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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 01, November, 1857 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS



CONTENTS.

Abbé de l'Epée, the
Agassiz's Natural History
Akin by Marriage
American Antiquity
Aquarium, my
Architecture, Domestic
Art
Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, the

Battle of Lepanto, the
Beecher, Henry Ward
Beethoven
Béranger
Birds and their Ways
Books
British Gallery in New York, the
British India
Buchanan's Administration
Burr, Aaron
Button-Rose, the

Carlyle, Thomas
Catacombs of Rome, the
Child-Life by the Ganges
Cretins and Idiots

Diamond Lens, the

Eben Jackson

Financial Flurry, the
Florentine Mosaics

Ghost Redivivus, the
Great Failure, the
Grindwell Governing Machine, the

Hundred Days, the

Illusions
India, British
Indian Revolt, the
Intellectual Character

Jerrold, Douglas
Journal to my Cousin Mary

Kansas Usurpation, Review of the

Lepanto, the Battle of
L'Epée, the Abbé de
Librarian's Story, the
Loo Loo

Mamoul
Manchester Exhibition, the
Maya, the Princess
Mourning Veil, the
Music
My Aquarium
My Journal to my Cousin Mary

New England Ministers
Notes on Domestic Architecture

Our Birds and their Ways

Pendlam, a Modern Reformer
Persian Poetry
Pictures, Something about
President's Message, the
Prima Donna, Who paid for the
Pure Pearl of Diver's Bay, the

Queen of the Red Chessmen, the

Robin Hood
Roger Pierce
Round Table, the

Saints, and their Bodies
Sally Parsons's Duty
Solitude and Society
Something about Pictures
Spartacus

Tea
Tiflin of Paragraphs
Turkey Tracks

Welsh Musical Festival
Where will it End?
Who is the Thief?
Who paid for the Prima Donna?
Wichern, Dr., and his Pupils
Winds and the Weather, the


POETRY.

Amours de Voyage

Beauty
Brahma
Burying-Ground, the Old
Busts of Goethe and Schiller, the
By the Dead

Camille
Catawba Wine
Charley's Death
Chartist's Complaint, the
Cornucopia

Daybreak
Daylight and Moonlight
Days
Didactic Poetry, the Origin of

Epigram on J.M.

Gift of Tritemius, the
Goethe and Schiller, the Busts of
Golden Milestone, the

Happiness

Karin, the Story of

Lucknow, the Relief of

Mercedes
Milestone, the Golden
My Portrait Gallery

Nest, the

Old Burying-Ground, the
Origin of Didactic Poetry, the

Psyche, thy

Relief of Lucknow, the
Rommany Girl, the

Sandalphoa
Santa Filomena
Sculptor's Funeral, the
Skipper Ireson's Ride
Sonnets
Story of Karin, the

Tacking Ship off Shore
Telling the Bees
Thy Psyche
Two Rivers

Wedding Veil, the
Wind and Stream, the
Word to the Wise


LITERARY NOTICES

American Cyclopædia, the New
Anglais, les, et l'Inde

Bayne, Peter, Essays in Biography and Criticism
Beatrice Cenci, by Guerrazzi
Brazil and the Brazilians

City Poems, by Alexander Smith
Clerical Life, Scenes of
Comic and Humorous German Poetry
Cyclopædia, the New American

Dante's Hell, by J.C. Peabody
De Vere, Aubrey, May Carols by
Dichtung, die deutsche komische und humoristische, seit Beginn
  des 16. Jahrhunderts bis auf unsere Zeit
Dunglison's Dictionary of Medical Science

Elements of Drawing, by Ruskin
Eté dans le Sahara, une

France au XVI. Siècle, Histoire de

Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, by Dr. Waagen
German Poetry, Comic and Humorous
Greyson Letters, the, by Henry Rogers

Hamilton, Alexander, History of U.S. as traced in the Writings of
Handbook of Railroad Construction
Handel, Schoelcher's Life of
Harford's Life of Michel Angelo
Helps's History of the Spanish Conquest
Homoeopathic Domestic Physician
Hunt, Leigh, Poetical Works of

Kane, Dr. E.K., Elder's Life of
Kraft und Stoff, von C. Büchner

Liberté, la, par Emile de Girardin
Library of Old Authors, Smith's

Materie und Geist, von Büchner
May Carols, by Aubrey de Vere
Michel Angelo Buonarotti, Harford's Life of
Michelet, Histoire de France par

Norwège, la, par Louis Enault

Parthenia, by Mrs. Lee
Prudhomme, M. Joseph, Memoires de

Reichspostreiter, der, in Ludwigsburg
Revolution Francaise, Histoire de la
Roumania, by Jas. O. Noyes, M.D.
Ruskin's Elements of Drawing

Sahara, une Eté dans le
Scenes of Clerical Life
Smith, Alexander, City Poems by
Spanish Conquest in America, the
Spurgeon, Rev. C.H., Sermons of

Thüringer Naturen, von Otto Ludwig
Twin Roses

Waagen, Dr., Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain by
Waverley Novels
White Lies, by Charles Reade



THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY


VOL. I.--NOVEMBER, 1857.--NO. I.



DOUGLAS JERROLD.


My personal acquaintance with Douglas Jerrold began in the spring of 1851.
I had always had a keen relish for his wit and fancy; I felt a peculiar
interest in a man who, like myself, had started in life in the Navy; and
one of the things poor Douglas prided himself on was his readiness to know
and recognize young fellows fighting in his own profession. I shall not
soon forget the dinner he gave at the Whittington Club that spring. St.
Clement's had rung out a late chime before we parted; and it was a drizzly,
misty small hour as he got into a cab for Putney, where he was then living.
I had found him all I expected; and he did not disappoint, on further
acquaintance, the promise of that first interview. It will be something to
remember in afterlife, that one enjoyed the friendship of so brilliant a
man; and if I can convey to my readers a truer, livelier picture of his
genius and person than they have been able to form for themselves hitherto,
I shall be delighted to think that I have done my duty to his memory. The
last summer which he lived to see is now waning; let us gather, ere it
goes, the "lilies" and "purple flowers" that are due to his grave.

Jerrold's Biography is still unwritten. The work is in the hands of his
eldest son,--his successor in the editorship of "Lloyd's,"--and will be
done with pious carefulness. Meanwhile I cannot do more than _sketch_ the
narrative of his life; but so much, at all events, is necessary as shall
enable the reader to understand the Genius and Character which I aspire to
set before him.

Douglas William Jerrold was, I take it, of South-Saxon ancestry,--dashed
with Scotch through his grandmother, whose maiden name was Douglas, and who
is said to have been a woman of more than ordinary energy of character. As
a Scot, I should like to trace him to that spreading family apostrophized
by the old poet in such beautiful words,--

  "O Douglas, O Douglas,
  Tender and true!"

But I don't think he ever troubled himself on the subject; though he had
none of that contempt for a good pedigree which is sometimes found in men
of his school of politics. As regarded fortune, he owed every thing to
nature and to himself; no man of our age had so thoroughly fought his own
way; and no man of any age has had a much harder fight of it. To understand
and appreciate him, it was, and is, necessary to bear this fact in mind.
It colored him as the Syrian sun did the old crusading warrior. And hence,
too, he was in a singular degree a representative man of his age; his
age having set him to wrestle with it,--having tried his force in every
way,--having left its mark on his entire surface. Jerrold and the century
help to explain each other, and had found each other remarkably in earnest
in all their dealings. This fact stamps on the man a kind of genuineness,
visible in all his writings,--and giving them a peculiar force and
raciness, such as those of persons with a less remarkable experience never
possess. We are told, that, in selling yourself to the Devil, it is the
proper traditionary practice to write the contract in your blood. Douglas,
in binding himself against him, did the same thing. You see his blood in
his ink,--and it gives a depth of tinge to it.

He was the son of a country manager named Samuel Jerrold, and was born in
London on the 3d of January, 1803. His father was for a long time manager
of the seaport theatres of Sheerness and Southend,--which stand opposite
each other, just where the Thames becomes the sea. Douglas spent most of
his boyhood, therefore, about the sea-coast, in the midst of a life that
was doubly dramatic,--dramatic as real, and dramatic as theatrical. There
were sea, ships, sailors, prisoners, the hum of war, the uproar of seaport
life, on the one hand; on the other, the queer, rough, fairy world (to
him at once fairy world and home world) of the theatre. It was a position
to awaken precociously, one would think, the feelings of the quick-eyed,
quick-hearted lad. No wonder he took the sea-fever to which all our blood
is liable, and tried a bout of naval life. At eleven years of age he
became a middy, and served a short time--not two years in all--in a vessel
stationed in the North Sea. Naval life was a rough affair in those days.
Jerrold's most remarkable experience seems to have been bringing over
the wounded of Waterloo from Belgium; which stamped on his mind a sense
of the horrors of war that never left him, but is marked on his writings
everywhere, in spite of a certain combative turn and an admiration of
heroes which also belonged to him. To the last, he had an interest in sea
matters, and spoke with enthusiasm of Lord Nelson. But the literary use he
made of his nautical experience ended with "Black-eyed Susan." He was a boy
when he came ashore and threw himself on the very different sea of London;
and it is the influence of London that is most perceptible in his mature
works. Here his work was done, his battles fought, his mind formed; and you
may observe in his writings a certain romantic and ideal way of speaking of
the country, which shows that to him it was a place of retreat and luxury,
rather than of sober, practical living. This is not uncommon with literary
men whose lot has been cast in a great city, if they possess, as Jerrold
did, that poetic temperament which is alive to natural beauty.

He now became an apprentice in a printing-office, and went through the
ordinary course of a printer's life. He felt genius stirring in him, and
he strove for the knowledge to give it nourishment, and the field to give
it exercise. He read and wrote, as well as worked and talked. It would be
a task for antiquarian research to recover his very earliest lucubrations
scattered among the ephemeral periodicals of that day. Plays of his might
be dug out, whose very names are unknown to his most intimate friends. He
scattered his early fruit far and wide,--getting little from the world in
exchange. Literature was then a harder struggle than in our days. Jerrold
did not know the successful men who presided over it. He had no patrons;
and he had few friends. The isolation and poverty in which he formed his
mind and style deepened the _peculiarity_ which was a characteristic of
these. They gave to his genius that intense and eccentric character which
it has; and no doubt (for Fortune has a way of compensating) the chill they
breathed on the fruits of his young nature enriched their ripeness, as a
touch of frost does with plums. The grapes from which Tokay is made are
left hanging even when the snow is on them;--all the better for Tokay!

His youth, then, was a long and hard struggle to get bread in
exchange for wit;--a struggle like that of the poor girls who sell
violets in the streets. He was wont to talk of those early days very
freely,--passionately, even to tears, when he got excited,--and always
bravely, heartily, and with the right "moral" to follow. When Diderot had
passed a whole day without bread, he vowed that if he ever got prosperous,
he would save any fellow-creature that he could from such suffering.
Jerrold had learned the same lesson. Through life, he took the side of
the poor and weak. It was the secret, at once, of his philosophy and his
politics. He got endless abuse for his eternal tirades against the great
and the "respectable,"--against big-wigs of every size and shape. But
the critics who attacked him for this negative pole of his intellectual
character overlooked the positive one. He had kindness and sympathy enough;
but he always gave them first to those who wanted them most. And as
humorist and satirist he had a natural tendency to attack power,--to
play Pasquin against the world's Pope. In fact, his radicalism was that
of a humorist. He never adopted the utilitarian, or, as it was called,
"philosophical," radicalism which was so fashionable in his younger
days;--not, indeed, the Continental radicalism held by a party in
England;--but was an independent kind of warrior, fighting under his own
banner, and always rather with the weapons of a man of letters than those
of a politician. For the business aspect of politics he never showed any
predilection from first to last.

Well, then,--picture him to yourself, reader, a small, delicate youth, with
fair, prominent features,--long, thin hair,--keen, eager, large, blue eyes,
glancing out from right to left, as he walks the streets of Babylon,--and
seizing with a quick impulsiveness every feeling of the hour. Still
young,--and very young,--he has married for love. He is living in a cottage
or villakin on the outskirts of town, where there is just a peep of green
to keep one's feelings fresh; and he is writing for the stage. It is hard
work, and sometimes the dun is at the door, and contact is inevitable with
men who don't understand the precious jewel he weareth in his head;--but
the week's hard work is got through somehow; and on Sundays he sallies
forth for rural air with a little knot of friends, and the talk is of art,
and letters, and the world. So quick and keen a nature as his had immense
buoyancy in it. Nay, for the very dun young Douglas had an epigram,--as
bright, but not as welcome, as a sovereign. A saying of those early days
has found its way into a comedy,--but not the less belongs to his authentic
biography. A threatening attorney shakes his fist at the villakin where at
the window the wit is parleying with him. "I'll put a man in the house,
Sir!" "Couldn't you," says Douglas, (and of course the right-minded reader
is shocked,) "couldn't you make it a woman?" What a scandalous way to treat
a man of business! Between Douglas and the lawyers, for many years, there
was open war. He was a kind of Robin Hood to these representatives of the
Crown,--adopting the plucky and defiant gaiety of the old outlaw, and
shooting keen arrows at them with a bow that never grew weak.

The theatres were his regular sources of employment for many years, and he
wrote dramas at a salary. Tradition and family connection must have led
him chiefly to this walk; for though he had some of the most important
qualities of a dramatist, very few of his dramas seem likely to live,--and
even these are not equal to his works in other departments. The "Man made
of Money" will outlast his best play. His most popular drama,--"Black-eyed
Susan,"--though clever, pretty, and tender, is not, as a work of art,
worthy of his genius; nor did he consider it so himself. In his dramas
we find, I think, rather touches of character, than characters,--scenes,
rather than plots,--_disjecta membra_ of dramatic genius, rather than
harmonious creations of it. He could not separate himself from his work
sufficiently for the purposes of the higher stage. As Johnson says of
"Cato," "We pronounce the name of Cato, but we think on Addison,"--so one
may say of any character of Jerrold's, that it suggests and refers us to
its author. All the gold has his head on it. To be sure, there is plenty of
gold; and I wish somebody would put his scores of plays, big and little,
into a kind of wine-press and give us the wine. There is always the wit of
the man, whether the play be "Gertrude's Cherries," or "The Smoked Mixer,"
or "Fifteen Years of a Drunkard's Life,"--or what not. _That_ quality never
failed him. He dresses up all his characters in that brilliant livery. But
dialogue is not enough for the stage, and compared with the attraction of
an intense action is nothing. Besides, Jerrold found the modern taste for
spectacle forming thirty years ago. In his prefaces he complains bitterly
of the preference of the public for the mechanical over the higher
attractions of the art. And the satirical war he waged against actors
and managers showed that he looked back with little pleasure to the days
when his life was chiefly occupied with them and their affairs. It may be
mentioned here, that he was very shabbily treated by several people who
owed fame and fortune to his genius. I have heard a curious story about his
connection with Davidge, manager of the Surrey,--the original, as I take
it, of his Bajazet Gay. They say that he had used Douglas very ill,--that
Douglas invoked this curse upon him,--"that he might live to keep his
carriage, and yet not be able to ride in it,"--and that it was fulfilled,
curiously, to the letter. The ancient gods, we know, took the comic poet
under their protection and avenged him. Was this a case of the kind,--or
but a flying false anecdote? I would not be certain;--but at least,
when Davidge died one evening, and Douglas was informed of the hour, he
remarked, "I did not think he would have died before the half-price came
in!" Sordid fellows are not safe from genius even in the grave. It spoils
their sepulchral monuments,--as the old heralds tore the armorial blazonry
from plebeian tombs.

His first fame and success, however, were owing to the Drama; and though
his non-dramatic labors were greater and still more successful, he never
altogether left the stage. I repeat, that I value his plays, most, because
they helped to discipline him for his after-work; and I thank the theatre
chiefly for ripening in its heat the philosophic humorist. That was the
real character of the man. He tried many things, and he produced much;
but the root of him was that he was a humorous thinker. He did not write
first-rate plays, or first-rate novels, rich as he was in _the elements_
of playwright and novelist. He was not an artist. But he had a rare and
original eye and soul,--and in a peculiar way he could pour out himself.
In short, to be an Essayist was the bent of his nature and genius. English
literature is rich in such men,--in men whose works are cherished for
the individuality they reveal. What the Song is in poetry the Essay is
in prose. The producer pours out himself in his own way, and cannot be
separated even in thought from that which he has produced. Jerrold's
characters in plays and novels are interesting to me because they are
Jerrold in masquerade.

But none of us are just what we should like to be. Fortune has her say in
the matter; and as Bacon observes, a man's fortune works on his nature, and
his nature on his fortune. Many a play Jerrold no doubt wrote when he would
rather have been writing something else,--and so on, as life rolled by, and
the day that was passing over him required to be provided for. His fight
for fame was long and hard; and his life was interrupted, like that of
other men, by sickness and pain. In the stoop in his gait, in the lines in
his face, you saw the man who had reached his Ithaca by no mere yachting
over summer seas. And hence, no doubt, the utter absence in him of all
that conventionalism which marks the man of quiet experience and habitual
conformity to the world. In the streets, a stranger would have known
Jerrold to be a remarkable man; you would have gone away speculating
on him. In talk, he was still Jerrold;--not Douglas Jerrold, Esq., a
successful gentleman, whose heart and soul you were expected to know
nothing about, and with whom you were to eat your dinner peaceably,
like any common man. No. He was at all times Douglas the peculiar and
unique,--with his history in his face, and his genius on his tongue,--nay,
and after a little, with his heart on his sleeve. This made him piquant;
and the same character makes his writings piquant. Hence, too, he is
often _quaint_,--a word which describes what no other word does,--always
conveying a sense of originality, and of what, when we wish to be
condemnatory, we call egotism, but which, when it belongs to genius, is
delightful.

As he became better known, he wrote in higher quarters. "Men of Character"
appeared in "Blackwood,"--a curious collection of philosophical
stories;--for artist he was not; he was always a thinker. He had a way of
dressing up a bit of philosophical observation into a story very happily.
He had much feeling for symbol, and, like the old architects, would fill
all things, pretty or ugly, with meaning. When one reads these stories, one
does not feel as if it were the writer's vocation to be a story-teller, but
as if he were using the story as a philosophical toy. And it was fortunate
for him that he fell on an age of periodicals, a class of works which just
suited his genius. He and the modern development of periodical literature
grew up together, and grew prosperous together. He was never completely
known in England till after the establishment of "Punch." An independent
and original organ just suited him, above all; for there he had the full
play which he required as a humorist, and as a self-formed man with a
peculiar style and experience. "Punch" was the "Argo" which conveyed him to
the Golden Fleece.

Up to the time of the appearance of this journal, Jerrold had scattered
himself very freely over periodical literature. He had conquered a
position. He had formed his mind. He had seen the world in many phases, and
besides his knowledge of London, had varied his experience of that city
by a lengthened residence in France. Still, he had not yet caught _the
nation_,--there being many degrees of celebrity below _that_ stage of it;
and now, in middle life, his best and crowning success was to begin.

I believe that Jerrold had long desiderated a "Punch"; but it is certain
that the present famous periodical of that name was started by his
son-in-law, Mr. Henry Mayhew. For a while it had no great success, and the
copyright was sold for a small sum to Messrs. Bradbury and Evans. Success
came, and such a success that "Punch" must always last as part of the comic
literature of England. That literature is rich in political as well as
other forms of satire; and from various causes, about the time of "Punch,"
political satire was at a low ebb. The newspapers no longer published
squibs as they once had done. The days of the Hooks and Moores had gone
by; there was nobody to do with the pen what H. B. did with the pencil. So
"Punch" was at once a novelty and a necessity,--from its width of scope,
its joint pictorial and literary character, and its exclusive devotion to
the comic features of the age. "Figaro" (a satirical predecessor, by Mr. à
Beckett) had been very clever, but wanted many of "Punch's" features, and
was, above all, not so calculated to hit "society" and get into families.

Jerrold's first papers of mark in "Punch" were those signed "Q." His style
was now formed, as his mind was, and these papers bear the stamp of his
peculiar way of thinking and writing. Assuredly, his is a _peculiar_ style
in the strict sense; and as marked as that of Carlyle or Dickens. You see
the self-made man in it,--a something _sui generis_,--not formed on the
"classical models," but which has grown up with a kind of twist in it, like
a tree that has had to force its way up surrounded by awkward environments.
Fundamentally, the man is a thinking humorist; but his mode of expression
is strange. The perpetual inversions, the habitual irony, the mingled
tenderness and mockery, give a kind of gnarled surface to the style, which
is pleasant when you get familiar with it, but which repels the stranger,
and to some people even remains permanently disagreeable. I think it was
his continual irony which at last brought him to writing as if under a
mask; whereas it would have been better to write out flowingly, musically,
and lucidly. His mixture of satire and kindliness always reminds me of
those lanes near Beyrout in which you ride with the prickly-pear bristling
alongside of you, and yet can pluck the grapes which force themselves
among it from the fields. Inveterately satirical as Jerrold is, he is even
"spoonily" tender at the same time; and it lay deep in his character; for
this wit and _bon-vivant_, the merriest and wittiest man of the company,
would cry like a child, as the night drew on, and the talk grew serious. No
theory could be more false than that he was a cold-blooded satirist,--sharp
as steel is sharp, from being hard. The basis of his nature was
sensitiveness and impulsiveness. His wit is not of the head only, but
of the heart,--often sentimental, and constantly _fanciful_, that is,
dependent on a quality which imperatively requires a sympathetic nature
to give it full play. Take those "Punch" papers which soon helped to make
"Punch" famous, and Jerrold himself better known. Take the "Story of a
Feather," as a good expression of his more earnest and tender mood. How
delicately all the part about the poor actress is worked up! How moral, how
stoical, the feeling that pervades it! The bitterness is healthy,--healthy
as bark. We cannot always be

  "Seeing only what is fair,
  Sipping only what is sweet,"

in the presence of such phenomena as are to be seen in London alongside
of our civilization. If any feeling of Jerrold's was intense, it was his
feeling of sympathy with the poor. I shall not soon forget the energy and
tenderness with which he would quote these lines of his favorite Hood:--

  "Poor Peggy sells flowers from street to street,
  And--think of that, ye who find life sweet!--
    She hates the smell of roses."

He was, therefore, to be pardoned when he looked with extreme suspicion
and severity on the failings of the rich. _They_ at least, he knew, were
free from those terrible temptations which beset the unfortunate. They
could protect themselves. They needed to be reminded of their duties.
Such was his view, though I don't think he ever carried it so far as he
was accused of doing. Nay, I think he sometimes had to prick up his zeal
before assuming the _flagellum_. For a successful, brilliant man like
himself,--full of humor and wit,--eminently convivial, and sensitive to
pleasure,--the temptation rather was to adopt the easy philosophy that
every thing was all right,--that the rich were wise to enjoy themselves
with as little trouble as possible,--and that the poor (good fellows, no
doubt) must help themselves on according as they got a chance. It was
to Douglas's credit that he always felt the want of a deeper and holier
theory, and that, with all his gaiety, he felt it incumbent on him to
use his pen as an implement of what he thought reform. Indeed, it was a
well-known characteristic of his, that he disliked being talked of as "a
wit." He thought (with justice) that he had something better in him than
most wits, and he sacredly cherished high aspirations. To him buffoonery
was pollution. He attached to _salt_ something of the sacredness which
it bears in the East. He was fuller of repartee than any man in England,
and yet was about the last man that would have condescended to be what
is called a "diner-out". It is a fact which illustrates his mind, his
character, and biography.

The "Q." papers, I say, were the first essays which attracted attention
in "Punch." In due time followed his "Punch's Letters to his Son," and
"Complete Letter-Writer," with the "Story of a Feather", mentioned above.
A basis of philosophical observation, tinged with tenderness, and a dry,
ironical humor,--all, like the Scottish lion in heraldry, "within a double
tressure-fleury and counter-fleury" of wit and fancy,--such is a Jerroldian
paper of the best class in "Punch." It stands out by itself from all
the others,--the sharp, critical knowingness, sparkling with puns, of à
Beckett,--the inimitable, wise, easy, playful, worldly, social sketch of
Thackeray. In imagery he had no rivals there; for his mind had a very
marked tendency to the ornamental and illustrative,--even to the grotesque.
In satire, again, he had fewer competitors than in humor;--sarcasms lurk
under his similes, like wasps in fruit or flowers. I will just quote one
specimen from a casual article of his, because it happens to occur to my
memory, and because it illustrates his manner. The "Chronicle" had been
attacking some artists in whom he took an interest. In replying, he set
out by telling how in some vine countries they repress the too luxuriant
growths by sending in asses to crop the shoots. Then he remarked gravely,
that young artists required pruning, and added, "How thankful we ought all
to be that the 'Chronicle' keeps a donkey!" This is an average specimen of
his playful way of ridiculing. In sterner moods he was grander. Of a Jew
money-lender he said, that "he might die like Judas, but that he had no
bowels to gush out";--also, that "he would have sold our Saviour for _more
money_." An imaginative color distinguished his best satire, and it had the
deadly and wild glitter of war-rockets. This was the most original quality,
too, of his satire, and just the quality which is least common in our
present satirical literature. He had read the old writers,--Browne, Donne,
Fuller, and Cowley,--and was tinged with that richer and quainter vein
which so emphatically distinguishes them from the prosaic wits of our day.
His weapons reminded you of Damascus rather than Birmingham.

A wit with a mission,--this was the position of Douglas in the last years
of his life. Accordingly he was a little ashamed of the immense success of
the "Caudle Lectures,"--the fame of which I remember being bruited about
the Mediterranean in 1845,--and which, as social drolleries, set nations
laughing. Douglas took their celebrity rather sulkily. He did not like
to be talked of as a funny man. However, they just hit the reading
English,--always domestic in their literary as in their other tastes,--and
so helped to establish "Punch" and to diffuse Jerrold's name. He began
now to be a Power in popular literature; and coming to be associated
with the _liberal_ side of "Punch," especially, the Radicals throughout
Britain hailed him as a chief. Hence, in due course, his newspaper and
his magazine,--both of which might have been permanently successful
establishments, had his genius for business borne any proportion to his
genius for literature.

This, however, was by no manner of means the case. His nature was
altogether that of a literary man and artist. He could not speak in public.
He could not manage money matters. He could only write and talk,--and
these rather as a kind of _improvvisatore_, than as a steady, reading,
bookish man, like a Mackintosh or a Macaulay. His politics partook of this
character, and I always used to think that it was a queer destiny which
made him a Radical teacher. The Radical literature of England is, with few
exceptions, of a prosaic character. The most famous school of radicalism
is utilitarian and systematic. Douglas was, emphatically, neither. He
was impulsive, epigrammatic, sentimental. He dashed gaily against an
institution, like a _picador_ at a bull. He never sat down, like the
regular workers of his party, to calculate the expenses of monarchy or the
extravagance of the civil list. He had no notion of any sort of "economy."
I don't know that he had ever taken up political science seriously, or that
he had any preference for one kind or form of government over another.
I repeat,--his radicalism was that of a humorist. He despised big-wigs,
and pomp of all sorts, and, above all, humbug and formalism. But his
radicalism was important as a sign that our institutions are ceasing
to be picturesque; of which, if you consider his nature, you will see
that his radicalism was a sign. And he did service to his cause. Not an
abuse, whether from the corruption of something old, or the injustice of
something new, but Douglas was out against it with his sling. He threw his
thought into some epigram which stuck. Praising journalism once, he said,
"When Luther wanted to crush the Devil, didn't he throw _ink_ at him?"
Recommending Australia, he wrote, "Earth is so kindly there, that, tickle
her with a hoe, and she laughs with a harvest." The last of these sayings
is in his best manner, and would be hard to match anywhere for grace and
neatness. Here was a man to serve his cause, for he embodied its truths in
forms of beauty. His use to his party could not be measured like that of
commoner men, because of the rarity and attractive nature of the gifts
which he brought to its service. They had a kind of incalculable value,
like that of a fine day, or of starlight.

He was now immersed in literary activity. He had all kinds of work on hand.
He brought out occasionally a five-act comedy, full as usual of wit. He
wrote in "Punch,"--started a newspaper,--started a magazine,--published
a romance,--all within a few years of each other. The romance was "A Man
made of Money," which bids fair, I think, to be read longer than any of
his works. It is one of those fictions in which, as in "Zanoni," "Peter
Schlemil," and others, the supernatural appears as an element, and yet is
made to conform itself in action to real and every-day life, in such a
way that the understanding is not shocked, because it reassures itself by
referring the supernatural to the regions of allegory. Shall we call this a
kind of bastard-allegory? Jericho, when he first appears, is a common man
of the common world. He is a money-making, grasping man, yet with a bitter
savour of satire about him which raises him out of the common place.
Presently it turns out, that by putting his hand to his heart he can
draw away bank-notes,--only that it is his life he is drawing away. The
conception is fine and imaginative, and ought to rank with the best of
those philosophical stories so fashionable in the last century. Its
working-out in the every-day part is brilliant and pungent; and much
ingenuity is shown in connecting the tragic and mysterious element in
Jericho's life with the ordinary, vain, worldly existence of his wife
and daughters. It is startling to find ourselves in the regions of the
impossible, just as we are beginning to know the persons of the fable. But
the mind reassures itself. This Jericho, with his mysterious fate,--is
not he, in this twilight of fiction, shadowing to us the real destiny of
real money-grubbers whom we may see any day about our doors? Has not the
money become the very life of many such? And so feeling, the reader goes
pleasantly on,--just excited a little, and raised out of the ordinary
temperature in which fiction is read, by the mystic atmosphere through
which he sees things,--and ends, acknowledging that with much pleasure he
has also gathered a good moral. For his mere amusement the best fireworks
have been cracking round him on his journey. In short, I esteem this
Jerrold's best book,--the one which contains most of his mind. Certain
aspects of his mind, indeed, may be seen even to better advantage in others
of his works; his sentimental side, for instance, in "Clovernook," where
he has let his fancy run riot like honeysuckle, and overgrow every thing;
his wit in "Time works Wonders," which blazes with epigrams like Vauxhall
with lamps. But "A Man made of Money" is the completest of his books as
a creation, and the most characteristic in point of style,--is based on
a principle which predominated in his mind,--is the most original in
imaginativeness, and the best sustained in point and neatness, of the works
he has left.

During the years of which I have just been speaking, Jerrold lived chiefly
in a villa at Putney, and afterwards at St. John's Wood,--the mention
of which fact leads me to enter on a description of him in his private,
social, and friendly relations. Now-a-days it is happily expected of every
man who writes of another to recognize his humanity,--not to treat him as
a machine for the production of this or that--scientific, or literary, or
other--material. _Homo sum_ is the motto of the biographer, and so of the
humbler biographic sketcher. Jerrold is just one of those who require and
reward this kind of personal sympathy and attention;--so radiant was the
man of all that he put into his books!--so quick, so warm, so full of light
and life, wit and impulse! He was one of the few who in their conversation
entirely come up to their renown. He sparkled wherever you touched him,
like the sea at night.

The first thing I have to remark, in treating of Jerrold the man, is the
entire harmony between that figure and Jerrold the writer. He talked very
much as he wrote, and he acted in life on the principles which he advocated
in literature. He united, remarkably, simplicity of character with
brilliancy of talk. For instance, with all his success, he never sought
higher society than that which he found himself gradually and by a natural
momentum borne into, as he advanced. He never suppressed a flash of
indignant sarcasm for fear of startling the "genteel" classes and Mrs.
Grundy. He never aped aristocracy in his household. He would go to a tavern
for his oysters and a glass of punches simply as they did in Ben Jonson's
days; and I have heard of his doing so from a sensation of boredom at a
very great house indeed,--a house for the sake of an admission to which,
half Bayswater would sell their grandmothers' bones to a surgeon. This kind
of thing stamped him in our polite days as one of the old school, and was
exceedingly refreshing to observe in an age when the anxious endeavour
of the English middle classes is to hide their plebeian origin under a
mockery of patrician elegance. He had none of the airs of success or
reputation,--none of the affectations, either personal or social, which
are rife everywhere. He was manly and natural,--free and off-handed to the
verge of eccentricity. Independence and marked character seemed to breathe
from the little, rather bowed figure, crowned with a lion-like head and
falling light hair,--to glow in the keen, eager, blue eyes glancing on
either side as he walked along. Nothing could be less commonplace, nothing
less conventional, than his appearance in a room or in the streets.

His quick, impulsive nature made him a great talker, and conspicuously
convivial,--yea, convivial, at times, up to heights of vinous glory which
the Currans and Sheridans shrank not from, but which a respectable age
discourages. And here I must undertake the task of saying something about
his conversational wit,--so celebrated, yet so difficult (as is notoriously
the case with all wits) to do justice to on paper.

The first thing that struck you was his extreme _readiness_ in
conversation. He gave the electric spark whenever you put your knuckle to
him. The first time I called on him in his house at Putney, I found him
sipping claret. We talked of a certain dull fellow whose wealth made him
prominent at that time. "Yes," said Jerrold, drawing his finger round
the edge of his wineglass, "_that's_ the range of his intellect,--only
it had never any thing half so good in it." I quote this merely as one
of the average _bons-mots_ which made the small change of his ordinary
conversation. He would pun, too, in talk, which he scarcely ever did in
writing. Thus he extemporized as an epitaph for his friend Charles Knight,
"GOOD NIGHT!"--When Mrs. Glover complained that her hair was turning
gray,--from using essence of lavender (as she said),--he asked her "whether
it wasn't essence of thyme?" On the occasion of starting a convivial club,
(he was very fond of such clubs,) somebody proposed that it should consist
of twelve members, and be called "The Zodiac,"--each member to be named
after a sign. "And what shall I be?" inquired a somewhat solemn man, who
feared that they were filled up. "Oh, we'll bring you in as the weight
in Libra," was the instant remark of Douglas. A noisy fellow had long
interrupted a company in which he was. At last the bore said of a certain
tune, "It carries me away with it." "For God's sake," said Jerrold, "let
somebody whistle it."--Such _dicteria_, as the Romans called them, bristled
over his talk. And he flashed them out with an eagerness, and a quiver of
his large, somewhat coarse mouth, which it was quite dramatic to see. His
intense chuckle showed how hearty was his gusto for satire, and that wit
was a regular habit of his mind.

I shall set down here some _Jerroldiana_ current in London,--some heard by
myself, or otherwise well authenticated. Remember how few we have of George
Selwyn's, Hanbury Williams's, Hook's, or indeed any body's, and you will
not wonder that my handful is not larger.


When the well-known "Letters" of Miss Martineau and Atkinson appeared,
Jerrold observed that their creed was, "There is no God, and Miss Martineau
is his prophet."


"I have had such a curious dinner!" said C. "Calves' tails."--"Extremes
meet," Douglas said, instantly.


He admired Carlyle; but objected that he did not give definite suggestions
for the improvement of the age which he rebuked. "Here," said he, "is a man
who beats a big drum under my windows, and when I come running down stairs
has nowhere for me to go."


A wild Republican said profanely, that Louis Blanc was "next to Jesus
Christ"--"On which side?" asked the wit.


Pretty Miss ----, the actress, being mentioned, he praised her early
beauty. "She was a lovely little thing," he said, "when she was a _bud_,
and"--(a pause)--"before she was a _blowen'_."--This was in a very merry
vein, and the serious reader must forgive me.


He called a small, thin London _littérateur_ of his acquaintance, "a pin
without the head or the point."


When a plain, not to say ugly, gentleman intimated his intention of being
godfather to somebody's child, Jerrold begged him not to give the youngster
his "mug."


A dedication to him being spoken of,--"Ah!" said he, with mock gravity,
"that's an awful power that ---- has in his hands!"


Carlyle and a much inferior man being coupled by some sapient review as
"biographers,"--"Those two joined!" he exclaimed. "You can't plough with an
ox and an ass."


"Is the legacy to be paid immediately?" inquired somebody,--_apropos_ of a
will which made some noise.--"Yes, on the coffin-nail," answered he.


Being told that a recent play had been "done to order,"--he observed, that
"it would be done to a good many 'orders,' he feared."


It may be honestly said that these are average specimens of the
pleasantries which flowed from him in congenial society. His talk was full
of such, among friends and acquaintance, and he certainly enjoyed the
applause which they excited. But in his graver and tenderer moods, in the
country walks and lounges of which he was fond, his range was higher and
deeper. For a vein of natural poetry and piety ran through the man,--wit
and satirist as he was,--and appeared in his speech, occasionally, as in
his writings.

A long habit of indulgence in epigram had made him rather apt to quiz
his friends. But we are to remember that he was encouraged in this, and
that a self-indulgent man is only too liable to have the nicety of his
sensitiveness spoiled. Certainly, he had a kind heart and good principles.
He would lend any man money, or give any man help,--even to the extent
of weakness and imprudence. This was one reason why he died no better
off,--and one reason why his friends have so much exerted themselves to pay
a tribute to his memory in the shape of an addition to the provision he had
made for his family. The quickness of feeling which belonged to him made
him somewhat ready to take offence. But if he was easily ruffled, he was
easily smoothed. Of few men could you say, that their natural impulses were
better, or that, given such a nature and such a fortune, they would have
arrived at fifty-four years of age with so young a heart.

The last literary event of any magnitude in Jerrold's life was his assuming
the editorship of "Lloyd's Newspaper." This journal, which before his
connection with it had no position to brag of, rose under his hands to
great circulation and celebrity. Every week, there you traced his hand
at its old work of embroidering with queer and fanciful sarcasm some bit
of what he thought timely and necessary truth. Against all tyrants, all
big-wigged impostors, black, white, or gray, was his hammer ringing, and
sparks of wit were flying about as ever under his hand. He was getting up
in years; but still there seemed many to be hoped for him, yet. Though not
so active in schemes as formerly, he still talked of works to be done; and
at "Our Club," and such-like friendly little associations, the wit was
all himself, and came to our stated meetings as punctually as a star to
its place in the sky. He had suffered severely from illness, especially
from rheumatism, at various periods of life; and he had lived freely and
joyously, as was natural to a man of his peculiar gifts. But, _death_! We
never thought of the brilliant and radiant Douglas in connection with the
black river. He would have sunk Charon's boat with a shower of epigrams,
one would have fancied, if the old fellow, with his squalid beard, had
dared to ask him into the stern-sheets. To more than one man who knew him
intimately the first announcement of his decease was made by the "Times."

On the evening of the 19th of May, I met him,--as I frequently did on
Saturday evenings,--and on no evening do I remember him more lively and
brilliant. Next Saturday, I believe, he was at the same kindly board; but
some accident kept me away;--I never saw him again. Soon after, he was
taken ill. There passed a week of much suffering. June had come, warm
and rainy, but our friend was dying. The nature of the illness might be
doubtful, but there could be no doubt that the end was near. He prepared
himself to meet it. He sent friendly messages of farewell to those he
loved, begging, too, that if what he had ever said had pained any one, he
might now be forgiven. His mind was made up, and his children were all
about him. On a fine evening in the first week of June, he was moved to the
window, that he might see the sun setting. On Monday, the eighth of that
month, being perfectly conscious almost till the very last, he died.

The time is not yet come to discuss what his ultimate place will be in
the literature of his century. It will not be denied that he was a man of
rare gifts, and of a remarkable experience in life; and his life and the
popularity of his writings will by and by help posterity to understand
this our generation. Meanwhile I shall leave him in his resting-place in
Norwood, among the hills and fields of Surrey, near the grave of the friend
of his youth, the gentle and gifted Laman Blanchard, where he was laid on
the 15th of June, amidst a concourse of people not often assembled round
the remains of one who has begun life as humbly as he did.

His death made a great impression; and the acuteness with which his friends
felt it said more than could be said in a long dissertation for the kindly
and love-inspiring qualities of the man. As soon as it appeared that his
family were left in less prosperous circumstances than had been hoped,
their interest took an active form. A committee met to organize a plan
by which the genius of those who had known Jerrold might be employed in
raising a provision for his family. The rest has been duly recorded in the
newspapers, where the success of these benevolent exertions may be read.



FLORENTINE MOSAICS.


I.

HISTORICAL.

The capital of Tuscany--according to its most respectable and veracious
chroniclers--is the oldest city extant. Its history is traced with great
accuracy up to the Deluge, which is as much as could be reasonably
expected. The egg of Florence is Fiesole. This city, according to the
conscientious and exhaustive Villani, [Footnote: Cronica. Lib. I. c. vii.]
was built by a grandson of Noah, Attalus by name, who came into Italy in
order "to avoid the confusion occasioned by the building of the Tower of
Babel." [Footnote: "per evitare la confusione creata per la edificazione
della torre di Babel," etc.] Noah and his wife had, however, already made
a visit to Tuscany, soon after the Deluge; so that it is not remarkable
that "King Attalus" should have felt inclined to visit the estates of his
ancestor. At the same time, it is obvious that the Noahs had not been
satisfied with the locality, and had reëmigrated; for Attalus, upon his
arrival, found Italy entirely without inhabitants. He, therefore, with
great propriety claimed jurisdiction over the whole country, elected
himself king, and his wife Electra queen; built himself a palace, with a
city attached to it; and in short, made himself, generally, at home. We
are also fortunate in having some genealogical particulars as to his wife's
antecedents; and it is to be regretted that modern historians, of the
skeptical, the irreverent, and the startling schools, could not imitate
the gravity, the good faith, and the respect for things established, by
which the elder chroniclers were inspired. The apothecaries of the Middle
Ages never dealt so unkindly with the Pharaohs of Egypt, as the historical
excavators of more recent times have done with the embalmed, crowned, and
consecrated mummies which they have been pleased to denounce as delusions.
Your Potiphars or your Mizraims, even when converted into balsam, or
employed as a styptic, were at least not denuded of their historical
identity by the druggists who reduced their time-honored remains to
a powder. Their dust was made merchandise, but their characters were
respected. Moreover, there was an object and a motive, even if mistaken
ones, on the part of the mediæval charlatans. But what ointment, what
soothing syrup, what panacea has been the result of all this pulverizing of
Semiramis and Sardanapalus, Mucius Scævola and Junius Brutus? Are all the
characters graven so deeply by the stylus of Clio upon so many monumental
tablets, and almost as indelibly and quite as painfully upon school-boy
memory, to be sponged out at a blow, like chalk from a blackboard? We, at
least, cling fondly to our Tarquins; we shudder when the abyss of historic
incredulity swallows up the familiar form of Mettus Curtius; we refuse to
be weaned from the she-wolf of Romulus. Your unbelieving Guy Faux, who
approaches the stately superstructures of history, not to gaze upon them
with the eye of faith and veneration, but only that he may descend to the
vaults, with his lantern and his keg of critical gunpowder, in order to
blow the whole fabric sky-high,--such an ill-conditioned trouble-tomb
should be burned in effigy once a year.

Electra, then, wife of Attalus, founder and king of Fiesole, was of very
brilliant origin, being no less than one of the Pleiades, and the only one
of the sisters who seems to have married into a patriarchal family. "The
reason why the seven stars are seven is a pretty reason"; but it is not
"because they are not eight," as Lear suggests, but, as we now discover
by patient investigation, because one of them had married and settled in
Tuscany. We are not informed whether the lost Pleiad, thus found on the
Arno, was happy or not, after her removal from that more elevated sphere
which she had just begun to move in. But if respectability of connection
and a pleasant locality be likely to insure contentment to a fallen star,
we have reason to believe that she found herself more comfortable than
Lucifer was after his emigration.

Great care must be taken not to confound Attalus with Tantalus,--a blunder
which, as Villani observes, [Footnote: Cron. Lib. I. c. vii.] is often
committed by ignorant chroniclers. But Tantalus, as we all very well know,
was the son of Jupiter, and grandson of Saturn. Now we are quite sure
that Noah never married a daughter of Saturn, because that voracious
heathen ate up all his children except Jupiter. This simple fact precludes
all possibility of a connection with Saturn by the mother's side, and
illustrates the advantage of patient historical investigation, when founded
upon a reverence for traditional authority. Had it not been for such an
honest chronicler as Giovanni Villani, our historic thirst might have been
tantalized for seven centuries longer with this delusion. Certainly, to
confound Tantalus, ancestor of all the Trojans, with Attalus, ancestor of
all the Tuscans, would be worse than that "confusion of Babel" which the
quiet-loving potentate came to Florence to avoid.

Attalus brought with him from Babel an eminent astrologer and civil
engineer, who assured him, after careful experiments, that, of all places
in Europe, the mount of Fiesole was the healthiest and the best. He was
therefore ordered to build the city there at once. When finished, it was
called _Fia sola_, because of its solitariness; Attalus, in consequence
of his participation in the Babel confusion, having become familiar with
Tuscan several thousand years before that language was invented. The city,
thus auspiciously established, flourished forty or fifty centuries, more
or less, without the occurrence of any event worth recording, down to the
time of Catiline. The Fiesolans, unfortunately, aided and comforted that
conspirator in his designs against Rome, and were well punished for their
crime by Julius Cæsar, who battered their whole town about their ears, in
consequence, and then ploughed up their territory, and sowed it with salt.
The harvest of that agricultural operation was reaped by Florence; for the
conqueror immediately afterwards, by command of the Roman Senate, converted
a little suburb at the bottom of the hill into a city. Into this the
Fiesolans removed at once, and found themselves very comfortable there;
being saved the trouble of going up and down a mountain every time they
came out and went home again. Florence took its name from one Fiorino,
marshal of the camp, in the Roman army, who was killed in the battle of
Fiesole. As he was the flower of chivalry, his name was thought of good
augury; the more so, as roses and lilies sprang forth plenteously from the
spot where he fell. Hence the fragrant and poetical name which the City of
Flowers has retained until our days; and hence the cognizance of the three
flowers-de-luce which it has borne upon its shield. Julius Cæsar, whose
sword had severed the infant city from its dead mother in so Cæsarean a
fashion, had set his heart upon calling the town after himself, and took
the contrary decree of the Roman Senate very much in dudgeon. He therefore
left the country in a huff, and revenged himself by annihilating vast
numbers of unfortunate Gauls, Britons, Germans, and other barbarians, who
happened to come in his way.

The first public edifice of any importance erected in the city was a temple
to Mars, with a colossal statue of that divinity in the midst of it. This
is the present baptistery, formerly cathedral, of Saint John; for the
temple never was destroyed, and never can be destroyed, until the day of
judgment. This we know on the authority of more than one eminent historian.
It is also proved by an inscription to that effect in the mosaic pavement,
which any one may inspect who chooses to do so. [Footnote: Villani, Cron.
Lib. I. c. xlii.]

The town was utterly destroyed A.D. 450, by Totila, _Flagellum Dei_,
who, with great want of originality, immediately rebuilt Fiesole; thus
repeating, but reversing, the achievement of the Romans five hundred years
before. So Fiesole and Florence seem to have alternately filled and emptied
themselves, like two buckets in a well, down to the time of Charlemagne.
That emperor rebuilt Florence, but experienced some difficulty in doing
so, by reason of the statue of Mars, which had been thrown into the Arno.
The temple, converted to Christian purposes, had been the only building to
escape the wrath of Totila; but owing to the pagan incantations practised
when the town was originally consecrated to the god of war, the statue of
that divinity would not consent to lie quietly and ignominiously in the bed
of the Arno, while his temple and town were appropriated to other purposes.
The river was dragged. The statue was found and set upon a column near the
edge of the river, on a spot which is now the head of the Ponte Vecchio.
True to its pugnacious character, it brought nothing but turbulence and
bloodshed upon the town. The long and memorable feuds between the Guelphs
and Ghibellines began by the slaying of Buondelmonte in his wedding dress,
at the base of the statue. (A.D. 1215.)

There could be no better foundation for romance or drama than the famous
Buondelmonte marriage, before which, sings Dante, Florence had never cause
to shed a tear, and after which the white lily of her escutcheon was dyed
red in her heart's blood. There were four noble families in Florence, of
surpassing importance,--the Buondelmonti, the Uberti, the Donati, and the
Amidei. A match-making widow of the Donati has a daughter of extraordinary
beauty, whom she intends to bestow in marriage upon the young chief of the
Buondelmonti. Before she has time to complete her arrangements, however,
Buondelmonte betroths himself to a daughter of the house of Amidei. Signora
Donati waylays him, as he passes the door, and suddenly displays to him the
fatal beauty of her daughter. "She should have been your bride," said the
widow, "had you not been so hasty." The gentleman, dazzled by the beauty
of the girl, and satisfied by the prudent mother as to the dowry, marries
Signorina Donati upon the spot. Next day, riding across the Ponte Vecchio
upon a white horse, he is beset by a party of friends and relatives of
the deserted damsel, and killed close by the statue of Mars. All the
nobles of Florence take part in the question; upon one side the Nerli, the
Frescobaldi, the ----; but "courage, gentle reader," as Tristram Shandy
observes, in his famous historical chapter upon Calais; "I scorn it; 'tis
enough to have thee in my power; but to make use of the advantage which the
fortune of the pen has now gained over thee would be too much."

Thirty years long, then, the town gates were all fastened, and the streets
all chained, so as to make many little compact inclosures for slaughtering
purposes; while the whites and blacks, Guelphs and Ghibellines, red caps
and brown, all buffeted each other pell-mell. To the exhaustion thus
produced of noble blood is often ascribed the establishment of a popular
government at the close of the thirteenth century. The causes lay really
much deeper, however,--in the great revolutions consequent upon the
extinction of the Suabian dynasty, and in the wonderful progress in culture
made by the Florentine democracy.

