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Title: Goose-Quill Papers
Author: Guiney, Louise Imogen
Language: English
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Roberts Brothers.

Copyright, 1885,
By Louise Imogen Guiney.

University Press:
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.





_This Book._



  ON THE GOOD REPUTE OF THE APPLE                                      9

  A HAND                                                              16

  AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MOON                                          28

  BRENTFORD PULPIT                                                    39

  NOTES MADE BY TROILUS GENTLY                                        56


  OLD HAUNTS                                                          82

  FREE THOUGHTS ON BOOKS                                              89

  A NOVEMBER FESTIVAL                                                 98

  VAGABONDIANA                                                       104

  MATHEMATICS                                                        113

  A CHILD IN CAMP                                                    117

  ON GRAVEYARDS                                                      130

  SOME GARDEN-FOLK                                                   138

  HOSPITALITIES                                                      141

  THE TWO VOICES                                                     148

  SWEETHEART                                                         156

  ON THE BEAUTY OF IDLENESS                                          161

  DE MOSQUITONE                                                      166

  ON THE GARRET                                                      172




FOR the sake of an apple Atalanta lost her nigh-won victory; and that
other apple, thrown for the fairest, moved all Olympus into discord.
Bragi, the north-god, and his peers renewed their youth with one
touch of its cool juices. Dragons circled it in the enchanted garden;
"the daughters three" stood about it in a sacred ring, and none but
Hercules was its captor. The renascent marbles of the Greeks are dug
out of earth,--"Praxitelean shapes!"--with its rounded beauty yet in
their outstretched hands. What a superb mythologic pedigree! What
noble mention (each worth an immortality) from old poets, romancers,
historians! All heterodoxy lauded thee, apple of mine eye. It was
reserved for true-church traditions to belie thee.

Thou who art full of virtue, what is this rumor of thy defection in
Eden, thy remote causing of all contemporaneous woe? Thou who art
fair without as a cherub's cheek, how couldst thou be abettor to the
treacherous spirit? Shall the fault of our frail ancestress rest upon
thy rosy head? "That the forbidden fruit of Paradise was an apple,"
saith a grave and learned author, "is commonly believed, confirmed by
tradition, perpetuated by writings, verses, pictures; and some are so
bad prosodians as thence to derive the Latin word _malum_, because
that fruit was the first occasion of evil: wherein, notwithstanding
determinations are presumptuous, many, I perceive, are of another
belief." Let the personal argument stand, in default of a bolder
plea. Mephisto, who hath had no chance of reformation, and who may be
supposed to keep his early leanings, is in modern times no frequenter
of orchards. Not by farmer, nor wayside knight, nor loitering
sweethearts at dusk, hath he ever been detected prowling about an
innocent apple-tree.

It hath, on the other hand, been affirmed by an ingenious clerk,
that apple-eating is a masculine passion, and that no woman hath
a dominating natural relish for this hearty fruit; which, proven,
would seem to indicate (as a burnt child dreads the fire, according
to the proverb) that Eve's mindful daughters shun by instinct the
immemorial enemy. If, indeed, it needs must be demonstrated by some
unborn logician, that our primal happiness was forfeited by nought
else, beyond the serpent's wiles, than a Gilliflower or a Greening,
hanging on the representative tree, and criterion of obedience,--then
there exist myriads of her descendants with the ancestral weakness,
who shall look on our abused common mother with new and tender
consideration, such as her disastrous connection with a plum, or a
currant, or a quince, could never have evoked.

The apple is the only fruit which deserveth the name of genial.
A peach is but a Capuan dish; the lime approacheth with cold
infrequency; the amiable pear hath too little character; the grape
is chiefly suggestive, anticipatory of its hereafter, as the larva
of the gorgeous butterfly. But Apple standeth on her own merits.
Tart, jelly, fritters, dumpling, enter not into the imagination
of her possessor. Nay, nor even cider, that fretful disempurpled
wine,--wine, as it were, with the bar sinister. Apple hath not
the flippant gayety of the cherry; her glad humor is somewhat
dashed with cynicism: she warmeth the heart, and trippeth up the
tongue, and is, in the accepted phrase of artists, "a good fellow;"
foe to unrighteous melancholy, as Laurentius writ, and frankly
compassionate. She should have had Horace for her court-poet. One
can conceive of poor, manly Fielding loving her at the modest ratio
of three dozen a day; and of little Mr. Pope brushing her aside with
fastidious petulance.

The friends of Apple, your sworn familiars, who offend not her
sun-mottled exterior with barbaric divisions of the knife, may be
known by their ready wit and their bright glances. Hath not the
wholesome autumn light, which filtered into the fruit they affect,
permeated their moral temperament? They must needs be sound,
consolatory, humane, and fit to wrestle with every wind that blows.
"Man is that he eats," we read among the bewilderments of German
speculation. But of her chaste and subtle cup, rimmed with gold or
crimson, as Nature willed, the elect drink invigoration.

"Encompass me about with apples," saith the Canticle, "for I am sick
with love;" which, driven to its bare and literal sense, implies that
apples are antidotes to languor and over-fondness. Apple, be it said,
is a Platonist.

Bake her not. Take her in her gypsy wildness, in the homespun,
lovelier so than pomegranates in their velvet: not too untimely,
either, lest she be vindictive, and become the apothecary's friend
rather than thine. Learn to trace her maiden growth among her cheery
sisters, from some gnarled seat. Deny her not the arm-chair with
thee before the flickering hearth-fire; and in thy most solitary
meditations, thy rapt brooding-hours, trust her that she shall not
distract thee. Out of celestial gardens, in the tender Cappadocian
legend, maid Dorothy's angel brought apples to Theophilus; to him,
indeed, the fruit of salvation. Yet, having lost the sweet symbolic
grace of yore, she comes ever benignly, and without malice. Lavish
October's legacy, foretelling to thy fancy other seasons yet to make
glad the earth, she, more than any other, is the staunch stand-by,
the winter friend. Her native orchards droop lifelessly in snows;
but, like a fair deed, she surviveth mortality, a kind and vital
influence still. Darling of the tourist and the huntsman that she is,
never was there creature so absolutely adapted to the student. Her
happy moisture fructifieth the brain.

Only our neighboring Concord sages, far back in the Athenian
beginnings of the present school, sought her intellectual aid in
vain. They, and the listening element, met for conversation,--Emerson,
Thoreau, Alcott, Curtis, even Hawthorne, with his sylvan shyness
about him. There were appalling breaks, pertinacious "flashes of
silence," such as were indigenous to Macaulay. The philosophers sat
erect, and struggled; then the narrator tells us how, with Olympic
sweetness, the host, Ralph Waldo Emerson, brought out a dish of
russets,--_magna spes altera_, genius having failed,--which were
consumed, unavailingly, in silence. The ally was wistfully courted on
after occasions; but the club solemnly dispersed on the third night.

If Apple, alas! hath her freaks, let them be expended on
philosophers. For her humbler adherents, she hath too constant a
good-will. To us, at least, she is faithful, recompensing our old
affection for every branch of her house. We are no specialist,
but cherish her to the twentieth remove: all her pale and soured
graftings, her pungent windfalls, her eccentric hangers-on, her
disregarded poor relations.

Yea, till our judgment and our gallantry forsake us, be thou our
deity, Pomona!

     "Candles we'll give to thee,
     And a new altar."

Nothing shall divert our vow. Wilfully and in cold blood, we
subscribe ourself thy pagan.



IT would be a judicious pastime for some curious scholar to write up
the antecedents and traditions of these ten ubiquitous digits with
which Nature dowers most of us; a survey reaching from the crime
that darkened the morning of the world--the handiwork of Cain--to
the most delicate outcome of art, finished yesterday; a summary of
all the vicissitudes and symbolisms connected with the hand and
its doings; challenges, investitures, perjuries, salutations; the
science of chiromancy that the Romans loved; records made by chisel
or pen by Michael Angelo, Goethe, Palestrina; of gloves and rings
and falcon-jesses; of armor buckled on by saddened sweethearts,
and prizes bestowed at tourneys; of power in the soldier, and
persuasiveness in the fair lady; of Eastern juggling, and missal
illuminations in gray cells, and manuscripts folded and preserved
through centuries; of "pickers and stealers" and money-getting
associations, seizures, bestowals, and benedictions. The Dutch boy,
stopping the dyke with his frozen thumb in times of flood, shall not
be forgotten; nor that maid of honor who, with her slender wrist,
bolted the door against the raging mob of revolutionists, undauntedly
long, and at last vainly; and in the chapter of heroisms shall be
found the patient pyramid-builders, and Mucius Scævola, unflinching
in fire; how with his hand Attila made kings tremble, Xerxes scourged
the sea, and the saint of old Assisi won bird and beast from
solitude, to feed and be caressed. We bethink us lastly of antique
instruments, old tapestries, intaglios, and rare lamps; of the child
Christopher Wren, raising card-houses and forecasting the stone
glories of London; or of Petrarch, roving in a dusty world of books,
and so dying, suddenly and without pain, with his arm about them, as
of things among those which our historian shall touch.

Scarce any author, save Sir Thomas Browne, hath thought it worth
while to spend learned discussion on the right and the left hand.
Yet it is a peculiar schism we graft on a youngling's mind when we
teach it to discard the good service and ready offices of its honest
sinistral member; so that we may come to look upon a left-handed
neighbor as a sort of natural protest against an ill custom, and a
vindication of unjustly suppressed forces.

A hand clinched, a hand outstretched, have in them all of defiance
and supplication; hospitality shines in a hand proffered,--"a frank
hand," as the Moor saith. Like a shell turned from the light, but
with the tints of the morning not yet faded from it, is a babe's
hand, "tip-tilted," lovely, as if it should close on nothing ruder
than a flower. The bronzed hands of toil, the opaque hands of
idleness, differing even as life and death, the dear, remembered,
cordial hands of one's youth,--shall they not have their laureate
also in the commentator that is to be, this new philosopher in
trifles, this student of the furthest and subtlest bodily activities,
and chronicler, as it were, _in extremis_?

The hand betrays the heart; not to thee, obstreperous gypsy! with
thy sapient life-lines, but even to the unchrismed eye of the laity.
We detect good-nature in yon plump matron, because of that pudgy but
roseate part of her appended to her Tuscan bracelet; good-nature
and generosity and simple faith. We have close acquaintance with
courageous hands, melancholy hands, avaricious hands, compassionate
hands, fastidious hands, hands sensitive and fair, friends to all
things gentle, and pulsing with intelligence. We read in this hand
how it hath healed a bitter wound; and in that, how it hath locked
the door against a cry. Have we not known hands dark and shrunken
with age or suffering, instinct yet with so-called patrician blood?
The memory comes over us of the prince (such was verily his meek
title) from a far isle, the inscrutable Asiatic, acclimated in speech
and dress, whose chilling touch, recalling icicles in midsummer, we
superstitiously evaded at meeting and parting, and over whose origin
we sun-lovers made jests, in the halls of that dreaming heir of a
later dynasty, Madame B.

It was the boast of Job that he had not kissed his hand in sign
of worship to sun nor moon nor stars. Note the pertinent and
noble metaphor of Banquo, to express reliance and rest in time of

     "In the great hand of God I stand."

To what fopperies, what wild freaks of mediæval years, hath the
pliant hand lent itself! to the triangles, stars, portraits of
ancient caligraphic cunning; to the wig, shape facetious, embodying
a request to the barber, or the heart, dolphin, and true-love knot,
that revealed a swain's metrical sighs to the scrutinizing eyes of
Phyllis. Peace to those old minimizers! to him, the spider-worker,
whose elfin Iliad Cicero saw, packed miraculously in a nutshell; to
sturdy Peter Bales, "that did so take Eliza" with his infinitesimal
tracery, which the lion-queen delighted to read through a mighty
glass, holding his airy volume on her thumb-nail!

Disraeli the elder tells us of the pleasing origin of that modern
phrase,--"to write like an angel;" gracefully derived from one
Angelo Vergecio, a scribe who drifted to Paris under Francis I.,
and whose name became in time a synonyme for beautiful caligraphy.
To write like an angel! Now, with due allowance of the possession,
among celestial beings, of our poor terrene accomplishments, yet
may angels themselves most solemnly and securely preserve us from
the foregoing solecism! Saving the primordial Angelo, a legend
incorporated, none do so much write like angels as that slave-trader,
the writing-master, enemy and subjugator of the hand's natural
freedom. Handwriting, that should be matter of separate mental habit
and muscular action, as Hartley Coleridge averred, the writing-master
artificializes into a set form: a young lady is to write so; a clerk,
so. There is a rascally supposed respectability in keeping to this
masquerade, where revelations of individuality are never in order.
Spectre of our childhood, bugbear of ambrosial years, tyrant, nay,
what can we call thee worse than thou art in bare English, Copy-book!
the faithfullest vow of our life, religious as Hannibal's, was
against thee. We recall with unalterable haughtiness, that not for
one moment did we tolerate thee, save under burning protest; that
thy long-drawn _da capo_ moralities, all letter and no spirit, made
our soul shudder; that every hour at the desk of old, under thy
correct, staring eye, was an hour of scorn and insurrection; and that
we celebrate daily thine anniversary and thy festival, after our
own heart, in cherishing every irregularity that thy Puritan code
abhorreth. Aye, tails and quirks are dear to us, and we fear not to
send forth our _t_ without his bar, our _i_ without her dot, lest
we should seem reconciled to thine atrocious ritual. We shake our
enfranchised hand in thy face, thou stereotyped impostor!

We are not of misanthropic habit, but we reserve a sentiment warm
as York's against Lancaster, or a right Carlist's towards the mild
usurping race of Spain, for that fellow-mortal whose traceries in ink
and pencil are sealed with orthodoxy. By the accepted wretchedness
of their capitals, the moral depravity of their loop-letters, we
choose our friends,--the least erring the least dear. We cannot abide
Giotto, because of his _O_, that had no blemish. We take solace and
delight in that exquisite Janus-jest of the last Bourbon Louis,
who, re-entering his palace, the Imperial initial everywhere above
and beside him, said, with a light shudder, to one of his blood,
"_Voilà des ennemis autour de nous!_" Not for all the authority of
divine Prudence herself, shall we be mindful of our _P_'s and _Q_'s.
A flourish--not, indeed, the martial blare of trumpets, but the
misguided capers of a pen-point--we look upon as a cardinal, yea (if
we may proportion adjectives to our grade of feeling), a pontifical

Character demonstrates itself in trifles. Washington wrote with
clearness and deliberation, like a law-maker; Rufus Choate,
intricately and whimsically, like a wit. Oldys runs down the
list of English royal autographs, drawing no inferences, and set
solely on his fact. Cromwell's signature is paradoxically faint
and vacillating. "Elizabeth writ an upright hand,--a large, tall
character; James I., in an ungainly fashion, all awry; Charles
I., an Italian hand, the most correct of any prince we ever had;
Charles II., a little, fair, running, uneasy hand," such, adds a
commentator, as we might expect from that illustrious vagabond,
who had much to write, often in odd situations, and never could
get rid of his natural restlessness and vivacity. It goes somewhat
hard with us that Porson, Young, and especially Thackeray, wielded
a proper quill, and were prone to consider penmanship as one of the
fine arts. Nevertheless, we take it that Mr. Joseph Surface, in
the comedy, would write so as to gladden the "herte's roote" of a
school-mistress; as, likewise, might our honest friend Iago. Item,
that Homer's mark was but a hen-scratch, outdone, in his own day, by
the most time-out-of-mind stroller that sang, eyeless, with him.

No missionary, fretting over the innocent rascalities of Afric
tribes, burns with holier wrath than seizes us on beholding the
prospectus of the "Penman's Gazette." Hark to its beguiling
philippics: "Good penmanship hath made fortunes; every year thousands
are advanced by it to position and liberal salaries; students make
it a specialty. It is worth more than all the Greek and Latin,
the _antiquated rubbish_ of the higher schools and colleges, for,
('thine exquisite reason, dear knight?')--for it yields prompt and
generous returns in money, food, clothing, good associations, and
incentives to usefulness in the world!" The gentle reader is to
imagine MONEY in huge capitals, and the other rewards of
merit dwindling successively, till the incentives to usefulness
are scarce visible to the naked eye. And then, forsooth, one is
encouraged periodically by the fish-like portraits of Famous Penmen!
Have a care, have a care, little guileless abecedarian, lest thy
physiognomy, some black morning, should lend its beauty to the
procession of fiends who Write Like Angels!

Whom shall we hire to shout from the house-tops, vehemently, and
with Quixotic disinterestedness, that success should be won through
ambitions a trifle exclusive of money, food, and clothing; and that
this "new heraldry of hands, not hearts," is a monstrous error?
Who is there to heed that strange doctrine? Think into what grave
parley we might be drawn, even by the silken string of the "Penman's
Gazette;" into what resentment of an unheavenly lesson! But we

A century closes at the finger-tips of two men of unequal age, and
every touch of palm to palm forges a link of the unseen social chain
which connects us with the father of our race. We take in ours,
with enthusiastic consciousness, a hand we honor, or a hand that by
representation has, perhaps, held cordially that of "the great of
old." So chance we to strike, across the gulf of time, into the
grasp of Caedmon, the Saxon beginner, or the real Roland of the horn,
or Plato, or Alcuin, or him of Salzburg, the sunniest-hearted maker
of music. Neither in our speculations can we forget that a Hand not
all of earth rested once upon childish heads in Galilee, and passed
among vast crowds, forgiving, healing, and doing good; and we know
not but that our meanest brother, coming as a stranger, may bring to
us, in more ways than one, its transmitted benediction.





IT might appear to us an imperative, though agreeable duty, most high
and serene Madame, to waft towards you, occasionally, a transcript
of our humble doings on this nether planet, were we not sure, in
the matter of friendly understanding, that we opened correspondence
long ago. You were one of our earliest familiars. You stood in
that same office to our fathers and mothers, back to your sometime
contemporary, Adam of the Garden; and while we are worried into
acquiescence with years, cares, wrinkles, and such inevitable designs
of age, we are more pleased than envious to discover that you grow
never old to the outward eye, and that you appear the same "lovesome
ladie bright," as when we first stared at you from a child's pillow.
You are acquainted, not by hearsay, but by actual evidence, with
our family history, having seen what sort of figure our ancestors
cut, and being infinitely better aware of the peculiarities of
the genealogical shrub than we can ever be. Therefore we make no
reference to a matter so devoid of novelty. But we do mean to frankly
free our mind on the subject of your Ladyship's own behavior. We take
this resolve to be no breach of that exalted courtesy which befits
us, no less than you, in your skyward station.

We have, in part, lost our ancient respect for you,--a sorry fact
to chronicle. There were once various statements floating about our
cradle, complimentary to your supposed virtues. You were Phoebe,
twin to Phoebus, "goddess excellently bright;" a queen, having a
separate establishment, coming into a deserted court by night, and
kindling it into more than daytime revelry. You were an enchantress,
the tutelary divinity of water-sprites and greensward fairies. Your
presence was indispensable for felicitous dreams. To be moon-struck,
then, meant to be charmed inexpressibly,--to be lifted off our feet.

Now, we allow that you may have suffered by misrepresentation, or
else are we right in detecting your arts; for, by all your starry
handmaidens, you are not what we took you to be. We are informed
(our quondam faith in you almost beshrews the day we learned to
read!) that you are a timid dependent only of the sun, afraid to show
yourself while he is on his peregrinations; that you slyly steal the
garb of his splendor as he lays it aside, and blaze forthwith in your
borrowed finery.

You are no friend to innocent goblins, but abettor to house-breakers.
You are conspirator in many direful deeds, attending base nocturnal
councils, and tacitly arraigning yourself against the law. "Let us
be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, ... governed, as the
sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress, the moon, under whose
countenance we--steal." Was it not well said, not frankly?

Your gossip is the ominous owl, and not Titania.

Your inconstancy, to come on delicate ground, shineth above your
other characteristics. Since we have seen your color come and go, we
surmise there is no dearth of intrigue and repartee up there; and
being, moreover, well acquainted with the texture of your red and
your gray veil, we infer that you masquerade periodically at very
unseasonable hours. Of painting your complexion we are disposed to
acquit you; yet it is a severe blow to us to learn from the most
trustworthy sources, that you wax.

Selene, Artemis! you are worldly beyond worldlings. We hear that you
have quarters, and that you jingle them triumphantly in the ears of
Orion, who is nobody but a poor hunter. Beware of the exasperation of
the lower classes! whose awakening is what we call below, a French

Who, indeed, that hath a mote in his eye, cannot still discern a huge
beam in yours? You are in grievous need of a resident missionary,
considering that you persist in obstinate schisms, and flaunt
that exploded Orientalism, the Crescent, in the face and eyes of

You are much more distant and reserved, O beguiler! than you pretend.
Your temper is said to be volcanic.

