By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 26, December, 1859 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 26, December, 1859 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.





In the winter of 1856, the outlook of the present writer, known
somewhere as Samuel Absalom, became exceedingly troubled, and indeed
scarcely respectable. As gold-digger in California, Fortune had looked
upon him unkindly, and he was grown to be one of the indifferent,
ragged children of the earth. Those who came behind him might read as
they ran, stamped on canvas once white, "Stockton Mills. Self-Rising
Flour!"--the well-known label in California, at that day, of greatest

One morning, after sleeping out the night in the streets of Oroville,
he got up, and read these words, or some like them, in the village
newspaper:--"The heavy frost which fell last night brings with it at
least one source of congratulation for our citizens. Soon the crowd of
vagrant street-sleepers, which infests our town, will be forced to go
forth and work for warmer quarters. It has throughout this summer been
the ever-present nuisance and eyesore of our otherwise beautiful and
romantic moonlit nights." "Listen to this scoundrel!" said he; "how he
can insult an unfortunate man! Makes his own living braying, lying, and
flinging dirt, and spits upon us sad devils who fail to do it in an
honest manner! Ah, the times are changing in California! Once, no one
knew but this battered hat I sit under might partially cover the head
of a nobleman or man of honor; but men begin to show their quality by
the outside, as they do elsewhere in the world, and are judged and
spoken to accordingly. I will shake California dust from my feet, and
be gone!"

In this mood, I thought of General Walker, down there in Nicaragua,
striving to regenerate the God-forsaken Spanish Americans. "I will go
down and assist General Walker," said I. So next morning found me on my
way to San Francisco, with a roll of blankets on my shoulder and some
small pieces of money in my pocket. Arrived in the city, I sought out
General Walker's agent, one Crittenden by name, a respectable,
honest-looking man, and obtained from him the promise of two hundred
and fifty acres of Nicaraguan land and twenty-five dollars per month
for service in the army of General Walker, and also a steerage-ticket
of free passage to the port of San Juan del Norte by one of the
steamers of the Nicaragua Transit Line. Of my voyage down I do not
intend to speak; several unpublished sensations might have been picked
up in that steerage crowd of bog Irish, low Dutch, New Yorkers, and
California savages of every tribe, returning home in red flannel shirts
and boots of cowhide large; but my business is not with them, and I say
only that after a brief and prosperous voyage we anchored early one
morning in the harbor of San Juan del Sur, at that time part of the
dominions of General Walker.

Whilst the great crowd of home-bound passengers, with infinite din and
shouting, are bustling down the gangways toward the shore, our little
party of twenty or thirty Central American regenerators assemble on the
ship's bow, and answer to our names as read out by a small,
mild-featured man, whom at a glance I should have thought no
filibuster. It seems he was our captain _pro tem._, and bore
recommendations from the agent at San Francisco to a commission in the
Nicaraguan service. He had made the voyage on the cabin side of the
ship, and I saw him now for the first time. His looks betokened no
fire-eating soul; but your brave man has not necessarily a truculent
countenance; and I was, indeed, thankful for the prospect of fighting
under an honest man and no cut-throat outwardly.

We followed this our chief down the vessel's side to the shore,
catching a glimpse of Fate as we passed over the old hulk in our
course. It was one of Walker's soldiers in the last stage of fever. His
skin was as yellow and glazed as parchment, and seemed drawn over a
mere fleshless skeleton. Poor man! he lay there watching the noisy
passengers descend from the ship. "His eyes are with his heart, and
that is far away," carried back by the bustling scene to another
shore,--the goal of that passing crowd,--never more to gladden _his_
dim eye. The unrelenting grasp of death was on him; and even now,
perhaps, the waves are rolling his bleaching bones to and fro on that
distant beach. I say that this dismal omen damped the spirit of us all.
But nothing in this world can long dishearten the brave; we soon grow
lighter, and, marching along in the crowd, blackguard effectively the
witty or witless dogs that crack jokes at us and forebode hard fate
ahead of us.

When we came into the town of San Juan, we found there a general and
colonel of the filibuster army, and reported ourselves forthwith as a
party of recruits just arrived and at their service. The general was
altogether absorbed hobnobbing with the old friends whom he had
discovered in the passenger crowd, and would not listen to us; but the
colonel pointed out an empty building, and told us to drop our luggage
there, and amuse ourselves until we heard further from him. This town
of San Juan del Sur is entirely the creation of the Nicaragua Transit
Company, and is the Pacific terminus of the Isthmus portage-road. It
consisted of half a dozen board hotels, and a litter of native
grass-thatched huts, and lay at the foot of a high, woody spur, which
curves out into the sea and forms the southern rim of a beautiful
little harbor, completed by another less elevated point jutting out on
the north. The country inland is entirely shut out by a dense forest,
into which the Transit road plunges and is immediately lost. Whilst I
was walking about this sequestered place, now all alive with the
California passengers, a party of Walker's cavalry came riding in from
the interior, and at once drew all eyes upon them. They were mounted on
horses or mules of every color, shape, and size,--themselves
yellow-faced, ragged, and dirty; nevertheless, their deadly garniture,
rifles, revolvers, and bowie-knives, and their fierce and shaggy looks,
kept them from being laughed at. They dismounted and tied their beasts
in front of one of the hotels, and then dispersed about the town in
search of whatever was refreshing.

From these men we learned that General Walker's prospects were never so
fair as now. His enemies, they said, worn out and ready to despair, had
drawn off to Granada, where they now lay irresolute and quarrelling
amongst themselves. General Walker held the Transit route from ocean to
ocean, and a single filibuster might walk all through the country
without danger. This news was not satisfactory to all of us. A small,
bright-eyed youth, from the California theatre, who had been noted on
the voyage down for his loud talking, declared that for his part he had
come to Nicaragua to fight, and, now that there was no more fighting to
be done, he would pass through and take ship for the United States. The
filibusters smiled at each other grimly, and told him, if that was the
difficulty, he had better not go, for Walker intended driving the enemy
out of Granada shortly, and he would there find all that he wanted. And
well it was that they satisfied him to stay; for on that day this youth
went without his dinner because he had no cent in his pocket to buy it,
and ship-captains refuse to assist all such as lie under that unhappy
cloud. Oh, thou light-bodied son of Thespis! Where art thou now? I saw
thee last, with heavy musket on thy shoulder, marching wearily to the
assault of San Jorge. Did the vultures tear thee there? Or art thou
still somewhere amongst men, blowing the great deeds wrought by thy
feathery arm that day? I hope thou wast not left on that dismal shore!

Late in the afternoon, when the Californians had departed for Virgin
Bay, where they were to embark on Lake Nicaragua, our party of recruits
took the road for the same place, on our way to Rivas, the
head-quarters of the filibuster army. A short distance from the
Pacific, we began the ascent of the Cordillera chain, not very
formidable here, but broken into spurs and irregular ridges, with deep
umbrageous hollows, and little streams of clear water winding noisily
among them. Coming down from this rugged high ground, we entered a wide
plain, stretching away to Lake Nicaragua, out of whose waters we saw
the blue cones of Ometepec and Madeira lifting their heads up above
all, and capped with clouds. Before we had crossed the twelve miles
between ocean and lake, and entered Virgin Bay, it was dark, and the
Californians were already hurrying aboard a little steamer, which
puffed and whistled at the wharf. In half an hour afterwards they were
steaming across the lake for the entrance or head of the Rio San Juan.

It was here that we ate our first meal at the expense of General
Walker, or, rather, at the expense of an innkeeper of Virgin Bay; for
he, our entertainer, looked upon us as little better than sorners,
declaring he had already fed filibusters to the value of six thousand
dollars, without other return than General Walker's promise to pay,
which he professed to esteem but slightly or not at all. These
hotel-keepers of Virgin Bay and San Juan, who came in the wake of the
Transit Company, and made their money by the California passengers,
seemed to be a good deal worried by General Walker. Their business was
no longer profitable, and their families lived in a state of continual
alarm between the combatants; yet they were not allowed the alternative
of flight; for it was General Walker's policy, wise or unwise, when he
had got a man into Nicaragua who was useful to him, to keep him there;
and the last Transit Company, being entirely in his interest, carried
no emigrant out of the Isthmus unfurnished with a passport from
President Walker himself.

That night we slept in an empty building, and were aroused next
morning at daybreak, and ordered to continue our march to Rivas, which
was said to lie nine miles to the north of us. We set forward,
grumbling sorely for lack of breakfast, and stiff from our
twelve-miles' march of the evening before. Our path led us sometimes
under the deep shades of a tangled forest, sometimes along the open
lake-beach, on which the waves rolled with almost the swell of an ocean
surf. A few miles short of Rivas we emerged from the ragged forest, and
entered a beautiful, cultivated country, through which we passed along
green lanes fringed with broad-leaved plantains, bending oranges,
tufted palms, and all tropical fruit-trees,--a very Nicaraguan paradise
to the sore-footed wayfarer. At last this enchanting approach brought
us to the outskirts of Rivas, and we entered a narrow, mud-walled
street, and never halted until we came out upon the central and only
_plaza_ of the miserable town. Our incumbered march, without breakfast,
after a long, inactive sea-voyage, had wearied us sadly; and we threw
our luggage upon, the ground, lay down upon it, and ruminated on a
scene of little comfort to the faint-hearted, if there were any such in
our little crowd of world-battered and battering strong men, topers,
and vagabonds.

The square we had entered was perhaps one hundred yards or more in
width, much overgrown with grass, and surrounded by buildings of mean
and gloomy aspect. Six narrow and sordid streets debouched into
it,--two coming with parallel courses from the west, two from the east,
and one entering at each eastern angle from the north and south. It was
at the opening of the last of these that we rested, and received our
first impressions of the wretched _plaza_,--since hung for us with a
thousand dirty reminiscences.

It displayed none of those architectural embellishments and attempts at
magnificence which usually centre about the _plazas_ of the
Spanish-American capitals,--not even a carved door-facing or trifling
ornament of any description. The entire side on our right, between the
two eastern streets, was occupied by the cracked and roofless walls of
an ancient church or convent, which had long been a neglected ruin. The
fallen stones and mortar had raised a sloping embankment high up its
venerable sides; and the small trees, here and there shooting above the
luxuriant grass and running vines which, covered this climbing pile of
rubbish, waved their branches over the top of the mouldering walls. The
interior of the crumbling structure was a wilderness of rank grass and
weeds, the elysium of reptiles, iguanas, centipedes, and ten thousand
poisonous insects. On our left, opposite the falling church, was
another ruin; but its vulgar features owned none of the green and mossy
dignity of age, which gave a melancholy beauty to the former. It was a
glaring pile of naked dust and rubbish, and its shot crumbled walls and
riddled doors told the tale of its destruction. The entire front on
that side of the _plaza_ was in ruins, with the exception of one stout
building on the corner diagonally opposed to us. The northern side was
inclosed by a long, low building, with its elevated doors partly hidden
by the far-projecting, red-tiled roof; and in front of it six or eight
grim pieces of cannon, mounted upon wheels, gaped their black mouths
toward us. Our own side of the square was occupied by a building
exactly like the one opposite. The low-reaching roof was supported by
wooden posts, and the long porch or corridor between the posts and the
wall was paved with large earthen tiles. The doors, elevated several
feet above this pavement to baffle the heat of a tropical sun, were
darkened by the overhanging roof; and this, together with the effect of
the small wooden-grated windows and the absence of furniture, gave the
rooms a gloomy and comfortless aspect. All these buildings, with the
exception of the ruined convent, which was of stone, were built of
_adobes_, or large sun-dried blocks of mud; and their walls, doors, and
staring red roofs were everywhere bruised or perforated with shot.

Such was the _plaza_ and middle spot of Rivas, a town of some two or
three thousand inhabitants, where General Walker stood at bay many
weary days against the combined Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, and
Chamorristas, and was netted at last. But these observations of the
squalid _plaza_ were of another date. At present our eyes and thoughts
fasten upon the crowd of melancholy, fever-eaten filibusters, who walk
with heavy pace up and down the corridors, and along the paths which
cross the grass-grown plaza. There was a morbid, yellowish glaze,
almost universal, on their faces, and an unnatural listlessness and
utter lack of animation in all their movements and conversation, which
contrasted painfully with the boisterous hilarity and rugged
healthiness of our late Californian fellow-travellers. Their appearance
was most forlorn and despicable in a military view,--no soldier's
uniform or spirit amongst them, only the poor man's uniform of rags and
dirt, and the spirit of careless, disease-worn, doomed men.
Nevertheless, all bore about them some emblem of their trade; some, for
the most part with difficulty, carried muskets or rifles; some, the
better-dressed and healthier looking, wore swords,--a weapon, as I
afterwards found, distinctive of commissioned officers; some had with
them only their pistols or cartridge-boxes, which, belted around the
middle, served a double purpose in keeping up their ragged breeches.
Then almost all of them, as they moved about or lay in the shade of the
corridors, sucked or gnawed some fruit of the country,--the only thing
which they seemed to do with energy or due sensation.

Whilst I sat looking about at these miserable people, I was accosted by
an individual whom I had known in California. He professed to be glad
to see me; told me Nicaragua was the finest of countries; "but," said
he, with some latent humor of too ghastly a hue, "I'm sorry you didn't
come down with us three months ago, as you thought of doing; we've all
been promoted. The officers and two-thirds of the men have died, and
nearly all the rest of us are promoted. I myself am captain. You made a
great mistake, you see."

"My friend," said I, "you needn't try to frighten me. I've lived in a
tropical climate before, and it is the healthiest part of the world for
men of my temperament."

"Then you'll be promoted," said he. "A healthy man is sure of his
reward in this service. Do you see that fellow crossing the plaza with
the old shoes in his hand?"

"Yes," said I,--"poor man!"

"He has got them off of some dead man's feet out at the hospital. They
die out there night and day. All these men you see here will die in six

After running through this humorous vein, he told me what adventures he
had seen since joining the filibuster army; which, however, I have no
intention to recount;--honor enough, if I may relate veridically, and
with passable phrase, my own tamer befallings.

Long after we had grown sufficiently hungry, one came from General
Walker, and led us to a house in the outer parts of the town, where, he
informed us, we had been allotted to quarter for the present. The same
person further instructed us to send to the commissary, and we should
obtain wherewith to satisfy our hunger. We did so gladly; and having
drawn a supply of beef, tortillas, and plantains, were comparatively
content for the rest of the day.

After several days of idle loitering about the camp, our party was
separated and ranked in divers old companies of the army. Myself and
some few others obtained seats amongst the horsemen, and had reason to
think ourselves happy; for the mounted part of the service was so much
more esteemed, that lieutenants of the foot companies had been known to
drop their rank voluntarily and take grade as private soldiers in the

But first it was necessary to achieve our horses before we could mount;
and to that end we were permitted, and indeed commanded, by General
Walker, President of Nicaragua, to search the surrounding _haciendas_
and stables, until we were satisfactorily provided. Accordingly we set
out one morning on this errand, furnished, all of us, with rifles and
store of ammunition, against the possibility of collision with such
countryfolk as might desire over-ardently to keep their horses by them.
It will not be profitable to follow our search over that magnificent
country, diversified with groves of cocoa and plantain trees, patches
of sugar-cane and maize, with here and there a picturesque grange
embowered amidst orange and palm trees. Suffice it to say, that all the
animals in the vicinity of Rivas, fit for warlike purposes, had been
removed, and toward evening we found ourselves out amongst the hills to
the west, beyond the circle of cultivation, and as yet with no horses
in tow. From the summit of a high, grass-crowned hill we swept all the
surrounding country;--toward the east spread a vast sea of verdure,
rolled into gentle hollows and ridges, broken by the red roofs of
Rivas, San Jorge, and Obraja; and beyond all, the lake stretching into
misty remoteness, with its islands, and the ever-notable volcanoes,
Madeira and Ometepec, rising abruptly out of it. It was a glorious
scene, worthy of reverie. But we must scan it as Milton's Devil--to
compare us with one far above us--did the hardly fairer garden of
Paradise,--with thoughts of prey in our hearts. Nor were we
disappointed, any more than that other greater one; for on top of an
open ridge, a short distance west of us, we saw a solitary horse,
tethered, and feeding composedly, as if he had nothing to fear out here
amongst the hills. Part of us keep our eyes upon him, lest his tricky
owner should get the alarm and remove him; whilst others plunge into
the coppice which fills the intervening hollow, and soon reappear on
the ridge beyond.

Whilst we stood about the horse, communing doubtfully, not knowing
where to find another, an old man approached us, and, with rueful look
and gesture, besought us not to deprive him of the sole support of his

"Beyond that hill," said he, "the Padre has many better horses. _El
Padre está un rico hombre. Yo estoy muy pobre, Señores_."

Set it down to the credit of filibusters, that we gladly surrendered
this old man his horse, and betook ourselves to the rear of the hill
which he pointed out to us; and there, after some search, we found, in
close covert of tangled and almost impenetrable bushes, a small
_corral_ of mules and horses, which the Padre had begrudged the service
of General Walker. For my own share in the spoils of this Trojan
adventure, I chose a well-legged mule, young, lively, and well enough
looking generally; and thenceforward I was entitled to call myself
"Mounted Ranger," according to General Walker's rather high-sounding

Let no one reflect upon the writer because he assisted in robbing this
churchman of his horses. For him there was no choice; and if he is
chargeable with moral depravity, it must be elsewhere,--forsooth, in
joining with one who made war unprovided with a military chest
sufficient to cover expenses. However, this is no matter, one way or
the other. The private character of the relator, Samuel Absalom, is not
before the reader; nor is it to be expected that he will care to turn
his eye upon it for a moment.

The ranger company in which we had been ranked was stationed below, on
the Transit road; but as it would return to head-quarters as soon as
the California immigrants, now due, had crossed over to the Pacific, we
were ordered to await it there. We spent the interim foraging for our
animals or loitering about the camp. It may be that some short
exposition of filibuster spirit and circumstances, as we saw them at
this leisure time, will have interest for one or two. A few weeks
before our arrival, the prospect of the Americans in Nicaragua was
black enough, and, indeed, despaired of by most. General Henningsen,
with the greater part of the force, was cooped up and half starved in
Granada, by three or four thousand Costa Ricans and Chamorristas;
General Walker, with the remainder, lay lower down on the Isthmus,
watched by a second division of the enemy, and too weak to give him any
assistance. General Henningsen's men, reduced to a mere handful by
starvation and the bullets of the enemy, could hold out but a day or
two longer; and then the entire force of the allies would unite and
beat up General Walker, and end the squalid game. The Central Americans
were certain of their prey. But just at this juncture several hundred
healthy Americans landed on the Transit road, and, placing them on one
of the lake steamers, together with his old force, General Walker took
them up to Granada, sent them ashore in bungos under a heavy fire, told
them to do or die, and then paddled out into the lake with the steamer.
It was a good stroke. The men, without other hope, fought their way
over three successive barricades to General Henningsen, brought him
out, setting fire to the city, reembarked on the steamer, and finally
landed again at the fort of San Jorge, two miles east of Rivas. After
that, General Walker gathered all his force at Rivas, and the enemy
drew off to Granada, with some thirty or forty miles between.

When we reached Nicaragua, in the latter part of December, 1856, the
entire force of the filibusters was still in Rivas, with the exception
of a small party stationed on the Rio San Juan, beyond the lake, and
communicating with the Isthmus force only by means of two small
steamers, "La Vírgen" and "San Cárlos," which plied across the lake
between the head of the river and Virgin Bay, on the California
passenger-line. The allies had remained inactive at Granada, and were
said to be broken into factions, and daily deserting and returning home
in large bodies. The isthmus of Rivas was free ground to the
filibusters, and a score of rangers might forage with little danger
from the Costa Rican line almost to Granada. Their force outside of the
hospital, as we saw it at head-quarters, numbered probably from eight
hundred to one thousand men,--one-third mere skeletons, scarcely able
to go through drill on the _plaza_,--fit only to bury,--and the great
majority of the remainder turning yellow, shaken daily by chills and
fever, and soon to be as worthless as the others. They were all
foreigners,--Americans, Germans, Irish, French, and English,--with the
exception of one small company of natives, captained by a half-breed
Mexican. It was said, however, that many of the poorer natives were
willing to fight against the Chamorristas,--the aristocratic Nicaraguan
faction originally opposed to Patricio Rivas and the Liberals, now in
arms against General Walker,--but that they made miserable soldiers
outside of a barricade, and General Walker had no arms to throw away
upon them. For sustenance, the filibusters had the fruits around Rivas,
and a small ration of tortillas and beef, furnished them daily by
Walker's commissary. The beef, as we heard, was supplied by Señor
Pineda, General Walker's most powerful and faithful friend amongst the
natives; and the tortillas were bought from the native women in the
neighborhood of Rivas. It was the quality of the food--assisted largely
by exposure, irregular fasts, and _aguardiente_--which made Nicaragua
so fatal to the filibusters. The isthmus between the lake and the
Pacific, swept nine months of the year by cool eastern breezes, is not
unhealthy. But the ration of beef and tortillas (simple maize cakes
without salt) was too scanty and intermittent; and in the absence of
proper food, the men were driven to fill their stomachs with the
unwholesome fruits which everywhere surrounded their quarters, and but
few were able to stand it many months.

As to the spirit which seemed to animate these men, it was certainly
most discouraging. They had lost all thought--supposing them to have
ever had such thought--of regenerating Central America; and most of
them wished no better thing than to fill their bellies, or to escape
from Nicaragua. Many of them were sunk into a physical and mental
lethargy, thinking of nothing and caring for nothing, and were gone,
not a few, even into lunacy. Some cursed General Walker for enticing
them there under false pretences. There were men with families who
professed to have come there to settle and cultivate the soil, having
been persuaded that the war was ended and the country prepared for
peaceful immigration. Some had paid their own passage, purposing merely
to reconnoïtre, and remain or not, as it pleased them; but when they
landed in Nicaragua, General Walker placed muskets in their unwilling
hands, and there he had kept them, fighting, not for himself or his
promises, but for life. It disgusted others that the service was not
only almost certain death and thankless, but was altogether
unprofitable. It was General Walker's practice, and had been always, to
discharge his soldiers' wages with scrip of no cash value whatever, or
so little that many neglected to draw it when due them. And this was
concealed at their enlistment. Indeed, the hatred towards General
Walker and the service seemed almost universal amongst the privates,
and they would have revolted and thrown away their arms at any moment,
had there been hope of escape in that. But they were held together by
common danger in a treacherous or hostile country, separated by broad
oceans and impassable forests from a land of safe refuge. There was,
besides, distrust of each other; and fear, though no love, of General
Walker. He was said to have the iron will and reckless courage of the
true man of destiny. At one time, so they told us, a large body of
fresh, able-bodied men, just arrived in Nicaragua, refused to join the
filibusters on account of some disappointment about the amount of
promised wages. General Walker led out his crowd of yellow men, whom
the newcomers might have knocked down with the wind of their fists, and
so overawed them by this display of resolution that they forthwith
swallowed their complaints and joined his ranks with as good a grace as
they might. I myself, in these first days, saw a little incident which
impressed me that the man was no trifler. I was in his quarters one
day, when an officer came in and made a report to him about some matter
of his duty.

"Captain," said General Walker, looking serenely over the man's head,
"if this is the way you are going to do business, Nicaragua has no
further need for you. We want nothing of this sort done here, Sir."

The fierce, big-whiskered officer said nothing, but looked cowed; and,
indeed, not without excuse; for though there was a nasal whine in the
tone of the little General, and no great fire in his unmeaning eye,
there was yet a quiet self-reliance about him extremely imposing, and
which, as I thought, reached back of any temporary sufflation as tyrant
of Rivas, and was based upon perennial character. Nor is it contrary,
so far as I know, to the laws of psychology, for a man to be endued
with all the self-reliance of Bonaparte, with, at the same time, an
unusually short gift of the great man's marvellous insight, military or

Such an all-pervading demoralized spirit amongst the men as this I have
slightly marked was sure to be contagious; and I am persuaded that
there were few of us who came down there with enthusiasm or admiration
for General Walker, but lost most of it during our first days' mixture
in Rivas.

At the end of some six or eight days, our company came up from the
Transit road, without the California passengers having as yet made
their appearance. General Walker was expecting by this steamer, so long
due on the Atlantic side, a large body of recruits with cannon, bombs,
and other military stores, whose arrival would put him in condition to
attack the enemy at Granada. He began to grow uneasy; and at length
sent an armed row-boat across the lake to the head of the Rio San Juan
to get intelligence. The little party which held that river were
thought to be in no danger behind the walls of San Carlos and Castillo,
and still further protected by the impenetrable forests which stretched
backward from either bank; but now it began to be whispered that
General Walker had committed a fatal blunder in not using the surest
means to keep his only communication with the Atlantic open.

In the mean while our company of rangers was ordered back to the
Transit road, to remain until the passengers crossed. We rode down by a
trail that lay nearer the Pacific than the one by which we had first
approached Rivas.

We found the same desolate, vine-netted forest; but on this route it
was broken at several points by grassy savannas, dotted thinly with
calabash-trees, and browsed by a few wild mules and cattle. In one of
these openings, several miles from the Transit road, we passed a
red-tiled building, the only one of any sort on the trail beyond the
ring-fenced cultivation of Rivas. It was known as the Jocote
Ranch-house, and became afterwards the scene of a bloody defeat for the

Our ride terminated at a large open shed, standing on the Transit road,
two miles east of San Juan, which had been erected by the Transit
Company, and was used by them as shelter for their carriages. Here,
together with a second company of mounted rangers, we were to quarter
until the arrival of the California passengers; and then it was to be
our duty to guard those feeble travellers through the dominions of
President Walker to the Pacific. Our own company numbered some thirty
heads,--men and officers,--and being but lately come to Nicaragua, were
yet tolerably healthy and lively,--although shaken at times by chills
and melancholy, and nearly all turning perceptibly yellow. At all times
of the day, when not in the presence of food or drink, some of them
were bewailing the hour they came to Nicaragua, and sighing sadly to
escape; and had Samuel Absalom come there from any light motive of
vanity, he had surely repented with them: as it was, he had seen a
worse day; the life, too, was not without charms for some men, and his
heart stayed within him through all. The other company was even smaller
than ours, older soldiers, and in much worse health,--many of them
having a chill daily, others wasted with perpetual diarrhoea.

Our routine of duty at this camp was, to ride each day into the forest
and hunt our ration of beef, to water our horses, and to stand an
hour's guard occasionally at night; the remainder of consciousness we
spent broiling and eating cow's flesh, sucking sugar-cane, and waging
horrid warfare against a host of ravenous ticks and crawling creatures
of basest name.

One day, after we had so passed it off for a week or more, a report
reached us from Virgin Bay, that one of the Transit steamers had been
seen to pass up the lake toward Granada, without stopping to land the
passengers. A little after came an order from the colonel of the
rangers directing our party to ride with all haste to Virgin Bay, and
garrison it against the enemy. We mounted immediately and rode over the
Transit as fast as such beasts as we had could carry us. On the way we
met some of the American residents of Virgin Bay, with carpet-bags in
their hands, hurrying across to find comfort near the emigrant steamer,
which still awaited her passengers in the harbor of San Juan. They were
a good deal frightened, and said an attack was expected on Virgin Bay
at any hour.

When we came into the town, it was dark, and, having no time to lose in
getting out the pickets, our horses were left tied under saddle in the
street, and we took station, four at a post, out on the several
approaches to the town. It seemed that nothing was known with certainty
of the enemy; but it was doubted by no one, since the steamer had
passed in sight of her wharf without making or answering signals, that
the enemy were in possession of her; and it seemed probable that they
would land somewhere that night, and attack before General Walker had
time to prepare for them. Our force to oppose them, should they attempt
to land at Virgin Bay, the only convenient place with a pier on the
whole lake, was scarcely thirty in all,--a detachment from both
companies having been sent a few days before to Rivas; and of this
force, the privates, to a man nearly, were wanted to furnish out the
picket-guards,--leaving a reserve body in the citadel of some
half-dozen officers armed mostly with revolvers.

All that night we listened anxiously to the ceaseless din of the lake
breaking upon the shore; but it brought no enemy, and at morning we
were released from guard and sent out to forage. At our shed-camp of
the previous week the animals were turned out to feed in an inclosure,
and we were spared the troublesome duty of foraging. But at Virgin Bay
we were forced to go at it again under disadvantages; for the town had
no surrounding circle of cultivation like that of Rivas,--having been
but recently redeemed from the forest by the Transit Company,--and our
only resource was a few distant _ranchos_ scattered up and down the
lake shore. Beside this, we had the daily duty, as before, of searching
the open savannas in the forest for beef,--the commissary department
furnishing us no part of a ration but bread,--and other irregular
expeditions, which kept us in the saddle the greater part of the day.

Almost a week had passed in this manner, with no appearance or news of
the enemy, and we had grown heartily tired of riding and watching to no
purpose, when one day the steamer hove in sight towards the north; and
steaming down she went to land, almost directly opposite Virgin Bay,
against the island of Ometepec. Day after day she lay there immovable,
with her white side gleaming dimly across the water, and far out of the
reach of us wistful filibusters;--for although there was a small brig
of General Walker's floating beside the pier which ran out into the
lake, yet it was out of repair; and, in any state, the wind blew too
strongly and constantly from the northeast for a sail vessel to make
the island, which lay almost in its teeth. Nevertheless, carpenters
were set at work on it, and row-boats, borrowed of the vessels in San
Juan harbor, were hauled over the Transit road; and it was said that
the old brig was to be filled with soldiers and worked across to the
island by aid of the row-boats. The thing seemed far from impossible.
The space between the island and Virgin Bay was not above ten or twelve
miles, and for part of the distance, under lee of the great volcano,
the wind was lull. Could the brig be worked round the wind and brought
into this calm water, the towing thenceforward was easy; and all this
done in the space of one night, the surprise and recapture of the
steamer were certain. In the mean while a detachment of foot marched
down daily from Rivas, and, without giving us any relief, marched as
regularly back again. Our hard-worked garrison, almost worn down by
watching and riding, and, at sight of these men, hoping always to be
relieved, snarled bitterly at such apparently useless expenditure of
leg-muscle,--an article, truly, of which those lean, saffron-colored
trampers had but too scanty supply for ordinary need.

One night, after the detachment of foot had gone, and there was no
force but the rangers in the town, a large light, supposed to be under
the boilers of the steamer, was seen on the water approaching from the
north, and it was thought that the enemy were coming at last to attack
us. However, when the light came almost opposite, it made toward the
island and soon after disappeared. Next morning, looking across to the
island, we saw a dark-colored steamer lying beside the white one; and
we knew that the enemy were in possession of both the Transit steamers,
and held the lake wholly at command. It was the same day, I think, that
one of the boats was seen to be getting up steam, and shortly afterward
she paddled out from the island, and came directly toward Virgin Bay.
Things were quickly put in posture for a fight. The neutral residents,
who had returned from San Juan, again set out over the Transit road.
The squad of infantry which had just come in from Rivas was placed at
the extreme end of the wooden pier that ran some one hundred and fifty
yards into the lake. They were armed with rifled muskets and Minié
ball, and hoped to kill at eight hundred or a thousand yards. The
rangers, with arms of shorter range, waited on the shore. As the
steamer approached, she was seen to be covered with a crowd of
dark-skinned soldiers. She came steadily up within quarter of a mile of
the shore, and then, suddenly turning broadside to, opened with a
single cannon. The ball struck the water some little distance from the
end of the pier,--after an interval implying awkward handling, another
roar,--and then one or two nervous soldiers on the pier, not liking to
await the ball in that place, break for the shore; but they are
promptly knocked down by the others, and make no further progress. The
steamer continues her fire out there leisurely, and the officer on the
pier, being satisfied at last that she will come no closer, gives her a
volley of musketry. In a moment the decks are cleared with a scamper,
and no man is anywhere visible; whilst, at the same time, the steamer
hastily puts about, and never stops until she reaches the island.

This ill-supported bravado was as much as we saw of the enemy at Virgin
Bay; for next day we were recalled to headquarters, and gladly left
that post to the care of the infantry. When we came to Rivas, we found
many rumors about the enemy, but it was certain only that a bungo with
natives from the island had been captured, as it came to shore, by a
party of rangers, and it was these prisoners' report that the enemy
were gathering provisions on the island, and awaiting reinforcements,
on whose arrival they would land and attack us upon the isthmus.

I may as well state here the explanation, as we afterwards learned it,
of this most unexpected reappearance of the enemy,--which came upon
General Walker like a thunderclap, whilst he dreamed they had left him
for good and all. It seems that the Vanderbilt Company, whom Walker had
made enemies by ousting them from the Transit route, sent an agent (one
Spencer) to the disheartened Costa Ricans, who showed them that they
might easily strangle the filibuster force by seizing the ill-guarded
Rio San Juan. Led by Spencer, they secretly cut a road through the
forest on the Costa Rican side, found the forts scarcely watched by a
few spiritless sick men, and overwhelmed and scattered them without
difficulty. At the same time they surprised and seized all the Transit
steamers on the river and lake, so that thenceforward communication
with the Atlantic was closed to General Walker, and a large body of New
Orleans recruits under Lockridge, who had just arrived at the mouth of
the river, found themselves headed off, and began a long and skilless
fight to recover the steamers and make the junction with the isthmus
force. So, after all, Walker owes his defeat, not to the natives of
Central America, but to his own countrymen; and, had it not been for
the malice or revenge of Vanderbilt, he might have reigned in Nicaragua
at this day,--unless he had blundered himself out of it unassisted, as
many who lived with him thought he could hardly fail to do, were time
but granted him.--After capture of the lake steamers, the Costa Ricans,
impressing their American crews into service, took them up to Granada
to embark the old force of Costa Ricans and Chamorristas still
remaining there. They were on this errand when the steamer San Carlos
was first seen to pass Virgin Bay. But what other reinforcement they
expected, whilst they lay so long against the island after their return
from Granada, I do not know,--unless it was the Guatemalans, who we
knew soon afterward had joined them in large force.

The next day after we had returned to Rivas, our company, now united
again, had orders to ride to San Juan, on the Pacific, and convoy back
some cart-loads of lead. As we were bringing our charge on the return,
we were overtaken in the forest by an order to hasten to Virgin Bay, to
the assistance of the infantry about to be attacked by the enemy.
Leaving three or four of the company to follow the carts, we started
immediately at hard gallop for Virgin Bay. When we arrived there, we
found that the enemy, after a trifling cannonade of the town from one
of the steamers, had put back to the island again, leaving no greater
damage than a shot-hole in one of the row-boats,--which still lay at
Virgin Bay awaiting the bungling delay (better worthy of greasers than
earnest filibusters) about the brig. This demonstration against Virgin
Bay was probably a ruse to divide the filibuster force; for, next day,
as I recollect it, the Alcalde of Obraja, a native partisan of General
Walker, hurried into Rivas with the news that fifteen hundred of the
enemy had landed from the lake, ten or twelve miles above.

The Alcalde brought with him to Rivas his family and valuables, and
proved himself one of the few natives of the better class who, during
my sojourn, took active part with the Americans. It was said, that,
when Patricio Rivas was President, and Walker General-in-chief of his
army, many men of wealth and station amongst the Liberals--as Rivas's
democratic party, opposed to the Chamorristas or aristocratic party,
were called--encouraged and thought well of their American assistants.
But after the Chamorristas were worsted,--mainly by strength of
Walker's Californians,--and General Walker had broken with Rivas, and
set up for President of Nicaragua himself, almost all the natives of
any name or property had deserted him. However, many of them remained
on their _haciendas_, and took no part in the struggle on either side.
Those in the vicinity of Rivas feigned sympathy with us, but were
probably inimical at heart. Indeed, intelligence of some act of
disaffection was continually coming to General Walker; and thereupon he
would oust the offender, confiscate his estate to the government, and,
perhaps, grant it to some one of his officers, or pawn it to foreign
sympathizers for military stores. The neighborhood of Rivas was dotted
with ranch-houses, distenanted by these means,--rank grass growing in
the court-yards, the cactus-hedges gapped, and the crops swept away by
the foragers. Perhaps, had these men been let alone, jealousy toward
foreigners would not, of itself, have made them enemies; but General
Walker was obliged to provide arms and provisions for his soldiers,
and, having no other resource, he must come down heavily on the
Nicaraguans, so far as he could reach them. That this was a ground of
great disgust and odium toward us, throughout the country, our company
of rangers, which did some foraging and mule-gathering, had good reason
to know. I remember, on one occasion, a small party of us, armed only
with revolvers, were retreating out of a large _hacienda_, heavily
incumbered with horse-provender, when we saw the landlord and his
peons, with _machetes_ in their hands, coming to meet us. As we trotted
up toward them, the angry man stood at the roadside, lariat in hand,
frowning, and in the attitude to arrest our foremost horseman;--but the
filibuster drew his revolver, concealed hitherto by his burden, and
cocked it,--and the poor man, seeing that he was unequal, was fain to
vent his wrath in boiling words. This man, who doubtless became an
enemy, might have been soothed, had General Walker taken the pains to
furnish foraging-papers to the rangers. He professed himself a true
friend of Walker's, holding all he possessed at his service; but it was
out of his power, he said, to contain himself, whilst a troop of
_Americanos_ were leaping his fences and ravaging his fields, without
token of authority, or word of apology on any part. However, after all,
General Walker may have acted for the wisest in this matter. The writer
of this narrative was an unenlightened private in the filibuster army,
and, of course, though open-eyed to some extent, saw all things of
policy through a glass dimly. It may be that General Walker, who had
opportunities for thorough acquaintance with Spanish-American
character, held it weakness to place any trust or value upon their
friendship, and therefore took no care to conciliate it. This has a
look of wisdom, and would explain many apparently stupid and gratuitous
negligences. But what shall I think when he seemed as little
solicitous, and certainly was at no greater pains, to attach his own
men? Instead of treating us like fellow-soldiers and adventurers in
danger, upon whom he was wholly dependent, until his power was
established, he bore himself like an Eastern tyrant,--reserved and
haughty,--scarcely saluting when he met us,--mixing not at all, but
keeping himself dose in his quarters,--some said through fear, lest
some of his own men should shoot him, of which indeed there was great
danger to such a man. But his treatment of the wounded was his worst
policy. There was, it is true, a hospital at Rivas; but he never, or
rarely, visited it; and it was so badly kept, that every good captain
who had friends in the ranks chose the great inconvenience of nursing
his wounded at his own quarters, rather than send them into that
wretched hole whence few ever came out. It is true, the wounded seldom
got well in that climate, and Walker's best general said that the
government liked to have the enemy kill the men, rather than wound
them; yet, had they been wiser, they would have taken care of them
merely for the sake of the spirit of the rest.--But I have wandered
from my narrative.

Toward the evening of the same day that the faithful _alcalde_ brought
his report, I walked down to the _plaza_, to see what stir the news had
created among the skeleton foot-soldiers. There was no stir at all,
outwardly. They sat in their doors and talked listlessly, without
laughter or excitement, as they were always wont before. A hearty laugh
or a loud voice in conversation always sounded unnaturally in the
streets of Rivas; and, indeed, few amongst the foot found spirit for
such things,--unless new recruits, or under the stimulus of
_aguardiente_. As often as I have left the quarters of the more healthy
and animated rangers in the outskirts, and walked down into the
populous part of the camp, I have been reminded of one of those
enchanted cities of the "Arabian Nights," where the silent inhabitants,
though grouped about, seemingly engaged in their ordinary occupations,
are in reality soulless, and no better than dead men or frozen fish.

I took my seat in the porch of the guard-house,--that stout building
which I have mentioned as the only one surviving the ruin on the west
side of the _plaza_,--and watched the foot go through their evening
drill. Classed as musketeers, riflemen, and artillery-men, they were
trained to a part of the United States army-practice, each morning and
evening, on the _plaza_. The rangers were taught no drill of any kind;
and when I observed how some of the despicable officers pricked those
feeble creatures with their swords to make them look sharp and step
lively, I was glad enough to go without instruction in the military
science. The men, on the present occasion, were clothed in black felt
hats, blue cotton trousers, brogans, and blue flannel shirts, with the
letter of their company and the number of the regiment sewed upon the
breast in characters of white cloth. They had received this uniform, I
think, by the steamer on which I came down, and it was become somewhat
greasy and louse-seamed by this time; nevertheless, their appearance
was much more soldierlike and respectable than when I first saw them.
After the exercise was ended, the men gathered around a small brass
band, of half a dozen Germans, which began to play in front of General
Walker's quarters. The little General himself sat in his door, and
looked out with impassible countenance upon the crowd in the street. It
was an excellent conglomerate to study, for any one who could have the
head and feeling there. What General Walker made of it, not even his
staff-officers, who sat beside him, could tell,--if it were true, as
was said, that he had no confidant, even amongst them.

Toward dusk, as I was returning to quarters, I saw a detachment of some
one hundred riflemen marching out on the Obraja road, to the slow tap
of a kettle-drum, and dragging a small piece of artillery with them.
This, with the exception of some rangers, who had been sent forward to
scout, was the sole force yet dispatched to meet the enemy,--who were
now said to be advanced to Obraja, a hamlet nine miles northwest of

[To be continued.]





The sun was just setting, and the whole air and sea seemed flooded with
rosy rays. Even the crags and rocks of the sea-shore took purple and
lilac hues, and savins and junipers, had a painter been required to
represent them, would have been found not without a suffusion of the
same tints. And through the tremulous rosy sea of the upper air, the
silver full-moon looked out like some calm superior presence which
waits only for the flush of a temporary excitement to die away, to make
its tranquillizing influence felt.

Mary, as she walked homeward with this dreamy light around her, moved
with a slower step than when borne along by the vigorous arm and
determined motion of her young friend.

It is said that a musical sound uttered with decision by one instrument
always makes the corresponding chord of another vibrate; and Mary felt,
as she left her positive, but warm-hearted friend, a plaintive
vibration of something in her own self, in which she was conscious her
calm friendship for her future husband had no part. She fell into one
of those reveries which she thought she had forever forbidden to
herself, and there rose before her mind the picture of a
marriage-ceremony,--but the eyes of the bridegroom were dark, and his
curls were clustering in raven ringlets, and her hand throbbed in his
as it had never throbbed in any other.

It was just as she was coming out of a little grove of cedars, where
the high land overlooks the sea, and the dream which came to her
overcame her with a vague and yearning sense of pain. Suddenly she
heard footsteps behind her, and some one said, "Mary!" It was spoken in
a choked voice, as one speaks in the crisis of a great emotion; and she
turned and saw those very eyes, that very hair, yes, and the cold
little hand throbbed with that very throb in that strong, living, manly
hand; and, whether in the body or out of the body God knoweth, she felt
herself borne in those arms, and words that spoke themselves in her
inner heart, words profaned by being repeated, were on her ear.

"Oh! is this a dream? is this a dream? James! are we in heaven? Oh, I
have lived through such an agony! I have been so worn out! Oh, I
thought you never would come!" And then the eyes closed, and heaven and
earth faded away together in a trance of blissful rest.

But it was no dream; for an hour later you might have seen a manly form
sitting in that selfsame place, bearing in his arms a pale figure which
he cherished as tenderly as a mother her babe. And they were talking
together,--talking in low tones; and in all this wide universe neither
of them knew or felt anything but the great joy of being thus side by

They spoke of love mightier than death, which many waters cannot
quench. They spoke of yearnings, each for the other,--of longing
prayers,--of hopes deferred,--and then of this great joy,--for _one_
had hardly yet returned to the visible world.

Scarce wakened from deadly faintness, she had not come back fully to
the realm of life,--only to that of love,--to love which death cannot
quench. And therefore it was, that, without knowing that she spoke, she
had said all, and compressed the history of those three years into one

But at last, thoughtful of her health, provident of her weakness, he
rose up and passed his arm around her to convey her home. And as he did
so, he spoke one word that broke the whole charm.

"You will allow me, Mary, the right of a future husband, to watch over
your life and health."

Then came back the visible world,--recollection, consciousness, and
the great battle of duty,--and Mary drew away a little, and said,--

"Oh, James, you are too late! that can never be!"

He drew back from her.

"Mary, are you married?"

"Before God, I am," she said, "My word is pledged. I cannot retract it.
I have suffered a good man to place his whole faith upon it,--a man who
loves me with his whole soul."

"But, Mary, you do not love _him_. _That_ is impossible!" said James,
holding her off from him, and looking at her with an agonized
eagerness. "After what you have just said, it is not possible."

"Oh, James! I am sure I don't know what I have said,--it was all so
sudden, and I didn't know what I was saying,--but things that I must
never say again. The day is fixed for next week. It is all the same as
if you had found me his wife."

"Not quite," said James, his voice cutting the air with a decided
manly ring. "I have some words to say to that yet."

"Oh, James, will you be selfish? will you tempt me to do a mean,
dishonorable thing? to be false to my word deliberately given?"

"But," said James, eagerly, "you know, Mary, you _never_ would have
given it, if you had known that I was living."

"That is true, James; but I _did_ give it. I have suffered him to build
all his hopes of life upon it. I _beg_ you not to tempt me,--help me to
do right!"

"But, Mary, did you not get my letter?"

"Your letter?"

"Yes,--that long letter that I wrote you."

"I never got any letter, James."

"Strange!" he said. "No wonder it seems sudden to you!"

"Have you seen your mother?" said Mary, who was conscious this moment
only of a dizzy instinct to turn the conversation from where she felt
too weak to bear it.

"No; do you suppose I should see anybody before you?"

"Oh, then, you must go to her!" said Mary. "Oh, James, you don't know
how she has suffered!"

They were drawing near to the cottage-gate.

"Do, pray!" said Mary. "Go, hurry to your mother! Don't be too sudden,
either, for she's very weak; she is almost worn out with sorrow. Go, my
dear brother! _Dear_ you always will be to me."

James helped her into the house, and they parted. All the house was yet
still. The open kitchen-door let in a sober square of moonlight on the
floor. The very stir of the leaves on the trees could be heard. Mary
went into her little room, and threw herself upon the bed, weak, weary,
yet happy,--for deep and high above all other feelings was the great
relief that he was living still. After a little while she heard the
rattling of the wagon, and then the quick patter of Miss Prissy's
feet, and her mother's considerate tones, and the Doctor's grave
voice,--and quite unexpectedly to herself, she was shocked to find
herself turning with an inward shudder from the idea of meeting him.
"How very wicked!" she thought,--"how ungrateful!"--and she prayed that
God would give her strength to check the first rising of such feelings.

Then there was her mother, so ignorant and innocent, busy putting away
baskets of things that she had bought in provision for the

Mary almost felt as if she had a guilty secret. But when she reflected
upon the last two hours, she felt no wish to take them back again. Two
little hours of joy and rest they had been,--so pure, so perfect! she
thought God must have given them to her as a keepsake to remind her of
His love, and to strengthen her in the way of duty.

Some will, perhaps, think it an unnatural thing that Mary should have
regarded her pledge to the Doctor as of so absolute and binding force;
but they must remember the rigidity of her education. Self-denial and
self-sacrifice had been the daily bread of her life. Every prayer,
hymn, and sermon, from her childhood, had warned her to distrust her
inclinations and regard her feelings as traitors. In particular had she
been brought up to regard the sacredness of a promise with a
superstitious tenacity; and in this case the promise involved so deeply
the happiness of a friend whom she had loved and revered all her life,
that she never thought of any way of escape from it. She had been
taught that there was no feeling so strong but that it might be
immediately repressed at the call of duty; and if the thought arose to
her of this great love to another, she immediately answered it by
saying, "How would it have been, if I had been married? As I could have
overcome then, so I can now."

Mrs. Scudder came into her room with a candle in her hand, and Mary,
accustomed to read the expression of her mother's countenance, saw at a
glance a visible discomposure there. She held the light so that it
shone upon Mary's face.

"Are you asleep?" she said.

"No, mother."

"Are you unwell?"

"No, mother,--only a little tired."

Mrs. Scudder set down the candle, and shut the door, and, after a
moment's hesitation, said,--

"My daughter, I have some news to tell you, which I want you to prepare
your mind for. Keep yourself quite quiet"

"Oh, mother!" said Mary, stretching out her hands towards her, "I know
it. James has come home."