    O Buondelmonte, quanto mal fuggisti
    Le nozze sue per gli altrui conforti!
  Molti sarebber lieti, che son tristi,
    Se Dio t' avesse conceduto ad Ema
    La prima volta ch' a città venisti.
  Ma conveniasi a quella pietra scema
    Che guarda il ponte, che Fiorenza fesse
    Vittima nella sua pace postrema.
  Con queste genti, e con altre con esse,
    Vid' io Fiorenza in sì fatto riposo,
    Che non avea cagione onde piangesse.
  Con queste genti vid' io glorioso
    E giusto il popol suo tanto, che 'l giglio
    Non era ad asta mai posto a ritroso,
  Nè per division fatto vermiglio.
               _Paradiso_, XVI. 140-154.


II.

SAN MINIATO.

The walk to the church of San Miniato is a paved, steep path, through
olive orchards fringed by a row of cypresses, to the little church of
San Salvadore; thence, through a garden of roses and cabbages, fresh and
fragrant in the December sun, to the convent of Miniato. From the terrace
is one of the best views of the city; not so fine, however, as that from
Bello Sguardo. The gentle, beautiful chain of hills which encircle Florence
smile cheerfully in the sunshine, clapping their hands and skipping like
lambs, if little hills ever did make such a demonstration. These environs
of the town are like a frame of golden filigree, almost too fantastic a one
for so shadowy and sombre a city. The green hill-sides and plains are sown
thickly with palaces and villas glancing whitely through silvery forests of
olives and myrtle; while the distant Apennines, like guardian giants, lift
their icy shields in the distance.

The church is built upon the grave of the eminent saint, Miniato. This
personage was, it seems, the son of the king of Armenia,--very much as all
the heroes in the Arabian Nights are sons of the emperor of China. Having
been converted to Christianity, he was offered by the emperor Decius great
honors and rewards suitable to his royal rank, if he would renounce his
faith. (A.D. 250.) He refused, and the emperor cut off his head. The
execution took place in Florence, on the north side of the Arno. The holy
man was not so easily disposed of, however; for he immediately clapped his
head upon his shoulders again, and holding it on with both hands, waded
across the river, and marched steadily up the hill on the other side.
Arrived at the top, he gave up his head and the ghost. Hence the convent
and church of San Miniato.

The church, to an architectural student, is interesting and important. A
man needs a good eye and a good education to feel and thoroughly appreciate
the grand symphonies which this wonderful architectural music of the Middle
Ages has so long been silently playing. San Miniato belongs to the close of
the Romanesque or Latin period. The early Christian school had expired in
the midst of the general convulsions of the ninth and tenth centuries,--in
the struggles of an effete and expiring antiquity with the brutal,
blundering, but vigorous infancy of mediæval Europe. During the three
centuries which succeeded, there was rather a warming into unnatural life
of the mighty corpse, than the birth of a new organism, capable of healthy
existence and unlimited reproduction. The Romanesque art seems to have
dealt with the ancient forms, without moulding any thing essentially
and vitally new. Where there seemed originality, it was, after all,
only a theft from the Saracenic or Byzantine, and the plagiarism became
incongruity when engrafted upon the Roman. Thus a Latin church was often
but an early Christian _basilica_ with a Moorish arcade.

The San Miniato has an arcade, of course not pointed, upon the façade and
the interior. Its tessellated marble work, its ancient mosaics, with its
Roman capitals and columns, all make it interesting. These last show that
at the close of the epoch, even as at its beginning, the chain which binds
the school to the ancient Roman is fastened anew.

The frescos in the sacristy, by Spinello Aretino, painted at the end of the
fourteenth century, are singularly well preserved,--fresh as if painted
yesterday. 'Tis a great pity that the works of other masters of the same
age, Spinello's superiors, could not have been as fortunate. If the frescos
of Orgagna, and of Benozzo Gozzoli in the Campo Santo at Pisa, were in as
good condition, it would be much more satisfactory.

These pictures of Spinello are drawn with much boldness and energy, but it
is not the fortunate audacity of Orgagna. They are much more the work of
a mechanic, not self-distrustful, but with comparatively little feeling
for the higher range of artistic expression. They are quite destitute of
sentiment, but are not without a strong, rough, hardy humor. The drawing
is far from accurate, but the coloring is well laid on. They represent the
life and adventures of Saint Benedict, are of colossal size, and depict the
saint in various striking positions. Here he is portrayed as rescuing a
brother friar from the inconveniences resulting from a house having fallen
upon him; in another he is miraculously mending a crockery jug belonging
to his nurse; and in a third he is unsuccessfully attempting to move a
large stone, upon which the Devil has seated himself, much to Benedict's
discomfiture. The fiend is drawn, _con amore_, in black, with hairy hide,
bat's wings, and a monkey's tail; the traditional Devil who has come down
to us unharmed through all the vicissitudes of the Middle Ages. The saints
and friars are generally attired in mazarine blue.


III.

ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS.

There is here a large hall, containing a brief chronicle of the progress of
painting from Cimabue to--Carlo Dolce! There may be a still deeper descent;
but that is bathos sufficient for any lover of his species.

It is desirable to look at these painters of the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth centuries with some reference to the political condition of
Florence and of Italy at that time. In truth, Florence during the period of
its life _was_ Italy,--the _vivida vis_, creative, contemplative, ornative,
impulsive to the clay of Europe. The art of painting seems to spring
full-grown into existence, with the appearance of Cimabue in the latter
part of the thirteenth century. Even so the Italian language suddenly
crystallizes itself into a brilliant and perpetual type, at the same epoch
as the wondrous poem of Dante flashes forth from the brooding chaos,--the
_fiat lux_ of a new intellectual world.

The Emperor Frederic II., last of the imperial Hohenstaufens, died in 1250.
Chivalrous, adventurous, despotic, as became the head of the conquering
German races at their epoch of triumph,--imaginative, poetical, debauched,
atheistical, as might be expected of a prince born in Italy, he seemed to
justify the somewhat incongruous eagerness with which the Florentine mind
sought political salvation in the bosom of the Church. Yet here seems the
fatal flaw in the liberal system of Italy at that period. The Ghibelline
party was at least consistent. To be an imperialist, a Hohenstaufenite,
was at least definite; as much so as to be an absolutist, a Habsburgite,
a Napoleonite to-day. But to be a Guelph,--to be in favor of municipal
development, local self-government, intellectual progress, and to fight for
all these things under the banner of the Church, in an age which witnessed
the establishment of the Inquisition, in an age when the mighty spirit of
Hildebrand was rising every day from his grave in more and more influential
and imposing shape,--this was to place one's self in a false position.
Dante, no doubt, felt all this to the core of his being. A poet by nature,
with that intense, morbid, proud, uncomfortable, alternately benevolent
and misanthropical temperament which occasionally accompanies the poetic
faculty, he had little in common with the bustling, vivacious character
of his fellow-townsmen. _Fiorentino di nascita, non di costumi_, as he
describes himself, he had slight sympathy with Blacks or Whites, Guelphs
or Ghibellines. A Guelph by birth, a Ghibelline by banishment, he was in
reality an absolutist in politics, and a bigot in religion. Had a hell
never been heard of, he would have invented one, for the mere comfort of
roasting his enemies in it, and his friends along with them,--the solitary
enjoyment of his lifetime. His part in public affairs has been much
magnified. He was prior in 1300; but almost any citizen of Florence might
be prior. He was once sent to Rome, on a diplomatic errand; but he was
only the envoy of a party, only one of a set of delegates appointed by
the Whites. He was banished for his political opinions, and afterwards
condemned to death; but even this was no distinction; for six hundred other
persons, most of them obscure men, were included in the same sentence,
for the same offence. They all happened, in short, to belong to the party
opposed to the one which was successful. His merits of style can hardly
be exaggerated. Alone of mankind he almost created a language. Imagine
the English, or the German, or the French poetry of the year 1300 flowing
musically and familiarly from the lips of 1857! The culture, too, of
his epoch might almost be measured by his personal accomplishments. The
Aristotle, the Bacon, the Humboldt of Florence was one of the world's
great poets into the bargain; but he was any thing but a statesman or a
politician.

In his poetry, accordingly, written when the Florentine democracy was
young, vigorous, and mischievous, there is no chord of sympathy with
the polity of his native place. On the contrary, the whole magnificent
"Commedia" is a _De profundis_ chanted out of an oppressed and scornful
bosom, a fiery protest, an excoriating satire against the liberty upon
which the Commonwealth prided itself. Florence banished and would have
burned her poet. The poet banished and burned Florence in the great hell
which his imagination created and peopled. His ashes,--so often and so
vainly implored for by the repentant and sorrowing mother, who had driven
him from her bosom with curses, to wander and to starve, "to eat the bitter
bread of exile, and to feel that sharpest arrow in the bow of exile, the
going up and down in another's house,"--his ashes are not the property of
the Republic. Are his laurels? Yes. The "Divina Commedia" is a splendid
proof of the vitality which pervades a republican atmosphere. There was
little of justice perhaps, and less of security and comfort; but there was
at any rate life, intellectual development, thought, pulsation, fierce
collision of mind with mind, attrition of human passions and divine
faculties, out of which an elemental fire was created which flamed over the
civilized world, and has lighted the torches of civilization for centuries.
He who would study the _artes humaniores_ must turn of necessity to two
fountain heads; and he finds them in the trampled marketplaces of two
noisy, turbulent, unreasonable, pestilent little democratic cities,--Athens
and Florence. Extinguish the architecture and the sculpture, the poetry and
the philosophy of Attica; obliterate from the sum of civilization the names
of Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli,--of Cimabue, Giotto, Leonardo
da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Michel Angelo,--of Brunetto, Ficino, Politian; and
how much diminished will be the remainder!

Nevertheless, it is in vain to look for any special seal set by the spirit
of liberty upon the artistic productions of the earlier age in Florence.
The works of the great painters bear the impress of the Church. If the
spirit of liberty be present at all, it is veiled and hooded by monastic
garments. But it should never be forgotten, that, in this age, the Church
embodied an element of liberty. The keys of Saint Peter were brandished
against the universal sceptre of the Suabians; cultivated intellect was
matched, and often successfully, against brutal violence. The Pope was the
rival of Cæsar.

The first great painting in the Academy--to return from this digression--is
the famous Madonna of Cimabue. This picture is astonishing. Although
considered by many critics to manifest lingering traces of the Byzantine
bandages, it seems to us, on the contrary, to be wonderfully free from
stiffness and conventionality. The genius of Cimabue extricates itself at a
bound from the trammels of preceding systems, and flies vigorously towards
nature.

The Madonna is colossal. She wears a hood, and holds her child in her
arms. There is a strong human, yet spiritualized expression upon the face.
The drapery is gracefully arranged, not folded like mummy cloths; and the
color is strong and liberally laid on, without any attempt, however, at
transparency of shadow. There is little indication of the technical glories
of succeeding centuries. Perhaps the best part of the picture is in the
lower margin. Here are four heads of saints, painted with a breadth and
energy absolutely startling, when one recollects by whom and when they were
executed. Dominic Ghirlandaio, two hundred years later, could hardly have
put more masculine expression into a quartet of heads.

Giotto's Madonna is the pendant to that of Cimabue; but although painted
twenty-five years later, it shows less progress in art than might be
expected. Giotto's triumphs are to be found in the frescos of the
Santa Croce. In that unequalled series, the art-student recognizes,
almost at a glance, the power of the master. Largeness, rhythm, and
harmony of composition,--dramatic movement, and individual beauty of
expression,--heads which have brains, eyes which can smile, lips which can
speak, fluent limbs which can move, or remain in natural repose,--the whole
surrounded and inspired by that atmosphere of piety, that effluence of
religious ecstasy, which can never be imitated, and which came from the
unquestioning faith of the artist;--such wonders were for the first time
revealed by Giotto. The shepherd boy, whom Cimabue found drawing pictures
upon a stone in the open field, nobly repaid his patron and master, by
extending still farther the domain of art,--by throwing its doors wide open
to the cool breath of nature and the liberal sunshine. To pass from the
Byzantines into the school of Giotto is to come out from the catacombs into
the warm precincts of the cheerful day.

Of the pictures of the early part of the fifteenth century, none are
more worthy of attention in this collection than those of Fra Angelico
of Fiesole. (1387-1455.) Nevertheless, it seems no great progress from
Cimabue, Giotto, and Orgagna, whose compositions are so full of energetic
life and human passion, to these careful, gentle miniatures upon an
expanded scale. The Fra was a _miniatore_, after all,--a manuscript
illuminator of the first class. His effort to represent a descent from the
cross in a large and dramatic manner is feeble and flat. This flight seems
beyond his strength; and his waxy little wings, which sustained him so well
within his own sphere, melted at once in this higher region.

Far better is an exquisite little picture in his very best manner, a
work which hangs in the apartment De' Piccoli Quadri. This is a Judgment
Day, and a cheerful painting of its class. There is an old conceit, very
cleverly carried out through the whole composition, of representing all the
just made perfect as actually converted into little children. Kings with
crowns, popes, bishops, cardinals in hats and mitres, monks cowled and
robed in conventual habiliments, are all philandering together through
gardens of amaranth and asphodel towards the Grecian portico of heaven; and
all these fortunate personages, whether monarchs, priests, fine ladies, or
beggars, are depicted with perfectly infantine faces. To do this well lay
exactly in the quaint, delicate nature of the angelic Frater; and this
portion of the picture is most exquisitely handled. The other moiety, where
devils with rabbits' ears, tiger faces, and monkeys' tails, are forking
over the damned into frying-pans, while Satan devours them as fast as
cooked, is common-place and vulgar. At the same time, it is certain that
the whole composition shows much poetry of invention and delicacy of
finish.

Andrew Castagno's Magdalen, like Donatello's Wooden Statue of the same
penitent in the Baptistery, seems a female Robinson Crusoe,--hirsute,
cadaverous, fleshless, uncombed and uncomely,--certainly a more edifying
spectacle than the voluptuous, Titianesque exhibitions of fair frailty
which became the fashion afterwards.

Of Gentile da Fabriano, a very rare master, there hangs an Adoration of
the Magi, marked May, 1423. One always feels grateful to such of the
_Quattrocentisti_ as enlarged the sphere of artistic action, by going out
of the conventional circle of holy families, nativities, and entombments.
There is a dash about Gentile, a fresh, cavalier-like gentility, quite
surprising, and altogether his own. A showy, flippant frivolity in several
of the figures enlivens and refreshes us with its mundane sparkle and
energy. One of the three kings, in particular,--a young, well-dressed,
vivacious, _goguenard_-looking personage, with a very glittering pair of
spurs, which his groom is just unbuckling, while another holds a highly
bedizened war-horse, who is throwing up his head, showing all his teeth,
and crying ha, ha, with all his might,--has a very dramatic effect.

Of the Lippo Lippis, the Lorenzo di Credis, the Ghirlandaios, the
Peruginos, and the other great masters of the fifteenth century, of whom
are many masterpieces in this collection, there shall, for the present, not
a word be said.

There is also a portrait of Savonarola, by Fra Bartolommeo. The face is
neither impressive nor attractive. The head is shorn, except the monastic
coronal, and shows a small organ of benevolence, and a very large one
of self-esteem. The profile is not handsome,--the nose being regularly
aquiline, while the mouth is heavy with a projecting upper lip. A strong,
blue beard, closely shaven, but very visible, darkens and improves the
physiognomy.


IV.

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA.

This church was so beloved by Michel Angelo as to be called his bride. It
must be confessed that the great artist was determined in his choice less
by the external charms than by the interior excellence of his _sposa_;
for although she has now got herself a new front and vamped herself up a
little, thus looking a trifle younger than she must have done three hundred
years ago, still she has any thing but a bridal or virginal aspect.

This church and monastery belong to the earlier German period of Italy,
if such a thing as Italian Gothic can be said to have ever existed. The
truth is, that with the exception of Milan cathedral, which is modern,
exotic, and exceptional, the German, or, to use the common and senseless
expression, the Gothic system of architecture never fairly took root in
Italy. Certainly, the pointed windows and arches of the Florence _duomo_
and its _campanile_ do not constitute it a Gothic church. The square
cornices, vast masses of wall, heavy pilasters, and, in general, the
horizontal outlines and heavy expression of all these churches, have
a character very remote from that of the airy, upspringing, fantastic
German architecture, in which every shaft, arch, vault-girdle, pillar,
window-frame, pinnacle, seems struggling and panting upward with an almost
audible eloquence. This is not the expression of the _duomo_ here. There
is no perpetual _Excelsior_ ringing from point, spire, and turret. On the
contrary, the grave, almost rigid aspect of the ancient _basilica_--the
Roman business-hall, compounded of Greek elements, and transformed into a
Grecian temple--is ever at work repressing that devotional ecstasy which
is the characteristic of the Gothic church. The Italian language in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was like the Italian architecture of
the same period. The different intellectual manifestations, subjected to
the same influences, obeyed one general law. The conquering German mind
of the Dark Ages easily impressed itself where the soil was still virgin.
Throughout _savage_ Europe the dominion was yielded at once to the new
power which succeeded to the decrepit empire of Rome. Gaul, Germany,
Britain, Iberia obeyed instinctively the same impulse. The children born of
that vigorous embrace were of fresh and healthy beauty. The manifestations
of the German mind in the cathedrals of Paris, Cologne, Antwerp are
undimmed and unrivalled. The early German architecture in the actual realms
of Germany is as romantic, energetic, and edifying as its poetry at the
same epoch. A great German cathedral is a religious epic in stone. All the
ornaments, all the episodes, spring from and cluster around one central,
life-giving principle.

In Italy, on the other hand, the architecture of the so-called Gothic
period embodies a constant struggle between the ancient and the new-born
mind,--a contest in which the eventual triumph of the elder is already
foreshadowed, even while the new has apparently gained the ascendency. Why
was this? Because in Italy the German conquerors had invaded the land of
ancient culture, of settled and organized form. The world could not be
created _de novo_, as in the shaggy deserts of Hercynia and Belgica. The
seeds of human speech, planted in those vast wildernesses, sprouted readily
into new and luxuriant languages. English, Flemish, German, French spring
from German roots hidden in Celtic soil. The Latin element, afterwards
engrafted, is exotic, excrescent, and not vital to the organization. In
Italy, where a language, a grammar, a literature already existed in full
force, the German element was almost neutralized. The Goths could only
deface the noble language of Rome. They gave it auxiliary verbs,--that
feeblest form of assistance to human eloquence,--and they took away its
declensions. Architecture presented the same phenomenon. It submitted
to what seemed the German tyranny for a time, but it submitted
under a perpetual and visible protest. [Footnote: Compare Kugler,
_Kunstgeschichte_, pp. 590, 591.] The Gothic details in the _campanile_
and the _duomo_ look altogether extraneous and compulsory; they are not
assimilated into the constitution of the structure. The severe Roman
profile is marked as distinctly as ever, notwithstanding the foreign
ornaments which it has been forced to assume.

Santa Maria Novella, then, is as good a German Italian church as can be
found; but, for the reasons stated, it is not particularly interesting as a
piece of architecture. Its wealth is in its frescos. In the quadrangle
of the cloister is a series of pictures by Paolo Uccello, who, by the
introduction of linear perspective, of which he is esteemed the inventor,
made a new epoch in art. In the "chapel of the Spaniards" is a famous
collection of frescos by Giotto's scholars. A large, thoughtful, and
attractive composition is called the Wisdom of the Church. On the opposite
side is a very celebrated painting, entitled the Church Militant and
Triumphant; the militating and triumphing business being principally
confided to the dogs of the Lord,--_videlicet, Domini-canes_. A large
number of this dangerous fraternity is represented as a pack of
hounds, fighting, pulling, biting, and howling most vigorously in a
life-and-death-struggle with the wolves of heresy. In the centre of the
composition are introduced various portraits. These were thought for a
long time to represent Cimabue (in a white night-cap), Petrarch (in long
petticoats), Laura (in short ones), and various other celebrities. Vasari
is the original authority [Footnote: Vite da Vasari, ed. Lemonnier, 1846.
Sim. and Lippo Memmi, p. 90, and notes.] for this opinion, which has ceased
to be entertained by _cognoscenti_. It is also no longer believed that the
pictures are the work of Taddeo Gaddi and Simon Memmi. The _custode_ clings
to both delusions,--the portraits and the painters. Whether red Murray, and
that devoted band of English and Americans who follow his flag, patronize
the Vasari theory or more modern ones, we are at this moment unable to
state.

By what subtile threads are international hearts bound together! Two great
nations have wrangled for a century; but they have a common property in
Shakspeare and Tupper,--and--most precious of all joint-possessions--in the
hand-books of Murray. We feel with one throb upon all æsthetic subjects. We
admire the same great works of art. We drop a tear upon exactly the same
spots, hallowed in ancient or modern history. The fraternity is absolute.

In the Strozzi chapel are an altar-piece and several wall-pictures by
Andrew Orgagna. They are not so grandly conceived as that wondrous
composition of his, the Triumph of Death, in the Pisan Campo Santo; but
they are additional proofs of his intense and Dante-like genius. No doubt
Dante influenced him deeply, as he did all his contemporaries, whose minds
were fertile enough to ripen such seed. The large picture on the left--a
view of paradise--is full of energetic and beautiful figures, combined with
much dramatic effect and great technical skill. The opposite pictures,
representing hell, were not by Andrew, but by Bernard Orgagna, a man of far
inferior calibre. They have, moreover, been entirely revamped.

In the choir are the renowned frescos of Dominic Ghirlandaio,--scenes from
the lives of John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. These, however, are
but names and frames. The great merit of these paintings is that they were
the first, or among the first, to introduce the actual into the world
of conventional and conventual art. They form a series of full-length
portraits,--sometimes of celebrated contemporaries, as Politian, Marsilio
Ficino, and others,--but always of flesh-and-blood people, living, moving,
and having a being. That group of Platonists, with their looks of profound
wisdom and dogmatic eloquence, are lifting their forefingers, pricking up
their ears, opening their mouths, (each obviously interrupting the flow of
the others' rhetoric,) in most lifelike fashion. One almost catches the
winged syllogisms as they fly from lip to lip. We are almost drawn into
the dispute ourselves, and are disposed to ventilate a score of outrageous
paradoxes, for the mere satisfaction of contradicting such wiseacres. These
heads are painted with a vivacity and an energy worthy of the Dutch great
masters of the seventeenth century. In fact, there is something caught, no
doubt, from the early schools of Flanders; for Dominic was the contemporary
of the glorious masters protected by Philip the Good of Burgundy,--the only
good thing he ever did in his life,--the man who opened the road for that
long triumphant procession which for two centuries was to march through the
Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. There is no want, however, of historical
dignity in these compositions. Each one has a stately rhythm, an harmonious
grandeur of conception and execution, which, in connection with the
lifelike fidelity and unaffected beauty of the heads, stamp their creator
as a dramatic genius of a higher order than any of his contemporaries.

The Madonna of Cimabue, which hangs at the end of the south transept,
resembles the one in the Academy. In place of the powerful saints' heads,
is a group of angels of much grace and purity, supporting a shrine. This
picture is considered a bolder and more untrammelled composition than the
other. It is the world-renowned masterpiece of the thirteenth century,
which all Florence turned out in procession to honor when it left the
painter's hands; and which even Charles of Anjou, dripping in blood, and
stalking through the scenes of that great tragedy whose catastrophe was the
Sicilian vespers, paused on his way to admire.


V.

SAN SPIRITO.

In this church, which the admirers of Brunelleschi must study, are two
small, but most exquisite masterpieces of Lippo Lippi. All the works of
this most profligate of friars are tender and holy beyond description.
They have also that distinguishing charm of the Florentine school of the
fifteenth century, _naïveté_,--a fresh, gentle, and loving appreciation
of the beautiful and the natural. It is evident that the Fra went through
the world with his eyes open, looking for beauty wherever it was visible;
and in his works, at least, there is no lingering trace of Byzantinism. A
scholar of Masaccio, of a far inferior mind both to Masaccio and Maselino,
and without the force of hand of either, he is still, more than both
together, the founder of the natural school of Florence.

One of his pictures is in this church,--a Madonna with the child on her
lap. The Christ is leaning forward and playing with a cross which the
infant Saint John holds in his hand. Nothing can be more suggestive or
touching than this prophetic infantile movement. Although the color of
the picture is rather feeble and washy, as frequently may be observed of
Lippo's paintings, the whole expression is bathed in purity and piety. Yet
the Fra was such an incorrigible _mauvais sujet_, that when he was employed
to decorate the _palazzo_ of Cosmo Vecchio, the _Pater Patriæ_ was obliged
to lock up his artist in the chamber which he was painting. The holy man
was not easily impounded, however; for he cut his bedclothes into strips,
let himself into the street from an upper-story window, and departed on
his usual adventures; so that it was weeks before Cosmo could hear of his
painter again.

[Concluded in the next Number.]



SANTA FILOMENA.


  Whene'er a noble deed is wrought,
  Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,
    Our hearts, in glad surprise,
    To higher levels rise.

  The tidal wave of deeper souls
  Into our inmost being rolls,
    And lifts us unawares
    Out of all meaner cares.

  Honor to those whose words or deeds
  Thus help us in our daily needs,
    And by their overflow
    Raise us from what is low!

  Thus thought I, as by night I read
  Of the great army of the dead,
    The trenches cold and damp,
    The starved and frozen camp,--

  The wounded from the battle-plain,
  In dreary hospitals of pain,
    The cheerless corridors,
    The cold and stony floors.

  Lo! in that house of misery
  A lady with a lamp I see
    Pass through the glimmering gloom
    And flit from room to room.

  And slow, as in a dream of bliss,
  The speechless sufferer turns to kiss
    Her shadow, as it falls
    Upon the darkening walls.

  As if a door in heaven should be
  Opened, and then closed suddenly,
    The vision came and went,
    The light shone and was spent.

  On England's annals, through the long
  Hereafter of her speech and song,
    That light its rays shall cast
    From portals of the past.

  A lady with a lamp shall stand
  In the great history of the land,
    A noble type of good,
    Heroic womanhood.

  Nor even shall be wanting here
  The palm, the lily, and the spear,
    The symbols that of yore
    Saint Filomena bore.



SALLY PARSONS'S DUTY.


The sun that shines on eastern Massachusetts, specially on buttercups and
dandelions, and providentially on potatoes, looks down on no greener fields
in these days than it saw in the spring of 1775, fenced in and fenced off
by the zigzag snake-fences of 'Zekiel Parsons's farm.

"About this time," as almanacs say, young orchards were misty with buds,
red maples on the highway shone in the clear light, and a row of bright
tin pans at the shed door of the farm-house testified to a sturdy arm and
skilful hand within,--arm and hand both belonging to no less a person than
Miss Sally, 'Zekiel Parsons's only daughter, and the prettiest girl in
Westbury; a short, sturdy, rosy little maid, with hair like a ripe chestnut
shell, bright blue eyes full of mischief, and such a sunny, healthy,
common-sense character, one is almost afraid to tell of it, it is so out of
date now.

But of what use is it to describe her? How can I impress upon moderns how
enlivening and refreshing was her aspect, as she spun, or scoured pans, in
a linsey-woolsey petticoat and white short gown, wearing her pretty curls
in a crop? George Tucker knew it all without telling; and so did half a
dozen of the Westbury boys, who haunted the picket fence round 'Zekiel's
garden every moonlight night in summer, or scraped their feet by the half
hour together on his door-step in winter evenings. Sally was a belle; she
knew it and liked it, as every honest girl does;--and she would have been
a belle without the aid of her father's wide farm and pine-tree shillings;
for she was fresh and lovely, with a spice of coquetry, but a true woman's
heart beneath it all.

It was very hard to discover whom Sally Parsons favored among her numerous
beaux. Her father seriously inclined to George Tucker; not because he was
rich,--for 'Zekiel had not arrived at fashionable principles,--but because
he was honest, kind-hearted, and reliable; but as yet Sally showed no
decided preference; time and the hour were near, but not in sight.

One Sunday night, early in April, after the nine o'clock bell had scattered
Sally's admirers far and wide, and old 'Zekiel sat by the chimney corner,
watching his sister, Aunt Poll, rake up the rest of the hickory log in the
ashes, while he rubbed away sturdily at his feet, holding in one hand the
blue yarn stockings, "wrought by no hand, as you may guess," but that of
Sally; the talk, that had momentarily died away, began again, and with a
glance at Long Snapps,--a lank, shrewd-faced old sailor, who, to use his
own speech, had "cast anchor 'longside of an old ship-met fur a spell,
bein' bound fur his own cabin up in Lenox,"--'Zekiel spoke after this
wise:--

"I expect, Long, you sailors hev a drefful hard, onsartain time navigatin',
don't ye?"

"Well, skipper! that are depen's on folks. I don't calk'late to hev no sort
of a hard time, ef I don't get riled with it; but these times I doo rile
easy."

"What onsettles ye, Snapps?"

"Well, there's a squall to wind'ard, skipper; 'ta'n't no cat's-paw neither;
good no-no-east, ef it's a flaw. And you landlubbers are a-goin' to
leeward, some on ye."

"You don't say! what be you a hintin' at?"

"Well, there's a reel blow down to Bostin, Zekle; there's no more gettin'
out o' harbour with our old sloop; she's ben an' gone, an' got some 'tarnal
lawyer's job spliced to her bows, an' she's laid up to dry; but that's
a pesky small part o' judgment. Bostin's full o' them Britishers, sech
as scomfishkated the Susan Jane, cos our skipper done suthin' he hedn't
oughter, or didn't do suthin' he hed oughter; and I tell _yew_ the end o'
things is nigh about comin' on here!"

Sally, in the chimney corner, heard Long Snapps with open eyes, and
hitching her wooden chair nearer, inquired solemnly,--

"What do you mean, Mister Snapps? Is the end of the world comin' here?"

"Bless your pooty little figger-head, Sally! I don't know as 'tis, but
suthin' nigh about as bad is a-comin. Them Britishers is sot out for to hev
us under hatches, or else walk the plank; and they're darned mistook, ef
they think men is a-goin' to be steered blind, and can't blow up the cap'en
no rate. There a'n't no man in Ameriky but what's got suthin' to fight for,
afore he'll gin in to sech tyrints; and it'll come to fightin', yet, afore
long!"

"Oh my! oh goody! the land's sakes! yew don't mean ter say that, Long?"
wofully screeched Aunt Poll, whose ideas of war were derived in great
measure from the tattered copy of Josephus extant in the Parsons family;
and who was at present calculating the probable effect of a battering-ram
on their back buttery, and thinking how horrid it would be to eat up Uncle
'Zekiel in case of famine,--even after long courses of rats and dogs.

"Well, I dew, Aunt Poll; there'll be some poppin' an' stickin' done in
these parts, afore long!"

"The Lord deliver us! an' the rest on't!" devoutly ejaculated Poll, whose
piety exceeded her memory; whereat 'Zekiel, pulling on the other blue
stocking that had hung suspended in his fingers, while the sailor
discoursed, exhorted a little himself.

"Well, the Lord don't deliver nobody, without they wriggle for themselves
pretty consider'ble well fust. This a'n't the newest news to me; I've been
expectin' on't a long spell, an' I've talked consider'ble with Westbury
folks about it; and there a'n't nobody much, round about here, but what'll
stand out agin the Britishers, exceptin' Tucker's folks; they're desp'rit
for Church an' King; they tell as ef the Lord gin the king a special
license to set up in a big chair an' rewl creation; an' they think it's
perticular sin to speak as though he could go 'skew anyhow. Now I believe
the Lord lets folks find out what He does, out o' Scriptur; and I han't
found nothin' yet to tell about kings bein' better than their neighbours,
and it don't look as ef this king was so clever as common. I s'pose you
ha'n't heerd what our Colony Congress is a-doin', hev ye, Snapps?"

"Well, no, I ha'n't. They was a-layin' to, last I heerd, so's to settle
their course, I 'xpect they've heaved up an' let go by this, but I han't
seen no signals."

"Dear me!" interrupted Sally, "a real war coming! and I a'n't any thing but
a woman!"

Her cheeks and eyes glowed with fervent feeling, as she said this; and the
old sailor, turning round, surveyed her with a grin of honest admiration.

"Well said, gal! but you're out o' your reckonin', ef you think women a'n't
nothin' in war-time. I tell _yew_, them is the craft that sails afore the
wind, and does the signallin' to all the fleet. When gals is full-rigged
an' tonguey, they're reg'lar press-gangs to twist young fellers round, an'
make 'em sail under the right colors. Stick to the ship, Miss Sally; give
a heave at the windlass now'n then, an' don't let nary one o' them fellers
that comes a buzzin' round you the hull time turn his back on Yankee
Doodle; an' you won't never hanker to be a man, ef 'tis war-time!"

Sally's eyes burned bluer than before. "Thank you kindly, Mister Snapps.
I'm obleeged to you for putting the good thought into my head. (If I don't
pester George Tucker! the plaguy Tory!)"

This parenthesis was mental, and Sally went off to bed with a busy brain;
but the sleep of youth and health quieted it; and if she dreamed of
George Tucker in regimentals, I am afraid they were of flagrant militia
scarlet;--the buff and blue were not distinctive yet. However, for the next
week Sally heard enough revolutionary doctrine to revive her Sunday-night
enthusiasm; the flame of "successful rebellion" had spread; the country
began to stir and hum ominously; people assembled in groups, on corners,
by church steps, around tavern-doors, with faces full of portent and
expectance; ploughs stood idly in the fields; and the raw-boned horses,
that should of right have dragged the reluctant share through heavy clay
and abounding stones, now, bestridden by breathless couriers, scoured the
country hither and yon, with news, messages, and orders from those who had
taken the right to order out of the hands of sleek and positive officials.

Nor were Westbury people the last to wake up in the general _réveille_.
Everybody in the pretty, tranquil village, tranquil now no more, declared
themselves openly on one side or the other;--Peter Tucker and his son
George for the king, of course; and this open avowal caused a sufficiently
pungent scene in Miss Sally Parsons's keeping-room the very next Sunday
night, when the aforesaid George, in company with several of his peers,
visited the farm-house for the laudable purpose of "sparkin'" Miss Sally.

There were three other youths there, besides George; all stout for the
Continental side of the question, and full of eager but restrained zeal;
ready to take up arms at a moment's notice; equally ready to wait for the
ripened time. Of such men were those armies made up that endured with a
woman's patience and fought with a man's fury, righting a great wrong as
much by moral as by physical strength, and going to death for the right,
when death, pitiless and inevitable, stared them in the face.

Long Snapps had been, in his own phrase, "weather-bound" at Westbury, and
was there still, safe in the chimney-corner, his shrewd face puckered
with thought and care, his steady old heart full of resolute bravery, and
longing for the time to come; flint and steel ready to strike fire on the
slightest collision. On the other side of the hearth from Snapps sat Zekle
in his butternut-colored Sunday suit; the four young men ranged in a grim
row of high-backed wooden chairs; Sally, blooming as the roses on her
chintz gown, occupying one end of the settle, while Aunt Poll filled the
rest of that institution with her ample quilted petticoat and paduasoy
cloak, trying hard to keep her hands still, in their unaccustomed
idleness,--nay, if it must be told, surreptitiously keeping up a knitting
with the fingers, in lieu of the accustomed needles and yarn.

An awful silence reigned after the preliminary bows and scrapes had been
achieved,--first broken by George Tucker, who drew from under his chair a
small basket of red-cheeked apples and handed them to Aunt Poll.

"Well, now, George Tucker!" exclaimed the benign spinster, "you dew beat
all for sass out o' season! Kep 'em down sullar, I expect?"

"Yes'm, our sullar's very dry."

"Well, it hed oughter. What kind be they?"

"English pippins, ma'am."

"Dew tell! be you a-goin to hev one, Sally?"

"No, Aunt Poll! I don't want any thin' English 'round!"

The three young men grinned and chuckled. George Tucker turned red.

"Hooray for you, Sally!" sung out old Snapps. "You're a three-decker, ef
ever there was 'un!"

Again George reddened, fidgeted on his chair, and at last said, in a
disturbed, but quite distinct voice,--

"I think the apples are good, Miss Sally, if the name don't suit you."

"The name's too bad to be good, sir!" retorted Sally, with a decided sniff
and toss of the head. Old Zekle gave a low laugh and interfered.

"You see, George Tucker, these here times is curus! It wakes up the wimmen
folks to hev no tea, nor no prospects of peace an' quiet, so's to make
butter an' set hens."

"Oh, father!" burst out Sally, "do you think that's all that ails women? I
wouldn't care if I eat samp forever, and had nothing but saxifrax tea; but
I can't stand by cool, and see men driven like dumb beasts by another man,
if he has got a crown, and never be let speak for themselves!"

Sally's logic was rather confused, but George got at the idea as fast as
was necessary.

"If 'twas a common man, Miss Sally; but a king's set up on high by the
Lord, and we ought to obey what He sets over us."

"I don't see where in Scriptur you get that idee, George," retorted Zekle.

"Well, it says in one place you're to obey them that has the rule over you,
sir."

"So it do; but ef the king ha'n't got no rewl over us, (an' it looks mighty
like it jes' now,) why, I don't see's we're bound to mind him!"

This astute little sophism confounded poor George for a minute, during
which Sally began to giggle violently, and flirt in her rustic fashion
with the three rebels in a row. At length George, recovering his poise and
clear-sightedness, resumed,--

"But he did rule over us, Mister Parsons, and I can't see how it's right to
rebel."

"There don't everythin' come jest square about seein' things," interposed
Long Snapps; "folks hed better steer by facts sometimes, than by yarns.
It's jest like v'yagin'; yew do'no' sumtimes what's to pay with a compass;
it'll go all p'ints to once; mebbe somebody's got a hatchet near by, or
some lubber's throwed a chain down by the binnacle, or some darned thing's
got inside on't, or it's shipped a sea an' got rusted; but there's allers
the Dipper an' the North Star; they're allers true to their bearin's,
and you can't go to Davy Jones's locker for want of a light'us so long's
they're ahead. I calk'late its jes' so about this king-talk; orders is very
well when they a'n't agin common sense an' the rights o' natur; but you
see, George Tucker, folks will go 'cordin to natur an' reason, ef there's
forty parlamints an' kings in tow. Natur's jest like a no'west squall; you
can't do nothin' but tack ag'inst it; and no men is goin' to stan' still
and see the wind taken out o' their sails, an' their liberty flung to
sharks, without one mutiny to know why!"

"No!" burst out Sally, who had stopped flirting, and been listening with
soul and body to Long; "and no man, that _is_ a man, will go against the
right and the truth just because the wrong is strongest!"

This little feminine insult was too much for George Tucker, particularly as
he had not the least idea how its utterance burned Sally's lips, and made
her heart ache. He got up from his chair with a very bitter look on his
handsome face.

"I see," said he, quite coldly, "I am likely to be scarce welcome here. I
believe the king is my master, made so by the Lord, and I think it is my
honest duty to obey him. It hurts me to part otherwise than kind with
friends; but I wish you a good night, and better judgment."

There was something so manly in George's speech, that, but for its final
fling and personality, every man in the room would have crowded round him
to shake hands; but what man ever coolly heard his judgment impeached?

Sally swallowed a great round sob; but being, like all women, an actress in
her way, bowed as calmly to Mr. George as if he only said adieu, after an
ordinary call.

Aunt Poll snuffled, and followed George to the door; Uncle Zekle drew
himself up straight, and looked after him, his clear blue eyes sparkling
with two rays,--one of honest patriotic wrath, one of affection and regret
for George; while Long, from the corner, eyed all with a serpent's wisdom
in his gaze, oracularly uttering, as the door shut,--

"Well, that 'are feller is good grit!"

"All the worse for us!" growled Eliashib Sparks, the biggest of the three,
surprising Sally into a little hysterical laugh, and surprised himself
still more at this unexpected sequence to his remark.

"Pooty bad! George is a clever fellow!" ejaculated Zekle. "He han't got the
rights on't, but I think he'll come round by'n by."

"I do'no'," said Long, meditatively; "he's pooty stiff, that 'are feller.
He's sot on dooty, I see; an' that means suthin', when a man that oughter
be called a man sez it. Wimmin-folks, now, don't sail on that tack. When
a gal sets to talkin' about her dooty, it's allers suthin' she wants ter
do and han't got no grand excuse for't. Ye never see a woman't didn't get
married for dooty yet; there a'n't nary one on 'em darst to say they wanted
ter."

"Oh! Mister Long!" exclaimed Sally.

"Well, Sally, it's nigh about so; you han't lived a hunderd year. Some o'
these days you'll get to know yer dooty."

Sally turned red, and the three young men sniggered. Forgive the word,
gentle and fair readers! it means what I mean, and no other word expresses
it; let us be graphic and die!

Just then the meeting-house bell rang for nine o'clock; and every man got
up from his seat, like a son of Anak, bowed, scraped, cleared his throat to
say "Goodnight," did say something like it, and left.

"Well, Sally, I swear you're good at signallin'," broke out Long, as soon
as the youths were fairly out of sight and sound; "you hev done it for
George Tucker!"

Sally gave no answer, but a brand from the back-log fell, blazed up in a
shaft of rosy flame, and showed a suspicious glitter on the girl's round,
wholesome cheek. Aunt Poll had gone to bed; Zekle was going the nightly
rounds of his barns, to see to the stock; Long Snapps was aware of
opportunity, the secret of success.

"Sally," said he, "is that feller sparkin' you?"

Sally laughed a little, and something, perhaps the blaze, reddened her
face.

"I don't know," said the pretty hypocrite, demurely.

"H'm! well, I do," answered Long; "and you a'n't never goin' to take up
with a Tory? don't think it's yer dooty, hey?"

"No indeed!" flashed Sally. "Do you think I'd marry a Britisher? I'd run
away and live with the Indians first."

"Pooty good! pooty good! you're calk'lating to make George into a rebel, I
'xpect?"

Long was looking into the fire when he said this; he did not see Sally's
look of rage and amazement at his unpleasant penetration.

"I'm sure I don't care what George Tucker thinks," said she, with a toss of
her curly head.

"H'm!" uttered Long, meditatively, "lucky! I 'xpect he carries too many
guns to be steered by a woman; 'tis a kinder pity you a'n't a man, Sally;
mebbe you'd argufy him round then; it's plain as the Gulf you can't crook
his v'yage; he's too stiff for wimmin-folks, that is a fact!"

Oh, Long Snapps! Long Snapps! how many wives, in how many ports, went to
the knowledge of feminine nature that dictated that speech? Sally set her
lips. From that hour George Tucker was a doomed man; but she said nothing
more audible than "Goodnight." Long looked at her, as she lit the tallow
dip by the fire, and chuckled when he heard her shut the milk-room door in
the safe distance. He was satisfied.

The next afternoon, Sally was weeding onions in the garden;--heroines did,
in those days;--the currant-bushes had but just leafed out; so George
Tucker, going by, saw her; and she, who had seen him coming before she
began to weed, accidentally of course, looked up and gave him a very bright
smile. That was the first spider-thread, and the fly stepped into it with
such a thrill!

Of course he stopped, and said,--

"What a pleasant day!"--the saving phrase of life. Then Sally said
something he couldn't hear, and he leaped the low fence without being
asked, rather than request her to raise her voice; he was so considerate!
Next he remembered, just as he turned to go away, that there were some
white violets down in the meadow, that Sally always liked. Couldn't she
spend time to walk down there across lots and get some? Sally thought the
onions could not be left. Truth to tell, her heart was in her mouth. She
had been playing with edge-tools; but just then she smelt a whiff of smoke
from Long Snapps's pipe, and the resolve of last night came back; her face
relented, and George, seeing it, used his utmost persuasiveness; so the
result was, that Sally washed her hands at the well, and away they went, in
the most serene silence, over fences, grass-lots, and ditches, through bits
of woodland, and fields of winter-green, till they reached the edge of the
great meadow, and sat down on a log to rest. It was rather a good place for
that purpose. An old pine had fallen at the feet of a majestic cluster of
its brethren, so close that the broad column of one made a natural back to
part of the seat. The ground was warm, dry sand, strown with the fine dead
leaves of past seasons, brown and aromatic. A light south wind woke the
voices of every bough above, and the melancholy susurrus rose and fell
in delicate cadences; while beyond the green meadow, Westbury River, a
good-sized brook, babbled and danced as if there were no pine-tree laments
in the world.

I believe the air, and the odor, and the crying wind drove the violets
quite out of both the two heads that drooped silently over that pine
log. If Sally had been nervous or poetical, she would have been glad to
recollect them; but no such morbidness invaded her healthy soul. She sat
quite still till George said, in a suppressed and rather broken tone,--

"I was sorry to vex you last night, Sally! I could not be sorry for any
thing else."

"You did grieve me very much, Mister George," said Sally, affecting a
little distance in her address, but sufficiently tender in manner.

"Well, I suppose you don't see it the way I do," returned George; "and I am
very sorry, for I had rather please you than any body else."

This was especially tender, and he possessed himself of Sally's little red
hand, unaware or careless that it smelt of onions; but it was withdrawn
very decidedly.

"I think you take a strange way of showing your liking!" sniffed the
damsel.

George sat astounded. Another tiny spider-thread stopped the fly; a subtle
ray of blue sped sideways out of Sally's eye, that meant,--"I don't object
to be liked."

"I wish with all my heart I knew any good way to please you," he fervently
ejaculated.

"_I_ should think any way to please people was a good way," retorted Sally,
saying more with her eyes than with her voice,--so much more, that in fact
this fly was fast. A little puff of wind blew off Sally's bonnet; she
looked shy, flushed, lovely. George stood up on his feet, and took his hat
off.

"Sally!" said he, in the deepest notes of his full, manly voice, "I love
you very much indeed; will you be my wife?"

Sally was confounded. I rejoice to say she was quite confounded; but she
was made of revolutionary stuff, and what just now interfered with her
plans and schemes was the sudden discovery how very much indeed she loved
George Tucker; a fact she had not left enough margin for in her plot.

But, as I said, she was made of good metal, and she answered very low,--

"I do like you, George; but I never will marry a Britisher and a Tory."

A spasm of real anguish distorted the handsome face, bent forward to
listen.

"Do you mean that, Sally? Can't you love me because we don't think alike?"

Sally choked a little; her tones fell to a whisper. George had to sit down
close to her to hear.

"I didn't say I didn't love you, George!"--A blissful pause of a second;
then in a clear, cold voice,--"But my mind's set. I can't marry a Britisher
and a Tory, if I died sayin' so."

George gasped.

"And I cannot turn traitor and rebel, Sally. I can _not_. I love you better
than any thing in the world; but I can't do a wicked thing; no, not even
for you."

He was pale as death. Sally's secret heart felt proud of him, and never had
she been so near repenting of her work in the good cause before; but she
was resolute.

"Very well!" replied she, coolly, "if you prefer the king to me, it's not
my fault; when your side beats, you can take your revenge!"

The thorough injustice of this speech roused her lover's generous
indignation.

"If you can think that way of me, Sally, it is better for us both to have
me go! Good night!" And away strode the loyal fellow, never looking back
to see his sweetheart have a good cry on the pine-log, and then an equally
comfortable fit of laughter; for she knew very well how restless Mister
George would be, all alone by himself, and how much it meant that they both
loved each other, and both knew it.

Sally's heart was stout. A sort of Yankee Evangeline, she would not have
gone after Gabriel; she would have staid at home and waited for him to the
end of time; doing chores and mending meanwhile, but unmarried, in the
fixed intention of being her lover's sixth wife possibly, but his wife at
last.

So she went home and got supper, strained and skimmed milk, set a sponge
for bread, and slept all night like a dormouse. George Tucker never went to
bed.

"Hooraw!" roared Long Snapps, trundling in to dinner, the next day;
"they're wakin' up down to Bostin! Good many on 'em's quit the town.
Them 'are Britishers is a-gettin' up sech a breeze; an' they doo say the
reg'lars is comin' out full sail, to cair' off all the amminition in these
parts, fear o' mutiny 'mongst the milishy!"

"Come along!" shouted Zekle, "let 'em come! like to see 'em takin' our
powder an' shot 'thout askin'! Guess they'll hear thunder, ef they stick
their heads inter a hornet's nest."

"Dredful suz!" exclaimed Aunt Poll, pulling turnips out of the pot with
reckless haste, and so scalding her brown fingers emphatically; "be they
a-comin' here? will they fetch along the batterin' rams?"

"Thunder _an'_ dry trees," ejaculated Zekle, "what does the woman--";
but at that instant Long made for the door, and flung it open, thereby
preventing explanations.

"Goin' to Concord, George?" shouted he to George Tucker, who in a one-horse
wagon and his Sunday-best clothes was driving slowly past.

"No! goin' to Lexington, after corn. Can I do anything for you?"

"Well, no, I 'xpect not. When be you a-comin' back?"

"I don't know."

"Well, go long! good-luck to ye; keep to wind'ard o' squalls, George."

Long nodded, and George drove on. That day the whole village of Westbury
was in an uproar. News had come from Boston that the British were about
to send out forces to possess themselves of all the military stores in
the country, and forestall rebellion by rendering it helpless. From every
corner of every farm and village, young men and old mustered; from every
barn, horses of all sizes and descriptions were driven out and saddled;
rusty muskets, balls of all shapes and of any available metal that would
melt and run, disabled broadswords, horse-pistols, blunderbusses, whatever
wore any resemblance to a weapon, or could be rendered serviceable to that
end,--all were hunted out, cleaned, mended, and laid ready;--an array that
might have made a properly drilled and equipped army smile in contempt,
but whose deficiencies were more than supplied by iron sinews, true blood,
resolve and desperate courage.

Sally and Aunt Poll partook the gale of patriotism. They scoured the "ole
queen's arm" to brilliancy; they ran bullets by the hour; baked bread and
brewed Spring beer, with no more definite purpose than a general conviction
that men must and would eat, as the men of their house certainly did, in
the intervals of repairing harness, filling powder-horns and shot-belts,
trotting over to the tavern after news, and coming back to retail it,
till Aunt Poll began to imagine she heard the distant strokes of a
battering-ram, and rushing out in terror to assure herself, discovered it
to be only Sam Pequot, an old Indian, who, with the apathy of his race, was
threshing in the barn.

