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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 31, May, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 31, May, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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VOL. V, MAY, 1860, NO. XXXI


"Instinct is a great matter," quoth Falstaff, when called upon to find
out a device, a "starting-hole," to hide himself from the open and
apparent shame of having run away from the fight and hacked his sword
like a handsaw with his own dagger. Like a valiant lion, he would not
turn upon the true prince, but ran away upon instinct. Although the
peculiar circumstances of the occasion upon which the subject was
presented to Falstaff's mind were not very favorable to a calm
consideration of it, he was undoubtedly correct in saying that instinct
is a great matter. "If, then, the tree may be known by the fruit," says
Falstaff, "as the fruit by the tree, then, peremptorily I speak it,
there is virtue in that Falstaff"; and it is proper that his authority
should be quoted, even upon a question of metaphysical science.

That psychological endowment of animals which we denominate instinct
has in every age been a matter full of wonder; and men of thought have
found few more interesting subjects of inquiry. But it is confessed
that little has been satisfactorily made out concerning the nature and
limitations of instinct. In former times the habits and mental
characteristics of those orders of animated being which are inferior to
man were observed with but a careless eye; and it was late before the
phenomena of animal life received a careful and reverent examination.
It is vain to inquire what instinct is, before there has been an
accurate observation of its manifestations. It is only from its outward
manifestations that we can know anything of that marvellous inward
nature which is given to animals. We cannot know anything of the
essential constitution of mind, but can know only its properties. This
is all we know even of matter. "If material existence," says Sir
William Hamilton, "could exhibit ten thousand phenomena, and if we
possessed ten thousand senses to apprehend these ten thousand phenomena
of material existence, of existence absolutely and in itself we should
be then as ignorant as we are at present." But this limitation of human
knowledge has not always been kept in view. Men have been solicitous to
penetrate into the higher mysteries of absolute and essential
existence. But in thus reaching out after the unattainable, we have
often passed by the only knowledge which it was possible for us to
gain. Much vague speculation concerning instinct has arisen from the
attempt to resolve the problem of its ultimate nature; and perhaps much
more might have been made out with certainty about it, if no greater
task had been attempted than to classify the phenomena which it
exhibits and determine the nature of its manifestations. In regard to
instinct, as well as everything else, we must be content with finding
out what it seems to us to be, rather than what it is. Even with this
limitation, the inquiry will prove sufficiently difficult. The
properties of instinct are a little more inscrutable than those of the
human mind, inasmuch as we have our own consciousness to assist us in
this case, while we are left to infer the peculiarities of instinct
from its outward manifestations only. And moreover, the inquiry
involves an understanding of the workings of the human mind; for it is
only when viewed in contrast with the rational endowments of man that
the character of instinct is best known. All other questions connected
with the subject are subordinate to this one of the apparent difference
between instinct and reason.

Many definitions have been given of instinctive actions. These differ
widely in their extent, and are for the most part quite inadequate.
Some writers have ranged under this term all those customary habits and
actions which are common to all the individuals of a species. According
to this definition, almost every action of animated life is
instinctive. But the general idea of an instinctive action is much more
restricted; it is one that is performed without instruction and prior
to experience,--and not for the immediate gratification of the agent,
but only as the means for the attainment of some ulterior end. To apply
the term instinct to the regular and involuntary movements of the
bodily organs, such as the beating of the heart and the action of the
organs of respiration, is manifestly an extension of the ordinary
acceptation of the term. Organic actions of a similar character are
also performed by plants, and are purely mechanical. "In the lowest and
simplest class of excited movements," says Müller, "the nervous system
would not appear to be concerned. They result from stimuli directly
applied to the muscles, which immediately excite their contractility;
and they are evidently of the same character with the motions of
plants." Thus, the heart is excited to pulsation by the direct contact
of the blood with the muscle. The hand of a sleeping child closes upon
any object which gently touches the palm. And it is in this way,
doubtless, that the Sea Anemone entraps its prey, or anything else that
may come in contact with its tentacles. But so far are these movements
from indicating of themselves the action of any instinctive principle,
that they are no proof of animality; for a precisely analogous power is
possessed by the sensitive plant known as the Fly-Trap of Venus
(_Dionoea muscipula_): "any insect touching the sensitive hairs on the
surface of its leaf instantly causes the leaf to shut up and enclose
the insect, as in a trap; nor is this all; a mucilaginous secretion
acts like a gastric juice on the captive, digests it, and renders it
assimilable by the plant, which thus feeds on the victim, as the
Actinea feeds on the Annelid or Crustacean it may entrap." In the
animal organization a large class of reflex actions are excited, not by
a direct influence, but indirectly by the agency of the nerves and
spinal cord. Such actions are essentially independent of the brain; for
they occur in animals which have no brain, and in those whose brain has
been removed. However marvellous these functions of organic life may
be, there is nothing in them at all resembling that agency properly
called instinct, which may be said to take the place in the inferior
tribes of reason in man. To refer these operations to the same source
as the wonderful instinct that guides the bird in its long migratory
flight, or in the construction of its nest, would be to make the bird a
curiously constructed machine which is operated by impressions from
without upon its sentient nerves.

Those actions have sometimes been called instinctive which arise from
the appetites and passions; and they have been referred to instinct,
doubtless, because they have one characteristic of instinct,--that they
are not acquired by experience or instruction. "But they differ," says
Professor Bowen, "at least in one important respect from those
instincts of the lower animals which are usually contrasted with human
reason. The objects towards which they are directed are prized for
their own sake; they are sought as _ends_; while instinct teaches
brutes to do many things which are needed only as means for the
attainment of some ulterior purpose." When the butterfly extracts the
nectar from the flowers which she loves most, she meets a want of her
physical nature which demands satisfaction at the moment; but when, in
opposition to her appetite, she proceeds to the flowerless shrub to
deposit her eggs upon the leaves best suited to support her
unthought-of progeny, she is not influenced by any desire for the
immediate gratification of her senses, but is led to the act by some
dim impulse, in order that an ultimate object may be provided for to
which she has no reference at the time. We are surprised to find it
declared, in the very interesting "Psychological Inquiries" of Sir B.C.
Brodie, that the desire for food is the simplest form of an instinct,
and that such an instinct goes far towards explaining others which are
more complicated. It is true that the appetites and passions of animals
have an ultimate object, but they are impelled to action by a desire
for immediate gratification only; but when we speak of an instinct, we
mean something more than a mere want or desire,--we have chiefly in
view the end beyond the blind instrumentality by which it is reached.

When we watch the movements of a young bee, as it first goes forth from
its waxen cradle, we are forced to recognize an influence at work which
is unlike reason, and which is neither appetite nor any mechanical
principle of organic life. Rising upon the comb, and holding steadily
with its tiny feet, with admirable adroitness the young bee smooths its
wings for its first flight, and rubs its body with its fore legs and
antennae; then walking along the comb to the mouth of the hive, it
mounts into the air, flies forth into the fields, alights upon the
proper flowers, extracts their juices, collects their pollen, and,
kneading it into little balls, deposits them in the sacks upon its
feet; and then returning to its hive, it delivers up the honey and the
wax and the bread which it has gathered and elaborated. In the hive it
works the wax with its paws and feelers into an hexagonal cell with a
rhomboidal bottom, the three plates of which form such angles with each
other as require the least wax and space in the construction of the
cell. All these complex operations the bee performs as adroitly, on the
first morning of its life, as the most experienced workman in the hive.
The tyro gatherer sought the flowery fields upon untried wings, and
returned to its home from this first expedition with unerring flight by
the most direct course through the trackless air.

This is one instance of that great class of actions which are allowed
on all hands to be strictly instinctive. In the fact, that the occult
faculties which urge the bee to make honey and construct geometrical
cells are in complete development when it first emerges from its cell,
we recognize one of the most striking characteristics of instinct,--its
existence prior to all experience or instruction. The insect tribes
furnish us with many instances in which the young being never sees its
parents, and therefore all possibility of its profiting from their
instructions or of its imitating their actions is cut off. The solitary
wasp, for example, is accustomed to construct a tunnelled nest in which
she deposits her eggs and then brings a number of living caterpillars
and places them in a hole which she has made above each egg; being very
careful to furnish just caterpillars enough to maintain the young worm
from the time of its exclusion from the egg till it can provide for
itself, and to place them so as to be readily accessible the moment
food is required. But what is most curious of all is the fact that the
wasp does not deposit the caterpillars unhurt, for thus they would
disturb or perhaps destroy the young; nor does she sting them to death,
for thus they would soon be in no state of proper preservation; but, as
if understanding these contingencies, she inflicts a disabling wound.
Yet the wasp does not feed upon caterpillars herself, nor has she ever
seen a wasp provide them for her future offspring. She has never seen a
worm such as will spring from her egg, nor can she know that her egg
will produce a worm; and besides, she herself will be dead long before
the unknown worm can be in existence. Therefore she works blindly;
without knowing that her work is to subserve any useful purpose, she
works to a purpose both definite and important; and her acts are
uniform with those of all solitary wasps that have lived before her or
that will live after her; so that we are compelled to refer these
untaught actions to some constant impulse connected with the special
organization of the wasp,--an innate tact, uniform throughout the
species, of which we, not possessing anything of the kind, can form
only a poor conception, but which we call instinct.

There have been some philosophers, however, who have exercised their
ingenuity in tracing so-called instinctive actions to the operation of
experience. The celebrated Doctor Erasmus Darwin gave, as an
illustration of this view, his opinion that the young of animals know
how to swallow from their experience of swallowing _in utero_. Without
going into any refutation of this position, we would only remark, in
passing, that the act of swallowing is not an instinctive action at
all, but a purely mechanical one. Would not Doctor Darwin have rejoiced
greatly, if he could have brought to the support of his theory the
observation of our own great naturalist, Agassiz, who, knowing the
savage snap of one of the large, full-grown Testudinata, is said to
have asserted, that, under the microscope, he has seen the juvenile
turtle snapping precociously _in embryo_?

But not only is instinct prior to all experience, it is even superior
to it, and often leads animals to disregard it,--the spontaneous
impulse which Nature has given them being their best guide. The
carrier-pigeon or the bird of passage, taken a long distance from home
by a circuitous route, trusting to this "pilot-sense," flies back in a
straight course; and the hound takes the shortest way home through
fields where he has never previously set foot.

The existence of instinct prior to all experience or instruction, and
its perfection in the beginning, render cultivation and improvement not
only unnecessary, but impossible. As it is with the individual, so it
is with the race. One generation of the irrational tribes does not
improve upon the preceding or educate its successor. The web which you
watched the spider weaving in your open window last summer, carefully
measuring off each radius of her wheel and each circular mesh by one of
her legs, was just such a web as the spider wove of old when she was
pronounced to be "little upon the earth, yet exceeding wise."

This incapacity for education is what so widely separates instinct from
the rational powers of man. Man gathers knowledge and transmits it from
generation to generation. He is not born with a ready skill, but with a
capacity for it. His mind is formed destitute of all connate knowledge,
that it may acquire the knowledge of all things. "Man's imperfection at
his nativity is his perfection; while the perfection of brutes at their
nativity is their imperfection." No rational being has ever arrived at
such perfection that he cannot still improve; he can travel on from one
attainment to another in a perpetual progress of improvement. He is,
moreover, free to choose his own path of action; while the being of
instinct is governed by a power which is not subject to his will, and
which confines him to a narrow path which he cannot leave. But
instinct, within its narrow limits, in many cases quite transcends
reason in its achievements.

  "Man's attainments in his own concerns,
  Matched with the expertness of the brutes in theirs,
  Are ofttimes vanquished and thrown far behind."

Perhaps man has never made a structure as perfect in all its
adaptations as the honeycomb. Yet when Virgil spoke of the belief that
bees have a portion of the mind divine, nothing was known of the
wonderful mathematical properties of this beautiful fabric; and the
demonstration of them which has been made within the present century is
beyond the comprehension of far the larger part of mankind. If the bee
comprehended the problem which it has been working out for these many
ages before man was able to solve it, would its intellectual powers be
inferior to his in degree, if they were the same in kind? The
water-spider weaves for herself a cocoon, makes it impervious to water,
and fastens it by loose threads to the leaves of plants growing at the
bottom of a still pool. She carries down air in a bag made for this
purpose, till the water is expelled from the cell through the opening
below. The spider lived quite dry in her little air-chamber beneath the
water ages before the diving-bell was invented; but that she understood
anything of the doctrines of space and gravity, no one would venture to

It has been the belief of some philosophers, and poets as well, that
man has taken the hint for some of the arts he now practises from the
brute creation. Democritus represents him as having derived the arts of
weaving and sewing from the spider, and the art of building of tempered
clay from the swallow; and we also read in Pliny's "Natural History,"
that the nest of the swallow suggested to Toxius, the son of Coelus,
the invention of mortar. According to Lucretius, men learned music from
the song of birds, and Pope describes them as learning from the mole to
plough, from the nautilus to sail, and from bees and ants to form a
political community. Perhaps we were behind the beaver in felling
timber, in leading dams across rivers, and in building cabin
villages,--behind the wasp in making paper, and behind the squirrel and
spider in crossing streams upon rafts. So, if man had needed any
example of war and violence and wrong, he had only to go to the
ant-hill and see the red ants invade the camps of the black and bear
off their little negro prisoners into slavery.

Whatever truth there may be in these ideas, it is at least conceivable
that man may have profited from the example of these animals. He has
copied from patterns set by Nature in tree and leaf and flower and
plant; he has formed the Gothic arch and column from the trunks and
interlacing boughs of the lofty avenue, the Corinthian capital from the
acanthus foliage embracing a basket, and classic urns and vases from
flowers. But no one could describe one species of the brute world as
having derived a similar lesson from another, and much less from trees
and plants. No species of animals has learnt anything new even from
man, except within the narrow sphere of domestication.

It is only in particulars that instinct appears superior to reason in
the works it achieves. When an animal is taken, ever so little, out of
the ordinary circumstances in which its instincts act, it is apt to
behave very foolishly. If a woodpecker's egg is hatched by a bird which
builds an open nest upon the branches of a tree, when the young bird is
grown large enough to shuffle about in the nest, induced by its
instinct to suppose that its nest is in a hole walled round on all
sides by the tree, with a long, narrow entrance down from above, it
does not see that it has been inducted into the open nest of another
bird, and is sure to tumble out. The bee and the ant, in a few
particulars, show wonderful sagacity; but remove them from the narrow
compass of their instincts, and all their wisdom is at an end. That
animals are so wise in a few things and so wanting in wisdom in all
others shows that they are endowed with a mental principle essentially
of a different nature from that of the human race. "They do many things
even better than ourselves," says Descartes; "but this does not prove
them to be endowed with reason, for this would prove them to have more
reason than we have, and that they should excel us in all other things
also"; for reason can act not only in one direction, but in all.

But it will be said that instinct is not invariable,--that it often
displays a capacity of accommodating itself, like reason, to
circumstances, and is therefore a principle the same in kind with
it,--or else that the animal has something of the rational faculty
superadded to the instinctive. But does the animal make these
variations in its conduct from a true perception of their meaning and

It is very natural for us to ascribe to reason those actions of other
animals which would be ascribable to reason, if performed by man. "If,"
says Keller, (an old German writer,) "the fly be enabled to choose the
place which suits her best for the deposition of her eggs, (as, for
instance, in my sugar-basin, in which I placed a quantity of decaying
wheat,) she takes a correct survey of every part and selects that in
which she believes her ova will be the best preserved and her young
ones well cared for." The fly, in this instance, apparently exercises
an intelligent choice; but does any one doubt that the selection she
makes is determined wholly by a blind, uncalculating instinct? The
beaver selects a site for his dam at a place where the depth, width,
and rapidity of the stream are most fit. There is a tree upon the bank,
and food and materials for his work in the vicinity. If a man should
attempt to build a beaver's dam, he would abstractly consider all these
elements of fitness. The outward manifestations of the quality of
abstraction are equally observable in either case. But we must not
hastily conclude, because the beaver in one instance acts in a manner
apparently reasonable, that he has any reason of his own; for, when we
come to study the habits of this animal, we find that he displays all
the characteristics of the instinctive principle. If animals are
endowed with instincts which apparently act so much like reason in the
ordinary course of their operations, we should not at once conclude
that there is any need of endowing them with a modicum of reason to
account for their deviations from this course, which do not outwardly
resemble the acts of reason any more strongly. And besides, it is said,
that, if we refer the variations to an intelligent principle, we must
refer the ordinary conduct to the same principle. To use an old
illustration,--if a bird is reasonable and intelligent, when, on
perceiving the swollen waters of the stream approach her half-finished
nest, she builds higher up the bank, she was intelligent while making
her first nest, and was always intelligent; for how otherwise, it is
asked, could she know when to lay down instinct and take up reason?

Instinct aims at certain definite ends; but these ends cannot always be
reached by the same means, especially when places and circumstances are
not the same. Accommodation is necessary, or it could not always
produce the effects for which it is intended. Would the instinct of the
spider be complete, if, after it has guided her to spin a web so neat
and trim and regular, it did not also lead her to repair her broken
snare, when the cords have been sundered by the struggles of some
powerful captive? But this pliancy of the spider's instinct is no more
remarkable than the contingent operation of the instincts of many
species of animals. "It is remarkable," says Kirby, "that many of the
insects which are occasionally observed to emigrate are not usually
social animals, but seem to congregate, like swallows, merely for the
purpose of emigration." When certain rare emergencies occur, which
render it necessary for the insects to migrate, a contingent instinct
develops itself, and renders an unsocial species gregarious.

It is probable that most of our domesticated species, exhibiting as
they do in that condition attainments foreign to their natural habits
and faculties in a wild state, were endowed with provisional instincts
with a view to their association with man. But generally the docility
of animals does not extend to attainments which are radically different
from their habits and faculties in a wild state. Casual acquirements,
which have no relation to their exigencies in their natural condition,
never become hereditary, and are not, therefore, instinctive. A young
pointer-dog, which has never been in the fields before, will not only
point at a covey of partridges, but will remain motionless, like a
well-trained dog. The fact that the sagacity of the pointer is
hereditary shows that it is the development of an instinctive
propensity; for simple knowledge is not transmitted by blood from one
generation to another. We have heard of a pig that pointed game, and of
another that was learned in letters; but we ascertain in every such
instance that their foreign acquirements do not reappear in their
progeny, but end with the pupils of the time being. The pig's
peculiarity of pointing did not arise from the development of a
provisional instinct, because it does not become hereditary; but the
same act in the pointer-dog is instinctive,--for, when once brought out
by associating with man, it has remained with the breed, being a part
of the animal's nature, which existed in embryo till it was developed
by a companionship with man, for whose use this faculty was alone

Although the animals which especially display these exceptional or
contingent instincts are those which are fitted for the use and comfort
of man and may be domesticated, it is doubtless true that many other
species are in some degree provided with them, and that they thus have
a plasticity in their nature which enables them to exercise, under
particular circumstances, unlooked-for attention, foresight, and
caution. And besides, it is only in analogy with the laws of the
physical world that instinct should admit of a slightly diversified

It is to be noticed in this connection that many animals are gifted
with a wonderful sensibility of the senses,--the action of which is
sometimes mistaken not only for the action of instinct, but for that of
reason also. The acuteness of the sense of smell in the dog, which
enables him to trace the steps of his master for miles through crowded
streets by the infinitesimal odor which his footsteps left upon the
pavement, is quite beyond our conception. Equally incomprehensible to
us are the keenness of sight and wide range of vision of the eagle,
which enable him to discover the rabbit nipping the clover amid the
thick grass at a distance at which a like object would be to us
altogether imperceptible. The chameleon is enabled to seize the little
insects upon which it feeds by darting forth its wonderfully
constructed tongue with such rapidity and with such delicacy of
perception that "wonder-loving sages" have told us that it feeds upon
the air.

It has been the belief of some observers that some animals have senses
by which they are enabled to take cognizance of things which are not
revealed directly to our senses. It is easy enough to conceive of
beings endowed with a more perfect perception of the external world,
both in its condition and the number of objects it presents, than we
have, by means of other organs of outward perception. Voltaire, in one
of his philosophical romances, represents an inhabitant of one of the
planets of the Dog-Star as inquiring of the Secretary of the Academy of
Sciences in the planet of Saturn, at which he had recently arrived in a
journey through the heavens, how many senses the men of his globe had;
and when the Academician answered, that they had seventy-two, and were
every day complaining of the smallness of the number, he of the
Dog-Star replied, that in his globe they had very near one thousand
senses, and yet with all these they felt continually a sort of listless
inquietude and vague desire which told them how very imperfect they
were. But we shall not travel so far as this for our illustrations. We
have all seen in the fields and about our houses birds and insects
which seem to take cognizance of the electric state of the atmosphere;
and we have learnt to feel quite sure, when, early in the morning of a
summer's day, we see fresh piles of sand around the holes of the ants,
that a storm is approaching, although the sky may as yet be cloudless
and the air perfectly serene. In like manner birds perceive the
approach of rain, and are all busy oiling and smoothing their feathers
in preparation for it; and then, before the clouds break away, they
come out from their retreats and joyfully hail the return of fair
weather. So, by some analogous sense, the birds of passage are informed
of the approach of winter and the return of spring.

It is doubtless true that in some animals the senses are immediately
connected with instincts which assist and extend their operation.
Metaphysicians and physiologists are agreed that the perception of
distance is an acquired knowledge. The sense of sight by itself
principally makes us conversant with extension only. The painting upon
the retina of the eye presents all external things with flat surfaces
and at the same distance. Before we can have any correct ideas of
distance, we must be able to compare the result of the sense of sight
with the result of the sense of feeling. By experience we in time come
to judge something of distance by the size of the image which an object
makes upon the retina, but more by our acquired knowledge of the form
and color of external things. It is true that the eyes of many animals
are constructed like those of man; but they do not learn to judge of
distance by the same slow process. It is known from experiment that
some animals have a perfect conception of distance at the moment of
their birth; and the young of the greater part of animals possess some
instinctive perception of this kind. "A flycatcher, for example, just
come out of its shell, has been seen to peck at an insect with an aim
as perfect as if it had been all its life engaged in learning the art."
And so when the hen takes her chickens out into the field for the first
time to feed, they seem to perceive very distinctly the relative
distance of all objects about them, and will run by the straightest
course when she calls them to pick up the little grains which she
points out to them. Without this instinctive power of determining the
relative distance and figure of objects, the young of most animals
would perish before their sense of sight could be perfected, as ours
is, by experience.

We have now noticed the chief characteristics of instinct: its
existence prior to all experience or instruction; its incapacity of
improvement, except within the narrow sphere of domestication; its
limitation to a few objects, and the certainty of its action within
these limits; the distinctness and permanence of its character for each
species; and its constant hereditary nature. In regard to the
uniformity of instinct throughout each species, it may be further
remarked, that this seems to be very constantly preserved in the lowest
divisions of the animal kingdom. Among the Articulates, also, instinct
appears almost unvarying; and it is in this department among the insect
tribes that the most striking manifestations of instinct are to be met
with. When we arrive among the higher orders of the Vertebrates, we
find in some species that each individual is capable of some
modification of its actions, according to the particular circumstances
in which it finds itself placed. But throughout the long series of
animals, from the polype to man, there is instinctive action more or
less in amount in every species, with, perhaps, the exception of man
alone. The variety of that endowment, which is adapted to definite
objects, means, and results, in each particular one of the five hundred
thousand species estimated to be now living, may well call forth our
admiration and astonishment at the magnitude and extent of the
prospective contrivance of the Creator. How various the relations of
all these animals to each other and to the inanimate world about them!
and yet how admirable the adjustments of that immaterial principle
which regulates their lives, so as to secure the well-being of each and
the symmetry of the general plan!

There has been much diversity of opinion as to the existence of
instincts in the human species,--some making the whole mind of man
nothing but a bundle of instincts, and others wholly denying him any
endowment of this nature, while others still have given him a complex
mental nature, and have, moreover, declared that intellect and instinct
in him are so interwoven that it is impossible to tell where the one
begins and the other ends. But we believe, with the author of "Ancient
Metaphysics," that in Nature, however intimately things are blended
together and run into each other like different shades of the same
color, the species of things are absolutely distinct, and that there
are certain fixed boundaries which separate them, however difficult it
may be for us to find them out. In regard to intelligence and instinct,
the two principles seem to us to be not more distinctly and widely
separated in their nature than in the provinces of their operation.

Sir Henry Holland, who believes that intelligence and instinct are
blended in man, admits that instincts, properly so called, form the
_minimum_ in relation to reason, and are difficult of definition from
their connection with his higher mental functions, but that, wherever
we can truly distinguish them, they are the same in principle and
manner of operation as those of other animals. He makes one
distinction, however, between the instincts of man and those of lower
animals,--that in the former they have more of individual character,
are far less numerous and definite in relation to the physical
conditions of life, and more various and extensive in regard to his
moral nature. But, on the other hand, Sir B.C. Brodie seems to be of
opinion that the majority of instincts belonging to man resemble those
of the inferior animals, inasmuch as they relate to the preservation of
the individual and the continuation of the species; and that when man
first began to exist, and for some generations afterwards, the range of
his instincts was much more extensive than it is at the present time.
When authorities so eminent as these differ so widely upon the
question, to what human instincts relate, we see at least that it is
very difficult to define and distinguish these instincts, and we may be
led to doubt their existence at all. Of that marvellous endowment which
guides the bee to fabricate its cells according to laws of the most
rigid mathematical exactness, and guides the swallow in its long flight
to its winter home, we agree with Professor Bowen, that there is no
trace whatever in human nature. The actions of man which have been
loosely described as instinctive belong for the most part to those
classes of actions which we have already shown to be in no proper sense
of the word instinctive, that is, those concerned in the appetites and
in the functions of organic life. There are also numerous automatic and
habitual actions which are liable to be mistaken for instincts. Some
have included in the category of instincts those intuitive perceptions
and primary beliefs which are a part of our constitution, and are the
foundation of all our knowledge. But these propensities of thought and
feeling are of a higher nature than mere instincts; they are immutable
laws of the human mind, which time and physical changes cannot reach:
they do not seem to depend upon the physical organization, but to be
inherent in the soul itself. If these are instincts, then, why are not
all the ways in which the mind exerts itself instincts also, and reason
itself an instinct?

There is hardly any human action, feeling, or belief, which has not
been ranged under the term instinct. Hunger and thirst have been called
instincts; so have the faculty of speech, the use of the right hand in
preference to the left, the love of society, the desire to possess
property, the desire to avoid danger and prolong life, and the belief
in supernatural agencies, upon which is engrafted the religious
sentiment. We cannot, in this paper, attempt to analyze these and many
other similar examples which have been given as illustrations of
instinct in treatises of high repute, and show that they do not at all
come within that class of actions which we contrast with reason. In
regard to those actions of early infancy which have often been adduced
as illustrations of instinct, the physiologists of the present day are
agreed that they are as mechanical as the act of breathing. To place
these upon the same level with the complex and wonderful operations of
the bee, the ant, and the beaver, is to admit that the instincts of the
latter are merely reflex actions following impressions on the nerves of

On the other hand, whether the animals inferior to man ever exercise
any conscious process of reasoning is a question which has often been
discussed, and upon which there is no general agreement. Instances of
the remarkable sagacity of some domesticated animals are often adduced
as proofs of reasoning on their part. Some of these wonderful feats may
be traced to the unconscious faculty of imitation, which even in man
often appears as a blind propensity, although he exercises an active
and rational imitation as well. Sometimes the mere association of
ideas, or the perception by animals that one thing is accompanied by
another or that one event follows another, is mistaken for that higher
principle which in man judges, reflects, and understands causes and
effects. When the dog sees his master take down his gun, his
blandishments show that he anticipates a renewal of the pleasures of
the chase. He does not reflect upon past pleasures; but, seeing the gun
in his master's hand, a confused idea of the feelings that were
associated with the gun in times past is called up. So the ox and the
horse learn to associate certain movements with the voice and gesture
of man. And so a fish, about the most stupid of all animals, comes to a
certain spot at a certain signal to be fed. These combinations are
quite elementary. This is quite another thing from that reciprocal
action of ideas on each other by which man perceives the relations of
things, understands the laws of cause and effect, and not only forms
judgments of the past, but draws conclusions which are laws for the
future. We find in the brute no power of attending to and arranging its
thoughts,--no power of calling up the past at will and reflecting upon
it. The animal has the faculty of memory, and, when this is awakened,
the object remembered may be accompanied by a train or attendance of
accessory notions which have been connected with the object in the
animal's past experience. But it never seems to be able to exercise the
purely voluntary act of recollection. It is not capable of comparing
one thing with another, so far as we can judge. If the animal could
exercise any true act of comparison, there would be no limit to the
exercise of it, and the animal would be an intelligent being; for the
result of a simple act of comparison is judgment, and reasoning is only
a double act of comparison. We have the authority of Sir William
Hamilton for saying that the highest function of mind is nothing higher
than comparison. Hence comes thought,--hence, the power of discovering
truth,--and hence, the mind's highest dignity, in being able to ascend
unassisted to the knowledge of a God. Those who hold that the minds of
the inferior animals are essentially of the same nature with that of
the human race, and differ only in degree, should reflect that the
distinguishing attribute of the human mind does not admit of degrees.
The faculty of comparison, in all its various applications, must be
either wholly denied or else wholly attributed. Hence, Pope is not
philosophical, when he applies the epithet "half-reasoning" to the
elephant. "As reasoning," says Coleridge, "consists wholly in a man's
power of seeing whether any two ideas which happen to be in his mind
are or are not in contradiction with each other, it follows of
necessity, not only that all men have reason, but that every individual
has it in the same degree." We gather also from the same acute writer
that in the simple determination, "black is not white," all the powers
are implied that distinguish man from other animals. If, then, the
brute reasoned at all, he would be a rational being, and would improve
and gain knowledge by experience; and, moreover, he would be a moral
agent, accountable for his conduct. "Would not the brute," asks an able
writer in the "Zoölogical Journal," "take a survey of his lower powers,
and would he not, as man does, either rightly use or pervert them, at
his pleasure?"

It has been suggested by some one, that, by the law of merciful
adaptation, which extends throughout the universe, thought would not be
imprisoned and pent up forever in an intelligence wanting the power of
expression. But it is also to be noticed that the want of an articulate
language or a system of general signs puts it out of the power of
animals to perform a single act of reasoning. The use of language to
communicate wants and feelings is not peculiar to "word-dividing men,"
though enjoyed by them in a much higher degree than by other animals.
Doubtless every species of social animals has some kind of language,
however imperfect it may be. "We never watch the busy workers of the
ant-hill," says Acheta Domestics, (the author of "Episodes of
Insect-Life,") "stopping as they encounter and laying their heads
together, without being pretty certain that they are saying to each
other something quite as significant as 'Fine day.'" And when the
morning wakes the choral song of the birds, they seem to be telling
each other of their happiness. But though animals have a language
appropriate to the expression of their sensations and emotions, they
have no words, "those shadows of the soul, those living sounds." Words
are symbols of thoughts, and may be considered as a revelation of the
human mind. It is this use of language as an instrument of thought, as
a system of general signs, which, according to Bishop Whately,
distinguishes the language of man from that of the brute; and the same
eminent authority declares that without such a system of general signs
the reasoning process could not be conducted.

It is true, that we often see in the inferior animals manifestations of
deductions of intellect similar to those of the human mind,--only that
they are not made by the animals themselves, but for them and above
their conscious perception. "When a bee," says Dr. Reid, "makes its
combs so geometrically, the geometry is not in the bee, but in that
great Geometrician who made the bee, and made all things in number,
weight, and measure." Since the animal is not conscious of the
intelligence and design which are manifested in its instincts, which it
obeys and works out, the conscious life of the individual must be
wholly a life within the senses. The senses alone can give the animal
only an empirical knowledge of the world of its observation. The senses
may register and report facts, but they can never arrive at an
understanding of necessary truths; the source of this kind of knowledge
is the rational mind, which has an active disposition to draw out these
infallible laws and eternal truths from its own bosom. The main
tendency of the rational mind is not towards mere phenomena, but their
scientific explanation. It seeks to trace effects, as presented to us
by the senses, back to the causes which produced them; or contemplating
things wholly metaphysical, it seeks to follow out the laws which it
has itself discovered, till they have gone through a thousand probable
contingencies and lost themselves in numberless results. It is on
account of this capacity and tendency of the human mind to look through
fact to law, through individuals to classes, through effects to causes,
through phenomena to general principles, that the late Dr. Burnap was
led to declare, in a very interesting course of lectures which he
delivered before the Lowell Institute a few years since, that he
considered the first characteristic difference between the highest
species of animals and the lowest race of man to be a capacity of
science. But is not the whole edifice of human science built upon the
simple faculty of comparison?

This is the ultimate analysis of all the highest manifestations of the
human mind, whether of judgment, or reason, or intellect, or common
sense, or the power of generalization, or the capacity of science. We
have already quoted Hamilton to this effect, and we, moreover, have his
authority for saying that the faculty of discovering truth, by a
comparison of the notions we have obtained by observation and
experience, is the attribute by which man is distinguished as a
creature higher than the animals. We might also cite Leibnitz to the
effect that men differ from animals in being capable of the formation
of necessary judgments, and hence capable of demonstrative sciences.

But notwithstanding it seems so apparent that what is customarily
called reason is the distinguishing endowment which makes man the
"paragon of animals," we very often meet with attempts to set up some
other distinction. We cannot here go into an examination of these
various theories, or even allude to them specially. We will, however,
briefly refer to a view which was recently advanced in one of our
leading periodicals, inasmuch as it makes prominent a distinction which
we wish to notice, although it seems to us to be only subordinate to
the distinguishing attribute of the human mind which we have already
pointed out. It is said that self-consciousness is what makes the great
difference between man and other animals; that the latter do not
separate themselves consciously from the world in which they exist; and
that, though they have emotions, impulses, pains, and pleasures, every
change of feeling in them takes at once the form of an outward change
either in place or position. It is not intended, however, to be said
that they have no conscious perception of external things. We cannot
possibly conceive of an animal without this condition of consciousness.
A consciousness of an outward world is an essential quality of the
animal soul; this distinguishes the very lowest form of animal life
from the vegetable world; and hence it cannot possibly be, as has been
suggested by some, that there are any animate beings which have no
endowments superior to those which belong to plants. The plant is not
conscious of an outward world, when it sends out its roots to obtain
the nourishment which is fitting for itself; but the polype, which is
fixed with hundreds of its kind on the same coral-stock, and is able
only to move its mouth and tentacles, is aware of the presence of the
little craw-fish upon which it feeds, and throws out its lasso-cells
and catches it. The world of which the polype has any perception is not
a very large one. The outer world of a bird is vastly greater; and man
knows a world without, which is immeasurably large beyond that of which
any other animal is conscious, because both his physical organs and his
mental faculties bring him into far the most diversified and intimate
relations with all created things. He sees in every flower of the
garden and every beast of the field, in the air and in the sea, in the
earth beneath his feet and in the starry heavens above him, countless
meanings which are hidden to all the living world besides. To him there
is a world which has existed and a world that will exist. "Man," says
Protagoras, "is the measure of the universe." But he has a greater
dignity in being able to apprehend the world of thought within. "Whilst
I study to find how I am a microcosm or little world," says Sir Thomas
Browne, "I find myself something more than the great." Man can make
himself an object to himself and gain the deepest insight into the
workings of his own mind. This internal perception seems never to be
developed in other animals. We have already observed that they have no
thought of their own. The intelligence and design which they often
manifest in their actions are not the workings of their own minds. The
intelligence and design belong to Him who impressed the thought upon
the animal's mind and unceasingly sustains it in action. They
themselves are not conscious of any thought, but only of "certain dim
imperious influences" which urge them on. They are conscious of
feelings and desires and impulses. We could not conceive of the
existence of these affections in animals without their having an
immediate knowledge of them. Even "the function of voluntary motion,"
says Hamilton, "which is a function of the animal soul in the
Peripatetic doctrine, ought not, as is generally done, to be excluded
from the phenomena of consciousness and mind." The conscious life of
the irrational tribes seems, then, to be a life almost wholly within
the senses. They have nothing of that higher conscious personality
which belongs to man and is an attribute of a free intellect.

A general statement of the points made out in the foregoing inquiry
will more clearly show our conception of the nature and limitations of
instinct. First, we limited the word instinct so as to exclude all
those automatic and mechanical actions concerned in the simple
functions of organic life,--as also to exclude the operations of the
passions and appetites, since these seek no other end than their own
gratification. Then it was shown that instinct exists prior to all
experience or memory; that it comes to an instant or speedy perfection,
and is not capable of any improvement or cultivation; that its objects
are precise and limited; that within its proper sphere it often appears
as the highest wisdom, but beyond this is only foolishness; that it
uses complex and laborious means to provide for the future, without any
prescience of it; that it performs important and rational operations
which the animal neither intends nor knows anything about; that it is
permanent for each species, and is transmitted as an hereditary gift of
Nature; and that the few variations in its action result from the
development of provisional faculties, or from blind imitation. We were
led to conclude that instinct is not a free and conscious possession of
the animal itself. We found some points of resemblance between
intelligence in man and instinct in other animals,--but at the same
time points of dissimilarity, such as to make the two principles appear
radically unlike.

This brief summary presents nearly all that we can satisfactorily make
out respecting instinct; and at the same time it shows how much is
still wanting to a complete solution of all the questions which it
involves. And then there are higher mysteries connected with the
subject, which we do not attempt to penetrate,--mysteries in regard to
the creation and the maintenance of instinctive action: whether it be
the result of particular external conditions acting on the organization
of animals, or whether, as Sir Isaac Newton thought, the Deity himself
is virtually the active and present moving principle in them;--and
mysteries, too, about the future of the brute world: whether, as
Southey wrote,

        "There is another world
For all that live and move,--a better world."

If we ever find a path which seems about to lead us up to these
mysteries, it speedily closes against us, and leaves us without any
rational hope of attaining their solution.


"Oh, tell her, brief is life, but love is long."

"What have I got that you would like to have? Your letters are tied up
and directed to you. Mother will give them to you, when she finds them
in my desk. I could execute my last will myself, if it were not for
giving her additional pain. I will leave everything for her to do
except this: take these letters, and when I am dead, give them to
Frank. There is not a reproach in them, and they are full of wit; but
he won't laugh, when he reads them again. Choose now, what will you
have of mine?"

"Well," I said, "give me the gold pen-holder that Redmond sent you
after he went away."

Laura rose up in her bed, and seized me by my shoulder, and shook me,
crying between her teeth, "You love him! you love him!" Then she fell
back on her pillow. "Oh, if he were here now! He went, I say, to marry
the woman he was engaged to before he saw you. He was nearly mad,
though, when he went. The night mother gave them their last party, when
you wore your black lace dress, and had pink roses in your hair,
somehow I hardly knew you that night. I was in the little parlor,
looking at the flowers on the mantelpiece, when Redmond came into the
room, and, rushing up to me, bent down and whispered, 'Did you see her
go? I shall see her no more; she is walking on the beach with Maurice.'
He sighed so loud that I felt embarrassed; for I was afraid that Harry
Lothrop, who was laughing and talking in a corner with two or three
men, would hear him; but he was not aware that they were there. I did
not know what to do, unless I ridiculed him. 'Follow them,' I said.
'Step on her flounces, and Maurice will have a chance to humiliate you
with some of his cutting, exquisite politeness.' He never answered a
word, and I would not look at him, but presently I understood that
there were tears falling. Oh, you need not look towards me with such
longing; he does not cry for you now. They seemed to bring him to his
senses. He stamped his foot; but the carpet was thick; it only made a
thud. Then he buttoned his coat, giving himself a violent twist as he
did it, and looked at me with such a haughty composure, that, if I had
been you, I should have trembled in my shoes. He walked across the room
toward the group of men.--'Ah, Harry,' he said, 'where is Maurice?'
'Don't you know?' they all cried out; 'he has gone as Miss Denham's
escort?' 'By Jove!' said Harry Lothrop,--'Miss Denham was as handsome
as Cleopatra, to-night. Little Maurice is now singing to her. Did he
take his guitar under his arm? It was here; for I saw a green bag near
his hat, when we came in to-night.' Just then we heard the twang of a
guitar under the window, and Redmond, in spite of himself, could not
help a grimace.--Is it not a droll world?" said Laura, after a pause;
"things come about so contrariwise."

She laughed such a shrill laugh, that I shuddered to hear it, and I
fell a-crying.  "But," she continued, "I am going, I trust, where a key
will be given me for this cipher."

Tears came into her eyes, and an expression of gentleness filled her

"It is strange," she said, "when I know that I must die, that I should
be so moved by earthly passions and so interested in earthly
speculations. My heart supplicates God for peace and patience, and at
the same moment my thoughts float away in dreams of the past. I shall
soon be wiser; I am convinced of that. The doctrine of compensation
extends beyond this world; if it be not so, why should I die at twenty,
with all this mysterious suffering of soul? You must not wonder over
me, when I am gone, and ask yourself, 'Why did she live?' Believe that
I shall know why I lived, and let it suffice you and encourage you to
go on bravely. Live and make your powers felt. Your nature is affluent,
and you may yet learn how to be happy."

She sighed softly, and turned her face to the wall, and moved her
fingers as sick people do. She waited for me to cease weeping: my tears
rained over my face so that I could neither see nor speak.

After I had become calmer, she moved toward me again and took my hand:
her own trembled.

"It is for the last time, Margaret. My good, skilful father gives me no
medicine now. My sisters have come home; they sit about the house like
mourners, with idle hands, and do not speak with each other. It is
terrible, but it will soon be over."

She pulled at my hand for me to rise. I staggered up, and met her eyes.
Mine were dry now.

"Do not come here again. It will be enough for my family to look at my
coffin. I feel better to think you will be spared the pain."

I nodded.


A sob broke in her throat.

"Margaret,"--she spoke like a little child,--"I am going to heaven."

I kissed her, but I was blind and dumb. I lifted her half out of the
bed. She clasped her frail arms round me, and hid her face in my bosom.

"Oh, I love you!" she said.

Her heart gave such a violent plunge, that I felt it, and laid her back
quickly. She waved her hand to me with a determined smile. I reached
the door, still looking at her, crossed the dark threshold, and passed
out of the house. The bold sunshine smote my face, and the insolent
wind played about me. The whole earth was as brilliant and joyous as if
it had never been furrowed by graves.

Laura lived some days after my interview with her. She sent me no
message, and I did not go to see her. From the garret-windows of our
house, which was half a mile distant from Laura's, I could see the
windows of the room where she was lying. Three tall poplar-trees
intervened in the landscape. I thought they stood motionless so that
they might not intercept my view while I watched the house of death.
One morning I saw that the blinds had been thrown back and the windows
opened. I knew then that Laura was dead.

The day after the funeral I gave Frank his letters, his miniature, and
the locket which held a ring of his hair.

"Is there a fire?" he asked, when I gave them to him; "I want to burn
these things."

I went to another room with him.

"I'll leave everything here to-day; and may I never see this cursed
place again! Did she die, do you know, because I held her promise that
she would be my wife?"

He threw the papers into the grate, and crowded them down with his
boot, and watched them till the last blackened flake disappeared. He
then took from his neck a hair chain, and threw that into the fire

"It is all done now," he said.

He shook my hand with a firm grasp and left me.

A month later Laura's mother sent me a package containing two bundles
of letters. It startled me to see that the direction was dated before
she was taken ill:--"To be given to Margaret in case of my death.
June 5th, 1848." They were my letters, and those which she had
received from Harry Lothrop. On this envelop was written, "Put these
into the black box he gave you." The gold pen-holder came into my hands
also. _Departure_ was engraved on the handle, and Laura's initials were
cut in an emerald in its top. The black box was an ebony, gold-plated
toy, which Harry Lothrop had given me at the same time Redmond gave
Laura the pen-holder. It was when they went away, after a whole
summer's visit in our little town, the year before. I locked the
letters in the black box, and,

  "Whether from reason or from impulse only,"

I know not, but I was prompted to write a line to Harry Lothrop.  "Do
not," I said, "write Laura any more letters. Those you have already
written to her are in my keeping, for she is dead. Was it not a
pleasant summer we passed together? The second autumn is already at
hand: time flies the same, whether we are dull or gay. For all this
period what remains except the poor harvest of a few letters?"

I received in answer an incoherent and agitated letter. What was the
matter with Laura? he asked. He had not heard from her for months. Had
any rupture occurred between her and her friend Frank? Did I suppose
she was ever unhappy? He was shocked at the news, and said he must come
and learn the particulars of the event. He thanked me for my note, and
begged me to believe how sincere was his friendship for my poor friend.

"Redmond," he continued, "is, for the present, attached to the engineer
corps to which I belong, and he has offered to take charge of my
business while I am a day or two absent. He is in my room at this
moment, holding your note in his hand, and appears painfully

It was now a little past the time of year when Redmond and Harry
Lothrop had left us,--early autumn. After their departure, Laura and I
had been sentimental enough to talk over the events of their visit.
Recalling these associations, we created an illusion of pleasure which
of course could not last. Harry Lothrop wrote to Laura, but the
correspondence declined and died. As time passed on, we talked less and
less of our visitors, and finally ceased to speak of them. Neither of
us knew or suspected the other of any deep or lasting feeling toward
the two friends. Laura knew Redmond better than I did; at least, she
saw him oftener; in fact, she knew both in a different way. They had
visited her alone; while I had met them almost entirely in society. I
never found so much time to spare as she seemed to have; for everybody
liked her, and everybody sought her. As often as we had talked over our
acquaintance, she was wary of speaking of Redmond. Her last
conversation with me revealed her thoughts, and awakened feelings which
I thought I had buffeted down. The tone of Harry Lothrop's note
perplexed me, and I found myself drifting back into an old state of
mind I had reason to dread.

As I said, the autumn had come round. Its quiet days, its sombre
nights, filled my soul with melancholy. The lonesome moan of the sea
and the waiting stillness of the woods were just the same a year ago;
but Laura was dead, and Nature grieved me. Yet none of us are in one
mood long, and at this very time there were intervals when I found
something delicious in life, either in myself or the atmosphere.

  "Moreover, something is or seems
  That touches me with mystic gleams."

A golden morning, a starry night, the azure round of the sky, the
undulating horizon of sea, the blue haze which rose and fell over the
distant hills, the freshness of youth, the power of beauty,--all gave
me deep voluptuous dreams.

I can afford to confess that I possessed beauty; for half my faults and
miseries arose from the fact of my being beautiful. I was not vain, but
as conscious of my beauty as I was of that of a flower, and sometimes
it intoxicated me. For, in spite of the comforting novels of the Jane
Eyre school, it is hardly possible to set an undue value upon beauty;
it defies ennui.

As I expected, Harry Lothrop came to see me. The sad remembrance of
Laura's death prevented any ceremony between us; we met as old
acquaintances, of course, although we had never conversed together half
an hour without interruption. I began with the theme of Laura's illness
and death, and the relation which she had held toward me. All at once I
discovered, without evidence, that he was indifferent to what I was
saying; but I talked on mechanically, and like a phantasm the truth
came to my mind. The real man was there,--not the one I had carelessly
looked at and known through Laura.

I became silent.

He twisted his fingers in the fringe of my scarf, which had fallen off,
and I watched them.

"Why," I abruptly asked, "have I not known you before?"

He let go the fringe, and folded his hands, and in a dreamy voice

"Redmond admires you."

"What a pity!" I said. "And you,--you admire me, or yourself, just now;

He flushed slightly, but continued with a bland voice, which irritated
and interested me.

"All that time I was so near you, and you scarcely saw me; what a
chance I had to study you! Your friend was intelligent and sympathetic,
so we struck a league of friendship: I could dare so much with her,
because I knew that she was engaged to marry Mr. Ballard. I own that I
have been troubled about her since I went away. How odd it is that I am
here alone with you in this room! how many times I have wished it! I
liked you best here; and while absent, the remembrance of it has been
inseparable from the remembrance of you,--a picture within a picture. I
know all that the room contains,--the white vases, and the wire
baskets, with pots of Egyptian lilies and damask roses, the books bound
in green and gold, the engravings of nymphs and fauns, the crimson bars
in the carpet, the flowers on the cushions, and, best of all, the
arched window and its low seat. But I had promised myself never to see
you: it was all I could do for Laura. She is dead, and I am here."

I rose and walked to the window, and looked out on the misty sea, and
felt strangely.

"Another lover," I thought,--"and Redmond's friend, and Laura's. But it
all belongs to the comedy we play."

He came to where I stood.

"I know you so well," he said,--"your pride, your self-control, even
your foibles: but they attract one, too. You did not escape heart-whole
from Redmond's influence. He is not married yet, but he will be; he is
a chivalrous fellow. It was a desperate matter between you two,--a
hand-to-hand struggle. It is over with you both, I believe: you are
something alike. Now may I offer you my friendship? If I love you, let
me say so. Do not resist me. I appeal to the spirit of coquetry which
tempted you before you saw me to-night. You are dressed to please me."

I was thinking what I should say, when he skilfully turned the
conversation into an ordinary channel. He shook off his dreamy manner,
and talked with his old vivacity. I was charmed a little; an
association added to the charm, I fancy. It was late at night when he
took his leave. He had arranged it all; for a man brought his carriage
to the door and drove him to the next town, where he had procured it to
come over from the railway.

When I was shut in my room for the night, rage took possession of me. I
tore off my dress, twisted my hair with vehemence, and hurried to bed
and tried to go to sleep, but could not, of course. As when we press
our eyelids together for meditation or sleep, violet rings and changing
rays of light flash and fade before the darkened eyeballs, so in the
dark unrest of my mind the past flashed up, and this is what I saw:--

The county ball, where Laura and I first met Redmond, Harry Lothrop,
and Maurice. We were struggling through the crowd of girls at the
dressing-room door, to rejoin Frank, who was waiting for us. As we
passed out, satisfied with the mutual inspection of our dresses of
white silk, which were trimmed with bunches of rose-geranium, we saw a
group of strangers close by us, buttoning their gloves, looking at
their boots, and comparing looks. Laura pushed her fan against my arm;
we looked at each other, and made signs behind Frank, and were caught
in the act, not only by him, but by a tall gentleman in the group which
she had signalled me to notice.

