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´╗┐Title: Tales and Sketches
 - Part 3 from Volume V of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier
Author: Whittier, John Greenleaf
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 "Tales and Sketches
 - Part 3 from Volume V of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier" ***

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                          TALES AND SKETCHES


                        JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER



                        THE LITTLE IRON SOLDIER

AMINADAB IVISON started up in his bed.  The great clock at the head of
the staircase, an old and respected heirloom of the family, struck one.

"Ah," said he, heaving up a great sigh from the depths of his inner man,
"I've had a tried time of it."

"And so have I," said the wife.  "Thee's been kicking and threshing
about all night.  I do wonder what ails thee."

And well she might; for her husband, a well-to-do, portly, middle-aged
gentleman, being blessed with an easy conscience, a genial temper, and a
comfortable digestion, was able to bear a great deal of sleep, and
seldom varied a note in the gamut of his snore from one year's end to

"A very remarkable exercise," soliloquized Aminadab; "very."

"Dear me! what was it?"  inquired his wife.

"It must have been a dream," said Aminadab.

"Oh, is that all?"  returned the good woman.  "I'm glad it's nothing
worse.  But what has thee been dreaming about?"

"It's the strangest thing, Hannah, that thee ever heard of," said
Aminadab, settling himself slowly back into his bed.  Thee recollects
Jones sent me yesterday a sample of castings from the foundry.  Well, I
thought I opened the box and found in it a little iron man, in
regimentals; with his sword by his side and a cocked hat on, looking
very much like the picture in the transparency over neighbor O'Neal's
oyster-cellar across the way.  I thought it rather out of place for
Jones to furnish me with such a sample, as I should not feel easy to
show it to my customers, on account of its warlike appearance.  However,
as the work was well done, I took the little image and set him up on the
table, against the wall; and, sitting down opposite, I began to think
over my business concerns, calculating how much they would increase in
profit in case a tariff man should be chosen our ruler for the next four
years.  Thee knows I am not in favor of choosing men of blood and strife
to bear rule in the land: but it nevertheless seems proper to consider
all the circumstances in this case, and, as one or the other of the
candidates of the two great parties must be chosen, to take the least of
two evils.  All at once I heard a smart, quick tapping on the table;
and, looking up, there stood the little iron man close at my elbow,
winking and chuckling.  'That's right, Aminadab!' said he, clapping his
little metal hands together till he rang over like a bell, 'take the
least of two evils.'  His voice had a sharp, clear, jingling sound, like
that of silver dollars falling into a till.  It startled me so that I
woke up, but finding it only a dream presently fell asleep again.  Then
I thought I was down in the Exchange, talking with neighbor Simkins
about the election and the tariff.  'I want a change in the
administration, but I can't vote for a military chieftain,' said
neighbor Simkins, 'as I look upon it unbecoming a Christian people to
elect men of blood for their rulers.'  'I don't know,' said I, 'what
objection thee can have to a fighting man; for thee 's no Friend, and
has n't any conscientious scruples against military matters.  For my own
part, I do not take much interest in politics, and never attended a
caucus in my life, believing it best to keep very much in the quiet, and
avoid, as far as possible, all letting and hindering things; but there
may be cases where a military man may be voted for as a choice of evils,
and as a means of promoting the prosperity of the country in business
matters.'  'What!' said neighbor Simkins, 'are you going to vote for a
man whose whole life has been spent in killing people?'  This vexed me a
little, and I told him there was such a thing as carrying a good
principle too far, and that he night live to be sorry that he had thrown
away his vote, instead of using it discreetly.  'Why, there's the iron
business,' said I; but just then I heard a clatter beside me, and,
looking round, there was the little iron soldier clapping his hands in
great glee.  'That's it, Aminadab!' said he; 'business first, conscience
afterwards!  Keep up the price of iron with peace if you can, but keep
it up at any rate.'  This waked me again in a good deal of trouble; but,
remembering that it is said that 'dreams come of the multitude of
business,' I once more composed myself to sleep."

"Well, what happened next?" asked his wife.

"Why, I thought I was in the meeting-house, sitting on the facing-seat
as usual.  I tried hard to settle my mind down into a quiet and humble
state; but somehow the cares of the world got uppermost, and, before I
was well aware of it, I was far gone in a calculation of the chances of
the election, and the probable rise in the price of iron in the event of
the choice of a President favorable to a high tariff.  Rap, tap, went
something on the floor.  I opened my eyes, and there was the little
image, red-hot, as if just out of the furnace, dancing, and chuckling,
and clapping his hands.  'That's right, Aminadab!' said he; 'go on as
you have begun; take care of yourself in this world, and I'll promise
you you'll be taken care of in the next.  Peace and poverty, or war and
money.  It's a choice of evils at best; and here's Scripture to decide
the matter: "Be not righteous overmuch."'  Then the wicked-looking
little image twisted his hot lips, and leered at me with his blazing
eyes, and chuckled and laughed with a noise exactly as if a bag of
dollars had been poured out upon the meeting-house floor.  This waked me
just now in such a fright.  I wish thee would tell me, Hannah, what thee
can make of these three dreams?"

"It don't need a Daniel to interpret them," answered Hannah.  "Thee 's
been thinking of voting for a wicked old soldier, because thee cares
more for thy iron business than for thy testimony against wars and
fightings.  I don't a bit wonder at thy seeing the iron soldier thee
tells of; and if thee votes to-morrow for a man of blood, it wouldn't be
strange if he should haunt thee all thy life."

Aminadab Ivison was silent, for his conscience spoke in the words of his
wife.  He slept no more that night, and rose up in the morning a wiser
and better man.

When he went forth to his place of business he saw the crowds hurrying
to and fro; there were banners flying across the streets, huge placards
were on the walls, and he heard all about him the bustle of the great

"Friend Ivison," said a red-faced lawyer, almost breathless with his
hurry, "more money is needed in the second ward; our committees are
doing a great work there.  What shall I put you down for?  Fifty
dollars?  If we carry the election, your property will rise twenty per
cent.  Let me see; you are in the iron business, I think?"

Aminadab thought of the little iron soldier of his dream, and excused
himself.  Presently a bank director came tearing into his office.

"Have you voted yet, Mr. Ivison?  It 's time to get your vote in.  I
wonder you should be in your office now.  No business has so much at
stake in this election as yours."

"I don't think I should feel entirely easy to vote for the candidate,"
said Aminadab.

"Mr. Ivison," said the bank director, "I always took you to be a shrewd,
sensible man, taking men and things as they are.  The candidate may not
be all you could wish for; but when the question is between him and a
worse man, the best you can do is to choose the least of the two evils."

"Just so the little iron man said," thought Aminadab.  "'Get thee behind
me, Satan!' No, neighbor Discount," said he, "I've made up my mind.  I
see no warrant for choosing evil at all.  I can't vote for that man."

"Very well," said the director, starting to leave the room; "you can do
as you please; but if we are defeated through the ill-timed scruples of
yourself and others, and your business pinches in consequence, you need
n't expect us to help men who won't help themselves.  Good day, sir."

Aminadab sighed heavily, and his heart sank within him; but he thought
of his dream, and remained steadfast.  Presently he heard heavy steps
and the tapping of a cane on the stairs; and as the door opened he saw
the drab surtout of the worthy and much-esteemed friend who sat beside
him at the head of the meeting.

"How's thee do, Aminadab?"  said he.  "Thee's voted, I suppose?"

"No, Jacob," said he; "I don't like the candidate.  I can't see my way
clear to vote for a warrior."

"Well, but thee does n't vote for him because he is a warrior,
Aminadab," argued the other; "thee votes for him as a tariff man and an
encourager of home industry.  I don't like his wars and fightings better
than thee does; but I'm told he's an honest man, and that he disapproves
of war in the abstract, although he has been brought up to the business.
If thee feels tender about the matter, I don't like to urge thee; but it
really seems to me thee had better vote.  Times have been rather hard,
thou knows; and if by voting at this election we can make business
matters easier, I don't see how we can justify ourselves in staying at
home.  Thou knows we have a command to be diligent in business as well
as fervent in spirit, and that the Apostle accounted him who provided
not for his own household worse than an infidel.  I think it important
to maintain on all proper occasions our Gospel testimony against wars
and fightings; but there is such a thing as going to extremes, thou
knows, and becoming over-scrupulous, as I think thou art in this case.
It is said, thou knows, in Ecclesiastes, 'Be not righteous overmuch: why
shouldst thou destroy thyself?'"

"Ah," said Aminadab to himself, "that's what the little iron soldier
said in meeting."  So he was strengthened in his resolution, and the
persuasions of his friend were lost upon him.

At night Aminadab sat by his parlor fire, comfortable alike in his inner
and his outer man.  "Well, Hannah," said he, "I've taken thy advice.  I
did n't vote for the great fighter to-day."

"I'm glad of it," said the good woman, "and I dare say thee feels the
better for it."

Aminadab Ivison slept soundly that night, and saw no more of the little
iron soldier.



          I know not, I ask not, what guilt's in thy heart, But I feel
          that I love thee, whatever thou art.

THE township of Haverhill, on the Merrimac, contained, in the autumn of
1641, the second year of its settlement, but six dwelling-houses,
situated near each other, on the site of the present village.  They were
hastily constructed of rude logs, small and inconvenient, but one remove
from the habitations of the native dwellers of the wilderness.  Around
each a small opening had been made through the thick forest, down to the
margin of the river, where, amidst the charred and frequent stumps and
fragments of fallen trees, the first attempts at cultivation had been
made.  A few small patches of Indian corn, which had now nearly reached
maturity, exhibited their thick ears and tasselled stalks, bleached by
the frost and sunshine; and, here and there a spot of yellow stubble,
still lingering among the rough incumbrances of the soil, told where a
scanty crop of common English grain had been recently gathered.  Traces
of some of the earlier vegetables were perceptible, the melon, the pea,
and the bean.  The pumpkin lay ripening on its frosted vines, its sunny
side already changed to a bright golden color; and the turnip spread out
its green mat of leaves in defiance of the season.  Everything around
realized the vivid picture of Bryant's Emigrant, who:

              "Hewed the dark old woods away,
               And gave the virgin fields to the day
               And the pea and the bean beside the door
               Bloomed where such flowers ne'er bloomed before;
               And the maize stood up, and the bearded rye
               Bent low in the breath of an unknown sky."

Beyond, extended the great forest, vast, limitless, unexplored, whose
venerable trees had hitherto bowed only to the presence of the storm,
the beaver's tooth, and the axe of Time, working in the melancholy
silence of natural decay.  Before the dwellings of the white
adventurers, the broad Merrimac rolled quietly onward the piled-up
foliage of its shores, rich with the hues of a New England autumn.
The first sharp frosts, the avant couriers of approaching winter, had
fallen, and the whole wilderness was in blossom.  It was like some vivid
picture of Claude Lorraine, crowded with his sunsets and rainbows, a
natural kaleidoscope of a thousand colors.  The oak upon the hillside
stood robed in summer's greenness, in strong contrast with the topaz-
colored walnut.  The hemlock brooded gloomily in the lowlands, forming,
with its unbroken mass of shadow, a dark background for the light maple
beside it, bright with its peculiar beauty.  The solemn shadows of the
pine rose high in the hazy atmosphere, checkered, here and there, with
the pale yellow of the birch.

"Truly, Alice, this is one of God's great marvels in the wilderness,"
said John Ward, the minister, and the original projector of the
settlement, to his young wife, as they stood in the door of their humble
dwelling.  "This would be a rare sight for our friends in old Haverhill.
The wood all about us hath, to my sight, the hues of the rainbow, when,
in the words of the wise man, it compasseth the heavens as with a
circle, and the hands of the Most High have bended it.  Very beautifully
hath He indeed garnished the excellent works of His wisdom."

"Yea, John," answered Alice, in her soft womanly tone; "the Lord is,
indeed, no respecter of persons.  He hath given the wild savages a more
goodly show than any in Old England.  Yet, John, I am sometimes very
sorrowful, when I think of our old home, of the little parlor where you
and I used to sit of a Sunday evening.  The Lord hath been very
bountiful to this land, and it may be said of us, as it was said of
Israel of old, 'How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! and thy tabernacles,
O Israel!'  But the people sit in darkness, and the Gentiles know not
the God of our fathers."

"Nay," answered her husband, "the heathen may be visited and redeemed,
the spirit of the Lord may turn unto the Gentiles; but a more sure evil
hath arisen among us.  I tell thee, Alice, it shall be more tolerable in
the day of the Lord, for the Tyre and Sidon, the Sodom and Gomorrah of
the heathen, than for the schemers, the ranters, the Familists, and the
Quakers, who, like Satan of old, are coming among the sons of God."

"I thought," said Alice, "that our godly governor had banished these out
of the colony."

"Truly he hath," answered Mr. Ward, "but the evil seed they have sown
here continues to spring up and multiply.  The Quakers have, indeed,
nearly ceased to molest us; but another set of fanatics, headed by
Samuel Gorton, have of late been very troublesome.  Their family has
been broken up, and the ring-leaders have been sentenced to be kept at
hard labor for the colony's benefit; one being allotted to each of the
old towns, where they are forbidden to speak on matters of religion.
But there are said to be many still at large, who, under the
encouragement of the arch-heretic, Williams, of the Providence
plantation, are even now zealously doing the evil work of their master.
But, Alice," he continued, as he saw his few neighbors gathering around
a venerable oak which had been spared in the centre of the clearing, "it
is now near our time of worship.  Let us join our friends."

And the minister and his wife entered into the little circle of their
neighbors.  No house of worship, with spire and tower, and decorated
pulpit, had as yet been reared on the banks of the Merrimac.  The stern
settlers came together under the open heavens, or beneath the shadow of
the old trees, to kneel before that God, whose works and manifestations
were around them.

The exercises of the Sabhath commenced.  A psalm of the old and homely
version was sung, with true feeling, if not with a perfect regard to
musical effect and harmony.  The brief but fervent prayer was offered,
and the good man had just announced the text for his sermon, when a
sudden tramp of feet, and a confused murmur of human voices, fell on the
ears of the assembly.

The minister closed his Bible; and the whole group crowded closer
together.  "It is surely a war party of the heathen," said Mr. Ward, as
he listened intently to the approaching sound.  "God grant they mean us
no evil!"

The sounds drew nearer.  The swarthy figure of an Indian came gliding
through the brush-wood into the clearing, followed closely by several
Englishmen.  In answer to the eager inquiries of Mr. Ward, Captain
Eaton, the leader of the party, stated that he had left Boston at
the command of Governor Winthrop, to secure and disarm the sachem,
Passaconaway, who was suspected of hostile intentions towards the
whites.  They had missed of the old chief, but had captured his son,
and were taking him to the governor as a hostage for the good faith of
his father.  He then proceeded to inform Mr. Ward, that letters had been
received from the governor of the settlements of Good Hoop and Piquag,
in Connecticut, giving timely warning of a most diabolical plot of the
Indians to cut off their white neighbors, root and branch.  He pointed
out to the notice of the minister a member of his party as one of the
messengers who had brought this alarming intelligence.

He was a tall, lean man, with straight, lank, sandy hair, cut evenly all
around his narrow forehead, and hanging down so as to remind one of
Smollett's apt similitude of "a pound of candles."

"What news do you bring us of the savages?" inquired Mr. Ward.

"The people have sinned, and the heathen are the instruments whereby the
Lord hath willed to chastise them," said the messenger, with that
peculiar nasal inflection of voice, so characteristic of the "unco'
guid."  "The great sachem, Miantonimo, chief of the Narragansetts, hath
plotted to cut off the Lord's people, just after the time of harvest, to
slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children."

"How have ye known this?" asked the minister.

"Even as Paul knew of those who had bound themselves together with a
grievous oath to destroy him.  The Lord hath done it.  One of the bloody
heathens was dreadfully gored by the oxen of our people, and, being in
great bodily pain and tribulation thereat, he sent for Governor Haines,
and told him that the Englishman's god was angry with him for concealing
the plot to kill his people, and had sent the Englishman's cow to kill

"Truly a marvellous providence," said Mr. Ward; "but what has been done
in your settlements in consequence of it?"

"We have fasted many days," returned the other, in a tone of great
solemnity, "and our godly men have besought the Lord that he might now,
as of old, rebuke Satan.  They have, moreover, diligently and earnestly
inquired, Whence cometh this evil?  Who is the Achan in the camp of our
Israel?  It hath been greatly feared that the Quakers and the Papists
have been sowing tares in the garden of the true worship.  We have
therefore banished these on pain of death; and have made it highly penal
for any man to furnish either food or lodging to any of these heretics
and idolaters.  We have ordered a more strict observance of the Sabbath
of the Lord, no, one being permitted to walk or run on that day, except
to and from public worship, and then, only in a reverent and becoming
manner; and no one is allowed to cook food, sweep the house, shave or
pare the nails, or kiss a child, on the day which is to be kept holy.
We have also framed many wholesome laws, against the vanity and
licentiousness of the age, in respect to apparel and deportment, and
have forbidden any young man to kiss a maid during the time of
courtship, as, to their shame be it said, is the manner of many in the
old lands."

"Ye have, indeed, done well for the spiritual," said Mr. Ward; "what
have you done for your temporal defence?"

"We have our garrisons and our captains, and a goodly store of carnal
weapons," answered the other.  "And, besides, we have the good chief
Uncas, of the Mohegans, to help us against the bloody Narragansetts."

"But, my friend," said the minister, addressing Captain Eaton, "there
must be surely some mistake about Passaconaway.  I verily believe him to
be the friend of the white men.  And this is his son Wonolanset?  I saw
him last year, and remember that he was the pride of the old savage, his
father.  I will speak to him, for I know something of his barbarous


The young savage started suddenly at the word, and rolled his keen
bright eye upon the speaker.

"Why is the son of the great chief bound by my brothers?"

The Indian looked one instant upon the cords which confined his arms,
and then glanced fiercely upon his conductors.

"Has the great chief forgotten his white friends?  Will he send his
young men to take their scalps when the Narragansett bids him?"

The growl of the young bear when roused from his hiding-place is not
more fierce and threatening than were the harsh tones of Wonolanset as
he uttered through his clenched teeth:--

"Nummus quantum."

"Nay, nay," said Mr. Ward, turning away from the savage, "his heart is
full of bitterness; he says he is angry, and, verily, I like not his
bearing.  I fear me there is evil on foot.  But ye have travelled far,
and must needs be weary rest yourselves awhile, and haply, while ye
refresh your bodies, I may also refresh your spirits with wholesome and
comfortable doctrines."

The party having acquiesced in this proposal, their captive was secured
by fastening one end of his rope to a projecting branch of the tree.
The minister again named his text, but had only proceeded to the minuter
divisions of his sermon, when he was again interrupted by a loud, clear
whistle from the river, and a sudden exclamation of surprise from those
around him.  A single glance sufficed to show him the Indian, disengaged
from his rope, and in full retreat.

Eaton raised his rifle to his eye, and called out to the young sachem,
in his own language, to stop, or he would fire upon him.  The Indian
evidently understood the full extent of his danger.  He turned suddenly
about, and, pointing, up the river towards the dwelling of his father,
pronounced with a threatening gesture:--

"Nosh, Passaconaway!"

"Hold!" exclaimed Mr. Ward, grasping the arm of Eaton.  "He threatens us
with his father's vengeance.  For God's sake keep your fire!" It was too
late.  The report of the rifle broke sharply upon the Sabbath stillness.
It was answered by a shout from the river, and a small canoe, rowed by
an Indian and a white man, was seen darting along the shore.  Wonolanset
bounded on unharmed, and, plunging into the river, he soon reached the
canoe, which was hastily paddled to the opposite bank.  Captain Eaton
and his party finding it impossible to retake their prisoner, after
listening to the sermon of Mr. Ward, and partaking of some bodily
refreshment, took their leave of the settlers of Pentucket, and departed
for Boston.

The evening, which followed the day whose events we have narrated, was
one of those peculiar seasons of beauty when the climate of New England
seems preferable to that of Italy.  The sun went down in the soft haze
of the horizon, while the full moon was rising at the same time in the
east.  Its mellow silver mingled with the deep gold of the sunset.  The
south-west wind, as warm as that of summer, but softer, was heard, at
long intervals, faintly harping amidst the pines, and blending its low
sighing with the lulling murmurs of the river.  The inhabitants of
Pentucket had taken the precaution, as night came on, to load their
muskets carefully, and place them in readiness for instant use, in the
event of an attack from the savages.  Such an occurrence, was, indeed,
not unlikely, after the rude treatment which the son of old Passaconaway
had received at the settlement.  It was well known that the old chief
was able, at a word, to send every warrior from Pennacook to Naumkeag
upon the war-path of Miantonimo; the vengeful character of the Indians
was also understood; and, in the event of an out-breaking of their
resentment, the settlement of Pentucket was, of all others, the most
exposed to danger.

"Don't go to neighbor Clements's to-night, Mary," said Alice Ward to her
young, unmarried sister; "I'm afraid some of the tawny Indians may be
lurking hereabout.  Mr. Ward says he thinks they will be dangerous
neighbors for us."

Mary had thrown her shawl over her head, and was just stepping out.
"It is but a step, as it were, and I promised good-wife Clements that I
would certainly come.  I am not afraid of the Indians.  There's none of
them about here except Red Sam, who wanted to buy me of Mr. Ward for his
squaw; and I shall not be afraid of my old spark."

The girl tripped lightly from the, threshold towards the dwelling of her
neighbor.  She had passed nearly half the distance when the pathway,
before open to the moonlight, began to wind along the margin of the
river, overhung with young sycamores and hemlocks.  With a beating heart
and a quickened step she was stealing through the shadow, when the
boughs on the river-side were suddenly parted, and a tall man sprang
into the path before her.  Shrinking back with terror, she uttered a
faint scream.

"Mary Edmands!" said the stranger, "do not fear me."

A thousand thoughts wildly chased each other through the mind of the
astonished girl.  That familiar voice--that knowledge of her name--that
tall and well-remembered form!  She leaned eagerly forward, and looked
into the stranger's face.  A straggling gleam of moonshine fell across
its dark features of manly beauty.

"Richard Martin! can it be possible!"

"Yea, Mary," answered the other, "I have followed thee to the new world,
in that love which neither sea nor land can abate.  For many weary
months I have waited earnestly for such a meeting as this, and, in that
time, I have been in many and grievous perils by the flood and the
wilderness, and by the heathen Indians and more heathen persecutors
among my own people.  But I may not tarry, nor delay to tell my errand.
Mary, thou knowest my love; wilt thou be my wife?"

Mary hesitated.

"I ask thee again, if thou wilt share the fortunes of one who hath loved
thee ever since thou wast but a child, playing under the cottage trees
in old Haverhill, and who hath sacrificed his worldly estate, and
perilled his soul's salvation for thy sake.  Mary, dear Mary, for of a
truth thou art very dear to me; wilt thou go with me and be my wife?"

The tones of Richard Martin, usually harsh and forbidding, now fell soft
and musical on the ear of Mary.  He was her first love, her only one.
What marvel that she consented?

"Let us hasten to depart," said Martin, "this is no place for me.  We
will go to the Providence plantations.  Passaconaway will assist us in
our journey."

The bright flush of hope and joy faded from the face of the young girl.
She started back from the embrace of her lover.

"What mean you, Richard?  What was 't you said about our going to that
sink of wickedness at Providence?  Why don't you go back with me to
sister Ward's?"

"Mary Edmands!" said Martin, in a tone of solemn sternness, "it is
fitting that I should tell thee all.  I have renounced the evil
doctrines of thy brother-in-law, and his brethren in false prophecy.  It
was a hard struggle, Mary; the spirit was indeed willing, but the flesh
was weak, exceeding weak, for I thought of thee, Mary, and of thy
friends.  But I had a measure of strength given me, whereby I have been
enabled to do the work which was appointed me."

"Oh, Richard!" said Mary, bursting into tears, "I'm afraid you have
become a Williamsite, one of them, who, Mr. Ward says, have nothing to
hope for in this world or in that to come."

"The Lord rebuke him!" said Martin, with a loud voice.  "Woe to such as
speak evil of the witnesses of the truth.  I have seen the utter
nakedness of the land of carnal professors, and I have obeyed the call
to come out from among them and be separate.  I belong to that
persecuted family whom the proud priests and rulers of this colony have
driven from their borders.  I was brought, with many others, before the
wicked magistrates of Boston, and sentenced to labor, without hire, for
the ungodly.  But I have escaped from my bonds; and the Lord has raised
up a friend for his servant, even the Indian Passaconaway, whose son I
assisted, but a little time ago, to escape from his captors."

"Can it be?" sobbed Mary, "can it be?  Richard, our own Richard,
following the tribe of Gorton, the Familist!  Oh, Richard, if you love
me, if you love God's people and his true worship, do come away from
those wicked fanatics."

"Thou art in the very gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity,"
answered Martin.  "Listen, Mary Edmands, to the creed of those whom thou
callest fanatics.  We believe in Christ, but not in man-worship.  The
Christ we reverence is the shadow or image of God in man; he was
crucified in Adam of old, and hath been crucified in all men since; his
birth, his passion, and his death, were but manifestations or figures of
his sufferings in Adam and his descendants.  Faith and Christ are the
same, the spiritual image of God in the heart.  We acknowledge no rule
but this Christ, this faith within us, either in temporal or spiritual
things.  And the Lord hath blessed us, and will bless us, and truth
shall be magnified and exalted in us; and the children of the heathen
shall be brought to know and partake of this great redemption whereof we
testify.  But woe to the false teachers, and to them who prophesy for
hire and make gain of their soothsaying.  Their churches are the devices
of Satan, the pride and vanity of the natural Adam.  Their baptism is
blasphemy; and their sacrament is an abomination, yea, an incantation
and a spell.  Woe to them who take the shadow for the substance, that
bow down to the altars of human device and cunning workmanship, that
make idols of their ceremonies!  Woe to the high priests and the
Pharisees, and the captains and the rulers; woe to them who love the
wages of unrighteousness!"

The Familist paused from utter exhaustion, so vehemently had he poured
forth the abundance of his zeal.  Mary Edmands, overwhelmed by his
eloquence, but still unconvinced, could only urge the disgrace and
danger attending his adherence to such pernicious doctrines.  She
concluded by telling him, in a voice choked by tears, that she could
never marry him while a follower of Gorton.

"Stay then," said Martin, fiercely dashing her hand from his, "stay and
partake of the curse of the ungodly, even of the curse of Meroz, who
come not up to the help of the Lord, against the mighty Stay, till the
Lord hath made a threshing instrument of the heathen, whereby the pride
of the rulers, and the chief priests, and the captains of this land
shall be humbled.  Stay, till the vials of His wrath are poured out upon
ye, and the blood of the strong man, and the maid, and the little child
is mingled together!"

The wild language, the fierce tones and gestures of her lover, terrified
the unhappy girl.  She looked wildly around her, all was dark and
shadowy, an undefined fear of violence came over her; and, bursting into
tears, she turned to fly.  "Stay yet a moment," said Martin, in a hoarse
and subdued voice.  He caught hold of her arm.  She shrieked as if in
mortal jeopardy.

"Let go the gal, let her go!"  said old Job Clements, thrusting the long
barrel of his gun through the bushes within a few feet of the head of
the Familist.  "A white man, as sure as I live!  I thought, sartin, 't
was a tarnal In-in."  Martin relinquished his hold, and, the next
instant, found himself surrounded by the settlers.

After a brief explanation had taken place between Mr. Ward and his
sister-in-law, the former came forward and accosted the Familist.
"Richard Martin!" he said, "I little thought to see thee so soon in the
new world, still less to see thee such as thou art.  I am exceeding
sorry that I cannot greet thee here as a brother, either in a temporal
or a spiritual nature.  My sister tells me that you are a follower of
that servant of Satan, Samuel Gorton, and that you have sought to entice
her away with you to the colony of fanatics at Rhode Island, which may
be fitly compared to that city which Philip of Macedonia peopled with
rogues and vagabonds, and the offscouring of the whole earth."

"John Ward, I know thee," said the unshrinking Familist; "I know thee
for a man wise above what is written, a man vain, uncharitable, and
given to evil speaking.  I value neither thy taunts nor thy wit; for the
one hath its rise in the bitterness, and the other in the vanity, of the
natural Adam.  Those who walk in the true light, and who have given over
crucifying Christ in their hearts, heed not a jot of the reproaches and
despiteful doings of the high and mighty in iniquity.  For of us it hath
been written: 'I have given them thy word and the world hath hated them
because they are not of the world.  If the world hate you, ye know that
it hated me before it hated you.  If they have hated me they will hate
you also; if they have persecuted me they will persecute you.'  And, of
the scoffers and the scorners, the wise ones of this world, whose wisdom
and knowledge have perverted them, and who have said in their hearts,
There is none beside them, it hath been written, yea, and will be
fulfilled: The day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every one that is
proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be
brought low; and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the
haughtiness of man shall be brought low; and the Lord alone shall be
exalted in that day; and the idols shall he utterly abolish.'  Of thee,
John Ward, and of thy priestly brotherhood, I ask nothing; and for the
much evil I have received, and may yet receive at your hands, may ye be
rewarded like Alexander the coppersmith, every man according to his

"Such damnable heresy," said Mr. Ward, addressing his neighbors, "must
not be permitted to spread among the people.  My friends, we must send
this man to the magistrates."