Aunt Poll took down Josephus to refresh her memory, and actually drew a
laugh from Sally's grave lips by confiding to her this extreme horror of
the case; a laugh she forgave, since Sally reassured her by recommending to
her notice the fact that Jerusalem had stone walls that were more difficult
to climb than stone fences. As for Sally, she thought of George, all day of
George, all night; and while the next day deepened toward noon, was still
thinking of him, when in rushed Long Snapps, tarpaulin in hand, full of
news and horror.

"I swan! we've got it now!" said he. "Them darned Britishers sot out fur
Concord last night, to board our decks an' plunder the magazine; the
boys heerd on't, and they was ready over to Lexin'ton, waitin' round the
meetin'us; they stood to't, an' that old powder monkey Pitcairn sung out to
throw down their arms, darned rebels; an' cause they didn't muster to his
whistle, he let fly at 'em like split; an' there's some killed an' more
wounded; pretty much all on 'em our folks, though they did giv the reg'lars
one round o' ball afore they run."

"Hooray!" shouted Zekle; "that's the talk; guess they'll sing smaller next
time!"

"They'll do more'n that, Zekle," responded Long; "this a'n't but the
beginnin' o' sorrers, as Parson Marsh sez, sez he; there'll be a hull gulf
stream o' blood, afore them darned reg'lars knows the color on't well
enough to lay their course."

Sally glided past Long, and plucked him by the sleeve, unseen by the rest.
He followed her into the shed. She was ghastly pale. "Long," said she,
hurriedly, "did you hear who? was anybody shot?"

"Bless ye, gal! a hull school on 'em was shot; there wasn't many went to
the bottom, though; han't heerd no names."

"But George?" gasped Sally; "he went to Lexington yesterday."

"Well, I am took aback!" growled Long. "I swear I never thought on't. I'll
go see."

"Come back and tell me?" whispered Sally.

"Lord-a-massy, yes, child! jest as soon's I know myself trewly! but I
shan't know nothin' more till sundown, I expect. Desire Trowbridge is
a-ridin' post; he'll come through 'bout that time with news."

Long did not come back for several hours, some time after sundown, when he
found Sally in the shed, waiting for him. She saw the news in his face.
"Dead?" said she, clutching at the old sailor's hand.

"No! no! he a'n't slipt his moorins' yet, but he is badly stove about the
figger-head; he's got a ball through his head somewhere, an' another in his
leg; and he a'n't within hail; don't hear no speakin'-trumpets; fact is,
Sally, he's in for the dockyard a good spell, ef he a'n't broke up hull and
all."

"Who shot him?" whispered Sally.

"That's the best on't, gal; he's took an' tacked beautiful; he went into
port at Lexin'ton yesterday, and heerin' there all sides o' the story,
an' how them critters sot up for to thieve away our stores, he got kinder
riled at the hull crew, like a common-sense feller, an' when Pitcairn come
along, George finally struck his colors, run up a new un to the mast-head,
borrered a musket, an' jined the milishy, an' got shot by them cussed
reg'lars fur his pains; an ef he doos die, I'll hev a figger cut on a stun
myself, to tell folks he was a rebel and an honest man arter all."

"Where is he?" asked Sally in another whisper.

"He's to the tavern there in Lexin'ton. There a'n't nobody along with him,
cause his father's gone to Bostin to see 'bout not gettin' scomfishkated,
or arter a protection, or sumthin."

"And his mother is dead," said Sally, slowly. "Long! I must go to Lexington
to-night, on the pillion, and you must go with me. Father's got too much
rheumatiz to ask it of him."

"Well!" said Long, after a protracted stare at Sally,--"wimmin is the
oddest craft that ever sailed. I swan, when I sight 'em I don't know a
main-top-sail from a flyin' jib! Goin' to take care o' George, be ye?"

"Yes," said Sally, meekly.

Long rolled the inseparable quid in his cheek, and slyly drawled out,
"W-ell, if ye must, ye must! I a'n't a-goin' ter stand in the way of yer
dooty!"

Sally was too far away to hear, or she might have smiled.

Uncle Zeke and Aunt Poll were to be told and coaxed into assent;--no very
hard task; for George Tucker was a favorite of 'Zekiel's, and now he had
turned rebel, the only grudge he had ever owed him was removed; he was only
too glad to help him in any way. Aunt Poll's sole trouble was lest Sally
should take cold. The proprieties, those gods of modern social worship, as
well as their progenitors, the improprieties, were unknown to these simple
souls; they did things because they were right and wrong. They were not
nice according to Swift's definition, nor proper in the mode of the best
society, but they were good and pure; are the disciples and lecturers of
the 'proper' equally so?

Sally's simple preparations were quickly made. By nine o'clock she was safe
on the pillion behind Long Snapps, folded in Aunt Poll's red joseph, and
provided with saddle-bags full of comforts and necessaries. The night was
dark, but Sally did not feel any fear; not Tam O'Shanter's experience could
have shaken the honest little creature's courage, when George filled the
perspective before her. The way was lonely; the hard road echoed under
the old cart-horse's hoofs; many a black and desolate tract of forest lay
across their twenty miles' ride; more than once the tremulous shriek of a
screech-owl smote ominously on Sally's wakeful sense, and quavered away
like a dying groan; more than once a mournful whippoorwill cried out in
pain and expostulation, and in the young leaves a shivering wind foreboded
evil;--but they rode on. Presently Sally's drooping head rose erect; she
listened; she laid her hand on the bridle. "Stop, Long!" said she. "I hear
horses' feet, and shouts."

"Look here!" said Long, after a moment's listening, "there's breakers
ahead, Sally; let's heave to in these 'ere piny bushes side o' the track;
it's pitch dark, mebbe they'll go by."

He reined the horse from the road, and forced him into a group of young
hemlocks, which hid them entirely from passers by. Just as he was well
ensconced, a company of British cavalry rode up, broken and disorderly
enough, cursing and swearing at the Yankees, and telling to unseen ears
a bloody story of Concord and its men. Sally trembled, but it was with
indignation, not fear, and as soon as the last hoof-beat died away, she
urged Long forward; they regained the road, and made their way at once to
George in Lexington.

Is it well to paint, even in failing words, such emotions as Sally fought
with and conquered in that hour? Whoever has stood by the bed of a
speechless, hopeless, unconscious human being, in whom their own soul lived
and suffered, will know these pangs without my interpretation. Whoever
knows them not need not so anticipate. If Sally had been less a woman, I
might have had more to say; but she was only a woman, and loved George, so
she went on in undisturbed self-control, and untiring exertion, to nurse
him.

The doctor said he could not live; Long said he was booked for Davy Jones;
the minister prayed for "our dying brother";--but Sally said he should
live, and he did. After weeks of patient care he knew her; after more weeks
he spoke,--words few, but precious; and when accumulating months brought
to the battlefields of America redder stains than even patriotic blood had
splashed upon their leaves,--when one nation began to hope, and another to
fear, both hope and fear had shaken hands with Sally and said good-bye. She
was married to George Tucker, and, with the prospect of a crippled husband
for life, was perfectly happy; too happy not to laugh, when, the day after
their wedding, sitting on the door-sill of the old Westbury homestead, with
George and Long Snapps, George said, "Would you ever have come to take care
of me, Sally, if I'd 'a' been shot on the side of the reg'lars?"

Sally looked at him, and then looked away.

"I 'xpect she'd 'a' done her dooty," said Long Snapps dryly; and Sally
laughed.



THE MANCHESTER EXHIBITION.

In a number of the "Illustrated News," not long since, there was what
professed to be a view of Manchester. It represented a thousand tall
factory-chimneys rising out of a gray mist, and surmounted by a heavy,
drifting cloud of smoke. And in truth a view not very different from this
was presented to any one who, standing at the entrance of the Palace of the
Exhibition of Art Treasures, turned and looked back before going within.
Two miles off lies the body of the great workshop-city, already stretching
its begrimed arms in the direction of the Exhibition. The vast flat expanse
of brick walls, diversified by countless chimney and occasional steeples,
now and then interrupted by the insertion of a low shed or an enormous
warehouse, offers no single object upon which the eye or the imagination
can rest with pleasure. Such a view was never to be seen in the world
before this century; a city built merely by trade, built for the home of
labor, of machines, and of engines, and for the dwelling-place (one cannot
call it the home) of crowds of human beings, whose value is, for the
most part, estimated according to the development of their machine-like
qualities. Beauty is not consulted here. In those places in or near the
city, where Nature, reluctant to be driven utterly away, still tries to
keep a foothold, she is parched and scorched by the feverish breath of
forges and furnaces. Standing here, one may see the cloud of smoke, which
waves in the wind like a pall over the city, slowly moving and settling
down upon the land. One may almost hear the roar of the continual fires,
the throb of the engines, the heavy beat of the trip-hammers, and the
rattle of the spindles, by which the work of the world is done; and their
noises, blended by the distance into one monotonous sound, seem like the
voice of the restless, hard-working, unsettled spirit of gain. Manchester
is built and is worked for profit, not for pleasure; beauty is driven away
from her as a thing at variance with practical life; and even the sky above
her and the fields around her yield only at rare moments and for short
seasons those precious and gracious shows of beauty which are the free and
blessed gift of love to all the world. Smoke, steam, coal-dust, blackened
walls, and bare fields lie outside the Exhibition; and now let us go
within.

The world could show no sharper and more affecting contrast. Outside, all
suggests the competitions and struggles of trade, the crowded street, the
bustle of the exchange, the cold and dry elements of purely unimaginative
life. Inside, all suggests the quietness and composure of solitary and
delightful labor, the silence of the studio, the resort to nature, and the
frequenting of the springs of poetry. From the present, one is suddenly
transferred to the past; from the near, to the remote. In place of the
blank, black factory wall, there is the low wall of some Italian Campo
Santo, its painted sides more precious than marbles or gold could have made
them; in place of the dull and heavy stone of the Exchange, the glowing
mosaics of some southern cathedral; in place of the factory bell and
the rush into the steaming and dirty workroom, the bell of a convent on
Fiesole, and the slow walk through its cool cloisters; in place of the dead
files of uniform ugly houses, Venetian palaces, with the water at their
base, reflecting the colors which Giorgione and Titian, housepainters at
Venice, left upon their stones; in place of the racket of the street, the
quiet greenness of an English lane, or the inaccessible ice and glory of
a far-off mountain summit; in place of the burnt waste of fields covered
with ashes and coal-dust, the burning stretch of the desert with the Sphinx
looking out over it century after century; in place of the shower coming
down through the dirty air to wash the dirty roofs, a storm breaking over
the sea-shore rocks, or beating down on the broken wreck; instead of the
drabbled calico of the factory girl and her face old before its time,
the satins of Vandyck's beauties, and the fair looks of Sir Peter Lely's
heroines; instead of Manchester mayors and masters of factories, Tintoret's
noble Venetian counsellors and doges, and Titian's Shakspearian men. It was
a bold thought thus to bring pictures and statues into one great collection
at Old Trafford, and to set off the art of the world against the
manufactures of Manchester.

The Exhibition building was admirably designed for its purpose. Its plan
is simple, and not unpleasing, although the proportions, which its object
required, were such as to prevent any attempt at grand architectural
effect. The general arrangement of the interior is easily understood, even
without the aid of a ground-plan. The chief entrance leads into a nave,
which has on each side an aisle of less height, separated from it by a
wall. The wall is broken by two openings, through which is the passage from
nave to aisle, or aisle to nave. The nave and aisles end in a transept,
and behind the transept are two small saloons, and a large hall or aisle
crossing the building transversely and forming its western end. A gallery
runs round the transept, and another crosses the nave at its eastern end.
This is the general arrangement. The walls of the nave or central hall are
occupied by the gallery of British portraits, and between the iron columns
that support the roof are set pieces of sculpture, and the cases containing
the precious collection of Ornamental Art, (works of the minor arts, as
they might be called,) which has been brought together from private and
public sources, and is quite unrivalled in its completeness. The southern
aisle contains the main collection of pictures by ancient, foreign masters;
while the opposite aisle is filled with the works of the British school.
The transept, being chiefly given up to arrangements for an orchestra,
contains below little but a collection of busts, but its galleries are
occupied with the collection of miniatures, a most admirable and extensive
historical series of engravings, a large number of photographs, and a very
precious collection of original drawings by the old masters. The saloon
at the north end of the transept is filled with East Indian and Chinese
tapestries, furniture, and works of ornamental design; while the opposite
saloon continues the collection of paintings of ancient masters, being
chiefly occupied with works from the gallery of the Marquis of Hertford,
which he sent to the Exhibition on condition that they should be kept
together. The hall that crosses the building at the western end is filled
with a collection of water-color drawings.--Such, in brief, is an outline
of the distribution of the treasures contained in this great palace of Art.

The first impression, on entering the nave, is that of the vast space
filled with light and rich with color. The attention is not attracted to
particular details. Separate objects are dwarfed in the long vista. The eye
rests on nothing that is not precious, and is at first contented to wander
rapidly from one object to another, without attempting to delay on any
thing. Passing down the middle between the ordered files of statues, (all
modern works, and few of them worthy of remark,) we enter from the transept
the south nave, where the works of the foreign schools of painting are
arranged for the most part in chronological order. This nave, like the
opposite, is divided into three saloons and two vestibules. We are now in
the first saloon. On the one side are the works of the earlier Italian
masters, and on the other those of the masters of the earlier German and
Flemish schools. And it is here that one observes the chief deficiency of
the collection. The pictures which are here have been brought from the
private galleries in which England is so rich. Many a famous country-house,
full of historic and poetic associations, gains additional interest from
its gallery of pictures or of marbles. Blenheim, Wilton House, Warwick
Castle, have their old walls hung with pictures by Titian, Vandyck, and
Holbein. Who does not remember, as one of his most delightful recollections
of England,--delightful as all his recollections of that dear old
Mother-land are, if he has really seen her,--who does not thus remember the
drive from the little country town to the old family place, up the long
avenue under its ancestral trees, the ferny brook crossed by the stone
bridge with its carved balustrade, the deer feeding on the green slope
of the open park or lying under some secular oak, the heavy white clouds
casting their slow shadows on the broad lawn, the dark spreading cedars
of Lebanon standing on the edge of the bright flower-garden,--the old
house itself, with its quaint gables and oriels, the broad flight of
steps leading to the wide door,--the cheerful reception from the prim,
but good-natured housekeeper,--her pride in the great hall, and in the
pleasant, home-like rooms, in Vandyck's portrait of the beautiful countess,
and in Holbein's of the fifth earl,--the satisfaction with which she would
point to the pictures and the marbles brought two centuries ago from
Italy, now stopping before this to tell you that "it is considered a very
improportionable Virgin by Parmigianino," and calling you to observe this
old statue "of a couching Silenius wrapped in the skin of a Pantheon,"--and
then, when the Rubens, and the Claude, and all the other pictures have been
seen, her letting you pass, as a great favor, through the library with its
well-filled oaken shelves, the gilding worn off the backs of many of its
books by the love of successive generations;--who does not remember such
scenes as these, and recall the glorious pictures from Florence, or from
Venice, or from Antwerp, that enrich many an English country home?

It was, indeed, from such homes that the Manchester collection was, in
great measure, brought together; and this being the case, it is not to be
wondered at that it was difficult to form an historic sequence of pictures
by which the course and progress of Art should be properly illustrated,
or that many of the old pictures that hang on the walls of the Exhibition
bear the names of greater masters than they deserve to be honored with. Nor
is it strange that the earlier schools of Art should be but very scantily
represented. The earlier painters did not do much work that would answer
for the decoration of homes; their work was of a public, and, for the most
part, a consecrated nature. The pictures of later centuries are more easily
appreciated by those who have not made a thoughtful study of Art, and they
have consequently been more loudly praised and more generally sought for.
The later works have attractive qualities in which the earlier are often
deficient, and it is not until very recently that the real beauty and
value of these first pictures of the revival have been felt with any due
appreciation. The masters of the fourteenth, and of the greater part of
the fifteenth century, did not, as we have said, paint pictures simply as
objects of beauty or for mere purposes of adornment, nor were those methods
of painting then in use which have brought pictures into private homes and
within private means. And so it happens that the schools of this period are
not represented at Manchester in any fair proportion to the schools of the
sixteenth century.

The two most important centuries of Art are not to be studied here. Of
the six pictures, for instance, that profess to be by Giotto, the great
head and master of Italian Art, there are but two from which even a faint
impression of his style can be gained. There is nothing here which would
enable one who had not seen his works in Italy to conceive a true idea
of their character and merits. Giotto stands at the threshold of the
fourteenth century, breaking open the door, so long barred up, that was to
let men into the glories of the unseen world. The friend of Dante, he, as
painter, stands side by side with the poet. In the midst of the tumults,
the confusion, and violence of those bloody times, his soul rose above
the discord of the world, his hand snapped the fetters of authority and
tradition, and revealed by line and color the exalted visions of his
imagination. Painting, with him, took its inspiration from religious faith,
and spent itself in religious service. Whether at Padua, in the little
withdrawn Arena chapel, or on the bare mountains at Assisi, in the great
church of St. Francis, or at Naples, in the king's chapel, his frescos,
though dimmed by the dust of five hundred years, blackened by the smoke
of incense, abused by restorers, still show a power of imagination, a
spirituality and tenderness of feeling, a simplicity and directness of
treatment, which give them place among the most sacred and precious works
that Art has yet produced. That quiet, solitary chapel of the Arena at
Padua is one of the places most worthy of reverence in Italy; for in the
pictures from the lives of the Virgin and the Saviour, that are painted
upon its walls, there is the expression of such religious fervor, such
faith and love, as Art has rarely or never reached in later times.

Nor is there at Manchester any picture by Duccio da Siena, the great, and,
one may almost say, the worthy contemporary of Giotto, from which his power
and feeling are to be well estimated. Like Giotto he struggled to free
himself from the swathing-clothes in which the traditions of Byzantine Art
had bound up the limbs and the imaginations of artists, and he succeeded
in at last breaking loose. But the long restraint had impaired the power
of all who were subjected to it; and as in the works of Giotto, so in the
rarer works of Duccio, one often finds an effort after truth of expression,
which is almost pathetic in its character, from its revealing the
inefficiency of the hand to carry out the thought, and the resolute will
striving half in vain to overcome the impediments of bad teaching and
imperfect knowledge of the materials and limits of painting. It is this
groping effort after truth which results often in the _naïve_ rendering
of details, and the quaintness of composition, which are so common in
the works of these early masters; but the deep feeling of the artists
penetrates through all, and thus even their awkward and imperfect drawing
frequently produces a stronger effect, and seems a better rendering of
nature, than the cold, unfeeling, academic accuracy of Bologna, or all the
finished science of the eclectic schools.

In passing down through the century one finds lamentable omissions at
Manchester. Fifty pictures, of which half at least have been restored,
(that is to say, in part or wholly spoiled,) and half originally the work
of inferior masters, do not represent the art of a century which was full
of the glow of reawakening life, and which, as the spring covers the
earth with flowers, covered Italy with cathedrals, campaniles, churches,
baptisteries, and camposantos, and decorated their walls with sculpture and
painting. Art was gaining gradually a knowledge of her own powers. Orgagna,
the Michel Angelo of his time, (one of his pictures is at Manchester,) was
opening a wider field for her progress; and ten years after his death Fra
Angelico was born. He was a boy of fifteen years old when in 1402 Masaccio
was born at Florence, and the brightness of the fifteenth century had
begun.

There is one, among the four pictures ascribed to Fra Angelico in this
collection, from which something of the heavenly purity, the sweetness,
and the tenderness of this great and gentle master may be learned. It is a
picture of the Last Judgment. Unfortunately, it has been much injured by
time and by neglect; its brilliant colors have sunk and become dim,--those
pure, clear colors which give to Fra Angelico's panel pictures the
brilliancy of a missal illumination, and which reflect the purity and the
clearness of his tranquil life and his reverential soul. It is no fanciful
theory which connects the uses of color with moral qualities, and which
from the coloring of a picture will deduce something of the moral character
of its painter. Thus it is not only from the exquisite delicacy of form,
the spirituality of expression, and the sweet, reverent fancy in attitude,
of the angels from which Fra Angelico derived his name, but also from the
brightness of their golden wings, from the deep glow of their crimson, or
scarlet, or azure robes, and from the clear shining of the stars on their
foreheads, that one learns that he deserved that name as characteristic of
his temper and his life. Something of the influence of the cloister shows
itself in most of his larger works; but if his vision was narrowed within
convent walls, it did but pierce the more clearly into the regions of
tranquillity and loveliness that lay above them.

With the end of the fifteenth century religion almost disappears from Art.
John Bellini, dying ninety years old in 1516, was the last and one of the
greatest of the long line of artists who had loved Art as the means granted
them of serving God upon earth. The manly vigor of his conceptions, the
tender and holy purity of his imagination, the delicate strength of his
fancy, are not to be discovered in the few pictures that bear his name at
Manchester. His pictures are to be fairly seen only at Venice, where, in
out-of-the-way churches, over tawdry altars, his colors gleam undimmed
by time, and the faces of his Virgins look down with a still celestial
sweetness. But there is one picture here, by a Venetian contemporary
of John Bellini, before which we shall do well to pause. It is a St.
Catharine, by Cima da Conegliano. It is the picture of a noble woman, full
of fortitude, serenity, and faith. The richness of the color of her dress,
her calm dignity, the composure of her attitude, recall to mind and make
her the worthy companion of the beautiful St. Barbara of the church of
Santa Maria Formosa. It is well to look at her, for we are coming to those
days when such saints as these were no longer painted; but in their places
whole tribes of figures with faces twisted into every trick of sentimental
devotion, imbecile piety, and pretended fervor.

But before this time, somewhere about the middle of the fifteenth century,
the fashion of painting pictures upon panel for private purposes, though as
yet religious subjects were principally chosen for treatment, had already
begun; and we find the masters of the early part of the sixteenth century
represented with tolerable fulness at Manchester. English collectors have
long had a passion for Raphael, and England is almost as rich in his works
in oils as Italy herself. Italy, however, keeps his frescos; and may she
long keep them! There are more than thirty works ascribed to Raphael
hanging on the walls of the Exhibition. Many of them are of doubtful
genuineness; many of them have been restored.

It is impossible to trace in these pictures the progress of Raphael's
manner, and to mark the development of his style; but even in these one may
see something of the change from the simplicity and feeling of his early
works, produced under the influence of religious sentiment, and the still
clinging stiffness of traditional restraints, to the freedom and coldness
of his later works, painted under the influence of success at a dissolute
court, of flattery, of jealousy, and of indifference to the motives of
religion.

The Venetian masters of the sixteenth century fill a large portion of the
sides of one of the great saloons of this aisle, covering it with a glow of
deepest color. The opposite side is hung with many pictures by Rubens; and
the contrast between the works of the mighty colorists of Venice and the
famous colorist of Antwerp is not without curious interest and instruction.
The Venice wall has the color of Venetian sunsets, the gold and crimson
of its clouds, the solemn blue of the Cadore hills, the deep green of the
lagoons, the brown and purple of the seaweeds, and the shadows of the city
of decaying palaces. Here are such harmonies as Nature strikes in her great
symphony of color. But on the other wall are the colors of the courts in
which Rubens passed so many of his days,--the dyes of tapestry, the sheen
of jewels and velvet, the glaring crimson and yellow of royal displays;
while the harmonies that he strikes out with his rapid and powerful hand
are like those of the music of some great military band.

There are noble pictures here by Giorgione, and Titian, and Tintoret, and
Paul Veronese, and Bonifazio. Look at this Musical Party by Giorgione, this
landscape by Titian, this portrait of the vile Duke of Alva by the same
great master, the greatest master of all in portraiture. It is the Duke
himself, not merely in his outward presence, but such as the insight of
one as profoundly versed in human as in external nature beheld him. The
portrait is a biography of the man, and one may read in the narrow, hard,
and wily face the history of his cruel life. The same qualities of inward
vision are displayed by Tintoret in his more hasty portraits, and one
learns as much of Venetian men and of their lives from the pencil of Titian
and of Tintoret as from the pens of contemporary chroniclers. The picture
by Bonifazio of a Virgin and Child surrounded by saints is a splendid
example of this almost unsurpassed colorist; while several of the pictures
by Paul Veronese are among the most precious things in all the Exhibition,
as clear and uninjured specimens of admirable Venetian work.

The Bolognese school is represented at Manchester out of all proportion to
its worth, in comparison with the earlier and greater schools of Italy. It
is essentially the school of decline, and, after the time of Francia, very
few pictures proceeded from it dignified by noble thought, or exhibiting
either purity or power of imagination. Its very method condemned it
to inferiority. But debased as it is, it has been during the last two
centuries the object of perhaps more real and affected admiration than any
other of the schools of Italian art. Fortunately, we have entered upon a
better period of criticism, and a change is fast coming over the public
taste. But it is a curious fact, that the most popular picture in the whole
gallery of ancient masters, the picture before which larger crowds assemble
and linger than before any other, is one from this school,--the three
Maries weeping over the body of the Saviour, by Annibale Caracci. A portion
of the interest which it excites undoubtedly arises from the report that
Louis Napoleon has offered the sum of £20,000 for it to its possessor, the
Earl of Carlisle; but its intrinsic qualities are such as to explain much
of its attraction for uneducated eyes. The attitudes of the figures are
violent and theatrical, the colors are strong, the surface is smooth, the
subject is easily recognized and of general interest. But whatever value
be set upon these points, it is an example of many of the worst defects of
the school. The expressions of the figures are exaggerated and unnatural,
the color, though strong, is cold and inharmonious, the drawing feeble and
incorrect, the sentiment inconceivably material. It is a true exponent of
the low ebb of artistic power and of religious feeling at the period at
which it was painted.

But we are delaying too long in these halls of the old painters. We have
scarcely looked at a tithe of the eleven hundred pictures that hang around,
and we must pass by with only a glance the long lines of German, Flemish,
and Dutch works, and the rows of pictures by the great Spanish masters. We
can but see how much there is for pleasure and for study, and wish in vain
to pause before Rembrandt, and Cuyp, and Ruysdael, and Vandyck, before
Murillo and Velasquez.

We come out into the nave, and, forgetting for a time pictures as works of
art, let us look at them as representations of men, as we pass along before
the portraits of British worthies, with which the two sides of this great
hall are hung. It is a gallery of which every one of British blood may be
proud; for no other country could show such a long line of the portraits
of her famous men, and feel at the same time that so many of her greatest
were not to be found in the collection. The gallery begins with a portrait
of King Henry IV.; it ends with that of Mr. Prescott. After nearly four
hundred English worthies, at last one American,--and only one; for in the
whole collection there is but one other portrait of an American,--West, the
painter,--and he was English by adoption, though not by birth. We could
spare his fame without great loss, but it would not do for us to give
up that of our popular historian. In the next great assemblage of the
portraits of the worthies of the English race and speech, perhaps those
born on this side of the Atlantic may appear in larger numbers and in even
rank of honor.

The first portrait on the catalogue is that of King Henry IV.; but he has
displaced here, as in life, his predecessor on the throne. Henry VI. and
Richard III. follow in near succession; but it is not till Henry VIII.'s
time that we really enter upon the field of English portraiture. We begin
with the king himself. Here is Holbein's famous picture of him; a picture
that represents a man so gross, so sensual, so disgusting in appearance,
that one recognizes its truth, and wonders that the court-painter did not
lose his head for such a libellous sincerity.

Wolsey is near his master; his face is that of a man "exceeding wise,
fair-spoken, and persuading"; he has a large, full brow, narrow and shrewd
eyes, a delicate nose, and somewhat heavy and sensual cheeks. A little
later the portraits become more numerous. Of Queen Elizabeth there are
seven here, and in them may be traced the great changes of her face,--from
that of the plain, awkward, not altogether unpleasing, red-haired girl, to
that of the hard, bitter, disappointed old woman. Some of her courtiers
surround her;--Leicester, with a treacherous uncertainty of expression;
and Burleigh, riding on a mule, and holding flowers in his hand,--an
odd representation of the great Lord Treasurer. And here, too, is Henry
Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, finding a deserved place among the
chief men of his time,--for he was Shakspeare's friend, and to him the
"Rape of Lucrece" was dedicated, with the words, "What I have done is
yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have devoted yours."
Here is Holbein's portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh, with the face of a true
knight. Sidney is not here, but "Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother," has
an honored place,--and though her portrait is not of so "fair" a woman as
one might desire to have seen her, it has the look of a woman "wise and
good." And here are Shakspeare and Ben Jonson themselves;--the Chandos
portrait of Shakspeare, with which all the world is familiar, more
interesting from its own fame than from its being either an authentic or a
satisfactory likeness of the poet; and Ben Jonson close by, with his strong
features and manly face. And Fletcher, and Shirley, and Dick Burbadge, who
first acted Hamlet, and whose picture explains why the queen should say,
"He's fat and scant of breath,"--and others of the same great band of
contemporaries. Their heads belong for the most part to one broad type;
their common characteristics are strongly marked. There were never finer
heads than these;--the broad, uplifted, solidly based skulls; the strong
and vigorous marking of the features, giving evidence, both in shape and in
expression, of the union of pure intellect and pure imagination. Compare
with them the heads of the wits and statesmen of Charles II.'s time. See
the difference;--the high, wide arch of the skull is lowered or narrowed;
the broad brow cramped; the features finer cut, but losing in force what
they gain in fineness. Look, for instance, at this Vandyck of Sir John
Suckling,--only the next generation after the great men; but his portrait
is that of an idler, his head that of a man without great thoughts or great
interests. The age of imagination had passed; the age of fancy was setting
in. Here and there in the later days one finds a man who might belong to
the earlier time;--for instance, this likeness of Sir Henry Wotton, also by
Vandyck, gives us a broad and noble head; but one sees the time to which
he belonged in his somewhat affected meditative attitude, and in the word
_Philosophemur_, which is inscribed upon the canvas. The finest type of
head which England has had since the time of Elizabeth was that developed
among the Roundheads. _Round_ heads they were, and noble heads too. They
are well represented here. Look at this portrait of Cromwell;--it has
the same character and expression with that still nobler likeness of
him which he sent to the Duke of Tuscany, and which hangs now in one
of the back halls of the Pitti Gallery, a stern, silent monitor to the
dull Florentines. Frederick Tennyson said of it, that it was the best
battle-piece he ever saw;--"In its red ruggedness it looks as if it had
been sketched in by the gleam of Dunbar's cannon flashes." Hampden,
Eliot, and Pym, with wide individual differences, all belong to the same
class;--the lines of their faces, which in Hampden and in Eliot have
settled into a cast of resolute melancholy, and in Pym betray the sternness
of his nature, tell in all of the hard discipline of their lives, and the
upright patriotism of their hearts. Compare the faces of these patriots
with those of the leaders of the French Revolutions. The Cavaliers, with
a type of head less fine, were for the most part handsomer men than the
Roundheads. Here is Lovelace, the poet, for instance; Aubrey says of him,
"He was an extraordinary handsome man," and this likeness bears out the
assertion. His face has a look of enthusiasm and of gallantry, appropriate
to the man who could write, "Stone walls do not a prison make." With the
portraits of Brooke, and Fairfax, and Falkland, and Astley, and others of
the time, the comparison between Roundhead and Cavalier might be carried
still farther,--but we must pass on.

The portrait of Hobbes of Malmesbury, as an old man, hangs near that of Sir
Thomas Browne. It is a curious contrast between the imaginative and the
unimaginative philosopher,--between the student of innumerable books, and
the cynic who declared that "he should know as little as other men, if he
had read as many books."

There is a whole bevy here of the famous beauties of Charles II.'s
court,--full of the affected airs and languishing graces which Sir Peter
Lely knew well how to paint, and rarely showing any thing in their
portraits of the sprightliness which some of them at least possessed in
life. The only one of Sir Peter's full-length beauties, who calls up any
associations but such as belong to Grammont's Memoirs, is Margaret Lucas,
the Duchess of Newcastle. Who does not know her through Charles Lamb, and
love her for Charles Lamb's sake? She looks out of place here, between
Charles II. and the Duchess of Cleveland; and it was not in a fancy dress
of most fantastic style that she wrote her memoir of her husband,--in which
she tells of what My Lord would eat at dinner, as well as collects the wise
things which dropped from My Lord's lips.

The worthy Secretary Pepys appears here, in "an excellent conceited
picture," of which he himself has told the story in his Diary:--

"1666, March 17. To Hales's, and paid him £14 for the picture, and £1 5s.
for the frame. This day I began to sit, and he will make me, I think, a
very fine picture. He promises it shall be as good as my wife's; and I sit
to have it full of shadows, and do almost break my neck looking over my
shoulder, to make the posture for him to work by."

"March 30. To Hales's, and there sat till almost quite dark upon working my
gowne, which I hired to be drawn in; an Indian gowne."

"April 11. To Hales's, where there was nothing found to be done more to my
picture, but the musique, which now pleases me mightily, it being painted
true." [Footnote: Mr. Peter Cunningham has quoted these passages in his
excellent catalogue of the gallery.]

And here is Kneller's familiar portrait of John Evelyn, the other diarist
of the times. And Lely's portrait of Rochester, the _roué_, represented in
the characteristic act of crowning his monkey with laurel,--laurel to
which he sometimes aspired himself. And Kneller's portrait of Lord William
Russell, with a face that answers better to the character of the man, as it
appeared before he was brought face to face with death, and forced to exert
and to display the manlier qualities of his nature.

The men of letters of the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th
century appear here in great force. With the faces of most of them the
world is familiar. Here are six of the Kit-Kat Club portraits that
were painted for Jacob Tonson. First in order Tonson himself, the very
personification of the nourishing publisher and patron of authors, with
the pleasant air of the happy discoverer of genius, and the maker of its
fortune as well as of his own. He holds a folio copy of "Paradise Lost"; it
is Tonson patting Milton on the back. Dryden, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Steele,
Addison, and Lord Chancellor Somers are the other five of these celebrated
portraits. What a congress of wits! But we have besides, Atterbury, and
Pope, and Lady Mary Wortley Montague, and Prior, and Tickell, and Swift.
Pope's face, as given in Kneller's portrait, (which recalls the poet's
stolen complimentary verse to the painter,) has a sad and weary look, and
is marked by that pallor, and that peculiar hollowness of eye and cheek,
which often accompany bodily deformity. Swift's face betrays but little
of the bitterness of his soul; but it was painted in his best days,
before the cloud of darkness had begun to settle down upon him. It is the
portrait of him as he was in London, among his set,--not as he was in the
half-banishment of his Irish life.

The end of the century brings us to other familiar portraits, and at length
to portraits painted by great native artists. Gainsborough and Reynolds
appear in full rivalry. Here are Gainsborough's Johnson, the well-known
profile portrait, and Sir Joshua's Boswell; Gainsborough's Garrick, a most
delightful portrait of Garrick's pleasantest expression, and Sir Joshua's
Gibbon, which looks as ugly and as conceited as the little man himself.
One of Reynolds's most pleasing portraits is his likeness of himself in
spectacles. It has suffered from the fading of colors and the cracking of
the paint, as so many of Sir Joshua's best pictures have done; but it still
presents him amiable, cultivated, and unpretending, the accomplished artist
and the kindly friend, and affords the best possible illustration of the
character which Goldsmith drew of him in his "Retaliation."

We pass rapidly before the portraits of the present century. Every one
knows by heart the faces of Scott and Byron, Southey and Coleridge. But
there is one little portrait, hung at the end of the gallery, in front of
which we pause. It has no remarkable merit as a work of art, but it is the
portrait of Keats, painted in Rome by his friend Severn. The young poet is
resting his head on his hand, as if it were heavy and tired. His face has a
look of illness; his eyes are large, and the spaces around them are hollow.
His wide and well-formed brow, and all the features, betray a temperament
delicate, passionate, and sensitive to excess. This portrait was painted,
according to tradition, in the little summer-house studio, at the corner
of the Via Strozzi. The windows look out over the garden with its cypress
walks, its old pine trees, its rows of cabbages and artichokes, its
weather-stained statues and bits of ancient marbles. Beyond are the walls
of Rome, and beyond these the Campagna stretches away in level lines of
beauty to the blue billow of the Alban hills. On this view the eyes of the
dying poet rested, while his heart gave no prophecy to him of coming fame.
Would it have cheered him, during those last disheartened days, to have
foreseen that so soon England would rank him among her honored children,
and place his portrait in the gallery of the most worthy of her dead; while
a line of his writing, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," should be
emblazoned in glowing letters at the end of the great hall of her first
great Palace of Art?

We come now to the northern aisle, the aisle which contains the works of
the British school of painters. It is the most complete of the sections of
this great collection of pictures, and the lessons which are to be learned
from it of the present condition and prospects of Art are of the highest
interest. Here are six hundred pictures, the English record of about a
hundred years of painting. Never before has there been such a collection
of the works of English painters, and never before has there been an
opportunity of studying so fully and satisfactorily the course and progress
of the English school.

The beginning of this school hardly dates before the first quarter of the
last century. Public taste was then at its lowest level. The fall of Art
in Italy, in the preceding century, had carried down with it both the
appreciation and the feeling for what was truly good. A factitious taste
had taken the place of honest and simple likings. The worst things were
often preferred, the worst pictures bought. Artists, as a class, had given
up the study of Nature as the foundation of Art; and in the place of
Nature, they had put other men's pictures. They had substituted a system
of conventional rules and traditional methods, for the infinite variety
and the unceasing study of truth. They preferred falsehood, they liked
imitation, and their patrons soon came to consider the feeble results of
falsehood and imitation as better than honest work and strong originality.
Of course, here and there was a man whose native love of truth or spirit
of opposition would give him strength to break loose from the fetters of
artistic convention and prevailing taste, and to exhibit the truth in his
pictures. Such a man was the first great artist of the English school,
Hogarth; the greatest humorist of a century rich in humorists, with a
knowledge of human nature that reminds one sometimes of Fielding's in its
clearness and variety, sometimes of Goldsmith's in its tender pleasantry.
But Hogarth had to struggle all his life against the taste of his time,
which was unable to appreciate his merit. He was too natural for an
artificial age. Among the pictures exhibited here is one from his famous
series of the Harlot's Progress. It is too well known by the engravings to
need description; but when the eight masterly pictures which compose this
series were sold at auction during Hogarth's life, they brought the sum of
fourteen guineas each! The March of the Guards to Finchley, so admirable in
composition, so full of incident and character, so rich in humor, could not
be sold by the artist, and he disposed of it in a lottery, in which many
tickets were left on his hands. And while this was the fate of works which
still stand unsurpassed in their peculiar field, the amateurs were paying
enormous prices for worthless pictures of second-rate Italian masters, and
talking about their "Correggios and Raphaels and stuff."

From Hogarth to Sir Joshua Reynolds is a wide step. Sir Joshua is well
represented here by some thirty pictures; and Gainsborough is at his side
with perhaps half as many. If Sir Joshua had not been a man of genius,
he would have been ruined by his academic principles. He laid down rules
which he constantly violated. He praised the Bolognese masters, and advised
all students of Art in Italy to study at Bologna; but he did not confine
himself to the study of other men's works, but sometimes gave himself, with
honest sincerity and affection, to the study of Nature; and thus it is that
it becomes hard to draw the line of praise between some of his pictures and
some of those by Gainsborough, and to say which are the best. Gainsborough
was no academician; he did not believe in conventionalities. When Sir
Joshua laid down as a rule that blue was bad as a prevailing color in
pictures, Gainsborough painted his famous Blue Boy, and made one of the
most charming portraits and pleasantest pictures that had ever been painted
in England. Look at Sir Joshua's delightful, winning Nelly O'Brien,--what
a happy picture of a girl!--and then look at Gainsborough's Mrs. Graham,
with her exquisite, perhaps even too exquisite, beauty; and see, not which
of the artists was the best, for that it is hard to see, but how great
both were as students and renderers of human nature. One of the best of
Reynolds's portraits is that of Foote, the actor. He is leaning over a
chair, and his laughing face is looking out from the canvas, as if he
were watching the effect of one of his own most brilliant and easy jokes.
But Sir Joshua does not compare with Gainsborough in landscape; there the
lover of Nature had the advantage over the lover of Poussin and Claude.
The famous picture of Puck, which Lord Fitzwilliam lately bought at Mr.
Rogers's sale for the extravagant sum of nine hundred and eighty guineas,
is here for all eyes to see how far the imagination of the President of the
Royal Academy differed from that of Shakspeare.

But the principles which Sir Joshua laid down, though they did not ruin
his own works, did much to ruin those of the next generation of painters.
There was still the struggle between the painters by rule and according to
convention, and the painters of truth as found in Nature. But the painters
of Nature were in a minority so small as to be powerless against the
prevailing current. English Art seemed to be running down; cold formalisms,
classicalities, extravagances, affectations, imitations, "high art,"
occupied the field almost to the exclusion of better things. West, Fuseli,
Northcote, Barry, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Haydon, Maclise, and Sir Charles
Eastlake form a famous line of painters who have been admired, but whose
works have little value except as warnings, and as showing into what errors
a false method and want of recognition of the foundation and the end of Art
may lead men not destitute of ability.

But while these men had their day, the school of the lovers of Nature as
seen in the external world was making irregular progress. The overwhelming
pressure of conventional traditions is shown most forcibly, however, by
the fact that the great leader of this school of the students of landscape
nature, the man to whom was given the power to see and to represent Nature
in all the changing glories and beauties of her ceaselessly varying
moods, the man who knew the value of truth and set his desires upon it
accordingly,--that this man should have been for years of his life kept
down to the imitation of and competition with the works of painters of
previous centuries who were supposed to have painted landscapes. But it was
Pegasus running a race with cart-horses. He had reached the goal which they
had never aspired after. There are nineteen pictures of Turner's here at
Manchester; some of them among his noblest works. Here is his Cologne at
Sunset; look at it, for the picture will fade before your eyes, and you
will stand looking at the golden glow of evening over the church towers,
and the gleaming river of the ancient city.

With the growth of Turner's power, and the commencement of a better period
of public taste and feeling, as marked not only in Art, but in letters, the
study of Nature became more manifest in the English school. In different
directions, and with different degrees of success, many artists, but
generally with more or less faltering, broke away from the old system.
Wilkie, Etty, Constable, Collins, and others, often painted simple and
sincere pictures, pictures that showed careful study and real love of
Nature. All these artists may be seen to advantage here. But in looking
at the mass of the collection, one sees that the true principles of Art
have not even as yet been generally recognized by the majority of English
artists. The last hall of the gallery, which is devoted to the works of
living artists, gives especial proof of this fact. But at the same time,
it gives proof of the rise of a spirit among a small body of the younger
painters, whose influence promises to be of strong and beneficial effect.
The artists among whom this spirit exists are the Pre-Raphaelites.

Great misconception exists with regard to the works and to the principles
of Art of this school. The name by which it is known has in part occasioned
this misconception. It was not happily chosen; for these Pre-Raphaelites,
instead of being three centuries behind their times, are fully up with the
day in which they live. Pre-Raphaelitism was not intended to mean, as it
might seem to imply, the going back to worn-out and obsolete methods of
painting, the resort to past modes of representation; it does not mean the
adoption of the artistic forms, traditions, or rules of the old painters;
it does not mean the seeking of inspiration from the works of any other
men; but, in theory at least, it means the pursuit of Art in that spirit
which the painters before Raphael possessed, the spirit which united Art
with Religion; it means the pursuit of Art with the humility of learners,
with the faith of apostles. It does not mean the reproduction of the
quaintnesses, and awkwardnesses, and limitations of the early artists, more
than it means the adoption of the errors of their creed as exhibited in
their paintings; but it means that as those artists broke loose from the
bondage of Byzantine captivity, and found in Nature the source of all true
inspiration, the exhaustless fountain from which their imaginations might
draw perpetual refreshment,--so these artists who took this name would free
themselves from whatever they could discern to be false in the teaching
and practice of Art in our times, and give themselves to the study of that
beauty and that truth which are to be found in God's world to-day, whether
in external nature or in human hearts, actions, and lives. Truth was to be
their device; Nature was to be their mistress. And in the ardor of youth,
they set forth for the conquest of new and untravelled lands.

It is greatly to be regretted that there should be but an inconsiderable
number of pictures in this last hall of the English gallery by
Pre-Raphaelite artists. A little private exhibition of seventy-two pictures
and drawings, by some twenty artists of this school, which was held in a
small house in London, during the month of June, gave a far better view of
what had been already accomplished by them, of the practical working out of
their principles of Art, and of their present tendencies. Three men stand
as the prominent leaders of the movement,--Rosetti, Hunt, and Millais.
There is not a single picture by Rosetti at Manchester; but two (if we
remember rightly) by Millais; and although there are several by Hunt, there
are none of his latest works, nor the most powerful and beautiful of his
comparatively early ones, the well-known Light of the World. Rosetti has
never, we believe, exhibited in public. But whether he paint Dante led in a
vision by Love to see Beatrice lying dead,--or the Angel leading King and
Shepherd to adore the new-born Saviour, while the angelic choir in white
robes stand around the manger in the night, singing their song of Peace and
Good-will,--or Queen Guinever and Sir Lancelot meeting in the autumn day
at King Arthur's tomb,--or Mary of Magdala flying from the house of revels,
and clasping the alabaster box of ointment to her bosom,--or Ophelia
redelivering to Hamlet his gifts of remembrance, while he strips the leaves
from a rosetree as he breaks her heart,--or the young farmer, who, having
driven his cart to London, and crossed one of the bridges over the black
river, finds in the cold, wet morning his old love, long lost, now fallen
at the side of the street, fainting against the dead brick wall of a
graveyard; whether he paint these or other scenes, in all are to be found
such sense of the higher truths of Nature and such faithful rendering of
them, such force of expression, and such beauty of conception, as place
them as works of imagination among the first that this age has produced.
With equal fidelity to Nature, with a more definite moral purpose, perhaps
with a more consistent steadiness of work, but with less delicate sense
of beauty, and with imagination of a very different order, Hunt stands
with Rosetti in the front ranks of Pre-Raphaelitism. The earnestness and
directness of moral expression in most of his pictures is such as has for
a long time been rare in Art. Art is with him a means of enforcing the
recognition of truths often avoided or carefully concealed. Their powerful
dramatic character compels the attention of the careless to his pictures.
He paints Claudio and Isabella in the prison scene, and it is not merely
a vivid rendering of the scene in its external features, but also a true
rendering of the character of Claudio and Isabella, of the weakness of the
coward, of the strength that dwells with the pure. His Awakened Conscience
is a scene from the interior of London life; a denunciation of the vice
of which the world is so careless; a sad, stern picture of the bitterness
of sin. Millais is less in earnest, and his pictures, with many great
technical merits, with portions of very exquisite painting, have rarely
possessed any great worth as works of imagination. One of the tenderest
of them all is the Huguenots, the girl and her lover parting, which is
now becoming generally known through the engraving that has recently been
published. The Autumn Leaves, which is exhibited at Manchester, is one of
his least satisfactory pictures.

But all these men are young, and what they have already accomplished is
but as the promise of greater things to come. It is impossible, however,
to look forward for these greater things, without a feeling of doubt and
uncertainty as to their being produced. The times in which we are living
are not fitted to develope and confirm the qualities on which the best
results of Art depend. Ours is neither an age of composure nor of faith. It
urges speedy results; it desires effective, rather than simple, truthful
work. But the Pre-Raphaelites are exposed to especial dangers; just now to
the dangers that come from success. And these are of two kinds; first, the
undermining of that humility which is the secret of mastery; and secondly,
the tendency to the development of peculiarities and mannerisms, to the
exaggeration of special features that have attracted attention in their
work, and which have a factitious value set upon them by the public, as
they are taken to be the signs and passwords of initiation into the new
school. But, lying deeper than these, there is a danger to Pre-Raphaelitism
from the tendency to insist on too literal an application of its own
principles. The best principles will not include all cases. The workings
and ways of Nature are infinite, and the principles of Art are finite
deductions from these infinite examples. As yet these deductions have been
but imperfectly made. The most exact and truthful representation of Nature
may be the rule of the artist, but it is not an easy thing to attain to an
understanding of the truth of Nature. The actual is not always the real.
Literal truth is not always exact truth; and the seeming truth, which is
what Art must often represent, is very different from the absolute truth.
And here there has been much stumbling in Pre-Raphaelitism, and there is
likelihood of fall; likelihood of the actual being mistaken for the real,
the show for the essence. It is, indeed, apparently, a tendency toward this
error which has deprived most of the best pictures of the Pre-Raphaelites
of the quality of _breadth_, a quality which Nature usually preserves in
herself, which in painting takes the place of harmony in music, and which
only the greatest painters have acquired.

But if Pre-Raphaelitism be true, not to the letter, but to the spirit
of its principles,--if its artists remain unspoiled by flattery and
success,--if they avoid mannerisms, conceits, and the affectations of
originality,--if they can keep religious faith undimmed by the "world's
slow stain"; then we may expect from the school such works of painting as
have not been seen in past times,--works which shall be the forerunners of
a new period of Art, and shall show what undreamed conquests yet lie open
before it,--works which shall take us into regions of yet undiscovered
beauty, and reveal to us more and more of the exhaustless love of God.



THE ROMMANY GIRL.


  The sun goes down, and with him takes
  The coarseness of my poor attire;
  The fair moon mounts, and aye the flame
  Of gypsy beauty blazes higher.

  Pale northern girls! you scorn our race;
  You captives of your air-tight halls,
  Wear out in-doors your sickly days,
  But leave us the horizon walls.

  And if I take you, dames, to task,
  And say it frankly without guile,
  Then you are gypsies in a mask,
  And I the lady all the while.