The shadow of a smile was travelling over his face as I caught his eye,
but he turned away so suddenly that I had no opportunity for
embarrassment. An usher gave us a place near the band, at the head of
the hall.

"Do not be reckless, Laura," I said,--"at least till the music gives
you an excuse."

"You are obliged to me, you know," she answered, "for directing your
attention to such attractive prey. Being in bonds myself, I can only
use my eyes for you: don't be ungrateful."

The band struck up a crashing polka, and she and Frank whirled away,
with a hundred others. I found a seat and amused myself by contrasting
the imperturbable countenances of the musicians with those of the
dancers. The perfumes the women wore floated by me. These odors, the
rhythmic motion of the dancers, and the hard, energetic music
exhilarated me. The music ended, and the crowd began to buzz. The loud,
inarticulate speech of a brilliant crowd is like good wine. As my
acquaintances gathered about me, I began to feel its electricity, and
grew blithe and vivacious. Presently I saw one of the ushers speaking
to Frank, who went down the hall with him.

"Oh, my prophetic soul!" said Laura, "they are coming."

Frank came back with the three, and introduced them. Redmond asked me
for the first quadrille, and Harry Lothrop engaged Laura. Frank said to
me behind his handkerchief,--"It's _en règle_; I know where they came
from; their fathers are brave, and their mothers are virtuous."

The quadrille had not commenced, so I talked with several persons near;
but I felt a constraint, for I knew I was closely observed by the
stranger, who was entirely quiet. Curiosity made me impatient for the
dance to begin; and when we took our places, I was cool enough to
examine him. Tall, slender, and swarthy, with a delicate moustache over
a pair of thin scarlet lips, penetrating eyes, and a tranquil air. My
antipodes in looks, for I was short and fair; my hair was straight and
black like his, but my eyes were blue, and my mouth wide and full.

"What an unnaturally pleasant thing a ball-room is!" he said,--"before
the dust rises and the lights flare, I mean. But nobody ever leaves
early; as the freshness vanishes, the extravagance deepens. Did you
ever notice how much faster the musicians play as it grows late? When
we open the windows, the fresh breath of the night increases the
delirium within. I have seen the quietest women toss their faded
bouquets out of the windows without a thought of making a comparison
between the flowers and themselves."

"My poor geraniums!" I said,--"what eloquence!"

He laughed, and answered,--

"My friend Maurice yonder would have said it twice as well."

We were in the promenade then, and stopped where the said Maurice was
fanning himself against the wall.

"May I venture to ask you for a waltz, Miss Denham? it is the next
dance on the card," said Maurice;--"but of course you are engaged."

I gave him my card, and he began to mark it, when Redmond took it, and
placed his own initials against the dance after supper, and the last
one on the list. He left me then, and I saw him a moment after talking
with Laura.

We passed a gay night. When Laura and I equipped for our ten miles'
ride, it was four in the morning. Redmond helped Frank to pack us in
the carriage, and we rewarded him with a knot of faded leaves.

"This late event," said Laura, with a ministerial air, after we had
started, "was a providential one. You, my dear Frank, were at liberty
to pursue your favorite pastime of whist, in some remote apartment,
without being conscience-torn respecting me. I have danced very well
without you, thanks to the strangers. And you, Margaret, have had an
unusual opportunity of displaying your latent forces. Three such
different men! But let us drive fast. I am in want of the cup of tea
which mother will have waiting for me."

We arrived first at my door. As I was going up the steps, Laura broke
the silence; for neither of us had spoken since her remarks.

"By the way, they are coming here to stay awhile. They are anxious for
some deep-sea fishing. They'll have it, I think."

I heard Frank's laugh of delight at Laura's wit, as the carriage drove

It was our last ball that season.

It was late in the spring; and when Redmond came with his two friends
and settled at the hotel in our town, it was early summer. When I saw
them again, they came with Laura and Frank to pay me a visit. Laura was
already acquainted with them, and asked me if I did not perceive her
superiority in the fact.

"Let us arrange," said Harry Lothrop, "some systematic plan of
amusement by sea and land. I have a pair of horses, Maurice owns a
guitar, and Redmond's boat will be here in a few days. Jones, our
landlord, has two horses that are tolerable under the saddle. Let us
ride, sail, and be serenaded. The Lake House, Jones again, is eight
miles distant. This is Monday; shall we go there on horse-back

Laura looked mournfully at Frank, who replied to her look,--

"You must go; I cannot; I shall go back to business to-morrow."

I glanced at Redmond; he was contemplating a portrait of myself at the
age of fourteen.

"Shall we go?" Laura asked him.

"Nothing, thank you," he answered.

We all laughed, and Harry Lothrop said,--

"Redmond, my boy, how fond you are of pictures!"

Redmond, with an unmoved face, said,--

"Don't be absurd about my absent-mindedness. What were you saying?"

And he turned to me.

"Do you like our plan," I asked, "of going to the Lake House? There is
a deep pond, a fine wood, a bridge,--perch, pickerel,--a one-story inn
with a veranda,--ham and eggs, stewed quince, elderberry wine,--and a
romantic road to ride over."

"I like it."

Frank opened a discussion on fishing; Laura and I withdrew, and went to
the window-seat.

"I am light-hearted," I said.

"It is my duty to be melancholy," she replied; "but I shall not mope
after Frank has gone."

"'After them the deluge,'" said I. "How long will they stay?"

"Till they are bored, I fancy."

"Oh, they are going; we must leave our recess."

Frank and she remained; the others bid us good-night.

"I shall not come again till Christmas," he said. "These college-chaps
will amuse you and make the time pass; they are young,--quite suitable
companions for you girls. _Vive la bagatelle!_"

He sighed, and, drawing Laura's arm in his, rose to go. She groaned
loudly, and he nipped her ears.

"Good-bye, Margaret; let Laura take care of you. There is a deal of
wisdom in her."

We shook hands, Laura moaning all the while, and they went home.

Frank and Laura had been engaged three years. He was about thirty, and
was still too poor to marry.

Wednesday proved pleasant. We had an early dinner, and our cavalcade
started from Laura's. I rode my small bay horse Folly, a gift from my
absentee brother. His coat was sleeker than satin; his ears moved
perpetually, and his wide nostrils were always in a quiver. He was not
entirely safe, for now and then he jumped unexpectedly; but I had
ridden him a year without accident, and felt enough acquainted with him
not to be afraid.

Redmond eyed him.

"You are a bold rider," he said.

"No," I answered,--"a careful one. Look at the bit, and my whip, too. I
cut his hind legs when he jumps. Observe that I do not wear a long
skirt. I can slip off the saddle, if need be, without danger."

"That's all very well; but his eyes are vicious; he will serve you a
trick some day."

"When he does, I'll sell him for a cart-horse."

Laura and Redmond rode Jones's horses. Harry Lothrop was mounted on his
horse Black, a superb, thick-maned creature, with a cluster of white
stars on one of his shoulders. Maurice rode a wall-eyed pony. Our
friends Dickenson and Jack Parker drove two young ladies in a
carriage,--all the saddle-horses our town could boast of being in use.
We were in high spirits, and rode fast. I was occupied in watching
Folly, who had not been out for several days. At last, tired of tugging
at his mouth, I gave him rein, and he flew along. I tucked the edge of
my skirt under the saddle-flap, slanted forward, and held the bridle
with both hands close to his head. A long sandy reach of road lay
before me. I enjoyed Folly's fierce trotting; but, as I expected, the
good horse Black was on my track, while the rest of the party were far
behind. He soon overtook me. Folly snorted when he heard Black's step.
We pulled up, and the two horses began to sidle and prance, and throw
up their heads so that we could not indulge in a bit of conversation.

"Brute!" said Harry Lothrop,--"if I were sure of getting on again, I
would dismount and thrash you awfully."

"Remember Pickwick," I said; "don't do it."

I had hardly spoken, when the strap of his cap broke, and it fell from
his head to the ground. I laughed, and so did he.

"I can hold your horse while you dismount for it."

I stopped Folly, and he forced Black near enough for me to seize the
rein and twist it round my hand; when I had done so, Folly turned his
head, and was tempted to take Black's mane in his teeth; Black felt it,
reared, and came down with his nose in my lap. I could not loose my
hands, which confused me, but I saw Harry Lothrop making a great leap.
Both horses were running now, and he was lying across the saddle,
trying to free my hand. It was over in an instant. He got his seat, and
the horses were checked.

"Good God!" he said, "your fingers are crushed."

He pulled off my glove, and turned pale when he saw my purple hand.

"It is nothing," I said.

But I was miserably fatigued, and prayed that the Lake House might come
in sight. We were near the wood, which extended to it, and I was
wondering if we should ever reach it, when he said,--

"You must dismount, and rest under the first tree. We will wait there
for the rest of the party to come up."

I did so. Numerous were the inquiries, when they reached us. Laura,
when she heard the story, declared she now believed in Ellen Pickering.
Redmond gave me a searching look, and asked me if the one-story inn had
good beds.

"I can take a nap, if necessary," I answered, "in one of Mrs. Sampson's
rush-bottomed chairs on the veranda. The croak of the frogs in the pond
and the buzz of the bluebottles shall be my lullaby."

"No matter how, if you will rest," he said, and assisted me to remount.

We rode quietly together the rest of the way. After arriving, we girls
went by ourselves into one of Mrs. Sampson's sloping chambers, where
there was a low bedstead, and a thick feather-bed covered with a
patchwork-quilt of the "Job's Trouble" pattern, a small, dim
looking-glass surmounted by a bunch of "sparrow-grass," and an
unpainted floor ornamented with home-made rugs which were embroidered
with pink flower-pots containing worsted rose-bushes, the stalks,
leaves, and flowers all in bright yellow. We hung up our riding-skirts
on ancient wooden pegs, for we had worn others underneath them suitable
for walking, and then tilted the wooden chairs at a comfortable angle
against the wall, put our feet on the rounds, and felt at peace with
all mankind.

"Alas!" I said, "it is too early for currant-pies."

"I saw," said one of the girls, "Mrs. Sampson poking the oven, and a
smell of pies was in the air."

"Let us go into the kitchen," exclaimed Laura.

The proposal was agreeable; so we went, and found Mrs. Sampson making

"The pies are green-gooseberry-pies," whispered Laura,--"very good,

"Miss Denham," shrieked Mrs. Sampson, "you haven't done growing
yet.--How's your mother and your grandmother?--Have you had a revival
in your church?--I heard of the young men down to Jones's,--our
minister's wife knows their fathers,--first-rate men, she says.--I
thought you would be here with them.--'Sampson,' I said this morning, as
soon as I dressed, 'do pick some gooseberries. I'll have before sundown
twenty pies in this house.' There they are,--six gooseberry, six
custard, and, though it's late for them, six mince, and two awful great
pigeon pies. It's poor trash, I expect; I'm afraid you can't eat it;
but it is as good as anybody's, I suppose."

We told her we should devour it all, but must first catch some fish;
and we joined the gentlemen on the veranda. A boat was ready for us.
Laura, however, refused to go in it. It was too small; it was wet; she
wanted to walk on the bridge; she could watch us from that; she wanted
some flowers, too. Like many who are not afraid of the ocean, she held
ponds and lakes in abhorrence, and fear kept her from going with us.
Harry Lothrop offered to stay with her, and take lines to fish from the
bridge. She assented, and, after we pushed off, they strolled away.

The lake was as smooth and white as silver beneath the afternoon sun
and a windless sky; it was bordered with a mound of green bushes,
beyond which stretched deep pine woods. There was no shade, and we soon
grew weary. Jack Parker caught all the fish, which flopped about our
feet. A little way down, where the lake narrowed, we saw Laura and
Harry Lothrop hanging over the bridge.

"They must be interested in conversation," I thought; "he has not
lifted his line out of the water once."

Redmond, too, looked over that way often, and at last said,--

"We will row up to the bridge, and walk back to the house, if you,
Maurice, will take the boat to the little pier again."

"Oh, yes," said Maurice.

We came to the bridge, and Laura reached out her hand to me.

"Why, dear!" she exclaimed, "you have burnt your face. Why did you,"
turning to Redmond, "paddle about so long in the hot sun?"

Her words were light enough, but the tone of her voice was savage.
Redmond looked surprised; he waved his hand deprecatingly, but said
nothing. We went up toward the house, but Laura lingered behind, and
did not come in till we were ready to go to supper.

It was past sundown when we rose from the ruins of Mrs. Sampson's pies.
We voted not to start for home till the evening was advanced, so that
we might enjoy the gloom of the pine wood. We sat on the veranda and
heard the sounds of approaching night. The atmosphere was like powdered
gold. Swallows fluttered in the air, delaying to drop into their nests,
and chirped their evening song. We heard the plunge of the little
turtles in the lake, and the noisy crows as they flew home over the
distant tree-tops. They grew dark, and the sky deepened slowly into a
soft gray. A gentle wind arose, and wafted us the sighs of the pines
and their resinous odors. I was happy, but Laura was unaccountably

"What is it, Laura?" I asked, in a whisper.

"Nothing, Margaret,--only it seems to me that we mortals are always
riding or fishing, eating or drinking, and that we never get to living.
To tell you the truth, the pies were too sour. Come, we must go," she
said aloud.

Redmond himself brought Folly from the stable.

"We will ride home together," he said. "My calm nag will suit yours
better than Black. Why does your hand tremble?"

He saw my shaking hands, as I took the rein; the fact was, my wrists
were nearly broken.

"Nothing shall happen to-night, I assure you," he continued, while he
tightened Folly's girth.

He contrived to be busy till all the party had disappeared down a turn
of the road. As he was mounting his horse, Mrs. Sampson, who was on the
steps, whispered to me,--

"He's a beautiful young man, now!"

He heard her; he had the ear of a wild animal; he took off his hat to
Mrs. Sampson, and we rode slowly away.

As soon as we were in the wood, Redmond tied the bridles of the horses
together with his handkerchief. It was so dark that my sight could not
separate him from his horse. They moved beside me, a vague, black
shape. The horses' feet fell without noise in the cool, moist sand. If
our companions were near us, we could not see them, and we did not hear
them. Horses generally keep an even pace, when travelling at
night,--subdued by the darkness, perhaps,--and Folly went along without
swaying an inch. I dropped the rein on his neck, and took hold of the
pommel. My hand fell on Redmond's. Before I could take it away, he had
clasped it, and touched it with his lips. The movement was so sudden
that I half lost my balance, but the horses stepped evenly together. He
threw his arm round me, and recoiled from me as if he had received a

"Take up your rein," he said, with a strange voice,--"quick!--we must
ride fast out of this."

I made no reply, for I was trying to untie the handkerchief. The knot
was too firm.

"No, no," he said, when he perceived what I was doing, "let it be so."

"Untie it, Sir!"

"I will not."

I put my face down between the horses' necks and bit it apart, and
thrust it into my bosom.

"Now," I said, "shall we ride fast?"

He shook his rein, and we rode fiercely,--past our party, who shouted
at us,--through the wood,--over the brow of the great hill, from whose
top we saw the dark, motionless sea,--through the long street,--and
through my father's gateway into the stable-yard, where I leaped from
my horse, and, bridle in hand, said, "Good night!" in a loud voice.

Redmond swung his hat and galloped off.

Early next morning, Laura sent me a note:--

"DEAR MARGARET,--I have an ague, and mean to have it till Sunday night.
The pines did it. Did you bring home any needles? On Monday, mother
will give one of her whist-parties. I shall add a dozen or two of our
set; you will come.

"P.S. What do you think of Mr. Harry Lothrop? Good young man, eh?"

I was glad that Laura had shut herself up for a few days; I dreaded to
see her just now. I suffered from an inexplicable feeling of pride and
disappointment, and did not care to have her discover it. Laura, like
myself, sometimes chose to protect herself against neighborly
invasions. We never kept our doors locked in the country; the sending
in of a card was an unknown process there. Our acquaintances walked in
upon us whenever the whim took them, and it now and then happened to be
an inconvenience to us who loved an occasional fit of solitude. I
determined to keep in-doors for a few days also. Whenever I was in an
unquiet mood, I took to industry; so that day I set about arranging my
drawers, making over my ribbons, and turning my room upside down. I
rehung all my pictures, and moved my bottles and boxes. Then I mended
my stockings, and marked my clothes, which was not a necessary piece of
work, as I never left home. I next attacked the parlor,--washed all the
vases, changed the places of the furniture, and distressed my mother
very much. When evening came, I brushed my hair a good deal, and looked
at my hands, and went to bed early. I could not read then, though I
often took books from the shelves, and I would not think.

Sunday came round. The church-bells made me lonesome. I looked out of
the window many times that day, and, fixing on the sash one of my
father's ship-glasses, swept the sea, and peered at the islands on the
other side of the bay, gazing through their openings, beyond which I
could see the great dim ocean. Mother came home from church, and said
young Maurice was there, and inquired about me. He hoped I did not take
cold; his friend Redmond had been hoarse ever since our ride, and had
passed most of the time in his own room, drumming on the window-pane
and whistling dirges. Mother dropped her acute eyes on me, while she
was telling me this; but I yawned all expression from my face.

As Monday night drew near, my numbness of feeling began to pass off;
thought came into my brain by plunges. Now I desired; now I hoped. I
dressed myself in black silk, and wore a cape of black Chantilly lace.
I made my hair as glossy as possible, drew it down on my face, and put
round my head a band composed of minute sticks of coral. When all was
done, I took the candle and held it above my head and surveyed myself
in the glass. I was very pale. The pupils of my eyes were dilated, as
if I had received some impression that would not pass away. My lips had
the redness of youth; their color was deepened by my paleness.

"How handsome I am!" I thought, as I set down the candle.

When I entered Laura's parlor, she came toward me and said,--

"Artful creature! you knew well, this warm night, that every girl of us
would wear a light dress; so you wore a black one. How well you
understand such matters! You are very clever; your real sensibility
adds effect to your cleverness. I see how it is. Come into this corner.
Have you got a fan? Good gracious! black, with gold spangles;--where
_do_ you buy your things? I can tell you now," she continued, "my
conversation on the bridge the other day."

She hesitated, and asked me if I liked her new muslin. She did look
well in it; it was a white fabric, with red rose-buds scattered over
it. Her delicate face was shadowed by light brown curls. She was
attractive, and I told her so, and she began again:--

"Harry Lothrop said, as he was impaling the half of a worm,--

"'Redmond is a handsome fellow, is he not?'

"'He is too awfully thin,' I answered, 'but his eyes are good.'

"He gave me a crafty side-look, like that of a parrot, when he means to
bite your finger.

"'Your friend, too,' he added, 'is really one of the most beautiful
girls I ever saw,--a coquette with a heart.'

"'Let down your line into the water,' I said.

"He laughed a little laugh. By-the-by, there is an insidious tenacity
about Mr. Harry Lothrop which irritates me; but I like him, for I think
he understands women. I feel at ease with him, when he is not throwing
out his tenacious feelers. Then he said,--

"'Redmond is engaged to his cousin. The girl's mother had the charge of
him through his boyhood. He is ardently attached to her,--the mother, I
mean. She is most anxious to call Redmond her son.'

"'Didn't you have a bite?' I said.

"'Well, I think the bait is off the hook,' he answered; and then we
were silent and pondered the water.

"There are some people I must speak to,"--and Laura moved away without
looking at me.

I opened my fan, but felt chilly. A bustle near me caused me to raise
my eyes; Redmond was speaking to a lady. He was in black, too, and very
pale. He turned toward me and our eyes met. His expression agitated me
so that I unconsciously rose to my feet and warned him off with my fan;
but he seemed rooted to the spot. Laura took care of us both; she came
and stood between us. I saw her look at him so sweetly and so
mournfully, that he understood her in a moment. He shook his head and
walked abruptly into another room. Laura went again from me without
giving me a look. Maurice came up and I made room for him beside me. We
talked of the riding-party, and then of our first meeting at the ball.
He told me that Redmond's boat had arrived, and what a famous boat it
was, and "what jolly sprees we fellows had, cruising about with her." I
asked him about his guitar, and when we might hear him play. He grew
more chatty and began to tell me about his sister, when Redmond and
Harry Lothrop came over to us, which ended his chat.

The party was like all parties,--dull at first, and brighter as it grew
late. The old ladies played whist in one room, and the younger part of
the company were in another. Champagne was not a prevalent drink in our
village, but it happened that we had some that night.

"It may be a sinful beverage," said an old lady near me, "but it is

Redmond opened a bottle for me, we clinked glasses, and drank to an
indefinite, silent wish.

"One more," he asked, "and let us change glasses."

Presently a cloud of delicate warmth spread over my brain, and gave me
courage to seek and meet his glance. There must have been an expression
of irresolution in my face, for he looked at me inquiringly, and then
his own face grew very sad. I felt awkward from my intuition of his
opinion of my mood, when he relieved me by saying something about
Shelley,--a copy of whose poems lay on a table near. From Shelley he
went to his boat, and said he hoped to have some pleasant excursions
with Laura and myself. He "would go at once and talk with Laura's
mother about them." I watched him through the door, while he spoke to
her. She was in a low chair, and he leaned his face on one hand close
to hers. I saw that his natural expression was one of tranquillity and
courage. He was not more than twenty-two, but the firmness of the lines
about his mouth belied his youth.

"He has a wonderful face," I thought, "and just as wonderful a will."

I felt my own will rise as I looked at him,--a will that should make me
mistress of myself, powerful enough to contend with, and resist, or
turn to advantage any controlling fate which might come near me.

"Do you feel like singing?" Harry Lothrop inquired. "Do you know
Byron's song, 'One struggle more and I am free'?"

"Oh, yes!" I replied,--"it is set to music which suits my voice. I will
sing it."

Laura had been playing polkas with great spirit. Since the Champagne,
the old ladies had closed their games of whist for talking, and, as it
was nearly time to go, the company was gay. There was laughing and
talking when I began, but silence soon after, for the wine made my
voice husky and effective. I sang as if deeply moved.

"Lord!" I heard Maurice say to Laura, as I rose from the piano, "what a
girl! she's really tragic."

I caught Harry Lothrop's eye, as I passed through the door to go
up-stairs; it was burning; I felt as if a hot coal had dropped on me.
Maurice ran into the hall and sprang upon the stair-railing to ask me
if he might be my escort home. That night he serenaded me. He was a
good-hearted, cheerful creature; conceited, as small men are apt to
be,--conceit answering for size with them,--but pleasantly so, and I
learned to like him as much as Redmond did.

The summer days were passing. We had all sorts of parties,--parties in
houses and out-of-doors; we rode and sailed and walked. Laura walked
and talked much with Harry Lothrop. We did not often see each other
alone, but, when we met, were more serious and affectionate with each
other. We did not speak, except in a general way, of Redmond and Harry
Lothrop. I did not avoid Redmond, nor did I seek him. We had many a
serious conversation in public, as well as many a gay one; but I had
never met him alone since the night we rode through the pines.

He went away for a fortnight. On the day of his return he came to see
me. He looked so glad, when I entered the room, that I could not help
feeling a wild thrill. I went up to him, but said nothing. He held out
both his hands. I retreated. An angry feeling rushed into my heart.

"No," I said, "Whose hand did you hold last?"

He turned deadly pale.

"That of the woman I am going to marry."

I smiled to hide the trembling of my lips, and offered my hand to him;
_but he waved it away_, and fell back on his chair, hurriedly drawing
his handkerchief across his face. I saw that he was very faint, and
stood against the door, waiting for him to recover.

"More than I have played the woman and the fool before you."


"I thought so. You seem experienced."

"I am."

"Forgive me," he said, gently; "being only a man, I think you can. Good
God!" he exclaimed, "what an infernal self-possession you show!"

"Redmond, is it not time to end this? The summer has been a long
one,--has it not?--long enough for me to have learned what it is to
live. Our positions are reversed since we have become acquainted. I am
for the first time forgetting self, and you for the first time remember
self. Redmond, you are a noble man. You have a steadfast soul. Do not
be shaken. I am not like you; I am not simple or single-hearted. But I
imitate you. Now come, I beg you will go."

"Certainly, I will. I have little to say."

August had nearly gone when Maurice told me they were about to leave.
Laura said we must prepare for retrospection and the fall sewing.

"Well," I said, "the future looks gloomy, and I must have some new

Maurice came to see me one morning in a state of excitement to say we
were all going to Bird Island to spend the day, dine at the
light-house, and sail home by moonlight. Fifteen of the party were
going down by the sloop Sapphire, and Redmond had begged him to ask if
Laura and I would go in his boat.

"Do go," said Maurice; "it will be our last excursion together; next
week we are off. I am broken-hearted about it. I shall never be so
happy again. I have actually whimpered once or twice. You should hear
Redmond whistle nowadays. Harry pulls his moustache and laughs his oily
laughs, but he is sorry to go, and kicks his clothes about awfully. By
the way, he is going down in the sloop because Miss Fairfax is
going,--he says,--that tall young lady with crinkled hair;--he hates
her, and hopes to see her sick. May I come for you in the morning, by
ten o'clock? Redmond will be waiting on the wharf."

"Tell Redmond," I answered, "that I will go; and will you ask Harry
Lothrop not to engage himself for all the reels to Miss Fairfax?"

He promised to fulfil my message, and went off in high spirits. I
wondered, as I saw him going down the walk, why it was that I felt so
much more natural and friendly with him than with either of his
friends. I often talked confidentially to him; he knew how I loved my
mother, and how I admired my father, and I told him all about my
brother's business. He also knew what I liked best to eat and to wear.
In return, he confided his family secrets to me. I knew his tastes and
wishes. There was no common ground where I met Redmond and Harry
Lothrop. There were too many topics between Redmond and myself to be
avoided, for us to venture upon private or familiar conversation. Harry
Lothrop was an accomplished, fastidious man of the world, I dreaded
boring him, and so I said little. He was several years older than
Redmond, and possessed more knowledge of men, women, and books. Redmond
had no acquirements, he knew enough by nature, and I never saw a person
with more fascination of manner and voice.

The evening before the sailing-party, I had a melancholy fit. I was
restless, and after dark I put a shawl over my head and went out to
walk. I went up a lonesome road, beyond our house. On one side I heard
the water washing against the shore with regularity, as if it were
breathing. On the other side were meadows, where there were cows
crunching the grass. A mile farther was a low wood of oaks, through
which ran a path. I determined to walk through that. The darkness and a
sharp breeze which blew against me from limitless space made me feel as
if I were the only human creature the elements could find to contend
with, I turned down the little path into the deeper darkness of the
wood, sat down on a heap of dead leaves, and began to cry.

"Mine is a miserable pride," was my thought,--"that of arming myself
with beauty and talent and going through the world conquering! Girls
are ignorant, till they are disappointed. The only knowledge men
proffer us is the knowledge of the heart; it becomes us to profit by
it. Redmond will marry that girl. He must, and shall. I will empty the
dust and ashes of my heart as soon as the fire goes down: that is, I
think so; but I know that I do not know myself. I have two
natures,--one that acts, and one that is acted upon,--and I cannot
always separate the one from the other."

Something darkened the opening into the path. Two persons passed in
slowly. I perceived the odor of violets, and felt that one of them must
be Laura. Waiting till they passed beyond me, I rose and went home.

The next morning was cloudy, and the sea was rough with a high wind;
but we were old sailors, and decided to go on our excursion. The sloop
and Redmond's boat left the wharf at the same time. We expected to be
several hours beating down to Bird Island, for the wind was ahead.
Laura and I, muffled in cloaks, were placed on the thwarts and
neglected; for Redmond and Maurice were busy with the boat. Laura was
silent, and looked ill. Redmond sat at the helm, and kept the boat up
to the wind, which drove the hissing spray over us. The sloop hugged
the shore, and did not feel the blast as we did. I slid along my seat
to be near Redmond. He saw me coming, and put out his hand and drew me
towards him, looking so kindly at me that I was melted. Trying to get
at my handkerchief, which was in my dress-pocket, my cloak flew open,
the wind caught it, and, as I rose to draw it closer, I nearly fell
overboard. Redmond gave a spring to catch me, and the boat lost her
headway. The sail flapped with a loud bang. Maurice swore, and we
chopped about in the short sea.

"It is your destiny to have a scene, wherever you are," said Laura. "If
I did not feel desperate, I should be frightened. But these green,
crawling waves are so opaque, if we fall in, we shall not see ourselves

"Courage! the boat is under way," Maurice cried out; "we are nearly

And rounding a little point, we saw the light-house at last. The sloop
anchored a quarter of a mile from the shore, the water being shoal, and
Redmond took off her party by instalments.

"What the deuse was the matter with you at one time?" asked Jack
Parker. "We saw you were having a sort of convulsion. Our cap'n said
you were bold chaps to be trifling with such a top-heavy boat."

"Miss Denham," said Redmond, "thought she could steer the boat as well
as I could, and so the boat lost headway."

Harry Lothrop gave Redmond one of his soft smiles, and a vexed look
passed over Redmond's face when he saw it.

We had to scramble over a low range of rocks to get to the shore.
Redmond anchored his boat by one of them. Bird Island was a famous
place for parties. It was a mile in extent. Not a creature was on it
except the light-house keeper, his wife, and daughter. The gulls made
their nests in its rocky borders; their shrill cries, the incessant
dashing of the waves on the ledges, and the creaking of the lantern in
the stone tower were all the sounds the family heard, except when they
were invaded by some noisy party like ours. They were glad to see us.
The light-house keeper went into the world only when it was necessary
to buy stores, or when his wife and daughter wanted to pay a visit to
the mainland.

The house was of stone, one story high, with thick walls. The small,
deep-set windows and the low ceilings gave the rooms the air of a
prison; but there was also an air of security about them: for, in
looking from the narrow windows, one felt that the house was a
steadfast ship in the circle of the turbulent sea, whose waves from
every point seemed advancing towards it. A pale, coarse grass grew in
the sand of the island. It was too feeble to resist the acrid breath of
the ocean, so it shuddered perpetually, and bent landward, as if
invoking the protection of its stepmother, the solid earth.

"It is perfect," said Redmond to me; "I have been looking for this spot
all my life; I am ready to swear that I will never leave it."

We were sitting in a window, facing each other. He looked out toward
the west, and presently was lost in thought. He folded his arms tightly
across his breast, and his eyes were a hundred miles away. The sound of
a fiddle in the long alley which led from the house to the tower broke
his reverie.

"We shall be uproarious before we leave," I said; "we always are, when
we come here."

The fun had already set in. Some of the girls had pinned up their
dresses, and borrowed aprons from the light-house keeper's wife, and
with scorched faces were helping her to make chowder and fry
fish. Others were arranging the table, assisted by the young men, who
put the dishes in the wrong places. Others were singing in the best
room. One or two had brought novels along, and were reading them in
corners. It was all merry and pleasant, but I felt quiet. Redmond
entered into the spirit of the scene. I had never seen him so gay. He
chatted with all the girls, interfering or helping, as the case might
be. Maurice brought his guitar, and had a group about him at the foot
of the tower-stairs. He sung loud, but his voice seemed to
fluctuate;--now it rang through the tower, now it was half overpowered
by the roar of the sea. His poetical temperament led him to choose
songs in harmony with the place, not to suit the company,--melancholy
words set to wild, fitful chords, which rose and died away according to
the skill of the player. I had gone near him, for his singing had
attracted me.

"You are inspired," I said.

He nodded.

"You never sung so before."

"I feel old to-day," he answered, and he swept his hands across all the
strings; "my ditties are done."

After dinner Laura asked me to go out with her. We slipped away unseen,
and went to the beach, and seated ourselves on a great rock whose outer
side was lapped by the water. The sun had broken through the clouds,
but shone luridly, giving the sea a leaden tint. The wind was going
down. We had not been there long, when Redmond joined us. He asked us
to go round the island in his boat. Laura declined, and said she would
sit on the rock while we went, if I chose to go. I did choose to go,
and he brought the boat to the rock. He hoisted the sail half up the
mast, and we sailed close to the shore. It rose gradually along the
east side of the island, and terminated in a bold ledge which curved
into the sea. We ran inside the curve, where the water was nearly
smooth. Redmond lowered the sail and the boat drifted toward the ledge
slowly. A tongue of land, covered with pale sedge, was on the left
side. Above the ledge, at the right, we could see the tower of the
light-house. Redmond tied down the helm, and, throwing himself beside
me, leaned his head on his hand, and looked at me a long time without
speaking. I listened to the water, which plashed faintly against the
bows. He covered his face with his hands. I looked out seaward over the
tongue of land; my heart quaked, like the grass which grew upon it. At
last he rose, and I saw that he was crying,--the tears rained fast.

"My soul is dying," he said, in a stifled voice; "I am not more than
mortal,--I cannot endure it."

I pointed toward the open sea, which loomed so vague in the distance.

"The future is like that,--is it not? Courage! we must drift through
it; we shall find something."

He stamped his foot on the deck.

"Women always talk so; but men are different. If there is a veil before
us, we must tear it away,--not sit muffled in its folds, and speculate
on what is behind it. Rise."

I obeyed him. He held me firmly. We were face to face.

"Look at me."

I did. His eyes were blazing.

"Do you love me?"


He placed me on the bench, hoisted the sail, untied the helm, and we
were soon ploughing round to the spot where we had left Laura; but she
was gone. On the rock where she was, perched a solitary gull, which
flew away with a scream as we approached.

That day was the last that I saw Redmond alone. He was at the party at
Laura's house which took place the night before they left. We did not
bid each other adieu.

After the three friends had gone, they sent us gifts of remembrance.
Redmond's keepsake was a white fan with forget-me-nots painted on it.
To Laura he sent the pen-holder, which was now mine.

We missed them, and should have felt their loss, had no deep feeling
been involved; for they gave an impetus to our dull country life, and
the whole summer had been one of excitement and pleasure. We settled by
degrees into our old habits. At Christmas, Frank came. He looked
worried and older. He had heard something of Laura's intimacy with
Harry Lothrop, and was troubled about it, I know: but I believe Laura
was silent on the matter. She was quiet and affectionate toward him
during his visit, and he went back consoled.

The winter passed. Spring came and went, and we were deep into the
summer when Laura was taken ill. She had had a little cough, which no
one except her mother noticed. Her spirits fell, and she failed fast.
When I saw her last, she had been ill some weeks, and had never felt
strong enough to talk as much as she did in that interview. She nerved
herself to make the effort, and as she bade me farewell, bade farewell
to life also. And now it was all over with her!

       *       *       *       *       *

I fell asleep at length, and woke late. It seemed as if a year had
dropped out of the procession of Time. My heart was still beating with
the emotion which stirred it when Redmond and I were together last.
Recollection had stung me to the quick. A terrible longing urged me to
go and find him. The feeling I had when we were in the boat, face to
face, thrilled my fibres again. I saw his gleaming eyes; I could have
rushed through the air to meet him. But, alas! exaltation of feeling
lasts only a moment; it drops us where it finds us. If it were not so,
how easy to be a hero! The dull reaction of the present, like a slow
avalanche, crushed and ground me into nothingness.

"Something must happen at last," I thought, "to amuse me, and make time

What can a woman do, when she knows that an epoch of feeling is rounded
off, finished, dead? Go back to her story-books, her dress-making, her
worsted-work? Shall she attempt to rise to mediocrity on the piano or
in drawing, distribute tracts, become secretary of a Dorcas society? or
shall she turn her mind to the matter of cultivating another lover at
once? Few of us women have courage enough to shoulder out the corpses
of what men leave in our hearts. We keep them there, and conceal the
ruins in which they lie. We grow cunning and artful in our tricks, the
longer we practise them. But how we palpitate and shrink and shudder,
when we are alone in the dark!

After Redmond departed, I had locked up my feelings and thrown the key
away. The death of Laura, and the awakening of my recollections, caused
by the appearance of Harry Lothrop, wrenched the door open. Hitherto I
had acted with the bravery of a girl; I must now behave with the
resolution of a woman. I looked into my heart closely. No skeleton was
there, but the image of a living man,--_Redmond_.

"I love him," I confessed. "To be his wife and the mother of his
children is the only lot I ever care to choose. He is noble, handsome,
and loyal. But I cannot belong to him, nor can he ever be mine.

  "'Of love that never found his earthly close
  What sequel?'

"What did he do with the remembrance of me? He scattered it, perhaps,
with the ashes of the first cigar he smoked after he went from
me,--made a mound of it, maybe, in honor of Duty. I am as ignorant of
him as if he no longer existed; so this image must be torn away. I will
not burn the lamp of life before it, but will build up the niche where
it stands into a solid wall."

The ideal happiness of love is so sweet and powerful, that, for a
while, adverse influences only exalt the imagination. When Laura told
me of Redmond's engagement, it did but change my dream of what might be
into what might have been. It was a mirage which continued while he was
present and faded with his departure. Then my heart was locked in the
depths of will, till circumstance brought it a power of revenge. I
think now, if we had spoken freely and truly to each other, I should
have suffered less when I saw his friend. We feel better when the
funeral of our dearest friend is over and we have returned to the
house. There is to be no more preparation, no waiting; the windows may
be opened, and the doors set wide; the very dreariness and desolation
force our attention towards the living.

"Something will come," I thought; and I determined not to have any more
reveries. "Mr. Harry Lothrop is a pleasant riddle; I shall see him
soon, or he will write."

It occurred to me then that I had some letters of his already in my
possession,--those he had written to Laura. I found the ebony box, and,
taking from it the sealed package, unfolded the letters one by one,
reading them according to their dates. There was a note among them for
me, from Laura.

"When you read these letters, Margaret," it said, "you will see that I
must have studied the writer of them in vain. You know now that he made
me unhappy; not that I was in love with him much, but he stirred depths
of feeling which I had no knowledge of, and which between Frank, my
betrothed husband, and myself had no existence. But '_le roi s'amuse._'
Perhaps a strong passion will master this man; but I shall never know.
Will you?"

I laid the letters back in their place, and felt no very strong desire
to learn anything more of the writer. I did not know then how little
trouble it would be,--my share of making the acquaintance.

It was not many weeks before Mr. Lothrop came again, and rather
ostentatiously, so that everybody knew of his visit to me. But he saw
none of the friends he had made during his stay the year before. I
happened to see him coming, and went to the door to meet him. Almost
his first words were,--

"Maurice is dead. He went to Florida,--took the fever,--which killed
him, of course. He died only a week after--after Laura. Poor fellow!
did he interest you much? I believe he was in love with you, too; but
musical people are never desperate, except when they play a false

"Yes," I answered; "I was fond of him. His conceit did not trouble me,
and he never fatigued me; he had nothing to conceal. He was a
commonplace man; one liked him, when with him,--and when away, one had
no thought about him."

"I alone am left you," said my visitor, putting his hat on a chair, and
slowly pulling off his gloves, finger by finger.

He had slender, white hands, like a woman's, and they were always in
motion. After he had thrown his gloves into his hat, he put his finger
against his cheek, leaned his elbow on the arm of his chair, crossed
his legs, and looked at me with a cunning self-possession. I glanced at
his feet; they were small and well-booted. I looked into his face; it
was not a handsome one; but he had magnetic eyes, of a lightish blue,
and a clever, loose mouth. It is impossible to describe him,--just as
impossible as it is for a man who was born a boor to attain the bearing
of a gentleman; any attempt at it would prove a bungling matter, when
compared with the original. He felt my scrutiny, and knew, too, that I
had never looked at him till then.

"Do you sing nowadays?" he asked, tapping with his fingers the keys of
the piano behind him.


"They suit you admirably; but I perceive you attend to your dress
still. How effective those velvet bands are! You look older than you
did two years ago."

"Two years are enough to age a woman."

"Yes, if she is miserable. Can you be unhappy?" he asked, rising, and
taking a seat beside me.

There was a tone of sympathy in his voice which made me shudder, I knew
not why. It was neither aversion nor liking; but I dreaded to be thrown
into any tumult of feeling. I realized afterward more fully that it is
next to impossible for a passionate woman to receive the sincere
addresses of a manly man without feeling some fluctuation of soul.
Ignorant spectators call her a coquette for this. Happily, there are
teachers among our own sex, women of cold temperaments, able to
vindicate themselves from the imputation. They spare themselves great
waste of heart and some generous emotion,--also remorse and
self-accusations regarding the want of propriety, and the other
ingredients which go to make up a white-muslin heroine.

Harry Lothrop saw that my cheek was burning, and made a movement toward
me. I tossed my head back, and moved down the sofa; he did not follow
me, but smiled and mused in his old way.

And so it went on,--not once, but many times. He wrote me quiet,
persuasive, eloquent letters. By degrees I learned his own history and
that of his family, his prospects and his intentions. He was rich. I
knew well what position I should have, if I were his wife. My beauty
would be splendidly set. I was well enough off, but not rich enough to
harmonize all things according to my taste. I was proud, and he was
refined; if we were married, what better promise of delicacy could be
given than that of pride in a woman, refinement in a man? He brought me
flowers or books, when he came. The flowers were not delicate and
inodorous, but magnificent and deep-scented; and the material of the
books was stalwart and vigorous. I read his favorite authors with him.
He was the first person who ever made any appeal to my intellect. In
short, he was educating me for a purpose.

Once he offered me a diamond cross. I refused it, and he never asked me
to accept any gift again. His visits were not frequent, and they were
short. However great the distance he accomplished to reach me, he staid
only an evening, and then returned. He came and went at night. In time
I grew to look upon our connection as an established thing. He made me
understand that he loved me, and that he only waited for me to return
it; but he did not say so.

I lived an idle life, inhaling the perfume of the flowers he gave me,
devouring old literature, the taste for which he had created, and
reading and answering his letters. To be sure, other duties were
fulfilled, I was an affectionate child to my parents, and a proper
acquaintance for my friends. I never lost any sleep now, nor was I
troubled with dreams. I lived in the outward; all my restless activity,
that constant questioning of the heavens and the earth, had ceased
entirely. Five years had passed since I first saw Redmond. I was now
twenty-four. The Fates grew tired of the monotony of my life, I
suppose, for about this time it changed.

My oldest brother, a bachelor, lived in New York. He asked me to spend
the winter with him; he lived in a quiet hotel, had a suite of rooms,
and could make me comfortable, he said. He had just asked somebody to
marry him, and that somebody wished to make my acquaintance. I was glad
to go. My heart gave a bound at the prospect of change; I was still
young enough to dream of the impossible, when any chance offered itself
to my imagination; so I accepted my brother's invitation with some

I had been in New York a month. One day I was out with my future
sister, on a shopping raid; with our hands full of little paper
parcels, we stopped to look into Goupil's window. There was always a
rim of crowd there, so I paid no attention to the jostles we received.
We were looking at an engraving of Ary Scheffer's Françoise de Rimini.
"Not the worst hell," muttered a voice behind me, which I knew. I
started, and pulled Leonora's arm; she turned round, and the fringe of
her cloak-sleeve caught a button on the overcoat of one of the
gentlemen standing together. It was Redmond; the other was his
"ancient," Harry Lothrop. Leonora was arrested; I stood still, of
course. Redmond had not seen my face, for I turned it from him; and his
head was bent down to the task of disengaging his button.

  "'Each only as God wills
  Can work; God's puppets, best and worst,
  Are we; there is no last nor first,'"

I thought, and turned my head. He instinctively took off his hat, and
then planted it back on his head firmly, and looked over to Harry
Lothrop, to whom I gave my hand. He knew me before I saw him, I am
convinced; but his dramatic sense kept him silent,--perhaps a deeper
feeling. There was an expression of pain in his face, which impelled me
to take his arm.

"Let us move on, Leonora," I said; "these are some summer friends of
mine," and I introduced them to her.

My chief feeling was embarrassment, which was shared by all the party;
for Leonora felt that there was something unusual in the meeting. The
door of the hotel seemed to come round at last, and as we were going
in, Harry Lothrop asked me if he might see me the next morning.

"Do come," I answered aloud.

We all bowed, and they disappeared.

"What an elegant Indian your tall friend is!" said Leonora.

"Yes,--of the Camanche tribe."

"But he would look better hanging from his horse's mane than he does in
a long coat."

"He is spoiled by civilization and white parents. But, Leonora, stay
and dine with me, in my own room. John will not come home till it is
time for the opera. You know we are going. You must make me splendid;
you can torture me into style, I know."

She consented, provided I would send a note to her mother, explaining
that it was my invitation, and not her old John's, as she irreverently
called him. I did so, and she was delighted to stay.

"This is fast," she said; "can't we have Champagne and black coffee?"

She fell to rummaging John's closets, and brought out a dusty,
Chinese-looking affair, which she put on for a dressing-gown. She found
some Chinese straw shoes, and tucked her little feet into them, and
then braided her hair in a long tail, and declared she was ready for
dinner. Her gayety was refreshing, and I did not wonder at John's
admiration. My spirits rose, too, and I astonished Leonora at the table
with my chat; she had never seen me except when quiet. I fell into one
of those unselfish, unasking moods which are the glory of youth: I felt
that the pure heaven of love was in the depths of my being; my soul
shone like a star in its atmosphere; my heart throbbed, and I cried
softly to it,--"Live! live! he is here!" I still chatted with Leonora
and made her laugh, and the child for the first time thoroughly liked
me. We were finishing our dessert, when we heard John's knock. We
allowed him to come in for a moment, and gave him some almonds, which,
he leisurely cracked and ate.

"Somehow, Margaret," he said, "you remind me of those women who enjoy
the Indian festival of the funeral pile. I have seen the thing done;
you have something of the sort in your mind; be sure to immolate
yourself handsomely. Women are the deuse."

"Finish your almonds, John," I said, "and go away; we must dress."

He put his hand on my arm, and whispered,--

"Smother that light in your eyes, my girl; it is dangerous. And you
have lived under your mother's eye all your life! You see what I have
done,"--indicating Leonora with his eyebrows,--"taken a baby on my

"John, John!" I inwardly ejaculated, "you are an idiot."

"She shall never suffer what you suffer; she shall have the benefit of
the experience which other women have given me."

"Very likely," I answered; "I know we often serve you as pioneers

He gave a sad nod, and I closed the door upon him.

"Put these pins into my hair, Leonora, and tell me, how do you like my
new dress?"

"Paris!" she cried.

It was a dove-colored silk with a black velvet stripe through it. I
showed her a shawl which John had given me,--a pale-yellow gauzy fabric
with a gold-thread border,--and told her to make me up. She produced
quite a marvellous effect; for this baby understood the art of dress to
perfection. She made my hair into a loose mass, rolling it away from my
face; yet it was firmly fastened. Then she shook out the shawl, and
wrapped me in it, so that my head seemed to be emerging from a
pale-tinted cloud. John said I looked outlandish, but Leonora thought
otherwise. She begged him for some Indian perfume, and he found an
aromatic powder, which she sprinkled inside my gloves and over my shawl.

We found the opera-house crowded. Our seats were near the stage. John
sat behind us, so that he might slip out into the lobby occasionally;
for the opera was a bore to him. The second act was over; John had left
his seat; I was opening and shutting my fan mechanically, half lost in
thought, when Leonora, who had been looking at the house with her
lorgnette, turned and said,--

"Is not that your friend of this morning, on the other side, in the
second row, leaning against the third pillar? There is a
queenish-looking old lady with him. He hasn't spoken to her for a long
time, and she continually looks up at him."

I took her glass, and discovered Redmond. He looked back at me through
another; I made a slight motion with my handkerchief; he dropped his
glass into the lap of the lady next him and darted out, and in a moment
he was behind me in John's seat.

"Who is with you?" he asked.

"Brother," I answered.

"You intoxicate me with some strange perfume; don't fan it this way."

I quietly passed the fan to Leonora, who now looked back and spoke to
him. He talked with her a moment, and then she discreetly resumed her

"What happened for two years after I left B.? The last year I know
something of."

"Breakfast, dinner, and tea; the ebb and flow of the tide; and the days
of the week."

"Nothing more?" And his voice came nearer.

"A few trifles."

"They are under lock and key, I suppose?"

"We do not carry relics about with us."

"There is the conductor; I must go. Turn your face toward me more."

I obeyed him, and our eyes met. His searching gaze made me shiver.

"I have been married," he said, and his eyes were unflinching, "and my
wife is dead."

All the lights went down, I thought; I struck out my arm to find
Leonora, who caught it and pressed it down.

"I must get out," I said; and I walked up the alley to the door without

I knew that I was fainting or dying; as I had never fainted, I did not
know which. Redmond carried me through the cloak-room and put me on a

"I never can speak to him again," I thought, and then I lost sight of
them all.

A terribly sharp pain through my heart roused me, and I was in a
violent chill. They had thrown water over my face; my hair was matted,
and the water was dripping from it on my naked shoulders. The gloves
had been ripped from my hands, and Leonora was wringing my

"The heat made you faint, dear," she said.

John was walking up and down the room with a phlegmatic countenance,
but he was fuming.

"My new dress is ruined, John," I said.

"Hang the dress! How do you feel now?"

"It is drowned; and I feel better; shall we go home?"

He went out to order the carriage, and Leonora whispered to me that she
had forgotten Redmond's name.

"No matter," I answered. I could not have spoken it then.

When John came, Leonora beckoned to Redmond to introduce himself. John
shook hands with him, gave him an intent look, and told us the carriage
was ready. Redmond followed us, and took leave of us at the

Leonora begged me to stay at her house; I refused, for I wished to be
alone. John deposited her with her mother, and we drove home. He gave
me one of his infallible medicines, and told me not to get up in the
morning. But when morning came, I remembered Harry Lothrop was coming,
and made myself ready for him. As human nature is not quite perfect, I
felt unhappy about him, and rather fond of him, and thought he
possessed some admirable qualities. I never could read the old poets
any more without a pang, unless he were with me, directing my eye along
their pages with his long white finger! I never should smell tuberoses
again without feeling faint, unless they were his gift!

By the time he came I was in a state of romantic regret, and in that
state many a woman has answered, "Yes!" He asked me abruptly if I
thought it would be folly in him to ask me to marry him. The question
turned the tide.