The Familist placed his hands to his month, and gave a whistle, similar
to that which was heard in the morning, and which preceded the escape of
Wonolanset.  It was answered by a shout from the river; and a score of
Indians came struggling up through the brush-wood.

"Vile heretic!" exclaimed Mr. Ward, snatching a musket from the hands of
his neighbor, and levelling it full at the head of Martin; "you have
betrayed us into this jeopardy."

"Wagh! down um gun," said a powerful Indian, as he laid his rough hand
on the shoulder of the minister.  "You catch Wonolanset, tie um, shoot
um, scare squaw.  Old sachem come now, me tie white man, shoot um, roast
um;" and the old savage smiled grimly and fiercely in the indistinct
moonlight, as he witnessed the alarm and terror of his prisoner.

"Hold, Passaconaway!" said Martin, in the Indian tongue.  "Will the
great chief forget his promise?"

The sachem dropped his hold on Mr. Ward's arm.  "My brother is good," he
said; "me no kill um, me make um walk woods like Wonolanset."  Martin
spoke a few words in the chief's ear.  The countenance of the old
warrior for an instant seemed to express dissatisfaction; but, yielding
to the powerful influence which the Familist had acquired over him, he
said, with some reluctance, "My brother is wise, me do so."

"John Ward," said the Familist, approaching the minister, "thou hast
devised evil against one who hath never injured thee.  But I seek not
carnal revenge.  I have even now restrained the anger of this heathen
chief whom thou and thine have wronged deeply.  Let us part in peace,
for we may never more meet in this world."  And he extended his hand and
shook that of the minister.

"For thee, Mary," he said, "I had hoped to pluck thee from the evil
which is to come, even as a brand from the burning.  I had hoped to lead
thee to the manna of true righteousness, but thou last chosen the flesh-
pots of Egypt.  I had hoped to cherish thee always, but thou hast
forgotten me and my love, which brought me over the great waters for thy
sake.  I will go among the Gentiles, and if it be the Lord's will,
peradventure I may turn away their wrath from my people.  When my
wearisome pilgrimage is ended, none shall know the grave of Richard
Martin; and none but the heathen shall mourn for him.  Mary! I forgive
thee; may the God of all mercies bless thee! I shall never see thee

Hot and fast fell the tears of that stern man upon the hand of Mary.
The eyes of the young woman glanced hurriedly over the faces of her
neighbors, and fixed tearfully upon that of her lover.  A thousand
recollections of young affection, of vows and meetings in another land,
came vividly before her.  Her sister's home, her brother's instructions,
her own strong faith, and her bitter hatred of her lover's heresy were
all forgotten.

"Richard, dear Richard, I am your Mary as much as ever I was.  I'll go
with you to the ends of the earth.  Your God shall be my God, and where
you are buried there will I be also."

Silent in the ecstasy of joyful surprise, the Familist pressed her to
his bosom.  Passaconaway, who had hitherto been an unmoved spectator of
the scene, relaxed the Indian gravity of his features, and murmured, in
an undertone, "Good, good."

"Will my brother go?"  he inquired, touching Martin's shoulder; "my
squaws have fine mat, big wigwam, soft samp, for his young woman."

"Mary," said Martin, "the sachem is impatient; and we must needs go with
him."  Mary did not answer, but her head was reclined upon his bosom,
and the Familist knew that she resigned herself wholly to his direction.
He folded the shawl more carefully around her, and supported her down
the precipitous and ragged bank of the river, followed closely by
Passaconaway and his companions.

"Come back, Mary Edmands!" shouted Mr. Ward.  "In God's name come back."

Half a dozen canoes shot out into the clear moonlight from the shadow of
the shore.  "It is too late!" said the minister, as he struggled down to
the water's edge.  "Satan hath laid his hands upon her; but I will
contend for her, even as did Michael of old for the body of Moses.
Mary, sister Mary, for the love of Christ, answer me."

No sound came back from the canoes, which glided like phantoms,
noiselessly and swiftly, through the still waters of the river.
"The enemy hath prevailed," said Mr. Ward; "two women were grinding at
my mill, the one is taken and the other is left.  Let us go home, my
friends, and wrestle in prayer against the Tempter."

The heretic and his orthodox bride departed into the thick wilderness,
under the guidance of Passaconaway, and in a few days reached the
Eldorado of the heretic and the persecuted, the colony of Roger
Williams.  Passaconaway, ever after, remained friendly to the white men.
As civilization advanced he retired before it, to Pennacook, now
Concord, on the Merrimac, where the tribes of the Naumkeags,
Piscataquas, Accomentas, and Agawams acknowledged his authority.

                            THE OPIUM EATER.


     Heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving from its lowest depths
     of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me!
     Here was a panacea, a pharmakon nepenthes for all human woes; here
     was the secret of happiness about which philosophers had disputed
     for so many ages: happiness might be bought for a penny, and
     carried in the waistcoat pocket.--DEQUINCEY's "Confessions of an
     Opium Eater."

HE was a tall, thin personage, with a marked brow and a sunken eye.

He stepped towards a closet of his apartment, and poured out a few drops
of a dark liquid.  His hand shook, as he raised the glass which
contained them to his lips; and with a strange shuddering, a nervous
tremor, as if all the delicate chords of his system were unloosed and
trembling, he turned away from his fearful draught.

He saw that my eye was upon him; and I could perceive that his mind
struggled desperately with the infirmity of his nature, as if ashamed of
the utter weakness of its tabernacle.  He passed hastily up and down the
room.  "You seem somewhat ill," I said, in the undecided tone of partial

He paused, and passed his long thin fingers over his forehead.  "I am
indeed ill," he said, slowly, and with that quavering, deep-drawn
breathing, which is so indicative of anguish, mental and physical.
"I am weak as a child, weak alike in mind and body, even when I am under
the immediate influence of yonder drug."  And he pointed, as he spoke,
to a phial, labelled "Laudanum," upon a table in the corner of the room.

"My dear sir," said I, "for God's sake abandon your desperate practice:
I know not, indeed, the nature of your afflictions, but I feel assured
that you have yet the power to be happy.  You have, at least, warm
friends to sympathize with you.  But forego, if possible, your
pernicious stimulant of laudanum.  It is hurrying you to your grave."

"It may be so," he replied, while another shudder ran along his nerves;
"but why should I fear it?  I, who have become worthless to myself and
annoying to my friends; exquisitely sensible of my true condition, yet
wanting the power to change it; cursed with a lively apprehension of all
that I ought now to be, yet totally incapable of even making an effort
to be so!  My dear sir, I feel deeply the kindness of your motives, but
it is too late for me to hope to profit by your advice."

I was shocked at his answer.  "But can it be possible," said I, "that
the influence of such an excessive use of opium can produce any
alleviation of mental suffering? any real relief to the harassed mind?
Is it not rather an aggravation?"

"I know not," he said, seating himself with considerable calmness,--"I
know not.  If it has not removed the evil, it has at least changed its
character.  It has diverted my mind from its original grief; and has
broken up and rendered divergent the concentrated agony which oppressed
me.  It has, in a measure, substituted imaginary afflictions for real
ones.  I cannot but confess, however, that the relief which it has
afforded has been produced by the counteraction of one pain by another;
very much like that of the Russian criminal, who gnaws his own flesh
while undergoing the punishment of the knout.'"

"For Heaven's sake," said I, "try to dispossess your mind of such horrid
images.  There are many, very many resources yet left you.  Try the
effect of society; and let it call into exercise those fine talents
which all admit are so well calculated to be its ornament and pride.
At least, leave this hypochondriacal atmosphere, and look out more
frequently upon nature.  Your opium, if it be an alleviator, is, by your
own confession, a most melancholy one.  It exorcises one demon to give
place to a dozen others.

              'With other ministrations, thou, O Nature!
               Healest thy wandering and distempered child.'"

He smiled bitterly; it was a heartless, melancholy relaxation of
features, a mere muscular movement, with which the eye had no sympathy;
for its wild and dreamy expression, the preternatural lustre, without
transparency, remained unaltered, as if rebuking, with its cold, strange
glare, the mockery around it.  He sat before me like a statue, whose eye
alone retained its stony and stolid rigidity, while the other features
were moved by some secret machinery into "a ghastly smile."

"I am not desirous, even were it practicable," he said, "to defend the
use of opium, or rather the abuse of it.  I can only say, that the
substitutes you propose are not suited to my condition.  The world has
now no enticements for me; society no charms.  Love, fame, wealth,
honor, may engross the attention of the multitude; to me they are all
shadows; and why should I grasp at them?  In the solitude of my own
thoughts, looking on but not mingling in them, I have taken the full
gauge of their hollow vanities.  No, leave me to myself, or rather to
that new existence which I have entered upon, to the strange world to
which my daily opiate invites me.  In society I am alone, fearfully
solitary; for my mind broods gloomily over its besetting sorrow, and I
make myself doubly miserable by contrasting my own darkness with the
light and joy of all about me; nay, you cannot imagine what a very hard
thing it is, at such times, to overcome some savage feelings of
misanthropy which will present themselves.  But when I am alone, and
under the influence of opium, I lose for a season my chief source of
misery, myself; my mind takes a new and unnatural channel; and I have
often thought that any one, even that of insanity, would be preferable
to its natural one.  It is drawn, as it were, out of itself; and I
realize in my own experience the fable of Pythagoras, of two distinct
existences, enjoyed by the same intellectual being.

"My first use of opium was the consequence of an early and very bitter
disappointment.  I dislike to think of it, much more to speak of it.  I
recollect, on a former occasion, you expressed some curiosity concerning
it.  I then repelled that curiosity, for my mind was not in a situation
to gratify it.  But now, since I have been talking of myself, I think I
can go on with my story with a very decent composure.  In complying with
your request, I cannot say that my own experience warrants, in any
degree, the old and commonly received idea that sorrow loses half its
poignancy by its revelation to others.  It was a humorous opinion of
Sterne, that a blessing which ties up the tongue, and a mishap which
unlooses it, are to be considered equal; and, indeed, I have known some
people happy under all the changes of fortune, when they could find
patient auditors.  Tully wept over his dead daughter, but when he
chanced to think of the excellent things he could say on the subject,
he considered it, on the whole, a happy circumstance.  But, for my own
part, I cannot say with the Mariner in Coleridge's ballad, that

            "'At an uncertain hour My agony returns;

               And, till my ghastly tale is told,
               This heart within me burns.'"

He paused a moment, and rested his head upon his hand.  "You have seen
Mrs. H------, of -------?" he inquired, somewhat abruptly.  I replied in
the affirmative.

"Do you not think her a fine woman?"

"Yes, certainly, a fine woman.  She was once, I am told, very

"Once? is she not so now?" he asked.  "Well, I have heard the same
before.  I sometimes think I should like to see her now, now that the
mildew of years and perhaps of accusing recollections are upon her; and
see her toss her gray curls as she used to do her dark ones, and act
over again her old stratagem of smiles upon a face of wrinkles.  Just
Heavens! were I revengeful to the full extent of my wrongs, I could wish
her no worse punishment.

"They told you truly, my dear sir,--she was beautiful, nay, externally,
faultless.  Her figure was that of womanhood, just touching upon the
meridian of perfection, from which nothing could be taken, and to which
nothing could be added.  There was a very witchery in her smile,
trembling, as it did, over her fine Grecian features, like the play of
moonlight upon a shifting and beautiful cloud.

"Her voice was music, low, sweet, bewildering.  I have heard it a
thousand times in my dreams.  It floated around me, like the tones of
some rare instrument, unseen by the hearer; for, beautiful as she was,
you could not think of her, or of her loveliness, while she was
speaking; it was that sweetly wonderful voice, seemingly abstracted from
herself, pouring forth the soft current of its exquisite cadence, which
alone absorbed the attention.  Like that one of Coleridge's heroines,
you could half feel, half fancy, that it had a separate being of its
own, a spiritual presence manifested to but one of the senses; a living
something, whose mode of existence was for the ear alone.--[See Memoirs
of Maria Eleonora Schoning.]

"But what shall I say of the mind?  What of the spirit, the resident
divinity of so fair a temple?  Vanity, vanity, all was vanity;
a miserable, personal vanity, too, unrelieved by one noble aspiration,
one generous feeling; the whited sepulchre spoken of of old, beautiful
without, but dark and unseemly within.

"I look back with wonder and astonishment to that period of my life,
when such a being claimed and received the entire devotion of my heart.
Her idea blended with or predominated over all others.  It was the
common centre in my mind from which all the radii of thought had their
direction; the nucleus around which I had gathered all that my ardent
imagination could conceive, or a memory stored with all the delicious
dreams of poetry and romances could embody, of female excellence and
purity and constancy.

"It is idle to talk of the superior attractions of intellectual beauty,
when compared with mere external loveliness.  The mind, invisible and
complicated and indefinite, does not address itself directly to the
senses.  It is comprehended only by its similitude in others.  It
reveals itself, even then, but slowly and imperfectly.  But the beauty
of form and color, the grace of motion, the harmony of tone, are seen
and felt and appreciated at once.  The image of substantial and material
loveliness once seen leaves an impression as distinct and perfect upon
the retina of memory as upon that of the eyes.  It does not rise before
us in detached and disconnected proportions, like that of spiritual
loveliness, but in crowds, and in solitude, and in all the throngful
varieties of thought and feeling and action, the symmetrical whole, the
beautiful perfection comes up in the vision of memory, and stands, like
a bright angel, between us and all other impressions of outward or
immaterial beauty.

"I saw her, and could not forget her; I sought her society, and was
gratified with it.  It is true, I sometimes (in the first stages of my
attachment) had my misgivings in relation to her character.  I sometimes
feared that her ideas were too much limited to the perishing beauty of
her person.  But to look upon her graceful figure yielding to the dance,
or reclining in its indolent symmetry; to watch the beautiful play of
coloring upon her cheek, and the moonlight transit of her smile; to
study her faultless features in their delicate and even thoughtful
repose, or when lighted up into conversational vivacity, was to forget
everything, save the exceeding and bewildering fascination before me.
Like the silver veil of Khorassan it shut out from my view the mental
deformity beneath it.  I could not reason with myself about her; I had
no power of ratiocination which could overcome the blinding dazzle of
her beauty.  The master-passion, which had wrestled down all others,
gave to every sentiment of the mind something of its own peculiar

"I will not trouble you with a connected history of my first love, my
boyish love, you may perhaps call it.  Suffice it to say, that on the
revelation of that love, it was answered by its object warmly and
sympathizingly.  I had hardly dared to hope for her favor; for I had
magnified her into something far beyond mortal desert; and to hear from
her own lips an avowal of affection seemed more like the condescension
of a pitying angel than the sympathy of a creature of passion and
frailty like myself.  I was miserably self-deceived; and self-deception
is of a nature most repugnant to the healthy operation of truth.  We
suspect others, but seldom ourselves.  The deception becomes a part of
our self-love; we hold back the error even when Reason would pluck it
away from us.

"Our whole life may be considered as made up of earnest yearnings after
objects whose value increases with the difficulties of obtaining them,
and which seem greater and more desirable, from our imperfect knowledge
of their nature, just as the objects of the outward vision are magnified
and exalted when seen through a natural telescope of mist.  Imagination
fills up and supplies the picture, of which we can only catch the
outlines, with colors brighter, and forms more perfect, than those of
reality.  Yet, you may perhaps wonder why, after my earnest desire had
been gratified, after my love had found sympathy in its object, I did
not analyze more closely the inherent and actual qualities of her heart
and intellect.  But living, as I did, at a considerable distance from
her, and seeing her only under circumstances calculated to confirm
previous impressions, I had few advantages, even had I desired to do so,
of studying her true character.  The world had not yet taught me its
ungenerous lesson.  I had not yet learned to apply the rack of
philosophical analysis to the objects around me, and test, by a cold
process of reasoning, deduced from jealous observation, the reality of
all which wore the outward semblance of innocence and beauty.  And it
may be, too, that the belief, nay, the assurance, from her own lips, and
from the thousand voiceless but eloquent signs which marked our
interviews, that I was beloved, made me anxious to deceive even myself,
by investing her with those gifts of the intellect and the heart,
without which her very love would have degraded its object.  It is not
in human nature, at least it was not in mine, to embitter the delicious
aliment which is offered to our vanity, by admitting any uncomfortable
doubts of the source from which it is derived.

"And thus it was that I came on, careless and secure, dreaming over and
over the same bright dream; without any doubt, without fear, and in the
perfect confidence of an unlimited trust, until the mask fell off, all
at once; without giving me time for preparation, without warning or
interlude; and the features of cold, heartless, systematic treachery
glared full upon me.

"I saw her wedded to another.  It was a beautiful morning; and never had
the sun shone down on a gayer assemblage than that which gathered
together at the village church.  I witnessed the imposing ceremony which
united the only one being I had ever truly loved to a happy and favored,
because more wealthy, rival.  As the grayhaired man pronounced the
inquiring challenge, 'If any man can show just cause why they may not
lawfully be joined together, let him now speak or else forever after
hold his peace,' I struggled forward, and would have cried out, but the
words died away in my throat.  And the ceremony went on, and the death-
like trance into which I had fallen was broken by the voice of the
priest: 'I require and charge ye both, as ye will answer at the dreadful
day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that
if either of you know of any impediment why ye may not lawfully be
joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it; for be ye well
assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God's
word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.'  As the solemn tones of
the old man died away in the church aisles, I almost expected to hear a
supernatural voice calling upon him to forbear.  But there was no sound.
For an instant my eyes met those of the bride; the blood boiled rapidly
to her forehead, and then sank back, and she was as pale as if death had
been in the glance I had given her.  And I could see the folds of her
rich dress tremble, and her beautiful lips quiver; and she turned away
her eyes, and the solemn rites were concluded.

"I returned to my lodgings.  I heeded not the gay smiles and free
merriment of those around me.  I hurried along like one who wanders
abroad in a dark dream; for I could hardly think of the events of the
morning as things of reality.  But, when I spurred my horse aside, as
the carriage which contained the newly married swept by me, the terrible
truth came upon me like a tangible substance, and one black and evil
thought passed over my mind, like the whispered suggestion of Satan.  It
was a feeling of blood, a sensation like that of grasping the strangling
throat of an enemy.  I started from it with horror.  For the first time
a thought of murder had risen up in my bosom; and I quenched it with the
natural abhorrence of a nature prone to mildness and peace.

"I reached my chamber, and, exhausted alike in mind and body, I threw
myself upon my bed, but not to sleep.  A sense of my utter desolation
and loneliness came over me, blended with a feeling of bitter and
unmerited wrong.  I recollected the many manifestations of affection
which I had received from her who had that day given herself, in the
presence of Heaven, to another; and I called to mind the thousand
sacrifices I had made to her lightest caprices, to every shade and
variation of her temper; and then came the maddening consciousness of
the black ingratitude which had requited such tenderness.  Then, too,
came the thought, bitter to a pride like mine, that the cold world had a
knowledge of my misfortunes; that I should be pointed out as a
disappointed man, a subject for the pity of some, and the scorn and
jestings of others.  Rage and shame mingled with the keen agony of
outraged feeling.  'I will not endure it,' I said, mentally, springing
from my bed and crossing the chamber with a flushed brow and a strong
step; 'never!'  And I ground my teeth upon each other, while a fierce
light seemed to break in upon my brain; it was the light of the
Tempter's smile, and I almost laughed aloud as the horrible thought of
suicide started before me.  I felt that I might escape the ordeal of
public scorn and pity; that I might bid the world and its falsehood
defiance, and end, by one manly effort, the agony of an existence whose
every breath was torment.

"My resolution was fixed.  'I will never see another morrow!' I said,
sternly, but with a calmness which almost astonished me.  Indeed, I
seemed gifted with a supernatural firmness, as I made my arrangements
for the last day of suffering which I was to endure.  A few friends had
been invited to dine with me, and I prepared to meet them.  They came at
the hour appointed with smiling faces and warm and friendly greetings;
and I received them as if nothing had happened, with even a more
enthusiastic welcome than was my wont.

"Oh! it is terrible to smile when the heart is breaking! to talk
lightly and freely and mirthfully, when every feeling of the mind is
wrung with unutterable agony; to mingle in the laugh and in the gay
volleys of convivial fellowship,

              'With the difficult utterance of one
               Whose heart is with an iron nerve put down.'

"Yet all this I endured, hour after hour, until my friends departed and I
had pressed their hands as at a common parting, while my heart whispered
an everlasting farewell!

"It was late when they left me.  I walked out to look for the last time
upon Nature in her exceeding beauty.  I hardly acknowledged to myself
that such was my purpose; but yet I did feel that it was so; and that I
was taking an everlasting farewell of the beautiful things around me.
The sun was just setting; and the hills, that rose like pillars of the
blue horizon, were glowing with a light which was fast deserting the
valleys.  It was an evening of summer; everything was still; not a leaf
stirred in the dark, overshadowing foliage; but, silent and beautiful as
a picture, the wide scenery of rock and hill and woodland, stretched
away before me; and, beautiful as it was, it seemed to possess a newness
and depth of beauty beyond its ordinary appearance, as if to aggravate
the pangs of the last, long farewell.

"They do not err who believe that man has a sympathy with even inanimate
Nature, deduced from a common origin; a chain of co-existence and
affinity connecting the outward forms of natural objects with his own
fearful and wonderful machinery; something, in short, manifested in his
love of flowing waters, and soft green shadows, and pleasant blowing
flowers, and in his admiration of the mountain, stretching away into
heaven, sublimed and awful in its cloudy distance; the heave and swell
of the infinite ocean; the thunder of the leaping cataract; and the
onward rush of mighty rivers, which tells of its original source, and
bears evidence of its kindred affinities.  Nor was the dream of the
ancient Chaldean 'all a dream.'  The stars of heaven, the beauty and the
glory above us, have their influences and their power, not evil and
malignant and partial and irrevocable, but holy and tranquillizing and
benignant, a moral influence, by which all may profit if they will do
so.  And I have often marvelled at the hard depravity of that human
heart which could sanction a deed of violence and crime in the calm
solitudes of Nature, and surrounded by the enduring evidences of an
overruling Intelligence.  I could conceive of crime, growing up rank and
monstrous in the unwholesome atmosphere of the thronged city, amidst the
taint of moral as well as physical pestilence, and surrounded only by
man and the works of man.  But there is something in the harmony and
quiet of the natural world which presents a reproving antagonism to the
fiercer passions of the human heart; an eye of solemn reprehension looks
out from the still places of Nature, as if the Great Soul of the
Universe had chosen the mute creations of his power to be the witnesses
of the deeds done in the body, the researchers of the bosoms of men.

"And then, even at that awful moment, I could feel the bland and gentle
ministrations of Nature; I could feel the fever of my heart cooling, and
a softer haze of melancholy stealing over the blackness of my despair;
and the fierce passions which had distracted me giving place to the calm
of a settled anguish, a profound sorrow, the quiet gloom of an
overshadowing woe, in which love and hatred and wrong were swallowed up
and lost.  I no longer hated the world; but I felt that it had nothing
for me; that I was no longer a part and portion of its harmonious
elements; affliction had shut me out forever from the pale of human
happiness and sympathy, and hope pointed only to the resting-place of
the grave!

"I stood steadily gazing at the setting sun.  It touched and sat upon
the hill-top like a great circle of fire.  I had never before fully
comprehended the feeling of the amiable but misguided Rousseau, who at
his death-hour desired to be brought into the open air, that the last
glance of his failing eye might drink in the glory of the sunset
heavens, and the light of his great intellect and that of Nature go out
together.  For surely never did the Mexican idolater mark with deeper
emotion the God of his worship, for the last time veiling his awful
countenance, than did I, untainted by superstition, yet full of perfect
love for the works of Infinite Wisdom, watch over the departure of the
most glorious of them all.  I felt, even to agony, the truth of these
exquisite lines of the Milesian poet:

                   'Blest power of sunshine, genial day!
                    What joy, what life is in thy ray!
                    To feel thee is such real bliss,
                    That, had the world no joy but this,
                    To sit in sunshine, calm and sweet,
                    It were a world too exquisite
                    For man to leave it for the gloom,
                    The dull, cold shadow of the tomb!'

"Never shall I forget my sensations when the sun went down utterly from
my sight.  It was like receiving the last look of a dying friend.  To
others he might bring life and health and joy, on the morrow; but tome
he would never rise.  As this thought came over me, I felt a stifling
sensation in my throat, tears started in my eyes, and my heart almost
wavered from its purpose.  But the bent bow had only relaxed for a
single instant; it returned again to its strong and abiding tension.

"I was alone in my chamber once more.  A single lamp burned gloomily
before me; and on the table at my side stood a glass of laudanum.  I had
prepared everything.  I had written my last letter, and had now only to
drink the fatal draught, and lie down to my last sleep.  I heard the old
village clock strike eleven.  'I may as well do it now as ever,' I said
mentally, and my hand moved towards the glass.  But my courage failed
me; my hand shook, and some moments elapsed before I could sufficiently
quiet my nerves to lift the glass containing the fatal liquid.  The
blood ran cold upon my heart, and my brain reeled, as again and again
I lifted the poison to my closed lips.  'It must be done,' thought I,
'I must drink it.'  With a desperate effort I unlocked my clenched teeth
and the deed was done!

"'O God, have mercy upon me!' I murmured, as the empty glass fell from
my hand.  I threw myself upon the bed, and awaited the awful
termination.  An age of unutterable misery seemed crowded into a brief
moment.  All the events of my past life, a life, as it then seemed to
me, made up of folly and crime, rose distinct before me, like accusing
witnesses, as if the recording angel had unrolled to my view the full
and black catalogue of my unnumbered sins:--

              'O'er the soul Winters of memory seemed to roll,
               And gather, in that drop of time,
               A life of pain, an age of crime.'

"I felt that what I had done was beyond recall; and the Phantom of Death,
as it drew nearer, wore an aspect darker and more terrible.  I thought
of the coffin, the shroud, and the still and narrow grave, into whose
dumb and frozen solitude none but the gnawing worm intrudes.  And then
my thoughts wandered away into the vagueness and mystery of eternity, I
was rushing uncalled for into the presence of a just and pure God, with
a spirit unrepenting, unannealed!  And I tried to pray and could not;
for a heaviness, a dull strange torpor crept over me.  Consciousness
went out slowly.  'This is death,' thought I; yet I felt no pain,
nothing save a weary drowsiness, against which I struggled in vain.

"My next sensations were those of calmness, deep, ineffable, an
unearthly quiet; a suspension or rather oblivion of every mental
affliction; a condition of the mind betwixt the thoughts of wakefulness
and the dreams of sleep.  It seemed to me that the gulf between mind and
matter had been passed over, and that I had entered upon a new
existence.  I had no memory, no hope, no sorrow; nothing but a dim
consciousness of a pleasurable and tranquil being.  Gradually, however,
the delusion vanished.  I was sensible of still wearing the fetters of
the flesh, yet they galled no longer; the burden was lifted from my
heart, it beat happily and calmly, as in childhood.  As the stronger
influences of my opiate (for I had really swallowed nothing more, as the
druggist, suspecting from the incoherence of my language, that I was
meditating some fearful purpose, furnished me with a harmless, though
not ineffective draught) passed off, the events of the past came back to
me.  It was like the slow lifting of a curtain from a picture of which I
was a mere spectator, about which I could reason calmly, and trace
dispassionately its light and shadow.  Having satisfied myself that I
had been deceived in the quantity of opium I had taken, I became also
convinced that I had at last discovered the great antidote for which
philosophy had exhausted its resources, the fabled Lethe, the oblivion
of human sorrow.  The strong necessity of suicide had passed away; life,
even for me, might be rendered tolerable by the sovereign panacea of
opium, the only true minister to a mind diseased, the sought 'kalon'

"From that day I have been habitually an opium eater.  I am perfectly
sensible that the constant use of the pernicious drug has impaired my
health; but I cannot relinquish it.  Some time since I formed a
resolution to abandon it, totally and at once; but had not strength
enough to carry it into practice.  The very attempt to do so nearly
drove me to madness.  The great load of mental agony which had been
lifted up and held aloof by the daily applied power of opium sank back
upon my heart like a crushing weight.  Then, too, my physical sufferings
were extreme; an indescribable irritation, a general uneasiness
tormented me incessantly.  I can only think of it as a total
disarrangement of the whole nervous system, the jarring of all the
thousand chords of sensitiveness, each nerve having its own particular
pain.--[ Essay on the Effects of Opium, London, 1763.]