You that were Diana! who is this Falstaffian, Toby Belchian,
Kriss Kringlish person we see about your premises? He hangeth his
great, ruddy, comfortable phiz out of your casements, and holdeth
it sidewise with a wink or a leer. We look on him as an officious
rascal. He peereth where you only, by privilege, have permission
to enter. He hath the evil eye. He thinketh himself a proper
substitute for you, and King of the Illuminari; he reproduceth
your smile, and scattereth your largesses; he maketh faces--we say
it shudderingly--at your worshippers below. Frequently hath he
appropriated kisses that were blown to you personally, or consigned
to you for delivery from one sweetheart to another.

O Lady, O Light-dispenser! think, we hereby beseech you, of the
danger of his being taken for you! Picture the discomfiture of
your minstrel, who, intoning a rapturous recital of your charms,
and casting about for a sight of your delectable loveliness, is
confronted instead with that broad, ingenuous vagabond! In some such
despairing rage as the minstrel's must have been the inventor of the
German tongue, who discarded all other chances of observation after
once beholding this thing ycleped your MAN, and angrily insisted
on "Der Mond"--the Moon, he--as the proper mode of speech.

Get you straightway a more acceptable minion, one of more chivalric
habit, of more spare and ascetic exterior. Your credit and our
comfort demand it. "Pray you, remember."

Less know we of your interminable starry neighbors. Is Mars civil,
or heavy Saturn capable of laughter? Hath a comet vexed you,--that
tireless incendiary? Doth Leo roar too loudly on your sensitive
ear? We fancy that the Dipper is replenished frequently in your
Ladyship's court; that the Milky Way is pleasantest of your pastures;
that the Scorpion guardeth your palace gateway; and that Aquarius, be
he not delinquent, tendeth your flower-beds.

What scenes, Cosmopolite, Circumnavigator, Universalist, have you
beheld! What joy, what plenty; what riot and desolation! You are the
arch-spectator. Death sees not half so widely. He lurketh like an
anxious thief in the crowd, seeking what he may take away. But your
bland leisurely eye looketh down impartially on all.

Caravans rested a thousand years ago beneath you in the desert;
Assyrian shepherds chanted to you with their long-hushed voices;
the Euphrates, while the infant world fell into its first slumber,
leaped up and played with you in Paradise. You have known the chaos
before man, and yet we saw you laugh upon last April's rain. Are
there none for whom you are lonely through the ages? Are there not
centuries of old delight in your memory, unequalled now? faces fairer
than the lilies, on whose repose you still yearn to shine? Do you
miss the smoke of altars? Have you forgotten the beginners of the
"star-ypointing pyramid"? Can you not tell us a tale of the Visigoth?
How sang Blondel against the prison-door? How brawny was Bajazet? How
fair was Helen; Semiramis how cruel? Moon! where be the treasures of
the doughty Kidd?

Where, too, is the slow, mysterious evening of our childhood, or its
dawn, anticipating change, as you turned away? Or, rather, where is
the child that enjoyed them by your kindly ray,--retaining now, of
all which was its identity, only the dense sleep, the illimitable
dreams, of those intervening nights? Do you call to mind, you that
saw them often, its after-supper frolics; its Hallow-e'en captures,
despite tub and candle; its inopportune studies, stolen out of mere
greediness to know,--a fever long subsided? You were kind to that
something of yesterday, dead as Amenophis now. Gleam, in some recess
of the south, to-night, on bright-eyed F., who answered its young
jests, and journeyed with it over the icy river, arm-in-arm; and on
B.G., austere yet gentle, who played Brutus once to its Cassius; and
rise not, rise not too soon upon our Philippi!

You have been fed, O Cynthia! upon the homage of mortal lips: you
have had praises from the poets exquisite as calamus and myrrh. Many
a time have we rehearsed before you such as we recall, from the sigh
of Enobarbus,--

     "O sovereign mistress of true melancholy!"

to the hymnal

     "Orbèd maiden! with white fire laden,"

or the noble salutation of a mirthful-mournful spirit over seas:--

     "Oh! thou art beautiful, howe'er it be,
     Huntress or Dian, or whatever named;
     And he the veriest pagan, that first framed
     His silver idol, and ne'er worshipped thee!"

Drummond, Sidney, Milton, glorified your wanderings. And your truest
votary, one John Keats, spake out boldly that,

     ----"the oldest shade midst oldest trees
     Feels palpitations when thou lookest in!"

You are an incorrigible charmer; but as you are likewise

                             ----"a relief
     To the poor, patient oyster, where he sleeps
     Within his pearly house,"

we infer, with pleasurable surprise, that you are something better: a

Now, we venture to assert that you remember compliments, meant to be
of this same Orphic strain, and inscribed to you, of which we are not
wholly guiltless. We have all but knelt to you. The primeval heathen
has stirred within us. We have been under the witchery of Isis. We
aspire to be a Moonshee, rather than any potentate of this universe.

We wound you not with the analytic eye, nor startle you with
telescopes. The scepticisms of astronomy enter not into our rubric.
Are you not comely? Do you not spiritualize the darkness with
one touch of your pale garment? Then what are they to us,--your
dimensions and your distances? Gross vanity of knowledge! Abuse of
earthly privileges!

If we affect the abusive, shy of more ceremonious forms of address,
forgive us, Luna! We make recantation, and disown our banter. We
extend the hand of cordiality even to your Man. How blithe and
beauteous he is! He is embodied Gentility. We bow to him as your
anointed Viceroy, your illustrious Nuncio. You know our immemorial
loyalty, nor shall our rogueries teach you so late to doubt it.
Forgive us, benignant, peaceful, affable, propitious Moon! Poet are
we not, nor lunatic, nor lover; "but that we love thee best, O most
best! believe it."




FROM a little church of some celebrity, and from a remote corner
in its quiet nave, come these rude bygone impressions, transcribed
faithfully, save in whatsoever is mainly personal and local. No
word is here of Brentford choir or Brentford pews; but a record,
strict and spare, of the now vanished figures who expounded texts
to the village folk. For the most part, they were but birds of
passage, seldom remaining long enough to lose the gloss of novelty,
or to escape the awakened scrutiny of young eyes. Two only of these
preachers were widely known; but each of them, on the other hand,
possessed a striking individuality. The "King of Brentford," as
readers of a certain swinging translation of Béranger will remember,
was something of an anomaly; and Brentford chaplains, at least in
their public career, were indubitably of his court.

First, shall we not recall the Reverend L., with his soft majesty
of speech, having in it an ever-recurring _sforzando_, peculiarly
impressive and overpowering,--L., with his benignity of soul and
his keen, evanescent smile, intellect flashing through it, like
lightning over a sombre waste of waters? He required the closest
attention of any speaker to whom we have listened. The following
must be incessant, the allegiance unabated, lest the Emersonian and
gossamer-like sequence of ideas, the swift beauty of phrase and
figure, elude you, never to reappear the same. His playfulness in the
pulpit was unique. Subdued it was, yet how potent! Humor has many
a fit abiding-place in this world, of which the pulpit seems last
to be chosen. But L.'s discretion was royally sure. His salutary
wit, felicitous in placing itself, and infrequent enough to rouse
attention always newly, went on angelic errands with its Puck's
wings. An apostolic purpose consecrated his airy thrusts at evil.
The hand of steel was present ever under his caressing touches.

We surmise that if there was anything connected with his
vocation which L. abhorred, it was the necessity of periodical
charity-sermons. When induced to appear as pleader on these
occasions, his conduct was amusingly characteristic. He played
hide-and-seek with his petition; he put it off, eyed it curiously,
fenced with it, and kept it at arm's length; then, beginning to
advocate its claims, he held it up for your inspection reluctantly,
as if it were no child of his, and his right were rather to befriend
it in private than thrust it into public notice. He would say a few
glowing words, making his fortitude under such an emergency as truly
a hint to your benevolence as his spoken plea. He would sum up for
you the misery of the poor, the lamentable differences in comfort,
the evils that spring from unalleviated poverty, the precept of
brotherly love, the imperative command of giving and sharing and
making glad; all this with an air of indifference over facts in
array, and of needless appealing to such hearts and such purses as
yours were sure to be! L. could have written noble charity-sermons
for another's delivery, but to ask in his own person was wellnigh
impossible. He seemed to rebel, not against the actual discomfort of
his position, but rather against the advisability of reminding you of
a duty you never could have forgotten. In his chivalrous dealing he
smote your sensibilities more surely than many a professional beggar
with seven small children; and the shekels leaped in a fountain from
you and from everybody else, until the alms-box overflowed. L.'s
utility in this strange office was quite wonderful, even to himself.
His very exordium, "Dear old friends!" was, though he knew it not,
irresistible. On the morrow, Workhouse Tommy with a new cap, or
barefooted Molly in the exhilaration of a sturdy dinner, must have
blessed the shy and half-resentful claim which a great heart put
forth as theirs.

L.'s preaching, for the most part, whether in its bright or solemn
phases, was best understood by those who best knew the man. Like
Walter Savage Landor, in whom he delighted, and whom he strongly
resembled, he required appreciators as well as hearers. He loved a
thoughtful audience, and to such spoke with all the outpouring of his
mightier self. There were minds of a certain cast, wholly foreign to
his sympathies, which were slow to be persuaded into a belief of his
accessibility. Yet a meeker and kinder heart than L.'s never beat.
Half the country knew him as a fine theologian, and scarce fifty for
the "sweet sociable spirit" that he was. A touch of the intolerance
of genius he had indeed, without which the symmetry of his character
would have been impaired.

D., with his active and high-strung temperament, was your
true conversational preacher, treating with glad and reverent
familiarity "thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls." Beneath
the sounding-board he was perpetually on the defensive. He was
always setting you straight, putting you in the way of seeing
good, reconciling you to your antipathies. If we may use the word
to signify a process so gentle, he _hammered_ his optimism into
you. You must be cheerful, you must be thankful, you must be
self-sacrificing; there was no escaping it. D., in his zeal and
his amiability, was a far-away echo of John the Evangelist; and
the phrase, "My little children," came with peculiar unction from
his lips. His voice was not powerful. It may have been a slight
hesitation and reluctance of speech which gave it an especial charm.
"Somewhat he lispèd," also, like Chaucer's Friar; if not

           ----"for his wantonnesse
     To make his English sweete upon his tonge."

We remember that once, by some chance development of his favorite
topic, he came across a wayside tramp, and gave him an apotheosis
laughingly called to mind whenever one of that thenceforth respected
species lights upon our path.

"Here is a vagabond, an outcast of society," began the Reverend
D., with his usual high-bred gesture of expostulation,--"a
good-for-nothing beggar whom you brush as you pass; and drawing
aside, mayhap in your heart of hearts you despise him. You have
no right to despise him. Nothing has destroyed or will destroy
the eternal brotherhood between you. Despise him? Why, it is a
disloyalty to mankind. In the eye of Heaven sinlessness is the
criterion, not riches or health or intelligence. And he may stand
nearer to the Throne than you, because of a more repentant spirit.
Why should you despise him? It belongs to you rather to love and aid
him. He is a reflection of yourselves, distanced from you by the
mean formalities of the world, but fashioned like you without and
within, and co-heir of whatever has fallen to your share. What you
have been taught through the dignity of manhood and womanhood to
think yourselves--that is he. He is the Image of Uncreated Beauty. He
is the Wedding Guest in the palace of the King. He is the Mortal who
shall put on Immortality. He is the Son of the House of David, the
hope and joy of Israel. His head is like Carmel, and his form as of
Libanus, excellent as the cedars. Dare you despise him? Even as you
deal with him in your thought, should the Most High deal with you in
our great day forthcoming!"

This extraordinary burst was delivered with indescribable serenity.
We have but suggested the gorgeous language in which D. revelled when
he chose, nor hinted at the peculiarity of pose and intonation which
helped to make his words vital. To one hearer, at least, the effect
was superb, and the tramp was established in his native dignity

Dr. R. had the artistic temperament, being a poet of rare worth.
There was always a fine metaphoric haze about his sermons. He was
by nature diffident and somewhat listless; the effort of mounting
the pulpit stair must have been distasteful to him. His phrasing
was of extreme nicety and justness; and he spoke English pure and
simple. Yet his "Greek languor," his low, unobtrusive voice, served
to veil the excellence of his thoughts. He was shy of any display.
His Sunday efforts certainly did not become popular, in the Brentford
acceptance of that term. But while R., like the clouds, seemed gray
always to heedless eyes, to brighter perceptions he must have shown
the delicate, transitory tints of the rainbow. He had two great
merits: his quotations, scriptural and other, were exquisitely apt;
he likewise knew the value of sudden epilogues. You had not time to
suspect that the last rounded period was having its dying fall, before

     "He straight, disburthened, bounded off as fleet
     As ever any arrow from a cord."

Altogether another type of Levite was the Reverend M., of clear
Puritan descent. He had an expansive personality, and could rise
to any occasion, clothing what he had to say in easy and elegant
language. As a rule, his sermons, not to speak it profanely, were
pacifying as an opiate. But sometimes he stood before his astonished
hearers not wholly as a symbol of the peace-maker.

For his text, many years back, he once took the "abomination of
desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet," Matthew xxiv. The
awful sublimity of his reading prepared his auditors for what was to
follow. Hearts were stirred to the depths that day, with the measured
musical utterance, the dread and calm authority, such as fancy had
conceived proper to the Recording Angel. M. never seemed quite so
aerial and boyish in his proper person again. That one grand sermon
shed its supernatural light still over him, as he walked on Monday
and Tuesday in view of the laity. It seemed as if all his previous
and subsequent words and ways were a disguise, and that only on the
never-to-be-forgotten morning he had been revealed. None of his other
attempts were thereafter held in comparison with this, an advantage
not to be doubted. A magnificent prejudice in his favor would fain
have forced upon his every parley the beauty which the first had worn.

We last heard the Reverend M. (he was then nearing his sixtieth
year) on the evening of a Christmas day. We recall that he began by
poetically picturing the corresponsive hour of that primal Christmas
when the divine Child lay slumbering in His mother's arms, the hush
of the Bethlehem hills, the unconsciousness of the broad kingdom that
"knew him not." Little by little, the monotones of this tranquil
discourse fell, like so many snow-flakes, upon our eyelids. A
swinging festoon of smilax, stirred by chance beneath the pulpit
edge, charmed us deeper into oblivion. The light ran in eddies on the
faint gray walls. The visible, the palpable, were as if they had not
been. We had slipped from our moorings into the irresistible depth of

Presently we heard anew, half-distinctly, half-confusedly, "_O
expectatio gentium!_" We looked towards the starting-point of that
Latin spray, but nothing followed upon our sudden rousing save the
burst of the organ. All about us was a rustling and a stirring, such
as the Ephesian sleepers might make at the awakening. Horrible!
Dreams were over for many others beside the solitary culprit we
had supposed ourself. Bonnets nodded; furs were smoothed; numbed
feet were tapped upon the carpet for resuscitation; and Chubbuck in
the next pew rubbed his eyes, to the imminent extinction of those
useful auxiliaries. Heaven forgive us our drowsiness! How much
æsthetic pleasure, how much spiritual profit Brentford missed that
night, befits us not to conjecture. Yet we palliate the disgraceful
circumstances, due in no wise to lack of virtue on our part, or of
eloquence on the Reverend M.'s, by surmising that the general slumber
was a tribute of itself; not, indeed, a protest of weariness, or
ungracious abstraction from duty, but rather an affiliation with the
time and the theme

     ----"made all of sweet accord."

Who shall gainsay it?

The like hap, we are sorry to state, never befell us under the spell
of that austere prelate, Theophilus A. One could as soon have grown
mindless of a Gatling gun in full activity. He was an ecclesiastical
thunderbolt. Ferdinand would have put him on the Inquisition. He
could have served the mediæval writs of excommunication on kings, or
stood with high-hearted Hildebrand to confront the German at Canossa.

A. was pale, but not weakly, with his dauntless eye, his luminous
front, his unrelaxed lips drawn like a bowstring. He was all
vehemence; his dearly-beloveds had scintillations to them; his very
firstlys and secondlys had the heroic ring.

Did he wear the armor of the ancestral Franks under his clerical
dress? Whence got he that tremendous vigor, that aptitude for great
and hazardous things? Apollyon could scarcely have lessened the
vitality of this Christian by any combat, however long and fierce.

You must have felt his presence helpful or harsh, as your
organization prompted. A harp will quiver with a concussion in its
vicinity. So with mortal men and women in juxtaposition with the
Reverend A. He had aroused splendid impulses, so it was said, in
many lands; but the ultra-sensitive soul was scarcely adapted to his
touch. He it was who could make Willard, serene as a child, shake
like an aspen-leaf at his mildest peroration.

More comfortably enchanting wert thou, O K.! whom every tongue
praised. Welcome was thy young cherubic countenance, dawning midway
between the roof and the aisles! Worthy of Talma was that shining
dramatic gift which brightened a hundred-fold the utterances of thy
manly piety! Who could make doubtful issues surer than thou, least
didactic, yet most practical of preachers? Who could so boldly
pursue a simile, eking analogies out of stones? Who so pitiless on
impostures and shams, when thy gallant oratory

     "Blew them transverse, ten thousand leagues awry"?

Peter the Hermit, with his crusading spirit, would have loved thee.

It was the fashion at one time to classify K. along with Dr. S., of
a neighboring city, a gentleman with whom he had few mental traits
in common, outside of the gift of eloquence. S. was the inimitable
to his parishioners; and he had, like Bobadil, "most un--in one
breath--utterable skill, sir!" The matter of his sermons could have
been turned without alteration into blank verse, having cadences
manifold. He spoke rapidly and moved alternately from side to side
in lieu of gesticulation; he studied no opportunity, but lavished
his fine things, like an almoner at a coronation, here and there and

K., never a user of notes, and no less spontaneous than his famous
reputed rival, was habitually careful of detail. His imagination was
gorgeous. His activity ran to the verge of restlessness. Thoroughly
earnest and exhilarating, his large intelligence was cheery as a
breeze from the mountain-top.

Neither can we forget Brentford's Titanic visitor, magnificently
verbose, looming at his extraordinary height, with a fund of
simplicity and gentleness hidden somewhere beneath that generous
exterior. How guileless he was, how tender!--"invaluable at a
tragedy." The petition which Mr. Thomas Prince delivered in the Old
South would have fallen with equal grace from N.'s lips:--

     "O Lord! we would not advise;
     But if, in Thy Providence,
     A tempest should arise
     And drive the French fleet hence,
     And scatter it far and wide,
     And sink it in the sea,
     We should be satisfied,
     And Thine the glory be!"

With what fervor, two parts patriotism, one part innocence, would N.
have pronounced that mischievous supplication!

His conscientiousness carried him once a little too far; and the
sequel "dimmed these spectacles," as Thackeray used to say. It was to
us the funniest thing that ever happened in sacred precincts,--funny
beyond all power of endurance.

"When Solomon finished the Temple," said the Reverend N., in his
sonorous tones,--"when Solomon finished the Temple he sacrificed one
hundred and twenty thousand sheep and twenty-two thousand oxen." Now,
that was incontestable. But immediately a wretched little doubt crept
in upon his Biblical assertion. "Seventy thousand--ur--ur--twenty
thousand sheep," continued the Reverend N., "twenty hundred
thousand ox--ahem! I mean two hundred thousand, a hundred and
twenty--ur--[very slow and deliberate reiteration]: two and twenty
thousand oxen, one hundred and twenty thousand sheep." When the last
sheep came on the scene we were suffering from agonies of laughter.
Let us trust that they turned their meek and startled eyes another

There was H., too, a white-haired logician who had proved everything,
from the Creation down to the principles of good and evil in the
most neglected "queer small boy;" E., drawing exquisite homely
illustrations from the sea; and gracious little B., the polished
rhetorician, most deferent in his manners of address, most
scrupulously reliant on the sense and rectitude of those around him.

"Honor and reverence and good repute" be with them all now,
wheresoever they may labor or rest. We think sometimes we have heard
Cyril and Polycarp among them.

Our incurable tendency towards observation--the fact of our having
been born in an Observatory, so to speak--stands as apology for
touching on the heaven-appointed mannerisms of Brentford Polycarps
and Cyrils.



GENTLY was a middle-aged, bookish friend of ours, in no way
remarkable save that he unconsciously nullified Emerson's smiling
prediction, and wore off a pencil-point in writing down the
disconnected fancies of a few days. Poor T.G. has long been gathered
to his fathers. In justice to the pencil, we transcribe some of his

       *       *       *       *       *

No pleasure or success in life quite meets the capacity of our
hearts. We take in our good things with enthusiasm, and think
ourselves happy and satisfied; but afterward, when the froth and
foam have subsided, we discover that the goblet is not more than
half-filled with the golden liquid that was poured into it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reciprocity of good-will, and not compatibility of tastes, is the
first requisite of friendship.