"How did you hear?" said her mother, with astonishment.

"I have seen him, mother."

Mrs. Scudder's countenance fell.


"I went to walk home with Cerinthy Twitchel, and, as I was coming back,
he came up behind me, just at Savin Rock."

Mrs. Scudder sat down on the bed and took her daughter's hand.

"I trust, my dear child," she said. She stopped.

"I think I know what you are going to say, mother. It is a great joy,
and a great relief; but of course I shall be true to my engagement with
the Doctor."

Mrs. Scudder's face brightened.

"That is my own daughter! I might have known that you would do so. You
would not, certainly, so cruelly disappoint a noble man who has set his
whole faith upon you."

"No, mother, I shall not disappoint him. I told James that I should be
true to my word."

"He will probably see the justice of it," said Mrs. Scudder, in that
easy tone with which elderly people are apt to dispose of the feelings
of young persons. "Perhaps it may be something of a trial, at first."

Mary looked at her mother with incredulous blue eyes. The idea that
feelings which made her hold her breath when she thought of them could
be so summarily disposed of! She turned her face wearily to the wall,
with a deep sigh, and said,--

"After all, mother, it is mercy enough and comfort enough to think that
he is living. Poor Cousin Ellen, too,--what a relief to her! It is like
life from the dead. Oh, I shall be happy enough; no fear of that!"

"And you know," said Mrs. Scudder, "that there has never existed any
engagement of any kind between you and James. He had no right to found
any expectations on anything you ever told him."

"That is true also, mother," said Mary, "I had never thought of such a
thing as marriage, in relation to James."

"Of course," pursued Mrs. Scudder, "he will always be to you as a near

Mary assented.

"There is but a week now, before your wedding," continued Mrs. Scudder;
"and I think Cousin James, if he is reasonable, will see the propriety
of your mind being kept as quiet as possible. I heard the news this
afternoon in town," pursued Mrs. Scudder, "from Captain Staunton, and,
by a curious coincidence, I received from him this letter from James,
which came from New York by post. The brig that brought it must have
been delayed out of the harbor."

"Oh, please, mother, give it to me!" said Mary, rising up with
animation; "he mentioned having sent me one."

"Perhaps you had better wait till morning," said Mrs. Scudder; "you are
tired and excited."

"Oh, mother, I think I shall be more composed when I know all that is
in it," said Mary, still stretching out her hand.

"Well, my daughter, you are the best judge," said Mrs. Scudder; and she
set down the candle on the table, and left Mary alone.

It was a very thick letter of many pages, dated in Canton, and ran as



"My Dearest Mary:--

"I have lived through many wonderful scenes since I saw you last. My
life has been so adventurous, that I scarcely know myself when I think
of it. But it is not of _that_ I am going now to write. I have written
all that to mother, and she will show it to you. But since I parted
from you, there has been another history going on within me; and that
is what I wish to make you understand, if I can.

"It seems to me that I have been a changed man from that afternoon when
I came to your window, where we parted. I have never forgot how you
looked then, nor what you said. Nothing in my life ever had such an
effect upon me. I thought that I loved you before; but I went away
feeling that love was something so deep and high and sacred, that I was
not worthy to name it to you. I cannot think of the man in the world
who is worthy of what you said you felt for me.

"From _that_ hour there was a new purpose in my soul,--a purpose which
has led me upward ever since. I thought to myself in this way: 'There
is some secret source from whence this inner life springs,'--and I knew
that it was connected with the Bible which you gave me; and so I
thought I would read it carefully and deliberately, to see what I could
make of it.

"I began with the beginning. It impressed me with a sense of something
quaint and strange,--something rather fragmentary; and yet there were
spots all along that went right to the heart of a man who had to deal
with life and things as I did. Now I must say that the Doctor's
preaching, as I told you, never impressed me much in any way. I could
not make out any connection between it and the men I had to manage and
the things I had to do in my daily life. But there were things in the
Bible that struck me otherwise. There was _one_ passage in particular,
and that was where Jacob started off from all his friends to go and
seek his fortune in a strange country, and laid down to sleep all alone
in the field, with only a stone for his pillow. It seemed to me exactly
the image of what every young man is like, when he leaves his home and
goes out to shift for himself in this hard world. I tell you, Mary,
that one man alone on the great ocean of life feels himself a very weak
thing. We are held up by each other more than we know till we go off by
ourselves into this great experiment. Well, there he was as lonesome as
_I_ upon the deck of my ship. And so lying with the stone under his
head, he saw a ladder in his sleep between him and heaven, and angels
going up and down. That was a sight which came to the very point of his
necessities. He saw that there was a way between him and God, and that
there were those above who did care for him, and who could come to him
to help him.

"Well, so the next morning he got up, and set up the stone to mark the
place; and it says Jacob vowed a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me,
and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat
and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in
peace, _then_ shall the Lord be my God.' Now _there_ was something that
looked to me like a tangible foundation to begin upon.

"If I understand Dr. H., I believe he would have called that all
selfishness. At first sight it does look a little so; but then I
thought of it in this way: 'Here he was all alone. God was entirely
invisible to him; and how could he feel certain that He really existed,
unless he could come into some kind of connection with Him? the point
that he wanted to be sure of, more than merely to know that there was a
God who made the world;--he wanted to know whether He cared anything
about men, and would do anything to help them. And so, in fact, it was
saying, "If there is a God who interests Himself at all in me, and will
be my Friend and Protector, I will obey Him, so far as I can find out
His will."'

"I thought to myself, 'This is the great experiment, and I will try
it.' I made in my heart exactly the same resolution, and just quietly
resolved to assume for a while as a fact that there _was_ such a God,
and, whenever I came to a place where I could not help myself, just to
ask His help honestly in so many words, and see what would come of it.

"Well, as I went on reading through the Old Testament, I was more and
more convinced that all the men of those times had tried this
experiment, and found that it would bear them; and in fact, I did begin
to find, in my own experience, a great many things happening so
remarkably that I could not but think that _Somebody_ did attend even
to my prayers,--I began to feel a trembling faith that _Somebody_ was
guiding me, and that the events of my life were not happening by
accident, but working themselves out by His will.

"Well, as I went on in this way, there were other and higher thoughts
kept rising in my mind. I wanted to be better than I was. I had a sense
of a life much nobler and purer than anything I had ever lived, that I
wanted to come up to. But in the world of men, as I found it, such
feelings are always laughed down as romantic, and impracticable, and
impossible. But about this time I began to read the New Testament, and
then the idea came to me, that the same Power that helped me in the
lower sphere of life would help me carry out those higher aspirations.
Perhaps the Gospels would not have interested me so much, if I had
begun with them first; but my Old Testament life seemed to have
schooled me, and brought me to a place where I wanted something higher;
and I began to notice that my prayers now were more that I might be
noble, and patient, and self-denying, and constant in my duty, than
for any other kind of help. And then I understood what met me in the
very first of Matthew: 'Thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall
save his people from their sins.'

"I began now to live a new life,--a life in which I felt myself coming
into sympathy with you; for, Mary, when I began to read the Gospels, I
took knowledge of you, that you had been with Jesus.

"The crisis of my life was that dreadful night of the shipwreck. It was
as dreadful as the Day of Judgment. No words of mine can describe to
you what I felt when I knew that our rudder was gone, and saw those
hopeless rocks before us. What I felt for our poor men! But, in the
midst of it all, the words came into my mind, 'And Jesus was in the
hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow,' and at once I felt He was
there; and when the ship struck I was only conscious of an intense
going out of my soul to Him, like Peter's when he threw himself from
the ship to meet Him in the waters.

"I will not recapitulate what I have already written,--the wonderful
manner in which I was saved, and in which friends and help and
prosperity and worldly success came to me again, after life had seemed
all lost; but now I am ready to return to my country, and I feel as
Jacob did when he said, 'With my staff I passed over this Jordan, and
now I am become two bands.'

"I do not need any arguments now to convince me that the Bible is from
above. There is a great deal in it that I cannot understand, a great
deal that seems to me inexplicable; but all I can say is, that I have
tried its directions, and find that in my case they do work,--that it
is a book that I can live by; and that is enough for me.

"And now, Mary, I am coming home again, quite another man from what I
went out,--with a whole new world of thought and feeling in my heart,
and a new purpose, by which, please God, I mean to shape my life. All
this, under God, I owe to you; and if you will let me devote my whole
life to you, it will be a small return for what you have done for me.

"You know I left you wholly free. Others must have seen your loveliness
and felt your worth; and you may have learnt to love some better man
than me. But I know not what hope tells me that this will not be; and I
shall find true what the Bible says of love, that 'many waters cannot
quench it, nor floods drown.' In any case, I shall be always, from my
very heart, yours, and yours only.


Mary rose, after reading this letter, rapt into a divine state of
exaltation,--the pure joy, in contemplating an infinite good to
another, in which the question of self was utterly forgotten.

He was, then, what she had always hoped and prayed he would be, and she
pressed the thought triumphantly to her heart. He was that true and
victorious man, that Christian able to subdue life, and to show, in a
perfect and healthy manly nature, a reflection of the image of the
superhuman excellence. Her prayers that night were aspirations and
praises, and she felt how possible it might be so to appropriate the
good and the joy and the nobleness of others as to have in them an
eternal and satisfying treasure. And with this came the dearer thought,
that she, in her weakness and solitude, had been permitted to put her
hand to the beginning of a work so noble. The consciousness of good
done to an immortal spirit is wealth that neither life nor death can
take away.

And so, having prayed, she lay down to that sleep which God giveth to
his beloved.



It is a hard condition, of our existence here, that every exaltation
must have its depression. God will not let us have heaven here below,
but only such glimpses and faint showings as parents sometimes give to
children, when they show them beforehand the jewelry and pictures and
stores of rare and curious treasures which they hold for the possession
of their riper years. So it very often happens that the man who has
gone to bed an angel, feeling as if all sin were forever vanquished,
and he himself immutably grounded in love, may wake the next morning
with a sick-headache, and, if he be not careful, may scold about his
breakfast like a miserable sinner.

We will not say that our dear little Mary rose in this condition next
morning,--for, although she had the headache, she had one of those
natures in which, somehow or other, the combative element seems to be
left out, so that no one ever knew her to speak a fretful word. But
still, as we have observed, she had the headache and the
depression,--and there came the slow, creeping sense of waking up,
through all her heart and soul, of a thousand, thousand things that
could be said only to one person, and that person one that it would be
temptation and danger to say them to.

She came out of her room to her morning work with a face resolved and
calm, but expressive of languor, with slight signs of some inward

Madame de Frontignac, who had already heard the intelligence, threw two
or three of her bright glances upon her at breakfast, and at once
divined how the matter stood. She was of a nature so delicately
sensitive to the most refined shades of honor, that she apprehended at
once that there must be a conflict,--though, judging by her own
impulsive nature, she made no doubt that all would at once go down
before the mighty force of reawakened love.

After breakfast she would insist upon following Mary about through all
her avocations. She possessed herself of a towel, and would wipe the
cups and saucers, while Mary washed. She clinked the glasses, and
rattled the cups and spoons, and stepped about as briskly as if she had
two or three breezes to carry her train, and chattered half English and
half French, for the sake of bringing into Mary's cheek the shy, slow
dimples that she liked to watch. But still Mrs. Scudder was around,
with an air as provident and forbidding as that of a sitting hen who
watches her nest; nor was it till after all things had been cleared
away in the house, and Mary had gone up into her little attic to spin,
that the long-sought opportunity came of diving to the bottom of this

"_Enfin, Marie, nous voici!_ Are you not going to tell me anything,
when I have turned my heart out to you like a bag? _Chère enfant!_ how
happy you must be!" she said, embracing her.

"Yes, I am very happy," said Mary, with calm gravity.

"_Very happy!_" said Madame de Frontignac, mimicking her manner. "Is
that the way you American girls show it, when you are very happy? Come,
come, _ma belle_! tell little Virginie something. Thou hast seen this
hero, this wandering Ulysses. He has come back at last; the tapestry
will not be quite as long as Penelope's? Speak to me of him. Has he
beautiful black eyes, and hair that curls like a grape-vine? Tell me,
_ma belle_!"

"I only saw him a little while," said Mary, "and I felt a great deal
more than I saw. He could not have been any clearer to me than he
always has been in my mind."

"But I think," said Madame de Frontignac, seating Mary, as was her
wont, and sitting down at her feet, "I think you are a little _triste_
about this. Very likely you pity the good priest. It is sad for him;
but a good priest has the Church for his bride, you know."

"You do not think," said Mary, speaking seriously, "that I shall break
my promise given before God to this good man?"

"_Mon Dieu, mon enfant!_ you do not mean to marry the priest, after
all? _Quelle idée!_"

"But I _promised_ him," said Mary.

Madame de Frontignac threw up her hands, with an expression of

"What a pity, my little one, you are not in the True Church! Any good
priest could dispense you from that."

"I do not believe," said Mary, "in any earthly power that can dispense
us from solemn obligations which we have assumed before God, and on
which we have suffered others to build the most precious hopes. If
James had won the affections of some girl, thinking as I do, I should
not think it right for him to leave her and come to me. The Bible says,
that the just man is 'he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth

"_C'est le sublime de devoir!_" said Madame de Frontignac, who, with
the airy frailty of her race, never lost her appreciation of the fine
points of anything that went on under her eyes. But, nevertheless, she
was inwardly resolved, that, picturesque as this "sublime of duty" was,
it must not be allowed to pass beyond the limits of a fine art, and so
she recommenced.

"_Mais c'est absurde_. This beautiful young man, with his black eyes,
and his curls,--a real hero,--a Theseus, Mary,--just come home from
killing a Minotaur,--and loves you with his whole heart,--and this
dreadful promise! Why, haven't you any sort of people in your Church
that can unbind you from promises? I should think the good priest
himself would do it!"

"Perhaps he would," said Mary, "if I should ask him; but that would be
equivalent to a breach of it. Of course, no man would marry a woman
that asked to be dispensed."

"You are an angel of delicacy, my child; _c'est admirable!_ but, after
all, Mary, this is not well. Listen now to me. You are a very sweet
saint, and very strong in goodness. I think you must have a very strong
angel that takes care of you. But think, _chère enfant,_--think what it
is to marry one man while you love another!"

"But I love the Doctor," said Mary, evasively.

"_Love!_" said Madame de Frontignac. "Oh, Marie! you may love him well,
but you and I both know that there is something deeper than that. What
will you _do_ with this young man? Must he move away from this place,
and not be with his poor mother any more? Or can you see him, and hear
him, and be with him, after your marriage, and not feel that you love
him more than your husband?"

"I should hope that God would help me to feel right," said Mary.

"I am very much afraid He will not, _ma chère._ I asked Him a great
many times to help _me,_ when I found how wrong it all was; but He did
not. You remember what you told me the other day,--that, if I would do
right, I must not _see_ that man any more. You will have to ask him to
go away from this place; you can never see him; for this love will
never die till you die;--that you may be sure of. Is it wise? is it
right, dear little one? _Must_ he leave his home forever for you? or
must you struggle always, and grow whiter and whiter, and fall away
into heaven, like the moon this morning, and nobody know what is the
matter? People will say you have the liver-complaint, or the
consumption, or something. Nobody ever knows what we women die of."

Poor Mary's conscience was fairly posed. This appeal struck upon her
sense of right as having its grounds. She felt inexpressibly confused
and distressed.

"Oh, I wish somebody would tell me exactly what is right!" she said.

"Well, _I_ will," said Madame de Frontignac. "Go down to the dear
priest, and tell him the whole truth. My dear child, do you think, if
he should ever find it out after your marriage, he would think you used
him right?"

"And yet _mother_ does not think so; mother does not wish me to tell

"_Pauvrette, toujours les mères!_ Yes, it is always the mothers that
stand in the way of the lovers. Why cannot she marry the priest
herself?" she said between her teeth, and then looked up, startled and
guilty, to see if Mary had heard her.

"I _cannot,_" said Mary,--"I cannot go against my conscience, and my
mother, and my best friend."

At this moment, the conference was cut short by Mrs. Scudder's
provident footsteps on the garret-stairs. A vague suspicion of
something French had haunted her during her dairy-work, and she
resolved to come and put a stop to the interview, by telling Mary that
Miss Prissy wanted her to come and be measured for the skirt of her

Mrs. Scudder, by the use of that sixth sense peculiar to mothers, had
divined that there had been some agitating conference, and, had she
been questioned about it, her guesses as to what it might have been
would probably have given no bad _résumé_ of the real state of the
case. She was inwardly resolved that there should be no more such for
the present, and kept Mary employed about various matters relating to
the dresses, so scrupulously that there was no opportunity for anything
more of the sort that day.

In the evening James Marvyn came down, and was welcomed with the
greatest demonstrations of joy by all but Mary, who sat distant and
embarrassed, after the first salutations had passed.

The Doctor was innocently paternal; but we fear that on the part of the
young man there was small reciprocation of the sentiments he expressed.

Miss Prissy, indeed, had had her heart somewhat touched, as good little
women's hearts are apt to be by a true love-story, and had hinted
something of her feelings to Mrs. Scudder, in a manner which brought
such a severe rejoinder as quite humbled and abashed her, so that she
coweringly took refuge under her former declaration, that, "to be sure,
there couldn't be any man in the world better _worthy_ of Mary than the
Doctor," while still at her heart she was possessed with that
troublesome preference for unworthy people which stands in the way of
so many excellent things. But she went on vigorously sewing upon the
wedding-dress, and pursing up her small mouth into the most perfect and
guarded expression of non-committal; though she said afterwards, "it
went to her heart to see how that poor young man did look, sitting
there just as noble and as handsome as a picture. She didn't see, for
_her_ part, how anybody's heart _could_ stand it; though, to be sure,
as Miss Scudder said, the poor Doctor ought to be thought about, dear
blessed man! What a pity it was things _would_ turn out so! Not that it
was a pity that Jim came home,--that was a great providence,--but a
pity they hadn't known about it sooner. Well, for her part, she didn't
pretend to say; the path of duty did have a great many hard places in

As for James, during his interview at the cottage, he waited and tried
in vain for one moment's private conversation. Mrs. Scudder was
immovable in her motherly kindness, sitting there, smiling and chatting
with him, but never stirring from her place by Mary.

Madame de Frontignac was out of all patience, and determined, in her
small way, to do something to discompose the fixed state of things. So,
retreating to her room, she contrived, in very desperation, to upset
and break a water-pitcher, shrieking violently in French and English at
the deluge which came upon the sanded floor and the little piece of
carpet by the bedside.

What housekeeper's instincts are proof against the crash of breaking

Mrs. Scudder fled from her seat, followed by Miss Prissy.

"Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro," while Mary sat quiet as a
statue, bending over her sewing, and James, knowing that it must be now
or never, was, like a flash, in the empty chair by her side, with his
black moustache very near to the bent brown head.

"Mary," he said, "you _must_ let me see you once more. All is not said,
is it? Just hear me,--hear me once alone!"

"Oh, James, I am too weak!--I dare not!--I am afraid of myself!"

"You think," he said, "that you _must_ take this course, because it is
right. But _is_ it right? Is it right to marry one man, when you love
another better? I don't put this to your inclination, Mary,--I know it
would be of no use,--I put it to your conscience."

"Oh, I was never so perplexed before!" said Mary. "I don't know what I
_do_ think. I must have time to reflect. And you,--oh, James!--you
_must_ let me do right! There will never be any happiness for me, if I
do wrong,--nor for you, either."

All this while the sounds of running and hurrying in Madame de
Frontignac's room had been unintermitted; and Miss Prissy, not without
some glimmerings of perception, was holding tight on to Mrs. Scudder's
gown, detailing to her a most capital receipt for mending broken china,
the history of which she traced regularly through all the families in
which she had ever worked, varying the details with small items of
family history, and little incidents as to the births, marriages, and
deaths of different people for whom it had been employed, with all the
particulars of how, where, and when, so that James's time for
conversation was by this means indefinitely extended.

"Now," he said to Mary, "let me propose one thing. Let _me_ go to the
Doctor, and tell him the truth."

"James, it does not seem to me that I can. A friend who has been so
considerate, so kind, so self-sacrificing and disinterested, and whom I
have allowed to go on with this implicit faith in me so long. Should
you, James, think of _yourself_ only?"

"I do nor, I trust, think of myself only," said James; "I hope that I
am calm enough, and have a heart to think for others. But, I ask you,
is it doing right to _him_ to let him marry you in ignorance of the
state of your feelings? Is it a kindness to a good and noble man to
give yourself to him only seemingly, when the best and noblest part of
your affections is gone wholly beyond your control? I am quite sure of
_that_, Mary. I know you do love him very well,--that you would make a
most true, affectionate, constant wife to him; but what I know you feel
for me is something wholly out of your power to give to him,--is it
not, now?"

"I think it is," said Mary, looking gravely and deeply thoughtful "But
then, James, I ask myself, 'What if this had happened a week hence?' My
feelings would have been just the same, because they are feelings over
which I have no more control than over my existence. I can only control
the expression of them. But in _that_ case you would not have asked me
to break my marriage-vow; and why now shall I break a solemn vow
deliberately made before God? If what I can give him will content him,
and he never knows that which would give him pain, what wrong is done

"I should think the deepest possible wrong done me," said James, "if,
when I thought I had married a wife with a whole heart, I found that
the greater part of it had been before that given to another. If you
tell him, or if I tell him, or your mother,--who is the proper person,
and he chooses to hold you to your promise, then, Mary, I have no more
to say. I shall sail in a few weeks again, and carry your image forever
in my heart;--nobody can take that away; that dear shadow will be the
only wife I shall ever know."

At this moment Miss Prissy came rattling along towards the door,
talking--we suspect designedly--on quite a high key. Mary hastily

"Wait, James,--let me think,--tomorrow is the Sabbath-day. Monday I
will send you word, or see you."

And when Miss Prissy returned into the best room, James was sitting at
one window and Mary at another,--he making remarks, in a style of most
admirable commonplace, on a copy of Milton's "Paradise Lost," which he
had picked up in the confusion of the moment, and which, at the time
Mrs. Katy Scudder entered, he was declaring to be a most excellent
book,--a really, truly, valuable work.

Mrs. Scudder looked keenly from one to the other, and saw that Mary's
cheek was glowing like the deepest heart of a pink shell, while, in all
other respects, she was as cold and calm. On the whole, she felt
satisfied that no mischief had been done.

We hope our readers will do Mrs. Scudder justice. It is true that she
yet wore on her third finger the marriage-ring of a sailor lover, and
his memory was yet fresh in her heart; but even mothers who have
married for love themselves somehow so blend a daughter's existence
with their own as to conceive that she must marry their love, and not
her own. Besides this, Mrs. Scudder was an Old Testament woman, brought
up with that scrupulous exactitude of fidelity in relation to promises
which would naturally come from familiarity with a book in which
covenant-keeping is represented as one of the highest attributes of
Deity, and covenant-breaking as one of the vilest sins of humanity. To
break the word that had gone forth out of one's mouth was to lose
self-respect, and all claim to the respect of others, and to sin
against eternal rectitude.

As we have said before, it is almost impossible to make our
light-minded times comprehend the earnestness with which those people
lived. It was, in the beginning, no vulgar nor mercenary ambition that
made her seek the Doctor as a husband for her daughter. He was poor,
and she had had offers from richer men. He was often unpopular; but he
of all the world was the man she most revered, the man she believed in
with the most implicit faith, the man who embodied her highest ideas of
the good; and therefore it was that she was willing to resign her child
to him.

As to James, she had felt truly sympathetic with his mother, and with
Mary, in the dreadful hour when they supposed him lost; and had it not
been for the great perplexity occasioned by his return, she would have
received him, as a relative, with open arms. But now she felt it her
duty to be on the defensive,--an attitude not the most favorable for
cherishing pleasing associations in regard to another. She had read the
letter giving an account of his spiritual experience with very sincere
pleasure, as a good woman should, but not without an internal
perception how very much it endangered her favorite plans. When Mary,
however, had calmly reiterated her determination, she felt sure of her;
for had she ever known her to say a thing she did not do?

The uneasiness she felt at present, was not the doubt of her daughter's
steadiness, but the fear that she might have been unsuitably harassed
or annoyed.



The next morning rose calm and fair. It was the Sabbath-day,--the last
Sabbath in Mary's maiden life, if her promises and plans were

Mary dressed herself in white,--her hands trembling with unusual
agitation, her sensitive nature divided between two opposing
consciences and two opposing affections. Her devoted filial love toward
the Doctor made her feel the keenest sensitiveness at the thought of
giving him pain. At the same time, the questions which James had
proposed to her had raised serious doubts in her mind whether it was
altogether right to suffer him blindly to enter into this union. So,
after she was all prepared, she bolted the door of her chamber, and,
opening her Bible, read, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of
God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall
be given him"; and then, kneeling down by the bedside, she asked that
God would give her some immediate light in her present perplexity. So
praying, her mind grew calm and steady, and she rose up at the sound of
the bell which marked that it was time to set forward for church.

Everybody noticed, as she came into church that morning, how beautiful
Mary Scudder looked. It was no longer the beauty of the carved statue,
the pale alabaster shrine, the sainted virgin, but a warm, bright,
living light, that spoke of some summer breath breathing within her

When she took her place in the singers' seat, she knew, without turning
her head, that he was in his old place, not far from her side; and
those whose eyes followed her to the gallery marvelled at her face

        "her pure and eloquent blood
    Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought
    That you might almost say her body thought";

for a thousand delicate nerves were becoming vital once more,--the holy
mystery of womanhood had wrought within her.

When they rose to sing, the tune must needs be one which they had often
sung together, out of the same book, at the singing-school,--one of
those wild, pleading tunes, dear to the heart of New England,--born, if
we may credit the report, in the rocky hollows of its mountains, and
whose notes have a kind of grand and mournful triumph in their warbling
wail, and in which different parts of the harmony, set contrary to all
the canons of musical Pharisaism, had still a singular and romantic
effect, which a true musical genius would not have failed to recognize.
The four parts, tenor, treble, bass, and counter, as they were then
called, rose and swelled and wildly mingled, with the fitful
strangeness of Aeolian harp, or of winds in mountain-hollows, or the
vague moanings of the sea on lone, forsaken shores. And Mary, while her
voice rose over the waves of the treble, and trembled with a pathetic
richness, felt, to her inmost heart, the deep accord of that other
voice which rose to meet hers, so wildly melancholy, as if the soul in
that manly breast had come to meet her soul in the disembodied, shadowy
verity of eternity. The grand old tune, called by our fathers "China,"
never, with its dirge-like melody, drew two souls more out of
themselves, and entwined them more nearly with each other.

The last verse of the hymn spoke of the resurrection of the saints with

  "Then let the last dread trumpet sound
     And bid the dead arise;
   Awake, ye nations under ground!
     Ye saints, ascend the skies!"

And as Mary sang, she felt sublimely upborne with the idea that life is
but a moment and love is immortal, and seemed, in a shadowy trance, to
feel herself and him past this mortal fane, far over on the shores of
that other life, ascending with Christ, all-glorified, all tears wiped
away, and with full permission to love and to be loved forever. And as
she sang, the Doctor looked upward, and marvelled at the light in her
eyes and the rich bloom on her cheek,--for where she stood, a sunbeam,
streaming aslant through the dusty panes of the window, touched her
head with a kind of glory,--and the thought he then received
outbreathed itself in the yet more fervent adoration of his prayer.



Our fathers believed in special answers to prayer. They were not
stumbled by the objection about the inflexibility of the laws of
Nature; because they had the idea, that, when the Creator of the world
promised to answer human prayers, He probably understood the laws of
Nature as well as they did. At any rate, the laws of Nature were His
affair, and not theirs. They were men, very apt, as the Duke of
Wellington said, to "look to their marching-orders,"--which, being
found to read, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto
God," they did it. "They looked unto Him and were lightened, and their
faces were not ashamed." One reads, in the Memoirs of Dr. Hopkins, of
Newport Gardner, one of his African catechumens, a negro of singular
genius and ability, who, being desirous of his freedom, that he might
be a missionary to Africa, and having long worked without being able to
raise the amount required, was counselled by Dr. Hopkins that it might
be a shorter way to seek his freedom from the Lord, by a day of solemn
fasting and prayer. The historical fact is, that, on the evening of a
day so consecrated, his master returned from church, called Newport to
him, and presented him with his freedom. Is it not possible that He who
made the world may have established laws for prayer as invariable as
those for the sowing of seed and raising of grain? Is it not as
legitimate a subject of inquiry, when petitions are not answered, which
of these laws has been neglected?

But be that as it may, certain it is, that Candace, who on this morning
in church sat where she could see Mary and James in the singers' seat,
had certain thoughts planted in her mind which bore fruit afterwards in
a solemn and select consultation held with Miss Prissy at the end of
the horse-shed by the meeting-house, during the intermission between
the morning and afternoon services.

Candace sat on a fragment of granite boulder which lay there, her black
face relieved against a clump of yellow mulleins, then in majestic
altitude. On her lap was spread a checked pocket-handkerchief,
containing rich slices of cheese, and a store of her favorite brown

"Now, Miss Prissy," she said, "dar's _reason_ in all tings, an' a good
deal _more_ in some tings dan dar is in oders. Dar's a good deal more
reason in two young, handsome folks comin' togeder dan dar is in"----

Candace finished the sentence by an emphatic flourish of her doughnut.

"Now, as long as eberybody thought Jim Marvyn was dead, dar wa'n't
nothin' else in de world _to_ be done _but_ marry de Doctor. But, good
lan! I hearn him a-talkin' to Miss Marvyn las' night; it kinder' mos'
broke my heart. Why, dem two poor creeturs, dey's jest as onhappy's dey
can be! An' she's got too much feelin' for de Doctor to say a word; an'
_I_ say _he oughter be told on't!_ dat's what _I_ say," said Candace,
giving a decisive bite to her doughnut.

"I say so, too," said Miss Prissy. "Why, I never had such bad feelings
in my life as I did yesterday, when that young man came down to our
house. He was just as pale as a cloth. I tried to say a word to Miss
Scudder, but she snapped me up so! She's an awful decided woman when
her mind's made up. I was telling Cerinthy Ann Twitchel,--she came
round me this noon,--that it didn't exactly seem to me right that
things should go on as they are going. And says I, 'Cerinthy Ann, I
don't know anything what to do.' And says she, 'If I was you, I know
what _I'd_ do,--I'd tell the Doctor,' says she. 'Nobody ever takes
offence at anything _you_ do, Miss Prissy.' To be sure," added Miss
Prissy, "I have talked to people about a good many things that it's
rather strange I should; 'cause I a'n't one, somehow, that can let
things go that seem to want doing. I always told folks that I should
spoil a novel before it got half-way through the first volume, by
blurting out some of those things that they let go trailing on so, till
everybody gets so mixed up they don't know what they're doing."

"Well, now, honey," said Candace, authoritatively, "ef you's got any
notions o' dat kind, I tink it mus' come from de good Lord, an' I
'dvise you to be 'tendin' to't, right away. You jes' go 'long an' tell
de Doctor yourself all you know, an' den le's see what'll come on't. I
tell you, I b'liebe it'll be one o' de bes' day's works you eber did in
your life!"

"Well," said Miss Prissy, "I guess tonight, before I go to bed, I'll
make a dive at him. When a thing's once out, it's out, and can't be got
in again, even if people don't like it; and that's a mercy, anyhow. It
really makes me feel 'most wicked to think of it, for he is the most
blessedest man!"

"Dat's what he _is_" said Candace. "But de blessedest man in de world
oughter know de truth; dat's what _I_ tink!"

"Yes,--true enough!" said Miss Prissy. "I'll tell him, anyway."

Miss Prissy was as good as her word; for that evening, when the Doctor
had retired to his study, she took her life in her hand, and, walking
swiftly as a cat, tapped rather timidly at the study-door, which the
Doctor opening said, benignantly,--

"Ah, Miss Prissy!"

"If you please, Sir," said Miss Prissy, "I'd like a little

The Doctor was well enough used to such requests from the female
members of his church, which, generally, were the prelude to some
disclosures of internal difficulties or spiritual experiences. He
therefore graciously motioned her to a chair.

"I thought I must come in," she began, busily twirling a bit of her
Sunday gown. "I thought--that is--I felt it my duty--I thought--
perhaps--I ought to tell you--that perhaps you ought to know."

The Doctor looked civilly concerned. He did not know but Miss Prissy's
wits were taking leave of her. He replied, however, with his usual
honest stateliness,--

"I trust, dear Madam, that you will feel perfect freedom to open to me
any exercises of mind that you may have."

"It isn't about myself," said Miss Prissy. "If you please, it's about
you and Mary!"

The Doctor now looked awake in right earnest, and very much astonished
besides; and he looked eagerly at Miss Prissy, to have her go on.

"I don't know how you would view such a matter," said Miss Prissy; "but
the fact is, that James Marvyn and Mary always did love each other,
ever since they were children."

Still the Doctor was unawakened to the real meaning of the words, and
he answered, simply,--

"I should be far from wishing to interfere with so very natural and
universal a sentiment, which, I make no doubt, is all quite as it
should be."

"No,--but," said Miss Prissy, "you don't understand what I mean. I mean
that James Marvyn wanted to marry Mary, and that she was--well--she
wasn't engaged to him, but"----

"Madam!" said the Doctor, in a voice that frightened Miss Prissy out of
her chair, while a blaze like sheet-lightning shot from his eyes, and
his face flushed crimson.

"Mercy on us! Doctor, I hope you'll excuse me; but there the fact
is,--I've said it out,--the fact is, they wa'n't engaged; but that Mary
loved him ever since he was a boy, as she never will and never can love
any man again in this world, is what I'm just as sure of as that I'm
standing here; and I've felt you ought to know it: 'cause I'm quite
sure, that, if he'd been alive, she'd never given the promise she
has,--the promise that she means to keep, if her heart breaks, and his
too. They wouldn't anybody tell you, and I thought I must tell you;
'cause I thought you'd know what was right to do about it."

During all this latter speech the Doctor was standing with his back to
Miss Prissy, and his face to the window, just as he did some time
before, when Mrs. Scudder came to tell him of Mary's consent. He made a
gesture backward, without speaking, that she should leave the
apartment; and Miss Prissy left, with a guilty kind of feeling, as if
she had been striking a knife into her pastor, and, rushing
distractedly across the entry into Mary's little bedroom, she bolted
the door, threw herself on the bed, and began to cry.

"Well, I've done it!" she said to herself. "He's a very strong, hearty
man," she soliloquized, "so I hope it won't put him in a
consumption;--men do go into a consumption about such things sometimes.
I remember Abner Seaforth did; but then he was always narrow-chested,
and had the liver-complaint, or something. I don't know what Miss
Scudder will say;--but I've done it. Poor man! such a good man, too! I
declare, I feel just like Herod taking off John the Baptist's head.
Well, well! it's done, and can't be helped."

Just at this moment Miss Prissy heard a gentle tap at the door, and
started, as if it had been a ghost,--not being able to rid herself of
the impression, that, somehow, she had committed a great crime, for
which retribution was knocking at the door.

It was Mary, who said, in her sweetest and most natural tones, "Miss
Prissy, the Doctor would like to see you."

Mary was much astonished at the frightened, discomposed manner with
which Miss Prissy received this announcement, and said,--

"I'm afraid I've waked you up out of sleep, I don't think there's the
least hurry."

Miss Prissy didn't, either; but she reflected afterwards that she might
as well get through with it at once; and therefore, smoothing her
tumbled cap-border, she went to the Doctor's study. This time he was
quite composed, and received her with a mournful gravity, and requested
her to be seated.

"I beg, Madam," he said, "you will excuse the abruptness of my manner
in our late interview. I was so little prepared for the communication
you had to make, that I was, perhaps, unsuitably discomposed. Will you
allow me to ask whether you were requested by any of the parties to
communicate to me what you did?"

"No, Sir," said Miss Prissy.

"Have any of the parties ever communicated with you on the subject at
all?" said the Doctor.

"No, Sir," said Miss Prissy.

"That is all," said the Doctor. "I will not detain you. I am very much
obliged to you, Madam."

He rose, and opened the door for her to pass out, and Miss Prissy,
overawed by the stately gravity of his manner, went out in silence.



When Miss Prissy left the room, the Doctor sat down by the table and
covered his face with his hands. He had a large, passionate, determined
nature; and he had just come to one of those cruel crises in life in
which it is apt to seem to us that the whole force of our being, all
that we can hope, wish, feel, enjoy, has been suffered to gather itself
into one great wave, only to break upon some cold rock of inevitable
fate, and go back, moaning, into emptiness.

In such hours men and women have cursed God and life, and thrown
violently down and trampled under their feet what yet was left of
life's blessings, in the fierce bitterness of despair. "This, or
nothing!" the soul shrieks, in her frenzy. At just such points as
these, men have plunged into intemperance and wild excess,--they have
gone to be shot down in battle,--they have broken life, and thrown it
away, like an empty goblet, and gone, like wailing ghosts, out into the
dread unknown.

The possibility of all this lay in that heart which had just received
that stunning blow. Exercised and disciplined as he had been, by years
of sacrifice, by constant, unsleeping self-vigilance, there was rising
there, in that great heart, an ocean-tempest of passion, and for a
while his cries unto God seemed as empty and as vague as the screams of
birds tossed and buffeted in the clouds of mighty tempests.

The will that he thought wholly subdued seemed to rise under him as a
rebellious giant. A few hours before, he thought himself established in
an invincible submission to God's will that nothing could shake. Now he
looked into himself as into a seething vortex of rebellion, and against
all the passionate cries of his lower nature could, in the language of
an old saint, cling to God only by the naked force of his will. That
will rested unmelted amid the boiling sea of passion, waiting its hour
of renewed sway. He walked the room for hours, and then sat down to his
Bible, and roused once or twice to find his head leaning on its pages,
and his mind far gone in thoughts from which he woke with a bitter
throb. Then he determined to set himself to some definite work, and,
taking his Concordance, began busily tracing out and numbering all the
proof-texts for one of the chapters of his theological system! till, at
last, he worked himself down to such calmness that he could pray; and
then he schooled and reasoned with himself, in a style not unlike, in
its spirit, to that in which a great modern author has addressed
suffering humanity:--

"What is it that thou art fretting and self-tormenting about? Is it
because thou art not happy? Who told thee that thou wast to be happy?
Is there any ordinance of the universe that thou shouldst be happy? Art
thou nothing but a vulture screaming for prey? Canst thou not do
without happiness? Yea, thou canst do without happiness, and, instead
thereof, find blessedness."

The Doctor came, lastly, to the conclusion, that blessedness, which was
all the portion his Master had on earth, might do for him also; and
therefore he kissed and blessed that silver dove of happiness, which he
saw was weary of sailing in his clumsy old ark, and let it go out of
his hand without a tear.

He slept little that night; but when he came to breakfast, all noticed
an unusual gentleness and benignity of manner, and Mary, she knew not
why, saw tears rising in his eyes when he looked at her.

After breakfast he requested Mrs. Scudder to step with him into his
study, and Miss Prissy shook in her little shoes as she saw the matron
entering. The door was shut for a long time, and two voices could be
heard in earnest conversation.

Meanwhile James Marvyn entered the cottage, prompt to remind Mary of
her promise that she would talk with him again this morning.

They had talked with each other but a few moments, by the
sweetbrier-shaded window in the best room, when Mrs. Scudder appeared
at the door of the apartment, with traces of tears upon her cheeks.

"Good morning, James," she said. "The Doctor wishes to see you and Mary
a moment, together."

Both looked sufficiently astonished, knowing, from Mrs. Scudder's
looks, that something was impending. They followed her, scarcely
feeling the ground they trod on.

The Doctor was sitting at his table, with his favorite large-print
Bible open before him. He rose to receive them, with a manner at once
gentle and grave.

There was a pause of some minutes, during which he sat with his head
leaning upon his hand.

"You all know," he said, turning toward Mary, who sat very near him,
"the near and dear relation in which I have been expected to stand
towards this friend. I should not have been worthy of that relation, if
I had not felt in my heart the true love of a husband, as set forth in
the New Testament,--who should love his wife even as Christ loved the
Church and gave himself for it; and in case any peril or danger
threatened this dear soul, and I could not give myself for her, I had
never been worthy the honor she has done me. For, I take it, whenever
there is a cross or burden to be borne by one or the other, that the
man, who is made in the image of God as to strength and endurance,
should take it upon himself, and not lay it upon her that is weaker;
for he is therefore strong, not that he may tyrannize over the weak,
but bear their burdens for them, even as Christ for his Church.

"I have just discovered," he added, looking kindly upon Mary, "that
there is a great cross and burden which must come, either on this dear
child or on myself, through no fault of either of us, but through God's
good providence; and therefore let me bear it.

"Mary, my dear child," he said, "I will be to thee as a father, but I
will not force thy heart."

At this moment, Mary, by a sudden, impulsive movement, threw her arms
around his neck and kissed him, and lay sobbing on his shoulder.

"No! no!" she said,--"I will marry you, as I said!"

"Not, if I will not," he replied, with a benign smile. "Come here,
young man," he said, with some authority, to James. "I give thee this
maiden to wife." And he lifted her from his shoulder, and placed her
gently in the arms of the young man, who, overawed and overcome,
pressed her silently to his heart.

"There, children, it is over," he said. "God bless you!"

"Take her away," he added; "she will be more composed soon."

Before James left, he grasped the Doctor's hand in his, and said,--

"Sir, this tells on my heart more than any sermon you ever preached. I
shall never forget it. God bless you, Sir!"

The Doctor saw them slowly quit the apartment, and, following them,
closed the door; and thus ended THE MINISTER'S WOOING.



Of the events which followed this scene we are happy to give our
readers more minute and graphic details than we ourselves could
furnish, by transcribing for their edification an autograph letter of
Miss Prissy's, still preserved in a black oaken cabinet of our
great-grandmother's; and with which we take no further liberties than
the correction of a somewhat peculiar orthography. It is written to
that sister "Lizabeth," in Boston, of whom she made such frequent
mention, and whom, it appears, it was her custom to keep well-informed
in all the gossip of her immediate sphere.


"You wonder, I s'pose, why I haven't written you; but the fact is, I've
been run just off my feet, and worked till the flesh aches so it seems
as if it would drop off my bones, with this wedding of Mary Scudder's.
And, after all, you'll be astonished to hear that she ha'n't married
the Doctor, but that Jim Marvyn that I told you about. You see, he came
home a week before the wedding was to be, and Mary, she was so
conscientious she thought 'twa'n't right to break off with the Doctor,
and so she was for going right on with it; and Mrs. Scudder, she was
for going on more yet; and the poor young man, he couldn't get a word
in edgeways, and there wouldn't anybody tell the Doctor a word about
it, and there 'twas drifting along, and both on 'em feeling dreadful,
and so I thought to myself, 'I'll just take my life in my hand, like
Queen Esther, and go in and tell the Doctor all about it.' And so I
did. I'm scared to death always when I think of it. But that dear
blessed man, he took it like a saint. He just gave her up as serene and
calm as a psalm-book, and called Jim in and told him to take her.

"Jim was fairly overcrowed,--it really made him feel small,--and he
says he'll agree that there is more in the Doctor's religion than most
men's: which shows how important it is for professing Christians to
bear testimony in their works,--as I was telling Cerinthy Ann Twitchel:
and she said there wa'n't anything made her want to be a Christian so
much, if that was what religion would do for people.

"Well, you see, when this came out, it wanted just three days of the
wedding, which was to be Thursday, and that wedding-dress I told you
about, that had lilies-of-the-valley on a white ground, was pretty much
made, except puffing the gauze round the neck, which I do with white
satin piping-cord, and it looks beautiful too; and so Mrs. Scudder and
I, we were thinking 'twould do just as well, when in come Jim Marvyn,
bringing the sweetest thing you ever saw, that he had got in China, and
I think I never did see anything lovelier. It was a white silk, as
thick as a board, and so stiff that it would stand alone, and overshot
with little fine dots of silver, so that it shone, when you moved it,
just like frostwork; and when I saw it, I just clapped my hands, and
jumped up from the floor, and says I, 'If I have to sit up all night,
that dress shall be made, and made well, too.' For, you know, I thought
I could get Miss Olladine Hocum to run the breadths and do such parts,
so that I could devote myself to the fine work. And that French woman I
told you about, she said she'd help, and she's a master hand for
touching things up. There seems to be work provided for all kinds of
people, and French people seem to have a gift in all sorts of dressy
things, and 'tisn't a bad gift either.

"Well, as I was saying, we agreed that this was to be cut open with a
train, and a petticoat of just the palest, sweetest, loveliest blue
that ever you saw, and gauze puffings down the edgings each side,
fastened in, every once in a while, with lilies-of-the-valley; and
'twas cut square in the neck, with puffings and flowers to match, and
then tight sleeves, with full ruffles of that old Mechlin lace that you
remember Mrs. Katy Scudder showed you once in that great camphor-wood

"Well, you see, come to get all things together that were to be done,
we concluded to put off the wedding till Tuesday; and Madame de
Frontignac, she would dress the best room for it herself, and she spent
nobody knows what time in going round and getting evergreens and making
wreaths, and putting up green boughs over the pictures, so that the
room looked just like the Episcopal church at Christmas. In fact, Mrs.
Scudder said, if it had been Christmas, she shouldn't have felt it
right, but, as it was, she didn't think anybody would think it any

"Well, Tuesday night, I and Madame de Frontignac, we dressed Mary
ourselves, and, I tell you, the dress fitted as if it was grown on her;
and Madame de Frontignac, she dressed her hair; and she had on a wreath
of lilies-of-the-valley, and a gauze veil that came almost down to her
feet, and came all around her like a cloud, and you could see her white
shining dress through it every time she moved, and she looked just as
white as a snow-berry; but there were two little pink spots that came
coming and going in her cheeks, that kind of lightened up when she
smiled, and then faded down again. And the French lady put a string of
real pearls round her neck, with a cross of pearls, which went down and
lay hid in her bosom.

"She was mighty calm-like while she was being dressed; but just as I
was putting in the last pin, she heard the rumbling of a coach
down-stairs, for Jim Marvyn had got a real elegant carriage to carry
her over to his father's in, and so she knew he was come. And pretty
soon Mrs. Marvyn came in the room, and when she saw Mary, her brown
eyes kind of danced, and she lifted up both hands, to see how beautiful
she looked. And Jim Marvyn, he was standing at the door, and they told
him it wasn't proper that he should see till the time come; but he
begged so hard that he might just have one peep, that I let him come
in, and he looked at her as if she was something he wouldn't dare to
touch; and he said to me softly, says he, 'I'm 'most afraid she has got
wings somewhere that will fly away from me, or that I shall wake up and
find it is a dream.'

"Well, Cerinthy Ann Twitchel was the bridesmaid, and she came next with
that young man she is engaged to. It is all out now, that she is
engaged, and she don't deny it. And Cerinthy, she looked handsomer than
I ever saw her, in a white brocade, with rosebuds on it, which I guess
she got in reference to the future, for they say she is going to be
married next month.

"Well, we all filled up the room pretty well, till Mrs. Scudder came in
to tell us that the company were all together; and then they took hold
of arms, and they had a little time practising how they must stand, and
Cerinthy Ann's beau would always get her on the wrong side, 'cause he's
rather bashful, and don't know very well what he's about; and Cerinthy
Ann declared she was afraid that she should laugh out in prayer-time,
'cause she always did laugh when she knew she mus'n't. But finally Mrs.
Scudder told us we must go in, and looked so reproving at Cerinthy that
she had to hold her mouth with her pocket-handkerchief.

"Well, the old Doctor was standing there in the very silk gown that the
ladies gave him to be married in himself,--poor, dear man!--and he
smiled kind of peaceful on 'em when they came in, and walked up to a
kind of bower of evergreens and flowers that Madame de Frontignac had
fixed for them to stand in. Mary grew rather white, as if she was going
to faint; but Jim Marvyn stood up just as firm, and looked as proud and
handsome as a prince, and he kind of looked down at her,--'cause, you
know, he is a great deal taller,--kind of wondering, as if he wanted to
know if it was really so. Well, when they got all placed, they let the
doors stand open, and Cato and Candace came and stood in the door. And
Candace had on her great splendid Mogadore turban, and a crimson and
yellow shawl, that she seemed to take comfort in wearing, although it
was pretty hot.

