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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 32, June, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 32, June, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.



VOL. V.--JUNE, 1860. NO. XXXII.



THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN RAILWAYS.


The condition of our railways, and their financial prospects, should
interest all of us. It has become a common remark, that railways have
benefited everybody but their projectors. There is a strong doubt in the
minds of many intelligent persons, whether _any_ railways have actually
paid a return on the capital invested in them. It is believed that one of
two results inevitably takes place: in the one case, there is not business
enough to earn a dividend; in the other, although the apparent net earnings
are large enough to pay from six to eight per cent. on the cost, yet in a
few years it is discovered that the machine has been wearing itself out so
fast that the cost of renewal has absorbed more than the earnings, and the
deficiency has been made up by creating new capital or running in debt, to
supply the place of what has been worn out and destroyed. The Illinois
Central has been pointed out as an example of the first kind; the New-York
Central, of the second; while the New-York and Erie is a melancholy
instance of a railway which, never having enough legitimate business of its
own, has worn itself out in carrying at unremunerative rates whatever it
could steal from its neighbors. The general opinion of the community, after
the crash of 1857, was, that all our railways approximated more or less
closely to these unhappy conditions, and it was merely a question of time
as to their final bankruptcy and ruin. Even now, when they have recovered
themselves considerably, and are paying dividends again, capitalists are
very shy of them.

It is our belief, contrary to the current opinion, that during the next
decade such a change will have taken place in the condition of our
railways, that we shall see them averaging eight to ten per cent, dividends
on their legitimate cost. We propose in the present article to give the
reasons which have led us to this conclusion.

The causes to which may be traced the languishing condition of our railways
may be stated as follows:--Financial mismanagement; imperfect construction;
and want of individual responsibility in their operation.

The financial mismanagement of our railways has arisen from precisely the
opposite cause to that which has made British railways cost from two to
three times as much as they should have done. Their excess of cost was
owing to their having too much money; ours to our having too little. They
were robbed right and left for Parliamentary expenses, land-damages,
etc. The Great Northern, from London to York, three hundred and fourteen
miles, expended five millions of dollars in getting its charter.
Mr. E. Stephenson says that the cost of land and compensation on British
railways has averaged forty-three thousand dollars per mile, or as much as
the total cost of the railways of Massachusetts.

American railway-companies have never been troubled with too much money.
They have usually commenced with a great desire for economy, selecting a
"cheap" engineer, and getting a low estimate of the probable cost. A
portion of the amount is subscribed for in stock, and the next thing is to
run in debt. "First mortgage bonds" are issued and sold. The proceeds are
expended, and the road is not half done. Another issue is sold at a great
discount, and yet another, if possible. As the road approaches completion,
the desperate Directors raise money by the most desperate expedients, such
as would bankrupt any merchant in the country in his private business.
Sometimes the road has vitality enough to work itself out of its troubles;
but in other cases, unfortunately too numerous, it passes into the hands of
the bond-holders, and all it can earn goes to remunerate trustees, and pay
legal expenses, commissions, etc.

The financial mistakes of our railways have been, endeavoring to do too
much with too little money, and crippling themselves with a load of debt
that no project could stand under. This has led, as a matter of course, to
the second evil,--Imperfect construction. The projectors of a new railway
have thus reasoned with themselves:--"The average cost of our railways has
been between forty and fifty thousand dollars per mile, and this one, no
doubt, will reach those figures before we get through. But it will never do
to talk so, or we could not get the money to build it. Mr. Transit, our
engineer, says it can be opened for twenty thousand dollars per mile, and
we will earn money enough to finish it by-and-by."  So they go on, and, to
get the road open for the small sum attainable, everything has to be
"scrimped" and pared down to the lowest scale. The cuttings are taken out
just wide enough for the cars to pass through, and the ends of the ties
overhang the edges of the embankments. Temporary trestle-work of wood is
substituted for stone bridges and culverts. Some reckless fellow tosses
down the iron as fast as a horse can trot, and the road is opened.

Another way in which imperfect construction is inevitable is where
companies admit their inability to be their own financiers by giving some
influential contractor his price, and allowing him to "do his own
engineering," in consideration of his taking such securities as they have
to offer, and which he undertakes to float by means of his superior
connections. Having the thing his own way, and being naturally anxious to
build his road for as little money as possible, he pares down everything
even below the standard of embarrassed railway-boards. If the road will
only hold together until he has sold his bonds, it is all he asks. If the
business is good, the road will perhaps be finished, or what is thought to
be finished, some day or other. If business is dull, nothing is done, and
the bridges and trestle-works remain such murder-traps as that on the
Albany Northern Road which broke down last year.

But it is not with such miserable apologies for railways that we have to
deal. It is on our really valuable roads, like the main lines in
Massachusetts and New York, that we shall show that the evils of imperfect
construction are felt, and will be felt, until a thorough reconstruction
has taken place. It was observed some time ago that the returns of the
Massachusetts railways for 1856 showed that there were 1,325 miles open,
costing on an average $46,480 per mile, or $61,611,721 in all. The receipts
per mile of road were $7,217, the expenses $4,260, leaving a net earning of
$2,957, or 40 per cent. of the whole. This was equal to 6.42 per cent. on
the whole cost of the railways.

For the same year the returns of all the railways in Great Britain showed
that there were 8,502 miles open, costing $173,040 per mile, or
$1,506,826,363 in all; and that the receipts per mile of road were $13,296,
the expenses $6,249, leaving a net earning of $7,047, or 53 per cent of the
whole. This was equal to a dividend of 3.97 per cent. on the whole
cost. These figures showed, that, however extravagantly the British
railways had been built, they certainly were worked more economically than
our own.

At first view it might be thought that the economy was due to their greater
business; but further inquiry showed, that, from the better shape of
American cars, and from the wants of the public requiring fewer trains, the
actual receipts per mile run of Massachusetts trains were $1.83 against
$1.44 of British trains. The expenses per mile run of Massachusetts trains
were $1.08, while those of British trains were only 63 3/8 cents. Could
Massachusetts railways be worked as cheaply, the result would be that they
could declare nine per cent. dividends on their cost, instead of six.

Here offered a rich reward for investigation. Accordingly two gentlemen
well known to the railway world, Messrs. Zerah Colburn and Alexander
L. Holley, made a trip to England for the purpose of discovering how it was
that John Bull could work his railways so much cheaper than Brother
Jonathan. The results of their investigations are embodied in a handsome
quarto volume, illustrated with numerous drawings, which has been
subscribed for by most of the railways and prominent railway-men throughout
the country. It is not too much to say, that the effect of it, in directing
the attention of American railway-managers to the weak points of their
system, has resulted already in a saving to the stockholders of our
railways of millions of dollars. [Footnote: The statistics of the English
railways given in this article are taken from the volume here referred to.

Because some cunning English contractors in South America took advantage of
the statements in this book to depreciate the American railway system and
American civil engineers, for their own private advantage in obtaining
work, some Americans have been so foolish as to decry the book altogether,
as traitorous to the interests of the country. Such mingled bigotry and
conceit, shrinking from just criticism, would fetter all progress but
fortunately it is rare.]

More than half the cost of operating a railway consists of the repairs of
track and machinery and the cost of fuel and oil. These expenses are
exactly proportional to the mileage of trains. It was soon seen that the
greater economy of British railways was almost entirely confined to these
items.

The cost of "maintenance of way" upon English railways was 10 1/2 cents per
mile run, against 25 cents on those of Massachusetts. The cost of repairs
of cars and engines was nearly the same on both. The cost of fuel per mile
run was 6 1/2 cents, against 15 cents. While English trains are from 20 to
30 per cent. lighter than ours, they average 25 per cent. faster, so that
practically these conditions must nearly balance each other. In alignment
the English roads are superior to ours, and as to gradients they have some
advantage; although grades of 40 to 52.8 feet per mile are quite common.
In climate they have less severe difficulties to contend with; although
their moist weather, the nature of their soil, and their heavy earthworks
involve much extra expense. In prices, the advantage is at least 20 per
cent, in their favor.

These considerations might account for an economy of 30 per cent. as
compared with our expenses for maintenance of way, but they cannot account
for the great actual economy of 60 per cent. which we have seen. We must
seek farther to find the explanation of this, and we soon discover it by
comparing the condition of the road-beds and tracks on the railways of the
two countries.

The English railways are thoroughly built, are not opened to the public
until finished, and no expense is spared to keep them in order. American
railways are too often put in operation when half finished. The consequence
is, they never are finished, and are continually wearing out,--not lasting,
on an average, more than half as long as they should, if once thoroughly
constructed. Wooden bridges are allowed to rot down for want of protection.
Rails are left to be battered to pieces for want of drainage and ballast.
One road spends thirty-four thousand dollars a year for "watching cuts,"
and fifty-five thousand more for removing slides that should never have
taken place. Everything is done for the moment, and nothing thoroughly. Who
can wonder that this system tells upon the cost of maintenance of way?

The amount of fuel burned is the exact measure of the resistance to be
overcome, and a rough track must necessarily require a larger amount of
fuel. The English roads now generally burn bituminous coal; most American
roads burn wood; but these being reduced to the same equivalent quantity,
it will be found that the American roads burn nearly twice as much as the
English.

That the cost of the repairs of American cars and engines is not more is
attributable solely to their superior design. An English engine and cars
would be battered to pieces in a few months on our rough roads, on account
of their rigidity and concentration of weight; while those of America, by
yielding to shocks both vertically and horizontally, escape injury.
American cars and engines are as much superior in design to the English as
their roads excel ours in solidity and finish.

But it will be asked, Shall we imitate the notorious extravagance of
British railways built at a cost of one hundred and seventy-three thousand
dollars per mile?

The answer is plain. The only thing about them to be imitated is their
thorough and permanent construction. That this need not involve
extravagance is evident from the fact that the actual cost of construction
has been only eighty-eight thousand dollars per mile of double-track
railway, including all the costly viaducts, tunnels, and bridges, which in
many cases a more judicious location or a bolder use of gradients would
have avoided. The remainder of their cost is made up of law and
Parliamentary expenses, engineering and management, land and damages,
interest on stock, bonuses, dividends paid from capital, etc., etc.,
amounting to eighty-five thousand dollars per mile. The folly of all this
has been seen, and neither the financial nor the engineering errors of that
day are now repeated. To show that a better system prevails, it is only
necessary to state that between 1848 and 1858, 390 miles of first-class
single-track railway have been opened at an average cost of $46.692 per
mile, and in all that relates to economical maintenance are not inferior to
any in the kingdom.

Such railways as these, costing no more than our own, we would hold up for
imitation. How, then, do they differ from ours? or rather, what must be
done to put ours into the same condition of economical efficiency?

In the first place, stone culverts and earth embankments should replace
wooden structures, wherever possible. As fast as wooden bridges decay, they
should be replaced with iron; and if the piers and abutments require it, as
is too often the case, they should be rebuilt in a substantial manner.

The tubular iron bridge we do not recommend, on account of its excessive
cost. For short spans of sixty feet and under, two riveted boiler-plate
girders under the track make a cheap and permanent bridge, and can be
manufactured in any part of the country. For large spans there are several
excellent forms of iron trusses, Bollman's, Fink's, or, still better, the
wrought-iron lattice.

Cuttings should be widened, if not already wide enough, so as to admit of
good ditches along the track. The slopes should be dressed off and
turfed. This costs little, and prevents the earth from washing down and
choking up the ditches, and much of that terrible nuisance, dust.

The secret of all good road-making, whether railways or common roads, lies
in thorough drainage. Until our railways are well drained, it is of little
use to try to improve the condition of the track. "In an economical view,"
says Mr. Colburn, "the damage occasioned by water is far greater than the
utmost cost of its removal. The track is disturbed, the iron bruised, the
fastenings strained, the chairs broken, the ties rotted, the resistance and
thereby the consumption of fuel increased, and the whole wear and tear
greatly enhanced."

Next to drainage in importance is plenty of good ballast. The New-England
roads are well ballasted, as a general thing; but in the West, where gravel
is scarce, they do not trouble themselves to find a substitute. Even the
great New York and Erie road, after ten years' use, is only half ballasted,
which accounts for its being more than half worn out.

Much has been said and written on the necessity of a good joint for the
rails, and many are the inventions for securing this object,--"compound
rails," "fished joints," "bracket chairs," "sleeve joints," etc., etc. But
without better road-beds no form of superstructure will last, and with
road-beds as good as they ought to be almost any simple and easily adjusted
arrangement will answer well enough.

But a more important matter than all these, so far as the economy of
maintenance is concerned, is the quality and shape of the iron rails,
forming one-eighth of the whole cost of our railways. Where companies,
instead of buying rails, are selling bonds, they have no right to complain,
if the iron turn out as worthless as the debentures. But where they pay
cash, they can insist on good iron, and will get it, if they will pay the
price, which will rule from eighteen to twenty dollars per ton over that of
the poorest article. Nor should the shape and weight of the rail be
overlooked. Experience, that stern schoolmaster, has taught us, that, while
heavy rails of seventy pounds to the yard, and over, of ordinary iron, go
to pieces in three or four years, sixty-pound rails of well-worked and good
iron will last more than double that time. The extraordinary durability of
the forty-five pound rails made for the Reading Railway Company by the Ebbw
Vale Company in 1837 is well known to railway men.

A short calculation will show the superiority, in point of economy, of
light and good rails to heavy rails of an inferior quality. A seventy-pound
rail requires 110 tons to the mile, costing, at 860 per ton, $6,600. At the
end of four years this has to be re-rolled at a cost of $30 per ton, or
$3,300 more. This is equal in eight years to an annual depreciation of
$1,237 per mile. A sixty-pound rail requires 94 tons to a mile, costing for
the best iron that can be rolled $80 per ton, or $7,520 per mile. This
would last eight years, and the annual depreciation would be $940 per mile,
or $297 less than the other. The 30,000 miles of American railways are thus
taxed annually nearly nine millions of dollars for preferring quantity to
quality.

In England, it is the custom to retain the best engineering talent upon
railways, after as well as during construction. In this country, as soon as
the engineer has made out his "final estimate," he is dismissed with as
little ceremony as a daylaborer. We employ the best mechanical engineers
that we can find to look after the repairs of our engines and cars; while
the road, which is more important, and upon the good condition of which we
have seen that the success or failure of a railway as a commercial
enterprise may depend, is handed over to some ignorant fellow whose only
qualifications are industry and obedience.

There are no unmixed evils in this world. The impecuniosity of American
railways, besides causing the bad results which we have described, has had
a good effect upon the training of American engineers. Being obliged to do
a great deal with a little money, they have steered clear of those enormous
extravagances which have characterized the works of such engineers as the
late Mr. Brunel, colossal less in proportions than cost. It has been well
observed, that there was more talent shown on a certain division of the
New-York and Erie Railway, in avoiding the necessity for viaducts, than
could possibly have been exhibited in constructing them. This remark is a
key to the difference between the old English and the American systems of
civil engineering. The one is for show, the other for use. We say the _old_
English system, because a better practice has now arisen. Cost is looked to
as well as splendor; and there is no engineer now in England whose
reputation, would sustain him in constructing such monuments of
extravagance as the Great Western Railway or the Britannia Bridge. American
civil engineers have not been fairly treated. The wretched construction of
many of our railways, and the uneconomical condition of all, have been cast
against them by their English brethren as a reproach. But the faults of
construction, we have shown, are attributable to another cause. No engineer
of standing would lend himself to many of the schemes that have been pushed
through in the West. But in order to build a "cheap" road, it is only
necessary to get a "cheap" engineer, and that is a commodity easily picked
up. If their ignorance and blunders tarnish the fair fame of the
profession, it cannot be helped. But if American engineers of standing had
been allowed to finish the railways begun by them, and to take care of them
and see that they were not abused after they were finished, our railway
securities would be quoted at higher rates than they now are.

Although there are many civil engineers of standing and experience who have
been thrown out of employment by the general stoppage of public works, and
who are better qualified to take care of that costly and delicate machine,
a Railway, than men whose knowledge is entirely empirical, yet few railways
employ a resident engineer. Those that follow this practice are generally
supposed to do so because he is a relative of some Director, and wants a
place, and not because such an officer is really required.

"Construction accounts," says Mr. Colburn, "can never be closed, until our
roads are _built_. To attempt it only involves a destruction account of
fearful magnitude. Under our present system, we are _perpetually
rebuilding_ our roads, not realizing the _life_ of our works, and thereby
running capital to waste."

"With good earthwork, thoroughly drained, well-ballasted tracks, rails of
good iron, correct form, not exceeding 60 pounds per yard, and properly
supported at the joints, the ties properly preserved, and the whole
maintained by a judicious system of repairs, the average working expenses
might unquestionably be reduced by as much as 18 cents per mile run."

The mileage of the Massachusetts railways for 1859 was 5,949,761 miles run,
and the expenses of operating $0.93, being a saving of 15 cents over those
of 1856, amounting to $892,464. If, by a judicious expenditure of $5,000
per mile, a still further saving of 18 cents per mile run could be made, it
would amount, on the present mileage, to $1,070,956 per annum, which, the
receipts being equal, would return eight per cent. on the increased capital
of sixty-eight and a half millions of dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have thus shown the combined effects of financial mismanagement and
imperfect construction upon our railway property. But there is a third evil
to be cured before it can become productive.

Under the present system of railway management, everybody is busy getting
rich at the expense of the stockholders. Railway men are as honest as the
average of mankind, but there is no reason why they should be more so; and
if their temptations are greater, a certain percentage of them will
inevitably yield to those temptations,--just as statistical tables show
that the average number of arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct
is greater on Sundays and holidays than on working-days.

A few years ago it was impossible to compare the results of the working of
one railway with those of another. The returns were so ingeniously made
out, that only one thing was certain,--the amount of dividend that it
pleased the Board of Directors to declare. If this was three or four per
cent. for the half-year, the stockholders were delighted, and passed a vote
of thanks to those worthy gentlemen for devoting so much valuable time to
their interests gratuitously. What if a dividend was not earned? it was
easy enough to raise money in Wall Street on the Company's paper, until
some excuse could be found for a new issue of bonds or stock. But those
benefactors of the human race, Tuckerman and Schuyler, put a stop to all
this. After their proceedings became public, and still more certainly after
the crash of 1857, if railways did not earn a dividend, they had to say
so. This led to investigations, and stockholders became "posted," as the
phrase is. Chiefly by the exertions of one newspaper, the "Boston Railway
Times," railway companies were shamed into giving their reports in such
form as to distinguish the expenses per mile run, for fuel, oil, repairs of
road, machines, etc., etc. This gave a common standard of comparison; and,
as we have seen, it was made use of to discover in what particular
departments English railways were worked more economically than our
own. This has led, as we have also seen, to a great reduction in the cost
of operating; and the revival of railways, as an investment, dates from
that time, 1857-8.

But there is something more wanted yet. As we have said, railway men are
not out of the reach of temptation. Let the various officers of a railway
manage it so as not to exceed the average expense of other roads of their
State, and their reputation stands high. Let them reduce their expenses
below the average, and their power is despotic. If they are men of ability,
they can do all this,--operate their road for less than many others, run
their trains regularly and without accident, even treat the public with
civility, and make themselves rich, in a few years, by percentages and
commissions on the cost of supplies, and by other modes, which, perhaps,
had better not be referred to here. If any one doubt this, let him take
pains to inquire how large a proportion of railway-men get rich in a few
years on salaries of from one to two thousand dollars per annum. Nor can
this be prevented; for every new check is only a transfer of power from
intelligent to ignorant hands; and ignorance, however honest, is a more
expensive manager and easier victim than knavery. There is but one remedy.
Make it for men's interest to reduce the expenses of operating to a
minimum. Make it for their interest to do so, by allowing them to share in
the profits, and then the question is solved, and you have a thousand
vigilant guardians of your property day and night. Let all supplies be
furnished by public competition under sealed tender, as is done in the army
and navy, and on the large railways of Great Britain.

There are, no doubt, practical difficulties in the way of carrying out
these changes, as there are in introducing all new systems. You have to
meet the doubts and suspicions of those who are unacquainted with them, the
opposition of interested parties, and the general feeling which influences
all men to let well enough alone. But that there are no insuperable
obstacles in the way is evident from the fact that this system has already
been partially applied on a railway doing a very large business, the
Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore, under the able superintendence of
S. M. Felton, Esq., who, in his last Report, says, "It still works well,
and is productive of much saving to the Company. [Footnote: The cost of
operating this railway for 1859, as per last Report, was only 37.4 per
cent. of the receipts, while that of the railways of Massachusetts for the
same year was 56.9 per cent. The result is a dividend of 8-1/2 per cent.
on capital, after paying the interest on bonded debt.] It promotes
regularity in running the trains, and in all branches of our business. It
diminishes accidents, _by bringing home the responsibility directly upon
individuals_ instead of the corporation."

There is a great deal of significance in this last remark. Every one knows,
that, when an accident happens on a railway, "no one is to blame,"--which
means, that everybody should have so much blame as can be expressed by a
fraction whose numerator is unity and whose denominator represents the
whole number of employees. Such an infinitesimal dose of censure, contrary
to the homeopathic doctrine, always produces infinitesimal results.

To what is the extraordinary success of the Hudson's Bay Company
owing,--that wonderful organization which rules the wilds of British North
America with a discipline which has no parallel in the history of mankind,
except that of the order of Jesuits? Simply to the fact, that every man
whose duties require intelligent action is a partner of the Company, shares
in its gains, and loses with its losses. And so it should be with our
railway-employees. Instead of excusing waste of time and property by the
stereotyped phrase, "The Company is rich and can stand it," they would
strive to exercise a rigid economy, knowing that at the end of the week
their pockets would be so much the heavier.

To show how the thing should be done would involve matters of detail which
would be out of place here. What we desire to show is the
principle. Instead of paying all men alike, good, bad, and indifferent, let
the amount of a man's wages depend on his skill and intelligence; the more
he shows, the better let him be paid. In almost every department of
manufacturing and commercial business this is done. Why not in railway
management?

We subjoin a tabular statement of the railways of the world, made up to
1857, except those of the United States, which are for 1858-9.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
|Name of country.   |Cost per|Receipts |Percentage of|Percentage of  |
|                   | mile.  | per mile| expenses to | net earnings  |
|                   |        | of road.| receipts.   | to total      |
|                   |        |         |             | capital.      |
|-------------------|--------|---------|-------------|---------------|
|Great Britain      |$173,040| $13,296 |     47      |    4.00       |
|Australia          | 169,225|   6,810 |     72      |    1.02       |
|India              |  51,400|   8,645 |     42      |    4.09       |
|France             | 128,340|  13,530 |     44      |    6.58       |
|Belgium            |  81,955|  10,790 |     58      |    5.48       |
|Austria            |  92,325|  13,430 |     54      |    6.75       |
|Prussia            |  72,430|   9,915 |     45      |    7.44       |
|Other German States|  66,160|   7,085 |     63      |    5.52       |
|United States      |  41,376|   6,170 |     60      |    5.51       |
----------------------------------------------------------------------

From this it will be seen how much economy of working has to do with paying
a dividend,--as in the case of the Indian railways, where, although the
receipts are very small, the prime cost and expenses of working are also
very small, and they divide 4.09 per cent, while the Australian railways,
whose cost and expense of working are large, can pay only 1.02 per cent. It
is proper to say, however, that this was during the "gold fever."  Railways
are now built in Australia for $50,000 per mile.

The railways of the United States occupy a very favorable position, both as
to cost and amount of receipts per mile. During the last ten years, the
principal efforts of their managers have been directed toward increasing
the receipts. During the next ten, their policy will be to diminish the
working expenses, leaving the receipts to increase with the natural growth
of the country, and avoiding unhealthy competition for that delusive
phantom, "through-trade," which has lured so many railways to financial
shipwreck and ruin. If this policy be steadily followed, we shall see
railway stocks once more a favorite investment.

       *       *       *       *       *



IN A FOG.


A few minutes before one o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 8th of
February, 1857, Policeman Smithers, of the Third District, was meditatively
pursuing his path of duty through the quietest streets of Ward Five,
beguiling, as usual, the weariness of his watch by reminiscent
Æthiopianisms, mellifluous in design, though not severely artistic in
execution. Passing from the turbulent precincts of Portland and Causeway
Streets, he had entered upon the solitudes of Green Street, along which he
now dragged himself dreamily enough, ever extracting consolations from
lugubrious cadences mournfully intoned. Very silent was the
neighborhood. Very dismal the night. Very dreary and damp was Mr. Smithers;
for a vile fog wrapped itself around him, filling his body with moist
misery, and his mind with anticipated rheumatic horrors. Still he surged
heavily along, tired Nature with tuneful charms sweetly restoring.

As he wound off a tender tribute to the virtues of the Ancient Tray, and
was about sounding the opening notes of a requiem over the memory of the
lost African Lily, surnamed Dale, one o'clock was announced by the bell of
the Lynde-Street Church. Mr. Smithers's heart warmed a little at the
thought of speedy respite from his midnight toil, and with hastening step
he approached Chambers Street, and came within range of his relief post. He
paused a moment upon the corner, and gazed around. It is the peculiar
instinct of a policeman to become suspicious at every corner.

Nothing stirring. Silence everywhere. He listens acutely. No sound. He
strains his eyes to penetrate the misty atmosphere. He is satisfied that
order reigns. He prepares to resume his march, and the measure of his
melancholy chant.

Three seconds more, and Policeman Smithers is another being. Now his hand
convulsively grasps his staff; his foot falls lightly on the pavement; his
carol is changed to a quick, sharp inhalation of the breath; for directly
before him, just visible through the fog, a figure, lightly clad, leans
from a window close upon the street, then clambers noiselessly upon the
sill, leaps over, and dashes swiftly down Chambers Street, disappearing in
the darkness.

Gathering himself well together, in an instant, Mr. Smithers is off and
away in pursuit. His heavy rubber-boots spatter over the bricks with an
echo that startles the sober residents from their slumbers. Strong of limb,
and not wholly unaccustomed to such exercise, he rapidly gains upon the
fugitive, who, finding himself so hotly followed, utters a faint cry, as if
unable to control his terror, and suddenly darts into one of the numerous
narrow passages which connect Chambers and Leverett Streets.

Not prepared for this sharp dodge, Mr. Smithers is for a moment unable to
check his headlong plunges, and shoots past the opening a yard or two
before the wet sidewalk affords him a foothold.

In great wrath, he turns about, and gropes his way cautiously through the
lane in the narrow labyrinth of which the fugitive has disappeared,--always
cautiously, for there are precipitous descents in Hammond Avenue, and deep
arched door-ways, from which a sudden onslaught might be dangerous. But he
meets no interruption here. Emerging into Leverett Street, he with
difficulty descries a white garment distantly fluttering in the feeble
light of a street-lamp. Any other color would have eluded him, but the way
is clear now, and it is a mere question of strength and speed. He sets his
teeth together, takes a full breath, and gives chase again.

Mr. Smithers has now passed the limits of his own beat, and he fears his
adventure may be shared by some of his associates. For the world he would
not have this happen. Nothing could tempt him at this moment to swing his
rattle. His blood is roused, and he will make this capture himself, alone
and without aid.

He rapidly reconsiders the chances.

"This fellow does not know the turns," he thinks, "or he would have taken
Cushman Avenue, and then I should have lost him."

This is in his favor. On the other hand, Mr. Smithers's action is impeded
by his heavy overcoat and rubber boots, and he knows that the pursued is
unincumbered in all his movements.

It is a fierce, desperate struggle, that mad race down Leverett Street, at
one o'clock on Sunday morning.

At each corner, the street-lamps throw a dull red haze around, revealing
the fugitive's slender form as he rushes wildly through. Another moment,
and the friendly fog shelters and conceals him from view.

Breathless, panting, sobbing, he ere long is forced to relax his speed. The
policeman, who has held his best energies in reserve, now puts forth his
utmost strength.

Presently he gains upon the runaway so that he can detect the white feet
pattering along the red bricks, rising and falling quite noiselessly. He
ejects imprecations upon his own stout boots, which not only fail to fasten
themselves firmly to the slippery pavements, but continually betray by
their noisy splashing his exact position.

As they pass the next lamp, Mr. Smithers sees plainly enough that the end
is near. The fugitive touches the ground with only the balls of his feet,
as if each step were torture, and expels his breath with unceasing
violence. He does not gasp or pant,--he groans.

Just at the bend in Leverett Street, leading to the bridge, there is a dark
and half-hidden aperture among the ill-assorted houses. Into this, as a
forlorn hope, the fugitive endeavors to fling himself. But the game is
up. Here, at last, he is overhauled by Mr. Smithers, who, dropping a heavy
hand upon his shoulder, whirls him violently to the ground. Having
accomplished this exploit with rare dexterity, he forthwith proceeds to set
the captive on his feet again, and to shake him about with sprightly vigor,
according to established usage.

Mr. Smithers next makes a rapid but close examination of his prize, who,
bewildered by the fall, stares vacantly around, and speaks no word. He was
a young man, apparently about twenty years old, with nothing peculiar in
appearance except an unseasonable deficiency in clothing. Coat, waistcoat,
trousers, boots, hat, had he none; shirt, drawers, and stockings made up
his scant raiment. Mr. Smithers set aside the suspicion of burglary, which
he had originally entertained, in favor of domestic disorder. The symptoms
did not, to his mind, point towards delirium tremens.

Suddenly recovering consciousness, the youth was seized with a fit of
trembling so violent that he with difficulty stood upright, and cried out
in piteous tones,--

"For God's sake, let me go! let me go!"

Mr. Smithers answered by gruffly ordering the prisoner to move along with
him.

By some species of inspiration--for, as the era of police uniforms had not
then dawned, it could have been nothing else--the young man conceived the
correct idea of the function of his custodian, and, after verifying his
belief, expressed himself enraptured.

All his perturbation seemed to vanish at the moment.

The affair was getting too deep for Mr. Smithers, who could not fathom the
idea of a midnight malefactor becoming jubilant over his arrest. So he gave
no ear to the torrent of excited explanations that burst upon him, but
silently took the direct route to the station.

Here he resigned his charge to Captain Merrill's care, and, after narrating
the circumstances, went forth again, attended by two choice spirits, to
continue investigations. On reaching Chambers Street, he became confused
and dubious. A row of houses, all precisely alike excepting in color, stood
not far from the corner of Green Street. From a lower window of one of
these he believed that the apparition had sprung; but, in his agitation, he
had neglected to mark with sufficient care the precise spot. Now, no open
window nor any other trace of the event could be discovered.

The three policemen, having arrived at the end of their wits, went back to
the station for an extension.

There they found Captain Morrill listening to a strange and startling
story, the incidents of which can here be more coherently recapitulated
than they were on that occasion by the half-distracted sufferer.

On the morning of Saturday, February the 7th, this young man, whose name
was Richard Lorrimer, and who was a clerk in a New-York mercantile house,
started from that city in the early train for Boston, whither he had been
despatched to arrange some business matters that needed the presence of a
representative of the firm. It chanced to be his first journey of any
extent; but the day was cheerless and gloomy, and the novelty of travel,
which would otherwise have been attractive, was not especially agreeable.
After exhausting the enlivening resources of a package of morning papers,
which at that time overflowed with records of every variety of crime, from
the daily murder to the hourly garrote, he dozed. At Springfield he
dined. Here, also, he fortified himself against returning ennui with a
supply of the day's journals from Boston. Singularly enough, five minutes
after resuming his place, he was once more peacefully slumbering. The pause
at Worcester scarcely roused him; but near Framingham a sharp shriek from
the locomotive, and the rapid working of the brakes, banished his dreams,
and put an end to his drowsy humor for the remainder of the journey. It was
soon made known that the engine was suffering from internal disarrangement,
and that a delay of an hour or more might be expected. The red flag was
despatched to the rear, the lamps were lighted, and the passengers composed
themselves, each as patiently and as comfortably as he could.

Lorrimer felt no inclination for further repose. He was much disturbed at
the prospect of long detention, having received directions to execute a
part of his commission that evening. Comforting himself with the profound
reflection that the fault was not his, he turned wearily to his
newspaper-files.

A middle-aged man with a keen nose and a snapping eye asked permission to
share the benefit of his treasures of journalism. As the middle-aged man
glanced over the New-York dailies, he ventured an anathema upon the
abominations of Gotham.

The patriotic pride of a genuine New-Yorker never deserts him. Lorrimer
discovered that the maligner of his city was a Bostonian, and a stormy
debate ensued.

As between cat and dog, so is the hostility which divides the residents of
these two towns. So the conversation became at once spirited, and
eventually spiteful.

Boston pointed with sarcastic finger to the close columns heavily laden
with iniquitous recitals, the result of a reporter's experience of one day
in the metropolis.

New York, with icy imperturbability, rehearsed from memory the recent
revelations of matrimonial and clerical delinquencies which had given the
City of Notions an unpleasant notoriety.

Boston burst out in eloquent denunciation of the Bowery assassin's knife.

New York was placidly pleased to revert to a tale of bloodshed in the
abiding-place of Massachusetts authority, the State Prison.

Boston fell back upon the garrote,--"the meanest and most diabolical
invention of Five-Point villany,--a thing unknown, Sir, and never to be
known with us, while our police system lasts!"

New York quietly folded together a paper so as to reveal one particular
paragraph, which appeared in smallest type, as seeking to avoid
recognition. Boston read as follows:--

"The garroting system of highway robbery, which has been so fashionable for
some time past in New York, and which has so much alarmed the people of
that city, has been introduced in Boston, and was practised on Thomas
W. Steamburg, barber, on Thursday night. While crossing the Common to his
home, he was attacked by three men; one seized him by the throat and half
strangled him, another sealed his mouth with a gloved hand, and the third
abstracted his wallet, which contained about seventy-five dollars in
money."

This was from the "Courier" of that morning. New York had triumphed, and
Boston, with eyes snapping virulently, sought another portion of the car,
perhaps to hunt up his temper, which had been for some time on the point of
departure, and had now left him altogether.

Lorrimer took to himself great satisfaction, in a mild way, and laughed
inwardly at his opponent's discomfiture.

Presently, the vitalities of the locomotive having been restored, the train
rolled on, and Lorrimer took to calculating the chances of fulfilling his
appointment that evening. He at length abandoned the hope, and resigned
himself to the afflicting prospect of a solitary Sunday in a strange place.

At eight o'clock, P.M., the Boston station was achieved. Then followed, for
Mr. Lorrimer, the hotel, the supper, the vain search for Saturday-evening
amusements, and a discontented stroll in a wilderness of unfamiliar
streets, with spirits dampened by the dismal foggy weather.

He found the Common, and secretly admired, but longed for an opportunity to
vilify it to some ardent native. His point of attack would be, that it
furnished dangerous opportunities for crime, as illustrated in the case he
had recently been discussing. He looked around for some one to accost, and
felt aggrieved at finding no available victim. Finally, in great depth of
spirits, and anxious for a temporary shelter from the all-penetrating
moisture, he wandered into a saloon of inviting appearance, and sought the
national consolation,--Oysters.

While he was accumulating his appetite, a stranger entered the same stall,
and dropped, with a smile and a nod, upon the opposite seat. "I wouldn't
intrude, Sir," he said, "but every other place is filled. It's wonderful
how Boston gives itself up to oysters on Saturday nights,--all other sorts
of rational enjoyment being legally prohibited."

Lorrimer welcomed the stranger, and, delighted at the opportunity of a bit
of discussion, and still cherishing the malignant desire to injure
somebody's feelings in the matter of the Common, opened a conversation by
asking if Boston were really much given to bivalvular excesses.

The stranger, who was a strongly built and rough-visaged man, with nothing
specially attractive about him, except a humorous and fascinating
eye-twinkle, straightened himself, and delivered a short oration.

"Bless me, Sir!" said he, "are you a foreigner? Why, oysters are the
universal bond of brotherhood, not only in Boston, but throughout this
land. They harmonize with our sharp, wide-awake spirit. They are an element
in our politics. Our statesmen, legislators, and high-placed men,
generally, are weaned on them. Why, dear me! oysters are a fundamental idea
in our social system. The best society circles around 'fried' and 'stewed.'
Our 'festive scenes,' you know, depend on them in no small degree for their
zest. That isn't all, either. A full third of our population is over
'oysters' every morning at eleven o'clock. Young Smith, on his way down
town after breakfast, drops into the first saloon and absorbs some
oysters. At precisely eleven o'clock he is overcome with hunger and takes a
few on the 'half-shell.' In the course of an hour appetite clamors, and he
'oysters' again. So on till dinner-time, and, after dinner, oysters at
short intervals until bed-time."

And the stalwart stranger leaned back and laughed lustily for a few
seconds, until, abruptly checking his mirth, he, in solemn tones, directed
the waiter to introduce ale.

Then occurred an interesting exchange of courtesies. Social enlightenment
was vividly illustrated. The sparkling ale was set upon the table. In
silent contemplation, the two gentlemen awaited the subsidence of the
bead. Then, smiling intensely, they cordially grasped the flowing mugs;
they made the edges click; they paused.

"Sir," said one, with genial blandness.

"Sir," responded the other, in like manner.

Contemporaneously they partook of the cheering fluid. Gradually each
gentleman's nose was eclipsed by the aspiring orb of pottery. The mugs
assumed a lofty elevation, then fell, to rise no more. The two gentlemen
beamed with amity. Each respected the other, and the acquaintance was
formed.

Lorrimer was charmed to meet an intelligent being who would talk and be
talked to. He flattered himself he had exploited a "character," and was
determined not to allow him to slip away. He cautiously broke to his new
companion the fact that he was a native of New York, and was a little
surprised to see the announcement followed by no manifestation of awe, but
only a lively wink. He reserved his defamatory intentions respecting the
Common, and endeavored to draw the stranger out, who, in return, shot forth
eccentricities as profusely as the emery wheel of the street grinder emits
sparks when assailed by a scissors-blade.

Lorrimer learned that this delightful fellow's name was Glover, and
rejoiced greatly in so much knowledge.

Mr. Glover ordered in ale, and Mr. Lorrimer ordered in oysters,--and from
oysters to ale they pleasantly alternated for the space of two hours.

Cloud-compelling cigars varied at intervals the monotony of the
proceedings.

At length the young gentleman from New York vanquished his last "fried in
crumb," and victory perched upon his knife. Just then the gas-burners began
to meander queerly before his eyes. Around and above him he beheld showers
of glittering sparks,--snaky threads of light,--fantastic figures of
fire,--jets of liquid lustre. He communicated, in confidence, to
Mr. Glover, that his seat seemed to him of the nature of a rocking-chair
operating viciously upon a steep slated roof. Mr. Glover laughed, and
proposed an adjournment.

As they settled their little bills, Lorrimer thoughtlessly displayed a
plethoric pile of bank-notes. He saw, or fancied he saw, his companion gaze
at them in a manner which made him restless; but the circumstance soon
passed from his mind, until later events enforced the recollection.

When they walked into the open air, Mr. Lorrimer first became intimate with
a lamp-post, which he was loath to leave, and then bitterly bewailed his
ignorance of localities. Glover good-naturedly suggested that his young
friend would do well to take up quarters with him, that night, and promised
to conduct him wherever he desired to go, the next morning. His young
friend was not in the humor for hesitation, and, distrusting his own
perambulatory powers, gave himself up, without reserve, to Glover's
guidance. Linked together by their arms, they sailed along, like an
energetic little steam-tug, puffing, plunging, sputtering, under the shadow
of a serene and stately Indiaman.

The fog had now gathered solidity, and hung chillingly over the city's
heart. How desolate were the thoroughfares! The street-lamps gleamed
luridly from their stands, serving only to make the dreary darkness
visible. Lorrimer's late merry fancies were all extinguished as suddenly as
they had blazed forth. Even his sturdy guide showed a depression and
constraint that strangely contrasted with his former gayety. He vainly drew
upon his mirth-account; there was no issue, "Beastly fog!" said he, "we
might drill holes in it, and blast it with gunpowder!"  They approached the
Common, and the hideous structure opposite West Street glared on them like
a fiery monster, and seemed exactly the reverse of the gate to a forty-acre
Paradise. Sheltering their faces from the wind, which now added its
inconveniences to the saturating atmosphere, they struck the broad avenue,
and pushed across towards the West End.

The wind sang most doleful strains, and the bending branches of the trees
sighed sadly over them. Lorrimer was filled with an anxious tribulation, as
he remembered the story of the villany that, two nights before, near the
spot where they now walked, and perhaps at the same hour, had been
perpetrated. An impulse, which he could not restrain, caused him to whisper
his fears to his companion. Glover laughed, a little uneasily, he thought,
but made no answer.

Soon they reached the opposite boundary of the Common, and continued
through Hancock Street, ascending and descending the hill. While passing
the reservoir in that dull gray darkness, Lorrimer felt as if under the
shadow of some giant tomb. Hastening forward, for it was growing late, they
threaded a number of the short avenues of Ward Three, and at length, when
young New York's endurance was nearly exhausted, reached their destination
in Chambers Street. It must have been the fatigue which, as they crossed
the threshold, propelled Mr. Lorrimer against the door, causing him to
stain himself unbecomingly with new paint.

They mounted the stairs, and entered a comfortable apartment, in which a
fresh fire was diffusing a most welcome glow, and a spacious bed
luxuriously invited occupancy. Lorrimer had but one grief, which he freely
communicated to his host,--his fingers were liberally decorated with dark
daubs, to which he pointed with unsteady anguish.

"It's a filthy shame!" said he, with more energy of manner than certainty
of utterance.

A section of the chamber was separated from the rest by a screen. Into this
retreat Glover disappeared, and immediately returned with a bottle, from
which he poured an acid that effaced the spots. "It will wash away
anything," said he, laughing.

Lorrimer was superabundantly profuse in thanks, and announced that his mind
was now at ease. By some mysterious process, not clearly explicable to
himself, he contrived to lay aside a portion of his dress, and to dispose
himself within the folds of balmy bedclothes that awaited him. In forty
seconds he was dreaming.

Nearly an hour had elapsed when he half woke from an uneasy slumber, and
strove to collect his drowsy faculties. His sleep had been disturbed by
frightful visions. He had passed through a scene of violence on the Common;
he had been engaged in a life-and-death struggle with his new acquaintance;
he had been seized by unseen hands, and thrown into a vast vault. His brain
throbbed and his heart ached, as he endeavored to disentangle the
bewildering fancies of his sleep from wakeful reality.

He lay with his face to the wall, and the grotesque decorations of the
paper assumed ghostly forms, and moved menacingly before his eyes,
thrilling him through and through.

In a few moments the murmur of voices close at hand aroused him more
effectually. He then recollected the incidents of the night, and reproached
himself for his wild excesses, and his reckless and imprudent confidence in
a stranger. He dreaded to think what the consequences might be, and again
became confused with the memories of his distressing dreams.

Three facts, however, were fastened upon his mind. He could not forget
Glover's singular glance at his roll of bank-notes,--the hesitation to
converse about the garrote,--nor the bottle of acid which would "wash away
anything."  Would it wash away stains of blood?

The sounds of subdued conversation again arrested his attention. He
listened earnestly, but without changing his position.

"Speak softly," said a voice which he recognized as Glover's,--"speak
softly; you will wake my guest."

Then the words failed to reach him for a few moments. He strained his ears,
and hardly breathed, for fear of interrupting a syllable. Presently he was
able to distinguish a few sentences.

"Do you call this a profitable job?"  said a strange voice.

"Oh, very fair,--worth about fifty dollars, I should guess. I wouldn't
undertake such a piece of work at a smaller chance," said Glover.

"Shall you cut the face?" said the other, after a minute's pause.

"Of course," was the answer; "it's the only way to do it handsomely."

"Hum!--what do you use? steel?"

"Steel, by all means."

"I shouldn't."

"I like it better; and I have a nice bit that has done service in this way
before."

From Lorrimer's brow exuded a deadly sudor. His heart ceased to palpitate.
His muscles became rigid; his eyes fixed. His terror was almost too great
for him to bear. With difficulty he controlled himself, and listened again.

"Can it be done here?" asked the strange voice;--"will not the features be
recognized?"

"There is nothing deeply marked, except the eyes," said Glover, "and I can
easily remove them, you know."

"You can try the acid."

"The other way is best."

"I suppose it must be done quickly."

"So quickly that there will be no chance for any proof."

Lorrimer gasped feebly, and clutched the bedclothes with a nervous,
convulsive movement. He had no power to reflect upon his situation; but he
felt that he was lost. Alone and unaided, he could not hope to combat the
evil designs of two men, a single one of whom he knew was vastly his
superior in strength. His blood seemed to cease flowing in his veins. He
thought for an instant of springing from the bed, and imploring mercy; but
the nature of their conversation, with its minutiae of cruelty, forbade all
hope in that direction. His brain whirled, and he thought that reason was
about to forsake him. But a movement in the room restored him to a sense of
his peril.

He saw the shadows changing their places, and knew that the light was
moving. He heard faint footsteps. Hope deserted him, and be closed his
eyes, quite despairing. When be opened them a minute later, he was in
darkness.

Then hope returned. There might yet be a means of escape. They had left
him,--for how long he could not conjecture; but now, at least, he was
alone. What a flood of joy came over him then!

Swiftly and softly he threw off the bedclothes, and by the uncertain light
of the fire, which was still glimmering, found his way noiselessly to the
floor.

His trembling limbs at first refused to sustain him, but the thought of his
impending fate, should he remain, invested him with an unexpected
courage. Passing around the foot of the bed, he approached the door of the
chamber.

As he moved, his shadow, dimly cast by the flickering embers, fell across
the mouth of the inclosure whence Glover had brought the acid. He shuddered
to think what might be hidden by that screen. He burned with curiosity,
even in that moment of danger. For a moment he even rashly thought of
seeking to penetrate the mystery.

Treading lightly, and partially supporting himself by the wall, lest his
feet should press too heavily upon some loose board and cause it to rattle
beneath him, he reached the door. It was not wholly closed, and with utmost
gentleness he essayed to pull it open. With all his care he could not
prevent it from creaking sharply. His nerves were again shaken, and a new
tremor assailed him. Tears filled his eyes. His heart was like ice, only
heavier, within him.

He stood for a minute motionless and half-unconscious. Then recovering
himself by a powerful effort, he advanced once more. Without venturing to
open the door wider, he worked through the narrow aperture, inch by inch,
stopping every few seconds for fear that the rustle of his shirt against
the jamb might be overheard. At length, by almost imperceptible movements,
he succeeded in gaining the head of the staircase.

Then he believed that his deliverance was near at hand. He had thus far
eluded detection, and it only remained for him to descend, and depart by
the outer door.

Bending forward at every step to catch the slightest echo of alarm, he felt
his way down through the darkness. The difficulty at this point was
great. As one recovered from a long illness finds his knees yield under him
at the first attempt to descend a staircase, just so it was with
Lorrimer. At one time a faintness came over him, and he was obliged to sit
down and rest. A movement above aroused him, and, starting up, he hurriedly
groped his way to the street-door.

The darkness was absolute. He could discern nothing, but, after a short
search, he caught hold of the handle and turned it slowly. The door
remained immovable. By another exploration he discovered a large key
suspended from a nail near the centre of the door. This he inserted in the
lock, and turned--with all the caution he could command. It was not enough,
for it snapped loudly.

A voice from the head of the stairs cried out, "Who is there?"

Lorrimer was appalled. He shook the door, but it remained fast. Like
lightning he passed his hand up and down the crevice in search of a hidden
bolt. He found nothing, and felt that he was in the hands of the
murderers;--for he could entertain no doubt of their design. In the agony
of desperation he flung out his arms, and a door beside him flew open. He
entered, and rushed to a window, which was easily lifted, and out of which
he threw himself at the moment that a light streamed into the apartment
behind him.