       *       *       *       *       *

How singularly fresh and sweet is Mozart's music!--like the cadence
of waters over a rocky bed, or the bird-chorus of a May morning. His
melodies and those of Nature have always some subtle association. It
is as if we knew the noble mother, and walked often by her side, and
some fine day we meet the intelligent and sportive child, finding in
his voice, his gestures, his salutation, something foreshadowed to us
in that other, and beautiful in both.

       *       *       *       *       *

Life is a breathing-space between two eternities, a holiday with
appalling realities behind and before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Barbarians "speak with naked hearts together:" we have polite

       *       *       *       *       *

I am fond of smelling the spring,--detecting growth before it shows
itself by the delicious damp odor in the fields. Snow and rain have
their separate fragrance. I know at a distance the aromatic pine, the
eatable whiff of birch-bark, the oily sweetness of sappy maples, the
tart goodness of a sorrel-patch, and the scent of crushed tansy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Chinese countenance is impassive, as if the old, old weight of
Asiatic civilization had blunted and oppressed it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Vandyck deified his sitters. He is like the sun in Shakespeare's

     "Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy."

       *       *       *       *       *

A good dinner is not to be despised. It paves the way for all the

       *       *       *       *       *

B. knew a little French girl who always insisted, with a pretty
extravagance of intonation, that pigs in their grunt were saying,
"Nous aurons congé."

       *       *       *       *       *

When a soul finds nothing to reverence among its common surroundings,
it is blind indeed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The beauty of youth is inconstant and shifting as the tint at
the heart of a rose, not two mornings the same; or the fall of
snow-flakes, blown by every wind into new and airy relationships.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Brook Farmer is extinct now as the dodo. It would be a delight to
come across one who is sensitive yet on the subject of that Arcadian

       *       *       *       *       *

When genius seems to work disregarding rule, we may be sure that it
has assimilated to itself whatever is best in every rule.

       *       *       *       *       *

The undertaker ostensibly reverses the venerable truism that "the
young may die, the old must," by thrusting forward the smaller
coffins in his awful windows, and keeping the others (in the
subjunctive mood, as it were) well in the background.

       *       *       *       *       *

The mind is fearless so long as there is no reproach of conscience.
When that comes, come breakage and bondage and a host of terrors.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shelley was all fire and air. His eye had perpetually the fixed
light of a day-dreamer's. There is a marked resemblance between the
portrait of him taken at Rome in 1819, by Miss Curran, and that
of Sir Philip Sidney, engraved from the original and prefixed to
Grosart's edition,--a resemblance not astonishing save to those
unacquainted with both mild and "heroick spirits."

       *       *       *       *       *

It seems a little difficult to discern clearly the happiness or
misery of those very near to us in affection. Souls have their
perspective, and need to be removed from the eye, that it may scan
them justly.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sickness is such a humiliation that some cannot survive its first

       *       *       *       *       *

We try hard to cure superstition, which has been defined as the
surplus of faith, the mere foam and scum of what is valuable.
Over-confidence and enthusiasm, which are in the same degree the
excess of hope and love, we do not try to cure at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thomson, the poet, was so lazy that he used to eat peaches off the
trees, standing with his hands contentedly plunged in his pockets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Would not the weather hang itself in despair if no notice were taken
of it, and if every man, woman, and child forbore to speak of it for
three successive days?

       *       *       *       *       *

"Frostling" used to signify a bough, blossom, or fruit nipped by
the cold; and "windling" one blown from its natural support; two
sweet and expressive words, now obsolete and without synonymes. It
is hard to account for their being left behind in the race for the
development of our English.

       *       *       *       *       *

W., whose beliefs are quite fixed, vacillates nobly in matters of
opinion. In a group of debaters he holds with no one long, but must
needs jump at a conclusion so liberal and sure that it reconciles all

       *       *       *       *       *

All lovers are bewitched, steeped in illusions, versed in the
oracles,--the riddle themselves of the whole world.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ye smiler with ye knif under ye cloke!" What a picture in that line
of Chaucer!

       *       *       *       *       *

The Puritan was a man of severities. He never forgot that God struck
Oza and buried Pharaoh in the sea. He went through the world wearing
his creed, like a sword, solely for aggressive purposes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The deficiency of gentle manners, in one not bred to their practice,
can nearly always be supplied by sensibility or by tact.

     "Take them, O great eternity!
       Our little life is but a gust
     Which bends the branches of thy tree
       And trails its blossoms thro' the dust."

I never knew a critic to note the metaphor in these musical lines of
Longfellow, but it seems to me quite haunting and overpowering, and
of extraordinary beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you wear your old and shabby coat, anticipating a continued
storm; and the sun shines, making you out of place with your
ill-chosen garb, how natural it is to trace the analogy from dress to
manners, and to reflect how poor a show premeditated surliness and
sourness make in the broad light of the world!

       *       *       *       *       *

We die and are forgotten; but must we forget?

       *       *       *       *       *

The Greek pastoral compliment, "Thou singest better than a cicada,"
would do very well now-a-days for an amiable old lady to address to
her tea-kettle on the hob.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thoreau greatly rejoiced in what he called his "invisible suit," a
sort of mottled brown-and-green stuff in which he could cross a field

       *       *       *       *       *

There was once a golden age because golden hearts beat in it. If it
come again, it will scarcely be through scientific progress.

       *       *       *       *       *

What an excellent, high-minded motto would the last words of Walter
Raleigh make: "So the heart be straight, it matters nought how
the head lieth." It is an echo of that celestial text, "Be ye not
solicitous," and implies serene disregard of all but things essential.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be exacting, but not a whit so beyond justice, when I feel
that if I serve the king, he must repay me in love and trust, or my
allegiance cannot thrive.

       *       *       *       *       *

I came of late across a newly told jest of C. Lamb's concerning
Stilton cheese, which pleased me tremendously, having the indubitable
flavor of his wit, and being (what is rarely the case with floating
anecdotes of him) unmistakably his.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot recall faces or forms that I have seldom met, or recognize
them again with ease, unless some revealed trait or expression of
soul has made gait, contour, and presence memorable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pride is the distorter of souls; cheerfulness the helper; love the
beautifier; sorrow the redeemer.

       *       *       *       *       *

If I ever had the heroic strain, it has receded beyond my own
perception; and like an athlete out of practice, I have to "brace"
before doing that which is right, in defiance of inclination.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The pure in heart shall see God,"--severe and lovely touchstone for

       *       *       *       *       *

I saw once two sisters, the younger resembling the other as the
translation of a poem does its original, moving by the same laws of
beauty, yet inevitably lacking something of the earlier grace and

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-third May, 1881. Hawthorne buried seventeen years ago to-day.
"Who henceforth shall sing to thy pipe, O thrice-lamented? Who shall
set mouth to thy reeds?"

       *       *       *       *       *

How very considerate of the failings of others must that man be who
remembers constantly the Infinite Mercy he himself needs!

       *       *       *       *       *

A good temper is a jewel extraordinary, and a worker of wonders. One
of the old chroniclers tells of an irresistibly amiable monk who for
some misdemeanor was sent to hell and released again, because Satan
could not provoke or torment him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sight of a hearse against the joyous streets is always
depressing: a dark line drawn through thoughtless festivity, like the
dread writing on the wall at Belshazzar's feast.

       *       *       *       *       *

C.'s poetry has much simplicity, calmness, pastoral sense, and
beauty; his prose is jerky and barbaric. He is a sort of medal having
the king's head finished on one side, the rough uncouth surface
wanting a stamp on the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

An odd and good resolve,--to carry the right hand always ungloved,
lest one should meet a friend, and be off one's cordiality, so to
speak; or a foe, and be off one's self-defence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reserve is made sometimes of chain-mail, sometimes of solid plate
steel. One is as good armor as the other, though not so obvious.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some people wear out everything quickly and naturally,--clothes,
acquaintanceship, books, pleasures, even dear life itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am delighted at Lowell's saying that our modern terms, "the deuce"
and "Old Scratch," were evidently derived from _dus_ and _scrat_,
hairy wood-demons among the Celts and Teutons.

       *       *       *       *       *

The best of everything is the only individual of that thing. We
should ignore the rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think one of the drollest stories I ever heard of
absent-mindedness, is this of old P., the barrister. He and his
friend M. were sitting close together about the hearth of a winter
night. There was no light; they were alone and silent. Suddenly
P. got thinking of some project, and according to his villanous
and immemorial habit, meditatively began to scratch his cranium.
He came to a pause; but recovering the sequence of his thoughts,
felt compelled likewise to resume the physical operation. But this
time P. wildly clutched not his own, but M.'s profuser locks, and
furiously recommenced. M. stood it for a moment, inwardly convulsed
with laughter, then lightly removed the offending hand; and P.
roared out angrily, faltering in the middle of his speech with a
bewilderment beautiful to see: "Great George! don't you suppose I
have a right, a right to-- to-- You don't mean to say that wasn't my
own head!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Standing is the most royal and natural pose. I have a sympathy for
that Roman emperor who sprang to his feet to meet the quick death
that came upon him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Spenser: "The noblest mind the best contentment has." Thoreau, by
way of exemplification: "I shall not fret to be a giant, but be the
biggest pygmy that I can."

       *       *       *       *       *

Hawthorne wrote with his conscience. It was a sort of
celestial-colored ink which he kept by him, and into which ever and
anon he dipped his pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was struck anew, of late, with the complete ideality of the
Venus of Melos, its charm of detail, out-naturing Nature: the head
so delicately moulded, the neck so slender yet so strong, the
scarce-deviating outline from shoulder to hip; the very apotheosis
of health and beauty, with a spirituality over all that sets you
thinking of a sweet and ample heart within.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is scarcely a blow in after life comparable to that first sad
intimation (perhaps in early youth), that human nature is not what we
thought it, not the thing of our dreams; little else than a tissue of
frailties woven together.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shakespeare's "Rosalind" is not very dissimilar to the best type of
the much-maligned American girl. She is full of "frolic parley,"
self-reliant, tender, womanly.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Old hushed Egypt." Put down that golden phrase, along with many
another, to Leigh Hunt. When a delightsome author threatens to be
forgotten, credit him at least with what he has added to the soul of
literature, and let him be buried "with all his travelling glories
round him."

       *       *       *       *       *

The French language is _eau sucré_; the German "A cup o' thy small
beer, sweet hostess."

       *       *       *       *       *

If I have a friend, though absent many years, I hold a true treasure
with fear and trembling, knowing that whatever losses come, I have
been blessed beyond measure with the wealth no chance can take away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Love is unlike the bow of Ulysses, in that it can be drawn to its
full capacity of magnificence or destruction not only by the greatest.

       *       *       *       *       *

I know a man who looks like Boccaccio, and does not appreciate it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Genius, like the lowly insect having prophetic stirrings of the
beauty it is to evolve, needs solitude, and must build it unaided for
itself. If it come forth in due time winged and lovely to the sun,
or if it die in the dark, unsuspected of its aim, either end will be
found best relatively to the life it affects.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no participator who serves so well in any conversation as an
adept in commonplaces and "words, words, words."

       *       *       *       *       *

Milton's "charm of half-awakened birds" means _charm_ in the pretty
old English sense of "twittering," "piping softly and confusedly."

       *       *       *       *       *

Much of Thomas Hood's more serious work is overlooked by the public
eye. Some one will be obliged to come forth by and by to say, and to
say truly, that nobler poems than the "Haunted House," the "Poet's
Portion," and "Death" were never written.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the matter of reform, I should choose often to be a crab-reformer,
and to move backward after many wish-worthy things of yesterday.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thackeray says somewhere that "we see the world, each of us, with our
own sight, and make from within us the world we see."

       *       *       *       *       *

By way of experiment, a youngling of scholarly race might be kept
wholly from books, etc., to see if the ancestral learning would not
revive of itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

It pains me to see coarseness predominant in the human
countenance,--a thing so ethereal and divine of itself. Think of the
forerunning wrongs back in the generations which have prompted and
helped it to its present degradation!

       *       *       *       *       *

The poets, in chronicling strong emotion over things actual or
imagined, must frequently outgo the force of the emotion in the
expression of it, so that they have the power of draining off the
whole supply and depth of their feeling.

       *       *       *       *       *

Coleridge should have lived in the times of the oracles. He would
have "drawn," as we say, better than Delphi.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the funeral of a celebrated artist, wherein I took no part
whatever, and had only a genuine sorrow for the public loss to
excuse my slipping into the church, the sexton wanted to seat me
conspicuously, taking me for a chief mourner, for a relative _at
least_, he said. I was pleased at the limiting clause.

       *       *       *       *       *

Children are born optimists, and we slowly educate them out of their

       *       *       *       *       *

We are stricken mute by an heroic death. Praise is poor and vain if
the life forerunning it was heroic too; and if it was not, love and
forgiveness seem not half good enough to offer at the ruined shrine,
where at last a divinity has descended.

       *       *       *       *       *

In sensitive natures, just as the ordinary blessings of life cast an
aggrandized shadow and result in supreme pleasure, so their denial
becomes a matter of deep pain, equally disproportionate to the cause.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is better to fall into added disrepute with an enemy than to
alienate a would-be friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

Frankness prevents troubles that only time can cure.

       *       *       *       *       *

A good and worthy life cannot be detached or wholly useless, because
unfinished. When you throw a number of broken rings on the floor, on
lifting one you find it casually joined with another, and each, in
turn, with many more. So must a man's endeavor co-operate with a
predecessor's, and be linked again with some life-work to be ended
to-morrow, in beautiful, enduring sequence; though to outward vision
all three were but severally a fragment and a failure.




IN the days of the schoolmen, when no vexed question went without its
fair showing, it seems incredible that the proposition hereto affixed
as a title provoked no labyrinthine reasoning from any of those
musty and hair-splitting philosophers. Aristotle himself overlooked
it; Duns Scotus and the noted Aureolus Philip Theophrastus Bombast
de Hohenheim Paracelsus were content to repeat his sin of omission.
Even that seventeenth-century English essayist and scholar, "whose
understanding was wide as the terrene firmament," neither unearthed
the origin of this singular implied practice, nor attempted in any
way to uphold or depreciate it. The phrase hath scarce the grace of
an Oriental precept, and scarce the dignity of Rome. It might sooner
appertain to Sparta, where the old were held in reverence, and where
their education, in a burst of filial anxiety, might be prolonged
beyond the usual term of mental receptivity.

It is reserved, therefore, for some modern inquirer to fix it, for
certain, whether the strange accomplishment in mind was at any time,
in any nation, barbarous or enlightened, in universal repute among
venerable females; or else especially imparted, under the rose, as
a sort of witch-trick, to conjurers, fortune-tellers, Pythonesses,
Sibyls, and such secretive and oracular folk; whether the initiatory
lessons were theoretical merely, and at what age the grandams (for
the condition of _hypermaternity_ was at least imperative) were
allowed to matriculate themselves in the precincts of this lost art.

It is a partial argument against the antiquity of the custom, and
against the supposition of its having prevailed among old Europe's
nomadic tribes, that several of these are accused by historians
of having destroyed their progenitors so soon as the latter became
idle and enfeebled; whereas it is reasonably to be inferred that the
gentle process of ovisugescence, had such then been invented, would
have kept the savage fireside peopled with happy and industrious
centenarians. After the arduous labor of their long lives, this new,
leisurely, immeasurably mild and genteel trade could be acquired
with imperceptible trouble. Cato mastering Greek at eighty, Dandolo
leading hosts when past his nonage, are kittenish and irreverend
figures beside that of a toothless Goth grandmother learning, with
melancholy energy, to suck eggs.

We know not why the privilege of education, if granted to them
without question, should have been withheld from their gray spouses,
who certainly would have preferred so sociable an industry to
whetting the knives of the hunters, or tending watch-fires by night.
But no one of us ever heard of a grandfather sucking eggs. The gentle
art was apparently sacred to the gentle sex, and withheld from the
shaggy lords of creation, until the fierce creatures, ignorant of
the innutritious properties of the shell, took to devouring them

By what means was the race of hens, for instance, preserved?
Statistics might be proffered concerning the ante-natal consumption
of fledglings, which would edify students of natural history.
One bitterly disputed point the noble adage under consideration
permanently settles; a quibble which ought to have

     ----"staggered that stout Stagyrite,"

and which has come even to the notice of grave, inductive
theologians: _videlicet_, that the bird, and not the egg, may
claim the priority of existence. For had it been otherwise, _one's
grandmother_ would have been early acquainted with the very article
which her posterity recommended to her as a novelty, and which, with
respectful care, they taught her to utilize after a fashion best
adapted to her time of life.

Fallen into desuetude is this judicious and salutary custom. There
must have been a time when a yellowish stain about the mouth denoted
an age, a vocation, a limitation, effectually as the bulla of the
youth, the maiden's girdle, "the marshal's truncheon, or the judge's
robe," or any of the picturesque distinctions now crushed out of the
social code. Let a cynic add, who does not fear to chase a trope
beyond bounds, that though certain misguided ancient ladies may
lapse, contemporaneously, into the burlesque and parody of suction,
and draw towards themselves some yet coveted fooleries, compliments,
gallantries,--alas! anachronisms both; yet the orthodox sucking of
eggs, the innocent, austere, philosophic pastime, is no more, and
that the glory of grandams is extinguished forever.

The dreadful civility of our Western woodsmen, the popular
dissentient voice alike of the theatre and of the political meeting:
the casting of eggs wherefrom the elements of youth and jucundity are
wholly eliminated, affords a speculation on heredity, and appears
as a faint echo of some traditional squabble in the morning of the
world, among disagreeing kinswomen, the very primordial Battle of
Eggs! where reloading was superfluous, where every shell told; whose
blackest spite was spent in a golden rain and hail! What havoc over
the face of young creation; what coloring of pools, and of errant
butterflies! What distress amid the cleanly pixies and dryads, whose
shady haunts trickled unwelcome moisture! terror not unshared even in
the recesses of the coast:--

     "Intus aquae dulcis, vivoque sedilia saxo,
     Nympharum domus!"

One can fancy the younglings of the vast human family, the success of
whose lesson to their elders was thus over-well demonstrated, marking
the ebb and flow of hostilities, like the spirits of Richelieu and of
the superb fourteenth Louis eying the great Revolution. What marvel
if, struck with remorse at the senile strife of them whom old Fuller
would name "she-citizens," they vowed never, never, to teach another
grandmother to suck eggs. So was it, maybe, that the abused art was
lost from the earth.

Nay, more, its remembrance is perverted into a taunt more scorching
than lightning, more silencing than the bolt of Jove. "Teach your
grandmother to suck eggs!" Is not the phrase the "scorn of scorn,"
the catchword of insubordination, the blazing defiance of tongues
unbroken as a two-years' colt? It grated strangely on our ear. We
grieved over the transformation of a favorite saw, innocuous once,
and conveying a meek educational suggestion. We came to admit that
the Academe where the old sat at the feet of their descendants, to
be ingratiated into the most amiable of professions, was nothing
better in memory than an impertinence. And we sadly avowed, in the
underground chamber of our private heart, that, as for worldly
prospects, it would be fairly suicidal, all things considered, to
aspire to the chair of that professorship.

Let some reformer who cherishes his ancestress, and who is not averse
to break his fast on an omelet, dissuade either object of his regard
from longer lending name and countenance to a vulgar sneer. Shall
such be thy mission, reader? We would wish thee extended acquaintance
with that mysterious small cosmos which suggests to the liberal
palate broiled wing and giblets _in posse_; and joy for many a year
of thy parent's parent, who is in some sort thy reference and means
of identification, the hub of thy far-reaching and more active life;
but, prithee, wrench apart their sorry association in our English
speech. Purists shall forgive thee if thou shalt, meanwhile, smile in
thy sleeve at the fantastic text which brought them together.




I SOMETIMES whimsically liken myself to that pursued bird, who,
according to naturalists, spends her fine speed and strength in
racing in a circle about her nest, until overtaken and overborne. She
may be said to travel a great deal, yet her steps tend nowhere, and
despite her coming and going, she is indubitably at home.

I betake me, with all the exhilaration of a tourist, into an
adjacent county, and after experiencing the forlornness proper to a
forty-years' exile, board the railway train, and throw myself into
the arms of my native town. My wildest perambulations are but twenty
miles away. I set out, with vehement desires to behold the world,
and threading the narrow highways known of mine infancy,--

     ----"downwards to the sea
     Or landwards to the west,"

return to look the stoutest navigators and explorers in the
eye. My change of scene is mainly from Bromfield Street (what a
green-and-golden westerly prospect it has!) to the Ridge Path of the
Common; my perilous adventures are on side-walks; my discoveries, in
omnibuses and the windows of shops.