"De Quincey, in his wild, metaphysical, and eloquent, yet, in many
respects, fancy sketch, considers the great evil resulting from the use
of opium to be the effect produced upon the mind during the hours of
sleep, the fearful inquietude of unnatural dreams.  My own dreams have
been certainly of a different order from those which haunted me previous
to my experience in opium eating.  But I cannot easily believe that
opium necessarily introduces a greater change in the mind's sleeping
operations, than in those of its wakefulness.

"At one period, indeed, while suffering under a general, nervous
debility, from which I am even now but partially relieved, my troubled
and broken sleep was overshadowed by what I can only express as
'a horror of thick darkness.'  There was nothing distinct or certain in
my visions, all was clouded, vague, hideous; sounds faint and awful, yet
unknown; the sweep of heavy wings, the hollow sound of innumerable
footsteps, the glimpse of countless apparitions, and darkness falling
like a great cloud from heaven.

"I can scarcely give you an adequate idea of my situation in these
dreams, without comparing it with that of the ancient Egyptians while
suffering under the plague of darkness.  I never read the awful
description of this curse, without associating many of its horrors with
those of my own experience.

"'But they, sleeping the same sleep that night, which was indeed
intolerable, and which came upon them out of the bottoms of inevitable

"'Were partly vexed with monstrous apparitions, and partly fainted; for
a sudden fear and not looked for, came upon them.'

"'For neither might the corner which held them keep them from fear; but
noises, as of waters falling down, sounded about them, and sad visions
appeared unto them, with heavy countenances.

"'Whether it were a whistling wind, or a melodious voice of birds among
the spreading branches, or a pleasing fall of water running violently;

"'Or, a terrible sound of stones cast down, or, a running that could not
be seen, of skipping beasts, or a roaring voice of most savage wild
beasts, or a rebounding echo from the hollow mountains: these things
made them to swoon for fear.'--[Wisdom of Solomon, chapter xvii.]

"That creative faculty of the eye, upon which Mr. De Quincey dwells so
strongly, I have myself experienced.  Indeed, it has been the principal
cause of suffering which has connected itself with my habit of opium
eating.  It developed itself at first in a recurrence of the childish
faculty of painting upon the darkness whatever suggested itself to the
mind; anon, those figures which had before been called up only at will
became the cause, instead of the effect, of the mind's employment; in
other words, they came before me in the night-time, like real images,
and independent of any previous volition of thought.  I have often,
after retiring to my bed, seen, looking through the thick wall of
darkness round about me, the faces of those whom I had not known for
years, nay, since childhood; faces, too, of the dead, called up, as it
were, from the church-yard and the wilderness and the deep waters, and
betraying nothing of the grave's terrible secrets.  And in the same way,
some of the more important personages I had read of, in history and
romance, glided often before me, like an assembly of apparitions, each
preserving, amidst the multitudinous combinations of my visions, his own
individuality and peculiar characteristics.--[Vide Emanuel Count
Swedenborg, Nicolai of Berlin's Account of Spectral Illusion, Edinburgh
Phrenological Journal.]

"These images were, as you may suppose, sufficiently annoying, yet they
came and went without exciting any emotions of terror.  But a change at
length came over them, an awful distinctness and a semblance of reality,
which, operating upon nerves weakened and diseased, shook the very
depths of my spirit with a superstitious awe, and against which reason
and philosophy, for a time, struggled in vain.

"My mind had for some days been dwelling with considerable solicitude
upon an intimate friend, residing in a distant city.  I had heard that
he was extremely ill, indeed, that his life was despaired of; and I may
mention that at this period all my mind's operations were dilatory;
there were no sudden emotions; passion seemed exhausted; and when once
any new train of thought had been suggested, it gradually incorporated
itself with those which had preceded it, until it finally became sole
and predominant, just as certain plants of the tropical islands wind
about and blend with and finally take the place of those of another
species.  And perhaps to this peculiarity of the mental economy, the
gradual concentring of the mind in a channel, narrowing to that point of
condensation where thought becomes sensible to sight as well as feeling,
may be mainly attributed the vision I am about to describe.

"I was lying in my bed, listless and inert; it was broad day, for the
easterly light fell in strongly through the parted curtains.  I felt,
all at once, a strong curiosity, blended with an unaccountable dread, to
look upon a small table which stood near the bedside.  I felt certain of
seeing something fearful, and yet I knew not what; there was an awe and
a fascination upon me, more dreadful from their very vagueness.  I lay
for some time hesitating and actually trembling, until the agony of
suspense became too strong for endurance.  I opened my eyes and fixed
them upon the dreaded object.  Upon the table lay what seemed to me a
corpse, wrapped about in the wintry habiliments of the grave, the corpse
of my friend.

     [William Hone, celebrated for his antiquarian researches, has given
     a distinct and highly interesting account of spectral illusion, in
     his own experience, in his Every Day Book.  The artist Cellini has
     made a similar statement.]

"For a moment, the circumstances of time and place were forgotten; and
the spectre seemed to me a natural reality, at which I might sorrow, but
not wonder.  The utter fallacy of this idea was speedily detected; and
then I endeavored to consider the present vision, like those which had
preceded it, a mere delusion, a part of the phenomena of opium eating.
I accordingly closed my eyes for an instant, and then looked again in
full expectation that the frightful object would no longer be visible.
It was still there; the body lay upon its side; the countenance turned
full towards me,--calm, quiet, even beautiful, but certainly that of

              'Ere yet Decay's effacing fingers
               Had swept the lines where Beauty lingers'

and the white brow, and its light shadowy hair, and the cold, still
familiar features lay evident and manifest to the influx of the
strengthening twilight.  A cold agony crept over me; I buried my head in
the bed-clothes, in a child-like fear, and when I again ventured to look
up, the spectre had vanished.  The event made a strong impression on my
mind; and I can scarcely express the feeling of relief which was
afforded, a few days after, by a letter from the identical friend in
question, informing me of his recovery of health.

"It would be a weary task, and one which you would no doubt thank me for
declining, to detail the circumstances of a hundred similar visitations,
most of which were, in fact, but different combinations of the same
illusion.  One striking exception I will mention, as it relates to some
passages of my early history which you have already heard.

"I have never seen Mrs. H since her marriage.  Time, and the continued
action of opium, deadening the old sensibilities of the heart and
awakening new ones, have effected a wonderful change in my feelings
towards her.  Little as the confession may argue in favor of my early
passion, I seldom think of her, save with a feeling very closely allied
to indifference.  Yet I have often seen her in my spectral illusions,
young and beautiful as ever, but always under circumstances which formed
a wide contrast between her spectral appearance and all my recollections
of the real person.  The spectral face, which I often saw looking in
upon me, in my study, when the door was ajar, and visible only in the
uncertain lamplight, or peering over me in the moonlight solitude of my
bed-chamber, when I was just waking from sleep, was uniformly subject
to, and expressive of, some terrible hate, or yet more terrible anguish.
Its first appearance was startling in the extreme.  It was the face of
one of the fabled furies: the demon glared in the eye, the nostril was
dilated, the pale lip compressed, and the brow bent and darkened; yet
above all, and mingled with all, the supremacy of human beauty was
manifest, as if the dream of Eastern superstition had been realized, and
a fierce and foul spirit had sought out and animated into a fiendish
existence some beautiful sleeper of the grave.  The other expression of
the countenance of the apparition, that of agony, I accounted for on
rational principles.  Some years ago I saw, and was deeply affected by,
a series of paintings representing the tortures of a Jew in the Holy
Inquisition; and the expression of pain in the countenance of the victim
I at once recognized in that of the apparition, rendered yet more
distressing by the feminine and beautiful features upon which it rested.

"I am not naturally superstitious; but, shaken and clouded as my mind
had been by the use of opium, I could not wholly divest it of fear when
these phantoms beset me.  Yet, on all other occasions, save that of
their immediate presence, I found no difficulty in assigning their
existence to a diseased state of the bodily organs, and a corresponding
sympathy of the mind, rendering it capable of receiving and reflecting
the false, fantastic, and unnatural images presented to it.

     [One of our most celebrated medical writers considers spectral
     illusion a disease, in which false perceptions take place in some
     of the senses; thus, when the excitement of motion is produced in a
     particular organ, that organ does not vibrate with the impression
     made upon it, but communicates it to another part on which a
     similar impression was formerly made.  Nicolai states that he made
     his illusion a source of philosophical amusement.  The spectres
     which haunted him came in the day time as well as the night, and
     frequently when he was surrounded by his friends; the ideal images
     mingling with the real ones, and visible only to himself.  Bernard
     Barton, the celebrated Quaker poet, describes an illusion of this
     nature in a manner peculiarly striking:--

               "I only knew thee as thou wert,
               A being not of earth!
               "I marvelled much they could not see
               Thou comest from above
               And often to myself I said,
               'How can they thus approach the dead?'

               "But though all these, with fondness warm,
               Said welcome o'er and o'er,
               Still that expressive shade or form
               Was silent, as before!
               And yet its stillness never brought
               To them one hesitating thought."]

"I recollected that the mode of exorcism which was successfully adopted
by Nicolai of Berlin, when haunted by similar fantasies, was a resort to
the simple process of blood-letting.  I accordingly made trial of it,
but without the desired effect.  Fearful, from the representations of my
physicians, and from some of my own sensations, that the almost daily
recurrence of my visions might ultimately lead to insanity, I came to
the resolution of reducing my daily allowance of opium; and, confining
myself, with the most rigid pertinacity, to a quantity not exceeding one
third of what I had formerly taken, I became speedily sensible of a most
essential change in my condition.  A state of comparative health, mental
and physical with calmer sleep and a more natural exercise of the organs
of vision, succeeded.  I have made many attempts at a further reduction,
but have been uniformly unsuccessful, owing to the extreme and almost
unendurable agony occasioned thereby.

"The peculiar creative faculty of the eye, the fearful gift of a
diseased vision, still remains, but materially weakened and divested of
its former terrors.  My mind has recovered in some degree its shaken and
suspended faculties.  But happiness, the buoyant and elastic happiness
of earlier days, has departed forever.  Although, apparently, a
practical disciple of Behmen, I am no believer in his visionary creed.
Quiet is not happiness; nor can the absence of all strong and painful
emotion compensate for the weary heaviness of inert existence,
passionless, dreamless, changeless.  The mind requires the excitement of
active and changeful thought; the intellectual fountain, like the pool
of Bethesda, has a more healthful influence when its deep waters are
troubled.  There may, indeed, be happiness in those occasional 'sabbaths
of the soul,' when calmness, like a canopy, overshadows it, and the
mind, for a brief season, eddies quietly round and round, instead of
sweeping onward; but none can exist in the long and weary stagnation of
feeling, the silent, the monotonous, neverending calm, broken by neither
hope nor fear."

                            THE PROSELYTES.


THE student sat at his books.  All the day he had been poring over an
old and time-worn volume; and the evening found him still absorbed in
its contents.  It was one of that interminable series of controversial
volumes, containing the theological speculations of the ancient fathers
of the Church.  With the patient perseverance so characteristic of his
countrymen, he was endeavoring to detect truth amidst the numberless
inconsistencies of heated controversy; to reconcile jarring
propositions; to search out the thread of scholastic argument amidst
the rant of prejudice and the sallies of passion, and the coarse
vituperations of a spirit of personal bitterness, but little in
accordance with the awful gravity of the question at issue.

Wearied and baffled in his researches, he at length closed the volume,
and rested his care-worn forehead upon his hand.  "What avail," he said,
"these long and painful endeavors, these midnight vigils, these weary
studies, before which heart and flesh are failing?  What have I gained?
I have pushed my researches wide and far; my life has been one long and
weary lesson; I have shut out from me the busy and beautiful world; I
have chastened every youthful impulse; and at an age when the heart
should be lightest and the pulse the freest, I am grave and silent and
sorrowful,' and the frost of a premature age is gathering around my
heart.  Amidst these ponderous tomes, surrounded by the venerable
receptacles of old wisdom, breathing, instead of the free air of heaven,
the sepulchral dust of antiquity, I have become assimilated to the
objects around me; my very nature has undergone a metamorphosis of which
Pythagoras never dreamed.  I am no longer a reasoning creature, looking
at everything within the circle of human investigation with a clear and
self-sustained vision, but the cheated follower of metaphysical
absurdities, a mere echo of scholastic subtilty.  God knows that my aim
has been a lofty and pure one, that I have buried myself in this living
tomb, and counted the health of this His feeble and outward image as
nothing in comparison with that of the immortal and inward
representation and shadow of His own Infinite Mind; that I have toiled
through what the world calls wisdom, the lore of the old fathers and
time-honored philosophy, not for the dream of power and gratified
ambition, not for the alchemist's gold or life-giving elixir, but with
an eye single to that which I conceived to be the most fitting object of
a godlike spirit, the discovery of Truth,--truth perfect and unclouded,
truth in its severe and perfect beauty, truth as it sits in awe and
holiness in the presence of its Original and Source!

"Was my aim too lofty?  It cannot be; for my Creator has given me a
spirit which would spurn a meaner one.  I have studied to act in
accordance with His will; yet have I felt all along like one walking in
blindness.  I have listened to the living champions of the Church; I
have pored over the remains of the dead; but doubt and heavy darkness
still rest upon my pathway.  I find contradiction where I had looked for
harmony; ambiguity where I had expected clearness; zeal taking the place
of reason; anger, intolerance, personal feuds and sectarian bitterness,
interminable discussions and weary controversies; while infinite Truth,
for which I have been seeking, lies still beyond, or seen, if at all,
only by transient and unsatisfying glimpses, obscured and darkened by
miserable subtilties and cabalistic mysteries."

He was interrupted by the entrance of a servant with a letter.  The
student broke its well-known seal, and read, in a delicate chirography,
the following words:--

"DEAR ERNEST,--A stranger from the English Kingdom, of gentle birth and
education, hath visited me at the request of the good Princess Elizabeth
of the Palatine.  He is a preacher of the new faith, a zealous and
earnest believer in the gifts of the Spirit, but not like John de
Labadie or the lady Schurmans.

     [J. de Labadie, Anna Maria Schurmans, and others, dissenters from
     the French Protestants, established themselves in Holland, 1670.]

"He speaks like one sent on a message from heaven, a message of wisdom
and salvation.  Come, Ernest, and see him; for he hath but a brief hour
to tarry with us.  Who knoweth but that this stranger may be
commissioned to lead us to that which we have so long and anxiously
sought for,--the truth as it is in God.

"Now may Heaven bless the sweet enthusiast for this interruption of my
bitter reflections!" said the student, in the earnest tenderness of
impassioned feeling.  "She knows how gladly I shall obey her summons;
she knows how readily I shall forsake the dogmas of our wisest
schoolmen, to obey the slightest wishes of a heart pure and generous as

He passed hastily through one of the principal streets of the city to
the dwelling of the lady, Eleonora.

In a large and gorgeous apartment sat the Englishman, his plain and
simple garb contrasting strongly with the richness and luxury around
him.  He was apparently quite young, and of a tall and commanding
figure.  His countenance was calm and benevolent; it bore no traces of
passion; care had not marked it; there was a holy serenity in its
expression, which seemed a token of that inward "peace which passeth all

"And this is thy friend, Eleonora?" said the stranger, as he offered his
hand to Ernest.  "I hear," he said, addressing the latter, "thou hast
been a hard student and a lover of philosophy."

"I am but a humble inquirer after Truth," replied Ernest.

"From whence hast thou sought it?"

"From the sacred volume, from the lore of the old fathers, from the
fountains of philosophy, and from my own brief experience of human

"And hast thou attained thy object?"

"Alas, no!" replied the student; "I have thus far toiled in vain."

"Ah! thus must the children of this world ever toil, wearily, wearily,
but in vain.  We grasp at shadows, we grapple with the fashionless air,
we walk in the blindness of our own vain imaginations, we compass heaven
and earth for our objects, and marvel that we find them not.  The truth
which is of God, the crown of wisdom, the pearl of exceeding price,
demands not this vain-glorious research; easily to be entreated, it
lieth within the reach of all.  The eye of the humblest spirit may
discern it.  For He who respecteth not the persons of His children hath
not set it afar off, unapproachable save to the proud and lofty; but
hath made its refreshing fountains to murmur, as it were, at the very
door of our hearts.  But in the encumbering hurry of the world we
perceive it not; in the noise of our daily vanities we hear not the
waters of Siloah which go softly.  We look widely abroad; we lose
ourselves in vain speculation; we wander in the crooked paths of those
who have gone before us; yea, in the language of one of the old fathers,
we ask the earth and it replieth not, we question the sea and its
inhabitants, we turn to the sun, and the moon, and the stars of heaven,
and they may not satisfy us; we ask our eyes, and they cannot see, and
our ears, and they cannot hear; we turn to books, and they delude us; we
seek philosophy, and no response cometh from its dead and silent

     [August.  Soliloq.  Cap.  XXXI.  "Interrogavi Terram," etc.]

"It is not in the sky above, nor in the air around, nor in the earth
beneath; it is in our own spirits, it lives within us; and if we would
find it, like the lost silver of the woman of the parable, we must look
at home, to the inward temple, which the inward eye discovereth, and
wherein the spirit of all truth is manifested.  The voice of that spirit
is still and small, and the light about it shineth in darkness.  But
truth is there; and if we seek it in low humility, in a patient waiting
upon its author, with a giving up of our natural pride of knowledge, a
seducing of self, a quiet from all outward endeavor, it will assuredly
be revealed and fully made known.  For as the angel rose of old from the
altar of Manoah even so shall truth arise from the humbling sacrifice of
self-knowledge and human vanity, in all its eternal and ineffable

"Seekest thou, like Pilate, after truth?  Look thou within.  The holy
principle is there; that in whose light the pure hearts of all time have
rejoiced.  It is 'the great light of ages' of which Pythagoras speaks,
the 'good spirit' of Socrates; the 'divine mind' of Anaxagoras; the
'perfect principle' of Plato; the 'infallible and immortal law, and
divine power of reason' of Philo.  It is the 'unbegotten principle and
source of all light,' whereof Timmus testifieth; the 'interior guide of
the soul and everlasting foundation of virtue,' spoken of by Plutarch.
Yea, it was the hope and guide of those virtuous Gentiles, who, doing by
nature the things contained in the law, became a law unto themselves.

"Look to thyself.  Turn thine eye inward.  Heed not the opinion of the
world.  Lean not upon the broken reed of thy philosophy, thy verbal
orthodoxy, thy skill in tongues, thy knowledge of the Fathers.  Remember
that truth was seen by the humble fishermen of Galilee, and overlooked
by the High Priest of the Temple, by the Rabbi and the Pharisee.  Thou
canst not hope to reach it by the metaphysics of Fathers, Councils,
Schoolmen, and Universities.  It lies not in the high places of human
learning; it is in the silent sanctuary of thy own heart; for He, who
gave thee an immortal soul, hath filled it with a portion of that truth
which is the image of His own unapproachable light.  The voice of that
truth is within thee; heed thou its whisper.  A light is kindled in thy
soul, which, if thou carefully heedest it, shall shine more and more
even unto the perfect day."

The stranger paused, and the student melted into tears.  "Stranger!" he
said, "thou hast taken a weary weight from my heart, and a heavy veil
from my eyes.  I feel that thou hast revealed a wisdom which is not of
this world."

"Nay, I am but a humble instrument in the hand of Him who is the
fountain of all truth, and the beginning and the end of all wisdom.  May
the message which I have borne thee be sanctified to thy well-being."

"Oh, heed him, Ernest!" said the lady.  "It is the holy truth which has
been spoken.  Let us rejoice in this truth, and, forgetting the world,
live only for it."

"Oh, may He who watcheth over all His children keep thee in faith of thy
resolution!" said the Preacher, fervently.  "Humble yourselves to
receive instruction, and it shall be given you. Turn away now in your
youth from the corrupting pleasures of the world, heed not its hollow
vanities, and that peace which is not such as the world giveth, the
peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall be yours.  Yet, let
not yours be the world's righteousness, the world's peace, which shuts
itself up in solitude.  Encloister not the body, but rather shut up the
soul from sin.  Live in the world, but overcome it: lead a life of
purity in the face of its allurements: learn, from the holy principle of
truth within you, to do justly in the sight of its Author, to meet
reproach without anger, to live without offence, to love those that
offend you, to visit the widow and the fatherless, and keep yourselves
unspotted from the world."

"Eleonora!" said the humbled student, "truth is plain before us; can we
follow its teachings?  Alas! canst thou, the daughter of a noble house,
forget the glory of thy birth, and, in the beauty of thy years, tread in
that lowly path, which the wisdom of the world accounteth foolishness?"

"Yes, Ernest, rejoicingly can I do it!" said the lady; and the bright
glow of a lofty purpose gave a spiritual expression to her majestic
beauty.  "Glory to God in the highest, that He hath visited us in

"Lady!" said the Preacher, "the day-star of truth has arisen in thy
heart; follow thou its light even unto salvation.  Live an harmonious
life to the curious make and frame of thy creation; and let the beauty
of thy person teach thee to beautify thy mind with holiness, the
ornament of the beloved of God.  Remember that the King of Zion's
daughter is all-glorious within; and if thy soul excel, thy body will
only set off the lustre of thy mind.  Let not the spirit of this world,
its cares and its many vanities, its fashions and discourse, prevail
over the civility of thy nature.  Remember that sin brought the first
coat, and thou wilt have little reason to be proud of dress or the
adorning of thy body.  Seek rather the enduring ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, the beauty and the purity of the altar of God's temple,
rather than the decoration of its outward walls.  For, as the Spartan
monarch said of old to his daughter, when he restrained her from wearing
the rich dresses of Sicily, 'Thou wilt seem more lovely to me without
them,' so shalt thou seem, in thy lowliness and humility, more lovely in
the sight of Heaven and in the eyes of the pure of earth.  Oh, preserve
in their freshness thy present feelings, wait in humble resignation and
in patience, even if it be all thy days, for the manifestations of Him
who as a father careth for all His children."

"I will endeavor, I will endeavor!"  said the lady, humbled in spirit,
and in tears.

The stranger took the hand of each.  "Farewell!" he said, "I must needs
depart, for I have much work before me.  God's peace be with you; and
that love be around you, which has been to me as the green pasture and
the still water, the shadow in a weary land."

And the stranger went his way; but the lady and her lover, in all their
after life, and amidst the trials and persecutions which they were
called to suffer in the cause of truth, remembered with joy and
gratitude the instructions of the pure-hearted and eloquent William

                             DAVID MATSON.

             Published originally in Our Young Folks, 1865.

WHO of my young friends have read the sorrowful story of "Enoch Arden,"
so sweetly and simply told by the great English poet?  It is the story
of a man who went to sea, leaving behind a sweet young wife and little
daughter.  He was cast away on a desert island, where he remained
several years, when he was discovered and taken off by a passing vessel.
Coming back to his native town, he found his wife married to an old
playmate, a good man, rich and honored, and with whom she was living
happily.  The poor man, unwilling to cause her pain and perplexity,
resolved not to make himself known to her, and lived and died alone.
The poem has reminded me of a very similar story of my own New England
neighborhood, which I have often heard, and which I will try to tell,
not in poetry, like Alfred Tennyson's, but in my own poor prose.  I can
assure my readers that in its main particulars it is a true tale.

One bright summer morning, not more than fourscore years ago, David
Matson, with his young wife and his two healthy, barefooted boys, stood
on the bank of the river near their dwelling.  They were waiting for
Pelatiah Curtis to come round the point with his wherry, and take the
husband and father to the port, a few miles below.  The Lively Turtle
was about to sail on a voyage to Spain, and David was to go in her as
mate.  They stood there in the level morning sunshine talking
cheerfully; but had you been near enough, you could have seen tears in
Anna Matson's blue eyes, for she loved her husband and knew there was
always danger on the sea.  And David's bluff, cheery voice trembled a
little now and then, for the honest sailor loved his snug home on the
Merrimac, with the dear wife and her pretty boys.  But presently the
wherry came alongside, and David was just stepping into it, when he
turned back to kiss his wife and children once more.

"In with you, man," said Pelatiah Curtis.  "There is no time for kissing
and such fooleries when the tide serves."

And so they parted.  Anna and the boys went back to their home, and
David to the Port, whence he sailed off in the Lively Turtle.  And
months passed, autumn followed summer, and winter the autumn, and then
spring came, and anon it was summer on the river-side, and he did not
come back.  And another year passed, and then the old sailors and
fishermen shook their heads solemnly, and, said that the Lively Turtle
was a lost ship, and would never come back to port.  And poor Anna had
her bombazine gown dyed black, and her straw bonnet trimmed in mourning
ribbons, and thenceforth she was known only as the Widow Matson.

And how was it all this time with David himself?

Now you must know that the Mohammedan people of Algiers and Tripoli, and
Mogadore and Sallee, on the Barbary coast, had been for a long time in
the habit of fitting out galleys and armed boats to seize upon the
merchant vessels of Christian nations, and make slaves of their crews
and passengers, just as men calling themselves Christians in America
were sending vessels to Africa to catch black slaves for their
plantations.  The Lively Turtle fell into the hands of one of these sea-
robbers, and the crew were taken to Algiers, and sold in the market
place as slaves, poor David Matson among the rest.

When a boy he had learned the trade of ship-carpenter with his father on
the Merrimac; and now he was set to work in the dock-yards.  His master,
who was naturally a kind man, did not overwork him.  He had daily his
three loaves of bread, and when his clothing was worn out, its place was
supplied by the coarse cloth of wool and camel's hair woven by the
Berber women.  Three hours before sunset he was released from work, and
Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabhath, was a day of entire rest.  Once
a year, at the season called Ramadan, he was left at leisure for a whole
week.  So time went on,--days, weeks, months, and years.  His dark hair
became gray.  He still dreamed of his old home on the Merrimac, and of
his good Anna and the boys.  He wondered whether they yet lived, what
they thought of him, and what they were doing.  The hope of ever seeing
them again grew fainter and fainter, and at last nearly died out; and he
resigned himself to his fate as a slave for life.

But one day a handsome middle-aged gentleman, in the dress of one of his
own countrymen, attended by a great officer of the Dey, entered the
ship-yard, and called up before him the American captives.  The stranger
was none other than Joel Barlow, Commissioner of the United States to
procure the liberation of slaves belonging to that government.  He took
the men by the hand as they came up, and told them that they were free.
As you might expect, the poor fellows were very grateful; some laughed,
some wept for joy, some shouted and sang, and threw up their caps, while
others, with David Matson among them, knelt down on the chips, and
thanked God for the great deliverance.

"This is a very affecting scene," said the commissioner, wiping his
eyes.  "I must keep the impression of it for my 'Columbiad';" and
drawing out his tablet, he proceeded to write on the spot an apostrophe
to Freedom, which afterwards found a place in his great epic.

David Matson had saved a little money during his captivity by odd jobs
and work on holidays.  He got a passage to Malaga, where he bought a
nice shawl for his wife and a watch for each of his boys.  He then went
to the quay, where an American ship was lying just ready to sail for

Almost the first man he saw on board was Pelatiah Curtis, who had rowed
him down to the port seven years before.  He found that his old neighbor
did not know him, so changed was he with his long beard and Moorish
dress, whereupon, without telling his name, he began to put questions
about his old home, and finally asked him if he knew a Mrs. Matson.

"I rather think I do," said Pelatiah; "she's my wife."

"Your wife!" cried the other.  "She is mine before God and man.  I am
David Matson, and she is the mother of my children."

"And mine too!"  said Pelatiah.  "I left her with a baby in her arms.
If you are David Matson, your right to her is outlawed; at any rate she
is mine, and I am not the man to give her up."

"God is great!" said poor David Matson, unconsciously repeating the
familiar words of Moslem submission.  "His will be done.  I loved her,
but I shall never see her again.  Give these, with my blessing, to the
good woman and the boys," and he handed over, with a sigh, the little
bundle containing the gifts for his wife and children.

He shook hands with his rival.  "Pelatiah," he said, looking back as he
left the ship, "be kind to Anna and my boys."

"Ay, ay, sir!" responded the sailor in a careless tone.  He watched the
poor man passing slowly up the narrow street until out of sight.  "It's
a hard case for old David," he said, helping himself to a fresh quid of
tobacco, "but I 'm glad I 've seen the last of him."

When Pelatiah Curtis reached home he told Anna the story of her husband
and laid his gifts in her lap.  She did not shriek nor faint, for she
was a healthy woman with strong nerves; but she stole away by herself
and wept bitterly.  She lived many years after, but could never be
persuaded to wear the pretty shawl which the husband of her youth had
sent as his farewell gift.  There is, however, a tradition that, in
accordance with her dying wish, it was wrapped about her poor old
shoulders in the coffin, and buried with her.

