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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 30, April, 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. 30, April, 1860 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. V.--APRIL, 1860--NO. XXX.



THE LAWS OF BEAUTY.


The fatal mistake of many inquirers concerning the line of beauty has
been, that they have sought in that which is outward for that which is
within. Beauty, perceived only by the mind, and, so far as we have any
direct proof, perceived by man alone of all the animals, must be an
expression of intelligence, the work of mind. It cannot spring from
anything purely accidental; it does not arise from material, but from
spiritual forces. That the outline of a figure, and its surface, are
capable of expressing the emotions of the mind is manifest from the art
of the sculptor, which represents in cold, colorless marble the varied
expressions of living faces,--or from the art of the engraver, who, by
simple outlines, can soothe you with a swelling lowland landscape, or
brace you with the cool air of the mountains.

Now the highest beauty is doubtless that which expresses the noblest
emotion. A face that shines, like that of Moses, from communion with
the Highest, is more truly beautiful than the most faultless features
without moral expression. But there is a beauty which does not reveal
emotion, but only thought,--a beauty which consists simply in the form,
and which is admired for its form alone.

Let us, for the present, confine our attention to this most limited
species of beauty,--the beauty of configuration only.

This beauty of mere outline has, by some celebrated writers, been
resolved into some certain curved line, or line of beauty; by others
into numerical proportion of dimensions; and again by others into early
pleasing associations with curvilinear forms. But, if we look at the
subject in an intellectual light, we shall find a better explanation.
Forms are the embodiment of thought or law. For the common eye they
must be embodied in material shape; while to the geometer and the
artist, they may be so distinctly shadowed forth in conception as to
need no material figure to render their beauty appreciable. Now this
embodiment, or this conception, in all cases, demands some law in the
mind, by which it is conceived or made; and we must look at the nature
of this law, in order to approach more nearly to understanding the
nature of beauty.

We are thus led, through our search for beauty, into the temple of
Geometry, the most ancient and venerable of sciences. From her oracles
alone can we learn the generation of beauty, so far as it consists in
form alone.

Maupertuis' law of the least action is not simply a mechanical, but it
is a universal axiom. The Divine Being does all things with the least
possible expenditure of force; and all hearts and all minds honor men
in proportion as they approach to this divine economy. As gracefulness
in motion consists in moving with the least waste of muscular power, so
elegance in intellectual and literary exertions arises from the ease
with which their achievements are accomplished. We seek in all things
simplicity and unity. In Nature we have faith that there is such unity,
even in the midst of the wildest diversity. We honor intellectual
conceptions in proportion to the greatness of their consequences and to
the simplicity of their assumptions. Laws of form are beautiful in
proportion to their simplicity and to the variety which they can
comprise in unity. The beauty of forms themselves is in proportion to
the simplicity of their law and to the variety of their outline.

This last sentence we regard as the fundamental canon concerning
beauty,--governing, with a slight change of terms, beauty in all its
departments.

Beginning with the fundamental division of figures into curvilinear and
rectilinear, this _dictum_ decides, that, in general, a curved outline
is more beautiful than a right-lined figure. For a straight-lined
figure necessarily requires at least half as many laws as it has sides,
while a curvilinear outline requires, in general, but a single law. In
a true curve, every point in the whole line (or surface) is subject to
one and the same law of position. Thus, in the circle, every point of
the circumference is subject to one and the same law,--that it must be
at a certain distance from the centre. Half a dozen other laws, equally
simple, might be named, which in like manner govern every point in the
circumference of a circle: for instance, the curve bends at every point
by a certain fixed but infinitesimal amount, just enough to make the
adjacent points to be equally near the centre. Or, to take another
example, every point of the elastic curve, that is, of the curve in
which a spring of uniform stiffness can be bent by a force applied at
the ends of the spring, is subject to this very simple law, that the
curve bends in exact proportion to its distance from a certain straight
line. Now a straight line, or a plane, is by this definition a curve,
since every point in it is subject to one and the same law of position.
A plane may, indeed, be considered a part of any curved surface you
please, if you only take that surface on a sufficiently large scale.
Thus, the surface of water conforms to the surface of a sphere eight
thousand miles in diameter; but, as the arc of such a circle would arch
up from a chord ten feet long by only the ten-millionth part of an
inch, the surface of water in a cistern may be considered a plane. But
no figure or outline can be composed of a single plane or a single
straight line; nor can the position of more than two straight lines,
not parallel, be defined by a single simple law of position of the
points in them. We may, therefore, regard it as the first deduction
from our fundamental canon, that figures with curving outline are in
general more beautiful than those composed of straight lines. The laws
of their formation are simpler, and the eye, sweeping round the
outline, feels the ease and gracefulness of the motion, recognizes the
simplicity of the law by which it is guided, and is pleased with the
result.

Our second deduction relates principally to rectilinear figures; it is,
that symmetry is in general, and particularly in rectilinear figures,
more beautiful than irregularity. It requires, in general, simpler laws
to produce symmetry than to produce what is unsymmetrical; since the
corresponding parts in a symmetrical figure are instinctively
recognized as flowing from one and the same law. This preference for
symmetry is, however, frequently subordinated to higher demands of the
fundamental canon. If the outline be rectilineal, simplicity of law
produces symmetry, and variety of result can be attained only at the
expense of simplicity in the law. But in curved outlines it frequently
happens, that, with equally simple laws, we can obtain much greater
variety by dispensing with symmetry; and then, by the canon, we thus
obtain the higher beauty.

The question may be asked, In what way does this canon decide the
question, of proportions? Which of the two rectangles is, according to
this _dictum_, more beautiful, that in which the sides are in simple
ratio, or that in which the angles made with the sides by a diagonal
are in such ratio?--that, for instance, in which the shorter side is
three-fifths of the longer, or that in which the shorter side is five
hundred and seventy-seven thousandths of the longer? Our own view was
formerly in favor of a simple ratio between the sides; but experiments
have convinced us that persons of good taste, and who have never been
prejudiced by reading Hay's ingenious speculations, do nevertheless
agree in preferring rectangles and ellipses which fulfil his law of
simple ratio between the angles made by the diagonal. We acknowledge
that we have not brought this result under the canon, but look upon it
as indicating the necessity of another canon to somewhat this
effect,--that in the laws of form direction is a more important element
than distance.

We have said that a curved line is one in which every point is subject
to one and the same law of position. Now it may be easily proved, that,
in a series of points in a plane, each of which fulfils one and the
same condition of position, any three, if taken sufficiently near each
other, lie in one straight line. A fourth point near the third lies,
then, in a straight line with the second and third,--a fifth with the
third and fourth, and so on. The whole series of points must, in short,
form a line. But it may also be easily proved that any four of these
points, taken sufficiently near each other, lie in the arc of a circle.
How strange the paradox to which we are thus led! Every law of a curve,
however simple, leads to the same conclusion; a curve must bend at
every point, and yet not bend at any point; it must be nowhere a
straight line, and yet be a straight line at every part. The
blacksmith, passing an iron bar between three rollers to make a tire
for a wheel, bends every part of it infinitely little, so that the
bending shall not be perceptible at any one spot, and shall yet in the
whole length arch the tire to a full circle. It may be that in this
paradox lies an additional charm of the curved outline. The eye is
pleased to find itself deceived, lured insensibly round into a line
running in a different direction from that on which it started.

The simplest law of position for a point would be, either to have it in
a given direction from a given point,--a law which would manifestly
generate a straight line,--or else to have it at a given distance from
the given point, which would generate the surface of a sphere, the
outline of which is the circumference of a circle. The straight line
fulfils part of the conditions of beauty demanded by the first canon,
but not the whole,--it has no variety, and must be combined in order to
produce a large effect. The simplest combination of straight lines is
in parallels, and this is its usual combination in works of Art. The
circle also fulfils but imperfectly the demands of the fundamental
canon. It is the simplest of all curves, and the standard or measure of
curvature,--vastly more simple in its laws than any rectilineal figure,
and therefore more beautiful than any simple figure of that kind. There
is, however, a sort of monotony in its beauty,--it has no variety of
parts.

The outline of a sphere, projected by the beholder against any plane
surface behind it, is a circle only when a perpendicular, let fall on
the plane from the eye, passes through the centre of the sphere. In
other positions the projection of the sphere becomes an ellipse, or one
of its varieties, the parabola and hyperbola. The parabola is the
boundary of the projection of a sphere upon a plane, when the eye is
just as far from the plane as the outer edge of the sphere is, and the
hyperbola is a similar curve formed by bringing the eye still nearer to
the plane.

By these metamorphoses the circle loses much of its monotony, without
losing much of its simplicity. The law of the projection of a sphere
upon a plane is simple, in whatever position the plane may be. And if
we seek a law for the ellipse, or either of the conic sections, which
shall confine our attention to the plane, the laws remain simple. There
are for these curves two centres, which come together for the circle,
and recede to an infinite distance for the parabola; and the simple law
of their formation is, that the curve everywhere makes equal angles
with the lines drawn to these two centres. According to the fundamental
canon, a conic section should be a beautiful curve; and the proof that
it is so is to be found in the attention which these curves have always
drawn upon themselves from artists and from mathematicians. Plato,
equally great in mathematics and in metaphysics, is said to have been
the first to investigate the properties of the ellipse. For about a
century and a half, to the time of Apollonius, the beauty of this
curve, and of its variations, the parabola and hyperbola, so fascinated
the minds of Plato's followers, that Apollonius found theorems and
problems relating to these figures sufficient to fill eight books with
condensed truths concerning them. The study of the conic sections has
been a part of polite learning from his day downward. All men confess
their beauty, which so entrances those of mathematical genius as
entirely to absorb them. For eighteen centuries the finest spirits of
our race drew some of their best means of intellectual discipline from
the study of the ellipse. Then came a new era in the history of this
curve. Hitherto it had been an abstract form, a geometrical
speculation. But Kepler, by some fortunate guess, was led to examine
whether the orbits of the planets might not be elliptical, and, lo! it
was found that this curve, whose beauty had so fascinated so many men
for so many ages, had been deemed by the great Architect of the Heavens
beautiful enough to introduce into Nature on the grandest scale; the
morning stars had been for countless ages tracing diagrams beforehand
in illustration of Apollonius's conic sections. It seemed that this
must have been the design of Providence in leading Plato and his
followers to investigate the ellipse, that Kepler might be prepared to
guide men to a knowledge of the movements of the heavenly bodies.
"And," said Kepler, "if the Creator has waited so many years for an
observer, I may wait a century for a reader." But in less than a
century a reader arose in the person of the English Newton. The ellipse
again appeared in human history, playing a no less important part than
before. For, as it was only by a profound knowledge of ellipses that
Kepler could establish his three beautiful facts with regard to the
motions of the planets, so also was it only through a still more
perfect and intimate acquaintance with the minute peculiarities of that
curve that Sir Isaac Newton could demonstrate that these three facts
were perfectly accounted for only by his theory of universal
gravitation,--the most beautiful theory ever devised, and the most
firmly established of all scientific hypotheses. If the ellipse, as a
simply geometrical speculation, has had so much power in the education
of the race, what are the intellectual relations of its beauty through
its connection with astronomy? Who can estimate the influence which
this oldest of physical sciences has had upon human destiny? Who can
tell how much intellectual life and self-reliance, how much also of
humility and reverential awe, how much adoration of Divine Wisdom, have
been gained by man through his study of these heavenly diagrams, marked
out by the sun and the moon, by the planets and the comets, upon the
tablets of the sky? Yet, without the ellipse, without the conic
sections of Plato and Apollonius, astronomy would have been to this day
a sealed science, and the labors of Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Tycho, and
Copernicus would have waited in vain for the genius of Kepler and of
Newton to educe divine order from the seeming chaos of motions.

But the obligations of man to the ellipse do not end here. The
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also owe it a debt of gratitude.
Even where the knowledge of conic sections does not enter as a direct
component of that analytical power which was the glory of a Lagrange, a
Laplace, and a Gauss, and which is the glory of a Leverrier, a Peirce,
and their companions in science, it serves as a part of the necessary
scaffolding by which that skill is attained,--of the necessary
discipline by which their power was exercised and made available for
the solution of the great problems of astronomy, optics, and
thermotics, which have been solved in our century.

There is another curve, generated by a simple law from a circle, which
has played an important part at various epochs in the intellectual
history of our race. A spot on the tire of a wheel running on a
straight, level road, will describe in the air a series of peculiar
arches, called the cycloid. The law of its formation is simple; the law
of its curvature is also simple. The path in which the spot moves
curves exactly in proportion to its nearness to the lowest point of the
wheel. By the simplicity of its law, it ought, according to the canon,
to be a beautiful curve. Now, although artists have not shown any
admiration for the cycloid, as they have for the ellipse, yet the
mathematicians have gazed upon it with great eagerness, and found it
rich in intellectual treasures. Chasles, in his History, says that the
cycloid interweaves itself with all the great discoveries of the
seventeenth century.

A curve which fulfils more perfectly the demands of our _dictum_ is
that of an elastic thread, to which we have already alluded. If the two
ends of a straight steel hair be brought towards each other by simple
pressure, the intervening spring may be put into a series of various
forms,--simple undulations, and those more complicated, a figure 8,
loops turning alternately opposite ways, loops turning all one way, and
finally a circle. Now the whole of this variety is the result of
subjecting each part of the curve to a law more simple than that of the
cycloid. The elastic curve is a curve which bends or curves exactly in
proportion to its distance from a given straight line. According to the
canon, therefore, this curve should be beautiful; and it is
acknowledged to be so in the examples given by the bending osier and
the waving grain,--also by the few who have seen full drawings of all
the forms. And the mathematician finds in it a new beauty, from its
marvellous correspondence with the motions of a pendulum,--the
algebraic expression of the two being identical.

The forms of organic life afford, however, the best examples of the
dominion of our fundamental canon. The infinite variety of vegetable
forms, all beautiful, and each one different in its beauty, is all the
result of simple laws. It is true that these simple laws are not as yet
all discovered; but the one great discovery of Phyllotaxis, which shows
that all plants follow one law in the arrangement of their leaves upon
the stem, thereby intimates in unmistakable language the simplicity and
unity of all organic vegetable laws; and a similar assurance is given
by the morphological reduction of all parts to a metamorphosed leaf.

The law of phyllotaxis, like that of the elastic curve, is carried out
in time as well as in space. As the formula for the elastic curve is
the same as that for the pendulum, so the law by which the spaces of
the leaves are divided in scattering them round the stem, to give each
its opportunity for light and air, is the same as that by which the
times of the planets are proportioned to keep them scattered about the
sun, and prevent them from gathering on one side of their central orb.

The forms of plants and trees are dependent upon the arrangement of the
branches, and the arrangement of the branches depends upon that of the
buds or leaves. The leaves are arranged by this numerical law,--that
the angular distance about the stem between two successive leaves shall
be in such ratio to the whole circumference as may be expressed by a
continued fraction composed wholly of the figure 1. It is, then, true,
that all the beauty of the vegetable world which depends on the
arrangement of parts--the graceful symmetry or more graceful apparent
disregard of symmetry in the general form of plants, all the charm of
the varying forms of forest trees, which adds such loveliness to the
winter landscape, and such a refined source of pleasure to the
exhilaration of the winter morning walk--is the result of the simplest
variations in a simple numerical law; and is thus clearly brought under
our fundamental canon. It is the perception of this unity in diversity,
of this similarity of plan, for instance, in all tree-like forms,
however diverse,--the sprig of mignonette, the rose-bush, the fir, the
cedar, the fan-shaped elm, the oval rock-maple, the columnar hickory,
the dense and slender shaft of the poplar,--which charms the eye of
those who have never heard in what algebraic or arithmetical terms this
unity may be defined, in what geometrical or architectural figures this
diversity may be expressed.

When we look at the animal kingdom, we recognize there also the
presence of simple, all-pervading laws. The four great types of animal
structures are readily discerned by the dullest eye: no man fails to
see the likeness among all vertebrates, or the likeness among all
articulates, the likeness among alt mollusks, or the likeness among all
radiates. These four types show, moreover, a certain unity, even to the
untaught eye: we call them all by one name, animals, and feel that
there is a likeness between them deeper than the widest differences in
their structure; there are analogies where there are not homologies.

The difference between the four types of animals is marked at a very
early period in the embryo,--the embryo taking one of four different
forms, according to the department to which it belongs; and Peirce has
shown that these four forms are all embodiments of one single law of
position. If, then, one single algebraic law of form includes the four
diverse forms of the four great branches of the animal kingdom, is it
extravagant to suppose that the diversities in each branch are also
capable of being included in simple generalizations of form? Is it
unreasonable to believe that the exceeding beauty of animated forms,
and of the highest, the human form, arises from the fact that these
forms are the result of some simple intellectual law, a simple
conception of the Divine Geometer, assuming varied developments in the
great series of animated beings? It is the unity of the form, arising
from the simplicity of its law, and the multiplicity of its
manifestations or details, arising from the generality of its law,
that, intuitively perceived by the eye, although the intellect may not
apprehend them, give the charm to the figures of the animate creation.

The subject, even in the narrow limits which we have imposed upon
ourselves, would admit of a much longer discussion. The various animals
might, for instance, be compared with each other, and the beauty of the
most beautiful could be clearly shown to be owing to the greater
variety in the outline, or the greater variety of position, which they
included in equal unity of general effect. And should we step outside
the bounds which we have prescribed to ourselves, we should find that
in other things than questions of mere form the general canon holds
true, that laws produce beauty in proportion to their own simplicity
and to the variety of their effects. As a single example, take the most
beautiful of the fine arts, the art which is free from the laws of
space, and subject only to those of time, and in which, therefore, we
find a beauty removed as far as possible from that of curvilinear
outlines. How exceedingly simple are the fundamental laws of music, of
simple rhythm and simple harmony yet how infinitely varied, and how
inexpressibly touching are its effects! In studying music as a mere
matter of intellectual science, all is simple; it is only an easy
chapter in acoustics. But in studying it on the side of the emotions,
in studying the laws of counterpoint and of musical form, which are
governed by the effect upon the ear and the heart, we find intricacy
and difficulties, increased beyond our power of understanding.

So in the harmony of the spheres, in the varied beauty which clothes
the earth and pervades the heavens, in the beauty which addresses
itself to eye and ear, and in the beauty which addresses only the
inward sense,--the harmonious arrangements of the social world, and the
adjustment of domestic, civil, and political relations,--there is an
infinite diversity of result, infinitely varied in its effect upon the
observer. But could we behold the Kosmos as it is beheld by its
Creator, we should perchance find the whole encyclopedia of our science
resting upon a few great, but simple laws; we should see that the whole
universe, in all its infinite complication, is the fulfilment of
perhaps a single simple thought of the Divine Mind, and that it is this
unity pervading the diversity which makes it the Kosmos, Beauty.



FOUND AND LOST.

And he sold his birth-right unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and
pottage of lentiles.

GEN. xxv. 33, 34.


......So! I let fall the curtain; he was dead. For at least half an
hour I had stood there with the manuscript in my hand, watching that
face settling in its last stillness, watching the finger of the
Composer smoothing out the deeply furrowed lines on cheek and
forehead,--the faint recollection of the light that had perhaps burned
behind his childish eyes struggling up through the swarthy cheek, as if
to clear the last world's-dust from the atmosphere surrounding the man
who had just refound his youth. His head rested on his hand,--and so
satisfied and content was his quiet attitude, that he looked as if
resting from a long, wearisome piece of work he was glad to have
finished. I don't know how it was, but I thought, oddly enough, in
connection with him, of a little school-fellow of mine years ago, who
one day, in his eagerness to prove that he could jump farther than some
of his companions, upset an ink-stand over his prize essay, and,
overcome with mortification, disappointment, and vexation, burst into
tears, hastily scratched his name from the list of competitors, and
then rushed out of doors to tear his ruined essay into fragments; and
we found him that afternoon lying on the grass, with his head on his
hand, just as he lay now, having sobbed himself to sleep.

I dropped the curtains of the bed, drew those of the window more
closely, to exclude the shrill winter wind that was blowing the slant
sleet against the clattering window-panes, broke up the lump of cannel
coal in the grate into a bright blaze that subsided into a warm, steady
glow of heat and light, drew an arm-chair and a little table up to the
cheerful fire, and sat down to read the manuscript which the quiet man
behind the curtains had given me. Why shouldn't I (I was his physician)
make myself as comfortable as was possible at two o'clock of a stormy
winter night, in a house that contained but two persons beside my
German patient,--a half-stupid serving-man, doubtless already asleep
down-stairs, and myself? This is what I read that night, with the
comfortable fire on one side, and Death, holding strange colloquy with
the fitful, screaming, moaning wind, on the other.

As I wish simply to relate what has happened to me, (thus the
manuscript began,) what I attempted, in what I sinned, and how I
failed, I deem no introduction or genealogies necessary to the first
part of my life. I was an only child of parents who were passionately
fond of me,--the more, perhaps, because an accident that had happened
to me in my childhood rendered me for some years a partial invalid. One
day, (I was about five years old then,) a gentleman paid a visit to my
father, riding a splendid Arabian horse. Upon dismounting, he tied the
horse near the steps of the piazza instead of the horseblock, so that I
found I was just upon the level with the stirrup, standing at a certain
elevation. Half as an experiment, to try whether I could touch the
horse without his starting, I managed to get my foot into the stirrup,
and so mounted upon his back. The horse, feeling the light burden, did
start, broke from his fastening, and sped away with me on his back at
the top of his speed. He ran several miles without stopping, and
finished by pitching me off his back upon the ground, in leaping a
fence. This fall produced some disease of the spine, which clung to me
till I was twelve years old, when it was almost miraculously cured by
an itinerant Arab physician. He was generally pronounced to be a quack,
but he certainly effected many wonderful cures, mine among others.

I had always been an imaginative child; and my long-continued sedentary
life compelling me (a welcome compulsion) to reading as my chief
occupation and amusement, I acquired much knowledge beyond my years.

My reading generally had one peculiar tone: a certain kind of mystery
was an essential ingredient in the fascination that books which I
considered interesting had for me. My earliest fairy tales were not
those unexciting stories in which the good genius appears at the
beginning of the book, endowing the hero with such an invincible
talisman that suspense is banished from the reader's mind, too well
enabled to foresee the triumph at the end; but stories of long, painful
quests after hidden treasure,--mysterious enchantments thrown around
certain persons by witch or wizard, drawing the subject in charmed
circles nearer and nearer to his royal or ruinous destiny,--strange
spells cast upon bewitched houses or places, that could be removed only
by the one hand appointed by Fate. So I pored over the misty legends of
the San Grail, and the sweet story of "The Sleeping Beauty," as my
first literature; and as the rough years of practical boyhood trooped
up to elbow my dreaming childhood out of existence, I fed the same
hunger for the hidden and mysterious with Detective-Police stories,
Captain Kidd's voyages, and wild tales of wrecks on the Spanish Main,
of those vessels of fabulous wealth that strewed the deep sea's lap
with gems (so the stories ran) of lustre almost rare enough to light
the paths to their secret hiding-places.

But in the last year of my captivity as an invalid a new pleasure fell
into my hands. I discovered my first book of travels in my father's
library, and as with a magical key unlocked the gate of an enchanted
realm of wondrous and ceaseless beauty. It was Sir John Mandeville who
introduced me to this field of exhaustless delight; not a very
trustworthy guide, it must be confessed,--but my knowledge at that time
was too limited to check the boundless faith I reposed in his
narrative. It was such an astonishment to discover that men,
black-coated and black-trousered men, such as I saw in crowds every day
in the street from my sofa-corner, (we had moved to the city shortly
after my accident,) had actually broken away from that steady stream of
people, and had traversed countries as wild and unknown as the lands in
the Nibelungen Lied, that my respect for the race rose amazingly. I
scanned eagerly the sleek, complacent faces of the portly burghers, or
those of the threadbare schoolmasters, thinned like carving-knives by
perpetual sharpening on the steel of Latin syntax, in search of men who
could have dared the ghastly terrors of the North with Ross or Parry,
or the scorching jungles of the Equator with Burckhardt and Park. Cut
off for so long a time from actual contact with the outside world, I
could better imagine the brooding stillness of the Great Desert, I
could more easily picture the weird ice-palaces of the Pole, waiting,
waiting forever in awful state, like the deserted halls of the Walhalla
for their slain gods to return, than many of the common street-scenes
in my own city, which I had only vaguely heard mentioned.

I followed the footsteps of the Great Seekers over the wastes, the
untrodden paths of the world; I tracked Columbus across the pathless
Atlantic,--heard, with Balboa, the "wave of the loud-roaring ocean
break upon the long shore, and the vast sea of the Pacific forever
crash on the beach,"--gazed with Cortés on the temples of the Sun in
the startling Mexican empire,--or wandered with Pizarro through the
silver-lined palaces of Peru. But a secret affection drew me to the
mysterious regions of the East and South,--towards Arabia, the wild
Ishmael bequeathing sworded Korans and subtile Aristotles as legacies
to the sons of the freed-woman,--to solemn Egypt, riddle of nations,
the vast, silent, impenetrable mystery of the world. By continual
pondering over the footsteps of the Seekers, the Sought-for seemed to
grow to vast proportions, and the Found to shrink to inappreciable
littleness. For me, over the dreary ice-plains of the Poles, over the
profound bosom of Africa, the far-stretching steppes of Asia, and the
rocky wilds of America, a great silence brooded, and in the unexplored
void faint footfalls could be heard here and there, threading their way
in the darkness. But while the longing to plunge, myself, into these
dim regions of expectation grew more intense each day, the
prison-chains that had always bound me still kept their habitual hold
upon me, even after my recovery. I dreamt not of making even the
vaguest plans for undertaking explorations myself. So I read and
dreamt, filling my room with wild African or monotonous Egyptian
scenery, until I was almost weaned from ordinary Occidental life.

I passed four blissful years In this happy dream-life, and then it was
abruptly brought to an end by the death of my father and mother almost
simultaneously by an epidemic fever prevailing in the neighborhood. I
was away from home at a bachelor uncle's at the time, and so was
unexpectedly thrown on his hands, an orphan, penniless, except in the
possession of the small house my father had owned in the country before
our removal to the city, and to be provided for.

My uncle placed me in a mercantile house to learn business, and, after
exercising some slight supervision over me a few months, left me
entirely to my own resources. As, however, he had previously taken care
that these resources should be sufficient, I got along very well upon
them, was regularly promoted, and in the space of six years, at the age
of twenty-one, was in a rather responsible situation in the house, with
a good salary. But my whole attention could not be absorbed in the dull
routine of business, my most precious hours were devoted to reading, in
which I still pursued my old childish track of speculation, with the
difference that I exchanged Sinbad's valley of diamonds for Arabia
Petraea, Sir John Mandeville for Herodotus, and Robinson Crusoe for
Belzoni and Burckhardt Whether my interest in these Oriental studies
arose from the fact of the house being concerned in the importation of
the products of the Indies, or whether from the secret attraction that
had drawn me Eastward since my earliest childhood, as if the Arab
doctor had bewitched in curing me, I cannot say; probably it was the
former, especially as the India business became gradually more and more
intrusted to my hands.

Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I received a note from my
uncle, from whom I had not heard for a year, or two, informing me that
my father's house, which he had kept rented for me during the first
years of my minority, had been without a tenant for a year, and, as I
had now come of age, I had better go down to D---- and take possession
of it. This letter, touching upon a long train of associations and
recollections, awoke an intense longing in me to revisit the home of my
childhood, and meet those phantom shapes that had woven that spell in
those dreaming years, which I sometimes thought I felt even now. So I
obtained a short leave of absence, and started the next morning in the
coach for D----.

It was what is called a "raw morning," for what reason I know not, for
such days are really elaborated with the most exquisite finish. A soft
gray mist hugged the country in a chilly embrace, while a fine rain
fell as noiselessly as snow, upon soaked ground, drenched trees, and
peevish houses. There is always a sense of wonder about a mist. The
outlines of what we consider our hardest tangibilities are melted away
by it into the airiest dream-sketches, our most positive and glaring
facts are blankly blotted out, and a fresh, clean sheet left for some
new fantasy to be written upon it, as groundless as the rest; our solid
land dissolves in cloud, and cloud assumes the stability of land. For,
after all, the only really tangible thing we possess is man's Will; and
let the presence and action of that be withdrawn but for a few moments,
and that mysterious Something which we vainly endeavor to push off into
the Void by our pompous nothings of brick and plaster and stone closes
down upon us with the descending sky, writing _Delendum_ on all behind
us, _Unknown_ on all before. At that time, the only actual Now, that
stands between these two infinite blanks, becomes identical with the
mind itself, independent of accidents of situation or circumstance; and
the mind thus becoming boldly prominent, amidst the fading away of
physical things, stamps its own character upon its shadowy
surroundings, moulding the supple universe to the shape of its emotions
and feelings.

I was the only inside passenger, and there was nothing to check the
entire surrender of my mind to all ghostly influence. So I lay
stretched upon the cushions, staring blankly into the dense gray fog
closing up all trace of our travelled road, or watching the light edges
of the trailing mist curl coyly around the roofs of houses and then
settle grimly all over them, the fantastic shapes of trees or carts
distorted and magnified through the mist, the lofty outlines of some
darker cloud stalking solemnly here and there, like enormous dumb
overseers faithfully superintending the work of annihilation. The
monotonous patter of the rain-drops upon the wet pavement or muddy
roads, blending with the low whining of the wind and the steady rumble
of the coach-wheels, seemed to make a kind of witch-chant, that wove
with braided sound a weird spell about me, a charm fating me for some
service, I knew not what. That chant moaned, it wailed, it whispered,
it sang gloriously, it bound, it drowned me, it lapped me in an
inextricable stream of misty murmuring, till I was perplexed,
bewildered, enchanted. I felt surprised at myself, when, at the end of
the day's journey, I carried my bag to the hotel, and ate my supper
there as usual,--and felt natural again only when, having obtained the
key of my house, I sallied forth in the dim twilight to make it my
promised visit.

I found the place, as I had expected, in a state of utter desolation. A
year's silence had removed it so far from the noisy stream of life that
flowed by it, that I felt, as I pushed at the rusty door-lock, as if I
were passing into some old garret of Time, where he had thrown
forgotten rubbish too worn-out and antiquated for present use. A strong
scent of musk greeted me at my entrance, which I found came from a box
of it that had been broken upon the hall-floor. I had stowed it away
(it was a favorite perfume with me, because it was so associated with
my Arabian Nights' stories) upon a ledge over the door, where it had
rested undisturbed while the house was tenanted, and had been now
probably dislodged by rats. But I half fancied that this odor which
impregnated the air of the whole house was the essence of that
atmosphere in which, as a child, I had communicated with Burckhardt and
Belzoni,--and that, expelled by the solid, practical, Occidental
atmosphere of the last few years, it had flowed back again, in these
last silent months, in anticipation of my return.

Like a prudent householder, I made the tour of the house with a light I
had provided myself with, and mentally made memoranda of repairs,
alterations, etc., for rendering it habitable. My last visit was to be
to the garret, where many of my books yet remained. As I passed once
more through the parlor, on my way thither, a ray of light from my
raised lamp fell upon the wall that I had thought blank, and a majestic
face started suddenly from the darkness. So sudden was the apparition,
that for the moment I was startled, till I remembered that there had
formerly been a picture in that place, and I stopped to examine it. It
was a head of the Sphinx. The calm, grand face was partially averted,
so that the sorrowful eyes, almost betraying the aching secret which
the still lips kept sacred, were hidden,--only the slight, tender droop
in the corner of the mouth told what their expression might be. Around,
forever stretched the endless sands,--the mystery of life found in the
heart of death. That mournful, eternal face gave me a strange feeling
of weariness and helplessness. I felt as if I had already pressed
eagerly to the other side of the head, still only to find the voiceless
lips and mute eyes. Strange tears sprang to my eyes; I hastily brushed
them away, and, leaving the Sphinx, mounted to my garret.

But the riddle followed me. I sat down on the floor, beside a box of
books, and somewhat listlessly began pulling it over to examine the
contents. The first book I took hold of was a little worn volume of
Herodotus that had belonged to my father. I opened it; and as if it,
too, were a link in the chain of influences which I half felt was being
forged around me, it opened at the first part of "Euterpe," where
Herodotus is speculating upon the phenomena of the Nile. Twenty-two
hundred years,--I thought,--and we are still wondering, the Sphinx is
still silent, and we yet in the darkness! Alas, if this riddle be
insoluble, how can we hope to find the clue to deeper problems? If
there are places on our little earth whither our feet cannot go,
curtains that our hands cannot withdraw, how can we expect to track
paths through realms of thought,--how to voyage in those airy,
impalpable regions whose existence we are sure of only while we are
there voyaging?

"Nilus in extremum fugit perterritus orbem Occuluitque caput, quod
adhuc latet."

Lost through reckless presumption, might not earnest humility recover
that mysterious lurking-place? Might not one, by devoted toil, by utter
self-sacrifice, with eyes purified by long searching from worldly and
selfish pollution,--might not such a one tear away the veil of
centuries, and, even though dying in the attempt, gain one look into
this arcanum? Might not I?--The unutterable thought thrilled me and
left me speechless, even in thinking. I strained my forehead against
the darkness, as if I could grind the secret from the void air. Then I
experienced the following mental sensation,--which, being purely
mental, I cannot describe precisely as it was, but will translate it as
nearly as possible into the language of physical phenomena.

It was as if my mind--or, rather, whatever that passive substratum is
that underlies our volition and more truly represents ourselves--were a
still lake, lying quiet and indifferent. Presently the sense of some
coming Presence sent a breathing ripple over its waters; and
immediately afterward it felt a sweep as of trailing garments, and two
arms were thrown around it, and it was pressed against a "life-giving
bosom," whose vivifying warmth interpenetrating the whole body of the
lake, its waters rose, moved by a mighty influence, in the direction of
that retreating Presence; and again, though nothing was seen, I felt
surely whither was that direction. It was NILEWARD. I knew, with the
absolute certainty of intuition, that henceforth I was one of the
_kletoi_, the chosen,--selected from thousands of ages, millions of
people, for this one destiny. Henceforth a sharp dividing-line cut me
off from all others: _their_ appointment was to trade, navigate, eat
and drink, marry and give in marriage, and the rest; mine was to
discover the Source of the Nile. Hither had all the threads of my life
been converging for many years; they had now reached their focus, and
henceforth their course was fixed.

I was scarcely surprised the next day at receiving a letter from my
employers appointing me to a situation as supercargo of a
merchant-vessel bound on a three-years' voyage to America and
China,--in returning thence, to sail up the Mediterranean, and stop at
Alexandria. I immediately wrote an acceptance, and then busied myself
about obtaining a three-years' tenant for my house. As the house was
desirable and well-situated, this business was soon arranged; and then,
as I had nothing further to do in the village, I left it for the last
time, as it proved, and returned to the city,--whence, after a
fortnight of preparation, I set sail on my eventful enterprise.
Although our voyage was filled with incident that in another place
would be interesting enough to relate, yet here I must omit all mention
of it, and, passing over three years, resume my narrative at
Alexandria, where I left the vessel, and finally broke away from
mercantile life.

From Alexandria I travelled to Cairo, where I intended to hire a
servant and a boat, for I wished to try the water-passage in preference
to the land. The cheapness of labor and food rendered it no difficult
matter to obtain my boat and provision it for a long voyage,--for how
long I did not tell the Egyptian servant whom I hired to attend me. A
certain feeling of fatality caused me to make no attempt at disguise,
although disguise was then much more necessary than it has been since:
I openly avowed my purpose of travelling on the Nile for pleasure, as a
private European. My accoutrements were simple and few. Arms, of
course, I carried, and the actual necessaries for subsistence; but I
entirely forgot to prepare for sketching, scientific surveys, etc. My
whole mind was possessed with one idea: to see, to discover;--plans for
turning my discoveries to account were totally foreign to my thoughts.

So, on the 6th of November, 1824, we set sail. I had been waiting three
years to arrive at this starting-point,--my whole life, indeed, had
been dumbly turning towards it,--yet now I commenced it with a coolness
and tranquillity far exceeding that I had possessed on many
comparatively trifling occasions. It is often so. We are borne along on
the current like drift-wood, and, spying jutting rocks or tremendous
cataracts ahead, fancy, "Here we shall be stranded, there buoyed up,
there dashed in pieces over those falls,"--but, for all that, we glide
over those threatened catastrophes in a very commonplace manner, and
are aware of what we have been passing only upon looking back at them.
So no one sees the great light shining from Heaven,--for the people are
blear-eyed, and Saul is blinded. But as I left Cairo in the greatening
distance, floating onward to the heart of the mysterious river, I
floated also into the twin current of thought, that, flowing full and
impetuous from the shores of the peopled Mediterranean, follows the
silent river, and tracks it to its hidden lurking-place in the blank
desert. Onward, past the breathless sands of the Libyan Desert, past
the hundred-gated Thebes, past the stone guardians of Abou-Simbel,
waiting in majestic patience for their spell of silence to be
broken,--onward. It struck me curiously to come to the cataract, and be
obliged to leave my boat at the foot of the first fall, and hire
another above the second,--a forcible reminder that I was travelling
backwards, from the circumference to the centre from which that
circumference had been produced, faintly feeling my way along a tide of
phenomena to the _noumenon_ supporting them. So we always progress:
from arithmetic to geometry, from observation to science, from practice
to theory, and play with edged tools long before we know what knives
mean. For, like Hop-o'-my-Thumb and his brothers, we are driven out
early in the morning to the edge of the forest, and are obliged to
grope our way back to the little house whence we come, by the crumbs
dropped on the road. Alack! how often the birds have eaten our bread,
and we are captured by the giant lying in wait!

On we swept, leaving behind the burning rocks and dreary sands of Egypt
and Lower Nubia, the green woods and thick acacias of Dongola, the
distant pyramids of Mount Birkel, and the ruins of Meroë, just
discovered footmarks of Ancient Ethiopia descending the Nile to
bequeathe her glory and civilization to Egypt. At Old Dongola, my
companion was very anxious that we should strike across the country to
Shendy, to avoid the great curve of the Nile through Ethiopia. He found
the sail somewhat tedious, as I could speak but little Egyptian, which
I had picked up in scraps,--he, no German or English. I managed to
overrule his objections, however, as I could not bear to leave any part
of the river unvisited; so we continued the water-route to the junction
of the Blue and the White Nile, where I resolved to remain a week,
before continuing my route. The inhabitants regarded us with some
suspicion, but our inoffensive appearance so far conquered their fears
that they were prevailed upon to give us some information about the
country, and to furnish us with a fresh supply of rice, wheat, and
dourra, in exchange for beads and bright-colored cloth, which I had
brought with me for the purpose of such traffic, if it should be
necessary. Bruce's discovery of the source of the Blue Nile, fifty
years before, prevented the necessity of indecision in regard to my
route, and so completely was I absorbed in the one object of my
journey, that the magnificent scenery and ruins along the Blue Nile,
which had so fascinated Cailliaud, presented few allurements for me.

My stay was rather longer than I had anticipated, as it was found
necessary to make some repairs upon the boat, and, inwardly fretting at
each hour's delay, I was eager to seize the first opportunity for
starting again. On the 1st of March, I made a fresh beginning for the
more unknown and probably more perilous portion of my voyage, having
been about four months in ascending from Cairo. As my voyage had
commenced about the abatement of the sickly season, I had experienced
no inconvenience from the climate, and it was in good spirits that I
resumed my journey. For several days we sailed with little eventful
occurring,--floating on under the cloudless sky, rippling a long white
line through the widening surface of the ever-flowing river, through
floating beds of glistening lotus-flowers, past undulating ramparts of
foliage and winged ambak-blossoms guarding the shores scaled by
adventurous vines that triumphantly waved their banners of white and
purple and yellow from the summit, winding amid bowery islands studding
the broad stream like gems, smoothly stemming the rolling flood of the
river, flowing, ever flowing,--lurking in the cool shade of the dense
mimosa forests, gliding noiselessly past the trodden lairs of
hippopotami and lions, slushing through the reeds swaying to and fro in
the green water, still borne along against the silent current of the
mysterious river, flowing, ever flowing.

We had now arrived at the land of the Dinkas, where the river, by
broadening too much upon a low country, had become partially devoured
by marsh and reeds, and our progress was very slow, tediously dragging
over a sea of water and grass. I had become a little tired of my
complete loneliness, and was almost longing for some collision with the
tribes of savages that throng the shore, when the incident occurred
that determined my whole future life. One morning, about seven o'clock,
when the hot sun had already begun to rob the day of the delicious
freshness lingering around the tropical night, we happened to be
passing a tract of firmer land than we had met with for some time, and
I directed the vessel towards the shore, to gather some of the
brilliant lotus-flowers that fringed the banks. As we neared the land,
I threw my gun, without which I never left the boat, on the bank,
preparatory to leaping out, when I was startled by hearing a loud,
cheery voice exclaim in English,--"Hilloa! not so fast, if you
please!"--and first the head and then the sturdy shoulders of a white
man raised themselves slowly from the low shrubbery by which they were
surrounded. He looked at us for a minute or two, and nodded with a
contented air that perplexed me exceedingly.

"So," he said, "you have come at last; I am tired of waiting for you";
and he began to collect his gun, knife, etc., which were lying on the
ground beside him.

"And who are you," I returned, "who lie in wait for me? I think, Sir,
you have the advantage."

Here the stranger interrupted me with a hearty laugh.  "My dear
fellow," he cried, "you are entirely mistaken. The technical advantage
that you attribute to me is an error, as I do _not_ have the honor of
knowing your name, though you may know mine without further
preface,--Frederick Herndon; and the real advantage which I wish to
avail myself of, a boat, is obviously on your side. The long and the
short of it is," he added, (composedly extricating himself from the
brushwood,) "that, travelling up in this direction for discovery and
that sort of thing, you know, I heard at Sennaar that a white man with
an Egyptian servant had just left the town, and were going in my
direction in a boat. So I resolved to overtake them, and with their, or
your, permission, join company. But they, or you, kept just in advance,
and it was only by dint of a forced march in the night that I passed
you. I learned at the last Dinka village that no such party had been
yet seen, and concluded to await the your arrival here, where I pitched
my tent a day and a night waiting for you. I am heartily glad to see
you, I assure you."

With this explanation, the stranger made a spring, and leaped upon the
yacht.

"Upon my word," said I, still bewildered by his sudden appearance, "you
are very unceremonious."

"That," he rejoined, "is a way we Americans have. We cannot stop to
palaver. What would become of our manifest destiny? But since you are
so kind, I will call my Egyptian. Times are changed since we were
bondsmen in Egypt, have they not? Ah, I forgot,--you are not an
American, and therefore cannot claim even our remote connection with
the Ten Lost Tribes." Then raising his voice, "Here, Ibrahim!"

Again a face, but this time a swarthy one, emerged from behind a bush,
and in answer to a few directions in his own dialect the man came down
to the boat, threw in the tent and some other articles of traveller's
furniture, and sprang in with the _nonchalance_ of his master.

A little recovered from my first surprise, I seized the opportunity of
a little delay in getting the boat adrift again to examine my new
companion. He was standing carelessly upon the little deck of the
vessel where he had first entered, and the strong morning light fell
full upon his well-knit figure and apparently handsome face. The
forehead was rather low, prominent above the eyebrows, and with keen,
hollow temples, but deficient both in comprehensiveness and ideality.
The hazel eyes were brilliant, but restless and shallow,--the mouth of
good size, but with few curves, and perhaps a little too close for so
young a face. The well-cut nose and chin and clean fine outline of
face, the self-reliant pose of the neck and confident set of the
shoulders characterized him as decisive and energetic, while the
pleasant and rather boyish smile that lighted up his face dispelled
presently the peculiarly hard expression I had at first found in
analyzing it. Whether it was the hard, shrewd light from which all the
tender and delicate grace of the early morning had departed, I knew
not; but it struck me that I could not find a particle of shade in his
whole appearance. I seemed at once to take him in, as one sees the
whole of a sunny country where there are no woods or mountains or
valleys. And, in fact, I never did find any,--never any cool recesses
in his character; and as no sudden depths ever opened in his eyes, so
nothing was ever left to be revealed in his character;--like them, it
could be sounded at once. That picture of him, standing there on my
deck, with an indefinite expression of belonging to the place, as he
would have belonged on his own hearth-rug at home, often recurred to
me, again to be renewed and confirmed.

And thus carelessly was swept into my path, as a stray waif, that man
who would in one little moment change my whole life! It is always so.
Our life sweeps onward like a river, brushing in here a little sand,
there a few rushes, till the accumulated drift-wood chokes the current,
or some larger tree falling across it turns it into a new channel.

I had been so long unaccustomed to company that I found it quite a
pleasant change to have some one to talk to; some one to sympathize
with I neither wanted nor expected; I certainly did not find such a one
in my new acquaintance. For the first two or three days I simply
regarded him with the sort of wondering curiosity with which we examine
a new natural phenomenon of any sort. His perfect self-possession and
coolness, the _nil-admirari_ and _nil-agitari_ atmosphere which
surrounded him, excited my admiration at first, till I discovered that
it arose, not from the composure of a mind too deep-rooted to be swayed
by external circumstances, but rather from a peculiar hardness and
unimpressibility of temperament that kept him on the same level all the
time. He had been born at a certain temperature, and still preserved
it, from a sort of _vis inertive_ of constitution. This impenetrability
had the effect of a somewhat buoyant disposition, not because he could
be buoyed on the tide of any strong emotion, but because few things
could disturb or excite him. Unable to grasp the significance of
anything outside of himself and his attributes, he took immense pride
in stamping _his_ character, _his_ nationality, _his_ practicality,
upon every series of circumstances by which he was surrounded: he
sailed up the Nile as if it were the Mississippi; although a
well-enough-informed man, he practically ignored the importance of any
city anterior to the Plymouth Settlement, or at least to London, which
had the honor of sending colonists to New England; and he would have
discussed American politics in the heart of Africa, had not my
ignorance upon the topic generally excluded it from our conversation.
He had what is most wrongly termed an exceedingly practical mind,--that
is, not one that appreciates the practical existence and value of
thought as such, considering that a _praxis_, but a mind that denied
the existence of a thought until it had become realized in visible
action.

"'The end of a man is an action, and not a thought, though it be the
noblest,' as Carlyle has well written," he triumphantly quoted to me,
as, leaning over the little railing of the yacht, watching, at least I
was, the smooth, green water gliding under the clean-cutting keel, we
had been talking earnestly for some time. "A thought has value only as
it is a potential action; if the action be abortive, the thought is as
useless as a crank that fails to move an engine-wheel."

"Then, if action is the wheel, and thought only the crank, what does
the body of your engine represent? For what purpose are your wheels
turning? For the sake of merely moving?"

"No," said he, "moving to promote another action, and _that_
another,--and----so on _ad infinitum_."

"Then you leave out of your scheme a real engine, with a journey to
accomplish, and an end to arrive at; for so wheels would only move
wheels, and there would be an endless chain of machinery, with no plan,
no object for its existence. Does not the very necessity we feel of
having a reason for the existence, the operation of anything, a large
plan in which to gather up all ravelled threads of various objects,
proclaim thought as the final end, the real thing, of which action,
more especially human action, is but the inadequate visible expression?
What kinds of action does Carlyle mean, that are to be the wheels for
our obedient thoughts to set in motion? Hand, arm, leg, foot action?
These are all our operative machinery. Does he mean that our 'noblest
thought' is to be chained as a galley-slave to these, to give them
means for working a channel through which motive power may be poured in
upon them? Are we to think that our fingers and feet may move and so we
live, or they to run for our thought, and we live to think?"

"Supposing we _are_," said Herndon, "what practical good results from
knowing it? Action for action's sake, or for thinking's sake, is still
action, and all that we have to look out for. What business have the
brakemen at the wheels with the destiny of the train? Their business is
simply to lock and unlock the wheels; so that their end is in the
wheels, and not in the train."

"A somewhat dreary end," I said, half to myself. "The whole world,
then, must content itself with spinning one blind action out of
another; which means that we must continually alter or displace
something, merely to be able to displace and alter something else."

"On the contrary, we exchange vague, speculative mystifications for
definite, tangible fact. In America we have too much reality, too many
iron and steam facts, to waste much time over mere thinking. That, Sir,
does for a sleepy old country, begging your pardon, like yours; but for
one that has the world's destiny in its hands,--that is laying iron
foot-paths from the Atlantic to the Pacific for future civilization to
take an evening stroll along to see the sun set,--that is converting
black wool into white cotton, to clothe the inhabitants of
Borrioboolagha,--that is trading, farming, electing, governing,
fighting, annexing, destroying, building, puffing, blowing, steaming,
racing, as our young two-hundred-year-old is,--we must work, we must
act, and think afterwards. Whatsoever thy _hand_ findeth to do, do it
with thy might."

"And what," I said, "when hand-and-foot-action shall have ceased? will
you then allow some play for thought-action?"

"We have no time to think of that," he returned, walking away, and thus
stopping our conversation.

The man was consistent in his theory, at least. Having exalted physical
motion (or action) to the place he did, he refused to see that the
action he prized was more valuable through the thought it developed;
consequently he reduced all actions to the same level, and prided
himself upon stripping a deed of all its marvellousness or majesty. He
did uncommon things in such a matter-of-fact way that he made them
common by the performance. The faint spiritual double which I found
lurking behind his steel and iron he either solidified with his
metallic touch or pertinaciously denied its existence.

"Plato was a fool," he said, "to talk of an ideal table; for, supposing
he could see it, and prove its existence, what good could it do? You
can neither eat off it, nor iron on it, nor do anything else with it;
so, for all practical purposes, a pine table serves perfectly well
without hunting after the ideal. I want something that I can go up to,
and know it is there by seeing and touching."

