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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 03, January, 1858 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 03, January, 1858 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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VOL. I--JANUARY, 1858.--NO. III.


If building many houses could teach us to build them well, surely we
ought to excel in this matter. Never was there such a house-building
people. In other countries the laws interfere,--or customs,
traditions, and circumstances as strong as laws; either capital is
wanting, or the possession of land, or there are already houses
enough. If a man inherit a house, he is not likely to build another,--
nor if he inherit nothing but a place in an inevitable line of
lifelong hand-to-mouth toil. In such countries houses are built
wholesale by capitalists, and only by a small minority for themselves.

And where the man inherits no house, he at least inherits the
traditional pattern of one, or the nature of the soil decides the
main points; as you cannot build of brick where there is no clay,
nor of wood where there are no forests. But here every man builds a
house for himself, and every one freely according to his whims. Many
materials are nearly equally cheap, and all styles and ways of
building equally open to us; at least the general appearance of most
should be known to us, for we have tried nearly all. Our public
opinion is singularly impartial and cosmopolitan, or perhaps we
should rather say knowing and unscrupulous. All that is demanded of
a house is, that it should be of an "improved style," or at least
"something different." Nothing will excuse it, if old-fashioned,--
and hardly anything condemn it, if it have novelty enough.

And this latitude is not confined to the owner's scheme of his house,
but extends also to the executive department. In other countries,
however extravagant your fancy, you are brought within some bounds
when you come to carry it out; for the architect and the builder have
been trained to certain rules and forms, and these will enter into
all they do. But here every man is an architect who can handle a
T-square, and every man a builder who can use a plane or a trowel;
and the chances are that the owner thinks he can do all as well as
either of them. For if every man in England thinks he can write a
leading article, much more every Yankee thinks he can build a house.
Never was such freedom from the rule of tradition. A fair field and
no favor; whatever that can accomplish we shall have.

The result, it must be confessed, is not gratifying. For if you
sometimes find a man who is satisfied with his own house, yet his
neighbors sneer at it, and he at his neighbors' houses. And even with
himself it does not usually wear well. The common case is that even
he accepts it as a confessed failure, or at best a compromise. And
if he does not confess the failure, (for association, pride,
use-and-wont reconcile one to much), the house confesses it. For
what else but self-confessed failures are these thin wooden or cheap
brick walls, temporarily disguised as massive stone,--this roof,
leaking from the snow-bank retained by the Gothic parapet, or the
insufficient slope which the "Italian style" demands?

There is no lack of endeavor to make the house look well. People
will sacrifice almost anything to that. They will strive their
chambers into the roof,--they will have windows where they do not
want them, or leave them out where they do,--in our tropical summers
they will endure the glare and heat of the sun, rather than that
blinds should interfere with the moulded window-caps, or with the
style generally,--they will break up the outline with useless and
expensive irregularity,--they will have brackets that support nothing,
and balconies and look-outs upon which no one ever steps after the
carpenter leaves them,--all for the sake of pleasing the eye. And
all this without any real and lasting success,--with a success,
indeed, that seems often in an inverse ratio to the effort. If a man
have a pig-stye to build, or a log-house in the woods, he may hit
upon an agreeable outline; but let him set out freely and with all
deliberation to build something that shall be beautiful, and he fails.

Not that the failure is peculiar at all to us. In Europe there may,
perhaps, be less bad taste,--though I am not sure of that; but there,
and everywhere, I think, the memorable houses, among those of recent
date, are not those carefully elaborated for effect,--the
premeditated irregularity of the English Gothic, the trig regularity
of the French Pseudo-Classic, or the studied rusticity of Germany,--
but such as seem to have grown of themselves out of the place where
they stand,--Swiss _châlets_, Mexican or Manila plantation-houses,
Italian farm-houses, built, nobody knows when or by whom, and built
without any thought of attracting attention. And here I think we get
a hint as to the reason of their success. For a house is not a
monument, that it should seek to draw attention to itself,--but the
dwelling-place of men upon the earth; and it must show itself to be
wholly secondary to its purpose.

We have had a good deal of exhortation lately, now getting rather
wearisome, about avoiding pretence in architecture, and that we
should let things show for what they are. The avoidance of pretence
should begin farther back. If the house is _all_ pretence, we shall
not help it by "frankness of treatment" in details.

The house is the sign of man's entering into possession of the earth.
A houseless savage, living on wild game and accidental fruits, is an
alien in nature, or a minor not yet come to his estate. As soon as
he begins to cultivate the soil he builds him a house,--no longer a
hut or a cave but the work of his own hands, and as permanent as his
tenure of the cultivated field. If that is to descend to his children,
the house must be so built as to endure accordingly. It is the
material expression of the _status_ of the family,--such people in
such a place. Hence the two-fold requirement of fitness for its use
and of harmony with its surroundings. A log-house is the appropriate
dwelling of the lumberer in the woods; but transplant it to a
suburban lawn and it becomes an absurdity, and a double absurdity.
It is not in harmony with the place, nor fit for the use of the
citizen. Nothing more satisfactory in their place than the old
English parish-churches; but transfer one of them from its natural
atmosphere and surroundings to the midst of one of our raw villages
or bustling cities, exposed to the sudden and violent changes of our
climate,--the open timber roof admitting the heat and the cold, and
the stone walls bedewed with condensed moisture,--and after the first
pleasant impression of the moment is over, there is left only a
painful feeling of mimicry, not to be removed by any precision of
copying, nor by the feeble attempts at ivy in the corners.

This is all evident enough, and in principle generally admitted; but
we dodge the application of the principle, because we are not ready
to admit to ourselves, what history, apart from any reasoning, would
show us, that those importations are failures, and that not
accidentally in these particular cases, leaving the hope of better
success for the next trial, but necessarily, and because they are

All good architecture must be the gradual growth of its country and
its age,--the accumulation of men's experience, adding and leaving
out from generation to generation. The air of permanence and stability
that we admire in it must be gained by a slow and solid growth.
It is the product, not of any one man's skill, but of a nation's;
and its type, accordingly, must be gradually formed.

But in this, as in everything else, there must be an aim, and one
persisted in, else no experience is gained. A mere succession of
generations will do nothing, if for each of them the whole problem
is changed. The man of to-day cannot profit by his father's
experience in the building of his house, if his culture, his habits,
his associates, are different from his father's,--much less if they
have changed since his own youth, and are changing from year to year.
He will not imitate, he will not forbear to alter. On such shifting
sands no enduring structure is possible, but only a tent for the

We talk of the laws of architecture; but the fundamental law of all,
and one that is sure to be obeyed, is, that the dwelling shall
typify man's appropriation of the earth and its products,--what we
call property. A man's house is naturally just as fixed a quantity
as the kind and the amount of his possessions, and no more so. The
style of it, depending on the inherited ideas of the class to
which he belongs, will be as formed and as fixed as that class.
Then where there is no fixed class, and where the property of
every man is constantly varying, our quantity will be just so
variable, and the true type of our architecture will be the
tent,--of the frame-and-clapboard variety suited to the climate.

For good architecture, then, we need castes in society, and fixed
ways of living. We see the effect in the old parsonages in England,
where from year to year have dwelt men of the same class, education,
income, tastes, and circumstances generally, and so bringing from
generation to generation nearly the same requirements, with the
unessential changes brought in from time to time by new wants or
individual fancies, here and there putting out a bay-window or
adding a wing, but always in the spirit of the original building,
and the whole getting each year more weather-stained and ivy-grown,
and so toned into more complete harmony with the landscape, yet
still living and expansive.

It may be said that the result is here a partly accidental one, and
not a matter of art. But domestic architecture is only half-way a
fine art. It does not aim at a beauty of the monumental kind, as a
statue, a triumphal arch, or even a temple does. Its primary aim is
shelter, to house man in nature,--and it forms, as it were, the
connecting link between him and the outward world. Its results,
therefore, are partly the free artistic production, and partly
retain unmodified their material character. In the image carved by
the sculptor, the stone or wood used derive little of their effect
from the original material; the important character is that imparted
to them by his skill. Still more the canvas and pigments of the
painter. But in architecture the wood and stone still fulfil the
offices of covering, connecting, and supporting, as they did in the
tree and the quarry, and their physical properties play an essential
part in the work. The house, therefore, is a work of art only half
emancipated from nature, and must depend on nature for much of its
beauty also. It must not be isolated, as something merely to be
looked at, apart from its position and its material use.

The common mistake in our houses is, that they are designed, as
inexperienced persons choose their paper-hangings, to be something
of themselves, and not as mere background, as they should be. Thus
it is that people seek to beautify their houses by ornamenting them,
as a vulgar person sticks himself over with jewelry. A man's house
is only a wider kind of dress; and as we do not call a man
well-dressed when we are forced to see his dress before we see him,
so a house cannot be satisfactory when it isolates itself from its
inmates and from the landscape. In such houses, the more _effort_
the worse they are; they may cheat us for the moment, but the oftener
we see them the less we like them. Does not the uncomfortable
sensation with which fine houses so often oppress us arise from the
vague feeling that the owner has built himself out of his house, and
his house out of the landscape?

Hence it is mostly the novices that build the fine houses. A man of
sense, I think, will generally build his second house plainer than
his first. Not that he desires, perhaps, any the less what he
desired before, but he is more alive to the difficulties and to the
cost, and takes refuge in the safety of a lower scale. His
experience has taught him that where he succeeded best he was really
farthest from the end he sought. The fine house requires that its
accessories should be in kind. All things within and without, the
approach, the grounds, the furniture, must be brought up to the same
pitch, and kept there. And when all is done, it is not done, but
forever demands retouching. What is got in this kind cannot be paid
for with money, nor finished once for all, but is a never-sated
absorbent of time, thought, life. And it attacks the owner, too; he
must conform, in his dress, his equipage, and his habits generally;
he must be as fine as his house. The nicer his taste the more any
incongruity will offend him, and the greater the danger of his
becoming more or less an appendage to his house.

Much of that chronic ailment of our society, the "trials of
housekeeping," is traceable to this source. This is a complicated
trouble, and probably other causes have their share in it. But we
cannot fail to recognize in these seemingly accidental obstructions
a stern, but beneficent adjustment of our circumstances to enforce a
simplicity which we should else neglect. One cannot greatly
deprecate the terrors of high rents and long bills, and the
sufferings from clumsy and careless domestics, if they help to keep
down senseless profusion and display.

Our problem is, in truth, one of greater difficulty than at first
appears. For we are each of us striving to do, by the skill and
forethought of one man, what naturally accomplishes itself in a
succession of generations and with the aid of circumstances. It is
from our freedom that the trouble arises. Were our society composed
of few classes, widely and permanently distinct, a fitting style for
each would naturally arise and become established and perfected.
There would be fewer occasions for new houses, and the new house
would be less novel in style, and so two difficulties would be
overcome. For novelty of style is a drawback to effect, as tending
to isolate the house; and a new house is always at a disadvantage.
Nature, in any case, is slow to adopt our handiwork into the
landscape; sometimes the assimilation is so difficult that it must
be ruined for its original purpose before it will be accepted.
Sooner or later, indeed, it will be accepted. For though most of our
buildings seem even in decay to resist the harmonizing hand of Nature,
and to grow only ghastly and not venerable in dilapidation, yet
leave them long enough and what of beauty was possible to them will
appear, though it be only a crumbling heap of bricks where the
chimney stood, or the grassy slope where the cellar-wall has fallen

It is for this reason that persons of taste have taken pains to face
their houses with weather-stained and lichen-crusted stone, or
invent proper names for them, in imitation of the English
manor-houses. But Nature is jealous of this helping, and neither the
lichens nor the names will stick, for the reason that they never
grew there. They cannot be naturalized without naturalizing their
conditions. The gray ancestral houses of England are the beautiful
symbols of the permanence of family and of caste. They are the
embodiments of traditional institutions and culture. When we speak
of the House of Stanley or of Howard, the expression is not wholly
figurative. We do not mean simply the men and women of these families,
but the whole complex of this manifold environment which has
descended to them and in the midst of which they have grown up,--no
more to be separated from it than the polyp from the coral stem.
All this is centralized and has its expression in the House.

Now as these conditions are not our conditions, the attempt to build
fine houses is an attempt to import an effect where the cause has
not existed. Our position is that of a perpetually shifting
population,--the mass shifting and the individuals shifting, in place,
circumstances, requirements. The movement is inevitable, and,
whether desirable or not, we must conform to it. So we naturally
build cheaply and slightly, that the house be not an incumbrance
rather than a furtherance to our life. It is agreeable to the
feelings to be well rooted and established, and the results in
outward appearance are agreeable. But it is not desirable to be so
niched into the rock, that a change of fortune, or even a change in
the direction of a town-road, shall leave us high and dry, like the
fossils of the Norwegian cliffs, but rather, like the shell-fish of
our beaches, free to travel up and down with the tide.

The imitating of foreign examples comes from no real, heart-felt
demand, but only from a fancied or simulated demand,--from tradition,
association; at second-hand in one shape or another. It is at bottom
something of the same flunkeyism that in a more exaggerated form
assumes heraldic bearings and puts its servants into livery.

It may well reconcile us to our deprivation to remember at what cost
these things we admire are established and kept up. The imagination
is pleased with this stability; but it is bought too dear, if
progress is to be sacrificed to it, if the freedom and the true
lives of the members are to be merged in the family, and if they are
to be the stones of which the house is built. It is not desirable to
be _adscriptus glebes_, whether the bonds be physical or only moral
ones. We may well be content to have our limits free, even though
our architecture suffer for it. It is better that houses should
belong to men, and not men to houses.

But whether we are content or not, it is evident that all hope of
improvement lies in the tendency, somewhat noticeable of late, to
the abnegation of exotic styles and graces. We have survived the
Parthenon pattern, and there seems to be a prospect that we shall
outlive the Gothic cottage. Even the Anglo-Italian bracketed villa
has seen its palmiest days apparently, and exhausted most of its
variations. We are in an extremely chaotic state just now; but there
seems to be an inclination towards more rational ways, at least in
the plans and general arrangement of houses.

Of course mere negation cannot carry us far. We sometimes hear it
said that it is as easy for a house to look well as to look ill, and
those who say this seem to think that the failure is due solely to
want of due consideration of the problem on the part of our builders,
and that we have but to leave out their blunders to get at a
satisfactory result. But if we look at the facts of the case, we
find the builders have some reason on their side.

Nothing can be more unsightly than the stalky, staring houses of our
villages, with their plain gable-roofs, of a pitch neither high
enough nor low enough for beauty, and disfigured, moreover, by mere
excrescences of attic windows, and over the whole structure the
awkward angularity, and the look of barren, mindless conformity and
uniformity in the general outlines, and the meagre, frittered effect
inherent in the material. But when we come to build, we find that
the blockheads who invented this style, or no-style, have got at the
cheapest way of supplying the first imperative demands of the people
for whom they build,--namely, to be walled in and roofed
weather-tight, and with a decent neatness, but without much care
that the house should be solid and enduring,--for it cannot well be
so flimsy as not to outlast the owner's needs. He does not look to
it as the habitation of his children,--hardly as his own for his
lifetime,--but as a present shelter, easily and quickly got ready,
and as easily plucked up and carried off again. The common-law of
England looks upon a house as real estate, as part of the soil; but
with us it is hardly a fixture.

Surely nothing can be more simple and common-sense than an ordinary
New England house, but at the same time nothing can be uglier. The
outline, the material, the color and texture of the surface are at
all points opposed to breadth of effect or harmony with the
surroundings. There is neither mass nor elegance; there are no lines
of union with the ground; the meagre monotony of the lines of
shingles and clapboards making subdivisions too small to be
impressive, and too large to be overlooked,--and finally, the paint,
of which the outside really consists, thrusting forward its chalky
blankness, as it were a standing defiance of all possibility of
assimilation,--all combine to form something that shall forever
remain a blot in the landscape.

Evidently it is not merely a more common-sense treatment that we want;
for here is sufficient simplicity, but a simplicity barren of all
satisfaction. And singularly enough, it seems, with all its
meagreness, to pass easily into an ostentatious display. In these
houses there is no thought of "architecture"; that is considered as
something quite apart, and not essential to the well-building of the
house. But for this very reason matters are not much changed when
the owner determines to spend something for looks. The house remains
at bottom the same rude mass, with the "architecture" tacked on. It
is not that the owner has any deeper or different sentiment towards
his dwelling, but merely that he has a desire to make a flourish
before the eyes of beholders. There is no heartfelt interest in all
this on his part; it gives him no pleasure; how, then, should it
please the spectator?

The case is the same, whether it be the coarse ornamentation of the
cheap cottage, or the work of the fashionable architect; we feel
that the decoration is superficial and may be dispensed with, and
then, however skillful, it becomes superfluous. The more elaborate
the worse, for attention is the more drawn to the failure.

What is wanted for any real progress is not so much a greater skill
in our house-builders, as more thoughtful consideration on the part
of the house-owners of what truly interests them in the house. We do
not stop to examine what really weighs with us, but on some fancied
necessity hasten to do superfluous things. What is it that we really
care for in the building of our houses? Is it not, that, like dress,
or manners, they should facilitate, and not impede the business
of life? We do not wish to be compelled to think of them by
themselves either as good or bad, but to get rid of any obstruction
from them. They are to be lived in, not looked at; and their beauty
must grow as naturally from their use as the flower from its stem,
so that it shall not be possible to say where the one ends and
the other begins. Not that beauty will come of itself; there must be
the feeling to be satisfied before any satisfaction will come.
But we shall not help it by pretending the feeling, nor by trying
to persuade others or ourselves that we are pleased with what has
been pleasing to other nations and under other circumstances.
Our poverty, if poverty it be, is not disgraceful, until we attempt
to conceal it by our affectation of foreign airs and graces.


The sea floated its foam-caps upon the gray shore, and murmured its
inarticulate love-stories all day to the dumb rocks above; the blue
sky was bordered with saffron sunrises, pink sunsets, silver
moon-fringes, or spangled with careless stars; the air was full of
south-winds that had fluttered the hearts of a thousand roses and a
million violets with long, deep kisses, and then flung the delicate
odors abroad to tell their exploits, and set the butterflies mad
with jealousy, and the bees crazy with avarice. And all this bloom
was upon the country of Larrièrepensée, when Queen Lura's little
daughter came to life in the Topaz Palace that stood on Sunrise Hills,
and was King Joconde's summer pavilion.

Now there was no searching far and wide for godfathers, godmothers,
and a name, as there is when the princesses of this world are born:
for, in the first place, Larrièrepensée was a country of pious
heathen, and full of fairies; the people worshipped an Idea, and
invited the fairy folk to all their parties, as we who are proper
here invite the clergy; only the fairy folk did not get behind the
door, or leave the room, when dancing commenced.

And the reason why this princess was born to a name, as well as to a
kingdom, was, that, long ago, the people who kept records in
Larrièrepensée were much troubled by the ladies of that land never
growing old: they staid at thirty for ten years; at forty, for twenty;
and all died before fifty, which made much confusion in dates,--
especially when some women were called upon to tell traditions, the
only sort of history endured in that kingdom; because it was against
the law to write either lies or romances, though you might hear and
tell them, if you would, and some people would; although to call a
man a historian there was the same thing as to say, "You lie!" here.

But as I was saying, this evergreen way into which the women fell
caused much trouble, and the Twelve Sages made a law that for six
hundred years every female child born in any month of the
seventy-two hundred following should be named by the name ordained
for that month; and then they made a long list, containing
seventy-two hundred names of women, and locked it up in the box of
Great Designs, which stood always under the king's throne; and
thenceforward, at the beginning of every month, the Twelve Sages
unlocked the box, consulted the paper, and sent a herald through the
town to proclaim the girl-name for that month. So this saved a world
of trouble; for if some wrinkled old maid should say, "And that
happened long ago, some time before I was born," all her gossips
laughed, and cried out, "Ho! ho! there's a historian! do we not all
know you were a born Allia, ten years before that date?"--and then
the old maid was put to shame.

Now it happened well for Queen Lura's lovely daughter, that on her
birth-month was written the gracious name of Maya, for it seemed
well to fit her grace and delicacy, while but few in that country
knew its sad Oriental depth, or that it had any meaning at all.

It was all one flush of dawn upon Sunrise Hills, when the
maids-of-honor, in curls and white frocks, began to strew the great
Hall of Amethyst with geranium leaves, and arrange light tripods of
gold for the fairies, who were that day gathered from all
Larrièrepensée to see and gift the new princess. The Queen had
written notes to them on spicy magnolia-petals, and now the
head-nurse and the grand-equerry wheeled her couch of state into the
Hall of Amethyst, that she might receive the tender wishes of the
good fairies, while yet the sweet languor of her motherhood kept her
from the fresh wind and bright dew out of doors.

The couch of state was fashioned like a great rose of crimson velvet;
only where there should have been the gold anthers of the flower lay
the lovely Queen, wrapped in a mantle of canary-birds' down, and
nested on one arm slept the Child of the Kingdom, Maya. Presently a
cloud of honey-bees swept through the wide windows, and settling
upon the ceiling began a murmurous song, when, one by one, the
flower-fairies entered, and flitting to their tripods, each garlanded
with her own blossom, awaited the coming of their Head,--the Fairy

As the Queen perceived their delay, a sudden pang crossed her pale
and tranquil brow.

"Ah!" said she, to the nurse-in-chief, Mrs. Lita, "my poor baby, Maya!
What have I done? I have neglected to ask the Fairy Anima, and now
she will come in anger, and give my child an evil gift, unless
Cordis hastens!"

"Do not fear, Madam!" said Mrs. Lita, "your nerves are weak,--take a
little cordial."

So she gave the Queen a red glass full of honeybell whiskey; but she
called it a fine name, like Rose-dew, or Tears-of-Flax, and then
Queen Lura drank it down nicely;--so much depends on names, even in

But as Mrs. Lita set away the glass, the bees upon the ceiling began
to buzz in a most angry manner, and rally about the queen-bee; the
south-wind cried round the palace corner; and a strange light, like
the sun shining when it rains, threw a lurid glow over the graceful
fairy forms. Then the door of the hall flung open, and a beautiful,
wrathful shape crossed the threshold;--it was the Fairy Anima. Where
she gathered the gauzes that made her rainbow vest, or the
water-diamonds that gemmed her night-black hair, or the sun-fringed
cloud of purple that was her robe, no fay or mortal knew; but they
knew well the power of her presence, and grew pale at her anger.

With swift feet she neared the couch of state, but her steps
lingered as she saw within those crimson leaves the delicate,
fear-pale face of the Queen, and her sleeping child.

"Always rose-folded!" she murmured, "and I tread the winds abroad! A
fair bud, and I am but a stately stem! You were foolish and frail,
Queen Lura, that you sent me no word of your harvest-time; now I
come angry. Show me the child!"

Mrs. Lita, with awed steps, drew near, and lifted the baby in her
arms, and the child's soft hazel eyes looked with grave innocence at
Anima. Truly, the Princess was a lovely piece of nature: her hair,
like fine silk, fell in dark, yet gilded tresses from her snow-white
brow; her eyes were thoughtless, tender, serene; her lips red as the
heart of a peach; her skin so fair that it seemed stained with
violets where the blue veins crept lovingly beneath; and her dimpled
cheeks were flushed with sleep like the sunset sky.

Anima looked at the baby.--"Ah! too much, too much!" said she.
"Queen Lura, a butterfly can eat honey only; let us have a higher
life for the Princess of Larrièrepensée. Maya, I give thee for a
birth-gift another crown. Receive the Spark!"

Queen Lura shrieked; but Anima stretching out her wand, a snake of
black diamonds, with a blood-red head, touched the child's eyes, and
from the serpent's rapid tongue a spark of fire darted into either
eye, and sunk deeper and deeper,--for two tears flowed above, and
hung on Maya's silky lashes, as she looked with a preternatural
expression of reproach at the Fairy.

Now all was confusion. Queen Lura tried to faint,--she knew it was
proper,--and the grand-equerry rang all the palace bells in a row.
Anima gave no glance at the little Princess, who still sat upright
in Mrs. Lita's petrified arms, but went proudly from the hall alone.

The flower-fairies dropped their wands with one sonorous clang upon
the floor, and with bitter sighs and wringing hands flitted one
after another to the portal, bewailing, as they went, their wasted
gifts and powers.

"Why should I give her beauty?" cried the Fairy Rose; "all eyes will
be dazzled with the Spark; who will know on what form it shines?"

So the red rose dropped and died.

"Why should I bring her innocence?" said the Fairy Lily; "the Spark
will burn all evil from her, thought and deed!"

Then the white lily dropped and died.

"Is there any use to her in grace?" wept the Fairy Eglantine;
"the Spark will melt away all mortal grossness, till she is light
and graceful as the clouds above."

And the eglantine wreaths dropped and died.

"She will never want humility," said the Fairy Violet; "for she will
find too soon that the Spark is a curse as well as a crown!"

So the violet dropped and died.

Then the Sun-dew denied her pity; the blue Forget-me not, constancy;
the Iris, pride; the Butter-cup, gold; the Passion-flower, love; the
Amaranth, hope: all because the Spark should gift her with every one
of these, and burn the gift in deeply. So they all dropped and died;
and she could never know the flowers of life,--only its fires.

But in the end of all this flight came a ray of consolation, like
the star that heralds dawn, springing upward on the skirt of night's
blackest hour. The raging bees that had swarmed upon the golden
chandelier returned to the ceiling and their song; the scattered
flowers revived and scented the air: for the Fairy Cordis came,--too
late, but welcome; her face bright with flushes of vivid, but
uncertain rose,--her deep gray eyes brimming with motherhood, a
sister's fondness, and the ardor of a child. The tenderest
garden-spider-webs made her a robe, full of little common blue-eyed
flowers, and in her gold-brown hair rested a light circle of such
blooms as beguile the winter days of the poor and the desolate, and
put forth their sweetest buds by the garret window, or the bedside
of a sick man.

Mrs. Lita nearly dropped the baby, in her great relief of mind; but
Cordis caught it, and looked at its brilliant face with tears.

"Ah, Head of the Fairies, help me!" murmured Queen Lura, extending
her arms toward Cordis; for she had kept one eye open wide enough to
see what would happen while she fainted away.

"All I can, I will," said the kindly fairy, speaking in the same key
that a lark sings in. So she sat down upon a white velvet mushroom
and fell to thinking, while Maya, the Princess, looked at her from
the rose where she lay, and the Queen, having pushed her down robe
safely out of the way, leaned her head on her hand, and very
properly cried as much as six tears.

Soon, like a sunbeam, Cordis looked up. "I can give the Princess a
counter-charm, Queen Lura," said she,--"but it is not sure. Look you!
she will have a lonely life,--for the Spark burns, as well as shines,
and the only way to mend that matter is to give the fire better fuel
than herself. For some long years yet, she must keep herself in
peace and the shade; but when she is a woman, and the Spark can no
more be hidden,--since to be a woman is to have power and pain,--
then let her veil herself, and with a staff and scrip go abroad into
the world, for her time is come. Now in this kingdom of
Larrièrepensée there stand many houses, all empty, but swept and
garnished, and a fire laid ready on the hearth for the hand of the
Coming to kindle. But sometimes, nay, often, this fire is a cheat:
for there be men who carve the semblance of it in stone, and are so
content to have the chill for the blaze all their lives; and on some
hearths the logs are green wood, set up before their time; and on
some they are but ashes, for the fire has burned and died, and left
the ghostly shape of boughs behind; and sometimes, again, they are
but icicles clothed in bark, to save the shame of the possessor. But
there are some hearths laid with dry and goodly timber; and if the
Princess Maya does not fail, but chooses a real and honest heap of
wood, and kindles it from the Spark within her, then will she have a
most perfect life; for the fire that consumes her shall leave its
evil work, and make the light and warmth of a household, and rescue
her forever from the accursed crown of the Spark. But I grieve to
tell you, yet one of my name cannot lie--if the Princess mistake the
false for the true, if she flashes her fire upon stone, or ice, or
embers, either the Spark will recoil and burn her to ashes, or it
will die where she placed it and turn her to stone, or--worst fate
of all, yet likeliest to befall the tenderest and best--it will
reenter her at her lips, and turn her whole nature to the bitterness
of gall, so that neither food shall refresh her, sleep rest her,
water quench her thirst, nor fire warm her body. Is it worth the
trial? or shall she live and burn slowly to her death, with the
unquenchable fire of the Spark?"

"Ah! let her, at the least, try for that perfect life," said Queen

Then the Fairy Cordis drew from her delicate finger a ring of
twisted gold, in which was set an opal wrought into the shape of a
heart, and in it palpitated, like throbbing blood, one scarlet flash
of flame.

"Let her keep this always on her hand," said Cordis. "It will serve
to test the truth of the fire she strives to kindle; for if it be
not true wood, this heart will grow cold, the throb cease, the glow
become dim. The talisman may, will, save her, unless in the madness
of joy she forget to ask its aid, or the Spark flashing upon its
surface seems to create anew the fire within, and thus deceives her."

So the Fairy put the ring upon Queen Lura's hand, and kissed Maya's
fair brow, already shaded with sleep. The bees upon the ceiling
followed her, dropping honey as they went; the maids-of-honor
wheeled away the couch of state; the castle-maids swept up the fading
leaves and blossoms, drew the tulip-tree curtains down, fastened the
great door with a sandal-wood bar, sprinkled the corridors with
rosewater; and by moonrise, when the nightingales sung loud from the
laurel thickets, all the country slept,--even Maya; but the Spark
burned bright, and she dreamed.

So the night came on, and many another night, and many a new day,--
till Maya, grown a girl, looked onward to the life before her with
strange foreboding, for still the Spark burned.

Hitherto it had been but a glad light on all things, except men and
women; for into their souls the Spark looked too far, and Maya's
open brow was shadowed deeply and often with sorrows not her own,
and her heart ached many a day for pains she could not or dared not
relieve; but if she were left alone, the illumination of the Spark
filled everything about her with glory. The sky's rapturous blue,
the vivid tints of grass and leaves, the dismaying splendor of
blood-red roses, the milky strawberry-flower, the brilliant
whiteness of the lily, the turquoise eyes of water-plants,--all
these gave her a pleasure intense as pain; and the songs of the winds,
the love-whispers of June midnights, the gathering roar of autumn
tempests, the rattle of thunder, the breathless and lurid pause
before a tropic storm,--all these the Spark enhanced and vivified;
till, seeing how blest in herself and the company of Nature the
Child of the Kingdom grew, Queen Lura deliberated silently and long
whether she should return the gift of the Fairy Cordis, and let Maya
live so tranquil and ignorant forever, or whether she should awaken
her from her dreams, and set her on her way through the world.

But now the Princess Maya began to grow pale and listless. Her eyes
shone brighter than ever, but she was consumed with a feverish
longing to see new and strange things. On her knees, and weeping,
she implored her mother to release her from the court routine, and
let her wander in the woods and watch the village children play.

So Queen Lura, having now another little daughter, named Maddala,
who was just like all other children, and a great comfort to her
mother, was the more inclined to grant Maya's prayer. She therefore
told Maya all that was before her, and having put upon her tiny
finger the fairy-ring, bade the tiring-woman take off her velvet robe,
and the gold circlet in her hair, and clothe her in a russet suit of
serge, with a gray kirtle and hood. King Joconde was gone to the wars.
Queen Lura cried a little, the Princess Maddala laughed, and Maya
went out alone,--not lonely, for the Spark burned high and clear,
and showed all the legends written on the world everywhere, and Maya
read them as she went.

Out on the wide plain she passed many little houses; but through all
their low casements the red gleam of a fire shone, and on the
door-steps clustered happy children, or a peasant bride with warm
blushes on her cheek sat spinning, or a young mother with pensive
eyes lulled her baby to its twilight sleep and sheltered it with
still prayers.

One of these kindly cottages harbored Maya for the night; and then
her way at dawn lay through a vast forest, where the dim tree-trunks
stretched far away till they grew undefined as a gray cloud, and
only here and there the sunshine strewed its elf-gold on ferns and
mosses, feathery and soft as strange plumage and costly velvet.
Sometimes a little brook with bubbling laughter crept across her
path and slid over the black rocks, gurgling and dimpling in the
shadow or sparkling in the sun, while fish, red and gold-speckled,
swam noiseless as dreams, and darting water-spiders, poised a moment
on the surface, cast a glittering diamond reflection on the yellow
sand beneath.

The way grew long, and Maya weary. The new leaves of opalescent tint
shed odors of faint and passionate sweetness; the birds sang
love-songs that smote the sense like a caress; a warm wind yearned
and complained in the pine boughs far above her; yet her heart grew
heavy, and her eyes dim; she was sick for home;--not for the palace
and the court; not for her mother and Maddala; but for home;--she
knew her exile, and wept to return.

That night, and for many nights, she slept in the forest; and when
at length she came out upon the plain beyond, she was pale and wan,
her dark eyes drooped, her slender figure was bowed and languid, and
only the mark upon her brow, where the coronet had fretted its
whiteness, betrayed that Maya was a princess born.

And now dwellings began to dot the country: brown cottages, with
clinging vines; villas, aërial and cloud-tinted, with pointed roofs
and capricious windows; huts, in which some poor wretch from his bed
of straw looked out upon the wasteful luxury of his neighbor, and,
loathing his bitter crust and turbid water, saw feasts spread in the
open air, where tropic fruits and beaded wine mocked his feverish
thirst; and palaces of stainless marble, rising tower upon tower, and
turret over turret, like the pearly heaps of cloud before a storm,
while the wind swept from their gilded lattices bursts of festal
music, the chorus that receives a bride, or the triumphal notes of a
warrior's return.

All these Maya passed by, for no door was open, and no fireless
hearth revealed; but before night dropped her starry veil, she had
travelled to a mansion whose door was set wide, and, within, a cold
hearth was piled with boughs of oak and beech. The opal upon Maya's
finger grew dim, but she moved toward the unlit wood, and at her
approach the false pretence betrayed itself; the ice glared before
her, and chilled her to the soul, as its shroud of bark fell off.
She fled over the threshold, and the house-spirit laughed with
bitter mirth; but the Spark was safe.

Now came thronging streets, and many an open portal wooed Maya, but
wooed in vain. Once, upon the steps of a quaint and picturesque
cottage stood an artist, with eyes that flashed heaven's own azure,
and lit his waving curls with a gleam of gold. His pleading look
tempted the Child of the Kingdom with potent affinities of land and
likeness; his fair cottage called her from wall and casement, with
the spiritual eyes of ideal faces looking down upon her, forever
changeless and forever pure; but when, from purest pity, kindness,
and beauty-love, she would have drawn near the hearth, a sigh like
the passing of a soul shivered by her, and before its breath the
shapely embers fell to dust, the hearth beneath was heaped with ashes,
and with tearful lids Maya turned away, and the house-spirit, weeping,
closed the door behind her.

Long days and nights passed ere she essayed again; and then, weary
and faint with home-woe, she lingered on the steps of a lofty house
whose carved door was swung open, whose jasper hearthstone was
heaped with goodly logs, and beside it, on the soft flower-strewn
skin of a panther, slept a youth beautiful as Adonis, and in his
sleep ever murmuring, "Mother!" Maya's heart yearned with a kindred
pang. She, too, was orphaned in her soul, and she would gladly have
lit the fire upon this lonely hearth, and companioned the solitude
of the sleeper; but, alas! the boughs still wore their summer garland,
and from each severed end slow tears of dryad-life distilled
honeyedly upon the stone beneath. Of such withes and saplings comes
no living fire! Maya, smiling, set a kiss upon the boy-sleeper's brow,
but the Spark lay quiet, and the house-spirit flung a blooming
cherry-bough after its departing guest.

The year was now wellnigh run. The Princess Maya despaired of home.
The earth seemed a harsh stepmother, and its children rather stones
than clay. A vague sense of some fearful barrier between herself and
her kind haunted the woman's soul within her, and the unquenchable
flames of the Spark seemed to girdle her with a defence that drove
away even friendly ingress. Night and day she wept, oppressed with
loneliness. She knew not how to speak the tongues of men, though
well she understood their significance. Only little children mated
rightly with her divine infancy; only the mute glories of nature
satisfied for a moment her brooding soul. The celestial impulses
within her beat their wings in futile longing for freedom, and with
inexpressible anguish she uttered her griefs aloud, or sung them to
such plaintive strains that all who heard wept in sympathy. Yet she
had no home.

After many days she came upon a broad, champaign, fertile land, where,
on a gentle knoll, among budding orchards, and fields green with
winter grains, stood a low, wide-eaved house, with gay parterres and
clipped hedges around it, all ordered with artistic harmony, while
over chimney and cornice crept wreaths of glossy ivy, every deep
green leaf veined with streaks of light, and its graceful sprays
clasping and clinging wherever they touched the chiselled stone
beneath. Upon the lawn opened a broad, low door, and the southern sun
streamed inward, showing the carved panels of the fireplace and its
red hearth, where heavy boughs of wood and splinters from the heart
of the pine lay ready for the hand of the Coming to kindle. Upon the
threshold, plucking out the dead leaves of the ivy, stood one from
whose face strength, and beauty, and guile that the guileless knew
not, shone sunlike upon Maya; and as she faltered and paused, he
spoke a welcome to her in her own language, and held toward her the
clasping hand of help. A thrill of mad joy cleft the heart of the
Princess, a glow of incarnate summer dyed with rose her cheek and lip,
the Spark blazed through her brimming eyes, weariness vanished.
"Home! home!" sung her rapt lips; and in the delirious ecstasy of
the hour she pressed toward the hearth, laid down her scrip and
staff upon the heaped wood, flung herself on the red stone, and,
heedless of the opal talisman, flashed outward from her joyful eyes
the Spark,--the Crown, the Curse! So a forked tongue of lightning
speeds from its rain-fringed cloud, and cleaves the oak to its centre;
so the blaze of a meteor rushes through mid-heaven, and--is gone!
The Spark lit, quivered, sunk, and flashed again; but the wood lay
unlighted beneath it. Maya gasped for breath, and with the long
respiration the Spark returned, lit upon her lips, seared them like
a hot iron, and entered into her heart,--the blighting canker of her
fate, a bitterness in flesh and spirit forevermore.

Writhing with anguish and contempt, she turned away from the wrought
stone whose semblance had beguiled her to her mortal loss; and as
she passed from the step, another hand lit a consuming blaze beneath
her staff and scrip, sending a sword of flame after her to the
threshold, and the house-spirit shrieked aloud, "Only stones
together strike fire, Maya!"--while from the casement above looked
forth two faces, false and fair, with eyes of azure ice, and
disdainful smiles, and bound together by a curling serpent, that
ringed itself in portentous symbol about their waists.

With star-like eyes, proud lips, and erect head, Maya went out. Her
laugh rang loud; her song soared in wild and mocking cadence to the
stars; her rigid brow wore scorn like a coronal of flame; and with a
scathed nature she trod the streets of the city, mixed with its
wondering crowds, made the Spark a blaze and a marvel in all lands,--
but hid the opal in her bosom; for its scarlet spot of life-blood
had dropped away, and the jewel was broken across.

So the wide world heard of Maya, the Child of the Kingdom, and from
land to land men carried the stinging arrows of her wit, or
signalled the beacon-fires of her scorn, while seas and shores
unknown echoed her mad and rapt music, or answered the veiled agony
that derided itself with choruses of laughter, from every mystic
whisper of the wave, or roar of falling headlands.

And then she fled away, lest, in the turbulent whirl of life, the
Curse should craze, and not slay her. For sleep had vanished with
wordless moans and frighted aspect from her pillow,--or if it dared,
standing afar off, to cast its pallid shadow there, still there was
neither rest nor refreshing in the troubled spell. Nor could the
thirst that consumed her quench itself with red wine or crystal water,
translucent grapes or the crimson fruits that summer kisses into
sweetness with her heats; forever longing, and forever unsated, it
parched her lips and burnt her gasping mouth, but there was no
draught to allay it. And even so food failed of its office. Kindly
hands brought to her, whose queenliness asserted itself to their
souls with an innocent loftiness, careless of pomp or insignia, all
delicate dates and exquisite viands; but neither the keen and
stimulating odors of savory meat, the crisp whiteness of freshest
bread, nor the slow-dropping gold of honeycomb could tempt her to eat.
The simplest peasant's fare, in measure too scanty for a linnet,
sustained her life; but the Curse lit even upon her food, and those
lips of fire burned all things in their touch to tasteless ashes.

So she fled away; for the forest was cool and lonely, and even as
she learned the lies and treacheries of men, so she longed to leave
them behind her and die in bitterness less bitter for its solitude.
But Maya fled not from herself: the winds wailed like the crying of
despair in her harp-voiced pines; the shining oak-leaves rustled
hisses upon her unstrung ear; the timid forest-creatures, who own no
rule but patient love and caresses, hid from her defiant step and
dazzling eye; and when she knew herself in no wise healed by the
ministries of Nature, in the very apathy of desperation she flung
herself by the clear fountain that had already fallen upon her lips
and cooled them with bitter water, and hiding her head under the
broad, fresh leaves of a calla that bent its marble cups above her
knitted brow and loosened hair, she lay in deathlike trance, till the
Fairy Anima swept her feet with fringed garments, and cast the
serpent wand writhing and glittering upon her breast.

"Wake, Maya!" said the organ-tones of the Spark-Bringer; and Maya

"So! the Spark galls thee?" resumed those deep, bitter-sweet tones;
and for answer the Princess Maya held toward her, with accusing eyes,
the broken, bloodless opal.

"Cordis's folly!" retorted Anima. "Thou hadst done best without it,
Maya; the Spark abides no other fate but shining. Yet there is a
little hope for thee. Wilt thou die of the bitter fire, or wilt thou
turn beggar-maid? The sleep that charity lends to its couch shall
rest thee; the draught a child brings shall slake thy thirst; the
food pity offers shall strengthen and renew. But these are not the
gifts a Princess receives; she who gathers them must veil the Crown,
shroud the Spark, conceal the Curse, and in torn robes, with bare
and bleeding feet, beg the crumbs of life from door to door. Wilt
thou take up this trade?"

Maya rose up from the leaves of the cool lily, and put aside the
veiling masses of her hair.

"I will go!" she whispered, flutelike, for hope beat a living pulse
in her brain.

So with scrip and hood she went out of the forest and begged of the
world's bounty such life as a beggar-maid may endure.

Long ago the King and Queen died in Larrièrepensée, and there the
Princess Maddala reigns with a goodly Prince beside her, nor cares
for her lost sister; but songless, discrowned, desolate, Maya walks
the earth.

All ye whose fires burn bright on the hearth, whose dwellings ring
with child-laughter, or are hushed with love-whispers and the peace
of home, pity the Princess Maya! Give her food and shelter; charm
away the bitter flames that consume her life and soul; drop tears
and alms together into the little wasted hand that pleads with dumb
eloquence for its possessor; and even while ye pity and protect,
revere that fretted mark of the Crown that still consecrates to the
awful solitude of sorrow Maya, the Child of the Kingdom!

       *       *       *       *       *


      This song of mine
        Is a Song of the Vine,
  To be sung by the glowing embers
        Of wayside inns,
        When the rain begins
  To darken the drear Novembers.

      It is not a song
        Of the Scuppernong,
  From warm Carolinian valleys,--
        Nor the Isabel
        And the Muscatel
  That bask in our garden alleys,--

      Nor the red Mustang,
      Whose clusters hang
  O'er the waves of the Colorado,
      And the fiery flood
      Of whose purple blood
  Has a dash of Spanish bravado.

      For richest and best
      Is the wine of the West,
  That grows by the Beautiful River;
      Whose sweet perfume
      Fills all the room
  With a benison on the giver.

      And as hollow trees
      Are the haunts of bees
  Forever going and coming,
      So this crystal hive
      Is all alive
  With a swarming and buzzing and humming.

      Very good in their way
      Are the Verzenay,
  And the Sillery soft and creamy;
      But Catawba wine
      Has a taste more divine,
  More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

      There grows no vine
      By the haunted Rhine,
  By Danube or Guadalquivir,
      Nor on island or cape,
      That bears such a grape
  As grows by the Beautiful River.

      Drugged is their juice
      For foreign use,
  When shipped o'er the reeling Atlantic,
      To rack our brains
      With the fever pains
  That have driven the Old World frantic.

      To the sewers and sinks
      With all such drinks,
  And after them tumble the mixer!
      For a poison malign
      Is such Borgia wine,
  Or at best but a Devil's Elixir.

      While pure as a spring
      Is the wine I sing,
  And to praise it, one needs but name it;
      For Catawba wine
      Has need of no sign,
  No tavern-bush to proclaim it.

      And this Song of the Vine,
      This greeting of mine,
  The winds and the birds shall deliver
      To the Queen of the West,
      In her garlands dressed,
  On the banks of the Beautiful River.

       *       *       *       *       *


  _The Physical Geography of the Sea_. By M. F. MAURY. New York:
    Harper & Brothers. 1857.

  _Climatology of the United States and of the Temperate Latitudes
    of the North American Continent_. By LORIN BLODGET. Philadelphia: J.
    B. Lippincott & Co. 1857.

  _Proceedings of the British Association for the Advancement of
    Science_. 1857.

An eloquent philosopher, depicting the deplorable results that would
follow, if some future materialist were "to succeed in displaying to
us a mechanical system of the human mind, as comprehensive,
intelligible, and satisfactory as the Newtonian mechanism of the
heavens," exclaims, "Fallen from their elevation, Art and Science
and Virtue would no longer be to man the objects of a genuine and
reflective adoration." We are led, in reflecting upon the far more
probable success of the meteorologist, to similar forebodings upon
the dulness and sameness to which social intercourse will be reduced
when the weather philosophers shall succeed in subjecting the changes
of the atmosphere to rules and predictions,--when the rain shall
fall where it is expected, the wind blow no longer "where it listeth,"
and wayward man no longer find his counterpart in nature. But we
console ourselves by contemplating the difficulties of the problem,
and the improbability, that, in our generation at least, we shall be
deprived of these subjects of general news and universal interest.

During the last half-century, the progress of experimental
philosophy in the direction of the weather, though its results are
for the most part of a negative character, has yet been sufficient
to excite the apprehensions of the philanthropist. We have unlearned
many fables and false theories, and have made great advancement in
that knowledge of our ignorance, which is the only true foundation
of positive science.

The moon has been deposed from the executive chair, though she still
has her supporters and advocates; and an innumerable host of minor
causes are found to constitute, upon strictly republican principles,
the ruling power of the winds and the rain. That regularity, however
complicated, which reason still demands, and expects even from the
weather, is not found to be so simple as our rules and signs of the
weather indicate; for the operation of these innumerable causes is
so complicated, that the repetition of similar phenomena or similar
combinations of causes, to any great extent, is the most improbable
of events. Perhaps the meteorologist will ultimately find that
Nature has succeeded, in what seems, indeed, to be her aim, in
completely retracing her steps, and reducing the operation of that
simple and regular system of causes, which she brought out of chaos,
back to a confusion of detail, from which all law and regularity are

Meteorological observations have, however, determined many regular
and constant causes and a few regular phenomena. The method pursued
in these investigations is, for the most part, the elimination, by
general averages, of limited and temporary changes in the elements
of the weather, and the determination of those changes which depend
upon the constant influences of locality, of season, and of constant
or slowly varying causes. These constant influences constitute the
climate; and the study of climates is thus the first step towards
the solution of the problem of the weather. Climates, in their
changes and distribution, are very important elements in the
determination of the movements of the weather, and are to the
meteorologist what the elements of the planetary orbits are to the
astronomer; but, unlike planetary perturbations, the weather makes
the most reckless excursions from its averages, and obscures them by
a most inconsequent and incalculable fickleness.

Whether mechanical science will hereafter succeed in calculating
these perturbations of climate, as we may style the weather, or will
find the problem beyond its capacity, it will yet, doubtless, account
for much that is now obscure, as observation brings the facts more
distinctly to view. We propose to give a brief general survey of the
mechanics of the atmosphere in its present state, and to indicate
the nature and limits of our knowledge on this subject.

Among the first noticed and most remarkable features of regularity
in atmospheric changes are constant, periodic, and prevailing winds.
The most remarkable instances of these are the trade-winds of the
torrid zone, the monsoons of the Indian Ocean, and the prevailing
southwest wind of our northern temperate latitudes. Of these, the
trade-winds are the most important to science, as furnishing the key
to that general explanation of the winds which was first advanced by
the distinguished Halley.

In Halley's celebrated theory, the trade-winds are explained as the
effects of the unequal distribution of the sun's heat in different
latitudes. The air of the equator, heated more than the northern or
southern air, expands more, and overflows, moving in the upper
regions of the atmosphere toward the poles; while the lower, colder
air on both sides moves toward the equator to preserve equilibrium.
Thus an extensive circulation is carried on. The air that moves from
the equator in the upper atmosphere, gradually sinking to the surface
of the earth, finally ceases to move toward the poles, and returns
as an undercurrent to the equator, where it again rises and moves
toward the poles.