The little old bull's-eye watch, which is still in the possession of one
of her grandchildren, is now all that remains to tell of David Matson,--
the lost man.

                       THE FISH I DID N'T CATCH.

    Published originally in The Little Pilgrim, Philadelphia, 1843.

OUR old homestead (the house was very old for a new country, having been
built about the time that the Prince of, Orange drove out James the
Second) nestled under a long range of hills which stretched off to the
west.  It was surrounded by woods in all directions save to the
southeast, where a break in the leafy wall revealed a vista of low green
meadows, picturesque with wooded islands and jutting capes of upland.
Through these, a small brook, noisy enough as it foamed, rippled, and
laughed down its rocky falls by our gardenside, wound, silently and
scarcely visible, to a still larger stream, known as the Country Brook.
This brook in its turn, after doing duty at two or three saw and grist
mills, the clack of which we could hear in still days across the
intervening woodlands, found its way to the great river, and the river
took it up and bore it down to the great sea.

I have not much reason for speaking well of these meadows, or rather
bogs, for they were wet most of the year; but in the early days they
were highly prized by the settlers, as they furnished natural mowing
before the uplands could be cleared of wood and stones and laid down to
grass.  There is a tradition that the hay-harvesters of two adjoining
towns quarrelled about a boundary question, and fought a hard battle one
summer morning in that old time, not altogether bloodless, but by no
means as fatal as the fight between the rival Highland clans, described
by Scott in "The Fair Maid of Perth."  I used to wonder at their folly,
when I was stumbling over the rough hassocks, and sinking knee-deep in
the black mire, raking the sharp sickle-edged grass which we used to
feed out to the young cattle in midwinter when the bitter cold gave them
appetite for even such fodder.  I had an almost Irish hatred of snakes,
and these meadows were full of them,--striped, green, dingy water-
snakes, and now and then an ugly spotted adder by no means pleasant to
touch with bare feet.  There were great black snakes, too, in the ledges
of the neighboring knolls; and on one occasion in early spring I found
myself in the midst of a score at least of them,--holding their wicked
meeting of a Sabbath morning on the margin of a deep spring in the
meadows.  One glimpse at their fierce shining beads in the sunshine, as
they roused themselves at my approach, was sufficient to send me at full
speed towards the nearest upland.  The snakes, equally scared, fled in
the same direction; and, looking back, I saw the dark monsters following
close at my heels, terrible as the Black Horse rebel regiment at Bull
Run.  I had, happily, sense enough left to step aside and let the ugly
troop glide into the bushes.

Nevertheless, the meadows had their redeeming points.  In spring
mornings the blackbirds and bobolinks made them musical with songs; and
in the evenings great bullfrogs croaked and clamored; and on summer
nights we loved to watch the white wreaths of fog rising and drifting in
the moonlight like troops of ghosts, with the fireflies throwing up ever
and anon signals of their coming.  But the Brook was far more
attractive, for it had sheltered hathing-places, clear and white sanded,
and weedy stretches, where the shy pickerel loved to linger, and deep
pools, where the stupid sucker stirred the black mud with his fins.  I
had followed it all the way from its birthplace among the pleasant New
Hampshire hills, through the sunshine of broad, open meadows, and under
the shadow of thick woods.  It was, for the most part, a sober, quiet
little river; but at intervals it broke into a low, rippling laugh over
rocks and trunks of fallen trees.  There had, so tradition said, once
been a witch-meeting on its banks, of six little old women in short,
sky-blue cloaks; and if a drunken teamster could be credited, a ghost
was once seen bobbing for eels under Country Bridge.  It ground our corn
and rye for us, at its two grist-mills; and we drove our sheep to it for
their spring washing, an anniversary which was looked forward to with
intense delight, for it was always rare fun for the youngsters.
Macaulay has sung,--

               "That year young lads in Umbro
               Shall plunge the struggling sheep;"

and his picture of the Roman sheep-washing recalled, when we read it,
similar scenes in the Country Brook.  On its banks we could always find
the earliest and the latest wild flowers, from the pale blue, three-
lobed hepatica, and small, delicate wood-anemone, to the yellow bloom of
the witch-hazel burning in the leafless October woods.

Yet, after all, I think the chief attraction of the Brook to my brother
and myself was the fine fishing it afforded us.  Our bachelor uncle who
lived with us (there has always been one of that unfortunate class in
every generation of our family) was a quiet, genial man, much given to
hunting and fishing; and it was one of the great pleasures of our young
life to accompany him on his expeditions to Great Hill, Brandy-brow
Woods, the Pond, and, best of all, to the Country Brook.  We were quite
willing to work hard in the cornfield or the haying-lot to finish the
necessary day's labor in season for an afternoon stroll through the
woods and along the brookside.  I remember my first fishing excursion as
if it were but yesterday.  I have been happy many times in my life, but
never more intensely so than when I received that first fishing-pole
from my uncle's hand, and trudged off with him through the woods and
meadows.  It was a still sweet day of early summer; the long afternoon
shadows of the trees lay cool across our path; the leaves seemed
greener, the flowers brighter, the birds merrier, than ever before.
My uncle, who knew by long experience where were the best haunts of
pickerel, considerately placed me at the most favorable point.  I threw
out my line as I had so often seen others, and waited anxiously for a
bite, moving the bait in rapid jerks on the surface of the water in
imitation of the leap of a frog.  Nothing came of it.  "Try again," said
my uncle.  Suddenly the bait sank out of sight.  "Now for it," thought
I; "here is a fish at last."  I made a strong pull, and brought up a
tangle of weeds.  Again and again I cast out my line with aching arms,
and drew it back empty.  I looked to my uncle appealingly.  "Try once
more," he said.  "We fishermen must have patience."

Suddenly something tugged at my line and swept off with it into deep
water.  Jerking it up, I saw a fine pickerel wriggling in the sun.
"Uncle!" I cried, looking back in uncontrollable excitement, "I've got a
fish!"  "Not yet," said my uncle.  As he spoke there was a plash in the
water; I caught the arrowy gleam of a scared fish shooting into the
middle of the stream; my hook hung empty from the line.  I had lost my

We are apt to speak of the sorrows of childhood as trifles in comparison
with those of grown-up people; but we may depend upon it the young folks
don't agree with us.  Our griefs, modified and restrained by reason,
experience, and self-respect, keep the proprieties, and, if possible,
avoid a scene; but the sorrow of childhood, unreasoning and all-
absorbing, is a complete abandonment to the passion.  The doll's nose is
broken, and the world breaks up with it; the marble rolls out of sight,
and the solid globe rolls off with the marble.

So, overcome by my great and bitter disappointment, I sat down on the
nearest hassock, and for a time refused to be comforted, even by my
uncle's assurance that there were more fish in the brook.  He refitted
my bait, and, putting the pole again in my hands, told me to try my luck
once more.

"But remember, boy," he said, with his shrewd smile, "never brag of
catching a fish until he is on dry ground.  I've seen older folks doing
that in more ways than one, and so making fools of themselves.  It 's no
use to boast of anything until it 's done, nor then either, for it
speaks for itself."

How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I did not catch!
When I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to
anticipate the credit which belongs only to actual achievement, I call
to mind that scene by the brookside, and the wise caution of my uncle in
that particular instance takes the form of a proverb of universal
application: "Never brag of your fish before you catch him."

                             YANKEE GYPSIES.

     "Here's to budgets, packs, and wallets; Here's to all the wandering

I CONFESS it, I am keenly sensitive to "skyey influences."  I profess no
indifference to the movements of that capricious old gentleman known as
the clerk of the weather.  I cannot conceal my interest in the behavior
of that patriarchal bird whose wooden similitude gyrates on the church
spire.  Winter proper is well enough.  Let the thermometer go to zero if
it will; so much the better, if thereby the very winds are frozen and
unable to flap their stiff wings.  Sounds of bells in the keen air,
clear, musical, heart-inspiring; quick tripping of fair moccasined feet
on glittering ice pavements; bright eyes glancing above the uplifted
muff like a sultana's behind the folds of her /yashmac/; schoolboys
coasting down street like mad Greenlanders; the cold brilliance of
oblique sunbeams flashing back from wide surfaces of glittering snow or
blazing upon ice jewelry of tree and roof.  There is nothing in all this
to complain of.  A storm of summer has its redeeming sublimities,--its
slow, upheaving mountains of cloud glooming in the western horizon like
new-created volcanoes, veined with fire, shattered by exploding
thunders.  Even the wild gales of the equinox have their varieties,
--sounds of wind-shaken woods and waters, creak and clatter of sign and
casement, hurricane puffs and down-rushing rain-spouts.  But this dull,
dark autumn day of thaw and rain, when the very clouds seem too
spiritless and languid to storm outright or take themselves out of the
way of fair weather; wet beneath and above; reminding one of that
rayless atmosphere of Dante's Third Circle, where the infernal
Priessnitz administers his hydropathic torment,--

              "A heavy, cursed, and relentless drench,--
               The land it soaks is putrid;"

or rather, as everything animate and inanimate is seething in warm mist,
suggesting the idea that Nature, grown old and rheumatic, is trying the
efficacy of a Thompsonian steam-box on a grand scale; no sounds save the
heavy plash of muddy feet on the pavements; the monotonous melancholy
drip from trees and roofs; the distressful gurgling of waterducts,
swallowing the dirty amalgam of the gutters; a dim, leaden-colored
horizon of only a few yards in diameter, shutting down about one, beyond
which nothing is visible save in faint line or dark projection; the
ghost of a church spire or the eidolon of a chimney-pot.  He who can
extract pleasurable emotions from the alembic of such a day has a trick
of alchemy with which I am wholly unacquainted.

Hark! a rap at my door.  Welcome anybody just now.  One gains nothing by
attempting to shut out the sprites of the weather.  They come in at the
keyhole; they peer through the dripping panes; they insinuate themselves
through the crevices of the casement, or plump down chimney astride of
the rain-drops.

I rise and throw open the door.  A tall, shambling, loose-jointed
figure; a pinched, shrewd face, sun-browned and wind-dried; small,
quick-winking black eyes.  There he stands, the water dripping from his
pulpy hat and ragged elbows.

I speak to him, but he returns no answer.  With a dumb show of misery,
quite touching, he hands me a soiled piece of parchment, whereon I read
what purports to be a melancholy account of shipwreck and disaster, to
the particular detriment, loss, and damnification of one Pietro Frugoni,
who is, in consequence, sorely in want of the alms of all charitable
Christian persons, and who is, in short, the bearer of this veracious
document, duly certified and indorsed by an Italian consul in one of our
Atlantic cities, of a high-sounding, but to Yankee organs
unpronounceable name.

Here commences a struggle.  Every man, the Mohammedans tell us, has two
attendant angels,--the good one on his right shoulder, the bad on his
left.  "Give," says Benevolence, as with some difficulty I fish up a
small coin from the depths of my pocket.  "Not a cent," says selfish
Prudence; and I drop it from my fingers.  "Think," says the good angel,
"of the poor stranger in a strange land, just escaped from the terrors
of the sea-storm, in which his little property has perished, thrown
half-naked and helpless on our shores, ignorant of our language, and
unable to find employment suited to his capacity."  "A vile impostor!"
replies the lefthand sentinel.  "His paper, purchased from one of those
ready-writers in New York who manufacture beggar-credentials at the low
price of one dollar per copy, with earthquakes, fires, or shipwrecks, to
suit customers."

Amidst this confusion of tongues I take another survey of my visitant.
Ha! a light dawns upon me.  That shrewd old face, with its sharp,
winking eyes, is no stranger to me.  Pietro Frugoni, I have seen thee
before.  Si, signor, that face of thine has looked at me over a dirty
white neckcloth, with the corners of that cunning mouth drawn downwards,
and those small eyes turned up in sanctimonious gravity, while thou wast
offering to a crowd of halfgrown boys an extemporaneous exhortation in
the capacity of a travelling preacher.  Have I not seen it peering out
from under a blanket, as that of a poor Penobscot Indian, who had lost
the use of his hands while trapping on the Madawaska?  Is it not the
face of the forlorn father of six small children, whom the "marcury
doctors" had "pisened" and crippled?  Did it not belong to that down-
East unfortunate who had been out to the "Genesee country" and got the
"fevern-nager," and whose hand shook so pitifully when held out to
receive my poor gift?  The same, under all disguises,--Stephen Leathers,
of Barrington,--him, and none other!  Let me conjure him into his own

"Well, Stephen, what news from old Barrington?"

"Oh, well, I thought I knew ye," he answers, not the least disconcerted.
"How do you do?  and how's your folks?  All well, I hope.  I took this
'ere paper, you see, to help a poor furriner, who couldn't make himself
understood any more than a wild goose.  I thought I 'd just start him
for'ard a little.  It seemed a marcy to do it."

Well and shiftily answered, thou ragged Proteus.  One cannot be angry
with such a fellow.  I will just inquire into the present state of his
Gospel mission and about the condition of his tribe on the Penobscot;
and it may be not amiss to congratulate him on the success of the steam-
doctors in sweating the "pisen" of the regular faculty out of him.  But
he evidently has no'wish to enter into idle conversation.  Intent upon
his benevolent errand, he is already clattering down stairs.
Involuntarily I glance out of the window just in season to catch a
single glimpse of him ere he is swallowed up in the mist.

He has gone; and, knave as he is, I can hardly help exclaiming, "Luck go
with him!"  He has broken in upon the sombre train of my thoughts and
called up before me pleasant and grateful recollections.  The old farm-
house nestling in its valley; hills stretching off to the south and
green meadows to the east; the small stream which came noisily down its
ravine, washing the old garden-wall and softly lapping on fallen stones
and mossy roots of beeches and hemlocks; the tall sentinel poplars at
the gateway; the oak-forest, sweeping unbroken to the northern horizon;
the grass-grown carriage-path, with its rude and crazy bridge,--the dear
old landscape of my boyhood lies outstretched before me like a
daguerreotype from that picture within which I have borne with me in all
my wanderings.  I am a boy again, once more conscious of the feeling,
half terror, half exultation, with which I used to announce the approach
of this very vagabond and his "kindred after the flesh."

The advent of wandering beggars, or "old stragglers," as we were wont
to call them, was an event of no ordinary interest in the generally
monotonous quietude of our farm-life.  Many of them were well known;
they had their periodical revolutions and transits; we could calculate
them like eclipses or new moons.  Some were sturdy knaves, fat and
saucy; and, whenever they ascertained that the "men folks" were absent,
would order provisions and cider like men who expected to pay for them,
seating themselves at the hearth or table with the air of Falstaff,--
"Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?"  Others, poor, pale, patient,
like Sterne's monk, came creeping up to the door, hat in hand, standing
there in their gray wretchedness with a look of heartbreak and
forlornness which was never without its effect on our juvenile
sensibilities.  At times, however, we experienced a slight revulsion of
feeling when even these humblest children of sorrow somewhat petulantly
rejected our proffered bread and cheese, and demanded instead a glass of
cider.  Whatever the temperance society might in such cases have done,
it was not in our hearts to refuse the poor creatures a draught of their
favorite beverage; and was n't it a satisfaction to see their sad,
melancholy faces light up as we handed them the full pitcher, and, on
receiving it back empty from their brown, wrinkled hands, to hear them,
half breathless from their long, delicious draught, thanking us for the
favor, as "dear, good children!"  Not unfrequently these wandering tests
of our benevolence made their appearance in interesting groups of man,
woman, and child, picturesque in their squalidness, and manifesting a
maudlin affection which would have done honor to the revellers at
Poosie-Nansie's, immortal in the cantata of Burns.  I remember some who
were evidently the victims of monomania,--haunted and hunted by some
dark thought,--possessed by a fixed idea.  One, a black-eyed, wild-
haired woman, with a whole tragedy of sin, shame, and suffering written
in her countenance, used often to visit us, warm herself by our winter
fire, and supply herself with a stock of cakes and cold meat; but was
never known to answer a question or to ask one.  She never smiled; the
cold, stony look of her eye never changed; a silent, impassive face,
frozen rigid by some great wrong or sin.  We used to look with awe upon
the "still woman," and think of the demoniac of Scripture who had a
"dumb spirit."

One--I think I see him now, grim, gaunt, and ghastly, working his slow
way up to our door--used to gather herbs by the wayside and call himself
doctor.  He was bearded like a he goat and used to counterfeit lameness,
yet, when he supposed himself alone, would travel on lustily as if
walking for a wager.  At length, as if in punishment of his deceit, he
met with an accident in his rambles and became lame in earnest, hobbling
ever after with difficulty on his gnarled crutches.  Another used to go
stooping, like Bunyan's pilgrim, under a pack made of an old bed-
sacking, stuffed out into most plethoric dimensions, tottering on a pair
of small, meagre legs, and peering out with his wild, hairy face from
under his burden like a big-bodied spider.  That "man with the pack"
always inspired me with awe and reverence.  Huge, almost sublime, in its
tense rotundity, the father of all packs, never laid aside and never
opened, what might there not be within it?  With what flesh-creeping
curiosity I used to walk round about it at a safe distance, half
expecting to see its striped covering stirred by the motions of a
mysterious life, or that some evil monster would leap out of it, like
robbers from Ali Baba's jars or armed men from the Trojan horse!

There was another class of peripatetic philosophers--half pedler, half
mendicant--who were in the habit of visiting us.  One we recollect, a
lame, unshaven, sinister-eyed, unwholesome fellow, with his basket of
old newspapers and pamphlets, and his tattered blue umbrella, serving
rather as a walking staff than as a protection from the rain.  He told
us on one occasion, in answer to our inquiring into the cause of his
lameness, that when a young man he was employed on the farm of the chief
magistrate of a neighboring State; where, as his ill-luck would have it,
the governor's handsome daughter fell in love with him.  He was caught
one day in the young lady's room by her father; whereupon the irascible
old gentleman pitched him unceremoniously out of the window, laming him
for life, on the brick pavement below, like Vulcan on the rocks of
Lemnos.  As for the lady, he assured us "she took on dreadfully about
it."  "Did she die?"  we inquired anxiously.  There was a cun-ing
twinkle in the old rogue's eye as he responded, "Well, no, she did n't.
She got married."

Twice a year, usually in the spring and autumn, we were honored with a
call from Jonathan Plummer, maker of verses, pedler and poet, physician
and parson,--a Yankee troubadour,--first and last minstrel of the valley
of the Merrimac, encircled, to my wondering young eyes, with the very
nimbus of immortality. He brought with him pins, needles, tape, and
cotton-thread for my mother; jack-knives, razors, and soap for my
father; and verses of his own composing, coarsely printed and
illustrated with rude wood-cuts, for the delectation of the younger
branches of the family.  No lovesick youth could drown himself, no
deserted maiden bewail the moon, no rogue mount the gallows, without
fitting memorial in Plummer's verses.  Earthquakes, fires, fevers, and
shipwrecks he regarded as personal favors from Providence, furnishing
the raw material of song and ballad.  Welcome to us in our country
seclusion as Autolycus to the clown in Winter's Tale, we listened with
infinite satisfaction to his readings of his own verses, or to his ready
improvisation upon some domestic incident or topic suggested by his
auditors.  When once fairly over the difficulties at the outset of a new
subject, his rhymes flowed freely, "as if he had eaten ballads and all
men's ears grew to his tunes."  His productions answered, as nearly as I
can remember, to Shakespeare's description of a proper ballad,--"doleful
matter merrily set down, or a very pleasant theme sung lamentably."  He
was scrupulously conscientious, devout, inclined to theological
disquisitions, and withal mighty in Scripture.  He was thoroughly
independent; flattered nobody, cared for nobody, trusted nobody.  When
invited to sit down at our dinner-table, be invariably took the
precaution to place his basket of valuables between his legs for safe
keeping.  "Never mind thy basket, Jonathan," said my father; "we
sha'n't steal thy verses."--"I'm not sure of that," returned the
suspicious guest.  "It is written, 'Trust ye not in any brother.'"

Thou too, O Parson B------, with thy pale student's brow and rubicund
nose, with thy rusty and tattered black coat overswept by white flowing
locks, with thy professional white neckcloth scrupulously preserved when
even a shirt to thy back was problematical,--art by no means to be
overlooked in the muster-roll of vagrant gentlemen possessing the entree
of our farm-house.  Well do we remember with what grave and dignified
courtesy he used to step over its threshold, saluting its inmates with
the same air of gracious condescension and patronage with which in
better days he had delighted the hearts of his parishioners.  Poor old
man!  He had once been the admired and almost worshipped minister of the
largest church in the town where he afterwards found support in the
winter season as a pauper.  He had early fallen into intemperate habits;
and at the age of threescore and ten, when I remember him, he was only
sober when he lacked the means of being otherwise.  Drunk or sober,
however, he never altogether forgot the proprieties of his profession;
he was always grave, decorous, and gentlemanly; he held fast the form of
sound words, and the weakness of the flesh abated nothing of the rigor
of his stringent theology.  He had been a favorite pupil of the learned
and astute Emmons, and was to the last a sturdy defender of the peculiar
dogmas of his school.  The last time we saw him he was holding a meeting
in our district school-house, with a vagabond pedler for deacon and
travelling companion.  The tie which united the ill-assorted couple was
doubtless the same which endeared Tam O'Shanter to the souter:--

               "They had been fou for weeks thegither."

He took for his text the first seven verses of the concluding chapter of
Ecclesiastes, furnishing in himself its fitting illustration.  The evil
days had come; the keepers of the house trembled; the windows of life
were darkened.  A few months later the silver cord was loosened, the
golden bowl was broken, and between the poor old man and the temptations
which beset him fell the thick curtains of the grave.

One day we had a call from a "pawky auld carle" of a wandering
Scotchman.  To him I owe my first introduction to the songs of Burns.
After eating his bread and cheese and drinking his mug of cider he gave
us Bonny Doon, Highland Mary, and Auld Lang Syne.  He had a rich, full
voice, and entered heartily into the spirit of his lyrics.  I have since
listened to the same melodies from the lips of Dempster, than whom the
Scottish bard has had no sweeter or truer interpreter; but the skilful
performance of the artist lacked the novel charm of the gaberlunzie's
singing in the old farmhouse kitchen.  Another wanderer made us
acquainted with the humorous old ballad of "Our gude man cam hame at
e'en."  He applied for supper and lodging, and the next morning was set
at work splitting stones in the pasture.  While thus engaged the village
doctor came riding along the highway on his fine, spirited horse, and
stopped to talk with my father.  The fellow eyed the animal attentively,
as if familiar with all his good points, and hummed over a stanza of the
old poem:--

                   "Our gude man cam hame at e'en,
                    And hame cam be;
                    And there he saw a saddle horse
                    Where nae horse should be.
                    'How cam this horse here?
                    How can it be?
                    How cam this horse here
                    Without the leave of me?'
                    'A horse?' quo she.
                    'Ay, a horse,' quo he.
                    'Ye auld fool, ye blind fool,--
                    And blinder might ye be,--
                    'T is naething but a milking cow
                    My mamma sent to me.'
                    A milch cow?' quo he.
                    'Ay, a milch cow,' quo she.
                    'Weel, far hae I ridden,
                    And muckle hae I seen;
                    But milking cows wi' saddles on
                    Saw I never nane.'"

That very night the rascal decamped, taking with him the doctor's horse,
and was never after heard of.

Often, in the gray of the morning, we used to see one or more
"gaberlunzie men," pack on shoulder and staff in hand, emerging from the
barn or other outbuildings where they had passed the night.  I was once
sent to the barn to fodder the cattle late in the evening, and, climbing
into the mow to pitch down hay for that purpose, I was startled by the
sudden apparition of a man rising up before me, just discernible in the
dim moonlight streaming through the seams of the boards.  I made a rapid
retreat down the ladder; and was only reassured by hearing the object of
my terror calling after me, and recognizing his voice as that of a
harmless old pilgrim whom I had known before.  Our farm-house was
situated in a lonely valley, half surrounded with woods, with no
neighbors in sight.  One dark, cloudy night, when our parents chanced to
be absent, we were sitting with our aged grandmother in the fading light
of the kitchen-fire, working ourselves into a very satisfactory state of
excitement and terror by recounting to each other all the dismal stories
we could remember of ghosts, witches, haunted houses and robbers, when
we were suddenly startled by a loud rap at the door.  A stripling of
fourteen, I was very naturally regarded as the head of the household;
so,--with many misgivings, I advanced to the door, which I slowly
opened, holding the candle tremulously above my head and peering out
into the darkness.  The feeble glimmer played upon the apparition of a
gigantic horseman, mounted on a steed of a size worthy of such a rider--
colossal, motionless, like images cut out of the solid night.  The
strange visitant gruffly saluted me; and, after making several
ineffectual efforts to urge his horse in at the door, dismounted and
followed me into the room, evidently enjoying the terror which his huge
presence excited.  Announcing himself as the great Indian doctor, he
drew himself up before the fire, stretched his arms, clenched his fists,
struck his broad chest, and invited our attention to what he called his
"mortal frame."  He demanded in succession all kinds of intoxicating
liquors; and, on being assured that we had none to give him, he grew
angry, threatened to swallow my younger brother alive, and, seizing me
by the hair of my head as the angel did the prophet at Babylon, led me
about from room to room.  After an ineffectual search, in the course of
which he mistook a jug of oil for one of brandy, and, contrary to my
explanations and remonstrances, insisted upon swallowing a portion of
its contents, he released me, fell to crying and sobbing, and confessed
that he was so drunk already that his horse was ashamed of him.  After
bemoaning and pitying himself to his satisfaction he wiped his eyes, and
sat down by the side of my grandmother, giving her to understand that he
was very much pleased with her appearance; adding, that if agreeable to
her, he should like the privilege of paying his addresses to her.  While
vainly endeavoring to make the excellent old lady comprehend his very
flattering proposition, he was interrupted by the return of my father,
who, at once understanding the matter, turned him out of doors without

On one occasion, a few years ago, on my return from the field at
evening, I was told that a foreigner had asked for lodgings during the
night, but that, influenced by his dark, repulsive appearance, my mother
had very reluctantly refused his request.  I found her by no means
satisfied with her decision.  "What if a son of mine was in a strange
land?"  she inquired, self-reproachfully.  Greatly to her relief, I
volunteered to go in pursuit of the wanderer, and, taking a cross-path
over the fields, soon overtook him.  He had just been rejected at the
house of our nearest neighbor, and was standing in a state of dubious
perplexity in the street.  His looks quite justified my mother's
suspicions.  He was an olive-complexioned, black-bearded Italian, with
an eye like a live coal, such a face as perchance looks out on the
traveller in the passes of the Abruzzi,--one of those bandit visages
which Salvator has painted.  With some difficulty I gave him to
understand my errand, when he overwhelmed me with thanks, and joyfully
followed me back.  He took his seat with us at the supper-table; and,
when we were all gathered around the hearth that cold autumnal evening,
he told us, partly by words and, partly by gestures, the story of his
life and misfortunes, amused us with descriptions of the grape-
gatherings and festivals of his sunny clime, edified my mother with a
recipe for making bread of chestnuts; and in the morning, when, after
breakfast, his dark, sullen face lighted up and his fierce eye moistened
with grateful emotion as in his own silvery Tuscan accent he poured out
his thanks, we marvelled at the fears which had so nearly closed our
door against him; and, as he departed, we all felt that he had left with
us the blessing of the poor.

It was not often that, as in the above instance, my mother's prudence
got the better of her charity.  The regular "old stragglers" regarded
her as an unfailing friend; and the sight of her plain cap was to them
an assurance of forthcoming creature-comforts.  There was indeed a tribe
of lazy strollers, having their place of rendezvous in the town of
Barrington, New Hampshire, whose low vices had placed them beyond even
the pale of her benevolence.  They were not unconscious of their evil
reputation; and experience had taught them the necessity of concealing,
under well-contrived disguises, their true character.  They came to us
in all shapes and with all appearances save the true one, with most
miserable stories of mishap and sickness and all "the ills which flesh
is heir to."  It was particularly vexatious to discover, when too late,
that our sympathies and charities had been expended upon such graceless
vagabonds as the "Barrington beggars."  An old withered hag, known by
the appellation of Hopping Pat,--the wise woman of her tribe,--was in
the habit of visiting us, with her hopeful grandson, who had "a gift for
preaching" as well as for many other things not exactly compatible with
holy orders.  He sometimes brought with him a tame crow, a shrewd,
knavish-looking bird, who, when in the humor for it, could talk like
Barnaby Rudge's raven.  He used to say he could "do nothin' at exhortin'
without a white handkercher on his neck and money in his pocket,"--a
fact going far to confirm the opinions of the Bishop of Exeter and the
Puseyites generally, that there can be no priest without tithes and

These people have for several generations lived distinct from the great
mass of the community, like the gypsies of Europe, whom in many respects
they closely resemble.  They have the same settled aversion to labor and
the same disposition to avail themselves of the fruits of the industry
of others.  They love a wild, out-of-door life, sing songs, tell
fortunes, and have an instinctive hatred of "missionaries and cold
water."  It has been said--I know not upon what grounds--that their
ancestors were indeed a veritable importation of English gypsyhood; but
if so, they have undoubtedly lost a good deal of the picturesque charm
of its unhoused and free condition.  I very much fear that my friend
Mary Russell Mitford,--sweetest of England's rural painters,--who has a
poet's eye for the fine points in gypsy character, would scarcely allow
their claims to fraternity with her own vagrant friends, whose camp-
fires welcomed her to her new home at Swallowfield.