  If, on the heath, under the moon,
  I court and play with paler blood,
  Me false to mine dare whisper none,--
  One sallow horseman knows me good.

  Go, keep your cheek's rose from the rain,
  For teeth and hair with shopmen deal;
  My swarthy tint is in the grain,
  The rocks and forest know it real.

  The wild air bloweth in our lungs,
  The keen stars twinkle in our eyes,
  The birds gave us our wily tongues,
  The panther in our dances flies.

  You doubt we read the stars on high,
  Nathless we read your fortunes true;
  The stars may hide in the upper sky,
  But without glass we fathom you.



THE CHARTIST'S COMPLAINT.


  Day! hast thou two faces,
  Making one place two places?
  One, by humble farmer seen,
  Chill and wet, unlighted, mean,
  Useful only, triste and damp,
  Serving for a laborer's lamp?
  Have the same mists another side,
  To be the appanage of pride,
  Gracing the rich man's wood and lake,
  His park where amber mornings break,
  And treacherously bright to show
  His planted isle where roses glow?
  O Day! and is your mightiness
  A sycophant to smug success?
  Will the sweet sky and ocean broad
  Be fine accomplices to fraud?
  O Sun! I curse thy cruel ray!
  Back, back to chaos, harlot Day!



DAYS.


  Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
  Muffled and dumb, like barefoot dervishes,
  And marching single in an endless file,
  Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
  To each they offer gifts, after his will,--
  Bread, kingdoms, stars, or sky that holds them all.
  I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
  Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
  Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
  Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
  Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.



BRAHMA.


  If the red slayer think he slays,
  Or if the slain think he is slain,
  They know not well the subtle ways
  I keep, and pass, and turn again.

  Far or forgot to me is near,
  Shadow and sunlight are the same,
  The vanished gods to me appear,
  And one to me are shame and fame.

  They reckon ill who leave me out;
  When me they fly, I am the wings;
  I am the doubter and the doubt,
  And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

  The strong gods pine for my abode,
  And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
  But thou, meek lover of the good!
  Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.



THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAKFAST-TABLE.

EVERY MAN HIS OWN BOSWELL.


I was just going to say, when I was interrupted, that one of the many ways
of classifying minds is under the heads of arithmetical and algebraical
intellects. All economical and practical wisdom is an extension or
variation of the following arithmetical formula: 2 + 2 = 4. Every
philosophical proposition has the more general character of the expression
_a + b = c_. We are mere operatives, empirics, and egotists, until we learn
to think in letters instead of figures.

They all stared. There is a divinity student lately come among us to whom
I commonly address remarks like the above, allowing him to take a certain
share in the conversation, so far as assent or pertinent questions are
involved. He abused his liberty on this occasion by presuming to say that
Leibnitz had the same observation.--No, sir, I replied, he has not. But he
said a mighty good thing about mathematics, that sounds something like it,
and you found it, _not in the original_, but quoted by Dr. Thomas Reid. I
will tell the company what he did say, one of these days.

--If I belong to a Society of Mutual Admiration?--I blush to say that
I do not at this present moment. I once did, however. It was the first
association to which I ever heard the term applied; a body of scientific
young men in a great foreign city who admired their teacher, and to some
extent each other. Many of them deserved it; they have become famous
since. It amuses me to hear the talk of one of those beings described by
Thackeray--

  "Letters four do form his name"--

about a social development which belongs to the very noblest stage of
civilization. All generous companies of artists, authors, philanthropists,
men of science, are, or ought to be, Societies of Mutual Admiration. A man
of genius, or any kind of superiority, is not debarred from admiring the
same quality in another, nor the other from returning his admiration. They
may even associate together and continue to think highly of each other. And
so of a dozen such men, if any one place is fortunate enough to hold so
many. The being referred to above assumes several false premises. First,
that men of talent necessarily hate each other. Secondly, that intimate
knowledge or habitual association destroys our admiration of persons
whom we esteemed highly at a distance. Thirdly, that a circle of clever
fellows, who meet together to dine and have a good time, have signed a
constitutional compact to glorify themselves and put down him and the
fraction of the human race not belonging to their number. Fourthly, that it
is an outrage that he is not asked to join them.

Here the company laughed a good deal, and the old gentleman who sits
opposite said, "That's it! that's it!"

I continued, for I was in the talking vein. As to clever people's hating
each other, I think a _little_ extra talent does sometimes make people
jealous. They become irritated by perpetual attempts and failures, and it
hurts their tempers and dispositions. Unpretending mediocrity is good, and
genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common
person is detestable. It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace
character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wineglass spoil a draught of
fair water. No wonder the poor fellow we spoke of, who always belongs to
this class of slightly flavored mediocrities, is puzzled and vexed by the
strange sight of a dozen men of capacity working and playing together in
harmony. He and his fellows are always fighting. With them familiarity
naturally breeds contempt. If they ever praise each other's bad drawings,
or broken-winded novels, or spavined verses, nobody ever supposed it
was from admiration; it was simply a contract between themselves and a
publisher or dealer.

If the Mutuals have really nothing among them worth admiring, that alters
the question. But if they are men with noble powers and qualities, let
me tell you, that, next to youthful love and family affections, there is
no human sentiment better than that which unites the Societies of Mutual
Admiration. And what would literature or art be without such associations?
Who can tell what we owe to the Mutual Admiration Society of which
Shakspeare, and Ben Jonson, and Beaumont and Fletcher were members? Or
to that of which Addison and Steele formed the centre, and which gave us
the Spectator? Or to that where Johnson, and Goldsmith, and Burke, and
Reynolds, and Beauclerk, and Boswell, most admiring among all admirers,
met together? Was there any great harm in the fact that the Irvings and
Paulding wrote in company? or any unpardonable cabal in the literary union
of Verplanck and Bryant and Sands, and as many more as they chose to
associate with them?

The poor creature does not know what he is talking about, when he abuses
this noblest of institutions. Let him inspect its mysteries through the
knot-hole he has secured, but not use that orifice as a medium for his
popgun. Such a society is the crown of a literary metropolis; if a town has
not material for it, and spirit and good feeling enough to organize it, it
is a mere caravansary, fit for a man of genius to lodge in, but not to live
in. Foolish people hate and dread and envy such an association of men of
varied powers and influence, because it is lofty, serene, impregnable, and,
by the necessity of the case, exclusive. Wise ones are prouder of the title
M.S.M.A. than of all their other honors put together.

All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called "facts." They
are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain. Who does not know fellows
that always have an ill-conditioned fact or two that they lead after them
into decent company like so many bull-dogs, ready to let them slip at every
ingenious suggestion, or convenient generalization, or pleasant fancy? I
allow no "facts" at this table. What! Because bread is good and wholesome
and necessary and nourishing, shall you thrust a crumb into my windpipe
while I am talking? Do not these muscles of mine represent a hundred loaves
of bread? and is not my thought the abstract of ten thousand of these
crumbs of truth with which you would choke off my speech?

[The above remark must be conditioned and qualified for the vulgar mind.
The reader will of course understand the precise amount of seasoning which
must be added to it before he adopts it as one of the axioms of his life.
The speaker disclaims all responsibility for its abuse in incompetent
hands.]

This business of conversation is a very serious matter. There are men
that it weakens one to talk with an hour more than a day's fasting would
do. Mark this that I am going to say, for it is as good as a working
professional man's advice, and costs you nothing: It is better to lose a
pint of blood from your veins than to have a nerve tapped. Nobody measures
your nervous force as it runs away, nor bandages your brain and marrow
after the operation.

There are men of _esprit_ who are excessively exhausting to some people.
They are the talkers that have what may be called _jerky_ minds. Their
thoughts do not run in the natural order of sequence. They say bright
things on all possible subjects, but their zigzags rack you to death. After
a jolting half-hour with one of these jerky companions, talking with a dull
friend affords great relief. It is like taking the cat in your lap after
holding a squirrel.

What a comfort a dull but kindly person is, to be sure, at times! A
ground-glass shade over a gas-lamp does not bring more solace to our
dazzled eyes than such a one to our minds.

"Do not dull people bore you?" said one of the lady-boarders,--the same
that sent me her autograph-book last week with a request for a few original
stanzas, not remembering that "The Pactolian" pays me five dollars a line
for every thing I write in its columns.

"Madam," said I, (she and the century were in their teens together,) "all
men are bores, except when we want them. There never was but one man that I
would trust with my latch-key."

"Who might that favored person be?"

"Zimmermann."

The men of genius that I fancy most have erectile heads like the
cobra-di-capello. You remember what they tell of William Pinkney, the great
pleader; how in his eloquent paroxysms the veins of his neck would swell
and his face flush and his eyes glitter, until he seemed on the verge of
apoplexy. The hydraulic arrangements for supplying the brain with blood
are only second in importance to its own organization. The bulbous-headed
fellows that steam well when they are at work are the men that draw big
audiences and give us marrowy books and pictures. It is a good sign to have
one's feet grow cold when he is writing. A great writer and speaker once
told me that he often wrote with his feet in hot water; but for this, _all_
his blood would have run into his head, as the mercury sometimes withdraws
into the ball of a thermometer.

--You don't suppose that my remarks made at this table are like so many
postage-stamps, do you,--each to be only once uttered? If you do, you are
mistaken. He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself.
Imagine the author of the excellent piece of advice, "Know thyself,"
never alluding to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted
existence! Why, the truths a man carries about with him are his tools; and
do you think a carpenter is bound to use the same plane but once to smooth
a knotty board with, or to hang up his hammer after it has driven its first
nail? I shall never repeat a conversation, but an idea often. I shall
use the same types when I like, but not commonly the same stereotypes. A
thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.
It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of
associations.

Sometimes, but rarely, one may be caught making the same speech twice over,
and yet be held blameless. Thus, a certain lecturer, after performing in
an inland city, where dwells a _Littératrice_ of note, was invited to meet
her and others over the social teacup. She pleasantly referred to his many
wanderings in his new occupation. "Yes," he replied, "I am like the Huma,
the bird that never lights, being always in the ears, as he is always on
the wing,"--Years elapsed. The lecturer visited the same place once more
for the same purpose. Another social cup after the lecture, and a second
meeting with the distinguished lady. "You are constantly going from place
to place," she said.--"Yes," he answered, "I am like the Huma,"--and
finished the sentence as before.

What horrors, when it flashed over him that he had made this fine speech,
word for word, twice over! Yet it was not true, as the lady might perhaps
have fairly inferred, that he had embellished his conversation with the
Huma daily during that whole interval of years. On the contrary, he had
never once thought of the odious fowl until the recurrence of precisely
the same circumstances brought up precisely the same idea. He ought to
have been proud of the accuracy of his mental adjustments. Given certain
factors, and a sound brain should always evolve the same fixed product with
the certainty of Babbage's calculating machine.

--What a satire, by the way, is that machine on the mere mathematician! A
Frankenstein-monster, a thing without brains and without heart, too stupid
to make a blunder; that turns out formulæ like a corn-sheller, and never
grows any wiser or better, though it grind a thousand bushels of them!

I have an immense respect for a man of talents _plus_ "the mathematics."
But the calculating power alone should seem to be the least human of
qualities, and to have the smallest amount of reason in it; since a machine
can be made to do the work of three or four calculators, and better than
any one of them. Sometimes I have been troubled that I had not a deeper
intuitive apprehension of the relations of numbers. But the triumph of the
ciphering hand-organ has consoled me. I always fancy I can hear the wheels
clicking in a calculator's brain. The power of dealing with numbers is a
kind of "detached lever" arrangement, which may be put into a mighty poor
watch. I suppose it is about as common as the power of moving the ears
voluntarily, which is a moderately rare endowment.

--Little localized powers, and little narrow streaks of specialized
knowledge, are things men are very apt to be conceited about. Nature is
very wise; but for this encouraging principle how many small talents and
little accomplishments would be neglected! Talk about conceit as much as
you like, it is to human character what salt is to the ocean; it keeps it
sweet, and renders it endurable. Say rather it is like the natural unguent
of the sea-fowl's plumage, which enables him to shed the rain that falls on
him and the wave in which he dips. When one has had _all_ his conceit taken
out of him, when he has lost _all_ his illusions, his feathers will soon
soak through, and he will fly no more.

So you admire conceited people, do you? said the young lady who has come to
the city to be finished off for--the duties of life.

I am afraid you do not study logic at your school, my dear. It does not
follow that I wish to be pickled in brine because I like a saltwater plunge
at Nahant. I say that conceit is just as natural a thing to human minds as
a centre is to a circle. But little-minded people's thoughts move in such
small circles that five minutes' conversation gives you an arc long enough
to determine their whole curve. An arc in the movement of a large intellect
does not sensibly differ from a straight line. Even if it have the third
vowel as its centre, it does not soon betray it. The highest thought, that
is, is the most seemingly impersonal; it does not obviously imply any
individual centre.

Audacious self-esteem, with good ground for it, is always imposing. What
resplendent beauty that must have been which could have authorized Phryne
to "peel" in the way she did! What fine speeches are those two: "_Non omnis
moriar_" and "I have taken all knowledge to be my province"! Even in common
people, conceit has the virtue of making them cheerful; the man who thinks
his wife, his baby, his house, his horse, his dog, and himself severally
unequalled, is almost sure to be a good-humored person, though liable to be
tedious at times.

--What are the great faults of conversation? Want of ideas, want of words,
want of manners, are the principal ones, I suppose you think. I don't
doubt it, but I will tell you what I have found spoil more good talks than
anything else;--long arguments on special points between people who differ
on the fundamental principles upon which these points depend. No men can
have satisfactory relations with each other until they have agreed on
certain _ultimata_ of belief not to be disturbed in ordinary conversation,
and unless they have sense enough to trace the secondary questions
depending upon these ultimate beliefs to their source. In short, just as a
written constitution is essential to the best social order, so a code of
finalities is a necessary condition of profitable talk between two persons.
Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hand on
the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their
music.

--Do you mean to say the pun-question is not clearly settled in your minds?
Let me lay down the law upon the subject. Life and language are alike
sacred. Homicide and _verbicide_--that is, violent treatment of a word
with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life--are alike
forbidden. Manslaughter, which is the meaning of the one, is the same as
man's laughter, which is the end of the other. A pun is _primâ facie_ an
insult to the person you are talking with. It implies utter indifference
to or sublime contempt for his remarks, no matter how serious. I speak of
total depravity, and one says all that is written on the subject is deep
raving. I have committed my self-respect by talking with such a person. I
should like to commit him, but cannot, because he is a nuisance. Or I speak
of geological convulsions, and he asks me what was the cosine of Noah's
ark; also, whether the Deluge was not a deal huger than any modern
inundation.

A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given
for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the
facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated
character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide. Thus, in a case lately
decided before Miller, J., Doe presented Roe a subscription paper, and
urged the claims of suffering humanity. Roe replied by asking, When charity
was like a top? It was in evidence that Doe preserved a dignified silence.
Roe then said, "When it begins to hum." Doe then--and not till then--struck
Roe, and his head happening to strike a bound volume of the Monthly Rag-bag
and Stolen Miscellany, intense mortification ensued, with a fatal result.
The chief laid down his notions of the law to his brother justices, who
unanimously replied, "Jest so." The chief rejoined, that no man should jest
so without being punished for it, and charged for the prisoner, who was
acquitted, and the pun ordered to be burned by the sheriff. The bound
volume was forfeited as a deodand, but not claimed.

People that make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad
tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick
may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered
witticism.

I will thank you, B.F., to bring down two books, of which I will mark the
places on this slip of paper. (While he is gone, I may say that this boy,
our landlady's youngest, is called BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, after the celebrated
philosopher of that name. A highly merited compliment.)

I wished to refer to two eminent authorities. Now be so good as to listen.
The great moralist says: "To trifle with the vocabulary which is the
vehicle of social intercourse is to tamper with the currency of human
intelligence. He who would violate the sanctities of his mother tongue
would invade the recesses of the paternal till without remorse, and repeat
the banquet of Saturn without an indigestion."

And, once more, listen to the historian. "The Puritans hated puns. The
Bishops were notoriously addicted to them. The Lords Temporal carried them
to the verge of license. Majesty itself must have its Royal quibble. 'Ye be
burly, my Lord of Burleigh,' said Queen Elizabeth, 'but ye shall make less
stir in our realm than my Lord of Leicester.' The gravest wisdom and the
highest breeding lent their sanction to the practice. Lord Bacon playfully
declared himself a descendant of 'Og, the King of Bashan. Sir Philip
Sidney, with his last breath, reproached the soldier who brought him water,
for wasting a casque full upon a dying man. A courtier, who saw Othello
performed at the Globe Theatre, remarked, that the blackamoor was a brute,
and not a man. 'Thou hast reason,' replied a great Lord, 'according to
Plato his saying; for this be a two-legged animal _with_ feathers.' The
fatal habit became universal. The language was corrupted. The infection
spread to the national conscience. Political double-dealings naturally grew
out of verbal double meanings. The teeth of the new dragon were sown by the
Cadmus who introduced the alphabet of equivocation. What was levity in
the time of the Tudors grew to regicide and revolution in the age of the
Stuarts."

Who was that boarder that just whispered something about the
Macaulay-flowers of literature?--There was a dead silence.--I said calmly,
I shall henceforth consider any interruption by a pun as a hint to change
my boarding-house. Do not plead my example. If _I_ have used any such, it
has been only as a Spartan father would show up a drunken helot. We have
done with them.

--If a logical mind ever found out anything with its logic?--I should say
that its most frequent work was to build a _pons asinorum_ over chasms that
shrewd people can bestride without such a structure. You can hire logic, in
the shape of a lawyer, to prove anything that you want to prove. You can
buy treatises to show that Napoleon never lived, and that no battle of
Bunker-hill was ever fought. The great minds are those with a wide span,
that couple truths related to, but far removed from, each other. Logicians
carry the surveyor's chain over the track of which these are the true
explorers. I value a man mainly for his primary relations with truth, as I
understand truth,--not for any secondary artifice in handling his ideas.
Some of the sharpest men in argument are notoriously unsound in judgment.
I should not trust the counsel of a smart debater, any more than that of a
good chess-player. Either may of course advise wisely, but not necessarily
because he wrangles or plays well.

The old gentleman who sits opposite got his hand up, as a pointer lifts
his forefoot, at the expression, "his relations with truth as I understand
truth," and when I had done, sniffed audibly, and said I talked like a
transcendentalist. For his part, common sense was good enough for him.

Precisely so, my dear sir, I replied; common sense, _as you understand it_.
We all have to assume a standard of judgment in our own minds, either of
things or persons. A man who is willing to take another's opinion has to
exercise his judgment in the choice of whom to follow, which is often as
nice a matter as to judge of things for one's self. On the whole, I had
rather judge men's minds by comparing their thoughts with my own, than
judge of thoughts by knowing who utter them. I must do one or the other. It
does not follow, of course, that I may not recognize another man's thoughts
as broader and deeper than my own; but that does not necessarily change my
opinion, otherwise this would be at the mercy of every superior mind that
held a different one. How many of our most cherished beliefs are like those
drinking-glasses of the ancient pattern, that serve us well so long as we
keep them in our hand, but spill all if we attempt to set them down! I have
sometimes compared conversation to the Italian game of _mora_, in which one
player lifts his hand with so many fingers extended, and the other matches
or misses the number, as the case may be with his own. I show my thought,
another his; if they agree, well; if they differ, we find the largest
common factor, if we can, but at any rate avoid disputing about remainders
and fractions, which is to real talk what tuning an instrument is to
playing on it.

--What if, instead of talking this morning, I should read you a copy of
verses, with critical remarks by the author? Any of the company can retire
that like.

  When Eve had led her lord away,
    And Cain had killed his brother,
  The stars and flowers, the poets say,
    Agreed with one another

  To cheat the cunning tempter's art,
    And teach the race its duty,
  By keeping on its wicked heart
    Their eyes of light and beauty.

  A million sleepless lids, they say,
    Will be at least a warning;
  And so the flowers would watch by day,
    The stars from eve to morning.

  On hill and prairie, field and lawn,
    Their dewy eyes upturning,
  The flowers still watch from reddening dawn
    Till western skies are burning.

  Alas! each hour of daylight tells
    A tale of shame so crushing,
  That some turn white as sea-bleached shells,
    And some are always blushing.

  But when the patient stars look down
    On all their light discovers,
  The traitor's smile, the murderer's frown,
    The lips of lying lovers,

  They try to shut their saddening eyes,
    And in the vain endeavour
  We see them twinkling in the skies,
    And so they wink forever.

What do _you_ think of these verses, my friends? Is that piece an
impromptu? said my landlady's daughter. (Aet. 19+. Tender-eyed blonde. Long
ringlets. Cameo pin. Gold pencil-case on a chain. Locket. Bracelet. Album.
Autograph book. Accordeon. Reads Byron, Tupper, and Sylvanus Cobb, junior,
while her mother makes the puddings. Says, "Yes?" when you tell her
anything.)--_Oui et non, ma petite_,--Yes and no, my child. Five of the
seven verses were written off-hand; the other two took a week,--that is,
were hanging round the desk in a ragged, forlorn, unrhymed condition as
long as that. All poets will tell you just such stories. _C'est le DERNIER
pas qui coute_. Don't you know how hard it is for some people to get out of
a room after their visit is really over? They want to be off, and you want
to have them off, but they don't know how to manage it. One would think
they had been built in your parlour or study, and were waiting to be
launched. I have contrived a sort of ceremonial inclined plane for such
visitors, which being lubricated with certain smooth phrases, I back them
down, metaphorically speaking, stern-foremost, into their "native element,"
the great ocean of out-doors. Well, now, there are poems as hard to get rid
of as these rural visitors. They come in glibly, use up all the serviceable
rhymes, _day_, _ray_, _beauty_, _duty_, _skies_, _eyes_, _other_,
_brother_, _mountain_, _fountain_, and the like; and so they go on until
you think it is time for the wind-up, and the wind-up won't come on any
terms. So they lie about until you get sick of the sight of them, and end
by thrusting some cold scrap of a final couplet upon them, and turning them
out of doors. I suspect a good many "impromptus" could tell just such a
story as the above.--Here turning to our landlady, I used an illustration
which pleased the company much at the time, and has since been highly
commended. "Madam," I said, "you can pour three gills and three quarters
of honey from that pint jug, if it is full, in less than one minute; but,
Madam, you could not empty that last quarter of a gill, though you were
turned into a marble Hebe, and held the vessel upside down for a thousand
years."

One gets tired to death of the old, old rhymes, such as you see in that
copy of verses,--which I don't mean to abuse, or to praise either. I always
feel as if I were a cobbler, putting new top-leathers to an old pair of
boot-soles and bodies, when I am fitting sentiments to these venerable
jingles.

     *     *     *     *    youth
     *     *     *     *   morning
     *     *     *     *    truth
     *     *     *     *   warning

Nine tenths of the "Juvenile Poems" written spring out of the above musical
and suggestive coincidences.

"Yes?" said our landlady's daughter.

I did not address the following remark to her, and I trust, from her
limited range of reading, she will never see it; I said it softly to my
next neighbour.

When a young female wears a flat circular side-curl, gummed on each
temple,--when she walks with a male, not arm in arm, but his arm against
the back of hers,--and when she says "Yes?" with the note of interrogation,
you are generally safe in asking her what wages she gets, and who the
"feller" was you saw her with.

"What were you whispering?" said the daughter of the house, moistening her
lips, as she spoke, in a very engaging manner.

"I was only giving some hints on the fine arts."

"Yes?"

--It is curious to see how the same wants and tastes find the same
implements and modes of expression in all times and places. The young
ladies of Otaheite, as you may see in Cook's Voyages, had a sort of
crinoline arrangement fully equal in radius to the largest spread of our
own lady-baskets. When I fling a Bay-State shawl over my shoulders, I am
only taking a lesson from the climate that the Indian had learned before
me. A _blanket_-shawl we call it, and not a plaid; and we wear it like the
aborigines, and not like the Highlanders.

--We are the Romans of the modern world,--the great assimilating people.
Conflicts and conquests are of course necessary accidents with us, as with
our prototypes. And so we come to their style of weapon. Our army sword
is the short, stiff, pointed _gladius_ of the Romans; and the American
bowie-knife is the same tool, modified to meet the daily wants of civil
society. I announce at this table an axiom not to be found in Montesquieu
or the journals of Congress:--

The race that shortens its weapons lengthens its boundaries.

_Corollary_. It was the Polish _lance_ that left Poland at last with
nothing of her own to bound.

  "Dropped from her nerveless grasp the _shattered spear_!"

What business had Sarmatia to be fighting for liberty with a fifteen-foot
pole between her and the breasts of her enemies? If she had but clutched
the old Roman and young American weapon, and come to close quarters, there
might have been a chance for her; but it would have spoiled the best
passage in "The Pleasures of Hope."

--Self-made men?--Well, yes. Of course every body likes and respects
self-made men. It is a great deal better to be made in that way than not to
be made at all. Are any of you younger people old enough to remember that
Irishman's house on the marsh at Cambridgeport, which house he built from
drain to chimney-top with his own hands? It took him a good many years to
build it, and one could see that it was a little out of plumb, and a little
wavy in outline, and a little queer and uncertain in general aspect. A
regular hand could certainly have built a better house; but it was a very
good house for a "self-made" carpenter's house, and people praised it, and
said how remarkably well the Irishman had succeeded. They never thought of
praising the fine blocks of houses a little farther on.

Your self-made man, whittled into shape with his own jack-knife, deserves
more credit, if that is all, than the regular engine-turned article, shaped
by the most approved pattern, and French-polished by society and travel.
But as to saying that one is every way the equal of the other, that is
another matter. The right of strict social discrimination of all things and
persons, according to their merits, native or acquired, is one of the most
precious republican privileges. I take the liberty to exercise it, when I
say, that, _other things being equal_, in most relations of life I prefer a
man of family.

What do I mean by a man of family?--O, I'll give you a general idea of what
I mean. Let us give him a first-rate fit out; it costs us nothing.

Four or five generations of gentlemen and gentlewomen; among them a member
of his Majesty's Council for the Province, a Governor or so, one or two
Doctors of Divinity, a member of Congress, not later than the time of
top-boots with tassels.

Family portraits. The member of the Council, by Smibert. The great
merchant-uncle, by Copley, full length, sitting in his arm-chair, in a
velvet cap and flowered robe, with a globe by him, to show the range of his
commercial transactions, and letters with large red seals lying round, one
directed conspicuously to The Honourable etc. etc. Great-grandmother, by
the same artist; brown satin, lace very fine, hands superlative; grand old
lady, stiffish, but imposing. Her mother, artist unknown; flat, angular,
hanging sleeves; parrot on fist. A pair of Stuarts, viz., 1. A superb
full-blown, mediæval gentleman, with a fiery dash of Tory blood in his
veins, tempered down with that of a fine old rebel grandmother, and warmed
up with the best of old India Madeira; his face is one flame of ruddy
sunshine; his ruffled shirt rushes out of his bosom with an impetuous
generosity, as if it would drag his heart after it; and his smile is good
for twenty thousand dollars to the Hospital, besides ample bequests to
all relatives and dependants. 2. Lady of the same; remarkable cap; high
waist, as in time of Empire; bust _à la Josephine_; wisps of curls,
like celery-tips, at sides of forehead; complexion clear and warm, like
rose-cordial. As for the miniatures by Malbone, we don't count them in the
gallery.

Books, too, with the names of old college-students in them,--family
names:--you will find them at the head of their respective classes in
the days when students took rank on the catalogue from their parents'
condition. Elzevirs, with the Latinized appellations of youthful
progenitors, and _Hic liber est meus_ on the title-page. A set of Hogarth's
original plates. Pope, original edition, 15 volumes, London, 1717. Barrow
on the lower shelves, in folio. Tillotson on the upper, in a little dark
platoon of octodecimos.

Some family silver; a string of wedding and funeral rings; the arms of the
family curiously blazoned; the same in worsted, by a maiden aunt.

If the man of family has an old place to keep these things in, furnished
with claw-foot chairs and black mahogany tables, and tall bevel-edged
mirrors, and stately upright cabinets, his outfit is complete.

No, my friends, I go (always, other things being equal) for the man that
inherits family traditions and the cumulative humanities of at least four
or five generations. Above all things, as a child, he should have tumbled
about in a library. All men are afraid of books, that have not handled them
from infancy. Do you suppose our dear Professor over there ever read _Poll
Synopsis_, or consulted _Castelli Lexicon_, while he was growing up to
their stature? Not he; but virtue passed through the hem of their parchment
and leather garments whenever he touched them, as the precious drugs
sweated through the bat's handle in the Arabian story. I tell you he is at
home wherever he smells the invigorating fragrance of Russia leather. No
self-made man feels so. One may, it is true, have all the antecedents I
have spoken of, and yet be a boor or a shabby fellow. One may have none of
them, and yet be fit for councils and courts. Then let them change places.
Our social arrangement has this great beauty, that its strata shift up and
down as they change specific gravity, without being clogged by layers of
prescription. But I still insist on my democratic liberty of choice, and I
go for the man with the gallery of family portraits against the one with
the twenty-five-cent daguerreotype, unless I find out that the last is the
better of the two.

--I should have felt more nervous about the late comet, if I had thought
the world was ripe. But it is very green yet, if I am not mistaken; and
besides, there is a great deal of coal to use up, which I cannot bring
myself to think was made for nothing. If certain things, which seem to me
essential to a millennium, had come to pass, I should have been frightened;
but they haven't. Perhaps you would like to hear my

LATTER-DAY WARNINGS.


  When legislators keep the law,
  When banks dispense with bolts and locks,
  When berries, whortle--rasp--and straw--
  Grow bigger _downwards_ through the box,--

  When he that selleth house or land
  Shows leak in roof or flaw in right,--
  When haberdashers choose the stand
  Whose window hath the broadest light,--

  When preachers tell us all they think,
  And party leaders all they mean,--
  When what we pay for, that we drink,
  From real grape and coffee-bean,--

  When lawyers take what they would give,
  And doctors give what they would take,--
  When city fathers eat to live,
  Save when they fast for conscience' sake,--

  When one that hath a horse on sale
  Shall bring his merit to the proof,
  Without a lie for every nail
  That holds the iron on the hoof,--

  When in the usual place for rips
  Our gloves are stitched with special care,
  And guarded well the whalebone tips
  Where first umbrellas need repair,--

  When Cuba's weeds have quite forgot
  The power of suction to resist,
  And claret-bottles harbor not
  Such dimples as would hold your fist,--

  When publishers no longer steal,
  And pay for what they stole before,--
  When the first locomotive's wheel
  Rolls through the Hoosac tunnel's bore;--

  _Till_ then let Gumming blaze away,
  And Miller's saints blow up the globe;
  But when you see that blessed day,
  _Then_ order your ascension robe!

The company seemed to like the verses, and I promised them to read others
occasionally, if they had a mind to hear them. Of course they would not
expect it every morning. Neither must the reader suppose that all these
things I have reported were said at any one breakfast-time. I have not
taken the trouble to date them, as Raspail, _père_, used to date every
proof he sent to the printer; but they were scattered over several
breakfasts; and I have said a good many more things since, which I shall
very possibly print some time or other, if I am urged to do it by judicious
friends.



ILLUSIONS.


Some years ago, in company with an agreeable party, I spent a long summer
day in exploring the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. We traversed, through
spacious galleries affording a solid masonry foundation for the town and
county overhead, the six or eight black miles from the mouth of the cavern
to the innermost recess which tourists visit,--a niche or grotto made of
one seamless stalactite, and called, I believe, Serena's Bower. I lost the
light of one day. I saw high domes, and bottomless pits; heard the voice of
unseen waterfalls; paddled three quarters of a mile in the deep Echo River,
whose waters are peopled with the blind fish; crossed the streams "Lethe"
and "Styx"; plied with music and guns the echoes in these alarming
galleries; saw every form of stalagmite and stalactite in the sculptured
and fretted chambers,--the icicle, the orange-flower, the acanthus, the
grapes, and the snowball. We shot Bengal lights into the vaults and groins
of the sparry cathedrals, and examined all the masterpieces which the four
combined engineers, water, limestone, gravitation, and time, could make in
the dark.

The sights and scenery of the cave had the same dignity that belongs to all
natural objects, and which shames the fine things to which we foppishly
compare them. I remarked, especially, the mimetic habit, with which Nature,
on new instruments, hums her old tunes, making night to mimic day, and
chemistry to ape vegetation. But I then took notice, and still chiefly
remember, that the best thing which the cave had to offer was an illusion.
On arriving at what is called the "Star-Chamber," our lamps were taken from
us by the guide, and extinguished or put aside, and, on looking upwards, I
saw or seemed to see the night heaven thick with stars glimmering more or
less brightly over our heads, and even what seemed a comet flaming among
them. All the party were touched with astonishment and pleasure. Our
musical friends sung with much feeling a pretty song, "The stars are in
the quiet sky," &c., and I sat down on the rocky door to enjoy the serene
picture. Some crystal specks in the black ceiling high overhead, reflecting
the light of a half-hid lamp, yielded this magnificent effect.

I own, I did not like the cave so well for eking out its sublimities with
this theatrical trick. But I have had many experiences like it, before and
since; and we must be content to be pleased without too curiously analyzing
the occasions. Our conversation with Nature is not just what it seems. The
cloud-rack, the sunrise and sunset glories, rainbows, and northern lights
are not quite so spheral as our childhood thought them; and the part our
organization plays in them is too large. The senses interfere everywhere,
and mix their own structure with all they report of. Once, we fancied the
earth a plane, and stationary. In admiring the sunset, we do not yet deduct
the rounding, coordinating, pictorial powers of the eye.

The same interference from our organization creates the most of our
pleasure and pain. Our first mistake is the belief that the circumstance
gives the joy which we give to the circumstance. Life is an ecstasy. Life
is sweet as nitrous oxide; and the fisherman dripping all day over a cold
pond, the switchman at the railway intersection, the farmer in the field,
the Irishman in the ditch, the fop in the street, the hunter in the woods,
the barrister with the jury, the belle at the ball, all ascribe a certain
pleasure to their employment, which they themselves give it. Health and
appetite impart the sweetness to sugar, bread, and meat. We fancy that
our civilization has got on far, but we still come back to our primers.
Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" is pathetic in its name, and in his use of the
name. It is an admission from a man of the world in the London of 1850,
that poor old Puritan Bunyan was right in his perception of the London of
1650. And yet now, in Thackeray, is the added wisdom or skepticism, that
though this be really so, he must yet live in tolerance of and practically
in homage and obedience to these illusions.

The world rolls, the din of life is never hushed. In London, in Paris, in
Boston, in San Francisco, the carnival, the masquerade is at its height.
Nobody drops his domino. The unities, the fictions of the piece it would be
an impertinence to break. The chapter of fascinations is very long. Great
is paint; nay, God is the painter; and we rightly accuse the critic who
destroys too many illusions. Society does not love its unmaskers. It was
wittily, if somewhat bitterly, said by D'Alembert, "_Un état de vapeur
était un état très fâcheux, parcequ'il nous faisait voir les choses
comme elles sont._" I find men victims of illusion in all parts of life.
Children, youths, adults, and old men, all are led by one bawble or
another. Yoganidra, the goddess of illusion, Proteus, or Momus, or Gylfi's
Mocking,--for the Power has many names,--is stronger than the Titans,
stronger than Apollo. The toys, to be sure, are various, and are graduated
in refinement to the quality of the dupe. The intellectual man requires a
fine bait; the sots are easily amused. But everybody is drugged with his
own dream, and the pageant marches at all hours, with music and banner and
badge.

Amid the joyous troop who give in to the charivari, comes now and then
a sad-eyed boy, whose eyes lack the requisite refractions to clothe the
show in due glory, and who is afflicted with a tendency to trace home the
glittering miscellany of fruits and flowers to one root. Science is a
search after identity, and the scientific whim is lurking in all corners.
At the State Fair, a friend of mine complained that all the varieties of
fancy pears in our orchards seem to have been selected by somebody who had
a whim for a particular kind of pear, and only cultivated such as had that
perfume; they were all alike. And I remember the quarrel of another youth
with the confectioners, that, when he racked his wit to choose the best
comfits in the shops, in all the endless varieties of sweetmeat he could
only find three flavors, or two. What then? Pears and cakes are good for
something; and because you, unluckily, have an eye or nose too keen, why
need you spoil the comfort which the rest of us find in them? I knew a
humorist, who, in a good deal of rattle, had a grain or two of sense.
He shocked the company by maintaining that the attributes of God were
two,--power and risibility; and that it was the duty of every pious man
to keep up the comedy. And I have known gentlemen of great stake in the
community, but whose sympathies were cold,--presidents of colleges,
and governors, and senators,--who held themselves bound to sign every
temperance pledge, and act with Bible societies, and missions, and
peacemakers, and cry _Hist-a-boy!_ to every good dog. We must not carry
comity too far, but we all have kind impulses in this direction. When the
boys come into my yard for leave to gather horsechestnuts, I own I enter
into Nature's game, and affect to grant the permission reluctantly, fearing
that any moment they will find out the imposture of that showy chaff. But
this tenderness is quite unnecessary; the enchantments are laid on very
thick. Their young life is thatched with them. Bare and grim to tears is
the lot of the children in the hovel I saw yesterday; yet not the less they
hung it round with frippery romance, like the children of the happiest
fortune, and talked of "the dear cottage where so many joyful hours had
flown." Well, this thatching of hovels is the custom of the country. Women,
more than all, are the element and kingdom of illusion. Being fascinated,
they fascinate others. They see through Claud-Lorraines. And how dare
any one, if he could, pluck away the _coulisses_, stage effects, and
ceremonies, by which they live? Too pathetic, too pitiable, is the region
of affection, and its atmosphere always liable to _mirage_.

We are not very much to blame for our bad marriages. We live amid
hallucinations; and this especial trap is laid to trip up our feet with,
and all are tripped up first or last. But the mighty Mother who had been
so sly with us, as if she felt that she owed us some indemnity, insinuates
into the Pandora-box of marriage some deep and serious benefits, and some
great joys. We find a delight in the beauty and happiness of children, that
makes the heart too big for the body. In the worst-assorted connections
there is ever some mixture of true marriage. Teague and his jade get some
just relations of mutual respect, kindly observation, and fostering of each
other, learn something, and would carry themselves wiselier, if they were
now to begin.

'Tis fine for us to point at one or another fine madman, as if there were
any exempts. The scholar in his library is none. I, who have all my life
heard any number of orations and debates, read poems and miscellaneous
books, conversed with many geniuses, am still the victim of any new page;
and, if Marmaduke, or Hugh, or Moosehead, or any other, invent a new style
or mythology, I fancy that the world will be all brave and right, if
dressed in these colors, which I had not thought of. Then at once I will
daub with this new paint; but it will not stick. 'Tis like the cement which
the peddler sells at the door; he makes broken crockery hold with it, but
you can never buy of him a bit of the cement which will make it hold when
he is gone.

Men who make themselves felt in the world avail themselves of a certain
fate in their constitution, which they know how to use. But they never
deeply interest us, unless they lift a corner of the curtain, or betray
never so slightly their penetration of what is behind it. 'Tis the charm
of practical men, that outside of their practicality are a certain poetry
and play, as if they led the good horse Power by the bridle, and preferred
to walk, though they can ride so fiercely. Bonaparte is intellectual, as
well as Cæsar; and the best soldiers, sea-captains, and railway men have
a gentleness, when off duty; a good-natured admission that there are
illusions, and who shall say that he is not their sport? We stigmatize the
cast-iron fellows, who cannot so detach themselves, as "dragon-ridden,"
"thunder-stricken," and fools of fate, with whatever powers endowed.

Since our tuition is through emblems and indirections, 'tis well to know
that there is method in it, a fixed scale, and rank above rank in the
phantasms. We begin low with coarse masks, and rise to the most subtle and
beautiful. The red men told Columbus, "they had an herb which took away
fatigue"; but he found the illusion of "arriving from the east at the
Indies" more composing to his lofty spirit than any tobacco. Is not our
faith in the impenetrability of matter more sedative than narcotics? You
play with jackstraws, balls, bowls, horse and gun, estates and politics;
but there are finer games before you. Is not time a pretty toy? Life will
show you masks that are worth all your carnivals. Yonder mountain must
migrate into your mind. The fine star-dust and nebulous blur in Orion, "the
portentous year of Mizar and Alcor," must come down and be dealt with in
your household thought. What if you shall come to discern that the play and
playground of all this pompous history are radiations from yourself, and
that the sun borrows his beams? What terrible questions we are learning to
ask! The former men believed in magic, by which temples, cities, and men
were swallowed up, and all trace of them gone. We are coming on the secret
of a magic which sweeps out of men's minds all vestige of theism and
beliefs which they and their fathers held and were framed upon.

With such volatile elements to work in, 'tis no wonder if our estimates
are loose and floating. We must work and affirm, but we have no guess of
the value of what we say or do. The cloud is now as big as your hand,
and now it covers a county. That story of Thor, who was set to drain the
drinking-horn in Asgard, and to wrestle with the old woman, and to run
with the runner Lok, and presently found that he had been drinking up the
sea, and wrestling with Time, and racing with Thought, describes us who
are contending, amid these seeming trifles, with the supreme energies of
Nature. We fancy we have fallen into bad company and squalid condition, low
debts, shoe-bills, broken glass to pay for, pots to buy, butcher's meat,
sugar, milk, and coal. "Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show
my spirit." "Not so," says the good Heaven; "plod and plough, vamp your
old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine
by and by." Well, 'tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in
all humility and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no
cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads
were Time and Nature.

We cannot write the order of the variable winds. How can we penetrate the
law of our shifting moods and susceptibility? Yet they differ as all and
nothing. Instead of the firmament of yesterday, which our eyes require, it
is to-day an eggshell which coops us in; we cannot even see what or where
our stars of destiny are. From day to day, the capital facts of human life
are hidden from our eyes. Suddenly the mist rolls up, and reveals them, and
we think how much good time is gone, that might have been saved, had any
hint of these things been shown. A sudden rise in the road shows us the
system of mountains, and all the summits, which have been just as near us
all the year, but quite out of mind. But these alternations are not without
their order, and we are parties to our various fortune. If life seems
a succession of dreams, yet poetic justice is done in dreams also. The
visions of good men are good; it is the undisciplined will that is whipped
with bad thoughts and bad fortunes. When we break the laws, we lose our
hold on the central reality. Like sick men in hospitals, we change only
from bed to bed, from one folly to another; and it cannot signify much what
becomes of such castaways,--wailing, stupid, comatose creatures,--lifted
from bed to bed, from the nothing of life to the nothing of death.

In this kingdom of illusions we grope eagerly for stays and foundations.
There is none but a strict and faithful dealing at home, and a severe
barring out of all duplicity or illusion there. Whatever games are played
with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with
the last honesty and truth. I look upon the simple and childish virtues of
veracity and honesty as the root of all that is sublime in character. Speak
as you think, be what you are, pay your debts of all kinds. I prefer to be
owned as sound and solvent, and my word as good as my bond, and to be what
cannot be skipped, or dissipated, or undermined, to all the _éclat_ in the
universe. A little integrity is better than any career. This reality is the
foundation of friendship, religion, poetry, and art. At the top or at the
bottom of all illusions I set the cheat which still leads us to work and
live for appearances, in spite of our conviction, in all sane hours, that
it is what we really are that avails with friends, with strangers, and with
fate or fortune.

One would think from the talk of men, that riches and poverty were a great
matter; and our civilization mainly respects it. But the Indians say, that
they do not think the white man with his brow of care, always toiling,
afraid of heat and cold, and keeping within doors, has any advantage of
them. The permanent interest of every man is, never to be in a false
position, but to have the weight of Nature to back him in all that he does.
Riches and poverty are a thick or thin costume; and our life--the life of
all of us--identical. For we transcend the circumstance continually, and
taste the real quality of existence; as in our employments, which only
differ in the manipulations, but express the same laws; or in our thoughts,
which wear no silks, and taste no ice-creams. We see God face to face every
hour, and know the savour of Nature.

The early Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Xenophanes measured their
force on this problem of identity. Diogenes of Apollonia said, that unless
the atoms were made of one stuff, they could never blend and act with one
another. But the Hindoos, in their sacred writings, express the liveliest
feeling, both of the essential identity, and of that illusion which they
conceive variety to be. "The notions, 'I am,' and 'This is mine,' which
influence mankind, are but delusions of the mother of the world. Dispel,
O Lord of all creatures! the conceit of knowledge which proceeds from
ignorance." And the beatitude of man they hold to lie in being freed from
fascination.

The intellect is stimulated by the statement of truth in a trope, and the
will by clothing the laws of life in illusions. But the unities of Truth
and of Right are not broken by the disguise. There need never be any
confusion in these. In a crowded life of many parts and performers, on a
stage of nations, or in the obscurest hamlet in Maine or California, the
same elements offer the same choices to each new comer, and, according to
his election, he fixes his fortune in absolute nature. It would be hard to
put more mental and moral philosophy than the Persians have thrown into a
sentence:--

  "Fooled thou must be, though wisest of the wise;
  Then be the fool of virtue, not of vice."



THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS.


  Tritemius of Herbipolis one day,
  While kneeling at the altar's foot to pray,
  Alone with God, as was his pious choice,
  Heard from beneath a miserable voice,--
  A sound that seemed of all sad things to tell,
  As of a lost soul crying out of hell.

  Thereat the Abbot rose, the chain whereby
  His thoughts went upward broken by that cry,
  And, looking from the casement, saw below
  A wretched woman, with gray hair aflow,
  And withered hands stretched up to him, who cried
  For alms as one who might not be denied.

  She cried: "For the dear love of Him who gave
  His life for ours, my child from bondage save,
  My beautiful, brave first-born, chained with slaves
  In the Moor's galley, where the sun-smit waves
  Lap the white walls of Tunis!" "What I can
  I give," Tritemius said,--"my prayers." "O man
  Of God!" she cried, for grief had made her bold,
  "Mock me not so; I ask not prayers, but gold;
  Words cannot serve me, alms alone suffice;
  Even while I plead, perchance my first-born dies!"

  "Woman!" Tritemius answered, "from our door
  None go unfed; hence are we always poor.
  A single soldo is our only store.
  Thou hast our prayers; what can we give thee more?"

  "Give me," she said, "the silver candlesticks
  On either side of the great crucifix;
  God well may spare them on His errands sped,
  Or He can give you golden ones instead."

  Then said Tritemius, "Even as thy word,
  Woman, so be it; and our gracious Lord,
  Who loveth mercy more than sacrifice,
  Pardon me if a human soul I prize
  Above the gifts upon His altar piled!
  Take what thou askest, and redeem thy child."

  But his hand trembled as the holy alms
  He laid within the beggar's eager palms;
  And as she vanished down the linden shade,
  He bowed his head and for forgiveness prayed.

  So the day passed; and when the twilight came
  He rose to find the chapel all a-flame,
  And, dumb with grateful wonder, to behold
  Upon the altar candlesticks of gold!



THE MOURNING VEIL.


  Then in life's goblet freely press
  The leaves that give it bitterness,
  Nor prize the colored waters less,
  For in thy darkness and distress
      New light and strength they give

  And he who has not learned to know
  How false its sparkling bubbles flow,
  How bitter are the drops of woe
  With which its brim may overflow,
      He has not learned to live.

LONGFELLOW.


It was sunset. The day had been one of the sultriest of August. It would
seem as if the fierce alembic of the last twenty-four hours had melted it
like the pearl in the golden cup of Cleopatra, and it lay in the West a
fused mass of transparent brightness. The reflection from the edges of a
hundred clouds wandered hither and thither, over rock and tree and flower,
giving a strange, unearthly brilliancy to the most familiar things.

A group of children had gathered about their mother in the summer-house of
a garden which faced the sunset sky. The house was one of those square,
stately, wooden structures, white, with green blinds, in which of old times
the better classes of New England delighted, and which remain to us as
memorials of a respectable past. It stood under the arches of two gigantic
elms, and was flanked on either side with gardens and grounds which seemed
designed on purpose for hospitality and family freedom.

The evening light colored huge bosquets of petunias, which stood with
their white or crimson faces looking westward, as if they were thinking
creatures. It illumined flame-colored verbenas, and tall columns of pink
and snowy phloxes, and hedges of August roses, making them radiant as the
flowers of a dream.

The group in the summer-house requires more particular attention. The
father and mother, whom we shall call Albert and Olivia, were of the
wealthiest class of the neighbouring city, and had been induced by the
facility of railroad travelling, and a sensible way of viewing things, to
fix their permanent residence in the quiet little village of Q----. Albert
had nothing in him different from multitudes of hearty, joyous, healthily
constituted men, who subsist upon daily newspapers, and find the world a
most comfortable place to live in. As to Olivia, she was in the warm noon
of life, and a picture of vitality and enjoyment. A plump, firm cheek, a
dark eye, a motherly fulness of form, spoke the being made to receive and
enjoy the things of earth, the warm-hearted wife, the indulgent mother,
the hospitable mistress of the mansion. It is true that the smile on the
lip had something of earthly pride blended with womanly sweetness,--the
pride of one who has as yet known only prosperity and success, to whom no
mischance has yet shown the frail basis on which human hopes are built. Her
foot had as yet trod only the high places of life, but she walked there
with a natural grace and nobleness that made every one feel that she was
made for them and they for her.

Around the parents were gathered at this moment a charming group of
children, who with much merriment were proceeding to undo a bundle the
father had just brought from the city.

"Here, Rose," said little Amy, a blue-eyed, flaxen-haired pet, who seemed
to be a privileged character, "let _me_ come; don't be all night with your
orderly ways; let me cut that string." A sharp flash of the scissors, a
quick report of the bursting string, and the package lay opened to the
little marauder. Rose drew back, smiled, and gave an indulgent look at
her eager younger sister and the two little ones who immediately gathered
around. She was one of those calm, thoughtful, womanly young girls, that
seem born for pattern elder sisters, and for the stay and support of
mothers' hearts. She watched with a gentle, quiet curiosity the quick and
eager fingers that soon were busy in exposing the mysteries of the parcel.