Now the air of the equator, moving with the earth's rotary motion,
has a greater velocity than the earth itself at high northern or
southern latitudes, and consequently appears to gain an eastward
motion in its progress toward the poles. Without friction, this
relative eastward motion would increase as the air moves toward the
poles, and diminish at the same rate as the air returns, till at the
equator the velocity of the earth and of the air would again be equal;
but friction reduces the motion of the returning air to that of the
earth, at or near the calms of the tropics; so that the air, passing
the tropics, gains a relative westward motion in its further
progress through the torrid zone. The southwestward motion thus
produced between the tropic of Cancer and the equator is the
well-known trade-wind.

Now, according to this theory, the prevailing winds of our temperate
latitudes ought to have a southeastward motion as far as the calms
of Cancer or "the horse latitudes." Moreover, instead of these calms,
there should still be a southward motion. But observation has shown,
that though the prevailing lower winds of our latitude move eastward,
still their motion is toward the north rather than the south; so
that they appear to contradict the theory by which the trade-winds
are explained.

To account for these anomalies, Lieut. Maury has invented a very
ingenious hypothesis, which is published in his "Physical Geography
of the Sea." He supposes that the air, which passes from the equator
toward the poles in the upper regions of the atmosphere, is brought
down to the surface of the earth beyond the calms of the tropics,
and that it thence proceeds with an increasing eastward motion,
appearing in our northern hemisphere as the prevailing northeastward
winds. Approaching the poles with a spiral motion, the air there
rises, according to this hypothesis, in a vortex, and returns toward
the equator in the upper atmosphere, gradually acquiring a westward
motion; till, returning to the tropics, it is again brought down to
the earth, and thence proceeds, with a still increasing westward
motion, as the trade-winds. At the equator the air rises again, and,
according to Lieut. Maury, crosses to the other side, and proceeds
through a similar course in the other hemisphere.

The rising of the air at the equator is supposed to cause the
equatorial rains; and the drought of the tropics is also explained
by that descent of the air, in these latitudes, which this
hypothesis supposes.

Now although this hypothesis explains the phenomena, it has still
met with great opposition. The motions which Lieut. Maury supposes
can hardly be accounted for without resorting, as is usual in such
cases, to electricity or magnetism,--to some occult cause, or some
occult operation of a known cause. Moreover, it has been difficult
for the mechanical philosopher to understand how the winds manage to
cross each other, as Lieut. Maury supposes them to do, at the
equator and the tropics, without getting into "entangling alliances."
If this hypothesis were advanced, not as a physical explanation of
the phenomena, but, like the epicycles and eccentrics of Ptolemy,
"to save the appearances," its ingenuity would be greatly to its
author's credit; but, like the epicycles and eccentrics, though it
represents the phenomena well enough, it contradicts laws of motion,
now well known, which ought to be familiar to every physical
philosopher. But these speculations of Lieut. Maury will now be
superseded by a new theory of atmospheric movements, an account of
which was presented by its author, Mr. J. Thompson, at the recent
meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. [1]

[Footnote 1: A fuller discussion of this theory the author
reserved for the Royal Society. The _London Athenaeum_ gives a brief
abstract of his paper, in its report of the proceedings of the

Mr. Thompson's theory takes account of forces, hitherto unnoticed,
which are generated by the eastward circulation of the atmosphere in
high latitudes. He shows that these forces cause the prevailing
northeastward under-current of our latitudes, while above this, yet
below the highest northeastward current, the air ought still to move
southward according to Halley's theory.

This under-current is not the immediate effect of differences of
temperature, but a secondary effect induced by the friction of the
earth's surface and the continual deflection of the air's eastward
motion from a great circle, (in which the air tends to move,) into
the small circle of the latitude, in which the air actually does move.
The force of this deflection, measured by the centrifugal force of
the air as it circulates around the pole, retards the movement from
the equator, and finally wholly suspends it; so that the upper air
circulates around in the higher latitudes as water may be made to
circulate in a pail; and the air is drawn away from the polar
regions as this circulatory motion is communicated to it, and tends
to accumulate in the middle latitudes, as the circulating water is
heaped up around the sides of the pail. Hence, in the middle
latitudes there is a greater weight of air than at the poles, and
this tends to press the lower air to higher latitudes. Centrifugal
force, however, balances this pressure, so long as the lower air
moves with the velocity of the upper strata; but as the friction of
the earth retards its motion and diminishes its centrifugal force,
it gradually yields to the pressure of the air above it, and moves
toward the poles. Near the polar circles it is again retarded by its
increasing centrifugal force, and it returns through the middle
regions of the atmosphere.

Thus there are two systems of atmospheric circulation in each
hemisphere. The principal one extends from the equator to high
middle latitudes and partly overlies the other, which extends from
the tropical calms to the polar circles. These two circulations move
in opposite directions; like two wheels, when one communicates its
motion to the other by the contact of their circumferences.

In the middle latitudes the lower current of the principal
circulation lies upon the upper current of the secondary circulation,
and both move together toward the equator. This principal lower
current first touches the earth's surface beyond the tropical calms,
and having lost its relative eastward motion and now tending westward,
it appears as the trade-wind, very regular and constant; while the
upper secondary current returns, without reaching the tropics, as an
undercurrent, and in our latitude appears as the prevailing
northeastward wind,--a very feeble motion, usually lost in the
weather winds and other disturbances, and only appearing distinctly
in the general average.

Mr. Thompson illustrates the effect of the friction of the earth's
surface on the eastward circulation of the air by a very simple
experiment with a pail of water. If we put into the pail grains of
any material a little heavier than water, and then give the water a
rotatory motion by stirring it, the grains ought, by the centrifugal
force imparted to them, to collect around the sides of the pail; but,
sinking to the bottom, they do in fact tend to collect at the centre,
carried inward by those currents which the friction of the sides and
bottom indirectly produces.

Thus Mr. Thompson's beautiful and philosophical theory completes
that of Halley, and explains all those apparent anomalies which have
hitherto seemed irreconcilable with the only rational account of the
trade-winds. The rainless calms of the tropics are explained by this
theory without that crossing and interference of winds which Lieut.
Maury supposes; for the secondary circulation returns as an
under-current toward the poles without reaching the tropics, and the
dry lower current of the principal circulation passes over the
tropical latitudes, in its gradual descent, before it reaches the
earth as the trade-winds.

These trade-winds, absorbing moisture from the sea, precipitate it
as they rise again, and produce the constant equatorial rains; and
these rains, doubtless, tend much more powerfully than the mere
unequal distribution of heat to direct the wind toward the equator;
for the fall of rain rapidly diminishes the pressure of the air and
disturbs its equilibrium, so that violent winds are frequently
observed to blow toward rainy districts. Thus, primarily, the unequal
distribution of heat, and, more immediately, the equatorial rains
cause the principal circulation of our atmosphere; and this
indirectly produces the secondary circulation of Mr. Thompson's
theory. Both these regular movements are, however, greatly disturbed,
and especially the latter, by winds which are occasioned by local
and irregular rains.

In these movements and their causes we have the general outline of
our subject, within which we must now sketch the weather. The causes
of atmospheric movement, which we have thus far considered, are the
unequal distribution of the sun's heat, the absorption and
precipitation of moisture, the direct and the inductive action of
the earth's rotation and friction. If to these we should add the
tidal action of the sun's and moon's attractions, we should perhaps
complete the list of _vera causae_ which are certainly known to
exert a more or less general influence upon the atmosphere. But this
short list is long enough, as we shall soon see.

If the earth were wholly covered with water of a uniform depth, its
climates would be distributed with greater regularity, and the
perturbations of climate would be comparatively small and regular;
though even under such circumstances there would still exist a
tendency to discontinuity and complexity of movements from that
influence of rain, the peculiar character of which we shall soon

The irregular distribution of land and water, and the peculiar
action of each in imparting the heat of the sun to the incumbent air,--
the irregular distribution of plains and mountains, and their various
effects in different positions and at different altitudes,--the
distribution of heat effected by ocean currents,--all these tend to
produce permanent derangements of climate and great irregularities
in the weather. To these we must add what the astronomer calls
disturbing actions of the second order,--effects of the disturbances
themselves upon the action of the disturbing agencies,--effects of
the irregular winds upon the distribution of heat and rain, and upon
the action of lands and seas, mountains and plains. Though such
disturbances are comparatively insignificant in the motions of the
planets, yet in the weather they are often more important than the
primary causes.

The aggregate and permanent effect of all these disturbing causes,
primary and secondary, is seen in that irregular distribution of
climates, which the tortuous isothermal lines and the mottled
raincharts illustrate. The isothermal lines may be regarded as the
topographical delineations of that bed of temperatures down which
the upper atmosphere flows from the equator toward the poles, till
its downward tendency is balanced by the centrifugal force of its
eastward motion. This irregular bed shifts from month to month, from
day to day, and even from hour to hour; and the lines that are drawn
on the maps are only averages for the year or the season.

In the midst of these irregular, but continuous agencies, the rain
introduces a peculiar discontinuity, and turns irregularity into
discord. We have shown that the rain is an immediate cause of wind;
but how is the rain itself produced? For so marked an effect we
naturally seek a special cause; but no adequate single cause has
ever been discovered. The combination of many conditions, probably,
is necessary, such as a peculiar distribution of heat and moisture
and atmospheric movements; though the immediate cause of the fall of
rain is doubtless the rising, and consequent expansion and cooling,
of the saturated air.

The winds that blow hither and thither, vainly striving to restore
equilibrium to the atmosphere, burden themselves with the moisture
they absorb from the seas; and this moisture absorbs their heat,
retards their motion, and slowly modifies the forces which impel them.
Now when the saturated air, extending far above the surface of the
earth, and carried in its movements still higher, is relieved of an
incumbent weight of air, it becomes rarefied, and its temperature
and capacity for moisture are simultaneously diminished; its moisture,
suddenly precipitated, appears as a cloud, the particles of which
collect into rain-drops and fall to the earth. Thus the air suddenly
loses much of its weight, and instead of restoring equilibrium to
the troubled atmosphere, it introduces a new source of disturbance.
Though the weight of the air is diminished by the fall of rain, yet
the bulk is increased by the expansive force of the latent heat
which the condensed vapors set free. Thus the rainy air expands
upwards and flows outwards, and no longer able to balance the
pressure of the surrounding air, it is carried still higher by
inblowing winds, which rise in turn and continue the process, often
extending the storm over vast areas. The force of these movements is
measured partly by the force of latent heat set free, and partly by
the mechanical power of the rain-fall, a very small fraction of
which constitutes the water-power of all our rivers. Such a fruitful
source of disturbance, generated by so slight an accident as the
upward movement of the saturated air, expanded by its own agency to
so great an extent, so sudden and discontinuous in its action, so
obscure in its origin, and so distinct in its effects,--such a
phenomenon defies the powers of mathematical prediction, and rouses
all the winds to sedition.

A storm not only disturbs the lower winds, but its influences reach
even to the upper movements. The sudden expansion and rising of the
rainy air delay these movements, which afterwards react as violent

The forces stored away by the gradual rise of vapor and its
absorption of heat, and then suddenly exhibited in a mechanical form
by the effects of rain, afford an illustration of that principle of
conservation and economy of power, of which there are so many
examples in modern science. No power is ever destroyed. Whether
exhibited as heat or mechanical force, in the products and forces of
chemical or of vital action, in movement or in altered conditions of
motion,--whether changed by the growth of plants into fuel or into
food, and converted again to heat by combustion or by vital processes,
and brought out as mechanical power in the steam-engine or in the
horse,--it is still the same power, and is measured in each of its
forms by an invariable standard. It first appears as the heat of the
sun, and a portion escapes at once back into space, while the rest
passes first through a series of transformations. A part is changed
into moving winds or into suspended vapor, and a part into fuel or
food. From conditions of motion it is changed into motion; from
motion it is changed by friction or resistance into heat, electric
force, molecular vibrations, or into new conditions of motion, and
passing through its course of changes, it remains embroiled in its
permanent effects or escapes into space as heat.

Though mechanical science will probably never be able to predict the
beginning or duration of storms, it will yet, doubtless, be able to
account for all their general features, and for such distinct local
peculiarities as observation may determine. Great advancement has
already been made in the determination of prevailing winds and in
the study of storms. Two theories have been brought forward upon the
general movements of storms; both have been proved, to the entire
satisfaction of their advocates, by the storms themselves; and
probably both are, with some limitations, true. The first of these
theories we have already described. According to it, the winds move
inward toward the centre of the storm; according to the other theory,
they blow in a circumference around the centre.

Observations upon storms of small extent, such as thunder-storms or
tornadoes, show very clearly that the winds blow toward the stormy
district. But when observations are made upon the winds within the
district of such extensive storms as sometimes visit the United
States, the directions of the wind are found to be so various, that
the advocates of either theory, making due allowance for local
disturbances, can triumphantly refute their adversaries. In such
storms there are doubtless many centres or maxima of rain, and
whether the wind move around or toward these centres, it would
inevitably get confused.

The opinion, that the winds move around the central point or line of
the storm, was strenuously maintained by the late Mr. Redfield,
whose activity in his favorite pursuit has connected his name
inseparably with meteorology. Others have maintained the same opinion,
and the rotatory motion of the tropical hurricanes is offered as a
principal proof. It is obvious from the causes of motion already
considered, that, if the air is carried far, by its tendency toward a
rainy district, it will acquire a secondary relative motion from its
change of latitude; and this, in our hemisphere, if the air move
toward the south, will be westward,--if toward the north, eastward.
Hence the motion of the air from both directions toward a stormy
district is deflected to the right side of the storm; and this gives
rise to that motion from right to left which is observed in the
hurricanes of the northern hemisphere.

To suppose, as many do, that regular winds, arising from constant
and extensive causes, can come into bodily conflict and preserve
their identity and original impetus for days, without immediate and
strongly impelling forces to sustain their motion, implies a
profound ignorance of mechanical science, and is little better than
those ancient superstitions which gave a personal identity to the
winds. The momentum of ordinary winds is a feeble force in
comparison with those forces of pressure and friction which
continually modify it. Hence sudden changes in the direction and
intensity of winds must primarily arise from similar changes in
these forces. But there are no known forces which change so suddenly,
except the pressure and latent heat of suspended vapor; and therefore
the fall of rain is the only adequate known cause of those
storm-winds which, interpolated among the gentler winds, keep the
atmosphere in perpetual commotion.

Storms have, however, certain habits and peculiarities, more or less
regular and distinct, which depend upon locality and season. And
this is what ought to be expected; for, though the storms themselves
are essentially anomalous, yet many of the causes which cooperate to
induce them are constant or periodic, while others are subject to
but slight perturbations. It is obvious that no more moisture can be
precipitated than has been evaporated, and that the winds only gain
suddenly by the fall of rain the forces which they have lost at their
leisure in the absorption of moisture. Thus the rage of the storm is
kept within bounds, and though the exact period at which the winds
are set free cannot be determined, yet their force and frequency
must be subject to certain limitations. The study of the habits and
peculiarities of storms is of the greatest importance to navigation
and agriculture, and these arts have already been benefited by the
labors of the meteorologist.

The lawlessness of the weather, within certain limitations, though
discouraging to the physical philosopher, has yet its bright side
for the student of final causes. The uses of the weather and its
adaptation to organic life are subjects of untiring interest. The
progression of the seasons, varied by differences of latitude, is
also diversified and adapted to a fuller development of organic
variety by irregularities of climate.

The regular alternations of day and night, summer and winter, dry
seasons and wet, are adapted to those alternations of organic
functions which belong to the economy of life. The vital forces of
plants and of the lower orders of animals have not that
self-determining capacity of change which is necessary to the
complete development of life; but they persist in their present mode
of action, and, when they are not modified by outward changes,
reduce life to its simplest phases. Changes of growth are effected
by those apparent hardships to which life is subject; and progression
in new directions is effected by retrogression in previous modes of
growth. The old leaves and branches must fall, the wood must be
frost-bitten or dried, the substance of seeds must wither and then
decay, the action of leaves must every night be reversed, vines and
branches must be shaken by the winds, that the energies and the
materials of new forms of life may be rendered active and available.

Some of the outward changes of nature are regular and periodic, while
others, without law or method, are apparently adapted by their
diversity to draw out the unlimited capacities and varieties of life;
so that as inorganic nature approaches a regulated confusion, the
more it tends to bring forth that perfect order, of which fragments
appear in the incomplete system of actual organic life.

The classification of organic forms presents to the naturalist, not
the structure of a regular though incomplete development, but the
broken and fragmentary form of a ruin. We may suppose, then, with a
recent physiological writer, that the creation of those organic
forms which constitute this fragmentary system was effected in the
midst of an elemental storm, a regulated confusion, uniting all the
external conditions which the highest capacities and the greatest
varieties of organized life require for their fullest development;
and that as the storm subsided into a simpler, but less genial
diversity,--into the weather,--whole orders and genera and species
sank with it from the ranks of possible organic forms. The weather,
fallen from its high estate, no longer able to develope, much less to
create new forms, can only sustain those that are left to its care.

Man finds himself everywhere mirrored in nature. Wayward, inconstant,
always seeking rest, always impelled by new evils, the greatest of
which he himself creates,--protecting and cherishing or blighting and
destroying the fragmentary life of a fallen nature,--incapable
himself of creating new capacities, but nourishing in prosperity and
quickening in adversity those that are left,--he sees the workings of
his own life in the strife of the elements. His powers and activities
are related to his spiritual capacities, as inorganic movements are
related to an organizing life. The resurrection of his higher nature
is like a new creation, secret, sudden, inconsequent. "The wind
bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every
one that is born of the Spirit."

       *       *       *       *       *



The designs of Mr. Elam Hunt upon the hand of Laura Stebbins have
already been mentioned, in a former chapter of this history, as well
as the fact that his hopes were encouraged by Mrs. Jaynes who
(to make no secret of the matter) had pledged her word to the
enamored Elam, that when he should be settled in a parish of his own,
Laura should be added to complete the sum of his felicity.

To this agreement Laura herself was not a party; nay, her consent
had never been so much as asked; for though Elam knew that marriage
by proxy was impossible, and, indeed, would doubtless have preferred
to be the bridegroom at his own wedding, he had no objection
whatever to a vicarious courtship; for he was not a forward suitor,
delighting to prattle of his pains to his fair tormentor, as the way
of many is. But touching all the terms and conditions of this
contract Laura was informed by Mrs. Jaynes, who, when the other
protested with tears and sobs against this disposition of her person
without even asking her leave thereto, replied, with a quiet voice
and manner, that she had the right to make the promise in Laura's
name, and had done so upon due consideration.

This ominous reserve frightened Laura far more than an angry reply
would have done; for when her sister spoke with such brief decision,
it was a sign that her mind was made up; and Laura knew full well
the resolute purpose with which Mrs. Jaynes was wont to pursue any
design that she had once formed. She distrusted her own ability to
withstand her sister's inflexible will, and felt a secret misgiving,
that, in spite of herself, she would by some means be forced or
persuaded to yield at last. This very lack of faith in her own power
of resistance caused her more distress and terror than all her other
fears. Sometimes she almost fancied a spell of enchantment had been
put upon her, which would render all her efforts to escape her fate
as unavailing as the struggles of a gnat in a spider's web.

A friend in time of trouble is like a staff to one that is lame or
weary. But when Laura, in these straits, leaned upon her dearest
friend, Cornelia, for aid and comfort, she found but a broken reed;
for, instead of words of consolation and encouragement, Cornelia
uttered only dismal prophecies that Laura was surely doomed to be
the young parson's bride.

"If you only had another lover to run away with, now," said she,
"why, then it would be delightful to have your sister act as she does;
but, as it is, I'm sure I don't see any way to avoid it."

"Nor I," cried Laura, sinking still deeper in despair. "Oh, dear!
what shall I do?"

"In novels, you know," pursued Cornelia, "where there's a cruel,
tyrannical father, like your sister, there's always a hero in love
with the heroine----"

"I'm sure I wish there was a hero in love with me," said Laura,
thinking of her own hero in regimentals. "I'd run away with him,"
she added, with animation, "if--if both his legs were shot off,"--not
considering duly, I dare say, how greatly such a dreadful mutilation,
however glorious in itself, would conflict with the rapid locomotion
essential to her plan of elopement.

But when Tira Blake came to be told of Laura's trouble, and the
reasons of it, that sage and prudent friend gave counsel that
cheered her like a cordial, telling her it would be sinful to marry
a man whom she disliked so heartily, and that in such a matter no
one had the right to demand or enforce obedience.

"It's bad enough to be married when you're willin'," said she;
"but when you a'n't willin', there's no law nor no gospel to make you."

"But if Maria should compel me, what should I do?" cried Laura, to
whom her sister's will seemed more mighty than both law and gospel.

"She can't," replied Statira, sententiously; "she can't. Her 'yes,'
in such a case, is only good for herself; it can't make you any
man's wife.--What shall you do? Why, nothin',--nothin' in the world.
If they should bring bridegroom and parson, and stand you up side of
him by main force, (which of course is foolish to think of their
doing so, only I suppose it just to show you what I mean,) even in
such a case you needn't do anything. Keep your mouth shut and your
head from bobbin', and there a'n't lawyers, nor squires, nor parsons,
nor parsons' wives either for that matter, enough in all Connecticut
to marry you to a mouse, let alone a man. Humph!" added Miss Blake,
with scornful accent, "I should like to see 'em set out to marry me
to anybody I didn't want to have!"

There was nothing in all that Tira said which Laura did not know
before; but it was uttered in such a way that it sounded in her ears
like a new revelation, filling her heart with peace and comfort, and
inspiring her with hope and courage. The magic spell that had
enthralled her spirit was broken by the power of a few cheery,
confident, assuring words. A heavy weight seemed lifted from her
heart, and, relieved from the pressure, her spirits rose, joyous and
elastic. The shadow was dispelled which had darkened her future, and
the sun seemed to shine brighter and the birds to sing more sweetly.
She herself was changed,--or at least it was hard to believe she was
the same Laura Stebbins who, the night before, had cried herself to
sleep, and whose doleful visage, that very morning, had looked out
at her from the mirror. She flew at Tira in a transport, and,
without asking her leave, kissed her twenty times in less than a
minute, after a fashion that (I say it with reverence) would have
tantalized even a deacon. She clapped her hands, she laughed, she
danced, she went swaying on tiptoe around the room with a jaunty step,
singing and keeping time to a waltz tune; and finally, pausing near
the window, she doubled a tiny fist, as white as a snowball,
bringing it down into the rosy palm of her other hand with a gesture
of resolute determination, at the same time uttering, through closed
teeth and with compressed and puckered lips, an oft-repeated vow,
that, never, _never_, the longest day she lived, would she marry
Elam Hunt, to please anybody,--as her sister Maria (said she, with a
saucy toss of the head) would find, if she tried to make her!

I doubt greatly, whether, if Laura had known what I am now going to
tell my reader, she would have indulged in such vivacious pranks,
and bold, defiant words: namely, that Mrs. Jaynes was hearing
everything she said, and, in fact, had listened to and taken special
heed of nearly the whole conversation, a part of which has been set
forth above. Coming through the wicket in the garden fence, on an
errand to the Bugbee kitchen, the sound of her own name, in Laura's
excited tones, struck Mrs. Jaynes's ear and excited her curiosity.
Walking nearer to the house, and concealing herself behind a little
thicket of lilac bushes, near the open window of Statira's bedroom,
she was enabled to hear with distinctness almost every word uttered
by the unconscious conspirators, who were plotting against the
fulfilment of her cherished project.

There is good reason for believing that what Mrs. Jaynes overheard,
while lying in ambush, as has been related, excited in her heart
emotions of indignation and resentment. Be that as it may, no trace
of displeasure was visible upon her face or in her voice or manner,
when, a few minutes afterwards, she stood by the side of the
unsuspicious Tira, in the back veranda of the house, holding in her
hand a plate containing a pat of butter she had just borrowed from
the Doctor's housekeeper, while the latter, peeping through the
curtain of vine-leaves, gazed at as pretty a spectacle as just then
could have been seen anywhere in Belfield. On the grassplot, in the
shade of a great cherry-tree, Laura and Helen were playing at graces.
Both were full of frolicsome glee; the former, with spirits in their
first glad rebound from recent despondency, being wild with gayety,
enjoying the sport no less than the merry child, her playmate.
Laura's glowing face was fairly radiant with beauty, and her figure
was unconsciously displayed in such a variety of bewitching
attitudes and dainty postures, that even a pair of frisky kittens,
that had been chasing each other round the grassplot and up and down
the stems of the cherry-trees, ceased their gambols and lay still,
crouching in the grass, and watching her graceful motions, as if
taking heed for future imitation. If Kit and Tabby really did regard
Laura with admiration and complacency, it was more than I can say
for Mrs. Jaynes, in whose heart a secret rage was burning, though
her aspect and demeanor were as placid and demure as if the butter
she held in her hand would not have melted in her pursed-up mouth.

Mrs. Jaynes, for reasons of her own, thought proper to keep
her temper in control, abstaining from any manifestation of
displeasure for a much longer time than while she remained
standing in the back veranda of Doctor Bugbee's house. She did not
think it prudent to apprise Laura that her rebellious conference
with Statira had been discovered, nor to forbid her from holding
further communication with her evil counsellors; but contented
herself, for the present, with keeping a stricter watch over her
sister's conduct, by practising with increased rigor and vigilance
that efficient system of tactics hereinbefore commemorated, by which
the ardor of Laura's chance admirers was repressed and their
advances repelled, and by alluding, from time to time, to Laura's
prospective nuptials, as to an event predestined and inevitable, or,
at least, no less sure to come to pass than if Laura herself had
engaged her hand to Mr. Hunt of her own free will and accord, and
was only waiting to be asked to name the wedding-day.

It was many months after Elam left the shady height of East Windsor
Hill before he received a call to settle; for though he preached in
different parts on trial, before many congregations that were
destitute of pastors, none of these fastidious flocks would listen
to his voice a second time, or agree to choose him for its shepherd.
At last, however, the people of Walbury, a town in Windham County,
lying nearly twenty miles from Belfield, made choice of Mr. Hunt to
be their spiritual guide, and accordingly extended to him an
invitation to be ordained and installed as the settled minister over
their ancient parish. Upon receiving this proposal, Elam at once
despatched a letter to his friend and ally, Mrs. Jaynes, informing
her of his good fortune, and suggesting that Laura should at once
bestir herself in preparations for their wedding, in order that this
blissful event might precede his ordination. Then, after waiting for
the lapse of that period of decorous delay which immemorial usage
has prescribed in such cases, he indited an epistle to the church in
Walbury, stating, in proper and accustomed form, that his native
humility inclined him to refuse their request; but that, after a
wrestle with his inclinations, he had got the better of them, and
had resolved to sacrifice his own wishes and feelings, and to enter
the field of labor to which the Israel in Walbury had invited him.

A year and more had elapsed since Laura, encouraged by Tira Blake's
assuring words, had begun to hope that a better fate was in store
for her than to become the wife of a man she detested. Meanwhile,
Elam had often come to Belfield, sometimes preaching a sermon for
Mr. Jaynes, and going away again, after a brief sojourn, without
having opened his mouth to Laura to speak of love or marriage. At
his later visits it was evident that he was inclined to despond
about his prospects of getting a settlement, and Laura began to
entertain strong hopes that he never would be successful; for she
would have given up all the chances of beholding her military hero
in person, and would have been content to live a maid forever,
continually waiting for Elam, if she could have been assured the
time would never come for him to claim her.

But, one morning, after breakfast, having made her bed and arranged
her chamber, singing blithely all the while, she was just going to
sit down by the window with her sewing, when Mrs. Jaynes came in
with a letter in her hand. Laura guessed at once that the letter was
from Elam, and that it contained the news of which the reader has
been apprised already. Though she did not need to read the letter in
order to inform herself of its contents, she took it in her hand,
when her sister bade her read it, and made a pretence of obedience,
shuddering, meanwhile, with disgust and terror. At last she came to
the conclusion of the epistle, where Elam had mentioned his desire
to be married before being ordained, and had subscribed himself as
united in gospel bonds to the worthy lady to whom the letter was
addressed. Then, folding up the paper with trembling hands, she held
it towards her sister, without daring to look up, or to say a word.

"Now, Laura," asked Mrs. Jaynes, in a quiet tone, "when can you be
ready to be married?"

Laura tried to speak, and looked up, with a pale, frightened face,
into her sister's impassive countenance. Her white lips failed to
form the words she strove to utter.

"When shall the wedding be?" said Mrs. Jaynes, with a smile of
affected sportiveness. "Name the happy day, my love."

"Happy day!" repeated poor Laura. "Oh, Maria!"

"Why, what's the matter, child?" said Mrs. Jaynes; "what are you
crying for?"

"Oh, dear, dear sister!" sobbed Laura, falling on her knees at
Mrs. Jaynes's feet, "do hear me! You are my mother, for you fill her

"I have endeavored to do so," said Mrs. Jaynes.

"Then, for God's sake, don't make me marry this horrid man!" pursued
Laura. "Don't tell me that I must! Don't force me to such a fate!"
And with many passionate words like these, Laura implored her
sister not to lay any command upon her to marry Elam Hunt.

"Hush, Laura! hush, my dear child!" said Mrs. Jaynes, who had
anticipated this scene, and was well prepared with her replies.
"Be calm; you behave absurdly. I have no power to force you to marry
any man. I don't expect to compel you to accept Mr. Hunt for a
husband. For at least two years past I had supposed, however, that
it was your intention to do so. If you have changed your mind, and
if you wish to break an engagement that has subsisted so long,
whether for or without cause, I cannot prevent it. You have read so
many foolish romances, that your head is turned, and you fancy
yourself a heroine in distress. But let me tell you, my dear, that
in real life, here, in New England, a woman cannot be forced to marry.
So calm your transports, wipe your eyes, and get up from your knees.
I'm not to be kneeled to, pray remember."

Laura did as she was told,--so much abashed that she dared not look
up. To increase her confusion, her sister began to laugh.

"I beg your pardon, dear," said she, "but, ha, ha, ha! it was so
funny!--like a scene in a play, I should think."

"I know I've been silly, Maria," said Laura, weeping again,--with
shame, this time.

"Never mind, dear," said her sister, in a kind tone, "we're all
silly sometimes. You'll never be guilty of the folly again, at any
rate, of supposing that girls can be married, in spite of themselves,
by cruel sisters; eh, Laura?"

"Oh, Maria, do forgive me!" cried Laura, blushing crimson. "I was so
very silly!"

"Well, let it all go," said Mrs. Jaynes, kissing her. "Now we'll
talk about this letter. Tell me why you don't wish to marry Mr. Hunt.
If you have any good reason against it, I'm sure I don't desire it;
though, I confess, having supposed so long it was a settled thing, I
had set my heart upon it. Perhaps this disappointment has been sent
to me for some wise purpose," added Mrs. Jaynes, with a pious sigh.

Thus encouraged, Laura opened her heart and began to talk, saying
that she didn't like Mr. Hunt, that she didn't love him, that she
disliked him, and hated him, and that he was hateful, and horrid, and
awful, and dreadful, and so homely, and pale, and pimpled, and, ugh!
she should never like him, nor love him, but always dislike him, and
hate him. And on she went in this manner, till her fervor was cooled,
and she had exhausted, by frequent repetition, every form of speech
capable of expressing her great repugnance to a union with Elam Hunt.
In conclusion, she said she was willing never to marry, but would
remain with her sister and work for her and the children all her life.

"Thank you, dear," said Mrs. Jaynes. "We'll talk of your kind offer
presently; and you will see, I think, that I have no desire that you
should live and die an old maid, even in case you do not marry
Mr. Hunt."

"I'm sure I'd rather than not," said Laura, with a twinge of
conscience at the thought of her hero.

"Have you said all that you've got to say?" asked Mrs. Jaynes, very

Laura looked up into her sister's grave, sober face, and felt a
chill of vague apprehension begin to take the place of the hopeful
glow in her heart.

"Eh?" said Mrs. Jaynes, inquiringly.

"Y--yes," faltered Laura, "only this,--I don't like him, and he's
such a horrid, disgusting man,--and--and--that's all, I believe,
except that I don't like him, and think he's so disagreeable,--and--
oh, yes! there's another thing,--he wears blue spectacles,--ugh!
_blue_ spectacles!"

"Is there anything more?" said Mrs. Jaynes, still speaking with the
same even, quiet voice.

"N--no," said Laura, "only I--" and here she paused.

"Don't like him," added Mrs. Jaynes, supplying the words.

"Yes, that's it," said Laura. "I know I'm foolish, but--"

"It's much to confess it," said Mrs. Jaynes. "Now that I've
patiently heard all that you have to say, I wish to be heard a few
words in favor of a dear and worthy friend of mine, against whom you
appear to entertain a groundless antipathy."

"No, not groundless," interposed Laura.

"Well, I'll agree that a pale, studious face and blue spectacles are
good reasons for hating a man. Now let me say a word or two in his
favor, notwithstanding, and also in favor of a plan which I had
supposed was agreed upon, and which I dislike extremely to see
abandoned. You have reasons against it, which you have stated. I
have reasons for it, which I will state. But first answer me two or
three simple questions, 'yes' or 'no,'--will you, dear?"

And Laura assenting, she went on to ask if Mr. Hunt was not good,
and pious, and of blameless life and reputation; extorting from
Laura an affirmative reply to each separate inquiry.

"He's all these good qualities, then, to offset the complexion of
his face and spectacles," resumed Mrs. Jaynes. "Now let us look at
the matter in a worldly point of view. He is able to give you not
only a place, but the very highest position in society; he can offer
you, not wealth, but competence, which is better than either poverty
or riches. Why, my dear, there are a hundred girls in this town,
many of whom excel you in everything which men think desirable in a
wife, except, perhaps, the poor, perishable quality of beauty,--
girls of good family, rich, or likely to be so, intelligent, well
educated, some of them, to say the least, almost as pretty as you,
any one of whom would think herself honored by this offer which you
despise; for most people are aware that to be a minister's wife, in
New England, is, my dear, to occupy, as I have just said, the very
summit of the social structure."

Here Mrs. Jaynes made a period, and watched the effect of her words.
After a pause she resumed by alluding to Laura's offer to remain
with her always, without marrying; and while poor Laura listened
with a feeling as if the very earth was sinking beneath her feet,
Mrs. Jaynes reminded her that she was a penniless orphan, who had
been maintained for years by the bounty of one upon whom she had no
claim, except that she was the sister of his wife.

"I have no right, you know, my dear," continued Mrs. Jaynes,
"to tell you that you may stay here longer. Jabez, doubtless, would
bid you remain and welcome, as he told you to come and welcome. But
young women are usually expected to marry, at or near your age. It
is probable, indeed I know, that, at the time you came, this event
was thought of, and taken into account. Mr. Jaynes is Mr. Hunt's
warm friend and admirer. He expects that you are going to marry this
good friend. What will be his reflections when he learns that you
prefer to remain here, a pensioner upon his income, rather than to
marry such a man as Mr. Hunt, whose only demerits are his blue
spectacles and pale complexion?"

Here Laura turned so white, and looked so woful, that her tormentor
paused, in apprehension that the poor girl was going to swoon.

"Oh, my God! what shall I do?" cried Laura, beating her palms
together, in sore distress.

"You know," resumed Mrs. Jaynes, watching her sister carefully, and
speaking softly, "you know that Mr. Jaynes's salary is not large. It
used to be more than sufficient for our wants, but the children are
getting to be more expensive every year. Their clothes cost more,
and the boys, at least, ought soon to go away to school, and Jabez
has set his heart upon sending Newton to college. If--well, never
mind, dear, I'll say no more; but when I think of this offer of
Mr. Hunt,--such a good offer, especially to one in your circumstances,
from such a worthy, talented, pious young clergyman, whose
preference Julia Bramhall or Cornelia Bugbee, with their thousands,
would be glad to win,--who is going to be settled in a good old
parish, like Walbury, and receive at once a salary almost as large,
I dare say, as Mr. Jaynes's,--I _do_ say, Laura, that you ought to
give better reasons for refusing him, nay, for jilting him, after a
two-years' engagement, than that his cheeks are pale and his
spectacles blue. We love you, Laura, and are willing to give you a
home and the best we can afford to eat and drink and wear, but
Mr. Hunt loves you as well, or better, and offers you more than we
have it in our power to bestow. Take the day for reflection.
To-morrow Mr. Hunt will be here. Think, my child, whether you will
be justified in rejecting this offer. Your refusal, bear in mind,
imposes upon others a sacrifice of something more than childish
whims and silly prejudices. In order that you may have time and
opportunity to give this important matter due consideration, you had
better remain in your chamber. But don't fancy yourself a prisoner.
If you choose to see any one that calls, you can do so. But, my dear,
I cannot permit you to go and seek those who, from spite and malice
against me, would take delight in giving you evil counsel."

With this sharp innuendo against Tira Blake, in which she thought
she might now safely indulge, Mrs. Jaynes concluded her speech and
went out softly, leaving poor Laura in a stupor of despair, sitting
with her hands clasped in her lap and her head drooping on her bosom.

At last, looking up with a glance so woful that one would scarcely
have known her, Laura perceived she was alone. She rose, went to the
door and locked it, standing for a moment trembling, until of a
sudden she fell a-crying piteously, and began to walk to and fro
across her chamber, wringing her hands like one distraught, and
sometimes throwing herself upon the bed, wailing and moaning all the
while as if her heart would break indeed. And, truly, she had some
reason for the violence of her grief. Not being a thoughtful person,
nor given to meditation, she had never before duly considered that
her maintenance was a matter of cost and calculation to those who
provided it, nor reflected that she had no rightful claim upon those
who gave her shelter, food, and clothing. She had been thankful to
her protectors for their kindness, but the sentiment she entertained
for them was more like filial love than gratitude. For the first
time she realized that she was a pensioner on another's bounty, and
felt the sharp sting of conscious dependence.

At length, growing more calm after the first passionate outbreak of
frantic sorrow had subsided, she dried her eyes and sat down on
purpose to think. Poor child! Serious deliberation was a new
exercise to her mind. Besides, her head ached, her brain seemed in a
whirl, and her heart was so full and heavy she wanted to do nothing
but cry with all her might till the burden was gone. But think she
must, and knitting her brows and stilling her sobs, she tried to
think. What could she do? Oh, if she could but ask Tira! But what
good could Tira do? What could she tell her? It was not her sister
that was forcing her, but Fate itself! All that her sister had told
her was true, every word. The tone of her voice, her manner, had
been unusually kind and gentle. There was nothing she had said that
she could be blamed for saying. Tira herself must admit that it was
all true and reasonable,--but, oh, how very dreadful! Then she
conjured up to view the image of Elam Hunt,--his lank, slim figure,
arrayed in sombre black,--his pale, cadaverous visage, spotted with
pimples and blue blotches of close-shaven beard,--his spectral
glance of admiration through those detestable blue spectacles. She
imagined that she felt the clammy touch of his long, skinny fingers,
and cold, flabby palm. She reflected upon the probability, nay, the
certainty, that she must marry this man, for whom she felt such an
invincible repugnance, and in a frenzy of dismay and terror she
screamed aloud and started up as if to fly. Then, recollecting
herself, she sank down moaning.--Oh, heavens! she thought, there was
no escape, no help! How wretched she was! how utterly miserable! all
alone, alone, in such a dreary, lonesome world, with no home, nor
father, nor mother, nor brother,--with only a sister who had a
husband and children, whom she loved, as she ought, far better than
she did her. There was nobody to whom she was the dearest of all,--
nobody, except Elam Hunt, whom she hated and loathed with all her
heart, and the very thought of whose love made her shudder. What
could she do? To stay and be a burden for her friends to support was
worse than anything. That, at least, she was resolved to do no longer.
If she were only strong enough, she would go where nobody knew her
and work at housework, or in a factory, or anywhere. Oh, if she only
knew enough to teach school! She should like that. It would be so
pleasant to have the children love her, and bring her flowers to put
upon her desk! But, oh, dear! she didn't know enough, she feared.
For all that she had graduated at the Academy, she never dared to
write a letter without looking up all the hard words of it in the
dictionary, to see how they were spelt;--and parsing! and doing sums!--
oh, gracious! she never could teach school,--that was out of the

At last, after a long fit of silent musing, during which she had bit
her lips, and frowned, and gazed abstractedly at the wall, a gleam
of hope lit up her face, soon brightening into a smile. She had hit
upon a plan! She could learn the milliner's trade! She had always
been handy with her needle, and liked nothing better than to arrange
laces and ribbons and flowers. She could easily learn to make and
trim a bonnet, she thought; at least, she could try. At first it
would come hard to sit cooped up in those little back shops, sewing
and stitching from morning till night; but it was better than
marrying Elam Hunt, or than eating other people's bread. Then she
began to build castles in the air, as her custom was. She fancied
herself a milliner's apprentice, working away at bonnets and caps,
among a group of other girls,--sometimes rising to attend upon a
customer, or peeping out between the folds of a curtain at people in
the front shop. She wondered whether Cornelia and Helen would be
ashamed of knowing a milliner's apprentice, if they should chance to
see her in Hartford.

What would her schoolmates say? and would her hero despise a girl
that worked for a livelihood? Then she whimpered a little, thinking
how lonesome she would be, for a while, among strangers; but it was
a kind of lamentation that differed widely from the frantic weeping
of the morning. Then, all at once, a doubt began to depress her
new-born hopes. Could she get a place? She was a stranger in Hartford,
and beyond that city she dared not send her thoughts. Could Tira get
a place for her? She feared not, for Tira herself seldom went to the
city. But there was Doctor Bugbee, who knew a great many people there,
and who was so rich and powerful, that even in Hartford, though it
was a city, his word must have great influence. Besides, the firm of
Bugbee Brothers purchased large quantities of goods at some of the
great millinery shops. The Doctor's own private custom was not small,
for Cornelia dressed as became her condition, and even little Helen
scorned to wear a bonnet unless it came from Hartford. Doctor Bugbee
could help her to find a place. Doubtless he would be willing, nay,
even glad, to assist her in her trouble. At any rate, she would ask
him. But how was she to see him? He was not likely to call upon her,
unless she feigned sickness, and sent for him; for her sister would
not permit her to go to his house, where she would be sure to see
Tira. Besides, the Doctor's manner had of late grown so distant and
forbidding, that she was a little fearful of obtruding herself upon
his notice. Though sorry for this change, she had never laid it so
much to heart as to be grieved or affronted; for even his children
complained of his altered behavior, and all his friends had noticed
the gloomy expression which his face sometimes wore. But now she
troubled herself with wondering whether she had given him any cause
to be offended with her. Perhaps her giddy nonsense and thoughtless
gayety, which when he himself was cheerful and happy he had listened
to without displeasure, had vexed and annoyed him in his moods of
sadness and dejection. But what else could she do than solicit his
aid? The favor, though small for him to grant, would be of immense
benefit to her, and the good-hearted Doctor would not be likely to
refuse. She would tell him how friendless she was, and beg him to
help the fatherless in her distress. She knew that he would not turn
her away. At all events, she could try.

Coming at last to this conclusion, and wonderfully cheered and
strengthened by the purpose she had formed, she washed her face,
arranged her dishevelled hair, and smoothed her rumpled dress. Then
sitting down behind the window-curtain, she began to watch for
Cornelia, hoping her friend would not long delay her accustomed
visit to the parsonage. But it happened that Cornelia had that very
day begun a novel, in three volumes, the heroine of which was
represented to be a young lady whose extreme beauty and amiable
temper made her deserving of better treatment than she received at
the hands of the hard-hearted author, who suffered her to be cheated
and bullied by a scheming and brutal guardian, to be slandered by
his envious daughter, persecuted by a dissolute nobleman, haunted by
a spectre, shut up in a tower, exposed to manifold dangers, beset by
robbers, abducted, assaulted, barely rescued, and, finally, even
teased and tormented by the chosen lover of her heart, a
jealous-pated fellow, who was always making her miserable and
himself ridiculous by his absurd suspicions and fractious behavior.

Sympathizing deeply with this distressed young woman, whose
unexampled misfortunes and troubles would have touched the heart of
even a marble statue, Cornelia was weeping dolefully over a page
near the end of the second volume, where the lady's lover, in a fit
of senseless jealousy, tears her miniature from his bosom, renounces
her affection, and leaves her swooning upon the floor. Just then
Helen rushed into her chamber, with a summons from Laura to hasten
at once to her side. For Laura, after long watching, had caught
sight of Helen jumping the rope on the grassplot, and by means of
coughing and waving her handkerchief from the window had attracted
the notice of the child, who, coming to the paling, had received the
message she forthwith bore to Cornelia, adding to it the information
that Laura's eyes appeared to be almost as red as Cornelia's own.

Staying only to finish the volume, Cornelia repaired to comfort and
console her friend, to whose chamber she found ready access in spite
of some vague misgivings in Mrs. Jaynes's mind. But, shrewd as this
lady was by nature, and apprehensive as she felt that some untoward
accident would prevent the accomplishment of her cherished plans, she
never dreamed of the momentous results that were to follow this
interview, apparently so harmless, between Laura and her friend; nor
would it be fitting to suffer an account of so important a conference
to appear at the end of a chapter.

[To be continued in the next Number.]

       *       *       *       *       *


The Romans had many virtues, and conspicuous amongst these was the
virtue of impartiality. They treated everybody with equal inhumanity.
They were as pitiless towards the humble as towards the proud. The
quality of mercy was utterly unknown to them. Their motto,

  "Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos,"

Powell Buxton has happily translated, "They murdered all who
resisted them, and enslaved the rest."

But it was as slaveholders that the Romans most clearly exhibited
their impartiality. They were above those miserable subterfuges that
are so common with Americans. They made slaves of all, of the high
as well as the low,--of Thracians as well as Sardinians, of Greeks
and Syrians as readily as of Scythians and Cappadocians.

The consequence of the modes by which the Romans obtained their
bondmen,--by war, by purchase, and by kidnapping,--affecting as they
did the most cultivated and the bravest races, necessarily made
slavery a very dangerous institution. Greeks and Gauls, Thracians
and Syrians, Germans and Spaniards were not likely to submit their
necks readily to the yoke. They rose several times in great masses,
and contended for years on equal terms with the legions. Some of
their number exhibited the talents of statesmen and soldiers, at the
head of armies more numerous than both those which fought at Cannae.
One of them showed himself to be a born soldier, and caused the
greatest terror to be felt at Rome that had been known there since
that day on which Hannibal rode up to the Colline Gate, and cast his
javelin defiantly into that city which he himself never could enter.

The treatment of their slaves by the Romans was not unlike that
which slaves now experience. Some masters were kind, and there are
many facts which show that the relations between master and slave
were occasionally of the most amiable nature. But these were
exceptional cases, the general rule being cruelty, as it must be
where so much power is lodged in the hands of one class of men, and
the other has only a nominal protection from the law. Even where
cruelty takes no other form than that involved in hard labor, the
slave must experience intolerable oppression. Now the Romans were
the most avaricious people that ever lived. They had a hearty love
of money for money's sake. They would do anything for gold. Such men
were not likely to let their slaves grow fat from light tasks and
abundant food; their food was light, and their tasks were heavy. So
ill-fed were they that they were compelled to rob on the highway,
and were encouraged to do so by their owners. Indeed, much of the
private economy of the Romans was founded on cruelty to their slaves.
Some, who have come down to us as model men, were infamous for their
maltreatment of their bondmen. The life of any foreigner was of but
little account with any Roman, but enslaved foreigners were regarded
as on a level with brutes. Many anecdotes are related of the
ferocious disregard of all humanity which the world's masters
manifested towards the servile classes. There is a story told by
Cicero, in one of the Verrine Orations, which peculiarly illustrates
this feature of the Roman character. The praetorian edicts forbade
slaves to carry arms. There were no exceptions. A boar of great size
was once given to Lucius Domitius, who was a Sicilian Praetor. Its
size caused him to ask by whom it was slain; and on being informed
that the hunter was a shepherd and slave, he sent for him. The slave,
not doubting that he should be rewarded for his bravery, hastened to
present himself before the Praetor, who asked him what he killed the
animal with. "With a spear," was the answer; whereupon the Praetor
ordered that he should be immediately crucified. This was but one of
thousands of similar acts that were perpetrated by Romans through
many generations.

