with a company of soldiers,
'_pour parler raison avec mon ami Hollandais_.'" Terrified at the idea
of having a company of soldiers billeted upon him, the owner threw open his
house, entertained the general and his retinue with unwonted hospitality;
though it is said it cost the family a month's scrubbing and scouring to
restore all things to exact order, after this military invasion. My
vagabond informant seemed to consider this one of the greatest victories of
the republic.

I walked about the place in mute wonder and admiration. A dead stillness
prevailed around, like that in the deserted streets of Pompeii. No sign of
life was to be seen, excepting now and then a hand, and a long pipe, and an
occasional puff of smoke, out of the window of some "lusthaus" overhanging
a miniature canal; and on approaching a little nearer, the periphery in
profile of some robustious burgher.

Among the grand houses pointed out to me were those of Claes Bakker, and
Cornelius Bakker, richly carved and gilded, with flower gardens and clipped
shrubberies; and that of the Great Ditmus, who, my poor devil cicerone
informed me, in a whisper, was worth two millions; all these were mansions
shut up from the world, and only kept to be cleaned. After having been
conducted from one wonder to another of the village, I was ushered by my
guide into the grounds and gardens of Mynheer Broekker, another mighty
cheese-manufacturer, worth eighty thousand guilders a year. I had
repeatedly been struck with the similarity of all that I had seen in this
amphibious little village to the buildings and landscapes on Chinese
platters and tea-pots; but here I found the similarity complete; for I was
told that these gardens were modeled upon Van Bramm's description of those
of Yuen min Yuen, in China. Here were serpentine walks, with trellised
borders; winding canals, with fanciful Chinese bridges; flower-beds
resembling huge baskets, with the flower of "love lies bleeding" falling
over to the ground. But mostly had the fancy of Mynheer Broekker been
displayed about a stagnant little lake, on which a corpulent little pinnace
lay at anchor. On the border was a cottage within which were a wooden man
and woman seated at table, and a wooden dog beneath, all the size of life;
on pressing a spring, the woman commenced spinning, and the dog barked
furiously. On the lake were wooden swans, painted to the life; some
floating, others on the nest among the rushes; while a wooden sportsman,
crouched among the bushes, was preparing his gun to take deadly aim. In
another part of the garden was a dominie in his clerical robes, with wig,
pipe, and cocked hat; and mandarins with nodding heads, amid red lions,
green tigers, and blue hares. Last of all, the heathen deities, in wood and
plaster, male and female, naked and bare-faced as usual, and seeming to
stare with wonder at finding themselves in such strange company.

My shabby French guide, while he pointed out all these mechanical marvels
of the garden, was anxious to let me see that he had too polite a taste to
be pleased with them. At every new knick-knack he would screw down his
mouth, shrug up his shoulders, take a pinch of snuff, and exclaim: "_Ma
foi, Monsieur, ces Hollandais sont forts pour ces bétises là_!"

To attempt to gain admission to any of these stately abodes was out of the
question, having no company of soldiers to enforce a solicitation. I was
fortunate enough, however, through the aid of my guide, to make my way into
the kitchen of the illustrious Ditmus, and I question whether the parlor
would have proved more worthy of observation. The cook, a little wiry,
hook-nosed woman, worn thin by incessant action and friction, was bustling
about among her kettles and saucepans, with the scullion at her heels, both
clattering in wooden shoes, which were as clean and white as the
milk-pails; rows of vessels, of brass and copper, regiments of pewter
dishes, and portly porringers, gave resplendent evidence of the intensity
of their cleanliness; the very trammels and hangers in the fireplace were
highly scoured, and the burnished face of the good Saint Nicholas shone
forth from the iron plate of the chimney back.

Among the decorations of the kitchen was a printed sheet of woodcuts,
representing the various holiday customs of Holland, with explanatory
rhymes. Here I was delighted to recognize the jollities of New Year's Day;
the festivities of Paäs and Pinkster, and all the other merry-makings
handed down in my native place from the earliest times of New Amsterdam,
and which had been such bright spots in the year in my childhood. I eagerly
made myself master of this precious document for a trifling consideration,
and bore it off as a memento of the place; though I question if, in so
doing, I did not carry off with me the whole current literature of Broek.

I must not omit to mention that this village is the paradise of cows as
well as men; indeed you would almost suppose the cow to be as much an
object of worship here as the bull was among the ancient Egyptians; and
well does she merit it, for she is in fact the patroness of the place. The
same scrupulous cleanliness, however, which pervades everything else, is
manifested in the treatment of this venerated animal. She is not permitted
to perambulate the place, but in winter, when she forsakes the rich
pasture, a well-built house is provided for her, well painted, and
maintained in the most perfect order. Her stall is of ample dimensions; the
floor is scrubbed and polished; her hide is daily curried and brushed and
sponged to her heart's content, and her tail is daintily tucked up to the
ceiling, and decorated with a ribbon!

On my way back through the village, I passed the house of the prediger, or
preacher; a very comfortable mansion, which led me to augur well of the
state of religion in the village. On inquiry, I was told that for a long
time the inhabitants lived in a great state of indifference as to religious
matters; it was in vain that their preachers endeavored to arouse their
thoughts as to a future state; the joys of heaven, as commonly depicted,
were but little to their taste. At length a dominie appeared among them who
struck out in a different vein. He depicted the New Jerusalem as a place
all smooth and level; with beautiful dykes, and ditches, and canals; and
houses all shining with paint and varnish, and glazed tiles; and where
there should never come horse, or ass, or cat, or dog, or anything that
could make noise or dirt; but there should be nothing but rubbing and
scrubbing, and washing and painting, and gilding and varnishing, for ever
and ever, amen! Since that time, the good housewives of Broek have all
turned their faces Zionward.

       *       *       *       *       *



A Parisian hotel is a street set on end, the grand staircase forming the
highway, and every floor a separate habitation. Let me describe the one in
which I am lodged, which may serve as a specimen of its class. It is a huge
quadrangular pile of stone, built round a spacious paved court. The ground
floor is occupied by shops, magazines, and domestic offices. Then comes the
_entre-sol_, with low ceilings, short windows, and dwarf chambers;
then succeed a succession of floors, or stories, rising one above the
other, to the number of Mahomet's heavens. Each floor is like a distinct
mansion, complete in itself, with ante-chamber, saloons, dining and
sleeping rooms, kitchen and other conveniences for the accommodation of a
family. Some floors are divided into two or more suites of apartments. Each
apartment has its main door of entrance, opening upon the staircase, or
landing-places, and locked like a street door. Thus several families and
numerous single persons live under the same roof, totally independent of
each other, and may live so for years without holding more intercourse than
is kept up in other cities by residents in the same street.

Like the great world, this little microcosm has its gradations of rank and
style and importance. The _Premier_, or first floor, with its grand
saloons, lofty ceilings, and splendid furniture, is decidedly the
aristocratical part of the establishment. The second floor is scarcely less
aristocratical and magnificent; the other floors go on lessening in
splendor as they gain in altitude, and end with the attics, the region of
petty tailors, clerks, and sewing-girls. To make the filling up of the
mansion complete, every odd nook and corner is fitted up as a _joli petit
appartement à garçon_ (a pretty little bachelor's apartment), that is to
say, some little dark inconvenient nestling-place for a poor devil of a

The whole domain is shut up from the street by a great
_porte-cochère_, or portal, calculated for the admission of carriages.
This consists of two massy folding-doors, that swing heavily open upon a
spacious entrance, passing under the front of the edifice into the
courtyard. On one side is a spacious staircase leading to the upper
apartments. Immediately without the portal is the porter's lodge, a small
room with one or two bedrooms adjacent, for the accommodation of the
_concierge_, or porter and his family. This is one of the most
important functionaries of the hotel. He is, in fact, the Cerberus of the
establishment, and no one can pass in or out without his knowledge and
consent. The _porte-cochère_ in general is fastened by a sliding bolt,
from which a cord or wire passes into the porter's lodge. Whoever wishes to
go out must speak to the porter, who draws the bolt. A visitor from without
gives a single rap with the massive knocker; the bolt is immediately drawn,
as if by an invisible hand; the door stands ajar, the visitor pushes it
open, and enters. A face presents itself at the glass door of the porter's
little chamber; the stranger pronounces the name of the person he comes to
seek. If the person or family is of importance, occupying the first or
second floor, the porter sounds a bell once or twice, to give notice that a
visitor is at hand. The stranger in the meantime ascends the great
staircase, the highway common to all, and arrives at the outer door,
equivalent to a street door, of the suite of rooms inhabited by his

Beside this hangs a bell-cord, with which he rings for admittance.

When the family or person inquired for is of less importance, or lives in
some remote part of the mansion less easy to be apprised, no signal is
given. The applicant pronounces the name at the porter's door, and is told,
_"Montez au troisième, au quatrième; sonnez à la porte à droite ou à
gauche."_ ("Ascend to the third or fourth story; ring the bell on the
right or left hand door"); as the case may be.

The porter and his wife act as domestics to such of the inmates of the
mansion as do not keep servants; making their beds, arranging their rooms,
lighting their fires, and doing other menial offices, for which they
receive a monthly stipend. They are also in confidential intercourse with
the servants of the other inmates, and, having an eye on all the incomers
and outgoers, are thus enabled, by hook and by crook, to learn the secrets
and domestic history of every member of the little territory within the

The porter's lodge is accordingly a great scene of gossip, where all the
private affairs of this interior neighborhood are discussed. The courtyard,
also, is an assembling place in the evenings for the servants of the
different families, and a sisterhood of sewing girls from the entre-sols
and the attics, to play at various games, and dance to the music of their
own songs, and the echoes of their feet, at which assemblages the porter's
daughter takes the lead; a fresh, pretty, buxom girl, generally called
"_La Petite_," though almost as tall as a grenadier. These little
evening gatherings, so characteristic of this gay country, are countenanced
by the various families of the mansion, who often look down from their
windows and balconies, on moonlight evenings, and enjoy the simple revels
of their domestics. I must observe, however, that the hotel I am describing
is rather a quiet, retired one, where most of the inmates are permanent
residents from year to year, so that there is more of the spirit of
neighborhood than in the bustling, fashionable hotels in the gay parts of
Paris, which are continually changing their inhabitants.


I often amuse myself by watching from my window (which, by the bye, is
tolerably elevated) the movements of the teeming little world below me; and
as I am on sociable terms with the porter and his wife, I gather from them,
as they light my fire, or serve my breakfast, anecdotes of all my fellow
lodgers. I have been somewhat curious in studying a little antique
Frenchman, who occupies one of the _jolie chambres à garçon_ already
mentioned. He is one of those superannuated veterans who flourished before
the revolution, and have weathered all the storms of Paris, in consequence,
very probably, of being fortunately too insignificant to attract attention.
He has a small income, which he manages with the skill of a French
economist; appropriating so much for his lodgings, so much for his meals;
so much for his visits to St. Cloud and Versailles, and so much for his
seat at the theater. He has resided in the hotel for years, and always in
the same chamber, which he furnishes at his own expense. The decorations of
the room mark his various ages. There are some gallant pictures which he
hung up in his younger days; with a portrait of a lady of rank, whom he
speaks tenderly of, dressed in the old French taste; and a pretty opera
dancer, pirouetting in a hoop petticoat, who lately died at a good old age.
In a corner of this picture is stuck a prescription for rheumatism, and
below it stands an easy-chair. He has a small parrot at the window, to
amuse him when within doors, and a pug dog to accompany him in his daily
peregrinations. While I am writing he is crossing the court to go out. He
is attired in his best coat, of sky-blue, and is doubtless bound for the
Tuileries. His hair is dressed in the old style, with powdered ear-locks
and a pig-tail. His little dog trips after him, sometimes on four legs,
sometimes on three, and looking as if his leather small-clothes were too
tight for him. Now the old gentleman stops to have a word with an old crony
who lives in the entre-sol, and is just returning from his promenade. Now
they take a pinch of snuff together; now they pull out huge red cotton
handkerchiefs (those "flags of abomination," as they have well been called)
and blow their noses most sonorously. Now they turn to make remarks upon
their two little dogs, who are exchanging the morning's salutation; now
they part, and my old gentleman stops to have a passing word with the
porter's wife; and now he sallies forth, and is fairly launched upon the
town for the day.

No man is so methodical as a complete idler, and none so scrupulous in
measuring and portioning out his time as he whose time is worth nothing.
The old gentleman in question has his exact hour for rising, and for
shaving himself by a small mirror hung against his casement. He sallies
forth at a certain hour every morning to take his cup of coffee and his
roll at a certain cafe, where he reads the papers. He has been a regular
admirer of the lady who presides at the bar, and always stops to have a
little _badinage_ with her _en passant_. He has his regular walks
on the Boulevards and in the Palais Royal, where he sets his watch by the
petard fired off by the sun at midday. He has his daily resort in the
Garden of the Tuileries, to meet with a knot of veteran idlers like
himself, who talk on pretty much the same subjects whenever they meet. He
has been present at all the sights and shows and rejoicings of Paris for
the last fifty years; has witnessed the great events of the revolution; the
guillotining of the king and queen; the coronation of Bonaparte; the
capture of Paris, and the restoration of the Bourbons. All these he speaks
of with the coolness of a theatrical critic; and I question whether he has
not been gratified by each in its turn; not from any inherent love of
tumult, but from that insatiable appetite for spectacle which prevails
among the inhabitants of this metropolis. I have been amused with a farce,
in which one of these systematic old triflers is represented. He sings a
song detailing his whole day's round of insignificant occupations, and goes
to bed delighted with the idea that his next day will be an exact
repetition of the same routine:

  "Je me couche le soir,
   Enchanté de pouvoir
   Recommencer mon train
      Le lendemain

       *       *       *       *       *


In another part of the hotel a handsome suite of rooms is occupied by an
old English gentleman, of great probity, some understanding, and very
considerable crustiness, who has come to France to live economically. He
has a very fair property, but his wife, being of that blessed kind compared
in Scripture to the fruitful vine, has overwhelmed him with a family of
buxom daughters, who hang clustering about him, ready to be gathered by any
hand. He is seldom to be seen in public without one hanging on each arm,
and smiling on all the world, while his own mouth is drawn down at each
corner like a mastiff's with internal growling at everything about him. He
adheres rigidly to English fashion in dress, and trudges about in long
gaiters and broad-brimmed hat; while his daughters almost overshadow him
with feathers, flowers, and French bonnets.

He contrives to keep up an atmosphere of English habits, opinions, and
prejudices, and to carry a semblance of London into the very heart of
Paris. His mornings are spent at Galignani's news-room, where he forms one
of a knot of inveterate quidnuncs, who read the same articles over a dozen
times in a dozen different papers. He generally dines in company with some
of his own countrymen, and they have what is called a "comfortable sitting"
after dinner, in the English fashion, drinking wine, discussing the news of
the London papers, and canvassing the French character, the French
metropolis, and the French revolution, ending with a unanimous admission of
English courage, English morality, English cookery, English wealth, the
magnitude of London, and the ingratitude of the French.

His evenings are chiefly spent at a club of his countrymen, where the
London papers are taken. Sometimes his daughters entice him to the
theaters, but not often. He abuses French tragedy, as all fustian and
bombast, Talma as a ranter, and Duchesnois as a mere termagant. It is true
his ear is not sufficiently familiar with the language to understand French
verse, and he generally goes to sleep during the performance. The wit of
the French comedy is flat and pointless to him. He would not give one of
Munden's wry faces or Liston's inexpressible looks for the whole of it.

He will not admit that Paris has any advantage over London. The Seine is a
muddy rivulet in comparison with the Thames; the West End of London
surpasses the finest parts of the French capital; and on some one's
observing that there was a very thick fog out of doors: "Pish!" said he,
crustily, "it's nothing to the fogs we have in London."

He has infinite trouble in bringing his table into anything like conformity
to English rule. With his liquors, it is true, he is tolerably successful.
He procures London porter, and a stock of port and sherry, at considerable
expense; for he observes that he cannot stand those cursed thin French
wines, they dilute his blood so much as to give him the rheumatism. As to
their white wines, he stigmatizes them as mere substitutes for cider; and
as to claret, why, "it would be port if it could." He has continual
quarrels with his French cook, whom he renders wretched by insisting on his
conforming to Mrs. Glass; for it is easier to convert a Frenchman from his
religion than his cookery. The poor fellow, by dint of repeated efforts,
once brought himself to serve up _ros bif_ sufficiently raw to suit
what he considered the cannibal taste of his master; but then he could not
refrain, at the last moment, adding some exquisite sauce, that put the old
gentleman in a fury.

He detests wood-fires, and has procured a quantity of coal; but not having
a grate, he is obliged to burn it on the hearth. Here he sits poking and
stirring the fire with one end of a tongs, while the room is as murky as a
smithy; railing at French chimneys, French masons, and French architects;
giving a poke at the end of every sentence, as though he were stirring up
the very bowels of the delinquents he is anathematizing. He lives in a
state militant with inanimate objects around him; gets into high dudgeon
with doors and casements, because they will not come under English law, and
has implacable feuds with sundry refractory pieces of furniture. Among
these is one in particular with which he is sure to have a high quarrel
every tune he goes to dress. It is a _commode_, one of those smooth,
polished, plausible pieces of French furniture that have the perversity of
five hundred devils. Each drawer has a will of its own, will open or not,
just as the whim takes it, and sets lock and key at defiance. Sometimes a
drawer will refuse to yield to either persuasion or force, and will part
with both handles rather than yield; another will come out in the most coy
and coquettish manner imaginable; elbowing along, zig-zag; one corner
retreating as the other advances; making a thousand difficulties and
objections at every move; until the old gentleman, out of all patience,
gives a sudden jerk, and brings drawer and contents into the middle of the
floor. His hostility to this unlucky piece of furniture increases every
day, as if incensed that it does not grow better. He is like the fretful
invalid who cursed his bed, that the longer he lay the harder it grew. The
only benefit he has derived from the quarrel is that it has furnished him
with a crusty joke, which he utters on all occasions. He swears that a
French _commode_ is the most _incommodious_ thing in existence,
and that although the nation cannot make a joint-stool that will stand
steady, yet they are always talking of everything's being

His servants understand his humor, and avail themselves of it. He was one
day disturbed by a pertinacious rattling and shaking at one of the doors,
and bawled out in an angry tone to know the cause of the disturbance.
"Sir," said the footman, testily, "it's this confounded French lock!" "Ah!"
said the old gentleman, pacified by this hit at the nation, "I thought
there was something French at the bottom of it!"

       *       *       *       *       *


As I am a mere looker on in Europe, and hold myself as much as possible
aloof from its quarrels and prejudices, I feel something like one
overlooking a game, who, without any great skill of his own, can
occasionally perceive the blunders of much abler players. This neutrality
of feeling enables me to enjoy the contrasts of character presented in this
time of general peace, when the various peoples of Europe, who have so long
been sundered by wars, are brought together and placed side by side in this
great gathering-place of nations. No greater contrast, however, is
exhibited than that of the French and English. The peace has deluged this
gay capital with English visitors of all ranks and conditions. They throng
every place of curiosity and amusement; fill the public gardens, the
galleries, the cafes, saloons, theaters; always herding together, never
associating with the French. The two nations are like two threads of
different colors, tangled together but never blended.

In fact they present a continual antithesis, and seem to value themselves
upon being unlike each other; yet each have their peculiar merits, which
should entitle them to each other's esteem. The French intellect is quick
and active. It flashes its way into a subject with the rapidity of
lightning; seizes upon remote conclusions with a sudden bound, and its
deductions are almost intuitive. The English intellect is less rapid, but
more persevering; less sudden, but more sure in its deductions. The
quickness and mobility of the French enable them to find enjoyment in the
multiplicity of sensations. They speak and act more from immediate
impressions than from reflection and meditation. They are therefore more
social and communicative; more fond of society, and of places of public
resort and amusement. An Englishman is more reflective in his habits. He
lives in the world of his own thoughts, and seems more self-existent and
self-dependent. He loves the quiet of his own apartment; even when abroad,
he in a manner makes a little solitude around him by his silence and
reserve; he moves about shy and solitary, and, as it were, buttoned up,
body and soul.

The French are great optimists; they seize upon every good as it flies, and
revel in the passing pleasure. The Englishman is too apt to neglect the
present good, in preparing against the possible evil. However adversities
may lower, let the sun shine but for a moment, and forth sallies the
mercurial Frenchman, in holiday dress and holiday spirits, gay as a
butterfly, as though his sunshine were perpetual; but let the sun beam
never so brightly, so there be but a cloud in the horizon, the wary
Englishman ventures forth distrustfully, with his umbrella in his hand.

The Frenchman has a wonderful facility at turning small things to
advantage. No one can be gay and luxurious on smaller means; no one
requires less expense to be happy. He practices a kind of gilding in his
style of living, and hammers out every guinea into gold leaf. The
Englishman, on the contrary, is expensive in his habits, and expensive in
his enjoyments. He values everything, whether useful or ornamental, by what
it costs. He has no satisfaction in show, unless it be solid and complete.
Everything goes with him by the square foot. Whatever display he makes, the
depth is sure to equal the surface.

The Frenchman's habitation, like himself, is open, cheerful, bustling, and
noisy. He lives in a part of a great hotel, with wide portal, paved court,
a spacious dirty stone staircase, and a family on every floor. All is
clatter and chatter. He is good-humored and talkative with his servants,
sociable with his neighbors, and complaisant to all the world. Anybody has
access to himself and his apartments; his very bedroom is open to visitors,
whatever may be its state of confusion; and all this not from any
peculiarly hospitable feeling, but from that communicative habit which
predominates over his character.

The Englishman, on the contrary, ensconces himself in a snug brick mansion,
which he has all to himself; locks the front door; puts broken bottles
along his walls, and spring guns and man-traps in his gardens; shrouds
himself with trees and window-curtains; exults in his quiet and privacy,
and seems disposed to keep out noise, daylight, and company. His house,
like himself, has a reserved, inhospitable exterior; yet whoever gains
admittance is apt to find a warm heart and warm fireside within.

The French excel in wit, the English in humor; the French have gayer fancy,
the English richer imagination. The former are full of sensibility; easily
moved, and prone to sudden and great excitement; but their excitement is
not durable; the English are more phlegmatic; not so readily affected, but
capable of being aroused to great enthusiasm. The faults of these opposite
temperaments are that the vivacity of the French is apt to sparkle up and
be frothy, the gravity of the English to settle down and grow muddy. When
the two characters can be fixed in a medium, the French kept from
effervescence and the English from stagnation, both will be found

This contrast of character may also be noticed in the great concerns of the
two nations. The ardent Frenchman is all for military renown; he fights for
glory, that is to say, for success in arms. For, provided the national flag
is victorious, he cares little about the expense, the injustice, or the
inutility of the war. It is wonderful how the poorest Frenchman will revel
on a triumphant bulletin; a great victory is meat and drink to him; and at
the sight of a military sovereign, bringing home captured cannon and
captured standards, he throws up his greasy cap in the air, and is ready to
jump out of his wooden shoes for joy.

John Bull, on the contrary, is a reasoning, considerate person. If he does
wrong, it is in the most rational way imaginable. He fights because the
good of the world requires it. He is a moral person, and makes war upon his
neighbor for the maintenance of peace and good order, and sound principles.
He is a money-making personage, and fights for the prosperity of commerce
and manufactures. Thus the two nations have been fighting, time out of
mind, for glory and good. The French, in pursuit of glory, have had their
capital twice taken; and John, in pursuit of good, has run himself over
head and ears in debt.

       *       *       *       *       *


I have sometimes fancied I could discover national characteristics in
national edifices. In the Chateau of the Tuileries, for instance, I
perceive the same jumble of contrarieties that marks the French character;
the same whimsical mixture of the great and the little; the splendid and
the paltry, the sublime and the grotesque. On visiting this famous pile,
the first thing that strikes both eye and ear is military display. The
courts glitter with steel-clad soldiery, and resound with the tramp of
horse, the roll of drum, and the bray of trumpet. Dismounted guardsmen
patrol its arcades, with loaded carbines, jingling spears, and clanking
sabers. Gigantic grenadiers are posted about its staircases; young officers
of the guards loll from the balconies, or lounge in groups upon the
terraces; and the gleam of bayonet from window to window, shows that
sentinels are pacing up and down the corridors and ante-chambers. The first
floor is brilliant with the splendors of a court. French taste has tasked
itself in adorning the sumptuous suites of apartments; nor are the gilded
chapel and the splendid theater forgotten, where piety and pleasure are
next-door neighbors, and harmonize together with perfect French

Mingled up with all this regal and military magnificence is a world of
whimsical and make-shift detail. A great part of the huge edifice is cut up
into little chambers and nestling-places for retainers of the court,
dependents on retainers, and hangers-on of dependents. Some are squeezed
into narrow entre-sols, those low, dark, intermediate slices of apartments
between floors, the inhabitants of which seem shoved in edgewise, like
books between narrow shelves; others are perched like swallows, under the
eaves; the high roofs, too, which are as tall and steep as a French cocked
hat, have rows of little dormant windows, tier above tier, just large
enough to admit light and air for some dormitory, and to enable its
occupant to peep out at the sky. Even to the very ridge of the roof may be
seen here and there one of these air-holes, with a stove pipe beside it, to
carry off the smoke from the handful of fuel with which its weazen-faced
tenant simmers his _demi-tasse_ of coffee.

On approaching the palace from the Pont Royal, you take in at a glance all
the various strata of inhabitants; the garreteer in the roof; the retainer
in the entre-sol; the courtiers at the casements of the royal apartments;
while on the ground-floor a steam of savory odors and a score or two of
cooks, in white caps, bobbing their heads about the windows, betray that
scientific and all-important laboratory, the Royal Kitchen.

Go into the grand ante-chamber of the royal apartments on Sunday and see
the mixture of Old and New France; the old emigrés, returned with the
Bourbons; little withered, spindle-shanked old noblemen, clad in court
dresses, that figured in these saloons before the revolution, and have been
carefully treasured up during their exile; with the solitaires and _ailes
de pigeon_ of former days; and the court swords strutting out behind,
like pins stuck through dry beetles. See them haunting the scenes of their
former splendor, in hopes of a restitution of estates, like ghosts haunting
the vicinity of buried treasure; while around them you see the Young
France, that have grown up in the fighting school of Napoleon; all equipped
_en militaire_; tall, hardy, frank, vigorous, sunburned,
fierce-whiskered; with tramping boots, towering crests, and glittering

It is incredible the number of ancient and hereditary feeders on royalty
said to be housed in this establishment. Indeed all the royal palaces
abound with noble families returned from exile, and who have
nestling-places allotted them while they await the restoration of their
estates, or the much-talked-of law indemnity. Some of them have fine
quarters, but poor living. Some families have but five or six hundred
francs a year, and all their retinue consists of a servant-woman. With all
this, they maintain their old aristocratical hauteur, look down with vast
contempt upon the opulent families which have risen since the revolution;
stigmatize them all as _parvenues_ or upstarts, and refuse to visit

In regarding the exterior of the Tuileries, with all its outward signs of
internal populousness, I have often thought what a rare sight it would be
to see it suddenly unroofed, and all its nooks and corners laid open to the
day. It would be like turning up the stump of an old tree, and dislodging
the world of grubs, and ants, and beetles lodged beneath. Indeed there is a
scandalous anecdote current that in the time of one of the petty plots,
when petards were exploded under the windows of the Tuileries, the police
made a sudden investigation of the palace at four o'clock in the morning;
when a scene of the most whimsical confusion ensued. Hosts of supernumerary
inhabitants were found foisted into the huge edifice; every rat-hole had
its occupant; and places which had been considered as tenanted only by
spiders were found crowded with a surreptitious population. It is added
that many ludicrous accidents occurred; great scampering and slamming of
doors, and whisking away in nightgowns and slippers; and several persons,
who were found by accident in their neighbors' chambers, evinced
indubitable astonishment at the circumstance.

As I have fancied I could read the French character in the national palace
of the Tuileries, so I have pictured to myself some of the traits of John
Bull in his royal abode of Windsor Castle. The Tuileries, outwardly a
peaceful palace, is in effect a swaggering military hold; while the old
castle, on the contrary, in spite of its bullying look, is completely under
petticoat government. Every corner and nook is built up into some snug,
cozy nestling place, some "procreant cradle," not tenanted by meager
expectants or whiskered warriors, but by sleek placemen; knowing realizers
of present pay and present pudding; who seem placed there not to kill and
destroy, but to breed and multiply. Nursery maids and children shine with
rosy faces at the windows, and swarm about the courts and terraces. The
very soldiers have a pacific look, and when off duty may be seen loitering
about the place with the nursery-maids; not making love to them in the gay
gallant style of the French soldiery, but with infinite bonhomie aiding
them to take care of the broods of children.

Though the old castle is in decay, everything about it thrives; the very
crevices of the walls are tenanted by swallows, rooks, and pigeons, all
sure of quiet lodgment; the ivy strikes its roots deep in the fissures, and
flourishes about the mouldering tower. [Footnote: The above sketch was
written before the thorough repairs and magnificent additions that have
been made of late years to Windsor Castle.] Thus it is with honest John;
according to his own account, he is ever going to ruin, yet everything that
lives on him thrives and waxes fat. He would fain be a soldier, and swagger
like his neighbors; but his domestic, quiet-loving, uxorious nature
continually gets the upper hand; and though he may mount his helmet and
gird on his sword, yet he is apt to sink into the plodding, painstaking
father of a family; with a troop of children at his heels, and his
womenkind hanging on each arm.