"No," I answered,--"not folly; for I have thought many times in the
last two years, that I should marry you, if you said I must. But now I
believe that it is not best. You have pursued me patiently; your
self-love made the conquest of me a necessary pleasure. That was well
enough for me; for you made me feel all the while, that, if I loved
you, you were worth possessing. And you are. I like you. But my feeling
for you did not prevent my fainting away at the opera-house last night,
when Redmond told me that his wife was dead."

"So," he said, "the long-smothered fire has broken out again! Chance
does not befriend me. He saw you last night, and yielded. He said
yesterday he should not tell you. He asked me about you after we left
you, and wished to know if I had seen you much for the last year. I
offered him your last letter to read,--am I not generous?--but he
refused it.

"'When I see her,' he asked, 'am I at liberty to say what I choose?'

"On that I could have said, 'No.' Redmond and I have not seen each
other since the period of my first visit to you. He has been nursing
his wife in the mean time, taking journeys with her, and trying all
sorts of cures; and now he seems tied to his aunt and mother-in-law. He
was merely passing through the city with her, and this morning they
have gone again.--Well," after a pause, "there is no need of words
between us. I have in my possession a part of you. Beautiful women are
like flowers which open their leaves wide enough for their perfume to
attract wandering bees; the perfume is wasted, though the honey may be

"Alas, what a lesson this man is giving me!" I thought.

"Farewell, then," he said. He bit his lips, and his clenched hands
trembled; but he mastered his emotion. "You must think of me."

"And see you, too," I answered. "Everything comes round again, if we
live long enough. Dramatic unities are never preserved in life; if they
were, how poetical would all these things be! But Time whirls us round,
showing us our many-sided feelings as carelessly as a child rattles the
bits of glass in his kaleidoscope."

"So be it!" he replied. "Adieu!"

That afternoon I staid at home, and put John's room in order, and
cleaned the dust from his Indian idols, and was extremely busy till he
came in. Then I kissed his whiskers, and told him all my sins, and
cried once or twice during my confession. He petted me a good deal, and
made me eat twice as much dinner as I wanted; he said it was good for
me, and I obeyed him, for I felt uncommonly meek that day.

Soon after, Redmond sent me a long letter. He said he had been, from a
boy, under an obligation to his aunt, the mother of his wife. It was a
common story, and he would not trouble me with it. He was married soon
after Harry Lothrop's first visit to me, at the time they had received
the news of Laura's death. How much he had thought of Laura afterward,
while he was watching the fading away of his pale blossom! His aunt had
been ill since the death of her daughter, restless, and discontented
with every change. He hoped she was now settled among some old friends
with whom she might find consolation. In conclusion, he wrote,--"My
aunt noticed our hasty exit from the opera-house that night, when I was
brute enough to nearly kill you. I told her that I loved you. She now
feels, after a struggle, that she must let me go. 'Old women have no
rights,' she said to me yesterday. Margaret, may I come, and never leave
you again?"

My answer may be guessed, for one day he arrived. It was the dusk of a
cheery winter day, the time when home wears so bright a look to those
who seek it. It was an hour before dinner, and I was waiting for John
to come in. The amber evening sky gleamed before the windows, and the
fire made a red core of light in the room. John's sandal-wood boxes
gave out strange odors in the heat, and the pattern of the Persian rug
was just visible. A servant came to the door with a card. I held it to
the grate, and the fire lit up his name.

"Show him up-stairs," I said.

I stood in the doorway, and heard his step on every stair. When he
came, I took him by the hand, and drew him into the room. He was

"Oh, Redmond, I love you! How long you were away!"

He kneeled by me, and put my arms round his neck, and we kissed each
other with the first, best kiss of passion.

John came in, and I reached out my hand to him and said, "This is my

"That's comfortable," he answered. "Won't you stay to dinner?"

"Oh, yes," replied Redmond; "this is my hotel."

"I see," said John.

But after dinner they had a long talk together. John sent me to my
room, and I was glad to go. I walked up and down, crying, I must say,
most of the time, asking forgiveness of myself for my faults, and
remembering Laura and Maurice,--and then thinking Redmond was mine,
with a contraction of the heart which threatened to stifle me.

John took us up to Leonora's that evening; he said he wanted to see if
Puss would be tantalized with the sight of such a beautiful romantic
couple just from fairy-land, who were now prepared "to live in peace."

We were married the next day in a church in a by-street. John was the
only witness, and flourished a large silk handkerchief, so that it had
the effect of a triumphal banner. Redmond put the ring on the wrong
finger,--a mistake which the minister kindly rectified. All I had new
for the occasion was a pair of gloves.

One morning after my marriage, when Redmond and John were smoking
together, I was turning over some boxes, for I was packing to go home
on a visit to our mother. I called Redmond to leave his pipe and come
to me.

"You have not seen any of my property. Look, here it is:--

"One bitten handkerchief.

"A fan never used.

"A gold pen-holder.

"A draggled shawl."

"Margaret," he said, taking my chin in his hand and bringing his eyes
close to mine, "I am wild with happiness."

"Your pipe has gone out," we heard John say.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The pines were dark on Ramoth hill,
    Their song was soft and low;
  The blossoms in the sweet May wind
    Were falling like the snow.

  The blossoms drifted at our feet,
    The orchard birds sang clear;
  The sweetest and the saddest day
    It seemed of all the year.

  For, more to me than birds or flowers,
    My playmate left her home,
  And took with her the laughing spring,
    The music and the bloom.

  She kissed the lips of kith and kin,
    She laid her hand in mine:
  What more could ask the bashful boy
    Who fed her father's kine?

  She left us in the bloom of May:
    The constant years told o'er
  Their seasons with as sweet May morns.
    But she came back no more.

  I walk, with noiseless feet, the round
    Of uneventful years;
  Still o'er and o'er I sow the spring
    And reap the autumn ears.

  She lives where all the golden year
    Her summer roses blow;
  The dusky children of the sun
    Before her come and go.

  There haply with her jewelled hands
    She smooths her silken gown,--
  No more the homespun lap wherein
    I shook the walnuts down.

  The wild grapes wait us by the brook,
    The brown nuts on the hill,
  And still the May-day flowers make sweet
    The woods of Follymill.

  The lilies blossom in the pond,
    The bird builds in the tree,
  The dark pines sing on Ramoth hill
    The slow song of the sea.

  I wonder if she thinks of them,
    And how the old time seems,--
  If ever the pines of Ramoth wood
    Are sounding in her dreams.

  I see her face, I hear her voice:
    Does she remember mine?
  And what to her is now the boy
    Who fed her father's kine?

  What cares she that the orioles build
    For other eyes than ours,--
  That other hands with nuts are filled,
    And other laps with flowers?

  O playmate in the golden time!
    Our mossy seat is green,
  Its fringing violets blossom yet,
    The old trees o'er it lean.

  The winds so sweet with birch and fern
    A sweeter memory blow;
  And there in spring the veeries sing
    The song of long ago.

  And still the pines of Ramoth wood
    Are moaning like the sea,--
  The moaning of the sea of change
    Between myself and thee!


When that eccentric individual, Captain John Gabriel Stedman, resigned
his commission in the English navy, took the oath of abjuration, and
was appointed ensign in the Scots brigade employed for two centuries by
Holland, he little knew that "their High Mightinesses the States of the
United Provinces" would send him out, within a year, to the forests of
Guiana, to subdue rebel negroes. He never imagined that the year 1773
would behold him beneath the rainy season in a tropical country, wading
through marshes and splashing through lakes, exploring with his feet
for submerged paths, commanding impracticable troops and commanded by
an insufferable colonel, feeding on gree-gree worms and fed upon by
mosquitoes, howled at by jaguars, hissed at by serpents, and shot at by
those exceedingly unattainable gentlemen, "still longed for, never seen,"
the Maroons of Surinam.

Yet, as our young ensign sailed up the Surinam river, the world of
tropic beauty came upon him with enchantment. Dark, moist verdure was
close around him, rippling waters below; the tall trees of the jungle
and the low mangroves beneath were all hung with long vines and lianas,
a maze of cordage, like a fleet at anchor; odd monkeys travelled
ceaselessly up and down these airy paths, in armies, bearing their
young, like knapsacks, on their backs; macaws and humming-birds, winged
jewels, flew from tree to tree. As they neared Paramaribo, the river
became a smooth canal among luxuriant plantations, the air was perfumed
music, redolent of orange-blossoms and echoing with the songs of birds
and the sweet plash of oars; gay barges came forth to meet them; "while
groups of naked boys and girls were promiscuously playing and
flouncing, like so many tritons and mermaids, in the water." And when
the troops disembarked,--five hundred fine young men, the oldest not
thirty, all arrayed in new uniforms and bearing orange-flowers in their
caps, a bridal wreath for beautiful Guiana,--it is no wonder that the
Creole ladies were in ecstasy, and the boyish recruits little foresaw
the day, when, reduced to a few dozens, barefooted and ragged as
filibusters, their last survivors would gladly reëmbark from a country
beside which even Holland looked dry and even Scotland comfortable.

For over all that earthly paradise there brooded not alone its terrible
malaria, its days of fever and its nights of deadly chill, but the
worse shadows of oppression and of sin, which neither day nor night
could banish. The first object which met Stedman's eye, as he stepped
on shore, was the figure of a young girl stripped to receive two
hundred lashes, and chained to a hundred-pound-weight. And the few
first days gave a glimpse into a state of society worthy of this
exhibition,--men without mercy, women without modesty, the black man a
slave to the white man's passions, and the white man a slave to his
own. The present West Indian society in its worst forms is probably a
mere dilution of the utter profligacy of those days. Greek or Roman
decline produced nothing more debilitating or destructive than the
ordinary life of a Surinam planter, and his one virtue of hospitality
only led to more unbridled excesses and completed the work of vice. No
wonder that Stedman himself, who, with all his peculiarities, was
essentially simple and manly, soon became disgusted, and made haste to
get into the woods and cultivate the society of the Maroons.

The rebels against whom this expedition was sent were not the original
Maroons of Surinam, but a later generation. The originals had long
since established their independence, and their leaders were
flourishing their honorary silver-mounted canes in the streets of
Paramaribo. Fugitive negroes had begun to establish themselves in the
woods from the time when the colony was finally ceded by the English to
the Dutch, in 1674. The first open outbreak occurred in 1726, when the
plantations on the Seramica river revolted; it was found impossible to
subdue them, and the government very imprudently resolved to make an
example of eleven captives, and thus terrify the rest of the rebels.
They were tortured to death, eight of the eleven being women; this
drove the others to madness, and plantation after plantation was
visited with fire and sword. After a long conflict, their chief, Adoe,
was induced to make a treaty, in 1749. The rebels promised to keep the
peace, and in turn were promised freedom, money, tools, clothes, and,
finally, arms and ammunition.

But no permanent peace was ever made upon a barrel of gunpowder as a
basis, and of course an explosion followed this one. The colonists
naturally evaded the last item of the bargain, and the rebels,
receiving the gifts and remarking the omission of the part of Hamlet,
asked contemptuously if the Europeans expected negroes to subsist on
combs and looking-glasses? New hostilities at once began; a new body of
slaves on the Ouca river revolted; the colonial government was changed
in consequence, and fresh troops shipped from Holland; and after four
different embassies had been sent into the woods, the rebels began to
listen to reason. The black generals, Captain Araby and Captain Boston,
agreed upon a truce for a year, during which the colonial government
might decide for peace or war, the Maroons declaring themselves
indifferent. Finally the government chose peace, delivered ammunition,
and made a treaty, in 1761; the white and black plenipotentiaries
exchanged English oaths and then negro oaths, each tasting a drop of
the other's blood during the latter ceremony, amid a volley of
remarkable incantations from the black _gadoman_ or priest. After some
final skirmishes, in which the rebels almost always triumphed, the
treaty was at length accepted by all the various villages of Maroons.
Had they known that at this very time five thousand slaves in Berbice
were just rising against their masters and were looking to them for
assistance, the result might have been different; but this fact had not
reached them, nor had the rumors of insurrection in Brazil, among negro
and Indian slaves. They consented, therefore, to the peace. "They write
from Surinam," says the "Annual Register" for January 23, 1761, "that
the Dutch governor, finding himself unable to subdue the rebel negroes
of that country by force, hath wisely followed the example of Governor
Trelawney at Jamaica, and concluded an amicable treaty with them; in
consequence of which, all the negroes of the woods are acknowledged to
be free, and all that is past is buried in oblivion." So ended a war of
thirty-six years, and in Stedman's day the original three thousand Ouca
and Seramica Maroons had multiplied (almost incredibly) to fifteen

But for the slaves not sharing in this revolt it was not so
easy to "bury the whole past in oblivion." The Maroons had told
some very plain truths to the white ambassadors, and had frankly
advised them, if they wished for peace, to mend their own
manners and treat their slaves humanely. But the planters learned
nothing by experience,--and indeed, the terrible narrations of Stedman
were confirmed by those of Alexander, so lately as 1831. Of course,
therefore, in a colony comprising eighty thousand blacks to four
thousand whites, other revolts were stimulated by the success of this
one. They reached their highest point in 1772, when an insurrection on
the Cottica river, led by a negro named Baron, almost gave the
finishing blow to the colony; the only adequate protection being found
in a body of slaves liberated expressly for that purpose,--a dangerous
and humiliating precedent. "We have been obliged to set three or four
hundred of our stoutest negroes free to defend us," says an honest
letter from Surinam in the "Annual Register" for September 5, 1772.
Fortunately for the safety of the planters, Baron presumed too much
upon his numbers, and injudiciously built a camp too near the
sea-coast, in a marshy fastness, from which he was finally ejected by
twelve hundred Dutch troops, though the chief work was done, Stedman
thinks, by the "black rangers" or liberated slaves. Checked by this
defeat, he again drew back into the forests, resuming his guerrilla
warfare against the plantations. Nothing could dislodge him;
bloodhounds were proposed, but the moisture of the country made them
useless; and thus matters stood when Stedman came sailing, amid
orange-blossoms and music, up the winding Surinam.

Our young officer went into the woods in the condition of Falstaff,
"heinously unprovided." Coming from the unbounded luxury of the
plantations, he found himself entering "the most horrid and
impenetrable forests, where no kind of refreshment was to be had,"--he
being provisioned only with salt pork and peas. After a wail of sorrow
for this inhuman neglect, he bursts into a gush of gratitude for the
private generosity which relieved his wants at the last moment by the
following list of supplies:--"24 bottles best claret, 12 ditto Madeira,
12 ditto porter, 12 ditto cider, 12 ditto rum, 2 large loaves white
sugar, 2 gallons brandy, 6 bottles muscadel, 2 gallons lemon-juice, 2
gallons ground coffee, 2 large Westphalia hams, 2 salted bullocks'
tongues, 1 bottle Durham mustard, 6 dozen spermaceti candles." The hams
and tongues seem, indeed, rather a poor halfpennyworth to this
intolerable deal of sack; but this instance of Surinam privation in
those days may open some glimpse at the colonial standards of comfort.
"From this specimen," moralizes our hero, "the reader will easily
perceive, that, if some of the inhabitants of Surinam show themselves
the disgrace of the creation by their cruelties and brutality, others,
by their social feelings, approve themselves an ornament to the human
species. With this instance of virtue and generosity I therefore
conclude this chapter."

But the troops soon had to undergo worse troubles than those of the
_commisariat_. The rainy season had just set in. "As for the negroes,"
said Mr. Klynhaus, the last planter with whom they parted, "you may
depend on never seeing a soul of them, unless they attack you off
guard; but the climate, the climate, will murder you all." Bringing
with them constitutions already impaired by the fevers and dissipation
of Paramaribo, the poor boys began to perish long before they began to
fight. Wading in water all day, hanging their hammocks over water at
night, it seemed a moist existence, even compared with the climate of
England and the soil of Holland. It was "Invent a shovel and be a
magistrate," even more than Andrew Marvell found it in the United
Provinces. In fact, Raynal evidently thinks that nothing but Dutch
experience in hydraulics could ever have cultivated Surinam.

The two gun-boats which held one division of the expedition were merely
old sugar-barges, roofed over with boards, and looking like coffins.
They were pleasantly named the "Charon" and the "Cerberus," but Stedman
thought that the "Sudden Death" and the "Wilful Murder" would have been
titles more appropriate. The chief duty of the troops consisted in
lying at anchor at the intersections of wooded streams, waiting for
rebels who never came. It was dismal work, and the raw recruits were
full of the same imaginary terrors which have haunted other heroes less
severely tested: the monkeys never rattled the cocoa-nuts against the
trees, but they all heard the axes of Maroon wood-choppers; and when a
sentinel declared, one night, that he had seen a negro go down the
river in a canoe, with his pipe lighted, the whole force was called to
arms--against a firefly. In fact, the insect race brought by far the
most substantial dangers. The rebels eluded the military, but the
chigres, locusts, scorpions, and bush-spiders were ever ready to come
half-way to meet them; likewise serpents and alligators proffered them
the freedom of the forests and exhibited a hospitality almost
excessive. Snakes twenty feet long hung their seductive length from the
trees; jaguars volunteered their society through almost impenetrable
marshes; vampire bats perched by night with lulling endearments upon
their toes. When Stedman describes himself as killing thirty-eight
mosquitoes at one stroke, we must perhaps pardon something to the
spirit of martyrdom. But when we add to these the other woes of his
catalogue,--prickly-heat, ring-worm, putrid-fever, "the growling of
Colonel Fougeaud, dry, sandy savannas, unfordable marshes, burning hot
days, cold and damp nights, heavy rains, and short allowance,"--we can
hardly wonder that three captains died in a month, and that in two
months his detachment of forty-two was reduced to a miserable seven.

Yet, through all this, Stedman himself kept his health. His theory of
the matter almost recalls the time-honored prescription of "A light
heart and a thin pair of breeches," for he attributes his good
condition to his keeping up his spirits and kicking off his shoes.
Daily bathing in the river had also something to do with it,--and,
indeed, hydropathy (this may not be generally known) was first learned
of the West India Maroons, who did their "packing" in wet clay,--and it
was carried by Dr. Wright to England. But his extraordinary personal
qualities must have contributed most to his preservation. Never did a
"meagre, starved, black, burnt, and ragged tatterdemalion," as he calls
himself, carry about him such a fund of sentiment, philosophy, poetry,
and art. He had a great faculty for sketching, as the engravings in his
volumes, with all their odd peculiarities, show; his deepest woes he
coined always into couplets, and fortified himself against hopeless
despair with Ovid and Valerius Flaccus, Pope's "Homer" and Thomson's
"Seasons." Above all reigned his passion for natural history, a ready
balm for every ill. Here he was never wanting to the occasion, and, to
do justice to Dutch Guiana, the occasion never was wanting to him. Were
his men sickening, the peccaries were always healthy without, and the
cockroaches within the camp; just escaping from a she-jaguar, he
satisfies himself, ere he flees, that the print of her claws on the
sand is precisely the size of a pewter dinner-plate; bitten by a
scorpion, he makes sure of his scientific description in case he should
expire of the bite; is the water undrinkable, there is at least some
rational interest in the number of legs possessed by the centipedes
which preoccupy it. This is the highest triumph of man over his
accidents, when he thus turns his pains to gains, and becomes an
entomologist in the tropics.

Meanwhile the rebels kept their own course in the forests, and
occasionally descended upon plantations beside the very river on whose
upper waters the useless troops were sickening and dying. Stedman
himself made several campaigns, with long intervals of illness, before
he came any nearer to the enemy than to burn a deserted village or
destroy a rice-field. Sometimes they left the Charon and the Cerberus
moored by grape-vines to the pine-trees, and made expeditions into the
woods single file. Our ensign, true to himself, gives the minutest
schedule of the order of march, and the oddest little diagram of
manikins with cocked hats, and blacker manikins bearing burdens. First,
negroes with bill-hooks to clear the way; then the van-guard; then the
main body, interspersed with negroes bearing boxes of ball-cartridges;
then the rear-guard, with many more negroes, bearing camp-equipage,
provisions, and new rum, surnamed "kill-devil," and appropriately
followed by a sort of palanquin for the disabled. Thus arrayed, they
marched valorously forth into the woods, to some given point; then they
turned, marched back to the boats, then rowed back to camp, and
straightaway went into the hospital. Immediately upon this, the coast
being clear. Baron and his rebels marched out again and proceeded to

In the course of years, these Maroons had acquired their own peculiar
tactics. They built stockaded fortresses on marshy islands, accessible
by fords which they alone could traverse. These they defended further
by sharp wooden pins, or crows'-feet, concealed beneath the surface of
the miry ground,--and, latterly, by the more substantial protection of
cannon, which they dragged into the woods, and learned to use. Their
bush-fighting was unique. Having always more men than weapons, they
arranged their warriors in threes,--one to use the musket, another to
take his place, if wounded or slain, and a third to drag away the body.
They had Indian stealthiness and swiftness, with more than Indian
discipline; discharged their fire with some approach to regularity, in
three successive lines, the signals being given by the captain's horn.
They were full of ingenuity: marked their movements for each other by
scattered leaves and blazed trees; ran zigzag, to dodge bullets; gave
wooden guns to their unarmed men, to frighten the plantation negroes on
their guerrilla expeditions; and borrowed the red caps of the black
rangers whom they slew, to bewilder the aim of the others. One of
them, finding himself close to the muzzle of a ranger's gun, threw up
his hand hastily. "What!" he exclaimed, "will you fire on one of your
own party?" "God forbid!" cried the ranger, dropping his piece, and was
instantly shot through the body by the Maroon, who the next instant had
disappeared in the woods.

These rebels were no saints: their worship was obi-worship; the women
had not far outgrown the plantation standard of chastity, and the men
drank "kill-devil" like their betters. Stedman was struck with the
difference between the meaning of the word "good" in rebellious circles
and in reputable. "It must, however, be observed that what we Europeans
call a good character was by the Africans looked upon as detestable,
especially by those born in the woods, whose only crime consisted in
avenging the wrongs done to their forefathers." But if martial virtues
be virtues, such were theirs. Not a rebel ever turned traitor or
informer, ever flinched in battle or under torture, ever violated a
treaty or even a private promise. But it was their power of endurance
which was especially astounding; Stedman is never weary of paying
tribute to this, or of illustrating it in sickening detail; indeed, the
records of the world show nothing to surpass it; "the lifted axe, the
agonizing wheel" proved powerless to subdue it; with every limb lopped,
every bone broken, the victims yet defied their tormentors, laughed,
sang, and died triumphant.

Of course, they repaid these atrocities in kind. If they had not, it
would have demonstrated the absurd paradox, that slavery educates
higher virtues than freedom. It bewilders all the relations of human
responsibility, if we expect the insurrectionary slave to commit no
outrages; if slavery have not depraved him, it has done him little
harm. If it be the normal tendency of bondage to produce saints like
Uncle Tom, let us all offer ourselves at auction immediately. It is
Cassy and Dred who are the normal protest of human nature against
systems which degrade it. Accordingly, these poor, ignorant Maroons,
who had seen their brothers and sisters flogged, burned, mutilated,
hanged on iron hooks, broken on the wheel, and had been all the while
solemnly assured that this was paternal government, could only repay
the paternalism in the same fashion, when they had the power. Stedman
saw a negro chained to a red-hot distillery-furnace; he saw disobedient
slaves, in repeated instances, punished by the amputation of a leg, and
sent to boat-service for the rest of their lives; and of course the
rebels borrowed these suggestions. They could bear to watch their
captives expire under the lash, for they had previously watched their
parents. If the government rangers received twenty-five florins for
every rebel right-hand which they brought in, of course they risked
their own right-hands in the pursuit. The difference was, that the one
brutality was that of a mighty state, and the other was only the
retaliation of the victims. And after all, Stedman never ventures to
assert that the imitation equalled the original, or that the Maroons
had inflicted nearly so much as they had suffered.

The leaders of the rebels, especially, were men who had each his own
story of wrongs to tell. Baron, the most formidable, had been the slave
of a Swedish gentleman, who had taught him to read and write, taken him
to Europe, promised to manumit him on his return,--and then, breaking
his word, sold him to a Jew. Baron refused to work for his new master,
was publicly flogged under the gallows, fled to the woods next day, and
became the terror of the colony. Joli Coeur, his first captain, was
avenging the cruel wrongs of his mother. Bonny, another leader, was
born in the woods, his mother having taken refuge there just
previously, to escape from his father, who was also his master. Cojo,
another, had defended his master against the insurgents until he was
obliged by ill usage to take refuge among them; and he still bore upon
his wrist, when Stedman saw him, a silver band, with the inscription,--
"True to the Europeans." In dealing with wrongs like these, Mr. Carlyle
would have found the despised negroes quite as ready as himself to take
the total-abstinence pledge against rose-water.

In his first two months' campaign, Stedman never saw the trace of a
Maroon; in the second, he once came upon their trail; in the third, one
captive was brought in, two surrendered themselves voluntarily, and a
large party was found to have crossed a river within a mile of the
camp, ferrying themselves on palm-trunks, according to their fashion.
Deep swamps and scorching sands,--toiling through briers all day, and
sleeping at night in hammocks suspended over stagnant water, with
weapons supported on sticks crossed beneath,--all this was endured for
two years and a half, before Stedman personally came in sight of the

On August 20th, 1775, the troops found themselves at last in the midst
of the rebel settlements. These villages and forts bore a variety of
expressive names, such as "Hide me, O thou surrounding verdure," "I
shall be taken," "The woods lament for me," "Disturb me, if you dare,"
"Take a tasting, if you like it," "Come, try me, if you be men," "God
knows me and none else," "I shall moulder before I shall be taken."
Some were only plantation-grounds with a few huts, and were easily laid
waste; but all were protected more or less by their mere situations.
Quagmires surrounded them, covered by a thin crust of verdure,
sometimes broken through by one man's weight, when the victim sank
hopelessly into the black and bottomless depths below. In other
directions there was a solid bottom, but inconveniently covered by
three or four feet of water, through which the troops waded
breast-deep, holding their muskets high in the air, unable to reload
them when once discharged, and liable to be picked off by rebel scouts,
who ingeniously posted themselves in the tops of palm-trees.

Through this delectable region Colonel Fougeaud and his followers
slowly advanced, drawing near the fatal shore where Captain Meyland's
detachment had just been defeated, and where their mangled remains
still polluted the beach. Passing this point of danger without attack,
they suddenly met a small party of rebels, each bearing on his back a
beautifully-woven hamper of snow-white rice: these loads they threw
down, and disappeared. Next appeared an armed body from the same
direction, who fired upon them once and swiftly retreated; and in a few
moments the soldiers came upon a large field of standing rice, beyond
which lay, like an amphitheatre, the rebel village. But between the
village and the field had been piled successive defences of logs and
branches, behind which simple redoubts the Maroons lay concealed. A
fight ensued, lasting forty minutes, during which nearly every soldier
and ranger was wounded, but, to their great amazement, not one was
killed. This was an enigma to them until after the skirmish, when the
surgeon found that most of them had been struck, not by bullets, but by
various substitutes, such as pebbles, coat-buttons, and bits of silver
coin, which had penetrated only skin-deep. "We also observed that
several of the poor rebel negroes, who had been shot, had only the
shards of Spa-water cans, instead of flints, which could seldom do
execution; and it was certainly owing to these circumstances that we
came off so well."

The rebels at length retreated, first setting fire to their village; a
hundred or more lightly built houses, some of them two stories high,
were soon in flames; and as this conflagration occupied the only neck
of land between two impassable morasses, the troops were unable to
follow, and the Maroons had left nothing but rice-fields to be
pillaged. That night the military force was encamped in the woods;
their ammunition was almost gone; so they were ordered to lie flat on
the ground, even in case of attack; they could not so much as build a
fire. Before midnight an attack was made on them, partly with bullets
and partly with words; the Maroons were all around them in the forest,
but their object was a puzzle: they spent most of the night in bandying
compliments with the black rangers, whom they alternately denounced,
ridiculed, and challenged to single combat. At last Fougeaud and
Stedman joined in the conversation, and endeavored to make this
midnight volley of talk the occasion for a treaty. This was received
with inextinguishable laughter, which echoed through the woods like a
concert of screech-owls, ending in a _charivari_ of horns and
hallooing. The Colonel, persisting, offered them "life, liberty,
victuals, drink, and all they wanted"; in return, they ridiculed him
unmercifully: he was a half-starved Frenchman, who had run away from
his own country, and would soon run away from theirs; they profoundly
pitied him and his soldiers; they would scorn to spend powder on such
scarecrows; they would rather feed and clothe them, as being poor white
slaves, hired to be shot at and starved for four-pence a day. But as
for the planters, overseers, and rangers, they should die, every one of
them, and Bonny should be governor of the colony. "After this, they
tinkled their bill-hooks, fired a volley, and gave three cheers; which
being answered by the rangers, the clamor ended, and the rebels
dispersed with the rising sun."

Very aimless nonsense it certainly appeared. But the next day put a new
aspect on it; for it was found, that, under cover of all this noise,
the Maroons had been busily occupied all night, men, women, and
children, in preparing and filling great hampers of the finest rice,
yams, and cassava, from the adjacent provision-grounds, to be used for
subsistence during their escape, leaving only chaff and refuse for the
hungry soldiers. "This was certainly such a masterly trait of
generalship in a savage people, whom we affected to despise, as would
have done honor to any European commander."

From this time the Maroons fulfilled their threats. Shooting down
without mercy every black ranger who came within their reach,--one of
these rangers being, in Stedman's estimate, worth six white
soldiers,--they left Colonel Fougeaud and his regulars to die of
starvation and fatigue. The enraged Colonel, "finding himself thus
foiled by a naked negro, swore he would pursue Bonny to the world's
end." But he never got any nearer than to Bonny's kitchen-gardens. He
put the troops on half-allowance, sent back for provisions and
ammunition,--and within ten days changed his mind, and retreated to the
settlements in despair. Soon after, this very body of rebels, under
Bonny's leadership, plundered two plantations in the vicinity, and
nearly captured a powder-magazine, which was, however, successfully
defended by some armed slaves.

For a year longer these expeditions continued. The troops never gained
a victory, and they lost twenty men for every rebel killed; but they
gradually checked the plunder of plantations, destroyed villages and
planting-grounds, and drove the rebels, for the time at least, into the
deeper recesses of the woods or into the adjacent province of Cayenne.
They had the slight satisfaction of burning Bonny's own house, a
two-story wooden hut, built in the fashion of our frontier
guard-houses. They often took single prisoners,--some child, born and
bred in the woods, and frightened equally by the first sight of a white
man and of a cow,--or some warrior, who, on being threatened with
torture, stretched forth both hands in disdain, and said, with Indian
eloquence,--"These hands have made tigers tremble." As for Stedman, he
still went bare-footed, still quarrelled with his colonel, still
sketched the scenery and described the reptiles, still reared gree-gree
worms for his private kitchen, still quoted good poetry and wrote
execrable, still pitied all the sufferers around him, black, white, and
red, until finally he and his comrades were ordered back to Holland in

Among all that wasted regiment of weary and broken-down men, there was
probably no one but Stedman who looked backward with longing as they
sailed down the lovely Surinam. True, he bore all his precious
collections with him,--parrots and butterflies, drawings on the backs
of old letters, and journals kept on bones and cartridges. But he had
left behind him a dearer treasure; for there runs through all his
eccentric narrative a single thread of pure romance, in his love for
his beautiful quadroon wife and his only son.

Within a month after his arrival in the colony, our susceptible ensign
first saw Joanna, a slave-girl of fifteen, at the house of an intimate
friend. Her extreme beauty and modesty first fascinated him, and then
her piteous narrative,--for she was the daughter of a planter, who had
just gone mad and died in despair from the discovery that he could not
legally emancipate his own children from slavery. Soon after, Stedman
was dangerously ill, was neglected and alone; fruits and cordials were
anonymously sent to him, which proved at last to have come from Joanna,
and she came herself, ere long, and nursed him, grateful for the
visible sympathy he had shown to her. This completed the conquest; the
passionate young Englishman, once recovered, loaded her with presents,
which she refused,--talked of purchasing her and educating her in
Europe, which she also declined, as burdening him too greatly,--and
finally, amid the ridicule of all good society in Paramaribo,
surmounted all legal obstacles and was united to the beautiful girl in
honorable marriage. He provided a cottage for her, where he spent his
furloughs, in perfect happiness, for four years.

The simple idyl of their loves was unbroken by any stain or
disappointment, and yet always shadowed with the deepest anxiety for
the future. Though treated with the utmost indulgence, she was legally
a slave, and so was the boy of whom she became the mother. Cojo, her
uncle, was a captain among the rebels against whom her husband fought.
And up to the time when Stedman was ordered back to Holland, he was
unable to purchase her freedom, nor could he, until the very last
moment, procure the emancipation of his boy. His perfect delight at
this last triumph, when obtained, elicited some satire from his white
friends. "While the well-thinking few highly applauded my sensibility,
many not only blamed, but publicly derided me for my paternal
affection, which was called a weakness, a whim." "Nearly forty
beautiful boys and girls were left to perpetual slavery by their
parents of my acquaintance, and many of them without being so much as
once inquired after at all."

But Stedman was a true-hearted fellow, if his sentiment did sometimes
run to rodomontade; he left his Joanna only in the hope that a year or
two in Europe would repair his ruined fortunes, and he could return to
treat himself to the purchase of his own wedded wife. He describes,
with unaffected pathos, their parting scene,--though, indeed, there
were several successive partings,--and closes the description in a
manner worthy of that remarkable combination of enthusiasms which
characterized him. "My melancholy having surpassed all description, I
at last determined to weather one or two painful years in her absence;
and in the afternoon went to dissipate my mind at a Mr. Roux' cabinet
of Indian curiosities; where as my eye chanced to fall on a
rattlesnake, I will, before I leave the colony, describe this dangerous

It was impossible to write the history of the Maroons of Surinam except
through the biography of our Ensign, (at last promoted Captain,)
because nearly all we know of them is through his quaint and
picturesque narrative, with its profuse illustrations by his own hand.
It is not fair, therefore, to end without chronicling his safe arrival
in Holland, on June 3d, 1777. It is a remarkable fact, that, after his
life in the woods, even the Dutch looked slovenly to his eyes. "The
inhabitants, who crowded about us, appeared but a disgusting assemblage
of ill-formed and ill-dressed rabble,--so much had my prejudices been
changed by living among Indians and blacks: their eyes seemed to
resemble those of a pig; their complexions were like the color of foul
linen; they seemed to have no teeth, and to be covered over with rags
and dirt. This prejudice, however, was not against these people only,
but against all Europeans in general, when compared to the sparkling
eyes, ivory teeth, shining skin, and remarkable cleanliness of those I
had left behind me." Yet, in spite of these superior attractions, he
never recrossed the Atlantic; for his Joanna died soon after, and his
promising son, being sent to the father, was educated in England,
became a midshipman in the navy, and was lost at sea. With his elegy,
in which the last depths of bathos are sadly sounded by a mourning
parent,--who is induced to print them only by "the effect they had on
the sympathetic and ingenious Mrs. Cowley,"--the "Narrative of a Five
Years' Expedition" closes.

The war, which had cost the government forty thousand pounds a year,
was ended, and left both parties essentially as when it began. The
Maroons gradually returned to their old abodes, and, being unmolested
themselves, left others unmolested thenceforward. Originally three
thousand,--in Stedman's time, fifteen thousand,--they were estimated at
seventy thousand by Captain Alexander, who saw Guiana in 1831,--and a
recent American scientific expedition, having visited them in their
homes, reported them as still enjoying their wild freedom, and
multiplying, while the Indians on the same soil decay. The beautiful
forests of Surinam still make the morning gorgeous with their beauty,
and the night deadly with their chill; the stately palm still rears, a
hundred feet in air, its straight gray shaft and its head of verdure;
the mora builds its solid, buttressed trunk, a pedestal for the eagle;
the pine of the tropics holds out its myriad hands with water-cups for
the rain and dews, where all the birds and the monkeys may drink their
fill; the trees are garlanded with epiphytes and convolvuli, and
anchored to the earth by a thousand vines. High among their branches,
the red and yellow mockingbirds still build their hanging nests,
uncouth storks and tree-porcupines cling above, and the spotted deer
and the tapir drink from the sluggish stream below. The night is still
made noisy with a thousand cries of bird and beast; and the stillness
of the sultry noon is broken by the slow tolling of the _campañero_, or
bell-bird, far in the deep, dark woods, like the chime of some lost
convent. And as Nature is unchanged there, so apparently is man; the
Maroons still retain their savage freedom, still shoot their wild game
and trap their fish, still raise their rice and cassava, yams and
plantains,--still make cups from the gourd-tree and hammocks from the
silk-grass plant, wine from the palm-tree's sap, brooms from its
leaves, fishing-lines from its fibres, and salt from its ashes. Their
life does not yield, indeed, the very highest results of spiritual
culture; its mental and moral results may not come up to the level of
civilization, but they rise far above the level of slavery. In the
changes of time, the Maroons may yet elevate themselves into the one,
but they will never relapse into the other.


She had remained, during all that day, with a sick neighbor,--those
eastern wilds of Maine in that epoch frequently making neighbors and
miles synonymous,--and so busy had she been with care and sympathy that
she did not at first observe the approaching night. But finally the
level rays, reddening the snow, threw their gleam upon the wall, and,
hastily donning cloak and hood, she bade her friends farewell and
sallied forth on her return. Home lay some three miles distant, across
a copse, a meadow, and a piece of woods,--the woods being a fringe on
the skirts of the great forests that stretch far away into the North.
That home was one of a dozen log-houses lying a few furlongs apart from
each other, with their half-cleared demesnes separating them at the
rear from a wilderness untrodden save by stealthy native or deadly
panther tribes.

She was in a nowise exalted frame of spirit,--on the contrary, rather
depressed by the pain she had witnessed and the fatigue she had
endured; but in certain temperaments such a condition throws open the
mental pores, so to speak, and renders one receptive of every
influence. Through the little copse she walked slowly, with her cloak
folded about her, lingering to imbibe the sense of shelter, the sunset
filtered in purple through the mist of woven spray and twig, the
companionship of growth not sufficiently dense to band against her the
sweet home-feeling of a young and tender wintry wood. It was therefore
just on the edge of the evening that she emerged from the place and
began to cross the meadow-land. At one hand lay the forest to which her
path wound; at the other the evening star hung over a tide of failing
orange that slowly slipped down the earth's broad side to sadden other
hemispheres with sweet regret. Walking rapidly now, and with her eyes
wide-open, she distinctly saw in the air before her what was not there
a moment ago, a winding-sheet,--cold, white, and ghastly, waved by the
likeness of four wan hands,--that rose with a long inflation and fell
in rigid folds, while a voice, shaping itself from the hollowness
above, spectral and melancholy, sighed,--"The Lord have mercy on the
people! The Lord have mercy on the people!" Three times the sheet with
its corpse-covering outline waved beneath the pale hands, and the
voice, awful in its solemn and mysterious depth, sighed, "The Lord have
mercy on the people!" Then all was gone, the place was clear again, the
gray sky was obstructed by no deathly blot; she looked about her, shook
her shoulders decidedly, and, pulling on her hood, went forward once

She might have been a little frightened by such an apparition, if she
had led a life of less reality than frontier settlers are apt to lead;
but dealing with hard fact does not engender a flimsy habit of mind,
and this woman was too sincere and earnest in her character, and too
happy in her situation, to be thrown by antagonism merely upon
superstitious fancies and chimeras of the second-sight. She did not
even believe herself subject to an hallucination, but smiled simply, a
little vexed that her thought could have framed such a glamour from the
day's occurrences, and not sorry to lift the bough of the warder of the
woods and enter and disappear in their sombre path. If she had been
imaginative, she would have hesitated at her first step into a region
whose dangers were not visionary; but I suppose that the thought of a
little child at home would conquer that propensity in the most
habituated. So, biting a bit of spicy birch, she went along. Now and
then she came to a gap where the trees had been partially felled, and
here she found that the lingering twilight was explained by that
peculiar and perhaps electric film which sometimes sheathes the sky in
diffused light for very many hours before a brilliant aurora. Suddenly,
a swift shadow, like the fabulous flying-dragon, writhed through the
air before her, and she felt herself instantly seized and borne aloft.
It was that wild beast--the most savage and serpentine and subtle and
fearless of our latitudes--known by hunters as the Indian Devil, and he
held her in his clutches on the broad floor of a swinging fir-bough.
His long sharp claws were caught in her clothing, he worried them
sagaciously a little, then, finding that ineffectual to free them, he
commenced licking her bare white arm with his rasping tongue and
pouring over her the wide streams of his hot, fetid breath. So quick
had this flashing action been that the woman had had no time for alarm;
moreover, she was not of the screaming kind; but now, as she felt him
endeavoring to disentangle his claws, and the horrid sense of her fate
smote her, and she saw instinctively the fierce plunge of those
weapons, the long strips of living flesh torn from her bones, the
agony, the quivering disgust, itself a worse agony,--while by her side,
and holding her in his great lithe embrace, the monster crouched, his
white tusks whetting and gnashing, his eyes glaring through all the
darkness like balls of red fire,--a shriek, that rang in every forest
hollow, that startled every winter-housed thing, that stirred and woke
the least needle of the tasselled pines, tore through her lips. A
moment afterward, the beast left the arm, once white, now crimson, and
looked up alertly.

She did not think at this instant to call upon God. She called upon her
husband. It seemed to her that she had but one friend in the world;
that was he; and again the cry, loud, clear, prolonged, echoed through
the woods. It was not the shriek that disturbed the creature at his
relish; he was not born in the woods to be scared of an owl, you know;
what then? It mast have been the echo, most musical, most resonant,
repeated and yet repeated, dying with long sighs of sweet sound,
vibrated from rock to river and back again from depth to depth of cave
and cliff. Her thought flew after it; she knew, that, even if her
husband heard it, he yet could not reach her in time; she saw that
while the beast listened he would not gnaw,--and this she _felt_
directly, when the rough, sharp, and multiplied stings of his tongue
retouched her arm. Again her lips opened by instinct, but the sound
that issued thence came by reason. She had heard that music charmed
wild beasts,--just this point between life and death intensified every
faculty,--and when she opened her lips the third time, it was not for
shrieking, but for singing.

A little thread of melody stole out, a rill of tremulous motion; it was
the cradle-song with which she rocked her baby;--how could she sing
that? And then she remembered the baby sleeping rosily on the long
settee before the fire,--the father cleaning his gun, with one foot on
the green wooden rundle,--the merry light from the chimney dancing out
and through the room, on the rafters of the ceiling with their tassels
of onions and herbs, on the log walls painted with lichens and
festooned with apples, on the king's-arm slung across the shelf with
the old pirate's-cutlass, on the snow-pile of the bed, and on the great
brass clock,--dancing, too, and lingering on the baby, with his fringed
gentian eyes, his chubby fists clenched on the pillow, and his fine
breezy hair fanning with the motion of his father's foot. All this
struck her in one, and made a sob of her breath, and she ceased.

Immediately the long red tongue was thrust forth again. Before it
touched, a song sprang to her lips, a wild sea-song, such as some
sailor might be singing far out on trackless blue water that night, the
shrouds whistling with frost and the sheets glued in ice,--a song with
the wind in its burden and the spray in its chorus. The monster raised
his head and flared the fiery eyeballs upon her, then fretted the
imprisoned claws a moment and was quiet; only the breath like the vapor
from some hell-pit still swathed her. Her voice, at first faint and
fearful, gradually lost its quaver, grew under her control and subject
to her modulation; it rose on long swells, it fell in subtile cadences,
now and then its tones pealed out like bells from distant belfries on
fresh sonorous mornings. She sung the song through, and, wondering lest
his name of Indian Devil were not his true name, and if he would not
detect her, she repeated it. Once or twice now, indeed, the beast
stirred uneasily, turned, and made the bough sway at his movement. As
she ended, he snapped his jaws together, and tore away the fettered
member, curling it under him with a snarl,--when she burst into the
gayest reel that ever answered a fiddle-bow. How many a time she had
heard her husband play it on the homely fiddle made by himself from
birch and cherry-wood! how many a time she had seen it danced on the
floor of their one room, to the patter of wooden clogs and the rustle
of homespun petticoat! how many a time she had danced it herself!--and
did she not remember once, as they joined clasps for right-hands-round,
how it had lent its gay, bright measure to her life? And here she was
singing it alone, in the forest, at midnight, to a wild beast! As she
sent her voice trilling up and down its quick oscillations between joy
and pain, the creature who grasped her uncurled his paw and scratched
the bark from the bough; she must vary the spell; and her voice spun
leaping along the projecting points of tune of a hornpipe. Still
singing, she felt herself twisted about with a low growl and a lifting
of the red lip from the glittering teeth; she broke the hornpipe's
thread, and commenced unravelling a lighter, livelier thing, an Irish
jig. Up and down and round about her voice flew, the beast threw back
his head so that the diabolical face fronted hers, and the torrent of
his breath prepared her for his feast as the anaconda slimes his prey.
Franticly she darted from tune to tune; his restless movements followed
her. She tired herself with dancing and vivid national airs, growing
feverish and singing spasmodically as she felt her horrid tomb yawning
wider. Touching in this manner all the slogan and keen clan cries, the
beast moved again, but only to lay the disengaged paw across her with
heavy satisfaction. She did not dare to pause; through the clear cold
air, the frosty starlight, she sang. If there were yet any tremor in
the tone, it was not fear,--she had learned the secret of sound at
last; nor could it be chill,--far too high a fervor throbbed her
pulses; it was nothing but the thought of the log-house and of what
might be passing within it. She fancied the baby stirring in his sleep
and moving his pretty lips,--her husband rising and opening the door,
looking out after her, and wondering at her absence. She fancied the
light pouring through the chink and then shut in again with all the
safety and comfort and joy, her husband taking down the fiddle and
playing lightly with his head inclined, playing while she sang, while
she sang for her life to an Indian Devil. Then she knew he was fumbling
for and finding some shining fragment and scoring it down the yellowing
hair, and unconsciously her voice forsook the wild war-tunes and
drifted into the half-gay, half-melancholy Rosin the Bow.

Suddenly she woke pierced with a pang, and the daggered tooth
penetrating her flesh;--dreaming of safety, she had ceased singing and
lost it. The beast had regained the use of all his limbs, and now,
standing and raising his back, bristling and foaming, with sounds that
would have been like hisses but for their deep and fearful sonority, he
withdrew step by step toward the trunk of the tree, still with his
flaming balls upon her. She was all at once free, on one end of the
bough, twenty feet from the ground. She did not measure the distance,
but rose to drop herself down, careless of any death, so that it were
not this. Instantly, as if he scanned her thoughts, the creature
bounded forward with a yell and caught her again in his dreadful hold.
It might be that he was not greatly famished; for, as she suddenly
flung up her voice again, he settled himself composedly on the bough,
still clasping her with invincible pressure to his rough, ravenous
breast, and listening in a fascination to the sad, strange U-la-lu that
now moaned forth in loud, hollow tones above him. He half closed his
eyes, and sleepily reopened and shut them again.

What rending pains were close at hand! Death! and what a death! worse
than any other that is to be named! Water, be it cold or warm, that
which buoys up blue ice-fields, or which bathes tropical coasts with
currents of balmy bliss, is yet a gentle conqueror, kisses as it kills,
and draws you down gently through darkening fathoms to its heart. Death
at the sword is the festival of trumpet and bugle and banner, with
glory ringing out around you and distant hearts thrilling through
yours. No gnawing disease can bring such hideous end as this; for that
is a fiend bred of your own flesh, and this--is it a fiend, this living
lump of appetites? What dread comes with the thought of perishing in
flames! but fire, let it leap and hiss never so hotly, is something too
remote, too alien, to inspire us with such loathly horror as a wild
beast; if it have a life, that life is too utterly beyond our
comprehension. Fire is not half ourselves; as it devours, arouses
neither hatred nor disgust; is not to be known by the strength of our
lower natures let loose; does not drip our blood into our faces from
foaming chaps, nor mouth nor snarl above us with vitality. Let us be
ended by fire, and we are ashes, for the winds to bear, the leaves to
cover; let us be ended by wild beasts, and the base, cursed thing howls
with us forever through the forest. All this she felt as she charmed
him, and what force it lent to her song God knows. If her voice should
fail! If the damp and cold should give her any fatal hoarseness! If all
the silent powers of the forest did not conspire to help her! The dark,
hollow night rose indifferently over her; the wide, cold air breathed
rudely past her, lifted her wet hair and blew it down again; the great
boughs swung with a ponderous strength, now and then clashed their iron
lengths together and shook off a sparkle of icy spears or some
long-lain weight of snow from their heavy shadows. The green depths
were utterly cold and silent and stern. These beautiful haunts that all
the summer were hers and rejoiced to share with her their bounty, these
heavens that had yielded their largess, these stems that had thrust
their blossoms into her hands, all these friends of three moons ago
forgot her now and knew her no longer.

Feeling her desolation, wild, melancholy, forsaken songs rose thereon
from that frightful aerie,--weeping, wailing tunes, that sob among the
people from age to age, and overflow with otherwise unexpressed
sadness,--all rude, mournful ballads,--old tearful strains, that
Shakspeare heard the vagrants sing, and that rise and fall like the
wind and tide,--sailor-songs, to be heard only in lone mid-watches
beneath the moon and stars,--ghastly rhyming romances, such as that
famous one of the "Lady Margaret," when

"She slipped on her gown of green
   A piece below the knee,--
And 'twas all a long, cold winter's night
   A dead corse followed she."