The slaves, as we have remarked, occasionally revolted, and the
efforts that were found necessary to subdue them rose sometimes to
the dignity of wars. The first Servile War of the Romans occurred in
Sicily. There were various reasons why this fine island should
become the scene of servile wars sooner than other portions of the
Roman dominions. Upon the final expulsion of the Carthaginians,
about the middle of the second Punic War, great changes of property
ensued. Speculators from Italy rushed into the island, "who," says
Arnold, "in the general distress of the Sicilians, bought up large
tracts of land at a low price, or became the occupiers of estates
which had belonged to Sicilians of the Carthaginian party, and had
been forfeited to Rome after the execution or flight of their owners.
The Sicilians of the Roman party followed the example, and became
rich out of the distress of their countrymen. Slaves were to be had
cheap; and corn was likely to find a sure market whilst Italy was
suffering from the ravages of war. Accordingly, Sicily was crowded
with slaves, employed to grow corn for the great landed proprietors,
whether Sicilian or Italian, and so ill-fed by their masters that
they soon began to provide for themselves by robbery. The poorer
Sicilians were the sufferers from this evil; and as the masters were
well content that their slaves should be maintained at the expense of
others, they were at no pains to restrain their outrages. Thus,
although nominally at peace, though full of wealthy proprietors, and
though exporting corn largely every year, yet Sicily was teeming with
evils, which, seventy or eighty years after, broke out in the
horrible atrocities of the Servile War." [2]

[Footnote 2: Arnold, _History of Rome_, Vol. III. pp. 317-318,
London edition.]

The Sicilian Servile War began B.C. 133, only a few years after the
destruction of Carthage and Corinth, and when the military power of
the republic was probably at its height, though military discipline
may have been somewhat relaxed from the old standard. It lasted two
or three years. The chief of the slaves had at one time two hundred
thousand followers, inclusive, probably, of women and children. He
was a Syrian of Apamea, named Eunus, and had been a prophet and
conjurer among the slaves. To his prophecies and tricks he owed his
elevation when the rebellion broke out. According to some accounts,
he was rather a cunning than an able man; but it should be
recollected that his enemies only have drawn his portrait. The
victories he so often won over the Roman forces are placed to the
credit of his lieutenant, a Cilician of the name of Cleon; but he
must have been a man of considerable ability to have maintained his
position so long, and to have commanded the services of those said
to have been his superiors. Cleon's superiority was probably only
that of the soldier. He fell in battle, and Eunus was made prisoner,
but died before he could be brought to punishment,--no doubt, to the
vast regret of his savage captors.

In the year B.C. 103, another Servile War broke out in Sicily, and
was not brought to an end until after four years of hard fighting.
The leaders were Salvius, or Tryphon, an Italian, and Athenion, a
Cilician, or Greek. Both showed considerable talent, but owed their
leadership, Salvius to his knowledge of divination, and Athenion to
his pretensions to astrology. They were often successful, and it was
not until a Consul had taken the field against them that the slaves
were subdued, the chiefs having successively fallen, and no one
arising to make their place good.

The next great Servile War was on a grander scale, though briefer,
than either of the Sicilian contests. Its scene was Italy, and it
was conducted, on the part of the rebels, by the profoundest military
genius ever encountered by the Romans, with the exception, perhaps,
of Hannibal. We speak of SPARTACUS, who defeated many Roman armies,
and disputed with the all-conquering republic the dominion of the
Italian Peninsula, and with it that of the civilized world. This war
took place B.C. 73-71, while Rome was engaged in hostilities with
Sertorius and Mithridates; and it was brought to an end only by the
exertions of the ablest generals the republic then had,--the great
Pompeius having been summoned from Spain, and it being in
contemplation to order home Lucullus from the East. In the war with
Hannibal the Romans showed their fearlessness by sending troops to
Spain while the Carthaginian with his army was lying under their
walls; but they called troops and generals from Spain to their
assistance against the Thracian gladiator. He must have been a man
of extraordinary powers to have accomplished so much with the means
at his disposal. It has been regarded as a proof of the astonishing
powers of Hannibal as a commander, that he could keep together, and
in effective condition, an army composed of the outcasts, as it were,
of many nations, and win with it great victories, scattered over a
long period of time; yet this was less than was done by Spartacus.
The Carthaginian, like Alexander, succeeded to an army formed by his
father, next after himself the ablest man of the age. The Thracian,
without country or home, and an outlaw from the beginning of his
enterprise, had to create an army, and that out of the most
heterogeneous and apparently the most unpromising materials. The
palm must be aligned to the latter.

To what race did Spartacus belong? We are told that he was a
Thracian, his family being shepherds. The Thracians were a brave
people, but by no means remarkable for the highest intellectual
superiority; yet Spartacus was eminently a man of mind, with large
views, and an original genius for organization and war. Plutarch
pays him the highest compliment in his power, by admitting that he
deserved to be regarded as belonging to the Hellenic race. He was,
says the old Lifemaker, "a man not only of great courage and strength,
but, in judgment and mildness of character, superior to his condition,
and more like a Greek than one would expect from his nation."
It is not impossible that he had Greek blood in his veins. Thrace
was hard by Greece, had many Greek cities, and its full proportion
of those Greek adventurers, military and civil, who were to be found
in every country and city, from Spain to Persia, from Gades to
Ecbatana. What more probable than that among his ancestors were
Greeks? At the same time it must be admitted that the Thracians
themselves were capable of producing eminent men, being a superior
physical race, and prevented only by the force of circumstances from
attaining to a respectable position. They were renowned for
soldierlike qualities, which caused the Romans to give them the
preference as gladiators,--a dubious honor, to say the best of it.

How, and under what circumstances, Spartacus became a gladiator, is
a point by no means clear. We cannot trust the Roman accounts, as it
was a meritorious thing, in the opinion of a Roman, for a man to lie
for his country, as well as to die for it. Florus states, that he was
first a Thracian mercenary, then a Roman soldier, then a deserter
and robber, and then, because of his strength, a gladiator from
choice. But, to say nothing of the national prejudices of Florus, he
writes like a man who felt it to be a particular grievance that
Romans should have been compelled to fight slaves, and particularly
gladiators. This is in striking contrast with Plutarch, who was a
contemporary of Florus, but whose patriotic pride was not wounded by
the victories which the Thracian gladiator won over Roman generals.
Indeed, as he was willing to admit that Spartacus ought to have been
a Greek, we may suppose that he was pleased to read of his victories,--
a not unnatural thing in a provincial, and particularly in a Greek,
who knew so well what his country had once been. Plutarch says not a
word about the Thracian having been a soldier and a thief, but
introduces him with one of his good stories. "They say," he tells us,
"that when Spartacus was first taken to Rome to be sold, a snake was
seen folded over his face while he was sleeping, and a woman, of the
same tribe with Spartacus, who was skilled in divination, and
possessed by the mysterious rites of Dionysus, declared that this
was a sign of a great and formidable power, which would attend him
to a happy termination." She was the Thracian's wife, or mistress,
being connected with him by some tender tie, and was with him when
he subsequently escaped from Capua. In the bloody drama of the War
of Spartacus hers is the sole relieving figure, and we would fain
know more of her, for it could have been no ordinary woman who was
loved by such a man.

The passion of the Romans for gladiatorial combats is well known.
Not a few persons followed the calling of gladiator-trainers, and
had whole corps of these doomed men, whom they let to those who
wished to get up such shows. There were several schools of gladiators,
the chief of which were at Ravenna and Capua, where garrisons were
maintained to keep the pupils in subjection. According to one account,
Spartacus, while on a predatory incursion, was made prisoner, and
afterwards sold to Cneius Lentulus Batiatus, a trainer of gladiators,
who sent him to his school at Capua. He was to have fought at Rome.
But he had higher thoughts than of submitting to so degrading a
destiny as the being "butchered to make a Roman holiday." Most of
his companions were Gauls and Thracians, the bravest of men, who
bore confinement with small patience. They conspired to make their
escape,--the chief conspirators being Spartacus and two others, who
were subsequently made his lieutenants,--Crixus, a Gaul, and Oenomaus,
a Greek. Some two hundred persons were in the conspiracy, but only a
portion of them succeeded in breaking the school bounds. Florus says
that not more than thirty got out, while Velleius makes the number
to have been sixty-four, and Plutarch seventy-eight. Having armed
themselves with spits, knives, and cleavers, from a cook's shop,
they hastened out of Capua. Passing along the Appian Way, they fell
in with a number of wagons loaded with gladiators' weapons, which
they seized, and were thus placed in good fighting condition.
Shortly after this they encountered a small body of soldiers, whom
they routed, and whose arms they substituted for the gladiatorial,
deeming these no longer worthy of them.

They were now joined by a few others, fugitives and mountaineers,
with whom they took refuge in the crater of Vesuvius, then, as from
time immemorial, and for nearly a century and a half later, inactive.
Thence, under the leadership of Spartacus and his lieutenants, Crixus
and Oedomaus, they ravaged the country; but it is not probable that
they caused much alarm, their number being only two hundred, and
such collections of slaves being by no means uncommon. The Romans
little dreamed that they were on the eve of one of the most terrible
of their many wars. Claudius Pulcher, one of the Praetors, was sent
against the "robbers," as they were considered to be. He found them
so advantageously posted on the mountain, that, though superior to
them in numbers in the ratio of fifteen to one, he resolved to
blockade them, and so compel them to descend to the plain and fight
at disadvantage, or starve. But he was contending with a man of
genius, against whom even Rome's military system could not then
succeed. He despised his enemy,--a sort of gratification which to
those indulging in it generally costs very dear. Spartacus caused
ropes to be made of vine branches, with the aid of which he and his
followers lowered themselves to the base of the mountain, at a point
which had been left unguarded by the Romans because considered
inaccessible by the red-tapist who commanded them, and consequently
affording a capital outlet for bold men under a daring leader. In
the dead of night the gladiators stole round to the rear of the
Roman camp, and assailed it. Taken by surprise and heavy with sleep,
the Romans were routed like sheep, and their arms and baggage passed
into the hands of the despised enemy.

Spartacus saw now that it was time for him and his comrades to
assume a higher character than had hitherto belonged to them.
Instead of a leader of outlaws, he aspired to be the liberator of
the servile population of Italy. He issued a proclamation, in which,
while calling upon his followers to remember the multitudes who
groaned in chains, he urged the slaves to rise, pointing out how
strong they were and how weak were their oppressors, maintaining
that the strength of the masters lay in the blind and disgraceful
submission of the slaves, at the same time declaring that the land
belonged of right to the bravest,--a sentiment as natural and proper
when uttered by a man in his situation as it is base when proceeding
from a modern buccaneer, who has taken up arms, not to obtain his
own freedom, but to enslave others. The whole address is
contemptuous towards the Romans, though somewhat too rhetorical for
a man in the situation of Spartacus. It is the composition of Sallust,
but we may believe that it expresses the sentiments of Spartacus, as
Sallust was not only his contemporary, but was too good an artist to
disregard keeping in what he wrote.

Italy was at this time full of slaves, many of whom must have been
men of quite as much intelligence as the Romans, having been made
captives in war. The free population of the Peninsula had almost
entirely disappeared. Two generations before, Tiberius Gracchus had
pointed to the miserable condition of Italy, and to the fact that
the increase of the slave population had caused the Italian yeomanry
to become almost extinct. In the years that had passed since his
murder the work of extinction had gone on at an accelerated rate,
the Social War and the Wars of Sulla and Marius having aided slavery
to do its perfect work. In this way had perished that splendid rural
population from which the Roman legionary infantry had been
conscribed, and which had enabled the aristocratical republic to
baffle the valor of Samnium, the skill of Pyrrhus, and the genius of
Hannibal. Even so early as in the first of the Eastern wars of the
Romans, immediately after the second defeat of Carthage, there were
indications that the supply of Roman soldiers was giving out. An
anecdote of the younger Scipio shows what must have been the
character of a large part of the Roman population more than sixty
years before the War of Spartacus. When he declared that Tiberius
Gracchus had rightly been put to death, and an angry shout at the
brutal speech came from the people, he turned to them and exclaimed,
"Peace, ye stepsons of Italy! Remember who it was that brought you
in chains to Rome!"

The country being full of slaves and the children of slaves,
Spartacus had little difficulty in obtaining recruits. Apulia was
particularly fruitful of insurgents. In that country the vices of
Roman slavery were displayed in all their naked hideousness, and the
Apulian shepherds and herdsmen had a reputation for lawlessness
that has never been surpassed. Yet this was the consequence, not the
cause, of their bondage. It is related that some of them having
asked their master for clothing, he exclaimed, "What! are there no
travellers with clothes on?" "The atrocious hint," says Liddell,
"was soon taken; the shepherd slaves of Lower Italy became banditti,
and to travel through Apulia without an armed retinue was a perilous
adventure. From assailing travellers, the marauders began to plunder
the smaller country-houses; and all but the rich were obliged
to desert the country, and flock into the towns. So early as the
year 185 B.C., seven thousand slaves in Apulia were condemned for
brigandage by a Praetor sent specially to restore order in that land
of pasturage. When they were not employed upon the hills, they were
shut up in large, prison-like buildings, (_ergastula_) where they
talked over their wrongs, and formed schemes of vengeance." [3] The
century and more between this date and the appearance of Spartacus
had not improved the condition of the Apulian slaves. He found them
ripe for revolt, and was soon joined by thousands of their number,
men whose modes of life rendered them the very best possible
material for soldiers, provided they could be induced to submit to
the restraints of discipline. They were strong, hardy, athletic, and
active, and full of hatred of their masters. It shows the superiority
of the Thracian that he could prevail upon them to act in a regular
manner. He formed them into an army, the chief officers being the
men who had escaped from Capua in his company. This army had some
discipline, which was the more easily acquired because many of the
men were originally soldiers, captives of the Roman sword. But the
hatred of all in it to the Romans, and their knowledge that they had
to choose between victory and the crudest forms of death known to
the crudest of conquerors, made them the most reliable military
force then to be found in the world.

[Footnote 3: Liddell, _History of Rome_, Vol. II, p. 144]

With such an army, thus composed, thus animated, and thus led,
Spartacus commenced that war to which he has given his name.
Bursting upon Lower Italy, the most horrible atrocities were
perpetrated, the rich landholders being subjected to every species
of indignity and cruelty, in accordance with that law of retaliation
which was accepted and recognized by all the ancient world, and
which the modern has not entirely abrogated. Towns were captured and
destroyed, [4] and the slaves everywhere liberated to swell the
conquering force. Spartacus is said to have sought to moderate the
fury of his followers, and we can believe that he did so without
supposing that he was much above his age in humane sentiment. He saw
that excesses were likely to demoralize his army, and so render it
unfit to meet the legions which it must sooner or later encounter.

[Footnote 4: These ravages seem to have made a great impression on
the Romans, and were by them long remembered. Forty years later
Horace alludes to them, in that Ode which he wrote on the return of
Augustus from Spain (Carm. III. xiv. 19). He calls to his young
slave to fetch him a jar of wine that had seen the Marsiaii War,
"If there could be found one that had escaped the vagabond Spartacus."
The manner in which he, the son of a _libertinus_, speaks of
Spartacus, is not only amusing as an instance of foolish pride, but
is curious as illustrating a change in Roman ideas that was working
out more important results than could have followed from all the
acts of the first two Caesars, though, perhaps it was in some sense
connected with, if not dependent upon, their legislation.]

Much as Spartacus had done, and signal as had been his successes, it
was not yet the opinion at Rome that he was a formidable foe. The
government despatched Publius Varinius Glaber to act against him, at
the head of ten thousand men. This seems a small force, yet it was
not much smaller than the army with which, three or four years later,
Lucullus overthrew the whole military power of the Armenian monarchy;
and it was half as large as that with which Caesar changed the fate
of the world at Pharsalia. The Romans probably thought it strong
enough to subdue all the slaves in Italy, and Varinius sufficiently
skilful to defeat their leaders and send them to Rome in chains. But
they were to have a rough awakening from their dreams of
invincibility, though some early successes of Varinius for a time
apparently justified their confidence.

The army of Spartacus numbered forty thousand men, but it was poorly
armed, and its discipline was very imperfect. It still lacked, to
use a modern term, "the baptism of fire,"--never yet having been
matched in the open field against a regular force. Its arms were
chiefly agricultural implements, and wooden pikes that had been made
by hardening the points of stakes with fire. Spartacus resolved upon
retreating into Lucania; but the Gauls in his army, headed by his
lieutenant Crixus, pronounced this decision cowardly, separated
themselves from the main body, attacked the Romans, and were utterly
routed. The retreat to Lucania was then made in perfect safety, and
even with glory, apart from the skill with which it was conducted.
Watching his opportunity, and showing that he understood the military
principle of cutting up an enemy in detail, Spartacus fell upon a
Roman detachment, two thousand strong, and destroyed it. Shortly
after this, the Roman general succeeded, as he thought, in getting
him into a trap. The servile encampment was upon a piece of ground
hemmed in on one side by mountains, on the other by impassable waters,
and the Romans were about to close up the only outlets with some of
those grand works to which they owed so many of their conquests, when,
one night, Spartacus silently retreated, leaving his camp in such a
state as completely deceived the enemy, who did not discover what had
happened until the next morning, when the gladiators were beyond
their reach.

This masterly retreat was followed up by a brilliant surprise of a
division of the Roman army under the command of Cossinius. The night
was just getting in, and the soldiers were resting from their day's
march and from the labors of forming the encampment, when the
Thracian fell upon them. Thus suddenly attacked, they fled, without
making any show of resistance,--abandoning everything to the
assailants. Cossinius himself, who was bathing, had time only to
escape with his life. The Romans rallied, a battle ensued, and they
were routed, Cossinius being among the slain. This action took place
not far from the Aufidus, which had witnessed the slaughter of Cannae.

Spartacus now considered his army fairly "blooded." It had routed a
Roman detachment, and defeated a small army. Two Roman camps had
fallen into its hands, under circumstances that gave indications of
superior generalship, and several towns had been stormed. Though
still deficient in arms, he resolved to attack Varinius. Sallust
represents him as addressing his army before the battle, and telling
them that they were about to enter, not upon a single action, but
upon a long war,--that from success, then, would follow a series of
victories,--and that therein lay their only salvation from a death
at once excruciating and infamous. They must, he said, live upon
victory after victory,--an expression that showed he had a clear
comprehension of the nature of his situation. In the battle that
followed, Varinius was beaten, unhorsed, and compelled to fly for
his life. All his personal goods fell into the hands of Spartacus.
His lictors, with the _fasces_, shared the same fate. Spartacus
assumed the dress of the Roman, and all the ensigns of authority. He
has been censured for this; but a little reflection ought to convince
every one that he did not act from vanity, but from a profound
appreciation of the state of things in Italy. The slaves, of which
his army was composed, were accustomed to see the emblems of
authority with which he was now clothed and surrounded in the
possession of their masters alone; and when they beheld them on and
about their chief, they were not only reminded of the governing power,
but also of the overthrow of those who had therefore monopolized it.
Spartacus was a statesman; and knew how to operate on the minds of
the rude masses who followed him and obeyed his orders.

The defeat of Varinius left the whole of Lower Lucania at the mercy
of the gladiators. Spartacus now established posts at Metapontum and
at Thurii. Here he labored, with unceasing energy and industry, to
organize and discipline his men. Adopting various measures to
prevent them from becoming enervated through the abundance in which
they were revelling, he prohibited the use of money among them, and
gave all that he himself had to relieve those who had suffered from
the war. Some of his officers are said to have followed his example
in making so great a sacrifice for the common good.

Towards the close of the year Varinius had succeeded in getting
another army on foot. With this he resolved to watch the enemy,--
repeated defeats having made the Romans cautious, though they were
not even yet seriously alarmed. He formed and fortified a camp,
whence he kept a look-out. There was some skirmishing, but no
fighting on a large scale. This did not suit Spartacus, who had
become confident in himself and his men. He desired battle, but
wished the Romans should take the initiative, and was convinced that
the near approach of winter would compel them soon to fight or to
retreat. To encourage them, he feigned fear, and commenced a
retrograde movement; but no sooner had the elated Romans advanced in
pursuit than he turned upon them, and they were compelled to fight
under circumstances that made defeat certain. This second rout of
Varinius was total, and we hear no more of him.

Never had there been a more successful campaign than that which
Spartacus had just closed. His force had been increased from less
than one hundred men to nearly one hundred thousand. He had proved
himself more than the equal of the generals who had been sent
against him, both in strategy and in arms. He had fought three great
battles, and numerous lesser actions, and had been uniformly
successful. Like Carnot, he had "organized victory." A large part of
Italy was at his command, and, under any other circumstances than
those which existed, or against any other foe than Rome, he would
probably have found little difficulty in establishing a powerful
state, the origin of which would have been far more respectable than
of that with which he was contending. But he was a statesman, and
knew, that, brilliant as were his successes, he had no chance of
accomplishing anything permanent within the Peninsula. He was
fighting, too, for freedom, not for dominion. His plan was to get
out of Italy. Two courses were open to him. He might retreat to the
extremity of the Peninsula, cross the strait that separates it from
Sicily, and renew the servile wars of that island; or he might march
north, force his way out of Italy, and so with most of his followers
reach their homes in Gaul and Thrace. The latter course was
determined upon; but the more hot-headed portion of his men, the
Gauls, were opposed to it, and resolved to march upon Rome. A
division of the victorious army ensued. The larger number, under
Spartacus, proceeded to carry out the wise plan of their leader, but
the minority refused to obey him. We have seen, that, at the very
outset of his enterprise, Spartacus encountered opposition from the
Gauls in his army, who were ever for rash measures, and that,
separating themselves from their associates, under the lead of Crixus,
they had been defeated. Crixus rejoined his old chieftain, and did
good service; but he and his countrymen, untaught by experience, and
inflated with a notion of invincibility,--on what founded, it would
be hard to say,--would not aid Spartacus in his prudent attempt to
lead his followers out of Italy. Rome was their object, and, to the
number of thirty thousand, they separated themselves from the main
army. At first, the event seemed to justify their decision. Meeting
a Roman army, commanded by the Prætor Arrius, on the borders of
Samnium, the Gauls put it to rout, and the victory of Crixus was not
less decisive than any of those which had been won by Spartacus. But
this splendid dawn was soon overcast. Crixus was a drunkard, and,
while sleeping off one of his fits of intoxication, he was set upon
by a Roman army under the Consul Gellius. He was killed, and his
followers either shared his fate or were totally dispersed. This was
the first great victory won by the Romans in the war.

The defeat of Varinius aroused the Roman government to see that their
enemy was not to be despised, and, revolted slave though he was,
they were compelled to pay him the respect of making prodigious
efforts to effect his destruction. The Consuls Gellius and Lentulus
were charged with the conduct of the war. The former overthrew the
Gauls. The latter followed Spartacus, and came up with him in Etruria.
Here a contest of pure generalship took place. Lentulus was
determined not to fight until Gellius--whose victory he knew of--
should have come up; and Spartacus was equally determined that fight
he should before the junction could be effected. He succeeded in
blocking up the road by which Gellius was advancing, unknown to
Lentulus, and then offered the latter battle. Supposing that his
colleague would join him in the course of the action, the Roman
accepted the challenge and was beaten. The victors then marched to
meet Gellius, who was served after the same manner as Lentulus.
Spartacus was the only general who ever defeated two great Roman
armies, each headed by a Consul, on the same day, and in different
battles. Hannibal's Austerlitz, Cannae, approaches nearest to this
exploit of the Thracian; but on that field the two consular armies
were united under the command of Varro.

These great successes were soon followed by the defeat of two lesser
Roman armies, combined under the lead of the Praetor Manlius and the
Proconsul Cassius. This last victory not only left the whole open
country at the command of Spartacus, but also the road to Rome, upon
which city he now resolved to march. It would have been wiser, had
he persevered in his original plan, the execution of which his
victories must have made it easy to carry out. But perhaps success
had its usual effect, even on his mind, and blinded him to the
impossibility of permanent triumph in Italy. He winnowed his army,
dismissing all his soldiers except such as were distinguished by
their bravery, their strength, and their intelligence. In order that
his march might be swift, he caused all the superfluous baggage to be
destroyed. Every beast of burden that could be dispensed with was
slain. His prisoners were disposed of after the same fashion. In a
modern general such an act would be utterly without excuse. But it
was strictly in accordance with the laws of ancient warfare, and
Spartacus probably felt far more regret at sacrificing his beasts of
burden than he experienced in consenting to, if he did not order,
the butchery of some thousands of men whom he must have looked upon
as so many brutes.

Proceeding to the south, Spartacus fell in with a great Roman army
led by Arrius, and a battle was fought near Ancona, in which victory
was true to the gladiator. The Romans were not only beaten, their
army was utterly destroyed; a result which they seem to have felt to
be so shameful, that they made no apologies for it. Why, after this
signal victory, Spartacus did not forthwith carry out his grand
design of attacking Rome,--a design every way so worthy of his
genius, and which alone could give him a chance of achieving
permanent success after he had abandoned the idea of forcing his way
out of Italy by a northern march,--can never be known. It is
supposed to have been in consequence of information that
circumstances had now placed it in his power to effect a passage
into Sicily, a project which he had regarded with favor at an
earlier period.

At this time the Cilician pirates had the command of the
Mediterranean, which they held until they were conquered, some years
later, by Pompeius. It was by the aid of these men that Spartacus
expected to carry his army into Sicily. They had shipping in
abundance, and in a few days they could have conveyed a hundred
thousand men across the narrow strait that separates Sicily from
Italy. This they agreed to do, and were paid in advance by Spartacus,
though it is probable that he relied less upon that payment for
their assistance than upon the palpable fact that their interests
were the same as his own. The pirates were on the sea what the
gladiatorial army was on land. They were the victims of Roman
oppression, and had become outlaws because the world's law was
against them. A union of their fleets, which numbered more than a
thousand vessels, with the army of Spartacus, in the harbors and on
the fields of Sicily, would perhaps have been more than a match for
the whole power of Rome, contending as the republic then was with
Mithridates, and bleeding still from the wounds inflicted by Marius
and Sulla, as well as from the blows of Spartacus. Sicily, too, was
then in a state which promised well for the design of the Thracian.
Verres was ruling over the island,--and how he ruled it Cicero has
told us. Had the victorious Thracian entered the island, both the
free population and the slaves would have risen against the Romans.
A new state might have been formed, strong both in fleets and in
armies, and compelled from the very nature of its origin to contend
to the death with its old oppressors. Whatever the result, it is
certain that a long Sicilian war, like that which the Romans had
been compelled to wage with the Carthaginians, would have changed
the course of history, by directing the attention and the energies
of such men as Crassus, Pompeius, and Caesar to very different fields
from those on which their fame and power were won.

But it was not to be. There was work for Rome to do, which could be
done by no other nation. The power that had been found superior to
Hannibal was not to fall before Spartacus, or even to have its
course stayed materially by his victories. He marched to the foot of
Italy, on the shore of the strait, where he expected to find his
supposed naval allies. He was disappointed. They, impolitic no less
than faithless, broke their engagement after they had pocketed the
sum agreed upon for their services. It was impossible for Spartacus
to carry out his design; for not only had he no vessels, but his
followers were, it is altogether probable, incapable of building them.
The Romans, too, must have had ships in the strait, and a very few
would have been found enough to keep it clear of the unskilful
gladiators, even had the latter had the time and the means to
construct boats.

After the defeat of the Romans under Arrius, the Senate had called
Crassus to the chief command, resolving to make an herculean effort
to destroy their terrible enemy. The accounts are somewhat confused,
but, according to Plutarch, Crassus commenced operations against
Spartacus before the latter marched for Sicily. He sent one of his
lieutenants, Mummius, to follow and harass the gladiators, but with
orders to avoid a general engagement. The lieutenant disobeyed his
orders, fought a battle, and was defeated. Not a few of his men threw
away their arms, and fled,--an uncommon thing with a Roman army. The
victors continued their march, but, as we have seen, failed in their
main object. Spartacus then took up a position in the territory of
Rhegium, which is over against Sicily. He must have been convinced
by this time that the crisis of his fortune had arrived, and though
he would not even then entirely give up all idea of crossing over
into the island that lay within sight of his camp, he prepared to
meet the coming storm, which had been for some time gathering in his
rear. Accordingly he faced about, and commenced a game of
generalship with Crassus, who was now in person at the head of the
Roman army. [5]

[Footnote 5: It is probable that justice has never been done to
Crassus as a military man. Roman writers were not likely to deal
fairly with a man who closed his career so fatally to himself, and
so disgracefully in every way to his country. It was his misfortune--
a misfortune of his own creating--to lead the finest Roman army that
had ever been seen in the East to destruction, in an unjust attack on
the Parthians. Had he succeeded, the injustice of his course would
have been overlooked by his countrymen; but they never could forgive
his defeat. Yet it is certain that this man, who has come down to us
as a contemptible creature, having small claim to consideration
beyond what he derived from his enormous possessions, not only
exhibited eminent military ability in the War of Spartacus, but,
when a young man, won that great battle which takes its name from
the Colline Gate, and which laid the Roman world at the feet of Sulla.
Pontius Telesious had marched upon Rome, with the intention of
"destroying the den of the wolves of Italy," and Sulla arrived to
the city's rescue but just in time. In the battle that immediately
followed, Sulla, at the head of the left wing of his army, was
completely defeated, while the right wing, commanded by Crassus, was
as completely victorious. Talent must have had something to do with
Crassus's success, which enabled Sulla to retrieve his fortunes, and
to triumph over the Marius party. One hundred thousand men are said
to have fallen in this battle. The avarice of Crassus and his want
of popular manners were fatal to him in life, and his defeat left
him no friends in death.]

Of all men then living, Crassus was best entitled to command an army
employed in fighting revolted slaves. If not the greatest
slaveholder in Rome, he was the most systematic of the class of
owners, and knew best how to turn the industry of slaves to account.
He was the wealthiest citizen of the republic. One can understand
how indignant such a person must have felt at the audacity of the
gladiator and his followers. As a slaveholder, as a man of property,
as a lover of law and order, he was concerned at so very disorderly
a spectacle as that of slaves subverting all the laws of the republic;
as a Roman, he felt that abhorrence for slaves which was common to
the character. Here were motives enough to bring out the powers of
any man, if powers he had in him; and it does not follow that
because Crassus was very rich he was therefore a fool. He was a man
of consummate talents, and at this particular time was probably the
most influential citizen of Rome. The Romans had confidence in him,
as the embodiment of the spirit of supremacy by which they were so
completely animated. The event showed that their confidence was not

The army of Crassus was two hundred thousand strong, and having
restored its discipline by examples of great severity, he marched to
meet Spartacus; but on arriving in front of the latter's position,
he would not attack it, while Spartacus showed an equal
unwillingness to fight. The Roman determined to blockade the enemy.
As they had the sea on one side, and that was held by a fleet, he
commenced a line of works, the completion of which would have
rendered it impossible for the gladiators to escape. These works
were on the usual Roman scale, and consisted principally of walls and
ditches, a hundred thousand men being employed in their construction.
So cleverly did Crassus conceal what he was about, that it was not
until he had almost accomplished his design that Spartacus
discovered the intention of his foe. The emergency was suited to his
genius, and he was not unequal to it. He began a series of attacks
on the Romans, harassing them perpetually, retarding their labors,
and drawing their attention from that point of their line by which he
purposed to extricate his army. At last, on a night when a terrible
snow-storm was raging, he led his men to a place where the Roman
works were yet incomplete, the snow enabling them to march
noiselessly. When they reached the line, the immense ditches seemed
to bar their further advance; but they set resolutely at work to
fill them. Earth, snow, fagots, and dead bodies of men and beasts
were hastily thrown into them; and across this singular bridge the
whole army poured into the country, leaving the Roman camp behind,
and having rendered nugatory all the laborious digging and
trenching of the legions.

It was not until the next morning that Crassus discovered what had
been done, and how thoroughly he had been out-generalled by Spartacus.
But he had no room for vexation in his mind. He was so frightened as
a Roman citizen, that he could not feel mortified as a Roman soldier.
He took counsel of his fears, and did that which he had cause both
to be ashamed of and to regret in after days. He wrote to the Senate,
stating that in his opinion not only should Pompeius be summoned home
from Spain, but Lucullus also from the East, to aid in putting down
an enemy who was unconquerable by ordinary means. A short time
sufficed to show how indiscreetly for his own fame he had acted; for
Spartacus was unable to follow up his success, in consequence of
mutinies in his army. The Gauls again rebelled against his authority,
and left him. Crassus concentrated his whole force in an attack on
the seceders, and a battle followed which Plutarch says was the most
severely contested of the war. The Romans remained masters of the
field, more than twelve thousand of the Gauls being slain, of whom
only two were wounded in the back, the rest falling in the ranks.
Spartacus retreated to the mountains of Petelia, closely followed by
Roman detachments. Turning upon them, he drove them back; but this
last gleam of success led to his destruction. His policy was to
avoid a battle, but his men would not listen to his prudent counsels,
and compelled him to face about and march against Crassus. This was
what the Roman desired; for Pompeius was bringing up an army from
Spain, and would be sure to reap all the honors of the war, were it
to be prolonged.

Some accounts represent Spartacus as anxious for battle. Whether he
was so or not, he made every preparation that became a good general.
The armies met on the Silarus, in the northern part of Lucania; and
the battle which followed, and which was to finish this remarkable
war, was fought not far from where the traveller now sees the noble
ruins of Paestum. Spartacus made his last speech to his soldiers,
warning them of what they would have to expect, if they should fall
alive into the hands of their old masters. By way of practical
commentary on his text, he caused a cross to be erected on a height,
and to that cross was nailed a living Roman, whose agonies were
visible to the whole army. Spartacus then ordered his horse to be
brought to him in front of the army, and slew the animal with his own
hands. "I am determined," he said to his men, "to share all your
dangers. Our positions shall be the same. If we are victorious, I
shall get horses enough from the foe. If we are beaten, I shall need
a horse no more." [6]

[Footnote 6: When the Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, killed his
horse in front of the Yorkist army, at the battle of Towton,
(fought on Palm Sunday, 1461,) he little knew that he was imitating
the action of a general of revolted slaves, more than fifteen
centuries earlier. Warwick is said to have done the same thing at
the battle of Barnet, the last of his fields, where he was defeated
and slain, fighting for the House of Lancaster.]

The battle that followed was the most severely contested action of
that warlike period, which, extending through two generations, saw
the victories of Marius over the Northern barbarians at its
commencement, and Pharsalia and Munda and Philippi at its close. The
insurgents attacked with great fury, but with method, Spartacus
leading the way at the head of a band of select followers, thus
acting the part of a soldier as well as of a general. The Romans
steadily resisted,--and the slaughter was great on both sides. At
last, victory began to incline towards the gladiators, when
Spartacus fell, and the fortune of the day was changed. He had made a
fierce charge on the Romans, with the intention of cutting his way
to Crassus. Two centurions had fallen by his sword, and a number of
inferior men, when he was himself wounded in one of his thighs.
Falling upon one knee, he still continued to fight, until he was
overpowered and slain. The battle was maintained for some time longer,
and ended only with the destruction of the insurgents, thirty
thousand of whom were killed;--Livy puts their killed at forty
thousand. The Roman slain numbered twenty thousand, and they had as
many more wounded. Only six thousand prisoners fell into the hands
of Crassus, who caused the whole of them to be crucified,--the
crosses being placed at intervals on both sides of the Appian Way,
between Capua and Rome, and the whole Roman army being marched
through the horrible lines. A body of five thousand fugitives, who
sought refuge in the north, were intercepted by Pompeius on his
homeward march from Spain, and slaughtered to a man.

Thus fell Spartacus, and far more nobly than either of the great
republican chiefs whose deaths were so soon to follow. Pompeius, who
boasted that he had cut up the war by the roots, ran away from
Pharsalia, without an effort to retrieve his fortunes, though the
force opposed to him in the battle was only half as large as his own,
and he had still abundant resources for future operations. Crassus,
who claimed to have conquered Spartacus, and who not unreasonably
resented the pretensions of Pompeius, fell miserably in Parthia,
after having led the Romans to the most fatal of their fields except
Cannae. Wanting the nerve to die sword in hand in the midst of his
foes, like Spartacus, he consented to adorn the triumph of those foes,
and perished as ignominiously as the great gladiator gloriously.

       *       *       *       *       *



"If anything could make a man forgive himself for being sixty years
old," said the Consul, holding up his wine-glass between his eye and
the setting sun,--for it was summer-time, "it would be that he can
remember M. ---- in her divine sixteenity at the Park Theatre, thirty
odd years ago. Egad, Sir, one couldn't help making great allowances
for _Don Giovanni_, after seeing her in _Zerlina_. She was beyond
imagination _piquante_ and delicious."

The Consul, as my readers may have partly inferred, was not a Roman
Consul, nor yet a French one. He had had the honor of representing
this great republic at one of the Hanse Towns,--I forget which,--in
President Monroe's time. I don't recollect how long he held the
office, but it was long enough to make the title stick to him for
the rest of his life with the tenacity of a militia colonelcy or
village diaconate. The country people round about used to call him
"the _Counsel_" which, I believe,--for I am not very fresh from my
school-books,--was etymologically correct enough, however
orthoepically erroneous. He had not limited his European life,
however, within the precinct of his Hanseatic consulship, but had
dispersed himself very promiscuously over the Continent, and had
seen many cities, and the manners of many men--and of some women,--
singing-women, I mean, in their public character; for the Consul,
correct of life as of ear, never sought to undeify his divinities by
pursuing them from the heaven of the stage to the purgatorial
intermediacy of the _coulisses_, still less to the lower depth of
disenchantment into which too many of them sunk in their private life.

"Yes, Sir," he went on, "I have seen and heard them all,--Catalani,
Pasta, Pezzaroni, Grisi, and all the rest of them, even Sonntag,--
though not in her very best estate; but I give you my word there is
none that has taken lodgings here," tapping his forehead, "so
permanently as the Signorina G----, or that I can see and hear so
distinctly, when I am in the mood of it, by myself. _Rosina,
Desdemona, Cinderella_, and, as I said just now, _Zerlina_,--she is
as fresh in them all to my mind's eye and ear, as if the Park
Theatre had not given way to a cursed shoe-shop, and I had been
hearing her there only last night. Let's drink her memory," the
Consul added, half in mirth and half in melancholy,--a mood to which
he was not unused, and which did not ill become him.

Now no intelligent person, who knew the excellence of the Consul's
wine, could refuse to pay this posthumous honor to the harmonious
shade of the lost Muse. The Consul was an old-fashioned man in his
tastes, to be sure, and held to the old religion of Madeira which
divided the faith of our fathers with the Cambridge Platform, and
had never given in to the later heresies which have crept into the
communion of good-fellowship from the South of France and the Rhine.

"A glass of Champagne," he would say, "is all well enough at the end
of dinner, just to take the grease out of one's throat, and get the
palate ready for the more serious vintages ordained for the solemn
and deliberate drinking by which man justifies his creation; but
Madeira, Sir, Madeira is the only stand-by that never fails a man
and can always be depended upon as something sure and steadfast."

I confess to having fallen away myself from the gracious doctrine
and works to which he had held so fast; but I am no bigot,--which
for a heretic is something remarkable,--and had no scruple about
uniting with him in the service he proposed, without demur or
protestation as to form or substance. Indeed, he disarmed fanaticism
by the curious care he bestowed on making his works conformable to
the faith that was in him; for, partly by inheritance and partly by
industrious pains, his old house was undermined by a cellar of wine
such as is seldom seen in these days of modern degeneracy. He is the
last gentleman, that I know of, of that old school that used to
import their own wine and lay it down annually themselves,--their
bins forming a kind of vinous calendar suggestive of great events.
Their degenerate sons are content to be furnished, as they want it,
from the dubious stores of the vintner, by retail.

"I suppose it was her youth and beauty, Sir," I suggested, "that
made her so rememberable to you. You know she was barely turned
seventeen when she sung in this country."

"Partly that, no doubt," replied the Consul, "but not altogether,
nor chiefly. No, Sir, it was her genius which made her beauty so
glorious. She was wonderfully handsome, though. She was a phantom of
delight, as that Lake fellow says,"--it was thus profanely that the
Consul designated the poet Wordsworth, whom he could not abide,--
"and the best thing he ever said, by Jove!"

"And did you never see her again?" I inquired.

"Once, only," he answered,--"eight or nine years afterwards, a year
or two before she died. It was at Venice, and in _Norma_. She was
different, and yet not changed for the worse. There was an
indescribable look of sadness out of her eyes, that touched one
oddly and fixed itself in the memory. But she was something apart
and by herself, and stamped herself on one's mind as Rachel did in
_Camille_ or _Phèdre_. It was true genius, and no imitation, that
made both of them what they were. But she actually had the physical
beauty which Rachel only compelled you to think she had by the force
of her genius and consummate dramatic skill, while she was on the
scene before you."

"But do you rank M. ---- with Rachel as a dramatic artist?" I asked.

"I cannot tell," he answered; "but if she had not the studied
perfection of Rachel, which was always the same and could not be
altered without harm, she had at least a capacity of impulsive
self-adaptation about her which made her for the time the character
she personated,--not always the same, but such as the woman she
represented might have been in the shifting phases of the passion
that possessed her. And to think that she died at eight-and-twenty!
What might not ten years more have made her!"

"It is odd," I observed, "that her fame should be forever connected
with the name she got by her first unlucky marriage in New York. For
it was unlucky enough, I believe,--was it not?"

"You may say that," responded the Consul, "without fear of denial or
qualification. It was disgraceful in its beginning and in its ending.
It was a swindle on a large scale; and poor Maria G---- was the one
who suffered the most by the operation."

"I have always heard," said I, "that old G---- was cheated out of
the price for which he had sold his daughter, and that M. M. ----
got his wife on false pretences."

"Not altogether so," returned the Consul. "I happen to know all
about that matter from the best authority. She was obtained on false
pretences, to be sure, but it was not G---- that suffered by them.
M. M. ----, moreover, never paid the price agreed upon, and yet G----
got it for all that."

"Indeed!" I exclaimed, "it must have been a neat operation. I cannot
exactly see how the thing was done; but I have no doubt a tale hangs
thereby, and a good one. Is it tellable?"

"I see no reason why not," said the Consul; "the sufferer made no
secret of it, and I know of no reason why I should. Mynheer Van
Holland told me the story himself, in Amsterdam, in the year

"And who was he?" I inquired, "and what had he to do with it?"

"I'll tell you," responded the Consul, filling his glass and passing
the bottle, "if you will have the goodness to shut the window behind
you and ring for candles; for it gets chilly here among the
mountains as soon as the sun is down."

I beg your pardon,--did you make a remark?--Oh, _what mountains_? You
must really pardon me; I cannot give you such a clue as that to the
identity of my dear Consul, just now, for excellent and sufficient
reasons. But if you have paid your money for the sight of this Number,
you may take your choice of all the mountain ranges on the continent,
from the Rocky to the White, and settle him just where you like. Only
you must leave a gap to the westward, through which the river--also
anonymous for the present distress--breaks its way, and which gives
him half an hour's more sunshine than he would otherwise be entitled
to, and slope the fields down to its margin near a mile off, with
their native timber thinned so skilfully as to have the effect of
the best landscape-gardening. It is a grand and lovely scene; and
when I look at it, I do not wonder at one of the Consul's apophthegms,
namely, that the chief advantage of foreign travel is, that it
teaches you that one place is just as good to live in as another.
Imagine that the one place he had in his mind at the time was just
this one. But that is neither here nor there. When candles came, we
drew our chairs together, and he told me in substance the following
story. I will tell it in my own words,--not that they are so good as
his, but because they come more readily to the nib of my pen.


New York has grown considerably since she was New Amsterdam, and has
almost forgotten her whilom dependence on her first godmother. Indeed,
had it not been for the historic industry of the erudite Diedrich
Knickerbocker, very few of her sons would know much about the
obligations of their nursing mother to their old grandame beyond sea,
in the days of the Dutch dynasty. Still, though the old monopoly has
been dead these two hundred years, or thereabout, there is I know
not how many fold more traffic with her than in the days when it was
in full life and force. Doth not that benefactor of his species,
Mr. Udolpho Wolfe, derive thence his immortal, or immortalizing,
Schiedam Schnapps, the virtues whereof, according to his
advertisements, are fast transferring dram-drinking from the domain
of pleasure to that of positive duty? Tobacco-pipes, too, and toys,
such as the friendly saint, whom Protestant children have been
taught by Dutch tradition to invoke, delights to drop into the
votive stocking,--they come from the mother city, where she sits
upon the waters, quite as much a Sea-Cybele as Venice herself. And
linens, too, fair and fresh and pure as the maidens that weave them,
come forth from Dutch looms ready to grace our tables or to deck our
beds. And the mention of these brings me back to my story,--though
the immediate connection between Holland linen and M. ----'s marriage
may not at first view be palpable to sight. Still, it is a fact that
the web of this part of her variegated destiny was spun and woven
out of threads of flax that took the substantial shape of fine
Hollands;--and this is the way in which it came to pass.

Mynheer Van Holland, of whom the Consul spoke just now, you must
understand to have been one of the chief merchants of Amsterdam, a
city whose merchants are princes and have been kings. His
transactions extended to all parts of the Old World and did not skip
over the New. His ships visited the harbor of New York as well as of
London; and as he died two or three years ago a very rich man, his
adventures in general must have been more remunerative than the one
I am going to relate. In the autumn of the year 1825, it seemed good
to this worthy merchant to despatch a vessel with a cargo chiefly
made up of linens to the market of New York. The honest man little
dreamed with what a fate his ship was fraught, wrapped up in those
flaxen folds. He happened to be in London the Winter before, and was
present at the _début_ of Maria G---- at the King's Theatre. He must
have admired the beauty, grace, and promise of the youthful _Rosina_,
had he been ten times a Dutchman; and if he heard of her intended
emigration to America, as he possibly might have done, it most likely
excited no particular emotion in his phlegmatic bosom. He could not
have imagined that the exportation of a little singing-girl to New
York should interfere with a potential venture of his own in fair
linen. The gods kindly hid the future from his eyes, so that he might
enjoy the comic vexation her lively sallies caused to _Doctor Bartolo_
in the play, unknowing that she would be the innocent cause of a
more serious provocation to himself, in downright earnest. He
thought of this, himself, after it had all happened.

Well, the good ship _Steenbok_ had prosperous gales and fair weather
across the ocean, and dropped anchor off the Battery with some days
to spare from the amount due to the voyage. The consignee came off
and took possession of the cargo, and duly transferred it to his own
warehouse. Though the advantages of advertising were not as fully
understood in those days of comparative ignorance as they have been
since, he duly announced the goods which he had received, and waited
for a customer. He did not have to wait long. It was but a day or
two after the appearance of the advertisement in the newspapers that
he had prime Holland linens on hand, just received from Amsterdam,
when he was waited upon by a gentleman of good address and evidently
of French extraction, who inquired of the consignee, whom we will
call Mr. Schulemberg for the nonce, "whether he had the linens he
had advertised yet on hand."

"They are still on hand and on sale," said Mr. Schulemberg.

"What is the price of the entire consignment?" inquired the customer.

"Fifty thousand dollars," responded Mr. Schulemberg.

"And the terms?"

"Cash, on delivery."

"Very good," replied the obliging buyer, "if they be of the quality
you describe in your advertisement, I will take them on those terms.
Send them down to my warehouse, No. 118 Pearl Street, tomorrow
morning, and I will send you the money."

"And your name?" inquired Mr. Schulemberg.

"Is M. ----," responded the courteous purchaser.

The two merchants bowed politely, the one to the other, mutually
well pleased with the morning's work, and bade each other good day.

Mr. Schulemberg knew but little, if anything, about his new customer;
but as the transaction was to be a cash one, he did not mind that.
He calculated his commissions, gave orders to his head clerk to see
the goods duly delivered the next morning, and went on change and
thence to dinner in the enjoyment of a complacent mind and a good

It is to be supposed that M. M. ---- did the same. At any rate, he
had the most reason,--at least, according to his probable notions of
mercantile morality and success.


The next day came, and with it came, betimes, the packages of linens
to M. M. ----'s warehouse in Pearl Street; but the price for the
same did not come as punctually to Mr. Schulemberg's counting-room,
according to the contract under which they were delivered. In point
of fact, M. M. ---- was not in at the time; but there was no doubt
that he would attend to the matter without delay, as soon as he came
in. A cash transaction does not necessarily imply so much the instant
presence of coin as the unequivocal absence of credit. A day or two
more or less is of no material consequence, only there is to be no
delay for sales and returns before payment. So Mr. Schulemberg gave
himself no uneasiness about the matter when two, three, and even five
and six days had slid away without producing the apparition of the
current money of the merchant. A man who transacted affairs on so
large a scale as M. M. ----, and conducted them on the sound basis
of ready money, might safely be trusted for so short a time. But when
a week had elapsed and no tidings had been received either of
purchaser or purchase-money, Mr. Schulemberg thought it time for
himself to interfere in his own proper person. Accordingly, he
incontinently proceeded to the counting-house of M. M. ---- to
receive the promised price or to know the reason why. If he failed
to obtain the one satisfaction, he at least could not complain of
being disappointed of the other. Matters seemed to be in some
little unbusiness-like confusion, and the clerks in a high state
of gleeful excitement. Addressing himself to the chief among them,
Mr. Schulemberg asked the pertinent question,--

"Is M. M. ---- in?"