When Mr. Lorrimer had finished relating to Captain Morrill, with all the
energy of truth, the more important of the above circumstances, that
officer arose, and, calling to his assistance a couple of his force,
started out in great haste in the direction of Chambers Street. Lorrimer,
who had been provided with shoes, hat, and coat, went with them. After a
little search, a row of houses with windows close upon the street was
found. More diligent examination showed that the door of one of these was
freshly painted. A vigorous assault upon the panels brought down the
household. Mr. Glover, and another person whose voice was identified by
Lorrimer, were marched off with few words to the station. Mr. Lorrimer's
clothes were rescued, and an officer was left to look after the premises.

Mr. Glover, on arriving at the station, expressed great indignation, and
employed uncivil terms in speaking of his late guest. Under the subduing
influences of Captain Merrill's treatment, he soon became tranquil, and
subsequently manifested an excess of hilarity, which the guardians of the
night strove in vain to check. But he answered unreservedly all the
questions which Captain Morrill put to him. His statement ran somewhat
thus:--

"I met this young man, for the first time, a few hours ago, at an
oyster-saloon on Washington Street. We drank a good deal of ale, and he
lost his balance. I kept mine. I saw he had a pretty large amount of money,
and doubted his ability to keep as good a watch over it as he ought to. So
I took him home with me. On the way he would talk uneasily about garrote
robberies, but I refused to encourage him.

"You want to know about that alarming conversation? Well,"--(here Mr.
Glover was so overcome with merriment, that, after a proper time, the
interposition of official authority became necessary,)--"well, I am an
engraver. My business is mainly to cut heads. Sometimes I use steel,
sometimes copper. My brother, who is also an engraver, and I were
discussing a new commission. I told him I should make use of a good bit of
steel, which had already been engraved upon, but not so deeply but that the
lines could be easily removed, excepting the eyes, which would have to be
scraped away. My allusion to proof is easily explained: it is common for
engravers to have a proof-impression taken of their work after it is
finished, by which they are enabled to detect any imperfections, and remedy
them.

"I am very sorry that my young friend should have considered me so much of
a blood-thirsty ruffian. But the ale of Boston is no doubt strange to him,
and his confusion at finding himself in a large city quite
natural. Besides, his suspicions were in some degree reciprocated. When I
saw him flying out of the window, I was convinced that he must be an
ingenious burglar, and instantly ran back to examine my tools. I am glad to
find that I was wrong. If he will return now with me, he shall be welcome
to his share of the bed."

Mr. Lorrimer politely, but positively, declined.

Captain Morrill urbanely apologized to Mr. Glover, and engaged himself to
make it right in the morning; whereupon Mr. Glover withdrew in cachinnatory
convulsions. Mr. Lorrimer was instructed to resume his proper garments, and
was then conveyed safely to his hotel, where he remained in deep
abstraction until Monday, when, after transacting his business, he took the
afternoon return-train for New York.

The case was not entered upon the records of the Third District Police.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE GRANADAN GIRL'S SONG.

All day the lime blows in the sun,
  All day the silver aspens quiver,
All day along the far blue plain
  Winds serpent-like the golden river.
    From clustering flower and myrtle bower
      Sweet sounds arise forever,
    From gleaming tower with crescent dower
      Our banner floats forever.

Its purple bloom the grape puts on,
  Pulping to this Granadan summer,
And heavy dews shake through the globes
  Scarce stirred by some bright-winged new-comer,
    On gyon brown hill, where all is still,
      Where lightly rides the muleteer,
    With jangling bells, whose burden swells
      Till shaft and arch rise fine and clear.

As one by one the shadows creep
  Back to their lairs in hilly hollows,
A broader splendor issues forth
  And on their track in silence follows;
    A fuller air swims everywhere,
      A freer murmur shakes the bough,
    A thousand fires surprise the spires,
      And all the city wakes below.

What morn shall rise, what cursed morn,
  To find this bright pomp all surrendered,
These palaces an empty shell,
  This vigor listless ruin rendered,--
    While every sprite of its delight
      Mocks fickle echoes through the court,
    And in our place a sculptured trace
      Saddens some stranger's careless sport?

Oh, gay with all the stately stir,
  And bending to your silken flowing,
One day, my banner-poles, ye creak
  Naked beneath the high winds blowing!
    One day ye fall across the wall
      And moulder in the moat's green bosom,
    While in the cleft the wild tree left
      Bursts into spikes of cruel blossom!

Ah, never dawn that day for me!
  O Fate, its fierce foreboding banish!
When all our hosts, like pallid ghosts
  Blown on by morning, melt and vanish!
    Oh, in the fires of their desires
      Consume the toil of those invaders!
    And let the brand divide the hand
      That grasps the hilt of the Crusaders!

Yet idle words in such a scene!
  Yon rosy mists on high careering,--
The Moorish cavaliers who fleet
  With hawk and hound and distant cheering,--
    The dipping sail puffed to the gale,
      The prow that spurns the billow's fawning,--
    How can they fade to dimmer shade,
      And how this day desert its dawning?

Forget to soar, thou rosy rack!
  Ye riders, bronze your airy motion!
Still skim the seas, so snowy craft,--
  Forever sail to meet the ocean!
    There bid the tide refuse to slide,
      Glassing, below, thy drooping pinion,--
    Forever cease its wild caprice,
      Fallen at the feet of our dominion!

       *       *       *       *       *



THE HUMMING-BIRD.

_May 9th._


To-day, Estelle, your special messenger, the Humming-Bird, comes darting to
our oriel, my Orient. As I sat sewing, his sudden, unexpected whirr made me
look up. How did he know that the very first Japan-pear-bud opened this
morning? Flower and bird came together by some wise prescience.

He has been sipping honey from your passion-flowers, and now has come to
taste my blossoms. What bright-winged thought of yours sent him so straight
to me, across that wide space of sea and land? Did he dart like a sunbeam
all the way? There were many of them voyaged together; a little line of
wavering light pierced the dark that night.

A large, brave heart has our bold sailor of the upper deep. Old Pindar
never saw our little pet, this darling of the New World; yet he says,--

"Were it the will of Heaven, an osier-bough Were vessel safe enough the
seas to plough."

Here he is, safe enough, not one tiny feather ruffled,--all the intense
life of the tropics condensed into this one live jewel,--the glance of the
sun on emeralds and rubies. Is it soft downy feathers that take this rich
metallic glow, changing their hue with every rapid turn?

Other birds fly: he darts quick as the glance of the eye,--sudden as
thought, he is here, he is there. No floating, balancing motion, like the
lazy butterfly, who fans the air with her broad sails. To the point, always
to the point, he turns in straight lines. How stumbling and heavy is the
flight of the "burly, dozing bumblebee," beside this quick intelligence!
Our knight of the ruby throat, with lance in rest, makes wild and rapid
sallies on this "little mundane bird,"--this bumblebee,--this rolling
sailor, never off his sea-legs, always spinning his long homespun
yarns. This rich bed of golden and crimson flowers is a handsome field of
tournament. What invisible circle sits round to adjudge the prize?

What secret does he bring me under those misty wings,--that busy birring
sound, like Neighbor Clark's spinning-wheel?  Is he busy as well, this bit
of pure light and heat? Yes! he, too, has got a little home down in the
swamp over there,--that bit of a knot on the young oak-sapling. Last year
we found a nest (and brought it home) lined with the floss of
willow-catkin, stuck all over with lichens, deep enough to secure the two
pure round pearls from being thrown out, strongly fastened to the forked
branch,--a home so snug, so warm, so soft!--a home "contrived for fairy
needs."

Who but the fairies, or Mr. Fine-Ear himself, ever heard the tiny tap of
the young bird, when he breaks the imprisoning shell?

The mother-bird knows well the fine sound. Hours? days? no, weeks, she has
sat to hear at last that least wave of sound.

What! this tiny bit of restless motion sit there still? Minutes must be
long hours to her quick panting heart.

I will just whisper it in your ear, that the meek-looking mother-bird only
comes out between daylight and dark,--just like other busy mothers I have
known, who take a little run out after tea.

Can it be, that Mr. Ruby-Throat, my _preux chevalier_, keeps all the
sunshiny hours for himself, that he may enjoy to the full his own gay
flight?

Ah! you know nothing, hear nothing of woman's rights up there, in that
well-ordered household. Were it not well, if we, too, could give up our
royal right of choice,--if we could fall back on our strong earth-born
instincts, to be, to know, to do, one thing?

See how closely our darling curls up his slender black feet and legs, that
we may not see this one bit of mortality about him! No, my little immortal
does not touch the earth; he hangs suspended by that long bill, which just
tethers him to its flowers. Now and then he will let down the little black
tendrils of legs and feet on some bare twig, and there be rests and preens
those already smooth plumules with the long slender bodkin you lent
him. Now, just now, he darts into my room, coquets with my basket of
flowers, "a kiss, a touch, and then away." I heard the whirr of those gauzy
wings; it was not to the flowers alone he told his story. You did well to
trust this most passionate pilgrim with your secret; the room is radiant
with it. Slow-flying doves may well draw the car of Venus; but this arrow
tipped with flame darts before, to tell of its coming. What need of word,
of song, with that iridescent glow?  Some day I will hear the whole story;
just now let the Humming-Bird keep it under his misty wings.

I have heard of a lady who reared these little birds from the nest; they
would suck honey from her lips, and fly in and out of her chamber. Only
think of seeing these callow fledglings! It is as if the winged thought
could be domesticated, could learn to make its nest with us and rear its
young.

Bountiful Nature has spared to our cold North this one compact bit from the
Tropics.

       *       *       *       *       *

I believe we allow that birds are very highly organized creatures,--next to
man, they say. We, with our weary feet plodding always on the earth, our
heavy arms pinioned close to our sides!--look at this live creature, with
thinnest wing cutting the fine air! We, slow in word, slow in
thought!--look at this quivering flame, kindled by some more passionate
glance of Nature! Next to man? Yes, we might say next above. Had it not
been for that fire we stole one day, that Promethean spark, hidden in the
ashes, kept a-light ever since, it had gone hard with us; Nature might have
kept her pet, her darling, high, high above us,--almost out of roach of our
dull senses.

What is our boasted speech, with its harsh, rude sounds, to their gushing
melody?  We learn music, certainly, with much pains and care. The bird
cannot tell if it be A sharp or B flat, but he sings.

Our old friend, the friend of our childhood, Mr. White of Selborne, (who
had attended much to the life and conversation of birds,) says, "Their
language is very elliptical; little is said, and much is meant and
understood." Something like a lady's letter, is it not?

How wise we might grow, if we could only "the bird-language rightly spell"!
In the olden times, we are told, the Caliphs and Viziers always listened to
what the birds said about it, before they undertook any new enterprise. I
have often thought I heard wise old folk discoursing, when a company of
hens were busy on the side-hill, scratching and clucking
together. Perchance some day we shall pick up a leaf of that herb which
shall open our ears to these now inarticulate sounds.

Why may we not (just for this summer) believe in Transmigrations, and find
some elder civilization embodied in this community of birds,--all those
lost arts taken wings, not to fly away, but to come flitting and building
in our trees, picking crumbs from our door-steps?

Do they say birds are limited? Who are we that set bounds to this direct
knowledge, this instinct? Mathematical, constructive, they certainly
are. What bold architect has builded so snug, so airy a house,--well
concealed, and yet with a good outlook? We make our dwellings conspicuous;
they hide their pretty art.

We wiseacres, who stay at home, instead of following the seasons round the
globe, should learn the art of making happy homes; yet what housekeeper
will not hang her head in shame and despair, to see this nice adaptation of
use to wants, shown each year in multitudes of nests?  Now, only look at
it! always just room enough,--none to spare. First, the four or five eggs
lie comfortably in the small round at the bottom of the nest, with room
enough for the mother robin to give them the whole warmth of her broad red
breast,--her sloping back and wings making a rain-proof roof over her
jewels. Then the callow younglings rise a little higher into the wider
circle. Next the fledglings brim the cup; at last it runs over; four large
clumsy robins flutter to the ground, with much noise, much anxious calling
from papa and mamma,--much good advice, no doubt. They are fairly turned
out to shift for themselves; with the same wise, unfathomable eyes which
have mirrored the round world for so many years, which know all things, say
nothing, older than time, lively and quick as to-day; with the same
touching melody in their long monotonous call; soon with the same power of
wing; next year to build a nest with the same wise economy, each young
robin carrying in his own swelling, bulging breast the model of the hollow
circle, the cradle of other young robins. So you see it is a nest within a
nest,--a whole nest of nests; like Vishnu Sarma's fables, or Scheherazade's
stories, you can never find where one leaves off and another begins, they
shut so one into the other. No wonder the children and philosophers are
they who ask, whether the egg comes from the bird, or the bird from the
egg. Yes, it is a _Heimskringla_, a world-circle, a home-circle, this nest.

You remember that little, old, withered man who used to bring us eggs; the
boys, you know, called him Egg Pop. When the thrifty housewife complained
of the small size of his ware, he always said,--

"Yes, Marm, they be small; but they be monstrous full."

Yes, the packing of the nest is close; but closer is the packing of the
egg. "As full as an egg of meat" is a wise proverb.

Let us look at these first-fruits which the bountiful Spring hangs on our
trees.

"To break the eggshell after the meat is out we are taught in our
childhood, and practise it all our lives; which, nevertheless, is but a
superstitious relict, according to the judgment of Pliny, and the intent
hereof was to prevent witch-craft [to keep the fairies out]; for lest
witches should draw or prick their names therein, and veneficiously
mischief their persons, they broke the shell, as Dalecampius hath
observed." This is what Sir Thomas Browne tells us about eggshells. And
Dr. Wren adds, "Least they [the witches] perchance might use them for
boates to sayle in by night." But I, who have no fear of witches, would not
break them,--rather use them, try what an untold variety of forms we may
make out of this delicate oval.

By a little skilful turning and reversing, putting on a handle, a lip here,
a foot there, always following the sacred oval, we shall get a countless
array of pitchers and vases, of perfect finished form, handsome enough to
be the oval for a king's name. Should they attempt to copy our rare vases
in finest Parian, alabaster, or jasper, their art would fail to hit the
delicate tints and smoothness of this fine shell; and then those dots and
dashes, careless as put on by a master's hand!

Are not these rare lines? They look to me as wise as hieroglyphics. Who
knows what rhyme and reason are written there,--what subtile wisdom rounded
into this small curve,--repeated on the breasts and backs of the
birds,--their own notes, it may be, photographed on their swelling breasts
like the musical notes on the harp-shell,--written in bright, almost
audible colors on the petals of flowers,--harmonies, melodies, for ear and
eye?  Has this language, older than Erse, older than Sanscrit, ever got
translated? I am afraid, dear, the key has been turned in the lock, and
thrown into the well.

The ornithologists tell us that some birds build nicer nests, sing sweeter
songs, than their companions of the same species. Can experience add wisdom
to instinct?  or is it the right of the elder-born,--the birthright of the
young robin who first breaks the shell? Who has rightly looked into these
things?

I half remember the story of a beautiful princess who had all imaginable
wealth in her stately palace, itself builded up of rare and costly
jewels. She had everything that heart could desire,--everything but a roc's
egg. Her mind was contracted with sorrow, till she could procure this one
ornament more to her splendors. I think it turned out that the palace
itself was built within the roc's egg. These birds are immense, and take up
three elephants at a time in their powerful talons, (almost as many as
Gordon Cumming himself, on a good day's hunt,) and their eggs are like
domes.

Now, do not you be like the foolish princess, and desire a roc's egg; it
will prove a stone, the egg of a rock, indeed. Be content rather with this
ostrich-egg I send you; with your own slender fingers lift the
lid;--pretty, is it not, the tea-service I send you? The tidy warblers
threw out the emptied shells; one by one I picked them up, and have made
cups and saucers, bowls and pitchers for you: a roc's egg never held
anything one-half so fine.

You will say I am a fairy, as brother Evelyn says, when I relate to him the
fine sights and sounds I have seen and heard in the woods. No, but the
little silent people are very good to me.

Let me, then, go on my bird's-egging and tell you one more fact about our
fairy, our Humming-Bird. Audubon says "that an all-wise Providence has made
this little hero an exception to a rule which prevails almost universally
through Nature,--namely, that the smallest species of a tribe are the most
prolific. The eagle lays one, sometimes two eggs; the small European wren
fifteen; the humming-bird two: and yet this latter is abundantly more
numerous in America than the wren in Europe." All on account of his
wonderful courage, admirable instinct, or whatever it is that guards and
guides him so unerringly.

You see we may well love him whom
Nature herself loves so dearly.

"Ce que Dieu garde est bien gardé."

Ah, Estelle! your bonnie birdie, with
his wild whirr, darting back and forth
like a weaver's shuttle weaving fine
wefts, has got into my head; not "bee-bonneted,"
but bird-bonneted, I go. Yes,
this day shall be given to the king, as
our country-folk say, when they go a-pleasuring.
I am off with the little wool-gatherers,
to see what thorn and brier
and fern-stalk and willow-catkin will give
me. Good-day! good-day!

Your own

SUSAN, SUSY, SUE.

P. S. "May our friendship never
moult a feather!"

       *       *       *       *       *



CHESS.


Schatrenschar, the Persian, who could count the stars one by one, who is
known to have been borne, (by the Simorg, the Eternal Fowl,) at midnight,
first to the evening star, and then to the moon, and then set down safely
in his home,--and Al Kahlminar, the Arabian, who was a mystic seer, and had
conversed face to face with the Demons of the Seven Planets, approaching
also, on one occasion, so nigh unto Uriel that his beard was singed by the
sun, wherein that angel resideth,--these, ten million years ago, lived in
their palaces on adjoining estates and lands. But about the boundary-line
atwixt them they could not agree: Schatrenschar maintaining that he had
lived there longest, and had a right to choose where the wall should be
built between himself and a later comer; Al Kahlminar declaring that the
world was not made for Schatrenschar,--furthermore, that the Astronomer had
paid nothing for the land, and had already more than he could attend to,
since his chief devotion was manifestly to the estates he was reputed to
own in Venus and the moon. They came to no decision; and it was beneath the
dignity of these men, who prided themselves on being confidants elect of
invisible and superior worlds, publicly to wrangle about the gross soil of
this. Nevertheless, Schatrenschar, at last, losing patience, cried,--

"Al Kahlminar, 'tis but by the grace of Yezdan, who hath commissioned me to
watch the sacred stars, which reveal not themselves to the violent, that I
am saved this day from flogging thee!"

To this the Seer: "O Schatrenschar, thou must have left in some of thy
other worlds, mayhap in Venus, the limbs which can cope with these."

"Nay," replied the Astronomer, discerning some truth in that remark, "but I
am not alone, Al Kahlminar; I have within my palace two valiant knights,
skilled with the steed and the spear, who are ready to go forth in my stead
at a word."

"And I," answered the Mystic, warming, "have two godly priests, men skilled
by the orthodox beheading of heretics into the aim and valor of Arjoon
himself. Your knights cannot stand before these messengers of Heaven; they
will tremble like aspen-leaves, lest Allah be wroth, if they receive harm."

"If thou shouldst bring forth thy priests, Al Kahlminar, then would I
confront them and thee with the two elephants which my brother sent me
lately from Geestan, on each of which I can place a rook with a slave
cunning with the javelin, before which thy priests will flee; for the
animals see no difference between priests and other mortals;--the elephant
is sagacious, neighbor!"

"And I," said the other, "haye riches, which thou hast not. Whatever thou
hast wherewith to extend thy line into my lot, I can oppose with an equal
force,--nay, with a stronger."

Schatrenschar hereupon paused in deep meditation. Presently a subtile
thought struck him. He took a parchment-leaf and drew thereon a diagram;
and after inscribing several hieroglyphic characters, he cried out,--

"Hearken, Al Kahlminar; hast thou not heard it among the sayings of Sasan,
that the battle is not always to him who hath the superior physical force?
Suppose that in our encounter thy forces stood here, as marked on these
squares: by what stratagem couldst thou reach me, who stand here with even
fewer and weaker men? If thou canst tell as much without my assistance, I
will yield the boundary-line; for it will show thee to have a calculation
equal to my own, as well as riches."

Al Kahlminar pondered long, suffered manifold headaches, closed not an
eyelid for a week, but could not give answer. The Mystic was used to seeing
only those things to see which the eyes must be closed. At length
Schatrenschar opened the problem to him, which so delighted his heart that
he clave unto him, and besought him that their estates should be one, and
that he would use his (Al Kahlminar's) riches as his own. A bower was built
midway between their houses, wherein they sat for hours over other
diagrams, contrived first by the Astronomer afterward by the Mystic: and
out of it arose a curious and knightly play which beareth to this day the
name Schatrenschar.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps this last line of the old Sanscrit story is the only veracious
thing in it. Perhaps it is all true. Who can answer?  Was there ever a
great thing whose origin was not in some doubt? If so with the Iliad, with
Platonic Dialogues, with Shakspearian Plays, how naturally so with Chess!
The historic sinew of the above would seem to be, that Schatrenschar, the
Oriental word for Chess, is the name of a very ancient and learned
astronomer of Persia; how much mythologic fat has enveloped said sinew the
reader must decide. Philological inquisition of the origin of the low Latin
_Scacchi_ (whence the French _Echecs_, Ger. _Schach_, and our _Chess,_) has
led to a variety of conclusions. Leunclavius takes it from _Uscoches_,
famous Turkish banditti. Sirmond finds the word's parent in German
_Schächer_ (robber) and grandparent in _Calculus_!  Tolosanus derives
_check-mate_ from Heb. _schach_ (to prevail) and _mat_ (dead). Fabricius
favors the idea we have given above, and says, "A celebrated Persian
astronomer, one Schatrenschar, invented the game of Chess, and gave it his
own name, which it still bears in that country."  Nicod derives it from
_Xeque_, a Moorish word for Prince or Lord. Bochart maintains that
_Schach-mat_ is originally Persian, and means "the king is dead." We
incline to accept this last opinion; and believe, that, though the game
must have originated with some person, perhaps Schatrenschar, yet it
reached its present form and perfection only through many touchings and
retouchings of men and generations. Pope's translation of the "Odyssey" has
led many persons to think that chess was known to the ancient Greeks,
because, in describing the sports of Penelope's suitors, the translator
says,--

  "With rival art and ardor in their mien,
  At Chess they vie to captivate the Queen."

But there can be little doubt that this is an anachronism.

In short, we may safely conclude that the game is of purely Oriental
origin. The Hindoos claim to have originated it,--or rather, say that Siva,
the Third Person of their Trinity, (Siva, the Destroyer,--alas! of time?)
gave it to them; Professor Forbes has shown that it has been known among
them five thousand years; but words tell no myths, and the Bengalee name
for Chess, _Shathorunch_, casts its ballot for Persia and
Shatrenschar;--though India may almost claim it, on account of the greater
perfection to which it has brought the game, and the lead it has always
taken in chess-culture. India rejoices in a flourishing chess-school. The
Indian Problem is known as the perfection of Enigmatic Chess. And if Paul
Morphy had gone to Calcutta, instead of London and Paris, he would have
found there one Mohesh Ghutuck, who, without discovering that he was a
P. and move behind his best play, and without becoming too sick to proceed
with the match, would have given him a much finer game than any antagonist
he has yet encountered. This Mohesh, who was presented by his admiring king
with a richly-carved chess-king of solid gold nine inches high, not only
plays a fabulous number of games at once whilst he lies on the ground with
closed eyes, but games that none of the many fine native and English
players of India can engage in but with dismay. Fine, indeed, it would have
been, if the world could have seen in the youths of Calcutta and New
Orleans the extreme West matched with the extreme East!

There is no call for any one to vindicate this game. Chess is a great,
worldwide fact. Wherever a highway is found, there, we may be sure, a
reason existed for a highway. And when we find that the explorer on his
northward voyage, pausing a day in Iceland, may pass his time in keen
encounters with the natives,--that the trader in Kamtschatka and China,
unable to speak a word with the people surrounding him, yet holds a long
evening's converse over the board which is polyglot,--that the missionary
returns from his pulpit, and the Hindoo from his widow-burning, to engage
in a controversy without the _theologicum odium_ attached,--the game
becomes authentic from its universality. It is akin to music, to love, to
joy, in that it sets aside alike social caste and sectarian differences:
kings and peasants, warriors and priests, lords and ladies, mingle over the
board as they are represented upon it. "The earliest chess-men on the banks
of the Sacred River were worshippers of Buddha; a player whose name and
fame have grown into an Arabic proverb was a Moslem; a Hebrew Rabbi of
renown, in and out of the Synagogues, wrote one of the finest chess poems
extant; a Catholic priest of Spain has bestowed his name upon two openings;
one of the foremost problem--composers of the age is a Protestant clergyman
of England; and the Greek Church numbers several cultivators of chess
unrivaled in our day." It has received eulogies from Burton,--from
Castiglione,--from Chatham, who, in reply to a compliment on a grand stroke
of invention and successful oratory, said, "My success arose only from
having been checkmated by discovery, the day before, at chess,"--from
Comenius, the grammarian,--from Condé, Cowley, Denham, Justus van Effen,
Sir Thomas Elyot, Guillim, Helvetia, Huarte, Sir William Jones, Leibnitz,
Lydgate, Olaus Magnus, Pasquier, Sir Walter Raleigh, Rousseau, Voltaire,
Samuel Warren, Warton, Franklin, Buckle, and many others of ability in
every department of letters, philosophy, and art. We know of but one man of
genius or learning--who has repudiated it,--Montaigne. "Or if he
[Alexander] played at chess," says Montaigne, "what string of his soul was
not touched by this idle and childish game? I hate and avoid it because it
is not play enough,--that it is too grave and serious a diversion; and I am
ashamed to lay out as much thought and study upon that as would serve to
much better uses." Looked at simply as a diversion, chess might naturally
impress a man of intellectual earnestness thus. It is not a diversion; a
recreation it may be called, but only as any variation from "the shop" is
recreative. But chess has, by the experiences of many, sufficiently proved
itself to have serious uses to men of thought, and in the way of an
intellectual gymnasium. It is to the limbs and sinews of the
mind--prudence, foresight, memory, combination, analysis--just what a
gymnasium is to the body. In it every muscle, every joint of the
understanding is put under drill; and we know, that, where the mind does
not have exercise for its body, but relics simply on idle cessation for its
reinforcement, it will get too much lymph. Work is worship; but work
without rest is idolatry. And rest is not, as some seem to think, a swoon,
a slumber; it is an active receptivity, a masterly inactivity, which alone
can deserve the fine name of Rest. Such, we believe, our favorite game
secures better than all others. Besides this direct use, one who loves it
finds many other incidental uses starting up about it,--such as made
Archbishop Magnus, the learned historian of Sweden, say, "Anger, love,
peevishness, covetousness, dulness, idleness, and many other passions and
motions of the minds of men may be discovered by it."--But we promised not
to vindicate chess, and shall leave this portion of our topic with the fine
verse of the Oriental bard, Ibn ul Mûtazz:--

"O thou whose cynic sneers express
  The censure of our favorite chess,
Know that its skill is Science' self,
  Its play distraction from distress.
It soothes the anxious lover's care;
  It weans the drunkard from excess;
It counsels warriors in their art,
  When dangers threat and perils press;
And yields us, when we need them most,
  Companions in our loneliness." [1]

[Footnote 1: Translated in that excellent periodical, which no lover of
chess should be without, _The Chess Monthly_, edited by Fiske and Morphy,
New York. (Vol. i. p. 92.)]

Now that the Persian poet has touched his lyre in our pages, we will not at
once pass to any cold geographical or analytical realm of our subject, but
pause awhile to cull some flowers of song which have sprung up on good
English soil, which the feet of Caïssa have ever loved to press. No other
games, and few other subjects, have gathered about them so rich a
literature, or been intertwined with so much philological and historical
lore. Not the least of this is to be found in the English classics, from
which we propose to make one or two selections. We begin where English
poetry begins, with Dan Chaucer; and from many beautiful conceits turning
upon chess, we select one which must receive universal admiration. It is
from the "Booke of the Duchesse."

"My boldnesse is turned to shame,
For false Fortune hath played a game
At the Chesse with me.

"At the Chesse with me she gan to play,
With her false draughts full divers
Sho stale on me, and toke my fers:[1]
And when I sawe my fers away,
Alas! I couth no longer play.

"Therewith Fortune said,' Checke here,
And mate in the mid point of the checkere
With a paune errant.' Alas!
Full craftier to play she was
Than Athalus, that made the game
First of the Chesse, so was his name."

[Footnote 1: Mediaeval name for the Queen, (originally
the Counsellor,)--the strength of the
board.]

In the early part of the seventeenth century, Thomas Middleton wrote a
comedy styled "A Game at Chess," which was acted at the Globe
(Shakspeare's) nine times successively. It seems to have been a severe
tirade on the religious aspects of the times. The stage directions are
significant: for example:--Act I., Scene 1. _Enter severally, in order of
the game, the White and Black houses_. Act II., Scene 1. _Enter severally
White Queen's Pawnes and Black Queen's Pawnes_. The Prologue is as
follows:--

"What of the game called Chesse-play can be made
To make a stage-play shall this day be played.
First you shall see the men in order set,
States, and their Pawnes, when both the sides are met;
The houses well distinguished: in the game
Some men entrapt, and taken to their shame,
Bewarded by their play: and in the close
You shall see checque-mate given to Virtue's foes.
But the fair'st jewel that our hopes can decke
Is so to play our game t'avoid your checke."

The play excited indignation in the partisans of the Romish Church, and was
not only suppressed by James I., but at the demand of the Queen its author
was imprisoned, and was relieved only by a witty verse sent to the King.

The last which we have room to quote is anonymous, and of date near
1632. It may have been written by the celebrated divine, Thomas Jackson, of
Corpus-Christi College, whose discourse comparing the visible world to a
"Devil's Chess-board" evidently suggested the familiar etching in which
Satan contends with a youth for his soul. The lines are entitled:

THE PAWNE.

"A lowly one I saw,
  With aim fist high:
    Ne to the righte,
    Ne to the lefte
Veering, he marchèd by his Lawe,
  The crested Knyghte passed by,
    And haughty surplice-vest,
    As onward toward his heste
    With patient step he prest,
  Soothfaste his eye:
Now, lo! the last doore yieldeth,
His hand a sceptre wieldeth,
A crowne his forehead shieldeth!

"So 'mergeth the true-hearted,
  With aim fixt high,
From place obscure and lowly:
  Veereth he nought;
  His work he wroughte.
How many loyall paths be trod,
Soe many royall Crownes hath God!"

It is very clear that the pawns in chess represent the common soldiers in
battle. The Germans call them "peasants" (_Bauern_); the Hindoos call them
_Baul_, or "powers" (in the sense of _force_); and that each of these, if
he can pursue his file to its end, should win a crown has always given to
this game a popular stamp. These pawns are doubtless, next to knights, the
most interesting pieces on the board: Philidor called them "the soul of
chess."

At an early period Asiatic chess was divided into two branches,--known
amongst players as Chinese and Indian. They are different games in many
respects, and yet enough alike to show that they were at some period the
same. The Chinese game maintains its place in Eastern Asia, Japan, etc.; in
the islands of the Archipelago, and, with very slight modifications,
throughout the civilized world, the Indian game is played. Indeed, there is
no difference between Indian and European chess, except that in the former
the Bishop is called Elephant,--the Rooks, Boats,--the Queen, Minister: the
movements of the pieces are the same.

Of Chinese chess some description will be more novel. Their chess-board,
like ours, has sixty-four squares, which are not distinguished into
alternate black and white squares. The pieces are not placed on the
squares, but on the corners of the squares. The board is divided into two
equal parts by an uncheckered space, which is called the River. There are
nine points on each line, and forty-five on each half of the board. They
have the same number of pieces with ourselves. Each player has a king, two
guards, two elephants, two knights, two chariots, two cannon, and five
pawns. Each player places nine pieces on the first line of the board,--the
king in the centre, a guard on each side of him, two elephants next, two
knights next, and then the two chariots upon the extremities of the board;
the two cannons go in front of the two knights and the pawns on the fourth
line.

The king moves only one square at a time, but not diagonally, and only in
an _enceinte_, or court, of four squares,--to wit, his own, the queen's,
queen's paw and king's pawn's. Castling is unknown. The two guards remain
in the same limits, but can move only diagonally; thus we have in our king
both the Chinese king and his guard. The elephants move diagonally, two
squares at a time, and cannot pass the river. Their knight moves like ours,
but must not pass over pieces; he can pass the river, which counts as one
square. The chariots and cannon move like our castles, and can cross the
river. The pawns always move one step, and may move sidewise as well as
forward,--taking in the same line in which they move; they cross the
river. The cannon alone can pass over any piece; indeed, a cannon can take
only when there is a piece between it and the piece it takes,--which
intervening piece may belong to either player. The king must not be
opposite the other king without a piece between. All this certainly sounds
very complex and awkward to the English or American player; and our game
has the preferable tendency of increasing the power of the pieces, (as
distinct from pawns,) rather than, with theirs, limiting their powers and
multiplying their number. However, it is probable, whatever may be the
respective merits of the two games, that neither of them will ever be
altered; the Chinese, who can roast his pig only by burning the sty,
because the first historic roast-pig was so roasted, will be likely to
continue his chess as nearly as possible in the same form as the celestial
Tia-hoang and the terrestrial Yin-hoang played it a million years ago. In
Europe and America we have all complacently concluded, that, when David
said he had seen an end of all perfection, it only indicated that he was
unacquainted with chess as played in accordance with Staunton's Handbook.

But it is only the Indian game which has had a development equal to the
development of the civilized arts. This has been chiefly through what are
called by the Italian-French name of _gambits_. There is much prejudice,
amongst a certain class of chess-players, against what is called
"book-chess," but it rarely exists with players of the first rank. These
gambits are as necessary to the first-rate player as are classifications to
the naturalist. They are the venerable results of experience; and he who
tries to excel without an acquaintance with them will find that it is much
as if he should ignore the results of the past and put his hand into the
fire to prove that fire would burn. If he should try every method of
answering a special attack, he would be sure to find in the end that the
method laid down in the gambit was the true one. An acquaintance,
therefore, with these approved openings puts a player at an advanced
starting-point in a game, inexhaustible enough in any case, and where he
need not take time in doing what others have already done. Although we
design in this article to refrain, as much as possible, from technical
chess, it may be well enough to give a list of the usual openings, and
their key-moves.

PHILIDOR'S DEFENCE.
(_Philidor_, 1749.)

White.                      Black.
1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. P. to Q. 3d.


GIUOCO PIANO.
(_Italian_.)

1. P. to K. 4th              1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. Kt. to Q.B. 3d.
3. B. to Q.B. 4th.          3. B. to Q.B. 4th.
4. P. to Q. 3d or Q.B. 3d.


RUY LOPEZ'S KNIGHT'S GAME.
(_Lopez_, 1584.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. Kt. to Q.B. 3d.
3. B. to Q.Kt. 5th.


PETROFF'S DEFENCE.
(1837.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.


Q. PAWN OR SCOTCH GAME.
(_So named from the great match between London
and Edinburgh in_ 1826, _but first analyzed
as a gambit by Ghulam Xassitrt, Madras,_
1829.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. Kt. to Q.B. 3d.
3. P. to Q. 4th.


SICILIAN GAME.
(_Ancient Italian MS_.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to Q.B. 4th.


EVANS'S GAMBIT.
(_Captain Evans_, 1833.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          2. Kt. to Q.B. 3d.
3. B. to Q.B. 4th.          3. B. to Q.B. 4th.
4. P. to Q.Kt. 4th.


KING'S BISHOP'S GAMBIT.

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. B. to Q.B. 4th.          2. B. to Q.B. 4th.


KING'S KNIGHT'S GAMBIT.

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. P. to K.B. 4th.          2. P. takes P.
3. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          3. P. to K.Kt. 4th.
4. B. to Q.B. 4th.          4. B. to K.Kt. 2d.


ALLGAIER GAMBIT.
_(Johann Allgaier_, 1795.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. P. to K.B. 4th.          2. P. takes P.
3. Kt. to K.B. 3d.          3. P. to K.Kt. 4th,
4. P. to K.B. 4th.


MUZIO GAMBIT.
(_Preserved by Salvio_, 1604.)

1. P. to K. 4th.        1. P. to K. 4th.
2. P. to K.B. 4th.      2. P. takes P.
3. Kt. to K.B. 3d.      3. P. to K.Kt. 4th.
4. B. to K.B. 4th.      4. P. to K.Kt. 5th.
5. Castles.             5. P. takes Kt.


SALVIO GAMBIT.
(_Preserved from the Portuguese by Salvio_, 1604.)

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 4th.
2. P. to K.B. 4th.          2. P. takes P.
3. K.Kt. to B. 3d.          3. P. to K.Kt. 4th.
4. K.B. to Q.B. 4th.        4. P. to K.Kt. 5th.
5. Kt. to K. 5th.           5. Q.to K.R.'s 5th. (ch.)
6. K. to B. Sq.             6. K.Kt. to B. 3d.


FRENCH GAME.

1. P. to K. 4th.            1. P. to K. 3d.

These gambits may be classed under what are, in common phrase, termed
"open" or "close" games; an open game being where the pieces are brought
out into more immediate engagement,--a close game where the pawns
interlock, and the pieces can less easily issue to the attack. An instance
of the former may be found in the Allgaier,--of the latter in Philidor's
Defence. These two kinds of games are found in chess-play because they are
found in human temperament; as there are brilliant and daring Napoleons,
and cautious, pertinacious Washingtons in war, so are there in chess
Philidor and La Bourdonnais, Staunton and Morphy. In examining
Mr. Staunton's play, for example, one is struck with the French tact of
M. St. Amant's remark, made many years ago: "M. Staunton has the solidity
of iron, but neither the purity of gold nor the brilliancy of the diamond."
However much Mr. Staunton's ignoble evasion of the match with Morphy--after
bringing him, by his letter, all the way from New Orleans to London, a
voyage which would scarcely have been taken otherwise--may have stained his
reputation as a courageous and honorable chess-player, we cannot be blind
to the fact, that he is the strongest master of the game in Europe. With a
fine mathematical head, (more at home, however, in the Calculus than in
Algebra,)--with an immense power of reserve and masterly repose,--able to
hold an almost incredible number of threads without getting them
entangled,--he has all the qualities which bear that glorious flower,
success. But he is never brilliant; he has outwearied many a deeper man by
his indefatigable evenness and persistance; he is Giant Despair to the
brilliant young men. Mr. Morphy is just the _otherest_ from Staunton. Like
him only in sustained and quiet power, he brings to the board that demon of
his, Memory,--such a memory, too, as no other chess-player has ever
possessed: add to this wonderful analytic power and you have the secret of
this Chess-King. Patient practice, ambition, and leisure have done the
rest. He has thus the _lustre du diamant_, which St. Amant missed in
Mr. Staunton; and we know that the brilliant diamond is hard enough also to
make its mark upon the "solid iron."

Amongst other great living players who incline to the "close game," we may
mention Mr. Harrwitz, whose match with Morphy furnished not one brilliant
game; also Messrs. Slous, Horwitz, Bledow, Szen, and others. But the
tendency has been, ever since the celebrated and magnificent matches of the
two greatest chess geniuses which England and France have ever known,
McDonnel and De la Bourdonnais, to cultivate the bolder and more exciting
open gambits. And under the lead of Paul Morphy this tendency is likely to
be inaugurated as the rule of modern chess. Professor Anderssen, Mayet,
Lange, and Von der Lasa, in Germany,--Dubois and Centurini, at
Rome,--St. Amant, Laroche, and Lécrivain, of Paris,--Löwenthal, Perigal,
Kipping, Owen, Mengredien, etc., of London,--are all players of the heroic
sort, and the games recently played by some of them with Morphy are perhaps
the finest on record. And certainly, whatever may be said of their tendency
to promote careless and reckless play, the open and daring games are at
once more interesting, more brief, and more conducive to the mental drill
which has been claimed as a sufficient compensation for the outlay of
thought and time demanded by chess.

We have already given some specimens of the Poetry of Chess. The Chess
Philosophy itself has penetrated every direction of literature. From the
time that Miranda is "discovered playing chess with Ferdinand" in
Prospero's cell, (an early instance of "discovered mate,") the numberless
Mirandas of Romance have played for and been played for mates. Chess has
even its Mythology,--Caïssa being now, we believe, generally received at
the Olympian Feasts. True, some one has been wicked enough to observe that
all chess-stories are divisible into two classes,--in one a man plays for
his own soul with the Devil, in the other the hero plays and wins a
wife,--and to beg for a chess-story _minus_ wives and devils; but such
grumblers are worthless baggage, and ought to be checked. The Chess Library
has now become an important collection. Time was, when, if one man had
Staunton's "Handbook," Sarratt, Philidor, Walker's "Thousand Games," and
Lewis on "The Game of Chess," he was regarded as uniting the character of a
chess-scholar with that of the antiquary. But now we hear of Bledow of
Berlin with eight hundred volumes on chess; and Professor George Allen, of
the University of Pennsylvania, with more than a thousand! Such a
literature has Chess collected about it since Paolo Boi, "the great
Syracusan," as he was called, wrote what perhaps was the first work on
chess, in the middle of the sixteenth century.

But such numbers of works on chess are very rare, and when the reader hears
of an enormous chess library, he may be safe in recalling the story of
Walker, whose friend turned chess author; seven years after, he boasted to
Walker of the extent of his chess library, which, he affirmed consisted of
one thousand volumes _minus_ eighteen! It turned out that eighteen copies
of his work had been sold, the rest of the edition remaining on his hands.

Though these old works are like galleries of old and valuable pictures to
the chess enthusiast, they contain very little that is valuable to the
general reader. Their terms and signs are to the uninitiated suggestive of
a doctor's prescription. But the anecdotes of the game are, many of them,
remarkable; and we believe they are known to have less of the mythical
about them than those told in other departments. One who knows the game
will feel that it is sufficiently absorbing to be woven in with the
textures of government, of history, and of biography. It is of the nature
of chess gradually to gather up all the senses and faculties of the player,
so that for the time being he is an automaton chess-player, to whom life
and death are abstractions.

How seriously, even religiously, the game has always been regarded by both
Church and State may be judged by the account given by old Carrera of one
whom we have already named as probably the earliest chess author, as he
certainly is one of the greatest players known to fame. "In the time of our
fathers," says this ancient enthusiast, "we had many famous players, of
whom _Paolo Boi_, Sicilian, of the city of Syracuse, and commonly called
the Syracusan, was considered the best. He was born in Syracuse of a rich
and good family. When a boy, he made considerable progress in literature,
for he had a very quick apprehension. He had a wonderful talent for the
game of Chess; and having in a short time beaten all the players of the
city, he resolved to go to Spain, where he heard there were famous players,
honored and rewarded not only by noblemen, but also by Philip II., who took
no small delight in the game. He first beat with ease all the players of
Sicily, and was very superior in playing without seeing the board; for,
playing at once three games blindfold, he conversed with others on
different subjects. Before going into Spain, he travelled over all Italy,
playing with the best players, amongst others with the Pultino, who was of
equal force; they are therefore called by Salvio the light and glory of
chess. He was the favorite of many Italian Princes, and particularly of the
Duke of Urbino, and of several Cardinals, and even of Pope Pius V. himself,
who would have given him a considerable benefice, if he would have become a
clergyman; but this he declined, that he might follow his own
inclinations. He afterward went to Venice, where a circumstance happened
which had never occurred before: he played with a person and lost. Having
afterward by himself examined the games with great care, and finding that
he ought to have won, he was astonished that his adversary should have
gained contrary to all reason, and suspected that he had used some secret
art whereby he was prevented from seeing clearly; and as he was very
devout, and was possessed of a rosary rich with many relics of saints, he
resolved to play again with his antagonist, armed not only with the rosary,
but strengthened by having previously received the sacrament: by these
means he conquered his adversary, who, after his defeat, said to him these
words,--'Thine is more potent than mine.'"

Some of the earliest writers on chess have given their idea of the
all-absorbing nature of the game in the pleasant legend, that it was
invented by the two Grecian brothers Ledo and Tyrrheno to alleviate the
pangs of hunger with which they were pressed, and that, whilst playing it,
they lived weeks without considering that they had eaten nothing.

But we need not any mythical proof of its competency in this
direction. Hyde, in his History of the Saracens, relates with authenticity,
that Al Amin, the Caliph of Bagdad, was engaged at chess with his freedman
Kuthar, at the time when Al Mamun's forces were carrying on the siege of
the city with a vigor which promised him success. When one rushed in to
inform the Caliph of his danger, he cried,--"Let me alone, for I see
checkmate against Kuthar!" Charles I. was at chess when he was informed of
the decision of the Scots to sell him to the English, but only paused from
his game long enough to receive the intelligence. King John was at chess
when the deputies from Rouen came to inform him that Philip Augustus had
besieged their city; but he would not hear them until he had finished the
game. An old English MS. gives in the following sentence no very handsome
picture of the chess-play of King John of England:--"John, son of King
Henry, and Fulco felle at variance at Chestes, and John brake Fulco's head
with the Chest-borde; and then Fulco gave him such a blow that he almost
killed him." The laws of chess do not now permit the king such free range
of the board. Dr. Robertson, in his History of Charles V., relates that
John Frederic, Elector of Saxony, whilst he was playing with Ernest, Duke
of Brunswick, was told that the Emperor had sentenced him to be beheaded
before the gate of Wittenberg; he with great composure proceeded with the
game, and, having beaten, expressed the usual satisfaction of a victor. He
was not executed, however, but set at liberty, after five years'
confinement, on petition of Mauritius. Sir Walter Raleigh said, "I wish to
live no longer than I can play at chess." Rousseau speaks of himself as
_forcené des échecs_, "mad after chess." Voltaire called it "the one, of
all games, which does most honor to the human mind."

"When an Eastern guest was asked if he knew anything in the universe more
beautiful than the gardens of his host, which lay, an ocean of green,
broad, brilliant, enchanting, upon the flowery margin of the Euphrates, he
replied,--'Yes, the chess-playing of El-Zuli.'"  Surely, the compliment,
though Oriental, is not without its strict truth. When Nature rises up to
her culmination, the human brain, and there reveals her potencies of
insight, foresight, analysis, memory, we are touched with a mystic beauty;
the profile on the mountain-top is sublimer than the mountain. But we must
heed well Mr. Morphy's advice, and not suffer this fascinating game to be
more than a porter at the gate of the fairer garden. Only when it secures,
not when it usurps the day, can it be regarded as a friend. There is a
myriad-move problem, of which Society is the Sphinx, given us to solve.

He who masters chess without being mastered by it will find that it
discovers essential principles. In the world he will see a larger
chess-field, and one also shaped by the severest mathematics: the world is
so because the brain of man is so,--motive and move, motive and move: they
sum up life, all life,--from the aspen-leaf turning its back to the wind,
to the ecstasy of a saint. See the array of pawns (_forces_, as the Hindoo
calls them): the bodily presence and abilities, power of persistence,
endurance, nerve, the eye, the larynx, the tongue, the senses.  Do they not
exist in life as on the board, to cut the way for royal or nobler pieces?
Does not the Imperial Mind win its experiences, its insight, through the
wear and tear of its physical twin? Is not the perfect soul "perfect
through sufferings" for evermore? For every coin reason gets from Nature,
the heart must leave a red drop impawned, the face must bear its scar. See,
then, the powers of the human arena: here Castle, Knight, Bishop are
Passion, Love, Hope; and above all, the sacred Queen of each man, his
specialty, his strength, by which he must win the day, if he win at
all. Here is the Idea with reference to which each man is planned; it
preexisted in the universe, and was born when he was born; it is King on
the board,--that lost, life's game is lost. By his side stands the special
Strength into whose keeping it is given, making, in Goethe's words, "every
man strong enough to enforce his conviction,"--his _conviction_, mark!
Pawns and pieces form themselves about that Queen; they are all to perish,
to perish one by one,--even the specialty,--that the King may triumph. Over
our largest, sublimest individualities the eternal tide flows on, and the
grandest personal strides are merged in the general success. The old author
dreamed that the heroes of the Trojan War were changed by Zeus into the
warriors of the mimic strife in order that such renowned exploits should be
perpetuated among men forever: rather must we reverse the dream, and
apotheosize the powers of the board, that they may appear in the sieges,
heroisms, and victories of life.