I have spoken heretofore with some levity of the contrast that exists
between the English and French character; but it deserves more serious
consideration. They are the two great nations of modern times most
diametrically opposed, and most worthy of each other's rivalry; essentially
distinct in their characters, excelling in opposite qualities, and
reflecting luster on each other by their very opposition. In nothing is
this contrast more strikingly evinced than in their military conduct. For
ages have they been contending, and for ages have they crowded each other's
history with acts of splendid heroism. Take the Battle of Waterloo, for
instance, the last and most memorable trial of their rival prowess. Nothing
could surpass the brilliant daring on the one side, and the steadfast
enduring on the other. The French cavalry broke like waves on the compact
squares of English infantry. They were seen galloping round those serried
walls of men, seeking in vain for an entrance; tossing their arms in the
air, in the heat of their enthusiasm, and braving the whole front of
battle. The British troops, on the other hand, forbidden to move or fire,
stood firm and enduring. Their columns were ripped up by cannonry; whole
rows were swept down at a shot; the survivors closed their ranks, and stood
firm. In this way many columns stood through the pelting of the iron
tempest without firing a shot; without any action to stir their blood or
excite their spirits. Death thinned their ranks, but could not shake their

A beautiful instance of the quick and generous impulses to which the French
are prone, is given in the case of a French cavalier, in the hottest of the
action, charging furiously upon a British officer, but perceiving in the
moment of assault that his adversary had lost his sword-arm, dropping the
point of his saber, and courteously riding on. Peace be with that generous
warrior, whatever were his fate! If he went down in the storm of battle,
with the foundering fortunes of his chieftain, may the turf of Waterloo
grow green above his grave! and happier far would be the fate of such a
spirit, to sink amid the tempest, unconscious of defeat, than to survive
and mourn over the blighted laurels of his country.

In this way the two armies fought through a long and bloody day. The French
with enthusiastic valor, the English with cool, inflexible courage, until
Fate, as if to leave the question of superiority still undecided between
two such adversaries, brought up the Prussians to decide the fortunes of
the field.

It was several years afterward that I visited the field of Waterloo. The
plowshare had been busy with its oblivious labors, and the frequent harvest
had nearly obliterated the vestiges of war. Still the blackened ruins of
Hoguemont stood, a monumental pile, to mark the violence of this vehement
struggle. Its broken walls, pierced by bullets, and shattered by
explosions, showed the deadly strife that had taken place within; when Gaul
and Briton, hemmed in between narrow walls, hand to hand and foot to foot,
fought from garden to courtyard, from courtyard to chamber, with intense
and concentrated rivalship. Columns of smoke turned from this vortex of
battle as from a volcano: "it was," said my guide, "like a little hell upon
earth." Not far off, two or three broad spots of rank, unwholesome green
still marked the places where these rival warriors, after their fierce and
fitful struggle, slept quietly together in the lap of their common mother
earth. Over all the rest of the field peace had resumed its sway. The
thoughtless whistle of the peasant floated on the air, instead of the
trumpet's clangor; the team slowly labored up the hillside, once shaken by
the hoofs of rushing squadrons; and wide fields of corn waved peacefully
over the soldiers' graves, as summer seas dimple over the place where many
a tall ship lies buried.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the foregoing desultory notes on the French military character, let me
append a few traits which I picked up verbally in one of the French
provinces. They may have already appeared in print, but I have never met
with them.

At the breaking out of the revolution, when so many of the old families
emigrated, a descendant of the great Turenne, by the name of De Latour
D'Auvergne, refused to accompany his relations, and entered into the
Republican army. He served in all the campaigns of the revolution,
distinguished himself by his valor, his accomplishments, and his generous
spirit, and might have risen to fortune, and to the highest honors. He
refused, however, all rank in the army, above that of captain, and would
receive no recompense for his achievements but a sword of honor. Napoleon,
in testimony of his merits, gave him the title of Premier Grenadier de
France (First Grenadier of France), which was the only title he would ever
bear. He was killed in Germany, in 1809 or '10. To honor his memory, his
place was always retained in his regiment, as if he still occupied it; and
whenever the regiment was mustered, and the name of De Latour D'Auvergne
was called out, the reply was, "Dead on the field of honor!"

       *       *       *       *       *


Paris presented a singular aspect just after the downfall of Napoleon, and
the restoration of the Bourbons. It was filled with a restless, roaming
population; a dark, sallow race, with fierce mustaches, black cravats, and
feverish, menacing looks; men suddenly thrown out of employ by the return
of peace; officers cut short in their career, and cast loose with scanty
means, many of them in utter indigence, upon the world; the broken elements
of armies. They haunted the places of public resort, like restless, unhappy
spirits, taking no pleasure; hanging about, like lowering clouds that
linger after a storm, and giving a singular air of gloom to this otherwise
gay metropolis.

The vaunted courtesy of the old school, the smooth urbanity that prevailed
in former days of settled government and long-established aristocracy, had
disappeared amid the savage republicanism of the revolution and the
military furor of the empire; recent reverses had stung the national vanity
to the quick; and English travelers, who crowded to Paris on the return of
peace, expecting to meet with a gay, good-humored, complaisant populace,
such as existed in the time of the "Sentimental Journey," were surprised at
finding them irritable and fractious, quick at fancying affronts, and not
unapt to offer insults. They accordingly inveighed with heat and bitterness
at the rudeness they experienced in the French metropolis; yet what better
had they to expect? Had Charles II. been reinstated in his kingdom by the
valor of French troops; had he been wheeled triumphantly to London over the
trampled bodies and trampled standards of England's bravest sons; had a
French general dictated to the English capital, and a French army been
quartered in Hyde Park; had Paris poured forth its motley population, and
the wealthy bourgeoise of every French trading town swarmed to London;
crowding its squares; filling its streets with their equipages; thronging
its fashionable hotels, and places of amusements; elbowing its impoverished
nobility out of their palaces and opera-boxes, and looking down on the
humiliated inhabitants as a conquered people; in such a reverse of the
case, what degree of courtesy would the populace of London have been apt to
exercise toward their visitors? [Footnote: The above remarks were suggested
by a conversation with the late Mr. Canning, whom the author met in Paris,
and who expressed himself in the most liberal way concerning the
magnanimity of the French on the occupation of their capital by strangers.]

On the contrary, I have always admired the degree of magnanimity exhibited
by the French on the occupation of their capital by the English. When we
consider the military ambition of this nation, its love of glory; the
splendid height to which its renown in arms had recently been carried, and
with these, the tremendous reverses it had just undergone; its armies
shattered, annihilated; its capital captured, garrisoned, and overrun, and
that too by its ancient rival, the English, toward whom it had cherished
for centuries a jealous and almost religious hostility; could we have
wondered if the tiger spirit of this fiery people had broken out in bloody
feuds and deadly quarrels; and that they had sought to rid themselves in
any way of their invaders? But it is cowardly nations only, those who dare
not wield the sword, that revenge themselves with the lurking dagger. There
were no assassinations in Paris. The French had fought valiantly,
desperately, in the field; but, when valor was no longer of avail, they
submitted like gallant men to a fate they could not withstand. Some
instances of insult from the populace were experienced by their English
visitors; some personal rencontres, which led to duels, did take place; but
these smacked of open and honorable hostility. No instances of lurking and
perfidious revenge occurred, and the British soldier patroled the streets
of Paris safe from treacherous assault.

If the English met with harshness and repulse in social intercourse, it was
in some degree a proof that the people are more sincere than has been
represented. The emigrants who had just returned were not yet reinstated.
Society was constituted of those who had flourished under the late regime;
the newly ennobled, the recently enriched, who felt their prosperity and
their consequence endangered by this change of things. The broken-down
officer, who saw his glory tarnished, his fortune ruined, his occupation
gone, could not be expected to look with complacency upon the authors of
his downfall. The English visitor, flushed with health, and wealth, and
victory, could little enter into the feelings of the blighted warrior,
scarred with a hundred battles, an exile from the camp, broken in
constitution by the wars, impoverished by the peace, and cast back, a needy
stranger in the splendid but captured metropolis of his country.

  "Oh! who can tell what heroes feel,
   When all but life and honor's lost!"

And here let me notice the conduct of the French soldiery on the
dismemberment of the army of the Loire, when two hundred thousand men were
suddenly thrown out of employ; men who had been brought up to the camp, and
scarce knew any other home. Few in civil, peaceful life, are aware of the
severe trial to the feelings that takes place on the dissolution of a
regiment. There is a fraternity in arms. The community of dangers,
hardships, enjoyments; the participation in battles and victories; the
companionship in adventures, at a time of life when men's feelings are most
fresh, susceptible, and ardent, all these bind the members of a regiment
strongly together. To them the regiment is friends, family, home. They
identify themselves with its fortunes, its glories, its disgraces. Imagine
this romantic tie suddenly dissolved; the regiment broken up; the
occupation of its members gone; their military pride mortified; the career
of glory closed behind them; that of obscurity, dependence, want, neglect,
perhaps beggary, before them. Such was the case with the soldiers of the
army of the Loire. They were sent off in squads, with officers, to the
principal towns where they were to be disarmed and discharged. In this way
they passed through the country with arms in their hands, often exposed to
slights and scoffs, to hunger and various hardships and privations; but
they conducted themselves magnanimously, without any of those outbreaks of
violence and wrong that so often attend the dismemberment of armies.

       *       *       *       *       *

The few years that have elapsed since the time above alluded to, have
already had their effect. The proud and angry spirits which then roamed
about Paris unemployed begins to recover its old channels, though worn
deeper by recent torrents. The natural urbanity of the French begins to
find its way, like oil, to the surface, though there still remains a degree
of roughness and bluntness of manner, partly real, and partly affected, by
such as imagine it to indicate force and frankness. The events of the last
thirty years have rendered the French a more reflecting people. They have
acquired greater independence of mind and strength of judgment, together
with a portion of that prudence which results from experiencing the
dangerous consequences of excesses. However that period may have been
stained by crimes, and filled with extravagances, the French have certainly
come out of it a greater nation than before. One of their own philosophers
observes that in one or two generations the nation will probably combine
the ease and elegance of the old character with force and solidity. They
were light, he says, before the revolution; then wild and savage; they have
become more thoughtful and reflective. It is only old Frenchmen, nowadays,
that are gay and trivial; the young are very serious personages.

       *       *       *       *       *

P.S.--In the course of a morning's walk, about the time the above remarks
were written, I observed the Duke of Wellington, who was on a brief visit
to Paris. He was alone, simply attired in a blue frock; with an umbrella
under his arm, and his hat drawn over his eyes, and sauntering across the
Place Vendome, close by the Column of Napoleon. He gave a glance up at the
column as he passed, and continued his loitering way up the Rue de la Paix;
stopping occasionally to gaze in at the shop-windows; elbowed now and then
by other gazers, who little suspected that the quiet, lounging individual
they were jostling so unceremoniously was the conqueror who had twice
entered their capital victoriously; had controlled the destinies of the
nation, and eclipsed the glory of the military idol, at the base of whose
column he was thus negligently sauntering.

Some years afterward I was at an evening's entertainment given by the duke
at Apsley House, to William IV. The duke had manifested his admiration of
his great adversary, by having portraits of him in different parts of the
house. At the bottom of the grand staircase stood the colossal statue of
the emperor, by Canova. It was of marble, in the antique style, with one
arm partly extended, holding a figure of victory. Over this arm the ladies,
in tripping upstairs to the ball, had thrown their shawls. It was a
singular office for the statue of Napoleon to perform in the mansion of the
Duke of Wellington!

  "Imperial Caesar dead, and turned to clay," etc., etc.

       *       *       *       *       *



_To the Editor of the Knickerbocker:_

Sir--Permit me through the pages of your magazine to call the attention of
the public to the learned and elegant researches in Europe of one of our
countrymen, Mr. R. H. Wilde, of Georgia, formerly a member of the House of
Representatives. After leaving Congress, Mr. Wilde a few years since spent
about eighteen months in traveling through different parts of Europe, until
he became stationary for a time in Tuscany. Here he occupied himself with
researches concerning the private life of Tasso, whose mysterious and
romantic love for the Princess Leonora, his madness and imprisonment, had
recently become the theme of a literary controversy, not yet ended; curious
in itself, and rendered still more curious by some alleged manuscripts of
the poet's, brought forward by Count Alberti. Mr. Wilde entered into the
investigation with the enthusiasm of a poet, and the patience and accuracy
of a case-hunter; and has produced a work now in the press, in which the
"vexed questions" concerning Tasso are most ably discussed, and lights
thrown upon them by his letters, and by various of his sonnets, which last
are rendered into English with rare felicity. While Mr. Wilde was occupied
upon this work, he became acquainted with Signer Carlo Liverati, an artist
of considerable merit, and especially well versed in the antiquities of
Florence. This gentleman mentioned incidentally one day, in the course of
conversation, that there once and probably still existed in the "Bargello,"
anciently both the prison, and the palace of the republic, an authentic
portrait of Dante. It was believed to be in fresco, on a wall which
afterward, by some strange neglect or inadvertency, had been covered with
whitewash. Signor Liverati mentioned the circumstance merely to deplore the
loss of so precious a portrait, and to regret the almost utter hopelessness
of its recovery.

As Mr. Wilde had not as yet imbibed that enthusiastic admiration for Dante
which possesses all Italians, by whom the poet is almost worshiped, this
conversation made but a slight impression on him at the time. Subsequently,
however, his researches concerning Tasso being ended, he began to amuse his
leisure hours with attempts to translate some specimens of Italian lyric
poetry, and to compose very short biographical sketches of the authors. In
these specimens, which as yet exist only in manuscript, he has shown the
same critical knowledge of the Italian language, and admirable command of
the English, that characterize his translations of Tasso. He had not
advanced far in these exercises, when the obscure and contradictory
accounts of many incidents in the life of Dante caused him much
embarrassment, and sorely piqued his curiosity. About the same time he
received, through the courtesy of Don Neri dei Principi Corsini, what he
had long most fervently desired, a permission from the grandduke to pursue
his investigations in the secret archives of Florence, with power to obtain
copies therefrom. This was a rich and almost unwrought mine of literary
research; for to Italians themselves, as well as to foreigners, their
archives, for the most part, have been long inaccessible. For two years Mr.
Wilde devoted himself with indefatigable ardor to explore the records of
the republic during the time of Dante. These being written in barbarous
Latin and semi-Gothic characters, on parchment more or less discolored and
mutilated, with ink sometimes faded, were rendered still more illegible by
the arbitrary abbreviations of the notaries. They require, in fact, an
especial study; few even of the officers employed in the "Archivio delle
Riformagione" can read them currently and correctly.

Mr. Wilde however persevered in his laborious task with a patience severely
tried, but invincible. Being without an index, each file, each book,
required to be examined page by page, to ascertain whether any particular
of the immortal poet's political life had escaped the untiring industry of
his countrymen. This toil was not wholly fruitless, and several interesting
facts obscurely known, and others utterly unknown by the Italians
themselves, are drawn forth by Mr. Wilde from the oblivion of these

While thus engaged, the circumstance of the lost portrait of Dante was
again brought to Mr. Wilde's mind, but now excited intense interest. In
perusing the notes of the late learned Canonico Moreri on Filelfo's life of
Dante, he found it stated that a portrait of the poet by Giotto was
formerly to be seen in the Bargello. He learned also that Signer Scotti,
who has charge of the original drawings of the old masters in the imperial
and royal gallery, had made several years previously an ineffectual attempt
to set on foot a project for the recovery of the lost treasure. Here was a
new vein of inquiry, which Mr. Wilde followed up with his usual energy and
sagacity. He soon satisfied himself, by reference to Vasari, and to the
still more ancient and decisive authority of Filippo Villari, who lived
shortly after the poet, that Giotto, the friend and contemporary of Dante,
did undoubtedly paint his likeness in the place indicated. Giotto died in
1336, but as Dante was banished, and was even sentenced to be burned, in
1302, it was obvious the work must have been executed before that time;
since the portrait of one outlawed and capitally convicted as an enemy to
the commonwealth would never have been ordered or tolerated in the chapel
of the royal palace. It was clear, then, that the portrait must have been
painted between 1290 and 1302.

Mr. Wilde now revolved in his own mind the possibility that this precious
relic might remain undestroyed under its coat of whitewash, and might yet
be restored to the world. For a moment he felt an impulse to undertake the
enterprise; but feared that, in a foreigner from a new world, any part of
which is unrepresented at the Tuscan court, it might appear like an
intrusion. He soon however found a zealous coadjutor. This was one Giovanni
Aubrey Bezzi, a Piedmontese exile, who had long been a resident in England,
and was familiar with its language and literature. He was now on a visit to
Florence, which liberal and hospitable city is always open to men of merit
who for political reasons have been excluded from other parts of Italy.
Signer Bezzi partook deeply of the enthusiasm of his countrymen for the
memory of Dante, and sympathized with Mr. Wilde in his eagerness to
retrieve if possible the lost portrait. They had several consultations as
to the means to be adopted to effect their purpose, without incurring the
charge of undue officiousness. To lessen any objections that might occur
they resolved to ask for nothing but permission to search for the fresco
painting at their own expense; and should any remains of it be found, then
to propose to the nobility and gentry of Florence an association for the
purpose of completing the undertaking and effectually recovering the lost

For the same reason the formal memorial addressed to the grandduke was
drawn up in the name of Florentines; among whom were the celebrated
Bartolini, now President of the School of Sculpture in the Imperial and
Royal Academy, Signor Paolo Ferroni, of the noble family of that name, who
has exhibited considerable talent for painting, and Signor Gasparini, also
an artist. This petition was urged and supported with indefatigable zeal by
Signor Bezzi; and being warmly countenanced by Count Nerli and other
functionaries, met with more prompt success than had been anticipated.
Signor Marini, a skillful artist, who had succeeded in similar operations,
was now employed to remove the whitewash by a process of his own, by which
any fresco painting that might exist beneath would be protected from
injury. He set to work patiently and cautiously. In a short time he met
with evidence of the existence of the fresco. From under the coat of
whitewash the head of an angel gradually made its appearance, and was
pronounced to be by the pencil of Giotto.

The enterprise was now prosecuted with increased ardor. Several months were
expended on the task, and three sides of the chapel wall were uncovered;
they were all painted in fresco by Giotto, with the history of the
Magdalen, exhibiting her conversion, her penance, and her beatification.
The figures, however, were all those of saints and angels; no historical
portraits had yet been discovered, and doubts began to be entertained
whether there were any. Still the recovery of an indisputable work of
Giotto's was considered an ample reward for any toil; and the Ministers of
the grandduke, acting under his directions, assumed on his behalf the past
charges and future management of the enterprise.

At length, on the uncovering of the fourth wall, the undertaking was
crowned with complete success. A number of historical figures were brought
to light, and among them the undoubted likeness of Dante. He was
represented in full length, in the garb of the time, with a book under his
arm, designed most probably to represent the "Vita Nuova," for the
"Comedia" was not yet composed, and to all appearance from thirty to
thirty-five years of age. The face was in profile and in excellent
preservation, excepting that at some former period a nail had unfortunately
been driven into the eye. The outline of the eyelid was perfect, so that
the injury could easily be remedied. The countenance was extremely
handsome, yet bore a strong resemblance to the portraits of the poet taken
later in life.

It is not easy to appreciate the delight of Mr. Wilde and his coadjutors at
this triumphant result of their researches; nor the sensation produced, not
merely in Florence but throughout Italy, by this discovery of a veritable
portrait of Dante, in the prime of his days. It was some such sensation as
would be produced in England by the sudden discovery of a perfectly well
authenticated likeness of Shakespeare; with a difference in intensity
proportioned to the superior sensitiveness of the Italians.

The recovery of this portrait of the "divine poet" has occasioned fresh
inquiry into the origin of the masks said to have been made from a cast of
his face taken after death. One of these masks, in the possession of the
Marquess of Torrigiani, has been pronounced as certainly the
_original_. Several artists of high talent have concurred in this
opinion; among these may be named Jesi, the first engraver in Florence;
Seymour Kirkup, Esq., a painter and antiquary; and our own countryman
Powers, whose genius, by the way, is very highly appreciated by the

We may expect from the accomplished pen of Carlo Torrigiani, son of the
marquess, and who is advantageously known in this country, from having
traveled here, an account of this curious and valuable relic, which has
been upward of a century in the possession of his family.

Should Mr. Wilde finish his biographical work concerning Dante, which
promises to be a proud achievement in American literature, he intends, I
understand, to apply for permission to have both likenesses copied, and
should circumstances warrant the expense, to have them engraved by eminent
artists. We shall then have the features of Dante while in the prime of
life as well as at the moment of his death.

G. C.


One of the most remarkable personages in Parisian society during the last
century was Renée Charlotte Victoire de Froulay De Tesse, Marchioness De
Crequi. She sprang from the highest and proudest of the old French
nobility, and ever maintained the most exalted notions of the purity and
antiquity of blood, looking upon all families that could not date back
further than three or four hundred years as mere upstarts. When a beautiful
girl, fourteen years of age, she was presented to Louis XIV., at
Versailles, and the ancient monarch kissed her hand with great gallantry;
after an interval of about eighty-five years, when nearly a hundred years
old, the same testimonial of respect was paid her at the Tuileries by
Bonaparte, then First Consul, who promised her the restitution of the
confiscated forests formerly belonging to her family. She was one of the
most celebrated women of her time for intellectual grace and superiority,
and had the courage to remain at Paris and brave all the horrors of the
revolution, which laid waste the aristocratical world around her.

The memoirs she has left behind abound with curious anecdotes and vivid
pictures of Parisian life during the latter days of Louis XIV., the regency
of the Duke of Orleans, and the residue of the last century; and are highly
illustrative of the pride, splendor, and licentiousness of the French
nobility on the very eve of their tremendous downfall.

I shall draw forth a few scenes from her memoirs, taken almost at random,
and which, though given as actual and well-known circumstances, have quite
the air of romance.

       *       *       *       *       *

All the great world of Paris were invited to be present at a grand
ceremonial, to take place in the church of the Abbey Royal of Panthemont.
Henrietta de Lenoncour, a young girl, of a noble family, of great beauty,
and heiress to immense estates, was to take the black veil. Invitations had
been issued in grand form, by her aunt and guardian, the Countess Brigitte
de Rupelmonde, canoness of Mauberge. The circumstance caused great talk and
wonder in the fashionable circles of Paris; everybody was at a loss to
imagine why a young girl, beautiful and rich, in the very springtime of her
charms, should renounce a world which she was so eminently qualified to
embellish and enjoy.

A lady of high rank, who visited the beautiful novice at the grate of her
convent-parlor, got a clew to the mystery. She found her in great
agitation; for a time she evidently repressed her feelings, but they at
length broke forth in passionate exclamations. "Heaven grant me grace,"
said she, "some day or other to pardon my cousin Gondrecourt the sorrows he
has caused me!"

"What do you mean?--what sorrows, my child?" inquired her visitor. "What
has your cousin done to affect you?"

"He is married!" cried she in accents of despair, but endeavoring to
repress her sobs.

"Married! I have heard nothing of the kind, my dear. Are you perfectly sure
of it?"

"Alas! nothing is more certain; my aunt de Rupelmonde informed me of it."

The lady retired, full of surprise and commiseration. She related the scene
in a circle of the highest nobility, in the saloon of the Marshal Prince of
Beauvau, where the unaccountable self-sacrifice of the beautiful novice was
under discussion.

"Alas!" said she, "the poor girl is crossed in love; she is about to
renounce the world in despair, at the marriage of her cousin De

"What!" cried a gentleman present, "the Viscount de Gondrecourt married!
Never was there a greater falsehood. And 'her aunt told her so'! Oh! I
understand the plot. The countess is passionately fond of Gondrecourt, and
jealous of her beautiful niece; but her schemes are vain; the viscount
holds her in perfect detestation."

There was a mingled expression of ridicule, disgust, and indignation at the
thought of such a rivalry. The Countess Rupelmonde was old enough to be the
grandmother of the viscount. She was a woman of violent passions, and
imperious temper; robust in person, with a masculine voice, a dusky
complexion, green eyes, and powerful eyebrows.

"It is impossible," cried one of the company, "that a woman of the
countess's age and appearance can be guilty of such folly. No, no; you
mistake the aim of this detestable woman. She is managing to get possession
of the estate of her lovely niece."

This was admitted to be the most probable; and all concurred in believing
the countess to be at the bottom of the intended sacrifice; for although a
canoness, a dignitary of a religious order, she was pronounced little
better than a devil incarnate.

The Princess de Beauvau, a woman of generous spirit and intrepid zeal,
suddenly rose from the chair in which she had been reclining. "My prince,"
said she, addressing her husband, "if you approve of it, I will go
immediately and have a conversation on this subject with the archbishop.
There is not a moment to spare. It is now past midnight; the ceremony is to
take place in the morning. A few hours and the irrevocable vows will be

The prince inclined his head in respectful assent. The princess set about
her generous enterprise with a woman's promptness. Within a short time her
carriage was at the iron gate of the archiepiscopal palace, and her
servants rang for admission. Two Switzers, who had charge of the gate, were
fast asleep in the porter's lodge, for it was half-past two in the morning.
It was some time before they could be awakened, and longer before they
could be made to come forth.

"The Princess de Beauvau is at the gate!"

Such a personage was not to be received in deshabille. Her dignity and the
dignity of the archbishop demanded that the gate should be served in full
costume. For half an hour, therefore, had the princess to wait, in feverish
impatience, until the two dignitaries of the porter's lodge arrayed
themselves; and three o'clock sounded from the tower of Notre Dame before
they came forth. They were in grand livery, of a buff color, with amaranth
galloons, plaited with silver, and fringed sword-belts reaching to their
knees, in which were suspended long rapiers. They had small three-cornered
hats, surmounted with plumes; and each bore in his hand a halbert. Thus
equipped at all points, they planted themselves before the door of the
carriage; struck the ends of their halberts on the ground with emphasis;
and stood waiting with official importance, but profound respect, to know
the pleasure of the princess.

She demanded to speak with the archbishop. A most reverential bow and shrug
accompanied the reply, that "His Grandeur was not at home."

Not at home! Where was he to be found? Another bow and shrug: "His Grandeur
either was, or ought to be, in retirement in the seminary of St. Magloire;
unless he had gone to pass the Fete of St. Bruno with the reverend
Carthusian fathers of the Rue d'Enfer; or perhaps he might have gone to
repose himself in his castle of Conflans-sur-Seine. Though, on further
thought, it was not unlikely he might have gone to sleep at St. Cyr, where
the Bishop of Chartres never failed to invite him for the anniversary
soiree of Madame de Maintenon."

The princess was in despair at this multiplicity of crossroads pointed out
for the chase; the brief interval of time was rapidly elapsing; day already
began to dawn; she saw there was no hope of finding the archbishop before
the moment of his entrance into the church for the morning's ceremony; so
she returned home quite distressed.

At seven o'clock in the morning the princess was in the parlor of the
monastery of De Panthemont, and sent in an urgent request for a moment's
conversation with the Lady Abbess. The reply brought was, that the abbess
could not come to the parlor, being obliged to attend in the choir at the
canonical hours. The princess entreated permission to enter the convent, to
reveal to the Lady Abbess in two words something of the greatest
importance. The abbess sent word in reply, that the thing was impossible,
until she had obtained permission from the Archbishop of Paris. The
princess retired once more to her carriage, and now, as a forlorn hope,
took her station at the door of the church to watch for the arrival of the

After a while the splendid company invited to this great ceremony began to
arrive. The beauty, rank, and wealth of the novice had excited great
attention; and, as everybody was expected to be present on the occasion,
everybody pressed to secure a place. The street reverberated with the
continual roll of gilded carriages and chariots; coaches of princes and
dukes, designated by imperials of crimson velvet, and magnificent equipages
of six horses, decked out with nodding plumes and sumptuous harnessing. At
length the equipages ceased to arrive; empty vehicles filled the street;
and, with a noisy and party-colored crowd of lackeys in rich liveries,
obstructed all the entrances to De Panthemont.

Eleven o'clock had struck; the last auditor had entered the church; the
deep tones of the organ began to swell through the sacred pile, yet still
the archbishop came not! The heart of the princess beat quicker and quicker
with vague apprehension; when a valet, dressed in cloth of silver, trimmed
with crimson velvet, approached her carriage precipitately. "Madame," said
he, "the archbishop is in the church; he entered by the portal of the
cloister; he is already in the sanctuary; the ceremony is about to

What was to be done? To speak with the archbishop was now impossible, and
yet on the revelation she was to make to him depended the fate of the
lovely novice. The princess drew forth her tablets of enameled gold, wrote
a few lines therein with a pencil, and ordered her lackey to make way for
her through the crowd, and conduct her with all speed to the sacristy.

The description given of the church and the assemblage on this occasion
presents an idea of the aristocratical state of the times, and of the high
interest awakened by the affecting sacrifice about to take place. The
church was hung with superb tapestry, above which extended a band of white
damask, fringed with gold, and covered with armorial escutcheons. A large
pennon, emblazoned with the arms and alliances of the high-born damsel, was
suspended, according to custom, in place of the lamp of the sanctuary. The
lusters, girandoles, and candelabras of the king had been furnished in
profusion, to decorate the sacred edifice, and the pavements were all
covered with rich carpets.

The sanctuary presented a reverend and august assemblage of bishops,
canons, and monks of various orders, Benedictines, Bernardines, Raccollets,
Capuchins, and others, all in their appropriate robes and dresses. In the
midst presided the Archbishop of Paris, Christopher de Beaumont; surrounded
by his four arch priests and his vicars-general. He was seated with his
back against the altar. When his eyes were cast down, his countenance, pale
and severe, is represented as having been somewhat sepulchral and
death-like; but the moment he raised his large, dark, sparkling eyes, the
whole became animated; beaming with ardor, and expressive of energy,
penetration, and firmness.