"The proper study of mankind is man," and, according to my view, no
phase of our common humanity is altogether unworthy of investigation.
Acting upon this belief two or three summers ago, when making, in
company with my sister, a little excursion into the hill-country of New
Hampshire, I turned my horse's head towards Barrington for the purpose
of seeing these semi-civilized strollers in their own home, and
returning, once for all, their numerous visits.  Taking leave of our
hospitable cousins in old Lee with about as much solemnity as we may
suppose Major Laing parted with his friends when he set out in search of
desert-girdled Timbuctoo, we drove several miles over a rough road,
passed the Devil's Den unmolested, crossed a fretful little streamlet
noisily working its way into a valley, where it turned a lonely, half-
ruinous mill, and climbing a steep hill beyond, saw before us a wide
sandy level, skirted on the west and north by low, scraggy hills, and
dotted here and there with dwarf pitch-pines.  In the centre of this
desolate region were some twenty or thirty small dwellings, grouped
together as irregularly as a Hottentot kraal.  Unfenced, unguarded, open
to all comers and goers, stood that city of the beggars,--no wall or
paling between the ragged cabins to remind one of the jealous
distinctions of property.  The great idea of its founders seemed visible
in its unappropriated freedom.  Was not the whole round world their own?
and should they haggle about boundaries and title-deeds?  For them, on
distant plains, ripened golden harvests; for them, in far-off workshops,
busy hands were toiling; for them, if they had but the grace to note it,
the broad earth put on her garniture of beauty, and over them hung the
silent mystery of heaven and its stars.  That comfortable philosophy
which modern transcendentalism has but dimly shadowed forth--that poetic
agrarianism, which gives all to each and each to all--is the real life
of this city of unwork.  To each of its dingy dwellers might be not
unaptly applied the language of one who, I trust, will pardon me for
quoting her beautiful poem in this connection:--

         "Other hands may grasp the field or forest,
          Proud proprietors in pomp may shine;
          Thou art wealthier,--all the world is thine."

But look!  the clouds are breaking.  "Fair weather cometh out of the
north."  The wind has blown away the mists; on the gilded spire of John
Street glimmers a beam of sunshine; and there is the sky again, hard,
blue, and cold in its eternal purity, not a whit the worse for the
storm.  In the beautiful present the past is no longer needed.
Reverently and gratefully let its volume be laid aside; and when again
the shadows of the outward world fall upon the spirit, may I not lack a
good angel to remind me of its solace, even if he comes in the shape of
a Barrington beggar.

                             THE TRAINING.

                "Send for the milingtary."
                              NOAH CLAYPOLE in Oliver Twist.

WHAT'S now in the wind?  Sounds of distant music float in at my window
on this still October air.  Hurrying drum-beat, shrill fife-tones,
wailing bugle-notes, and, by way of accompaniment, hurrahs from the
urchins on the crowded sidewalks.  Here come the citizen-soldiers, each
martial foot beating up the mud of yesterday's storm with the slow,
regular, up-and-down movement of an old-fashioned churn-dasher.  Keeping
time with the feet below, some threescore of plumed heads bob solemnly
beneath me.  Slant sunshine glitters on polished gun-barrels and
tinselled uniform.  Gravely and soberly they pass on, as if duly
impressed with a sense of the deep responsibility of their position as
self-constituted defenders of the world's last hope,--the United States
of America, and possibly Texas.  They look out with honest, citizen
faces under their leathern visors (their ferocity being mostly the work
of the tailor and tinker), and, I doubt not, are at this moment as
innocent of bloodthirstiness as yonder worthy tiller of the Tewksbury
Hills, who sits quietly in his wagon dispensing apples and turnips
without so much as giving a glance at the procession.  Probably there is
not one of them who would hesitate to divide his last tobacco-quid with
his worst enemy.  Social, kind-hearted, psalm-singing, sermon-hearing,
Sabhath-keeping Christians; and yet, if we look at the fact of the
matter, these very men have been out the whole afternoon of this
beautiful day, under God's holy sunshine, as busily at work as Satan
himself could wish in learning how to butcher their fellow-creatures and
acquire the true scientific method of impaling a forlorn Mexican on a
bayonet, or of sinking a leaden missile in the brain of some unfortunate
Briton, urged within its range by the double incentive of sixpence per
day in his pocket and the cat-o'-nine-tails on his back!

Without intending any disparagement of my peaceable ancestry for many
generations, I have still strong suspicions that somewhat of the old
Norman blood, something of the grins Berserker spirit, has been
bequeathed to me.  How else can I account for the intense childish
eagerness with which I listened to the stories of old campaigners who
sometimes fought their battles over again in my hearing?  Why did I,
in my young fancy, go up with Jonathan, the son of Saul, to smite the
garrisoned Philistines of Michmash, or with the fierce son of Nun
against the cities of Canaan?  Why was Mr. Greatheart, in Pilgrim's
Progress, my favorite character?  What gave such fascination to the
narrative of the grand Homeric encounter between Christian and Apollyon
in the valley?  Why did I follow Ossian over Morven's battle-fields,
exulting in the vulture-screams of the blind scald over his fallen
enemies?  Still later, why did the newspapers furnish me with subjects
for hero-worship in the half-demented Sir Gregor McGregor, and Ypsilanti
at the head of his knavish Greeks?  I can account for it only in the
supposition that the mischief was inhered,--an heirloom from the old
sea-kings of the ninth century.

Education and reflection have, indeed, since wrought a change in my
feelings.  The trumpet of the Cid, or Ziska's drum even, could not now
waken that old martial spirit.  The bull-dog ferocity of a half-
intoxicated Anglo-Saxon, pushing his blind way against the converging
cannon-fire from the shattered walls of Ciudad Rodrigo, commends itself
neither to my reason nor my fancy.  I now regard the accounts of the
bloody passage of the Bridge of Lodi, and of French cuirassiers madly
transfixing themselves upon the bayonets of Wellington's squares, with
very much the same feeling of horror and loathing which is excited by a
detail of the exploits of an Indian Thug, or those of a mad Malay
running a-muck, creese in hand, through the streets of Pulo Penang.
Your Waterloo, and battles of the Nile and Baltic,--what are they, in
sober fact, but gladiatorial murder-games on a great scale,--human
imitations of bull-fights, at which Satan sits as grand alguazil and
master of ceremonies?  It is only when a great thought incarnates itself
in action, desperately striving to find utterance even in sabre-clash
and gun-fire, or when Truth and Freedom, in their mistaken zeal and
distrustful of their own powers, put on battle-harness, that I can feel
any sympathy with merely physical daring.  The brawny butcher-work of
men whose wits, like those of Ajax, lie in their sinews, and who are
"yoked like draught-oxen and made to plough up the wars," is no
realization of my ideal of true courage.

Yet I am not conscious of having lost in any degree my early admiration
of heroic achievement.  The feeling remains; but it has found new and
better objects.  I have learned to appreciate what Milton calls the
martyr's "unresistible might of meekness,"--the calm, uncomplaining
endurance of those who can bear up against persecution uncheered by
sympathy or applause, and, with a full and keen appreciation of the
value of all which they are called to sacrifice, confront danger and
death in unselfish devotion to duty.  Fox, preaching through his prison-
gates or rebuking Oliver Cromwell in the midst of his soldier-court
Henry Vane beneath the axe of the headsman; Mary Dyer on the scaffold at
Boston; Luther closing his speech at Worms with the sublime emphasis of
his "Here stand I; I cannot otherwise; God help me;"  William Penn
defending the rights of Englishmen from the baledock of the Fleet
prison; Clarkson climbing the decks of Liverpool slaveships; Howard
penetrating to infected dungeons; meek Sisters of Charity breathing
contagion in thronged hospitals,--all these, and such as these, now help
me to form the loftier ideal of Christian heroism.

Blind Milton approaches nearly to my conception of a true hero.  What a
picture have we of that sublime old man, as sick, poor, blind, and
abandoned of friends, he still held fast his heroic integrity, rebuking
with his unbending republicanism the treachery, cowardice, and servility
of his old associates!  He had outlived the hopes and beatific visions
of his youth; he had seen the loudmouthed advocates of liberty throwing
down a nation's freedom at the feet of the shameless, debauched, and
perjured Charles II., crouching to the harlot-thronged court of the
tyrant, and forswearing at once their religion and their republicanism.
The executioner's axe had been busy among his friends.  Vane and Hampden
slept in their bloody graves.  Cromwell's ashes had been dragged from
their resting-place; for even in death the effeminate monarch hated and
feared the conquerer of Naseby and Marston Moor.  He was left alone, in
age, and penury, and blindness, oppressed with the knowledge that all
which his free soul abhorred had returned upon his beloved country.  Yet
the spirit of the stern old republican remained to the last unbroken,
realizing the truth of the language of his own Samson Agonistes:--

              "But patience is more oft the exercise
               Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
               Making them each his own deliverer
               And victor over all
               That tyranny or fortune can inflict."

The curse of religious and political apostasy lay heavy on the land.
Harlotry and atheism sat in the high places; and the "caresses of
wantons and the jests of buffoons regulated the measures of a government
which had just ability enough to deceive, just religion enough to
persecute."  But, while Milton mourned over this disastrous change,
no self-reproach mingled with his sorrow.  To the last he had striven
against the oppressor; and when confined to his narrow alley, a prisoner
in his own mean dwelling, like another Prometheus on his rock, he still
turned upon him an eye of unsubdued defiance.  Who, that has read his
powerful appeal to his countrymen when they were on the eve of welcoming
back the tyranny and misrule which, at the expense of so much blood and
treasure had been thrown off, can ever forget it?  How nobly does
Liberty speak through him!  "If," said he, "ye welcome back a monarchy,
it will be the triumph of all tyrants hereafter over any people who
shall resist oppression; and their song shall then be to others, 'How
sped the rebellious English?' but to our posterity, 'How sped the
rebels, your fathers?'"  How solemn and awful is his closing paragraph!
"What I have spoken is the language of that which is not called amiss
'the good old cause.'  If it seem strange to any, it will not, I hope,
seem more strange than convincing to backsliders.  This much I should
have said though I were sure I should have spoken only to trees and
stones, and had none to cry to but with the prophet, 'O earth, earth,
earth!' to tell the very soil itself what its perverse inhabitants are
deaf to; nay, though what I have spoken should prove (which Thou suffer
not, who didst make mankind free; nor Thou next, who didst redeem us
from being servants of sin) to be the last words of our expiring

                            THE CITY OF A DAY.

The writer, when residing in Lowell, in 1843 contributed this and the
companion pieces to 'The Stranger' in Lowell.

This, then, is Lowell,--a city springing up, like the enchanted palaces
of the Arabian tales, as it were in a single night, stretching far and
wide its chaos of brick masonry and painted shingles, filling the angle
of the confluence of the Concord and the Merrimac with the sights and
sounds of trade and industry.  Marvellously here have art and labor
wrought their modern miracles.  I can scarcely realize the fact that a
few years ago these rivers, now tamed and subdued to the purposes of man
and charmed into slavish subjection to the wizard of mechanism, rolled
unchecked towards the ocean the waters of the Winnipesaukee and the
rock-rimmed springs of the White Mountains, and rippled down their falls
in the wild freedom of Nature.  A stranger, in view of all this
wonderful change, feels himself, as it were, thrust forward into a new
century; he seems treading on the outer circle of the millennium of
steam engines and cotton mills.  Work is here the patron saint.
Everything bears his image and superscription.  Here is no place for
that respectable class of citizens called gentlemen, and their much
vilified brethren, familiarly known as loafers.  Over the gateways of
this new world Manchester glares the inscription, "Work, or die".

               "Every worm beneath the moon
               Draws different threads, and late or soon
               Spins, toiling out his own cocoon."

The founders of this city probably never dreamed of the theory of
Charles Lamb in respect to the origin of labor:--

          "Who first invented work, and thereby bound
          The holiday rejoicing spirit down
          To the never-ceasing importunity
          Of business in the green fields and the town?

          "Sabbathless Satan,--he who his unglad
          Task ever plies midst rotatory burnings
          For wrath divine has made him like a wheel
          In that red realm from whence are no returnings."

Rather, of course, would they adopt Carlyle's apostrophe of "Divine
labor, noble, ever fruitful,--the grand, sole miracle of man;" for this
is indeed a city consecrated to thrift,--dedicated, every square rod of
it, to the divinity of work; the gospel of industry preached daily and
hourly from some thirty temples, each huger than the Milan Cathedral or
the Temple of Jeddo, the Mosque of St. Sophia or the Chinese pagoda of a
hundred bells; its mighty sermons uttered by steam and water-power; its
music the everlasting jar of mechanism and the organ-swell of many
waters; scattering the cotton and woollen leaves of its evangel from the
wings of steamboats and rail-cars throughout the land; its thousand
priests and its thousands of priestesses ministering around their
spinning-jenny and powerloom altars, or thronging the long, unshaded
streets in the level light of sunset.  After all, it may well be
questioned whether this gospel, according to Poor Richard's Almanac, is
precisely calculated for the redemption of humanity.  Labor, graduated
to man's simple wants, necessities, and unperverted tastes, is doubtless
well; but all beyond this is weariness to flesh and spirit.  Every web
which falls from these restless looms has a history more or less
connected with sin and suffering, beginning with slavery and ending
with overwork and premature death.

A few years ago, while travelling in Pennsylvania, I encountered a
small, dusky-browed German of the name of Etzler.  He was possessed by a
belief that the world was to be restored to its paradisiacal state by
the sole agency of mechanics, and that he had himself discovered the
means of bringing about this very desirable consummation.  His whole
mental atmosphere was thronged with spectral enginery; wheel within
wheel; plans of hugest mechanism; Brobdignagian steam-engines; Niagaras
of water-power; wind-mills with "sail-broad vans," like those of Satan
in chaos, by the proper application of which every valley was to be
exalted and every hill laid low; old forests seized by their shaggy tops
and uprooted; old morasses drained; the tropics made cool; the eternal
ices melted around the poles; the ocean itself covered with artificial
islands, blossoming gardens of the blessed, rocking gently on the bosom
of the deep.  Give him "three hundred thousand dollars and ten years'
time," and he would undertake to do the work.

Wrong, pain, and sin, being in his view but the results of our physical
necessities, ill-gratified desires, and natural yearnings for a better
state, were to vanish before the millennium of mechanism.  "It would
be," said he, "as ridiculous then to dispute and quarrel about the means
of life as it would be now about water to drink by the side of mighty
rivers, or about permission to breathe the common air."  To his mind the
great forces of Nature took the shape of mighty and benignant spirits,
sent hitherward to be the servants of man in restoring to him his lost
paradise; waiting only for his word of command to apply their giant
energies to the task, but as yet struggling blindly and aimlessly,
giving ever and anon gentle hints, in the way of earthquake, fire, and
flood, that they are weary of idleness, and would fain be set at work.
Looking down, as I now do, upon these huge brick workshops, I have
thought of poor Etzler, and wondered whether he would admit, were he
with me, that his mechanical forces have here found their proper
employment of millennium making.  Grinding on, each in his iron harness,
invisible, yet shaking, by his regulated and repressed power, his huge
prison-house from basement to capstone, is it true that the genii of
mechanism are really at work here, raising us, by wheel and pulley,
steam and waterpower, slowly up that inclined plane from whose top
stretches the broad table-land of promise?

Many of the streets of Lowell present a lively and neat aspect, and are
adorned with handsome public and private buildings; but they lack one
pleasant feature of older towns,--broad, spreading shade-trees.  One
feels disposed to quarrel with the characteristic utilitarianism of the
first settlers, which swept so entirely away the green beauty of Nature.
For the last few days it has been as hot here as Nebuchadnezzar's
furnace or Monsieur Chabert's oven, the sun glaring down from a copper
sky upon these naked, treeless streets, in traversing which one is
tempted to adopt the language of a warm-weather poet:

     "The lean, like walking skeletons, go stalking pale and gloomy;
     The fat, like red-hot warming-pans, send hotter fancies through me;
     I wake from dreams of polar ice, on which I've been a slider,
     Like fishes dreaming of the sea and waking in the spider."

How unlike the elm-lined avenues of New Haven, upon whose cool and
graceful panorama the stranger looks down upon the Judge's Cave, or the
vine-hung pinnacles of West Rock, its tall spires rising white and clear
above the level greenness! or the breezy leafiness of Portland, with its
wooded islands in the distance, and itself overhung with verdant beauty,
rippling and waving in the same cool breeze which stirs the waters of
the beautiful Bay of Casco!  But time will remedy all this; and, when
Lowell shall have numbered half the years of her sister cities, her
newly planted elms and maples, which now only cause us to contrast their
shadeless stems with the leafy glory of their parents of the forest,
will stretch out to the future visitor arms of welcome and repose.

There is one beautiful grove in Lowell,--that on Chapel Hill,--where a
cluster of fine old oaks lift their sturdy stems and green branches, in
close proximity to the crowded city, blending the cool rustle of their
leaves with the din of machinery.  As I look at them in this gray
twilight they seem lonely and isolated, as if wondering what has become
of their old forest companions, and vainly endeavoring to recognize in
the thronged and dusty streets before them those old, graceful
colonnades of maple and thick-shaded oaken vistas, stretching from river
to river, carpeted with the flowers and grasses of spring, or ankle deep
with leaves of autumn, through whose leafy canopy the sunlight melted in
upon wild birds, shy deer, and red Indians.  Long may these oaks remain
to remind us that, if there be utility in the new, there was beauty in
the old, leafy Puseyites of Nature, calling us back to the past, but,
like their Oxford brethren, calling in vain; for neither in polemics nor
in art can we go backward in an age whose motto is ever "Onward."

The population of Lowell is constituted mainly of New Englanders; but
there are representatives here of almost every part of the civilized
world.  The good-humored face of the Milesian meets one at almost every
turn; the shrewdly solemn Scotchman, the transatlantic Yankee, blending
the crafty thrift of Bryce Snailsfoot with the stern religious heroism
of Cameron; the blue-eyed, fair-haired German from the towered hills
which overlook the Rhine,--slow, heavy, and unpromising in his exterior,
yet of the same mould and mettle of the men who rallied for "fatherland"
at the Tyrtean call of Korner and beat back the chivalry of France from
the banks of the Katzback,--the countrymen of Richter, and Goethe, and
our own Follen.  Here, too, are pedlers from Hamburg, and Bavaria, and
Poland, with their sharp Jewish faces, and black, keen eyes.  At this
moment, beneath my window are two sturdy, sunbrowned Swiss maidens
grinding music for a livelihood, rehearsing in a strange Yankee land the
simple songs of their old mountain home, reminding me, by their foreign
garb and language, of

                    "Lauterbrunnen's peasant girl."

Poor wanderers, I cannot say that I love their music; but now, as the
notes die away, and, to use the words of Dr. Holmes, "silence comes like
a poultice to heal the wounded ear," I feel grateful for their
visitation.  Away from crowded thoroughfares, from brick walls and dusty
avenues, at the sight of these poor peasants I have gone in thought to
the vale of Chamouny, and seen, with Coleridge, the morning star pausing
on the "bald, awful head of sovereign Blanc," and the sun rise and set
upon snowy-crested mountains, down in whose valleys the night still
lingers; and, following in the track of Byron and Rousseau, have watched
the lengthening shadows of the hills on the beautiful waters of the
Genevan lake.  Blessings, then, upon these young wayfarers, for they
have "blessed me unawares."  In an hour of sickness and lassitude they
have wrought for me the miracle of Loretto's Chapel, and, borne me away
from the scenes around me and the sense of personal suffering to that
wonderful land where Nature seems still uttering, from lake and valley,
and from mountains whose eternal snows lean on the hard, blue heaven,
the echoes of that mighty hymn of a new-created world, when "the morning
stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."

But of all classes of foreigners the Irish are by far the most numerous.
Light-hearted, wrongheaded, impulsive, uncalculating, with an Oriental
love of hyperbole, and too often a common dislike of cold water and of
that gem which the fable tells us rests at the bottom of the well, the
Celtic elements of their character do not readily accommodate themselves
to those of the hard, cool, self-relying Anglo-Saxon.  I am free to
confess to a very thorough dislike of their religious intolerance and
bigotry, but am content to wait for the change that time and the
attrition of new circumstances and ideas must necessarily make in this
respect.  Meanwhile I would strive to reverence man as man, irrespective
of his birthplace.  A stranger in a strange land is always to me an
object of sympathy and interest.  Amidst all his apparent gayety of
heart and national drollery and wit, the poor Irish emigrant has sad
thoughts of the "ould mother of him," sitting lonely in her solitary
cabin by the bog-side; recollections of a father's blessing and a
sister's farewell are haunting him; a grave mound in a distant
churchyard far beyond the "wide wathers" has an eternal greenness in his
memory; for there, perhaps, lies a "darlint child" or a "swate crather"
who once loved him.  The new world is forgotten for the moment; blue
Killarney and the Liffey sparkle before him, and Glendalough stretches
beneath him its dark, still mirror; he sees the same evening sunshine
rest upon and hallow alike with Nature's blessing the ruins of the Seven
Churches of Ireland's apostolic age, the broken mound of the Druids, and
the round towers of the Phoenician sun-worshippers; pleasant and
mournful recollections of his home waken within him; and the rough and
seemingly careless and light-hearted laborer melts into tears.  It is no
light thing to abandon one's own country and household gods.  Touching
and beautiful was the injunction of the prophet of the Hebrews:

"Ye shall not oppress the stranger; for ye know the heart of the
stranger, seeing that ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

                             PATUCKET FALLS.

MANY years ago I read, in some old chronicle of the early history of New
England, a paragraph which has ever since haunted my memory, calling up
romantic associations of wild Nature and wilder man:--

"The Sachem Wonolanset, who lived by the Groat Falls of Patucket, on the

It was with this passage in my mind that I visited for the first time
the Rapids of the Merrimac, above Lowell.

Passing up the street by the Hospital, a large and elegant mansion
surrounded by trees and shrubbery and climbing vines, I found myself,
after walking a few rods farther, in full view of the Merrimac.  A deep
and rocky channel stretched between me and the Dracut shore, along which
rushed the shallow water,--a feeble, broken, and tortuous current,
winding its way among splintered rocks, rising sharp and jagged in all
directions.  Drained above the falls by the canal, it resembled some
mountain streamlet of old Spain, or some Arabian wady, exhausted by a
year's drought.  Higher up, the arches of the bridge spanned the quick,
troubled water; and, higher still, the dam, so irregular in its outline
as to seem less a work of Art than of Nature, crossed the bed of the
river, a lakelike placidity above contrasting with the foam and murmur
of the falls below.  And this was all which modern improvements had left
of "the great Patucket Falls" of the olden time.  The wild river had
been tamed; the spirit of the falls, whose hoarse voice the Indian once
heard in the dashing of the great water down the rocks, had become the
slave of the arch conjurer, Art; and, like a shorn and blinded giant,
was grinding in the prison-house of his taskmaster.

One would like to know how this spot must have seemed to the "twenty
goodlie persons from Concord and Woburn" who first visited it in 1652,
as, worn with fatigue, and wet from the passage of the sluggish Concord,
"where ford there was none," they wound their slow way through the
forest, following the growing murmur of the falls, until at length the
broad, swift river stretched before them, its white spray flashing in
the sun.  What cared these sturdy old Puritans for the wild beauty of
the landscape thus revealed before them?  I think I see them standing
there in the golden light of a closing October day, with their sombre
brown doublets and slouched hats, and their heavy matchlocks,--such men
as Ireton fronted death with on the battle-field of Naseby, or those who
stalked with Cromwell over the broken wall of Drogheda, smiting, "in the
name of the Lord," old and young, "both maid, and little children."
Methinks I see the sunset light flooding the river valley, the western
hills stretching to the horizon, overhung with trees gorgeous and
glowing with the tints of autumn,--a mighty flower-garden, blossoming
under the spell of the enchanter, Frost; the rushing river, with its
graceful water-curves and white foam; and a steady murmur, low, deep
voices of water, the softest, sweetest sound of Nature, blends with the
sigh of the south wind in the pine-tops.  But these hard-featured saints
of the New Canaan "care for none of these things."  The stout hearts
which beat under their leathern doublets are proof against the sweet
influences of Nature.  They see only "a great and howling wilderness,
where be many Indians, but where fish may be taken, and where be meadows
for ye subsistence of cattle," and which, on the whole, "is a
comfortable place to accommodate a company of God's people upon, who
may, with God's blessing, do good in that place for both church and
state."  (Vide petition to the General Court, 1653.)

In reading the journals and narratives of the early settlers of New
England nothing is more remarkable than the entire silence of the worthy
writers in respect to the natural beauty or grandeur of the scenery amid
which their lot was cast.  They designated the grand and glorious
forest, broken by lakes and crossed by great rivers, intersected by a
thousand streams more beautiful than those which the Old World has given
to song and romance, as "a desert and frightful wilderness."  The wildly
picturesque Indian, darting his birch canoe down the Falls of the
Amoskeag or gliding in the deer-track of the forest, was, in their view,
nothing but a "dirty tawnie," a "salvage heathen," and "devil's imp."
Many of them were well educated,--men of varied and profound erudition,
and familiar with the best specimens of Greek and Roman literature; yet
they seem to have been utterly devoid of that poetic feeling or fancy
whose subtle alchemy detects the beautiful in the familiar.  Their very
hymns and spiritual songs seem to have been expressly calculated, like
"the music-grinders" of Holmes,--

                   "To pluck the eyes of sentiment,
                    And dock the tail of rhyme,
                    To crack the voice of melody,
                    And break the legs of time."

They were sworn enemies of the Muses; haters of stage-play literature,
profane songs, and wanton sonnets; of everything, in brief, which
reminded them of the days of the roistering cavaliers and bedizened
beauties of the court of "the man Charles," whose head had fallen
beneath the sword of Puritan justice.  Hard, harsh, unlovely, yet with
many virtues and noble points of character, they were fitted, doubtless,
for their work of pioneers in the wilderness.  Sternly faithful to duty,
in peril, and suffering, and self-denial, they wrought out the noblest
of historical epics on the rough soil of New England.  They lived a
truer poetry than Homer or Virgil wrote.

The Patuckets, once a powerful native tribe, had their principal
settlements around the falls at the time of the visit of the white men
of Concord and Woburn in 1652.  Gookin, the Indian historian, states
that this tribe was almost wholly destroyed by the great pestilence of
1612.  In 1674 they had but two hundred and fifty males in the whole
tribe.  Their chief sachem lived opposite the falls; and it was in his
wigwam that the historian, in company with John Eliot, the Indian
missionary, held a "meeting for worshippe on ye 5th of May, 1676," where
Mr. Eliot preached from "ye twenty-second of Matthew."

The white visitants from Concord and Woburn, pleased with the appearance
of the place and the prospect it afforded for planting and fishing,
petitioned the General Court for a grant of the entire tract of land now
embraced in the limits of Lowell and Chelmsford.  They made no account
whatever of the rights of the poor Patuckets; but, considering it
"a comfortable place to accommodate God's people upon," were doubtless
prepared to deal with the heathen inhabitants as Joshua the son of Nun
did with the Jebusites and Perizzites, the Hivites and the Hittites, of
old.  The Indians, however, found a friend in the apostle Eliot, who
presented a petition in their behalf that the lands lying around the
Patucket and Wamesit Falls should be appropriated exclusively for their
benefit and use.  The Court granted the petition of the whites, with the
exception of the tract in the angle of the two rivers on which the
Patuckets were settled.  The Indian title to this tract was not finally
extinguished until 1726, when the beautiful name of Wamesit was lost in
that of Chelmsford, and the last of the Patuckets turned his back upon
the graves of his fathers and sought a new home among the strange
Indians of the North.