"There's a dress for Rose," said Amy, triumphantly drawing out a delicate
muslin; "I can always tell what's for her."

"How?" put in the father, who stood regarding the proceeding with that air
of amused superiority with which the wearers of broadcloth look down on the
mysteries of muslin and barége.

"How?" said Amy, "why, because they look just like her. If I were to see
that lilac muslin in China, I should say it was meant for Rose. Now this is
mine, I know,--this bright pink; isn't it, mamma? No half shades about me!"

"No, indeed," said her mother; "that is your greatest fault, Amy."

"Oh, well, mamma, Rose has enough for both; you must rub us together, as
they do light red and Prussian blue, to make a neutral tint. But oh, what
a ribbon! oh, mother, what a love of a ribbon! Rose! Rose! look at this
ribbon! And oh, those buttons! Fred, I do believe they are for your new
coat! Oh, and those studs, father, where did you get them? What's in that
box? a bracelet for Rose, I know! oh, how beautiful! perfectly exquisite!
And here--oh!"

Here something happened to check the volubility of the little speaker; for
as she hastily, and with the license of a petted child, pulled the articles
from the parcel, she was startled to find lying among the numerous colored
things a black crape veil. Sombre, dark, and ill-omened enough it looked
there, with pink, and lilac, and blue, and glittering _bijouterie_ around
it!

Amy dropped it with instinctive repugnance, and there was a general
exclamation, "Mamma, what's this? how came it here? what did you get this
for?"

"Strange!" said Olivia; "it is a _mourning veil_. Of course I did not order
it. How it came in here nobody knows; it must have been a mistake of the
clerk."

"Certainly it is a mistake," said Amy; "we have nothing to do with
mourning, have we?"

"No, to be sure; what should we mourn for?" chimed in little Fred and Mary.

"What a dark, ugly thing it is!" said Amy, unfolding and throwing it over
her head; "how dismal it must be to see the world through such a veil as
this!"

"And yet till one has seen the world through a veil like that, one has
never truly lived," said another voice, joining in the conversation.

"Ah, Father Payson, are you there?" said two or three voices at once.

Father Payson was the minister of the village, and their nearest neighbor;
and not only their nearest neighbor, but their nearest friend. In the
afternoon of his years, life's day with him now stood at that hour when,
though the shadows fall eastward, yet the colors are warmer, and the songs
of the birds sweeter, than even in its jubilant morning.

God sometimes gives to good men a guileless and holy second childhood, in
which the soul becomes childlike, not childish, and the faculties in full
fruit and ripeness are mellow without sign of decay. This is that songful
land of Beulah, where they who have travelled manfully the Christian way
abide awhile to show the world a perfected manhood. Life, with its battles
and its sorrows, lies far behind them; the soul has thrown off its armor,
and sits in an evening undress of calm and holy leisure. Thrice blessed the
family or neighborhood that numbers among it one of these not yet ascended
saints! Gentle are they and tolerant, apt to play with little children,
easy to be pleased with simple pleasures, and with a pitying wisdom guiding
those who err. New England has been blessed in numbering many such among
her country pastors; and a spontaneous, instinctive deference honors them
with the title of Father.

Father Payson was the welcome inmate of every family in the village,
the chosen friend even of the young and thoughtless. He had stories for
children, jokes for the young, and wisdom for all. He "talked good," as the
phrase goes,--not because he was the minister, but because, being good,
he could not help it; yet his words, unconsciously to himself, were often
parables, because life to him had become all spiritualized, and he saw
sacred meanings under worldly things.

The children seized him lovingly by either hand and seated him in the
arbor.

"Isn't it strange," said Amy, "to see this ugly black thing among all these
bright colors? such a strange mistake in the clerk!"

"If one were inclined to be superstitious," said Albert, "he might call
this an omen."

"What did you mean, sir," asked Rose, quietly seating herself at his feet,
"by 'seeing life through this veil'?"

"It was a parable, my daughter," he said, laying his hand on her head.

"I never have had any deep sorrow," said Olivia, musingly; "we have been
favored ones hitherto. But why did you say one must see the world through
such a medium as this?"

"Sorrow is God's school," said the old man. "Even God's own Son was not
made perfect without it; though a son, yet learned he obedience by the
things that he suffered. Many of the brightest virtues are like stars;
there must be night or they cannot shine. Without suffering, there could be
no fortitude, no patience, no compassion, no sympathy. Take all sorrow out
of life, and you take away all richness and depth and tenderness. Sorrow is
the furnace that melts selfish hearts together in love. Many are hard and
inconsiderate, not because they lack capability of feeling, but because the
vase that holds the sweet waters has never been broken."

"Is it, then, an imperfection and misfortune never to have suffered?" said
Olivia.

Father Payson looked down. Rose was looking into his face. There was a
bright, eager, yet subdued expression in her eyes that struck him; it had
often struck him before in the village church. It was as if his words had
awakened an internal angel, that looked fluttering out behind them. Rose
had been from childhood one of those thoughtful, listening children with
whom one seems to commune without words. We spend hours talking with them,
and fancy they have said many things to us, which, on reflection, we find
have been said only with their silent answering eyes. Those who talk much
often reply to you less than those who silently and thoughtfully listen.
And so it came to pass, that, on account of this quietly absorbent nature,
Rose had grown to her parents' hearts with a peculiar nearness. Eighteen
summers had perfected her beauty. The miracle of the growth and perfection
of a human body and soul never waxes old; parents marvel at it in every
household as if a child had never grown before; and so Olivia and Albert
looked on their fair Rose daily with a restful and trusting pride.

At this moment she laid her hand on Father Payson's knee, and said
earnestly,--"Ought we to pray for sorrow, then?"

"Oh, no, no, no!" interrupted Olivia, with an instinctive shudder,--such a
shudder as a warm, earnest, prosperous heart always gives as the shadow of
the grave falls across it,--"don't say yes!"

"I do not say we should pray for it," said Father Payson; "yet the Master
says, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' not 'Blessed are they that prosper.'
So heaven and earth differ in their judgments."

"Ah, me!" said Olivia, "I am afraid I have not courage to wish to be among
the blessed."

"Well," said Albert, whom the gravity of the discussion somewhat disturbed.
"let us not borrow trouble; time enough to think of it when it happens.
Come, the dew is falling, let us go in. I want to show Father Payson some
peaches that will tempt his Christian graces to envy. Come, Rose, gather up
here."

Rose, in a few moments, gathered the parcel together, and quietly flitted
before them into the house.

"Now," said Albert, "you'll see that girl will have everything quietly
tucked away in just the right place; not a word said. She is a born
housewife; it's in her, as much as it is in a pointer to show game."

"Rose is my right hand," said Olivia; "I should be lost without her."

Whence comes it, that, just on the verge of the great crises and
afflictions of life, words are often spoken, that, to after view, seem to
have had a prophetic meaning? So often do we hear people saying, "Ah, the
very day before I heard of this or that, we were saying so and so!" It
would seem sometimes as if the soul felt itself being drawn within the dark
sphere of a coming evil, of which as yet nothing outward tells. Then the
thoughts and conversation flow in an almost prophetic channel, which a
coming future too well interprets.

The evening passed cheerfully with our friends, notwithstanding the grave
conversation in the arbor. The mourning veil was laid away in a drawer
along with many of its brilliant companions, and with it the thoughts it
had suggested; and the merry laugh ringing from the half-open parlor-door
showed that Father Payson was no despiser of the command to rejoice with
them that do rejoice.

Rose played and sung, the children danced, and the mirth was prolonged till
a late hour in the evening.

Olivia and Albert were lingering in the parlor after the departure of the
family, busy in shutting windows, setting back chairs, and attending to all
the last duties of orderly householders.

A sudden shriek startled them; such a shriek as, once heard, is never
forgotten. With an answering cry of horror, they rushed up the stairs. The
hall lamp had been extinguished, but the passage and staircase were red
with a broad glare from the open door of the nursery.

A moment more showed them the drapery of the bed in which their youngest
child was sleeping all in flames; then they saw a light form tearing down
the blazing curtains.

"Oh, Rose! Rose! take care, for God's sake! your dress! you'll kill
yourself! oh, God help us!"

There were a few moments--awful moments of struggle--when none knew or
remembered what they did; a moment more and Rose lay panting in her
father's arms, enveloped in a thick blanket which he had thrown around her
burning night-dress. The fire was extinguished, the babe lay unawakened,
and only the dark flecks of tinder scattered over the bed, and the trampled
mass on the floor, told what had been. But Rose had breathed the hot breath
of the flame, deadly to human life, and no water could quench that inward
fire.

A word serves to explain all. The child's nurse had carelessly set a lamp
too near the curtains, and the night breeze had wafted them into the flame.
The apartment of Rose opened into the nursery, and as she stood in her
night-dress before her mirror, arranging her hair, she saw the flashing of
the flame, and, in the one idea of saving her little sister, forgot every
other. That act of self-forgetfulness was her last earthly act; a few short
hours of patient suffering were all that remained to her. Peacefully as she
had lived, she died, looking tenderly on her parents out of her large blue
eyes, and only intent to soothe their pain.

"Yes, I suffer," she said, "but only a short pain. We must all suffer
something. My Father thinks a very little enough for me. I have had such a
happy life, I _might_ bear just a little pain at the last."

A little later her mind seemed to wander. "Mamma, mamma," she said,
hurriedly, "I put the things all away; the lilac muslin and the barége.
Mamma, that veil, the mourning veil, is in the drawer. Oh, mamma, that
veil was for you; don't refuse it; our Father sends it, and he knows best.
Perhaps you will see heaven through that veil."

It is appalling to think how near to the happiest and most prosperous
scene of life stands the saddest despair. All homes are haunted with awful
possibilities, for whose realization no array of threatening agents is
required,--no lightning, or tempest, or battle; a peaceful household lamp,
a gust of perfumed evening air, a false step in a moment of gayety, a
draught taken by mistake, a match overlooked or mislaid, a moment's
oversight in handling a deadly weapon,--and the whole scene of life is
irretrievably changed!

It was but a day after the scene in the arbor, and all was mourning in the
so lately happy, hospitable house; everybody looked through tears. There
were subdued breathings, a low murmur, as of many listeners, a voice of
prayer, and the wail of a funeral hymn,--and then the heavy tread of
bearers, as, beneath the black pall, _she_ was carried over the threshold
of her home, never to return.

And Olivia and Albert came forth behind their dead. The folds of the dark
veil seemed a refuge for the mother's sorrow. But how did the flowers of
home, the familiar elms, the distant smiling prospect look through its
gloomy folds,--emblem of the shadow which had fallen between her heart and
life? When she looked at the dark moving hearse, she wondered that the sun
still shone, that birds could sing, and that even her own flowers could be
so bright.

Ah, mother! the world had been just as full of sorrow the day before;
the air as full of "farewells to the dying and mournings for the dead";
but thou knewest it not! Now the outer world comes to thee through the
_mourning veil_!

But after the funeral comes life again,--hard, cold, inexorable life,
knocking with business-like sound at the mourner's door, obtruding its
common-place pertinacity on the dull ear of sorrow. The world cannot wait
for us; the world knows no leisure for tears; it moves onward, and drags
along with its motion the weary and heavy-laden who would fain rest.

Olivia would have buried herself in her sorrows. There are those who refuse
to be comforted. The condolence of friends seems only a mockery; and truly,
nothing so shows the emptiness and poverty of human nature as its efforts
at condolence.

Father Payson, however, was a visitor who would not be denied; there
was something of gentle authority in his white hairs that might not be
resisted. Old, and long schooled in sorrow, his heart many times broken
in past years, he knew all the ways of mourning. His was no official
common-place about "afflictive dispensations." He came first with that
tender and reverent silence with which the man acquainted with grief
approaches the divine mysteries of sorrow; and from time to time he
cast on the troubled waters words, dropped like seeds, not for present
fruitfulness, but to germinate after the floods had subsided.

He watched beside a soul in affliction as a mother waits on the crisis of a
fever whose turning is to be for life or for death; for he well knew that
great sorrows never leave us as they find us; that the broken spirit, ill
set, grows callous and distorted ever after.

He had wise patience with every stage of sorrow; he knew that at first
the soul is blind, and deaf, and dumb. He was not alarmed when returning
vitality showed itself only in moral spasms and convulsions; for in
all great griefs come hours of conflict, when the soul is tempted, and
complaining, murmuring, dark, skeptical thoughts are whirled like withered
leaves through all its desolate chambers.

"What have I learned by looking through this veil?" said Olivia to him,
bitterly, one day when they were coming out of a house where they had been
visiting a mourning family. "I was trusting in God as an indulgent Father;
life seemed beautiful to me in the light of his goodness; now I see only
his inflexible severity. I never knew before how much mourning and sorrow
there had been even in this little village. There is scarcely a house where
something dreadful has not at some time happened. How many families here
have been called to mourning since we have! I have not taken up a paper in
which I have not seen a record of two or three accidental deaths; some of
them even more bitter and cruel than what has befallen us. I read this
morning of a poor washerwoman, whose house was burned, and all her children
consumed, while she was away working for her bread. I read the other day of
a blind man whose only son was drowned in his very presence, while he could
do nothing to help him. I was visiting yesterday that poor dress-maker whom
you know. She has by toil and pains been educating a fine and dutiful son.
He is smitten down with hopeless disease, while her idiot child, who can
do nobody any good, is spared. Ah, this mourning veil has indeed opened my
eyes; but it has taught me to add all the sorrows of the world to my own;
and can I believe in God's love?"

"Daughter," said the old man, "I am not ignorant of these things. I have
buried seven children; I have buried my wife; and God has laid on me in my
time reproach, and controversy, and contempt. Each cross seemed, at the
time, heavier than the others. Each in its day seemed to be what I least
could bear; and I would have cried, '_Anything but this!_' And yet, now
when I look back, I cannot see one of these sorrows that has not been made
a joy to me. With every one some perversity or sin has been subdued, some
chain unbound, some good purpose perfected. God has taken my loved ones,
but he has given me love. He has given me the power of submission and of
consolation; and I have blessed him many times in my ministry for all I
have suffered, for by it I have stayed up many that were ready to perish."

"Ah," said Olivia, "you indeed have reason to be comforted, because you can
see in yourself the fruit of your sorrows; but I am not improving; I am
only crushed and darkened,--not amended."

"Have patience with thyself, child; weeping must endure for a night;
all comes not at once. 'No trial _for the present_ seemeth joyous'; but
'_afterwards_ it yieldeth the peaceable fruit';--have faith in this
_afterwards_. Some one says that it is not in the tempest one walks the
beach to look for the treasures of wrecked ships; but when the storm is
past we find pearls and precious stones washed ashore. Are there not even
now some of these in your path? Is not the love between you and your
husband deeper and more intimate since this affliction? Do you not love
your other children more tenderly? Did you not tell me that you had thought
on the sorrows of every house in this village? Courage, my child! that is a
good sign. Once, as you read the papers, you thought nothing of those who
lost friends; now you notice and feel. Take the sorrows of others to your
heart; they shall widen and deepen it. Ours is a religion of sorrow. The
Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering; our Father is
the God of all consolation; our Teacher is named the Comforter; and all
other mysteries are swallowed up in the mystery of the Divine sorrow. 'In
all our afflictions He is afflicted.' God refuseth not to suffer;--shall
we?"

There is no grave so desolate that flowers will not at last spring on it.
Time passed with Albert and Olivia with healing in its wings. The secret
place of tears became first a temple of prayer, and afterwards of praise;
and the heavy cloud was remembered by the flowers that sprung up after the
rain. The vacant chair in the household circle had grown to be a tender
influence, not a harrowing one; and the virtues of the lost one seemed to
sow themselves like the scattered seeds of a fallen flower, and to spring
up in the hearts of the surviving ones. More tender and more blessed is
often the brooding influence of the sacred dead than the words of the
living.

Olivia became known in the abodes of sorrow, and a deep power seemed given
her to console the suffering and distressed. A deeper power of love sprung
up within her; and love, though born of sorrow, ever brings peace with
it. Many were the hearts that reposed on her; many the wandering that she
reclaimed, the wavering that she upheld, the desolate that she comforted.
As a soul in heaven may look back on earth, and smile at its past sorrows,
so, even here, it may rise to a sphere where it may look down on the storm
that once threatened to overwhelm it.

It was on the afternoon of just such another summer day as we have
described at the opening of our story, that Olivia was in her apartment,
directing the folding and laying away of mourning garments. She took up the
dark veil and looked on it kindly, as on a faithful friend. How much had
she seen and learned behind the refuge of its sheltering folds! She turned
her thoughts within herself. She was calm once more, and happy,--happy with
a wider and steadier basis than ever before. A new world seemed opened
within her; and with a heart raised in thankfulness she placed the veil
among her most sacred treasures.

Yes, there by the smiling image of the lost one,--by the curls of her
glossy hair,--by the faded flowers taken from her bier, was laid in solemn
thankfulness the Mourning Veil.



PENDLAM: A MODERN REFORMER.


My theatre-going friend pulled up suddenly in his ambling discourse
concerning the merits of the last actress, dropped his voice to a whisper,
touched my arm, and pointed with his cane.

"Look! the Reverend John Henry Pendlam!"

"Coming out of a bar-room! Ho, ho! Sir Reverend!"

I spoke gayly, but with an indefinably serious sentiment at heart I was
interested in this John Henry Pendlam; not particularly on account of
the reputation for eloquence and zeal which he had so early and rapidly
achieved, but his approaching marriage with my friend's second cousin,
Susan D----, (whom I had myself even barely escaped marrying,) quickened a
personal curiosity regarding my successor.

"He is on no base errand," replied Horatio. "He goes about carrying the
Gospel into these dens. The papers you see in his hand are tracts. Shall I
introduce you?"

Before I could fairly answer, No, (for I felt a repugnance to making the
acquaintance of any man who was to marry Susan,) Pendlam, standing a moment
in the gas-light before the door of the saloon, observed my friend, and
advanced quickly.

"Too late to escape!" cried the young clergyman, seizing Horatio by
the collar. "I have you, truant!" And he drew a tract upon him, like a
revolver.

"I surrender!" said Horatio. "If it's you, don't shoot; I'll come down, as
the treed coon said to the hunter."

"Don't think to disarm me by a pleasantry," replied Pendlam, brandishing
his spiritual weapon. "This is my sermon on the theatre, which you engaged
to hear me preach; I have had it printed for you."

"Really," said Horatio, with a humorous smile, "I had forgotten my promise.
Besides, I was engaged,--let me see, it was two Sundays ago, wasn't
it?--yes, I was engaged to dine with Miss Kellerton."

"The actress! On Sunday!" said Pendlam, with a shocked expression. "But you
might have heard me in the morning."

"In the morning we rode together," laughed Horatio.

I knew all this was a fiction on the part of my friend, designed to mystify
the minister. I said nothing, to avoid an introduction; I had stepped
aside, and now stood, amused and observant, under the street lamp. Pendlam
especially I studied, with one eye (figuratively speaking) on him, and
the other on Susan. I compared him with myself, and had no doubt but she
was weak enough to consider him the handsomer man of the two. He was of
medium height, slightly built, of a nervous temperament, with bright,
quick-glancing eyes, and vehement gestures. The chief characteristic of the
man seemed intensity. It manifested itself in his eager movements, in his
emphasis and tones of voice, in his swiftly changing expression, in his
wild hair, in his neckerchief, which seemed to have been tied with a jerk,
and in his dress throughout, which was evidently that of a man who had
things of vaster importance to think of.

He was whirling Horatio away in a torrent of eloquence, poured out against
the sins of the age, and mainly against the theatre, which he denounced as
the citadel of dissipation and all immoralities; and my poor friend, who
had opened the gates of this flood by his indiscreet pleasantry, was vainly
endeavouring to escape and rejoin me, when I observed a person come out of
the saloon, and gradually draw near, until he stood within a few feet of
the zealous reformer. A group watched him from the door. Before I suspected
his object, he threw out the coils of a concealed whip, and springing upon
Pendlam from behind, dealt him furious successive blows over the shoulders
and head. I ran to the rescue. But already Horatio had seized the whip.

"Good for evil," cried Pendlam, as I was on the point of throttling the
assailant. "My friend, how have I injured you?"

"Interfering with my business! getting away my custom! insulting folks with
your cursed tracts!" frothed the angry man. "I swore to cowhide you, and
I've done it!"

"If that is the case, I have no complaint to make," said Pendlam. "You can
go on with your cowhiding."

"You've had enough for once!" growled the other, rolling up the lash.

"But if I deserve whipping for doing my duty, I deserve a good deal more,"
cried Pendlam. "And if you are to be my castigator for each offence, you
will find yourself pretty well employed. It would be less trouble, I should
think, to do a little more, while you have your hand in. Meanwhile, take
this tract upon the sin of Anger, carry it home with you, and read it
carefully at your leisure."

Muttering threats, the man returned to the saloon, amid the laughs and
acclamations of his constituents. Pendlam followed impulsively, and left
the tract within. He then returned to us. Up to this time, he had appeared
exalted and firm; but now there came a reaction; his voice forsook him,
he trembled violently, and we were obliged to give him the support of our
arms. As we conducted him away, his condition might have been taken for
that of many others who get into difficulty in bar-rooms. Arrived at his
boarding-house, he thanked us with pathetic earnestness, and urged us to go
in.

"On one condition," said Horatio,--"that you say no more about the
theatres."

Pendlam smiled faintly. "I should think I might refrain from that and
kindred topics, at least until my shoulders have done smarting! But I
assure you, my zeal will only be quickened by the occurrences of this
night. The first horsewhipping is a great event. I now know what it is to
be a martyr!"

We went in and conversed. My repugnance to forming a friendship with
the man who was to marry Susan had vanished. I found him rather too
zealous,--almost fanatical; but we forgive every thing in a man who shows
generosity of heart, and sincere aspirations. Horatio took a paper from
his pocket and read for the twentieth time a certain criticism upon Miss
Kellerton's acting; occasionally looking up, to listen to some remark from
either Pendlam or myself,--then returning to his favorite article.

I had the honor of differing, on many essential points, with my new
clerical acquaintance; and we were soon on excellent terms of courteous
dispute. I assumed the philosopher, and expressed candidly my conviction
that his intellect had early projected itself into doctrines which would
prove too confined for its future growth. I remember distinctly his reply.

"On the contrary, it is you," he said, "who, I perceive, will some day come
over upon the very ground I now occupy. Our modern ways of thinking have
become too free and lax. We cannot draw the rein and tighten the girth."

There was a charming sparkle in his blue eyes as he spoke. I gave him my
hand, and we parted. As we walked away together, Horatio asked how I liked
him.

"He is in earnest, and that is everything. But mark me, he is not the man
for Susan."

"Your jealousy!" said Horatio.

"Not a bit! I see a discrepancy."

"Where?"

"In my mind's eye, Horatio."

I concluded that silence was discretion, and refused to answer more
questions. Horatio looked at his watch.

"We have just time to see Miss Kellerton in the last act of 'The Stranger.'
She is great! You should see her, when she turns and embraces the children;
it's a scene of overwhelming pathos! Come!"

"With Pendlam's printed sermon in your pocket?"

Horatio laughed. "We will read it during the dance!"

But I declined; and he went alone into the theatre.

Not long after, I received a certain wedding card, and, in consequence,
made a certain call. Susan was all blushes and smiles at sight of me; but I
was cool and circumspect.

"We are friends, are we not?" I said, "We once thought we were more than
that; but we became older and wiser. We agreed to disagree, very properly.
It did not break our hearts; and that shows that it is better as it is."

"Perhaps," murmured Susan.

"Let us be quite frank with each other; that is the best way, Susan. We are
good friends?"

"O, yes!" said Susan.

"Thank you, dear Susan,--if I may still call you so, in the sense of
friendship. I know your husband, and love him. I congratulate you on having
so noble a companion."

Susan sighed, and concealed a tear. Just then Pendlam entered. He seemed
abstracted, and took a quick turn across the room; then gave me a surprised
look, a pleased smile, and a cordial grasp of the hand. The next hour I
was oblivious of all external things, in the delightful excitement of our
conversation. I even forgot Susan. Poor Susan! the trouble was, she was
not intellectual; not at all imaginative; but a very plain, matter-of-fact
person, with deep affections, and paramount instincts. During that
memorable hour, she spoke not one word. When at length I observed her
consciously, she was gazing at us with a look of weariness and vacancy.

"Is it not so?" cried Pendlam.

He appealed to her. She smiled sweetly, and said with simplicity that she
scarcely understood any thing that had been said.

I could see that Pendlam was a little shocked. From clear, joyous heights
of poetic discourse, we looked down, and saw how far off below was her
beingless mind. To the vision we then enjoyed, there was something thick
and earthy in her expression. It was the first time Pendlam had observed
it; I had seen it before. And even as before, I looked back, with wonder at
myself, to the earlier period when I deemed her beauty peerless.

Both Pendlam and I were chilled. The fine tension of the spiritual chords
relaxed, and gave forth heavier music. Susan failing to ascend to us, we
came down to her. She now made haste to atone for her long silence by
talking freely of the pretty new church, and the people she saw out Sunday;
and she seemed proud and happy when she brought out her wedding gifts, and
I praised them.

It was several weeks before I again saw Pendlam. I went with Horatio to
hear him preach. The sermon surprised me. Many of the thoughts which I
had advanced in our private conversations, and which he had opposed, were
reproduced, but very slightly modified, in his discourse.

"Pendlam is enlarging," whispered Horatio. "The very things you said to him
the first time you met!"

I was gratified by the fact, and gratified that Horatio observed it;
regarding it as evidence of Pendlam's emancipation from his chains.

The services over, the young clergyman made his way to us through the
crowd.

"I have so much wished to see you!" he exclaimed, grasping my hand. "You
were a little astonished at my sermon."

"And a good deal pleased," I added.

Pendlam's delicate and changing features colored finely.

"You think I have altered my views, I see by your smile. Not at all, except
that I have gone farther."

"I am glad you have gone farther," I answered.

"But in the same direction, I assure you!" said Pendlam, quickly. "Step by
step, step by step."

"You were on your way back to Paul and the Fathers."

"Yes; and on my arrival among them, I found myself one of the Fathers! It
was a necessary experience. As Paul spoke by authority, so I, when I stand
where Paul stood, also speak by authority. We must first be obedient,
before we can be free. You see where I am," said Pendlam.

Here a young woman came forward, and, with tears in her eyes, thanked her
pastor for the glorious truths he had that day preached.

"They are not my truths; they are the Lord's; I am but his mouthpiece,"
answered Pendlam, well pleased.

A gray-haired deacon now approached.--"On the hull," said he, "I liked your
sarmon tolerable well, Brother Pendlam; but it warn't one o' your best;
and if anybody else had preached it, I should have thought it contained a
little dangerous doctrine."

Pendlam blushed. This compliment did not please him quite so well. But
before he could shape a reply, quite an old woman seized his hand and
kissed it.

"God bless you for those words! They have done my soul good, sir!"

Her gratitude and piety were quite affecting. Tears gushed into Pendlam's
eyes. The deacon turned away with a smirk and an ominous shake of the head.

Horatio had found Susan. Pendlam took my arm, and we walked out of the
church. The crowd pressed on before us; and as we reached the vestibule, we
overheard suppressed voices the merits of the sermon.

"It was full of beautiful truth!" said a sweet young girl's voice.

"The most eloquent discourse I ever heard!" added a young man with a
singing-book under his arm.

"For my part," remarked a portly and well-dressed pillar of the church, "I
was a good deal surprised. Rather too wild and flowery. Must have a bad
tendency."

"What we want is sound doctrine," observed another prosperous pillar.
"Better let such abstract subjects alone."

"Dangerous doctrine! dangerous doctrine!" chimed in the gray-haired deacon.

On reaching the open air, I observed that Pendlam was quite tremulous and
flushed.

"You see," he said with a smile, "what it is to be a minister."

We went home to his house. Horatio had arrived before us, in company with
Susan and her mother. The latter was looking very uncomfortable at seeing
me, I thought, for she had hated me cordially since my affair with her
daughter.

"I declare, John Henry," she said, in her energetic way, "I hope you never
will preach another such sermon as long as _I_ live! I couldn't make
neither head nor tail to it." And she gathered up her Sunday things, which
she had taken off in the parlour, with an air of offended piety that
occasioned a general smile. Pendlam smiled with the rest.

"Well, Horatio, you next,--what did you think of my sermon?"

"I liked it."

"Good! but give your reason."

"Because you said nothing about the theatre. I was mortally afraid you
would; for, d'ye see, you had a distinguished theatrical personage in your
audience."

"Indeed! I was not aware; who?"

"Miss Kellerton herself!"

"Is it possible?" Pendlam looked surprised, Susan interested, Mrs. D----
(with her Sunday things on her arm) amazed.

"She told me she was going to hear you, to show you that she could be quite
as tolerant as yourself. She expects you to return the compliment, and go
to her benefit."

Poor Pendlam hardly knew what to say in his confusion. Susan spoke up,--

"Why didn't you point her out to me? I have such a curiosity to see her."

"It was to her I took off my hat, coming away from the church door."

"To her!" broke forth Mrs. D----, "to an actress! Horatio, I'm ashamed of
you. You wouldn't have caught me walking with you, if I had known!" She
shook her Sunday things indignantly; and there was another general smile,
as she took these representatives of her piety abruptly out of the room.

"Ail this is very interesting," said Pendlam, recovering his equanimity. "I
wonder what sort of a sermon I shall preach next Sabbath?"

We were invited to stay to luncheon. Horatio consented; but I declined, and
took my leave, much to the gratification of Susan's mother, no doubt.

Some months passed before I again saw Pendlam. Our next meeting was in the
street. I observed him coming towards me with the peculiarly abstracted and
intense expression which his face assumed under excitement.

"What now?" I asked.

"A little difficulty with my people," he said, with a forced smile. "I have
just come from a church meeting; it was terribly hot there!"

"No serious trouble, I hope?"

"O, no,--only, you will hardly be surprised to hear, my preaching has been
somewhat too liberal for them."

"Why, sir," I cried, "if I remember right, you were for restoring the more
rigorous and stringent forms of religion; drawing the rein and tightening
the girth."

"Most certainly! and do you not see? Step by step I worked back to the
primitive and central principle, the soul of all religion. You know what
that is. It is Love! This I have preached," said Pendlam, his features
suffused, his eyes glistening bright; "and this I shall continue to preach,
while life lasts. Persecution cannot influence me. I know my duty, and I
shall perform it, at all risks. You see where I am," added Pendlam.

I was thrilled to admiration by his enthusiasm and heroic resolution. At
the same time I saw him in that transitional state which is so full of
peril to persons of certain temperaments, escaping into too sudden freedom
and light from the walls of a narrow and gloomy belief; and I could not
but smile, with mingled amusement and commiseration, at his singular
step-by-step processes.

It was during the following autumn that Horatio and I one day looked in
upon a reform meeting, held at the Melodeon. The audience was thin, the
speakers numerous. The platform was crowded with male and female reformers,
among whom I recognized our clerical friend Pendlam. A celebrated female
orator sat down, and Pendlam stood up. The audience cheered a little; the
platform cheered a good deal. He at first stammered and hesitated, not from
want of thoughts, but from their pressure and multitude. They soon fused,
however, and poured forth streams of fire, rather largely mixed with smoke.

"There is no other religion but Love," declared the speaker. "And where
Love is, there is Religion; in the Mohammedan, in the Mormon, in the
savage,--I care not for names. And where Love is not, there Religion is
not, though her image be preserved and clothed in all Christian forms.
Theology and sects fall away from it; it is alone vital; it is eternal, it
is unitary, it is God. Here I proclaim it to the world; here I announce to
you and to all where I stand."

This speech was reported along with others in the morning papers. It was
not long before Pendlam had more church business to perplex him; and he
soon withdrew from the pastorship of his troublesome flock. A number of
these went with him; there was a schism in the church; and the following
spring, a new society was formed, which gave Pendlam a call.

I also gave him a call, at his house. Changes had taken place since my last
visit. I was shocked at Susan's altered appearance. She had had an infant,
and untold trouble along with it. The bloom of the bride was gone, and
the finer permeating beauty of the happy mother had failed to replace it.
Mrs. D---- was with her. This excellent lady received me with surprising
politeness, and brought out the little Pendlam for my inspection.

"Is it possible, Susan, that this living, breathing, dimpled little wonder
is yours?"

"I suppose it is," said the blushing Susan.

"Where is its father?" I inquired, for John Henry had not yet appeared.

"It hasn't got any father!" ejaculated Mrs. D----, with grim sarcasm. "A
man can't be a reform-preacher, and a father too. His sermons, lectures,
and conventions are of too much importance for him even to think of his
wife and child."

I looked to see poor Susan writhe with pain under these harsh words. But
she merely heaved a sigh, and let fall a tear on the babe, which she had
taken from its grandmother's arms.

"I will speak to Mr. Pendlam," she said, as she hastily left the room.

"I am glad you have come," said Mrs. D----, bitterly, seating herself on
the sofa. "I am glad to see any person enter this house, who isn't all
eaten up with the evils of society. I have heard about the evils of society
till I'm heartily sick of them. People that come to see Pendlam don't
generally talk about anything else. It's the ruin of him, as I tell Susan;
I never in this world can be reconciled to his leaving his church."

Mrs. D---- became confidential, and abused her daughter's husband in a
style which did not argue much for the peace of his household during that
energetic lady's visits. Her indignation against him had quite swallowed
up her old cherished resentment against myself. She soon went so far as to
insinuate a regret that Susan had not married a man of solid sense and some
mental ballast, (meaning me,) instead of a hotheaded reformer.

Susan reentered. "Mr. Pendlam is very busy; but he will come down
presently."

She sighed, and took a seat. Mrs. D---- continued her abuse of her
son-in-law, in her daughter's presence,--which I thought in very bad taste,
to say the least. Susan uttered not one word in her husband's defence,
but simply sat and sighed. I defended and praised him; for which act of
friendship I earned not one look of gratitude from her, and only contempt
and sneers from her mother.

I was glad when Pendlam appeared. He was looking care-worn and toil-worn;
his expression had grown more intense than ever. His face lighted up a
little at sight of me; but it was some minutes before his mind seemed
capable of extricating itself from its abstractions, and meeting me upon
social grounds.

"You will excuse me. I am heartily rejoiced to see you. I was hard at work.
Just pass your hand over my forehead; it will relieve the pressure upon
my brain. My mission is now fully revealed to me; everything is reform,
reform. I have been led here step by step. Your magnetism is very soothing.
The old crumbling walls of creeds and conventionalities are to be swept
away, and their foundations subjected to the plough and the harrow. I am in
the harness. I have no motive for concealment; I tell you frankly where I
stand," said Pendlam. Another long sigh from Susan. Mrs. D---- tossed her
contemptuous chin, and expressed scorn in divers significant ways.

"I should want to conceal a little, if I was in your place," she remarked,
cuttingly.

"Truth is truth; it can harm only those who are in error," said Pendlam.

"It certainly hasn't done you a very great amount of good." Another toss of
the contemptuous chin.

"On the contrary, it has done me incalculable good," answered the
son-in-law, with a smile.

"Oh! you consider it good, then, to be cut off from the church,--to give up
a good situation and sure salary,--to lose the respect of everybody whose
respect is worth having!"

"If I have done all this for the truth's sake, it is good,"--the reformer's
face kindled with enthusiasm,--"and I for one find it good."

"Perhaps you do, but I know who don't. I believe reform, like charity,
begins at home. You talk of your duty to humanity; I believe the first duty
is to one's own family. I don't think much of that man's mission to the
world, who forgets his own wife and child."

Horatio had previously told me, what I could hardly believe, that Mrs.
D---- was accustomed to abuse her son-in-law in this way, in the presence
of strangers. Susan did nothing but sigh. Pendlam smiled, as if he was used
to it.

"I need a little such invective occasionally, to refresh my zeal," he
said, with provoking meekness. "It shows me where I am. It assures me
that I am fighting the good fight. I do not blame my good mother; she
is worldly-minded, and sees things from her stand-point. Neither she nor
Susan can perceive anything but loss and disgrace, in the change from the
handsome, fashionable church, where I used to preach, to the naked hall
where our new society holds its meetings. Very natural for people upon
their plane. But I view things from another stand-point, to which I have
been led step by step; and I have simply to be true to my own revealed
mission."

"Mission! revealed! step by step! planes and stand-points!" exclaimed Mrs.
D----, rising in great disgust. "For my part, I believe in common sense; I
don't know any other plane or stand-point, and _I_ don't believe Providence
ever intended we should have any other. There, you have my opinion!" And
with a violent gesture, as if throwing her opinion from her, and shutting
our little party into the room with that formidable object, she swept out,
slammed the door after her, and rustled remorselessly up stairs.

"Persons upon her plane are very much to be pitied," observed Pendlam,
quietly.

Susan began to cry, and the scene became so painful to me, that I made
haste to shake hands with the ill-mated couple, say a few soothing words,
and take leave of them. From that time, I saw Pendlam occasionally, but
avoided the house. It was a peculiarity of his impressible nature, to
imbibe, unconsciously to himself, the sentiments of powerful persons
with whom he came in contact, retain and revolve them in his intellect,
until they reappeared as his own original convictions. He now went with
reformers, and carried with him their atmosphere. To hear him talk, you
would have thought universal reorganization at hand. I said I avoided
the house; but one day Horatio came to me with a doleful face, backing a
petition that I would go and talk with Susan.

"There has been an explosion! The old woman is gone; she has declared open,
internecine war against Pendlam."

"I thought she had declared that some time ago, good Horatio!"

"Ah, but now she is trying to get his wife away from him! She has sent
plenipotentiaries, with threats and entreaties, and they have frightened
Susan out of her poor little wits. Go and reassure her."

"Horatio, I am not certain what would be best. They never belonged
together. But at your request, I will go and see what I can do."

I went. Susan received me with an effort at a smile, which was a failure,
and at my inquiry for Pendlam, burst into tears.

"He is not dead, I hope."

"No," sobbed Susan.

"Nor in jail?"

"No." Another sob.

"Nor in any serious trouble?"

"Trouble enough, Heaven knows! Mother has gone. I don't know what to do.
All the nice people we used to visit with have turned against us."

"But our happiness does not depend upon nice people, you know, dear Susan."

"But he is getting into the strangest ways! Shabby folks, with long beards,
come to see him. He has left off family devotions."

Susan was weeping; when, at a quick step in the hall, she took alarm, and
hurried from the room, just in time to hide her tears from her husband.

"Alone?" said Pendlam.

"No; Susan has just left me."

"I am glad you have come. I have thought for several days that I required
your magnetism. Every thing with me now is magnetism. My nature demands a
certain magnetism, as the appetite demands a certain quality of food. There
are coarse magnetisms, and fine magnetisms; yours is peculiarly agreeable
to me. Some repel me, and some attract irresistibly. I have only to follow
my impressions, to get what is necessary for me. That's where I am," said
Pendlam.

He urged me to stay and dine; and as I desired an opportunity to converse
further with Susan, I consented. I was surprised to see a dish of roast
meat come upon the table,--Pendlam having, for the past year, preached
vegetarianism. But he assured me that he had not changed his theory of
dietetics.

"There are times, however, when we require the magnetisms of certain animal
foods. To-day I perceived that my system demanded the magnetism of lamb.
If your constitution is wanting in the lamb element, you will find this
tender."

Pendlam, I should observe, had neglected to say grace.

"Your theory of magnetisms," said I, "would seem a very convenient one.
To-morrow, for example, you can require the magnetism of roast beef.
The next day, the magnetisms of turtle-soup and venison will be found
agreeable. The magnetisms of some birds are said to be excellent. And
I have no doubt but in time you will arrive at the discovery, that the
magnetism of a certain distilled beverage, called brandy, stimulates
digestion."

Pendlam laughed and blushed.

"I have not forgotten that for three good years of my life I waged war
against King Alchohol. (Will you try a bit of the lamb?) But I do not push
my principles over the verge of prejudice, as those do who condemn the
grape."

"Condemn the grape?" I repeated.

"The juice of the grape, which is the same thing. Where this can be
obtained pure, it will be found highly beneficial to persons on a certain
plane. The grape magnetism is eminently spiritualizing."

So saying, to my utter astonishment, Pendlam uncorked a small bottle, which
I had supposed to contain pepper-sauce, and commenced pouring out WINE.

"This will answer in lieu of grace," I suggested.

"The act of prayer," said Pendlam, "has indisputable uses. It opens the
avenues to an influx of spiritual magnetisms. But where the mind is kept
in the receptive condition without the aid of the external form of prayer,
this becomes like a scaffolding after the house is built. Step by step, I
have been led to this high spiritual plane."

Susan, as of old, sat and sighed.

Pendlam found my magnetism so attractive, that it was impossible for me to
obtain a minute's conversation with Susan alone. I departed, wearied and
disheartened with her sad, despairing face haunting me.

I had little further personal knowledge of Pendlam's career, until Horatio
came for me, one evening, to attend a meeting of the Disciples of Freedom.

We found the Melodeon crowded by one of those stifling audiences for which
no ventilation seems availing. A portion had come to be interested, a
portion to be amused. To the former, the object of the meeting was wise and
great; to the latter, it was ridiculous enough to be worth an evening's
senseless laughter. For my own part, only the strong desire I felt to
observe the characteristics of a new sect daily increasing in numbers and
influence could induce me to undergo the exhaustion of sitting an hour in
such an assembly.

We took seats in an obscure corner, and looked around. Here were curious,
lank stalks of humanity, which seemed to have been raked from unheard-of,
outlandish stubbles. Occasionally, in beautiful relief out of these, a
clear, full-berried stem of ripened grain lifted its gracious head. It was
a strange mixture; a strange power, indeed, that had swept together such
promising wheat and such refuse chaff and straw in one incongruous mass.

We turned our eyes to the platform. There sat Pendlam, with other prominent
Disciples. A young man was speaking wise and beautiful words. From the
well of a deep and sincere soul he drew needed counsel for the perishing
multitude; said what he seemed impelled to say, and sat down. He was
followed by a sallow-visaged, black-bearded speaker, who poured forth
abundant venomous froth of denunciation. He had caught enough of the
phraseology of the more philosophical Disciples, to impress the earnest
ignorant with some show of profundity. I was glad when his stream dried up.
Pendlam next arose and read a paper upon "Magnetisms and Organizations."
After him, came forward a gentleman with a model, illustrating the design
of a dwelling-house for the Associated Disciples. He showed, entirely
to the satisfaction of himself at least, that society should be reduced
to a mechanism, and mankind to pivots and wheels. This was the dawn of
the millennial era. The world was to be saved by organization. First, an
association; then an association of associations, which should spread
over the United States, abolish taxes, banks, slavery, and private
property, elect its president, annex South America, the British and
Russian possessions, and eventually Europe, Africa, and Asia. The model
dwelling-house was likened to a manger, in which Christ was to be born,
at his second coming. The speaker ended by introducing the "Practical
Organizer of the Initial Association of Free Disciples."

Horatio and myself had already remarked upon the platform an individual
whose features seemed somehow familiar to us. He was rather stoutly built,
full-faced, of a sanguine complexion and temperament. His mouth indicated
both sensuality and decision of character. His forehead was prominent and
low, his eye keen, his neck thick and muscular. We were not surprised to
see him arise and step forward as the Practical Organizer of the Initial
Association of Free Disciples.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said he, "I am no orator. I am a business man. I am
not here to make a speech, but to tell you about the practical part of this
Association."

At the first words he spoke, a flood of recollections rushed over me. For a
moment my breath was quite taken away.

"I know him!" "I remember him!" Horatio and I whispered almost
simultaneously.

His voice was unmistakable. He was the fellow who had flogged Pendlam four
years before.

Extremes had met. The temperance missionary and the infuriate liquor-dealer
stood upon the same platform.

Soon after, we took our leave. We walked up and down in the fresh air. How
sweet, how cool it seemed, after an hour spent amid the heated breaths of
the packed audience!

I had parted from my friend, and was returning home, when I met two persons
walking arm in arm. I heard one of them say,--

"I find that no great work can be accomplished, without due regard paid
to magnetisms; and in organization, we must take care that they are
harmoniously distributed. I find that I now assume relations with every
individual according to these subtile laws. You see where I am," said
Pendlam.

For Pendlam was the speaker. His companion was the Practical Organizer of
the Initial Association of Free Disciples.

I went home, filled with a multitude of reflections. Strong interest led
me soon after to pay a visit to Pendlam's house. As I went in, I met a
man coming out. He had a stout frame, keen eye, sensual mouth, sanguine
complexion, muscular neck.

"Susan," said I, "who is that man?"

"One of my husband's friends," answered Susan, in some confusion.

"And yours?"--eyeing her closely.

"Oh, he comes frequently to the house; I see him occasionally."

"'Tis he who gave Pendlam that bottle of wine?"

"I believe so."

"And that flogging, Susan!"

"Oh, they have made that up," said Susan, innocently.

"If they are satisfied, I have nothing to say. Are you happy, Susan?" for a
change had come over her, which I did not readily understand.

"Oh, dear!" said Susan, "we have had so much trouble!" She began to give
way to her emotions. "We have lost all our old friends. Mother never comes
near us now. Sometimes I don't know what we shall do. Tell me what you
think of it;--is Henry so much out of the way as people think? He certainly
knows more than anybody else, and I don't see how he can be wrong." She
ended with a sob.

"You are aware," I answered, "that Pendlam and I partly agree in every
thing, and wholly agree in nothing. He is right, and he is wrong. He takes
hold of what is a truth, but detaches it from universal truth, and so it
becomes an error." I saw she did not comprehend. "But never despair," I
added, "The future depends upon you."

"What can I do?" she pleaded.

"Remain firm in principle, dear Susan. Whatever happens, stand true to him
and to yourself. Do that, and all will be well."

The crying of her child, which was sick, called her away. I sought
Pendlam's study. I found him busily writing. He was pale and thin, and
there was a wild brightness in his eye which did not please me.

"You, of all men!" he exclaimed. "Sit down." He closed the door, with an
air of mystery. "I was just writing to you."

"To me? Then I have saved you the trouble of employing a messenger."

"Susan would be mortified and incensed, if she knew what I am about to say.
But truth is truth. She is perishing; I see new evidence of it every day.
It is for want of magnetisms. I have little to give her, and what I have
is not such as she requires. Do not be astonished when I tell you I have
discovered that there do not exist between us the requisite affinities."

I smiled; for Pendlam was continually announcing discoveries of facts I had
discovered long before.

"You see where I am," said Pendlam. "I am compelled to go to other women
for the magnetisms I need; she must receive what she requires from other
men."

"That is interesting," I replied. "What is the peculiar process of
imparting these magnetisms?"

"Sometimes by conversation,--sometimes by the contact of hands,--perhaps
by a kiss; no rule is laid down; the process must depend upon the kind of
magnetism to be imparted."

"Very naturally. But what have I to do with all this?"

"I will tell you. I was not Susan's first choice; but you were. That fact
is very significant; it shows an affinity. And what I desire is, that--"

"My dear John Henry," I interrupted, "allow me to say that you are quite
mistaken. If I know any thing of affinities, there is none between Susan
and myself; no more, I judge, than there is between you and the gentleman I
met going out, as I was coming in.

"Oh,--Clodman! You saw him?" cried Pendlam.

"Yes, and remember distinctly seeing him at least twice before; once as the
Practical Organizer of the Initial Association of Free Disciples, and once
as the self-appointed castigator of unfortunate temperance missionaries."

"You are pleased to be sarcastic," said Pendlam, mildly. "He is a very
useful man to us. I welcome his visits to my house; for I consider his
magnetism highly beneficial to Susan."

"Then, by all the gods at once, you wrong me!" I said. "If that man's
magnetism is what she needs, to suppose that mine is, also, is an insult. I
lose patience with you, O most free Disciple!"

"I see," replied Pendlam, with a smile, "you have not yet reached the plane
of perfect freedom. I cannot argue with you; but when you have had certain
necessary experiences, and arrived at my stand-point, you will see as I
do."

He conducted me to the door, rather coolly. I stopped a moment to speak to
Susan.

"For the love of Heaven," I said, "remember what I told you. You don't know
how much depends upon you!"

Susan stared. I left her staring.

About this time Miss Kellerton returned, and played a brilliant engagement.
I accompanied Horatio one evening to witness her fourth appearance in a
new play, which had taken the theatrical portion of the city by storm.
The play-house was packed from top to bottom. We had our seats in the
orchestra, where we enjoyed a view of both actors and audience, and a cool
breeze from behind the scenes. For criticisms of the performance, I must
refer the reader to the newspapers of the period. Horatio cheered like a
madman. He was quite beside himself with enthusiasm, especially at the
close of the third act. He was clapping furiously, and looking about upon
the audience to see who else was cheering, when he suddenly stopped, his
hands asunder, his countenance transfixed with an alarming expression. I
thought he had clapped himself into a fit.

"Horatio!" I cried,--"Horatio! what's the matter?"

"Look! look!"

"Where?"

"Yonder! by the pillar!" I now thought (his head being turned) that
perchance he beheld a ghost. "Don't you see?--Pendlam!"

It was true;--there sat the reformer, out-cheering Horatio himself! By
his side was Susan, looking brighter and happier than I had seen her for
months. By _her_ side sat--

"That rascal Clodman!" hissed Horatio, through his teeth.