Through sheer liberality and open-mindedness, when the first
stirrings of spring are in the blood, or when a hearty October
morning tempts idle feet afar, myself and one other seize on a
map of the adjacent country, and push over hill and dale into
some unexplored solitude. We make heroic efforts to appreciate
a landscape. Was it not yesterday, thou best Bostonian! that we
accomplished our showery pilgrimage across the Middlesex Fells, now
drenched, now dried, by fickle skies, to sniff the young violet, and
to pluck the silvern willow-tufts ere they had paled? or marched
nigh six leagues of an Arcadian afternoon to front the gleaming
waters at Ponkapog, the purple crests of Milton Hill? Vainly! Never
saw we a Nereid along a pebbly margin, nor caught the cadence of a
Hamadryad's footfall, as she hurried back to her old woods. The curse
is upon us, as saith the problematical Lady of Shalott. What business
have we in the country? Where is the plant that will teach us its
name? Not green fields, but bricks and mortar are our affinity; and
the ears that delight in the familiar roar of a crowd barely attend
by courtesy to the madrigals of thrushes.

Rivers I can put up with. I can keep pace with Charles from Hopkinton
to the sea. Neponset is a dear good prattler. Musketaquid, with his
two exquisite parental streams, is mine old familiar. So with a pine
grove, where one can watch the tardiest star arise, and the earliest
daybeam break over its dark summits. But these everlasting downs and
scrubby wildernesses, these formal, vacant pastures, with little
white houses at chilling distances! it is not in me, by nature or
by grace, to take kindly to the things. The spirit moveth me to look
down on cows, hens, and cabbages, and to question the beauty of that
manner of life where there is scarce a ratio of one fellow-creature
to an acre. How shall your country folk learn to jostle and be
jostled? Do they know a pick-pocket when they see him? Are they
easy in their minds when street-bands are due? Have their unhappy
progeny never spelled out a circus-bill's gorgeous charactery of blue
and red, nor leaped into the jaws of a watering-cart, nor licked a
lamp-post for a wager on a frosty night?

No, my masters: let Damætas and Daphnis sing at each other, over
the heads of their woolly cohorts; I yearn for the whoop of the
contemporaneous newsboy, and for the soul-satisfying thunder of
wagons. I hasten back to the knee of mine illustrious mother-city,
as a Peri to Paradise, or as a convict (we must have comparisons to
suit all tastes) to that agreeable castle in which the State formerly
entertained him. I am let loose anew on her historic thoroughfares.
For her sake, I subsist, in no gastronomical sense, on dates, and
pay court to hoary tombs and spectres of long-supplanted buildings.
Her story is the kaleidoscope to charm my idle hours. Her ancient
magistrates I behold in their portentous wigs. Her little maids
rustle by in stomacher and kirtle. Jovial laughter floats out from
the unlatched door of the Green Dragon; the aroma of venison betrays
itself at the Cromwell's Head. I look upon sorrowful Quakers boarding
the transportation ships, or at the beacon-light flaring out upon
the bay; at Paddock, planting his memorial trees; at Mather Byles
jesting among a crowd, under the Province House eaves; at Philemon
Pormort shaking the birch at little Ben Franklin on the sunny side of
School Street; at the chivalry of France riding twenty deep behind
the drawn sword in thy gallant hand, Vioménil! Over all the shifting
and confused panorama the great bells of Christ's--"Abel Rudhall cast
them all"--are ringing the remembered chimes of home.

"The things to be seen and observed," said Bacon, "are the courts of
princes, the courts of justice, consistories ecclesiastic, churches,
monasteries, monuments; walls and fortifications, havens, harbors,
antiquities, ruins, libraries, colleges, shipping, gardens, arsenals,
burses." Rather than sigh for Cisalpine revelations, shall I not
gloriously disport myself in following the fortunes of a local Punch
and Judy show, such as our kind civic nurse hath provided for us?
Perhaps elsewhere I should miss the white-bearded orange-vender
dozing in the sun, and the sparrows fighting on the sombre steps
of St. Paul's, and seedy students migrating from stack to stack of
Elizabethan books in the tranquil lane that Uriah Cotting built.
Dearer than coffers of gold are the old cherished places from which
my rooted affections cannot stray. Their inviolate memories and their
hopes are mine; and the city of my content is the loop-hole through
which I gaze and wonder at the universe.

I wear out my restlessness circling round about her shining height,
and breaking ever and anon momentarily from her fostering hand,
to cling to it again with laughter, and so move on. Is it a braver
sentiment to fret after reported continents? I would follow the
moon around the untried earth, for the asking; and yet, and yet, O
"three-hilled rebel town"! hate my own free spirit did it not thirst
for thee on a ship that sailed against the Golden Horn, between
Caucasus and the pinnacles of Greece.




THE passion for collecting books, beginning with the Greeks, passed
to the Roman senators and patriots, and thence to every corner of the
civilized earth. A philosopher might sigh, like Omar at Alexandria,
over the thousand thousand superfluities, whose survival embitters
the thought of the lost volumes of Varro and Livy, the wellnigh
inaccessible tomes of Al Farabi of Farab ("who knew or wrote so much
as he?"), of Berni, of Martorell; or of those princely libraries
instanced by Irish antiquarians, which were swept away by Noah's

A line of shelves, throne by throne, filled with illustrious figures,
what else is that but a presence-chamber kinglier than a king's, the
Temple of Wisdom, more reverend than the altars of Pallas? Men have
lived and died, like motes of the air, hovering about this hoarded
preciousness of ages, and forgetful ever of the awakened world, with
its exquisite outlook into the future. In the pathetic companionship
of books lived Southey, long after their beauty was shut out from
him, passing his trembling hand up and down their ranks, and taking
comfort in the certainty that they had not forsaken him.

Remembering a bibliopole's sincere care in gathering his treasures,
the taste and tenderness he spends upon them, the actual
individuality of the owner of which they partake, and which they
proclaim with startling fidelity so long as they are together, an
auctioneer's sale of a private library seems one of the cruelest
things in the daily annals of a city. Yet if not transferred, in
numbers or in the mass, to some benign shelter, the darlings of
bygone hours are sure to be launched friendless on the rough chances
of trade. A second-hand book is verily a pitiful thing. It is broken
down by adversity, and ready to meet your advances half-way. It
appreciates care of any sort, poor waif that it is! lacking attention
so long in the dingy precincts of a shop. Nothing is more gratifying
to the eye searching for tokens of humanity, like a shipwrecked
sailor along the sands of a lonely island, than its curled edges,
"bethumbed horribly," especially if the author thereof be dear to
you. What a precious, homely tribute! What delicater flattery, than
to catch sight of a modest volume, supposing you take some parental
interest in it, in a condition which, _à posteriori_, does _not_
suggest soap and water?

Certain books, which we handle for the first time, we cannot for
the life of us lay down again, without vehement infringements on
that edict forbidding envy and covetousness. We yearn for such a
bit of property. Our pocket seems predestined to filch it. We love
it much better than its proprietor, who never had the spirit to
give it cordial abuse. We would not endure that paper cover veiling
its genial face. We would scorn to divorce it from any dusty nook
it chose to frequent. If we abduct it, it would be a great deal
happier. On the same principle, it requires an impulse of Spartan
righteousness to return a book to the civic library with the proper
dispositions. It is heart-rending to make over a used and shaken
veteran to the custody of the public, anew. We know well enough that
it shall collapse utterly ere we shall have the virtue to borrow it
a second time. Or we speculate on an inestimable octavo, readerless
on the shelf for scores of years, till our mark is set over against
it, and doomed to deeper than Abyssinian solitude when we loosen
its clinging hold; and wonder if what a townsman and a wit called
"bookaneering" would not be a chivalric pursuit for us to follow.

Uniform sets of any author, save a historian, are terrors to the
discriminating eye. When we buy the Works even of one C. Dickens,
we shall stipulate that the "Tale of Two Cities" (never to be named
without reverence) shall get its just due of difference in size
and hue, from any of its admirable kindred. Who wants Beaumont
and Fletcher in sombre cloth, or in anything out of folio, or
Jeremy Taylor in red morocco and gilt? Prefaces are not ill things
in their places; but what has a preface got to do with jolly,
self-explanatory Pepys; or a table of notes with Walton the Angler;
or a glossary--fancy the pert thing!--with Philip Sidney's sonnets?
Illustrations to some tales are insufferable. Picture a menagerie
let loose on the seventh or eighth page of Rasselas, to bear out the
diverting Johnsonian description of the sprightly kid bounding on
the rocks, the subtle monkey frolicking among the trees, the solemn
elephant reposing in the shade!

"A big book," said Myles Davis, "is a scarecrow to the head and
pocket of author, student, buyer, and seller." That depends. The
virile poets, like Burns, cannot be got into sylph-like draperies.
Nobody could abide a prose Milton less than three and a half inches
thick. Froissart, even, must be taken solid. We own up to loving
our stumpy Don Quixote, with its print of beauteous Dorothea laving
her impossible feet, although it be egregiously fat, and elbow its
comelier neighbors right and left.

The fashion of including the productions of two or three
contemporaneous writers in one volume is happily past, and may not
revive. What dreary comradeship! like that of the ghosts driven
together on the blast, in Dante's wonderful fifth canto. Why should
Coleridge the dreamer, and Campbell the planner, be lashed so, wrist
to wrist; or Waller's sweet dallying verse classed with Denham's
sagacious strophes? What joint mundane sin warranted this posthumous
halving of their immortal fortunes? If the trade must economize, and
readers must needs get their literature in bunches, let the coupling
be done on a saner basis, and arise from the affiliations, not of
time or place, but of genius solely. We confess we should like to see
Sheridan and Farquhar amicably sharing applause, within the compass
of one lively-colored quarto; some of the singing-birds of the second
and third Stuart courts caged with Gay, Matt Prior, and a few modern
bardlings; Keats close to his loved Spenser; and Irving familiarly
fixed by Addison and Goldsmith, the barriers of centuries between
them broken down.

Family traits, like murder, will out. Nature has but so many moulds;
and however unique and quaint a writer may be to his own circle,
look up his intellectual pedigree, and you shall recognize the
ancestral quality astray in him, on an altered world; the voice of
Jacob, indeed, appealing through all disguises. What should Poe be
like,--Poe the one and only,--but a blended brief echo of Marlowe
and of Dryden? Whence came Charles Lamb, even, in great part (and
Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt besides, in the collateral line), but from
golden-hearted Sidney and Sir Thomas Browne? Pages and pages of his
that recall them! every tone of their old sedater voices prophetic of
his sweet laughter, his fine, grave reasonings to be!

My young lord is spirited, but unlike his father or mother in
feature, as in character: ah! go to the remotest corner of the
portrait-gallery, and brush away the damp from the dark face of
that Henry who fell at Crécy, and you shall read the mystery of
transmission. A poet tries his morning lay, to a continent's delight,
and after years of joy and triumph it shall be revealed to him how
the self-same music fell from long-silent lips in a land across the
sea. The unaltered radiance of an inspiration streams yesterday on
one, to-morrow on another, as moving sunshine visits the hundred
panes of a cathedral window; and that elusive thing which we name the
originality of any artist resembles little else but the kaleidoscopic
newness of color thrown hourly along the aisles.

So much have books wrought, to the confusion of the proud. The
child's early, unconscious preference for authors of his choosing,
urges itself upon him when he, too, shall write, and softly hoodwinks
his imagination. Has he a sensitive pen, jealous of its rectitude,
true as the magnet-lured steel to what he believes to be his frank,
unshared fancies? How shall that affect the immutable law? For the
very blood in his veins is not all his own; and though, for honor's
sake, he would change the erect port, the persuasive speech, the
innermost personal charm which was called his, and which he finds,
later, to have been but a legacy,--yet, in places where his detecting
conscience cannot follow, the hereditary principle will grow to
blossom, and bespeak him, blamelessly, to be what the centuries have
made him.

It was feelingly said by one of the gentle English essayists last
named: "How pleasant is the thought that such lovers of books have
themselves become books!" and do so become evermore, beginning and
ending with a secluded library shelf, planting the seed of kindly
influences close to the noble shade which sheltered them in youth,
and under which they slumbered many a summer's day.




HERE it is, the old bright day, the day fragrant of home, brought
about once again by the whirligig of time. The New England snows
are deep beneath the windows in the house where I was born, and
iridescent icicles hang over the door; the city that is beyond is
given up to joy and plenty,

     "And all that mighty heart is lying still."

I sit quite solitary among you in a far-away corner, forgetfully
turning the pages of a book, and letting my thoughts take wing for
other scenes and other years. In memory there arises a succession of
Thanksgivings, long gone into dust and ashes, so different from this,
so careless and kind and merry, that it seems like wronging them to
be sad for them even at this distance. Then all the world was golden,
and our wilful, loving lives were jewels set in the heart of it.
Then the air tingled, and the sun was jolly as Harlequin. Then there
was a little brook in those familiar fields, delicately sheathed in
ice every Thanksgiving morning, and lending itself to a childish
holiday frolic just in the nick of time; and a stone, squirted along
its surface, made the daintiest bird-like sound imaginable, and
died into silence so delightfully that you sent innumerable pebbles
after it, to see if they could sing as sweetly as the first. Then
everybody was so considerate and tender that poor people could not
want or suffer on that day, if they tried; then grown people were
indulgent, and wee people docile and frisky as lambs. Then we used to
have pop-corn and ginger-snaps and chestnuts and ruddy apples--and
turkey! Well, we can have turkey yet, on any Thanksgiving, a sort of
_in memoriam_ turkey, eaten in foreign lands, and made melancholy
with recollections and vain wishes; so, of course, it is not the same
turkey at all.

What a hospitable, social old festival it was! How gentle we tried
to be, that not one harsh word should spoil it! We were taught
to make out of the severely pious Thanksgiving of the Puritans,
their dismal, unpicturesque opposition-Christmas, a day lovely and
blithe and helpful beyond any in the calendar. There was a great
halloo going on the whole time in the cheerful rambling old house,
quartering an army of children: merry-making in the pantry, in
the corridors, in the porches, where hungry sparrows gathered to
squabble over hundreds of crumbs; and in the lively fire that winked
and sputtered, and tossed the pans and kettles, and nearly burst
a-laughing over the fat plum-pudding. As for the other Lords and
Ladies of Misrule, you could not swing your arm anywhere without
brushing a little boy or a little girl. You heard the patter of
their tireless feet, the noise of their drums and doll-carriages,
and the echo of their shrill voices upstairs and down,--some of
them rolling about on the rugs in the sunny room, where the bare
elms, with their battered nests, rattled against the pane on windy
days; some strumming on the venerable piano in the hall, just at
the balustrade's foot, and singing a little Tyrolese catch they had
learned together; some grouped in the shadowy and quiet library
(where the ceiling shone blue with its myriad stars, like a real
summer's sky), telling over how good a king King Arthur was, or how
queer was the Old Man of the Sea, or how sad and strange were the
adventures of dear Sintram, ever and ever so long ago. Now other
children fill those neglected places, and beautify the hours with
associations fresh and fair as ours,--

     "And year by year our memory fades
     From all the circle of the hills!"

I must not forget the races, and the games, and ninepins on the
frosty balcony; the ice-forts, puny for lack of material, and the
Trojan war, re-fought in snow-balls; and the dinner! The table-cloth
was very pretty, with sprays of evergreen festooning it here and
there. Silver mugs looked particularly shiny. I can see yet, beyond
the great steaming dishes, the celery towering with its delicate
green; cider sparkling; grapes and oranges crowding one another
over the rim; olives floating in colored bottles; jelly clearer
than crystal; funny little crackers in funnier shapes, and the ring
of hearty faces framing the picture in. Near the end, the majestic
pudding made his appearance, crowned with blue flame; and blazed
away so pompously for a minute that the youngest baby cried, and
the boys clapped their hands, and curly-haired Helen leaned over
against Bessy to get out of its way. Then came the final jingling
of the water-glasses, when the household drank Grandmother Drapow's
health, amid enthusiasm and tears and laughter and rustle of words.
It was quite in order to wear your tissue-paper cap, which fell out
of the candy-packet, whether it was quaint and odd as could be, or
conventional as a beaver. When presently, with all conceivable glee,
the whole twenty-six rose to their feet, the chairs and stools made
volcanic noises, and the scene looked precisely like the Carnival.
Then a sudden hush fell; and one of the several tall gentlemen who
answered to the name of Papa, glanced at a certain child at the other
end of the table. So the child dropped its bonbons, and gravely took
off its gay cocked hat, and folded its brown hands, and lisped the
words of the grace, while Eugene and little Georgie bobbed their
innocent heads in cadence at its shoulder. Everybody answered "Amen!"
very loud and clear. And everybody slipped forthwith through the
door, like the tide, and left the sunny dining-room deserted.

Those Thanksgivings will never return. The caps are torn now, and the
heads that wore them would fit them no more. We could not meet to be
happy again, if we tried, because of the vacant places. The rogue who
was made parson would not be present either,--which of us, outside
Paradise, is quite the same after so many years?--having vanished
just as surely as the old friends, and the dear kindred, who have
died. For, in your own phrase, little folk, that was _me_. At least,
I like to think it was. Perhaps this is all a make-believe story; but
if you doubt it, go and ask somebody else who was there.



CERTAIN words sound like caresses. "Thou vagabond!" must have been
at some time or other a gentler appellation than our rude transition
would make it. Why not? "Rogue" and "truant" have yet their playful
uses. Though we translate illy such endearments of antiquity, we may
read in Gascoigne:--

     "O Abraham's _brats_! O brood of blessèd seed!"

The "goodly and virtuous young imps" of old citation, we should also
construe but saucily. Besides, "vagabond" lendeth itself gracefully
to the affectionate diminutives of alien tongues, which, to a
philologist, may be as good as an argument: what can be tenderer
than _vagaböndchen_, _vagabondellino_, and a like musical play of
syllables over the solid English rock?

The vagabond is the modern representative of the knight-errant, shorn
of his romance, inasmuch as both fall neatly under the definition of
a stroller, a free lance, whom the domestic Lar does not allure or
attach to any one fireside. The immortal Don of la Mancha, revived in
this age, should figure as a tramp in the police station, before he
had adorned public life twenty-four hours. But the vagabond proper
has an Asiatic cousin, who gets princelier treatment. The Rônin of
chivalrous Japan is a gentleman of leisure, who, not averse to a
chance of seasonable employment, roams at large, settling his private
differences, and serving Heaven unmolested, according to his lights.
Vagabonds are legally denominated "such as wake on the night, and
sleep on the day; and haunt customable taverns and ale-houses, and
rout about; and no man wots whence they come nor whither they go:"
a comprehensive statement in three parts, which has, moreover, a
covert whimsical reference categorically to actors, politicians,
and bank-clerks. A vagabond, primarily, was merely an idle person;
and if his name has come to imply variations of decorum, and a
questionable standing in polite circles, it is to be accounted for
only on the worn adage that Satan takes personal care of undedicated

Our friend is vagrant as the swallow, "born in the eighth climate,
and framed and constellated unto all." He is the world's freeman. He
strays at his fancy, sign-boards and mile-stones his only ritual,
and changes of weather the sole political economy of his study, by
which he abides. Everybody's property is his in fief. Terminus and
his stakes were never set up for him. He has no particular reason
for moving on the first of May, nor for passing the winter in warm
quarters. When he is very weary, since he has no tent to strike,
nor bed to make, he unconcernedly "lays his neck on the lap of his
mother." Neither landlord nor tenant is he; and never has he known
a spring-cleaning, nor packed a trunk, nor priced a door-plate. He
trolls out that joyful strophe which Richard Brome wrote for his
forefathers, as he swings past inland villages:

     "Come away! why do we stay?
     We have no debt or rent to pay,
     No bargains or accompts to make,
     Nor land nor lease, to let or take:
     Or if we had, should that remore us,
     When all the world's our own before us,
     And where we pass and make resort,
     There is our kingdom and our court!"

He has his choice of professions: he may have a natural disposition
to beg, yet, on the whole, consider it genteeler to steal. He is
exempt from Adam's curse. Nobody expects him to work, save in a
moment of inspiration. When he has no funds, he travels on his
dignity. There is that in his eye which awes the merchantman, and
mesmerizes the maid at the hostel gate.

The vagabond, "extravagant and erring spirit," as Horatio would call
him, has had his court-painter, who took the portraits of several
of his eccentric family in the year of Waterloo, and exposed them
for sale in Covent Garden under the title: "Etchings of Remarkable
Beggars, Itinerant Traders, and other persons of Notoriety," drawn
from the life in London town. There glisten perennially the seraphic
upturned eyes of "Hot Peas!" there you may see the Hogarthian face
and attitude of the one-armed vender of gasping "Live Haddock!" the
pastoral cousin offering "Young (toy) Lambs!" the dealer in pickled
cucumbers, his arms akimbo, a fork stuck in the dish on his head, and
a surreptitious wink in his well-conducted eye; the flying pie-man,
smirking like Malvolio, and starched and skirted like a dignitary
of bluff Hal's; the reduced beau, sweeping crossings, with his yet
fastidious air; and the humble bespectacled painter, his own drayman,
changing quarters on holy Luke's day, so festooned with torsos,
casts, brushes, phials, easels, that he seems a perambulating studio.