But what has all this to do with the falls?  When the rail-cars came
thundering through his lake country, Wordsworth attempted to exorcise
them by a sonnet; and, were I not a very decided Yankee, I might
possibly follow his example, and utter in this connection my protest
against the desecration of Patucket Falls, and battle with objurgatory
stanzas these dams and mills, as Balmawapple shot off his horse-pistol
at Stirling Castle.  Rocks and trees, rapids, cascades, and other water-
works are doubtless all very well; but on the whole, considering our
seven months of frost, are not cotton shirts and woollen coats still
better?  As for the spirits of the river, the Merrimac Naiads, or
whatever may be their name in Indian vocabulary, they have no good
reason for complaint; inasmuch as Nature, in marking and scooping out
the channel of their stream, seems to have had an eye to the useful
rather than the picturesque.  After a few preliminary antics and
youthful vagaries up among the White Hills, the Merrimac comes down to
the seaboard, a clear, cheerful, hard-working Yankee river.  Its
numerous falls and rapids are such as seem to invite the engineer's
level rather than the pencil of the tourist; and the mason who piles up
the huge brick fabrics at their feet is seldom, I suspect, troubled with
sentimental remorse or poetical misgivings.  Staid and matter of fact as
the Merrimac is, it has, nevertheless, certain capricious and eccentric
tributaries; the Powow, for instance, with its eighty feet fall in a few
rods, and that wild, Indian-haunted Spicket, taking its wellnigh
perpendicular leap of thirty feet, within sight of the village meeting-
house, kicking up its Pagan heels, Sundays and all, in sheer contempt of
Puritan tithing-men.  This latter waterfall is now somewhat modified by
the hand of Art, but is still, as Professor Hitchcock's "Scenographical
Geology" says of it, "an object of no little interest."  My friend T.,
favorably known as the translator of "Undine" and as a writer of fine
and delicate imagination, visited Spicket Falls before the sound of a
hammer or the click of a trowel had been heard beside them.  His journal
of "A Day on the Merrimac" gives a pleasing and vivid description of
their original appearance as viewed through the telescope of a poetic
fancy.  The readers of "Undine" will thank me for a passage or two from
this sketch:--

"The sound of the waters swells more deeply.  Something supernatural in
their confused murmur; it makes me better understand and sympathize with
the writer of the Apocalypse when he speaks of the voice of many waters,
heaping image upon image, to impart the vigor of his conception.

"Through yonder elm-branches I catch a few snowy glimpses of foam in the
air.  See that spray and vapor rolling up the evergreen on my left The
two side precipices, one hundred feet apart and excluding objects of
inferior moment, darken and concentrate the view.  The waters between
pour over the right-hand and left-hand summit, rushing down and uniting
among the craggiest and abruptest of rocks.  Oh for a whole mountain-
side of that living foam!  The sun impresses a faint prismatic hue.
These falls, compared with those of the Missouri, are nothing,--nothing
but the merest miniature; and yet they assist me in forming some
conception of that glorious expanse.

"A fragment of an oak, struck off by lightning, struggles with the
current midway down; while the shattered trunk frowns above the
desolation, majestic in ruin.  This is near the southern cliff.  Farther
north a crag rises out of the stream, its upper surface covered with
green clover of the most vivid freshness.  Not only all night, but all
day, has the dew lain upon its purity.  With my eye attaining the
uppermost margin, where the waters shoot over, I look away into the
western sky, and discern there (what you least expect) a cow chewing her
cud with admirable composure, and higher up several sheep and lambs
browsing celestial buds.  They stand on the eminence that forms the
background of my present view.  The illusion is extremely picturesque,--
such as Allston himself would despair of producing.  'Who can paint like
Nature'? "

To a population like that of Lowell, the weekly respite from monotonous
in-door toil afforded by the first day of the week is particularly
grateful.  Sabbath comes to the weary and overworked operative
emphatically as a day of rest.  It opens upon him somewhat as it did
upon George Herbert, as he describes it in his exquisite little poem:--

               "Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
               The bridal of the earth and sky!"

Apart from its soothing religious associations, it brings with it the
assurance of physical comfort and freedom.  It is something to be able
to doze out the morning from daybreak to breakfast in that luxurious
state between sleeping and waking in which the mind eddies slowly and
peacefully round and round instead of rushing onward,--the future a
blank, the past annihilated, the present but a dim consciousness of
pleasurable existence.  Then, too, the satisfaction is by no means
inconsiderable of throwing aside the worn and soiled habiliments of
labor and appearing in neat and comfortable attire.  The moral influence
of dress has not been overrated even by Carlyle's Professor in his
Sartor Resartus.  William Penn says that cleanliness is akin to
godliness.  A well-dressed man, all other things being equal, is not
half as likely to compromise his character as one who approximates to
shabbiness.  Lawrence Sterne used to say that when he felt himself
giving way to low spirits and a sense of depression and worthlessness,--
a sort of predisposition for all sorts of little meannesses,--he
forthwith shaved himself, brushed his wig, donned his best dress and his
gold rings, and thus put to flight the azure demons of his unfortunate
temperament.  There is somehow a close affinity between moral purity and
clean linen; and the sprites of our daily temptation, who seem to find
easy access to us through a broken hat or a rent in the elbow, are
manifestly baffled by the "complete mail" of a clean and decent dress.
I recollect on one occasion hearing my mother tell our family physician
that a woman in the neighborhood, not remarkable for her tidiness, had
become a church-member.  "Humph!" said the doctor, in his quick,
sarcastic way, "What of that?  Don't you know that no unclean thing can
enter the kingdom of heaven?"

"If you would see" Lowell "aright," as Walter Scott says of Melrose
Abbey, one must be here of a pleasant First day at the close of what is
called the "afternoon service."  The streets are then blossoming like a
peripatetic flower-garden; as if the tulips and lilies and roses of my
friend W.'s nursery, in the vale of Nonantum, should take it into their
heads to promenade for exercise.  Thousands swarm forth who during week-
days are confined to the mills.  Gay colors alternate with snowy
whiteness; extremest fashion elbows the plain demureness of old-
fashioned Methodism.

Fair pale faces catch a warmer tint from the free sunshine and fresh
air.  The languid step becomes elastic with that "springy motion of the
gait" which Charles Lamb admired.  Yet the general appearance of the
city is that of quietude; the youthful multitude passes on calmly, its
voices subdued to a lower and softened tone, as if fearful of breaking
the repose of the day of rest.  A stranger fresh from the gayly spent
Sabbaths of the continent of Europe would be undoubtedly amazed at the
decorum and sobriety of these crowded streets.

I am not over-precise in outward observances; but I nevertheless welcome
with joy unfeigned this first day of the week,--sweetest pause in our
hard life-march, greenest resting-place in the hot desert we are
treading.  The errors of those who mistake its benignant rest for the
iron rule of the Jewish Sabbath, and who consequently hedge it about
with penalties and bow down before it in slavish terror, should not
render us less grateful for the real blessing it brings us.  As a day
wrested in some degree from the god of this world, as an opportunity
afforded for thoughtful self-communing, let us receive it as a good gift
of our heavenly Parent in love rather than fear.

In passing along Central Street this morning my attention was directed
by the friend who accompanied me to a group of laborers, with coats off
and sleeves rolled up, heaving at levers, smiting with sledge-hammers,
in full view of the street, on the margin of the canal, just above
Central Street Bridge.  I rubbed my eyes, half expecting that I was the
subject of mere optical illusion; but a second look only confirmed the
first.  Around me were solemn, go-to-meeting faces,--smileless and
awful; and close at hand were the delving, toiling, mud-begrimed
laborers.  Nobody seemed surprised at it; nobody noticed it as a thing
out of the common course of events.  And this, too, in a city where the
Sabbath proprieties are sternly insisted upon; where some twenty pulpits
deal out anathemas upon all who "desecrate the Lord's day;" where simple
notices of meetings for moral purposes even can scarcely be read; where
many count it wrong to speak on that day for the slave, who knows no
Sabbath of rest, or for the drunkard, who, imbruted by his appetites,
cannot enjoy it.  Verily there are strange contradictions in our
conventional morality.  Eyes which, looking across the Atlantic on the
gay Sabbath dances of French peasants are turned upward with horror, are
somehow blind to matters close at home.  What would be sin past
repentance in an individual becomes quite proper in a corporation.
True, the Sabbath is holy; but the canals must be repaired.  Everybody
ought to go to meeting; but the dividends must not be diminished.
Church indulgences are not, after all, confined to Rome.

To a close observer of human nature there is nothing surprising in the
fact that a class of persons, who wink at this sacrifice of Sabhath
sanctities to the demon of gain, look at the same time with stern
disapprobation upon everything partaking of the character of amusement,
however innocent and healthful, on this day.  But for myself, looking
down through the light of a golden evening upon these quietly passing
groups, I cannot find it in my heart to condemn them for seeking on this
their sole day of leisure the needful influences of social enjoyment,
unrestrained exercise, and fresh air.  I cannot think any essential
service to religion or humanity would result from the conversion of
their day of rest into a Jewish Sabbath, and their consequent
confinement, like so many pining prisoners, in close and crowded
boarding-houses.  Is not cheerfulness a duty, a better expression of our
gratitude for God's blessings than mere words?  And even under the old
law of rituals, what answer had the Pharisees to the question, "Is it
not lawful to do good on the Sabbath day?"

I am naturally of a sober temperament, and am, besides, a member of that
sect which Dr. More has called, mistakenly indeed, "the most melancholy
of all;" but I confess a special dislike of disfigured faces,
ostentatious displays of piety, pride aping humility.  Asceticism,
moroseness, self-torture, ingratitude in view of down-showering
blessings, and painful restraint of the better feelings of our nature
may befit a Hindoo fakir, or a Mandan medicine man with buffalo skulls
strung to his lacerated muscles; but they look to me sadly out of place
in a believer of the glad evangel of the New Testament.  The life of the
divine Teacher affords no countenance to this sullen and gloomy
saintliness, shutting up the heart against the sweet influences of human
sympathy and the blessed ministrations of Nature.  To the horror and
clothes-rending astonishment of blind Pharisees He uttered the
significant truth, that "the Sabhath was made for man, and not man for
the Sabhath."  From the close air of crowded cities, from thronged
temples and synagogues,--where priest and Levite kept up a show of
worship, drumming upon hollow ceremonials the more loudly for their
emptiness of life, as the husk rustles the more when the grain is gone,
--He led His disciples out into the country stillness, under clear
Eastern heavens, on the breezy tops of mountains, in the shade of fruit-
trees, by the side of fountains, and through yellow harvest-fields,
enforcing the lessons of His divine morality by comparisons and parables
suggested by the objects around Him or the cheerful incidents of social
humanity,--the vineyard, the field-lily, the sparrow in the air, the
sower in the seed-field, the feast and the marriage.  Thus gently, thus
sweetly kind and cheerful, fell from His lips the gospel of humanity;
love the fulfilling of every law; our love for one another measuring and
manifesting our love of Him.  The baptism wherewith He was baptized was
that of divine fulness in the wants of our humanity; the deep waters of
our sorrows went over Him; ineffable purity sounding for our sakes the
dark abysm of sin; yet how like a river of light runs that serene and
beautiful life through the narratives of the evangelists!  He broke
bread with the poor despised publican; He sat down with the fishermen by
the Sea of Galilee; He spoke compassionate words to sin-sick Magdalen;
He sanctified by His presence the social enjoyments of home and
friendship in the family of Bethany; He laid His hand of blessing on the
sunny brows of children; He had regard even to the merely animal wants
of the multitude in the wilderness; He frowned upon none of life's
simple and natural pleasures.  The burden of His Gospel was love; and in
life and word He taught evermore the divided and scattered children of
one great family that only as they drew near each other could they
approach Him who was their common centre; and that while no ostentation
of prayer nor rigid observance of ceremonies could elevate man to
heaven, the simple exercise of love, in thought and action, could bring
heaven down to man.  To weary and restless spirits He taught the great
truth, that happiness consists in making others happy.  No cloister for
idle genuflections and bead counting, no hair-cloth for the loins nor
scourge for the limbs, but works of love and usefulness under the
cheerful sunshine, making the waste places of humanity glad and causing
the heart's desert to blossom.  Why, then, should we go searching after
the cast-off sackcloth of the Pharisee?  Are we Jews, or Christians?
Must even our gratitude for "glad tidings of great joy" be desponding?
Must the hymn of our thanksgiving for countless mercies and the,
unspeakable gift of His life have evermore an undertone of funeral
wailing?  What! shall we go murmuring and lamenting, looking coldly on
one another, seeing no beauty, nor light, nor gladness in this good
world, wherein we have the glorious privilege of laboring in God's
harvest-field, with angels for our task companions, blessing and being

To him who, neglecting the revelations of immediate duty, looks
regretfully behind and fearfully before him, life may well seem a solemn
mystery, for, whichever way he turns, a wall of darkness rises before
him; but down upon the present, as through a skylight between the
shadows, falls a clear, still radiance, like beams from an eye of
blessing; and, within the circle of that divine illumination, beauty and
goodness, truth and love, purity and cheerfulness blend like primal
colors into the clear harmony of light.  The author of Proverbial
Philosophy has a passage not unworthy of note in this connection, when
he speaks of the train which attends the just in heaven:--

"Also in the lengthening troop see I some clad in robes of triumph,
Whose fair and sunny faces I have known and loved on earth.
Welcome, ye glorified Loves, Graces, Sciences, and Muses,
That, like Sisters of Charity, tended in this world's hospital;
Welcome, for verily I knew ye could not but be children of the light;
Welcome, chiefly welcome, for I find I have friends in heaven,
And some I have scarcely looked for; as thou, light-hearted Mirth;
Thou, also, star-robed Urania; and thou with the curious glass,
That rejoicest in tracking beauty where the eye was too dull to note it.
And art thou, too, among the blessed, mild, much-injured Poetry?
That quickenest with light and beauty the leaden face of matter,
That not unheard, though silent, fillest earth's gardens with music,
And not unseen, though a spirit, dost look down upon us from the stars."

                             THE LIGHTING UP.

          "He spak to the spynnsters to spynnen it oute."
                                                  PIERS PLOUGHMAN.

THIS evening, the 20th of the ninth month, is the time fixed upon for
lighting the mills for night-labor; and I have just returned from
witnessing for the first time the effect of the new illumination.

Passing over the bridge, nearly to the Dracut shore, I had a fine view
of the long line of mills, the city beyond, and the broad sweep of the
river from the falls.  The light of a tranquil and gorgeous sunset was
slowly fading from river and sky, and the shadows of the trees on the
Dracut slopes were blending in dusky indistinctness with the great
shadow of night.  Suddenly gleams of light broke from the black masses
of masonry on the Lowell bank, at first feeble and scattered, flitting
from window to window, appearing and disappearing, like will-o'-wisps in
a forest or fireflies in a summer's night.  Anon tier after tier of
windows became radiant, until the whole vast wall, stretching far up the
river, from basement to roof, became checkered with light reflected with
the starbeams from the still water beneath.  With a little effort of
fancy, one could readily transform the huge mills, thus illuminated,
into palaces lighted up for festival occasions, and the figures of the
workers, passing to and fro before the windows, into forms of beauty and
fashion, moving in graceful dances.

Alas! this music of the shuttle and the daylong dance to it are not
altogether of the kind which Milton speaks of when he invokes the "soft
Lydian airs" of voluptuous leisure.  From this time henceforward for
half a weary year, from the bell-call of morning twilight to half-past
seven in the evening, with brief intermissions for two hasty meals, the
operatives will be confined to their tasks.  The proverbial facility of
the Yankees in despatching their dinners in the least possible time
seems to have been taken advantage of and reduced to a system on the
Lowell corporations.  Strange as it may seem to the uninitiated, the
working-men and women here contrive to repair to their lodgings, make
the necessary preliminary ablutions, devour their beef and pudding, and
hurry back to their looms and jacks in the brief space of half an hour.
In this way the working-day in Lowell is eked out to an average
throughout the year of twelve and a half hours.  This is a serious evil,
demanding the earnest consideration of the humane and philanthropic.
Both classes--the employer and the employed--would in the end be greatly
benefited by the general adoption of the "ten-hour system," although the
one might suffer a slight diminution in daily wages and the other in
yearly profits.  Yet it is difficult to see how this most desirable
change is to be effected.  The stronger and healthier portion of the
operatives might themselves object to it as strenuously as the distant
stockholder who looks only to his semi-annual dividends.  Health is too
often a matter of secondary consideration.  Gain is the great,
all-absorbing object.  Very few, comparatively, regard Lowell as their
"continuing city."  They look longingly back to green valleys of
Vermont, to quiet farm-houses on the head-waters of the Connecticut and
Merrimac, and to old familiar homes along the breezy seaboard of New
England, whence they have been urged by the knowledge that here they can
earn a larger amount of money in a given time than in any other place or
employment.  They come here for gain, not for pleasure; for high wages,
not for the comforts that cluster about home.  Here are poor widows
toiling to educate their children; daughters hoarding their wages to
redeem mortgaged paternal homesteads or to defray the expenses of sick
and infirm parents; young betrothed girls, about to add their savings to
those of their country lovers.  Others there are, of maturer age, lonely
and poor, impelled hither by a proud unwillingness to test to its extent
the charity of friends and relatives, and a strong yearning for the
"glorious privilege of being independent."  All honor to them!  Whatever
may have closed against them the gates of matrimony, whether their own
obduracy or the faithlessness or indifference of others, instead of
shutting themselves up in a nunnery or taxing the good nature of their
friends by perpetual demands for sympathy and support, like weak vines,
putting out their feelers in every direction for something to twine
upon, is it not better and wiser for them to go quietly at work, to show
that woman has a self-sustaining power; that she is something in and of
herself; that she, too, has a part to bear in life, and, in common with
the self-elected "lords of creation," has a direct relation to absolute
being?  To such the factory presents the opportunity of taking the first
and essential step of securing, within a reasonable space of time, a
comfortable competency.

There are undoubtedly many evils connected with the working of these
mills; yet they are partly compensated by the fact that here, more than
in any other mechanical employment, the labor of woman is placed
essentially upon an equality with that of man.  Here, at least, one of
the many social disabilities under which woman as a distinct individual,
unconnected with the other sex, has labored in all time is removed; the
work of her hands is adequately rewarded; and she goes to her daily task
with the consciousness that she is not "spending her strength for

'The Lowell Offering', which has been for the last four years published
monthly in this city, consisting entirely of articles written by females
employed in the mills, has attracted much attention and obtained a wide
circulation.  This may be in part owing to the novel circumstances of
its publication; but it is something more and better than a mere
novelty.  In its volumes may be found sprightly delineations of home
scenes and characters, highly wrought imaginative pieces, tales of
genuine pathos and humor, and pleasing fairy stories and fables.
'The Offering' originated in a reading society of the mill girls, which,
under the name of the 'Improvement Circle' was convened once in a month.
At its meetings, pieces written by its members and dropped secretly into
a sort of "lion's mouth," provided for the purpose of insuring the
authors from detection, were read for the amusement and criticism of
the company.  This circle is still in existence; and I owe to my
introduction to it some of the most pleasant hours I have passed in

The manner in which the 'Offering' has been generally noticed in this
country has not, to my thinking, been altogether in accordance with good
taste or self-respect.  It is hardly excusable for men, who, whatever
may be their present position, have, in common with all of us, brothers,
sisters, or other relations busy in workshop and dairy, and who have
scarcely washed from their own professional hands the soil of labor, to
make very marked demonstrations of astonishment at the appearance of a
magazine whose papers are written by factory girls.  As if the
compatibility of mental cultivation with bodily labor and the equality
and brotherhood of the human family were still open questions, depending
for their decision very much on the production of positive proof that
essays may be written and carpets woven by the same set of fingers!

The truth is, our democracy lacks calmness and solidity, the repose and
self-reliance which come of long habitude and settled conviction.  We
have not yet learned to wear its simple truths with the graceful ease
and quiet air of unsolicitous assurance with which the titled European
does his social fictions.  As a people, we do not feel and live out our
great Declaration.  We lack faith in man,--confidence in simple
humanity, apart from its environments.

         "The age shows, to my thinking, more infidels to Adam,
          Than directly, by profession, simple infidels to God."

                                        Elizabeth B. Browning.

                             TAKING COMFORT.

For the last few days the fine weather has lured me away from books and
papers and the close air of dwellings into the open fields, and under
the soft, warm sunshine, and the softer light of a full moon.  The
loveliest season of the whole year--that transient but delightful
interval between the storms of the "wild equinox, with all their wet,"
and the dark, short, dismal days which precede the rigor of winter--is
now with us.  The sun rises through a soft and hazy atmosphere; the
light mist-clouds melt gradually away before him; and his noontide light
rests warm and clear on still woods, tranquil waters, and grasses green
with the late autumnal rains.  The rough-wooded slopes of Dracut,
overlooking the falls of the river; Fort Hill, across the Concord, where
the red man made his last stand, and where may still be seen the trench
which he dug around his rude fortress; the beautiful woodlands on the
Lowell and Tewksbury shores of the Concord; the cemetery; the Patucket
Falls,--all within the reach of a moderate walk,--offer at this season
their latest and loveliest attractions.

One fine morning, not long ago, I strolled down the Merrimac, on the
Tewksbury shore.  I know of no walk in the vicinity of Lowell so
inviting as that along the margin of the river for nearly a mile from
the village of Belvidere.  The path winds, green and flower-skirted,
among beeches and oaks, through whose boughs you catch glimpses of
waters sparkling and dashing below.  Rocks, huge and picturesque,
jut out into the stream, affording beautiful views of the river and
the distant city.

Half fatigued with my walk, I threw myself down upon the rocky slope
of the bank, where the panorama of earth, sky, and water lay clear and
distinct about me.  Far above, silent and dim as a picture, was the
city, with its huge mill-masonry, confused chimney-tops, and church-
spires; nearer rose the height of Belvidere, with its deserted burial-
place and neglected gravestones sharply defined on its bleak, bare
summit against the sky; before me the river went dashing down its rugged
channel, sending up its everlasting murmur; above me the birch-tree hung
its tassels; and the last wild flowers of autumn profusely fringed the
rocky rim of the water.  Right opposite, the Dracut woods stretched
upwards from the shore, beautiful with the hues of frost, glowing with
tints richer and deeper than those which Claude or Poussin mingled, as
if the rainbows of a summer shower had fallen among them.  At a little
distance to the right a group of cattle stood mid-leg deep in the river;
and a troop of children, bright-eyed and mirthful, were casting pebbles
at them from a projecting shelf of rock.  Over all a warm but softened
sunshine melted down from a slumberous autumnal sky.

My revery was disagreeably broken.  A low, grunting sound, half bestial,
half human, attracted my attention.  I was not alone.  Close beside me,
half hidden by a tuft of bushes, lay a human being, stretched out at
full length, with his face literally rooted into the gravel.  A little
boy, five or six years of age, clean and healthful, with his fair brown
locks and blue eyes, stood on the bank above, gazing down upon him with
an expression of childhood's simple and unaffected pity.

"What ails you?" asked the boy at length.  "What makes you lie there?"

The prostrate groveller struggled half-way up, exhibiting the bloated
and filthy countenance of a drunkard.  He made two or three efforts to
get upon his feet, lost his balance, and tumbled forward upon his face.

"What are you doing there?"  inquired the boy.

"I'm taking comfort," he muttered, with his mouth in the dirt.

Taking his comfort!  There he lay,--squalid and loathsome under the
bright heaven,--an imbruted man.  The holy harmonies of Nature, the
sounds of gushing waters, the rustle of the leaves above him, the wild
flowers, the frost-bloom of the woods,--what were they to him?
Insensible, deaf, and blind, in the stupor of a living death, he lay
there, literally realizing that most bitterly significant Eastern
malediction, "May you eat dirt!"

In contrasting the exceeding beauty and harmony of inanimate Nature with
the human degradation and deformity before me, I felt, as I confess I
had never done before, the truth of a remark of a rare thinker, that
"Nature is loved as the city of God, although, or rather because, it has
no citizen.  The beauty of Nature must ever be universal and mocking
until the landscape has human figures as good as itself.  Man is fallen;
Nature is erect."--[Emerson.]  As I turned once more to the calm blue
sky, the hazy autumnal hills, and the slumberous water, dream-tinted by
the foliage of its shores, it seemed as if a shadow of shame and sorrow
fell over the pleasant picture; and even the west wind which stirred the
tree-tops above me had a mournful murmur, as if Nature felt the
desecration of her sanctities and the discord of sin and folly which
marred her sweet harmonies.

God bless the temperance movement!  And He will bless it; for it is His
work.  It is one of the great miracles of our times.  Not Father Mathew
in Ireland, nor Hawkins and his little band in Baltimore, but He whose
care is over all the works of His hand, and who in His divine love and
compassion "turneth the hearts of men as the rivers of waters are
turned," hath done it.  To Him be all the glory.

                         CHARMS AND FAIRY FAITH

                         "Up the airy mountain,
                         Down the rushy glen,
                         We dare n't go a-hunting
                         For fear of little men.
                         Wee folk, good folk,
                         Trooping all together;
                         Green jacket, red cap,
                         Gray cock's feather."

IT was from a profound knowledge of human nature that Lord Bacon, in
discoursing upon truth, remarked that a mixture of a lie doth ever add
pleasure.  "Doth any man doubt," he asks, "that if there were taken out
of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, and
imaginations, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor,
shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to
themselves?"  This admitted tendency of our nature, this love of the
pleasing intoxication of unveracity, exaggeration, and imagination, may
perhaps account for the high relish which children and nations yet in
the childhood of civilization find in fabulous legends and tales of
wonder.  The Arab at the present day listens with eager interest to the
same tales of genii and afrits, sorcerers and enchanted princesses,
which delighted his ancestors in the times of Haroun al Raschid.  The
gentle, church-going Icelander of our time beguiles the long night of
his winter with the very sagas and runes which thrilled with not
unpleasing horror the hearts of the old Norse sea-robbers.  What child,
although Anglo-Saxon born, escapes a temporary sojourn in fairy-land?
Who of us does not remember the intense satisfaction of throwing aside
primer and spelling-book for stolen ethnographical studies of dwarfs,
and giants?  Even in our own country and time old superstitions and
credulities still cling to life with feline tenacity.  Here and there,
oftenest in our fixed, valley-sheltered, inland villages,--slumberous
Rip Van Winkles, unprogressive and seldom visited,--may be found the
same old beliefs in omens, warnings, witchcraft, and supernatural charms
which our ancestors brought with them two centuries ago from Europe.

The practice of charms, or what is popularly called "trying projects,"
is still, to some extent, continued in New England.  The inimitable
description which Burns gives of similar practices in his Halloween may
not in all respects apply to these domestic conjurations; but the
following needs only the substitution of apple-seeds for nuts:--

"The auld gude wife's wheel-hoordet nits
Are round an' round divided;
An' mony lads and lassies' fates
Are there that night decided.
Some kindle couthie side by side
An' burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa wi' saucy pride
And jump out owre the chimlie."

One of the most common of these "projects" is as follows: A young woman
goes down into the cellar, or into a dark room, with a mirror in her
hand, and looking in it, sees the face of her future husband peering at
her through the darkness,--the mirror being, for the time, as potent as
the famous Cambuscan glass of which Chaucer discourses.  A neighbor of
mine, in speaking of this conjuration, adduces a case in point.  One of
her schoolmates made the experiment and saw the face of a strange man in
the glass; and many years afterwards she saw the very man pass her
father's door.  He proved to be an English emigrant just landed, and in
due time became her husband.  Burns alludes to something like the spell
above described:--

"Wee Jenny to her grannie says,
'will ye go wi' me, grannie,
To eat an apple at the glass
I got from Uncle Johnnie?'
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was so vaporin',
She noticed na an' azle brunt
Her bran new worset apron.

"Ye little skelpan-limmer's face,
How dare ye try sic sportin',
An' seek the foul thief ony place
For him to try your fortune?
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight;
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a one has gotten a fright,
An' lived and died delecrit."

It is not to be denied, and for truth's sake not to be regretted, that
this amusing juvenile glammary has seen its best days in New England.
The schoolmaster has been abroad to some purpose.  Not without results
have our lyceum lecturers and travels of Peter Parley brought everything
in heaven above and in the earth below to the level of childhood's
capacities.  In our cities and large towns children nowadays pass
through the opening acts of life's marvellous drama with as little
manifestation of wonder and surprise as the Indian does through the
streets of a civilized city which he has entered for the first time.
Yet Nature, sooner or later, vindicates her mysteries; voices from the
unseen penetrate the din of civilization.  The child philosopher and
materialist often becomes the visionary of riper years, running into
illuminism, magnetism, and transcendentalism, with its inspired priests
and priestesses, its revelations and oracular responses.

But in many a green valley of rural New England there are children yet;
boys and girls are still to be found not quite overtaken by the march of
mind.  There, too, are huskings, and apple-bees, and quilting parties,
and huge old-fashioned fireplaces piled with crackling walnut, flinging
its rosy light over happy countenances of youth and scarcely less happy
age.  If it be true that, according to Cornelius Agrippa, "a wood fire
doth drive away dark spirits," it is, nevertheless, also true that
around it the simple superstitions of our ancestors still love to
linger; and there the half-sportful, half-serious charms of which I have
spoken are oftenest resorted to.  It would be altogether out of place to
think of them by our black, unsightly stoves, or in the dull and dark
monotony of our furnace-heated rooms.  Within the circle of the light of
the open fire safely might the young conjurers question destiny; for
none but kindly and gentle messengers from wonderland could venture
among them.  And who of us, looking back to those long autumnal evenings
of childhood when the glow of the kitchen-fire rested on the beloved
faces of home, does not feel that there is truth and beauty in what the
quaint old author just quoted affirms?  "As the spirits of darkness grow
stronger in the dark, so good spirits, which are angels of light, are
multiplied and strengthened, not only by the divine light of the sun and
stars, but also by the light of our common wood-fires."  Even Lord
Bacon, in condemning the superstitious beliefs of his day, admits that
they might serve for winter talk around the fireside.