"But," said I, "does not that very susceptibility to bodily contact
remove the table to an indefinite distance from you? If we can see and
handle a thing, and yet not be able to hold that subtile property of
generic existence, by which, one table being made, an infinite class is
created, so real that tables may actually be modelled on it, and yet so
indefinite that you cannot set your hand on any table or collection of
tables and say, 'It is here,'--if we can be absolutely conscious that
we see the table, and yet have no idea how its image reflected on our
retina can produce that absolute consciousness, does not the table grow
dim and misty, and slip far away out of reach, of apprehension, much
more of comprehension?"

"Stuff!" cried my companion. "If your metaphysics lead to proving that
a board that I am touching with my hand is not there, I'll say, as I
have already said, 'Throw (meta)physics to the dogs! I'll none of it!'
A fine preparation for living in a material world, where we have to
live in matter, by matter, and for matter, to wind one's self up in a
snarl that puts matter out of reach, and leaves us with nothing to live
in, or by, or for! Now _you_, for instance, are not content with this
poor old Nile as it stands, but must go fussing and wondering and
mystifying about it till you have positively nothing of a river left. I
look at the water, the banks, the trees growing on them, the islands in
which we get occasionally entangled: here, at least, I have a real,
substantial river,--not equal for navigation to the Ohio or
Mississippi, but still very fair.--Confound these flies!" he added,
parenthetically, making a vigorous plunge at a dark cloud of the little
pests that were closing down upon us.

"Then you see nothing strange and solemn in this wonderful stream?
nothing in the weird civilization crouching at the feet, vainly looking
to the head of its master hidden in the clouds? nothing in the echoing
footsteps of nations passing down its banks to their destiny? nothing
in the solemn, unbroken silence brooding over the fountain whence
sprang this marvellous river, to bear precious gifts to thousands and
millions, and again retreat unknown? Is there no mystery in unsolved
questions, no wonder in miracles, no awe in inapproachability?"

"I see," said he, steadily, "that a river of some thousand miles long
has run through a country peopled by contented, or ignorant, or
barbarous people, none of whom, of course, would take the slightest
interest in tracing the river; that the dangers that have guarded the
marvellous secret, as you call it, are not intrinsic to the secret
itself, but are purely accidental and contingent There is no more
reason why the source of the Nile should not be found than that of the
Connecticut; so I do not see that it is really at all inapproachable or
awful."

"What in the world, Herndon," cried I, in desperation, "what in the
name of common sense ever induced you to set out on this expedition?
What do you want to discover the source of the Nile for?"

He answered with the ready air of one who has long ago made up his mind
confidently on the subject he is going to speak about.

"It has long been evident to me, that civilization, flowing in a return
current from America, must penetrate into Africa, and turn its immense
natural advantages to such account, that it shall become the seat of
the most flourishing and important empires of the earth. These,
however, should be consolidated, and not split up into multitudinous
missionary stations. If a stream of immigration could be started from
the eastern side, up the Nile for instance, penetrating to the
interior, it might meet the increased tide of a kindred nature from the
west, and uniting somewhere in the middle of Soudan, the central point
of action, the capital city could be founded there, as a heart for the
country, and a complete system of circulation be established. By this
method of entering the country at both sides simultaneously, of course
its complete subjugation could be accomplished in half the time that it
would take for a body of emigrants, however large, to make headway from
the western coast alone. About the source of the Nile I intend to mark
out the site for my city, and then"----

"And call it," I added, "Herndonville."

"Perhaps," he said, gravely. "At all events, my name will be
inseparably connected with the enterprise; and if I can get the
steamboat started during my lifetime, I shall make a comfortable
fortune from the speculation."

"What a gigantic scheme!" I exclaimed.

"Ah," he said, complacently, "we Americans don't stick at trifles."

"Oh, marvellous practical genius of America!" I cried, "to eclipse
Herodotus and Diodorus, not to mention Bruce and Cailliaud, and
inscribe Herndonville on the arcanum of the Innermost! If the Americans
should discover the origin of evil, they would run up penitentiaries
all over the country, modelled to suit 'practical purposes.'"

"I think that would pay," said Herndon, reflectively.

But though I then stopped the conversation, yet I felt its influence
afterwards. The divine enthusiasm for _knowing_, that had inspired me
for the last three years, and had left no room for any other thought in
connection with the discovery,--this enthusiasm felt chilled and
deadened. I felt reproached that I had not thought of founding a
Pottsville or Jenkinsville, and my grand purpose seemed small and vague
and indefinite. The vivid, living thoughts that had enkindled me fell
back cold and lifeless into the tedious, reedy water. For we had now
reached the immense shallow lake that Werne has since described, and
the scenery had become flat and monotonous, as if in sympathy with the
low, marshy place to which my mind had been driven. The intricate
windings of the river, after we had passed the lake, rendered the
navigation very slow and difficult; and the swarms of flies, that
plagued us for the first time seriously, brought petty annoyances to
view more forcibly than we had experienced in all our voyage before.

After some days' pushing in this way, now driven by a strong head wind
almost back from our course, again, by a sudden change, carried rapidly
many miles on our journey,--after some days of this sailing, we arrived
at a long, low reef of rocks. The water here became so shallow and
boisterous that further attempt at sailing was impossible, and we
determined to take our boat to pieces as much as we could, and carry it
with us, while we walked along the shore of the river. I concluded,
from the marked depression in the ground we had just passed, that there
must be a corresponding elevation about here, to give the water a
sufficient head to pass over the high ground below; and the almost
cataract appearance of the river added strength to my hypothesis. We
were all four armed to the teeth, and the natives had shown themselves,
hitherto, either so friendly or so indifferent that we did not have
much apprehension on account of personal safety. So we set out with
beating hearts. Our path was exceedingly difficult to traverse, leading
chiefly among low trees and over the sharp stones that had rolled from
the river,--now close by the noisy stream, which babbled and foamed as
if it had gone mad,--now creeping on our knees through bushes, matted
with thick, twining vines,--now wading across an open morass,--now in
mimosa woods, or slipping in and out of the feathery dhelb-palms.

Since our conversation spoken of above, Herndon and I had talked little
with each other, and now usually spoke merely of the incidents of the
journey, the obstacles, etc.; we scarcely mentioned that for which we
were both longing with intense desire, and the very thoughts of which
made my heart beat quicker and the blood rush to my face. One day we
came to a place where the river made a bend of about two miles and then
passed almost parallel to our point of view. I proposed to Herndon that
he should pursue the course of the river, and that I would strike a
little way back into the country, and make a short cut across to the
other side of the bend, where he and the men would stop, pitch our
night-tent, and wait for me. Herndon assented, and we parted. The low
fields around us changed, as I went on, to firm, hard, rising ground,
that gradually became sandy and arid. The luxuriant vegetation that
clung around the banks of the river seemed to be dried up little by
little, until only a few dusty bushes and thorn-acacias studded in
clumps a great, sandy, and rocky tract of country, which rolled
monotonously back from the river border with a steadily increasing
elevation. A sandy plain never gives me a sense of real substance; it
always seems as if it must be merely a covering for something,--a sheet
thrown over the bed where a dead man is lying. And especially here did
this broad, trackless, seemingly boundless desert face me with its
blank negation, like the old obstinate "No" which Nature always returns
at first to your eager questioning. It provoked me, this staring
reticence of the scenery, and stimulated me to a sort of dogged
exertion. I think I walked steadily for about three hours over the
jagged rocks and burning sands, interspersed with a few patches of
straggling grass,--all the time up hill, with never a valley to vary
the monotonous climbing,--until the bushes began to thicken in about
the same manner as they had thinned into the desert, the grass and
herbage herded closer together under my feet, and, beating off the
ravenous sand, gradually expelled the last trace of it, a few tall
trees strayed timidly among the lower shrubbery, growing more and more
thickly, till I found myself at the border of an apparently extensive
forest. The contrast was great between the view before and behind me.
Behind lay the road I had achieved, the monotonous, toilsome, wearisome
desert, the dry, formal introduction, as it were, to my coming journey.
Before, long, cool vistas opened green through delicious shades,--a
track seemed to be almost made over the soft grass, that wound in and
out among the trees, and lost itself in interminable mazes. I plunged
into the profound depths of the still forest, and confidently followed
for path the first open space in which I found myself.

It was a strangely still wood for the tropics,--no chattering
parroquets, no screaming magpies, none of the sneering, gibing
dissonances that I had been accustomed to,--all was silent, and yet
intensely living. I fancied that the noble trees took pleasure in
growing, they were so energized with life in every leaf. I noticed
another peculiarity,--there was little underbrush, little of the
luxuriance of vines and creepers, which is so striking in an African
forest. Parasitic life, luxurious idleness, seemed impossible here; the
atmosphere was too sacred, too solemn, for the fantastic ribaldry of
scarlet runners, of flaunting yellow streamers. The lofty boughs
interlaced in arches overhead, and the vast dim aisles opened far down
in the tender gloom of the wood and faded slowly away in the distance.
And every little spray of leaves that tossed airily in the pleasant
breeze, every slender branch swaying gently in the wind, every young
sapling pushing its childish head panting for light through the mass of
greenery and quivering with golden sunbeams, every trunk of aged tree
gray with moss and lichens, every tuft of flowers, seemed thrilled and
vivified by some wonderful knowledge which it held secret, some
consciousness of boundless, inexhaustible existence, some music of
infinite unexplored thought concealing treasures of unlimited action.
And it was the knowledge, the consciousness, that it was unlimited
which seemed to give such elastic energy to this strange forest. But at
all events, it was such a relief to find the everlasting negation of
the desert nullified, that my dogged resolution insensibly changed to
an irrepressible enthusiasm, which bore me lightly along, scarcely
sensible of fatigue.

The ascent had become so much steeper, and parts of the forest seemed
to slope off into such sudden declivities and even precipices, that I
concluded I was ascending a mountain, and, from the length of time I
had been in the forest, I judged that it must be of considerable
height. The wood suddenly broke off as it had begun, and, emerging from
the cool shade, I found myself in a complete wilderness of rock. Rocks
of enormous size were thrown about in apparently the wildest confusion,
on the side of what I now perceived to be a high mountain. How near the
summit I was I had no means of determining, as huge boulders blocked up
the view at a few paces ahead. I had had about eight hours' tramp, with
scarcely any cessation; yet now my excitement was too great to allow me
to pause to eat or rest. I was anxious to press on, and determine that
day the secret which I was convinced lay entombed in this sepulchre. So
again I pressed onward,--this time more slowly,--having to pick my way
among the bits of jagged granite filling up terraces sliced out of the
mountain, around enormous rocks projecting across my path,--overhanging
precipices that sheered straight down into dark abysses, (I must have
verged round to a different side from that I came up on,)--creeping
through narrow passages formed by the junction of two immense boulders.
Tearing my hands with the sharp corners of the rocks, I climbed in vain
hope of at last seeing the summit. Still rocks piled on rocks faced my
wearied eyes, vainly striving to pierce through some chink or cranny
into the space behind them. Still rocks, rocks, rocks, against whose
adamantine sides my feeble will dashed restlessly and impotently. My
eyeballs almost burst, as it seemed, in the intense effort to strain
through those stone prison-walls. And by one of those curious links of
association by which two distant scenes are united as one, I seemed
again to be sitting in my garret, striving to pierce the darkness for
an answer to the question then raised, and at the same moment passed
over me, like the sweep of angels' wings, the consciousness of that
Presence which had there infolded me. And with that consciousness, the
eager, irritated waves of excitement died away, and there was a calm,
in which I no longer beat like a caged beast against the never-ending
rocks, but, borne irresistibly along in the strong current of a mighty,
still emotion, pressed on with a certainty that left no room for
excitement, because none for doubt. And so I came upon it. Swinging
round one more rock, hanging over a breathless precipice, and landing
upon the summit of the mountain, I beheld it stretched at my feet: a
lake about five miles in circumference, bedded like an eye in the
naked, bony rock surrounding it, with quiet rippling waters placidly
smiling in the level rays of the afternoon sun,--the Unfathomable
Secret, the Mystery of Ages, the long sought for, the Source of the
Nile.

For, from a broad cleft in the rocks, the water hurled itself out of
its hiding-place, and, dashing down over its rocky bed, rushed
impetuous over the sloping country, till, its force being spent, it
waded tediously through the slushing reeds of the hill-land again, and
so rolled down to sea. For, while I stood there, it seemed as if my
vision were preternaturally sharpened, and I followed the bright river
in its course, through the alternating marsh and desert,--through the
land where Zeus went banqueting among the blameless Ethiopians,
--through the land where the African princes watched from
afar the destruction of Cambyses's army,--past Meroë, Thebes, Cairo;
bearing upon its heaving bosom anon the cradle of Moses, the gay
vessels of the inundation festivals, the stately processions of the
mystic priesthood, the gorgeous barge of Cleopatra, the victorious
trireme of Antony, the screaming vessels of fighting soldiers, the
stealthy boats of Christian monks, the glittering, changing, flashing
tumult of thousands of years of life,--ever flowing, ever ebbing, with
the mystic river, on whose surface it seethed and bubbled. And the germ
of all this vast varying scene lay quietly hidden in the wonderful lake
at my feet. But human life is always composed of inverted cones, whose
bases, upturned to the eye, present a vast area, diversified with
countless phenomena; but when the screen that closes upon them a little
below the surface is removed, we shall be able to trace the many-lined
figures, each to its simple apex,--one little point containing the
essence and secret of the whole. Once or twice in the course of a
lifetime are a few men permitted to catch a glimpse of these awful
Beginnings,--to touch for a minute the knot where all the tangled
threads ravel themselves out smoothly. I had found such a place,--had
had such an ineffable vision,--and, overwhelmed with tremendous awe, I
sank on my knees, lost in GOD.

After a little while, as far as I can recollect, I rose and began to
take the customary observations, marked the road by which I had come up
the mountain, and planned a route for rejoining Herndon. But ere long
all subordinate thoughts and actions seemed to be swallowed up in the
great tide of thought and feeling that overmastered me. I scarcely
remember anything from the time when the lake first burst upon my view,
till I met Herndon again. But I know, that, as the day was nearly
spent, I was obliged to give up the attempt to travel back that night,
especially as I now began to feel the exhaustion attendant upon my long
journey and fasting. I could not have slept among those rocks, eternal
guardians of the mighty secret. The absence of all breathing,
transitory existence but my own rendered it too solemn for me to dare
to intrude there. So I went back to the forest, (I returned much
quicker than I had come,) ate some supper, and, wrapped in a blanket I
had brought with me, went to sleep under the arching branches of a
tree. I have as little recollection of my next day's journey, except
that I defined a diagonal and thus avoided the bend. I found Herndon
waiting in front of the tent, rather impatient for my arrival.

"Halloo, old fellow!" he shouted, jumping up at seeing me, "I was
really getting scared about you. Where have you been? What have you
seen? What are our chances? Have you had any adventures? killed any
lions, or anything? By-the-by, I had a narrow escape with one
yesterday. Capital shot; but prudence is the better part of valor, you
know. But, really," he said again, apparently struck by my abstraction
of manner, "what _have_ you seen?"

"I have found the source of the Nile," I said, simply.

Is it not strange, that, when we have a great thing to say, we are
always compelled to speak so simply in monosyllables? Perhaps this,
too, is an example of the law that continually reduces many to
one,--the unity giving the substance of the plurality; but as the
heroes of the "Iliad" were obliged to repeat the messages of the gods
_literatim_, so we must say a great thing as it comes to us, by itself.
It is curious to me now, that I was not the least excited in announcing
the discovery,--not because I did not feel the force of it, but because
my mind was so filled, so to speak, so saturated, with the idea, that
it was perfectly even with itself, though raised to an immensely higher
level. In smaller minds an idea seizes upon one part of them, thus
inequalizing it with the rest, and so, throwing them off their balance,
they are literally _de_-ranged (or disarranged) with excitement. It was
so with Herndon. For a minute he stared at me in stupefied
astonishment, and then burst into a torrent of incoherent
congratulations.

"Why, Zeitzer!" he cried, "you are the lucky man, after all. Why, your
fortune's made,--you'll be the greatest man of the age. You must come
to America; that is the place for appreciating such things. You'll have
a Common-Council dinner in Boston, and a procession in New York. Your
book will sell like wildfire. You'll be a lion of the first magnitude.
Just think! The Man who discovered the Source of the Nile!"

I stood bewildered, like one suddenly awakened from sleep. The unusual
excitement in one generally so self-possessed and indifferent as my
companion made me wonder sufficiently; but these allusions to my
greatness, my prospects, completely astounded me. What had I done,--I
who had been chosen, and led step by step, with little interference of
my own, to this end? What did this talk of noise and clamorous
notoriety mean?

"To think," Herndon ran on, "that you should have beaten me, after all!
that you should have first seen, first drunk of, first bathed in"--

"Drunk of! bathed in!" I repeated, mechanically. "Herndon, are you
crazy? Would I dare to profane the sacred fountain?"

He made no reply, unless a quizzical smile might be considered as
such,--but drew me within the tent, out of hearing of the two
Egyptians, and bade me give an account of my adventures. When I had
finished,--

"This is grand!" he exclaimed. "Now, if you will share the benefits of
this discovery with me, I will halve the cost of starting that
steamboat I spoke of, and our plan will soon be afloat. I shouldn't
wonder, now, if one might not, in order to start the town, get up some
kind of a little summer-pavilion there, on the top of the
mountain,--something on the plan of the Tip-Top House at Mount
Washington, you know,--hang the stars and stripes off the roof, if
you're not particular, and call it The Teuton-American. That would give
you your rightful priority, you see. By the beard of the Prophet, as
they say in Cairo, the thing would take!"

I laughed heartily at this idea, and tried, at first in jest, then
earnestly, to make him understand I had no such plans in connection
with my discovery; that I only wanted to extend the amount of knowledge
in the world,--not the number of ice-cream pavilions. I offered to let
him take the whole affair into his own hands,--cost, profit, and all. I
wanted nothing to do with it. But he was too honest, as he thought, for
that, and still talked and argued,--giving his most visionary plans a
definite, tangible shape and substance by a certain process of
metallicizing, until they had not merely elbowed away the last shadow
of doubt, but had effectually taken possession of the whole ground, and
seemed to be the only consequences possible upon such a discovery. My
dislike to personal traffic in the sublimities of truth began to waver.
I felt keenly the force of the argument which Herndon used repeatedly,
that, if I did not thus claim the monopoly, (he talked almost as if I
had invented something,) some one else would, and so injustice be added
to what I had termed vulgarity. I felt that I must prevent injustice,
at least. Besides, what should I have to show for all my trouble, (ah!
little had I thought of "I" or my trouble a short time ago!)--what
should I have gained, after all,--nay, what would there be gained for
any one,--if I merely announced my discovery, without----starting the
steamboat? And though I did feebly query whether I should be equally
bound to establish a communication, with pecuniary emolument, to the
North Pole, in case I discovered that, his remark, that this was the
Nile, and had nothing to do with the North Pole, was so forcible and
pertinent, that I felt ashamed of my suggestion; and upon second
thought, that idea of the dinner and procession really had a good deal
in it. I had been in New York, and knew the length of Broadway; and at
the recollection, felt flattered by the thought of being conveyed in an
open chariot drawn by four or even eight horses, with nodding plumes,
(literal ones for the horses,--only metaphorical ones for me,) past
those stately buildings fluttering with handkerchiefs, and through
streets black with people thronging to see the man who had solved the
riddle of Africa. And then it would be pleasant, too, to make a neat
little speech to the Common Council,--letting the brave show catch its
own tail in its mouth, by proving, that, if America did not achieve
everything, she could appreciate--yes, appreciate was the word--those
who did. Yes, this would be a fitting consummation; I would do it.

But, ah! how dim became the vision of that quiet lake on the summit of
the mountain! How that vivid lightning-revelation faded into obscurity!
Was Pharaoh again ascending his fatal chariot?

The next day we started for the ascent. We determined to follow the
course of the river backwards around the bend and set out from my
former starting-point, as any other course might lead us into a
hopeless dilemma. We had no difficulty in finding the sandy plain, and
soon reached landmarks which I was sure were on the right road; but a
tramp of six or eight hours--still in the road I had passed
before--brought us no nearer to our goal. In short, we wandered three
days in that desert, utterly in vain. My heart sunk within me at every
failure; with sickening anxiety I scanned the horizon at every point,
but nothing was visible but stunted bushes and white pebbles glistening
in the glaring sand.

The fourth day came,--and Herndon at last stopped short, and said, in
his steady, immobile voice,--

"Zeitzer, you must have made this grand discovery in your dreams. There
is no Nile up this way,--and our water-skins are almost dry. We had
better return and follow up the course of the river where we left it.
If we again fail, I shall return to Egypt to carry out my plan for
converting the Pyramids into ice-houses. They are excellently well
adapted for the purpose, and in that country a good supply of ice is a
_desideratum_. Indeed, if my plan meets with half the success it
deserves, the antiquaries two centuries hence will conclude that ice
was the original use of those structures."

"Shade of Cheops, forbid!" I exclaimed.

"Cheops be hanged!" returned my irreverent companion. "The world
suffers too much now from overcrowded population to permit a man to
claim standing-room three thousand years after his death,--especially
when the claim is for some acres apiece, as in the case of these
pyramid-builders. Will you go back with me?"

I declined for various reasons, not all very clear even to myself; but
I was convinced that his peculiar enticements were the cause of our
failure, and I hated him unreasonably for it. I longed to get rid of
him, and of his influence over me. Fool that I was! _I_ was the sinner,
and not he; for he _could_ not see, because he was born blind, while
_I_ fell with my eyes open. I still held on to the vague hope, that,
were I alone, I might again find that mysterious lake; for I knew I had
not dreamed. So we parted.

But we two (my servant and I) were not left long alone in the Desert.
The next day a party of natives surprised us, and, after some desperate
fighting, we were taken prisoners, sold as slaves from tribe to tribe
into the interior, and at length fell into the hands of some traders on
the western coast, who gave us our freedom. Unwilling, however, to
return home without some definite success, I made several voyages in a
merchant-vessel. But I was born for one purpose; failing in that, I had
nothing further to live for. The core of my life was touched at that
fatal river, and a subtile disease has eaten it out till nothing but
the rind is left. A wave, gathering to the full its mighty strength,
had upreared itself for a moment majestically above its
fellows,--falling, its scattered spray can only impotently sprinkle the
dull, dreary shore. Broken and nerveless, I can only wait the lifting
of the curtain, quietly wondering if a failure be always
irretrievable,--if a prize once lost can never again be found.



AN EXPERIENCE.


A common spring of water, sudden welling,
Unheralded, from some unseen impelling,
Unrecognized, began his life alone.
A rare and haughty vine looked down above him,
Unclasped her climbing glory, stooped to love him,
And wreathed herself about his curb of stone.

Ah, happy fount! content, in upward smiling,
To feel no life but in her fond beguiling,
To see no world but through her veil of green!
And happy vine, secure, in downward gazing,
To find one theme his heart forever praising,--
The crystal cup a throne, and she the queen!

I speak, I grew about him, ever dearer;
The water rose to meet me, ever nearer;
The water passed one day this curb of stone.
Was it a weak escape from righteous boundings,
Or yet a righteous scorn of false surroundings?
I only know I live my life alone.

Alone? The smiling fountain seems to chide me,--
The constant fountain, rooted still beside me,
And speaking wistful words I toil to hear:
Ah, how alone! The mystic words confound me;
And still the awakened fountain yearns beyond me,
Streaming to some unknown I may not near.

"Oh, list," he cries, "the wondrous voices calling!
I hear a hundred streams in silver falling;
I feel the far-off pulses of the sea.
Oh, come!" Then all my length beside him faring,
I strive and strain for growth, and soon, despairing,
I pause and wonder where the wrong can be.

Were we not equal? Nay, I stooped, from climbing,
To his obscure, to list the golden chiming,
So low to all the world, so plain to me.
_Now_,'twere some broad fair streamlet, onward tending
Should mate with him, and both, serenely blending,
Move in a grand accordance to the sea.

I tend not so; I hear no voices calling;
I have no care for rivers silver-falling;
I hate the far-off sea that wrought my pain.
Oh for some spell of change, my life new-aiming!
Or best, by spells his too much life reclaiming,
Hold all within the fountain-curb again!



ABOUT THIEVES.


It is recorded in the pages of Diodorus Siculus, that Actisanes, the
Ethiopian, who was king of Egypt, caused a general search to be made
for all Egyptian thieves, and that all being brought together, and the
king having "given them a just hearing," he commanded their noses to be
cut off,--and, of course, what a king of Egypt commanded was done; so
that all the Egyptian "knucks," "cracksmen," "shoplifters," and
pilferers generally, of whatever description known to the slang terras
of the time, became marked men.

Inspired, perhaps, with the very idea on which the Ethiopian acted, the
police authorities have lately provided, that, in an out-of-the-way
room, on a back street, the honest men of New York city may scan the
faces of its thieves, and hold silent communion with that interesting
part of the population which has agreed to defy the laws and to stand
at issue with society. Without disturbing the deep pool of penalogy, or
entering at all into the question, as to whether Actisanes was right,
or whether the police of New York do not overstep their authority in
putting on the walls this terrible bill of attainder against certain
citizens of the United States, whom their country's constitution has
endeavored to protect from "infamous punishments,"--the student of
moral science will certainly be thankful for the faces.

We do not remember ever having "opened" a place or picked a pocket. We
have made puns, however; and so, upon the Johnsonian _dictum_, the
thing is latent in us, and we feel the affinity. We do not hate
thieves. We feel satisfied that even in the character of a man who does
not respect ownership there may be much to admire. Sparkles of genius
scintillate along the line of many a rogue's career. Many there are, it
is true, who are obtuse and vicious below the mean,--but a far greater
number display skill and courage infinitely above it. Points of noble
character, of every good as well as most base characteristics of the
human race, will be found in the annals of thievery, when they are
written aright.

Thieves, like the State of Massachusetts in the great man's oration,
"have their history," and it may be safely asserted that they did not
steal it. It is dimly hinted in the verse of a certain ancient, that
there was a time in a remoter antiquity "ere thieves were feared"; yet
even this is cautiously quiet as to their non-existence. Homer,
recounting traditions old in his time, chuckles with narrative delight
over the boldness, wit, and invention of a great cattle-stealer, and
for his genius renders him the ultimatum of Greek tribute,
intellectually speaking, by calling him a son of Zeus. Herodotus speaks
plainly and tells a story; and the best of all his stories, to our
thinking, is a thief's story, which we abridge thus.

"The king Rhampsinitus, the priests informed me, possessed a great
quantity of money, such as no succeeding king was able to surpass or
nearly come up to, and, wishing to treasure it, he built a chamber of
stone, one wall of which was against the palace. But the builder,
forming a plan against it, even in building, fitted one of the stones
so that it might be easily taken out by two men or even one.

"In course of time, and when the king had laid up his treasures in the
chamber, the builder, finding his end approaching, called to him his
two sons and described to them how he had contrived, and, having
clearly explained everything, he told them, if they would observe his
directions closely, they might be stewards of the king's riches. He
accordingly died, and the sons were not long in applying themselves to
the work; but, having come by night to the palace, and having found the
stone as described, they easily removed it, and carried off a great
quantity of treasure.

"When the king opened the chamber, he was astonished to see some
vessels deficient; but he was not able to accuse any one, as the seals
were unbroken, and the chamber well secured. When, therefore, on his
opening it two or three times, the treasures were always evidently
diminished, he adopted the following plan: he ordered traps to be made
and placed them round the vessels in which the treasures were. But when
the thieves came, as before, and one of them had entered, as soon as he
went near a vessel, he was straightway caught in the trap; perceiving,
therefore, in what a predicament he was, he immediately called to his
brother, told him what had happened, and bade him enter as quickly as
possible and cut off his head, lest, if seen and recognized, he should
ruin him also. The other thought he spoke well, and did as he was
advised; then, having fitted in the stone, he returned home, taking
with him his brother's head.

"When day came, the king, having entered the chamber, was astonished at
seeing the body of the thief in the trap without the head, but the
chamber secured, and no apparent means of entrance or exit. In this
perplexity he contrived thus: he hung up the body of the thief from the
wall, and, having placed sentinels there, he ordered them to seize and
bring before him whomsoever they should see weeping or expressing
commiseration for the spectacle.

"The mother was greatly grieved at the body being suspended, and,
coming to words with her surviving son, commanded him, by any means he
could, to contrive how he might take down and bring away the corpse of
his brother; but, should he not do so, she threatened to go to the king
and tell who had the treasure. When the mother treated her surviving
son harshly, and he, with many entreaties, was unable to persuade her,
he contrived this plan: he put skins filled with wine on some asses,
and drove to where the corpse was detained, and there skilfully loosed
the strings of two or three of those skins, and, when the wine ran out,
he beat his head and cried aloud, as if he knew not which one to turn
to first. But the sentinels, seeing wine flow, ran with vessels and
caught it, thinking it their gain,--whereupon, the man, feigning anger,
railed against them. But the sentinels soothed and pacified him, and at
last he set the skins to rights again. More conversation passed; the
sentinels joked with him and moved him to laughter, and he gave them
one of the skins, and lay down with them and drank, and thus they all
became of a party; and the sentinels, becoming exceedingly drunk, fell
asleep where they had been drinking. Then the thief took down the body
of his brother, and, departing, carried it to his mother, having obeyed
her injunctions.

"After this the king resorted to many devices to discover and take the
thief, but all failed through his daring and shrewdness: when, at last,
sending throughout all the cities, the king caused a proclamation to be
made, offering a pardon and even reward to the man, if he would
discover himself. The thief, relying on this promise, went to the
palace; and Rhampsinitus greatly admired him, and gave him his daughter
in marriage, accounting him the most knowing of all men; for that the
Egyptians are superior to all others, but he was superior to the
Egyptians."

The Egyptians appear to have given their attention to stealing in every
age; and at the present time, the ruler there may be said to be not so
much the head man of the land as the head thief. Travellers report that
that country is divided into departments upon a basis of abstraction,
and that the interests of each department, in pilfering respects, are
under the supervision of a Chief of Thieves. The Chief of Thieves is
responsible to the government, and to him all those who steal
professionally must give in their names, and must also keep him
informed of their successful operations. When goods are missed, the
owner applies to the government, is referred to the Chief of Thieves
for the Department, and all particulars of quantity, quality, time, and
manner of abstraction, to the best of his knowledge and belief, being
given, the goods are easily identified and at once restored,--less a
discount of twenty-five per cent. Against any rash man who should
undertake a private speculation, of course the whole fraternity of
thieves would be the beat possible police. This, after all, appears to
be a mere compromise of police taxes. He who has no goods to lose, or,
having, can watch them so well as not to need the police, the
government agrees shall not be made to pay for a police; but he whom
the fact of loss is against must pay well to be watched.

Something of this principle is observable in all the East The East is
the fatherland of thieves, and Oriental annals teem with brilliant
examples of their exploits. The story of Jacoub Ben-Laith, founder of
the Soffarid dynasty,--otherwise, first of the Tinker-Kings of the
larger part of Persia,--is especially excellent upon that proverbial
"honor among thieves" of which most men have heard.

Working weary hour after hour in his little shop,--toiling away days,
weeks, and months for a meagre subsistence,--Jacoub finally turned in
disgust from his hammer and forge, and became a "minion of the moon."
He is said, however, to have been reasonable in plunder, and never to
have robbed any of all they had. One night he entered the palace of
Darham, prince of the province of Segestan, and, working diligently,
soon gathered together an immense amount of valuables, with which he
was making off, when, in crossing a very dark room, his foot struck
upon a hard substance, and the misstep nearly threw him down. Stooping,
he picked up that upon which he had trodden. He believed it, from
feeling, to be a precious stone. He carried it to his mouth, touched it
with his tongue,--it was salt! And thus, by his own action, he had
tasted salt beneath the prince's roof,--in Eastern parlance, had
accepted his hospitality, become his guest. He could not rob him.
Jacoub laid down his burden,--robes embroidered in gold upon the
richest materials, sashes wanting only the light to flash with precious
stones worked in the braid, all the costly and rare of an Eastern
prince's palace gathered in one common spoil,--laid it all down, and
departed as silently as he had come.

In the morning the disorder seen told only of attempted robbery.
Diligent search being made, the officers charged with it became
satisfied of Jacoub's complicity. They brought him before the prince.
There, being charged with the burglary, Jacoub at once admitted it, and
told the whole story. The prince, honoring him for his honor, at once
took him into his service, and employed him with entire confidence in
whatever of important or delicate he had to do that needed a man of
truth and courage; and Jacoub from that beginning went up step by step,
till he himself became prince of a province, and then of many
provinces, and finally king of a mighty realm. He had soul enough,
according to Carlyle's idea, not to need salt; but, for all that, the
salt saved him.

Another king of Persia, Khurreem Khan, was not ashamed to admit, with a
crown on his head, that he had once been a thief, and was wont to
recount of himself what in these days we should call a case of
conscience. Thus he told it:--

"When I was a poor soldier in Nadir Shah's camp, my necessities led me
to take from a shop a gold-embossed saddle, sent thither by an Afghan
chief to be repaired. I soon afterward heard that the owner of the shop
was in prison, sentenced to be hanged. My conscience smote me. I
restored the stolen article to the very place whence I had removed it,
and watched till it was discovered by the tradesman's wife. She uttered
a scream of joy, on seeing it, and fell on her knees, invoking
blessings on the person who had brought it back, and praying that he
might live to have a hundred such saddles. I am quite certain that the
honest prayer of the old woman aided my fortune in attaining the
splendor she wished me to enjoy."

These are variations upon the general theme of thievery. They all tend
to show that it is, at the least, unsafe to take the fact of a man's
having committed a certain crime against property as a proof _per se_
that he is radically bad or inferior in intellect. "Your thief looks
in the crowd," says Byron,

  "Exactly like the rest, or rather better,"--

and this, not because physiognomy is false, but the thief's face true.
Of a promiscuous crowd, taken almost anywhere, the pickpocket in it is
the smartest man present, in all probability. According to
Ecclesiasticus, it is "the _heart_ of man that changeth his
countenance"; and it does seem that it is to his education, and not to
his heart, that man does violence in stealing. It is certainly in exact
proportion to his education that he feels in reference to it, and does
or does not "regret the necessity."

And, indeed, that universal doctrine of contraries may work here as
elsewhere; and it might not he difficult to demonstrate that a majority
of thieves are better fitted by their nature and capacity for almost
any other position in life than the one they occupy through perverse
circumstance and unaccountable accident. Though mostly men of fair
ability, they are not generally successful. Considering the number of
thieves, there are but few great ones. In this "Rogues' Gallery" of the
New York Police Commissioners we find the face of a "first-rate"
burglar among the ablest of the eighty of whom he is one. He is a
German, and has passed twenty years in the prisons of his native land:
has that leonine aspect sometimes esteemed a physiognomical attribute
of the German, and, with fair enough qualities generally, is without
any especial intellectual strength. Near him is another
"first-rate,"--all energy and action, acute enough, a quick reasoner,
very cool and resolute. Below these is the face of one whom the
thief-takers think lightly of, and call a man of "no account." Yet he
is a man of far better powers than either of the "first-rates,"--has
more thought and equal energy,--a mind seldom or never at rest,--is one
to make new combinations and follow them to results with an ardor
almost enthusiastic. From some want of adaptation not depending upon
intellectual power, he is inferior as a thief to his inferiors.

This man was without a cravat when his picture was taken, and his white
shirt-collar, coming up high in the neck, has the appearance of a white
neckerchief. This trifle of dress, with the intellectual look of the
man, strikes every observer as giving him a clerical appearance. The
picture strongly resembles--more in air, perhaps, than in feature--the
large engraved portrait of Summerfield. There is not so much of calm
comprehensiveness of thought, and there are more angles. Thief though
he be, he has fair language,--not florid or rhetorical, but terse and
very much to the point. If bred as a divine, he would have held his
place among the "brilliants" of the time, and been as original,
erratic, or _outré_ as any. What a fortune lost! It is part of the
fatality for the man not to know it, at least in time. Even villany
would have put him into his proper place, but for that film over the
mental vision. "If rogues," said Franklin, "knew the advantages
attached to the practice of the virtues, they would become honest men
from mere roguery."

Many of the faces of this Rogues' Gallery are very well worth
consideration. Of a dozen leading pickpockets, who work singly, or two
or three together, and are mostly English, what is first noted is not
favorable to English teaching or probity;--their position sits easily
upon them. There is not one that gives indication of his having passed
through any mental struggle before he sat down in life as a thief.
Though all men capable of thought, they have not thought very deeply
upon this point. One of them is a natural aristocrat,--a man who could
keep the crowd aloof by simple volition, and without offense; nothing
whatever harsh in him,--polite to all, and amiable to a fault with his
fellows.

There would be style in everything he did or said. He is one to
astonish drawing-rooms and bewilder promenades by the taste and
elegance of his dress. Upon that altar, doubtless, he sacrificed his
principles; but the sacrifice was not a great one.

"'Tis only at the bar or in the dungeon that wise men know a felon by
his features." Another English pickpocket appears to have Alps on Alps
of difference between him and a thief. Good-nature prevails; there is a
little latent fire; not enough energy to be bad, or good, against the
current. He has some quiet dignity, too,--the head, in fine, of a
genial, dining Dombey, if such a man can be imagined. Face a good oval,
rather full in flesh, forehead square, without particular strength, a
nose that was never unaccompanied by good taste and understanding, and
mouth a little lickerish;--the incarnation of the popular idea of a
bank-president.

The other day he turned to get into an omnibus at one of the ferries,
and just as he did so, there, it so happened, was a young lady stepping
in before him. The quiet old gentleman, with that warmth of politeness
that sits so well upon quiet old gentlemen in the presence of young
ladies, helped her in, and took a seat beside her. At half a block up
the street the president startled the other passengers by the violent
gesticulations with which he endeavored to attract the attention of a
gentleman passing down on the sidewalk; the passengers watched with
interest the effect or non-effect of his various episodes of
telegraphic desperation, and saw, with a regret equal to his own, that
the gentleman on the sidewalk saw nothing, and turned the corner as
calmly as a corner could be turned; but the old gentleman, not willing
to lose him in that manner, jumped out of the 'bus and ran after, with
a liveliness better becoming his eagerness than his age. In a moment
more, the young lady, admonished by the driver's rap on the roof, would
have paid her fare, but her portmonnaie was missing. I know not whether
the bank-president was or was not suspected;--

"All I can say is, that he had the money."

Look closer, and beneath that look of good-humor you will find a little
something of superciliousness. You will see a line running down the
cheek from behind each nostril, drawing the whole face, good-humor and
all, into a sneer of habitual contempt,--contempt, no doubt, of the
vain endeavors and devices of men to provide against the genius of a
good pickpocket.

It was said of Themistocles, that

        "he, with all his greatness,
Could ne'er command his hands."

Now this man is a sort of Themistocles. He is a man of wealth, and can
snap his fingers at Fortune; can sneer that little sneer of his at
things generally, and be none the worse; but what he cannot do is, to
shake off an incubus that sits upon his life in the shape of old Habit
severe as Fate. This man, with apparently all that is necessary in the
world to keep one at peace with it, and to ease declining life with
comforts, and cheer with the serener pleasures, is condemned to keep
his peace in a state of continual uncertainty; for, seeing a purse
temptingly exposed, he is physically incapable of refraining from the
endeavor to take it. What devil is there in his finger-ends that brings
this about? Is this part of the curse of crime,--that, having once
taken up with it, a man cannot cut loose, but, with all the disposition
to make his future life better, he must, as by the iron links of
Destiny, be chained to his past?

There is a Chinese thief-story somewhat in point here. A man who was
very poor stole from his neighbor, who was very rich, a single duck. He
cooked and ate it, and went to bed happy; but before morning he felt
all over his body and limbs a remarkable itching, a terrible irritation
that prevented sleep. When daylight came, he perceived that he had
sprouted all over with duck-feathers. This was an unlooked-for
judgment, and the man gave himself up to despair,--when he was informed
by an emanation of the divine Buddha that the feathers would fall from
him the moment he received a reproof and admonition from the man whose
duck he had stolen. This only increased his despair, for he knew his
neighbor to be one of the laughter-loving kind, who would not go to the
length of reproof, though he lost a thousand ducks. After sundry futile
attempts to swindle his neighbor out of the needed admonition, our
friend was compelled to divulge, not only the theft, but also the means
of cure, when he was cured.

And this good, easy man, who is wealthy with the results of
pocket-picking;--that well-cut black coat, that satin waistcoat, that
elegantly-adjusted scarf and well-arranged collar, they are all
duck-feathers; but the feather that itches is that irreclaimable
tendency of the fingers to find their way into other people's pockets.
Pity, however, the man who cannot be at ease till he has received a
reproof from every one whose pocket he has picked through a long life
in London and in New York city.

The amount of mental activity that gleams out upon you from these walls
is something wonderful; evidence of sufficient thinking to accomplish
almost any intellectual task; thought-life crowded with what
experience!

The "confidence" swindlers are mostly Americans,--so that, the
pickpockets being mostly English, you may see some national character
in crime, aside from the tendency of races. The Englishman is
conservative,--sticks to traditions,--picks and plods in the same old
way in which ages have picked and plodded before him. Exactly like the
thief of ancient Athens, he

                            "walks
The street, and picks your pocket as he talks
On some pretence with you";

at the same time, with courage and self-reliance admirably English,
risking his liberty on his skill. The American illuminates his practice
with an intellectual element, faces his man, "bidding a gay defiance to
mischance," and gains his end easily by some acute device that merely
transfers to himself, with the knowledge and consent of the owner, the
subtile principle of property.

This "confidence" game is a thing of which the ancients appear to have
known nothing. The French have practised it with great success, and may
have invented it. It appears particularly French in some of its
phases,--in the manner that is necessary for its practice, in its wit
and finesse. The affair of the Diamond Necklace, with which all the
world is familiar, is the most magnificent instance of it on record. A
lesser case, involving one of the same names, and playing excellently
upon woman's vanity, illustrates the French practice.

One evening, as Marie Antoinette sat quietly in her _loge_ at the
theatre, the wife of a wealthy tradesman of Paris, sitting nearly
_vis-à-vis_ to the Queen, made great parade of her toilet, and seemed
peculiarly desirous of attracting attention to a pair of splendid
bracelets, gleaming with the chaste contrast of emeralds and diamonds.
She was not without success. A gentleman of elegant mien and graceful
manner presented himself at the door of her _loge_; he delivered a
message from the Queen. Her Majesty had remarked the singular beauty of
the bracelets, and wished to inspect one of them more closely. What
could be more gratifying? In the seventh heaven of delighted vanity,
the tradesman's wife unclasped the bracelet and gave it to the
gentleman, who bowed himself out, and left her--as you have doubtless
divined he would--abundant leisure to learn of her loss.

Early the next morning, however, an officer from the department of
police called at this lady's house. The night before, a thief had been
arrested leaving the theatre, and on his person were found many
valuables,--among others, a splendid bracelet. Being penitent, he had
told, to the best of his recollection, to whom the articles belonged,
and the lady called upon was indicated as the owner of the bracelet. If
Madame possessed the mate to this singular bracelet, it was only
necessary to intrust it to the officer, and, if it were found to
compare properly with the other, both would be immediately sent home,
and Madame would have only a trifling fee to pay. The bracelet was
given willingly, and, with the stiff courtesy inseparable from official
dignity, the officer took his leave, and at the next _café_ joined his
fellow, the gentleman of elegant mien and graceful manner. The
bracelets were not found to compare properly, and therefore were not
returned.

These faces are true to the nationality,--all over American. They are
much above the average in expression,--lighted with clear, well-opened
eyes, intelligent and perceptive; most have an air of business
frankness well calculated to deceive. There is one capacious,
thought-freighted forehead. All are young.

No human observer will fail to be painfully struck with the number of
boys whose faces are here exposed. There are boys of every age, from
five to fifteen, and of every possible description, good, bad, and
indifferent. The stubborn and irreclaimable imp of evil nature peers
out sullenly and doggedly, or sparkles on you a pair of small
snake-eyes, fruitful of deceit and cunning. The better boy, easily
moved, that might become anything, mercurial and volatile, "most
ignorant of what he's most assured," reflects on his face the pleasure
of having his picture taken, and smiles good-humoredly, standing in
this worst of pillories, to be pelted along a lifetime with
unforgetting and unforgiving glances. With many of these boys, this is
a family matter. Here are five brothers, the youngest very young
indeed,--and the father not very old. One of the brothers,
bright-looking as boy can be, is a young Jack Sheppard, and has already
broken jail five times. Many are trained by old burglars to be put
through windows where men cannot go, and open doors. In a row of
second-class pickpockets, nearly all boys, there is observable on
almost every face some expression of concern, and one instinctively
thanks Heaven that the boys appear to be frightened. Yet, after all,
perhaps it is hardly worth while. The reform of boy thieves was first
agitated a long while since, and we have yet to hear of some
encouraging result. The earliest direct attempt we know of, with all
the old argument, _pro_ and _con_, is thus given in Sadi's "Gulistan."

Among a gang of thieves, who had been very hardly taken, "there
happened to be a lad whose rising bloom of youth was just matured. One
of the viziers kissed the foot of the king's throne, assumed a look of
intercession, and said,--

"'This lad has not yet even reaped the pleasures of youth; my
expectation, from your Majesty's inherent generosity, is, that, by
granting his life, you would confer an obligation on your servant.'

"The king frowned at this request, and said,--

"'The light of the righteous does not influence one of vicious origin;
instruction to the worthless is a walnut on a dome, that rolls off. To
smother a fire and leave its sparks, to kill a viper and take care of
its young, are not actions of the wise. Though the clouds rain the
water of life, you cannot eat fruit from the boughs of a willow.'

"When the vizier heard this, he applauded the king's understanding, and
assented that what he had pronounced was unanswerable.

"'Yet, nevertheless,' he said, 'as the boy, if bred among the thieves,
would have taken their manners, so is your servant hopeful that he
might receive instruction in the society of upright men; for he is
still a boy, and it is written, that every child is born in the faith
of Islam, and his parents corrupt him. The son of Noah, associated with
the wicked, lost his power of prophecy; the dog of the Seven Sleepers,
following the good, became a man.'

"Then others of the courtiers joined in the intercession, and the king
said,--

"'I have assented, but I do not think it well.'

"They bred the youth in indulgence and affluence, and appointed an
accomplished tutor to educate him, and he became learned and gained
great applause in the sight of every one. The king smiled when the
vizier spoke of this, and said,--

"'Thou hast been nourished by our milk, and hast grown with us; who
afterwards gave thee intelligence that thy father was a wolf?'

"A few years passed;--a company of the vagrants of the neighborhood
were near; they connected themselves with the boy; a league of
association was formed; and, at an opportunity, the boy destroyed the
vizier and his children, carried off vast booty, and fixed himself in
the place of his father in the cavern of the robbers. The king bit the
hand of astonishment with the teeth of reflection, and said,--

"'How can any one make a good sword from bad iron? The worthless, O
Philosopher, does not, by instruction, become worthy. Rain, though not
otherwise than benignant, produces tulips in gardens and rank weeds in
nitrous ground.'"

Yet, notwithstanding Sadi and some other wise ones, here, as thieves,
are the faces of boys that cannot be naturally vicious,--boys of good
instincts, beyond all possible question,--and that only need a mother's
hand to smooth back the clustering hair from the forehead, to discover
the future residence of plentiful and upright reason. The face of a
boy, now in Sing Sing for burglary, and who bears a name which over the
continent of North America is identified with the ideas of large
combination and enterprise, is especially noticeable for the clear
eyes, and frank, promising look.

That tale of Sadi will do well enough when Aesop tells it of a
serpent;--he, indeed, can change his skin and be a serpent still; but
when the old Sufi, or any one else, tells it of a boy, let us doubt.

Think of the misery that may be associated with all this,--that this
represents! In this Gallery are the faces of many men; some are
handsome, most of them more or less human. It cannot be that they all
began wrongly,--that their lives were all poisoned at the
fountain-head. No,--here are some that came from what are called good
families; many others of them had homes, and you may still see some
lingering love of it in an air of settled sadness,--they were misled in
later life. Think of the mothers who have gone down, in bitter, bitter
sorrow, to the grave, with some of the lineaments we see around before
their mind's eye at the latest moment! Oh, the circumstances under
which some of these faces have been conjured up by the strong will of
love! Think of the sisters, living along with a hidden heart-ache,
nursing in secret the knowledge, that somewhere in the world were those
dear to them, from whom they were shut out by a bar-sinister terribly
real, and for whose welfare, with all the generous truth of a sister's
feeling, they would barter everything, yet who were in an unending
danger! Think of them, with this skeleton behind the door of their
hearts, fearful at every moment! Does it seem good in the scheme of
existence, or a blot there, that those who are themselves innocent, but
who are yet the real sufferers, whether punishment to the culprit fall
or fail, should be made thus poignantly miserable? We know nothing.

It is said in a certain Arabic legend, that, while Moses was on Mount
Sinai, the Lord instructed him in the mysteries of his providence; and
Moses, having complained of the impunity of vice and its success in the
world, and the frequent sufferings of the innocent, the Lord led him to
a rock which jutted from the mountain, and where he could overlook the
vast plain of the Desert stretching at his feet.

On one of its oases he beheld a young Arab asleep. He awoke, and,
leaving behind him a bag of pearls, sprang into the saddle and rapidly
disappeared from the horizon. Another Arab came to the oasis; he
discovered the pearls, took them, and vanished in the opposite
direction.