"No, Sir," was the answer, "he is not; and he will not be just at

"But when will he be in? for I must see him on some pressing
business of importance."

"Not to-day, Sir," replied the clerk, smiling expressively;
"he cannot be interrupted to-day on any business of any kind whatever."

"The deuce he can't!" returned Mr. Schulemberg. "I'll see about that
very soon, I can tell you. He promised to pay me cash for fifty
thousand dollars' worth of Holland linens a week ago; I have not
seen the color of his money yet, and I mean to wait no longer. Where
does he live? for if he be alive, I will see him and hear what he
has to say for himself, and that speedily."

"Indeed, Sir," pleasantly expostulated the clerk, "I think when you
understand the circumstances of the case, you will forbear
disturbing M. M. ---- this day of all others in his life."

"Why, what the devil ails this day above all others," said
Mr. Schulemberg, somewhat testily, "that he can't see his
creditors and pay his debts on it?"

"Why, Sir, the fact is," the clerk replied, with an air of interest
and importance, "it is M. M. ----'s wedding-day. He marries this
morning the Signorina G----, and I am sure you would not molest him
with business on such an occasion as that."

"But my fifty thousand dollars!" persisted the consignee, "and why
have they not been paid?"

"Oh, give yourself no uneasiness at all about that, Sir," replied
the clerk, with the air of one to whom the handling of such trifles
was a daily occurrence; "M. M. ---- will, of course, attend to that
matter the moment he is a little at leisure. In fact, I imagine, that,
in the hurry and bustle inseparable from an event of this nature,
the circumstance has entirely escaped his mind; but as soon as he
returns to business again, I will recall it to his recollection, and
you will hear from him without delay."

The clerk was right in his augury as to the effect his intelligence
would have upon the creditor. It was not a clerical error on his
part when he supposed that Mr. Schulemberg would not choose to enact
the part of skeleton at the wedding breakfast of the young _Prima
Donna_. There is something about the great events of life, which
cannot happen a great many times to anybody,--

  "A wedding or a funeral,
  A mourning or a festival,--"

that touches the strings of the one human heart of us all and makes
it return no uncertain sound. _Shylock_ himself would hardly have
demanded his pound of flesh on the wedding-day, had it been _Antonio_
that was to espouse the fair _Portia_. Even he would have allowed
three days of grace before demanding the specific performance of his
bond. Now Mr. Schulemberg was very far from being a Shylock, and he
was also a constant attendant upon the opera, and a devoted admirer
of the lovely G----. So he could not wonder that a man on the eve of
marriage with that divine creature should forget every other
consideration in the immediate contemplation of his happiness,--even
if it were the consideration for a cargo of prime linens, and one to
the tune of fifty thousand dollars. And it is altogether likely that
the mundane reflection occurred to him, and made him easier in his
mind under the delay, that old G---- was by no means the kind of man
to give away a daughter who dropped gold and silver from her sweet
lips whenever she opened them in public, as the princess in the
fairy-tale did pearls and diamonds, to any man who could not give
him a solid equivalent in return. So that, in fact, he regarded the
notes of the Signorina G---- as so much collateral security for his

So Mr. Schulemberg was content to bide his reasonable time for the
discharge of M. M. ----'s indebtedness to his principal. He had
advised Mynheer Van Holland of the speedy sale of his consignment,
and given him hopes of a quick return of the proceeds. But as days
wore away, it seemed to him that the time he was called on to bide
was growing into an unreasonable one. I cannot state with precision
exactly how long he waited. Whether he disturbed the sweet
influences of the honey-moon by his intrusive presence, or permitted
that nectareous satellite to fill her horns and wax and wane in
peace before he sought to bring the bridegroom down to the things of
earth, are questions which I must leave to the discretion of my
readers to settle, each for himself or herself, according to their
own notions of the proprieties of the case. But at the proper time,
after patience had thrown up in disgust the office of a virtue, he
took his hat and cane one fine morning and walked down to No. 118,
Pearl Street, for the double purpose of wishing M. M. ---- joy of
his marriage and of receiving the price, promised long and long
withheld, of the linens which form the tissue of my story.

  "The gods gave ear and granted half his prayer;
  The rest the winds dispersed in empty air."

There was not the slightest difficulty about his imparting
his epithalamic congratulation,--but as to his receiving the
numismatic consideration for which he hoped in return, that was
an entirely different affair. He found matters in the Pearl-Street
counting-house again apparently something out of joint, but with a
less smiling and sunny atmosphere pervading them than he had remarked
on his last visit. He was received by M. M. ---- with courtesy, a
little over-strained, perhaps, and not as flowing and gracious as at
their first interview. Preliminaries over, Mr. Schulemberg, plunging
with epic energy into the midst of things, said, "I have called,
M. M. ----, to receive the fifty thousand dollars, which, you will
remember, you engaged to pay down for the linens I sold you on such
a day. I can make allowance for the interruption which has prevented
your attending to this business sooner, but it is now high time that
it were settled."

"I consent to it all, Monsieur," replied M. M. ----, with a
deprecatory gesture; "you have reason, and I am desolated that it is
the impossible that you ask of me to do."

"How, Sir!" demanded the creditor; "what do you mean by the
impossible? You do not mean to deny that you agreed to pay cash for
the goods?"

"My faith, no, Monsieur," shruggingly responded M. M. ----;
"I avow it; you have reason; I promised to pay the money, as you say
it; but if I have not the money to pay you, how can I pay you the
money? What to do?"

"I don't understand you, Sir," returned Mr. Schulemberg. "You have
not the money? And you do not mean to pay me according to agreement?"

"But, Monsieur, how can I when I have not money? Have you not heard
that I have made--what you call it?--failure, yesterday? I am
grieved of it, thrice sensibly; but if it went of my life, I could
not pay you for your fine linens, which were of a good market at the

"Indeed, sir," replied Mr. Schulemberg, "I had not heard of your
misfortunes; and I am heartily sorry for them, on my own account and
yours, but still more on account of your charming wife. But there is
no great harm done, after all. Send the linens back to me and
accounts shall be square between us, and I will submit to the loss
of the interest."

"Ah, but, Monsieur, you are too good, and Madame will be recognizant
to you forever for your gracious politeness. But, my God, it is
impossible that I return to you the linen. I have sold it, Monsieur,
I have sold it all!"

"Sold it?" reiterated Mr. Schulemberg, regardless of the rules of
etiquette, "Sold it? And to whom, pray? And when?"

"To M. G----, my father-in-the-law," answered the catechumen, blandly;
"and it is a week that he has received it."

"Then I must bid you a good morning, Sir," said Mr. Schulemberg,
rising hastily and collecting his hat and gloves, "for I must lose
no time in taking measures to recover the goods before they have
changed hands again."

"Pardon, Monsieur," interrupted the poor, but honest M. ----,
"but it is too late! One cannot regain them. M. G---- embarked
himself for Mexico yesterday morning, and carried them all with him!"

Imagine the consternation and rage of poor Mr. Schulemberg at
finding that he was sold, though the goods were not! I decline
reporting the conversation any farther, lest its strength of
expression and force of expletive might be too much for the more
queasy of my readers. Suffice it to say, that the _swindlee_, if I
may be allowed the royalty of coining a word, at once freed his own
mind and imprisoned the body of M. M. ----; for in those days
imprisonment for debt was a recognized institution, and I think few
of its strongest opponents will deny that this was a case to which
it was no abuse to apply it.


I regret that I am compelled to leave this exemplary merchant in
captivity; but the exigencies of my story, the moral of which
beckons me away to the distant coast of Mexico, require it at my
hands. The reader may be consoled, however, by the knowledge that he
obtained his liberation in due time, his Dutch creditor being
entirely satisfied that nothing whatsoever could be squeezed out of
him by passing him between the bars of the debtor's prison, though
that was all the satisfaction he ever did get. How he accompanied his
young wife to Europe and there lived by the coining of her voice
into drachmas, as her father had done before him, needs not to be
told here; nor yet how she was divorced from him, and made another
matrimonial venture in partnership with De B----. I have nothing to
do with him or her, after the bargain and sale of which she was the
object, and the consequences which immediately resulted from it; and
here, accordingly, I take my leave of them. But my story is not
quite done yet; it must now pursue the fortunes of the enterprising
_impresario_, Signor G----, who had so deftly turned his daughter
into a ship-load of fine linens.

This excellent person sailed, as M. M. ---- told Mr. Schulemberg, for
Vera Cruz, with an assorted cargo, consisting of singers, fiddlers,
and, as aforesaid, of Mynheer Van Holland's fine linens. The voyage
was as prosperous as was due to such an argosy. If a single Amphion
could not be drowned by the utmost malice of gods and men, so long as
he kept his voice in order, what possible mishap could befall a
whole ship-load of them? The vessel arrived safely under the shadow
of San Juan de Ulua, and her precious freight in all its varieties
was welcomed with a tropical enthusiasm. The market was bare of
linen and of song, and it was hard to say which found the readiest
sale. Competition raised the price of both articles to a fabulous
height. So the good G---- had the benevolent satisfaction of clothing
the naked and making the ears that heard him to bless him at the
same time. After selling his linens at a great advance on the cost
price, considering he had only paid his daughter for them, and
having given a series of the most successful concerts ever known in
those latitudes, Signor G---- set forth for the Aztec City. As the
relations of _meum_ and _tuum_ were not upon the most satisfactory
footing just then at Vera Cruz, he thought it most prudent to carry
his well-won treasure with him to the capital. His progress thither
was a triumphal procession. Not Cortés, not General Scott, himself,
marched more gloriously along the steep and rugged road that leads
from the sea-coast to the table-land, than did this son of song.
Every city on his line of march was the monument of a victory, and
from each one he levied tribute and bore spoils away. And the
vanquished thanked him for this spoiling of their goods.

Arrived at the splendid city, at that time the largest and most
populous on the North American continent, he speedily made himself
master of it, a welcome conqueror. The Mexicans, with the genuine
love for song of their Southern ancestors, had had but few
opportunities for gratifying it such as that now offered to them. G----
was a tenor of great compass, and a most skilful and accomplished
singer. The artists who accompanied him were of a high order of merit,
if not of the very first class. Mexico had never heard the like, and,
though a hard-money country, was glad to take their notes and give
them gold in return. They were feasted and flattered in the
intervals of the concerts, and the bright eyes of Señoras and
Señoritas rained influence upon them on the off nights, as their
fair hands rained flowers upon the _on_ ones. And they have a very
pleasant way, in those golden realms, of giving ornaments of diamonds
and other precious stones to virtuous singers, as we give
pencil-cases and gold watches to meritorious railway conductors and
hotel clerks, as a testimonial of the sense we entertain of their
private characters and public services. The gorgeous East herself
never showered on her kings barbaric pearl and gold with a richer
hand than the city of Mexico poured out the glittering rain over the
portly person of the happy G----. Saturated at length with the
golden flood and its foam of pearl and diamond,--if, indeed, singer
were ever capable of such saturation, and were not rather permeable
forever like a sieve of the Danaides,--saturated, or satisfied that
it was all run out, he prepared to take up his line of march back
again to the City of the True Cross. Mexico mourned over his going,
and sent him forth upon his way with blessings and prayers for his
safe return.

But, alas! the blessings and the prayers were alike vain. The saints
were either deaf or busy, or had gone a journey, and either did not
hear or did not mind the vows that were sent up to them. At any rate,
they did not take that care of the worthy G---- which their devotees
had a right to expect of them. Turning his back on the Halls of the
Montezumas, where he had revelled so sumptuously, he proceeded on
his way towards the Atlantic coast, as fast as his mules thought fit
to carry him and his beloved treasure. With the proceeds of his
linens and his lungs, he was rich enough to retire from the
vicissitudes of operatic life, to some safe retreat in his native
Spain or his adoptive Italy. Filled with happy imaginings, he fared
onward, the bells of his mules keeping time with the melodious joy
of his heart, until he had descended from the _tierra caliente_ to
the wilder region on the hither side of Jalapa. As the narrow road
turned sharply, at the foot of a steeper descent than common, into a
dreary valley, made yet more gloomy by the shadow of the hill behind
intercepting the sun, though the afternoon was not far advanced, the
_impresario_ was made unpleasantly aware of the transitory nature
of man's hopes and the vanity of his joys. When his train wound into
the rough open space, it found itself surrounded by a troop of men
whose looks and gestures bespoke their function without the
intermediation of an interpreter. But no interpreter was needed in
this case, as Signor G---- was a Spaniard by birth, and their
expressive pantomime was a sufficiently eloquent substitute for
speech. In plain English, he had fallen among thieves, with very
little chance of any good Samaritan coming by to help him.

Now Signor G---- had had dealings with brigands and banditti all his
operatic life. Indeed, he had often drilled them till they were
perfect in their exercises, and got them up regardless of expense.
Under his direction they had often rushed forward to the footlights,
pouring into the helpless mass before them repeated volleys of
explosive crotchets. But this was a very different chorus that now
saluted his eyes. It was the real thing, instead of the make-believe,
and, in the opinion of Signor G----, at least, very much inferior to
it. Instead of the steeple-crowned hat, jauntily feathered and looped,
these irregulars wore huge _sombreros_, much the worse for time and
weather, flapped over their faces. For the velvet jacket with the
two-inch tail, which had nearly broken up the friendship between
Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman, when the latter gentleman proposed
induing himself with one, on the occasion of Mrs. Leo Hunter's
fancy-dress breakfast,--for this integument, I say, these minions of
the moon had blankets round their shoulders, thrown back in
preparation for actual service. Instead of those authentic
cross-garterings in which your true bandit rejoices, like a new
Malvolio, to tie up his legs, perhaps to keep them from running away,
these false knaves wore, some of them, ragged boots up to their
thighs, while others had no crural coverings at all, and only rough
sandals, such as the Indians there use, between their feet and the
ground. They were picturesque, perhaps, but not attractive to wealthy
travellers. But the wealthy travellers were attractive to them; so
they came together, all the same. Such as they were, however, there
they were, fierce, sad, and sallow, with vicious-looking knives in
their belts, and guns of various parentage in their hands, while
their Captain bade our good man stand and deliver.

There was no room for choice. He had an escort, to be sure; but it
was entirely unequal to the emergency,--even if it were not, as was
afterwards shrewdly suspected, in league with the robbers. The enemy
had the advantage of arms, position, and numbers; and there was
nothing for him to do but to disgorge his hoarded gains at once, or
to have his breath stripped first and his estate summarily
administered upon afterwards by these his casual heirs,--as the King
of France, by virtue of his _Droit d'Aubaine_, would have
confiscated Yorick's six shirts and pair of black silk breeches, in
spite of his eloquent protest against such injustice, had he chanced
to die in his Most Christian Majesty's dominions. As Signor G----
had an estate in his breath, from which he could draw a larger yearly
rent than the rolls of many a Spanish grandee could boast, he wisely
chose the part of discretion and surrendered at the same. His new
acquaintances showed themselves expert practitioners in the breaking
open of trunks and the rifling of treasure-boxes. All his beloved
doubloons, all his cherished dollars, for the which no Yankee ever
felt a stronger passion, took swift wings and flew from his coffers
to alight in the hands of the adversary. The sacred recesses of his
pockets, and those of his companions, were sacred no longer from the
sacrilegious hands of the spoilers. The breast-pins were ravished
from the shirt-frills,--for in those days studs were not,--and the
rings snatched from the reluctant fingers. All the shining
testimonials of Mexican admiration were transferred with the
celerity of magic into the possession of the chivalry of the road.
Not Faulconbridge himself could have been more resolved to come on
at the beckoning of gold and silver than were they, and, good
Catholics though they were, it is most likely that Bell, Book, and
Candle would have had as little restraining influence over them as
he professed to feel.

At last they rested from their labors. To the victors belonged the
spoils, as they discovered with instinctive sagacity that they
should do, though the apophthegm had not yet received the authentic
seal of American statesmanship. Science and skill had done their
utmost, and poor G---- and his companions in misery stood in the
centre of the ring stripped of everything but the clothes on their
backs. The duty of the day being satisfactorily performed, the
victors felt that they had a right to some relaxation after their
toils. And now a change came over them which might have reminded
Signor G---- of the banditti of the green-room, with whose habits he
had been so long familiar and whose operations he had himself
directed. Some one of the troop, who, however fit for stratagems and
spoils, had yet music in his soul, called aloud for a song. The idea
was hailed with acclamations. Not satisfied with the capitalized
results of his voice to which they had helped themselves, they were
unwilling to let their prey go until they had also ravished from him
some specimens of the airy mintage whence they had issued.
Accordingly the Catholic vagabonds seated themselves on the ground,
a fuliginous parterre to look upon, and called upon G---- for a song.
A rock which projected itself from the side of the hill served for a
stage as well as the "green plat" in the wood near Athens did for
the company of Manager Quince, and there was no need of "a
tyring-room," as poor G---- had no clothes to change for those he
stood in. Not the Hebrews by the waters of Babylon, when their
captors demanded of them a song of Zion, had less stomach for the
task. But the prime tenor was now before an audience that would
brook neither denial nor excuse. Nor hoarseness, nor catarrh, nor
sudden illness, certified unto by the friendly physician, would
avail him now. The demand was irresistible; for when he hesitated,
the persuasive though stern mouth of a musket hinted to him in
expressive silence that he had better prevent its speech with song.

So he had to make his first appearance upon that "unworthy scaffold,"
before an audience which, multifold as his experience had been, was
one such as he had never sung to yet. As the shadows of evening
began to fall, rough torches of pine wood were lighted and shed a
glare such as Salvator Rosa loved to kindle, upon a scene such as he
delighted to paint. The rascals had taste,--that the tenor himself
could not deny. They knew the choice bits of the operas which held
the stage forty years ago, and they called for them wisely and
applauded his efforts vociferously. Nay, more, in the height of
their enthusiasm, they would toss him one of his own doubloons or
dollars, instead of the bouquets usually hurled at well-deserving
singers. They well judged that these flowers that never fade would
be the tribute he would value most, and so they rewarded his
meritorious strains out of his own stores, as Claude Du Val or
Richard Tarpin, in the golden days of highway robbery, would
sometimes generously return a guinea to a traveller he had just
lightened of his purse, to enable him to continue his journey. It
was lucky for the unfortunate G---- that their approbation took this
solid shape, or he would have been badly off indeed; for it was all
he had to begin the world with over again. After his appreciating
audience had exhausted their musical repertory and had as many
encores as they thought good, they broke up the concert and betook
themselves to their fastnesses among the mountains, leaving their
patient to find his way to the coast as best he might, with a pocket
as light as his soul was heavy. At Vera Cruz a concert or two
furnished him with the means of embarking himself and his troupe for
Europe, and leaving the New World forever behind him.

And here I must leave him, for my story is done. The reader hungering
for a moral may discern, that, though Signor G---- received the
price he asked for his lovely daughter, it advantaged him nothing,
and that he not only lost it all, but it was the occasion of his
losing everything else he had. This is very well as far as it goes;
but then it is equally true that M. M. ---- actually obtained his
wife, and that Mynheer Van Holland paid for her. I dare say all this
can be reconciled with the eternal fitness of things; but I protest
I don't see how it is to be done. It is "all a muddle," in my mind.
I cannot even affirm that the banditti were ever hanged; and I am
quite sure that the unlucky Dutch merchant, whose goods were so
comically mixed up with this whole history, never had any poetical
or material justice for his loss of them. But it is as much the
reader's business as mine to settle these casuistries. I only
undertook to tell him who it was that paid for the _Prima Donna_,--
and I have done it.


"I consider that a good story," said the Consul, when he had
finished the narration out of which I have compounded the foregoing,--
"and, what is not always the case with a good story, it is a true one."

I cordially concurred with my honored friend in this opinion, and if
the reader should unfortunately differ from me on this point, I beg
him to believe that it is entirely my fault. As the Consul told it
to me, it was an excellent good story.

"Poor Mynheer Van Holland," he added, laughing, "never got over that
adventure. Not that the loss was material to him; he was too rich
for that; but the provocation of his fifty thousand dollars going to
a parcel of Mexican _ladrones_, after buying an opera-singer for a
Frenchman on its way, was enough to rouse even Dutch human-nature to
the swearing-point. He could not abide either Frenchmen or
opera-singers, all the rest of his life. And, by Jove, I don't
wonder at it!"

Nor I, neither, for the matter of that.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
  Repeats the music of the rain;
  But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
  Through thee, as thou through Concord Plain.

  Thou in thy narrow banks art pent:
  The stream I love unbounded goes
  Through flood and sea and firmament;
  Through light, through life, it forward flows.

  I see the inundation sweet,
  I hear the spending of the stream
  Through years, through men, through nature fleet,
  Through passion, thought, through power and dream.

  Musketaquit, a goblin strong,
  Of shard and flint makes jewels gay;
  They lose their grief who hear his song,
  And where he winds is the day of day.

  So forth and brighter fares my stream,--
  Who drink it shall not thirst again;
  No darkness stains its equal gleam,
  And ages drop in it like rain.



  [The "Atlantic" obeys the moon, and its LUNIVERSARY has come round
  again. I have gathered up some hasty notes of my remarks made since
  the last high tides, which I respectfully submit. Please to remember
  this is _talk_; just as easy and just as formal as I choose to make

--I never saw an author in my life--saving, perhaps, one--that did
not purr as audibly as a full-grown domestic cat, (_Felis Catus_,
LINN.,) on having his fur smoothed in the right way by a skilful hand.

But let me give you a caution. Be very careful how you tell an
author he is _droll_. Ten to one he will hate you; and if he does,
be sure he can do you a mischief, and very probably will. Say you
_cried_ over his romance or his verses, and he will love you and
send you a copy. You can laugh over that as much as you like--in

--Wonder why authors and actors are ashamed of being funny?--
Why, there are obvious reasons, and deep philosophical ones. The
clown knows very well that the women are not in love with him, but
with Hamlet, the fellow in the black cloak and plumed hat. Passion
never laughs. The wit knows that his place is at the tail of a

If you want the deep underlying reason, I must take more time to
tell it. There is a perfect consciousness in every form of wit--
using that term in its general sense--that its essence consists in a
partial and incomplete view of whatever it touches. It throws a
single ray, separated from the rest,--red, yellow, blue, or any
intermediate shade,--upon an object; never white light; that is the
province of wisdom. We get beautiful effects from wit,--all the
prismatic colors,--but never the object as it is in fair daylight. A
pun, which is a kind of wit, is a different and much shallower trick
in mental optics; throwing the _shadows_ of two objects so that one
overlies the other. Poetry uses the rainbow tints for special effects,
but always keeps its essential object in the purest white light of
truth.--Will you allow me to pursue this subject a little further?

[They didn't allow me at that time, for somebody happened to scrape
the floor with his chair just then; which accidental sound, as all
must have noticed, has the instantaneous effect that Proserpina's
cutting the yellow hair had upon infelix Dido. It broke the charm,
and that breakfast was over.]

--Don't flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say
disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer
you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and
courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave
your friend to learn unpleasant truths from his enemies; they are
ready enough to tell them. Good-breeding _never_ forgets that
_amour-propre_ is universal. When you read the story of the
Archbishop and Gil Blas, you may laugh, if you will, at the poor old
man's delusion; but don't forget that the youth was the greater fool
of the two, and that his master served such a booby rightly in
turning him out of doors.

--You need not get up a rebellion against what I say, if you find
everything in my sayings is not exactly new. You can't possibly
mistake a man who means to be honest for a literary pickpocket. I
once read an introductory lecture that looked to me too learned for
its latitude. On examination, I found all its erudition was taken
ready-made from D'Israeli. If I had been ill-natured, I should have
shown up the Professor, who had once belabored me in his feeble way,
but one can generally tell these wholesale thieves easily enough,
and they are not worth the trouble of putting them in the pillory. I
doubt the entire novelty of my remarks just made on telling
unpleasant truths, yet I am not conscious of any larceny.

Neither make too much of flaws and occasional overstatements. Some
persons seem to think that absolute truth, in the form of rigidly
stated propositions, is all that conversation admits. This is
precisely as if a musician should insist on having nothing but
perfect chords and simple melodies,--no diminished fifths, no flat
sevenths, no flourishes, on any account. Now it is fair to say, that,
just as music must have all these, so conversation must have its
partial truths, its embellished truths, its exaggerated truths. It
is in its higher forms an artistic product, and admits the ideal
element as much as pictures or statues. One man who is a little too
literal can spoil the talk of a whole tableful of men of _esprit_.--
"Yes," you say, "but who wants to hear fanciful people's nonsense?
Put the facts to it, and then see where it is!"--Certainly, if a man
is too fond of paradox,--if he is flighty and empty,--if, instead
of striking those fifths and sevenths, those harmonious discords,
often so much better than the twinned octaves, in the music of
thought,--if, instead of striking these, he jangles the chords,
stick a fact into him like a stiletto. But remember that talking is
one of the fine arts,--the noblest, the most important, and the most
difficult,--and that its fluent harmonies may be spoiled by the
intrusion of a single harsh note. Therefore conversation which is
suggestive rather than argumentative, which lets out the most of
each talker's results of thought, is commonly the pleasantest and
the most profitable. It is not easy, at the best, for two persons
talking together to make the most of each other's thoughts, there
are so many of them.

[The company looked as if they wanted an explanation.]

When John and Thomas, for instance, are talking together, it is
natural enough that among the six there should be more or less
confusion and misapprehension.

[Our landlady turned pale;--no doubt she thought there was a screw
loose in my intellects,--and that involved the probable loss of a
boarder. A severe-looking person, who wears a Spanish cloak and a
sad cheek, fluted by the passions of the melodrama, whom I understand
to be the professional ruffian of the neighboring theatre, alluded,
with a certain lifting of the brow, drawing down of the corners of
the mouth, and somewhat rasping _voce di petto_, to Falstaff's nine
men in buckram. Everybody looked up. I believe the old gentleman
opposite was afraid I should seize the carving-knife; at any rate,
he slid it to one side, as it were carelessly.]

I think, I said, I can make it plain to Benjamin Franklin here, that
there are at least six personalities distinctly to be recognized as
taking part in that dialogue between John and Thomas.

                   {1. The real John; known only
                   {   to his Maker.
                   {2. John's ideal John; never the
  Three Johns      {   real one, and often very unlike him.
                   {3. Thomas's ideal John; never
                   {   the real John, nor John's
                   {   John, but often very unlike
                   {   either.

                   {1. The real Thomas.
  Three Thomases.  {2. Thomas's ideal Thomas.
                   {3. John's ideal Thomas

Only one of the three Johns is taxed; only one can be weighed on a
platform-balance; but the other two are just as important in the
conversation. Let us suppose the real John to be old, dull, and
ill-looking. But as the Higher Powers have not conferred on men the
gift of seeing themselves in the true light, John very possibly
conceives himself to be youthful, witty, and fascinating, and talks
from the point of view of this ideal. Thomas, again, believes him to
be an artful rogue, we will say; therefore he _is_, so far as
Thomas's attitude in the conversation is concerned, an artful rogue,
though really simple and stupid. The same conditions apply to the
three Thomases. It follows, that, until a man can be found who knows
himself as his Maker knows him, or who sees himself as others see him,
there must be at least six persons engaged in every dialogue between
two. Of these, the least important, philosophically speaking, is the
one that we have called the real person. No wonder two disputants
often get angry, when there are six of them talking and listening
all at the same time.

[A very unphilosophical application of the above remarks was made by
a young fellow, answering to the name of John, who sits near me at
table. A certain basket of peaches, a rare vegetable, little known
to boarding-houses, was on its way to me _viâ_ this unlettered
Johannes. He appropriated the three that remained in the basket,
remarking that there was just one apiece for him. I convinced him
that his practical inference was hasty and illogical, but in the
mean time he had eaten the peaches.]

--The opinions of relatives as to a man's powers are very commonly
of little value; not merely because they overrate their own flesh
and blood, as some may suppose; on the contrary, they are quite as
likely to underrate those whom they have grown into the habit of
considering like themselves. The advent of genius is like what
florists style the _breaking_ of a seedling tulip into what we may
call high-caste colors,--ten thousand dingy flowers, then one with
the divine streak; or, if you prefer it, like the coming up in old
Jacob's garden of that most gentlemanly little fruit, the seckel pear,
which I have sometimes seen in shop-windows. It is a surprise,--
there is nothing to account for it. All at once we find that twice
two make _five_. Nature is fond of what are called "gift-enterprises."
This little book of life which she has given into the hands of its
joint possessors is commonly one of the old story-books bound over
again. Only once in a great while there is a stately poem in it, or
its leaves are illuminated with the glories of art, or they enfold a
draft for untold values signed by the millionfold millionnaire old
mother herself. But strangers are commonly the first to find the
"gift" that came with the little book.

It may be questioned whether anything can be conscious of its own
flavor. Whether the musk-deer, or the civet-cat, or even a still
more eloquently silent animal that might be mentioned, is aware of
any personal peculiarity, may well be doubted. No man knows his
own voice; many men do not know their own profiles. Every one
remembers Carlyle's famous "Characteristics" article; allow for
exaggerations, and there is a great deal in his doctrine of the
self-unconsciousness of genius. It comes under the great law just
stated. This incapacity of knowing its own traits is often found in
the family as well as in the individual. So never mind what your
cousins, brothers, sister, uncles, aunts, and the rest, say about
the fine poem you have written, but send it (postage paid) to the
editors, if there are any, of the "Atlantic,"--which, by the way, is
not so called because it is a _notion_, as some dull wits wish they
had said, but are too late.

--Scientific knowledge, even in the most modest persons, has mingled
with it a something which partakes of insolence. Absolute,
peremptory facts are bullies, and those who keep company with them
are apt to get a bullying habit of mind;--not of manners, perhaps;
they may be soft and smooth, but the smile they carry has a quiet
assertion in it, such as the Champion of the Heavy Weights, commonly
the best-natured, but not the most diffident of men, wears upon what
he very inelegantly calls his "mug." Take the man, for instance, who
deals in the mathematical sciences. There is no elasticity in a
mathematical fact; if you bring up against it, it never yields a
hair's breadth; everything must go to pieces that comes in collision
with it. What the mathematician knows being absolute, unconditional,
incapable of suffering question, it should tend, in the nature of
things, to breed a despotic way of thinking. So of those who deal
with the palpable and often unmistakable facts of external nature;
only in a less degree. Every probability--and most of our common,
working beliefs are probabilities--is provided with _buffers_ at
both ends, which break the force of opposite opinions clashing
against it; but scientific certainty has no spring in it, no courtesy,
no possibility of yielding. All this must react on the minds that
handle these forms of truth.

--Oh, you need not tell me that Messrs. A. and B. are the most
gracious, unassuming people in the world, and yet preëminent in the
ranges of science I am referring to. I know that as well as you. But
mark this which I am going to say once for all: If I had not force
enough to project a principle full in the face of the half dozen
most obvious facts which seem to contradict it, I would think only
in single file from this day forward. A rash man, once visiting a
certain noted institution at South Boston, ventured to express the
sentiment, that man is a rational being. An old woman who was an
attendant in the Idiot School contradicted the statement, and
appealed to the facts before the speaker to disprove it. The rash
man stuck to his hasty generalization, notwithstanding.

[--It is my desire to be useful to those with whom I am associated
in my daily relations. I not unfrequently practise the divine art of
music in company with our landlady's daughter, who, as I mentioned
before, is the owner of an accordion. Having myself a well-marked
barytone voice of more than half an octave in compass, I sometimes
add my vocal powers to her execution of:

  "Thou, thou reign'st in this bosom,"--

not, however, unless her mother or some other discreet female is
present, to prevent misinterpretation or remark. I have also taken a
good deal of interest in Benjamin Franklin, before referred to,
sometimes called B.F. or more frequently Frank, in imitation of that
felicitous abbreviation, combining dignity and convenience, adopted
by some of his betters. My acquaintance with the French language is
very imperfect, I having never studied it anywhere but in Paris,
which is awkward, as B.F. devoted himself to it with the peculiar
advantage of an Alsacian teacher. The boy, I think, is doing well,
between us, notwithstanding. The following is an _uncorrected_ French
exercise, written by this young gentleman. His mother thinks it very
creditable to his abilities; though, being unacquainted with the
French language, her judgment cannot be considered final.


  Ce rat çi est un animal fort singulier. Il a deux pattes de derrière
  sur lesquelles il marche, et deux pattes de devant dont il fait
  usage pour tenir les journaux. Cet animal a le peau noir pour le
  plupart, et porte un cercle blanchâtre autour de son cou. On le
  trouve tous les jours aux dits salons, ou il demeure, digere, s'il y
  a de quoi dans son interieur, respire, tousse, eternue, dort, et
  ronfle quelquefois, ayant toujours le semblance de lire. On ne sait
  pas s'il a une autre gite que celà. Il a l'air d'une bête très
  stupide, mais il est d'une sagacité et d'une vitesse extraordinaire
  quand il s'agit de saisir un journal nouveau. On ne sait pas
  pourquoi il lit, parcequ'il ne parait pas avoir des idées. Il
  vocalise rarement, mais en revanche, il fait des bruits nasaux divers.
  Il porte un crayon dans une de ses poches pectorales, avec lequel
  il fait des marques sur les bords des journaux et des livres,
  semblable aux suivans: !!!--Bah! Pooh! Il ne faut pas cependant les
  prendre pour des signes d'intelligence. Il ne vole pas, ordinairement;
  il fait rarement même des echanges de parapluie, et jamais de chapeau,
  parceque son chapeau a toujours un caractère specifique. On ne sait
  pas au juste ce dont il se nourrit. Feu Cuvier était d'avis que
  c'etait de l'odeur du cuir des reliures; ce qu'on dit d'etre une
  nourriture animale fort saine, et peu chère. Il vit bien longtems.
  Enfin il meure, en laissant à ses héritiers une carte du Salon à
  Lecture ou il avait existé pendant sa vie. On pretend qu'il revient
  toutes les nuits, après la mort, visiter le Salon. On peut le voir,
  dit on, a minuit, dans sa place habituelle, tenant le journal du soir,
  et ayant à sa main un crayon de charbon. Le lendemain on trouve des
  caractères inconnus sur les bords du journal. Ce qui prouve que le
  spiritulisme est vrai, et que Messieurs les Professors de Cambridge
  sont des imbeçiles qui ne savent rien du tout, du tout.

I think this exercise, which I have not corrected, or allowed to be
touched in any way, is very creditable to B.F. You observe that he
is acquiring a knowledge of zoölogy at the same time that he is
learning French. Fathers of families who take this periodical will
find it profitable to their children, and an economical mode of
instruction, to set them to revising and amending this boy's exercise.
The passage was originally taken from the "Histoire Naturelle des
Bêtes Ruminans et Rougeurs, Bipèdes et Autres," lately published in
Paris. This was translated into English and published in London. It
was republished at Great Pedlington, with notes and additions by the
American editor. The notes consist of an interrogation-mark on page
53d, and a reference (p. 127th) to another book "edited" by the
same hand. The additions consist of the editor's name on the
title-page and back, with a complete and authentic list of said
editor's honorary titles in the first of these localities. Our boy
translated the translation back into French. This may be compared
with the original, to be found on Shelf 13, Division X, of the
Public Library of this metropolis.]

--Some of you boarders ask me from time to time why I don't write a
story, or a novel, or something of that kind. Instead of answering
each one of you separately, I will thank you to step up into the
wholesale department for a few moments, where I deal in answers by
the piece and by the bale.

That every articulately-speaking human being has in him stuff for
one novel in three volumes duodecimo has long been with me a
cherished belief. It has been maintained, on the other hand, that
many persons cannot write more than one novel,--that all after that
are likely to be failures.--Life is so much more tremendous a thing
in its heights and depths than any transcript of it can be, that all
records of human experience are as so many bound _herbaria_ to the
innumerable glowing, glistening, rustling, breathing, fragrance-laden,
poison-sucking, life-giving, death-distilling leaves and flowers of
the forest and the prairies. All we can do with books of human
experience is to make them alive again with something borrowed from
our own lives. We can make a book alive for us just in proportion to
its resemblance in essence or in form to our own experience. Now an
author's first novel is naturally drawn, to a great extent, from his
personal experiences; that is, is a literal copy of nature under
various slight disguises. But the moment the author gets out of his
personality, he must have the creative power, as well as the
narrative art and the sentiment, in order to tell a living story;
and this is rare.

Besides, there is great danger that a man's first life-story shall
clean him out, so to speak, of his best thoughts. Most lives, though
their stream is loaded with sand and turbid with alluvial waste, drop
a few golden grains of wisdom as they flow along. Oftentimes a
single _cradling_ gets them all, and after that the poor man's labor
is only rewarded by mud and worn pebbles. All which proves that I,
as an individual of the human family, could write one novel or story
at any rate, if I would.

--Why don't I, then?--Well, there are several reasons against it. In
the first place, I should tell all my secrets, and I maintain that
verse is the proper medium for such revelations. Rhythm and rhyme
and the harmonies of musical language, the play of fancy, the fire of
imagination, the flashes of passion, so hide the nakedness of a
heart laid open, that hardly any confession, transfigured in the
luminous halo of poetry, is reproached as self-exposure. A beauty
shows herself under the chandeliers, protected by the glitter of her
diamonds, with such a broad snowdrift of white arms and shoulders
laid bare, that, were she unadorned and in plain calico, she would
be unendurable--in the opinion of the ladies.

Again, I am terribly afraid I should show up all my friends. I
should like to know if all story-tellers do not do this? Now I am
afraid all my friends would not bear showing up very well; for they
have an average share of the common weakness of humanity, which I am
pretty certain would come out. Of all that have told stories among us
there is hardly one I can recall that has not drawn too faithfully
some living portrait that might better have been spared.

Once more, I have sometimes thought it possible I might be too dull
to write such a story as I should wish to write.

And finally, I think it very likely I _shall_ write a story one of
these days. Don't be surprised at anytime, if you see me coming out
with "The Schoolmistress," or "The Old Gentleman Opposite."

[_Our_ schoolmistress and _our_ old gentleman that sits opposite
had left the table before I said this.] I want my glory for writing
the same discounted now, on the spot, if you please. I will write
when I get ready. How many people live on the reputation of the
reputation they might have made!

----I saw you smiled when I spoke about the possibility of my being
too dull to write a good story. I don't pretend to know what you
meant by it, but I take occasion to make a remark that may hereafter
prove of value to some among you.--When one of us who has been led
by native vanity or senseless flattery to think himself or herself
possessed of talent arrives at the full and final conclusion that he
or she is really dull, it is one of the most tranquillizing and
blessed convictions that can enter a mortal's mind. All our failures,
our short-comings, our strange disappointments in the effect of our
efforts are lifted from our bruised shoulders, and fall, like
Christian's pack, at the feet of that Omnipotence which has seen fit
to deny us the pleasant gift of high intelligence, with which one
look may overflow us in some wider sphere of being.

----How sweetly and honestly one said to me the other day, "I hate
books!" A gentleman,--singularly free from affectations,--not learned,
of course, but of perfect breeding, which is often so much better
than learning,--by no means dull, in the sense of knowledge of the
world and society, but certainly not clever either in the arts or
sciences,--his company is pleasing to all who know him. I did not
recognize in him inferiority of literary taste half so distinctly as
I did simplicity of character and fearless acknowledgment of his
inaptitude for scholarship. In fact, I think there are a great many
gentlemen and others, who read with a mark to keep their place, that
really "hate books," but never had the wit to find it out, or the
manliness to own it.

[_Entre nous_, I always read with a mark.]

We get into a way of thinking as if what we call an "intellectual man"
was, as a matter of course, made up of nine-tenths, or thereabouts,
of book-learning, and one-tenth himself. But even if he is actually
so compounded, he need not read much. Society is a strong solution
of books. It draws the virtue out of what is best worth reading, as
hot water draws the strength of tea-leaves. If I were a prince, I
would hire or buy a private literary tea-pot, in which I would steep
all the leaves of new books that promised well. The infusion would do
for me without the vegetable fibre. You understand me; I would have
a person whose sole business should be to read day and night, and
talk to me whenever I wanted him to. I know the man I would have: a
quick-witted, out-spoken, incisive fellow; knows history, or at any
rate has a shelf full of books about it, which he can use handily,
and the same of all useful arts and sciences; knows all the common
plots of plays and novels, and the stock company of characters that
are continually coming on in new costume; can give you a criticism
of an octavo in an epithet and a wink, and you can depend on it;
cares for nobody except for the virtue there is in what he says;
delights in taking off big wigs and professional gowns, and in the
disembalming and unbandaging of all literary mummies. Yet he is as
tender and reverential to all that bears the mark of genius,--that is;
of a new influx of truth or beauty,--as a nun over her missal. In
short, he is one of those men that know everything except how to
make a living. Him would I keep on the square next my own royal
compartment on life's chessboard. To him I would push up another pawn,
in the shape of a comely and wise young woman, whom he would of
course take--to wife. For all contingencies I would liberally provide.
In a word, I would, in the plebeian, but expressive phrase,
"put him through" all the material part of life; see him sheltered,
warmed, fed, button-mended, and all that, just to be able to lay on
his talk when I liked,--with the privilege of shutting it off at will.

A Club is the next best thing to this, strung like a harp, with
about a dozen ringing intelligences, each answering to some chord of
the macrocosm. They do well to dine together once in a while. A
dinner-party made up of such elements is the last triumph of
civilization over barbarism. Nature and art combine to charm the
senses; the equatorial zone of the system is soothed by well-studied
artifices; the faculties are off duty, and fall into their natural
attitudes; you see wisdom in slippers and science in a short jacket.

The whole force of conversation depends on how much you can take for
granted. Vulgar chess-players have to play their game out; nothing
short of the brutality of an actual checkmate satisfies their dull
apprehensions. But look at two masters of that noble game! White
stands well enough, so far as you can see; but Red says, Mate in six
moves;--White looks,--nods;--the game is over. Just so in talking
with first-rate men; especially when they are good-natured and
expansive, as they are apt to be at table. That blessed clairvoyance
which sees into things without opening them,--that glorious license,
which, having shut the door and driven the reporter from its key-hole,
calls upon Truth, majestic virgin! to get off from her pedestal and
drop her academic poses, and take a festive garland and the vacant
place on the _medius lectus_,--that carnival-shower of questions and
replies and comments, large axioms bowled over the mahogany like
bomb-shells from professional mortars, and explosive wit dropping
its trains of many-colored fire, and the mischief-making rain of
_bon-bons_ pelting everybody that shows himself,--the picture of a
truly intellectual banquet is one that the old Divinities might well
have attempted to reproduce in their----

----"Oh, oh, oh!" cried the young fellow whom they call John,--
"that is from one of your lectures!"

I know it, I replied,--I concede it, I confess it, I proclaim it.

  "The trail of the serpent is over them all!"

All lecturers, all professors, all school-masters, have ruts and
grooves in their minds into which their conversation is perpetually
sliding. Did you never, in riding through the woods of a still June
evening, suddenly feel that you had passed into a warm stratum of air,
and in a minute or two strike the chill layer of atmosphere beyond?
Did you never, in cleaving the green waters of the Back Bay,--where
the Provincial blue-noses are in the habit of beating the "Metropolitan"
boat-clubs,--find yourself in a tepid streak, a narrow, local
gulf-stream, a gratuitous warm-bath a little underdone, through
which your glistening shoulders soon flashed, to bring you back
to the cold realities of full-sea temperature? Just so, in talking
with any of the characters above referred to, one not unfrequently
finds a sudden change in the style of the conversation. The
lack-lustre eye, rayless as a Beacon-Street door-plate in August,
all at once fills with light; the face flings itself wide open like
the church-portals when the bride and bridegroom enter; the little
man grows in stature before your eyes, like the small prisoner with
hair on end, beloved yet dreaded of early childhood; you were
talking with a dwarf and an imbecile,--you have a giant and a
trumpet-tongued angel before you!----Nothing but a streak out of a
fifty-dollar lecture.----As when, at some unlooked-for moment, the
mighty fountain-column springs into the air before the astonished
passer-by,--silver-footed, diamond-crowned, rainbow-scarfed,--from
the bosom of that fair sheet, sacred to the hymns of quiet
batrachians at home, and the epigrams of a less amiable and less
elevated order of _reptilia_ in other latitudes.

----Who was that person that was so abused some time since for
saying that in the conflict of two races our sympathies naturally go
with the higher? No matter who he was. Now look at what is going on
in India,--a white, superior "Caucasian" race, against a dark-skinned,
inferior, but still "Caucasian" race,--and where are English and
American sympathies? We can't stop to settle all the doubtful
questions; all we know is, that the brute nature is sure to come out
most strongly in the lower race, and it is the general law that the
human side of humanity should treat the brutal side as it does the
same nature in the inferior animals,--tame it or crush it. The India
mail brings stories of women and children outraged and murdered; the
royal stronghold is in the hands of the babe-killers. England takes
down the Map of the World, which she has girdled with empire, and
makes a correction thus:

[Strike-out: DELHI]. _Dele_.

The civilized world says, Amen.

----Do not think, because I talk to you of many subjects briefly,
that I should not find it much lazier work to take each one of them
and dilute it down to an essay. Borrow some of my old college themes
and water my remarks to suit yourselves, as the Homeric heroes did
with their _melas oinos_,--that black, sweet, syrupy wine (?) which
they used to alloy with three parts or more of the flowing stream.

[Could it have been _melasses_, as Webster and his provincials
spell it,--or _Molossa's_, as dear old smattering, chattering,
would-be-College-President, Cotton Mather, has it in the "Magnalia"?
Ponder thereon, ye small antiquaries, who make barn-door-fowl flights
of learning in "Notes and Queries"!--ye Historical Societies, in one
of whose venerable triremes I, too, ascend the stream of time, while
other hands tug at the oars!--ye Amines of parasitical literature,
who pick up your grains of native-grown food with a bodkin, having
gorged upon less honest fare, until, like the great minds Goethe
speaks of, you have "made a Golgotha" of your pages!--ponder thereon!]

----Before you go, this morning, I want to read you a copy of verses.
You will understand by the title that they are written in an
imaginary character. I don't doubt they will fit some family-man
well enough. I send it forth as "Oak Hall" projects a coat, on
_a priori_ grounds of conviction that it will suit somebody. There
is no loftier illustration of faith than this. It believes that a
soul has been clad in flesh; that tender parents have fed and
nurtured it; that its mysterious _compages_ or frame-work has
survived its myriad exposures and reached the stature of maturity;
that the Man, now self-determining, has given in his adhesion to the
traditions and habits of the race in favor of artificial clothing;
that he will, having all the world to choose from, select the very
locality where this audacious generalization has been acted upon. It
builds a garment cut to the pattern of an Idea, and trusts that
Nature will model a material shape to fit it. There is a prophecy in
every seam, and its pockets are full of inspiration.--Now hear the


  O for one hour of youthful joy!
    Give back my twentieth spring!
  I'd rather laugh a bright-haired boy
    Than reign a gray-beard king!

  Off with the wrinkled spoils of age!
    Away with learning's crown!
  Tear out life's wisdom-written page,
    And dash its trophies down!

  One moment let my life-blood stream
    From boyhood's fount of flame!
  Give me one giddy, reeling dream
    Of life all love and fame!

  --My listening angel heard the prayer,
    And calmly smiling, said,
  "If I but touch thy silvered hair,
    Thy hasty wish hath sped."

  "But is there nothing in thy track
    To bid thee fondly stay,
  While the swift seasons hurry back
    To find the wished-for day?"

  --Ah, truest soul of womankind!
    Without thee, what were life?
  One bliss I cannot leave behind:
    I'll take--my--precious--wife!

  --The angel took a sapphire pen
    And wrote in rainbow dew,
  "The man would be a boy again,
    And be a husband too!"

  --"And is there nothing yet unsaid
    Before the change appears?
  Remember, all their gifts have fled
    With those dissolving years!"

  Why, yes; for memory would recall
    My fond paternal joys;
  I could not bear to leave them all:
    I'll take--my--girl--and--boys!

  The smiling angel dropped his pen,--
    "Why this will never do;
  The man would be a boy again,
    And be a father too!"

  And so I laughed,--my laughter woke
    The household with its noise,--
  And wrote my dream, when morning broke,
    To please the gray-haired boys.


  _Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of
  America_. By LOUIS AGASSIZ. Vols. I. and II. Boston: Little,
  Brown & Co. London: Trübner & Co. 1857.