The audience that crowded the church was no less illustrious. Excepting the
royal family, all that was elevated in rank and title was there; never had
a ceremonial of the kind attracted an equal concourse of the high
aristocracy of Paris.

At length the grated gates of the choir creaked on their hinges, and Madame
de Richelieu, the high and noble Abbess of De Panthemont, advanced to
resign the novice into the hands of her aunt, the Countess Canoness De
Rupelmonde. Every eye was turned with intense curiosity to gain a sight of
the beautiful victim. She was sumptuously dressed, but her paleness and
languor accorded but little with her brilliant attire. The Canoness De
Rupelmonde conducted her niece to her praying-desk, where, as soon as the
poor girl knelt down, she sank as if exhausted. Just then a sort of murmur
was heard at the lower end of the church, where the servants in livery were
gathered. A young man was borne forth, struggling in convulsions. He was in
the uniform of an officer of the guards of King Stanislaus, Duke of
Lorraine. A whisper circulated that it was the young Viscount de
Gondrecourt, and that he was a lover of the novice. Almost all the young
nobles present hurried forth to proffer him sympathy and assistance.

The Archbishop of Paris remained all this time seated before the altar; his
eyes cast down, his pallid countenance giving no signs of interest or
participation in the scene around him. It was noticed that in one of his
hands, which was covered with a violet glove, he grasped firmly a pair of
tablets, of enameled gold.

The Canoness de Rupelmonde conducted her niece to the prelate, to make her
profession of self-devotion, and to utter the irrevocable vow. As the
lovely novice knelt at his feet, the archbishop fixed on her his dark,
beaming eyes, with a kind but earnest expression. "Sister!" said he, in the
softest and most benevolent tone of voice, "What is your age?"

"Nineteen years, monseigneur," eagerly interposed the Countess de

"_You_ will reply to me by-and-by, madame," said the archbishop,
dryly. He then repeated his question to the novice, who replied in a
faltering voice, "Seventeen years."

"In what diocese did you take the white veil?"

"In the diocese of Toul."

"How!" exclaimed the archbishop, vehemently. "In the diocese of Toul? The
chair of Toul is vacant! The bishop of Toul died fifteen months since; and
those who officiate in the chapter are not authorized to receive novices.
Your novitiate, mademoiselle, is null and void, and we cannot receive your

The archbishop rose from his chair, resumed his miter, and took the crozier
from the hands of an attendant.

"My dear brethren," said he, addressing the assembly, "there is no
necessity for our examining and interrogating Mademoiselle de Lenoncour on
the sincerity of her religious vocation. There is a canonical impediment to
her professing for the present; and, as to the future, we reserve to
ourselves the consideration of the matter; interdicting to all other
ecclesiastical persons the power of accepting her vows, under penalty of
interdiction, of suspension, and of nullification; all which is in virtue
of our metropolitan rights, contained in the terms of the bull _cum
proximis_:" "_Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini!_" pursued he,
chanting in a grave and solemn voice, and turning toward the altar to give
the benediction of the holy sacrament.

The noble auditory had that habitude of reserve, that empire, or rather
tyranny, over all outward manifestations of internal emotions, which
belongs to high aristocratical breeding. The declaration of the archbishop,
therefore, was received as one of the most natural and ordinary things in
the world, and all knelt down and received the pontifical benediction with
perfect decorum. As soon, however, as they were released from the
self-restraint imposed by etiquette, they amply indemnified themselves; and
nothing was talked of for a month, in the fashionable saloons of Paris, but
the loves of the handsome Viscount and the charming Henrietta; the
wickedness of the canoness; the active benevolence and admirable address of
the Princess de Beauvau; and the great wisdom of the archbishop, who was
particularly extolled for his delicacy in defeating this maneuver without
any scandal to the aristocracy, or public stigma on the name of De
Rupelmonde, and without any departure from pastoral gentleness, by adroitly
seizing upon an informality, and turning it to beneficial account, with as
much authority as charitable circumspection.

As to the Canoness de Rupelmonde, she was defeated at all points in her
wicked plans against her beautiful niece. In consequence of the caveat of
the archbishop, her superior ecclesiastic, the Abbess de Panthemont,
formally forbade Mademoiselle de Lenoncour to resume the white veil and the
dress of a novitiate, and instead of a novice's cell established her in a
beautiful apartment as a boarder. The next morning the Canoness de
Rupelmonde called at the convent to take away her niece; but, to her
confusion, the abbess produced a lettre-de-cachet, which she had just
received, and which forbade mademoiselle to leave the convent with any
other person save the Prince de Beauvau.

Under the auspices and the vigilant attention of the prince, the whole
affair was wound up in the most technical and circumstantial manner. The
Countess de Rupelmonde, by a decree of the Grand Council, was divested of
the guardianship of her niece. All the arrears of revenues accumulated
during Mademoiselle de Lenoncour's minority were rigorously collected, the
accounts scrutinized and adjusted, and her noble fortune placed safely and
entirely in her hands.

In a little while the noble personages who had been invited to the ceremony
of taking the veil received another invitation, on the part of the Countess
dowager de Gondrecourt, and the Marshal Prince de Beauvau, to attend the
marriage of Adrien de Gondrecourt, Viscount of Jean-sur-Moselle, and
Henrietta de Lenoncour, Countess de Hevouwal, etc., which duly took place
in the chapel of the archiepiscopal palace at Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

So much for the beautiful Henrietta de Lenoncour. We will now draw forth a
companion picture of a handsome young cavalier, who figured in the gay
world of Paris about the same time, and concerning whom the ancient
marchioness writes with the lingering feeling of youthful romance.

       *       *       *       *       *


"A good face is a letter of recommendation," says an old proverb; and it
was never more verified than in the case of the Chevalier Letorieres. He
was a young gentleman of good family, but who, according to the Spanish
phrase, had nothing but his cloak and sword (capa y espada), that is to
say, his gentle blood and gallant bearing, to help him forward in the
world. Through the interest of an uncle, who was an abbe, he received a
gratuitous education at a fashionable college, but finding the terms of
study too long, and the vacations too short, for his gay and indolent
temper, he left college without saying a word, and launched himself upon
Paris, with a light heart and still lighter pocket. Here he led a life to
his humor. It is true he had to make scanty meals, and to lodge in a
garret; but what of that? He was his own master; free from all task or
restraint. When cold or hungry, he sallied forth, like others of the
chameleon order, and banqueted on pure air and warm sunshine in the public
walks and gardens; drove off the thoughts of a dinner by amusing himself
with the gay and grotesque throngs of the metropolis; and if one of the
poorest, was one of the merriest gentlemen upon town. Wherever he went his
good looks and frank, graceful demeanor, had an instant and magical effect
in securing favor. There was but one word to express his fascinating
powers--he was "charming."

Instances are given of the effect of his winning qualities upon minds of
coarse, ordinary mold. He had once taken shelter from a heavy shower under
a gateway. A hackney coachman, who was passing by, pulled up, and asked him
if he wished a cast in his carriage. Letorieres declined, with a melancholy
and dubious shake of the head. The coachman regarded him wistfully,
repeared his solicitations, and wished to know what place he was going to
"To the Palace of Justice, to walk in the galleries; but I will wait here
until the rain is over."

"And why so?" inquired the coachman, pertinaciously.

"Because I've no money; do let me be quiet."

The coachman jumped down, and, opening the door of his carriage, "It shall
never be said," cried he, "that I left so charming a young gentleman to
weary himself, and catch cold, merely for the sake of twenty-four sous."

Arrived at the Palace of Justice, he stopped before the saloon of a famous
restaurateur, opened the door of the carriage, and taking off his hat very
respectfully, begged the youth to accept of a Louis-d'or. "You will meet
with some young gentlemen within," said he, "with whom you may wish to take
a hand at cards. The number of my coach is 144. You can find me out, and
repay me whenever you please."

The worthy Jehu was some years afterward made coachman to the Princess
Sophia, of France, through the recommendation of the handsome youth he had
so generously obliged.

Another instance in point is given with respect to his tailor, to whom he
owed four hundred livres. The tailor had repeatedly dunned him, but was
always put off with the best grace in the world. The wife of the tailor
urged her husband to assume a harsher tone. He replied that he could not
find it in his heart to speak roughly to so charming a young gentleman.

"I've no patience with such want of spirit!" cried the wife; "you have not
the courage to show your teeth: but I'm going out to get change for this
note of a hundred crowns; before I come home, I'll seek this 'charming'
youth myself, and see whether he has the power to charm me. I'll warrant he
won't be able to put _me_ off with fine looks and fine speeches."

With these and many more vaunts, the good dame sallied forth. When she
returned home, however, she wore quite a different aspect.

"Well," said her husband, "how much have you received from the 'charming'
young man?"

"Let me alone," replied the wife; "I found him playing on the guitar, and
he looked so handsome, and was so amiable and genteel, that I had not the
heart to trouble him."

"And the change for the hundred-crown note?" said the tailor.

The wife hesitated a moment: "Faith," cried she, "you'll have to add the
amount to your next bill against him. The poor young gentleman had such a
melancholy air that--I know not how it was, but--I left the hundred crowns
on his mantel-piece in spite of him!"

The captivating looks and manners of Letorieres made his way with equal
facility in the great world. His high connections entitled him to
presentation at court, but some questions arose about the sufficiency of
his proofs of nobility; whereupon the king, who had seen him walking in the
gardens of Versailles, and had been charmed with his appearance, put an end
to all demurs of etiquette by making him a viscount.

The same kind of fascination is said to have attended him throughout his
career. He succeeded in various difficult family suits on questions of
honors and privileges; he had merely to appear in court to dispose the
judges in his favor. He at length became so popular that on one occasion,
when he appeared at the theater on recovering from a wound received in a
duel, the audience applauded him on his entrance. Nothing, it is said,
could have been in more perfect good taste and high breeding than his
conduct on this occasion. When he heard the applause, he rose in his box,
stepped forward, and surveyed both sides of the house, as if he could not
believe that it was himself they were treating like a favorite actor, or a
prince of the blood.

His success with the fair sex may easily be presumed; but he had too much
honor and sensibility to render his intercourse with them a series of cold
gallantries and heartless triumphs. In the course of his attendance upon
court, where he held a post of honor about the king, he fell deeply in love
with the beautiful Princess Julia, of Savoy Carignan. She was young,
tender, and simple-hearted, and returned his love with equal fervor. Her
family took the alarm at this attachment, and procured an order that she
should inhabit the Abbey of Montmartre, where she was treated with all
befitting delicacy and distinction, but not permitted to go beyond the
convent walls. The lovers found means to correspond. One of their letters
was intercepted, and it is even hinted that a plan of elopement was
discovered. A duel was the consequence, with one of the fiery relations of
the princess. Letorieres received two sword-thrusts in his right side. His
wounds were serious, yet after two or three days' confinement he could not
resist his impatience to see the princess. He succeeded in scaling the
walls of the abbey, and obtaining an interview in an arcade leading to the
cloister of the cemetery. The interview of the lovers was long and tender.
They exchanged vows of eternal fidelity, and flattered themselves with
hopes of future happiness, which they were never to realize. After repeated
farewells, the princess re-entered the convent, never again to behold the
charming Letorieres. On the following morning his corpse was found stiff
and cold on the pavement of the cloister!

It would seem that the wounds of the unfortunate youth had been reopened by
his efforts to get over the wall; that he had refrained from calling
assistance, lest he should expose the princess, and that he had bled to
death, without any one to aid him, or to close his dying eyes.

THE EARLY EXPERIENCES OF RALPH RINGWOOD [Footnote: Ralph Ringwood, though a
fictitious name, is a real personage: the worthy original is now living and
flourishing in honorable station. I have given some anecdotes of his early
and eccentric career in, as nearly as I can recollect, the very words in
which he related them. They certainly afforded strong temptations to the
embellishments of fiction; but I thought them so strikingly characteristic
of the individual, and of the scenes and society into which his peculiar
humors carried him, that I preferred giving them in their original
simplicity.--G. C.]


"I am a Kentuckian by residence and choice, but a Virginian by birth. The
cause of my first leaving the 'Ancient Dominion,' and emigrating to
Kentucky was a jackass! You stare, but have a little patience, and I'll
soon show you how it came to pass. My father, who was of one of the old
Virginian families, resided in Richmond. He was a widower, and his domestic
affairs were managed by a housekeeper of the old school, such as used to
administer the concerns of opulent Virginian households. She was a
dignitary that almost rivaled my father in importance, and seemed to think
everything belonged to her; in fact, she was so considerate in her economy,
and so careful of expense, as sometimes to vex my father, who would swear
she was disgracing him by her meanness. She always appeared with that
ancient insignia of housekeeping trust and authority, a great bunch of keys
jingling at her girdle. She superintended the arrangement of the table at
every meal, and saw that the dishes were all placed according to her
primitive notions of symmetry. In the evening she took her stand and served
out tea with a mingled respectfulness and pride of station, truly
exemplary. Her great ambition was to have everything in order, and that the
establishment under her sway should be cited as a model of good
housekeeping. If anything went wrong, poor old Barbara would take it to
heart, and sit in her room and cry; until a few chapters in the Bible would
quiet her spirits, and make all calm again. The Bible, in fact, was her
constant resort in time of trouble. She opened it indiscriminately, and
whether she chanced among the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the Canticles of
Solomon, or the rough enumeration of the tribes in Deuteronomy, a chapter
was a chapter, and operated like balm to her soul. Such was our good old
housekeeper Barbara, who was destined, unwittingly, to have a most
important effect upon my destiny.

"It came to pass, during the days of my juvenility, while I was yet what is
termed 'an unlucky boy,' that a gentleman of our neighborhood, a great
advocate for experiments and improvements of all kinds, took it into his
head that it would be an immense public advantage to introduce a breed of
mules, and accordingly imported three jacks to stock the neighborhood. This
in a part of the country where the people cared for nothing but blood
horses! Why, sir! they would have considered their mares disgraced and
their whole stud dishonored by such a misalliance. The whole matter was a
town talk and a town scandal. The worthy amalgamator of quadrupeds found
himself in a dismal scrape: so he backed out in time, abjured the whole
doctrine of amalgamation, and turned his jacks loose to shift for
themselves upon the town common. There they used to run about and lead an
idle, good-for-nothing, holiday life, the happiest animals in the country.

"It so happened that my way to school lay across this common. The first
time that I saw one of these animals it set up a braying and frightened me
confoundedly. However, I soon got over my fright, and seeing that it had
something of a horse look, my Virginian love for anything of the equestrian
species predominated, and I determined to back it. I accordingly applied at
a grocer's shop, procured a cord that had been round a loaf of sugar, and
made a kind of halter; then summoning some of my schoolfellows, we drove
master Jack about the common until we hemmed him in an angle of a 'worm
fence.' After some difficulty, we fixed the halter round his muzzle, and I
mounted. Up flew his heels, away I went over his head, and off he
scampered. However, I was on my legs in a twinkling, gave chase, caught him
and remounted. By dint of repeated tumbles I soon learned to stick to his
back, so that he could no more cast me than he could his own skin. From
that time, master Jack and his companions had a scampering life of it, for
we all rode them between school hours, and on holiday afternoons; and you
may be sure schoolboys' nags are never permitted to suffer the grass to
grow under their feet. They soon became so knowing that they took to their
heels at the very sight of a schoolboy; and we were generally much longer
in chasing than we were in riding them.

"Sunday approached, on which I projected an equestrian excursion on one of
these long-eared steeds. As I knew the jacks would be in great demand on
Sunday morning, I secured one overnight, and conducted him home, to be
ready for an early outset. But where was I to quarter him for the night? I
could not put him in the stable; our old black groom George was as absolute
in that domain as Barbara was within doors, and would have thought his
stable, his horses, and himself disgraced, by the introduction of a
jackass. I recollected the smoke-house; an out-building appended to all
Virginian establishments for the smoking of hams, and other kinds of meat.
So I got the key, put master Jack in, locked the door, returned the key to
its place, and went to bed, intending to release my prisoner at an early
hour, before any of the family were awake. I was so tired, however, by the
exertions I had made in catching the donkey, that I fell into a sound
sleep, and the morning broke without my awaking.

"Not so with dame Barbara, the housekeeper. As usual, to use her own
phrase, 'she was up before the crow put his shoes on,' and bustled about to
get things in order for breakfast. Her first resort was to the smoke-house.
Scarce had she opened the door, when master Jack, tired of his confinement,
and glad to be released from darkness, gave a loud bray, and rushed forth.
Down dropped old Barbara; the animal trampled over her, and made off for
the common. Poor Barbara! She had never before seen a donkey, and having
read in the Bible that the devil went about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he might devour, she took it for granted that this was Beelzebub
himself. The kitchen was soon in a hubbub; the servants hurried to the
spot. There lay old Barbara in fits; as fast as she got out of one, the
thoughts of the devil came over her, and she fell into another, for the
good soul was devoutly superstitious.

"As ill luck would have it, among those attracted by the noise was a
little, cursed, fidgety, crabbed uncle of mine; one of those uneasy spirits
that cannot rest quietly in their beds in the morning, but must be up
early, to bother the household. He was only a kind of half-uncle, after
all, for he had married my father's sister; yet be assumed great authority
on the strength of this left-handed relationship, and was a universal
intermeddler and family pest. This prying little busybody soon ferreted out
the truth of the story, and discovered, by hook and by crook, that I was at
the bottom of the affair, and had locked up the donkey in the smoke-house.
He stopped to inquire no further, for he was one of those testy curmudgeons
with whom unlucky boys are always in the wrong. Leaving old Barbara to
wrestle in imagination with the devil, he made for my bedchamber, where I
still lay wrapped in rosy slumbers, little dreaming of the mischief I had
done, and the storm about to break over me.

"In an instant I was awakened by a shower of thwacks, and started up in
wild amazement, I demanded the meaning of this attack, but received no
other reply than that I had murdered the housekeeper; while my uncle
continued whacking away during my confusion. I seized a poker, and put
myself on the defensive. I was a stout boy for my years, while my uncle was
a little wiffet of a man; one that in Kentucky we would not call even an
'individual'; nothing more than a 'remote circumstance.' I soon, therefore,
brought him to a parley, and learned the whole extent of the charge brought
against me. I confessed to the donkey and the smoke-house, but pleaded not
guilty of the murder of the housekeeper. I soon found out that old Barbara
was still alive. She continued under the doctor's hands, however, for
several days; and whenever she had an ill turn my uncle would seek to give
me another flogging. I appealed to my father, but got no redress. I was
considered an 'unlucky boy,' prone to all kinds of mischief; so that
prepossessions were against me in all cases of appeal.

"I felt stung to the soul at all this. I had been beaten, degraded, and
treated with slighting when I complained. I lost my usual good spirits and
good humor; and, being out of temper with everybody, fancied everybody out
of temper with me. A certain wild, roving spirit of freedom, which I
believe is as inherent in me as it is in the partridge, was brought into
sudden activity by the checks and restraints I suffered. 'I'll go from
home,' thought I, 'and shift for myself.' Perhaps this notion was quickened
by the rage for emigrating to Kentucky, which was at that time prevalent in
Virginia. I had heard such stories of the romantic beauties of the country;
of the abundance of game of all kinds, and of the glorious independent life
of the hunters who ranged its noble forests, and lived by the rifle; that I
was as much agog to get there as boys who live in seaports are to launch
themselves among the wonders and adventures of the ocean.

"After a time old Barbara got better in mind and body, and matters were
explained to her; and she became gradually convinced that it was not the
devil she had encountered. When she heard how harshly I had been treated on
her account, the good old soul was extremely grieved, and spoke warmly to
my father in my behalf. He had himself remarked the change in my behavior,
and thought punishment might have been carried too far. He sought,
therefore, to have some conversation with me, and to soothe my feelings;
but it was too late. I frankly told him the course of mortification that I
had experienced, and the fixed determination I had made to go from home.

"'And where do you mean to go?'

"'To Kentucky.'

"'To Kentucky! Why, you know nobody there.'

"'No matter: I can soon make acquaintances.'

"'And what will you do when you get there?'


"My father gave a long, low whistle, and looked in my face with a
serio-comic expression. I was not far in my teens, and to talk of setting
off alone for Kentucky, to turn hunter, seemed doubtless the idle prattle
of a boy. He was little aware of the dogged resolution of my character; and
his smile of incredulity but fixed me more obstinately in my purpose. I
assured him I was serious in what I said, and would certainly set off for
Kentucky in the spring.

"Month after month passed away. My father now and then adverted slightly to
what had passed between us; doubtless for the purpose of sounding me. I
always expressed the same grave and fixed determination. By degrees he
spoke to me more directly on the subject, endeavoring earnestly but kindly
to dissuade me. My only reply was, 'I had made up my mind.'

"Accordingly, as soon as the spring had fairly opened, I sought him one day
in his study, and informed him I was about to set out for Kentucky, and had
come to take my leave. He made no objection, for he had exhausted
persuasion and remonstrance, and doubtless thought it best to give way to
my humor, trusting that a little rough experience would soon bring me home
again. I asked money for my journey. He went to a chest, took out a long
green silk purse, well filled, and laid it on the table. I now asked for a
horse and servant.

"'A horse!' said my father, sneeringly: 'why, you would not go a mile
without racing him, and breaking your neck; and, as to a servant, you
cannot take care of yourself much less of him.'

"'How am I to travel, then?'

"'Why, I suppose you are man enough to travel on foot.'

"He spoke jestingly, little thinking I would take him at his word; but I
was thoroughly piqued in respect to my enterprise; so I pocketed the purse,
went to my room, tied up three or four shirts in a pocket-handkerchief, put
a dirk in my bosom, girt a couple of pistols round my waist, and felt like
a knight errant armed cap a-pie, and ready to rove the world in quest of

"My sister (I had but one) hung round me and wept, and entreated me to
stay. I felt my heart swell in my throat; but I gulped it back to its
place, and straightened myself up; I would not suffer myself to cry. I at
length disengaged myself from her, and got to the door.

"'When will you come back?' cried she.

"'Never, by heavens!' cried I, 'until I come back a member of Congress from
Kentucky. I am determined to show that I am not the tail-end of the

"Such was my first outset from home. You may suppose what a greenhorn I
was, and how little I knew of the world I was launching into.

"I do not recollect any incident of importance until I reached the borders
of Pennsylvania. I had stopped at an inn to get some refreshment; and as I
was eating in the back room, I overheard two men in the barroom conjecture
who and what I could be. One determined, at length, that I was a runaway
apprentice, and ought to be stopped, to which the other assented. When I
had finished my meal, and paid for it, I went out at the back door, lest I
should be stopped by my supervisors. Scorning, however, to steal off like a
culprit, I walked round to the front of the house. One of the men advanced
to the front door. He wore his hat on one side, and had a consequential air
that nettled me.

"'Where are you going, youngster?' demanded he.

"'That's none of your business!' replied I, rather pertly.

"'Yes, but it is, though! You have run away from home, and must give an
account of yourself.'

"He advanced to seize me, when I drew forth a pistol. 'If you advance
another step, I'll shoot you!'

"He sprang back as if he had trodden upon a rattlesnake, and his hat fell
off in the movement.

"'Let him alone!' cried his companion; 'he's a foolish, mad-headed boy, and
don't know what he's about. He'll shoot you, you may rely on it.'

"He did not need any caution in the matter; he was afraid even to pick up
his hat: so I pushed forward on my way, without molestation. This incident,
however, had its effect upon me. I became fearful of sleeping in any house
at night, lest I should be stopped. I took my meals in the houses, in the
course of the day, but would turn aside at night into some wood or ravine,
make a fire, and sleep before it. This I considered was true hunter's
style, and I wished to inure myself to it.

"At length I arrived at Brownsville, leg-weary and wayworn, and in a shabby
plight, as you may suppose, having been 'camping out' for some nights past.
I applied at some of the inferior inns, but could gain no admission. I was
regarded for a moment with a dubious eye, and then informed they did not
receive foot-passengers. At last I went boldly to the principal inn. The
landlord appeared as unwilling as the rest to receive a vagrant boy beneath
his roof; but his wife interfered in the midst of his excuses, and half
elbowing him aside:

"'Where are you going, my lad?' said she.

"'To Kentucky.'

"'What are you going there for?'

"'To hunt.'

"She looked earnestly at me for a moment or two. 'Have you a mother
living?' said she at length.

"'No, madam: she has been dead for some time.'

"'I thought so!' cried she warmly. 'I knew if you had a mother living you
would not be here.' From that moment the good woman treated me with a
mother's kindness.

"I remained several days beneath her roof recovering from the fatigue of my
journey. While here I purchased a rifle and practiced daily at a mark to
prepare myself for a hunter's life. When sufficiently recruited in strength
I took leave of my kind host and hostess and resumed my journey.

"At Wheeling I embarked in a flat bottomed family boat, technically called
a broad-horn, a prime river conveyance in those days. In this ark for two
weeks I floated down the Ohio. The river was as yet in all its wild beauty.
Its loftiest trees had not been thinned out. The forest overhung the
water's edge and was occasionally skirted by immense cane-brakes. Wild
animals of all kinds abounded. We heard them rushing through the thickets
and plashing in the water. Deer and bears would frequently swim across the
river; others would come down to the bank and gaze at the boat as it
passed. I was incessantly on the alert with my rifle; but somehow or other
the game was never within shot. Sometimes I got a chance to land and try my
skill on shore. I shot squirrels and small birds and even wild turkeys; but
though I caught glimpses of deer bounding away through the woods, I never
could get a fair shot at them.

"In this way we glided in our broad-horn past Cincinnati, the 'Queen of the
West' as she is now called, then a mere group of log cabins; and the site
of the bustling city of Louisville, then designated by a solitary house. As
I said before, the Ohio was as yet a wild river; all was forest, forest,
forest! Near the confluence of Green River with the Ohio, I landed, bade
adieu to the broad-horn, and struck for the interior of Kentucky. I had no
precise plan; my only idea was to make for one of the wildest parts of the
country. I had relatives in Lexington and other settled places, to whom I
thought it probable my father would write concerning me: so as I was full
of manhood and independence, and resolutely bent on making my way in the
world without assistance or control, I resolved to keep clear of them all.

"In the course of my first day's trudge, I shot a wild turkey, and slung it
on my back for provisions. The forest was open and clear from underwood. I
saw deer in abundance, but always running, running. It seemed to me as if
these animals never stood still.

"At length I came to where a gang of half-starved wolves were feasting on
the carcass of a deer which they had run down; and snarling and snapping
and fighting like so many dogs. They were all so ravenous and intent upon
their prey that they did not notice me, and I had time to make my
observations. One, larger and fiercer than the rest, seemed to claim the
larger share, and to keep the others in awe. If any one came too near him
while eating, he would fly off, seize and shake him, and then return to his
repast. 'This,' thought I, 'must be the captain; if I can kill him, I shall
defeat the whole army.' I accordingly took aim, fired, and down dropped
the old fellow. He might be only shamming dead; so I loaded and put a
second ball through him. He never budged; all the rest ran off, and my
victory was complete.

"It would not be easy to describe my triumphant feelings on this great
achievement. I marched on with renovated spirit, regarding myself as
absolute lord of the forest. As night drew near, I prepared for camping. My
first care was to collect dry wood and make a roaring fire to cook and
sleep by, and to frighten off wolves, and bears, and panthers. I then began
to pluck my turkey for supper. I had camped out several times in the early
part of my expedition; but that was in comparatively more settled and
civilized regions, where there were no wild animals of consequence in the
forest. This was my first camping out in the real wilderness; and I was
soon made sensible of the loneliness and wildness of my situation.

"In a little while a concert of wolves commenced: there might have been a
dozen or two, but it seemed to me as if there were thousands. I never heard
such howling and whining. Having prepared my turkey, I divided it into two
parts, thrust two sticks into one of the halves, and planted them on end
before the fire, the hunter's mode of roasting. The smell of roast meat
quickened the appetites of the wolves, and their concert became truly
infernal. They seemed to be all around me, but I could only now and then
get a glimpse of one of them, as he came within the glare of the light.

"I did not much care for the wolves, who I knew to be a cowardly race, but
I had heard terrible stories of panthers, and began to fear their stealthy
prowlings in the surrounding darkness. I was thirsty, and heard a brook
bubbling and tinkling along at no great distance, but absolutely dared not
go there, lest some panther might lie in wait, and spring upon me.
By-and-by a deer whistled. I had never heard one before, and thought it
must be a panther. I now felt uneasy lest he might climb the trees, crawl
along the branches overhead, and plump down upon me; so I kept my eyes
fixed on the branches, until my head ached. I more than once thought I saw
fiery eyes glaring down from--among the leaves. At length I thought of my
supper and turned to see if my half-turkey was cooked. In crowding so near
the fire I had pressed the meat into the flames, and it was consumed. I had
nothing to do but toast the other half, and take better care of it. On that
half I made my supper, without salt or bread. I was still so possessed with
the dread of panthers that I could not close my eyes all night, but lay
watching the trees until daybreak, when all my fears were dispelled with
the darkness; and as I saw the morning sun sparkling down through the
branches of the trees, I smiled to think how I had suffered myself to be
dismayed by sounds and shadows; but I was a young woodsman, and a stranger
in Kentucky.

"Having breakfasted on the remainder of my turkey, and slaked my thirst at
the bubbling stream, without further dread of panthers, I resumed my
wayfaring with buoyant feelings. I again saw deer, but as usual running,
running! I tried in vain to get a shot at them, and began to fear I never
should. I was gazing with vexation after a herd in full scamper, when I was
startled by a human voice. Turning round, I saw a man at a short distance
from me in a hunting dress.