Fairy faith is, we may safely say, now dead everywhere,--buried,
indeed,--for the mad painter Blake saw the funeral of the last of the
little people, and an irreverent English bishop has sung their requiem.
It never had much hold upon the Yankee mind, our superstitions being
mostly of a sterner and less poetical kind.  The Irish Presbyterians who
settled in New Hampshire about the year 1720 brought indeed with them,
among other strange matters, potatoes and fairies; but while the former
took root and flourished among us, the latter died out, after lingering
a few years in a very melancholy and disconsolate way, looking
regretfully back to their green turf dances, moonlight revels, and
cheerful nestling around the shealing fires of Ireland.  The last that
has been heard of them was some forty or fifty years ago in a tavern
house in S-------, New Hampshire.  The landlord was a spiteful little
man, whose sour, pinched look was a standing libel upon the state of his
larder.  He made his house so uncomfortable by his moroseness that
travellers even at nightfall pushed by his door and drove to the next
town.  Teamsters and drovers, who in those days were apt to be very
thirsty, learned, even before temperance societies were thought of, to
practice total abstinence on that road, and cracked their whips and
goaded on their teams in full view of a most tempting array of bottles
and glasses, from behind which the surly little landlord glared out upon
them with a look which seemed expressive of all sorts of evil wishes,
broken legs, overturned carriages, spavined horses, sprained oxen,
unsavory poultry, damaged butter, and bad markets.  And if, as a matter
of necessity, to "keep the cold out of his stomach," occasionally a
wayfarer stopped his team and ventured to call for "somethin' warmin',"
the testy publican stirred up the beverage in such a spiteful way, that,
on receiving it foaming from his hand, the poor customer was half afraid
to open his mouth, lest the red-hot flip iron should be plunged down his

As a matter of course, poverty came upon the house and its tenants like
an armed man.  Loose clapboards rattled in the wind; rags fluttered from
the broken windows; within doors were tattered children and scanty fare.
The landlord's wife was a stout, buxom woman, of Irish lineage, and,
what with scolding her husband and liberally patronizing his bar in his
absence, managed to keep, as she said, her "own heart whole," although
the same could scarcely be said of her children's trousers and her own
frock of homespun.  She confidently predicted that "a betther day was
coming," being, in fact, the only thing hopeful about the premises.  And
it did come, sure enough.  Not only all the regular travellers on the
road made a point of stopping at the tavern, but guests from all the
adjacent towns filled its long-deserted rooms,--the secret of which was,
that it had somehow got abroad that a company of fairies had taken up
their abode in the hostelry and daily held conversation with each other
in the capacious parlor.  I have heard those who at the time visited the
tavern say that it was literally thronged for several weeks.  Small,
squeaking voices spoke in a sort of Yankee-Irish dialect, in the haunted
room, to the astonishment and admiration of hundreds.  The inn, of
course, was blessed by this fairy visitation; the clapboards ceased
their racket, clear panes took the place of rags in the sashes, and the
little till under the bar grew daily heavy with coin.  The magical
influence extended even farther; for it was observable that the landlord
wore a good-natured face, and that the landlady's visits to the gin-
bottle were less and less frequent.  But the thing could not, in the
nature of the case, continue long.  It was too late in the day and on
the wrong side of the water.  As the novelty wore off, people began to
doubt and reason about it.  Had the place been traversed by a ghost or
disturbed by a witch they could have acquiesced in it very quietly; but
this outlandish belief in fairies was altogether an overtask for Yankee
credulity.  As might have been expected, the little strangers, unable to
breathe in an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion, soon took their leave,
shaking off the dust of their elfin feet as a testimony against an
unbelieving generation.  It was, indeed, said that certain rude fellows
from the Bay State pulled away a board from the ceiling and disclosed to
view the fairies in the shape of the landlady's three slatternly
daughters.  But the reader who has any degree of that charity which
thinks no evil will rather credit the statement of the fairies
themselves, as reported by the mistress of the house, "that they were
tired of the new country, and had no pace of their lives among the
Yankees, and were going back to Ould Ireland."

It is a curious fact that the Indians had some notion of a race of
beings corresponding in many respects to the English fairies.
Schoolcraft describes them as small creatures in human shape, inhabiting
rocks, crags, and romantic dells, and delighting especially in points of
land jutting into lakes and rivers and which were covered with
pinetrees.  They were called Puckweedjinees,--little vanishers.

In a poetical point of view it is to be regretted that our ancestors did
not think it worth their while to hand down to us more of the simple and
beautiful traditions and beliefs of the "heathen round about" them.
Some hints of them we glean from the writings of the missionary Mayhew
and the curious little book of Roger Williams.  Especially would one
like to know more of that domestic demon, Wetuomanit, who presided over
household affairs, assisted the young squaw in her first essay at
wigwam-keeping, gave timely note of danger, and kept evil spirits at a
distance,--a kind of new-world brownie, gentle and useful.

Very suggestive, too, is the story of Pumoolah,--a mighty spirit, whose
home is on the great Katahdin Mountain, sitting there with his earthly
bride (a beautiful daughter of the Penobscots transformed into an
immortal by her love), in serenest sunshine, above the storm which
crouches and growls at his feet.  None but the perfectly pure and good
can reach his abode.  Many have from time to time attempted it in vain;
some, after almost reaching the summit, have been driven back by
thunderbolts or sleety whirlwinds.

Not far from my place of residence are the ruins of a mill, in a narrow
ravine fringed with trees.  Some forty years ago the mill was supposed
to be haunted; and horse-shoes, in consequence, were nailed over its
doors.  One worthy man, whose business lay beyond the mill, was afraid
to pass it alone; and his wife, who was less fearful of supernatural
annoyance, used to accompany him.  The little old white-coated miller,
who there ground corn and wheat for his neighbors, whenever he made a
particularly early visit to his mill, used to hear it in full
operation,--the water-wheel dashing bravely, and the old rickety
building clattering to the jar of the stones.  Yet the moment his hand
touched the latch or his foot the threshold all was hushed save the
melancholy drip of water from the dam or the low gurgle of the small
stream eddying amidst willow roots and mossy stones in the ravine below.

This haunted mill has always reminded me of that most beautiful of
Scottish ballads, the Song of the Elfin Miller, in which fairies are
represented as grinding the poor man's grist without toil:--

              "Full merrily rings the mill-stone round;
               Full merrily rings the wheel;
               Full merrily gushes out the grist;
               Come, taste my fragrant meal.
               The miller he's a warldly man,
               And maun hae double fee;
               So draw the sluice in the churl's dam
               And let the stream gae free!"

Brainerd, who truly deserves the name of an American poet, has left
behind him a ballad on the Indian legend of the black fox which haunted
Salmon River, a tributary of the Connecticut.  Its wild and picturesque
beauty causes us to regret that more of the still lingering traditions
of the red men have not been made the themes of his verse:--

                          THE BLACK FOX.

               "How cold, how beautiful, how bright
               The cloudless heaven above us shines!
               But 't is a howling winter's night;
               'T would freeze the very forest pines.

               "The winds are up while mortals sleep;
               The stars look forth while eyes are shut;
               The bolted snow lies drifted deep
               Around our poor and lonely hut.

               "With silent step and listening ear,
               With bow and arrow, dog and gun,
               We'll mark his track,--his prowl we hear:
               Now is our time!  Come on! come on!

               "O'er many a fence, through many a wood,
               Following the dog's bewildered scent,
               In anxious haste and earnest mood,
               The white man and the Indian went.

               "The gun is cocked; the bow is bent;
               The dog stands with uplifted paw;
               And ball and arrow both are sent,
               Aimed at the prowler's very jaw.

               "The ball to kill that fox is run
               Not in a mould by mortals made;
               The arrow which that fox should shun
               Was never shaped from earthly reed.

               "The Indian Druids of the wood
               Know where the fatal arrows grow;
               They spring not by the summer flood;
               They pierce not through the winter's snow.

               "Why cowers the dog, whose snuffing nose
               Was never once deceived till now?
               And why amidst the chilling snows
               Does either hunter wipe his brow?

               "For once they see his fearful den;
               'T is a dark cloud that slowly moves
               By night around the homes of men,
               By day along the stream it loves.

               "Again the dog is on the track,
               The hunters chase o'er dale and hill;
               They may not, though they would, look back;
               They must go forward, forward still.

               "Onward they go, and never turn,
               Amidst a night which knows no day;
               For nevermore shall morning sun
               Light them upon their endless way.

               "The hut is desolate; and there
               The famished dog alone returns;
               On the cold steps he makes his lair;
               By the shut door he lays his bones.

               "Now the tired sportsman leans his gun
               Against the ruins on its site,
               And ponders on the hunting done
               By the lost wanderers of the night.

               "And there the little country girls
               Will stop to whisper, listen, and look,
               And tell, while dressing their sunny curls,
               Of the Black Fox of Salmon Brook."

The same writer has happily versified a pleasant superstition of the
valley of the Connecticut.  It is supposed that shad are led from the
Gulf of Mexico to the Connecticut by a kind of Yankee bogle in the shape
of a bird.

                         THE SHAD SPIRIT.

          "Now drop the bolt, and securely nail
          The horse-shoe over the door;
          'T is a wise precaution; and, if it should fail,
          It never failed before.

          "Know ye the shepherd that gathers his flock
          Where the gales of the equinox blow
          From each unknown reef and sunken rock
          In the Gulf of Mexico,--

          "While the monsoons growl, and the trade-winds bark,
          And the watch-dogs of the surge
          Pursue through the wild waves the ravenous shark
          That prowls around their charge?

          "To fair Connecticut's northernmost source,
          O'er sand-bars, rapids, and falls,
          The Shad Spirit holds his onward course
          With the flocks which his whistle calls.

          "Oh, how shall he know where he went before?
          Will he wander around forever?
          The last year's shad heads shall shine on the shore,
          To light him up the river.

          "And well can he tell the very time
          To undertake his task
          When the pork-barrel's low he sits on the chine
          And drums on the empty cask.

          "The wind is light, and the wave is white
          With the fleece of the flock that's near;
          Like the breath of the breeze he comes over the seas
          And faithfully leads them here.

          "And now he 's passed the bolted door
          Where the rusted horse-shoe clings;
          So carry the nets to the nearest shore,
          And take what the Shad Spirit brings."

The comparatively innocent nature and simple poetic beauty of this class
of superstitions have doubtless often induced the moralist to hesitate
in exposing their absurdity, and, like Burns in view of his national
thistle, to:

              "Turn the weeding hook aside
               And spare the symbol dear."

But the age has fairly outgrown them, and they are falling away by a
natural process of exfoliation.  The wonderland of childhood must
henceforth be sought within the domains of truth.  The strange facts of
natural history, and the sweet mysteries of flowers and forests, and
hills and waters, will profitably take the place of the fairy lore of
the past, and poetry and romance still hold their accustomed seats in
the circle of home, without bringing with them the evil spirits of
credulity and untruth.  Truth should be the first lesson of the child
and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the
inquiry of truth, which is the lovemaking of it, the knowledge of truth,
which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the
enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

                        MAGICIANS AND WITCH FOLK.

FASCINATION, saith Henry Cornelius Agrippa, in the fiftieth chapter of
his first book on Occult Philosophy, "is a binding which comes of the
spirit of the witch through the eyes of him that is bewitched, entering
to his heart; for the eye being opened and intent upon any one, with a
strong imagination doth dart its beams, which are the vehiculum of the
spirit, into the eyes of him that is opposite to her; which tender
spirit strikes his eyes, stirs up and wounds his heart, and infects his
spirit.  Whence Apuleius saith, 'Thy eyes, sliding down through my eyes
into my inmost heart, stirreth up a most vehement burning.' And when
eyes are reciprocally intent upon each other, and when rays are joined
to rays, and lights to lights, then the spirit of the one is joined to
that of the other; so are strong ligations made and vehement loves
inflamed."  Taking this definition of witchcraft, we sadly fear it is
still practised to a very great extent among us.  The best we can say of
it is, that the business seems latterly to have fallen into younger
hands; its victims do not appear to regard themselves as especial
objects of compassion; and neither church nor state seems inclined to
interfere with it.

As might be expected in a shrewd community like ours, attempts are not
unfrequently made to speculate in the supernatural,--to "make gain of
sooth-saying."  In the autumn of last year a "wise woman" dreamed, or
somnambulized, that a large sum of money, in gold and silver coin, lay
buried in the centre of the great swamp in Poplin, New Hampshire;
whereupon an immediate search was made for the precious metal.  Under
the bleak sky of November, in biting frost and sleet rain, some twenty
or more grown men, graduates of our common schools, and liable, every
mother's son of them, to be made deacons, squires, and general court
members, and such other drill officers as may be requisite in the march
of mind, might be seen delving in grim earnest, breaking the frozen
earth, uprooting swamp-maples and hemlocks, and waking, with sledge and
crowbar, unwonted echoes in a solitude which had heretofore only
answered to the woodman's axe or the scream of the wild fowl.  The snows
of December put an end to their labors; but the yawning excavation still
remains, a silent but somewhat expressive commentary upon the age of

Still later, in one of our Atlantic cities, an attempt was made,
partially at least, successful, to form a company for the purpose of
digging for money in one of the desolate sand-keys of the West Indies.
It appears that some mesmerized "subject," in the course of one of those
somnambulic voyages of discovery in which the traveller, like Satan in

    "O'er bog, o'er steep, through straight, rough, dense, or rare,
     With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
     And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies,"--

while peering curiously into the earth's mysteries,chanced to have his
eyes gladdened by the sight of a huge chest packed with Spanish coins,
the spoil, doubtless, of some rich-freighted argosy, or Carthagena
galleon, in the rare days of Queen Elizabeth's Christian buccaneers.

During the last quarter of a century, a colored woman in one of the
villages on the southern border of New Hampshire has been consulted by
hundreds of anxious inquirers into the future.  Long experience in her
profession has given her something of that ready estimate of character,
that quick and keen appreciation of the capacity, habits, and wishes of
her visitors, which so remarkably distinguished the late famous Madame
Le Normand, of Paris; and if that old squalid sorceress, in her cramped
Parisian attic, redolent of garlic and bestrewn with the greasy
implements of sorry housewifery, was, as has been affirmed, consulted by
such personages as the fair Josephine Beauharnois, and the "man of
destiny," Napoleon himself, is it strange that the desire to lift the
veil of the great mystery before us should overcome in some degree our
peculiar and most republican prejudice against color, and reconcile us
to the disagreeable necessity of looking at futurity through a black

Some forty years ago, on the banks of the pleasant little creek
separating Berwick, in Maine, from Somersworth, in New Hampshire, within
sight of my mother's home, dwelt a plain, sedate member of the society
of Friends, named Bantum.  He passed throughout a circle of several
miles as a conjurer and skilful adept in the art of magic.  To him
resorted farmers who had lost their cattle, matrons whose household
gear, silver spoons, and table-linen had been stolen, or young maidens
whose lovers were absent; and the quiet, meek-spirited old man received
them all kindly, put on his huge iron-rimmed spectacles, opened his
"conjuring book," which my mother describes as a large clasped volume in
strange language and black-letter type, and after due reflection and
consideration gave the required answers without money and without price.
The curious old volume is still in the possession of the conjurer's
family.  Apparently inconsistent as was this practice of the black art
with the simplicity and truthfulness of his religious profession, I have
not been able to learn that he was ever subjected to censure on account
of it.  It may be that our modern conjurer defended himself on grounds
similar to those assumed by the celebrated knight of Nettesheim, in the
preface to his first Book of Magic: "Some," says he, "may crie oute that
I teach forbidden arts, sow the seed of heresies, offend pious ears, and
scandalize excellent wits; that I am a sorcerer, superstitious and
devilish, who indeed am a magician.  To whom I answer, that a magician
doth not among learned men signifie a sorcerer or one that is
superstitious or devilish, but a wise man, a priest, a prophet, and that
the sibyls prophesied most clearly of Christ; that magicians, as wise
men, by the wonderful secrets of the world, knew Christ to be born, and
came to worship him, first of all; and that the name of magicke is
received by philosophers, commended by divines, and not unacceptable to
the Gospel."

The study of astrology and occult philosophy, to which many of the
finest minds of the Middle Ages devoted themselves without molestation
from the Church, was never practised with impunity after the
Reformation.  The Puritans and Presbyterians, taking the Bible for their
rule, "suffered not a witch to live;" and, not content with burning the
books of those who "used curious arts" after the manner of the
Ephesians, they sacrificed the students themselves on the same pile.
Hence we hear little of learned and scientific wizards in New England.
One remarkable character of this kind seems, however, to have escaped
the vigilance of our modern Doctors of the Mosaic Law.  Dr. Robert Child
came to this country about the year 1644, and took up his residence in
the Massachusetts colony.  He was a man of wealth, and owned plantations
at Nashaway, now Lancaster, and at Saco, in Maine.  He was skilful in
mineralogy and metallurgy, and seems to have spent a good deal of money
in searching for mines.  He is well known as the author of the first
decided movement for liberty of conscience in Massachusetts, his name
standing at the head of the famous petition of 1646 for a modification
of the laws in respect to religious worship, and complaining in strong
terms of the disfranchisement of persons not members of the Church.  A
tremendous excitement was produced by this remonstrance; clergy and
magistrates joined in denouncing it; Dr. Child and his associates were
arrested, tried for contempt of government, and heavily fined.  The
Court, in passing sentence, assured the Doctor that his crime was only
equalled by that of Korah and his troop, who rebelled against Moses and
Aaron.  He resolved to appeal to the Parliament of England, and made
arrangements for his departure, but was arrested, and ordered to be kept
a prisoner in his own house until the vessel in which he was to sail had
left Boston.  He was afterwards imprisoned for a considerable length of
time, and on his release found means to return to England.  The Doctor's
trunks were searched by the Puritan authorities while he was in prison;
but it does not appear that they detected the occult studies to which
lie was addicted, to which lucky circumstance it is doubtless owing that
the first champion of religious liberty in the New World was not hung
for a wizard.

Dr. Child was a graduate of the renowned University of Padua, and had
travelled extensively in the Old World.  Probably, like Michael Scott,
be had:

              "Learned the art of glammarye
               In Padua, beyond the sea;"

for I find in the dedication of an English translation of a Continental
work on astrology and magic, printed in 1651 "at the sign of the Three
Bibles," that his "sublime hermeticall and theomagicall lore" is
compared to that of Hermes and Agrippa.  He is complimented as a master
of the mysteries of Rome and Germany, and as one who had pursued his
investigations among the philosophers of the Old World and the Indians
of the New, "leaving no stone unturned, the turning whereof might
conduce to the discovery of what is occult."

There was still another member of the Friends' society in Vermont, of
the name of Austin, who, in answer, as he supposed, to prayer and a
long-cherished desire to benefit his afflicted fellow-creatures,
received, as he believed, a special gift of healing.  For several years
applicants from nearly all parts of New England visited him with the
story of their sufferings and praying for a relief, which, it is
averred, was in many instances really obtained.  Letters from the sick
who were unable to visit him, describing their diseases, were sent him;
and many are yet living who believe that they were restored miraculously
at the precise period of time when Austin was engaged in reading their
letters.  One of my uncles was commissioned to convey to him a large
number of letters from sick persons in his neighborhood.  He found the
old man sitting in his plain parlor in the simplest garb of his sect,--
grave, thoughtful, venerable,--a drab-coated Prince Hohenlohe.  He
received the letters in silence, read them slowly, casting them one
after another upon a large pile of similar epistles in a corner of the

Half a century ago nearly every neighborhood in New England was favored
with one or more reputed dealers in magic.  Twenty years later there
were two poor old sisters who used to frighten school urchins and
"children of a larger growth" as they rode down from New Hampshire on
their gaunt skeleton horses, strung over with baskets for the
Newburyport market.  They were aware of the popular notion concerning
them, and not unfrequently took advantage of it to levy a sort of black
mail upon their credulous neighbors.  An attendant at the funeral of one
of these sisters, who when living was about as unsubstantial as Ossian's
ghost, through which the stars were visible, told me that her coffin was
so heavy that four stout men could barely lift it.

One, of my earliest recollections is that of an old woman, residing
about two miles from the place of my nativity, who for many years had
borne the unenviable reputation of a witch.  She certainly had the look
of one,--a combination of form, voice, and features which would have
made the fortune of an English witch finder in the days of Matthew Paris
or the Sir John Podgers of Dickens, and insured her speedy conviction in
King James's High Court of Justiciary.  She was accused of divers ill-
doings,--such as preventing the cream in her neighbor's churn from
becoming butter, and snuffing out candles at huskings and quilting-

              "She roamed the country far and near,
               Bewitched the children of the peasants,
               Dried up the cows, and lamed the deer,
               And sucked the eggs, and killed the pheasants."

The poor old woman was at length so sadly annoyed by her unfortunate
reputation that she took the trouble to go before a justice of the
peace, and made solemn oath that she was a Christian woman, and no

Not many years since a sad-visaged, middle-aged man might be seen in the
streets of one of our seaboard towns at times suddenly arrested in the
midst of a brisk walk and fixed motionless for some minutes in the busy
thoroughfare.  No effort could induce him to stir until, in his opinion,
the spell was removed and his invisible tormentor suffered him to
proceed.  He explained his singular detention as the act of a whole
family of witches whom he had unfortunately offended during a visit down
East.  It was rumored that the offence consisted in breaking off a
matrimonial engagement with the youngest member of the family,--a
sorceress, perhaps, in more than one sense of the word, like that
"winsome wench and walie" in Tam O'Shanter's witch-dance at Kirk
Alloway.  His only hope was that he should outlive his persecutors; and
it is said that at the very hour in which the event took place he
exultingly assured his friends that the spell was forever broken, and
that the last of the family of his tormentors was no more.

When a boy, I occasionally met, at the house of a relative in an
adjoining town, a stout, red-nosed old farmer of the neighborhood.
A fine tableau he made of a winter's evening, in the red light of a
birch-log fire, as he sat for hours watching its progress, with sleepy,
half-shut eyes, changing his position only to reach the cider-mug on the
shelf near him.  Although he seldom opened his lips save to assent to
some remark of his host or to answer a direct question, yet at times,
when the cider-mug got the better of his taciturnity, he would amuse us
with interesting details of his early experiences in "the Ohio country."

There was, however, one chapter in these experiences which he usually
held in reserve, and with which "the stranger intermeddled not."  He was
not willing to run the risk of hearing that which to him was a frightful
reality turned into ridicule by scoffers and unbelievers.  The substance
of it, as I received it from one of his neighbors, forms as clever a
tale of witchcraft as modern times have produced.

It seems that when quite a young man he left the homestead, and,
strolling westward, worked his way from place to place until he found
himself in one of the old French settlements on the Ohio River.  Here he
procured employment on the farm of a widow; and being a smart, active
fellow, and proving highly serviceable in his department, he rapidly
gained favor in the eyes of his employer.  Ere long, contrary to the
advice of the neighbors, and in spite of somewhat discouraging hints
touching certain matrimonial infelicities experienced by the late
husband, he resolutely stepped into the dead man's shoes: the mistress
became the wife, and the servant was legally promoted to the head of the

For a time matters went on cosily and comfortably enough.  He was now
lord of the soil; and, as he laid in his crops of corn and potatoes,
salted down his pork, and piled up his wood for winter's use, he
naturally enough congratulated himself upon his good fortune and laughed
at the sinister forebodings of his neighbors.  But with the long winter
months came a change over his "love's young dream."  An evil and
mysterious influence seemed to be at work in his affairs.  Whatever he
did after consulting his wife or at her suggestion resulted favorably
enough; but all his own schemes and projects were unaccountably marred
and defeated.  If he bought a horse, it was sure to prove spavined or
wind-broken.  His cows either refused to give down their milk, or,
giving it, perversely kicked it over.  A fine sow which he had bargained
for repaid his partiality by devouring, like Saturn, her own children.
By degrees a dark thought forced its way into his mind.  Comparing his
repeated mischances with the ante-nuptial warnings of his neighbors, he
at last came to the melancholy conclusion that his wife was a witch.
The victim in Motherwell's ballad of the Demon Lady, or the poor fellow
in the Arabian tale who discovered that he had married a ghoul in the
guise of a young and blooming princess, was scarcely in a more sorrowful
predicament.  He grew nervous and fretful.  Old dismal nursery stories
and all the witch lore of boyhood came back to his memory; and he crept
to his bed like a criminal to the gallows, half afraid to fall asleep
lest his mysterious companion should take a fancy to transform him into
a horse, get him shod at the smithy, and ride him to a witch-meeting.
And, as if to make the matter worse, his wife's affection seemed to
increase just in proportion as his troubles thickened upon him.  She
aggravated him with all manner of caresses and endearments.  This was
the drop too much.  The poor husband recoiled from her as from a waking
nightmare.  His thoughts turned to New England; he longed to see once
more the old homestead, with its tall well-sweep and butternut-trees by
the roadside; and he sighed amidst the rich bottom-lands of his new home
for his father's rocky pasture, with its crop of stinted mulleins.  So
one cold November day, finding himself out of sight and hearing of his
wife, he summoned courage to attempt an escape, and, resolutely turning
his back on the West, plunged into the wilderness towards the sunrise.
After a long and hard journey he reached his birthplace, and was kindly
welcomed by his old friends.  Keeping a close mouth with respect to his
unlucky adventure in Ohio, he soon after married one of his schoolmates,
and, by dint of persevering industry and economy, in a few years found
himself in possession of a comfortable home.

But his evil star still lingered above the horizon.  One summer evening,
on returning from the hayfield, who should meet him but his witch wife
from Ohio!  She came riding up the street on her old white horse, with a
pillion behind the saddle.  Accosting him in a kindly tone, yet not
without something of gentle reproach for his unhandsome desertion of
her, she informed him that she had come all the way from Ohio to take
him back again.

It was in vain that he pleaded his later engagements; it was in vain
that his new wife raised her shrillest remonstrances, not unmingled with
expressions of vehement indignation at the revelation of her husband's
real position; the witch wife was inexorable; go he must, and that
speedily.  Fully impressed with a belief in her supernatural power of
compelling obedience, and perhaps dreading more than witchcraft itself
the effects of the unlucky disclosure on the temper of his New England
helpmate, he made a virtue of the necessity of the case, bade farewell
to the latter amidst a perfect hurricane of reproaches, and mounted the
white horse, with his old wife on the pillion behind him.

Of that ride Burger might have written a counterpart to his ballad:--

              "Tramp, tramp, along the shore they ride,
               Splash, splash, along the sea."

Two or three years had passed away, bringing no tidings of the
unfortunate husband, when be once more made his appearance in his native
village.  He was not disposed to be very communicative; but for one
thing, at least, he seemed willing to express his gratitude.  His Ohio
wife, having no spell against intermittent fever, had paid the debt of
nature, and had left him free; in view of which, his surviving wife,
after manifesting a due degree of resentment, consented to take him back
to her bed and board; and I could never learn that she had cause to
regret her clemency.

                              THE BEAUTIFUL

          "A beautiful form is better than a beautiful face;
          a beautiful behavior is better than a beautiful form;
          it gives a higher pleasure than statues or pictures;
          it is the finest of the fine arts."
                         EMERSON'S Essays, Second Series, iv., p.  162.

A FEW days since I was walking with a friend, who, unfortunately for
himself, seldom meets with anything in the world of realities worthy of
comparison with the ideal of his fancy, which, like the bird in the
Arabian tale, glides perpetually before him, always near yet never
overtaken.  He was half humorously, half seriously, complaining of the
lack of beauty in the faces and forms that passed us on the crowded
sidewalk.  Some defect was noticeable in all: one was too heavy, another
too angular; here a nose was at fault, there a mouth put a set of
otherwise fine features out of countenance; the fair complexions had red
hair, and glossy black locks were wasted upon dingy ones.  In one way or
another all fell below his impossible standard.

