The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 1859

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 1859

Author: Various

Release date: March 1, 2004 [eBook #11606]
Most recently updated: December 26, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Tonya Allen and PG Distributed Proofreaders


Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Tonya Allen and PG Distributed




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Paris smiled, for an hour or two, in the year 1801, when, amidst Napoleon's mighty projects for remodelling the religion and government of his empire, the ironical satirist, Sylvain Maréchal, thrust in his "Plan for a Law prohibiting the Alphabet to Women." Daring, keen, sarcastic, learned, the little tract retains to-day so much of its pungency, that we can hardly wonder at the honest simplicity of the author's friend and biographer, Madame Gacon Dufour, who declared that he must be partially insane, and proceeded to prove herself so by replying to him. His proposed statute consists of eighty-two clauses, and is fortified by a "whereas" of a hundred and thirteen weighty reasons. He exhausts the range of history to show the frightful results which have followed this taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge; quotes the Encyclopédie, to prove that the woman who knows the alphabet has already lost a portion of her innocence; cites the opinion of Molière, that any female who has unhappily learned anything in this line should affect ignorance, when possible; asserts that knowledge rarely makes men attractive, and females never; opines that women have no occasion to peruse Ovid's "Art of Love," since they know it all in advance; remarks that three-quarters of female authors are no better than they should be; maintains that Madame Guion would have been far more useful, had she been merely pretty and an ignoramus, such as Nature made her,—that Ruth and Naomi could not read, and Boaz probably would never have married into the family, had they possessed that accomplishment,—that the Spartan women did not know the alphabet, nor the Amazons, nor Penelope, nor Andromache, nor Lucretia, nor Joan of Arc, nor Petrarch's Laura, nor the daughters of Charlemagne, nor the three hundred and sixty-five wives of Mohammed;—but that Sappho and Madame de Maintenon could read altogether too well, while the case of Saint Brigitta, who brought forth twelve children and twelve books, was clearly exceptional, and afforded no safe precedent.

We take it, that the brilliant Frenchman has touched the root of the matter. Ought women to learn the alphabet? There the whole question lies. Concede this little fulcrum, and Archimedea will move the world before she has done with it; it becomes merely a question of time. Resistance must be made here or nowhere. Obsta principiis. Woman must be a subject or an equal; there is no middle ground. What if the Chinese proverb should turn out to be, after all, the summit of wisdom,—"For men, to cultivate virtue is knowledge; for women, to renounce knowledge is virtue"?

No doubt, the progress of events is slow, like the working of the laws of gravitation generally. Certainly, there has been but little change in the legal position of woman since China was in its prime, until within the last dozen years. Lawyers admit that the fundamental theory of English and Oriental law is the same on this point: Man and wife are one, and that one is the husband. It is the oldest of legal traditions. When Blackstone declares that "the very being and existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage," and American Kent echoes that "her legal existence and authority are in a manner lost,"—when Petersdorff asserts that "the husband has the right of imposing such corporeal restraints as he may deem necessary," and Bacon that "the husband hath, by law, power and dominion over his wife, and may keep her by force within the bounds of duty, and may beat her, but not in a violent or cruel manner,"[A]—when Mr. Justice Coleridge rules that the husband, in certain cases, "has a right to confine his wife in his own dwelling-house and restrain her from liberty for an indefinite time," and Baron Alderson sums it all up tersely, "The wife is only the servant of her husband,"—these high authorities simply reaffirm the dogma of the Gentoo code, four thousand years old and more:—"A man, both day and night, must keep his wife so much in subjection that she by no means be mistress of her own actions. If the wife have her own free will, notwithstanding she be of a superior caste, she will behave amiss."

[Footnote A: It may be well to fortify this point by a racy extract from that rare and amusing old book, the pioneer of its class, entitled "The Lawes Resolutions of Women's Rights, or the Lawes Provision for Woman. A Methodicall Collection of such Statutes and Customes, with the Cases, Opinions, Arguments, and Points of Learning in the Law as doe properly concern Women." London: A.D. 1632. pp. 404. 4to. The pithy sentences lose immeasurably, however, by being removed from their original black-letter setting.

"Lib. III Sect. VII, The Baron may beate his Wife.

"The rest followeth, Justice Brooke 12. H. 8. fo. 1. affirmeth plainly, that if a man beat an out-law, a traitor, a Pagan, his villein, or his wife, it is dispunishable, because by the Law Common these persons can haue no action: God send Gentle women better sport, or better companie.

"But it seemeth to be very true, that there is some kind of castigation which Law permits a Husband to vse; for if a woman be threatned by her husband to bee beaten, mischieued, or slaine, Fitzherbert sets donne a Writ which she may sve out of Chancery to compell him to finde surety of honest behauiour toward her, and that he shall neither doe nor procure to be done to her (marke I pray you) any bodily damage, otherwise then appertaines to the office of a Husband for lawfull and reasonable correction. See for this the new Nat. bre. fo. 80 f. & fo. 23S f.

"How farre that extendeth I cannot tell, but herein the sexe feminine is at no very great disaduantage: for first for the lawfulnesse; If it be in no other regard lawfull to beat a man's wife, then because the poore wench can sve no other action for it, I pray why may not the Wife beat the Husband againe, what action can he haue if she doe: where two tenants in Common be on a horse, and one them will trauell and vse this horse, hee may keepe it from his Companion a yeare two or three and so be euen with him; so the actionlesse woman beaten by her Husband, hath retaliation left to beate him againe, if she dare. If he come to the Chancery or Justices in the Country of the peace against her, because her recognizance alone will hardly bee taken, he were best be bound for her, and then if he be beaten the second time, let him know the price of it on God's name."]