"Well, so when they were all fixed, the Doctor, he begun his
prayer,--and as 'most all of us knew what a great sacrifice he had
made, I don't believe there was a dry eye in the room; and when he had
done, there was a great time,--people blowing their noses and wiping
their eyes, as if it had been a funeral. Then Cerinthy Ann, she pulled
off Mary's glove pretty quick; but that poor beau of hers, he made such
work of James's that he had to pull it off himself, after all, and
Cerinthy Ann, she liked to have laughed out loud. And so when the
Doctor told them to join hands, Jim took hold of Mary's hand as if he
didn't mean to let go very soon, and so they were married.

"I was the first one that kissed the bride after Mrs. Scudder;--I got
that promise out of Mary when I was making the dress. And Jim Marvyn,
he insisted upon kissing me,--''Cause,' says he, 'Miss Prissy, you are
as young and handsome as any of 'em'; and I told him he was a saucy
fellow, and I'd box his ears, if I could reach them.

"That French lady looked lovely, dressed in pale pink silk, with long
pink wreaths of flowers in her hair; and she came up and kissed Mary,
and said something to her in French.

"And after a while old Candace came up, and Mary kissed her; and then
Candace put her arms round Jim's neck, and gave him a real hearty
smack, so that everybody laughed.

"And then the cake and the wine was passed round, and everybody had
good times till we heard the nine-o'clock-bell ring. And then the coach
come up to the door, and Mrs. Scudder, she wrapped Mary up, kissing
her, and crying over her, while Mrs. Marvyn stood stretching her arms
out of the coach after her; and then Cato and Candace went after in the
wagon behind, and so they all went off together; and that was the end
of the wedding; and ever since then we ha'n't any of us done much but
rest, for we were pretty much beat out. So no more at present from your
affectionate sister,


"P.S.--I forgot to tell you that Jim Marvyn has come home quite rich.
He fell in with a man in China who was at the head of one of their
great merchant-houses, whom he nursed through a long fever, and took
care of his business, and so, when he got well, nothing would do but he
must have him for a partner; and now he is going to live in this
country and attend to the business of the firm here. They say he is
going to build a house as grand as the Vernons'. And we hope he has
experienced religion; and he means to join our church, which is a
providence, for he is twice as rich and generous as that old Simeon
Brown that snapped me up so about my wages. I never believed in him,
for all his talk. I was down to Mrs. Scudder's when the Doctor examined
Jim about his evidences. At first the Doctor seemed a little anxious,
'cause he didn't talk in the regular way; for you know Jim always did
have his own way of talking, and never could say things in other
people's words; and sometimes he makes folks laugh, when he himself
don't know what they laugh at, because he hits the nail on the head in
some strange way they aren't expecting. If I was to have died, I
couldn't help laughing at some things he said; and yet I don't think I
ever felt more solemnized. He sat up there in a sort of grand,
straightforward, noble way, and told all the way the Lord had been
leading of him, and all the exercises of his mind, and all about the
dreadful shipwreck, and how he was saved, and the loving-kindness of
the Lord, till the Doctor's spectacles got all blinded with tears, and
he couldn't see the notes he made to examine him by; and we all cried,
Mrs. Scudder, and Mary, and I; and as to Mrs. Marvyn, she just sat with
her--hands clasped, looking into her son's eyes, like a picture of the
Virgin Mary. And when Jim got through, there wa'n't nothing to be heard
for some minutes; and the Doctor; he wiped his eyes, and wiped his
glasses, and looked over his papers, but he couldn't bring out a word,
and at last says he, "Let us pray,"--for that was all there was to be
said; for I think sometimes things so kind of fills folks up that there
a'n't nothing to be done but pray, which, the Lord be praised, we are
privileged to do always. Between you and I, Martha, I never could
understand all the distinctions our dear, blessed Doctor sets up; but
when he publishes his system, if I work my fingers to the bone, I mean
to buy one and study it out, because he is such a blessed man; though,
after all's said, I have come back to my old place, and trust to the
loving-kindness of the Lord, who takes care of the sparrow on the
house-top, and all small, lone creatures like me; though I can't say
I'm lone either, because nobody need say that, so long as there's folks
to be done for. So if I _don't_ understand the Doctor's theology, or
don't get eyes to read it, on account of the fine stitching on his
shirt-ruffles I've been trying to do, still I hope I may be accepted on
account of the Lord's great goodness; for if we can't trust that, it's
all over with us all."



We know it is fashionable to drop the curtain over a newly married
pair, they recede from the altar; but we cannot but hope our readers
may by this time have enough of interest in our little history to wish
for a few words on the lot of the personages whose acquaintance they
have thereby made.

The conjectures of Miss Prissy in regard to the grand house which James
was to build for his bride were as speedily as possible realized. On a
beautiful elevation, a little out of the town of Newport, rose a fair
and stately mansion, whose windows overlooked the harbor, and whose
wide, cool rooms were adorned by thy constant presence of the sweet
face and form which has been the guiding star of our story. The fair
poetic maiden, the seeress, the saint, has passed into that appointed
shrine for woman, more holy than cloister, more saintly and pure than
church or altar,--_a Christian home_. Priestess, wife, and mother,
there she ministers daily in holy works of household peace, and by
faith and prayer and love redeems from grossness and earthliness the
common toils and wants of life.

The gentle guiding force that led James Marvyn from the maxims and
habits and ways of this world to the higher conception of an heroic and
Christ-like manhood was still ever present with him, gently touching
the springs of life, brooding peacefully with dovelike wings over his
soul, and he grew up under it noble in purpose and strong in spirit. He
was one of the most energetic and fearless supporters of the Doctor in
his life-long warfare against an inhumanity which was intrenched in all
the mercantile interests of the day, and which at last fell before the
force of conscience and moral appeal.

Candace in time transferred her allegiance to the growing family of her
young master and mistress, and predominated proudly in gorgeous raiment
with her butterfly turban over a rising race of young Marvyns. All the
care not needed by them was bestowed upon the somewhat querulous old
age of Cato, whose never-failing cough furnished occupation for all her
spare hours and thought.

As for our friend the Doctor, we trust our readers will appreciate the
magnanimity with which he proved a real and disinterested love, in a
point where so many men experience only the graspings of a selfish one.
A mind so severely trained as his had been brings to a great crisis,
involving severe self-denial, an amount of reserved moral force quite
inexplicable to those less habituated to self-control. He was like a
warrior whose sleep even was in armor, always ready to be roused to the

In regard to his feelings for Mary, he made the sacrifice of himself to
her happiness so wholly and thoroughly that there was not a moment of
weak hesitation,--no going back over the past,--no vain regret.
Generous and brave souls find a support in such actions, because the
very exertion raises them to a higher and purer plane of existence.

His diary records the event only in these very calm and temperate
words:--"It was a trial to me,--_a very great_ trial; but as she did
not deceive me, I shall never lose my friendship for her."

The Doctor was always a welcome inmate in the house of Mary and James,
as a friend revered and dear. Nor did he want in time a hearthstone of
his own, where a bright and loving face made him daily welcome; for we
find that he married at last a woman of a fair countenance, and that
sons and daughters grew up around him.

In time, also, his theological system was published. In that day, it
was customary to dedicate new or important works to the patronage of
some distinguished or powerful individual. The Doctor had no earthly
patron. Four or five simple lines are found in the commencement of his
work, in which, in a spirit reverential and affectionate, he dedicates
it to our Lord Jesus Christ, praying Him to accept the good, and to
overrule the errors to His glory.

Quite unexpectedly to himself, the work proved a success, not only in
public acceptance and esteem, but even in a temporal view, bringing to
him at last a modest competence, which he accepted with surprise and
gratitude. To the last of a very long life, he was the same steady,
undiscouraged worker, the same calm witness against popular sins and
proclaimer of unpopular truths, ever saying and doing what he saw to be
eternally right, without the slightest consultation with worldly
expediency or earthly gain; nor did his words cease to work in New
England till the evils he opposed were finally done away.

Colonel Burr leaves the scene of our story to pursue those brilliant
and unscrupulous political intrigues so well known to the historian of
those times, and whose results were so disastrous to himself. His duel
with the ill-fated Hamilton, the awful retribution of public opinion
that followed, and the slow downward course of a doomed life are all on
record. Chased from society, pointed at everywhere by the finger of
hatred, so accursed in common esteem that even the publican who lodged
him for a night refused to accept his money when he knew his name,
heart-stricken in his domestic relations, his only daughter taken by
pirates and dying amid untold horrors,--one seems to see in a doom so
much above that of other men the power of an avenging Nemesis for sins
beyond those of ordinary humanity.

But we who have learned of Christ may humbly hope that these crushing
miseries in this life came not because he was a sinner above
others,--not in wrath alone,--but that the prayers of the sweet saint
who gave him to God even before his birth brought to him those friendly
adversities, that thus might be slain in his soul the evil demon of
pride, which had been the opposing force to all that was noble within
him. Nothing is more affecting than the account of the last hours of
this man, whom a woman took in and cherished in his poverty and
weakness with that same heroic enthusiasm with which it was his lot to
inspire so many women. This humble keeper of lodgings was told, that,
if she retained Aaron Burr, all her other lodgers would leave. "Let
them do it, then," she said; "but he shall remain." In the same
uncomplaining and inscrutable silence in which he had borne the
reverses and miseries of his life did this singular being pass through
the shades of the dark valley. The New Testament was always under his
pillow, and when alone he was often found reading it attentively; but
of the result of that communion with Higher Powers he said nothing.
Patient, gentle, and grateful, he was, as to all his inner history,
entirely silent and impenetrable. He died with the request, which has a
touching significance, that he might be buried at the feet of those
parents whose lives had finished so differently from his own.

  "No farther seek his errors to disclose,
  Or draw his frailties from their dread abode."

Shortly after Mary's marriage, Madame de Frontignac sailed with her
husband for home, where they lived in a very retired way on a large
estate in the South of France. An intimate correspondence was kept up
between her and Mary for many years, from which we shall give our
readers a few extracts. Her first letter is dated shortly after her
return to France.

"At last, my sweet Marie, you behold us in peace after our wanderings.
I wish you could see our lovely nest in the hills which overlook the
Mediterranean, whose blue waters remind me of Newport harbor and our
old days there. Ah, my sweet saint, blessed was the day I first learned
to know you! for it was you, more than anything else, that kept me back
from sin and misery. I call you my Sibyl, dearest, because the Sibyl
was a prophetess of divine things out of the Church; and so are you.
The Abbé says, that all true, devout persons of all persuasions belong
to the True Catholic Apostolic Church, and will in the end be
enlightened to know it. What do you think of that, _ma belle?_ I fancy
I see you look at me with your grave, innocent eyes, just as you used
to; but you say nothing.

"I am far happier, _ma Marie_, than I ever thought I could be. I took
your advice, and told my husband all I had felt and suffered. It was a
very hard thing to do; but I felt how true it was, as you said, that
there could be no real friendship without perfect truth at bottom; so I
told him all, and he was very good and noble and helpful to me; and
since then he has been so gentle and patient and thoughtful, that no
mother could be kinder; and I should be a very bad woman, if I did not
love him truly and dearly,--as I do.

"I must confess that there is still a weak, bleeding place in my heart
that aches yet, but I try to bear it bravely; and when I am tempted to
think myself very miserable, I remember how patiently you used to go
about your house-work and spinning, in those sad days when you thought
your heart was drowned in the sea; and I try to do like you. I have
many duties to my servants and tenants, and mean to be a good
_châtelaine_; and I find, when I nurse the sick and comfort the poor,
that my sorrows are lighter. For, after all, Marie, I have lost nothing
that ever was mine,--only my foolish heart has grown to something that
it should not, and bleeds at being torn away. Nobody but Christ and His
dear Mother can tell what this sorrow is; but they know, and that is

The next letter is dated some three years after.

"You see me now, my Marie, a proud and happy woman. I was truly
envious, when you wrote me of the birth of your little son; but now the
dear good God has sent a sweet little angel to me, to comfort my
sorrows and lie close to my heart; and since he came, all pain is gone.
Ah, if you could see him! he has black eyes, and lashes like silk, and
such little hands!--even his finger-nails are all perfect, like little
gems; and when he puts his little hand on my bosom, I tremble with joy.
Since he came, I pray always, and the good God seems very near to me.
Now I realize, as I never did before, the sublime thought that God
revealed Himself in the infant Jesus; and I bow before the manger of
Bethlehem where the Holy Babe was laid. What comfort, what adorable
condescension for us mothers in that scene!--My husband is so moved, he
can scarce stay an hour from the cradle. He seems to look at me with a
sort of awe, because I know how to care for this precious treasure that
he adores without daring to touch. We are going to call him Henri,
which is my husband's name and that of his ancestors for many
generations back. I vow for him an eternal friendship with the son of
my little Marie; and I shall try and train him up to be a brave man and
a true Christian. Ah, Marie, this gives me something to live for! My
heart is full,--a whole new life opens before me!"

Somewhat later, another letter announces the birth of a daughter,--and
later still, the birth of another son; but we shall add only one more,
written some years after, on hearing of the great reverses of popular
feeling towards Burr, subsequently to his duel with the ill-fated

"_Ma chère Marie_,--Your letter has filled me with grief. My noble
Henri, who already begins to talk of himself as my protector, (these
boys feel their manhood so soon, _ma Marie_!) saw by my face, when I
read your letter, that something pained me, and he would not rest till
I told him something about it. Ah, Marie, how thankful I then felt that
I had nothing to blush for before my son! how thankful for those dear
children whose little hands had healed all the morbid places of my
heart, so that I could think of all the past without a pang! I told
Henri that the letter brought bad news of an old friend, but that it
pained me to speak of it; and you would have thought, by the grave and
tender way he talked to his mamma, that the boy was an experienced man
of forty, to say the least.

"But, Marie, how unjust is the world! how unjust both in praise and
blame! Poor Burr was the petted child of Society; yesterday she doted
on him, flattered him, smiled on his faults, and let him do what he
would without reproof; to-day she flouts and scorns and scoffs him, and
refuses to see the least good in him. I know that man, Marie,--and I
know, that, sinful as he may be before Infinite Purity, he is not so
much more sinful than all the other men of his time. Have I not been in
America? I know Jefferson; I knew poor Hamilton,--peace be with the
dead! Neither of them had a life that could bear the sort of trial to
which Burr's is subjected. When every secret fault, failing, and sin is
dragged out, and held up without mercy, what man can stand?

"But I know what irritates the world is that proud, disdainful calm
which will give neither sigh nor tear. It was not that he killed poor
Hamilton, but that he never seemed to care! Ah, there is that evil
demon of his life,--that cold, stoical pride, which haunts him like a
fate! But I know he _does_ feel; I know he is not as hard at heart as
he tries to be; I have seen too many real acts of pity to the
unfortunate, of tenderness to the weak, of real love to his friends, to
believe that. Great have been his sins against our sex, and God forbid
that the mothers of children should speak lightly of them I but is not
so susceptible a temperament, and so singular a power to charm as he
possessed, to be taken into account in estimating his temptations?
Because he is a sinning man, it does not follow that he is a demon. If
any should have cause to think bitterly of him, I should. He trifled
inexcusably with my deepest feelings; he caused me years of conflict
and anguish, such as he little knows; I was almost shipwrecked; yet I
will still say to the last that what I loved in him was a better
self,--something really noble and good, however concealed and perverted
by pride, ambition, and self-will. Though all the world reject him, I
still have faith in this better nature, and prayers that he may be led
right at last. There is at least one heart that will always intercede
with God for him."

It is well known, that, for many years after Burr's death, the odium
that covered his name was so great that no monument was erected, lest
it should become a mark for popular violence. Subsequently, however, in
a mysterious manner, a plain granite slab marked his grave; by whom
erected has never been known. It was placed in the night by some
friendly, unknown hand. A laborer in the vicinity, who first discovered
it, found lying near the spot a small _porte-monnaie_, which had
perhaps been used in paying for the workmanship. It contained no papers
that could throw any light on the subject, except the fragment of the
address of a letter on which was written "Henri de Frontignac."


The stars are watching at their posts
  And raining silence from the sky,
And, guarded by the heavenly hosts,
  Earth closes her day-wearied eye.

A reign of holy quietness
  Replaces the tumultuous light,
And Nature's weary tribes confess
  The calm beatitude of Night:

When from the Arctic pit up-steams
  The Boreal fire's portentous glare,
And, bursting into arrowy streams,
  Hurls horrid splendors on the air.

The embattled meteors scale the arch,
  And toss their lurid banners wide;
Heaven reels with their tempestuous march,
  And quivers in the flashing tide.

Against the everlasting stars,
  Against the old empyreal Right,
They vainly wage their anarch wars,
  In vain they urge their fatuous light.

The skies may flash and meteors glare,
  And Hell invade the spheral school;
But Law and Love are sovereign there,
  And Sirius and Orion rule.

The stars are watching at their posts,
  Again the Silences prevail;
The meteor crew, like guilty ghosts,
  Have slunk to the infernal jail.

The truths of God forever shine,
  Though Error glare and Falsehood rage;
The cause of Order is divine,
  And Wisdom rules from age to age.

Faith, Hope, and Love, your time abide!
  Let Hades marshal all his hosts,
The heavenly forces with you side,
  The stars are watching at their posts.


Paine landed at Havre in May, A.D. 1787, _aet. suae_ 50, with many
titles to social success. He brought with him a literary fame which
ranks higher in France than elsewhere; and his works were in the
fashionable line of the day. He had been an energetic actor in the
American Revolution,--a subject of unbounded enthusiasm with Frenchmen,
who look upon it, to this day, as an achievement of their own. And he
could boast of a scientific _spécialité_, without which no intelligent
gentleman was complete in the last third of the eighteenth century.
Philosopher, American, republican, friend of humanity, _savant_,--he
could show every claim to notice. Besides all this, and better than
all, he brought letters from Franklin, the charming old man, whose
fondness for "that dear nation" which he could not leave without regret
was returned a thousand fold by its admiring affection. De Rayneval did
not exaggerate when he wrote to him,--"You will carry with you the
affection of all France"; and De Chastellux told the simple truth in
the graceful compliment he sent to the old sage after his return
home,--"When you were here, we had no need to praise the Americans; we
had only to say, 'Look! here is their representative.'" Let us devoutly
pray that our ambassadors may not be made use of for the same purpose

For these reasons, Paine's reception in Paris was cordial; visits and
invitations poured in upon him; he dined with Malesherbes; M. Le Roy
took him to Buffon's, where he saw some interesting experiments on
inflammable air; the Abbé Morellet exerted himself to get the model of
his bridge, which had been stopped at the custom-house, safely to
Paris. Through their influence it was submitted to a committee of the
Académie des Sciences; their report was, in substance, that the iron
bridge of M. Paine was _ingénieusement imaginé_,--that it merited an
attempt to execute it, and furnished a new example of the application
of a metal which had not yet been sufficiently used on a large scale.

Two other gentlemen from America, who were interested in science and in
mechanics, were in Paris at that time. Rumsey was there with his model
of a steamboat; and Thomas Jefferson, whose curiosity extended to all
things visible or audible, was busily collecting ground-plans and
elevations, and preparing to add at least two ugly buildings to a State
"over which," as he himself wrote, "the Genius of Architecture had
showered his malediction."

Unfortunately for inventors, the times were not favorable for the
construction of boats or of bridges. A taste had sprung up in France
for constitution-making, one of the most difficult and expensive of
public works. A translation of the American State Constitutions
attracted more attention in Paris than Paine's iron-work; for these
also, the French thought, were _ingénieusement imaginées_, and worthy
of an attempt to execute them abroad. The American Revolution, with its
brilliant termination of wisdom, liberty, and peace, seemed to promise
similar good results to the efforts of reformers elsewhere. Treatises
on moral science and on the nature and end of civil government were
eagerly read, "_Humanité, mot nouveau_," as Cousin says, became the
watch-word of the Parisians. It was the fashion among all classes, high
as well as low, to talk of human rights, to exalt the virtue of the
people, hitherto supposed to have none, and to execrate "bloody
tyrants," "silly despots," the members of the kingly profession, which
fell into such sad disfavor towards the end of the last century. Ségur,
after his return from America, heard the whole court applaud these
lines at the theatre:--

  "Je suis fils de Brutus, et je porte en mon coeur
  La liberté gravée et les rois en horreur."

None suspected whither the road would lead which they were pursuing
with so much gayety and enlightenment. Philosophers, nobles, and
parliaments all clamored for reform--in others; and for the public
good, provided their own goods did not suffer. The King meant reform;
he, at least, was in earnest. But how to get it? He had sought
assistance from the middle classes; had tried Turgot, the political
economist, and Necker, the banker, as ministers; but both broke down
under the opposition of the nobility. Then Calonne volunteered, witty
and reckless, and convoked the notables, or not-ables, as Lafayette
called them in one of his American letters, borrowing a bad pun from
Thomas Paine. Calonne could do nothing with the notables, who
obstinately refused to submit to taxation. Brienne, Archbishop of
Toulouse, took his place. This was in April, 1787, a month before
Paine's arrival in France. The notables suddenly became manageable
under the new minister, and voted all the necessary taxes; but now the
parliaments grew restive, refused to register the edicts, declaring
that they had not the legal right to consent to taxes, that the
States-General alone had authority to impose new ones. Brienne,
indignant at this perverseness,--for hitherto they had claimed the sole
right of registering taxes,--forced them to register the stamp-tax and
the land-tax, and exiled them to Troyes. This took place on the 15th of
August. The same day the two brothers of the King went to register the
edicts in the Cour des Comptes and the _Cour des Aides_. Monsieur was
received with acclamations; but D'Artois, who belonged to the unpopular
Calonne party, was hissed and jostled by the crowd. Alarmed, he ordered
his guard to close about him. "I was standing in one of the apartments
through which he had to pass," says Paine, "and could not avoid
reflecting how wretched is the condition of a disrespected man."

Evidently no bridges to be built here at present. It would be better to
try in England, Paine thought, and in September crossed to London. Sir
Joseph Banks, a great scientific authority, thought well of his model,
and recommended the construction of one on a larger scale. The
different parts of the new bridge were cast in a Yorkshire foundry
belonging to Thomas Walker, a Whig friend of the inventor, brought by
sea to London, and erected in an open field at Faddington, where the
structure was inspected by great numbers of people. After standing
there a year, it was taken down, and the materials used in building a
bridge over the river Wear at Sunderland, of two hundred and thirty-six
feet span, with a rise of thirty-four feet. This bridge is still in

[Footnote 1: Stephenson says, in rather bad English, (we quote from the
_Quarterly_),--"If we are to consider Paine as its author, his daring
in engineering certainly does full justice to the fervor of his
political career; for, successful as the result has undoubtedly proved,
want of experience and consequent ignorance of the risk could alone
have induced so bold an experiment; and we are rather led to wonder at
than to admire a structure which, as regards its proportions and the
small quantity of material employed in its construction, will probably
remain unrivalled,"--thus resembling the spider's web, which furnished;
the original suggestion. In 1801, when Paine had exhausted his theory
of human rights in France, he offered his plan to Chaptal, the Minister
of the Interior, who proposed to build an iron bridge over the Seine.
Two years later, after his return to America, he addressed a memorial
to Congress on the same subject, offering the nation the invention as a
free gift, and his own services to superintend the structure; but
neither Chaptal nor Congress thought fit to accept his offer.]

Paine had forgotten his bridge long before it was taken down. His soul
was engrossed by the contemplation of the wonderful event which was
daily developing itself in France. Bankruptcy had brought on the
crisis. In August, 1788, the interest was not paid on the national
debt, and Brienne resigned. The States-General met in May of the next
year; in June they declared themselves a national assembly, and
commenced work upon a constitution under the direction of Sièyes, who
well merited the epithet, "indefatigable constitution-grinder," applied
to Paine by Cobbett. Not long after, the attempted _coup d'état_ of
Louis XVI. failed, the Bastille was demolished, and the political
Saturnalia of the French people began.

It is evident, that, in the beginning, Paine did not aspire to be the
political Prometheus of England. He rather looked to the Whig party and
to Mr. Burke as the leaders in such a movement. As for himself, a
veteran reformer from another hemisphere, he was willing to serve as a
volunteer in the campaign against the oppressors of mankind. He had
adopted for his motto, "Where liberty is not, there is my country,"--a
negative variation of Franklin's saying, which suited his tempestuous
character. As he flitted to and fro across the Channel, observing with
sharp, eager eyes the progress of "principles" in France, gradually
there arose in his mind the thought that poor, old, worn-out England
might be regenerated by these new methods. "The French are doubling
their strength," he wrote, "by allying, if it may be so expressed, (for
it is difficult to express a new idea by old terms,) the majesty of the
sovereign with the majesty of the nation."

Paris swarmed with enthusiastic "friends of humanity," English, Scotch,
and Irish. Among them Paine naturally took a foremost position, being
an authority in revolutionary matters, and a man who had principles on
the subject of government. In spite of his contempt of titles, he wrote
himself, "Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Congress of the United
States," slightly improving upon the office he had actually held, to
suit the sound to European capacity,--showing that in this, likewise,
he possessed a genuine American element of character. Lafayette thought
much of him, used his pen freely, and listened to his advice. The
Marquis, warm-hearted, honest, but endowed with little judgment and a
womanish vanity, was trying to make himself the Washington of a French
federative republic, and felt happy in having secured the experienced
services of Mr. Paine. He wrote to his great master,--"'Common Sense'
is writing a book for you, and there you will see a part of my
adventures. Liberty is springing up around us in the other parts of
Europe, and I am encouraging it by all the means in my power." Paine
was in Paris when the Bastille was taken. Lafayette placed the key in
his hands, to be transmitted to Washington. Paine wrote to the
President, "That the principles of America opened the Bastille is not
to be doubted, and therefore the key comes to the right place."
Washington, returning his thanks to Paine for the key, added,--"It will
give you pleasure to learn that the new government answers its purposes
as well as could have been reasonably expected." Yes! and still answers
reasonable purposes to this day. In the mean while dozens of French
constitutions, "perfections of human wisdom," have been invented, set
up, and crushed to atoms.

It was a time of revival in politics. Holland was indulging in hope,
Germany was anxious, and steady old England began to lend an ear to the
new doctrines from the other side of the Channel. The tendency of the
human mind to believe in a golden future, until knowledge of the world
and reflection teach us that these bright visions always shrink into
the ordinary dimensions of the present as they approach it, misled
enthusiastic Englishmen, many of them of a high order of intelligence.
There was something grand in the idea, that the prejudices and the
abuses of twenty centuries had been buried forever in the ruins of the
old French monarchy. This was not enough. All governments and all
prejudices of society were to be thrown into the melting-pot; out of
the fusion was to arise the new era, the millennium. All other evil
things would cease to exist, as well as monopolies, titles, places, and
pensions. Sickness, even death, perhaps, might be evaded by the skill
of a new science. Who could tell? Franklin had suggested this, half in
jest, years before; Condorcet believed and asserted it now. Ignorance
and misery, at all events, should come to an end. When kings and a
wicked self-seeking aristocracy should be swept away, the divine sense
of right, which God had implanted in the people, would rule; there
could be no wars; armies and fleets would become useless; taxes would
amount to nothing. All the nations would form one grand republic, with
a universal convention sitting at the world's centre, to watch over the
rights of man! Liberty, virtue, happiness, seemed ready to descend upon
the earth.

  "Jam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto,
  Ac toto surget gens aurea mundo."

As each week brought the news of some stupendous change, a kind of
madness seized upon the minds of men. Fanatics were jubilant.
"Revolutions," they said, "can do no wrong; all are for the best."
Englishmen, hitherto sane, forgot their nationality, and became violent
Frenchmen. So strongly did the current set in this direction, that the
massacres of September, the execution of the King, the despotism of the
Directory and the Consulship could not turn it, until Napoleon united
all France under him and all England against him. As late as 1793, such
men as James Watt, Jr., and the poet Wordsworth were in Paris, on
intimate terms with Robespierre and his Committee.

Before 1789, there was no particular discontent in England. Some talk
there had been of reform in the representation, and the usual
complaints of the burden of taxation. The Dissenters had been trying to
get the Corporation and Test Acts repealed, without much success. But
nothing beyond occasional meetings and petitions to Parliament would
have occurred, had it not been for the explosion in France, then, as
since, the political powder-magazine of Europe. The Whig party had seen
with pleasure the beginning of the French reforms. Paine, who had
partaken of Mr. Burke's hospitality at Beaconsfield, wrote to him
freely from Paris, assuring him that everything was going on right;
that little inconveniences, the necessary consequences of pulling down
and building up, might arise; but that these were much less than ought
to be expected; and that a national convention in England would be the
best plan of regenerating the nation. Christie, a foolish Scotchman,
and Baron Clootz (soon to become Anacharsis) also wrote to Burke in the
same vein. Their communications affected his mind in a way they little
expected. Mr. Burke had lost all faith in any good result from the
blind, headlong rush of the Revolution, and was appalled at the
toleration, or rather, sympathy, shown in England, for the riots,
outrages, and murders of the Parisian rabble. He began writing the
"Reflections," as a warning to his countrymen. He was led to enlarge
the work by some remarks made by Fox and Sheridan in the House of
Commons; and more particularly by some passages in a sermon preached at
the Old Jewry by Dr. Price. Eleven years before, this scientific
divine, by a resolution of the American Congress, had been invited to
consider himself an American citizen, and to furnish the rebellious
Colonists with his assistance in regulating their finances. He had
disregarded this flattering summons. Full of zeal for "humanity," he
eagerly accepted the request of the Revolution Society to deliver their
anniversary sermon. In this discourse, the Doctor, the fervor of whose
sentiments had increased with age, maintained the right of the nation
"to cashier the king," choose a new ruler, and frame a government for
itself. The sermon and the congratulatory addresses it provoked were
published by the society and industriously circulated.

Mr. Burke's well-known "Reflections" appeared in October, 1790. The
book was hailed with delight by the conservatives of England. Thirteen
thousand copies were sold and disseminated. It was a sowing of the
dragon's teeth. Every copy brought out some radical, armed with speech
or pamphlet. Among a vulgar and forgotten crowd of declaimers, the
harebrained Lord Stanhope, Mary Wolstonecraft, who afterward wrote a
"Vindication of the Rights of Women," and the violent Catharine
Macaulay came forward to enter the ring against the great Mr. Burke.
Dr. Priestley, Unitarian divine, discoverer of oxygen gas,
correspondent of Dr. Franklin, afterward mobbed in Birmingham, and
self-exiled to Pennsylvania, fiercely backed Dr. Price, and maintained
that the French Revolution would result "in the enlargement of liberty,
the melioration of society, and the increase of virtue and happiness."
The "Vindiciae Gallicae" brought into notice Mr. Mackintosh, an
opponent whom Burke did not consider beneath him. But the champion was
Thomas Paine. At the White Bear, Piccadilly, Paine's favorite lounge,
where Romney, who painted a good portrait of him, Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, Colonel Oswald, Horne Tooke, and others of that set of
clever, impracticable reformers used to meet, there had been talk of
the blow Mr. Burke was preparing to strike, and Paine had promised his
friends to ward it off and to return it. He set himself to work in the
Red-Lion Tavern, at Islington, and in three months, Part the First of
the "Rights of Man" was ready for the press. Here a delay occurred. The
printer who had undertaken the job came to a stop before certain
treasonable passages, and declined proceeding farther. This caused the
loss of a month. At last, Jordan, of Fleet Street, brought it out on
the 13th of March, 1791. No publication in Great Britain, not Junius
nor Wilkes's No. 45, had produced such an effect. All England was
divided into those who, like Cruger of Bristol, said "Ditto to Mr.
Burke," and those who swore by Thomas Paine. "It is a false, wicked,
and seditious libel," shouted loyal gentlemen. "It abounds in
unanswerable truths, and principles of the purest morality and
benevolence; it has no object in view but the happiness of mankind,"
answered the reformers. "He is the scavenger of rebellion and
infidelity."--"Say, rather, 'the Apostle of Freedom, whose heart is a
perpetual bleeding fountain of philanthropy.'" The friends of the
government carried Paine in effigy, with a pair of stays under his
arms, and burned the figure in the streets. The friends of humanity
added a new verse to the national hymn, and sung,--

  "God save great Thomas Paine,
  His Rights of Man proclaim
  From pole to pole!"

This pamphlet, which excited Englishmen of seventy years ago to such a
pitch of angry and scornful contention, may be read safely now. Time
has taken the sting from it. It is written in that popular style which
was Paine's extraordinary gift. He practised the maxim of
Aristotle,--although probably he had never heard of it,--"Think like
the wise, and speak like the common people." Fox said of the "Rights of
Man," "It seems as clear and as simple as the first rule in
arithmetic." Therein lay its strength. Paine knew exactly what he
wanted to say, and exactly how to say it. His positions may be
wrong,--no doubt frequently are wrong,--but so clearly, keenly, and
above all so boldly stated, and backed by such shrewd arguments and
such apposite illustrations, that it is difficult not to yield to his
common-sense view of the question he is discussing. His plain and
perspicuous style is often elegant. He may sometimes be coarse and
rude, but it is in the thought rather than in the expression. It is
true, that, in the heat of conflict, he is apt to lose his temper and
break out into the bitter violence of his French associates; but even
the scientific and reverend Priestley "called names,"--apostate,
renegade, scoundrel. This rough energy added to his popularity with the
middle and the lower classes, and made him doubly distasteful to his
opponents. Paine, who thought all revolutions alike, and all good,
could not understand why Burke, who had upheld the Americans, should
exert his whole strength against the French, unless he were "a traitor
to human nature." Burke did Paine equal injustice. He thought him
unworthy of any refutation but the pillory. In public, he never
mentioned his name. But his opinion, and, perhaps, a little soreness of
feeling, may be seen in this extract from a letter to Sir William

"He [Paine] is utterly incapable of comprehending his subject. He has
not even a moderate portion of learning of any kind. He has learned the
instrumental part of literature, without having ever made a previous
preparation of study for the use of it. Paine has nothing more than
what a man, whose audacity makes him careless of logical consequences
and his total want of honor makes indifferent to political
consequences, can very easily write."

The radicals thought otherwise. They drank Mr. Burke's health with
"thanks to him for the discussion he had provoked." And the student of
history, who may read Paine's opening sketch of the French Revolution,
written to refute Burke's narrative of the same events, will not deny
Paine's complete success. He will even meet with sentences that Burke
might have composed. For instance: Paine ridicules, as Quixotic, the
fine passage in the "Reflections on the Decay of Chivalry"; and adds,
"Mr. Burke's mind is above the homely sorrows of the vulgar. He can
only feel for a king or for a queen. The countless victims of tyranny
have no place in his sympathies. He is not affected by the reality of
distress touching upon his heart, but by the showy resemblance of it.
He pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird."

The French constitution,--"a fabric of government which time could not
destroy and the latest posterity would admire." This was the boast of
the National Assembly, echoed by the English clubs. Even Mr. Fox, as
late as April, 1791, misled by his own magniloquence, spoke of it as
"the most stupendous and glorious edifice of liberty which had been
erected on the foundation of human integrity in any time or country."
Paine heartily concurred with him. Such a constitution as this, he
said, is needed in England. There is no hope of it from Parliament.
Indeed, Parliament, if it desired reforms, could not make them; it has
not the legal right. A national convention, fresh from the people, is
indispensable. Then, _reculant pour mieux sauter_, Paine goes back to
the origin of man,--a journey often undertaken by the political
philosophers of that day. He describes his natural rights,--defines
society as a compact,--declares that no generation has a right to bind
its successors, (a doctrine which Mr. Jefferson, and some foolish
people after him, thought a self-evident truth,)--hence, no family has
a right to take possession of a throne. An hereditary rule is as great
an absurdity as an hereditary professorship of mathematics,--a place
supposed by Dr. Franklin to exist in some German university. Paine grew
bolder as he advanced: "If monarchy is a useless thing, why is it kept
up anywhere? and if a necessary thing, how can it be dispensed with?"
This is a pretty good specimen of one of Paine's dialectical methods.
Here is another: The French constitution says, that the right of war
and of peace is in the nation. "Where else should it reside, but in
those who are to pay the expense? In England, the right is said to
reside in a metaphor shown at the Tower for sixpence or a shilling."
Dropping the crown, he turned upon the aristocracy and the Church, and
tore them. He begged Lafayette's pardon for addressing him as Marquis.
Titles are but nicknames. Nobility and no ability are synonymous. "In
all the vocabulary of Adam, you will find no such thing as a duke or a
count." The French had established universal liberty of conscience,
which gave rise to the following Painean statement: "With respect to
what are called denominations of religion,--if every one is left to
judge of his own religion, there is no such thing as a religion which
is wrong; but if they are to judge of each other's religion, there is
no such thing as a religion that is right;--and therefore all the world
is right or all the world is wrong." The next is better: "Religion is
man bringing to his Maker the fruits of his heart; and though these
fruits may differ from each other, like the fruits of the earth, the
grateful tribute of every one is accepted."

To encounter an antagonist like Burke, and to come off with credit,
might stimulate moderate vanity into public self-exposure; but in Paine
vanity was the besetting weakness. It was now swollen by success and
flattery into magnificent proportions. Franklin says, that, "when we
forbear to praise ourselves, we make a sacrifice to the pride or to the
envy of others." Paine did not hesitate to mortify both these failings
in his fellow-men. He praises himself with the simplicity of an Homeric
hero before a fight. He introduces himself, without a misgiving, almost
in the words of Pius Aeneas,--

  "Sum Thomas Paine,
  Faunâ, super aethera notus."

"With all the inconveniences of early life against me, I am proud to
say, that, with a perseverance undismayed by difficulties, a
disinterestedness that compels respect, I have not only contributed to
raise a new empire in the world, founded on a new system of government,
but I have arrived at an eminence in political literature, the most
difficult of all lines to succeed and excel in, which aristocracy, with
all its aids, has not been able to reach or to rival." "I possess," he
wrote in the Second Part of the "Rights of Man," "more of what is
called consequence in the world than any one of Mr. Burke's catalogue
of aristocrats." Paine sincerely believed himself to be an adept who
had found in the rights of man the _materia prima_ of politics, by
which error and suffering might be transmuted into happiness and truth.
A second Columbus, but greater than the Genoese! Christopher had
discovered a new world, it is true, but Thomas had discovered the means
of making a new world out of the old. About this time, Dumont, the
Benthamite, travelled with him from Paris to London. Dumont was
irritated with "his incredible _amour-propre_ and his presumptuous
self-conceit." "He was mad with vanity." "The man was a caricature of
the vainest of Frenchmen. He believed that his book on the 'Rights of
Man' might supply the place of all the books that had ever been
written. If it was in his power, he would destroy all the libraries in
the world without hesitation, in order to root out the errors of which
they were the deposit, and so recommence by the 'Rights of Man' a new
chain of ideas and principles." Thus Paine and his wild friends had
reached the point of folly in the reformer's scale, and, like so many
of their class since, made the fatal mistake of supposing that the old
world knew nothing.

When Dumont fell in with Paine, he was returning from a flying visit to
Paris, invigorated by the bracing air of French freedom. He had seen
Pope Pius burned in effigy in the Palais Royal, and the poor King
brought back a prisoner from Varennes,--a cheerful spectacle to the
friend of humanity. He was on his way to be present at a dinner given
in London on the 14th of July, to commemorate the taking of the
Bastille; but the managers of the festivity thought it prudent that he
should not attend. He wrote, soon after, the address read by Horne
Tooke to the meeting of the 20th of August, at the Thatched House
tavern. So enlightened were the doctrines set forth in this paper, that
the innkeeper declined receiving Mr. Tooke and his friends on any
subsequent occasion. On the 4th of November, he assisted at the
customary celebration of the Fifth by the Revolution Society, and gave,
for his toast, "The Revolution of the World."

Meanwhile, Paine had reloaded his piece, and was now ready for another
shot at kings, lords, and commons. A thousand guineas were offered for
the copyright and refused. He declined to treat as a merchantable
commodity principles of such importance to mankind. His plan was, to
publish Part the Second on the day of the opening of Parliament; but
Chapman, the printer, became frightened, like his predecessor, at a
treasonable paragraph, and refused to go on.

A fortnight passed before work was resumed, and the essay did not
appear until the 16th of February, 1792. It combined, according to the
author, "principles and practice." Part the First was now fully
expounded, and enlarged by a scheme for diminishing the taxes and
improving the condition of the poor, by making weekly allowances to
young children, aged people, travelling workmen, and disbanded
soldiers. This project of Paine, stated with the mathematical accuracy
which was a characteristic of his mind, sprang from the same source as
the thousand Utopianisms which form the ludicrous side of the terrible
French Revolution.

Part the First was dedicated to Washington; Part the Second bore the
name of Lafayette. It is evident, from the second dedication, that
Paine had kept pace with the railway speed of the Revolution, and had
far outstripped the Marquis, who was not born to lead, or even to
understand the period he attempted to direct. The foremost men of 1792
had no time to wait;--"Mankind are always ripe enough to understand
their true interest," said Paine; adding words which seemed to quiet
Englishmen of fearful significance:--

"I do not believe that monarchy and aristocracy will continue seven
years longer in any of the enlightened countries of Europe."--"When
France shall be surrounded with revolutions, she will be in peace and
safety."--"From what we can learn, all Europe may form but one great
republic, and man be free of the whole."--"It is only a certain service
that any man can perform in the state, and the service of any
individual in the routine of office can never exceed the value of ten
thousand pounds a year."--"I presume that no man in his sober senses
will compare the character of any of the kings of Europe with that of
George Washington. Yet in France and in England the expenses of the
Civil List only for the support of one man are eight times greater than
the whole expense of the Federal government of America."--"The time is
not very distant when England will laugh at itself for sending to
Holland, Hanover, Zell, or Brunswick, for men, at the expense of a
million a year, who understand neither her laws, her language, or her
interest, and whose capacities would scarcely have fitted them for the
office of a parish constable. If government could be trusted to such
hands, it must be some easy and simple thing indeed, and materials fit
for all the purposes may be found in every town and village in

Here is treasonable matter enough, surely; and no wonder that Mr.
Chapman judged it prudent to stop his press.

Paine sent fifty copies to Washington; and wrote to him that sixteen
thousand had been printed in England, and four editions in
Ireland,--the second of ten thousand copies. Thirty thousand copies
were distributed by the clubs, at their own expense, among the poor.
Six months after the appearance of the Second Part, Paine sent the
Society for Constitutional Information a thousand pounds, which he had
received from the sale of the book. He then gave up the copyright to
the public. The circulation of this tract was prodigious. The original
edition had been printed in the same form as Burke's "Reflections," in
order that the antidote might be bound up with the bane. The high price
preventing many from purchasing, Paine got out a cheap edition which
was retailed at sixpence all over England and Scotland. It is said that
at least one hundred thousand copies were sold, besides the large
number distributed gratuitously. An edition was published in the United
States. It was translated into French by Dr. Lanthenas, a member of the
National Convention, and into German by C. F. Krämer. Upon English
readers of a certain class it retained a hold for many years. In 1820,
Carlile, the bookseller, said, that in the preceding three years he had
sold five thousand copies of the "Rights of Man." Perhaps Cobbett's
resurrection of the bones of the prophet brought the book into fashion
again at that time. It may yet be read in England; but in this country,
where a citizen feels that his rights are anything he may choose to
claim, it is certainly a superfluous publication, and seldom met with.

In England, in 1792, Burke and Paine revived the royalist and
republican parties, which had lain dormant since 1688. A new body of
men, the manufacturing, entered the political field on the republican
side. The contest was embittered not only by the anger of antagonism,
but by the feeling of class. A radical of Paine's school was considered
by good society as a pestilent blackguard, unworthy of a gentleman's
notice,--much as an Abolitionist is looked down upon nowadays by the
American "Chivalry." But the strife was confined to meetings,
resolutions, and pamphlets. Few riots took place; none of much
importance. The gentlemen of England have never wanted the courage or
the strength to take care of themselves.

The political clubs were the principal centres of agitation. There were
two particularly active on the liberal side: the Revolution Society,
originally founded to commemorate the Revolution of 1688, and the
Society for Constitutional Information, established for the purpose of
bringing about a reform in the representation. But the revolutionary
changes in France had quickened their ideas, and had given them a taste
for stronger and more rapid measures. They now openly "resolved" that
England was "a prey to an arbitrary King, a senile Peerage, a corrupt
House of Commons, and a rapacious and intolerant Clergy." A third club,
the Corresponding Society, was younger and more violent, with branches
and affiliations all over England on the Jacobins' plan, and in active
correspondence with that famous institution. The middle and lower
classes in manufacturing towns, precursors of the Chartists of 1846,
belonged to this society. Their avowed objects were annual parliaments
and universal suffrage; but many members were in favor of a national
convention and a republic. The tone of all three societies became
French; they used a jargon borrowed from the other side of the Channel.
They sent deputations to the National Convention, expressing their wish
to adopt the republican form in England, and their hope of success. The
Corresponding Society even sent addresses of congratulation after the
massacres of September. Joel Barlow, the American, a man of the Paine
genus, without his talent or honesty of purpose, went as Commissioner
of the Society for Constitutional Information to the Convention,--
carrying with him an address which reads like a translation from the
French, and a thousand pair of shoes, with the promise of a thousand
pair a week for six weeks to come.

On the other side there were, of course, numerous Tory associations,
counter clubs, as violent as their republican antagonists, whose loyal
addresses to the throne were duly published in the Gazette.

The probability of a revolution now became a subject of general
discussion. Government, at last convinced that England, in the words of
Mr. Burke, "abounded in factious men, who would readily plunge the
country into blood and confusion for the sake of establishing the
fanciful Systems they were enamored of," determined to act with vigor.
A royal proclamation was issued against seditious writings. Paine
received notice that he would be prosecuted in the King's Bench. He
came immediately to London, and found that Jordan, his publisher, had
already been served with a summons, but, having no stomach for a
contest with the authorities, had compromised the affair with the
Solicitor of the Treasury by agreeing to appear and plead guilty. Such
pusillanimity was beneath the mark of Paine's enthusiasm. He wrote to
McDonald, the Attorney-General, that he, Paine, had no desire to avoid
any prosecution which the authorship of one of the most useful books
ever offered to mankind might bring upon him; and that he should do the
defence full justice, as well for the sake of the nation as for that of
his own reputation. He wound up a long letter by the very ungenerous
insinuation, that Mr. Burke, not being able to answer the "Rights of
Man," had advised legal proceedings.

The societies, checked for a moment by the blow struck at them, soon
renewed their exertions. The sale of the "Rights of Man" became more
extended than ever. Paine said that the proclamation served hint for an
advertisement. The Manchester and Sheffield branches of the
Constitutional Society voted unanimously addresses of thanks to him for
his essay, "a work of the highest importance to every nation under
heaven." The newspapers were full of speeches, votes, resolutions, on
the same subject. Every mail was laden with congratulations to the
Jacobins on the coming time,--

  "When France shall reign, and laws be all

To the Radicals, the Genius of Liberty seemed to be hovering over
England; and Thomas Paine was the harbinger to prepare his way.

Differences of opinion, when frequently expressed in hard words,
commonly lead to hard blows; and the conservative classes of England
were not men to hold their hands when they thought the proper time had
come to strike. But the party which looked up to Paine as its apostle
was not as numerous as it appeared to be from the noise it made. There
is never a sufficiently large number of reckless zealots in England to
do much mischief,--one of the greatest proofs of the inherent good
sense of that people. Dr. Gall's saying, "_Tout ce qui est ultrà est
bête_," is worth his whole phrenological system. Measures and doctrines
had now been pushed so far that a numerous and influential body of
liberals called a halt,--the prelude of a union with the government

Luckily for Paine, his French admirers stepped in at this critical
moment to save him. Mons. Audibert, a municipal officer from Calais,
came to announce to him that he was elected to the National Convention
for that department. He immediately proceeded to Dover with his French
friend. In Dover, the collector of the customs searched their pockets
as well as their portmanteaus, in spite of many angry protestations.
Finally their papers were returned to them, and they were allowed to
embark. Paine was just in time; an order to detain him arrived about
twenty minutes after his embarkation.