"'What are you after, my lad?' cried he.

"'Those deer,' replied I, pettishly: 'but it seems as if they never stand

"Upon that he burst out laughing. 'Where are you from?' said he.

"'From Richmond.'

"'What! In old Virginny?'

"'The same.'

"'And how on earth did you get here?'

"'I landed at Green River from a broad-horn.

"'And where are your companions?'

"' I have none.'

"'What?--all alone!"


"'Where are you going?'


"'And what have you come here for?'

"'To hunt.'

"'Well,' said he, laughingly, 'you'll make a real hunter; there's no
mistaking that! Have you killed anything?'

"'Nothing but a turkey; I can't get within shot of a deer: they are always

"'Oh, I'll tell you the secret of that. You're always pushing forward, and
starting the deer at a distance, and gazing at those that are scampering;
but you must step as slow, and silent, and cautious as a cat, and keep your
eyes close around you, and lurk from tree to tree, if you wish to get a
chance at deer. But come, go home with me. My name is Bill Smithers; I live
not far off: stay with me a little while, and I'll teach you how to hunt.'

"I gladly accepted the invitation of honest Bill Smithers. We soon reached
his habitation; a mere log hut, with a square hole for a window and a
chimney made of sticks and clay. Here he lived with a wife and child. He
had 'girdled' the trees for an acre or two around, preparatory to clearing
a space for corn and potatoes. In the meantime he maintained his family
entirely by his rifle, and I soon found him to be a first-rate huntsman.
Under his tutelage I received my first effective lessons in 'woodcraft.'

"The more I knew of a hunter's life, the more I relished it. The country,
too, which had been the promised land of my boyhood, did not, like most
promised lands, disappoint me. No wilderness could be more beautiful than
this part of Kentucky in those times. The forests were open and spacious,
with noble trees, some of which looked as if they had stood for centuries.
There were beautiful prairies, too, diversified with groves and clumps of
trees, which looked like vast parks, and in which you could see the deer
running, at a great distance. In the proper season these prairies would be
covered in many places with wild strawberries, where your horses' hoofs
would be dyed to the fetlock. I thought there could not be another place in
the world equal to Kentucky--and I think so still.

"After I had passed ten or twelve days with Bill Smithers, I thought it
time to shift my quarters, for his house was scarce large enough for his
own family, and I had no idea of being an encumbrance to any one. I
accordingly made up my bundle, shouldered my rifle, took a friendly leave
of Smithers and his wife, and set out in quest of a Nimrod of the
wilderness, one John Miller, who lived alone, nearly forty miles off, and
who I hoped would be well pleased to have a hunting companion.

"I soon found out that one of the most important items in woodcraft in a
new country was the skill to find one's way in the wilderness. There were
no regular roads in the forests, but they were cut up and perplexed by
paths leading in all directions. Some of these were made by the cattle of
the settlers, and were called 'stock-tracks,' but others had been made by
the immense droves of buffaloes which roamed about the country, from the
flood until recent times. These were called buffalo-tracks, and traversed
Kentucky from end to end, like highways. Traces of them may still be seen
in uncultivated parts, or deeply worn in the rocks where they crossed the
mountains. I was a young woodman, and sorely puzzled to distinguish one
kind of track from the other, or to make out my course through this tangled
labyrinth. While thus perplexed, I heard a distant roaring and rushing
sound; a gloom stole over the forest: on looking up, when I could catch a
stray glimpse of the sky, I beheld the clouds rolled up like balls, the
lower parts as black as ink. There was now and then an explosion, like a
burst of cannonry afar off, and the crash of a falling tree. I had heard of
hurricanes in the woods, and surmised that one was at hand. It soon came
crashing its way; the forest writhing, and twisting, and groaning before
it. The hurricane did not extend far on either side, but in a manner plowed
a furrow through the woodland; snapping off or uprooting trees that had
stood for centuries, and filling the air with whirling branches. I was
directly in its course, and took my stand behind an immense poplar, six
feet in diameter. It bore for a time the full fury of the blast, but at
length began to yield. Seeing it falling, I scrambled nimbly round the
trunk like a squirrel. Down it went, bearing down another tree with it. I
crept under the trunk as a shelter, and was protected from other trees
which fell around me, but was sore all over from the twigs and branches
driven against me by the blast.

"This was the only incident of consequence that occurred on my way to John
Miller's, where I arrived on the following day, and was received by the
veteran with the rough kindness of a backwoodsman. He was a gray-haired
man, hardy and weather-beaten, with a blue wart, like a great beard, over
one eye, whence he was nicknamed by the hunters 'Bluebeard Miller.' He had
been in these parts from the earliest settlements, and had signalized
himself in the hard conflicts with the Indians, which gained Kentucky the
appellation of 'the Bloody Ground.' In one of these fights he had had an
arm broken; in another he had narrowly escaped, when hotly pursued, by
jumping from a precipice thirty feet high into a river.

"Miller willingly received me into his house as an inmate, and seemed
pleased with the idea of making a hunter of me. His dwelling was a small
log-house, with a loft or garret of boards, so that there was ample room
for both of us. Under his instruction I soon made a tolerable proficiency
in hunting. My first exploit, of any consequence, was killing a bear. I was
hunting in company with two brothers, when we came upon the track of bruin,
in a wood where there was an undergrowth of canes and grapevines. He was
scrambling up a tree, when I shot him through the breast: he fell to the
ground and lay motionless. The brothers sent in their dog, who seized the
bear by the throat. Bruin raised one arm and gave the dog a hug that
crushed his ribs. One yell, and all was over. I don't know which was first
dead, the dog or the bear. The two brothers sat down and cried like
children over their unfortunate dog. Yet they were mere rough huntsmen,
almost as wild and untamable as Indians; but they were fine fellows.

"By degrees I became known, and somewhat of a favorite among the hunters of
the neighborhood; that is to say, men who lived within a circle of thirty
or forty miles, and came occasionally to see John Miller, who was a
patriarch among them. They lived widely apart, in log huts and wigwams,
almost with the simplicity of Indians, and wellnigh as destitute of the
comforts and inventions of civilized life. They seldom saw each other;
weeks, and even months, would elapse, without their visiting. When they did
meet, it was very much after the manner of Indians; loitering about all
day, without having much to say, but becoming communicative as evening
advanced, and sitting up half the night before the fire, telling hunting
stories, and terrible tales of the fights of the Bloody Ground.

"Sometimes several would join in a distant hunting expedition, or rather
campaign. Expeditions of this kind lasted from November until April; during
which we laid up our stock of summer provisions. We shifted our hunting
camps from place to place, according as we found the game. They were
generally pitched near a run of water, and close by a cane-brake, to screen
us from the wind. One side of our lodge was open toward the fire. Our
horses were hoppled and turned loose in the cane-brakes, with bells round
their necks. One of the party stayed at home to watch the camp, prepare the
meals and keep off the wolves; the others hunted. When a hunter killed a
deer at a distance from the camp, he would open it and take out the
entrails; then climbing a sapling he would bend it down, tie the deer to
the top, and let it spring up again, so as to suspend the carcass out of
reach of the wolves. At night he would return to the camp and give an
account of his luck. The next morning early he would get a horse out of the
canebrake and bring home his game. That day he would stay at home to cut up
the carcass, while the others hunted.

"Our days were thus spent in silent and lonely occupations. It was only at
night that we would gather together before the fire and be sociable. I was
a novice, and used to listen with open eyes and ears to the strange and
wild stories told by the old hunters, and believed everything I heard. Some
of their stories bordered upon the supernatural. They believed that their
rifles might be spellbound, so as not to be able to kill a buffalo, even at
arms-length. This superstition they had derived from the Indians, who often
think the white hunters have laid a spell upon their rifles. Miller partook
of this superstition, and used to tell of his rifle's having a spell upon
it; but it often seemed to me to be a shuffling way of accounting for a bad
shot. If a hunter grossly missed his aim he would ask, 'Who shot last with
this rifle?'--and hint that he must have charmed it. The sure mode to
disenchant the gun was to shoot a silver bullet out of it.

"By the opening of spring we would generally have quantities of bears'-meat
and venison salted, dried, and smoked, and numerous packs of skins. We
would then make the best of our way home from our distant hunting-grounds;
transporting our spoils, sometimes in canoes along the rivers, sometimes on
horseback over land, and our return would often be celebrated by feasting
and dancing, in true backwoods style. I have given you some idea of our
hunting; let me now give you a sketch of our frolicking.

"It was on our return from a winter's hunting in the neighborhood of Green
River, when we received notice that there was to be a grand frolic at Bob
Mosely's, to greet the hunters. This Bob Mosely was a prime fellow
throughout the country. He was an indifferent hunter, it is true, and
rather lazy to boot; but then he could play the fiddle, and that was enough
to make him of consequence. There was no other man within a hundred miles
that could play the fiddle, so there was no having a regular frolic without
Bob Mosely. The hunters, therefore, were always ready to give him a share
of their game in exchange for his music, and Bob was always ready to get up
a carousal, whenever there was a party returning from a hunting expedition.
The present frolic was to take place at Bob Mosely's own house, which was
on the Pigeon Roost Fork of the Muddy, which is a branch of Rough Creek,
which is a branch of Green River.

"Everybody was agog for the revel at Bob Mosely's; and as all the fashion
of the neighborhood was to be there, I thought I must brush up for the
occasion. My leathern hunting-dress, which was the only one I had, was
somewhat the worse for wear, it is true, and considerably japanned with
blood and grease; but I was up to hunting expedients. Getting into a
periogue, I paddled off to a part of the Green River where there was sand
and clay, that might serve for soap; then taking off my dress, I scrubbed
and scoured it, until I thought it looked very well. I then put it on the
end of a stick, and hung it out of the periogue to dry, while I stretched
myself very comfortably on the green bank of the river. Unluckily a flaw
struck the periogue, and tipped over the stick: down went my dress to the
bottom of the river, and I never saw it more. Here was I, left almost in a
state of nature. I managed to make a kind of Robinson Crusoe garb of
undressed skins, with the hair on, which enabled me to get home with
decency; but my dream of gayety and fashion was at an end; for how could I
think of figuring in high life at the Pigeon Roost, equipped like a mere

"Old Miller, who really began to take some pride in me, was confounded when
he understood that I did not intend to go to Bob Mosely's; but when I told
him my misfortune, and that I had no dress: 'By the powers,' cried he, 'but
you _shall_ go, and you shall be the best dressed and the best mounted
lad there!'

"He immediately set to work to cut out and make up a hunting-shirt of
dressed deer-skin, gayly fringed at the shoulders, with leggings of the
same, fringed from hip to heel. He then made me a rakish raccoon-cap, with
a flaunting tail to it; mounted me on his best horse; and I may say,
without vanity, that I was one of the smartest fellows that figured on that
occasion at the Pigeon Roost Fork of the Muddy.

"It was no small occasion, either, let me tell you. Bob Mosely's house was
a tolerably large bark shanty, with a clap-board roof; and there were
assembled all the young hunters and pretty girls of the country, for many a
mile round. The young men were in their best hunting-dresses, but not one
could compare with mine; and my raccoon-cap, with its flowing tail, was the
admiration of everybody. The girls were mostly in doe-skin dresses; for
there was no spinning and weaving as yet in the woods; nor any need of it.
I never saw girls that seemed to me better dressed; and I was somewhat of a
judge, having seen fashions at Richmond. We had a hearty dinner, and a
merry one; for there was Jemmy Kiel, famous for raccoon-hunting, and Bob
Tarleton, and Wesley Pigman, and Joe Taylor, and several other prime
fellows for a frolic, that made all ring again, and laughed that you might
have heard them a mile.

"After dinner we began dancing, and were hard at it, when, about three
o'clock in the afternoon, there was a new arrival--the two daughters of old
Simon Schultz; two young ladies that affected fashion and late hours. Their
arrival had nearly put an end to all our merriment. I must go a little
roundabout in my story to explain to you how that happened.

"As old Schultz, the father, was one day looking in the cane-brakes for his
cattle, he came upon the track of horses. He knew they were none of his,
and that none of his neighbors had horses about that place. They must be
stray horses; or must belong to some traveler who had lost his way, as the
track led nowhere. He accordingly followed it up, until he came to an
unlucky peddler, with two or three pack-horses, who had been bewildered
among the cattle-tracks, and had wandered for two or three days among woods
and cane-brakes, until he was almost famished.

"Old Schultz brought him to his house; fed him on venison, bear's-meat, and
hominy, and at the end of a week put him in prime condition. The peddler
could not sufficiently express his thankfulness; and when about to depart
inquired what he had to pay? Old Schultz stepped back with surprise.
'Stranger,' said he, 'you have been welcome under my roof. I've given you
nothing but wild meat and hominy, because I had no better, but have been
glad of your company. You are welcome to stay as long as you please; but,
by Zounds! if any one offers to pay Simon Schultz for food he affronts
him!' So saying, he walked out in a huff.

"The peddler admired the hospitality of his host, but could not reconcile
it to his conscience to go away without making some recompense. There were
honest Simon's two daughters, two strapping, red-haired girls. He opened
his packs and displayed riches before them of which they had no conception;
for in those days there were no country stores in those parts, with their
artificial finery and trinketry; and this was the first peddler that had
wandered into that part of the wilderness. The girls were for a time
completely dazzled, and knew not what to choose: but what caught their eyes
most were two looking-glasses, about the size of a dollar, set in gilt tin.
They had never seen the like before, having used no other mirror than a
pail of water. The peddler presented them these jewels, without the least
hesitation; nay, he gallantly hung them round their necks by red ribbons,
almost as fine as the glasses themselves. This done, he took his departure,
leaving them as much astonished as two princesses in a fairy tale that have
received a magic gift from an enchanter.

"It was with these looking-glasses, hung round their necks as lockets, by
red ribbons, that old Schultz's daughters made their appearance at three
o'clock in the afternoon, at the frolic at Bob Mosely's, on the Pigeon
Roost Fork of the Muddy.

"By the powers, but it was an event! Such a thing had never before been
seen in Kentucky. Bob Tarleton, a strapping fellow, with a head like a
chestnut-burr and a look like a boar in an apple orchard, stepped up,
caught hold of the looking-glass of one of the girls, and gazing at it for
a moment, cried out: 'Joe Taylor, come here! come here! I'll be darn'd if
Patty Schultz ain't got a locket that you can see your face in, as clear as
in a spring of water!'

"In a twinkling all the young hunters gathered round old Schultz's
daughters. I, who knew what looking-glasses were, did not budge. Some of
the girls who sat near me were excessively mortified at finding themselves
thus deserted. I heard Peggy Pugh say to Sally Pigman, 'Goodness knows,
it's well Schultz's daughters is got them things round their necks, for
it's the first time the young men crowded round them!'

"I saw immediately the danger of the case. We were a small community, and
could not afford to be split up by feuds. So I stepped up to the girls, and
whispered to them: 'Polly,' said I, 'those lockets are powerful fine, and
become you amazingly; but you don't consider that the country is not
advanced enough in these parts for such things. You and I understand these
matters, but these people don't. Fine things like these may do very well in
the old settlements, but they won't answer at the Pigeon Roost Fork of the
Muddy. You had better lay them aside for the present, or we shall have no

"Polly and her sister luckily saw their error; they took off the lockets,
laid them aside, and harmony was restored: otherwise, I verily believe
there would have been an end of our community. Indeed, notwithstanding the
great sacrifice they made on this occasion, I do not think old Schultz's
daughters were ever much liked afterward among the young women.

"This was the first time that looking-glasses were ever seen in the Green
River part of Kentucky.

"I had now lived some time with old Miller, and had become a tolerably
expert hunter. Game, however, began to grow scarce. The buffalo had
gathered together, as if by universal understanding, and had crossed the
Mississippi, never to return. Strangers kept pouring into the country,
clearing away the forests and building in all directions. The hunters began
to grow restive. Jemmy Kiel, the same of whom I have already spoken for his
skill in raccoon catching, came to me one day: 'I can't stand this any
longer,' said he; 'we're getting too thick here. Simon Schultz crowds me so
that I have no comfort of my life.'

"'Why, how you talk!' said I; 'Simon Schultz lives twelve miles off.'

"'No matter; his cattle run with mine, and I've no idea of living where
another man's cattle can run with mine. That's too close neighborhood; I
want elbow-room. This country, too, is growing too poor to live in; there's
no game; so two or three of us have made up our minds to follow the buffalo
to the Missouri, and we should like to have you of the party.' Other
hunters of my acquaintance talked in the same manner. This set me thinking;
but the more I thought the more I was perplexed. I had no one to advise
with; old Miller and his associates knew but of one mode of life, and I had
had no experience in any other; but I had a wide scope of thought. When out
hunting alone I used to forget the sport, and sit for hours together on the
trunk of a tree, with rifle in hand, buried in thought, and debating with
myself: 'Shall I go with Jemmy Kiel and his company, or shall I remain
here? If I remain here there will soon be nothing left to hunt; but am I to
be a hunter all my life? Have not I something more in me than to be
carrying a rifle on my shoulder, day after day, and dodging about after
bears, and deer, and other brute beasts?' My vanity told me I had; and I
called to mind my boyish boast to my sister, that I would never return home
until I returned a member of Congress from Kentucky; but was this the way
to fit myself for such a station?

"Various plans passed through my mind, but they were abandoned almost as
soon as formed. At length I determined on becoming a lawyer. True it is, I
knew almost nothing. I had left school before I had learned beyond the
'rule of three.' 'Never mind,' said I to myself, resolutely; 'I am a
terrible fellow for hanging on to anything when I've once made up my mind;
and if a man has but ordinary capacity, and will set to work with heart and
soul, and stick to it, he can do almost anything.' With this maxim, which
has been pretty much my mainstay throughout life, I fortified myself in my
determination to attempt the law. But how was I to set about it? I must
quit this forest life, and go to one or other of the towns, where I might
be able to study, and to attend the courts. This too required funds. I
examined into the state of my finances. The purse given me by my father had
remained untouched, in the bottom of an old chest up in the loft, for money
was scarcely needed in these parts. I had bargained away the skins acquired
in hunting for a horse and various other matters, on which in case of need
I could raise funds. I therefore thought I could make shift to maintain
myself until I was fitted for the bar.

"I informed my worthy host and patron, old Miller, of my plan. He shook his
head at my turning my back upon the woods, when I was in a fair way of
making a first-rate hunter; but he made no effort to dissuade me. I
accordingly set off in September, on horseback, intending to visit
Lexington, Frankfort, and other of the principal towns, in search of a
favorable place to prosecute my studies. My choice was made sooner than I
expected. I had put up one night at Bardstown, and found, on inquiry, that
I could get comfortable board and accommodation in a private family for a
dollar and a half a week. I liked the place, and resolved to look no
further. So the next morning I prepared to turn my face homeward, and take
my final leave of forest life.

"I had taken my breakfast, and was waiting for my horse, when, in pacing up
and down the piazza, I saw a young girl seated near a window, evidently a
visitor. She was very pretty; with auburn hair and blue eyes, and was
dressed in white. I had seen nothing of the kind since I had left Richmond;
and at that time I was too much of a boy to be much struck by female
charms. She was so delicate and dainty-looking, so different from the hale,
buxom, brown girls of the woods; and then her white dress!--it was
perfectly dazzling! Never was poor youth more taken by surprise, and
suddenly bewitched. My heart yearned to know her; but how was I to accost
her? I had grown wild in the woods, and had none of the habitudes of polite
life. Had she been like Peggy Pugh or Sally Pigman, or any other of my
leathern-dressed belles of the Pigeon Roost, I should have approached her
without dread; nay, had she been as fair as Schultz's daughters, with their
looking-glass lockets, I should not have hesitated; but that white dress,
and those auburn ringlets, and blue eyes, and delicate looks, quite
daunted, while they fascinated me. I don't know what put it into my head,
but I thought, all at once, that I would kiss her! It would take a long
acquaintance to arrive at such a boon, but I might seize upon it by sheer
robbery. Nobody knew me here. I would just step in, snatch a kiss, mount my
horse, and ride off. She would not be the worse for it; and that kiss--oh!
I should die if I did not get it!

"I gave no time for the thought to cool, but entered the house, and stepped
lightly into the room. She was seated with her back to the door, looking
out at the window, and did not hear my approach. I tapped her chair, and as
she turned and looked up, I snatched as sweet a kiss as ever was stolen,
and vanished in a twinkling. The next moment I was on horseback, galloping
homeward; my very ears tingling at what I had done.

"On my return home I sold my horse, and turned everything to cash; and
found, with the remains of the paternal purse, that I had nearly four
hundred dollars; a little capital which I resolved to manage with the
strictest economy.

"It was hard parting with old Miller, who had been like a father to me; it
cost me, too, something of a struggle to give up the free, independent
wild-wood life I had hitherto led; but I had marked out my course, and had
never been one to flinch or turn back.

"I footed it sturdily to Bardstown; took possession of the quarters for
which I had bargained, shut myself up, and set to work with might and main
to study. But what a task I had before me! I had everything to learn; not
merely law, but all the elementary branches of knowledge. I read and read,
for sixteen hours out of the four-and-twenty; but the more I read the more
I became aware of my own ignorance, and shed bitter tears over my
deficiency. It seemed as if the wilderness of knowledge expanded and grew
more perplexed as I advanced. Every height gained only revealed a wider
region to be traversed, and nearly filled me with despair. I grew moody,
silent, and unsocial, but studied on doggedly and incessantly. The only
person with whom I held any conversation was the worthy man in whose house
I was quartered. He was honest and well meaning, but perfectly ignorant,
and I believe would have liked me much better if I had not been so much
addicted to reading. He considered all books filled with lies and
impositions, and seldom could look into one without finding something to
rouse his spleen. Nothing put him into a greater passion than the assertion
that the world turned on its own axis every four-and-twenty hours. He swore
it was an outrage upon common sense. 'Why, if it did,' said he, 'there
would not be a drop of water in the well by morning, and all the milk and
cream in the dairy would be turned topsy-turvy! And then to talk of the
earth going round the sun! How do they know it? I've seen the sun rise
every morning and set every evening for more than thirty years. They must
not talk to _me_ about the earth's going round the sun!'

"At another time he was in a perfect fret at being told the distance
between the sun and moon. 'How can any one tell the distance?' cried he.
'Who surveyed it? who carried the chain? By Jupiter! they only talk this
way before me to annoy me. But then there's some people of sense who give
in to this cursed humbug! There's Judge Broadnax, now, one of the best
lawyers we have; isn't it surprising he should believe in such stuff? Why,
sir, the other day I heard him talk of the distance from a star he called
Mars to the sun! He must have got it out of one or other of those
confounded books he's so fond of reading; a book some impudent fellow has
written, who knew nobody could swear the distance was more or less.'

"For my own part, feeling my own deficiency in scientific lore, I never
ventured to unsettle his conviction that the sun made his daily circuit
round the earth; and for aught I said to the contrary, he lived and died in
that belief.

"I had been about a year at Bardstown, living thus studiously and
reclusely, when, as I was one day walking the street, I met two young
girls, in one of whom I immediately recalled the little beauty whom I had
kissed so impudently. She blushed up to the eyes, and so did I; but we both
passed on with further sign of recognition. This second glimpse of her,
however, caused an odd fluttering about my heart. I could not get her out
of my thoughts for days. She quite interfered with my studies. I tried to
think of her as a mere child, but it would not do; she had improved in
beauty, and was tending toward womanhood; and then I myself was but little
better than a stripling. However, I did not attempt to seek after her, or
even to find out who she was, but returned doggedly to my books. By degrees
she faded from my thoughts, or if she did cross them occasionally, it was
only to increase my despondency; for I feared that with all my exertions, I
should never be able to fit myself for the bar, or enable myself to support
a wife.

"One cold stormy evening I was seated, in dumpish mood, in the bar-room of
the inn, looking into the fire, and turning over uncomfortable thoughts,
when I was accosted by some one who had entered the room without my
perceiving it. I looked up, and saw before me a tall and, as I thought,
pompous-looking man, arrayed in small clothes and knee-buckles, with
powdered head, and shoes nicely blacked and polished; a style of dress
unparalleled in those days, in that rough country. I took a pique against
him from the very portliness of his appearance, and stateliness of his
manner, and bristled up as he accosted me. He demanded if my name was not

"I was startled, for I supposed myself perfectly incog.; but I answered in
the affirmative.

"'Your family, I believe, lives in Richmond?'

"My gorge began to rise. 'Yes, sir,' replied I sulkily, 'my family does
live in Richmond.'

"'And what, may I ask, has brought you into this part of the country?'

"'Zounds, sir!' cried I, starting on my feet, 'what business is it of
yours? How dare you to question me in this manner?'

"The entrance of some persons prevented a reply; but I walked up and down
the bar-room, fuming with conscious independence and insulted dignity,
while the pompous-looking personage, who had thus trespassed upon my
spleen, retired without proffering another word.

"The next day, while seated in my room, some one tapped at the door, and,
on being bid to enter, the stranger in the powdered head, small-clothes,
and shining shoes and buckles, walked in with ceremonious courtesy.

"My boyish pride was again in arms; but he subdued me. He was formal, but
kind and friendly. He knew my family and understood my situation, and the
dogged struggle I was making. A little conversation, when my jealous pride
was once put to rest, drew everything from me. He was a lawyer of
experience and of extensive practice, and offered at once to take me with
him, and direct my studies. The offer was too advantageous and gratifying
not to be immediately accepted. From that time I began to look up. I was
put into a proper track, and was enabled to study to a proper purpose. I
made acquaintance, too, with some of the young men of the place, who were
in the same pursuit, and was encouraged at finding that I could 'hold my
own' in argument with them. We instituted a debating club, in which I soon
became prominent and popular. Men of talents, engaged in other pursuits,
joined it, and this diversified our subjects and put me on various tracks
of inquiry. Ladies, too, attended some of our discussions, and this gave
them a polite tone, and had an influence on the manners of the debaters. My
legal patron also may have had a favorable effect in correcting any
roughness contracted in my hunter's life. He was calculated to bend me in
an opposite direction, for he was of the old school; quoted Chesterfield on
all occasions, and talked of Sir Charles Grandison, who was his beau
ideal. It was Sir Charles Grandison, however, Kentuckyized.

"I had always been fond of female society. My experience, however, had
hitherto been among the rough daughters of the backwoodsmen; and I felt an
awe of young ladies in 'store clothes,' and delicately brought up. Two or
three of the married ladies of Bardstown, who had heard me at the debating
club, determined that I was a genius and undertook to bring me out. I
believe I really improved under their hands; became quiet where I had been
shy or sulky, and easy where I had been impudent.

"I called to take tea one evening with one of these ladies, when to my
surprise, and somewhat to my confusion, I found with her the identical
blue-eyed little beauty whom I had so audaciously kissed. I was formally
introduced to her, but neither of us betrayed any sign of previous
acquaintance, except by blushing to the eyes. While tea was getting ready
the lady of the house went out of the room to give some directions, and
left us alone.

"Heavens and earth, what a situation! I would have given all the pittance I
was worth to have been in the deepest dell of the forest. I felt the
necessity of saying something in excuse of my former rudeness, but I could
not conjure up an idea, nor utter a word. Every moment matters were growing
worse. I felt at one time tempted to do as I had done when I robbed her of
the kiss; bolt from the room, and take to flight; but I was chained to the
spot, for I really longed to gain her good-will.

"At length I plucked up courage, on seeing that she was equally confused
with myself, and walking desperately up to her, I exclaimed:

"'I have been trying to muster up something to say to you, but I cannot. I
feel that I am in a horrible scrape. Do have pity on me, and help me out of

"A smile dimpled about her mouth, and played among the blushes of her
cheek. She looked up with a shy, but arch glance of the eye, that expressed
a volume of comic recollection; we both broke into a laugh, and from that
moment all went on well.

"A few evenings afterward I met her at a dance, and prosecuted the
acquaintance. I soon became deeply attached to her; paid my court
regularly; and before I was nineteen years of age had engaged myself to
marry her. I spoke to her mother, a widow lady, to ask her consent. She
seemed to demur; upon which, with my customary haste, I told her there
would be no use in opposing the match, for if her daughter chose to have
me, I would take her, in defiance of her family, and the whole world.

"She laughed, and told me I need not give myself any uneasiness; there
would be no unreasonable opposition. She knew my family and all about me.
The only obstacle was that I had no means of supporting a wife, and she had
nothing to give with her daughter.

"No matter; at that moment everything was bright before me. I was in one of
my sanguine moods. I feared nothing, doubted nothing. So it was agreed that
I should prosecute my studies, obtain a license, and as soon as I should be
fairly launched in business we would be married.

"I now prosecuted my studies with redoubled ardor, and was up to my ears in
law, when I received a letter from my father, who had heard of me and my
whereabout. He applauded the course I had taken, but advised me to lay a
foundation of general knowledge, and offered to defray my expenses, if I
would go to college. I felt the want of a general education, and was
staggered with this offer. It militated somewhat against the self-dependent
course I had so proudly or rather conceitedly marked out for myself, but it
would enable me to enter more advantageously upon my legal career. I talked
over the matter with the lovely girl to whom I was engaged. She sided in
opinion with my father, and talked so disinterestedly, yet tenderly, that,
if possible, I loved her more than ever. I reluctantly, therefore, agreed
to go to college for a couple of years, though it must necessarily postpone
our union.

"Scarcely had I formed this resolution, when her mother was taken ill and
died, leaving her without a protector. This again altered all my plans. I
felt as if I could protect her. I gave up all idea of collegiate studies;
persuaded myself that by dint of industry and application I might overcome
the deficiencies of education, and resolved to take out a license as soon
as possible.