Yet behind these unchanging institutions, a pressure has been for centuries becoming concentrated, which, now that it has begun to act, is threatening to overthrow them all. It has not yet operated very visibly in the Old World, where (even in England) the majority of women have not yet mastered the alphabet, and can not sign their own names in the marriage-register. But in this country, the vast changes of the last twelve years are already a matter of history. No trumpet has been sounded, no earthquake felt, while State after State has ushered into legal existence one half of the population within its borders. Every Free State in the American Union, except perhaps Illinois and New Jersey, has conceded to married women, in some form, the separate control of property. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania have gone farther, and given them the control of their own earnings,—given it wholly and directly, that is,—while New York and other States have given it partially or indirectly. Legislative committees in Ohio and Wisconsin have recommended, in printed reports, the extension of the right of suffrage to women; Kentucky (like Canada) has actually extended it, in certain educational matters, and a Massachusetts legislative committee has suggested the same thing; while the Kansas Constitutional Convention came within a dozen votes of extending it without reserve, and expunging the word male from the Constitution. Surely, here and now, might poor M. Maréchal exclaim. The bitter fruits of the original seed appear, and the sad question recurs, whether women ought ever to have tasted of the alphabet.

Mr. Everett, perhaps without due caution, advocated, last summer, the affirmative of this question. With his accustomed eloquence, he urged on the attention of Suleiman Bey the fact of the equal participation of the sexes in the public-school system of Boston, while omitting to explain to him that the equality is of very recent standing. No doubt, the eminent Oriental would have been pleased to hear that this public administration of the alphabet to females, on any terms, is an institution but little more than a half-century old in the city of Boston. It is well established by the early deeds and documents that a large proportion of Puritan women could not write their own names; and in Boston especially, for a hundred and fifty years, the public schools included boys only. In the year 1789, however, the notable discovery was made, that the average attendance of pupils from April to October was only one half of that reported for the remainder of the year. This was an obvious waste of money and accommodations, and it was therefore proposed that female pupils should be annually introduced during this intermediate period. Accordingly, school-girls, like other flowers, blossomed in summer only; and this state of things lasted, with but slight modification, for some forty years, according to the School-Superintendent's Third Report. It was not till 1828 that all distinctions were abolished in the Boston Common Schools; in the High Schools lingering far later, sole vestige of the "good old times," before a mistaken economy overthrew the wholesome doctrine of M. Sylvain Maréchal, and let loose the alphabet among women.

It is true that Eve ruined us all, according to theology, without knowing her letters. Still, there is something to be said in defence of that venerable ancestress. The Veronese lady, Isotta Nogarola, five hundred and thirty-six of whose learned letters were preserved by De Thou, composed a dialogue on the question, Whether Adam or Eve had committed the greater sin? But Ludovico Domenichi, in his "Dialogue on the Nobleness of Women," maintains that Eve did not sin at all, because she was not even created when Adam was told not to eat the apple. It is "in Adam all died," he shrewdly says; nobody died in Eve;—which looks plausible. Be that as it may, Eve's daughters are in danger of swallowing a whole harvest of forbidden fruit, in these revolutionary days, unless something be done to cut off the supply.

It has been seriously asserted that during the last half-century more books have been written by women and about women than during all the previous uncounted ages. It may be true; although, when we think of the innumerable volumes of Mémoires by Frenchwomen of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,—each one justifying the existence of her own ten volumes by the remark, that all her contemporaries were writing as many,—we have our doubts. As to the increased multitude of general treatises on the female sex, however,—its education, life, health, diseases, charms, dress, deeds, sphere, rights, wrongs, work, wages, encroachments, and idiosyncrasies generally,—there can be no doubt whatever; and the poorest of these books recognizes a condition of public sentiment which no other age ever dreamed of. Still, literary history preserves the names of some reformers before the Reformation, in this matter. There was Signora Moderata Fonte, the Venetian, who left a book to be published after her death, in 1592, "Dei Meriti delle Donne." There was her townswoman, Lucrezia Marinella, who followed ten years after, with her essay, "La Nobilità e la Eccelenza delle Donne, con Difetti e Mancamenti degli Domini,"—a comprehensive theme, truly! Then followed the all-accomplished Anna Maria Schurman, in 1645, with her "Dissertatio de Ingenii Muliebris ad Doctrinam et meliores Literas Aptitudine," with a few miscellaneous letters appended, in Greek and Hebrew. At last came boldly Jacquette Guillaume, in 1665, and threw down the gauntlet in her title-page, "Les Dames Illustres; où par bonnes et fortes Raisons il se prouve que le Sexe Feminin surpasse en toute Sorte de Genre le Sexe Masculin"; and with her came Margaret Boufflet and a host of others; and finally, in England, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose famous book, formidable in its day, would seem rather conservative now,—and in America, that pious and worthy dame, Mrs. H. Mather Crocker, Cotton Mather's grandchild, who, in 1818, published the first book on the "Rights of Woman" ever written on this side the Atlantic.

Meanwhile there have never been wanting men, and strong men, to echo these appeals. From Cornelius Agrippa and his essay (1509) on the excellence of woman and her preëminence over man, down to the first youthful thesis of Agassiz, "Mens Feminae Viri Animo superior," there has been a succession of voices crying in the wilderness. In England, Anthony Gibson wrote a book, in 1599, called "A Woman's Woorth, defended against all the Men in the World, proouing them to be more Perfect, Excellent, and Absolute in all Vertuous Actions than any Man of what Qualitie soever, Interlarded with Poetry." Per contra, the learned Acidalius published a book in Latin and afterwards in French, to prove that women are not reasonable creatures. Modern theologians are at worst merely sub-acid, and do not always say so, if they think so. Meanwhile most persons have been content to leave the world to go on its old course, in this matter as in others, and have thus acquiesced in that stern judicial decree, with which Timon of Athens sums up all his curses upon womankind,—"If there sit twelve women at the table, let a dozen of them be—as they are."

Ancient or modern, nothing in any of these discussions is so valuable as the fact of the discussion itself. There is no discussion where there is no wrong. Nothing so indicates wrong as this morbid self-inspection. The complaints are a perpetual protest, the defences a perpetual confession. It is too late to ignore the question, and once opened, it can be settled only on absolute and permanent principles. There is a wrong; but where? Does woman already know too much, or too little? Was she created for man's subject, or his equal? Shall she have the alphabet, or not?