The trial came on before Lord Kenyon. Erskine appeared for the absent
defendant. The Attorney-General used, as his brief, a foolish letter he
had received from Paine at Calais, read it to the jury, made a few
remarks, and rested his case. The jury found Paine guilty without
leaving their seats. Sentence of outlawry was passed upon him. Safe in
France, he treated the matter as a capital joke. Some years later he
found that it had a disagreeable meaning in it.

The prophet had been translated to another sphere of revolutionary
unrest. His influence gradually died away. He dwindled into a mere
name. "But the fact remains," to use his own words, "and will hereafter
be placed in the history of extraordinary things, that a pamphlet
should be produced by an individual, unconnected with any sect or
party, and almost a stranger in the land, that should completely
frighten a whole government, and that in the midst of its triumphant

Paine might have published his "principles" his life long without
troubling many subjects of King George, had it not been for their
combination with "practice" in France,--whither let us now follow him.

When he landed at Calais, the guard turned out and presented arms; a
grand salute was fired; the officer in command embraced him and
presented him with the national cockade; a good-looking _citoyenne_
asked leave to pin it on his hat, expressing the hope of her
compatriots that he would continue his exertions in favor of liberty.
Enthusiastic acclamations followed,--a grand chorus of _Vive Thomas
Paine!_ The crowd escorted him to Dessein's hotel,[1] in the Rue de
l'Égalité, formerly Rue du Roi, and shouted under his windows. At the
proper time he was conducted to the Town Hall. The municipality were
assembled to bestow the _accolade fraternelle_ upon their
representative. M. le Maire made a speech, which Audibert, who still
had Paine in charge, translated. Paine laid his hand on his heart,
bowed, and assured the municipality that his life should be devoted to
their service. In the evening, the club held a meeting in the Salle des
Minimes. The hall was jammed. Paine was seated beside the President,
under a bust of Mirabeau, surmounted by the flags of France, England,
and the United States. More addresses, compliments, protestations, and
frantic cries of _Vive Thomas Paine!_ The _séance_ was adjourned to the
church, to give those who could not obtain admission into the Club Hall
an opportunity to look at their famous representative. The next evening
Paine went to the theatre. The state-box had been prepared for him. The
house rose and _vivaed_ as he entered.

[Footnote 1: See Sterne's _Sentimental Journey_.]

When Calais had shouted itself hoarse, Paine travelled towards Paris.
The towns he traversed on the road thither received him with similar
honors. From the capital he addressed a letter of thanks to his
fellow-citizens. Although he sat for Calais in the Convention, he had
been chosen by three other departments. Priestley was a candidate for
Paris, but was beaten by Marat, a doctor of another description. He
was, however, duly elected in the department L'Orne, but never took his
seat. Paine and Baron Clootz were the only foreigners in the
Convention. Another stranger, of political celebrity out of doors,
styled himself American as well as Paine,--_Fournier l'Américain_, a
mulatto from the West Indies, whose complexion was not considered
"incompatible with freedom" in France,--a violent and blood-thirsty
fellow, who shot at Lafayette on the _dix-sept Juillet_, narrowly
missing him,--led an attacking party against the Tuileries on the _dix
Août_, and escaped the guillotine to be transported by Bonaparte.

In Paris, Paine was already a personage well known to all the leading
men,--a great republican luminary, "foreign benefactor of the species,"
who had commenced the revolution in America, was making one in England,
and was willing to help make one in France. His English works,
translated by Lanthenas, a friend of Robespierre and co-editor with
Brissot of the "Patriote Français," had earned for him the dignity of
_citoyen Français_,--an honor which he shared with Mackintosh, Dr.
Price, the Priestleys, father and son, and David Williams. He had
furnished Lafayette with a good deal of his revolutionary rhetoric, had
contributed to the Monthly Review of the Girondists and the "Chronique
de Paris," and had written a series of articles in defence of
representative government, which Condorcet had translated for him.
Paine was a man of one idea in politics; a federal republic, on the
American plan, was the only system of government he believed in, and
the only one he wished to see established in France. Lafayette belonged
to this school. So did Condorcet, Pétion, Buzot, and others of less
note. Under Paine's direction they formed a republican club, which met
at Condorcet's house. This federal theory cost them dear. In 1793, it
was treason against the _une et indivisible_, and was punished

After the flight to Varennes, Paine openly declared that the King was
"a political superfluity." This was true enough. The people had lost
all respect for the man and for the office. None so base as to call him
King. He was only the _pouvoir exécutif_, or more commonly still,
_Monsieur Veto_. Achille Duchâtelet, a young officer who had served in
America, called upon Dumont to get him to translate a proclamation
drawn up by Paine, urging the people to seize the opportunity and
establish a republic. It was intended to be a "Common Sense" for
France. Dumont refusing to have anything to do with it, some other
translator was found. It appeared on the walls of the capital with
Duchâtelet's name affixed. The placard was torn down by order of the
Assembly and attracted little attention. The French were not quite
ready for the republic, although gradually approaching it. They seemed
to take a pleasure in playing awhile with royalty before exterminating

The Abbé Sièyes was a warm monarchist. He wrote in the "Moniteur," that
he could prove, "on every hypothesis," that men were more free in a
monarchy than in a republic. Paine gave notice in Brissot's paper, that
he would demolish the Abbé utterly in fifty pages, and show the world
that a constitutional monarchy was a nullity,--concluding with the
usual flourish about "weeping for the miseries of humanity," "hell of
despotism," etc., etc., the fashionable doxology of patriotic authors
in that day. Sièyes announced his readiness to meet the great Paine in
conflict. This passage of pens was interrupted by the publication of
Part Second of the "Rights of Man." Before Paine returned to Paris, the
mob had settled the question for the time, so far as the French nation
were concerned.

Paine had also taken a leading part in some of the politico-theatrical
entertainments then so frequent in the streets of Paris. At the
festival of the Federation, in July, 1790, when Clootz led a
"deputation" of the _genre humain_, consisting of an English editor and
some colored persons in fancy dresses, Paine and Paul Jones headed the
American branch of humanity and carried the stars and stripes. Not long
after, Fame appears again marshalling a deputation of English and
Americans, who waited upon the Jacobin Club to fraternize. Suitable
preparations had been made by the club for this solemn occasion. The
three national flags, united, were placed in the hall over the busts of
Dr. Franklin and Dr. Price. Robespierre himself received the generous
strangers; but most of the talking seems to have been done by a fervid
_citoyenne_, who took _la parole_ and kept it. "Let a cry of joy rush
through all Europe and fly to America," said she. "But hark!
Philadelphia and all its countries repeat, like us, _Vive la Liberté!_"
To see a man of Paine's clear sense and simple tastes pleased by such
flummery as this shows us how difficult it is not to be affected by the
spirit of the generation we live with. How could he have supposed that
the new heaven upon earth of his dreams would ever be constructed out
of such pinchbeck materials?

It was now the year 1. of the Republic. The _dix Août_ was over, the
King a prisoner in the Temple. Lafayette, in his attempt to imitate his
"master," Washington, had succeeded no better than the magician's
apprentice, who knew how to raise the demon, but not how to manage him
when he appeared. He had gone down before the revolution, and was now
_le traître Lafayette_, a refugee in Austria. Dumouriez commanded on
the north-eastern frontier in his place. France was still shuddering at
the recollection of the prison-massacres of the _Septembriseurs_, and
society, to use the phrase of a modern French revolutionist, was _en
procès de liquidation_.

Paine got on very well, at first. The Convention was impressed with the
necessity of looking up first principles, and Paine was emphatically
the man of principles. A universal republic was the hope of the
majority, with a convention sitting at the centre of the civilized
world, watching untiringly over the rights of man and the peace of the
human race. Meantime, they elected a committee to make a new
constitution for France. Paine was, of course, selected. His colleagues
were Sièyes, Condorcet, Gensonné, Vergniaud, Pétion, Brissot, Barère,
and Danton. Of these nine, Paine and Sièyes alone survived the Reign of
Terror. When, in due time, this constitution was ready to be submitted
to the Convention, no one could be found to listen to the reading of
the report. The revolution had outstripped the committee. Their labors
proved as useless as the Treatise on Education composed by Mr. Shandy
for the use of his son Tristram;--when it was finished, the child had
outgrown every chapter.

Thenceforward, we catch only occasional glimpses of Paine. In the days
of his glory, he lived in the fashionable Rue de Richelieu, holding
levees twice a week, to receive a public eager to gaze upon so great a
man. His name appears at the _fête civique_ held by English and Irish
republicans at White's Hotel. There he sat beside Santerre, the famous
brewer, and proposed, as a sentiment, "The approaching National
Convention of Great Britain and Ireland." At this dinner, Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, then an officer in the British service, gave, "May the 'Ça
ira,' the 'Carmagnole,' and the 'Marseillaise' be the music of every
army, and soldier and citizen join in the chorus,"--a toast which cost
him his commission, perhaps his life. We read, too, that Paine was
struck in a _café_ by some loyal, hot-headed English captain, who took
that means of showing his dislike for the author of the "Rights of
Man." The police sternly seized the foolish son of Albion. A blow
inflicted upon the sacred person of a member of the Convention was
clearly sacrilege, punishable, perhaps, with death. But Paine
interfered, procured passports, and sent the penitent soldier safely
out of the country.

Speaking no French, for he never succeeded in learning the language,
Paine's part in the public sittings of the Convention must have been
generally limited to eloquent silence or expressive dumbshow. But when
the trial of the King came on, he took a bold and dangerous share in
the proceedings, which destroyed what little popularity the ruin of his
federal schemes had left him, and came near costing him his head. He
was already so great a laggard behind the revolutionary march, that he
did not suspect the determination of the Mountain to put the King to
death. Louis was guilty, no doubt, Paine thought,--but not of any great
crime. Banishment for life, or until the new government be
consolidated,--say to the United States, where he will have the
inestimable privilege of seeing the working of free institutions;--once
thoroughly convinced of his royal errors, morally, as well as
physically uncrowned, he might safely be allowed to return to France as
plain Citizen Capet: that should be his sentence. But the extreme left
of the Convention and the constituent rabble of the galleries wanted to
break with the past, and to throw a king's head into the arena as wager
of battle to the despots of Europe. The discovery of the iron safe in
the palace offered, it was thought, sufficient show of evidence for the
prosecution; if not, they were ready to dispense with any. The case was
prejudged; the trial, a cruel and an empty form. There were two
righteous men in that political Gomorrah,--Tronchet and the venerable
Malesherbes. They offered their services to defend the unfortunate
victim. Who can read Malesherbes's noble letter to the President of the
Convention, without thinking the better of French nature forever after?

A fierce preliminary discussion arose the Convention on the
constitutional question of the King's inviolability. Paine had no
patience with the privileges of kingship and voted against
inviolability. He requested that a speech he had prepared on the
subject might be read to the House at once, as he wished to send off a
copy to London for the English papers. This wretched composition was
manifestly written for England. Paine had George III. in his mind,
rather than Louis XVI. Here is a specimen of the style of
it,--interesting, as showing the temper of the time, as well as of
Member Thomas Paine:--"Louis, as an individual, is an object beneath
the notice of the Republic. But he ought to be tried, because a
conspiracy has been formed against the liberty of all nations by the
crowned ruffians of Europe. Louis XVI. is believed to be the partner of
that horde, and is the only man of them you have in your power. It is
indispensable to discover who the gang is composed of, and this may be
done by his trial. It may also bring to light the detestable conduct of
Mr. Guelph, Elector of Hanover, and be doing justice to England to make
them aware of it. It is the interest of France to be surrounded by
republics, and that revolutions be universal. If Louis XVI. can serve
to prove, by the flagitiousness of government in general, the necessity
of revolutions, France ought not to let slip so precious an
opportunity. Seeing no longer in Louis XVI. but a weakminded and
narrow-spirited individual, ill-bred, like all his colleagues, given,
as it is said, to frequent excesses of drunkenness, and whom the
National Assembly raised again imprudently to a throne which was not
made for him,--if we show him hereafter some pity, it shall not be the
result of the burlesque idea of a pretended inviolability."

A secretary read this speech from the tribune,--Paine standing near
him, silent, furnishing perhaps an occasional gesture to mark the
emphasis. The Convention applauded warmly, and ordered it to be printed
and circulated in the departments.

When the King was found guilty, and it came to the final vote, whether
he should be imprisoned, banished, or beheaded, the Girondins, who had
spoken warmly against the death-penalty, voted for it, overawed by the
stormy abuse of the galleries. Paine, coarse and insolent, but not
cowardly or cruel, did not hesitate to vote for banishment. He
requested the member from the Pas de Calais to read from the tribune
his appeal in favor of the King. Drunau attempted to do it, but was
hooted down. Paine persisted,--presented his speech again the next day.
Marat objected to its reception, because Paine was a Quaker, and
opposed to capital punishment on principle; but the Convention at last
consented to the reading. After alluding to the all-important
assistance furnished by Louis XVI. to the insurgent American Colonies,
Paine, as a citizen of both countries, proposed sending him to the
United States. "To kill Louis," wrote Paine, "is not only inhuman, but
a folly. It will increase the number of your enemies. France has but
one ally,--the United States of America,--and the execution of the King
would spread an universal affliction in that country. If I could speak
your language like a Frenchman, I would descend a suppliant to your
bar, and in the name of all my brothers in America present to you a
petition and prayer to suspend the execution of Louis." The Mountain
and the galleries roared with rage. Thuriot exclaimed,--"That is not
the true language of Thomas Paine."

"I denounce the translator," shrieked venomous Marat; "these are not
the opinions of Thomas Paine; it is a wicked and unfaithful

Coulon affirmed, solemnly, that he had seen the original in Paine's
hands, and that it was exact. The reader was finally allowed to resume.
"You mean to send an ambassador to the United States. Let him announce
to the Americans that the National Convention of France, from pure
friendship to America, has consented to respite the sentence of Louis.
Ah, Citizens, do not give the despot of England the pleasure of seeing
sent to the scaffold the man who helped my beloved brethren of America
to free themselves from his chains!"

Soon after the execution of the King, Paris fell into the hands of the
lowest classes. Their leaders ruled with terrible energy. Chabot's
_dictum,--"Il n'y a pas de crimes en révolution_," and Stablekeeper
Drouet's exclamation,--"_Soyons brigands pour le bonheur du peuple_,"
contain the political principles which guided them. Marat thundered
away in his paper against Brissotins, Girondins, federalism, and
moderantism. The minority members, thus unpleasantly noticed, went
armed; many of them dared not sleep at home. Soon came the arrest of
the _suspects_. The 31st of May, _cette insurrection toute morale_, as
Robespierre called it, followed next. The Convention was stormed by the
mob and purged of Brissotins and Girondins. The _Comité de Salut
Public_ decreed forced loans and the _levée en masse_. Foreigners were
expelled from the Convention and imprisoned throughout France. Mayor
Bailly, Mme. Roland, Manuel, and their friends, passed under the axe.
The same fate befell the Girondins, a party of phrase-makers who have
enjoyed a posthumous sentimental reputation, but who, when living, had
not the energy and active courage to back their fine speeches. The
_reductio ad horribile_ of all the fine arguments in favor of popular
infallibility and virtue had come; neither was the _reductio ad
absurdum_ wanting. The old names of the days and months and years were
changed. The statues of the Virgin were torn from the little niches in
street-walls, and the busts of Marat and Lepelletier set up in their
stead. The would-be God, _soi-disant Dieu_, was banished from France.
Clootz and Chaumette, who called themselves Anacharsis and Anaxagoras,
celebrated the worship of the Goddess of Reason. Bonfires of feudality;
Goddesses of Liberty in plaster; trees of liberty planted in every
square; altars _de la patrie_; huge rag-dolls representing Anarchy and
Discord; Cleobis and Biton dragging their revered parents through the
streets; _bonnets rouges, banderolles, ça iras, carmagnoles,
fraternisations, accolades_; the properties, as well as the text of the
plays, borrowed from Ancient Greece or Rome. What a bewildering
retrospect! A period well summed up by Emerson:--"To-day, pasteboard
and filigree; to-morrow, madness and murder." _Tigre-singe_, Voltaire's
epigrammatic definition, describes his countrymen of the Reign of
Terror in two words.

Neglected by all parties, and disgusted with all, Paine moved to a
remote quarter of Paris, and took rooms in a house which had once
belonged to Mme. de Pompadour. Brissot, Thomas Christie, Mary
Wolstonecraft, and Joel Barlow were his principal associates. Two
Englishmen, "friends of humanity," and an ex-officer of the
_garde-du-corps_ lodged in the same building. The neighborhood was not
without its considerable persons. Sanson, most celebrated of headsmen,
had his domicile ii the same section. He called upon Paine,
complimented him in good English upon his "Rights of Man," which he had
read, and offered his services in a polite manner.

When the Reign of Terror was fully established, the little party seldom
left their walls, and amused themselves as best they could with
conversation and games. The news of the confusion and alarm of Paris
reached them in their retreat, as if they were miles away in some quiet
country residence. Every evening the landlord went into the city and
brought back with him the horrible story of the day. "As to myself,"
Paine wrote to Lady Smith, "I used to find some relief by walking in
the garden and cursing with hearty good-will the authors of that
terrible system that had turned the character of the revolution I had
been proud to defend."

After some weeks, the two Englishmen contrived to escape to
Switzerland, leaving their enthusiasm for humanity behind them. Two
days later, a file of armed men came to arrest them. Before the month
was out, the landlord was carried off in the night. Last of all came
the turn of Paine. He was arrested in December, by order of
Robespierre, "for the interest of America, as well as of France, as a
dangerous enemy of liberty and equality." On his way to the Luxembourg,
he stopped at Barlow's lodgings and left with him the First Part of the
"Age of Reason," finished the day before. The Americans in Paris
applied to the Convention for Paine's release, offering themselves as
security for his good conduct during his stay in France. They rounded
off their petition with a phrase of the prisoner's,--"Ah, Citizens! do
not give the leagued despots of Europe the pleasure of seeing Thomas
Paine in irons." This document was presented by a Major Jackson, a
"volunteer character," who had come to Europe with a letter of
introduction to Gouverneur Morris, then minister, from Mr. Jefferson.
Instead of delivering his letter to Morris, Jackson lodged it with the
_Comité de Salut Public_ as a credential, and represented his country
on the strength of it. The Convention, careless of the opinion of the
"leagued despots," as well as of Major Jackson, replied, that Paine was
an Englishman, and the demand for his release unauthorized by the
United States. Paine wrote to Morris to request him to demand his
discharge of the citizen who administered foreign affairs. Morris did
so; but this official denied that Paine was an American. Morris
inclosed this answer to Paine, who returned a shrewd argument in his
own behalf, and begged Morris to lay the proofs of his citizenship
before the minister. But Morris disliked Paine, and his own position in
France was far from satisfactory. It is probable that he was not very
zealous in the matter, and shortly after Paine's letter all
communication with prisoners was forbidden.

The news of the outer world reached these unfortunates, penned up like
sheep waiting for the butcher, only when the doors of the dungeon
opened to admit a new _fournée_, or batch of victims, as the French
pleasantly called them. They knew then that the revolution had made
another stride forward, and had trodden these down as it moved on.
Paine saw them all--Ronsin, Hébert, Momoro, Chaumette, Clootz, Gobel,
the crazy and the vile, mingled together, the very men he had cursed in
his garden at St. Denis--pass before him like the shadows of a
magic-lantern, entering at one side and gliding out at the other,--to
death. A few days later came Danton, Camille, Desmoulins, and the few
who remained of the moderate party. Paine was standing near the wicket
when they were brought in. Danton embraced him. "What you have done for
the happiness and liberty of your country I have in vain tried to do
for mine. I have been less fortunate, but not more culpable. I am sent
to the scaffold." Turning to his friends.--"_Eh, bien! mes amis, allons
y gaiement._" Happy Frenchmen! What a consolation it was to them to be
thus always able to take an attitude and enact a character! Their
fondness for dramatic display must have served them as a moral
anaesthetic in those scenes of murder, and have deadened their
sensibility to the horrors of their actual condition.

In July, the carnage had reached its height. No man could count upon
life for twenty-four hours. The tall, the wise, the reverend heads had
been taken off, and now the humbler ones were insecure upon their
shoulders. Fouquier-Tinville had erected a guillotine in his
court-room, to save time and transportation. Newsboys sold about the
streets printed lists of those who were to suffer that day. "_Voici
ceux qui ont gagné à la loterie de la Sainte Guillotine!_" they cried,
with that reckless, mocking, blood-thirsty spirit which is found only
in Frenchmen, or, perhaps, in their fellow-Celts. It seemed to Paine
that Robespierre and the Committee were afraid to leave a man alive. He
expected daily his own summons; but he was overlooked. There was
nothing to be gained by killing him, except the mere pleasure of the

He ascribed his escape to a severe attack of fever, which kept him out
of sight for a time, and to a clerical error on the part of the
distributing jailer. He wrote this account of it, after his return to
America:--"The room in which I was lodged was on the ground-floor, and
one of a long range of rooms under a gallery, and the door of it opened
outward and flat against the wall, so that, when it was opened, the
inside of the door appeared outward, and the contrary when it was shut
I had three fellow-prisoners with me,--Joseph Van Huile of Bruges,
Michel and Robin Bastini of Louvain. When persons by scores were to be
taken out of prison for the guillotine, it was always done in the
night, and those who performed that office had a private mark by which
they knew what rooms to go to and what number to take. We, as I have
said, were four, and the door of our room was marked, unobserved by us,
with that number in chalk; but it happened, if happening is a proper
word, that the mark was put on when the door was open and flat against
the wall, and thereby came on the inside when we shut it at night, and
the destroying angel passed by it." Paine thought his escape
providential; the Orthodox took a different view of it.

After the fall of Robespierre, in Thermidor, seventy-three members of
the Convention, who had survived the Reign of Terror, resumed their
seats. But Paine was not released. Monroe had superseded Morris in
August, but had no instructions from his government. Indeed, as Paine
had accepted citizenship in France, and had publicly acted as a French
citizen, it was considered, even by his friends, that he had no claim
to the protection of the United States. Paine, as was natural, thought
differently. He wrote to Monroe, explaining that French citizenship was
a mere compliment paid to his reputation; and in any view of the case,
it had been taken away from him by a decree of the Convention. His seat
in that body did not affect his American _status_, because a convention
to make a constitution is not a government, but extrinsic and
antecedent to a government. The government once established, he would
never have accepted a situation under it. Monroe assured him that he
considered him an American citizen, and that "to the welfare of Thomas
Paine Americans are not nor can they be indifferent,"--with which fine
phrase Paine was obliged to be satisfied until November. On the fourth
of that month he was released. The authorities of Thermidor disliked
the Federalist government, and Paine was probably kept in prison some
additional months on account of Monroe's application for his discharge.

He left the Luxembourg, after eleven months of incarceration, with
unshaken confidence in his own greatness and in the truth of his
principles,--but in appearance and in character another man, with only
the tatters of his former self hanging about him. A certain elegance of
manner and of dress, which had distinguished him, was gone. He drank
deep, and was noisy. His fondness for talking of himself had grown to
such excess as to destroy the conversational talents which all his
contemporaries who speak of him describe as remarkable. "I will venture
to say that the best thing will be said by Mr. Paine": that was Horne
Tooke's prophecy, talking of some proposed dinner-party.

Demoralized by poverty, with ruined health, his mind had become
distorted by physical suffering and by brooding over the ingratitude
and cruel neglect of the American people, who owed, as he really
believed, their very existence as a nation to him. "Is this what I
ought to have expected from America," he wrote to General Washington,
"after the part I have acted towards her?" "I do not hesitate to say
that you have not served America with more fidelity or greater zeal or
more disinterestedness than myself, and perhaps not with better
effect." Henceforth he was a man of two ideas: he engrafted his
resentment upon his "Rights of Man," and thought himself carrying out
his theory while indulging in his wrath. He poured the full measure of
his indignation upon the party who directed affairs in the United
States, and upon the President. In two long letters, composed after his
release, under Monroe's roof, he accused Washington of conniving at his
imprisonment, to keep him, Paine, "the marplot of all designs against
the people," out of the way. "Mr. Washington and his new-fangled party
were rushing as fast as they dared venture into all the vices and
corruptions of the British government; and it was no more consistent
with the policy of Mr. Washington and those who immediately surrounded
him than it was with that of Robespierre or of Pitt that I should
survive." As he grew more angry, he became more abusive. He ridiculed
Washington's "cold, unmilitary conduct" during the War of Independence,
and accused his administration, since the new constitution, of
"vanity," "ingratitude," "corruption," "bare-faced treachery," and "the
tricks of a sharper." He closed this wretched outbreak of peevishness
and wounded self-conceit with the following passage:--

"And as to you, Sir, treacherous in private friendship (for so you have
been to me, and that in the day of danger) and a hypocrite in public
life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate
or an impostor,--whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether
you ever had any."

The remains of the old Convention invited Paine to resume his place in
their assemblage. A committee of eleven, unaided by his experience, had
been working at a new constitution, the political spring-fashion in
Paris for that year. It was the plan since known as the _Directoire_,
reported complete about the time Paine reappeared in the Convention.
Disapproving of some of the details of this instrument, Paine furbished
up his old weapons, and published "A Dissertation on the First
Principles of Government." This tract he distributed among
members,--the _libretto_ of the speech he intended to make.
Accordingly, on the 5th of July, on motion of his old ally, Lanthenas,
who had managed to crawl safely through the troubles, permission was
granted to Thomas Paine to deliver his sentiments on the "Declaration
of Rights and the Constitution." He ascended the tribune for the last
time, and the secretary read the translation. He began, of course, with
rights; but qualified them by adding, that, when we consider rights, we
ought always to couple with them the idea of duties,--a happy union,
which did not strike him before the Reign of Terror, and which is
almost always overlooked. He then brought forward his universal
political specific and panacea,--representative government and a
written constitution. "Had a constitution been established two years
ago," he said, "(as ought to have been done,) the violences that have
since desolated France and injured the character of the Revolution
would, in my opinion, have been prevented." There is nothing else in
his speech of interest to us, except, that, in attacking a property
qualification, which was wisely inserted in the new system, he made use
of the _reductio-ad-absurdum_ illustration so often attributed to Dr.
Franklin:--"When a broodmare shall fortunately produce a foal or a mule
that by being worth the sum in question shall convey to its owner the
right of voting, or by its death take it from him, in whom does the
origin of such a right exist? Is it in the man or in the mule?"

The new government went into operation in September, 1795. Bonaparte's
lesson to the insurgents of Vendémiaire, in front of the Church of St.
Roche, followed immediately after. On the 26th of October, the
Convention was dissolved, and Paine ceased to be a legislator for

He was no longer an object of consideration to Frenchmen, whose faith
in principles and in constitutions was nearly worn out. Poor and
infirm, indebted to Monroe's hospitality for a lodging, he remained
eighteen months under the roof of the Embassy, looking for an
opportunity to get back to America. Monroe wished to send him as bearer
of dispatches before the dissolution of the Convention. But a member of
that body could not leave France without a passport from it. To apply
for it would have announced his departure, and have given the English
government a chance to settle the old account they had against him.
After Monroe had returned to the United States, Paine engaged his
passage, and went to Havre to embark: but the appearance of a British
frigate off the port changed his plans. The sentence of outlawry, a
good joke four years before, had now become an unpleasant reality. So
he travelled back to Paris, full of hate against England, and relieved
his mind by writing a pamphlet on the "Decline and Fall of the English
System of Finance," a performance characteristic of the man,--sound,
clear sense mixed with ignorance and arrogance. He attempted to show
arithmetically that the English funding system could not continue to
the end of Mr. Pitt's life, supposing him to live to the usual age of
man. The calculation is ingenious, but has not proved to be as accurate
as some of Newton's. On the other hand, his remarks on paper money are
excellent, and his sneer at the Sinking Fund, then considered a great
invention in finance, well placed:--"As to Mr. Pitt's project for
paying off the national debt by applying a million a year for that
purpose while he continues adding more than twenty millions a year to
it, it is like setting a man with a wooden leg to run after a
hare;--the longer he runs, the farther he is off." The conclusion is
one of his peculiar flourishes of his own trumpet:--"I have now exposed
the English system of finance to the eyes of all nations,--for this
work will be published in all languages. As an individual citizen of
America, and as far as an individual can go, I have revenged (if I may
use the expression without any immoral meaning) the piratical
depredations committed on the American commerce by the English

From Monroe's departure until the year 1802, little is known of Paine.
He is said to have lived in humble lodgings with one Bonneville, a
printer, editor of the "Bouche de Fer" in the good early days of the
Revolution. He must have kept up some acquaintance with respectable
society; for we find his name on the lists of the _Cercle
Constitutionnel_, a club to which belonged Talleyrand, Benjamin
Constant, and conservatives of that class who were opposed to both the
_bonnet-rouge_ and the _fleur-de-lis_. Occasionally he appears above
the surface with a pamphlet. Politics were his passion, and to write a
necessity of his nature. If public matters interested him, an essay of
some kind made its way into print. When Baboeuf's agrarian conspiracy
was crushed, Paine gave the world his views on "Agrarian Justice."
Every man has a natural right to a share in the land; but it is
impossible that every man should exercise this right. To compensate him
for this loss, be should receive at the age of twenty-one fifteen
pounds sterling; and if he survive his fiftieth year, ten pounds _per
annum_ during the rest of his life. The funds for these payments to be
furnished by a tax on inheritances.

Camille Jourdain made a report to the Five Hundred on priests and
public worship, in which he recommended, _inter alia_, that the use of
church-bells and the erection of crosses be again permitted by law.
This reactionary measure excited Paine's liberal bigotry. He published
a letter to Jourdain, telling him that priests were useless and bells
public nuisances. Another letter may be seen, offering his subscription
of one hundred francs to a fund for the invasion of England,--a
favorite project of the Directory, and the dearest wish of Paine's
heart. He added to his mite an offer of any personal service he could
render to the invading army. When Carnot, Barthélémy, and Pichegru were
expelled from power by the _coup d'état_ of the 18th Fructidor,--a
military demonstration against the Republic,--Paine wrote an address to
the people of France and to the French armies, heartily approving of
the summary method that had been adopted with these reactionists, who
must have their bells and their priests. He did not then perceive the
real significance of the movement.

On one remarkable occasion, Paine made a full-length appearance before
the French public,--not in his character of a political philosopher,
but as a moralist. Robespierre, a few days before his fall, declared
atheism to be aristocratic, reinstated _l'Être suprême_, and gave a
festival in his honor. There religious matters had rested. Deism, pure
and simple, was the faith of true republicans, and the practice of
morality their works. But deism is a dreary religion to the mass of
mankind, and the practice of morality can never take the place of
adoration. The heart must be satisfied, as well as the conscience.
Larévillière, a Director, of irreproachable character, felt this
deficiency of their system, and saw how strong a hold the Catholic
priesthood had upon the common people. The idea occurred to him of
rivalling the churches by establishing regular meetings of moral men
and women, to sing hymns of praise to the Almighty, "one and
indivisible," and to listen to discourses and exhortations on moral
subjects. Haüy, a brother of the eminent crystallogist, assembled the
first society of Theophilanthropists, (lovers of God and man,) as they
called themselves. They held their meetings on the day corresponding to
Sunday. They had their manual of worship and their book of canticles.
Their dogmas were the existence of one God and the immortality of the
soul. And they wisely said nothing about matters which they did not
believe. Paine, who in his "Age of Reason" had attempted to prepare a
theology _ad usum reipublicae,_ felt moved by the spirit of morality,
and delivered a sermon to one of these Theophilanthropist
congregations. His theme was the existence of God and the propriety of
combining the study of natural science with theology. He chose, of
course, the _a-posteriori_ argument, and was brief, perhaps eloquent.
Some passages of his discourse might pass unchallenged in the sermon of
an Orthodox divine. He kept this one ready in his memory of brass, to
confound all who accused him of irreligion:--"Do we want to contemplate
His power? We see it in the immensity of the creation. Do we want to
contemplate His wisdom? We see it in the unchangeable order by which
the incomprehensible whole is governed. Do we want to contemplate His
mercy? We see it in His not withholding His abundance even from the
unthankful. In fine, do we want to know what God is? Search not written
books, but the Scriptures called the Creation."

If it were possible to establish a new _cultus,_ based upon mere
abstract principles, Frenchmen, we should say, would be about the last
people who could do it. This new worship, like any other play, drew
well as long as it was new, and no longer. The moral men and women soon
grew tired of it, and relapsed into the old faith and the old forms.

The end of all this child's play at government and at religion came at
last. Bonaparte, checked at Acre by Sir Sydney Smith, left the East,
landed in France in October, 1799, sent a file of grenadiers to turn
Ancients and Five Hundred out of their halls, and seated himself in the
chair of state.

After this conclusive _coup d'état,_ Paine sunk out of sight. The First
Consul might have examined with interest the iron bridge, but could
never have borne with the soiled person and the threadbare principles
of the philosopher of two hemispheres. Bonaparte loved neatness and
elegance, and disliked _idéologues_ and _bavards,_ as he styled all
gentlemen of Paine's turn of mind.

In 1802, after the peace with England, Paine set sail from Havre to end
his days in the United States. Here we leave him. We have neither space
nor inclination to sum up his virtues and his vices in these columns,
and to give him a character according to the balance struck. We have
sketched a few outlines of his history as we have found it scattered
about in newspapers and pamphlets. Our readers may make up their own
minds whether this supposed ally of the Arch Enemy was as black as he
has been painted.


I was always of opinion that the fruit forbidden to our grandmother Eve
was an unripe apple. Eaten, it afflicted Adam with the first colic
known to this planet. He, the weaker vessel, sorrowed over his
transgression; but I doubt if Eve's repentance was thorough; for the
plucking of unripe fruit has been, ever since, a favorite hobby of her
sons and daughters,--until now our mankind has got itself into such a
chronic state of colic, that even Dr. Carlyle declares himself unable
to prescribe any Morrison's Pill or other remedial measure to allay the

Part of this irritation finds vent in a great cry about "legitimate
ambition." Somehow, because any American _may_ be President of the
United States, almost every American feels himself bound to run for the
office. A man thinks small things of himself, and his neighbors think
less, if he does not find his heart filled with an insane desire, in
some way, to attain to fame or notoriety, riches or bankruptcy.
Nevertheless, we are not purse-proud,--nor, indeed, proud at all,
more's the pity,--and receive a man just as readily whose sands of life
have been doled out to suffering humanity in the shape of patent pills,
as one who has entered Fifth Avenue by the legitimate way of pork and
cotton speculations, if only he have been successful,--which I call a
very noble trait in the American character.

Now this is all very well, and, granted that Providence has placed us
here to do what is best pleasing to ourselves, it is surely very noble
and grand in us to please to serve nothing less than our country or our
age. But let us not forget that the English language has such a little
word as _duty_. A man's talents, and, perhaps, once in a great while,
his wishes, would make him a great man, (if wishes ever did such
things, which I doubt,) while duty imperatively demands that he shall
remain a _little_ man. What then? Let us see.

Elkanah Brewster was going to New York to-morrow.

"What for, boy?" asked old Uncle Shubael, meeting whom on the
fish-wharf, he had bid him a cheery good-bye.

"To make my fortune," was the bold reply.

"Make yer fortin? You're a goose, boy! Stick to yer work here,--fishin'
summers an' shoemakin' winters. Why, there isn't a young feller on the
hull Cape makes as much as you. What's up? Gal gin ye the mitten? Or

"I don't want to make shoes, nor fish neither, Uncle Shub," said
Elkanah, soberly, looking the old fellow in the face,--"goin' down to
the Banks year arter year in cold an' fish-gurry, an' peggin' away all
winter, like mad. I want to be rich, like Captain Crowell; I want to be
a gentleman, like that painter-chap that give me drawin'-lessons, last
summer, when I stayed to home."

"Phew! Want to be rich an' a gentleman, eh? Gittin' tu big for yer
boots, youngster? What's yer old man du but go down t' the Banks
regular every spring? You're no better 'n he, I guess: Keep yer trade,
an' yer trade'll keep you. A rollin' stun gathers no moss. Dry bread tu
home's better 'n roast meat an' gravy abroad."

"All feet don't tread in one shoe, Uncle Shub," said young Brewster,
capping the old fellow's proverbs with another. "Don't see why I
shouldn't make money as well's other fellers. It's a free country, an'
if a feller wants to try suthin' else 'sides fishin' uv it, what d'yer
all want to be down on him fur? I don't want to slave all my days, when
other folks ken live in big houses an' ride in 'kerriges, an' all

"A'n't yer got bread enough to eat, an' a place to sleep? an' what
more's any on 'em got? You stay here; make yer money on the old Cape,
where yer father an' grand'ther made it afore you. Use yer means, an'
God 'll give the blessin'. Yer can't honestly git rich anywheres all tu
once. Good an' quickly don't often meet. One nail drives out another.
Slow an' easy goes fur in a day. Honor an' ease a'n't often bedfellows.
Don't yer be a goose, I tell ye. What's to become of Hepsy Ann?"

Having delivered himself of which last and hardest shot, Uncle Shubael
shouldered his cod-craft, and, without awaiting an answer, tugged
across the sand-beach for home.

Elkanah Brewster was a Cape-Cod boy, with a pedigree, if he had ever
thought of it, as long as any on the Cape,--and they are the longest in
the land. His forefathers had caught fish to the remotest generation
known. The Cape boys take to the water like young ducks; and are born
with a hook and line in their fists, so to speak, as the Newfoundland
codfish and Bay Chaleur mackerel know, to their cost. "Down on old
Chatham" there is little question of a boy's calling, if he only comes
into the world with the proper number of fingers and toes; he swims as
soon as he walks, knows how to drive a bargain as soon as he can talk,
goes cook of a coaster at the mature age of eight years, and thinks
himself robbed of his birthright, if he has not made a voyage to the
Banks before his eleventh birthday comes round. There is good stuff in
the Cape boys, as the South-Street ship-owners know, who don't sleep
easier than when they have put a "Cape man" in charge of their best
clipper. Quick of apprehension, fertile in resource, shrewd,
enterprising, brave, prudent, and, above all, lucky,--no better seamen
sail the sea. Long may they keep their prestige and their sand!

They are not rich on the Cape,--in the Wall-Street sense of the word,
that is to say. I doubt if Uncle Lew Baker, who was high line out of
Dennis last year, and who, by the same token, had to work himself right
smartly to achieve that honor,--I doubt if this smart and thoroughly
wide-awake fellow took home more than three hundred dollars to his wife
and children when old Obed settled the voyage. But then the good wife
saves while he earns, and, what with a cow, and a house and garden-spot
of his own, and a healthy lot of boys and girls, who, if too young to
help, are not suffered to hinder, this man is more forehanded and
independent, gives more to the poor about him and to the heathen at the
other end of the world, than many a city man who makes, and spends, his
tens of thousands.

Uncle Abijah Brewster, the father of this Elkanah, was an old
Banker,--which signifies here, not a Wall-Street broker-man, but a
Grand-Bank fisherman. He had brought up a goodly family of boys and
girls by his hook-and-line and, though now a man of some fifty winters,
still made his two yearly fares to the Banks, in his own trim little
pinky, and prided himself on being the smartest and jolliest man
aboard. His boys had sailed with him till they got vessels of their
own, had learned from his stout heart and strong arm their seamanship,
their fisherman's acuteness, their honest daring, and child-like trust
in God's Providence. These poor fishermen are not rich, as I have said;
a dollar looks to them as big as a dinner-plate to us, and a moderately
flush Wall-Street man might buy out the whole Cape and not overdraw his
bank-account. Also, they have but little book-learning among them,
reading chiefly their Bible, Bowditch, and Nautical Almanac, and
leaving theology mostly to the parson, on shore, who is paid for it.
But they have a conscience, and, knowing a thing to be right, do it
bravely, and against all odds. I have seen these men on Sunday, in a
fleet of busy "Sunday fishers," fish biting all around them, sitting
faithfully,--ay, and contentedly,--with book in hand, sturdily
refraining from what the mere human instinct of destruction would
strongly impel them to, without counting the temptation of
dollars,--and this only because they had been taught that Sunday was a
day of rest and worship, wherein no man should catch fish, and knew no
theological quibble or mercantile close-sailing by which to weather on
God's command. It sounds little to us who have not been tempted, or, if
tempted, have gracefully succumbed, on the plea that other people do so
too; but how many stock-speculators would see their follows buying
bargains and making easy fortunes on Sunday morning, and not forget the
ring of Trinity chimes and go in for dollars? Or which of us denies
himself his Monday morning's paper?

Elkanah had always been what his mother called a strange boy. He was,
indeed, an odd sheep in her flock. Restless, ambitious, dreamy, from
his earliest youth, he possessed, besides, a natural gift for drawing
and sketching, imitating and constructing, that bade fair, unless
properly directed, to make of him that saddest and most useless of
human lumber, a jack-at-all-trades. He profited more by his limited
winter's schooling than his brothers and fellows, and was always
respected by the old man as "a boy that took naterally to book-larnin',
and would _be_ suthin' some day." Of course he went to the Banks, and
acquitted himself there with honor,--no man fishing more zealously or
having better luck. But all the time he was dreaming of his future,
counting this present as nothing, and ready, as soon as Fortune should
make him an opening, to cast away this life, and grasp--he had not
settled what.

"_I_ dun know what ails him," said his father; "but he don't take
kindly to the Banks. Seems to me he kinder despises the work, though he
_does_ it well enough. And then he makes the best shoes on the Cape;
but he a'n't content, somehow."

And that was just it. He was not contented. He had seen men--"no better
than I," thought he, poor fool!--in Boston, living in big houses,
wearing fine clothes, putting fair, soft hands into smooth-fitting
kid-gloves; "and why not I?" he cried to himself continually. Year by
year, from his seventeenth to his twenty-first, he was pursued by this
demon of "ambition," which so took possession of his heart as to crowd
out nearly everything else,--father, mother, work,--even pretty
Hepzibah Nickerson, almost, who loved him, and whom he also loved
truly. They had almost grown up together, had long loved each other,
and had been now two years betrothed. When Elkanah was out of his time
and able to buy a share in a vessel, and had made a voyage to the Banks
as captain, they were to be married.

The summer before this spring in which our story opens, Elkanah had
stayed at home for two months, because of a rheumatism contracted by
unusual exposure on the Banks in early spring; and at this time he made
the acquaintance of Mr. James Graves, N. A., from New York, spending
part of his summer on the Cape in search of the picturesque,--which I
hope he found. Elkanah had, as I have said, a natural talent for
drawing, and some of his sketches had that in them which elicited the
approval of Graves, who saw in the young fellow an untutored genius,
or, at least, very considerable promise of future excellence. To him
there could be but one choice between shoemaking and "Art"; and finding
that young Brewster made rapid advances under his desultory tuition, he
told him his thoughts, that he should not waste himself making
sea-boots for fishermen, but enter a studio in Boston or New York, and
make his career as a painter. It scarcely needed this, however; for
Elkanah took such delight in his new proficiency, and got from Graves's
stories of artist life such exalted ideas of the unalloyed felicity of
the gentleman of the brush, that, even had the painter said no word, he
would have worked out that way himself.

"Only wait till next year, when I'm out of my time," said he to Graves;
and to himself,--"This is the opening for which I have been waiting."

That winter--"my last at shoemaking"--he worked more diligently than
ever before, and more good-naturedly. Uncle Abijah was delighted at the
change in his boy, and promised him great things in the way of a lift
next year, to help him to a speedy wedding. Elkanah kept his own
counsel, read much in certain books--which Graves had left him, and
looked impatiently ahead to the day when, twenty-one years of age, he
should be a free man,--able to go whither he listed and do what he
would, with no man authoritatively to say him nay.

And now the day had come; and with I don't know how few dollars in his
pocket, his scant earnings, he had declared to his astounded parents
his determination to fish and shoemake no longer, but to learn to be a

"A great painter,"--that was what he said.

"I don't see the use o' paintin' picters, for my part," said the old
man, despairingly; "can't you learn that, an' fish tu?"

"Famous and rich too," said Elkanah half to himself, looking through
the vista of years at the result he hoped for, and congratulating
himself in advance upon it. And a proud, hard loot settled in his eye,
which froze the opposition of father and mother, and was hardly dimmed
by encountering the grieved glance of poor Hepsy Ann Nickerson.

Poor Hepsy Ann! They had talked it all over, time and again. At first
she was in despair; but when he laid before her all his dazling hopes,
and painted for her in such glowing colors the final reward which
should come to him and her in return for his struggles,--when she saw
him, her love and pride, before her already transfigured, as it were,
by this rare triumph, clothed in honors, his name in all mouths,--dear,
loving soul, her heart consented, "ay, if it should break meantime,"
thought she, as she looked proudly on him through her tears, and
said,--"Go, in God's name, and God be with you!"

Perhaps we might properly here consider a little whether this young man
did well thus to leave father, mother, home, his promised bride,
sufficient bread-and-butter, healthy occupation, all, to attempt life
in a new direction. Of course, your man who lives by bread alone will
"pooh! pooh!" all such folly, and tell the young man to let well enough
alone. But consider candidly, and decide: Should Elkanah have gone to
New York?

On the whole, _I_ think, _yes_. For,--He had a certain talent, and gave
good promise of excellence in his chosen profession.

He liked it, felt strongly impelled towards it. Let us not yet
scrutinize too closely the main impelling forces. Few human actions
originate solely in what we try to think the most exalted motives.

He would have been discontented for life, had he not had his way. And
this should count for something,--for much, indeed. Give our boys
liberty to try that to which their nature or fancy strongly drives
them,--to burn their fingers, if that seem best.

Let him go, then; and God be with him! as surely He will be, if the
simple, faithful prayers of fair, sad Hepsy Ann are heard. Thus will
he, thus only can any, solve that sphinx-riddle of life which is
propounded to each passer to-day, as of old in fable-lands,--failing to
read which, he dies the death of rusting discontent,--solving whose
mysteries, he has revealed to him the deep secret of his life, and sees
and knows what best he may do here for himself and the world.

But _what, where, who_, is Elkanah Brewster's world?

While we stand reasoning, he has gone. In New York, his friend Graves
assisted him to a place in the studio of an artist, whose own works
have proved, no less than those of many who have gathered their most
precious lessons from him, that he is truly a master of his art. But
what are masters, teachers, to a scholar? It's very fine boarding at
the Spread-Eagle Hotel; but even after you have feed the waiter, you
have to chew your own dinner, and are benefited, not by the amount you
pay for it, but only by so much of all that with which the bounteous
mahogany is covered as you can thoroughly masticate, easily contain,
and healthily digest. Elkanah began with the soup, so to speak. He
brought all his Cape-Cod acuteness of observation to bear on his
profession; lived closely, as well he might; studied attentively and
intelligently; lost no hints, no precious morsels dropping from the
master's board; improved slowly, but surely. Day by day he gained in
that facility of hand, quickness of observation, accuracy of memory,
correctness of judgment, patience of detail, felicity of touch, which,
united and perfected and honestly directed, we call genius. He was
above no drudgery, shirked no difficulties, and labored at the
insignificant sketch in hand to-day as though it were indeed his
masterpiece, to be hung up beside Raphael's and Titian's; meantime,
keeping up poor Hepsy Ann's heart by letters full of a hope bred of his
own brave spirit, rather than of any favoring circumstances in his
life, and gaining his scant bread-and-butter by various honest
drudgeries which I will not here recount.

So passed away three years; for the growth of a poor young artist in
public favor, and that thing called fame, is fearfully slow. Oftenest
he has achieved his best when the first critic speaks kindly or
savagely of him. What, indeed, _at best_, do those blind leaders, but
zealously echo a sentiment already in the public heart,--which they
vainly endeavor to create (out of nothing) by any awe-inspiring formula
of big words?

Men grow so slowly! But then so do oaks. And little matter, so the
growth be straight.