The Great Professor has given the first Monograph of his _Magnum Opus_
to the Great Republic and the wider realm of Science. The learned
world resolves itself into committees to consider every important
work; claiming leave to sit for as long a time as they choose,--for
years, or for a whole generation. Every alleged fact is to be
verified or cancelled or qualified, every inference to be measured
over and over again by its premises, every proposition to be tried
by all the tests that can prove its strength or weakness, and the
whole to be marshalled to the place it may claim in the alcoves of
the universal library. No hasty opinion can anticipate this final
and peremptory judgment. Its elements must of necessity be gathered
slowly from many and scattered sources. The accumulated learning of
the great centres of civilization, the patient investigation of
plodding observers, the keen insight of subtile analysts, the
jealous clairvoyance of dissentient theorists, the oblique glances
of suspicious sister-sciences, the random flashes that skepticism
throws from her faithless mirror to dazzle all eyes that seek for
truth; through such a varied and protracted ordeal must every record
that embodies long and profound observation, large and lofty thought,
reach the golden _Imprimatur_ which is its warrant for immortality.

The work of Mr. Agassiz, if we may judge it by the portion now
before us, has a right to challenge such a matured opinion, and to
wait for it. Not the less does a certain duty belong to us as
literary journalists with reference to these stately volumes, which
are in the hands of thousands, learned and unlearned, and of which
there are scores of thousands waiting to hear. Our duty we consider
to be four-fold: first, that of recognition in terms of fitting
courtesy; secondly, of analysis for the general reader; thirdly, of
accentuation, so to speak, of what seems most widely applicable or
interesting; and lastly, of making such comments as so pregnant a
text may suggest.

And first, of recognition. Here are the fruits of ten years of
patient labor, taken out of the heart of life, in the age of vigor,
which is that of ambition,--to use the phrase of another great
observer,--by a man of large endowments and of vast knowledge,
assisted by skilful collaborators, by finished artists, by the
counsels and liberality of the learned few, and the generous
countenance of the intelligent many. Before analysis, before
criticism, there should be uttered a welcome; not grudging, not
envious of an overshadowing reputation, not over-curious in
searching for qualifications to abate its warmth, not carefully
taming down its enthusiasm to tepid formalisms; but full-souled and
free-spoken, such as all noble works and deeds should claim.

The learned men of past centuries have left us an example of this
treatment of authors, in those gratulatory verses with which they
were wont to hail every considerable literary or scientific
performance. They knew human nature well. They knew that the author,
when he quenches the lamp over which he has grown haggard and pale,
and steps from his cell into daylight and the chill outside air,
longs, longs unutterably, for kind words, and the cheering
fellowship of kindred souls; and with instinctive grace they chose
the poetical form of expression, simply because this alone gives
full license to the lips of friendship.

This old folio which stands by us is not precious only because it
contains the quaint wisdom and manifold experience of Ambroise Paré,
mingled with his credulous gossip, and again sweetened by his simple
reverence; not precious alone because it contains the noblest words
ever uttered by one of his profession,--_Ie le pensay et Dieu le
guarit_; but also because PIERRE RONSARD, the "Poet of France," has
left his deathless name thrice inscribed in its earlier pages at the
foot of tributes to its author.

And here in the next century comes Schenck of Grafenberg, staggering
under his monstrous volume of "Casus Rariores,"--ready to fall
fainting by the wayside, when lo! the shining ones meet him too, and
lift him and lighten him with the utterance of these _fifty-one_
distinct poems which we see hung up on so many votive tablets at the
entrance of this miniature Babel of Science.

Even so late as the last century the genial custom survived; for our
worthy Stalpart van der Wiel, whose little pair of volumes was
published in 1727, can boast of twenty-two pages of well-ordered
commendatory verse, much of it in his native Dutch,--a little of
which goes a good way with all except Batavian readers.

But as the "Arundines Cami," musical as they are, have lent no
prelude to these harmonies of science, we must say in a few plain
words of prose our own first thought as to the work the commencement
of which lies before us. We believe, that, if completed according to
its promise, it is to be one of the monumental labors of our century.
Comparisons are not to be lightly instituted, and especially under
circumstances that do not allow a fair survey of the whole field
from which the objects to be compared are to be taken. We suppose,
however, it will be conceded that the sunset continent has never
witnessed anything like the inception of this mighty task in the way
of systematic natural science. And if, since Cuvier, the greatest of
naturalists, as Mr. Agassiz considers him, slept with the fossils to
which he had given life, there has been any other student of Nature
who has attempted a task so immense, with the same union of observing,
reflecting, analyzing, and coördinating power, we cannot name him.
Our civilization has a right to be proud of such an accession to its
thinking and laboring constituency; it is also bound to be grateful
for it, and to express its gratitude.

It is just one hundred years since another Swiss, the magnificent
Albert von Haller, gave to the world the first volume of the
"Elementa Physiologiae Corporis Humani." Nine years afterwards, in
1766, the last of the eight volumes appeared; and the vast structure,
which embodied his untiring study of Nature, his world-wide erudition,
his deepest thought, his highest imaginings, his holiest aspirations,
stood, like the Alps whose shadow fell upon its birthplace, the
lovely Lausaune, pride of the Pays de Vaud. The clepsydrae that
measure the centuries as they drop from the dizzy cliffs--the
glaciers, by the descent of which "time is marked out, as by a
shadow on a dial," and which thunder out the high noon of each
revolving year with their frozen tongues, as they crack beneath the
summer's sun--have registered a new centennial circle, and at the
very hour of its completion, Switzerland vindicates her ancient
renown in these fair pages, at once pledge and performance, of
another of her honored children. May the auspicious omen lead to as
happy a conclusion!

Lovingly, then, we lay open the generous quarto and look upon its
broad, bright title-page. It tells us that we have here the first of
a series of "Contributions to the Natural History of the United
States of America." We see that one of its three parts embraces the
largest generalities of Natural Science, under the head of an
"Essay on Classification." We see that the other two parts are
devoted to the description and delineation of a single order of
Reptilia,--the Testudinata, or "Turtles."

If Mr. Agassiz had intentionally chosen the simplest way of proving
that he had naturalized himself in New England, he could not have
selected more fortunately than he has done by adopting our word
_Turtle_ to cover all the Testudinates. To an Englishman a turtle
is a sea-monster, that for a brief space lies on his back and fights
the air with his useless paddles in the bow-window of a
provision-shop, bound eventually to Guildhall, there to feed Gog and
Magog, or his worshippers, known as aldermen. For him a
land-testudinate is a _tortoise_. When his poets and romancers speak
of turtles, again, they commonly mean turtle-_doves_.

  "Not half so swift the sailing falcon flies
  That drives a turtle through the liquid skies."

The only flight of a testudinate which we remember is that downward
one of the unfortunate tortoise that cracked the bald crown of
Aeschylus. But turtle, as embracing all chelonians, or, as liberal
shepherds call it, "turkle," is unquestionably Cisatlantic. The
distinguished naturalist has made himself an American citizen by
adopting our own expression, and should have the freedom of all our
cities presented to him in the shell of a box-TURTLE.

It is singular to recall the honors which have been bestowed on the
testudinates from all antiquity. It was the sun-dried and
sinew-strung shell of a tortoise that suggested the lyre to Mercury,
as he walked by the shore of Nilus. It was on the back of a tortoise
that the Indian sage placed his elephant which upheld the world.
Under the _testudo_ the Roman legions swarmed into the walled cities
of the _orbis terrarum_. And in that wise old fable which childhood
learns, and age too often remembers, sorrowing, it was the tortoise
that won the race against the swiftest of the smaller tribes, his

And here once more we have his shell strung with vibrating thoughts
that repeat the harmonies of nature. Once more his broad back stoops
to the weighty problems which the planet proposes to its children.
Once more the great cities are stormed--by science--beneath his coat
of mail. Once more he has run the race, not against the hare only,
but the whole animal kingdom, and won it, and with it the new fame
which awaits him, as he leads in the long array of his fellows that
are to come up, one by one, in these enduring records. And so we
turn the leaf, and come to the DEDICATION.

The Dedication of a work like this, destined to preserve all the
names it enrols in the sculpture-like immortality of science,
naturally delays us for a moment. Of the foreign teacher and friend
to whom the author owes some of his earliest lessons, and of that
group of our own citizens, most of them still living, who lent their
united efforts to the enterprise of publication after it was
commenced, we need not speak individually. But we cannot pass over
the name of FRANCIS CALLEY GRAY without a word of grateful
remembrance for one who was the friend and adviser of the author
in planning the publication of the work before us. We who remember
his varied culture, his large and fluent discourse, with its
formidable accuracy of knowledge and gracious suavity of utterance,
his taste in literature and art, which made his home a suite of
princely cabinets, his generous and elegant hospitality, which
scholars and artists knew so well,--counting him as the peer, and in
many points the more than peer of such as the wide world of letters
is proud to claim,--are pleased to see that his cherished name will
be read by the students of unborn generations on the first leaf of
this noble record of the science of our own.

The PREFACE which follows the Dedication is full of grateful
acknowledgments to the many friends of science, in all parts of the
country, who came forward to lend their aid in various forms,
especially in collecting and transmitting specimens from the
most widely remote sections of the continent. The pious zeal of
Mr. Winthrop Sargent, who brought a cargo of living turtles more
than a thousand miles to the head-quarters of testudinous learning
at Cambridge, is only paralleled by the memorable act of the Pisans
in transporting ship-loads of holy soil from Palestine to fill their
Campo Santo. Genius is marked by nothing more distinctly than that
it makes the world its tributary. He from whose lips it speaks has
but to look calmly into the eyes of dull routine, of jaded toil, of
fickle childhood, and utter the words, "Follow me." Custom-house
officials close their books, tired fishermen leave their nets,
riotous boys forsake their play, to do the master's bidding. Is he
making collections for some great purpose of study? Piece by piece
the fragmentary spoils flow in upon him, of all sizes, shapes, and
hues; a chaos of confused riches, perhaps only a wealth of rubbish,
as they lie at his feet. One by one they fall into harmonious
relations, until the meaningless heap has become a vast mosaic,
where nothing is too minute to fill some interstice, nothing too
angular to fit some corner, nothing so dull or brilliant of tint
that it will not furnish its fraction of light or shadow. Such has
been the history of those years of labor the results of which these
volumes present to us. Whatever may have been said of the devotion
of our countrymen to material interests, the wise and winning lips
had only to speak, and such a currency of _plastrons_ and _carapaces_
was set in circulation, that the contemplative stranger who saw the
mighty coinage of Chelonia flowing in upon Cambridge might well have
thought that the national idea was not the Almighty Dollar, but the
Almighty Turtle.

Mr. Agassiz places a high estimate on the intelligence as well as
the kind spirit of his adopted countrymen. "There is not a class of
learned men here," he says, "distinct from the other cultivated
members of the community. On the contrary, so general is the desire
for knowledge, that I expect to see my book read by operatives, by
fishermen, by farmers, quite as extensively as by the students of
our colleges, or by the learned professions; and it is but proper
that I should endeavor to make myself understood by all."

The deficiencies of our scientific libraries, and the want of a
class of elementary works upon Natural History, such as are widely
circulated in Europe, are adverted to and alleged as a reason for
entering into details which the professional naturalist might think

We quote one paragraph entire from the Preface, as not susceptible
of being abridged, and as briefly stating those general facts with
regard to the work which all our readers must desire to know.

  "I have a few words more to say respecting the two first volumes,
  now ready for publication. Considering the uncertainty of human life,
  I have wished to bring out at once a work that would exemplify the
  nature of the investigations I have been tracing during the last ten
  years, and show what is likely to be the character of the whole
  series. I have aimed, therefore, in preparing these two volumes, to
  combine them in such a manner as that they should form a whole. The
  First Part contains an exposition of the general views I have
  arrived at thus far, in my studies of Natural History. The Second
  Part shows how I have attempted to apply these results to the
  special study of Zoology, taking the order of Testudinata as an
  example. I believe, that, in America, where turtles are everywhere
  common, and greatly diversified, a student could not make a better
  beginning than by a careful perusal of this part, specimens in hand,
  with constant reference to the second chapter of the First Part. The
  Third Part exemplifies the bearing of Embryology upon these general
  questions, while it contains the fullest illustration of the
  embryonic growth of the Testudinata."

The Preface closes with honorable mention of the gentlemen who have
furnished direct assistance in the preparation of the work, and
especially of Mr. Clark in microscopic observation and illustration,
and of Mr. Sonrel in drawing the zoological figures.

The LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS is not without its special meaning and
interest. If, as has been said, the grade of civilization in any
community can be estimated by the amount of sulphuric acid it
consumes, the extent to which a work like this has been called for
in different sections of the country may to some extent be
considered an index of its intellectual aspirations, if not of its
actual progress. This is especially true of those remoter regions
where personal motives would exercise least influence. But without
instituting any comparisons, we may well be proud of this ample list
of twenty-five hundred subscribers, most of them citizens of the
republic,--"a support such as was never before offered to any
scientific man for purely scientific ends, without any reference to
government objects or direct practical aims."

Our analysis must confine itself mainly to the first of the three
parts into which these two volumes are divided. This first part it
is that contains those large results which every thinker must desire
to learn from one whose life has been devoted to the searching and
contemplative study of Nature. It is in the realm of thought here
explored, that Natural Science, whose figure we are wont to look
down upon, crouching to her task, like him of the muck-rake, as he
painfully gathers together his sticks and straws, rises erect, and
lifts her forehead into the upper atmosphere of philosophy, where
the clouds are indeed thickest, but the stars are nearest. The
second and third parts belong more exclusively to the professed
students of Natural History in its different special departments.
Our notice of these divisions of the work must therefore be
comparatively brief.

The first chapter of the first part has for its title, "The
fundamental relations of animals to one another and to the world in
which they live, as the basis of the natural system of animals."

Certain general doctrines, the spirit of which runs through all the
scientific works of Mr. Agassiz, are distinctly laid down in the
first section of this chapter. It is headed with the statement,
"The leading features of a natural zoological system are all founded
in nature." The systems named from the great leaders of science are
but translations of the Creator's thoughts into human language.
"If it can be proved that man has not invented, but only traced this
systematic arrangement in nature,--that these relations and
proportions which exist throughout the animal and vegetable world
have an intellectual, an ideal connection in the mind of the Creator,--
that this plan of creation, which so commends itself to our highest
wisdom, has not grown out of the necessary action of physical laws,
but was the free conception of the Almighty Intellect, matured in
his thought, before it was manifested in tangible, external forms,--
if, in short, we can prove premeditation prior to the act of creation,
we have done, once and forever, with the desolate theory which
refers us to the laws of matter as accounting for all the wonders of
the universe, and leaves us with no God but the monotonous, unvarying
action of physical forces, binding all things to their inevitable

One more extract must be given from this section, for it is the key
to the general argument which follows.

"I disclaim every intention of introducing in this work any evidence
irrelevant to my subject, or of supporting any conclusions not
immediately flowing from it; but I cannot overlook nor disregard
here the close connection there is between the facts ascertained by
scientific investigations, and the discussions now carried on
respecting the origin of organized beings. And though I know those
who hold it to be very unscientific to believe that thinking is not
something inherent in matter, and that there is an essential
difference between inorganic and living and thinking beings, I shall
not be prevented by any such pretensions of a false philosophy from
expressing my conviction, that, as long as it cannot be shown that
matter or physical forces do actually reason, I shall consider any
manifestation of thought as evidence of the existence of a thinking
being as the author of such thought, and shall look upon an
intelligent and intelligible connection between the facts of nature
as direct proof of the existence of a thinking God, as certainly as
man exhibits the power of thinking when he recognizes their natural

We must content ourselves with the most general statement of the
nature and bearing of the series of propositions which follow. They
are illustrated by a large survey of the material universe in its
manifestations of life, and of the relations between the various
forms of life to each other and to the inorganic world. These
propositions, thirty-one in number, might be called an analysis of
the qualities of the Infinite Mind exhibited in the realm of
organized and especially of animal being. Nothing but want of space
prevents our reproducing at full length the very careful
recapitulation to be found at the close of the chapter, or the
analysis to be found in the Table of Contents. With something more
of labor than the task of copying would have been, we have attempted
to compress the truths already crowded in these brief and pregnant
sentences into the still narrower compass of a few lines in our
straitened pages.

The harmony of the universe is a manifestation of illimitable
intellect, displaying itself in various modes of thought, as these
are shown in the characters and relations of organized beings: unity
of thought, manifesting itself independently of space, of time, of
known material agencies, of special form,--illustrated by repetition
of similar types in different circumstances, by identities, or
partial resemblances, or serial connections, found under varying
conditions of being; power of expressing the same idea in innumerable
forms, as in those instances of essential identity of parts in the
midst of formal differences known as _special homologies_; power of
combination, as in the adjustment of organized beings to each other
and to the inorganic world, or in the harmonious allotment of the
most varied gifts to different beings; definite recognition of time
and space, as in the life of individuals, of species, in the stages
of growth, in the geographical limitation of types; prescience and
omniscience, as shown in the _prophetic_ types of earlier geological
ages; omnipresence, by the adjustment of the whole series of animal
organisms to the various parts of the planet they inhabit.

The final _résumé_ of Mr. Agassiz is as follows:--

"We may sum up the results of this discussion, up to this point, in
still fewer words.

"All organized beings exhibit in themselves all those categories of
structure and of existence upon which a natural system may be founded,
in such a manner, that, in tracing it, the human mind is only
translating into human language the Divine thoughts expressed in
Nature in living realities.

"All these beings do not exist in consequence of the continued
agency of physical causes, but have made their successive appearance
upon earth by the immediate intervention of the Creator. As proof, I
may sum up my argument in the following manner:--

"The products of what are commonly called physical agents are
everywhere the same, (that is, upon the whole surface of the globe,)
and have always been the same (that is, during all geological periods);
while organized beings are everywhere different, and have differed
in all ages. Between two such series of phenomena there can be no
causal or genetic connection.

"The combination in time and space of all these thoughtful
conceptions exhibits not only thought, it shows also premeditation,
power, wisdom, greatness, prescience, omniscience, providence. In
one word, all these facts in their natural connection proclaim aloud
the One God, whom man may know, adore, and love; and Natural History
must, in good time, become the analysis of the thoughts of the
Creator of the Universe, as manifested in the animal and vegetable

To this statement we must add two paragraphs from the pages just
preceding, (pp. 130, 131.)

  "If I have succeeded, even very imperfectly, in showing that the
  various relations observed between animals and the physical world,
  as well as between themselves, exhibit thought, it follows that the
  whole has an Intelligent Author; and it may not be out of place to
  attempt to point out, as far as possible, the difference there may
  be between Divine thinking and human thought."

  "Taking nature as exhibiting thought for my guide, it appears to me,
  that, while human thought is consecutive, Divine thought is
  simultaneous, embracing at the same time and forever, in the past,
  the present, and the future, the most diversified relations among
  hundreds of thousands of organized beings, each of which may present
  complications, again, which to study and understand even imperfectly,
  as, for instance, man himself, mankind has already spent thousands of
  years. And yet, all this has been done by one Mind, must be the work
  of one Mind only, of Him before whom man can only bow in grateful
  acknowledgment of the prerogatives he is allowed to enjoy in this
  world, not to speak of the promises of a future life."

Chapter Second is entitled, "Leading Groups of the existing systems
of animals."

Its nine sections treat successively of the great types or branches
of the animal kingdom, of classes, orders, families, genera, species,
other natural divisions, successive development of characters, and
close with some very significant conclusions on the importance of
the study of classification.

Mr. Agassiz has attempted to give definiteness to the terms above
enumerated, which have been used with various significance, by
limiting each one of them to covering a single category of natural
relationship. Thus:--

  _Branches_ or _types_ are characterized by their plan of structure.

  _Classes_, by the manner in which that plan is executed, so far as
  ways and means are concerned.

  _Orders_, by the degrees of complication of that structure.

  _Families_, by their form, so far as determined by structure.

  _Genera_, by the details of the execution in special parts.

  _Species_, by the relations of individuals to one another and to
  the world in which they live, as well as by the proportions of their
  parts, their ornamentation, etc.

  "And yet there are other natural divisions which must be acknowledged
  in a natural zoölogical system; but these are not to be traced so
  uniformly in all classes as the former,--they are, in reality, only
  limitations of the other kinds of divisions."

This chapter must be studied in the original text, the arguments by
which its conclusions are supported hardly admitting of brief analysis.
The most superficial reader will be interested in Mr. Agassiz's
account of the mode in which he sought for the natural boundaries
of the various divisions, by observing the special point of view
in which various eminent naturalists have considered their subject;
as, for instance, Audubon, among the biographers of species,--
Latreille, among the students of genera,--and Cuvier, at the head
of those who have contemplated the higher groups, such as classes
and types. The most indifferent reader will be arrested by the
opinions boldly promulgated with reference to species.

  "The evidence that all animals have originated in large numbers is
  growing so strong, that the idea that every species existed in the
  beginning in single pairs may be said to be given up almost entirely
  by naturalists." "If we are led to admit as the beginning of each
  species the simultaneous origin of a large number of individuals, if
  the same species may originate at the same time in different
  localities, these first representatives of each species, at least,
  were not connected by sexual derivation; and as this applies equally
  to any first pair, this fancied test criterion of specific identity
  must at all events be given up, and with it goes also the pretended
  real existence of the species, in contradistinction from the mode of
  existence of genera, families, orders, classes and types; for what
  really exists are individuals, not species." (pp. 166-167.)

Chapter Third is headed, "Notice of the principal systems of Zoology."
It is divided into the six following sections: General remarks upon
modern systems; Early attempts to classify animals; Period of Linnaeus;
Period of Cuvier, and Anatomical systems; Physiophilosophical systems;
Embryological systems.

This chapter is invaluable to the general student, as giving him in
a single view not only a _conspectus_, of the most important
attempts at classification in Zoology, but an examination of the
principles involved in each, by the one among all living men most
fitted to perform the task. No cultivated person who desires to know
anything of Natural Science can pass over this portion of the work
without careful study. Those who are not prepared to follow the
author through the details of the Second Part will yet consider
these volumes as indispensable companions for reference, as
containing this brief but comprehensive encyclopedia and commentary,
covering the whole philosophical machinery of zoological science.

For the first section of this chapter Mr. Agassiz adopts the
fundamental divisions (branches) of Cuvier, introducing such changes
among the classes and orders as the progress of science demands. The
second section gives a short account of the early attempts to
classify animals, more particularly of the divisions established by
Aristotle. The third section embraces the period of Linnaeus, and
gives his classification. The fourth, that of Cuvier, and Anatomical
systems, with the classifications of Cuvier, Lamark, De Blainville,
Ehrenberg, Burmeister, Owen, Milne-Edwards, Von Siebold and Stannius,
Leuckart. The fifth section includes the Physiophilosophical systems,
with diagrams of Oken's and Fitzinger's classifications, and a
special article for the circular groups of McLeay. The sixth and last
section is devoted to Embryological systems, and presents diagrams
of the classifications of Von Baer, Van Beneden, Kölliker, and Vogt.

The second part of the Monograph introduces us to the consideration
of a special subject of Natural History,--the North American
Testudinata. Its three chapters treat successively of this order of
Reptiles,--of its families,--of its North American genera and species.

The THIRD PART, contained in the second volume, is entitled,
"Embryology of the Turtle." It consists of two chapters: "Development
of the Egg, from its first appearance to the formation of the embryo."
"Development of the Embryo, from the time the egg leaves the ovary
to that of the hatching of the young." Then follow the explanation
of the plates and the plates themselves, thirty-four in number.

We need not attempt to give any account of the parts devoted to the
development of these particular subjects. This we must necessarily
leave to the journals devoted to scientific matters, and the class
of students most intimate with these departments of Natural Science.

Yet the American who asks for a model to work by in his
investigations will find a great deal more than the "North American
Testudinata" in the part to which that title is prefixed. The
principles of classification exemplified, the methods of description
illustrated, the rules of nomenclature tested,--what matter is it
whether the _gran maestro_ has chosen this or that string to play
the air upon, when each has compass enough for all its melody?

Still more forcibly does this comment apply to the elaborate and
ample division of the work embracing the Embryology of the Turtle.
He who has mastered the details of this section has at his feet the
whole broad realm of which this province holds one of the
key-fortresses. _Ex testudine naturam_.

We are unwilling to speak of the illustrations comparatively
without more extended means of judgment than we have at hand. But
that they are of superlative excellence, brilliant, delicate,
accurate, life-like, and nature-like, is what none will dispute.
Look at these turtles, models of real-estate owners as they are,
Observe No. 13, Plate IV.,--"Chelydra Serpentina,"--"snapper",
or "snappin' turtle," in the vernacular. He is out collecting
rents from the naked-skinned reptiles, his brethren; in default
thereof, taking the bodies of the aforesaid. Or behold No. 5, Plate
VI., bewailing the wretchedness of those who have no roofs to cover
them. Or No. 2, of the same plate, bestowing an archiepiscopal
benediction on the houseless multitudes, before he retires for the
night to slumber between his tessellated floor and his frescoed

Of the smooth, white eggs, with their rounded reliefs and tenderly
graduated light and shadow, all eyes are judges. But of the
exquisite figures showing the various stages of development and the
details of structural arrangement, the uninitiated must take the
opinions of a microscopic expert: and if they will accept our
testimony as that of one not unfamiliar with the instrument and the
mysteries it reveals, we can assure them that these figures are of
supreme excellence. The hazy semitransparency of the embryonic
tissues, the halos, the granules, the globules, the cell-walls, the
delicate membranous expansions, the vascular webs, are expressed
with purity, softness, freedom, and a conscientiousness which
reminds us of Donne's microscopic daguerreotypes, while in many
points the views are literally truer to nature,--just as a
sculptor's bust of a living person is often more really like him in
character than a cast moulded on his features.

We have attempted to give a slight idea of the contents of these two
volumes, in the compass of a few pages. We have called the reader's
attention to various points of special interest, as we were going
along. It remains to make such comments as suggest themselves to us,
either in our character of "the scholiast," or in our own right as a
freed citizen of the intellectual as well as the political republic.

WHENCE? WHY? WHITHER? These are the three great questions that arise
in the soul of every race and of every thinking being. He who looks
at either of them with the least new light, though he whisper what
he sees ever so softly, has the world to listen to him. No matter
how he got his knowledge nor what he calls it; it belongs to mankind.
But "Science" has been mainly engaged with another question, in
itself of very inferior interest, namely, _How?_

We must be permitted to speak of "Science" in our freest capacity,
and will endeavor not to abuse our liberty. The study of natural
phenomena for the sake of the pleasing variety of aspects they
present, for the delight of collecting curious specimens, for the
exercise of ingenuity in detecting the secret methods of Nature, for
the gratification of arranging facts or objects in regular series, is
an innocent and not a fruitless pursuit. Many persons are born with
a natural instinct for it, and with special aptitudes which may even
constitute a kind of genius. We should do honor to such power
wherever we find it; honor according to its kind and its degree; but
not affix the wrong label to it. Those who possess it acquire
knowledge sometimes so extensive and uncommon that we regard them
with a certain admiration. But knowledge is not wisdom. Unless these
narrow trains of ideas are brought into relation with other and
wider ranges of thought, or with the conduct of life, they cannot
aspire to that loftier name.

We must go farther than this. The study of the _How?_ in Nature, or
the simple observation of phenomena, is often used as an opiate to
quiet the higher faculties. There can be no question of the fact
that many persons pass much of their lives working in the in-door or
out-door laboratories of science, just as old women knit, just as
prisoners carve quaintly elaborate toys in their dungeons. The
product is not absolutely useless in either case; the fingers of the
body or of the mind become swift and cunning, but the soul does not
grow under such culture. We are willing to allow that many of those
who browse in the sleepy meadows of aimless observation,--loving to
keep their heads down as they gaze at and gather their narcotic herbs,
rather than lift them to the horizon beyond or the heaven above,--
act in obedience to the law of their limited natures. Still, let us
recognize the limitation, and not forget that the pursuit which may
be fitting and praiseworthy toil for one class of minds may be
ignoble indolence for another. We must remember, on the other hand,
that, however humble may be the intellectual position of the man of
science or knowledge, in distinction from wisdom, the results of his
labors may be of the highest importance. The most ignorant laborer
may get a stone out of the quarry, and the poorest slave unearth a
diamond. These intellectual artisans come to their daily task with
hypertrophied special organs, fitted to their peculiar craft. Some
of them are all eyes; some, all hands; some are self-recording
microscopes; others, self-registering balances. If a man would watch
a thermometer every hour of the day and night for ten years, and
give a table of his observations, the result would be of interest
and value. But the bulbous extremity of the instrument would
probably contain as much thought at the end of the ten years as that
of the observer.

Clearly, then, "Science" does not properly belong to "scientific" men,
unless they happen also to be wise ones; not more to them than honey
to bees, or books to printers. The bee _may_, certainly, feed on the
honey he has made, and the printer read the books he has put in type.
But _Vos non vobis_ is the rule. "Science" is knowledge, it is true,
but knowledge disarticulated and parcelled out among certain
specialists, like Truth in Milton's glorious comparison. He who can
restore each part to its true position, and orient the lesser whole
in its relations to the universe, he it is to whom science belongs.
He must range through all time and follow Nature to her farthest
bounds. Then he can dissect beetles like Straus Derekheim, without
becoming a myope. But even this is not enough. Let us see what
qualities would go to make up the ideal model of the truly wise
student of Nature.

He must have, in the first place, as the substratum of his faculties,
the power of observation, with the passion that keeps it active and
the skilful hand to serve its needs. Secondly, a quick eye for
resemblances and differences. Thirdly, a wide range of mental vision.
Fourthly, the coordinating or systematizing faculty. Fifthly, a
large scholarship. Lastly, and without which all these gifts fall
short of their ultimate aim, an instinct for the highest forms of
truth,--a centripetal tendency, always seeking the idea behind the
form, the Deity in his manifestations, and thence working outward
again to solve those infinite problems of life and its destinies
which are, in reality, all that the thinking soul most lives for.

It is as easy to find all these qualities separate as it is to turn
beneath the finger one of the letters of a revolving padlock. But
they must all be brought together in line before the grand portals
of Nature's hypaethral temple will open to her chosen student. How
incomplete the man of science is with only one or two of these
endowments may be seen by a few examples.

The power and instinct of observation combined with the most
consummate skill do not necessarily make a great philosophical
naturalist. Leeuwenhoek had all these. They bore admirable fruits,
too. We cannot but read the old man's letters to the Royal Society,
written, if we remember right, after the age of eighty, with delight
and admiration. Those little lenses in their silver mountings, all
ground and set and fashioned by his own hand, showed him the
blood-globules, and the "pipes" of the teeth, which Purkinje and
Retzius found with their achromatic microscopes a century later. We
honor his skill and sagacity as they deserve; but a little trick of
Mr. Dollond's, applied to the microscopic object-glass, has left all
his achievements a mere matter of curious history.

Few have been more remarkable for perceiving resemblances and
differences than Oken. This is the poetical side of the scientific
mind; and he shares with Goethe the honor of that startling and
far-reaching discovery, the vertebral character of the bones of the
cranium. At this very time the four vertebral cranial bones
recognized by Owen are the same Oken has described. But
notwithstanding the generous tribute of Mr. Agassiz to his great
merits, the writer who assigns special colors to the persons in the
Trinity, (red, blue, and green,) and then allots to Satan a
constituent of one of these, (yellow,) has drifted away from the
solid anchorage of observation into the shoreless waste of the inane,
if not amidst the dark abysses of the profane.

If the widest range of mental vision, joined, too, with great
learning, could make a successful student of Nature, Lord Bacon
should have stood by the side of Linnaeus. But open the "Sylva
Sylvarum" anywhere and see what Bacon was as a naturalist. "It was
observed in the _Great Plague_ of the last yeare, that there were
scene in divers _Ditches_ and low _Grounds_ about _London_, many
_Toads_ that had _Tailes_, two or three inches long, at the least:
Whereas _Toads_ (usually) have no Tailes at all. Which argueth a
great disposition to _Putrefaction_ in the _Soile_ and _Aire_." This
in that "great birth of time," the "Instauration of the Sciences"!

The systematizing or coordinating power is worse than nothing,
unless it be supported by the other qualities already mentioned.
Darwin had it, and something of what is called genius with it; but
where is now the "Zoönomia"?

And what is erudition without the power to correct errors by
appealing to Nature, to arrange methodically, to use wisely? It
would be a shame to mention any name in illustration of its
insignificance. Our shelves bend and crack under the load of unwise
and learned authorship. There are two stages in every student's life.
In the first he is afraid of books; in the second books are afraid
of him. For they are a great community of thieves, and one finds the
same stolen patterns in all their pockets. Though often dressed in
sheep's clothing, they have the maw of wolves. When the student has
once found them out, he laughs at the pretensions of erudition, and
strides gayly up and down great libraries, feeling that the most
blustering folio of them all will turn as pale as if it were bound
in law-calf, if he only lay his hand on its shoulder.

Nor, lastly, can any elevation of aim, any thirst for the divine
springs of knowledge, enable a man to dispense with the sober habits
of observation and the positive acquirements that must give him the
stamina to attempt the higher flights of thought. The eagle's wings
are nothing without his pectoral muscles. It is not Swedenborg and
his disciples that legislate for the scientific world; they may
suggest truth, but they rarely prove it, and never bring it into
such systematic forms as narrow-minded Nature will insist on laying

That all these qualities which go to make up our ideal should exist
in absolute perfection in any single man of mortal birth is not to
be expected. But there are names in the history of Science which
recall so imposing a combination of these several gifts, that,
comparing the men who bore them with the civilization of their time,
we can hardly conceive that uninspired intellect should come nearer
the imaginary standard. Such a man was Aristotle. The slender and
close-shaven fop, with the showy mantle on his ungraceful person and
the costly rings on his fingers, who hung on the lips of Plato for
twenty years, and trained the boy of Macedon to whatever wisdom he
possessed,--whose life was set by destiny between the greatest of
thinkers and the greatest of conquerors,--seems to have borrowed the
intellect of the one and the universal aspirations of the other. But
because he invaded every realm of knowledge, it must not be thought
he dealt with Nature at second-hand. He was a collector and a
dissector. He could display the anatomical structure of a fish as
well as write a treatise on the universe or on rhetoric, or
government or logic, or music or mathematics. Dethroned we call him;
and yet Mr. Agassiz quotes his descriptions with respect, and
confesses that the systematic classification of animals makes but
one stride from Aristotle to Linnaeus.

Cuvier was such a man. Alone, and unapproached in his own spheres of
knowledge, his "Report on the Progress of the Natural Sciences" is
only an index to the wide range of his intellect. In one point,
however, we must own that he seems slow of apprehension or limited
by preconceived opinions,--in his reception of the homologies pointed
out by Oken and the Physiophilosophical observers.

In the same range of intellects we should reckon Linnaeus and
Humboldt, and should have reckoned Goethe, had he given himself to

We do not assume to say where in the category of fully equipped
intelligences Mr. Agassiz belongs. But if the union of the most
extraordinary observing powers with an almost poetic perception of
analogies, with a wide compass of thought, the classifying instinct
and habit, large knowledge of books, and personal intimacy with the
leaders in various departments of knowledge, and with this the
upward-looking aspect of mind and heart, which is the crowning gift
of all,--if the union of these qualities can give to the man of
science a claim to the nobler name of wisdom, it is not flattery,
but justice, to award this distinction to Mr. Agassiz.

To him, then, we listen, when, after having sounded every note in
the wide gamut of Nature, after reading the story of life as it
stands written in the long series of records reaching from Cambrian
fossils to ovarian germs, after tracing the divine principle of
order from the starlike flower at his feet to the flower-like circle
of planets which spreads its fiery corolla, in obedience to the same
simple law that disposes the leaves of the growing plant,--as our
eminent mathematician tells us,--he relates in simple and
reverential accents the highest truths he has learned in traversing
God's mighty universe. For him, and such as him,--for us, too, if we
read wisely,--the toiling slaves of science, often working with
little consciousness of the full proportions of the edifice they are
helping to construct, have spent their busy lives. All knowledge
asserts its true dignity when once brought into relation with the
grand end of knowledge,--a wider and deeper view of the significance
of conscious and unconscious created being, and the character of its

We shall close this article with some remarks upon the great
doctrines that dominate all the manifold subordinate thoughts which
fill these crowded pages. The plan of creation, Mr. Agassiz maintains,
"has not grown out of the necessary action of physical laws, but was
the free conception of the Almighty Intellect, matured in his
thought before it was manifested in tangible, external forms."
Before Mr. Agassiz, before Linnaeus, before Aristotle, before Plato,
Timaeus the Locrian spake; the original, together with the version
we cite, is given with the Plato of Ficinus:--"Duas esse rerum
omnium causas: mentem quidem, earum quae ratione quadam nascuntur, et
necessitatem, earum quae existunt vi quadam, secundum corporum
potentias et faculitates. Harrum rerum, id est, Natunae bonorum,
optimum esse quoddam rerum optimarum principium, et Deum vocari....
Esse praeterea in hac Naturae universitate quiddam quod maneat et
intelligible sit, rerum genitarum, quae quidem in perpetuo quodam
mutationum fluxu versantur, exemplar, Ideam dici et mente comprehendi....
Permanet igitur mundus constanter talis qualis est creatus a Deo ...
proponente sibi non exemplaria quaedam manuum opificio edita, sed
illam Ideam intelligibilemque essentiam."--So taught the
half-inspired pagan philosopher whom Plato took as his guide in his
contemplations of Nature.

We trace the thought again in Dante, amidst the various fragments of
ancient wisdom which he has embodied in the "Divina Commedia":

  Ciò che non muore e ciò che può morire
    Non è se non splendor cli quella idea
  Che partorisco, amando, il nosfro Sire.
           ----_Paradiso_, XIII. 52-54.

Two thousand years after the old Greek had written, the Christian
philosopher, Sir Thomas Browne, repeats the same doctrine in a new
phraseology:--"_Before Abraham was, I am_, is the saying of Christ;
yet it is true in some sense, if I say it of myself; for I was not
only before myself, but _Adam_, that is, in the idea of God, and the
decree of that Synod held from all eternity. And in this sense, I say,
the World was before the Creation, and at an end before it had a
beginning; and thus was I dead before I was alive; though my grave be
_England_, my dying place was Paradise; and Eve miscarried of me
before she conceived of Cain."

The slender reed through which Philosophy breathed her first musical
whisperings is laid by, and the sacred lyre of Theology is silent or
little heeded. But the mighty organ of Modern Science with its
hundred stops, each answering to some voice of Nature, takes up the
pausing strain, and as we listen we recognize through all its
mingling harmonies the simple, sublime, eternal melody that came
from the lips of Timaeus the Locrian! The same doctrine reappears in
various forms: in the popular works of Derham and Paloy and the
Bridgewater Treatises; in the learned and thoughtful pages of Burdach,
and in the mystical rhapsodies of Oken. But never, we believe, was
it before enforced and illustrated by so imperial a survey of the
whole domain of Natural Science as in the volumes before us.

We are not disposed to discuss at any length the opinion maintained
by Mr. Agassiz, that life has not grown out of the necessary action
of the physical laws. If we accept the customary definitions of the
physical laws, we accede most cordially to his proposition. As
opposed to the fancies of Epicurus and his poet, Lucretius, or to
modern atheistic doctrines of similar character, we have no
qualification or condition to suggest which might change its force
or significance. When we remember that the genius of such a man as
Laplace shared the farthest flight of star-eyed science only to
"waft us back the tidings of despair," we are thankful that so
profound a student of Nature as Mr. Agassiz has tracked the warm
foot-prints of Divinity throughout all the vestiges of creation.

There is danger, however, that, in accepting this doctrine as a truth,
we may be led into an inexact conception of the so-called physical
laws, unless we closely examine the sense in which we use the
expression. The forces which act according to these laws, and the
various forms of the so-called _matter_, or concrete forces, are
often spoken of as if they were blind agencies and existences, acting
by an inherent fate-like power of their own. But if everything
outside of our consciousness resolves itself, in the last analysis,
into force, or something capable of producing change, and if force
existing by the will of an omniscient and omnipresent Being, to whom
time has no absolute significance, is simply God himself in action,
then we shall find it impossible to limit the causal agency of the
physical forces. All we can say is, that commonly they appear to
move in certain rectilinear paths, in which they manifest a degree
of uniformity and precision so amazing that we are lost in the
infinite intelligence they display,--unless we become perfectly
stupid to it, and think, as in the old fable, there is no music in
it because we are made deaf by its continued harmony. No single leaf
ever made a mistake in falling, though in so doing it solved more
problems than were ever held in all the libraries that have changed
or are changing into dust or ashes.

We are willing to accept the belief of Mr. Agassiz, "that matter
does not exist as such, but is everywhere and always a specific thing,
as are all finite beings." But we must extend the same idea to the
physical forces, and believe them to be specific agencies, and their
acts specific acts,--in other words, each one of them a Divine
manifestation. Theology is close upon us in these speculations.
"Perhaps," says Mr. Robertson, in the volume of admirable sermons
just republished, "even the Eternal himself is more closely bound to
his works than our philosophical systems have conceived. Perhaps
matter is only a mode of thought." Looking, then, at our recognized
forms of matter and physical force as expressions of a self-limiting
omnipotence, we concede that the uniform lines of action in which
human observation has hitherto traced them do not, and, so far as we
can see, cannot, shape the curves of the simplest organism.

It is time for us to close these volumes, to which we cannot even
hope to have done justice, and leave them to those graver tribunals
that will in due season award their well-weighed decisions. We have
taken the Master's hand, and followed Nature through all her paths of
life. We have trod with him the shores of old oceans that roll no
more, and traced the Providence that orders the creation of to-day
engraved in every stony feature of their obsolete organisms. We have
broken into that mysterious chamber, the chosen studio of the
Infinite Artist, where, beneath its marble or crystalline dome, he
fashions the embryo from its formless fluids. And as we turn
reluctantly away, the accents we have once already heard linger with
us: "In one word, all these facts in their natural connection
proclaim aloud the One God, whom man may know, adore, and love; and
Natural History must, in good time, become the analysis of the
thoughts of the Creator of the Universe, as manifested in the animal
and vegetable kingdoms."



  The weather leech of the topsail shivers,
    The bowlines strain and the lee shrouds slacken,
  The braces are taut, the lithe boom quivers,
    And the waves with the coming squall-cloud blacken.


  Open one point on the weather bow
    Is the light-house tall on Fire Island head;
  There's a shade of doubt on the captain's brow,
    And the pilot watches the heaving lead.


  I stand at the wheel and with eager eye
    To sea and to sky and to shore I gaze,
  Till the muttered order of "FULL AND BY!"
    Is suddenly changed to "FULL FOR STAYS!"


  The ship bends lower before the breeze,
    As her broadside fair to the blast she lays;
  And she swifter springs to the rising seas,
    As the pilot calls, "STAND BY FOR STAYS!"


  It is silence all, as each in his place,
    With the gathered coils in his hardened hands,
  By tack and bowline, by sheet and brace,
    Waiting the watchword impatient stands.


  And the light on Fire Island head draws near,
    As, trumpet-winged, the pilot's shout
  From his post on the bowsprit's heel I hear,
    With the welcome call of "READY! ABOUT!"


  No time to spare! It is touch and go,
    And the captain growls, "DOWN HELM! HARD DOWN!"
  As my weight on the whirling spokes I throw,
    While heaven grows black with the storm-cloud's frown.


  High o'er the knight-heads flies the spray,
    As we meet the shock of the plunging sea;
  And my shoulder stiff to the wheel I lay,
    As I answer, "AYE, AYE, SIR! HA-A-R-D A-LEE!"


  With the swerving leap of a startled steed
    The ship flies fast in the eye of the wind,
  The dangerous shoals on the lee recede,
    And the headland white we have left behind.


  The topsails flutter, the jibs collapse
    And belly and tug at the groaning cleats,
  The spanker slats, and the mainsail flaps,
    And thunders the order, "TACKS AND SHEETS!"


  'Mid the rattle of blocks and the tramp of the crew,
    Hisses the rain of the rushing squall;
  The sails are aback from clew to clew,
    And now is the moment for "MAINSAIL, HAUL!"


  And the heavy yards like a baby's toy
    By fifty strong arms are swiftly swung;
  She holds her way, and I look with joy
    For the first white spray o'er the bulwarks flung.


  "LET GO AND HAUL!" 'Tis the last command,
    And the head-sails fill to the blast once more;
  Astern and to leeward lies the land,
    With its breakers white on the shingly shore.


  What matters the reef, or the rain, or the squall?
    I steady the helm for the open sea;
  The first mate clamors, "BELAY THERE, ALL!"
    And the captain's breath once more comes free.


  And so off shore let the good ship fly;
    Little care I how the gusts may blow,
  In my fo'castle-bunk in a jacket dry,--
    Eight bells have struck, and my watch is below.



Under my window, in the street called Cossitollah, flows all the
motliness of a Calcutta thoroughfare in two counter-setting currents;--
one Chowriagee-ward, in the direction of Nabob magnificence and grace;
the other toward the Cooly squalor and deformity of the Radda Bazaar;--
and as, in the glare of the early forenoon sun, the shadows of the
hither or thither passing throngs fall straight across the way, from
the Parsee's _godown_, over against me, to the gate of the _pucca_
house wherein my look-out is, I watch with interest the frequent
eddies occasioned by the clear-steerings of caste,--Brahmin, Warrior,
and Merchant keeping severely to the Parsee side, so that the foul
shadow of Soodra or Pariah may not pollute their sacred persons. It
is as though my window were a tower of Allahabad, and below me, in
Cossitollah, were the shy meeting of the waters. Thus, looking up or
down, I mark how the limpid Jumna of high caste holds its way in a
common bed, but never mingling with the turbid Ganges of an unclean

Reader, should you ever "do" the City of Palaces, permit me to
commend with especial emphasis to your consideration this same
Cossitollah, as a representative street, wherein the European and
Asiatic elements of the Calcutta panorama are mingled in the most
picturesque proportions; for Cossitollah is the link that most
directly joins the pitiful benightedness of the Black Town to the
imposing splendors of Kumpnee Bahadoor,--the short, but stubborn
chain of responsibility, as it were, whereby the ball of helpless
and infatuated stock-and-stone-worship is fastened to the leg of
British enlightenment and accountability.

From the Midaun, or Parade Ground, with its long-drawn arrays of
Sepoy chivalry, its grand reviews before the _Burra Lard Sahib_,
(as in domestic Bengalee we designate the Governor-General,) its
solemn sham battles, and its welkin-rending regimental bands, by
whose brass and sheepskin God saves the Queen twice a day; from
Government House, with its historic pride, pomp, and circumstance,
and its red tape, its aides-de-camp, and its adjutant-birds, its
stirring associations, and its stupid architecture; from the
pensioned aristocracy of Chowringhee the Magnificent; from the
carnival concourse of the Esplanade, with its kaleidoscopic surprises;
from the grim patronage of Fort William, with its in-every-department
well-regulated fee-faw-fum; in fine, from Clive, and Hastings, and
Wellington, and Gough, and Hardinge, and Napier, and Bentinck, and
Ellenborough, and Dalhousie, and all the John Company that has come
of them; from the tremendous and overwhelming SAHIB, to that most
profoundly abject of human objects, the Hindoo PARIAH, (who
approaches thee, O Awful Being! O Benign Protector of the Poor! O
Writer in the Salt-and-Opium Office! on his hands and knees, and
with a wisp of grass in his mouth, to denote that he is thy beast,)--
from all those to this, the shortest cut is through Cossitollah.

And so, in the current of its passengers, partaking the
characteristics of its contrasted extremities, fantastically blending
the purple and fine linen of Chowringhee with the breech-cloths of
the Black Town, Cossitollah is, as I have said, preëminently the
type street of Calcutta. Other localities have their peculiar throngs,
and certain classes and castes are proper to certain thoroughfares;--
Sepoys and dogboys to the Midaun; _circars_ or clerks, and
_ chowkeydars_ or private police, to Tank Square; a world of
pampered women, fat civil servants, coachmen, _ayahs_ or nurses,
_durwans_ or doorkeepers, _cha-prasseys_ or messengers, _kitmudgars_
or waiters, to Garden Reach; palanquin-bearers, the smaller fry of
_banyans_ or shopkeepers, and _dandees_ or boatmen, to the Ghauts;
together with no end of coolies, and _bheestees_ or water-carriers,
horse-dealers, and _syces_ or grooms, to Durumtollah; sailors,
British and American, Malay and Lascar, to Flag Street, the quarter
of punch-houses;--but in Cossitollah all castes and vocations are met,
whether their talk be of gold mohurs or cowries; here the Sahib gives
the horrid leper a wide berth, and the Baboo walks carefully round the
shadow of Mehtur, the sweeper. Therefore, reader, Cossitollah is by
all means the street for you to draw profound conclusions from.