Ancient mythology, which undertook to explain everything, easily accounted for the social and political disabilities of woman. Goguet quotes the story from St. Augustine, who got it from Varro. Cecrops, building Athens, saw starting from the earth an olive-plant and a fountain, side by side. The Delphic oracle said, that this indicated a strife between Minerva and Neptune for the honor of giving a name to the city, and that the people must decide between them. Cecrops thereupon assembled the men, and the women also, who then had a right to vote; and the result was that Minerva carried the election by a glorious majority of one. Then Attica was overflowed and laid waste; of course the citizens attributed the calamity to Neptune, and resolved to punish the women. It was therefore determined that in future they should not vote, nor should any child bear the name of its mother.

Thus easily did mythology explain all troublesome inconsistencies. But it is much that it should even have recognized them, at so early an epoch, as needing explanation. When we ask for a less symbolical elucidation, it lies within our reach. At least, it is not hard to take the first steps into the mystery. There are, to be sure, some flowers of rhetoric in the way. The obstacle to the participation of woman in the alphabet, or in any other privilege, has been thought by some to be the fear of impairing her delicacy, or of destroying her domesticity, or of confounding the distinction between the sexes. We think otherwise. These have been plausible excuses; they have even been genuine, though minor, anxieties. But the whole thing, we take it, had always one simple, intelligible basis,—sheer contempt for the supposed intellectual inferiority of woman. She was not to be taught, because she was not worth teaching. The learned Acidalius, aforesaid, was in the majority. According to Aristotle and the Peripatetics, woman was animal occasionatum, as if a sort of monster and accidental production. Mediaeval councils, charitably asserting her claims to the rank of humanity, still pronounced her unfit for instruction. In the Hindoo dramas, she did not even speak the same language with her master, but used the dialect of slaves. When, in the sixteenth century, Françoise de Saintonges wished to establish girls' schools in France, she was hooted in the streets, and her father called together four doctors, learned in the law, to decide whether she was not possessed by demons, to think of educating women,—pour s'assurer qu'instraire des femmes n'était pas un oeuvre du démon.

It was the same with political rights. The foundation of the Salic Law was not any sentimental anxiety to guard female delicacy and domesticity; it was, as stated by Froissart, a blunt, hearty contempt: "The kingdom of France being too noble to be ruled by a woman." And the same principle was reaffirmed for our own institutions, in rather softened language, by Theophilus Parsons, in his famous defence of the rights of Massachusetts men (the "Essex Result," in 1778): "Women, what age soever they are of, are not considered as having a sufficient acquired discretion [to exercise the franchise]."

In harmony with this are the various maxims and bon mots of eminent men, in respect to women. Niebuhr thought he should not have educated a girl well,—he should have made her know too much. Lessing said, "The woman who thinks is like the man who puts on rouge, ridiculous." Voltaire said, "Ideas are like beards; women and young men have none." And witty Dr. Maginn carries to its extreme the atrocity: "We like to hear a few words of sense from a woman, as we do from a parrot, because they are so unexpected." Yet how can we wonder at these opinions, when the saints have been severer than the sages? since the pious Fénelon taught that true virgin delicacy was almost as incompatible with learning as with vice,—and Dr. Channing complained, in his "Essay on Exclusion and Denunciation," of "women forgetting the tenderness of their sex" and arguing on theology.

Now this impression of feminine inferiority may be right or wrong, but it obviously does a good deal towards explaining the facts it takes for granted. If contempt does not originally cause failure, it perpetuates it. Systematically discourage any individual or class, from birth to death, and they learn, in nine cases out of ten, to acquiesce in their degradation, if not to claim it as a crown of glory. If the Abbé Choisi praised the Duchesse de Fontanges for being "beautiful as an angel and silly as a goose," it was natural that all the young ladies of the court should resolve to make up in folly what they wanted in charms. All generations of women having been bred under the shadow of intellectual contempt, they have of course done much to justify it. They have often used only for frivolous purposes even the poor opportunities allowed them. They have employed the alphabet, as Molière said, chiefly in spelling the verb Amo. Their use of science has been like that of Mlle. de Launay, who computed the decline in her lover's affection by his abbreviation of their evening walk in the public square, preferring to cross it rather than take the circuit,—"From which I inferred," she says, "that his passion had diminished in the ratio between the diagonal of a rectangular parallelogram and the sum of two adjacent sides." And their conception, even of Art, has been too often on the scale of Properzia de Rossi, who carved sixty-five heads on a walnut, the smallest of all recorded symbols of woman's sphere.

All this might perhaps be overcome, if the social prejudice which discourages woman would only reward proportionately those who surmount the discouragement. The more obstacles the more glory, if society would only pay in proportion to the labor; but it does not. Women, being denied not merely the antecedent training which prepares for great deeds, but the subsequent praise and compensation which follow them, have been weakened in both directions. The career of eminent men ordinarily begins with colleges and the memories of Miltiades, and ends with fortune and fame; woman begins under discouragement, and ends beneath the same. Single, she works with half-preparation and half-pay; married, she puts name and wages into the keeping of her husband, shrinks into John Smith's "lady" during life, and John Smith's "relict" on her tombstone; and still the world wonders that her deeds, like her opportunities, are inferior.

Evidently, then, the advocates of woman's claims—those who hold that "the virtues of the man and the woman are the same," with Antisthenes,—or that "the talent of the man and the woman is the same," with Socrates in Xenophon's "Banquet"—must be cautious lest they attempt to prove too much. Of course, if women know as much as men without schools and colleges, there is no need of admitting them to these institutions. If they work as well on half-pay, it diminishes the inducement to give them the other half. The safer position is, to claim that they have done just enough to show what they might have done under circumstances less discouraging. Take, for instance, the common remark, that women have invented nothing. It is a valid answer, that the only tools habitually needed by woman have been the needle, the spindle, and the basket, and tradition reports that she herself invented all three. In the same way it may be shown that the departments in which women have equalled men have been the departments in which they have had equal training, equal encouragement, and equal compensation,—as, for instance, the theatre. Madame Lagrange, the prima donna, after years of costly musical instruction, wins the zenith of professional success; she receives, the newspapers affirm, sixty thousand dollars a year, travelling-expenses for ten persons, country-houses, stables, and liveries, besides an uncounted revenue of bracelets, bouquets, and billet-doux. Of course, every young débutante fancies the same thing within her own reach, with only a brief stage-vista between. On the stage there is no deduction for sex, and therefore woman has shown in that sphere an equal genius. But every female common-school teacher in the United States finds the enjoyment of her two hundred dollars a year to be secretly embittered by the knowledge that the young college-stripling in the next school-room is paid a thousand dollars for work no harder or more responsible than her own,—and that, too, after the whole pathway of education has been obstructed for her and smoothed for him. These may be gross and carnal considerations; but Faith asks her daily bread, and Fancy must be fed. We deny woman her fair share of training, of encouragement, of remuneration, and then talk fine nonsense about her instincts and her intuitions,—say sentimentally, with the Oriental proverbialist, "Every book of knowledge is implanted by nature in the heart of woman," and make the compliment a substitute for the alphabet.