Still the beast lay with closed eyes, yet never relaxing his grasp.
Once a half-whine of enjoyment escaped him,--he fawned his fearful head
upon her; once he scored her cheek with his tongue: savage caresses
that hurt like wounds. How weary she was! and yet how terribly awake!
How fuller and fuller of dismay grew the knowledge that she was only
prolonging her anguish and playing with death! How appalling the
thought that with her voice ceased her existence! Yet she could not
sing forever; her throat was dry and hard; her very breath was a pain;
her mouth was hotter than any desert-worn pilgrim's;--if she could but
drop upon her burning tongue one atom of the ice that glittered about
her!--but both of her arms were pinioned in the giant's vice. She
remembered the winding-sheet, and for the first time in her life
shivered with spiritual fear. Was it hers? She asked herself, as she
sang, what sins she had committed, what life she had led, to find her
punishment so soon and in these pangs,--and then she sought eagerly for
some reason why her husband was not up and abroad to find her. He
failed her,--her one sole hope in life; and without being aware of it,
her voice forsook the songs of suffering and sorrow for old Covenanting
hymns,--hymns with which her mother had lulled her, which the
class-leader pitched in the chimney-corners,--grand and sweet Methodist
hymns, brimming with melody and with all fantastic involutions of tune
to suit that ecstatic worship,--hymns full of the beauty of holiness,
steadfast, relying, sanctified by the salvation they had lent to those
in worse extremity than hers,--for they had found themselves in the
grasp of hell, while she was but in the jaws of death. Out of this
strange music, peculiar to one character of faith, and than which there
is none more beautiful in its degree nor owning a more potent sway of
sound, her voice soared into the glorified chants of churches. What to
her was death by cold or famine or wild beasts? "Though He slay me, yet
will I trust in Him," she sang. High and clear through the frore fair
night, the level moonbeams splintering in the wood, the scarce glints
of stars in the shadowy roof of branches, these sacred anthems
rose,--rose as a hope from despair, as some snowy spray of flower-bells
from blackest mould. Was she not in God's hands? Did not the world
swing at His will? If this were in His great plan of providence, was it
not best, and should she not accept it?

"He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth."

Oh, sublime faith of our fathers, where utter self-sacrifice alone was
true love, the fragrance of whose unrequired subjection was pleasant as
that of golden censers swung in purple-vapored chancels!

Never ceasing in the rhythm of her thoughts, articulated in music as
they thronged, the memory of her first communion flashed over her.
Again she was in that distant place on that sweet spring morning. Again
the congregation rustled out, and the few remained, and she trembled to
find herself among them.

How well she remembered the devout, quiet faces; too accustomed to the
sacred feast to glow with their inner joy! how well the snowy linen at
the altar, the silver vessels slowly and silently shifting! and as the
cup approached and passed, how the sense of delicious perfume stole in
and heightened the transport of her prayer, and she had seemed, looking
up through the windows where the sky soared blue in constant freshness,
to feel all heaven's balms dripping from the portals, and to scent the
lilies of eternal peace! Perhaps another would not have felt so much
ecstasy as satisfaction on that occasion; but it is a true, if a later
disciple, who has said, "The Lord bestoweth his blessings there, where
he findeth the vessels empty."--"And does it need the walls of a church
to renew my communion?" she asked. "Does not every moment stand a
temple four-square to God? And in that morning, with its buoyant
sunlight, was I any dearer to the Heart of the World than now?" "My
beloved is mine, and I am his," she sang over and over again, with all
varied inflection and profuse tune. How gently all the winter-wrapt
things bent toward her then! into what relation with her had they
grown! how this common dependence was the spell of their intimacy! how
at one with Nature had she become! how all the night and the silence
and the forest seemed to hold its breath, and to send its soul up to
God in her singing! It was no longer despondency, that singing. It was
neither prayer nor petition. She had left imploring, "How long wilt
thou forget me, O Lord?" "Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of
death!" "For in death there is no remembrance of thee";--with countless
other such fragments of supplication. She cried rather, "Yea, though I
walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me";--and
lingered, and repeated, and sang again, "I shall be satisfied, when I
awake, with thy likeness."

Then she thought of the Great Deliverance, when he drew her up out of
many waters, and the flashing old psalm pealed forth triumphantly:--

"The Lord descended from above,
  and bow'd the heavens hie;
And underneath his feet he cast
  the darknesse of the skie.
On cherubs and on cherubins
  full royally he road:
And on the wings of all the winds
  came flying all abroad."

She forgot how recently, and with what a strange pity for her own
shapeless form that was to be, she had quaintly sung,--

"Oh, lovely appearance of death!
  What sight upon earth is so fair?
Not all the gay pageants that breathe
  Can with a dead body compare!"

She remembered instead,--"In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy
right hand there are pleasures forevermore"; and, "God will redeem my
soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me"; "He will
swallow up death in victory." Not once now did she say, "Lord, how long
wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling
from the lions"--for she knew that "the young lions roar after their
prey and seek their meat from God." "O Lord, thou preservest man and
beast!" she said.

She had no comfort or consolation in this season, such as sustained the
Christian martyrs in the amphitheatre. She was not dying for her faith;
there were no palms in heaven for her to wave; but how many a time had
she declared,--"I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness!" And as the broad rays here
and there broke through the dense covert of shade and lay in rivers of
lustre on crystal sheathing and frozen fretting of trunk and limb and
on the great spaces of refraction, they builded up visibly that house,
the shining city on the hill, and singing, "Beautiful for situation,
the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the North,
the city of the Great King," her vision climbed to that higher picture
where the angel shows the dazzling thing, the holy Jerusalem descending
out of heaven from God, with its splendid battlements and gates of
pearls, and its foundations, the eleventh a jacinth, the twelfth an
amethyst,--with its great white throne, and the rainbow round about it,
in sight like unto an emerald:--"And there shall be no night
there,--for the Lord God giveth them light," she sang.

What whisper of dawn now rustled through the wilderness? How the night
was passing! And still the beast crouched upon the bough, changing only
the posture of his head, that again he might command her with those
charmed eyes;--half their fire was gone; she could almost have released
herself from his custody; yet, had she stirred, no one knows what
malevolent instinct might have dominated anew. But of that she did not
dream; long ago stripped of any expectation, she was experiencing in
her divine rapture how mystically true it is that "he that dwelleth in
the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the

Slow clarion cries now wound from the distance as the cocks caught the
intelligence of day and reechoed it faintly from farm to farm,--sleepy
sentinels of night, sounding the foe's invasion, and translating that
dim intuition to ringing notes of warning. Still she chanted on. A
remote crash of brushwood told of some other beast on his depredations,
or some night-belated traveller groping his way through the narrow
path. Still she chanted on. The far, faint echoes of the chanticleers
died into distance,--the crashing of the branches grew nearer. No wild
beast that, but a man's step,--a man's form in the moonlight, stalwart
and strong,--on one arm slept a little child, in the other hand he held
his gun. Still she chanted on.

Perhaps, when her husband last looked forth, he was half ashamed to
find what a fear he felt for her. He knew she would never leave the
child so long but for some direst need,--and yet he may have laughed at
himself, as he lifted and wrapped it with awkward care, and, loading
his gun and strapping on his horn, opened the door again and closed it
behind him, going out and plunging into the darkness and dangers of the
forest. He was more singularly alarmed than he would have been willing
to acknowledge; as he had sat with his bow hovering over the strings,
he had half believed to hear her voice mingling gayly with the
instrument, till he paused and listened if she were not about to lift
the latch and enter. As he drew nearer the heart of the forest, that
intimation of melody seemed to grow more actual, to take body and
breath, to come and go on long swells and ebbs of the night-breeze, to
increase with tune and words, till a strange, shrill singing grew ever
clearer, and, as he stepped into an open space of moonbeams, far up in
the branches, rocked by the wind, and singing, "How beautiful upon the
mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that
publisheth peace," he saw his wife,--his wife,--but, great God in
heaven! how? Some mad exclamation escaped him, but without diverting
her. The child knew the singing voice, though never heard before in
that unearthly key, and turned toward it through the veiling dreams.
With a celerity almost instantaneous, it lay, in the twinkling of an
eye, on the ground at the father's feet, while his gun was raised to
his shoulder and levelled at the monster covering his wife with shaggy
form and flaming gaze,--his wife so ghastly white, so rigid, so stained
with blood, her eyes so fixedly bent above, and her lips, that had
indurated into the chiselled pallor of marble, parted only with that
flood of solemn song.

I do not know if it were the mother-instinct that for a moment lowered
her eyes,--those eyes, so lately riveted on heaven, now suddenly seeing
all life-long bliss possible. A thrill of joy pierced and shivered
through her like a weapon, her voice trembled in its course, her glance
lost its steady strength, fever-flushes chased each other over her
face, yet she never once ceased chanting. She was quite aware, that, if
her husband shot now, the ball must pierce her body before reaching any
vital part of the beast,--and yet better that death, by his hand, than
the other. But this her husband also knew, and he remained motionless,
just covering the creature with the sight. He dared not fire, lest some
wound not mortal should break the spell exercised by her voice, and the
beast, enraged with pain, should rend her in atoms; moreover, the light
was too uncertain for his aim. So he waited. Now and then he examined
his gun to see if the damp were injuring its charge, now and then he
wiped the great drops from his forehead. Again the cocks crowed with
the passing hour,--the last time they were heard on that night.
Cheerful home sound then, how full of safety and all comfort and rest
it seemed! what sweet morning incidents of sparkling fire and sunshine,
of gay household bustle, shining dresser, and cooing baby, of steaming
cattle in the yard, and brimming milk-pails at the door! what pleasant
voices! what laughter! what security! and here----

Now, as she sang on in the slow, endless, infinite moments, the fervent
vision of God's peace was gone. Just as the grave had lost its sting,
she was snatched back again into the arms of earthly hope. In vain she
tried to sing, "There remaineth a rest for the people of God,"--her
eyes trembled on her husband's, and she could think only of him, and of
the child, and of happiness that yet might be, but with what a dreadful
gulf of doubt between! She shuddered now in the suspense; all calm
forsook her; she was tortured with dissolving heats or frozen with icy
blasts; her face contracted, growing small and pinched; her voice was
hoarse and sharp,--every tone cut like a knife,--the notes became heavy
to lift,--withheld by some hostile pressure,--impossible. One gasp, a
convulsive effort, and there was silence,--she had lost her voice.

The beast made a sluggish movement,--stretched and fawned like one
awaking,--then, as if he would have yet more of the enchantment,
stirred her slightly with his muzzle. As he did so, a sidelong hint of
the man standing below with the raised gun smote him; he sprung round
furiously, and, seizing his prey, was about to leap into some unknown
airy den of the topmost branches now waving to the slow dawn. The late
moon had rounded through the sky so that her gleam at last fell full
upon the bough with fairy frosting; the wintry morning light did not
yet penetrate the gloom. The woman, suspended in mid-air an instant,
cast only one agonized glance beneath,--but across and through it, ere
the lids could fall, shot a withering sheet of flame,--a rifle-crack,
half heard, was lost in the terrible yell of desperation that bounded
after it and filled her ears with savage echoes, and in the wide arc of
some eternal descent she was falling;--but the beast fell under her. I
think that the moment following must have been too sacred for us, and
perhaps the three have no special interest again till they issue from
the shadows of the wilderness upon the white hills that skirt their
home. The father carries the child hushed again into slumber; the
mother follows with no such feeble step as might be anticipated,--and
as they slowly climb the steep under the clear gray sky and the paling
morning star, she stops to gather a spray of the red-rose berries or a
feathery tuft of dead grasses for the chimney-piece of the log-house,
or a handful of brown ones for the child's play,--and of these quiet,
happy folk you would scarcely dream how lately they had stolen from
under the banner and encampment of the great King Death. The husband
proceeds a step or two in advance; the wife lingers over a singular
foot-print in the snow, stoops and examines it, then looks up with a
hurried word. Her husband stands alone on the hill, his arms folded
across the babe, his gun fallen,--stands defined against the pallid sky
like a bronze. What is there in their home, lying below and yellowing
in the light, to fix him with such a stare? She springs to his side.
There is no home there. The log-house, the barns, the neighboring
farms, the fences, are all blotted out and mingled in one smoking ruin.
Desolation and death were indeed there, and beneficence and life in the
forest. Tomahawk and scalping-knife, descending during that night, had
left behind them only this work of their accomplished hatred and one
subtle foot-print in the snow.

For the rest,--the world was all before them, where to choose.

       *       *       *       *       *


Hast thou forgotten whose thou art?
  To what high service consecrate?
I gave thee not a noble heart
  To wed with such ignoble fate.

I found thee where the laurels grow
  Around the lonely Delphian shrine;
There, where the sacred fountains flow,
  I found thee, and I made thee mine.

I gave thy soul to agony,
  And strange unsatisfied desire,
That thou mightst dearer be to me,
  And worthier of thy burning lyre.

O child, thy fate had made thee God,
  To thee such powers divine were given;
The paths of fire thou mightst have trod
  Had led thee to the stars of heaven.

And those who in the early dawn
  Of beauty sat and sang of day,
Deep in their twilight shades withdrawn,
  Had heard thy coming far away,--

With haunting music sweet and strange,
  And airs ambrosial blown before,
Vague breathings of the floral change
  That glorifies the hills of yore:

Had felt the joy those only find
  Who in their secret souls have known
The mystery of the poet mind
  That through all beauty feels its own:

Had felt the God within them rise
  To meet thy radiant soul divine;
Had searched with their prophetic eyes
  The midnight luminous of thine.

So fondly did Urania deem!
  So proudly did she prophesy!
Oh, ruin of a noble dream
  She thought too glorious to die!

Nor knew thy passionate songs of yore
  Were as a promise unfulfilled,--
A stately portal set before
  The palace thou shall never build!

For is it come to this, at last?
  And thou forever must remain
A godlike statue, formed and cast
  In marble attitude of pain,--

Proud lips that in their scorn are mute,
  And haunting eyes of anguished love,
One hand that grasps a silent lute,
  And one convulsèd hand above

That will not strike? Ah, scorn and shame!
  Shame for the apostate unforgiven,
Beholding an unconquered fame
  In undiscovered fields of heaven!

For Beauty not by one alone
  In her completeness is revealed:
The smiles and tears her face hath shown
  To thee from others are concealed.

Men see not in the midnight sky
  All miracles she worketh there:
It is the blindness of the eye
  That paints its darkness on the air.

Two friends who wander by the shore
  Look not upon the selfsame seas,
Hearing two voices in the roar,
  Because of different memories.

For him whose love the sea hath drowned,
  It moans the music of his wrong;
For him whose life with love is crowned,
  It breaks upon the beach in song.

So dreaming not another's dream,
  But still interpreting thine own,
By woodland wild and quiet stream
  Thou wanderest in the world alone.

Then what thou slayest none can save:
  Silent and dark oblivion rolls
Over the glory in the grave
  Of fierce and suicidal souls.

From that dark wave no pleading ghost
  With pointing hand shall ever rise,
To say,--The world hath treasure lost,
  And here the buried treasure lies!

Beware, and yet beware! my fear
  Unfolds a vision in the gloom
Of Beauty borne upon her bier,
  And Darkness crouching in the tomb.

Beware, and yet beware! her end
  Is thine; or else, her shadowy hearse
Beside, thy spirit shall descend
  The vast sepulchral universe,

And, with the passion that remains
  In desolated hearts, implore
The spectre sitting bound in chains
  To yield what he shall not restore:--

The mystery whose soul divine
  Breathed love, and only love, on thee;
Which better far had not been thine,
  Than, having been, to cease to be.


There have been in every age a few women of genius who have become the
successful rivals of man in the paths which they have severally chosen.
Three instances are of our time. Mrs. Browning is called a poet even by
poets; the artists admit that Rosa Bonheur is a painter; and the
mathematicians accord to Mary Somerville a high rank among themselves.

"In pure mathematics," said Humboldt, "Mrs. Somerville is strong." Of
no other woman of the age could the remark have been made; and this
would probably be true, were the walks of science as marked by the
feminine footprint as are those of literature. To read mathematical
works is an easy task; the formula can be learned and their meaning
apprehended: to read the most profound of them, with such appreciation
that one stands side by side with the great minds who originated them,
requires a higher order of intellect; and far-reaching indeed is that
which, pondering in the study on a few phenomena known by observation,
develops the theory of worlds, traces back for ages their history, and
sketches the outline of their future destiny.

Caroline Herschel, the sister of Sir William, was doubtless gifted with
much of the Herschel talent, and, under other circumstances, her mind
might have turned to original research; but she belonged rather to the
last century, and Hanover was not a region favorable to intellectual
efforts in her sex. She lived the life of a simple-hearted,
truth-loving woman; most worthy of the name she bore, she made notes
for her brother, she swept the heavens and found comets for him, she
computed and tabulated his observations; it seems never to have
occurred to her to be other than the patient, helping sister of a truly
great man.

Mrs. Somerville's life has been more individual. She is the daughter of
Admiral Fairfax, and was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, December 26,
1780, in the house of her uncle, the father of her present husband.

The home training and the school education of the daughters of Great
Britain are very unlike those of their American sisters. The manners
and customs of the Old World change so slowly, that one can scarcely
assent to a remark made by Sir John Herschel:--"The Englishman sticks
to his old ways, but is not cemented to them." The Englishwoman submits
to authority from her infancy; belonging to the middle class, she does
not expect the higher education of the nobility; a woman, she is not
supposed to desire to enter into the studies of her brothers. A
governess, generally the daughter of a curate, who prefers this
position to that of "companion" to a fine lady, is provided for her in
her early years. If the choice be fortunate and the parents watchful,
the young girl is thoroughly taught in a few branches of what are
commonly considered feminine studies. She learns to read and to speak
French; tutors are employed for music and drawing: every young lady
above the rank of the tradesman's daughter plays well upon the piano;
every one has her portfolio of drawings, in which sketches from Nature
can always be found, and frequently the family portraits. The history
of the country is considered a study suitable for girls; the Englishman
expects that his daughter shall know something of the past, of which he
is so justly proud.

But the more solid book-learning given to the girls of New England,
even in the public schools, is known only to the daughters of the
higher classes, and among them an instance like that of Lady Jane Grey
could scarcely now be found. As the girls and boys are never taught in
the same schools, no taste is aroused by the example of manly studies.
An English girl is astonished to hear that an American girl passes a
public examination, like her brothers, and with them competes for
prizes; she doubts the truthfulness of some of the representations of
life found in American novels; and so little is the freedom of manners
understood, that the American traveller is frequently asked,--"Can it
really be as Mrs. Stowe represents in America? Does a young lady really
give a party herself?"

The difference that one would expect is found between the women of
England or Scotland and the women of New England. The young
Englishwoman is tasteful and elegant, mindful of all the proprieties
and graces of social life; she speaks slowly and cautiously, and gives
her opinions with great modesty. These are not at present the
characteristics of the American girl.

Mary Fairfax passed through the usual routine. At fourteen she had read
the books to be found in her father's house, including the few works
on Navigation which were necessary to him in his profession. She had
thus obtained an idea of the world of science, and it was dull to
return to worsted-work for amusement. The needle, which has been the
fetter of so many women, became, however, in her hand, magnetic, and
pointed her to her destiny. She was in the habit of taking her work
into her brother's study, and listening to his recitations; the
revelations of Geometry were thus opened to her; she listened and
worked for a time, until the desire to know more of this region of form
and law, of harmony and of relations, became too strong to be resisted;
the worsted was thrown aside, and she ventured to ask the tutor to
instruct her. The honest man told her that he was no mathematician: he
could lend her Euclid, but he could do no more.

The first great step was now taken; Euclid was quickly read; other
books were borrowed from other friends; Bonnycastle's and Euler's
Algebra were obtained, and she exulted in the use of those mystic
symbols, _x, y_, and _z_. Her parents looked on with indifference; so
that the music were not neglected and the governess reported well of
her studies, they felt there was no harm in her amusing herself as she
chose. When the days of the governess were over, the young lady "came
out" in Edinburgh, and mingled much with the best society. This most
picturesque city had long been the resort of the most gifted minds; men
of literature and men of science made the charm of its winter life.
Never was it more the gathering-place of intellect than in the early
part of this century; but there was no room for a woman of genius, and
the young girl's friends advised her to conceal her pursuits. Move as
quietly, however, and as unobtrusively as she might in the brilliant
circle, her genius was not without recognition. There was a word of
encouragement from Professor Playfair. "Persevere in your study," said
he; "it will be a source of happiness to you when all else fails; for
it is the study of truth." She had a champion, too, in the dreaded
critic, Jeffrey. "I am told," said a friend, writing to him, "that the
ladies of Edinburgh are literary, and that one of them sets up as a
blue-stocking and an astronomer." "The lady of whom you speak," replied
Jeffrey, "may wear blue stockings, but her petticoats are so long that
I have never seen them."

Mrs. Somerville has been twice married. Her first husband, a gentleman
of the name of Greig, regarded her pursuits as her parents had, simply
with indifference. Dr. Somerville, her present husband, has taken the
utmost pains to secure her time for her studies, and has himself
relieved her from many household cares.

The simplicity of character which belonged to her in early life was not
lost when her reputation became established. The Royal Society, whose
doors do not open at every knock, admitted her to membership, and, by
their order, her bust was sculptured by Chantrey, and now adorns the
hall of the Society in Somerset House. During the sittings for this
purpose, a lady, a friend of the sculptor, him to introduce her to Mrs.
Somerville. Chantrey consented, and made a dinner-party for the
purpose. The two ladies were placed side by side at table, and the
benevolent artist rejoiced to perceive, from the flow of talk, that
they were mutually pleased. The next day, to his astonishment, his
friend called on him in a state of great indignation, believing herself
the victim of a practical joke. "How could you do so?" said she. "You
knew that I did not want to know _that_ Mrs. Somerville; I wanted to
know the astronomer: that lady talked of the theatre, the opera, and
common things."

The anecdote so often told of Laplace's compliment is literally true.
Mrs. Somerville dined with this great geometer in Paris. "I write
books," said Laplace, "that no one can read. Only two women have ever
read the 'Mécanique Céleste'; both are Scotch women: Mrs. Greig and

Upon the "Mécanique Céleste" Mrs. Somerville's greatest work is
founded. "I simply translated Laplace's work," said she, "from algebra
into common language." That is, she did what very few men and no other
woman could do. It is of this work of Laplace that Bonaparte said, "I
will give to it my first _six months_ of leisure." The student who
reads it by the aid of Dr. Bowditch's notes has little idea of the
difficulties to be met in the original work. Even Dr. Bowditch himself
said, "I never come across one of Laplace's 'Thus it plainly appears,'
without feeling sure that I have got hours of hard study before me, to
fill up the chasm and show _how_ it plainly appears."

This "translation into common language" was undertaken at the request
of Lord Brougham, who desired a mathematical work suited to the
"Library of Useful Knowledge." The manuscript was submitted to Sir John
Herschel, who expressed himself "delighted with it,--that it was a book
for posterity, but quite above the class for which Lord Brougham's
course was intended." It was published at once, and became the
text-book for the students of Cambridge.

"The Connection of the Physical Sciences" and the "Physical Geography"
are the later works of Mrs. Somerville. These volumes have probably
been more read in our country than in Europe; for it is a common remark
of the scientific writers of Great Britain, that their "readers are
found in the United States." They contain vast collections of facts in
all branches of Physical Science, connected together by the delicate
web of Mrs. Somerville's own thought, showing an amount and variety of
learning to be compared only to that of Humboldt.

Provided with an "open sesame" to her heart, in the shape of a letter
from her old friend, Lady Herschel, we sought the acquaintance of Mrs.
Somerville in the spring of 1858. She was at that time residing in
Florence, and, sending the letter and a card to her by the servant, we
awaited the reply in the large Florentine parlor, in the fireplace of
which a wood-fire blazed, suggestive of English comfort,--a suggestion
which in Italy rarely becomes a reality.

There was the usual delay; then a footstep came slowly through the
outer room, and a very old man, exceedingly tall, with a red silk
handkerchief around his head, entered, and introduced himself as Doctor
Somerville. He is proud of his wife; a pardonable weakness in any man,
especially so in the husband of Mary Somerville. He began at once to
talk of her. "Mrs. Somerville," he said, "was much interested in the
Americans, for she claimed a connection with the family of Washington.
Washington's half-brother, Lawrence, married Anne Fairfax, who was of
the Scotch family of that name. When Mrs. Somerville's father, as
Lieutenant Fairfax, was ordered to America, General Washington wrote to
him as a family relative, and invited him to his house. Lieutenant
Fairfax applied to his commanding officer for leave to accept the
invitation, and it was refused; they never met. Much to the regret of
the Somervilles, the letter of Washington has been lost. The Fairfaxes
of Virginia are of the same family, and occasionally some member of the
American branch visits his Scotch cousins."

While Doctor Somerville was talking of these things, Mrs. Somerville
came tripping into the room, speaking with the vivacity of a young
person. She was seventy-seven years old, but appeared twenty years
younger. Her face is pleasing, the forehead low and broad, the eyes
blue,--the features so regular, that, as sculptured by Chantrey, in the
bust at Somerset House, they convey the idea of a very handsome woman.
Neither this bust nor the picture of her, however, gives a correct
impression, except in the outline of the head and shoulders. She spoke
with a strong Scotch accent, and was slightly affected by deafness.

At this time, Mrs. Somerville was re-writing her "Physical Geography."
She said that she worked as well as when she was younger, but was more
quickly fatigued; yet, in order to gain time, she had given up her
afternoon nap, without apparent injury to her health. Her working hours
were in the morning, and she never refused a visitor after noon. For
her first work she said she computed a good deal; and here she stepped
quickly into an adjoining room, and brought out a mass of manuscript
computations made for that work, the mere sight of which would give a
headache to most women. The conversation was rather of the familiar and
chatty order, and marked by great simplicity. She touched upon the
recent discoveries in chemical science,--upon California, its gold and
its consequences, some good from which she thought would be found in
the improvement of seamanship,--on the nebulae, more and more of which
she thought would be resolved, while yet there might exist irresolvable
nebulous matter, such as composed the tails of comets, or the
satellites of the planets, which she thought had other uses than as
their subordinates. Of Doctor Whewell's attempt to prove that our
planet is the only one inhabited she spoke with disapprobation; she
said she believed that the other planets might be inhabited by beings
of a higher order than ourselves.

On subsequent visits, Mrs. Somerville had much to say of the Americans.
She regretted that she so rarely received scientific articles from
America; the papers of Lieutenant Maury alone reached her. She spoke of
the late Doctor Bowditch with great interest, and said she had had some
correspondence with one of his sons; of Professor Peirce as a great
mathematician; and she was much interested in the successful
photography of the stars by Mr. Whipple. To a traveller, thousands of
miles from home, the mere mention of familiar names is cheering.

Mrs. Somerville resides in Florence on account of the health of her
husband. A little garden, well-stocked with rose-bushes, which she
shows with great pride to her visitors, furnishes her with a means of
healthy recreation after her severe studies. Her children are a son by
Mr. Greig and two daughters by Doctor Somerville. In early life, Mrs.
Somerville was a fine musician: the daughters have inherited this
talent; and having lived long in Florence, they speak Italian with a
perfect accent. "I speak Italian," said Mrs. Somerville; "but no one
could ever take me for other than a Scotchwoman."

No one can make the acquaintance of this remarkable woman without
increased admiration for her. The ascent of the steep and rugged path
of science has not unfitted her for the drawing-room circle; the hours
of devotion to close study have not been incompatible with the duties
of the wife and the mother; the mind that has turned to rigid
demonstration has not thereby lost its faith in the truths which
figures will not prove. "I have no doubt," said she, in speaking of the
heavenly bodies, "that in another state of existence we shall know more
about these things."



May has come again,--"the delicate-footed May," her feet hidden in
flowers as she wanders over the Campagna, and the cool breeze of the
Campagna blowing back her loosened hair. She calls to us from the open
fields to leave the wells of damp churches and shadowy streets, and to
come abroad and meet her where the mountains look down from roseate
heights of vanishing snow upon plains of waving grain. The hedges have
put on their best draperies of leaves and flowers, and, girdled in at
their waist by double osier bands, stagger luxuriantly along the road
like a drunken Bacchanal procession, crowned with festive ivy, and
holding aloft their snowy clusters of elder-blossoms like _thyrsi_.
Among their green robes may be seen thousands of beautiful
wild-flowers,--the sweet-scented laurustinus, all sorts of running
vetches and wild sweet-pea, the delicate vases of dewy morning-glories,
clusters of eglantine or sweetbrier roses, fragrant acacia-blossoms
covered with bees and buzzing flies, the gold of glowing gorses, and
scores of purple and yellow flowers, of which I know not the names. On
the gray walls, vines, grass, and the humble class of flowers which go
by the ignoble name of weeds straggle and cluster; and over them, held
down by the green cord of the stalk, balance the bursted balloons of
hundreds of flaming scarlet poppies that seem to have fed on fire. The
undulating swell of the Campagna is here ablaze with them for acres,
and there deepening with growing grain, or snowed over with myriads of
daisies. Music and song, too, are not wanting; hundreds of birds are in
the hedges. The lark, "from his moist cabinet rising," rains down his
trills of incessant song from invisible heights of blue sky; and
whenever one passes the wayside groves, a nightingale is sure to bubble
into song. The oranges, too, are in blossom, perfuming the air;
locust-trees are tasselled with odorous flowers; and over the walls of
the Campagna villa bursts a cascade of vines covered with foamy Banksia

The Carnival of the kitchen-gardens is now commencing. Peas are already
an old story, strawberries are abundant, and cherries are beginning to
make their appearance, in these first days of May; old women sell them
at every corner, tied together in tempting bunches, as in "the
cherry-orchard" which Miss Edgeworth has made fairy-land in our
childish memories. Asparagus also has long since come; and artichokes
make their daily appearance on the table, sliced up and fried, or
boiled whole, or coming up roasted and gleaming with butter, with more
outside capes and coats than an ideal English coachman of the olden
times. _Finocchi_, too, are here, tasting like anisette, and good to
mix in the salads. And great beans lie about in piles, the _contadini_
twisting them out of their thick pods with their thumbs, to eat them
raw. Nay, even the _signoria_ of the noble families do the same, as
they walk through the gardens, and think them such a luxury that they
eat them raw for breakfast. But over and above all other vegetables are
the lettuces, which are one of the great staples of food for the Roman
people, and so crisp, fresh, delicate, and high-flavored, that be who
eats them once will hold Nebuchadnezzar no longer a subject for
compassion, but rather of envy. Drowned in fresh olive-oil and strong
with vinegar, they are a feast for the gods; and even in their natural
state, without condiments, they are by no means to be despised. At the
corners of the streets they lie piled in green heaps, and are sold at a
_baiocco_ for five heads. At noontide, the _contadini_ and laborers
feed upon them without even the condiment of salt, crunching their
white teeth through the crisp, wet leaves, and alternating a bite at a
great wedge of bread; and toward nightfall, one may see carts laden
high up with closely packed masses of them, coming in from the Campagna
for the market. In a word, the _festa_ of the vegetables, at which they
do not eat, but are eaten, and the Carnival of the kitchen-garden have

But--a thousand, thousand pardons, O mighty Cavolo!--how have I dared
omit thy august name? On my knees, O potentest of vegetables, I crave
forgiveness! I will burn at thy shrine ten waxen candles, in penance,
if thou wilt pardon the sin and shame of my forgetfulness! The smoke of
thy altar-fires, the steam of thy incense, and the odors of thy
sanctity rise from every hypaethral shrine in Rome. Out-doors and
in-doors, wherever the foot wanders, on palatial stairs or in the hut
of poverty, in the convent pottage and the _Lepre_ soup, in the wooden
platter of the beggar and the silver tureen of the prince, thou fillest
our nostrils, thou satisfiest our stomach. Thou hast no false pride;
great as thou art, thou condescendest to be exchanged for a _baiocco_.
Dear enchantress! to thee, and to thy glorious cousin Broccoli, that
tender-hearted, efflorescent nymph, the Egeria of the _osteria con
cucina_, the peerless maid that goes with the steak and accepts
martyrdom without moan, to drive away the demon of Hunger from her
devoted followers,--all honor! Far away, whenever I inhale thy odor, I
shall think of "Roman Joys"; a whiff from thine altar in a foreign land
will bear me back to the Eternal City, "the City of the Soul," the City
of the Cabbage, the home of the Dioscuri, _Cavolo_ and _Broccoli!_ Yes,
as Paris is recalled by the odor of chocolate, and London by the damp
steam of malt, so shall Rome come back when my nostrils are filled with
thy penetrative fragrance!

Saunter out at any of the city-gates, or lean over the wall at San
Giovanni, (and where will you find a more charming spot?) or look down
from the windows of the Villa Negroni, and your eye will surely fall on
one of the Roman kitchen-gardens, patterned out in even rows and
squares of green. Nothing can be prettier or more tasteful in their
arrangement than these variegated carpets of vegetables. A great
cistern of running water crowns the height of the ground, which is used
for the purposes of irrigation, and towards nightfall the vent is
opened, and you may see the gardeners imbanking the channelled rows to
let the inundation flow through hundreds of little lanes of
intersection and canals between the beds, and then banking them up at
the entrance when a sufficient quantity of water has entered. In this
way they fertilize and refresh the soil, which else would parch under
the continuous sun. And this, indeed, is all the fertilization they
need,--so strong is the soil all over the Campagna. The accretions and
decay of thousands of years have covered it with a loam whose richness
and depth are astonishing. Dig where you will, for ten feet down, and
you do not pass through its wonderfully fertile loam into gravel, and
the slightest labor is repaid a hundred-fold.

As one looks from the Villa Negroni windows, he cannot fail to be
impressed by the strange changes through which this wonderful city has
passed. The very spot on which Nero, the insane emperor-artist, fiddled
while Rome was burning has now become a vast kitchen-garden, belonging
to Prince Massimo, (himself a descendant, as he claims, of Fabius
Cunctator,) where men no longer, but only lettuces, asparagus, and
artichokes, are ruthlessly cut down. The inundations are not for mock
sea-fights among slaves, but for the peaceful purposes of irrigation.
And though the fiddle of Nero is only traditional, the trumpets of the
French, murdering many an unhappy strain near by, are a most melancholy
fact. In the bottom of the valley, a noble old villa, covered with
frescoes, has been turned into a manufactory of bricks, and the very
Villa Negroni itself is now doomed to be the site of a railway station.
Yet here the princely family of Negroni lived, and the very lady at
whose house Lucrezia Borgia took her famous revenge may once have
sauntered under the walls, which still glow with ripening oranges, to
feed the gold-fish in the fountain, or walked with stately friends
through the long alleys of clipped cypresses, and pic-nicked _alia
Giorgione_ on lawns which are now but kitchen-gardens, dedicated to San
Cavolo. It pleases me, also, descending in memories to a later time, to
look up at the summer-house built above the gateway, and recall the
days when Shelley and Keats came there to visit their friend Severn,
the artist, (for that was his studio,) and look over the same alleys
and gardens, and speak words one would have been so glad to hear,--and,
coming still later down, to recall the hearty words and brave heart of
America's best sculptor and my dear friend, Crawford.

But to return to the kitchen-gardens. Pretty as they are to the eye,
they are not considered to be wholesome; and no Roman will live in a
house near one of them, especially if it lie on the southern and
western side, so that the Sirocco and the prevalent summer winds blow
over it. The daily irrigation, in itself, would be sufficient to
frighten all Italians away; for they have a deadly fear of all effluvia
arising from decomposing vegetable substances, and suppose, with a good
deal of truth, that, wherever there is water on the earth, there is
decomposition. But this is not the only reason; for the same prejudice
exists in regard to all kinds of gardens, whether irrigated or
not,--and even to groves of trees and clusters of bushes, or vegetation
of any kind, around a house. This is the real reason why, even in their
country villas, their trees are almost always planted at a distance
from the house, so as to expose it to the sun and to give it a free
ventilation; these they do not care for; damp is their determined foe,
and therefore they will not purchase the luxury of shade from trees at
the risk of the damp it is supposed to engender. On the north, however,
gardens are not thought to be so prejudicial as on the south and
west,--as the cold, dry winds come from the former direction. The
malaria, as we call it, though the term is unknown to Romans, is never
so dangerous as after a slight rain, just sufficient to wet the surface
of the earth without deeply penetrating it; for decomposition is then
stimulated, and the miasma arising from the Campagna is blown abroad.
So long as the earth is dry, there is no danger of fever, except at
morning and nightfall, and then simply because of the heavy dews which
the porous and baked earth then inhales and expires. After the autumn
has given a thorough, drenching rain, Rome is healthy and free from

Rome has with strangers the reputation of being unhealthy; but this
opinion I cannot think well founded,--to the extent, at least, of the
common belief. The diseases of children there are ordinarily very
light, while in America and England they are terrible. Scarlet and
typhus fevers, those fearful scourges in the North, are known at Rome
only under most mitigated forms. Cholera has shown no virulence there;
and for diseases of the throat and lungs the air alone is almost
curative. The great curse of the place is the intermittent fever, in
which any other illness is apt to end. But this, except in its peculiar
phase of _Perniciosa_, though a very annoying, is by no means a
dangerous disease, and has the additional advantage of a specific
remedy. The Romans themselves of the better class seldom suffer from
it, and I cannot but think that with a little prudence it may be easily
avoided. Those who are most attacked by it are the laborers and
_contadini_ on the Campagna; and how can it be otherwise with them?
They sleep often on the bare ground, or on a little straw under a
_capanna_ just large enough to admit them on all-fours. Their labor is
exhausting, and performed in the sun, and while in a violent
perspiration they are often exposed to sudden draughts and checks.
Their food is poor, their habits careless, and it would require an iron
constitution to resist what they endure. But, despite the life they
lead and their various exposures, they are for the most part a very
strong and sturdy class. This intermittent fever is undoubtedly a far
from pleasant thing; but Americans who are terrified at it in Rome give
it no thought in Philadelphia, where it is more prevalent,--and while
they call Rome unhealthy, live with undisturbed confidence in cities
where scarlet and typhus fevers annually rage.

It is a curious fact, that the French soldiers, who in 1848 made the
siege of Rome, suffered no inconvenience or injury to their health from
sleeping on the Campagna, and that, despite the prophecies to the
contrary, very few cases of fever appeared, though the siege lasted
during all the summer months. The reason of this is doubtless to be
found in the fact that they were better clothed, better fed, and in
every way more careful of themselves, than the _contadini_. Foreigners,
too, who visit Rome, are very seldom attacked by intermittent fever;
and it may truly be said, that, when they are, it is, for the most
part, their own fault. There is generally the grossest inconsistency
between their theories and their practice. Believing as they do that
the least exposure will induce fever, they expose themselves with
singular recklessness to the very causes of fever. After hurrying
through the streets and getting into a violent perspiration, they
plunge at once into some damp pit-like church or chill gallery, where
the temperature is at least ten degrees lower than the outer air. The
bald-headed, rosy John Bull, steaming with heat, doffs at once the hat
which he wore in the street, and, of course, is astounded, if the
result prove just what it would be anywhere else,--and if he take cold
and get a fever, charges it to the climate, and not to his own
stupidity and recklessness. Beside this, foreigners will always insist
on carrying their home-habits with them wherever they go, and it is
exceedingly difficult to persuade any one that he does not understand
the climate better than the Italians themselves, whom he puts down as a
poor set of timid ignoramuses. However, the longer one lives in Rome,
the more he learns to value the Italian rules of health. There is
probably no people so careful in these matters as the Italians, and
especially the Romans. They understand their own climate, and they have
a special dislike of death. In France and England suicides are very
common; in Italy they are almost unknown. The American recklessness of
life completely astounds the Italian. He enjoys life, studies every
method to preserve it, and considers any one who risks it unnecessarily
as simply a fool.

What, then, are their rules of life? In the first place, in all their
habits they are very regular. They eat at stated times, and cannot be
persuaded to partake of anything in the intervals. If it be not their
hour for eating, they will refuse the choicest viands, and will sit at
your table fasting, despite every temptation you can offer them. They
are also very abstemious in their diet, and gluttony is the very rarest
of vices. I do not believe there is another nation in Europe that eats
so sparingly. In the morning they take a cup of coffee, generally
without milk, sopping in it some light _brioche_. Later in the day they
take a slight lunch of soup and macaroni, with a glass of wine. This
lasts them until dinner, which begins with a watery soup; after which
the _lesso_ or boiled meat comes on and is eaten with one vegetable,
which is less a dish than a garnish to the meat; then comes a dish of
some vegetable eaten with bread; then, perhaps, a chop, or another dish
of meat, garnished with a vegetable; some light _dolce_ or fruit, and a
cup of black coffee,--the latter for digestion's sake,--finish the
repast. The quantity is very small, however, compared to what is eaten
in England, France, America, or, though last, not least, Germany. Late
in the evening they have a supper. When dinner is taken in the middle
of the day, lunch is omitted. This is the rule of the better classes.
The workmen and middle classes, after their cup of coffee and bit of
bread or _brioche_ in the morning, take nothing until night, except
another cup of coffee and bread,--and their dinner finishes their meals
after their work is done. From my own observation, I should say that an
Italian does not certainly eat more than half as much as a German, or
two-thirds as much as an American. The climate will not allow of
gormandizing, and much less food is required to sustain the vital
powers than in America, where the atmosphere is so stimulating to the
brain and the digestion, or in England, where the depressing effects of
the climate must be counteracted by stimulants. Go to any _table
d'hôte_ in the season, and you will at once know all the English who
are new comers by their bottle of ale or claret or sherry or brandy;
for the Englishman assimilates with difficulty, and unwillingly puts
off his home-habits. The fresh American will always be recognized by
the morning-dinner, which he calls a breakfast.

If you wish to keep your health in Italy, follow the example of the
Italians. Eat a third less than you are accustomed to at home. Do not
drink habitually of brandy, porter, ale, or even Marsala, but confine
yourselves to the lighter wines of the country or of France. Do not
walk much in the sun; "only Englishmen and dogs" do that, as the
proverb goes; and especially take heed not to expose yourself, when
warm, to any sudden changes of temperature. If you have heated yourself
with walking in the sun, be careful not to go at once, and especially
towards nightfall, into the lower and shaded streets, which have begun
to gather the damps, and which are kept cool by the high, thick walls
of the houses. Remember that the difference of temperature is very
great between the narrow, shaded streets and the high, sunny Pincio. If
you have the misfortune to be of the male sex, and especially if you
suffer under the sorrow of the first great Caesar in being bald, buy
yourself a little skullcap, (it is as good as his laurels for the
purpose,) and put it on your head whenever you enter the churches and
cold galleries. Almost every fever here is the result of suddenly
checked transpiration of the skin; and if you will take the precaution
to cool yourself before entering churches and galleries, and not to
expose yourself while warm to sudden changes of temperature, you may
live twenty years in Rome without a fever. Do not stand in draughts of
cold air, and shut your windows when you go to bed. There is nothing an
Italian fears like a current of air, and with reason. He will never sit
between two doors or two windows. If he has walked to see you and is in
the least warm, pray him to keep his hat on until he is cool, if you
would be courteous to him. You will find that he will always use the
same _gentilezza_ to you. The reason why you should shut your windows
at night is very simple. The night-air is invariably damp and cold,
contrasting greatly with the warmth of the day, and it is then that the
miasma from the Campagna drifts into the city. And oh, my American
friends! repress your national love for hot rooms and great fires, and
do not make an oven of your _salon_. Bake yourselves, kiln-dry
yourselves, if you choose, in your furnaced houses at home, but, if you
value your health, "reform that altogether" in Italy. Increase your
clothing and suppress your fires, and you will find yourselves better
in head and in pocket. With your great fires you will always be cold
and always have colds; for the houses are not tight, and you only
create great draughts thereby. You will not persuade an Italian to sit
near them;--"_Scusa, Signore_" he will say, "_mi fa male; se non gli
dispiace, mi metto in questo cantone_,"--and with your permission he
takes the farthest corner away from the fire. Seven winters in Rome
have convinced me of the correctness of their rule. Of course, you do
not believe me or them; but it would be better for you, if you
did,--and for me, too, when I come to visit you.

But I must beg pardon for all this advice; and as my business is not to
write a medical thesis here, let me return to pleasanter things.

Scarcely does the sun drop behind St. Peter's on the first day of May,
before bonfires begin to blaze from all the country towns on the
mountain-sides, showing like great beacons. This is a custom founded in
great antiquity, and common to the North and South. The first of May is
the Festival of the Holy Apostles in Italy; but in Germany, and still
farther north, in Sweden and Norway, it is _Walpurgisnacht_,--when
goblins, witches, hags, and devils hold high holiday, mounting on their
brooms for the Brocken. And it was on this night that Mephistopheles
carried Faust on his wondrous ride, and showed him the spectre of
Margaret with the red line round her throat. Miss Bremer, in her "Life
in Dalecarlia," gives the following account of the origin of this
custom:--"It is so old," she says, "that there is no perfect certainty
either of its origin or signification. It is, however, believed that it
derives its origin from a heathen sacrificatory festival; and there is
ground for the acceptation that children were sacrificed alive at this
very feast,--and this, in fact, in order to expel or reconcile the evil
spirits, of whom the people believed, that, partly flying, partly
riding, they commenced their passages over fields and woods at the
beginning of spring, and which are to this day called enchanters,
witches, nymphs, and so forth. It is also believed that about this time
the spirits of the earth came forth from out of the bosom of the earth
and the heart of the mountains in order to seek intercourse with the
children of men. Fires were frequently kindled upon the sepulchral
hills, and at these, sacrifices were offered, chiefly to the good
powers, namely, to those who provide for a fruitful year. At present I
should scarcely think there is an individual who believes in such
superstitious stuff. But they still, as in days of yore, kindle fires
upon the mountains on this night, and still look upon it as a bad omen,
if any common or ugly-formed creature, whether beast or man, makes its
appearance at the fire."

In the Neapolitan towns great fires are built on this festival, around
which the people dance, jumping through the flames, and flinging
themselves about in every wild and fantastic attitude. It is probably a
relic of some old sacrificatory festival to Maia, who has given her
name to this month,--the custom still remaining after its significance
is gone.

The month of May is the culmination of the spring and the season of
seasons at Rome. No wonder that foreigners who have come when winter
sets in and take wing before April shows her sky sometimes growl at the
weather, and ask if this is the beautiful Italian clime. They have
simply selected the rainy season for their visit; and one cannot expect
to have sun the whole year through, without intermission. Where will
they find more sun in the same season? where will they find milder and
softer air? Days even in the middle of winter, and sometimes weeks,
descend as it were from heaven to fill the soul with delight; and a
lovely day in Rome is lovelier than under any other sky on earth. But
just when foreigners go away in crowds, the weather is settling into
the perfection of spring, and then it is that Rome is most charming.
The rains are over, the sun is a daily blessing, all Nature is bursting
into leaf and flower, and one may spend days on the Campagna without
fear of colds and fever. Stay in Rome during May, if you wish to feel
its beauty.

The best rule for a traveller who desires to enjoy the charms of every
clime would be to go to the North in the winter and to the South in the
spring and summer. Cold is the speciality of the North, and all its
sports and gayeties take thence their tone. The houses are built to
shut out the demon of Frost, and protect one from his assaults of ice
and snow. Let him howl about your windows and scrawl his wonderful
landscapes on your panes and pile his fantastic wreaths outside, while
you draw round the blazing hearth and enjoy the artificial heat and
warm in the social converse that he provokes. Your punch is all the
better for his threats; by contrast you enjoy the more. Or brave him
outside in a flying sledge, careering with jangling bells over white
wastes of snow, while the stars, as you go, fly through the naked trees
that are glittering with ice-jewels, and your blood tingles with
excitement, and your breath is blown like a white incense to the skies.
That is the real North. How tame he will look to you, when you go back
in August and find a few hard apples, a few tough plums, and some sour
little things which are apologies for grapes! He looks sneaky enough
then, with his make-believe summer, and all his furs off. No, then is
the time for the South. All is simmering outside, and the locust saws
and shrills till he seems to heat the air. You stay in the house at
noon, and know what a virtue there is in thick walls which keep out the
fierce heats, in gaping windows and doors that will not shut because
you need the ventilation. You will not now complain of the stone and
brick floors that you cursed all winter long, and on which you now
sprinkle water to keep the air cool in your rooms. The blunders and
stupidities of winter are all over. The breezy _loggia_ is no longer a
joke. You are glad enough to sit there and drink your wine and look
over the landscape. Manuccia brings in a great basket of grapes that
are grapes, which the wasp envies you as you eat, and comes to share.
And here are luscious figs bursting with seedy sweetness, and apricots
rusted in the sun, and velvety peaches that break into juice in your
mouth, and great black-seeded _cocomeri_. Nature empties her cornucopia
of fruits and flowers and vegetables all over your table. Luxuriously
you enjoy them and fan yourself and take your _siesta_, with full
appreciation of your _dolce far niente_. When the sun begins to slope
westward, if you are in the country, you wander through the green lanes
festooned with vines and pluck the grapes as you go; or, if you are in
the city, you saunter the evening long through the streets, where all
the world are strolling, and take your _granito_ of ice or sherbet, and
talk over the things of the day and the time, and pass as you go home
groups of singers and serenaders with guitars, flutes, and
violins,--serenade, perhaps, sometimes, yourself; and all the time the
great planets and stars palpitate in the near heavens, and the soft air
full of fragrance blows against your cheek. And you can really say,
This is Italy! For it is not what you do, so much as what you feel,
that makes Italy.

But pray remember, when you go there, that in the South every
arrangement is made for the nine hot months, and not for the three cold
and rainy ones you choose to spend there, and perhaps your views may be
somewhat modified in respect of this "miserable people," who, you say,
"have no idea of comfort,"--meaning, of course, English comfort.
Perhaps, I say; for it is in the nature of travellers to come to sudden
conclusions upon slight premises, to maintain with obstinacy
preconceived notions, and to quarrel with all national traits except
their own. And being English, unless you have a friend in India who has
made you aware that cane-bottom chairs are India-English, you will be
pretty sure to believe that there is no comfort without carpets and
coal; or being an American, you will be apt to undervalue a gallery of
pictures with only a three-ply carpet on the floor, and to "calculate,"
that, if they could see your house in Washington Street, they would
feel rather ashamed. However, there is a great deal of human nature in
mankind, wherever you go,--except in Paris, perhaps, where Nature is
rather inhuman and artificial. And when I instance the Englishman and
American as making false judgments, let me not be misunderstood as
supposing them the only nations in that category. No, no! did not my
Parisian acquaintance the other day assure me very gravely, after
lamenting the absurdity of the Italians' not speaking French instead of
their own language,--"But, Sir, what is this Italian? nothing but bad
French!"--and did not another of that same polished nation, in
describing his travels to Naples, say, in answer to the question,
whether he had seen the grand old temples of Paestum,--"Ah, yes, I have
seen Paestum; 'tis a detestable country!--like the Campagna of Rome"? I
am perfectly aware that there are differences of opinion.