       *       *       *       *       *



SPRING-SONG.

Creep slowly up the willow-wand,
  Young leaves! and, in your lightness,
Teach us that spirits which despond
  May wear their own pure brightness.

Into new sweetness slowly dip,
  O May!--advance; yet linger:
Nor let the ring too swiftly slip
  Down that new-plighted finger.

Thy bursting blooms, O spring, retard!
  While thus thy raptures press on,
How many a joy is lost, or marred
  How many a lovely lesson!

For each new sweet thou giv'st us, those
  Which first we loved are taken:
In death their eyes must violets close
  Before the rose can waken.

Ye woods, with ice-threads tingling late,
  Where late was heard the robin,
Your chants that hour but antedate
  When autumn winds are sobbing!

Ye gummy buds, in silken sheath
  Hang back, content to glisten!
Hold in, O earth, thy charmèd breath!
  Thou air, be still, and listen!

       *       *       *       *       *



MODEL LODGING-HOUSES IN BOSTON.

The present sanitary condition of our great cities is a reproach to our
intelligence not less than to our humanity. Our system of self-government,
so far as regards the protection of the mass of the dwellers in cities from
the worst physical evils, is now on trial. The tests to which it is exposed
are severe. We may boast as we like of our national prosperity, of the
rapidity of our material progress,--we may take pride in liberty, in wide
extent of territory, in the welcome to our shores of the exiled and the
poor of all other lands, or in whatsoever matter of self-gratulation we
choose,--but by the side of all these satisfactions stands the fact, that
in our chief cities the duration of life is diminishing and the suffering
from disease increasing. The question inevitably arises, Is this a
consequence of our political system? and if so, is political liberty worth
having, are democratic principles worth establishing, if the price to be
paid for them is increased insecurity of life and greater wretchedness
among the poor? If the origin of these evils is to be found in the
incompetency of the government or the inefficiency of individuals in a
democracy, a remedy must be applied, or the whole system must be changed.

The intimate connection between physical misery and moral degradation is
plain and generally acknowledged. We are startled from time to time at the
rapid growth of crime in our cities; but it is the natural result of
preexisting physical evils. These evils have become more apparent during
the last twenty years than before, and it has been the fashion to attribute
their increase, with their frightful consequences, mainly to the enormous
Irish immigration, which for a time crowded our streets with poor, foreign
in origin, and degraded, not only by hereditary poverty, but by centuries
of civil and religious oppression. This view is no doubt in part correct;
but the larger share of the evils in our cities is due to causes
unconnected in any necessary relation with the immigration,--causes
contemporaneous with it in their development, and brought into fuller
action by it, rather than consequent upon it.

More than half the sickness and more than half the deaths in New York (and
probably the same holds true of our other cities) are due to causes which
may be prevented,--in other words, which are the result of individual or
municipal neglect, of carelessness or indifference in regard to the known
and established laws of life. More than half the children who are born in
New York (and the proportion is over forty per cent. in Boston) die before
they are five years old. Much is implied in these statements,--among other
things, much criminal recklessness and wanton waste of the sources of
wealth and strength in a state.

In Paris, in London, and in other European cities, the average mortality
has been gradually diminishing during the last fifty years. In New York, on
the contrary, it has increased with frightful rapidity; and in Boston,
though the increase has not been so alarming, it has been steady and
rapid. [Footnote: The facts upon winch these statements are based are
recorded in the Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts,
1850,--in the Annual Reports of the Boston City Registrar,--in the Annual
Reports of the New York Society for Improving the Condition of the
Poor,--and in other public documents.

It appears that the ratio of deaths to population was,

In New York, in 1810, 1 in 46.46
     "          1840, 1 in 39.74
     "          1850, 1 in 33.52
     "          1857, 1 in 27.15

In Boston, in 1830, 1 in 48
     "        1840, 1 in 45
     "        1850, 1 in 38
     "        1858, 1 in 41

It is probable that the ratio for the year 1858 showed somewhat more
improvement even than appears from the above figures. The proportion is
based on the population as ascertained in 1855. Up to 1858, the population
was somewhat, though not greatly, increased, and any increase would serve
to render the proportion in 1858 more favorable to the health of the
city. But it was a year in which the number of deaths was less than it had
been since 1850; it was, therefore, an exceptional year; and the change in
the ratio of the deaths is, we fear, not the sign of the beginning of a
progressive improvement.]

But more and worse than this is the fact, that in these two cities the
average duration of life (and this means the material prosperity of the
people) has of late terribly decreased. While out of every hundred people
more die than was the case ten, twenty, thirty years ago, those who die
have lived a shorter time. Life is not now to be reckoned by its
"threescore years and ten." Its average duration in Boston is little above
twenty years; in New York it is less than twenty years. [Footnote: In
Boston, from 1810 to 1820, the average age of all that died was 27.85
years; in 1857, leaving deaths by casualty out of the calculation, it was
but 20.63 years; in 1858, it was 21.76. In New York, from 1810 to 1820, it
was 26.15; for the last ten years of which the statistics are known, it was
less than 20.]  Is the diminution of the length of life to go on from year
to year?

This needless sacrifice and shortening of life, this accumulating amount of
ill health, causes an annual loss, in each of our great cities, of
productive capacity to the value of millions of dollars, as well as an
unnatural expense of millions more. This is no figure of speech. The
community is poorer by millions of dollars each year through the waste
which it allows of health and life. Leaving out of view all humane
considerations, all thought of the misery, social and moral, which
accompanies this physical degradation, and looking simply at its economical
effects, we find that it increases our taxes, diminishes our means of
paying them, creates permanent public burdens, and lessens the value of
property. An outlay of a million of dollars a year to reduce and to remove
the causes of these evils would be the cheapest and most profitable
expenditure of the public money by the municipal government. The principal
would soon be returned to the general treasury with all arrears of
interest.

The main causes of this great and growing misery are patent. The remedies
for them are scarcely less plain. The chief sources of that disease and
death which may be prevented by the action of the community are, first, the
filthy and poisonous houses into which a large part of the people are
crowded; second, the imperfect ventilation of portions of the city,--its
narrow and dirty streets, lanes, and yards; and, third, the want of
sufficient house and street drainage and sewerage. It is important to note
in relation to these sources of evil, that, while the poverty of our poor
is generally not such complete destitution as that of many of the poor in
foreign cities, their average condition is worse. The increase of disease
and mortality is a result not so much of poverty as of condition. "The pith
and burden of the whole matter is, that the great mass of the poor are
compelled to live in tenements that are unfit for human beings, and under
circumstances in which it is impossible to preserve health and life."

To improve the dwellings of the poor, to make them decent and wholesome,
is, then, the first step to be taken in checking the causes of preventable
disease and death in our cities. This work implies, if it be done
thoroughly, the securing of proper ventilation, sewerage, and drainage.

Most of the houses which the poor occupy are the property of persons who
receive from them a rent very large in proportion to their value. No other
class of houses gives, on an average, a larger return upon the capital
invested in it. The rents which the poor pay, though paid in small sums,
are usually enormous in comparison with the accommodation afforded. The
houses are crowded from top to bottom. Many of them are built without
reference to the comfort or health of their occupants, but with the sole
object of getting the largest return for the smallest outlay. They are
hotbeds of disease, and exposed to constant peril from fire. Now it seems
plain that here is an occasion for the interposition of municipal
authority. In spite of the jealousy (proper within certain limits) with
which governmental interference with private property is regarded in this
country, it is a manifest dereliction of duty on the part of our city
authorities not to exercise a strict supervision over these houses. The
interests which are chiefly affected by their condition are not private,
but public interests. There are legal means for abating nuisances; and
there is no reason why houses which affect the health of whole districts
should not be treated in the same way as nuisances which are more
obtrusive, though less pernicious. In some of the cities of Europe, in
Nuremberg, for instance, there is a public architect, to whom all plans for
new buildings are submitted for approval or rejection according as they
correspond or not with the style of building suitable for the city. What is
done abroad to secure the beauty of a city might well be done here to
secure its health. Again, by legal enactment, we have prevented the
overcrowding of our emigrant ships: the same thing should be done in our
cities, to prevent the overcrowding of our tenement-houses. No house should
be allowed to receive more than a fixed maximum of dwellers in proportion
to its size and accommodations. These are simple propositions, but, if
properly carried out by enactment, they would secure an incalculable good.

[Footnote: Since writing the preceding sentences, we have been gratified to
see that a bill proposing the creation of a Metropolitan Board of Health
has been introduced into the Legislature of New York. If the bill becomes a
law, as we trust it may, the board will be invested with power "to enact
ordinances for the proper government and control of buildings erecting or
to be erected, ... to compel the lessees or owners of dwellings to put the
same in proper order, and to provide sufficient means of egress in case of
fire." The New-York Evening Post of March 23, in giving an account of this
bill, says,--and there is no exaggeration in its statements,--

"The nearly one million of souls of this great city are left to take care
of themselves,--to be crowded mercilessly by landlords into houses without
light, air, or water, and without means of egress in case of fire; and the
street filth is allowed to accumulate till the city has become as the
famous Pontine Marshes, to breathe whose exhalations is certain
disease. All this results, as is proved by comparison with other cities, in
the unnecessary loss of five thousand to eight thousand lives annually, and
of many millions of dollars expended for unnecessary sickness, and the
consequent loss of time and strength,--all of which might be saved, as they
are actually saved in other and larger cities, by the application of
sanitary laws by intelligent and efficient officers.

"And yet our Common Council are unmoved to apply the corrective, and the
Legislature postpones action upon the numerous petitions of the people upon
the subject. How long these bodies will be suffered to abuse the patience
of our citizens we cannot tell; but the breaking out of a pestilence which
shall sweep a thousand a week into the grave, and bring this city to
financial ruin, will be but a natural issue of the present neglect. The
Health Bill now before the Legislature has been prepared under the auspices
of the Sanitary Association. Its provisions are sweeping; but the
importance of the subject, the uniform filthy condition of our streets, and
the wretched and unsafe condition of our tenement-houses imperatively
demand changes of the most radical nature. The general provisions of the
bill seem to cover the points most requiring legislation; and while in some
of its details it could probably be improved, it is difficult to imagine
that the present state of sanitary regulations could be made worse, and
certain that the proposed reforms, if carried out, would be of great
advantage."

In Massachusetts, statutes have existed for some years, giving to the
Boards of Health of the different cities or towns powers of a similar
nature to those granted by the bill proposed for New York, but of far too
limited scope. By Chapter 26, § 11, of the General Statutes, which are to
go into operation this year, the Boards of Health are authorized to remove
the occupants of any tenement, occupied as a dwelling-place, which is unfit
for the purpose, and a cause of nuisance or sickness either to the
occupants or the public,--and may require the premises, previously to their
reoccupation, to be properly cleansed at the expense of the owner. But the
penalty for a violation of this article is too light, being a fine of not
less than ten nor more than fifty dollars. To secure any essential good
from this law, it must be energetically enforced, with a disregard of
personal consequences, and an enlightened view of public and private rights
and necessities, scarcely to be expected from Boards of Health as commonly
constituted. We require a law upon this subject conveying far ampler
powers, enforced by far heavier penalties. It should embrace oversight of
the construction as well as of the condition of the dwellings of the
poor. Until we obtain such a law, the community is bound to insist upon a
rigid enforcement of the present imperfect statute.

[The bill above alluded to by our correspondent has since been rejected by
the Legislature of New York.--EDS. ATLANTIC.]]

Still, however much may be done by public authority, the condition of the
dwellings of the poor must be determined chiefly by the interest and the
legal responsibility of their individual owners. That men may be found
willing to make fortunes for themselves by grinding the faces of the poor
is certain; but there are, on the other hand, many who would be willing to
use some portion, at least, of their means to provide suitable homes for
the destitute, could they be assured of receiving a fair return upon the
property invested. It has been a matter of doubt whether proper houses
could be built for the dwellings of the lower classes, with all necessary
accommodations for health and comfort, at such a cost that the rents could
be kept as low as those paid for the common wretched tenements, and at the
same time be sufficient to afford a reasonable interest upon the
investment. Toward the solution of this doubt, an experiment which has been
tried in Boston during the last five years has afforded important results.

In the spring of 1853, a number of gentlemen having subscribed a sufficient
sum for the purpose of building a house or houses on the best plan, as
Model Dwellings for the Poor, a society was formed, which, in the next
year, received an act of incorporation from the Legislature under the style
of "The Model Lodging-House Association." A suitable lot of land having
been obtained upon favorable terms, at the corner of Pleasant Street and
Osborn Place, the Directors of the Association proceeded to erect two brick
houses, of different construction, each containing separate tenements for
twenty families. The plans of the buildings were prepared with great care
to secure the essentials of a healthy home,--pure air, pure water,
efficient drainage, cleanliness, and light. In their details, strict regard
was had to the most economical and best use of a limited space, and ample
precautions were taken to reduce to its least the risk of fire. In each
house, double staircases, continuous to the roof, (and in one of them of
iron,) and two main exits were provided; and more recently, the two
buildings, which are separated from each other by a passage-way some feet
in width, have been connected by throwing an iron bridge from roof to roof,
by which, in case of alarm in one of them, escape may be readily had
through the other. Each house was, moreover, divided in the middle by a
solid brick partition-wall.

The houses are five stories in height, not including the basement or
cellar, with four tenements in each story. The reduced plans, on the
opposite page, exhibit the general arrangements of the houses, and show the
complete separation of each set of apartments from the others, each one
opening by a single door upon the common stairs or passage. Their relation
is scarcely closer than that of separate houses in a common continuous
block. Each tenement, it will be observed, consists of a living-room, and
two or three sleeping-rooms, according to the space, a wash-room, with sink
and cupboards, and a water-closet. The stories are eight feet and six
inches in height, which is ample for the necessities of ventilation. In one
of the buildings, each tenement is provided with shafts for dust and offal,
communicating with receptacles in the cellar. The roofs of both are fitted
with conveniences for the drying of clothes, properly guarded; and in the
cellars of both are closets, one for each tenement, to hold fuel or
stores. In the basement of house No. 1 there are also two bathing-rooms,
which have been found of great use.

[Illustration: PLAN OF MODEL HOUSE, No. 1 OSBORN PLACE, BOSTON.]

[Illustration: PLAN OF ONE-HALF OF MODEL HOUSE, No. 3 OSBORN PLACE,
BOSTON.]

It would be difficult, after some years' experience, to pronounce which of
the two houses is the best fitted for its object. Their cost was nearly the
same. The plan of No. 1 is original and ingenious; its large open central
space is valuable for purposes of ventilation, and as affording opportunity
for exercise under cover in stormy weather for infants and infirm
people. This advantage is perhaps compensated for in the other house by the
fact of each tenement reaching from back to front of the house, thus
securing within itself the means of a thorough draught of fresh air. Both
plans are excellent, and may be unqualifiedly recommended.

The houses were ready for occupation about the beginning of 1855, and since
that time have been constantly full. The applicants for tenements, whenever
one becomes vacant, are always numerous.

The cost of these two buildings was a little over $18,000 each, exclusive
of the cost of the land upon which they stand. The land cost about $8,000;
and the whole cost of the buildings, including some slight changes
subsequent to their original erection, and of the lot on which they stand,
would be more than covered by the sum of $46,000.

The rents were fixed upon a scale varying with the amount of accommodation
afforded by the separate tenements, and with their convenience of access.
They run from $2 to $2.87 per week. By those familiar with the rents paid
by the poor these sums will be seen to be not higher than are frequently
paid for the most unhealthy and inconvenient lodgings. The total annual
amount of rent received from each house is $2,353, which, after paying
taxes, water-rates, gas-bills, and all other expenses, including all
repairs necessary to keep the building in good order, leaves a full six per
cent. interest upon the sum invested.

A portion of the land purchased by the Association not having been occupied
by the two houses already described, it was determined to erect a third
house upon it, of a somewhat superior character, for a class just above the
line of actual poverty, but often forced by circumstances into unhealthy
and uncomfortable homes. This was accordingly done, at a cost, including
the land, of about $26,000. The house, of which the plan is well worthy of
imitation, contains a shop and nine tenements. These tenements, which form
not only comfortable, but agreeable homes, are rented at from two to three
hundred dollars a year, and the gross income derived from the building is
about $2,500.

During the five years since the first occupation of the houses no loss of
rents has occurred. For the most part, the rent has been paid not only
punctually, but with satisfaction, and the expressions which have been
received of the content of the occupants of the tenements have been of the
most gratifying sort. The houses, as we know from personal inspection, are
now in a state of excellent repair, and show no signs of carelessness or
neglect on the part of their occupants. Few private houses would have a
fresher and neater aspect after so long occupancy. The tenants have been,
with few exceptions, Americans by birth, and they have taken pains to keep
up the character of their dwellings.

One of the Trustees of the Association, a gentleman to whose good judgment
and constant oversight, as well as to his sympathetic kindness tor the
occupants of the houses and interest in their affairs, much of the success
of this experiment is due, says, in a letter from which we are permitted to
quote,--"From my experience in the management of this kind of property, I
believe that it may in all cases with proper care be made _safe and
permanent for investment_. But what I think better of is the good such
houses do in elevating and making happier their tenants, and I much rejoice
in having had an opportunity to test their usefulness."

As a comment upon these brief, but weighty sentences, we would beg any of
our readers, who may have opportunity, to look for himself at the
substantial and not unornamental buildings of the Association, with their
showier front on Pleasant Street, and their imposing length and height of
range along the side of Osborn Place,--to see them affording healthy and
convenient homes to fifty families, many of whom, without some such
provision, would be exposed to be forced into the wretched quarters too
familiar to the poor,--and then to compare them with the common
lodging-houses in any of the lower streets or alleys of Boston or New York.

A similar work to that performed by the Boston Association was undertaken
shortly afterward by a society in New York, who in 1854-5 erected a
building containing ninety tenements of three rooms each, under the name of
"The Working-Men's Home." The cost of this enormous building, which was
well designed, was about $90,000. It is fifty-five feet in breadth by one
hundred and ninety feet in length; it is nearly fireproof, and is provided
with double stairways. It has been occupied from the first by colored
people, and we regret to learn that it has not proved a success, so far as
regards the annual return upon the property invested. After paying the
heavy city tax of 1 3/4 per cent., and the charges for gas and water, the
sum remaining for an annual dividend is not more than four per cent.

This want of success is not, we believe, inherent in the plan itself, but
is the result of a want of proper management and supervision. We learn that
the tenants often leave without paying rent, and that the building is more
or less injured by their neglect. The class of tenants has undoubtedly been
of a lower grade than that which has occupied the Boston houses, and the
habits of the blacks are far inferior to those of the white American poor
in personal neatness and care of their dwellings. But we have no doubt,
that, in spite of these drawbacks, a good revenue might be derived from the
rents paid by this class of tenants. The success of the Boston experiment
is due in considerable part to the employment by the Association of a paid
Superintendent, living with his family in one of the buildings, who has a
general oversight of the houses, collects the rents, and determines the
claims of occupants of the tenements. Such an officer is indispensable for
the proper carrying on of any similar undertaking on so large a scale. We
trust that no effort will be spared in New York to bring out more
satisfactory results from this great establishment. Benevolence is one
thing, and good investments another; but benevolence in this case does not
do half its work, unless it can be proved to pay. It must be profitable, in
order to be in the best sense a charity.

The effect which the Boston houses have already had, in proving that homes
for the poor can be built on the best plan for the health and comfort of
their inmates and at the same time be good investments of property, is
manifest in many private undertakings. Several large houses have already
been built upon similar plans; old lodging-houses have been in several
instances remodelled and otherwise improved; blocks of small dwellings for
one or two families have been erected with every convenience for the class
who can afford to pay from three to six dollars a week for their
accommodations. The example set by the Association promises to be widely
followed.

Much, however, yet remains to be done, and associate or private energy is
needed for the trial of new and not less important experiments than that
already well performed. The means for some of them are at hand. It will be
remembered that the late Hon. Abbott Lawrence, to whose beneficence during
his life the community was so largely indebted, and whose liberal deeds
will long be remembered with gratitude, left by will the sum of $50,000 to
be held by Trustees for the erection of dwellings for the poor. This sum
will in a short time be ready for employment for its designated purpose,
and it may be hoped that those who control its disposal will not so much
imitate the work already done as perform a work not yet accomplished, but
not less essential. The houses of the Association are, as we have stated,
not occupied by the most destitute poor,--and it is for this lowest class
that the most pressing need exists for an improvement in their
habitations. If the cellar-dwelling poor can be provided with healthy
homes, and these homes can be made to pay a fair rent, the worst evil in
the condition of our cities will be in a way to be remedied. It is very
desirable that a house should be erected in one of the crowded quarters of
the city, and at a distance from the buildings of the Association, in which
each room should be arranged for separate occupation. The rooms might be of
different sizes upon the different floors, to accommodate single men who
require only a lodging-place, or a man and wife. Perhaps on one floor rooms
should be made with means of opening into each other, to supply the need of
those who might require more than one of them. The house should be heated
throughout by furnaces, to save the necessity of fires in the rooms; and as
no private meals could be cooked in the house, an eating-room, where meals
could be had or provisions purchased ready for eating, should form part of
the arrangements of the house in the lower story. There can be no doubt
that such a house would be at once filled,--and but little, that, if
properly built and managed, under efficient superintendence it would pay
well, at the lowest rates of rent. Even with a possibility of its failing
to return a net annual income of six per cent upon its cost, it is an
experiment that ought to be tried,--and we earnestly hope that the Trustees
of Mr. Lawrence's bequest will not hesitate to make it. Putting out of
question all considerations of profitable investment, it would be, as a
pure charity, one of the best works that could be performed.

We must restore health to our cities, and, to accomplish this end, we must
provide fit homes for the poor. The way in which this may be done has been
shown.

       *       *       *       *       *



A SHORT CAMPAIGN ON THE HUDSON.

The campaigner marched out of a lawyer's office in Nassau Street, New York.

"Shyster," said our old man, as he called me into his own den, or rather
lair,--(for den, I take it, is the private residence of a beast of prey,
and lair his place of business. I do not think that this definition is
mine, but I forget to whom it belongs,)--"I suppose you would not dislike a
trip into the country? Very well. These papers must be explained to General
Van Bummel, and signed by him. He lives at Thunderkill, on the Hudson. Take
the ten-o'clock train, and get back as soon as you can.  Charge your
expenses to the office."

"What luck!" thought I, as I dashed down-stairs into the
street,--determined to obey his last injunction to the letter, whatever
course I might think fit to adopt about the one preceding it. No one who
has not been an attorney's clerk at three dollars a week, copying
declarations and answers from nine A.M. to six P.M., in a dusty, inky,
uncarpeted room, with windows unwashed since the last lease expired, can
form a correct notion of the exhilaration of my mind when I took my seat in
the railroad-car. The great Van Bnmmel himself never felt bigger nor
better.

It was in that loveliest season of the year, the Indian summer,--a week or
ten days of atmospheric perfection which the clerk of the weather allows us
as a compensation for our biting winter and rheumatic spring. The veiled
rays of the sun and the soft shadows produce the effect of a golden
moonlight, and make even Nature's shabbiest corners attractive. To be
out-of-doors with nothing to do, and nothing to think of but the mere
pleasure of existence, is happiness enough at such times. But I was looking
at a river panorama which is one of Nature's best efforts, I have heard;
and on that morning it seemed to me impossible that the world could show
anything grander.

It was very calm. The broad glittering surface of the river showed here and
there a slight ripple, when some breath of air touched it for a moment; but
wind there was none,--only a few idle breezes lounging about, waiting for
orders to join old Boreas in his next autumnal effort to crack his
cheeks. The bright-colored trees glowed on the mountain-sides like beds of
living coals.

"How the deuse," thought I, as I stared at them, "can a discerning public
be satisfied with Cole's pictures of 'American Scenery in the Fall of the
Year'?  You see on his canvas, to be sure, red, green, orange, and so on,
the peculiar tints of the leaves; but Nature does more (and Cole does not):
she blends the variegated hues into one bright mass of bewitching color by
the magic of this soft, golden, hazy sunshine. I wish, too, that the great
company of story-tellers would let scenery rest in peace. The charm of a
landscape is entireness, unity; it strikes the eye at once and as a whole.
Examination of the component parts is quite a different thing. Who ean
build up a view in his mind by piling up details like bricks upon one
another? Most people, I suspect, will find, as I do, that, no matter what
author they may be reading, the same picture always presents itself. A
vague outline of some view they have seen arises in the memory,--like the
forest scene in a scantily furnished theatre, which comes on for every
play. The naked woods, trees, rocks, lake, river, mountain, would have done
the business just as well, and saved a deal of writing and of printing. The
most successful artist in this line I know of is Michael Scott, whose
tropical sketches in 'Tom Cringle's Log' are unequalled by any
landscape-painter, past or present, who uses pen and ink instead of canvas
and colors."

My trance was broken by the voice of the brakeman shouting, "Thunderkill,"
into the car, as the train drew up at a wooden station-house. Jumping out,
I asked the way to General Van Bummel's. A man with a whip in his hand
offered his services as guide and common carrier. I determined to
experience a new sensation,--for once in my life to anathematize
expenditure, and charge it to the office. So, climbing into a kind of
leathern tent upon wheels, I was soon on my way to the leaguer of the
General. A drive of a mile brought us to two stout stone gateposts,
surmounted each by a cannon-ball, which marked Van Bummel's boundary. We
turned into a lane shut in by trees. While busily taking an inventory of
the General's landed possessions for future use, my attention was drawn off
by loud shouts, the sound of the gallop of horses and the rattling of
wheels. Imagining at once that the General's family-pair must be running
away with his family-coach, I eagerly urged my driver to push on; but the
cold-hearted wretch only laughed and said he "guessed there was nothing
particular the matter." At last, we _debouched_ (excuse the word; I have
not yet got the military taste out of my mouth) upon a lawn, across which a
pair of large bay horses, ridden postilion-fashion by one man, were
dragging a brass six-pounder, upon which sat another in full uniform.

"What the Devil is that?" said I.

"That's the Gineral and his coachman a-having a training," answered my
driver.

As he spoke, the officer shouted, "Halt!"

Coachy pulled up.

"Unlimber!" thundered the chief; and, aided by his man, obeyed his own
orders.

"Load!" and "Fire!" followed in rapid succession.

I saw and smelt that they used real powder. This over, the horses were made
fast again, John, bestrode his nag, the General clambered on to his brazen
seat and down they came at a tearing pace directly towards us. Luckily I
had read "Charles O'Malley," and knew how to behave in such cases. I jumped
from the wagon, and, tying my handkerchief to the ferule of my umbrella,
advanced, waving it and shouting, "A flag of truce!"  The General ordered a
halt and despatched himself to the flag. As he approached I beheld a stout,
middle-aged, good natured looking man, dressed in the graceless costume of
Uncle Sam's army; but I must say that he wore it with more grace than most
of the Regulars I have seen. Our soldiers look unbecomingly in their
clothes,--there is no denying it,--a good deal like _sups_ in a procession
at the Bowery. A New-York policeman sports pretty much the same dress in
much better style. You hardly ever see an officer or private, least of all
the officer, with the _air militaire_. I also noticed with pleasure that
the General had not on his head that melodramatic black felt,
feather-bedecked hat, which some fantastic Secretary of War must have
imagined in a dream, after seeing "Fra Diavolo" at the opera, or Wallack in
Massaroni. In place of this abomination, a cap covered with glazed leather
surmounted his martial brow. When we met, I lowered my umbrella and offered
my card, with the office pasteboard. He took them with great gravity, read
the names, and requested me to fall back to the rear and await orders. Then
rejoining his gun, he was driven slowly towards the house,--my peaceful
_ambulance_ following at a respectful distance. When I reached the door,
the six-pounder had disappeared behind a clump of evergreens, and the
General stood waiting to receive me. His manner was affable.

"How d'ye do, Mr. Shyster? Glad to see you, Sir. Walk into the library,
Sir."

I complied, and while the General was absent, engaged in carrying out some
hospitable suggestions for my refreshment, I examined the room. It was
large, and handsomely furnished. I looked into the bookcases: the shelves
were filled with works on War, from Cæsar's Commentaries down to Louis
Napoleon on Rifled Cannon. In one corner stood a suit of armor; in another
a stand of firearms; between them a star of bayonets. On the mantelpiece I
perceived a model of a small field-piece in brass and oak, and, what
interested me more, a cigarbox. I raised the lid; the box was half full of
highly creditable-looking cigars. My soul expanded with the thought of a
probable offer of at least one.

"None of your Flor de Connecticuts," I thought, "from the Vuelta Abajo of
New-Windsor, but the genuine Simon Puros."

A second glance at the inside of the lid caused grave doubts to depress my
spirits. I beheld there, in place of the usual ill-executed lithograph with
its _fábricas_ and its _calles_, three small portraits. The middle one was
the General in full uniform; I recognized him easily; the other two were no
doubt his aides-de-camp;--all evidently photographs; they were so ugly. I
dropped the lid in disappointment, and turned to the side-table. On it lay
a handsome sword in an open box lined with silk. Over it hung, framed and
glazed, the speech of the committee appointed by his fellow-soldiers of the
county to present the sword to the General, together with the General's
"neat and appropriate" answer and acceptance.

I began to be a little astonished. I certainly did not expect anything of
this sort. Our old man called him General, to be sure; but General means
nothing, in the rural districts, but a certain amount of wealth and
respectability. It has taken the place of Squire. But here was I with a man
who took his title _au sérieux_. What with the uniform, the cannon, and the
coachman, I began to feel like an ambassador to a potentate with a standing
army.

Here the General reappeared, bearing in his august hands a decanter and a
pitcher. After due refreshment, I produced my papers, made the necessary
explanations, and executed my commission so much to his satisfaction that
he invited me cordially to dine and spend the night, instead of taking the
evening-train down. I accepted, of course,--such chances seldom fell into
my way,--and was shown into a nice little bedroom, in which I was expected
to dress for dinner. Dress, indeed! I had on my best, and did not come to
stay. Novel-heroes manage to remain weeks without apparent luggage; but a
modern attorney's clerk, however moderate may be his toilette-tackle, finds
it inconvenient to be separated from it. However, I did what I
could,--washed my hands, settled the bow of my neck-tie, smoothed my hair
with my fingers, and thought, as I descended to the drawing-room, of the
travelling Frenchman, who, after a night spent in a diligence, wiped out
his eyes with his handkerchief, put on a paper false collar, and
exclaimed,--"_Me voici propre!_"

The General, in a fatigue-dress, presented me to Mrs. Van Bummel, a
good-looking woman of pleasant dimensions,--to Miss Bellona Van Bummel, who
evidently thought me beneath her notice,--and to the Reverend Moses Wether,
whose mild face, white cravat, and straight-cut collar proclaimed him. As I
came in, his Reverence attempted to slip meekly out, but was stopped
energetically by the General.

"How is this? Mr. Wether, you know you cannot leave, Sir."

"But, my dear General, I only dropped in for a few moments; and really I
have so much to do!"

"I am sorry, Sir," rejoined the General, sternly, "but you cannot be
excused. You accepted the position of Chaplain to the Regiment. You
neglected to attend the last two reviews. You were condemned by a Court
Martial, over which I presided, to twenty-four hours' arrest, which you
must now submit to."

"But, my dear General," feebly expostulated the man of prayer, "you know I
thought the nomination a mere pleasantry; I had no idea you were serious,
or I should never have listened to the proposition."

"Can't help that, Sir. You accepted the commission, you neglected your
duty, and you must take the consequences."

Just then, as the poor perplexed parson was about to make another attempt
for liberty, a side-door swung open; a well-built, comely servant-girl,
dressed like Jenny Lind in the "Fille du Régiment," appeared. Bringing the
back of her hand to her forehead, she said,--

"General, dinner is ready."

Van Bummel muttered something about "joining our mess," and led the way to
the banqueting-hall. I was too hungry to be particular about names, and did
ample justice to an excellent spread and well-selected tap,--carefully
avoiding eating with my knife or putting salt upon the table-cloth, which I
had often heard was never done by the aristocracy. As I kept my eyes upon
the others and imitated them to the best of my ability, I hope I did not
disgrace Nassau Street.

The evening passed quickly and agreeably. I played chess with the reverend
prisoner. The man of war read steadily folio history of Marlborough's
campaigns, making occasional references to maps and plans. As the clock
struck nine, an explosion on the lawn made the windows rattle again. I
jumped to my feet, but, seeing that the rest of the company looked
surprised at my vivacity, I sat down, guessing that the six-pounder and the
coachman had something to do with it.

"Don't be alarmed, Sir," said the General, "it's only gun-fire. We retire
about this time."

I took the hint, requested to be shown to my room, undressed, jumped into a
camp bedstead, and tried to sleep. Impossible!--the novelty of my day's
experiences, the beauty of the night, (for the full moon was shining into
the windows,) or perhaps a cup of strong coffee I had swallowed without
milk after dinner because the others took it, kept me awake. Finding sleep
out of the question, I got up and dressed myself. My chamber was on the
ground-floor, and opened upon the lawn. I stepped quietly out into the hazy
moonlight, lighted a cigar, and walked towards the river. It was a
remarkably fine evening, certainly, but a very damp one. Heavy dew dripped
from the trees. I found, as my weed grew shorter, that my fondness for the
romantic in Nature waned, and slowly retraced my steps to the house,
muttering to myself some of Edgar Poe's ghostly lines:--

 "I stand beneath the mystic moon;
  An opiate vapor, dewey, dim
  Exhales from out her golden rim,
  And softly dripping, drop by drop,
  Upon the quiet mountain-top,
  Steals drowsily and musically
  Into the universal valley."

I was about entering, when a figure advanced suddenly from behind a pillar
of the veranda, holding a something in its hand which glittered in the
moonlight, and which rattled as it dropped from the perpendicular to the
horizontal, pointing at me.

"Who goes there?" said the apparition, in a hoarse voice. "Stand, and give
the countersign!"

I recognized the voice of the soldier-servant of the morning. There he was
again, that indefatigable coachman, doing duty as sentinel with a musket in
his hands. Not knowing what else to say, I replied,--

"It is I, a friend!"

My good grammar was thrown away upon the brute.

"The countersign," he repeated.

"Pooh, pooh!" said I, "I do not know anything about the countersign. I am
Mr. Shyster, who came up this morning, when you and the General were doing
light-artillery practice on the lawn. Please let me go to my room."

But the brute stood immovable. As I advanced, I heard him cock his musket.

"Good God!" thought I, "this is no joke, after all. This stupid stable-man
may have loaded his musket. What if it should go off? If I retreat, I must
camp out,--no joke at this season;--rheumatism and a loss of salary, to say
the least. This will never do."

And I screamed,--

"General! General Van Bummel!"

"Silence! or I'll march you to the guard-house," thundered the sentinel.

Luckily the General lay, like Irene, "with casement open to the skies." He
heard the noise. I recognized his martial tones. I hurriedly explained my
situation. He gave me the word; it was Eugene; countersign,
Marlborough. This satisfied the Coach-Cerberus, and I passed into bed
without further mishap.

The first sound I heard the next morning was the rat-tat-too of a
drum. "There goes that d----d coachman again," I said to myself, and turned
over for another nap; but a shrill bugle-call brought me to my seat.

Running to the window, I saw two men on horseback in dragoon equipments.
The horses were the artillery-nags of yesterday; the riders, the General
and his man-at-all-arms. Hurrying on my clothes, I got out of doors in time
to see them go at a gallop across the lawn, leap a low hedge at the end of
the grass-plot, and disappear in the orchard. Thither I followed fast to
see the sport. They reached the boundary-line of the Van-Bummel estate,
wheeled, and turned back on a trot. When the General espied me, he waved
his sabre and shouted, "Charge!" They galloped straight at me. I had barely
time to dodge behind an apple-tree, when they passed like a whirlwind over
the spot I had been standing on, and covered me with dirt from the heels of
their horses. I walked back to the house, very much annoyed, as men are apt
to be, when they think they have compromised their dignity a little by
dodging to escape danger from another's mischief or folly. At breakfast,
accordingly, I remonstrated with the chief; but he only laughed, and asked
me why I did not form a hollow square and let the front rank kneel and
fire.

"As soon as you have finished your coffee," he added, "I will take you into
the trenches, and there you will be out of danger."

I could not refuse. The trenches were at the bottom of the garden, near the
entrance-drive. I had seen them yesterday, and in my ignorance thought of
celery; now, I knew better. This morning, a tent was pitched a few yards
from a long low wall of sods; and between the tent and the sods there was a
small trench, about large enough to hold draining-tiles. Pointing to the
wall, the general said,--

"There is Sebastopol," (pronouncing it correctly, accent on the _to_,) "and
here," turning to the tent, "are my head-quarters. My sappers have just
established a mine under the Quarantine Battery. In a few moments I shall
blow it up, and storm the breach, if we make a practicable one."

Here the Protean coachman made his appearance with a leather apron and a
broad-axe. He signified that all was ready. A lucifer was rubbed upon a
stone, the train ignited, bang went the mine, and over went we all three,
prostrated by a shower of turf and mud. The mine had exploded backward, and
had annihilated the storming party. Fortunately, the General had economised
in powder. Gradually we picked ourselves up, considerably bewildered, but
not much hurt. Van Bummel attempted to explain; but I had had enough of
war's alarms, and yearned for the safety and peace of Nassau Street. So I
bade the warrior good-morning, and took the first down-train, _multa mecum
volvens_; "making a revolver of my mind," Van Bummel would have translated
it. I knew that our soil produced more soldiers even than France, the
fertile mother of red-legged heroes; but I did not expect, in the
Nineteenth Century and in the State of New York, to have beheld an avatar
of the God Mars.

       *       *       *       *       *



THINE.

  The tide will ebb at day's decline:
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  Impatient for the open sea,
    At anchor rocks the tossing ship,
  The ship which only waits for thee;
    Yet with no tremble of the lip
  I say again, thy hand in mine,
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  I shall not weep, or grieve, or pine.
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  Go, lave once more thy restless hands
    Afar within the azure sea,--
  Traverse Arabia's scorching sands,--
    Fly where no thought can follow thee,
  O'er desert waste and billowy brine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  Dream on the slopes of Apennine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  Stand where the glaciers freeze and frown,
    Where Alpine torrents flash and foam,
  Or watch the loving sun go down
    Behind the purple hills of Rome,
  Leaving a twilight half divine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  Thy steps may fall beside the Rhine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  Slumber may kiss thy drooping lids
    Amid the mazes of the Nile,
  The shadow of the Pyramids
    May cool thy feet,--yet all the while,
  Though storms may beat, or stars may shine,
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  Where smile the hills of Palestine,
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  Where rise the mosques and minarets,--
    Where every breath brings flowery balms,--
  Where souls forget their dark regrets
    Beneath the strange, mysterious palms,--
  Where the banana builds her shrine,--
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  Too many clusters break the vine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  The tree whose strength and life outpour
    In one exultant blossom-gush
  Must flowerless be forevermore:
    We walk _this_ way but once, friend;--hush!
  Our feet have left no trodden line:
                  _Ich bin dein!_

  Who heaps his goblet wastes his wine:
                  _Ich bin dein!_
  The boat is moving from the land;--
    I have no chiding and no tears;--
  Now give me back my empty hand
    To battle with the cruel years,--
  Behold, the triumph shall be mine!
                  _Ich bin dein!_

       *       *       *       *       *



THE REPRESENTATIVE ART.

No art is worth anything that does not embody an idea,--that is not
representative: otherwise, it is like a body without a soul, or the image
of some divinity that never had existence. Art needs, indeed, to be
individualized, to betray the characteristics of the artist, to be himself
infused into his work; but more than this, it needs to typify, to
illustrate the character of the age,--to be of a piece with other
expressions of the sentiment that animates other men at the time. It must
be one note in the concert, and that not discordant,--neither behind time
nor ahead of it,--neither in the wrong key nor the other mode: you don't
want Verdi in one of Beethoven's symphonies; you don't want Mozart in
Rossini's operas. No art ever has lived that was not the genuine product of
the era in which it appeared; no art ever can live that is not such a
product: it may, perchance, have a temporary or fictitious success, but it
can neither really and truly exert an influence at the moment of its
highest triumph, nor afterwards remain a power among men, unless it reflect
the spirit of the epoch, unless it show the very age and body of the time
his form and pressure.

All greatness consists in this: in being alive to what is going on around
one; in living actually; in giving voice to the thought of humanity; in
saying to one's fellows what they want to hear or need to hear at that
moment; in being the concretion, the result, of the influences of the
present world. In no other way can one affect the world than in responding
thus to its needs, in embodying thus its ideas. You will see, in looking to
history, that all great men have been a piece of their time; take them out
and set them elsewhere, they will not fit so well; they were made for their
day and generation. The literature which has left any mark, which has been
worthy of the name, has always mirrored what was doing around it; not
necessarily daguerreotyping the mere outside, but at least reflecting the
inside,--the thoughts, if not the actions of men,--their feelings and
sentiments, even if it treated of apparently far-off themes. You may
discuss the Greek republics in the spirit of the modern one; you may sing
idyls of King Arthur in the very mood of the nineteenth century. Art, too,
will be seen always to have felt this necessity, to have submitted to this
law. The great dramatists of Greece, like those of England, all flourished
in a single period, blossomed in one soil; the sculptures of antiquity
represented the classic spirit, and have never been equalled since, because
they were the legitimate product of that classic spirit. You cannot have
another Phidias till man again believes in Jupiter. The Gothic
architecture, how meanly is it imitated now! What cathedrals built in this
century rival those of Milan or Strasbourg or Notre Dame?  Ah! there is no
such Catholicism to inspire the builders; the very men who reared them
would not be architects, if they lived to-day. And the Italian painters,
the Angelos and Raphaels and Da Vincis and Titians, who were geniuses of
such universal power that they builded and carved and went on embassies and
worked in mathematics only with less splendid success than they
painted,--they painted because the age demanded it; they painted as the age
demanded; they were religious, yet sensuous, like their nation; they felt
the influence of the Italian sun and soil. Their faith and their history
were compressed into The Last Judgment and the Cartoons; their passion as
well as their power may be recognized in The Last Supper and The Venus of
the Bath.

There is always a necessity for this expression of the character of the
age. This spirit of our age, this mixed materialistic and imaginative
spirit,--this that abroad prompts Russian and Italian wars, and at home
discovers California mines,--that realizes gorgeous dreams of hidden gold,
and Napoleonic ideas of almost universal sway,--that bridges Niagara, and
under-lays the sea with wire, and, forgetful of the Titan fate, essays to
penetrate the clouds,--this spirit, so practical that those who choose to
look on one side only of the shield can see only perjured monarchs
trampling on deceived or decaying peoples, and backwoodsmen hewing forests,
and begrimed laborers setting up telegraph-poles or working at
printing-presses,--this spirit also so full of imagination,--which has
produced an outburst of music (that most intangible and subtile and
imaginative of arts) such as the earth never heard before,--which is
developing in the splendid, showy life, in the reviving taste for pageantry
that some supposed extinct, in the hurried, crowded incidents that will
fill up the historic page that treats of the nineteenth century,--this
spirit is sure to get expression in art.

The American people, cosmopolitan, concrete, the union, the result rather
of a union of so many nationalities, ought surely to do its share towards
this expression. The American people surely represents the century,--has
much of its spirit: is full of unrest; is eminently practical, but
practical only in embodying poetical or lofty ideas; is demonstrative and
excitable; resembles the French much and in many things,--the French, who
are at the head of modern and European civilization,--who think and feel
deeply, but do not keep their feelings hidden. The Americans, too, like
expression: when they admire a Kossuth or a Jenny Lind, a patriot exile or
a foreign singer, all the world is sure to know of their admiration; when
they are delighted at some great achievement in science, like the laying of
an Atlantic Cable, they demonstrate their delight. They make their
successful generals Presidents; they give dinners to Morphy and banquets to
Cyrus Field. They are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the
age. Therefore they are artistic.

How amazed some will be at the proposition,--amazed that the age should be
called an artistic one,--amazed that Americans should be considered an
artistic nation! Yet art is only the expression in outward and visible form
of an inward and spiritual grace,--the sacrament of the imagination. Art is
an incarnation in colors or stone or music or words of some subtile essence
which requires the embodiment. We all have delicate fancies, lofty
imaginings, profound sentiments; the artist expresses them for us. If,
then, this age be one that requires expression for its ideas, that is
practical, that insists on accomplishing its designs, on creating its
children, on producing its results, it is an artistic age. For art works; a
poet is a maker, according to the Greeks: and all artists are poets; they
all produce; they all do; they all make. They do just what all the
practical men of this practical age are doing, what even the Gradgrinds are
doing: they embody ideas; they put thoughts into facts. A quiet,
contemplative age is not an artistic one; art has ever flourished in
stirring times: Grecian wars and Guelphic strife have been its fostering
influences. An artist is very far from being an idle dreamer; he works as
hard as the merchant or the mechanic,--works, too, physically as well as
mentally, with his hand as well as his head.

This is all statement: let us have some facts; let us embody our ideas. Do
you not call Meyerbeer, with his years of study and effort and application,
a worker? Do you not call Verdi, who has produced thirty operas, a worker?
Do you not imagine that Turner labored on his splendid pictures? Do you not
know how Crawford toiled and spun away his nerves and brain? Have you not
heard of the incessant and tremendous attention that for many months Church
bestowed on the canvas that of late attracted the admiration of English
critics and their Queen? Was Rachel idle? Have these artists not spent the
substance of themselves as truly as any of your politicians or your
soldiers or your traders? Can you not trace in them the same energy, the
same effort, the same determination as in Louis Napoleon, as in Zachary
Taylor, as in Stephen Girard? Are not they also representative?

And their works,--for by these shall ye know them,--do they reflect in
nothing this fitful, uneasy, yet splendid intensity of to-day? Can you not
read in the colors on Turner's canvas, can you not see in the rush of
Church's Niagara, can you not hear in the strains of the Traviata, can you
not perceive in the tones and looks of Ristori, just what you find in the
successful men in other spheres of life? Rothschild's fortune speaks no
more plainly than the Robert le Diable; George Sand's novels and Carlyle's
histories tell the same story as Kossuth's eloquence and Garibaldi's
deeds. The artists are as alive to-day as any in the the world. For, again
and again, art is not an outside thing; its professors, its lovers, are not
placed outside the world; they are in it and of it as absolutely as the
rest. You who think otherwise, remember that Verdi's name six months ago
was the watchword of the Italian revolutionists; remember that certain
operas are forbidden now to be played in Naples, lest they should arouse
the countrymen of Masaniello; remember, or learn, if you did not know, how
in New York, last June, all the singers in town offered their services for
a benefit to the Italian cause, and all the _habitués_, late though the
season was, crowded to their places to see an opera whose attractiveness
had been worn out and whose novelty was nearly gone. You who think that art
is an interest unworthy of men who live in the world, that it is a thing
apart, what say you to the French, the most actual, the most practical, the
most worldly of peoples, and yet the fondest of art in all its phases,--the
French, who remembered the statues in the Tuileries amid the massacres of
the First Revolution, and spared the architecture of antiquity when they
bombarded the city of the Caesars?