Meantime Elkanah was getting, slowly and by hardest labor, to have some
true conception of his art and his aims. He became less and less
satisfied with his own performances; and, having with much pains and
anxious prayers finished his first picture for the Academy, carefully
hid it under the bed, and for that year played the part of independent
critic at the Exhibition. Wherefrom resulted some increase of
knowledge,--though chiefly negative.

For what positive lesson is taught to any by that yearly show of what
we flatter ourselves by calling Art? Eight hundred and fifteen new
paintings this year, shown by no less than two hundred and eighty-one
painters. When you have gone patiently through and looked at every
picture, see if you don't wish the critics _had_ eyes, and a little
common sense, too. How many of these two hundred and eighty-one, if
they live to be a hundred, will ever solve their great riddle? and once
solved, how many would honestly go back to shoemaking?

Why should they not paint? Because, unless some of them are poorer men
than I think, that is not the thing they are like to do best; and a man
is put into this world, not to do what he may think or hope will most
speedily or effectually place him in the list of this world's
illustrious benefactors, but honestly and against all devilish
temptations to stick to that thing by which he can best serve and

Whom? A city? A state? A republic? A king?

No,--but that person who Is nearest to, and most dependent upon him.
Look at Charles Lamb, and then at Byron and Shelley.

The growth of a poor young artist into public favor is slow enough. But
even poor young artists have their temptations. When Elkanah hung his
first picture in the Academy rooms, he thought the world must feel the
acquisition. Now the world is a notoriously stupid world, and never
does its duty; but kind woman not seldom supplies its omissions. So it
happened, that, though the world ignored the picture, Elkanah became at
once the centre of admiration to a coterie of young ladies, who thought
they were appreciating Art when they flattered an artist, and who, when
they read in the papers the gratifying Intelligence (invented by some
sanguine critic, over a small bottle of Champagne cider) that the
American people are rapidly growing in true love for the fine arts,
blushingly owned to themselves that their virtuous labors in this
direction were not going unrewarded.

Have you never seen them in the Academy,--these dear young ladies, who
are so constantly foreseeing new Raphaels, Claudes, and Rembrandts?
Positively, in this year's Exhibition they are better worth study than
the paintings. There they run, up and down, critical or enthusiastical,
as the humor strikes: Laura, with big blue eyes and a loud voice,
pitying Isidora because she "has never met" that dear Mr. Herkimer, who
paints such delicious, dreamy landscapes; and Emily dragging everybody
off to see Mr. Smith's great work, "The Boy and the Windmill,"
which--so surprising is his facility--he actually painted in less than
twelve days, and which "promises so much for his success and the future
of American Art," says this sage young critic, out of whose gray eyes
look the garnered experiences of almost eighteen summers.

Whoever desiderates cheap praise, let him cultivate a beard and a
sleepy look, and hang a picture in the Academy rooms. Elkanah received
it, you may be sure. It was thought _so_ romantic, that he, a
fisherman,--the young ladies sunk the shoemaker, I believe,--should be
_so_ devoted to Art. How splendidly it spoke for our civilization, when
even sailors left their vessels, and, abjuring codfish, took to canvas
and brushes! What admirable courage in him, to come here and endeavor
to work his way up from the very bottom! What praiseworthy
self-denial,--"No!! is it _really_ so?" cried Miss Jennie,--when he had
left behind him a fair young bride!

It was as though it had been written, "Blessed is he who forsaketh
father, mother, and wife to paint pictures." But it is not so written.

It was as if the true aim and glory of every man in a civilized
community should be to paint pictures. Which has this grain of truth in
it, that, in the highest form of human development, I believe every man
will be at heart an artist. But then we shall be past picture-painting
and exhibitions. Don't you see, that, if the fruit be thoroughly ripe,
it needs no violent plucking? or that, if a man is really a painter, he
_will_ paint,--ay, though he were ten times a shoe-maker, and could
never, never hope to hang;--his pictures on the Academy walls, to win
cheap wonder from boarding-school misses, or just regard from
judicious critics?

Elkanah Brewster came to New York to make his career,--to win nothing
less than fame and fortune. When he had struggled through five years of
Art-study, and was now just beginning to earn a little money, he began
also to think that he had somehow counted his chickens before they were
hatched,--perhaps, indeed, before the eggs were laid. "Good and quickly
come seldom together," said old Uncle Shubael. But then a man who has
courage commonly has also endurance; and Elkanah, ardently pursuing
from love now what he had first been prompted to by ambition, did not
murmur nor despair. For, indeed, I must own that this young fellow had
worked himself up to the highest and truest conception of his art, and
felt, that, though the laborer is worthy of his hire, unhappy is the
man who lowers his art to the level of a trade. In olden times, the
priests did, indeed, eat of the sacrificial meats; but we live under a
new and higher dispensation.


Meantime, what of Hepsy Ann Nickerson? She had bravely sent her hero
out, with her blessing on his aspirations. Did she regret her love and
trust? I am ashamed to say that these five long, weary years had passed
happily to this young woman. She had her hands full of work at home,
where she reigned over a family of brothers and sisters, _vice_ her
mother, promoted. Hands busied with useful toils, head and heart filled
with love and trust of Elkanah, there was no room for unhappiness. To
serve and to be loved: this seems, indeed, to be the bliss of the
happiest women I have known,--and of the happiest men, too, for that
matter. It does not sound logical, and I know of no theory of woman's
rights which will satisfactorily account for the phenomenon. But
then--there are the facts.

A Cape household is a simpler affair than you will meet with in the
city. If any young marrying man waits for a wife who shall be an adept
in the mysteries of the kitchen and the sewing-basket, let him go down
to the Cape. Captain Elijah Nickerson, Hepsy Ann's father, was master
and owner of the good schooner "Miranda," in which excellent, but
rather strongly scented vessel, he generally made yearly two trips to
the Newfoundland Banks, to draw thence his regular income; and it is to
be remarked, that his drafts, presented in person, were never
dishonored in that foggy region. Uncle Elijah, (they are all uncles, on
the Cape, when they marry and have children,--and _boys_ until then,)
Uncle Elijah, I say, was not uncomfortably off, as things go in those
parts. The year before Elkanah went to New York, the old fellow had
built himself a brand-new house, and Hepsy Ann was looked up to by her
acquaintance as the daughter of a man who was not only brave and
honest, but also lucky. "Elijah Nickerson's new house"--as it is still
called, and will be, I suppose, until it ceases to be a house--was
fitted up inside in a way which put you much in mind of a ship's cabin,
and would have delighted the simple heart of good Captain Cuttle. There
was no spare space anywhere thrown away, nor anything suffered to lie
loose. Beckets and cleats, fixed into the walls of the sitting-room,
held and secured against any possible damage the pipes, fish-lines,
dolphin-grains, and sou'westers of the worthy Captain; and here he and
his sat, when he was at home, through the long winter evenings, in
simple and not often idle content. The kitchen, flanked by the
compendious outhouses which make our New England kitchens almost
luxurious in the comfort and handiness of every arrangement, was the
centre of Hepsy Ann's kingdom, where she reigned supreme, and waged
sternest warfare against dirt and disorder. Hence her despotic sway
extended over the pantry, an awful and fragrant sanctuary, whither she
fled when household troubles, or a letter from Elkanah, demanded her
entire seclusion from the outer world, and of whose interior the
children got faint glimpses and sniffs only on special and
long-remembered occasions; the west room, where her father slept when
he was at home, and where the curious searcher might find store of old
compasses, worn-out cod-hooks, condemned gurry-knives, and last year's
fishing-mittens, all "stowed away against time-o'-need"; the spare
room, sacred to the rites of hospitality; the "up-stairs," occupied by
the children and Hepsy Ann's self; and finally, but most important of
all, the parlor, a mysterious and hermetically sealed apartment, which
almost seemed to me an unconsecrated spot in this little temple of the
homely virtues and affections,--a room furnished in a style somewhat
ostentatious and decidedly uncomfortable, swept and dusted on Saturday
afternoons by Hepsy Ann's own careful hands, sat in by the Captain and
her for an hour or two on Sundays in awkward state, then darkened and
locked for the rest of the week.

As for the queen and mistress of so much neatness and comfort, I must
say, that, like most queens whose likeness I have seen, she was rather
plain than strictly beautiful,--though, no doubt, her loyal subjects,
as in such cases commonly occurs, pictured her to themselves as a very
Helen of Troy. If her cheeks had something of the rosy hue of health,
cheeks, and arms, too, were well tanned by frequent exposure to the
sun. Neither tall nor short, but with a lithe figure, a natural grace
and sweet dignity of carriage, the result of sufficient healthy
exercise and a pure, untroubled spirit; hands and feet, mouth and nose,
not such as a gentleman would particularly notice; and straight brown
hair, which shaded the only _really_ beautiful part of Hepsy Ann's
face,--her clear, honest, brave blue eyes: eyes from which spoke a soul
at peace with itself and with the outward world,--a soul yet full of
love and trust, fearing nothing, doubting nothing, believing much good,
and inclined to patient endurance of the human weaknesses it met with
in daily life, as not perhaps altogether strange to itself. The Cape
men are a brave, hardy race; and the Cape women, grave and somewhat
silent, not demonstrative in joy or grief, reticent mostly of anxieties
and sorrows, born to endure, in separation from fathers, brothers,
lovers, husbands, in dangers not oftener fancied than real, griefs
which more fortunate women find it difficult to imagine,--these Cape
women are worthy mothers of brave men. Of such our Hepsy Ann was a fair
example,--weaving her rather prosaic life into golden dreams in the
quiet light of her pantry refuge, happy chiefly because she thought
much and carefully for others and had little time for self-brooding;
like most genuine heroines, (except those of France,) living an heroic
life without in the least suspecting it.

And did she believe in Elkanah?


And did Elkanah believe in himself?

Yes,--but with certain grave doubts. Here is the difference: the
woman's faith is intuition; the man must have a reason for the faith
that is in him.

Yet Elkanah was growing. I think a man grows like the walls of a house,
by distinct stages: so far the scaffolding reaches, and then a general
stoppage while the outer shell is raised, the ladders lengthened, and
the work squared off. Now I don't know, unhappily, the common process
of growth of the artistic mind, and how far the light of today helps
the neophyte to look into the indefinite twilight of to-morrow; but
step by step was the slow rule of Elkanah's mind, and he had been now
five years an artist, and was held in no despicable repute by those few
who could rightly judge of a man's future by his past, when first it
became very clear to him that he had yet to find his _speciality_ in
Art,--that truth which _he_ might better represent than any other man.
Don't think five years long to determine so trivial a point. The right
man in the right place is still a rare phenomenon in the world; and
some men spend a lifetime in the consideration of this very point,
doubtless looking to take their chance of real work in the next world.
I mean to say it took Elkanah just five years to discover, that, though
he painted many things well, he did yet put his very soul into none,
and that, unless he could now presently find this, _his_ right place,
he had, perhaps, better stop altogether.

Elkanah considered; but he also worked unceasingly, feeling that the
best way to break through a difficulty is to pepper away at its outer

Now while he was firing away wearily at this fortress, which held, he
thought, the deepest secret of his life, Hepsy Ann sat in her pantry,
her serene soul troubled by unwonted fears. Captain Elijah Nickerson
had sailed out in his stanch schooner in earliest spring, for the
Banks. The old man had been all winter meditating a surprise; and his
crew were in unusual excitement, peering out at the weather, consulting
almanacs, prophesying (to outsiders) a late season, and winking to each
other a cheerful disbelief of their own auguries. The fact is, they
were intending to slip off before the rest, and perhaps have half their
fare of fish caught before the fleet got along. No plan could have
succeeded better--up to a certain point. Captain Elijah got off to sea
full twelve days earlier than anybody else, and was bowling merrily
down towards the eternal fog-banks when his neighbors were yet scarce
thinking of gathering up their mittens and sea-boots. By the time the
last comers arrived on the fishing-ground, one who had spoken the
"Miranda" some days before, anchored and fishing away, reported that
they had, indeed, nearly _wet her salt_,--by which is meant that she
was nearly filled with good, sound codfish. The men were singing as
they dressed their fish, and Captain Elijah, sitting high up on the
schooner's quarter, took his pipe out of his mouth, and asked, as the
vessel rose on the sea, if they had any news to send home, for three
days more like that would fill him up.

That was the last word of Captain Elijah Nickerson's ever heard by men
now living. Whether the "Miranda" was sunk by an iceberg; whether run
down in the dark and silent watches of the night by some monster packet
or swift hurling steamer, little recking the pale fisher's light feebly
glimmering up from the surface of the deep; or whether they went down
at their anchors, in the great gale which set in on the third night, as
many brave men have done before, looking their fate steadfastly in the
face for long hours, and taking time to bid each other farewell ere the
great sea swallowed them;--the particulars of their hapless fate no man
may know, till the dread day when the sea shall give up its dead.

Vainly poor Hepsy Ann waited for the well-known signal in the
offing,--daily walking to the shore, where kind old Uncle Shubael, now
long superannuated, and idly busying himself about the fish-house,
strove to cheer her fainting soul by store of well-chosen proverbs, and
yarns of how, aforetimes, schooners not larger and not so stout as the
"Miranda," starting early for the Banks, had been blown southward to
the West Indies, and, when the second-fare men came in with their fish,
had made their appearance laden with rich cargoes of tropical molasses
and bananas. Poor Hepsy Ann! what need to describe the long-drawn agony
which grew with the summer flowers, but did not wane with the summer
sun? Hour after hour, day after day, she sat by her pantry-window,
looking with wistful eyes out upon the sand, to that spot where the
ill-fated "Miranda" had last been seen, but never should appear

  "poor lone Hannah,
Sitting by the window, binding shoes,"--

cheeks paling, eyes dimming, with that hope deferred which maketh the
heart sick. Pray God you never may be so tried, fair reader! If, in
these days, she had not had the children to keep and comfort, she has
since told me, she could scarce have borne it. To calm their fears, to
soothe their little sorrows, to look anxiously--more anxiously than
ever before--after each one of her precious little brood, became now
her chief solace.

Thus the long, weary days rolled away, each setting sun crushing
another hope, until at last the autumn storms approached, the last
Banker was safe home; and by this time it was plain, even to poor Hepsy
Ann's faithful heart, that her dead would not come back to her.

"If only Elkanah were here!" she had sometimes sighed to herself;--but
in all these days she wrote him no word. And he--guessing nothing of
her long, silent agony, himself sufficiently bemired in his slough of
despond, working away with sad, unsatisfied heart in his little studio,
hoping yet for light to come to his night--was, in truth, so full of
himself, that Hepsy Ann had little of his thoughts. Shall I go farther,
and admit that sometimes this poor fellow dimly regretted his pledged
heart, and faintly murmured, "If only I were free, _then_ I might do
something"? If only the ship were rid of her helmsman, then indeed
would she go--somewhere.

At last,--it was already near Thanksgiving,--the news reached Elkanah.
"I thought you'd ha' been down afore this to see Hepsy Ann Nickerson in
her trouble," said an old coasting-skipper to him, with mild reproach,
handing him a letter from his mother,--of all persons in the world!
Whereupon, seeing ignorance in Elkanah's inquiring glance, he told the

Elkanah was as one in a maze. Going to his little room, he opened his
mother's letter, half-dreading to find here a detailed repetition of
what his heart had just taken in. But the letter was short.


"Do you not know that Captain Elijah Nickerson will never come home
from the Banks, and that Hepsy Ann is left alone in the world?

"'For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined
to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.'"

That was all.

Elkanah sat on his stool, before his easel, looking vacantly at the
unfinished picture, as one stunned and breathless. For the purport of
this message was not to be mistaken. Nor did his conscience leave him
in doubt as to his duty, O God! was this, indeed, the end? Had he
toiled, and hoped, and prayed, and lived the life of an anchorite these
five years only for this? Was such faith, such devotion, _so_ rewarded?

But had any one the right to demand this sacrifice of him? Was it not a
devilish temptation to take him from his calling, from that work in
which God had evidently intended him to work for the world? Had he a
right to spoil his life, to belittle his soul, for any consideration?
If Hepsy Ann Nickerson had claims, had not he also, and his Art? If he
were willing, in this dire extremity, to sacrifice his love, his
prospects of married bliss, might he not justly require the same of
her? Was not Art his mistress?--Thus whispered the insidious devil of
Selfishness to this poor, tempted, anguished soul.

"Yea," whispered another still, small voice; "but is not Hepsy Ann your
promised wife?" And those fatal words sounded in his heart: "For this
cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined to his

"Lord, inspire me to do what is right!" prayed poor mazed Elkanah,
sinking on his knees at his cot-side.

But presently, through his blinding tears, "Lord, give me strength to
do the right!"

And then, when he awoke next morning, the world seemed another world to
him. The foundations of his life seemed broken loose. Tears were no
longer, nor prayers. But he went about slowly, and with loving hands,
packing up his brushes, pallets, paints, easel,--all the few familiar
objects of a life which was his no longer, and on which he seemed to
himself already looking as across some vast gulf of years. At last all
was done. A last look about the dismantled garret, so long his
workshop, his home, where he had grown out of one life into another,
and a better, as he thought,--out of a narrow circle into a broader.
And then, away for the Cape. No farewells, no explanations to friends,
nothing that should hold out to his sad soul any faintest hope of a
return to this garret, this toil, which now seemed to him more heaven
than ever before. Thus this Adam, left his paradise, clinging to his

It was the day before Thanksgiving when Elkanah arrived at home. Will
any one blame him, if he felt little thankful? if the thought of the
Thanksgiving turkey was like to choke him, and the very idea of giving
thanks seemed to him a bitter satire? Poor fellow! he forgot that there
were other hearts to whom Thanksgiving turkey seemed little tempting.

The Cape folk are not demonstrative. They have warm hearts, but the old
Puritan ice has never quite melted away from the outer shell.

"Well, Elkanah, glad to see you, boy!" said his father, looking up from
his corner by the stove; "how's things in New York?" Father and son had
not met for three years. But, going out into the kitchen, he received a
warm grasp of the hand, and his mother said, in her low, sweet voice,
"I knew you'd come." That was all. But it was enough.

How to take his sad face over to Elijah Nickerson's new house? But that
must be done, too. Looking through the little sitting-room window, as
he passed, he saw pale-faced Hepsy Ann sitting quietly by the table,
sewing. The children had gone to bed. He did not knock;--why should
he?--but, walking in, stood silent on the floor. A glad, surprised
smile lit up the sad, wan face, as she recognized him, and, stepping to
his side, said, "Oh, Elkanah! I knew you'd come. How good of you!"
Then, abashed to have so committed herself and him, she shrank to her
chair again.

Let us not intrude further on these two. Surely--Elkanah Brewster had
been less than man, had he not found his hard heart to soften, and his
cold love to warm, as he drew from her the story of her long agony, and
saw this weary heart ready to rest upon him, longing to be comforted in
his strong arms.

The next day a small sign was put up at Abijah Brewster's door:--





It was arranged that he should work at his trade all winter. In the
spring, he was to have his father's vessel, and the wedding would be
before he started for the Banks.

So the old life was put on again. I will not say that Elkanah was
thoroughly content,--that there were no bitter longings, no dim
regrets, no faint questionings of Providence. But hard work is a good
salve for a sore heart; and in his honest toils, in his care for Hepsy
Ann and her little brood, in her kind heart, which acknowledged with
such humility of love all he did for her and all he had cast away for
her, he found his reward.

The wedding was over,--a quiet affair enough,--and Elkanah was anchored
on the Banks, with a brave, skilful crew, and plenty of fish. His old
luck had not deserted him; wherever he dropped anchor, there the cod
seemed to gather; and, in the excitement of catching fish and guarding
against the dangers of the Banks, the old New York life seemed
presently forgotten; and, once more, Elkanah's face wore the old,
hopeful calm which belonged there. Art, that had been so long his
tyrant mistress, was at last cast off.

Was she?

As he sat, one evening, high on the quarter, smoking his pipe, in that
calm, contemplative mood which is the smoker's reward for a day of
toil,--the little vessel pitching bows under in the long, tremendous
swell of the Atlantic, the low drifting fog lurid in the light of the
setting sun, but bright stars twinkling out, one by one, overhead, in a
sky of Italian clearness and softness,--it all came to him,--that which
he had so long, so vainly sought, toiled for, prayed for in New
York,--his destiny.

Why should he paint heads, figures, landscapes, objects with which his
heart had never been really filled?

But now, as in one flash of divinest intelligence, it was revealed to
him!--This sea, this fog, this sky, these stars, this old, old life,
which he had been almost born into.--Oh, blind bat indeed, not to have
seen, long, long ago, that this was your birthright in Art! not to have
felt in your innermost heart, that this was indeed that thing, if
anything, which God had called you to paint!

For this Elkanah had drunk in from his earliest youth,--this he
understood to its very core; but the poor secret of that other life,
which is so draped about with the artistic mannerisms and fashionable
Art of New York, or any other civilized life, he had never rightly

In that sunset-hour was born a _painter_!


It chanced, that, a few months ago, I paid my accustomed summer visit
to an old friend, living near Boston,--a retired merchant he calls
himself. He began life as a cabin-boy,--became, in time, master of an
Indiaman,--then, partner in a China house,--and after many years'
residence in Canton, returned some years ago, heart and liver whole, to
spend his remaining days among olden scenes. A man of truest culture,
generous heart, and rarely erring taste. I never go there without
finding something new and admirable.

"What am I to see, this time?" I asked, after dinner, looking about the

"Come. I'll show you."

He led me up to a painting,--a sea-piece:--A schooner, riding at her
anchor, at sunset, far out at sea, no land in sight, sails down, all
but a little patch of storm-sail fluttering wildly in the gale, and
heavily pitching in a great, grand, rolling sea; around, but not
closely enveloping her, a driving fog-bank, lurid in the yellow sheen
of the setting sun; above her, a few stars dimly twinkling through a
clear blue sky; on the quarter-deck, men sitting, wrapped in all the
paraphernalia of storm-clothing, smoking and watching the roll of the

"What do you think?" asked Captain Eastwick, interrupting my rapt

"I never in my life saw so fine a seaview. Whose can it be?"

"A Cape-Cod fisherman's."

"But he is a genius!" cried I, enthusiastically.

"A great, a splendid genius!" said my friend, quietly.

"And a fisherman?"

"Yes, and shoemaker."

"What a magnificent career he might make! Why don't you help him? What
a pity to bury such a man in fish-boots and cod-livers!"

"My dear----," said Captain Eastwick, "you are a goose. The highest
genius lives above the littleness of making a career. This man needs no
Academy prizes or praises. To my mind, his is the noblest, happiest
life of all."

Whereupon he told me the story which I have endeavored to relate.

      *       *       *       *       *


I would have killed you, if a breath
Freighted with some insensate death,

Had power to breathe your life away,
To so exhale that rose-hued clay,

That it had faded from my sight,
Like roses in a single night,

I could have killed you thus, and felt
My will a blessed doom had dealt,

Ah, would to God! then I had been
Unconscious of your scarlet sin,

Ah, when I thought your soul as white
As the white rose you wore that night,

I wondered how your mother came
To give you that sin-sullied name,

Did some remorseless, vengeful Fate,
In mockery of your lofty state,

Because you wore the branded name,
Fling over you its scarlet shame,

There is no peace for you below
That horrid heritage of woe,

There is no room for you on earth,
Accursed from your very birth,

But where the angels chant and sing,
And where the amaranth-blossoms spring,

There's room for you, who have no room
Where lower angels chant your doom,

There's room for you! The gate's ajar!
The white hands beckon from afar,

And nearer yet! they stoop! they wait!
They open wide the jasper gate,

And nearer yet! the hands stretch out!
A thousand silver trumpets shout,

They lift you up through floods of light!
I see your garments growing white,

And whiter still, too white to touch
The robes of us, who blamed you much,

They lift you up through floods of light!
The streaming splendor blinds my sight,

I feel the whirl of countless wings!
I lose the sense of earthly things,

The starry splendors burn anew!
The starry splendors light me through,

I gain the dizzy height! I see!
There's room for _me!_ There's room for _me_,


To begin with a mild egotism,--I do not like De Sautys.

You remember De Sauty? Perched on his steadfast stool, in a deserted
telegraph-house, hard by that bay of the broken promise, De Sauty, like
Poe's raven, "still was sitting, still was sitting," watching, in
forlorn, but hopeful loneliness, the paralyzed tongue of the Atlantic
Cable, to catch the utterances that never came for all his patient
coaxing; and ever and anon he iterated, feebly and more feebly, as if
all his sinking soul he did outpour into the words, that melancholy
monotone which was his only stock and store,--"All right! De Sauty."

I never did like ravens, and I do not like De Sautys; for if, indeed,
it were all right with the De Sautys, it would be all wrong with
certain things that are most dear to the romantic part of me; since De
Sauty is to my imagination the living type of that indiscriminate
sacrilege of trade which would penetrate the beautiful illusions of
remoteness, as through an opera-glass,--which would tie the ends of the
earth together and toss it over shoulder like a peddler's bundle, to
"swop" quaint curiosities, inspiring relics, and solemn symbols, for
British prints or American pig-iron. Puck us no Pucks, De Sauty, nor
constrict our planet's rotundity with any forty-minute girdle; for in
these days of inflating crinoline and ever-increasing circumference of
hooped skirts, it becomes us to leave our Mother Earth at least in the
fashion, nor strive to reduce her to such unmodish dimensions that one
may circumnavigate her in as little time, comparatively, as he may make
the circuit of Miss Flora MacFlimsey.

I beseech you, do not call that nonsense; it is but a good-natured way
of stating the case in the aspect it presents from the De Sauty point
of view; for tightly laced as poor Mother Earth already is, with
railroad corsets and steamship stays, growing small by degrees and
beautifully less, she needs but the forty-minute girdle of Puck De
Sauty to so contract her waist at the equator that any impudent
traveller may span it with a carpet-bag and an umbrella.

On that memorable night of the Cable Celebration, when so many paper
lanterns and so many enlightened New Yorkers were sold in the name of
De Sauty,--when all the streets and all the people were alive with
gas,--when we fired off rockets and Roman candles and spread-eagle
speeches in illustrious exuberance,--when the city children lit their
little dips, and the City Fathers lit their City Hall,--when we hung
out our banners, and clanged our bells, and banged our guns,--when
there was Glory to God in the highest steeple, and Peace on Earth in
the lowest cellar,--I drifted down the Broadway current of a mighty
flood of folk, a morose and miserable sentimentalist.

I had seen locomotives, those Yankee Juggernauts, drive, roaring and
ruthless, over the beautiful bodies of fine old travellers' fictions;
and once, in Burmah, I had beheld a herd of stately elephants plunge
and scoot, scampering and squealing, like pigs on a railroad, away from
the steam scream of a new-fangled man-of-war. I had witnessed those
monstrous sacrileges, and survived,--had even, when locomotive and
steamer were passed, picked up my beautiful fictions again, and called
back my panic-stricken elephants with the gong of imagination; but here
were Gulliver and Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor torn from their golden
thrones, and this insolent De Sauty, crowned with zinc and copper and
sceptred with gutta-percha, set up in their places to the tune of "All

"I will build you a house of gold, and you shall be my Padshah Begum,
some day," said the whimsically cruel King of Oude to Nuna, his favorite
Cashmere dancing-girl.

For a while Nima's dreams were golden. But the time came when the King
was not in the vein. He followed vacantly her most enchanting
undulations and yawned listlessly.

"Boppery bopp!" he exclaimed, presently, "but this bores us. Is there
no better fun? Let us have a quail-fight, Khan."

The Khan rose to order in the quails. The King gazed on Nuna with
languid satiety.

"I wonder how she would look, Europe-fashion."

"Nothing is easier, Sire, than to see how she would look," said the
Khan, as he returned with the quails.

So a gown, and other articles of European female attire, were sent for
to the Khan's house; for he was a married man; and when they were
brought, Nuna was told to retire and put them on. The quail-fight
proceeded on the table.

Then Nuna reappeared in her new costume. A more miserable
transformation it is hardly possible to imagine. The clothes hung
loosely about her, in forlorn dowdyness. She felt that she was
ridiculous. All grace was gone, all beauty. It was distressing to
witness her mortified plight.

The King and the Khan laughed heartily, while scalding tears coursed
down poor Nuna's cheeks. The other nautch-girls, jealous, had no pity
for her; they chuckled at her disgrace, turning up their pretty noses,
as they whispered,--"Serve her right,--the brazen minx!"

For days, nay, for weeks, did poor Nuna thus appear, a laughing-stock.
She implored permission to leave the court, and return to her wretched
home in Cashmere; but that was refused. In the midst of the Mohurrim,
she suddenly disappeared. There were none to inquire for her.[1]

[Footnote 1: Private Life of an Eastern King.]

Oh, they may say what they please about the irresistible march of
civilization, and clearing the way for Webster's Spelling-Book,--about
pumps for Afric's sunny fountains, and Fulton ferry-boats for India's
coral strand; but there's nothing in what the Atlantic Cable gives,
like that it takes away from the heart of the man who has looked the
Sphinx in the face and dreamed with the Brahmin under his own banian.
Spare the shrinking Nunas of our poetry your Europe-fashions!

Because the De Sautys are scientifically virtuous, shall there be no
more barbaric cakes and ale for us? Because they are joined to their
improved Shanghaes, must we let our phoenixes alone? Must we deny our
crocodiles when they preach to us codfish? And shall we abstain from
crying, "In the name of the Prophet, figs!" in order that they may
bawl, "In the name of Brother Jonathan, doughnuts"?

Yes, the world is visibly shrinking in the hard grip of commerce, and
the magic and the marvels that filled our childish souls with
adventurous longing are fading away in the change. Let us make haste,
then, before it is too late,--before the very Sphinx is guessed, and
the Boodh himself baptized in Croton water; and, like the Dutchmen in
Hans Christian Andersen's story, who put on the galoches of happiness
and stepped out into the Middle Ages, let us slip our feet into the
sandals of imagination and step out into the desert or the jungle.

One who expressed his Oriental experiences in an epic of fresh and
thrilling sensations has written,--"If a man be not born of his mother
with a natural Chifney bit in his mouth, there comes to him a time for
loathing the wearisome ways of society,--a time for not liking tamed
people,--a time for not dancing quadrilles,--a time for pretending that
Milton, and Shelley, and all sorts of mere dead people are greater in
death than the first living lord of the treasury,--a time, in short,
for scoffing and railing, for speaking lightly of the opera, and all
our most cherished institutions. A little while you are free and
unlabelled, like the ground you compass; but civilization is coming,
and coming; you and your much-loved waste-lands will be surely
inclosed, and sooner or later you will be brought down to a state of
utter usefulness,--the ground will be curiously sliced into acres and
roods and perches, and you, for all you sit so smartly on your saddle,
you will be caught, you will be taken up from travel, as a colt from
grass, to be trained, and matched, and run.

"All this in time: but first come Continental tours, and the moody
longing for Eastern travel; your native downs and moors can hold you no
longer; with larger stride you burst away from these slips and patches
of free-land,--you thread your way through the crowds of Europe, and at
last, on the banks of the Jordan, you joyfully know that you are upon
the very frontier of all accustomed respectabilities.

"There, on the other side of the river, (you can swim it with one arm,)
there reigns the people that will be like to put you to death for _not_
being a vagrant, for _not_ being a robber, for _not_ being armed and
houseless. There is comfort in that,--health, comfort, and strength, to
one who is dying from very weariness of that poor, dear, middle-aged,
deserving, accomplished, pedantic, pains-taking governess, Europe."

Better the abodes of the anthropophagi, the "men whose heads do grow
beneath their shoulders," than no place to get away to at all; for to
every vigorous soul there one day comes a longing, by the light of
which magnificent distances appear beautiful, and the possibilities of
infinite far-offness delicious; to the Christian traveller, who exults
in the faith that "each remotest nation shall learn Messiah's name,"
how dear is that remoteness which renders the promise sublime! It is
these considerations which make us, old-fashioned Pucks, whose
performances go no farther than putting a girdle round about the earth
in fifty months, object to telegraphs, and protest against De Sauty.

Among your books and your lectures, you must have observed that there
are several well-defined and widely distinct kinds of traveller. One is
the professional tourist, who formally and statedly "sets out," in his
own deliberate way, packed, marked, and paid through; he is shipped
like preserved meats, hermetically sealed to foreign impressions, and
warranted to keep in any climate,--the same snug, well-arranged
"commercial traveller" who went abroad for materials, for which you are
to pay; and when he has laid in the necessary stock,--the identical
stock as per original advices,--he comes back again, and that is
all,--the very same as to himself and his baggage, except that the
latter is heavier by the addition of a corpulent carpet-bag bloated
with facts and figures, the aspect of the country, the dimensions of
monuments, the customs of the people, their productions and
manufactures; he might as well have done his tour around his own
library, with a copy of Bayard Taylor's Cyclopaedia of Travel, and an
assortment of stereoscopic views, for all the freshness of impression
or originality of narrative you'll get from him,--from whom preserve
us! Give us, rather, that truer traveller who goes by the
accommodation-train of Whim, and whom, in the language of conductors,
you may take up or put down anywhere, because he is no "dead-head," nor
"ticketed through." This is he of whom I have spoken elsewhere,--in the
magic mirror of whose memory (as to the last he saw of this wonder or
of that) "a stony statuesqueness prevails, to produce an effect the
weirdest of all; for there every living thing stands arrested in the
attitude or gesture it presented at the fine instant to which his
thought returns to find it,--seized in the midst, it may be, of the
gayest, most spirited, or most passionate action,--laughter, dance,
rage, conflict; and so fixed as unchangeable as the stone faces of the
gods, forever and forever." In the midst of a Burmese jungle I have
tried that sad experiment by its reverse, and, gazing into _my_ magic
mirror, have beheld my own dear home, and the old, familiar faces,--all
stony, pale, and dim. At such times, how painfully the exile's heart is
tried by the apparition of any object, however insignificant, to which
his happy childhood was accustomed! I think my heart was never more
sharply wrung than once at Prome, in the porch of a grim old temple of
Guadma;--a kitten was playing with a feather there.

In his enumeration of the chief points of attraction in the more
striking books of voyages and travels, Leigh Hunt, with his happy
appreciation of whatever is most quaint in description, most
sympathetic in impression, has helped us to an arrangement, which, with
a convenient modification of our own, we shall follow congenially. We
shall seek for remoteness and obscurity of place,--marvellousness of
hearsay,--surprising, but conceivable truth,--barbaric magnificence,--
the grotesque and the fantastic,--strangeness of custom,--personal
danger, courage, and suffering,--and their barbaric consolations.
In the pursuit of these, our path should wind, had we time to take
the longest, among deserts and lands of darkness,--phoenixes and
griffins and sphinxes,--human monsters, and more monstrous gods,--the
courts of Akbhar and Aurengzebe,--palaces of the Mogul and the Kathayan
Khan,--pigmies, monkey-gods, mummies, Fakeers, dancing-girls, tattooed
warriors, Thugs, cannibals, Fetishes, human sacrifices, and the Evil
Eye,--Chinese politeness, Bedouin honor, Bechuana simplicity,--the plague,
the _amok_, the bearding of lions, the graves of hero-travellers, flowers
in the desert, and the universal tenderness of women.

And as our wild way leads us onward, it shall open up visions, new and
wondrous, or beautiful as new, to those who try it for the first time.
See now, at the outset, stepping into the footprints of old Sir John
Mandeville, what do we behold?--"In that kingdom of Abcay is a great
marvel; for a province of the country, that hath in circuit three days'
journeys, that men call Hanyson, is all covered with darkness, without
any brightness or light,--so that no man may see nor hear, nor no man
dare enter into it. And nevertheless, they of that country say that
sometimes men hear voices of folks, and horses neighing, and cocks
crowing; and they know well that men live there, but they know not what
men. And they say that the darkness befell by miracle of God; for an
accursed emperor of Persia, that was named Saures, pursued all
Christian men for to destroy them, and to compel them to make sacrifice
to his idols; and rode with a great host, all that ever he could, for
to confound the Christian men. And then in that country dwelled many
good Christian men, the which left their goods, and would have fled
into Greece; and when they were in a plain called Megon, anon this
cursed emperor met with them, with his host, for to have slain them and
hewn them in pieces. And anon the Christian men did kneel to the
ground, and make their prayers to God to succor them. Then a great
thick cloud came and covered the emperor and all his host; and so they
remain in that manner, that no more may they get out on any side; and
so shall they evermore abide in darkness, till the day of doom, by the
miracle of God. And then the Christian men went whither they liked
best, at their own pleasure, without hindrance of any creature, and
their enemies were inclosed and confounded in darkness without a blow.
And that was a great miracle that God made for them; wherefore methinks
that Christian men should be more devout to serve our Lord God than any
other men of any other belief."

Thus doth the simple, willing faith of the childlike traveller of 1350
draw from his strange old story a moral which may serve to light the
way for you and me when we wend through the soul's land of darkness.

  "Through the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
  Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay."--

So sings Tennyson; and what's a cycle of Cathay? Let us ask Mandeville.

"Cathay is a great country, and a fair, noble, and rich, and full of
merchants. Thither go merchants, every year, for to seek spices, and
all manner of merchandises, more commonly than in any other part.

"In Cathay is the great city of Xanadu; and in this city is the seat of
the great Khan, in a full great palace, and the most passing fair in
all the world, of the which the walls be in circuit more than two
miles; and within the walls it is all full of other palaces. And in the
garden of the great palace there is a great hill, upon the which there
is another palace; and it is the most fair and the most rich that any
man may devise. And there is the great garden, full of wild beasts; so
that when the great Khan would have any sport, to take any of the wild
beasts, or of the fowls, he will cause them to be chased, and take them
at his windows, without going out of his chamber. The palace where the
seat is is both great and passing fair; and within the palace, in the
hall, there be twenty-four pillars of fine gold; and all the walls are
covered within with red skins of beasts, that men call panthers, that
be fair beasts, and well smelling; so that for the sweet odor of the
skins no evil air may enter into the palace. And in the midst of this
palace is the _mountour_ (high seat) for the great Khan, that is all
wrought of gold and of precious stones and great pearls; and at the
four corners of the _mountour_ be four serpents of gold, and all about
there is made large nets of silk and gold and great pearls hanging all
about the _mountour_. And the hall of the palace is full nobly arrayed,
and full marvellously attired on all parts, in all things that men
apparel any hall with. And at the chief end of the hall is the
emperor's throne, full high, where he sitteth at his meat; and that is
of fine precious stones, bound all about with purified gold and
precious stones and great pearls; and the steps that he goeth up to the
table be of precious stones mixed with gold. Under the firmament is not
so great a lord, nor so mighty, nor so rich, as the great Khan. Neither
Prester John, that is emperor of the high India, nor the Sultan of
Babylonia, nor the Emperor of Persia. All these be not in comparison to
the great Khan, neither of might, nor of nobleness, nor of royalty, nor
of riches; for in all these he passeth all earthly princes. Wherefore
it is great harm that he believeth not faithfully in God."

And here we naturally recall that wondrous vision which Coleridge
conjured up, when, opium-rapt, he dreamed in his study-chair of Kubla's
enchanted ground.

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran,
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girded round;
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

"Five miles, meandering with a mazy motion,
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

"A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw;
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! beware
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your lips with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise!"

The account which Herodotus gives of the gifts that Croesus sent to the
Oracle at Delphi is a splendid example of barbaric magnificence. First,
the King offered up three thousand of every kind of sacrificial beast,
and burned upon a huge pile couches coated with silver and gold, and
golden goblets, and robes and vests of purple. Next he issued a command
to all the people of the land to offer up a sacrifice according to
their means. And when this sacrifice was consumed, he melted down a
vast quantity of gold, and ran it into one hundred and seventeen
ingots, each six palms long, three palms broad, and one palm in
thickness. He also caused the statue of a lion to be made of refined
gold, in weight ten talents. When these great works were completed,
Croesus sent them away to Delphi, and with them two bowls of enormous
size, one of gold, the other of silver. These two bowls, Herodotus
affirms, were removed when the temple of Delphi was burned to the
ground; and now the golden one is in the Clazomenian treasury, and
weighs eight talents and forty-two _minae_; the silver one stands in a
corner of the ante-chapel and holds six hundred _amphorae_ (over five
thousand gallons);--this is known, because the Delphians fill it at the
time of the Theophania. Croesus sent also four silver casks, which are
in the Corinthian treasury; and two lustral vases, a golden and a
silver one. Beside these various offerings, he sent to Delphi many
others of less account, among the rest a number of round silver basins.
He also dedicated a female figure in gold, three cubits high, which the
Delphians declared was the statue of his baking woman; and lastly, he
presented the necklace and the girdles of his wife.

When Croesus sent his Lydian messengers to the Oracle, one Alcmaeon,
who seems to have been a shrewd fellow, with a sharp eye to the main
chance, entertained them with generous hospitality; which so pleased
Croesus, when he was told of it, that he immediately invited Alcmaeon
to visit him at Sardis. When he arrived, the King told him that he was
at liberty to enter his treasury and help himself to as much gold as he
could carry off on his person at once. No sooner said than done.
Alcmaeon, without bashfulness, arrayed himself in a tunic that bagged
abominably at the waist, drew on the biggest buskins in Sardis, dressed
his hair loose, and, marching into the treasure-house, (imagine what
the treasury of Croesus must have been,) waded into a desert of gold
dust. He crammed the bosom of his tunic, crammed his bombastian
buskins, filled his hair full, and finally stuffed his mouth, so that,
as he passed out, he could only wink his fat red eyes and bob to
Croesus, who, when he had laughed till his sides ached, repaid his
funny, but voracious guest for the amusement he had afforded him by not
only confirming the gift of gold, but conferring an equal amount in
jewels and rich raiment.

But we must not remain to marvel among the overwhelming displays of
barbaric profusion. Akbhar, the imperial Mogul, who on his birthday
caused himself to be weighed in golden scales three times,--first
against gold pieces, then against silver, and lastly against fine
perfumes,--who scattered among his courtiers showers of gold and silver
nuts, for which even his gravest ministers were not too dignified to
scramble,--even Akbhar must not detain us. Nor Aurengzebe, who made his
marches, seated on a throne flashing with gold and rich brocades, and
borne on the shoulders of men; while his princesses and favorite begums
followed in all the pomp and glory of the seraglio, nestled in
delicious pavilions curtained with massy silk, and mounted on the backs
of stately elephants of Pegu and Martaban.

We must get away from these; for the realm of the Supernatural and the
Marvellous lies open before us, and on the very threshold, over which
Sir John Mandeville conducts us, broods in his fiery nest that wondrous
fowl, the Phoenix.

"In Egypt is the city of Eliopolis, that is to say, the City of the
Sun. In that city there is a temple made round, after the shape of the
temple of Jerusalem. The priests of that temple have all their writing
dated by the fowl that is called Phoenix; and there is none but one in
all the world. And he cometh to burn himself upon the altar of the
temple at the end of five hundred years; for so long he liveth. And at
the end of the five hundred years, they array their altar carefully,
and put thereon spices and live sulphur, and other things that will
burn lightly. And then the bird Phoenix cometh and burneth himself to
ashes. And the first day next after, men find in the ashes a worm; and
the second day next after, men find a bird, quick and perfect; and the
third day next after, he flieth away. And so there is no more birds of
that kind in all the world but that alone. And, truly, that is a great
miracle of God. And men may well liken that bird unto God, because
there is no God but one, and also that our Lord arose from death the
third day. This bird men see often flying in those countries; and he is
not much more than an eagle. And he hath a crest of feathers upon his
head greater than the peacock hath. And his neck is yellow, after the
color of an orial, that is a stone well shining. And his beak is
colored blue, and his wings are of purple color, and his tail is yellow
and red. And he is a full fair bird to look upon against the sun; for
he shineth full gloriously and nobly."

Let us pray that our Phoenix may not fall into the clutches of the De
Sautys, to be made goose-meat of; rather may they themselves be utterly
cast out,--into the land of giants that are hideous to look upon, and
have but one eye, and that in the middle of the forehead,--into the
land of folk of foul stature and of cursed kind, that have no heads,
and whose eyes be in their shoulders,--into the isle of those that go
upon their hands and feet, like beasts, and that are all furred and
feathered,--or into the country of the people who have but one leg, the
foot of which is so large that it shades all the rest of the body from
the sun, when they lie down on their backs to rest at noonday. But not
into the Land of Women, where all are wise, noble, and worthy. For once
there was a king in that country, and men married; but presently befell
a war with the Scythians, and the king was slain in battle, and with
him all of the best blood of his realm. So when the queen, and the
other noble ladies, saw that they were all widows, and all the royal
blood was spilled, they armed themselves, and, like mad creatures, slew
all the men that were left in the country; for they wished that all the
women might be widows, as the queen and they were. And thenceforward
they never would suffer men to dwell among them, especially men of the
De Sauty sort, who, as Hans Christian Andersen says, ask questions and
never dream.

The town of Lop, says Marco Polo, is situated near the commencement of
the great desert called the Desert of Lop. It is asserted as a
well-known fact, that this desert is the abode of many evil spirits,
which entice travellers to destruction with extraordinary delusions.
If, during the daytime, any persons remain behind on the road until the
caravan has passed a hill and is no longer in sight, they unexpectedly
hear themselves called by their names, in a tone of voice to which they
are accustomed. Supposing the call to proceed from their companions,
they are led away by it from the direct road, and, not knowing in what
direction to advance, are left to perish. In the night-time they are
persuaded they hear the march of a great cavalcade, and concluding the
noise to be the tramp of their own party, they make the best of their
way in the direction of the quarter whence it seems to come; but when
the day breaks, they find they have been misled and drawn into a
situation of danger. Sometimes, during the day, these spirits assume
the appearance of their travelling-companions, who address them by
name, and endeavor to draw them out of the proper road. It is said,
also, that some travellers, in their way across the desert, have seen
what appeared to them to be a body of armed men advancing toward them,
and, fearful of being attacked and plundered, have taken to flight.
Thus, losing the right path, and ignorant of the direction they should
take to regain it, they have miserably perished of hunger.

Marvellous, indeed, and almost passing belief, are the stories related
of these spirits of the desert, which are said to fill the air at times
with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, of drama, and the
clash of arms. When the journey across this dreadful waste is
completed, the trembling traveller arrives at the city of the Great

[Footnote 1: Leigh Hunt.]

In this rich chapter of horrors how finished an allegory for old John
Bunyan! With what religious unction he would have led his Christian
traveller from that unknown city on the edge of the sands, across the
Soul's Desert of Lop, with its

  "Voices calling in the dead of night,
  And airy tongues that syllable men's names,"

safe into the _City of the Great Khan!_

Leigh Hunt declares that he has read, in some other account, of a
dreadful, unendurable face that used to stare at people as they went

The Barbaric has also its features of solemnity and grandeur, filling
the mind with exalted contemplations, and the imagination with
inspiring and ennobling apparitions. Surroundings that contribute a
quality of awfulness embrace in such scenes the soul of the traveller,
and hold him in their tremendous thrall. Mean or flippant ideas may not
enter here; but the man puts off the smaller part of him, as the
Asiatic puts off his sandals on entering the porches of his god. Of
such is the Eternal Sphinx, as Eothen Kinglake beheld her. We cannot
feel her aspect more grandly than by the aid of his inspiration.

"And near the Pyramids, more wondrous and more awful than all else in
the land of Egypt, there sits the lonely Sphinx. Comely the creature
is; but the comeliness is not of this world; the once worshipped beast
is a deformity and a monster to this generation; and yet you can see
that those lips, so thick and heavy, were fashioned according to some
ancient mould of beauty, now forgotten,--forgotten because that Greece
drew forth Cytherea from the flashing foam of the Aegean, and in her
image created new forms of beauty, and made it a law among men that the
short and proudly wreathed lip should stand for the sign and main
condition of loveliness through all generations to come. Yet still
lives on the race of those who were beautiful in the fashion of the
elder world; and Christian girls of Coptic blood will look on you with
the sad, serious gaze, and kiss you your charitable hand with the big,
pouting lips of the very Sphinx.