"That very autumn I was admitted to the bar, and within a month afterward
was married. We were a young couple, she not much above sixteen, I not
quite twenty; and both almost without a dollar in the world. The
establishment which we set up was suited to our circumstances: a log-house,
with two small rooms; a bed, a table, a half dozen chairs, a half dozen
knives and forks, a half dozen spoons; everything by half dozens; a little
delf ware; everything in a small way; we were so poor, but then so happy!

"We had not been married many days, when court was held at a county town,
about twenty-five miles distant. It was necessary for me to go there, and
put myself in the way of business; but how was I to go? I had expended all
my means on our establishment; and then it was hard parting with my wife so
soon after marriage. However, go I must. Money must be made, or we should
soon have the wolf at the door. I accordingly borrowed a horse, and
borrowed a little cash, and rode off from my door, leaving my wife standing
at it, and waving her hand after me. Her last look, so sweet and beaming,
went to my heart. I felt as if I could go through fire and water for her.

"I arrived at the county town on a cool October evening. The inn was
crowded, for the court was to commence on the following day. I knew no one,
and wondered how I, a stranger, and a mere youngster, was to make my way in
such a crowd, and to get business. The public room was thronged with the
idlers of the country, who gather together on such occasions. There was
some drinking going forward, with much noise, and a little altercation.
Just as I entered the room I saw a rough bully of a fellow, who was partly
intoxicated, strike an old man. He came swaggering by me, and elbowed me as
he passed. I immediately knocked him down, and kicked him into the street.
I needed no better introduction. In a moment I had a dozen rough shakes of
the hand, and invitations to drink, and found myself quite a personage in
this rough assembly.

"The next morning the court opened. I took my seat among the lawyers, but
felt as a mere spectator, not having a suit in progress or prospect, nor
having any idea where business was to come from. In the course of the
morning a man was put at the bar, charged with passing counterfeit money,
and was asked if he was ready for trial. He answered in the negative. He
had been confined in a place where there were no lawyers, and had not had
an opportunity of consulting any. He was told to choose counsel from the
lawyers present, and to be ready for trial on the following day. He looked
round the court and selected me. I was thunderstruck. I could not tell why
he should make such a choice. I, a beardless youngster; unpracticed at the
bar; perfectly unknown. I felt diffident yet delighted, and could have
hugged the rascal.

"Before leaving the court he gave me one hundred dollars in a bag as a
retaining fee. I could scarcely believe my senses; it seemed like a dream.
The heaviness of the fee spoke but lightly in favor of his innocence, but
that was no affair of mine. I was to be advocate, not judge nor jury. I
followed him to jail, and learned from him all the particulars of his case;
from thence I went to the clerk's office and took minutes of the
indictment. I then examined the law on the subject, and prepared my brief
in my room. All this occupied me until midnight, when I went to bed and
tried to sleep. It was all in vain. Never in my life was I more wide-awake.
A host of thoughts and fancies kept rushing through my mind; the shower of
gold that had so unexpectedly fallen into my lap; the idea of my poor
little wife at home, that I was to astonish with my good fortune! But then
the awful responsibility I had undertaken!--to speak for the first time in
a strange court; the expectations the culprit had evidently formed of my
talents; all these, and a crowd of similar notions, kept whirling through
my mind. I tossed about all night, fearing the morning would find me
exhausted and incompetent; in a word, the day dawned on me, a miserable

"I got up feverish and nervous. I walked out before breakfast, striving to
collect my thoughts and tranquilize my feelings. It was a bright morning;
the air was pure and frosty. I bathed my forehead and my hands in a
beautiful running stream; but I could not allay the fever heat that raged
within. I returned to breakfast, but could not eat. A single cup of coffee
formed my repast. It was time to go to court, and I went there with a
throbbing heart. I believe if it had not been for the thoughts of my little
wife, in her lonely log house, I should have given back to the man his
hundred dollars, and relinquished the cause. I took my seat, looking, I am
convinced, more like a culprit than the rogue I was to defend.

"When the time came for me to speak, my heart died within me. I rose
embarrassed and dismayed, and stammered in opening my cause. I went on from
bad to worse, and felt as if I was going down hill. Just then the public
prosecutor, a man of talents, but somewhat rough in his practice, made a
sarcastic remark on something I had said. It was like an electric spark,
and ran tingling through every vein in my body. In an instant my diffidence
was gone. My whole spirit was in arms. I answered with promptness and
bitterness, for I felt the cruelty of such an attack upon a novice in my
situation. The public prosecutor made a kind of apology: this, from a man
of his redoubted powers, was a vast concession. I renewed my argument with
a fearless glow; carried the case through triumphantly, and the man was

"This was the making of me. Everybody was curious to know who this new
lawyer was, that had thus suddenly risen among them, and bearded the
attorney-general at the very outset. The story of my debut at the inn on
the preceding evening, when I had knocked down a bully, and kicked him out
of doors for striking an old man, was circulated with favorable
exaggerations. Even my very beardless chin and juvenile countenance were in
my favor, for people gave me far more credit than I really deserved. The
chance business which occurs in our country courts came thronging upon me.
I was repeatedly employed in other causes; and by Saturday night, when the
court closed, and I had paid my bill at the inn, I found myself with a
hundred and fifty dollars in silver, three hundred dollars in notes, and a
horse that I afterward sold for two hundred dollars more.

"Never did miser gloat on his money with more delight. I locked the door of
my room; piled the money in a heap upon the table; walked round it; sat
with my elbows on the table, and my chin upon my hands, and gazed upon it.
Was I thinking of the money? No! I was thinking of my little wife at home.
Another sleepless night ensued; but what a night of golden fancies, and
splendid air-castle! As soon as morning dawned, I was up, mounted the
borrowed horse with which I had come to court, and led the other which I
had received as a fee. All the way I was delighting myself with the
thoughts of the surprise I had in store for my little wife; for both of us
had expected nothing but that I should spend all the money I had borrowed,
and should return in debt.

"Our meeting was joyous, as you may suppose: but I played the part of the
Indian, hunter, who, when he returns from the chase, never for a time
speaks of his success. She had prepared a snug little rustic meal for me,
and while it was getting ready I seated myself at an old-fashioned desk in
one corner, and began to count over my money, and put it away. She came to
me before I had finished, and asked who I had collected the money for.

"'For myself, to be sure,' replied I, with affected coolness; 'I made it at

"She looked me for a moment in the face, incredulously. I tried to keep my
countenance, and to play Indian, but it would not do. My muscles began to
twitch; my feelings all at once gave way. I caught her in my arms; laughed,
cried, and danced about the room, like a crazy man. From that time forward,
we never wanted for money.

"I had not been long in successful practice, when I was surprised one day
by a visit from my woodland patron, old Miller. The tidings of my
prosperity had reached him in the wilderness, and he had walked one hundred
and fifty miles on foot to see me. By that tame I had improved my domestic
establishment, and had all things comfortable about me. He looked around
him with a wondering eye, at what he considered luxuries and superfluities;
but supposed they were all right in my altered circumstances. He said he
did not know, upon the whole, but that I had acted for the best It is true,
if game had continued plenty, it would have been a folly for me to quit a
hunter's life; but hunting was pretty nigh done up in Kentucky. The buffalo
had gone to Missouri; the elk were nearly gone also; deer, too, were
growing scarce; they might last out his time, as he was growing old, but
they were not worth setting up life upon. He had once lived on the borders
of Virginia. Game grew scarce there; he followed it up across Kentucky, and
now it was again giving him the slip; but he was too old to follow it

"He remained with us three days. My wife did everything in her power to
make him comfortable; but at the end of that time he said he must be off
again to the woods. He was tired of the village, and of having so many
people about him. He accordingly returned to the wilderness and to hunting
life. But I fear he did not make a good end of it; for I understand that a
few years before his death he married Sukey Thomas, who lived at the White
Oak Run."


From the time of the chimerical cruising of Old Ponce de Leon in search of
the Fountain of Youth, the avaricious expedition of Pamphilo de Narvaez in
quest of gold, and the chivalrous enterprise of Hernando de Soto, to
discover and conquer a second Mexico, the natives of Florida have been
continually subjected to the invasions and encroachments of white men. They
have resisted them perseveringly but fruitlessly, and are now battling amid
swamps and morasses for the last foothold of their native soil, with all
the ferocity of despair. Can we wonder at the bitterness of a hostility
that has been handed down from father to son, for upward of three
centuries, and exasperated by the wrongs and miseries of each succeeding
generation! The very name of the savages with which we are fighting
betokens their fallen and homeless condition. Formed of the wrecks of once
powerful tribes, and driven from their ancient seats of prosperity and
dominion, they are known by the name of the Seminoles, or "Wanderers."

Bartram, who traveled through Florida in the latter part of the last
century, speaks of passing through a great extent of ancient Indian fields,
now silent and deserted, overgrown with forests, orange groves, and rank
vegetation, the site of the ancient Alachua, the capital of a famous and
powerful tribe, who in days of old could assemble thousands at bull-play
and other athletic exercises "over these then happy fields and green
plains." "Almost every step we take," adds he, "over these fertile heights,
discovers the remains and traces of ancient human habitations and

About the year 1763, when Florida was ceded by the Spaniards to the
English, we are told that the Indians generally retired from the towns and
the neighborhood of the whites, and burying themselves in the deep forests,
intricate swamps and hommocks, and vast savannas of the interior, devoted
themselves to a pastoral life, and the rearing of horses and cattle. These
are the people that received the name of the Seminoles, or Wanderers, which
they still retain.

Bartram gives a pleasing picture of them at the time he visited them in
their wilderness; where their distance from the abodes of the white man
gave them a transient quiet and security. "This handful of people," says
he, "possesses a vast territory, all East and the greatest part of West
Florida, which being naturally cut and divided into thousands of islets,
knolls, and eminences, by the innumerable rivers, lakes, swamps, vast
savannas, and ponds, form so many secure retreats and temporary
dwelling-places that effectually guard them from any sudden invasions or
attacks from their enemies; and being such a swampy, hommocky country,
furnishes such a plenty and variety of supplies for the nourishment of
varieties of animals that I can venture to assert that no part of the globe
so abounds with wild game, or creatures fit for the food of man.

"Thus they enjoy a superabundance of the necessaries and conveniences of
life, with the security of person and property, the two great concerns of
mankind. The hides of deer, bears, tigers, and wolves, together with honey,
wax, and other productions of the country, purchase their clothing equipage
and domestic utensils from the whites. They seem to be free from want or
desires. No cruel enemy to dread; nothing to give them disquietude but the
gradual encroachments of the white people. Thus contented and undisturbed,
they appear as blithe and free as the birds of the air, and like them as
volatile and active, tuneful and vociferous. The visage, action, and
deportment of the Seminoles form the most striking picture of happiness in
this life; joy, contentment, love, and friendship, without guile or
affectation, seem inherent in them, or predominant in their vital
principle, for it leaves them with but the last breath of life.... They are
fond of games and gambling, and amuse themselves like children, in relating
extravagant stories, to cause surprise and mirth." [Footnote: Bartram's
Travels in North America.]

The same writer gives an engaging picture of his treatment by these

"Soon after entering the forests, we were met in the path by a small
company of Indians, smiling and beckoning to us long before we joined them.
This was a family of Talahasochte, who had been out on a hunt and were
returning home loaded with barbecued meat, hides, and honey. Their company
consisted of the man, his wife and children, well mounted on fine horses,
with a number of pack-horses. The man offered us a fawn skin of honey,
which I accepted, and at parting presented him with some fish-hooks,
sewing-needles, etc.

"On our return to camp in the evening, we were saluted by a party of young
Indian warriors, who had pitched their tents on a green eminence near the
lake, at a small distance from our camp, under a little grove of oaks and
palms. This company consisted of seven young Seminoles, under the conduct
of a young prince or chief of Talahasochte, a town southward in the
isthmus. They were all dressed and painted with singular elegance, and
richly ornamented with silver plates, chains, etc., after the Seminole
mode, with waving plumes of feathers on their crests. On our coming up to
them, they arose and shook hands; we alighted and sat a while with them by
their cheerful fire.

"The young prince informed our chief that he was in pursuit of a young
fellow who had fled from the town carrying off with him one of his favorite
young wives. He said, merrily, he would have the ears of both of them
before he returned. He was rather above the middle stature, and the most
perfect human figure I ever saw; of an amiable, engaging countenance, air,
and deportment; free and familiar in conversation, yet retaining a becoming
gracefulness and dignity. We arose, took leave of them, and crossed a
little vale, covered with a charming green turf, already illuminated by the
soft light of the full moon.

"Soon after joining our companions at camp, our neighbors, the prince and
his associates, paid us a visit. We treated them with the best fare we had,
having till this time preserved our spirituous liquors. They left us with
perfect cordiality and cheerfulness, wishing us a good repose, and retired
to their own camp. Having a band of music with them, consisting of a drum,
flutes, and a rattle-gourd, they entertained us during the night with their
music, vocal and instrumental.

"There is a languishing softness and melancholy air in the Indian convivial
songs, especially of the amorous class, irresistibly moving attention, and
exquisitely pleasing, especially in their solitary recesses, when all
nature is silent."

Travelers who have been among them, in more recent times, before they had
embarked in their present desperate struggle, represent them in much the
same light; as leading a pleasant, indolent life, in a climate that
required little shelter or clothing, and where the spontaneous fruits of
the earth furnished subsistence without toil. A cleanly race, delighting in
bathing, passing much of their time under the shade of their trees, with
heaps of oranges and other fine fruits for their refreshment; talking,
laughing, dancing and sleeping. Every chief had a fan hanging to his side,
made of feathers of the wild turkey, the beautiful pink-colored crane, or
the scarlet flamingo. With this he would sit and fan himself with great
stateliness, while the young people danced before him. The women joined in
the dances with the men, excepting the war-dances. They wore strings of
tortoise-shells and pebbles round their legs, which rattled in cadence to
the music. They were treated with more attention among the Seminoles than
among most Indian tribes.



When the Floridas were erected into a territory of the United States, one
of the earliest cares of the Governor, William P. Duval, was directed to
the instruction and civilization of the natives. For this purpose he called
a meeting of the chiefs, in which he informed them of the wish of their
Great Father at Washington that they should have schools and teachers among
them, and that their children should be instructed like the children of
white men. The chiefs listened with their customary silence and decorum to
a long speech, setting forth the advantages that would accrue to them from
this measure, and when he had concluded, begged the interval of a day to
deliberate on it.

On the following day a solemn convocation was held, at which one of the
chiefs addressed the governor in the name of all the rest. "My brother,"
said he, "we have been thinking over the proposition of our Great Father at
Washington, to send teachers and set up schools among us. We are very
thankful for the interest be takes in our welfare; but after much
deliberation have concluded to decline his offer. What will do very well
for white men will not do for red men. I know you white men say we all come
from the same father and mother, but you are mistaken. We have a tradition
handed down from our forefathers, and we believe it, that the Great Spirit,
when he undertook to make men, made the black man; it was his first
attempt, and pretty well for a beginning; but he soon saw he had bungled;
so he determined to try his hand again. He did so, and made the red man. He
liked him much better than the black man, but still he was not exactly what
he wanted. So he tried once more, and made the white man; and then he was
satisfied. You see, therefore, that you were made last, and that is the
reason I call you my youngest brother.

"When the Great Spirit had made the three men, he called them together and
showed them three boxes. The first was filled with books, and maps, and
papers; the second with bows and arrows, knives and tomahawks; the third
with spades, axes, hoes, and hammers. 'These, my sons,' said he, 'are the
means by which you are to live: choose among them according to your fancy.'

"The white man, being the favorite, had the first choice. He passed by the
box of working-tools without notice; but when he came to the weapons for
war and hunting, he stopped and looked hard at them. The red man trembled,
for he had set his heart upon that box. The white man, however, after
looking upon it for a moment, passed on, and chose the box of books and
papers. The red man's turn came next; and you may be sure he seized with
joy upon the bows and arrows and tomahawks. As to the black man, he had no
choice left but to put up with the box of tools.

"From this it is clear that the Great Spirit intended the white man should
learn to read and write; to understand all about the moon and stars; and to
make everything, even rum and whisky. That the red man should be a
first-rate hunter, and a mighty warrior, but he was not to learn anything
from books, as the Great Spirit had not given him any: nor was he to make
rum and whisky, lest he should kill himself with drinking. As to the black
man, as he had nothing but working-tools, it was clear he was to work for
the white and red man, which he has continued to do.

"We must go according to the wishes of the Great Spirit, or we shall get
into trouble. To know how to read and write is very good for white men, but
very bad for red men. It makes white men better, but red men worse. Some of
the Creeks and Cherokees learned to read and write, and they are the
greatest rascals among all the Indians. They went on to Washington, and
said they were going to see their Great Father, to talk about the good of
the nation. And when they got there, they all wrote upon a little piece of
paper, without the nation at home knowing anything about it. And the first
thing the nation at home knew of the matter, they were called together by
the Indian agent, who showed them a little piece of paper, which he told
them was a treaty, which their brethren had made in their name, with their
Great Father at Washington. And as they knew not what a treaty was, he held
up the little piece of paper, and they looked under it, and lo! it covered
a great extent of country, and they found that their brethren, by knowing
how to read and write, had sold their houses and their lands and the graves
of their fathers; and that the white man, by knowing how to read and write,
had gained them. Tell our Great Father at Washington, therefore, that we
are very sorry we cannot receive teachers among us; for reading and
writing, though very good for white men, is very bad for the Indians."



In the autumn of 1823, Governor Duval, and other commissioners on the part
of the United States, concluded a treaty with the chiefs and warriors of
the Florida Indians, by which the latter, for certain considerations, ceded
all claims to the whole territory, excepting a district in the eastern
part, to which they were to remove, and within which they were to reside
for twenty years. Several of the chiefs signed the treaty with great
reluctance; but none opposed it more strongly than Neamathla, principal
chief of the Mickasookies, a fierce and warlike people, many of them Creeks
by origin, who lived about the Mickasookie lake. Neamathla had always been
active in those depredations on the frontiers of Georgia which had brought
vengeance and ruin on the Seminoles. He was a remarkable man; upward of
sixty years of age, about six feet high, with a fine eye, and a strongly
marked countenance, over which he possessed great command. His hatred of
the white men appeared to be mixed with contempt: on the common people he
looked down with infinite scorn. He seemed unwilling to acknowledge any
superiority of rank or dignity in Governor Duval, claiming to associate
with him on terms of equality, as two great chieftains. Though he had been
prevailed upon to sign the treaty, his heart revolted at it. In one of his
frank conversations with Governor Duval, he observed: "This country belongs
to the red man; and if I had the number of warriors at my command that this
nation once had I would not leave a white man on my lands. I would
exterminate the whole. I can say this to you, for you can understand me:
you are a man; but I would not say it to your people. They'd cry out I was
a savage, and would take my life. They cannot appreciate the feelings of a
man that loves his country."

As Florida had but recently been erected into a territory, everything as
yet was in rude and simple style. The governor, to make himself acquainted
with the Indians, and to be near at hand to keep an eye upon them, fixed
his residence at Tallahassee, near the Fowel towns, inhabited by the
Mickasookies. His government palace for a time was a mere log house, and he
lived on hunters' fare. The village of Neamathla was but about three miles
off, and thither the governor occasionally rode, to visit the old
chieftain. In one of these visits he found Neamathla seated in his wigwam,
in the center of the village, surrounded by his warriors. The governor had
brought him some liquor as a present, but it mounted quickly into his brain
and rendered him quite boastful and belligerent. The theme ever uppermost
in his mind was the treaty with the whites. "It was true," he said, "the
red men had made such a treaty, but the white men had not acted up to it.
The red men had received none of the money and the cattle that had been
promised them: the treaty, therefore, was at an end, and they did not mean
to be bound by it."

Governor Duval calmly represented to him that the time appointed in the
treaty for the payment and delivery of the money and the cattle had not yet
arrived. This the old chieftain knew full well, but he chose, for the
moment, to pretend ignorance. He kept on drinking and talking, his voice
growing louder and louder, until it resounded all over the village. He held
in his hand a long knife, with which he had been rasping tobacco; this he
kept flourishing backward and forward, as he talked, by way of giving
effect to his words, brandishing it at times within an inch of the
governor's throat. He concluded his tirade by repeating that the country
belonged to the red men, and that sooner than give it up his bones and the
bones of his people should bleach upon its soil.

Duval saw that the object of all this bluster was to see whether he could
be intimidated. He kept his eye, therefore, fixed steadily on the chief,
and the moment he concluded with his menace, seized him by the bosom of his
hunting shirt, and clinching his other fist:

"I've heard what you have said," replied he. "You have made a treaty, yet
you say your bones shall bleach before you comply with it. As sure as there
is a sun in heaven, your bones _shall_ bleach, if you do not fulfill
every article of that treaty I I'll let you know that I am _first_
here, and will see that you do your duty!"

Upon this, the old chieftain threw himself back, burst into a fit of
laughing, and declared that all he had said was in joke. The governor
suspected, however, that there was a grave meaning at the bottom of this

For two months, everything went on smoothly: the Indians repaired daily to
the log-cabin palace of the governor, at Tallahassee, and appeared
perfectly contented. All at once they ceased their visits, and for three or
four days not one was to be seen. Governor Duval began to apprehend that
some mischief was brewing. On the evening of the fourth day a chief named
Yellow-Hair, a resolute, intelligent fellow, who had always evinced an
attachment for the governor, entered his cabin about twelve o'clock at
night, and informed him that between four and five hundred warriors,
painted and decorated, were assembled to hold a secret war-talk at
Neamathla's town. He had slipped off to give intelligence, at the risk of
his life, and hastened back lest his absence should be discovered.

Governor Duval passed an anxious night after this intelligence. He knew the
talent and the daring character of Neamathla; he recollected the threats he
had thrown out; he reflected that about eighty white families were
scattered widely apart, over a great extent of country, and might be swept
away at once, should the Indians, as he feared, determine to clear the
country. That he did not exaggerate the dangers of the case has been proved
by the horrid scenes of Indian warfare that have since desolated that
devoted region. After a night of sleepless cogitation, Duval determined on
a measure suited to his prompt and resolute character. Knowing the
admiration of the savages for personal courage, he determined, by a sudden
surprise, to endeavor to overawe and check them. It was hazarding much; but
where so many lives were in jeopardy, he felt bound to incur the hazard.

Accordingly, on the next morning, he set off on horseback, attended merely
by a white man who had been reared among the Seminoles, and understood
their language and manners, and who acted as interpreter. They struck into
an Indian "trail," leading to Neamathla's village. After proceeding about
half a mile, Governor Duval informed the interpreter of the object of his
expedition. The latter, though a bold man, paused and remonstrated. The
Indians among whom they were going were among the most desperate and
discontented of the nation. Many of them were veteran warriors,
impoverished and exasperated by defeat, and ready to set their lives at any
hazard. He said that if they were holding a war council, it must be with
desperate intent, and it would be certain death to intrude among them.

Duval made light of his apprehensions: he said he was perfectly well
acquainted with the Indian character, and should certainly proceed. So
saying, he rode on. When within half a mile of the village, the interpreter
addressed him again, in such a tremulous tone that Duval turned and looked
him in the face. He was deadly pale, and once more urged the governor to
return, as they would certainly be massacred if they proceeded.

Duval repeated his determination to go on, but advised the other to return,
lest his pale face should betray fear to the Indians, and they might take
advantage of it. The interpreter replied that he would rather die a
thousand deaths than have it said he had deserted his leader when in peril.

Duval then told him he must translate faithfully all he should say to the
Indians, without softening a word. The interpreter promised faithfully to
do so, adding that he well knew, when they were once in the town, nothing
but boldness could save them.

They now rode into the village, and advanced to the council house. This was
rather a group of four houses, forming a square, in the center of which was
a great council-fire. The houses were open in front, toward the fire, and
closed in the rear. At each corner of the square there was an interval
between the houses, for ingress and egress. In these houses sat the old men
and the chiefs; the young men were gathered round the fire. Neamathla
presided at the council, elevated on a higher seat than the rest.

Governor Duval entered by one of the corner intervals, and rode boldly into
the center of the square. The young men made way for him; an old man who
was speaking paused in the midst of his harangue. In an instant thirty or
forty rifles were cocked and leveled. Never had Duval heard so loud a click
of triggers; it seemed to strike on his heart. He gave one glance at the
Indians, and turned off with an air of contempt. He did not dare, he says,
to look again, lest it might affect his nerves; and on the firmness of his
nerves everything depended.

The chief threw up his arm. The rifles were lowered. Duval breathed more
freely: he felt disposed to leap from his horse, but restrained himself,
and dismounted leisurely. He then walked deliberately up to Neamathla, and
demanded, in an authoritative tone, what were his motives for holding that
council. The moment he made this demand the orator sat down. The chief made
no reply, but hung his head in apparent confusion. After a moment's pause,
Duval proceeded:

"I am well aware of the meaning of this war-council; and deem it my duty to
warn you against prosecuting the schemes you have been devising. If a
single hair of a white man in this country falls to the ground, I will hang
you and your chiefs on the trees around your council house! You cannot
pretend to withstand the power of the white men. You are in the palm of the
hand of your Great Father at Washington, who can crush you like an
egg-shell. You may kill me: I am but one man; but recollect, white men are
numerous as the leaves on the trees. Remember the fate of your warriors
whose bones are whitening in battlefields. Remember your wives and children
who perished in swamps. Do you want to provoke more hostilities? Another
war with the white men, and there will not be a Seminole left to tell the
story of his race."

Seeing the effect of his words, he concluded by appointing a day for the
Indians to meet him at St. Marks, and give an account of their conduct. He
then rode off, without giving them time to recover from their surprise.
That night he rode forty miles to Apalachicola River, to the tribe of the
same name, who were in feud with the Seminoles. They promptly put two
hundred and fifty warriors at his disposal, whom he ordered to be at St.
Marks at the appointed day. He sent out runners, also, and mustered one
hundred of the militia to repair to the same place, together with a number
of regulars from the army. All his arrangements were successful.

Having taken these measures, he returned to Tallahassee, to the
neighborhood of the conspirators, to show them that he was not afraid. Here
he ascertained, through Yellow-Hair, that nine towns were disaffected, and
had been concerned in the conspiracy. He was careful to inform himself,
from the same source, of the names of the warriors in each of those towns
who were most popular, though poor, and destitute of rank and command.

When the appointed day was at hand for the meeting at St. Marks, Governor
Duval set off with Neamathla, who was at the head of eight or nine hundred
warriors, but who feared to venture into the fort without him. As they
entered the fort, and saw troops and militia drawn up there, and a force of
Apalachicola soldiers stationed on the opposite bank of the river, they
thought they were betrayed, and were about to fly; but Duval assured them
they were safe, and that when the talk was over they might go home

A grand talk was now held, in which the late conspiracy was discussed. As
he had foreseen, Neamathla and the other old chiefs threw all the blame
upon the young men, "Well," replied Duval, "with us white men, when we find
a man incompetent to govern those under him, we put him down, and appoint
another in his place. Now as you all acknowledge you cannot manage your
young men, we must put chiefs over them who can."

So saying, he deposed Neamathla first; appointing another in his place; and
so on with all the rest; taking care to substitute the warriors who had
been pointed out to him as poor and popular; putting medals round their
necks, and investing them with great ceremony. The Indians were surprised
and delighted at finding the appointments fall upon the very men they would
themselves have chosen, and hailed them with acclamations. The warriors
thus unexpectedly elevated to command, and clothed with dignity, were
secured to the interests of the governor, and sure to keep an eye on the
disaffected. As to the great chief Neamathla, he left the country in
disgust, and returned to the Creek nation, who elected him a chief of one
of their towns. Thus by the resolute spirit and prompt sagacity of one man,
a dangerous conspiracy was completely defeated. Governor Duval was
afterward enabled to remove the whole nation, through his own personal
influence, without the aid of the general government.

To the Editor of the Knickerbocker:

SIR--The following letter was scribbled to a friend during my sojourn in
the Alhambra, in 1828. As it presents scenes and impressions noted down at
the time, I venture to offer it for the consideration of your readers.
Should it prove acceptable, I may from tune to time give other letters,
written in the course of my various ramblings, and which have been kindly
restored to me by my friends.

Yours, G. C.


GRANADA, 1828.

My Dear--: Religious festivals furnish, in all Catholic countries,
occasions of popular pageant and recreation; but in none more so than in
Spain, where the great end of religion seems to be to create holidays and
ceremonials. For two days past, Granada has been in a gay turmoil with the
great annual fete of Corpus Christi. This most eventful and romantic city,
as you well know, has ever been the rallying point of a mountainous region,
studded with small towns and villages. Hither, during the time that Granada
was the splendid capital of a Moorish kingdom, the Moslem youth repaired
from all points, to participate in chivalrous festivities; and hither the
Spanish populace at the present day throng from all parts of the
surrounding country to attend the festivals of the church.