Consider, too, the growing love for art in practical America; remark the
crowds of newly rich who deck their houses with pictures and busts, even
though they cannot always appreciate them; remember that nearly every
prominent town in the country has its theatre; that the opera, the most
refined luxury of European civilization, considered for long an affectation
beyond every other, is relished here as decidedly as in Italy or France. In
New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, there are
buildings exclusively appropriated to this new form of art, this exotic,
expensive amusement. These opera-houses, too, illustrate most aptly the
progress of other arts. They are adorned with painting and gilding and
carving; they are as sumptuous in accommodation as the palaces of European
potentates; they are lighted with a brilliancy that Aladdin's garden never
rivalled; they are thronged, with crowds as gayly dressed as those that
fill the saloons of Parisian belles; and the singers and actors who
interpret the thoughts of mighty foreign masters are the same who delight
the Emperor of the French when he pays a visit to the Queen of Great
Britain and Ireland. Orchestras of many instruments discourse most eloquent
music, and involuted strains are criticized in learned style, in capitals
thousands of miles from the seashore. And there is no appreciation of art
in all this! there is no embodiment of the love of the age for material
magnificence, there is no poetry incarnated into form, in this combination
of splendors rivalling the opium-eater's visions! The Americans are a dull,
stupid people, immersed in business; art has no effect upon them; it is
despised among them; it can never prosper here!

The stage, indeed, in its various forms, seems more fully to manifest and
illustrate the artistic influence among Americans than any other art. It
often addresses those whom more refined solicitations might never
reach. Those who would turn from Church's or Page's pictures with
indifference are frequently attracted by the representations in a theatre.
The pictures there are more alive, more real, more intense, and fascinate
many unable to appreciate the recondite charms of the canvas. The grace of
attitude, the splendid expression, the intellectual art of Ristori or
Rachel may impress those who fail to discover the same merits in colder
stone, in Crawford's marble or the statues of Palmer; and they may
sometimes learn to relish even the delicate beauties of Shakspeare's text,
from hearing it fitly declaimed, who would never spell out its meaning by
themselves. The drama is certainly superior to other arts while its reign
lasts, because of its veriness, its actuality. He must be dull of
imagination, indeed, who cannot give himself up for a while to its
illusions; he must be stupid who cannot open his senses to its delights or
waken his intellect to receive its influences.

Neither can a taste for the stage be declared one which only the ignorant
or vulgar share. Though away in the wilds of California a theatre was often
erected next after a hotel, the second building in a town, and the
strolling player would summon the miners by his trumpet when not one was in
sight, and instantly a swarm peeped forth from the earth, like the armed
men who sprang from the furrows that Cadmus ploughed,--though the wildest
and rudest of Western cities and the wildest and rudest inhabitants of
Western towns are quick to acknowledge the charms of the stage,--yet also
the most highly cultured and the most intellectual Americans pay the same
tribute to this art. We have all seen, within a few years, one of the most
profound scholars and most prominent divines in the country proclaiming his
approbation of the drama. We may find, to-day, in any Eastern city, members
of the liberal clergy at an opera, and sometimes at a play. The scholars
and writers and artists and thinkers, as well as the people of leisure and
of fashion, frequent places of amusement, not only for amusement, but to
cultivate their tastes, to exercise their intellects, ay, and oftentimes to
refine their hearts. The splendid homage paid in England not long ago to
the drama, when the highest nobility and the first statesmen in the land
were present at a banquet in honor of Charles Kean, is evidence enough that
no puerile or uncultivated taste is this which relishes the theatre. Goethe
presiding over the playhouse at Weimar, Euripides and Sophocles writing
tragedies, the greatest genius of the English language acting in his own
productions at the Globe Theatre, people like Siddons and Kean and Cushman
and Macready illustrating this art with the resources of their fine
intellects and great attainments,--surely these need scarcely be mentioned,
to relieve the drama from the reproach that some would put upon it, of
puerility.

New York is, perhaps, more of a representative city than any other in the
land. It is an aggregation from all the other portions of the country; it
is the result, the precipitate, of the whole. It has no distinctive,
individual character of its own; it is a condensation of all the rest, a
focus. Thither all the country goes at times. Restless, fitful, changing,
yet still the same in its change; like the waves of the sea, that toss and
roll and move away, and still the mighty mass is ever there. New York, in
its various phases and developments, its crowded and cosmopolitan
population, its out-door kaleidoscopic splendor, is indeed a representative
of the entire country. It has not the purely literary life of Boston, nor
so distinctive an intellectual character; it is not so stamped by the
impress of olden times as Philadelphia; but it has an outside garb
significant of the inward nature. It is like the face of a great actor,
splendid in expression, full of character, changing with a thousand
changing emotions, but betraying a great soul beneath them all. New York is
artistic just as America is artistic, just as the age is artistic: not,
perhaps, in the loftiest or most refined sense, but in the sense that art
is an expression, in tangible form, of ideas. New York is a great thought
uttered. It is like those fruits or seeds which germinate by turning
themselves inside out; the soul is on the outside, crusted all over it, but
none the less soul for all that.

And New York illustrates this idea of the drama being the representative
art of to-day. The theatre there, including the opera, is a great
established fact,--as important nearly as it was in the palmiest days of
the Athenian republic, or on the road to be of as much consequence as it is
in Paris, the representative city of the world. Fifty thousand people
nightly crowd twenty different theatres in New York. From the splendid
halls where Grisi and Gazzaniga and La Borde and La Grange have by turns
translated into sound the ideas of Meyerbeer and Bellini and Donizetti and
Mozart, to the little rooms where sixpenny tickets procure lager-beer as
well as music for the purchaser, the drama is worshipped. And this not only
by New-Yorkers: not only do those who lead the busy, excited life of the
metropolis acquire a taste, as some might say, for a factitious excitement,
but all strangers hasten to the theatres. The sober farmer, the citizens
from plodding interior towns, the gay Southerners, accustomed almost
exclusively to social amusements, the denizens of rival Bostons and
Philadelphias all frequent the operas and playhouses of New York. When the
richer portion of its inhabitants have left the hot and sultry town, or, in
mid-winter, are immersed in the more exclusive pleasures of fashionable
life, even then the theatres are thronged; and in September and October you
shall find all parts of the country represented in their boxes and
parquets,--proving that this is not an exclusively metropolitan taste, that
it is shared by the whole nation, that in this also New York is truly
representative.

Boston typifies a peculiar phase of American life; it is the illustration,
the exponent, of the cultivated side of our nationality; its thought, its
action, its character are taken abroad as symbols of the national thought
and action and character, in whatever relates to literature or art. The
Professor said truly, Boston does really in some sort stand for the brain
of America. Well the brain of America appreciates the stage. It is but a
few months since the culture and distinction of Boston nightly crowded a
small and inferior theatre, to witness the personations of the young genius
who is destined at no distant day to rival the proudest names of the drama.
The most brilliant successes Edwin Booth has yet achieved have been
achieved in Boston; scholars and wits and poets and professors crowd the
boxes when he plays; women of talent write poems in his praise and publish
them in the "Atlantic Monthly"; professors of Harvard College send him
congratulatory letters; artists paint and carve his intellectual beauty;
and fashion follows in the wake of intellect, alike acknowledging his
merits. Boston recognized those merits, too, when they were first presented
to its appreciation; and now that they verge nearer upon maturity, her
appreciation is quickened and her applause redoubled. It cannot be said
that the taste or culture of the nation is indifferent to histrionic
excellence, when absolute excellence is found.

No other art is yet on such a footing among us. Neither is this because of
our partially developed civilization. It is equally so abroad; where the
nations are oldest and best established in culture, there, too, a similar
state of things exists. No school in painting, no style of sculpture, no
kind of architecture has made such an impression on the age as its music,
as its dramatic music, its opera. This speaks to all nations, in all
languages. No writer, though he write like Tennyson, or Longfellow, or
Lamartine, or Dudevant, can hope for such an audience as Verdi or
Meyerbeer. No orator speaks to such crowds as Rossini; no Everett or
Kossuth, or Gavazzi or Spurgeon, has so many listeners as Donizetti. For
the stage is the art of to-day,--perhaps more especially, but still not,
exclusively, the operatic stage; the theatre in its various forms
represents the feeling of the time so as Grecian and Gothic architecture
and Italian painting have in their time done for their time,--so as no
pictures, no architecture, no statuary can now do. Painting and statuary,
when they do anything towards representing this age, incarnate the dramatic
spirit; the literature that has most influence today is journalism,--the
effective, present, actual, short-lived, dramatic newspaper, where all the
actors speak for themselves: other literature has its listeners, but it
lags behind; other art has its appreciators, but it cannot keep pace with
the march of armies, with the rush to California, with the swarm to
Australia; there is no art on these outskirts but the dramatic. That
travels with the advancing mass in every exodus; that went with Dr. Kane to
the North Pole (he had private theatricals aboard the Resolute); that alone
gave utterance immediately to the latest cry of humanity in the Italian
War.

Neither can it be said that the theatre has no more consequence now than it
has always enjoyed. At the time when Gothic architects and Italian painters
expressed the meaning of their own ages, there was nothing like a real
drama in existence, and the Roman theatre was never comparable with
ours. The Greeks, indeed, had a stage which was an important element of
their civilization, and which took the character of their time, giving and
receiving influence; but their stage was essentially different from that of
the moderns. Its success did not depend upon the individual performer; its
pageantry was perhaps as splendid as what we now see; but the play of the
countenance, that great intellectual opportunity offered an actor by our
drama, was not known. In this see also a characteristic of the present
age. Individuality is a distinctive peculiarity of the nineteenth century;
it has been for centuries gradually becoming more possible; but every man
now works his own way, acts himself, more completely than ever
before. Therefore appropriate is it that the drama should give importance
to the individual, and allow a great actor to incarnate and illustrate in
his own form and face feelings and passions that formerly were only hinted
at; for remember that the Greek players usually wore masks, while their
amphitheatres were so large that in any event the expression of the
features was lost.

With this individuality, this opportunity for each to develop his own
identity and intensity, the nineteenth century strangely combines another
peculiarity, that of association. All these units, these atoms, so
marvellously distinct, are incorporated into one grand whole; though each
be more, by and of himself, than ever before, yet the great power, the
great motor, is the mass. The mass is made powerful by the added importance
given to each individual. And you may trace without conceit a state of
things behind the scenes very similar to this in front of the
footlights. In the theatre, also, the many workers contribute to a grand
result. The manager would be as powerless in his little empire, without
important assistants, as a monarch without ministers and people. What makes
the French army and the American so irresistible is the thought that each
private is more than a machine, is an intellectual being, understands what
his general wants, fights with his bayonet at Solferino or his musket at
Monterey on his own account, yet subject to the supreme control. And the
theatre, with all its actors and scene-painters and costumers and
carpenters and musicians, is only an army on a different scale. The forces
of the stage answer to the generals and colonels, the marshals and
privates, all marching and working and fighting for the same end. Those
splendid dramatic triumphs of Charles Kean were only illustrations of the
principle of association,--only illustrations of the readiness of the stage
to adapt itself to the times, to seize hold of whatever is suggested by the
outside world, to appropriate the discoveries of Layard and the revelations
of Science to its own uses,--illustrations, too, of the importance of the
individual Kean, as well as of the crowd of clever subordinates.

That the theatre feels this reflex influence, that it appreciates all that
is going on around it, that it is not asleep, that it is penetrated with
the spirit of the century, whether that spirit be good or evil, the
selection of plays now popular is another proof. In France, where the
success of the histrionic art now culminates, a contemporaneous drama is
flourishing, the absolute society of the day is represented. That society
has faults, and the stage mirrors them. "La Dame aux Camélias," "Les Filles
de Marbre," "Le Demi-Monde" reflect exactly the peculiarities of the life
they aim to imitate. And these very plays, whose influence is so often
condemned, would never have had the popularity they have attained in nearly
every city of the civilized world, had there not been Marguerite Gautiers
and Traviatas outside of Paris as well as in it. Another attempt, perhaps
not an entirely successful one, but still a significant attempt, has been
made in this country to produce a contemporaneous drama. "Jessie Brown" and
"The Poor of New York," and other plays directly daguerreotyping ordinary
incidents, at any rate show that the drama is an art that responds
instantly to the pulses of the time.

But it ia not necessary for the stage to daguerreotype; it mirrors more
truly when it embodies the spirit. And never before was there an age whose
spirit was more theatrical, in the best sense of the term; full of outside
expression, but also full of inside feeling; working, accomplishing,
putting into actual form its ideas; incarnating its passions; intellectual,
yet passionate; lofty in imagination, yet practical in exemplification;
showy, but significantly showy,--theatrical. An art, then, that is all
this, surely expresses as no other art does or can the character of the
nineteenth century,--surely is the representative art.

       *       *       *       *       *



ROBA DI ROMA.

THE EVIL EYE AND OTHER SUPERSTITIONS.


I have already, in a former article, spoken of some of the superstitions
belonging to the Church which are prevalent in Italy; but there are other,
and, so to speak, _lay_ superstitions, which also claim a place,--and to
them this chapter shall be dedicated.

It is dangerous ground, a twilight marsh, where the will-o'-wisps light us,
over which I propose to lead you; and had I not armed myself with all sorts
of amulets, I should shrink from the enterprise. But the famous weapon with
which Luther drove away the Evil One is at my side, potent as evil, I hope,
so long as a pen can be put into it,--and Saint Dunstan's friend is in the
corner, ready, at a pinch, for service; and having shut out all those
spirits which so sorely tempted Saint Anthony, and locked my door to dark
eyes and blue eyes and dark hair and blonde hair, I may hope to get through
my dangerous chapter, and--

Strange fatality!--one of Saint Anthony's spirits tempts me from the other
room, even at the moment I boast; but I resist,--manfully dipping my pen
into Luther's stronghold,--and it vanishes, and leaves me face to face
with--the Evil Eye. Yes! it is the Evil Eye, the _Jettatura_ of Italy, that
we are boldly to face for an hour.

This is one of the oldest and most interesting superstitions that have come
down to us from the past; and as it still lives and flourishes in Italy
with a singular vitality and freshness, it may be worth while to trace it
back to some of its early sources. Its birth-place was the East, where it
existed in dillomnt forms amongst almost every people. Thence it was
imported into Greece, where it was called _Baskania_, and was adopted by
the Romans under the name of _Fascinum_. Solomon himself alludes to it in
the Book of Wisdom. Isigonus relates that among the Triballi and Illyrii
there were men who by a glance fascinated and killed those whom they looked
upon with angry eyes; and Nymphodorus asserts that there were fascinators
whose voices had the power to destroy flocks, to blast trees, and to kill
infants. In Scythia, also, according to Apollonides, there were women of
this class, "_quoe vocantur Bithyoe_"; and Phylarchus says that in Pontus
there was a tribe, called the Thibii, and many others, of the same nature
and having the same powers. The testimony of Algazeli is to the same
effect; and he adds, that these fascinators have a peculiar power over
women. We have also the testimony of Aristotle, Pliny, and Plutarch, who
all speak as believers, while Solinus enumerates certain families of
fascinators who exerted their influence _voce et linguâ_, and Philostratus
makes special mention of Apolloius Thyaneus as having been possessed of
these wonderful powers. Indeed, nearly all the old writers agree in
recognizing the existence of the faculty of fascination; and among the
Romans it was so universally admitted, that in the "Decemvirales Tabulae"
there was a law prohibiting the exercise of it under a capital
penalty:--"_Ne pelliciunto alienas segeles, excantando, ne incantando; ne
agrum defraudanto._" Some jurisconsults skilled in the ancient law say that
boys are sometimes fascinated by the burning eyes of these infected men so
as to lose all their health and strength. Pliny relates that one Caius
Furius Cresinus, a freedman, having been very successful in cultivating his
farms, became an object of envy, and was publicly accused of poisoning by
arts of fascination his neighbors' fruits; whereupon he brought into the
Forum his daughter, ploughs, tools, and oxen, and, pointing to them,
said,--"These which I have brought, and my labor, sweat, watching, and
care, (which I cannot bring,) are all my arts." Let those who consider the
moving of tables as wonderful listen to the surprising statement of Pliny
as to an occurrence in his own time, when a whole olive-orchard belonging
to a certain Vectius Marcellus, a Roman knight, crossed over the public
way, and took its place, ground and all, on the other side. [Footnote:
Plinii _Nat. Hist._ Lib. xvii. cap. 38.]  This same fact is also alluded to
by Virgil in his Eighth Eclogue, on _Pharmaceutria_ (all of which, by the
way, he stole from Theocritus):--

"Atque satas aliò vidi traducere messes."

"Now," says the worthy Vairus, who has written an elaborate treatise on
this subject in Latin, well worthy to be examined, "let no man laugh at
these stories as old wives' tales, (_aniles nugas_,) nor, because the
reason passes our knowledge, let us turn them into ridicule, for infinite
are the things which we cannot understand, (_infinita enim prope sunt
quorum rationem adipisci nequimus_); but rather than turn all miracles out
of Nature because we cannot understand them, let us make that fact the
beginning and reason of investigation. For does not Solomon in his Book of
Wisdom say, '_Fascinatio malignitatis obscurat bona'?_ and does not Dominus
Paulus cry out to the Galatians, '_O insensati Galatoe, quis vos
fascinavit'?_ which the best interpreters admit to refer to those whose
burning eyes (_oculos urentes_) with a single look blast all persons, and
especially boys."

It seems to have been a peculiarity in the superstitions as to the
_fascinum_, that boys and women were specially susceptible to its
influence; and in this respect, as well as in some of the symptoms of
fascination, it bears a curious resemblance to the effects of modern
witchcraft as practised in New England. Dionysius Carthusianus, speaking of
the nomad tribes of the Biarmii and Amaxobii, who, according to him, were
most skilful fascinators, says that they so affected persons with their
curse that they lost their freedom of will and became insane and idiotic,
and often wasted away in extreme leanness and corruption, and so perished:
"_ut liberi non sint nec mentis compotes, soepe ad extremam maciem
deveniant, et tabescendo dispereant._" Olaus Magnus agrees with him in
these symptoms; and Hieronymus says, that, when infants suddenly grow lean,
waste away, twist about as if in pain, and sometimes scream out and cry in
a wonderful way, you may be certain that they have been fascinated. This,
to be sure, looks mightily like a diagnosis for worms; but we would not
measure our wits with the grave Hieronymus. Still, as an amulet against
such fascination, "Jaynes's Vermifuge" might be suggested as efficient, or
at least a grain or two of _Santonina_.

In Abyssinia, it is supposed that men who work in iron or pottery are
peculiarly endowed with this fatal power of fascination, and in consequence
of this prejudice they are expelled from society and even from the
privilege of partaking of the holy sacrament. They are known by the name of
_Buda_, and, though excluded from the more sacred rites of the Church,
profess great respect for religion, and are surpassed by none in the
strictness of their fasts. All convulsions and hysterical disorders are
attributed to these unfortunate artificers; and they are also supposed to
have the power of changing themselves into hyenas and other ravenous
beasts. Nathaniel Pearce, the African traveller, relates that the
Abyssinians are so fully convinced that these unhappy men are in the habit
of rifling graves in their character of hyenas, that no one will venture to
eat _quareter_ or dried meat in their houses, nor any flesh, unless it be
raw, or unless they have seen it killed. These Budas usually wear earrings
of a peculiar shape, and Pearce states that he has frequently seen them in
the ears of hyenas that have been caught or trapped, and confesses, that,
although he had taken considerable pains to investigate the subject, he had
never been able to discover how these ornaments came there; and Mr. Coffin,
his friend, relates a story of one of these transformations which took
place under his own eyes. [Footnote: Herodotus makes the same statement as
to the Buda. "They are said to be evil-minded and enchanters," he says,
"that for a day every year change themselves into wolves. This the
Scythians and Greeks who dwell there affirm with great oaths. But they do
not persuade me of it."--Herod. Lib. iii. cap. 7.

See on this subject _Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pearce_, and _Nubia
and Abyssinia_, by Rev. Michael Russell. Petronius's story of a Versipelles
is well known.]

This is the old superstition of the were-wolf, which existed also among the
Greeks and Romans. Those endowed with this power of transforming themselves
into beasts were called _Versipelles_. Pliny makes mention of them, and
cites from a Greek author the case of a man "who lived nine years in the
shape of a wolf"; but, credulous as he is, he says that the superstition
"is a fabulous opinion, not worthy of credit." For myself, I can say that I
have known many men who were wolves; and we all remember what Queen Labe
used to do with her lovers.

Fascination was of two kinds, moral and natural. Those in whom the power
was moral could exert it only by the exercise of their will; but those in
whom it was natural could but keep exercising it unconsciously. And these
latter were the most terrible. It is generally explained by ancient writers
as being a power of the spirit or imagination, (as they termed it.)
exhibited in persons of a peculiar organization, and diffusing _radios
salutares vel perniciosos_. Though the terms employed by them, as well as
their notions of its origin, are very unphilosophical and vague, it is
plain that they considered it as a species of mesmeric or biologic power,
operating by nervous impression. The fascinator generally endeavored to
provoke in his victims an excited and pleased attention, for in this
condition they were peculiarly predisposed to his influence. And inasmuch
as persons are thrown off their guard of reserve and attracted by praise,
those who flattered excessively were looked upon with suspicion; and it was
a universally recognized rule of good manners and morals, that every one in
praising another should be careful not to do so immoderately, lest he
should fascinate even against his will. Hieronymus Fracastorius, in his
treatise "On Sympathy and Antipathy," thus states the fact and the
philosophy,--and who shall dare gainsay the conclusions of one so learned
in science, medicine, and astrology as this distinguished man?--"We read,"
he says, "that there were certain families in Crete who fascinated by
praising, and this is doubtless quite possible. For as there exists in the
nature of some persons a poison which is ejaculated through their eyes by
evil spirits, there is no reason why infants and even grown persons should
not be peculiarly injured by this fascination of praise. For praise creates
a peculiar pleasure, and pleasure in turn, as we have already said, first
dilates and opens the heart and then the spirit, and then the whole face
and especially the eyes,--so that all these doors are opened to receive the
poison which is ejaculated by the fascinator. Wherefore it is most proper,
whenever we intend to praise a person, that we should warn him, and use
some form to avert the ill effects of our words, as by saying, 'May it be
of no injury to you!' There are, indeed, some, who, when they are praised,
avert their faces, not to indicate that praise in itself is unpleasant, but
to avoid fascination; it being thought that fascination is often effected
by means of praise";[1] or in other words, the poison being given in the
honey of flattery. Now in order to close up this _dilatationem_ or opening
of the system, a _corona baccaris_ was worn, which, by its odoriferous and
constipating qualities, produced this effect, as Dioscorides assures us.[2]
Virgil, in his Seventh Eclogue, alludes to the same, antidote:--

"Aut si ultra placitum laudant, baccare frontem
 Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro."

[Footnote 1: Hier. Fracastorius, _De Sympathiâ et Antipathiâ_,
Lib. i. cap. 23. See also Vincentius Alsarius, _De Invid. et Fasc. Vet._,
in Graevius, _Thes. Rom. Antiq._ Vol. xii. p. 890.]

[Footnote 2: Lib. iii. cap. 46, confirmed also by Athenaeus, _Deipnos_.
Lib. iii.]

Tertullian, in his work "De Virginibus Velandis," states the same fact as
Fracastorius, and says that among the heathens there are persons who are
possessed of a terrible somewhat which they call _Fascinum_, effected by
excessive praise: _"Nam est aliquod etiam apud Ethnicos metuendum, quod
Fascinum vocant, infeliciorem laudis et gloriae enormioris eventum_."

To avert this evil influence, every well-mannered person among the ancients
said, "_Proefiscine_," before wishing well to another,--as clearly appears
from the following passage cited by Charisius [Footnote: _Inst. Gram._
Lib. iv.] from Titinius in "Setina." One person exclaims, "_Paula mea,
amabo----_" Whereupon a friend who stands by says, "He was going to praise
Paula!" "_Ecce qui loquitur, Paulam puellam laudare parabat!_" And another
friend present cries out, "By Pollux! you should better say,
'_Proefiscini_,' or you may fascinate her": "_Pol! tu in laudem addito
Proefiscini, ne puella fascinaretur_." [Footnote: See also Turnebi
_Comm. in Orat. Sec. contra P.S. Rullum de Leg. Agrar._ M.T. Ciceronis.]
This same custom exists at the present day among the Turks, who always
accompany a compliment to you or to anything belonging to you with the
phrase, _"Mashallah!"_ (God be praised!)--thus referring the good gifts you
possess to the Higher Spirit. To omit this is a breach of courtesy, and in
such case the other person instantly adds it in order to avert fascination;
for the superstition is, that, if this phrase be omitted, we may seem to
refer all good gifts to our own merit instead of God's grace, and so
provoke the divine wrath. The same custom also exists in Italy; and the
common reply to any salutation in which your looks or health may be
complimented is, "_Grazia a Dio!_" In some parts of Italy, if you praise a
pretty child in the street, or even if you look earnestly at it, the nurse
will be sure to say, "_Dio la benedica!_" so as to cut off all ill-luck;
and if you happen to be walking with a child and catch any person watching
it, such person will invariably employ some such phrase to show you that he
does not mean to do it injury, or to cast a spell of _jettatura_ upon
it. The modern Greeks are even more jealous of praise, and if you
compliment a child of theirs, you are expected to spit three times at him
and say, [Greek: Na maen baskanthaes], ("May no evil come to you!") or
mutter [Greek: Skordo], ("Garlic,") which has a special power as a
counter-charm. So, too, in Corsica, the peasants are strict believers in
the _jettatura_ of praise, which they call _l'annocchiatura_,--supposing,
that, if any evil influence attend you, your good wishes will turn into
curses. They are therefore very careful in praising, and sometimes express
themselves in language the very reverse of what they intend,--as, "'_Va,
coquine!'_ says Bandalaccio, in M. Merimée's pleasant story of "Colomba,"
'_sois excommuniée, sois maudite, friponne!' Car Bandalaccio, superstitieux
comme tous les bandits, craignait de fasciner les enfans en les addressant
les bénédictions et les éloges. On sait que les puissances mystérieuses qui
président à l'annocchiatura ont la mauvaise habitude d'exécuter le
contraire de nos souhaits._" Perhaps our familiar habit of calling our
children "scamp" and "rascal," when we are caressing them, may be founded
on a worn-out superstition of the same kind.

But it is not only praise administered by others which may inflict evil
upon us,--we must also be specially careful not to have too "gude a conceit
of ourselves," lest we thereby draw down upon us the fate of a certain
Eutelidas, who, having regarded his image in the water with peculiar
self-satisfaction and laudation, immediately lost his health, and from that
time forward was afflicted with sore diseases. During a supper at the house
of Metrius Florus, where, among others, Plutarch, Soclarus, and Caius, the
son-in-law of Florus, were guests, a curious and interesting conversation
took place on the subject of the _Fascinum_, which is reported by Plutarch
in one of his Symposia. The existence of the power of fascination was
admitted by all, and a philosophical explanation of its phenomena was
attempted. In reply to some suggestions of Plutarch, Soclarus says there is
no doubt that their ancestors fully believed in this power, and then cites
the case of Eutelidas as being well known to his auditors, and celebrated
by some poet in these lines:--

 "Eutelidas was once a beauteous youth,
  But, luckless, in the wave his face beholding,
  Himself he fascinates, and pines away." [1]

[Footnote 1: Plutarchi _Symp_. V. Prob. VII.]

Fascination was excited by touch, voice, and look. The fascination by touch
was simply mesmerism, or rather the biology of the present day, in an
undeveloped stage. There were said to be four qualities of
touch,--_calidus, humidus, frigidus, et siccus_, or hot, cold, moist, and
dry,--according to which persons were active or passive in the exercise of
the fascinum. Its function was double, by raising or by lowering the
arm,--"_modo per arteriæ elevationem, modo per ejusdem submissionem_" says
the worthy Vairits; "for," he continues, "when the artery is thrown out and
is open, the spirits are emitted with wonderful celerity, and in some
imperceptible manner are carried to the thing to fascinate it. And because
the artery has its origin in the heart, the spirits issuing thence retain
its infected and vitiated nature, and according to its depravity fascinate
and destroy."

This power of touch is recognized in all history and in all climes. All who
saw Christ desired to touch his garment, and so receive some healing
virtue; and his miracles of cure he almost always performed by his
hand. When the woman who had the issue of blood came behind him and touched
him, Jesus asked who touched him, and said,--"Somebody hath touched me; for
I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." It has always been a popular
superstition that the scrofula could be cured by the touch of a king or of
the seventh son of a seventh son. The old belief that the body of a
murdered man would distill blood, if his murderer's hand were placed on
him, is also of the same class.

Descending to the sphere of animals, we find some curious facts having
relation to this power. The electrical eel, for instance, has the faculty
of overcoming and numbing his prey by this means. And among the Arabs,
according to Gerard, the French lion-killer, whoever inhales the breath of
the lion goes mad.

Dr. Livingstone, in his interesting travels in South Africa, makes a
curious statement bearing upon this subject. He was out shooting lions one
day, when, "after having shot once, just," he says, "as I was in the act of
ramming down the bullets, I heard a shout. Starting and looking half round,
I saw the lion just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a little
height; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to the ground
below together. Growling horribly close to my ear, he shook me as a
terrier-dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to that which
seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a
sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of
terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening. It was like what
patients partially under the influence of chloroform describe, who see all
the operation, but feel not the knife. This singular condition was not the
result of any mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no
sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar state is
probably produced in all animals killed by the _carnivora_, and, if so, is
a merciful provision by our benevolent Creator for lessening the pain of
death."

The next method of fascination was by the Voice. Aristotle speaks of it as
the cause of fascination, and says that the mere sound of the fascinator's
voice has this wondrous power, independently of his good or ill will, as
well as of the words he uses. And Alexander Aphrodisiensis calls the
fascinators poisoners, who poison their victim by intently looking at him
_carmine prolato_, "with a measured song or cadence." The same peculiarity
is observable in all experiments with the moving tables or rapping spirits,
which are more successful when accompanied by constant music. Circe
fascinated with incantation; and the Psalmist alludes to it as a means of
charming. Serpents, as well as men, are thus charmed. Virgil says, that, if
to this incantation by words certain herbs are joined, the fascination
works with more terrible effect:--

  "Pocula si quando sævae infecêre novercæ,
  Miscueruntque herbas et non irmoxia verba,
  Auxilium venit, ac membris agit atra venena."

It is related of a certain magician, that, when he whispered in the ear of
a bull, he could prostrate him to the earth as if he were dead; [Footnote:
Vairus, _De Fascino_. p. 24.]  and in our own time we have had an example
of the same wonderful faculty in Sullivan, the famous horse-whisperer,
whose secret died with him, or, at least, never was made public. Pliny also
relates, that tigers are rendered so furious by the sound of the drum, that
they often end by tearing themselves limb from limb in their rage; but I am
afraid this is one of Pliny's stories. Plutarch, however, agrees with him
in this belief.[Footnote: Plut. _Præcepta Conjugialia_.]

And next as to the Evil Eye ([Greek: ophthalmos baskanos]). From the
earliest ages of the world, the potency of the eye in fascination has been
recognized. "Nihil oculo nequius creatum" says the Preacher; and the
philosopher calls it alter animus, "another spirit." "It sends forth its
rays," says Vairus, "like spears and arrows, to charm the hearts of men":
"veluti jacula et sagittæ ad effascinandorum corda."  And it carries
disease and death, as well as love and delight, in its course: "Totumque
corpus inficiunt, atque ita (nullâ interpositâ morâ) arbores, segetes,
bruta animalia et homines perniciosâ qualitate inficiunt et ad interitum
deducunt." Vairus relates that a friend of his saw a fascinator simply with
a look break in two a precious gem while in the hands of the artist who was
working upon it. Horace thua alludes to it:--

  "Non isthic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam
  Limat; non odio obscuro morsuque venenat."

Among the diseases given by a glance are ophthalmia and jaundice, say the
ancients; and in these cases, the fascinator loses the disease as his
victim takes it A similar peculiarity is to be remarked in the superstition
of the basilisk, who kills, if he sees first, but when he is seen first,
dies. No animals, it is said, can bear the steady gaze of man, and there
are some persons who by this means seem to exercise a wonderful power over
them. Animals, however, have sometimes their revenge on man. It is an old
superstition, that he whom the wolf sees first loses his voice. Among
themselves, also, they use this power of charming,--as in the case of the
serpent, who thus attracts the bird, and of the toad, the "jewels in whose
head" have a like magical influence. Dr. Andrew Smith, in his excellent
work on "Reptilia," gives the following interesting account of the power of
the serpent, and of other animals, to fascinate their prey. Speaking of the
_Bucephalus Capetisis_, he says,--

"It is generally found upon trees, to which it resorts for the purpose of
catching birds, on which it delights to feed. The presence of a specimen in
a tree is generally soon discovered by the birds of the neighborhood, who
collect round it and fly to and fro, uttering the most piercing cries,
until some one, more terror-struck than the rest, actually scans its lips,
and, almost without resistance, becomes a meal for its enemy. During such a
proceeding, the snake is generally observed with its head raised about ten
or twelve inches above the branch round which its body and tail are
entwined, with its mouth open and its neck inflated, as if anxiously
endeavoring to increase the terror, which it would almost appear it was
aware would sooner or later bring within its grasp some one of the
feathered group.

"Whatever may be said in ridicule of fascination, it is nevertheless true
that birds, and even quadrupeds, are, under certain circumstances, unable
to retire from the presence of certain of their enemies, and, what is even
more extraordinary, unable to resist the propensity to advance from a
situation of actual safety into one of the most imminent danger. This I
have often seen exemplified in the case of birds and snakes; and I have
heard of instances equally curious, in which antelopes and other quadrupeds
have been so bewildered by the sudden appearance of crocodiles, and by the
grimaces and distortions they practised, as to be unable to fly or even
move from the spot towards which they were approaching to seize them."

The fascination which fire and flame exercise upon certain insects is well
known, and the beautiful moths which so painfully insist on sacrificing
themselves in our candle are the commonplaces of poets and lovers. They are
generally supposed to be attracted by the light and ignorantly to rush to
their destruction; but this simple explanation does not fully account for
all the facts. Dr. Livingstone says, that "fire exercises a fascinating
effect upon some kinds of toads. They may be seen rushing into it in the
evenings, without even starting back on feeling pain. Contact with the hot
embers rather increases the energy with which they strive to gain the
hottest parts, and they never cease their struggles for the centre even
when their juices are coagulating and their limbs stiffening in the
roasting heat. Various insects also are thus fascinated; but the scorpions
may be seen coming away from the fire in fierce disgust, and they are so
irritated as to inflict at that time their most painful stings."

May it not be that flame exercises upon certain insects and animals an
influence similar to that produced upon man by the moon, rendering them mad
when subjected too long to its influence?  Is not the moon the Evil Eye of
the night?

A curious story, bearing upon this subject, is told in one of a series of
interesting articles in "Household Words," called "Wanderings in India."
The author is talking with an old soldier about a cobra-capello, which has
been known to the latter for thirteen years.

"This cobra," says the soldier, "has never offered to do me any harm; and
when I sing, as I sometimes do when I am alone here at work on some tomb or
other, he will crawl up and listen for two or three hours together. One
morning, while he was listening, he came in for a good meal, which lasted
him some days."

"How was that?"

"I will tell you, Sir. A minar was chased by a small hawk, and, in despair,
came and perched itself on the top of a most lofty tomb at which I was at
work. The hawk, with his eyes fixed intently on his prey, did not, I fancy,
see the snake lying motionless in the grass; or, if he did see him, he did
not think he was a snake, but something else,--my crowbar, perhaps. After a
little while, the hawk pounced down, and was just about to give the minar a
blow and a grip, when the snake suddenly lifted his head, raised his hood,
and hissed. The hawk gave a shriek, fluttered, flapped his wings with all
his might, and tried very hard to fly away. But it would not do. Strong as
the eye of the hawk was, the eye of the snake was stronger. The hawk, for a
time, seemed suspended in the air; but at last he was obliged to come down
and sit opposite the old gentleman, (the snake,) who commenced with his
forked tongue, and keeping his eyes on him all the while, to slime his
victim all over. This occupied him for at least forty minutes, and by the
time the process was over the hawk was perfectly motionless. I don't think
he was dead,--but he was very soon, however, for the old gentleman put him
into a coil or two and crackled up every bone in the hawk's body. He then
gave him another sliming, made a big mouth, distended his neck till it was
as big round as the thickest part of my arm, and down went the hawk like a
shin of beef into a beggar-man's bag."  [Footnote: _Household Words_,
Jan. 23, 1858, vol. xvii., P. 139.]

The same writer, in another paper, relates a case in which he was cured of
a violent attack of _tic-douloureux_, from which he "suffered extreme
agonies," by the steady gaze of a native doctor, who was called in for the
purpose. He used no other method than a fixed, steady gaze, making no
mesmeric passes; and in this way he cured his patients by "locking up their
eyes," as he termed it. His power seemed to have been very great; and what
is curious is, that, "with one exception, and that was in the case of a
Keranu, a half-caste, no patient had ever fallen asleep or had become
'_beehosh_' (unconscious) under his gaze." He related several cases, one of
which was of "a sahib who had gone mad," drink-delirious. "His wife would
not suffer him to be strapped down, and he was so violent that it took four
or five other sahibs to hold him. I was sent for, and at first had great
difficulty with him, and much trembling. At last, however, I locked his
eyes up as soon as I got him to look at me, and kept him, for several
hours, as quiet as a mouse. I stayed with him two days, and whatever I told
him to do he did immediately. When I got his eyes fixed on mine, he could
not take them away,--could not move."

All these different kinds of fascination have now become united together
and go under the general name of _Jettatura_, in Italy, though the eye is
considered as the most potent and terrible charmer. The superstition is
universal, and pervades all modes of thought among the ignorant classes,
but its sanctuary is Naples. There it is as much a matter of faith as the
Madonna and San Gennaro. Every coral-shop is filled with amulets, and
everybody wears a counter-charm,--ladies on their arms, gentlemen on their
watch-chains, lazzaroni on their necks. If you are going to Italy,--and as
all the world now goes to Italy, you will join the endless caravan, of
course,--it becomes a matter of no small importance for you to know the
signs by which you may recognize the fascinator, and the means by which you
may avert his evil influence; for, should you fall in his way and be
unprotected, direful, indeed, might be the consequences. Sudden disease,
like a pestilence at mid-day, might seize you, and on those lovely shores
you might pine away and die. Dreadful accidents might overwhelm you and
bury all your happiness forever. Therefore be wise in time.

"Women," says Vairus, "have more power to fascinate than men"; but the
reason he gives will not, I fear, recommend itself to the sex,--for the
worthy _padre_ feared women as devils. According to him, their evil
influence results from their unbridled passions: "_Quia irascendi et
concupiscendi animi vim adeo effrenatam habent, ut nullo modo ab irâ et
cupiditate sese temperare valeant_." (Certainly, he _is_ a wretch.) But it
will be some consolation to know that the young and beautiful have far less
power for evil than "little old women," (_aniculas_,) and for these you
must specially look out. But most of all to be dreaded, male or female, are
those who are lean and melancholy by temperament, ("lean and hungry
Cassiuses,") and who have double pupils in their eyes, or in one eye a
double pupil and in the other the figure of a horse. Perhaps Mr. Squeers
and all of his kind come within this class, as having more than one pupil
always in their eye,--but, specially, this rule would seem to warn us
against jockey schoolmasters, with a horse in one eye and several pupils in
the other. Those, too, are dangerous, according to Didymus, who have
hollow, pit-like eyes, sunken under concave orbits, with great projecting
eyebrows,--as well as those who emit a disagreeable odor from their
armpits, (_con rispetto_,) and are remarkable for a general squalor of
complexion and appearance. Persons also are greatly to be suspected who
squint, or have sea-green, shining, terrible eyes. "One of these," says
Didymus, "I knew,--a certain Spaniard, whose name it is not permitted me to
mention,--who, with black and angry countenance and truculent eyes, having
reprimanded his servant for something or other, the latter was so overcome
by fear and terror, that he was not only affected with fascination, but
even deprived of his reason, and a melancholic humor attacking his whole
body, he became utterly insane, and, in the very house of his master, next
the Church of St. James, committed suicide, by hanging himself with a
rope." [Footnote: The passage from Didymus is this: "Macilenti et
melancholici, qui binas pupillas in oculis habent, aut in uno oculo geminam
pupillam, in altero effigiem equi,--quique oculos concavos ac veluti
quibusdam quasi foveis reconditos gerunt, exhaustoque adeo universo humore
ut ossa,--quibus palpebræ coherent, eminere, hirquique sordibus scatere
cernuntur,--quibus in tota cute quæ faciem obducit squallor et situs
immoderatus conspicitur, facillime fascinant. Strabones, glaucos, micantes
et terribiles oculos habentes quæcumque et iratis oculis aspiciunt fascino
inficiunt. Et _ego_ hisce oculis Romæ quondam Hispanum genere vidi, quem
nominare non licet, qui cum truculentis oculis tetro et irato vultu servum
ob nescio quod objurgâsset, adeo servus ille timore ac terrore perterritus
fuit, ut non modo fascino affectus, sed rationis usu privatus fuerit, et
melancholico humore totum ejus corpus invadente, ita ad insaniam redactus
fuit, ut in domo sui heri prope ecclesiam Divi Jacobi sibi mortem
consciverit et laqueo vitam finiverit."]

_Moral_.--If you ever meet with such an agreeable person as this Spaniard
appears to have been,--look out!

In this connection, the reader will recall the similar power of Vathek, in
Beckford's romance, who killed with his eye,--and the story of Racine, whom
a look of Louis XIV. sent to his grave.

The famous Albertus Magnus, master of medicine and magic, devotes a long
chapter to the subject of eyes, giving us, at length, descriptions of those
which we may trust and those which we must fear, some of them terrible and
vigorous enough. From among them I select the following:--"Those who have
hollow eyes are noted for evil; and the larger and moister they are, the
more they indicate envy. The same eyes, when dry, show the possessors to be
faithless, traitorous, and sacrilegious; and if these eyes are also yellow
and cold, they argue insanity. For hollow eyes are the sign of craft and
malignity; and if they are wanting in darkness, they also show
foolishness. But if the eyes are too hollow, and of medium size, dry and
rigid,--if, besides this, they have broad, overhanging eyebrows, and livid
and pallid circles round them, they indicate impudence and malignity."
[Footnote: Albertus Magnus, _De Animâ_.] If this be not enough to enable
you, O my reader, to recognise the Evil Eye at sight, let me refer you to
the whole chapter, where you will find ample and very curious rules laid
down, showing a singular acuteness of observation.

Things have, indeed, somewhat changed since the days of Didymus, in this
respect, that men are now thought to be more potent for evil _jettatura_
than women; but his general views still coincide with those entertained at
the present time in Italy. Ever since the establishment, or rather
decadence, of the Church in the Middle Ages, monks have been considered as
peculiarly open to suspicion of possessing the Evil Eye. As long ago as the
ninth century, in the year 842, Erchempert, a _frate_ of the celebrated
convent of Monte Cassino, writes,--"I knew formerly Messer Landulf, Bishop
of Capua, a man of singular prudence, who was wont to say, 'Whenever I meet
a monk, something unlucky always happens to me during the day.'" And to
this day, there are many persons, who, if they meet a monk or priest, on
first going out in the morning, will not proceed upon their errand or
business until they have returned to their house and waited awhile. In Rome
there are certain persons who are noted for this evil power, and marked and
avoided in consequence. One of them is a most pleasant and handsome man,
attached to the Church, and yet, by odd coincidence, wherever he goes, he
carries ill-luck. If he go to a party, the ices do not arrive, the music is
late, the lamps go out, a storm comes on, the waiter smashes his tray of
refreshments,--something or other is sure to happen. "_Sentite_," said some
one the other day to me.  "Yesterday, I was looking out of my window, when
I saw ---- coming along.  'Phew!' said I, making the sign of the cross and
pointing both fingers, 'what ill-luck will happen now to some poor devil
that does not see him?' I watched him all down the street, however, and
nothing occurred; but this morning I hear, that, after turning the corner,
he spoke to a poor little boy, who was up in a tree gathering some fruit,
and no sooner was out of sight than smash! down fell the boy and broke his
arm." Even the Pope himself has the reputation of possessing the Evil Eye
to some extent. Ask a Roman how this is, and he will answer, as one did to
me the other day,--"_Si dice, e per me veramente mi pare di sì_": "They say
so; and as for me, really it seems to me true. If he have not the
_jettatura_, it is very odd that everything he blesses makes _fiasco_. We
all did very well in the campaign of '48 against the Austrians. We were
winning battle after battle, and all was gayety and hope, when suddenly he
blesses the cause, and everything goes to the Devil at once. Nothing
succeeds with anybody or anything when he wishes well to them. See, here
the other day he went to Santa Agnese to have a great festival, and down
goes the floor, and the people are all smashed together. Then he visits the
column to the Madonna in the Piazza di Spagna, and blesses it and the
workmen, and of course one falls from the scaffolding the same day and
kills himself. A week or two ago he arranged to meet the King of Naples at
Porto d'Anzo, and up comes a violent storm and gale that lasts a week;
then another arrangement was made, and then the fracas about the ex-queen
of Spain. Then, again, here was Lord O----- came in the other day from
Albano, being rather unwell; so the Pope sends him his special blessing,
when pop! he dies right off in a twinkling. There is nothing so fatal as
his blessing. We were a great deal better off under Gregory, before he
blessed us. Now, if he hasn't the _jettatura_, what is it that makes
everything turn out at cross purposes with him? For my part, I don't wonder
the workmen at the Column refused to work the other day in raising it,
unless the Pope stayed away."

No less a person than Rachel seems also to have been affected with this
same superstition in regard to the Pope, if we may place confidence in the
strange story which Madame de B----- relates in her memoirs of that
celebrated daughter of Israel. According to her account, Rachel had been on
a visit to her sister, who was quite ill in the Pyrenees, when one day the
disease appeared to take so favorable a turn that Rachel left her to visit
another sister. There she met several friends, and, (to continue the story
in Madame de B-----'s words,) "exhilarated by the good news she had
brought, and the hopes all hastened to build on the change, she began to
chat and laugh quite merrily. In the midst of this exuberant gayety, her
maid broke into the room in a state of great excitement; a fit had come on,
the patient was in much danger, the physician desired Mdlle. Rachel's
immediate presence. Rising with the bound of a wounded tigress, the
_tragédienne_ seemed to seek, bewildered, some cause for the blow that had
fallen thus unexpectedly. Her eye lighted on a rosary blessed by the Pope,
and which she had worn round her arm as a bracelet ever since her visit to
Rome. Without, perhaps, accounting to herself for the belief, she had
attached some talismanic virtue to the beads. Now, however, in the height
of her rage and disappointment, she tore them from her wrist, and, dashing
them to the ground, exclaimed, 'Oh, fatal gift! 'tis thou hast entailed
this curse upon me!' With these words, she sprang out of the room, leaving
every one in mute astonishment at her frantic action." On the 23d of June,
immediately after, the sister died.

And yet the Pope does not at all answer to the accredited portraits of
those who have the Evil Eye. He is fat, smiling, and most pleasant of
aspect, as he is good in heart. But, certainly, nothing has prospered that
he has touched. Read Dumas' description, and see if you should have
recognized the Pope as a _jettatore_. "_Le Jettatore_," says he, "_est
ordinairement pâle et maigre. II a un nez en bec de corbin, de gros yeux
qui ont quelque chose de ceux de crapaud, et qu'il recouvre ordinairement
pour les dissimuler d'une paire de lunettes._" But it is the exception that
proves the rule, say those who insist on the _jettatura_ of Pius IX.