Miss Kellerton came before the curtain. A vast tumult of applause burst
forth and died away. Pendlam cheered after all the rest had ceased. Then
he and Clodman conferred,--the face of the latter so near Susan's, as he
leaned before her, that Horatio swore he kissed her. Both Pendlam and Susan
were beaming with smiles.

"This recreation will do them good," I whispered.

"That Clodman is a villain!" muttered Horatio. "Ask Miss Kellerton; she
knows him. But, villainy aside, what a stupendous joke it is to see Pendlam
here!"

Horatio arose, flushed and excited.

"Where are you going?" I demanded.

"I'll tell you soon. Let me pass."

He left the theatre. I did not see him again until the play was over. He
made his way to the orchestra box where I sat, in time to applaud Miss
Kellerton's final appearance before the curtain. Then he grasped my arm.

"Come with me; they are going!"

He indicated Pendlam's party. We passed up the aisle, reached the hall, and
waited for them at the foot of the stairs. Presently they appeared. Clodman
was praising the performance; Susan expressed her delight; Pendlam said
something about miscellaneous magnetisms. They had reached the foot of
the stairs, when Horatio sprang upon them like a brigand, and seized John
Henry's collar.

"Ha! Horatio!" gasped Pendlam, a good deal startled.

"Too late to escape!" And Horatio drew a tract upon him, like a revolver.
"Here is something, sir, which I think will suit your case," levelling it at
Pendlam's throat.

"Ha!" stammered Pendlam, reading the title, "'The Theatre a Stronghold of
Vice; a Sermon, by--'"

"By the Reverend John Henry Pendlam," roared out Horatio. "Pendlam, the
distinguished temperance-preacher!"

A lurid smile played over the grim features of the Practical Organizer.

"Pendlam has outgrown his former opinions," he said, with a look of hate at
Horatio.

"Not precisely," said Pendlam. "I have simply enlarged them, or rather
added to them. I preach temperance the same; but every man must be his own
master. The vices of the theatre appear just as hideous to me as ever; but
the theatre itself may be redeemed, and made an instrument of salvation. As
the patronage of bad people rendered it what it has been, so the patronage
of the good is required to make it what it should be. The divine magnetism
of a few spiritual persons in the audience must necessarily affect, not
only the remainder of the audience, but also the actors. In our new
Association--"

"Come!" growled the Practical Organizer, turning away, with Susan leaning
confidingly on his arm; "shall we go?"

"Excuse me. I will give you my ideas of a spiritual drama another time.
I'll take this sermon. I shall read with interest what I had to say on the
subject before my mind had attained its present plane. Good night! You see
where I am," added Pendlam.

Thenceforward the Pendlams were frequent visitors at the theatres. When
John Henry was too much occupied to attend, Clodman had the gallantry to
escort Susan. This was considered exceedingly kind in Clodman; he not only
treated Susan to delightful dramatic performances, but at the same time
imparted to her his valuable magnetism.

One Sabbath evening Horatio came suddenly upon me in the street, and pulled
me breathlessly around a corner.

"Wait till I can speak; the miracle of miracles! I have been to--to call on
HER; and who do you suppose had been dining with her?"

I named successively several noted actress-hunters and snobs, whose names
disgusted Horatio. "Who then?" I asked.

"Pendlam! Pendlam! Pendlam!" ejaculated Horatio. "He wanted to consult HER
upon the subject of creating a Divine Drama, or some such nonsense."

"Possibly a new Divine Comedy," I suggested.

"She made him stay and dine on Sunday! And will you believe it?--he
finds her magnetic impartations, as he calls them, highly agreeable and
advantageous to his constitution! Bless him! he isn't the first man who has
found them agreeable, if not so advantageous. But she gave him a dose!"

"Of what?"

"Of bitter truth about Clodman. She knows him for a villain, and told him
so. I was there, and glad to hear it. But I was enraged. I could have
wrung John Henry Pendlam's neck for him, when he said, with his quiet,
charitable, mild, incredulous smile, that he was already aware there
existed in the community _a good deal of prejudice_ against Clodman!"

Matters were now progressing rapidly to a crisis. One day during the
ensuing summer, I asked Horatio the usual question, "Where is Pendlam
now?"--referring, as John Henry himself would have said, not to locality,
but condition.

"That is impossible to say," replied Horatio, "for I have not seen him
since yesterday. Then he was situated opposite a bottle of pale sherry,
which that rascal Clodman had just brought to the house. They were
drinking, and talking over the Organization of Free Disciples. Several
wealthy men have become interested in the enterprise, and large amounts
have been subscribed. Pendlam is writing a work on the subject."

"And Susan?"

"Her child is sick, and claims all her attention. They are trying to cure
it with magnetisms. Clodman is day and night at the house; his magnetism
being considered indispensable for the restoration of the child."

A month later, Horatio brought me word that the child was dead.

Another month, and I learned that Susan had been sent to some celebrated
Western Magnetic Springs for her health.

"How did she go?"

Horatio hesitated. "I am sorry to say she has gone with that rascal
Clodman, who is travelling on business for the Association. Pendlam remains
at home, hard at work on his book. I will now add what I did not wish you
to know," said Horatio. "For some months Pendlam's family subsisted almost
entirely upon funds advanced him by that rascal Clodman. They talk of
his wonderful generosity! But the villain has a wife of his own, and a
couple of young children, who are left to suffer for want of the actual
necessaries of life. Pendlam has given up preaching, you know, in order to
devote himself entirely to the Association."

"Horatio, I am afraid that all is lost. I did hope better things of Susan.
Wretched, wretched girl!"

Tears came into Horatio's eyes. "How could the damnable thing ever happen?"
he exclaimed, passionately. "She was a true, honest girl; and Pendlam is
not a bad man."

"He is a man," I said, "who verily thinketh no evil. He has imagination,
intellect, spirituality; but he wants balance. From the first, I saw that
his powers needed centralizing. He had no hold upon integral truth, but
snatched here a fragment and there a fragment. Always distrust that man,
Horatio, that talks forever of planes, and stand-points, and step-by-step
processes, and deems it necessary to inform you each day where he stands."

"I do not know what could have saved him!" sighed Horatio.

"I know what could; an entire and absorbing love. His wife should have been
one towards whom all his thoughts and sympathies would have been drawn.
Such a love would have given him concentration, poise, unity. But, on the
other hand, his heart had no anchor, and his intellect was left adrift. He
has pursued truth, forgetting that truth is a tree, one and mighty, but
with innumerable branches; and that it is unsafe to risk the weight of
one's salvation upon a single bough. Susan had no part in his life; she
was left with that hungry, yearning heart, until the sympathy even of a
Clodman seemed food to her perishing nature. Pity her, Horatio, but do not
condemn."

The Initial Association failed. Clodman did not return; and it was found
that he had appropriated to his private use the funds of the Association.
Behind him he had left a distressed family, and many creditors. Where was
Susan?

I now thought it time to hunt up Pendlam. After no little search, I was
sent to an obscure lodging. I opened the door pointed out to me, and
entered an extraordinary chamber. The sides were covered with strange
diagrams, grotesque drawings, lettered inscriptions. Some were sketched
rudely upon the plastering with colored chalk; others were designed
upon paper, and pasted on the wall. In the centre of the room sat an
indescribable human figure, with its face buried in its hands. It wore an
anomalous garment, slashed with various colors, like a harlequin's coat.
Upon one shoulder was sewed the semblance of a door cut out of blue cloth;
on the other, a crescent cut out of green. Upon the head was set a tinsel
crown, amid tangles of disordered hair. Above was a huge brass key,
suspended by a tow string from the ceiling. Table and floor were littered
with manuscripts and papers; under the former I observed an empty bottle.

I spoke. The figure started, and looked up. In the sallow cheeks, untrimmed
beard, sunken and encircled eyes, I recognized Pendlam. A quick flush
spread over his haggard features, and he made a snatch at his tinsel crown.

"Do not be disturbed," I entreated.

He smiled, but with an air of embarrassment; and leaving the tinsel upon
his uncombed head, pointed to the wall.

"You see where I am," said Pendlam.

"I see, yet do _not_ see."

"I have reached the plane of symbols. You are aware that there is something
in symbols?"

"A great deal! a great deal!" I said, from a sorrowful heart, as I glanced
around me.

Pendlam, who had spoken doubtingly, seemed encouraged.

"Symbols are the highest expression of spiritual thought. Both words and
pictures are used. They are the language of the spirit, which only the same
spirit can understand. Look here, and you will see some symbols of a very
astonishing character."

"Astonishing," said I, "is a mild word!"

"And what is equally astonishing," added the eager reformer, "is the
manner in which they are produced. The hand is moved to write or draw them
spontaneously. The symbol comes first, the interpretation afterwards. Here
is a vulture soaring away with a lamb. It has a meaning."

"A deep meaning!" I added. "We have known such a vulture!"

"Here," he cried,--too excited to heed any words but his own,--"are swine
feeding upon golden fruit."

"Oh, the swine! Oh, the precious, wasted, golden fruit!"

"Here is one in words; it reads, _Beware of falling from a balloon_. It
requires a peculiar experience," added Pendlam, with a smile, "to enable
one to understand that beautiful symbol."

"Perhaps I have not had the requisite experience; but"--I laid my hand on
Pendlam's shoulder--"I know a man who has fallen from several balloons!"

"Here is one," said Pendlam, turning to the table, "which I have just
drawn. I was trying to get at its meaning when you came in." He showed me a
sketch consisting of a number of zigzag lines, joined one to another, and
tending towards a circle.

"My dear John Henry," said I, "any person who has watched your course for
the last four or five years will readily see the meaning of that symbol. It
is a map of your voyage of discoveries."

"Such tacking and shifting?" queried Pendlam, with a smile commiserating my
ignorance.

"Just such tacking and shifting. If you had possessed a good compass, it
would have shown you."

Pendlam caught at the word compass. "It is singular;--you must have some
spiritual perception;--it was written through my hand nine days ago,
_Purchase a compass_. Here is the writing; I placed it upon the wall as a
symbol; and I have intended buying a compass as soon as I could get the
means."

"Ah, John Henry," said I, "there is more in your symbols than you suppose.
You want no purchasable compass."

Pendlam rewarded my simplicity with another pitying smile.

"Here," said he, "you who know so much of symbols, explain this. _Avoid the
shores of Old Spain_. I have not yet penetrated its meaning."

"Leave it," I replied, "with the unexplained Pythagorean symbol touching
abstinence from beans. Perhaps future events will reveal it."

Pendlam smiled as before. But was I not right? Did not lamentable events in
the not far-off future give to the symbol a melancholy significance?

"Come," I said, "leave these abstruse studies; take off that symbolic coat,
that tinsel crown; wash, comb your hair, and walk with me."

"I should enjoy a walk," replied Pendlam; "but I am directed to retain
these symbols upon my person, and you would hardly wish me to appear in the
street with them."

"Directed!--by what authority?"

"By the Spirit. Some beautiful use is to be fulfilled. I see where you
are," added Pendlam;--"from your stand-point it must look absurd enough."

I sat down, and endeavoured to reason with him. But I found it impossible
for a person upon my plane to reach with any argument a person upon his. In
vain I recapitulated his successive trials and failures.

"It is true," he confessed, "I have been called to pass through some
strange experiences. But all were necessary steps; and I have now reached
a stand-point from which I can look back and see in its indisputable
place every grade of the progressive ascent. There has been only apparent
failure. Our attempted Association was a necessary foreshadowing of what
remains to be unfolded; a prophetic symbol. We have all been taught great
lessons."

"And the vulture and the lamb!" I said, sternly; "where are they?"

"I perceive," answered Pendlam, charitably, "you do not understand."

"It is you," I cried, "who have failed to understand your own symbols.
To use plain language, then, where is Susan? She is the lamb that was
entrusted to your keeping, and that you suffered the obscene bird to carry
away!"

"You are pleased to employ harsh terms," said Pendlam, meekly. "Susan has
done well; she has followed her attractions, and that is obedience to the
Spirit. Perfect freedom is essential to progression. Consequently, above
a certain plane, monogamy, which has undeniable primitive uses, ceases to
exist. The laws of chemical affinity teach this by analogy. When the mutual
impartations which result from the conjunction of positive and negative
have blended in a state of equilibrium, there is consequent repulsion, and
the law of harmonies ordains new combinations. You see where I am," said
Pendlam.

Disheartened and sorrowful, I set out to go. At the door I turned back.

"Can I do anything for you, John Henry?"

"Not unless"--Pendlam hesitated a moment--"if you have a dollar to spare?"

I gave him a bank-bill. As he leaned forward to receive it, he struck his
head against the suspended key.

"Another symbol," I said. _"Break not your brains upon the key of brass."_

He scratched his head, rearranged his tinsel, and smiling, advanced to show
me the stairs. I looked back once: there crowned he stood, in his symbolic
coat, with the green crescent and blue door on the shoulders; and as a gust
from the stairway blew open the garment, I beheld a great yellow heart on
his breast. That picture remained impressed upon my vision. In the street,
I recalled the room, the drawings, the inscriptions,--all so tragical and
saddening! I had not proceeded far, when, moved by greater compassion, I
turned and retraced my steps. At the door of the house, I saw the servant
girl who had admitted me coming out with a bottle, and thought it the same
I had seen lying empty under Pendlam's table. I followed her into a grocery
on the corner. She called for gin, and paid for it out of my bank-bill.

I now changed my mind, and went to consult Horatio. It was concluded that
Pendlam's old habits of thought and associations ought to be entirely
broken up. Deserted, destitute, dependent, he condescended, after long
holding out against us, to listen to what we proposed. Hearing of a vacancy
in a newspaper office in a western city, we had procured for him the
situation. Not without a struggle, he consented to accept it, abandoned his
darling reformatory projects, and set out for his new sphere.

His position was that of subordinate writer; and for a time he maintained
it with considerable ability. But he grew restless under restraint; and at
length, taking advantage of the managing editor's absence, he published
articles on prohibited subjects, which lost the paper half its subscribers,
and him his situation. When next heard of, he was gaining a meagre
subsistence by writing theatrical puffs,--employment for which he was
indebted to the kindness of a certain influential actress named Kellerton.

In the mean time Susan returned from her unhappy wanderings; and her
mother's family, seizing upon her like wolves, hid her from the world in
their den. And I was pleased not long after to read that an individual
named Clodman, a noted swindler, had recently been shot in a street-fight
in St. Louis, by a husband whose domestic peace he had disturbed.

The last word of all, that ends this strange, eventful, and, alas! too true
history, remains to be said.

For some months, we had heard nothing of Pendlam. But last week I received
a bundle of Roman Catholic publications, one of which contained an article
proclaiming a miraculous conversion of the distinguished reformer, and
thereby greatly glorifying Catholicism.

The same mail brought me a letter from the convert.

"At last," he wrote, "I have found peace in the bosom of the Holy Catholic
Church. All my previous experiences were necessary to lead me where I am.
This is the divine association I was so long seeking elsewhere in vain;
I find in its forms the true symbols of a universal religion; and I now
perceive that the seeming errors, in which I was for a time permitted to
stray, were wisely designed to convince me of the sublime truth, that
celibacy is the single condition befitting a holy apostolic teacher."

Amid the flood of reflections that rushed upon me, arose prominent the
image of poor Pendlam's unexplained symbol: "_Avoid the shores of old
Spain._" Had it not now received its interpretation? The tossed voyager,
failing to make the continent of truth, but beating hither and thither amid
the reefs and breakers of dangerous coasts, mistaking many islands for the
main, and drifting on unknown seas, had at last steered straight to the old
Catholic shores, from which the great discoverers had sailed so many years
before.



BRITISH INDIA.


The year 1757 was one of the gloomiest ever known to England. At home, the
government was in a state of utter confusion, though the country was at war
with France, and France was in alliance with Austria; these two nations
having departed from their policy of two centuries and a half, in order
that they might crush Frederic of Prussia, England's ally. Frederic was
defeated at Kolin, by the Austrians, on the 18th of June, and a Russian
army was in possession of East Prussia. A German army in British pay,
and commanded by the "Butcher" hero of Culloden, was beaten in July, and
capitulated in September. In America, the pusillanimity of the English
commanders led to terrible disasters, among which the loss of Fort William
Henry, and the massacre of its garrison, were conspicuous events. In India,
the English were engaged in a doubtful contest with the viceroy of Bengal,
who was supported by the French. Even the navy of England appeared at
that time to have lost its sense of superiority; for not only had Admiral
Byng just been shot for not behaving with proper spirit, but a combined
expedition against the coast of France ended in signal failure, and Admiral
Holburne declined to attack a French fleet off Louisburg. No wonder that
the British people readily believed an author who then published a work to
establish the agreeable proposition, "that they were a race of cowards and
scoundrels; that nothing could save them; that they were on the point of
being enslaved by their enemies, and that they richly deserved their fate."
Such a succession of disasters might well discourage a people, some of whom
could recollect the long list of victories which commenced with Blenheim
and closed with Malplaquet, and by which the arrogance of the Grand
Monarque had been punished.

Yet it is from this very year of misfortune that the power of modern
England must take its date. "Adversity," said El Hakim to the Knight of the
Leopard, "is like the period of the former and of the latter rain,--cold,
comfortless, unfriendly to man and to animal; yet from that season
have their birth the flower and the fruit, the date, the rose, and the
pomegranate." In the summer of 1757 was formed that ministry which
succeeded in carrying England's power and glory to heights which they
did not reach even under the Protectorship of Cromwell or the rule of
Godolphin. Then were commenced those measures which ended in the expulsion
of the French from North America, and gave to England a territory here
which may perpetuate her institutions for ages after they shall have ceased
to be known in the mother-land. Then was America conquered in Germany, and
not only was Frederic so assisted as to be able to contend successfully
against the three great houses of Bourbon, Habsburg, and Romanoff, and a
horde of lesser dynasties, but British armies, at Minden and Creveldt,
renewed on the fields of the continent recollections of the island skill
and the island courage. Then was a new spirit breathed into the British
marine, by which it has ever since been animated, and which has seldom
stopped to count odds. Then began that dashing course of enterprise which
gave almost everything to England that was assailable, from Goree to Cuba,
and from Cuba to the Philippines. Then was laid the foundation of that
Oriental dominion of England which has been the object of so much wonder,
and of not a little envy; for on the 23d of June, 1757, was fought the
battle of Plassey, the first of those many Indian victories that illustrate
the names of Clive, Coote, Wellesley, Gough, Napier, and numerous other
heroes. It seems odd, that the interest in Indian affairs should have been
suddenly and strangely revived in the hundredth year after the victory that
laid Bengal at the feet of an English adventurer. Had the insurgent Sepoys
delayed action but a few weeks, they might have inaugurated their movement
on the very centennial anniversary of the birth of British India.

There is nothing like the rule of the English in India to be found in
history. It has been compared to the dominion which Rome held over so large
a portion of the world; but the comparison has not the merit of aptness.
The population of the Roman Empire, in the age of the Antonines, has been
estimated at 120,000,000, including that of Italy. The population of
India is not less than 150,000,000, without counting any portion of the
conquering race. Rome was favorably situated for the maintenance of her
supremacy, as she had been for the work of conquest. Her dominion lay
around the Mediterranean, which Italy pierced, looking to the East and the
West, and forming, as it were, a great place of arms, whence to subdue or
to overawe the nations. Cicero called the Hellenic states and colonies a
fringe on the skirts of Barbarism, and the description applies also to the
Roman dominion; for though Gaul and Spain were conquered from sea to sea,
and the legions were encamped on the Euphrates, and the valley of the Nile
was as submissive to the Cæsars as it had been to the Lagidse, yet the
Mediterranean was the basis of Roman power, and a short journey in almost
any direction from it would have taken the traveller completely from
under the protection of the eagles. Not so is it with British India. From
no European country is India so remote as from England. The two regions
are separated by the ocean, by seas, by deserts, and by some of the most
powerful nations. Their sole means of union are found in the leading cause
of their separation. England owes her Indian empire to her empire of the
sea. India will be hers just so long, and no longer, as she shall be able
to maintain her naval supremacy. Those who predict her downfall in the
East, either as a consequence of the natives throwing off her rule, or
through a Russian invasion, forget that she entered India from the sea,
and that until she shall have been subdued on that element it would be
idle to think of dispossessing her of her Oriental supremacy. Were the
long-cherished dream of Russia to be realized,--a dream that is said to
have troubled the sleep of Peter, and which certainly haunted the mind of
Catharine,--and Russian proconsuls ruling on the Ganges, India could no
more be to Russia what she has been to England, than the Crimea, had he
kept it, could have been to Louis Napoleon what it is to the Czar. The
condition of Indian dominion is ocean dominion.

In one respect the Indian empire of England resembles the Roman empire.
The latter comprised many and widely different countries and races, and
so is it with the former. We are so accustomed to speak of India as if it
constituted one country, and were inhabited by a homogeneous people, that
it is difficult to understand that not even in Europe are nations to be
found more unlike to one another than in British India. In Hindostan and
the Deccan there are ten different civilized nations, resembling each other
no more than Danes resemble Italians, or Spaniards Poles. They differ in
moral, physical, and intellectual conditions,--in modes of thought and in
modes of life. This is one of the chief causes of England's supremacy,
just as a similar state of things not only promoted the conquests of Rome,
but facilitated her rule after they had been made. The Emperors ruled over
Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians, and other Eastern peoples, with ease, because
they had little in common, and could not combine against their conquerors.
They did the same in the West, because the inhabitants of that quarter, if
left to themselves, would have passed their time in endless quarrels. The
old world abounded in great cities, all of which owned the supremacy of
Rome, from Gades to Thapsacus; and in modern India the most venerable
places are compelled to bow before the upstart Calcutta.

The peculiar condition of India a hundred years since enabled the English
to lay the foundations of their power in that country so broadly and so
deep that nothing short of a moral convulsion can uproot them, though the
edifice erected upon them may be rudely shaken by internal revolts, or by
the consequences of external wars. Fifty years sooner or forty years later,
the English could have made no impression on India as conquerors. Seventy
years before the conquest of Bengal the English traders had been plundered
by a viceroy who anticipated the tyranny of Surajah Doulah. They determined
not to submit to such exactions. They resolved upon war. But the great
Aurungzebe was then on the throne of Delhi; and though the Moghul empire
had declined somewhat from the standard set up by Akbar and maintained by
Shah Jehan, the fighting merchants were soon taught that they were but as
children in the hands of its chief. They were driven out of Bengal, and
Aurungzebe thought of expelling them from his whole empire. The punishment
of death was visited upon some of the East India Company's officers and
servants by the Moghul. This severe lesson made a deep impression on the
English. They resumed their humble position as traders on sufferance. They
never thought of conquest again. It was not until every man who had been
concerned in that business had long been in his grave, that the English
dared so much as to think of making another war. Though the Moghuls
rapidly became powerless after the death of Aurungzebe, the blows struck
by anticipation in their behalf protected them for forty years against the
ambition of the intrusive Occidentals, and even for some time after Nadir
Shah's Persian invasion had demonstrated that their dynasty was as weak
as that of Lodi had been found when Baber came into the land. Whether the
English have been right or wrong in making themselves masters of India, it
is certain that they were forced upon the work against their own wishes and
inclinations, and in self-defence. The very expedition which Clive made use
of to effect the subjugation of Bengal had been undertaken on defensive
grounds; and so fearful was even that great man of the consequences of a
union of the forces of the Moghul with those at the command of the French
in the East, that he was at first desirous of making peace with Surajah
Doulah himself. When the arrival of reinforcements had induced him to
take a bolder course, and the destruction of that fierce viceroy had been
resolved upon, it was not until after much doubt and hesitation, and
against his original judgment, that that course of action was entered upon
which ended in the victory of Plassey. He knew the risk that was run in
fighting a pitched battle against a force nearly twenty times larger than
his own; and had the viceroy been either a respectable ruler or a good
soldier, the English, humanly speaking, must have then failed as signally
as their predecessors of 1687; but as he was as destitute of humanity as of
courage and skill, and could neither animate his followers by affection nor
command them by force of character, he was utterly routed. Not six hundred
men fell in the battle of Plassey, on both sides, and most of these were on
the side of the vanquished. Seldom has it happened that so mighty a change
has been effected with so little slaughter. One is reminded of the battles
fought by the few Romans under Lucullus against the entire array of the
Armenian monarchy.

Had circumstances not led to the display of British power at the time when
great prizes were sure to follow even from minor exertions, England never
could have become mistress of India. Had the English remained traders
forty years longer,--or even for half that time, perhaps,--they would have
encountered very different foes from those which they overthrew so easily
when forced to fight for property and life. India was breaking up in 1757,
and the process of reformation was about to begin. Had not the English been
brought into the vast arena, either a number of powerful monarchies would
have been formed, or the whole country would have passed under some new
dynasty, which would have revived the power of the state with that rapidity
which is so often exhibited in the East, when new and able men assume the
reins of government. Hyder Ali might have made himself the master of all
India, had it been his lot to contend only with native rulers and native
races. Had this been the course of events, and had circumstances brought
him into collision with the East India Company when he had made himself the
Moghul's successor, can it be believed that he would have experienced any
more difficulty in dealing with them than was found by Aurungzebe? We know
that the English found in Hyder a very able foe, with but limited means
at his disposal, and when they were masters of half the country, and had
been almost uniformly victorious. Can it be supposed that they could have
effected anything against all India, ruled by so consummate a statesman as
Hyder Ali? There seems to have been something providential in the events
that caused them to pass from traders to conquerors, at the only time when
such a transition could be made either with safety or success. That their
career of conquest has been occasionally marked by injustice and crime
proves nothing against the position that they may have been appointed by
a higher Power to work out a revolution in the East. "The dark mystery
of the moral world," in this as in a thousand other instances, remains
impenetrable. Heaven selects its own agents, and all that it becomes us to
say concerning such relations is, that they do not appear in all cases to
be made from among men specially entitled to the honors of canonisation.

The English have frequently been denounced, not only for their errors in
governing India, but for their conquest of that country. The French have
been especially fervent in these denunciations. It is a fact, however, that
the French saw nothing wrong in subduing India until all their own plans
to that end had utterly failed. The device originated with them, but the
English applied it. Dupleix planned for France what Clive executed for
England. The French adhered to their plans for years, and it was not until
a very recent period that the last remnants of their influence disappeared
from India. They saw not the evil involved in the overthrowing of virtuous
nabobs and venerable viceroys, until time and a whole train of events had
proved that England alone was competent to the full performance of the
work. The English in India have not, on all occasions, been saints; but we
are unable to see what moral right the French have to reproach them with
the enumeration of their errors. In the East, France was "overcrowed" by
England; and that is the sole and the very simple cause of the vast amount
of "sympathy" which the French have bestowed upon suffering Indian princes,
whose condition in no sense would have been improved, had fortune favored
the Gallic race, instead of the Saxon, in their struggle for supremacy in
Hindostan.

The prejudice that exists in many minds against England, concerning her
Indian empire, is in no small degree owing to something of which she is
justly proud; to the talent that characterized the prosecution--his friends
called it the persecution--of Warren Hastings. No man, not even Strafford,
when borne down by the whole weight of the country party in the first
session of the Long Parliament, ever encountered so able a host as that
which set itself to effect the ruin of the great British proconsul. He
was acquitted by his judges, but he stands blackened forever on the most
magnificent pages of his country's eloquence. Burke's speeches are yet read
everywhere; and to Burke, Hastings was the principle of Evil incarnate.
The two great divisions of civilized mankind hold Burke in lasting
remembrance,--the liberals for his labors in the early part of his life,
and the conservatives for his writings against the French Revolution; and
it is impossible to admire him without condemning Hastings. It is equally
impossible to condemn Hastings without condemning the nation for which he
performed deeds so vicious and cruel, and which formally acquitted him of
each and every charge preferred by Burke and his immortal associates, in
the name of the Commons of England. Even those charges were the result, not
of conscientious conviction on the part of the Commons, but of Mr. Pitt's
determination to crush one who promised to become a formidable political
rival. The arguments and eloquence of such men as Burke, Fox, Sheridan, and
Grey, constitute a splendid armory, from which the enemies of England can
forever draw admirable weapons with which to assail her Indian policy; and
they have not been backward in making use of this mighty advantage. No one,
who has ever sought to defend England's course in the East, but has had
experience of the difficulties which those great men have placed in the
way of a successful vindication of their country's cause. Either they were
honest, or they were not. If honest, what shall be said of the nation which
would not listen to them? If dishonest, what are we to think of men, the
first statesmen of their age, who, for mere party ends, had persecuted to
his ruin one who was in no respect their inferior, and who had saved India
for England? Our own opinion is that Burke and his associates were honest,
and that the only dishonest men in the prosecuting party were William Pitt
and Henry Dundas,--the first being chief minister, and the other second
only to the premier himself in the government. Pitt talked much of his
conscience, after having absolved Hastings on the very worst of the charges
that had been preferred against him, and then condemned him on lighter
charges. When Roger Wildrake heard the landlord at Windsor talk much of
his conscience, he was led to observe that his measures were less and his
charges larger than they had been in those earlier times when sin was
allowed to take its natural course. It was so with Pitt, who was guilty
of gross injustice, according to his own arguments, and then threw his
conscience into the scale against the accused party, when he saw that
that party's acquittal would probably lead to his being converted into a
successful political rival. Hastings deserved severe censure, and no light
punishment, for some of his deeds; but not even Burke would have condemned
him to the slow torture to which he was sentenced by one who believed
him to be innocent, and the object of party persecution. But the nice
distinctions which Englishmen and Americans can make in the cause and
course of this famous state trial, because they live in the very atmosphere
of party politics, are utterly unknown to the men of continental Europe;
and until the end of time, England will be condemned out of the mouths of
her most brilliant sons, whenever her foes--and she is too great not to
have many and bitter foes--shall discuss the history of her Indian empire.

Every nation condemns conquest, and every nation with power to enter upon
a career of conquest rushes eagerly upon it. The harshest condemnation
that has visited England because of her Indian successes has proceeded
from nations who have never been backward in seizing the lands of other
nations. She has been stigmatized as a usurper, and as having destroyed the
independence of Indian states. The facts do not warrant these charges. She
has rarely had a contest with any power which was not as much an intruder
in India as herself. The Moghul dynasty was as foreign to India as the
East India Company, or the house of Hanover; and the viceroys sent to
rule over its vast and populous provinces had the same bases of power as
were possessed by Clive, and Hastings, and Wellesley, and Bentinck, and
Ellenborough, and Dalhousie. The Moghuls obtained Indian dominion by
conquests that were rendered easy by Indian troubles; and this is precisely
the history of England's Oriental dominion. What difference there is, is
favorable to England. The Moghuls were deliberate invaders of India; the
founder of that dynasty being an adventurer who sought an empire sword in
hand, and won it by violence which no man had provoked. Baber was to India
what the Norman William was to England. He long contemplated the conquest
of the country, showing a wolf-like perseverance in hunting down his prey.
For two-and-twenty years he had his object in view, and invaded India five
times before he obtained the throne of Delhi. The English were forced to
assume the part of conquerors, and would gladly have remained traders.
They did not commence their military career until the Moghul had become a
mere shadow, and when that potentate was altogether unable to protect them
against the tyrannical practices of his lieutenants. They had to choose
between war and extermination, and they belonged to a race which never
hesitates when forced to make such a choice. Their wars were waged with the
Moghul's viceroys, who were aiming at the foundation of dynastic rule, each
in his own government, or with other princes, who were equally usurpers
with those viceroys, the Mahratta chiefs, for example, and Hyder Ali.
One war led to another, in all of which the English were victorious,
until their power extended itself over all India. In one hundred and six
years--dating from the capture of Madras by the French in 1746, which event
must be taken as the commencement of their military career in India, and
closing with the annexation of Pegu, December 28, 1852,--they had completed
their work. That, in the course of operations so mighty, and relating to
the condition of so many millions of people, they were sometimes guilty of
acts of singular injustice, is true, and might be inferred, if there were
no facts upon which to base the charge. It is impossible that it should
have been otherwise, considering the nature of man, and the character of
many of the instruments by which great enterprises are accomplished. But we
think it may safely be said, that never was there a career of conquest of
such extent accompanied with so little of wrong and suffering to the body
of the people. As against the wrong that was perpetrated, and the suffering
that was inseparable from wars so numerous and long-continued, are to be
set the reign of order and law, under which the mass of the inhabitants
have been able to cultivate their fields in quiet, and with the assurance
that they should reap where they had sowed, undisturbed by the incursions
of robber-bands. The cessation of the Mahratta invasions alone is an ample
compensation for whatever of evil may have marked the course of British
conquest. The stop that has been put to the cruelties of the native rulers
ought not to be forgotten in estimating the amount of evil and of good
which that conquest has brought upon India. The world has been shocked by
the cruelties of which the rebellious Sepoys have been guilty; but they
can astonish no one who is familiar with the history of the races to which
these mutineers belong. An indifference to life, and a love of cruelty for
cruelty's sake, are common characteristics of most of the Orientals, and
are chiefly conspicuous in the ruling classes. The reader of Indian history
sickens over details compared with which all that is told of the horrors
of the Black Hole of Calcutta is tame and common-place. The English have
prevented repetitions of those outrages on humanity, wherever it has been
in their power to coerce the princes. They have pared the claws and drawn
the teeth of these human tigers. They have acted humanely; yet it may be
doubted if they would not have consulted their own immediate interests more
closely, if they had acted the part of tyrants rather than of protectors.
By ruling through the princes, and allowing them to act as "middle-men,"
they would have been less troubled with mutinies, and could have amassed
greater sums of money. It is to their credit that they have pursued
the nobler course; nor ought they to repent of it even in the midst of
disasters brought upon them, we are firmly convinced, as much by the
mildness of their rule as by any other cause that can be mentioned.

It is yet too early to attempt to account for the rebellion of the Bengal
army. That rebellion took the world by surprise, and nowhere more so, it
would seem, than in England. A remarkable proof of this is to be found in
the tone and language of the debate that took place in the British House of
Commons on the 27th of July, in which Mr. Disraeli, Lord Palmerston, Lord
John Russell, Mr. Whiteside, Mr. T. Baring, Sir T.E. Perry, Mr. Mangles,
Mr. Vernon Smith, and others, participated. That debate was most lively and
interesting; and the reading of the ample report in the "Times" revives the
recollection of the great field-days of the English senate. Mr. Disraeli's
speech is a masterpiece, and would have done honor to times when eloquence
was far more common than it is now. Yet the conclusion to which the careful
reader of the report must come is, that neither Mr. Disraeli, nor the
Premier, nor the President of the Board of Control, nor the Chairman of
the Directors of the East India Company, nor any other of the speakers,
had a definite idea of the cause of the sudden mutiny of the Sepoys. It
is impossible not to admire Mr. Disraeli's talents, as displayed in this
speech; and equally impossible is it to find in that speech anything that
an intelligent observer of Indian affairs can regard as settling the
question, Why did the Sepoys of the Bengal army mutiny in 1857? Everything
that he brought forward as a cause of the mutiny was distinctly proved not
to be worthy of the name of a cause. Yet the men who could show that he had
failed to clear up the mystery could themselves throw no light upon it. The
government was especially ignorant of all that it should have known; and
there is something almost ludicrous in the tone of the speech made by the
President of the Board of Control.

It is not for us to speak authoritatively as to the cause of the Sepoy
mutiny, but we venture to express our concurrence with those who have
regarded it as, in considerable measure, of Mahometan origin. The Mahometan
rule was displaced by the British rule. The Mahometans were for centuries
the aristocracy of India, standing to the genuine Indians in pretty much
the same relation that the Normans held to the Saxons in England; only
it is but justice to them to say, that they rarely bore themselves so
offensively towards the Indians as the Normans were accustomed to bear
themselves towards the English. They have never lost the recollection of
their former _status_, or ceased to sigh for its restoration. Nor is the
time so very remote when they were yet great in the land. Old men among
them can recollect when Tippoo Saib was treated as an equal by the English,
and have not forgotten how powerful was his father, Hyder. Some few
aged Mussulmans there may be yet living who heard from their sires or
grandsires, who saw it with their mortal eyes, of the glories of the
magnificent Aurungzebe, ere the Persian, or the Affghan, or the Mahratta
had carried fire and sword into Shahjehanabad. Two not over-long lives
would measure the whole interval of time between the punishment of the
English by Aurungzebe and the mutiny at Meerut. Time enough has not yet
elapsed to cause the Mahometans to forget what they have been, or to cease
to hope that they may yet surpass their fathers. They are not actuated by
anything of a sentimental character, but desire to win back, and to enjoy
at the expense of the Indian races, the solid advantages of which they
have been deprived through the ascendency of a Christian people in the
East. "Mahometans in India sigh for the restoration of the old Mahometan
_régime_," says Colonel Sleeman, "not from any particular attachment to the
descendants of Tymour, but with precisely the same feelings that Whigs and
Tories sigh for the return to power of their respective parties in England;
it would give them all the offices in a country where office is everything.
Among them, as among ourselves, every man is disposed to rate his own
abilities highly, and to have a good deal of confidence in his own good
luck; and all think, that if the field were once opened to them by such a
change, they should very soon be able to find good positions for themselves
and their children in it. Perhaps there are few communities in the world,
among whom education is more generally diffused than among the Mahometans
in India. He who holds an office worth twenty rupees a month commonly
gives his sons an education equal to that of a prime-minister." [Footnote:
_Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official_, Vol. II. pp. 282,
283.--Colonel Sleeman's work is one of the best ever published on
India,--learned, liberal, and philosophical. It has been highly praised
by so competent a judge as Mr. Grote.] This very capability for rule must
render them not only all the more desirous of obtaining it, but exceedingly
dangerous as seekers after it. They are not an ignorant rabble, but men who
have an intelligent idea of what they want, and rational modes of effecting
its realization. Colonel Sleeman adds, "It is not only the desire for
office that makes the educated Mahometans cherish the recollection of
the old _régime_ in Hindostan; they say, 'We pray every night for the
Emperor and his family, because our forefathers ate of the salt of His
forefathers,'--that is, our ancestors were in the service of his ancestors,
and consequently were of the _aristocracy_ of the country. Whether they
really were so matters not; they persuade themselves or their children that
they were." In this way the idea of superiority has been kept up among the
Mahometans of India; and they have continued to hope for the restoration
of their old political supremacy, as pious Jews dream of the rebuilding of
Zion. That they were at the bottom of the Meerut mutiny may be taken for
granted. That they took for their leader the heir of the Moghul shows the
Mahometan nature of the outbreak. At the same time, we believe that if
it had not been for the imbecility of Hewitt, who commanded at Meerut,
the mutiny never would have occurred, or the mutineers would have been
promptly put down. Even after they had escaped from Meerut, Delhi never
could have fallen into their hands, if that city--so important, morally
and geographically, as well as in a military point of view--had not
been without a garrison. That a station of such consequence, stored so
abundantly with all the munitions of war, should have been left in an
utterly defenceless condition, is a fact that creates inexpressible
astonishment, notwithstanding all that happened during the Russian war. Mr.
Whiteside, in the debate of the 27th of July, stated that the late General
Sir C.J. Napier "said of Delhi, that to guard against surprise, considering
its position, its treasures, and its magazines, it should always be
defended by twelve thousand picked men." From all that appears, there were
not twelve hundred men, or anything like that number, of any kind, in
Delhi, last May, to protect either the inhabitants or the stores there
deposited. Such another instance of neglect it would be impossible to find
in history, after due warning given. Long ago, Albany Fonblanque said, "The
sign of the fool with his finger in his mouth, and the sentiment, 'Who'd
have thought it?' is the precise emblem of English jurisprudence." The same
sign would seem to be applicable to some other branches of the English
public service, as well as to that of the law. Perhaps it was because
of the warning that nothing was done,--that being the usual course with
governments; while it was thought a duty to treat with a sort of spiteful
neglect every warning that came from Sir C.J. Napier, because he had a
rough, fiery way of expressing his opinion of the folly of those who are
perpetually giving occasion for warnings which they never heed,--as if in
all ages roughness and fire had not been especial characteristics of the
prophetic office.



AKIN BY MARRIAGE.


CHAPTER I.

The railway traveller, journeying between Springfield and Hartford along
the banks of the fair Connecticut, sees from the car window, far away to
the eastward, across the broad level of intervening plains, a chain of
purple hills, whose undulating crest-line meets the bending sky and forms
the distant horizon. Just beyond the loftiest hummock of this range a
fertile valley lies concealed; and near its centre, upon the smooth summit
of a gently swelling ridge, which, extending north and south for miles,
divides the valley lengthwise, stands Belfield, the shire town of the rural
county of Hillsdale. Its fourscore white dwellings, scattered unevenly
along the shady margins of a straight and ample street, are mostly large,
substantial granges, each with its little suburb of dependencies making
a hamlet by itself. But where the broad avenue, at midway, spreads still
wider, forming a spacious square, are thickly clustered the public
buildings of the town and county,--together with the meeting-houses, the
taverns, the bank, the shops, and a few handsome dwellings, whose large
dimensions and ornate style show them to be the abodes of people of wealth
and consideration.

The greensward in the middle of this square contains two or three elms of
immemorial age, besides many thrifty trees of a later planting. The wooden
barrier by which it is enclosed was once adorned with a coat of white
paint, now nearly worn off. The topmost rails and post-heads of this fence
have been so notched and gnawed by the jackknives of whittling idlers
and the teeth of cribbing horses, that their original size and shape are
matters concerning which the present generation are informed only by
tradition.

This square was long ago named "The Green"; a pleasant title, by which, in
course of time, the village itself came to be known and called. Instead of
going "to town," the farmers of the remote school districts talk of going
"to the Green," to meeting and to market; and in all that region the
guideboards point the way "To BELFIELD GREEN." This spot was the site of
the old blockhouse and stockaded fort, within whose rude but safe defences
the early colonists of Belfield, with their wives, children, and cattle,
used to huddle at night, through all the time of King Philip's War. Here,
with much labor, the settlers dug a deep well, fed by never-failing
springs, to provide a sure supply of water, in case of siege, for all the
garrison. And now, as if it were a monument raised to commemorate those
dismal times, there stands, at a point where all the crossing footpaths
meet, a huge town-pump, near ten feet high, carved and painted, with
a great ball upon its top, and an iron ladle chained to its nose. In
the torrid summer-days, from early morning till late at night, the old
pump-handle has but little rest; for, though in a season of drought the
neighboring wells are apt to run low, the ancient pump, like a steadfast
friend, never fails at such a time of need.

Near at hand, in the centre of a foot-worn circle, a stout wooden post
stands by itself, which, in spite of its homely aspect, may well be termed
a Pillar of the State. It is one of the institutions of the Commonwealth,
established by an act of the General Assembly. Here, with torn corners
fluttering in the wind, hang weather-stained probate notices, mildewed
town-meeting warnings, and tattered placards of sheriff's sales; for no
estate can be settled, no land set off or chattel sold on execution, no
legal meeting of the voters or freemen holden, without previous notice on
the sign-post. It used to be known by another name, and marks the spot,
where, whilom, petty thieves, shiftless vagrants, and other small offenders
against the majesty of the law, were wont to suffer a shameful penalty for
their vile misdeeds.

On the western side of the square, on the summit of the grassy slope,
stands the Presbyterian meeting-house, flanked on one side by the academy,
and on the other by the court-house. There are, besides, two other places
of worship in the village; but neither is built upon the square; and when,
at Belfield, the meeting-house is mentioned, the speaker is understood to
indicate by that title the edifice which stands between the academy and
the court-house, and not the plain, square structure, with neither steeple
nor bell, in which the Baptists assemble for worship, nor the little
white Methodist chapel in the lane, with green blinds to its windows, and
a little toy of a turret, scarcely bigger than a martin-box, upon its
shingled roof.

The quaint style and old-fashioned aspect of Belfield meeting-house attest
its venerable age. For more than a hundred years its slender spire has
glowed in the ruddy beams of early dawn, and cast at sunset its lengthening
shadow across the village green. A century ago, the mellow tones of its
Sabbath bell, echoing through the valley, summoned the pious congregation
to their austere devotions. Before the worn threshold of the great
double-leaved door, in the broadside of the building, lies a platform,
which was once a solid shelf of red sandstone, but now is cracked in twain,
and hollowed by the footsteps of six generations. In the very spot where it
now lies it has lain ever since the first framed meeting-house was built
in Belfield, in the reign of good King William III. There, gathered in a
little knot, on Sundays and public days, the forefathers of the settlement
used to talk over the current news; how the first Port Royal expedition had
failed; or how New England militiamen, without aid from home, had captured
the great fortress of Louisburg, after a brief and glorious siege. There,
still later, the sons of these men rejoiced at the news of Wolfe's victory,
and sorrowfully related the sad intelligence of Braddock's shameful defeat.
There stood their grandsons, a flushed, excited throng of hardy yeomen,
clinching their fists unconsciously, and breathing hard and fast, as they
listened to the tidings of the fight at Concord Bridge. Here, during the
war that followed, when troops were mustered before marching off to camp,
the roll used to be called upon this very stone. No town of its size in all
New England contributed a larger number to the ranks of the Continental
army than did Belfield. One hot summer, all the unwonted toils and
unbefitting cares of haying and harvest fell upon the little boys and women
and a few old gray-haired men, whose aged limbs had long before earned the
right to rest. In all Belfield there was not a male able to bear arms who
was not gone to camp. Some war-worn veterans lived to return; and many a
Sunday noon, in later years, sitting here, upon the broad doorstone of
the meeting-house, they used to tell over the stories of their battles
and campaigns, until the sound from the belfry overhead, and the sight of
the minister approaching from the parsonage, with stately pace and solemn
aspect, would check the flowing current of their talk, and recall their
thoughts to subjects more in keeping with the holy Sabbath-day. But some
of the friends and comrades of these brave men never came home; their
bones lie mouldering beneath the turf at White Plains, at Saratoga, at
Brandywine, and at Princeton. Some perished with cold and hunger at Valley
Forge; some died of fever in the horrible Old Sugar-house; some rotted
alive in the Jersey prison-hulk; some lie buried under the gloomy walls of
Dartmoor; and some there were whose fate was never known.

It was the custom, formerly, to hold all meetings for the transaction
of public business in the sanctuary. None, not even the most piously
fastidious parson or deacon, ever thought of being shocked at what in these
degenerate times would seem like a gross desecration of the house of God.
There were fewer Pharisees in Belfield a hundred years ago than now. To
the Puritans, and to all their descendants, until of late, their places
of worship were not churches, but meeting-houses merely; and by the
stout-hearted men who used to dwell in New England it would have been
deemed a heresy near akin to idolatry itself, or at least savoring strongly
of the damnable errors of the Romish Church, to hold that wood and stones,
carved and fashioned by the hand of man, could be hallowed by an empty rite
of consecration.

On these week-day occasions, therefore, no part of the house was kept
sacred from the world. Even the pulpit itself would have been given up to
secular uses, but that, being so lofty, it was found to be an inconvenient
position for the moderator's chair. So this important functionary was
accustomed, from time immemorial, to take his place in the deacons'
seat, below, with the warning of the meeting, the statute-book, and the
ballot-boxes arranged before him on the communion-table, which in course of
time became so banged and battered, by dint of lusty gavel-strokes, that
there was scarcely a place big enough to put one's finger upon which was
not bruised and dented. For, in the days of the fierce conflict between the
Federalists and Democrats, the meetings were often noisy and disorderly;
and once, even, at the memorable election of 1818, two hot-headed partisans
from sharp words fell to blows, and others joining in the fray, the
skirmish became at length a general engagement. The recurrence of a scene
like this, upon the same stage, is never to be expected. The meeting-house
has been set apart for religious uses exclusively, since its interior was
thoroughly altered and remodelled, the tall pulpit replaced by one of
modern style, the sounding-board removed, the aisles carpeted, and the
square, old-fashioned pews changed for cushioned slips.

In the rear, a little way off, is a row of ugly sheds, yawning towards the
street, where, on Sundays, the farmers who come from a distance tie their
beasts, each in his separate stall. In hot days, in the summer time, when
all the doors and windows of the meeting-house are set wide open, the
hollow sound of horses' stamping mingles with the preacher's drowsy tones,
and sometimes the congregation is startled from repose by the shrill squeal
of some unlucky brute, complaining of the torture inflicted by the sharp
teeth of its ill-natured mate or vicious neighbor; or, perhaps, the flutter
of fans is suspended at the obstreperous neigh by which some anxious dam
recalls the silly foal that has strayed from her side; or the dissonant
creaking of a cramped wheel makes doleful interludes between the verses of
the hymn. Here naughty boys, escaped from the confinement of the sanctuary,
are wont to lounge in the wagons during prayer and sermon time, munching
green pears and apples, devouring huge bunches of fennel, dill, and
caraway, comparing and swapping jackknives, or striving, by means of
cautious hems and whispers, and other sly signals, to attract the notice of
their more decent fellows sitting near the open gallery-windows.

When the black doors of the little dingy building not far from the south
end of the horse-sheds are seen standing open, it is a pretty sure sign
that somebody lies dead in the parish. In this gloomy place the sexton
keeps his dismal apparatus,--the hearse, with its curtains of rusty sable,
the bier, the spades and shovels for digging graves; and in a corner lies
a coil of soiled ropes, whose rasping sound, as they slipped through the
coffin-handles, while the bearers lowered the corpse into the earth, has
grated harshly on many a shuddering mourner's ear. The leaves of the
hearse-house door are fastened together by a hasp and pin, so that any one
may enter at will. But there is no need of bolts and bars. The boys, at
play, in the evening, at "I spy" or "hide and seek," never go there for
concealment, although their smothered whoops may be heard issuing from
every other dark corner in the neighborhood.