Let me, then, beg you to remain in Rome during the mouth of May, if
you can possibly make your arrangements to do so.

May is the month of the Madonna, and on every _festa_-day you will see
at the corners of the streets a little improvised shrine, or it may be
only a festooned print of the Madonna hung against the walls of some
house or against the back of a chair, and tended by two or three
children, who hold out to you a plate, as you pass, and beg for
charity, sometimes, I confess, in the most pertinacious way,--the money
thus raised to be expended in oil for the lamps before the Madonna
shrines in the streets. The monasteries of nuns are also busy with
processions and celebrations in honor of "the Mother of God," which are
carried on pleasantly within their precincts and seen only of female
friends. Sometimes you will meet a procession of ladies outside the
gates following a cross on foot, while their carriages come after in a
long file. These are societies which are making the pilgrimage of the
Seven Basilicas outside the Walls. They set out early in the morning,
stopping in each basilica for a half-hour to say their prayers, and
return to Rome at Ave Maria.

Life, too, is altogether changed now. All the windows are wide open,
and there is at least one head and shoulders leaning out at every
house. And the poorer families are all out on their door-steps, working
and chatting together, while their children run about them in the
streets, sprawling, playing, and fighting. Many a beautiful theme for
the artist is now to be found in these careless and characteristic
groups; and curly-headed Saint Johns may be seen in every street, half
naked, with great black eyes and rounded arms and legs. It is this
which makes Rome so admirable a residence for an artist. All things are
easy and careless in the out-of-doors life of the common people,--all
poses unsought, all groupings accidental, all action unaffected and
unconscious. One meets Nature at every turn,--not braced up in prim
forms, not conscious in manners, not made up into the fashionable or
the proper, but impulsive, free, and simple. With the whole street
looking on, they are as unconscious and natural as if they were where
no eye could see them,--ay, and more natural, too, than it is possible
for some people to be, even in the privacy of their solitary rooms.
They sing at the top of their lungs as they sit on their door-steps at
their work, and often shout from house to house across the street a
long conversation, and sometimes even read letters from upper windows
to their friends below in the street. The men and women who cry their
fruits, vegetables, and wares up and down the city, laden with baskets
or panniers, and often accompanied by a donkey, stop to chat with group
after group, or get into animated debates about prices, or exercise
their wits and lungs at once in repartee in a very amusing way.
Everybody is in dishabille in the morning, but towards twilight the
girls put on their better dresses, and comb their glossy raven hair,
heaping it up in great solid braids, and, hanging two long golden
ear-rings in their ears and _collane_ round their full necks, come
forth conquering and to conquer, and saunter bare-headed up and down
the streets, or lounge about the doorways or piazzas in groups, ready
to give back to any jeerer as good as he sends. You see them marching
along sometimes in a broad platoon of five or six, all their brows as
straight as if they had been ruled, and their great dark eyes flashing
out under them, ready in a moment for a laugh or a frown. What stalwart
creatures they are! What shoulders, bosoms, and backs they have! what a
chance for the lungs under those stout _busti_! and what finished and
elegant heads! They are certainly cast in a large mould, with nothing
belittled or meagre about them, either in feature or figure.

Early in the morning you will see streaming through the streets or
gathered together in picturesque groups, some standing, some couching
on the pavement, herds of long-haired goats, brown and white and black,
which have been driven, or rather which have followed their shepherd,
into the city to be milked. The majestical, long-bearded, patriarchal
rams shake their bells and parade solemnly round,--while the silken
females clatter their little hoofs as they run from the hand of the
milker when he has filled his can. The shepherd is kept pretty busy,
too, milking at everybody's door; and before the fashionable world is
up at nine, the milk is gone and the goats are off.

You may know that it is May by the orange and lemon stands, which are
erected in almost every piazza. These are little booths covered with
canvas, and fantastically adorned with lemons and oranges intermixed,
which, piled into pyramids and disposed about everywhere, have a very
gay effect. They are generally placed near a fountain, the water of
which is conducted through a _canna_ into the centre of the booth, and
there, finding its own level again, makes a little spilling fountain
from which the _bibite_ are diluted. Here for a _baiocco_ one buys
lemonade or orangeade and all sorts of curious little drinks or
_bibite_, with a feeble taste of anisette or some other herb to take
off the mawkishness of the water,--or for a half-_baiocco_ one may have
the lemonade without sugar, and in this way it is usually drunk. On all
_festa_-days, little portable tables are carried round the streets,
hung to the neck of the _limonaro_, and set down at convenient spots,
or whenever a customer presents himself, and the cries of "_Acqua
fresca,--limonaro, limonaro,--chi vuol bere?_" are heard on all sides;
and I can assure you, that, after standing on tiptoe for an hour in the
heat and straining your neck and head to get sight of some Church
procession, you are glad enough to go to the extravagance of even a
lemonade with sugar; and smacking your lips, you bless the institution
of the _limonaro_ as one which must have been early instituted by the
Good Samaritan. Listen to his own description of himself in one of the
popular _canzonetti_ sung about the streets by wandering musicians to
the accompaniment of a violin and guitar:--

  "Ma per altro son uomo ingegnoso,
    Non possiedo, ma sono padrone;
    Vendo l' acqua con spirto e limone
  Finche dura d' estate il calor.

  "Ho an capello di paglia,--ma bello!
    Un zinale di sopra fino;
    Chi mi osserva nel mio tavolino,
  Gli vien sete, se sete non ha.

  "Spaccio spirti, siroppi, acquavite
    Fo 'ranciate di nuova invenzione;
    Voi vedete quante persone
  Chiedon acqua,--e rispondo,--Son quà!"

The _limonaro_ is the exponent, the algebraic power, of the Church
processions which abound this month; and he is as faithful to them as
Boswell to Johnson;--wherever they appear, he is there to console and
refresh. Nor is his office a sinecure now; and let us hope that he has
his small profits, as well as the Church,--though they spell theirs

The great procession of the year takes place this month on Corpus
Domini, and is well worth seeing, as being the very finest and most
characteristic of all the Church festivals. It was instituted in honor
of the famous miracle at Bolsena, when the wafer dripped blood, and is,
therefore, in commemoration of one of the cardinal doctrines of the
Roman Church, Transubstantiation, and one of its most theological
miracles. The Papal procession takes place in the morning, in the
piazza of Saint Peter's; and if you would be sure of it, you must be on
the spot as soon as eight o'clock at the latest. The whole circle of
the piazza itself is covered with an awning, festooned gayly with
garlands of box, under which the procession passes; and the ground is
covered with yellow sand, over which box and bay are strewn. The
celebration commences with morning mass in the basilica, and that over,
the procession issues from one door, and, making the whole circuit of
the piazza, returns into the church. First come the _Seminaristi_, or
scholars and attendants of the various hospitals and charity-schools,
such as San Michele and Santo Spirito,--all in white. Then follow the
brown-cowled, long-bearded Franciscans, the white Carmelites, and the
black Benedictines, bearing lighted candles and chanting hoarsely as
they go. You may see pass before you now all the members of these
different conventual orders that there are in Rome, and have an
admirable opportunity to study their physiognomies in mass. If you are
a convert to Romanism, you will perhaps find in their bald beads and
shaven crowns and bearded faces a noble expression of reverence and
humility; but, suffering as I do under the misfortune of being a
heretic, I could but remark on their heads an enormous development of
the two organs of reverence and firmness, and a singular deficiency in
the upper forehead, while there was an almost universal enlargement of
the lower jaw and of the base of the brain. Being, unfortunately, a
friend of Phrenology, as well as a heretic, I drew no very auspicious
augury from these developments; and looking into their faces, the
physiognomical traits were narrow-mindedness, bigotry, or cunning. The
Benedictine heads showed more intellect and will; the Franciscans more
dulness and good-nature.

But while I am criticizing them, they are passing by, and a picturesque
set of fellows they are. Much as I dislike the conventual creed, I
should be sorry to see the costume disappear. Directly on the heels of
their poverty come the three splendid triple crowns of the Pope,
glittering with gorgeous jewels, and borne in triumph on silken
embroidered cushions, and preceded by the court jeweller. After them
follow the chapters, canons, and choirs of the seven basilicas,
chanting in lofty altos and solid basses and clear ringing tenors from
their old Church books, each basilica bearing a typical tent of colored
stripes and a wooden campanile and a bell which is constantly rung.
Next come the canons of the churches and the _monsignori_, in splendid
dresses and rich capes of beautiful lace falling below their waists;
the bishops clad in cloth of silver with mitres on their heads; the
cardinals brilliant in gold embroidery and gleaming in the sun; and at
last the Pope himself, borne on a platform splendid with silver and
gold, with a rich canopy over his head. Beneath this he kneels, or
rather, seems to kneel; for, though his splendid draperies and train
are skilfully arranged so as to present this semblance, being drawn
behind him over two blocks which are so placed as to represent his
heels, yet in fact he is seated on a sunken bench or chair, as any
careful eye can plainly see. However, kneeling or sitting, just as you
will, there he is, before an altar, holding up the _ostia_, which is
the _corpus Domini_, "the body of God," and surrounded by officers of
the Swiss guards in glittering armor, chamberlains in their beautiful
black and Spanish dresses with ruffs and swords, attendants in scarlet
and purple costumes, and the _guardia nobile_ in their red dress
uniforms. Nothing could be more striking than this group. It is the
very type of the Church,--pompous, rich, splendid, imposing. After them
follow the dragoons mounted,--first a company on black horses, then
another on bays, and then a third on grays; foot-soldiers with flashing
bayonets bring up the rear, and the procession is over. As the last
soldiers enter the church, there is a stir among the gilt equipages of
the cardinals which line one side of the piazza,--the horses toss their
scarlet plumes, the liveried servants sway as the carriages lumber on,
and you may spend a half-hour hunting out your own humble vehicle, if
you have one, or throng homeward on foot with the crowd through the
Borgo and over the bridge of Sant' Angelo.

This grand procession strikes the note of all the others, and in the
afternoon each parish brings out its banners, arrays itself in its
choicest dresses, and with pomp and music bears the _ostia_ through the
streets, the crowd kneeling before it, and the priests chanting. During
the next _ottava_ or eight days, all the processions take place in
honor of this festival; and when the week has passed, everything ends
with the Papal procession in Saint Peter's piazza, when, without music,
and with uncovered heads, the Pope, cardinals, _monsignori_, canons,
and the rest of the priests and officials, make the round of the
piazza, bearing great Church banners.

One of the most striking of their celebrations took place this year at
the church of San Rocco in the Ripetta, when the church was made
splendid with lighted candles and gold bands, and a preacher held forth
to a crowded audience in the afternoon. At Ave Maria there was a great
procession, with banners, music, and torches, and all the evening the
people sauntered to and fro in crowds before the church, where a
platform was erected and draped with old tapestries, from which a band
played constantly. Do not believe, my dear Presbyterian friend, that
these spectacles fail deeply to affect the common mind. So long as
human nature remains the same, this splendor and pomp of processions,
these lighted torches and ornamented churches, this triumphant music
and glad holiday of religion will attract more than your plain
conventicles, your ugly meeting-houses, and your compromise with the
bass-viol. For my own part, I do not believe that music and painting
and all the other arts really belong to the Devil, or that God gave him
joy and beauty to deceive with, and kept only the ugly, sour, and sad
for himself. We are always better when we are happy; and we are about
as sure of being good when we are happy, as of being happy when we are
good. Cheerfulness and happiness are, in my humble opinion, duties and
habits to be cultivated; but, if you don't think so, I certainly would
not deny you the privilege of being wretched: don't let us quarrel
about it.

Rather let us turn to the Artists' Festival, which takes place in this
month, and is one of the great attractions of the season. Formerly,
this festival took place at Cerbara, an ancient Etruscan town on the
Campagna, of which only certain subterranean caves remain. But during
the revolutionary days which followed the disasters of 1848, it was
suspended for two or three years by the interdict of the Papal
government, and when it was again instituted, the place of meeting was
changed to Fidenae, the site of another Etruscan town, with similar
subterranean excavations, which were made the head-quarters of the
festival. But the new railway to Bologna having been laid out directly
over this ground, the artists have been again driven away, and this
year the _festa_ was held, for the first time, in the grove of Egeria,
one of the most beautiful spots on the whole Campagna,--and here it is
to be hoped it will have an abiding rest.

This festival was instituted by the German artists, and, though the
artists of all nations now join in it, the Germans still remain its
special patrons and directors. Early in the morning, the artists
rendezvous at an appointed _osteria_ outside the walls, dressed in
every sort of grotesque and ludicrous costume which can be imagined.
All the old dresses which can be rummaged out of the studios or
theatres, or pieced together from masking wardrobes, are now in
requisition. Indians and Chinese, ancient warriors and mediaeval
heroes, militia-men and Punches, generals in top-boots and pigtails,
doctors in gigantic wigs and small-clothes, Falstaffs and justices
"with fair round belly with good capon lined," magnificent foolscaps,
wooden swords with terrible inscriptions, gigantic chapeaus with plumes
made of vegetables, in a word, every imaginable absurdity is to be
seen. Arrived at the place of rendezvous, they all breakfast, and then
the line of march is arranged. A great wooden cart, adorned with quaint
devices, garlanded with laurel and bay, bears the president and
committee. This is drawn by great white oxen, who are decorated with
wreaths and flowers and gay trappings, and from it floats the noble
banner of Cerbara or Fidenae. After this follows a strange and motley
train,--some mounted on donkeys, some on horses, and some afoot,--and
the line of march is taken up for the grove of Egeria. What mad jests
and wild fun now take place it is impossible to describe; suffice it to
say, that all are right glad of a little rest when they reach their

Now begin to stream out from the city hundreds of carriages,--for all
the world will be abroad to-day to see,--and soon the green slopes are
swarming with gay crowds. Some bring with them a hamper of provisions
and wine, and, spreading them on the grass, lunch and dine when and
where they will; but those who would dine with the artists must have
the order of the _mezzo baiocco_ hanging to their buttonhole, which is
distributed previously in Rome to all the artists who purchase tickets.
Some few there are who also bear upon their breasts the nobler medal of
_troppo merito_, gained on previous days, and those are looked upon
with due reverence.

But before dinner or lunch there is a high ceremony to take place,--the
great feature of the day. It is the mock-heroic play. This year it was
the meeting of Numa with the nymph Egeria at the grotto; and thither
went the festive procession; and the priest, befilletted and draped in
white, burned upon the altar as a sacrifice a great toy sheep, whose
offence "smelt to heaven"; and then from the niches suddenly appeared
Numa, a gallant youth in spectacles, and Egeria, a Spanish artist with
white dress and fillet, who made vows over the smoking sheep, and then
were escorted back to the sacred grove with festal music by a joyous,
turbulent crowd.

Last year, however, at Fidenae, it was better. We had a travesty of the
taking of Troy, which was eminently ludicrous, and which deserves a
better description than I can give. Troy was a space inclosed within
paper barriers, about breast-high, painted "to present a wall," and
within these were the Trojans, clad in red, and all wearing gigantic
paper helmets. There was old Priam, in spectacles, with his crown and
robes,--Laocoön, in white, with a white wool beard and wig,--Ulysses,
in a long, yellow beard and mantle,--and Aeneas, with a bald head, in a
blue, long-tailed coat, and tall dickey, looking like the traditional
Englishman in the circus who comes to hire the horse. The Grecians were
encamped at a short distance. All had round, basket-work shields,--some
with their names painted on them in great letters, and some with an odd
device, such as a cat or pig. There were Ulysses, Agamemnon, Ajax,
Nestor, Patroclus, Diomedes, Achilles, "all honorable men." The drama
commenced with the issuing of Paris and Helen from the walls of
Troy,--he in a tall, black French hat, girdled with a gilt crown, and
she in a white dress, with a great wig hanging round her face in a
profusion of carrotty curls. Queer figures enough they were, as they
stepped along together, caricaturing love in a pantomime, he making
terrible demonstrations of his ardent passion, and she finally falling
on his neck in rapture. This over, they seated themselves near by two
large pasteboard rocks, he sitting on his shield and taking out his
flute to play to her, while she brought forth her knitting and ogled
him as he played. While they were thus engaged, came creeping up with
the stage stride of a double step, and dragging one foot behind him,
Menelaus, whom Thersites had, meantime, been taunting, by pointing at
him two great ox-horns. He walked all round the lovers, pantomiming
rage and jealousy in the accredited ballet style, and then, suddenly
approaching, crushed poor Paris's great black hat down over his eyes.
Both, very much frightened, then took to their heels and rushed into
the city, while Menelaus, after shaking Paris's shield, in defiance, at
the walls, retired to the Grecian camp. Then came the preparations for
battle. The Trojans leaned over their paper battlements, with their
fingers to their noses, twiddling them in scorn, while the Greeks shook
their fists back at them. The battle now commenced on the
"ringing-plains of Troy," and was eminently absurd. Paris, in hat and
pantaloons, (_à la mode de Paris_,) soon showed the white feather, and
incontinently fled. Everybody hit nowhere, fiercely striking the ground
or the shields, and always carefully avoiding, as on the stage, to hit
in the right place. At last, however, Patroclus was killed, whereupon
the battle was suspended, and a grand _tableau_ of surprise and horror
took place, from which at last they recovered, and the Greeks prepared
to carry him off on their shoulders. Then terrible to behold was the
grief of Achilles. Homer himself would have wept to see him. He flung
himself on the body, and shrieked, and tore his hair, and violently
shook the corpse, which, under such demonstrations, now and then kicked
up. Finally, he rises and challenges Hector to single combat, and out
comes the valiant Trojan, and a duel ensues with wooden axes. Such
blows and counter blows were never seen, only they never hit, but often
whirled the warrior who dealt them completely round; they tumbled over
their own blows, panted with feigned rage, lost their robes and great
pasteboard helmets, and were even more absurd than Richmond and Richard
ever were on the country boards at a fifth-rate theatre. But Hector is
at last slain and borne away, and a ludicrous lay figure is laid out to
represent him, with bunged-up eyes and a general flabbiness of body and
want of features, charming to behold. On their necks the Trojans bear
him to their walls, and with a sudden jerk pitch him over them head
first, and he tumbles, in a heap, into the city. Then Ulysses harangues
the Greeks. He has brought out a _quarteruola_ barrel of wine, which,
with most expressive pantomime, he shows to be the wooden horse that
must be carried into Troy. His proposition is joyfully accepted, and,
accompanied by all, he rolls the cask up to the walls, and, flourishing
a tin cup in one hand, invites the Trojans to partake. At first there
is confusion in the city, and fingers are twiddled over the walls, but
after a time all go out and drink, and become ludicrously drunk, and
stagger about, embracing each other in the most maudlin style. Even
Helen herself comes out, gets tipsy with the rest, and dances about
like the most disreputable of Maenades. A great scena, however, takes
place as they are about to drink. Laocoön, got up in white wool,
appears, and violently endeavors to dissuade them, but in vain. In the
midst of his harangue, a long string of blown up sausage-skins is
dragged in for the serpent, and suddenly cast about his neck. His sons
and he then form a group, the sausage-snake is twined about them,--only
the old story is reversed, and he bites the serpent instead of the
serpent biting him,--and all die in agony, travestying the ancient

All, being now drunk, go in, and Ulysses with them. A quantity of straw
is kindled, the smoke rises, the Greeks approach and dash in the paper
walls with clubs, and all is confusion. Then Aeneas, in his blue
long-tailed circus-coat, broad white hat, and tall shirt-collar,
carries off old Anchises on his shoulders with a cigar in his mouth,
and bears him to a painted section of a vessel, which is rocked to and
fro by hand, as if violently agitated by the waves. Aeneas and Anchises
enter the boat, or rather stand behind it so as to conceal their legs,
and off it sets, rocked to and fro constantly,--Aeolus and Tramontana
following behind, with bellows to blow up a wind, and Fair Weather,
with his name written on big back, accompanying them. The violent
motion, however, soon makes Aeneas sick, and as he leans over the side
in a helpless and melancholy manner, and almost gives up the ghost, as
well as more material things, the crowd burst into laughter. However,
at last they reach two painted rocks, and found Latium, and a general
rejoicing takes place.--The donkey who was to have ended all by
dragging the body of Hector round the walls came too late, and this
part of the programme did not take place.

So much of the entertainment over, preparations are made for dinner. In
the grove of Egeria the plates are spread in circles, while all the
company sing part-songs and dance. At last all is ready, the signal is
given, and the feast takes place after the most rustic manner. Great
barrels of wine covered with green branches stand at one side, from
which flagons are filled and passed round, and the good appetites soon
make direful gaps in the beef and mighty plates of lettuce. After this,
and a little sauntering about for digestion's sake, come the afternoon
sports. And there are donkey races, and tilting at a ring, and
foot-races, and running in sacks. Nothing can be more picturesque than
the scene, with its motley masqueraders, its crowds of spectators
seated along the slopes, its little tents here and there, its races in
the valley, and, above all, the glorious mountains looking down from
the distance. Not till the golden light slopes over the Campagna,
gilding the skeletons of aqueducts, and drawing a delicate veil of
beauty over the mountains, can we tear ourselves away, and rattle back
in our carriage to Rome.

The wealthy Roman families, who have villas in the immediate vicinity
of Rome, now leave the city to spend a month in them and breathe the
fresh air of spring. Many and many a tradesman who is well to do in the
world has a little _vigna_ outside the gates, where he raises
vegetables and grapes and other fruits; and every _festa_-day you will
be sure to find him and his family out in his little _villetta_,
wandering about the grounds or sitting beneath his arbors, smoking and
chatting with his children around him. His friends who have no villas
of their own here visit him, and often there is a considerable company
thus collected, who, if one may judge from their cheerful countenances
and much laughter, enjoy themselves mightily. Knock at any of these
villa-gates, and, if you happen to have the acquaintance of the owner,
or are evidently a stranger of respectability, you will be received
with much hospitality, invited to partake of the fruit and wine, and
overwhelmed with thanks for your _gentilezza_ when you take your leave;
for the Italians are a most good-natured and social people, and nothing
pleases them better than a stranger who breaks the common round of
topics by accounts of his own land. Everything new is to them
wonderful, just as it is to a child. They are credulous of everything
you tell them about America, which is to them in some measure what it
was to the English in the days of Raleigh, Drake, and Hawkins, and say
"_Per Bacco!_" to every new statement. And they are so magnificently
ignorant, that you have _carte blanche_ for your stories. Never did I
know any one staggered by anything I chose to say, but once. I was
walking with my respectable old _padrone_, Nisi, about his little
garden one day, when an ambition to know something about America
inflamed his breast.

"Are there any mountains?" he asked.

I told him "Yes," and, with a chuckle of delight, he cried,--

"_Per Bacco!_ And have you any cities?"

"Yes, a few little ones,"--for I thought I would sing small, contrary
to the general "'Ercles vein" of my countrymen. He was evidently
pleased that they were small, and, swelling with natural pride, said,--

"Large as Rome, of course, they could not be"; then, after a moment, he
added, interrogatively, "And rivers, too,--have you any rivers?"

"A few," I answered.

"But not as large as our Tiber," he replied,--feeling assured, that, if
the cities were smaller than Rome, as a necessary consequence, the
rivers that flowed by them must be in the same category.

The bait now offered was too tempting. I measured my respectable and
somewhat obese friend carefully with my eye, for a moment, and then
hurled this terrible fact at him:--

"We have some rivers three thousand miles long."

The effect was awful. He stood and stared at me, as if petrified, for a
moment. Then the blood rushed into his face, and, turning on his heel,
he took off his hat, said suddenly, "_Buona sera_," and carried my fact
and his opinions together up into his private room. I am afraid that
Don Pietro decided, on consideration, that I had been taking
unwarrantable liberties with him, and exceeding all proper bounds, in
my attempt to impose on his good-nature. From that time forward he
asked me no more questions about America.

And here, by the way, I am reminded of an incident, which, though not
exactly pertinent, may find here a parenthetical place, merely as
illustrating some points of Italian character. One fact and two names
relating to America they know universally,--Columbus and his discovery
of America, and Washington.

"_Sì, Signore_," said a respectable person some time since, as he was
driving me to see a carriage which he wished to sell me, and therefore
desired to be particularly polite to me and my nation,--"a great man,
your Vashintoni! but I was sorry to hear, the other day, that his
father had died in London."

"His father dead, and in London?" I stammered, completely confounded at
this extraordinary news, and fearing lest I had been too stupid in
misunderstanding him.

"Yes," he said, "it is too true that his father Vellintoni is dead. I
read it in the _Diario di Roma_."

But better than this was the ingenious argument of a _Frate_, whom I
met on board a steamer in going from Leghorn to Genoa, and who, having
pumped out the fact that I was an American, immediately began to
"improve" it in a discourse on Columbus. So he informed me that
Columbus was an Italian, and that he had discovered America, and was a
remarkable man; to all of which I readily assented, as being true, if
not new. But now a severe abstract question began to tax my friend's
powers. He said, "But how could he ever have imagined that the
continent of America was there? That's the question. It is
extraordinary indeed!" And so he sat cogitating, and saying, at
intervals, "_Curioso! Straordinario!_" At last "a light broke in upon
his brain." Some little bird whispered the secret. His face lightened,
and, looking at me, he said, "Perhaps he may have read that it was
there in some old book, and so went to see if it were or no." Vainly I
endeavored to show him that this view would deprive Columbus of his
greatest distinction. He answered invariably, "But without having read
it, how could he ever have known it?"--thus putting the earth upon the
tortoise and leaving the tortoise to account for his own support.

Imagine that I have told you these stories sitting under the vine and
fig-tree of some _villetta_, while Angiolina has gone to call the
_padrone_, who will only be too glad to see you. But, _ecco!_ at last
our _padrone_ comes. No, it is not the _padrone_, it is the
_vignarualo_, who takes care of his grapes and garden, and who
recognizes us as friends of the _padrone_, and tells us that we are
ourselves _padroni_ of the whole place, and offers us all sorts of

One old custom, which existed in Rome some fifteen years ago, has now
passed away with other good old things. It was the celebration of the
_Fravolata_ or Strawberry-Feast, when men in gala-dress at the height
of the strawberry-season went in procession through the streets,
carrying on their heads enormous wooden platters heaped with this
delicious fruit, accompanied by girls in costume, who, beating their
_tamburelli_, danced along at their sides and sung the praises of the
strawberry. After threading the streets of the city, they passed
singing out of the gates, and at different places on the Campagna spent
the day in festive sports and had an out-door dinner and dance.

One of these festivals still exists, however, in the picturesque town
of Genzano, which lies above the old crater now filled with the still
waters of Lake Nemi, and is called the _Infiorata di Genzano_, "The
Flower-Festival of Genzano." It takes place on the eighth day of the
Corpus Domini, and receives its name from the popular custom of
spreading flowers upon the pavements of the streets so as to represent
heraldic devices, figures, arabesques, and all sorts of ornamental
designs. The people are all dressed in their effective costumes,--the
girls in _busti_ and silken skirts, with all their corals and jewels
on, and the men with white stockings on their legs, their velvet
jackets dropping over one shoulder, and flowers and rosettes in their
conical hats. The town is then very gay, the bells clang, the incense
steams from the censer in the church, where the organ peals and mass is
said, and a brilliant procession marches over the strewn flower-mosaic,
with music and crucifixes and Church-banners. Hundreds of strangers,
too, are there to look on; and on the Cesarini Piazza and under the
shadow of the long avenues of ilexes that lead to the tower are
hundreds of handsome girls, with their snowy _tovaglie_ peaked over
their heads. The rub and thrum of _tamburelli_ and the clicking of
castanets are heard, too, as twilight comes on, and the _salterello_ is
danced by many a group. This is the national Roman dance, and is named
from the little jumping step which characterizes it. Any number of
couples dance it, though the dance is perfect with two. Some of the
movements are very graceful and piquant, and particularly that where
one of the dancers kneels and whirls her arms on high, clicking her
castanets, while the other circles her round and round, striking his
hands together, and approaching nearer and nearer, till he is ready to
give her a kiss, which she refuses: of course it is the old story of
every national dance,--love and repulse, love and repulse, until the
maiden yields. As one couple panting and rosy retires, another fresh
one takes its place, while the bystanders play on the accordion the
whirling, circling, never-ending tune of the Tarantella, which would
"put a spirit of youth in everything."

If you are tired of the festival, roam up a few paces out of the crowd,
and you stand upon the brink of Lake Nemi. Over opposite, and crowning
the height where the little town of Nemi perches, frowns the old feudal
castle of the Colonna, with its tall, round tower, where many a
princely family has dwelt and many an unprincely act has been done.
There, in turn, have dwelt the Colonna, Borgia, Piccolomini, Cenci,
Frangipani, and Braschi, and there the descendants of the last-named
family still pass a few weeks in the summer.[1] Below you, silent and
silvery, lies the lake itself,--and rising around it, like a green
bowl, tower its richly wooded banks, covered with gigantic oaks,
ilexes, and chestnuts. This was the ancient grove dedicated to Diana,
which extended to L'Ariccia; and here are still to be seen the vestiges
of an ancient villa built by Julius Caesar. Here, too, if you trust
some of the antiquaries, once stood the temple of Diana Nemorensis,[2]
where human sacrifices were offered, and whose chief-priest, called
_Rex Nemorensis_, obtained his office by slaying his predecessor, and
reigned over these groves by force of his personal arm. Times have,
indeed, changed since the priesthood was thus won and baptized by
blood; and as you stand there, and look, on the one side, at the site
of this ancient temple, which some of the gigantic chestnut-trees may
almost have seen in their youth, and, on the other side, at the
campanile of the Catholic church at Genzano, with its flower-strewn
pavements, you may have as sharp a contrast between the past and the
present as can easily be found.

[Footnote 1: On the Genzano side stands the castellated villa of the
Cesarini Sforza, looking peacefully across the lake at the rival tower,
which in the old baronial days it used to challenge,--and in its
garden-pond you may see stately white swans oaring their way with rosy
feet along.]

[Footnote 2: The better opinion of late seems to be that it was on the
slopes of the Val d'Ariccia. But "who shall decide, when doctors



  I heard you In your English home,--
I read you by my little brook,
  Thousands of miles from British foam,
Hid in my dear New England nook:
But heard you with a sullen look;
  But read you with a gloomy brow;
And thus unto my Muse I spoke:--
  Who is there to write history now?

  Hallam is dead! and Prescott gone!
And Irving sleeps at Sunnyside!
  And now that Lord has wandered on,
Whose laurels must with theirs abide:
I greatly mourned the man who died
  First on this dismal roll of death,--
And him, of all observers eyed,
  My townsman here, who spent his breath

  In telling of the things of Spain,
And doing friendly things to friends,
  Prescott, well known beyond the main
And past the Pillars, to earth's ends:
Both had my tears: but England sends
  Another word across the seas,
Might rouse the dying from his bed:
  Oh, bear it gently, ocean-breeze!
That bitter word,--Thy friend is dead!

  Macaulay dead, who made to live
Past kingdoms, with his vivid brain!
  Who could such warmth to shadows give,
By the mere magic of his pen,
That Charles and England rose again!
  Well sleeps he 'mid the Abbey's dust:
And, Laureate! thy funereal verse
  Shall have such echo as it must
From hearts just wrung at Irving's hearse.

  These are two names to mark the year
As one of memorable woe,
  Two men to the two nations dear
Laid in one fatal winter low!
About the streets the mourners go;
  But I within my chamber rest,
Or walk the room with measured tread,
  Murmuring, with head upon my breast,
My God! and is Macaulay dead?


In November, 1805, a good-looking foreigner, gentlemanlike in dress
and in manner, and apparently fifty years of age, arrived in New York
from England, and took lodgings at Mrs. Avery's, State Street. He
called himself George Martin; but this incognito was intended only for
the vulgar. Some of the principal citizens of New York, who recollected
his first visit to this country twenty years before, knew him as Don
Francisco de Miranda of Caracas, one of the most distinguished
adventurers of that revolutionary era,--a favorite of the Empress of
Russia, a friend of Mr. Pitt, and second in command under Dumouriez in
the Belgian campaign of 1793. To these gentlemen he avowed that for
many years he had meditated the independence of the Spanish-American
Colonies, and meant to make an attempt to carry out his plans. On
Evacuation Day, a New York festival, which is now nearly worn out, they
invited him to a Corporation dinner, as a foreign officer of rank, and
toasted him, wishing him the same success in South America that we had
had here. He then went to Washington, under the name of Molini. There,
as everywhere, he was received by the best society as General Miranda.
The President and the Secretary of State, Mr. Madison, granted him
several private interviews. In January he returned to New York,--and on
the 2d of February departed thence mysteriously in the Leander, a ship
belonging to Mr. Samuel G. Ogden, merchant.

While the Leander lay at anchor off Staten Island, a gentleman notified
the Naval Officer of the Port, that large quantities of arms and
ammunition had been taken on board of her in boats, at night. He was
informed in return, that the Leander was cleared for Jacquemel, and
that no law existed to prevent her from sailing. No other attempt was
made to detain her; but a few weeks later, rumors affecting the
character of the ship broke out in a more decided form. It was
generally believed at the Tontine Coffee-House that the Leander had
been fitted out by Miranda to attack the Spanish possessions in the
West India Islands or on the Main. And yet the New York journals took
no notice of her until the 21st of February, nineteen days after she
sailed. In the mean time the Marquis Yrujo, backed by the French
Ambassador, had made a formal complaint to Government, and had caused
the insertion in the "Philadelphia Gazette" of a series of
interrogatories to Mr. Madison, which indirectly accused the
Administration of encouraging Miranda's preparations, or at least of
conniving at the expedition. This perverse Marquis, who gave Mr.
Jefferson a taste of the annoyance which Genet, Adet, and Fauchet had
inflicted upon the previous administrations, was clamorous and
persisting. The authorities in Washington thought it proper to order
the arrest of Mr. Ogden, and of Colonel William Smith, son-in-law of
John Adams and Surveyor of the Port of New York, under the Act of 1794.
The prisoners were taken before Judge Tallmadge of the United States
District Court. They were refused counsel, and were forced by threats
of imprisonment to submit to a searching examination. They were then
held to bail, both as principals and witnesses, in the sum of twenty
thousand dollars. Soon after, the President removed Colonel Smith from
his office.

Such a waste of editorial raw-material appears very singular to
newspaper-readers of the present day, accustomed as they are to see in
print everything that has happened or that might have happened; but we
must recollect that our grandfathers found the excitement necessary to
civilized man in party politics, national and local. This game they
played with a fierce eagerness which is now limited to a small class of
inferior men.

To the violence and personal spitefulness of their newspaper articles
we have fortunately nothing comparable, even in the speeches of
Honorable Members on Helper and John Brown. The "_Tu quoque_" and the
"_Vos damnamini_" were their favorite logical processes, and "Fool" and
"Liar" the simple and conclusive arguments with which they established
a principle. Not that these ancients suffered at all from a lack of
stirring news. Bonaparte's wonderful campaigns, (Austerlitz had just
been heard of in New York,) the outrages on our sailors by English
cruisers, our merchantmen plundered by French and Spanish privateers,
the irritating behavior of the Dons in Louisiana, kept them abundantly
supplied with this staff of mental life. But they did not care much for
news in the abstract as news, unless they could work it up into
political ammunition and discharge it at each other's heads. We must
not forget, too, that newspaper-editing, the "California of the
spiritually vagabond," as Carlyle calls it, was a recent discovery, and
that the rich mine was but surface-worked. "Our own Reporter" was, like
Milton's original lion, only half unearthed; and deep hidden from
mortal eyes as yet lay the sensation-items-man, who has made the
last-dying-speech-and-confession style of literature the principal
element of our daily press.

At last the Federal editors gave tongue. It was high time; the town was
in an uproar. They perceived that Miranda might become a useful ally
against Mr. T. Jefferson. His expedition came opportunely, as the
Mammoth Cheese and Black Sally were beginning to grow stale. Mr. Lang
opened the cry in the "New York Gazette" by asserting the complicity of
Government, on the authority of a "gentleman of the first
respectability,"--meaning Mr. Rufus King.--Cheetham, of the "Citizen,"
barked back at Lang, a would-be "Solomon," "a foul and abominable
slanderer." Mr. King, he could prove, had been examined, and had
nothing to reveal.--Tom Paine wrote to the "Citizen" to mention that he
had known Miranda in New York in 1783 and in Paris in 1793. Mr.
Littlepage of Virginia, Chamberlain to the King of Poland, had then
informed him that the Empress Catharine had given Miranda four thousand
pounds "as a retaining fee," and that Mr. Pitt had also paid him twelve
hundred pounds for his services in the Nootka Sound business.--All the
Federal papers charged the Government with connivance. You knew the
destination of the Leander; you did not prevent her from sailing; you
nourished the offence until it attained maturity, and then, after
permitting the principals to go upon this expedition, you seize upon
the accessories who remain at home. And in how shameful and illegal a
way! You examine them before a single judge, with no counsel to advise
them. You force them to criminate themselves, and to sign their
confessions, by the threat of imprisonment; and you punish Colonel
Smith before you have tried him, by depriving him of his office. Why,
such a proceeding is worse than any "Inquisitorial Tribunal" or
"Star-Chamber Court."--Nonsense! answered the Democrats. Ogden's and
Smith's testimony does not implicate the Government in the least. It
only proves that Smith has been the dupe of Miranda. The President knew
nothing about the matter. If the object of the Leander's outfit was so
generally spoken of, why did it escape the notice of the Marquis Yrujo?
Why did he not demand her seizure before she sailed? This charge
against the Government is a mere Federal trick. Your friends, the
British, are at the bottom of the expedition, and they have artfully
employed Rufus King, a Federal chief, to throw the blame upon the
Executive of the United States. By ascribing to those who administer
the government the atrocities committed by Transatlantic rulers, you
aim a deadly blow at the character of our system; and your conduct,
base in any view we can take of it, is particularly reprehensible in
the delicate state of our relations with Spain.

Mr. Cadwallader Golden, of counsel for the defendants, made a motion
before Judge Tallmadge for an order to prevent the District Attorney
from using the preliminary evidence taken at the private examinations.
"It was a proceeding," he said, "arbitrary and subversive of the first
principles of law and liberty,"--"which would have disgraced the reign
of Charles and stained the character of Jeffries." The District
Attorney was heard in opposition, and was successful.

On the 7th of April, the Grand Jury found a bill against Smith, Ogden,
Miranda, and Thomas Lewis, captain of the Leander, for "setting on foot
and beginning with force and arms a certain military enterprise or
expedition, to be carried on from the United States against the
dominions of a foreign prince: to wit, the dominions of the King of
Spain; the said King of Spain then and there being at peace with the
United States." The Grand Jury, as an evidence of their impartiality,
or of the public feeling, also handed the Judge a presentment of
himself, which he put into his pocket, censuring his conduct in the
private examinations, because "unusual, oppressive, and contrary to

The trial was set down for the 14th of July. Messrs. Ogden and Smith
did not wait so long for a hearing. They laid their case at once before
the public, in two memorials addressed to Congress, complaining
bitterly of the prosecution, not to say persecution, instituted against
them by the authorities in Washington, and of the cruel and oppressive
measures taken by Judge Tallmadge to carry out the mandates of his
superiors. If they had done wrong, they urged, it was innocently. A war
with Spain was imminent. The critical position of the Louisiana
Boundary question, the President's Message of the 6th of December, and
the documents accompanying it, left no doubts on that point. Were they
not right, then, in supposing, that, under these circumstances, the
President would encourage an expedition against the colonies of a
hostile power? As evidence of Mr. Jefferson's knowledge of Miranda's
schemes, they stated that the General had brought with him from England
a letter to "a gentleman of the first consequence in New York," (Mr.
King,) which contained a sketch of his project: this letter was
forwarded to the Secretary of State and laid before the President by
him. Miranda then went to Washington, saw the President and the
Secretary, and wrote to the memorialists that he had fully unfolded his
plans to both. In the course of a long conversation with Mr. Madison,
he asked for pecuniary assistance and for open encouragement, on the
ground that individuals might not be willing to join in the enterprise,
if Government did not approve it,--particularly as a bill was then
before Congress to prohibit the exportation of arms. He also requested
leave of absence for Colonel Smith, who wished to accompany him. Mr.
Madison answered, that the sentiments of the President could not be
doubted, but that the Government of the United States could afford no
assistance of any kind. Private individuals were at liberty to act as
they pleased, provided they did not violate the laws; and New York
merchants would always advance money, if they saw their advantage in
it. As to the bill Miranda had spoken of, it was unlikely that it would
pass,--and, in fact, it did not. It was impossible, Mr. Madison added,
to grant leave of absence to Colonel Smith, although he thought him
better fitted for military employment than for the custom-house. He
closed the interview by recommending the greatest discretion.

Miranda, continued the memorialists, remained fourteen days in
Washington after this conversation, and returned to New York confident
of the silent approval of Government. Eleven days before the Leander
sailed, he sent a letter to Mr. Madison, inclosing another to Mr.
Jefferson, both of which he read to Ogden and to Smith. He assured Mr.
Madison that he had conformed in every way to the intentions of
Government, and requested him to keep the secret. To Mr. Jefferson he
wrote in a strain more fashionable ten years before than then, but well
adapted to the sentimentality, both scientific and political, of the
"Philosophic President." Here it is:--

"I have the honor to send you, inclosed, the 'Natural and Civil History
of Chili,' of which we conversed at Washington,--and in which you will,
perhaps, find more than in those which have been before published on
the same subject, concerning this beautiful country.

"If ever the happy prediction, which you have pronounced on the future
destiny of our dear Columbia, is to be accomplished in our day, may
Providence grant that it may be under your auspices, and by the
generous efforts of her own children! We shall then, in some sort,
behold the revival of that age, the return of which the Roman bard
invoked in favor of the human race:--

"'The last great age foretold by sacred rhymes
  Renews its finished course; Saturnian times
  Roll round again; and mighty years, begun
  From this first orb, in radiant circles run.'"

On Miranda's reports, these letters, and the fact that the Leander had
not been seized, they rested their case, and prayed for the
interference of Congress in their behalf.

Congress unanimously granted the petitioners leave to withdraw. Such
evidence as this, not only hearsay, but heard from the party most
interested in misrepresenting the Administration, was not entitled to
much consideration. It had, moreover, the additional disadvantage of
proving nothing against the President and Secretary, even if every word
of it were admitted as true.

Public attention was diverted from the Leander, Captain Lewis, to the
Leander, Captain Whitby. This English frigate was cruising off Sandy
Hook, bringing to inward and outward bound vessels, searching them for
articles contraband of war, and helping herself to able-bodied seamen
who looked like British subjects. All of which was meekly submitted to
in 1806. Mr. Jefferson could not overcome his doubts as to the
constitutionality of a fleet, and the Opposition had the twofold
pleasure of chuckling over the insults offered by John Bull to a
government with French proclivities, and of reproaching the party in
power with its supineness and want of spirit.

But the accident of the 25th of April brought the American people to a
proper sense of their situation, for the moment. On that day, His
British Majesty's ship Leander fired a round-shot into the sloop
Richard, bound to New York, and killed the man at the helm, John
Pierce. The body was brought to the city and borne through the
principal streets, in the midst of universal excitement, anger, and
cries for vengeance. Black streamers were displayed from the houses;
shops were closed; the newspapers appeared in mourning. A public
funeral was attended by the whole population. Captain Whitby was
indicted for murder, and took care to keep out of the reach of United
States law-officers. This homicide happened just in time for the May
election in New York. Both parties attempted to make use of it. The
Federalists proclaimed that the blood of Pierce was on the head of
Jefferson and his followers. These retorted, that the English pirates
were the friends and comrades of the Federalists. Cheetham had seen the
first lieutenant of the Leander, disguised, in company with eight or
ten of them, some days after the murder!!! And the Democratic
Republicans, as was and is still usual, had a majority at the polls.

From time to time short paragraphs appeared in the papers, advertising
Miranda's success. "His flag was flying on every fort from Cumana to
Laguayra." "The whole of this fine country may be considered as lost to
Spain." Then came tidings of sadder complexion. He had been beaten off
with the loss of forty men, taken prisoners. The Spaniards had
threatened to hang them as pirates, but they would not dare to do it.
The British had furnished Miranda with forty Spanish prisoners, as
hostages, "to avenge the threatened insult to the feelings of every
friend to the rights of self-government in every part of the world." At
last, news arrived from the Gulf which left Miranda's failure in his
first attempt to land no longer doubtful. This, of course, made the
position of Ogden and Smith more dangerous, and their case more difficult
to manage.

When the trial of Colonel Smith came on, public interest revived, and
became stronger than before. The court-room was crowded by intelligent
spectators during the whole course of the proceedings, The case was
peculiar, and had almost a dramatic interest. Here was a Government
prosecution against a man well known in the community, for an offence
new to our courts; and the heads of that Government, Jefferson and
Madison, were indirectly on trial at the same time:--"For, if Smith and
Ogden are acquitted," said the Federal papers, "then must the whole
guilt rest on the Administration." Apart from the political interest of
the trial, the eminence of the counsel employed would have commanded an
audience anywhere. Never, since New York has had courts of justice,
have so many distinguished lawyers adorned and dignified her bar as in
the first twenty years of this century. In this case, nearly all of the
leaders were retained: Nathan Sandford, District Attorney, and
Pierrepoint Edwards, for the prosecution; for the defence, Cadwallader
Colden, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Thomas Addis Emmet, Richard Harrison, and
Washington Morton.[*]

[Footnote *: Judge Patterson, of the United States Court, occupied the
bench with Judge Tallmadge, until ill-health obliged him to withdraw.
He died soon after.]

Mr. Colden handed the Clerk a list of his witnesses, and requested him
to call their names. Among them were those of Madison, Dearborn,
Gallatin, Granger, and Robert Smith, all members of the Government. He
then read the affidavit of service of subpoenas upon them on the 25th
of May, and, inasmuch as these gentlemen had not obeyed the subpoena,
and as Colonel Smith could not safely proceed to trial without their
testimony, he moved that an attachment issue against them.

The District Attorney opposed the motion, on the ground that the
testimony of these witnesses could not possibly be of any use to the
defendant. None of them were present in New York when the Leander was
fitted out. And even if it could be shown by these witnesses that the
Administration had approved of this illegal expedition, it would not
help the defendant. This is a country governed by laws, and not by
arbitrary edicts. If Colonel Smith had violated these laws, he had
rendered himself liable to punishment. He could not escape by making
the President a _particeps criminis_. An amusing letter was read from
Madison, Dearborn, and Smith, which stated, "that the President, taking
into view the state of our public affairs, has specially signified to
us that our official duties cannot consistently therewith be at this
juncture dispensed with." They suggested that a commission should issue
for the purpose of taking their respective testimonies.

Colden insisted that this was an attempt of the Executive to interfere
with the Judiciary, which ought not to be tolerated. Counsel in
criminal cases had always the right to stand face to face with
witnesses. It was outrageous that the President should first approve of
the conduct of Colonel Smith, then order a prosecution against him and
forbid his witnesses to attend the trial.

The Court refused to grant an attachment. And later in the trial, when
the defence offered Rufus King to prove the President's knowledge and
approbation of the enterprise, the Court decided against the admission
of the evidence.

The history of the expedition in New York, as shown by the testimony,
was briefly this:--Colonel Smith introduced Miranda to Ogden; and Ogden
agreed to furnish his armed ship Leander, and to load her with the
necessary provisions, stores, arms, and ammunition. He estimated his
expenditure at seventy thousand dollars. Miranda had brought with him
from London a bill of exchange on New York for eight hundred pounds,
which had been paid, and had drawn bills on England and on Trinidad for
seven thousand pounds, which had not been paid. This was all that Ogden
had received. But if the enterprise were successful, he was to be paid
two hundred per cent, advance on the ship and cargo. Smith had engaged
fifteen or twenty officers, without informing them of the object of the
expedition, but expressly stipulating in writing that they would not be
employed against England or France, and giving them a general verbal
assurance that they would speedily make their fortunes. In this he was
sincere, for he took his son from college and sent him with Miranda.
Smith had employed John Fink, a Bowery butcher, to engage men who could
serve on horseback. Fink enlisted twenty-three at fifteen dollars a
month, and fifteen more as a bounty. They were not to be taken out of
the territory of the United States. Some of them were told that the
President was raising a mounted guard; others, that they were to guard
the mail from Washington to New Orleans. One of Fink's papers was shown
on the trial, indorsed, "Muster-Roll for the President's Guard." Smith
had furnished the bounty-money, but it did not appear that he had
authorized these misrepresentations of Fink, who developed a talent in
this business which forty years later would have made his fortune as an
emigrant-runner. Abundant proofs of the purchase of military clothing,
arms, powder, shot, and cannon were produced.

The Counsel for Colonel Smith, unable to get the connivance of the
Administration before the Jury in the shape of evidence, coolly assumed
it as established, and urged it in defence of their client. They used
his memorial to Congress as their brief, enlarged upon the arbitrary
conduct of the Judge in the examinations and upon the tyrannical
interference of the President with their witnesses. As Mr. Emmet
cleverly and classically remarked, quoting from Tacitus's description
of the funeral of Junia, "Perhaps their very absence rendered them more
decided witnesses in our favor." They also maintained that the Act of
1794, under which the prisoner was indicted, did not prohibit an
enterprise of this character. Even if it did, no proof existed that
this expedition was organized in New York. On the contrary, it was
known that Miranda had gone hence to Jacquemel, and had made his
preparations there, in a port out of our jurisdiction.

This point made, they boldly went a step farther, and declared that the
United States were actually at war with Spain. The affair of the
Kempers, and of Flanagan in Louisiana, the obstruction of the Mobile
Kiver, the depredations upon our commerce by Spanish privateers, were
sufficient proof of a state of war. We had a right to meet force by
force. The President must have been of this opinion, else he could not
have violated his trust by authorizing this expedition.