Dumas also speaks of a work on the _jettatura_, which I have vainly
endeavored to procure, written by Nicola Valetta; and from what one can
gather from the heads of the chapters which Dumas gives, it must be a very
amusing book. [Footnote: The title of this work is _Cicalata sul Fascino,
volgarmente detto Jettatura_, by Nicola Valetta. It was published more than
fifty years since, and copies are now rare.] These heads are as
follows. They speak for themselves, and show the fear entertained of a
monk. He examines:--

"1. If a man inflicts a more terrible _jettatura_ than a woman?

"2. If he who wears a peruke is more to be feared than he who wears none?

"3. If he who wears spectacles is not more to be feared than he who wears a
peruke?

"4. If he who takes tobacco is not more to be feared than he who wears
spectacles? and if spectacles, peruke, and snuff-box combined do not triple
the force of the _jettatura?_

"5. If the woman _jettatrice_ is more to be feared when she is _enceinte?_

"6. If there is still more to be feared from her when she is certain that
she is not _enceinte?_

"7. If monks are more generally _jettatori_ than other men? and among monks
what order is most to be feared?

"8. At what distance can _jettatura_ be made?

"9. Must it be made in front, or at the side, or behind?

"10. If there are really gestures, sounds of voice, and particular looks,
by which _jettatura_ may be recognized?

"11. If there are prayers which can guaranty us against the _jettatura?_
and if so, whether there are any special prayers to guaranty us against the
_jettatura_ of monks?

"12. Lastly, whether the power of modern talismans is equal to the power of
ancient talismans? and whether the single or the double horn is most
efficacious?"

Luckless, indeed, is he who has the misfortune to possess, or the
reputation of possessing this fatal power. From that time forward the world
flees him, as the water did Thalaba. A curse is on him, and from the very
terror at seeing him accidents are most likely to follow. Keep him from
your children, or they will break their legs, arms, or necks. Look not at
him from your carriage, or it will upset. Let him not see your wife when
she is _enceinte,_ or she will miscarry, or you will have a monster for a
son. Never invite him to a ball, unless you wish to see your chandelier
smash, or the floor give way. Invite him not to dinner, or your mushrooms
will poison you, and your fish will smell. If he wishes you _buon viaggio_,
abandon the journey, if you would return alive. Nor be deceived by his good
manners and kind heart. It is of no avail that he is amiable and good in
all his intentions,--his _jettatura_ is without and beyond his will,--nay,
worse, is contrary to it; for all _jettatura_ goes like dreams, by
contraries. Therefore shudder when he wishes you well, for he can do no
worse thing.

If you do not believe what I tell you, read the wonderful story of Count
----- which is told by Dumas in his "Corriccolo," and at least you will be
amused, if not convinced. Listen, however, to this one historical incident,
and believe it or not, as you please. Ferdinand of Naples died on the night
of the 3d of January, 1825, and was found dead in the morning. The
physicians attributed his death to a stroke of apoplexy; but that was in
consequence of their pretended science and real ignorance. The actual cause
of his death was this,--and if you do not believe it, ask any true
Neapolitan, or Alexander Dumas, if you put more faith in him.--A certain
_canonico,_ named Don Ojori, had for many years desired an audience of
Ferdinand, to present him a certain book, of which Don Ojori was the
author. The King had his good reasons for refusing, for Don Ojori was well
known to be the greatest _jettatore_ in Naples. Finally, on the 2d of
January, the King was persuaded to grant him the desired favor the next
day, much against his will. The _canonico_ came, and after a long audience
left his book and many prayers for the King's prosperity. But Ferdinand did
not survive the interview a whole day; and if this be not proof that Don
Ojori bewitched him to his destruction, what is?

       *       *       *       *       *



PYTHAGORAS.

Above the petty passions of the crowd
I stand in frozen marble like a god,
Inviolate, and ancient as the moon.
The thing I am, and not the thing Man is,
Fills these blank sockets. Let him moan and die;
For he is dust that shall be laid again:
I know my own creation was divine.
Strewn on the breezy continents I see
The veined shells and glistening scales which once
Enwrapt my being,--husks that had their use;
I brood on all the shapes I must attain
Before I reach the Perfect, which is God,
And dream my dream, and let the rabble go:
For I am of the mountains and the sea,
The deserts, and the caverns in the earth,
The catacombs and fragments of old worlds.

I was a spirit on the mountain-tops,--
A perfume in the valleys,--a simoom
On arid deserts,--a nomadic wind
Roaming the universe,--a tireless Voice.
I was ere Romulus and Remus were;
I was ere Nineveh and Babylon;
I was, and am, and evermore shall be,--
Progressing, never reaching to the end.

A hundred years I trembled in the grass,
The delicate trefoil that muffled warm
A slope on Ida; for a hundred years
Moved in the purple gyre of those dark flowers
The Grecian women strew upon the dead.
Under the earth, in fragrant glooms, I dwelt;
Then in the veins and sinews of a pine
On a lone isle, where, from the Cyclades,
A mighty wind, like a leviathan,
Ploughed through the brine, and from those solitudes
Sent Silence, frightened. To and fro I swayed,
Drawing the sunshine from the stooping clouds.
Suns came and went,--and many a mystic moon,
Orbing and waning,--and fierce meteor,
Leaving its lurid ghost to haunt the night
I heard loud voices by the sounding shore,
The stormy sea-gods,--and from ivory conchs
Wild music; and strange shadows floated by,
Some moaning and some singing. So the years
Clustered about me, till the hand of God
Let down the lightning from a sultry sky,
Splintered the pine and split the iron rock;
And from my odorous prison-house, a bird,
I in its bosom, darted: so we fled,
Turning the brittle edge of one high wave,--
Island and tree and sea-gods left behind!

Free as the air, from zone to zone I flew,
Far from the tumult to the quiet gates
Of daybreak; and beneath me I beheld
Vineyards, and rivers that like silver threads
Ran through the green, and gold of pasture-lands,--
And here and there a hamlet, a white rose,--
And here and there a city, whose slim spires
And palace-roofs and swollen domes uprose
Like scintillant stalagmites in the sun;
I saw huge navies battling with a storm
By ragged reefs along the desolate coasts,--
And lazy merchantmen, that crawled, like flies,
Over the blue enamel of the sea
To India or the icy Labradors.

A century was as a single day.
What is a day to an immortal soul?
A breath,--no more. And yet I hold one hour
Beyond all price,--that hour when from the heavens
I circled near and nearer to the earth,
Nearer and nearer, till I brushed my wings
Against the pointed chestnuts, where a stream
That foamed and chattered over pebbly shoals
Fled through the bryony, and with a shout
Leaped headlong down a precipice: and there,
Gathering wild-flowers in the cool ravine,
Wandered a woman more divinely shaped
Than any of the creatures of the air,
Or river-goddesses, or restless shades
Of noble matrons marvellous in their time
For beauty and great suffering; and I sung,
I charmed her thought, I gave her dreams; and then
Down from the sunny atmosphere I stole
And nestled in her bosom. There I slept
From moon to moon, while in her eyes a thought
Grew sweet and sweeter, deepening like the dawn,
A mystical forewarning! When the stream,
Breaking through leafless brambles and dead leaves,
Piped shriller treble, and from chestnut-boughs
The fruit dropped noiseless through the autumn night,
I gave a quick, low cry, as infants do:
We weep when we are born, not when we die!
So was it destined; and thus came I here,
To walk the earth and wear the form of man,
To suffer bravely as becomes my state,--
One step, one grade, one cycle nearer God.

And knowing these things, can I stoop to fret
And lie and haggle in the market-place,
Give dross for dross, or everything for nought?
No! let me sit above the crowd, and sing,
Waiting with hope for that miraculous change
Which seems like sleep; and though I waiting starve,
I cannot kiss the idols that are set
By every gate, in every street and park,--
I cannot fawn, I cannot soil my soul:
For I am of the mountains and the sea,
The deserts, and the caverns in the earth,
The catacombs and fragments of old worlds.

       *       *       *       *       *



CLARIAN'S PICTURE.

A LEGEND OF NASSAU HALL.

"Turbine raptus ingenii."--SCALIGER.


Mac and I dined together yesterday,--as we are used to do at least once or
twice every year, for the sake of our ever-mellowing friendship, and those
good old times in which it began. Like all who are ripe enough to have
memories, we delight to recall the period of our vernal equinox, and to
moralize, with gentle sadness and many wise wags of our frosty polls, upon
the events in which that period was prolific; and so, when the cloth was
removed yesterday, and we sat toying with our cigars and our Sherry, our
talk insensibly drifted back to those merry college-days when we not
infrequently "heard the chimes at midnight."

"Ah, old fellow," quoth I to my chum, "those good old days are gone by,
now, and Israel worships strange gods. Old Nassau will never be what she
was before the fire of '55. Those precious heirlooms of our day are sunk
from sight forever, dear and mossy as they were,--swept down, like cobwebs,
before the flame-besom. _'Fuit Ilium!'_ The old bell will never again ring
out the gay 'larums of a 'Third Entry' barring-out. Homer's head no longer
perches owl-like and wise over the central door-way. _'Ai, Adonai!'_ No
more wilt proud fingers point to the spot whereat entered--not like
'Casca's envious dagger'--that well-aimed cannon-ball which pierced the
picture-gallery, punched 'Georgius Res' on the head, and frightened away
forever the Hessians that were stabled there, fouling the nest of stout old
John Witherspoon. They call other rolls now in chapel and in class-room,
and chant other songs at their revels and their feasts.  '_Eheu,
Posthume!_'"

"Pshaw, Ned Blount! there's corn in Egypt still. Out of that bug-riddled
old barn we used to know a new and comely Phoenix has been born unto
Princeton; the fire hath purged, not destroyed; and we wiseacres who
flourished in the old 'flush times' yet survive in tradition, patterns for
our children, very Turveydrops of collegiate deportment. The belfry clangs
with a louder peal; even Clarian's Picture, though it hath utterly perished
to the eye of sense, lives vivid in a thousand memories, and, having found
in the tenderness of tradition and legend an engraver whose burin is as
faithful as Raphael Morghen's, has left the damp dark wall, like Leonardo's
_Cenacolo_, to accompany all of us to our firesides."

Clarian's Picture! what memories the mention of it stirred up!

"Poor Clarian!" I murmured.

"Poor, indeed I" repeated Mac, with a sneer. "He is only worth a lovely
wife and six children, with half a million to back them. And he only weighs
two hundred pounds, with I forget how many inches of fat over the
brisket. Poor, indeed!  'Tis pity you and I have not experienced a slight
attack of that same poverty, Ned Blount!"

"Poor Clarian!" repeated I, sturdily. "To think that a man who could paint
such a picture, a soul of imagination so compact, a so delicate
ether-breathing spirit, should settle down at last into a mere mechanical,
a plodding, every-day merchant, whose finest fancies are given to the
condition of the money-market, who governs his actions by a decline of
Erie, and narrows his ideas down to the requirements of filthy lucre, like
a mere 'wintry clod of earth'! Ay, poor Clarian, poor anybody, when we wake
from our bright youth-dream and tread the rough pathway of a reality like
this!"

"_Potz tausend_! the man is _fou_!"  shouted Mac. "Come, drink your wine,
Ned, and we'll have our coffee. It is quite time, I think,--and he used to
be a three-bottle fellow," muttered my dear old friend, _sotto
voce_. "'_Heu, heu! tempora mutantur, et nos_'--well, well, well!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Clarian's Picture! What a gush of recollection the words evoke! I was in
the heyday and blossom of my youth then, and now--well, 'tis some years
since; yet how vividly I remember that pleasant noontide of a day of early
summer, when, as a party of us students were lounging about the gates that
opened from our shady campus upon the street, "Dennis" handed me a note
from Clarian, in which my little friend announced that his picture was
finished at last, and invited Mac and myself to call and see it
"exhibited," at nine o'clock that very evening. We were talking about
Clarian and his picture, at the time,--as, indeed, we had been doing for a
month,--and when I mentioned the purport of the note, curiosity rose to the
tiptoe of expectation, and numerous surmises were set afloat. I could have
satisfied their queries as to the subject and character of the picture, for
Mac and I had seen it only a few days before, but Clarian expected us to be
secret about it; so I only listened and smiled, while the eager talk ran
on, and a thousand conjectures were hazarded.

"So the _magnum opus_ is finished at last," said Clayt Zoile, showing by
his manner, as he joined us, that he at least had not received an
invitation; "a precious specimen of Art it will prove, I doubt not, after
all the outcry about it. '_Montes parturiunt_' etc."

"You'll lose your wish this time, Clayt," drawled Mounchersey, carelessly;
"Mr. Cosine told me yesterday that 'Boss' has called on Clarian about his
cutting so many prayers and recites, and that, after seeing the unfinished
picture, he gave the youngster _carte blanche_ as to time, till it is
completed;--so it must be something worth looking at"

"I guess Ned Blount's glad the picture is finished," said Tone Ninyan,
turning to me,--"a'n't you, Ned?"

I confessed I was not by any means sorry, for Clarian's sake.

"No," laughed Zoile, "Ned isn't sorry,--be sure of that; for he wants his
dear 'Whitewash' restored again to the bosom of society, lest the walls of
his reputation should by chance suffer from fly-speck."

These words created a laugh at my expense; for Clarian had shown himself,
in his warm, generous way, such a zealous advocate of my immaculate
perfection, that he was quite generally known by the _sobriquet_ of "Ned
Blount's Whitewash."

Just then Mac came along, on his way to the post-office, and I joined him,
showing him Ciarian's note.

"Hum," growled my good old chum, as he read it, "don't want to be disturbed
to-day; sick, is he? I'd like to know who's to blame, if he isn't. Wishes
me to bring my Shakspeare along;--it's a wonder he had not said Plotinus,
or Jacob Böhme's 'Aurora'; they're more in his style. The deuse take that
boy and his picture, Ned! What if we two fools have been playing too
roughly with such plastic clay? I wish to-night were come and gone
safely. I'll go see Dr. Thorne, and ask him to accompany us to-night. He
claims to be something of a connoisseur, and the picture is really worth
seeing, if the lad has not spoiled it with his 'final touches'. And anyhow,
the boy will be a study for a psychological monomaniac like Thorne."

"You apprehend, then...."

"_Sapperment_, you owl-face! I apprehend nothing; only it will be as well
to have Thorne present, for the boy is out of sorts, and his nerves were
never very strong. Now look here, Ned Blount!  don't put on that lugubrious
phiz, I pray you;--and, moreover, don't you ever dare introduce any more of
your Freshmen _protégé's_ to me; for, I warn you, I'll insult them, and
you, too,--I will, by Jove!"

I was not less impatient than Mac for the night to come, for I was very
anxious about Clarian, dreading lest some catastrophe was about to overtake
him,--and the thought was by no means pleasant. For, as Mac had said, the
lad was a _protégé_ of mine; he had been given into my charge by his sweet
lady-mother; he had looked up to me as his senior and his friend; and I
could not help feeling, that, if anything untoward should happen to him, it
would be partly my fault.

From the very first I had been strongly attracted towards Clarian. Indeed,
the lad was remarkable for a peculiar spiritual beauty of person and
sweetness of manner that made almost every one love him. He was, in fact,
_lovely_, in the etymological sense of that misused word, and people
softened towards him as to a young, guileless child. I have known men cease
swearing when he drew near, drop ribaldry, and take up some more innocent
topic, simply through an unconscious impulse of fitness,--feeling that such
things had no business to be repeated in his presence. And they were right;
for a purer spirit than Clarian's I have never encountered in man or woman.
His face most reminded one of the portraits of Raphael at twenty. He had
the same broad, smooth forehead,--the same soft skin, delicate, yet rich as
the inner leaves of a pale rose,--the same finely shaped nose, and ripe,
womanly mouth, which a Persian, in default of a more tangible analogy,
would have likened to the seal of Solomon. But his lower face was somewhat
less full than Raphael's, the chin being shorter and sharper, and the jaw
curving less sensuously. His hair was of the purest chestnut hue, rich and
silken, showing here and there a thread of gold; he wore it long, and
flowing in half-ringlets upon his neck and shoulders. Clarian's eye was
large and dark, tender, rather sad, with now and then a speculative depth,
now and then a hint of the Romeo fore-doom, now and then a warm eloquence,
when meeting yours, that reminded strangely of a woman loving and in
love. Other womanly traits he had, such as the ingenuous blush with which
he asked or did a favor, and a certain not very boyish fondness for
softness and elegance of dress. Not that Clarian was effeminate, or in any
material respect deficient in manly character; but his mother was a widow,
and he her only son, and consequently he had been brought up like a girl,
at home, without any slightest opportunity to acquire those
rough-and-tumble experiences of ordinary boyhood which are so necessary to
fit us for battling in the world; for the world, though not unfeeling at
core, wears yet a sufficiently rough rind, and pretends but little sympathy
with persons of Clarian's stamp.

Hence, when Clarian came to college, he knew very little of life
indeed,--and, moreover, he cherished not a few ascetic notions, deeming
this world "all a fleeting show," from whose vain illusions it was one's
chief duty to shield one's self. He had never read a novel, save "some of
Scott's,"--nor ever seen or read a play, not even of Shakspeare's. How I
envied him this new world, in whose usages I had been _blasé_ long before I
was of an age to appreciate its beauties,--this bright, fancy-fostering
world, to which he was to go all fresh and unsophisticated, like a bride to
the nuptial sheets! In literature of a more solid kind his practice was
quite considerable: he had surveyed many fields of Art, History, and
Theology, all of which, however, had first been submitted to the test of
that anxious maternal _Index Expurgatorius_, lest some drop of infidelity
or impurity should trickle in unawares, to darken or embitter the pure
crystal waters of his soul. Ah, thou poor fond mother, so unreasoningly
ignoring the fact that each of us must somehow eat his "peck of dirt"!

Thus intrusted to my charge, and having such attractive elements in his
character, I naturally took great interest in Clarian, and particularly
spared no effort to give him use in college ways. I saw that the lad was
not one to bear being laughed at, and so did all I could to screen him from
the embarrassments of ignorance,--taught him our customs, our fashions, and
gave him lessons upon that immemorial dialect in which college sublegists
delight. I chicaned to secure him a fine room, which his lady-mother
furnished "like a bridal chamher", if our Nassau cynics were to be
credited,--introduced him where it was necessary, and exercised generally
towards him that distinguished patronage which one who "knows the ropes" is
able to bestow upon a very Freshman.

A fine generous fellow was Clarian, for all his apron-string
antecedents,--bold as a lion, and as trustworthy as he was enthusiastic.
He was of rather too nervous a temperament to be precisely healthy in all
mental respects, but nevertheless had a fine comprehensive mind, very
capable of sustained and concentrated effort. He had been well taught, and,
unfortunately, was so far advanced beyond the studies of his class as to
have a great deal of leisure. In consequence he turned to reading, and
here, again unfortunately, he put himself under my guidance, and suffered
me to govern him in his choice of books: unfortunately, I say, for I was
then a worshipper of that clay-footed Nebuchadnezzar-image, Metaphysics,
which I fondly deemed all of gold, and the most genuine of things. So, when
Clarian came to me, I was eager enough to put to his lips the wine of which
I was drunken. The boy took his first sip from Coleridge's "Biographia
Literaria",--that cracked Bohemian glass, which, handed in a golden salver
that might have come from the cunning graver of Cellini, yet forces one to
taste, over a flawed and broken edge, the sourest drop of ill-made _vin du
pays_, heavily drugged and made bitter with Paracelsian laudanum. Under
that strange patchwork quilt so imaginative a soul as Clarian could not
fail to dream. It was a great pity I had not been more circumspect, for the
boy was already too deeply steeped in those Acherontic waters. His mother,
like many other women, had loved to wander along the dreamy paths of
sentimental theology, clothing from her own beautiful mind the dim,
unsubstantial spectres that beckoned her, and accepting all their mystic
utterances, in blind faith, for genuine oracles of God. Into these by-ways
he had followed her, and his clearer vision had just sufficed to reveal to
him the ghosts, without teaching him how to master or dispel them. Thus,
Cowper's sweetness, which charmed her, became to him Cowper's dejection and
despairing sadness, perplexing enough to his young brain. Where she took up
and fed her soul upon John Wesley's conclusions, the boy found himself
involved in John Wesley's perplexities, and struggling in desperate wrestle
with the haunting shapes to which John Wesley had given successful
battle. Thus prepared, no wonder my eager little friend plunged headlong
into the sea of doubts, impatient to cry, "Eureka!" and plant his foot upon
the Islands of the Blessed. The new excitement completely swept his feet
from under him. 'Twas but a step from Coleridge and _Esemplastic_ matters
to Plotinus, and in a month he had taken that step,--the more readily, that
he was a right good Grecian, and found no unpleasant philological
difficulties in the "Enneades". Thence he went on in feverish unrest,
wildly running up and down all _Niffelheim_ in quest of some centre-point
upon which he could stand firm and look around him. He had an excellent
mind, and, unexcited, could take sufficiently common-sense views of most
matters; but this was too much for him. He made substance of shadows, and
then exhausted himself in giving them battle. He became anxious, uneasy,
nervous,--showing very plainly, that, in his search after the Alkahest, he
had injured his powers by making trial of too many drugs.

Mac, with his sturdy good sense, and unerring mace-like judgment, speedily
became aware of this waste of function to which Clarian was subjecting
himself, and warned me accordingly.

"Why do you let that boy bother his brains about your stupid _Ego_ and
_Non-Ego_?"  said he. "Don't you see he is injuring himself, beginning to
sink under a sort of mental _albumenurea_,--at the very time, too, when he
has most need of stamina?  He does nothing but read, read, read,--and what,
forsooth? Not anything that will teach him the genuineness of life and
manhood, but those damnable spirit-exalting, body-despising emasculates of
Alexandria,--Madame Guyon's meditations, too, and Isaac Taylor's giddy
see-sawings,--all heresies, and bosh,--'Dead-Sea fruits that turn to
ashes', and not only disgust you, but blister tongue and lips most
vilely. You'll have him next trying to treat with the gods, to attain
Brahm's purification, Boodh's annihilation, to jump over the moon, or doing
something that will make him candidate for the shaved-head-and-blister
treatment. Remember, Ned, his brain is made of finer stuff than that stolid
sponge inside your _pia mater_, that can take in _quantum sufficit_ of
beer, fog, and tobacco-smoke, unharmed. He can't stand it, and he's too
rare and delicate a machine to go cranky thus soon. You've got the child
under your thumb,--bring him out o' that. Make him take a dose of Verulam,
get him back into the world again, and order him four hours _per diem_ at
the dumb-bells."

And so, the next time Clarian came to our rooms, and was eagerly soliciting
my opinion of a little essay he had written, to establish the identity of
the Logos with the Demiurgic Mind, ("Plato's World-Soul, called in 'Timæus'
the best of Eternal Intelligences, the Noetic Partaker and Digester of
Reason", said Clarian in his tract,) with some corollaries for the purpose
of reconciling _Geist_ and _Freiheit_, all sauced down, _à l'Allemagne_,
with numerous capitals and a proper degree of incomprehensibility,--Mac
bluffly interrupted the colloquy, and accosted Clarian,--

"Younker! do you know you're a fool?"

Clarian colored up,--

"How, Mac?"

"What are we--Ned, and you, and I--here for?"

"To acquire knowledge."

"Ay, knowledge,--but what for?"

"To fit us for heaven."

"Phew! then you calculate to graduate from 'these classic shades' direct
into celestial regions, do you, without sojourning awhile in this terrene
purgatory? I do not, and, moreover, _je n'en ai pas l'envie_; I think the
world has some claims upon me, and I mean to pay that debt, D. V."

"So do I, Mac," rejoined Clarian, a little proudly.

"And do you suppose your present studies adapted to fit you for such work?
Now, if you want to be a monk, if you are willing, like Origen, to purchase
with your entire manhood some supposed facility of spiritual contemplation
and depth of insight into the Infinite, or if you intend to become a
Brahmin, and seek in your navel the dyspeptic divinity who there wields his
sceptre, while your despised body is given up to the predatory ravages of
_genus pediculus_, well and good. Follow your hest, go on and conquer the
[Greek: gnosis] and when you have got it, just inform me what it looks
like, and whether you will be more able to make use of it than the fellow
was of the elephant he bought at auction. But if you desire to take a man's
part in this grand world around you, you must leap off your shadow, and
never think about thinking, as the new Olympian has it. Let quiddities
alone, they are dry-bone vampires, that drain you of your blood without
growing fatter themselves."

"But how can truth harm? and that is what I seek,--truth, and beauty; if I
commune with the world-soul, then also I know the world."

"Faugh! let shadows alone; believe in the man; do not be persuaded that the
body is depraved and corrupt, and only the soul is worthy to be cultivated.
Hold fast to the tangible. We know that we have a body, spite the Bishop of
Cloyne, far more certainly than we know we have a soul. See, the soul is
this smoke, that evanishes so quickly; the body this meerschaum that I have
in my fingers, and will smoke again, please God."

"But it is the smoke, not the pipe, that gives you pleasure, and is the
important consideration, Mac."

"Confound analogies, and pert Freshmen!"  growled my chum, puffing
vigorously. "Nevertheless, it is a noble and right royal thing, this
body,--a thing to be cared for and cultivated for its own sake, apart from
the fact of its being God's chosen sanctuary for what He lends us to see
Him by. And you are neglecting it, both in theory and practice, Clarian; so
you must give up these infernal Metaphysics. If you _will_ bother about
speculative matters, let Bacon teach you the correctives of error, and
Locke how to govern and rein in the understanding. But you'd better learn
first what men say about men. It may not make you happier, but it will make
you wiser, and wisdom ranks high in heaven: Gabriel, Raphael,
Michael,--'tis the second person in that archangelic trinity. Did you ever
read Shakspeare? No, of course not; and yet I'll wager you have been
hankering after the Bhagavat Ghita, and trying to get a copy of the
illustrious Trismegistan Gimander! Don't blush,--you're not the first young
man who has made an a--ahem--made a mistake. Fie! Learn men, Clarian, and
then you will come to know man,--the surest way, I take it, of knowing the
Multitudinous God. So read you Shakspeare, and Æschylus, save the
'Prometheus,'--_that_ was begotten of Bactrian lore upon the mysteries of
Karnac, and does not touch man nearly, spite of all its grandeur. Here,
listen, and I will give you a lesson in the Myriad-Minded whom
Stratford-upon-Avon blessed our little earth with."

Therewith, Mac began to read from the first act of "The Tempest." Now chum
was a Shakspeare enthusiast, and, withal, a very fine reader, as well as,
from long study, quite pervaded with the Master's diction and style of
thought. As he read on, he commented, in his brief, pointed way, upon the
text, contrasting the Boatswain's practical usefulness with the shivering
helplessness of the Courtiers. "Now this is your proper somatology," he
added. "What our Bo's'un says to Gonzalo, the world will say to you,
Clarian, when you propose to it any of your panaceas: Are you able to do
better than we? If so, save us from the shipwreck that threatens. If not,
go to your prayers. Anyhow, 'out of our way, I say!'"

"Bravo!" cried I, when the homily came to an end, "Mac is preaching
Carlylism, as I'm a sinner. The next utterance will be something about
roofing Hell over, or the Everlasting Yea, or Morrison's Pills! Proceed:
'lay on,' Mac!  none of us will cry, 'Hold, enough!' save under risible
compulsion."

Mac sulked awhile, but soon resumed his reading,--sparing us further
comment, however. Thus was Clarian led over the threshold, and introduced
into Shakspeare's magic world. When Mac closed his book at the end of the
act, Clarian's face glowed with a flattering something that must have
pleased my chum, for he _was_ proud of his reading,--and the moisture
glittering in the lad's eye, his flushed cheek, and the tremor of his voice
as he asked to hear more, spoke volumes.

But Mac said, "No,--enough is as good as a feast, younker, and just now I
have to go with Bacchus in quest of a tragedian for Athens,--[Greek: brek
kek koax, koax], you know. Study the Master yourself: and let me by all
means advise your wisdom to detect a mystery in 'Hamlet,' and to essay the
solution of the same. Nobody else has done so, of course, and it will
become your long head. I've met several very mild, quiet people, whom you
would not suspect of the slightest impropriety; but mention the Dane, and,
_presto!_ off they go upon their hobbies, ('theories,' they call 'em,) and
canter around Bedlam at a most generous pace. '_Semel insanivimus omnes_,'
I suppose, and Hamlet and the Apocalypse offer rare opportunities."

"Now, Ned," said Mac, somewhat complacently, when Clarian was gone, "I
think I have done that young rascal some good, and the bard will advantage
him still more, if he can only be moderate enough."

And, indeed, these new pastures thus unbarred to Clarian's coltish fancies
made a great change in the lad. At first he simply revelled in the new
world of beauty that the Master's wand evoked, like a bird in the fresh,
warm sunshine of returning spring. But this did not last long; the bird
must busy himself with nest-building. Clarian's ardent, impetuous nature
must evolve results, would not content itself with mere sensations. So he
began to study Shakspeare,--not, as he had studied the philosophers, to
pluck out and make his own some cosmical, pervading thought, but to find
matter for Art-purposes. I think, that, if ever there was a born artist,
who united to a fine æsthetic sense the fervor of a devotee, Clarian was
that one, heart and soul. Some men make a mistress of Art, and sink down,
lost in sensual pleasure and excess, till the Siren grows tired and
destroys them. Other men wed Art, and from the union beget them fair,
lovely, ay, immortal children, as Raphael did. Some again, confounding Art
with their own inordinate vanity, grow stern and harsh with making
sacrifices to the stone idol, grinding down their own hearts in vain
experimenting after properer pigments, whereby themselves may attain to a
chill and profitless immortality. But there are others still, who,
elevating Art into a grand divinity, bow down and worship it, devote their
lives to its priesthood, and, as a reward, only ask the god to reveal to
them once his unveiled effulgence, content with the one communion, though
their rashness be fatal, and the god's benison prove but the ashes of
Semele. Towards this class Clarian tended, I knew very well, and hence,
from the first, I had thrown a damper upon his artistic aspirations, often
rewarded by his mournful and reproaching glances, as I sneered at his
sketches,--which, to tell the truth, were most admirable, showing at once a
keen poetic insight, fine composition, and an unusual mastery of technical
details. The obedient fellow had bowed to what he deemed my better
judgment, and turned away, with something of a sigh, from his dear love and
ambition. Now, however, this love came suddenly back, and with tenfold
intensity, as is always the case, and, though I dreaded its unhealthiness,
I could no longer thwart him. Indeed, the Art-sense took such complete
possession of him that I feared to interpose obstacles. He did not go about
his work like a boy, but bent himself to it with the calm, resolute purpose
of a man of forty. I could see the increasing mastery of the idea, in his
changed eye, in his compressed lip, in his statelier, calmer pose; and,
however incredulous we may be respecting _results_, these initiatory
motions never fail to impress us. Even Bluebeard would forbear to strike
down his pregnant wife, for the sake of what she bore under her bosom; and
I, seeing the boy's careful study, and his long and laborious preparation,
could not help looking forward to a result of commensurate importance.

Nevertheless, it was my duty to have combated Clarian's tendencies, for I
could not help seeing the daily injury they did him. _Ars longa, vita
brevis_, was an overpowering conviction of the lad's, and he went to work
to apply the maddest of correctives. Art so exacting and life so short,
then it was his office to labor so much the more earnestly, so much the
more eagerly, that he might squeeze dry this orange of the present, and
lose no opportunity, no moment. Thus it came to pass with him, as it does
with us all who overwork ourselves, that actually he did less than he might
have done, and warped himself in a most pitiable way indeed. A
conscientious fellow, as he was, Clarian had hitherto been very faithful to
his duties in the regular curriculum,--but now all this was changed. Here
was a grand something to be done, a something so grand, indeed, that his
whole life must bow before its exactions, and all minor duties step out of
the way of Juggernaut. Who thinks of etiquette, of drawing-room
trivialities, when here we are before this mistress, at whose feet we must
pour out our soul? for her love blesses us with new life, her scorn damns
us with eternal despair. In this cursed fashion always the Idea masters a
man's soul, when he has once listened to its Lurlei-song. Henceforth he is
only to see things in the light it chooses to shed upon them. Let your
Alchemist but seek his Elixir long enough for the poison to fairly fill his
veins, and behold what a slave and a monster the Idea shall make of him!
Projection awaits him; the elements are here, commingling _in balneo
Mariæ_; already _Rosa Solis_ lends its generative warmth; already hath _Leo
Rubeus_ wooed and won his lily bride; already hath the tincture headed up
royally in ruby and in purple, and sublimed, and gone through the entire
circle of embryonic processes: quick! there lacks but the one element; in
with it, and we are masters of the Life-Secret, of wealth, and power, and
all else the world can bestow,--ay, and we can give back to the world all
it asks! Yes, but that element is _Sanguis Virginis_. Well, and why not a
virgin's blood? Great things must be purchased,--cannot be plucked, like
fruit, from every tree. Were it _Sanguis Senis_, now, who would tap a vein
more readily than we, ay, even were a drop from the carotid required? And
must the world lose all this divine gift for a simple?  What did Abraham on
Moriah? Here is this child; of what use is she to the world?--yet a few
ounces of her blood, and man is regenerate. In her innocence, too,--why, a
Manichee would have done it for her own sake. Come, quick knife,--and, we
do murder! I tell you, by dwelling on it, tasting, smelling of it, taking
it into our bosoms, and making ourselves familiar with it, we poor men can
finally persuade ourselves that the most damning thought begot of Hell upon
a putrescent brain is the fairest, brightest, most glorious _Deus
vult_. Here was the danger that menaced Clarian, ay, had already begun to
insinuate its poison into his daily food. The simple fact of his neglecting
his studies proved this. It was a venial sin, doubtless,--but still, it was
his _premier pas_, and, as such, ominous enough.

Giving himself up to his art, he soon began to illustrate in his person the
effects of confinement and excessive thought. His pale cheek grew paler
still, the hollows under his eyes deepened, and his slim fingers waxed
slimmer and more transparent than ever. I could see also that he had
excessive bile,--not only ascertainable by looking at his imbrowned eye,
but deducible from a change in his temper that was by no means an
improvement. His room was full of sketches and drawing-material: these
attracted visitors, and visitors were a trouble. Perhaps there was
impertinence in their curiosity, very likely their presence hindered him;
but, nevertheless, it was by no means like the sweet-tempered Clarian to
show irritability and petulance, and finally, closing his door obstinately
against all comers, to elect for solitude and silence at his work.
No,--the boy was changed, grown morbid, a pervert, ripe for whatever
Devil's sickle might be put forth to gather him in.

Thus things went on from bad to worse, until the authorities began to take
notice of the lad's derelictions. The kind old President sent for me, and
made many inquiries about Clarian. Evidently the elders were not a trifle
bothered by my little _protégé's_ proceedings, and did not know how to
act. He had been much liked, his character was unblemished, he had done
himself credit in his studies: what did all this change mean? The Faculty
made it a rule to respect every man's privacy as much as possible,--but
Mr. Blount well knew that the present state of things could not long be
permitted. In their eyes, the backslider was palpably a far more unsavory
fact than the original sinner. Could not Mr. Blount use his influence in
some way, or suggest some course? Mr. Blount presented Clarian's cause in
as favorable a light as possible; spoke of the youth's noble nature;
guarantied that there was no moral obliquity; strongly advised leniency;
venturing withal to hope, nay, to believe, that all this devotion, so
intense, to a single purpose, would not be fruitless, might possibly win
him credit. He certainly had fine imagination, and then he was so absorbed
in his work;--it was a question whether it would help him most to encourage
or to repress his ardor at present. The Doctor pondered, said he would take
the matter into consideration,--it were a pity to nip any wholesome
enthusiasm i' the bud,--"but it is very apparent, Mr. Blount, that the
young man, if he goes on, will experience the fate of Orpheus, and so needs
to be curbed in time. '_Medio tutissimus ibis_', saith Naso,--a maxim the
non-observance of which cost him the pain and disgrace of exile. And you
should strive to impress the truth of it upon Clarian; spare no pains to
rouse him. This seclusion is what I most dread. The poet Spenser hath made
all his viler passions dwellers in caves and darkness, and with truth; for
solitude is fatal, where there are morbid and melancholic tendencies. A
very wise German, remarking upon the text, 'It is not good for man to be
alone,' added, very finely,--'and above all, it is not good for man to
_work_ alone; he requires sympathy, encouragement, excitement, to succeed
in anything good.'"

But I found the worthy old Doctor's advice easier to inculcate than to
practise. Clarian did not need my sympathy, had excitement and
encouragement enough in his own hopes, and, in fact, like the Boatswain in
"The Tempest," only required to be let alone. Still, he paid us a visit now
and then, and gave us to understand that he denied himself our society, did
not thrust it aside as something useless and disagreeable. When he came, he
would talk freely, and give us but too plain evidence of the change and
confusion that were taking place in him. Mac never spared him at these
times, and on one occasion, only a fortnight previous to the exhibition of
the picture, fairly drove the boy into a passion.

"Well, Mr. Whitewash," said he, as Clarian came in, "how are you at this
present writing? You _look_ as if you had been dieting on Gamboge and Flake
White. Take care, young man, or you'll put us students to the cost of a
tombstone with a Latin epitaph for you, yet,--beginning, _Interfecit
se_.--How comes on the Art? You've given the go-by to _Ego_ and _Non-Ego_,
I suppose, and have resolved to achieve the very [Greek: kudos] upon a
ten-foot whitewashed wall, eh? _Soit_,--but what results? Can you say yet,
as Correggio did when he saw the St. Cecilia of Raphael, '_Anch' io son
pittore_'?  or do you intend to limit your ambition, _à la_ Dick Tinto, to
the effecting of two liquidations in one by the restoration of
tavern-signs?"

"Please do not taunt me, Mac, for I am cast down, almost. I have the
grandest conception, but the life-touch escapes me. It is in vain I seek
it: we cannot do a thing properly, unless we _feel_ it; passion will not be
simulated. What we know, and can do well, must all be repeated from our own
experience, says St. Simon,--and I agree with him."

"St. Simon be--hanged!" quoth Mac. "So, it seems, the Metaphysic is not
abandoned. St. Simon, forsooth!--why, his doctrine was, that, to comprehend
the nature of crime, one had first to commit crime himself. Pah!  according
to that, he who would most thoroughly learn the philosophy of our carnal
lusts must exchange natures with the goat. Pray, why do not you solicit
Herr Urian to give you a hircine metamorphosis, Clarian?"

"Nay, Mac, can it be thus put off with a jest and a sneer, after all? What
do you think of these words I came across last night?"--and opening his
note-book, Clarian read as follows: "For of old it hath been clearly
proven, action without passion is nought save idle folly. _Passio Christi
hominis redemptio_. For as sin came into the world by suffering, so also
the gift of knowledge, which man would have confessedly lacked, had he not
purchased it _pretio mortis_,--even whereat, meseemeth, 'tis not a
commodity too high-priced. And as Philo Judæus hath well observed, (as that
arch heretic doth but seldom, wherefore let us ascribe to him the full
credit,) '_Materia parens est (etiam ipsa mater) peccali_,' so, to attain
to anything really spiritual, we have even to be born again of this our
parent, by the reëntrance of whose womb, in pain and darkness, we come back
to the true and the living, and have provision given us wherewith we shall
conquer worlds. For, to fix the pure thought and to identify it with the
true and holy, we must first divide it from the base clogs of matter; and
how can we effect this disjunction, save, as it hath ever been done, by
passion,--not simulate nor taken at second hand, cold,'_bis coctum quasi_,'
but rather presently and in our very selves reiterate?  So Naaman dipt in
Jordan,--a task unto him, a sin in the eyes of his gods, and painful
exceedingly to his pride-gorged humor, that would only have Abana and
Pharpar,--yet only so was his skin made whole again, and soft like an
infant's. So also did David the king come into tasting of the bliss of a
true repentance by the terrible gateways of shameful adultery and
blood-thirst."

"Oh, I agree with your author perfectly," said Mac, with inimitable
gravity, while I gazed at Clarian, wondering what would come next. "All the
greatest gifts man possesses have had evil sponsors or unrighteous
baptism. Even Prometheus _filched_ his fire from heaven, or t'other
place. Doing evil for the sake of a prospective good is an immemorial
custom, and well precedented. Revenue-farming, the _parc-aux-cerfs_, and Du
Barry only went down before _La Terreur_, Robespierre, and _Les Journées de
Septembre_."

"But seriously, Mac, is it not admissible, now and then, to employ
questionable means, ordinary ones failing?"

"Certainly. You may even sin, provided you believe in your cause. Faith is
the one save-all and cure-all. You smile? I can give you good
authority,--none other than Martin Luther, who, in one of his disputations,
says emphatically, '_Si in fide posset fieri adulterium, peccatum non
esset_'; and he wrote still more plainly upon this point in one of his
letters to Melancthon, saying, '_Ab hoc nos non avellet peccatum, etiamsi
millies millies uno die fornicamur aut occidamus._' [Footnote: _Vie de
Luther_, par AUDIN, Paris, 1839. An accurate book, but scathingly bitter.]
So follow your bent, younker, and they cannot say you are without
'precedent right reverend.'"

Clarian sprang to his feet, his pale face all ablaze with indignation. "You
have no right to say such things to me, Sir," he cried, "for you know well
enough"--

"I know well enough that you are a crack-brained jackanapes, with your
damned fantastics!" bellowed Mac, angry in his turn. "What do you
mean,--you, who are a perfect little saint in your life,--what do you mean
by thrusting all these foul heresies at me, as if you were a veritable
citizen of Sodom, or a rejuvenized Faust, who have just replenished your
stock of 'experiences,' as you call them, by seducing Margaret and stabbing
her brother? Burn your books, if that filth is all they teach you,--and
mend your manners, if you expect to be tolerated in respectable
company. Good-bye!" cried he, as Clarian rushed white-heated from the room.

"Pshaw, Ned, spare your remonstrances, if you please,--I'm tired of the
little fool's nonsense."

"But the boy is sick, my dear fellow, and requires to be treated more
gently. His mind is diseased, and it would not take much to drive him quite
desperate."

"No such good luck, Ned. I wish I _could_ make him pitch into somebody or
something. Nothing would do the beggar so much good, just now, as to get
himself into a regular scrape. It would act like a shower-bath, wake him
up, and purge him of these dismal humors."

"Still, you would not like to have it said that _you_ were the cause of his
getting into any difficulty; and you know very well he is not one to
extricate himself easily, if once involved."

"Never fear. '_Il y a un Dieu pour les enfants et les ivrognes_', says a
proverb in which I place implicit faith."

       *       *       *       *       *

We saw nothing of Clarian until some three or four nights after this, when
he came hurriedly into our room. It was quite late, but Mac was still at
his Mathematics, while I was dawdling with my pipe and a volume of
Sternberg's pleasant tales. Clarian walked directly up to Mac, holding out
his hand, and saying, "I have come to ask your forgiveness, my dear Mac; I
was wrong and foolish the other day."

"Nonsense, you flighty canary-bird!"  said Mac; "you owe me nothing, so
have done with that. Sit down and smoke a pipe with us."

"No,--I have come for you and Ned; I want you to see my picture to-night.
Come, I will take no denial,--I am about to finish it, and I want your
criticisms before I lay on the final touches."

"Why not to-morrow, Clarian?"

"Then everybody will want to see. No, it must be to-night."

Mac and I were by no means reluctant to humor the lad, for we were not
incurious respecting the picture, and we accompanied him forthwith. His
room was quite large, well lighted and airy, with a sleeping-closet
attached. Over the blank wall opposite the windows hung a black muslin
curtain of most funereal aspect, which rolled up to the ceiling by means of
a cord and pulley, and, being now down, effectually concealed from view
what we had come to see. Clarian placed three or four candles, made us be
seated, filling pipes for us, and taking one himself, a most rare
occurrence with him,--all the while talking with more vivacity than I had
seen him exhibit for several months. "I have carefully studied my subject,
fellows," said he, "and have striven after perfection. I went to Shakspeare
for it, Mac, and sought one that would give me at once a proper field, and
at the same time pervade me so that I could paint from myself. Singularly
enough, I have found this magnetic influence most completely in
'Macbeth'. Do you remember Scene Fourth of the Third Act? That is the
situation I have endeavored to portray. Macbeth, wretched criminal,
suspects every one of his own dark purposes, or fears their hatred, because
he feels himself hateful. He is not a coward, either physically or morally;
his fears are all intellectual; he knows that Banquo is too noble to serve
him, too powerful to be permitted to serve against him,--so he must out of
the way. The murderers have received their commission; the king, satisfied
now that all he has to fear will shortly be removed, has said, 'There's
comfort yet'; he has cheered his wife with words even merry, as he can with
some complacency, for it is truly his principle of action, that

'Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill';

and now, in this scene, he is to meet his courtiers at a state-banquet,
given in honor of Banquo, he tells them with hardihood. For we must
remember that this jealous king is no longer the warrior Thane whom we
first encounter upon the 'blasted heath', and whom we afterwards see
haunted by horrid visions of 'air-drawn daggers', as he turns his hand to
crime. He has gotten far beyond all this. Murders to him are become but
'trifles light as air'; use has blunted his sensibility, and to bring back
all that agony and horror needs a vastly stronger excitement than a mere
deed of blood. We see this in the cool way he tells the murderer, 'There's
blood upon thy face', as if it simply made him look less presentable.
Nevertheless, suffer for it Macbeth must. That is ordained; and the means
to it, and particularly the _effect_ of those means, are what I have tried
to represent here."

So saying, he drew up the curtain, and the picture stood before us. Mac and
I gave it one quick glance, and then, with a simultaneous impulse, extended
our hands to Clarian. The lad laughed a little laugh of joy as he returned
our embrace, and then silently nodded towards the picture again.

Those old Princetonians who have seen Clarian's Picture will easily be able
to explain our emotion upon beholding it thus for the first time. It was in
colored crayon, and covered a large portion of the wall, representing a
lofty, but entirely unornamented Gothic hall, with a table in the centre,
around which were grouped the guests. These showed in their faces and
disordered array that dismay and anxiety which were natural to them at
sight of their king so strangely and appallingly stricken, but evidently
they were entirely and happily unconscious of the THING that sat there in
their midst, touching them, consorting its charnel horrors with their
warm-blooded humanity,--so near, so close to them, that _he_ fancied the
smell of that trickling gore, that dank grave-soil, must necessarily enter
in at their nostrils, and he sickened at the thought for very sympathy. The
woe-wasted wife, comprehending what it meant, as she chiefly, from the dark
depths of her own spotted consciousness, _could_ comprehend, had yet flung
her fear aside for the sake of him whom she loved with a love so
bitter-costly, and now she stood at his side, fiercely clutching him, and
taunting him like a tigress with his unmanly fears. Ah, had that clutch
upon his elbow been the searing grasp of white-heated pincers, eating to
the bone, it had not stirred _him_. He stood there, a tall, large-limbed
man, brown and weather-stained, one who had endured much, wrinkled
somewhat, care-marked about the brow, but very capable, and evidently as
bold and daring, to the line, as he asserted himself,--he stood there,
flung back, fixed, petrified, as it were, by the baleful judgment that
lighted those unearthly eyes which watched him from across the table there;
and though his arm be flung up over his face, half to protect, half in
menace,--though his fist be clenched and swollen, his brow dark and
frowning, we know he will not spring forward, but will stand there still,
no life in all that mass of muscle, no will-power in that capable brain,
nought but impotent malignity in that murderous frown: for he is
stricken,--his sin has found him out,--ay, at the very altar, Orestes hears
the Furies shriek their hatred in his ears, exultingly proclaiming that for
him at least there is no rest, nor ever shall be!