Now an aged wanderer, leaning on his staff, bent his steps wearily
toward the shady spot; he laid himself down, and fell asleep. But
scarcely had he closed his eyes, when he was rudely aroused from his
slumber; the young Arab had returned, and demanded his pearls. The
hoary man replied, that he had not taken them. The other grew enraged,
and accused him of theft. He swore that he had not seen the treasure;
but the other seized him; a scuffle ensued; the young Arab drew his
sword, and plunged it into the breast of the aged man, who fell
lifeless on the earth.

"O Lord! is this just?" exclaimed Moses, with terror.

"Be silent! Behold, this man, whose blood is now mingling with the
waters of the Desert, many years ago, secretly, on the same spot,
murdered the father of the youth who has now slain him. His crime
remained concealed from men; but vengeance is mine: I will repay."



THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE UNDER DIFFICULTIES; AND WHAT CAME OF IT.

[Concluded.]


The week of Mr. Clerron's absence passed away more quickly than Ivy had
supposed it would. The reason for this may be found in the fact that
her thoughts were very busily occupied. She was more silent than usual,
so much so that her father one day said to her,--"Ivy, I haven't heard
you sing this long while, and seems to me you don't talk either. What's
the matter?"

"Do I look as if anything was the matter?" and the face she turned upon
him was so radiant, that even the father's heart was satisfied.

Very quietly happy was Ivy to think she was of service to Mr. Clerron,
that she could give him pleasure,--though she could in no wise
understand how it was. She went over every event since her acquaintance
with him; she felt how much he had done for her, and how much he had
been to her; but she sought in vain to discover how she had been of any
use to him. She only knew that she was the most ignorant and
insignificant girl in the whole world, and that he was the best and
greatest man. As this was very nearly the same conclusion at which she
had arrived at an early period of their acquaintance, it cannot be said
that her week of reflection was productive of any very valuable
results.

The day before Mr. Clerron's expected return Ivy sat down to prepare
her lessons, and for the first time remembered that she had left her
books in Mr. Clerron's library. She was not sorry to have so good an
excuse for visiting the familiar room, though its usual occupant was
not there to welcome her. Very quietly and joyfully happy, she trod
slowly along the path through the woods where she last walked with Mr.
Clerron. She was, indeed, at a loss to know why she was so calm. Always
before, a sudden influx of joy testified itself by very active
demonstrations. She was quite sure that she had never in her life been
so happy as now; yet she never had felt less disposed to leap and dance
and sing. The non-solution of the problem, however, did not ruffle her
serenity. She was content to accept the facts, and await patiently the
theory.

Arriving at the house, she went, as usual, into the library without
ringing,--but, not finding the books, proceeded in search of Mrs. Simm.
That notable lady was sitting behind a huge pile of clean clothes,
sorting and mending to her heart's content. She looked up over her
spectacles at Ivy's bright "good morning," and invited her to come in.
Ivy declined, and begged to know if Mrs. Simm had seen her books. To be
sure she had, like the good housekeeper that she was. "You'll find them
in the book-case, second shelf; but, Miss Ivy, I wish you would come
in, for I've had something on my mind that I've felt to tell you this
long while."

Ivy came in, took the seat opposite Mrs. Simm, and waited for her to
speak; but Mrs. Simm seemed to be in no hurry to speak. She dropped her
glasses; Ivy picked them up and handed them to her. She muttered
something about the destructive habits of men, especially in regard to
buttons; and presently, as if determined to come to the subject at
once, abruptly exclaimed,--

"Miss Ivy, you're a real good girl, I know, and as innocent as a lamb.
That's why I'm going to talk to you as I do. I know, if you were my
child, I should want somebody to do the same by you."

Ivy could only stare in blank astonishment. After a moment's pause,
Mrs. Simm continued,--

"I've seen how things have been going on for some time; but my mouth
was shut, though my eyes were open. I didn't know but maybe I'd better
speak to your mother about it; but then, thinks I to myself, she'll
think it is a great deal worse than it is, and then, like enough,
there'll be a rumpus. So I concluded, on the whole, I'd just tell you
what I thought; and I know you are a sensible girl and will take it all
right. Now you must promise me not to get mad."

"No," gasped Ivy.

"I like you a sight. It's no flattery, but the truth, to say I think
you're as pretty-behaved a girl as you'll find in a thousand. And all
the time you've been here, I never have known you do a thing you hadn't
ought to. And Mr. Clerron thinks so too, and there's the trouble, You
see, dear, he's a man, and men go on their ways and like women, and
talk to them, and sort of bewitch them, not meaning to do them any
hurt,--and enjoy their company of an evening, and go about their own
business in the morning, and never think of it again; but women stay at
home, and brood over it, and think there's something in it, and build a
fine air-castle,--and when they find it's all smoke, they mope and pine
and take on. Now that's what I don't want you to do. Perhaps you'd
think I'd better have spoken with Mr. Clerron; but it wouldn't signify
the head of a pin. He'd either put on the Clerron look and scare you to
death and not say a word, or else he'd hold it up in such a ridiculous
way as to make you think it was ridiculous yourself. And I thought I'd
put you on your guard a little, so as you needn't fall in love with
him. You'll like him, of course. He likes you; but a young girl like
you might make a mistake, if she was ever so modest and sweet,--and
nobody could be modester or sweeter than you,--and think a man loved
you to marry you, when he only pets and plays with you. Not that Mr.
Clerron means to do anything wrong. He'd be perfectly miserable
himself, if he thought he'd led you on. There a'n't a more honorable
man every way in the whole country. Now, Miss Ivy, it's all for your
good I say this. I don't find fault with you, not a bit. It's only to
save you trouble in store that I warn you to look where you stand, and
see that you don't lose your heart before you know it. It's an awful
thing for a woman, Miss Ivy, to get a notion after a man who hasn't got
a notion after her. Men go out and work and delve and drive, and
forget; but there a'n't much in darning stockings and making
pillow-cases to take a woman's thought off her troubles, and sometimes
they get sp'iled for life."

Ivy had remained speechless from amazement; but when Mrs. Simm had
finished, she said, with a sudden accession of womanly dignity that
surprised the good housekeeper,--

"Mrs. Simm, I cannot conceive why you should speak in this way to me.
If you suppose I am not quite able to take care of myself, I assure you
you are much mistaken."

"Lorful heart! Now, Miss Ivy, you promised you wouldn't be mad."

"And I have kept my promise. I am not mad."

"No, but you answer up short like, and that isn't what I thought of
you, Ivy Geer."

Mrs. Simm looked so disappointed that Ivy took a lower tone, and at any
rate she would have had to do it soon; for her fortitude gave way, and
she burst into a flood of tears. She was not, by any means, a heroine,
and could not put on the impenetrable mask of a woman of the world.

"Now, dear, don't be so distressful, dear, don't!" said Mrs. Simm,
soothingly. "I can't bear to see you."

"I am sure I never thought of such a thing as falling in love with Mr.
Clerron or anybody else," sobbed Ivy, "and I don't know what should
make you think so."

"Dear heart, I don't think so. I only told you, so you needn't."

"Why, I should as soon think of marrying the angel Gabriel!"

"Oh, don't talk so, dear; he's no more than man, after all; but still,
you know, he's no fit match for you. To say nothing of his being older
and all that, I don't think it's the right place for you. Your father
and mother are very nice folks; I am sure nobody could ask for better
neighbors, and their good word is in everybody's mouth; and they've
brought you up well, I am sure; but, my dear, you know it's nothing
against you nor them that you a'n't used to splendor, and you wouldn't
take to it natural like. You'd get tired of that way of life, and want
to go back to the old fashions, and you'd most likely have to leave
your father and mother; for it's noways probable Mr. Clerron will stay
here always; and when he goes back to the city, think what a dreary
life you'd have betwixt his two proud sisters, on the one hand,--to be
sure, there's no reason why they should be; their gran'ther was a
tailor, and their grandma was his apprentice, and he got rich, and gave
all his children learning; and Mr. Felix's father, he was a lawyer, and
he got rich by speculation, and so the two girls always had on their
high-heeled boots; but Mr. Clerron, he always laughs at them, and
brings up "the grand-paternal shop," as he calls it, and provokes them
terribly, I know. Well, that's neither here nor there; but, as I was
saying, here you'll have them on the one side, and all the fine ladies
on the other, and a great house and servants, and parties to see to,
and, lorful heart! Miss Ivy, you'd die in three years; and if you know
when you're well off, you'll stay at home, and marry and settle down
near the old folks. Believe me, my dear, it's a bad thing both for the
man and the woman, when she marries above her."

"Mrs. Simm," said Ivy, rising, "will you promise me one thing?"

"Certainly, child, if I can."

"Will you promise me never again to mention this thing to me, or allude
to it in the most distant manner?"

"Miss Ivy, now,"--began Mrs. Simm, deprecatingly.

"Because," interrupted Ivy, speaking very thick and fast, "you cannot
imagine how disagreeable it is to me. It makes me feel ashamed to think
of what you have said, and that you could have thought it even. I
suppose--indeed, I know--that you did it because you thought you ought;
but you may be certain that I am in no danger from Mr. Clerron, nor is
there the slightest probability that his fortune, or honor, or
reputation, or sisters will ever be disturbed by me. I am very much
obliged to you for your good intentions, and I wish you good morning."

"Don't, now, Miss Ivy, go so"--

But Miss Ivy was gone, and Mrs. Simm could only withdraw to her pile of
clothes, and console herself by stitching and darning with renewed
vigor. She felt rather uneasy about the result of her morning's work,
though she had really done it from a conscientious sense of duty.

"Welladay," she sighed, at last, "she'd better be a little cut up and
huffy now, than to walk into a ditch blindfolded; and I wash my hands
of whatever may happen after this. I've had my say and done my part."

Alas, Ivy Geer! The Indian summer day was just as calm and
beautiful,--the far-off mountains wore their veil of mist just as
aërially,--the brook rippled over the stones with just as soft a
melody; but what "discord on the music" had fallen! what "darkness on
the glory"! A miserable, dull, dead weight was the heart which throbbed
so lightly but an hour before. Wearily, drearily, she dragged herself
home. It was nearly sunset when she arrived, and she told her mother
she was tired and had the headache, which was true,--though, if she had
said heartache, it would have been truer. Her mother immediately did
what ninety-nine mothers out of a hundred would do in similar
circumstances,--made her swallow a cup of strong tea, and sent her to
bed. Alas, alas, that there are sorrows which the strongest tea cannot
assuage!

When the last echo of her mother's footstep died on the stairs, and Ivy
was alone in the darkness, the tide of bitterness and desolation swept
unchecked over her soul, and she wept tears more passionate and
desponding than her life had ever before known,--tears of shame and
indignation and grief. It was true that the thought which Mrs. Simm had
suggested had never crossed her mind before; yet it is no less true,
that, all-unconsciously, she had been weaving a golden web, whose
threads, though too fine and delicate even for herself to perceive,
were yet strong enough to entangle her life in their meshes. A secret
chamber, far removed from the noise and din of the world,--a chamber
whose soft and rose-tinted light threw its radiance over her whole
future, and within whose quiet recesses she loved to sit alone and
dream away the hours,--had been rudely entered, and thrown violently
open to the light of day, and Ivy saw with dismay how its pictures had
become ghastly and its sacredness was defiled. With bitter, though
needless and useless self-reproach, she saw how she had suffered
herself to be fascinated. Sorrowfully, she felt that Mrs. Simm's words
were true, and a great gulf lay between her and him. She pictured him
moving easily and gracefully and naturally among scenes which to her
inexperienced eye were grand and splendid; and then, with a sharp pain,
she felt how constrained and awkward and entirely unfit for such a life
was she. Then her thoughts reverted to her parents,--their unchanging
love, their happiness depending on her, their solicitude and
watchfulness,--and she felt as if ingratitude were added to her other
sins, that she could have so attached herself to any other. And again
came back the bitter, burning agony of shame that she had done the very
thing that Mrs. Simm too late had warned her not to do; she had been
carried away by the kindness and tenderness of her friend, and,
unasked, had laid the wealth of her heart at his feet. So the night
flushed into morning; and the sun rose upon a pale face and a trembling
form,--but not upon a faint heart; for Ivy, kneeling by the couch where
her morning and evening prayer had gone up since lisping
infancy,--kneeling no longer a child, but a woman, matured through
love, matured, alas! through suffering, prayed for strength and
comfort; prayed that her parents' love might be rendered back into
their own bosoms a hundred fold; prayed that her friend's kindness to
her might not be an occasion of sin against God, and that she might be
enabled to walk with a steady step in the path that lay before her. And
she arose strengthened and comforted.

All the morning she lay quiet and silent on the lounge in the little
sitting-room. Her mother, busied with household matters, only looked in
upon her occasionally, and, as the eyes were always closed, did not
speak, thinking her asleep. Ivy was not asleep. Ten thousand little
sprites flitted swiftly through the chambers of her brain, humming,
singing, weeping, but always busy, busy. Then another tread softly
entered, and she knew her dear old father had drawn a chair close to
her, and was looking into her face. Tears came into her eyes, her lip
involuntarily quivered, and then she felt the pressure of
his----his!--surely that was not her father's kiss! She started up. No,
no! that was not her father's face bending over her,--not her father's
eyes smiling into hers; but, woe for Ivy! her soul thrilled with a
deeper bliss, her heart leaped with a swifter bound, and for a moment
all the experience and suffering and resolutions of the last night were
as if they had never been. Only for a moment, and then with a strong
effort she remembered the impassable gulf.

"A pretty welcome home you have given me!" said Mr. Clerron, lightly.

He saw that something was weighing on her spirits, but did not wish to
distress her by seeming to notice it.

"I wait in my library, I walk in my garden, expecting every moment will
bring you,--and lo! here you are lying, doing nothing but look pale and
pretty as hard as you can."

Ivy smiled, but did not consider it prudent to speak.

"I found your books, however, and have brought them to you. You thought
you would escape a lesson finely, did you not? But you see I have
outwitted you."

"Yes,--I went for the books yesterday," said Ivy, "but I got talking
with Mrs. Simm and forgot them."

"Ah!" he replied, looking somewhat surprised. "I did not know Mrs. Simm
could be so entertaining. She must have exerted herself. Pray, now, if
it would not be impertinent, upon what subject did she hold forth with
eloquence so overpowering that everything else was driven from your
mind? The best way of preserving apples, I dare swear, or the
superiority of pickled grapes to pickled cucumbers."

"No," said Ivy, with the ghost of an other smile,--"upon various
subjects; but not those. How do you do, Mr. Clerron? Have you had a
pleasant visit to the city?"

"Very well, I thank you, Miss Geer; and I have not had a remarkably
pleasant visit, I am obliged to you. Have I the pleasure of seeing you
quite well, Miss Geer,--quite fresh and buoyant?"

The lightness of tone which he had assumed had precisely the opposite
effect intended.

"Ye banks and braes o' bonny Doon,
  How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
  And I sae weary fu' o' care?"

is the of stricken humanity everywhere. And Ivy thought of Mr. Clerron,
rich, learned, elegant, happy, on the current of whose life she only
floated a pleasant ripple,--and of herself, poor, plain, awkward,
ignorant, to whom he was the life of life, the all in all. I would not
have you suppose this passed through her mind precisely as I have
written it. By no means. The ideas rather trooped through in a pellmell
sort of way; but they got through just as effectually. Now, if Ivy had
been content to let her muscles remain perfectly still, her face might
have given no sign of the confusion within; but, with a foolish
presumption, she undertook to smile, and so quite lost control of the
little rebels, who immediately twisted themselves into a sob. Her whole
frame convulsed with weeping and trying not to weep, he forced her
gently back on the pillow, and, bending low, whispered softly,--

"Ivy, what is it?"

"Oh, don't ask me!--please, don't! Please, go away!" murmured the poor
child.

"I will, my dear, in a minute; but you must think I should be a little
anxious. I leave you as gay as a bird, and healthy and rosy,--and when
I come back, I find you white and sad and ill. I am sure something
weighs on your mind. I assure you, my little Ivy, and you must believe,
that I am your true friend,--and if you would confide in me, perhaps I
could bring you comfort. It would at least relieve you to let me help
you bear the burden."

The burden being of such a nature, it is not at all probable that Ivy
would have assented to his proposition; but the welcome entrance of her
mother prevented the necessity of replying.

"Oh, you're awake! Well, I told Mr. Clerron he might come in, though I
thought you wouldn't be. Slept well this morning, didn't you, deary, to
make up for last night?"

"No, mamma, I haven't been asleep."

"Crying, my dear? Well, now, that's a pretty good one! Nervous she is,
Mr. Clerron, always nervous, when the least thing ails her; and she
didn't sleep a wink last night, which is a bad thing for the
nerves,--and Ivy generally sleeps like a top. She walked over to your
house yesterday, and when she got home she was entirely beat
out,--looked as if she had been sick a week. I don't know why it was,
for the walk couldn't have hurt her. She's always dancing round at
home. I don't think she's been exactly well for four or five days. Her
father and I both thought she'd been more quiet like than usual."

The sudden pang that shot across Ivy's face was not unobserved by Mr.
Clerron. A thought came into his mind. He had risen at Mrs. Geer's
entrance, and he now expressed his regret for Ivy's illness, and hoped
that she would soon be well, and able to resume her studies; and, with
a few words of interest and inquiry to Mrs. Geer, took his leave.

"I wonder if Mrs. Simm _has_ been putting her foot in it!" thought he,
as he stalked home rather more energetically than was his custom.

That unfortunate lady was in her sitting-room, starching muslins, when
Mr. Clerron entered. She had surmised that he was gone to the farm, and
had looked for his return with a shadow of dread. She saw by his face
that something was wrong.

"Mrs. Simm," he began, somewhat abruptly, but not disrespectfully, "may
I beg your pardon for inquiring what Ivy Geer talked to you about,
yesterday?"

"Oh, good Lord! She ha'n't told you, has she?" cried Mrs. Simm,--her
fear of God, for once, yielding to her greater fear of man. The
embroidered collar, which she had been vigorously beating, dropped to
the floor, and she gazed at him with such terror and dismay in every
lineament, that he could not help being amused. He picked up the
collar, which, in her perturbation, she had not noticed, and said,--

"No, she has told me nothing; but I find her excited and ill, and I
have reason to believe it is connected with her visit here yesterday.
If it is anything relating to me, and which I have a right to know, you
would do me a great favor by enlightening me on the subject."

Mrs. Simm had not a particle of that knowledge in which Young America
is so great a proficient, namely, the "knowing how to get out of a
scrape." She was, besides, alarmed at the effect of her words on Ivy,
supposing nothing less than that the girl was in the last stages of a
swift consumption; so she sat down, and, rubbing her starchy hands
together, with many a deprecatory "you know," and apologetic "I am sure
I thought I was acting for the best," gave, considering her agitation,
a tolerably accurate account of the whole interview. Her interlocutor
saw plainly that she had acted from a sincere conscientiousness, and
not from a meddlesome, mischievous interference; so he only thanked her
for her kind interest, and suggested that he had now arrived at an age
when it would, perhaps, be well for him to conduct matters,
particularly of so delicate a nature, solely according to his own
judgment, He was sorry to have given her any trouble.


"Scissors cuts only what comes between 'em," soliloquized Mrs. Simm,
when the door closed behind him. "If ever I meddle with a
courting-business again, my name a'n't Martha Simm. No, they may go to
Halifax, whoever they be, 'fore ever I'll lift a finger."

It is a great pity that the world generally has not been brought to
make the same wise resolution.

One, two, three, four days passed away, and still Ivy pondered the
question so often wrung from man in his bewildered gropings, "What
shall I do?" Every day brought her teacher and friend to comfort,
amuse, and strengthen. Every morning she resolved to be on her guard,
to remember the impassable gulf. Every evening she felt the silken
cords drawing tighter and tighter around her soul, and binding her
closer and closer to him. She thought she might die, and the thought
gave her a sudden joy. Death would solve the problem at once. If only a
few weeks or months lay before her, she could quietly rest on him, and
give herself up to him, and wait in heaven for all rough places to be
made plain. But Ivy did not die. Youth and nursing and herb-tea were
too strong for her, and the color came back to her cheek and the
languor went out from her blue eyes. She saw nothing to be done but to
resume her old routine. It would be difficult to say whether she was
more glad or sorry at seeming to see this necessity. She knew her
danger, and it was very fascinating. She did not look into the far-off
future; she only prayed to be kept from day to day. Perhaps her course
was wise; perhaps not. But she had to rely on her own judgment alone;
and her judgment was founded on inexperience, which is not a
trustworthy basis.

A new difficulty arose. Ivy found that she could not resume her old
habits. To be sure, she learned her lessons just as perfectly at home
as she had ever done. Just as punctual to the appointed hour, she went
to recite them; but no sooner had her foot crossed Mr. Clerron's
threshold than her spirit seemed to die within her. She remembered
neither words nor ideas. Day after day, she attempted to go through her
recitation as usual, and, day after day, she hesitated, stammered, and
utterly failed. His gentle assistance only increased her embarrassment.
This she was too proud to endure; and, one day, after an unsuccessful
effort, she closed the book with a quick, impatient gesture, and
exclaimed,--

"Mr. Clerron, I will not recite any more!"

The agitated flush which had suffused her face gave way to paleness. He
saw that she was under strong excitement, and quietly replied,--

"Very well, you need not, if you are tired. You are not quite well yet,
and must not try to do too much. We will commence here to-morrow."

"No, Sir,--I shall not recite any more at all."

"Till to-morrow."

"Never any more!"

There was a moment's pause.

"You must not lose patience, my dear. In a few days you will recite as
well as ever. A fine notion, forsooth, because you have been ill, and
forgotten a little, to give up studying! And what is to become of my
laurels, pray,--all the glory I am to get by your proficiency?"

"I shall study at home just the same, but I shall not recite."

"Why not?"

His look became serious.

"Because I cannot. I do not think it best,--and--and I will not"

Another pause.

"Ivy, do you not like your teacher?"

"No, Sir. _I hate you!_"

The words seemed to flash from her lips. She sprang up and stood erect
before him, her eyes on fire, and every nerve quivering with intense
excitement He was shocked and startled. It was a new phase of her
character,--a new revelation. He, too, arose, and walked to the
window. If Ivy could have seen the workings of his face, there would
have been a revelation to her also. But she was too highly excited to
notice anything. He came back to her and spoke in a low voice,--

"Ivy, this is too much. This I did not expect."

He laid his hand upon her head as he had often done before. She shook
it off passionately.

"Yes, I hate you. I hate you, because"--

"Because I wanted you to love me?"

"No, Sir; because I do love you, and you bring me only wretchedness. I
have never been happy since the miserable day I first saw you."

"Then, Ivy, I have utterly failed in what it has been my constant
endeavor to do."

"No, Sir, you have succeeded in what you endeavored to do. You have
taught me. You have given me knowledge and thought, and showed me the
source of knowledge. But I had better have been the ignorant girl you
found me. You have taken from me what I can never find again. I have
made a bitter exchange. I was ignorant and stupid, I know,--but I was
happy and contented; and now I am wretched and miserable and wicked.
You have come between me and my home and my father and mother;--between
me and all the bliss of my past and all my hope for the future."

"And thus, Ivy, have you come between me and my past and my
future;--yet not thus. You shut out from my heart all the sorrow and
vexation and strife that have clouded my life, and fill it with your
own dear presence. You come between me and my future, because, in
looking forward, I see only you. I should have known better. There is
a gulf between us; but if I could make you happy"--

"I don't want you to make me happy. I know there is a gulf between us.
I saw it while you were gone. I measured it and fathomed it. I shall
not leap across. Stay you on your side quietly; I shall stay as quietly
on mine."

"It is too late for that, Ivy,--too late now. But you are not to blame,
my child. Little sunbeam that you are, I will not cloud you. Go shine
upon other lives as you have shone upon mine! light up other hearths as
you have mine! and I will bless you forever, though mine be left
desolate."

He turned away with an expression on his face that Ivy could not read.
Her passion was gone. She hesitated a moment, then went to his side and
laid her hand softly on his arm. There was a strange moistened gleam in
his eyes as he turned them upon her.

"Mr. Clerron, I do not understand you."

"My dear, you never can understand me."

"I know it," said Ivy, with her old humility; "but, at least, I might
understand whether I have vexed you."

"You have not vexed me."

"I spoke proudly and rudely to you. I was angry, and so unhappy. I
shall always be so; I shall never be happy again; but I want you to be,
and you do not look as if you were."

If Ivy had not been a little fool, she would not have spoken so; but
she was, so she did.

"I beg your pardon, little tendril. I was so occupied with my own
preconceived ideas that I forgot to sympathize with you. Tell me why or
how I have made you unhappy. But I know; you need not. I assure you,
however, that you are entirely wrong. It was a prudish and whimsical
notion of my good old housekeeper's. You are never to think of it
again. _I_ never attributed such a thought or feeling to you."

"Did you suppose that was all that made me unhappy?"

"Can there be anything else?"

"I am glad you think so. Perhaps I should not have been unhappy but for
that, at least not so soon; but that alone could never have made me
so."

Little fool again! She was like a chicken thrusting its head into a
corner and thinking itself out of danger because it cannot see the
danger. She had no notion that she was giving him the least clue to the
truth, but considered herself speaking with more than Delphic prudence.
She rather liked to coast along the shores of her trouble and see how
near she could approach without running aground; but she struck before
she knew it.

Mr. Clerron's face suddenly changed. He sat down, took both her hands,
and drew her towards him.

"Ivy, perhaps I have been misunderstanding you. I will at least find
out the truth. Ivy, do you know that I love you, that I have loved you
almost from the first, that I would gladly here and now take you to my
heart and keep you here forever?"

"I do not know it," faltered Ivy, half beside herself.

"Know it now, then! I am older than you, and I seem to myself so far
removed from you that I have feared to ask you to trust your happiness
to my keeping, lest I should lose you entirely; but sometimes you say
or do something which gives me hope. My experience has been very
different from yours. I am not worthy to clasp your purity and
loveliness. Still I would do it, if--Tell me, Ivy, does it give you
pain or pleasure?"

Ivy extricated her hands from his, deliberately drew a footstool, and
knelt on it before him,--then took his hands, as he had before held
hers, gazed steadily into his eyes, and said,--

"Mr. Clerron, are you in earnest? Do you love me?"

"I am, Ivy. I do love you."

"How do you love me?"

"I love you with all the strength and power that God has given me."

"You do not simply pity me? You have not, because you heard from Mrs.
Simm, or suspected, yourself, that I was weak enough to mistake your
kindness and nobleness,--you have not in pity resolved to sacrifice
your happiness to mine?"

"No, Ivy,--nothing of the kind. I pity only myself. I reverence you, I
think. I have hoped that you loved me as a teacher and friend. I dared
not believe you could ever do more; now something within tells me that
you can. Can you, Ivy? If the love and tenderness and devotion of my
whole life can make you happy, happiness shall not fail to be yours."

Ivy's gaze never for a moment drooped under his, earnest and piercing
though it was.

"Now I am happy," she said, slowly and distinctly. "Now I am blessed. I
can never ask anything more."

"But I ask something more," he replied, bending forward eagerly. "I ask
much more. I want your love. Shall I have it? And I want you."

"My love?" She blushed slightly, but spoke without hesitation. "Have I
not given it,--long, long before you asked it, before you even cared
for my friendship? Not love only, but life, my very whole being,
centred in you, does now, and will always. Is it right to say
this?--maidenly? But I am not ashamed. I shall always be proud to have
loved you, though only to lose you,--and to be loved by you is glory
enough for all my future."

For a short time the relative position of these two people was changed.
I allude to the change in this distant manner, as all who have ever
been lovers will be able to judge what it was; and I do not wish to
forestall the sweet surprise of those who have not.

Ivy rested there (query, where?) a moment; but as he whispered, "Thus
you answer the second question? You give me yourself too?" she hastily
freed herself. (Query, from what?)

"Never!"

"Ivy!"

"Never!" more firmly than before.

"What does this mean?" he said, sternly. "Are you trifling?"

There was such a frown on his brow as Ivy had never seen. She quailed
before it.

"Do not be angry! Alas! I am not trifling. Life itself is not worth so
much as your love. But the impassable gulf is between us just the
same."

"What is it? Who put it there?"

"God put it there. Mrs. Simm showed it to me."

"Mrs. Simm be--! A prating gossip! Ivy, I told you, you were never to
mention that again,--never to think of it; and you must obey me."

"I will try to obey you in that."

"And very soon you shall promise to obey me in all things. But I will
not be hard with you. The yoke shall rest very lightly,--so lightly you
shall not feel it. You will not do as much, I dare say. You will make
me acknowledge your power every day, dear little vixen! Ivy, why do you
draw back? Why do you not come to me?"

"I cannot come to you, Mr. Clerron, any more. I must go home now, and
stay at home."

"When your home is here, Ivy, stay at home. For the present, don't go.
Wait a little."

"You do not understand me. You will not understand me," said Ivy,
bursting into tears. "I _must_ leave you. Don't make the way so
difficult."

"I will make it so difficult that you cannot walk in it."

His tones were low, but determined.

"Why do you wish to leave me? Have you not said that you loved me?"

"It is because I love you that I go. I am not fit for you. I was not
made for you. I can never make you happy. I am not accomplished. I
cannot go among your friends, your sisters. I am awkward. You would be
ashamed of me, and then you would not love me; you could not; and I
should lose the thing I most value. No, Mr. Clerron,--I would rather
keep your love in my own heart and my own home."

"Ivy, can you be happy without me?"

"I shall not be without you. My heart is full of lifelong joyful
memories. You need not regret me. Yes, I shall be happy. I shall work
with mind and hands. I shall not pine away in a mean and feeble life. I
shall be strong, and cheerful, and active, and helpful; and I think I
shall not cease to love you in heaven."

"But there is, maybe, a long road for us to travel before we reach
heaven, and I want you to help me along. Ivy, I am not so spiritual as
you. I cannot live on memory. I want you before me all the time. I want
to see you and talk with you every day. Why do you speak of such
things? Is it the soul or its surroundings that you value? Do _you_
respect or care for wealth and station? Do _you_ consider a woman your
superior because she wears a finer dress than you?"

"I? No, Sir! No, indeed! you very well know. But the world does, and
you move in the world; and I do not want the world to pity you because
you have an uncouth, ignorant wife. _I_ don't want to be despised by
those who are above me only in station."

"Little aristocrat, you are prouder than I. Will you sacrifice your
happiness and mine to your pride?"

"Proud perhaps I am, but it is not all pride. I think you are noble,
but I think also you could not help losing patience when you found that
I could not accommodate myself to the station to which you had raised
me. Then you would not respect me. I am, indeed, too proud to wish to
lose that; and losing your respect, as I said before, I should not long
keep your love."

"But you will accommodate yourself to any station. My dear, you are
young, and know so little about this world, which is such a bugbear to
you. Why, there is very little that will be greatly unlike this. At
first you might be a little bewildered, but I shall be by you all the
time, and you shall feel and fear nothing, and gradually you will learn
what little you need to know; and most of all, you will know yourself
the best and the loveliest of women. Dear Ivy, I would not part with
your sweet, unconscious simplicity for all the accomplishments and
acquired elegancies of the finest lady in the world." (That's what men
always say.) "You are not ignorant of anything you ought to know, and
your ignorance of the world is an additional charm to one who knows so
much of its wickedness as I. But we will not talk of it. There is no
need. This shall be our home, and here the world will not trouble us."

"And I cannot give up my dear father and mother. They are not like you
and your friends"--

"They are my friends, and valued and dear to me, and dearer still they
shall be as the parents of my dear little wife"--

"I was going to say"--

"But you shall not say it. I utterly forbid you ever to mention it
again. You are mine, all my own. Your friends are my friends, your
honor my honor, your happiness my happiness henceforth; and what God
joins together let not man or woman put asunder."

"Ah!" whispered Ivy, faintly; for she was yielding, and just beginning
to receive the sense of great and unexpected bliss, "but if you should
be wrong,--if you should ever repent of this, it is not your happiness
alone, but mine, too, that will be destroyed."

Again their relative positions changed, and _remained so_ for a long
while.

"Ivy, am I a mere schoolboy to swear eternal fidelity for a week? Have
I not been tossing hither and thither on the world's tide ever since
you lay in your cradle, and do I not know my position and my power and
my habits and love? And knowing all this, do I not know that this dear
head"----etc., etc., etc., etc.

But I said I was not going to marry my man and woman, did I not? Nor
have I. To be sure, you may have detected premonitory symptoms, but I
said nothing about that. I only promised not to marry them, and I have
not married them.

It is to be hoped they were married, however. For, on a fine June
evening, the setting sun cast a mellow light through the silken
curtains of a pleasant chamber, where Ivy lay on a white couch, pale
and and still,--very pale and still and statuelike; and by her side,
bending over her, with looks of unutterable love, clasping her in his
arms, as if to give out of his own heart the life that had so nearly
ebbed from hers, pressing upon the closed eyes, the white cheeks, the
silent lips kisses of such warmth and tenderness as never thrilled
maidenly lips in their rosiest flush of beauty,--knelt Felix Clerron;
and when the tremulous life fluttered back again, when the blue eyes
slowly opened and smiled up into his with an answering love, his
happiness was complete.

In a huge arm-chair, bolt upright, where they had placed him, sat
Farmer Geer, holding in his sadly awkward hands the unconscious cause
of all this agitation, namely, a poor, little, horrid, gasping, crying,
writhing, old-faced, distressed-looking, red, wrinkled, ridiculous
baby! between whose "screeches" Farmer Geer could be heard muttering,
in a dazed, bewildered way,--"Ivy's baby! Oh, Lud! who'd 'a' thunk it?
No more'n yesterday she was a baby herself. Lud! Lud!"



THE PORTRAIT.


In a lumbering attic room,
  Where, for want of light and air,
Years had died within the gloom,
  Leaving dead dust everywhere,
      Everywhere,
Hung the portrait of a lady,
    With a face so fair!

Time had long since dulled the paint,
  Time, which all our arts disguise,
And the features now were faint,
  All except the wondrous eyes,
  Wondrous eyes,
Ever looking, looking, looking,
  With such sad surprise!

As man loveth, man had loved
  Her whose features faded there;
As man mourneth, man had mourned,
  Weeping, in his dark despair,
    Bitter tears,
When she left him broken-hearted
    To his death of years.

Then for months the picture bent
  All its eyes upon his face,
Following his where'er they went,--
  Till another filled the place
    In its stead,--
Till the features of the living
  Did outface the dead.

Then for years it hung above
  In that attic dim and ghast,
Fading with the fading love,
  Sad reminder of the past,--
    Save the eyes,
Ever looking, ever looking,
  With such sad surprise!

Oft the distant laughter's sound
  Entered through the cobwebbed door,
And the cry of children found
  Dusty echoes from the floor
    To those eyes,
Ever looking, ever looking,
  With their sad surprise.

Once there moved upon the stair
  Olden love-steps mounting slow,
But the face that met him there
  Drove him to the depths below;
    For those eyes
Through his soul seemed looking, looking,
  All their sad surprise.

From that day the door was nailed
  Of that memory-haunted room,
And the portrait hung and paled
  In the dead dust and the gloom,--
    Save the eyes,
Ever looking, ever looking,
  With such sad surprise!



A LEAF

FROM THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE-LITERATURE OF THE LAST CENTURY.


One hundred and sixteen years ago, to wit, on the 20th day of October,
A.D. 1743, the quiet precincts of certain streets in the town of Boston
were the theatre of unusual proceedings. An unwonted activity pervaded
the well-known printing-office of the "Messrs. Rogers and Fowle, in
Prison Lane," now Court Street; a small printed sheet was being worked
off,--not with the frantic rush and roar of one of Hoe's six-cylinder
giants, but with the calm circumspection befitting the lever-press and
ink-balls of that day,--to be conveyed, so soon as it should have
assumed a presentable shape, to the counters of "Samuel Eliot, in
Cornhill" and "Joshua Blanchard, in Dock Square," (and, we will hope,
to the addresses indicated on a long subscription-list,) for the
entertainment and instruction of ladies in high-heeled shoes and hoops,
forerunners of greater things thereafter, and gentlemen in big wigs,
cocked hats, and small-clothes, no more to be encountered in our daily
walks, and known to their degenerate descendants only by the aid of the
art of limner or sculptor.

For some fifteen years, both in England and America, there had been
indications of an approaching modification in the existing forms of
periodical literature, enlarging its scope to something better and
higher than the brief and barren résumé of current events to which the
Gazette or News-Letter of the day was in the main confined, and
affording an opportunity for the free discussion of literary and
artistic questions. Thus was gradually developed a class of
publications which professed, while giving a proper share of attention
to the important department of news, to occupy the field of literature
rather than of journalism, and to serve as a _Museum, Depository_, or
_Magazine_, of the polite arts and sciences. The very marked success of
the "Gentleman's Magazine," the pioneer English publication of this
class, which appeared in 1731 under the management of Cave, and reached
the then almost[1] unparalleled sale often thousand copies, produced a
host of imitators and rivals, of which the "London Magazine," commenced
in April, 1732, was perhaps the most considerable. In January, 1741,
Benjamin Franklin began the publication of "The General Magazine and
Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America," but
only six numbers were issued. In the same year, Andrew Bradford
published "The American Magazine, or Monthly View of the Political
State of the British Colonies," which was soon discontinued. Both these
unsuccessful ventures were made at Philadelphia. There were similar
attempts in Boston a little later. "The Boston Weekly Magazine" made
its appearance March 2,1743, and lived just four weeks. "The Christian
History," edited by Thomas Prince, Jr., son of the author of the "New
England Chronology," appeared three days after, (March 5, 1743,) and
reached the respectable age of two years. It professed to exhibit,
among other things, "Remarkable Passages, Historical and Doctrinal, out
of the most Famous old Writers both of the Church of England and
Scotland from the Reformation; as also the first Settlers of New
England and their Children; that we may see how far their pious
Principles and Spirit are at this day revived, and may guard against
all Extremes."

[Footnote 1: It is said that as many as twenty thousand copies of
particular numbers of the "Spectator" were sold.]

It would appear, however, that none of the four magazines last named
were so general in their scope, or so well conducted, certainly they
were not so long-lived, as "The American Magazine and Historical
Chronicle," the first number of which, bearing date "September, 1743,"
appeared, as we have said, on the 20th of the following October, under
the editorial charge, as is generally supposed, of Jeremy Gridley,
Esq., Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and the
head of the Masonic Fraternity in America, though less known to us,
perhaps, in either capacity, than he is as the legal instructor of the
patriot Otis, a pupil whom it became his subsequent duty as the officer
of the crown to encounter in that brilliant and memorable argument
against the "Writs of Assistance," which the pen of the historian, and,
more recently, the chisel of the sculptor, have contributed to render
immortal. This publication, if we regard it, as we doubtless may, as
the original and prototype of the "American Magazine," would seem to
have been rightly named. It was printed on what old Dr. Isaiah Thomas
calls "a fine medium paper in 8vo," and he further assures us that "in
its execution it was deemed equal to any work of the kind then
published in London." In external appearance, it was a close copy of
the "London Magazine," from whose pages (probably to complete the
resemblance) it made constant and copious extracts, not always
rendering honor to whom honor was due, and in point of mechanical
excellence, as well as of literary merit, certainly eclipsed the
contemporary newspaper-press of the town, the "Boston Evening Post,"
"Boston News Letter" and the "New England Courant." The first number
contained forty-four pages, measuring about six inches by eight. The
scope and object of the Magazine, as defined in the Preface, do not
vary essentially from the line adopted by its predecessors and
contemporaries, and seem, in the main, identical with what we have
recounted above as characteristic of this new movement in letters. The
novelty and extent of the field, and the consequent fewness and
inexperience of the laborers, are curiously shown by the miscellaneous,
_omnium-gatherum_ character of the publication, which served at once as
a Magazine, Review, Journal, Almanac, and General Repository and
Bulletin;--the table of contents of the first number exhibits a list of
subjects which would now be distributed among these various classes of
periodical literature, and perhaps again parcelled out according to the
subdivisions of each. Avowedly neutral in politics and religion, as
became an enterprise which relied upon the patronage of persons of all
creeds and parties, it recorded (usually without comment) the current
incidents of political and religious interest. A summary of news
appeared at the end of each number, under the head of "Historical
Chronicle"; but in the body of the Magazine are inserted, side by side
with what would now be termed "local items," contemporary narratives of
events, many of which have, in the lapse of more than a century,
developed into historical proportions, but which here meet us, as it
were, at first hand, clothed in such homely and impromptu dress as
circumstances might require, with all their little roughnesses,
excrescences, and absurdities upon them,--crude lumps of mingled fact
and fiction, not yet moulded and polished into the rounded periods of
the historian.

The Magazine was established at the period of a general commotion among
the dry bones of New England Orthodoxy, caused by what is popularly
known as "the New-Light Movement," to do battle with which heresy arose
"The Christian History," above alluded to. The public mind was widely
and deeply interested, and the first number of our Magazine opens with
"A Dissertation on the State of Religion in North America," which is
followed by a fiery manifesto of the "Anniversary Week" of 1743,
entitled "The Testimony of the Pastors of the Churches in the Province
of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England at their Annual Convention in
Boston, May 25, 1743, Against several Errors in Doctrine and Disorders
in Practice, which have of late obtained in various Parts of the Land;
as drawn up by a Committee chosen by the said Pastors, read and
accepted Paragraph by Paragraph, and voted to be sign'd by the
Moderator in their Name, and Printed." These "Disorders" and "Errors"
are specified under six heads, being generalized at the outset as
"Antinomian and Familistical Errors." The number of strayed sheep must
have been considerable, since we find a Rejoinder put forth on the
seventh of the following July, which bears the signatures of
"Sixty-eight Pastors of Churches," (including fifteen who signed with a
reservation as to one Article,) styled "The Testimony and Advice of an
Assembly of Pastors of Churches in New England, at a Meeting in Boston,
July 7, 1743. Occasion'd by the late happy Revival of Religion in many
Parts of the Land." Some dozen new books, noticed in this number, are
likewise all upon theological subjects. The youthful University of Yale
took part in the conflict, testifying its zeal for the established
religion by punishing with expulsion (if we are to believe a writer in
"The New York Post-Boy" of March 17, 1745) two students, "for going
during Vacation, and while at Home with their Parents, to hear a
neighboring Minister preach who is distinguished in this Colony by the
Name of New Light, being by their said Parents perswaded, desired, or
ordered to go." The statement, however, is contradicted in a subsequent
number by the President of the College, the Rev. Thomas Clapp, D.D.,
who states "that they were expelled for being Followers of the Paines,
two Lay Exhorters, whose corrupt Principles and pernicious Practices
are set forth in the Declaration of the Ministers of the County of
Windham." In all probability the outcasts had "corrupt Principles and
pernicious Practices" charged to their private account in the Faculty
books, to which, quite as much as to any departure from Orthodox
standards, they may have been indebted for leave to take up their
connections.

The powerful Indian Confederacy, known as the Six Nations, had just
concluded at Philadelphia their famous treaty with the whites, and in
the numbers for October and November, 1743, we are furnished with some
curious notes of the proceedings at the eight or nine different
councils held on the occasion, which may or may not be historically
accurate. That the news was not hastily gathered or digested may be
safely inferred from the fact that the proceedings of the councils,
which met in July, 1742, are here given to the public at intervals of
fifteen and sixteen months afterwards. The assemblies were convened
first "at Mr. Logan's House," next "at the Meeting House," and finally
"at the Great Meeting House," where the seventh meeting took place July
10, in the presence of "a great Number of the Inhabitants of
Philadelphia." As usual, the Indians complain of their treatment at the
hands of the traders and their agents, and beg for more fire-water. "We
have been stinted in the Article of Rum in Town," they pathetically
observe,--"we desire you will open the Rum Bottle, and give it to us
in greater Abundance on the Road"; and again, "We hope, as you have
given us Plenty of good Provision whilst In Town, that you will
continue your Goodness so far as to supply us with a little more to
serve us on the Road." The first, at least, of these requests seems to
have been complied with; the Council voted them twenty gallons of
rum,--in addition to the twenty-five gallons previously bestowed,--
"to comfort them on the Road"; and the red men departed in an amicable
mood, though, from the valedictory address made them by the Governor,
we might perhaps infer that they had found reason to contrast the
hospitality of civilization with that shown in the savage state, to the
disadvantage of the former. "We wish," he says, "there had been more
Room and better Houses provided for your Entertainment, but not
expecting so many of you we did the best we could. 'Tis true there are
a great many Houses in Town, but as they are the Property of other
People who have their own Families to take care of, it is difficult to
procure Lodgings for a large Number of People, especially if they come
unexpectedly."

But the great item of domestic intelligence, which confronts us under
various forms in the pages of this Magazine, is the siege and capture
of Louisburg, and the reduction of Cape Breton to the obedience of the
British crown,--an acquisition for which his Majesty was so largely
indebted to the military skill of Sir William Pepperell, and the
courage of the New England troops, that we should naturally expect to
find the exploit narrated at length in a contemporary Boston magazine.
The first of the long series is an extract from the "Boston Evening
Post" of May 13, 1745, entitled, "A short Account of Cape Breton";
which is followed by "A further Account of the Island of Cape Breton,
of the Advantages derived to France from the Possession of that
Country, and of the Fishery upon its Coasts; and the Benefit that must
necessarily result to Great Britain from the Recovery of that important
Place,"--from the "London Courant" of July 25. In contrast to this cool
and calculating production, we have next the achievement, as seen from
a military point of view, in a "Letter from an Officer of Note in the
Train," dated Louisburg, June 20, 1745, who breaks forth thus:--"Glory
to God, and Joy and Happiness to my Country in the Reduction of this
Place, which we are now possessed of. It's a City vastly beyond all
Expectation for Strength and beautiful Fortifications; but we have made
terrible Havock with our Guns and Bombs. ... Such a fine City will be
an everlasting Honour to my Countrymen." Farther on, we have another
example of military eloquence in a "Letter from a Superior Officer at
Louisburgh, to his Friend and Brother at Boston," dated October 22,
1745. To this succeeds "A particular Account of the Siege and Surrender
of Louisburgh, on the 17th of June, 1745." The resources of the
pictorial art are called in to assist the popular conception of the
great event, and we are treated on page 271 to a rude wood-cut,
representing the "Town and Harbour of Louisburgh," accompanied by
"Certain Particulars of the Blockade and Distress of the Enemy." Still
farther on appears "The Declaration of His Excellency, William Shirley,
Esq., Captain General and Governour in Chief of the Province of the
Massachusetts Bay, to the Garrison at Louisburgh." July 18, 1745, was
observed as "a Day of publick Thanksgiving, agreeably to His
Excellency's Proclamation of the 8th inst., on Account of the wonderful
Series of Successes attending our Forces in the Reduction of the City
and Fortress of Louisburgh with the Dependencies thereof at Cape Breton
to the Obedience of His Majesty." There are also accounts of rejoicings
at Newport, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, and other places. Nor
was the Muse silent on such an auspicious occasion: four adventurous
flights in successive numbers of the Magazine attest the loyalty, if
not the poetic genius of Colonial bards; and a sort of running fire of
description, narrative, and anecdote concerning the important event is
kept up in the numbers for many succeeding months.

But, whatever may have been the magnitude and interest of domestic
affairs, the enterprising vigilance of our journalists was far from
overlooking prominent occurrences on the other side of the water, and
the news by all the recent arrivals, dating from three to six months
later from Europe, was carefully, if at times somewhat briefly,
recapitulated. In this manner our ancestors heard of the brilliant
campaigns of Prince George, the Duke of Cumberland, and Marshal de
Noailles, during the War of the Austrian Succession,--of the battle of
Dettingen in June, 1743,--of the declaration of war between the kings
of France and England in March, 1744; and, above all, of the great
Scotch Rebellion of 1745. Here was stirring news, indeed, for the
citizens of Boston, and for all British subjects, wherever they might
be. The suspense in which loyal New England was plunged, as to whether
"great George our King and the Protestant succession" were to succumb
before the Pretender and his Jesuitical followers, was happily
terminated by intelligence of the decisive battle of Culloden, the
tidings of which victory, gained on the 16th of April, 1746, appear in
the number for July. Public joy and curiosity demanded full particulars
of the glorious news, and a copy of the official narrative of the
battle, dated "Inverness, April 18th," is served out to the hungry
quidnuncs of Boston, in the columns of our Magazine, as had been done
three months before to consumers equally rapacious in the London
coffeehouses. With commendable humanity, the loss of the insurgent army
is put at "two thousand,"--although "the Rebels by their own Accounts
make the Loss greater by 2000 than we have stated it." In the fatal
list appears the name of "Cameron of Lochiel," destined, through the
favor of the Muse, to an immortality which is denied to equally
intrepid and unfortunate compatriots. The terms of the surrender upon
parole of certain French and Scotch officers at Inverness,--the return
of the ordnance and stores captured,--names of the killed and wounded
officers of the rebel army,--various congratulatory addresses,--an
extract from a letter from Edinburgh, concerning the battle,--an
account of the subsequent movement of the forces,--various anecdotes of
the Duke of Cumberland, during the engagement,--etc., are given with
much parade and circumstance. The loyalty of the citizens is evidenced
by the following "local item," under date of "Boston, Thursday,
3d":--"Upon the Confirmation of the joyful News of the Defeat of the
Rebels in Scotland, and of the Life and Health of His Royal Highness
the Duke of Cumberland, on Wednesday, the 2d inst., at Noon, the Guns
at Castle William and the Batteries of the Town were fired, as were
those on Board the Massachusetts Frigate, etc., and in the Evening we
had Illuminations and other Tokens of Joy and Satisfaction." There are
also curious biographical sketches and anecdotes of the Earl of
Kilmarnock, Lord Balmerino, and others, among those engaged in this
ill-judged attempt, who expiated their treason on the scaffold, from
which interesting extracts might be made. The following seems a very
original device for the recovery of freedom,--one, we think, which, to
most readers of the present day even, will truly appear a "new" and
"extraordinary Invention":--

"Carlisle, Sept. 27, 1746.