The case for the defence, considered in a logical point of view, was
desperate; but no case is desperate before a Jury; and when Mr. Colden,
Mr. Hoffman, and Mr. Emmet had each in his own peculiar mode of
eloquence appealed to the Jury to protect their client, already
punished by removal from his place, without a trial or even a hearing,
for an offence committed with, the sanction of his superior
officers,--when they compared this State prosecution to the attempts
made by despotic European governments to crush innocent men by the
machinery of law, and asserted that it was instituted solely to gratify
the malice of the King of Spain, a bitter enemy to the United
States,--and when they enlarged upon the grandeur of an undertaking to
give liberty to the down-trodden victims of Colonial tyranny, comparing
Miranda and his friends to our own Revolutionary heroes, there could be
but little doubt of the verdict. But there was an uneasy feeling after
the District Attorney had closed. He demolished with ease the arguments
of the other side, for not one of them had sufficient strength to stand
alone. Smith's perpetual excuse, that he had been led astray by the
belief of connivance in Washington, was preposterous. If he had been
anxious to know the sentiments of Government on the subject, he might
at any time within six days have ascertained whether Miranda told him
truth or not. He spoke of the cruelty and reckless folly of all such
attempts upon a neighboring people; asked the Jury how they would like
to see an armed force landed upon our shores to take part with one or
the other of the great political parties; and closed with a few strong
words, as true at this day as then:--"If you acquit the defendant, you
say to the world that the United States have renounced the law of
nations,--that they permit their citizens not only to violate their own
laws with impunity, but to invade the people of other countries with
hostile force in a time of peace, as avarice, ambition, or the thought
of plunder may dictate. Such a decision would justify the acts of the
pirate on the ocean, and would sink our national character to the
barbarism of savage tribes."

The Jury were out two hours, and brought in a verdict of not guilty,
which gave great satisfaction to Federal editors. A few days afterward,
Mr. Ogden was acquitted.[1]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Jefferson, after the expiration of his second term,
wrote to Don Valentino de Fornonda as follows:--

"Your predecessor [Yrujo] wished it to be believed that we were in
unjustifiable coöperation in Miranda's expedition.

"I solemnly and on my personal truth and honor declare to you that this
was entirely without foundation, and that there was neither coöperation
nor connivance on our part. He informed us he was about to attempt the
liberation of his native country from bondage, and intimated a hope of
our aid, or connivance at least. He was at once informed, that, though
we had great cause of complaint against Spain, and even of war, yet,
whenever we should think proper to act as her enemy, it should be
openly and aboveboard, and that our hostility should never be exercised
by such petty means. We had no suspicion that he expected to engage men
here, but merely to purchase military stores. Against this there was no
law, nor, consequently, any authority for us to interpose. On the other
hand, we deemed it improper to betray his voluntary communication to
the agents of Spain. Although his measures were many days in
preparation at New York, we never had the least intimation or suspicion
of his engaging men in his enterprise until he was gone; and I presume
that the secrecy of his proceedings kept them equally unknown to the
Marquis Yrujo and to the Spanish Consul at New York, since neither of
them gave us any information of the enlistment of men until it was too
late for any measures taken at Washington to prevent their departure."]

This is a brief account of the first filibuster-trial in the United
States. Other heroes of this profession, compared with whom Smith and
Ogden were spotless, have since come before our courts only to be
turned loose upon the world again. No other result is to be
anticipated. It is an established principle with our fellow-citizens,
that no man is happy, or ought to be, who lives under any other system
of government than our own. Let a lawyer pronounce the magic formula,
"Liberty to the oppressed," or "Free institutions to the victims of
despotism," and, _presto!_--rascality is metamorphosed into merit.
After all, it makes such a difference, when it is only our neighbor's
ox that is gored!

Here closed the first act of the expedition. Colonel Smith lost his
office, and Mr. Ogden stopped payment. The passengers by the Leander
fared worse. There were two hundred men on board: one hundred and
twenty belonged to the ship; the others had been engaged by Smith and
his agent Fink as officers, dragoons, printers, and armorers. With the
exception of two or three, none of them had seen their commander or
knew their destination. The officers, all gentlemen "of crooked
fortunes," supposed that they were sailing to enlarge the area of
freedom somewhere in America; but what particular region of the Spanish
dominions was to be subjected to this wholesome treatment they neither
knew nor cared, provided they could improve their own financial
condition. Both officers and privates were for the most part
serviceable, steady men, worthy of a more efficient leader.

On the 12th of February, they were overhauled and searched by H.B.M.
ship Cleopatra. Nineteen men with American protections were carried off
in the frigate's boat, and twelve native Americans taken out of prizes
sent back to replace them. The Leander's papers were examined and
pronounced unsatisfactory. Miranda was obliged to go on board the
Cleopatra, where he had a long private conversation with the captain.
He returned with full liberty to proceed, and with a written pass to
prevent detention or search by British cruisers. This adventure was
made to give an air of respectability to the enterprise; and Miranda
hinted to his suite that the English captain had promised to join him
with his frigate. A day or two later, the Leander took other airs upon
herself. Meeting a small Spanish schooner, laden with logwood, off the
Haytian coast, Lewis fired into her, and ordered the captain on board
with his papers, for the mere pleasure of exercising power. The
Spaniard, as soon as he got back to his own craft, made the best of his
way home and gave the first alarm.

On the 18th of February, they cast anchor at Jacquemel. Lewis went
immediately to Port au-Prince, to engage the Emperor, a ship commanded
by his brother, to join the expedition. Miranda remained behind to
organize his followers. He at last announced to them that he intended
to land near Caracas; the whole country would rise at his name; his
brave Americans would form the nucleus and the heart of a great army;
there was no Spanish force in the province to resist him. In a general
order, "Parole, America; Countersign, Liberty," he assigned to his
officers their rank in the Columbian army, distributing them into the
Engineers, Artillery, Dragoons, Riflemen, and Foot. Another general
order, "Parole, Warren; Countersign, Bunker's Hill," fixed the uniforms
of the different corps,--to be distinguished by blue, yellow, or green
facings. All hands were set to work upon the crowded deck. Printers
struck off proclamations and blank commissions in the name of "Don
Francisco de Miranda, Commander-in-Chief of the Columbian Army";
carpenters made pike-handles; armorers repaired the arms bought in New
York; (they had cost little, and were worth less;) the regimental
tailor and his disciples stitched the gay facings upon the new
uniforms; files of awkward fellows were put through the manual exercise
by an old drill-sergeant; and the young gentlemen officers read
diligently in treatises on war, or listened to the discourses of their
general upon the noble art. In the midst of this stir of preparation,
Lewis returned unsuccessful, without the ship Emperor; but Miranda
seemed in no hurry to depart. He continued his lectures and his
drilling until the 28th of March. At last he hoisted the new Columbian
flag,--a tricolor, blue, yellow, and red,--fired a grand salute, and
stood gallantly out of the harbor, where he had wasted six precious

Captain Lewis had chartered at Port-au-Prince the Bee, a small, unarmed
schooner, and had bought the Bacchus, a vessel of the same class, last
from Laguayra, whose captain and men disappeared mysteriously after
their arrival at Jacquemel. Some of the Leander's hands volunteered for
the schooners, to get out of the crowded ship; others were forced on
board, to make up a crew. The little fleet steered for Bonair, but,
through the ignorance of their pilot, or of their captain, found
themselves, after a ten-days' cruise, seventy miles to leeward, off the
Gulf of Venezuela. The Leander was a dull sailer; and, with the wind
and current against her, it took them four days to beat up to the
Island of Aruba, and seven more to reach Bonair. On the evening of the
27th of April, they were lying to off Puerto Cabello, preparing to
land, and sure of success, when they made out two Spanish
_guardacostas_ close in shore, beating up to windward. Miranda thought
them unworthy of attention, and gave the order to stand in. But the
pilot mistook the landmarks, owing to the darkness, and missed the
point agreed upon for landing. The Bacchus was sent in to reconnoitre
and did not return, although signals of recall were repeated throughout
the night. About midnight signals were noticed passing between the fort
at Puerto Cabello and the _guardacostas_; Captain Lewis beat to
quarters, and kept his men at their guns until morning. At daybreak the
Bacchus was seen close in shore, carrying a press of sail and closely
pursued by the Spanish vessels. The Leander bore down with a flowing
sheet upon the enemy, fired a few ineffective shot, and then, for some
reason best known to her captain, or to Miranda, hauled on to the wind,
and sailed away, leaving the schooners to take care of themselves. The
_guardacostas_ soon took possession of both, and carried their prizes,
with sixty prisoners, into Puerto Cabello,[1] before the eyes of their
astonished and indignant comrades, who could not understand such a want
of courage or conduct on the part of their chief.

[Footnote 1: The unfortunate men taken in the schooners were tried at
Puerto Cabello for piracy. Ten officers were hanged, their heads cut
off and stuck upon poles, and six of them sent to Caracas, two to
Laguayra, and two set up at Puerto Cabello. The other prisoners were
sentenced to the chain-gang. The execution took place on the 21st of
July, the day before Smith was acquitted in New York.]

After this disaster, the Leander sailed for Bonair for water. Miranda
still assumed a confident tone, and called a council of war to
deliberate whether they should attempt a landing at Coro. The council
decided, that, in view of the loss they had sustained, it would be
advisable to make for Trinidad in search of reinforcements. With wind
and tide against them, and a slow ship, the voyage was long. They were
reduced to their last barrel of bread, when they fell in with the
English sloop-of-war Lily, Captain Campbell, who was looking for
Miranda, and who sent supplies of all kinds on board. On the 6th of
June, they ran into Bridgetown, Barbadoes. Admiral Cochrane, who
commanded on that station, gave Miranda every assistance in his power,
and offered to put some of his smaller vessels under his orders, upon
condition that all goods imported into the new state of Columbia in
British bottoms should be assessed ten per cent, lower than the
products of any other nation, except the United States. Miranda signed
a formal agreement to this effect, and sailed for Trinidad, accompanied
by H.B.M. ships Lily and Express, and the Trimmer, a transport
schooner. Captain Lewis, whose repeated quarrels with Miranda had
affected the discipline of the force, resigned at Barbadoes. He was
succeeded by Captain Johnson, a daring fellow, who risked and lost life
and property in this expedition.

The Governor of Trinidad, like all the English of the Gulf, was well
disposed to aid in an attack on the Spanish Provinces. Eighty
volunteers of all nations, most of them worthless fellows and
candidates for a commission, joined the fleet at this place. Miranda
was once more in high spirits. His army amounted to four hundred men,
and he had secured the cooperation of the English. Success seemed
certain. He issued a new proclamation to his followers, headed "To
Victory and Wealth," and set sail, accompanied by seven small British
war-vessels and three transports.

On the 2d of August, the fleet anchored within nine miles of La Vela de
Coro. The next day two hundred and ninety men were landed in the boats
of the squadron. They were all "Mirandanians," the English furnishing
only the means of transportation and the necessary supplies. As the
boats approached the shore, they were fired upon from the bushes which
lined the beach. The Columbians jumped into the water and charged; the
Spaniards retreated to a fort near the shore. This was carried, sword
in hand,--the Spaniards leaping from the walls and flying in all
directions. Miranda then formed his party, and marched to the town, a
quarter of a mile distant, which was evacuated by the Spaniards with
such precipitation that they left their cannon loaded. The inhabitants
had fled, as well as the military, carrying off all their movable
property. The Columbian colors were hoisted, flags of truce sent in all
directions, the printed proclamations distributed about the neighboring
country; but in vain; nobody appeared.

The same evening the Liberators marched twelve miles in a northwesterly
direction to Coro. They arrived an hour before dawn, and found the town
silent and deserted. Dividing themselves into two parties, they entered
cautiously on opposite sides, for fear of an ambuscade,--but,
unfortunately, when the detachments met in the Grand Plaza, they
mistook each other, in the dusk of the morning, for the enemy, and
fired. Miranda's most efficient officer fell, shot through both thighs.
One man was killed, and seven others badly wounded. Not a soul was
found in the place, except those who were too old or too ill to move,
and the occupants of the prison. The jailer presented himself,
surrendered his keys, and informed the General that the Governor had
forced the citizens to leave their homes. Miranda remained in the
deserted town for five days, endeavoring, by the most alluring
proclamations, to bring the inhabitants back. But it was useless. Not a
man presented himself. He then lost heart, and, instead of advancing
into the country, ordered a retreat to La Vela, and reembarked on the

Those he left behind in the Leander had been still more unfortunate.
Captain Johnson had gone in the boats to a river three or four miles to
the eastward, for water, and, while filling his casks, was set upon by
a party of Spanish soldiers. He was killed, fighting bravely, with
fifteen of his men. The remainder escaped with difficulty.

The discomfited invaders sailed for the Island of Aruba, where their
English allies, pretty well satisfied that nothing could be done with
this expedition, left them. Miranda landed his men and took formal
possession of the island. He sent an ambassador to the Governor of the
neighboring island of Curaçoa, requesting him to surrender. This
request was declined. He was equally unsuccessful in a mission to
Jamaica, begging for assistance from Admiral Dacres. Dacres refused, on
the ground that he had no orders from his Government.

Miranda remained at Aruba, drilling, issuing proclamations, and holding
courts martial, until the want of provisions brought the enterprise to
an end. An English ship-of-war, which touched at the island, offered
him a safe means of escape. On the 29th of October, after a passage of
twenty-five days, the Liberators arrived at Trinidad, and disbanded in
disgrace. The blue and yellow uniforms they had worn with pride, as
"Columbians," on their last visit, were hastily laid aside to escape
the scoff of the rabble, who jeered them as adventurers and
merry-andrews. Miranda kept out of sight until he could get the
opportunity of a passage to England. All his followers who could find
means to quit the island made their way home as best they could. To
conclude the business, the Leander was sold by order of the courts, and
the few poor fellows who had remained by her received a small share of
the proceeds. Nobody else was paid the smallest fraction of the sums
the General had so liberally promised.

That a commander, safely landed with three hundred fighting men, in
possession of Coro, whose peninsular situation might have afforded him
an inexpugnable position, master of the sea, and backed by an English
fleet, should have retreated, without effecting anything, from a
country ripe for rebellion since the conspiracy of 1797, can be
explained only in one way: he must have been ignorant of the real
feelings of the people, and totally unfit to lead such an expedition.
Miranda had what we may call a pretty talent for war. He had studied
the principles of the art, and had seen some service. Excited by the
splendid career of Washington, he, like a certain distinguished
Frenchman, determined to imitate him and become the liberator of his
country. When the Giant at a show bends the iron bar, it seems so easy
that every strong man in the crowd thinks he can do as much, until he
tries. It needs a Giant of the first class to handle a people in
revolution. Miranda was not made of that kind of stuff. He was weak and
inefficient, fond of mystery and pomp, easily affected by flattery,
loving dearly to hear himself talk, and unable to control his temper.
His incessant quarrels with Captain Lewis were one cause of the loss of
the schooners off Puerto Cabello. A want of quickness and energy was
felt in all his operations. Delays are proverbially dangerous, but in a
_coup de main_ fatal. The time wasted by him at Jacquemel and at Aruba
was employed by the Spaniards in making preparations for defence. They
had few troops, and did not dare to trust the natives with arms, but
they succeeded in persuading them that Miranda and his men were pagans
and pirates, whose triumph would be ten times more insufferable than
the rule of the mother country.

If Miranda was incompetent to carry out a liberating expedition, he had
wonderful success in talking it up. For twenty years he had carried
this project about with him in America and in Europe. It was elaborated
to perfection in every part, and there were answers prepared to every
objection. The new government was to be modelled upon the English
Constitution,--an hereditary chief, to be called Inca,--a senate,
nominated by the chief, composed of nobles, but not hereditary,--and a
chamber elected by suffrage, limited by a property qualification. He
had collected all the statistics of population and of trade, to show
what commercial advantages the world might expect from a free South
American government. And, "rising upon a wind of prophecy," he already
saw in the future a ship-canal across the Isthmus of Panama, and the
Nicaragua route opened. He had laid these plans before Catharine of
Russia, who gave him money to help them on. Mr. Pitt listened, promised
him assistance in return for commercial privileges, and kept him in pay
for years. The French Revolutionists were eager to furnish him with an
army and a fleet. Rufus King, American Ambassador at London, sent word
of the scheme to Hamilton and Knox, who both approved of it. Miranda
seems to have made the same impression upon everybody. His extensive
travels and acquaintance with distinguished men, his knowledge of
facts, dates, and figures, his retentive and ready memory, his
wonderful cleverness in persuading his hearers, are spoken of in the
same terms by all. Dr. Rush wrote to a friend, that Miranda had dined
with him, and had talked about European politics as if he had been "in
the inside of all the kings and princes." He might have been a second
Count de St. Germain, if he had lived in the reign of Louis XIV.,
instead of in an era when men had abandoned the philosopher's stone,
and were seeking in politics for a new _magnum opus_, Constitutions, as
the certain means of perfecting the human species.

Everybody was mistaken in him. Although he talked "like an angel," in
action he was worthless. If he had never undertaken to carry out his
plans, he might have left an excellent reputation, and have remained in
South American memory as the possible Father of his Country: _Capax
imperii, nisi imperasset_. A short sketch of his career may be
interesting, before we dismiss him again to the oblivion from which we
have evoked him for this month.

Miranda entered the Spanish army in America at the age of seventeen,
and was advanced to be Colonel, a grade seldom or never before reached
by a Creole. He left the service before the close of the Revolutionary
War, travelled in the United States, and was admitted to the society of
Washington and of the leading men of the day. Here, his attainments,
quickness, and insatiable curiosity attracted attention. He knew the
topography and strategy of every battle fought during the war better
than our officers who had been on the field, and soon made himself
familiar with parties, and even with family connections in this
country. His constant topic was the independence of South America.
After the peace of 1783, Miranda went to England: Colonel Smith was
then Secretary of John Adams, the American Minister, and the
acquaintance between them began in London, which ended so disastrously
twenty years later in New York. Leaving England, he travelled over
Europe. At Cherson, he attracted the notice of Prince Potemkin, who
presented him to the Empress at Kiew. In 1790, when the dispute about
Nootka Sound[*] threatened to produce a war between Great Britain and
Spain, he reappeared in London, and proposed to Mr. Pitt his scheme for
revolutionizing the American Colonies. Pitt at once engaged his
services, but Spain yielded, and the project could not be carried out.
Miranda crossed to France, accepted a command in the Republican army,
and served, with credit, in the Netherlands, under Dumouriez, until the
Battle of Neerwinden. In November, 1792, the French rulers conceived
the idea of revolutionizing Spain, both in Europe and in America.
Brissot suggested Miranda as the fittest person for this purpose. He
was to take twelve thousand troops of the line from St. Domingo,
enlist, in addition, ten or fifteen thousand "_braves mulâtres_," and
make a descent, with this force, upon the Main. "_Le nom de Miranda_,"
wrote Brissot to Dumouriez, "_lui vaudra une armée; et ses talens, son
courage, son génie, tout nous répond du succès_." Monge, Gensonné,
Clavière, Pétion, were pleased with the plan, but Miranda started
difficulties. The French system was too democratic for his taste, and
the pressure of affairs in Europe soon turned the attention of Brissot
and his friends in another direction.

[Footnote *: In May, 1789, the Spanish sloop-of-war Princesa seized
four English vessels engaged in a trade with the natives of Vancouver's
Island, and took them into a Mexican port as prizes, on the ground that
they had violated the Spanish Colonial laws. The English government
denied the claim of Spain to those distant regions, and insisted upon
ample satisfaction. The King of Spain was obliged to submit to avoid
war, but the question of territory was left open.]

After the disastrous affair of Neerwinden, Miranda was accused of
misconduct, arrested, and sent to Paris for trial, but was acquitted by
the _Tribunal Révolutionnaire_, and conducted home in triumph. He was
again imprisoned for _incivisme_, during the Reign of Terror, and did
not recover his liberty until the general jail-delivery which followed
the death of Robespierre. He was seized for the third time in 1797, by
the Directory, as an adherent of the Pichegru faction, and banished
from France.

In January, 1798, Mr. Pitt again sent for Miranda, and a new plan was
arranged for the emancipation of South America. On this occasion, the
coöperation of the United States was confidently relied upon. Both Pitt
and our own rulers foresaw that Spain must inevitably fall a prey to
France, and that the whole of her American possessions would probably
share her fate. Our relations with France were in so critical a
condition, that we were making preparations for defence; and it was, of
course, of the highest importance to our safety, that the Floridas and
Louisiana should not fall into the hands of a powerful enemy. It was
proposed, consequently, to form a commercial and defensive alliance
between England, the United States, and South America. We were to get
the Floridas and Louisiana to the Mississippi, and in return to furnish
a land-force of ten thousand men. Great Britain would provide the
fleet, in consideration of certain important advantages in trade.
Miranda kept his friends in the United States fully advised of the
progress of affairs. Hamilton and Knox were in favor of the project,
provided war were declared. Our provisional army might then have played
a brilliant part. But there was no war. President Adams refused to
listen to Miranda's communications, and patched up our difficulties
with France. Nothing was done by the English.

In 1801 Lord Sidmouth revived Miranda's hopes, but the Peace of Amiens
put a stop to the preparations. In 1804 Mr. Pitt was again at the head
of affairs, and renewed his intercourse with Miranda. Orders were given
to prepare ships and to enrol men, when the hopes of the third
coalition again suspended the execution of the project.

It was after this last blow from Fortune that Miranda came to New York
and fitted out the expedition we have undertaken to describe. His
disastrous failure seemed neither to destroy his hopes, nor to shake
the confidence of his English friends in his pretensions. When he
returned to England from Trinidad, he found ministers prepared to
embark with energy in the South American scheme. This time a fleet and
an army were really assembled at Cork, and Sir Arthur Wellesley was to
command them,--when the Spanish Revolution broke out, altered at once
the face of affairs in Europe, and turned Sir Arthur and his army
toward Portugal, to begin that brilliant series of campaigns which
drove the French out of the Peninsula.

Few men fix their minds pertinaciously upon an object, and adhere to
the pursuit through life, without at least a partial attainment of it.
Miranda, the victim of so many bitter disappointments, at last found
himself for a few months in the position he had so often dreamed of.
When the news of the fall of Seville, and of the dispersion of the
Junta who governed in the name of Ferdinand VII., reached South
America, open rebellion broke out at Caracas. King Joseph Bonaparte had
sent over a proclamation, imploring his trusty and well-beloved South
Americans to come to his paternal arms,--or, if they would not do that,
at least to set up a government for themselves, and not take part with
Ferdinand and England. His emissaries were hunted down and hanged,
wherever caught. Revolutionary Juntas were established all over the
country. On the 19th of April, 1810, the American Confederation of
Venezuela, in Congress assembled, undertook to rule in the name of
Ferdinand VII., but in reality as an independent government. Miranda
was called to the command of the native army. On the 5th of July, 1811,
the Congress published their Declaration of Independence, and a
Constitution, both of them remarkable state-papers. In point of
liberality of sentiment and elegance of style they will bear comparison
with our own celebrated documents of '76 and '87. Indeed, in all these
Spanish political plays, the plot has been good, the text admirable,
but the actors so poor as to spoil the piece. So it fell out in
Venezuela. At first the Patriots were successful; Miranda defeated the
Royalists and took Valencia. The principal towns fell into the hands of
the insurgents. Then, came the terrible earthquake of 1812, which not
only shattered the resources of the Patriots, but was skilfully used by
the Church as a proof that Providence had taken sides against the
rebels. Monteverde, the Spanish general, recaptured Valencia. Congress
placed the dictatorship with unlimited power in Miranda's hands, but he
was not the man for desperate situations. On the 6th of July, the
Royalists took Puerto Cabello; Caracas fell on the 28th; and Miranda,
betrayed by his own party into the hands of the Spaniards, was sent a
prisoner to Cadiz in October. Simon Bolivar and others, men of
different mettle, regained all that had been lost, and cut loose the
Colonies from Spain. From California to Cape Horn the inestimable
system of self-government was established. According to the theory, the
South Americans should have been prosperous and happy; but,
unfortunately, the result has been murder, robbery, and general ruin.
The burden of taking care of one's self, which the North American had
the strength to bear, has crushed the poor half-caste Spaniard. There
are persons who assert that a political regimen which agrees so well
with us must therefore be good for all others. It may be instructive to
such believers in system to compare Humboldt's narrative of the
cultivation shown by the great Colonial Universities of Mexico, Quito,
and Lima, of the pleasing Creole society that entertained him, and the
peaceful quiet and security he noticed throughout country, with the
relations of modern travellers or newspaper-correspondents who visit
those semi-barbarous regions.

Don Francisco de Miranda did not live to hear of the freedom of his
"Columbia." Before the close of the year 1812 he died in prison, at
Cadiz.  Thus perished the most gentlemanlike of filibusters, since the
days when Jason sailed in the Argo to extend the blessing of Greek
institutions over Colchis and to appropriate the Golden Fleece.

       *       *       *       *       *




Colonel Sprowle's family arose late the next morning. The fatigues and
excitements of the evening and the preparation for it were followed by
a natural collapse, of which somnolence was a leading symptom. The sun
shone into the window at a pretty well opened angle when the Colonel
first found himself sufficiently awake to address his yet slumbering

"Sally!" said the Colonel, in a voice that was a little husky,--for he
had finished off the evening with an extra glass or two of "Madary,"
and had a somewhat rusty and headachy sense of renewed existence, on
greeting the rather advanced dawn,--"Sally!"

"Take care o' them custard-cups! There they go!"

Poor Mrs. Sprowle was fighting the party over in her dream; and as the
visionary custard-cups crashed down through one lobe of her brain into
another, she gave a start as if an inch of lightning from a quart
Leyden jar had jumped into one of her knuckles with its sudden and
lively _poonk_!

"Sally!" said the Colonel,--"wake up, wake up! What 'r' y' dreamin'

Mrs. Sprowle raised herself, by a sort of spasm, _sur son séant_, as
they say in France,--up on end, as we have it in New England. She
looked first to the left, then to the right, then straight before her,
apparently without seeing anything, and at last slowly settled down,
with her two eyes, blank of any particular meaning, directed upon the

"What time is't?" she said.

"Ten o'clock. What 'y' been dreamin' abaout? Y' giv a jump like a
hoppergrass. Wake up, wake up! Th' party's over, and y' been asleep all
the mornin'. The party's over, I tell ye! Wake up!"

"Over!" said Mrs. Sprowle, who began to define her position at
last,--"over! I should think 'twas time 'twas over! It's lasted a
hundud year. I've been workin' for that party longer 'n Methuselah's
lifetime, sence I been asleep. The pies wouldn' bake, and the blo'monge
wouldn' set, and the ice-cream wouldn' freeze, and all the folks kep'
comin' 'n' comin' 'n' comin',--everybody I ever knew in all my
life,--some of 'em's been dead this twenty year 'n' more,--'n' nothin'
for 'em to eat nor drink. The fire wouldn' burn to cook anything, all
we could do. We blowed with the belluses, 'n' we stuffed in paper 'n'
pitch-pine kindlin's, but nothin' could make that fire burn; 'n' all
the time the folks kep' comin', as if they'd never stop,--'n' nothin'
for 'em but empty dishes, 'n' all the borrowed chaney slippin' round on
the waiters 'n' chippin' 'n' crackin'. I wouldn' go through what I been
through t'-night for all th' money in th' Bank,--I do believe it's
harder t' have a party than t'"----

Mrs. Sprowle stated the case strongly.

The Colonel said he didn't know how that might be. She was a better
judge than he was. It was bother enough, anyhow, and he was glad that
it was over. After this, the worthy pair commenced preparations for
rejoining the waking world, and in due time proceeded down-stairs.

Everybody was late that morning, and nothing had got put to rights. The
house looked as if a small army had been quartered in it over night.
The tables were of course in huge disorder, after the protracted
assault they had undergone. There had been a great battle evidently,
and it had gone against the provisions. Some points had been stormed,
and all their defences annihilated, but here and there were centres of
resistance which had held out against all attacks,--large rounds of
beef, and solid loaves of cake, against which the inexperienced had
wasted their energies in the enthusiasm of youth or uninformed
maturity, while the longer-headed guests were making discoveries of
"shell-oysters" and "patridges" and similar delicacies.

The breakfast was naturally of a somewhat fragmentary character. A
chicken that had lost his legs in the service of the preceding campaign
was once more put on duty. A great ham stuck with cloves, as Saint
Sebastian was with arrows, was again offered for martyrdom. It would
have been a pleasant sight for a medical man of a speculative turn to
have seen the prospect before the Colonel's family of the next week's
breakfasts, dinners, and suppers. The trail that one of these great
rural parties leaves after it is one of its most formidable
considerations. Every door-handle in the house is suggestive of
sweetmeats for the next week, at least. The most unnatural articles of
diet displace the frugal but nutritious food of unconvulsed periods of
existence. If there is a walking infant about the house, it will
certainly have a more or less fatal fit from overmuch of some
indigestible delicacy. Before the week is out, everybody will be tired
to death of sugary forms of nourishment and long to see the last of the
remnants of the festival.

The family had not yet arrived at this condition. On the contrary, the
first inspection of the tables suggested the prospect of days of
unstinted luxury; and the younger portion of the household, especially,
were in a state of great excitement as the account of stock was taken
with reference to future internal investments, Some curious facts came
to light during these researches.

"Where's all the oranges gone to?" said Mrs. Sprowle. "I expected
there'd be ever so many of 'em left. I didn't see many of the folks
eatin' oranges. Where's the skins of 'em? There ought to be six dozen
orange-skins round on the plates, and there a'n't one dozen. And all
the small cakes, too, and all the sugar things that was stuck on the
big cakes.--Has anybody counted the spoons? Some of 'em got swallered,
perhaps. I hope they was plated ones, if they did!"

The failure of the morning's orange-crop and the deficit in other
expected residual delicacies were not very difficult to account for. In
many of the two-story Rockland families, and in those favored
households of the neighboring villages whose members had been invited
to the great party, there was a very general excitement among the
younger people on the morning after the great event. "Did y' bring home
somethin' from the party? What is it? What is it? Is it frût-cake? Is
it nuts and oranges and apples? Give me some! Give _me_ some!" Such a
concert of treble voices uttering accents like these had not been heard
since the great Temperance Festival with the celebrated "colation" in
the open air under the trees of the Parnassian Grove,--as the place was
christened by the young ladies of the Institute. The cry of the
children was not in vain. From the pockets of demure fathers, from the
bags of sharp-eyed spinsters, from the folded handkerchiefs of
light-fingered sisters, from the tall hats of sly-winking brothers,
there was a resurrection of the missing oranges and cakes and
sugar-things in many a rejoicing family-circle, enough to astonish the
most hardened "caterer" that ever contracted to feed a thousand people
under canvas.

The tender recollection of those dear little ones whom extreme youth or
other pressing considerations detain from scenes of festivity--a trait
of affection by no means uncommon among our thoughtful people
--dignifies those social meetings where it is manifested, and
sheds a ray of sunshine on our common nature. It is "an oasis in the
desert,"--to use the striking expression of the last year's
"Valedictorian" of the Apollinean Institute. In the midst of so much
that is purely selfish, it is delightful to meet such disinterested
care for others. When a large family of children are expecting a
parent's return from an entertainment, it will often require great
exertions on his part to provide himself so as to meet their reasonable
expectations. A few rules are worth remembering by all who attend
anniversary dinners in Faneuil Hall or elsewhere. Thus: Lobsters' claws
are always acceptable to children of all ages. Oranges and apples are
to be taken _one at a time_, until the coat-pockets begin to become
inconveniently heavy. Cakes are injured by sitting upon them; it is,
therefore, well to carry a stout tin box of a size to hold as many
pieces as there are children in the domestic circle. A very pleasant
amusement, at the close of one of these banquets, is grabbing for the
flowers with which the table is embellished. These will please the
ladies at home very greatly, and, if the children are at the same time
abundantly supplied with fruits, nuts, cakes, and any little ornamental
articles of confectionery which are of a nature to be unostentatiously
removed, the kind-hearted parent will make a whole household happy,
without any additional expense beyond the outlay for his ticket.

There were fragmentary delicacies enough left, of one kind and another,
at any rate, to make all the Colonel's family uncomfortable for the
next week. It bid fair to take as long to get rid of the remains of the
great party as it had taken to make ready for it.

In the mean time Mr. Bernard had been dreaming, as young men dream, of
gliding shapes with bright eyes and burning cheeks, strangely blended
with red planets and hissing meteors, and, shining over all, the white,
unwandering star of the North, girt with its tethered constellations.

After breakfast he walked into the parlor, where he found Miss Darley.
She was alone, and, holding a school-book in her hand, was at work with
one of the morning's lessons. She hardly noticed him as he entered,
being very busy with her book,--and he paused a moment before speaking,
and looked at her with a kind of reverence. It would not have been
strictly true to call her beautiful. For years,--since her earliest
womanhood,--those slender hands had taken the bread which repaid the
toil of heart and brain from the coarse palms that offered it in the
world's rude market. It was not for herself alone that she had bartered
away the life of her youth, that she had breathed the hot air of
school-rooms, that she had forced her intelligence to posture before
her will, as the exigencies of her place required,--waking to mental
labor,--sleeping to dream of problems,--rolling up the stone of
education for an endless twelvemonth's term, to find it at the bottom
of the hill again when another year called her to its renewed
duties,--schooling her temper in unending inward and outward conflicts,
until neither dulness nor obstinacy nor ingratitude nor insolence could
reach her serene self-possession. Not for herself alone. Poorly as her
prodigal labors were repaid in proportion to the waste of life they
cost, her value was too well established to leave her without what,
under other circumstances, would have been a more than sufficient
compensation. But there were others who looked to her in their need,
and so the modest fountain which might have been filled to its brim was
continually drained through silent-flowing, hidden sluices.

Out of such a life, inherited from a race which had lived in conditions
not unlike her own, _beauty_, in the common sense of the term, could
hardly find leisure to develop and shape itself. For it must be
remembered, that symmetry and elegance of features and figure, like
perfectly formed crystals in the mineral world, are reached only by
insuring a certain necessary repose to individuals and to generations.
Human beauty is an agricultural product in the country, growing up in
men and women as in corn and cattle, where the soil is good. It is a
luxury almost monopolized by the rich in cities, bred under glass like
their forced pine-apples and peaches. Both in city and country, the
evolution of the physical harmonics which make music to our eyes
requires a combination of favorable circumstances, of which
alternations of unburdened tranquillity with intervals of varied
excitement of mind and body are among the most important. Where
sufficient excitement is wanting, as often happens in the country, the
features, however rich in red and white, get heavy, and the movements
sluggish; where excitement is furnished in excess, as is frequently
the case in cities, the contours and colors are impoverished, and the
nerves begin to make their existence known to the consciousness, as the
face very soon informs us.

Helen Darley could not, in the nature of things, have possessed the
kind of beauty which pleases the common taste. Her eye was calm,
sad-looking, her features very still, except when her pleasant smile
changed them for a moment, all her outlines were delicate, her voice
was very gentle, but somewhat subdued by years of thoughtful labor, and
on her smooth forehead one little hinted line whispered already that
Care was beginning to mark the trace which Time sooner or later would
make a furrow. She could not be a beauty; if she had been, it would
have been much harder for many persons to be interested in her. For,
although in the abstract we all love beauty, and although, if we were
sent naked souls into some ultramundane warehouse of soul-less bodies
and told to select one to our liking, we should each choose a handsome
one, and never think of the consequences,--it is quite certain that
beauty carries an atmosphere of repulsion as well as of attraction with
it, alike in both sexes. We may be well assured that there are many
persons who no more think of specializing their love of the other sex
upon one endowed with signal beauty, than they think of wanting great
diamonds or thousand-dollar horses. No man or woman can appropriate
beauty without paying for it,--in endowments, in fortune, in position,
in self-surrender, or other valuable stock; and there are a great many
who are too poor, too ordinary, too humble, too busy, too proud, to pay
any of these prices for it. So the unbeautiful get many more lovers
than the beauties; only, as there are more of them, their lovers are
spread thinner and do not make so much show.

The young master stood looking at Helen Darley with a kind of tender
admiration. She was such a picture of the martyr by the slow social
combustive process, that it almost seemed to him he could see a pale
lambent aureole round her head.

"I did not see you at the great party last evening," he said,

She looked up and answered, "No. I have not much taste for such large
companies. Besides, I do not feel as if my time belonged to me after it
has been paid for. There is always something to do, some lesson or
exercise,--and it so happened, I was very busy last night with the new
problems in geometry. I hope you had a good time."

"Very. Two or three of our girls were there. Rosa Milburn. What a
beauty she is! I wonder what she feeds on! Wine and musk and chloroform
and coals of fire, I believe; I didn't think there was such color and
flavor in a woman outside the tropics."

Miss Darley smiled rather faintly; the imagery was not just to her
taste: _femineity_ often finds it very hard to accept the fact of


She stopped short; but her question had asked itself.

"Elsie there? She was, for an hour or so. She looked frightfully
handsome. I meant to have spoken to her, but she slipped away before I
knew it."

"I thought she meant to go to the party," said Miss Darley. "Did she
look at you?"

"She did. Why?"

"And you did not speak to her?"

"No. I should have spoken to her, but she was gone when I looked for
her. A strange creature! Isn't there an odd sort of fascination about
her? You have not explained all the mystery about the girl. What does
she come to this school for? She seems to do pretty much as she likes
about studying."

Miss Darley answered in very low tones. "It was a fancy of hers to
come, and they let her have her way. I don't know what there is about
her, except that she seems to take my life out of me when she looks at
me. I don't like to ask other people about our girls. She says very
little to anybody, and studies, or makes believe study, almost what she
likes. I don't know what she is," (Miss Darley laid her hand,
trembling, on the young master's sleeve,) "but I can tell when she is
in the room without seeing or hearing her. Oh, Mr. Langdon, I am weak
and nervous, and no doubt foolish,--but--if there were women now, as
in the days of our Saviour, possessed of devils, I should think there
was something not human looking out of Elsie Venner's eyes!"

The poor girl's breast rose and fell tumultuously as she spoke, and her
voice labored, as if some obstruction were rising in her throat.

A scene might possibly have come of it, but the door opened. Mr. Silas
Peckham. Miss Darley got away as soon as she well could.

"Why did not Miss Darley go to the party last evening?" said Mr.

"Well, the fact is," answered Mr. Silas Peckham, "Miss Darley, she's
pootty much took up with the school. She's an industris young
woman,--yis, she _is_ industris,--but perhaps she a'n't quite so spry a
worker as some. Maybe, considerin' she's paid for her time, she isn't
fur out o' the way in occoopyin' herself evenin's,--that is, if so be
she a'n't smart enough to finish up all her work in the daytime.
Edoocation is the great business of the Institoot. Amoosements are
objec's of a secondary natur', accordin' to my v'oo." [The unspellable
pronunciation of this word is the touchstone of New England

Mr. Bernard drew a deep breath, his thin nostrils dilating, as if the
air did not rush in fast enough to cool his blood, while Silas Peckham
was speaking. The Head of the Apollinean Institute delivered himself of
these judicious sentiments in that peculiar acid, penetrating tone,
wadded with a nasal twang, which not rarely becomes hereditary after
three or four generations raised upon east winds, salt fish, and large,
white-bellied, pickled cucumbers. He spoke deliberately, as if weighing
his words well, so that, during his few remarks, Mr. Bernard had time
for a mental accompaniment with variations, accented by certain bodily
changes, which escaped Mr. Peckham's observation. First there was a
feeling of disgust and shame at hearing Helen Darley spoken of like a
dumb working animal. That sent the blood up into his cheeks. Then the
slur upon her probable want of force--_her_ incapacity, who made the
character of the school and left this man to pocket its profits--sent a
thrill of the old Wentworth fire through him, so that his muscles
hardened, his hands closed, and he took the measure of Mr. Silas
Peckham, to see if his head would strike the wall in case he went over
backwards all of a sudden. This would not do, of course, and so the
thrill passed off and the muscles softened again. Then came that state
of tenderness in the heart, overlying wrath in the stomach, in which
the eyes grow moist like a woman's, and there is also a great
boiling-up of objectionable terms out of the deep-water vocabulary, so
that Prudence and Propriety and all the other pious Ps have to jump
upon the lid of speech to keep them from boiling _over_ into fierce
articulation. All this was internal, chiefly, and of course not
recognized by Mr. Silas Peckham. The idea, that any full-grown,
sensible man should have any other notion than that of getting the most
work for the least money out of his assistants, had never suggested
itself to him.

Mr. Bernard had gone through this paroxysm, and cooled down, in the
period while Mr. Peckham was uttering these words in his thin, shallow
whine, twanging up into the frontal sinuses. What was the use of losing
his temper and throwing away his place, and so, among the consequences
which would necessarily follow, leaving the poor lady-teacher without a
friend to stand by her ready to lay his hand on the grand-inquisitor
before the windlass of his rack had taken one turn too many?

"No doubt, Mr. Peckham," he said, in a grave, calm voice, "there is a
great deal of work to be done in the school; but perhaps we can
distribute the duties a little more evenly after a time. I shall look
over the girls' themes myself, after this week. Perhaps there will be
some other parts of her labor that I can take on myself. We can arrange
a new programme of studies and recitations."

"We can do that," said Mr. Silas Peckham. "But I don't propose
mater'lly alterin' Miss Darley's dooties. I don't think she works to
hurt herself. Some of the Trustees have proposed interdoosin' new
branches of study, and I expect you will be pootty much occoopied with
the dooties that belong to your place. On the Sabbath you will be able
to attend divine service three times, which is expected of our
teachers. I shall continoo myself to give Sabbath Scriptur'-readin's to
the young ladies. That is a solemn dooty I can't make up my mind to
commit to other people. My teachers enjoy the Lord's day as a day of
rest. In it they do no manner of work,--except in cases of necessity or
mercy, such as fillin' out diplomas, or when we git crowded jest at the
end of a term, or when there is an extry number of poopils, or other
Providential call to dispense with the ordinance."

Mr. Bernard had a fine glow in his cheeks by this time,--doubtless
kindled by the thought of the kind consideration Mr. Peckham showed for
his subordinates in allowing them the between-meeting-time on Sundays
except for some special reason. But the morning was wearing away; so he
went to the school-room, taking leave very properly of his respected
principal, who soon took his hat and departed.

Mr. Peckham visited certain "stores" or shops, where he made inquiries
after various articles in the provision-line, and effected a purchase
or two. Two or three barrels of potatoes, which had sprouted in a
promising way, he secured at a bargain. A side of feminine beef was
also obtained at a low figure. He was entirely satisfied with a couple
of barrels of flour, which, being invoiced "slightly damaged", were to
be had at a reasonable price.

After this, Silas Peckham felt in good spirits. He had done a pretty
stroke of business. It came into his head whether he might not follow
it up with a still more brilliant speculation. So he turned his steps
in the direction of Colonel Sprowle's.

It was now eleven o'clock, and the battlefield of last evening was as
we left it. Mr. Peckham's visit was unexpected, perhaps not very well
timed, but the Colonel received him civilly.

"Beautifully lighted,--these rooms last night!" said Mr. Peckham.

The Colonel nodded.

"How much do you pay for your winter-strained?"

The Colonel told him the price.

"Very hahnsome supper,--very hahnsome! Nothin' ever seen like it in
Rockland. Must have been a great heap of things left over."

The compliment was not ungrateful, and the Colonel acknowledged it by
smiling and saying, "I should think the' was a trifle! Come and look."

When Silas Peckham saw how many delicacies had survived the evening's
conflict, his commercial spirit rose at once to the point of a

"Colonel Sprowle," said he, "there's meat and cakes and pies and
pickles enough on that table to spread a hahnsome colation. If you'd
like to trade reasonable, I think perhaps I should be willin' to take
'em off your hands. There's been a talk about our havin' a celebration
in the Parnassian Grove, and I think I could work in what your folks
don't want and make myself whole by chargin' a small sum for tickets.
Broken meats, of course, a'n't of the same valoo as fresh provisions;
so I think you might be willin' to trade reasonable."

Mr. Peckham paused and rested on his proposal. It would not, perhaps,
have been very extraordinary, if Colonel Sprowle had entertained the
proposition. There is no telling beforehand how such things will strike
people. It didn't happen to strike the Colonel favorably. He had a
little red-blooded manhood in him.

"Sell you them things to make a colation out of?" the Colonel replied.
"Walk up to that table, Mr. Peckham, and help yourself! Fill your
pockets, Mr. Peckham! Fetch a basket, and our hired folks shall fill it
full for ye! Send a cart, if y' like, 'n' carry off them leavin's to
make a celebration for your pupils with! Only let me tell ye this:--as
sure's my name's Hezekiah Spraowle, you'll be known through the taown
'n' through the caounty, from that day forrard, as the Principal of the
Broken-Victuals Institoot!"

Even provincial human-nature sometimes has a touch of sublimity about
it. Mr. Silas Peckham had gone a little deeper than he meant, and come
upon the "hard pan," as the well-diggers call it, of the Colonel's
character, before he thought of it. A militia-colonel standing on his
sentiments is not to be despised. That was shown pretty well in New
England two or three generations ago. There were a good many plain
officers that talked about their "rigiment" and their "caounty" who
knew very well how to say "Make ready!" "Take aim!" "Fire!"--in the
face of a line of grenadiers with bullets in their guns and bayonets on
them. And though a rustic uniform is not always unexceptionable in its
cut and trimmings, yet there was many an ill-made coat in those old
times that was good enough to be shown to the enemy's front rank, too
often to be left on the field with a round hole in its left lapel that
matched another going right through the brave heart of the plain
country captain or major or colonel who was buried in it under the
crimson turf.

Mr. Silas Peckham said little or nothing. His sensibilities were not
acute, but he perceived that he had made a miscalculation. He hoped
that there was no offence,--thought it might have been mutooally
agreeable, conclooded he would give up the idee of a colation, and
backed himself out as if unwilling to expose the less guarded aspect of
his person to the risk of accelerating impulses.

The Colonel shut the door,--cast his eye on the toe of his right boot,
as if it had had a strong temptation,--looked at his watch, then round
the room, and, going to a cupboard, swallowed a glass of deep-red
brandy and water to compose his feelings.



(_With a Digression on "Hired Help"_)

"Abel! Slip Cassia into the new sulky, and fetch her round."

Abel was Dr. Kittredge's hired man. He was born in New Hampshire, a
queer sort of a State, with fat streaks of soil and population where
they breed giants in mind and body, and lean streaks which export
imperfectly nourished young men with promising but neglected appetites,
who may be found in great numbers in all the large towns, or could be
until of late years, when they have been half driven out of their
favorite basement-stories by foreigners, and half coaxed away from them
by California. New Hampshire is in more than one sense the Switzerland
of New England. The "Granite State" being naturally enough deficient in
pudding-stone, its children are apt to wander southward in search of
that deposit,--in the unpetrified condition.

Abel Stebbins was a good specimen of that extraordinary hybrid or mule
between democracy and chrysocracy, a native-born New-England
serving-man. The Old World has nothing at all like him. He is at once
an emperor and a subordinate. In one hand he holds one five-millionth
part (be the same more or less) of the power that sways the destinies
of the Great Republic. His other hand is in your boot, which he is
about to polish. It is impossible to turn a fellow-citizen whose vote
may make his master--say, rather, employer--Governor or President, or
who may be one or both himself, into a flunky. That article must be
imported ready-made from other centres of civilization. When a
New-Englander has lost his self-respect as a citizen and as a man, he
is demoralized, and cannot be trusted with the money to pay for a

It may be supposed, therefore, that this fractional emperor, this
continent-shaper, finds his position awkward when he goes into service,
and that his employer is apt to find it still more embarrassing. It is
always under protest that the hired man does his duty. Every act of
service is subject to the drawback, "I am as good as you are." This is
so common, at least, as almost to be the rule, and partly accounts for
the rapid disappearance of the indigenous "domestic" from the basements
above mentioned. Paleontologists will by-and-by be examining the floors
of our kitchens for tracks of the extinct native species of
serving-man. The female of the same race is fast dying out; indeed, the
time is not far distant when all the varieties of young _woman_ will
have vanished from New England, as the dodo has perished in the
Mauritius. The young _lady_ is all that we shall have left, and the mop
and duster of the last Almira or Loïzy will be stared at by generations
of Bridgets and Noras as that famous head and foot of the lost bird are
stared at in the Ashmolean Museum.

Abel Stebbins, the Doctor's man, took the true American view of his
difficult position. He sold his time to the Doctor, and, having sold
it, he took care to fulfil his half of the bargain. The Doctor, on his
part, treated him, not like a gentleman, because one does not order a
gentleman to bring up his horse or run his errands, but he treated him
like a man. Every order was given in courteous terms. His reasonable
privileges were respected as much as if they had been guarantied under
hand and seal. The Doctor lent him books from his own library, and gave
him all friendly counsel, as if he were a son or a younger brother.

Abel had Revolutionary blood in his veins, and though he saw fit to
"hire out," he could never stand the word "servant," or consider
himself the inferior one of the two high contracting parties. When he
came to live with the Doctor, he made up his mind he would dismiss the
old gentleman, if he did not behave according to his notions of
propriety. But he soon found that the Doctor was one of the right sort,
and so determined to keep him. The Doctor soon found, on his side, that
he had a trustworthy, intelligent fellow, who would be invaluable to
him, if he only let him have his own way of doing what was to be done.

The Doctor's hired man had not the manners of a French valet. He was
grave and taciturn for the most part, he never bowed and rarely smiled,
but was always at work in the daytime and always reading in the
evening. He was hostler, and did all the housework that a man could
properly do, would go to the door or "tend table," bought the
provisions for the family,--in short, did almost everything for them
but get their clothing. There was no office in a perfectly appointed
household, from that of steward down to that of stable-boy, which he
did not cheerfully assume. His round of work not consuming all his
energies, he must needs cultivate the Doctor's garden, which he kept in
one perpetual bloom, from the blowing of the first crocus to the fading
of the last dahlia.

This garden was Abel's poem. Its half-dozen beds were so many cantos.
Nature crowded them for him with imagery such as no Laureate could copy
in the cold mosaic of language. The rhythm of alternating dawn and
sunset, the strophe and antistrophe still perceptible through all the
sudden shifts of our dithyrambic seasons and echoed in corresponding
floral harmonies, made melody in the soul of Abel, the plain serving-
man. It softened his whole otherwise rigid aspect. He worshipped God
according to the strict way of his fathers; but a florist's Puritanism
is always colored by the petals of his flowers,--and Nature never shows
him a black corolla.