Such was the impression of Clarian's Picture, and I felt my blood fairly
tingle with recognition of the boy's power.

"It is noble, great," said Mac, in those deep tones that spoke how he was
moved, "and men shall call you Artist when it is finished."

Finished! what more did it want?  what more could be done to this so
perfect composition?

"Ah, Mac," said Clarian, enthusiastically seizing my chum's hands, "such
recognition as yours is what I have yearned for, and yet--'tis you who have
chiefly mocked me. It _shall_ be finished, Mac, and worthily! Do you not
think I have prayed for the inspiration, that I might bestow that final,
life-giving touch? Two months ago it was as near complete as it is
now,--but not until this very night have I felt the power of it. Now,
however, my soul is full of it, and it shall wax into a poem. This is why I
sought you, dear friends, to-night; for I am too gloriously happy to be
selfish, and I want you to share my happiness with me. Yes, Mac, it has
come at last, the warm Promethean fire, and at last I can proclaim, '_Anch'
io son pittore_!'"

I gazed at the lad as he raised his voice with these last words, and was
almost awed by his singular beauty. It seemed almost as if a halo should
encircle his brow. There was a delicate rose-flush on his cheek that
rivalled in strange loveliness the hectic color of the young mother when
her first-born nestles close and fondly to her thrilled bosom, and his eyes
glowed with a rare lambent light that touched one with the eloquence of a
beautiful dream. Mac eyed him with equal wonder and delight, but said,
teasingly,--

"Hey! so you have come at last to the 'true and the living,' have you? Art
regenerate?  I hope thou hast also undergone that true baphometic
fire-baptism, whereof the worthy Diogenes Teufelsdröckh hath discoursed so
appetizingly, causing us to long after it, none the less that he hath
scrupulously refrained from expounding whatever it is."

"Yes, Mac, the new life dawns upon me,--no Plotinian trance, no somnambulic
introspection, but a genuine awakening of the soul to a sense of its own
beauty."

"Prodigious! as Dominie Sampson would say. Nay, I am not laughing at you,
Clarian," said Mac, pointing to the picture; "_there_ is enough to make me
believe in you, though how you achieved it I cannot imagine."

"The means, Mac? Is not that rather my question than yours? We judge
ourselves from within; 'others judge us by what we have done,' says
Goethe. The means, ha, and the motive? Why will men seek stumblingly after
these, when actually their sole concern is with the thing done? So, you two
look at me,--I was but pondering,--putting a case;--so far, the means here
have been simple and innocent,--my hand, my eye, my brain, my purpose;
but--Mac!" added he, suddenly, after a pause, "did you never, in reading
Rabelais, feel that somehow there was a profound and reverential symbolism
underlying the wild froth of words in which the histories of Gargantua and
Pantagruel have come down to us? that in all that _olla-podrida_ of filth,
quip, jest, wicked folly, and mad wisdom, was yet hidden, like the pearl in
the oyster, a deep and most mystic system of world-philosophy?"

"Anan?" said Mac, looking at the boy curiously.

"For instance, in what the good Curé of Meudon says about the 'herb
Pantagruelion',--did the symbolism and esoteric meaning of all that never
strike you?"

"Oh, yes," cried Mac, with a singularly significant smile, "I see how it is
now. I understand. You are improving, Clarian, rapidly. Hum, wonder what
your mother would say, if she knew you were a friend of Panurge's, and did
draw such inferences from his wisdom! Yes, _mon enfant_, I have long felt
the profundity of Pantagruelion, not less than the oracular efficacy of
Bacbuc. And no one can deny that the thinnest strand of Manila, if not full
of mysteries _per se_, can at least open the way for us to the very
innermost crypts, and hence may be styled _potentially_ a very gateway to
Eleusinia."

"I do not mean that, Mac,--not the mere mechanical warp and woof of it, to
hang beggars and sots with,--but the more potent essence, the inner cosmic
power of it, to rouse the soul into grand expansive consciousness, and then
to suspend it far above the carks and cares of this weary world, to sew it
aloft to some leaf of the Tree of Life, like the nest of Jean Paul's
tailor-bird, that it may swing there, above the hum and dust of matter,
swayed and sung to sleep by the expanding breath of Infinity! Oh, yes!"
cried Clarian, while his cheek glowed warmer, his eye flamed brighter, and
his voice flowed on with a rhythmic throb, "oh, yes, I know it all, now!
The Idea is awake, and dwells in my soul, at once master there and slave. I
leap out of this base Present: I stand panting and glowing before the
mighty portals of Infinity, from whose inner masses I see the grand Gods
beckoning to me, greeting me as of their kindred, summoning me to take my
throne also, which awaits me in their midst. I have burst these narrow
bonds of flesh, and my soul shall soar henceforth in the grandeur realized
of the Spirit, like a proud falcon just unmewed and flung off in sight of
the noblest quarry. Art! what a dull, meaningless sound it was
yesterday!--but now, the entombing pyramid of matter is up-heaved, flung
off forever, and the Spirit stands erect in her bright Palingenesis,
half-intoxicate with the all-pervading sense of her own grand beauty. The
tree is rent asunder,--Ariel soars again in his element. Psyche has loosed
herself from the fettering contact of Daimon, and lo, now, how daintily she
poises on tiptoe, fluttering her wings ere she launches like a star into
the wide exhilarant ether!  O divine Art! pride, glory, first love of my
soul! now, indeed, hast thou exchanged the yoke of dull Saturn and the
gloomy caverns of earth for the fair heights of Olympus, and the
companionship of Zeus [Greek: Nephelaegeretaes], him at whose nod the
heavens display themselves like a many-figured arras, all alive with
beauties and significance that the dull eye conjectures not, that the
impure, unpurged eye shrinks away from, lest it be seared by the too great
splendor! I know it all now. I began gropingly, in surmise, error,
darkness; but now my brow catches, ay, and reflects, the calm, pure,
effulgent light of Nature's definite day, and I bathe myself in its happy
warmth. Erst, I grovelled like a worm, blind and earth-fed: now, I shall
speed through very space, winged heel and shoulder, a swift, untiring
Hermes, who have drunk of the milk that flows rich in Nature's breasts, and
am emancipate forever in the decorous freedom of the beautiful
self-conscious spirit! Oh, the glory, oh, the boon of Art, the play-deity!
Phoebus no longer drives herds for Admetus, but is grown into Helios, feels
in his breast the freer life of the very Hyperion, the walker on high. Ay,
ay, smile on, Mac, you and Ned! I shall not quarrel with you for not
understanding me; it is only just now that I have learned to understand
myself. My Art will reward me; even now, while you doubt, it is already
doing so. I tell you, you two, whom I love and honor", cried he, rising to
his feet, lifted up, as it were, by the exaltation of his soul, while his
voice rose like the gush of a fine-toned flute, "I tell you, moreover, that
I am an artist, with a work to do that shall be done, and so done that you
two who love me will be the first to salute me Artist, to recognize me, and
acknowledge me for what I shall become."

"We do that already, Clarian," said Mac's emphatic voice.

"No," said Clarian, firmly, proudly, like a poet about to kneel that he may
receive the laurel crown, "no, you do not know me yet."

And he was right. We did not yet know him.

"That is a boy after my own heart", said Mac, after we had returned to our
room. He was standing by the open window, and I at his elbow, both of us
thinking of the strange child we had just left, while our eyes took note of
the fair night, how the silvery sheen of the moonlight glistened upon the
leaves, and sprinkled itself in dappling flecks between the trees on the
soft even sward of the campus below. "A boy after my own heart,--and, in
spite of all his twaddle, will make an artist. It's in him."

"But did you not think him strangely wild to-night? I never heard him talk
so fluently; but it was not the talk of a sane man."

Mac looked at me, laughing long and loud. "Thou dear innocent Ned!" cried
he at last, "what a diagnostic thou wouldst make! It was indeed the talk of
madness, good chum, and a very pretty madness was it, one that needeth not
any Anticyran purgatives to expel it. So thou must not fash thyself about
the lad, _du liebe dummkopf_, for he will come right very speedily. Didst
remark not what he said about the 'herb Pantagruelion,' which, in the
vulgar, meaneth only _hemp_?  And surely you noted the warm flush of his
cheek, the dilatation of his eye, and its phosphorescent glow? Dr. Thorne
would soon enough tell you what these things signify. The boy is not crazy,
Ned, but drunk,--drunk in the decorous delirium of a Damascene Pacha,
propped against a Georgian maid, and fanned by Houris of Bethlehem
Judah. He has been reading Monte Cristo, perhaps, or has somehow heard
about the Indian Hemp, not the '_utilissima funibus cannabis_' of practical
Pliny, but _Cannabis Indica_, wherewith, I believe, Amrou spurred on his
Arabs to their miraculous feats of war, when he conquered Egypt and drove
Alexandria's Prefect into the sea,--the _bhang_ of amok-running Malays, the
_haschish_ of Syria and Cairo. This is what hath made him drunk, and, i'
faith, the intoxication does not ill become him. He will be all right in
the morning, and all the better for this little brush. And anyhow, Ned, you
must not watch the boy too closely, nor interfere with him. Let him 'gang
his ain gait.'  He comes of another breed than ours, I begin to suspect,
and our rough fodder and grooming may not suit his higher blood.--_Ach,
Himmel!_ Ned," cried he, laughing, "it pleased me, though, to see how
adroitly he contrived to twist that new reading out of the _bon homme
François_. It was quite in the style of St. Augustine, and would have
delighted that ex-sophist hugely; for, great as he was, and self-denying as
he was, he always had a hankering after the dialectic flesh-pots. How he
would have rubbed his hands, when Clarian wanted to persuade us that the
herb Pantagruelion was no other than Haschish, the expander of
souls!--Hollo! yonder goes the lad now. I wonder what he is up to. See him,
Ned, yonder, just coming out of the shadow of North College. How fast he
walks!  how he is swinging his arms! I'll bet he is repeating poetry. I
wonder what the lad is after, anyhow.--There he goes, round the corner of
West College,--over the fence. Can he mean to have a game of ball by
moonlight?--No,--he's making across the fields; if he had a pitcher with
him now, I'd say he was going to the spring in the hollow.--Confound that
tree! I've lost him."

I proposed following Clarian, being really uneasy about him, but Mac
entered his veto,--

"No, Ned,--there's no need, and--it's none of our business. Children like
him have a hundred baby-houses we do not know anything about. He wants a
bath in the moonlight, I suppose, and wouldn't thank you for playing Actæon
to the naked Diana of his midnight musings. Come, 'tis bedtime; or do you
want to finish Sternberg's 'Herr von Mondschein'?  It is _à propos_, and I
see your book is opened to the very place."

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *



JAPAN.


The arrival in this country of an embassy from Japan, the first political
delegation ever vouchsafed to a foreign nation by that reticent and jealous
people, is now a topic of universal interest. It is well understood, that,
by the efforts of the government of the United States, the traditional
policy of Japan, which for more than two hundred years forbade all freedom
of intercourse with the surrounding world, has been so effectively
subverted that its reëstablishment is now impossible. Within eight years
the barriers of Japanese seclusion have been removed, and the extreme
prejudice against foreign communications almost obliterated. That this has
been accomplished with a prudent and just regard for the rights and
feelings of this singular race, the appointment of an embassy to the
particular government which first successfully invaded its long cherished
privacy abundantly proves.

The countries of Japan and China, and everything directly concerning them,
have always claimed a peculiar consideration. Their self-imposed isolation,
the mystery with which they have sought to surround themselves, the
extraordinary habits and character of the people, the evidences of an
earlier civilization in China--formerly supposed also to have extended to
Japan--than is recorded of any other existing nation, account for the
curious attention that has been bestowed upon them. Although now known to
be entirely distinct, the Chinese and Japanese, by reason of the similarity
of their occupations, customs, religion, written language, dress, and so
forth, were for a long time looked upon as kindred races, and esteemed
alike. Probably even at this time popular appreciation makes little
distinction between the two countries. But since the necessities of
commerce have recently compelled a somewhat vigorous interference with
their seclusion, we begin to get a clearer understanding of the subject. We
find, that, while, on close examination, the imagined attractions of China
disappear, those of Japan become only more definite and substantial. The
old interest in China is transferred to its worthier neighbor; for, in
spite of all Celestial and Flowery preconceptions, it is impossible to view
with any sincere interest a nation so palsied, so corrupt, so wretchedly
degraded, and so enfeebled by misgovernment, as to be already more than
half sunk in decay; while, on the other hand, the real vigor, thrift, and
intelligence of Japan, its great and still advancing power, and the rich
promise of its future are such as to reward the most attentive study. Its
commanding position, its wealth, its commercial resources, and the quick
intelligence of its people--not at all inferior to that of the people of
the West, although naturally restricted in its development--give to Japan,
now that it is about to emerge from its chrysalis condition, and unfold
itself to the outer world, an importance far above that of any other
Eastern country.

We propose to relate, with necessary brevity, what is most important of the
little that is known of this interesting people. All records bearing upon
the subject are imperfect, and the best of them are more profuse in
speculation and surmise than in solid fact. The information possessed has
been drawn bit by bit from the reluctant Japanese. The difficulties of
investigation have been almost insurmountable,--no visitor, during two
hundred years, having been allowed the slightest freedom of association
with the people, or opportunity for travel. With very few exceptions,
foreigners have been confined to the extremest limit of the islands, and
forbidden even to leave the coast; and in no case has any disposition been
shown to satisfy the curious demands of those who have attempted to break
through the national reserve.

The origin of the Japanese is still involved in obscurity, and the date of
the settlement of the islands is unknown. The boldest theory is, that a
tribe proceeded thither directly from the land of Shinar, at the division
of the races. In support of this, the purity of the Japanese language,
which, in its primitive form, bears very slight affinity to any other
tongue, and the evident dissimilarity of the people to those of any other
Asiatic country, are adduced. The more general belief is, that the Japanese
are an offshoot of the Mongol family, and that their emigration to these
islands was at so remote a period that tradition has preserved no
recollection of it. The favorite idea, that the first settlements were by
Chinese, has long been set aside, except by the Chinese themselves, whose
custom is to claim the origin of everything, and who still assume to
consider Japan as a sort of province under their dominion. The fact is,
that, to the Japanese, a Chinaman is the most worthless and contemptible
object in Nature. The Chinese have, however, a fanciful legend in which
they find an irresistible argument upon their side of the question. A
certain Emperor, they say, seeking to prolong his life, demanded of the
court physician an elixir of immortality. The physician modestly declared
his ignorance of any such preparation, but, after receiving a significant
hint, involving the loss of his head, recollected himself, and acknowledged
that an herb of immortality did certainly exist, but that its delicacy was
so rare it could be properly culled only by the most chaste hands. He thus
succeeded in securing three hundred brave young men, and the same number of
virtuous young women, whose twelve hundred chaste hands were at once
consecrated to the plucking of the magical plant, which was declared to
grow only in the islands of the sea. Once out of the Emperor's reach, all
thought of the particular duty in hand was instantly abolished, and
superseded by a successful effort to establish a new nation, which in time
resolved itself into Japan.

This, although satisfactory to the Chinese, fails to convince less
credulous investigators. While the Japanese and Chinese have, perhaps, more
common characteristics than can be readily explained with our present
knowledge of them, yet no fact is better demonstrated than that they are
wholly distinct races. There is an opinion, for which there is reasonable
ground, that one of the earliest rulers of Japan was a Chinese invader, who
founded the dynasty of the Mikados, or Spiritual Emperors; but, if this
were so, it is evident that the conquerors must have mingled with the
native inhabitants, and soon lost their identity. This would in a measure
account for the prevalence of certain Chinese habits and customs in Japan.
The question of Japanese origin remains yet undecided. Its earlier history,
previous to the year 660 B.C., is mostly fabulous. There are the usual
legends of dignitaries in close relationship with every member of the solar
system, who were accustomed to reign an indefinite number of
years,--generally some thousands. Beginning with 660 B.C., we have
something authentic. At that time a warrior whose name signified "the
divine conqueror"--(the supposed Chinese invader)--entered Japan, and
assumed the control of its destinies. He called himself "Mikado," and
established his court at Miako, in Nipon, the largest of the group of
islands, where he built temples and palaces, both spiritual and
secular. Claiming to rule by divine right, he exercised the sole functions
of the government, which, upon his death, descended to his heir, and
thenceforward in direct order of succession. The Mikado, by reason of his
superhuman dignities, was invested with a sanctity that gradually became
irksome, shutting him out, as it did, from all fellowship with men, and
compelling him to forego all familiar intercourse with even the highest
nobles around his throne. Consequently arose the custom of abdication at a
very early age by the Mikados, in favor of their children, for whom they
acted as regents, circulating freely, upon their descent to mere mundane
authority, with the rest of the court. By this course, however, the
integrity of the government was weakened, and, dissensions arising, the
stability of the throne was endangered by the agressions of some of the
more powerful princes. In the twelfth century, it happened that a Mikado,
particularly alive to the vanities of the world, not only gave up his
station to his son, then three years old, but also renounced the labors of
the regency, which were intrusted to the infant monarch's grandfather,
whose first exercise of power was the immediate imprisonment of the
abdicator. This was worse than had been bargained for, and a contest
ensued, which terminated in favor of the ex-Mikado, owing to the valor of a
young warrior prince named Yoritomo. The prisoner was released, and himself
assumed the regency; but from that moment the strength of the Mikados was
gone. Yoritomo, having demonstrated that his power was superior to that of
the spiritual lord, demanded and obtained the rank and title of
"Ziogoon",--General, or General-in-Chief. He at first divided with the
Mikado the duties of the government, but by degrees succeeded in
concentrating in himself the real supremacy. From him descended the
temporal sovereignty of Japan, which has ever since overbalanced the
spiritual authority, although the first nominal rank is still accorded to
the Mikado.

In the year 1295, the existence of Japan was first announced to the Western
world. Marco Polo, returning from his Asiatic travels, related all that he
had learned of a vast island lying to the east of China, and even
designated its position on his maps. He called it Zipangu, the name he had
heard in China. This narration was not received with much credit, and was,
until the sixteenth century, generally forgotten. It is a singular fact,
that the record left by Marco Polo had a strong influence in deciding the
convictions of Christopher Columbus, whose expectation in sailing from
Spain was to discover the island spoken of by the Venetian voyager. But the
ambition of Columbus was otherwise satisfied, and Japan was not visited by
the representatives of any Western nation until the year 1543, or 1545,
when a party of Portuguese, among whom was Ferdinand Mendez Pinto, were
driven by a storm upon the coast, and forced to take shelter in the
province of Bungo, upon the island of Kiu-siu. The account of this visit,
given by Pinto, is full of interest, and, notwithstanding the questionable
character that clings to his writings, is without doubt correct in almost
every particular.

At the time when fortune threw these wanderers upon the Japanese coast,
there was disinclination to admit strangers, or to communicate with them in
the most liberal manner. They were warmly received, and treated with great
consideration. The same friendship appeared to animate both parties. The
Portuguese made presents of arms and ammunition to the Japanese, who, with
ready skill, soon discovered the methods of manufacturing others for
themselves. The Japanese consented that Portuguese commerce should be
introduced, and the King of Bungo authorized an annual visit from a
Portuguese ship. Thus commercial relations were established, and at the
same time a religious mission, led by St. Francis Xavier, was despatched to
Japan. The prospects of trade and the new principles of religion were
welcomed with equal readiness. The visitors were restricted in no manner
whatever. Converts to Christianity were almost without number. When Xavier
departed from Japan, in 1551, he left behind him thousands of ardent and
enthusiastic professors of his faith, and a religious sentiment that
promised speedily to extend its influences throughout the land.

The government openly encouraged the diffusion of Christianity. The Ziogoon
Nobanunga, who then reigned, having been importuned by native priests to
expel the foreign missionaries, inquired how many different religions there
were in Japan. "Thirty-five", was the reply. "Well," said he, "where
thirty-five sects can be tolerated, we can easily bear with
thirty-six. Leave the strangers in peace". Some of the most powerful
princes espoused the Christian religion, and about the year 1584, a
mission, consisting of two young Japanese noblemen, attended by two
counsellors of less rank, was sent to Rome by the subordinate kings of
Bungo and Arima, and the Prince of Omura, in testimony of the devotion of
those rulers. The people themselves hastened to the new faith with such
zeal as to win the warmest affections of all the missionaries who went
among them. Xavier wrote of them, "I know not when to cease, in speaking of
the Japanese; they are truly the delight of my heart."

So long as the mild teachings of Xavier and his Jesuit band prevailed, the
cause of Christianity advanced and prospered. But their field of labor was
soon invaded by multitudes of Dominicans and Franciscans from various
Portuguese settlements in Asia. By the persistent exercise of their best
faculties for mischief, these friars succeeded without much delay in
working irreparable injury where their predecessors had effected so much
good. They quarrelled, first among themselves, and then with the Jesuits,
until their strifes became the mockery of the people. The native priests of
the Siutoo and Buddhist religions took advantage of this state of things to
make a bold stand against the spread of the new doctrines. They organized a
force in the dominions of Omura, destroyed a Jesuit settlement and church,
and marched about in open rebellion against the authority of the
Prince. This movement, however, was checked without difficulty, and the
insurgents were overthrown in battle. The church was rebuilt at the place
now known as Nagasaki, which, an inferior village at that time, soon became
the centre of Portuguese commerce, and grew to great importance among
Japanese cities. But the friars continued their intrigues and tumults, in
spite of the growing contempt shown by the Japanese. Many of the Roman
clergy, moreover, assuming too great confidence in their easily gained
power, began to defy the usages of the country, and to adopt airs of
superiority quite at variance with the notions of the inhabitants upon that
subject. At the commencement of this altered condition of affairs, the
Ziogoon Nobanunga, who certainly was not unfavorably disposed to the
Christians, was assassinated, and his office and rank, after a series of
violent struggles, which lasted five years, fell to a man of humble origin,
but great talents, named Fide-yosi. This person had in his youth served
Nobanunga in the most menial capacity, but, owing partly to his remarkable
abilities, and partly to the circumstances which threw the succession into
so much confusion, he contrived to place himself, in the year 1587, at the
head of the nation. He then married the Mikado's daughter, and assumed the
name of Taiko-sama, with a view, perhaps, of dissociating himself as
completely as possible, in his exaltation, from the obscure individual
Fide-yosi, with whom, otherwise, he might not unnaturally be confounded.

The new Ziogoon cared very little for the operations of the Christians,
while they kept themselves free from interference in the political affairs
of the country, and respected its customs. But the offensive spirit of the
Portuguese laity was not to be repressed. Their manners grew more
intolerable, from year to year. In time the progress of conversion almost
ceased, and yet the Portuguese, blind to danger, disdained to retrace their
steps. At length the Ziogoon, having journeyed through that part of the
country mostly under Christian influences, suddenly determined to rid
himself of so dangerous an element, and issued an order for the expulsion
of all missionaries throughout the empire. This was resisted by some of the
converted nobles, and particularly by the young prince of Omura, whose
obstinacy was punished in a very summary way,--the Ziogoon seizing upon the
port of Nagasaki, and transferring it to his own immediate government. On
paying a heavy ransom, however, the prince was permitted to resume
authority in Nagasaki, and Taiko-sama, busily occupied with more important
affairs of state, neglected to enforce his decree of expulsion, and left
the Christians undisturbed for some years, until a new evidence of affront
once more aroused his indignation against them.

A Japanese nobleman and a Portuguese bishop, riding in their sedans, met,
one day, on a high-road of Nagasaki. The duty of the bishop, according to
the law of the country, was to alight and respectfully recognize the
nobleman. But, instead of doing this, he refused to tarry, and even turned
his head to the other side. Full of wrath, the nobleman made bitter
complaint to the Ziogoon, who from that time turned his heart more
resolutely than ever against the presumptuous and insolent foreigners. He
again assumed the direct government of Nagasaki, and was about to adopt
more vigorous measures, when he unexpectedly died, leaving the Christians a
few remaining years of probation.

Taiko-sama was undoubtedly the greatest monarch that ever reigned in Japan.
He succeeded in bringing for the first time into complete subjection the
numerous powerful princes who had previously held an almost undivided sway
in the larger provinces. By this means he consolidated the strength of the
nation, and was enabled to undertake some very brilliant conquests. A
letter sent by him to the Portuguese viceroy of Goa shows his own estimate
of his power, and his general opinion of the insignificance of the external
world.

"This vast monarchy," he wrote, "is like an immovable rock, and all the
efforts of its enemies will not be able to shake it. Thus not only am I at
peace at home, but persons come even from the most distant countries to
render me that homage which is my due. _Just now I am projecting the
subjugation of China;_ and as I have no doubt that I shall succeed in this
design, I trust that we shall soon be much nearer to each other.... As to
that which regards religion, Japan is the kingdom of the Kamis, that is to
say, of Xim, which is the principle of everything.... The [Jesuit] fathers
are come into these islands to teach another religion; but as that of the
Kamis is too well established to be abolished, this new law can only serve
to introduce into Japan a diversity of religion prejudicial to the welfare
of the state. That is why I have prohibited, by imperial edict, these
foreign doctors from continuing to preach their doctrine.... I desire,
nevertheless, that our commercial relations shall remain upon the same
footing."

In regard to the religion of Japan, which Taiko-sama lucidly and
felicitously expounds by pronouncing it the religion "of the Kamis,
[Princes, or Nobles,] that is to say, of Xim, which is the principle of
everything," it may be assumed that the Ziogoon had little thought of any
theological troubles that might arise. His apprehensions were purely of a
political nature. It is related that the captain of a Spanish man-of-war,
in attempting to explain the secret of the vast colonial possessions of
Spain, incautiously told Taiko that the introduction of Christianity into
heathen nations was the first step, and the only difficult one, conquest
naturally and easily following. Such an avowal was not likely to be lost
upon so acute a mind as Taiko's, and it may very probably have been one of
the immediate causes which induced his extreme hostility to the diffusion
of Christianity.

Taiko's warlike declarations were by no means vain boasts. He did invade
China, and spread such terror among the timid Celestials that they yielded
him all possible submission, giving him a number of Corean provinces, a
daughter of their Emperor in marriage, and the promise of an annual tribute
to Japan, in token of Japanese supremacy. The tribute not appearing at the
proper time, the Ziogoon immediately despatched a few armies to the Corea
and again destroyed the Celestial balance of mind. These forces, however,
were soon after recalled, in consequence of Taiko-sama's death.

During the first year of the reign of his successor, Ogosho-sama, the Dutch
appeared in Japan. A fleet of five ships, sent from Holland by the Indian
Company, had been dispersed in the Pacific, and, sickness breaking out
among the crews, only one ship remained. On board was an English pilot, a
man of some education, named William Adams, who suggested visiting Japan,
which was finally decided upon. In April, 1600, the Dutch vessel anchored
in the harbor of Bungo, and the crew were cordially received by the
people. But they found formidable enemies in the Portuguese and Spaniards
of Nagasaki, who assailed them with the most unjust aspersions, and
endeavored in every way to turn the prejudices of the Japanese against
them. Notwithstanding this, however, the Dutch were kindly treated,
although never permitted to leave the country again, on account of the
suspicions aroused by the imputations of the Portuguese. William Adams was
taken in charge by the Ziogoon himself, who found the Englishman so
valuable and instructive a person that he would never hear of his leaving
the imperial presence.

In 1609, other Dutch ships came to Japan, and, the scruples of the Ziogoon
having been set at rest, commercial relations were entered into. The Dutch
established a factory at Firando, in opposition to the Portuguese factory
at Nagasaki. A rivalry arose, heightened by the political and religious
feud between the nations, which was actively carried on for a number of
years. The Portuguese at first beset the Ziogoon with importunities for the
expulsion of the Dutch; but Ogosho-sama, in the most catholic spirit,
intimated, that, if devils from hell should take a fancy to visit his
realm, they should be treated like angels from heaven, so long as they
respected his laws.

In the midst of the jealous struggles of Dutch and Portuguese, came a new
application for Japanese favor. In June, 1613, a vessel, despatched for the
purpose by the English government, arrived at Firando, bearing letters and
presents from King James I. to the Ziogoon. These were graciously received,
and a commercial treaty of the most favorable character was at once
negotiated. Among other not less important privileges, the Ziogoon gave to
English merchants the following:--"Free license forever safely to come into
any of our ports of our Empire of Japan, with their ships and merchandise,
without any hindrance to them or their goods; and to abide, buy, sell, and
barter, according to their own manner with all nations; to tarry here as
long as they think good, and to depart at their pleasure"; also, "that,
without other passport, they shall and may set out upon the discovery of
Jesso or any other port in or about our Empire". The Ziogoon also sent a
letter, assuring the English monarch of his love and esteem, and announcing
that every facility desired in the way of trade would be gladly granted,
even to the establishment of a factory at Firando. A settlement was
accordingly made at that place, and commercial communications were
continued until about 1623, when they were voluntarily abandoned by the
English. It appears that their affairs were less successful than those of
the Dutch, who were stationed at the same port; but, whether from their own
misapprehension of the kind of merchandise needed for Japan, or from the
opposition of their rivals, who sought, in this case as in others, to
secure for themselves the monopoly of trade, is uncertain.

For some years after the departure of the English, the contests between the
Portuguese and Dutch grew more bitter and violent, and the arrogance of the
Portuguese more unbearable, until at length, in 1637, the climax of their
offences was reached, and the affections of the Japanese rulers, which, but
for their own follies, would always have been with them, were turned into
the most unrelenting hatred. The Portuguese, not content with the great
privileges they already enjoyed, formed a conspiracy with certain of the
native Christian princes to depose the Ziogoon, overturn the government,
and take the power into their own hands. Letters containing the details of
this plot were discovered by the Dutch, and straightway sent to the
monarch. The statement has been made by Spanish writers, that this
conspiracy had no existence excepting in Dutch invention, and that the
proofs of guilt were all forged for the purpose of more completely
destroying the Portuguese; but the evidence is too strong to be overthrown
by any such allegation. The result was, that imperial edicts were
immediately put forth, enjoining the expulsion of all Portuguese from the
islands, and the utter extirpation of the Christian religion. For nearly
two years there was a series of the most terrible persecutions. The
Portuguese were at length banished, and the native converts who rose in
rebellion against the decree were slaughtered by thousands, _the Dutch
themselves cooperating in the work of destruction_. The history of these
massacres is one of the most remarkable that the annals of Christianity can
show. It stands forever, an ineffaceable record, covering with shame those
pretended disciples of the religion of Christ, who by their reckless and
wicked course not only invited their own destruction, but compelled that of
thousands of innocent fellow-beings, and interrupted for centuries the
progress of the cause they had so poorly essayed to promote.

It is thus evident, that, for the system of seclusion which during nearly
two hundred and fifty years was closely adhered to, the Japanese themselves
are in no degree to be blamed. The fault lay with the representatives of
two refined and enlightened nations, who, by a persistent career of selfish
folly and pride, covered themselves with the deserved reproach of a people
to whose untutored apprehension such extraordinary principles of
civilization appeared unworthy of cultivation. That the Japanese were at
first amiably and liberally disposed toward foreigners, their frank
admission of the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, and especially of the
English, amply shows. Until constrained for their own safety to do so, they
took no step toward interfering with the almost unlimited privileges they
had granted. It is, indeed, difficult to condemn their course, when we
consider the enormity of their provocation, and the dangers to which they
believed themselves exposed. If Christianity has suffered, the errors of
those who misrepresented it were the cause. How soon it may be possible to
again attempt its introduction is doubtful; for, of all foreign evils, the
Japanese look upon Christianity as the worst, viewing it simply as the
covert means of conquest, and reducing to submission those over whom its
influences extend.

Beyond the removal of their rivals, the Dutch had little upon which to
congratulate themselves in this movement. The monopoly of trade was theirs,
but with the most degrading and humiliating conditions. They were obliged
to give up their factory at Firando, and take a new station upon the small
island of Desima, in the harbor of Nagasaki. To preserve even the most
limited intercourse with the Japanese, they were forced to relinquish all
sense of dignity and self-respect. The history of their relations with
Japan, for the past two hundred years, is a continual record of absolute
contempt and pitiless constraint on the one hand, and the most abject and
disgraceful servitude on the other.

During the excitements which followed the expulsion of the Portuguese, a
second effort to enter Japan was made by the English; but, owing, it is
supposed, to the interference of the Dutch, this attempt was wholly
unsuccessful. In 1673, the East India Company despatched another vessel,
which was also received with distrust. The Japanese had learned, through
the Dutch, that the English king, Charles II., had allied himself by
marriage to the royal family of Portugal. On this account, and on this
only, the Japanese declared that no English ship could be admitted. Two
other equally fruitless attempts were made in 1791 and 1803. In 1808, an
English ship of war, by showing Dutch colors, gained entrance to the port
of Nagasaki, where, instead of peaceably deporting himself, the captain
began by capturing the Dutch officials who came on board, and setting at
defiance the requisitions of the Japanese. This English ship had been
cruising after the Dutch traders, England and Holland being at war at the
time, and, failing to meet them, the captain concluded they had eluded him,
and sought them at Nagasaki. A plan to attack the ship and burn it was
devised by the Japanese, but before it could be carried out the Englishman
had sailed. Conscious that his dignity was forfeited by this invasion, the
Japanese governor of Nagasaki, notwithstanding he was in no wise
censurable, in pursuance of the national custom, immediately destroyed
himself, and his example was followed by twelve of his subordinate
officers. The garrison of Nagasaki was reinforced, and the most warlike
attitude was assumed by the inhabitants, who are noted for their
courage. The affair caused great indignation, and is yet remembered to the
discredit of the English. In 1813, only five years later, a somewhat
similar stratagem was employed by the English. It was an ingenious scheme
on the part of the English governor of Java, which had, within a few years,
been ceded to England. The independence of Holland had ceased, and the
governor of Java undertook, by despatching English vessels under the Dutch
flag, to secure the trade which Holland had alone enjoyed. But the Dutch
director at Desima refused compliance, and the plan fell through. Three
other ventures, all resulting in the same way, were made by the English in
1814, 1818, and 1849.

Of other European nations, Russia alone has sought to secure a position and
influence in Japan. The proximity of the islands to the Siberian coast, and
the fact that they lie directly between the American and Asian possessions
of that nation, render it important that Russia should forego no
opportunity to extend its relations in this direction. It does not appear,
however, that much has been accomplished. About the year 1780, a Japanese
junk was wrecked upon an island belonging to Russia. The crew were taken to
Siberia, and there detained ten years, after which an attempt was made to
return them to their homes. They were conveyed in a Russian ship to
Hakodadi, on the island of Yesso, but were refused admission, on account of
the edict issued at the time of the Portuguese expulsion, forbidding the
return of any Japanese after once leaving the country. In 1804, a second
mission was sent by the Emperor Alexander I., with the purpose of effecting
a treaty of some sort; but the ambassador, whose name was Resanoff,
commenced operations by disputing points of etiquette with the Japanese,
who, in return, treated him with more courtesy than ever, and insisted upon
paying all his expenses while in their country, but sent him away
unsatisfied. Enraged at his failure, Resanoff despatched two armed vessels
to the Kurile Islands, where, under his directions, a wanton attack was
made upon a number of villages, the inhabitants being killed or taken
prisoners, and the houses plundered. This was an offence not to be
forgiven; and when, in 1811, Captain Golownin was despatched by the Russian
government to make renewed applications, he was captured by stratagem, with
one or two attendants, and imprisoned for several years. But he was always
treated with kindness, and was finally released, without having received
the slightest injury. He was intrusted, when sent away, with a message to
the Russian government, setting forth the impossibility of any
understanding between the two nations.

Previous to the expedition of Commodore Perry, few efforts to intrude upon
the Japanese had proceeded from the United States. An unsuccessful attempt
was made in 1837, by an American merchantman, to return a party of Japanese
who had been shipwrecked on our Western coast. In 1846, Commodore Biddle
was deputed to open negotiations, and entered the Bay of Yedo with two
ships of war. Receiving an unfavorable answer to his demands, he
immediately sailed away. In 1849, Commodore Glynn, having learned of the
imprisonment of sixteen American sailors, who had been driven ashore on one
of the Japanese islands, entered the harbor of Nagasaki with the United
States ship Preble, and demanded the release of his countrymen. For a time
a disposition was shown to evade his claim and to affect ignorance of the
alleged captivity; but upon his assuming a bolder and more determined tone,
the native officials became suddenly conscious of the state of affairs, and
forthwith delivered up the seamen. Commodore Glynn then set sail, and until
the visit of Commodore Perry, in 1853, the tranquillity of Japan was
disturbed by no American intrusion.

It may be observed, that, of the nations which up to this time had
undertaken to effect communications with Japan, all excepting the United
States had given reasonable cause for offence, and some of them for deep
enmity. The Dutch, though disliked, were tolerated; but the Portuguese,
Spanish, English, and Russians had forfeited the good opinion of the
islanders by their unprovoked and unjustifiable aggressions. It is not
improbable that the selection of the United States for their first foreign
embassy may have been induced by the consideration that the relations
between the Japanese and their American neighbors have always been pacific,
and that they have never suffered injustice or ill-treatment at our hands.

Meanwhile, until 1852, the Dutch had held exclusive commercial privileges
in Japan. In return for these, they submitted to all sorts of
indignities. They were restricted to the narrow limits of the artificially
constructed island of Desima, which is only six hundred feet in length, and
two hundred and forty in breadth. Here they were confined within high
fences fringed with spikes. Their houses were all of wood, no stone
buildings being permitted, undoubtedly with a view to preventing the
slightest chance of fortification. At the northern extremity of the island
was a large water-gate, which was kept continually closed, under a guard,
except upon the arrival of the Dutch vessels. These restrictions were in
great part continued almost to the present day, and many of them are still
in force. On the arrival of a Dutch ship, all the Bibles on board were
obliged to be put into a chest, which, after being nailed down, was given
in charge of the Japanese officials, to be retained by them until the time
of departure. All arms and ammunition, also, were required to be given
up. The crew, on landing at Desima, were placed under rigorous
surveillance, which was never relaxed. Even the permanent Dutch residents
received but little better treatment. They were unable to make any open
avowal of the Christian religion, and the Japanese officers who came in
contact with them were compelled to make frequent disavowals of
Christianity, and publicly to trample the cross, its symbol, under
foot. The island of Desima was infested with Japanese spies, whom the Dutch
were required to employ and pay as secretaries and servants, while knowing
their real office, If a Dutch resident aspired to occasional egress from
his prison, it was necessary to petition the governor of Nagasaki for the
privilege. As a general thing, the application was granted, but with such
conditions as to destroy all possibility of enjoyment; for, upon appearing
in Nagasaki, the unfortunate Dutchman was set upon by a band of spies and
policemen, who accompanied him wherever he turned and who were always
pleasantly inviting themselves to be entertained at his expense,--a
proposition which he was not at liberty to decline. These spies gradually
got into the habit of taking with them as many of their acquaintances as
they could gather together, until the cost of a stroll about Nagasaki
became too heavy to be endured. But there was no remedy; he must either pay
or stay at home; and even upon these extravagant terms, he was not allowed
to enter any Japanese house, or to remain within the city after sunset. For
the rare favor of visiting the residence of a native Nagasakian, a special
petition was needed, and if granted, the number of spies on such an
occasion was multiplied at a most appalling rate. The Dutch were, moreover,
forbidden the companionship of their own countrywomen, and only the most
degraded female class of Nagasaki were allowed to visit them. In every way
they were forced to acknowledge their inferiority and undergo deprivations
and mortifications, for which, let us hope, they succeeded in finding some
compensation in the scant privileges of their trade.

At length the time arrived when the reluctant Japanese were to be taught
the uselessness of further efforts to resist the advances of other
nations. In November, 1852, an expedition, long contemplated and carefully
prearranged, set sail from the United States under the command of Commodore
M.C. Perry. Although this mission was the subject of much discussion
abroad, no very general hope of its success was expressed. The opinion
appeared to be, that, under all circumstances, Japan would still continue
locked in its seclusion. The result proved how easily, by the exercise of
firmness, prudence, and energy, all of which Commodore Perry displayed in
every movement, the much desired end could be accomplished. The secret of
two hundred years was solved in a day. The path once opened, there were
plenty to follow it: Russia, England, and France were quick to share the
benefits which had in the first place been gained by the United States. But
thus far the best fruits of Japanese intercourse have fallen to the United
States, and it seems clear that only a continuance of the same ability
hitherto shown in the management of our affairs with that nation is needed
to preserve to this country the superior advantages it now holds.

On the 8th of July, 1853, Commodore Perry, with two steamers and two
sloops-of-war, entered the Bay of Yedo, having purposely avoided the port
of Nagasaki, at which all strangers had previously been accustomed to hold
communications with the government. In this, as in other movements, the
Commodore acted independently of much opposing counsel. By first visiting
the Loo-choo and Bonin islands, which are under Japanese control, and
mostly peopled by Japanese, he had acquired a considerable knowledge of the
character of those with whom he was to deal, and had been enabled to trace
for himself a policy which the result proved to be eminently just and
effective. He determined boldly to insist upon, rather than to beseech, the
privileges he had been deputed to gain. Understanding perfectly the
vexatious and embarrassing expedients by which the Japanese had been
accustomed to hamper and resist the endeavors of even the best-disposed of
their visitors, he resolved to listen to no suggestions of delay, and to
push vigorously forward with his mission, in spite of every obstacle their
wily ingenuity could oppose to him. Their assumptions of exclusiveness and
superiority he met by precisely the same sort of display, allowing no
familiarity on the part of the natives until all was definitely settled as
he desired, and intrenching himself in a mysterious seclusion which rather
exceeded even their own notions of personal dignity. Until one of the first
noblemen in the nation was sent to treat with him, the Commodore shunned
all intercourse with the people, and systematically refused to expose
himself to the profane eyes of the multitude. This unusual course took the
Japanese quite by surprise, and, not without some feeling of trepidation,
they bestirred themselves with unexampled alacrity to satisfy, so far as
they were able, his reasonable demands. Of course it was impossible for
them to set aside all their prejudices, and the record of their schemes to
impede the Commodore's progress, all of which were quietly overcome by his
firmness and decision, is equally amusing and instructive.[1] At the moment
of his entering the Bay of Yedo, he was surrounded by guard-boats, and
saluted with various warnings of peril, which might have deterred a less
resolute man. But, wholly indifferent to Japanese guard-boats, he sent out
his own for surveying purposes without hesitation, taking it for granted
that perfect fearlessness would secure the crews from molestation. In
answer to the remonstrances received at the outset, he simply pushed still
farther up the bay, until, finding it impossible to obtain compliance with
their requirements, the Japanese concluded to yield to his; and after as
much hesitation as the Commodore thought proper to give them opportunity
for, the letters from President Fillmore were received by the Emperor, or
Tycoon,[2] negotiations were opened, and, finally, a treaty, yielding all
the important points that had been asked for, was agreed upon. This treaty
proclaimed "a perfect, permanent, and universal peace, and a sincere and
cordial amity", between the two nations; designated certain ports where
American ships should obtain supplies; promised protection to American
seamen who should chance to be shipwrecked on the coast; and contained the
important stipulation, that no further privileges should be vouchsafed to
any other government except on condition of their being fully shared by the
United States.

[Footnote 1: The details are to be found in the _Narratives of the
Expedition_, by Francis L. Hawks, D.D., LL.D., published by Congress at
Washington, in 1856.]

[Footnote 2: As will be shown hereafter, the military functions of the
temporal ruler long ago ceased, and the title of Tycoon has been
substituted for that of Ziogoon.]

The communications between Commodore Perry and the Japanese were carried on
in the most friendly manner. While the Commodore allowed no interference
with what he regarded as his own rights in the case, he was careful to
check any disposition on the part of his officers to defy those of the
islanders. Thus the utmost cordiality was preserved throughout. The
Japanese received the presents from the American government with delight,
and were quite overcome at the sight of the steam-engine and the magnetic
telegraph. A series of agreeable entertainments followed the signing of the
treaty, in which the Japanese showed themselves especially alive to the
civilizing influences of foreign cookery, and appreciation of such
refinements as whiskey and Champagne, to whose beneficent influences they
gave themselves up with ardor. Commodore Perry, on his departure, after
freely visiting various Japanese ports, was intrusted with a number of
presents for the American government, and entreated to bear with him the
assurance of entire confidence and amity.

In August, 1853, subsequently to the arrival of Commodore Perry, a Russian
squadron visited Nagasaki, but, after protracted negotiations, departed
without obtaining a treaty. In September, 1854, Admiral James Stirling, on
behalf of the English government, effected a treaty at Nagasaki, the terms
of which were rather less liberal and advantageous than those granted to
the United States. But the inevitable result of Commodore Perry's success
could not long be delayed. Since the time of his mission, the governments
of France, England, Holland, and Russia have secured treaties guarantying
important privileges. It appears, however, that the superiority of
influence remains with the United States, owing, in a measure, no doubt, to
the excellent abilities of the Consul-General, Mr. Townsend Harris, who has
permitted no opportunity to escape of pressing the claims of his
government. As early as July, 1858, he negotiated a fair commercial
treaty. Mr. Harris is the only foreigner who was ever permitted to enter
the palace of the Tycoon of Japan without the degrading forms of submission
formerly exacted from the Dutch. He was received there with every
testimonial of respect. At a time when Mr. Harris was seriously ill, the
Tycoon despatched his own physician to attend him, while her Majesty
continually sent him the most delicate preparations of food, the work of
her own imperial hands. The ease with which the missions of Lord Elgin and
Baron Gros,[1] in 1858, were accomplished, may fairly be attributed to the
effects already produced by American influences. It was through
Mr. Harris's exertions that the Japanese embassy to this government was
secured. The English government endeavored to obtain first this important
mark of recognition, but, as it appears, unsuccessfully.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Oliphant's account of Lord Elgin's expedition (_Narrative
of the Earl of Elgin's Mission_, etc., by Lawrence Oliphant, Esq.)  is one
of the most valuable contributions from Japan. His observations, which at
Yedo were more extended and unimpeded than those of any preceding visitor,
are recorded in the most lively and charming manner. The history of the
embassy of Baron Gros (_Souvenirs d'une Ambassade en Chine et au Japon_,
par le Marquis de Moges) is less complete and entertaining, but by no means
destitute of interest.]

At the present moment, all seems favorable for the development of the long
hidden resources of the Empire. But there are still difficulties in the
way; for a powerful class of nobles, those who trace their descent from the
ancient spiritual dynasty, are strongly opposed to the overthrow of the old
system. It is only by constant struggles that the more progressive class
can make way against them. The arrival of this embassy, and the recent
visit of a Japanese ship to California, are hopeful signs; for these could
have been permitted only on the abrogation of the old law of seclusion,
proclaimed at the time of the Portuguese expulsion; and such are the
peculiar principles of the Japanese government, that, as will hereafter be
shown, an important law like this cannot be revoked without a general
change of its policy. Within the city of Yedo are now the representatives
of three powerful nations, England, France, and the United States; others
are seeking admission; and the period when Japan shall mingle freely with
the world it has so long affected to contemn can hardly be long deferred.

In a future number we shall speak of the present condition of Japan, the
forms of government, so far as known, its social state and prospects, and
the character of the people, as represented in the embassy which is now
receiving the hospitalities of our own government.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE VINEYARD-SAINT.


She, pacing down the vineyard walks,
Put back the branches, one by one,
Stripped the dry foliage from the stalks,
And gave their bunches to the sun.