As the populace like to enjoy things from the very commencement, the stir
of Corpus Christ! began in Granada on the preceding evening. Before dark
the gates of the city were thronged with the picturesque peasantry from the
mountain villages, and the brown laborers from the Vega, or vast fertile
plain. As the evening advanced, the Vivarambla thickened and swarmed with a
motley multitude. This is the great square in the center of the city,
famous for tilts and tourneys during the times of Moorish domination, and
incessantly mentioned in all the old Moorish ballads of love and chivalry.
For several days the hammer had resounded throughout this square. A gallery
of wood had been erected all round it, forming a covered way for the grand
procession of Corpus Christi. On this eve of the ceremonial this gallery
was a fashionable promenade. It was brilliantly illuminated, bands of music
were stationed in balconies on the four sides of the square, and all the
fashion and beauty of Granada, and all its population that could boast a
little finery of apparel, together with the majos and majas, the beaux and
belles of the villages, in their gay Andalusian costumes, thronged this
covered walk, anxious to see and to be seen. As to the sturdy peasantry of
the Vega, and such of the mountaineers as did not pretend to display, but
were content with hearty enjoyment, they swarmed in the center of the
square; some in groups listening to the guitar and the traditional ballad;
some dancing their favorite bolero; some seated on the ground making a
merry though frugal supper; and some stretched out for their night's

The gay crowd of the gallery dispersed gradually toward midnight; but the
center of the square resembled the bivouac of an army; for hundreds of the
peasantry, men, women, and children, passed the night there, sleeping
soundly on the bare earth, under the open canopy of heaven. A summer's
night requires no shelter in this genial climate; and with a great part of
the hardy peasantry of Spain a bed is a superfluity which many of them
never enjoy, and which they affect to despise. The common Spaniard spreads
out his manta, or mule-cloth, or wraps himself in his cloak, and lies on
the ground, with his saddle for a pillow.

The next morning I revisited the square at sunrise. It was still strewed
with groups of sleepers; some were reposing from the dance and revel of the
evening; others had left their villages after work, on the preceding day,
and having trudged on foot the greater part of the night, were taking a
sound sleep to freshen them for the festivities of the day. Numbers from
the mountains, and the remote villages of the plain, who had set out in the
night, continued to arrive, with their wives and children. All were in high
spirits; greeting each other, and exchanging jokes and pleasantries. The
gay tumult thickened as the day advanced. Now came pouring in at the city
gates, and parading through the streets, the deputations from the various
villages, destined to swell the grand procession. These village deputations
were headed by their priests, bearing their respective crosses and banners,
and images of the Blessed Virgin and of patron saints; all which were
matters of great rivalship and jealousy among the peasantry. It was like
the chivalrous gatherings of ancient days, when each town and village sent
its chiefs, and warriors, and standards, to defend the capital or grace its

At length, all these various detachments congregated into one grand
pageant, which slowly paraded round the Vivarambla, and through the
principal streets, where every window and balcony was hung with tapestry.
In this procession were all the religious orders, the civil and military
authorities, and the chief people of the parishes and villages; every
church and convent had contributed its banners, its images, its relics, and
poured forth its wealth for the occasion. In the center of the procession
walked the archbishop, under a damask canopy, and surrounded by inferior
dignitaries and their dependents. The whole moved to the swell and cadence
of numerous bands of music, and, passing through the midst of a countless
yet silent multitude, proceeded onward to the cathedral.

I could not but be struck with the changes of times and customs, as I saw
this monkish pageant passing through the Vivarambla, the ancient seat of
Moslem pomp and chivalry. The contrast was indeed forced upon the mind by
the decorations of the square. The whole front of the wooden gallery
erected for the procession, extending several hundred feet, was faced with
canvas, on which some humble though patriotic artist had painted, by
contract, a series of the principal scenes and exploits of the conquest, as
recorded in chronicle and romance. It is thus the romantic legends of
Granada mingle themselves with everything, and are kept fresh in the public
mind. Another great festival at Granada, answering in its popular character
to our Fourth of July, is _El Dia de la Toma_; "The day of the
Capture"; that is to say, the anniversary of the capture of the city by
Ferdinand and Isabella. On this day all Granada is abandoned to revelry.
The alarm-bell on the Terre de la Campana, or watch-tower of the Alhambra,
keeps up a clangor from morn till night; and happy is the damsel that can
ring that bell; it is a charm to secure a husband in the course of the

The sound, which can be heard over the whole Vega, and to the top of the
mountains, summons the peasantry to the festivities. Throughout the day the
Alhambra is thrown open to the public. The halls and courts of the Moorish
monarchs resound with the guitar and castanet, and gay groups, in the
fanciful dresses of Andalusia, perform those popular dances which they have
inherited from the Moors.

In the meantime a grand procession moves through the city. The banner of
Ferdinand and Isabella, that precious relic of the conquest, is brought
forth from its depository, and borne by the Alferez Mayor, or grand
standard-bearer, through the principal streets. The portable camp-altar,
which was carried about with them in all their campaigns, is transported
into the chapel royal, and placed before their sepulcher, where their
effigies lie in monumental marble. The procession fills the chapel. High
mass is performed in memory of the conquest; and at a certain part of the
ceremony the Alferez Mayor puts on his hat, and waves the standard above
the tomb of the conquerors.

A more whimsical memorial of the conquest is exhibited on the same evening
at the theater, where a popular drama is performed, entitled "Ave Maria."
This turns on the oft-sung achievement of Hernando del Pulgar, surnamed El
de las Hazanas, "He of the Exploits," the favorite hero of the populace of

During the time that Ferdinand and Isabella besieged the city, the young
Moorish and Spanish knights vied with each other in extravagant bravadoes.
On one occasion Hernando del Pulgar, at the head of a handful of youthful
followers, made a dash into Granada at the dead of night, nailed the
inscription of Ave Maria, with his dagger, to the gate of the principal
mosque, as a token of having consecrated it to the Virgin, and effected his
retreat in safety.

While the Moorish cavaliers admired this daring exploit, they felt bound to
revenge it. On the following day, therefore, Tarfe, one of the stoutest of
the infidel warriors, paraded in front of the Christian army, dragging the
sacred inscription of Ave Maria at his horse's tail. The cause of the
Virgin was eagerly vindicated by Garcilaso de la Vega, who slew the Moor in
single combat, and elevated the inscription of Ave Maria, in devotion and
triumph, at the end of his lance.

The drama founded on this exploit is prodigiously popular with the common
people. Although it has been acted time out of mind, and the people have
seen it repeatedly, it never fails to draw crowds, and so completely to
engross the feelings of the audience, as to have almost the effect on them
of reality. When their favorite Pulgar strides about with many a mouthy
speech, in the very midst of the Moorish capital, he is cheered with
enthusiastic bravoes; and when he nails the tablet of Ave Maria to the door
of the mosque, the theater absolutely shakes with shouts and thunders of
applause. On the other hand, the actors who play the part of the Moors have
to bear the brunt of the temporary indignation of their auditors; and when
the infidel Tarfe plucks down the tablet to tie it to his horse's tail,
many of the people absolutely rise in fury, and are ready to jump upon the
stage to revenge this insult to the Virgin.

Besides this annual festival at the capital, almost every village of the
Vega and the mountains has its own anniversary, wherein its own deliverance
from the Moorish yoke is celebrated with uncouth ceremony and rustic pomp.

On these occasions a kind of resurrection takes place of ancient Spanish
dresses and armor; great two-handed swords, ponderous arquebuses, with
matchlocks, and other weapons and accouterments, once the equipments of the
village chivalry, and treasured up from generation to generation, since the
time of the conquest. In these hereditary and historical garbs some of the
most sturdy of the villagers array themselves as champions of the faith,
while its ancient opponents are represented by another band of villagers,
dressed up as Moorish warriors. A tent is pitched in the public square of
the village, within which is an altar and an image of the Virgin. The
Spanish warriors approach to perform their devotions at this shrine, but
are opposed by the infidel Moslems, who surround the tent. A mock fight
succeeds, in the course of which the combatants sometimes forget that they
are merely playing a part, and exchange dry blows of grievous weight; the
fictious Moors especially are apt to bear away pretty evident marks of the
pious zeal of their antagonists. The contest, however, invariably
terminates in favor of the good cause. The Moors are defeated and taken
prisoners. The image of the Virgin, rescued from thralldom, is elevated in
triumph; and a grand procession succeeds, in which the Spanish conquerors
figure with great vainglory and applause, and their captives are led in
chains, to the infinite delight and edification of the populace. These
annual festivals are the delight of the villagers, who expend considerable
sums in their celebration. In some villages they are occasionally obliged
to suspend them for want of funds; but when times grow better, or they have
been enabled to save money for the purpose, they are revived with all their
grotesque pomp and extravagance.

To recur to the exploit of Hernando del Pulgar. However extravagant and
fabulous it may seem, it is authenticated by certain traditional usages,
and shows the vainglorious daring that prevailed between the youthful
warriors of both nations, in that romantic war. The mosque thus consecrated
to the Virgin was made the cathedral of the city after the conquest; and
there is a painting of the Virgin beside the royal chapel, which was put
there by Hernando del Pulgar. The lineal representative of the hare-brained
cavalier has the right to this day to enter the church, on certain
occasions, on horseback, to sit within the choir, and to put on his hat at
the elevation of the host, though these privileges have often been
obstinately contested by the clergy.

The present lineal representative of Hernando del Pulgar is the Marquis de
Salar, whom I have met occasionally in society. He is a young man of
agreeable appearance and manners, and his bright black eyes would give
indication of his inheriting the fire of his ancestor. When the paintings
were put up in the Vivarambla, illustrating the scenes of the conquest, an
old gray-headed family servant of the Pulgars was so delighted with those
which related to the family hero, that he absolutely shed tears, and
hurrying home to the marquis, urged him to hasten and behold the family
trophies. The sudden zeal of the old man provoked the mirth of his young
master; upon which, turning to the brother of the marquis, with that
freedom allowed to family servants in Spain, "Come, señor," cried he, "you
are more grave and considerate than your brother; come and see your
ancestor in all his glory!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Within two or three years after the above letter was written, the Marquis
de Salar was married to the beautiful daughter of the Count -----,
mentioned by the author in his anecdotes of the Alhambra. The match was
very agreeable to all parties, and the nuptials were celebrated with great



_To the Editor of the Knickerbocker:_

SIR--In the following memoir I have conformed to the facts furnished by the
Arabian chroniclers, as cited by the learned Conde. The story of Abderahman
has almost the charm of romance; but it derives a higher interest from the
heroic yet gentle virtues which it illustrates, and from recording the
fortunes of the founder of that splendid dynasty, which shed such a luster
upon Spain during the domination of the Arabs. Abderahman may, in some
respects, be compared to our own Washington. He achieved the independence
of Moslem Spain, freeing it from subjection to the caliphs; he united its
jarring parts under one government; he ruled over it with justice,
clemency, and moderation; his whole course of conduct was distinguished by
wonderful forbearance and magnanimity; and when he died he left a legacy of
good example and good counsel to his successors.


       *       *       *       *       *

"Blessed be God!" exclaims an Arabian historian; "in His hands alone is the
destiny of princes. He overthrows the mighty, and humbles the haughty to
the dust; and he raises up the persecuted and afflicted from the very
depths of despair!"

The illustrious house of Omeya had swayed the scepter at Damascus for
nearly a century, when a rebellion broke out, headed by Aboul Abbas Safah,
who aspired to the throne of the caliphs, as being descended from Abbas,
the uncle of the prophet. The rebellion was successful. Marvau, the last
caliph of the house of Omeya, was defeated and slain. A general
proscription of the Ommiades took place. Many of them fell in battle; many
were treacherously slain, in places where they had taken refuge; above
seventy most noble and distinguished were murdered at a banquet to which
they had been invited, and their dead bodies covered with cloths, and made
to serve as tables for the horrible festivity. Others were driven forth,
forlorn and desolate wanderers in various parts of the earth, and pursued
with relentless hatred; for it was the determination of the usurper that
not one of the persecuted family should escape. Aboul Abbas took possession
of three stately palaces and delicious gardens, and founded the powerful
dynasty of the Abbassides, which, for several centuries, maintained
dominion in the east.

"Blessed be God!" again exclaims the Arabian historian; "it was written in
His eternal decrees that, notwithstanding the fury of the Abbassides, the
noble stock of Omeya should not be destroyed. One fruitful branch remained
to nourish with glory and greatness in another land."

When the sanguinary proscription of the Ommiades took place, two young
princes of that line, brothers, by the names of Solyman and Abderahman were
spared for a time. Their personal graces, noble demeanor, and winning
affability, had made them many friends, while their extreme youth rendered
them objects of but little dread to the usurper. Their safety, however, was
but transient. In a little while the suspicions of Aboul Abbas were
aroused. The unfortunate Solyman fell beneath the scimiter of the
executioner. His brother Abderahman was warned of his danger in time.
Several of his friends hastened to him, bringing him jewels, a disguise,
and a fleet horse. "The emissaries of the caliph," said they, "are in
search of thee; thy brother lies weltering in his blood; fly to the desert!
There is no safety for thee in the habitations of man!"

Abderahman took the jewels, clad himself in the disguise, and mounting his
steed, fled for his life. As he passed, a lonely fugitive, by the palaces
of his ancestors, in which his family had long held sway, their very walls
seemed disposed to betray him, as they echoed the swift clattering of his

Abandoning his native country, Syria, where he was liable at each moment to
be recognized and taken, he took refuge among the Bedouin Arabs, a
half-savage race of shepherds. His youth, his inborn majesty and grace, and
the sweetness and affability that shone forth in his azure eyes, won the
hearts of these wandering men. He was but twenty years of age, and had been
reared in the soft luxury of a palace; but he was tall and vigorous, and in
a little while hardened himself so completely to the rustic life of the
fields that it seemed as though he had passed all his days in the rude
simplicity of a shepherd's cabin.

His enemies, however, were upon his traces, and gave him but little rest.
By day he scoured the plain with the Bedouins, hearing in every blast the
sound of pursuit, and fancying in every distant cloud of dust a troop of
the caliph's horsemen. That night was passed in broken sleep and frequent
watchings, and at the earliest dawn he was the first to put the bridle to
his steed.

Wearied by these perpetual alarms, he bade farewell to his friendly
Bedouins, and leaving Egypt behind, sought a safer refuge in Western
Africa. The province of Barea was at that time governed by Aben Habib, who
had risen to rank and fortune under the fostering favor of the Ommiades.
"Surely," thought the unhappy prince, "I shall receive kindness and
protection from this man; he will rejoice to show his gratitude for the
benefits showered upon him by my kindred."

Abderahman was young, and as yet knew little of mankind. None are so
hostile to the victim of power as those whom he has befriended. They fear
being suspected of gratitude by his persecutors, and involved in his

The unfortunate Abderahman had halted for a few days to repose himself
among a horde of Bedouins, who had received him with their characteristic
hospitality. They would gather round him in the evenings, to listen to his
conversation, regarding with wonder this gently-spoken stranger from the
more refined country of Egypt. The old men marveled to find so much
knowledge and wisdom in such early youth, and the young men, won by his
frank and manly carriage, entreated him to remain among them.

One night, when all were buried in sleep, they were roused by the tramp of
horsemen. The Wali Aben Habib, who, like all the governors of distant
ports, had received orders from the caliph to be on the watch for the
fugitive prince, had heard that a young man, answering the description, had
entered the province alone, from the frontiers of Egypt, on a steed worn
down by travel. He had immediately sent forth horsemen in his pursuit, with
orders to bring him to him dead or alive. The emissaries of the Wali had
traced him to his resting-place, and demanded of the Arabs whether a young
man, a stranger from Syria, did not sojourn among their tribe. The Bedouins
knew by the description that the stranger must be their guest, and feared
some evil was intended him. "Such a youth," said they, "has indeed
sojourned among us; but he has gone, with some of our young men, to a
distant valley, to hunt the lion." The emissaries inquired the way to the
place, and hastened on to surprise their expected prey.

The Bedouins repaired to Abderahman, who was still sleeping. "If thou hast
aught to fear from man in power," said they, "arise and fly; for the
horsemen of the Wali are in quest of thee! We have sent them off for a time
on a wrong errand, but they will soon return."

"Alas! whither shall I fly!" cried the unhappy prince; "my enemies hunt me
like the ostrich of the desert. They follow me like the wind, and allow me
neither safety nor repose!"

Six of the bravest youth of the tribe stepped forward. "We have steeds,"
said they, "that can outstrip the wind, and hands that can hurl the
javelin. We will accompany thee in thy flight, and will fight by thy side
while life lasts, and we have weapons to wield."

Abderahman embraced them with tears of gratitude. They mounted their
steeds, and made for the most lonely parts of the desert. By the faint
light of the stars, they passed through dreary wastes and over hills of
sand. The lion roared, and the hyena howled unheeded, for they fled from
man, more cruel and relentless, when in pursuit of blood, than the savage
beasts of the desert.

At sunrise they paused to refresh themselves beside a scanty well,
surrounded by a few palm-trees. One of the young Arabs climbed a tree, and
looked in every direction, but not a horseman was to be seen.

"We have outstripped pursuit," said the Bedouins; "whither shall we conduct
thee? Where is thy home and the land of thy people?"

"Home have I none!" replied Abderahman, mournfully, "nor family, nor
kindred! My native land is to me a land of destruction, and my people seek
my life!"

The hearts of the youthful Bedouins were touched with compassion at these
words, and they marveled that one so young and gentle should have suffered
such great sorrow and persecution.

Abderahman sat by the well and mused for a time. At length, breaking
silence, "In the midst of Mauritania," said he, "dwells the tribe of
Zeneta. My mother was of that tribe; and perhaps when her son presents
himself, a persecuted wanderer, at their door, they will not turn him from
the threshold."

"The Zenetes," replied the Bedouins, "are among the bravest and most
hospitable of the people of Africa. Never did the unfortunate seek refuge
among them in vain, nor was the stranger repulsed from their door." So they
mounted their steeds with renewed spirits, and journeyed with all speed to
Tahart, the capital of the Zenetes.

When Abderahman entered the place, followed by his six rustic Arabs, all
wayworn and travel-stained, his noble and majestic demeanor shone through
the simple garb of a Bedouin. A crowd gathered around him, as he alighted
from his weary steed. Confiding in the well known character of the tribe,
he no longer attempted concealment.

"You behold before you," said he, "one of the proscribed house of Omeya. I
am that Abderahman upon whose head a price has been set, and who has been
driven from land to land. I come to you as my kindred. My mother was of
your tribe, and she told me with her dying breath that in all time of need
I would find a home and friends among the Zenetes."

The words of Abderahman went straight to the hearts of his hearers. They
pitied his youth and his great misfortunes, while they were charmed by his
frankness, and by the manly graces of his person. The tribe was of a bold
and generous spirit, and not to be awed by the frown of power. "Evil be
upon us and upon our children," said they, "if we deceive the trust thou
hast placed in us!"

Then one of the noblest Xeques took Abderahman to his house, and treated
him as his own child; and the principal people of the tribe strove who most
should cherish him, and do him honor; endeavoring to obliterate by their
kindness the recollection of his past misfortunes.

Abderahman had resided some time among the hospitable Zenetes, when one day
two strangers, of venerable appearance, attended by a small retinue,
arrived at Tahart. They gave themselves out as merchants, and from the
simple style in which they traveled, excited no attention. In a little
while they sought out Abderahman, and, taking him apart: "Hearken," said
they, "Abderahman, of the royal line of Omeya; we are embassadors sent on
the part of the principal Moslems of Spain, to offer thee, not merely an
asylum, for that thou hast already among these brave Zenetes, but an
empire! Spain is a prey to distracting factions, and can no longer exist as
a dependency upon a throne too remote to watch over its welfare. It needs
to be independent of Asia and Africa, and to be under the government of a
good prince, who shall reside within it, and devote himself entirely to its
prosperity; a prince with sufficient title to silence all rival claims, and
bring the warring parties into unity and peace; and at the same time with
sufficient ability and virtue to insure the welfare of his dominions. For
this purpose the eyes of all the honorable leaders in Spain have been
turned to thee, as a descendant of the royal line of Omeya, and an offset
from the same stock as our holy prophet. They have heard of thy virtues,
and of thy admirable constancy under misfortunes; and invite thee to accept
the sovereignty of one of the noblest countries in the world. Thou wilt
have some difficulties to encounter from hostile men; but thou wilt have on
thy side the bravest captains that have signalized themselves in the
conquest of the unbelievers."

The embassadors ceased, and Abderahman remained for a time lost in wonder
and admiration. "God is great!" exclaimed he, at length; "there is but one
God, who is God, and Mahomet is his prophet! Illustrious embassadors, you
have put new life into my soul, for you have shown me something to live
for. In the few years that I have lived, troubles and sorrows have been
heaped upon my head, and I have become inured to hardships and alarms.
Since it is the wish of the valiant Moslems of Spain, I am willing to
become their leader and defender, and devote myself to their cause, be it
happy or disastrous."

The embassadors now cautioned him to be silent as to their errand, and to
depart secretly for Spain. "The seaboard of Africa," said they, "swarms
with your enemies, and a powerful faction in Spain would intercept you on
landing, did they know your name and rank, and the object of your coming."

But Abderahman replied: "I have been cherished in adversity by these brave
Zenetes; I have been protected and honored by them, when a price was set
upon my head, and to harbor me was great peril. How can I keep my good
fortune from my benefactors, and desert their hospitable roofs in silence?
He is unworthy of friendship, who withholds confidence from his friend."

Charmed with the generosity of his feelings, the embassadors made no
opposition to his wishes. The Zenetes proved themselves worthy of his
confidence. They hailed with joy the great change in his fortunes. The
warriors and the young men pressed forward to follow, and aid them with
horse and weapon; "for the honor of a noble house and family," said they,
"can be maintained only by lances and horsemen." In a few days he set
forth, with the embassadors, at the head of nearly a thousand horsemen
skilled in war, and exercised in the desert, and a large body of infantry,
armed with lances. The venerable Xeque, with whom he had resided, blessed
him and shed tears over him at parting, as though he had been his own
child; and when the youth passed over the threshold, the house was filled
with lamentations.

Abderahman reached Spain in safely, and landed at Almanecar, with his
little band of warlike Zenetes. Spain was at that time in a state of great
confusion. Upward of forty years had elapsed since the conquest. The civil
wars in Syria and Egypt had prevented the main government at Damascus from
exercising control over this distant and recently acquired territory. Every
Moslem commander considered the town or province committed to his charge an
absolute property; and accordingly exercised the most arbitrary extortions.
These excesses at length became insupportable, and, at a convocation of
many of the principal leaders, it was determined, as a means to end these
dissensions, to unite all the Moslem provinces of Spain under one emir, or
general governor. Yusuf el Fehri, an ancient man, of honorable lineage, was
chosen for this station. He began his reign with policy, and endeavored to
conciliate all parties; but the distribution of offices soon created
powerful enemies among the disappointed leaders. A civil war was the
consequence, and Spain was deluged with blood. The troops of both parties
burned and ravaged and laid every thing waste, to distress their
antagonists; the villages were abandoned by their inhabitants, who fled to
the cities for refuge; and flourishing towns disappeared from the face of
the earth, or remained mere heaps of rubbish and ashes. At the time of the
landing of Abderahman in Spain, the old Emir Yusuf had obtained a signal
victory. He had captured Saragossa, in which was Ameer ben Amru, his
principal enemy, together with his son and secretary. Loading his prisoners
with chains, and putting them on camels, he set out in triumph for Cordova,
considering himself secure in the absolute domination of Spain.

He had halted one day in a valley called Wadarambla, and was reposing with
his family in his pavilion, while his people and the prisoners made a
repast in the open air. In the midst of his repose, his confidential
adherent and general, the Wali Samael, galloped into the camp covered with
dust and exhausted with fatigue. He brought tidings of the arrival of
Abderahman and that the whole seaboard was flocking to his standard.
Messenger after messenger came hurrying into the camp, confirming the
fearful tidings, and adding that this descendant of the Omeyas had secretly
been invited to Spain by Amru and his followers. Yusuf waited not to
ascertain the truth of this accusation. Giving way to a transport of fury,
he ordered that Amru, his son and secretary, should be cut to pieces. His
commands were instantly executed. "And this cruelty," says the Arabian
chronicler, "lost him the favor of Allah; for from that time success
deserted his standard."

Abderahman had indeed been hailed with joy on his landing in Spain. The old
people hoped to find tranquillity under the sway of one supreme chieftain,
descended from their ancient caliphs; the young men were rejoiced to have a
youthful warrior to lead them on to victories; and the populace, charmed
with his freshness and manly beauty, his majestic yet gracious and affable
demeanor, shouted: "Long live Abderahman ben Moavia Meramamolin of Spain!"

In a few days the youthful sovereign saw himself at the head of more than
twenty thousand men, from the neighborhood of Elvira, Almeria, Malaga,
Xeres, and Sidonia. Fair Seville threw open its gates at his approach, and
celebrated his arrival with public rejoicings. He continued his march into
the country, vanquished one of the eons of Yusuf before the gates of
Cordova, and obliged him to take refuge within its walls, where he held him
in close siege. Hearing, however, of the approach of Yusuf, the father,
with a powerful army, he divided his forces, and leaving ten thousand men
to press the siege, he hastened with the other ten to meet the coming foe.

Yusuf had indeed mustered a formidable force, from the east and south of
Spain, and accompanied by his veteran general, Samael, came with confident
boasting to drive this intruder from the land. His confidence increased on
beholding the small army of Abderahman. Turning to Samael, he repeated,
with a scornful sneer, a verse from an Arabian poetess, which says:

"How hard is our lot! We come, a thirsty multitude, and lo! but this cup of
water to share among us!"

There was indeed a fearful odds. On the one side were two veteran generals,
grown gray in victory, with a mighty host of warriors, seasoned in the wars
of Spain. On the other side was a mere youth, scarce attained to manhood,
with a hasty levy of half-disciplined troops; but the youth was a prince,
flushed with hope, and aspiring after fame and empire; and surrounded by a
devoted band of warriors from Africa, whose example infused desperate zeal
into the little army.

The encounter took place at daybreak. The impetuous valor of the Zenetes
carried everything before it. The cavalry of Yusuf was broken, and driven
back upon the infantry, and before noon the whole host was put to headlong
flight. Yusuf and Samael were borne along in the torrent of the fugitives,
raging and storming, and making ineffectual efforts to rally them. They
were separated widely in the confusion of the flight, one taking refuge in
the Algarves, the other in the kingdom of Murcia. They afterward rallied,
reunited their forces, and made another desperate stand near Almunecar. The
battle was obstinate and bloody, but they were again defeated, and driven,
with a handful of followers, to take refuge in the rugged mountains
adjacent to Elvira.

The spirit of the veteran Samael gave way before these fearful reverses.
"In vain, oh Yusuf!" said he, "do we contend with the prosperous star of
this youthful conqueror: the will of Allah be done! Let us submit to our
fate, and sue for favorable terms, while we have yet the means of

It was a hard trial for the proud spirit of Yusuf, that had once aspired to
uncontrolled sway; but he was compelled to capitulate. Abderahman was as
generous as brave. He granted the two gray-headed generals the most
honorable conditions, and even took the veteran Samael into favor,
employing him, as a mark of confidence, to visit the eastern provinces of
Spain, and restore them to tranquillity. Yusuf, having delivered up Elvira
and Granada, and complied with other articles of his capitulation, was
permitted to retire to Murcia, and rejoin his son Muhamad. A general
amnesty to all chiefs and soldiers who should yield up their strongholds,
and lay down their arms, completed the triumph of Abderahman, and brought
all hearts into obedience.

Thus terminated this severe struggle for the domination of Spain; and thus
the illustrious family of Omeya, after having been cast down and almost
exterminated in the East, took new root, and sprang forth prosperously in
the West.

Wherever Abderahman appeared, he was received with rapturous acclamations.
As he rode through the cities, the populace rent the air with shouts of
joy; the stately palaces were crowded with spectators, eager to gain a
sight of his graceful form and beaming countenance; and when they beheld
the mingled majesty and benignity of their new monarch, and the sweetness
and gentleness of his whole conduct, they extolled him as something more
than mortal; as a beneficent genius, sent for the happiness of Spain.

In the interval of peace which now succeeded, Abderahman occupied himself
in promoting the useful and elegant arts, and in introducing into Spain the
refinements of the East. Considering the building and ornamenting of cities
as among the noblest employments of the tranquil hours of princes, he
bestowed great pains upon beautifying the city of Cordova and its environs.
He reconstructed banks and dikes, to keep the Guadalquivir from overflowing
its borders, and on the vast terraces thus formed he planted delightful
gardens. In the midst of these, he erected a lofty tower, commanding a view
of the vast and fruitful valley, enlivened by the windings of the river. In
this tower he would pass hours of meditation, gazing on the soft and varied
landscape, and inhaling the bland and balmy airs of that delightful region.
At such times, his thoughts would recur to the past, and the misfortunes of
his youth; the massacre of his family would rise to view, mingled with
tender recollections of his native country, from which he was exiled. In
these melancholy musings he would sit with his eyes fixed upon a palm-tree
which he had planted in the midst of his garden. It is said to have been
the first ever planted in Spain, and to have been the parent stock of all
the palm-trees which grace the southern provinces of the peninsula. The
heart of Abderahman yearned toward this tree; it was the offspring of his
native country, and, like him, an exile. In one of his moods of tenderness,
he composed verses upon it, which have since become famous throughout the
world. The following is a rude but literal translation:

"Beauteous Palm! thou also wert hither brought a stranger; but thy roots
have found a kindly soil, thy head is lifted to the skies, and the sweet
airs of Algarve fondle and kiss thy branches.

"Thou hast known, like me, the storms of adverse fortune. Bitter tears
wouldst thou shed, couldst thou feel my woes. Repeated griefs have
overwhelmed me. With early tears I bedewed the palms on the banks of the
Euphrates; but neither tree nor river heeded my sorrows, when driven by
cruel fate, and the ferocious Aboul Abbas, from the scenes of my childhood
and the sweet objects of my affection.

"To thee no remembrance remains of my beloved country; I, unhappy! can
never recall it without tears."