The vagabondistic sect is of exceedingly mutable nature. It distends,
it contracts; it swears in, now a person of probity, not of wealth;
now a sinner, like the rest of us, who seldom moves in good society:
an odd congregation, comprising dozens that have no business among
the elect, and lacking a proportionate number who stray untethered
into other folds. On this showing, not only all mendicants, pedlers,
street-singers, pick-pockets, and uneasy minds are accepted rascals,
but poor queer B., who wrote poetry, and went veiled like the great
Mokanna, distraught to know whether the aggregate stare of her
fellow-citizens was attributable to her renown, or to her scarce
Hellenic beauty, falls into the same category; and the venerable
campaigner, who tacks on to her hurdy-gurdy a certificate of army
membership signed by Napoleon (presumably to be referred to her
fighting spouse, deceased),--that wrinkled and taciturn spook of what
was once French vivacity and grace, faithfully grinding "_Partant
pour la Syrie_," in snow and sun, within a fixed radius of Boston
Common,--even she must emerge, despite the music of Austerlitz and
Jena, nothing short of a naturalized Yankee vagabond! There are laws
yet unrepealed, Céleste! for thy suppression; prices set on the
innocuous heads of "minstrels and useless persons."

We could wish that a new Plutarch should write up the patron-saint
of vagabonds,--one Bampfylde Moore Carew, a Devonshire celebrity
born under William and Mary, a most conscientious, well-bred person,
and of good parts, who became a gentleman at large only under
irresistible conviction; and who, after a series of adventures
before which an Arabian tale covers its head, rose to be king of the
gypsies, and Great High Joss of beggars and mimics, henceforward:
a pleasant, adroit creature, familiar with the wildernesses of
what were not yet the Atlantic States, reckless enough to be
kindly-disposed towards his fellows, and successful in everything he
undertook, living, "gray as a wharf-rat, and supple as the devil," to
a consistent and edifying old age.

We have a sneaking kindness for him and his votaries. A congenital
affinity softens us towards suspicious characters. We were early
aware that we startled shop-keepers with our roving thumb, how or
whence we know not; but we have come to love the indiscreet something
in us which calls forth Puritan vigilance, and we should violently
resent a change of tactics. More than once a jeweller (who might have
made a mad wag if he had not been so choked with virtue) refused
to give back our repaired watch, eying us with grewsome distrust,
and absolutely disclaimed having beheld our cockney countenance
before! We enter a warehouse, only to await identification, as they
are pleased to call it, from Tom, Dick, and Harry, and only by force
of eloquence, or by literal making of faces (honest, ingenuous,
reliable, unevasive faces, out of use, but quite as good as new, and
triumphantly effective), do we succeed in securing the household
necessities. Reading once, of a windy day, seated on the sea-wall of
the Charles, through a chance waiting-hour, in cloistral privacy, we
were accosted across lots by a sombre policeman, and mysteriously
lured back to the confines of civilization; whereupon the misguided
creature, scanning our cheerful lineaments,--cheerful from the
pages of "Travels with a Donkey,"--burst into uncanny laughter, and
presently explained that he had been detailed to save yon despondent
crank from plunging into the hungry river!

Our career of vagabond by brevet had wellnigh closed. Seriously, sir
or madam, you may stand by that harbor-mouth, and have an inkling
into the tragedies of the strollers of whom "men wot not whence they
come, nor whither they go." But, to keep you on the liberal side of
compassion, you who are not of the faith must also be made aware
that Aldebaran is a gracious star to his own; and that "wild and
noble sights" are vouchsafed to the outer and inner eye of shabbiest
Bohemianism, "such as they that sit in parlors never dream of."




RHADAMANTHUS is so old by this time, and so hardened into his own
way of thinking, that I suppose it is useless to wish he were
of my mind. What I look upon as justice, he may, moreover, call
spitefulness, or worse. But I dearly desire to sit enthroned by Styx
in his stead, that I might adjudge dire reparative torments to old
Euclid and to Eaton, that modern figurative fiend, and to the entire
tribe of evil-inventing Arabs. What hope is there in this world for
redress? Such creatures have been lauded as friends of civilization
and of human progress. Tens of thousands, mostly helpless minors,
and stray rebels of all ages, among whom I am but a meek atom, make
passionate protest. We go about, with an ancient school-rhyme for our

     "Multiplication's a vexation,
     Subtraction's just as bad;
     The Rule of Three, it puzzles me,
     And Fractions drive me mad."

We aspire to be moderate. We handle a slate and pencil forgivingly.
We consider that history is somewhat against us; for Cæsar believed
doggedly in addition; and the generals of the great Alexander were
fond of division all their days. We try to get over our distrust of
the Book of Numbers, and to think it quite canonical; vainly, vainly.
We are still the army of the disaffected; and your numeric blood,
which was transfused into us by main force, seethes and hisses in our
unproselytized veins.

Mine antipathy to a unit, like an ancestral prejudice, developed in
infancy. I cannot reconcile myself to that persistent squandering of
my capabilities--and nothing shall persuade me that they were not
fine, primarily--on insufferable jargon of twice two, and thirteen
times twenty-seven; on angles, polygons, hypothenuses, and roots of
diabolic cubes; on halving and cancelling everything Solomon in his
wisdom had never heard of, save the growing, intact, substantial
aversion outlasting all else. What glory and honor did it bring
me? The singular privilege of taking and giving money on faith; of
confusing ounces, yards, and quarts, and of being "circumvented," as
Burton scornfully put it, "by every base tradesman."

The Vallais cretins, it is confidently asserted, cannot be taught
mathematics. If so, the Vallais cretin is my cousin-german. My heart
warms to him. I am his transatlantic affinity. He is the happier,
inasmuch as his little eccentricity is recognized, and no tampering
follows; whereas I fell heir to years of crazy importunities. I
bethink me with anguish of so many precious hours spent between
sunrise and sunset, in compulsory handling of snaky arithmetical
characters, when I might have mastered the literature of Timbuctoo,
or successfully dug out, in a mellower land, the hoary toy-pistols
of little child Astyanax. It is drilled into my younger brethren and
sistren (such is their venerable and true English title!) that a
cipher to right of them, or a cipher to left of them, under certain
circumstances which happily I forget, make vast differences with
silly figures. Not one of the unfortunates is a stranger to such
dogmas. A visitor of classrooms, with a proper dash of vinegar in
him, knows nevertheless that the tender geometric parrot-prodigy
shall scarce be taught some more curious problems: why political
bribery is not a state-prison crime, nor oppression of dumb beasts,
nor marriage--_O tempora!_--without love. Therefore the cretin
wears his rue with a difference, and is enviable. He is not chained
up (simply because it is the general barbaric custom) to "the
hard-grained muses of the cube and square;" that is, not unless he
gets astray on the educational world, and finds it quite useless to
proclaim his identity.

If any one take kindly to the Black Art (as he might to the
small-pox), he must, of course, be humored. Believe him sincerely
mistaken. Perhaps he may not ripen into a college professor whose
business it is to disseminate his evil lore. Perhaps, Heaven assoil
him! he may.



LIKE the royal personages in the drama, I was ushered on the stage
of life, literally, with flourish of trumpets. The Civil War was
at its bursting-point, the President calling for recruits: it was
impertinent of me, but in that solemn hour I came a-crowing into the
world. And since I was born under allegiance, a lady whom I learned
to love with incredible quickness,

     "O bella Libertà! O bella!"--

rocked my fortunate cradle. She gave me a little flag for toy,
instead of coral-and-bells; and filled my virginal ear with the
classic strains of "John Brown's Body," ere yet I had heard a secular
lullaby. She it was who dyed my infant mind in her own tri-color,
and whose exciting companionship roused me surprisingly early into
wide-awake consciousness and speculation. In laughing recognition of
her old, old favor, these confused twilight memories (Impressions of
America, as it were, _ab ovo_) may be recorded.

A young person some twenty-four years my senior, for whom I had a
violent liking, had preceded me "to the warres." I saw his ship sail
away, at that exceedingly tender age when a human being is involved
in mummy-like cerements, and cannot properly be said to exist at all.
In the winter of 1864--he had been away during that long interval--I
enlisted and went South to visit him. I had thrived at home through
the distended agony of those days. I had a general idea that my cue
in life was to fight; and I would smile endearingly over a colored
plate of the Battle of Trafalgar, whose smoky glare, and indications
of turmoil and slaughter, were supremely to my mind. Red, however,
by some process of mistaken zeal, I came to regard as inimical to
the party to which, as catechumen, I belonged. I had not then a
very copious vocabulary at my command; but I soon indicated my
convictions by screeching like a young eagle at the most innocent
auction-flag that ever floated out of a Boston door of a sunny
morning, or flushing with unmistakable wrath at a casual visitor who
bore a trace of that outrageous color in anything worn or carried.
It was long, indeed, before I was persuaded to transfer my misguided
sentiment to A.D. 1775, and to believe that the neighboring
rebel had no especial affinity with the hue in question. Prior to
my memorable journey to Virginia, I had spent a few months in camp
the year before. A slight epidemic ran the rounds of the tents, and
took in ours. The only recollection which survives is a vivid one
of neighboring trees, and a distant hill, visible as I lay facing
the narrow door; a view which included the ever-flitting figure of
the sentinel, his steady, silent tread, musket on shoulder, and the
kind rustic face in profile, which turned, ever and anon, smilingly
about, like the moon at her merriest. That welcome shadow which fell
before him in the broad light was cut down in the ranks at Malvern

But my earliest real experiences began in '64. Hostilities had been
some weeks suspended; yet the headquarters of a Southern regiment
lay within gun-shot, and thither my delighted terrors reverted. Was
Jeff Davis lurking on the other bank of the stream? Might they creep
over by night and fall upon us? If I should be allowed to venture
alone into the thicket, would the fiery eyes of the "reb" glare upon
me? Please could I settle difficulties with any little boy in the
opposing camp? in the admirable Roman fashion, of whose precedent I
was yet ignorant.

How they would laugh, those bearded and epauletted guests of our
exceptionally elegant log-house! And how uproariously they often
planted me, regardless of ink and paper, on the table, and toasted me
in some cordial beverage until I pranced in glee!

Be it humbly admitted that the freedom I enjoyed among officers and
men of several organizations, and the indulgence which they showed,
tended not to improve my scarce seraphic disposition. More than once
was I called to order for some breach of discipline, the most venial
of which were cutting the tent-strings, hanging about the sentry and
impeding his progress with efforts to relieve him of his musket, or
concealing the drum-sticks to postpone an anticipated signal. The
dark-eyed young man to whom I owed allegiance--

     "Ay me! while life did last that league was tender,"

--would exclaim, with the awful sense of a newly acquired dignity:
"Disobey a colonel if you dare!" and threaten me, not with vulgar
deprivations of supper, or trivial captivity in closets, but with a
veritable court-martial for my predestined doom, when I should be so
bad again.

Our family retinue consisted of a cook of jolly and rubicund
exterior, and a pleasant lad, who, among his other duties, cared for
my glossy-coated Arabian, and led him about like a circus-master,
while I "snatched a fearful joy" upon his back. The memory of the
former personage is embalmed in the fragrance of roast beef and
mashed potatoes, edibles which he announced frequently with a
melodramatic flourish and intonation never to be forgotten. Burly old
Bush! He had a quaint way of delivering his best things, _stans pede
in uno_, with a sidelong light of the eye to let you into the secret
of his rich hyperboles.

Another favorite of mine was an adjutant, owner of two sociable King
Charles spaniels, which I was permitted to endow with portions of
my supper, and which I visited as regularly as a country lover his
sweetheart, when the general evening relaxation set in. Captain J.,
too, stern, reticent, and little popular with his men, was strangely
gentle to one that rode on his arm, and fell asleep, many a time, at
his knee. He was a fascinating story-teller, and held my fancy longer
than any soldier-playmate of his day. He had the absolute confidence
of my infallible young man. The old figure, "true as steel," was made
for him. They forbore to tell me till long afterwards, that he fell,
shot through and through, at the Wilderness, with his face to the foe.

He had a brother, a mere boy, whose sunny hair I can remember under
the military cap. But him I may come across any hour, prosperous and
sunny-haired still. The only other figures plain to my mind's eye
are F., the sweet-mannered gentleman who took care of me in a long
railway journey; S., the surgeon, maker of jokes and of whistles;
W., who used to sing "Malbrook s'en va-t en guerre," with immense
satisfaction to himself, at least; and C., an inveterate patriot, who
gave his good right arm for the asking, at touch of a cannon-ball.

During that stay there was much gayety and little mishap. My elders
rode off to many a hunt, or held tournaments with all the tilting and
fair ladies' smiles incidental, nay, essential, to their success.
Twice, in the midst of less serious things, the men were called to
sleep under arms. I can very well remember, another time, ominous
talk of Mosby and his guerillas, and a cloud of dust on the horizon
which seemed to betoken his restless squadron. But these were
variations on a winter full of pastime, and uncommonly clement and
merry. The campaign that followed was so arduous, and involved such
heavy losses, that it is cheering to remember the hearty voices of
old play-fellows during that genial holiday, to take down the books
they used to read from their anchorage on a shelf, and to treasure up
the gay incidents that brightened their tragic story.

I recall a waiter of exceeding blackness who impressed me in a
Washington hotel, and a sandwich, uncommonly sharp with mustard,
obtained on the homeward journey at the Baltimore station, where the
city seemed to turn out to feed the very hungry in my person; and
nothing at all further, beyond these unspiritual details, till the
war drew to a close. For then my best-beloved soldier came home. He
was terribly shattered with suffering and fatigue,--how irrevocably
hurt I knew not. If "the stars had fallen from heaven to light upon
his shoulders," the thunderbolt had fallen too; and the general's
insignia was sealed with a minie-ball. After a series of escapes
thrilling enough for a dime novel, after a plunge, horse and man,
into a ravine, a solitary stampede in a swamp, the loss of a scabbard
and a patch of clothing by the familiar brushing of a bomb, and a
hole through a cap neatly made by an attentive sharp-shooter, the
charmed bullets had hit at last. It was my earliest glimpse of the
painful side of the war, when he stood worn, pale, drooping, waiting
recognition with a weary smile, at the door of the sunny little
house we all loved. Instantly, heedless of any persuasive arms or
voices, I slipped headlong, like a startled seal from the rocks, and
disappeared under the table. Such was my common mode of receiving
strangers; and here, indeed, was a most bewildering and appalling
stranger. In vain my soldier called me by the most endearing names;
even the whimsical nomenclature of camp-life failed to convince
me that this was no imposition. I shut my disbelieving eyes, and
crouched on the carpet. For two long hours I did not capitulate, and
then but warily. What was this spectre with whom I must not frolic,
on whose shoulders I must not perch, whose head, bound in bandages, I
must not handle? What was he, in place of my old-time comrade, blithe
and boyish, and how could he expect to inherit the confidence I had
given to quite another sort of person? Unhallowed Dixie! How it had
cozened me out of what I prized most!

The wound that jarred upon me, I quickly came to consider as an
admirable distinction, and altogether proper and desirable. I longed
to be shot, in the interests of my native land; and presently, "by
the foot of Pharaoh!" so I was, thanks to a pistol in the hands
of a maladroit little neighbor. I underwent the ether-sponge and
the knife, and my chubby cheek displayed with pride the reduced
fac-simile of the parental scar. It was my day of jubilee, ere
the cicatrice had vanished, when I might lean against that elder
veteran's knee, and recount Munchausen-like tales of "our" prowess in
the war.

I remember the shock of national loss when the President
was assassinated; and, after that, the coming and going of
army-faces,--some strange, some familiar. It was like Virginia once
more, to hear the band march, serenading, up the quiet street; to
recognize hearty voices at the garden gate; to command my most
dutiful to "shoulder arms!" and "right wheel!" and, waking from
slumber, to creep to the head of the stairs, and surreptitiously
greet dear M. and B. and broad-shouldered A., as they passed below.

Not only these my childish fancy saw, but there seemed to gather with
them many, many others, bearing names that sometime had been cited
in my presence from the bright annals of Massachusetts; and out of
their syllables I framed a ghostly pageant, following ever, like a
breath of wind, close on the footsteps of their living peers. The
dream-cohorts, too, smiled up at me, and swept by. "Trenmor came, the
tall form of vanished years, his blue hosts behind him."

I went to camp several times thereafter, though never with my own
brigade; but having outlived its enchantment, inasmuch as I were
now conscious of "playing soldier" merely, I took a stand on my war
record, and decided to withdraw from the militia. That was long
ago. But the old prepossessions are immortal. The smell of powder
is sweeter to me than Oriental lilies. I resent the doctrine of
absorption into the restful bosom of Brahma. An it please you, I
aspire to Mars.

I used to love the sight of those shabby warriors, dolefully
bewailing their forlorn condition, and mildly suggesting their
eligibility to a bounteous dinner, who prowled, in long succession,
about our side door. I thrilled with indignation at their
counterfeited wrongs. I brought them my sweetmeats, to throw a halo
about their sober meal. Do I not take kindly yet to the battered
coat bedizened with bright buttons, on the back of M., grimy vender
of coal? Do I not encourage the handsome charges of our grocer,
solely because I know his antecedents, and can trace his limp to
Ball's Bluff?

It was an article of belief, in my Utopian childhood, that a
soldier could do no wrong. It went hard with me, in my eleventh
year, to catch a glimpse of the silver Maltese cross, the badge
of the impeccable Fifth Corps, on the breast of a scowling state
prisoner, the hero "shorn of his beams." His arm no longer rested on
a howitzer; he wielded a crowbar. He might have hallowed Libby or
Andersonville with his passing, and now,--O Absalom!

The warden, the benignant warden, himself of the "trade of war," did
he know what he was doing, when he assured me that the cells were
peopled with ex-Federal knights? Men have tried vainly to restore
the lost completeness of the glorious statue of Melos. Even so with
a broken faith. What it might have been is out of the province of



A KINDNESS for graveyards, and a superadded leaning to the old,
battered, weed-grown ones, are not incompatible with the cheeriest
spirit. A marked distinction is to be drawn between the amateur and
the professional haunter of the _coemetrion_, the place of sleep.
If the pilgrimage among marbles cannot be an impersonal matter, pray,
sweet reader, keep to the courts of the living. The intolerable
pain of meeting with some clear-cut beloved name; the chance of
stumbling on some parody of the departed, under a glass case, or of
brushing against the clayey sexton, fresh from his delving,--these
are things whose risk one would not willingly run. Therefore stick
to antiquities, and let thy fastidious eye look with favor at no
carven mortuary date that was cut later than under the third of the
Georges. If there be a suspicion of Scotch granite, or of landscape
gardening in any God's acre as thou passest by, turn thee about to
windward. But where there stand, in honest slate, armorial ensigns,
gaping cherubs, and cheerful scythes and hour-glasses, labelled (as
a child labels his drawing, "This is a cow") with "Memento mori," or
the scarcely less admirable truism, "Fugit hora," then enter in, and
read that chronicle, with its grassy margin, which the centuries have

Here is the great dormitory; here sits the little god Harpocrates,
swinging on the lotos-leaf, his finger on his lips.

               "No noyse here
     But the toning of a teare."

Thousands possess the earth in peace. Are not Spurius Cassius and the
Gracchi vindicated, when the Agrarian law prevails at last?

How paltry a thing is a monument to the dead, save as expressing the
affection of survivors! Cannot the liberal soil absorb, without
comment, the vast number of lives so sadly inessential to the
world's growth and beauty? It must needs forever be placarded to the
stranger, who would fain not be critical concerning the failings
of these old hearts, where John Smith lies. It is not the chisel
which keeps a memory alive. An inscription is superfluous for him
whose deeds are graven in the book of life. Many another, who has
but elbowed his way selfishly through the world, is laid under all
the figures of rhetoric, and is beholden to nothing better than an
obelisk to speak him fair. "To be but pyramidally extant," says Sir
Thomas Browne, "is a fallacy in duration." A monument, "a stone to a
bone," shows the terminus of the corporeal journey, and serves merely
to mark the gateway through which something perishable, that was
dear, has passed away.