Come, let us sit in the window and observe; it is but forty puffs of
a No. 3 cheroot, in a lazy palanquin, from one end of Cossitollah to
the other; and from our window, though not exactly midway, but
nearer the Bazaar, we can see from Flag Street wellnigh to the Midaun.

What is this? A close _palkee_, with a passenger; the bearers, with
elbows sharply crooked, and calves all varicose, trotting to a
monotonous, jerking ditty, which the _sirdar_, or leader, is
impudently improvising, to the refrain of _Putterum_, ("Easy now!")
at the expense of their fare's _amour-propre_.

  "Out of the way there!
  This is a Rajah!
  Very small Rajah!
  Sixpenny Rajah!
  Holes in his elbows!
  Capitan Slipshod!
  Son of a sea-cook!
  Hush! he will beat us!
  Hush! he will kick us!
  Kick us and curse us!
  Not he, the greenhorn!
  Don't understand us!
  Don't know the lingo!
  Let's shake the palkee!
  Rattle the pig's bones!
  Set down the palkee!
  Call him a great lord!
  Ask him for buksheesh!

And the four consummate knaves do set down the palkee, and shift the
pads on their shoulders; while the sirdar slips round to the
sliding-door, and timidly intruding his sweaty phiz, at an opening
sufficiently narrow to guard his nose against assault from within,
but wide enough to give us a glimpse, through an out-bursting cloud
of cheroot-smoke, of a pair of stout legs encased in white duck,
with the neatest of light pumps at the end of them, says:--

"_Buksheesh do, Sahib! buksheesh do_! O favorite slave of the Lord!
O tender shepherd of the poor! O sublime and beautiful Being, upon
whose turban Prosperity dances and Peace makes her bed! Whose mother
is twin-sister to the Sacred Cow, and whose grandmother is the Lotos
of Seven Virtues! _O Khodabund! buksheesh do_! Bestow upon thy
abject and self-despising slave wherewithal to commemorate the
golden hour when, by a blessed dispensation, he was permitted to lay
his trembling forehead against thy victorious feet!"

"_Jou-jehennum, toom sooa_!--Go to Gehenna, you pig! What are you
bothering about, with your 'boxes,' 'boxes,' nothing but 'boxes'?
Insatiable brutes! _Jou_! I tell you,--_jeldie jou_! or by Doorga,
the goddess of awful rows, I'll smash the palkee and outrage all
your religious prejudices! _Jou_!"

Evidently our varicose friends imagine they have caught a Tartar,
and that the white ducks are not so recent an importation as they at
first supposed; for now they catch up the pole of the palkee nimbly,
and _jou jeldie_ (that is, trot up smartly) to quite another song.

  "_Jeldie jou, jeldie_!"
  Carry him softly!
  Swiftly and smoothly!
  He is a Rajah!
  Rich little Rajah!
  Fierce little Rajah!
  See how his eyes flash!
  Hear how his voice roars!
  He is a Tippoo!
  Capitan Tippoo!
  Tremble before him!
  Serve him and please him!
  Please him and serve him!
  He will reward us!
  He will protect us!
  He will enrich us!
  Charity Lord Sa'b!
  Out of the way there!
  Way for the great ...
  Rajah of ten crores!
  .... Ten crores!..
  Rajah.... ....
  .... Lard.... ..
  ....  ... Sa'b!
    _.... rum_.

And so they have turned down Flag Street.

But what now? Here is something more imposing,--a chariot-and-four,--
four spanking Arabs in gold-mounted trappings,--a fat and elaborate
coachman, very solemn,--two tall _hurkarus_, or avant-couriers,
supporting the box, one on either side, with studied symmetry, like
Siva and Vishnu upholding the throne of Brahma,--four _syces_ running
at the horses' heads, each with his _chowree_, or fly-flapper, made
from the tail of the Thibet cow,--a fifth before, to clear the way,--
a basket of _Simpkin_, which is as though one should say Champagne,
behind, and our own _banyan_, our man of contracts and ready lakhs,
that shrewd broker and substantial banker, the Baboo Kalidas Ramaya
Mullick, on the back seat.

"_Hi! Cliattak-wallah! Bheestee!--Hi! hi_!--You chap with the
umbrella, you fellow with the water, clear the way! This Baboo comes,
this Baboo rides,--he stops not, he stays not,--he is rich, he is
honored. Shall a pig impede him? Shall a pig delay him? Jump,
_sooa_. Jump!"

And thus, amid much vociferation, and unceremonious dispersing of the
common herd, who dodge with practised agility right and left, the
fat and elaborate coachman pulls up the spanking Arabs at our
_godown_ gate, and the Baboo alights with the air of a gentleman
of thirty lachs, to the manner born; to him all this outcry is but
_Mamoul_,--usage, custom,--and _Mamoul_ is to him as air.

As the Baboo steps through the wide swinging gate and enters the
place that owns him master, let us mark his reception. The _durwan_
first,--our grenadier doorkeeper, the man of proud port and
commanding presence, to whom that portal is a post of honor,--our
Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, in one, of courage, strength, and
address enlisted with fidelity. The loyalty of Ramee Durwan is
threefold, in this order: first, to his caste, next, to his beard,
and then to his post; only for the two first would he abandon the
last; his life he holds of less account than either.

As the Baboo passes, Ramee Durwan, you think, will be ready with
profound and obsequious salaam. Not so; he draws himself up to the
very last of his extraordinary inches, and touches his forehead
lightly with the fingers of his right hand, only slightly inclining
his head,--a not more than affable salute,--almost with a quality
of concession,--gracious as well as graceful; he would do as much
for any puppy of a cadet who might drop in on the Sahib. On the
other hand, lowly louteth the Baboo, with eyes downcast and palm
applied reverentially to his sleek forehead.

How now? This Baboo is a banyan of solid substance, and the Mullicks
all are citizens of credit and renown; while Ramee Durwan gets five
rupees a month, and makes his bed at the gate. Last year, they say,
when little Dwarkanath Mullick, the Baboo's adopted son, nine years
old, was married to the tender child Vinda, old Lulla Seal's darling,
on her fifth birthday, the Baboo Kalidas Raniaya Mullick made the
occasion famous by liberating fifty prisoners-for-debt, of the
Soodra sort, with as many flourishes of his illustrious signature.
Ramee Durwan has not a change of turbans.

And now the Baboo passes into the godown, and receives from a score
of servile _cicars_, glibbest of clerks, their several reports of
the day's business. Presently, from his low desk, in the lowliest
corner, uprises, and comes forward quietly, Mutty Loll Roy, the head
circar, venerable, placid, pensive, every way interesting; but he is
only the Baboo's head circar, an humble accountant, on fifteen
rupees a month. Do you perceive that fact in the style of his
salutation? Hardly; for the Baboo piously raises his joined hands
high above his head, and, louting lower than before, murmurs the
Orthodox salutation, _Namaskarum_! Yet the Baboo contributed two
thousand rupees in fireworks to the last Doorga Fooja, and sent a
hundred goats to the altar; while only with many and trying shifts
of saving could Mutty Loll afford gold leaf for one image, besides
two tomtoms and a horn to march before it in procession. But behold
the lordly beneficence in Mutty Loll's attitude and gesture,
as with outstretched hands, palms upward, he greets the Baboo
condescendingly with a gift of goodwill!

"_Idhur ano, Sirdar, idhur ano_!--Come hither, Karlee, my gentle
bearer, thou of the good heart and gray moustache! Come hither, and
enlighten this Sahib's ignorance; tell him why the Durwan is
disdainful, as toward the Baboo, and the Circar solemn."

"_Man, Sahib_! That Durwan _Ksutriye_, Soldier caste, Rider caste,--
feest-i-rat-i-man (first-rate man); that Durwan have got Rajpoot
blood, ver-iproud, all same Sahib. Baboo, Merchant caste,--
ver-i-good caste, plenty rich, but not so proud Durwan caste; Baboo
not have Rajpoot blood, not have i-sharp i-sword, not have musiket.
Durwan arm all same tiger; Durwan beard all same lion; Durwan plenty
i-strong, plenty proud.

"That Circar,--ah! that Mutty Loll, too, high caste; that Circar
Brahmin,--Kooleen Brahmin,--all same _Swamy_ (god); that Circar
foot all same Baboo head; that Circar shoe all same Baboo turban.
'Spose Baboo not make that Circar _bhote-btote salaam_, that Circar
say curse, that Circar ispeak _jou-jehannam_ (go to hell). Master
und-istand i-me? I ispeak Master so Master know?"

"Very clear, Karlee,--and wholesome expounding. But here comes the
Baboo to speak for himself.--Good-day, Baboo! Whither so fast with
the spanking Arabs and the Simpkin?--to the garden-house?"

"To the garden-house, Sahib; and the Simpkin is for two young
English friends of mine, who will do the garden-house the honor to
make it their own for a day or two."

"Take care, Baboo! take care! I have my doubts as to the Simpkin.
They do say the orthodoxy of 'Young Bengal' men is none the better
for beefsteaks and Heidseck; such diet does not become the son of a
strict and straightgoing heathen. Well may the Brahmins groan for
the glaring scandals of the new lights; you'll be marrying widows
next, and dining at clubs with fast ensigns."

"Sahib, Caste is God, and Mamoul is his prophet. The church of the
Churruck post and the orgies of Hooly are in no danger from beef or
Simpkin so long as steak or bottle costs a man his inheritance; and
we of Young Bengal know too well how hard are the ways of the Pariah
to try them for fun. Caste is God, and Mamoul is his prophet. The
'glad tidings of great joy' your missionaries bring fall upon ears
stopped with family pride and the family jewels: you know that
appropriate old saw in our proverbial philosophy, 'What is the news
of the day to a frog in a well?'--_Salaam, Sahib_! I have but a few
minutes to spare, and the supercargo is waiting with the indigo

Presently, as the Cossitollah panorama flows on beneath our window,
with all its bizarreness from the bazaars,--its boxwallahs, and its
pawn-makers, its peddlers of toys, its money-changers and shopmen,
its basket-makers and mat-weavers and chattah-menders, its
perambulating cobblers and tailors, its jugglers, gymnasts, and
match-girls,--its fellows who feed on glass bottles for the
astonishment and delectation of the Sahibs, or who, if you have such
a thing as a sheep about you, will undertake to slaughter and skin
it with their teeth and devour it on the spot,--its conjure-wallahs,
who, for a few pice, will run sharp foils through each other's bodies
without for a moment disturbing either health or cheerfulness, or
will make mangoes grow under table-cloths, "all fair and proper,"
while Master waits,--as the Brahmin still dodges the shadow of the
Soodra, and the Soodra spits upon the footprint of the Pariah, the
Baboo returns to his chariot; the fat and solemn coachman gathers up
the reins, the burkarus assume their symmetrical attitudes on the box,
the syces bawl, and the socas jump.

Just now a _palkee-gharree_, cheapest of one-horse vehicles, with
but one half-naked syce running at the pony's head, and never a
footman near, passes the spanking Arabs; the plain turban of a
respectable accountant in the Honorable Company's coal office at
Garden Reach shows between the Venetian slats of the little window,
and lo! our fine Baboo steps out of his slippers, and standing
barefoot in the common dust of Cossitollah,--dust that has been
churned by all the pigs'-feet that ply that promiscuous thoroughfare,--
humbly touches first the vulgar ground and then his elegant turban,
murmuring a pious _Namaskarum_; for the respectable accountant in the
Honorable Company's coal office is, like Mutty Loll, a Kooleen
Brahmin,--only a little more so. Caste is God, and Mamoul is his

At the gate-lodge of the Baboo's garden-house on the Durumtollah
Road, a gray and withered hag, all crippled and leprosied, sits

What may that be?

Be patient; you shall know.

When the Baboo was as yet a youth, his uncle Rajinda, the pride of
the Mullicks, died of cholera, and the administration of the estate
devolved upon our free-thinking Kalidas. Of course there were
mortgages to foreclose, and delinquent debtors to stir up. A certain
small shopkeeper of the China Bazaar was responsible to the concern
for a few thousand rupees, wherewith he had been accommodated by
Uncle Rajinda as a basis for certain operations in seersuckers and
castor-oil, that had yielded no returns. So our Baboo, in a curt
_chit_, (that is, note, or _sheet_ of paper, as near as a Bengalee
can come to the word,) bade the small speculator of China Bazaar
come down forthwith with the rupees.

But, behold you now, "he had paid," he said. "By the Holy Ganges and
the Blessed Cow! by the turban of his father and the veil of his
mother! restitution had been made long ago," the old man said;
"and the soul of Uncle Rajinda, the pride of the Mullicks, had no
reason to be disquieted for the rupees, though the seersuckers had
been but vanity, and the castor-oil vexation of spirit."

"Produce the documents," said the Baboo, with a business-like
impassibility that in Wall Street would have made him a great bear;--
"where are the receipts?"

"My Lord, I know not. Prostrating my unworthy turban beneath the
lovely lilies of your feet, I swear to my _gureeb purwar_, the
destitute-and-humble-protecting lord, by the Holy Water and the
Blessed Cow, by the beard of my father and the veil of my mother,
that I settled the little account long ago!"

That unhappy speculator in seersuckers and castor-oil died in prison,
and a _gooroo_ (that is, a spiritual teacher) feed by the Baboo,
desolated his last hour with the assurance that he should
transmigrate into the bodies of seven generations of _gharree_-horses,
and drag _feringhee_ sailormen, in a state of beer, from the ghauts
to the punch-houses, all his miserable lives.

Now whether or not the unlucky little speculator had in good faith
discharged the debt will, in all the probabilities of human rights
and wrongs, never appear this side of the last trump; for the Holy
Water and the Sacred Cow, his father's beard and his mother's veil,
were not good in law, the documents not forthcoming.

But it is certain that his widow had faith in his integrity; for at
once, with all her sorrows on her head, she sallied forth in quest
of justice; and from Brahmin post to Sahib pillar she went crying,
"See me righted! Against this hard and arrogant Baboo let my wrongs
be redressed, or fear the evil eye of Dookhee the Sorrowful, of
Haranu the Lost!"

But utterly in vain; for the clamor of the Hindoo widow, however
bitterly aggrieved, is but a nuisance, and her accusation insolence.
So in her pitiful outcasting, in all the forlorn loathsomeness of
leprosy, and the shunned squalor of a cripple, she sat down at the
Baboo's gate, to wait for justice till the gods should bestow it,--
till Siva, the Avenger, should behold her, and ask, "Who has done

And who shall challenge her? Who shall bid her move on? Mamoul has
crowned her Queen of Tears, and her sublime patience and appealing
have made a throne of the wayside stone on which she sits; there is
no power so audacious that it would give the word to depose her; her
matted gray locks and her furrowed cheeks, her sunken eyes and her
hungry lips, are her "sacred ashes" of the high caste of Sorrow.

The Brahmin averts his face as he passes, and mutters, "She is as
the flower which is out of reach,--she is dedicated to God." That
insolent official, the Baboo's pampered durwan, sees in her only
Mamoul; he would as soon think of shaving himself as of driving her
away. So, as the Baboo passes in or out through the great gate, the
solemn coachman whips up the spanking Arabs, and the syces bawl
louder than ever, and Kalidas Ramaya Mullick turns away his eyes.
But for all that, the durhna woman heaps dust upon her head, which
he sees, and mutters a weird warning, which he hears; and though the
lawn is wide, and the banian topes are leafy, and a gilded temple,
the family shrine, stands between, and the marble veranda is spacious,
and the state apartments are remote, they do say the shadow of the
durhna woman falls on the iced Simpkin and the steaks, in spite of
Young Bengal.

  _Mootrib i koosh nuwà bigo,
    Tazu bu tazu, nou bu nou!
  Baduè dil kooshà bidoh,
    Tazu bu tazu, nou bu nou!
  Koosh biu sheen bu kilwulé
  Chung nuwaz-a sa-uté,
  Bosu sitan bu kam uz o,
    Tazu bu tazu, nou bu nou!_

  "Songster sweet, begin the lay,
    Ever sweet and ever gay!
  Bring the joy-inspiring wine,
    Ever fresh and ever fine!
  With a heart-alluring lass
  Gayly let the moments pass,
  Kisses stealing while you may,
    Ever fresh and ever gay!"

Now surely she who thus sings should be beautiful, after the Hindoo
type;--that is, she should have the complexion of chocolate and cream;
"her face should be as the full moon, her nose smooth as a flute;
she should have eyes like unto lotuses, and a neck like a pigeon's;
her voice should be soft as the cuckoo's, and her step as the gait
of a young elephant of pure blood." Let us see.

Alas, no! She entertains a set of lazy bearers, smoking the
hubble-bubble around a palanquin as they wait for a fare; and her
buksheesh may be a cowry or two. By no means is she of the
_nautch_-maidens of Lucknow, who were wont to lighten the hours of
debauched majesty between the tiger-fights and the games of leap-frog;
by no means is she ringed as to her fingers or belled as to her toes;
and though she carries her music wherever she goes, she also carries
a shiny brown baby, slung in a canvas tray between her shoulders.

No excessively voluminous folds of gold-embroidered drapery encumber
her supple limbs; but her skirts are of the scantiest, (what Miss Flora
MacFlimsey would call _skimped_,) and pitifully mean as to quality.
By no means have the imperial looms of Benares contributed to her
professional costume a veil of wondrous fineness and a Nabob's price;
but a narrow red strip of some poor cotton stuff crosses her bosom
like a scarf, and leaves exposed too much of the ruins of once
daintier beauties. A string of glass beads, black and red alternate,
are all her jewels,--save one silver bodkin, all forlorn, in her hair,
and a ring of thin gold wire piercing the right nostril, and, with
an effect completely deforming, encircling the lips. Her teeth and
nails are deeply stained, and the darkness of her eyes is enhanced
by artificial shadows.

And so, while that baby-Tantalus, catching glimpses, over the
unveiled shoulder, of the Micawberian fount he cannot reach,
stretches his little brown arms, bites, kicks, and squalls,--while a
small female apprentice, by way of chorus, in costume and gesture
absurdly caricaturing her _prima donna_, (a sort of Cossitollah
marchioness, indeed, for some Dick Swiveller of the Sahibs,) shuffles
rheumatically with her feet, or impotently dislocates her slender
arms, or pounds insanely on a cracked tomtom, or jangles her clumsy
cymbals, while the squatting bearers cry, "_Wah wah!_" and clap
their sweaty hands,--our poor old glee-maiden of Cossitollah strums
her two-stringed guitar, letting the baby slide, and creaks
corkscrewishly her _Chota, chota natchelee_:--

  _Badi subå choo boog zuree,
  Bar suri kove an puree,
  Qassué Hufiz ush bigo
      Tazu bu tazu, nou bu nou!_

  "Zephyrs, while you gently move
  By the mansion of my love,
  Softly Hafiz' strains repeat,
      Ever new and ever sweet!"

Heaven save the key!

"_Ka munkta_, Bearer?--What is it, my gentle Karlee?"

"_Chittee, Sahib!--chittee_ for Master."

"Note, hey? from whom? let us see!"

Pink paper,--scented with sandal-wood, pah!--embossed, too, with
cornucopias in the corners,--seal motto, _Qui hi?_ ("Who waits?")--
denoting that the bearer is to bring an answer. Now for the inside:


  "Insured of your pitiful conduct, your obsequious suppliant, an
  eleëmosynary lady of decrepit widowhood, throws herself at your
  Excellency's mercy feet with two imbecile childrens of various
  denominations. For our Heavenly Father's sake, if not inconvenient,--
  which we have been beneficently bereaved of other paternal
  description,--we humbly present our implorations to your munificent
  Excellency, if any small change, to bestow the same, winch it will
  be eternally acceptable to said eleëmosynary widow of late Colonel
  with distinguished medal in Honorable Service, deceased of cholera,
  which it was suddenly attacks, and as pretty near destitute. Therefore,
  hoping your munificent and respectable Excellency will not order,
  being scornful, your pitiful Excellency's durwan to disperse us; but
  five rupees, which nothing to Excellency's regards, and our tenacious
  gratitude never forget; but kissing Excellency's hands on
  indifferent occasions, and throwing at mercy feet with two imbecile,
  offsprings of different denominations, I shall ever pray, &c."


  "P.S. If not five rupees, two rupees five annas, in name of
  Excellency's exalted mother, if quite convenient."

There now! for an imposing structure in the florid style of
half-caste begging-letters, Mrs. Diana Theodosia Comfort Green
flatters herself that is hard to beat.

"'_Qui hi_?'--Karlee, who is at the gate?"

"_Mem Sahib_! one chee-chee woman wanch look see Master, ispeakee
Master buksheesh give; _paunch butcha_ have got."

"_Paunch butcha!--five_ children! why, Karlee, there are but two here.
But remembering, I suppose, that my Excellency has but two 'mercy
feet,' and with an eye to symmetry in the arrangement of the grand
tableau of which she proposes to make me the central figure, she has
made it two 'imbecile offsprings' for the looks of the thing. Do you
know her, Karlee?"

"_Man, Sahib_! too much quentence have got that chee-chee woman; that
chee-chee woman all same dam iscamp; paunch butcha not have got,--
one butcha not have got. Master not give buksheesh; no good that
woman, Karlee think."

"Very well, old man; send her away; tell the durwan to disperse
Mrs. Diana Theodosia Comfort Green; but let him not insult her
decrepit widowhood, nor alarm her imbecile offsprings of various
denominations. For the 'Eurasian' is a great institution, without
which polkas at Coolee Bazaar were not, nor pic-nics _dansantes_ at

But now to tiffin. I smell a smell of curried prawns, and the first
mangoes of the season are fragrant. Buxsoo, the _khansaman_, has
cooled the _isherry-shrob_, as he calls the "green seal," and the
_kilmudgars_ are crying, "_Tiffin, Sahib_!" The Mamoul of meal-time
knows no caste or country.

  _Bur zi hyat ky kooree!
  Gur nu moodum, mi kooree!
  Badu bi koor bu yadi o,
      Tazu bu tazu, nou bu nou_!

  "Gentle boy, whose silver feet
  Nimbly move to cadence sweet,
  Fill us quick the generous wine,
      Ever fresh and ever fine!"

       *       *       *       *       *


It is easy to accuse books, and bad ones are easily found, and the
best are but records, and not the things recorded; and certainly
there is dilettanteism enough, and books that are merely neutral and
do nothing for us. In Plato's "Gorgias," Socrates says, "The
ship-master walks in a modest garb near the sea, after bringing his
passengers from Aegina or from Pontus, not thinking he has done
anything extraordinary, and certainly knowing that his passengers are
the same, and in no respect better than when he took them on board."
So is it with books, for the most part; they work no redemption in us.
The bookseller might certainly know that his customers are in no
respect better for the purchase and consumption of his wares. The
volume is dear at a dollar, and, after reading to weariness the
lettered backs, we leave the shop with a sigh, and learn, as I did,
without surprise, of a surly bank-director, that in bank parlors
they estimate all stocks of this kind as rubbish.

But it is not less true that there are books which are of that
importance in a man's private experience, as to verify for him the
fables of Cornelius Agrippa, of Michael Scott, or of the old Orpheus
of Thrace; books which take rank in our life with parents and lovers
and passionate experiences, so medicinal, so stringent, so
revolutionary, so authoritative; books which are the work and the
proof of faculties so comprehensive, so nearly equal to the world
which they paint, that, though one shuts them with meaner ones, he
feels his exclusion from them to accuse his way of living.

Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of
the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil
countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results
of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and
inaccessible, solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by
etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom
friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers
of another age.

We owe to books those general benefits which come from high
intellectual action. Thus, I think, we often owe to them the
perception of immortality. They impart sympathetic activity to the
moral power. Go with mean people, and you think life is mean. Then
read Plutarch, and the world is a proud place, peopled with men of
positive quality, with heroes and demigods standing around us who
will not let us sleep. Then, they address the imagination; only
poetry inspires poetry. They become the organic culture of the time.
College education is the reading of certain books which the common
sense of all scholars agrees will represent the science already
accumulated. If you know that,--for instance, in geometry, if you
have read Euclid and Laplace,--your opinion has some value; if you
do not know these, you are not entitled to give any opinion on the
subject. Whenever any skeptic or bigot claims to be heard on the
questions of intellect and morals, we ask if he is familiar with the
books of Plato, where all his pert objections have once for all been
disposed of. If not, he has no right to our time. Let him go and
find himself answered there.

Meantime, the colleges, whilst they provide us with libraries,
furnish no professor of books; and, I think, no chair is so much
wanted. In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear
friends, but they are imprisoned by an enchanter in these paper and
leathern boxes; and though they know us, and have been waiting two,
ten, or twenty centuries for us,--some of them,--and are eager to
give us a sign, and unbosom themselves, it is the law of their limbo
that they must not speak until spoken to; and as the enchanter has
dressed them like battalions of infantry in coat and jacket of one
cut, by the thousand and ten thousand, your chance of hitting on the
right one is to be computed by the arithmetical rule of Permutation
and Combination,--not a choice out of three caskets, but out of half
a million caskets, all alike. But it happens in our experience, that
in this lottery there are at least fifty or a hundred blanks to a
prize. It seems, then, as if some charitable soul, after losing a
great deal of time among the false books, and alighting upon a few
true ones which made him happy and wise, would do a right act in
naming those which have been bridges or ships to carry him safely
over dark morasses and barren oceans, into the heart of sacred cities,
into palaces and temples. This would be best done by those great
masters of books who from time to time appear,--the Fabricii, the
Seldens, Magliabecchis, Scaligers, Mirandolas, Bayles, Johnsons,
whose eyes sweep the whole horizon of learning. But private readers,
reading purely for love of the book, would serve us by leaving each
the shortest note of what he found.

There are books, and it is practicable to read them, because they
are so few. We look over with a sigh the monumental libraries of
Paris, of the Vatican, and the British Museum. In the Imperial
Library at Paris, it is commonly said, there are six hundred
thousand volumes, and nearly as many manuscripts; and perhaps the
number of extant printed books may be as many as these numbers united,
or exceeding a million. It is easy to count the number of pages
which a diligent man can read in a day, and the number of years
which human life in favorable circumstances allows to reading; and
to demonstrate, that, though he should read from dawn till dark, for
sixty years, he must die in the first alcoves. But nothing can be
more deceptive than this arithmetic, where none but a natural method
is really pertinent. I visit occasionally the Cambridge Library, and
I can seldom go there without renewing the conviction that the best
of it all is already within the four walls of my study at home. The
inspection of the catalogue brings me continually back to the few
standard writers who are on every private shelf; and to these it can
afford only the most slight and casual additions. The crowds and
centuries of books are only commentary and elucidation, echoes and
weakeners of these few great voices of Time.

The best rule of reading will be a method from nature, and not a
mechanical one of hours and pages. It holds each student to a
pursuit of his native aim, instead of a desultory miscellany. Let
him read what is proper to him, and not waste his memory on a crowd
of mediocrities. As whole nations have derived their culture from a
single book,--as the Bible has been the literature as well as the
religion of large portions of Europe,--as Hafiz was the eminent
genius of the Persians, Confucius of the Chinese, Cervantes of the
Spaniards; so, perhaps, the human mind would be a gainer, if all the
secondary writers were lost,--say, in England, all but Shakspeare,
Milton, and Bacon, through the profounder study so drawn to those
wonderful minds. With this pilot of his own genius, let the
student read one, or let him read many, he will read advantageously.
Dr. Johnson said, "Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son
shall read first, another boy has read both: read anything five
hours a day, and you will soon be learned."

Nature is much our friend in this matter. Nature is always
clarifying her water and her wine. No filtration can be so perfect.
She does the same thing by books as by her gases and plants. There
is always a selection in writers, and then a selection from the
selection. In the first place, all books that get fairly into the
vital air of the world were written by the successful class, by the
affirming and advancing class, who utter what tens of thousands feel,
though they cannot say. There has already been a scrutiny and choice
from many hundreds of young pens, before the pamphlet or political
chapter which you read in a fugitive journal comes to your eye. All
these are young adventurers, who produce their performance to the
wise ear of Time, who sits and weighs, and ten years hence out of a
million of pages reprints one. Again it is judged, it is winnowed by
all the winds of opinion, and what terrific selection has not passed
on it, before it can be reprinted after twenty years, and reprinted
after a century!--it is as if Minos and Rhadamanthus had indorsed
the writing. 'Tis therefore an economy of time to read old and famed
books. Nothing can be preserved which is not good; and I know
beforehand that Pindar, Martial, Terence, Galen, Kepler, Galileo,
Bacon, Erasmus, More, will be superior to the average intellect. In
contemporaries, it is not so easy to distinguish betwixt notoriety
and fame.

Be sure, then, to read no mean books. Shun the spawn of the press on
the gossip of the hour. Do not read what you shall learn without
asking, in the street and the train. Dr. Johnson said, "he always
went into stately shops"; and good travellers stop at the best hotels;
for, though they cost more, they do not cost much more, and there is
the good company and the best information. In like manner, the
scholar knows that the famed books contain, first and last, the best
thoughts and facts. Now and then, by rarest luck, in some foolish
Grub Street is the gem we want. But in the best circles is the best
information. If you should transfer the amount of your reading day
by day in the newspaper to the standard authors,--but who dare speak
of such a thing?

The three practical rules, then, which I have to offer, are,

1. Never read any book that is not a year old.
2. Never read any but famed books.
3. Never read any but what you like; or, in Shakespeare's phrase,

  "No profit goes where is no pleasure ta'en;
  In brief, Sir, study what you most affect."

Montaigne says, "Books are a languid pleasure"; but I find certain
books vital and spermatic, not leaving the reader what he was; he
shuts the book a richer man. I would never willingly read any others
than such. And I will venture, at the risk of inditing a list of old
primers and grammars, to count the few books which a superficial
reader must thankfully use.

Of the old Greek books, I think there are five which we cannot spare:--
1. Homer, who, in spite of Pope, and all the learned uproar of
centuries, has really the true fire, and is good for simple minds,
is the true and adequate germ of Greece, and occupies that place as
history, which nothing can supply. It holds through all literature,
that our best history is still poetry. It is so in Hebrew, in
Sanscrit, and in Greek. English history is best known through
Shakspeare; how much through Merlin, Robin Hood, and the Scottish
ballads! the German, through the Nibelungen Lied; the Spanish,
through the Cid. Of Homer, George Chapman's is the heroic translation,
though the most literal prose version is the best of all.--2.
Herodotus, whose history contains inestimable anecdotes, which
brought it with the learned into a sort of disesteem; but in these
days, when it is found that what is most memorable of history is a
few anecdotes, and that we need not be alarmed, though we should
find it not dull, it is regaining credit.--3. Aeschylus, the
grandest of the three tragedians, who has given us under a thin veil
the first plantation of Europe. The "Prometheus" is a poem of the
like dignity and scope as the book of Job, or the Norse "Edda."--4.
Of Plato I hesitate to speak, lest there should be no end. You find
in him that which you have already found in Homer, now ripened to
thought,--the poet converted to a philosopher, with loftier strains
of musical wisdom than Homer reached, as if Homer were the youth,
and Plato the finished man; yet with no less security of bold and
perfect song, when he cares to use it, and with some harpstrings
fetched from a higher heaven. He contains the future, as he came out
of the past. In Plato, you explore modern Europe in its causes and
seed,--all that in thought, which the history of Europe embodies or
has yet to embody. The well-informed man finds himself anticipated.
Plato is up with him, too. Nothing has escaped him. Every new crop
in the fertile harvest of reform, every fresh suggestion of modern
humanity is there. If the student wish to see both sides, and
justice done to the man of the world, pitiless exposure of pedants,
and the supremacy of truth and the religious sentiment, he shall be
contented also. Why should not young men be educated on this book?
It would suffice for the tuition of the race,--to test their
understanding, and to express their reason. Here is that which is so
attractive to all men,--the literature of aristocracy shall I call it?--
the picture of the best persons, sentiments, and manners, by the
first master, in the best times,--portraits of Pericles, Alcibiades,
Crito, Prodicus, Protagoras, Anaxagoras, and Socrates, with the
lovely background of the Athenian and suburban landscape. Or who can
overestimate the images with which he has enriched the minds of men,
and which pass like bullion in the currency of all nations? Read the
"Phaedo," the "Protagoras," the "Phaedrus," the "Timaeus," the
"Republic," and the "Apology of Socrates." 5. Plutarch cannot be
spared from the smallest library: first, because he is so readable,
which is much; then, that he is medicinal and invigorating. The
Lives of Cimon, Lycurgus, Alexander, Demosthenes, Phocion, Marcellus
and the rest, are what history has of best. But this book has taken
care of itself, and the opinion of the world is expressed in the
innumerable cheap editions, which make it as accessible as a
newspaper. But Plutarch's "Morals" is less known, and seldom
reprinted. Yet such a reader as I am writing to can as ill spare it
as the "Lives." He will read in it the essays "On the Daemon of
Socrates," "On Isis and Osiris," "On Progress in Virtue," "On
Garrulity," "On Love," and thank anew the art of printing, and the
cheerful domain of ancient thinking. Plutarch charms by the facility
of his associations; so that it signifies little where you open his
book, you find yourself at the Olympian tables. His memory is like
the Isthmian Games, where all that was excellent in Greece was
assembled, and you are stimulated and recruited by lyric verses, by
philosophic sentiments, by the forms and behavior of heroes, by the
worship of the gods, and by the passing of fillets, parsley and
laurel wreaths, chariots, armor, sacred cups, and utensils of
sacrifice. An inestimable trilogy of ancient social pictures are the
three "Banquets" respectively of Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch.
Plutarch's has the least claim to historical accuracy; but the
meeting of the Seven Wise Masters is a charming portraiture of
ancient manners and discourse, and is as dear as the voice of a fife,
and entertaining as a French novel. Xenophon's delineation of
Athenian manners is an accessory to Plato, and supplies traits of
Socrates; whilst Plato's has merits of every kind,--being a
repertory of the wisdom of the ancients on the subject of love,--a
picture of a feast of wits, not less descriptive than Aristophanes,--
and, lastly, containing that ironical eulogy of Socrates which is
the source from which all the portraits of that head current in
Europe have been drawn.

Of course, a certain outline should be obtained of Greek history, in
which the important moments and persons can be rightly set down; but
the shortest is the best, and, if one lacks stomach for Mr. Grote's
voluminous annals, the old slight and popular summary of Goldsmith
or Gillies will serve. The valuable part is the age of Pericles, and
the next generation. And here we must read the "Clouds" of
Aristophanes, and what more of that master we gain appetite for, to
learn our way in the streets of Athens, and to know the tyranny of
Aristophanes, requiring more genius and sometimes not less cruelty
than belonged to the official commanders. Aristophanes is now very
accessible, with much valuable commentary, through the labors of
Mitchell and Cartwright. An excellent popular book is J. A. St.
John's "Ancient Greece"; the "Life and Letters" of Niebuhr, even
more than his Lectures, furnish leading views; and Winckelmann, a
Greek born out of due time, has become essential to an intimate
knowledge of the Attic genius. The secret of the recent histories in
German and in English is the discovery, owed first to Wolff, and
later to Boeckh, that the sincere Greek history of that period must
be drawn from Demosthenes, specially from the business orations, and
from the comic poets.

If we come down a little by natural steps from the master to the
disciples, we have, six or seven centuries later, the Platonists,--
who also cannot be skipped,--Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus, Synesius,
Jamblichus. Of Jamblichus the Emperor Julian said, "that he was
posterior to Plato in time, not in genius." Of Plotinus, we have
eulogies by Porphyry and Longinus, and the favor of the Emperor
Gallienus,--indicating the respect he inspired among his
contemporaries. If any one who had read with interest the "Isis and
Osiris" of Plutarch should then read a chapter called "Providence,"
by Synesius, translated into English by Thomas Taylor, he will find
it one of the majestic remains of literature, and, like one walking
in the noblest of temples, will conceive new gratitude to his
fellowmen, and a new estimate of their nobility. The imaginative
scholar will find few stimulants to his brain like these writers. He
has entered the Elysian Fields; and the grand and pleasing figures
of gods and daemons and demoniacal men, of the "azonic" and the
"aquatic gods," daemons with fulgid eyes, and all the rest of the
Platonic rhetoric, exalted a little under the African sun, sail
before his eyes. The acolyte has mounted the tripod over the cave at
Delphi; his heart dances, his sight is quickened. These guides speak
of the gods with such depth and with such pictorial details, as if
they had been bodily present at the Olympian feasts. The reader of
these books makes new acquaintance with his own mind; new regions of
thought are opened. Jamblichus's "Life of Pythagoras" works more
directly on the will than the others; since Pythagoras was eminently
a practical person, the founder of a school of ascetics and
socialists, a planter of colonies, and nowise a man of abstract
studies alone.

The respectable and sometimes excellent translations of Bohn's
Library have done for literature what railroads have done for
internal intercourse. I do not hesitate to read all the books I have
named, and all good books, in translations. What is really best in
any book is translatable,--any real insight or broad human sentiment.
Nay, I observe, that, in our Bible, and other books of lofty moral
tone, it seems easy and inevitable to render the rhythm and music of
the original into phrases of equal melody. The Italians have a fling
at translators, _i traditori traduttori_, but I thank them. I rarely
read any Latin, Greek, German, Italian, sometimes not a French book
in the original, which I can procure in a good version. I like to be
beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which
receives tributaries from every region under heaven. I should as
soon think of swimming across Charles River, when I wish to go to
Boston, as of reading all my books in originals, when I have them
rendered for me in my mother tongue.

For history, there is great choice of ways to bring the student
through early Rome. If he can read Livy, he has a good book; but one
of the short English compends, some Goldsmith or Ferguson, should be
used, that will place in the cycle the bright stars of Plutarch. The
poet Horace is the eye of the Augustan age; Tacitus, the wisest of
historians; and Martial will give him Roman manners, and some very
bad ones, in the early days of the Empire: but Martial must be read,
if read at all, in his own tongue. These will bring him to Gibbon,
who will take him in charge, and convey him with abundant
entertainment down--with notice of all remarkable objects on the way--
through fourteen hundred years of time. He cannot spare Gibbon, with
his vast reading, with such wit and continuity of mind, that, though
never profound, his book is one of the conveniences of civilization,
like the proposed railroad from New York to the Pacific,--and, I
think, will be sure to send the reader to his "Memoirs of Himself,"
and the "Extracts from my Journal," and "Abstracts of my Readings,"
which will spur the laziest scholar to emulation of his prodigious

Now having our idler safe down as far as the fall of Constantinople
in 1453, he is in very good courses; for here are trusty hands
waiting for him. The cardinal facts of European history are soon
learned. There is Dante's poem, to open the Italian Republics of the
Middle Age; Dante's "Vita Nuova," to explain Dante and Beatrice; and
Boccaccio's "Life of Dante,"--a great man to describe a greater. To
help us, perhaps a volume or two of M. Sismondi's "Italian Republics"
will be as good as the entire sixteen. When we come to Michel Angelo,
his Sonnets and Letters must be read, with his Life by Vasari, or,
in our day, by Mr. Duppa. For the Church, and the Feudal Institution,
Mr. Hallam's "Middle Ages" will furnish, if superficial, yet
readable and conceivable outlines.

The "Life of the Emperor Charles V.," by the useful Robertson, is
still the key of the following age. Ximenes, Columbus, Loyola, Luther,
Erasmus, Melancthon, Francis I., Henry VIII., Elizabeth, and Henry IV.
of France, are his contemporaries. It is a time of seeds and
expansions, whereof our recent civilization is the fruit.

If now the relations of England to European affairs bring him to
British ground, he is arrived at the very moment when modern history
takes new proportions. He can look back for the legends and
mythology to the "Younger Edda" and the "Heimrskringla" of Snorro
Sturleson, to Mallet's "Northern Antiquities," to Ellis's "Metrical
Romances," to Asser's "Life of Alfred," and Venerable Bede, and to
the researches of Sharon Turner and Palgrave. Hume will serve him
for an intelligent guide, and in the Elizabethan era he is at the
richest period of the English mind, with the chief men of action and
of thought which that nation has produced, and with a pregnant
future before him. Here he has Shakspeare, Spenser, Sidney, Raleigh,
Bacon, Chapman, Jonson, Ford, Beaumont and Fletcher, Herbert, Donne,
Herrick; and Milton, Marvell, and Dryden, not long after.

In reading history, he is to prefer the history of individuals. He
will not repent the time he gives to Bacon,--not if he read the
"Advancement of Learning," the "Essays," the "Novum Organon," the
"History of Henry VII.," and then all the "Letters," (especially
those to the Earl of Devonshire, explaining the Essex business,) and
all but his "Apophthegms."

The task is aided by the strong mutual light which these men shed on
each other. Thus, the Works of Ben Jonson are a sort of hoop to bind
all these fine persons together, and to the land to which they belong.
He has written verses to or on all his notable contemporaries; and
what with so many occasional poems, and the portrait sketches in his
"Discoveries," and the gossiping record of his opinions in his
conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden, has really illustrated
the England of his time, if not to the same extent, yet much in the
same way, as Walter Scott has celebrated the persons and places of
Scotland. Walton, Chapman, Herrick, and Sir Henry Wotton write also
to the times.

Among the best books are certain _Autobiographies_: as, St.
Augustine's Confessions; Benvenuto Cellini's Life; Montaigne's Essays;
Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Memoirs; Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz;
Rousseau's Confessions; Linnaeus's Diary; Gibbon's, Hume's, Franklin's,
Burns's, Alfieri's, Goethe's, and Haydon's Autobiographies.

Another class of books closely allied to these, and of like interest,
are those which may be called _Table-Talks_; of which the best are
Saadi's Gulistan; Luther's Table-Talk; Aubrey's Lives; Spence's
Anecdotes; Selden's Table-Talk; Boswell's Life of Johnson;
Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe; Coleridge's Table-Talk; and
Hazlitt's Life of Northcote.

There is a class whose value I should designate as favorites; such
as Froissart's Chronicles; Southey's Chronicle of the Cid; Cervantes;
Sully's Memoirs; Rabelais; Montaigne; Izaak Walton; Evelyn; Sir
Thomas Browne; Aubrey; Sterne; Horace Walpole; Lord Clarendon;
Doctor Johnson; Burke, shedding floods of light on his times; Lamb;
Landor; and De Quincey;--a list, of course, that may easily be
swelled, as dependent on individual caprice. Many men are as tender
and irritable as lovers in reference to these predilections. Indeed,
a man's library is a sort of harem, and I observe that tender
readers have a great prudencey in showing their books to a stranger.

The annals of bibliography afford many examples of the delirious
extent to which book-fancying can go, when the legitimate delight in
a book is transferred to a rare edition or to a manuscript. This
mania reached its height about the beginning of the present century.
For an autograph of Shakspeare one hundred and fifty-five guineas
were given. In May, 1812, the library of the Duke of Roxburgh was
sold. The sale lasted forty-two days,--we abridge the story from
Dibdin,--and among the many curiosities was a copy of Boccaccio
published by Valdarfer, at Venice, in 1471; the only perfect copy of
this edition. Among the distinguished company which attended the
sale were the Duke of Devonshire, Earl Spencer, and the Duke of
Marlborough, then Marquis of Blandford. The bid stood at five hundred
guineas. "A thousand guineas," said Earl Spencer: "And ten," added
the Marquis. You might hear a pin drop. All eyes were bent on the
bidders. Now they talked apart, now ate a biscuit, now made a bet,
but without the least thought of yielding one to the other.
"Two thousand pounds," said the Marquis. The Earl Spencer bethought
him like a prudent general of useless bloodshed and waste of powder,
and had paused a quarter of a minute, when Lord Althorp with long
steps came to his side, as if to bring his father a fresh lance to
renew the fight. Father and son whispered together, and Earl Spencer
exclaimed, "Two thousand two hundred and fifty pounds!" An electric
shock went through the assembly. "And ten," quietly added the Marquis.
There ended the strife. Ere Evans let the hammer fall, he paused;
the ivory instrument swept the air; the spectators stood dumb, when
the hammer fell. The stroke of its fall sounded on the farthest
shores of Italy. The tap of that hammer was heard in the libraries
of Rome, Milan, and Venice. Boccaccio stirred in his sleep of five
hundred years, and M. Van Praet groped in vain amidst the royal
alcoves in Paris, to detect a copy of the famed Valdarfer Boccaccio.

Another class I distinguish by the term _Vocabularies_. Burton's
"Anatomy of Melancholy" is a book of great learning. To read it is
like reading in a dictionary. 'Tis an inventory to remind us how
many classes and species of facts exist, and, in observing into what
strange and multiplex by-ways learning has strayed, to infer our
opulence. Neither is a dictionary a bad book to read. There is no
cant in it, no excess of explanation, and it is full of suggestion,--
the raw material of possible poems and histories. Nothing is wanting
but a little shuffling, sorting, ligature, and cartilage. Out of a
hundred examples, Cornelius Agrippa "On the Vanity of Arts and
Sciences" is a specimen of that scribatious-ness which grew to be
the habit of the gluttonous readers of his time. Like the modern
Germans, they read a literature, whilst other mortals read a few
books. They read voraciously, and must disburden themselves; so they
take any general topic, as, Melancholy, or Praise of Science, or
Praise of Folly, and write and quote without method or end. Now and
then out of that affluence of their learning comes a fine sentence
from Theophrastus, or Seneca, or Boëthius, but no high method, no
inspiring efflux. But one cannot afford to read for a few sentences;
they are good only as strings of suggestive words.

There is another class more needful to the present age, because the
currents of custom run now in another direction, and leave us dry on
this side;--I mean the _Imaginative_. A right metaphysics should do
justice to the coördinate powers of Imagination, Insight,
Understanding, and Will. Poetry, with its aids of Mythology and
Romance, must be well allowed for an imaginative creature. Men are
ever lapsing into a beggarly habit, wherein everything that is not
ciphering, that is, which does not serve the tyrannical animal, is
hustled out of sight. Our orators and writers are of the same poverty,
and, in this rag-fair, neither the Imagination, the great awakening
power, nor the Morals, creative of genius and of men, are addressed.
But though orator and poet are of this hunger party, the capacities
remain. We must have symbols. The child asks you for a story, and is
thankful for the poorest. It is not poor to him, but radiant with
meaning. The man asks for a novel,--that is, asks leave, for a few
hours, to be a poet, and to paint things as they ought to be. The
youth asks for a poem. The very dunces wish to go to the theatre.
What private heavens can we not open, by yielding to all the
suggestion of rich music! We must have idolatries, mythologies, some
swing and verge for the creative power lying coiled and cramped here,
driving ardent natures to insanity and crime, if it do not find vent.
Without the great and beautiful arts which speak to the sense of
beauty, a man seems to me a poor, naked, shivering creature. These
are his becoming draperies, which warm and adorn him. Whilst the
prudential and economical tone of society starves the imagination,
affronted Nature gets such indemnity as she may. The novel is that
allowance and frolic the imagination finds. Everything else pins it
down, and men flee for redress to Byron, Scott, Disraeli, Dumas, Sand,
Balzac, Dickens, Thackeray, and Reade. Their education is neglected;
but the circulating library and the theatre, as well as the
trout-fishing, the Notch Mountains, the Adirondac country, the tour
to Mont Blanc, to the White Hills, and the Ghauts, make such amends
as they can.

The imagination infuses a certain volatility and intoxication. It
has a flute which sets the atoms of our frame in a dance, like
planets, and, once so liberated, the whole man reeling drunk to the
music, they never quite subside to their old stony state. But what
is the Imagination? Only an arm or weapon of the interior energy;
only the precursor of the Reason. And books that treat the old
pedantries of the world, our times, places, professions, customs,
opinions, histories, with a certain freedom, and distribute things,
not after the usages of America and Europe, but after the laws of
right reason, and with as daring a freedom as we use in dreams, put
us on our feet again, enable us to form an original judgment of our
duties, and suggest new thoughts for to-morrow.

"Lucrezia Floriani," "Le Péché de M. Antoine," "Jeanne," of George
Sand, are great steps from the novel of one termination, which we
all read twenty years ago. Yet how far off from life and manners and
motives the novel still is! Life lies about us dumb; the day, as we
know it, has not yet found a tongue. These stories are to the plots
of real life what the figures in "La Belle Assemblée," which
represent the fashion of the month, are to portraits. But the novel
will find the way to our interiors one day, and will not always be
the novel of costume merely. I do not think them inoperative now. So
much novel-reading cannot leave the young men and maidens untouched;
and doubtless it gives some ideal dignity to the day. The young
study noble behavior; and as the player in "Consuelo" insists that
he and his colleagues on the boards have taught princes the fine
etiquette and strokes of grace and dignity which they practise with
so much effect in their villas and among their dependents, so I
often see traces of the Scotch or the French novel in the courtesy
and brilliancy of young midshipmen, collegians, and clerks. Indeed,
when one observes how ill and ugly people make their loves and
quarrels, 'tis pity they should not read novels a little more, to
import the fine generosities, and the clear, firm conduct, which are
as becoming in the unions and separations which love effects under
shingle roofs as in palaces and among illustrious personages.