The generosity of Abderahman to his vanquished foes was destined to be
abused. The veteran Yusuf, in visiting certain of the cities which he had
surrendered, found himself surrounded by zealous partisans, ready to peril
life in his service. The love of command revived in his bosom, and he
repented the facility with which he had suffered himself to be persuaded to
submission. Flushed with new hopes of success, he caused arms to be
secretly collected, and deposited in various villages, most zealous in
their professions of devotion, and raising a considerable body of troops,
seized upon the castle of Almodovar. The rash rebellion was short-lived. At
the first appearance of an army sent by Abderahman, and commanded by
Abdelmelee, governor of Seville, the villages which had so recently
professed loyalty to Yusuf hastened to declare their attachment to the
monarch, and to give up the concealed arms. Almodovar was soon retaken, and
Yusuf, driven to the environs of Lorea, was surrounded by the cavalry of
Abdelmelee. The veteran endeavored to cut a passage through the enemy, but
after fighting with desperate fury, and with a force of arm incredible in
one of his age, he fell beneath blows from weapons of all kinds, so that
after the battle his body could scarcely be recognized, so numerous were
the wounds. His head was cut off and sent to Cordova, where it was placed
in an iron cage, over the gate of the city.

The old lion was dead, but his whelps survived. Yusuf had left three sons,
who inherited his warlike spirit, and were eager to revenge his death.
Collecting a number of the scattered adherents of their house, they
surprised and seized upon Toledo, during the absence of Temam, its Wali or
commander. In this old warrior city, built upon a rock, and almost
surrounded by the Tagus, they set up a kind of robber hold, scouring the
surrounding country, levying tribute, seizing upon horses, and compelling
the peasantry to join their standard. Every day cavalcades of horses and
mules, laden with spoil, with flocks of sheep and droves of cattle, came
pouring over the bridges on either side of the city, and thronging in at
the gates, the plunder of the surrounding country. Those of the inhabitants
who were still loyal to Abderahman dared not lift up their voices, for men
of the sword bore sway. At length one day, when the sons of Yusuf, with
their choicest troops, were out on a maraud, the watchmen on the towers
gave the alarm. A troop of scattered horsemen were spurring wildly toward
the gates. The banners of the sons of Yusuf were descried. Two of them
spurred into the city, followed by a handful of warriors, covered with
confusion, and dismay. They had been encountered and defeated by the Wali
Temam, and one of the brothers had been slain.

The gates were secured in all haste, and the walls were scarcely manned,
when Temam appeared before them with his troops, and summoned the city to
surrender. A great internal commotion ensued between the loyalists and the
insurgents; the latter, however, had weapons in their hands, and prevailed;
and for several days, trusting to the strength of their rock-built
fortress, they set the Wali at defiance. At length some of the loyal
inhabitants of Toledo, who knew all its secret and subterraneous passages,
some of which, if chroniclers may be believed, have existed since the days
of Hercules, if not of Tubal Cain, introduced Temam and a chosen band of
his warriors into the very center of the city, where they suddenly appeared
as if by magic. A panic seized upon the insurgents. Some sought safety in
submission, some in concealment, some in flight. Casim, one of the sons of
Yusuf, escaped in disguise; the youngest, unarmed, was taken, and was sent
captive to the king, accompanied by the head of his brother, who had been
slain in battle.

When Abderahman beheld the youth laden with chains, he remembered his own
sufferings in his early days, and had compassion on him; but, to prevent
him from doing further mischief, he imprisoned him in a tower of the wall
of Cordova.

In the meantime Casim, who had escaped, managed to raise another band of
warriors. Spain, in all ages a guerrilla country, prone to partisan warfare
and petty maraud, was at that time infested by bands of licentious troops,
who had sprung up in the civil contests; their only object pillage, their
only dependence the sword, and ready to flock to any new and desperate
standard, that promised the greatest license. With a ruffian force thus
levied, Casim scoured the country, took Sidonia by storm, and surprised
Seville while in a state of unsuspecting security.

Abderahman put himself at the head of his faithful Zenetes, and took the
field in person. By the rapidity of his movements, the rebels were
defeated, Sidonia and Seville speedily retaken, and Casim was made
prisoner. The generosity of Abderahman was again exhibited toward this
unfortunate son of Yusuf. He spared his life, and sent him to be confined
in a tower at Toledo.

The veteran Samael had taken no part in these insurrections, but had
attended faithfully to the affairs intrusted to him by Abderahman. The
death of his old friend and colleague, Yusuf, however, and the subsequent
disasters of his family, filled him with despondency. Fearing the
inconstancy of fortune, and the dangers incident to public employ, he
entreated the king to be permitted to retire to his house in Seguenza, and
indulge a privacy and repose suited to his advanced age. His prayer was
granted. The veteran laid by his arms, battered in a thousand conflicts;
hung his sword and lance against the wall, and, surrounded by a few
friends, gave himself up apparently to the sweets of quiet and unambitious

Who can count, however, upon the tranquil content of a heart nurtured amid
the storms of war and ambition! Under the ashes of this outward humility
were glowing the coals of faction. In his seemingly philosophical
retirement, Samael was concerting with his friends new treason against
Abderahman. His plot was discovered; his house was suddenly surrounded by
troops; and he was conveyed to a tower at Toledo, where, in the course of a
few months, he died in captivity.

The magnanimity of Abderahman was again put to the proof, by a new
insurrection at Toledo. Hixem ben Adra, a relation of Yusuf, seized upon
the Alcazar, or citadel, slew several of the royal adherents of the king,
liberated Casim from his tower, and, summoning all the banditti of the
country, soon mustered a force of ten thousand men. Abderahman was quickly
before the walls of Toledo, with the troops of Cordova and his devoted
Zenetes. The rebels were brought to terms, and surrendered the city on
promise of general pardon, which was extended even to Hixem and Casim. When
the chieftains saw Hixem and his principal confederates in the power of
Abderahman, they advised him to put them all to death. "A promise given to
traitors and rebels," said they, "is not binding, when it is to the
interest of the state that it should be broken."

"No!" replied Abderahman, "if the safety of my throne were at stake, I
would not break my word." So saying, he confirmed the amnesty, and granted
Hixem ben Adra a worthless life, to be employed in further treason.

Scarcely had Abderahman returned from this expedition, when a powerful
army, sent by the caliph, landed from Africa on the coast of the Algarves.
The commander, Aly ben Mogueth, Emir of Cairvan, elevated a rich banner
which he had received from the hands of the caliph. Wherever he went, he
ordered the caliph of the East to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet,
denouncing Abderahman as a usurper, the vagrant member of a family
proscribed and execrated in all the mosques of the East.

One of the first to join his standard was Hixem ben Adra, so recently
pardoned by Abderahman. He seized upon the citadel of Toledo, and repairing
to the camp of Aly, offered to deliver the city into his hands.

Abderahman, as bold in war as he was gentle in peace, took the field with
his wonted promptness; overthrew his enemies, with great slaughter, drove
some to the seacoast to regain their ships, and others to the mountains.
The body of Aly was found on the field of battle. Abderahman caused the
head to be struck off, and conveyed to Cairvan, where it was affixed at
night to a column in the public square, with this inscription: "Thus
Abderahman, the descendant of the Omeyas, punishes the rash and arrogant."

Hixem ben Adra escaped from the field of battle, and excited further
troubles, but was eventually captured by Abdelmelee, who ordered his head
to be struck off on the spot, lest he should again be spared, through the
wonted clemency of Abderahman.

Notwithstanding these signal triumphs, the reign of Abderahman was
disturbed by further insurrections, and by another descent from Africa, but
he was victorious over them all; striking the roots of his power deeper and
deeper into the land. Under his sway, the government of Spain became more
regular and consolidated, and acquired an independence of the empire of the
East. The caliph continued to be considered as first pontiff and chief of
the religion, but he ceased to have any temporal power over Spain.

Having again an interval of peace, Abderahman devoted himself to the
education of his children. Suleiman, the eldest, he appointed Wali or
governor of Toledo; Abdallah, the second, was intrusted with the command of
Merida; but the third son, Hixem, was the delight of his heart, the son of
Howara, his favorite sultana, whom he loved throughout life with the utmost
tenderness. With this youth, who was full of promise, he relaxed from the
fatigues of government; joining in his youthful sports amid the delightful
gardens of Cordova, and teaching him the gentle art of falconry, of which
the king was so fond that he received the name of the Falcon of Coraixi.

While Abderahman was thus indulging in the gentle propensities of his
nature, mischief was secretly at work. Muhamad, the youngest son of Yusuf,
had been for many years a prisoner in the tower of Cordova. Being passive
and resigned, his keepers relaxed their vigilance, and brought him forth
from his dungeon. He went groping about, however, in broad daylight, as if
still in the darkness of his tower. His guards watched him narrowly, lest
this should be a deception, but were at length convinced that the long
absence of light had rendered him blind. They now permitted him to descend
frequently to the lower chambers of the tower, and to sleep there
occasionally, during the heats of summer. They even allowed him to grope
his way to the cistern, in quest of water for his ablutions.

A year passed in this way without anything to excite suspicion. During all
this time, however, the blindness of Muhamad was entirely a deception; and
he was concerting a plan of escape, through the aid of some friends of his
father, who found means to visit him occasionally. One sultry evening in
midsummer, the guards had gone to bathe in the Guadalquivir, leaving
Muhamad alone, in the lower chambers of the tower. No sooner were they out
of sight and hearing than he hastened to a window of the staircase, leading
down to the cistern, lowered himself as far as his arms would reach, and
dropped without injury to the ground. Plunging into the Guadalquivir, he
swam across to a thick grove on the opposite side, where his friends were
waiting to receive him. Here, mounting a horse which they had provided for
an event of the kind, he fled across the country, by solitary roads, and
made good his escape to the mountains of Jaen.

The guardians of the tower dreaded for some time to make known his flight
to Abderahman. When at length it was told to him, he exclaimed: "All is the
work of eternal wisdom; it is intended to teach us that we cannot benefit
the wicked without injuring the good. The flight of that blind man will
cause much trouble and bloodshed."

His predictions were verified. Muhamad reared the standard of rebellion on
the mountains; the seditious and discontented of all kinds hastened to join
it, together with soldiers of fortune, or rather wandering banditti, and he
had soon six thousand men, well armed, hardy in habits and desperate in
character. His brother Casim also reappeared about the same time in the
mountains of Ronda, at the head of a daring band that laid all the
neighboring valleys under contribution.

Abderahman summoned his alcaydes from their various military posts, to
assist in driving the rebels from their mountain fastnesses into the
plains. It was a dangerous and protracted toil, for the mountains were
frightfully wild and rugged. He entered them with a powerful host, driving
the rebels from height to height and valley to valley, and harassing them
by a galling fire from thousands of crossbows. At length a decisive battle
took place near the river Guadalemar. The rebels were signally defeated;
four thousand fell in action, many were drowned in the river, and Muhamad,
with a few horsemen, escaped to the mountains of the Algarves. Here he was
hunted by the alcaydes from one desolate retreat to another; his few
followers grew tired of sharing the disastrous fortunes of a fated man; one
by one deserted him, and he himself deserted the remainder, fearing they
might give him up, to purchase their own pardon.

Lonely and disguised, he plunged into the depths of the forests, or lurked
in dens and caverns, like a famished wolf, often casting back his thoughts
with regret to the time of his captivity in the gloomy tower of Cordova.
Hunger at length drove him to Alarcon, at the risk of being discovered.
Famine and misery, however, had so wasted and changed him that he was not
recognized. He remained nearly a year in Alarcon, unnoticed and unknown,
yet constantly tormenting himself with the dread of discovery, and with
groundless fears of the vengeance of Abderahman. Death at length put an end
to his wretchedness.

A milder fate attended his brother Casim. Being defeated in the mountains
of Murcia, he was conducted in chains to Cordova. On coming into the
presence of Abderahman, his once fierce and haughty spirit, broken by
distress, gave way; he threw himself on the earth, kissed the dust beneath
the feet of the king, and implored his clemency. The benignant heart of
Abderahman was filled with melancholy, rather than exultation, at beholding
this wreck of the once haughty family of Yusuf a suppliant at his feet, and
suing for mere existence. He thought upon the mutability of fortune, and
felt how insecure are all her favors. He raised the unhappy Casim from the
earth, ordered his irons to be taken off, and, not content with mere
forgiveness, treated him with honor, and gave him possessions in Seville,
where he might live in state conformable to the ancient dignity of his
family. Won by this great and persevering magnanimity, Casim ever after
remained one of the most devoted of his subjects.

All the enemies of Abderahman were at length subdued; he reigned undisputed
sovereign of the Moslems of Spain; and so benign was his government that
every one blessed the revival of the illustrious line of Omeya. He was at
all times accessible to the humblest of his subjects: the poor man ever
found in him a friend, and the oppressed a protector. He improved the
administration of justice; established schools for public instruction;
encouraged poets and men of letters, and cultivated the sciences. He built
mosques in every city that he visited; inculcated religion by example as
well as by precept; and celebrated all the festivals prescribed by the
Koran with the utmost magnificence.

As a monument of gratitude to God for the prosperity with which he had been
favored, he undertook to erect a mosque in his favorite city of Cordova
that should rival in splendor the great mosque of Damascus, and excel the
one recently erected in Bagdad by the Abbassides, the supplanters of his

It is said that he himself furnished the plan for this famous edifice, and
even worked on it, with his own hands, one hour in each day, to testify his
zeal and humility in the service of God, and to animate his workmen. He did
not live to see it completed, but it was finished according to his plans by
his son Hixem. When finished, it surpassed the most splendid mosques of the
east. It was six hundred feet in length, and two hundred and fifty in
breadth. Within were twenty-eight aisles, crossed by nineteen, supported by
a thousand and ninety-three columns of marble. There were nineteen portals,
covered with plates of bronze of rare workmanship. The principal portal was
covered with plates of gold. On the summit of the grand cupola were three
gilt balls surmounted by a golden pomegranate. At night, the mosque was
illuminated with four thousand seven hundred lamps, and great sums were
expended in amber and aloes, which were burned as perfumes. The mosque
remains to this day, shorn of its ancient splendor, yet still one of the
grandest Moslem monuments in Spain.

Finding himself advancing in years, Abderahman assembled in his capital of
Cordova the principal governors and commanders of his kingdom, and in
presence of them all, with great solemnity, nominated his son Hixem as the
successor to the throne. All present made an oath of fealty to Abderahman
during his life, and to Hixem after his death. The prince was younger than
his brothers, Suleiman and Abdallah; but he was the son of Howara, the
tenderly beloved sultana of Abderahman, and her influence, it is said,
gained him this preference.

Within a few months afterward, Abderahman fell grievously sick at Merida.
Finding his end approaching, he summoned Hixem to his bedside: "My son,"
said he, "the angel of death is hovering over me; treasure up, therefore,
in thy heart this dying counsel, which I give through the great love I bear
thee. Remember that all empire is from God, who gives and takes it away,
according to his pleasure. Since God, through his divine goodness, has
given us regal power and authority, let us do his holy will, which is
nothing else than to do good to all men, and especially to those committed
to our protection. Render equal justice, my son, to the rich and the poor,
and never suffer injustice to be done within thy dominion, for it is the
road to perdition. Be merciful and benignant to those dependent upon thee.
Confide the government of thy cities and provinces to men of worth and
experience; punish without compassion those ministers who oppress thy
people with exorbitant exactions. Pay thy troops punctually; teach them to
feel a certainty in thy promises; command them with gentleness but
firmness, and make them in truth the defenders of the state, not its
destroyers. Cultivate unceasingly the affections of thy people, for in
their good-will consists the security of the state, in their distrust its
peril, in their hatred its certain ruin. Protect the husbandmen who
cultivate the earth, and yield us necessary sustenance; never permit their
fields, and groves, and gardens to be disturbed. In a word, act in such
wise that thy people may bless thee, and may enjoy, under the shadow of thy
wing, a secure and tranquil life. In this consists good government; if thou
dost practice it, thou wilt be happy among thy people, and renowned
throughout the world."

Having given this excellent counsel, the good king Abderahman blessed his
son Hixem, and shortly after died; being but in the sixtieth year of his
age. He was interred with great pomp; but the highest honors that
distinguished his funeral were the tears of real sorrow shed upon his
grave. He left behind him a name for valor, justice, and magnanimity, and
forever famous as being the founder of the glorious line of the Ommiades in



The world is daily growing older and wiser. Its institutions vary with its
years, and mark its growing wisdom; and none more so than its modes of
investigating truth, and ascertaining guilt or innocence. In its nonage,
when man was yet a fallible being, and doubted the accuracy of his own
intellect, appeals were made to heaven in dark and doubtful cases of
atrocious accusation.

The accused was required to plunge his hand in boiling oil, or to walk
across red-hot plowshares, or to maintain his innocence in armed fight and
listed field, in person or by champion. If he passed these ordeals
unscathed, he stood acquitted, and the result was regarded as a verdict
from on high.

It is somewhat remarkable that, in the gallant age of chivalry, the gentler
sex should have been most frequently the subjects of these rude trials and
perilous ordeals; and that, too, when assailed in their most delicate and
vulnerable part--their honor.

In the present very old and enlightened age of the world, when the human
intellect is perfectly competent to the management of its own concerns, and
needs no special interposition of heaven in its affairs, the trial by jury
has superseded these superhuman ordeals; and the unanimity of twelve
discordant minds is necessary to constitute a verdict. Such a unanimity
would, at first sight, appear also to require a miracle from heaven; but it
is produced by a simple device of human ingenuity. The twelve jurors are
locked up in their box, there to fast until abstinence shall have so
clarified their intellects that the whole jarring panel can discern the
truth, and concur in a unanimous decision. One point is certain, that truth
is one and is immutable--until the jurors all agree, they cannot all be

It is not our intention, however, to discuss this great judicial point, or
to question the avowed superiority of the mode of investigating truth
adopted in this antiquated and very sagacious era. It is our object merely
to exhibit to the curious reader one of the most memorable cases of
judicial combat we find in the annals of Spain. It occurred at the bright
commencement of the reign, and in the youthful, and, as yet, glorious days,
of Roderick the Goth; who subsequently tarnished his fame at home by his
misdeeds, and, finally, lost his kingdom and his life on the banks of the
Guadalete, in that disastrous battle which gave up Spain a conquest to the
Moors. The following is the story:

There was once upon a time a certain duke of Lorraine, who was acknowledged
throughout his domains to be one of the wisest princes that ever lived. In
fact, there was no one measure adopted by him that did not astonish his
privy counselors and gentlemen in attendance; and he said such witty
things, and made such sensible speeches, that the jaws of his high
chamberlain were wellnigh dislocated from laughing with delight at one, and
gaping with wonder at the other.

This very witty and exceedingly wise potentate lived for half a century in
single blessedness; at length his courtiers began to think it a great pity
so wise and wealthy a prince should not have a child after his own
likeness, to inherit his talents and domains; so they urged him most
respectfully to marry, for the good of his estate, and the welfare of his

He turned their advice over in his mind some four or five years, and then
sent forth emissaries to summon to his court all the beautiful maidens in
the land who were ambitious of sharing a ducal crown. The court was soon
crowded with beauties of all styles and complexions, from among whom he
chose one in the earliest budding of her charms, and acknowledged by all
the gentlemen to be unparalleled for grace and loveliness. The courtiers
extolled the duke to the skies for making such a choice, and considered it
another proof of his great wisdom. "The duke," said they, "is waxing a
little too old, the damsel, on the other hand, is a little too young; if
one is lacking in years, the other has a superabundance; thus a want on one
side is balanced by the excess on the other, and the result is a
well-assorted marriage."

The duke, as is often the case with wise men who marry rather late, and
take damsels rather youthful to their bosoms, became dotingly fond of his
wife, and very properly indulged her in all things. He was, consequently,
cried up by his subjects in general, and by the ladies in particular, as a
pattern for husbands; and, in the end, from the wonderful docility with
which he submitted to be reined and checked, acquired the amiable and
enviable appellation of Duke Philibert the wife-ridden.

There was only one thing that disturbed the conjugal felicity of this
paragon of husbands--though a considerable tine elapsed after his marriage,
there was still no prospect of an heir. The good duke left no means untried
to propitiate heaven. He made vows and pilgrimages, he fasted and he
prayed, but all to no purpose. The courtiers were all astonished at the
circumstance. They could not account for it. While the meanest peasant in
the country had sturdy brats by dozens, without putting up a prayer, the
duke wore himself to skin and bone with penances and fastings, yet seemed
further off from his object than ever.

At length, the worthy prince fell dangerously ill, and felt his end
approaching. He looked sorrowfully and dubiously upon his young and tender
spouse, who hung over him with tears and sobbings. "Alas!" said he, "tears
are soon dried from youthful eyes, and sorrow lies lightly on a youthful
heart. In a little while thou wilt forget in the arms of another husband
him who has loved thee so tenderly."

"Never! never!" cried the duchess. "Never will I cleave to another! Alas,
that my lord should think me capable of such inconstancy!"

The worthy and wife-ridden duke was soothed by her assurances; for he could
not brook the thought of giving her up even after he should be dead. Still
he wished to have some pledge of her enduring constancy:

"Far be it from me, my dearest wife," said he, "to control thee through a
long life. A year and a day of strict fidelity will appease my troubled
spirit. Promise to remain faithful to my memory for a year and a day, and I
will die in peace."

The duchess made a solemn vow to that effect, but the uxorious feelings of
the duke were not yet satisfied. "Safe bind, safe find," thought he; so he
made a will, bequeathing to her all his domains, on condition of her
remaining true to him for a year and a day after his decease; but, should
it appear that, within that time, she had in anywise lapsed from her
fidelity, the inheritance should go to his nephew, the lord of a
neighboring territory.

Having made his will, the good duke died and was buried. Scarcely was he in
his tomb, when his nephew came to take possession, thinking, as his uncle
had died without issue, the domains would be devised to him of course. He
was in a furious passion, when the will was produced, and the young widow
declared inheritor of the dukedom. As he was a violent, high-handed man,
and one of the sturdiest knights in the land, fears were entertained that
he might attempt to seize on the territories by force. He had, however, two
bachelor uncles for bosom counselors, swaggering, rakehelly old cavaliers,
who, having led loose and riotous lives, prided themselves upon knowing the
world, and being deeply experienced in human nature. "Prithee, man, be of
good cheer," said they, "the duchess is a young and buxom widow. She has
just buried our brother, who, God rest his soul! was somewhat too much
given to praying and fasting, and kept his pretty wife always tied to his
girdle. She is now like a bird from a cage. Think you she will keep her
vow? Pooh, pooh--impossible! Take our words for it--we know mankind, and,
above all, womankind. She cannot hold out for such a length of time; it is
not in womanhood--it is not in widowhood--we know it, and that's enough.
Keep a sharp lookout upon the widow, therefore, and within the twelvemonth
you will catch her tripping--and then the dukedom is your own."

The nephew was pleased with this counsel, and immediately placed spies
round the duchess, and bribed several of her servants to keep watch upon
her, so that she could not take a single step, even from one apartment of
her palace to another, without being observed. Never was young and
beautiful widow exposed to so terrible an ordeal.

The duchess was aware of the watch thus kept upon her. Though confident of
her own rectitude, she knew that it is not enough for a woman to be
virtuous--she must be above the reach of slander. For the whole term of her
probation, therefore, she proclaimed a strict non-intercourse with the
other sex. She had females for cabinet ministers and chamberlains, through
whom she transacted all her public and private concerns; and it is said
that never were the affairs of the dukedom so adroitly administered.

All males were rigorously excluded from the palace; she never went out of
its precincts, and whenever she moved about its courts and gardens she
surrounded herself with a bodyguard of young maids of honor, commanded by
dames renowned for discretion. She slept in a bed without curtains, placed
in the center of a room illuminated by innumerable wax tapers. Four ancient
spinsters, virtuous as Virginia, perfect dragons of watchfulness, who only
slept during the daytime, kept vigils throughout the night, seated in the
four corners of the room on stools without backs or arms, and with seats
cut in checkers of the hardest wood, to keep them from dozing.

Thus wisely and warily did the young duchess conduct herself for twelve
long months, and slander almost bit her tongue off in despair, at finding
no room even for a surmise. Never was ordeal more burdensome, or more
enduringly sustained.

The year passed away. The last, odd day, arrived, and a long, long day it
was. It was the twenty-first of June, the longest day in the year. It
seemed as if it would never come to an end. A thousand times did the
duchess and her ladies watch the sun from the windows of the palace, as he
slowly climbed the vault of heaven, and seemed still more slowly to roll
down. They could not help expressing their wonder, now and then, why the
duke should have tagged this supernumerary day to the end of the year, as
if three hundred and sixty-five days were not sufficient to try and task
the fidelity of any woman. It is the last grain that turns the scale--the
last drop that overflows the goblet--and the last moment of delay that
exhausts the patience. By the time the sun sank below the horizon, the
duchess was in a fidget that passed all bounds, and, though several hours
were yet to pass before the day regularly expired, she could not have
remained those hours in durance to gain a royal crown, much less a ducal
coronet. So she gave orders, and her palfrey, magnificently caparisoned,
was brought into the courtyard of the castle, with palfreys for all her
ladies in attendance. In this way she sallied forth, just as the sun had
gone down. It was a mission of piety--a pilgrim cavalcade to a convent at
the foot of a neighboring mountain--to return thanks to the blessed Virgin,
for having sustained her through this fearful ordeal.

The orisons performed, the duchess and her ladies returned, ambling gently
along the border of a forest. It was about that mellow hour of twilight
when night and day are mingled and all objects are indistinct. Suddenly,
some monstrous animal sprang from out a thicket, with fearful howlings. The
female bodyguard was thrown into confusion, and fled different ways. It was
some time before they recovered from their panic, and gathered once more
together; but the duchess was not to be found. The greatest anxiety was
felt for her safety. The hazy mist of twilight had prevented their
distinguishing perfectly the animal which had affrighted them. Some thought
it a wolf, others a bear, others a wild man of the woods. For upward of an
hour did they beleaguer the forest, without daring to venture in, and were
on the point of giving up the duchess as torn to pieces and devoured, when,
to their great joy, they beheld her advancing in the gloom, supported by a
stately cavalier.

He was a stranger knight, whom nobody knew. It was impossible to
distinguish his countenance in the dark; but all the ladies agreed that he
was of noble presence and captivating address. He had rescued the duchess
from the very fangs of the monster, which, he assured the ladies, was
neither a wolf, nor a bear, nor yet a wild man of the woods, but a
veritable fiery dragon, a species of monster peculiarly hostile to
beautiful females in the days of chivalry, and which all the efforts of
knight-errantry had not been able to extirpate.

The ladies crossed themselves when they heard of the danger from which they
had escaped, and could not enough admire the gallantry of the cavalier. The
duchess would fain have prevailed on her deliverer to accompany her to her
court; but he had no time to spare, being a knight-errant, who had many
adventures on hand, and many distressed damsels and afflicted widows to
rescue and relieve in various parts of the country. Taking a respectful
leave, therefore, he pursued his wayfaring, and the duchess and her train
returned to the palace. Throughout the whole way, the ladies were unwearied
in chanting the praises of the stranger knight, nay, many of them would
willingly have incurred the danger of the dragon to have enjoyed the happy
deliverance of the duchess. As to the latter, she rode pensively along, but
said nothing.

No sooner was the adventure of the wood made public than a whirlwind was
raised about the ears of the beautiful duchess. The blustering nephew of
the deceased duke went about, armed to the teeth, with a swaggering uncle
at each shoulder, ready to back him, and swore the duchess had forfeited
her domain. It was in vain that she called all the saints, and angels, and
her ladies in attendance into the bargain, to witness that she had passed a
year and a day of immaculate fidelity. One fatal hour remained to be
accounted for; and into the space of one little hour sins enough may be
conjured up by evil tongues to blast the fame of a whole life of virtue.

The two graceless uncles, who had seen the world, were ever ready to
bolster the matter through, and as they were brawny, broad-shouldered
warriors, and veterans in brawl as well as debauch, they had great sway
with the multitude. If any one pretended to assert the innocence of the
duchess, they interrupted him with a loud ha! ha! of derision. "A pretty
story, truly," would they cry, "about a wolf and a dragon, and a young
widow rescued in the dark by a sturdy varlet who dares not show his face in
the daylight. You may tell that to those who do not know human nature, for
our parts, we know the sex, and that's enough."

If, however, the other repeated his assertion, they would suddenly knit
their brows, swell, look big, and put their hands upon their swords. As few
people like to fight in a cause that does not touch their own interests,
the nephew and the uncles were suffered to have their way, and swagger

The matter was at length referred to a tribunal, composed of all the
dignitaries of the dukedom, and many and repeated consultations were held.
The character of the duchess throughout the year was as bright and spotless
as the moon in a cloudless night; one fatal hour of darkness alone
intervened to eclipse its brightness. Finding human sagacity incapable of
dispelling the mystery, it was determined to leave the question to heaven;
or, in other words, to decide it by the ordeal of the sword--a sage
tribunal in the age of chivalry. The nephew and two bully uncles were to
maintain their accusation in listed combat, and six months were allowed to
the duchess to provide herself with three champions to meet them in the
field. Should she fail in this, or should her champions be vanquished, her
honor would be considered as attainted, her fidelity as forfeit, and her
dukedom would go to the nephew, as a matter of right.

With this determination the duchess was fain to comply. Proclamations were
accordingly made, and heralds sent to various parts; but day after day,
week after week, and month after month elapsed without any champion
appearing to assert her loyalty throughout that darksome hour. The fair
widow was reduced to despair, when tidings reached her of grand tournaments
to be held at Toledo, in celebration of the nuptials of Don Roderick, the
last of the Gothic kings, with the Morisco princess Exilona. As a last
resort, the duchess repaired to the Spanish court, to implore the gallantry
of its assembled chivalry.