Think of the gloomy, pessimistic habit of the Puritan colonists,
surmounting every grave with a grinning skull, in tracery, when the
benighted pagans, ages before, crushed out the material aspects of
death beneath chaplets of roses, amaranth, and myrtle; imagery of
the liberated insect, leaping to the sun with impetuous wings; poesy
full of hopefulness and cheer; and the symbolic figure of an inverted
torch over the burial pile! It might disparage the acrid sanctity of
the forefathers to ask which of the two seemed worthiest to inherit

Cotton Mather, after his whimsical fashion, pronounces it as the best
eulogy of Ralph Partridge, the first shepherd of the old Duxborough
flock, that being distressed at home by the ecclesiastical setters,
he had no defence, neither beak nor claw, but flight over the ocean;
that now being a bird of Paradise, it may be written of him, that he
had the loftiness of the eagle and the innocency of the dove. His
epitaph is: AVOLAVIT.

The most exquisite epitaph I ever saw was one of an infant of
German extraction, who died, at the notable age of sixteen months:
"Beloved and respected by all who knew him." Wellnigh as pompous
and as plausible is an obituary in favor of a similar lambkin, yet
to be deciphered at Copp's Hill: "He bore a Lingering sicknesse
with Patience, and met ye King of Terrors with a Smile." One
Abigail Dudley sleeps in a New England village under a white stone,
professionally indicative "of her moral character;" a widow droops in
effigy over a Plymouth tomb, and states in large capitals that she
has lost "an agreeable companion." Near by is the harrowing script:
"Father. Parted Below;" and its sequel a yard's length off: "Mother.
United Above." It flashes across your brain like a revelation of
Vandal atrocities.

What wondrously sweet lines old English poets wrote over the graves
of women and children! Think of Carew's "darling in an urn;" of Ben
Jonson's "Elizabeth;" of "Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother;" of
Drummond's "Margaret;" of Herrick's "On a Maid," every word precious
as a pearl; and of the wholly startling pathos wherewith one now
without a name bewailed his friend:--

     "If such goodness live 'mongst men,
     Bring me it! I shall know then
     She is come from Heaven again."

General Charles Lee, that sad Revolutionary rogue, wrote in his last
will and testament: "I do earnestly desire that I may not be buried
in any church or churchyard, or within a mile of any Presbyterian or
Anabaptist meeting-house; for since I have resided in this country,
I have kept so much bad company while living that I do not choose to
continue it when dead."

Of Roger Williams, who was also granted solitary sepulture, a strange
tale is told. There was question, some years back, of transplanting
him from his sequestered resting-place to a stately mausoleum. The
diggers dug, and the beholders beheld--what? Not any received version
of that which was he, but the roots of an adjacent apple-tree formed
into a netted oval, indented with punctures not wholly unlike human
features; parallel branches lying perpendicularly on either side;
fibres intertwined over a central area; and lastly, two long sprouts,
knotted half-way down, and terminating in a pediform excrescence
wonderful to see. It was plain, thought the _savants_ of P., that
the apple-tree had eaten of ancient Roger; now who had eaten of the
fruit of that apple-tree? Verily, "to what base uses may we return!"

It was said of old by the English Chrysostom: "A man shall read a
sermon, the best and most passionate that ever was preached, will
he but enter into the sepulchre of kings." Let a tourist go through
Europe, from town to town, pausing in the porches of burial-grounds:
shall he not touch the naked candor of governments and follow the
hoary chronicle of ages backward with his Hebraic eye? To him, the
graveyard moss that eats out the charactery of proud names, is a sage
commentator on mundane fame; and the humble mound to which genius
and virtue have lent their blessed association inspires him with
precepts beyond all philosophy. For history is not a clear scroll,
but a palimpsest; and he who is versed only in the autography of his
contemporaries misses half the opportunity and half the gladness of

The habit of providing for personal comfort anticipates an easy couch
and a fair prospect for us at the end. How many men, from the royal
warriors of yore who willed their ashes to be carried into a far-away
country, have chosen, and jealously guarded in thought, their
to-morrow's place of rest? A superfluous care, when the unawaited
waves of ocean have cradled thousands, and every battle-field opens
to receive the staunch and strong! Even for the sake of mysterious
beauty such as hath thy holy hill, Concordia! alert youth itself
might harbor a not ungentle welcoming thought of death. Yet that head
which is confident of quiet sleep is scarce solicitous of its pillow.
One last assurance vibrates, like triumphant music, in ears impatient
of much speech upon a text so sacred. "To live indeed," it echoes,
"is to be again ourselves, which being not only a hope, but an
evidence in noble believers, it is all one to lie in St. Innocent's
churchyard as in the sands of Egypt: ready to be anything, in the
ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six feet as with the moles
of Adrianus."




THE snail is a kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky creature. Carrying
his house with him, he leaves no cares at home. He is _otium
cum dignitate_. He is the moral antipode of the ant. He shirks
responsibilities, and turns the cold shoulder on labor and fret.
Deliberation, calmness of intellect, consciousness of superiority,
are in his slow, majestic tread. So that he gets to the place in
mind, it is of no possible consequence how long the journey may
be. The crystal day is all his own. He is a Nabob, a gentleman of
leisure, and considers haste vulgar, and proper only to grasshoppers
and miserable sparrows.

Rose-bugs are impertinent. Humming-birds, bright and beautiful, come
too seldom amongst our flowers of June, but the bees come instead,
and burden the air with their soothing baritone. Yet the bees have a
way of pressing personal souvenirs upon you. Pray you, avoid it! as
Hamlet tells the players.

Caterpillars fascinate a spectator. They are full of mysterious
interest, berthed in their soft cocoons, deftly caught on to the
jagged edges of stone walls, or bent on travelling from leaf to leaf,
with their "many twinkling feet" in full motion. A caterpillar,
however varied and attractive his coloring, is not a favorite with
society, or with that branch of it which goes about in bonnets and
high-heeled boots. Moralists, rather, shall befriend him, the kind
little creeper, and treat him with that reverence which the knowledge
of his coming glories inspires.

The earth-worm is the Pariah of garden-folk. His appearance,
primarily, is against him; he looks like an intriguer, an uneasy,
officious sinner, wriggling his crooked way through the world. The
"inadvertent step," which Cowper would fain spare him, ends too
often our groundling's peregrinations. He is born to be disregarded
and abused; a child, whose protective instincts are yet dormant,
will decimate him for the pleasure of seeing his posthumous remnants
take up their separate lives, and unconcernedly disperse. Worm is
a reputed political exile. With his greater cousin, the snake, he
shares the popular odium of Erin's isle. I have heard an old fellow,
mowing grass, turn about to tell an incredulous companion that if, by
any chance, one could put a bit of Irish soil, nay, so small a thing
as a shamrock, under a "Yankee wurrum," that instant would be the
death of him.

The legend is given in that very quaint "Lives of the Saints," which
Warton thinks was written in the twelfth century:--

     "Seyn Pateryck com thoru Goddes grace to preche in Irelonde,
     To teche men ther ryt believe Jehu Cryste to onderstonde;
     So fil of worms that londe he found that no man in myghte gon,
     In som stede for worms that he nas wenemyd anon;
     Seyn Pateryck bade our lord Cryste that the londe delyvered were
     Of thilke foul wormis that none ne com ther!"



IT does the heart good to read of some light-footed troubadour or
reverend pilgrim trudging from gate to gate, all the way across
a strange country, everywhere welcome as an expected guest, and
given the liberty of the host's kingdom. Chroniclers give us pretty
pictures of the household sitting about the dusty palmer, listening
to his pious and spirited homily; of the errant singer, wrapped in
his worn velvet cloak, delighting young maids and children with the
old burden of Roncesvalles, or with the tale of that dreamer Rudel
who crossed seas to find his unseen lady-love at Tripoli, and to
die, satisfactorily, in her arms. Whether the master of the castle
had subsequent cause to regret the shelter proffered to his birds of
passage, posterity shall never learn. For those were the days of
chivalry; and the brave bounty which accepted the wayfarers without
question was able to overlook a deficiency, if such there were, in
the family silver. Of this best sort, too, was the hospitality of
Alcinoüs to Ulysses, treating him like a king, and dreaming not
of his hidden kingliness. Spanish courtesy yet keeps a show of
heart-whole giving: "This is thy house," an Andalusian tells his
visitor. An Indian, in his forest wigwam, does yet better. If he
abide you at all, with your scalp at its accustomed altitude, he
tenders whatsoever he calls his, and would scorn to conceal from you
the innermost recesses of his savage larder.

"Is he not hospitable," quaintly asks one of our American essayists,
"who entertains thoughts?"

Think of the unlicensed generosity of the Roberds-men, dealing
out what had but just become theirs by right of might, and of our
niggardly modern dispensation! of that Duke of Newcastle, the
lavish splendor of whose receptions bewildered all England; or of
another social peer, Edward, Earl of Derby, "in whose grave, since
1572," said Thomas Fuller, "hospitality hath in a manner been laid
asleep." Timon began as bravely as any of these. Waiving all formal
recognition of his royal liberality, he made his frank exordium in
the banquet-hall:--

     ----"My lords! ceremony
     Was but devised at first to set a gloss
     On faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
     Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
     But where there is true friendship, there needs none;
     Pray sit...."

Hospitality hath been called threefold: for one's family, of
necessity; for strangers, of courtesy; for the poor, of charity.
Friendship pushes its privilege to the broad extreme, and loses its
sense of ownership.

     "Cot or cabin have I none,
     And sing the more that thou hast one."

The twin playwrights of the reign of Queen Bess set up their tent "on
the Bankside;" alternately wearing "the same cloathes and clokes,"
and having but one bench of the house between them, which the twain
"did so much admire"!

A guest should be permitted to graze, as it were, in the pastures of
his host's kindness, left even to his own devices, like a rational
being, and handsomely neglected. Our merry friend, T., has been known
to beat his breast and groan while passing a certain suburban house,
whose inmates consider themselves his devoted friends. It seems that
on his last visit he found only the ladies of the establishment at
home,--ardent, solicitous creatures, whose good manners were nearly
the death of him. He had a mind to await their brother's return,
and while the fair Araminta was gathering roses on the terrace, and
her sister had momentarily vanished in-doors, our tender innocent,
pleased with the landscape, and not averse to bodily comfort,
incontinently got into the hammock. He had barely begun to sway to
and fro, in his idle fashion, when delicate expostulations smote his
incredulous ear. He learned, with respectful awe, that he was liable
to headache, to sea-sickness, to certain and sudden thuds on the
floor of the piazza, and, lastly, to influenza and kindred ills, by
facing the formidable summer atmosphere, in a recumbent position,
without wrap or shawl. The climax was capped by the wheeling forward
of a portly arm-chair, and the persuasive order to "take that," and
be "comfortable." T. was too dazed, or too shy, to protest. When he
sought a cool seat in the bay-window, down came the sash, "for fear
of a draught;" he made bold to caress the dog, and Nero was led away
and chained to his kennel, because he was "apt to bite;" he fell in,
to his infinite diversion, with the junior member of the household,
and master was marched off to bed, with the stern bidding to "be a
good boy," and not "trouble the gentleman." Like sorrows hovered
over him till the blessed hour of release. B. was back at seven, and
wondered why his old classmate had gone.

Who does not envy them that knew Henry Wotton, "a very great lover
of his neighbors, a bountiful entertainer of them very often at his
table, where his meat was _choice_, and his discourse _better_;" or
the Bohemian spirits of 4 Inner Temple Lane, with "the card-tables
drawn out, the fire crackling, the long-sixes lit, the snuff-boxes
ready for any one's handling, the kettle singing on the hob, glasses
and bottles and cold viands within reach, books lying about,
familiar guests doing what they pleased, chatting, reading, coming,
going,--veritable At Homes, with a sense of slippered, almost of
slip-shod ease"? But hold! are we to indite a disquisition on the
Decay of Hospitality? Are there no open hearts above ground, nor any
houses where the elected comer may still hold the key to every room,
with no direful Blue-beard exclusions? Leaving Dives to the practice
or omission of a virtue eminently appropriate to his coffers, what
of the very poor? For there is a paradoxical extravagance in their
way of life; a glorious communism between one that is needy and one
whom he discovers, day on day, to be needier than himself. Where have
they learned that sweet readiness of succor? The churl, with them,
is he who withholds his little superfluity from a more miserable
brother. In the close kinship of suffering, their souls grow mutually
pitying, mutually helpful, clinging each to the rest, as a coral atom
is moored to the patient island, built from the incalculable depths
of the sea. If the wealth that is gracious and thoughtful should
vanish to-morrow from the earth, generous giving should find its home
in the thin, kind hands of poverty; and then, as now, should some
bright-eyed student arise to deny the asseveration of history that
the noble old Hospitallers are no more.




DOWN a tranquil country road, I walked in a reverie, one April
Sabbath afternoon. I seemed to be in a strange land, and pictures
and fancies of Maiano and the Tyrol were floating in my brain; yet I
was unconsciously moving, like a drowsy star, in the old, old orbit,
whence I had never strayed, within brief distance of the spot where I
was born, and where for years my life had worked itself into so dear
a bondage, that the desire of journeying gladly elsewhere, save in
the spirit, had become a sort of treason. The air was laden with the
moist delicious fragrance of early spring, which comes as yet from
nothing but the ground, as if the persuasive showers had stirred and
awakened the very clods and roots and buried fragments of leaves
into something like hope and aspiration. This is the advent-time of
Nature, far more touching and suggestive than the imminent beauty
whereof it is the fore-runner. As I ventured onward, wrapped in
solitary thought, and resolved, as it were, into the sweet indolent
joy of living, I stooped to pick up a branch, silvered with thick
buds, which the wind had blown across my path. At that moment,
distracted from the invisible world, and in the transition-state
between dreaming and alert attention, I was saluted with a strain
of exquisite music, such as one can conceive of as floating ever
in Jeremy Taylor's "blessed country, where an enemy never entered,
and whence a friend never went away." I raised my head to listen,
and immediately perceived ahead of me, back from the highway, and
embowered in trees, a gray church porch, out of which were ushered
the interlacing harmonies which had charmed my wandering ear. The
door stood open, and no idlers were in sight; no late wheel-marks
were betrayed on the soft, fine dust of the road. Yet by the
many-colored sunlight, filtered through the costly windows of the
nave, I saw that a number of people were gathered together in the
cool and quiet edifice. A single glance showed me that the interior
was of extreme beauty, and of precisely that delicacy and airiness
of design most unlikely to be coupled with massive granite walls.
Yet there it was, impregnably grim without, peaceful and assuring
within, like a kindly heroic heart beating under armor. From it, and
about it, and through it, floated the siren voices of my search. In
an illusion-loving mood, I sought not to pluck out the heart of my
mystery, nor to rob it of its soft promise by vain questionings.
I slipped into a deserted seat in the shadow of the choir-stairs,
and gave myself up to this sole delight: as to prayers and sermons,
either they were already over, or else they went past in the lapses
of melody, as the swallows by the window above me, beating their
shining way upward, utterly without my knowledge or furtherance.

I heard, above the rest, and sometimes intertwined only with each
other, a brave, jubilant voice, and a voice steadfast and tender.
Neither know I which was the fairer, so ministrant were both, so
helpful and unfailing. The soft, starlit voice might touch an
over-eager soul with calm; to the soul distressed, the strong voice
would come like a great noon-tide wind, impelling it towards the
height where the sun dwelt, and all the fountains of the day. Clear
as thought was the bright voice, striving, surmounting, and instinct
with truth; but like the first sigh of passion was the sad voice,
thrilling, too, with memories of yesterdays that cannot return
forever; fond, sensitive, dedicated to the deep recesses of the
heart, where there is search after hidden meanings, and mourning
over the inscrutable laws through which not even Love's anointed
eyes can see. I recognized the battle-call, the rush of the wings of
the morning, the pæan of young ambition in the victor-voice, whose
very petition was a conquest, in the irresistible faith and strength
of its asking; but the lowly voice sang with unspeakable pathos,
in whose every plea the greater grief of rejection was already
apprehended. A grateful spirit would fain bestow on the glorious
voice an ardent welcome, and on the gentle voice a lingering caress.
Both I loved, and unto both my soul hearkened; for they were the
voices of angels, and one was Joy, and one was Peace.

Then, as in a vision, I beheld a fair prospect before me, and in
the centre of its green beauty arose two hills, from whose separate
summits the voices ruled perennially, showering blessings, healing
sorrow, banishing care, cheering and solacing the earth. Now the
weak needed not to rely on the strong; and pity and protection were
scarcely asked or given; for music, "the most divine striker of the
senses,"--music alone was the arbitress of the world. And all day,
past twilight into the deep gloom, were the voices singing, not
incapable of being wearied, but revivified forever by the smiles and
tears of pilgrims who departed from the hill-top with hearts made

I marked that the little children were drawn frequently to the abode
of the melancholy voice, because it was soft and weird, like a gypsy
mother's lullaby, or the rustle of aspens in serene weather. Thither
also came youth, nursing its first grief with wilful indulgence, and
manhood, yearning for summer melodies that should soothe all unrest,
and close "tired eyelids over tired eyes." But I knew the babes were
there only because of the sweet, curious affinity of childhood with
sombre influences; and the young palmers, through some sophistry of
love and honor; and the strong workers, overwrought, since there was
no courage left for self-invigoration, and no guide to help them
towards the city of the cordial voice, whither they should have
turned. One I saw coming forth from the field, with a scroll under
his arm, pale and worn with "glimpses of incomprehensibles, and
thoughts of things which thoughts do but tenderly touch," who stood a
moment, rapt in rash delight at the voice which betokened tears and
infinite longing and regret; and who, straightway remembering that
the poet's mission is gladness, incessant belief and prophecy of
good, betook him, albeit with a sigh, to that other abiding-place,
where he might learn of the happy voice. All the afflicted, with wild
and doleful steps, sought to climb the dolorous mountain towards
the setting sun; and often a friend's strong hand intervened, and
led them, rather, with inspiring speech, into the land of healing.
I watched, time on time, soldiers marching to the wars, sustained
by the glad voice, and hastening forwards with its spell upon them
like a consecration; and again, the weary troops returning, with
tattered colors and broken ranks, pausing in the lovely courts of the
grave voice, to chant with it a song of memory and reparation and
thanksgiving. I came to understand, though but slowly and confusedly,
that the entire universe was swayed by these voices; and that, while
each was best in its holy office, the strong voice was that which
nerved us to our duty, and the kind voice that which rewarded us
for duty done. Always within hearing of them, we travel towards the
ampler day, loyal to one until we have merited the loving offices of
the other; holding them sweetly correlative, even as are labor and
repose, or life and death.

So soon as I was filled with the glory and significance of the
voices, they faded imperceptibly away, and I heard them no longer.
Moreover, I found my lifted eye resting anew on the village
church, where the dying light fell across the aisles, and the
bare clematis-vine waved at the near window; and whence the last
worshipper had departed. Had I indeed been on a strange road, and
among strange sounds? It may be that even in my day-dream I might
have called my beloved singers by their earthly names; and that so I
might this hour, were it not for a clinging scruple. For I have been
made wiser, and know verily that both are angels, and that one is
Joy, and one is Peace.




IN a mood made half of tenderness, and half of laughter, I begin
to speak of her: in tenderness, since to name her is a joy; and in
laughter, for that I cannot for sheer inability keep the knowledge of
her to myself; partly because she had many liegemen and lovers who
sung of her aloud to the tell-tale winds before I found my way to
her blessed door, but most of all because it would strangely savor
of injustice to appropriate so sweet a thing as her favor, without
sharing it with the first comer found worthy. Therefore this delight
of mine is no more mine than thine, and his, and theirs, and ours;
and who would have it otherwise?

She dwelt of old in a tranquil vale apart from villages, with little
society save that of the scarlet tanager and the periwinkle-blossom.
Such visitors as entered the "piny aisles" that led into her
presence, were those only who reverenced her truly. She could not
abide harshness and scorn, and they were always gentle; she sat in
her fragrant solitude as one that broods on mysteries, and they, in
sympathy, sat beside her, one by one, and spake ever after with the
enthusiasm and the unworldliness of children. But the immaculate
stillness which she chose for her dwelling has long been assailed.
Revellers came from the city to riot in her gardens, and to disport
themselves in her halls. Railway trains thundered hourly over against
her hallowed threshold. Often and often, in passing by, you may yet
hear the sound of inharmonious voices, and catch a glimpse of her
fair downcast brow, as she looks mutely out upon the invaders.

Amid this "heavy change" she is unchanged and unchangeable. Her
pure serenity was a sharp rebuke to our doubting, when we first
gathered around her, after the dread of missing the charm which had
made her dear. We had known many of her kindred, and each of them,
howsoever lovely, seemed coarsened and cheapened to the sensitive
eye, by over-much familiarity with crowds. But our celestial lady
moves like Penelope, amid throngs of her false suitors, with thoughts
disentangled from their clamor, in forbearance and patience and hope
and honor, the ineffable depths of her nature evermore unjarred.
Long ago, and in the beginning of our affection for her, we twain
found her asleep in the flooded noonday sunshine, having at her
feet and at her head a sombre guard of pines; and behind them, the
vagrant "glad light green" of spring; and again, above their topmost
pennon, irregular amethystine clouds, visionary mountain-ranges, that
climbed, peak on peak, to front

     "Thee, Lincoln, on thy sovereign hill."