Nothing can be more absurd than to impose entirely distinct standards, in this respect, on the two sexes, or to expect that woman, any more than man, will accomplish anything great without due preparation and adequate stimulus. Mrs. Patten, who navigated her husband's ship from Cape Horn to California, would have failed in the effort, for all her heroism, if she had not, unlike most of her sex, been taught to use her Bowditch. Florence Nightingale, when she heard of the distresses in the Crimea, did not, as most people imagine, rise up and say, "I am a woman, ignorant, but intuitive, with very little sense or information, but exceedingly sublime aspirations; my strength lies in my weakness; I can do all things without knowing anything about them." Not at all. During ten years she had been in hard training for precisely such services,—had visited all the hospitals in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Lyons, Rome, Brussels, and Berlin.—had studied under the Sisters of Charity, and been twice a nurse in the Protestant Institution at Kaiserswerth. Therefore she did not merely carry to the Crimea a woman's heart, as her stock in trade, but she knew the alphabet of her profession better than the men around her. Of course, genius and enthusiasm are, for both sexes, elements unforeseen and incalculable; but, as a general rule, great achievements imply great preparations and favorable conditions.

To disregard this truth is unreasonable in the abstract and cruel in its consequences. If an extraordinary male gymnast can clear a height of ten feet with the aid of a spring-board, it would be considered slightly absurd to ask a woman to leap eleven feet without one; yet this is precisely what society and the critics have always done. Training and wages and social approbation are very elastic spring-boards, and the whole course of history has seen these offered bounteously to one sex and as sedulously withheld from the other. Let woman consent to be a doll, and there was no finery so gorgeous, no baby-house so costly, but she might aspire to share its lavish delights;—let her ask simply for an equal chance to learn, to labor, and to live, and it was as if that same doll should open its lips, and propound Euclid's forty-seventh proposition. While we have all deplored the helpless position of indigent women, and lamented that they had no alternative beyond the needle, the wash-tub, the school-room, and the street, we have yet resisted their admission into every new occupation, denied them training, and cut their compensation down. Like Charles Lamb, who atoned for coming late to the office in the morning by going away early in the afternoon, we have, first, half educated women, and then, to restore the balance, only half paid them. What innumerable obstacles have been placed in the way of female physicians! what a complication of difficulties has been encountered by female printers, engravers, and designers! In London, Mr. Bennett was recently mobbed for lecturing to women on watchmaking. In this country, we have known grave professors to refuse to address lyceums which thought fit to employ an occasional female lecturer. Mr. Comer states that it was "in the face of ridicule and sneers" that he began to educate women as book-keepers, eight years ago; and it is a little contemptible in the authoress of "A Woman's Thoughts on Women" to revive the same satire now, when she must know that in one half the retail shops in Paris her own sex rules the ledger, and Mammon knows no Salic law.

We find, on investigation, what these considerations would lead us to expect, that eminent women have commonly been more exceptional in their training and position than even in their genius. They have excelled the average of their own sex because they have had more of the ordinary advantages of the other sex. Take any department of learning or skill; take, for instance, the knowledge of languages, the universal alphabet, philology.—On the great stairway, at Padua, stands the statue of Elena Cornaro, professor of six languages in that once renowned university. But Elena Cornaro was educated like a boy, by her father. On the great door of the University of Bologna is inscribed the epitaph of Clotilda Tambroni, the honored correspondent of Person, and the first Greek scholar of Southern Europe in her day. But Clotilda Tambroni was educated like a boy, by Emanuele Aponte.—How fine are those prefatory words, "by a Right Reverend Prelate," to that pioneer book in Anglo-Saxon lore, Elizabeth Elstob's grammar: "Our earthly possessions are indeed our patrimony, as derived to us by the industry of our fathers; but the language in which we speak is our mother-tongue, and who so proper to play the critic in this as the females?" But this particular female obtained the rudiments of her rare education from her mother, before she was eight years old, in spite of much opposition from her right reverend guardians.—Adelung, the highest authority, declares that all modern philology is founded on the translation of a Russian vocabulary into two hundred different dialects by Catherine II. But Catherine shared, in childhood, the instructors of her brother, Prince Frederick, and was subject to some reproach for learning, though a girl, so much more rapidly than he did.—Christina of Sweden ironically reproved Madame Dacier for her translation of Callimachus: "Such a pretty girl as you are, are you not ashamed to be so learned?" But Madame Dacier acquired Greek by contriving to do her embroidery in the room where her father was teaching her stupid brother; and her queenly critic had learned to read Thucydides, harder Greek than Callimachus, before she was fourteen.—And so down to our own day, who knows how many mute, inglorious Minervas may have perished unenlightened, while Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were being educated "like boys"?

This expression simply means that they had the most solid training which the times afforded. Most persons would instantly take alarm at the very words; that is, they have so little faith in the distinctions which Nature has established, that they think, if you teach the alphabet, or anything else, indiscriminately to both sexes, you annul all difference between them. The common reasoning is thus: "Boys and girls are acknowledged to be distinct beings. Now boys study Greek and algebra, medicine and book-keeping. Therefore girls should not." As if one should say: "Boys and girls are distinct beings. Now boys eat beef and potatoes. Therefore, obviously, girls should not."