The ancient city of Toledo was a scene of gorgeous revelry on the event of
the royal nuptials. The youthful king, brave, ardent, and magnificent, and
his lovely bride, beaming with all the radiant beauty of the East, were
hailed with shouts and acclamations whenever they appeared. Their nobles
vied with each other in the luxury of their attire, their prancing steeds,
and splendid retinues; and the haughty dames of the court appeared in a
blaze of jewels.

In the midst of all this pageantry, the beautiful, but afflicted Duchess of
Lorraine made her approach to the throne. She was dressed in black, and
closely veiled; for duennas of the most staid and severe aspect, and six
beautiful demoiselles, formed her female attendants. She was guarded by
several very ancient, withered, and grayheaded cavaliers; and her train was
borne by one of the most deformed and diminutive dwarfs in existence.

Advancing to the foot of the throne, she knelt down, and, throwing up her
veil, revealed a countenance so beautiful that half the courtiers present
were ready to renounce wives and mistresses, and devote themselves to her
service; but when she made known that she came in quest of champions to
defend her fame, every cavalier pressed forward to offer his arm and sword,
without inquiring into the merits of the case; for it seemed clear that so
beauteous a lady could have done nothing but what was right; and that, at
any rate, she ought to be championed in following the bent of her humors,
whether right or wrong.

Encouraged by such gallant zeal, the duchess suffered herself to be raised
from the ground, and related the whole story of her distress. When she
concluded, the king remained for some time silent, charmed by the music of
her voice. At length: "As I hope for salvation, most beautiful duchess,"
said he, "were I not a sovereign king, and bound in duty to my kingdom, I
myself would put lance in rest to vindicate your cause; as it is, I here
give full permission to my knights, and promise lists and a fair field, and
that the contest shall take place before the walls of Toledo, in presence
of my assembled court."

As soon as the pleasure of the king was known, there was a strife among the
cavaliers present for the honor of the contest. It was decided by lot, and
the successful candidates were objects of great envy, for every one was
ambitious of finding favor in the eyes of the beautiful widow.

Missives were sent, summoning the nephew and his two uncles to Toledo, to
maintain their accusation, and a day was appointed for the combat. When the
day arrived, all Toledo was in commotion at an early hour. The lists had
been prepared in the usual place, just without the walls, at the foot of
the rugged rocks on which the city is built, and on that beautiful meadow
along the Tagus, known by the name of the king's garden. The populace had
already assembled, each one eager to secure a favorable place; the
balconies were filled with the ladies of the court, clad in their richest
attire, and bands of youthful knights, splendidly armed and decorated with
their ladies' devices, were managing their superbly caparisoned steeds
about the field. The king at length came forth in state, accompanied by the
queen Exilona. They took their seats in a raised balcony, under a canopy of
rich damask; and, at sight of them, the people rent the air with

The nephew and his uncles now rode into the field, armed cap-a-pie, and
followed by a train of cavaliers of their own roistering cast, great
swearers and carousers, arrant swashbucklers, with clanking armor and
jingling spurs. When the people of Toledo beheld the vaunting and
discourteous appearance of these knights, they were more anxious than ever
for the success of the gentle duchess; but, at the same time, the sturdy
and stalwart frames of these warriors showed that whoever won the victory
from them must do it at the cost of many a bitter blow.

As the nephew and his riotous crew rode in at one side of the field, the
fair widow appeared at the other, with her suite of grave grayheaded
courtiers, her ancient duennas and dainty demoiselles, and the little dwarf
toiling along under the weight of her train. Every one made way for her as
she passed, and blessed her beautiful face, and prayed for success to her
cause. She took her seat in a lower balcony, not far from the sovereigns;
and her pale face, set off by her mourning weeds, was as the moon shining
forth from among the clouds of night.

The trumpets sounded for the combat. The warriors were just entering the
lists, when a stranger knight, armed in panoply, and followed by two pages
and an esquire, came galloping into the field, and, riding up to the royal
balcony, claimed the combat as a matter of right.

"In me," cried he, "behold the cavalier who had the happiness to rescue the
beautiful duchess from the peril of the forest, and the misfortune to bring
on her this grievous calumny. It was but recently, in the course of my
errantry, that tidings of her wrongs have reached my ears, and I have urged
hither at all speed, to stand forth in her vindication."

No sooner did the duchess hear the accents of the knight than she
recognized his voice, and joined her prayers with his that he might enter
the lists. The difficulty was, to determine which of the three champions
already appointed should yield his place, each insisting on the honor of
the combat. The stranger knight would have settled the point, by taking the
whole contest upon himself; but this the other knights would not permit. It
was at length determined, as before, by lot, and the cavalier who lost the
chance retired murmuring and disconsolate.

The trumpets again sounded--the lists were opened. The arrogant nephew and
his two drawcansir uncles appeared so completely cased in steel that they
and their steeds were like moving masses of iron. When they understood the
stranger knight to be the same that had rescued the duchess from her peril,
they greeted him with the most boisterous derision:

"Oh, ho! sir Knight of the Dragon," said they, "you who pretend to champion
fair widows in the dark, come on, and vindicate your deeds of darkness in
the open day."

The only reply of the cavalier was to put lance in rest, and brace himself
for the encounter. Needless is it to relate the particulars of a battle,
which was like so many hundred combats that have been said and sung in
prose and verse. Who is there but must have foreseen the event of a
contest, where Heaven had to decide on the guilt or innocence of the most
beautiful and immaculate of widows?

The sagacious reader, deeply read in this kind of judicial combats, can
imagine the encounter of the graceless nephew and the stranger knight. He
sees their concussion, man to man, and horse to horse, in mid career, and
Sir Graceless hurled to the ground and slain. He will not wonder that the
assailants of the brawny uncles were less successful in their rude
encounter; but he will picture to himself the stout stranger spurring to
their rescue, in the very critical moment; he will see him transfixing one
with his lance, and cleaving the other to the chine with a back stroke of
his sword, thus leaving the trio of accusers dead upon the field, and
establishing the immaculate fidelity of the duchess, and her title to the
dukedom, beyond the shadow of a doubt.

The air rang with acclamations; nothing was heard but praises of the beauty
and virtue of the duchess, and of the prowess of the stranger knight; but
the public joy was still more increased when the champion raised his visor,
and revealed the countenance of one of the bravest cavaliers of Spain,
renowned for his gallantry in the service of the sex, and who had been
round the world in quest of similar adventures.

That worthy knight, however, was severely wounded, and remained for a long
time ill of his wounds. The lovely duchess, grateful for having twice owed
her protection to his arm, attended him daily during his illness; and
finally rewarded his gallantry with her hand.

The king would fain have had the knight establish his title to such high
advancement by further deeds of arms; but his courtiers declared that he
already merited the lady, by thus vindicating her fame and fortune in a
deadly combat _à outrance_; and the lady herself hinted that she was
perfectly satisfied of his prowess in arms, from the proofs she had
received in his achievement in the forest.

Their nuptials were celebrated with great magnificence. The present husband
of the duchess did not pray and fast like his predecessor, Philibert the
wife-ridden; yet he found greater favor in the eyes of heaven, for their
union was blessed with a numerous progeny--the daughters chaste and
beauteous as their mother; the sons stout and valiant as their sire, and
renowned, like him, for relieving disconsolate damsels and desolated



First published in 1887

In traveling about our motley country, I am often reminded of Ariosto's
account of the moon, in which the good paladin Astolpho found everything
garnered up that had been lost on earth. So I am apt to imagine, that many
things lost in the old world are treasured up in the new; having been
handed down from generation to generation, since the early days of the
colonies. A European antiquary, therefore, curious in his researches after
the ancient and almost obliterated customs and usages of his country, would
do well to put himself upon the track of some early band of emigrants,
follow them across the Atlantic, and rummage among their descendants on our

In the phraseology of New England might be found many an old English
provincial phrase, long since obsolete in the parent country; with some
quaint relics of the roundheads; while Virginia cherishes peculiarities
characteristic of the days of Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh.

In the same way the sturdy yeomanry of New Jersey and Pennsylvania keep up
many usages fading away in ancient Germany; while many an honest,
broad-bottomed custom, nearly extinct in venerable Holland, may be found
flourishing in pristine vigor and luxuriance in Dutch villages, on the
banks of the Mohawk and the Hudson.

In no part of our country, however, are the customs and peculiarities,
imported from the old world by the earlier settlers, kept up with more
fidelity than in the little, poverty-stricken villages of Spanish and
French origin, which border the rivers of ancient Louisiana. Their
population is generally made up of the descendants of those nations,
married and interwoven together, and occasionally crossed with a slight
dash of the Indian. The French character, however, floats on top, as, from
its buoyant qualities, it is sure to do, whenever it forms a particle,
however small, of an intermixture.

In these serene and dilapidated villages, art and nature stand still, and
the world forgets to turn round. The revolutions that distract other parts
of this mutable planet reach not here, or pass over without leaving any
trace. The fortunate inhabitants have none of that public spirit which
extends its cares beyond its horizon, and imports trouble and perplexity
from all quarters in newspapers. In fact, newspapers are almost unknown in
these villages, and as French is the current language, the inhabitants have
little community of opinion with their republican neighbors. They retain,
therefore, their old habits of passive obedience to the decrees of
government, as though they still lived under the absolute sway of colonial
commandants, instead of being part and parcel of the sovereign people, and
having a voice in public legislation.

A few aged men, who have grown gray on their hereditary acres, and are of
the good old colonial stock, exert a patriarchal sway in all matters of
public and private import; their opinions are considered oracular, and
their word is law.

The inhabitants, moreover, have none of that eagerness for gain and rage
for improvement which keep our people continually on the move, and our
country towns incessantly in a state of transition. There the magic
phrases, "town lots," "water privileges," "railroads," and other
comprehensive and soul-stirring words from the speculator's vocabulary, are
never heard. The residents dwell in the houses built by their forefathers,
without thinking of enlarging or modernizing them, or pulling them down and
turning them into granite stores. The trees, under which they have been
born and have played in infancy, flourish undisturbed; though, by cutting
them down, they might open new streets, and put money in their pockets. In
a word, the almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion
throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar
villages; and unless some of its missionaries penetrate there, and erect
banking houses and other pious shrines, there is no knowing how long the
inhabitants may remain in their present state of contented poverty.

In descending one of our great Western rivers in a steam-boat, I met with
two worthies from one of these villages, who had been on a distant
excursion, the longest they had ever made, as they seldom ventured far from
home. One was the great man, or grand seigneur, of the village; not that he
enjoyed any legal privileges or power there, everything of the kind having
been done away when the province was ceded by France to the United States.
His sway over his neighbors was merely one of custom and convention, out of
deference to his family. Beside, he was worth full fifty thousand dollars,
an amount almost equal, in the imaginations of the villagers, to the
treasures of King Solomon.

This very substantial old gentleman, though of the fourth or fifth
generation in this country, retained the true Gallic feature and
deportment, and reminded me of one of those provincial potentates that are
to be met with in the remote parts of France. He was of a large frame, a
ginger-bread complexion, strong features, eyes that stood out like glass
knobs, and a prominent nose, which he frequently regaled from a gold
snuff-box, and occasionally blew, with a colored handkerchief, until it
sounded like a trumpet.

He was attended by an old negro, as black as ebony, with a huge mouth in a
continual grin; evidently a privileged and favorite servant, who had grown
up and grown old with him. He was dressed in creole style--with white
jacket and trousers, a stiff shirt collar that threatened to cut off his
ears, a bright Madras handkerchief tied round his head, and large gold
earrings. He was the politest negro I met with in a Western tour; and that
is saying a great deal, for, excepting the Indians, the negroes are the
most gentlemanlike personages to be met with in those parts. It is true,
they differ from the Indians in being a little extra polite and
complimentary. He was also one of the merriest; and here, too, the negroes,
however we may deplore their unhappy condition, have the advantage of their
masters. The whites are, in general, too free and prosperous to be merry.
The cares of maintaining their rights and liberties, adding to their
wealth, and making presidents, engross all their thoughts, and dry up all
the moisture of their souls. If you hear a broad, hearty, devil-may-care
laugh, be assured it is a negro's.

Besides this African domestic, the seigneur of the village had another no
less cherished and privileged attendant. This was a huge dog, of the
mastiff breed, with a deep, hanging mouth, and a look of surly gravity. He
walked about the cabin with the air of a dog perfectly at home, and who had
paid for his passage. At dinner time he took his seat beside his master,
giving him a glance now and then out of a corner of his eye, which bespoke
perfect confidence that he would not be forgotten. Nor was he--every now
and then a huge morsel would be thrown to him, peradventure the half-picked
leg of a fowl, which he would receive with a snap like the springing of a
steel-trap--one gulp, and all was down; and a glance of the eye told his
master that he was ready for another consignment.

The other village worthy, traveling in company with the seigneur, was of a
totally different stamp. Small, thin, and weazen faced, as Frenchmen are
apt to be represented in caricature, with a bright, squirrel-like eye, and
a gold ring in his ear. His dress was flimsy, and sat loosely on his frame,
and he had altogether the look of one with but little coin in his pocket.
Yet, though one of the poorest, I was assured he was one of the merriest
and most popular personages in his native village.

Compere Martin, as he was commonly called, was the factotum of the
place-sportsman, schoolmaster, and land surveyor. He could sing, dance,
and, above all, play on the fiddle, an invaluable accomplishment in an old
French Creole village, for the inhabitants have a hereditary love for balls
and fetes; if they work but little, they dance a great deal, and a fiddle
is the joy of their heart.

What had sent Compere Martin traveling with the grand seigneur I could not
learn; he evidently looked up to him with great deference, and was
assiduous in rendering him petty attentions; from which I concluded that he
lived at home upon the crumbs which fell from his table. He was gayest when
out of his sight; and had his song and his joke when forward, among the
deck passengers; but altogether Compere Martin was out of his element on
board of a steamboat. He was quite another being, I am told, when at home
in his own village.

Like his opulent fellow-traveler, he too had his canine follower and
retainer--and one suited to his different fortunes--one of the civilest,
most unoffending little dogs in the world. Unlike the lordly mastiff, he
seemed to think he had no right on board of the steamboat; if you did but
look hard at him, he would throw himself upon his back, and lift up his
legs, as if imploring mercy.

At table he took his seat a little distance from his master; not with the
bluff, confident air of the mastiff, but quietly and diffidently, his head
on one side, with one ear dubiously slouched, the other hopefully cocked
up; his under teeth projecting beyond his black nose, and his eye wistfully
following each morsel that went into his master's mouth.

If Compere Martin now and then should venture to abstract a morsel from his
plate to give to his humble companion, it was edifying to see with what
diffidence the exemplary little animal would take hold of it, with the very
tip of his teeth, as if he would almost rather not, or was fearful of
taking too great a liberty. And then with what decorum would he eat it! How
many efforts would he make in swallowing it, as if it stuck in his throat;
with what daintiness would he lick his lips; and then with what an air of
thankfulness would he resume his seat, with his teeth once more projecting
beyond his nose, and an eye of humble expectation fixed upon his master.

It was late in the afternoon when the steamboat stopped at the village
which was the residence of these worthies. It stood on the high bank of the
river, and bore traces of having been a frontier trading post. There were
the remains of stockades that once protected it from the Indians, and the
houses were in the ancient Spanish and French colonial taste, the place
having been successively under the domination of both those nations prior
to the cession of Louisiana to the United States.

The arrival of the seigneur of fifty thousand dollars, and his humble
companion, Compere Martin, had evidently been looked forward to as an event
in the village. Numbers of men, women, and children, white, yellow, and
black, were collected on the river bank; most of them clad in old-fashioned
French garments, and their heads decorated with colored handkerchiefs, or
white nightcaps. The moment the steamboat came within sight and hearing,
there was a waving of handkerchiefs, and a screaming and bawling of
salutations, and felicitations, that baffle all description.

The old gentleman of fifty thousand dollars was received by a train of
relatives, and friends, and children, and grandchildren, whom he kissed on
each cheek, and who formed a procession in his rear, with a legion of
domestics, of all ages, following him to a large, old-fashioned French
house, that domineered over the village.

His black valet de chambre, in white jacket and trousers, and gold
earrings, was met on the shore by a boon, though rustic companion, a tall
negro fellow, with a long good-humored face, and the profile of a horse,
which stood out from beneath a narrow-rimmed straw hat, stuck on the back
of his head. The explosions of laughter of these two varlets on meeting and
exchanging compliments were enough to electrify the country round.

The most hearty reception, however, was that given to Compere Martin.
Everybody, young and old, hailed him before he got to land. Everybody had a
joke for Compere Martin, and Compere Martin had a joke for everybody. Even
his little dog appeared to partake of his popularity, and to be caressed by
every hand. Indeed, he was quite a different animal the moment he touched
the land. Here he was at home; here he was of consequence. He barked, he
leaped, he frisked about his old friends, and then would skim round the
place in a wide circle, as if mad.

I traced Compere Martin and his little dog to their home. It was an old
ruinous Spanish house, of large dimensions, with verandas overshadowed by
ancient elms. The house had probably been the residence, in old times, of
the Spanish commandant. In one wing of this crazy, but aristocratical
abode, was nestled the family of my fellow-traveler; for poor devils are
apt to be magnificently clad and lodged, in the cast-off clothes and
abandoned palaces of the great and wealthy.

The arrival of Compere Martin was welcomed by a legion of women, children,
and mongrel curs; and, as poverty and gayety generally go hand in hand
among the French and their descendants, the crazy mansion soon resounded
with loud gossip and light-hearted laughter.

As the steamboat paused a short time at the village, I took occasion to
stroll about the place. Most of the houses were in the French taste, with
casements and rickety verandas, but most of them in flimsy and ruinous
condition. All the wagons, plows, and other utensils about the place were
of ancient and inconvenient Gallic construction, such as had been brought
from France in the primitive days of the colony. The very looks of the
people reminded me of the villages of France.

From one of the houses came the hum of a spinning wheel, accompanied by a
scrap of an old French chanson, which I have heard many a time among the
peasantry of Languedoc, doubtless a traditional song, brought over by the
first French emigrants, and handed down from generation to generation.

Half a dozen young lasses emerged from the adjacent dwellings, reminding
me, by their light step and gay costume, of scenes in ancient France, where
taste in dress comes natural to every class of females. The trim bodice and
covered petticoat, and little apron, with its pockets to receive the hands
when in an attitude for conversation; the colored kerchief wound tastefully
round the head, with a coquettish knot perking above one ear; and the neat
slipper and tight drawn stocking with its braid of narrow ribbon embracing
the ankle where it peeps from its mysterious curtain. It is from this
ambush that Cupid sends his most inciting arrows.

While I was musing upon the recollections thus accidentally summoned up, I
heard the sound of a fiddle from the mansion of Compere Martin, the signal,
no doubt, for a joyous gathering. I was disposed to turn my steps thither,
and witness the festivities of one of the very few villages I had met with
in my wide tour that was yet poor enough to be merry; but the bell of the
steamboat summoned me to re-embark.

As we swept away from the shore, I cast back a wistful eye upon the
moss-grown roofs and ancient elms of the village, and prayed that the
inhabitants might long retain their happy ignorance, their absence of all
enterprise and improvement, their respect for the fiddle, and their
contempt for the almighty dollar. [Footnote: This phrase, used for the
first time in this sketch, has since passed into current circulation, and
by some has been questioned as savoring I fear, however, my prayer is of
irreverence. The author, therefore, owes it to his orthodoxy to declare
that no irreverence was intended even to the dollar itself; which he is
aware is daily becoming more and more an object of worship.] I fear,
however, my prayer is doomed to be of no avail. In a little while the
steamboat whirled me to an American town, just springing into bustling
and prosperous existence.

The surrounding forest had been laid out in town lots; frames of wooden
buildings were rising from among stumps and burned trees. The place already
boasted a court-house, a jail, and two banks, all built of pine boards, on
the model of Grecian temples. There were rival hotels, rival churches, and
rival newspapers; together with the usual number of judges, and generals,
and governors; not to speak of doctors by the dozen, and lawyers by the

The place, I was told, was in an astonishing career of improvement, with a
canal and two railroads in embryo. Lots doubled in price every week;
everybody was speculating in land; everybody was rich; and everybody was
growing richer. The community, however, was torn to pieces by new doctrines
in religion and in political economy; there were camp meetings, and
agrarian meetings; and an election was at hand, which, it was expected,
would throw the whole country into a paroxysm.

Alas! with such an enterprising neighbor, what is to become of the poor
little Creole village!


In the garden of the Tuileries there is a sunny corner under the wall of a
terrace which fronts the south. Along the wall is a range of benches
commanding a view of the walks and avenues of the garden. This genial nook
is a place of great resort in the latter part of autumn and in fine days in
winter, as it seems to retain the flavor of departed summer. On a calm,
bright morning it is quite alive with nursery-maids and their playful
little charges. Hither also resort a number of ancient ladies and
gentlemen, who, with the laudable thrift in small pleasures and small
expenses for which the French are to be noted, come here to enjoy sunshine
and save firewood. Here may often be seen some cavalier of the old school,
when the sunbeams have warmed his blood into something like a glow,
fluttering about like a frost-bitten moth thawed before the fire, putting
forth a feeble show of gallantry among the antiquated dames, and now and
then eying the buxom nursery-maids with what might almost be mistaken for
an air of libertinism.

Among the habitual frequenters of this place I had often remarked an old
gentleman whose dress was decidedly ante-revolutional. He wore the
three-cornered cocked hat of the _ancien regime_; his hair was frizzed
over each ear into _ailes de pigeon_, a style strongly savoring of
Bourbonism; and a queue stuck out behind, the loyalty of which was not to
be disputed. His dress, though ancient, had an air of decayed gentility,
and I observed that he took his snuff out of an elegant though
old-fashioned gold box. He appeared to be the most popular man on the walk.
He had a compliment for every old lady, he kissed every child, and he
patted every little dog on the head; for children and little dogs are very
important members of society in France. I must observe, however, that he
seldom kissed a child without, at the same time, pinching the
nursery-maid's cheek; a Frenchman of the old school never forgets his
devoirs to the sex.

I had taken a liking to this old gentleman. There was an habitual
expression of benevolence in his face which I have very frequently remarked
in these relics of the politer days of France. The constant interchange of
those thousand little courtesies which imperceptibly sweeten life have a
happy effect upon the features, and spread a mellow evening charm over the
wrinkles of old age.

Where there is a favorable predisposition one soon forms a kind of tacit
intimacy by often meeting on the same walks. Once or twice I accommodated
him with a bench, after which we touched hats on passing each other; at
length we got so far as to take a pinch of snuff together out of his box,
which is equivalent to eating salt together in the East; from that time our
acquaintance was established.

I now became his frequent companion in his morning promenades, and derived
much amusement from his good-humored remarks on men and manners. One
morning, as we were strolling through an alley of the Tuileries, with the
autumnal breeze whirling the yellow leaves about our path, my companion
fell into a peculiarly communicative vein, and gave me several particulars
of his history. He had once been wealthy, and possessed of a fine estate in
the country and a noble hotel in Paris; but the revolution, which effected
so many disastrous changes, stripped him of everything. He was secretly
denounced by his own steward during a sanguinary period of the revolution,
and a number of the bloodhounds of the Convention were sent to arrest him.
He received private intelligence of their approach in time to effect his
escape. He landed in England without money or friends, but considered
himself singularly fortunate in having his head upon his shoulders; several
of his neighbors having been guillotined as a punishment for being rich.

When he reached London he had but a louis in his pocket, and no prospect of
getting another. He ate a solitary dinner of beefsteak, and was almost
poisoned by port wine, which from its color he had mistaken for claret. The
dingy look of the chop-house, and of the little mahogany-colored box in
which he ate his dinner, contrasted sadly with the gay saloons of Paris.
Everything looked gloomy and disheartening. Poverty stared him in the face;
he turned over the few shillings he had of change; did not know what was to
become of him; and--went to the theater!

He took his seat in the pit, listened attentively to a tragedy of which he
did not understand a word, and which seemed made up of fighting, and
stabbing, and scene shifting, and began to feel his spirits sinking within
him; when, casting his eyes into the orchestra, what was his surprise to
recognize an old friend and neighbor in the very act of extorting music
from a huge violoncello.

As soon as the evening's performance was over he tapped his friend on the
shoulder; they kissed each other on each cheek, and the musician took him
home, and shared his lodgings with him. He had learned music as an
accomplishment; by his friend's advice he now turned to it as a means of
support. He procured a violin, offered himself for the orchestra, was
received, and again considered himself one of the most fortunate men upon

Here therefore he lived for many years during the ascendency of the
terrible Napoleon. He found several emigrants living, like himself, by the
exercise of their talents. They associated together, talked of France and
of old times, and endeavored to keep up a semblance of Parisian life in the
center of London.

They dined at a miserable cheap French restaurant in the neighborhood of
Leicester Square, where they were served with a caricature of French
cookery. They took their promenade in St. James's Park, and endeavored to
fancy it the Tuileries; in short, they made shift to accommodate themselves
to everything but an English Sunday. Indeed the old gentleman seemed to
have nothing to say against the English, whom he affirmed to be _braves
gens_; and he mingled so much among them that at the end of twenty years
he could speak their language almost well enough to be understood.

The downfall of Napoleon was another epoch in his life. He had considered
himself a fortunate man to make his escape penniless out of France, and he
considered himself fortunate to be able to return penniless into it. It is
true that he found his Parisian hotel had passed through several hands
during the vicissitudes of the times, so as to be beyond the reach of
recovery; but then he had been noticed benignantly by government, and had a
pension of several hundred francs, upon which, with careful management, he
lived independently, and, as far as I could judge, happily. As his once
splendid hotel was now occupied as a _hotel garni_, he hired a small
chamber in the attic; it was but, as he said, changing his bedroom up two
pair of stairs--he was still in his own house. His room was decorated with
pictures of several beauties of former times, with whom he professed to
have been on favorable terms: among them was a favorite opera-dancer, who
had been the admiration of Paris at the breaking out of the revolution. She
had been a protegee of my friend, and one of the few of his youthful
favorites who had survived the lapse of time and its various vicissitudes.
They had renewed their acquaintance, and she now and then visited him; but
the beautiful Psyche, once the fashion of the day and the idol of the
_parterre_, was now a shriveled, little old woman, warped in the back
and with a hooked nose.

The old gentleman was a devout attendant upon levees; he was most zealous
in his loyalty, and could not speak of the royal family without a burst of
enthusiasm, for he still felt toward them as his companions in exile. As to
his poverty he made light of it, and indeed had a good-humored way of
consoling himself for every cross and privation. If he had lost his chateau
in the country, he had half a dozen royal palaces, as it were, at his
command. He had Versailles and St. Cloud for his country resorts, and the
shady alleys of the Tuileries and the Luxembourg for his town recreation.
Thus all his promenades and relaxations were magnificent, yet cost nothing.

When I walk through these fine gardens, said he, I have only to fancy
myself the owner of them, and they are mine. All these gay crowds are my
visitors, and I defy the grand seignior himself to display a greater
variety of beauty. Nay, what is better, I have not the trouble of
entertaining them. My estate is a perfect Sans Souci, where every one does
as he pleases, and no one troubles the owner. All Paris is my theater, and
presents me with a continual spectacle. I have a table spread for me in
every street, and thousands of waiters ready to fly at my bidding. When my
servants have waited upon me I pay them, discharge them, and there's an
end; I have no fears of their wronging or pilfering me when my back is
turned. Upon the whole, said the old gentleman with a smile of infinite
good humor, when I think upon the various risks I have run, and the manner
in which I have escaped them; when I recollect all that I have suffered,
and consider all that I at present enjoy, I cannot but look upon myself as
a man of singular good fortune.

Such was the brief history of this practical philosopher, and it is a
picture of many a Frenchman ruined by the revolution. The French appear to
have a greater facility than most men in accommodating themselves to the
reverses of life, and of extracting honey out of the bitter things of this
world. The first shock of calamity is apt to overwhelm them, but when it is
once past, their natural buoyancy of feeling soon brings them to the
surface. This may be called the result of levity of character, but it
answers the end of reconciling us to misfortune, and if it be not true
philosophy, it is something almost as efficacious. Ever since I have heard
the story of my little Frenchman, I have treasured it up in my heart; and I
thank my stars I have at length found what I had long considered as not to
be found on earth--a contented man.

P. S.--There is no calculating on human happiness. Since writing the
foregoing, the law of indemnity has been passed, and my friend restored to
a great part of his fortune. I was absent from Paris at the time, but on my
return hastened to congratulate him. I found him magnificently lodged on
the first floor of his hotel. I was ushered, by a servant in livery,
through splendid saloons, to a cabinet richly furnished, where I found my
little Frenchman reclining on a couch. He received me with his usual
cordiality; but I saw the gayety and benevolence of his countenance had
fled; he had an eye full of care and anxiety.

I congratulated him on his good fortune. "Good fortune?" echoed he; "bah! I
have been plundered of a princely fortune, and they give me a pittance as
an indemnity."

Alas! I found my late poor and contented friend one of the richest and most
miserable men in Paris. Instead of rejoicing hi the ample competency
restored to him, he is daily repining at the superfluity withheld. He no
longer wanders in happy idleness about Paris, but is a repining attendant
in the ante-chambers of ministers. His loyalty has evaporated with his
gayety; he screws his mouth when the Bourbons are mentioned, and even
shrugs his shoulders when he hears the praises of the king. In a word, he
is one of the many philosophers undone by the law of indemnity, and his
case is desperate, for I doubt whether even another reverse of fortune,
which should restore him to poverty, could make him again a happy man.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Crayon Papers" ***

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