We flung ourselves in the young grass, and delayed there, lest our
footsteps should break that exquisite slumber; and so awed, and
so rejoicing, looked upon her whom we had travelled far to see.
It was her exceeding comeliness that made the responsive gleam
dance from eye to eye; but it was her sanctity, virginal as when
the Spirit first breathed upon it and bade it be, that held our
lips hushed then, our memory secure and deferent ever after. Over
this unforgotten glory of ours, Saint Francis of Assisi might have
breathed his soft hymn of thanksgiving for "my sister, who is very
humble, useful, precious, and chaste." Crime should be wary of her
bright presence; weariness should forget its landmarks, dreaming
beside her; nobleness overwrought and embittered should take courage,
and trust the world anew, as by a miracle, for her sake.

Many, many times, but especially at the breaking of the frosts,
when sap begins to thrill in the naked boughs, comes the desire to
approach her peaceful abiding-place, and learn, by moon or sun, what
more of winsomeness or splendor one year hath brought her. What more
can it ever bring? For her soul is crystalline and candid, and on
her forehead shines perpetual youth. She is one of the touch-stones
of our finer selves. Verily, with this secluded friend of friends,
"in profanity, we are absent; in holiness, near; in sin, estranged;
in innocence, reconciled." Her history is in hearts rather than in
books; her unprofanable beauty is the special care of heaven; and we
New Englanders that love her, and sometimes come about her, harping
her praises with sweet extravagance, have no name for her which men
shall recognize but that of WALDEN WATER.




IDLENESS is harder to distinguish than the philosopher's stone.
Stupidity you can put your finger on; and so with sullenness,
day-dreaming, or bovine lassitude. But idleness may link itself with
any, all, or none of these. It is the will-o'-the-wisp among human
characteristics. You avoid it, being hoodwinked as to its presence
in your vicinage; you bear with it in others, when your tolerance is
veritably bestowed on something very different. Small wonder if you
wax so wise and so finical that you shall swear, sooner or later,
in the phrase of a certain friend of ours, that "there never was no
sich" a thing!

What astronomy is to astrology, or chemistry to the alchemy of old
times, that is idleness, so called, the most useful and edifying
spectacle in the world, to idleness criminal. Idleness, simon-pure,
from which all manner of good springs like seed from a fallow
soil, is sure to be misnamed and misconstrued, even when it is
stuck, like a bill-post, in the public eye. A thinking person, the
schoolmaster will allow you, is barely to be called idle; but for
that exaggeration of thought, the almost tidal stand-still between
activities, which belongs to Dunce on the back bench, he has no
more respect than can fit in the circumference of his rod. Dunce,
nevertheless, may grow up to be called Oliver Goldsmith, or Arthur,
Duke of Wellington. Tommy, who stops on his way to market, to sit
on a stone wall and plan a nest-robbing, indulgent passers-by shall
consider busy, though misguided; but young Galileo or Columbus,
planning nothing whatsoever, drifting into the mental hush and
stillness whence astonishing ideas arise, are sure to be set up as
a couple of intolerable wool-gatherers. A boy may crouch before
the fire, looking through the kettle steam at "one far-off divine
event," and be complimented on his prospective value to society, or
ironically offered a penny for the contents of his ridiculous head.

Thoreau put his own case, in the illustration of the man who roves
all day through a pine-forest, rejoicing in its height and shade and
fragrance, and is heralded far and wide as a lazy good-for-nought,
as opposed to the sober and industrious citizen who betakes himself,
axe in hand, to hew the giants down. Every township has its business
men, but Mr. Henry Thoreau was, without exception, the best American
idleness-man on record. He floated about in his dory, the breathing
reflection of Nature in its wealth of detail, inflated with pride
because he had not ever chosen to stand behind a counter! Yet he
"got his living by loving," and may be suspected of having grained
his name, diamond-like, on that window which looks out eastward on
the Atlantic. How else was half the wisdom of the Orient cradled,
but in the solemn Buddhist, coiled up, with his sealed eyelids, his
shut teeth, and parted lips, contemplating nothing with tremendous
suavity? The secret of handsome leisure is a fast secret now, indeed.
The ancients have not transmitted it. Who can think of a breathless
Athenian, save in the hour of battle, or of manly sport? Pericles
laid the fold of his garment, so, deliberately over his arm, and
steadied himself against some calm assurance, "marchyng," as the old
chronicler said of Queen Bess, "with leysure." Repose is stamped
on every statue the Greeks left us. It is in their lyrics, however
joyous; in their large drama; in their golden history. They did
nothing in feverish haste. Perhaps it may not be rash to acknowledge
that they were reasonably clever, and managed their terrene concerns
with some intelligence. There is over-much stir around us: mountains
heaving, cities building, seasons racing by, governments shifting
and turning at the four corners of the earth. It is the modern
miracle that the contemporaneous growing lilies have not lost their
blessedness, in striving to toil and spin.

Wherever a soul keeps energy in reserve, and a little healthful
languor dominant, a patch of Arcadia is yet to be found.

     "Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
       Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
     For a proud idleness like this
       Crowns all thy mean affairs!"

When the familiar Yankee angel, Nervous Prostration, brushes you with
his wing, Arcadia withers away. Your holiday siesta, after that, is
not genuine. Of idleness you cannot be conscious, even as innocence
is no longer itself when it knows its name. Therefore no week-day
preacher need exhort you to be idle, ladies and gentlemen, as often
as you can afford it. He can only cast an eye along your ranks, and
discovering one or two of the elect, who shall remind him of boats
swinging gently at their moorings, piously hold his tongue and go on
his way with thanksgiving.




IF the Bruce loved his instructive spider, for which history does
not vouch, why should not the public mosquito be dear to desponding
minds, as a yet more victorious exponent of the value of perseverance
and a set purpose? Who hath circumvented her? She laughs at all
dissuasion. She evades the soldier's gun, the physician's potion; the
Sophi with his fleet cannot drive her away, nor the Czar impale her
in any dungeon. What the mosquito came hitherward to do, that she
does. The "moral runs at large."

It is all very well to abuse her; one gets a poor, childish
satisfaction out of such terms of endearment as can be readily
bestowed: unfledged Tamerlane! disturber of the sanctities of night!
Satan of summer joys!--and so on. What avails all that? We have to
bow our necks, and endure her diabolics. She is an evil which the
Constitution cannot remedy; and as we are given to understand that
she does not speak English, no protest formulated in that tongue can
pierce her horny and tyrannical heart.

The believing soul may picture her primarily in some sweet, decorous
frolic through the glades of Eden (for charity would even accord to
her the possibility of a state of first innocence), frisking airily
with birds-of-Paradise, and given wholly to honorable practices. Ah!
but what man is proof against violent thoughts of Father Noah, who,
when she had already entered on her vein-glorious, flesh-loving,
back-biting, and peace-disturbing career, gave her the shelter
of his house through troublous days, and, like the short-sighted
philanthropist that he was, cursed the four continents in befriending
two obstreperous insects?

I cannot consider any cosmic force more eminently practical. The
poet lauds a river-bank, and sheds on a grove the starry fascinations
of rhetoric; it is none other than Mosquito who induces you to hate
and shun what you would fain be persuaded to consider fair. She it
is who can make the greenest landscape odious, and the calm haunts
of trees vociferous as if all Bedlam were let loose under their
outspread arms. She is your best circumnavigator. I cannot picture
to my wildest speculations a place where she is not. Nowhere is she
an exile, but hath her native bog all over Christendom. She holds
her cannibalistic orgies wherever human foot hath trodden. In that
Land which, geographically, is No Man's, methinks she prowleth
still, looking for him. Howsoever arrant a folly it be to ignore so
great an influence on our personal behavior, so huge a factor in the
reckoning of men's woes, little enough is recorded of this wretched
anthropophaginian. Dante did weakly, inasmuch as she figured not as
chief tormentor among his perpetually condemned. The cricket, the
glow-worm, the ant, the mole, long since found their bards, but no
prophetic malediction has fallen from Parnassus on their evil-minded
cousin. There must needs be a greater than Milton to pronounce her

The immense malignity of her disposition is, with superlative
cunning, cloaked under her bodily slenderness and aerial grace. What
monstrous discrepancy betwixt her and her doings! By what unheard-of
perverseness in the natural order is she framed delicately as a
kind sunbeam, or a fragment of sea-foam? On the theory of physical
degeneracy, we may consider her in the archetypal plan to have been
a grim enormity, like Regulus's Bagrada serpent, a candidate of
yore for the attentions of some Jack-the-Giant-Killer, who, should
he arise to-day, might prove but a clumsy blunderer in face of her
impish agilities.

Helpless victim that I am, I look at Mosquito with unmixed awe. I
harbor grotesque superstitions, and build up romances in her name.
Why not metempsychosis? This marvellous restlessness,--might it not
once have been a human thing? What if some world-scourge, like
Attila, were pent in these narrow bounds, and sent whirring through
space again, on the old, colossal mission of annoyance? Involuntarily
I scan Mosquito with no humbler glass than a telescope. Even to the
dignity of a malignant planet hath she attained in mine unjaundiced
eye. Straightway, as fear building on fear, mount my fancies,
memories, speculations, till on their topmost pinnacle flashes the
saying of the liberal philosophers, that the immortal principle
may not be lacking in the "meanest thing that feels;" and my sole,
honest, overwhelming impulse is to forswear the pious Sunday-school
hope of becoming an angel, that is, a winged creature, lest in any
phase of untried being, Mosquito! I should bear affinity to that
which thou art.

                     ----"Execrable shape,
     That dar'st, tho' grim and terrible, advance
     Thy miscreated front across my way!"

Is it not an apostrophe to thee? What fiend was it yesterday moved my
shuddering lips to quote that gentlest strophe over thy flattened
corpusculum, meant, peradventure, for a kindlier spirit?--

     "My sprightly neighbor! gone before
     To that unknown and silent shore,
     Shall we not meet as heretofore
         Some summer morning?"

Such is the irony of revenge.

Dread Reminiscence! appalling Probability! disconcerting and
inescapable Fact! thou art the Inscrutable, the Unattainable, the
Never-Reached, I take it, of the metaphysical circle. In deference to
thee, I salute the hem of a mosquito-net.

In the watches of the night, my soul shall rejoice to behold thy
wrathful eye outside.




                 "I scorn your land,
     So far it lies below me; here I see
     How all the sacred stars do circle me."
                                 HENRY VAUGHAN.

THERE survives in certain men a climbing instinct, a persistence,
dating from Babel days, which keeps them to the belief that they
were meant to be, in Spenser's phrase, "neighbors to the sky."
Put them down in a city, and they mount, by choice, as by force
of circumstances, oil-like, over the gross mass. These are the
garret-dwellers, disburdened, for the most part, of the money-bags
of capitalists. Surely, the more a creature is denuded of riches
and responsibilities, the lighter his spiritual weight, the fitter
he is for nearing the unembarrassed planets. He is no underling.
His poverty literally raises him up. He marches, like a conqueror
towards some fine, deserted city, into the high places; his castle is
over against the morning; and his bare forehead is reared above the
hereditary crowns of Europe.

That the rich should be the groundlings, after all, is one of the
diverting sarcasms and counter-turns of society. Who would not,
rather, stand play-fellow to the sun, and consider the moon's light
nothing less familiar than a beneficent household elf, and suffer the
companionship of the rainbow and of snows? Distant and faint sounds
the thunder of the streets; Teufelsdröckh, and such as he, "sit
above it, alone with the stars." Nethermost darkness cannot overtake
the denizen of the garret. His matins are over and done while
candles still flicker below. The wail of the Banshee reaches not his
far-removed ear. No flood in civic highways appalls him; the tramp
of armies, likewise, is beneath him, and he overlooks revolutions,
undisturbed. For him, perpetually, are ultra-mundane joys, the
_choragium_ of the spheres, and the revelations of the shifting air.

The conjurer and the astronomer alike love the "high lonely tower."
The painter goes thither for light, the student for contemplation.
There, according to international traditions, is the Poor Author
perennially to be found,--

     "Lulled by soft zephyrs thro' the broken pane."

The Poor Author! The saving leaven of literature! Here is his native
heather, and not elsewhere. Here his latitude must be taken. If
ghosts revisit their whilom kingdoms, here Otway, Addison, Dryden,
Chatterton, Hood, Béranger, flock some time or other. Here you shall
brush against the shade of Marvell, who dwelt thus high and thus
solitary, when the king's deputies came with unavailing gifts in
their hands, to buy his favor; and presently dear Oliver Goldsmith
shall turn his homely face upon you, and tell you, in his delightful
voice, as he once blurted it out before the elegant circles at Sir
Joshua's, how he lived happily among the beggars in Axe Lane! In a
garret sat Tasso, whimsically beseeching his cat to lend to his
nocturnal labors the guiding radiance of her eyes, having no candle
whereby to write his verses. Dickens, who was never a Poor Author,
caught, at least, something of his privilege in his "sky-nest," with
the clouds and the birds shadowing his study windows in their passage.

As the dwellers in the Happy Valley were daily entertained with tales
and songs which treated of their own felicity therein, so we know of
nothing more judicious than to sound the praises of the ever-noble
garret to the Poor Author, who has an eternal patent on its worth and
beauty. The least that can be said of it is that it engenders the
philosophy of comment. Its kind soil fosters the spectator and the
observer, in default of commoner weed. The Muse, traditionally coy,
can be caught there, if anywhere. She has been known to neglect her
votaries in proportion to the fattening of their purses and their
proximity to the first-floor drawing-room. A poet himself has marked
it as a warning:--

     "A man must live in a garret aloof ...
     To keep the goddess constant and glad."

Long residence in its precincts, howbeit, may tend to produce a
haughty disregard of the brethren acclimated to lower levels. Your
roof-perching hermit, whose lungs are inflated with rude health,
scoffs at the genteel ailments accruing below from the largesses of
carbonic acid gas. His own dais-like elevation breeds arrogance in
him, and patrician scorn; his descent to the vantage-ground of the
majority is palpable indeed. He cannot, at most, walk their paths,
save, metaphorically, on stilts, like the shepherds of the Landes.
He is accustomed to live cheek-by-jowl with Arcturus. A kite or a
balloon he acknowledges, but no terrene mail-service or horse-car.
Valleys and cellars distress him. He cannot lie on the grass of a
summer's day, to watch a colony of ants. He is of a loftier cast
of mind, and sighs rather for the shining motes of the Milky Way,
"scattered unregarded upon the floor of heaven." We have known him to
refuse a June cherry, plucked only amidmost of the tree. What is such
a bigot to do, but thrust his tall head back, out of alien air, into
his sixth-story Arcady where the Muse sits, waiting for him, on a
collapsing chair?

     "Dans un grenier qu'on est bien à vingt ans!"

So have we sought the heights, and clove unto them, in orthodox
privacy, though lacking our just deserts of the aforesaid lady's
favor. Yet do we in nothing reproach thee, eyry of our youth! with
thy beloved townish outlook and undusted shelves, save that the
tutelary pages born of thee are scarce of so Attic a flavor as our
sense of the due sequence of things hath led us to desire.


University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.




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  in cloth, bevelled boards, gilt and gilt edge. Price,            $4.00
  Antique morocco and tree calf. Price,                             8.00

     "But, after all, it is in the preparation of Jean Ingelow's
     'High Tide' that the publishers, artists, engravers and
     printers have shown what could be done in making an
     illustrated book. The strikingly picturesque character
     of the poem makes it one of the most suggestive for
     illustration, and the many prominent artists who have been
     engaged on the work have given their hearty coöperation
     to Mr. Andrew in the preparation of this volume. The
     liberality of the publishers has enabled him to engage the
     highest talent among American artists, and here we have the
     best work of such men as Church, Fenn, Woodward, Schell,
     Rogers, Harper and others. We cannot give the illustrations
     higher praise than to quote from a letter from Jean Ingelow
     to the publishers: 'I hope it is a pardonable pride which
     makes me feel delight in the most beautiful series of
     illustrations I ever saw bestowed on a single poem. I
     hardly know which to admire most. There has manifestly been
     a world of care given to the book. There is not a failure
     throughout.' Such praise from an author like Jean Ingelow
     must be very gratifying to the publishers, and especially
     to Mr. Andrew, to whose skill, judgment and good taste the
     success of the book is largely due. Like the author we find
     it difficult to determine which illustrations we admire
     most, for after a careful examination of the book, from
     the quaint title page by Mr. Hassam to the 'Old Vicarage'
     by Mr. Schell, we must agree with her that 'there is not a
     failure in it."--_Boston Transcript._

  and Translator of the Bible. By P.W. CLAYDEN.
  One vol. 12mo. Cloth. Price,                                     $1.50

     "Samuel Sharpe's long life of more than eighty-two years
     (1799-1881) was an uncommonly active and useful one. He is
     one of the most pleasing examples of that tolerably large
     class of Englishmen who, while mainly engaged in commerce
     or politics, devote their leisure hours to questions of
     science and literature.... His Egyptian studies were truly
     remarkable. That a man who had left school at sixteen,
     and was occupied all day with business affairs, should,
     when he was over thirty, take up so difficult a subject
     as Egyptology, master its literature, and make useful
     contributions to the infant science in the shape of a
     number of books, is a sufficiently rare phenomenon to
     excite our wonder.... Mr. Clayden has made an uncommonly
     interesting biography. Sharpe was concerned in important
     affairs, and was brought into connection with some
     noteworthy persons. There was his uncle, Samuel Rogers,
     the banker-poet; Bonomi, Crabb Robinson, Bishop Colenso,
     Chunder Sen, Miss Lucy Aiken, Alexander Dyce, Samuel Birch,
     besides others less known, about whom there is a good deal
     of pleasant talk."--_N.Y. Nation._

  SEELEY, author of "Ecce Homo," "Natural Religion,"
  etc. Crown 8vo. Cloth. Price,                                    $1.75

     "Those who take even the slightest interest in historical
     reading cannot fail to be absorbed and delighted by
     Professor Seeley's book."--_Washington Herald._

     "The Expansion of England, by J.R. Seeley, M.A., consists
     of two courses of lectures delivered by the author at
     Cambridge University, where he is Regius Professor of
     Modern History. It is a brilliant volume, charming in
     style, and of the highest interest in the method chosen
     by the author for the marshalling and development of his
     subject. There are eight lectures in all, and they show,
     with rare skill in the management and condensation of a
     vast amount of material, how and why England, from small
     beginnings, had reached her present position, and left
     the rest of Europe behind her in political and commercial
     progress. Mr. Seeley believes that the empire is destined
     to go on with the work it has begun, and to exercise on the
     rest of the world an influence still greater than she has
     yet had. Whether this view be right or wrong, Professor
     Seeley's book is delightful reading, and deals with history
     in the most fascinating manner."--_Saturday Evening

  THEM. By E.E. HALE. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                          $1.25

     "Whatever else the Rev. Edward Everett Hale may or may
     not be, he is, on paper, a most delightful travelling
     companion; and in his new volume, 'Seven Spanish Cities,'
     he is at his most genial, companionable, agreeable best.
     He has the sharp perception, the quick, light touch,
     which are the making of a book like this, while his
     ready sympathy and the endless exuberance of his fancy
     throw a glamour over the most common objects. The book
     is thoughtful, entertaining, and, above all--for that is
     the prime requisite in a volume of travels--eminently
     readable."--_Boston Courier._

     "There is more to be learned from Edward Everett Hale's
     little book, 'Seven Spanish Cities and the Way to Them,'
     than from several more elaborate and pretentious works on
     the peninsula which have been issued this year. Mr. Hale
     had only seven weeks to spend in Spain, but he is so good
     an observer that he managed to see as much in this short
     vacation jaunt as many men would discover in seven years.
     It is needless to say that everything he saw is faithfully
     shared with the reader, as well as his bright comment on
     the people and the country. His style is his own, but it is
     a great pity that he cannot share this with many writers.
     It is one of the most attractive of styles--destitute
     of all pretense, straightforward, never slovenly, never
     involved; it is like the suggestive table-talk of a wise
     man--full of all manner of surprises, delightful in its
     absence of premeditation."--_San Francisco Chronicle._

  Epic of Hades." 16mo. Price,                                     $1.50

     "Some of the more important pieces make almost equal and
     very high demands alike on my sympathy and my admiration,
     and I hope you may long be enabled to cherish the enviable
     gift of finding utterance for truths so deep in forms of so
     much power and beauty."--_Letter from Mr. Gladstone._

     "Those readers of verse who need not only music for the
     ear, but clear and satisfying thought for the intellect,
     will find much in 'Songs Unsung' to interest and
     stimulate."--_Christian Union._

  MARY LAMB. Famous Women Series. By ANNE GILCHRIST.
  One vol. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                                     $1.00

     "'Mary Lamb,' by Anne Gilchrist, published by Roberts
     Brothers, Boston, is decidedly the best of the four volumes
     yet issued in the 'Famous Women' Series. Mrs. Gilchrist
     has mastered her subject in spirit and in detail, and
     the result is a book that cannot fail of affording acute
     enjoyment to thousands of people.... There is a directness
     of sight and utterance and a firmness of touch not common
     in any recent biographical work.... There was a great deal
     in the lives of Mary and Charles Lamb that was quietly
     but finely heroic. And it is this in some shape or other
     that all the world loves to read about. Mrs. Gilchrist
     has not fastened herself to the working of an elaborate
     picture of Mary Lamb. There is no perceptible attempt at
     ambitious and weakish criticism, but a most felicitous
     selection and placing of these single lines of letters and
     conversations that are revelations of the soul and life
     of the persons under consideration. It is a reversion to
     charity and truth in literature and life, and as a piece
     of clean, sweet and clear work is deserving of the highest
     praise."--_Philadelphia Times._

  Price,                                                           $1.25

     "Vestigia" is the title of the new novel by the author
     of "Kismet," "Mirage," and "The Head of Medusa." "George
     Fleming," the _nom de plume_ of this well-known writer, has
     given us in "Vestigia" a work of real power. The title is a
     part of the Latin proverb, "_Vestigia nulla retrorsum_"--no
     steps backward--which is the _motif_ of the story.