Perhaps he may have little or nothing to do in this narrative; but as
there must be some who confound the New-England _hired man_,
native-born, with the _servant_ of foreign birth, and as there is the
difference of two continents and two civilizations between them, it did
not seem fair to let Abel bring round the Doctor's mare and sulky
without touching his features in half-shadow into our background.

The Doctor's mare, Cassia, was so called by her master from her
cinnamon color, cassia being one of the professional names for that
spice or drug. She was of the shade we call sorrel, or, as an
Englishman would perhaps say, chestnut,--a genuine "Morgan" mare, with
a low forehand, as is common in this breed, but with strong quarters
and flat hocks, well ribbed up, with a good eye and a pair of lively
ears,--a first-rate doctor's beast,--would stand until her harness
dropped off her back at the door of a tedious case, and trot over hill
and dale thirty miles in three hours, if there was a child in the next
county with a bean in its windpipe and the Doctor gave her a hint of
the fact. Cassia was not large, but she had a good deal of action, and
was the Doctor's show-horse. There were two other animals in his
stable: Quassia or Quashy, the black horse, and Caustic, the old bay,
with whom he jogged round the village.

"A long ride to-day?" said Abel, as he brought up the equipage.

"Just out of the village,--that's all.--There's a kink in her
mane,--pull it out, will you?"

"Goin' to visit some of the great folks," Abel said to himself. "Wonder
who it is."--Then to the Doctor,--"Anybody get sick at Sprowles's? They
say Deacon Soper had a fit, after eatin' some o' their frozen

The Doctor smiled. He guessed the Deacon would do well enough. He was
only going to ride over to the Dudley mansion-house.



If that primitive physician, CHIRON, M.D., appears as a Centaur, as we
look at him through the lapse of thirty centuries, the modern
country-doctor, if he could be seen about thirty miles off, could not
be distinguished from a wheel-animalcule. He _inhabits_ a
wheel-carriage. He thinks of stationary dwellings as Long Tom Coffin
did of land in general; a house may be well enough for incidental
purposes, but for a "stiddy" residence give him a "kerridge." If he is
classified in the Linnaean scale, he must be set down thus: Genus
_Homo_; Species _Rotifer infusorius_,--the wheel-animal of infusions.

The Dudley mansion was not a mile from the Doctor's; but it never
occurred to him to think of walking to see any of his patients'
families, if he had any professional object in his visit. Whenever the
narrow sulky turned in at a gate, the rustic who was digging potatoes,
or hoeing corn, or swishing through the grass with his scythe in
wave-like crescents, or stepping short behind a loaded wheel-barrow,
or trudging lazily by the side of the swinging, loose-throated,
short-legged oxen, rocking along the road as if they had just been
landed after a three-months' voyage,--the toiling native, whatever he
was doing, stopped and looked up at the house the doctor was visiting.

"Somebody sick over there t' Haynes's. Guess th' old man's ailin'
ag'in. Winder's haäf-way open in the chamber,--shouldn't wonder 'f he
was dead and laid aout. Docterin' a'n't no use, when y' see the winders
open like that. Wahl, money a'n't much to speak of to th' old man naow!
He don't want but _tew cents_,--and old Widah Peake, she knows what he
wants them for!"

Or again,--

"Measles raound pootty thick. Briggs's folks's' buried two children
with 'em laäst week. Th' old Doctor, he'd h' ker'd 'em threugh. Struck
in 'n' p'dooeed mot'f cation,--so they say."

This is only meant as a sample of the kind of way they used to think or
talk, when the narrow sulky turned in at the gate of some house where
there was a visit to be made.

Oh, that narrow sulky! What hopes, what fears, what comfort, what
anguish, what despair, in the roll of its coming or its parting wheels!
In the spring, when the old people get the coughs which give them a few
shakes and their lives drop in pieces like the ashes of a burned thread
which have kept the threadlike shape until they were stirred,--in the
hot summer noons, when the strong man comes in from the fields, like
the son of the Shunamite, crying, "My head, my head,"--in the dying
autumn days, when youth and maiden lie fever-stricken in many a
household, still-faced, dull-eyed, dark-flushed, dry-lipped,
low-muttering in their daylight dreams, their fingers moving singly
like those of slumbering harpers,--in the dead winter, when the white
plague of the North has caged its wasted victims, shuddering as they
think of the frozen soil which must be quarried like rock to receive
them, if their perpetual convalescence should happen to be interfered
with by any untoward accident,--at every season, the narrow sulky
rolled round freighted with unmeasured burdens of joy and woe.

The Doctor drove along the southern foot of The Mountain. The "Dudley
mansion" was near the eastern edge of this declivity, where it rose
steepest, with baldest cliffs and densest patches of over-hanging wood.
It seemed almost too steep to climb, but a practised eye could see from
a distance the zigzag lines of the sheep-paths which scaled it like
miniature Alpine roads. A few hundred feet up The Mountain's side was a
dark, deep dell, unwooded, save for a few spindling, crazy--looking
hackmatacks or native larches, with pallid green tufts sticking out
fantastically all over them. It shelved so deeply, that, while the
hemlock-tassels were swinging on the trees around its border, all would
be still at its springy bottom, save that perhaps a single fern would
wave slowly backward and forward like a sabre, with a twist as of a
feathered oar,--and this, when not a breath could be felt, and every
other stem and blade were motionless. There was an old story of one
having perished here in the winter of '86, and his body having been
found in the spring,--whence its common name of "Dead-Man's Hollow."
Higher up there were huge cliffs with chasms, and, it was thought,
concealed caves, where in old times they said that Tories lay
hid,--some hinted not without occasional aid and comfort from the
Dudleys then living in the mansion-house. Still higher and farther west
lay the accursed ledge,--shunned by all, unless it were now and then a
daring youth, or a wandering naturalist who ventured to its edge in the
hope of securing some infantile _Crotalus durissus_, who had not yet
cut his poison-teeth.

Long, long ago, in old Colonial times, the Honorable Thomas Dudley,
Esquire, a man of note and name and great resources, allied by descent
to the family of "Tom Dudley," as the early Governor is sometimes
irreverently called by our most venerable, but still youthful
antiquary,--and to the other public Dudleys, of course,--of all of whom
he made small account, as being himself an English gentleman, with
little taste for the splendors of provincial office,--early in the last
century, Thomas Dudley had built this mansion. For several generations
it had been dwelt in by descendants of the same name, but soon after
the Revolution it passed by marriage into the hands of the Venners, by
whom it had ever since been held and tenanted.

As the Doctor turned an angle in the road, all at once the stately old
house rose before him. It was a skilfully managed effect, as it well
might be, for it was no vulgar English architect who had planned the
mansion and arranged its position and approach. The old house rose
before the Doctor crowning a terraced garden, flanked at the left by a
double avenue of tall elms. The flower-beds were edged with box, which
diffused around it that dreamy balsamic odor, full of ante-natal
reminiscences of a lost Paradise, dimly fragrant as might be the
bdellium of ancient Havilah, the land compassed by the river Pison that
went out of Eden. The garden was somewhat neglected, but not in
disgrace,--and in the time of tulips and hyacinths, of roses, of
"snowballs," of honeysuckles, of lilacs, of syringas, it was rich with

From the front-windows of the mansion the eye reached a far blue
mountain-summit,--no rounded heap, such as often shuts in a
village-landscape, but a sharp peak, clean-angled as Ascutney from the
Dartmouth green. A wide gap through miles of woods had opened this
distant view, and showed more, perhaps, than all the labors of the
architect and the landscape-gardener the large style of the early

The great stone chimney of the mansion-house was the centre from which
all the artificial features of the scene appeared to flow. The roofs,
the gables, the dormer-windows, the porches, the clustered offices in
the rear, all seemed to crowd about the great chimney. To this central
pillar the paths all converged. The single poplar behind the
house,--Nature is jealous of proud chimneys, and always loves to put a
poplar near one, so that it may fling a leaf or two down its black
throat every autumn,--the one tall poplar behind the house seemed to
nod and whisper to the grave square column, the elms to sway their
branches towards it. And when the blue smoke rose from its summit, it
seemed to be wafted away to join the azure haze which hung around the
peak in the far distance, so that both should bathe in a common

Behind the house were clumps of lilacs with a century's growth upon
them, and looking more like trees than like shrubs. Shaded by a group
of these was the ancient well, of huge circuit, and with a low arch
opening out of its wall about ten feet below the surface,--whether the
door of a crypt for the concealment of treasure, or of a subterranean
passage, or merely of a vault for keeping provisions cool in hot
weather, opinions differed.

On looking at the house, it was plain that it was built with Old-World
notions of strength and durability, and, so far as might be, with
Old-World materials. The hinges of the doors stretched out like arms,
instead of like hands, as we make them. The bolts were massive enough
for a donjon-keep. The small window-panes were actually inclosed in the
wood of the sashes, instead of being stuck to them with putty, as in
our modern windows. The broad staircase was of easy ascent, and was
guarded by quaintly turned and twisted balusters. The ceilings of the
two rooms of state were moulded with medallion-portraits and rustic
figures, such as may have been seen by many readers in the famous old
Philipse house,--Washington's headquarters,--in the town of Yonkers.
The fireplaces, worthy of the wide-throated central chimney, were
bordered by pictured tiles, some of them with Scripture stories, some
with Watteau-like figures,--tall damsels in slim waists and with spread
enough of skirt for a modern ballroom, with bowing, reclining, or
musical swains of what everybody calls the "conventional" sort,--that
is, the swain adapted to genteel society rather than to a literal
sheep-compelling existence.

The house was furnished, soon after it was completed, with many heavy
articles made in London from a rare wood just then come into fashion,
not so rare now, and commonly known as mahogany. Time had turned it
very dark, and the stately bedsteads and tall cabinets and claw-footed
chairs and tables were in keeping with the sober dignity of the ancient
mansion. The old "hangings" were yet preserved in the chambers, faded,
but still showing their rich patterns,--properly entitled to their
name, for they were literally hung upon flat wooden frames like
trellis-work, which again were secured to the naked partitions.
There were portraits of different date on the walls of the various
apartments, old painted coats-of-arms, bevel-edged mirrors, and in one
sleeping-room a glass case of wax-work flowers and spangly symbols,
with a legend signifying that E.M. (supposed to be Elizabeth Mascarene)
wished not to be "forgot"

  "When I am dead and lay'd in dust
  And all my bones are"----

Poor E.M.! Poor everybody that sighs for earthly remembrance in a
planet with a core of fire and a crust of fossils!

Such was the Dudley mansion-house,--for it kept its ancient name in
spite of the change in the line of descent. Its spacious apartments
looked dreary and desolate; for here Dudley Venner and his daughter
dwelt by themselves, with such servants only as their quiet mode of
life required. He almost lived in his library, the western room on the
ground-floor. Its window looked upon a small plat of green, in the
midst of which was a single grave marked by a plain marble slab. Except
this room, and the chamber where he slept, and the servants' wing, the
rest of the house was all Elsie's. She was always a restless, wandering
child from her early years, and would have her little bed moved from
one chamber to another,--flitting round as the fancy took her.
Sometimes she would drag a mat and a pillow into one of the great empty
rooms, and, wrapping herself in a shawl, coil up and go to sleep in a
corner. Nothing frightened her; the "haunted" chamber, with the torn
hangings that flapped like wings when there was air stirring, was one
of her favorite retreats.

She had been a very hard creature to manage. Her father could
influence, but not govern her. Old Sophy, born of a slave mother in the
house, could do more with her than anybody, knowing her by long
instinctive study. The other servants were afraid of her. Her father
had sent for governesses, but none of them ever stayed long. She made
them nervous; one of them had a strange fit of sickness; not one of
them ever came back to the house to see her. A young Spanish woman who
taught her dancing succeeded best with her, for she had a passion for
that exercise, and had mastered some of the most difficult dances.

Long before this period, she had manifested some most extraordinary
singularities of taste or instinct. The extreme sensitiveness of her
father on this point prevented any allusion to them; but there were
stories floating round, some of them even getting into the
papers,--without her name, of course,--which were of a kind to excite
intense curiosity, if not more anxious feelings. This thing was
certain, that at the age of twelve she was missed one night, and was
found sleeping in the open air under a tree, like a wild creature. Very
often she would wander off by day, always without a companion, bringing
home with her a nest, a flower, or even a more questionable trophy of
her ramble, such as showed that there was no place where she was afraid
to venture. Once in a while she had stayed out over night, in which
case the alarm was spread, and men went in search of her, but never
successfully,--so that some said she hid herself in trees, and others
that she had found one of the old Tory caves.

Some, of course, said she was a crazy girl, and ought to be sent to an
Asylum. But old Dr. Kittredge had shaken his head, and told them to
bear with her, and let her have her way as much as they could, but
watch her, as far as possible, without making her suspicious of them.
He visited her now and then, under the pretext of seeing her father on
business, or of only making a friendly call.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Doctor fastened his horse outside the gate, and walked up the
garden-alley. He stopped suddenly with a start. A strange sound had
jarred upon his ear. It was a sharp prolonged rattle, continuous, but
rising and falling as if in rhythmical cadence. He moved softly towards
the open window from which the sound seemed to proceed.

Elsie was alone in the room, dancing one of those wild Moorish
fandangos, such as a _matador_ hot from the _Plaza de Toros_ of Seville
or Madrid might love to lie and gaze at. She was a figure to look upon
in silence. The dancing frenzy must have seized upon her while she was
dressing; for she was in her bodice, bare-armed, her hair floating
unbound far below the waist of her barred or banded skirt. She had
caught up her castanets, and rattled them as she danced with a kind of
passionate fierceness, her lithe body undulating with flexuous grace,
her diamond eyes glittering, her round arms wreathing and unwinding,
alive and vibrant to the tips of the slender fingers. Some passion
seemed to exhaust itself in this dancing paroxysm; for all at once she
reeled from the middle of the floor, and flung herself, as it were in a
careless coil, upon a great tiger's-skin which was spread out in one corner
of the apartment.

The old Doctor stood motionless, looking at her as she lay panting on
the tawny, black-lined robe of the dead monster, which stretched out
beneath her, its rude flattened outline recalling the Terror of the
Jungle as he crouched for his fatal spring. In a few moments her head
drooped upon her arm, and her glittering eyes closed,--she was
sleeping. He stood looking at her still, steadily, thoughtfully,
tenderly. Presently he lifted his hand to his forehead, as if recalling
some fading remembrance of other years.

"Poor Catalina!"

This was all he said. He shook his head,--implying that his visit would
be in vain to-day,--returned to his sulky, and rode away, as if in a

       *       *       *       *       *


The romance of "The Marble Faun" will be widely welcomed, not only for
its intrinsic merits, but because it is a sign that its writer, after a
silence of seven or eight years, has determined to resume his place in
the ranks of authorship. In his preface he tells us, that in each of
his previous publications he had unconsciously one person in his eye,
whom he styles his "gentle reader." He meant it "for that one congenial
friend, more comprehensive of his purposes, more appreciative of his.
success, more indulgent of his short-comings, and, in all respects,
closer and kinder than a brother,--that all-sympathizing critic, in
short, whom an author never actually meets, but to whom he implicitly
makes his appeal, whenever he is conscious of having done his best." He
believes that this reader did once exist for him, and duly received the
scrolls he flung "upon whatever wind was blowing, in the faith that
they would find him out." "But," he questions, "is he extant now? In
these many years since he last heard from me, may he not have deemed
his earthly task accomplished, and have withdrawn to the paradise of
gentle readers, wherever it may be, to the enjoyments of which his
kindly charity on my behalf must surely have entitled him?" As we feel
assured that Hawthorne's reputation has been steadily growing with the
lapse of time, he has no cause to fear that the longevity of his gentle
reader will not equal his own. As long as he writes, there will be
readers enough to admire and appreciate.

The publication of this new romance seems to offer us a fitting
occasion to attempt some description of the peculiarities of the genius
of which it is the latest offspring, and to hazard some judgments on
its predecessors. It is more than twenty-five years since Hawthorne
began that remarkable series of stories and essays which are now
collected in the volumes of "Twice-Told Tales," "The Snow Image and
other Tales," and "Mosses from an Old Manse." From the first he was
recognized by such readers as he chanced to find as a man of genius,
yet for a long time he enjoyed, in his own words, the distinction of
being "the obscurest man of letters in America." His readers were
"gentle" rather than enthusiastic; their fine delight in his creations
was a private perception of subtile excellences of thought and style,
too refined and self-satisfying to be contagious; and the public was
untouched, whilst the "gentle" reader was full of placid enjoyment.
Indeed, we fear that this kind of reader is something of an
Epicurean,--receives a new genius as a private blessing, sent by a
benign Providence to quicken a new life in his somewhat jaded sense of
intellectual pleasure; and after having received a fresh sensation, he
is apt to be serenely indifferent whether the creator of it starve
bodily or pine mentally from the lack of a cordial human shout of

There would appear, on a slight view of the matter, no reason for the
little notice which Hawthorne's early productions received. The
subjects were mostly drawn from the traditions and written records of
New England, and gave the "beautiful strangeness" of imagination to
objects, incidents, and characters which were familiar facts in the
popular mind. The style, while it had a purity, sweetness, and grace
which satisfied the most fastidious and exacting taste, had, at the
same time, more than the simplicity and clearness of an ordinary
school-book. But though the subjects and the style were thus popular,
there was something in the shaping and informing spirit which failed to
awaken interest, or awakened interest without exciting delight.
Misanthropy, when it has its source in passion,--when it is fierce,
bitter, fiery, and scornful,--when it vigorously echoes the aggressive
discontent of the world, and furiously tramples on the institutions and
the men luckily rather than rightfully in the ascendant,--this is
always popular; but a misanthropy which springs from insight,--a
misanthropy which is lounging, languid, sad, and depressing,--a
misanthropy which remorselessly looks through cursing misanthropes and
chirping men of the world with the same sure, detecting glance of
reason,--a misanthropy which has no fanaticism, and which casts the
same ominous doubt on subjectively morbid as on subjectively moral
action,--a misanthropy which has no respect for impulses, but has a
terrible perception of spiritual laws,--this is a misanthropy which can
expect no wide recognition; and it would be vain to deny that traces of
this kind of misanthropy are to be found in Hawthorne's earlier, and
are not altogether absent from his later works. He had spiritual
insight, but it did not penetrate to the sources of spiritual joy; and
his deepest glimpses of truth were calculated rather to sadden than to
inspire. A blandly cynical distrust of human nature was the result of
his most piercing glances into the human soul. He had humor, and
sometimes humor of a delicious kind; but this sunshine of the soul was
but sunshine breaking through or lighting up a sombre and ominous
cloud. There was also observable in his earlier stories a lack of vigor,
as if the power of his nature had been impaired by the very
process--which gave depth and excursiveness to his mental vision.
Throughout, the impression is conveyed of a shy recluse, alternately
bashful in disposition and bold in thought, gifted with original and
various capacities, but capacities which seemed to have developed
themselves in the shade, without sufficient energy of will or desire to
force them, except fitfully, into the sunlight. Shakspeare calls
moonlight the sunlight _sick_; and it is in some such moonlight of the
mind that the genius of Hawthorne found its first expression. A mild
melancholy, sometimes deepening into gloom, sometimes brightened into a
"humorous sadness," characterized his early creations. Like his own
Hepzibah Pyncheon, he appeared "to be walking in a dream"; or rather,
the life and reality assumed by his emotions "made all outward
occurrences unsubstantial, like the teasing phantasms of an unconscious
slumber." Though dealing largely in description, and with the most
accurate perceptions of outward objects, he still, to use again his own
words, gives the impression of a man "chiefly accustomed to look
inward, and to whom external matters are of little value or import,
unless they bear relation to something within his own mind." But that
"something within his own mind" was often an unpleasant something,
perhaps a ghastly occult perception of deformity and sin in what
appeared outwardly fair and good; so that the reader felt a secret
dissatisfaction with the disposition which directed the genius, even in
the homage he awarded to the genius itself. As psychological portraits
of morbid natures, his delineations of character might have given a
purely intellectual satisfaction; but there was audible, to the
delicate ear, a faint and muffled growl of personal discontent, which
showed they were not mere exercises of penetrating imaginative
analysis, but had in them the morbid vitality of a despondent mood.

Yet, after admitting these peculiarities, nobody who is now drawn to
the "Twice-Told Tales," from his interest in the later romances of
Hawthorne, can fail to wonder a little at the limited number of readers
they attracted on their original publication. For many of these stories
are at once a representation of early New-England life and a criticism
on it. They have much of the deepest truth of history in them. "The
Legends of the Province House," "The Gray Champion," "The Gentle Boy,"
"The Minister's Black Veil," "Endicott and the Red Cross," not to
mention others, contain important matter which cannot be found in
Bancroft or Grahame. They exhibit the inward struggles of New-England
men and women with some of the darkest problems of existence, and have
more vital import to thoughtful minds than the records of Indian or
Revolutionary warfare. In the "Prophetic Pictures," "Fancy's Show-Box,"
"The Great Carbuncle," "The Haunted Mind," and "Edward Fane's
Rose-Bud," there are flashes of moral insight, which light up, for the
moment, the darkest recesses of the individual mind; and few sermons
reach to the depth of thought and sentiment from which these seemingly
airy sketches draw their sombre life. It is common, for instance, for
religious moralists to insist on the great spiritual truth, that wicked
thoughts and impulses, which circumstances prevent from passing into
wicked acts, are still deeds in the sight of God; but the living truth
subsides into a dead truism, as enforced by commonplace preachers. In
"Fancy's Show-Box," Hawthorne seizes the prolific idea; and the
respectable merchant and respected church-member, in the still hour of
his own meditation, convicts himself of being a liar, cheat, thief,
seducer, and murderer, as he casts his glance over the mental events
which form his spiritual biography. Interspersed with serious histories
and moralities like these, are others which embody the sweet and
playful, though still thoughtful and slightly saturnine action of
Hawthorne's mind,--like "The Seven Vagabonds," "Snow-Flakes," "The
Lily's Quest," "Mr. Higgenbotham's Catastrophe," "Little Annie's
Ramble," "Sights from a Steeple," "Sunday at Home," and "A Rill from
the Town-Pump."

The "Mosses from an Old Manse" are intellectually and artistically an
advance from the "Twice-Told Tales." The twenty-three stories and
essays which make up the volumes are almost perfect of their kind. Each
is complete in itself, and many might be expanded into long romances by
the simple method of developing the possibilities of their shadowy
types of character into appropriate incidents. In description,
narration, allegory, humor, reason, fancy, subtilty, inventiveness,
they exceed the best productions of Addison; but they want Addison's
sensuous contentment and sweet and kindly spirit. Though the author
denies that he has exhibited his own individual attributes in these
"Mosses," though he professes not to be "one of those supremely
hospitable people who serve up their own hearts delicately fried, with
brain-sauce, as a titbit for their beloved public,"--yet it is none the
less apparent that he has diffused through each tale and sketch the
life of the mental mood to which it owed its existence, and that one
individuality pervades and colors the whole collection. The defect of
the serious stories is, that character is introduced, not as thinking,
but as the illustration of thought. The persons are ghostly, with a sad
lack of flesh and blood. They are phantasmal symbols of a reflective
and imaginative analysis of human passions and aspirations. The
dialogue, especially, is bookish, as though the personages knew their
speech was to be printed, and were careful of the collocation and
rhythm of their words. The author throughout is evidently more
interested in his large, wide, deep, indolently serene, and lazily sure
and critical view of the conflict of ideas and passions, than he is
with the individuals who embody them. He shows moral insight without
moral earnestness. He cannot contract his mind to the patient
delineation of a moral individual, but attempts to use individuals in
order to express the last results of patient moral perception. Young
Goodman Brown and Roger Malvin are not persons; they are the mere,
loose, personal expression of subtile thinking. "The Celestial
Railroad," "The Procession of Life," "Earth's Holocaust," "The Bosom
Serpent," indicate thought of a character equally deep, delicate, and
comprehensive, but the characters are ghosts of men rather than
substantial individualities. In the "Mosses from an Old Manse," we are
really studying the phenomena of human nature, while, for the time, we
beguile ourselves into the belief that we are following the fortunes of
individual natures.

Up to this time the writings of Hawthorne conveyed the impression of a
genius in which insight so dominated over impulse, that it was rather
mentally and morally curious than mentally and morally impassioned. The
quality evidently wanting to its full expression was intensity. In the
romance of "The Scarlet Letter" he first made his genius efficient by
penetrating it with passion. This book forced itself into attention by
its inherent power; and the author's name, previously known only to a
limited circle of readers, suddenly became a familiar word in the
mouths of the great reading public of America and England. It may be
said, that it "captivated" nobody, but took everybody captive. Its
power could neither be denied nor resisted. There were growls of
disapprobation from novel-readers, that Hester Prynne and the Rev. Mr.
Dimmesdale were subjected to cruel punishments unknown to the
jurisprudence of fiction,--that the author was an inquisitor who put
his victims on the rack,--and that neither amusement nor delight
resulted from seeing the contortions and hearing the groans of these
martyrs of sin; but the fact was no less plain that Hawthorne had for
once compelled the most superficial lovers of romance to submit
themselves to the magic of his genius. The readers of Dickens voted
him, with three times three, to the presidency of their republic of
letters; the readers of Hawthorne were caught by a _coup d'état_, and
fretfully submitted to a despot whom they could not depose.

The success of "The Scarlet Letter" is an example of the advantage
which an author gains by the simple concentration of his powers on one
absorbing subject. In the "Twice-Told Tales" and the "Mosses from an
Old Manse" Hawthorne had exhibited a wider range of sight and insight
than in "The Scarlet Letter." Indeed, in the little sketch of "Endicott
and the Red Cross," written twenty years before, he had included in a
few sentences the whole matter which he afterwards treated in his
famous story. In describing the various inhabitants of an early
New-England town, as far as they were representative, he touches
incidentally on a "young woman, with no mean share of beauty, whose
doom it was to wear the letter A on the breast of her gown, in the eyes
of all the world and her own children. And even her own children knew
what that initial signified. Sporting with her infamy, the lost and
desperate creature had embroidered the fatal token in scarlet cloth,
with golden thread and the nicest art of needle-work; so that the
capital A might have been thought to mean Admirable, or anything,
rather than Adulteress." Here is the germ of the whole pathos and
terror of "The Scarlet Letter"; but it is hardly noted in the throng of
symbols, equally pertinent, in the few pages of the little sketch from
which we have quoted.

Two characteristics of Hawthorne's genius stand plainly out, in the
conduct and characterization of the romance of "The Scarlet Letter,"
which were less obviously prominent in his previous works. The first
relates to his subordination of external incidents to inward events.
Mr. James's "solitary horseman" does more in one chapter than
Hawthorne's hero in twenty chapters; but then James deals with the arms
of men, while Hawthorne deals with their souls. Hawthorne relies almost
entirely for the interest of his story on what is felt and done within
the minds of his characters. Even his most picturesque descriptions and
narratives are only one-tenth matter to nine-tenths spirit. The results
that follow from one external act of folly or crime are to him enough
for an Iliad of woes. It might be supposed that his whole theory of
Romantic Art was based on these tremendous lines of Wordsworth:--

             "Action is momentary,--
  The motion of a muscle, this way or that:
  Suffering is long, obscure, and infinite."

The second characteristic of his genius is connected with the first.
With his insight of individual souls he combines a far deeper insight
of the spiritual laws which govern the strangest aberrations of
individual souls. But it seems to us that his mental eye, keen-sighted
and far-sighted as it is, overlooks the merciful modifications of the
austere code whose pitiless action it so clearly discerns. In his long
and patient brooding over the spiritual phenomena of Puritan life, it
is apparent, to the least critical observer, that he has imbibed a deep
personal antipathy to the Puritanic ideal of character; but it is no
less apparent that his intellect and imagination have been strangely
fascinated by the Puritanic idea of justice. His brain has been subtly
infected by the Puritanic perception of Law, without being warmed by
the Puritanic faith in Grace. Individually, he would much prefer to
have been one of his own "Seven Vagabonds" rather than one of the
austerest preachers of the primitive church of New England; but the
austerest preacher of the primitive church of New England would have
been more tender and considerate to a real Mr. Dimmesdale and a real
Hester Prynne than this modern romancer has been to their typical
representatives in the world of imagination. Throughout "The Scarlet
Letter" we seem to be following the guidance of an author who is
personally good-natured, but intellectually and morally relentless.

"The House of the Seven Gables," Hawthorne's next work, while it has
less concentration of passion and tension of mind than "The Scarlet
Letter," includes a wider range of observation, reflection, and
character; and the morality, dreadful as fate, which hung like a black
cloud over the personages of the previous story, is exhibited in more
relief. Although the book has no imaginative creation equal to little
Pearl, it still contains numerous examples of characterization at once
delicate and deep. Clifford, especially, is a study in psychology, as
well as a marvellously subtile delineation of enfeebled manhood. The
general idea of the story is this,--"that the wrong-doing of one
generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of
every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief";
and the mode in which this idea is carried out shows great force,
fertility, and refinement of mind. A weird fancy, sporting with the
facts detected by a keen observation, gives to every gable of the Seven
Gables, every room in the House, every burdock growing rankly before
the door, a symbolic significance. The queer mansion is
haunted,--haunted with thoughts which every moment are liable to take
ghostly shape. All the Pyncheons who have resided in it appear to have
infected the very timbers and walls with the spiritual essence of their
lives, and each seems ready to pass from a memory into a presence. The
stern theory of the author regarding the hereditary transmission of
family qualities, and the visiting of the sins of the fathers on the
heads of their children, almost wins our reluctant assent through the
pertinacity with which the generations of the Pyncheon race are made
not merely to live in the blood and brain of their descendants, but to
cling to their old abiding-place on earth, so that to inhabit the house
is to breathe the Pyncheon soul and assimilate the Pyncheon
individuality. The whole representation, masterly as it is, considered
as an effort of intellectual and imaginative power, would still be
morally bleak, were it not for the sunshine and warmth radiated from
the character of Phoebe. In this delightful creation Hawthorne for once
gives himself up to homely human nature, and has succeeded in
delineating a New-England girl, cheerful, blooming, practical,
affectionate, efficient, full of innocence and happiness, with all the
"handiness" and native sagacity of her class, and so true and close to
Nature that the process by which she is slightly idealized is
completely hidden.

In this romance there is also more humor than in any of his other
works. It peeps out, even in the most serious passages, in a kind of
demure rebellion against the fanaticism of his remorseless
intelligence. In the description of the Pyncheon poultry, which we
think unexcelled by anything in Dickens for quaintly fanciful humor,
the author seems to indulge in a sort of parody on his own doctrine of
the hereditary transmission of family qualities. At any rate, that
strutting chanticleer, with his two meagre wives and one wizened
chicken, is a sly side fleer at the tragic aspect of the law of
descent. Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon, her shop, and her customers, are so
delightful, that the reader would willingly spare a good deal of
Clifford and Judge Pyncheon and Holgrave, for more details of them and
Phoebe. Uncle Venner, also, the old wood-sawyer, who boasts "that he
has seen a good deal of the world, not only in people's kitchens and
back-yards, but at the street-corners, and on the wharves, and in other
places where his business" called him, and who, on the strength of this
comprehensive experience, feels qualified to give the final decision in
every case which tasks the resources of human wisdom, is a very much
more humane and interesting gentleman than the Judge. Indeed, one
cannot but regret that Hawthorne should be so economical of his
undoubted stores of humor,--and that, in the two romances he has since
written, humor, in the form of character, does not appear at all.

Before proceeding to the consideration of "The Blithedale Romance," it
is necessary to say a few words on the seeming separation of
Hawthorne's genius from his will. He has none of that ability which
enabled Scott and enables Dickens to force their powers into action,
and to make what was begun in drudgery soon assume the character of
inspiration. Hawthorne cannot thus use his genius; his genius always
uses him. This is so true, that he often succeeds better in what calls
forth his personal antipathies than in what calls forth his personal
sympathies. His life of General Pierce, for instance, is altogether
destitute of life; yet in writing it he must have exerted himself to
the utmost, as his object was to urge the claims of an old and dear
friend to the Presidency of the Republic. The style, of course, is
excellent, as it is impossible for Hawthorne to write bad English, but
the genius of the man has deserted him. General Pierce, whom he loves,
he draws so feebly, that one doubts, while reading the biography, if
such a man exists; Hollingsworth, whom he hates, is so vividly
characterized, that the doubt is, while we read the romance, whether
such a man can possibly be fictitious.

Midway between such a work as the "Life of General Pierce" and "The
Scarlet Letter" may be placed "The Wonder-Book" and "Tanglewood Tales."
In these Hawthorne's genius distinctly appears, and appears in its most
lovable, though not in its deepest form. These delicious stories,
founded on the mythology of Greece, were written for children, but they
delight men and women as well. Hawthorne never pleases grown people so
much as when he writes with an eye to the enjoyment of little people.

Now "The Blithedale Romance" is far from being so pleasing a
performance as "Tanglewood Tales," yet it very much better illustrates
the operation, indicates the quality, and expresses the power, of the
author's genius. His great books appear not so much created by him as
through him. They have the character of revelations,--he, the
instrument, being often troubled with the burden they impose on his
mind. His profoundest glances into individual souls are like the
marvels of clairvoyance. It would seem, that, in the production of such
a work as "The Blithedale Romance," his mind had hit accidentally, as
it were, on an idea or fact mysteriously related to some morbid
sentiment in the inmost core of his nature, and connecting itself with
numerous scattered observations of human life, lying unrelated in his
imagination. In a sort of meditative dream, his intellect drifts in the
direction to which the subject points, broods patiently over it, looks
at it, looks into it, and at last looks through it to the law by which
it is governed. Gradually, individual beings, definite in spiritual
quality, but shadowy in substantial form, group themselves around this
central conception, and by degrees assume an outward body and
expression corresponding to their internal nature. On the depth and
intensity of the mental mood, the force of the fascination it exerts
over him, and the length of time it holds him captive, depend the
solidity and substance of the individual characterizations. In this way
Miles Coverdale, Hollingsworth, Westervelt, Zenobia, and Priscilla
become real persons to the mind which has called them into being. He
knows every secret and watches every motion of their souls, yet is, in
a measure, independent of them, and pretends to no authority by which
he can alter the destiny which consigns them to misery or happiness.
They drift to their doom by the same law by which they drifted across
the path of his vision. Individually, he abhors Hollingsworth, and
would like to annihilate Westervelt, yet he allows the superb Zenobia
to be their victim; and if his readers object that the effect of the
whole representation is painful, he would doubtless agree with them,
but profess his incapacity honestly to alter a sentence. He professes
to tell the story as it was revealed to him; and the license in which a
romancer might indulge is denied to a biographer of spirits. Show him a
fallacy in his logic of passion and character, point out a false or
defective step in his analysis, and he will gladly alter the whole to
your satisfaction; but four human souls, such as he has described,
being given, their mutual attractions and repulsions will end, he feels
assured, in just such a catastrophe as he has stated.

Eight years have passed since "The Blithedale Romance" was written, and
during nearly the whole of this period Hawthorne has resided abroad.
"The Marble Faun," which must, on the whole, be considered the greatest
of his works, proves that his genius has widened and deepened in this
interval, without any alteration or modification of its characteristic
merits and characteristic defects. The most obvious excellence of the
work is the vivid truthfulness of its descriptions of Italian life,
manners, and scenery; and, considered merely as a record of a tour in
Italy, it is of great interest and attractiveness. The opinions on Art,
and the special criticisms on the masterpieces of architecture,
sculpture, and painting, also possess a value of their own. The story
might have been told, and the characters fully represented, in
one-third of the space devoted to them, yet description and narration
are so artfully combined that each assists to give interest to the
other. Hawthorne is one of those true observers who concentrate in
observation every power of their minds. He has accurate sight and
piercing insight. When he modifies either the form or the spirit of the
objects he describes, he does it either by viewing them through the
medium of an imagined mind or by obeying associations which they
themselves suggest. We might quote from the descriptive portions of the
work a hundred pages, at least, which would demonstrate how closely
accurate observation is connected with the highest powers of the
intellect and imagination.

The style of the book is perfect of its kind, and, if Hawthorne had
written nothing else, would entitle him to rank among the great masters
of English composition. Walter Savage Landor is reported to have said
of an author whom he knew in his youth, "My friend wrote excellent
English, a language now obsolete." Had "The Marble Faun" appeared
before he uttered this sarcasm, the wit of the remark would have been
pointless. Hawthorne not only writes English, but the sweetest,
simplest, and clearest English that ever has been made the vehicle of
equal depth, variety, and subtilty of thought and emotion. His mind is
reflected in his style as a face is reflected in a mirror; and the
latter does not give back its image with less appearance of effort than
the former. His excellence consists not so much in using common words
as in making common words express uncommon things. Swift, Addison,
Goldsmith, not to mention others, wrote with as much simplicity; but
the style of neither embodies an individuality so complex, passions so
strange and intense, sentiments so fantastic and preternatural,
thoughts so profound and delicate, and imaginations so remote from the
recognized limits of the ideal, as find an orderly outlet in the pure
English of Hawthorne. He has hardly a word to which Mrs. Trimmer would
primly object, hardly a sentence which would call forth the frosty
anathema of Blair, Hurd, Kames, or Whately, and yet he contrives to
embody in his simple style qualities which would almost excuse the
verbal extravagances of Carlyle.

In regard to the characterization and plot of "The Marble Faun," there
is room for widely varying opinions. Hilda, Miriam, and Donatello will
be generally received as superior in power and depth to any of
Hawthorne's previous creations of character; Donatello, especially,
must be considered one of the most original and exquisite conceptions
in the whole range of romance; but the story in which they appear will
seem to many an unsolved puzzle, and even the tolerant and
interpretative "gentle reader" will be troubled with the unsatisfactory
conclusion. It is justifiable for a romancer to sting the curiosity of
his readers with a mystery, only on the implied obligation to explain
it at last; but this story begins in mystery only to end in mist. The
suggestive faculty is tormented rather than genially excited, and in
the end is left a prey to doubts. The central idea of the story, the
necessity of sin to convert such a creature as Donatello into a moral
being, is also not happily illustrated in the leading event. When
Donatello kills the wretch who malignantly dogs the steps of Miriam,
all readers think that Donatello committed no sin at all; and the
reason is, that Hawthorne has deprived the persecutor of Miriam of all
human attributes, made him an allegorical representation of one of the
most fiendish forms of unmixed evil, so that we welcome his destruction
with something of the same feeling with which, in following the
allegory of Spenser or Bunyan, we rejoice in the hero's victory over
the Blatant Beast or Giant Despair. Conceding, however, that
Donatello's act was murder, and not "justifiable homicide," we are
still not sure that the author's conception of his nature and of the
change caused in his nature by that act, are carried out with a
felicity corresponding to the original conception.

In the first volume, and in the early part of the second, the author's
hold on his design is comparatively firm, but it somewhat relaxes as he
proceeds, and in the end it seems almost to escape from his grasp. Few
can be satisfied with the concluding chapters, for the reason that
nothing is really concluded. We are willing to follow the ingenious
processes of Calhoun's deductive logic, because we are sure, that,
however severely they task the faculty of attention, they will lead to
some positive result; but Hawthorne's logic of events leaves us in the
end bewildered in a labyrinth of guesses. The book is, on the whole,
such a great book, that its defects are felt with all the more force.

In this rapid glance at some of the peculiarities of Hawthorne's
genius, we have not, of course, been able to do full justice to the
special merits of the works we have passed in review; but we trust that
we have said nothing which would convey the impression that we do not
place them among the most remarkable romances produced in an age in
which romance-writing has called forth some of the highest powers of
the human mind. In intellect and imagination, in the faculty of
discerning spirits and detecting laws, we doubt if any living novelist
is his equal; but his genius, in its creative action, has been
heretofore attracted to the dark rather than the bright side of the
interior life of humanity, and the geniality which evidently is in him
has rarely found adequate expression. In the many works which he may
still be expected to write, it is to be hoped that his mind will lose
some of its sadness of tone without losing any of its subtilty and
depth; but, in any event, it would be unjust to deny that he has
already done enough to insure him a commanding position in American
literature as long as American literature has an existence.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Le Prime Quattro Edizioni della Divina Commedia Letteralmente
Ristampate per Cura di_ G.G. WARREN LORD VERNON. Londra: Presso Tommaso
e Guglielmo Boone. MDCCCLVIII. 4to. pp. xxvi., 748.

The zeal with which the study of Dante has been followed by students in
every country of Europe, during the last forty years, is one of the
most illustrative facts of the moral as well as of the intellectual
character of the period. The interest which has attracted men of the
most different tempers and persuasions to this study is not due alone
to the poetic or historic value of his works, however high we may place
them in these respects, but also and especially to the circumstance
that they present a complete and distinct view of the internal life and
spiritual disposition of an age in which the questions which still
chiefly concern men were for the first time positively stated, and
which exhibited in its achievements and its efforts some of the highest
qualities of human nature in a condition of vigor such as they have
never since shown. Dante himself combined a power of imagination beyond
that of any other poet with an intensity and directness of individual
character not less extraordinary. The tendency of modern civilization
is to diminish rather than to strengthen the originality and
independence of individuals. Autocracy and democracy seem to have a
like effect in reducing men to a uniform level of thought and effort.
And thus during a time when these two principles have been brought into
sharp conflict, it is not surprising that the most thoughtful students
should turn to the works of a man who by actual experience, or by force
of imagination, comprehended all the conditions of his own age, and
exhibited in his life and in his writings an individualism of the
noblest sort. The conservative and the reformer, the king and the
radical, the priest and the heretic, the man of affairs and the man of
letters, have taken their seats, side by side, on the scholars'
benches, before the same teacher, and, after listening to his large
discourse, have discussed among themselves the questions in religion,
in philosophy, in morals, politics, or history, which his words
suggested or explained.

The success which has attended these studies has been in some degree
proportioned to the zeal with which they have been pursued. Dante is
now better understood and more intelligently commented than ever
before. Much remains to be done as regards the clearing up of some
difficult points and the explanation of some dark passages,--and the
obscurity in which Dante intentionally involved some portions of his
writings is such as to leave little hope that their absolute meaning
will ever be satisfactorily established. The history of the study of
the poet, of the comments on his meaning or his text, of the formation
of the commonly received text, and of the translations of the "Divina
Commedia," affords much curious and entertaining matter to the lover of
purely literary and bibliographic narrative, and incidentally
illustrates the general character of each century since his death. As
regards the settlement of the text, no single publication has ever
appeared of equal value to that of the magnificent volume the title of
which stands at the head of this notice. Lord Vernon has been known for
many years as the most munificent fosterer of Dantesque publications.
One after another, precious and costly books upon Dante have appeared,
edited and printed at his expense, showing both a taste and a
liberality as honorable as unusual.

The first four editions of the "Divina Commedia," of which this volume
is a reprint, are all of excessive rarity. Although each is a document
of the highest importance in determining the text, few of the editors
of the poem have had the means of consulting more than one or two of
them. The volumes are to be found united only in the Library of the
British Museum, and it is but a few years that even that great
collection has included them all. They were printed originally between
1470 and 1480 at Foligno, Jesi, Mantua, and Naples; and their chief
value arises from the fact that they present the various readings of
three, if not four, early and selected manuscripts. The doubt whether
four manuscripts are represented by them is occasioned by the
similarity between the editions of Foligno and Naples, which are of
such a sort (for instance, correspondence in the most unlikely and odd
misprints) as to prove that one must have served as the basis of the
other. But at the same time there are such differences between them as
indicate a separate revision of each, and possibly the consultation by
their editors of different codices.

Unfortunately, there is no edition of the "Divina Commedia" which can
claim any special authority,--none which has even in a small degree
such authority as belongs to the first folio of Shakspeare's plays. The
text, as now received, rests upon a comparison of manuscripts and early
printed editions; and as affording to scholars the means of an
independent critical judgment upon it, a knowledge of the readings of
these earliest editions is indispensable. But reprints of old books are
proverbially open to error. The reprint of the first folio Shakspeare
is so full of mistakes as to be of comparatively little use. The
character of the Italian language is such that inaccuracies are both
easier and more dangerous than in English. Unless the reprint of the
first four editions were literally correct, it would be of little
value. To secure this correctness, so far as was possible, Lord Vernon
engaged Mr. Panizzi, the chief librarian of the British Museum, to edit
the volume. A more competent editor never lived. Mr. Panizzi is
distinguished not more for his thorough and appreciative acquaintance
with the poetic literature of his country than for the extent and
accuracy of his bibliographical knowledge and the refinement of his
bibliographic skill. There can be no doubt that the reprint is as exact
as the most rigid critic could desire. It is a monument of patience and
of unpretending labor, as well as of typographic beauty,--the work of
the editor having been well seconded by that well-known disciple of
Aldus, Mr. Charles Whittingham.

Nor is it only in essential variations that these four texts are
important, but also in the illustration which their different spelling
and their varying grammatical forms afford in regard to the language
used by Dante. At the time when these editions appeared, the
orthography of the Italian tongue was not yet established, and its
grammatical inflections not in all cases definitely settled. Printing
had not yet been long enough in use to fix a permanent form upon words.
Moreover, the misprints themselves, which in these early editions are
very numerous, often give hints as to the changes which they may have
induced, or as to the misplacing of letters most likely to occur, and
consequently most likely to lead to unobserved errors of the text.

The style of the printing in these first editions, and the aid it may
give, or the difficulty it may occasion, are hardly to be understood
without an extract. We open at _Paradiso_, xv. 70. Cacciaguida has just
spoken to his descendant, and then follows, according to the Foligno,
the following passage:--

  Io mi uolfi abeatrice et quella udio
    pria chio parlaffi et arofemi un cenno
    che fece crefcer lali aluoler mio

  Poi cominciai con leefftto elfenno
    come laprima equalita napparfe
    dun pefo per ciafchun di noi fi fenno

  Pero chel fole che nallumo et arfe
    colcaldo et conlaluce et fi iguali
    che tutte fimiglianze fono fcarfe.

This looks different enough from the common text, that, for example, of
the Florentine edition of 1844.

  I' mi volsi a Beatrice, e quella udio
    Pria ch' io parlassi, ed arrisemi un cenno
    Che fece crescer l' ale al voler mio.

  Poi cominciai cosi: L' affetto e il senno,
    Come la prima egualità v' apparse,
    D' un peso per ciascun di voi si fenno;

  Perocchè al Sol, che v' allumò ed arse
    Col caldo e con la luce, en sì iguali,
    Che tutte simiglianze sono scarse.

"I turned to Beatrice, and she heard before I spoke, and smiled on me a
sign which added wings to my desire. Then I began thus: Love and
wisdom, as soon as the primal Equality has appeared to you, become of
one weight in each one of you; since in that Sun, which illuminates and
warms you with heat and light, they are so equal, that every comparison
falls short."

The three other ancient texts are each quite as different from the
modern one as that which we have given, nor is the passage one that
affords example of unusual variations. It would have been easy to
select many others varying much more than this, but our object is to
show the general character of these first editions. The second line of
the quotation offers a various reading which is supported by the
_arrossemi_ of the Jesi edition, and the _arossemi_ of that of Naples,
as well as by the text of the comment of Benvenuto da Imola, and some
other early authorities. But even were the weight of evidence in its
favor far greater than it is, it could never be received in place of
the thoroughly Dantesque and exquisite expression, _arrisemi un cenno_,
which is found in the Mantua edition. The _napparse_ and the _noi_ of
the fifth and sixth lines and the _nallumo_ of the seventh are plainly
mistakes of the scribe, puzzled by the somewhat obscure meaning of the
passage. Not one of the four editions before us gives us the right
pronouns, but they are found in the Bartolinian codex, (as well as many
others,) and they are established in the rare Aldine edition of 1502,
the chief source of the modern text. In the eighth line, where we now
read _en sì iguali_, the four give us _et_ or _e si iguali_, a reading
from which it is difficult to extract a meaning, unless, with the
Bartolinian, we omit the _che_ in the preceding line, and suppose the
_pero chel_ to stand, not for _perocchè al_, but for _perocchè
il_,--or, retaining the _che_, read the first words _perocch' è il
Sol_, and take the clause as a parenthesis. The meaning, according to
the first supposition, would be, "Love and wisdom are of one measure in
you, (since the Sun [_sc._ the primal Equality] warmed and enlightened
you,) and so equal that," etc. According to the second supposition, we
should translate, "Since it [the primal Equality] is the sun which,"
etc. Benvenuto da Imola gives still a third reading, making the _e si
iguali_ into _ee si iguale_, or, in modern orthography, _è sì iguale_;
but, as this spoils the rhyme, it may be left out of account. There
seems to us to be some ground for believing the second reading
suggested above,

  Perocch' è il Sol che v' allumò ed arse
  Con caldo e con la luce, e sì iguali.

to be the true one, not only from its correspondence with most of the
early copies, but from the rarity of the use of _en_ by Dante. There is
but one other passage in the poem where it is found (_Purgatory_, xvi.