The narrow space between the hearse-house and the sheds forms a short lane
or passage-way, through which all the funeral processions pass from the
street into the burying-ground, lying behind the sheds, on the western
slope of the ridge upon which the village stands. This ancient cemetery
was laid out by the early settlers, when they made the first allotments
of land. It is a square area of two acres in extent, inclosed by a mossy
picket paling, so rickety that the neighbors' sheep sometimes leap through
the gaps from the adjacent pastures, and feed among the graves upon the
long grass and nettles.

The lower portion of the graveyard is set apart as a sort of
potter's-field, where negroes, Indians, and stranger-paupers are buried.
This region is bordered by a little jungle of poke-berry and elder-bushes,
sumachs and brambles, so dense and thrifty that they overtop and hide the
fence; and there is a tradition among the school-boys, that somewhere in
the copse there is a black-snake hole, the abode of an enormous monster,
upon whom no one, however, has ever happened to set eyes. Here, with but
few exceptions, the graves are marked only by low mounds of turf, overrun
with matted wild-blackberry vines, where the lightest footstep, crushing
through the crumbling sod, destroys the labors of whole colonies of ants.
But farther up the hillside, headstones and monuments stand so close
together, that, at a distance, there seems to be scarcely room for another
grave.

Near the summit lie the early settlers of the town; and in a conspicuous
place upon the brow of the acclivity stands a row of tombstones several
rods in length. These mark the graves of an ancient and honorable family
of townsfolk. At one end, a thick slab of red sandstone, of uncouth shape
and rude appearance, leans aslant, partly buried in the mellow soil. The
moss and lichens, with which its roughly cut back and edges are overgrown,
have been removed from its face, and the quaint inscription is distinctly
legible, whereby the curious idler is informed that "Here lies, in y'e Hope
of a Joyfull Resurrecion, y'e Body of Maj'r Iohn Bugbee, an Assistant of
y'e Colony & A Iustice of y'e Peace. Born at Austerfield, in y'e County
of Lincoln, England. Dyed Feb. y'e 9 AD. 1699 Æ. 72." Close by the side
of this venerable grave is another, which the stone at its head announces
to be the resting-place of "Mistress Mindwell Bugbee--Consort of Maj'r
Iohn Bugbee and youngest Daut: of Sir Roger Braxley, of Braxley Hall,
Lincolnshire, England." Then follow, in order of time, the headstones
which mark the graves of successive generations descended from this worthy
couple. Some of these are so defaced and weather-worn, that in aspect they
seem even more venerable than the monuments of the founders of the race.
Nearly all of those erected before the beginning of the present century
bear quaint devices,--some of cherubs, all wings, and blank, staring faces;
some of hour-glasses, some of masonic emblems, and upon one of two are
rudely carved, ugly death's heads and crossbones. Two thirds of the way
down the line stands the first marble headstone. It is taller than its
neighbors, and, though spotted with weather stains, it bears a deeply
graven inscription, which seems as legible as the day it was cut, full
forty years ago. In the grave at the foot of this stone lies buried another
Major Bugbee, the great-great-grandson of the first Major. The commission
of this gentleman, signed by John Hancock, President of the Continental
Congress, still hangs in a frame against the wainscot, over the mantel,
in the parlor of the great gambrel-roofed house, whose front-yard fence
and garden palings form, for almost half the way, the eastern side of
the village square. The late master of this dwelling, Doctor Bugbee, who
was the eldest son of the Continental major, lies at the end of the long
platoon of dead, in the newest grave of all the range, over which a marble
obelisk has been erected, in memory of the name and many virtues of the
deceased, who departed this life, as the inscription attests, on the 7th
day of September, 1843, in the fifty-seventh year of his age.

Near by this spot, with its drooping boughs shading the monument I have
just described, grows a weeping-willow tree, of such great size, that its
top, from half way up, can be plainly discerned from almost every corner
of the village green; and it is, withal, of such perfect symmetry of
form, that on a moonlight night it resembles a fountain, as its leaves,
fluttering in the breezy air, and turning their silver linings to the
moonbeams, seem to sparkle like spray and drops of falling water. Behind
this tree is placed a rustic bench, where, on a pleasant day in June, one
may sit and look forth upon as pretty a landscape as can be seen in all
Hillsdale County, or, for that matter, in all the State as well. Before you
lies the declivity of the hill upon which the village stands. At its foot
begins a verdant plain of interval meadows, dotted here and there with
graceful elms and stately hickories, each standing alone in its ring of
shadow, the turf everywhere bespangled with dandelions and buttercups, and
changing its hue from shade to shade of vivid green, as the wind sweeps
over the thick growing verdure. Through these meadows flows a sluggish
brook, in broad meandering curves, crossed at each turn by rustic
farm-bridges, with clumps of trees fringing the deeper pools. The plain
is skirted by a country road, bordered with majestic trees, and with
farm-houses standing all along its winding course. Beyond, the land rises,
and the slope is checkered, to the foot of the hills, with arable fields.
The view is bounded by the craggy sides of the great hills which separate
this quiet vale from the broad valley of the Connecticut. Here, all is soft
and tranquil beauty. But just beyond the rugged barrier of those western
hills lies a grander landscape, of wide extent, through which flows New
England's greatest river, and crossed from end to end by New England's
busiest thoroughfares, dusty with the tread of commerce, and bordered with
growing cities and thrifty, bustling towns. Here, reclining on this rustic
bench, in the shadow of the willow branches, among the tombstones of the
silent dead, you may dream away the sultry afternoon, and hear no sounds
but drowsy noises that dispose to rest and quiet; the whispering of the
wind in the treetops, the droning pipe of grasshoppers and locusts,
the distant cries of teamsters to their cattle, the shouts of children
loitering home from school or gathering berries in the sunny fields, the
whetting of a scythe in a far-off meadow, or the music of the blacksmith's
hammer upon his ringing anvil.

Four times a year, during the brief terms of court, the usual stillness
that pervades the sober village is enlivened by the presence of a scanty
crowd. Then, for a week, judges, jurors, suitors, and witnesses flock
together; and sometimes, in the winter season, when farm work is not
pressing, the neighbors throng by scores into the court-house, to hear
the wordy harangues of the lawyers in some notable cause. Likewise on
town-meeting days, the stores and tavern bar-rooms about the square are
filled with a concourse of the sovereign people from the more rural
districts; and at the annual cattle show and fair all Hillsdale comes up to
Belfield. Then, I warrant you, if it chance to be a pleasant Indian-summer
day, there is indeed a crowd, and for a while the little capital contains
a greater number of living souls than all the county besides. From early
twilight till sunset blazes on the western hills the square and street
are densely thronged. A Babel of strange noises fills the dusty air: the
lowing of cows and oxen; the bellowing of frightened calves; the plaintive
bleating of bewildered lambs; the fierce neighing of excited horses; the
yelping of curs; the crowing of imprisoned cocks, responding to each
other's defiant notes; the sing-song clamor of itinerant auctioneers,
standing on their wagons and displaying their tempting wares to the little
knots around them; the din and hubbub of the busy, moving, talking,
jostling multitude,--shouts, laughs, cries, murmurs, all mingled together,
till confusion harmonizes; and above all, the constant clanking of the iron
handle of the old town-pump, which never ceases all the livelong day. At
nightfall the uproar lessens, and as the evening wanes, the unaccustomed
sounds diminish, though till midnight, ever and anon, the tired and sleepy
citizens are startled from their dreams by whoops, hurrahs, snatches of
songs, and outbursts of rude laughter ringing through the frosty air and
mingling with the clattering of horses' feet and the whirring rumble of
swift-revolving wheels, as some party of roystering blades, excited by deep
potations, drive shouting homewards from the village inns.

Excepting on these unfrequent occasions, Belfield Green is as free from
bustle as if it were a hamlet whose name was never seen upon a map. The
time has been, however, when it was a busy little mart, the centre of trade
for an extensive district. In yonder low-roofed store that stands upon the
square, near by the great gambrel-roofed house of which mention has already
been made, the second Major Bugbee increased a handsome patrimony till it
grew to be a great estate; the share of which that fell to his two eldest
sons, the Doctor and his younger brother, James, they in time, by gainful
traffic in the same old place, made more than equal to the entire estate,
of which a quarter only came to them. Thousands and tens of thousands of
tons of golden butter and cheese, hundreds of thousands of bushels of rye,
oats, flaxseed, buckwheat, and corn, millions of eggs and skeins of linen
and woollen yarn have been bartered at Belfield Green by the country folks,
in exchange for rum, molasses, tea, coffee, salt, and codfish, enough to
freight the royal navy. Time was when folks came twenty miles to Belfield
post-office, and when a dusty miller and his men, at the old red mill
standing on the brook at the foot of the valley, took toll from half the
grists in Hillsdale County. But that was long ago, when people who lived
twenty miles away from Hartford went to the city scarcely twice in a dozen
years,--in the good old days of turnpikes, stage-coaches, and wayside
taverns, before railroads were built to carry all the trade to great,
overgrown towns and cities. Now-a-days, as I have said, it is hard to find
a village of its size and rank in all the land, which is more quiet, at
ordinary times, than Belfield Green.


CHAPTER II.

Every community has its quota of great men; and in this respect a country
village is often, in proportion to its numbers, as well endowed as the
capital itself. So Belfield has her magnates whom she delights to honor.
Chief among them used to be numbered the late Doctor John Bugbee, a worthy
gentleman, now gathered to his fathers in the ancient burying-ground behind
the meeting-house. He was not, to be sure, esteemed by all, especially the
women, to be so great a man as the Reverend Jabez Jaynes, A.M., who, by
virtue of his sacred office and academical honors, took formal precedence
of every mere layman in the parish. But with this notable exception, Doctor
Bugbee was the peer of every other dignitary, whether civil, military, or
ecclesiastical, within the borders of the town.

But when I say the Doctor was a great man in Belfield, I do not mean to
aver, or to be understood, that, in person, he was of colossal bulk or
stature; neither is it true that his intellect was of a quality so far
superior to the average of human minds as to make him a giant in that
respect. It would be great presumption in so humble a penman as myself to
choose, even for the hero of my tale, a man of eminent distinction. So I
make haste to confess, that, doubtless, there were at least a score or two
of his fellow-townsmen as well endowed by nature as the Doctor. But above
many of these persons he was elevated by accidental circumstances and
acquired advantages to a position which rendered him a man of greater mark
and influence than they. He was descended from a most reputable ancestry,
and, being a professional man, of polite address and handsome fortune, it
would have been strange indeed, if he had not been highly esteemed in the
community where he dwelt. Besides, he was a man of sense and taste, witty,
jovial, talkative, and of such extremely easy good-nature, that, if it had
not been for the tact and shrewdness of his brother and partner in trade,
who managed the business of the firm, the Doctor's income would have
diminished, instead of increasing, as it did, year after year. As it was,
his practice as a physician scarcely paid for his horsekeeping and the
medicines he dispensed, though for a while he was a favorite physician in
all that region; growing in the good-will of the people, until, as a mark
of their esteem, he received a nomination to the General Assembly. At first
there was such an outcry of dismay from the old ladies of the parish, that
the Democrats came near defeating him, though the Whigs had a sure majority
for every other name on the ticket. But having triumphed over this outburst
of stubborn opposition, the Doctor speedily became the most popular
politician in the county, if frequent election to office was a true test of
public favor. For it turned out, that, instead of the mortality happening,
which the Democrats, and their allies, the old women, had predicted would
prevail, there never had been known a healthier season within the memory
of man. And always afterwards, whenever the worthy Doctor was chosen to
represent the town at Hartford or New Haven, there seemed to be a special
interposition of providential mercy, inasmuch as in all his professional
round, none ever sickened unto death during his absence; though it
sometimes happened that the population of the town would be increased by
one or two. In course of time, therefore, his fame as a statesman even
rivalled his reputation as physician, and all parties were brought to join
in voting for him with the most cordial unanimity.

In his youth the Doctor had been reckoned a handsome young fellow, and, to
the day of his death, he preserved his good looks to a wonderful degree. A
cheerful temper like his is a famous preventive of gray hairs and wrinkles.
So the jovial Doctor never seemed to grow old; and at fifty, his erect
form, smooth, ruddy cheeks, curly brown poll, and merry blue eyes made him
look younger than many of his neighbors who were his juniors by a dozen
years.

When a very young man, not quite twenty years of age, and before he had
finished his course of professional study, the Doctor had taken to wife his
cousin, Miss Naomi Bugbee, who had lived in his father's house ever since
he could remember; for the young lady was an orphan, with a good estate,
and during her minority had been her uncle's ward. The bride was not an
uncomely damsel, neither was she distinguished for beauty; and between the
ages of the happy young couple there was quite a difference; a circumstance
by no means unusual, and which would not have been mentioned here, but
for the fact, that, in this case, it was the bride who was the senior of
the pair. Some people said she was ten years older than the Doctor; and,
for a wonder, these gossips had the evidence of the registry to back
their statements. In fact, the youthful bridegroom had been very tenderly
dry-nursed, in his infancy, by his bride; and a certain sound spanking
which she gave him when he was just coming four, because he insisted
upon crying and keeping awake, one evening, while his mother was gone
to a wedding, instead of going to sleep in his trundle-bed like a good
boy,--this chastisement, I say, had been one of the earliest and most vivid
of the bridegroom's recollections of his childhood. But though he had not
forgotten this grievance, he had doubtless forgiven it with all his heart;
thereby setting an example worthy of imitation by the fair Naomi, who,
indeed, was doubly bound to exercise forgiveness and forbearance towards
her lord; for, whatever might have been the faults and failings of the
youth to whom she surrendered the ripened harvest of her charms, it
certainly did not lie in the mouth of one to complain of them unduly, who
had enjoyed such rare and excellent opportunities to train up for herself a
husband in the way he should go.

There was not wanting at that time in Belfield a class of spiteful people,
who, doubtless, being inspired by envy at beholding the felicity of the
happy pair, affected to laugh and sneer a good deal at what they jeeringly
called Jack Bugbee's marrying his grandmother. But, as if it had been
specially ordered on purpose to confound these ill-natured jokers, this
union, the object of their ridicule, was most signally prospered, and in
due time the Doctor himself put his wife to bed with a pair of nice little
girls.

Not long after, the twins were christened at the meeting-house, a great
crowd attending to witness the ceremony. To the elder girl was given
the name of Amelia. Upon the other was bestowed the equally desirable
appellative of Cornelia. While they were babies, both were considered
remarkably pretty children; at least, so everybody told Mrs. Bugbee; but
as they grew in years and stature, it became more and more apparent, that,
although each resembled the other in figure, features, and expression, so
strongly that you could not see one without being reminded of the other,
none would ever be at a loss to distinguish between them; for Amelia
promised to be as extremely handsome as her sister seemed likely to be
homely. Indeed, Amelia was a beautiful counterpart of Cornelia, resembling
her in the same wise that a flattered portrait, painted by some shrewd and
skilful limner, will sometimes resemble the rich and ugly original, in
which, while the likeness is faithfully portrayed, all the harsh lines are
softened, and even blemishes are transformed into beauty-spots, or made to
serve as foils.

Besides these twins, other children, from time to time, were born to the
Doctor and his spouse, all of whom died in infancy. The love of the parents
for their first-born seemed to redouble at each of these bereavements. The
mother, especially, would scarcely suffer her darlings to be absent from
her sight; and when, at last, after infinite persuasion, she was induced to
let them go to the Misses Primber's great boarding-school at Hartford, she
used to ride over to see them as often as she could invent a pretext. It
was with the greatest reluctance that she consented to this separation; but
in those days it was indispensable that a young woman of good family should
spend at least a twelve-month at the Misses Primber's famous establishment,
where all the rough hewing of less skilful teachers was shaped and
polished, so to speak, according to the most fashionable models then in
vogue. It was while the twins remained at this notable seminary that they
executed those wonderful landscapes, in Reeves's best water-colors, which
used to decorate the walls of the parlors in the Bugbee mansion, and which,
I dare say, still hang in tarnished gilt frames in some of the bedchambers.
It was there they filled the copybooks of French exercises from Levizac's
Grammar, which Miss Cornelia still carefully preserves in a bureau drawer.
There they learned to play and sing "Days of Absence," "I'm A Merry Swiss
Boy," and many other delightful melodies, the which, even now, Miss
Cornelia will sometimes hum softly to herself. Besides acquiring these and
sundry other accomplishments, Miss Amelia found time to carry on a secret
epistolary correspondence with a good-looking young law-student, (of whom
more extended mention will presently be made,) and also to contrive many
meetings and walks with him, of which nobody was cognizant but her sister
and some five or six other bosom friends and faithful confidants. But
Miss Cornelia, though as well inclined thereto as her sister, having,
nevertheless, been able to find no lover to occupy her thoughts, and with
whom to hold amatory interviews to fill her leisure, was fain to devote all
her spare moments to the reading of romances and novels, of which, though
rigorously interdicted, a great number were in the house, in possession of
the Misses Primber's pupils; and when this supply was exhausted, she had
recourse to a circulating library near by; being often put as nearly to her
wits' end to devise expedients whereby to smuggle the contraband volumes
into her chamber, as Amelia was to fulfil, at the time and place of tryst,
the frequent engagements which she made to meet her lover.

Accordingly it came to pass, that Amelia's heart became affected in such a
way and to that degree that she was never heart-whole again so long as she
lived; and Cornelia's head was filled with such an accumulation of romantic
rubbish, that, to this very day, a mighty heap of it remains,--mingled, to
be sure, with ideas of a more solid and useful quality. For when a woman
lives a maid during those years in which most of her sex are busy with
the cares attendant upon the matronly estate, fantastic notions, such as
I have mentioned, are not so apt to be excluded from the mind, and in
this way many girls of good natural parts are spoiled, merely for lack of
husbands. With the exception of this inordinate liking for the romantic
and mysterious,--by which she was sometimes betrayed into follies and
absurdities that provoked a little harmless scandal or ridicule,--Miss
Cornelia has ever been held in good repute among her neighbors as a
kind-hearted, obliging, sentimental little woman.

At last, at the end of a year, the young ladies came home from the
seminary, having fully completed their education; an event which filled
Mrs. Bugbee's heart with ineffable satisfaction. When the loving mother
reflected, that, for a long time, if it pleased God to spare their lives,
she should now enjoy the pleasure of her children's presence, her bosom
overflowed with happiness. Though she looked forward to their being married
as to something quite likely to happen in the course of time, yet such
events are always uncertain, and they appeared to her to lie so far ahead
in the vague distance of the future, that these anticipations caused her
no serious disquiet. For the girls were but eighteen years of age, and it
seemed hardly a twelvemonth since the time when they used to wear their
hair curling in their necks, and to go hand in hand to the district school
in pinafores and pantalets.

The good lady's chagrin, therefore, was excessive, when, the next Saturday
morning but one after her daughters' return, Amelia came into her bedroom,
where she sat darning a stocking by the window, and after so much
hesitation that her mother began to wonder, suddenly put her arms about her
neck, hid her blushing face upon her shoulder, and in that position softly
whispered a confession, that a certain young gentleman, with whom she had
become acquainted in Hartford, had told her he was very much attached to
her indeed; that she was not wholly indifferent with respect to him, and
that, in fact, she loved him. While Mrs. Bugbee remained speechless with
surprise, Miss Amelia proceeded to say, that it was highly probable the
young gentleman would that very afternoon take it into his head to ride
out from Hartford to Belfield; and perhaps he would also request permission
to visit her regularly, with the ultimate purpose of asking her hand in
marriage; in which case, she said, it was to be hoped her parents would not
refuse his modest petition; for that the young gentleman was a very good
and worthy young gentleman, a law-student of extraordinary promise, of as
old and respectable a family as any other in the State, and, withal, a
young gentleman in no wise given to bad habits of any kind whatsoever, but,
on the contrary, distinguished for his exemplary morals and sober conduct.
All this Amelia uttered very earnestly; but, strange to say, made no
mention of the quality which, as much as all the rest, had attracted
her regards; namely, the young gentleman's good looks, for which he was
somewhat noted, and of which he was not a little vain.

When the Doctor returned that day from his morning ride among his patients,
his wife took him aside into their bedroom and related what has just been
set forth. The Doctor listened with grave attention till his wife concluded
her story; but when, at the end of it, she began to lament, he turned the
thing off with a laugh, and giving her a hearty kiss, endeavored to soothe
her disquiet. "Well, well, mother," said he, "why, let him come, let him
come. It's only a year or two sooner than I expected, and may be it'll be a
flash in the pan after all. I think I must have seen the young fellow in at
Squire Johnson's; and at any rate, I'm pretty sure I know his father. When
he comes, we'll just invite him right over here to spend the Sabbath, and
by the time he goes away on Monday we'll know the twist of every thread in
his jacket. If he's the right one to make our girl happy, we ought to be
glad she's found him; and if he a'n't, it'll be all the harder to make her
listen to reason, unless we show reason ourselves; and, surely, it would be
unreasonable to be set against him, before we've even seen him or heard him
say a word."

When Mr. Edward Talcott (for that was the young gentleman's name) came over
from the tavern, where he had left his horse and portmanteau, and with much
secret trepidation and assumed boldness had walked up the wide flagstones
which led from the street to the green front door of Doctor Bugbee's
mansion, it was opened, at the summons of the brass knocker, by a little
black girl, who vainly strove to hide a grin behind a corner of her long
check apron. Before the visitor had time to utter a word, Amelia, blushing
like a rose and looking handsomer than ever, came tripping into the hall,
and after a whisper, which Dinah, who tried, failed to overhear, and the
purport of which, therefore, I cannot relate, ushered him into the parlor,
and presented him in due form to her mother, and also to her grandmother,
Madam Major Bugbee, as she was styled by the townsfolk,--a stately old
lady in black silk, who, being hard of hearing, and therefore incapable of
mingling in the conversation that ensued, regarded the new comer through
her gold-bowed spectacles, during the remainder of the afternoon, with a
furtive, but earnest attention which was quite embarrassing to the object
of it.

Presently a sulky came dashing up the drive, and soon afterwards the Doctor
came in, who, being made acquainted with Mr. Talcott by the blushing
Amelia, fell into a lively conversation with his visitor, which finally
turning upon the subject of politics, both gentlemen agreed cordially
in lauding the wisdom displayed in Mr. Adams's administration, and
congratulating each other and the country upon the defeat of General
Jackson. After tea, the hired man was sent to fetch Mr. Talcott's horse and
luggage from the inn, and then, it being near sundown, the Doctor put on as
solemn an expression as his merry visage was capable of assuming, took up
the big quarto Bible from its place, on a stand in the corner of the room,
and read a chapter from the New Testament. Then, standing up behind his
arm-chair, he made a hurried prayer, which was evidently one he had got by
heart; for when he endeavored to interpolate an apt allusion to the young
"stranger within his gates," he made such a piece of work of it, that
everybody but the dowager had to bite his lips to keep from smiling. The
brief remainder of the evening was spent in sober conversation. Soon after
nine o'clock the little black girl showed Mr. Talcott up the broad stairway
into the best front chamber, a spacious apartment directly over the parlor,
where he went to bed under a lofty tester canopy, with embroidered curtains
trimmed with lace. After a long reverie, coming to the conclusion that
the downright courtship of a young lady in her father's house was a much
more serious affair than a mere clandestine flirtation with a pretty
school-girl, the young gentleman turned over upon his side and went to
sleep.

The next day, being Sunday, everybody went to meeting, except the Doctor,
who was obliged to ride away upon his round of visits. Accordingly, Mr.
Talcott walked twice to and fro across the green, with Miss Amelia tripping
demurely by his side, and served as the target for a thousand eyeshots as
he stood up at the head of the Doctor's pew during the long prayers.

In the evening, after supper, the Doctor put off his grave Sabbath face
and invited his young guest to walk over to the store, which stood in the
corner of the yard, a little distance off. Presently, Miss Amelia, peeping
from behind her bedroom window-curtain, beheld them sitting together upon
the broad back-stoop of the store, talking and smoking in a most amicable
manner, the fragrant incense of their cigars being wafted across the
intervening space, which was quite too wide, however, to enable her to hear
the words of their earnest conversation. But that night, as she and her
lover sat together alone in the front parlor, after the family had gone to
bed, he told her that her father had consented to his courtship.

But if I am so circumstantial in relating these events, which are merely
introductory to my story, I shall have neither time nor space left for
the story itself. So I will hasten to say, that the upshot of Mr. Edward
Talcott's frequent visits, as might have been expected, was a very splendid
wedding, which took place in the front parlor of the Bugbee mansion, one
evening during the winter after Amelia came nineteen, the bridegroom being
then twenty-three, and just admitted to practice as an attorney-at-law. In
pursuance of a condition which Mrs. Bugbee had proposed, in order to avoid
the pangs of a separation from her child, the young couple remained members
of the Doctor's household; and Mr. Talcott, who, through the influence of
his wife's father, had been taken into partnership with a well-established
attorney, commenced the practice of law at the Hillsdale bar. His partner,
Squire Bramhall, had for many years been clerk of the courts, and was a
sage and prudent counsellor, noted for the careful preparation bestowed
upon his causes before they came to trial. But, in spite of his learning
and industrious painstaking, he used to cut a poor figure at the bar; for
being, though a lawyer, an exceedingly modest and bashful man, he failed to
acquire the habit of addressing either court or jury with ease, fluency, or
force. On the other hand, Squire Talcott, as he soon came to be called, was
a young man of fine appearance and good address, in no wise troubled with
an undue degree of doubt touching the excellence of his own abilities. His
first argument before a jury was a showy and successful effort in behalf
of a person for whom the sympathies of the public were already warmly
enlisted. By this, of course, he won considerable applause. His subsequent
attempts sustained the popular expectation. He began to acquire distinction
as a fluent, persuasive, and even eloquent speaker. A lawyer haranguing a
jury in a densely crowded courtroom fills a much larger space in the public
eye than when, in the solitude of his back-office, he is preparing a brief;
and, as young Squire Talcott used to argue all the cases which his plodding
partner elaborately prepared to his hand, his fame as a wonderfully smart
young lawyer soon began to extend even beyond the limits of the county.
The judges, in other places upon their circuit, spoke of his quick and
brilliant parts, and his apparent learning and familiar acquaintance
with authorities, so unusual at his age. These flattering commendations,
returning to Belfield, came to young Talcott's ears. It would have been
strange if he had not been too much elated by his sudden success in
the practice of a profession in which so very few win a speedy renown.
Forgetful how much of the praise he received was due to his partner's
laborious researches and unobtrusive learning, he suffered his vanity to
lead him astray; becoming discontented with his position, and secretly
repining at the necessity by which he was compelled to remain in an obscure
country town, when, as he imagined, his talents were sufficient to win for
him, unaided, an easy and rapid promotion even at the metropolitan bar.

The Doctor and his wife, as was to be expected, soon got to be proud of
their clever son-in-law. In fact, after the birth of a little girl, an
event by which the honors of grand-paternity were conferred upon the Doctor
when he was but a year or two past forty, Mrs. Bugbee could scarcely tell
which she loved best, her daughter, the baby, or its father.

When little Helen, as the child was named, was just coming three years old,
Mrs. Talcott, being in childbed again, was taken with a fever, and, in
spite of everything which was done to save her, died, and was buried with
her infant on her bosom. I do not need to relate what a grievous stroke
this sad event was to all the household,--nay, I might say to the whole
village as well; for all who knew Amelia loved her, and the praise of the
dead was in everybody's mouth. As for poor Mrs. Bugbee, she sorrowed like
one in despair. Even the worthy parson's pious words, to which she appeared
to listen with passive attention, fell unheeded upon her ear. People began
to shake their heads when her name was mentioned, and to predict that ere
long she would follow her daughter to the grave. At last, however, after
many weeks of close seclusion, she grew more cheerful, and seemed to
transfer all the affection she had borne the dead to the child who survived
her.

Not long after Amelia's death, the secret discontent existing in her
husband's mind, which, if she had lived, would in time, perhaps, have
abated, began instead to increase, and at length he came to talk openly
of departure. The Doctor, perceiving that he was firmly resolved upon the
step, did not seriously endeavor to dissuade him; and even Mrs. Bugbee
could not withhold her consent, when the young widower said, with a
trembling voice, he could not endure to stay in a spot endeared to him by
no other associations than those which continually reminded him of his
grievous loss. One stipulation only the good couple insisted on; namely,
that Amelia's child should be given to them, to be adopted as their own
daughter. Knowing not whither he should go, the father yielded; reflecting
that he could not better promote the welfare of his little girl than by
consenting.

So, a few weeks afterwards, when Edward Talcott bade farewell to Belfield,
the relation of parent and child between him and his little daughter was
completely severed. For though since their first sorrowful parting they
have met more than once, and though long after that mournful day she used
to wear in her bosom a locket containing his miniature and a lock of his
hair, which she used to kiss every night and morning, yet Helen seldom
remembers that the distant stranger is her father, and he forgets to reckon
his first-born among the number of his children.

When he was gone, the child was told that the name of Bugbee was thereafter
to be appended to those she already bore; and being quite pleased with the
notion, she forthwith adopted her new appellative, retaining it for several
years, until (such is the fickle nature of women) she took a fancy to
change it for another which she liked better still. She was also taught
to call her grandparents papa and mamma; and though, while a child, she
continued to address Miss Cornelia by the title of "Aunty," this respectful
custom, as the relative difference between her age and the elder spinster's
gradually diminished, was suffered, at the latter's special request, to
fall into disuse, and give place to the designation of sister. The few
new-comers to Belfield, therefore, were never apt to suspect that Helen
Bugbee was not really the Doctor's own daughter; and even the neighbors
forgot that her name had ever been changed, except when the gossips
sometimes put each other in mind of it.

The older she grew the more Helen resembled her mother, as the ladies
always used to exclaim when they came to take tea with Mrs. Bugbee. Some
of the village folks, who were in the habit, so common with old people, of
thinking that the race is continually degenerating, I have heard express
the opinion that Helen was never so handsome as her mother had been. But I
have seen a portrait of Miss Amelia Bugbee, for which she sat just before
her wedding, and which, I am assured, was, in the time of it, called a
wonderful likeness; I also knew Miss Helen Talcott Bugbee when she was not
far from her mother's age at the time the picture was taken; and though
Miss Amelia must have been a very sweet young lady, of extraordinarily good
looks, I used to think, for my part, that Helen was much handsomer than the
portrait; although people of a different taste might very properly have
preferred the less haughty expression of the face depicted on the canvas.

It was not strange that Helen was petted and humored as much as was well
for her. But her disposition being naturally docile and amiable, she was
not to be easily spoiled. Be that as it may, however, when she had grown to
be a woman, there were, I dare say, no less than fifty young men who knew
her well, any one of whom would have jumped at the chance to get her for a
wife, and made but little account of the risk of her turning out a shrew.
To be sure, when I first knew her, she had rather a high and mighty
way with her, at which some people took offence, calling her proud and
disdainful; but those whom she wished to please never failed to like her;
and I used to observe she seldom put on any of her lofty airs when she
spoke to unpresuming people, especially if they were poor or in humble
circumstances.

Though the indulgence of all her whims and fancies by her doting
grandparents was a danger of no small magnitude, Helen encountered a still
greater peril in the shape of a vast store of novels, poems, and romances,
which Miss Cornelia had accumulated, and to which she was continually
making additions. In that young lady's bedchamber, where Helen slept,
there was a large bookcase full of these seductive volumes; even the upper
shelves of the wardrobe closet, and a cupboard over the mantel, were
closely packed with them; and there was not one of them all which Helen
had not read by the time she was fifteen. Thus, in spite of natural good
sense, strengthened and educated by much wise and wholesome instruction,
she grew up with an imagination quite disproportioned to her other mental
faculties; so that, in some respects, she was almost as romantic in her
notions as her Aunt Cornelia, who, at forty, used to prefer moonlight to
good honest sunshine, and would have heard with an emotion of delight
that the mountains between Belfield and Hartford were infested by a band
of brigands, in picturesque attire, with a handsome chief like Rinaldo
Rinaldini, or haunted by two or three dashing highwaymen, of the genteel
Paul-Clifford style. Indeed, the ideal lover, to whom for many years Miss
Cornelia's heart was constant as the moon, was a tall, dark, mysterious
man, with a heavy beard and glittering eyes, who, there is every reason to
suspect, was either a corsair, a smuggler, or a bandit chief.

I am loath to have it supposed that Helen turned out a silly young woman.
Indeed, it would be wrong to believe so; for she possessed many good parts
and acquirements. But I must confess that her fancy, being naturally
lively, was unduly stimulated by reading too many books of the kind I have
mentioned; and that seeing but little of the world in her tender years, she
learned from their pages to form false and extravagant notions concerning
it. She used to build castles in the air, was subject to fits of tender
melancholy, and, like Miss Cornelia, adored moonlight, pensive music, and
sentimental poetry. But she would have shrunk from contact with a brigand,
in a sugar-loaf hat, with a carbine slung across his shoulder, and a
stiletto in his sash, with precisely the same kind and degree of horror and
disgust that would have affected her in the presence of a vulgar footpad,
in a greasy Scotch-cap, armed with a horse-pistol and a sheath-knife. Her
romantic tastes differed in many respects from her Aunt Cornelia's. She,
too, had an ideal lover; (and for that matter the fickle little maid had
several;) but the special favorite was a charming young fellow, of fair
complexion, with blue eyes, and a light, elegant moustache, his long brown
hair falling down his neck in wavy masses,--tall in stature, athletic, and
yet slim and graceful,--gifted with many accomplishments, with a heart full
of noble qualities, and a brain inspired by genius,--a poet, or an author,
or an artist, perhaps a lawyer merely, but of rare talents, at any rate
a man of superior intellect,--in a word, a paragon, who, when he should
appear upon the earth, incarnate, she expected would conceive a violent
passion for her, in which case, she should take it into consideration
whether to marry him or not.

My inexperience in the art of story-telling must be manifest to everybody;
for here I am talking of Helen, as of a young lady of sixteen or more, with
shy notions of beaux and lovers in her head,--whereas, in point of time,
my story has not advanced by regular stages beyond the period of her
childhood, when she thought more of a single doll in her baby-house, and
held her in higher estimation, than the whole rising generation of the
other sex. I shall resume the thread of my narrative by relating, that,
some two or three years before Miss Cornelia Bugbee, in her journey across
the sands of time, came to the thirtieth mile-stone, she arrived at an
oasis in the desert of her existence; or, to be more explicit, she had the
rare good-fortune to find a heart throbbing in unison with her own,--a
tender bosom in whose fidelity she could safely confide even her most
precious secret; namely, the passion she entertained for the aforementioned
corsair,--a being of congenial soul, whose loving ears could hear and
interpret her lowest whisper and most incoherent murmur, by means of the
subtile instinct of spiritual sympathy,--in fine, a trusty, true, and
confidential friend.

All this, and more, was Miss Laura Stebbins, the youngest sister of Mrs.
Jaynes, who, being suddenly left an orphan, dependent on the charity of her
kindred, came to reside at the parsonage in Belfield. An intimacy forthwith
commenced between the Doctor's daughter and the Parson's sister-in-law,
which ripened speedily into the enduring friendship of which mention has
just been made. There were some who affected to wonder at the ardent
attachment which sprung up between the two young ladies, because, forsooth,
one was but sixteen, and the other eight-and-twenty; as if this slight
disparity in years must necessarily engender a diversity of tastes, fatal
to a budding friendship.

I would fain describe the person of Miss Laura Stebbins, if I could call
to mind any similitudes, whereunto to liken her charms, which have not
been worn out in the service of other people's heroines. To use any but
brand-new comparisons to illustrate graces like hers would be singularly
inappropriate; for she herself always had a bright, fresh look, like some
piece of handiwork just finished by the maker. Her hair was black, glossy,
and abundant. She had large, hazel eyes, full of expression, shaded by
long, black eyelashes, a clear, light-brown complexion, rosy cheeks, small,
even teeth, as white as cocoanut meat, and lips whose color was like the
tint of sealing-wax. There was not a straight line or an angle about her
plump and well-proportioned figure. Her waist was round and full, and yet
appeared so slim between the ravishing curves of her shapely form, above
and below it, that it seemed as if it were fashioned so on purpose to be
embraced.

If Laura had been as wise as she was handsome, some pen more worthy than
mine would have celebrated her wit and beauty. But she was nothing more
than a wild, merry, frolicsome girl, whom, if you knew her, it was very
hard not to like; even her reverend brother-in-law, a very grave personage,
of whom, at first, she stood in no little awe, learned to smile at some of
her very giddiest nonsense, and Mrs. Bugbee's sober reserve, which had been
increased by her domestic afflictions, thawed in the sunshine of Laura's
presence, like snow in the warmth of a bright spring morning. Helen, also,
grew to be extremely fond of Laura, who returned the child's regard in
twofold measure, at least, and yet had love enough to spare wherewith
to answer the immense draughts upon her heart by which Miss Cornelia's
romantic affection was repaid.

It was more than even Miss Cornelia Bugbee could do to transform this gay
creature into a lackadaisical young lady; though, as she tried her very
best to do so, none ought to blame her because she failed of success. All
her stock of novels she lent to Laura, who read them, every one, in secret,
skipping only the dull and didactic pages. That she was not spoiled by
this experiment was due less to the strength of Laura's understanding than
to the liveliness of her temper, which, in this strait, stood her in very
good stead of more solid qualities and a wiser experience. As it was,
she learned to talk in a romantic fashion, longed, above all things, to
grow thin, pretended to sigh frequently, and affected, at times, an air
of pensive thoughtfulness. Her imagination began to be haunted by the
apparition of a brave, gallant, and exceedingly graceful and good-looking
young officer, of rank and high renown, who, she confidently hoped, would
some day appear before her, arrayed in full uniform, with a sword by his
side, and, with all the impetuous ardor of a soldier, throw himself at her
feet and pour forth a declaration of inextinguishable love.

Until Laura was nearly twenty, this phantom in regimentals held exclusive
possession of her bosom, and reigned in that sweet domain without a rival;
for, strange as it may appear, she never had a suitor of real flesh and
blood, until a certain young divinity-student from East Windsor Seminary,
who sometimes of a Sunday when Mr. Jaynes was absent came over to Belfield
to try his hand at preaching, perceived, by sly and stealthy glances at
Laura over the rim of his blue spectacles, how exceeding comely the damsel
was, and firmly resolved to win her for a helpmeet. And even Mr. Elam Hunt
(for that was the pious student's name) seemed scarcely more substantial
than a ghost, so very pale and bloodless was his meagre face, and so lean
and spare his stooping, narrow-chested figure.

This youthful saint was well esteemed by Laura's sister, Mrs. Jaynes, a
sharp-visaged little woman, to whose energetic control her absent-minded,
studious husband surrendered the parsonage and all it contained. Nay,
she even shared his labors in the moral vineyard of his parish; for
while he remained at home among his favorite volumes, she used to go
about from house to house, collecting donations in aid of some one of
the great eleemosynary corporations, whose certificates attesting her
life-membership, all framed and glazed, covered the walls of the parsonage
parlor. Her zeal in this good work was untiring, and she levied tribute to
her favorite charities upon all classes and conditions of her neighbors
with strict impartiality. The poorest widow was not suffered to withhold
her mite, and, wherever she went, the pouting children of the household
were forced to open their money-boxes and tin savings-banks, and bring
forth the hoarded pence with which they had hoped to purchase candy and
toys at Christmas and New Year. The village folks reckoned the cost of her
visits among their annual expenses, and, when she was seen approaching,
made ready, as if a sturdy beggar or a tax-gatherer was at the door.

To have heard this estimable lady, when in private she sometimes rebuked
the failings of her reverend spouse, one would not have supposed that she
regarded him with awful veneration; nevertheless, she magnified his
office greatly. The dignity conferred by ordination she held to be the
highest honor to which a mortal man can possibly attain. Herself adorning
the elevated station of a pastor's wife, she resolved to secure for Laura a
position of equal eminence. When, therefore, she perceived that her sister
had found favor in the eyes of Mr. Elam Hunt, she gave the bashful student
frequent opportunities to speak his mind; and when, at last, he ventured
in private to tell her of the flame which warmed his breast with a
gentle glow, quite unlike that fervent heat by which the hearts of more
impassioned, worldly-minded swains are apt to be tortured and consumed, she
assuaged his pangs of doubt by encouraging assurances of her countenance
and favor. In the mean time she resolved to guard against every
misadventure by which the successful termination of his suit might be
prevented or imperilled.

This was by no means an easy thing to do; for Laura, at twenty, though an
orphan, without a penny to buy even so much as a dozen teaspoons for a
setting-out, was not a girl that would have been apt to lack for lovers, if
she had had a fair chance to get them. As I have already told you, she was
as sweet and as pretty as a pink full of dewdrops, and might have picked
out a sweetheart from as many beaux as she had fingers and thumbs, but that
her vigilant duenna, Mrs. Jaynes, kept the young fellows beyond courting
distance. It was impossible, even for this shrewd and discreet lady, so
to manage, without danger of giving offence, as to prevent Laura from
associating with the other young folks of the parish; and indeed, to do
her justice, she was not so austerely strict that she desired her sister
to abstain from all social intercourse with those of her own age, sex, and
condition. On the contrary, as the reader already knows, she was permitted
to cherish a tender and devoted friendship for Miss Cornelia Bugbee; and
there were several other young ladies, whose brothers were only little
boys, with whom she was on the most amicable and familiar terms.

But by means of various arts and devices Mrs. Jaynes contrived to keep the
young men from becoming too intimate with her pretty sister; although some
of them had vainly endeavored to be more than neighborly. If one ventured
to call at the parsonage, Mrs. Jaynes was always in the parlor, with Laura,
to receive him, and sat there, grimly, on the sofa, as long as he staid;
taking a part in the conversation, which she generally managed to turn upon
the most grave and serious topics. The benighted condition of the heathen
was a favorite subject of discourse with her, upon these occasions; and the
visitor was a lucky youth, if he escaped without making, upon the spot,
a cash contribution to the worthy cause of foreign missions. If Laura
was invited to ride or to walk with a gentleman, Mrs. Jaynes always had a
plausible pretext for objecting. It was either too hot, or too cold, or
too damp, or too dusty, or there was sure to be some other reason, equally
sufficient, for withholding her consent. As for balls and cotillon parties,
the most enterprising and audacious youngster of them all would have
quailed at the idea of facing the parson's wife with a request to take her
sister to such a place. At last the report got wind that Mrs. Jaynes was
saving Laura for Mr. Elam Hunt, until such time as, having finished his
course of study at East Windsor, he should be ordained and settled in a
parish of his own, and ready to take to himself a wife. To be sure, it did
not seem that Laura was of the right sort of temper for a minister's sober
helpmeet; nevertheless, this rumor gained credit, and very soon came to
be believed by many of the neighbors. Mrs. Jaynes, it was noticed, would
never contradict the story, though, to be sure, Laura herself always did,
whenever she had a chance to do so. Indeed, she was often heard to declare,
with great vehemence and apparent sincerity, that she would as lief be
buried alive as marry that living skeleton,--by which scandalous epithet
she designated the lean and reverend youth from East Windsor. Some people
who heard these protestations let them go for naught, giving them all the
less heed on account of their violence, or, perhaps, being even confirmed
in the belief of what she so earnestly denied. For it is a very common
artifice with young women to pretend a strong aversion for their most
favored lovers, and to feign an utter dislike and abhorrence for the very
persons whom they love most fondly. Others, however, gave credit to her
passionate declarations, and believed that she recoiled from the idea of
marrying the lank young student with unfeigned repugnance and disgust.
Between people holding these diverse opinions discussions would sometimes
arise, especially at meetings of the Dorcas Society, when neither Laura
nor Mrs. Jaynes was present. But, just at this juncture, an event occurred
which gave a new direction to the current of village gossip, setting every
member of the Dorcas sisterhood all agape with wonder and surprise, and all
agog with excitement and curiosity. Of this strange and memorable affair I
will presently give a veritable account, and even show the reader how it
came to pass. But in the mean time the fortunes of the Bugbee family demand
my brief attention.

[Continued in the next Number.]



THE ORIGIN OF DIDACTIC POETRY


  When wise Minerva still was young
    And just the least romantic,
  Soon after from Jove's head she flung
    That preternatural antic,
  'Tis said to keep from idleness
    Or flirting,--those twin curses,--
  She spent her leisure, more or less,
    In writing po--, no, verses.

  How nice they were! to rhyme with _far_
    A kind _star_ did not tarry;
  The metre, too, was regular
    As schoolboy's dot and carry;
  And full they were of pious plums,
    So extra-super-moral,--
  For sucking Virtue's tender gums
    Most tooth-enticing coral.

  A clean, fair copy she prepares,
    Makes sure of moods and tenses,
  With her own hand,--for prudence spares
    A man-(or woman)-uensis;
  Complete, and tied with ribbons proud,
    She hinted soon how cosy a
  Treat it would be to read them loud
    After next day's Ambrosia.

  The Gods thought not it would amuse
    So much as Homer's Odyssees,
  But could not very well refuse
    The properest of Goddesses;
  So all sat round in attitudes
    Of various dejection,
  As with a _hem!_ the queen of prudes
    Began her grave prelection.

  At the first pause Zeus said, "Well sung!--
    I mean--ask Phoebus,--_he_ knows."
  Says Phoebus, "Zounds! a wolf's among
    Admetus's merinos!
  Fine! very fine! but I must go;
    They stand in need of me there;
  Excuse me!" snatched his stick, and so
    Plunged down the gladdened ether.

  With the next gap, Mars said, "For me
    Don't wait,--naught could be finer;
  But I'm engaged at half-past three,--
    A fight in Asia Minor!"
  Then Venus lisped, "How very thad!
    It rainth down there in torrinth;
  But I _mutht_ go, becauthe they've had
    A thacrifithe in Corinth!"

  Then Bacchus,--"With those slamming doors
    I lost the last half dist--(hic!)
  Mos' bu'ful se'ments! what's the Chor's?
    My voice shall not be missed--(hic!)"
  His words woke Hermes; "Ah!" he said,
    "I so love moral theses!"
  Then winked at Hebe, who turned red,
    And smoothed her apron's creases.

  Just then Zeus snored,--the Eagle drew
    His head the wing from under;
  Zeus snored,--o'er startled Greece there flew
    The many-volumed thunder;
  Some augurs counted nine,--some, ten,--
    Some said, 'twas war,--some, famine,--
  And all, that other-minded men
    Would get a precious ----.

  Proud Pallas sighed, "It will not do;
    Against the Muse I've sinned, oh!"
  And her torn rhymes sent flying through
    Olympus's back window.
  Then, packing up a peplus clean,
    She took the shortest path thence,
  And opened, with a mind serene,
    A Sunday-school in Athens.

  The verses? Some, in ocean swilled,
    Killed every fish that bit to 'em;
  Some Galen caught, and, when distilled,
    Found morphine the residuum;
  But some that rotted on the earth
    Sprang up again in copies,
  And gave two strong narcotics birth,--
    Didactic bards and poppies.

  Years after, when a poet asked
    The Goddess's opinion,
  As being one whose soul had basked
    In Art's clear-aired dominion,--
  "Discriminate," she said, "betimes;
    The Muse is unforgiving;
  Put all your beauty in your rhymes,
    Your morals in your living."



THE FINANCIAL FLURRY.


  "Break, break, break,
  On thy cold, gray crags, O Sea!"

"I remember a day," said a friend not long since, "a day as sweet, calm,
cool, and bright as that whose wedding and funeral song the poet sings in
the same verse, when I stood upon the white sea-coast near Naples, and
looked far away across the blue, silent waters, and up the gray, flowery
steeps, to where the towering cone of Vesuvius cleaves the skies. It was in
the spring-time; luxuriant nature seemed to have nothing to do but to grow
and bloom, and the huge mountain itself was profoundly at peace,--smiling
a welcome, apparently, to the delicate bean-plants and wild vines which
clambered up its sides, and wearing a light curl of smoke, like a gay
coronal, around its brow. The bay was alive with red-capped fishermen,
each one intent on fishing up his inverted brother below him; the beach
was thronged with women, who chattered cheerfully over their baskets; and
along the road scampered soldiers in bright uniforms, as if they had no
conceivable purpose in life but to bathe in that clear sunshine, and
breathe that soft, delicious air.

"A few hours later," continued he, "I stood not far from the same spot,
and saw that mountain angrily belching forth pitch and flames; the earth
beneath my feet groaned with sullen, suppressed rage, or as if it were
in pain; vast volumes of lurid smoke rolled through the sky, and streams
of melted brimstone coursed down the hill-sides, burning up the pretty
flowers, crushing the trees, and ruthlessly devouring the snug farms and
cottages of the loving Philemons and Baucises who had incautiously built
too near the fatal precinct. The poor _contadini_, who lately chaffered so
vivaciously over their macaroni and chestnuts, were flying panic-smitten
in all directions; some clasped their crucifixes, and called wildly upon
the saints for protection; others leaped frantically into boats and rowed
themselves dead, in the needless endeavor to escape death; while the
general expression of the people was that of a multitude who, the next
minute, expected to see the skies fall to crush them, or the earth open to
swallow them up forever. But I was myself unmoved," our friend concluded,
in his usual vein of philosophy, "though, I trust, not unsympathizing;
because I saw, through those dun clouds of smoke, the stars still shining
serenely aloft, and because I felt that after that transient convulsion of
nature the great sun would rise as majestically as ever on the morrow, to
show us, here and there, no doubt, a beautiful tract now desolate, here and
there a fruitful vale now filled with ashes,--but also, the same glorious
bay breathing calmly in its bed, the same cloudless sky holding the green
and peaceful earth in its complacent embrace."