The analogy between physical and spiritual food is precisely in point. The simple truth is, that, amid the vast range of human powers and properties, the fact of sex is but one item. Vital and momentous in itself, it does not constitute the whole organism, but only a small part of it. The distinction of male and female is special, aimed at a certain end; and apart from that end, it is, throughout all the kingdoms of Nature, of minor importance. With but trifling exceptions, from infusorial up to man, the female animal moves, breathes, looks, listens, runs, flies, swims, pursues its food, eats it, digests it, in precisely the same manner as the male; all instincts, all characteristics, are the same, except as to the one solitary fact of parentage. Mr. Ten Broeck's race-horses, Pryor and Prioress, were foaled alike, fed alike, trained alike, and finally ran side by side, competing for the same prize. The eagle is not checked in soaring by any consciousness of sex, nor asks the sex of the timid hare, its quarry. Nature, for high purposes, creates and guards the sexual distinction, but keeps it humbly subordinate to still more important ones.

Now all this bears directly upon the alphabet. What sort of philosophy is that which says, "John is a fool; Jane is a genius; nevertheless, John, being a man, should learn, lead, make laws, make money; Jane, being a woman, shall be ignorant, dependent, disfranchised, underpaid." Of course, the time is past when one would state this so frankly, though Comte comes quite near it, to say nothing of the Mormons; but this formula really lies at the bottom of the reasoning one hears every day. The answer is: Soul before sex. Give an equal chance, and let genius and industry to the rest. La carrière ouverte aux talens. Every man for himself, every woman for herself, and the alphabet for us all.

Thus far, our whole course of argument has been defensive and explanatory. We have shown that woman's inferiority in special achievements, so far as it exists, is a fact of small importance, because it is merely a corollary from her historic position of degradation. She has not excelled, because she has had no fair chance to excel. Man, placing his foot upon her shoulder, has taunted her with not rising. But the ulterior question remains behind,—How came she into this attitude, originally? Explain the explanation, the logician fairly demands. Granted that woman is weak because she has been systematically degraded; but why was she degraded? This is a far deeper question,—one to be met only by a profounder philosophy and a positive solution. We are coming on ground almost wholly untrod, and must do the best we can.

We venture to assert, then, that woman's social inferiority, in the past, has been, to a great extent, a legitimate thing. To all appearance, history would have been impossible without it, just as it would have been impossible without an epoch of war and slavery. It is simply a matter of social progress, a part of the succession of civilizations. The past has been, and inevitably, a period of ignorance, of engrossing physical necessities, and of brute force,—not of freedom, of philanthropy, and of culture. During that lower epoch, woman was necessarily an inferior,—degraded by abject labor, even in time of peace,—degraded uniformly by war, chivalry to the contrary notwithstanding. Behind all the courtesies of Amadis and the Cid lay the stern fact,—woman a child or a toy. The flattering troubadours chanted her into a poet's paradise; but, alas! that kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the violent took it by force. The truth simply was, that her time had not come. Physical strength must rule for a time, and she was the weaker. She was very properly refused a feudal grant, because, say "Les Coustumes de Normandie," she is not trained to war or policy: C'est l'homme ki se bast et ki conseille. Other authorities put it still more plainly: "A woman cannot serve the emperor or feudal lord in war, on account of the decorum of her sex; nor assist him with advice, because of her limited intellect; nor keep his counsel, owing to the infirmity of her disposition." All which was, no doubt, in the majority of cases, true, and the degradation of woman was simply a part of a system, which has indeed had its day, but has bequeathed its associations.

From this reign of force woman never freed herself by force. She could not fight, or would not. Bohemian annals, indeed, record the legend of a literal war between the sexes, in which the women's army was led by Libussa and Wlasla, and which finally ended with the capture, by the army of men, of Castle Dziewin, Maiden's Tower, whose ruins are still visible near Prague. The armor of Libussa is still shown at Vienna, and the guide calls attention to the long-peaked toes of steel, with which, he avers, the tender Princess was wont to pierce the hearts of her opponents, while careering through the battle. And there are abundant instances in which women have fought side by side with men, and on equal terms. The ancient British women mingled in the wars of their husbands, and their princesses were trained to the use of arms in the Maiden's Castle at Edinburgh and in the Isle of Skye. The Moorish wives and maidens fought in defence of their European peninsula; and the Portuguese women fought, on the same soil, against the armies of Philip II. The king of Siam has at present a bodyguard of four hundred women; they are armed with lance and rifle, are admirably disciplined, and their commander (appointed after saving the king's life at a tiger-hunt) ranks as one of the royal family and has ten elephants at her service. When the all-conquering Dahomian army marched upon Abbeokuta, in 1851, they numbered ten thousand men and six thousand women; the women were, as usual, placed foremost in the assault, as being most reliable; and of the eighteen hundred bodies left dead before the walls, the vast majority were of women. The Hospital of the Invalides, in Paris, has sheltered, for half a century, a fine specimen of a female soldier, "Lieutenant Madame Bulan," now eighty-three years old, decorated by Napoleon's own hand with the cross of the Legion of Honor, and credited on the hospital books with "seven years' service,—seven campaigns,— three wounds,—several times distinguished, especially in Corsica, in defending a fort against the English." But these cases, though interesting to the historian, are still exceptional, and the instinctive repugnance they inspire is condemnatory, not of women, but of war.

The reason, then, for the long subjection of woman has been simply that humanity was passing through its first epoch, and her full career was to be reserved for the second. As the different races of man have appeared successively upon the stage of history, so there has been an order of succession of the sexes. Woman's appointed era, like that of the Scandinavian tribes, was delayed, but not omitted. It is not merely true that the empire of the past has belonged to man, but that it has properly belonged to him; for it was an empire of the muscles, enlisting at best but the lower powers of the understanding. There can be no question that the present epoch is initiating an empire of the higher reason, of arts, affections, aspirations; and for that epoch the genius of woman has been reserved. The spirit of the age has always kept pace with the facts, and outstripped the statutes. Till the fulness of time came, woman was necessarily kept a slave to the spinning-wheel and the needle; now higher work is ready, peace has brought invention to her aid, and the mechanical means for her emancipation are ready also. No use in releasing her, till man, with his strong arm, had worked out his preliminary share in civilization. "Earth waits for her queen" was a favorite motto of Margaret Fuller's; but it would be more correct to say that the queen has waited for her earth, till it could be smoothed and prepared for her occupancy. Now Cinderella may begin to think of putting on her royal robes.