"The Method taken by the Rebels here under Sentence of Death to make
their Escape is quite new, and reckoned a most extraordinary Invention,
as by no other Instrument than a Case-Knife, a Drinking-Glass and a
Silk Handkerchief, seven of them in one Night had sawn off their Irons,
thus:--They laid the Silk Handkerchief single, over the Mouth of the
Glass, but stretched it as much as it would bear, and tied it hard at
the Bottom of the Glass; then they struck the Edge of the Knife on the
Mouth of the Glass, (thus covered with the Handkerchief to prevent
Noise,) till it became a Saw, with which they cut their Irons till it
was Blunt, and then had Recourse to the Mouth of the Glass again to
renew the Teeth of the Saw; and so completed their Design by Degrees.
This being done in the Dead of Night, and many of them at Work
together, the little Noise they made was overheard by the Centinels;
who informed their Officers of it, they quietly doubled their Guard,
and gave the Rebels no Disturbance till Morning, when it was discovered
that several of them were loose, and that others had been trying the
same Trick. 'Tis remarkable that a Knife will not cut a Handkerchief
when struck upon it in this Manner."

About one-eighth part of the first volume of the Magazine is occupied
with reports of Parliamentary debates, entitled, "Journal of the
Proceedings and Debates of a Political Club of young Noblemen and
Gentlemen established some time ago in London." They seem to be copied,
with little, if any alteration, from the columns of the "London
Magazine," and are introduced to an American public with this mildly
ironical preface:--"We shall give our Readers in our next a List of the
British Parliament. And as it is now render'd unsafe to entertain the
Publick with any Accounts of their Proceedings or Debates, we shall
give them in their Stead, in some of our subsequent Magazines, Extracts
from the Journals of a Learned and Political Club of young Noblemen and
Gentlemen established some time ago in London. Which will in every
Respect answer the same Intentions."

The scientific world was all astir just then with new-found marvels of
Electricity,--an interest which was of course much augmented in this
country by the ingenious experiments and speculations of the
printer-philosopher. In the volume for the year 1745 is "An Historical
Account of the wonderful Discoveries made in Germany, etc., concerning
Electricity," in the course of which the writer says, (speaking of the
experiments of a Mr. Gray,) "He also discovered another surprising
Property of electric Virtue, which is that the approach of a Tube of
electrified Glass communicates to a hempen or silken Cord an electric
Force which is conveyed along the Cord to the Length of 886 feet, at
which amazing Distance it will impregnate a Ball of Ivory with the same
Virtue as the Tube from which it was derived." So true is it, that
things are great and small solely by comparison: the lapse of something
over a century has gradually stretched this "amazing distance" to many
hundreds of miles, and now the circumference of the globe is the only
limit which we feel willing to set to its extension.

At page 691 of the previous volume we have an "Extract from a Pamphlet
lately published at Philadelphia intitled 'An Account of the New
Invented Pennsylvanian Fire Places.'" This was probably from the pen of
Franklin, who expatiates as follows on the advantages derivable from
these fireplaces, which are still occasionally to be met with, and
known as "Franklin Stoves":--"By the Help of this saving Invention our
Wood may grow as fast as we consume it, and our Posterity may warm
themselves at a moderate Rate, without being oblig'd to fetch their
Fuel over the Atlantick; as, if Pit-Coal should not be here discovered,
(which is an Uncertainty,) they must necessarily do."

That a taste for the beauties of Nature was extant at the epoch of
which we treat may be inferred from the statement of a writer who
commences "An Essay in Praise of the Morning" as follows:--"I have the
good Fortune to be so pleasantly lodg'd as to have a Prospect of a
neighboring Grove, where the Eye receives the most delicious
Refreshment from the lively Verdure of the Greens, and the wild
Regularity by which the Scene shifts off and disparts itself into a
beautiful Chequer."

The ever interesting and disputed topics of dress and diet come in for
an occasional discussion. The following is a characteristic specimen of
the satirical vein of the British essayist school, though we have been
unable to ascertain, by reference to the "Spectator," "Tatler,"
"Rambler," "Guardian," etc., the immediate source whence it was taken.
It reads as follows:--"_History of Female Dress_. The sprightly Gauls
set their little Wits to work again," (on resuming the war under Queen
Anne,) "and invented a wonderful Machine call'd a Hoop Petticoat. In
this fine Scheme they had more Views than one; they had compar'd their
own Climate and Constitution with that of the British, and finding both
warmer, they naturally enough concluded that would only be pleasantly
cool to them, which would perhaps give the British Ladies the
Rheumatism, and that if they once got them off their Legs they should
have them at Advantage; Besides, they had been inform'd, though
falsely, that the British Ladies had not good Legs, and then at all
Events this Scheme would expose them. With these pernicious Views they
set themselves to work, and form'd a Rotund of near 7 Yards about, and
sent the Pattern over by the Sussex Smugglers with an Intent that it
should be seiz'd and expos'd to Publick View; which happen'd
accordingly, and made its first Appearance at a Great Man's House on
that Coast, whose Lady claim'd it as her peculiar Property. In it she
first struck at Court what the learned in Dress call a bold Stroke; and
was thereupon constituted General of the British Ladies during the War.
Upon the Whole this Invention did not answer. The Ladies suffer'd a
little the first Winter, but after that were so thoroughly harden'd
that they improv'd upon the Contrivers by adding near 2 Yards to its
Extension, and the Duke of Marlboro' having about the same Time beat
the French, the Gallic Ladies dropt their Pretensions, and left the
British Misstresses of the Field; the Tokens whereof are worn in
Triumph to this Day, having outlasted the Colors in Westminster Hall,
and almost that great General's Glory."

To a similar source must probably be referred an article in the same
volume, entitled, "Of Diet in General, and of the bad Effects of
Tea-Drinking." The genuine conservative flavor of the extract is
deliciously apparent, while its wholesale denunciations are drawn but
little, if at all, stronger than those which may even yet be
occasionally met with. "If we compare the Nature of Tea with the Nature
of English Diet, no one can think it a proper Vegetable for us. It has
no Parts fit to be assimilated to our Bodies; its essential Salt does
not hold Moisture enough to be joined to the Body of an Animal; its Oyl
is but very little, and that of the opiate kind, and therefore it is so
far from being nutritive, that it irritates and frets the Nerves and
Fibres, exciting the expulsive Faculty, so that the Body may be
lessened and weakened, but it cannot increase and be strengthened by
it. We see this by common Experience; the first Time persons drink it,
if they are full grown, it generally gives them a Pain at the Stomach,
Dejection of Spirits, Cold Sweats, Palpitation at the Heart, Trembling,
Fearfulness; taking away the Sense of Fulness though presently after
Meals, and causing a hypochondriac, gnawing Appetite. These symptoms
are very little inferiour to what the most poisonous Vegetables we have
in England would occasion when dried and used in the same manner.

"These ill Effects of Tea are not all the Mischiefs it occasions. Did
it cause none of them, but were it entirely wholesome, as Balm or Mint,
it were yet Mischief enough to have our whole Populace used to sip warm
Water in a mincing, effeminate Manner, once or twice every Day; which
hot Water must be supped out of a nice Tea-Cup, sweatened with Sugar,
biting a Bit of nice thin Bread and Butter between Whiles. This mocks
the strong Appetite, relaxes the Stomach, satiates it with trifling
light Nick-Nacks which have little in them to support hard Labour. In
this manner the Bold and Brave become dastardly, the Strong become
weak, the Women become barren, or if they breed their Blood is made so
poor that they have not Strength to suckle, and if they do the Child
dies of the Gripes; In short, it gives an effeminate, weakly Turn to
the People in general."

Another humorous philosopher, who is benevolently anxious that his
fellow-creatures may not be taken in by the rustic meteorologists,
satirically furnishes a number of infallible tests to determine the
approach of a severe season. He entitles his contribution to
meteorological science,--"_Jonathan Weatherwise's Prognostications._
As it is not likely that I have a long Time to act on the Stage of this
Life, for what with Head-Aches, hard Labour, Storms and broken
Spectacles I feel my Blood chilling, and Time, that greedy Tyrant,
devouring my whole Constitution," etc.,--an exordium which is certainly
well adapted to excite our sympathy for Jonathan, even if it fail to
inspire confidence in his "Prognostications," and leave us a little in
the dark as to the necessary connection between "broken spectacles" and
the "chilling of the blood." The criteria he gives us are truly
Ingenious and surprising; but though the greater part would prove
novel, we believe, to the present generation, we can here quote but
one. He tells us, that, when a boy, he "swore revenge on the Grey
Squirrel," in consequence of a petted animal of this species having
"bitten off the tip of his grandmother's finger,"--a resolution which
proved, as we shall see, unfortunate for the squirrels, but of immense
advantage to science. To gratify this dire animosity, and in fulfilment
of his vow, he persevered for nearly half a century in the perilous and
exciting sport of squirrel-hunting, departing "every Year, for
forty-nine successive Years, on the 22d of October, excepting when that
Day fell on a Sunday," in which case he started on the Monday
following, to take vengeance for the outrage committed on his aged
relative. Calm philosophy, however, enabled him, "in the very storm,
tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of his passion," to observe and
record the following remarkable fact in Zoology: "When shot from a high
Limb they would put their Tails in their Mouths as they were tumbling,
and die in that Manner; I did not know what to make of it, 'till, in
Process of Time, I found that when they did so a hard Winter always
succeeded, and this may be depended on as infallible."

The author of "An Essay on Puffing" (a topic which we should hardly
have thought to have found under discussion at a period so much nearer
the golden age than the present) remarks,--"Dubious and uncertain is
the Source or Spring of Puffing in this Infant Country, it not being
agreed upon whether Puffs were imported by the primitive Settlers of
the Wilderness, (for the Puff is not enumerated in the aboriginal
Catalogue,) or whether their Growth was spontaneous or accidental.
However uncertain we are about the Introduction or first Cultivation of
Puffs, it is easy to discover the Effects or Consequences of their
Improvement in all Professions, Perswasions and Occupations."

Under the head which has assumed, in modern journalism, an extent and
importance second only to the Puff, to wit, the "Horrible Accident
Department," we find but a single item, but that one of a nature so
unique and startling that it seems to deserve transcribing. "February 7
[1744]. We hear from Statten Island that a Man who had been married
about 5 months, having a Design to get rid of his Wife, got some
poisoned Herbs with which he advised her to stuff a Leg of Veal, and
when it was done found an Excuse to be absent himself; but his Wife
having eat of it found herself ill, and he coming Home soon after
desired her to fry him some Sausages which she did, and having
eat of them also found himself ill; upon which he asked his
Wife what she fried them in, who answered, in the Sauce of the
Veal; then, said he, I am a dead man: So they continued sick for some
Days and then died, but he died the first." We hardly know which most
to admire, the graphic and terrible simplicity of this narrative of
villany, or the ignorance which it discovers of the modern art of
penny-a-lining, an expert practitioner of which would have spread the
shocking occurrence over as many columns as this bungling report
comprises sentences.

The poetical contents of our Magazine consist mainly, as we have said,
of excerpts from the popular productions of English authors, as they
were found in the magazines of the mother country or in their published
works, the diluted stanzas of their imitators, satirical verses,
epigrams, and translations from the Latin poets. There are, however,
occasional strains from the native Muse, and here and there a waif from
sources now, perhaps, lost or forgotten. Before "he threw his Virgil by
to wander with his dearer bow," Mr. Freneau's Indian seems to have
determined to leave on record a proof of his classical attainments, for
he is doubtless the author of "A Latin Ode written by an American
Indian, a Junior Sophister at Cambridge, anno 1678, on the death of the
Reverend and Learned Mr. Thacher,"--a translation of which is given at
page 166, prefaced thus:--"As the Original of the following Piece is
very curious, the publishing this may perhaps help you to some better
Translation. Attempted from the Latin of an American Indian." The
probability that any reader of the present paper would be disposed to
help us to this "better Translation" seems too remote to warrant us in
giving the Ode _in extenso_; nor do we think any would thank us for
transcribing a cloudy effusion, a little farther on, entitled, "On the
Notion of an abstract antecedent Fitness of Things." The following
estrays are perhaps worth the capture; they profess to date back to the
reign of Queen Mary, and are styled, "Some Forms of Prayer used by the
vulgar Papists."


THE LITTLE CREED.

Little Creed can I need,
Kneel before our Lady's Knee,
  Candle light, Candle burn,
  Our Lady pray'd to her dear Son
  That we might all to Heaven come;
Little Creed, Amen!


THE WHITE PATER NOSTER.

White Pater Noster, St. Peter's Brother,
  What hast thou in one hand? White-Book Leaves.
  What hast i'th' to'ther? Heaven Gate Keys.
Open Heaven Gates, and steike (shut) Hell Gates,
  And let every crysom Child creep to its own mother:
  White Pater Noster, Amen!

We do not think that the poets of the anti-shaving movement have as yet
succeeded in producing anything worthy to be set off against a series
of spirited stanzas under the heading of "The Razor, a Poem," which we
commend to the immediate and careful attention of the "Razor-strop
Man." The following are the concluding verses:--

  "But, above all, thou grand Catholicon,
  Or by what useful Name so'er thou'rt call'd,
  Thou Sweet Composer of the tortur'd Mind!
  When all the Wheels of Life are heavy clogg'd
  With Cares or Pain, and nought but Horror dire
  Before us stalks with dreadful Majesty,
  Embittering all the Pleasures we enjoy;
  To thee, distressed, we call; thy gentle Touch
  Consigns to balmy Sleep our troubled Breasts."

Evidently the production of a philosopher and an economist of time: for
who else would have thought of shaving before going to bed, instead of
at the matutinal toilet?

In less than five years from the date of its first number, (1743,) "The
American Magazine and Historical Chronicle" had ceased to exist, and in
the year 1757 appeared "The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle for
the British Colonies." This was published by Mr. William Bradford in
Philadelphia, under the auspices of "a Society of Gentlemen," who
declare themselves to be "_veritatis cultores, fraudis inimici_," but
who probably found themselves unequal to the difficulties of such a
position, the Magazine having expired just one year after its birth. It
was followed by "The New England Magazine," (1758,) "The American
Magazine," (1769,) "The Royal American Magazine," (1774,) "The
Pennsylvania Magazine, or American Monthly Museum," (1775,) "The
Columbian Magazine," (1786,) "The Worcester Magazine," (the same year,)
"The American Museum," (1787,) "The Massachusetts Magazine," (1789,)
"The New-York Magazine," (1790,) "The Rural Magazine & Vermont
Repository," (1796,) "The Missionary Magazine," (same year,)--and
others. The premature mortality characteristic of some of our own
magazine-literature was, even at this early period, painfully apparent:
none of the publications we have named survived their twelfth year,
most of them lived less than half that period. A great diversity in the
style and quality of their contents, as well as in external appearance,
is, of course, observable, and it somewhat requires the eye of faith to
see within their rusty and faded covers the germ of that gigantic
literary plant which, in this year of Grace, 1860, counts in the city
of Boston alone nearly one hundred and fifty periodical publications,
(about one-third being legitimate magazines,) perhaps as many more in
the other New England cities and towns, and a progeny of unknown, but
very considerable extent, throughout the Union.

Apart even from their value to the historiographer and the antiquary,
few relics of the past are more suggestive or interesting than the old
magazine or newspaper. The houses, furniture, plate, clothing, and
decorations of the generations which have preceded us possess their
intrinsic value, and serve also to link by a thousand associations the
mysterious past with the actual and living present; but the old
periodical brings back to us, beside all this, the bodily presence, the
words, the actions, and even the very thoughts of the people of a
former age. It is, in mercantile phrase, a book of original entry,
showing us the transactions of the time in the light in which they were
regarded by the parties engaged in them, and reflecting the state of
public sentiment on innumerable topics,--moral, religious, political,
philosophic, military, and scientific. Its mistakes of fact or
induction are honest and palpable ones, easily corrected by
contemporaneous data or subsequent discoveries, and not often posted
into the ledger of history without detection. The learned and patient
labors of the savant or the scholar are not expected of the pamphleteer
or the periodical writer of the last century, or of the present; he
does but blaze the pathway of the pains-taking engineer who is to
follow him, happy enough, if he succeed in satisfying immediate and
daily demands, and in capturing the kind of game spoken of by Mr. Pope
in that part of his manual where he instructs us to

                "shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise."

Among us, however, the magazine-writer, as he existed in the last
century, has left few, if any, representatives. He is fading
silently away into a forgotten antiquity; his works are not
on the publishers' counters,--they linger only among the dust and
cobwebs of old libraries, listlessly thumbed by the exploring reader or
occasionally consulted by the curious antiquary. His place is occupied
by those who, in the multiplication of books, the diffusion of
information, and the general alteration of public taste, manners, and
habits, though revolving in a similar orbit, move in quite another
plane,--who have found in the pages of the periodical a theatre of
special activity, a way to the entertainment and instruction of the
many; and though much of what is thus produced may bear, as we have
hinted, a character more or less ephemeral, we are sometimes presented
also with the earlier blossoms and the fresher odors of a rich and
perennial growth of genius, everywhere known and acknowledged in the
realms of belles-lettres, philosophy, and science, crowded here as in a
nursery, to be soon transplanted to other and more permanent abodes.



COME SI CHIAMA?

OR A LEAF FROM THE CENSUS OF 1850.


The first question asked of a "new boy" at school is, "What's your
name?" In this year of Grace the eighth decennial census is to be
taken, asking that same question of all new comers into the great
public school where towns and cities are educated. It will hardly be
effected with that marvellous perfection of organization by which Great
Britain was made to stand still for a moment and be statistically
photographed. For with consummate skill was planned that all-embracing
machinery, so that at one and the same moment all over the United
Kingdom the recording pen was catching every man's status and setting
it down. The tramp on the dusty highway, the clerk in the
counting-house, the sportsman upon the moor, the preacher in his
pulpit, game-bird and barn-door fowl alike, all were simultaneously
bagged. Unless, like the Irishman's swallow, you could be in two places
at once, down you went on the recording-tablets. Christopher Sly, from
the ale-house door, if caught while the Merry Duke had possession of
him, must be chronicled for a peer of the realm; Bully Bottom, if the
period of his translations fell in with the census-taking, must be
numbered among the cadgers' "mokes"; nay, if Dogberry himself had
encountered the officials at the moment of his pathetic lamentation, he
were irrevocably written down "an ass."

We can hardly hope for such celerity and sure handling upon this side
of the water. Nor is this the subject we have just now in view. The
approaching advent of the census-taker has led us to look back at the
labor of his predecessor, and the careless turning over of its pages
has set us to musing upon NAMES.

William Shakspeare asks, "What's in a name?" England's other great
poetical William has devoted a series of his versifyings to the naming
of places. Which has the right of it, let us not undertake to pronounce
without consideration. England herself has long ago determined the
question. As Mr. Emerson says of English names,--"They are an
atmosphere of legendary melody spread over the land; older than all
epics and histories which clothe a nation, this undershirt sits close
to the body." Dean Trench, who handles words as a numismatist his
coins, has said substantially the same thing. And it is true not of
England only; for the various lands of Europe are written over like
palimpsests with the story of successive conquests and dominations
chronicled in their local names. You stop and ask why a place is so
called,--sure to be rewarded by a legend lurking beneath the title.
Like the old crests of heraldry, with their "canting" mottoes beneath,
they are history in little, a war or a revolution distilled into the
powerful attar of a single phrase. The Rhineland towers of Falkenstein
and Stolzenfels are the local counterparts of the Scotch borderers'
"Thou shalt want ere I want," for ominous meaning.

The volume we have just laid down painfully reminds us that the poet
and the historian have no such heritage in this land. We have done our
best to crowd out all the beautiful significant names we found here,
and to replace them by meaningless appellations. For the name of a
thing is that which really has in it something of that to which it
belongs, which describes and classifies it, and is its spoken
representative; while the appellation is only a title conferred by act
of Parliament or her Majesty's good pleasure: it cannot make a parvenu
into a peer.

But we are not writing for the mere interest of the poet and the
novelist. Fit names are not given, but grow; and we believe there is
not a spot in the land, possessing any attractiveness, but has its name
ready fitted to it, waiting unsyllabled in the air above it for the
right sponsor to speak it into life. We plead for public convenience
simply. We are thinking not of the ears of taste, but of the brain of
business. We do not wonder at the monstrous accumulations of the
Dead-Letter Office, when we see the actual poverty which our system of
naming places has brought about. Pardon us a few statistics, and, as
you read them, remember, dear reader, that this is the story of ten
years ago, and that the enormous growths of the last decade have
probably increased the evil prodigiously.

The volume in question gives a list of a trifle under ten thousand
places,--to be accurate, of nine thousand eight hundred and twenty odd.
For these nine thousand cities, towns, and villages have been provided
but _three_ thousand eight hundred and twenty names. All the rest have
been baptized according to the results of a promiscuous scramble. Some,
indeed, make a faint show of variety, by additions of such adjectives
as New, North, South, East, West, or Middle. If we reduce the list of
original names by striking out these and all the compounds of "ville,"
"town," and the like, we get about three thousand really distinctive
names for American towns. Three hundred and thirty odd we found here
when we came,--being Indian or _Native_ American. Three hundred and
thirty more we imported from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland. A dozen were added to them from the pure well of Welsh
undefiled, and mark the districts settled by Cambro-Britons. Out of our
Bibles we got thirty-three Hebrew appellations, nearly all ludicrously
inappropriate; and these we have been very fond of repeating. In
California, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and the Louisiana purchase, we
bought our names along with the land. Fine old French and Spanish ones
they are; some thirty of them names of Saints, all well-sounding and
pleasant to the ear. And there is a value in these names not at first
perceptible. Most of them serve to mark the day of the year upon which
the town was founded. They are commemorative dates, which one need only
look at the calendar to verify. As an instance of this, there is the
forgotten title of Lake George, Lake St. Sacrament, which, in spite of
Dr. Cleveland Coxe's very graceful ballad, we must hold to have been
conferred because the lake was discovered on Corpus-Christi Day. In the
Mississippi Valley, the great chain of French military occupation can
still be faintly traced, like the half-obliterated lines of a redoubt
which the plough and the country road have passed over.

There remain about two thousand names, which may fairly be called of
American manufacture. We exclude, of course, those which were
transferred from England, since they were probably brought directly.
They have a certain fitness, as affectionate memorials of the Old
Country lingering in the hearts of the exiles. Thus, though St. Botolph
was of the fenny shire of Lincoln, and the new comers to the
Massachusetts Bay named their little peninsula Suffolk, the county of
the "South-folk," we do not quarrel with them for calling their future
city "Bo's or Botolph's town," out of hearts which did not wholly
forget their birthplace with its grand old church, whose noble tower
still looks for miles away over the broad levels toward the German
Ocean. Nor do we think Plymouth to be utterly meaningless, though it is
not at the mouth of the Ply, or any other river such as wanders through
the Devon Moorlands to the British Channel.

  "Et parvam Trojam, simulataque magnis
  Pergama, et arentem Xanthi cognomine rivum
  Agnosco: Seaeaeque amplector limina portae."

Throughout New England, and in all the original colonies, we find this
to be the case. But, as Americans, we must reject both what our fathers
brought and what they found. Two thousand specimens of the American
talent for nomenclature, then, we can exhibit. Walk up, gentlemen! Here
you have the top-crest of the great wave of civilization. Hero is a
people, emancipated from Old-World trammels, setting the world a
lesson. What is the result? With the grand divisions of our land we
have not had much to do. Of the States, seventeen were baptized by
their Indian appellations; four were named by French and Spanish
discoverers; six were called after European sovereigns; three, which
bear the prefix of New, have the names of English counties;--there
remains Delaware, the title of an English nobleman, leaving us
Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Rhode Island, three precious bits of modern
classicality. Let us now come to the counties. Ten years ago there were
some fifteen hundred and fifty-five of these. One hundred and
seventy-three bear Indian names, and there are one or two uncertain.
For these fifteen hundred and fifty-five counties there are eight
hundred and eighty-eight names, about one to every two. Seven hundred
are, then, of Anglo-Saxon bestowing? No. Another hundred are of Spanish
and French origin. Six hundred county-names remain; fifty of which,
neat as imported, are the names of English places, and fifty more are
names bestowed in compliment to English peers. Five hundred are the
American residuum.

We beg pardon for these dry statistical details, over which we have
spent some little time and care; but they furnish a base of operations.
Yet something more remains to be added. We have, it is true, about two
thousand names of places and five hundred of counties purely American,
or at least due to American taste. In most instances the county-names
are repeated in some of the towns within their borders. Therefore we
fall back upon our original statement, that two thousand names are the
net product of Yankee ingenuity. It is hardly necessary to assure the
most careless reader that the vast majority of these are names of
persons. And it needs no wizard to conjecture that these are bestowed
in very unequal proportions. Here the true trouble of the
Postmaster-General and his staff begins.

The most frequent names are, of course, those of the Presidents. The
"Father of his Country" has the honor of being god-father to no small
portion of it. For there are called after him _one_ territory,
_twenty-six_ counties, and _one hundred and thirty-eight_ towns and
villages. Adams, the next, has but _six_ counties and _twenty-six_
towns; but his son is specially honored by a village named J.Q. Adams.
Jefferson has _seventeen_ counties and _seventy-four_ towns. Madison
has _fifteen_ counties and _forty-seven_ towns. Monroe has _sixteen_
counties and _fifty-seven_ towns, showing that the "era of good
feeling" was extending in his day. The second Adams has one town to
himself; but the son of his father could expect no more. Jackson has
_fifteen_ counties and _one hundred and twenty-three_ towns, beside
_six_ "boroughs" and "villes,"--showing what it was to have won the
Battle of New Orleans. Van Euren gets _four_ counties and
_twenty-eight_ towns. Harrison _seven_ counties and _fifty-seven_
towns, as becomes a log-cabin and hard-cider President. Tyler has but
_three_ counties, and not a single town, village, or hamlet even. Polk
has _five_ counties and _thirteen towns_. Taylor, _three_ counties and
_twelve_ towns. The remaining Presidents being yet in life and eligible
to a second term, it would be invidious to make further disclosures
till after the conventions. Among unsuccessful candidates there is a
vast difference in popularity. Clay has _thirty-two_ towns, and Webster
only _four_. Cass has _fourteen_, and Calhoun only _one_. Of
Revolutionary heroes, Wayne and Warren are the favorites, having
respectively _thirteen_ and _fourteen_ counties and _fifty-three_ and
_twenty-eight_ towns. But "Principles, not Men," has been at times the
American watchword; therefore there are _ten_ counties and _one hundred
and three_ towns named "Union."

We have given the reader a dose, we fear, of statistics; but imagine
yourself, dear, patient friend, what you may yet be, Postmaster-General
of these United States, with the responsibility of providing for all
these bewildering post-offices. And we pray you to heed the absolute
poverty of invention which compelled forty-nine towns to call
themselves "Centre." Forty-nine Centres! There are towns named after
the points of compass simply,--not only the cardinal points, but the
others,--so that the census-taker may, if he likes, "box the compass,"
in addition to his other duties.

But worse than the too common names (anything but proper ones) are the
eccentric. The colors are well represented; for, beside Oil and Paint
for materials, there are Brown, Black, Blue, Green, White, Cherry,
Gray, Hazel, Plum, Rose, and Vermilion. The animals come in for their
share; for we find Alligator, Bald-Eagle, Beaver, Buck, Buffalo, Eagle,
Eel, Elk, Fawn, East-Deer and West-Deer, Bird, Fox, (in Elk County,)
Pigeon, Plover, Raccoon, Seal, Swan, Turbot, Wild-Cat, and Wolf. Then
again, the christening seems to have been preceded by the shaking in a
hat of a handful of vowels and consonants, the horrible results of
which _sortes_ appear as Alna, Cessna, Chazy, Clamo, Novi, (we suspect
the last two to be Latin verbs, out of place, and doing duty as
substantives,) Cumru, Freco, Fristo, Josco, Hamtramck, Medybemps, Haw,
Kan, Paw-Paw, Pee-Pee, Kinzua, Bono, Busti, Lagro, Letart, Lodomillo,
Moluncus, Mullica, Lomira, Neave, Oley, Orland, and the felicitous
ringing of changes which occurs in Luray, Leroy, and Leray, to say
nothing of Ballum, Bango, Helts, and Hellam. And in other unhappy
places, the spirit of whim seems to have seized upon the inhabitants.
Who would wish to write themselves citizens of Murder-Kill-Hundred, or
Cain, or of the town of Lack, which places must be on the high road to
Fugit and Constable? There are several anti-Maine-law places, such as
Tom and Jerry, Whiskeyrun, Brandywine, Jolly, Lemon, Pipe, and Pitcher,
in which Father Matthew himself could hardly reside unimpeached in
repute. They read like the names in the old-fashioned "Temperance
Tales," all allegory and alcohol, which flourished in our boyhood.

Then, by way of counterpart to these, there are sixty-four places known
as Liberty, and thirteen as Freedom, but only one as Moral,--passing by
which, we suppose we shall come to Climax, and, thence descending,
arrive, as the whirligig of time appointeth, at Smackover, unless we
pause in Economy, or Equality, or Candor, or Fairplay.

If we were land-hunters, we might ponder long over the town of Gratis,
unless we thought Bonus promised more. There is Extra, and, if
tautologically fond of grandeur, _Metropolis City_,--a mighty Babel of
(in 1850) _four hundred and twenty-seven_ inhabitants,--and Bigger,
which has _seven hundred_. A brisk man would hardly choose Nodaway for
his home, nor a haymaker the town of Rain. And of all practical
impertinences, what could in this land of novelty equal the calling of
one's abiding-place "New"? We fully expect that 1860 will reveal a
comparative and superlative, and perhaps even a super-superlative,
("Newest-of-all,") upon its columns.

But what is the sense of such titles as Buckskin, Bullskin, (is it
Byrsa, by way of proving Solomon's adage,--"There is nothing new under
the sun"?) Chest, and Posey? There is one unfortunate place (do they
take the New York "Herald" and "Ledger" there?) which has "gone and got
itself christened" Mary Ann, and another (where "Childe Harold" is
doubtless in favor) is called Ada. There is a Crockery, a Carryall, and
a Turkey-Foot,--which last, like the broomstick in Goethe's ballad, is
chopped in two, only to reappear as a double nuisance, as Upper and
Lower Turkey-Foot.

Then what paucity of ideas is revealed in the fact that a number of
names are simply common nouns, or, worse yet, spinster adjectives,
"singly blest"! Such are Hill, Mountain, Lake, Glade, Rock, Glen, Bay,
Shade, Valley, Village, District, Falls, which might profitably be
joined in holy matrimony with the following,--Grand, Noble, Plain,
Pleasant, Rich, Muddy, Barren, Fine, and Flat.

As for one or two other unfortunates, like Bloom and Lumber, they can
only be sent to State's Prison for life, with Bean-Blossom and
Scrub-Grass. We need hardly mention that to the religious public,
including special attention to "clergymen and their families," Calvin,
Wesley, Whitefield, Tate, Brady, and Watts offer peculiar attractions.

But there is a class of names which does gladden us, partly from their
oddity, and partly from a feeling at first sight that they are names
really suggestive of something which has happened,--and this is apt to
turn out the fact. Thus, Painted-Post, in New York, and Baton-Rouge, in
Louisiana, are honest, though quaint appellatives; Standing-Stone is
another; High-Spire, a fourth. Others of the same class provoke our
curiosity. Thus, Grand-View-and-Embarras seems to have a history. So do
Warrior's-Mark and Broken-Straw. There is one queer name, Pen-Yan,
which is said to denote the component parts of its population,
_Pen_nsylvanians and _Yan_kees; and we have hopes that Proviso is not
meaningless. Also we would give our best pen to know the true origin of
Loyal-Sock, and of Marine-Town in the inland State of Illinois. This
last is like a "shipwreck on the coast of Bohemia." There is, too, a
memorial of the Greek Revolution which tells its own story,
--Scio-and-Webster! We could hardly wish the awkward partnership
dissolved. But who will unravel the mysteries of New-Design and
New-Faul? and can any one tell us whether the fine Norman name of
Sanilac is really the euphonious substitute for Bloody-Pond? If there
be in America that excellent institution, "Notes and Queries," here is
matter for their meddling.

But it is time to shut the book. For we are weary of picking holes in
our own _poncho_, and inclined to muse a little upon the science of
naming places. After what we have said about names growing,--_Nomen
nascitur, non fil,_--we cannot expect that the evil can be remedied by
Congress or Convention. Yet the Postal Department has fair cause of
complaint. Thus much might be required, that all the supernumerary
spots answering to the same hail should be compelled to change their
titles. Government exercises a tender supervision of the nomenclature
of our navy. Our ships of war are not permitted to disgrace the flag by
uncouth titles. Enterprising merchants have offered prizes for good
mouth-filling designations for their crack clippers, knowing that
freight and fortune often wait upon taking titles. Was the Flying Cloud
ever beaten? And in a land where all things change so lightly, why not
shake off the loosely sticking names and put on better? For at present,
the main end, that of conferring a _nomen_ or a name, something by
which the spot shall be known, has almost passed out of sight. If John
Smith, of the town of Smith, in Smith County, die, or commit forgery,
or be run for Congress, or write a book, his address might as well be
"Outis, Esq., Town of Anywhere, County of Everywhere." It concerns the
"Atlantic Monthly" not a little. For we desire, among its rapidly
multiplying subscribers, that our particular friend and kind critic,
commorant in Washington, should duly receive and enjoy this present
paper, undefrauded by any resident of the other one hundred and thirty
of the name. If we wish to mail a copy of "The Impending Crisis" to
Franklin, Vermont, we surely do not expect that it will perish by _auto
da fé_ in Franklin, Louisiana.

But the thought comes upon us, that herein is revealed a curious defect
of the American mind. It lacks, we contend, the fine perceptive power
which belongs to the poet. It can imitate, but cannot make. It does not
seize hold upon the distinctive fact of what it looks at, and
appropriate that. Our countrymen once could do it. The stern Puritan of
New England looked upon the grassy meadows beside the Connecticut, and
found them all bubbling with fountains, and called his settlement
"Springfield." But the American has lost the elementary uses of his
mother tongue. He is perpetually inventing new abstract terms,
generalizing with boldness and power and utter contempt of usage. But
the rich idiomatic sources of his speech lie too deep for him. They are
the glory and the joy of our motherland. You may take up "Bradshaw" and
amuse yourself on the wettest day at the dullest inn, nay, even amid
the horrors of the railway station, with deciphering the hidden
meanings of its lists of names, and form for yourself the gliding
panorama of its changing scenery and historic renown. But blank,
indeed, is the American transit through Rome, Marcellus, Carthage,
Athens, Palmyra, and Geneva; and blessed the relief when the Indian
tongue comes musically in to "heal the blows of sound"! And whatever
the expectations of the "Great American Poem," the Transatlantic
"Divina Commedia" or "Iliad," which the public may entertain, we feel
certain they will not be fulfilled in our day. Take Tennyson's "Idyls
of the King," and see what beautiful beadrolls of names he can string
together from the rough Cornish and Devon coasts. Only out of a
poetic-hearted people are poets born. The peasant writes ballads,
though scholars and antiquaries collect them. The Hebrew lyric fire
blazed in myriad beacons from every landmark. The soil of Palestine is
trodden, as it were, with the footsteps of God, so eloquent are its
mountains and hamlets with these records of a nation's faith.

But into how much of the love of home do its familiar names enter! And
we appeal to the common sense of everybody, whether those we have
quoted above are not enough to make a man ashamed of his birthplace.
They are the ear-mark of a roving, careless, selfish population, which
thinks only of mill-privileges, and never of pleasant meadows,--which
has built the ugliest dwellings and the biggest hotels of any nation,
save the Calmucks, over whom reigns the Czar. Upon the American soil
seem destined to meet and fuse the two great elements of European
civilization,--the Latin and the Saxon,--and of these two is our nation
blent. But just at present it exhibits the love of glare and finery of
the one, without its true and tender taste,--and the sturdy, practical
utilitarianism of the other, without its simple-hearted, home-loving
poetry. The boy is a great boy,--awkward, ungainly, and in the way; but
he has eyes, tongue, feet, and hands to some (future) purpose. And that
in good taste, good sense, refinement, and hopeful culture, our big boy
has been growing, we hope will be apparent, even in the matter of
"calling names," from the pages of the next census.

We have but a word more, in the way of finale. We have not been
romancing. Everything we have set down here we have truly looked up
there, in the volume furnished by Mr. De Bow. He, not we, must be held
answerable for any and all scarce credible names which are found
wanting in a local habitation. We have counted duly and truly the
fine-printed pages, from which task we pray that the kind Fates may
keep the reader.

Yet, if he doubt, and care to explore the original mine whence our
specimen petrifactions have been dug, he will find that we have by no
means exhausted the supply; and that there are many most curious and
suggestive facts, not contained in the statistics or intended by the
compiler, which are embraced in the CENSUS REPORTS.



BARDIC SYMBOLS.


I.

Elemental drifts!
Oh, I wish I could impress others as you and the waves have just been
     impressing me!

II.

As I ebbed with an ebb of the ocean of life,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walked where the sea-ripples wash you, Paumanok,
Where they rustle up, hoarse and sibilant,
Where the fierce old mother endlessly cries for her castaways,
I, musing, late in the autumn day, gazing off southward,
Alone, held by the eternal self of me that threatens to get the better
     of me and stifle me,
Was seized by the spirit that trails in the lines underfoot,
In the ruin, the sediment, that stands for all the water and all the
     land of the globe.

III.

Fascinated, my eyes, reverting from the south, dropped, to follow those
     slender windrows,
Chaff, straw, splinters of wood, weeds, and the sea-gluten,
Scum, scales from shining rocks, leaves of salt-lettuce, left by the tide.

IV.

Miles walking, the sound of breaking waves the other side of me,
Paumanok, there and then as I thought the old thought of likenesses,
These you presented to me, you fish-shaped island,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walked with that eternal self of me, seeking types.

V.

As I wend the shores I know not,
As I listen to the dirge, the voices of men and women wrecked,
As I inhale the impalpable breezes that set in upon me,
As the ocean so mysterious rolls toward me closer and closer,
At once I find, the least thing that belongs to me, or that I see or
     touch, I know not;
I, too, but signify a little washed-up drift,--a few sands and dead
     leaves to gather,
Gather, and merge myself as part of the leaves and drift.

VI.

Oh, baffled, lost,
Bent to the very earth, here preceding what follows,
Terrified with myself that I have dared to open my mouth,
Aware now, that, amid all the blab whose echoes recoil upon me, I have not
     once had the least idea who or what I am,
But that before all my insolent poems the real me still stands
     untouched, untold, altogether unreached,
Withdrawn far, mocking me with mock-congratulatory signs and bows,
With peals of distant ironical laughter at every word I have written or
     shall write,
Striking me with insults, till I fall helpless upon the sand!

VII.

Oh, I think I have not understood anything,--not a single object,--and
     that no man ever can!

VIII.

I think Nature here, in sight of the sea, is taking advantage of me to
     oppress me,
Because I was assuming so much,
And because I have dared to open my mouth to sing at all.

IX.

You oceans both! You tangible land! Nature!
Be not too stern with me,--I submit,--I close with you,--
These little shreds shall, indeed, stand for all.

X.

You friable shore, with trails of debris!
You fish-shaped island! I take what is underfoot:
What is yours is mine, my father!

XI.

I, too, Paumanok,
I, too, have bubbled up, floated the measureless float, and been
     washed on your shores.

XII.

I, too, am but a trail of drift and debris,--
I, too, leave little wrecks upon you, you fish-shaped island!

XIII.

I throw myself upon your breast, my father!
I cling to you so that you cannot unloose me,--
I hold you so firm, till you answer me something.

XIV.

Kiss me, my father!
Touch me with your lips, as I touch those I love!
Breathe to me, while I hold you close, the secret of the wondrous
     murmuring I envy!
For I fear I shall become crazed, if I cannot emulate it, and utter
     myself as well as it.

XV.

Sea-raff! Torn leaves!
Oh, I sing, some day, what you have certainly said to me!

XVI.

Ebb, ocean of life! (the flow will return,)--
Cease not your moaning, you fierce old mother!
Endlessly cry for your castaways! Yet fear not, deny not me,--
Rustle not up so hoarse and angry against my feet, as I touch you,
     or gather from you.

XVII.

I mean tenderly by you,--
I gather for myself, and for this phantom, looking down where we lead,
     and following me and mine.

XVIII.

Me and mine!
We, loose windrows, little corpses,
Froth, snowy white, and bubbles,
Tufts of straw, sands, fragments,
Buoyed hither from many moods, one contradicting another,
From the storm, the long calm, the darkness, the swell,
Musing, pondering, a breath, a briny tear, a dab of liquid or soil,
Up just as much out of fathomless workings fermented and thrown,
A limp blossom or two, torn, just as much over waves floating,
     drifted at random,
Just as much for us that sobbing dirge of Nature,
Just as much, whence we come, that blare of the cloud-trumpets,--
We, capricious, brought hither, we know not whence, spread out before
     you,--you, up there, walking or sitting,
Whoever you are,--we, too, lie in drifts at your feet.



HUNTING A PASS:

A SKETCH OF TROPICAL ADVENTURE.


PRELIMINARY.

Reader, take down your map, and, starting at the now well-known Isthmus
of Panama, run your finger northward along the coast of the Pacific,
until, in latitude 13° north, it shall rest on a fine body of water, or
rather the "counterfeit presentment" thereof, which projects far into
the land, and is designated as the Bay of Fonseca. If your map be of
sufficient scale and moderately exact, you will find represented there
two gigantic volcanoes, standing like warders at the entrance of this
magnificent bay. That on the south is called Coseguina, memorable for
its fearful eruption in 1835; that on the north is named Conchagua or
Amapala, taller than Coseguina, but long extinct, and covered to its
top with verdure. It is remarkable for its regularity of outline and
the narrowness of its apex. On this apex, a mere sugar-loaf crown, are
a _vigía_ or look-out station, and a signal-staff, whence the approach
of vessels is telegraphed to the port of La Union, at the base of the
volcano. A rude hut, half-buried in the earth, and loaded down with
heavy stones, to prevent it from being blown clean away, or sent
rattling down the slopes of the mountain, is occupied by the look-out
man,--an old Indian muffled up to his nose; for it is often bitter cold
at this elevation, and there is no wood wherewith to make a fire. Were
it not for that jar or _tinaja_ of _aguardiente_ which the old man
keeps so snugly in the corner of his burrow, he would have withered up
long ago, like the mummies of the Great Saint Bernard.

But I am not going to work up the old man of the _vigía_; for he was of
little consequence on the 10th day of April, 1853, except as a
wondering spectator on the top of Conchagua, in a group consisting of
an ex-minister of the United States, an officer of the American navy,
and an artist from the good city of New York, to whose ready pencil a
grateful country owes many of the illustrations of tropical scenery
which have of late years lent their interest to popular periodicals and
books of adventure. I might have added to this enumeration the tall,
dark figure of Dolores, servant and guide; but Dolores, with a good
sense which never deserted him, had no sooner disencumbered his
shoulders of his load of provisions, than he bestowed himself in the
burrow, out of the wind, and possibly not far from the _aguardiente_.

The utilitarian reader will ask, at once, the motive of this gathering
on the top of the volcano of Conchagua, five thousand feet above the
sea, wearily attained at no small expenditure of effort and
perspiration. Was it love of adventure merely? ambition to do something
whereof to brag about to admiring aunts or country cousins? Hardly. The
beauty of the wonderful panorama which spreads before the group of
strangers is too much neglected, their instruments are too carefully
adjusted and noted, and their consultations are far too earnest and
protracted, to admit of either supposition. The old man of the _vigía_,
as I have said, was a wondering spectator. He wondered why the eyes of
the strangers, glasses as well as eyes, and theodolites as well as
glasses, should all be directed across the bay, across the level
grounds beyond it, far away to the blue line of the Cordilleras,
cutting the clear sky with their serrated outline. He does not observe
that deep notch in the great backbone of the continent, as regular as
the cleft which the pioneer makes in felling a forest-tree; nor does he
observe that the breeze which ripples the waters at the foot of the
volcano is the north wind sweeping all the way from the Bay of Honduras
through that break in the mountain range, which everywhere else, as far
as the eye can reach, presents a high, unbroken barrier to its passage
to the Pacific. Yet it is simply to determine the bearings of that
notch in the Cordilleras, to fix the positions of the leading features
of the intervening country, and to verify the latitude and longitude of
the old man's flag-staff itself, as a point of departure for future
explorations, that the group of strangers is gathered on the top of
Conchagua.

And now, O reader, run your finger due north from the Bay of Fonseca,
straight to the Bay of Honduras, and it will pass, in a figurative way,
through the notch I have described, and through the pass of which we
were in search. You will see, if your map be accurate, that in or near
that pass two large rivers have their rise; one, the Humuya, flows
almost due north into the Atlantic, and the other, the Goascoran,
nearly due south into the Pacific,--together constituting, with the
plain of Comayagua, a great transverse valley extending across the
continent from sea to sea. Through this valley, commencing at Port
Cortés, on the north, and terminating on the Bay of Fonseca on the
south, American enterprise and English capital have combined to
construct a railway, designed to afford a new, if not a shorter and
better route of transit across the continent, between New York and San
Francisco, and between Great Britain and Australia.

But when we stood on the top of Conchagua, on the 10th day of April,
1853, the existence of a pass through the mountains, as well as of that
great transverse valley of which I have spoken, was only inferentially
known. In fact, the whole interior of Honduras was unexplored; its
geography was not understood; its scenery had never been described; its
towns and cities were scarcely known even by name; and its people lived
in almost as profound a seclusion from the world at large as the
dwellers on the banks of the Niger and the Zambezi. It is not, however,
to bore you, O reader, with all the details of our surveys, nor to
bother you with statistics, that I write; for, verily, are not these all
set down in a book? But it is rather to amuse you with the incidents of
our explorations, our quaint encounters with a quaint people of still
quainter manners and habits and with ideas quainter than all, and to
present you with a picture of a country and a society interesting equally
in themselves and from their strong contrasts with our own,--I say, it is
rather with these objects that I invite you, O reader, to join our little
party, and participate in the manifold adventures of "HUNTING A PASS."


CHAPTER I.

The port of La Union, our point of departure, is in the little Republic
of San Salvador, which, in common with Nicaragua and Honduras, touches
on the Bay of Fonseca. It is built near the head of a subordinate bay,
of the same name with itself, at the foot of the volcano of Conchagua,
which rises between it and the sea, cutting it off from the
ocean-breezes, and rendering it, in consequence, comparatively hot and
unhealthy. It is a small town, with a population scarcely exceeding
fifteen hundred souls; but it is, nevertheless, the most important port
of San Salvador. Here, during the season of the great fairs of San
Miguel, may be seen vessels of nearly all the maritime nations,
--broad-hulled and sleepy-looking ships from the German
free-cities, taut American clippers, sturdy English brigs, and even
Peruvian and Genoese nondescripts, with crews in red nightcaps.

At this time La Union holds high holiday; its _Comandante_, content at
other times to lounge about in the luxury of a real undress uniform,
now puts on his broadcloth and sash, and sustains a sweltering dignity;
while all the brown girls of the place, arrayed in their gayest
apparel, wage no timorous war on the hearts and pockets of too
susceptible skippers. "Ah, me!" exclaimed our landlady, "is it not
terrible? Excepting the Señora D. and myself, there is not a married
woman in La Union!" "One wouldn't think so," soliloquized the
_Teniente_, as he gazed reflectively into the street, where a dozen
naked children, squatting in the sand, disputed the freedom of the
highway with a score of lean dogs and bow-backed pigs of voracious
appetites.

To me there was nothing specially new in La Union. The three years
which had elapsed since my previous visit had not been marked by any
great architectural achievement, and although the same effective
chain-gang of two convicts seemed still to be occupied with the mole,
the advance in that great public work was not perceptible to the eye.
My old host and hostess were also the same,--a shade older in
appearance, perhaps, but with hearts as warm and hospitalities as
lavish as before. Only "La Gringita" had changed from the doe-eyed
child of easy confidences into a quiet and somewhat distant girl, full
in figure, and with a glance which sometimes betrayed the glow of
latent, but as yet unconscious passion. In these sunny climes the bud
blossoms and the young fruit ripens in a single day.

With my companions, however, the case was different. The _Teniente_
could never cease being surprised that the commercial and naval
facilities of the splendid bay before us had been so long overlooked.
"What a place for a naval station, with its spacious and secure
anchorages, abundant water, and facilities for making repairs and
obtaining supplies! Why, all the fleets of the globe might assemble
here, and never foul spars or come across each other's hawsers! What a
site, just in that little bay, for a ship-yard! The bottom is pure
sand, and there are full ten fathoms of water within a hundred yards of
the shore! And then those high islands protecting the entrance! A fort
on that point and a battery over yonder would close in the whole bay,
with its five hundred square miles of area, against every invader, and
make it as safe as Cronstadt!" But what astonished the _Teniente_ more
than anything else was, not that the English had seized the bay in
1849, but that they had ever given it up afterwards. "Bull should
certainly abandon his filibustering habits, or else stick to his
plunder; the example was a bad one for his offspring!"