Such is an example, taken at random, of the doubts suggested and the
illustration afforded by these editions in the study of the text. Of
course such minute criticism is of interest only to those few who
reckon Dante's words at their true worth. The common reader may be
content with the text as he finds it in common editions, But Dante,
more than any other author, stimulates his student to research as to
his exact words; for no other author has been so choice in his
selection of them. He is not only the greatest modern master of
condensation in style, but he has the deepest insight into the value
and force of separate words, the most delicate sense of appropriateness
in position, and in the highest degree the poetic faculty of selecting
the word most fitting for the thought and most characteristic in
expression. It rarely happens that the place of a word of any
importance is a matter of indifference in his verse, no regard being
had to the rhythm; and every one sufficiently familiar with the
language in which he wrote to be conscious of its indefinable powers
will feel, though he may be unable to point out specifically, a marked
distinction in the quality and combinations of the words in the
different parts of the poem. The description of the entrance to Hell,
in the third canto of the _Inferno_ is, for instance, hardly more
different from the description of the Terrestrial Paradise,
(_Purgatory_, xxviii.,) in scenery and imagery, than it is in the vague
but absolute qualities of language, in its rhythmical and verbal

But, leaving these subtilties, let us look at some of the disputed
passages of the poem, upon which the texts before us may give their

In the episode of Francesca da Rimini, Mr. Barlow has recently
attempted to give currency to a various reading long known, but never
accepted, in the line (_Inferno_, v. 102) in which Francesca expresses
her horror at the manner of her death. She says, _il modo ancor m'
offende_, "the manner still offends me." But for _il modo_ Mr. Barlow
would substitute _il mondo_, "the world still offends me,"--that is, as
we suppose, by holding a false opinion of her conduct. Mr. Barlow's
suggestions are always to be received with respect, but we cannot but
think him wrong in proposing this change. The spirits in Hell are not
supposed to be aware of what is passing upon earth; they are
self-convicted, (_Purgatory_, xxvi. 85, 86,) and Francesca being doomed
to eternal woe, the world could not do her wrong by taxing her with
sin; while, further, the shudder at the method of her death, lasting
even in torment, seems to us a far more imaginative conception than the
one proposed in its stead. Our four texts read _elmodo_.

In the famous simile (_Inferno_, iii. 112-114) in which Dante compares
the spirits falling from the bank of Acheron to the dead leaves
fluttering from a bough in autumn, giving, as Mr. Ruskin says, "the
most perfect image possible of their utter lightness, feebleness,
passiveness, and scattering agony of despair," our common texts have

  infin che il ramo
  Rende alla terra tutte le sue spoglie,

"Until the branch gives to the earth all its spoils"; but the texts of
Jesi and Mantua, as well as those of the Bartolinian and the Aldus, and
many other early authorities, here put the word _Vede_ in place of
_Rende_, giving a variation which for its poetic worth well deserves to
be marked, if not to be introduced into the received text. "Until the
branch sees all its spoils upon the earth" is a personification quite
in Dante's manner. A confirmation of the value of this reading is given
by the fact that Tasso preferred it to the more common one, and in his
treatise on the "Art of Poetry" praises it as full of energy.

The value of this work of Lord Vernon's to the students of Dante, in
enabling them to secure accuracy in their statements in regard to the
early texts, has been illustrated to us by finding that Blanc, in his
useful and excellent "Vocabolario Dantesco," has not unfrequently
fallen into error through his inability to consult those first
editions. For example, in the line, (_Inferno_, xviii. 43,) _Perciò a
figuralo i piedi affissi_, as it is commonly given, or, _Perciò a
firgurarlo gli occhi affissi_, as it appears in some editions, Blanc,
who prefers the latter reading, states that _gli occhi_ is found in
_"toutes les anciennes éditions."_ But the truth is, that those of
Foligno and Naples read _ipedi_, that of Jesi has _in piedi_, and that
of Mantua _i pie_. The Aldine of 1502 is the earliest edition we have
seen which has _gli occhi_.

In the episode of Ugolino, (_Inferno,_ xxxiii.,) the verse which has
given rise to more comment, perhaps than any other is that (the 26th)
in which the Count says, according to the usual reading, that the
narrow window in his tower had shown him many moons before he dreamed
his evil dream: _Più lune già, quand' i' feci il mal sonno,_ "Many
moons already, when I had my ill slumber." But another reading, found
in a majority of the early MSS. and editions, including those of Jesi
and Mantua gives the variation, _più lume;_ while the editions of
Foligno and Naples give _lieve_, which, affording no intelligible
meaning, must be regarded as a mere misprint. In spite of the weight
of early authority for _lume_, the reading _lune_ is perhaps to be
preferred, as giving in a word a brief expressive statement of a weary
length of imprisonment,--while _lume_ would only serve to fix the
moment of the dream as having been between the first dawn and the full
day. It is rare that the difference between an _n_ and an _m_ is of
such marked effect.

In the sixth canto of _Purgatory_, verse 58, Virgil says, "Behold there
a soul which _a posta_ looks toward us." Such at least is the common
reading, and the words _a posta_ are explained as meaning _fixedly._
But this signification is somewhat forced, _a posta_, or _apposta_,
being more properly used with the meaning of _on purpose_ or
_deliberately_,--and the first four editions supply a reading without
this difficulty, and one which adds a new and significant feature to
the description. They unite in the omission of the letter _a_. The
passage then bears the meaning,--"But behold there a soul which,
_fixed_, or _placed_, alone and all apart, looks toward us." This
reading, beside being supported by the weight of ancient authority,
finds confirmation, in the context, in the terms in which Sordello's
aspect is described: "How lofty and disdainful didst thou stand! how
slow and decorous in the moving of thy eyes!"

A curious example of the mistakes of the old copies is afforded in the
charming description of the Terrestrial Paradise in the twenty-eighth
canto of the _Purgatory_. Dante says, that the leaves on the trees,
trembling in the soft air, were not so disturbed that the little birds
in their tops ceased from any of their arts,--

           che gli augelletti per le cime
  Lasciasser d' operare ogni lor arte.

The lines are so plain that a mistake is difficult in them; but, of our
four editions, the Jesi is the only one which gives them correctly.
Foligno and Naples read _angeleti_ for _augelletti_, while Mantua gives
us the astonishing word _intelletti_. Again, in line 98 of the same
canto, all four read, _exaltation dell' acqua_, for the simple and
correct _esalazion dell' acqua_. And in line 131, for _Eunoe si
chiama_, Jesi supplies the curious word _curioce si chiama_.

These examples of error are not of great importance in themselves, and
are easily corrected, but they serve to illustrate the great frequency
of error in all the early texts of the "Divina Commedia," and the
probability that many errors not so readily discovered may still exist
in the text, making difficulties where none originally existed. They
are of value, furthermore, in the wider range of critical studies, as
illustrating in a striking way the liability to error which existed in
all books so long as they were preserved only by the work of scribes.
Here is a poem which was transmitted in manuscript for only about one
hundred and fifty years, the first four printed editions of which show
differences in almost every line. It is no exaggeration to say that the
variations between the editions of Foligno, Jesi, and Mantua, in
orthography, inflection, and other grammatical and dialectic forms, not
to speak of the less frequent, though still numerous differences in the
words themselves, greatly exceed, throughout the poem, the number of
lines of which it is composed. Yet by a comparison of them one with
another a consistent and generally satisfactory text has been formed.
The bearing of this upon the views to be taken of the condition of the
text of more ancient works, as, for instance, that of the Gospels, is

The work before us is so full of matter interesting to the student of
Dante, that we are tempted to go on with further illustrations of it,
though well aware that there are few who have zeal or patience enough
to continue the examination with us. But the number of those in America
who are beginning to read the "Divina Commedia," as something more than
a mere exercise in the Italian language, is increasing, and some of
them, at least, will take pleasure with us in this inquiry concerning
the words, that is, the thoughts of Dante. Why should the minute, but
not fruitless criticism of texts be reserved for the ancient classic
writers? The great poet of the Middle Ages deserves this work at our
hands far more than any of the Latin poets, not excluding even his own
master and guide.

The eleventh canto of the _Paradiso_ is chiefly occupied with the noble
narrative of the life of St. Francis. Reading it as we do, at such a
distance from the time of the events which it records, and with
feelings that have never been warmed into fervor by the facts or the
legends concerning the Saint, it is hard for us to appreciate at its
full worth the beauty of this canto, and its effect upon those who had
seen and conversed with the first Franciscans. Not a century had yet
passed since the death of St. Francis, and the order which he had
founded kept his memory alive in every part of the Catholic world. A
story which may be true or false, and it matters little which, tells us
that Dante himself in his early manhood had proposed to enter its
ranks. There is no doubt that its vows of poverty and chastity, its
arduous but invigorating rule during its early days, appealed with
strong force to his temperament and his imagination, as promising a
withdrawal from those worldly temptations of which he was conscious,
from that pressure of private and public affairs of which he was
impatient. The contrast between the effects which the life of St.
Francis and that of St. Dominic had upon the poet's mind is shown by
the contrast in tone in which in successive cantos he tells of these
two great pillars of the Church.

In lines 71 and 72, speaking of Poverty, the bride of the Saint, he

  Si che dove Maria rimase giuso,
  Ella con Cristo salse in sulia croce:

"So that whilst Mary remained below, she mounted the cross with
Christ," Such is the common reading. Now in all four of the editions
which are in Lord Vernon's reprint, in Benvenuto da Imola, in the
Bartolinian codex, in the precious codex of Cortona, and in many other
early manuscripts and editions, the word _pianse_ is found in the place
of _salse_; "She lamented upon the cross with Christ." The antithesis,
though less direct, is not less striking, and the phrase seems to us to
become simpler, more natural, and more touching. Yet this reading has
found little favor with recent editors, and one of them goes so far as
to say, "che non solo impoverisce, ma adultera l' idea."

Passing over other variations, some of them of importance, in this
eleventh canto, we find the last verses standing in most modern

  E vedrà il coreggier che argomenta
  U' ben s' impingua, se non si vaneggia.

And the meaning is explained as being,--"And he who is girt with a
leathern cord (_i.e._ the Dominican) will see what is meant by 'Where
well they fatten, if they do not stray.'" But to this there are several
objections. No other example of _coreggier_ thus used is, we believe,
to be found. Moreover, the introduction of a Dominican to learn this
lesson is forced, for it was Dante himself who had had a doubt as to
the meaning of these words, and it was for his instruction that the
discourse in which they were explained was held. We prefer, therefore,
the reading which is found in the editions of Jesi, Foligno, and
Naples, (in part in that of Mantua,) and which is given by many other
ancient texts: _Vedrai_ or _E vedrai il correger che argomenta:_ "Thou
wilt see the reproof which 'Where well they fatten, if they do not
stray,' conveys." This reading has been adopted by Mr. Cayley in his
remarkable translation.

One more instance of the value of Lord Vernon's work, and we have done.
The 106th, 107th, and 108th verses of the twenty-sixth canto of the
_Paradiso_ are among the most difficult of the poem, and have given
rise to great variety of comment. In the edition of Florence of 1830,
in those of Foscolo, and of Costa, and many others, they stand,--

  Perch' io la veggio nel verace speglio
  Che fa di se pareglie l' altre cose
  E nulla face lui di se pareglio.

And they are explained by Bianchi as meaning, "Because I see it in that
true mirror (i. e. God) which makes other things like to themselves,
(that is, represents them as they are,) while nothing can represent Him
like to Himself." Those who love the quarrels of commentators should
look at the notes in the Variorum editions of Padua or Florence to see
with what amusing asperity they have treated each other's solutions of
the passage. Italian words of abuse have a sonorous quality which gives
grandeur to a skirmish of critics. One is declared by his opponent to
have _ingarbugliato_ the clearest meaning; another _guasta il
sentimento_ and _sproposita in grammatica_; a third brings _falso_ and
_assurdo_ to the charge, and, not satisfied with their force, adds
_blasfemo_; a fourth declares that the third has contrived _capovolgere
la consegitenza_; and so on;--from all which the reader, trying to find
shelter from the pelting of hard words, discovers that the meaning is
not clear even to the most confident of the critics. But, standing
apart from the battle, and looking only at the text, and not at the
bewildered comment, we find in the editions of Foligno, Jesi, and
Naples, and in many other ancient texts, a reading which seems to us
somewhat easier than the one commonly adopted. We copy the lines after
the Foligno:--

  Per chio laueggio neluerace speglio
  che fa dise pareglio alaltre cose
  et nulla face lui dise pareglio.

And we would translate them, "Because I see it in that true mirror who
in Himself affords a likeness to [or of] all other things, while
nothing gives back to Him a likeness of Himself." Here _pareglio_
corresponds with the Provençal _parelh_ and the later French
_pareil_,--and the Provençal phrase _rendre le parelha_ affords an
example of similar application to that of the word in Dante.

With us in America, criticism is not rated as it deserves; it is little
followed as a study, and the love for the great masters and poets of
other times and other tongues than our own fails to stimulate the ardor
of students to the thorough examination of their thoughts and words. No
doubt, criticism, as it has too often been pursued, is of small worth,
displaying itself in useless inquiries, and lavishing time and labor
upon insoluble and uninteresting questions. But such is not its true
end. Verbal criticism, rightly viewed, has a dignity which belongs to
few other studies; for it deals with words as the symbols of
thoughts,--with words, which are the most spiritual of the instruments
of human power, the most marvellous of human possessions. It makes
thought accurate, and perception fine. It adds truth to the creations
of imagination by teaching the modes by which they may be best
expressed, and it thus leads to fuller and more appreciative
understanding and enjoyment of the noblest works of the past. There
can, indeed, be no thorough culture without it.

To restore the balance of our lives, in these days of haste, novelty,
and restlessness, there is a need of a larger infusion into them of
pursuits which have no end of immediate publicity or instant return of
tangible profit,--of pursuits which, while separating us from the
intrusive world around us, should introduce us into the freer,
tranquiller, and more spacious world of noble and everlasting thought.
The greener and lonelier precincts of our minds are now trampled upon
by the hurrying feet of daily events and transient interests. If we
would keep that spiritual region unpolluted, we need to acquaint
ourselves with some other literature than that of newspapers and
magazines, and to entertain as familiars the men long dead, yet living
in their works. As Americans, our birthrights in the past are
imperfect; we are born into the present alone. But he who lives only in
present things lives but half a life, and death comes to him as an
impertinent interruption: by living also in the past we learn to value
the present at its worth, to hold ourselves ready for its end. With
Dante, taking him as a guide and companion in our privater moods, we
may, even in the natural body, pass through the world of spirit.

It will be a good indication of the improvement in the intellectual
disposition of our people, when the study of Dante becomes more
general. Meanwhile, on the part of his few students in America, we
would offer our thanks to Lord Vernon and to Mr. Panizzi for the aid
which the liberality of the one and the skill and learning of the other
have given to us, and for the honor they have done to the memory of our
common Author and Leader.

_Notes of Travel and Study in Italy_. By CHARLES ELIOT NORTON. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 1860. pp. x., 320.

There is, perhaps, no country with which we are so intimate as with
Italy,--none of which we are always so willing to hear more. Poets and
prosers have alike compared her to a beautiful woman; and while one
finds nothing but loveliness in her, another shudders at her fatal
fascination. She is the very Witch-Venus of the Middle Ages. Roger
Ascham says, "I was once in _Italy_ myself, but I thank God my abode
there was but nine days; and yet I saw in that little time, in one
city, more liberty to sin than ever I heard tell of in our noble city
of London in nine years." He quotes triumphantly the proverb,--_Inglese
italianato, diavolo incarnato_. A century later, the entertaining
"Richard Lassels, Gent., who Travelled through Italy Five times as
Tutor to several of the _English_ Nobility and Gentry," and who is open
to new engagements in that kind, declares, that, "For the Country
itself, it seemed to me to be _Nature's Darling_, and the _Eldest
Sister_ of all other Countries; carrying away from them all the
greatest blessings and favours, and receiving such gracious looks from
the _Sun_ and _Heaven_, that, if there be any fault in _Italy_, it is,
that her Mother _Nature_ hath cockered her too much, even to make her
become Wanton." Plainly, our Tannhäuser is but too ready to go back to
the Venus-berg!

A new book on Italy seems a dangerous experiment. Has not all been told
and told and told again? Is it not one chief charm of the land, that it
is changeless without being Chinese? Did not Abbot Samson, in 1159,
_Scotti habitum induens_, (which must have shown his massive calves to
great advantage.) probably see much the same popular characteristics
that Hawthorne saw seven hundred years later? Shall a man try to be
entertaining after Montaigne, aesthetic after Winckelmann, wise after
Goethe, or trenchant after Forsyth? Can he hope to bring back anything
so useful as the _fork_, which honest Tom Coryate made prize of two
centuries and a half ago, and put into the greasy fingers of Northern
barbarians? Is not the "Descrittione" of Leandro Alberti still a
competent itinerary? And can one hope to pick up a fresh Latin
quotation, when Addison and Eustace have been before him with their

If there be anything which a person of even moderate accomplishments
may be presumed to know, it is Italy. The only open question left seems
to be, whether Shakespeare were the only man that could write his name
who had never been there. We have read our share of Italian travels,
both in prose and verse, but, as the nicely discriminating Dutchman
found that "too moch brahndee was too moch, but too moch lager-beer was
jost hright," so we are inclined to say that too much Italy is just
what we want. After Des Brosses, we are ready for Henri Beyle, and
Ampère, and Hillard, and About, and Gallenga, and Julia Kavanagh;
"Corinne" only makes us hungry for George Sand. That no one can tell us
anything new is as undeniable as the compensating fact that no one can
tell us anything too old.

There are two kinds of travellers,--those who tell us what they went to
see, and those who tell us what they saw. The latter class are the only
ones whose journals are worth the sifting; and the value of their eyes
depends on the amount of individual character they took with them, and
of the previous culture that had sharpened and tutored the faculty of
observation. In our conscious age the frankness and naïveté of the
elder voyagers is impossible, and we are weary of those humorous
confidences on the subject of fleas with which we are favored by some
modern travellers, whose motto should be (slightly altered) from
Horace,--_Flea-bit, et toto cantabitur orbe._ A naturalist
self-sacrificing enough may have this experience more cheaply at home.

The book before us is the record of a second residence in Italy, of
about two years. This in itself is an advantage; since a renewed
experience, after an interval of absence and distraction, enables us to
distinguish what had merely interested us by its strangeness from what
is permanently worthy of study and remembrance. In a second visit we
know at least what we do _not_ wish to see, and our first impressions
have so defined themselves that they afford us a safer standard of
comparison. To most travellers Italy is a land of pure vacation, a
lotus-eating region, "in which it seemeth always afternoon." But Mr.
Norton, whose book shows bow well his time had been employed at home,
could not but spend it to good purpose abroad. The word "study" has a
right to its place on his title-page, and his volume is worthy of a
student. He shows himself to be one who, like Wordsworth, "does not
much or oft delight in personal talk"; there is no gossip between the
covers of his book, no impertinent self-obtrusion. Familiar with what
has been written about Italy by others, he has known how to avoid the
trite highways, and by going back to what was old has found topics that
are really fresh and delightful. The Italy of the ancient Romans is a
foreign country to us, and must always continue so; but the Italy of
the Middle Ages is nearer, not so much in time, as because there is no
impassable rift of religious faith, and consequently of ideas and
motives, between us and it. Far enough away in the centuries to be
picturesque, it is near enough in the sympathy of belief and thought to
be thoroughly intelligible. The chapter on the Brotherhood of the
Misericordia at Florence is remarkably interesting, and the coincidence
which Mr. Norton points out in a note between the circumstances which
led to its foundation and those in which a somewhat similar society
originated in California so lately as 1859 is not only curious, but
pleasant, as showing that there is a natural piety proper to man in all
ages alike. In his account of the building of the Cathedral of Orvieto,
and his notices of Rome as it was when Dante and Petrarch saw it, Mr.
Norton has struck a rich vein, which we hope he will find time to work
more thoroughly hereafter. By the essential fairness of his mind, his
patience in investigation, and his sympathy with what is noble in
character and morally influential in events, he seems to us peculiarly
fitted for that middle ground occupied by the historical essayist, to
whom literature is something coördinate with politics, and who finds a
great book more eventful than a small battle.

But if, as a scholar and lover of Art, Mr. Norton naturally turns to
the past, he does not fail to tell us whatever he finds worth knowing
in the present. His tone of mind and habitual subjects of thought may
be inferred from the character of the topics that interest him. The
glimpses he gives us of the actual condition of the people of Italy, as
indicated by their practical conception of the religious dogmas of
their Church, by the quality of the cheap literature that is popular
among them, of the tracts provided for their spiritual aliment by
ecclesiastical authority, and of the caricatures produced in 1848-9,
(as in his notice of "Don Pirlone,") are of special value, and show that
he knows where to look for signs of what lies beneath the surface. His
appreciation of the beautiful in Art has not been cultivated at the
expense of his interest in the moral, political, and physical
well-being of man. His touching sketch of the life of Letterato, the
founder of Ragged Schools, shows that moral loveliness attracts his
sympathy as much when embodied in a life of obscure usefulness as when
it gleams in the saints and angels of Fra Angelico. A conscientious
Protestant, he exposes the corruptions of the Established Church in
Italy, not as an anti-Romanist, but because he sees that they are
practically operative in the social and political degradation of the
people. What good there is never escapes his attention, and we learn
from him much that is new and interesting concerning public charities
and private efforts for the elevation of the lower orders. The miles of
statuary in the Vatican do not weary him so much that he cannot at
night make the round of evening schools for the poor.

We have not read a pleasanter or more instructive book of Italian
travel than this. Mr. Norton's range of interest is so wide that we are
refreshed with continual variety of topic; and his style is pure,
clear, and chaste, without any sacrifice of warmth or richness. It is
always especially agreeable to us to encounter an American who is a
scholar in the true sense of the word, in which sense it is never
dissociated from gentleman. When, as in the present instance,
scholarship is united with a deep and active interest in whatever
concerns the practical well-being of men, we have one of the best
results of our modern civilization. We are no lovers of dilettantism,
but we see in these scholarly tastes and habits which do not seclude a
man from the duties of real life and useful citizenship the only
safeguard against the evils which the rapid heaping-up of wealth is
sure to bring with it.

We do not always agree with Mr. Norton in his estimate of the
comparative merit of different artists. We think he sometimes makes Mr.
Ruskin's mistake of attributing to positive religious sentiment what is
rather to be ascribed to the negative influence of circumstances and
date. We cannot help thinking that the mere arrangement of their
figures by such painters as Cima da Conegliano and Francesco Francia,
the architectural regularity of their disposition, the sculpturesque
dignity of their attitudes, and the consequent impression of
simplicity and repose which they convey, have much to do with the
religious effect they produce on the mind, as contrasted with the more
dramatic and picturesque conceptions of later artists. When we look at
John Bellino's "Gods come down to taste the Fruits of the Earth," we
cannot think him essentially a more religious man than his great pupil
who painted that truly divine countenance of Christ in "The
Tribute-Money." At the same time we go along with Mr. Norton heartily,
where, in the concluding pages of his book, with equal learning and
eloquence, he points out the causes and traces the progress of the
moral and artistic decline which came over Italy in the sixteenth
century, and whose effect made the seventeenth almost a desert. This is
one of the most striking passages in the volume, and the lesson of it
is brought home to us with a force and fervor worthy of the theme. It
also affords a good type of the quiet vigor of thought and the high
moral purpose which are characteristic of the author.

1. _An American Dictionary of the English Language,_ etc., etc. By
NOAH WEBSTER, LL. D. Revised and enlarged by CHAUNCEY A. GOODRICH,
Professor in Yale College. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam. 1859.
pp. ccxxxvi., 1512.

2. _A Dictionary of the English Language._ By JOSEPH E. WORCESTER, LL.
D. Boston: Hickling, Swan, & Brewer. 1860. pp. lxviii,, 1786.

Since the famous Battle of the Books in St. James's Library, no
literary controversy has been more sharply waged than that between the
adherents of the rival Dictionaries of Doctors Worcester and Webster.
The attack was begun thirty years ago, by Dr. Webster's publishers,
when Dr. Worcester's "Comprehensive Dictionary" first appeared in
print. On the publication of his "Universal and Critical Dictionary,"
in 1846, it was renewed, and, not to speak of occasional skirmishes
during the interval, the appearance of Dr. Worcester's enlarged and
finished work brought matters to the crisis of a pitched battle.

From this long conflict Dr. Worcester has unquestionably come off
victorious. Dr. Webster seemed to assume that he had a kind of monopoly
in the English language, and that whoever ventured to compile a
dictionary was guilty of infringing his patent-right. He drew up a list
of words, and triumphantly asked Dr. Worcester where he had found them,
unless in his two quartos of 1828. Dr. Worcester replied by showing
that most of the words were to be found in previous English
dictionaries, and added, with sly humor, that he freely acknowledged
Dr. Webster's exclusive property in the word "bridegoom," and others
like it, which would be sought for vainly in any volumes but his own.
Dr. Webster's attack was as unfair as the result of it was unfortunate
for himself.

We have several reasons, which seem to us sufficient, for preferring
Dr. Worcester's Dictionary; but we are not, on that account, disposed
to underrate the remarkable merits of its rival. Dr. Webster was a man
of vigorous mind, and endowed with a genuine faculty of independent
thinking. He has hardly received justice at the hands of his
countrymen, a large portion of whom have too hastily taken a few
obstinate whimsies as the measure of his powers. Utterly fanciful as
are many of his etymologies, we should be false to our duty as critics,
if we did not acknowledge that Dr. Webster possessed in very large
measure the chief qualities which go to the making of a great
philologist. The very tendency to theorize, which led him to adopt
those oddities of spelling by which he may be said to be chiefly known,
united as it was to an understanding of uncommon breadth and clearness,
would under more favorable auspices have given him a very eminent place
among the philosophic students of language. His great mistake was in
attempting to force his peculiar notions upon the world in his
Dictionary, instead of confining them to his Preface, or putting them
forward tentatively in a separate treatise. The importance which he
attached to these trifles ought to have given him a hint that others
might be as obstinate on the other side, and that the prejudices of
taste have much tougher roots than those of opinion. We are inclined to
think that many of the changes proposed by Dr. Webster will be adopted
in the course of time. But it is a matter of little consequence, and
the progress of such reforms is slow. Already two hundred years ago,
James Howel (the author of Charles Lamb's favorite "Epistolae
Ho-Elianae") advocated similar reforms, and, as far as the printers
would let him, carried them out in practice. "The printer hath not bin
so careful as he should have bin," he complains. He especially condemns
the superfluous letters in many of our words, choosing to write _don_,
_com_, and _som_, rather than _done_, _come_, and _some_. "Moreover,"
he says, "those words that have the Latin for their original, the
author prefers that orthography rather than the French, whereby divers
letters are spar'd: as _Physic, Logic, Afric_, not _Physique, Logique,
Afrique; favor, honor, labor_, not _favour, honour, labour_, and very
many more; as also he omits the Dutch _k_ in most words; here you shall
read _peeple_, not _pe-ople_, _tresure_, not _tre-asure_, _toung_, not
_ton-gue_, &c.; _Parlement_, not _Parliament_; _busines, witnes,
sicknes_, not _businesse, witnesse, sicknesse_; _star, war, far_, not
_starre, warre, farre_; and multitudes of such words, wherein the two
last letters may well be spar'd. Here you shall also read _pity, piety,
witty_, not _piti-e, pieti-e, witti-e_, as strangers at first sight
pronounce them, and abundance of such like words."

Howel gives a weak reason for making the changes he proposes, namely,
that the language will thereby be simplified to foreigners. He hints at
the true one when he says that "we do not speak as we write." Dr.
Webster also, speaking of certain words ending in _our_, says, "What
motive could induce them to write these words, and _errour, honour,
favour, inferiour_, &c., in this manner, following neither the Latin
nor the French, I cannot conceive." Had Dr. Webster's knowledge of the
written English language been as great as it undoubtedly was of its
linguistic relations, he would have seen that the _spelling_ followed
the _accent_. The third verse of the Prologue to the "Canterbury Tales"
would have satisfied him:--

  "And bathéd every root in such licoúr";

and a little farther on,--

  "Or swinken with his houdés and laboúre."

In this respect the spelling of our older writers, where it can be
depended on, and especially of reformers like Howel, is of value, as
throwing some light on the question, how long the Norman pronunciation
lingered in England. Warner, for instance, in his "Albion's England,"
spells _creator_ and _creature_ as they are spelt now, but gives the
French accent to both; and we are inclined to think that the charge of
speaking "right Chaucer," brought against the courtiers of Queen
Elizabeth, referred rather to accent than diction.

The very title of Dr. Webster's Dictionary indicates a radical
misapprehension as to the nature and office of such a work. He calls
the result of his labors an "_American_ Dictionary of the English
Language," as if provincialism were a merit. He evidently thought that
the business of a lexicographer was to _regulate_, not to _record_.
Sometimes also his zeal as an etymologist misled him, as in his famous
attempt to make the word _bridegroom_ more conformable to its supposed
Anglo-Saxon root and its modern Teutonic congeners. It never occurred
to him that we were still as far as ever from the goal, and that it
would be quite as inconvenient to explain that the termination _goom_
was a derivation from the Anglo-Saxon _guma_ as that it was a
corruption of it; the point to be gained being, after all, that we
should be able to find out the meaning of the English word
_bridegroom_, having no pressing need of _guma_ for conversational
purposes. We have spoken of this word only because we have heard it
brought up against Dr. Webster as often as anything else, and because
the disproportionate antipathy produced by this and a few similar
oddities shows, that, the primary object of all writing being the clear
conveyance of meaning, and not only so, but its conveyance in the most
winning way, a writer blunders who wilfully estranges the reader's eye
or jars upon its habitual associations, and that a lexicographer
blunders still more desperately, who, upon system, teaches to offend in
that kind. And it is amusing in respect to this very word _bridegoom_,
that the whimsey is not Dr. Webster's own, but that the bee was put
into his bonnet by Horne Tooke.

Webster in these matters was a bit of a Hotspur. He thought to deal
with language as the vehement Percy would have done with the Trent. The
smug and silver stream was to be allowed no more wilful windings, but
to run

  "In a new channel fair and evenly."

He found an equally hot-headed Glendower, wherever there was an
educated man, ready with the answer,--

  "Not wind? it shall; it must; you see it

"You see _it doth_" is an argument whose force no theorist ever takes
into his reckoning.

We said that the title "American Dictionary of the English Language"
was an absurdity. Fancy a "Cuban Dictionary of the Spanish Language."
It would be of value only to the comparative philologist, curious in
the changes of meaning, pronunciation, and the like, which
circumstances are always bringing about in languages subjected to new
conditions of life and climate. But we must not forget to say
that the title chosen by Dr. Webster conveyed also a meaning
creditable to his spirit and judgment. He always stoutly maintained the
right of English as spoken in America to all the privileges of a living
language. In opposition to the purists who would have clasped the
language forever within the covers of Johnson, he insisted on the
necessity of coining new words or adapting old ones to express new
things and new relations. It is many years since we read his "Remarks"
(if that was the title) on Pickering's "Vocabulary," and in answer to
the rather supercilious criticisms on himself in the "Anthology"; but
the impression left on our mind by that pamphlet is one of great
respect for the good sense, acuteness, and courage of its author. And
of his Dictionary it may safely be said, that, with all its mistakes,
no work of the kind had then appeared so learned and so comprehensive.
It may be doubted if any living language possessed at that time a
dictionary, or one, at least, the work of a single man, in all respects
its equal.

But etymologies are not the most important part of a good working
dictionary, the intention of which is not to inform readers and writers
what a word may have meant before the Dispersion, but what it means
now. The pedigree of an adjective or substantive is of little
consequence to ninety-nine men in a hundred, and the writers who have
wielded our mother-tongue with the greatest mastery have been men who
knew what words had most meaning to their neighbors and acquaintances,
and did not stay their pens to ask what ideas the radicals of those
words may possibly have conveyed to the mind of a bricklayer going up
from Padanaram to seek work on the Tower of Babel. A thoroughly good
etymological dictionary of English is yet to seek; and even if we
should ever get one, it will be for students, and not for the laity.
Nor is it the primary object of a common dictionary to trace the
history of the language. Of great interest and importance to scholars,
it is of comparatively little to Smith and Brown and their children at
the public school. It is a work apart, which we hope to see
accomplished by the London Philological Society in a manner worthy of
comparison with what has been partly done for German by the brothers
Grimm,--alas that the illustrious duality should have been broken by
death! A lexicon of that kind should be an index to all the more
eminent books in the language; but we do not hold this to be the office
of a dictionary for daily reference. A dictionary that should embrace
every unusual word, every new compound, every metaphorical turn of
meaning, to be found in our great writers, would be a compendium of the
genius of our authors rather than of our language; and a lexicographer
who rakes the books of second and third-rate men for out-of-the-way
phrases is doing us no favor. A dictionary is not a drag-net to bring
up for us the broken pots and dead kittens, the sewerage of speech, as
well as its living fishes. Nor do we think it a fair test of such a
work, that one should seek in it for every odd word that may have
tickled his fancy in a favorite author. Like most middle-aged readers,
we have our specially private volumes. One of these--but we will not
betray the secret of our loves--contains some rare words, such as the
Gallicism _mistresse-piece_, and the delightful hybrid _pundonnore_ for
trifling points-of-honor; yet we by no means complain that we can find
neither of them in Worcester, and only the former (with a ludicrously
mistaken definition) in Webster.

A conclusive reason with us for preferring Dr. Worcester's Dictionary
is, that its author has properly understood his functions, and has
aimed to give us a true view of English as it is, and not as he himself
may have wished it should be or thought it ought to he. Its etymologies
are sufficient for the ordinary reader,--sometimes superfluously full,
as where the same word is given over and over again in cognate
languages. We do not see the use, under the word PLAIN, of taking up
room with a list like the following: "L. _planus;_ It. _piano;_ Sp.
_piano;_ Fr. _plain._" Not content with this, Dr. Worcester gives it
once more under PLAN: "L. _planus_, flat; It. _piano_, a plan; Sp.
_piano;_ Fr. _plan._--Dut., Ger., Dan., and Sw. _plan._" Even yet we
have not done with it, for under PLANE we find "L. _planus;_ It.
_piano;_ Sp._plano_, Fr. _plan._" One would think this rather a Polyglot
Lexicon than an English Dictionary. It seems to us that no Romanic
derivative of the Latin root should he given, unless to show that the
word has come into English by that channel. And so of the Teutonic
languages. If we have Danish, Swedish, German, and Dutch, why not
Scotch, Icelandic, Frisic, Swiss, and every other conceivable dialectic

Another fault of superfluousness we find in the number of compounded
words, where the meaning is obvious,--such, for instance, as are formed
with the adverb out, which the genius of the language permits without
limit in the case of verbs. Dr. Worcester gives us, among many

"OUT-BABBLE, _v. a._ To surpass in Idle prattle; to exceed in babbling.

"OUT-BELLOW, _v. a._ To bellow more or louder than; to exceed or
surpass in bellowing. _Bp. Hall._"

"OUT-BLEAT, _v. a._ To bleat more than; to exceed in bleating. _Bp.

"OUT-BRAG, _v. a._ To surpass in bragging. _Shak._"

"OUT-BRIBE, _v, a._ To exceed in bribing. _Blair._"

"OUT-BURN, _v. a._ To exceed in burning. _Young._" [The definition here
is hardly complete; since the word means also to burn longer than.]

"OUT-CANT, _v. a._ To surpass in canting. _Pope._"

"OUT-CHEAT, _v. a._ To surpass in cheating."

"OUT-CURSE, _v. a._ To surpass in cursing."

"OUT-DRINK, _v. a._ To exceed in drinking. _Donne._"

"OUT-FAWN, _v. a._ To excel in fawning. _Hudibras._"

"OUT-FEAT, _v. a._ To surpass in feats. _Smart._"

"OUT-FLASH, _v. a._ To surpass in flashing. _Clarke._"

Similar words occur at frequent intervals through nine columns. Dr.
Webster is equally relentless, (even roping in a few estrays in his
Appendix,) and we hardly know which has out-worded the other. We were
surprised to find in neither the useful and legitimate substantive form
of _outgo_, as the opposite of _income_. This superfluousness (unless
we apply Voltaire's saying, "_Le superflu, chose bien nécessaire_" to
dictionaries also) is the result, we suppose, of the rivalry of
publishers, who have done their best to persuade the public that
numerosity is the chief excellence in works of this kind, and that
whoever buys their particular quarto may be sure of an honest
pennyworth and of owning a thousand or two more words than his less
judicious neighbors. In this way a false standard is manufactured, to
which the lexicographer must conform, if he would have a remunerative
sale for his book. He accordingly explores every lane and _impasse_ in
the purlieus of Grub Street, and pounces on a new word as a naturalist
would on a new bug,--the stranger and uglier, the better. We regret
that this kind of rivalry has been forced on Dr. Worcester; but he is
so thorough, patient, and conscientious, that he leaves little behind
him for the gleaner. We confess that the amplitude of his research has
surprised us, highly as we were prepared to rate him in this respect
by our familiarity with his former works. We have subjected his Dictionary
to a pretty severe test. From the time of its publication we have made
a point of seeking in it every unusual word, old or new, that we met with
in our reading. We have been disappointed in hardly a single instance, and
we are not acquainted with any other dictionary of which we could say as

An attempt has been made to damage Dr. Worcester's work by a partial
comparison of his definitions with those of Dr. Webster; and here,
again, the assumption has been, that _number_ was of more importance
than concise completeness. In the case of a quarto dictionary, we
suppose an honest reviewer may confess that he has not read through the
subject of his criticism. We have opened Dr. Webster's volume at
random, and have found some of his definitions as extraordinarily
inaccurate as many of his etymologies. They quite justify a
_double-entendre_ of Daniel Webster's, which we heard him utter many
years ago in court. He had forced such a meaning upon some word in a
paper connected with the case on trial, that the opposing counsel
interrupted him to ask in what dictionary he found the word so defined.
He silenced his questioner instantly with a happy play upon the name
common to himself and the lexicographer: "In _Webster's_ Dictionary,
Sir!" We find in Webster, for example, the following definition of a
word as to whose meaning he could have been set right by any
coasting-skipper that sailed out of New Haven:--

"AMID-SHIPS; _in marine language_, the middle of a ship with regard to
her length and breadth." Now, when one ship runs into another at sea
and strikes her _amid-ships_, how is she to contrive to accomplish it
so as to satisfy the requirements of this definition? Or if a sailor is
said to be standing amidships, must he be planted precisely in what he
would probably agree with Dr. Webster in spelling the _center_ of the
main-hatch? Dr. Worcester, quoting Falconer, is of course right.

We give another of Dr. Webster's definitions, which caught our eye in
looking over his array of words compounded with _out_. "OUTWARD-BOUND;
proceeding from a port or country." Now Dr. Webster does not tell his
readers that the term is exclusively applicable to vessels; and we
should like to know whence a vessel is likely to proceed, unless from a
port,--and where ports are commonly situated, unless in countries? If
an American ship be "proceeding from" the port of Liverpool to some
port in the United States, how soon does she enter on what
lexicographers call "the state of being" homeward-bound? The narrow
limits to which Dr. Webster confines the word would not extend beyond
the jaws of the harbor from which the ship is sailing. Dr. Worcester's
definition is, "OUTWARD-BOUND. (_Naut_.) Bound outward or to foreign
parts. _Crabb_."

Under the word MORESQUE we find in Webster the following definition: "A
species of painting or carving done after the Moorish manner,
consisting of _grotesque_ pieces and compartments _promiscuously
interspersed_; arabesque. _Gwilt_." (The Italics are our own.) We have
not Mr. Gwilt's Encyclopaedia at hand; but if this be a fair
representation of one of its definitions, it is a very untrustworthy
authority. The last term to be applied to arabesque-work is
_grotesque_, or _promiscuously interspersed_; and the description here
given leaves out the most beautiful kind of arabesque, namely, the
inlaid work of geometrical figures in colored marbles, in which the
Arabs far surpassed the older _opus Alexandrinum_. Nothing could be
less grotesque, less promiscuously interspersed, or more beautiful in
its harmonious variety, than the work of this kind in the famous
_Capella Reale_ at Palermo.

Dr. Webster defines NIGHT-PIECE as "a piece of painting so colored as
to be supposed seen by candle-light,"--a description which we suspect
would have somewhat puzzled Gherardo della Notte.

We might give other instances, had we time and space; but our object is
not to depreciate Webster, but only to show that the claim set up for
him of superior exactness in definition is altogether gratuitous. We
have found no inaccuracies comparable with these in Dr. Worcester's
Dictionary, which we tried in precisely the same way, by opening it
here and there at random. Moreover, looking at his work, not
absolutely, but in comparison with Dr. Webster's, (as we are challenged
to do,) we cannot leave out of view that the former is a first edition,
while the latter has had the advantage of repeated revisions.

Under the word MAGDALEN, we find Webster superior to Worcester. Under
ULAN, we find them both wrong. Dr. Worcester says it means "a species
of militia among the modern Tartars"; and Dr. Webster, "a certain
description of militia among the modern Tartars." In any Polish
dictionary they would have found the word defined as meaning "lancer,"
and the Uhlans in the Austrian army can hardly be described as modern
Tartar militia. Both Dictionaries give SLAW, and neither explains it
rightly. The word does not properly belong in an English dictionary,
unless as an American provincialism of very narrow range. As such, it
will be found, properly defined, in Mr. Bartlett's excellent
Vocabulary. Lexicographers who so often cite the Dutch equivalents of
English words should own Dutch dictionaries. Under IMAGINATION, a good
kind of test-word, we find Worcester much superior to Webster,
especially in illustrative citations.

We have been astonished by some instances of slovenly writing to be
found here and there in Dr. Webster's Dictionary, because he was
capable of writing pure and vigorous English. Under MAGAZINE (and by
the way, Dr. Webster's definition omits altogether the metaphorical
sense of the word) we read that "The first publication of this bind in
England was the _Gentleman's Magazine_, which first appeared in 1731,
under the name of _Sylvanus Urban_, by Edward Cave, and which is still
continued." A reader who knew nothing about the facts would be puzzled
to say what the name of the new periodical really was, whether
_Gentleman's Magazine_ or _Sylvanus Urban_; and a reader who knew
little about English would be led to think that "appeared by" was
equivalent to "was commenced by," unless, indeed, he came to the
conclusion that its apparition took place in the neighborhood of some
cavern known by the name of Edward.

We have only a word to say as to the _illustrations_, as they are
called, a mistaken profuseness in which disfigures both Dictionaries,
another evil result of bookselling competition. The greater part of
them, especially those in Webster, are fitter for a child's scrap-book
than for a volume intended to go into a student's library. Such
adjuncts seem to us allowable only, if at all, somewhat as they were
introduced by Blunt in his "Glossographia," to make terms of heraldry
more easily comprehensible. They might be admitted to save trouble in
describing geometrical figures, or in explaining certain of the more
frequently occurring terms in architecture and mechanics, but beyond
this they are childish. The publishers of Webster give us all the
coats-of-arms of the States of the American Union, among other equally
impertinent woodcuts. We enter a protest against the whole thing, as an
equally unfair imputation on the taste and the standard of judgment of
intelligent Americans. If we must have illustrations, let them be strictly
so, and not primer-pictures. Both Dictionaries give us the figure of a
crossbow, for instance, as if there could be anywhere a boy of ten years
old who did not know the implement, at least under its other name of
_bow-gun_. Neither cut would give the slightest notion of the thing as
a weapon, nor of the mode in which it was wound up and let off. Dr.
Worcester says that it was intended "for shooting _arrows_," which is not
strictly correct, since the proper name of the missile it discharged
was _bolt_,--something very unlike the shaft used by ordinary bowmen.

We believe Dr. Worcester's Dictionary to be the most complete and
accurate of any hitherto published. He intrudes no theories of his own
as to pronunciation or orthography, but cites the opinions of the best
authorities, and briefly adds his own where there is occasion. He is no
bigot for the present spelling of certain classes of words, but gives
them, as he should do, in the way they are written by educated men, at
the same time expressing his belief that the drift of the language is
toward a change, wherever he thinks such to be the case. We reprobate,
in the name of literary decency, the methods which have been employed
to give an unfair impression of his work, as if it had been compiled
merely to supplant Webster, and as if the whole matter were a question
of blind partisanship and prejudice. The assigning of such motives as
these, even by implication, to such men, among many others, as Mr.
Marsh and Mr. Bryant, both of whom have expressed themselves in favor
of the new Dictionary, is an insult to American letters. Mr. Marsh, by
the extent of his learning, is probably better qualified than any other
man in America to pronounce judgment in such a case; and Mr. Bryant has
not left it doubtful that he knows what pure and vigorous English is,
whether in verse or prose, or that he could not employ it except to
maintain a well-grounded conviction.

Apart from more general considerations, there are several reasons which
would induce us to prefer Dr. Worcester's Dictionary. It has the great
advantage, not only that it is constructed on sounder principles, as it
seems to us, but that it is the latest. Stereotyping is an unfortunate
invention, when it tends to perpetuate error or incompleteness, and
already the Appendix of added words in Webster amounts to eighty pages.
For all the words it contains, accordingly, the reader is put to double
pains: he must first search the main body of the work, and then the
supplement. Again, in Worcester, the synonymes are given, each under
its proper head, in the main work; in Webster they form a separate
treatise. One other advantage of Worcester would be conclusive with us,
even were other things equal,--and that is the size of the type, and
the greater clearness of the page, owing to the freshness of the

We know the inadequacy of such hand-to-mouth criticism as that of a
monthly reviewer must be upon works demanding so minute an examination
as a dictionary deserves. For ourselves, we should wish to own both
Webster and Worcester, but, if we could possess only one, we should
choose the latter. It is a monument to the industry, judgment, and
accuracy of the author, of which he may well be proud.

_Elements of Mechanics, for the Use of Colleges, Academies, and High
Schools._ By WILLIAM G. PECK, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia
College. New York: A.S. Barnes & Burr. 1859.

Text-books on Mechanics are of three sorts. Many teachers,
school-committees, and parents wish to add a taste of Mechanics to the
smatterings of twenty or thirty different subjects which constitute
"liberal education," as understood in American high schools and
colleges. For this purpose it is of the first importance that the
text-book should be brief, for the time to be devoted to it is very
short; secondly, it must divest the subject of every perplexity and
difficulty, that it may be readily understood by all young persons,
though of small capacity and less application. Such a text-book can
contain nothing beyond the statement, without proof, of the more
important principles, illustrated by familiar examples, and simple
explanations of the commonest phenomena of motion, and of the machines
and mechanical forces used in the arts. To a few it seems that more
light comes into a room through two or three broad windows, though they
be all on one side, than through fifty bull's-eyes, scattered on every
wall. But the many prefer bull's-eyes,--fifty narrow, distorted
glimpses in as many directions, rather than a broad, clear view of the
heavens and the earth in one direction. Hence superficial, scanty
text-books on science are the only ones which are popular and salable.

The thorough study of Mechanics is, or should be, an essential part of
the training of an architect, an engineer, or a machinist; and there
are several text-books, like Weisbach's Mechanics and Engineering,
intended for students preparing for any of these professions, which are
complete mathematical treatises upon the subject. Such text-books are
invaluable; they become standard works, and win for their authors a
well-deserved reputation.

Professor Peck's book belongs to neither of the two classes of
text-books indicated, but to a class intermediate between the two. It
is at once too good, too difficult a book for general, popular use, and
too incomplete for the purposes of the professional student. As it
assumes that the student is already acquainted with the elements of
Algebra, Trigonometry, Analytic Geometry, and the Calculus, the
successful use of this text-book in the general classes of any academy
or college will be good evidence that the Mathematics are there taught
more thoroughly than is usual in this country. In few American colleges
is the study of the Calculus required of all students. In preparing a
scientific text-book of this sort, originality is neither aimed at nor
required. A judicious selection of materials, correct translation from
the excellent French and German hand-books, with such changes in the
notation as will better adapt it for American use, and a clear, logical
arrangement are the chief merits of such a treatise; and these are
merits which seldom gain much praise, though their absence would expose
the author to censure. The definitions of Professor Peck's book are
exact and concise, every proposition is rigidly demonstrated, and the
illustrations and descriptions are brief, pointed, and intelligible.
Professor Peck says in the Preface, that the book was prepared "to
supply a want felt by the author when engaged in teaching Natural
Philosophy to college classes"; but surely a teacher who prepares a
text-book for his own classes must need a double share of patience and
zeal. Every error which the book contains will be exposed, and the
author will have ample opportunity to repent of all the inaccuracies
which may have crept into his work. Again, the instructor who uses his
own text-book encounters, besides the inevitable monotony of teaching
the same subject year after year, the additional weariness of finding
in the pages of his text-book no mind but his own, which he has read so
often and with so little satisfaction. Even in teaching Mechanics,
there is no exception to the general rule, that two heads are better
than one.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Stories from Famous Ballads_. For Children. By GRACE GREENWOOD, Author
of "History of my Pets," "Merrie England," etc., etc. With
Illustrations by BILLINGS. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

All "famous ballads" are so close to Nature in their conceptions,
emotions, incidents, and expressions, that it seems hardly possible to
change their form without losing their soul. The present little volume
proves that they may be turned into prose stories for children, and yet
preserve much of the vitality of their sentiment and the interest of
their narrative. Grace Greenwood, well known for her previous successes
in writing works for the young, has contrived in this, her most
difficult task, to combine simplicity with energy and richness of
diction, and to present the events and characters of the Ballads in the
form best calculated to fill the youthful imagination and kindle the
youthful love of action and adventure. Among the subjects are Patient
Griselda, The King of France's Daughter, Chevy Chase, The Beggar's
Daughter of Bednall Green, Sir Patrick Spens, and Auld Robin Gray. Much
of the author's success in giving prose versions of these, without
making them prosaic, is due to the intense admiration she evidently
feels for the originals. Among American children's books, this volume
deserves a high place.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mary Staunton; or the Pupils of Marvel Hall_. By the Author of
"Portraits of, my Married Friends." New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This story has a practical aim, the exposure of the faults of
fashionable boarding-schools. "A good plot, and full of expectation,"
as Hotspur said; but the author had not the ability to execute the
design. The satire and denunciation are both weak, and are not relieved
by the introduction of a very silly and threadbare love-story.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Poems_. By the Author of "John Halifax," "A Life for a Life," etc.
Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

Some of the verses in this little volume are quite pretty, especially
those entitled, "By the Alma River," "The Night before the Mowing," "My
Christian Name," and "My Love Annie." Miss Muloch is not able to take
any high rank as a poetess, and very sensibly does not try.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Title-Hunting_. By E. L. LLEWELLYN, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott &

This is a miraculously foolish book. Titled villains, impossible
parvenus, abductions, and convents abound in its pages, and all are as
stupid as they are improbable.



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Elements of Mechanics: For the Use of Colleges, Academies, and High
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American Normal Schools: their Theory, their Workings, and their
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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 31, May, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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