The beauty which my friend seemed in search of was that of proportion
and coloring; mechanical exactness; a due combination of soft curves and
obtuse angles, of warm carnation and marble purity.  Such a man, for
aught I can see, might love a graven image, like the girl of Florence
who pined into a shadow for the Apollo Belvidere, looking coldly on her
with stony eyes from his niche in the Vatican.  One thing is certain,--
he will never find his faultless piece of artistical perfection by
searching for it amidst flesh-and-blood realities.  Nature does not,
as far as I can perceive, work with square and compass, or lay on her
colors by the rules of royal artists or the dunces of the academies.
She eschews regular outlines.  She does not shape her forms by a common
model.  Not one of Eve's numerous progeny in all respects resembles her
who first culled the flowers of Eden.  To the infinite variety and
picturesque inequality of Nature we owe the great charm of her uncloying
beauty.  Look at her primitive woods; scattered trees, with moist sward
and bright mosses at their roots; great clumps of green shadow, where
limb intwists with limb and the rustle of one leaf stirs a hundred
others,--stretching up steep hillsides, flooding with green beauty the
valleys, or arching over with leaves the sharp ravines, every tree and
shrub unlike its neighbor in size and proportion,--the old and storm-
broken leaning on the young and vigorous,--intricate and confused,
without order or method.  Who would exchange this for artificial French
gardens, where every tree stands stiff and regular, clipped and trimmed
into unvarying conformity, like so many grenadiers under review?  Who
wants eternal sunshine or shadow?  Who would fix forever the loveliest
cloudwork of an autumn sunset, or hang over him an everlasting
moonlight?  If the stream had no quiet eddying place, could we so admire
its cascade over the rocks?  Were there no clouds, could we so hail the
sky shining through them in its still, calm purity?  Who shall venture
to ask our kind Mother Nature to remove from our sight any one of her
forms or colors?  Who shall decide which is beautiful, or otherwise, in
itself considered?

There are too many, like my fastidious friend, who go through the world
"from Dan to Beersheba, finding all barren,"--who have always some fault
or other to find with Nature and Providence, seeming to consider
themselves especially ill used because the one does not always coincide
with their taste, nor the other with their narrow notions of personal
convenience.  In one of his early poems, Coleridge has well expressed a
truth, which is not the less important because it is not generally
admitted.  The idea is briefly this: that the mind gives to all things
their coloring, their gloom, or gladness; that the pleasure we derive
from external nature is primarily from ourselves:--

                      "from the mind itself must issue forth
                    A light, a glory, a fair luminous mist,
                    Enveloping the earth."

The real difficulty of these lifelong hunters after the beautiful exists
in their own spirits.  They set up certain models of perfection in their
imaginations, and then go about the world in the vain expectation of
finding them actually wrought out according to pattern; very
unreasonably calculating that Nature will suspend her everlasting laws
for the purpose of creating faultless prodigies for their especial

The authors of Gayeties and Gravities give it as their opinion that no
object of sight is regarded by us as a simple disconnected form, but
that--an instantaneous reflection as to its history, purpose, or
associations converts it into a concrete one,--a process, they shrewdly
remark, which no thinking being can prevent, and which can only be
avoided by the unmeaning and stolid stare of "a goose on the common or a
cow on the green."  The senses and the faculties of the understanding
are so blended with and dependent upon each other that not one of them
can exercise its office alone and without the modification of some
extrinsic interference or suggestion.  Grateful or unpleasant
associations cluster around all which sense takes cognizance of; the
beauty which we discern in an external object is often but the
reflection of our own minds.

What is beauty, after all?  Ask the lover who kneels in homage to one
who has no attractions for others.  The cold onlooker wonders that he
can call that unclassic combination of features and that awkward form
beautiful.  Yet so it is.  He sees, like Desdemona, her "visage in her
mind," or her affections.  A light from within shines through the
external uncomeliness,--softens, irradiates, and glorifies it.  That
which to others seems commonplace and unworthy of note is to him, in the
words of Spenser,--

                   "A sweet, attractive kind of grace;
                    A full assurance given by looks;
                    Continual comfort in a face;
                    The lineaments of Gospel books."

"Handsome is that handsome does,--hold up your heads, girls!" was the
language of Primrose in the play when addressing her daughters.  The
worthy matron was right.  Would that all my female readers who are
sorrowing foolishly because they are not in all respects like Dubufe's
Eve, or that statue of the Venus "which enchants the world," could be
persuaded to listen to her.  What is good looking, as Horace Smith
remarks, but looking good?  Be good, be womanly, be gentle,--generous in
your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you; and, my
word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration.  Loving and
pleasant associations will gather about you.  Never mind the ugly
reflection which your glass may give you.  That mirror has no heart.
But quite another picture is yours on the retina of human sympathy.
There the beauty of holiness, of purity, of that inward grace which
passeth show, rests over it, softening and mellowing its features just
as the full calm moonlight melts those of a rough landscape into
harmonious loveliness.  "Hold up your heads, girls!" I repeat after
Primrose.  Why should you not?  Every mother's daughter of you can be
beautiful.  You can envelop yourselves in an atmosphere of moral and
intellectual beauty, through which your otherwise plain faces will look
forth like those of angels.  Beautiful to Ledyard, stiffening in the
cold of a northern winter, seemed the diminutive, smokestained women of
Lapland, who wrapped him in their furs and ministered to his necessities
with kindness and gentle words of compassion.  Lovely to the homesick
heart of Park seemed the dark maids of Sego, as they sung their low and
simple song of welcome beside his bed, and sought to comfort the white
stranger, who had "no mother to bring him milk and no wife to grind him
corn."  Oh, talk as we may of beauty as a thing to be chiselled from
marble or wrought out on canvas, speculate as we may upon its colors and
outlines, what is it but an intellectual abstraction, after all?  The
heart feels a beauty of another kind; looking through the outward
environment, it discovers a deeper and more real loveliness.

This was well understood by the old painters.  In their pictures of
Mary, the virgin mother, the beauty which melts and subdues the gazer is
that of the soul and the affections, uniting the awe and mystery of that
mother's miraculous allotment with the irrepressible love, the
unutterable tenderness, of young maternity,--Heaven's crowning miracle
with Nature's holiest and sweetest instinct.  And their pale Magdalens,
holy with the look of sins forgiven,--how the divine beauty of their
penitence sinks into the heart!  Do we not feel that the only real
deformity is sin, and that goodness evermore hallows and sanctifies its
dwelling-place?  When the soul is at rest, when the passions and desires
are all attuned to the divine harmony,--

                   "Spirits moving musically
                    To a lute's well-ordered law,"
                         The Haunted Palace, by Edgar A. Poe.

do we not read the placid significance thereof in the human countenance?
"I have seen," said Charles Lamb, "faces upon which the dove of peace
sat brooding."  In that simple and beautiful record of a holy life, the
Journal of John Woolman, there is a passage of which I have been more
than once reminded in my intercourse with my fellow-beings: "Some
glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces who dwell in true
meekness.  There is a harmony in the sound of that voice to which divine
love gives utterance."

Quite the ugliest face I ever saw was that of a woman whom the world
calls beautiful.  Through its "silver veil" the evil and ungentle
passions looked out hideous and hateful.  On the other hand, there are
faces which the multitude at the first glance pronounce homely,
unattractive, and such as "Nature fashions by the gross," which I always
recognize with a warm heart-thrill; not for the world would I have one
feature changed; they please me as they are; they are hallowed by kind
memories; they are beautiful through their associations; nor are they
any the less welcome that with my admiration of them "the stranger
intermeddleth not."

                             THE WORLD'S END.

                    "Our Father Time is weak and gray,
                    Awaiting for the better day;
                    See how idiot-like he stands,
                    Fumbling his old palsied hands!"
                                   SHELLEY's Masque of Anarchy.

"STAGE ready, gentlemen!  Stage for campground, Derry!  Second Advent

Accustomed as I begin to feel to the ordinary sights and sounds of this
busy city, I was, I confess, somewhat startled by this business-like
annunciation from the driver of a stage, who stood beside his horses
swinging his whip with some degree of impatience: "Seventy-five cents to
the Second Advent camp-ground!"

The stage was soon filled; the driver cracked his whip and went rattling
down the street.

The Second Advent,--the coming of our Lord in person upon this earth,
with signs, and wonders, and terrible judgments,--the heavens robing
together as a scroll, the elements melting with fervent heat!  The
mighty consummation of all things at hand, with its destruction and its
triumphs, sad wailings of the lost and rejoicing songs of the glorified!
From this overswarming hive of industry,--from these crowded treadmills
of gain,--here were men and women going out in solemn earnestness to
prepare for the dread moment which they verily suppose is only a few
months distant,--to lift up their warning voices in the midst of
scoffers and doubters, and to cry aloud to blind priests and careless
churches, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!"

It was one of the most lovely mornings of this loveliest season of the
year; a warm, soft atmosphere; clear sunshine falling on the city spires
and roofs; the hills of Dracut quiet and green in the distance, with
their white farm-houses and scattered trees; around me the continual
tread of footsteps hurrying to the toils of the day; merchants spreading
out their wares for the eyes of purchasers; sounds of hammers, the sharp
clink of trowels, the murmur of the great manufactories subdued by
distance.  How was it possible, in the midst of so much life, in that
sunrise light, and in view of all abounding beauty, that the idea of the
death of Nature--the baptism of the world in fire--could take such a
practical shape as this?  Yet here were sober, intelligent men, gentle
and pious women, who, verily believing the end to be close at hand, had
left their counting-rooms, and workshops, and household cares to publish
the great tidings, and to startle, if possible, a careless and
unbelieving generation into preparation for the day of the Lord and for
that blessed millennium,--the restored paradise,--when, renovated and
renewed by its fire-purgation, the earth shall become as of old the
garden of the Lord, and the saints alone shall inherit it.

Very serious and impressive is the fact that this idea of a radical
change in our planet is not only predicted in the Scriptures, but that
the Earth herself, in her primitive rocks and varying formations, on
which are lithographed the history of successive convulsions, darkly
prophesies of others to come.  The old poet prophets, all the world
over, have sung of a renovated world.  A vision of it haunted the
contemplations of Plato.  It is seen in the half-inspired speculations
of the old Indian mystics.  The Cumaean sibyl saw it in her trances.
The apostles and martyrs of our faith looked for it anxiously and
hopefully.  Gray anchorites in the deserts, worn pilgrims to the holy
places of Jewish and Christian tradition, prayed for its coming.  It
inspired the gorgeous visions of the early fathers.  In every age since
the Christian era, from the caves, and forests, and secluded "upper
chambers" of the times of the first missionaries of the cross, from the
Gothic temples of the Middle Ages, from the bleak mountain gorges of the
Alps, where the hunted heretics put up their expostulation, "How long,
O Lord, how long?" down to the present time, and from this Derry
campground, have been uttered the prophecy and the prayer for its

How this great idea manifests itself in the, lives of the enthusiasts of
the days of Cromwell!  Think of Sir Henry Vane, cool, sagacious
statesman as he was, waiting with eagerness for the foreshadowings of
the millennium, and listening, even in the very council hall, for the
blast of the last trumpet!  Think of the Fifth Monarchy Men, weary with
waiting for the long-desired consummation, rushing out with drawn swords
and loaded matchlocks into the streets of London to establish at once
the rule of King Jesus!  Think of the wild enthusiasts at Munster,
verily imagining that the millennial reign had commenced in their mad
city!  Still later, think of Granville Sharpe, diligently laboring in
his vocation of philanthropy, laying plans for the slow but beneficent
amelioration of the condition of his country and the world, and at the
same time maintaining, with the zeal of Father Miller himself, that the
earth was just on the point of combustion, and that the millennium would
render all his benevolent schemes of no sort of consequence!

And, after all, is the idea itself a vain one?  Shall to-morrow be as
to-day?  Shall the antagonism of good and evil continue as heretofore
forever?  Is there no hope that this world-wide prophecy of the human
soul, uttered in all climes, in all times, shall yet be fulfilled?  Who
shall say it may not be true?  Nay, is not its truth proved by its
universality?  The hope of all earnest souls must be realized.  That
which, through a distorted and doubtful medium, shone even upon the
martyr enthusiasts of the French revolution,--soft gleams of heaven's
light rising over the hell of man's passions and crimes,--the glorious
ideal of Shelley, who, atheist as he was through early prejudice and
defective education, saw the horizon of the world's future kindling with
the light of a better day,--that hope and that faith which constitute,
as it were, the world's life, and without which it would be dark and
dead, cannot be in vain.

I do not, I confess, sympathize with my Second Advent friends in their
lamentable depreciation of Mother Earth even in her present state.  I
find it extremely difficult to comprehend how it is that this goodly,
green, sunlit home of ours is resting under a curse.  It really does not
seem to me to be altogether like the roll which the angel bore in the
prophet's vision, "written within and without with mourning,
lamentation, and woe."  September sunsets, changing forests, moonrise
and cloud, sun and rain,--I for one am contented with them.  They fill
my heart with a sense of beauty.  I see in them the perfect work of
infinite love as well as wisdom.  It may be that our Advent friends,
however, coincide with the opinions of an old writer on the prophecies,
who considered the hills and valleys of the earth's surface and its
changes of seasons as so many visible manifestations of God's curse, and
that in the millennium, as in the days of Adam's innocence, all these
picturesque inequalities would be levelled nicely away, and the flat
surface laid handsomely down to grass.

As might be expected, the effect of this belief in the speedy
destruction of the world and the personal coming of the Messiah, acting
upon a class of uncultivated, and, in some cases, gross minds, is not
always in keeping with the enlightened Christian's ideal of the better
day.  One is shocked in reading some of the "hymns" of these believers.
Sensual images,--semi-Mahometan descriptions of the condition of the
"saints,"--exultations over the destruction of the "sinners,"--mingle
with the beautiful and soothing promises of the prophets.  There are
indeed occasionally to be found among the believers men of refined and
exalted spiritualism, who in their lives and conversation remind one of
Tennyson's Christian knight-errant in his yearning towards the hope set
before him:

                           "to me is given
               Such hope I may not fear;
               I long to breathe the airs of heaven,
               Which sometimes meet me here.

               "I muse on joys that cannot cease,
               Pure spaces filled with living beams,
               White lilies of eternal peace,
               Whose odors haunt my dreams."

One of the most ludicrous examples of the sensual phase of Millerism,
the incongruous blending of the sublime with the ridiculous, was
mentioned to me not long since.  A fashionable young woman in the
western part of this State became an enthusiastic believer in the
doctrine.  On the day which had been designated as the closing one of
time she packed all her fine dresses and toilet valuables in a large
trunk, with long straps attached to it, and, seating herself upon it,
buckled the straps over her shoulders, patiently awaiting the crisis,--
shrewdly calculating that, as she must herself go upwards, her goods and
chattels would of necessity follow.

Three or four years ago, on my way eastward, I spent an hour or two at a
camp-ground of the Second Advent in East Kingston.  The spot was well
chosen.  A tall growth of pine and hemlock threw its melancholy shadow
over the multitude, who were arranged upon rough seats of boards and
logs.  Several hundred--perhaps a thousand people--were present, and
more were rapidly coming.  Drawn about in a circle, forming a background
of snowy whiteness to the dark masses of men and foliage, were the white
tents, and back of them the provision-stalls and cook-shops.  When I
reached the ground, a hymn, the words of which I could not distinguish,
was pealing through the dim aisles of the forest.  I could readily
perceive that it had its effect upon the multitude before me, kindling
to higher intensity their already excited enthusiasm.  The preachers
were placed in a rude pulpit of rough boards, carpeted only by the dead
forest-leaves and flowers, and tasselled, not with silk and velvet, but
with the green boughs of the sombre hemlocks around it.  One of them
followed the music in an earnest exhortation on the duty of preparing
for the great event.  Occasionally he was really eloquent, and his
description of the last day had the ghastly distinctness of Anelli's
painting of the End of the World.

Suspended from the front of the rude pulpit were two broad sheets of
canvas, upon one of which was the figure of a man, the head of gold, the
breast and arms of silver, the belly of brass, the legs of iron, and
feet of clay,--the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.  On the other were depicted
the wonders of the Apocalyptic vision,--the beasts, the dragons, the
scarlet woman seen by the seer of Patmos, Oriental types, figures, and
mystic symbols, translated into staring Yankee realities, and exhibited
like the beasts of a travelling menagerie.  One horrible image, with its
hideous heads and scaly caudal extremity, reminded me of the tremendous
line of Milton, who, in speaking of the same evil dragon, describes him

          "Swinging the scaly horrors of his folded tail."

To an imaginative mind the scene was full of novel interest.  The white
circle of tents; the dim wood arches; the upturned, earnest faces; the
loud voices of the speakers, burdened with the awful symbolic language
of the Bible; the smoke from the fires, rising like incense,--carried me
back to those days of primitive worship which tradition faintly whispers
of, when on hill-tops and in the shade of old woods Religion had her
first altars, with every man for her priest and the whole universe for
her temple.

Wisely and truthfully has Dr. Channing spoken of this doctrine of the
Second Advent in his memorable discourse in Berkshire a little before
his death:--

"There are some among us at the present moment who are waiting for the
speedy coming of Christ.  They expect, before another year closes, to
see Him in the clouds, to hear His voice, to stand before His judgment-
seat.  These illusions spring from misinterpretation of Scripture
language.  Christ, in the New Testament, is said to come whenever His
religion breaks out in new glory or gains new triumphs.  He came in the
Holy Spirit in the day of Pentecost.  He came in the destruction of
Jerusalem, which, by subverting the old ritual law and breaking the
power of the worst enemies of His religion, insured to it new victories.
He came in the reformation of the Church.  He came on this day four
years ago, when, through His religion, eight hundred thousand men were
raised from the lowest degradation to the rights, and dignity, and
fellowship of men.  Christ's outward appearance is of little moment
compared with the brighter manifestation of His spirit.  The Christian,
whose inward eyes and ears are touched by God, discerns the coming of
Christ, hears the sound of His chariot-wheels and the voice of His
trumpet, when no other perceives them.  He discerns the Saviour's advent
in the dawning of higher truth on the world, in new aspirations of the
Church after perfection, in the prostration of prejudice and error, in
brighter expressions of Christian love, in more enlightened and intense
consecration of the Christian to the cause of humanity, freedom, and
religion.  Christ comes in the conversion, the regeneration, the
emancipation, of the world."

                       THE HEROINE OF LONG POINT.


LOOKING at the Government Chart of Lake Erie, one sees the outlines of a
long, narrow island, stretching along the shore of Canada West, opposite
the point where Loudon District pushes its low, wooded wedge into the
lake.  This is Long Point Island, known and dreaded by the navigators of
the inland sea which batters its yielding shores, and tosses into
fantastic shapes its sandheaps.  The eastern end is some twenty miles
from the Canada shore, while on the west it is only separated from the
mainland by a narrow strait known as "The Cut."  It is a sandy, desolate
region, broken by small ponds, with dreary tracts of fenland, its ridges
covered with a low growth of pine, oak, beech, and birch, in the midst
of which, in its season, the dogwood puts out its white blossoms.  Wild
grapes trail over the sand-dunes and festoon the dwarf trees.  Here and
there are almost impenetrable swamps, thick-set with white cedars,
intertwisted and contorted by the lake winds, and broken by the weight
of snow and ice in winter.  Swans and wild geese paddle in the shallow,
reedy bayous; raccoons and even deer traverse the sparsely wooded
ridges.  The shores of its creeks and fens are tenanted by minks and
muskrats.  The tall tower of a light-house rises at the eastern
extremity of the island, the keeper of which is now its solitary

Fourteen years ago, another individual shared the proprietorship of Long
Point.  This was John Becker, who dwelt on the south side of the island,
near its westerly termination, in a miserable board shanty nestled
between naked sand-hills.  He managed to make a poor living by trapping
and spearing muskrats, the skins of which he sold to such boatmen and
small-craft skippers as chanced to land on his forlorn territory.  His
wife, a large, mild-eyed, patient young woman of some twenty-six years,
kept her hut and children as tidy as circumstances admitted, assisted
her husband in preparing the skins, and sometimes accompanied him on his
trapping excursions.

On that lonely coast, seldom visited in summer, and wholly cut off from
human communication in winter, they might have lived and died with as
little recognition from the world as the minks and wildfowl with whom
they were tenants in common, but for a circumstance which called into
exercise unsuspected qualities of generous courage and heroic self-

The dark, stormy close of November, 1854, found many vessels on Lake
Erie, but the fortunes of one alone have special interest for us.  About
that time the schooner Conductor, owned by John McLeod, of the
Provincial Parliament, a resident of Amherstburg, at the mouth of the
Detroit River, entered the lake from that river, bound for Port
Dalhousie, at the mouth of the Welland Canal.

She was heavily loaded with grain.  Her crew consisted of Captain
Hackett, a Highlander by birth, and a skilful and experienced navigator,
and six sailors.  At nightfall, shortly after leaving the head of the
lake, one of those terrific storms, with which the late autumnal
navigators of that "Sea of the Woods" are all too familiar, overtook
them.  The weather was intensely cold for the season; the air was filled
with snow and sleet; the chilled water made ice rapidly, encumbering the
schooner, and loading down her decks and rigging.  As the gale
increased, the tops of the waves were shorn off by the fierce blasts,
clouding the whole atmosphere with frozen spray, or what the sailors
call "spoondrift," rendering it impossible to see any object a few rods
distant.  Driving helplessly before the wind, yet in the direction of
her place of destination, the schooner sped through the darkness.  At
last, near midnight, running closer than her crew supposed to the
Canadian shore, she struck on the outer bar off Long Point Island, beat
heavily across it, and sunk in the deeper water between it and the inner
bar.  The hull was entirely submerged, the waves rolling in heavily, and
dashing over the rigging, to which the crew betook themselves.  Lashed
there, numb with cold, drenched by the pitiless waves, and scourged by
the showers of sleet driven before the wind, they waited for morning.
The slow, dreadful hours wore away, and at length the dubious and
doubtful gray of a morning of tempest succeeded to the utter darkness of

Abigail Becker chanced at that time to be in her hut with none but her
young children.  Her husband was absent on the Canada shore, and she was
left the sole adult occupant of the island, save the light-keeper, at
its lower end, some fifteen miles off.  Looking out at daylight on the
beach in front of her door, she saw the shattered boat of the Conductor,
east up by the waves.  Her experience of storm and disaster on that
dangerous coast needed nothing more to convince her that somewhere in
her neighborhood human life had been, or still was, in peril.  She
followed the southwesterly trend of the island for a little distance,
and, peering through the gloom of the stormy morning, discerned the
spars of the sunken schooner, with what seemed to be human forms
clinging to the rigging.  The heart of the strong woman sunk within her,
as she gazed upon those helpless fellow-creatures, so near, yet so
unapproachable.  She had no boat, and none could have lived on that wild
water.  After a moment's reflection she went back to her dwelling, put
the smaller children in charge of the eldest, took with her an iron
kettle, tin teapot, and matches, and returned to the beach, at the
nearest point to the vessel; and, gathering up the logs and drift-wood
always abundant, on the coast, kindled a great fire, and, constantly
walking back and forth between it and the water, strove to intimate to
the sufferers that they were at least not beyond human sympathy.  As the
wrecked sailors looked shoreward, and saw, through the thick haze of
snow and sleet, the red light of the fire and the tall figure of the
woman passing to and fro before it, a faint hope took the place of the
utter despair which had prompted them to let go their hold and drop into
the seething waters, that opened and closed about them like the jaws of
death.  But the day wore on, bringing no abatement of the storm that
tore through the frail spars, and clutched at and tossed them as it
passed, and drenched them with ice-cold spray,--a pitiless, unrelenting
horror of sight, sound, and touch!  At last the deepening gloom told
them that night was approaching, and night under such circumstances was

All day long Abigail Becker had fed her fire, and sought to induce the
sailors by signals--for even her strong voice could not reach them--to
throw themselves into the surf, and trust to Providence and her for
succor.  In anticipation of this, she had her kettle boiling over the
drift-wood, and her tea ready made for restoring warmth and life to the
half-frozen survivors.  But either they did not understand her, or the
chance of rescue seemed too small to induce them to abandon the
temporary safety of the wreck.  They clung to it with the desperate
instinct of life brought face to face with death.  Just at nightfall
there was a slight break in the west; a red light glared across the
thick air, as if for one instant the eye of the storm looked out upon
the ruin it had wrought, and closed again under lids of cloud.  Taking
advantage of this, the solitary watcher ashore made one more effort.
She waded out into the water, every drop of which, as it struck the
beach, became a particle of ice, and stretching out and drawing in her
arms, invited, by her gestures, the sailors to throw themselves into the
waves, and strive to reach her.  Captain Hackett understood her.  He
called to his mate in the rigging of the other mast: "It is our last
chance.  I will try!  If I live, follow me; if I drown, stay where you
are!"  With a great effort he got off his stiffly frozen overcoat,
paused for one moment in silent commendation of his soul to God, and,
throwing himself into the waves, struck out for the shore.  Abigail
Becker, breast-deep in the surf, awaited him.  He was almost within her
reach, when the undertow swept him back.  By a mighty exertion she
caught hold of him, bore him in her strong arms out of the water, and,
laying him down by her fire, warmed his chilled blood with copious
draughts of hot tea.  The mate, who had watched the rescue, now
followed, and the captain, partially restored, insisted upon aiding him.
As the former neared the shore, the recoiling water baffled him.
Captain Hackett caught hold of him, but the undertow swept them both
away, locked in each other's arms.  The brave woman plunged after them,
and, with the strength of a giantess, bore them, clinging to each other,
to the shore, and up to her fire.  The five sailors followed in
succession, and were all rescued in the same way.

A few days after, Captain Hackett and his crew were taken off Long Point
by a passing vessel; and Abigail Becker resumed her simple daily duties
without dreaming that she had done anything extraordinary enough to win
for her the world's notice.  In her struggle every day for food and
warmth for her children, she had no leisure for the indulgence of self-
congratulation.  Like the woman of Scripture, she had only "done what
she could," in the terrible exigency that had broken the dreary monotony
of her life.

It so chanced, however, that a gentleman from Buffalo, E. P. Dorr, who
had, in his early days, commanded a vessel on the lake, found himself,
shortly after, at a small port on the Canada shore, not far from Long
Point Island.  Here he met an old shipmate, Captain Davis, whose vessel
had gone ashore at a more favorable point, and who related to him the
circumstances of the wreck of the Conductor.  Struck by the account,
Captain Dorr procured a sleigh and drove across the frozen bay to the
shanty of Abigail Becker.  He found her with her six children, all
thinly clad and barefooted in the bitter cold.  She stood there six feet
or more of substantial womanhood,--not in her stockings, for she had
none,--a veritable daughter of Anak, broad-bosomed, large-limbed, with
great, patient blue eyes, whose very smile had a certain pathos, as if
one saw in it her hard and weary life-experience.  She might have passed
for any amiable giantess, or one of those much--developed maids of honor
who tossed Gulliver from hand to hand in the court of Brobdingnag.  The
thing that most surprised her visitor was the childlike simplicity of
the woman, her utter unconsciousness of deserving anything for an action
that seemed to her merely a matter of course.  When he expressed his
admiration with all the warmth of a generous nature, she only opened her
wide blue eyes still wider with astonishment.

"Well, I don't know," she said, slowly, as if pondering the matter for
the first time,--"I don't know as I did more 'n I'd ought to, nor more'n
I'd do again."

Before Captain Dorr left, he took the measure of her own and her
children's feet, and on his return to Buffalo sent her a box containing
shoes, stockings, and such other comfortable articles of clothing as
they most needed.  He published a brief account of his visit to the
heroine of Long Point, which attracted the attention of some members of
the Provincial Parliament, and through their exertions a grant of one
hundred acres of land, on the Canada shore, near Port Rowan, was made to
her.  Soon after she was invited to Buffalo, where she naturally excited
much interest.  A generous contribution of one thousand dollars, to
stock her farm, was made by the merchants, ship-owners and masters of
the city, and she returned to her family a grateful and, in her own
view, a rich woman.

When the story of her adventure reached New York, the Life-Saving
Benevolent Association sent her a gold medal with an appropriate
inscription, and a request that she would send back a receipt in her own
name.  As she did not know how to write, Captain Dorr hit upon the
expedient of having her photograph taken with the medal in her hand, and
sent that in lieu of her autograph.

In a recent letter dictated at Walsingham, where Abigail Becker now
lives,--a widow, cultivating with her own hands her little farm in the
wilderness,--she speaks gratefully of the past and hopefully of the
future.  She mentions a message received from Captain Hackett, who she
feared had almost forgotten her, that he was about to make her a visit,
adding with a touch of shrewdness: "After his second shipwreck last
summer, I think likely that I must have recurred very fresh to him."

The strong lake winds now blow unchecked over the sand-hills where once
stood the board shanty of Abigail Becker.  But the summer tourist of the
great lakes, who remembers her story, will not fail to give her a place
in his imagination with Perry's battle-line and the Indian heroines of
Cooper and Longfellow.  Through her the desolate island of Long Point is
richly dowered with the interest which a brave and generous action gives
to its locality.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales and Sketches
 - Part 3 from Volume V of The Works of John Greenleaf Whittier" ***

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