In novels the most serious questions are really beginning to be
discussed. What made the popularity of "Jane Eyre," but that a
central question was answered in some sort? The question there
answered in regard to a vicious marriage will always be treated
according to the habit of the party. A person of commanding
individualism will answer it as Rochester does,--as Cleopatra, as
Milton, as George Sand do,--magnifying the exception into a rule,
dwarfing the world into an exception. A person of less courage, that
is, of less constitution, will answer as the heroine does,--giving
way to fate, to conventionalism, to the actual state and doings of
men and women.

For the most part, our novel-reading is a passion for results. We
admire parks, and high-born beauties, and the homage of drawing-rooms,
and parliaments. They make us skeptical, by giving prominence to
wealth and social position.

I remember when some peering eyes of boys discovered that the
oranges hanging on the boughs of an orange-tree in a gay piazza were
tied to the twigs by thread. I fear 'tis so with the novelist's
prosperities. Nature has a magic by which she fits the man to his
fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character. But the novelist
plucks this event here, and that fortune there, and ties them rashly
to his figures, to tickle the fancy of his readers with a cloying
success, or scare them with shocks of tragedy. And so, on the whole,
'tis a juggle. We are cheated into laughter or wonder by feats which
only oddly combine acts that we do every day. There is no new element,
no power, no furtherance. 'Tis only confectionery, not the raising
of new corn. Great is the poverty of their inventions. _She was
beautiful, and he fell in love_. Money, and killing, and the
Wandering Jew, and persuading the lover that his mistress is
betrothed to another,--these are the mainsprings; new names, but no
new qualities in the men and women. Hence the vain endeavor to keep
any bit of this fairy gold, which has rolled like a brook through
our hands. A thousand thoughts awoke; great rainbows seemed to span
the sky; a morning among the mountains;--but we close the book, and
not a ray remains in the memory of evening. But this passion for
romance, and this disappointment, show how much we need real
elevations and pure poetry; that which shall show us, in morning and
night, in stars and mountains, and in all the plight and
circumstance of men, the analogons of our own thoughts, and a like
impression made by a just book and by the face of Nature.

If our times are sterile in genius, we must cheer us with books of
rich and believing men who had atmosphere and amplitude about them.
Every good fable, every mythology, every biography out of a
religious age, every passage of love, and even philosophy and science,
when they proceed from an intellectual integrity, and are not
detached and critical, have the imaginative element. The Greek fables,
the Persian history, (Firdousi,) the "Younger Edda" of the
Scandinavians, the "Chronicle of the Cid," the poem of Dante, the
Sonnets of Michel Angelo, the English drama of Shakspeare, Beaumont
and Fletcher, and Ford, and even the prose of Bacon and Milton,--in
our time, the ode of Wordsworth, and the poems and the prose of
Goethe, have this richness, and leave room for hope and for generous

There is no room left,--and yet I might as well not have begun as
to leave out a class of books which are the best: I mean the Bibles
of the world, or the sacred books of each nation, which express for
each the supreme result of their experience. After the Hebrew and
Greek Scriptures, which constitute the sacred books of Christendom,
these are, the Desatir of the Persians, and the Zoroastrian Oracles;
the Vedas and Laws of Menu; the Upanishads, the Vishnu Purana, the
Bhagvat Geeta, of the Hindoos; the books of the Buddhists; the
"Chinese Classic," of four books, containing the wisdom of Confucius
and Mencius. Also such other books as have acquired a semi-canonical
authority in the world, as expressing the highest sentiment and hope
of nations. Such are the "Hermes Trismegistus," pretending to be
Egyptian remains; the "Sentences" of Epictetus; of Marcus Antoninus;
the "Vishnu Sarma" of the Hindoos; the "Gulistan" of Saadi; the
"Imitation of Christ," of Thomas à Kempis; and the "Thoughts" of

All these books are the majestic expressions of the universal
conscience, and are more to our daily purpose than this year's
almanac or this day's newspaper. But they are for the closet, and to
be read on the bended knee. Their communications are not to be given
or taken with the lips and the end of the tongue, but out of the
glow of the cheek, and with the throbbing heart. Friendship should
give and take, solitude and time brood and ripen, heroes absorb and
enact them. They are not to be held by letters printed on a page, but
are living characters translatable into every tongue and form of life.
I read them on lichens and bark; I watch them on waves on the beach;
they fly in birds, they creep in worms; I detect them in laughter
and blushes and eye-sparkles of men and women. These are Scriptures
which the missionary might well carry over prairie, desert, and ocean,
to Siberia, Japan, Timbuctoo. Yet he will find that the spirit which
is in them journeys faster than he, and greets him on his arrival,--
was there already long before him. The missionary must be carried by
it, and find it there, or he goes in vain. Is there any geography in
these things? We call them Asiatic, we call them primeval; but
perhaps that is only optical; for Nature is always equal to herself,
and there are as good pairs of eyes and ears now in the planet as
ever were. Only these ejaculations of the soul are uttered one or a
few at a time, at long intervals, and it takes millenniums to make a

These are a few of the books which the old and the later times have
yielded us, which will reward the time spent on them. In comparing
the number of good books with the shortness of life, many might well
be read by proxy, if we had good proxies; and it would be well for
sincere young men to borrow a hint from the French Institute and the
British Association, and, as they divide the whole body into sections,
each of which sit upon and report of certain matters confided to them,
so let each scholar associate himself to such persons as he can rely
on, in a literary club, in which each shall undertake a single work
or series for which he is qualified. For example, how attractive is
the whole literature of the "Roman de la Rose," the "Fabliaux," and
the _gai science_ of the French Troubadours! Yet who in Boston has
time for that? But one of our company shall undertake it, shall
study and master it, and shall report on it, as under oath; shall
give us the sincere result, as it lies in his mind, adding nothing,
keeping nothing back. Another member, meantime, shall as honestly
search, sift, and as truly report on British mythology, the Round
Table, the histories of Brut, Merlin, and Welsh poetry; a third, on
the Saxon Chronicles, Robert of Gloucester, and William of Malmesbury;
a fourth, on Mysteries, Early Drama, "Gesta Romanorum," Collier, and
Dyce, and the Camden Society. Each shall give us his grains of gold,
after the washing; and every other shall then decide whether this is
a book indispensable to him also.




From a very early period of my life the entire bent of my
inclinations had been towards microscopic investigations. When I was
not more than ten years old, a distant relative of our family,
hoping to astonish my inexperience, constructed a simple microscope
for me, by drilling in a disk of copper a small hole, in which a
drop of pure water was sustained by capillary attraction. This very
primitive apparatus, magnifying some fifty diameters, presented, it
is true, only indistinct and imperfect forms, but still sufficiently
wonderful to work up my imagination to a preternatural state of

Seeing me so interested in this rude instrument, my cousin explained
to me all that he knew about the principles of the microscope,
related to me a few of the wonders which had been accomplished
through its agency, and ended by promising to send me one regularly
constructed, immediately on his return to the city. I counted the
days, the hours, the minutes, that intervened between that promise
and his departure.

Meantime I was not idle. Every transparent substance that bore the
remotest semblance to a lens I eagerly seized upon and employed in
vain attempts to realize that instrument, the theory of whose
construction I as yet only vaguely comprehended. All panes of glass
containing these oblate spheroidal knots familiarly known as
"bull's eyes" were ruthlessly destroyed, in the hope of obtaining
lenses of marvellous power. I even went so far as to extract the
crystalline humor from the eyes of fishes and animals, and
endeavored to press it into the microscopic service. I plead guilty
to having stolen the glasses from my Aunt Agatha's spectacles, with
a dim idea, of grinding them into lenses of wondrous magnifying
properties,--in which attempt it is scarcely necessary to say that I
totally failed.

At last the promised instrument came. It was of that order known as
Field's simple microscope, and had cost perhaps about fifteen
dollars. As far as educational purposes went, a better apparatus
could not have been selected. Accompanying it was a small treatise
on the microscope,--its history, uses, and discoveries. I
comprehended then for the first time the "Arabian Nights'
Entertainments." The dull veil of ordinary existence that hung
across the world seemed suddenly to roll away, and to lay bare a
land of enchantments. I felt towards my companions as the seer might
feel towards the ordinary masters of men. I held conversations with
Xanure in a tongue which they could not understand. I was in daily
communication with living wonders, such as they never imagined in
their wildest visions. I penetrated beyond the external portal of
things, and roamed through the sanctuaries. Where they beheld only a
drop of rain slowly rolling down the window-glass, I saw a universe
of beings animated with all the passions common to physical life,
and convulsing their minute sphere with struggles as fierce and
protracted as those of men. In the common spots of mould, which my
mother, good housekeeper that she was, fiercely scooped away from
her jam pots, there abode for me, under the name of mildew,
enchanted gardens, filled with dells and avenues of the densest
foliage and most astonishing verdure, while from the fantastic
boughs of these microscopic forests hung strange fruits glittering
with green and silver and gold.

It was no scientific thirst that at this time filled my mind. It was
the pure enjoyment of a poet to whom a world of wonders has been
disclosed. I talked of my solitary pleasures to none. Alone with my
microscope, I dimmed my sight, day after day and night after night
poring over the marvels which it unfolded to me. I was like one who,
having discovered the ancient Eden still existing in all its
primitive glory, should resolve to enjoy it in solitude, and never
betray to mortal the secret of its locality. The rod of my life was
bent at this moment. I destined myself to be a microscopist.

Of course, like every novice, I fancied myself a discoverer. I was
ignorant at the time of the thousands of acute intellects engaged in
the same pursuit as myself, and with the advantages of instruments a
thousand times more powerful than mine. The names of Leeuwenhoek,
Williamson, Spencer, Ehrenberg, Schultz, Dujardin, Schact, and
Schleiden were then entirely unknown to me, or if known, I was
ignorant of their patient and wonderful researches. In every fresh
specimen of Cryptogamia which I placed beneath my instrument I
believed that I discovered wonders of which the world was as yet
ignorant. I remember well the thrill of delight and admiration that
shot through me the first time that I discovered the common wheel
animalcule (_Rotifera vulgaris_) expanding and contracting its
flexible spokes, and seemingly rotating through the water. Alas! as
I grew older, and obtained some works treating of my favorite study,
I found that I was only on the threshold of a science to the
investigation of which some of the greatest men of the age were
devoting their lives and intellects.

As I grew up, my parents, who saw but little likelihood of anything
practical resulting from the examination of bits of moss and drops
of water through a brass tube and a piece of glass, were anxious
that I should choose a profession. It was their desire that I should
enter the counting-house of my uncle, Ethan Blake, a prosperous
merchant, who carried on business in New York. This suggestion I
decisively combated. I had no taste for trade; I should only make a
failure; in short, I refused to become a merchant.

But it was necessary for me to select some pursuit. My parents were
staid New England people, who insisted on the necessity of labor;
and therefore, although, thanks to the bequest of my poor Aunt Agatha,
I should, on coming of age, inherit a small fortune sufficient to
place me above want, it was decided, that, instead of waiting for
this, I should act the nobler part, and employ the intervening years
in rendering myself independent.

After much cogitation I complied with the wishes of my family, and
selected a profession. I determined to study medicine at the New
York Academy. This disposition of my future suited me. A removal
from my relatives would enable me to dispose of my time as I pleased,
without fear of detection. As long as I paid my Academy fees, I
might shirk attending the lectures, if I chose; and as I never had
the remotest intention of standing an examination, there was no
danger of my being "plucked." Besides, a metropolis was the place
for me. There I could obtain excellent instruments, the newest
publications, intimacy with men of pursuits kindred to my own,--in
short, all things necessary to insure a profitable devotion of my
life to my beloved science. I had an abundance of money, few desires
that were not bounded by my illuminating mirror on one side and my
object-glass on the other; what, therefore, was to prevent my
becoming an illustrious investigator of the veiled worlds? It was
with the most buoyant hopes that I left my New England home and
established myself in New York.



My first step, of course, was to find suitable apartments. These I
obtained, after a couple of days' search, in Fourth Avenue; a very
pretty second-floor unfurnished, containing sitting-room, bedroom,
and a smaller apartment which I intended to fit up as a laboratory. I
furnished my lodgings simply, but rather elegantly, and then devoted
all my energies to the adornment of the temple of my worship. I
visited Pike, the celebrated optician, and passed in review his
splendid collection of microscopes,--Field's Compound, Higham's,
Spencer's, Nachet's Binocular, (that founded on the principles of
the stereoscope,) and at length fixed upon that form known as
Spencer's Trunnion Microscope, as combining the greatest number of
improvements with an almost perfect freedom from tremor. Along with
this I purchased every possible accessory,--drawtubes, micrometers,
a _camera-lucida_, lever-stage, achromatic condensers, white cloud
illuminators, prisms, parabolic condensers, polarizing apparatus,
forceps, aquatic boxes, fishing-tubes, with a host of other articles,
all of which would have been useful in the hands of an experienced
microscopist, but, as I afterwards discovered, were not of the
slightest present value to me. It takes years of practice to know
how to use a complicated microscope. The optician looked
suspiciously at me as I made these wholesale purchases. He evidently
was uncertain whether to set me down as some scientific celebrity or
a madman. I think he inclined to the latter belief. I suppose I was
mad. Every great genius is mad upon the subject in which he is
greatest. The unsuccessful madman is disgraced, and called a lunatic.

Mad or not, I set myself to work with a zeal which few scientific
students have ever equalled. I had everything to learn relative to
the delicate study upon which I had embarked,--a study involving the
most earnest patience, the most rigid analytic powers, the steadiest
hand, the most untiring eye, the most refined and subtile

For a long time half my apparatus lay inactively on the shelves of
my laboratory, which was now most amply furnished with every
possible contrivance for facilitating my investigations. The fact was
that I did not know how to use some of my scientific accessories,--
never having been taught microscopies,--and those whose use I
understood theoretically were of little avail, until by practice I
could attain the necessary delicacy of handling. Still, such was the
fury of my ambition, such the untiring perseverance of my experiments,
that, difficult of credit as it may be, in the course of one year I
became theoretically and practically an accomplished microscopist.

During this period of my labors, in which I submitted specimens of
every substance that came under my observation to the action of my
lenses, I became a discoverer,--in a small way, it is true, for I
was very young, but still a discoverer. It was I who destroyed
Ehrenberg's theory that the _Volcox globator_ was an animal, and
proved that his "monads" with stomachs and eyes were merely phases
of the formation of a vegetable cell, and were, when they reached
their mature state, incapable of the act of conjugation, or any true
generative act, without which no organism rising to any stage of life
higher than vegetable can be said to be complete. It was I who
resolved the singular problem of rotation in the cells and hairs of
plants into ciliary attraction, in spite of the assertions of
Mr. Wenham and others, that my explanation was the result of an
optical illusion.

But notwithstanding these discoveries, laboriously and painfully
made as they were, I felt horribly dissatisfied. At every step I
found myself stopped by the imperfections of my instruments. Like
all active microscopists, I gave my imagination full play. Indeed,
it is a common complaint against many such, that they supply the
defects of their instruments with the creations of their brains. I
imagined depths beyond depths in Nature which the limited power of
my lenses prohibited me from exploring. I lay awake at night
constructing imaginary microscopes of immeasurable power, with which
I seemed to pierce through all the envelopes of matter down to its
original atom. How I cursed those imperfect mediums which necessity
through ignorance compelled me to use! How I longed to discover the
secret of some perfect lens whose magnifying power should be limited
only by the resolvability of the object, and which at the same time
should be free from spherical and chromatic aberrations, in short
from all the obstacles over which the poor microscopist finds
himself continually stumbling! I felt convinced that the simple
microscope, composed of a single lens of such vast yet perfect power,
was possible of construction. To attempt to bring the compound
microscope up to such a pitch would have been commencing at the
wrong end; this latter being simply a partially successful endeavor
to remedy those very defects of the simple instrument, which, if
conquered, would leave nothing to be desired.

It was in this mood of mind that I became a constructive microscopist.
After another year passed in this new pursuit, experimenting on
every imaginable substance,--glass, gems, flints, crystals,
artificial crystals formed of the alloy of various vitreous materials,--
in short, having constructed as many varieties of lenses as Argus
had eyes, I found myself precisely where I started, with nothing
gained save an extensive knowledge of glass-making. I was almost
dead with despair. My parents were surprised at my apparent want of
progress in my medical studies, (I had not attended one lecture
since my arrival in the city,) and the expenses of my mad pursuit
had been so great as to embarrass me very seriously.

I was in this frame of mind one day, experimenting in my laboratory
on a small diamond,--that stone, from its great refracting power,
having always occupied my attention more than any other,--when a
young Frenchman, who lived on the floor above me, and who was in the
habit of occasionally visiting me, entered the room.

I think that Jules Simon was a Jew. He had many traits of the Hebrew
character: a love of jewelry, of dress, and of good living. There
was something mysterious about him. He always had something to sell,
and yet went into excellent society. When I say sell, I should
perhaps have said peddle; for his operations were generally confined
to the disposal of single articles,--a picture, for instance, or a
rare carving in ivory, or a pair of duelling-pistols, or the dress
of a Mexican _caballero_. When I was first furnishing my rooms, he
paid me a visit, which ended in my purchasing an antique silver lamp,
which he assured me was a Cellini,--it was handsome enough even for
that,--and some other knick-knacks for my sitting-room. Why Simon
should pursue this petty trade I never could imagine. He apparently
had plenty of money, and had the _entrée_ of the best houses in the
city,--taking care, however, I suppose, to drive no bargains within
the enchanted circle of the Upper Ten. I came at length to the
conclusion that this peddling was but a mask to cover some greater
object, and even went so far as to believe my young acquaintance to
be implicated in the slave-trade. That, however, was none of my

On the present occasion, Simon entered my room in a state of
considerable excitement.

"_Ah! mon ami_!" he cried, before I could even offer him the
ordinary salutation, "it has occurred to me to be the witness of the
most astonishing things in the world. I promenade myself to the
house of Madame -----. How does the little animal--_le renard_--name
himself in the Latin?"

"Vulpes," I answered.

"Ah! yes, Vulpes. I promenade myself to the house of Madame Vulpes."

"The spirit medium?"

"Yes, the great medium. Great Heavens! what a woman! I write on a
slip of paper many of questions concerning affairs the most secret,--
affairs that conceal themselves in the abysses of my heart the most
profound; and behold! by example! what occurs? This devil of a woman
makes me replies the most truthful to all of them. She talks to me
of things that I do not love to talk of to myself. What am I to think?
I am fixed to the earth!"

"Am I to understand you, M. Simon, that this Mrs. Vulpes replied to
questions secretly written by you, which questions related to events
known only to yourself?"

"Ah! more than that, more than that," he answered, with an air of
some alarm. "She related to me things----But," he added, after a
pause, and suddenly changing his manner, "why occupy ourselves with
these follies? It was all the Biology, without doubt. It goes without
saying that it has not my credence.--But why are we here, _mon ami_?
It has occurred to me to discover the most beautiful thing as you
can imagine.--a vase with green lizards on it composed by the great
Bernard Palissy. It is in my apartment; let us mount. I go to show
it to you."

I followed Simon mechanically; but my thoughts were far from Palissy
and his enamelled ware, although I, like him, was seeking in the
dark after a great discovery. This casual mention of the spiritualist,
Madame Vulpes, set me on a new track. What if this spiritualism
should be really a great fact? What if, through communication with
subtiler organisms than my own, I could reach at a single bound the
goal, which perhaps a life of agonizing mental toil would never
enable me to attain?

While purchasing the Palissy vase from my friend Simon, I was
mentally arranging a visit to Madame Vulpes.



Two evenings after this, thanks to an arrangement by letter and the
promise of an ample fee, I found Madame Vulpes awaiting me at her
residence alone. She was a coarse-featured woman, with a keen and
rather cruel dark eye, and an exceedingly sensual expression about
her mouth and under jaw. She received me in perfect silence, in an
apartment on the ground floor, very sparely furnished. In the centre
of the room, close to where Mrs. Vulpes sat, there was a common
round mahogany table. If I had come for the purpose of sweeping her
chimney, the woman could not have looked more indifferent to my
appearance. There was no attempt to inspire the visitor with any awe.
Everything bore a simple and practical aspect. This intercourse with
the spiritual world was evidently as familiar an occupation with
Mrs. Vulpes as eating her dinner or riding in an omnibus.

"You come for a communication, Mr. Linley?" said the medium, in a dry,
business-like tone of voice.

"By appointment,--yes."

"What sort of communication do you want?--a written one?"

"Yes,--I wish for a written one."

"From any particular spirit?"


"Have you ever known this spirit on this earth?"

"Never. He died long before I was born. I wish merely to obtain from
him some information which he ought to be able to give better than
any other."

"Will you seat yourself at the table, Mr. Linley," said the medium,
"and place your hands upon it?"

I obeyed,--Mrs. Vulpes being seated opposite me, with her hands also
on the table. We remained thus for about a minute and a half, when a
violent succession of raps came on the table, on the back of my chair,
on the floor immediately under my feet, and even on the window panes.
Mrs. Vulpes smiled composedly.

"They are very strong to-night," she remarked. "You are fortunate."
She then continued, "Will the spirits communicate with this gentleman?"

Vigorous affirmative.

"Will the particular spirit he desires to speak with communicate?"

A very confused rapping followed this question.

"I know what they mean," said Mrs. Vulpes, addressing herself to me;
"they wish you to write down the name of the particular spirit that
you desire to converse with. Is that so?" she added, speaking to her
invisible guests.

That it was so was evident from the numerous affirmatory responses.
While this was going on, I tore a slip from my pocket-book, and
scribbled a name under the table.

"Will this spirit communicate in writing with this gentleman?" asked
the medium once more.

After a moment's pause her hand seemed to be seized with a violent
tremor, shaking so forcibly that the table vibrated. She said that a
spirit had seized her hand and would write. I handed her some sheets
of paper that were on the table, and a pencil. The latter she held
loosely in her hand, which presently began to move over the paper
with a singular and seemingly involuntary motion. After a few
moments had elapsed she handed me the paper, on which I found written,
in a large, uncultivated hand, the words, "He is not here, but has
been sent for." A pause of a minute or so now ensued, during which
Mrs. Vulpes remained perfectly silent, but the raps continued at
regular intervals. When the short period I mention had elapsed, the
hand of the medium was again seized with its convulsive tremor, and
she wrote, under this strange influence, a few words on the paper,
which she handed to me. They were as follows:

"I am here. Question me.


I was, astounded. The name was identical with that I had written
beneath the table, and carefully kept concealed. Neither was it at
all probable that an uncultivated woman like Mrs. Vulpes should know
even the name of the great father of microscopies. It may have been
Biology; but this theory was soon doomed to be destroyed. I wrote on
my slip--still concealing it from Mrs. Vulpes--a series of
questions, which, to avoid tediousness, I shall place with the
responses in the order in which they occurred.

I.--Can the microscope be brought to perfection?


I.--Am I destined to accomplish this great task?

SPIRIT.--You are.

I.--I wish to know how to proceed to attain this end. For the love
which you bear to science, help me!

SPIRIT.--A diamond of one hundred and forty carats, submitted to
electro-magnetic currents for a long period, will experience a
rearrangement of its atoms _inter se_, and from that stone you will
form the universal lens.

I.--Will great discoveries result from the use of such a lens?

SPIRIT.--So great, that all that has gone before is as nothing.

I.--But the refractive power of the diamond is so immense, that the
image will be formed within the lens. How is that difficulty to be

SPIRIT.--Pierce the lens through its axis, and the difficulty is
obviated. The image will be formed in the pierced space, which will
itself serve as a tube to look through. Now I am called. Good night!

I cannot at all describe the effect that these extraordinary
communications had upon me. I felt completely bewildered. No
biological theory could account for the _discovery_ of the lens. The
medium might, by means of biological _rapport_ with my mind, have
gone so far as to read my questions, and reply to them coherently.
But Biology could not enable her to discover that magnetic currents
would so alter the crystals of the diamond as to remedy its previous
defects, and admit of its being polished into a perfect lens. Some
such theory may have passed through my head, it is true, but if so,
I had forgotten it. In my excited condition of mind there was no
course left but to become a convert, and it was in a state of the
most painful nervous exultation that I left the medium's house that
evening. She accompanied me to the door, hoping that I was satisfied.
The raps followed us as we went through the hall, sounding on the
balusters, the flooring, and even the lintels of the door. I hastily
expressed my satisfaction, and escaped hurriedly into the cool night
air. I walked home with but one thought possessing me,--how to
obtain a diamond of the immense size required. My entire means
multiplied a hundred times over would have been inadequate to its
purchase. Besides, such stones are rare, and become historical. I
could find such only in the regalia of Eastern or European monarchs.



There was a light in Simon's room as I entered my house. A vague
impulse urged me to visit him. As I opened the door of his
sitting-room unannounced, he was bending, with his back toward me,
over a carcel lamp, apparently engaged in minutely examining some
object which he held in his hands. As I entered, he started suddenly,
thrust his hand into his breast pocket, and turned to me with a face
crimson with confusion.

"What!" I cried, "poring over the miniature of some fair lady? Well,
don't blush so much; I won't ask to see it."

Simon laughed awkwardly enough, but made none of the negative
protestations usual on such occasions. He asked me to take a seat.

"Simon," said I, "I have just come from Madame Vulpes."

This time Simon turned as white as a sheet, and seemed stupefied, as
if a sudden electric shock had smitten him. He babbled some
incoherent words, and went hastily to a small closet where he usually
kept his liquors. Although astonished at his emotion, I was too
preoccupied with my own idea to pay much attention to anything else.

"You say truly when you call Madame Vulpes a devil of a woman," I
continued, "Simon, she told me wonderful things tonight, or rather
was the means of telling me wonderful things. Ah! if I could only
get a diamond that weighed one hundred and forty carats!"

Scarcely had the sigh with which I uttered this desire died upon my
lips, when Simon, with the aspect of a wild beast, glared at me
savagely, and rushing to the mantel-piece, where some foreign weapons
hung on the wall, caught up a Malay creese, and brandished it
furiously before him.

"No!" he cried in French, into which he always broke when excited.
"No! you shall not have it! You are perfidious! You have consulted
with that demon, and desire my treasure! But I will die first! Me! I
am brave! You cannot make me fear!"

All this, uttered in a loud voice trembling with excitement,
astounded me. I saw at a glance that I had accidentally trodden upon
the edges of Simon's secret, whatever it was. It was necessary to
reassure him.

"My dear Simon," I said, "I am entirely at a loss to know what you
mean. I went to Madame Vulpes to consult with her on a scientific
problem, to the solution of which I discovered that a diamond of the
size I just mentioned was necessary. You were never alluded to during
the evening, nor, so far as I was concerned, even thought of. What
can be the meaning of this outburst? If you happen to have a set of
valuable diamonds in your possession, you need fear nothing from me.
The diamond which I require you could not possess; or if you did
possess it, you would not be living here."

Something in my tone must have completely reassured him; for his
expression immediately changed to a sort of constrained merriment,
combined, however, with a certain suspicious attention to my
movements. He laughed, and said that I must bear with him; that he
was at certain moments subject to a species of vertigo, which
betrayed itself in incoherent speeches, and that the attacks passed
off as rapidly as they came. He put his weapon aside while making
this explanation, and endeavored, with some success, to assume a
more cheerful air.

All this did not impose on me in the least. I was too much
accustomed to analytical labors to be baffled by so flimsy a veil. I
determined to probe the mystery to the bottom.

"Simon," I said, gayly, "let us forget all this over a bottle of
Burgundy. I have a case of Lausseure's _Clos Vongeot_ down-stairs,
fragrant with the odors and ruddy with the sunlight of the Côte d'Or.
Let us have up a couple of bottles. What say you?"

"With all my heart," answered Simon, smilingly.

I produced the wine and we seated ourselves to drink. It was of a
famous vintage, that of 1818, a year when war and wine throve
together, and its pure, but powerful juice seemed to impart renewed
vitality to the system. By the time we had half finished the second
bottle, Simon's head, which I knew was a weak one, had begun to yield,
while I remained calm as ever, only that every draught seemed to
send a flush of vigor through my limbs. Simon's utterance became
more and more indistinct. He took to singing French _chansons_ of a
not very moral tendency. I rose suddenly from the table just at the
conclusion of one of those incoherent verses, and fixing my eyes on
him with a quiet smile, said:

"Simon, I have deceived you. I learned your secret this evening. You
may as well be frank with me. Mrs. Vulpes, or rather, one of her
spirits, told me all."

He started with horror. His intoxication seemed for the moment to
fade away, and he made a movement towards the weapon that he had a
short time before laid down. I stopped him with my hand.

"Monster!" he cried, passionately, "I am ruined! What shall I do? You
shall never have it! I swear by my mother!"

"I don't want it," I said; "rest secure, but be frank with me. Tell
me all about it."

The drunkenness began to return. He protested with maudlin
earnestness that I was entirely mistaken,--that I was intoxicated;
then asked me to swear eternal secrecy, and promised to disclose the
mystery to me. I pledged myself, of course, to all. With an uneasy
look in his eyes, and hands unsteady with drink and nervousness, he
drew a small case from his breast and opened it. Heavens! How the
mild lamp-light was shivered into a thousand prismatic arrows, as it
fell upon a vast rose-diamond that glittered in the case! I was no
judge of diamonds, but I saw at a glance that this was a gem of rare
size and purity. I looked at Simon with wonder, and--must I confess
it?--with envy. How could he have obtained this treasure? In reply
to my questions, I could just gather from his drunken statements
(of which, I fancy, half the incoherence was affected) that he had
been superintending a gang of slaves engaged in diamond-washing in
Brazil; that he had seen one of them secrete a diamond, but, instead
of informing his employers, had quietly watched the negro until he
saw him bury his treasure; that he had dug it up, and fled with it,
but that as yet he was afraid to attempt to dispose of it publicly,--
so valuable a gem being almost certain to attract too much attention
to its owner's antecedents,--and he had not been able to discover
any of those obscure channels by which such matters are conveyed
away safely. He added, that, in accordance with Oriental practice,
he had named his diamond by the fanciful title of "The Eye of Morning."

While Simon was relating this to me, I regarded the great diamond
attentively. Never had I beheld anything so beautiful. All the
glories of light, ever imagined or described, seemed to pulsate in
its crystalline chambers. Its weight, as I learned from Simon, was
exactly one hundred and forty carats. Here was an amazing coincidence.
The hand of Destiny seemed in it. On the very evening when the
spirit of Leeuwenhoek communicates to me the great secret of the
microscope, the priceless means which he directs me to employ start
up within my easy reach! I determined, with the most perfect
deliberation, to possess myself of Simon's diamond.

I sat opposite him while he nodded over his glass, and calmly
revolved the whole affair. I did not for an instant contemplate so
foolish an act as a common theft, which would of course be discovered,
or at least necessitate flight and concealment, all of which must
interfere with my scientific plans. There was but one step to be
taken,--to kill Simon. After all, what was the life of a hide
peddling Jew, in comparison with the interests of science? Human
beings are taken every day from the condemned prisons to be
experimented on by surgeons. This man, Simon, was by his own
confession a criminal, a robber, and I believed on my soul a murderer.
He deserved death quite as much as any felon condemned by the laws;
why should I not, like government, contrive that his punishment
should contribute to the progress of human knowledge?

The means for accomplishing everything I desired lay within my reach.
There stood upon the mantel-piece a bottle half full of French
laudanum. Simon was so occupied with his diamond, which I had just
restored to him, that it was an affair of no difficulty to drug his
glass. In a quarter of an hour he was in a profound sleep.

I now opened his waistcoat, took the diamond from the inner pocket
in which he had placed it, and removed him to the bed, on which I
laid him so that his feet hung down over the edge. I had possessed
myself of the Malay creese, which I held in my right hand, while
with the other I discovered as accurately as I could by pulsation
the exact locality of the heart. It was essential that all the
aspects of his death should lead to the surmise of self-murder. I
calculated the exact angle at which it was probable that the weapon,
if levelled by Simon's own hand, would enter his breast; then with
one powerful blow I thrust it up to the hilt in the very spot which
I desired to penetrate. A convulsive thrill ran through Simon's limbs.
I heard a smothered sound issue from his throat, precisely like the
bursting of a large air-bubble, sent up by a diver, when it reaches
the surface of the water; he turned half round on his side, and as if
to assist my plans more effectually, his right hand, moved by some
more spasmodic impulse, clasped the handle of the creese, which it
remained holding with extraordinary muscular tenacity. Beyond this
there was no apparent struggle. The laudanum, I presume, paralyzed
the usual nervous action. He must have died instantaneously.

There was yet something to be done. To make it certain that all
suspicion of the act should be diverted from any inhabitant of the
house to Simon himself, it was necessary that the door should be
found in the morning _locked on the inside_. How to do this, and
afterwards escape myself? Not by the window; that was a physical
impossibility. Besides, I was determined that the windows also
should he found bolted. The solution was simple enough. I descended
softly to my own room for a peculiar instrument which I had used for
holding small slippery substances, such as minute spheres of glass,
etc. This instrument was nothing more than a long slender hand-vice,
with a very powerful grip, and a considerable leverage, which last
was accidentally owing to the shape of the handle. Nothing was
simpler than, when the key was in the lock, to seize the end of its
stem in this vice, through the keyhole, from the outside, and so lock
the door. Previously, however, to doing this, I burned a number of
papers on Simon's hearth. Suicides almost always burn papers before
they destroy themselves. I also emptied some more laudanum into
Simon's glass,--having first removed from it all traces of wine,--
cleaned the other wine-glass, and brought the bottles away with me.
If traces of two persons drinking had been found in the room, the
question naturally would have arisen, Who was the second? Besides,
the wine-bottles might have been identified as belonging to me. The
laudanum I poured out to account for its presence in his stomach, in
case of _post-mortem_ examination. The theory naturally would be
that he first intended to poison himself, but, after swallowing a
little of the drug, was either disgusted with its taste, or changed
his mind from other motives, and chose the dagger. These
arrangements made, I walked out, leaving the gas burning, locked the
door with my vice, and went to bed.

Simon's death was not discovered until nearly three in the afternoon.
The servant, astonished at seeing the gas burning,--the light
streaming on the dark landing from under the door, peeped through
the keyhole and saw Simon on the bed. She gave the alarm. The door
was burst open, and the neighborhood was in a fever of excitement.

Every one in the house was arrested, myself included. There was an
inquest; but no clue to his death, beyond that of suicide, could be
obtained. Curiously enough, he had made several speeches to his
friends the preceding week, that seemed to point to self-destruction.
One gentleman swore that Simon had said in his presence that
"he was tired of life." His landlord affirmed, that Simon, when
paying him his last month's rent, remarked that "he would not pay
him rent much longer." All the other evidence corresponded, the door
locked inside, the position of the corpse, the burnt papers. As I
anticipated, no one knew of the possession of the diamond by Simon,
so that no motive was suggested for his murder. The jury, after a
prolonged examination, brought in the usual verdict, and the
neighborhood once more settled down into its accustomed quiet.



The three months succeeding Simon's catastrophe I devoted night and
day to my diamond lens. I had constructed a vast, galvanic battery,
composed of nearly two thousand pairs of plates,--a higher power I
dared not use, lest the diamond should be calcined. By means of this
enormous engine I was enabled to send a powerful current of
electricity continually through my great diamond, which it seemed to
me gained in lustre every day. At the expiration of a month I
commenced the grinding and polishing of the lens, a work of intense
toil and exquisite delicacy. The great density of the stone, and the
care required to be taken with the curvatures of the surfaces of the
lens, rendered the labor the severest and most harassing that I had
yet undergone.

At last the eventful moment came; the lens was completed. I stood
trembling on the threshold of new worlds. I had the realization of
Alexander's famous wish before me. The lens lay on the table, ready
to be placed upon its platform, my hand fairly shook as I enveloped
a drop of water with a thin coating of oil of turpentine, preparatory
to its examination--a process necessary in order to prevent the
rapid evaporation of the water. I now placed the drop on a thin slip
of glass under the lens, and throwing upon it, by the combined aid
of a prism and a mirror, a powerful stream of light, I approached my
eye to the minute hole drilled through the axis of the lens. For an
instant I saw nothing save what seemed to be an illuminated chaos, a
vast luminous abyss. A pure white light, cloudless and serene, and
seemingly limitless as space itself, was my first impression. Gently,
and with the greatest care, I depressed the lens a few hairs'
breadths. The wondrous illumination still continued, but as the lens
approached the object, a scene of indescribable beauty was unfolded
to my view.

I seemed to gaze upon a vast space, the limits of which extended far
beyond my vision. An atmosphere of magical luminousness permeated
the entire field of view. I was amazed to see no trace of
animalculous life. Not a living thing, apparently, inhabited that
dazzling expanse. I comprehended instantly, that, by the wondrous
power of my lens, I had penetrated beyond the grosser particles of
aqueous matter, beyond the realms of Infusoria and Protozoa, down to
the original gaseous globule, into whose luminous interior I was
gazing, as into an almost boundless dome filled with a supernatural

It was, however, no brilliant void into which I looked. On every
side I beheld beautiful inorganic forms, of unknown texture, and
colored with the most enchanting hues. These forms presented the
appearance of what might be called, for want of a more specific
definition, foliated clouds of the highest rarity; that is, they
undulated and broke into vegetable formations, and were tinged with
splendors compared with which the gilding of our autumn woodlands is
as dross compared with gold. Far away into the illimitable distance
stretched long avenues of these gaseous forests, dimly transparent,
and painted with prismatic hues of unimaginable brilliancy. The
pendent branches waved along the fluid glades until every vista
seemed to break through half-lucent ranks of many-colored drooping
silken pennons. What seemed to be either fruits or flowers, pied
with a thousand hues lustrous and ever varying, bubbled from the
crowns of this fairy foliage. No hills, no lakes, no rivers, no
forms animate or inanimate were to be seen, save those vast auroral
copses that floated serenely in the luminous stillness, with leaves
and fruits and flowers gleaming with unknown fires, unrealizable by
mere imagination.

How strange, I thought, that this sphere should be thus condemned to
solitude! I had hoped, at least, to discover some new form of animal
life,--perhaps of a lower class than any with which we are at
present acquainted,--but still, some living organism. I find my
newly discovered world, if I may so speak, a beautiful chromatic

While I was speculating on the singular arrangements of the internal
economy of Nature, with which she so frequently splinters into atoms
our most compact theories, I thought I beheld a form moving slowly
through the glades of one of the prismatic forests. I looked more at
tentively, and found that I was not mistaken. Words cannot depict
the anxiety with which I awaited the nearer approach of this
mysterious object. Was it merely some inanimate substance, held in
suspense in the attenuated atmosphere of the globule? or was it an
animal endowed with vitality and motion? It approached, flitting
behind the gauzy, colored veils of cloud-foliage, for seconds dimly
revealed, then vanishing. At last the violet pennons that trailed
nearest to me vibrated; they were gently pushed aside, and the form
floated out into the broad light.

It was a female human shape. When I say "human," I mean it possessed
the outlines of humanity,--but there the analogy ends. Its adorable
beauty lifted it inimitable heights beyond the loveliest daughter of

I cannot, I dare not, attempt to inventory the charms of this divine
revelation of perfect beauty. Those eyes of mystic violet, dewy and
serene, evade my words. Her long lustrous hair following her
glorious head in a golden wake, like the track sown in heaven by a
falling star, seems to quench my most burning phrases with its
splendors. If all the bees of Hybla nestled upon my lips, they would
still sing but hoarsely the wondrous harmonies of outline that
enclosed her form.

She swept out from between the rainbow-curtains of the cloud-trees
into the broad sea of light that lay beyond. Her motions were those
of some graceful Naiad, cleaving, by a mere effort of her will, the
clear, unruffled waters that fill the chambers of the sea. She
floated forth with the serene grace of a frail bubble ascending
through the still atmosphere of a June day. The perfect roundness of
her limbs formed suave and enchanting curves. It was like listening
to the most spiritual symphony of Beethoven the divine, to watch the
harmonious flow of lines. This, indeed, was a pleasure cheaply
purchased at any price. What cared I, if I had waded to the portal
of this wonder through another's blood? I would have given my own to
enjoy one such moment of intoxication and delight.

Breathless with gazing on this lovely wonder, and forgetful for an
instant of everything save her presence, I withdrew my eye from the
microscope eagerly,--alas! As my gaze fell on the thin slide that
lay beneath my instrument, the bright light from mirror and from
prism sparkled on a colorless drop of water! There, in that tiny
bead of dew, this beautiful being was forever imprisoned. The planet
Neptune was not more distant from me than she. I hastened once more
to apply my eye to the microscope.

Animula (let me now call her by that dear name which I subsequently
bestowed on her) had changed her position. She had again approached
the wondrous forest, and was gazing earnestly upwards. Presently one
of the trees--as I must call them--unfolded a long ciliary process,
with which it seized one of the gleaming fruits that glittered on
its summit, and sweeping slowly down, held it within reach of Animula.
The sylph took it in her delicate hand, and began to eat. My
attention was so entirely absorbed by her, that I could not apply
myself to the task of determining whether this singular plant was or
was not instinct with volition.

I watched her, as she made her repast, with the most profound
attention. The suppleness of her motions sent a thrill of delight
through my frame; my heart beat madly as she turned her beautiful
eyes in the direction of the spot in which I stood. What would I not
have given to have had the power to precipitate myself into that
luminous ocean, and float with her through those groves of purple
and gold! While I was thus breathlessly following her every movement,
she suddenly started, seemed to listen for a moment, and then
cleaving the brilliant ether in which she was floating, like a flash
of light, pierced through the opaline forest, and disappeared.

Instantly a series of the most singular sensations attacked me. It
seemed as if I had suddenly gone blind. The luminous sphere was
still before me, but my daylight had vanished. What caused this
sudden disappearance? Had she a lover, or a husband? Yes, that was
the solution! Some signal from a happy fellow-being had vibrated
through the avenues of the forest, and she had obeyed the summons.

The agony of my sensations, as I arrived at this conclusion,
startled me. I tried to reject the conviction that my reason forced
upon me. I battled against the fatal conclusion--but in vain. It was
so. I had no escape from it. I loved an animalcule!

It is true, that, thanks to the marvellous power of my microscope,
she appeared of human proportions. Instead of presenting the
revolting aspect of the coarser creatures, that live and struggle
and die, in the more easily resolvable portions of the water-drop,
she was fair and delicate and of surpassing beauty. But of what
account was all that? Every time that my eye was withdrawn from the
instrument, it fell on a miserable drop of water, within which, I
must be content to know, dwelt all that could make my life lovely.

Could she but see me once! Could I for one moment pierce the
mystical walls that so inexorably rose to separate us, and whisper
all that filled my soul, I might consent to be satisfied for the rest
of my life with the knowledge of her remote sympathy. It would be
something to have established even the faintest personal link to
bind us together--to know that at times, when roaming through those
enchanted glades, she might think of the wonderful stranger, who had
broken the monotony of her life with his presence, and left a gentle
memory in her heart!

But it could not be. No invention, of which human intellect was
capable, could break down the barriers that Nature had erected. I
might feast my soul upon her wondrous beauty, yet she must always
remain ignorant of the adoring eyes that day and night gazed upon her,
and, even when closed, beheld her in dreams. With a bitter cry of
anguish I fled from the room, and, flinging myself on my bed, sobbed
myself to sleep like a child.



I arose the next morning almost at daybreak, and rushed to my
microscope. I trembled as I sought the luminous world in miniature
that contained my all. Animula was there. I had left the gas-lamp,
surrounded by its moderator's, burning, when I went to bed the night
before. I found the sylph bathing, as it were, with an expression of
pleasure animating her features, in the brilliant light which
surrounded her. She tossed her lustrous golden hair over her
shoulders with innocent coquetry. She lay at full length in the
transparent medium, in which she supported herself with ease, and
gambolled with the enchanting grace that the Nymph Salmacis might
have exhibited when she sought to conquer the modest Hermaphroditus.
I tried an experiment to satisfy myself if her powers of reflection
were developed. I lessened the lamp-light considerably. By the dim
light that remained, I could see an expression of pain flit across
her face. She looked upward suddenly, and her brows contracted. I
flooded the stage of the microscope again with a full stream of light,
and her whole expression changed. She sprang forward like some
substance deprived of all weight. Her eyes sparkled, and her lips
moved. Ah! if science had only the means of conducting and
reduplicating sounds, as it does the rays of light, what carols of
happiness would then have entranced my ears! What jubilant hymns to
Adonaïs would have thrilled the illumined air!

I now comprehended how it was that the Count de Gabalis peopled his
mystic world with sylphs,--beautiful beings whose breath of life was
lambent fire, and who sported forever in regions of purest ether and
purest light. The Rosicrucian had anticipated the wonder that I had
practically realized.

How long this worship of my strange divinity went on thus I scarcely
know. I lost all note of time. All day from early dawn, and far into
the night, I was to be found peering through that wonderful lens. I
saw no one, went nowhere, and scarce allowed myself sufficient time
for my meals. My whole life was absorbed in contemplation as rapt as
that of any of the Romish saints. Every hour that I gazed upon the
divine form strengthened my passion,--a passion that was always
overshadowed by the maddening conviction, that, although I could
gaze on her at will, she never, never could behold me!

At length I grew so pale and emaciated, from want of rest, and
continual brooding over my insane love and its cruel conditions,
that I determined to make some effort to wean myself from it.
"Come," I said, "this is at best but a fantasy. Your imagination has
bestowed on Animula charms which in reality she does not possess.
Seclusion from female society has produced this morbid condition of
mind. Compare her with the beautiful women of your own world, and
this false enchantment will vanish."

I looked over the newspapers by chance. There I beheld the
advertisement of a celebrated danseuse who appeared nightly at
Niblo's. The Signorina Caradolce had the reputation of being the
most beautiful as well as the most graceful woman in the world. I
instantly dressed and went to the theatre.

The curtain drew up. The usual semi-circle of fairies in white
muslin were standing on the right toe around the enamelled
flower-bank, of green canvas, on which the belated prince was
sleeping. Suddenly a flute is heard. The fairies start. The trees
open, the fairies all stand on the left toe, and the queen enters.
It was the Signorina. She bounded forward amid thunders of applause,
and lighting on one foot remained poised in air. Heavens! was this
the great enchantress that had drawn monarchs at her chariot-wheels?
Those heavy muscular limbs, those thick ankles, those cavernous eyes,
that stereotyped smile, those crudely painted checks! Where were the
vermeil blooms, the liquid expressive eyes, the harmonious limbs of

The Signorina danced. What gross, discordant movements! The play of
her limbs was all false and artificial. Her bounds were painful
athletic efforts; her poses were angular and distressed the eye. I
could bear it no longer; with an exclamation of disgust that drew
every eye upon me, I rose from my seat in the very middle of the
Signorina's _pas-de-fascination_ and abruptly quitted the house.

I hastened home to feast my eyes once more on the lovely form of my
sylph. I felt that henceforth to combat this passion would be
impossible. I applied my eye to the lens. Aninula was there,--but
what could have happened? Some terrible change seemed to have taken
place during my absence. Some secret grief seemed to cloud the
lovely features of her I gazed upon. Her face had grown thin and
haggard; her limbs trailed heavily; the wondrous lustre of her
golden hair had faded. She was ill!--ill, and I could not assist her!
I believe at that moment I would have gladly forfeited all claims to
my human birthright, if I could only have been dwarfed to the size
of an animalcule, and permitted to console her from whom fate had
forever divided me.

I racked my brain for the solution of this mystery. What was it that
afflicted the sylph? She seemed to suffer intense pain. Her features
contracted, and she even writhed, as if with some internal agony.
The wondrous forests appeared also to have lost half their beauty.
Their hues were dim and in some places faded away altogether. I
watched Animula for hours with a breaking heart, and she seemed
absolutely to wither away under my very eye. Suddenly I remembered
that I had not looked at the water-drop for several days. In fact, I
hated to see it; for it reminded me of the natural barrier between
Animula and myself. I hurriedly looked down on the stage of the
microscope. The slide was still there,--but, great heavens! the
water-drop had vanished! The awful truth burst upon me; it had
evaporated, until it had become so minute as to be invisible to the
naked eye; I had been gazing on its last atom, the one that contained
Animula,--and she was dying!

I rushed again to the front of the lens, and looked through. Alas!
the last agony had seized her. The rainbow-hued forests had all
melted away, and Animula lay struggling feebly in what seemed to be
a spot of dim light. Ah! the sight was horrible: the limbs once so
round and lovely shrivelling up into nothings; the eyes--those eyes
that shone like heaven--being quenched into black dust; the lustrous
golden hair now lank and discolored. The last throe came. I beheld
that final struggle of the blackening form--and I fainted.