And as for H., our artist, he, too, was surprised at all times and
about everything. It surprised him "to hear mere children talk
Spanish!" To be able to help himself to oranges from the tree without
paying for them surprised him; so did the habit of sleeping in
hammocks, and the practice of dressing children in the cheap and airy
garb of a straw hat and cigar! He was surprised that he should come to
see "a real volcano, like that of San Miguel, with real smoke rolling
up from its mysterious depths; but what surprised him most was, that
they should give him pieces of soap by way of making change in the
market, and that he could buy a boat-load of oysters for a shilling!"

As for Don Henrique, who had resided twenty years in Nicaragua, he was
only surprised at the surprise of others. He had a quiet, imperturbable
contempt for the country and everything in it, was satisfied with a
cool corridor and cigar, and had no ambition beyond that of some day
returning to Paris. Above all, he was a foe to unnecessary exertion.

The ascent of Conchagua was the most important incident of our stay in
La Union, both in the excitements of the scramble and in the
satisfactory nature of our observations from its summit. We left the
port in the afternoon, with the view of passing the night in the
highest hut on the mountain-side, so as to reach the summit early in
the morning, and thus secure time for our observations. Doña Maria had
given us her own well-trained servant, Dolores, who afterwards became a
most important member of our little party; and he was now loaded down
with baskets and bottles, while the _Teniente_, H., and myself
undertook the responsible charge of the instruments.

Our path was one seldom travelled, and was exceedingly rough and
narrow. Here it would wind down into one of the deep ravines which seam
the mountain near its base, and, after following the little stream
which trickled at its bottom for a short distance, turn abruptly up the
opposite side, and run for a while along a crest or ridge of _scoriæ_
or disintegrated lava, only, however, to plunge into another ravine
beyond. And thus alternately scrambling up and down, yet gradually
ascending diagonally, we worked our way towards the hut where we were
to pass the night. The slopes of the mountain were already in shadow,
and the gloom of the dense forests and of the deep ravines was so
profound, that we might have persuaded ourselves that night had fallen,
had we not heard the cheerful notes of unseen birds that were nestling
among the tree-tops. After two hours of ascent, the slope of the
mountain became more abrupt and decided, the ravines shallower, and the
intervening ridges less elevated. The forest, too, became more open,
and the trees smaller and less encumbered with vines, and between them
we could catch occasional glimpses of the bay, with its waters golden
under the slant rays of the declining sun. Finally we came to a kind of
terrace or shelf of the mountain, with here and there little patches of
ground, newly cleared, and black from the recent burning of the
undergrowth,--the only preparation made by the Indian cultivator for
planting his annual maize-crop. He has never heard of a plough; a staff
shod with iron, with which he pries a hole in the earth for the
reception of the seed, is the only agricultural implement with which he
is acquainted. When the young blade appears, he may possibly lop away
the tree-sprouts and rank weeds with his _machete_: but all the rest he
leaves to Nature, and the care of those unseen protectors of the harvest
whom he propitiates in the little church of Conehagua by the offering of a
candle, and in the depth of the forest, in some secluded spot of
ancient sanctity, by libations of _chicha_, poured out, with strange
dances, at the feet of some rudely sculptured idol which his fathers
venerated before him, and which he inwardly believes will come out "all
right" in the end, notwithstanding its present disgrace and the Padre's
denunciations.

The mountain terrace which we had now reached is three thousand feet
above the sea, half a mile long, of varying width, and seems to be the
top of some great bed of _scoriæ_ which long ago slipped down on an
inclined plane of lava to its present level. Whatever its origin, it is
certainly a beautiful spot, thinly covered with trees, and carpeted
with grass, on which, at the time of our visit, a few cows were
grazing, while half a dozen goats gazed at us in motionless surprise
from the gray rocks to which they had retreated on our approach. We
found the hut in which we were to rest for the night perched on the
very edge of the terrace, where it overlooked the whole expanse of the
bay, with its high islands and purple shores. At this airy height, and
open to every breeze, its inhabitants enjoy a delicious temperature;
and I could well understand how it was that Doña Maria, notwithstanding
the difficulties of the ascent, often came up here to escape the
debilitating heats of the port, and enjoy the magnificent prospect. The
dwellers on this mountain-perch consisted of an old man with his two
sons and their wives, and a consequent round dozen of children, all of
whom gave Dolores the cordial welcome of an old friend, which was
reflected on his companions with equal warmth. Our mules were quickly
unsaddled and cared for, and our instruments carefully suspended
beneath a rough shed of poles covered with branches of trees, which
stood before the hut, and answered the purpose of a corridor in keeping
off the sun. Here also we chose to swing our hammocks; for the hut
itself was none of the largest, and, having but a single room, would
require packing more closely than suited our tastes, in order to afford
us the narrowest accommodation. It is true, the two Benedicts
volunteered to sleep outside with Dolores, and resign the interior to
the old man, the women, the children, and the strangers. But the
_Teniente_ thought there would be scant room, even if we had the whole
to ourselves; while H. was overcome by "the indelicacy of the
suggestion."

The sunset that evening was one of transcendent beauty, heightened by
the thousand-hued reflections from the masses of clouds which had been
piling up, all the afternoon, around the distant mountains of Honduras,
and which Dolores told us betokened the approach of the rainy season.
Bathed in crimson and gold, they shed a glowing haze over the
intervening country, and were reproduced in the broad mirror of the bay
below us, so that we seemed to be suspended and floating in an
Iris-like sea of light and beauty. But night falls rapidly under the
tropics; the sunsets are as brief as they are brilliant; and as soon as
the sun had sunk below the horizon, the gorgeous colors rapidly faded
away, leaving only leaden clouds on the horizon and a sullen body of
water at our feet.

A love of music seems to be universal among all classes in Central
America, especially among the _Ladinos_ or mixed population. And it is
scarcely possible to find a house, down to the meanest hut, that does
not possess a violin or guitar, or, in default of these, a mandolin, on
which one or more of its inmates are able to perform with considerable
skill, and often with taste and feeling. The violin, however, is
esteemed most highly, and its fortunate possessor cherishes it above
wife or children, he keeps it with his white buckskin shoes, red sash,
and only embroidered shirt, in the solitary trunk with cyclopean lock
and antediluvian key, which goes so far, in Central American economy,
to make up the scanty list of domestic furniture. The youngest of our
hosts was the owner of one of these instruments, of European
manufacture, which had cost him, I dare say, many a load of maize,
wearily carried on his naked back down to the port. As the evening
advanced, he produced it, with an air of satisfaction, from its secure
depository, and, leaning against a friendly tree, gave us a specimen of
his skill. It is true, we did not expect much from our swarthy friend,
whose only garment was his trousers of cotton cloth, tucked up above
his knees; and we were therefore all the more surprised, when, after
some preliminary tuning of the instrument, he pressed the bow on its
strings with a firm and practised hand, and led us, with masterly
touch, through some of the finest melodies of our best operas. Very few
amateurs of any country, with all their advantages of instruction,
could equal the skill of that poor dweller on the flank of the volcano
of Conchagua; none certainly could surpass him in the delicacy and
feeling of his execution. H., on whom, as an artist, and himself no
mean musician, we had already devolved the task of being enthusiastic
and demonstrative over matters of this kind, applauded vehemently, and
cried, "_Bravo!_" and "_Encore!_" and ended in convincing us of the
reality of his delight, by pressing his brandy-flask into the hands of
the performer, and urging him to "drink it all, every drop, and then
give us another!" Our mountain Paganini, I fear, interpreted the behest
too literally; or else H.'s enthusiasm never afterwards rose to so high
a pitch; at any rate, he was never known to manifest it in so expansive
a manner.

"And where did your friend learn his music?"

He had caught it up, he said, from time to time, as he had floated,
with his canoe-load of plantains, chickens, and yucas, around the
vessels-of-war that occasionally visit the port; neglecting his
traffic, no doubt, in eagerly listening to the music of the bands or
the individual performances of the officers. He had had no instructor,
except "_un pobre Italiano_," who came to La Union with an exhibition
of _fantoccini_, died there of fever, and was buried like a Christian
in the Campo Santo adjoining the church: and Paganini removed his hat
reverentially, and made the sign of the cross on his swarthy bosom. And
now, most incredulous of readers, are you answered?

During the night we were visited by the first storm of the season, and
it opened the flood-gates of the skies right grandly, with booming
thunders and blinding lightning, and a dash of rain that came through
our imperfect shelter as through a sieve. Driven inside the hut, where
we contested the few square feet of bare earthen floor with the pigs
and pups of the establishment, we passed a most miserable night, and
were glad to rise with the earliest dawn,--ourselves to continue our
ascent of the mountain, and our hosts to plant their mountain _milpas_,
while the ground was yet moist from the midnight rain. They told us
that the maize, if put into the earth immediately after the first rain
of the season, was always more vigorous and productive than that
planted afterwards; why they knew not; but "so it had been told them by
their fathers."

The air was deliciously fresh and cool, and the foliage of the trees
seemed almost pulsating with life and light under the morning sun, as
we bade our hosts "_Á Dios!_" and resumed our course up the mountain.
There was no longer any path, and we had to pick our way as we were
able, among blocks of blistered rocks, over fallen trunks of trees, and
among gnarled oaks, which soon began to replace the more luxuriant
vegetation of the lower slopes. H., dragged from his mule by a scraggy
limb, was shocked to find that the first inquiry of his companions was
not about the safety of his neck, but of the barometer. At the end of
an hour, the ascent becoming every moment more abrupt, we had passed
the belt of trees and bushes, and reached the smooth and scoriaceous
cone, which, during the rainy season, appears from the bay to be
covered with a velvety mantle of green. It was now black and
forbidding, from the recent burning of the dry grass or _sacate_, and
so steep as to render direct ascent impossible. I proposed to leave the
mules and proceed on foot, but the _Teniente_ entered a solemn protest
against anything of the sort:--"If the mules couldn't carry him up, he
couldn't go; his family was affected with hereditary palpitation of the
heart, and if any one of them suffered more from it than the others, he
was the unfortunate victim! Climbing elevations of any kind, and
mountains in particular, brought on severe attacks; and we might as
well understand, at once, that, if in 'Hunting a Pass' there was any
climbing to be done, some one else must do it!" And here I may mention
a curious fact, probably hitherto unknown to the faculty, which was
developed in our subsequent explorations, namely, that palpitation of
the heart is contagious. H. was attacked with it on our third day out,
and Don Henrique had formidable symptoms at sight of the merest
hillock.

Under the lead of Dolores, by judicious zig-zagging, and by glow and
painful advances, we finally reached the _vigía_,--the mules thoroughly
blown, but the _Teniente_ and the instruments safe. The latter were
speedily set up, and the observations, which were to exercise so
important an influence as a basis for our future operations,
satisfactorily made. We found the mountain to be 4860 feet above the
sea, barometrical admeasurement, and the flagstaff itself in latitude
13° 18' N. and longitude 87° 45' W. We obtained bearings on nearly all
the volcanic cones on the plain of Leon, as also on many of the
detached mountain-peaks of Honduras and San Salvador, as the
commencement of a system of triangulations which subsequently enabled
us to construct the first map of the country at all approximating to
accuracy. At noon on the day of our visit, the thermometer marked a
temperature of 16° of Fahrenheit below that of the port.

It is a singular circumstance, that Captain Sir Edward Belcher, who
surveyed the Bay of Fonseca in 1838, speaks of Conchagua as a mountain
exhibiting no evidences of volcanic origin. Apart from its form, which
is itself conclusive on that point, its lower slopes are ridged all
over with dikes of lava, some of which come down to the water's edge,
in rugged, black escarpments. The mountain had two summits: one
comparatively broad and rugged, with a huge crater, and a number of
smaller vents; and a second and higher one, nearest the bay,--the
_ash-heap_ of the volcano proper, on which the _vigía_ is erected, and
whence our observations were made. This is a sugar-loaf in form, with
steep sides, and at its summit scarcely affording standing-room for a
dozen horsemen. It is connected with the main part of the mountain by a
narrow ridge, barely broad enough for a mule-path, with treeless slopes
on either hand, so steep, that, on our return, the _Teniente_ preferred
risking an attack of "palpitation" to riding along its crest.

After loosening several large stones from the side of the cone, and
watching them bound down the steep declivity, dashing the _scoriæ_ like
spray before them, and bearing down the dwarf trees in their path like
grass beneath the mower's scythe, until they rumbled away with many a
crash in the depths of the forest at the base of the mountain, and
after making over to the grateful old man of the _vigía_ the remnants
of Doña Maria's profusion in the shape of sandwiches and cold chicken,
we commenced our descent, taking the shorter path by which I had
descended three years before. It conducted us past the great spring of
Yololtoca, to which the Indian girls of the _pueblo_ of Conchagua,
three miles distant, still come to get their water, and down the
ancient path and over the rocks worn smooth by the naked feet of their
mothers and their mothers' mothers, until, at six o'clock in the
afternoon, we defiled, tired and hungry, into the sweltering streets of
La Union. Oysters _ad libitum_, (which, being translated, means as fast
as three men could open them,) one of Doña Maria's best dinners, and a
bath in the bay at bedtime calmed our appetites and restored our
energies, and we went to sleep with the gratified consciousness that we
had successfully taken the first step in the prosecution of our great
enterprise.

I have alluded to the oysters of La Union; but I should prove
ungrateful indeed, after the manifold delicious repasts which they
afforded us, were I to deny them the tribute of a paragraph. It is
generally believed that the true oyster of our shores is found nowhere
else, or at least only in northern latitudes. But an exception must be
made in favor of the waters of the Bay of Fonseca. Here they are found
in vast beds, in all the subordinate bays where the streams deposit
their sediment, and where, with the rise and fall of the tide, they
obtain that alternation of salt and brackish water which seems to be
necessary to their perfection. They are the same rough-coated,
delicious mollusks as those of our own coasts, and by no means to be
degraded by a comparison with the muddy, long-bearded, and, to
Christian palates, coppery abominations of the British Islands, which
in their flattened shape and scalloped edges seem to betray an impure
ancestry,--in point of fact, to be a bad cross between the scallop and
the oyster.

At low tide some of the beds are nearly bare, and then the Indians take
them up readily with their hands. The ease with which they may be got
will appear from the circumstance, that for some time after our arrival
we paid but a real (twelve and a half cents) for each canoe-load, of
from five to six bushels. The people of La Union seldom use them, and
we were therefore able to establish the "ruling rates." They continued
at a real a load, until H., with reckless generosity, one day paid our
improvised oyster-man two reals for his cargo, who thereupon, appealing
to this bad precedent, refused to go out, unless previously assured of
receiving the advanced rate. This led to the immediate arrest of H., on
an indictment charging him with "wilfully and maliciously combining and
conniving with one Juan Sanchez, (colored,) to put up the price of the
necessaries of life in La Union, in respect of the indispensable
article vulgarly known as _ostrea Virginiana_, but in the language of
the law and of science designated as oysters." On this indictment he
was summarily tried, and, in consequence of aggravating his offence by
an attempt at exculpation, was condemned to suffer the full penalties
of the law, in such cases provided, namely, "to pay the entire cost of
all the oysters that might thenceforth be consumed by the prosecuting
parties and the court, and, at eleven o'clock, past meridian, to be
taken from his bed, thence to the extremity of the mole, and there
_inducted_." Which sentence was carried into rigorous execution. Nor
was he allowed to resume his former rank in the party, until, by a
masterly piece of diplomacy, he organized an opposition oyster-boat,
and a consequent competition, which soon brought Juan Sanchez to terms,
and oysters to their just market-value.

That the aboriginal dwellers around the Bay of Fonseca appreciated its
conchological treasures, we had afterwards ample evidence; for at many
places on its islands and shores we found vast heaps of oyster-shells,
which seemed to have been piled up as reverent reminiscences of the
satisfaction which their contents had afforded.

During my previous visit to La Union, in March, 1850, I had observed
that the north winds, which prevail during that month in the Bay of
Honduras, sometimes sweep entirely across the continent with such force
as to raise a considerable sea in the Bay of Fonseca. I thence inferred
that there must exist a pass or break in the great mountain-range of
the Cordilleras, through which the wind could have an uninterrupted or
but partially interrupted sweep. This was confirmed by the fact that
the current of air which reached the bay was narrow, affecting only a
width of about ten or twelve miles. This circumstance impressed me at
that time only as indicating a remarkable topographical feature of the
country; but afterwards, when the impracticability of a canal at
Nicaragua and the deficiencies in respect of ports for a railway at
Tehuantepec had become established, I was led to reflect upon it in
connection with a plan for inter-oceanic communication by railway
through Honduras; and, as explained in the introduction, we were now
here to test the accuracy of my previous conclusions. Our observations
at the top of Conchagua had signally confirmed them.

We could distinctly make out the existence of a great valley extending
due north, and our glasses revealed a marked depression in the
Cordilleras, which in all the maps were represented as maintaining here
the character of a high, unbroken range. Of course no such valley as
opened before us could exist without a considerable stream flowing
through it. But the maps showed neither valley nor river. This
circumstance did not, however, discourage us; for my former travels and
explorations in Nicaragua had shown me, that, notwithstanding the
country had occupied the attention of geographers for more than three
centuries, in connection with a project for a canal between the oceans,
its leading and most obvious physical features were still either
grossly misconceived or utterly unknown.

The leading fact of the existence of some kind of a pass having been
sufficiently established by our observations from Conchagua, we next
set to work to obtain such information from the natives as might assist
our further proceedings. This was a tedious task, and called for the
exercise of all our patience; for it is impossible to convey in
language an adequate idea of the abject ignorance of most of the
inhabitants of Central America concerning its geography and
topographical features. Those who would naturally be supposed to be
best informed, the priests, merchants, and lawyers, are really the most
ignorant, and it is only from the _arrieros_, or muleteers, and the
_correos_, or runners, that any knowledge of this kind can be obtained,
and then only in a very confused form, and with most preposterous and
contradictory estimates of distances and elevations.

We nevertheless made out that the mouth of a river or _estero_, laid
down in Sir Edward Belcher's chart, on the opposite side of the bay in
front of La Union, was really that of the river Goascoran, a
considerable stream having its rise at a point due north, and not far
from Comayagua, the capital of Honduras, which, we also ascertained,
was seated in the midst of a great plain, bearing the same name. A
large stream, it was said, flowed past that city,--but whether the
Goascoran or some other, or whether it flowed north or south, neither
_arriero_ nor _correo_ could tell.

The navigability of the Goascoran was also a doubtful question.
According to some, it could be forded everywhere; others declared it
impassable for many leagues above its mouth: a discrepancy which we
were able to reconcile by reference to its probable state at different
seasons of the year.

Fixing an early day for taking the field in earnest, and leaving H. and
Don Henrique to make the necessary preparations, I improved the
interval, in company with Lieutenant J., in making a boat exploration
of the Goascoran. Obtaining a ship's gig, with two oarsmen and a supply
of provisions, we left La Union at dawn on the 15th of April. We found
that the river enters the bay by a number of channels, through low
grounds covered with mangrove-trees. It was at half-tide, and we
experienced no difficulty in entering. Our course at first was
tortuous, and it seemed as if the river had lost itself in a labyrinth
of channels, and we were ourselves much confused with regard to our
true direction. Keeping, however, in the strongest current, at the end
of half an hour we penetrated beyond the little delta of the river, and
the belt of mangroves, to firm ground. Here the stream was confined to
a single channel two hundred yards broad, with banks of clay and loam
from six to ten feet high. The lands back appeared to be level, and,
although well covered with ordinary forest-trees, were apparently
subject to overflow. We observed cattle in several grassy openings, and
here and there a _vaquero's_ hut of branches; for it is a general
practice of the _hacienderos_ to drive down their herds to the low
grounds of the coasts and rivers, during the dry season, and as soon as
the grass on the hills or highlands begins to grow sere and yellow. We
observed also occasional heaps of oyster-shells on the banks, or half
washed away by the river; and on the sand-spits at the bends of the
stream, and in all the little shady nooks of the shore, we saw
thousands of water-fowl, ducks of almost every variety, including the
heavy muscovy and the lively teal; and there were flocks of white and
crimson ibises, and solitary, long-legged, contemplative cranes, and
gluttonous pelicans; while myriads of screaming curlews scampered along
the line of the receding tide to snap up imprudent snails and the
numerous minute _crustaceæ_ which drift about in these brackish waters.
The familiar kingfisher was also there, coming down with an occasional
arrowy dash on some unsuspecting minnow, and then flapping away
leisurely for a quiet meal in the shady recesses of a neighboring tree.

We fired on a flock of ducks, killing a number and wounding others, all
of which we secured except one which struggled away into an eddy under
the bank. We pushed in, and my hand was extended to pick him up, when a
slimy, corrugated head, with distended jaws and formidable teeth, rose
to the surface before me, paused an instant, then shot forward, and,
closing on the wounded bird, disappeared. The whole was done so quickly
as to escape the notice of my companions, who would hardly believe me
when I told them that we had been robbed by an alligator. We lost a
duck, but gained an admonition; and I scarcely need add that our
half-formed purpose of taking a bath in the next cool bend of the river
was abandoned.

When the tide had run out, we were able to form a better notion of the
river. We found, that, although near the end of the dry season, it was
still a fine stream, with a large body of water, but spread over so
wide a channel as to preclude anything like useful navigation, except
with artificial aids. In places it was so shallow that our little boat
found difficulty in advancing. But this did not disappoint us; for
nothing like a mixed transit with transhipments had ever entered into
my plan, which looked only to an unbroken connection by rail from one
sea to the other. At four o'clock, satisfied that no useful purpose
could be effected by going farther up the stream, we stopped at a
collection of huts called Las Sandías,--not inappropriately, for the
whole sloping bank of the river, which here appeared to be little
better than a barren sand-bed, was covered, for a quarter of a mile,
with a luxuriant crop of water- and musk-melons, now in their
perfection. We purchased as many as we could carry off for a _real_.
They were full, rich, and juicy, and proved to be a grateful
restorative, after our day's exposure to the direct rays of the sun,
and their scarcely less supportable reflection from the water. The
melon-patch of Las Sandías is overflowed daring the rainy season, and
probably the apparently bare, sandy surface hides rich deposits of soil
below.

We found the stream here alive with an active and apparently voracious
fish, varying in length from fourteen to twenty inches, reddish in
color, and closely resembling the Snapper of the Atlantic coast of
Central America. The male inhabitants of Las Sandías were occupied in
catching these fishes with hand-nets, in the rifts and currents; and
the women were busy in cleaning and drying them. Their offal had
accumulated around the huts in offensive heaps, and gave out an odor
which was almost insupportable, but of which the women appeared to take
no notice. We did not, therefore, trespass long on their hospitality,
but returned to our boat and started back to La Union. As night came
on, the trees along the river's bank were thronged with _chachalacas_,
which almost deafened us with their querulous screams. Two
well-directed shots gave us half a dozen,--for the young _chachalaca_
is not to be despised on the table,--and we added them to our stock of
water-fowls and melons as tempting trophies to our companions from the
new Canaan on which they were venturing.


[To be continued.]



KEPLER.


The acceptance of a doctrine is often out of all proportion to the
authority that fortifies it. There are sweeps of generalization quite
permeable to objection, which yet find metaphysical support; there are
irrefragable dogmas which the mind drops as futile and fruitless. It is
recorded of Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood, that it
found reception from no physician then over forty years old. We believe
the splendid nebular construction of Laplace has its own difficulties;
yet what noble or aspiring mind does not find interior warranties for
the truth of that audacious synthesis? Is it that the soul darts
responsive impartments to the heavens? that the whirl is elemental in
the mind? that baffling intervals stretch deeper within us, and shoals
of stars with no parallax appear?

Among the functions of Science, then, may well be included its power as
a metre of the intellectual advance of mankind. In these splendid
symbols man writes the record of his advancing humanity. How all is
interwoven with the All! A petrified national mind will certainly
appear in a petrified national Science. And that sublime upsurging from
the depths of human nature which came with the last half of the
eighteenth century appeared not alone in the new political and social
aspirations, but in a fresh insight into Nature. This spirit manifested
itself in the new sciences that sprang from the new modes of
vision,--Magnetism, Electricity, Chemistry,--the old crystalline spell
departing before a dynamical system of Physics, before the thought of
the universe as a living organic whole. And what provokers does the
discovery of the celestial circles bring to new circles of politics and
social life!

The illustrations of Astronomy to this thought are very large. First of
the sciences to assume a perfectly rational form, it presents the
eternal type of the unfolding of the speculative spirit of man. This
springs, no doubt, from the essentially subjective character of
astronomy,--more than all the other sciences a construction of the
creative reason. From the initiative of scientific astronomy, when the
early Greek geometers referred the apparent diurnal movements to
geometrical laws, to the creation of the nebular hypothesis, the
logical filiation of the leading astronomical conceptions obeys
corresponding tidal movements in humanity. Thus it is that

    "through the ages one increasing purpose
        runs
And the thoughts of men are widened with the
        process of the suns."

It was for reasons the Ptolemaic system so long held its sway. It was
for reasons it went, too, when it did, hideous and oppressive
nightmare! The celestial revelations of the sixteenth century came as
the necessary complement of the new mental firmaments then dawning on
the thought of man. The intellectual revolution caused by the discovery
of the double motion of our planet was undoubtedly the mightiest that
man had ever experienced, and its effect was to change the entire
aspect of his speculative and practical activity. What a proof that
ideas rule the world! Two hundred and fifty years ago, certain new
sidereal conceptions arose in the minds of half a dozen philosophers,
(isolated and utterly destitute of political or social influence,
powerful only in the possession of a sublime and seminal
thought,)--conceptions which, during these two centuries, have
succeeded in overthrowing a doctrine as old as the human mind, closely
interknit with the entire texture of opinions, authority, politics, and
religion, and establishing a theory flatly contradicted by the
universal dictates of experience and common sense, and true only to the
transcendental and interpretative Reason!

At the advent of Modern Astronomy, the apparition of the German, John
Kepler, presents itself. Familiarly associated in general apprehension
with that inductive triad known as "Kepler's Laws," which form the
foundation of Celestial Geometry, it is much less generally known that
he was an august and oracular soul, one of those called Mystics and
Transcendentalists, perhaps the greatest genius for analogy that ever
lived,--that he led a truly epic life, a hero and helper of men, a
divine martyr of humanity.

The labors of Kepler were mathematical, optical, cosmographical, and
astronomical,--but chiefly astronomical. Two or three of his principal
works are the "Cosmographic Mystery," (_Mysterium Cosmographicum,_) the
"New Astronomy," (_Astronomia Nova, seu Physica Caelestis,_) and the
"Harmonies of the World" (_Harmonices Mundi_). His whole published
works comprise some thirty or forty volumes, while twenty folio volumes
of manuscript lie in the Library at St. Petersburg. These Euler,
Lexell, and Kraft undertook some years ago to examine and publish, but
the result of this examination has never appeared. An elegant complete
edition of the works of Kepler is at present being issued at Frankfort,
under the editorship of Frisch.[1] It is to be in sixteen volumes, 8vo,
two of which are published. For his biography, the chief source is the
folio volume of Correspondence, published in 1718, by Hansch,[2] who
has prefixed to these letters between Kepler and his contemporaries a
Life, in which his German heartiness beats even through the marble
encasement of his Latinity.

[Footnote 1: _Joannis Kepleri Astronomi Opera Omnia._ Edidit CH.
FRISCH.]

[Footnote 2: _Epistolae ad Joannem Keplerum scriptae._ MICHAEL GOTTLIEB
HANSCHIUS. Lipsiae, 1718.]

We have always admired, as a stroke of wit, the way Hansch takes to
indicate Kepler's birthplace. Disdaining to use any but mathematical
symbols for so great a mathematician, he writes that he was born on the
21st of December, 1571, in longitude 29° 7', latitude 48° 54'! It may
be worth mentioning, that on this cryptic spot stood the little town of
Weil in the Duchy of Würtemberg. His birth was cast at a time when his
parents were reduced to great poverty, and he received very little
early schooling. He was, however, sent to Tübingen, and here he pursued
the scholastic studies of the age, designing for the Church. But the
old eternal creed-questionings arose in his mind. He stumbled at the
omnipresence of Christ's body, wrote a Latin poem against it, and, when
he had completed his studies, got for a _testimonium_ that he had
distinguished himself by his oratorical talents, but was considered
unfit to be a fellow-laborer in the Church of Würtemberg. A larger
priesthood awaited him.

The astronomical lectureship at the University of Grätz, in Styria,
falling vacant, Kepler was in his twenty-third year appointed to fill
it. He was, as he tells us, "better furnished with talent than
knowledge." But, no doubt, things had conspired to forward him. While
at Tübingen, under the mathematician Mästlin, he had eagerly seized
all the hints his master threw out of the doctrines of Copernicus,
integrating them with interior authorities of his own. "The motion of the
earth, which Copernicus had proved by mathematical reasons, I wanted
to prove by physical, or, if you prefer it, metaphysical reasons."
So he wrote in his "Prodromus Dissertationum Cosmographicarum,"
which he published two years after going to Grätz, that is, in his
twenty-fifth year. In this book his fiery and mystical spirit first
found expression, flaming forth in meteoric coruscations. The problem
which Kepler attempted to solve in the "Prodromus" was no less than
the determination of the harmonic relations of the distances of
the planets, which it was given him to solve more than twenty years
afterwards. The hypothesis which he adopted proved utterly fallacious;
but his primal intuition, that numerical and geometric relations
connect the velocities, periods, and distances of the planets, was none
the less fruitful and sublime.

Of the facts of Kepler's external life, we may simply say, for the sake
of readier apprehension, that, after remaining six years at Grätz, he,
in 1600, on the invitation of Tycho Brahe, Astronomer Royal to Rodolph
II. of Germany, removed to Prague and associated himself with Tycho,
who shortly afterwards dying, Kepler was appointed in his place. The
chief work was the construction of the new astronomical tables called
the Rodolphine Tables, and on these he was engaged many years. In this
situation he continued till 1613, when he left it to assume a
professorship at Linz. Here he remained some years, and the latter part
of his life was spent as astrologer to Wallenstein. Kepler is described
as small and meagre of person, and he speaks of himself as "troublesome
and choleric in politics and domestic matters." He was twice married,
and left a wife and numerous children ill-provided for.

Indeed, a painful and perturbed life fell to the lot of Kepler. The
most crushing poverty all his life oppressed him. For, though his
nominal salary as Astronomer Royal was large enough, yet the treasury
was so exhausted that it was impossible for him ever to obtain more
than a pittance. What a sad tragedy do these words, in a letter to
Mästlin, reveal:--"I stand whole days in the antechamber, and am nought
for study." And then he adds the sublime compensation: "I keep up my
spirits, however, with the thought that I serve, not the Emperor alone,
but the whole human race,--that I am laboring not merely for the
present generation, but for posterity. If God stand by me and look to
the victuals, I hope to perform something yet." Eternal type of the
consolation which the consciousness of truth brings with it, his
ejaculation on the discovery of his third law remains one of the
sublimest utterances of the human mind:--"The die is cast; the book is
written,--to be read now or by posterity, I care not which: it may well
wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for
an observer!" Cast in a stormy and chaotic age, he was persecuted by
both Protestants and Catholics on account of the purity and elevation
of his religious ideas; and from the disclosures of Baron von
Breitschwert [1] it seems, that, in the midst of his sublimest labors,
he spent five years in the defence of his poor old mother against a
charge of witchcraft. He died in 1630, in his sixtieth year, (with the
prospect of starvation before him,) of a fever which he caught when on
a journey to Ratisbon, whither he had gone in the attempt to get part
of his pay!

[Footnote 1:  _Johann Keppler's Leben und Wirken: nach neuerlich
aufgefundenen Manuscripten bearbeitet._ Stuttgart, 1813.]

In what bewildering and hampering environment he found himself with the
"Tübingen doctors" and the "Würtemberg divines," his letters reveal. On
the publication of the "Prodromus," Hafenreffer wrote to warn
him:--"God forbid you should endeavor to bring your hypothesis openly
into argument with the Holy Scriptures! I require of you to treat the
subject merely as a mathematician, and to leave the peace of the Church
undisturbed." To the Tübingen doctors he replied:--"The Bible speaks to
me of things belonging to human life as men are used to speak of them.
It is no manual of Optics or of Astronomy; it has a higher object in
view. It is a culpable misuse of it to seek in it for answers on
worldly things. Joshua wished for the day to be lengthened. God
hearkened to his wish. How? This is not to be inquired after." And
surely the long-vexed argument has never since unfolded better
statement than in the words of Kepler:--"The day will soon break when
pious simplicity will be ashamed of its blind superstition,--when men
will recognize truth in the book of Nature as well as in the Holy
Scriptures, and rejoice in the two revelations." [1]

[Footnote 1: _Harmonices Mundi._]

On this avowal he was branded as a hypocrite, heretic, and atheist.

To Mästlin he wrote:--"What is to be done? I think we should imitate
the Pythagoreans, communicate our discoveries _privatim_, and be silent
in public, that we may not die of hunger. The guardians of the Holy
Scriptures make an elephant of a gnat. To avoid the hatred against
novelty, I represented my discovery to the Rector of the University as
a thing already observed by the ancients; but he made its antiquity a
greater charge against it than he could have made of its novelty."

And, indeed, the devotion to truth in that age, as in others, required
an heroic heart. Copernicus kept back the publication of his "De
Revolutionibus Orbium Caeslestium" for thirty-six years, and received a
copy of it only on his death-bed. Galileo tasted the sweets of the
Inquisition. Tycho Brahe was exiled. And Kepler himself was persecuted
all his life, hounded from city to city. And yet the sixteenth century
will ever be memorable in the history of the human mind. The breaking
down of external authority, the uprise of the spirit of inquiry, of
skepticism, and the splendid scientific conquests that came in
consequence, inaugurated a mighty movement which separates the present
promises of mankind from all past periods by an interval so vast as to
make it not merely a great historical development, but the very birth
of humanity. While Tycho Brahe, at the age of fifty-four, was making
his memorable observations at Prague, Kepler, at the age of thirty, was
applying his fiery mind to the determination of the orbit of Mars, and
Galileo, at thirty-six, was bringing his telescope to the revelation of
new celestial intervals and orbs. Within the succeeding century Huygens
made the application of the pendulum to clocks; Napier invented
Logarithms; Descartes and Galileo created the analysis of curves, and
the science of Dynamics; Leibnitz brought the Differential Calculus;
Newton decomposed a ray of light, and synthesized Kepler's Laws into
the theory of Universal Gravitation.

Into this age, when the Old and New met face to face, came the
questioning and quenchless spirit of Kepler. Born into an age of
adventure, this new Prometheus, this heaven-scaler, matched it with an
audacity to lift it to new reaches of realization.


A singular _naiveté_, too, marked this august soul. He has the
frankness of Montaigne or Jean Jacques. He used to accuse himself of
gabbling in mathematics,--"_in re mathematica loquax_,"--and claimed to
speak with German freedom,--"_scripsi haec, homo Germanicus, more et
libertate Germanica_." He marries far and near, brings planetary
eclipses into conjunction with pecuniary penumbras, and his treatise on
the perturbations of Mars reveals equal perturbations in his domestic
economy. It may be to this candor, this _gemüth_, that we are to
ascribe the powerful personal magnetism he exercises in common with
Rousseau, Rabelais, and other rich and ingenuous natures. Who would be
otherwise than frank, when frankness has this power to captivate? The
excess of this influence appears in the warmth betrayed by writers over
their favorite. The cool-headed Delambre, in his "Histoire de
l'Astronomie," speaks of Kepler with the heat of a pamphleteer, and
cannot repress a frequent sneer at his contemporary, Galileo. We know
the splendor of the Newtonian synthesis; yet we do not find ourselves
affected by Newton's character or discoveries. He touches us with the
passionless love of a star.

Kepler puts the same _naiveté_ into his speculative activity, with a
subtile anatomy laying bare the _metaphysique_ of his science. It was
his habit to illumine his discoveries with an exhibition of the path
that led to them, regarding the method as equally important with the
result,--a principle that has acquired canonical authority in modern
scientific research. "In what follows," writes he, introducing a long
string of hypotheses, the fallacy of which he had already discovered,
"let the reader pardon my credulity, whilst working out all these
matters by my own ingenuity. For it is my opinion that the occasions by
which men have acquired a knowledge of celestial phenomena are not less
admirable than the discoveries themselves." His tentatives, failures,
leadings, his glimpses and his glooms, those aberrations and guesses
and gropings generally so scrupulously concealed, he exposes them all.
From the first flashing of a discovery, through years of tireless toil,
to when the glorious apparition emerges full-orbed and resplendent, we
follow him, becoming party to the process, and sharing the ejaculations
of exultation that leap to his lips. Seventeen years were required for
the discovery of the harmonic law, that the squares of the times of the
planetary revolutions are proportional to the cubes of their mean
distances; and no tragedy ever equalled in affecting intensity the
account he has written of those Promethean years. What rays does he let
into the subtile paths where the spirit travels in its interrogations
of Nature! We should say there was more of what there is of essential
in metaphysics, more of the structural action of the human mind, in his
books, than in the concerted introspection of all the psychologists.
One sees very well that a new astronomy was predicted in the build of
that sky-confronting mind; for harmonic ratios, laws, and rhymes played
in his spheral soul, galaxies and gravitations stretched deeper within,
and systems climbed their flaming ecliptic.

The highest problem of Science is the problem of Method. Hitherto man
has worked on Nature only piecemeal. The understanding and the
logic-faculty are allowed to usurp the rational and creative powers.
One would say that scientists systematically shut themselves out of
three-fourths of their minds, and the English have been insane on
Induction these two hundred years. This unholy divorce has, as it
always must do, brought poverty and impotence into the sciences, many
of which stand apart, stand haggard and hostile, accumulations of
incoherent facts, inhospitable, dead.

It is when contemplated in its historic bearings, as an education of
the faculties of man, that the emphasis that has been placed on special
scientific methods discloses its significance. The speculative
synthesis of Greek and Alexandrine Science was a superb training in
Deduction,--in the descent from consciousness to Nature. Abstracted
from its relations with reality, the scholasticism of the Middle Ages
pushed Deduction to mania and moonshine. Then it was, that, in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Occidental mind, astir under
the oceanic movements of the modern, arose to break the spell of
scholasticism that had fettered and frozen the intellect of man. An
all-invading spirit of inquiry, analysis, skepticism, became rife. An
unappeasable hunger for facts, facts, facts, took possession of the
general intellect. It was felt that abstraction was disease, was
death,--that speculation had to be vitalized and enriched from
experience and experiment. This tendency was inevitable and sublime, no
doubt. But it remains for modern times to emulate Nature and carry on
analysis and synthesis at once. A great discovery is the birth of the
whole soul in its creative activity. Induction becomes fruitful only
when married to Deduction. It is those luminous intuitions that light
along the path of discovery that give the eye and animus to
generalization. Science must be open to influx and new beneficent
affections and powers, and so add fleet wings to the mind in its
exploration of Nature.

In Kepler was the perfect realization of the highest mission of Method.
Powerfully deductive in the structure of his intellect, nourished on
the divine bread of Plato and the Mystics, he yet united to these a
Baconian breadth of practical power. Years before the publication of
the "Novum Organum," he gave, in his "Commentaries on the Motions of
Mars," a specimen of the logic of Induction whose circular sweep has
never been matched. Prolific in the generation of hypotheses, he was
yet remorseless in bringing them to the test of experiment. "Hypotheses
which are not founded in Nature please me not," wrote he,--as Newton
inscribed "_Hypotheses non fingo_" on the "Principia." Surely never was
such heroic self-denial. Centurial vigils of baffling calculations
--(remember, there was then little Algebra, and neither Calculus
nor Logarithms)--were sacrificed without a regret except for
the time expended, his tireless intellect pressing on to new heights of
effort. His first work, the "Mysterium Cosmographicum," is the record
of a splendid blunder that cost him five years' toil, and he spent ten
years of fruitless and baffled effort in the deduction of the laws of
areas and orbital ellipticity.

But this audacious diviner knew well the use of Hypothesis, and he
applied it as an instrument of investigation as it had never been
applied before. The vast significance of Hypothesis in the theory of
Scientific Method has never been recognized. It would be a good piece
of psychology to explore the principles of this subtile mental power,
and might go far to give us a philosophy of Anticipation. The men of
facts, men of the understanding, observers,--as we might
suppose,--universally show a disposition to shun theorizing, as opposed
to the exactness of demonstrative science. And yet it is quite certain,
that, in proportion as one rises to a more liberal apprehension, the
immense provisional power of speculative ideas becomes apparent.
Laplace asserted that no great discovery was ever made without a great
guess; and long before, Plato had intimated of these "sacred suspicions
of truth," that descend dawn-like on the mind, sublime premonitions of
beautiful gates of laws. It is these launching tentatives which bring
phenomena to interior and metaphysical tests and bear the mind
swift-winged to Nature. Of course, there are various kinds of
conjecture, and its value will depend on the brain from which it
departs. But a powerful spirit will justify Hypothesis by the high
functions to which he puts it. His guesses are not for nothing. Many
and long processes go to them.--The inexhaustible fertility displayed
by Kepler is a psychologic marvel. He had that subtile chemistry that
turns even failures to account, consumes them in its flaming ascent to
new reaches. After years of labor on his theory of Mars, he found it
failed in application to latitudes and longitudes "out of opposition."
Remorselessly he let his hypothesis go, and drew from his failure an
important inference, the first step towards emancipation from the
ancient prejudice of uniform, circular motion.

Such a genius for Analogy the world never before saw. The perception of
similitude, of correspondence, shot perpetual and prophetic in this
man's glances. To him had been opened the subtile secret, key to
Nature, that Man and the Universe are built after one pattern, and he
had faith to believe that the laws of his mind would unlock the
phenomena of the world.

The law of Analogy flows from the inherent harmonies of Nature. Of this
wise men have ever been intuitive. The eldest Scriptures express it. It
is in the Zend-Avesta, primal Japhetic utterance. It vivified that
subtile Egyptian symbolism. The early Greeks and the Mystics of
Alexandria knew it. Jamblicus reports of Pythagoras, that "he did not
procure for himself a thing of this kind through instruments or the
voice, but, by employing a certain inevitable divinity, and which it is
difficult to apprehend, he extended his ears and fixed his intellect in
the sublime symphonies of the world,--he alone hearing and
understanding, as it appears, the universal harmony and consonance of
the spheres and the stars that are moved through them, and which
produce a fuller and more intense melody than anything effected by
mortal sounds."

From the sublime intuitions of the harmonies of Nature and the unity of
the Universe unfold the bright doctrines of Series and Degrees, of
Correspondence, of Similitude. On these thoughts all wise spirits have
fed. Indeed, you can hardly say they were ever absent. They are of
those flaming thoughts the soul projects, splendid prophecies that
become the light of all our science and all our day. Plato formulated
these laws. Two thousand years after him, the cosmic brain of
Swedenborg traced their working throughout the universal economies of
matter and spirit, and Fourier endeavored to translate them into axioms
of a new social organization.

These doctrines were ever present to the mind of Kepler; and to what
fruitful account he turned Analogy as a means of inductive speculation
his wonderful anatomy of his discoveries reveals. He fed on the
harmonies of the universe. He has it, that "harmony is the perfection
of relations." The work of his mature intellect was the "Harmonices
Mundi," (Harmonies of the World,) in which many of the sublime leadings
of Modern Science, as the Correlation of Sounds and Colors, the
Significance of Musical Chords, the Undulatory Theory, etc., are
prefigured. We must account him one of the chief of those prophetic
spirits who, by attempting to give phenomena a necessary root in ideas,
have breathed into Science a living soul. The new Transcendental
Anatomy,--the doctrine of Homologies,--the Embryologic scheme,
revealing that all animate forms are developed after one
archetype,--the splendid Nebular guess of Laplace,--the thought of the
Metamorphosis of Plants,--the attempts at profounder explanations of
Light and Colors,--the rising transcendentalism of Chemistry,--the
magnificent intuition of Correspondence, showing a grand unity of
design in the nodes of shells, the phyllotaxism of plants, and the
serialization of planets,--are all signs of the presence of a spirit
that is to usher in a new dispensation of Science, fraught with
divinest messages to the head and heart of man.

Kepler regarded Analogy as the soul of Science, and he has made it an
instrument of prophecy and power. Thus, he inferred from Analogy that
the sun turned on its axis, long before Galileo was able to direct his
telescope to the solar spots and so determine this rotation as an
actual fact. He anticipated a planet between Mars and Jupiter too small
to be seen; and his inference that the obliquity of the ecliptic was
decreasing, but would, after a long-continued diminution, stop, and
then increase again, afterwards acquired the sanction of demonstration.
A like instance of anticipation is afforded in the beautiful experiment
of the freely-suspended ball revolving in an ellipse under the combined
influence of the central and tangential forces, which Jeremiah Horrocks
devised, when pursuing Kepler's theory of planetary motion,--his
intuition being, that the motions of the spheres might be represented
by terrestrial movements. We may mention the observation which the
ill-starred Horrocks makes, in a letter,[1] on the occasion of this
experiment, as one of the sublimities of Science:--"It appears to me,
however, that I have fallen upon the true theory, and that it admits of
being illustrated by natural movements on the surface of the earth; for
Nature everywhere acts according to a uniform plan, and the harmony of
creation is such that small things constitute a faithful type of
greater things." Another instance is afforded in the grand intuition of
Oken, who, when rambling in the Hartz Mountains, lit upon the skull of
a deer, and saw that the cranium was but an expansion of vertebrae, and
that the vertebra is the theoretical archetype of the entire osseous
framework,--the foundation of modern Osteology. And still another is
the well-known instance of the change in polarization predicted by
Fresnel from the mere interpretation of an algebraic symbol. This
prophetic insight is very sublime, and opens up new spaces in man.

[Footnote 1: _Correspondence,_ 1637]

Of the discoveries of Kepler, we can here have to do with their
universal and humanitary bearings alone. It is to be understood,
however, that the three grand sweeps of Deduction which we call
Kepler's Laws formed the foundation of the higher conception of
astronomy, that is, the dynamical theory of astronomical phenomena, and
prepared the way for the "Mécanique Céleste." Whewell, the learned
historian of the Sciences, speaks of them as "by far the most
magnificent and most certain train of truths which the whole expanse of
human knowledge can show"; and Comte declares, that "history tells of
no such succession of philosophical efforts as in the case of Kepler,
who, after constituting Celestial Geometry, strove to pursue that
science of Celestial Mechanics which was by its very nature reserved
for a future generation." These laws are, first, the law of the
velocities of the planets; second, the law of the elliptic orbit of the
planets; and, third, the harmonic law, that the squares of the times of
the planetary revolutions are proportional to the cubes of their mean
distances from the sun. They compass the whole sweep of Celestial
Geometry, and stamp their seer as unapproachably the greatest of
astronomers, as well as one of the chief benefactors of mankind.

The announcement of Kepler's first two laws was made in his New
Astronomy,--"Astronomia Nova, seu Physica Caelestis, tradita
Commentariis de Motibus Stellae Martis: Ex Observationibus G.V.
Tychonis Brahe." Folio. Prague: 1609. This he published in his
thirty-eighth year. The title he gave to this work, "Celestial
Physics," must ever be regarded as a stroke of philosophical genius; it
is the prediction of Newton and Laplace, and prefigures the path on
which astronomical discovery has advanced these two hundred and fifty
years.

An auspicious circumstance conspired to forward the astronomical
discoveries of Kepler. Invited to Prague in 1600 by Tycho Brahe, as
Assistant Royal Astronomer, he had access to the superb series of
observations which Tycho had been accumulating for twenty-five years.
Endowed with a genius for observation unsurpassed in the annals of
science, the noble Dane had obtained a grant from the king of Denmark
of the island of Hven, at the mouth of the Baltic. Here he erected a
magnificent observatory, which he named _Uranienborg_, City of the
Heavens. This he fitted up with a collection of instruments of hitherto
unapproached size and perfection, and here, for twenty years, he
pursued his observations. Thus it was that Kepler, himself a poor
observer, found his complement in one who, without any power of
constructive generalization, was yet the possessor of the richest
series of astronomical observations ever made. From this admirable
conjunction admirable realizations were to be expected. And, indeed,
the "Astronomia Nova" presents an unequalled illustration of
observation vivified by theory, and theory tested and fructified by
observation.

To appreciate the significance of the discovery of the elliptical orbit
of the planets, it is necessary to understand the complicated confusion
that prevailed in the conception of planetary motions. The primal
thought was that the motions of the planets were uniform and circular.
This intuition of circular orbits was a happy one, and was, perhaps,
necessitated by the very structure of the human mind. The sweeping and
centrifugal soul, darting manifold rays of equal reach, realizes the
conception of the circle, that is, a figure all of whose radii are
equidistant from a central point. But this conception of the circle
afterwards came to acquire superstitious tenacity, being regarded as
the perfect form, and the only one suitable for such divine natures as
the stars, and was for two thousand years an impregnable barrier to the
progress of Astronomy. To account for every new appearance, every
deviation from circular perfection, a new cycloid was supposed, till
all the simplicity of the original hypothesis was lost in a
complication of epicycles:--

                  "The sphere,
  With centric and eccentric scribbled o'er,
  Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb."

By the end of the sixteenth century the number of circles supposed
necessary for the seven stars then known amounted to seventy-four,
while Tycho Brahe was discovering more and more planetary movements for
which these circles would not account.