"Laugh and mock, if you will, at the worship of stone idols; but mark
ye this, ye breakers of images, that in one regard the stone idol bears
awful semblance of Deity,--unchangefulness in the midst of change,--the
same seeming will and intent, forever and forever inexorable. Upon
ancient dynasties of Ethiopian and Egyptian kings,--upon Greek and
Roman, upon Arab and Ottoman conquerors,--upon Napoleon dreaming of an
Eastern empire,--upon battle and pestilence,--upon the ceaseless misery
of the Egyptian race,--upon keen-eyed travellers,--Herodotus yesterday,
Warbarton to-day,--upon all, and more, this unworldly Sphinx has
watched and watched like a Providence, with the same earnest eyes, and
the same sad, tranquil mien. And we, we shall die; and Islam will
wither away; and the Englishman, leaning far over to hold his loved
India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile, and sit in the
seats of the Faithful; and still that sleepless rock will lie watching
and watching the works of the new, busy race, with those same sad,
earnest eyes, and that same tranquil mien, everlasting. You dare not
mock at the Sphinx!"

Not less stupendously placid than the Sphinx, and even grimmer in his
remoteness from the places that have heard Messiah's name, is the
Boodh, throned in trance, and multitudinously worshipped. Shall I tell
you how I first beheld him in his glory?

We were approaching some sacred caves in Burmah. Lighting our torches,
and each man taking one, we mounted the steep, tortuous, and slippery
foot-path of damp, green stones, through the thorny shrubs that beset
it, to the low entrance to the outer cavern. Stooping uncomfortably, we
passed into a small, vacant antechamber, having a low, dripping roof,
perpendicular walls, clammy and green, and a rocky floor, sloping
inward through a narrow arch to a long, double, transverse gallery,
divided in the direction of its length, partly by a face of rock,
partly by a row of pillars. Here were innumerable images of Guadma, the
counterfeit presentment of the Fourth Boodh, whose successor is to see
the end of all things,--innumerable, and of every stature, from
Hop-o'-my-thumbs to Hurlo-thrombos, but all of the identical orthodox
pattern,--with pendulous ears, one hand planted squarely on the knee,
the other sleeping in the lap, an eternity of front face, and a smooth
stagnancy of expression, typical of an unfathomable calm,--the Guadma
of a span as grim as he of ten cubits, and he of ten cubits as vacant
as the Guadma of a span,--of stone, of lead, of wood, of clay, of
earthenware and alabaster,--on their bottoms, on their heads, on their
backs, on their sides, on their faces,--black, white, red, yellow,--an
eye gone, a nose gone, an ear gone, a head gone,--an arm off at the
shoulder, a leg at the knee,--a back split, a bosom burst,--Guadma,
imperturbable, eternal, calm,--in the midst of time, timeless! It is
not annihilation which the Boodh has promised, as the blessed crown of
a myriad of progressive transmigrations; it is not Death; it is not
Sleep,--it is this.

Our entrance awoke a pandemonium. Myriads of bats and owls, and all
manner of fowls of darkness and bad omen, crazed by the glare of twenty
torches, startled the echoes with infernal clangor. Screaming and
huddling together, some fled under the wide skirts of sable, which
Darkness, climbing to the roof in fear, drew up after her; some hid
with lesser shadows between columns of great girth, or in the remotest
murky niches, or down in the black profound of resounding chasms; some,
bewildered or quite blinded by the flashes of the co-eternal beam,
dashed themselves against the stony walls, and fell crippled, gasping,
staring, at our feet. And when, at last, our guides and servants,
mounting to pinnacles and jutting points, and many a frieze and coigne
of vantage, placed blue lights on them all, and at the word illuminated
all together, there was redoubled bedlam in that abode of Hecate, and
the eternal calm of the Boodh became awful. For what deeds of outer
darkness, done long ago in that black hole of superstition, so many
damned souls shrieked from their night-fowl transmigrations, 'twere
vain to question there were no disclosures in that trance of stone.

For an experience of the oppressive awfulness of solitude, and all the
weary monotony of waste, come now, with Kinglake, into mid-desert.

"As long as you are journeying in the interior of the desert, you have
no particular point to make for as your resting-place. The endless
sands yield nothing but small stunted shrubs; even these fail after the
first two or three days; and from that time you pass over broad plains,
you pass over newly reared hills, you pass through valleys that the
storm of the last week has dug; and the hills and the valleys are sand,
sand, sand, still sand and only sand, and sand and sand again. The
earth is so samely, that your eyes turn toward heaven,--toward heaven,
I mean, in the sense of sky. You look to the sun, for he is your
task-master, and by him you know the measure of the work that you have
done, the measure of the work that remains for you to do. He comes when
you strike your tent in the early morning, and then, for the first hour
of the day, as you move forward on your camel, he stands at your near
side, and makes you know that the whole day's toil is before you. Then,
for a while, and a long while, you see him no more; for you are veiled
and shrouded, and dare not look upon the greatness of his glory; but
you know where he strides over your head by the touch of his flaming
sword. No words are spoken; but your Arabs moan, your camels sigh, your
skin glows, your shoulders ache; and, for sights, you see the pattern
and the web of the silk that veils your eyes, and the glare of the
outer light.

"Time labors on,--your skin glows, and your shoulders ache, your Arabs
moan, your camels sigh, and you see the same pattern on the silk, and
the same glare beyond; but conquering Time marches on, and by-and-by
the descending sun has compassed the heaven, and now softly touches
your right arm, and throws your lank shadow over the sand, right along
on the way to Persia. Then again you look upon his face, for his power
is all veiled in his beauty, and the redness of flames has become the
redness of roses; the fair, wavy cloud that fled in the morning now
comes to his sight once more,--comes blushing, but still comes
on,--comes burning with blushes, yet hastens, and clings to his side."

When one has been sufficiently dis-Europized by remote travel, to
become, as to his imagination, a child again, and receive a child's
impressions from the strangeness that surrounds him, the grotesque and
fantastic aspects of his situation afford him the same emotions, of
unquestioning wonder and romantic sympathy, that he derived in the old
time from the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, the exploits of Jack the
Giant-Killer, what Gulliver saw, or Munchausen did. Behold Belzoni in
the necropolis of Thebes, crawling on his very face among the dusty
rubbish of unnumbered mummies, to steal papyri from their bosoms.
Fatigued with the exertion of squirming through a mummy-choked passage
of five hundred yards, he sought a resting-place; but when he would
have sat down, his weight bore on the body of an Egyptian, and crushed
it like a bandbox. He naturally had recourse to his hands to sustain
his weight; but they found no better support, and he sunk altogether in
a crash of broken bones, rags, and wooden cases, that raised such a
dust as kept him motionless for a quarter of an hour, waiting for it to
subside. He could not move from the place, however, without increasing
it, and every step he took smashed a mummy. Once, in forcing his way
through a steeply inclined passage, about twenty feet in length, and no
wider than his body could be squeezed through, he was overwhelmed with
an avalanche of bones, legs, arms, and hands, rolling from above; and
every forward move brought his face in contact with the abhorred
features of some decayed Egyptian.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bayard Taylor.]

Behold Denham in the Desert of Dead Bones, where his sick comrades were
constantly disheartened by the sight of the skulls and skeletons of men
who had perished on those sands. During several days, they passed from
sixty to ninety skeletons a day; but the numbers that lay about the
wells at El Hammar were countless. Those of two women, whose perfect
and regular teeth bespoke them young, perhaps beautiful, were
particularly shocking. Their arms were still clasped around each
other's neck, in the attitude in which they had expired, although the
flesh had long since been consumed in the rays of the sun, and the
blackened bones alone were left.

Parkyns, among the little greenish-gray monkeys of Tigré, enjoyed a
treat to make the mouth of our young imagination water. He saw them
conversing, quarrelling, making love; mothers were taking care of their
children, combing their hair, nursing or "trotting" them; and the
passions of all--jealousy, rage, love--were as strongly marked as in
men. They had a language as distinct to them as ours to us; and their
women were as noisy and as fond of disputation as any fish-fag in

"On their marches, a few of the heedless youth occasionally lagged
behind to snatch a handful of berries; sometimes a matron halted for a
while to nurse her baby, and, not to lose time, dressed its hair while
it took its meal. Now and then a young lady, excited by jealousy or
some sneering look or word, made an ugly mouth at one of her
companions, and then, uttering a shrill squeal, highly expressive of
rage, vindictively snatched at the offender's tail or leg, and
administered a hearty bite. This provoked a retort, and a most
unladylike quarrel ensued, till a loud remonstrance from mothers or
aunts called them to order."

According to Marco Polo, there have been among the monkeys, from time
to time, certain Asiatic Yankees, who did a lively business in the
manufacture of an article which would, no doubt, have found a ready
purchaser at Barnum's Museum.

"It should be known," says the veracious old Venetian, "that what is
reported respecting the dead bodies of diminutive human creatures or
pigmies, brought from India, is an idle tale; such pretended men being
manufactured in the island of Basman in the following manner. The
country produces a species of monkey of a tolerable size, and having a
countenance resembling that of a man. Those persons who make it their
business to catch them shave off the hair, leaving it only about the
chin. They then dry and preserve them with camphor and other drugs; and
having prepared them in such a mode that they have exactly the
appearance of little men, they put them into wooden boxes, and sell
them to trading people, who carry them to all parts of the world."

Not the least familiar of the aspects of the Barbaric are its actions
and situations of horror. I could tell tales from the later, not less
than from the older travellers, that would send my readers shuddering
to sleepless beds: the ferocities of Tippoo reënacted in the name of
Nena Sahib; the noiseless murders of Thuggee's nimble cord; the drunken
_diablerie_ of the Doorga Pooja; the monstrous human sacrifices of the
Khonds and Bheels; the dreadful rites of the Janni before the gory
altar of the Earth goddess; the indiscriminate slashing and stabbing of
the Amok; the shuddering dodges of the plague-chased Cavrite; the grim
and lonely duels of the French lion-killer under the melancholy stars;
the carrion-like exposures of the Parsee dead; the nightmarish legends
of the Evil Eye. But my hope is to part with them on pleasant terms; so
rather would I strew their pillows with the consolations of this
many-mooded Barbaric,--moss from ruins, and pretty flowers from the
desert,--that beneficent botany which maketh the wilderness to blossom
like the rose.

When Mungo Park, deserted by his guides, and stripped by thieves,
utterly paralyzed by misfortune, and misery, would have laid him down
to die in a desert place,--at that moment, of all others, the
extraordinary beauty of a small moss in fructification caught his eye.
"I mention this," he says, "to show you from what trifling
circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation; for, though
the whole plant was not larger than the top of one of my fingers, I
could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its root, leaves,
and capsule without admiration. Can that Being, thought I, who planted,
watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world,
a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon
the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after his own image? I
started up, and, disregarding both danger and fatigue, travelled
forward, assured that relief was at hand; and I was not disappointed."

Richardson, in the midst of Sahara, beheld with brimming eyes two small
trees, the common desert acacia, and by-and-by two or three pretty blue
flowers. As he snatched them, to fold them in his bosom, he could not
help exclaiming, _Elhamdullah!_ "Praise be to God!"--for Arabic was
growing second-born to his tongue, and he began to think in it and to
pray in it. An Arab said to him, "Yakob, if we had a reed, and were to
make a melodious sound, those flowers, the color of heaven, would open
and shut their mouths."

Once, Mungo Park (the once too often of telling this story can never
come) sat all day,--without food, under a tree. The night threatened to
be very pitiless; for the wind arose, and there was every sign of a
heavy rain; and wild beasts prowled around. But about sunset, as he was
preparing to pass the night in the branches of the tree, a woman,
returning from the labors of the field, perceived how weary and
dejected he was, and, taking up his saddle and bridle, invited him to
follow her. She conducted him to her hut, where she lighted a lamp,
spread a mat on the floor, and bade him welcome. Then she went out, and
presently returning with a fine fish, broiled it on the embers, and set
his supper before him. The rites of hospitality thus performed toward a
stranger in distress, that _savage_ angel, pointing to the mat, and
assuring him that he might sleep there without fear, commanded the
females of her family, who all the while had stood gazing on him in
fixed astonishment, to resume their spinning. Then they sang, to a
sweet and plaintive air, these words: "The winds roared, and the rains
fell. The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree.
Let us pity the white man; no mother hath he to bring him milk, no wife
to grind his corn." Flowers in the desert![1]

[Footnote 1: Leigh Hunt.]

Flowers in the desert! And De Sauty shall spare them, though he
botanize on his mother's grave. Borro-boolah-gah may know us by our
India-rubber shirts and pictorial pocket-handkerchiefs; and King Mumbo
Jumbo may reduce his rebellious locks to subjection with a Yankee
currycomb; but these, our desert flowers, are All Right, De Sauty!


There is a lady in this case.

For three days she had sat opposite me at the table of the pleasantest
of White Mountain resorts, (of course I give no hint as to which _that_
is,--tastes differ,) and I had gradually become enthralled. Her beauty
was dazzling, and her name was Tarlingford. For the first of these
items, I was indebted to my own intelligence; for the second to the
hotel register, which also informed me that she was from New York.

I, too, had come from New York;--a coincidence too startling to be
calmly overlooked.

Our acquaintance began oddly. One morning, at breakfast, I was musing
over a hard-boiled egg, and wondering if I could perforate her
affections with anything like the success which had followed my fork as
it penetrated the shell before me, when I felt a timid touch upon my
toe, thrilling me from end to end like a telegraph-wire when the
insulation is perfect. I looked up, and detected a pink flush making
its way browward on the lovely countenance across the table.

"I beg your pardon," said I, with much concern.

"It was my fault, Sir; excuse _me_," said she, permitting the pink
flush to deepen, rosily.

"Shall I pass you the buttered toast?" said I.

"Muffins, if you please," said she, and so sweetly that I was blinded
to the absence of sugar in my second cup of coffee.

I was confused by this incident. Many men would have concealed their
disquietude by an affectation of sudden appetite, or by bullying the
waiter, or by abrupt departure from the scene. I did neither. I felt I
had a right to be confused, and I gloried in it.

Very soon Miss Tarlingford withdrew, and I experienced an aching void
within, which chops and fritters had no power to replenish.

I opened a chambermaid's heart with a half-dollar, and the treasures of
her knowledge were revealed to me. The beauty and her party were to
remain a fortnight Among her companions there were no males, except a
youthful irresponsibility. _Exultemus!_

Later in the morning I heard the tinkling of the parlor pianoforte.
Music has soothing charms for me, though I have not a savage breast. I
drew near, and found Miss Tarlingford trifling with the keys,--those
keys which lock together so many chains of human sympathy. She rose,
and gave out demonstrations of impending disappearance. I interposed,--

"Pray, continue. I am famished for music, and came specially to

"It is hardly worth while."

"How can you say so? It is I who know best what I need."

"I will play for you, then."

And she did. This was wonderful. Usually, a long and painful struggle
precedes feminine acquiescence, on such occasions. Repeated refusals,
declarations of incapacity, partial consent vouchsafed and then
waywardly withdrawn, poutings, head-tossings, feebler murmurs of
disinclination, and final reluctant yielding form the fashionable order
of proceeding. The charm of it all is, that the original intention is
the same as the ultimate action. Whence, then, this folly? Having been
many times wretchedly bored by this sort of thing, I was now
correspondingly gladdened by the contrast.

Miss Tarlingford played well, and I said so.

"Pretty well," she answered, frankly; "but not so well as I could

Shock Number Two. It is customary in good society for tolerable
performers to disavow all praises, (secretly yearning for more,) and to
assail with invective their own artistic accomplishments. Here was a
young lady who played well, and had the hardihood to acknowledge it.
This rather took away my breath, and a vacuum began to come under my

For three blissful days Miss Tarlingford and I were seldom separated.
Her sister, a pale, sedate maiden, of amiable appearance, and her
brother, a small, rude boy, of intrusive habits and unguarded speech, I
consented to undergo, for the sake of conventional necessity. To the
mother of the Tarlingfords additional respect seemed due, and was

Three blissful days of sunshine, meadowy rambles, forest explorations,
the majestic tranquillity of Nature spiced with the sauce of
flirtation, or something stronger. Sometimes we took our morning
happiness on foot, sometimes our mid-day ecstasy served up on
horseback, sometimes our evening rapture in an open wagon at two forty.

The puerile Tarlingford, interfering at first, was summarily crushed.
Aspiring to equestrian distinctions, he wrought upon maternal
indulgence, until, not without misgivings, maternal anxiety was
stifled, and, with injunctions that we should hover protectingly near
him, he was sent forth, a thorn in our sides. In half an hour he was
accidentally remembered, and was found to be nowhere within view; so we
pursued our way, well pleased. He had dropped quietly off, at the first
canter, into a miry slough, and had returned sobbingly, covered with
mortification and mud, to the arms of his parent. Keen questioning at
dinner was the result.

"Why did you so neglect him?" demanded fond mamma, adding,
reproachfully, "The child's life might have been sacrificed."

"Mother, we looked for him, and he was gone. Why didn't he cry out?"

"So I did," shouted this youth of open speech; "but you two had your
heads together, laughing and talking like anything, and couldn't hear,
I suppose." (With a juvenile sneer.)

"Oh, fie, Walter! Now I think you were so frightened that you could not

"I shall know better than to intrust him to your care again," said
indignant mamma, as one who withdrew a blessed privilege.

"Don't say that, mother; it would be a punishment too severe," said the
mischievous little pale sister, in tones of pity, and her face brimming
with mirth.

Everybody laughed, and peace was restored.

On the third evening, misery came to me in an envelope post-marked New


"I shall be with you the night after you receive this. Engage a room
for me. Have you seen anything of a Miss Tarlingford, where you are
staying? You should know her. She is very brilliant and accomplished,
but is retiring. I am willing to tell you, but it must go no farther,
that we are betrothed.

"Yours, in a hurry,


My heart was as the mercury of a thermometer which is plunged into ice;
but I preserved an outward composure. Turning over the pile of letters
awaiting owners, I came upon one, directed in Lillivan's handwriting,
to Miss A. Tarlingford, etc., etc.

To think that a paltry superscription should carry such a weight of
tribulation with it!

I thus discovered that my lines had fallen in unpleasant places. I was
fishing in a preoccupied stream, and had got myself entangled.

I avoided the public table, and shrunk from society. During the whole
of the next morning, I kept aloof from the temptations of Tarlingford,
and took to billiards.

In the afternoon, as I sat gloomily in my room, with feet protruding
from the window, and body inclined rearward, (the American attitude of
despair,) the piano tinkled. It was the same melody which had attracted
me a few happy days before. Strengthening myself with a powerful
resolution to extricate myself from the bewitching influence which had
surrounded me, I arose, and went straightway to the parlor. Could it be
that a flash of pleasure beamed on Miss Tarlingford's face? or was I a
deluded gosling? The latter suggestion seemed the more credible, so I
cheerfully adopted it.

"We have missed you, Mr. Plovins," said the fair enslaver; "I hope you
have not been unwell?"

"Unwell?--oh, no, no!"

"You have not been near me--us, today," (reprovingly,) "not even at
dinner; and the trout were superb."

A sudden hope mounted within me.

"Miss Tarlingford, pray, excuse me,--your first name, may I ask what it

"Arabella is my name, and" (whisperingly) "you may use it, if you

"Oh, hideous horror! And this is what they call flirtation," I thought.
And the hope which had risen blazing, like a rocket, went down
fuliginous, like the stick.

"Mr. Plovins, I will say you are very--very inconstant, to be absent
all day, thus."

"Miss Tarlingford, it is not inconstancy, it is billiards."


"Billiards. I adore them. You know nothing of billiards; women never
do. They are my joy. Pardon me," (with a sudden uprising of the moral
sense,) "I have an engagement at the billiard-room, and I should be

"Dear me! I should like to do billiards."

"Heaven forbid!"

"Why so, Sir?"

"No, I do not mean that; but ladies never play billiards."

"I suppose there is no reason why they should not?"

"A thousand."

"Why, what harm?"

"My dear Miss Tarlingford, if your first name were not Arabella,--alas,
alas!--there would be none."

"Nonsense! now you are laughing at me. Come, you shall teach me

"It cannot be, Miss Tarlingford." (Low tragedy tones.)

"Why not?"

"Because your name is Arabella."

"Very well, Sir,--if you do not like my name, you need not repeat it."

"I adore it; it is not that. Forgive me."

"Then I will get my hat";--and her light footsteps tapped upon the

Here was a state of things! Where were my firmness and my resolution
now? Where was the Pythian probity for which, according to my
expectations, Lillivan was to have poured Damoniac gratitude upon me?
Was I, or was I not, rapidly degenerating into villany? I felt that I
was, and blushed for my family.

If her name had been anything but Arabella,--anything the initial of
which was not A, then I could have justified myself; but now,--and I
was about to teach her billiards! To what depth of depravity had I come
at last!

She rejoined me, beaming with anticipation and radiant with the
exercise of running down-stairs. Together we entered the billiard-room.

Now this I declare: the ball-room, with its flashing lights,
intoxicating perfumes, starry hosts of gleaming, eyes, refulgent robes,
mirrors duplicating countless splendors and ceaseless whirl of vanity,
may add a tenfold lustre to the charm of beauty, and I know it does;
the opera-box embellishments of blazing gas, and glittering gems and
flowers, fresh from native beds of millinery, all-odorous with divinest
scents of Lubin, harmoniously dulcified, have their value, which is
great and glorious, no doubt, and regally doth woman expand and glow
among them; in numberless ways, and aided by numberless accessories, do
feminine graces nimbly and sweetly recommend themselves unto our
pleasant senses; but this I will for ever and ever say,--that nowhere,
neither in gorgeous hall, nor gilded opera-box, nor in any other place,
nor under any other circumstances, may such bewildering and insidious
power of maidenly enchantment be exercised as at the billiard-table;
especially when the enchantress is utterly ignorant of the duties
required of her, and confidingly seeks manly encouragement and
guidance. Controlled by the hand of beauty, the cue becomes a magic
wand, and the balls are no longer bits of inanimate ivory, but, poked
restlessly hither and thither, circulating messengers of fascination.

I know, for I have been there.

Had Miss Tarlingford turned her thoughts toward the bowling-alley, I
might without difficulty have retained my self-possession; for her sex
are not charming at ten-pins. They stride rampant, and hurl danger
around them, aiming anywhere at random; or they make small skips and
screams, and perform ridiculous flings in the air, injurious to the
alleys and to their game; or they drop balls with unaffected languor,
and develop at an early stage of proceedings a tendency to _gutters_,
above which they never rise throughout; and all this is annoying, and
fit only for Bloomers, who can be degraded by nothing on earth.

But billiards! what statuesque postures, what freedom of gesture, what
swaying grace and vivacious energy this game involves! And then the
attendant distractions,--the pinching together of the hand, to form the
needed notch, the perfect art of which, like fist-clenching, is
unattainable by woman, who substitutes some queerness all her own,--the
fierce grasping and propulsion of the cue,--the loving reclension upon
the table when the long shots come in,--the dainty foot, uprising, to
preserve the owner's balance, but, as it gleams suspended, destroying
the observer's,--all combine, as they did this time, to scatter stern
promptings of duty beyond recalling.

First, Arabella's little hand must be moulded into a bridge, and, being
slow to cramp itself correctly, though pliant as a politician's
conscience, the operation of folding it together had to be many times
repeated. Next, shots must be made for her, she retaining her hold of
the cue, to get into the way of it. Then all went on smoothly with her,
turbulently with me, until, enthusiastically excited, she must be
lifted on to the table's edge, "just to try one lovely little shot,"
which escaped her reach from the ground.

My game was up!

We were alone. Arabella perched upon the table, jubilant at having
achieved a pocket,--I dismal and blue, beside her.

"There, take me down," she said.

I looked around through each window, inclined my ear to the door, swept
an arm around her waist, and forgot to proceed.

"Oh, Arabella! Arabella! wherefore art thou Arabella?"

"Do you wish I were somebody else?" she asked, slyly.

"No, no! but what of Frank Lillivan?"

"Frank, do you know him?" (With a luminous face.)

"And he has told me----yes."


"Of his relations with Miss Tarlingford."

"With Anna,--yes."

"What Anna? Who is Anna?"

"Dear me! my sister Anna. Don't be absurd!"

"But I never knew"----

"No,--you knew nothing of her; the worse for you! You avoided her,--I'm
sure I don't see why,--and she is retiring."

"_Retiring!_--the very word!"

"What word? You vex me; you puzzle me; take me down."

"Forgive me, dear Arabella! I'm too delighted to explain. I never will
explain. I thought it was you on whom Frank's affections were fixed."

"Dear, no! Frank is sensible; he knows better; he has judgment"; and
she laughed a quiet laugh, and made as if she would jump down.

As she descended, two heads caromed together with a click. It was the
irrepressible influence of the billiard atmosphere, I suppose. No one
contemplated it.

That evening, when Frank Lillivan arrived, I met him at the door.

"God bless you, Frank!" said I; "I forgive you everything. Say no

"Hollo! what's up?" cried Frank.

"Well, certainly, it was a little imprudent for you to neglect writing
the whole address of the letter you sent to Anna Tarlingford. I thought
it was for Arabella."

"Dear me!" said Frank, twinkling, "what then?"

That is enough.

      *       *       *       *       *

ITALY, 1859.

Wait a little: do _we_ not wait?
Louis Napoleon is not Fate;
Francis Joseph is not Time;
There's One hath swifter feet than Crime;
Cannon-parliaments settle nought;
Venice is Austria's,--whose is Thought?
Minié is good, but, spite of change,
Gutenberg's gun has the longer range.
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

Wait, we say; our years are long;
Men are weak, but Man is strong;
Since the stars first curved their rings,
We have looked on many things;
Great wars come and great wars go,
Wolf-tracks light on polar snow;
We shall see him come and gone,
This second-hand Napoleon.
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

We saw the elder Corsican,
And Clotho muttered as she span,
While crowned lackeys bore the train
Of the pinchbeck Charlemagne,--
"Sister, stint not length of thread!
Sister, stay the scissors dread!
On St. Helen's granite bleak,
Hark, the vulture whets his beak!"
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

The Bonapartes, we know their bees,
That wade in honey, red to the knees;
Their patent-reaper, its sheaves sleep sound
In doorless garners underground:
We know false Glory's spendthrift race,
Pawning nations for feathers and lace;
It may be short, it may be long,--
"'Tis reckoning-day!" sneers unpaid Wrong.
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

The cock that wears the eagle's skin
Can promise what he ne'er could win;
Slavery reaped for fine words sown,
System for all and rights for none,
Despots at top, a wild clan below,
Such is the Gaul from long ago:
Wash the black from the Ethiop's face,
Wash the past out of man or race!
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

'Neath Gregory's throne a spider swings
And snares the people for the kings:
"Luther is dead; old quarrels pass;
The stake's black scars are healed with grass";
So dreamers prate;--did man e'er live
Saw priest or woman yet forgive?
But Luther's broom is left, and eyes
Peep o'er their creeds to where it lies.
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     In the shadow, year out, year in,
     The silent headsman waits forever!

Smooth sails the ship of either realm,
Kaiser and Jesuit at the helm;
But we look down the deeps and mark
Silent workers in the dark,
Building slow the sharp-tusked reefs,
Old instincts hardening to new beliefs:
Patience, a little; learn to wait;
Hours are long on the clock of Fate.
     Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
     Lachesis, twist! and Atropos, sever!
     Darkness is strong, and so is Sin,
     But only God endures forever!

      *       *       *       *       *


The aurora borealia, or rather, the polar aurora,--for there are
aurorae australes as well as aurorae boreales,--has been an object of
wonder and admiration from time immemorial.

Pliny and Aristotle record phenomena identical with those which later
times have witnessed. The ancients ranked this with other celestial
phenomena, as portending great events.

In a Bible imprinted at London in the year 1599, the 22d verse of the
37th chapter of Job reads thus: "The brightness commeth out of the
Northe, the praise to God which is terrible." The writer of the Book of
Job was very conversant with natural objects, and may have referred to
the aurora borealis and the phenomena immediately connected therewith.

In 1560, we are told, it was seen at London in the shape of burning
spears, a similitude which would be no less appropriate now than then.
Frequent displays are recorded during the fifteen years following that
date. During the latter half of the seventeenth century, the phenomena
were frequently visible, often-times being characterized by remarkable
brilliancy. After 1745, the displays suddenly diminished, and were but
rarely seen for the next nine years. The present century has been
favored to a remarkable degree. The displays during the years 1835,
'36, '37, '46, '48, '51, '52, and '59, have been especially grand.

What is the origin of these remarkable phenomena? The ancients asked
the question, and the moderns reply by repeating it. Before proceeding
to describe the magnificent auroral displays of August 28th and
September 2d, let us examine authorities upon this subject, and see if
we cannot arrive at some satisfactory solution of the phenomena. The
following is the description given by Humboldt in "Cosmos":--

"An aurora borealis is always preceded by the formation in the horizon
of a sort of nebulous veil, which slowly ascends to a height of 4°, 6°,
8°, and even to 10°. It is towards the magnetic meridian of the place
that the sky, at first pure, begins to get brownish. Through this
obscure segment, the color of which passes from brown to violet, the
stars are seen, as through a thick fog. A wider arc, but one of
brilliant light, at first white, then yellow, bounds the dark segment.
Sometimes the luminous arc appears agitated, for hours together, by a
sort of effervescence, and by a continuous change of form, before the
rising of the rays and columns of light, which ascend as far as the
zenith. The more intense the emission of the polar light, the more
vivid are its colors, which, from violet and bluish white, pass through
all the intermediate shades of green and purple-red. Sometimes the
columns of light appear to come out of the brilliant arc mingled with
blackish rays, resembling a thick smoke; sometimes they rise
simultaneously from different points of the horizon, and unite
themselves into a sea of flames, the magnificence of which no painting
could express; for, at each instant, rapid undulations cause their form
and brilliancy to vary. Motion appears to increase the visibility of
the phenomena. Around the point in the heaven which corresponds to the
direction of the dipping needle produced, the rays appear to meet and
form the boreal corona. It is seldom that the appearance is so
complete, and is prolonged to the formation of the corona; but when the
latter appears, it always announces the end of the phenomenon. The rays
then become more rare, shorter, and less vividly colored. Soon nothing
further is seen on the celestial vault than wide, motionless, nebulous
spots, pale, or of an ashy color; they have already disappeared, when
the traces of the dark segment whence the appearance originated still
remain on the horizon."

The connection that seems to exist, says De la Rive, between the polar
light and the appearance of a certain species of clouds is confirmed by
all observers; all have affirmed that the polar light emitted its most
brilliant rays when the high regions of the air contained heaps of
cirri,--strata of sufficient tenuity and lightness to cause a corona to
arise around the light. Sometimes these clouds are grouped and arranged
almost like the rays of an aurora borealis; they then appear to disturb
the magnetized needle. Father Secchi has remarked, that magnetic
disturbances are manifested at Rome whilst the sky is veiled with
clouds that are slightly phosphorescent, which, at night, present the
appearance of feeble aurorae boreales.

After a brilliant aurora borealis, we have been able to recognize, on
the following morning, trains of clouds, which, during the night, had
appeared as so many luminous rays.

The absolute height of aurorae boreales has been very variously
estimated by different observers. It has long been thought that we
might determine it by regarding, from two places widely distant from
each other, the same part of the aurora,--the corona, for example. But
we have started from a very inaccurate assumption, namely, that the two
observers had their eyes directed to the same point at the same
time,--whilst it is now well proved that the corona is an effect of
perspective, due to the apparent convergence of the parallel rays
situated in the magnetic meridian; so that each observer sees his own
aurora borealis, as each sees his own rainbow. The aspect of the
phenomenon depends also upon the positions of the observers. The seat
of the aurora borealis is in the upper regions of the atmosphere;
though sometimes it appears to be produced in the less elevated regions
where the clouds are formed. This, at least, is what follows from some
observations, especially from those of Captain Franklin, who saw an
aurora borealis the light of which appeared to him to illuminate the
lower surface of a stratum of clouds; whilst some twenty-five miles
farther on, Mr. Kendal, who had watched the whole of the night without
losing sight of the sky for a single moment, did not perceive any trace
of light. Captain Parry saw an aurora borealis display itself against
the side of a mountain; and we are assured that a luminous ring has
sometimes been perceived upon the very surface of the sea, around the
magnetic pole. Lieutenant Hood and Dr. Richardson, being placed at the
distance of about forty-five miles from each other, in order to make
simultaneous observations, whence they might deduce the parallax of the
phenomenon, and consequently its height, were led to the conclusion
that the aurora borealis had not a greater elevation than five miles.
M. Liais, having had the opportunity of applying a method, which he had
devised for measuring the height of aurorae boreales, to an aurora seen
at Cherbourg Oct. 31, 1853, found that the arc of the aurora was about
two and a half miles above the ground, at its lower edge.

Various observations made by Professor Olmsted, in conjunction with
Professor Twining, of New Haven, led him, on the contrary, to fix the
elevation on different occasions at forty-two, one hundred, and one
hundred and sixty miles. He claims that it is rarely less than seventy
miles from the earth, and never more than one hundred and sixty. He
also claims that its origin is cosmical,--or, in other words, that the
earth, in revolving in its orbit, at certain periods passes through a
nebulous body, which evolves this strange light in more or less
brilliancy, as the body is larger or smaller. To support this theory,
he attempted to establish that there were fixed epochs for its display
in the highest degree of brilliancy. The length of these periods was
from sixty to seventy years, and the next appearance was to be in 1890.
The remarkable displays of August 28th and September 2d show the
fallacy of his conclusions in this respect.

Mairon and Dalton had also thought that the aurora borealis was a
cosmical, and not an atmospheric phenomenon. But M. Biot, who had
himself had an opportunity of observing the aurora in the Shetland
Isles in 1817, had already been led to recognize it as an atmospheric
phenomenon, by the consideration that the arcs and the coronae of the
aurora in no way participate in the apparent motion of the stars from
east to west,--a proof that they are drawn along by the rotation of the
earth. Hence, almost all observers have arrived at the same
conclusions; we will in particular cite MM. Lottin and Bravais, who
have observed more than a hundred and forty aurorae boreales. It is
therefore now clearly proved that the aurora borealis is not an
extra-atmospheric phenomenon. To the proofs drawn from the appearance
of the phenomenon itself we may add others deduced from certain effects
which accompany it, such as the noise of crepitation, which the
dwellers nearest to the pole affirm that they have heard when there is
the appearance of an aurora, and the sulphurous odor that accompanies
it. Finally, if the phenomena took place beyond our planet and its
atmosphere, why should they take place at the polar regions only, as
they often do?

J. S. Winn, in a letter to Dr. Franklin, dated Spithead, August 12th,
1772, says: "The observation is new, I believe, that the aurora
borealis is constantly succeeded by hard southerly or southwest winds,
attended with hazy weather and small rain. I think I am warranted from
experience in saying _constantly_, for in twenty-three instances that
have occurred since I first made the observation it has invariably
obtained; and the knowledge has been of vast service to me, as I have
got out of the Channel when other men as alert, and in faster ships,
but unapprised of this circumstance, have not only been driven back,
but with difficulty escaped shipwreck."

Colonel James Capper, the discoverer of the circular nature of storms,
remarks: "As it appears, that, on all such occasions, the current of
air comes in a direction diametrically opposite to that where the
meteor appears, it seems probable that the aurora borealis is caused by
the ascent of a considerable quantity of electric fluid in the superior
regions of the atmosphere to the north and northeast, where,
consequently, it causes a body of air near the earth to ascend, when
another current of air will rush from the the opposite point to fill up
the vacuum, and thus may produce the southerly gales which succeed the
aurora borealis."

The bark "Northern Light," arrived at Boston from Africa, was at sea on
the night of the great exhibition of the aurora borealis, the 28th of
August. The vessel was struck by lightning twice, after which the red
flames of the aurora burst upon the astonished vision of the crew. Most
of them are confident that they smelt a sulphurous odor all night.

M. de Tessan, who, in the voyage of the "Venus" around the world, had
the opportunity of seeing a very beautiful aurora australis, (southern
aurora,) which he describes with much care, also considers that this
phenomenon takes place in the atmosphere. The summit of the aurora
being in the magnetic meridian, it was elevated 14° above the horizon,
and the centre of the arc was on the prolongation of the dipping
needle, the dip being about 68° at the place of the observation. M. de
Tessan did not hear the noise arising from the aurora, which he
attributes to the circumstance that he was too far distant from the
place of the phenomenon; but he reports the observation of a
distinguished officer of the French navy, M. Verdier, who, on the night
of October 13th, 1819, being in the latitude of Newfoundland, had heard
very distinctly a sort of crackling or crepitation, when the vessel he
was on board was in the midst of an aurora borealis. This was also
observed in many localities during the aurora of August 28th, 1859. A
New York paper, alluding to the subject, remarks: "Many imagined that
they heard rushing sounds, as if Aeolus had let loose the winds; others
were confident that a sweeping, as if of flames, was distinctly
audible." Burns, a good observer, if ever there was one, and not likely
to be aware of any theories on the subject, alludes in his "Vision" to
a noise accompanying the aurora, as if it were of ordinary

  "The cauld blue North was flashing forth
   Her lights wi' hissing eerie din."

It finds confirmation also in the fact, generally admitted by the
inhabitants of the northern regions, that, when the auroras appear low,
a crackling is heard similar to that of the electric spark. The
Greenlanders think that the souls of the dead are then striking against
each other in the air. M. Ramm, Inspector of Forests in Norway, wrote
to M. Hansteen, in 1825, that he had heard the noise, which always
coincided with the appearance of the luminous jets, when, being only
ten years old, he was crossing a meadow covered with snow and
hoar-frost, near which no forests were in existence. Dr. Gisler, who
for a long time dwelt in the North of Sweden, remarks that the matter
of the aurorae boreales sometimes descends so low that it touches the
ground; at the summit of high mountains it produces upon the faces of
travellers an effect analogous to that of the wind. Dr. Gisler adds,
that he has frequently heard the noise of the aurora, and that it
resembles that of a strong wind, or the hissing that certain chemical
substances produce in the act of decomposition.

M. Necker, who has described a great number of aurorae which he
observed at the end of 1839 and at the commencement of 1840, in the
Isle of Skye, never himself heard the noise in question; but he remarks
that this noise had been very frequently heard by persons charged with
meteorological observations at the light-house of Swenburgh Head, at
the southern extremity of Shetland. M. Necker is not the only observer
who has not heard the noise; neither have MM. Lottier and Bravais, who
have observed so great a number of aurorae, ever heard it; and a great
many others are in this case. This may be due to the fact that it is
necessary to be very near to the aurora in order to hear the
crepitation in question, and also to the fact that it is possible that
it does not always take place, at least in a manner sufficiently
powerful to be heard.

We have just been pointing out, as concomitant effects of the aurora
borealis, a noise of crepitation analogous to that of distant
discharges, and a sulphurous odor similar to that which accompanies the
fall of lightning. M. Matteucci also observed at Pisa, during the
appearance of a brilliant aurora borealis, decided signs of positive
electricity in the air; but of all phenomena, those which invariably
take place at the same time as the appearance of the aurora borealis
are the magnetic effects. Magnetized needles suffer disturbances in
their normal direction which cause them to deviate generally to the
west first, afterwards to the east. These disturbances vary in
intensify, but they never fail to take place, and are manifested even
in places in which the aurora borealis is not visible. This
coincidence, proved by M. Arago without any exception, during several
years of observation, is such that the learned Frenchman was able,
without ever having been mistaken, to detect from the bottom of the
cellars of the observatory of Paris the appearance of an aurora
borealis. M. Matteucci had the opportunity of observing this magnetic
influence under a new and remarkable form. He saw, during the
appearance of the aurora borealis of November 17, 1848, the soft iron
armatures employed in the electric telegraph between Florence and Pisa
remain attached to their electro-magnets, as if the latter were
powerfully magnetized, without, however, the apparatus being in action,
and without the currents in the battery being set in action. This
singular effect ceases with the aurora, and the telegraph, as well as
the batteries, could operate anew, without having suffered any
alteration. Mr. Highton also observed in England a very decided action
of the aurora borealis, November 17, 1848. The magnetized needle was
always driven toward the same side, even with much force. But it is in
our own country that the action of the aurora upon the telegraph-wires
has been the most remarkable.

My attention was first called in 1847 to the probability of the
aurora's producing an effect upon the wires; but, although having an
excellent opportunity to observe such an effect, I was not fortunate
enough to do so until the winter of 1850, and then, owing to the feeble
displays of the aurora, only to a limited extent. In September, 1851,
however, there was a remarkable aurora, which took complete possession
of all the telegraph-lines in New England and prevented any business
from being transacted during its continuance. The following winter
there was another remarkable display, which occurred on the 19th of
February, 1852. It was exceedingly brilliant throughout the northern
portion of our continent. I extract the following account of its
effects upon the wires from my journal of that date. I should premise,
that the system of telegraphing used upon the wires, during the
observation of February, 1852, was Bain's chemical. No batteries were
kept constantly upon the line, as in the Morse and other magnetic
systems. The main wire was connected directly with the chemically
prepared paper on the disc, so that any atmospheric currents were
recorded upon the disc with the greatest accuracy. Our usual battery
current, decomposing the salts in the paper, and uniting with the iron
point of the pen wire, left a light blue mark on the white paper, or,
if the current were strong, a dark one,--the color of the mark
depending upon the quantity of the current upon the wire.

"_Thursday, February 19, 1852_.

"Towards evening a heavy blue line appeared upon the paper, which
gradually increased in size for the space of half a minute, when a
flame of fire succeeded to the blue line, of sufficient intensity to
burn through a dozen thicknesses of the moistened paper. The current
then subsided as gradually as it, had come on, until it entirely
ceased, and was then succeeded by a negative current (which bleaches,
instead of coloring, the paper). This gradually increased, in the same
manner as the positive current, until it also, in turn, produced its
flame of fire, and burned through many thicknesses of the prepared
paper; it then subsided, again to be followed by the positive current.
This state of things continued during the entire evening, and
effectually prevented any business being done over the wires."

      *       *       *       *       *

Never, however, since the establishment of the telegraphic system in
this country, have the wires been so greatly affected by the aurora as
upon Sunday night, the 28th of August, 1859. Throughout the entire
northern portion of the United States and Canada, the lines were
rendered useless for all business purposes through its action. So
strongly was the atmosphere charged with the electric fluid, that lines
or circuits of only twelve miles in length were so seriously affected
by it as to render operation difficult, and, at times, impossible.

The effects of this magnetic storm were apparent upon the wires during
a considerable portion of Saturday evening, and during the whole of the
next day. At 6, P.M., the line between Boston and New Bedford (sixty
miles in length) could be worked only at intervals, although, of
course, no signs of the aurora were apparent to the eye at that hour.
The same was true of the wires running eastward through the State of
Maine, as well as those to the north.

The wire between Boston and Fall River had no battery upon it Sunday,
and yet there was an artificial current upon it, which increased and
decreased in intensity, producing upon the electromagnets in the
offices the same effect as would be produced by constantly opening and
closing the circuit at intervals of half a minute. This current, which
came from the aurora, was strong enough to have worked the line,
although not sufficiently steady for regular use.

The current from the aurora borealis comes in waves,--light at first,
then stronger, until we have, frequently, a strength of current equal
to that produced by a battery of two hundred Grove cups. The waves
occupy about fifteen seconds each, ordinarily, but I have known them to
last a full minute; though this is rare. As soon as one wave passes,
another, of the reverse polarity, always succeeds. I have never known
this to fail, and it may be set down as an invariable rule. When the
poles of the aurora are in unison with the poles of the current upon
the line, its effect is to increase the current; but when they are
opposed, the current from the battery is neutralized,--null. These
effects were observed at times during Saturday, Saturday evening, and
Sunday, but were very marked during Sunday evening.

It is hardly necessary to add here, that the effect of the aurora
borealis, or magnetic storm, is totally unlike that of common or free
electricity, with which the atmosphere is charged during a
thunderstorm. The electricity evolved during a thunder-storm, as soon
as it reaches a conductor, explodes with a spark, and becomes at once
dissipated. The other, on the contrary, is of very low tension, remains
upon the wires sometimes half a minute, produces magnetism, decomposes
chemicals, deflects the needle, and is capable of being used for
telegraphic purposes, although, of course, imperfectly.

Mr. 0.S. Wood, Superintendent of the Canadian telegraph-lines,
says:--"I never, in my experience of fifteen years in the working of
telegraph-lines, witnessed anything like the extraordinary effect of
the aurora borealis, between Quebec and Father Point, last night. The
line was in most perfect order, and well-skilled operators worked
incessantly from eight o'clock last evening till one o'clock this
morning, to get over, in even a tolerably intelligible form, about four
hundred words of the steamer "Indian's" report for the press; but at
the latter hour, so completely were the wires under the influence of
the aurora borealis, that it was found utterly impossible to
communicate between the telegraph-stations, and the line was closed for
the night."

We have seen from the foregoing examples that the aurora borealis
produces remarkable effects upon the telegraph-lines during its entire
manifestation. We have, however, to record yet more wonderful effects
of the aurora upon the wires, namely, _the use of the auroral current
for transmitting and receiving telegraphic dispatches_. This almost
incredible feat was accomplished in the forenoon of September 2,
between the hours of half past eight and eleven o'clock, on the wires
of the American Telegraph Company between Boston and Portland, and upon
the wires of the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Company between
South Braintree and Fall River.

The auroral influence was observed upon all the lines running out of
the office in Boston, at the hour of commencing business, (eight
o'clock, A. M.,) and it continued so strong up to half past eight as to
prevent any business being done; the ordinary current upon the wires
being at times neutralized by the magnetism of the aurora, and at other
times so greatly augmented as to render operations impracticable. At
this juncture it was suggested that the batteries should be cut off,
and the wires simply connected with the earth.

It is proper to remark here, that the current from the aurora coming in
waves of greater or less intensity, there are times, both while the
wave is approaching and while it is receding, when the instruments are
enabled to work; but the time, varying according to the rapidity of the
vibrations of the auroral bands, is only from one quarter of a minute
to one minute in duration. Therefore, whatever business is done upon
the wires during these displays has to be accomplished in brief
intervals of from quarter to half a minute in duration.

During one of these intervals, the Boston operator said to the one at

"Please cut off your battery, and let us see if we cannot work with the
auroral current alone."

The Portland operator replied,--

"I will do so. Will you do the same?"

"I have already done so," was the answer. "We are working with the aid
of the aurora alone. How do you receive my writing?"

"Very well indeed," responds the operator at Portland; "much better
than when the batteries were on; the current is steadier and more
reliable. Suppose we continue to work so until the aurora subsides?"

"Agreed," replied the Boston operator. "Are you ready for business?"

"Yes; go ahead," was the answer.

The Boston operator then commenced sending private dispatches, which he
was able to do much more satisfactorily than when the batteries were
on, although, of course, not so well as he could have done with his own
batteries without celestial assistance.

The line was worked in this manner more than two hours, when, the
aurora having subsided, the batteries were resumed. While this
remarkable phenomenon was taking place upon the wires between Boston
and Portland, the operator at South Braintree informed me that he was
working the wire between that station and Fall River--a distance of
about forty miles--with the current from the aurora alone. He continued
to do so for some time, the line working comparatively well. Since then
I have visited Fall River, and have the following account from the
intelligent operator in the railroad office at that place. The office
at the station is about half a mile from the regular office in the
village. The battery is kept at the latter place, but the operator at
the station is provided with a switch by which he can throw the battery
off the line and put the wire in connection with the earth at pleasure.
The battery at the other terminus of the line is at Boston; but the
operator at South Braintree is furnished with a similar switch, which
enables him to dispense with its use at pleasure. There are no
intermediate batteries; consequently, if the Fall River operator put
his end of the wire in connection with the earth, and the South
Braintree operator do the same, the line is without battery, and of
course without an electrical current. Such was the state of the line on
the 2d of September last, when for more than an hour they held
communication over the wire with the aid of the celestial batteries

This seems almost too wonderful for belief, and yet the proof is
incontestable. However, the fact being established that the currents
from the aurora borealis do have a direct effect upon the
telegraph-wires, and that the currents are of both kinds, positive and
negative,--as I have shown in my remarks upon the aurora of 1852, which
sometimes left a dark line upon the prepared paper, and at other times
bleached it,--it is a natural consequence that the wires should work
better without batteries than with them, whenever a current from the
aurora has sufficient intensity to neutralize the current from the

I will try to make myself clear upon this point. It makes no
difference, in working the Morse, or any other system of _magnetic_
telegraph, whether we have the positive or the negative pole to the
line; but, whichever way we point, the same direction must be continued
with all additional batteries we put upon the line. Now if we put a
battery upon the line at Boston, of, say, twenty-five cells, and point
the positive pole eastward, and the same number of cells at Portland,
pointing the positive pole westward, the current will be null, that is
to say, each will neutralize the other. Now the aurora, in presenting
its positive pole, we will say, increases the current upon the line
beyond the power of the magnet-keeper-spring to control it, and thus
prevents the line from working, by surfeiting it with the electric
current; until, presently, the wave recedes and is followed by a
negative current which neutralizes the battery current, and prevents
the line from working for want of power. It is plain, therefore, that,
if the batteries be taken off, the positive current of the aurora
cannot increase nor the negative decrease the working state of the line
to the same extent as when the batteries are connected; but that,
whichever pole is presented, the magnetism can be made use of by the
operator for the ordinary duties of the line.