Everybody sees that the times are altering the whole material position of woman; but most persons do not appear to see the inevitable social and moral changes which are also involved. As has been already said, the woman of ancient history was a slave to physical necessities, both in war and peace. In war she could do too little, in peace she did too much, under the material compulsions which controlled the world. How could the Jews, for instance, elevate woman? They could not spare her from the wool and the flax and the candle that goeth not out by night. In Rome, when the bride first stepped across her threshold, they did not ask her, Do you know the alphabet? they asked simply, Can you spin? There was no higher epitaph than Queen Amalasontha's,—Domum servavit, lanam fecit. In Boeotia, brides were conducted home in vehicles whose wheels were burned at the door, in token that they were never to leave the house again. Pythagoras instituted at Crotona an annual festival for the distaff; Confucius, in China, did the same for the spindle; and these celebrated not the freedom, but the serfdom, of woman.

And even into modern days this same tyrannical necessity has lingered. "Go spin, you jades! go spin!" was the only answer vouchsafed by the Earl of Pembroke to the twice-banished nuns of Wilton. And even now, travellers agree that throughout civilized Europe, with the partial exception of England and France, the profound absorption of the mass of women in household labors renders their general elevation impossible. But with us Americans, and in this age, when all these vast labors are being more and more transferred to arms of brass and iron,—when Rochester grinds the flour, and Lowell weaves the cloth, and the fire on the hearth has gone into black retirement and mourning,—when the wiser a virgin is, the less she has to do with oil in her lamp,—when the needle has made its last dying speech and confession in the "Song of the Shirt," and the sewing-machine has changed those doleful marches to delightful measures,—how is it possible for the blindest to help seeing that a new era is begun, and that the time has come for woman to learn the alphabet?

Nobody asks for any abolition of domestic labor for women, any more than of outdoor labor for men. Of course, most women will still continue to be mainly occupied with the indoor care of their families, and most men with their external support. All that is desirable for either sex is such an economy of labor, in this respect, as shall leave some spare time, to be appropriated in other directions. The argument against each new emancipation of woman is precisely that always made against the liberation of serfs and the enfranchisement of plebeians,—that the new position will take them from their legitimate business. "How can he [or she] get wisdom that holdeth the plough, [or the broom,]—whose talk is of bullocks [or of babies]?" Yet the American farmer has already emancipated himself from these fancied incompatibilities, and so will the farmer's wife. In a nation where there is no leisure-class and no peasantry, this whole theory of exclusion is an absurdity. We all have a little leisure, and we must all make the most of it. If we will confine large interests and duties to those who have nothing else to do, we must go back to monarchy at once; if otherwise, then the alphabet, and its consequences, must be open to woman as to man. Jean Paul says nobly, in his "Levana," that, "before and after being a mother, a woman is a human being, and neither maternal nor conjugal relation can supersede the human responsibility, but must become its means and instrument." And it is good to read the manly speech, on this subject, of John Quincy Adams, quoted at length by his recent venerable biographer,—in which, after fully defending the political petitions of the women of Plymouth, he declares that "the correct principle is, that women are not only justified, but exhibit the most exalted virtue, when they do depart from the domestic circle, and enter on the concerns of their country, of humanity, and of their God."

There are duties devolving on every human being,—duties not small or few, but vast and varied,—which spring from home and private life, and all their sweet relations. The support or care of the humblest household is a function worthy of men, women, and angels, so far as it goes. From these duties none must shrink, neither man nor woman; the loftiest genius cannot ignore them; the sublimest charity must begin with them. They are their own exceeding great reward, their self-sacrifice is infinite joy, and the selfishness which discards them receives in return loneliness and a desolate old age. Yet these, though the most tender and intimate portion of human life, do not form its whole. It is given to noble souls to crave other interests also, added spheres, not necessarily alien from these,—larger knowledge, larger action also,—duties, responsibilities, anxieties, dangers, all the aliment that history has given to its heroes. Not home less, but humanity more. When the high-born English lady in the Crimean hospital, ordered to a post of almost certain death, only raised her hands to heaven and said, "Thank God!" she did not renounce her true position as woman, she claimed it. When the queen of James I. of Scotland, already immortalized by him in stately verse, won a higher immortality by welcoming to her fair bosom the daggers aimed at his,—when the Countess of Buchan hung confined in her iron cage, outside Berwick Castle, in penalty for crowning Robert the Bruce,—when the stainless soul of Joan of Arc met God, like Moses, in a burning flame,—these things were as they should be. Man must not monopolize these privileges of peril, birthright of great souls. Serenades and compliments must not replace the nobler hospitality which shares with woman the opportunity of martyrdom. Great administrative duties also, cares of state, for which one should be born gray-headed, how nobly do these sit upon a female brow! Each year adds to the storied renown of Elizabeth of England, greatest sovereign of the greatest of historic nations. Christina of Sweden, alone among the crowned heads of Europe, (so says Voltaire,) sustained the dignity of the throne against Richelieu and Mazarin. And they most assuredly did not sacrifice their womanhood in the process; for her Britannic Majesty's wardrobe included four thousand gowns,—and Mlle. de Montpensier declares, that, when Christina had put on a wig of the latest fashion, "she really looked extremely pretty." Should this evidence of feminine attributes appear to some sterner intellects frivolous and insufficient, it is, nevertheless, adapted to the level of the style of argument it answers.

Les races se féminisent, said Buffon,—"The world is growing more feminine." It is a compliment, whether the naturalist intended it or not. Time has brought peace; peace, invention; and the poorest woman of to-day is born to an inheritance such as her ancestors never dreamed of. Previous attempts to confer on women social and political equality,—as when Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, made them magistrates, or when the Hungarian revolutionists made them voters, or when our own New Jersey tried the same experiment, in a guarded fashion, in early times, and then revoked the privilege, because (as in the ancient fable) the women voted the wrong way,—these things were premature, and valuable only as concessions to a supposed principle. But in view of the rapid changes now going on, he is a rash man who asserts the "Woman Question" to be anything but a mere question of time. The fulcrum has been already given, in the alphabet, and we must simply watch and see whether the earth does not move.