When I awoke out of a trance of many hours, I found myself lying amid
the wreck of my instrument, myself as shattered in mind and body as
it. I crawled feebly to my bed, from which I did not rise for months.

They say now that I am mad; but they are mistaken. I am poor, for I
have neither the heart nor the will to work; all my money is spent,
and I live on charity. Young men's associations that love a joke
invite me to lecture on Optics before them, for which they pay me,
and laugh at me while I lecture. "Linley, the mad microscopist," is
the name I go by. I suppose that I talk incoherently while I lecture.
Who could talk sense when his brain is haunted by such ghastly
memories, while ever and anon among the shapes of death I behold the
radiant form of my lost Animula!


  Amid the aisle, apart, there stood
  A mourner like the rest;
  And while the solemn rites were said,
  He fashioned into verse his mood,
  That would not be repressed.

  Why did they bring him home,
  Bright jewel set in lead?
  Oh, bear the sculptor back to Rome,
  And lay him with the mighty dead,--
  With Adonais, and the rest
  Of all the young and good and fair,
  That drew the milk of English breast,
  And their last sigh in Latian air!

  Lay him with Raphael, unto whom
  Was granted Rome's most lasting tomb;
  For many a lustre, many an aeon,
  He might sleep well in the Panthéon,
  Deep in the sacred city's womb,
  The smoke and splendor and the stir of Rome.

  Lay him 'neath Diocletian's dome,
  Blessed Saint Mary of the Angels,
  Near to that house in which he dwelt,--
  House that to many seemed a home,
  So much with him they loved and felt.
  We were his guests a hundred times;
  We loved him for his genial ways;
  He gave me credit for my rhymes,
  And made me blush with praise.

  Ah! there be many histories
  That no historian writes,
  And friendship hath its mysteries
  And consecrated nights;
  Amid the busy days of pain,
  Wear of hand, and tear of brain,
  Weary midnight, weary morn,
  Years of struggle paid with scorn;--
  Yet oft amid all this despair,
  Long rambles in the Autumn days
  O'er Appian or Flaminian Ways,
  Bright moments snatched from care,

    When loose as buffaloes on the wild Campagna
      We roved and dined on crust and curds,
      Olives, thin wine, and thinner birds,
    And woke the echoes of divine Romagna;
      And then returning late,
      After long knocking at the Lateran gate,
      Suppers and nights of gods; and then
      Mornings that made us new-born men;
      Rare nights at the Minerva tavern,
      With Orvieto from the Cardinal's cavern;
      Free nights, but fearless and without reproof,--
      For Bayard's word ruled Beppo's roof.

    O Rome! what memories awake,
      When Crawford's name is said,
    Of days and friends for whose dear sake
    That path of Hades unto me
      Will have no more of dread
    Than his own Orpheus felt, seeking Eurydice!
      O Crawford! husband, father, brother
    Are in that name, that little word!
      Let me no more my sorrow smother;
    Grief stirs me, and I must be stirred.

    O Death, thou teacher true and rough!
      Full oft I fear that we have erred,
    And have not loved enough;
    But oh, ye friends, this side of Acheron,
      Who cling to me to-day,
    I shall not know my love till ye are gone
      And I am gray!
      Fair women with your loving eyes,
    Old men that once my footsteps led,
      Sweet children,--much as all I prize,
    Until the sacred dust of death be shed
      Upon each dear and venerable head,
    I cannot love you as I love the dead!

    But now, the natural man being sown,
    We can more lucidly behold
      The spiritual one;
      For we, till time shall end,
      Full visibly shall see our friend
    In all his hand did mould,--
    That worn and patient hand that lies so cold!

    When on some blessed studious day
    To my loved Library I wend my way,
    Amid the forms that give the Gallery grace
    His thought in that pale poet I shall trace,--
      Keen Orpheus with his eyes
        Fixed deep in ruddy hell,

  Seeking amid those lurid skies
  The wife he loved so well,--
  And feel that still therein I see
  All that was in my Master's thought,
  And, in that constant hand wherewith he wrought,
  The eternal type of constancy.
  Thou marble husband! might there be
  More of flesh and blood like thee!

  Or if, in Music's festive hall,
  I come to cheat me of my care,
  Amid the swell, the dying fall,
  His genius greets me there.
  O man of bronze! thy solemn air--
  Best soother of a troubled brain--
  Floods me with memories, and again
  As thou stand'st visibly to men,
  Beloved musician! so once more
  Crawford comes back that did thy form restore.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Well,--_requiescat_! let him pass!

  Good mourners, go your several ways!
  He needs no further rite, nor mass,
  Nor eulogy, who best could praise
  Himself in marble and in brass;
  Yet his best monument did raise,
  Not in those perishable things
  That men eternal deem,--
  The pride of palaces and kings,--
  But in such works as must avail him there,
  With Him who, from the extreme
  Love that was in his breast,
  Said, "Come, all ye that heavy burdens bear,
  And I will give you rest!"


As a mere literary production, the Message of Mr. Buchanan is so
superior to any of the Messages of his immediate predecessor, that
the reader naturally expects to find in it a corresponding
superiority of sentiment and aim. When we meet a man who is
well-dressed, and whose external demeanor is that of a gentleman, we
are prone to infer that he is also a man of upright principles and
honorable feelings. But we are very often mistaken in this inference;
the nice garment proves to be little better than a nice disguise;
and the robe of respectability may cover the heart of a very scurvy

Mr. Buchanan's sentences run smoothly enough; they are for the most
part grammatical; the tone throughout is sedate, if not dignified;
and the general spirit unambitious and moderate. But the doctrine,
in our estimation, is, on the most essential point, atrocious, and
the objects which are sought to be compassed are unworthy of the man,
the office, the country, and the age. We refer, of course, to what
is said of the one vital question with us now, the question of
Slavery in Kansas; but before proceeding to a discussion of that,
let us say a word or two of other parts of this important document.

The President introduces, as the first of his topics, the prevailing
money pressure, which he treats at considerable length, with some
degree of truth, but without originality or comprehensiveness of view.
He profiles to inquire into the causes of the unfortunate disasters
of trade, and into the remedies which may be devised against their
recurrence; but on neither head is he remarkably profound or
instructive. It is merely reiterating the commonplaces of the
newspapers, to talk about "the excessive loans and issues of the
banks," and to ring changes of phraseology on the vices of
speculation, over-trading, and stock-jobbing. All the world is as
familiar with all that as the President can be, and scarcely needed
a reminder on either score; what we wanted of the head of the nation,--
what a real statesman, who understood his subject, would have given
us,--that is, if he had pretended to go at all beyond the simple
statement of the fact of commercial revulsion, into a discussion of
it,--was a comprehensive and philosophic analysis of all the causes
of the phenomenon, a calm and careful review of all its circumstances,
and a rigid deduction of broad general principles from an adequate
study of the entire case. But this the President has not furnished.
In connecting our commercial derangements with the disorders of the
banking system he has unquestionably struck upon a great and
fundamental truth; but it is merely a single truth, and he strikes
it in rather a vague and random way. In considering these reverses,
there are many things to be taken into account besides the
constitution and customs, whether good or bad, of our American banks,--
many things which do not even confine themselves to this continent,
but are spread over the greater part of the civilized world.

Mr. Buchanan is still lamer in his suggestion of remedies than he is
in his inquiry after causes. The Federal Government, he thinks, can
do little or nothing in the premises,--a fatal admission at the
outset,--and we are coolly turned over to the most unsubstantial and
impracticable of all reliances, "the wisdom and patriotism of the
State legislatures"! Why cannot the Federal Government do anything
in the premises? The President tells us that the Constitution has
conferred upon Congress the exclusive right "to coin money _and
regulate the value thereof_," and that it has prohibited the States
from "issuing bills of credit,"--which phrase, if it mean anything,
means making paper-money; and the inference would seem to be
inevitable that Congress has a sovereign authority and power over
the whole matter. It may, moreover, touch the circulation of bills,
by means of its indisputable right to lay a stamp-tax upon paper;
and Mr. Gallatin long ago recommended the exercise of this power, as
an effectual method of restraining the emission of small notes. Upon
what principle, then, can the President assert so dictatorially as
he does, that the Federal Government is concluded from action? If
the excesses of the State Banks are so enormous as he represents,
and so perpetually and so widely disastrous, why should it not
interpose to avert the fearful evil? Why refer us for relief to the
proceedings of thirty-one different legislative bodies, no three of
which, probably, would agree upon any coherent system? We do not
ourselves say that Congress ought to interfere and undertake by main
force to regulate the currency, because we hold to other and, as we
think, better methods of arriving at a sound and stable currency;
but from the stand-point of the President, and with his views of the
efficiency of legislative restrictions upon banks, we do not see how
he could consistently avoid recommending the instant action of
Congress. On the heel of his grandiloquent description of the evils
of redundant paper money,--evils which are felt all over the country,--
it is a lamentably impotent conclusion to say, "After all, we can't
do much to help it! Yes, let us confide piously in 'the wisdom and
patriotism of the State legislatures,'"--which are almost the last
places in the world, as things go, where we should look for either

Not being able to do anything himself, however, what does he urge
upon the wise and patriotic State legislatures? Why, a series of
flimsy restrictions, which would have about as much effect in
preventing the tremendous abuses of banking which he himself depicts,
as a bit of filigree iron-work would have in restraining the
expansion of steam. Restrictions! restrictions! _toujours_
restrictions!--as if that method of correcting the evil had not been
utterly exploded by nearly two centuries of experience! Mr. Buchanan
calls himself a Democrat; he is loud in his protestations of respect
for the sagacity, the good-sense, and the virtue of the people; his
political school takes for its motto the well-known adage, "That
government is best which governs least"; his party, if he does not,
purports to be a great advocate of the emancipation of trade from
all the old-fashioned restraints which take the names of protections,
tariffs, bounties, etc. etc.; and we wonder how it is, that, in his
presumed excursions over the entire domain of free-trade, he should
have got no inkling of a thought as to the benefits of free-trade in
banking. We wonder that so great a subject could be dismissed with
the suggestion of a few petty restraints.

"If the State legislatures," remarks the President, summing up his
entire thought, "afford us a real specie basis for our circulation,
by increasing the denomination of bank-notes, first to twenty, and
afterwards to fifty dollars; if they will require that the banks
shall at all times keep on hand at least one dollar of gold and
silver for every three dollars of their circulation and deposits;
and if they will provide, by a self-executing enactment, which
nothing can arrest, that the moment they suspend they shall go into
liquidation; I believe that such provisions, with a weekly
publication by each bank of a statement of its condition, would go
far to secure us against future suspensions of specie payments."

Singular blindness! Mr. Buchanan lived for several years, as
American ambassador, in England. It is to be presumed that while
there he used his eyes, and possibly his brains. He must have
noticed occasionally, at least, in his walks through "the city," the
immense marble structure in Threadneedle Street, known as the Bank
of England. It is certain that he has read the history of that bank,
inasmuch as it is twice or thrice alluded to in his Message; he
cannot be ignorant, therefore, that the "circulation" of England has
essentially "a specie basis"; that no bank-notes are issued there for
less than the amount of twenty-five dollars; that the banks at all
times keep on hand "one dollar of gold for every three dollars of
their circulation and deposits"; and that the laws of bankruptcy are
alike rigid in regard to institutions and individuals. These are
precisely the provisions which he commends to the adoption of wise
and patriotic State legislatures as an admirable corrective for
suspensions; yet he forgets to explain to us how it happens that the
Bank of England, to which they are all applied, has virtually
suspended payment six times in the course of its existence, having
been saved from open dishonor only by the timely assistance of the
government,--while the trade of England, in spite of the staid and
conservative habits of the people, is quite as liable to those
terrific tarantula-dances, called revulsions, as our own. Before
urging his "restraints," the President ought to have inquired a
little into the history of such restraints; and he would then have
saved himself from the absurdity of patronizing remedies which an
actual trial had proved ludicrously inapt and inefficacious.

With regard to the second topic of the Message,--our foreign
relations,--it may be said that the positions assumed are frank,
manly, and explicit; unless we have reason to suspect, in the
slightly belligerent attitude towards Spain, a return, on the part
of the President, to one of his old and unlawful loves,--the
acquisition of Cuba. In that case, we should deplore his language,
and be inclined to doubt also the sincerity of his just
denunciations of Walker's infamous schemes of piracy and brigandage.
Until events, however, have developed the signs of a sinister policy
of this sort, we must bestow an earnest plaudit upon his decided
rebuke of the filibusters, coupling that praise with a wish that the
"vigilance" of his subordinates may hereafter prove of a more
wide-awake and energetic kind than has yet been manifested.

But for the terms in which the President has disposed of his third
topic,--the Kansas difficulty,--we can scarcely characterize their
disingenuousness and meanings. We have already spoken of the object
of this part of the document as atrocious,--and we repeat the word,
as the most befitting that could be used. That object is nothing
less than an attempt to cover the enormous frauds which have marked
the proceedings of the Pro-Slavery agents in Kansas, from their
initiation, with a varnish of smooth and plausible pretexts.
Adroitly taking up the question at the point which it had reached
when his own administration began, he leaves out of view all the
antecedent crimes, treacheries, and tricks by which the people of
the Territory had been led into civil war, and thus assumes that the
late Lecompton Convention was a legitimate Convention, and that the
Constitution framed by it (or said to have been framed by it,--for
there is no official report of the instrument as yet) was framed in
pursuance of proper authority or law. He does not tell us that the
Territorial legislature which called this Convention was a usurping
legislature, brought together, as the Congressional records show, by
an invading horde from a neighboring State; he does not tell us, that,
even if it had been a properly constituted body in itself, it had no
right to call a Convention for the purpose of superseding the
Territorial organization; he does not tell us that the Convention,
as assembled, represented but one-tenth of the legal voters of the
Territory; nor does he seem to regard the fact, that the other
nine-tenths of the people were virtually disfranchised by that
Convention, so far as their right to determine the provisions of
their organic law is concerned, as at all a vital and important fact.
By a miserable juggle, worthy of the frequenters of the
gambling-house or the race-course, the people of Kansas have been
nominally allowed to decide the question of Slavery, and that
permission, according to Mr. Buchanan, fulfils and completes all that
he ever meant, or his associates ever meant, by the promise of
popular sovereignty!

Now this may be all that the President and his party ever meant by
that phrase, but it is not all that their words expressed or the
country expected. In the course of the last three or four years, and
by a series of high-handed measures, the established principles of
the Federal Government, in regard to its management of the
Territories,--principles sanctioned by every administration from
Washington's down to Fillmore's,--have been overruled for the sake
of a new doctrine, which goes by the name of Popular Sovereignty.
The most sacred and binding compacts of former years were annulled
to make way for it; and the judicial department of the government
was violently hauled from its sacred retreat, into the political
arena, to give a gratuitous _coup-de-grace_ to the old opinions and
the apparent sanction of law to the new dogma, so that Popular
Sovereignty might reign triumphant in the Territories. At the
convention of the party which nominated Mr. Buchanan as a candidate
for his present office,--"a celebrated occasion," as he calls it,--
the members affirmed in the most emphatic manner the right of the
people of all the Territories, including Kansas, to form their own
Constitutions as they pleased, under the single condition that it
should be republican. Mr. Buchanan reiterated that assertion in his
Inaugural address, and in subsequent communications. When he
appointed Mr. Robert J. Walker Governor of the Territory, he
instructed him to assure the people that they should be guarantied
against all "fraud or violence" when they should be called upon
"to vote for or against the Constitution which would be submitted to
them," so that there might be "a fair expression of the popular will."
Nothing, in short, could have been clearer, more direct, more
frequently repeated, than the asseverations of the "Democratic Party,"
made through its official representatives, its newspapers, and its
orators,--to the effect, that its only object, in its Kansas policy,
was to secure "the great principle of Popular Sovereignty." On the
strength of these assurances alone, it was enabled to achieve its
hard-won victory in the last Presidential campaign. Mr. Buchanan
owes his position to them, as is repeatedly admitted by Mr. Douglas
in his speech of December 9th last,--and the whole nation, having
discussed and battled and voted on the principle, acquiesced, as it
is accustomed to do after an election, in the ascendency of the
victors. It prepared itself to see the application of the principle
which had been announced and defended as so important and wise.

Under these pledges and promises, what has been the performance? A
Convention, for which, inasmuch as it was illegally called by an
illegal body, a large proportion of the citizens of Kansas refused
to vote, frames a Constitution, in the interest and according to the
convictions of the slenderest minority of the people; it
incorporates in that Constitution a recognition of old Territorial
laws to the last degree offensive to the majority of the people; it
incorporates in it a clause establishing slavery in perpetuity; it
connects with it a Schedule perpetuating the existing slavery,
whatever it may be, against all future remedy which has not the
sanction of the slave-master; and then, by a miserable chicane, it
submits the Constitution to a vote of the people, but it submits it
under such terms, that the people, if they vote at all, must vote
_for_ it, whether they like it or not, while the only part in
which they can exercise any choice is the _clause_ which relates to
future slavery. The other parts, especially the Schedule, which
recognizes the existing slavery, and that almost irremediably, the
people are not allowed to pronounce upon. They are not allowed to
pronounce upon the thousand-and-one details of the State organization;
they are fobbed off with a transparent cheat of "heads I win,--tails
you lose";--and the whole game is denominated, Popular Sovereignty.

What is worse, the President of the United States argues that this
would be a fair settlement of the question, and that in the exercise
of such a choice, the glorious doctrine of Popular Sovereignty is
amply applied and vindicated. He admits that "the correct principle,"
as in the case of Minnesota, is to refer the Constitution "to the
approval and ratification of the people"; he admits that the only
mode in which the will of the people can be "authentically
ascertained is by a direct vote"; he admits that the "friends and
supporters of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, when struggling to sustain
its provisions before the great tribunal of the American people,"
"everywhere, throughout the Union, publicly pledged their faith and
honor" to submit the question of their domestic institutions
"to the decision of the _bonâ-fide_ people of Kansas, without any
qualification or restriction whatever"; but then,--and here is the
subterfuge,--"domestic institutions" means only the single
institution of slavery; and the Convention, in consenting to yield
_that_ (and this only in appearance) to the arbitrament of the
people, has fully satisfied all the demands of the principle of
Popular Sovereignty! Their other questions are all "political"; the
questions as to the organization of their executive, legislative,
and judicial departments, as to their elective franchise, their
distribution of districts, their banks, their rates and modes of
taxation, etc., etc., are not domestic questions, but political; and
provided the people are suffered to vote on the future (not the
existing) condition of slaves, faith has been sufficiently kept.
Popular Sovereignty means "pertaining to negroes,"--not the negroes
already in the Territory, but those who may be hereafter introduced;
for the monopoly of that branch of trade and merchandise, which is
already established, and the future growth and increase of it, must
not be interfered with, even by Popular Sovereignty, because that
would be "an act of gross injustice." In other words, Popular
Sovereignty is merely designed to cover the right of the people to
vote on a single question, specially presented by an illegal body,
under electoral arrangements made by its new officers,--which
officers not only receive, but count the votes, and make the returns,--
while all the rest is merely unimportant and trivial. It is just the
sort of sovereignty for which Louis Napoleon provided when he wished
to procure a popular sanction for the numberless atrocities of the
_coup-d'état_ of the 2d December.

An old authority tells us that "it is hard to kick against the pricks";
and the President appears to have experienced the difficulty, in
kicking against the pricks of his conscience. He had committed
himself to a principle which he is now compelled by the policy of
his Southern masters to evade, and is painfully embarrassed as to
how he shall hide his tracks. He knows, as all the world knows, that
this jugglery in Kansas has been performed for no other purpose than
to secure a foothold for Slavery there, against the demonstrated
opinion of nine-tenths of the people; he knows, as all the world
knows, that if the Convention had had the least desire to arrive at
a fair expression of the popular will, on the question of Slavery or
any other question, it was easy to make a candid and honorable
submission of it to an election to be held honestly under the
recognized officers of the Territory; but he knows, also, that under
such circumstances the case would have been carried overwhelmingly
against the "domestic institution," and thus have rebuked, with all
the emphasis that an outraged community could give to the expression
of its will, the nefarious conduct which "the party" has pursued
from the beginning,--and this was a consummation not to be wished.
He therefore wriggles and shuffles, with an absurd and transparent
inconsistency, to defeat the popular will, and yet mouth it bravely
about "the great principle of Popular Sovereignty."

The President thinks that it is time that these troubles in Kansas
were at an end, and we cordially agree with him in the sentiment;
but he needs scarcely to be reminded that they never will be at an
end, until the wicked schemes, which have been so long persisted in,
to override the convictions and hopes and interests of a large
majority of the Kansas settlers, are utterly abandoned by those who
are in power.

Of the remaining and mostly routine topics of the Message we have no
occasion to speak; and we only regret that the deficiencies of the
most important parts are so glaring as to oblige us to treat them
with undisguised severity.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Dear Anna, when I brought her veil,
  Her white veil, on her wedding-night,
  Threw o'er my thin brown hair its folds,
  And, laughing, turned me to the light.

  "See, Bessie, see! you wear for once
  The bridal veil, forsworn for years!"
  She saw my face,--her laugh was hushed,
  Her happy eyes were filled with tears.

  With kindly haste and trembling hand
  She drew away the gauzy mist;
  "Forgive, dear heart!"--her sweet voice said;
  Her loving lips my forehead kissed.

  We passed from out the searching light;
  The summer night was calm and fair:
  I did not see her pitying eyes,
  I felt her soft hand smooth my hair.

  Her tender love unlocked my heart;
  'Mid falling tears, at last I said,
  "Forsworn indeed to me that veil,
  Because I only love the dead!"

  She stood one moment statue-still,
  And, musing, spake in under-tone,
  "The living love may colder grow;
  The dead is safe with God alone!"


  _The Spanish Conquest in America, and its Relation to the History
  of Slavery and to the Government of Colonies_. By ARTHUR HELPS. Vols.
  I. and II. London, 1855. Vol. III. London, 1857.

This work has a double claim to attention in America;--first, on
account of its great intrinsic merit as a narrative of the
beginnings of the European settlement of this continent; secondly,
as containing a thorough and exceedingly able account of the
planting of Slavery in America, and the origin of that system which
has been and is the great blight of the civilization of the New World.

Mr. Helps is endowed in large measure with the qualities of an
historian of the highest order. A clear and comprehensive vision, a
wide knowledge and careful study of human nature, free and generous
sympathies are united in him with a penetrative imagination which
vivifies the life of past times, with a reverence for truth which
excludes prejudice and prepossession, and with a profoundly
religious spirit. The tone of his thought is manly and vigorous, and
his style, with the beauty of which the readers of his essays have
long been familiar, is marked by quiet grace and unpretending
strength. There are many passages in these volumes of wise
reflection and of pleasant humor. In the drawing of character and in
the narration of events Mr. Helps is equally happy. The pages of his
book are full of lifelike portraits of the great soldiers and great
priests of the time, and of animated pictures of the scenes in which
they were engaged.

Mr. Helps has investigated his subject with zeal, industry, and
patience. He has sought out the original authorities, has brought to
light many important facts, has redeemed some great memories from
unjust oblivion, and has presented a new view of several of the
chief features of the history. In a graceful advertisement to the
third volume he says, "The reader will observe that there is
scarcely any allusion in this work to the kindred works of modern
writers on the same subject. This is not from any want of respect for
the able historians who have written upon the discovery or the
conquest of America. I felt, however, from the first, that my object
in investigating this portion of history was different from theirs;
and I wished to keep my mind clear from the influence which these
eminent persons might have exercised upon it."

A considerable space in these volumes is devoted to an investigation
of the character and condition of the native races of the continent
at the period of the Spanish Conquest. This subject is treated with
peculiar skill and learning, and with unusual power of sympathetic
analysis and appreciation of remote and obscure developments of
society. Another portion of the history, which his plan has led
Mr. Helps to treat at length and with exhaustive thoroughness, is
the early relations between the conquerors and the conquered,
embracing the method of settlement of the different countries, the
whole disastrous system of _ripartimientos_ and _encomiendas_, which,
in its full development, led to the destruction of the native
population of Hispaniola, and to the introduction of negroes into
this and the other West India islands to supply the demand for

Another most interesting portion of his subject, and one which has
never till now been fairly exhibited, relates to the labors of the
Dominican and Franciscan monks, and their admirable and unwearied
efforts to counteract and to remedy some of the bitterest evils of
the conquest. Theirs were the first protests that were raised
against slavery in America, and their ranks afforded the first
martyrs in the cause of the Indian and the Negro. Las Casas has
found an eloquent and just biographer, and Mr. Helps has the
satisfaction of having securely placed his name among the few that
deserve the lasting honor and remembrance of the world. The
narrative of Las Casas's life is one of strong dramatic interest.
His life was a varied and remarkable one, even for those times of
striking contrasts and varieties in the fortunes of men; and in
Mr. Helps's pages one sees the man himself, with his simplicity and
elevation of purpose, his honesty of motive, his energy, his
impetuosity, his courage, and his faith.

The three volumes already published embrace the progress of Spanish
conquest from the first discoveries of Columbus to Pizarro's
incursion into Peru. It is sincerely to be hoped that Mr. Helps may
continue his work, at least to the period when the Spanish conquest
and colonization were met and limited by the conquest and the
colonization of the other European nations. Its importance, as a wise,
thoughtful, unpolemic investigation of the origin and the results of
Slavery, is hardly to be overestimated. The space allowed to a
critical notice does not permit us to render it full justice. We can
do little more than recommend it warmly to the readers of history
and to the students of the most difficult and the darkest social
problem of the age.

  _Handbook of Railroad Construction, for the Use of American
  Engineers. Containing the Necessary Rules, Tables, and Formulae for
  the Location, Construction, Equipment, and Management of Railroads,
  as built in the United States_. With 158 Illustrations. By GEORGE L.
  VOSE, Civil Engineer. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1857. 12 mo. pp. 480.

All who trust their persons to railroad cars, or their estates to
railroad stocks, will welcome every effort to enlighten that
irresponsible body of railroad builders and managers in whose wits
we put our faith.

The work which we here notice is intended for uneducated American
engineers, of whom there are unfortunately too many. The rapidity
with which our railroads have been built, and the experimental
character of this new branch of engineering, have obliged us to
resort to such native ability and mother wit as our people could
afford. The great body of our railroad engineers have had no training
but the experience they have blundered through; and even our
railroad financiers are men more distinguished for courage and
energy than for experimental skill. Mr. Vose's book will doubtless
be of great service in remedying these evils, by bringing within the
reach of every intelligent man a valuable and very carefully
prepared summary of such rules, formulas, and statistics as our
railroad experiences have furnished and proved.

Railroad engineering and management have united almost every branch
of mechanical and financial science, and have developed several new
and peculiar arts; so that the successful construction, equipment,
and management of a railroad require a rare combination of
accomplishments. Managers hitherto have been too little acquainted
with their business to settle many questions of economy, but they
are now beginning to look upon their enterprises with cooler

The "Handbook" discusses several questions of economy, but seeks,
especially in its rules and formulas, to avoid those risks by which
economy has often been turned into the most ruinous extravagance. On
the question of fuel, our author advocates the use of coke as the
most economical and convenient, and every way preferable where it
can be readily obtained. He also urges, on economical grounds, a
more moderate rate of speed in railroad travel; thus showing that we
may save our forests, our lives, and a considerable expense all at
the same time.

The style is clear, and, for a work not professing to be a complete
treatise, but only a manual of useful facts, the arrangement is
admirable. The book is thoroughly practical, and touches upon such
matters, and for the most part upon such matters only, as are likely
to be of service to the practical man; yet it is quite elementary in
its character, and free from unnecessary technicalities.

The book has, however, one great fault. It is full of errata. No
carefully prepared table of corrections can make amends for such a
fault in a book in which typographical correctness is of the
greatest importance. To insert in their places with a pen more than
two hundred published corrections is a labor which no reader would
willingly undertake. We hope, therefore, that a new and correct
edition will soon be published.

  _The Life of Handel_. By VICTOR SCHOELCHER. Reprinted from the
    London Edition. New York: Mason, Brothers.

It is a remarkable fact, and one not very creditable to the musical
public of England, that the works of Mainwaring, Hawkins, Barney,
and Coxe should remain for almost an entire century after the death
of Handel our main sources of information concerning his career, and
that the first attempt to write a complete biography of that great
composer, correcting the errors, reconciling the contradictions, and
supplying the deficiencies of those authors, should be from the pen
of a French exile. And yet during all this time materials have been
accumulating, the fame of the composer has been extending, the demand
for such a work increasing, and the number of intelligent and
elegant English writers upon music growing greater.

M. Schoelcher's work, though perhaps the most valuable contribution
to musical historical literature which has for many years appeared
from the English press, leaves much to be desired. Excepting a
correction of the chronology of Handel's visit to Italy, very little,
if anything, of importance is added to what we already possessed in
regard to the early history of the composer. We look in vain for the
means of tracing the development of his genius. The impression left
upon the mind of the reader is, that his powers showed themselves
suddenly in full splendor, and that at a single bound he placed
himself at the head of the dramatic composers of his age. This was
not true of Hasse, Mozart, Gluck, Cherubini, Weber, in dramatic
composition; nor of Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, in other branches of the
musical art. However great a man's genius may be, he must live and
learn. To attain the highest excellence, long continued study is
necessary; and Handel, as we believe, was no exception to the
general law.

The list of works consulted by M. Schoelcher, prefixed to the
biography, shows that he has by no means exhausted the German
authorities which may be profitably used in writing upon the early
history of Handel: indeed, the author, though of German descent, is
unacquainted with the German language. We can learn from them the
state of dramatic music at that time in Berlin, Leipsic, Brunswick,
Hanover, Köthen; we can form from them some correct idea of the
powers of Keiser, Steffani, Graupner, Schieferdecker, Telemann,
Grünwald, and others, then in possession of the lyric stage; we can
thus estimate the influences which led Handel from the path that
Bach so successfully followed, into that which he pursued with equal
success; and though the amount of matter relating to him personally
be small, much that throws light upon his early life still remains
inaccessible to the English reader.

The biography of a great creative artist must in great measure
consist of a history of his works; and the great value of the
book before us arises from the searching examination to which
M. Schoelcher has subjected the several collections of Handel's
manuscripts which are preserved in England, one of which, in some
respects the most valuable, has fallen into his own possession. This
examination, for the first time made, together with the first careful
and thorough search for whatever might afford a ray of light in the
various periodicals of Handel's time, has enabled the author to
correct innumerable errors in previous writers, and trace step by
step the rapid succession of opera, anthem, serenata, and oratorio,
which filled the years of the composer's manhood. For the general
reader, perhaps, M. Schoelcher has been drawn too far into detail,
and some passages of his work might have been better reserved for
his "Catalogue of Handel's Works"; but these details are of the
highest value to the student of musical literature, and, indeed,
form for him the principal charm of the work. The importance of the
author's labors can be duly appreciated only by those who have had
occasion to study somewhat extensively the musical history of the
last century. For them the results of those labors as here presented
are invaluable.

  _Sermons of the_ REV. C. H. SPURGEON, of London. Third Series.
    New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co.

There can be no doubt of the merit of these sermons, considered as
examples of method and embodiments of character. Whatever elements
of Christianity may be left unexpressed in them, it is certain that
Mr. Spurgeon has succeeded in expressing himself. His discourses at
least give us Christianity as he understands, feels, and lives it.
They should be studied by all clergymen who desire to master the
secret of influencing masses of men. They will afford valuable hints
in respect to method, even when their spirit, tone, and teaching
present no proper model for imitation. Mr. Spurgeon, we suppose,
would be classed among Calvinists, but he is not merely that.
Without any force, depth, amplitude, or originality of thought, he
has considerable force and originality of nature. He detaches from
their relations certain doctrines of Calvinism which especially
interest him, and so emphasizes and intensifies them, so blends them
with his personal being and experience, that the impression he
stamps upon the mind is rather of Spurgeonism than Calvinism. He
gives vivid reality to his doctrines, because they are incorporated
with his nature,--and not merely with his spiritual, but with his
animal nature. He is thoroughly in earnest from the fact that he
preaches himself. His converts, therefore, are likely to mistake
being Spurgeonized for being Christianized; for the Christianity he
preaches is not so much vital Christianity as it is Christianity
passed through the vitalities of his own nature, and essentially
modified and lowered in the process. To understand, then, the kind
of influence he exerts, we have simply to inquire, What kind of man
is Mr. Spurgeon?

The answer to this question is given on every page of his sermons.
He has no reserves, but lets his character transpire in every
sentence. He is a bold, eager, earnest, devout, passionate,
well-intentioned man, with considerable experience in the sphere of
the religious emotions, full of sympathy with rough natures, full of
mother wit and practical sagacity, but, as a theologian, coarse,
ignorant, narrow-minded, and strikingly deficient in fine spiritual
perceptions. These qualities inhere in a nature of singular vigor,
intensity, and directness, that sends out words like bullets. Warmth
of feeling combined with narrowness of mind makes him a bigot; but
his bigotry is not the sour assertion of an opinion, but the racy
utterance of a nature. He believes in Spurgeonism so thoroughly and
so simply that toleration is out of the question, and doctrines
opposed to his own he refers, with instantaneous and ingenuous
dogmatism, to folly or wickedness. "I think," he says, in one of his
sermons, "I have none here so profoundly stupid as to be Puseyites.
I can scarcely believe that I have been the means of attracting one
person here so utterly devoid of one remnant of brain as to believe
the doctrine of baptismal regeneration." The doctrine, indeed, is so
nonsensical to him, that, after some caricatures of it, he asserts
that it would discredit Scripture with all sensible men, if it were
taught in Scripture. God himself could not make Mr. Spurgeon believe
it; and doubtless there are many High Churchmen who would retort,
that nothing short of a miracle could make them assent to some of
the dogmas of their assailant. Indeed, the incapacity of our
preacher to discern, or mentally to reproduce, a religious character
differing in creed from his own, makes him the most amusingly
intolerant of Popes, not because he is malignant, but because he is
Spurgeon. If he had learning or largeness of mind, he would probably
lose the greater portion of his power. He gets his hearers into a
corner, limits the range of their vision to the doctrine he is
expounding, refuses to listen to any excuses or palliations, and
then screams out to them, "Believe or be damned!" In his own mind he
is sure they will be damned, if they do not believe. So far as
regards his influence over those minds whose religious emotions are
strong, but whose religious principles are weak, every limitation of
his mind is an increase of his force.

This theological narrowness is unaccompanied with theological rancor.
A rough but genuine benevolence is at the heart of Mr. Spurgeon's
system. He wishes his opponents to be converted, not condemned. He
very properly feels, that, with his ideas of the Divine Government,
he would be the basest of criminals, if he spared himself, or spared
either entreaty or denunciation, in the great work of saving souls.
He throws himself with such passionate earnestness into his business,
that his sermons boil over with the excitement of his feelings.
Indeed, it is difficult to say whether our impressions of him,
derived from the written page, come to us more from the eye than the
ear. His very style foams, rages, prays, entreats, adjures, weeps,
screams, warns, and execrates. His words are words that everybody
understands,--bold, blunt, homely, quaint, level to his nature, all
alive with passion, and directed with the single purpose of carrying
the fortresses of sin by assault. The reader who contrives to
preserve his calmness amid this storm of words cannot but be vexed
that rhetoric so efficient should frequently be combined with notions
so narrow, with bigotry so besotted, with religious principles so
materialized; that the man who is loudly proclaimed as the greatest
living orator of the pulpit should have so little of that Christian
spirit which refines when it inflames, which exalts, enlarges, and
purifies the natures it moves. For Mr. Spurgeon is, after all,
little more than a theological stump-orator, a Protestant Dominican,
easy of comprehension because he leaves out the higher elements of
his themes, and not hesitating to vulgarize Christianity, if he may
thereby extend it among the vulgar. It has been attempted to justify
him by the examples of Luther and Bunyan, to neither of whom does
he bear more than the most superficial resemblance. He is, to be sure,
as natural as Luther, but then his nature happens to be a puny
nature as compared with that of the great Reformer; and, not to
insist on specific differences, it is certain that Luther, if alive,
would have the same objection to Mr. Spurgeon's bringing down the
doctrines of Christianity to the supposed mental condition of his
hearers, as he had to the Romanists of his day, who corrupted
religion in order that the public "might be more generally
accommodated." Bunyan's phraseology is homely, but Bunyan's
celestializing imagination kept his "familiar grasp of things divine"
from being an irreverent pawing of things divine. Mr. Spurgeon's
nature works on a low level of influence. Deficient in imagination,
and with a mind coarse and unspiritualized, though religiously
impressed, he animalizes his creed in attempting to give it
sensuous reality and impressiveness. If it be said that by this
process he feels his way into hearts which could not be affected by
more spiritual means, the answer is, that the multitude who listened
to the Sermon on the Mount were not of a more elevated cast of mind
than the multitude who listened to Mr. Spurgeon's sermon on
"Regeneration." But the truth is, that Mr. Spurgeon's preaching is
liked, not simply because it rouses sinners to repentance, but
because it gives sinners a certain enjoyment. It is racy, original,
exciting, and comes directly from the character of the preacher. It
is relished, as Mr. Spurgeon tells us in his Preface, by "princes of
every nation and nobles of every rank," as well as by humbler people.
But we doubt whether Christianity should be vulgarized to give jaded
nobles a new "sensation," or in order to be made a fit "gospel for
the poor."

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Roumania: the Border Land of the Christian and the Turk.
  Comprising Adventures of Travel in Eastern Europe and Western Asia_.
  By JAMES O. NOYES, M. D. Surgeon in the Ottoman Army. New York: Rudd &
  Carleton, 310 Broadway. 1857.

Dr. James Oscar Noyes, the author of this book, is an American all
over. He has the rapidity and eagerness of mind that the champagny
atmosphere of our northern hills gives to those who are stout enough
not to be wilted by our hot summers. For briskness, thriftiness,
energy, and alacrity, it is hard to find his match. He has made a
book of travels, and will make a hundred, unless somebody finds him
a place at home where he will have an indefinite number of
labors-of-Hercules to keep him busy,--or unless some African prince
cuts his head off, or he happens to call upon the Battas about their

Here he has been streaming through Eastern Europe and Western Asia,
so hilarious and good-tempered all the time, so intensely wide-awake,
so perfectly at home everywhere, so quick at making friends, so
perfectly convinced that the world was made for American travellers,
and so apt at proving it by his own example, that his friends who
missed him for a while not only were not astonished to find that he
had been a Surgeon in the Ottoman Army, during this brief interval,
but only wondered he had not been Grand Vizier.

In this instance the book is the man, if we may so far change
Monsieur de Buffon's saying. It is full of fresh observations and
lively descriptions,--perhaps a little too overlarded and
oversprigged with prose and verse quotations,--but as lively as a
golden carp just landed. It describes scenes not familiar to most
readers, tells stories they have never heard, introduces them to new
costumes and faces, and helps itself by the aid of pictures to make
its vivacious narrative real. We are much pleased to learn that the
work has met with a very good reception; for we consider it as the
card of introduction of a gentleman whom the American people will
very probably know pretty well before he has done with them, and be
the better for the acquaintance.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Dante's Hell_. Cantos I. to X. A Literal Metrical Translation.
    By J. C. Peabody. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1857.

A man must be either conscious of poetic gifts and possessed of real
learning, or very presumptuous and ignorant, who undertakes at the
present day a _new_ translation of Dante. Mr. J. C. Peabody might
claim exemption from this _dictum_, on the ground that his
translation is not a _new_ one; but he himself does not put in this
plea, and we cannot grant to him the possession of poetic power, or
declare that he is not ignorant and presumptuous. He says in his
Preface, with a modesty, the worth of which will soon become apparent,
"The present is on a different plan from all other translations, and
must be judged accordingly. While I disclaim all intention of
disputing the palm as a poet or scholar with the least of those who
have walked with Dante before me, yet, by such labor and plodding as
their genius would not allow them to descend to, have I made a more
literal, and perhaps, therefore, a better translation than they all."
Mr. J. C. Peabody is right in supposing that none of the previous
translations of Dante could descend to _such_ labor and plodding as
his. In 1849, Dr. Carlyle published his literal prose translation of
the "Inferno." It was in many respects admirably done, and it has
afforded great assistance to the students of the poet in their first
progress. Mr. Peabody does not acknowledge any obligations to it, or
refer to it in any way. Let us, however, compare a passage or two of
the two versions. We open at line 78 of the First Canto. We do not
divide Mr. Peabody's into the lines of verse.


  "Art thou, then, that Virgil and that fountain
  which pours abroad so rich a stream of
  speech? I answered him with bashful front.
  O glory and light of other poets! May the
  long zeal avail me and the great love which
  made me search thy volume. Thou art my
  master and my author."


  "Art thou that Virgil and that fountain,
  then, which pours abroad so rich a stream of
  speech? With bashful forehead him I gave
  reply. O light and glory of the other bards!
  May the long zeal and the great love avail me
  that hath caused me thy volume to explore.
  Thou art my master, thou my author art."

Opening again at random, we take the two translations at the
beginning of the Eighth Canto.


  "I say, continuing, that long before we
  reached the foot of the high tower our eyes
  went upward to the summit, because of two
  flamelets that we saw put there; and another
  from far gave signal back,--so far that the
  eye could scarcely catch it. And I, turning
  to the Sea of all knowledge, said: What says
  this? and what replies yon other light? And
  who are they that made it?"


  "I say, continuing, that long before unto
  the foot of that high tower we came, our eyes
  unto its summit upward went, cause of two
  flamelets that we saw there placed; while
  signal back another gave from far; so far the
  eye a glimpse could hardly catch. Then I to
  the Sea of all wisdom turned, and said: What
  sayeth this and what replies that other fire?
  And who are they that made it?"

We open again in Cantos Nine and Ten, and find a like resemblance
between Dr. Carlyle's prose and Mr. Peabody's metre; but we have
perhaps quoted enough to enable our readers to form a just idea of
the latter person's "labor and plodding." It is not, however, in the
text alone that the resemblance exists. J. C. Peabody's notes bear a
striking conformity to Dr. Carlyle's. There are fourteen notes to the
Second Canto in Mr. Peabody's book,--_all_ taken, with more or less
unimportant alteration and addition, from Dr. Carlyle, without
acknowledgment. Of the twelve notes to Canto Eight, nine are, with
little change, from Dr. Carlyle. We have compared no farther;
_ex uno omnes_. Now and then Mr. Peabody gives us a note of his own.
In the First Canto, for instance; he explains the allegorical
greyhound as "A looked for reformer. 'The Coming Man.'" The
appropriateness and elegance of which commentary will be manifest to
all readers familiar with the allusion. In the Fourth Canto, where
Virgil speaks of the condition of the souls in limbo, our professed
translator says: "Dante says this in bitter irony. He ill brooks the
narrow bigotry of the Church," etc. etc., showing an utter ignorance
of Dante's real adherence to the doctrine of the Church. He has here
read Dr. Carlyle's note with less attention than usual; for a
quotation contained in it from the "De Monarchià" would have set him
right. The quotation is, however, in Latin, and though Mr. Peabody
has transferred many quotations from the "Aeneid" (through Dr. Carlyle)
to his own notes, they are often so printed as not to impress one
with a strong sense of his familiarity with the Latin language. We
give one instance for the sake of illustration. On page 40 appear
the following lines:--

  Terribili squarlore Charon eni plurina mento
  Canities inculta jucet; staut lumina flaurina

Nor is he happier in his quotations from Italian, or in his other
displays of learning. Having occasion to quote one of Dante's most
familiar lines, he gives it in this way:--

  Lasciatte ogni speranzi, voi ch'entrate.

Anacreon is with him "Anachreon"; Vallombrosa is "Vallambroso";
Aristotelian is "Aristotleian." Five times (all the instances in
which the name occurs) the Ghibelline appears as the "Ghiberlines";
and Montaperti is transformed into "Montapesti."

Nor is J.C. Peabody's poetic capacity superior to his honesty or his
learning; witness such lines as these:--

  "My parents natives of Lombardy were."
  "They'll come to blood and then the savage party."
  "Like as at Palo near the Quarnãro."
  "I am not Aeneas; I am not Paul."

We have exhibited sufficiently the merits of what its author
declares to be "perhaps a better translation" than any other. He
says that "the whole Divine Comedy of which these ten cantos are a
specimen will appear in due time." If the specimen be a fair one,
the translation of the "Purgatory" and the "Paradise" will not appear
until after the publication of Dr. Carlyle's prose version, for
which we may yet have to wait some time.

We are confident that so honorable a publishing house as that of
Messrs. Ticknor and Fields must have been unaware of the character
of a book so full of false pretences, when they allowed their name
to be put on the title-page. But to make up for even unconscious
participation in such a literary imposition, we trust that they will
soon put to press the remainder of Dr. Parsons's excellent
translation of Dante's poem, a specimen of which appeared so long
since, bearing their imprint.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _City Poems_. By ALEXANDER SMITH, Author of "A Life Drama, and
    other Poems." Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

On the first appearance of Alexander Smith, criticism became
light-headed, and fairly exhausted its whole vocabulary of panegyric
in giving him welcome. "There is not a page in this volume on which
we cannot find some novel image, _some Shakspearian felicity_ of
expression, or some striking simile," said the critic of the
"Westminster Review." "Having read these extracts," said another
exponent of public opinion, "turn _to any poet you will_, and
compare the texture of the composition,--it is a severe test, but
you will find that Alexander Smith bears it well." It was observable,
however, that all this praise was lavished on what were styled
"beauties." Passages and single lines, bricks from the edifice, were
extravagantly eulogized; but on turning to the poems, it was found
that the poetical lines and passages were not parts of a whole, that
the bricks formed no edifice at all. There were no indications of
creative genius, no shaping or constructive power, no substance and
fibre of individuality, no signs of a great poetical nature, but a
splendid anarchy of sensations and faculties. The separate beauties,
as the author had heaped and huddled them together, presented a
total result of deformity. It was also found, that, striking as some
of the images, metaphors, and similes were, they gave little poetic
satisfaction or delight. A certain thinness of sentiment, poverty of
idea, and shallowness of experience, were not hidden from view, to
one who looked sharply through the gorgeous wrappings of words. A
small, but sensitive and facile nature, capable of fully expressing
itself by the grace of a singularly fluent fancy, with an appetite
for beauty rather than a passion for it, with no essential
imagination and opulence of soul,--this was the mortifying result to
which we were conducted by analysis. Still, it was asserted that the
luxuriance of the young poet's mind promised much; let a few years
pass, and Tennyson and Browning and Elizabeth Barrett would be at
his feet. A few years have passed, and here is his second volume. It
has less richness of fancy than the first, but its merits and
demerits are the same. The man has not yet grown into a poet,--has
not yet learned that the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the mind
should be connected with primal roots in its individual being. These
are still tied on, in his old manner, to a succession of thoughts
and emotions, which have themselves little vital connection with
each other. The "hey-day in his blood," which gave an appearance of
exulting and abounding life to his first poems, has somewhat
subsided now, and the effect is, that "The City Poems," as a whole,
are leaner in spirit, and more morbid and despondent in tone, than
the "Life Drama." Yet there is still so much that is superficially
striking in the volume, such a waste of imagery and emotion, and so
many occasional lines and epithets of real power and beauty, that we
close the volume with some vexation and pain at our inability to
award it the praise which many readers will think it deserves.

       *       *       *       *       *


  _Der Reichspostreiter in Ludwigsburg, Novelle auf geschichtlichem
  Hintergrunde_. Von Robert Heller. 1858.

A very interesting novel indeed, sketching life at the little court
of the Duke of Wurtemberg at the beginning of the eighteenth century,
and the overthrow of the government of a famous mistress of the Duke,
the Countess Würben. The main points of interest in the story are
historical, and the tissue of fiction interwoven with these is
remarkably well arranged. Herr Heller belongs to the school of
German novelists who, like Hermann Kurz, and others of minor mark,
make a copious and comprehensive use of historical facts in Art.
Their object and aim seem to be rather to illustrate and embody the
historical facts in the flesh and blood of tangible reality, than
merely to amuse by transforming history into a material for poetical
entertainment. With all that, the abovenamed little volume is amply
worth reading.

  _Une Eté dans le Sahara_, par Eugene Fromentin. Paris. 1857.

A painter describes here a summer journey through the Desert of
Sahara, as far south from Algiers as El Aghouat, in the year 1853.
There is not much that is new in this book, considering the many
later and far more comprehensive and extensive illustrations of life
in the Great Desert, since published by Bayard Taylor, Barth, and
others; but it is a very interesting picture of this life, as seen
and drawn by a painter. His descriptions contain many landscape and
_genre_ pictures, by means of which a vivid idea of the scenery
and life are conveyed to the imagination of the reader.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 03, January, 1858 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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