On fairer hill-sides, looking south,
The vines were brown with cankerous rust,
The earth was hot with summer drouth,
And all the grapes were dim with dust.

Yet here some blessed influence rained
From kinder skies, the season through;
On every bunch the bloom remained,
And every leaf was washed in dew.

I saw her blue eyes, clear and calm;
I saw the aureole of her hair;
I heard her chant some unknown psalm,
In triumph half, and half in prayer.

"Hail, maiden of the vines!" I cried:
"Hail, Oread of the purple hill!
For vineyard fauns too fair a bride,
For me thy cup of welcome fill!

"Unlatch the wicket; let me in,
And, sharing, make thy toil more dear:
No riper vintage holds the bin
Than that our feet shall trample here.

"Beneath thy beauty's light I glow,
As in the sun those grapes of thine:
Touch thou my heart with love, and lo!
The foaming must is turned to wine!"

She, pausing, stayed her careful task,
And, lifting eyes of steady ray,
Blew, as a wind the mountain's mask
Of mist, my cloudy words away.

No troubled flush o'erran her cheek;
But when her quiet lips did stir,
My heart knelt down to hear her speak,
And mine the blush I sought in her.

"Oh, not for me," she said, "the vow
So lightly breathed, to break erelong;
The vintage-garland on the brow;
The revels of the dancing throng!

"To maiden love I shut my heart,
Yet none the less a stainless bride;
I work alone, I dwell apart,
Because my work is sanctified.

"A virgin hand must tend the vine,
By virgin feet the vat be trod,
Whose consecrated gush of wine
Becomes the blessed blood of God!

"No sinful purple here shall stain,
Nor juice profane these grapes afford;
But reverent lips their sweetness drain
Around the table of the Lord.

"The cup I fill, of chaster gold,
Upon the lighted altar stands;
There, when the gates of heaven unfold,
The priest exalts it in his hands.

"The censer yields adoring breath,
The awful anthem sinks and dies,
While God, who suffered life and death,
Renews His ancient sacrifice.

"O sacred garden of the vine!
And blessed she, ordained to press
God's chosen vintage, for the wine
Of pardon and of holiness!"

       *       *       *       *       *



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


CHAPTER XI.

COUSIN RICHARD'S VISIT.


The Doctor was roused from his reverie by the clatter of approaching
hoofs. He looked forward and saw a young fellow galloping rapidly towards
him.

A common New-England rider with his toes turned out, his elbows jerking and
the daylight showing under him at every step, bestriding a cantering beast
of the plebeian breed, thick at every point where he should be thin, and
thin at every point where he should be thick, is not one of those noble
objects that bewitch the world. The best horsemen outside of the cities are
the unshod country-boys, who ride "bare-backed," with only a halter round
the horse's neck, digging their brown heels into his ribs, and slanting
over backwards, but sticking on like leeches, and taking the hardest trot
as if they loved it. This was a different sight on which the Doctor was
looking. The streaming mane and tail of the unshorn, savage-looking, black
horse, the dashing grace with which the young fellow in the shadowy
_sombrero_, and armed with the huge spurs, sat in his high-peaked saddle,
could belong only to the mustang of the Pampas and his master. This bold
rider was a young man whose sudden apparition in the quiet inland town had
reminded some of the good people of a bright, curly-haired boy they had
known some eight or ten years before as little Dick Venner.

This boy had passed several of his early years at the Dudley mansion, the
playmate of Elsie, being her cousin, two or three years older than herself,
the son of Captain Richard Venner, a South American trader, who, as he
changed his residence often, was glad to leave the boy in his brother's
charge. The Captain's wife, this boy's mother, was a lady of Buenos Ayres,
of Spanish descent, and had died while the child was in his cradle. These
two motherless children were as strange a pair as one roof could well
cover. Both handsome, wild, impetuous, unmanageable, they played and fought
together like two young leopards, beautiful, but dangerous, their lawless
instincts showing through all their graceful movements.

The boy was little else than a young _Gaucho_ when he first came to
Rockland; for he had learned to ride almost as soon as to walk, and could
jump on his pony and trip up a runaway pig with the _bolas_ or noose him
with his miniature _lasso_ at an age when some city-children would hardly
be trusted out of sight of a nursery-maid. It makes men imperious to sit a
horse; no man governs his fellows so well as from this living throne. And
so, from Marcus Aurelius in Roman bronze, down to the "man on horseback" in
General Cushing's prophetic speech, the saddle has always been the true
seat of empire. The absolute tyranny of the human will over a noble and
powerful beast develops the instinct of personal prevalence and dominion;
so that horse-subduer and hero were almost synonymous in simpler times, and
are closely related still. An ancestry of wild riders naturally enough
bequeathes also those other tendencies which we see in the Tartars, the
Cossacks, and our own Indian Centaurs,--and as well, perhaps, in the
old-fashioned fox-hunting squire as in any of these. Sharp alternations of
violent action and self-indulgent repose; a hard run, and a long revel
after it: this is what over-much horse tends to animalize a man into. Such
antecedents may have helped to make little Dick Venner a self-willed,
capricious boy, and a rough playmate for Elsie.

Elsie was the wilder of the two. Old Sophy, who used to watch them with
those quick, animal-looking eyes of hers,--she was said to the the
granddaughter of a cannibal chief, and inherited the keen senses belonging
to all creatures which are hunted as game,--Old Sophy, who watched them in
their play and their quarrels, always seemed to be more afraid for the boy
than the girl. "Massa Dick!  Massa Dick! don' you be too rough wi' dat gal!
She scratch you las' week, 'n' some day she bite you; 'n' if she bite you,
Massa Dick!"--Old Sophy nodded her head ominously, as if she could say a
great deal more; while, in grateful acknowledgment of her caution, Master
Dick put his two little fingers in the angles of his mouth, and his
forefingers on his lower eyelids, drawing upon these features until his
expression reminded her of something she vaguely recollected in her
infancy,--the face of a favorite deity executed in wood by an African
artist for her grandfather, brought over by her mother, and burned when she
became a Christian.

These two wild children had much in common. They loved to ramble together,
to build huts, to climb trees for nests, to ride the colts, to dance, to
race, and to play at boys' rude games as if both were boys. But wherever
two natures have a great deal in common, the conditions of a first-rate
quarrel are furnished ready-made. Relations are very apt to hate each other
just because they are too much alike. It is so frightful to be in an
atmosphere of family idiosyncrasies; to see all the hereditary uncomeliness
or infirmity of body, all the defects of speech, all the failings of
temper, intensified by concentration, so that every fault of our own finds
itself multiplied by reflections, like our images in a saloon lined with
mirrors!  Nature knows what she is about. The centrifugal principle which
grows out of the antipathy of like to like is only the repetition in
character of the arrangement we see expressed materially in certain
seed-capsules, which burst and throw the seed to all points of the compass.
A house is a large pod with a human germ or two in each of its cells or
chambers; it opens by dehiscence of the frontdoor by-and-by, and projects
one of its germs to Kansas, another to San Francisco, another to Chicago,
and so on; and this that Smith may not be Smithed to death and Brown be
Browned into a mad-house, but mix in with the world again and struggle back
to average humanity.

Elsie's father, whose fault was to indulge her in everything, found that it
would never do to let these children grow up together. They would either
love each other as they got older, and pair like wild creatures, or take
some fierce antipathy, which might end nobody could tell where. It was not
safe to try. The boy must be sent away. A sharper quarrel than common
decided this point. Master Dick forgot Old Sophy's caution, and vexed the
girl into a paroxysm of wrath, in which she sprang at him and bit his
arm. Perhaps they made too much of it; for they sent for the old Doctor,
who came at once when he heard what had happened. He had a good deal to say
about the danger there was from the teeth of animals or human beings when
enraged; and as he emphasized his remarks by the application of a pencil of
lunar caustic to each of the marks left by the sharp white teeth, they were
like to be remembered by at least one of his hearers.

So Master Dick went off on his travels, which led him into strange places
and stranger company. Elsie was half pleased and half sorry to have him go;
the children had a kind of mingled liking and hate for each other, just
such as is very common among relations. Whether the girl had most
satisfaction in the plays they shared, or in teasing him, or taking her
small revenge upon him for teasing her, it would have been hard to say. At
any rate, she was lonely without him. She had more fondness for the old
black woman than anybody; but Sophy could not follow her far beyond her own
old rocking-chair. As for her father, she had made him afraid of her, not
for his sake, but for her own. Sometimes she would seem, to be fond of him,
and the parent's heart would yearn within him as she twined her supple arms
about him; and then some look she gave him, some half-articulated
expression, would turn his cheek pale and almost make him shiver, and he
would say kindly, "Now go, Elsie, dear," and smile upon her as she went,
and close and lock the door softly after her. Then his forehead would knot
and furrow itself, and the drops of anguish stand thick upon it. He would
go to the western window of his study and look at the solitary mound with
the marble slab for its head-stone. After his grief had had its way, he
would kneel down and pray for his child as one who has no hope save in that
special grace which can bring the most rebellious spirit into sweet
subjection. All this might seem like weakness in a parent having the charge
of one sole daughter of his house and heart; but he had tried authority and
tenderness by turns so long without any good effect, that be had become
sore perplexed, and, surrounding her with cautious watchfulness as he best
might, left her in the main to her own guidance and the merciful influences
which Heaven might send down to direct her footsteps.

Meantime the boy grew up to youth and early manhood through a strange
succession of adventures. He had been at school at Buenos Ayres,--had
quarrelled with his mother's relatives,--had run off to the Pampas, and
lived with the _Cauchos_,--had made friends with the Indians, and ridden
with them, it was rumored, in some of their savage forays,--had returned
and made up his quarrel,--had got money by inheritance or otherwise,--had
troubled I he peace of certain magistrates,--had found it convenient to
leave the City of Wholesome Breezes for a time, and had galloped off on a
fast horse of his, (so it was said,) with some officers riding after him,
who took good care (but this was only the popular story) not to catch
him. A few days after this he was taking his ice on the Alameda of Mendoza,
and a week or two later sailed from Valparaiso for New York, carrying with
him the horse with which he had scampered over the Plains, a trunk or two
with his newly purchased outfit of clothing and other conveniences, and a
belt heavy with gold and with a few Brazilian diamonds sewed in it, enough
in value to serve him for a long journey.

Dick Venner had seen life enough to wear out the earlier sensibilities of
adolescence. He was tired of worshipping or tyrannizing over the bistred or
umbered beauties of mingled blood among whom he had been living. Even that
piquant exhibition which the Rio de Mendoza presents to the amateur of
breathing sculpture failed to interest him. He was thinking of a far-off
village on the other side of the equator, and of the wild girl with whom he
used to play and quarrel, a creature of a different race from these
degenerate mongrels.

"A game little devil she was, sure enough!"--and as Dick spoke, he bared
his wrist to look for the marks she had left on it: two small white scars,
where the two small sharp upper teeth had struck when she flashed at him
with her eyes sparkling as bright as those glittering stones sewed up in
the belt he wore.--"That's a filly worth noosing!" said Dick to himself, as
he looked in admiration at the sign of her spirit and passion. "I wonder if
she will bite at eighteen as she did at eight! She shall have a chance to
try, at any rate!"

Such was the self-sacrificing disposition with which Richard Venner, Esq.,
a passenger by the Condor from Valparaiso, set foot upon his native shore,
and turned his face in the direction of Rockland, The Mountain, and the
mansion-house. He had heard something, from time to time, of his
New-England relatives, and knew that they were living together as he left
them. And so he heralded himself to "My dear Uncle" by a letter signed
"Your loving nephew, Richard Venner," in which letter he told a very frank
story of travel and mercantile adventure, expressed much gratitude for the
excellent counsel and example which had helped to form his character and
preserve him in the midst of temptation, inquired affectionately after his
uncle's health, was much interested to know whether his lively cousin who
used to be his playmate had grown up as handsome as she promised to be, and
announced his intention of paying his respects to them both at
Rockland. Not long after this came the trunks marked R.V. which he had sent
before him, forerunners of his advent: he was not going to wait for a reply
or an invitation.

What a sound that is,--the banging down of the preliminary trunk, without
its claimant to give it the life which is borrowed by all personal
appendages, so long as the owner's hand or eye is on them! If it announce
the coming of one loved and longed for, how we delight to look at it, to
sit down on it, to caress it in our fancies, as a lone exile walking out on
a windy pier yearns towards the merchantman lying along-side, with the
colors of his own native land at her peak, and the name of the port he
sailed from long ago upon her stern! But if it tell the near approach of
the undesired, inevitable guest, what sound short of the muffled noises
made by the undertakers as they turn the corners in the dim-lighted house,
with low shuffle of feet and whispered cautions, carries such a sense of
knocking-kneed collapse with it as the thumping down in the front entry of
the heavy portmanteau, rammed with the changes of uncounted coming weeks?

Whether the R.V. portmanteaus brought one or the other of these emotions to
the tenants of the Dudley mansion, it might not be easy to settle. Elsie
professed to be pleased with the thought of having an adventurous young
stranger, with stories to tell, an inmate of their quiet, not to say dull,
family. Under almost any other circumstances, her father would have been
unwilling to take a young fellow of whom he knew so little under his roof;
but this was his nephew, and anything that seemed like to amuse or please
Elsie was agreeable to him. He had grown almost desperate, and felt as if
any change in the current of her life and feelings might save her from some
strange paroxysm of dangerous mental exaltation or sullen perversion of
disposition, from which some fearful calamity might come to herself or
others.

Dick had been some weeks at the Dudley mansion. A few days before, he had
made a sudden dash for the nearest large city,--and when the Doctor met
him, he was just returning from his visit.

       *       *       *       *       *

It had been a curious meeting between the two young persons, who had parted
so young and after such strange relations with each other. When Dick first
presented himself at the mansion, not one in the house would have known him
for the boy who had left them all so suddenly years ago. He was so dark,
partly from his descent, partly from long habits of exposure, that Elsie
looked almost fair beside him. He had something of the family beauty which
belonged to his cousin, but his eye had a fierce passion in it, very unlike
the cold glitter of Elsie's. Like many people of strong and imperious
temper, he was soft-voiced and very gentle in his address, when he had no
special reason for being otherwise. He soon found reasons enough to be as
amiable as he could force himself to be with his uncle and his
cousin. Elsie was to his fancy. She had a strange attraction for him, quite
unlike anything he had ever known in other women. There was something, too,
in early associations: when those who parted as children meet as man and
woman, there is always a renewal of that early experience which followed
the taste of the forbidden fruit,--a natural blush of consciousness, not
without its charm.

Nothing could be more becoming than the behavior of "Richard Venner,
Esquire, the guest of Dudley Venner, Esquire, at his noble mansion," as he
was announced in the Court column of the "Rockland Weekly Universe." He was
pleased to find himself treated with kindness and attention as a
relative. He made himself very agreeable by abundant details concerning the
religious, political, social, commercial, and educational progress of the
South American cities and states. He was himself much interested in
everything that was going on about the Dudley mansion, walked all over it,
noticed its valuable wood-lots with special approbation, was delighted with
the grand old house and its furniture, and would not be easy until he had
seen all the family silver and heard its history. In return, he had much to
tell of his father, now dead,--the only one of the Tenners, beside
themselves, in whose fate his uncle was interested. With Elsie, he was
subdued and almost tender in his manner; with the few visitors whom they
saw, shy and silent,--perhaps a little watchful, if any young man happened
to be among them.

Young fellows placed on their good behavior are apt to get restless and
nervous, all ready to fly off into some mischief or other. Dick Venner had
his half-tamed horse with him to work off his suppressed life with. When
the savage passion of his young blood came over him, he would fetch out the
mustang, screaming and kicking as these amiable beasts are wont to do,
strap the Spanish saddle tight to his back, vault into it, and, after
getting away from the village, strike the long spurs into his sides and
whirl away in a wild gallop, until the black horse was flecked with white
foam, and the cruel steel points were red with his blood. When horse and
rider were alike tired, he would fling the bridle on his neck and saunter
homeward, always contriving to get to the stable in a quiet way, and coming
into the house as calm as a bishop after a sober trot on his steady-going
cob.

After a few weeks of this kind of life, he began to want some more fierce
excitement. He had tried making downright love to Elsie, with no great
success as yet, in his own opinion. The girl was capricious in her
treatment of him, sometimes scowling and repellent, sometimes familiar,
very often, as she used to be of old, teasing and malicious. All this,
perhaps, made her more interesting to a young man who was tired of easy
conquests. There was a strange fascination in her eyes, too, which at times
was quite irresistible, so that he would feel himself drawn to her by a
power which seemed to take away his will for the moment It may have been
nothing but the common charm of bright eyes; but he had never before
experienced the same kind of attraction.

Perhaps she was not so very different from what she had been as a child,
after all. At any rate, so it seemed to Dick Venner, who, as was said
before, had tried making love to her. They were sitting alone in the study
one day; Elsie had round her neck that somewhat peculiar ornament, the
golden _torque_, which she had worn to the great party. Youth is
adventurous and very curious about neck laces, brooches, chains, and other
such adornments, so long as they are worn by young persons of the female
sex. Dick was seized with a great passion for examining this curious chain,
and, after some preliminary questions, was rash enough to lean towards her
and put out his hand toward the neck that lay in the golden coil. She threw
her head back, her eyes narrowing and her forehead drawing down so that
Dick thought her head actually flattened itself. He started involuntarily;
for she looked so like the little girl who had struck him with those sharp
flashing teeth, that the whole scene came back, and he felt the stroke
again as if it had just been given, and the two white scars began to sting
as they did after the old Doctor had burned them with that stick of gray
caustic, which looked so like a slate pencil, and felt so much like the end
of a red-hot poker.

It took something more than a gallop to set him right after this. The next
day he mentioned having received a letter from a mercantile agent with whom
he had dealings. What his business was is, perhaps, none of our
business. At any rate, it required him to go at once to the city where his
correspondent resided.

Independently of this "business" which called him, there may have been
other motives, such as have been hinted at. People who have been living for
a long time in dreary country-places, without any emotion beyond such as
are occasioned by a trivial pleasure or annoyance, often get crazy at last
for a vital paroxysm of some kind or other. In this state they rush to the
great cities for a plunge into their turbid life-baths, with a frantic
thirst for every exciting pleasure, which makes them the willing and easy
victims of all those who sell the Devil's wares on commission. The less
intelligent and instructed class of unfortunates, who venture with their
ignorance and their instincts into what is sometimes called the "life" of
great cities, are put through a rapid course of instruction which entitles
them very commonly to a diploma from the police court. But they only
illustrate the working of the same tendency in mankind at large which has
been occasionally noticed in the sons of ministers and other eminently
worthy people, by many ascribed to that intense congenital hatred for
goodness which distinguishes human nature from that of the brute, but
perhaps as readily accounted for by considering it as the yawning and
stretching of a young soul cramped too long in one moral posture.

Richard Venner was a young man of remarkable experience for his years. He
ran less risk, therefore, in exposing himself to the temptations and
dangers of a great city than many older men, who, seeking the livelier
scenes of excitement to be found in large towns as a relaxation after the
monotonous routine of family-life, are too often taken advantage of and
made the victims of their sentiments or their generous confidence in their
fellow-creatures. Such was not his destiny. There was something about him
which looked as if he would not take bullying kindly. He had also the
advantage of being acquainted with most of those ingenious devices by which
the proverbial inconstancy of fortune is steadied to something more nearly
approaching fixed laws, and the dangerous risks which have so often led
young men to ruin and suicide are practically reduced to somewhat less than
nothing. So that Mr, Richard Venner worked off his nervous energies without
any troublesome adventure, and was ready to return to Rockland in less than
a week, without having lightened the money-belt he wore round his body, or
tarnished the long glittering knife he carried in his boot.

Dick had sent his trunk to the nearest town through which the railroad
leading to the city passed. He rode off on his black horse and left him at
the place where he took the cars. On arriving at the city station, he took
a coach and drove to one of the great hotels. Thither drove also a
sagacious-looking, middle-aged man, who entered his name as "W. Thompson"
in the book at the office immediately after that of "R. Venner."  Mr,
"Thompson" kept a carelessly observant eye upon Mr. Venner during his stay
at the hotel, and followed him to the cars when he left, looking over his
shoulder when he bought his ticket at the station, and seeing him fairly
off without obtruding himself in any offensive way upon his
attention. Mr. Thompson, known in other quarters as Detective Policeman
Terry, got very little by his trouble. Richard Venner did not turn out to
be the wife-poisoner, the defaulting cashier, the river-pirate, or the
great counterfeiter. He paid his hotel-bill as a gentleman should always
do, if he has the money, and can spare it. The detective had probably
overrated his own sagacity when he ventured to suspect Mr. Venner. He
reported to his chief that there was a knowing-looking fellow he had been
round after, but he rather guessed he was nothing more than "one o' them
Southern sportsmen."

The poor fellows at the stable where Dick had left his horse had had
trouble enough with him. One of the ostlers was limping about with a lame
leg, and another had lost a mouthful of his coat, which came very near
carrying a piece of his shoulder with it. When Mr. Venner came back for his
beast, he was as wild as if he had just been lassoed, screaming, kicking,
rolling over to get rid of his saddle,--and when his rider was at last
mounted, jumping about in a way to dislodge any common horseman. To all
this Dick replied by sticking his long spurs deeper and deeper into his
flanks, until the creature found he was mastered, and dashed off as if all
the thistles of the Pampas were pricking him.

"One more gallop, Juan!" This was in the last mile of the road before he
came to the town--which brought him in sight of the mansion-house. It was
in this last gallop that the fiery mustang and his rider flashed by the old
Doctor. Cassia pointed her sharp ears and shied to let them pass. The
Doctor turned and looked through the little round glass in the back of his
sulky.

"Dick Turpin, there, will find more than his match!" said the Doctor.


CHAPTER XII.

THE APOLLINEAN INSTITUTE.

_With Extracts from the "Report of the Committee."_


The readers of this narrative will hardly expect any elaborate details of
the educational management of the Apollinean Institute. They cannot be
supposed to take the same interest in its affairs as was shown by the
Annual Committees who reported upon its condition and prospects. As these
Committees were, however, an important part of the mechanism of the
establishment, some general account of their organization and a few
extracts from the Report of the one last appointed may not be out of place.

Whether Mr. Silas Peckham had some contrivance for packing his Committees,
whether they happened always to be made up of optimists by nature, whether
they were cajoled into good-humor by polite attentions, or whether they
were always really delighted with the wonderful acquirements of the pupils
and the admirable order of the school, it is certain that their Annual
Reports were couched in language which might warm the heart of the most
cold-blooded and calculating father that ever had a family of daughters to
educate. In fact, these Annual Reports were considered by Mr. Peckham as
his most effective advertisements.

The first thing, therefore, was to see that the Committee was made up of
persons known to the public. Some worn-out politician, in that leisurely
and amiable transition-state which comes between official extinction and
the paralysis which will finish him as soon as his brain gets a little
softer, made an admirable Chairman for Mr. Peckham, when he had the luck to
pick up such an article. Old reputations, like old fashions, are more
prized in the grassy than in the stony districts. An effete celebrity, who
would never be heard of again in the great places until the funeral sermon
waked up his memory for one parting spasm, finds himself in full flavor of
renown a little farther back from the changing winds of the sea-coast. If
such a public character was not to be had, so that there was no chance of
heading the Report with the name of the Honorable Mr. Somebody, the next
best thing was to get the Reverend Dr. Somebody to take that conspicuous
position. Then would follow two or three local worthies with Esquire after
their names. If any stray literary personage from one of the great cities
happened to be within reach, he was pounced upon by Mr. Silas Peckham. It
was a hard case for the poor man, who had travelled a hundred miles or two
to the outside suburbs after peace and unwatered milk, to be pumped for a
speech in this unexpected way. It was harder still, if he had been induced
to venture a few tremulous remarks, to be obliged to write them out for the
"Rockland Weekly Universe," with the chance of seeing them used as an
advertising certificate as long as he lived, if he lived as long as the
late Dr. Waterhouse did after giving his certificate in favor of Whitwell's
celebrated Cephalic Snuff.

The Report of the last Committee had been signed by the Honorable ----,
late ---- of ----, as Chairman. (It is with reluctance that the name and
titles are left in blank; but our public characters are so familiarly known
to the whole community that this reserve becomes necessary.)  The other
members of the Committee were the Reverend Mr. Butters, of a neighboring
town, who was to make the prayer before the Exercises of the Exhibition,
and two or three notabilities of Rockiand, with geoponic eyes, and
glabrous, bumpless foreheads. A few extracts from the Report are
subjoined:--

"The Committee have great pleasure in recording their unanimous opinion,
that the Institution was never in so flourishing a condition....

"The health of the pupils is excellent; the admirable quality of food
supplied shows itself in their appearance; their blooming aspect excited
the admiration of the Committee, and bears testimony to the assiduity of
the excellent Matron.

"......moral and religious condition most encouraging, which they cannot
but attribute to the personal efforts and instruction of the faithful
Principal, who considers religious instruction a solemn duty which he
cannot commit to other people.

".......great progress in their studies, under the intelligent
superintendence of the accomplished Principal, assisted by Mr. Badger,
[Mr. Langdon's predecessor,] Miss Darley, the lady who superintends the
English branches, Miss Crabs, her assistant and teacher of Modern
Languages, and Mr. Schneider, teacher of French, German, Latin, and Music.

"Education is the great business of the Institute. Amusements are objects
of a secondary nature; but these are by no means neglected....

".........English compositions of great originality and beauty, creditable
alike to the head and heart of their accomplished authors......several
poems of a very high order of merit, which would do honor to the literature
of any age or country.....life-like drawings, showing great proficiency....
Many converse fluently in various modern languages......perform the most
difficult airs with the skill of professional musicians.....

".....advantages unsurpassed, if equalled, by those of any Institution in
the country, and reflecting the highest honor on the distinguished Head of
the Establishment, SILAS PECKHAM, Esquire, and his admirable Lady, the
MATRON, with their worthy assistants....."


The perusal of this Report did Mr. Bernard more good than a week's vacation
would have done. It gave him such a laugh as he had not had for a
month. The way in which Silas Peckham had made his Committee say what he
wanted them to--for he recognized a number of expressions in the Report as
coming directly from the lips of his principal, and could not help thinking
how cleverly he had _forced_ his phrases, as jugglers do the particular
card they wish their dupe to take--struck him as particularly neat and
pleasing.

He had passed through the sympathetic and emotional stages in his new
experience, and had arrived at the philosophical and practical state, which
takes things coolly, and goes to work to set them right. He had breadth
enough of view to see that there was nothing so very exceptional in this
educational trader's dealings with his subordinates, but he had also manly
feeling enough to attack the particular individual instance of wrong before
him. There are plenty of dealers in morals, as in ordinary traffic, who
confine themselves to wholesale business. They leave the small necessity of
their next-door neighbor to the retailers, who are poorer in statistics and
general facts, but richer in the every-day charities. Mr. Bernard felt, at
first, as one does who sees a gray rat steal out of a drain and begin
gnawing at the bark of some tree loaded with fruit or blossoms, which he
will soon girdle, if he is let alone. The first impulse is to murder him
with the nearest ragged stone. Then one remembers that he is a rodent,
acting after the law of his kind, and cools down and is contented to drive
him off and guard the tree against his teeth for the future. As soon as
this is done, one can watch his attempts at mischief with a certain
amusement.

This was the kind of process Mr. Bernard had gone through. First, the
indignant surprise of a generous nature, when it comes unexpectedly into
relations with a mean one. Then the impulse of extermination,--a divine
instinct, intended to keep down vermin of all classes to their working
averages in the economy of Nature. Then a return of cheerful tolerance,--a
feeling, that, if the Deity could bear with rats and sharpers, he could;
with a confident trust, that, in the long run, terriers and honest men
would have the upperhand, and a grateful consciousness that he had been
sent just at the right time to come between a patient victim and the master
who held her in peonage.

Having once made up his mind what to do, Mr. Bernard was as good-natured
and hopeful as ever. He had the great advantage, from his professional
training, of knowing how to recognize and deal with the nervous
disturbances to which overtasked women are so liable. He saw well enough
that Helen Darley would certainly kill herself or lose her wits, if he
could not lighten her labors and lift off a large part of her weight of
cares. The worst of it was, that she of those women who naturally overwork
themselves, like those horses who will go at the top of their pace until
they drop. Such women are dreadfully unmanageable. It is as hard reasoning
with them as it would have been reasoning with lo, when she was flying over
land and sea, driven by the sting of the never-sleeping gadfly.

This was a delicate, interesting game that he played. Under one innocent
pretext or another, he invaded this or that special province she had made
her own. He would collect the themes and have them all read and marked,
answer all the puzzling questions in mathematics, make the other teachers
come to him for directions, and in this way gradually took upon himself not
only all the general superintendence that belonged to his office, but stole
away so many of the special duties which might fairly have belonged to his
assistant, that, before she knew it, she was looking better and feeling
more cheerful than for many and many a month before.

When the nervous energy is depressed by any bodily cause, or exhausted by
overworking, there follow effects which have often been misinterpreted by
moralists, and especially by theologians. The conscience itself becomes
neuralgic, sometimes actually inflamed, so that the least touch is
agony. Of all liars and false accusers, a sick conscience is the most
inventive and indefatigable. The devoted daughter, wife, mother, whose life
has been given to unselfish labors, who has filled a place which it seems
to others only and angel would make good, reproaches herself with
incompetence and neglect of duty. The humble Christian, who has been a
model to others, calls himself a worm of the dust on one page of his diary,
and arraigns himself on the next for coming short of the perfection of an
archangel.

Conscience itself requires a conscience, or nothing can be more
unscrupulous. It told Saul that he did well in persecuting the
Christians. It has goaded countless multitudes of various creeds to endless
forms of self-torture. The cities of India are full of cripples it has
made. The hill-sides of Syria are riddled with holes, where miserable
hermits, whose lives it had palsied, lived and died like the vermin they
harbored. Our libraries are crammed with books written by spiritual
hypochondriacs, who inspected all their moral secretions a dozen times a
day. They are full of interest, but they should be transferred from the
shelf of the theologian to that of the medical man who makes a study of
insanity.

This was the state into which too much work and too much responsibility
were bringing Helen Darley, when the new master came and lifted so much of
the burden that was crushing her as must be removed before she could have a
chance to recover her natural elasticity and buoyancy. Many of the noblest
women, suffering like her, but less fortunate in being relieved at the
right moment, die worried out of life by the perpetual teasing of this
inflamed, neuralgic conscience. So subtile is the line which separates the
true and almost angelic sensibility of a healthy, but exalted nature, from
the soreness of a soul which is sympathizing with a morbid state of the
body, that it is no wonder they are often confounded. And thus many good
women are suffered to perish by that form of spontaneous combustion in
which the victim goes on toiling day and night with the hidden fire
consuming her, until all at once her cheek whitens, and, as we look upon
her, she drops away, a heap of ashes. The more they over-work themselves,
the more exacting becomes the sense of duty,--as the draught of the
locomotive's furnace blows stronger and makes the fire burn more fiercely,
the faster it spins along the track.

It is not very likely, as was said at the beginning of this chapter, that
we shall trouble ourselves a great deal about the internal affairs of the
Apollinean Institute. These schools are, in the nature of things, not so
very unlike each other as to require a minute description for each
particular one among them. They have all very much the same general
features, pleasing and displeasing. All feeding-establishments have
something odious about them,--from the wretched country-houses where
paupers are farmed out to the lowest bidder, up to the commons-tables at
colleges, and even the fashionable boarding-house. A person's appetite
should be at war with no other purse than his own. Young people,
especially, who have a bone-factory at work in them, and have to feed the
living looms of innumerable growing tissues, should be provided for, if
possible, by those that love them like their own flesh and blood. Elsewhere
their appetites will be sure to make them enemies, or, what are almost as
bad, friends whose interests are at variance with the claims of their
exacting necessities and demands.

Besides, all commercial transactions in regard to the most sacred interests
of life are hateful even to those who profit by them. The clergyman, the
physician, the teacher, must be paid; but each of them, if his duty be
performed in the true spirit, can hardly help a shiver of disgust when.
money is counted out to him for administering the consolations of religion,
for saving some precious life, for sowing the seeds of Christian
civilization in young, ingenuous souls.

And yet all these schools, with their provincial French and their
mechanical accomplishments, with their cheap parade of diplomas and
commencements and other public honors, have an ever fresh interest to all
who see the task they are performing in our new social order. These girls
are not being educated for governesses, or to be exported, with other
manufactured articles, to colonies where there happens to be a surplus of
males. Most of them will be wives, and every American-born husband is a
possible President of these United States. Any one of these girls may be a
four-years' queen. There is no sphere of human activity so exalted that she
may not be called upon to fill it.

But there is another consideration of far higher interest. The education of
our community to all that is beautiful is flowing in mainly through its
women, and that to a considerable extent by the aid of these large
establishments, the least perfect of which do something to stimulate the
higher tastes and partially instruct them. Sometimes there is, perhaps,
reason to fear that girls will be too highly educated for their own
happiness, if they are lifted by their culture out of the range of the
practical and every-day working youth by whom they are surrounded. But this
is a risk we must take. Our young men come into active life so early, that,
if our girls were not educated to something beyond mere practical duties,
our material prosperity would outstrip our culture; as it often does in
large places where money is made too rapidly. This is the meaning,
therefore, of that somewhat ambitious programme common to most of these
large institutions, at which we sometimes smile, perhaps unwisely or
uncharitably.

We shall take it for granted that the routine of instruction went on at the
Apollinean Institute much as it does in other schools of the same
class. People, young or old, are wonderfully different, if we contrast
extremes in pairs. They approach much nearer, if we take them in groups of
twenty. Take two separate hundreds as they come, without choosing, and you
get the gamut of human character in both so completely that you can strike
many chords in each which shall be in perfect unison with corresponding
ones in the other. If we go a step farther, and compare the population of
two villages of the same race and region, there is such a regularly
graduated distribution and parallelism of character, that it seems as if
Nature must turn out human beings in sets like chessmen.

It must be confessed that the position in which Mr. Bernard now found
himself had a pleasing danger about it which might well justify all the
fears entertained on his account by more experienced friends, when they
learned that he was engaged in a Young Ladies' Seminary. The school never
went on more smoothly than during the first period of his administration,
after he had arranged its duties, and taken his share, and even more than
his share, upon himself. But human nature does not wait for the diploma of
the Apollinean Institute to claim the exercise of its instincts and
faculties. There young girls saw but little of the youth of the
neighborhood. The mansion-house young men were off at college or in the
cities, or making love to each other's sisters, or at any rate unavailable
for some reason or other. There were a few "clerks,"--that is, young men
who attended shops, commonly called "stores,"--who were fond of walking by
the Institute, when they were off duty, for the sake of exchanging a word
or a glance with any one of the young ladies they might happen to know, if
any such were stirring abroad: crude young men, mostly, with a great many
"Sirs" and "Ma'ams" in their speech, and with that style of address
sometimes acquired in the retail business, as if the salesman were
recommending himself to a customer,--"First-rate family article, Ma'am;
warranted to wear a lifetime; just one yard and three quarters in this
pattern, Ma'am; sha'n't I have the pleasure?"  and so forth. If there had
been ever so many of them, and if they had been ever so fascinating, the
quarantine of the Institute was too rigorous to allow any romantic
infection to be introduced from without.

Anybody might see what would happen, with a good-looking, well-dressed,
well-bred young man, who had the authority of a master, it is true, but the
manners of a friend and equal, moving about among these young girls day
after day, his eyes meeting theirs, his breath mingling with theirs, his
voice growing familiar to them, never in any harsh tones, often soothing,
encouraging, always sympathetic, with its male depth and breadth of sound
among the chorus of trebles, as if it were a river in which a hundred of
these little piping streamlets might lose themselves; anybody might see
what would happen. Young girls wrote home to their parents that they
enjoyed themselves much this term at the Institute, and thought they were
making rapid progress in their studies. There was a great enthusiasm for
the young master's reading-classes in English poetry. Some of the poor
little things began to adorn themselves with an extra ribbon, or a bit of
such jewelry as they had before kept for great occasions. Dear souls! they
only half knew what they were doing it for. Does the bird know why its
feathers grow more brilliant and its voice becomes musical in the pairing
season?

And so, in the midst of this quiet inland town, where a mere accident had
placed Mr. Bernard Langdon, there was a concentration of explosive
materials which might at any time change its Arcadian and academic repose
into a scene of dangerous commotion. What said Helen Darley, when she saw
with her woman's glance that more than one girl, when she should be looking
at her book, was looking over it toward the master's desk? Was her own
heart warmed by any livelier feeling than gratitude, as its life began to
flow with fuller pulses, and the morning sky again looked bright and the
flowers recovered their lost fragrance?  Was there any strange, mysterious
affinity between the master and the dark girl who sat by herself? Could she
call him at will by looking at him? Could it be that ----? It made her
shiver to think of it.--And who was that strange horseman who passed
Mr. Bernard at dusk the other evening, looking so like Mephistopheles
galloping hard to be in season at the witches' Sabbath-gathering? That must
be the cousin of Elsie's who wants to marry her, they say. A
dangerous-looking fellow for a rival, if one took a fancy to the dark girl!
And who is she, and what?--by what demon is she haunted, by what taint is
she blighted, by what curse is she followed, by what destiny is she marked,
that her strange beauty has such a terror in it, and that hardly one shall
dare to love her, and her eye glitters always, but warms for none?

Some of these questions are ours. Some were Helen Darley's. Some of them
mingled with the dreams of Bernard Langdon, as he slept the night after
meeting the strange horseman. In the morning he happened to be a little
late in entering the school-room. There was something between the leaves of
the Virgil that lay upon his desk. He opened it and saw a freshly gathered
mountain-flower. He looked at Elsie, instinctively, involuntarily. She had
another such flower on her breast.

A young girl's graceful compliment,--that is all,--no doubt,--no doubt. It
was odd that the flower should have happened to be laid between the leaves
of the Fourth Book of the "Æneid," and at this line,--

"Incipit effari, mediâque in voce resistit."

A remembrance of an ancient superstition flashed through the master's mind,
and he determined to try the _Sortes Virgilianæ_. He shut the volume, and
opened it again at a venture.--The story of Laocoön!

He read, with a strange feeling of unwilling fascination, from "_Horresco
referens_" to "_Bis medium amplexi_," and flung the book from him, as if
its leaves had been steeped in the subtle poisons that princes die of.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE SPHINX'S CHILDREN.

"Que la volonté soit le destin!"


Long had she sat, crouched upon her breast,--crouched, but not for slumber
or for spring. No slumber gloomed darkly in those broad, sad eyes; no dream
indefinably softened the lips, whose patient outline breathed only
wakefulness and expectation,--a long-deferred, yet constant expectation,--a
hope that would have been despair, save that it was just within hope's
limits,--a monotonous, reiterate, indestructible chord in the creature's
mystic existence, that, once struck by some mighty, shrouded Hand of Power,
still reverberated, and trailed its still renewing echoes through every
fibre of its secret habitation. Nor yet for spring;--a couchant leopard has
posed itself with horrid intent; murder glitters in its fixed golden eye,
quivers in the tense loins, creeps in the tawny glitter of the skin,
clutches the keen claws, that recoil, and grasp, and recoil again from the
velvet ball of that heavy foot; murder grins in the withdrawn lip, the
white, red-set teeth, the slavering crunch of the jaw: but nothing of all
these fired the quiet and the silence of the crouching Sphinx; nerve and
muscle in tranquil strength lay relaxed, though not unconscious. Year after
year the yellow Desert robed itself in burning mists, splendid and deadly;
year after year the hot simoom licked up its sands, and, whirling them
madly over the dead plain, dashed them against the silent Sphinx, and grain
by grain heaped her slow-growing grave; the Nile spread its waters across
the green valley, and lapped its brink with a watery thirst for land, and
then receded to its channel, and poured its ancient flood still downward to
the sea; worshipped, or desecrated; threaded by black Nubian boatmen, who
mocked its sacred name with such savage mirth as satyrs might have spirted
from their hairy lips; navigated by keen-eyed Arabs, lithe and dark and
treacherous as the river beneath them; Coptic shepherds, lingering on the
brink, drank the sweet waters, and led their flocks to drink at the
shallows, when the shepherd's star cleft that deepest sky with its crest,
and warned the simple people of their hour;--yet forever stood the Sphinx,
passionately patient, looking for sunrise, over desert, vale, and
river,--beyond man,--to her hour.--And the hour came.

Once to all things comes their hour. The black column of basalt quivers to
its heart with one keen lightning thrill that vindicates its kin to the
electric flash without; the granite cliff loses one atom from its bald
front, and every other atom quails before the dumb shiver of gravitation
and shifts its place; the breathing, breathless marble, which a sculptor
has rescued from its primeval sleep, and, repeating after God, though with
stammering and insufficient lips, the great drama of Paradise, makes a man
out of dust,--once, once, in the dcadness of its beauty, that marble
thrills with magnetic life, drinks its maker's soul, repeats the Paradisaic
amen, and owns that it is good. Yea, greater miracle of transcendental
truth,--once,--perhaps twice,--the sodden, valueless heart of that old man,
whose gold has sucked out all that made him a man, beats with a pulse of
generous honor; even in the dust of stocks and the ashes of speculation,
amid the howling curses of the poor and the bitter weeping of his own
flesh, once he hears the Voice of God, and all eternity cleaves the earth
at his feet with a glare of truth. Once in her loathsome life, that woman,
brazen with sin and shame, flaunting on the pavement, the scorn and jest of
decency and indecency, the fearful index of corrupt society,--even she has
her hour of softness, when the tiny grass that creeps out from the stones
comes greenly into a spring sunshine, and as with a divine whisper recalls
to her the time before she fell, the unburdened heart, the pure childish
pleasures, the kind look of her dead mother's eye, the clasp of that
sister's arm who passed her but yesterday pallid with disgust and ashamed
to own their sacred birth-tie: then the tide rolls back: the hour is come!
She, too, called a woman, who leads society, and triumphs over caste and
custom with metallic ring and force,--she who forgets the decencies of age
in her shameless attire, and supplies its defects with subterfuges, falser
in heart even than in aspect,--she, about whom cluster men old and young,
applauding with brays of laughter and coarser jeers the rancor of her wit,
as it drops its laughing venom or its sneering sophisms of worldly
wisdom,--even she, when the lights are fled, when the music has ceased from
its own desecration, when the frenzy of wine and laughter mock her in their
dead dregs, when the men who flattered and the women who envied are all
gone,--she recalls one calm eye in the crowd, that stung her with its pure
contemptuous pity, a look not to be shut out with draperies as the stars
are; and even through her soul, harder than the soul of that unowned sister
walking the midnight street beneath the window, since it has ceased to know
the stab of sin or the choking agony of shame,--even through that
world-trodden heart flashes one conscious pang, one glimpse of a possible
heaven and an inevitable hell, one naked and open vision of herself.

Long had the Sphinx waited. Year after year the flocking pigeons flitted
and wheeled through the sweet skies of spring, built their nests and reared
their young; tiny lizards, the new birth of the season, coiled and
glittered on the hot sands like wandering jewels; every creature, dying out
of conscious life, left its perpetuated self behind it, and repeated its
own youth in its young, according to its kind: but the Sphinx lived
alone. Nor all-unconscious of her solitude: for he who formed that massive
shape, chiselled those calm, expectant lips, and wide eyes pensive as
setting moons, he had not failed to do what all true artists do in virtue
of their truth,--he had shared his own life with his own creation, and it
was his lonely yearning that stirred her pulseless heart. Little did he
think, toiling at that stupendous figure, ages gone by, that he transfused
into the stone at which he labored, like a patient ant at some stupendous
burden, no little share of that creative yearning that inspired him to his
task; as little as you think, dear poet, whether poet, painter, or
sculptor,--for all are one, and one is all,--that in those dreams which you
write, as unconscious of your power as the transcribing stylus of its
office, your own heart pulsates for a listening world, and the very linking
of words that so respire their own music makes those words self-sentient of
their breaking, thrilling melody, and wrings or exalts them, idea-garments
as they are, with the restless heaving of the thought that wears them.

Or you, whose sun-steeped brush brings to life on canvas the golden trances
of August noons, the high, still splendor of its mountain-tops, which the
sun caresses with fiery languor, the unrippled slumber of its warm streams,
the broad glory of its woods and meadows fused with light and heat into the
resplendent haze that earth exhales in her day of prime, till he who sees
the picture hears the cricket's chirping in its moveless grasses, and
scents the rich aromatic breath of its summer-passion and its rapturous
noon,--do you dream, when at last the perfect work repeats your thought,
and you rest in the tropie atmosphere you have created, that in very truth
the picture itself is full of inward heat and breathless languor? For you
have poured out the colors that light makes out of heat, and in them the
still inevitable light shall ever stir the recreating heat that clothes
itself in color, and bring your thought, no more a dead abstraction, but a
living power, into the very substance whereby you have expressed it. And
even so far as you were creative, so shall your work be informed by you,
and not mere dead pigment and dried oil and dull canvas be your autograph,
but the vivid and inspiring blazon of an inspired idea shall glow life-like
on some friendly wall, and in its turn inspire some other soul, whose light
within needs but the breath from without to burst upward in clear flame.

Or you, who unveil from its marble tomb that figure of a chained and
stainless woman, whose atmosphere is as a nun's veil, whose sad divinity is
a crown,--do you dare imagine that the holy despair you have imaged, the
pause of a saint's resignation and a martyr's courage, is but the outline
and the faultless contour of a stone? Come back, Pygmalion, from your
mythic sleep! return, Art's divinest mystery, germ of all its power, from
the deep dust of ages! and teach these modern men that his story whose
passion fired a statue's breast was but an immortal fable, a similitude of
the truth you feel, but do not see,--that even as our Creator shared His
life with His creatures, so do you pour, in far less measure, but obedient
to that precedent which is law, your own life and the magnetic instincts of
that life, into what you create!

Keep your hearts pure and your hands clean, therefore; for these things
that you sell for dead shall one day livingly confront you, and tell their
own story of your life and your nature with terrible honesty to men and
angels.

But whoever, in those mystic ages that have ceased to be historic and have
become mythic, whoever made the Sphinx,--whether it were some Titaness
sequestered from all her kind by genie-spells, forced to live amid these
desert solitudes, fed from the abundant hands of Nature, and taught by
dreams inspired and twilight visions,--

 "A daughter of the gods, divinely tall,
  And most divinely fair";

her only image of human beauty the reflex of her white, symmetric limbs,
her wide, dark eyes, her full lips and soft Egyptian features, wherewith
the river greeted her from its blue placidity; her only sense of love the
unspoken yearning within, when the soft, tumultuous stress of the west-wind
kissed her, who should have been clasped in tender arms and caressed by
loving lips; whose dumb, creative instincts, becoming genius instead of
maternity, struggled outward from their home in heart and brain to
culminate in this world's-wonder, and so build a monument namelessly
splendid to the grand nature that found its bread of life was a stone and
perished: or whether this creature were the fashioning of some
demigod,--"for there were giants in those days,"--who, in the fulness of
his strength, despairing of a mortal mate, wandered away from men and
wrought his patience and his longing into the rock,--as lesser men have
carved their memorials on hard Fate,--and then died between its paws, sated
with labor and glad to sleep: or whether, indeed, the captive spirits,
sealed in Caucasus with the seal of Solomon, did penance for their
rebellion in mortal work on mere dull matter, and with anguished essence
toiled for ages to mimic in her own clay the dumb pathos of waiting
Earth:--whichever of these dreams be nearest truth, one thing is
true,--that the maker of the Sphinx infused into his work, in as much
greater measure as his nature was greater than that of other men, that
yearning of pathetic solitude that most wrings a woman's heart; and the
outward semblance, working in, wrought upon the heavy stone with incessant
and accumulative power, till through that sluggish sandstone crept a
confused thrill of consciousness, and the great creature felt the
loneliness that she looked. Far away below her the Nile-valley teemed with
life; the antelopes coursed beside their young to feed on the green pasture
fresh from its long overflow; red foxes sported with their cubs on the
tawny sand; the birds taught their infant offspring their own sweet arts of
flight and song on every bough; and even the ostrich, lonely Desert-runner,
heaped her treasure of white eggs in the sand, or guided her callow young
far from the sight and fear of man;--but the Sphinx sat alone.