In this present treatment of the subject, we have been more anxious to assert broad principles than to work them out into the details of their application. We only point out the plain fact: woman must be either a subject or an equal; there is no other permanent ground. Every concession to a supposed principle only involves the necessity of the next concession for which that principle calls. Once yield the alphabet, and we abandon the whole long theory of subjection and coverture; the past is set aside, and we have nothing but abstractions to fall back upon. Reasoning abstractly, it must be admitted that the argument has been, thus far, entirely on the women's side, inasmuch as no man has yet seriously tried to meet them with argument. It is an alarming feature of this discussion, that it has reversed, very generally, the traditional positions of the sexes: the women have had all the logic; and the most intelligent men, when they have attempted the other side, have limited themselves to satire and gossip. What rational woman, we ask, can be convinced by the nonsense which is talked in ordinary society around her,—as, that it is right to admit girls to common schools, and equally right to exclude them from colleges,—that it is proper for a woman to sing in public, but indelicate for her to speak in public,—that a post-office box is an unexceptionable place to drop a bit of paper into, but a ballot-box terribly dangerous? No cause in the world can keep above water, sustained by such contradictions as these, too feeble and slight to be dignified by the name of fallacies. Some persons profess to think it impossible to reason with a woman, and they certainly show no disposition to try the experiment.

But we must remember that all our American institutions are based on consistency, or on nothing; all claim to be founded on the principles of natural right, and when they quit those, they are lost. In all European monarchies, it is the theory, that the mass of the people are children, to be governed, not mature beings, to govern themselves. This is clearly stated, and consistently applied. In the free states of this Union, we have formally abandoned this theory for one half of the human race, while for the other half it still flourishes in full force. The moment the claims of woman are broached, the democrat becomes a monarchist. What Americans commonly criticize in English statesmen, namely, that they habitually evade all arguments based on natural right, and defend every legal wrong on the ground that it works well in practice, is the precise characteristic of our habitual view of woman. The perplexity must be resolved somehow. We seldom meet a legislator who pretends to deny that strict adherence to our own principles would place both sexes in precisely equal positions before law and constitution, as well as in school and society. But each has his special quibble to apply, showing that in this case we must abandon all the general maxims to which we have pledged ourselves, and hold only by precedent. Nay, he construes even precedent with the most ingenious rigor; since the exclusion of women from all direct contact with affairs can be made far more perfect in a republic than is possible in a monarchy, where even sex is merged in rank, and the female patrician may have far more power than the male plebeian. But, as matters now stand among us, there is no aristocracy but of sex: all men are born patrician, all women are legally plebeian; all men are equal in having political power, and all women in having none. This is a paradox so evident, and such an anomaly in human progress, that it cannot last forever, without new discoveries in logic, or else a deliberate return to M. Maréchal's theory concerning the alphabet.

Meanwhile, as the newspapers say, we anxiously await further developments. According to present appearances, the final adjustment lies mainly in the hands of women themselves. Men can hardly be expected to concede either rights or privileges more rapidly than they are claimed, or to be truer to women than women are to each other. True, the worst effect of a condition of inferiority is the weakness it leaves behind it; even when we say, "Hands off!" the sufferer does not rise. In such a case, there is but one counsel worth giving. More depends on determination than even on ability. Will, not talent, governs the world. From what pathway of eminence were women more traditionally excluded than from the art of sculpture, in spite of Non me Praxiteles fecit, sed Anna Damer?—yet Harriet Hosmer, in eight years, has trod its full ascent. Who believed that a poetess could ever be more than an Annot Lyle of the harp, to soothe with sweet melodies the leisure of her lord, until in Elizabeth Barrett's hands the thing became a trumpet? Where are gone the sneers with which army surgeons and parliamentary orators opposed Mr. Sidney Herbert's first proposition to send Florence Nightingale to the Crimea? In how many towns has the current of popular prejuduce against female orators been reversed by one winning speech from Lucy Stone! Where no logic can prevail, success silences. First give woman, if you dare, the alphabet, then summon her to her career; and though men, ignorant and prejudiced, may oppose its beginnings, there is no danger but they will at last fling around her conquering footsteps more lavish praises than ever greeted the opera's idol,—more perfumed flowers than ever wooed, with intoxicating fragrance, the fairest butterfly of the ball-room.


  I walk alone the Morning Street,
  Filled with the silence strange and sweet:
  All seems as lone, as still, as dead,
  As if unnumbered years had fled,
  Letting the noisy Babel be
  Without a breath, a memory.
  The light wind walks with me, alone,
  Where the hot day like flame was blown;
  Where the wheels roared and dust was beat,
  The dew is in the Morning Street.

  Where are the restless throngs that pour
  Along this mighty corridor
  While the noon flames? the hurrying crowd
  Whose footsteps make the city loud?
  The myriad faces? hearts that beat
  No more in the deserted street?—
  Those footsteps, in their dream-land maze,
  Cross thresholds of forgotten days;
  Those faces brighten from the years
  In morning suns long set in tears;
  Those hearts—far in the Past they beat—
  Are singing in their Morning Street.

  A city 'gainst the world's gray Prime,
  Lost in some desert, far from Time,
  Where noiseless Ages, gliding through,
  Have only sifted sands and dew,
  Were not more lone to one who first
  Upon its giant silence burst,
  Than this strange quiet, where the tide
  Of life, upheaved on either side,
  Hangs trembling, ready soon to beat
  With human waves the Morning Street.

  Ay, soon the glowing morning flood
  Pours through this charmèd solitude;
  All silent now, this Memnon-stone
  Will murmur to the rising sun;
  The busy life this vein shall beat,—
  The rush of wheels, the swarm of feet;
  The Arachne-threads of Purpose stream
  Unseen within the morning gleam;
  The Life will move, the Death be plain;
  The bridal throng, the funeral train,
  Together in the crowd will meet,
  And pass along the Morning Street.