We could not, as we listened to the story of the traveller, help
considering it an illustration of that great convulsion of finance
which has visited us during the last month. We do not mean to call
this an eruption, which would scarcely be appropriate,--inasmuch as
the characteristic of it was not a preternatural activity, but rather a
preternatural stagnation and paralysis; but there is certainly a striking
similarity in the contrasts presented by the two pictures just painted, and
the contrasts presented in the condition of the commercial world as it is
now, and as it was only a few weeks since. Then all nature smiled, and we
scarcely thought of the future in the happy consciousness of the present;
whereas now all nature seems to frown, and we eagerly long for the future
to escape the endless vexations and miseries of the present. Our trade,
which lately bloomed like a Neapolitan spring-day, is now covered with
clouds and sifted with ashes, as if some angry Vesuvius had exploded its
contents over us and shot the hot lava-tides among our snug vineyards and
cottages. May we not also, in this case, as in that, draw some consolation
from the knowledge that the stars are still shining behind the smoke, and
that the sun will assuredly come up to-morrow, as it has come up on so
many morrows, for so many thousands of years? Convulsions, by the very
fact of their violence, show that they are short-lived; and though we, who
suffer by them directly, are apt to derive the slenderest solace from the
philosophy which demonstrates their transientness, or their utility in
certain aspects, it is nevertheless profitable, for various reasons, to
make them a subject of remark.

In a season of great public calamity, moreover, everybody feels that he
ought to participate in it in some way, if not as a sufferer, then as a
sympathizer, and, in either capacity, as a speculator upon its causes and
probable effects. The learned historian, Monsieur Alcofribas, who preserves
for our instruction "the heroic deeds and prowesses" of the great king of
the Dipsodes, tells us how that once, when Philip of Macedon threatened
Corinth, the virtuous inhabitants of that city were thrown into mortal
fear; but they were not too much paralyzed to forget the necessity of
defence; and while some fortified the walls, others sharpened spears, and
others again carried the baskets, the noble Diogenes, who was doubtless the
chief literary man of the place, was observed to thwack and bang his tub
with unmerciful vehemence. When he was asked why he did so, he replied,
that it was for the purpose of showing that he was not a mere slug and lazy
spectator, in a crowd so fervently exercised. In these times, therefore,
when Philip of Macedon is not precisely thundering at our walls, but
nibbling at every man's cupboard and cheese-press, it behooves each
Diogenes to rattle his tub at least, in order to prove, in the spirit of
his prototype and master,

  "Though he be rid of fear,
  He is not void of care."

If the noise he makes only add to the general turbulence and confusion, the
show of sympathy will at least go for something.

The same authority, whom we have just quoted, has a piece of advice with
which we intend to set our tub in motion. "Whatsoever," he says, "those
blindfolded, blockheady fools, the astrologers of Louvain, Nuremberg,
Tubingen, and Lyons, may tell you, don't you feed yourselves up with whims
and fancies, nor believe there is any Governor of the whole universe this
year but God the Creator, who by his Word rules and governs all things, in
their nature, propriety, and conditions, and without whose preservation and
governance all things in a moment would be reduced to nothing, as out of
nothing they were by him created." It is a most sound and salutary truth,
not to be forgotten in times of commercial distress, nor even in discussing
financial questions, remote as they may seem to be from the domain of
ethics. God rules in the market, as he does on the mountain; he has
provided eternal laws for society, as he has for the stars or the seas;
and it is just as impossible to escape him or his ways in Wall Street or
State Street as it is anywhere else. We do not wish to suggest any improper
comparisons, but does not the Psalmist assert, "If I make my bed in
_sheol_, behold Thou art there"?

In other words, commerce, the exchange of commodities, banking, and
whatever relates to it, currency, the rise and fall of prices, the rates
of profits, are all subject to laws as universal and unerring as those
which Newton deduces in the "Principia," or Donald McKay applies in the
construction of a clipper ship. As they are manifested by more complicated
phenomena, man may not know them as accurately as he knows the laws of
astronomy or mechanics; but he can no more doubt the existence of the
former than he can the existence of the latter; and he can no more
infringe the one than he can infringe the other with impunity. The poorest
housekeeper is perfectly well aware that certain rules of order are to
be observed in the management of the house, or else you will have either
starvation or the sheriff inside of it in a little time. But what means
that formidable, big-sounding phrase, Political Economy, more than national
housekeeping? Can you manage the immense, overgrown family of Uncle Sam
with less calculation, less regard to justice, prudence, thrift, than you
use in your own little affairs? Can you sail that tremendous vessel,
the Ship of State, without looking well to your chart and compass and
Navigator's Guide?

When the "Central America" sinks to the bottom of the sea with five hundred
souls on board, though it is in the midst of a terrible tempest, the public
instinct is inclined to impute the disaster less to the mysterious uproar
of wind and wave than to some concealed defect in the vessel. Had she sunk
in a tranquil ocean, while the winds were idle and the waves asleep, the
incident would have produced a burst of indignation, above the deeper wail
of sorrow, strong enough to sweep the guilty instruments of it out of
existence. The world would have felt that some great law of mechanics had
been wilfully violated. But here is a whole commercial society suddenly
wrecked, in a moment of general peace, after ten years of high, but not
very florid or very unwholesome prosperity, on the heel of an abundant
recompense to the efforts of labor,--when there has occurred no public
calamity, no war, no famine, no fire, no domestic insurrection, scarcely
one startling event, and when the interpositions of the government have
been literally as unfelt as the dropping of the dew, a whole commercial
society is wrecked; values sink to the bottom like the California gold
on the "Central America"; great money-corporations fall to pieces as
her state-rooms and cabins fell to pieces; the relations of trade are
dislocated as her ribs and beams were dislocated; and the people are cast
upon an uncertain sea, as her passengers were cast,--not to struggle for
physical existence like them, but to endure an amount of anguish and
despair almost equal to what was endured by those unhappy victims.

How can this have happened arbitrarily, capriciously, mysteriously, without
some gross and positive violation of social law, some wilful and therefore
wicked departure from the known principles of science? Every random
conjecture as to the causes of the prevailing distress implies an answer
to the question, and it need not be repeated. It is more important to
inquire what those violations and departures have been, than to reiterate
the general principle. What has led to the lamentable results under which
we suffer? What has rendered the winds so tempestuous that they must needs
blow down our noble ship? What has provoked the ire of those big bully
waves so that they advance to demolish us? Ah! hark just here how the
Diogenidæ tumble and thump their tubs! each one rapping out his own tune;
each one screaming to boot, to be heard above the din!

One cries, that we Americans are an unconscionably greedy people, ever
hasting to get rich, never satisfied with our gains, and, in the frantic
eagerness of accumulation, disregarding alike justice, truth, probity, and
moderation. Under this impulse our trade becomes an incessant and hazardous
adventure, like the stakes of the gambler upon the turn of the dice, or
upon the figures of the sweat-cloth; a feverish impatience for success
pushes everything to the verge of ruin, and only after it has toppled over
the brink, and we have followed it, does the danger of the game we had
been playing become apparent.--A second qualifies this view, and shouts,
that our vice is not so much greed, which is the vice of the miser, as
extravagance, which is the vice of the spendthrift; and that as soon as
we get one dollar, we run in debt for ten. We must have fine houses,
fine horses, fine millinery, fine upholstery, troops of servants, and
give costly dinners, and attend magnificent balls. Our very shops and
counting-houses must resemble the palaces of the Venetian nobility, and
our dwellings be more royally arrayed than the dwellings of the mightiest
monarchs. When the time comes--as come it will--for paying for all this
glorious frippery, we collapse, we wither, we fleet, we sink into the
sand.--A third Diogenes, of a more practical turn of mind, vociferates,
that the whole thing comes from the want of a high protective tariff. These
subtle and malignant foreigners, who are so jealous of our progress, who
are ever on the watch to ruin us, who make any quantity of goods at any
time, for nothing, and send them here just at the right moment, to swamp
us irrecoverably, are the authors of the mischief, and ought to be kept
outside of the nation by a triple wall of icebergs drawn around each
port. They pour in upon us a flood of commodities, which destroys our
manufactures; they carry off all our gold and silver, which eviscerates the
banks; the banks squeeze the merchants, to the last drop of blood; and the
merchants perish in the process, carrying with them hosts of mechanics,
farmers, and professional men.--Not so, bellows a fourth philosopher,
perhaps a little more seedy than the rest; it is all the work of "the
infernal credit system,"--of the practice of making money out of that
which is only a promise to pay money,--out of that which purports to have
a real equivalent in some vault, when no such equivalent exists, and is,
therefore, a fraud on the face of it,--and which, deluging the community,
raises the price of everything, begets speculation, stimulates an excessive
and factitious trade, and is then suddenly withdrawn from the system, at
the height of its inflation, like wind sucked from a bladder, to leave it a
mere flaccid, wrinkled, empty, worthless old film of fat!

Now, for our part, we think all the Diogenidæ right, but not precisely in
the way in which they state the matter; and we think the seedy Diogenes
the rightest of all,--because he has struck nearest to the centre, to the
organic fact which controls the other facts,--yet, without sharing his
prejudice against credit, one of the blessedest of inventions. As a very
long and a very dull treatise, however, would scarcely suffice to explain
all the reasons for our thinking so, we must devote the one or two pages
that are given us to a few simple, elementary, frontal principles,
familiar, no doubt, to every one, and therefore the more important to be
recalled, when every one seems to have forgotten them. Nothing is better
known than the laws of gravitation; nothing staler in the repetition; but
if the folk around us are building their houses so that they all fall down
upon our heads, it behooves us to remind them of those laws.

1. Human wisdom has discovered nothing clearer than this,--that in all the
operations of trade above a primitive barter, you must have a standard or
measure of values; and human ingenuity has never been able to devise any
standard more perfect, in essential respects, than the precious metals. It
may be doubted, indeed, whether the choice of these metals for currency
is a result of human ingenuity. Paley and his school of theologians
demonstrate the existence, intelligence, and goodness of God from the
evidences of design in creation,--from that nice adaptation of means to
ends which shows an infinite knowledge and infinite benevolence at work;
but no one of the instances in which they found their argument, from
the watch, which affords the primal illustration, to the human body,
which furnishes the most complex confirmations, is a more astonishing or
exquisite proof of pre-arrangement than is the adaptedness of gold and
silver to the purposes of currency. Your standard or measure, for instance,
must, in the first place, possess a certain uniformity; if it be a measure
of capacity, it must not be of the size of a thimble in the morning, and as
big as a haystack at night, like the mystic bottle of the fairy tale; if
a measure of length, it must not be made of caoutchouc, as long as your
finger to-day, and as long as the Atlantic Cable to-morrow; and so, if a
measure of value, it must not equal one thousand at ten o'clock, and equal
zero at three. But the precious metals do possess this uniformity; they
are not scarce, as diamonds are, so that a pinch of them might measure
the value of a city; nor are they as plenty as blackberries, so that a
wagon-load could scarcely buy a fat goose for dinner. They cannot be washed
away like a piece of soap, nor wear out like a bit of wampum, nor crumble
like agate or carnelian in dividing. In short, they combine all the
advantages that are needed, with few or none of the disadvantages that
would be troublesome, in a substance which is used for money. They possess
intrinsic utility, they are equably supplied, they may be easily divided
and then fused again, they take a stamp, and they retain the same qualities
everywhere and at all times. Accordingly, all the civilized nations,
from the time of great-great-great-grandfather Moses down to the time of
President Buchanan, have used the precious metals for their standard of
values; while your barbarians only, your silly Sandwich-islanders, your
stupid troglodytes of interior Africa, your savage red men, have used for
that purpose fish-bones, beaver-skins, cowries, strings of beads, or a lump
of old rags. Q.E.D., then, on Paley's principles, the precious metals were
meant by Divine Providence for use as money, at least more than anything
else, because nothing else is so well adapted to the end. Intelligent man
everywhere has been glad to recognize the Divine teaching; and the American
man--holding himself the most intelligent of all men--has incorporated
the lesson in his fundamental law. Nothing can be money for him,
constitutionally, but metal which has a genuine ring in it.

2. Being the established standard, the precious metals, so long as they
continue unchanged in amount, have a precise and definite relation to all
other commodities. But they do not continue unchanged; and neither do
other commodities continue unchanged. There is more gold at one time than
another, and more wheat at one time than another; so that the relation
between the two is not a determinate, but a variable one; and it is this
variation which causes or constitutes the fluctuation of prices. If wheat
increases in quantity, more of it will be given for the same money; and if
it decreases, less of it will be given for the same money; on the other
hand, if money increases, more of it will be given for a specific quantity
of wheat, and if it decreases, less will be given; while if they increase
or decrease together, a relative equilibrium will be maintained. But the
beauty of the precious metals, as we have said, is that they are not liable
to very sudden or considerable increase or decrease; only twice in the
course of history, on the occasion of the discovery of the South American
mines by the Spaniards, and of the California mines by the Americans,
has there been recorded an unusual production of gold and silver; and in
both cases, it is important to note, the same effect followed,--a very
considerable enhancement of prices; that is, all other articles seemed to
grow dear, although the real fact was that money had only grown cheap. In
Spain every commodity rose; everybody experienced that delicious feeling,
which we sometimes enjoy in dreams, of going up without spring or effort;
and Spain was considered to be enviably prosperous and happy. As for
San Francisco, we all remember the fabulous prices which ruled in that
vicinity. An acquaintance of ours wrote us then, that he gave five dollars
for a dinner consisting of half a pullet and two potatoes, and when he
added a pint of champagne, it came to five dollars more. He allowed his
washerwoman one hundred and fifty dollars a month, paid fifty dollars for
a pair of second-hand cow-hide boots, and hired a cellar, seven feet by
nine, and six feet under ground, at the rate of fifteen thousand dollars a
year. But both in Spain and in San Francisco this ludicrous exaggeration
of values cured itself. The manufacturers and merchants of all the world
sent their goods of all sorts to such tempting markets; and it was not
long before the goods, not the money, were in excess. Prices came down,
as sailors say, by the run, and Spain and San Francisco were reduced once
more to rationality and comfort. These were exceptional cases, but they
illustrate the general principle, that the increase of money raises prices,
and the decrease of money lowers them, which is all we wish to state. In
ordinary cases, however, when the currency is in its normal condition, this
rise and fall of prices is like the rise and fall of the tides, the mere
pulsations of the great sea, which drown and damage nobody, and rather keep
the waters more clear and wholesome by their gentle agitation.

3. The same law is observed to operate, whenever anything is made, either
by the decrees of government or the usages of society, to take the place of
the precious metals as money. Paper, in the shape of bank-bills, promising
to pay money on demand, is the most frequent, because the most cheap
and convenient substitute; accordingly, when convertible paper-money is
increased, it raises prices, and when it is diminished, it depresses
prices, just as in the case of a metallic currency. But there are these
two signal points of distinction between a paper and a metallic currency:
first, that paper money may be increased or diminished much more easily
than metallic money; and, second, that any excess or deficiency of the
former is not so easily corrected by the natural operations of trade. The
sudden or large increase of the metals is prevented by their scarcity and
the laborious processes necessary to produce them, and a sudden or large
decrease of them could be brought about only by some great public calamity
which should destroy them or cause them to be hoarded. But paper money,
whether made by a government or made by authorized corporations, may be
issued and put in circulation almost at will, and again be withdrawn
at will. We do not mean that the issue and withdrawal of it are wholly
unchecked, but that the checks, as the entire history of banking would seem
to prove, are comparatively inefficient and delusive. If the rise and fall
of prices, caused by the fluctuations of metallic money, are to be compared
to the rise and fall of the tides, the rise and fall of paper prices are
more like the increase and decrease of steam in a boiler, which is an
admirable agent, but demanding an incessant and scientific control. The
sea-tides, even after a tempest, will regulate themselves, because they
have all the oceans and all the rivers of the globe to draw upon; but the
steam in a boiler is a thing confined, and yet capable of immense and
destructive expansion. A metallic currency runs from nation to nation, and
has its perturbations corrected from nation to nation; but a paper currency
is local, and cannot be so well corrected by the great interchanges of the
globe. Let us make this clearer in another way.

4. It is universally conceded, by all the writers on finance, that any
unusual production of currency occasions a rise of prices; the relative
value of money is less than it was before, while the relative value of
other articles is greater; a greater quantity of money is given for other
articles, and fewer of other articles are given for the same amount of
money. This rise has the double effect of provoking the importation
of foreign commodities, and of preventing the exportation of domestic
commodities; inasmuch as the same enhancement of rates, which opens a good
domestic market for the former, closes the foreign market to the latter;
and thus an unfavorable balance accumulates rapidly against the country
where the rise occurs, in respect to other countries where it has not
occurred. Now sooner or later this balance must be paid; and as products
cannot be profitably shipped abroad to furnish a fund whereupon to
draw bills of exchange, it must be paid in coin. The coin is therefore
abstracted from circulation; and if coin were the only currency, such an
abstraction would of itself induce a fall of prices, which would operate as
a check upon importations until the old relation of equilibrium should be
restored. But where the government, or where individuals, whether organized
or alone, have the power to replace the departed coin by issues of paper
money, prices are for a while maintained, and importations continued as
vigorously as ever. All this, however, is but a postponement of the day of
settlement. The balance to be extinguished is a substantial balance, which
can be discharged only by substantial means; a mere promise to pay, a mere
sign and representative of debt, will not extinguish it, any more than the
smell of a cook-shop will extinguish a ravenous appetite. The insatiable
creditor will have money; and the depositories of that essential become,
under his assaults, more and more meagre and tenuous. The managers of
them at last get alarmed, and begin to withhold their issues of paper;
which means that they begin to reduce their loans to the community. The
money-market grows "tight," as it is phrased; the money-world feels
generally as if it had taken an overdose of persimmons. Merchants and
dealers, shorn of their usual accommodations, are compelled to borrow at
ruinous usuries, or to fail to meet their payments. Their default involves
others; others fail, and others again. The bowels of the banks, with us
the great money-lenders, close with the snap and tenacity of steel-traps;
and then a general panic, or want of commercial confidence, brings on a
paralysis of the domestic exchanges, and wide-spread bankruptcy and ruin.
Importations are checked, of course; but they are checked in a sharp,
rapid, and violent way, accompanied by the most painful embarrassments and
convulsions.

This we believe to be an outline of the history of all our commercial
catastrophes, stripped of those local and incidental circumstances which
vary from time to time: over-issues of money,--speculative prosperity,--all
the world getting rich in the most agreeable manner,--fairy palaces rising
on all sides, without the sound of trowel or hammer; then,--the day of
adjustment,--the rapid contraction of the currency,--all the world getting
poor in the most drastic and disagreeable manner,--and those fairy palaces,
which rose under our very eyelids over-night, vanishing, like the palace
of Aladdin from the vision of the Grand-Seignior after he awoke in the
morning. But, alas! the revulsion does not stop with the overthrow of the
palaces which had been reared without labor; it is not satisfied with the
dissipation of mere fancies and dreams; but, being itself a most real
thing, it carries with it many a stately structure, which the toil, the
economy, the self-denial of years had hardly raised. Extraneous causes,--a
short crop,--a reduced tariff,--a peculiar mania of enterprise,--may hasten
or retard the various steps of the process which has been described; but
its cause and its course are almost always the same, and the discerning
eye may easily detect them, from the beginning to the end of our modern
commercial experience. In the existing difficulties, in this country, the
railroad speculations have had much to do with producing and aggravating
the effect; but the primary source of it, we think, is to be found in the
ease with which our currency is inflated, under a banking system which
varies from State to State, and which, outside of New England and New York,
where it is by no means perfect, is as bungling a contrivance, for the ends
to be answered, as was ever inflicted on the patience of mankind. Much
of the trouble is due also to the extravagance and reckless waste of our
people, which, though owing in some degree to our want of good manners and
good taste, are directly traceable to the stimulus given to expense by the
over-issue of artificial money. While the paper which passes for money is
plenty, and every man can easily get "accommodations" from the banks, we
squander without thought. No matter how costly the articles we buy; the
expansion of the currency is greater than the rise in market values; and it
is only when the contraction comes that we see how foolishly lavish we have
been.

What, then, is the remedy? "Why, away with paper currency altogether!" says
one. Yes,--tear up your Croton-water-pipes, because the breaking of a main
sometimes submerges your dwellings; destroy your railroads, because the
trains sometimes run off the track; arrest your steamships, because an
"Arctic" and a "Central America" go disastrously down into the deep,
deep sea! That were not wise, surely; that were very unwise, even were
it possible, which it is not.--"Give us a high protective tariff," says
another. Most certainly, friend, if we are to be perpetually flooded with
paper, a high tariff is needed;--your theory is at least consistent,
however it may have worked in practice. But a high protective tariff is
an impossibility, because it can be attained only by favor of the Federal
legislature; and, as we all know, at the door of that legislature stands
the inexorable shape of the Slave Power, which consults no interest but
its own in the management of government, and which will never make a
concession to the manufacturers or the merchants of the North, unless it be
to purchase some new act of baseness, or bind them in some new chains of
servility.--But have you inquired whether that flood of paper is necessary?
We frankly tell you that we do not believe it is; we believe that a better
system is possible,--to be brought about, not by greater restrictions
on banking, but by greater freedom; and we only regret that we have not
now space to discuss that faith with you in all its reasons and results.
We hope to be permitted to do so at some other time. Meanwhile, let us
rejoice that the whole subject is in a position to be frankly discussed. A
few years ago, when the question of the currency was a question of party
politics, there was no aspect in which it could be presented, which did
not arouse all the restless jealousies of party prejudice. If you talked
of hard-money, you were denounced as a Benton bullionist; if you talked
of credit, you were called a Whig banker, plotting to devour the poor;
and the calmest phrases of science were turned into the shibboleths of an
internecine warfare. A better hour has come, and let us improve it to our
mutual edification.



SONNET.


  The Maple puts her corals on in May,
  While loitering frosts about the lowlands cling,
  To be in tune with what the robins sing,
  Plastering new log-huts 'mid her branches gray;
  But when the Autumn southward turns away,
  Then in her veins burns most the blood of Spring,
  And every leaf, intensely blossoming,
  Makes the year's sunset pale the set of day.
  O Youth unprescient, were it only so
  With trees you plant, and in whose shade reclined,
  Thinking their drifting blooms Fate's coldest snow,
  You carve dear names upon the faithful rind,
  Nor in that vernal stem the cross foreknow
  That Age may bear, silent, yet unresigned!



THE ROUND TABLE.


It was said long ago, that poets, like canaries, must be starved in order
to keep them in good voice, and, in the palmy days of Grub Street, an
editor's table was nothing grander than his own knee, on which, in his airy
garret, he unrolled his paper-parcel of dinner, happy if its wrapping were
a sheet from Brown's last poem, and not his own. Now an editorial table
seems to mean a board of green cloth at which literary broken-victuals are
served out with no carving but that of the editorial scissors.

_La Maga_ has her table, too, and at fitting times invites to it her
various Eminent Hands. It is a round table,--that is, rounded by the
principle of rotation,--for how could she settle points of precedence with
the august heads of her various Departments without danger of the dinner's
growing cold? Substantial dinners are eaten thereat with Homeric appetite,
nor, though _impletus venter non vult studere libenter_, are the visits of
the Muse unknown. At these feasts no tyranny of speech-making is allowed,
but the _bonbons_ are all wrapped in original copies of verses by various
contributors, which, having served their festive turn, become the property
of the guests. Reporters are not admitted, for the eating is not done
for inspection, like that of the hapless inmates of a menagerie; but
_La Maga_ herself sometimes brings away in her pocket a stanza or so which
she esteems worthy of a more general communication. Last month she thus
sequestered the following Farewell addressed by Holmes to the historian of
William the Silent.

  Yes, we knew we must lose him,--though friendship may claim
  To blend her green leaves with the laurels of fame;
  Though fondly, at parting, we call him our own,
  'Tis the whisper of love when the bugle has blown.

  As the rider that rests with the spur on his heel,--
  As the guardsman that sleeps in his corselet of steel,--
  As the archer that stands with his shaft on the string,
  He stoops from his toil to the garland we bring.

  What pictures yet slumber unborn in his loom
  Till their warriors shall breathe and their beauties shall bloom,
  While the tapestry lengthens the life-glowing dyes
  That caught from our sunsets the stain of their skies!

  In the alcoves of death, in the charnels of time,
  Where flit the gaunt spectres of passion and crime,
  There are triumphs untold, there are martyrs unsung,
  There are heroes yet silent to speak with his tongue!

  Let us hear the proud story that time has bequeathed
  From lips that are warm with the freedom they breathed!
  Let him summon its tyrants, and tell us their doom,
  Though he sweep the black past like Van Tromp with his broom!

       *       *       *       *       *

  The stream flashes by, for the west-winds awake
  On pampas, on prairie, o'er mountain and lake,
  To bathe the swift bark, like a sea-girdled shrine,
  With incense they stole from the rose and the pine.

  So fill a bright cup with the sunlight that gushed
  When the dead summer's jewels were trampled and crushed:
  THE TRUE KNIGHT OF LEARNING,--the world holds him dear,--
  Love bless him, Joy crown him, God speed his career!

  _Aug. 8, 1857._



LITERARY NOTICES.


_The Greyson Letters_, Selections from the Correspondence of R.E.H.
GREYSON, ESQ. Edited by HENRY ROGERS, Author of "The Eclipse of Faith," &c.
Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1 vol. 12mo.

We are assured in the American preface to this volume, that while it
exhibits Henry Rogers as the peer of Butler as a reasoner, it also shows
him not inferior to Lamb as a humorist. Much as we are inclined to echo
the critical decisions of prefaces, we regret being unable to indorse this
confident statement. In amplitude, vigor, and fertility of thought we must
think the author of the "Analogy" holds some slight advantages over the
author of "The Eclipse of Faith"; and we seriously doubt if the lovers of
Charles Lamb will be likely to rush into mirthful ecstasies over the humor
of "The Greyson Letters." But we suppose that Henry Rogers himself would
make no pretensions to the rank of a writer, or reasoner, or humorist of
the first class. Far from being a great man, he occasionally slips into
the prejudices of quite a little one, and he never wholly puts off the
pedagogue and puts on the philosopher. Without much original force of
nature, and never unmistakably stamping his own image and superscription
either on his arguments or his language, he is still a well-trained
theological scholar, a skilful logician, and one of that class of
elegant writers who neither offend the taste nor kindle the soul. As a
controversialist on themes which are now engaging popular attention, he
grasps the questions he discusses at one or two removes from their centre
and heart, where they pass out of the sphere of ideas and pass into the
region of opinions; and in this region he is candid to the extent of his
perceptions, quick to detect the weak points in the formal statements
of his opponents, and, without touching the vitalities of the matter in
controversy, is always hailed as victor by those who agree with him, but
rarely convinces the doubters and deniers he aims to convert. "The Greyson
Letters" are evidently the work of an amiable, learned, accomplished, and
able man, interested in a wide variety of themes which especially attract
the attention of thinkers, but in his treatment of them indicating a lack
of deep and wide experience, and of that close, searching thought which
pierces to the core of a subject, and broods patiently over its living
elements and relations, before it assumes to take them as materials for
argumentation. This broad grasp of premises, which implies a penetrating
and interpretative as well as dialectic mind, is the distinguishing
difference between a great reasoner and an able logician. In regard to the
form of the work, we can see no reason why its essays should be thrown
into the shape of letters. The epistolary spirit vanishes almost as soon
as "Dear Sir" and "Dear Madam" create its expectation. The author's mind
is grave by nature and culture, and is sprightly, as it seems to us, by
compulsion and laborious levity. His nature has none of the richness and
juiciness, none of the instinctive soul of humor, which must have vent in
the ludicrous. Occasionally an adversary or adverse dogma is demolished
with excellent logic, and then comes a dismal grin or chuckle at the feat,
which hardly reminds us of the sly, shy smile of Addison, or the frolic
intelligence which laughs in the victorious eyes of Pascal. Still, with all
abatements, "The Greyson Letters" make a book well worthy of being read,
contain much admirable matter and suggestive thought, and might be allowed
to pass muster among good books of the second class, did they not come
before us with professions that seemed to invite the tests applicable to
the first.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Essays in Biography and Criticism_. By PETER BAYNE, M.A., Author of "The
Christian Life, Social and Individual," &c. First Series. Boston: Gould &
Lincoln. 1 vol. 12mo.

This volume contains essays on De Quincey, Tennyson and his Teachers, Mrs.
Barrett Browning, Glimpses of Recent British Art, John Ruskin, Hugh Miller,
The Modern Novel, and Currer Bell. Though of various degrees of merit,
they all evince careful study and patient thought, and are written with
considerable brilliancy and eloquence. As a critic, Mr. Bayne is generally
candid, conscientious, and intelligent, with occasional remarks evincing
delicacy and depth of thought; but his perceptions are not always
trustworthy, and his judgments are frequently of doubtful soundness. Thus
when we are told that Wordsworth owed his fame to his moral elevation
rather than to his "intellectual or æsthetic capacities," and that there is
hardly an instance of the highest creative imagination in the whole range
of his poetry,--when we are informed that since Shakspeare no one "has laid
bare the burning heart of passion" so perfectly as Byron,--and when the
question is triumphantly asked, "Where, out of Shakspeare, can we find
such a series of female portraits as those" in Bulwer's "Rienzi,"--we feel
inclined, in this association of Byron and Bulwer with Shakspeare, and this
oversight of Wordsworth's claim to represent the highest original elements
in the English poetry of the present century, to dispute Mr. Bayne's right
to assume the chair of interpretative criticism. But still there are so
many examples in his book of fine and true perception, and so evident a
sympathy with intellectual excellence and moral beauty, that we do not
feel disposed to quarrel with him on account of the apparent erroneousness
of some of his separate opinions. Besides, his work is written in a style
which will recommend it to a class of readers who are not especially
interested in the subjects of which it treats, and it cannot fail to
stimulate in them a desire to know more of the great writers of the
century.

       *       *       *       *       *

_White Lies. A Novel_. By Charles Reade. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1 vol.
12mo.

The early chapters of this novel lack the brisk movement, the sparkling
compactness, the stinging surprises of Mr. Reade's usual style, but he
kindles and condenses as he proceeds. As a whole, the work compares
favorably with his most brilliant compositions. He is a writer difficult to
criticize, because his defects are pleasing defects. Dogmatism is commonly
offensive, and Mr. Reade's dogmatism is of the most uncompromising, not to
say insulting character; yet it is exhibited in connection with insight
so sure and vivid, that we pardon the positiveness of the assertion for
the truth of what is asserted. Then he has a way of forcing Nature, much
against her wish, to be epigrammatic,--of producing startling effects by
artifices almost theatrical; and though his devices are obvious, they are
more than forgiven for the genuine power and real naturalness behind the
rhetorical masquerade. Other men's freaks and eccentricities lead to the
distortion of truth and the confusion of relations, but Mr. Reade has
freaks of wisdom and eccentricities of practical sagacity. Occasionally
he has a stroke of observation that comes like a flash of lightning,
blasting and shattering in an instant a prejudice or hypocrisy which was
strong enough to resist all the arguments of reason and all the appeals
of humanity. "White Lies" is full of examples of his power, and of the
peculiarities of his power. Blunt and bold and arrogant as his earnestness
often appears, it is capable of the most winning gentleness, the most
delicate grace, and the most searching pathos. The delineation of the
female characters in this novel is especially admirable. Josephine
and Laure are exquisite creations, and the Baroness and Jacintha,
though different, are almost as perfect, considered as examples of
characterization. In the invention and management of incidents, the
author exhibits a sure knowledge of the means and contrivances by which
expectation is stimulated, and the interest of the story kept from
flagging. We hope to read many more novels from the same pen as delightful
as "White Lies."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Brazil and the Brazilians_. Portrayed in Historical and Descriptive
Sketches. By Rev. D.P. Kidder, D.D., and Rev. J.C. Fletcher. Illustrated by
one hundred and fifty Engravings. Philadelphia: Childs & Peterson. 1 vol.
8vo.

Brazil is a country but little known to the majority of readers, and the
little that is known is so fragmentary that it is as likely to convey a
false idea as an incomplete one. The writers of this volume combine two
qualifications for the work of dissipating this ignorance. They have a
direct personal knowledge of Brazil, gained during a long residence in
the country, and they have carefully studied every valuable book on its
history and resources. The manners, customs, laws, government, productions,
literature, art, and religion of the people have all been carefully
observed under circumstances favorable for accurate investigation. The
result is a valuable, interesting, and attractive volume, well worthy of
being extensively read. The elegance of its mechanical execution, and the
profusion of engravings illustrating the text, will add to its popularity,
if not to its value.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Poetical Works of Leigh Hunt_. Now first entirely collected. Revised
by himself, and edited, with an Introduction, by S. ADAMS LEE. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 2 vols. 18mo.

Leigh Hunt has outlived all the enmities and enemies provoked either by his
merits or his demerits, and is especially interesting as the sole survivor
of the illustrious company of poets with whom the mind instinctively
associates him. Some burnt out; some died out; some dried up; but he
remains the same cosey, chirping, fine-natured, and self-pleased singer,
who won the love of Shelley and Keats, and roused the wrath of Gifford and
Wilson. We are glad to welcome his collected poems in their appropriate
attire of "blue and gold," and trust they will have a wide circulation
in the United States, as the genial poet is himself to be a participant
in the profits of the publication. We wish that a word of ours could
be influential in assisting this veteran of letters to reap from the
publication something more substantial than fame, yet in some degree the
expression of it,--something which shall give him assurance that his
volumes are on thousands of parlor tables, because the proofs of it are
palpable in the increased comforts afforded to his old age. And certainly
the poet deserves a wide circle of readers. Though he does not succeed in
the delineation of the great and grand passions of our nature, he is very
successful in the sphere of its humane and tender sentiments; and though
open to criticism for the jaunty audacity with which he coins dainty
sweetnesses of expression rejected by all dictionaries, and for an
occasional pertness in asserting opinions of doubtful truth, he is so
lovable a creature that we pardon his literary foibles as we would pardon
the personal foibles of a charming companion and friend. He has a genuine
love for all cheerful and cheering things, and power enough to infuse his
cheer into other minds. Disliking all internal and external foes to human
comfort, he is equally the enemy of evil, and of the morbid discontent
which springs from the bitter contemplation of evil. His nature is
essentially sprightly and sensuous, with here a bit of Suckling and there a
bit of Fletcher, carrying us back to an elder period of British poetry by
the careless grace and freedom of his movement, and proving his connection
with the present by the openness of his mind to all liberal thought and
philanthropic feeling. Good-humor and benevolence are so dominant in his
nature, that they prevent him from having any deep perceptions of evil and
calamity. He is personally affronted when he sees the thunder-cloud push
away the sunshine from life; and God, to him, is not only absolute Good,
but absolute Good Nature.

It would be easy to quote passages from these volumes illustrative of his
acute observation, his largeness of sympathy, his delicacy and daintiness
of touch, his sweetness, humor, pathos, and fancy. As a specimen of the
playful and beautiful ingenuity of his mind, we extract a portion of his
little poem on "Love-Letters made of Flowers."

  "An exquisite invention this,
  Worthy of Love's most honeyed kiss,
  This art of writing _billets-doux_
  In buds and odors and bright hues!
  In saying all one feels and thinks
  In clever daffodils and pinks;
  In puns of tulips; and in phrases,
  Charming for their truth, of daisies;
  Uttering, as well as silence may,
  The sweetest words the sweetest way.
  How fit, too, for the lady's bosom!
  The place where _billets-doux_ repose 'em.

  "What delight, in some sweet spot
  Combining _love_ with _garden_ plot,
  At once to cultivate one's flowers
  And one's epistolary powers!
  Growing one's own choice words and fancies
  In orange tubs and beds of pansies;
  One's sighs and passionate declarations
  In odorous rhetoric of carnations;
  Seeing how far one's stocks will reach;
  Taking due care one's flowers of speech
  To guard from blight as well as bathos,
  And watering every day one's pathos!"

From the exquisite little poem entitled "Songs of the Flowers" we should
like to cut a few stanzas; but our limits forbid.



MUSIC.


What will the Muses do in these hard times? Must they cease to hold court
in opera-house and concert-room, because stocks fall, factories and banks
stop, credit is paralyzed, and princely fortunes vanish away like bubbles
on the swollen tide of speculation? Must Art, too, bear the merchant's
penalties? or shall not rather this ideal, feminine element of life, shall
not Art, like woman, warm and inspire a sweeter, richer, more ideal, though
it be a humbler home for us, with all the tenderer love and finer genius,
now that man's enterprise is wrecked abroad? Shall we have no Music? Has
the universal "panic" griped the singers' throats, that they can no longer
vibrate with the passionate and perfect freedom indispensable to melody?
It must not be. The soul is too rich in resources to let all its interests
fail because one fails. If business and material speculation have been
overdone, if we are checked and flung down in these mad endeavors to
accumulate vast means of living, we shall have time to pick ourselves up,
compose ourselves to some tranquillity and some humility, and actually,
with what small means we have, begin to _live_. Panic strangles life, and
the money-making fever always tends to panic. Panic is the great evil
now, and panic needs a panacea. What better one can we invent than music?
It were the very madness of economy to cut off that. Some margin every
life must have, around this everlasting sameness of the dull page of
necessity,--some opening into the free infinite of joy and careless
ideality, or the very life-springs dry up.

Music is a cheap luxury; the more so as one seeks real music for its own
sake, and not the music which is imported like the Paris fashions. This
winter it will be a question between whether we can afford to pay for it,
and whether we can afford to do without it. We think the absolute necessity
of some diversion, something to lift the leaden cloud, and keep us in a
state of natural buoyancy and courage, already settles the question. Music
we shall have, simply because we need it. Or view it from the opposite
side, from the point of mere political economy. Music, in many ways, has
built itself up into a great industry among us,--music-publishers, musical
instrument-makers, music teachers, musical performers,--all mutually
dependent, and together swelling the national industry to the amount of
many millions. It is the opportunities of hearing music, it is the concerts
and the operas, that give the impulse to this whole many-branched machine.
Taken together, it feeds many mouths, and helps turn many other very
different sort of mills, and plays its part in Wall Street and in State
Street, and its _notes_ in that sense enter as much into the general
currency as they do into the general ear in another. Now which is cheaper,
which is wiser, to employ these artists, and the crowds of workers whom
the public exercise of their talent keeps in motion, or cast them off upon
society to be a general burden in a more hopeless form? Surely, we can
afford the stoppage of some banks and factories, quite as well as we can
that of music. Let us look around, then, upon its prospects for the winter.

While we write (the first week in October) the musical season, in what we
take to be the most music-loving of our cities, Boston, has not commenced,
or shaped itself into much distinctness of plan. The season is late;
hard times may make it later; yet shall "the winter of our discontent be
glorious summer" ere long. Boston, for its best music,--best in artistic
tendency, though not perhaps the most exciting or most fashionable,--has
always relied more than New York on its own quiet, domestic resources. Our
musical societies have been the centres of our musical activity, and have
more or less successfully provided us with sterling opportunities of making
ourselves acquainted with the master compositions in the various forms
of Oratorio, Orchestra, Chamber Music, etc., where the end has been more
to get at the intrinsic worth and beauty of the music, than to go into
fashionable raptures about some new-come singer or solo-playing virtuoso.
Yet virtuosodom and the Italian opera come in to reap an annual harvest
here too, and have and long will have their zealous party of admirers.
Were Opera an organized home industry among us, as much as other forms of
music,--were there some meaning in the name "Academy of Music" worn by
operatic theatres, it would be more useful to our artistic progress. But
Italian Opera, as managed, and "star" concerts generally, are no part of
the healthy, permanent development of our own musical resources. They
are speculations; they attack us from without, exploiting a factitious
enthusiasm, and exhausting the soil in one short season, so they may only
carry off the present fatness of the land. Operas and virtuoso concerts
are wholly in the hands of speculators, musical Jew-brokers, who do a
formidable business in old clothes, the worn-out musical celebrities of
Europe;--often with great skill, often much to our pleasure and advantage;
for it is much to us to hear great artists, even when the voice has lost
some of its freshness, and to admire now what long ago perhaps exhausted
admiration in the Old World. But the effect is bad on our domestic
industry. We almost need a musical protective system. Our good old society
concerts have been much thrown out of joint. Few of them of late, as
compared with former years, have paid. The dazzling novelties, that come
trumpeted with all the cunning speculators' arts, debauch us somewhat from
our wholesome, quiet love of pure, high music for its own sake, and lead
the public into little short-lived fanaticisms about certain prima donnas,
baritones, or tenors, and about music chiefly made to show off the singer,
full of the commonplaces that he loves to make "effect" in,--fanaticisms
alternating with _blasé_ indifference. But this would lead us into a long
discussion, and it is our wish here to avoid vexed questions. For
the present we will avow no sides, of German or Italian, "light" or
"classical."

The lovers of opera have something to look forward to in Boston; what, we
shall see when we survey the field elsewhere. Our noble Boston theatre
must needs be one point in the triangular campaign of the three cities.
And here we may allude, _en passant_, to the prospect of one novelty that
ought to interest our opera-lovers who are weary of the usual hackneyed
_répertoire_. Our townsman, Mr. L. H. Southard, the composer of "The
Scarlet Letter," has also written an Italian opera, on an Oriental subject,
with the title "Omano," the libretto by Signor Manetta, founded on
Beckford's "Vathek." A private or subscription concert will soon give an
opportunity of hearing some of its scenas, quatuors, etc. To come back,
then, to what is more peculiarly Bostonian in the way of music,--what
concerts shall we have? Of large societies, the only one remaining now
in operative force is the oldest and the largest, the Handel and Haydn
Society. This set the right example last May, in that splendid three-days'
Festival, of true domestic musical enterprise, organizing the whole thing
on the basis of internal and domestic means, with our own permanent nucleus
of orchestra and chorus, and drawing from without such other talent, such
solo singers, as were needed for the right interpretation of the noble
music, and not merely for their own private exhibition and profit. This was
genuine; this was wholesome; and the success warrants the best hopes for
another season. Carl Zerrahn, the excellent conductor upon that occasion,
is on his way home from Germany (his _old_ home) with new stock of zeal and
of new music, and the oratorio rehearsals will at once begin. It is event
enough for one winter, the single fact that Handel's "Israel in Egypt,"
that mightiest oratorio, which is one mountain range of sublime choruses,
will be the chief subject of study. It is proposed to give at least four
Sunday-evening performances, consisting of "The Messiah," of course, at
Christmas; Costa's "Eli," or "Elijah"; the "Requiem" of Mozart, and the
"Lobgesang" by Mendelssohn; and for the last, and we trust many last,
"Israel in Egypt." All this will be but so much rehearsal for the grander
Festival to follow. We have no organized orchestral or symphony society,
as we should have; but we have with us always the elements of a good
orchestra, who always work well together, and never better than last
year under the enterprise and drill of Mr. Zerrahn. Then we had glorious
symphonies and overtures, both old and new; and we shall have as good, and
still more brilliant concerts soon, if hard times do not daunt the leader's
very sanguine purpose. As a pendant, too, to the orchestral evenings, will
come cheap afternoon concerts in the Music Hall, where good symphonies
and overtures, with sparkling varieties for younger tastes, will hold out
weekly invitation.

For the select few, who hold communion in the love of classical quartet
and trio music by the great masters,--in the piano poems of Chopin,
Mendelssohn, and Beethoven, there will be abundant opportunities. The
Mendelssohn Quintette Club, the German Trio, Mr. Satter, the pianist,
and would we might add Otto Dresel, will give series of concerts in the
pleasant Chickering Saloon, that holds two hundred. Alas! we may be
disappointed there. The Masonic Temple has been sold to the government for
a United States Court-house. Think of the musical associations that haunt
and consecrate the place, and think of the uses to which it may soon be
put! What profanation! Hitherto the only _chains_ that have surrounded that
Temple have been chains of harmony, which one may wear and not be a slave!
It has been a Temple of Concord;--may we hope that it will be in truth a
Temple of Justice!--For virtuoso concerts, we shall have what the managers
at New York send us. We shall of course have Vieuxtemps and Thalberg, if no
more.

In New York the campaign has been opened for this month past, and we do not
yet hear that the troubles down in Wall Street have discouraged the lessees
of the Academy of Music. Great is the array of singers and of players that
revolve around the little knot of musical speculators in New York. Strange
to say, Italian opera has German managers. They catch the birds, having
beforehand caught and prepared the public. But it is as well to state, that
there are _two_ great operatic enterprises, as there are two rival musical
broker managers: to wit, Maretzek and Ullman; the former backed by Marshall
of the Philadelphia Academy, and proceeding forth with hope to conquer
from that centre; the latter backed by Thalberg, and strengthened by the
Strakosch and Vestvali tributaries that roll proudly in from scenes of
conquest in the Western States and Mexico. The Ullman party hold the New
York Academy; the other party hold the theatres of Philadelphia and Boston;
either must make itself felt at the three points, to avoid a losing game.
Hence these harmonious and deadly rivals have perforce entered into a
league of amity and commerce, whereby they exchange singers, so that all
shall in turn be heard at every theatre. At New York the company includes,
for leading soprani, Madame Lagrange, the wonder of the last two years,
greatest of vocal gymnasts, and fine actress always, with voice well worn,
and Madame Frezzolini, as the last imported celebrity from Europe; her
voice, too, is past its prime, but her art is pronounced immaculate, and
she is quite a charmer, if we may trust the critics. For contralto there
is Vestvali, the dashing tall one, who delights in man's clothes, and
sings Charles the Fifth, the baritone (!) rôle in "Ernani." There is a
delicate new tenor, Labocetta, and another named Maccaferri, and a fresh,
universally admired baritone, Gassier; and there is our old buffo friend,
Rocco, and many more. Besides whom are two famous announcements, yet to
come from Europe: the French tenor, Roger, and the German basso, Formes.
The orchestra and chorus are, we suppose, as usual; the conductor better;
he is Herr Anschütz, who has had experience in London, and who subdues his
orchestra to sympathetic support of the singers. With Max it is the other
way; he loves to ride full swing upon the top of his forces, brass and
all, _fortissimo_, conquering and to conquer. Is "Il Trovatore" wanted,
everlasting "Trovatore,"--music that whirls and fascinates, possessed
and driven by one fixed idea of burning at the stake, with furies of
love and jealousy to match,--they borrow from the other company (under
the "amicable" treaty) Brignoli, of the golden tenor voice, who sings
so sweetly and sulks so proudly lazy, and Amodio, that ton of juvenile
humanity, whose weighty baritone and eagerness to please make up for the
see-saw alternation of his two only expressions and gesticulations,--those
of vulgar love-making and mock-heroical revenge. These, with Gazzaniga, the
charming, lively, natural Gazzaniga, whose voice _is_ fresh, and who can
sing and act so charmingly in genial music, such as Donizetti's "Elisir d'
Amore," with also Assoni, the buffo, and Coletti, the bass, compose the
year-old and tried nucleus of the Philadelphia opera, which opened the
first Monday in October. To these are added new attractions, in the shape
of old celebrities from Europe: namely, Ronconi, the great _Don Giovanni_
of the London opera; Tagliafico, the basso; Stecchi-Bottardi, tenor from
Her Majesty's; Signora Ramos, prima donna from Turin; Signora Tagliafico;
and greatest of all, to come when he has got through with the Russians, the
famous tenor, Tamberlik.

Here is a great array, and great expense. Verily, it rains "stars," as it
rains meteors in our cold November nights. Perhaps it will pay,--perhaps
not. But for the interests of Art, and the true gratification and
advancement of the taste for music, one might ask whether a better economy
of means would not have dictated fewer "stars," and more completeness in
the orchestra, the chorus, and the general _ensemble_, so that we might for
once hear and enjoy _an opera_, and not merely a few singers lifted up on
the cheapest platform of an opera, loosely nailed together for their sakes.
And this question leads to another consideration of still more importance
to the real interests of Art. What music, what operas shall we hear? So
far, it has been the same old story, the same hackneyed round of "Norma,"
and "Lucia," and "Lucrezia Borgia," and "Ernani," and "Trovatore," and so
on, with once or twice the ever genial and sparkling "Il Barbiere." The
whole attraction lies (as always in these great musical _speculations_) in
the solo singers. These ever place themselves between you and good music;
they choose to sing the music that best shows their powers, no matter how
familiar, hackneyed, sentimental, commonplace, and trashy. If you call for
"William Tell," for the "Nozzi di Figaro," to say nothing of "Fidelio," or
"Oberon," or "Freischütz," they have not the organization for it, have not
the chorus, the secondary singers, the artists who know and love the music;
it will not pay, and so forth. Our Academies must justify their name and be
domestic institutions, permanent lyric organizations, before we can call in
singers to illustrate an opera, instead of worn-out operas to illustrate
the singer.

Since penning the above, we hear of a fortnight's suspension of the Opera
in New York, to allow time for the preparation of the "Nozzi di Figaro,"
"Robert le Diable," "Les Huguenots," &c.

In close connection with the opera, the brilliant concerts of Vieuxtemps
and Thalberg go on. Probably there is nothing better of the virtuoso kind;
and as they bring in the orchestra sometimes, they give occasionally
something classical and great, performed in a masterly manner. Indeed,
all the music of New York seems to revolve now round the Ullman-Thalberg
centre. They sweep all into their orbit. With the Harmonic Society, they
give Sunday oratorios, promising "The Messiah," "Creation," "Elijah,"
David's "Desert," (!) and others.

We have not left ourselves room to more than hint at the truest musical
pride of New York, her Philharmonic Society, whose orchestra now numbers
eighty excellent performers, and whose list of regular subscribers reaches
eighteen hundred. They are rehearsing Spohr's symphony, "Die Weihe der
Töne," with Schumann's "Manfred" overture, and Beethoven's sublime
"Leonora," for their first concert, and will do much for classical music
by their four concerts. In Boston, in spite of our broken and disorganized
condition, we have ten or a dozen Symphony concerts in a winter. Chamber
Quartets, too, and Trios with Piano, will have their audiences,--let us
hope numerous enough to gladden the hearts of the artists.





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