Mightier and mightier grew the yearning within her, as the full moon
floated upward from the east and cast her dewy dreams over land and
sea. The hour was come; the whole impulse and persistence of her nature
went out in vivid life, and, filling the very stones which the winds had
gathered and piled against her breast, cleft them with its sentient spell,
clothed them with lean flesh and wiry sinews, shaped them after the fashion
of the Desert men, and sent them out alive with intellect and will, but
with hearts of flint, into the wide world,--the Sphinx's children!

With a sigh that shook the shores of Egypt and smote the Sicilian midnight
with sickening vibrations of earthquake, the Sphinx beheld this culmination
of her great desire; in the very hour of fruition, hope fled; and as this
grim certainty sped away from before her, taking with it all her borrowed
life, she dropped that majestic head lower upon her bosom, uplifted it
again for one last look at her offspring, and so stiffened,--once more a
stone.

Age after age rolled by; storm and tempest hurled their thunders at her
head; wave after wave of bright insidious sand curled about her feet and
heaped its sliding grains against her side; men came and went in fleeting
generations, and seasons fled like hours through the whirling wheel of
Time; but the Sphinx longed and suffered no more. Her hour had come and
gone; her dull instinct had burnt out, her comely outline began to
disintegrate, her face grew blank and stony, her features crumbled away,
altars and inscriptions defaced her breast and hieroglyphed her ponderous
sides, men worshipped and wondered there, and travellers from lands beyond
the sun pitched their tents before her face and defiled her feet with
barbaric orgies; but she knew it no more,--her children were gone out into
the world. And the world had need of them. Its rank and miasmatic
civilization,--its hotbeds of sin and misery,--its civil corruptions and
its social lies,--its reeling, rotten principalities,--its sickly
atmosphere of effeminate luxury, wherein neither justice nor judgment
lived, and the solitary virtues left mere effete shadows of philanthropy
and cowardly impulses called love and mercy,--needed a new race, stony and
strong, unshrinking in conquest and reformation, full of zeal, and
incapable of pity, to rend away the fogs that smothered truth and decency,
to disperse the low-lying clouds of weak passion and maudlin luxury, to
blow a reveille clear and keen as the trumpet of the northwest wind, when
it sweeps down from its mountain-tops in stern exultation, and shouts its
Puritanic battle-psalm across the reeking, steaming meadows of sultry
August, fever-smitten and pestilent.

Such were the Sphinx's children: had they but died out with their need!
Here and there a monk, fresh from his Desert-Laura, hurtles through the
eclipse-light of history like the stone from a catapult,--rules a church
with iron rods, organizes, denounces, intrigues, executes, keeps an unarmed
soldiery to do his behests, and hurls ecclesiastic thunders at kings and
emperors with the grand audacity of a commission presumedly divine, while
Greeks cringe, and Jews blaspheme, and heathen flee into, or away from,
conversion; and the Church itself canonizes this spiritual father, this
Sphinx-son of an instinct and a stone!

Or an Emperor exalted himself above the legions and the populace of Rome,
banqueted his enemies and beheaded them at table, drank in the sight of
blood and the sound of human shrieks as if they were his natural light and
air, tormented God's creatures and cursed his kind, kindled a fire among
the miserable myriads of his own city, and, exulting in a safe height,
mixed the leaping, frantic discords of his own music with the horrid sounds
of the hell's tragedy below him; seething in crime, steeped in murder,
black with blasphemy, the horror and the hate of men, death gaped for his
coming, and he went! Men revile him through all posterior ages; women
shudder at the legend of his deeds; but the Sphinx stands unconscious in
the Desert,--she knew not her child!

Or a Reformer springs up. High above his birthplace the snowy Alps paint
themselves against the sky, an aerial dream of beauty, softened by the
tender hues of dawn and sunset, serenely fair through the rift of the
tempest; even their white death takes a nameless grace from distance and
atmosphere, clothing itself in beauty as a spirit in clay, and tempting
wanderers to their graves: but no such beauty clothes the man whose daily
vision beholds them; hard, clamorous, disputatious, with one hand he rends
the rotten splendors of Rome from its tottering Image, and with the other
plunges baby-souls to inevitable damnation; strong and fiercely rigid, full
of burning and slaughter for the idolatries and harlotries of Popery, fired
with lurid zeal, and bestriding one stringent idea, he rides on over dead
and living, preaches predestination and hell as if the Gospel dwelt only
upon destiny and despair, casts no tender look at the loving piety that
underlay shrines and woman-worship and bead-counting wherever a true heart
sought its God through the sole formulas it knew, but spurs forward to the
end, a mighty power to destroy, to do away with old corruptions and break
down idols on their altars,--saint and iconoclast! Did the heart of stone
within him know its ancestry,--track its hard, loveless descent from the
Sphinx's children?

Then a Queen;--a solitary woman, proud of her solitude, isolated in her
regnant splendor, a dead planet like the moon, sung and pictured and
adored, but keeping on her majestic path in awful beauty, deaf to human
entreaty, cold to human love; a great statesman in a queen's robes; a keen,
subtle politician, coifed and farthingaled; a revengeful sovereign; a
deadly enemy; a woman who forgave nothing to a woman, and retaliated
everything upon a man; she who brought unshrinkingly to death a sister
queen discrowned and captive, a sister whose grace and loveliness and
kindly aspect might have moved the lions of the arena to fawn upon her, but
nowise disarmed the tigress who lapped her blood; she who banished and slew
the man she would not stoop to love, because he dared to love another; and
when death stared her in the face, and open-eyed judgment shook her soul,
rose from that death-pallet to grapple and abuse a false woman, penitent
for and confessing her falseness; a virgin-monarch, pitiless, relentless,
cruel as jealousy; an anomalous woman, were she not a stone-born child of
the Sphinx!

Or a great General, before whose iron will horse and horseman quailed and
fled, like dry stubble before flame; who wielded the sword of Gideon, and
cut off the armies of his kindred people and his anointed king as a mower
fells the glittering grass on a summer dawn, heedless that he, too, shall
be cut down from his flourishing. On his track fire and blood spread their
banners, and the raven scented his trophies afar off; age and youth alike
were crushed under the tread of his war-horse; honor and valor and life's
best prime opposed him as summer opposes the Arctic hail-fury, and lay
beaten into mire at his feet. Hated, feared, followed to the death;
victorious or vanquished, the same strong, imperturbable, sullen nature;
persistent rather than patient in effort, vigorously direct in action; a
minister of unconscious good, of half-conscious evil; stern and gloomy to
the sacrilegious climax of his well-battled life, even in the regicidal act
going as one driven to his deeds by Fate that forgot God;--was he to be
wondered at, whose life, in ages far gone, began among the stony Sphinx
children?

Nor alone in these great landmarks of their dwelling have the Sphinx's
children haunted Earth. Poets have sung them under myriad names; History
has chronicled them in groups; Painting and Sculpture have handed down
their aspect to a gazing world. From them sprung the Eumenides, pursuers
and destroyers of men. They wore the garb of Roman legionaries, when Ramah
wept for her children dashed against the walls of the Holy City, and not
one stone stood upon another in Zion. They crowded the offices of the
Inquisition, and tested the endurance of its victims, with steady finger on
the flickering pulse, and calm eye on the death-sweating brow and bitten
lip. They put on the Druid's robe and wreath, and held the human sacrifice
closer to its altar. In the Asiatic jungle, lurking behind the palm-trunk,
they waited, lithe and swarthy Thugs, treacherously to slay whatever victim
passed by alone; or in the fair Pacific islands kept horrid jubilee above
their feasts of human flesh, and streaked themselves with kindred blood in
their carousals. Holland tells its fearful story of their Spanish
rule. Russian serfs record their despotism, cowering at the memory of the
knout. France cringes yet at the names of the black few who guided her
roaring Revolution as one might guide the ravages of a tiger with curb of
adamant and rein of linked steel.

Africa stretches out her hands to testify of their presence. Too well those
golden shores recall the wail of women and the yelling curses of men,
driven, beast-fashion, to their pen, and floated from home to hell,
or,--happier fate!--dragged up, in terror of pursuit, and thrown overboard,
a brief agony for a long one. They know them, too, whose continual cry of
separation, starvation, insult, agony, and death rises from the heart of
freedom like the steam of a great pestilence,--Pity them, hearts of flesh!
pity also the captors,--the Sphinx children, the flint-hearts! pity those
who cannot feel, far beyond those who can,--though it be but to suffer!

New England knew them, in band and steeple-hat, hanging and pressing to
death helpless women, bewitched with witchcraft. Acadia knew them, when its
depopulated shores lay barren before the sun, and its homes sent up no
smoke to heaven.

Greece quivers at the phantasm of their Turkish turbans and gleaming
sabres, their skill at massacre and their fiendish tortures; Italy, fair
and sad, "woman-country," droops shuddering at sight of their Austrian
uniforms; and the Brahmin sees them in scarlet, blood-dyed, hurling from
the cannon's mouth helpless captives,--killing, not converting.

Wherever, all the wide world over, a nation shrinks from its oppressors, or
a slave from his master,--wherever a child flees from the face of a parent
who knows neither justice nor mercy, or a wife goes mad under the secret
tyranny of her inevitable fate,--wherever pity and mercy and love veil
their faces and wring their hands outside the threshold,--there abide the
Sphinx's children.

For this she longed and hoped and waited in the Desert! for this she envied
the red fox and the ostrich! for this her dumb lips parted, in their
struggle after speech, to ask of earth and air some solace to her solitude!
for this, for these, she poured out her dim life in one strong, wilful
aspiration!

Happy Sphinx, to be left even of that dull existence! blessedly unconscious
of that granted desire! mouldering away in the curling sand-hills, the prey
of hostile elements, the mysterious symbol of a secret yearning and a vain
desire! Not for thee the bitterness of success! not for thee the conscious
agony of penitence,--the falling temple of the will crushing its idolater!
No wild voices in the wind reproach the wilder pulses of a slow-breaking
heart; no keen words of taunt sting thee into madness; Memory hurls at thee
no flying javelins; broken-winged Hope flutters about thee no more! Thy day
is over, thine hour is past!

_"Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the living
which are yet alive!"_

       *       *       *       *       *



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Dies Irae:_ in Thirteen Original Versions. By Abraham Coles, M.D. New
York: D. Appleton & Co. 1859. pp. xxxiv., 70.

It is pleasant to see how many wiles Nature employs to draw off into side
channels the enthusiasm which is always secreting itself and gathering in
the human brain. She knows what a dangerous clement it may become, if the
individual rills of it run together, and, with united forces, take for a
time a single direction. So she taps it at its sources, and leads it away
to various ends, useful because they are harmless. Bibliomania,
tulipomania, potichomania, squaring the circle, perpetual motion, a
religious epic, the northwest passage,--anything will serve the
purpose. _Divide et impera_ is her motto. The hobby is the safeguard of
society. Once mounted, every enthusiast ambles quietly off on some errand
of his own, caring little what direction he takes, provided only it be _the
other_. The Fifth-Monarchy men might have been troublesome, but for the
Beast in Revelation;--each insisted on a Beast to himself. Protestantism
might have become Democracy, had either Luther or Calvin been willing to
ride behind. The five points of the Charter are blunted to a Lancashire
weaver who is fattening a prize-gooseberry.

We sympathize heartily with such gentle enthusiasms as this of
Dr. Coles. It is the interest of all Grub Street that men should be
encouraged whose amiable weakness it is to fall in love with pieces of
poetry. In this case, to be sure, the verses are Latin, and the author more
nameless even than Junius; but who knows but some one's turn shall come
next whose verses were at least meant to be English, and whose name
is--Legion? If some translator, charged from the other pole of Dr. Coles's
enthusiasm, should favor us with thirteen Latin versions of some modern
English poems, it would give them a chance of being more generally
intelligible to the laity. Nay, even if such a baker's-dozen of
mediæval-Latin renderings of Mrs. Browning's last poem--and by this term we
mean, of course, the rather shady Latin of middle-aged men--should be
shuffled together, we are not sure that it would not be a help to the
understanding of the Coptic original. But this, perhaps, is hoping too
much.

In the case of Dr. Coles, how lucky the direction of the superfluous
energy! how wise the humane precaution of Nature!  For there is no
destructive agency like a doctor with a hygienic hobby. If your
constitution be a salt or sugar one, he will melt you away with damp sheets
and duckings; if you are as exsanguine as a turnip, his scientific delight
in getting blood out of you will be only heightened. For such erratic
enthusiasms as this of Dr. Coles we want a milder term than monomania.
Something like _monowhimsia_ would do. It is seldom that an oddity takes so
pleasant a turn. He has published a dainty little volume, with a
well-written introduction, giving the history of the "Dies Iræ," and an
account of the various versions of it; this is followed by his own thirteen
translations; and an appendix tells us what is meant by a Sequence, has a
page or two on the origin of rhyming Latin, and concludes with the music of
the hymn itself. The book is illustrated by delicate photographs from the
Last Judgments of Michel Angelo, Rubens, and Cornelius, and from the
"Christus Remunerator" of Ary Scheffer. It is exquisitely printed at the
Riverside Press, which is doing such good service to everybody but the
spectacle-makers.

We hold the translation of any first-rate poem, nay, even of any
second-rate one which has any peculiar charm of rhythm or tone, to be an
impossibility. The translation of rhyming Latin verses presents peculiar
difficulties. The rhythm is always simple and strongly accented, it is
true; but the ear-filling sonority, the variety of female rhymes, and the
simple directness of expression cannot be echoed by our muffling
consonants, our endings in _ing_ and _ed_, and _a_-s, _the_-s, and _of
the_-s. For example, the stanza,

"Tuba, mirum spargens sonum
 Per sepulchra regionum,
 Coget omnes ante thronum,"

is very inadequately represented by

"Trumpet, scattering sounds of wonder
Rending sepulchres asunder,
Shall resistless summons thunder,"

in which, to speak of nothing else, there are thirteen _s_-s to five in the
original. Even Crashaw, whose translation of Strada's "Music's Duel" is a
masterpiece for litheness of phrase and sinuous suppleness of rhythm,
quails before the "Dies Iræ," and contents himself with a largely watered
paraphrase. No one has ever yet succeeded more than tolerably with the
opening stanza,--

"Dies Iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favillâ,
Teste David cum Sibyllâ."

The difficulty is increased where the Latin word has some special force of
theological or other meaning which has no single equivalent in English.

Doctor Coles has made, we think, the most successful attempt at an English
translation of the hymn that we have ever seen. He has done all that could
be done, where complete success was out of the question. Out of his first
two versions, which seem to us the best, a very satisfactory rendering of
the original can be made up by choosing the better stanzas from each. In
his first trial he misses the pathetic force of the

"Rex tremendæ majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis!"

where the petition is piercingly individualized by the accentual stress
thrown on the _me_. He gives it thus:--

"King Almighty and All-knowing,
Grace to sinners freely showing,
Save me, Fount of Good o'erflowing!"
His second attempt is better:--

"Awful King, who nothing cravest,
Since Thyself full ransom gavest,
Save thou me, who freely savest!"

Here the emphatic _me_ is preserved, but in neither version is the true
meaning of _salvandos_ even hinted at, and in both we miss the tenderness
of the _fons pietatis_, with which the _tremenda majestas_ is balanced and
softened.

There are three or four of these Latin hymns that for simple force and
pathos have never been matched in their kind, and never approached, except
by a few of the more fortunate poems of Herbert, Vaughan, and Quarles. We
know not why it is that what is called religious poetry is commonly so
bad. The thing gives the lie to both the adjective and the noun of its
title. Anything more flat and flavorless, whether in sentiment or language,
is beyond the conception even of an editor with the nightmare. Men have
been hanged for more venial murders than some have been praised for who
have choked out the immortal soul of the Psalms of David. We have, however,
the consolation of thinking that the Devil's Psalter of convivial songs is
quite as bad.

Dr. Coles has done so well that we hope he will try his hand on some of the
other Latin hymns. He cannot expect to satisfy those who have been
penetrated by the almost inexplicable charm of the originals; but by
rendering them in their own metres, and with so large a transfusion of
their spirit as characterizes his present attempt, he will be doing a real
service to the lovers of that kind of religious poetry in which neither the
religion nor the poetry is left out. As we said before, to translate
rhyming Latin without losing its peculiar _tang_ is wellnigh
impossible. Even Father Prout himself would be staggered by Walter Mapes's
"Mihi est propositum" or "Testamentum Goliae"; but perhaps the spirit of
the hymns is more easily caught, and Dr. Coles has shown that he knows the
worth of faithfulness.



_Mademoiselle Mori_; A Tale of Modern Rome. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860.
Author's Edition. 16mo. pp. 526.

This is a reprint of a remarkable book. It is the book of a person familiar
with Rome and with the Romans, who has thought seriously and felt deeply in
regard to their character and fortunes, who has studied with keen and
sympathetic imagination the hearts of the people, and observed closely the
outward aspect and common shows of the city. The story is well constructed,
and has the essential merit of interest. Not only are the characters
distinctly presented, but there is in them, what it is rare to find in the
personages of our modern novelists, a real and natural development, which
is exhibited not so much by what is said about them as by their own
apparently unconscious words and acts. So just a view is given in this
novel of Italian habits of thought and tones of feeling, so true an
appreciation is shown of the peculiarities of national disposition and
temperament, and so intimate and exact an acquaintance with public events
and the course of politics in Rome, as to lead to the conclusion that the
author writes from the fulness of personal experience, and was no stranger
to the interests of the stirring period in which the scenes of the story
are laid.

The book, indeed, has a double character. It is not a mere novel; for it
contains, in addition to its story, a sketch of the course of public
affairs in Rome during the three memorable years from the accession of Pius
IX. to the fall of the Republic and the entry of the French troops into the
city, which they still hold in subjection to rulers who claim to govern it
for the spiritual interests of the world. And while it may be warmly
recommended to such readers as only desire to find an interesting story, it
deserves not less hearty recommendation to such as may care to understand
one of the most striking and dramatic episodes of modern history, and to
gain an acquaintance with events which throw great illustration on the
present condition and hopes of Italy. In this respect, as well as in the
ability with which it is written, it may fairly be classed with the novels
of Ruffini,--"Lorenzo Benoni" and "Doctor Antonio." To those who have read
these two books it need not be said that this is high praise.

History is not treated by the author of "Mademoiselle Mori" after the
common fashion of novelists. Events are not misrepresented in it, nor are
the characters of the prominent actors in public affairs distorted to suit
any theory, or to advance the interest of the story. The chief value of the
book, and that which ought to secure for it a permanent place, does not,
however, consist in any formal narrative of events, or in its pictures of
noted individuals, but in its representation of the states of mind and
feeling of the Romans during the first years of the pontificate of the
present Pope, of the objects and methods of action of the various parties
that were then called into active existence, of the occasions of the rapid
changes in the popular disposition from the time when Pius IX. was the idol
of the crowd to that when he was a faithless fugitive to Gaeta, and of the
causes which led to the bitter disappointment and utter failure of the
efforts of the Roman patriots.

We do not know of any book in which so intelligent and so true an account
of these things, which were the springs from which events issued, and which
underlie all their currents, is to be found. The sympathies of the author
are with the liberal party, with the party that labored for reform, but not
for a republic, and whose hopes and plans were crushed by the horrible
assassination of Rossi. It is one of the most calamitous results of a
tyranny like that exercised at Rome, that it renders a gradual progress of
reform at any time when it may be undertaken almost an impossibility, and
sows the seed of inevitable violence and of revolution, which is apt to
end, as in the Roman instance, in a return of despotism. The view given of
the Roman revolution and republic of 1849 by the author of "Mademoiselle
Mori" coincides in the main with that taken by Farini, and the other chief
Italian statesmen of the present day; and its accuracy and good sense are
confirmed by the course of recent events, not merely in Rome, but in other
parts of Italy as well. It is vain to predict the future of a state so
anomalous as that of Rome; but it is safe to say that the Romans learned
much from their last revolution, and are learning much from its results, so
that, when another opportunity arrives for them to gain some share of that
freedom which Northern Italy has been so happy in securing, they will not
repeat their former mistakes, and will not be found less competent for
liberty than the Tuscans or the people of the Romagna. Perhaps the failure
of 1849 may then turn out to have been a dark blessing; and the blood of
those who fell on the Roman walls, and the tears of those who have wept in
Roman prisons, may not have been shed in vain.

The cause of Italy deserves the heartiest sympathy, and, if need be, a
personal sacrifice on the part of every lover of liberty and of justice in
the world. The question of Italian unity and independence is the most
important that has been presented in Europe in our time. The issue involved
in it is that of the advance or the degradation of a nation so noble that
none can be called nobler,--of the rights of the many, as against the power
of the few,--of the rights of thought, as against those of the sword,--of
the establishment of those principles which do most to make life precious,
as against those by which it is made vile and wretched. The last year has
seen a part of the great work of freeing Italy accomplished. If Sardinia
can but have time allowed her in which to knit her forces, if she can for a
time escape from foreign attacks and from internal divisions, Italy is
secure. Venice, Rome, and Naples will not long languish under the tyranny
of Austrian, of priest, and of Bourbon.

We return for a few words to "Mademoiselle Mori." The readers of
Mr. Hawthorne's imaginative Italian romance will be pleased to find in this
book further illustrations of the Rome he has so admirably pictured. The
author has not the genius of Mr. Hawthorne, but the descriptions which the
book contains of Roman scenes and places are full of truth, and render the
common, every-day aspect of streets and squares, of gardens and churches,
of popular customs and social habits, with equal spirit and fidelity. The
interest of the story is sustained by the distinctness with which the
localities in which it passes are depicted. The style of the book is so
excellent that we the more regret a few careless and clumsy expressions,
and some awkward sentences, which a little pains might have prevented. We
regret also that the Italian words and phrases which appear in the volume
are sometimes grievously disfigured by misprints. The distinguished name of
Saffi is travestied by being misprinted Gaffi,--and there are other
blunders of the same sort, in which the Riverside Press has but too
faithfully followed the English edition.



_Critical and Miscellaneous Essays_. Collected and republished by THOMAS
CARLYLE. In Four Volumes. Boston: Brown and Taggard. 1860.

Carlyle's Essays need at the present day no introduction or commendation to
American readers. Their place is established, and they will hold it
permanently, in spite of the wild philosophy, and in spite of
characteristics of style which would ruin weaker writings. As Ben Jonson
said of a volume of poems, now quite forgotten, by his friend Sir John
Beaumont,--

"This book will live; it hath a genius; this Above his reader or his
praiser is."

There is no fear that these Essays will be forgotten; for, beside their
intrinsic merits and interest, they are at once introductory and
supplementary to their author's more important works,--to his "French
Revolution" and his "Life of Frederic the Great."

This new edition of the Essays is a reprint of the last English edition
revised by the author, and both printer and publisher deserve high credit
for the beauty of the volumes. The paper, press-work, and binding are all
excellent, and of a sort not only to please the general public, but to
satisfy the demands of the exacting lover of good books. We are glad to
welcome Messrs. Brown and Taggard among our publishing houses, on occasion
of the issue of a book so creditable alike to their taste and to their
judgment, and we hope that the success of this edition of these Essays may
he such as to encourage them to follow it with a reprint of the other
volumes of the revised edition of Mr. Carlyle's works.

We trust, that, though the words "Author's Edition" are not found upon the
back of the title-page, it is not because the moral, if not legal rights
which the author possesses have been disregarded.



_The Mill on the Floss_. By GEORGE ELIOT, Author of "Scenes of Clerical
Life" and "Adam Bede." New York: Harper & Brothers.

It is not difficult to understand how the reader's attention may he
attracted and his interest retained by a romance of the old chivalrous days
whose very name and dim memory fill the mind with fascinating images, or by
a novel whose high-born characters claim sympathy for their dignified
sorrows and refined delights, or whose story is illuminated by the light of
artistic culture and adorned with gems of rhetoric and fine fancy; but it
is sometimes surprising to observe the favor which attends a simple tale of
humble, unobtrusive, we might almost say insignificant people, whose plane
of life appears nowhere to coincide with our own, and to whom romance and
passion seem entirely foreign. Such a tale was "Adam Bede," whose great
success as a literary venture hardly yet belongs to the chronicle of the
past; such a tale is also "The Mill on the Floss," by the author of "Adam
Bede," and such, we are confident, will also be its success.

Both books have many elements in common, but the second is the greater work
of art, and indicates more fairly the scope and vigor of the author's
mind. It is written in the same pure, hardy style, strong with Saxon words
that admit of no equivocation or misunderstanding; it is illustrated with
sketches of outward Nature and tranquil rural beauty, none the less vivid
or truthful that they are drawn with the pen rather than the brush; and it
is instinct with an honest, high-souled purpose. In these respects it
resembles "Adam Bede," but in others it surpasses its predecessor. It
displays a far keener insight into human passion, a subtler analysis of
motives and principles, and it suggests a mental and a moral philosophy
nobler in themselves and truer to humanity and religion. The pathos, too,
is more genuine; for it is not based upon the mere utterance of grief or of
entreaty,--which the eloquent and the artful may, indeed, feign,--but it is
found in that skilful combination of material circumstance and spiritual
influence which impresses upon the feeling, more than it proves to the
reason, that the hour of heart-break is at hand, and which depends less for
its effect upon the dramatic power of the imagination than upon the instant
sympathy of the soul.

The principal fault which will be found with "The Mill on the Floss," and
probably the only one, is, that the action moves too slowly and tamely in
the first three or four books, and that the author shows an undue
inclination to reflection and metaphysical digression. This will, indeed,
be a great objection to the superficial reader, who will impatiently regret
that the tedious growth of a miller's boy and girl should usurp so many
pages which might better have been filled with exciting incidents. But this
very elaboration, tardy and idle though it may seem, was necessary to the
completion of the author's plan, and--in our eyes--instead of being a
blemish upon a fair story, is one of its principal charms. On this very
account, however, the book will be less popular, and fewer persons will
admire it wholly; but, as thoughtful readers draw near to the end of the
narrative, and anxiously hasten on past trial, temptation, and conflict, to
the dreaded and yet inevitable downfall, muse mournfully over the agony and
remorse that follow, and slowly close the volume upon tender forgiveness
and final joy, they will be thankful for the far-seeing genius which, by
this gradual process of education, enabled them to understand clearly the
fateful scroll at last unfolded to them, and which, if they have read in
the true spirit, has made them wiser and better.



_Nugamenta; a Book of Verses_, By GEORGE EDWARD RICE. Boston: J. E. Tilton
& Co. 1860. pp. 146.

The author of this little volume modestly waives all claim to the title of
poet, and thus disarms severer criticism. His book, nevertheless, has the
merit of being lively and agreeable, which is more than can be said of many
more pretentious volumes of verse. His pieces are mostly of the kind called
verses of society, a variety whose range is all the way up from Concanen to
Horace. It is enough, if they are only passable; but good specimens are
easy and sprightly,--their philosophy not worldly precisely, but
man-of-the-worldly,--their morality an elegant Poor-Richardism,--their
poetry whatever may be reached by the fancy and understanding. Sometimes,
if the author have been lucky enough, like Béranger, to have enjoyed low
company, his verses will gather a richer tone, his wit will broaden into
humor, his sentiment deepen to hearty good-nature, and his worldliness
ripen into a genuine humanity.

To embody primeval sentiments, to deal with transcendent passions, and to
idealize those fatal moods by which not individuals merely, but races, are
possessed, those tidal ebbs and flows which, for want of a better name, we
call the Spirit of the Age,--this is a gift whose return among us we do not
look for with as much certainty as that of shad and salmon, but meanwhile
we are not too nice to be pleased with verses that express average thoughts
and feelings gracefully and with a dash of sentiment. It is a vast deal
wiser and better to express neatly, in language that is not alien to the
concerns of every day, feelings we have really had, than to maunder about
what we think we ought to have felt in a diction that has no more to do
with our ordinary habits of thought and expression than Monmouth with
Macedon. The contrast of matter and manner in much of our current verse is
such as to remind one of the notes which are sometimes sent to their
sweethearts by schoolboys, who cut their fingers (not too deep) that they
may asseverate the eternal constancy of the three-weeks'-vacation in that
solemn fluid proper to contracts with the Evil One.

It is pleasant to meet with one who is able to say a natural thing in a
natural way, as Mr. Rice has shown that he can do. There is a very
agreeable mingling of feeling and fun in his lighter pieces, rising into
real grace and lyric fancy in some of them, such as "New Year's Eve" and
"The Revisit."



_A Voyage down the Amoor; with a Land Journey through Siberia, and
Incidental Notices of Manchooria, Kamschatka, and Japan._ By PERRY
McDONOUGH COLLINS, United States Commercial Agent at the Amoor River, New
York: D. Appleton & Co. 1860. pp. 390.

This is a very amusing book. The introductory part of it, in which the
author recounts his adventures in Siberia before setting out on his
expedition down the Amoor, is full of bad taste, bad rhetoric, and bad
grammar. If we had read no farther, we should have thought that a more
unfit personage than this gentleman with the monumental name could not have
been chosen for any public service.

Mr. Perry McDonough Collins gives us the bill of fare of gentlemen's tables
at which he dined, tells us how much and what kinds of wine were "drank,"
and sometimes winds up his account of the feast with a compliment to the
"amiable and interesting" family of his host. Mr. Egouminoff's dinner, he
tells us, "was excellent, with several kinds of wine, closing with
Champagne. We had _also_ the pleasure of the company of Mrs. E. and her
daughter, and several other guests, besides a handsome widow." There is
something charmingly _naïf_ in thus throwing in the company as a
_succedaneum_ to the dinner, and carefully segregating the widow from the
rest of mankind as a distinct species.

Mr. Collins also reports for us carefully the orations he made on various
festive occasions,--a piece of very proper economy, since they were
delivered in English to an audience of Russians. He confesses that it is
not the custom to make after-dinner-speeches in Siberia, which proves that
the Russian Government has neglected at least one opportunity of adding to
the terrors of a Penal Colony. At one dinner he had the satisfaction of
making three of these terrible mistakes. He responds to the health of
General Mouravieff, Governor of the Province, to that of President
Buchanan, and to that of "our guests."  We should like to have been present
at this display, provided we could have been speech-proofed, like the
Russians in their ignorance of English. It was certainly a proud day for
America, and the bird of our country will be glad that the eloquence has
been carefully saved by Mr, Collins for the good of his compatriots.

After this multiloquent festival, the Siberian merchants, naturally
exasperated, seized upon Mr. Collins, and an unhappy countryman of his who
was present, and tossed them after the fashion of Sancho Panza. "This
sport," adds our traveller, gravely, "is called in Russian _podkeedovate_,
or tossing-up, and is considered a mark of great respect. General
Mouravieff told me, after our return, that he had had _podkeedovate_
performed upon him in the same room." The General must be something of a
humorist.

Mr. Collins, however, has a more astounding incident to relate than even
the respectful tossing-up of a general in the army and governor of Siberia
by a party of provincial shopkeepers. In returning from an excursion,
Mr. Collins had the ill-luck to lose a horse.

"The death of that horse," he says, "was
a singular circumstance. We were galloping
rapidiy and were approaching the station,
when the animal dropped as if struck by
lightning. We were in such rapid motion
upon the smooth ice of the river, that, though
several yards from the stopping-point, the
other horses kept on, dragging the dead horse,
nor did the driver attempt to stop them, but
seemed determined to reach the station at
full speed. As soon as we had stopped, I got
out and examined the body. It was as stiff
as a poker and stirred not a muscle, the
eyes being cold and glassy. _The fact is, the
horse must have been dead before he fell, and
his muscular action was kept up some time after
life had departed._" (p. 89.)

We do not remember to have met with a more wonderful example of the force
of habit.

After Mr. Collins is fairly embarked, however, on his voyage of
exploration, his book becomes more interesting. He shows himself a
thoroughly good-humored, observant, and intelligent traveller. If, in the
earlier pages of his journal, he is indiscreetly communicative as to the
good cheer he enjoyed, in the later ones he does not waste time in
grumbling at discomforts and lenten fare. He observes minutely and
describes well all that he sees along the great river,--the people, the
productions, the scenery, and the vegetation. He gives us a lively
impression of the capabilities of the country, and of the results which are
to follow the introduction of steam-navigation on the Amoor. Like a true
American, he believes in the manifest destiny of Russia, and looks forward
to the not distant time when, with a kind of retributive justice, the
Muscovite is to swallow up the Manchew, as Charles Lamb used to call
him. Already American merchants have established themselves at the mouth of
the Amoor, and, unless Mr. Collins is oversanguine, a great trade is to
spring up between the Californians and their opposite neighbors on the
eastern coast of Asia.

On the whole, we take leave of Mr. Collins with a feeling of decided esteem
for his genuine good qualities, and can safely commend his book as both
lively and instructive.



_Revolutions in English History_. By ROBERT VAUGHAN,
D.D. Vol. I. _Revolutions of Race_. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
1860. pp. xvi., 663.

We do not think that Dr. Vaughan has been happy in his choice of a title
for his book. It is more properly an introduction to the study of English
history, than the limitation of the title would seem to import. The Saxon
occupation of England is, perhaps, the only event which may fitly be called
a revolution of race. The volume, however, is a solid and sensible one. Dr.
Vaughan is not a brilliant writer; but brilliancy is not always the best
quality in an historian, for it as often leaves readers dazzled as
taught. A decidedly matter-of-fact turn of mind prevents his being a
theorist, so that he does not formulate characters and events in accordance
with some fixed preconception. His learning seems sometimes limited by what
was accessible to him at the least expense of study,--as, for example, in
his account of the religion of the Teutonic races, where he depends almost
altogether on Mallet. His style is generally clear and unpretending, never
remarkable for any rhetorical merit, sometimes disfigured by inaccuracies,
which, had they occurred in an American book, would have been attributed by
English critics to the low grade of our culture and civilization. In one
instance he is guilty of the barbarous cockneyism of using the word _party_
as an equivalent for _person_. He speaks of the Roman Wall as having been
kept _perpetually_ guarded when he means _constantly_, of border land as
"separating between" two races, and of ornaments made "from jet."

Though we do not find in Dr. Vaughan the fascinating qualities which we
have been spoiled into expecting by some recent English and French examples
of historical composition, we can give him the praise of being fair-minded,
sensible, and clear. If he anywhere shows prejudice, it is in his somewhat
depreciatory estimate of the Normans, whom he rather gratuitously supposes
to have acquired civilization and the love of art from the Saxons,--a
supposition at war with probability as well as fact. If anything
distinguished the Norman from the Saxon, it was his aptitude for
appreciating beauty as distinguished from use,--an aptitude on which French
influence could not have been lost before the Conquest of England. The
Normans in Sicily certainly had not had the advantage of Saxon training in
aesthetics, and the poetry and architecture of the Normans in England were
no reproduction of Saxon models.

But whatever deductions are to be made on the score of want of
picturesqueness in style, of generalizing power, and of that imagination
which sets before us dramatically the mutual interaction of men and events,
Dr. Vaughan's history will be found a useful and enlightened compendium of
the facts with which it deals.



_Fresh Hearts that failed Three Thousand Years Ago; with Other Things_. By
the Author of "The New Priest in Conception Bay." Boston: Ticknor & Fields.
1860. pp. 121.

In noticing the "New Priest," in a former number of the "ATLANTIC," we had
occasion to speak of the author's remarkable beauty and vigor of style, his
keen sense of the picturesque and imaginative aspects of outward Nature,
his comic power, and his original conception of character. At the same time
we could not but feel that a certain tendency to multiplicity of detail,
and a neglect of form or insensibility to it, hindered the book of that
direct and vigorous effect which its power and variety of resource would
otherwise have produced. Something of the same impression is made by the
present volume. There are glimpses in it of real genius, but it shows
itself generally here and there only, as the natural outcrop, seldom in the
bars and ingots which give proof of patient mining and smelting at
furnace-heat, still more seldom in the beautiful shapes of artistic
elaboration. Here, again, we find the same unborrowed feeling for outward
Nature and familiarity with her moods, the same poetic beauty of
expression, and in many of the pieces the same overcrowdedness, as if the
author would fain say all he could, instead of saying only what he could
not help.

There are some of the poems that do more justice to the abilities of the
author. In "The Year is Gone" there is great tenderness of sentiment and
grace of expression; "Love Disposed of" is a pretty fancy embodied with
true lyric feeling; but the poem which over crests all the others like a
decuman wave is "The Brave Old Ship, the Orient." It is a truly masculine
poem, full of vigor and imagination, and giving evidence of true original
power in the author. There is scarce a weak verse in it, and the measure
has a swing, at once easy and stately, like that of the sea itself. We know
not if we are right in conjecturing some hint of deeper meaning in the name
"Orient," but, taking it merely as a descriptive poem, it is one of the
finest of its kind. The writer's heart seems more in the work here than in
the devotional verses. We quote a single passage from it, which seems to us
particularly fine:--

"We scanned her well, as we drifted by:
A strange old ship, with her poop built high,
And with quarter-galleries wide,
And a huge beaked prow, as no ships are builded now,
And carvings all strange, beside:
A Byzantine bark, and a ship of name and mark
Long years and generations ago;
Ere any mast or yard of ours was growing hard
With the seasoning of long Norwegian snow.
       *       *       *       *       *
"Down her old black side poured the water in a tide,
As they toiled to get the better of a leak.
We had got a signal set in the shrouds,
And our men through the storm looked on in crowds:
But for wind, we were near enough to speak.
It seemed her sea and sky were in times long, long gone by,
That we read in winter-evens about;
As if to other stars
She had reared her old-world spars,
And her hull had kept an old-time ocean out."



_Hester, the Bride of the Islands_. A Poem. By SYLVESTER
B. BECKETT. Portland: Bailey & Noyes.

Mr. Beckett is evidently an admirer of Walter Scott; and it is not the
least remarkable fact in connection with "Hester," that an author with the
good sense to propose to himself such a model, disregarding the more
elaborate poets of a later date, should have proved himself so utterly
unable to follow that model, except in a few phrases, which were quite
appropriate as Scott used them, but are ludicrously out of place in his own
verse. In adopting the brief lines and irregularly recurring rhymes of
Scott, he has taken a hazardous step. The curt lines are excellent with Sir
Walter's liveliness and dash; but when dull commonplaces are to be written,
their feebleness would be more decorously concealed by a longer and more
conventional dress. The cutty sark, so appropriate when displaying the
free, vigorous stops of Maggie Lauder, is not to be worn by every
lackadaisical lady's-maid of a muse. In the moral reflections, with which
"Hester" abounds, there is a most comical imitation of Scott,--as if the
poem were written as a parody of "The Lady of the Lake," by
Mrs. Southworth, or Sylvanus Cobb, Junior.

Mr. Beckett closes some very singular stanzas, entitled an Introduction,
with the following lines:--

"Give it praise, or blame,
Or pass it without comment, as may seem
To you most meet; with me 'tis all the same.
I hymn because I must, and not for greed of fame."

These lines incline us at first to let Mr. Beckett "pass without comment,"
considering, that, as he says, he cannot help writing; but we are finally
decided to observe him more closely, inasmuch as he says it makes no
difference to him, thus relieving us of the dreadful fear of wantonly
crushing some delicate John Keats (always supposing we had him) by our
severe censure.

Instead of entering into a philosophical examination of "Hester," we shall
present some specimen pearls, making our first extract from the 21st
page:--

"The very desert would have smiled
  In such a presence! yet despite
Her dimpled cheek, her soft blue eye,
  Her voice so fraught with music's thrill,
The shrewd observer might espy
  The traces therein of a will
That scorned restraint, the soul of fire
  That slumbered in her tacit sire."

"The traces therein." Wherein? Not in the cheek, eye, or voice, clearly;
for it was "despite" all these that he would make the discovery,--they are
obstacles, entirely outside of the success. It is necessarily, then, in the
"presence," in which the unthinking desert would have smiled unsuspecting,
but in which "the shrewd observer might espy" a good deal that was ominous
of trouble. Now it is obvious that the writer intended to refer "therein"
to the cheek, eye, and voice, a reference from which he barred himself by
the word "despite." As it happens, luckily for him, there is a word to
refer to, so that his grammatical salvation is secured; but the result is
sad nonsense.

Page 23,--

"Indeed, it was their chief delight,
When combed the far seas feather-white,
To steer out on the roughening bay
With leaning prow and flying spray,
_And gunnel ready to submerge
Itself beneath the flaming surge_!"

Page 28,--

          "nor gave
He heed to aught on land or wave;
As if some kyanized regret
  Were in his heart," etc., etc.

"Kyanized regret" is good, as Polonius would say; but we would humbly
suggest that Mr. Beckett substitute, in his next edition, "Burnettized," as
even better, if that be possible.

Page 72,--

          "in hope, perchance
(Like arrant knight of old romance),
That _some complacent circumstance
Would end her curiosity_."

Page 94,--

"Thereafter, she but knew the charm
Of resting on her lover's arm,
And listening to his voice elate,
As he betimes _went on to state
The phases in his own strange fate,
Since last they met_."

Page 100.--Speaking of "those of
thoughtful mood," he says,--

"With whom I oft have whiled away
  The dusky hour upon the deep,
  Which most men wisely give to sleep."

There is in this last line a dark, grim, sardonic appreciation of the
advantages which common minds have over those that, like the poet's own,
have to endure the splendid miseries of genius,--a dark moodiness, like
that of a tame Byron remorsefully recalling a wild debauch upon green
tea,--that is deliciously funny.

Page 230.--The heroine, who is less
poetical by far than her rough servitor,
says,--

"Carl! not for all the golden sand
Of famed Pactolus, would I hurt
Thy feelings; _'tis my wont to blurt_
My humour thus."

Page 298.--The hero, who is hardly
more romantic than the heroine, has married
his own sister:--

"Lord Hubart gazed with steady eye
And arms still folded, on old Carl--
'Here is, i' faith, a pretty snarl
To be unwound'--but his reply
Was cut short," etc., etc.

In fact, the great objection to Lord Hubart, as may be inferred from the
above-quoted passage, is, that he is hopelessly vulgar. We are loath to say
so, because of our respect for English aristocracy; but English
aristocracy, truth compels us to observe, cuts no great figure on our
American stage or in our American literature.

In short, this is a very silly book. It abounds in trite moralizing, for
instances of which we will merely refer the reader to pp. 65, 131, and
299. The author remarks exultingly, in his Introduction, that his is
comparatively an uncultivated mind, We can only say, we should think so!
Ignorance is plentiful everywhere, but it really seems as if it were
reserved for some of our American writers to display in its finest
specimens ignorance vaunting its own deficiencies. There is a great deal of
nonsense talked about "uncultivated minds": some men are eminent in spite
of being uncultivated; but no man was ever eminent because he was
uncultivated. Some instances of a lamentable misuse of language in "Hester"
we give below.

Page 16,--

"They would have won implicit sway."

Page 53,--
          "By the nonce!"

Evidently thinking of the phrase, "for the nonce,"--meaning, for the
occasion. In the text, "by the nonce" is an oath!

Page 71,--

"And he some squire of low behest."

Page 221,--

          "and when is won
At last the longed-for rubicon."

Page 256,--the use of the word "denizens."

Page 262,--

"None may their evil doing shirk!
 That wrong, in any shape, will bring,
 Or soon or late, its _meted sting_."

Page 313,--

"as gnats, which sometimes sting
 Their life away when rankled."

Another fault is the senseless use of certain words and phrases, which a
good writer uses only when he must, Mr. Beckett always when he can. We give
without comment a mere list of these:--maugre, 'sdeath, eke, erst, deft,
romaunt, pleasaunce, certes, whilom, distraught, quotha, good lack,
well-a-day, vermeil, perchance, hight, wight, lea, wist, list, sheen, anon,
gliff, astrolt, what boots it? malfortunes, ween, God wot, I trow, emprise,
duress, donjon, puissant, sooth, rock, bruit, ken, eld, o'ersprent, etc. Of
course, such a word as "lady" is made to do good service, and "ye" asserts
its well-known superiority to "you." All this the author evidently
considers highly meritorious, although the words are entirely unsuitable.
His notion seems to be, that these are poetical words, and the way to write
poetry is to take all the exclusively poetical words you can find. The
occasional attempt to make his verses familiar and natural by the use of
such abbreviations as "I've" or "can't" is as much a failure as the effort
of an awkward man in a ball-room to make everybody think him at his ease by
forcing an unhappy smile and a look of preternatural buoyancy.

From the beginning to the end of "Hester," there is one unerring indication
of an uncultivated mind and an unpractised pen. This is the writer's
fondness for well-worn phrases, which authors of a severer taste have long
discarded as suited only to the newspapers, but which Mr. Beckett has
picked up with eager delight, and, having distributed them liberally
throughout the poem, contemplates with a complacency to be matched only by
his satisfaction with the success of his expedients for filling out his
rhymes, some of which are certainly ingenious and startling,

The plot is a jumble of improbabilities, to which we would gladly attend,
for it passes even the liberal bounds of poetic license, but we have
already spent all the time we can upon the New Poem, and we must decline
(in Mr. Beckett's own impressive language) any further "to distend the
title."

       *       *       *       *       *



NOTE

TO THE ARTICLE ON "MODEL LODGING-HOUSES IN BOSTON."


Although the proposed act establishing a Sanitary Commission for the City
of New York was defeated in the last State Legislature, some of its
provisions were engrafted on a bill passed on the nineteenth of April,
amending a previous "Act to establish a Metropolitan Police District, and
to provide for the Government thereof."

By article 51 of this new act it is made the duty of the Board of
Metropolitan Police to set apart a Sanitary Police Company, which by
article 52 is empowered "to take all necessary legal measures for promoting
the security of life or health," upon or in boats, manufactories, houses,
and edifices. Article 53 gives power to the board to cause any
tenement-house to be cleansed at any time after three days' notice, and
provides means for meeting the expense of this and other similar
operations.

These powers may, perhaps, if wisely exercised, secure a great improvement
in the health of the city. We trust that the duties imposed by them will be
thoroughly and efficiently performed, and we are gratified to see that a
good beginning has already been made; but our regret is not diminished that
the more complete proposed Sanitary Act failed to pass.

The annual report on "The Sanitary Condition of the City of London" has
just been published. By this report it appears, that, during the year
ending on the 31st of March, 1860, the rate of mortality in London was 22.4
per thousand of the population, or 1 in 44; in all England, the average
rate is 22.3; in country districts it is only 20; in the large towns,
26. "Ten years ago," says Dr. Letheby, the author of the report from which
we quote, "the annual mortality of the city was rarely less than 25 in the
thousand.....Our present condition is 19 per cent. better than that, and we
owe it to the sanitary labors of the last ten years." In another part of
the report he says,--"7233 inspections of houses have been made in the
course of the year, of which 803 were of the common lodging-houses, and 935
orders have been issued for sanitary improvement in various particulars."

Compare these facts with those given in our article concerning the rate of
mortality in our cities. The spirit of emulation, if no other, should force
us into energetic measures of reform. Boston with a death-rate of 1 in 41,
New York of 1 in 27, and London of 1 in 44!

       *       *       *       *       *



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