To push aside forever this complicated chaos and evoke celestial order
and harmony, came Kepler. Long had the sublime intuition possessed him,
that numerical and geometrical relations connect the distances, times,
and revolutions of the planets. He began his studies on the planet
Mars,--a fortunate choice, as the marked eccentricity of that planet
would afford ready suggestions and verifications of the true law of
irregularity, and on which Tycho had accumulated copious data. It had
long been remarked that the angular velocity of each planet increases
constantly in proportion as the body approaches its centre of motion;
but the relation between the distance and the velocity remained wholly
unknown. Kepler discovered it by comparing the maximum and minimum of
these quantities, by which their relation became more sensible. He
found that the angular velocities of Mars at its nearest and farthest
distances from the sun were in inverse proportion to the squares of the
corresponding distances. This law, deduced, was the immediate path to
the law of orbital ellipticity. For, on attempting to apply his
newly-discovered law to Mars, on the old assumption that its orbit was
a circle, he soon found that the results from the combination of the
two principles were such as could not be reconciled with the places of
Mars observed by Tycho. In this dilemma, finding he must give up one or
the other of these principles, he first proposed to sacrifice his own
theory to the authority of the old system,--a memorable example of
resolute candor. But, after indefatigably subjecting it to crucial
experiment, he found that it was the old hypothesis, and not the new
one, that had to be sacrificed.[1] If the orbit was not a circle, what,
then, was it? By a happy stroke of philosophical genius he lit on the
ellipse. On bringing his hypothesis to the test of observation, he
found it was indeed so; and rising from the case of Mars to universal
statement, he generalized the law, that the planetary orbits are
elliptical, having the sun for their common focus.

[Footnote 1: ROBERT SMALL: _Astronomical Discoveries of Kepler_.]

Kepler had now determined the course of each planet. But there was no
known relation between the distances and times; and the evolution of
some harmony between these factors was to him an object of the greatest
interest and the most restless curiosity. Long he dwelt in the dream of
the Pythagorean harmonies. Then he essayed to determine it from the
regular geometrical solids, and afterwards from the divisions of
musical chords. Over twenty years he spent in these baffled efforts. At
length, on the 8th of March, 1618, it occurred to him, that, instead of
comparing the simple times, he should compare the numbers expressing
the similar powers, as squares, cubes, etc.; and lastly, he made the
very comparison on which his discovery was founded, between the squares
of the times and the cubes of the distances. But, through some error of
calculation, no common relation was found between them. Finding it
impossible, however, to banish the subject from his thoughts, he tells
us, that on the 8th of the following May he renewed the last of these
comparisons, and, by repeating his calculations with greater care,
found, with the highest astonishment and delight, that the ratio of the
squares of the periodical times of any two planets was constantly and
invariably the same with the ratio of the cubes of their mean distances
from the sun. Then it was that he burst forth in his memorable
rhapsody:--"What I prophesied twenty-two years ago, as soon as I
discovered the five solids among the heavenly orbits,--what I firmly
believed long before I had seen Ptolemy's harmonics,--what I had
promised my friends in the title of this book, which I named before I
was sure of my discovery,--what sixteen years ago I urged as a thing to
be sought,--that for which I joined Tycho Brahe, for which I settled in
Prague, for which I have devoted the best part of my life to
astronomical contemplation,--at length I have brought to light, and
have recognized its truth beyond my most sanguine expectations. It is
now eighteen months since I got the first glimpse of light, three
months since the dawn, very few days since the unveiled sun, most
admirable to gaze upon, burst out upon me. Nothing holds me; I will
indulge in my sacred fury; I will triumph over mankind by the honest
confession, that I have stolen the golden vases of the Egyptians to
build up a tabernacle for my God far away from the confines of Egypt.
If you forgive me, I rejoice; if you are angry, I can bear it: the die
is cast; the book is written, to be read either now or by posterity, I
care not which: it may well wait a century for a reader, as God has
waited six thousand years for an observer!"

These laws have, no doubt, a universal significance, and may be
translated into problems of life. For, after the farthest sweep of
Induction, a question yet remains to be asked: Whence comes the power
to perceive a law? Whence that subtile correspondence and
consanguinity, that the laws of man's mental structure tally with the
phenomena of the universe? To this problem of problems our science as
yet affords but meagre answers. It seems though, so far in the history
of humanity, it had been but given man to recognize this truth as a
splendid idealism, without the ability to make it potential in his
theory of the world. Yet what a key to new and beautiful gates of laws!

  "Who can be sure to find its true degree,
  _Magister magnus in igne_ shall he be."

Antique and intuitive nations--Indians, Egyptians, Greeks--sought a
solution of this august mystery in the doctrines of Transmigration and
Anamnesis or Reminiscence. Nothing is whereto man is not kin. He knows
all worlds and histories by virtue of having himself travelled the
mystic spiral descent. Awaking through memory, the processes of his
mind repeat the processes of the visible Kosmos. His unfolding is a
hymn of the origination of the world.

Nature and man having sprung from the same spiritual source, a perfect
agreement subsists between the phenomena of the world and man's
mentality. This is necessary to the very conception of Science. If the
laws of reason did not exist in Nature, we should vainly attempt to
force them upon her: if the laws of Nature did not exist in our reason,
we should not be able to comprehend them.[1] There is a saying reported
of Zoroaster, and, coming from the deeps of fifty centuries, still
authentic and intelligible, that "the congruities of material forms to
the laws of the soul are divine allurements." Ever welcome is the
perception of this truth,--as the sublime audacity of Paracelsus, that
"those who would understand the course of the heavens above must first
of all recognize the heaven in man"; and the affirmation, that "the
laws of Nature are the same as the thoughts within us: the laws of
motion are such as are required by our understanding." It remains to
say that Kepler, too, had intuition of this lofty thought. At the
conclusion of his early work, "The Prodromus Dissertationum
Cosmographicarum," he wrote,--"As men enjoy dainties at the dessert, so
do wise souls gain a taste for heavenly things when they ascend from
their college to the universe and there look around them. Great Artist
of the World! I look with wonder on the works of Thy hands, constructed
after five regular forms, and in the midst the sun, the dispenser of
light and life. I see the moon and stars strewn over the infinite field
of space. Father of the World! what moved Thee thus to exalt a poor, weak
little creature of earth so high that he stands in light a far-ruling
king, almost a god?--_for he thinks Thy thoughts after Thee_."

[Footnote 1: OERSTED: _Soul in Nature._]

It is impossible not to feel freer at the accession of so much power as
these laws bring us. They carry farther on the bounds of humanity. The
stars are the eternal monitions of spirituality. Who can estimate how
much man's thoughts have been colored by these golden kindred? It seems
as though it were but required to show man space,--space, space,
space,--there is that in him will fill and pass it. There is that in
the celestial prodigies--in gulfs of Time and Space--that seems to mate
the greed of the soul. There is that greed in the soul to pass through
worlds and ages,--through growths, griefs, desires, processes,
spheres,--to travel the endless highways,--to pass and resume again. O
Heavens, you are but a splendid fable of the elder mind! Centripetal
and centrifugal are in man, too, and primarily; and an aspiring soul
will ascend into the sweeps and circles, and pass swift and devouring
through baffling intervals and steep-down strata of galaxies and stars.

The thought that overarches the centuries with firmamental sweep is the
thought of the Ensemble. To this all has led along,--but the
disclosures of Astronomy especially. The discovery of the earth's
revolution, at once transporting the stars to distances outside of all
telluric connection, broke the old spell, and replaced the petty
provincialism of the earth as the All-Centre by the vast, sublime
conception of the Universe. Laplace has pointed this out, showing how
to the fantastic and enervating notion of a universe arranged for man
has succeeded the sound and vivifying thought of man discovering, by a
positive exercise of his intelligence, the general laws of the world,
so as to be able to modify them for his own good, within certain
limits. Dawning prophetic on modern times, the thought of the Ensemble
holds the seeds of new humanitary growths. This is the vast similitude
that binds together the ages,--that balances creeds, colors, eras.
Through Nature, man, forms, spirit, the eternal conspiracy works and
weaves. This is the water of spirituality. All is bound up in the
Divine Scheme. The Divine Scheme encloses all.



PLEASURE-PAIN.

"Das Vergnügen ist Nichts als ein höchst angenehmer Schmerz."--HEINRICH
HEINE


I.

Full of beautiful blossoms
  Stood the tree in early May:
Came a chilly gale from the sunset,
  And blew the blossoms away,--

Scattered them, through the garden,
  Tossed them into the mere:
The sad tree moaned and shuddered,
  "Alas! the fall is here."

But all through the glowing summer
  The blossomless tree throve fair,
And the fruit waxed ripe and mellow,
  With sunny rain and air;

And when the dim October
  With golden death was crowned,
Under its heavy branches
  The tree stooped to the ground.

In youth there comes a west wind
  Blowing our bloom away,--
A chilly breath of Autumn
  Out of the lips of May.

We bear the ripe fruit after,--
  Ah, me! for the thought of pain!--
We know the sweetness and beauty
  And the heart-bloom never again.

II.

One sails away to sea,--
  One stands on the shore and cries;
The ship goes down the world, and the light
  On the sullen water dies.

The whispering shell is mute,--
  And after is evil cheer:
She shall stand on the shore and cry in vain,
  Many and many a year.

But the stately, wide-winged ship
  Lies wrecked on the unknown deep;
Far under, dead in his coral bed,
  The lover lies asleep.

III.

In the wainscot ticks the death-watch,
  Chirps the cricket in the floor,
In the distance dogs are barking,
  Feet go by outside my door.

From her window honeysuckles
  Stealing in upon the gloom,
Spice and sweets embalm the silence
  Dead within the lonesome room.

And the ghost of that dead silence
  Haunts me ever, thin and chill,
In the pauses of the death-watch,
  When the cricket's cry is still.

IV.

She stands in silks of purple,
  Like a splendid flower in bloom;
She moves, and the air is laden
  With delicate perfume.

The over-vigilant mamma
  Can never let her be:
She must play this march for another,
  And sing that song for me.

I wonder if she remembers
  The song I made for her:
"_The hopes of love are frailer
  Than lines of gossamer_":

Made when we strolled together
  Through fields of happy June,
And our hearts kept time together,
  With birds and brooks in tune,--

And I was so glad of loving,
  That I must mimic grief,
And, trusting in love forever,
  Must fable unbelief.

I did not hear the prelude,--
  I was thinking of these old things.
She is fairer and wiser and older
  Than----What is it she sings?

"_The hopes of love are frailer
  Than lines of gossamer_."
Alas! the bitter wisdom
  Of the song I made for her!

V.

All the long August afternoon,
  The little drowsy stream
Whispers a melancholy tune,
As if it dreamed of June
  And whispered in its dream.

The thistles show beyond the brook
  Dust on their down and bloom,
And out of many a weed-grown nook
The aster-flowers look
  With eyes of tender gloom.

The silent orchard aisles are sweet
  With smell of ripening fruit.
Through the sere grass, in shy retreat,
Flatter, at coming feet,
  The robins strange and mute.

There is no wind to stir the leaves,
  The harsh leaves overhead;
Only the querulous cricket grieves,
And shrilling locust weaves
  A song of summer dead.



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


CHAPTER VII.

THE EVENT OF THE SEASON.


"Mr. and Mrs. Colonel Sprowle's compliments to Mr. Langdon and requests
the pleasure of his company at a social entertainment on Wednesday
evening next.

"_Elm St. Monday._"

On paper of a pinkish color and musky smell, with a large S at the top,
and an embossed border. Envelop adherent, not sealed. Addressed,

----_Langdon Esq.

Present._

Brought by H. Frederic Sprowle, youngest son of the Colonel,--the H. of
course standing for the paternal Hezekiah, put in to please the father,
and reduced to its initial to please the mother, she having a marked
preference for Frederic. Boy directed to wait for an answer.

"Mr. Langdon has the pleasure of accepting Mr. and Mrs. Colonel
Sprowle's polite invitation for Wednesday evening."

On plain paper, sealed with an initial.

In walking along the main street, Mr. Bernard had noticed a large house
of some pretensions to architectural display, namely, unnecessarily
projecting eaves, giving it a mushroomy aspect, wooden mouldings at
various available points, and a grandiose arched portico. It looked a
little swaggering by the side of one or two of the mansion-houses that
were not far from it, was painted too bright for Mr. Bernard's taste,
had rather too fanciful a fence before it, and had some fruit-trees
planted in the front-yard, which to this fastidious young gentleman
implied a defective sense of the fitness of things, not promising in
people who lived in so large a house, with a mushroom roof, and a
triumphal arch for its entrance.

This place was known as "Colonel Sprowle's villa," (genteel
friends,)--as "the elegant residence of our distinguished
fellow-citizen, Colonel Sprowle," (Rockland Weekly Universe,)--as "the
neew haouse," (old settlers,)--as "Spraowle's Folly," (disaffected and
possibly envious neighbors,)--and in common discourse, as "the
Colonel's".

Hezekiah Sprowle, Esquire, Colonel Sprowle of the Commonwealth's
Militia, was a retired "merchant." An India merchant he might, perhaps,
have been properly called; for he used to deal in West India goods,
such as coffee, sugar, and molasses, not to speak of rum,--also in tea,
salt fish, butter and cheese, oil and candles, dried fruit,
agricultural "p'dóose" generally, industrial products, such as boots
and shoes, and various kinds of iron and wooden ware, and at one end of
the establishment in calicoes and other stuffs,--to say nothing of
miscellaneous objects of the most varied nature, from sticks of candy,
which tempted in the smaller youth with coppers in their fists, up to
ornamental articles of apparel, pocket-books, breast-pins, gilt-edged
Bibles, stationery,--in short, everything which was like to prove
seductive to the rural population. The Colonel had made money in trade,
and also by matrimony. He had married Sarah, daughter and heiress of
the late Tekel Jordan, Esq., an old miser, who gave the town clock,
which carries his name to posterity in large gilt letters as a generous
benefactor of his native place. In due time the Colonel reaped the
reward of well-placed affections. When his wife's inheritance fell in,
he thought he had money enough to give up trade, and therefore sold out
his "store," called in some dialects of the English language _shop_,
and his business.

Life became pretty hard work to him, of course, as soon as he had
nothing particular to do. Country people with money enough not to have
to work are in much more danger than city people in the same condition.
They get a specific look and character, which are the same in all the
villages where one studies them. They very commonly fall into a
routine, the basis of which is going to some lounging-place or other, a
bar-room, a reading-room, or something of the kind. They grow slovenly
in dress, and wear the same hat forever. They have a feeble curiosity
for news perhaps, which they take daily as a man takes his bitters, and
then fall silent and think they are thinking. But the mind goes out
under this regimen, like a fire without a draught; and it is not very
strange, if the instinct of mental self-preservation drives them to
brandy-and-water, which makes the hoarse whisper of memory musical for
a few brief moments, and puts a weak leer of promise on the features of
the hollow-eyed future. The Colonel was kept pretty well in hand as yet
by his wife, and though it had happened to him once or twice to come
home rather late at night with a curious tendency to say the same thing
twice and even three times over, it had always been in very cold
weather,--and everybody knows that no one is safe to drink a couple of
glasses of wine in a warm room and go suddenly out into the cold air.

Miss Matilda Sprowle, sole daughter of the house, had reached the age
at which young ladies are supposed in technical language to have _come
out_, and thereafter are considered to be _in company._

"There's one piece o' goods," said the Colonel to his wife, "that we
ha'n't disposed of, nor got a customer for yet. That's Matildy. I don't
mean to set _her_ up at vaandoo. I guess she can have her pick of a
dozen."

"She's never seen anybody yet," said Mrs. Sprowle, who had had a
certain project for some time, but had kept quiet about it. "Let's have
a party, and give her a chance to show herself and see some of the
young folks."

The Colonel was not very clear-headed, and he thought, naturally
enough, that the party was his own suggestion, because his remark led
to the first starting of the idea. He entered into the plan, therefore,
with a certain pride as well as pleasure, and the great project was
resolved upon in a family council without a dissentient voice. This was
the party, then, to which Mr. Bernard was going. The town had been full
of it for a week. "Everybody was asked." So everybody said that was
invited. But how in respect of those who were not asked? If it had been
one of the old mansion-houses that was giving a party, the boundary
between the favored and the slighted families would have been known
pretty well beforehand, and there would have been no great amount of
grumbling. But the Colonel, for all his title, had a forest of poor
relations and a brushwood swamp of shabby friends, for he had scrambled
up to fortune, and now the time was come when he must define his new
social position.

This is always an awkward business in town or country. An exclusive
alliance between two powers is often the same thing as a declaration of
war against a third. Rockland was soon split into a triumphant
minority, invited to Mrs. Sprowle's party, and a great majority,
uninvited, of which the fraction just on the border line between
recognized "gentility" and the level of the ungloved masses was in an
active state of excitement and indignation.

"Who is she, I should like to know?" said Mrs. Saymore, the tailor's
wife. "There was plenty of folks in Rockland as good as ever Sally
Jordan was, if she _had_ managed to pick up a merchant. Other folks
could have married merchants, if their families wasn't as wealthy as
them old skinflints that willed her their money," etc., etc. Mrs.
Saymore expressed the feeling of many beside herself. She had, however,
a special right to be proud of the name she bore. Her husband was own
cousin to the Saymores of Freestone Avenue (who write the name
_Seymour_, and claim to be of the Duke of Somerset's family, showing a
clear descent from the Protector to Edward Seymour, (1630,)--then a
jump that would break a herald's neck to one Seth Saymore,
(1783,)--from whom to the head of the present family the line is clear
again). Mrs. Saymore, the tailor's wife, was not invited, because her
husband _mended_ clothes. If he had confined himself strictly to
_making_ them, it would have put a different face upon the matter.

The landlord of the Mountain House and his lady were invited to Mrs.
Sprowle's party. Not so the landlord of Pollard's Tavern and his lady.
Whereupon the latter vowed that they would have a party at their house
too, and made arrangements for a dance of twenty or thirty couples, to
be followed by an entertainment. Tickets to this "Social Ball" were
soon circulated, and, being accessible to all at a moderate price,
admission to the "Elegant Supper" included, this second festival
promised to be as merry, if not as select, as the great party.

Wednesday came. Such doings had never been heard of in Rockland as went
on that day at the "villa." The carpet had been taken up in the long
room, so that the young folks might have a dance. Miss Matilda's piano
had been moved in, and two fiddlers and a clarionet-player engaged to
make music. All kinds of lamps had been put in requisition, and even
colored wax-candles figured on the mantel-pieces. The costumes of the
family had been tried on the day before: the Colonel's black suit
fitted exceedingly well; his lady's velvet dress displayed her contours
to advantage; Miss Matilda's flowered silk was considered superb; the
eldest son of the family, Mr. T. Jordan Sprowle, called affectionately
and elegantly "Geordie," voted himself "stunnin'"; and even the small
youth who had borne Mr. Bernard's invitation was effective in a new
jacket and trousers, buttony in front, and baggy in the reverse aspect,
as is wont to be the case with the home-made garments of inland
youngsters.

Great preparations had been made for the refection which was to be part
of the entertainment. There was much clinking of borrowed spoons, which
were to be carefully counted, and much clicking of borrowed china,
which was to be tenderly handled,--for nobody in the country keeps
those vast closets full of such things which one may see in rich
city-houses. Not a great deal could be done in the way of flowers, for
there were no greenhouses, and few plants were out as yet; but there
were paper ornaments for the candlesticks, and colored mats for the
lamps, and all the tassels of the curtains and bells were taken out of
those brown linen bags, in which, for reasons hitherto undiscovered,
they are habitually concealed in some households. In the remoter
apartments every imaginable operation was going on at once,--roasting,
boiling, baking, beating, rolling, pounding in mortars, frying,
freezing; for there was to be ice-cream to-night of domestic
manufacture;--and in the midst of all these labors, Mrs. Sprowle and
Miss Matilda were moving about, directing and helping as they best
might, all day long. When the evening came, it might be feared they
would not be in just the state of mind and body to entertain company.

----One would like to give a party now and then, if one could be a
billionnaire.--"Antoine, I am going to have twenty people to dine
to-day." "_Bien, Madame_." Not a word or thought more about it, but get
home in season to dress, and come down to your own table, one of your
own guests.--"Giuseppe, we are to have a party a week from
to-night,--five hundred invitations,--there is the list." The day
comes. "Madam, do you remember you have your party to-night?" "Why, so
I have! Everything right? supper and all?" "All as it should be,
Madam." "Send up Victorine." "Victorine, full toilet for this
evening,--pink, diamonds, and emeralds. Coiffeur at seven.
_Allez_."--Billionism, or even millionism, must be a blessed kind of
state, with health and clear conscience and youth and good looks,--but
most blessed in this, that it takes off all the mean cares which give
people the three wrinkles between the eyebrows, and leaves them free to
have a good time and make others have a good time, all the way along
from the charity that tips up unexpected loads of wood at widows'
doors, and leaves foundling turkeys upon poor men's doorsteps, and sets
lean clergymen crying at the sight of anonymous fifty-dollar bills, to
the taste which orders a perfect banquet in such sweet accord with
every sense that everybody's nature flowers out full-blown in its
golden-glowing, fragrant atmosphere.

----A great party given by the smaller gentry of the interior is a kind
of solemnity, so to speak. It involves so much labor and anxiety,--its
spasmodic splendors are so violently contrasted with the homeliness of
every-day family-life,--it is such a formidable matter to break in the
raw subordinates to the _manége_ of the cloak-room and the
table,--there is such a terrible uncertainty in the results of
unfamiliar culinary operations,--so many feuds are involved in drawing
that fatal line which divides the invited from the uninvited fraction
of the local universe,--that, if the notes requested the pleasure of
the guests' company on "this solemn occasion," they would pretty nearly
express the true state of things.

The Colonel himself had been pressed into the service. He had pounded
something in the great mortar. He had agitated a quantity of sweetened
and thickened milk in what was called a cream-freezer. At eleven
o'clock, A.M., he retired for a space. On returning, his color was
noted to be somewhat heightened, and he showed a disposition to be
jocular with the female help,--which tendency, displaying itself in
livelier demonstrations than were approved at head-quarters, led to his
being detailed to out-of-door duties, such as raking gravel, arranging
places for horses to be hitched to, and assisting in the construction
of an arch of wintergreen at the porch of the mansion.

A whiff from Mr. Geordie's cigar refreshed the toiling females from
time to time; for the windows had to be opened occasionally, while all
these operations were going on, and the youth amused himself with
inspecting the interior, encouraging the operatives now and then in the
phrases commonly employed by genteel young men,--for he had perused an
odd volume of "Verdant Green," and was acquainted with a Sophomore from
one of the fresh-water colleges.--"Go it on the feed!" exclaimed this
spirited young man. "Nothin' like a good spread. Grub enough and good
liquor; that's the ticket. Guv'nor 'll do the heavy polite, and let me
alone for polishin' off the young charmers." And Mr. Geordie looked
expressively at a handmaid who was rolling gingerbread, as if he were
rehearsing for "Don Giovanni."

Evening came at last, and the ladies were forced to leave the scene of
their labors to array themselves for the coming festivities. The tables
had been set in a back room, the meats were ready, the pickles were
displayed, the cake was baked, the blanc-mange had stiffened, and the
ice-cream had frozen.

At half past seven o'clock, the Colonel, in costume, came into the
front parlor, and proceeded to light the lamps. Some were good-humored
enough and took the hint of a lighted match at once. Others were as
vicious as they could be,--would not light on any terms, any more than
if they were filled with water, or lighted and smoked one side of the
chimney, or sputtered a few sparks and sulked themselves out, or kept
up a faint show of burning, so that their ground glasses looked as
feebly phosphorescent as so many invalid fireflies. With much coaxing
and screwing and pricking, a tolerable illumination was at last
achieved. At eight there was a grand rustling of silks, and Mrs. and
Miss Sprowle descended from their respective bowers or boudoirs. Of
course they were pretty well tired by this time, and very glad to sit
down,--having the prospect before them of being obliged to stand for
hours. The Colonel walked about the parlor, inspecting his regiment of
lamps. By-and-by Mr. Geordie entered.

"Mph! mph!" he sniffed, as he came in. "You smell of lamp-smoke here."

That always galls people,--to have a new-comer accuse them of smoke or
close air, which they have got used to and do not perceive. The Colonel
raged at the thought of his lamps' smoking, and tongued a few anathemas
inside of his shut teeth, but turned down two or three that burned
higher than the rest.

Master H. Frederic next made his appearance, with questionable marks
upon his fingers and countenance. Had been tampering with something
brown and sticky. His elder brother grew playful, and caught him by the
baggy reverse of his more essential garment.

"Hush!" said Mrs. Sprowle,--"there's the bell!"

Everybody took position at once, and began to look very smiling and
altogether at ease.--False alarm. Only a parcel of spoons,--"loaned,"
as the inland folks say when they mean lent, by a neighbor.

"Better late than never!" said the Colonel; "let me heft them spoons."

Mrs. Sprowle came down into her chair again as if all her bones had
been bewitched out of her.

"I'm pretty nigh beat out a'ready," said she, "before any of the folks
has come."

They sat silent awhile, waiting for the first arrival. How nervous they
got! and how their senses were sharpened!

"Hark!" said Miss Matilda,--"what's that rumblin'?"

It was a cart going over a bridge more than a mile off, which at any
other time they would not have heard. After this there was a lull, and
poor Mrs. Sprowle's head nodded once or twice. Presently a crackling
and grinding of gravel;--how much that means, when we are waiting for
those whom we long or dread to see! Then a change in the tone of the
gravel-crackling.

"Yes, they have turned in at our gate. They're comin'. Mother! mother!"

Everybody in position, smiling and at ease. Bell rings. Enter the first
set of visitors. The Event of the Season has begun.

"Law! it's nothin' but the Cranes' folks! I do believe Mahala's come in
that old green de-laine she wore at the Surprise Party!"

Miss Matilda had peeped through a crack of the door and made this
observation and the remark founded thereon. Continuing her attitude of
attention, she overheard Mrs. Crane and her two daughters conversing in
the attiring-room, up one flight.

"How fine everything is in the great house!" said Mrs. Crane,--"jest
look at the picters!"  "Matildy Sprowle's drawins," said Ada Azuba, the
eldest daughter.

"I should think so," said Mahala Crane, her younger sister,--a
wide-awake girl, who hadn't been to school for nothing, and performed a
little on the lead pencil herself. "I should like to know whether
that's a hay-cock or a mountain!"

Miss Matilda winced; for this must refer to her favorite monochrome,
executed by laying on heavy shadows and stumping them down into mellow
harmony,--the style of drawing which is taught in six lessons, and the
kind of specimen which is executed in something less than one hour.
Parents and other very near relatives are sometimes gratified with
these productions, and cause them to be framed and hung up, as in the
present instance.

"I guess we won't go down jest yet," said Mrs. Crane, "as folks don't
seem to have come."

So she began a systematic inspection of the dressing-room and its
conveniences.

"Mahogany four-poster,--come from the Jordans', I cal'late. Marseilles
quilt. Ruffles all round the piller. Chintz curtings,--jest put up,--o'
purpose for the party, I'll lay ye a dollar.--What a nice washbowl!"
(Taps it with a white knuckle belonging to a red finger.) "Stone
chaney.--Here's a bran'-new brush and comb,--and here's a scent-bottle.
Come here, girls, and fix yourselves in the glass, and scent your
pocket-handkerchers."

And Mrs. Crane bedewed her own kerchief with some of the _eau de
Cologne_ of native manufacture,--said on its label to be much superior
to the German article.

It was a relief to Mrs. and the Miss Cranes when the bell rang and the
next guests were admitted. Deacon and Mrs. Soper,--Deacon Soper of the
Rev. Mr. Fairweather's church, and his lady. Mrs. Deacon Soper was
directed, of course, to the ladies' dressing-room, and her husband to
the other apartment, where gentlemen were to leave their outside coats
and hats. Then came Mr. and Mrs. Briggs, and then the three Miss
Spinneys, then Silas Peckham, Head of the Apollinean Institute, and
Mrs. Peckham, and more after them, until at last the ladies'
dressing-room got so full that one might have thought it was a trap
none of them could get out of. The fact is, they all felt a little
awkwardly. Nobody wanted to be first to venture down-stairs. At last
Mr. Silas Peckham thought it was time to make a move for the parlor,
and for this purpose presented himself at the door of the ladies'
dressing-room.

"Lorindy, my dear!" he exclaimed to Mrs. Peckham,--"I think there can
be no impropriety in our joining the family down-stairs."

Mrs. Peckham laid her large, flaccid arm in the sharp angle made by the
black sleeve which held the bony limb her husband offered, and the two
took the stair and struck out for the parlor. The ice was broken, and
the dressing-room began to empty itself into the spacious, lighted
apartments below.

Mr. Silas Peckham scaled into the room with Mrs. Peckham alongside,
like a shad convoying a jelly-fish.

"Good evenin', Mrs. Sprowle! I hope I see you well this evenin'. How's
your health, Colonel Sprowle?"

"Very well, much obleeged to you. Hope you and your good lady are well.
Much pleased to see you. Hope you'll enjoy yourselves. We've laid out
to have everything in good shape,--spared no trouble nor ex"----

----"pense,"--said Silas Peckham.

Mrs. Colonel Sprowle, who, you remember, was a Jordan, had nipped the
Colonel's statement in the middle of the word Mr. Peckham finished,
with a look that jerked him like one of those sharp twitches women keep
giving a horse when they get a chance to drive one.

Mr. and Mrs. Crane, Miss Ada Azuba, and Miss Mahala Crane made their
entrance. There had been a discussion about the necessity and propriety
of inviting this family, the head of which kept a small shop for hats
and boots and shoes. The Colonel's casting vote had carried it in the
affirmative.--How terribly the poor old green de-laine did cut up in
the blaze of so many lamps and candles!

----Deluded little wretch, male or female, in town or country, going to
your first great party, how little you know the nature of the ceremony
in which you are to bear the part of victim! What! are not these
garlands and gauzy mists and many-colored streamers which adorn you, is
not this music which welcomes you, this radiance that glows about you,
meant solely for your enjoyment, young miss of seventeen or eighteen
summers, now for the first time swimming into the frothy, chatoyant,
sparkling, undulating sea of laces and silks and satins, and
white-armed, flower-crowned maidens struggling in their waves, beneath
the lustres that make the false summer of the drawing-room?

Stop at the threshold! This is a hall of judgment you are entering; the
court is in session; and if you move five steps forward, you will be at
its bar.

There was a tribunal once in France, as you may remember, called the
_Chambre Ardente_, the Burning Chamber. It was hung all round with
lamps, and hence its name. The burning chamber for the trial of young
maidens is the blazing ballroom. What have they full-dressed you, or
rather half-dressed you for, do you think? To make you look pretty, of
course!--Why have they hung a chandelier above you, flickering all over
with flames, so that it searches you like the noonday sun, and your
deepest dimple cannot hold a shadow? To give brilliancy to the gay
scene, no doubt!--No, my dear! Society is _inspecting_ you, and it
finds undisguised surfaces and strong lights a convenience in the
process. The dance answers the purpose of the revolving pedestal upon
which the "White Captive" turns, to show us the soft, kneaded marble,
which looks as if it had never been hard, in all its manifold aspects
of living loveliness. No mercy for you, my love! Justice, strict
justice, you shall certainly have,--neither more nor less. For, look
you, there are dozens, scores, hundreds, with whom you must be weighed
in the balance; and you have got to learn that the "struggle for life"
Mr. Charles Darwin talks about reaches to vertebrates clad in
crinoline, as well as to mollusks in shells, or articulates in jointed
scales, or anything that fights for breathing-room and food and love in
any coat of fur or feather! Happy they who can flash defiance from
bright eyes and snowy shoulders back into the pendants of the insolent
lustres!

----Miss Mahala Crane did not have these reflections; and no young girl
ever did, or ever will, thank Heaven! Her keen eyes sparkled under her
plainly parted hair, and the green de-laine moulded itself in those
unmistakable lines of natural symmetry in which Nature indulges a small
shopkeeper's daughter occasionally as well as a wholesale dealer's
young ladies. She would have liked a new dress as much as any other
girl, but she meant to go and have a good time at any rate.

The guests were now arriving in the drawing-room pretty fast, and the
Colonel's hand began to burn a good deal with the sharp squeezes which
many of the visitors gave it. Conversation, which had begun like a
summer-shower, in scattering drops, was fast becoming continuous, and
occasionally rising into gusty swells, with now and then a
broad-chested laugh from some Captain or Major or other military
personage,--for it may be noted that all large and loud men in the
impaved districts bear military titles.

Deacon Soper came up presently and entered into conversation with
Colonel Sprowle.

"I hope to see our pastor present this evenin'," said the Deacon.

"I don't feel quite sure," the Colonel answered. "His dyspepsy has been
bad on him lately. He wrote to say, that, Providence permittin', it
would be agreeable to him to take a part in the exercises of the
evenin'; but I mistrusted he didn't mean to come. To tell the truth,
Deacon Soper, I rather guess he don't like the idee of dancin', and
some of the other little arrangements."

"Well," said the Deacon, "I know there's some condemns dancin'. I've
heerd a good deal of talk about it among the folks round. Some have it
that it never brings a blessin' on a house to have dancin' in it. Judge
Tileston died, you remember, within a month after he had his great
ball, twelve year ago, and some thought it was in the natur' of a
judgment. I don't believe in any of them notions. If a man happened to
be struck dead the night after he'd been givin' a ball," (the Colonel
loosened his black stock a little, and winked and swallowed two or
three times,) "I shouldn't call it a judgment,--I should call it a
coincidence. But I'm a little afraid our pastor won't come. Somethin'
or other's the matter with Mr. Fairweather. I should sooner expect to
see the old Doctor come over out of the Orthodox parsonage-house."

"I've asked him," said the Colonel.

"Well?" said Deacon Soper.

"He said he should like to come, but he didn't know what his people
would say. For his part, he loved to see young folks havin' their
sports together, and very often felt, as if he should like to be one of
'em himself. 'But,' says I, 'Doctor, I don't say there won't be a
little dancin'.' 'Don't!' says he, 'for I want Letty to go,' (she's his
granddaughter that's been stayin' with him,) 'and Letty's mighty fond
of dancin'. You know,' says the Doctor, 'it isn't my business to settle
whether other people's children should dance or not.' And the Doctor
looked as if he should like to rigadoon and sashy across as well as the
young one he was talkin' about. He's got blood in him, the old Doctor
has. I wish our little man and him would swop pulpits."

Deacon Soper started and looked up into the Colonel's face, as if to
see whether he was in earnest.

Mr. Silas Peckham and his lady joined the group.

"Is this to be a Temperance Celebration, Mrs. Sprowle?" asked Mr. Silas
Peckham.

Mrs. Sprowle replied, "that there would be lemonade and srub for those
that preferred such drinks, but that the Colonel had given folks to
understand that he didn't mean to set in judgment on the marriage in
Canaan, and that those that didn't like srub and such things would find
somethin' that would suit them better."

Deacon Soper's countenance assumed a certain air of restrained
cheerfulness. The conversation rose into one of its gusty paroxysms
just then. Master H. Frederic got behind a door and began performing
the experiment of stopping and unstopping his ears in rapid
alternation, greatly rejoicing in the singular effect of mixed
conversation chopped very small, like the contents of a mince-pie,--or
meat pie, as it is more forcibly called in the deep-rutted villages
lying along the unsalted streams. All at once it grew silent just round
the door, where it had been loudest,--and the silence spread itself
like a stain, till it hushed everything but a few corner-duets. A dark,
sad-looking, middle-aged gentleman entered the parlor, with a young
lady on his arm,--his daughter, as it seemed, for she was not wholly
unlike him in feature, and of the same dark complexion.

"Dudley Venner!" exclaimed a dozen people, in startled, but
half-suppressed tones.

"What can have brought Dudley out to-night?" said Jefferson Buck, a
young fellow, who had been interrupted in one of the corner-duets which
he was executing in concert with Miss Susy Pettingill.

"How do I know, Jeff?" was Miss Susy's answer. Then, after a
pause,--"Elsie made him come, I guess. Go ask Dr. Kittredge; he knows
all about 'em both, they say."

Dr. Kittredge, the leading physician of Rockland, was a shrewd old man,
who looked pretty keenly into his patients through his spectacles, and
pretty widely at men, women, and things in general over them.
Sixty-three years old,--just the year of the grand climacteric. A bald
crown, as every doctor should have. A consulting practitioner's mouth;
that is, movable round the corners while the case is under examination,
but both corners well drawn down and kept so when the final opinion is
made up. In fact, the Doctor was often sent for to act as "caounsel,"
all over the county, and beyond it. He kept three or four horses,
sometimes riding in the saddle, commonly driving in a sulky, pretty
fast, and looking straight before him, so that people got out of the
way of bowing to him as he passed on the road. There was some talk
about his not being so long-sighted as other folks, but his old
patients laughed and looked knowing when this was spoken of.

The Doctor knew a good many things besides how to drop tinctures and
shake out powders. Thus, he knew a horse, and, what is harder to
understand, a horse-dealer, and was a match for him. He knew what a
nervous woman is, and how to manage her. He could tell at a glance when
she is in that condition of unstable equilibrium in which a rough word
is like blow to her, and the touch of unmagnetized fingers reverses all
her nervous currents. It is not everybody that enters into the soul of
Mozart's or Beethoven's harmonies; and there are vital symphonies in B
flat, and other low, sad keys, which a doctor may know as little of as
a hurdy-gurdy player of the essence of those divine musical mysteries.
The Doctor knew the difference between what men say and what they mean
as well as most people. When he was listening to common talk, he was in
the habit of looking over his spectacles; if he lifted his head so as
to look through them at the person talking, he was busier with that
person's thoughts than with his words.

Jefferson Buck was not bold enough to confront the Doctor with Miss
Susy's question, for he did not look as if he were in the mood to
answer queries put by curious young people. His eyes were fixed
steadily on the dark girl, every movement of whom he seemed to follow.

She was, indeed, an apparition of wild beauty, so unlike the girls
about her that it seemed nothing more than natural, that, when she
moved, the groups should part to let her pass through them, and that
she should carry the centre of all looks and thoughts with her. She was
dressed to please her own fancy, evidently, with small regard to the
modes declared correct by the Rockland milliners and mantua-makers. Her
heavy black hair lay in a braided coil, with a long gold pin shot
through it like a javelin. Round her neck was a golden _torque_, a
round, cord-like chain, such as the Gauls used to wear: the "Dying
Gladiator" has it. Her dress was a grayish watered silk; her collar was
pinned with a flashing diamond brooch, the stones looking as fresh as
morning dew-drops, but the silver setting of the past generation; her
arms were bare, round, but slender rather than large, in keeping with
her lithe round figure. On her wrists she wore bracelets: one was a
circlet of enamelled scales; the other looked as if it might have been
Cleopatra's asp, with its body turned to gold and its eyes to emeralds.

Her father--for Dudley Venner was her father--looked like a man of
culture and breeding, but melancholy and with a distracted air, as one
whose life had met some fatal cross or blight. He saluted hardly
anybody except his entertainers and the Doctor. One would have said, to
look at him, that he was not at the party by choice; and it was natural
enough to think, with Susy Pettingill, that it must have been a freak
of the dark girl's that brought him there, for he had the air of a shy
and sad-hearted recluse.

It was hard to say what could have brought Elsie Venner to the party.
Hardly anybody seemed to know her, and she seemed not at all disposed
to make acquaintances. Here and there was one of the older girls from
the Institute, but she appeared to have nothing in common with them.
Even in the school-room, it may be remembered, she sat apart by her own
choice, and now in the midst of the crowd she made a circle of
isolation round herself. Drawing her arm out of her father's, she stood
against the wall, and looked, with a strange, cold glitter in her eyes,
at the crowd which moved and babbled before her.

The old Doctor came up to her by-and-by.

"Well, Elsie, I am quite surprised to find you here. Do tell me how you
happened to do such a good-natured thing as to let us see you at such a
great party."

"It's been dull at the mansion-house," she said, "and I wanted to get
out of it. It's too lonely there,--there's nobody to hate since Dick's
gone."

The Doctor laughed good-naturedly, as if this were an amusing bit of
pleasantry,--but he lifted his head and dropped his eyes a little, so
as to see her through his spectacles. She narrowed her lids slightly,
as one often sees a sleepy cat narrow hers,--somewhat as you may
remember our famous Margaret used to, if you remember her at all,--so
that her eyes looked very small, but bright as the diamonds on her
breast. The old Doctor felt very oddly as she looked at him; he did not
like the feeling, so he dropped his head and lifted his eyes and looked
at her over his spectacles again.

"And how have you all been at the mansion-house?" said the Doctor.

"Oh, well enough. But Dick's gone, and there's nobody left but Dudley
and I and the people. I'm tired of it. What kills anybody quickest,
Doctor?" Then, in a whisper, "I ran away again the other day, you
know."

"Where did you go?" The Doctor spoke in a low, serious tone.

"Oh, to the old place. Here, I brought this for you."

The Doctor started as she handed him a flower of the _Atragene
Americana_, for he knew that there was only one spot where it grew, and
that not one where any rash foot, least of all a thin-shod woman's
foot, should venture.

"How long were you gone?" said the Doctor.

"Only one night. You should have heard the horns blowing and the guns
firing. Dudley was frightened out of his wits. Old Sophy told him she'd
had a dream, and that I should be found in Dead-Man's Hollow, with a
great rock lying on me. They hunted all over it, but they did'nt find
me,--I was farther up."

Doctor Kittredge looked cloudy and worried while she was speaking, but
forced a pleasant professional smile, as he said cheerily, and as if
wishing to change the subject,--

"Have a good dance this evening, Elsie. The fiddlers are tuning up.
Where's the young master? Has he come yet? or is he going to be late,
with the other great folks?"

The girl turned away without answering, and looked toward the door.

The "great folks," meaning the mansion-house gentry, were just
beginning to come; Dudley Venner and his daughter had been the first of
them. Judge Thornton, white-headed, fresh-faced, as good at sixty as he
was at forty, with a youngish second wife, and one noble daughter,
Arabella, who, they said, knew as much law as her father, a stately,
Portia-like girl, fit for a premier's wife, not like to find her match
even in the great cities she sometimes visited; the Trecothicks, the
family of a merchant, (in the larger sense,) who, having made himself
rich enough by the time he had reached middle life, threw down his
ledger as Sylla did his dagger, and retired to make a little paradise
around him in one of the stateliest residences of the town, a family
inheritance; the Vaughans, an old Rockland race, descended from its
first settlers, Toryish in tendency in Revolutionary times, and barely
escaping confiscation or worse; the Dunhams, a new family, dating its
gentility only as far back as the Honorable Washington Dunham, M.C.,
but turning out a clever boy or two that went to college, and some
showy girls with white necks and fat arms who had picked up
professional husbands: these were the principal mansion-house people.
All of them had made it a point to come; and as each of them entered,
it seemed to Colonel and Mrs. Sprowle that the lamps burned up with a
more cheerful light, and that the fiddles which sounded from the
uncarpeted room were all half a tone higher and half a beat quicker.

Mr. Bernard came in later than any of them; he had been busy with his
new duties. He looked well; and that is saying a good deal; for nothing
but a gentleman is endurable in full dress. Hair that masses well, a
head set on with an air, a neckerchief tied cleverly by an easy,
practised hand, close-fitting gloves, feet well shaped and well
covered,--these advantages can make us forgive the odious sable
broadcloth suit, which appears to have been adopted by society on the
same principle that condemned all the Venetian gondolas to perpetual
and uniform blackness. Mr. Bernard, introduced by Mr. Geordie, made his
bow to the Colonel and his lady and to Miss Matilda, from whom he got a
particularly gracious curtsy, and then began looking about him for
acquaintances. He found two or three faces he knew,--many more
strangers. There was Silas Peckham,--there was no mistaking him; there
was the inelastic amplitude of Mrs. Peckham; few of the Apollinean
girls, of course, they not being recognized members of society,--but
there is one with the flame in her cheeks and the fire in her eyes, the
girl of vigorous tints and emphatic outlines, whom we saw entering the
school-room the other day. Old Judge Thornton has his eyes on her, and
the Colonel steals a look every now and then at the red brooch which
lifts itself so superbly into the light, as if he thought it a
wonderfully becoming ornament. Mr. Bernard himself was not displeased
with the general effect of the rich-blooded school-girl, as she stood
under the bright lamps, fanning herself in the warm, languid air, fixed
in a kind of passionate surprise at the new life which seemed to be
flowering out in her consciousness. Perhaps he looked at her somewhat
steadily, as some others had done; at any rate, she seemed to feel that
she was looked at, as people often do, and, turning her eyes suddenly
on him, caught his own on her face, gave him a half-bashful smile, and
threw in a blush involuntarily which made it more charming.

"What can I do better," he said to himself, "than have a dance with
Rosa Milburn?" So he carried his handsome pupil into the next room and
took his place with her in a cotillon. Whether the breath of the
Goddess of Love could intoxicate like the cup of Circe,--whether a
woman is ever phosphorescent with the luminous vapor of life that she
exhales,--these and other questions which relate to occult influences
exercised by certain women, we will not now discuss. It is enough that
Mr. Bernard was sensible of a strange fascination, not wholly new to him,
nor unprecedented in the history of human experience, but always a
revelation when it comes over us for the first or the hundredth time,
so pale is the most recent memory by the side of the passing moment with
the flush of any new-born passion on its cheek. Remember that Nature makes
every man love all women, and trusts the trivial matter of special choice
to the commonest accident.

If Mr. Bernard had had nothing to distract his attention, he might have
thought too much about his handsome partner, and then gone home and
dreamed about her, which is always dangerous, and waked up thinking of
her still, and then begun to be deeply interested in her studies, and
so on, through the whole syllogism which ends in Nature's supreme _quod
erat demonstrandum_. What was there to distract him or disturb him? He
did not know,--but there was something. This sumptuous creature, this
Eve just within the gate of an untried Paradise, untutored in the ways
of the world, but on tiptoe to reach the fruit of the tree of
knowledge,--alive to the moist vitality of that warm atmosphere
palpitating with voices and music, as the flower of some diaecious
plant which has grown in a lone corner, and suddenly unfolding its
corolla on some hot-breathing June evening, feels that the air is
perfumed with strange odors and loaded with golden dust wafted from
those other blossoms with which its double life is shared,--this almost
overwomanized woman, might well have bewitched him, but that he had a
vague sense of a counter-charm. It was, perhaps, only the same
consciousness that some one was looking at him which he himself had
just given occasion to in his partner. Presently, in one of the turns
of the dance, he felt his eyes drawn to a figure he had not distinctly
recognized, though he had dimly felt its presence, and saw that Elsie
Venner was looking at him as if she saw nothing else but him. He was
not a nervous person, like the poor lady teacher, yet the glitter of
the diamond eyes affected him strangely. It seemed to disenchant the
air, so fall a moment before of strange attractions. He became silent,
and dreamy, as it were. The round-limbed beauty at his side crushed her
gauzy draperies against him, as they trod the figure of the dance
together, but it was no more to him than if an old nurse had laid her
hand on his sleeve. The young girl chafed at his seeming neglect, and
her imperious blood mounted into her cheeks; but he appeared
unconscious of it.

"There is one of our young ladies I must speak to," he said,--and was
just leaving his partner's side.

"Four hands all round!" shouted the first violin,--and Mr. Bernard
found himself seized and whirled in a circle out of which he could not
escape, and then forced to "cross over," and then to "dozy do," as the
_maestro_ had it,--and when, on getting back to his place, he looked
for Elsie Venner, she was gone.

The dancing went on briskly. Some of the old folks looked on, others
conversed in groups and pairs, and so the evening wore along, until a
little after ten o'clock. About this time there was noticed an
increased bustle in the passages, with a considerable opening and
shutting of doors. Presently it began to be whispered about that they
were going to have supper. Many, who had never been to any large party
before, held their breath for a moment at this announcement. It was
rather with a tremulous interest than with open hilarity that the rumor
was generally received.

One point the Colonel had entirely forgotten to settle. It was a point
involving not merely propriety, but perhaps principle also, or at least
the good report of the house,--and he had never thought to arrange it.
He took Judge Thornton aside and whispered the important question to
him,--in his distress of mind, mistaking pockets and taking out his
bandanna instead of his white handkerchief to wipe his forehead.

"Judge," he said, "do you think, that, before we commence refreshing
ourselves at the tables, it would be the proper thing to--crave a--to
request Deacon Soper or some other elderly person--to ask a blessing?"

The Judge looked as grave as if he were about giving the opinion of the
Court in the great India-rubber case.

"On the whole," he answered, after a pause, "I should think it might,
perhaps, be dispensed with on this occasion. Young folks are noisy, and
it is awkward to have talking and laughing going on while a blessing is
being asked. Unless a clergyman is present and makes a point of it, I
think it will hardly be expected."

The Colonel was infinitely relieved. "Judge, will you take Mrs. Sprowle
in to supper?" And the Colonel returned the compliment by offering his
arm to Mrs. Judge Thornton.

The door of the supper-room was now open, and the company, following
the lead of the host and hostess, began to stream into it, until it was
pretty well filled.

There was an awful kind of pause. Many were beginning to drop their
heads and shut their eyes, in anticipation of the usual petition before
a meal; some expected the music to strike up,--others, that an oration
would now be delivered by the Colonel.

"Make yourselves at home, ladies and gentlemen," said the Colonel;
"good things were made to eat, and you're welcome to all you see before
you."

So saying, he attacked a huge turkey which stood at the head of the
table; and his example being followed first by the bold, then by the
doubtful, and lastly by the timid, the clatter soon made the circuit of
the tables. Some were shocked, however, as the Colonel had feared they
would be, at the want of the customary invocation. Widow Leech, a kind
of relation, who had to be invited, and who came with her old,
back-country-looking string of gold beads round her neck, seemed to
feel very serious about it.

"If she'd ha' known that folks would begrutch cravin' a blessin' over
sech a heap o' provisions, she'd rather have staid t' home. It was a
bad sign, when folks wasn't grateful for the baounties of Providence."