At Springfield, a gentleman who observed the needle of the compass,
during the auroral display of August 28th, noticed that it was
deflected first to the west, and then to the east, while the waves of
the aurora were in motion. The electrotype plates at the office of the
"Republican" at that place were so seriously affected by the aurora,
that they could not be printed from during the continuance of the

The aurora borealis of August 28th was surpassingly brilliant not only
in the northern portion of this continent, but also as far south as the
equator,--as well as in Cuba, Jamaica, California, and the greater
portion of Europe. The London newspapers of the 29th contain glowing
descriptions of it. A California journal says:--"During the last ten
years the aurora borealis was never seen in California except on very
rare occasions, and then the light was very faint or barely visible;
but on the 28th ult., it appeared in wonderful splendor,--the whole
northern part of the sky being of a bright crimson; and the same
phenomenon, with equal magnificence, was repeated on the night of the
first instant."

In Jamaica the aurora borealis was witnessed for the first time,
perhaps, since the discovery of this island by Columbus. So rare is the
phenomenon in those latitudes, that it was taken for the glare of a
fire, and was associated with the recent riots.

Mr. E.B. Elliot of Boston, in an interesting article upon the recent
aurora, points out the simultaneous occurrence of the auroral display
of February 19th, 1852, with the eruption of Mauna Loa,--the largest
volcano in the world, situated on Hawaii, (one of the Sandwich Island
group,)--on the 20th of February; on which occasion, the side of the
mountain gave way about two-thirds of the distance from the base,
giving passage to a magnificent stream of lava, five hundred feet deep
and seven hundred broad.

Again, on the 17th of December, 1857, between the hours of one and four
in the morning, there occurred an aurora of unwonted magnificence. The
first steamer arriving from Europe after that date brought the
following intelligence, which is taken from one of the journals of the
day:--"An earthquake took place on the night of the 17th, throughout
the whole kingdom of Naples, but its effects were most severe in the
towns of Salerno, Potenza, and Nola. At Salerno, the walls of the
houses were rent from top to bottom. Numerous villages were half

Were these coincidences of extraordinary auroras with extraordinary
commotions in the physical condition of our globe merely accidental? or
are these phenomena due to a common cause? The latter supposition is
not improbable, but the question can be fully settled only by further

Mr. Meriam, "the sage of Brooklyn," as the daily journals denominate
him, considers the aurora as the result of earthquakes or volcanic
eruptions. He also says:--"The auroral light sometimes is composed of
threads, like the silken warp of a web; these sometimes become broken
and fall to the earth, and possess exquisite softness and a silvery
lustre, and I denominate them the products of the silkery of the skies.
_I once obtained a small piece, which I preserved._"

It is due to Mr. Meriam, as well as to the scientific world, to say,
that he stands alone in his convictions with regard to the aurora, both
in respect of the cause and the effect of the phenomenon.

Having thus illustrated the effects of the aurora, let us now return to
the discussion of its causes.

The intimate and constant connection between the phenomena of the
aurora borealis and terrestrial magnetism led Humboldt to class under
the head of Magnetic Storms all disturbances in the equilibrium of the
earth's magnetic forces. The presence of such storms is indicated by
the oscillations of the magnetized needle, the disturbance of the
currents upon the telegraph-wires, and the appearance of the aurora, of
which these oscillations and disturbances are, as it were, the
forerunners, and which itself puts an end to the storm,--as in electric
storms the phenomenon of lightning announces that, the electrical
equilibrium, temporarily disturbed, is now restored.

The atmosphere is constantly charged with positive
electricity,--electricity furnished by the vapors that rise from the
sea, especially in tropical regions,--and, on the other hand, the earth
is negatively electrized. The recomposition or neutralization of the
two opposite electricities of the atmosphere and of the terrestrial
globe is brought about by means of the moisture with which the lower
strata of the air are more or less charged. But it is especially in the
polar regions, where the eternal ice that reigns there constantly
condenses the aqueous vapors under the form of haze, that this
recomposition must be brought about; the more so, as the positive
vapors are carried thither and accumulated by the tropical current,
which, setting out from the equatorial regions, where it occupies the
most elevated regions of the atmosphere, descends as it advances
towards the higher latitudes, until it comes in contact with the earth
in the neighborhood of the poles. It is there, then, chiefly, that the
equilibrium between the positive electricity of the vapors and the
negative electricity of the earth must be accomplished by means of a
discharge, which, when of sufficient intensity, will be accompanied
with light, if, as is almost always the case near the poles, and
sometimes in the higher parts of the atmosphere, it take place among
those extremely small icy particles which constitute the hazes and the
very elevated clouds.

There can be no doubt that the occurrence of the phenomenon is
materially dependent on the presence in the atmosphere of these
particles of ice, forming a kind of thin haze, which, becoming luminous
by the transmission of electricity, must appear simply as an
illuminated surface of greater or less extent, and more or less cut up.
The phenomenon actually takes place in this manner in the parts of the
atmosphere that are the most distant from the earth. We perceive what
are termed auroral plates of a purple or reddish-violet color, more or
less extended, according as this species of veil, formed by icy
particles, extends to a greater or less distance from the poles. The
tenuity of this veil is such that it admits of our seeing the stars
through the auroral plates. Of its existence, independently of indirect
proofs, we have a direct demonstration in the observation of MM. Bixio
and Baral, who, being raised in a balloon to a great height, found
themselves, on a sudden, although the sky was entirely serene and the
atmosphere cloudless, in the midst of a perfectly transparent veil,
formed by a multitude of little icy needles, so fine that they were
scarcely visible.

If we place the pole of an electro-magnet over the jets of electric
light that are made to converge in extremely rarefied air, we shall see
that the electric light, instead of coming out indifferently from all
points of the upper surface, as had taken place before the
magnetization, comes out from the points of the circumference only of
this surface, so as to form around it a continuous luminous ring. This
ring possesses a movement of rotation around the magnetized cylinder,
sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, according to the
direction of the discharge and of the magnetization. Finally, some more
brilliant jets seem to come out from this luminous circumference
without being confounded with the rest of the group. Now the magnetic
pole exercises over the luminous haze which we have mentioned as always
present during an aurora precisely the same action which the pole of
the electro-magnet exercises in the experiment just described; and what
takes place on the small scale of the experiment is precisely what
takes place on the large scale of the phenomenon of the aurora

The arc of the aurora borealis is a portion of a luminous ring, the
different points of which are sensibly at equal distances from the
earth, and which centres upon the boreal magnetic pole, so as to cut at
right angles all the magnetic meridians that converge towards this
pole. Such a ring, seen by an observer placed at the surface of the
earth, evidently presents to him the known arc of the aurora; and its
_apparent_ summit is always necessarily situated in the magnetic
meridian of the place.

The diameter of the luminous ring is greater in proportion as the
magnetic pole is more distant from the surface of the earth, since this
pole must be situated upon the intersection of the plane of the ring
with the axis of the terrestrial globe; if we could determine
rigorously the position of the aurora borealis, we should then have the
means of knowing exactly that of the pole itself.

Each observer sees the summit of the auroral arc at his magnetic
meridian; it is, therefore, only those who are on the same magnetic
meridian who see the same summit, and who are able by simultaneous
observations to take its height.

If the summit of the arc pass beyond the zenith of the observer, the
latter is surrounded by the matter of the aurora borealis. This matter
is nothing else than aqueous vapors traversed by the discharges, and
which are in general luminous only at a certain height from the ground,
either because the air is there more rarefied, or because they are
themselves congealed, and more capable, consequently, of liberating
their electric light. Then it is, that, from being nearer to the spot
where the phenomenon is taking place, the observer hears the
crepitation, or whizzing, of which we have spoken, especially if he be
in an open country and in a quiet place. But if the arc do not attain
to his zenith, he is situated beyond the region in which the meeting of
the electric currents takes place; he sees only an arc a little more
elevated to the north or the south, according as he is situated in one
hemisphere or the other; and he hears no noise, on account of his too
great distance. The crepitation is the result of the action of a
powerful magnetic pole upon luminous electric jets in its immediate
neighborhood. With regard to the sulphurous odor which some observers
have perceived, it arises, as does that which accompanies the fall of
lightning, from the conversion into ozone of the oxygen of the air, by
the passage of electric discharges.

Gisler says, that on the high mountains of Sweden the traveller is
sometimes suddenly enveloped in a very transparent fog, of a
whitish-gray color inclining a little to green, which rises from the
ground, and is transformed into an aurora borealis. The cirro-cumulus
and the hazes become luminous when they are traversed by sufficiently
energetic discharges of electricity, and when the light of day is no
longer present to overcome their more feeble light. Dr. Usher describes
an aurora borealis seen in the open day, at noon, May 24, 1778.

MM. Cornulier and Verdier are convinced, after carefully studying the
subject, that there are almost always aurorae boreales in the high
polar latitudes, and that their brilliancy alone is variable. This
conviction is in accordance with the very careful observations which
have now been made for four years in the northern hemisphere. It
appears, as the result of these, that the aurora borealis is visible
almost every clear night, but it does not show itself at all the
stations at the same time. From October to March there is scarcely a
night in which it may not be seen; but it is in February that it is
most brilliant. In 1850 it was observed two hundred and sixty-one
nights, and during 1851 two hundred and seven. The proportion of nights
in which the aurora is seen is much greater the nearer we are to the
magnetic pole.

De la Rive, from whose admirable treatise upon Electricity we have
borrowed our general views, and whose theory we have attempted to
illustrate in this paper, concludes that the aurora borealis is a
phenomenon which has its seat in the atmosphere, and consists in the
production of a luminous ring of greater or less diameter, having for
its centre the magnetic pole. Experiment shows, as we have seen, that,
on bringing about in rarefied air the reunion of the two electricities,
near the pole of a powerful artificial magnet, a small luminous ring is
produced, similar to that which constitutes the aurora borealis, and
animated by a similar movement of rotation. The aurora borealis would
be due, consequently, to electric discharges taking place in the polar
regions between the positive electricity of the atmosphere and the
negative electricity of the earth. These electric discharges taking
place constantly, but with intensities varying according to the state
of the atmosphere, the aurora borealis should be a daily phenomenon,
more or less intense, consequently visible at greater or less
distances, but only when the nights are clear,--which is perfectly in
accordance with observation.

The aurora australis presents precisely the same phenomena as the
aurora borealis, and is explained, consequently, in the same manner.



A young fellow, born of good stock, in one of the more thoroughly
civilized portions of these United States of America, bred in good
principles, inheriting a social position which makes him at his ease
everywhere, means sufficient to educate him thoroughly without taking
away the stimulus for vigorous exertion, and with a good opening in
some honorable path of labor, is the finest sight our private satellite
has had the opportunity of inspecting on the planet to which she
belongs. In some respects it was better to be a young Greek. If we may
trust the old marbles,--my friend with his arm stretched over my head,
above there, (in plaster of Paris,) or the discobolus, whom one may see
at the principal sculpture gallery of this metropolis,--those Greek
young men were of supreme beauty. Their close curls, their elegantly
set heads, column-like necks, straight noses, short, curled lips, firm
chins, deep chests, light flanks, large muscles, small joints, were
finer than anything we ever see. It may well be questioned whether the
human shape will ever present itself again in a race of such perfect
symmetry. But the life of the youthful Greek was local, not planetary,
like that of the young American. He had a string of legends, in place
of our Gospels. He had no printed books, no newspaper, no steam
caravans, no forks, no soap, none of the thousand cheap conveniences
which have become matters of necessity to our modern civilization.
Above all things, if he aspired to know as well as to enjoy, he found
knowledge not diffused everywhere about him, so that a day's labor
would buy him more wisdom than a year could master, but held in private
hands, hoarded in precious manuscripts, to be sought for only as gold
is sought in narrow fissures and in the bed of brawling streams. Never,
since man came into this atmosphere of oxygen and azote, was there
anything like the condition of the young American of the nineteenth
century. Having in possession or in prospect the best part of half a
world, with all its climates and soils to choose from; equipped with
wings of fire and smoke that fly with him day and night, so that he
counts his journey not in miles, but in degrees, and sees the seasons
change as the wild fowl sees them in his annual flights; with huge
leviathans always ready to take him on their broad backs and push
behind them with their pectoral or caudal fins the waters that seam the
continent or separate the hemispheres; heir of all old civilizations,
founder of that new one which, if all the prophecies of the human heart
are not lies, is to be the noblest, as it is the last; isolated in
space from the races that are governed by dynasties whose divine right
grows out of human wrong, yet knit into the most absolute solidarity
with mankind of all times and places by the one great thought he
inherits as his national birthright; free to form and express his
opinions on almost every subject, and assured that he will soon acquire
the last franchise which men withhold from man,--that of stating the
laws of his spiritual being and the beliefs he accepts without
hindrance except from clearer views of truth,--he seems to want nothing
for a large, wholesome, noble, beneficent life. In fact, the chief
danger is that he will think the whole planet is made for him, and
forget that there are some possibilities left in the _débris_ of the
old-world civilization which deserve a certain respectful consideration
at his hands.

The combing and clipping of this shaggy wild continent are in some
measure done for him by those who have gone before. Society has
subdivided itself enough to have a place for every form of talent.
Thus, if a man show the least sign of ability as a sculptor or a
painter, for instance, he finds the means of education and a demand for
his services. Even a man who knows nothing but science will be provided
for, if he does not think it necessary to hang about his birthplace all
his days,--which is a most un-American weakness. The apron-strings of
an American mother are made of India-rubber. Her boy belongs where he
is wanted; and that young Marylander of ours spoke for all our young
men, when he said that his home was wherever the stars and stripes blew
over his head.

And that leads me to say a few words of this young gentleman, who made
that audacious movement lately which I chronicled in my last
record,--jumping over the seats of I don't know how many boarders to
put himself in the place which the Little Gentleman's absence had left
vacant at the side of Iris. When a young man is found habitually at the
side of any one given young lady,--when he lingers where she stays, and
hastens when she leaves,--when his eyes follow her as she moves, and
rest upon her when she is still,--when he begins to grow a little
timid, he who was so bold, and a little pensive, he who was so gay,
whenever accident finds them alone,--when he thinks very often of the
given young lady, and names her very seldom,----

What do you say about it, my charming young expert in that sweet
science in which, perhaps, a long experience is not the first of

----But we don't know anything about this young man, except that he is
good-looking, and somewhat high-spirited, and strong-limbed, and has a
generous style of nature,--all very promising, but by no means proving
that he is a proper lover for Iris, whose heart we turned inside out
when we opened that sealed book of hers.

Ah, my dear young friend! When your mamma--then, if you will believe
it, a very slight young lady, with very pretty hair and figure--came
and told _her_ mamma that your papa had--had--asked----No, no, no! she
couldn't say it; but her mother--oh, the depth of maternal
sagacity!--guessed it all without another word!--When your mother, I
say, came and told her mother she was _engaged_, and your grandmother
told your grandfather, how much did they know of the intimate nature of
the young gentleman to whom she had pledged her existence? I will not
be so hard as to ask how much your respected mamma knew at that time of
the intimate nature of your respected papa, though, if we should
compare a young girl's _man-as-she-thinks-him_ with a forty-summered
matron's _man-as-she-finds-him_, I have my doubts as to whether the
second would be a fac-simile of the first in most cases.

The idea that in this world each young person is to wait until he or
she finds that precise counterpart who alone of all creation was meant
for him or her, and then fall instantly in love with it, is pretty
enough, only it is not Nature's way. It is not at all essential that
all pairs of human beings should be, as we sometimes say of particular
couples, "born for each other." Sometimes a man or a woman is made a
great deal better and happier in the end for having had to conquer the
faults of the one beloved, and make the fitness not found at first, by
gradual assimilation. There is a class of good women who have no right
to marry perfectly good men, because they have the power of saving
those who would go to ruin but for the guiding providence of a good
wife. I have known many such cases. It is the most momentous question a
woman is ever called upon to decide, whether the faults of the man she
loves are beyond remedy and will drag her down, or whether she is
competent to be his earthly redeemer and lift him to her own level.

A person of _genius_ should marry a person of _character_. Genius does
not herd with genius. The musk-deer and the civet-cat are never found
in company. They don't care for strange scents,--they like plain
animals better than perfumed ones. Nay, if you will have the kindness
to notice, Nature has not gifted my lady musk-deer with the personal
peculiarity by which her lord is so widely known.

Now when genius allies itself with character, the world is very apt to
think character has the best of the bargain. A brilliant woman marries
a plain, manly fellow, with a simple intellectual mechanism; we have
all seen such cases. The world often stares a good deal and wonders.
She should have taken that other, with a far more complex mental
machinery. She might have had a watch with the philosophical
compensation-balance, with the metaphysical index which can split a
second into tenths, with the musical chime which can turn every quarter
of an hour into melody. She has chosen a plain one, that keeps good
time, and that is all.

Let her alone! She knows what she is about. Genius has an infinitely
deeper reverence for character than character can have for genius. To
be sure, genius gets the world's praise, because its work is a tangible
product, to be bought, or had for nothing. It bribes the common voice
to praise it by presents of speeches, poems, statues, pictures, or
whatever it can please with. Character evolves its best products for
home consumption; but, mind you, it takes a deal more to feed a family
for thirty years than to make a holiday feast for our neighbors once or
twice in our lives. You talk of the fire of genius. Many a blessed
woman, who dies unsung and unremembered, has given out more of the real
vital heat that keeps the life in human souls, without a spark flitting
through her humble chimney to tell the world about it, than would set a
dozen theories smoking, or a hundred odes simmering, in the brains of
so many men of genius. It is in _latent caloric_, if I may borrow a
philosophical expression, that many of the noblest hearts give out the
life that warms them. Cornelia's lips grow white, and her pulse hardly
warms her thin fingers,--but she has melted all the ice out of the
hearts of those young Gracchi, and her lost heat is in the blood of her
youthful heroes.

We are always valuing the soul's temperature by the thermometer of
public deed or word. Yet the great sun himself, when he pours his
noonday beams upon some vast hyaline boulder, rent from the eternal
ice-quarries, and floating toward the tropics, never warms it a
fraction above the thirty-two degrees of Fahrenheit that marked the
moment when the first drop trickled down its side.

How we all like the spirting up of a fountain, seemingly against the
law that makes water everywhere slide, roll, leap, tumble headlong, to
get as low as the earth will let it! That is genius. But what is this
transient upward movement, which gives us the glitter and the rainbow,
to that unsleeping, all-present force of gravity, the same yesterday,
to-day, and forever, (if the universe be eternal,)--the great outspread
hand of God himself, forcing all things down into their places, and
keeping them there? Such, in smaller proportion, is the force of
character to the fitful movements of genius, as they are or have been
linked to each other in many a household, where one name was historic,
and the other, let, me say the nobler, unknown, save by some faint
reflected ray, borrowed from its lustrous companion.

Oftentimes, as I have lain swinging on the water, in the swell of the
Chelsea ferry-boats, in that long, sharp-pointed, black cradle in which
I love to let the great mother rock me, I have seen a tall ship glide
by against the tide, as if drawn by some invisible tow-line, with a
hundred strong arms pulling it. Her sails hung unfilled, her streamers
were drooping, she had neither side-wheel nor stern-wheel; still she
moved on, stately, in serene triumph, as if with her own life. But I
knew that on the other side of the ship, hidden beneath the great hulk
that swam so majestically, there was a little toiling steam-tug, with
heart of fire and arms of iron, that was hugging it close and dragging
it bravely on; and I knew, that, if the little steam-tug untwined her
arms and left the tall ship, it would wallow and roll about, and drift
hither and thither, and go off with the refluent tide, no man knows
whither. And so I have known more than one _genius_, high-decked,
full-freighted, wide-sailed, gay-pennoned, that, but for the bare
toiling arms, and brave, warm, beating heart of the faithful little
wife, that nestled close in his shadow, and clung to him, so that no
wind or wave could part them, and dragged him on against all the tide
of circumstance, would soon have gone down the stream and been heard of
no more.--No, I am too much a lover of genius, I sometimes think, and
too often get impatient with dull people, so that, in their weak talk,
where nothing is taken for granted, I look forward to some future
possible state of development, when a gesture passing between a
beatified human soul and an archangel shall signify as much as the
complete history of a planet, from the time when it curdled to the time
when its sun was burned out. And yet, when a strong brain is weighed
with a true heart, it seems to me like balancing a bubble against a
wedge of gold.

----It takes a very _true_ man to be a fitting companion for a woman of
genius, but not a very great one. I am not sure that she will not
embroider her ideal better on a plain ground than on one with a
brilliant pattern already worked in its texture. But as the very
essence of genius is truthfulness, contact with realities, (which are
always ideas behind shows of form or language,) nothing is so
contemptible as falsehood and pretence in its eyes. Now it is not easy
to find a perfectly true woman, and it is very hard to find a perfectly
true man. And a woman of genius, who has the sagacity to choose such a
one as her companion, shows more of the divine gift in so doing than in
her finest talk or her most brilliant work of letters or of art.

I have been a good while coming at a secret, for which I wished to
prepare you before telling it I think there is a kindly feeling growing
up between Iris and our young Marylander. Not that I suppose there is
any distinct understanding between them, but that the affinity which
has drawn him from the remote corner where he sat to the side of the
young girl is quietly bringing their two natures together. Just now she
is all given up to another; but when he no longer calls upon her daily
thoughts and cares, I warn you not to be surprised, if this bud of
friendship open like the evening primrose, with a sound as of a sudden
stolen kiss, and lo! the flower of full-blown love lies unfolded before

And now the days had come for our little friend, whose whims and
weaknesses had interested us, perhaps, as much as his better traits, to
make ready for that long journey which is easier to the cripple than to
the strong man, and on which none enters so willingly as he who has
borne the life-long load of infirmity during his earthly pilgrimage. At
this point, under most circumstances, I would close the doors and draw
the veil of privacy over the chamber where the birth which we call
death, out of life into the unknown world, is working its mystery. But
this friend of ours stood alone in the world, and, as the last act of
his life was mainly in harmony with the rest of its drama, I do not
here feel the force of the objection commonly lying against that
death-bed literature which forms the staple of a certain portion of the
press. Let me explain what I mean, so that my readers may think for
themselves a little, before they accuse me of hasty expressions.

The Roman Catholic Church has certain formulae for its dying children,
to which almost all of them attach the greatest importance. There is
hardly a criminal so abandoned that he is not anxious to receive the
"consolations of religion" in his last hours. Even if he be senseless,
but still living, I think that the form is gone through with, just as
baptism is administered to the unconscious new-born child. Now we do
not quarrel with these forms. We look with reverence and affection upon
all symbols which give peace and comfort to our fellow-creatures. But
the value of the new-born child's passive consent to the ceremony is
null, as testimony to the truth of a doctrine. The automatic closing of
a dying man's lips on the consecrated wafer proves nothing in favor of
the Real Presence, or any other doctrine. And, speaking generally, the
evidence of dying men in favor of any belief is to be received with
great caution.

They commonly tell the truth about their present feelings, no doubt. A
dying man's deposition about anything _he knows_ is good evidence. But
it is of much less consequence what a man thinks and says when he is
changed by pain, weakness, apprehension, than what he thinks when he is
truly and wholly himself. Most murderers die in a very pious frame of
mind, expecting to go to glory at once; yet no man believes he shall
meet a larger average of pirates and cutthroats in the streets of the
New Jerusalem than of honest folks that died in their beds.

Unfortunately, there has been a very great tendency to make capital of
various kinds out of dying men's speeches. The lies that have been put
into their mouths for this purpose are endless. The prime minister,
whose last breath was spent in scolding his nurse, dies with a
magnificent apothegm on his lips,--manufactured by a reporter. Addison
gets up a _tableau_ and utters an admirable sentiment,--or somebody
makes the posthumous dying epigram for him. The incoherent babble of
green fields is translated into the language of stately sentiment. One
would think, all that dying men had to do was to say the prettiest
thing they could,--to make their rhetorical point, and then bow
themselves politely out of the world.

Worse than this is the torturing of dying people to get their evidence
in favor of this or that favorite belief. The camp-followers of
proselyting sects have come in at the close of every life where they
could get in, to strip the languishing soul of its thoughts, and carry
them off as spoils. The Roman Catholic or other priest who insists on
the reception of his formula means kindly, we trust, and very commonly
succeeds in getting the acquiescence of the subject of his spiritual
surgery. But do not let us take the testimony of people who are in the
worst condition to form opinions as evidence of the truth or falsehood
of that which they accept. A lame man's opinion of dancing is not good
for much. A poor fellow who can neither eat nor drink, who is sleepless
and full of pains, whose flesh has wasted from him, whose blood is like
water, who is gasping for breath, is not in a condition to judge fairly
of human life, which in all its main adjustments is intended for men in
a normal, healthy condition. It is a remark I have heard from the wise
Patriarch of the Medical Profession among us, that the moral condition
of patients with disease _above_ the great breathing-muscle, the
diaphragm, is much more hopeful than that of patients with disease
_below_ it, in the digestive organs. Many an honest ignorant man has
given us pathology when he thought he was giving us psychology. With
this preliminary caution I shall proceed to the story of the Little
Gentleman's leaving us.

When the divinity-student found that our fellow-boarder was not likely
to remain long with us, he, being a young man of tender conscience and
kindly nature, was not a little exercised on his behalf. It was
undeniable that on several occasions the Little Gentleman had expressed
himself with a good deal of freedom on a class of subjects which,
according to the divinity-student, he had no right to form an opinion
upon. He therefore considered his future welfare in jeopardy.

The Muggletonian sect have a very odd way of dealing with people. If I,
the Professor, will only give in to the Muggletonian doctrine, there
shall be no question through all that persuasion that I am competent to
judge of that doctrine; nay, I shall be quoted as evidence of its
truth, while I live, and cited, after I am dead, as testimony in its
behalf; but if I utter any ever so slight Anti-Muggletonian sentiment,
then I become _incompetent to form any opinion on the matter_. This,
you cannot fail to observe, is exactly the way the pseudo-sciences go
to work, as explained in my Lecture on Phrenology. Now I hold that he
whose testimony would be accepted in behalf of the Muggletonian
doctrine has a right to be heard against it. Whoso offers me any
article of belief for my signature implies that I am competent to form
an opinion upon it; and if my positive testimony in its favor is of any
value, then my negative testimony against it is also of value.

I thought my young friend's attitude was a little too much like that of
the Muggletonians. I also remarked a singular timidity on his part lest
somebody should "unsettle" somebody's faith,--as if faith did not
require exercise as much as any other living thing, and were not all
the better for a shaking up now and then. I don't mean that it would be
fair to bother Bridget, the wild Irish girl, or Joice Heth, the
centenarian, or any other intellectual non-combatant; but all persons
who proclaim a belief which passes judgment on their neighbors must be
ready to have it "unsettled," that is, questioned at all times and by
anybody,--just as one who sets up bars across a thoroughfare must
expect to have them taken down by every one who wants to pass, if he is
strong enough.

Besides, to think of trying to waterproof the American mind against the
questions that Heaven rains down upon it shows a misapprehension of our
new conditions. If to question everything be unlawful and dangerous, we
had better undeclare our independence at once; for what the Declaration
means is the right to question everything, even the truth of its own
fundamental proposition.

The old-world order of things is an arrangement of locks and canals,
where everything depends on keeping the gates shut, and so holding the
upper waters at their level; but the system under which the young
republican American is born trusts the whole unimpeded tide of life to
the great elemental influences, as the vast rivers of the continent
settle their own level in obedience to the laws that govern the planet
and the spheres that surround it.

The divinity-student was not quite up to the idea of the commonwealth,
as our young friend the Marylander, for instance, understood it. He
could not get rid of that notion of private property in truth, with the
right to fence it in, and put up a sign-board, thus:--


He took the young Marylander to task for going to the Church of the
Galileans, where he had several times accompanied Iris of late.

I am a Churchman,--the young man said,--by education and habit. I love
my old Church for many reasons, but most of all because I think it has
educated me out of its own forms into the spirit of its highest
teachings. I think I belong to the "Broad Church," if any of you can
tell what that means.

I had the rashness to attempt to answer the question myself.--Some say
the Broad Church means the collective mass of good people of all
denominations. Others say that such a definition is nonsense; that a
church is an organization, and the scattered good folks are no
organization at all. They think that men will eventually come together
on the basis of one or two or more common articles of belief, and form
a great unity. Do they see what this amounts to? It means an equal
division of intellect! It is mental agrarianism! a thing that never was
and never will be, until national and individual idiosyncrasies have
ceased to exist. The man of thirty-nine beliefs holds the man of one
belief a pauper; he is not going to give up thirty-eight of them for
the sake of fraternizing with the other in the temple which bears on
its front, "_Deo erexit Voltaire_." A church is a garden, I have heard
it said, and the illustration was neatly handled. Yes, and there is no
such thing as a _broad_ garden. It must be fenced in, and whatever is
fenced in is narrow. You cannot have arctic and tropical plants growing
together in it, except by the forcing system, which is a mighty narrow
piece of business. You can't make a village or a parish or a family
think alike, yet you suppose that you can make a world pinch its
beliefs or pad them to a single pattern! Why, the very life of an
ecclesiastical organization is a life of _induction_, a state of
perpetually disturbed equilibrium kept up by another charged body in
the neighborhood. If the two bodies touch and share their respective
charges, down goes the index of the electrometer!

Do you know that every man has a religious belief peculiar to himself?
Smith is always a Smithite. He takes in exactly Smith's-worth of
knowledge, Smith's-worth of truth, of beauty, of divinity. And Brown
has from time immemorial been trying to burn him, to excommunicate him,
to anonymous-article him, because he did not take in Brown's-worth of
knowledge, truth, beauty, divinity. He cannot do it, any more than a
pint-pot can hold a quart, or a quart-pot be filled by a pint. Iron is
essentially the same everywhere and always; but the sulphate of iron is
never the same as the carbonate of iron. Truth is invariable; but the
_Smithate_ of truth must always differ from the _Brownate_ of truth.

The wider the intellect, the larger and simpler the expressions in
which its knowledge is embodied. The inferior race, the degraded and
enslaved people, the small-minded individual, live in the details which
to larger minds and more advanced tribes of men reduce themselves to
axioms and laws. As races and individual minds must always differ just
as sulphates and carbonates do, I cannot see ground for expecting the
Broad Church to be founded on any fusion of _intellectual_ beliefs,
which of course implies that those who hold the larger number of
doctrines as essential shall come down to those who hold the smaller
number. These doctrines are to the _negative_ aristocracy what the
quarterings of their coats are to the _positive_ orders of nobility.

The Broad Church, I think, will never be based on anything that
requires the use of _language_. Freemasonry gives an idea of such a
church, and a brother is known and cared for in a strange land where no
word of his can be understood. The apostle of this church may be a deaf
mute carrying a cup of cold water to a thirsting fellow-creature. The
cup of cold water does not require to be translated for a foreigner to
understand it. I am afraid the only Broad Church possible is one that
has its creed in the heart, and not in the head,--that we shall know
its members by their fruits, and not by their words. If you say this
communion of well-doers is no church, I can only answer, that all
_organized_ bodies have their limits of size, and that, when we find a
man a hundred feet high and thirty feet broad across the shoulders, we
will look out for an organization that shall include all Christendom.

Some of us do practically recognize a Broad Church and a Narrow Church,
however. The Narrow Church may be seen in the ship's boats of humanity,
in the long boat, in the jolly boat, in the captain's gig, lying off
the poor old vessel, thanking God that _they_ are safe, and reckoning
how soon the hulk containing the mass of their fellow-creatures will go
down. The Broad Church is on board, working hard at the pumps, and very
slow to believe that the ship will be swallowed up with so many poor
people in it, fastened down under the hatches ever since it floated.

----All this, of course, was nothing but my poor notion about these
matters. I am simply an "outsider," you know; only it doesn't do very
well for a nest of Hingham boxes to talk too much about outsiders and

After this talk of ours, I think these two young people went pretty
regularly to the Church of the Galileans. Still they could not keep
away from the sweet harmonies and rhythmic litanies of Saint Polycarp
on the great Church festival-days; so that, between the two, they were
so much together, that the boarders began to make remarks, and our
landlady said to me, one day, that, though it was noon of her business,
them that had eyes couldn't help seein' that there was somethin' goin'
on between them two young people; she thought the young man was a very
likely young man, though jest what his prospecs was was unbeknown to
her; but she thought he must be doin' well, and rather guessed he would
be able to take care of a femily, if he didn't go to takin' a house;
for a gentleman and his wife could board a great deal cheaper than they
could keep house;--but then that girl was nothin' but a child, and
wouldn't think of bein' married this five year. They was good boarders,
both of 'em, paid regular, and was as pooty a couple as she ever laid
eyes on.

--To come back to what I began to speak of before,--the
divinity-student was exercised in his mind about the Little Gentleman,
and, in the kindness of his heart,--for he was a good young man,--and
in the strength of his convictions,--for he took it for granted that he
and his crowd were right, and other folks and their crowd were
wrong,--he determined to bring the Little Gentleman round to his faith
before he died, if he could. So he sent word to the sick man, that he
should be pleased to visit him and have some conversation with him; and
received for answer that he would be welcome.

The divinity-student made him a visit, therefore, and had a somewhat
remarkable conversation with him, which I shall briefly report, without
attempting to justify the positions taken by the Little Gentleman. He
found him weak, but calm. Iris sat silent by his pillow.

After the usual preliminaries, the divinity-student said, in a kind
way, that he was sorry to find him in failing health, that he felt
concerned for his soul, and was anxious to assist him in making
preparations for the great change awaiting him.

I thank you, Sir,--said the Little Gentleman;--permit me to ask you,
what makes you think I am not ready for it, Sir, and that you can do
anything to help me, Sir?

I address you only as a fellow-man,--said the divinity-student,--and
therefore a fellow-sinner.

I am _not_ a man, Sir!--said the Little Gentleman.--I was born into
this world the wreck of a man, and I shall not be judged with a race to
which I do not belong. Look at this!--he said, and held up his withered
arm.--See there!--and he pointed to his misshapen extremities.--Lay
your hand here!--and he laid his own on the region of his misplaced
heart.--I have known nothing of the life of your race. When I first
came to my consciousness, I found myself an object of pity, or a sight
to show. The first strange child I ever remember hid its face and would
not come near me. I was a broken-hearted as well as broken-bodied boy.
I grew into the emotions of ripening youth, and all that I could have
loved shrank from my presence. I became a man in years, and had nothing
in common with manhood but its longings. My life is the dying pang of a
worn-out race, and I shall go alone down into the dust, out of this
world of men and women, without ever knowing the fellowship of the one
or the love of the other. I will not die with a lie rattling in my
throat. If another state of being has anything worse in store for me, I
have had a long apprenticeship to give me strength that I may bear it.
I don't believe it, Sir! I have too much faith for that. God has not
left me wholly without comfort, even here. I love this old place where
I was born;--the heart of the world beats under the three hills of
Boston, Sir! I love this great land, with so many tall men in it, and
so many good, noble women.--His eyes turned to the silent figure by his
pillow.--I have learned to accept meekly what has been allotted to me,
but I cannot honestly say that I think my sin has been greater than my
suffering. I bear the ignorance and the evil-doing of whole generations
in my single person. I never drew a breath of air nor took a step that
was not a punishment for another's fault. I may have had many wrong
thoughts, but I cannot have done many wrong deeds,--for my cage has
been a narrow one, and I have paced it alone. I have looked through the
bars and seen the great world of men busy and happy, but I had no part
in their doings. I have known what it was to dream of the great
passions; but since my mother kissed me before she died, no woman's
lips have pressed my cheek,--nor ever will.

----The young girl's eyes glittered with a sudden film, and almost
without a thought, but with a warm human instinct that rushed up into
her face with her heart's blood, she bent over and kissed him. It was
the sacrament that washed out the memory of long years of bitterness,
and I should hold it an unworthy thought to defend her.

The Little Gentleman repaid her with the only tear any of us ever saw
him shed.

The divinity-student rose from his place, and, turning away from the
sick man, walked to the other side of the room, where he bowed his head
and was still. All the questions he had meant to ask had faded from his
memory. The tests he had prepared by which to judge of his
fellow-creature's fitness for heaven seemed to have lost their virtue.
He could trust the crippled child of sorrow to the Infinite Parent. The
kiss of the fair-haired girl had been like a sign from heaven, that
angels watched over him whom he was presuming but a moment before to
summon before the tribunal of his private judgment.

Shall I pray with you?--he said, after a pause.--A little before he
would have said, Shall I pray _for_ you?--The Christian religion, as
taught by its Founder, is full of _sentiment_. So we must not blame the
divinity-student, if he was overcome by those yearnings of human
sympathy which predominate so much more in the sermons of the Master
than in the writings of his successors, and which have made the parable
of the Prodigal Son the consolation of mankind, as it has been the
stumbling-block of all exclusive doctrines.

Pray!--said the Little Gentleman.

The divinity-student prayed, in low, tender tones, that God would look
on his servant lying helpless at the feet of his mercy; that he would
remember his long years of bondage in the flesh; that he would deal
gently with the bruised reed. Thou hast visited the sins of the fathers
upon this their child. Oh, turn away from him the penalties of his own
transgressions! Thou hast laid upon him, from infancy, the cross which
thy stronger children are called upon to take up; and now that he is
fainting under it, be Thou his stay, and do Thou succor him that is
tempted! Let his manifold infirmities come between him and Thy
judgment; in wrath remember mercy! If his eyes are not opened to all
thy truth, let thy compassion lighten the darkness that rests upon him,
even as it came through the word of thy Son to blind Bartimeus, who sat
by the wayside, begging!

Many more petitions he uttered, but all in the same subdued tone of
tenderness. In the presence of helpless suffering, and in the
fast-darkening shadow of the Destroyer, he forgot all but his Christian
humanity, and cared more about consoling his fellow-man than making a
proselyte of him.

This was the last prayer to which the Little Gentleman ever listened.
Some change was rapidly coming over him during this last hour of which
I have been, speaking. The excitement of pleading his cause before his
self-elected spiritual adviser,--the emotion which overcame him, when
the young girl obeyed the sudden impulse of her feelings and pressed
her lips to his cheek,--the thoughts that mastered him while the
divinity-student poured out his soul for him in prayer, might well
hurry on the inevitable moment. When the divinity-student had uttered
his last petition, commending him to the Father through his Son's
intercession, he turned to look upon him before leaving his chamber.
His face was changed.--There is a language of the human countenance
which we all understand without an interpreter, though the lineaments
belong to the rudest savage that ever stammered in an unknown barbaric
dialect. By the stillness of the sharpened features, by the blankness
of the tearless eyes, by the fixedness of the smileless mouth, by the
deadening tints, by the contracted brow, by the dilating nostril, we
know that the soul is soon to leave its mortal tenement, and is already
closing up its windows and putting out its fires.--Such was the aspect
of the face upon which the divinity-student looked, after the brief
silence which followed his prayer. The change had been rapid, though
not that abrupt one which is liable to happen at any moment in these
cases.--The sick man looked towards him.--Farewell,--he said.--I thank
you. Leave me alone with her.

When the divinity-student had gone, and the Little Gentleman found
himself alone with Iris, he lifted his hand to his neck, and took from
it, suspended by a slender chain, a quaint, antique-looking key,--the
same key I had once seen him holding. He gave this to her, and pointed
to a carved cabinet opposite his bed, one of those that had so
attracted my curious eyes and set me wondering as to what it might

Open it,--he said,--and light the lamp.--The young girl walked to the
cabinet and unlocked the door. A deep recess appeared, lined with black
velvet, against which stood in white relief an ivory crucifix. A silver
lamp hung over over it. She lighted the lamp and came back to the
bedside. The dying man fixed his eyes upon the figure of the dying
Saviour.--Give me your hand,--he said; and Iris placed her right hand
in his left. So they remained, until presently his eyes lost their
meaning, though they still remained vacantly fixed upon the white
image. Yet he held the young girl's hand firmly, as if it were leading
him through some deep-shadowed valley and it was all he could cling to.
But presently an involuntary muscular contraction stole over him, and
his terrible dying grasp held the poor girl as if she were wedged in an
engine of torture. She pressed her lips together and sat still. The
inexorable hand held her tighter and tighter, until she felt as if her
own slender fingers would be crushed in its gripe. It was one of the
tortures of the Inquisition she was suffering, and she could not stir
from her place. Then, in her great anguish, she, too, cast her eyes
upon that dying figure, and, looking upon its pierced hands and feet
and side and lacerated forehead, she felt that she also must suffer
uncomplaining. In the moment of her sharpest pain she did not forget
the duties of her tender office, but dried the dying man's moist
forehead with her handkerchief, even while the dews of agony were
glistening on her own. How long this lasted she never could tell.
_Time_ and _thirst_ are two things you and I talk about; but the
victims whom holy men and righteous judges used to stretch on their
engines knew better what they meant than you or I!--What is that great
bucket of water for? said the Marchioness de Brinvilliers, before she
was placed on the rack.--_For you to drink_,--said the torturer to the
little woman.--She could not think that it would take such a flood to
quench the fire in her and so keep her alive for her confession. The
torturer knew better than she.

After a time not to be counted in minutes, as the clock
measures,--without any warning, there came a swift change of his
features; his face turned white, as the waters whiten when a sudden
breath passes over their still surface; the muscles instantly relaxed,
and Iris, released at once from her care for the sufferer and from his
unconscious grasp, fell senseless, with a feeble cry,--the only
utterance of her long agony.

Perhaps you sometimes wander in through the iron gates of the Copp's
Hill burial-ground. You love to stroll round among the graves that
crowd each other in the thickly peopled soil of that breezy summit. You
love to lean on the free-stone slab which lies over the bones of the
Mathers,--to read the epitaph of stout John Clark, "despiser of little
men and sorry actions,"--to stand by the stone grave of sturdy Daniel
Malcom and look upon the splintered slab that tells the old rebel's
story,--to kneel by the triple stone that says how the three
Worthylakes, father, mother, and young daughter, died on the same day
and lie buried there; a mystery; the subject of a moving ballad, by the
late BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, as may be seen in his autobiography, which will
explain the secret of the triple gravestone; though the old philosopher
has made a mistake, unless the stone is wrong.

Not very far from that you will find a fair mound, of dimensions fit to
hold a well-grown man. I will not tell you the inscription upon the
stone which stands at its head; for I do not wish you to be _sure_ of
the resting-place of one who could not bear to think that he should be
known as a cripple among the dead, after being pointed at so long among
the living. There is one sign, it is true, by which, if you have been a
sagacious reader of these papers, you will at once know it; but I fear
you read carelessly, and must study them more diligently before you
will detect the hint to which I allude.

The Little Gentleman lies where he longed to He, among the old names
and the old bones of the old Boston people. At the foot of his
resting-place is the river, alive with the wings and antennae of its
colossal water-insects; over opposite are the great war-ships, and the
long guns, which, when they roar, shake the soil in which he lies; and
in the steeple of Christ Church, hard by, are the sweet chimes which
are the Boston boy's _Ranz des Vaches_, whose echoes follow him all the
world over.

_In Pace!_

I told you a good while ago that the Little Gentleman could not do a
better thing than to leave all his money, whatever it might be, to the
young girl who has since that established such a claim upon him. He did
not, however. A considerable bequest to one of our public institutions
keeps his name in grateful remembrance. The telescope through which he
was fond of watching the heavenly bodies, and the movements of which
had been the source of such odd fancies on my part, is now the property
of a Western College. You smile as you think of my taking it for a
fleshless human figure, when I saw its tube pointing to the sky, and
thought it was an arm under the white drapery thrown over it for
protection. So do I smile _now_; I belong to the numerous class who are
prophets after the fact, and hold my nightmares very cheap by daylight.

I have received many letters of inquiry as to the sound _resembling a
woman's voice_, which occasioned me so many perplexities. Some thought
there was no question that he had a second apartment, in which he had
made an asylum for a deranged female relative. Others were of opinion
that he was, as I once suggested, a "Bluebeard" with patriarchal
tendencies, and I have even been censured for introducing so Oriental
an element into my record of boarding-house experience.

Come in and see me, the Professor, some evening when I have nothing
else to do, and ask me to play you _Tartini's Devil's Sonata_ on that
extraordinary instrument in my possession, well known to amateurs as
one of the master-pieces of _Joseph Guarnerius_. The _vox humana_ of
the great Haerlem organ is very lifelike, and the same stop in the
organ of the Cambridge chapel might be mistaken in some of its tones
for a human voice; but I think you never heard anything come so near
the cry of a _prima donna_ as the A string and the E string of this
instrument. A single fact will illustrate the resemblance. I was
executing some _tours de force_ upon it one evening, when the policeman
of our district rang the bell sharply, and asked what was the matter in
the house. He had heard a woman's screams,--he was sure of it. I had to
make the instrument _sing_ before his eyes before he could be satisfied
that he had not heard the cries of a woman. This instrument was
bequeathed to me by the Little Gentleman. Whether it had anything to do
with the sounds I heard coming from his chamber, you can form your own
opinion; I have no other conjecture to offer. It is _not true_ that a
second apartment with a secret entrance was found; and the story of the
veiled lady is the invention of one of the Reporters.

Bridget, the housemaid, always insisted that he died a Catholic. She
had seen the crucifix, and believed that he prayed on his knees before
it. The last circumstance is very probably true; indeed, there was a
spot worn on the carpet just before this cabinet which might be thus
accounted for. Why he, whose whole life was a crucifixion, should not
love to look on that divine image of blameless suffering, I cannot see;
on the contrary, it seems to me the most natural thing in the world
that he should. But there are those who want to make private property
of everything, and can't make up their minds that people who don't
think as they do should claim any interest in that infinite compassion
expressed in the central figure of the Christendom which includes us

The divinity-student expressed a hope before the boarders that he
should meet him in heaven.--The question is, whether he'll meet
_you_,--said the young fellow John, rather smartly. The
divinity-student hadn't thought of _that_.

However, he is a worthy young man, and I trust I have shown him in a
kindly and respectful light. He will get a parish by-and-by; and, as he
is about to marry the sister of an old friend,--the Schoolmistress,
whom some of us remember,--and as all sorts of expensive accidents
happen to young married ministers, he will be under bonds to the amount
of his salary, which means starvation, if they are forfeited, to think
all his days as he thought when he was settled,--unless the majority of
his people change with him or in advance of him. A hard case, to which
nothing could reconcile a man, except that the faithful discharge of
daily duties in his personal relations with his parishioners will make
him useful enough in his way, though as a thinker he may cease to exist
before he has reached middle age.