     "The best work that Miss Julia Constance Fletcher, who
     writes under the name of George Fleming, has done yet is
     her new novel, 'Vestigia.' The scene is Leghorn, with one
     important action in Rome. The hero is a fine young fellow,
     urged by his friends, circumstances and his own sense of
     honor into a political complication, where he becomes the
     instrument of conspirators. Most of the characters are of
     the lower class of Italians, artisans and sailors--simple,
     honest, loyal people of keen intelligence and noble
     natures. The heroine is very lovely, with great moral
     strength that comes from her absolute purity and unwavering
     faith in those whom she loves and in God. The simple,
     laborious life of the people, with a touch of patrician
     splendor introduced now and then for artistic effect, is an
     attractive picture. The whole story is sweet, tender and
     noble."--_Boston Advertiser._

  A NEWPORT AQUARELLE. A novel. One vol.
  12mo. Cloth. Price,                                              $1.00

     "'A Newport Aquarelle' will be found the breeziest,
     the brightest, and the cleverest of summer novels....
     Charmingly true to nature and admirable as a bit of
     highly-finished art, it cannot fail of achieving a wide
     reading among people of taste and cultivation."--_Boston
     Saturday Gazette._

     "Is it a man's or a woman's book? is the first question,
     and it must be said that it is not easy to find an answer."

     "The most brilliant novelette of the season."

     "An anonymous novel, the like of which we have not had for
     a long while."--_Exchange._

  MARGARET FULLER. Famous Women Series. By
  JULIA WARD HOWE. One volume. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                 $1.00

     "Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's biography of Margaret Fuller, in
     the Famous Women series of Messrs. Roberts Brothers, is
     a work which has been looked for with curiosity. It will
     not disappoint expectation. Mrs. Howe is of late years
     too infrequent in authorship. She has a subject here on
     which she writes _con amore_. For her material she is of
     course largely indebted to the remarkable volumes published
     by Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Freeman Clarke and William
     Ellery Channing many years ago; but Mrs. Howe gives the
     narrative in her own manner. She has made a brilliant
     and an interesting book. Her study of Margaret Fuller's
     character is thoroughly sympathetic; her relation of her
     life is done in a graphic and at times a fascinating
     manner. It is the case of one woman of strong individuality
     depicting the points which made another one of the most
     marked characters of her day. It is always agreeable to
     follow Mrs. Howe in this; for while we see marks of her own
     mind constantly, there is no inartistic protrusion of her
     personality. The book is always readable, and the relation
     of the death-scene is thrillingly impressive."--_Saturday
     Evening Gazette._

  STEVENSON, author of "Travels with a Donkey," "An
  Inland Voyage," "Treasure Island," etc. With a frontispiece.
  16mo. Price,                                                     $1.00

     "The Silverado Squatters is the title of an exceedingly
     pleasant little book by Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, whose
     'Travels with a Donkey' and 'An Inland Boat Voyage'
     had given him an enviable reputation as a charming and
     picturesque descriptive writer. Mr. Stevenson is an
     invalid, and in search of health he went to Mount Saint
     Helena, in California, and high up in its sides took
     possession of a miner's cabin fast falling to ruin, one
     of the few remnants of the abandoned mining village of
     Silverado. There with his wife and a single servant
     considerable time was spent.

     The interest of the book centred in the graphic style
     and keen observation of the author. He has the power of
     describing places and characters with such vividness that
     you seem to have made personal acquaintance with both....
     Mr. Stevenson's racy narrative brings many phases of life
     upon the western coast before one with striking power and
     captivating grace."--_N.Y. World._

  THE STORY OF MY HEART: My Autobiography.
  By RICHARD JEFFERIES. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                          .75

     "The book is a contribution to the ideal in life. It is
     composed of day dreams--dreams which haunt an earnest mind
     as night follows day--a strong plea to hold communion with
     nature," says the _London Academy_.

     "Mr. Jefferies has won his way to the hearts of a large
     circle of readers by his charming description of 'The
     Gamekeeper at Home.' He now draws upon the rich stores of
     his imagination for the material that will present a unique
     form of autobiography. He tells 'The Story of My Heart.' He
     lays open the history of that most important organ of the
     human frame, wherein the emotions of the soul are supposed
     to lie. The revelations are made with an exuberance
     of fancy, a richness of diction and a vivid power of
     description that calls forth wonder and admiration at the
     skillful handling of the theme."--_Boston Journal._

  With six full-page illustrative designs by Wm. St. John
  Harper, and six full-page symbolical designs by George R.
  Halm, the whole engraved by George T. Andrew. The
  illustrative designs printed in black ink, the symbolical
  designs printed in brown ink. The concluding page contains
  the whole hymn with its familiar musical setting as
  universally sung. Post 8vo. Beautifully bound in cloth,
  bevelled boards, gilt and gilt edge. Price,                      $1.50
  Illuminated covers with fringed borders. Price,                   1.75
  Tree calf and flexible morocco covers, gilt edge,                 4.00
  Royal 8vo. Beautifully bound in cloth. Price,                     3.00
  Antique morocco and tree calf. Price,                             8.00

     "John Henry Newman's beautiful and spiritual hymn, one
     of the finest expressions of trusting faith which the
     hymnology of the language affords, 'Lead, Kindly Light,'
     has brought comfort and strength to so many hearts, that
     a fine and beautiful edition of it is sure of being most
     cordially welcomed. George R. Halm and William St. John
     Harper are the artists to whom has been entrusted the
     setting of the poem, and they have succeeded admirably. Mr.
     Halm has provided for each stanza a setting in symbolical
     and scroll work, while Mr. Harper has added to each a
     full-page figure-piece illustrating the spirit and meaning
     of the poet. The poem is beautifully printed, and the cuts
     are carefully and spiritedly engraved, making of the work
     a most beautiful and appropriate volume for Christmas
     use."--_Boston Courier._

     "This beautiful hymn is entirely free from dogmatic and
     stereotyped phraseology and the literalism which defaces
     so many popular hymns. It is a beautiful poem which came
     from the heart of a deep experience, and repeats the accent
     of the universal aspirations of humanity. It is with real
     satisfaction that one takes up the exquisite little volume
     just published by Roberts Brothers (Boston), in which
     George R. Halm and William St. John Harper have combined
     their skill and gifts as illustrators and George T. Andrews
     his fine faculty of engraving. The frontispiece, 'Lead Thou
     me on,' is the best contribution which Mr. Harper makes to
     the joint work; the other illustrations from his hand are
     suggestive. Mr. Halm's illustrations, which are printed
     in light brown or sepia, are notably fine. The symbolism
     which the artist employs suggest interpretations without
     forcing them upon the eye, and is pervaded by a delicate
     imaginative insight and beauty which delight one the more
     the longer they are looked at; indeed, we doubt if anything
     has been done of late in the way of illustration quite so
     original and beautiful. Mr. Andrews' skill as an engraver
     is illustrated again in this dainty little volume, in which
     he has interpreted very clearly and satisfactorily the
     thought of the artists."--_Christian Union._

  author of "What Katy Did," "The New-Year's
  Bargain," "A Guernsey Lily," etc. Illustrated. Square
  16mo. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                              $1.50

  later poems and sonnets. The author, who, it will
  be remembered, is entirely blind, ranks, according to the
  London _Examiner_, "alongside of Swinburne, Morris and
  Rossetti." 16mo. Price,                                          $1.50

     "There are a number of poems in the volume which call for
     especial mention, yet they must be left to the discovery
     of the reader, it being sufficient to say that this volume
     is sure to advance Mr. Marston's reputation as a genuine,
     sweet and imaginative singer."--_Boston Courier._

  DIANE CORYVAL. Diane Coryval, the pretty name of
  the heroine, gives the title to a new "No Name" novel,
  a very absorbingly interesting story of French domestic
  life. 16mo. Price,                                               $1.00

     "The incidents, although a few are uncommon and provocative
     of questioning, have the naturalness of those of actual
     experience. They lead to exciting situations and a dramatic
     denouement. The action in Paris is among artists, and
     is introductory. It is when the action has shifted to a
     country town on the coast that it develops its greatest
     effects and interest. Sea-coast scenery and farm life
     are described with a communion into their spirit and an
     intimacy such as only a true lover of the country can ever
     have. The occupants of the farm, two of whom are leading
     characters, have the same fondness and fidelity given to
     their delineation. This portion of the literary work,
     although quietly and unobtrusively, is exceedingly well
     done, and is pleasing. Diane is the principal character,
     and is given the real qualities of womanhood; her acts are
     made consistent with them, and to tend to their nobler
     development. She illustrates the undying devotion of true
     love. This last 'No Name' has higher and more even merit
     than any of its series. Its ground and plot are well
     chosen, while its composition and treatment are artistic.
     It will be widely read and heartily enjoyed."--_Boston

  TREASURE ISLAND. A Story of Pirates and the Spanish
  Main. By ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. With illustrations
  by F.T. Merrill. 12mo. Cloth. Price,                             $1.25

     "At a time when the books of Mayne Reid, Ballantyne and
     Kingston are taking their places on the shelves to which
     well-thumbed volumes are relegated, it will be with
     especial delight that boy readers welcome a new writer in
     the literature of adventure. In 'Treasure Island,' Robert
     Louis Stevenson takes a new departure, and writes one of
     the jolliest, most readable, wide-awake tales of sea life
     that have set the blood tingling in the veins of the boys
     of at least the present generation. It is decidedly of
     the exciting order of stories, yet not of the unhealthily
     sensational. It details the stirring adventures of an
     English crew in their search for the immense treasure
     secreted by a pirate captain, and it certainly has not
     a dull page in it. Yet the author has contrived to keep
     the sympathy on the side of virtue and honesty, and throw
     upon the pirates that odium and detestation which their
     nefarious courses deserve; and the book is one heartily to
     be commended to any sturdy, wholesome lad who is fond of
     the smell of the brine and the tang of sailor speech in his
     reading."--_Boston Courier._

  By THOMAS GRAY. With thirty illustrations
  by Harry Fenn. Engraved by George T. Andrew. One
  vol. Post 8vo. Beautifully bound in cloth, bevelled
  boards, gilt and gilt edge. Price,                               $1.50
  Illuminated covers, with fringed borders. Price,                  1.75
  Flexible morocco and tree calf covers, gilt edge. Price,          4.00
  Royal 8vo. Beautifully bound in cloth, bevelled boards,
    gilt and gilt edge. Price,                                      3.00
  Antique morocco and tree calf. Price,                             8.00

     Mr. Fenn visited Stoke Pogis, the locality of the poem, and
     many of the illustrations are from sketches taken by him
     on the spot, and all of them were made expressly for this

     An interesting feature of the Harry Fenn edition is the
     reproduction of three stanzas printed with the earlier
     editions, but subsequently dropped by the author.

     "The 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,' by Thomas
     Gray, which has long held the proud distinction of being
     'the most finished poem in the English tongue,' is just
     issued by Roberts Brothers, Boston, in an exquisitely
     illustrated volume, which must hold a very high place among
     the handsome gift books of the season. The illustrations
     were all drawn by Harry Fenn, especially for this edition,
     many of them from sketches made by the artist at Stoke
     Pogis, the scene of the poem. The frontispiece, an
     exquisite sketch of vines and flowers clustering over and
     about an old gravestone, presents a 'rejected verse,'
     reprinted from the earlier editions--a verse for the
     rejection of which one scarcely sees any sufficient reason,
     finding it as full of tenderly pathetic music as any part
     of the poem--and in an appendix the same verse reappears,
     with two others, together with some note of the places they
     were originally intended to fill and the author's reasons
     for their omission. The illustrations are all designed
     with as truly poetic a spirit as the poem itself breathes,
     and all are presented in the very highest style of the
     engraver's art. To say that a book is a 'picture book'
     is usually to imply something rather derogatory to its
     character for value in other respects. But not so in this
     case. Here the most delicate and appreciative art is used
     to interpret to the eye the exquisite poetry of the text.
     However warmly one may have supposed himself to admire
     the poem, he can hardly rise from thoughtfully looking
     over this edition of the 'Elegy' without some consciously
     new and fresh appreciation of the beauty of the lines, so
     strikingly and fitly has their lofty and tender thought
     been interpreted to the eye. In all, too, that pertains to
     the work of the book-maker--in paper, typography, binding,
     etc.--the little volume is in thorough keeping with the art
     of the poet and the illustrator."--_Chicago Times._

  THE BOY KNIGHT, Who Won his Spurs Fighting
  with King Richard of England. A Tale of the Crusades.
  By G.A. HENTY, author of "The Young Buglers,"
  "The Cornet of Horse," etc. Square 16mo. Cloth.
  Price,                                                           $1.50


     "No one of the numerous series of novels, with which the
     country has been deluged of late, contains as many good
     volumes of fiction as the 'No Name,'" says _Scribner's

  FIRST SERIES.--Mercy Philbrick's Choice; Afterglow; Deirdrè;
  Hetty's Strange History; Is That All? Will Denbigh,
  Nobleman; Kismet; The Wolf at the Door; The Great
  Match; Marmorne; Mirage; A Modern Mephistopheles;
  Gemini; A Masque of Poets. 14 vols. Black and gold.

  SECOND SERIES.--Signor Monaldini's Niece; The Colonel's
  Opera Cloak; His Majesty, Myself; Mrs. Beauchamp
  Brown; Salvage; Don John; The Tsar's Window; Manuela
  Parédes; Baby Rue; My Wife and My Wife's Sister;
  Her Picture; Aschenbroedel. 12 vols. Green and gold.

  THIRD SERIES.--The publishers, flattered with the reception
  given to the First and Second Series of "No Name Novels,"
  among which may be named several already famous in the
  annals of fiction, will continue the issue with a Third Series,
  which will retain the original features of the First and Second
  Series, but in a new style of binding. Already published:
  Her Crime; Little Sister; Barrington's Fate; A Daughter
  of the Philistines; Princess Amélie. Price per vol.,             $1.00

_New Editions of Popular Poets._

  The only complete edition, and the only edition
  published with her sanction. Household edition, with red-line
  border, gilt edges. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                $1.25

     "I greatly wish that Messrs. ROBERTS BROTHERS
     might have the exclusive right to publish my books in
     America. I consider that enlightened nations, as well as
     individuals, ought to recognize the right of authors, both
     to power over and to property in their works."--JEAN

  With portrait. Household edition, with red-line border, gilt
  edges. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                             $2.00

  With portrait. Household edition, with red-line border, gilt
  edges. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                             $2.00

  portrait. Household edition, with red-line border, gilt
  edges. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                             $2.00

  "The Light of Asia.") Household edition, with red-line
  border, gilt edges. Cloth, black and gold. Price,                $2.00

  edition, with a Memoir. With portrait. Household edition,
  with red-line border, gilt edges. Cloth, black and gold.
  Price,                                                           $2.00

  GEORGE SAND. Famous Women Series. By BERTHA
  THOMAS. One volume. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                          $1.00

     "The volume before us, which is published in the series
     of brief biographies of famous women, of which we have
     upon previous occasions taken favorable notice, will give
     its readers a clear and generally adequate idea of George
     Sand's character and genius, and will serve to correct many
     misconceptions in regard to the nature of her writings
     which ignorance and prejudice have spread abroad. At the
     same time Miss Thomas has sought rather to portray the
     character of the famous French woman to whom she pays
     tribute than to criticise or expound the long line of
     novels which her fertile imagination produced. Her book
     is rather biographical than literary in its purpose and
     inspiration, and though the Sand romances are reviewed,
     and their distinctive characteristics appreciatively and
     intelligently described, the volume depends for its value
     and interest upon its narrative and portraiture. It is
     pleasantly, gracefully and cleverly written, and will
     worthily sustain the already high reputation of the series
     to which it belongs."--_North American, Phila._

     "The best of the biography is that we gain from it good,
     definite notions of the early home, the convent, the
     marriage with M. Dudevant and how it came about, the short
     family life, and the circumstances of the early residence
     in Paris. Each change down to the last scenes of George
     Sand's life is characterized. So also are the books, which
     are classified and briefly described. So is that wonderful
     mental life, so flaming, so easily working itself into
     words and deeds, so much less removed in subtlety from
     our common life of common people than was the mental life
     of almost any other great genius. Owing to the sound and
     practical treatment which the subject receives at Miss
     Thomas' hands, the book is plain, readable, adapted to the
     widest circle of readers, doing in no respect injustice
     to the mighty soul whose course Miss Thomas can trace and
     describe, but not as one could who had taken the same
     flights, or others as high, if not the same. The Famous
     Women series is a notable one."--_Boston Courier._

  TEN TIMES ONE IS TEN. The Possible Reformation.
  By E.E. HALE. One volume. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                    $1.00

     "Notwithstanding the assertion of the title-page, the
     Rev. E.E. Hale is the author of the story under notice,
     and it is marked by all the well-known characteristics
     of his peculiar style. It is an account of a remarkable
     movement which had for its object the amelioration of human
     existence by carrying out those principles of a truism
     which Auguste Comte is credited with having formulated, but
     which were first embodied in the teachings of Christianity,
     and which find in the golden rule their tersest and highest
     expression. Mr. Hale is an interesting writer and a very
     sympathetic one. He possesses in unusual measure the merit
     of naturalness. He is a true realist, but instead of
     placing before his readers the sins, crimes and weaknesses
     of men, he presents only those things which are honest and
     of good report. The impression made by such books as his
     is wholly good. They tend to make their readers better
     and happier and more useful in their social and civil
     relations, and we hope that 'Ten Times One is Ten' will
     have a wide circulation."--_North American, Phila._

     "Roberts Brothers have issued a new edition of 'Ten Times
     One is Ten,' by Edward Everett Hale, one of the cleverest
     of our writers. It is a racy little book, inculcating
     wholesome morals in an effective and almost captivating
     way. It is worth a score of the average Sunday-school
     books, and has a habit of getting itself read by whoever
     takes it up."--_New York Star._

  A LITTLE PILGRIM. Reprinted from Macmillan's
  Magazine. 16mo. Cloth. Red edges. Price,                          $.75

     "An exquisitely written little sketch is found in that
     remarkable production, 'The Little Pilgrim,' which is just
     now attracting much attention both in Europe and America.
     It is highly imaginative in its scope, representing one of
     the world-worn and weary pilgrims of our earthly sphere
     as entering upon the delights of heaven after death. The
     picture of heaven is drawn with the rarest delicacy and
     refinement, and is in agreeable contrast in this respect
     to the material sketch of this future home furnished in
     Miss Stuart Phelps's well-remembered 'Gates Ajar.' The
     book will be a balm to the heart of many readers who are
     in accord with the faith of its author; and to others its
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  An Outline of their Contents and History. By George
  Theodore Dippold, Professor at Boston University and
  Wellesley College. 16mo. Cloth. Price,                           $1.50

     Professor Francis J. Child, of Harvard College, says: "It
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  MY HOUSEHOLD OF PETS. By Theophile Gautier.
  Translated from the French by Susan Coolidge. With
  illustrations by Frank Rogers. 16mo. Cloth. Price,               $1.25

     "This little book will interest lovers of animals, and the
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