The elder Miss Spinney, to whom she made this remark, assented to it,
at the same time ogling a piece of frosted cake, which she presently
appropriated with great refinement of manner,--taking it between her
thumb and forefinger, keeping the others well spread and the little
finger in extreme divergence, with a graceful undulation of the neck,
and a queer little sound in her throat, as of an _m_ that wanted to get
out and perished in the attempt.

The tables now presented an animated spectacle. Young fellows of the
more dashing sort, with high stand-up collars and voluminous bows to
their neckerchiefs, distinguished themselves by cutting up fowls and
offering portions thereof to the buxom girls these knowing ones had
commonly selected.

"A bit of the wing, Roxy, or of the--under limb?"

The first laugh broke out at this, but it was premature, a _sporadic_
laugh, as Dr. Kittredge would have said, which did not become epidemic.
People were very solemn as yet, many of them being new to such splendid
scenes, and crushed, as it were, in the presence of so much crockery
and so many silver spoons, and such a variety of unusual viands and
beverages. When the laugh rose around Roxy and her saucy beau, several
looked in that direction with an anxious expression, as if something
had happened,--a lady fainted, for instance, or a couple of lively
fellows came to high words.

"Young folks will be young folks," said Deacon Soper. "No harm done.
Least said soonest mended."

"Have some of these shell-oysters?" said the Colonel to Mrs.
Trecothick.

A delicate emphasis on the word _shell_ implied that the Colonel knew
what was what. To the New England inland native, beyond the reach of
the east winds, the oyster unconditioned, the oyster absolute, without
a qualifying adjective, is the _pickled_ oyster. Mrs. Trecothick, who
knew very well that an oyster long out of his shell (as is apt to be
the case with the rural bivalve) gets homesick and loses his
sprightliness, replied, with the pleasantest smile in the world, that
the chicken she had been helped to was too delicate to be given up even
for the greater rarity. But the word "shell-oysters" had been
overheard; and there was a perceptible crowding movement towards their
newly discovered habitat, a large soup-tureen.

Silas Peckham had meantime fallen upon another locality of these recent
mollusks. He said nothing, but helped himself freely, and made a sign
to Mrs. Peckham.

"Lorindy," he whispered, "shell-oysters!"

And ladled them out to her largely, without betraying any emotion, just
as if they had been the natural inland or pickled article.

After the more solid portion of the banquet had been duly honored, the
cakes and sweet preparations of various kinds began to get their share
of attention. There were great cakes and little cakes, cakes with
raisins in them, cakes with currants, and cakes without either; there
were brown cakes and yellow cakes, frosted cakes, glazed cakes, hearts
and rounds, and _jumbles_, which playful youth slip over the forefinger
before spoiling their annular outline. There were moulds of
_blo'monje_, of the arrowroot variety,--that being undistinguishable
from such as is made with Russia isinglass. There were jellies, that
had been shaking, all the time the young folks were dancing in the next
room, as if they were balancing to partners. There were built-up
fabrics, called _Charlottes_, caky externally, pulpy within; there were
also _marangs_, and likewise custards,--some of the indolent-fluid
sort, others firm, in which every stroke of the teaspoon left a smooth,
conchoidal surface like the fracture of chalcedony, with here and there
a little eye like what one sees in cheeses. Nor was that most wonderful
object of domestic art called _trifle_ wanting, with its charming
confusion of cream and cake and almonds and jam and jelly and wine and
cinnamon and froth; nor yet the marvellous _floating-island_,--name
suggestive of all that is romantic in the imaginations of youthful
palates.

"It must have cost you a sight of work, to say nothin' of money, to get
all this beautiful confectionery made for the party," said Mrs. Crane
to Mrs. Sprowle.

"Well, it cost some consid'able labor, no doubt," said Mrs. Sprowle.
"Matilda and our girls and I made 'most all the cake with our own
hands, and we all feel some tired; but if folks get what suits 'em, we
don't begrudge the time nor the work. But I do feel thirsty," said the
poor lady, "and I think a glass of srub would do my throat good; it's
dreadful dry. Mr. Peckham, would you be so polite as to pass me a glass
of srub?"

Silas Peckham bowed with great alacrity, and took from the table a
small glass cup, containing a fluid reddish in hue and subacid in
taste. This was _srub_, a beverage in local repute, of questionable
nature, but suspected of owing its color and sharpness to some kind of
syrup derived from the maroon-colored fruit of the sumac. There were
similar small cups on the table filled with lemonade, and here and
there a decanter of Madeira wine, of the Marsala kind, which some
prefer to, and many more cannot distinguish from, that which comes from
the Atlantic island.

"Take a glass of wine, Judge," said the Colonel; "here is an article
that I rather think 'll suit you."

The Judge knew something of wines, and could tell all the famous old
Madeiras from each other,--"Eclipse," "Juno," the almost fabulously
scarce and precious "White-top," and the rest. He struck the nativity
of the Mediterranean Madeira before it had fairly moistened his lip.

"A sound wine, Colonel, and I should think of a genuine vintage. Your
very good health."

"Deacon Soper," said the Colonel, "here is some Madary Judge Thornton
recommends. Let me fill you a glass of it."

The Deacon's eyes glistened. He was one of those consistent Christians
who stick firmly by the first miracle and Paul's advice to Timothy.

"A little good wine won't hurt anybody," said the Deacon.
"Plenty,--plenty,--plenty. There!" He had not withdrawn his glass,
while the Colonel was pouring, for fear it should spill; and now it was
running over.

----It is very odd how all a man's philosophy and theology are at the
mercy of a few drops of a fluid which the chemists say consists of
nothing but C 4, O 2, H 6. The Deacon's theology fell off several
points towards latitudinarianism in the course of the next ten minutes.
He had a deep inward sense that everything was as it should be, human
nature included. The little accidents of humanity, known collectively
to moralists as sin, looked very venial to his growing sense of
universal brotherhood and benevolence.

"It will all come right," the Deacon said to himself,--"I feel a
joyful conviction that everything is for the best. I am favored with
a blessed peace of mind, and a very precious season of good feelin'
toward my fellow-creturs."

A lusty young fellow happened to make a quick step backward just at
that instant, and put his heel, with his weight on top of it, upon the
Deacon's toes.

"Aigh! What the d--d--didos are y' abaout with them great hoofs o'
yourn?" said the Deacon, with an expression upon his features not
exactly that of peace and good-will to man. The lusty young fellow
apologized; but the Deacon's face did not come right, and his theology
backed round several points in the direction of total depravity.

Some of the dashing young men in stand-up collars and extensive
neck-ties, encouraged by Mr. Geordie, made quite free with the
"Madary," and even induced some of the more stylish girls--not of the
mansion-house set, but of the tip-top two-story families--to taste a
little. Most of these young ladies made faces at it, and declared it
was "perfectly horrid," with that aspect of veracity peculiar to their
age and sex.

About this time a movement was made on the part of some of the
mansion-house people to leave the supper-table. Miss Jane Trecothick
had quietly hinted to her mother that she had had enough of it. Miss
Arabella Thornton had whispered to her father that he had better
adjourn this court to the next room. There were signs of migration,--a
loosening of people in their places,--a looking about for arms to hitch
on to.

The great folks saw that the play was not over yet, and that it was
only polite to stay and see it out. The word "Ice-Cream" was no sooner
whispered than it passed from one to another all down the tables. The
effect was what might have been anticipated. Many of the guests had
never seen this celebrated product of human skill, and to all the
two-story population of Rockland it was the last expression of the art
of pleasing and astonishing the human palate. Its appearance had been
deferred for several reasons: first, because everybody would have
attacked it, if it had come in with the other luxuries; secondly,
because undue apprehensions were entertained (owing to want of
experience) of its tendency to deliquesce and resolve itself with
alarming rapidity into puddles of creamy fluid; and, thirdly, because
the surprise would make a grand climax to finish off the banquet.

There is something so audacious in the conception of ice-cream, that it
is not strange that a population undebauched by the luxury of great
cities looks upon it with a kind of awe and speaks of it with a certain
emotion. This defiance of the seasons, forcing Nature to do her work of
congelation, in the face of her sultriest noon, might well inspire a
timid mind with fear lest human art were revolting against the Higher
Powers, and raise the same scruples which resisted the use of ether and
chloroform in certain contingencies. Whatever may be the cause, it is
well known that the announcement at any private rural entertainment
that there is to be ice-cream produces an immediate and profound
impression. It may be remarked, as aiding this impression, that
exaggerated ideas are entertained as to the dangerous effects this
congealed food may produce on persons not in the most robust health.

There was silence as the pyramids of ice were placed on the table,
everybody looking on in admiration. The Colonel took a knife and
assailed the one at the head of the table. When he tried to cut off a
slice, it didn't seem to understand it, however, and only tipped, as if
it wanted to upset. The Colonel attacked it on the other side and it
tipped just as badly the other way. It was awkward for the Colonel.
"Permit me," said the Judge,--and he took the knife and struck a sharp
slanting stroke which, sliced off a piece just of the right size, and
offered it to Mrs. Sprowle. This act of dexterity was much admired by
the company.

The tables were all alive again.

"Lorindy, here's a plate of ice-cream," said Silas Peckham.

"Come, Mahaly," said a fresh-looking young fellow with a saucerful in
each hand, "here's your ice-cream;--let's go in the corner and have a
celebration, us two." And the old green de-laine, with the young curves
under it to make it sit well, moved off as pleased apparently as if it
had been silk velvet with thousand-dollar laces over it.

"Oh, now, Miss Green! do you think it's safe to put that cold stuff
into your stomick?" said the Widow Leech to a young married lady, who,
finding the air rather warm, thought a little ice would cool her down
very nicely. "It's jest like eatin' snowballs. You don't look very
rugged; and I should be dreadful afeard, if I was you"----

"Carrie," said old Dr. Kittredge, who had overheard this,--"how well
you're looking this evening! But you must be tired and heated;--sit
down here, and let me give you a good slice of ice-cream. How you young
folks do grow up, to be sure! I don't feel quite certain whether it's
you or your mother or your daughter, but I know it's somebody I call
Carrie, and that I've known ever since"----

A sound something between a howl and an oath startled the company and
broke off the Doctor's sentence. Everybody's eyes turned in the
direction from which it came. A group instantly gathered round the
person who had uttered it, who was no other than Deacon Soper.

"He's chokin'! he's chokin'!" was the first exclamation,--"slap him on
the back!"

Several heavy fists beat such a tattoo on his spine that the Deacon
felt as if at least one of his vertebrae would come up.

"He's black in the face," said Widow Leech,--"he's swallered somethin'
the wrong way. Where's the Doctor?--let the Doctor get to him, can't
ye?"

"If you will move, my good lady, perhaps I can," said Dr. Kittredge, in
a calm tone of voice.--"He's not choking, my friends," the Doctor added
immediately, when he got sight of him.

"It's apoplexy,--I told you so,--don't you see how red he is in the
face?" said old Mrs. Peake, a famous woman for "nussin" sick
folks,--determined to be a little ahead of the Doctor.

"It's not apoplexy," said Dr. Kittredge.

"What is it, Doctor? what is it? Will he die? Is he dead?--Here's his
poor wife, the Widow Soper that is to be, if she a'n't a'ready."

"Do be quiet, my good woman," said Dr. Kittredge.--"Nothing serious, I
think, Mrs. Soper.--Deacon!"

The sudden attack of Deacon Soper had begun with the extraordinary
sound mentioned above. His features had immediately assumed an
expression of intense pain, his eyes staring wildly, and, clapping his
hands to his face, he had rocked his head backward and forward in
speechless agony.

At the Doctor's sharp appeal the Deacon lifted his head.

"It's all right," said the Doctor, as soon as he saw his face. "The
Deacon had a smart attack of neuralgic pain. That's all. Very severe,
but not at all dangerous."

The Doctor kept his countenance, but his diaphragm was shaking the
change in his waistcoat-pockets with subterranean laughter. He had
looked through his spectacles and seen at once what had happened. The
Deacon, not being in the habit of taking his nourishment in the
congealed state, had treated the ice-cream as a pudding of a rare
species, and, to make sure of doing himself justice in its
distribution, had taken a large mouthful of it without the least
precaution. The consequence was a sensation as if a dentist were
killing the nerves of twenty-five teeth at once with hot irons, or cold
ones, which would hurt rather worse.

The Deacon swallowed something with a spasmodic effort, and recovered
pretty soon and received the congratulations of his friends. There were
different versions of the expressions he had used at the onset of his
complaint,--some of the reported exclamations involving a breach of
propriety, to say the least,--but it was agreed that a man in an attack
of neuralgy wasn't to be judged of by the rules that applied to other
folks.

The company soon after this retired from the supper-room. The
mansion-house gentry took their leave, and the two-story people soon
followed. Mr. Bernard had staid an hour or two, and left soon after he
found that Elsie Tenner and her father had disappeared. As he passed by
the dormitory of the Institute, he saw a light glimmering from one of
its upper rooms, where the lady teacher was still waking. His heart
ached, when he remembered, that, through all these hours of gayety, or
what was meant for it, the patient girl had been at work in her little
chamber; and he looked up at the silent stars, as if to see that they
were watching over her. The planet Mars was burning like a red coal;
the northern constellation was slanting downward about its central
point of flame; and while he looked, a falling star slid from the
zenith and was lost.

He reached his chamber and was soon dreaming over the Event of the
Season.



LOST BELIEFS.


One after one they left us;
  The sweet birds out of our breasts
Went flying away in the morning:
  Will they come again to their nests?

Will they come again at nightfall,
  With God's breath in their song?
Noon is fierce with the heats of summer,
  And summer days are long!

Oh, my Life! with thy upward liftings,
  Thy downward-striking roots,
Ripening out of thy tender blossoms
  But hard and bitter fruits,--

In thy boughs there is no shelter
  For my birds to seek again!
Ah! the desolate nest is broken
  And torn with storms and rain!



THE MEXICANS AND THEIR COUNTRY.


On the 21st of December, 1859, General Miramon, at the head of the
forces of the Mexican Republic, met an army of Liberals at Colima, and
overthrew it. The first accounts of the action represented the victory
of the Conservatives to be complete, and as settling the fate of Mexico
for the present, as between the parties headed respectively by Juarez
and Miramon. Later accounts show that there was some exaggeration as to
the details of the action, but the defeat of the Liberals is not
denied. It would be rash to attach great importance to any Mexican
battle; but the Liberal cause was so depressed before the action at
Colima as to create the impression that it could not survive the result
of that day. Whether the cause of which Miramon is the champion be
popular in Mexico or the reverse, it is certain that at the close of
1859 that chief had succeeded in every undertaking in which he had
personally engaged; and our own political history is too full of facts
which show that a successful military man is sure to be a popular
chief, whatever may be his opinions, to allow of our doubting the
effect of victory on the minds of the Mexicans. The mere circumstance
that Miramon is personally victorious, while the Liberals achieve
occasional successes over their foes where he is not present, will be
of much service to him. That "there is nothing so successful as
success" is an idea as old as the day on which the Tempter of Man
caused him to lose Paradise, and to the world's admission of it is to
be attributed the decision of nearly every political contest which has
distracted society. Miramon may have entered upon a career not unlike
to that of Santa Aña, whose early victories enabled him to maintain his
hold on the respect of his countrymen long after it should have been lost
through his cruelties and his disregard of his word and his oath. All,
indeed, that is necessary to complete the power of Miramon is, that
some foreign nation should interfere in Mexican affairs in behalf of
Juarez. Such interference, if made on a sufficiently large scale, might
lead to his defeat and banishment, but it would cause him to reign in
the hearts of the Mexicans; and he would be recalled, as we have seen
Santa Aña recalled, as soon as circumstances should enable the people
to act according to their own sense of right.

Before considering the probable effect of Miramon's success on the
policy of the United States toward Mexico, there is one point that
deserves some attention. Which party, the Liberal or the Conservative,
is possessed of most power in Mexico? The assertions made on this
subject are of a very contradictory character. President Buchanan, in
his last Annual Message, says that the Constitutional government
--meaning that of which Juarez is the head--"is supported by a
a large majority of the people and the States, but there are important
parts of the country where it can enforce no obedience. General Miramon
maintains himself at the capital, and in some of the distant provinces
there are military governors who pay little respect to the decrees of
either government." On the other hand, a Mexican writer, a member of
the Conservative party, who published his views on the condition of his
country just one month before the President's Message appeared,
declares that the five Provinces or States in which the authority of
Miramon was then acknowledged contain a larger population than exists
in the twenty-three States in which it was not acknowledged. Of the
local authorities in these latter States he says,--"It is a great
mistake to imagine that they obey the government of Juarez any more
than they obey the government of General Miramon, or any further than
it suits their own private interest to obey him. It would be curious to
know, for instance, how much of the money collected by these 'local
authorities' for taxes, or contributions, or forced loans, and chiefly
at the seaport towns for custom-house duties, goes to the 'national
treasury' under the Juarez government." In this case, as in many others
of a like nature, the truth probably is, that but a very small number
of the people feel much interest in the contest, while most of them are
prepared to obey whichever chief shall succeed in it without foreign
aid. Of the active men of the country, the majority are now with
Miramon, or Juarez would not be shut up in a seaport, with his party
forming the mere sea-coast fringe of the nation. All that is necessary
to convert him into a national, patriotic ruler is, that a foreign army
should be sent to the assistance of his rival: and that such assistance
shall be sent to Juarez, President Buchanan has virtually pledged the
United States by his words and his actions.

In his last Message to Congress, President Buchanan dwells with much
unction upon the wrongs we have experienced from Mexico, and avers that
we can obtain no redress from the Miramon government. "We may in vain
apply to the Constitutional government at Vera Cruz," he says,
"although it is well disposed to do us justice, for adequate redress.
Whilst its authority is acknowledged in all the important ports and
throughout the sea-coasts of the Republic, its power does not extend to
the city of Mexico and the States in its vicinity, where nearly all the
recent outrages have been committed on American citizens. We must
penetrate into the interior before we can reach the offenders, and this
can only be done by passing through the territory in the occupation of
the Constitutional government. The most acceptable and least difficult
mode of accomplishing the object will be to act in concert with that
government." He then recommends that Congress should authorize him "to
employ a sufficient military force to enter Mexico for the purpose of
obtaining indemnity for the past and security for the future." And he
expresses the opinion that justice would be done by the Constitutional
government; but his faith is not quite so strong as we could wish it to
be, as he carefully adds, "This might be secured in advance by a
preliminary treaty."

Thus has the President pledged the country to help Juarez establish his
authority over Mexico, in words sure to be read and heeded throughout
America and Europe. His actions have been quite as much to the purpose.
He placed himself in communication with Juarez in 1859, and recognized
his government to be the only existing government of Mexico as early as
April 7th, through our envoy, Mr. McLane. That envoy floats about,
having a man-of-war for his home, and ready, it should seem, to receive
the government to which he is accredited, in the event of its being
forced to make a second sea-trip for the preservation of the lives of
its members. As the sole refuge for unpopular European monarchs,
at one time, was a British man-of-war, so are feeble Mexican chiefs
now compelled to rely for safety upon our national ships.

To predict anything respecting Mexican affairs would be almost as idle
as it would be to assume the part of a prophet concerning American
politics; but, unless Miramon's good genius should leave him, his
appearance in Vera Cruz may be looked for at no very distant day, and
then we shall have the Juarez government entirely on our hands, to
support or to neglect, as may be dictated by the exigencies of our
affairs. That base of operations, upon the possession of which
President Buchanan has so confidently calculated, would be lost, and
could be regained only as the consequence of action as comprehensive
and as costly as that which placed Vera Cruz in the hands of General
Scott in 1847. If the policy laid down by President Buchanan should be
adopted and pursued, war should follow between the United States and
Mexico from the triumph of Miramon; and in that war, we should be a
principal, and not the mere ally of one of those parties into which the
Mexican people are divided. Logically, war is inevitable from Mr.
Buchanan's arguments and General Miramon's victories; but, as
circumstances, not logic, govern the actions of politicians, we may
possibly behold all Mexico loyal to the young general, and yet not see
an American army enter that country. The President declares that in
Mexico's "fate and in her fortune, in her power to establish and
maintain a settled government, we have a far deeper interest, socially,
commercially, and politically, than any other nation." The truth of
this will not be disputed; but suppose that Miramon should establish
and maintain a settled government in Mexico, would it not be our duty,
and in accordance "with our wise and settled policy," to acknowledge
that government, and to seek from it redress of those wrongs concerning
which Mr. Buchanan speaks with so much emphasis? Once in a responsible
position, and desirous of having the world's approval of his
countrymen's conduct, Miramon might be even more than willing to
promise as much as Juarez has already promised, we may presume, in the
way of satisfaction. That he would fulfil his promises, or that Juarez
would fulfil those which he has made, it would be too much to assert;
as neither of them would be able, judging from Mexico's past, to
maintain himself long in power.

For the present, if not forever, Juarez may be left out of all American
calculations concerning Mexico; and as to Miramon, though his prospects
are apparently fair, the intelligent observer of Mexican politics
cannot fail to have seen that the glare of the clerical eye is upon
him, and that some faint indications on his part of a determination not
to be the Church's vassal have already placed his supremacy in peril,
and perhaps have caused conspiracies to be formed against him which
shall prove more injurious to his fortunes than the operations of
Liberal armies or the Messages of American Presidents. The Mexican
Church, full-blooded and wealthy as it is, is the skeleton in the
palace of every Mexican chief that spoils his sleep and threatens to
destroy his power, as it has destroyed that of every one of his
predecessors. The armies and banners of the Americans of the
North cannot be half so terrible to Miramon, supposing him
to be a reflecting man, as are the vestments of his clerical
allies. Even those armies, too, may be called into Mexico by
the Church, and those banners become the standards of a crusading host
from among a people which of all that the world has ever seen is the
least given to religious intolerance, and to whom the mere thought of
an established religion is odious. Nor would there be anything strange
in such a solution of the Mexican question, if we are to infer the
character of the future from the character of the past and the present.
A generation that has seen American democracy become the propagandists
of slavery assuredly ought not to be astonished at the spectacle of
American Protestantism upholding the State religion of Mexico, and that
religion embodying the worst abuses of the system of Rome. It was,
perhaps, because he foresaw the possibility of this, that "the
gray-eyed man of destiny," William Walker himself, was reconciled last
year to the ancient Church, and received into her bosom. As a Catholic,
and as a convert to that faith from heresy, he might achieve those
victories for which he longs, but which singularly avoid him as a man
of the sword. It is the old story: Satan, being sick, turns saint for
the time: only that it is heart-sickness in this instance; the hope of
being able to plunder some weak, but wealthy country having been too
long deferred for the patience even of an agent of Fate.

That our government means to persevere in its designs against Mexico,
in spite of the misfortunes of the Liberals, is to be inferred: from
all that we hear from Washington. The victories of Oajaca, Queretaro,
and Colima, won by the Conservatives, have wrought no apparent change
in the Presidential mind. So anxious, indeed, is Mr. Buchanan for the
triumph of his plan, that he is ready to seek aid from his political
opponents. Leading Republicans are to be consulted personally, and they
are to be appealed to and asked patriotically to banish all party and
"sectional" feelings from their minds, while discussing the best mode
of helping "our neighbor" out of the Slough of Despond, so that she may
be enabled to meet the demands we have upon her,--not in money, for
that she has not, and we purpose giving her a round sum, but in land,
of which she has a vast supply, and all of it susceptible of yielding
good returns to servile industry. There is a necessity for this appeal
to Opposition Senators, as the Juarez treaty cannot be ratified without
the aid of some of their number. The ratification vote must consist of
two-thirds of the Senators present and voting; and of the sixty-six men
forming the Senate, but thirty-nine are Democrats, and two are "South
Americans." The Republicans, who could muster but a dozen votes in the
Senate when the present phase of the Slavery contest was begun, have
doubled their strength, and have arrived at the honor of being sought
by men who but yesterday regarded them as objects of scorn. Nor is it
altogether a new thing for the administration to depend upon its
enemies; and the practical adoption of the "one-term" principle in our
Presidential contests, by virtually depriving all administrations of
strict party support, has introduced into our politics a new element,
the first faint workings of which are beginning to be seen, but which
is destined to have grave effects, and not such, in all cases, as are
to be desired.

But it is not from the ambition or the perverseness of the President
that Mexico has much to fear. Were it not for other reasons, which
proceed from the "Manifest Destiny" school, the country would laugh down
the administration's Mexican programme, and it could hardly be expected to
receive the grave consideration of the Senate. What Mexico has to fear
is the rapid increase of the old American opinion, that we were
appointed by Destiny to devour her, and that in spoiling her we are
only fulfilling "our mission," discharging, as we may say, a high moral
and religious duty. It is not that we have any animosity toward Mexico,
but that we are the Heaven-appointed rulers of America, of which she
happens to be no small part. By a happy ordination, and a wise
direction of our skill as missionaries militant, we never waste our
time and our valor on strong countries; and as wolves do not seek to
make meals of lions, preferring mutton, so we have no taste for those
very American countries which are inhabited by the English race, and in
which exist those great political institutions of the enjoyment of
which we are so proud. The obligation to take Mexico is admitted by
most Americans, though some would proceed more rapidly in the work of
acquisition than others; but no one hints that we ought to have
Canada. Our government has repeatedly offered to purchase Cuba of
Spain, which offer that country holds to be an insult; but it has not
yet thought proper to seek possession of Jamaica. Destiny, in our case,
is as judicious as it is imperative, and means that we shall find our
account in doing her work. Had she favored some other nations as much
as we are favored, they might have flourished till now, instead of
becoming wrecks on the sandy shores of the Sea of Time.

The conviction that Mexico is to be ours is no new idea. It is as old,
almost, as the American nation. We found Spain in our path very soon
after she had behaved in so friendly a manner to us during the
Revolution; and one of the earliest thoughts of the West was to get her
out of the way. This was "inevitable," and "Manifest Destiny" was as
actively at work in the days of Rodgers Clarke as in those of Walker,
but with better reason; for the control that Spain exercised over the
navigation of the Mississippi was contrary to common sense. In a few
years, the acquisition of Louisiana (nominally from France, but really
from Spain) removed the evil of which the West complained; but the idea
of seizure remained, and was strengthened by the deed that was meant to
extinguish it. That Louisiana had been obtained without the loss of a
life, and for a sum of money that could be made to sound big only when
reduced to _francs_ was quite enough to cause the continuance of that
system of agitation which had produced results so great with means so
small. Enmity to Spain remained, after the immediate cause of it had
ceased to exist. War with that country was expected in 1806, and the
West anxiously desired it, meaning to invade Mexico. Hence the
popularity of Aaron Burr in that part of the Union, and the favor with
which his schemes were regarded by Western men. Burr was a generation
in advance of his Atlantic contemporaries, but he was not in advance of
the Ultramontanes, only abreast of them, and well adapted to be their
leader, from his military skill and his high political rank; for his
duel with Hamilton had not injured him in their estimation. His
connection with the war party, however, proved fatal to it, and
probably was the cause of the non-realization of its plans fifty years
ago. President Jefferson hated Colonel Burr with all the intensity that
philosophy can give to political rivalry; and so the whole force of the
national government was brought to bear against the arch-plotter, who
fell with a great ruin, and for the time Mexico was saved. Then came
Napoleon's attack on Spain, which necessarily postponed all attempts on
countries that might become subject to him; and before the Peninsular
War had been decided, we were ourselves involved in war with England,
which gave us work enough at home, without troubling "our neighbor."
But the events of that war helped to increase the spirit of acquisition
in the South and the Southwest, while they put an end forever to plans
for the conquest of Canada. The "aid and comfort" which the Spaniards
afforded to both Indians and Britons, from Florida, led to the seizure
of Florida by our forces in time of peace with Spain, and to the
purchase of that country. The same year that saw our title to Florida
perfected saw the end of Spanish rule in Mexico. The first effect of
this change was unfavorable to the extension of American dominion.
Mexico became a republic, taking the United States for a model.
Principle and vanity alike dictated forbearance on our side, and for
some years the new republic was looked upon with warm regard by the
American people; and had her experiment proved successful, our
territory never could have been increased at her expense. But that
experiment proved a total failure. Not even France herself could have
done worse for republicanism than was done by Mexico. Internal wars,
constant political changes, violations of faith, and utter disregard of
the terms of the Constitution,--these things brought Mexico into
contempt, and revived the idea that North America had been especially
created for the use of the Anglo-Saxon race and the abuse of negroes.
As a nation, too, Mexico had been guilty of many acts of violence
toward the United States, which furnished themes for those politicians
who were interested in bringing on a war between the two countries. The
attempt to enforce Centralism on Texas, which contained many Americans,
increased the ill-will toward Mexico. The end came in 1846, when we
made war on that country, a war resulting in the acquisition of much
Mexican territory,--Texas, Upper California, and New Mexico. It cannot
be said we behaved illiberally in our treatment of Mexico, the position
of the parties considered; for we might have taken twice as much of her
land as we did take, and not have paid her a farthing: and we paid her
$15,000,000, besides assuming the claims which Americans held against
her, amounting to $3,250,000 more. The war "blooded" the American
people, and made the idea of acquiring Mexico a national one; whereas
before it had a sectional character. The question of absorbing that
country was held to be merely one of time; and had it not been for the
existence of slavery, much more of Mexico would have been acquired ere
now, either by purchase or by war. There have been few men at the head
of Mexican affairs, since the peace of 1848, who were not ready to sell
us any portion of their country to which we might have laid claim, if
we had tendered them the choice between our purse and our sword. We
paid $10,000,000 for the Mesilla Valley, and for certain navigation
privileges in the Colorado river and the Gulf of California,--a
circumstance that shows how resolute is our determination to have
Mexico, and also that we are not disposed to have the process of
acquisition marked by shabby details.

The law that governs the course of conquest is of a plain and obvious
character. Occasionally there may arise some conqueror, like Timour,
who shall sweep over countries apparently for no other purpose but to play
the part of the destroying angel, though it is not difficult to see that
even such a man has his uses in the orderings of Providence for the
government of the world. But the rule is, that conquest shall, quite as
much as commerce, be a gainful business. Conquerors who proceed
systematically go from bad lands to good lands, and from good lands to
better ones. To get out of the desert into a land flowing with milk and
honey is as much the object of modern and uncalled Gentiles as ever it was
with ancient called and chosen Jews. Historians appear inclined to censure
Darius, because, instead of invading Hellas, equally weak and fertile,
he sought to conquer the poor Scythians, who conquered him. The Romans
organized robbery, and had a wonderful skill in selecting peoples for
enemies who were worth robbing. "The Brood of Winter," who overthrew
the Roman Empire, poured down upon lands where grew the grape and the
rose. The Saracens, who were carried forward, in the first instance, by
fanaticism, had the streams of their conquests lengthened and broadened
and deepened by the wealth and weakness of Greeks and Persians and
Goths and Africans. Had those streams poured into deserts, by the
deserts they would soon have been absorbed, and we should have known
the Mahometan superstition only as we know twenty others of those forms
of faith produced by the East,--as something sudden, strange, and
short-lived. But it was fed by the riches which its votaries gained,
the reward of their piety, and the cement of their religious edifice.
The Normans, that most chivalrous of races, and, like all chivalrous
races, endowed with a keen love of gain, did not seize upon poor
countries, but upon the best lands they could take and hold,--the
beautiful Neustria, the opulent Sicily, and the fertile England, so
admirably situated to become the seat of empire. So, it will be found,
have all conquering, absorbing races proceeded, not even excluding the
Pilgrim Fathers, who, if they paid the Indians for their lands,
generally contrived to get good measure for small disbursements, and to
order things so that the lands purchased should be fat and fair in
saintly eyes.

Tried by the standard of conquest, the course of the American people
toward Mexico is the most natural in the world. Mexico possesses
immense wealth, and incalculable capabilities in the way of increasing
that wealth; and she is no more competent to defend herself against a
powerful neighbor than Sicily was to maintain her independence against
the Romans. We are her neighbor,--with a population abounding in
adventurers domestic and imported, and with politicians who carve out
states that shall make them senators and representatives and governors,
and perhaps even presidents. As we get nearer to Mexico, the population
is more lawless, less inclined to observe those rules upon faith in
which the weak must depend for existence. The eagles are gathered about
the carcase, and think that to forbid its division among them would be
to perpetrate a great moral wrong. The climate of Mexico seems to
invite the Northern adventurer to that country. "In general," says Mr.
Butterfield, (who has just published a volume that might be called "The
American Conqueror's Guide-Book in Mexico," and to which we take this
occasion to express our obligations,)--"in general, the Republic, with
the exception of the coast and a few other places, which from situation
are extremely hot, enjoys an even and temperate climate, free from the
extremes of heat and cold, in consequence of which the most of the
hills in the cold regions are covered with trees, which never lose
their foliage, and often remind the traveller of the beautiful scenery
of the valleys of Switzerland. In Tierra Caliente we are struck by the
groves of mimosas, liquid amber, palms, and other gigantic plants
characteristic of tropical vegetation; and finally, in Tierra Templada,
by the enormous _haciendas_, many of which are of such extent as to be
lost to the sight in the horizon with which they blend." This picture
is calculated to incite the armed apostles of American liberty, and to
render them impatient until they shall have carried the blessings of
civilization to Mexico, rewarding themselves for their active
benevolence by the appropriation of lands so admirably adapted to the
labors of the descendants of Ham, whom it would be impious in them to
leave unprovided with the best fields to work out _their_
mission,--which is, to produce the greatest possible crops with the
least possible expenditure of capital and care, for the good of that
superior race which kindly supplies the deficiencies of Heaven with
respect to Africa,--a second Providence, as it were, and slightly
tinged with selfishness.

We need not dwell upon the importance of second causes in the
government of mankind. We find them at work in fixing the future of
Mexico. The final cause of the absorption of Mexico by the United
States will be the restless appropriating spirit of our people; but
this might leave her a generation more of national life, were it not
that her territory presents a splendid field for slave-labor, and that,
both from pecuniary and from political motives, our slaveholders are
seeking the increase of the number of Servile States. Mexico is capable
of producing an unlimited amount of sugar and an enormous amount of
cotton. There is a demand for both these articles,--a demand that is
constantly increasing, and which is so great, and grows so rapidly,
that the melancholy prospect of rum without sugar has presented itself
to some minds, not to speak of only half-allowance to all the
tea-tables of Christendom. Africa is beginning to wear shirts, and the
stamp of more than one Yankee manufacturer has been indorsed on the
backs of many African chiefs. Slave-labor, we are assured, can alone
afford an adequate supply of cotton and sugar; for none but negroes can
labor on the plantations where cane and cotton are raised, and they
will labor only under compulsion, and compulsion can be had only under
the system of slavery. The point seems to be as clearly established as
reason can establish it, though the negroes might object to the process
adopted and to the conclusion drawn; but they are interested parties,
and not to be regarded therefore. We must add, that the quality of
Mexican sugar is as good as the yield is enormous, and, were the
cane-fields in our hands, it would be impious to doubt of there being a
fall of a mill on the pound all the world over. Compared with such a
gain to the consuming classes, what would it matter that the producers
were "expended" every four or five years, thereby furnishing an
argument in favor of the revival (we should say extension, for it
appears to be lively enough) of the slave-trade between Africa and
America? So is it with Mexican cotton, which propagates itself, and is
not raised annually from the seed, as in our cotton-growing States. In
the Hot Land of Mexico, the laborers in the cotton-fields merely keep
these fields clear from weeds, as we should say,--no easy task, it may
be assumed, with a soil so luxuriant, and where frost is unknown. Yet
the amount of cotton produced annually in the Hot Land is shamefully
small, not exceeding ten million pounds,--a mere bagatelle, which
Manchester would devour in a week. Consider what an increase in cottons
and calicoes, what a gain in shirts and sheets, would follow from the
seizure of those fields by Americans from Mississippi and Alabama; and
let no idle notions concerning national morality prevent the increase
of those comforts which the poor now know, but which never came to the
knowledge of Caesar Augustus, and which were unknown to Solomon in all
his glory. Where would have been the great English nation, if the
adventurous cut-throats who followed Norman William from Saint Valery
to Hastings had been troubled with squeamish notions about the rights
of the Saxons?


There are other articles, besides cotton and sugar, in the production
of which slave-labor pays, and pays well, too; and all these articles
Mexico is capable of yielding immensely. The world needs more rice;
rice can be cultivated only by negroes, or people much like them; and
rice can be raised in Mexico in incredible quantities, under a
judicious system of industry, such as, we are constantly assured,
slavery ever has been and ever will be. Tobacco is another Mexican
article, and also one in producing which negroes can be profitably
employed; and as tobacco is becoming scarce, while consumers of it are
on the increase, it would seem to be our duty to prepare the fields of
Tabasco for more extended cultivation,--since there, as well as in many
other parts of Mexico, tobacco almost as good as the best that is grown
in Cuba can be produced. Coffee, indigo, and hemp are Mexican articles,
and can all be cultivated by slave-labor. Maize is grown in every part
of the country, yielding three hundred fold in the Hot Land, and twice
that rate in one district; and maize is a slave-grown article. Smaller
articles there are, but valuable, in raising which slaves would be found
useful,--among them cocoa, vanilla, and _frijoles_, the last being to the
Mexicans what the potato is to the Irish, the common food of the common
people. On the supposition that slaves could be made to labor well in
wheat-fields,--and under a stringent system of slavery this would be
far from impossible,--Mexico might afford profitable employment to
myriads of Africans in the course of civilization and Christianization.
Wheat returns sixty for one in the best valleys of the Temperate
Region; and when we call to mind that flour is becoming a luxury to
poor white people even in America, the propriety of having those
valleys filled up with a black population of great industrial
capability stands admitted; and as black people have an unaccountable
aversion to working for others, the necessity of slavery is established
by the high price of flour, and the capacity of the white races for
consuming twice as much as is now produced in the whole world.

It would be no difficult matter to show that Mexico is the most
productive of countries, whether we consider the variety of the
articles there grown, or the capabilities of the land for increasing
their quantity. To the manufacturer and the merchant she is as
attractive as she is to the agriculturist; and her mineral wealth is
apparently inexhaustible, and has passed into a proverb. During the
thirteen generations since the Spanish Conquest, the value of the gold
and silver exported is estimated at $4,640,204,889; and this is
considered a very low estimate by those best qualified to judge of its
correctness. Mr. Butterfield expresses the opinion that the annual
export is now near $40,000,000, much of which is smuggled out of the
country. The land is also rich in the common metals, the production of
which, as well as of gold and silver, would be incalculably increased,
should Mexico pass under the dominion of an energetic race, greedy of
other men's wealth, if not profuse of its own.

We have said enough to show the capabilities of Mexico as a
slaveholding country; and of the desire of American slaveholders to
push their industrial system into countries adapted to it, there are,
unfortunately, but too many proofs. They are prompted by the love of
power and the love of wealth to obtain possession of Mexico, and the
energy that is ever displayed by them when pursuing a favorite object
will not allow us to doubt what the end of the contest upon which the
United States are about to enter must be. We have then, to consider the
character of the people upon whom slavery is to be forced, and the
probable effect of their subjugation to American dominion. The subject
is far from being agreeable, and the consideration of it gives rise to
the most painful thoughts that can move the mind.

The exact number of people in Mexico it is not possible to state. Mr.
Mayer estimated that in 1850 the proximate actual population was
7,626,831, classed as follows:--Whites, 1,100,000; Indians, 4,354,886;
Mestizos, Zambos, Mulattoes, etc., 2,165,345; Negroes, 6,600. Only
one-seventh of the population belongs to that class, or caste, to which,
according to the common sentiment in the United States, dominion over
the earth has been given. The other six-sevenths are, in American
estimation, and would so become in fact, should Mexico own our
rule, mere political Pariahs; and if they should escape personal
slavery, it would be through their rapid extinction under the
blasting effects of civilization. There are, at this time, it
may be assumed, 7,000,000 human beings in Mexico to whom few
Americans are capable of conceding the full rights of humanity. Of
these, about one-third, the negroes and the mixed races, from the fact
that they have African blood in their veins, would be outlawed by the
mere conquest of Mexico by American arms, so far as relates
to the higher conditions of life. As several of our States have
already compelled free negroes to choose between slavery and
banishment, and as the American settlers of Mexico would proceed
principally from States in which the sentiment prevails that has led to
the adoption of so illiberal a policy, a third of the native population
would, it is likely, be reduced to a condition of chattel slavery
within a very short time after the change of government had been
effected. There is not an argument used in behalf of the rigid slave
codes of several of our States which would not be applicable to the
enslavement of the black and mixed Mexicans, all of whom would be of
darker skins and less enlightened minds than the slaves that would be
taken to the conquered land by the conquerors. How could the slaves
thus taken there be allowed to see even their inferiors in the
enjoyment of personal freedom? If the State of Arkansas can condescend
to be afraid of a few hundred free negroes and mulattoes, and can
illustrate its fear by turning them out of their homes in mid-winter,
what might not be expected from a ruling caste in a new country, with
two and a half millions of colored people to strike terror into the
souls of those comprising it? Just or humane legislation could not be
looked for at the hands of such men, who would be guilty of that
cruelty which is born of injustice and terror. The white race of Mexico
would join with the intrusive race to oppress the mixed races; and as
the latter would be compelled to submit to the iron pressure that would
be brought to bear upon them, more than two millions of slaves would be
added to the servile population of America, and would become the basis
of a score of Representatives in the national legislature, and of as
many Presidential Electors; so that the practice of the grossest
tyranny would give to the Slaveholding States, _per saltum_, as great
an increase of political power as the Free States could expect to
achieve through a long term of years illustrated by care and toil and
the most liberal expenditure of capital.

The Indians would fare no better than the mixed races, though the mode
of their degradation might differ from that which would be pursued
toward the latter. The Indians of Mexico are a race quite different
from the Indians whom we have exterminated or driven to the remote
West. They are a sad, a superstitious, and an inert people, upon whom
Spanish tyranny has done its perfect work. Nominally Christians, they
are nearly as much devoted to paganism as were their ancestors of the
age of the Conquistadores. They are the most finished conservatives on
the face of the earth, and see ruin in change quite as readily as if
they lived in New England and their opinions were worth quoting on
State Street. The traveller can see in Mexican fields, to-day, the
manner in which those fields were cultivated in the early days of the
last Montezuma, before the Spaniard had entered the land,--as in Canada
he can occasionally find men following the customs that were brought,
more than two centuries ago, from Brittany or Normandy. The Indians are
practically enslaved by two things: they are so attached to the soil on
which they are born as to regard expulsion from it as the greatest of
all punishments,--thus being much like those serfs who, in some other
countries, are legally bound to the land, and are sold with it; and
they are forever in debt, the consequence of reckless indulgence, and
of that inability to think of the morrow which is the most prominent
characteristic of the inferior races of men. This has caused
the existence of the system of _peonage_, of which so much has been
said in this country, in the attempts that have been made to show that
slavery already prevails in Mexico. But American planters never would
be content with peonage, which does not give to the employer any power
over the Indians' offspring, or convey to him any of those _rights_ of
property in his fellow-men which form the most attractive feature of
slavery as it exists in the United States. They would demand something
more than that; and the system of _repartimientos_, under which the
Indians of the time of Cortés were divided among the conquerors, with
the land, would not improbably follow the annexation of Mexico to the
United States. The natives would be compelled to labor far more
vigorously than they now labor, and their burdens would be increased in
the same ratio in which the American is more energetic and exacting
than the Mexican. Under such a system, the Indians would vanish as
rapidly as they did from Hayti, when a similar system was adopted
there, soon after the discovery of America. Then would arise a demand
for the revival of the slave-trade with Africa, and on the same ground
on which African slavery was introduced into America,--because the
negro is better able than the Indian to meet the demands which the
white man makes upon the weaker races who happen to be placed in his
power. With such unlimited fields for the production of sugar and
cotton, those leading agencies of Christianity and civilization, it
would never do for the world to deny to the new school of planters a
million of negroes, so necessary to the full development of the purpose
of the American crusaders. Observe what a gain it would be to the
shipping interest, could the seas become halcyonized through the
conquest of prejudices by men who believe that God is just, and that He
has made of one flesh and one blood all the nations of the earth!

Even if it should not be sought to enslave the Indians of Mexico, that
race would not be the less doomed. There seems to be no chance for
Indians in any country into which the Anglo-Saxon enters in force. A
system of free labor would be as fatal to the Mexican Indians as a
system of slave labor. The whites who would throng to Mexico, on its
conquest by Americans, and on the supposition that slavery should not
be established there, would regard the Indians with sentiments of
strong aversion. They would hate them, not only because they were
Indians,--which would be deemed reason enough,--but as competitors in
industry, who could afford to work for low wages, their wants being
few, and the cost of their maintenance small. It is charged against the
Indians that they are not flesh-eaters; and white men prefer meat to
any other description of food. Place a flesh-eating race in antagonism
with a race that lives on vegetables, and the former will eat up the
latter. The sentiment of the whites toward the Indians is not unlike
that which has been expressed by an eminent American statesman, who
says that the cause of the failure of Mexico to establish for herself a
national position is to be sought and found in her acknowledgment of
the political equality of her Indian population. He would have them
degraded, if not absolutely enslaved; and degradation, situated as they
are, implies their extinction. This is the opinion of one of the ablest
men in the Democratic party, who, though a son of Massachusetts, is
ready to go as far in behalf of slavery as any son of South Carolina.

Another eminent Democrat, no less a man, indeed, than President
Buchanan, is committed to very different views. He is the patron of
Juarez, whom he would support with all the power of the United States,
and whose government he would carry to "the halls of the Montezumas" in
the train of an American army. Now Juarez is a pure-blooded and
full-blooded Indian. Not a drop of Castilian blood, blue or black,
flows in his veins. He is a genuine Toltec, a member of that mysterious
race which flourished in the Valley of Mexico ages before the arrival
of the Aztecs, and the marvellous remains of whose works astonish the
traveller in Yucatan and Guatemala. He is a native of Oajaca, one of
the Pacific States, and the same that contained the vast estates
bestowed upon Cortés, to whom the Valley of Oajaca furnished his title
of Marquis. A poor Indian boy, and a fruit-seller, Juarez found a
patron, who saw his cleverness, and gave him an education, and so
enabled him to play no common part in his country,--the independence of
which he seems prepared to destroy, in the hope, perhaps, of securing
for it a stable and well-ordered government.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Ludwig van Beethoven. Leben und Schaffen._ Herausgegeben von Adolph
Bernhard Marx, 2 vols. 8vo. Berlin, 1859. pp. 379, 339.

SECOND NOTICE

The English or American reader, whose only biography of Beethoven has
been the translation of Schindler's work by Moscheles, will be pleased
to find scattered through Marx's two volumes a number of interesting
extracts from the "Conversation-Books." These are not always given
exactly as in the originals, although the sense is preserved intact.
For instance, (Vol. I. p. 341,) speaking of the original overture to
"Leonore,"--afterwards printed as Op. 138,--Marx says, "It shows us, as
in a mirror of past happiness, a view of that which is hereafter to
reward Leonore and raise Florestan from his woe. Yes, Beethoven himself
is in theory of this opinion. In his Conversation-Books we read the
following:--

"Aristotle, in his 'Poetics,' remarks, 'Tragic heroes must at first
live in great happiness and splendor.' This we see in Egmont. 'Wenn sie
nun [so] recht glücklich sind, [so] kommt mit [auf] einem Mal das
Schicksal und schlingt einen Knoten um ihr Haupt [über ihren Haupte]
den sie nicht mehr zu lösen vermögen. Muth und Trotz tritt an die
Stelle [der Reue] und verwegen sehen sie dem Geschicke, [und sie sehen
verwegen dem Geschicke,] ja, dem Tod in's Aug'.'"

The words in brackets show the variations from the original; they are
slight, but will soon be seen to have significance.

Again, Marx says, (Vol. II. p. 214, note,) "In one of the
Conversation-Books Schindler remarks, 'Ich bin sehr gespannt auf die
Characterizirung [der Sätze] der B dur Trio......Der erste Satz träumt
von lauter Glückseligheit [Glück und Zufriedenheit]. Auch Muthwille,
heiteres Tändeln und Eigensinn (mit Permission--Beethovenscher) ist
darin.'" [Should be "und Eigensinn (Beethovenische) is darin, mit
Permission."]

On page 217 of the same volume is part of a conversation between
Beethoven and his friend Peters, dated 1819. The Conversation-Book from
which it is taken is dated, in Beethoven's own hand, "March and April,
1820."

But enough for our purpose, which is to prove that Marx knows nothing
of the Conversation-Books from personal inspection, although he always
quotes them in such a manner as to impress the reader with the idea
that the extracts made are his own. Now, 1st, all his extracts are in
the second edition of Schindler's "Biography;" 2d, all the variations
from the original are found word for word in Schindler's excerpts; 3d,
the first of the above three examples, which Marx takes for an
expression of Beethoven's views, was written by Schindler himself, for
his master's perusal!

But though a biography give us nothing new in relation to the hero,
still it may be of great interest and value from the manner in which
well-known authorities are collected and digested, and the facts
presented in a picturesque, fascinating, living narrative. Such a work
is Irving's "Goldsmith." Such a work is not Marx's "Beethoven." It is
neither one thing nor another,--neither a biography nor a critical
examination of the master's works. It is a little of both,--an attempt
to combine the two, and a very unsuccessful one. Biography and
criticism are so strangely mixed up, jumbled together,--anecdotes of
different periods so absurdly brought into juxtaposition,--chronology
so oddly abused,--that one can obtain a far better idea of the man
Beethoven by reading Marx's authorities than his digest of them; and as
to his works, those upon which we want information, which we have no
opportunity to hear, which have not been subjects of criticism and
discussion for a whole generation,--on these he has little or nothing
to say.