--Iris went into mourning for the Little Gentleman. Although, as I have
said, he left the bulk of his property, by will, to a public
institution, he added a codicil, by which he disposed of various pieces
of property as tokens of kind remembrance. It was in this way I became
the possessor of the wonderful instrument I have spoken of, which had
been purchased for him out of an Italian convent. The landlady was
comforted with a small legacy. The following extract relates to Iris:
"----in consideration of her manifold acts of kindness, but only in
token of grateful remembrance, and by no means as a reward for services
which cannot be compensated, a certain messuage, with all the land
thereto appertaining, situate in ---- Street, at the North End, so
called, of Boston, aforesaid, the same being the house in which I was
born, but now inhabited by several families, and known as 'the
Rookery.'" Iris had also the crucifix, the portrait, and the
red-jewelled ring. The funeral or death's-head ring was buried with

It was a good while, after the Little Gentleman was gone, before our
boarding-house recovered its wonted cheerfulness. There was a flavor in
his whims and local prejudices that we liked, even while we smiled at
them. It was hard to see the tall chair thrust away among useless
lumber, to dismantle his room, to take down the picture of Leah, the
handsome Witch of Essex, to move away the massive shelves that held the
books he loved, to pack up the tube through which he used to study the
silent stars, looking down at him, like the eyes of dumb creatures,
with a kind of stupid half-consciousness, that did not worry him as did
the eyes of men and women,--and hardest of all to displace that sacred
figure to which his heart had always turned and found refuge, in the
feelings it inspired, from all the perplexities of his busy brain. It
was hard, but it had to be done.

And by-and-by we grew cheerful again, and the breakfast-table wore
something of its old look. The Koh-i-noor, as we named the gentleman
with the _diamond_, left us, however, soon after that "little mill," as
the young fellow John called it, where he came off second best. His
departure was no doubt hastened by a note from the landlady's daughter,
inclosing a lock of purple hair which she "had valued as a pledge of
affection, ere she knew the hollowness of the vows he had breathed,"
speedily followed by another, inclosing the landlady's bill. The next
morning he was missing, as were his limited wardrobe and the trunk that
held it. Three empty bottles of Mrs. Allen's celebrated preparation,
each of them asserting, on its word of honor as a bottle, that its
former contents were "not a dye," were all that was left to us of the

From this time forward, the landlady's daughter manifested a decided
improvement in her style of carrying herself before the boarders. She
abolished the odious little flat, gummy side-curl. She left off various
articles of "jewelry." She began to help her mother in some of her
household duties. She became a regular attendant on the ministrations
of a very worthy clergyman, having been attracted to his meetin' by
witnessing a marriage ceremony in which he called a man and a woman a
"gentleman" and a "lady,"--a stroke of gentility which quite overcame
her. She even took a part in what she called a _Sabbath_ school, though
it was held on Sunday, and by no means on Saturday, as the name she
intended to utter implied. All this, which was very sincere, as I
believe, on her part, and attended with a great improvement in her
character, ended in her bringing home a young man, with straight, sandy
hair, brushed so as to stand up steeply above his forehead, wearing a
pair of green spectacles, and dressed in black broadcloth. His personal
aspect, and a certain solemnity of countenance, led me to think he must
be a clergyman; and as Master Benjamin Franklin blurted out before
several of us boarders, one day, that "Sis had got a beau," I was
pleased at the prospect of her becoming a minister's wife. On inquiry,
however, I found that the somewhat solemn look which I had noticed was
indeed a professional one, but not clerical. He was a young undertaker,
who had just succeeded to a thriving business. Things, I believe, are
going on well at this time of writing, and I am glad for the landlady's
daughter and her mother. Sextons and undertakers are the cheerfullest
people in the world at home, as comedians and circus-clowns are the
most melancholy in their domestic circle.

As our old boarding-house is still in existence, I do not feel at
liberty to give too minute a statement of the present condition of each
and all of its inmates. I am happy to say, however, that they are all
alive and well, up to this time. That kind old gentleman who sat
opposite to me is growing older, as old men will, but still smiles
benignantly on all the boarders, and has come to be a kind of father to
all of them,--so that on his birthday there is always something like a
family festival. The Poor Relation, even, has warmed into a filial
feeling towards him, and on his last birthday made him a beautiful
present, namely, a very handsomely bound copy of Blair's celebrated
poem, "The Grave."

The young man John is still, as he says, "in fust-rate fettle." I saw
him spar, not long since, at a private exhibition, and do himself great
credit in a set-to with Henry Finnegass, Esq., a professional gentleman
of celebrity. I am pleased to say that he has been promoted to an upper
clerkship, and, in consequence of his rise in office, has taken an
apartment somewhat lower down than number "forty-'leven," as he
facetiously called his attic. Whether there is any truth, or not, in
the story of his attachment to, and favorable reception by, the
daughter of the head of an extensive wholesale grocer's establishment,
I will not venture an opinion; I may say, however, that I have met him
repeatedly in company with a very well-nourished and high-colored young
lady, who, I understand, is the daughter of the house in question.

Some of the boarders were of opinion that Iris did not return the
undisguised attentions of the handsome young Marylander. Instead of
fixing her eyes steadily on him, as she used to look upon the Little
Gentleman, she would turn them away, as if to avoid his own. They often
went to church together, it is true; but nobody, of course, supposes
there is any relation between religious sympathy and those wretched
"sentimental" movements of the human heart upon which it is commonly
agreed that nothing better is based than society, civilization,
friendship, the relation of husband and wife, and of parent and child,
and which many people must think were singularly overrated by the
Teacher of Nazareth, whose whole life, as I said before, was full of
sentiment, loving this or that young man, pardoning this or that
sinner, weeping over the dead, mourning for the doomed city, blessing,
and perhaps kissing, the little children,--so that the Gospels are
still cried over almost as often as the last work of fiction!

But one fine June morning there rumbled up to the door of our
boarding-house a hack containing a lady inside and a trunk on the
outside. It was our friend the lady-patroness of Miss Iris, the same
who had been called by her admiring pastor "The Model of all the
Virtues." Once a week she had written a letter, in a rather formal
hand, but full of good advice, to her young charge. And now she had
come to carry her away, thinking that she had learned all she was
likely to learn under her present course of teaching. The Model,
however, was to stay awhile,--a week, or more,--before they should
leave together.

Iris was obedient, as she was bound to be. She was respectful,
grateful, as a child is with a just, but not tender parent. Yet
something was wrong. She had one of her trances, and became
statue-like, as before, only the day after the Model's arrival. She was
wan and silent, tasted nothing at table, smiled as if by a forced
effort, and often looked vaguely away from those who were looking at
her, her eyes just glazed with the shining moisture of a tear that must
not be allowed to gather and fall. Was it grief at parting from the
place where her strange friendship had grown up with the Little
Gentleman? Yet she seemed to have become reconciled to his loss, and
rather to have a deep feeling of gratitude that she had been permitted
to care for him in his last weary days.

The Sunday after the Model's arrival, that lady had an attack of
headache, and was obliged to shut herself up in a darkened room alone.
Our two young friends took the opportunity to go together to the Church
of the Galileans. They said but little going,--"collecting their
thoughts" for the service, I devoutly hope. My kind good friend the
pastor preached that day one of his sermons that make us all feel like
brothers and sisters, and his text was that affectionate one from John,
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in
deed and in truth." When Iris and her friend came out of church, they
were both pale, and walked a space without speaking.

At last the young man said,--You and I are not little children, Iris!

She looked in his face an instant, as if startled, for there was
something strange in the tone of his voice. She smiled faintly, but
spoke never a word.

In deed and in truth, Iris,--What shall a poor girl say or do, when a
strong man falters in his speech before her, and can do nothing better
than hold out his hand to finish his broken sentence?

The poor girl said nothing, but quietly laid her ungloved hand in
his,--the little, soft white hand which had ministered so tenderly and
suffered so patiently.

The blood came back to the young man's cheeks, as he lifted it to his
lips, even as they walked there in the street, touched it gently with
them, and said,--"It is mine!"

Iris did not contradict him.

      *       *       *       *       *

The seasons pass by so rapidly, that I am startled to think how much
has happened since these events I was describing. Those two young
people would insist on having their own way about their own affairs,
notwithstanding the good lady, so justly called the Model, insisted
that the age of twenty-five years was as early as any discreet young
lady should think of incurring the responsibilities, etc., etc. Long
before Iris had reached that age, she was the wife of a young Maryland
engineer, directing some of the vast constructions of his native
State,--where he was growing rich fast enough to be able to decline
that famous Russian offer which would have made him a kind of nabob in
a few years. Iris does not write verse often, nowadays, but she
sometimes draws. The last sketch of hers I have seen in my Southern
visits was of two children, a boy and girl, the youngest holding a
silver goblet, like the one she held that evening when I--I was so
struck with her statue-like beauty. If in the later summer months you
find the grass marked with footsteps around that grave on Copp's Hill I
told you of, and flowers scattered over it, you may be sure that Iris
is here on her annual visit to the home of her childhood and that
excellent lady whose only fault was, that Nature had written out her
list of virtues on ruled paper, and forgotten to rub out the lines.

One more thing I must mention. Being on the Common, last Sunday, I was
attracted by the cheerful spectacle of a well-dressed and somewhat
youthful papa wheeling a very elegant little carriage containing a
stout baby. A buxom young lady watched them from one of the stone
seats, with an interest which could be nothing less than maternal. I at
once recognized my old friend, the young fellow whom we called John. He
was delighted to see me, introduced me to "Madam," and would have the
lusty infant out of the carriage, and hold him up for me to look at.

Now, then,--he said to the two-year-old,--show the gentleman how you
hit from the shoulder.--Whereupon the little imp pushed his fat fist
straight into my eye, to his father's intense satisfaction.

Fust-rate little chap,--said the papa.--Chip of the old block. Regl'r
little Johnny, you know.

I was so much pleased to find the young fellow settled in life, and
pushing about one of "them little articles" he seemed to want so much,
that I took my "punishment" at the hands of the infant pugilist with
great equanimity.--And how is the old boarding-house?--I asked.

A 1,--he answered.--Painted and papered as good as new. Gabs in all the
rooms up to the sky-parlors. Old woman's layin' up money, they say.
Means to send Ben Franklin to college.--Just then the first bell rang
for church, and my friend, who, I understand, has become a most
exemplary member of society, said he must be off to get ready for
meetin', and told the young one to "shake dada," which he did with his
closed fist, in a somewhat menacing manner. And so the young man John,
as we used to call him, took the pole of the miniature carriage, and
pushed the small pugilist before him homewards, followed, in a somewhat
leisurely way, by his pleasant-looking lady-companion, and I sent a
sigh and a smile after him.

That evening, as soon as it was dark, I could not help going round by
the old boarding-house. The "gahs" was lighted, but the curtains, or,
more properly, the painted shades, were not down. And so I stood there
and looked in along the table where the boarders sat at the evening
meal,--our old breakfast-table, which some of us feel as if we knew so
well. There were new faces at it, but also old and familiar ones.--The
land-lady, in a wonderfully smart cap, looking young, comparatively
speaking, and as if half the wrinkles had been ironed out of her
forehead.--Her daughter, in rather dressy half-mourning, with a vast
brooch of jet, got up, apparently, to match the gentleman next her, who
was in black costume and sandy hair,--the last rising straight from his
forehead, like the marble flame one sometimes sees at the top of a
funeral urn.--The poor relation, not in absolute black, but in a stuff
with specks of white; as much as to say, that, if there were any more
Hirams left to sigh for her, there were pin-holes in the night of her
despair, through which a ray of hope might find its way to--an
adorer.--Master Benjamin Franklin, grown taller of late, was in the act
of splitting his face open with a wedge of pie, so that his features
were seen to disadvantage for the moment.--The good old gentleman was
sitting still and thoughtful. All at once he turned his face toward the
window where I stood, and, just as if he had seen me, smiled his
benignant smile. It was a recollection of some past pleasant moment;
but it fell upon me like the blessing of a father.

I kissed my hand to them all, unseen as I stood in the outer darkness;
and as I turned and went my way, the table and all around it faded into
the realm of twilight shadows and of midnight dreams.

      *       *       *       *       *

And so my year's record is finished. The Professor has talked less than
his predecessor, but he has heard and seen more. Thanks to all those
friends who from time to time have sent their messages of kindly
recognition and fellow-feeling! Peace to all such as may have been
vexed in spirit by any utterance these pages have repeated! They will,
doubtless, forget for the moment the difference in the hues of truth we
look at through our human prisms, and join in singing (inwardly) this
hymn to the Source of the light we all need to lead us, and the warmth
which alone can make us all brothers.

A Sun-Day Hymn.

Lord of all being! throned afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Centre and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!

Sun of our life, thy wakening ray
Sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
Cheers the long watches of the night.

Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn;
Our noontide is thy gracious dawn;
Our rainbow arch thy mercy's sign;
All, save the clouds of sin, are thine!

Lord of all life, below, above,
Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
Before thy ever-blazing throne
We ask no lustre of our own.

Grant us thy truth to make us free,
And kindling hearts that burn for thee,
Till all thy living altars claim
One holy light, one heavenly flame!


_The Oxford Museum_. By HENRY W. ACLAND, M. D., Regius Professor of
Medicine, and JOHN RUSKIN, M. A., Honorary Student of Christ Church.
London, 1859.

The last ten years have formed a remarkable period in the history of
the ancient and honored University of Oxford. Guided by wise and
discerning counsels, it has made rapid and substantial advance. The
scope of its studies has been greatly enlarged, the standard of its
requirements raised. Its traditionary adherence to old methods and its
bigoted conservatism have been overcome, and with happy pliancy it has
yielded to the demands of the times and adapted itself to the new
desires and growing needs of men. Its aristocratic prejudices have not
been allowed longer to confine its privileges and its operations to one
class alone of the community,--and in identifying itself with the
system of middle-class education, Oxford has won new claims to
gratitude and to respect, and now exercises a wider and more confirmed
authority over the thought of England than ever before. To us, who take
pride in her ancient fame, who honor her long and memorable services in
the cause of good learning, who cherish the memory of the great and
good men, the masters of modern thought, whom she has nurtured, who
recall the names of our own forefathers who came out from her and from
her sister University with will and power to lay the foundations of our
state, and whom, by her discipline, in the midst of all the refinement
of hooks and the quietness of study, she had prepared to meet and to
overcome the hardships of exile, poverty, and labor, in the cause of
truth and freedom,--to us it may well be matter of rejoicing to witness
the freshness of her spirit and the spring of her perennial youth,--to
see her

  "so famous,
  So excellent in art, and still so rising."

One of the most marked features of the advance that has lately been
made is the full recognition of the Natural Sciences as forming an
essential part of the scheme of University studies. For centuries there
had been an "intellectual onesidedness" at Oxford. It had chiefly
cultivated classic learning. But it has now undertaken to repair the
deficiency that existed in this respect, and, while still retaining all
its classic studies, it has added to them a full course of training in
the knowledge of Nature. "Our object is," says Dr. Acland, speaking as
one of the professors of the University, "our object is,--first, to
give the learner a general view of the planet on which he lives, of its
constituent parts, and of the relation which it occupies as a world
among worlds; and secondly, to enable him to study, in the most
complete scientific manner, and for any purpose, any detailed portion
which his powers qualify him to grasp."

Such an object brings the University into full sympathy with the
present tendencies of education in our own country. With us, scientific
pursuits and the study of Nature are receiving greater and greater
attention and engrossing a continually larger share of the interest,
the time, and the talent of students. There already exists, and there
is danger of its increase, in many of our best institutions of
learning, and many of our most educated men, an intellectual
onesidedness of a contrary, but not less unfortunate character, to that
which long existed at Oxford. The temper of our people, the wide field
for their energies, the development of the so-called practical traits
of character under the stimulus of our political and social
institutions, the solitary dissociation of America from the history and
the achievements of the Old World, the melancholy absence of monuments
of past greatness and worth,--these and many other circumstances
peculiar to our position all serve to weaken the general interest in
what are called classical studies, and to direct the attention of the
most ambitious and active minds far too exclusively to the pursuits of
science. And when to these circumstances peculiar to ourselves is added
the influence of those general causes which have had the effect of
leading men throughout the civilized world to give of late years more
and more of thought and study to the investigation of Nature and to the
pursuits resulting therefrom, it is not strange that learning,
so-called, should, for the present at least, find itself but poorly off
in America, and that the essential value of learned studies for an even
and fair development of the intellectual faculties should be far too
little regarded. The danger that arises from a too exclusive devotion
to scientific pursuits is pointed out by Dr. Acland in a passage which
deserves thoughtful consideration, coming as it does from a man
distinguished not more for scientific eminence than for his wide and
cultivated intellect.

"The further my observation has extended," he says, "the more satisfied
I am that no _knowledge of things_ will supply the place of the early
study of letters,--_literae humaniores_. I do not doubt the value of
any honest mental labor. Indeed, since the _material_ working of the
Creator has been so far displayed to our gaze, it is both dangerous and
full of impiety to resist its ennobling influence, even on the ground
that His _moral_ work is greater. But notwithstanding this, the study
of language, of history, and of the thoughts of great men which they
exhibit, seems to be almost necessary (as far as learning is necessary
at all) for disciplining the heart, for elevating the soul, and for
preparing the way for the growth in the young of their personal
spiritual life; while, on the other hand, the best corrective to
pedantry in scholarship, and to conceit in mental philosophy, is the
study of the facts and laws exhibited by Natural Science."

Oxford, having thus fully acknowledged the need of enlarging her system
of education, at once set about preparing a home for the Natural
Sciences within her precincts. The building of the Oxford Museum is a
fact characteristic of the large spirit of the University, and of
special interest from the design and nature of its architecture. It is
not merely intended for the holding of collections in the different
departments of physical science, but it contains also lecture- and
work-rooms, and all the accommodations required for in-door study. To
provide the mere shell of such a building, the University granted the
sum of £30,000. The design that was selected from those which were sent
for competition was of the Gothic style,--the work of Messrs. Deane and
Woodward; and this style was chosen because it was believed, that, "in
respect of capacity of adaptation to any given wants, Gothic has no
superior in any known form of Art,"--and that, this being so, "it was,
upon the whole, the best suited to the general architectural character
of Mediaeval Oxford." "The centre of the edifice, which is to contain
the collections, consists of a quadrangle," covered by a glass roof.
The court is surrounded by an open arcade of two stories. "This arcade
furnishes ready means of communication between the several departments
and their collections in the area." "Round the arcade is ranged upon
three sides the main block of the building,"--the fourth side being
left unoccupied by apartments, to afford means for future extension.
Each department of science is provided with ample accommodations,
specially adapted to its peculiar needs. The building, as it stands at
present, is in its largest dimensions about 330 by 170 feet. Its
erection has formed an epoch not only in the history of Oxford, but
also in that of Gothic Art in England.

It is the first considerable building which has for centuries been
erected in England according to the true principles of Gothic Art. It
is a revival of the spirit and freedom of Gothic architecture. It is no
copy, but an original creation of thought, fancy, and imagination. It
has combined beauty with use, elegance with convenience, and ornament
with instruction. It has proved the perfect pliancy of Gothic
architecture to modern needs, and shown its power of entire adaptation
to the requirements of new conditions. In its details no less than in
its general scope it exhibits the recognition by its builders of the
essential characteristics of the best Gothic Art, and shows in the
harmonized variety of its parts the inventive thought and the
independent execution of many minds and hands presided over by a single
will. Gothic architecture in its best development is the expression at
once of law and of liberty. The exactest principles of proportion are
combined in it with the freest play of fancy. Its spaces are divided
mathematically by the rule and the square, its main lines are
determined with absolute precision,--but within these limits of order
the imagination works out its free results, and, because limited by
mathematical laws, reaches the most perfect freedom of beauty.

But the system of Gothic decorations, "which," says Mr. Ruskin, "took
eight hundred years to mature, gathering its power by undivided
inheritance of traditional method," is not an easy thing to revive
under new and difficult conditions. A single example of what has been
attempted in this way in the Oxford Museum must suffice to show the
spirit which pervades its construction. The lower arcade upon the
central court is supported by thirty-three piers and thirty shafts; the
upper arcade by thirty-three piers and ninety-five shafts. "The shafts
have been carefully selected, under the direction of the Professor of
Geology, from quarries which furnish examples of many of the most
important rocks of the British Islands. On the lower arcade are placed,
on the west side, the granitic series; on the east, the metamorphic; on
the north, calcareous rocks, chiefly from Ireland; on the south, the
marbles of England." The capitals and bases are to represent different
groups of plants and animals, illustrating the various geological
epochs, and the natural orders of existence. Thus, the column of
sienite from Charnwood Forest has a capital of the cocoa palm; the red
granite of Ross, in Mull, is crowned with a capital of lilies; the
beautiful marble of Marychurch has an exquisitely sculptured capital of
ferns;--and so through all the range of the arcades, new designs,
studied directly from Nature, and combining art with science, have been
executed by the workmen employed on the building.

To complete the beauty of the court, massive corbels have been thrown
out from the piers, upon which statues of the greatest and most famous
men in science are to be, or are already, placed. These shafts and
capitals and statues have been, in great part, the gift of individuals
interested in the progress and successful completion of such a
building. The Queen presented five of the statues; and her example has
been followed by many of the graduates of the University and lovers of
Art in England.

Mr. Ruskin ends his second letter in the little book before us with
these words: "Although I doubt not that lovelier and juster expressions
of the Gothic principle will be ultimately arrived at by us than any
which are possible in the Oxford Museum, its builders will never lose
their claim to our chief gratitude, as the first guides in a right
direction; and the building itself, the first exponent of recovered
truth, will only be the more venerated, the more it is excelled."

Such is the way in which Oxford, having a Museum to build, sets to
work. She lays down a large and generous plan, and erects a building
worthy of her ancient fame, worthy to increase the love and honor in
which she is held,--a building that adds a new beauty to her old
beauties of hall and chapel, of quadrangle and cloister. She does not
mistake parsimony for economy; she does not neglect to regard the duty
that lies upon her, as the guardian and instructress of youth, to set
before their eyes models of fair proportion, noble structures which
shall exercise at once an influence to refine the taste and the
sentiment and to enlarge the intellect. She acknowledges the claims of
the future as well as of the present, and does not erect that which the
future, however it may advance in constructive power, will regard as
base, mean, or ugly. She recognizes the value to herself, as well as to
her sons, of all those associations which, through the power of her
adorned and munificent architecture, shall bind them to her in ties of
closer tenderness, and of strong, though most delicate feeling. Her
building is to have an aspect that shall correspond to the nobility of
its function,--that shall impress the student, as he walks along the
hard and dry paths of science, with some sense, faint though it be, of
the beauty of that learning which is furnished with so goodly an abode.
The influence of a fine building, complete in all its parts, is one
which cannot be estimated in money, cannot be investigated by any
practical process, but which is nevertheless as strong and precious as
it is secret, as constant as it is unobserved.

It would seem that there could be no country in the world where
buildings of the noblest kind would be more desired than in America,
for there is none in which they are so much needed. But such is not the
case. As men who have lived long in darkness become so accustomed to
the want of light as not to feel its absence, so the absoluteness of
the want of fine buildings in America prevents that want from being
generally felt. Heirs of the intellectual wealth of the past, we have
no inheritance of the great works of its hands. No material heirlooms
have been transmitted to us. We are cut off from any share in the
monuments on which the labor, the affection, and the possessions of
former generations were expended. The precious and enlarging
associations connected with such works, which bind successive
generations of men together with ties of memory and reverence,
stimulating the imagination to new conceptions, and nerving the will to
large efforts, have nothing to cling to here. The land is barren and
naked; and, moreover, no effort is made to relieve the future from the
want which the present feels so keenly. With wealth ample enough for
undertakings of any magnitude,--with intelligence, more boasted than
real, but still sufficient for the conception of improvement, we
exhibit in our civilization neither the taste nor the capacity for any
noble works of Art. The value of beauty is disregarded, and the
cultivation of the sense of beauty is treated as of little worth,
compared with the culture of what are styled the practical faculties.
Our wealth is spent in the erection of extravagant stores and
shops,--in the decoration of oyster-saloons, hotels, and
steamboats,--in the lavish and selfish adornment of drawing-rooms and
chambers. In the whole breadth of the continent there is not a single
building of such beauty as to be an object of national pride, and few
which will have any value in future times, except as historic records
of the poverty of sentiment and the deficiency of character of the men
of this generation.

Our oldest and best endowed University has, like Oxford, lately engaged
in the erection of a Museum, which, though more limited in its general
object, has yet a scope of such large and generous proportion as to
make it a work of even more than national interest. It is undertaken on
such a scale as to fit it not merely for present needs, but for the
increasing wants of later times. The State has contributed to it from
the public treasury, and private citizens have given their
contributions liberally towards its support. The building has been
rapidly carried forward, and the portion undertaken is now near
completion. How does it compare with the Oxford Museum? What provision
has been made that in its outward aspect it shall correspond with the
worth and grandeur of the collections it is to hold and the studies
that are to be carried on within it? What patient thought, what stores
of imagination, what happy adaptations do its walls reveal? These
questions are easily answered. Convenience of internal arrangement has
been sought without regard to external beauty, without consideration of
the claims of Art. The architect has, we must suppose, been obliged to
conform his plans to the most frugal estimates; but we cannot help
thinking, that, generous as the State has been, it would have been more
worthy of her, had no such necessity existed. The building for the
Museum is one which can never excite high admiration, never touch any
chord of poetic sentiment, never arouse in the student within its walls
any feeling save that of mere convenience and utility. Its bare,
shadowless walls, unadorned by carven columns or memorial statues, will
stand incapable of affording support for those associations which
endear every human work of worth, covering it with praise and
remembrance, as the ivy clings to the stone, adding beauty to
beauty,--associations which make men proud of their ancestors and
desirous to equal them in achievement The University at Cambridge, just
entering on the second quarter of its third century, has not a single
building that is beautiful, perhaps we might say none that is not
positively ugly; and we almost despair of a future when our people
shall become enlightened and magnanimous enough to appreciate noble
architecture at its true worth, as the expression of the greatness of
national character, as an enduring record of faith and of truth, and as
an essential instrument in any system of education that professes to be

1._Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter_; being Reminiscences of
MESHACH BROWNING, a Maryland Hunter; roughly written down by Himself.
Revised and illustrated by E. STABLER. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott &
Co. 1859. pp. x., 400.

2. _Ten Years of Preacher-Life_; Chapters from an Autobiography. By
WILLIAM HENRY MILBURN. New York: Derby & Jackson. 1859. pp. 363.

BENVENUTO CELLINI was right in his _dictum_ about autobiographies; and
so was Dr. Kitchener, in his about hares. First catch your perfectly
sincere and unconscious man. He is even more uncommon than a genius of
the first order. Most men dress themselves for their autobiographies,
as Machiavelli used to do for reading the classics, in their best
clothes; they receive us, as it were, in a parlor chilling and awkward
from its unfamiliarity with man, and keep us carefully away from the
kitchen-chimney-corner, where they would feel at home, and would not
look on a lapse into nature as the unpardonable sin. But what do we
want of a hospitality that makes strangers of us, or of confidences
that keep us at arm's-length? Better the tavern and the newspaper; for
in the one we can grumble, and from the other learn more of our
neighbors than we care to know. John Smith's autobiography is commonly
John Smith's design for an equestrian statue of himself,--very fine,
certainly, and as much like him as like Marcus Aurelius. Saint
Augustine, kneeling to confess, has an eye to the picturesque, and does
it in _pontificalibus_, resolved that Domina Grundy shall think all the
better of him. Rousseau cries, "I will bare my heart to you!" and,
throwing open his waistcoat, makes us the confidants of his dirty
linen. Montaigne, indeed, reports of himself with the impartiality of a
naturalist, and Boswell, in his letters to Temple, shows a maudlin
irretentiveness; but is not old Samuel Pepys, after all, the only man
who spoke to himself of himself with perfect simplicity, frankness, and
unconsciousness?--a creature unique as the dodo,--a solitary specimen,
to show that it was possible for Nature to indulge in so odd a whimsey!
An autobiography is good for nothing, unless the author tell us in it
precisely what he meant not to tell. A man who can say what he thinks
of another to his face is a disagreeable rarity; but one who could look
his own Ego straight in the eye, and pronounce unbiased judgment, were
worthy of Sir Thomas Browne's Museum. Had Cheiron written his
autobiography, the consciousness of his equine crupper would have
ridden him like a nightmare; should a mermaid write hers, she would
sink the fish's tail, nor allow it to be put into the scales, in
weighing her character. The mermaid, in truth, is the emblem of those
who strive to see themselves;--her mirror is too small to reflect
anything more than the _mulier formosa supernè_.

We looked for a great prize in Meshach Browning's account of himself,
and have been disappointed. Not that some very fair grains of wheat may
not be had for the winnowing, but the proportion of chaff is
disheartening. Meshach has been edited, and has not come out of that
fiery furnace unscathed. Mr. Stabler has not let him come before us in
his deerskin hunting-shirt, but has made him presentable by getting him
into a black dress-coat, the uniform of perfect respectability and
tiresomeness. He has corrected Meshach's style for him! He has made him
write that unexceptionable English which neither gods nor men, but only
columns, allow. (The kindness of an anonymous correspondent, however,
enables us to assure him that _lay_, and not _laid_, is the preterite
of _lie_.) One page of Meshach's own writing would have been worth all
his bear-stories put together. Many men may shoot bears, but few can
write like backwoodsmen. We shall expect an edition of "The Rivals"
from Mr. Stabler, with Mrs. Malaprop's epitaphs revised by the "Aids to
Composition." Luckily, Meshach himself will never know the wrong that
has been done him. On the contrary, he probably pleases himself in
finding that he is made to write President's English, and admires the
new leaves and apples not his own. But, in his polishing, American
letters have met as great a loss as American fiction did when the
depositions of the survivors of Bunker's Hill, taken fifty years after
the battle, were burned.

However, he who knows how to read with the ends of his fingers may yet
find good meat in the book. An honest provincialism has escaped Mr.
Stabler's weeding-hoe here and there, and we get a few glimpses, in
spite of him, into log-cabin interiors when the inmates are not in
their Sunday-clothes. We learn how much a sound stomach has to do with
human felicity; that a bride may make her husband happy, though her
whole outfit consist of two cups and saucers, two knives and forks, and
two spoons; that a man may be hospitable in a cabin, twelve by fifteen,
with only the forest for his larder; and that an American needs only an
axe, a rifle, and _nary red_, for his start in life. Meshach Browning
finds in his Paradise very much what our first parents found outside of
theirs. At nineteen he is the husband of pretty Mary McMullen, and
joint-proprietor with the rest of mankind of all-outdoors,--it being an
eccentricity of McMullen _père_ to prefer a back to a front view of his
sons-in-law. Meshach, who is sure of a comfortable fireside wherever
there are trees, moves into the nearest bit of wilderness, builds a
house with the timber felled to make a clearing, plants his acre or
two, and forthwith shoots a bear, whose salted flesh will keep him and
his wife alive till harvest. Thus in 1800 was a family founded, which
fifty years later had increased to one hundred and twenty-two, of whom
sixty-seven, as their progenitor says proudly, were "capable of bearing
arms for the defence of their country,"--though, to be sure, the
Harper's Ferry affair leaves us in some doubt as to the direction in
which they would bear them. The community of which the Brownings, man
and wife, became members at their marriage was a wholly self-subsistent
one. The men wore deerskins procured by their own rifles and dressed
and tailored by themselves,--while the women spun and wove both flax
and wool. Powder and lead seem to have been the only things for which
they were dependent on outsiders. Browning's father was an English
soldier, who, escaping from Braddock's massacre, deserted and settled
in the highlands of Western Maryland,--as a place, we suppose, equally
safe from the provost-martial of the redcoat and the tomahawk of the
red man. It is curious to think of the great contrast between father
and son: the one a British soldier of the day of strictest powder and
pigtail; the other, a man who never wore a hat, except in fine
weather,--and in the house, of course, like the rest of his countrymen.
In this case, we find the very purest American type (for Meshach has
not a single Old-World notion) produced in a single generation. We
ourselves have known a parallel instance in the children of a British
soldier who deserted during the War of 1812; in tone of thought,
accent, dialect, and physique they were unmistakably Yankee. If the
backwoods Americanize men so fast, is it wonderful that two centuries
of the Western Hemisphere should have produced a breed so unlike the
parent Bull? It is time Bull began to reconcile himself to it.

One of the most amusing passages in Meshach's autobiography is that in
which he relates his military experience as captain of a company of
militia. The company appear to have gone into action only once, and
that was on occasion of a muster when they undertook to _lick_ their
commander, with whom, for some reason or other, they were discontented.
As well as we can make out, the result seems to have been, that the
captain licked _them_; though our Caesar's Commentaries are naturally
so confused on this topic, that we almost feel, after reading them, as
if we had been through the fight ourselves.

The book should have been shorter by at least two-thirds,--for one
bear-story is just like another, and Meshach's style of narrative is
one that cannot bear the prosperity of print. However, we find much
that is interesting in the volume, as in all records of real

Mr. Milburn's account of himself we have also found very entertaining.
In some respects it belongs on the same shelf with Meshach Browning's;
for we think the best chapters in it are those which bring us into
contact with Cartwright and other Methodist ministers, the frontiersmen
and bushfighters of the Church, who do not bandy subtilties with
Mephistopheles, nor consider that the Prince of Darkness is a
gentleman, but go in for a rough-and-tumble fight with Satan and his
imps, as with so many red _Injuns_ undeserving of the rights and
incapable of the amenities of civilized warfare. We confess a thorough
liking for these Leatherstockings of the clergy, true apostolic
successors of the heavy-handed fisherman, Peter. Their rough-and-ready
gospel is just the thing for men who feel as if they could not get
religion, unless from a preacher who can "whip" them as well as thunder
doctrine at their ears.

We prefer those parts of Mr. Milburn's book in which he tells us what
he saw (if we may say it of a blind man) to those in which he
undertakes to tell us what he was. The history of the growth of his
mind is not of vital importance to us, and we should be quite willing
to have "returned unexperienced to our graves," like Grumio's
fellow-servants. We think there is getting to be altogether too much
unreserve in the world. We doubt if any man have the right to take
mankind by the button and tell all about himself, unless, like Dante,
he can symbolize his experience. Even Goethe we only half thank,
especially when he kisses and tells, and prefer Shakspeare's
indifference to the intimacy of the German. Silence about one's self is
the most golden of all, as men commonly discover after babbling. Mr.
Milburn, in one of his chapters, gives an account of his passage
through what he is pleased to call _neology_ and _rationalism_. He
represents himself as having sounded the depths of German metaphysics,
criticism, and aesthetics. But a man who is able to write a sentence in
which Lessing's Works are spoken of as if the reading of them tended to
make men "transcendentalists of the supra-nebulous order" no more
deserves a scourging by angels for his devotion to German literature
than Saint Jerome did for being a Ciceronian. No truly thorough course
of study ever weakened or unsteadied any man's mind, for it is the
surest way to make him think less of himself,--and we cannot help
believing that the disease Mr. Milburn went through was nothing more
nor less than _sentimentalism_, a complaint as common to a certain
period of life as measles. But while we think him mistaken in his
diagnosis, we cannot but commend the good sense and manliness of his
course of treatment.

Bating the egotism unavoidable in a work of the sort, the style of Mr.
Milburn's book is agreeable, and the anecdotes of various kinds with
which it abounds render it very amusing. It is of particular interest
as showing how much a blind man may accomplish both for himself and
others, that the loss of sight may be borne with cheerfulness as well
as resignation, and that the sufferer by such a calamity is sure of
kindness and sympathy from his fellow-men.

_A First Lesson in Natural History_. By ACTAEA. Boston: Little, Brown,
& Co. 1859. pp. 82.

This is an altogether charming little book. Simple, clear, and
methodical, the style leaves nothing to be desired, and suggests no
wish that anything were away. An aunt called upon for more stories--and
no wonder, when she tells them so well--resolves to play the Nereïd,
and takes her little ones in fancy down among the slopes and dells of
Ocean to watch the lovely growths and the strange creatures in which,
through plant and mineral, or what seem such, Life is yearning upward
toward the higher individuality of Volition. She tells us (for we
seemed among her hearers as we read, and drew our stool nearer) all
about the sea-anemones and corals, the coral-reefs, the jelly-fishes,
star-fishes, and sea-urchins,--which last are not to be confounded with
the buoys so frequently to be met with in our harbors. That the stories
have the sanction of Agassiz is warrant of their scientific accuracy,
while the feminine grace with which they are told is a science to be
learned of no professor.

Since the fairies are all dead, it is pleasant to know that Pan can be
brought to life again for children by the study of Nature. Now that the
wonders of the invisible world are closed, the little ones can have no
better set-off than in the beauty and marvel of God's visible creation.
Here also are food for the imagination and material for poetry.
Whatever teaches a child to observe teaches him to think, and
strengthens memory, a faculty which in fitting conjunction is
cumulative genius.

We dislike the science that is sometimes forced down youthful throats
by the Mrs. Squeerses of polite learning, a vile compound of treacle
and brimstone; but there is a vast difference between science as dead
fact and science as living poetry,--the harvest of the child's own
eyes, gathered on seashores and hillsides, in fields and lanes. We like
the aim and tendency of this little book, because it is likely to draw
children away from hooks, and to entice them into that admirably
ventilated schoolroom of out-doors which will give them sound lungs and
stomachs and muscular limbs. It teaches them, too, without their
knowing it; which is the only true way; for they contrive to make their
minds duck's-backs, under the assiduous watering-pot of instruction.
The knowledge it gives them is real, and not merely a thing of terms
and phrases. Moreover, the kind of it is suitable; a great thing; for
we hold a Pascal in a pinafore to be as great an outrage as a learned

We have found the generality of books written for children of late so
thoroughly bad, as void of invention as they are full of vulgarisms in
thought and language, that it is a downright pleasure to meet with one
so fresh and graceful as this of Aectaea's. We hope she will follow it
with a series, for she has shown herself qualified to do for science
what Hawthorne has done for mythology.

_Poems_. By ASNE WHITNEY. New York: Appleton & Co. 1859.

This modest volume is a collection of Miss Whitney's previously printed
poems, scattered about in forgotten newspapers, with perhaps as many
more, which now appear in print for the first time. The uncommon merit
of some of her early poems, especially "Bertha," "Hymn to the Sea," and
"Lilian," (here most unpoetically called "Facts in Verse,") long ago
awakened a desire in lovers of good poetry to know more of Miss Whitney
and what she had written; and the desire is gratified by the
publication of this book. We can hardly say that the new poems are
better than the old; though some of them, as "The Ceyba and the
Jaguey," "Undine," "Dominique," and "My Window," are marked by the same
quick insight, the same force and dignity of expression, which charm us
in the earlier verses. We still find "Lilian" the best of all, as it is
the longest; there are in it passages of description as clear and vivid
as the landscapes of Church and Turner, and touches of profound and
glowing imagination; and the whole poem, in spite of its obscurity,
affects the mind like a strain of high and mournful music. The Sonnets
are all more or less harsh and unintelligible,--a criticism which
applies to many of the other poems. Miss Whitney evidently despises
foot-notes as utterly as Tennyson, and leaves much unexplained in her
titles and in the poems themselves, which might help us to understand
them, if we knew it. Obscurity of thought and a lack of facility in
versification cause evident defects in her otherwise fine book; on the
other hand, she is never flat and seldom feeble, but writes as one
whose thoughts and feelings move on a high level, sustained by a
familiarity with the strength and beauty, rather than the grace and
tenderness of literature. Few of our countrywomen have written better
poems, and her little book gives finer food for thought and fancy than
many a more bulky volume. Is it ungracious to charge her with
affectation? for this is the clinging curse of modern poetry, and one
may trace it even in the noble idyls of the greatest English poet now
alive. The Brownings overflow with it, and it is the chief
characteristic of scores of the lesser poets of the day. If all who
write verses could learn how sacred language is, how full of beauty is
its austere simplicity, they would cease from their endless tricks of
word-painting and the Florentine mosaics of speech. Miss Whitney
offends less than many in this way, and has shown some of the rarer
gifts of that indefinable being,--a true poet.

_Sword and Gown_. A Novel: by the Author of "Guy Livingstone." Boston:
Ticknor & Fields.

This is rather a brilliant sketch than a carefully wrought and finely
finished romance. The actors are drawn in bold outlines, which it does
not appear to have been the purpose of the author to fill up in the
delicate manner usually deemed necessary for the development of
character in fiction. But they are so vigorously drawn, and the
narration is so full of power, that few readers can resist the
fascination of the story, in spite of the intrusive little digressions
which everywhere appear, and which, jumping at random through passages
of history, religion, art, politics, literature, as a circus-rider
forsakes his steed to dash through the many-colored tissue screens that
are invitingly held out to him, interfere quite seriously with its
progress. It is certainly a book in which the interest is positive, and
from which the attention is seldom allowed to wander; and is, so far, a

But there is also another relation in which it is to be considered.
Without being much of a moralist, one may clearly perceive that its
tone is unhealthy and its sentiment vicious. What it aims at we would
not assume to decide; what it accomplishes is, to secure a sympathy for
a reckless and dare-devil spirit which drives the hero through a
tolerably long career of more than moderate iniquity, and leaves him
impenitent at the end. It will hardly do to say that the object of the
book is only to amuse. Dealing with the subjects it does, it must work
good or evil. Its theme is this: An imperious beauty, whose heart has
been seared in earliest youth, and whose passions are half supposed to
be dead, is brought in contact, at a French watering-place, with a man
whose life has been passed in wildest excesses, whose amatory exploits
have echoed through Europe, and who knows no higher human motive of
action than the prosecution of selfish and sensual enjoyment. His good
qualities are dauntless personal courage, which, however, often sinks
into brutal ferocity, and occasional touches of generous emotion
towards his friends. The young girl's heart-strings are again set in
tune, and made to quiver in harmony with those of the determined
conqueror. Just as her soul is yielded, the intelligence that her lover
has a living wife is imparted to her. Here a resemblance to a striking
incident in "Jane Eyre" may be detected; but mark the difference in the
result:--Jane Eyre, resolute in her righteous convictions, flies from a
struggle which she perhaps feels herself incapable of sustaining; the
present heroine consents to remain near her lover, on his promise of
good behavior! What follows cannot be averted,--who would expect that
it should be? The elopement which is planned, however, is prevented by
the interference of a third party, and the lovers submit to their
destiny of separation. They meet once again, but it is only when the
hero, mortally wounded in a Crimean battle, lies expiring at Scutari.
With the bitter agony of the dying farewell, the scene closes. The
characters remain unchanged to the end. The Sword, though stained in
many places with impurities, still glistens with a lustre that
bewilders and confuses the senses. The Gown--which seems introduced at
all only for the purpose of mockery, its representative being invested
with all contemptible and unmanly attributes--still lies covered with
the reproach that has been cast upon it.

The moral of such a book is not a good one. The author does his best,
by various arts, to make the reader look kindly upon a guilty love, and
to regard with admiration those who are animated by it, notwithstanding
the hero is no better at the end than he was at the opening, and the
heroine is rather worse. And such is his undeniable power, that with
many readers he will be too likely to carry his point.

      *       *       *       *       *


Reynard the Fox, after the German Version of Goethe. By Thomas James
Arnold, Esq.; with Illustrations from the Designs of Wilhelm von
Kaulbach. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 226. $3.50.

The Eighteen Christian Centuries. By the Rev. James White, Author of a
"History of France"; with a Copious Index. From the Second Edinburgh
Edition. Philadelphia. Parry & McMillan. 12mo. pp. 538. $1.25.

A New Dictionary of Quotations from the Greek, Latin, and Modern
Languages. Translated into English, and occasionally accompanied with
Illustrations, Historical, Poetical, and Anecdotical; with an Extensive
Index, referring to Every Important Word. By the Author of "Live and
Learn," etc. From the last London Edition. Philadelphia. J.B.
Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 527. $1.50.

An Inquiry into the Formation of Washington's Farewell Address.
Philadelphia. Parry & McMillan. 8vo. pp. vii., 250. $1.25.

Sermons Published and Revised by the Rev. C.H. Spurgeon. Sixth Series.
New York. Sheldon & Co. 12mo. pp. xii., 450. $1.00.

The Boy's Book of Industrial Information. By Elisha Noyce, Author of
"Outlines of Creation." Illustrated with Three Hundred and Seventy
Engravings. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 16mo. $1.25.

The Prairie: A Tale. By J. Fenimore Cooper. Illustrated from Drawings
by F.O.C. Darley. New York. W.A. Townsend & Co. 12mo. pp. ix., 479.

Men who have Risen. A Book for Boys. Illustrated by C.A. Doyle. New
York. W.A. Townsend & Co. 16mo. pp. 315. 75 cts.

Leaves from an Actor's Note-Book; with Reminiscences and Chit-Chat of
the Green-Room, and the Stage, in England and America. By George
Vandenhoff. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. vi., 347. $1.00.

The Manufacture of Photogenic or Hydro-Carbon Oils, from Coal and other
Bituminous Substances, capable of supplying Burning Fluids. By Thomas
Antisell, M.D., Professor of Chemistry in the Medical Department of
Georgetown College, D.C., etc. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp.
144. $1.75.

The Boy's Own Toy-Maker; a Practical Illustrated Guide to the Useful
Employment of Leisure Hours. By E. Landells, Author of "Home Pastime,
or the Child's Own Toy-Maker." With Numerous Engravings. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. Square 16mo. pp. viii., 153. 50 cts.

The Children's Picture-Gallery. Engravings from One Hundred Paintings
by Eminent English Artists. Adapted for the Young. New York. D,
Appleton & Co. 4to. pp. 105. $1.50.

Women of Worth. A Book for Girls. Illustrated by W. Dickes. New York.
W.A. Townsend & Co. 16mo. pp. 302. 75 cts.

The Headsman; or, The Abbaye des Vignerons. A Tale. By J. Fenimore
Cooper. Illustrated from Drawings by F.O.C. Darley. New York. W.A.
Townsend & Co. 12mo. pp. x., 496. $1.50.

The Physiology of Common Life. By George Henry Lewes, Author of
"Seaside Studies," "Life of Goethe," etc. 2 vols. Vol. I. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. 16mo. pp. viii., 368. $1.00.

The Glory of the House of Israel; or the Hebrew's Pilgrimage to the
Holy City; comprising a Picture of Judaism in the Century which
preceded the Advent of our Saviour. By Frederick Strauss. Philadelphia.
J.B. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. xxiii., 480. $1.25.

Women Artists in all Ages and Countries. By Mrs. Ellet, Author of "The
Women of the American Revolution," etc. New York. Harper & Brothers.
12mo. pp. xx., 377. $1.00.

Sword and Gown. By the Author of "Guy Livingstone." Boston. Ticknor &
Fields. 16mo. pp. 308. 75 cts.

The Money King and other Poems. By John G. Saxe. With a New Portrait.
Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. x., 182. 75 cts.

Chambers's Encyclopaedia; a Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the
People. On the Basis of the Latest Edition of the German
Conversations-Lexicon. Illustrated by Wood Engravings and Maps. Part
VII. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 64. 15 cts.

A Good Fight, and other Tales. By Charles Reade, Author of "Love Me
Little, Love Me Long," "Peg Woffington," "Christie Johnstone," etc.,
etc.; with Illustrations. New York. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 341.
75 cts.

Family-Circle Glee-Book; containing about Two Hundred Songs, Glees,
Choruses, etc., including many of the most Popular Pieces of the Day;
arranged and harmonized for Four Voices with Full Accompaniments for
the Piano, Seraphine, and Melodeon. For the Use of Glee-Clubs,
Singing-Classes, and the Home Circle. Compiled by Elias Howe. Vol. II.
Boston. Russell & Tolman. Square 8vo. pp. 240. $1.50.

Gold Foil Hammered from Popular Proverbs. By Timothy Titcomb, Author of
"Letters to the Young." New York. Charles Scribner. 16mo. pp. 358.

Address Commemorative of Rufus Choate. By Theophilus Parsons. Delivered
before the Students of the Law School of Harvard University, at their
Request, on the 29th of September, 1859. Boston. Little, Brown, & Co.
8vo. pp. 40. 25 cts.

Life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. By Alphonse de Lamartine. New
York. Sheldon & Co. 18mo. pp. 275. 50 cts.

Loss and Gain; or, Margaret's Home. By Alice B. Haven. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. 16mo. pp. 315. $1.00.

At Home and Abroad; a Sketch-Book of Life, Scenery, and Men. By Bayard
Taylor. New York. G.P. Putnam. 12mo. pp. vi., 500. $1.25.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 26, December, 1859 - A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.