But the extreme carelessness with which Marx cites his authorities is
worthy of notice; here are a few examples.

Vol. I. p. 13. Here we find the well-known anecdote of Beethoven's
playing several variations upon Righini's air, "Vieni Amore," from
memory, and improvising others, before the Abbé Sterkel. Wegeler is the
original authority for the anecdote, the point of which depends upon
the fact that the printed variations were a composition by Beethoven.
Marx here and elsewhere in his book attributes them to Sterkel!

Ib. p. 31. Speaking of the pleasure Van Swieten took in Beethoven's
playing of Bach's fugues, and of the dislike of the latter to being
urged to play, Marx quotes as follows: "He came then (relates Ries, who
became his pupil in 1800) back to me with clouded brow and out of
temper," etc. To _me_,--Ries,--a boy of sixteen,--and Beethoven already
the composer all of whose works half a dozen publishers were ready to
take at any prices he chose to fix!--Ries relates no such thing.
Wegeler does, but of a period five years before Ries came to Vienna;
moreover, he relates it in relation to Beethoven's dislike to being
urged to play in mixed companies,--the fact having no relation whatever
to Van Swieten's weekly music-parties.

Ib. p. 33. Beethoven is now twenty-five. "At this time, as it seems,
there has been no talk of ill health." Directly against the statement
of Wegeler.

Ib. p. 38. The Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra, Op. 15, "Probably
composed in 1800, since it was offered to Hofmeister Jan. 5, 1801." He
relates from Wegeler, that Beethoven wrote the finale when suffering
violently from colic. How is it possible for a man to overlook the next
line, "I helped him as much as I could with simple remedies," and not
associate it with Wegeler's statement that he himself left Vienna "in
the middle of 1796"? This fixes the date absolutely four or five years
earlier than Marx's probability. He is equally unlucky in his reading
of the letters of Hofmeister; for the Concerto offered him Jan. 5,
1801, was not this one, but that in B flat, Op. 19.

Ib. p. 186. The Sonata, Op. 22, "Out of the year 1802." If Marx will
turn to the letters to Hofmeister again, he will find this Sonata
offered for publication with the Concerto.

Ib. p. 341. "Schindler, who, however, first became acquainted with
Beethoven in 1808, and first came into close connection with him in
1813." Compare Schindler, 2d ed. p. 95. "It was in the year 1814 that I
first became personally acquainted with Beethoven." In 1808 Schindler
was a boy of thirteen years, in a Gymnasium, and had not yet come to
Vienna.

Vol. II. p. 86. Sonata, Op. 57. "The finale, as Ries relates, was
begotten in a night of storm"; and on this text Marx discourses through
a page or two. Ries relates no such thing.

Ib. p. 179. "Once more, relates Schindler, the two (Goethe and
Beethoven) met each other," etc. For Schindler, read Lenz.

Ib. p. 191. "The Philharmonic Society in London presented to him.....a
magnificent grand-piano forte of Broadwood's manufacture." Schindler
says expressly, "Presented by Ferd. Ries, John Cramer, and Sir George
Smart." Cannot Marx read German?

Ib. p. 329. We give one more instance of Marx's method of citing
authorities,--a very curious one. It is an extract from a letter
written to the Schotts in Mayence, signed A. Schindler, containing an
account of Beethoven's last hours, and published in the "Cäcilia," in
full. Here is the passage;--

"When I came to him, on the morning of the 24th of March, (relates
_Anselm Hüttenbrenner_, a musical friend and composer of Grätz, who had
hastened thither to see Beethoven once more,) I found his whole
countenance distorted, and him so weak, that, with the greatest
exertions, he could bring out but two or three intelligible words."
Anselm Hüttenbrenner!

Throughout those volumes we find a certain vagueness of statement in
connection with the names of musicians with whom Beethoven came in
contact, which raises the question, whether Marx has no biographical
dictionary in his house, not even a copy of Schilling's Encyclopædia,
for which he wrote so many biographies, and "indeed all the articles
signed A. B. M."? At times, however, the statements are not so vague.
For instance,--in the anecdote already referred to, Marx makes the two
Rombergs and Franz Ries introduce the "fifteen-year-old virtuoso" to
Sterkel,--that is, in 1785 or '86. At that date, (see Schilling,)
Andreas Romberg was a boy of eighteen, Bernard a boy of fifteen;
moreover, they did not come to Bonn until 1790, when Beethoven was
nearly twenty years old. In 1793-4 Marx makes Schenck "the to him
[Beethoven] well-known and valued composer of the 'Dorfbarbier,'"
--which opera was not written until some years later. In 1815
died Beethoven's "friend and countryman, Salomon of Bonn, in
London." It is possible that Beethoven may have occasionally seen
Salomon at Bonn, but that violinist went to London at least as early as
1781, after having then been for several years in Prince Henry's chapel
in Berlin.

These things may, perhaps, strike the reader as of minor importance,
mere blemishes. So be it then; we will turn to a vexed question, which
has a literary importance, and see what light Marx throws upon it. We
refer to Bettine's letters to Goethe upon Beethoven, and the composer's
letters to her, the authority of which has been strongly questioned.
Marx gives them, Vol. II. pp. 121-135, and we turned eagerly to them,
expecting to find, from one who has for thirty years or more lived in
the same city with the authoress, the _questio vexata_ fully put to
rest Nothing of the kind. He quotes them from Schindler with
Schindler's remarks upon them, to which he gives his assent. As to the
letters of Beethoven to Bettine, he has not even done that lady the
justice to give them as she has printed them, but rests satisfied with
a copy confessedly taken from the English translation! Of these Marx
says,--"These letters,--one has not the right, perhaps, to declare them
outright creations of fancy; at all events, there is no judicial proof
of this, no more than of their authenticity,--if they are not imagined,
they are certainly translated... from Beethoven into the Bettine
speech. Never--compare all the letters and writings of Beethoven which
are known with these Bettine epistles--never did Beethoven so
write..... If he wrote to Bettine, then she has poetized [überdichtet]
his letters,--and she has not done even this well; we have in them
Beethoven as seen in the mirror Bettine." He adds in a note, "In the
highest degree girl-like and equally un-Beethovenlike are these
constant repetitions: 'liebe, liebste,--liebe, liebe,--liebe,
gute,--bald, bald'!"

What does Marx say to this beginning of a letter to Tiedge,--"Jeden Tag
schwebte mir immer folgende Brief an Sie, Sie, Sie, immer vor"? Or to
these repetitions from a series of notes written also from Töplitz in
the summer of 1812? "Leben Sie wohl liebe, gute A." "Liebe, gute A.,
seit ich gestern," etc. "Scheint der Mond .... so sehen Sie den
kleinsten, kleinsten aller Menschen bei sich," etc.

And so on this point Marx leaves us just as wise as we were before.
There is a gentleman who can decide by a word as to the authenticity of
these letters of Beethoven, since he originally furnished them for
publication in the English translation of Schindler's "Biography." We
refer to Mr. Chorley, of the "London Athenaeum." Meantime we venture to
give Marx's opinion as much weight as we think it deserves, and
continue to believe in the letters; more especially because, as
published by Bettine herself in 1848, each is remarkable for certain
peculiarly Beethoven-like abuses of punctuation, orthography, and
capital letters, which carry more weight to our minds than the
unsupported opinions of a dozen Professors Marx.

Justice requires that we pass from merely biographical topics, which
are evidently not the forte of Professor Marx, to some of those upon
which he has bestowed far more space, and doubtless far more labor and
pains, and upon which, in this work, he doubtless also rests his claims
to our applause.

On page 199 of Vol. I. begins a division of the work, entitled by the
author "Chorische Werke." In previous chapters, Beethoven's pianoforte
compositions-sonatas, trios, the quintett, etc., up to Op. 54,
exclusive of the concertos for that instrument and orchestra-have been
treated. In this we have a very pleasing account of the gradual
progress of the composer from the concerto to the full splendor of the
grand symphony.

"The composer Beethoven," says Marx, "was, as we have seen, also a
virtuoso. No one can be both, without feeling himself drawn to the
composition of concertos. These works then follow, and in close
relation to the pianoforte compositions of Beethoven, with and without
the accompaniment of solo instruments; and to them others, which may
just here be best brought under one general head for notice. From them
we look directly upward to orchestral and symphonic works. To all these
we give the general name of 'choral' works, for want of a better,--a
term which in fact belongs but to vocal music, and is exceedingly ill
adapted to a part of the compositions now under consideration. The
term, however, is used here as pointing at the significance of the
orchestra to Beethoven."

Marx's theory of Beethoven's progress, taking continually bolder and
loftier flights until he reaches the symphony, must necessarily be
based upon the chronology of the works in question,--a basis which he
adopts, but evidently, in the case of two or three of them, with some
hesitation; yet the theory has too great a charm for him to be lightly
thrown aside.

We will bring into a table the compositions which he is now
considering, together with his dates of their composition, that we may
obtain a clearer view of their bearings upon the point in question.

  Concerto in C for Pianoforte and Orchestra, Op. 15. 1800. (See p. 38.)
    do. in B flat                             Op. 19. 1801.
    do. in C minor,                           Op. 37. Not dated.
  Six Quatuors for Bowed Instruments,         Op. 18. Published in 1801-2,
      but "begun earlier."
  Quintett,                                   Op. 29. 1802.
  Septett,                                    Op. 20. Not dated.
  Prometheus, Ballet                          Op. 43. Performed March 28,
     1801.
  Grand Symphony,                             Op. 21. 1799 or 1800.
    do.    do.                                Op. 36. Performed 1800.

A glance at the dates in this table throws doubt upon the theory; the
doubt is increased by the consideration that all these important works
are, according to Marx, the labor of only three years! But let us turn
back and collect into another table the pianoforte works which are also
attributed to the same epoch.

  Pianoforte Trio,                   Op. 11. 1799.
  Three Pianoforte Sonatas,          Op. 10. 1799.
  Two do. do.                        Op. 14. 1799.
  Adelaide, Song,                    Op. 46. 1798 or '99.
  Sonata for Piano and Horn,         Op. 17. 1800.
    do. Pathétique,                  Op. 13. 1800.
  Cliristus am Oolberg, Canta        Op. 85. 1800.
  Quintett,                          Op. 16. 1801.
  Sonata,                            Op. 22. 1802.
    do                               Op. 26. 1802.
    do                               Op. 28. 1802.

From this list we have excluded works which Marx says were _published_
(_herausgegeben_) during these years, selecting only those which he
calls "aus dem Jahre,"--belonging to such a year.

Marx himself (Vol. I. p. 246 _et seq_.) shows us that the works above
mentioned, dated 1802, belong to an earlier period; for in the "first
months" of that year Beethoven fell into a dangerous illness, which
unfitted him for labor throughout the season.

We have, then, as the labor of three years, three grand pianoforte
concertos with orchestra, six string quartetts, a quintett, a septett,
a grand ballet, and two symphonies, for _great_ works; and for minor
productions,--by-play,--nine pianoforte solo sonatas, one for
pianoforte and horn, a pianoforte trio, a quintett, the "Adelaide," and
the "Christ on the Mount of Olives,"--a productiveness (and such a
productiveness!) not surpassed by Mozart or Handel in their best and
most marvellous years.

But these twenty-eight works, in fact, belong only in part to those
three years. The first concerto was finished before June, 1796; the
second in Prague, 1798; the third was performed late in the autumn of
1800. A performance of the first symphony is recorded at least ten, of
the second at least three, months before that of the ballet. As
this--the "Prometheus"--was written expressly for Vigano, the arranger
of the action, it is not to be supposed that any great lapse of time
took place between the execution of the order for and the production of
the music. In fact, Marx has no authorities, beyond Lenz's notices of
the _publication_ of the works in the above lists, for the dates which
he has given to them; none whatever for placing the works of the first
of our lists in that order; certainly none for placing Op. 37 before
Op. 18, Op. 29 before Op. 20, and Op. 48 before Op. 21 and Op. 36. And
yet, at the close of his remarks upon the septett, Op. 20, we read,
"Each of the compositions here noticed" (namely, those in the first
list down to the septett) "is a step away from the pianoforte to the
orchestra. In the midst of them appears the first (!) orchestral work
since the chivalrous ballet, to which the boy (?) Beethoven in former
days gave being. It was again to be a ballet,--'Gli Uomini di
Prometeo.'" Then follow remarks upon the ballet, closing thus:

"On the 'Prometheus' he had tried the strength of his pinions; in the
first symphony, 'Grande Sinfonie,' Op. 21, he floated calmly upon them
at those heights where the spirit of Mozart had rested."

No, Herr Professor Marx, your pretty fancy is without basis.
Chronology, "the eye of History," makes sad work of your theory. Pity
that in your "researches" you met not one of those lists of the members
of the Electoral Chapel at Bonn, which would have shown you that the
young Beethoven learned to wield the orchestra in that best of all
schools, the orchestra itself!

Three chapters of Book Second (Vol. I. pp. 239-307) are entitled
"Helden Weihe," (Consecration of the Hero,) "Die Sinfonie Eroica und
die ideale Musik," (The Heroic Symphony and Ideal Music,) and "Die
Zukunft vor dem Richterstuhl der Vergangenheit" (The Future before the
Judgment-Seat of the Past). Save the first fourteen pages, which are
given to Beethoven's sickness in 1802, the testament which he wrote at
that time, and some remarks upon the "Christ on the Mount of Olives,"
these chapters are devoted to the "Heroic Symphony,"--its history, its
explanation, and a polemical discourse directed against the views of
Wagner, Berlioz, Oulibichef, and others.

The circumstances under which this remarkable work was written, the
history of its origin and completion, are so clearly related by Ries
and Schindler, that it seems hardly possible to make any great blunder
in repeating them. Marx has, however, a very happy talent for getting
out of the path, even when it lies directly before him.

"When, therefore, Bernadotte," says he, "at that time French Ambassador
at Vienna, and sharer in the admiration which the Lichnowskis and
others of high rank felt for Beethoven, proposed to him to pay his
homage to the hero [Napoleon] in a grand instrumental work, he found
the artist in the best disposition thereto; perhaps such thoughts had
already occurred to his mind. In the year 1802, in autumn, he put his
hand already to the work, began first in the following year earnestly
to labor upon it, and, with many interruptions, and the production of
various compositions in the mean time, completed it in 1804."

From this passage, and from remarks in connection with it, it is clear
that Professor Marx supposes Bernadotte to have been in Vienna in
1802-3, and to have ordered this symphony of Beethoven. Schindler's
words, when speaking of his conversation with the composer in 1823, on
this topic, are,--"Beethoven erinnerte sich lebhaft, dass Bernadotte
wirklich zuerst die Idee zur Sinfonie Eroica in ihm rege gemacht hat"
(Beethoven remembered distinctly that it really was Bernadotte who
first awakened in him the idea of the "Heroic Symphony"). On turning to
the article on Bernadotte in the "Conversations-Lexicon," we find that
the period of his embassy embraced but a few months of the year 1798.

It seems to us a very suggestive and important fact toward the
comprehension of Beethoven's design in this work, that the conception
of it had been floating before his mind and slowly assuming definite
form during the space of four years, before he put hand to the
composition. Six years passed from the date of its conception before it
lay complete upon his table, with the single word "Bonaparte" in large
letters at the top of the title-page, and "L. Beethoven" at the bottom,
with nothing between. And what, according to Marx, is this product of
so much study and labor? A musical description of a battle; a funeral
march to the memory of the fallen; the gathering of the armies for
their homeward march; a description of the blessings of peace. A most
lame and impotent interpretation! Marx somewhere says, that Beethoven
never wrought twice upon the same idea; hence the funeral march of the
Symphony cannot have been originally intended in honor of a hero,--we
agree with him so far,--for this task he had once already accomplished
in the Sonata, Op. 26. But then, if the first movement of the Symphony
be a battle-piece, how came its author to compose another, and one so
entirely different, in 1812?

How any one--with the recollection of Beethoven's fondness for
describing character in music, even in youth upon the pianoforte,--with
the "Coriolanus Overture" before him, and the "Wellington's Victory at
Vittoria" at hand,--and, above all, with any knowledge of the
composer's love for the universal, the all-embracing, and his contempt
for minute musical painting, as shown by his sarcasms upon passages in
Haydn's "Creation"--can suppose the first movement of the "Heroic
Symphony" to be in the main intended as a battle-picture, passes our
comprehension. It may be so. It is but a matter of opinion. We have
nothing from Beethoven himself upon the point, unless we may suppose,
that, when, four years later, he printed upon the programme, at the
first performance of the "Pastoral Symphony," "Rather the expression of
feeling than musical painting," he was guarding against a mistake which
had been made as to the intent of the "Eroica."

We have no space to waste in following Marx, either through his
exposition of his battle theory, his explanations of the other
movements of the Symphony, or his polemics against previous writers.
His programme seems to us little, if at all, better than those which he
controverts. Instead of this, we venture to offer our own to the
reader's common sense, which, if it does not satisfy, at least shows
that Marx has not put the question forever at rest.

"Rather the expression of feeling than musical painting" seems to us a
key to the understanding of this, as well as of the "Pastoral
Symphony." Mere musical painting, and the composition of works to
order,--as is proved by the "Wellington's Victory," the "Coriolanus
Overture," the music to "Prometheus," to the "Ruins of Athens," the
"Glorreiche Augenblick," to say nothing of minor works, such as the
First and Second Concertos, the Horn Sonata, etc.,--Beethoven could and
did despatch with extreme rapidity; but works of a different order, for
which he could take his own time, and which were to be the expression
of the grand feelings of his own great heart,--the composition of these
was no light holiday-task. He could "make music" with all ease and
rapidity; and had this been his aim, the extreme productiveness of the
first years in Vienna shows that he might, perhaps, have rivalled
Father Haydn himself in the number of his instrumental compositions.
His difficulty was not in writing music, but in mastering the poetic
conception, and finding that tone-speech which should express in epic
progress, yet in obedience to the laws of musical form, the emotions,
feelings, sentiments to be depicted. Hence the great length of time
during which many of his works were subjects of meditation and study.
Hence the six years which elapsed between the conception and completion
of the "Heroic Symphony."

Beethoven passed his youth near the borders of France, under a
government which allowed a republican personal freedom to its subjects.
He was himself a strong republican, and old enough, when the crushed
people over the border at length arose in their terrible energy against
the King, to sympathize with them in their woe, perhaps in their
vengeance. What to us is the horrible history of those years was to him
the exciting news of the day; and it is not difficult to imagine the
changes of feeling with which he would follow the political changes in
France, the hopes of humanity now apparently lost in the gloom of the
Reign of Terror, and now the rising of the day-star, precursor of a
glorious day of republican freedom, in the marvellous successes of the
cool, determined, energetic, stoical young conqueror of Italy, living,
when Bernadotte fired his imagination by his descriptions of him, with
his wife, the widow of Beauharnais, in a small house in an obscure
street of the capital.

To us, then, the first movement of the "Heroic Symphony" is a study of
character. In the "Coriolanus Overture" we have one side of a hero
depicted: here we see lain, in all his aspects; we behold him in sorrow
and in joy, in weakness and in strength, in the struggle and in
victory,--overcoming opposition, and reducing all elements of discord
to harmony and order by the force of his energetic will. It may be
either a description of Napoleon, as Beethoven at that time understood
his character,--we are inclined to this opinion,--or it may be a more
general picture of a hero, to which the career of Napoleon had
furnished but the original conception. The second movement is to us the
wail of a nation ground to the dust by the iron heel of
despotism,--France under the old _régime_,--France in the Reign of
Terror,--France needing, as few nations have needed, the advent of a
hero. The scherzo, with its trio, is not a form for minute painting of
_how_ the hero comes and saves; nor is this necessary; it has been
sufficiently indicated in the first movement. _We_ hear in it the
awakening to new life, from the first whispers of hope, uttered
mysteriously and with trembling lips, to the bright and cheering
expression of a nation's joy,--not loudly and boisterously,--(Beethoven
never gives such a language to the depths of happiness,)--in the
exquisite passages for the horns in the trio. We agree with Marx
in feeling the finale to be a picture of the blessings of that peace
and quiet which the hero once more restores,--but peace and quiet where
liberty and law, justice and order reign.

One fact in relation to the finale of this symphony has caused
Professor Marx no little trouble. The movement is a theme and
variations, with a fugue, and was also published by Beethoven as a
"Theme and Variations for the Pianoforte," Op. 35, dedicated to Moritz
Lichnowsky. The theme is from the finale of the "Prometheus." Now what
could induce Beethoven to make this use of so important a work, as such
a finale to such a symphony, is to our Professor a puzzle. It troubles
him on page 70, (Vol. I.,) again on page 212, and finally on page 274.
The same theme three times employed,--he may say four, for it is one of
the six "Contredanses" by Beethoven, which appeared about that
time,--and the third time _so_ employed! Lenz happens to have
overlooked the fact,--and so has Marx,--that the Variations for the
Pianoforte, Op. 35, were advertised in the "Leipziger Musikalische
Zeitung," already in November, 1803. How long Beethoven had kept them
by him, how long it had taken them to make the then slow journey from
Vienna to Leipzig, to be engraved, corrected, and made ready for sale,
we are not informed. A very simple theory will account for all the
phenomena in this case.

A very beautiful theme in the finale of "Prometheus" is admired.
Beethoven composes variations upon it, and, to render it more worthy of
his friend Lichnowsky, adds the fugue. The work becomes a favorite, and,
the theme being originally descriptive of the happiness of man in a state
of culture and refinement, he decides to arrange it for orchestra, and
give it a place in the new symphony. How if Lichnowsky proposed it?

A large proportion of the three chapters under consideration, as,
indeed, of many others, is directed against Oulibichef,--
"Oulibichef-Thersites," as he names him in the Table of
Contents. The very different manner in which he treats this gentleman,
throughout his work, from that in which he speaks of Berlioz, Wagner,
Lenz, is striking; but Oulibichef is dead, and cannot reply. Some of
the Russian's contrapuntal objections to the "Heroic Symphony" are well
answered; but, as we are satisfied with the poetic explanation of the
work by neither, we must confess, that, after the crystalline clearness
of Oulibichef, the muddy wordiness of Marx is not to edification.

We turn now to the chapters devoted to the opera "Leonore," afterwards
"Fidelio,"--one of the most interesting topics in Beethoven's musical
history. Here, at length, we do find something beyond what Ries and
Schindler have recorded,--no longer the close coincidence in matters of
fact with Lenz; indeed, the account of the changes made in transforming
the three-act "Leonore" into the two-act "Fidelio" we consider the best
piece of historic writing in the volumes,--the one which gives us the
greatest number of new facts, and most clearly and chronologically
arranged. It is really quite unfortunate for Professor Marx, that
Professor Otto Jahn of Bonn gave us, some years since, in his preface
to the Leipzig edition of "Leonore," precisely the same facts, from
precisely the same sources, and in some cases, we had almost said, in
precisely the same words. The "coincidence" here is striking,--as we
cannot suppose Marx ever saw Jahn's publication, since he makes no
reference to it. In the errors with which Marx spices his narrative
occasionally, the coincidence ceases. Here are some instances.
--According to Marx, one reason of the ill success of the
opera at Vienna, in 1805-6, was the popularity of that upon the same
subject by Paer. The Viennese first heard the latter in 1809.--Again,
at the first production of the "Fidelio," in 1814, Marx says, the
Leonore Overture No. 3 was played because that in E flat was not
finished. Seyfried says expressly, the overture to the "Ruins of
Athens,"--Marx speaks of the proposals made to Beethoven in 1823 to
compose the "Melusine," and still another text,--and so speaks as to
leave the impression, that, from the "fall of the opera" in 1806, the
composer had purposely kept aloof from the stage. Does the Professor
know nothing of Beethoven's application in 1807 to the Theater-
Direktion of the imperial playhouses, to be employed as regular
operatic composer?--of the opera "Romulus?"--of his correspondence with
Koerner, Rellstab, and still others? It appears not.

We must close our article somewhere; it is already, perhaps, too long;
we add, therefore, but a general remark or two.

To many readers Marx's discussions of Beethoven's last works will be
found of interest and value, though written in that turgid, vague,
confused style--"words, words, words"--which the Germans denominate by
the expressive term, _Geschtwätz_. This is especially the case with his
essays upon the great "Missa Solemnis," and the "Ninth Symphony."

We cannot rise from the perusal of this "Life of Beethoven" without
feeling something akin to indignation. Were it a possible supposition,
we should imagine it to be a thing manufactured to sell,--and, indeed,
in some such manner as this; The labors of Lenz taken without
acknowledgment for the skeleton of the work; Wegeler, Ries, Schindler,
and Seyfried at hand for citations, where Lenz fails to give more than
a reference; Oulibichef on the table to supply topics for polemical
discussion; a few periodicals and papers, which have come accidentally
into his possession, to afford here and there an anecdote or a letter;
the works of Professor A. B. Marx supplying the necessary authorities
upon points in musical science. As for any original research, that is
out of the question. Why stop to verify a fact, to decide a disputed
point, to search out new matter? The market waits,--the publisher
presses,--so, hurry-skurry, away we go,--and the book is done!
Seriously, such a book, from one with such opportunities at command, is
a disgrace to the institution in which its author occupies the station
of Professor.

When Schindler wrote, Johann van Beethoven, the brother, and Carl van
Beethoven, the nephew, were still alive, and feelings of delicacy led
him to do little more than hint at those domestic and family relations
and sorrows which for several years rendered the great composer much of
the time unfit for labor, and which at last brought him to the grave.
When Marx wrote, all had passed away, who could be wounded by a plain
statement of the facts in the case. Until we have such a statement,
none but he who has gone through the labor of studying the original
authorities, as they exist in Berlin, can know the real greatness,
perhaps also the weaknesses, of Beethoven in those last years. None can
know how his heart was torn,--how he poured out, concentrated all the
love of his great heart upon his adopted son, but to learn "how sharper
than the serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." Nothing of
all this in Marx. He quotes Schindler, and therewith enough.

Long as this article has become, we have referred to but the more
important of the passages which in reading we marked for
comment,--enough, however, we judge, to show that the biography of
Ludwig van Beethoven still remains to be written.



_The American Draught-Player_; or the Theory and Practice of the
Scientific Game of Chequers. By HENRY SPAYTH. Buffalo, New York.
Printed for the Author.

Almost everybody plays the game of draughts, but few have any insight
into its beauties; and many who look upon chess as a science rather
than an amusement regard draughts as a childish game, never suspecting
what eminent ability and painful research have been expended in
explaining a game which is inferior to chess only in variety and far
superior in scientific precision. Mr. Spayth's book is accordingly
addressed to a comparatively narrow circle of readers; but those who
are competent to judge of its merits will find it a work of great
value. The author, who is an enthusiastic votary of the game, and has
no superior among our American amateurs, offers a judicious selection
from the treatises of such foreign writers as the severe and critical
Anderson, the brilliant but capricious Drummond, Robert Martin, perhaps
the first of living players, Hay, Sinclair, and Wylie, besides many
valuable games from Sturges and Payne, who will never be rendered
obsolete by modern improvements,--together with the labors of such
acknowledged masters in America as Bethell, Mercer, Ash, Drysdale, and
Young, and the contributions of such rising players as Howard, Brooks,
Fisk, Boughton, Janvier, Hull, and Thwing. But his labors have not been
merely those of a compiler. Out of fifteen hundred games, more than
five hundred are the composition of Mr. Spayth himself.

The results of so much labor and skill cannot, of course, be fully
criticized by us. The merits of the volume can be fairly tested only by
long and constant use. We shall, however, venture to point out some
faults in Mr. Spayth's treatment, premising that his is by far the best
treatise upon the game yet published, and the only treatise worthy of
the name that has ever appeared in this country. Anderson's arrangement
of the games, which Mr. Spayth has adopted, is both clear and concise;
and we are glad to see that our author has adhered to the old system of
draught-notation, which is infinitely superior to any of the new plans.
The condensation and clear presentation of Paterson's somewhat abstruse
essay on "The Move and its Changes" is every way admirable, and many of
the problems are remarkable for beauty and difficulty.

We think that too much prominence has been given to certain openings.
While glad to see that model of all openings, the _Old Fourteenth_,
which is to draughts what the _Giuoco Piano_ is to chess, illustrated
by 186 games, of which 127 are original with the author, the brilliant
_Fife_ (the _Muzio_ of chess-players) explained by 67 games, the
_Suter_ by 72 games, and the _Single Corner_ by 258 games, we regret
that only 24 specimens should be given of the _Double Corner_, 42 (and
only 11 of these original) of the _Defiance_, and 51 (with but 14
original) of the fascinating and intricate _Ayrshire Lassie_, an
opening of which American students know very little. We regret this
meagre explanation of the three latter openings all the more that we
expected a particularly full and lucid presentment of them from Mr.
Spayth.

The definition of certain openings seems to us also incorrect and
inconsistent. The Scottish school, whom Mr. Spayth has sometimes
followed too closely, as in this instance, are singularly deficient as
theorists, and have never given the game anything like a philosophical
treatment. The _Whilter_ is _not_ "formed by the first three or five
moves." The bare notion of forming one opening in two different ways is
absurd and contradictory. The time will come when draught-players will
understand that the _Whilter_ is formed by the first three moves,
namely, 11.15--23.19--7.11, or else, 10.15--23.19--7.10, which is
really the same thing. The distinctive move of the opening is 7.11;
there is nothing characteristic in the 9.14--22.17, which may
intervene: those moves leave the game free to develop itself into a
_Fife_, a _Suter_, or even an _Old Fourteenth_; but the move of 7.11
determines the opening at once and finally. Then, under the title of
the _Double Corner_ the author includes several distinct openings,--and
so, too, under the _Bristol_. In this latter case, the Scottish
treatises are right and Mr. Spayth is wrong. A strange confusion is
also caused by the attempt to include a number of different openings
under the head of "Irregular."

It is useless to linger over the exhaustive plan of all our
draught-writers, but, in adopting their plan, Mr. Spayth's fault has
been merely that of his predecessors, and his merits are all his own.
The true plan for a draught-treatise is that adopted by Staunton in his
chess-writings. No man has time to write a treatise which shall embody
the entire practice of the game; and even if such an exhaustive
treatise were written, no man would ever have time to master its
instructions. But the theory can be fully set forth, and is as yet
almost entirely undeveloped. The subject of odds alone presents an
extensive field for future investigations.

We have found fault with Mr. Spayth's new volume wherever we honestly
could; and we dismiss it with an emphatic repetition of the opinion,
that it is by far the best work upon the game that has ever been
published.



_The Adopted Heir._ By MISS PARDOE. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson &
Brothers.

Miss Pardoe ought to do better than this. There is much ability
displayed in her "Court of France"; and she has written a very clever
story, entitled "The Romance of the Harem." But this book is thoroughly
feeble and commonplace. The customary rich and whimsical nabob, whom we
all know so well, has returned to England, and is deliberating upon the
claims to his wealth of his several relations. His decision is soon
formed, but shrouded in an impenetrable mystery, which is open to the
usual objection to the novelist's impenetrable mysteries, of being
perfectly transparent. Having divined who will be the heir, after
reading forty pages, we are a little impatient that Miss Pardoe should
cherish the secret with every imaginable precaution until the 350th
page, when she brings it out with a flourish, as if no human sagacity
could possibly have discovered it.

This keeping secrets that are no secrets, the besetting weakness of
novelists, was once quite affecting. When Nicholas Nickleby acted at
Mr. Crummles's theatre, a thrill of terror ran through the
unsophisticated spectators, as the wicked relation poked a sword at him
in the dark in every direction except where his legs were plainly
visible. But readers are more exacting now. And we are all frightfully
sagacious. Long reading of novels gives a fatal skill in anticipating
their issues. If in the first chapter the poor little brother runs away
to sea, his anxious friends may bewail his loss, but we remain calm in
the conviction that he will return, yellow and rich, precisely in time
to frustrate the designs of the wicked, and to reward innocence and
constancy with ten thousand a year. All the good people in a story may
be puzzled to detect the author of an alarming fraud; but we know
better, and, fixing with more than a detective's accuracy upon the
gentlemanly, plausible villain, drag him forth long before our author
is ready to present him to our (theoretically) astonished eyes. The
whole village may be deceived by the venerable stranger, with his white
hair and benevolent spectacles, but our unerring eye instantly discerns
in him Black Donald, the robber-captain; and if we do not tremble for
our heroine, it is only because we are morally certain that her deadly
peril is only an excuse for her inevitable lover's "dashing up on a
coal-black barb, urged to his utmost speed," and delivering the
desolate fair, who has won our regard alike by her indignant virtue,
and the skill with which, while laboring under uncontrollable
agitation, she constructs sentences so ponderous and intricate that Mr.
Burke's periods are trifles in comparison. And we know all this, simply
because there are certain things to be done, and only so many people to
do them. Miss Austen, indeed, could keep her secrets impenetrable; but
the art died with her, and our common sense is daily insulted by these
weak attempts at mystery. If the secret is one that cannot be
kept, why, let the author tell it us at once, and we can then follow
with sympathy the attempts to baffle those in the story who are trying
to detect it, instead of being offended with a shallow artifice. Here
lies the artistic error of that very clever book, "Paul Ferroll." We
all see at once that Mr. Ferroll murdered his wife, and the author
would have lost nothing and gained much by taking us into his
confidence.

The style of the "Adopted Heir" is at once pompous and feeble. From
writers of the Mrs. Southworth school we should expect nothing else;
but Miss Pardoe was capable of something better.



_Fanny_. From the French of ERNEST FEYDEAU. New York: Evert D. Long &
Co.

If there be any one thing worse than French immorality, it is French
morality. This is a moral book, _à la Française_, and weak as
ditch-water. Nor is the ditch-water improved by being particularly
dirty.

Edward, who is a mere boy, is in love with Fanny. This is natural
enough. Fanny, who is decidedly an old girl, who has been married for
fifteen years, and who has three children, is not less desperately in
love with Edward, whom she regards with a most charming sentiment, in
which the timid passion of the maiden blends gracefully with the
maturer regard of an aunt or a grandmother. This is not quite so
natural. Certainly, it can hardly be that she is fascinated by Edward,
who is the most disgustingly silly young monkey to be found in the
whole range of French novels. But the mystery is at once disclosed when
we read the description of Fanny's husband. He is "a species of bull
with a human face." "His smile was not unpleasing, and his look without
any malicious expression, but clear as crystal." We begin to comprehend
his inferiority to Edward,--to sympathize with the youth's horror at
the sight of this obnoxious husband, "who seems to him," as M. Janin
says in his preface, "a hero--what do I say?--a giant!--to the loving,
timid, fragile child." "In fine, a certain air of calm rectitude
pervaded his person." Execrable wretch! could anything be more
repulsive to true and delicate sentiment (as before, _à la Française_)
"I should say his age was about forty." Our wrath at this last atrocity
can hardly be controlled. It seems as if M. Feydeau, by collecting in
one individual all the qualities which most excite his abhorrence and
contempt, had succeeded in giving us, in Fanny's husband, a very
tolerable specimen of a gentleman. We pardon all to the somewhat
middle-aged lady, whose "feelings are too many for her"; and we only
regret that M. Feydeau did not see the eminent propriety of increasing
the lady's admiration by having this brutal husband pull Edward's
divine nose or kick the adored person of the _pauvre enfant_ down
stairs.


_Life Without and Life Within: or, Reviews, Narratives, Essays, and
Poems_. By MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI, Author of "Woman in the Nineteenth
Century," "At Home and Abroad," "Art, Literature, and the Drama," etc.
Edited by her Brother, ARTHUR B. FULLER. Boston: Brown, Taggard, &
Chase.

Of this volume little more need be said than that, had Margaret Fuller
Ossoli edited it, she might have reduced its size. Yet it is not
surprising that love and reverence should seek with diligence and save
with care whatever had emanated from her pen; and if the matter thus
laid before the world take something from her reputation, it also
completes the standard by which to measure her power. She appears to
have been without creative faculty, yet her perception of the gift in
others was often remarkable, and it pleased her to hold the possessor
of it up to admiration. Hence she devoted much time and attention to
the critical examination of art, music, and literature, and succeeded
in giving the works and lives which she reviewed a fresh interest and a
fuller meaning. Her articles on Goethe and Beethoven, in this volume,
furnish ample evidence of her capacity to appreciate the works and the
men of genius, and that, if she could not give good reasons for the
aberrations and eccentricities of their courses, she at least had a
heart large enough to look kindly upon them. Of books she was
a student and a lover; and in the short notices of new ones, which are
transferred from "The Tribune" to these pages, there is hardly one that
has not some thought of value to author as well as reader. Indeed, all
her prose writings are suggestive, and thus are capable of opening
vistas in the quickened mind which were unknown before. Authors of this
class often dart a ray into the recesses of our souls, so that we see
what they never saw, gain what they never gave. A book that increases
mental activity is incomparably better than one that multiplies
learning. The value of knowledge that lies in libraries is
overestimated by all save those who read Nature's runes. The Countess
Ossoli gathered from the garners, rather than from the glorious field,
and therefore she does not range with the marked originals. In this
rank she was not born. Her poems--which we think injudiciously
published--place her far down among the multitude. From these untuneful
utterances we gladly turn to her prose. There she shows strength of
character and goodness of heart. One aim, never lost sight of, is
perceptible through all, and gives unity to the whole; this is a
fervent desire to ennoble human life; consequently her works will long
have influence, and continue to call forth praise.



_Lectures on the English Language_. By GEORGE P. MARSH. New York:
Charles Scribner, 1860. pp. vi., 697.

An American scholar of wide range, at the same time thorough and
unpretentious, is a rarity; a philologist who is neither perversely
wrongheaded nor the victim of a preconceived theory is a still greater
one; yet we find both characters pleasantly united in the author of
these Lectures. Decided in his opinions, Mr. Marsh is modest in
expressing them, because they are the result of various culture and
long reflection, and these have taught him that time and study often
render the most positive conclusions doubtful, especially in regard to
such a topic as Language. Deservedly honored with diplomatic employment
in Europe, he has done credit to the choice of the Government by
turning the long leisure of a foreign mission to as great profit by
study and observation as if he had been a Travelling Fellow and these
had been the conditions of his tenure.

Addressed to a mixed audience, to the laity rather than to students,
these Lectures are more popular than scholastic in their character. Mr.
Marsh alludes to this with something like regret in his Preface. We
look upon this as by no means a misfortune. The book will, for this
very reason, reach and interest a much larger number of readers; and
while there is nothing in it to scare away those who read for mere
entertainment, they whose studies have led them into the same paths
with the author will continually recognize those signs, trifling, but
unmistakable, which distinguish the work of a master from that of a
journeyman. Scholarship is indicated not only by readiness of allusion,
and variety and aptness of illustration, but by a thorough
self-possession and chastened eloquence of style. A genius for language
comes doubtless by nature, but Mr. Marsh is too wise a man to believe
that a knowledge of it comes in the same way; his learning has that
ripened clearness which tells of olden vintages and of long storing in
the crypts of the brain; he has nothing in common with the easy
generalizers who know as little of roots as Shelley's skylark, and who,
seeking a shelter in welcome clouds, pour forth "profuse strains of
unpremeditated art" upon questions which above all others are limited
by exact science and unyielding fact.

We believe we are not going too far when we say that Mr. Marsh's book
is the best treatise of the kind in the language. It abounds in nice
criticism and elegant discussion on matters of taste, showing in the
author a happy capacity for esthetic discrimination as well as for
linguistic attainment. He does not profess to deal with some of the
deeper problems of language, but nevertheless makes us feel that they
have been subjects of thoughtful study, and, within the limits he has
imposed upon himself, he is often profound without the pretence of it.

We have spoken warmly of this volume, for it has both interested and
instructed us, and because we consider it one of the few thoroughly
creditable productions of Cisatlantic scholarship. We hope the
appreciation it meets with will be such that we shall soon have
occasion to thank Mr. Marsh for another volume on some kindred theme.



_The Marble Faun._ A Romance of Monte Beni. By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. 2
vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860.

It is, we believe, more than thirty years since Mr. Hawthorne's first
appearance as an author; it is twenty-three since he gave his first
collection of "Twice-told Tales" to the world. His works have received
that surest warranty of genius and originality in the widening of their
appreciation downward from a small circle of refined admirers and
critics, till it embraced the whole community of readers. With just
enough encouragement to confirm his faith in his own powers, those
powers had time to ripen and toughen themselves before the gales of
popularity could twist them from the balance of a healthy and normal
development. Happy the author whose earliest works are read and
understood by the lustre thrown back upon them from his latest! for
then we receive the impression of continuity and cumulation of power,
of peculiarity deepening to individuality, of promise more than
justified in the keeping: unhappy, whose autumn shows only the
aftermath and rowen of an earlier harvest, whose would-be
replenishments are but thin dilutions of his fame!

The nineteenth century has produced no more purely original writer than
Mr. Hawthorne. A shallow criticism has sometimes fancied a resemblance
between him and Poe. But it seems to us that the difference between
them is the immeasurable one between talent carried to its ultimate,
and genius,--between a masterly adaptation of the world of sense and
appearance to the purposes of Art, and a so thorough conception of the
world of moral realities that Art becomes the interpreter of something
profounder than herself. In this respect it is not extravagant to say
that Hawthorne has something of kindred with Shakspeare. But that
breadth of nature which made Shakspeare incapable of alienation from
common human nature and actual life is wanting to Hawthorne. He is
rather a denizen than a citizen of what men call the world. We are
conscious of a certain remoteness in his writings, as in those of
Donne, but with such a difference that we should call the one super-
and the other subter-sensual. Hawthorne is psychological and
metaphysical. Had he been born without the poetic imagination, he would
have written treatises on the Origin of Evil. He does not draw
characters, but rather conceives them and then shows them acted upon by
crime, passion, or circumstance, as if the element of Fate were as
present to his imagination as to that of a Greek dramatist. Helen we
know, and Antigone, and Benedick, and Falstaff, and Miranda, and Parson
Adams, and Major Pendennis,--these people have walked on pavements or
looked out of club-room windows; but what are these idiosyncrasies into
which Mr. Hawthorne has breathed a necromantic life, and which he has
endowed with the forms and attributes of men? And yet, grant him his
premises, that is, let him once get his morbid tendency, whether
inherited or the result of special experience, either incarnated
as a new man or usurping all the faculties of one already in
the flesh, and it is marvellous how subtilely and with what
truth to as much of human nature as is included in a diseased
consciousness he traces all the finest nerves of impulse and motive,
how he compels every trivial circumstance into an accomplice of his
art, and makes the sky flame with foreboding or the landscape chill and
darken with remorse. It is impossible to think of Hawthorne without at
the same time thinking of the few great masters of imaginative
composition; his works, only not abstract because he has the genius
to make them ideal, belong not specially to our clime or generation;
it is their moral purpose alone, and perhaps their sadness, that mark
him as the son of New England and the Puritans.

It is commonly true of Hawthorne's romances that the interest centres
in one strongly defined protagonist, to whom the other characters are
accessory and subordinate,--perhaps we should rather say a ruling Idea,
of which all the characters are fragmentary embodiments. They remind us
of a symphony of Beethoven's, in which, though there be variety of
parts, yet all are infused with the dominant motive, and heighten its
impression by hints and far-away suggestions at the most unexpected
moment. As in Rome the obelisks are placed at points toward which
several streets converge, so in Mr. Hawthorne's stories the actors and
incidents seem but vistas through which we see the moral from different
points of view,--a moral pointing skyward always, but inscribed with
hieroglyphs mysteriously suggestive, whose incitement to conjecture,
while they baffle it, we prefer to any prosaic solution.

Nothing could be more original or imaginative than the conception of
the character of Donatello in Mr. Hawthorne's new romance. His likeness
to the lovely statue of Praxiteles, his happy animal temperament, and
the dim legend of his pedigree are combined with wonderful art to
reconcile us to the notion of a Greek myth embodied in an Italian of
the nineteenth century; and when at length a soul is created in this
primeval pagan, this child of earth, this creature of mere instinct,
awakened through sin to a conception of the necessity of atonement, we
feel, that, while we looked to be entertained with the airiest of
fictions, we were dealing with the most august truths of psychology,
with the most pregnant facts of modern history, and studying a profound
parable of the development of the Christian Idea.

Everything suffers a sea-change in the depths of Mr. Hawthorne's mind,
gets rimmed with an impalpable fringe of melancholy moss, and there is
a tone of sadness in this book as in the rest, but it does not leave us
sad. In a series of remarkable and characteristic works, it is perhaps
the most remarkable and characteristic. If you had picked up and read a
stray leaf of it anywhere, you would have exclaimed, "Hawthorne!"

The book is steeped in Italian atmosphere. There are many landscapes in
it full of breadth and power, and criticisms of pictures and statues
always delicate, often profound. In the Preface, Mr. Hawthorne pays a
well-deserved tribute of admiration to several of our sculptors,
especially to Story and Akers. The hearty enthusiasm with which he
elsewhere speaks of the former artist's "Cleopatra" is no surprise to
Mr. Story's friends at home, though hardly less gratifying to them than
it must be to the sculptor himself.



_A Trip to Cuba_. By Mrs. JULIA WARD HOWE. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.
1860. pp. 251.

For readers of the "Atlantic," this little volume will need no further
commendation than the mere statement that nearly a quarter of it is
made up of hitherto unpublished material. Here and there it seems to us
a little too personal, and the public is made the confidant of matters
in which it has properly no concern. This, perhaps, is more the fault
of the present generation than of the author; but it is something we
feel bound to protest against, wherever we meet it. In other respects,
the book is one which we may thank not only for entertainment, but for
instruction. In its vivid picturesqueness, it furnishes the complement
to Mr. Dana's "To Cuba and Back." Mrs. Howe has the poet's gift of
making us see what she describes, and she is as lively and witty as a
French _Marquise_ of the seventeenth century, when a _De_ in the name,
petticoats, and Paris were an infallible receipt for cleverness. Toward
the end of her volume, Mrs. Howe enters a spirited and telling protest
against a self-constituted censorship, which would insist on a
traveller's squaring his impressions with some foregone theory of right
and wrong, instead of thankfully allowing facts to rectify his theory.
A traveller is bound to tell us what he saw, not what he expected or
wished to see; and it is only by comparing the different views of many
independent observers that we who tarry at home can arrive at any
approximate notion of absolute fact. The general inferiority of modern
books of travel is due to the fact that their authors write in the fear
of their special fragment of a public, and report of foreign countries
as if they were drummers for Exeter Hall or the Southern Planters'
Association, rather than servants of Truth.



_Poems by Two Friends_. Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster, & Co. 1860.
pp. 162.

The Two Friends are Messrs. John J. Piatt and W. D. Howells. The
readers of the "Atlantic" have already had a taste of the quality of
both, and, we hope, will often have the same pleasure again. The volume
is a very agreeable one, with little of the crudeness so generally
characteristic of first ventures,--not more than enough to augur richer
maturity hereafter. Dead-ripeness in a first book is a fatal symptom,
sure sign that the writer is doomed forever to that pale limbo of
faultlessness from which there is no escape upwards or downwards.

We can scarce find it in our hearts to make any distinctions in so
happy a partnership; but while we see something more than promise in
both writers, we have a feeling that Mr. Piatt shows greater
originality in the choice of subjects, and Mr. Howells more instinctive
felicity of phrase in the treatment of them. Both of them seem to us to
have escaped remarkably from the prevailing conventionalisms of verse,
and to write in metre because they have a genuine call thereto. We are
pleased with a thorough Western flavor in some of the poems, especially
in such pieces as "The Pioneer Chimney" and "The Movers." We welcome
cordially a volume in which we recognize a fresh and authentic power,
and expect confidently of the writers a yet higher achievement ere
long. The poems give more than glimpses of a faculty not so common that
the world can afford to do without it.



_Vanity Fair_, Frank J. Thompson, 113 Nassau Street, New York.
(Weekly.)

This is the first really clever comic and satirical journal we have had
in America,--and really clever it is. It is both sharp and
good-tempered, and not afraid to say that its soul is its own,--which
shows that it has a soul. Our readers will be glad to know where they
can find native fun that has something better in it than mere _patois_.



_Twenty Years Ago and Now_. By T. S. ARTHUR. Philadelphia: G. G. Evans.

In attempting a novel, Mr. Arthur has gone beyond his powers. This
story is not new, and is not interesting; and its only merits are the
quiet, unpretending style and kindly spirit shown in the author's
little tales of mercantile life, many of which are very good.



RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


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Explanation of the Dark Sayings and Allegories which abound in the
Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Bibles. Also, the Real Sense of the
Doctrines and Observances of the Modern Christian Churches. By G. C.
Stewart, Newark, N. J. New York. Ross & Tousey. 18mo. pp. 234. 75 cts.

A Trip to Cuba. By Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. Boston. Ticknor & Fields.
16mo. pp. iv., 25l. 75 cts.

Humanics. By T. Wharton Collins, Esq., Professor of "Political
Philosophy," University of Louisiana, Ex-Presiding Judge City Court of
New Orleans, etc. New York. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 358. $1.75.

Essays, Critical and Miscellaneous. By T. Babington Macaulay. New and
Revised Edition. New York. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 744. $2.00.

Life and Times of Gen. Sam. Dale, the Mississippi Partisan. By J. F. H.
Claiborne. Illustrated by John M'Lenan. New York. Harper & Brothers.
12mo. pp. 233. $1.00.

Lucy Crofton. By the Author of "Margaret Maitland," "The Days of my
Life." New York. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 222. 75 cts.

Holmby House. A Tale of Old Northamptonshire. By G. J. Whyte Melville,
Author of "Kate Coventry," "The Interpreter," etc. Boston. Ticknor &
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Aeschylus, ex novissima Recensione Frederici A. Paley. Accessit
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