* * * * *



It was the day of Madame de St. Cyr's dinner, an event I never missed; for, the mistress of a mansion in the Faubourg St. Germain, there still lingered about her the exquisite grace and good-breeding peculiar to the old régime, that insensibly communicates itself to the guests till they move in an atmosphere of ease that constitutes the charm of home. One was always sure of meeting desirable and well-assorted people here, and a contre-temps was impossible. Moreover, the house was not at the command of all; and Madame de St. Cyr, with the daring strength which, when found in a woman at all, should, to be endurable, be combined with a sweet but firm restraint, rode rough-shod over the parvenus of the Empire, and was resolute enough to insulate herself even among the old noblesse, who, as all the world knows, insulate themselves from the rest of France. There were rare qualities in this woman, and were I to have selected one who with an even hand should carry a snuffy candle through a magazine of powder, my choice would have devolved upon her; and she would have done it.

I often looked, and not unsuccessfully, to discern what heritage her daughter had in these little affairs. Indeed, to one like myself Delphine presented the worthier study. She wanted the airy charm of manner, the suavity and tenderness of her mother,—a deficiency easily to be pardoned in one of such delicate and extraordinary beauty. And perhaps her face was the truest index of her mind; not that it ever transparently displayed a genuine emotion,—Delphine was too well-bred for that,—but the outline of her features had a keen, regular precision, as if cut in a gem. Her exquisite color seldom varied, her eyes were like blue steel, she was statue-like and stony. But had one paused there, pronouncing her hard and impassive, he had committed an error. She had no great capability for passion, but she was not to be deceived; one metallic flash of her eye would cut like a sword through the whole mesh of entanglements with which you had surrounded her; and frequently, when alone with her, you perceived cool recesses in her nature, sparkling and pleasant, which jealously guarded themselves from a nearer approach. She was infinitely spirituelle; compared to her, Madame herself was heavy.

At the first I had seen that Delphine must be the wife of a diplomate. What diplomate? For a time asking myself the question seriously, I decided in the negative, which did not, however, prevent Delphine from fulfilling her destiny, since there were others. She was, after all, like a draught of rich old wine, all fire and sweetness. These things were not generally seen in her; I was more favored than many; and I looked at her with pitiless perspicacious eyes. Nevertheless, I had not the least advantage; it was, in fact, between us, diamond cut diamond, —which, oddly enough, brings me back to my story.

Some years previously, I had been sent on a special mission to the government at Paris, and having finally executed it, I resigned the post, and resolved to make my residence there, since it is the only place on earth where one can live. Every morning I half expect to see the country, beyond the city, white with an encampment of the nations, who, having peacefully flocked there over night, wait till the Rue St. Honoré shall run out and greet them. It surprises me, sometimes, that those pretending to civilization are content to remain at a distance. What experience have they of life,—not to mention gayety and pleasure, but of the great purpose of life,—society? Man evidently is gregarious; Fourier's fables are founded on fact; we are nothing without our opposites, our fellows, our lights and shadows, colors, relations, combinations, our point d'appui, and our angle of sight. An isolated man is immensurable; he is also unpicturesque, unnatural, untrue. He is no longer the lord of Nature, animal and vegetable,—but Nature is the lord of him; the trees, skies, flowers, predominate, and he is in as bad taste as green and blue, or as an oyster in a vase of roses. The race swings naturally to clusters. It being admitted, then, that society is our normal state, where is it to be obtained in such perfection as at Paris? Show me the urbanity, the generosity in trifles, better than sacrifice, the incuriousness and freedom, the grace, and wit, and honor, that will equal such as I find here. Morality,—we were not speaking of it,—the intrusion is unnecessary; must that word with Anglo-Saxon pertinacity dog us round the world? A hollow mask, which Vice now and then lifts for a breath of air, I grant you this state may be called; but since I find the vice elsewhere, countenance my preference for the accompanying mask. But even this is vanishing; such drawing-rooms as Mme. de St. Cyr's are less and less frequent. Yet, though the delightful spell of the last century daily dissipates itself, and we are not now what we were twenty years ago, still Paris is, and will be till the end of time, for a cosmopolitan, the pivot on which the world revolves.

It was, then, as I have said, the day of Mme. de St. Cyr's dinner. Punctually at the hour, I presented myself,—for I have always esteemed it the least courtesy which a guest can render, that he should not cool his hostess's dinner.

The usual choice company waited. There was the Marquis of G., the ambassador from home, Col. Leigh, an attaché of that embassy, the Spanish and Belgian ministers,—all of whom, with myself, completed a diplomatic circle. There were also wits and artists, but no ladies whose beauty exceeded that of the St. Cyrs. With nearly all of this assemblage I held certain relations, so that I was immediately at ease—G. was the only one whom, perhaps, I would rather not have met, although we were the best of friends. They awaited but one, the Baron Stahl. Meanwhile Delphine stood coolly taking the measurement of the Marquis of G., while her mother entertained one and another guest with a low-toned flattery, gentle interest, or lively narration, as the case might demand.

In a country where a coup d'état was as easily given as a box on the ear, we all attentively watched for the arrival of one who had been sent from a neighboring empire to negotiate a loan for the tottering throne of this. Nor was expectation kept long on guard. In a moment, "His Excellency, the Baron Stahl!" was announced.

The exaggeration of his low bow to Mme. de St. Cyr, the gleam askance of his black eye, the absurd simplicity of his dress, did not particularly please me. A low forehead, straight black brows, a beardless cheek with a fine color which gave him a fictitiously youthful appearance, were the most striking traits of his face; his person was not to be found fault with; but he boldly evinced his admiration for Delphine, and with a wicked eye.

As we were introduced, he assured me, in pure English, that he had pleasure in making the acquaintance of a gentleman whose services were so distinguished.

I, in turn, assured him of my pleasure in meeting a gentleman who appreciated them.

I had arrived at the house of Mme. de St. Cyr with a load on my mind, which for four weeks had weighed there; but before I thus spoke, it was lifted and gone. I had seen the Baron Stahl before, although not previously aware of it; and now, as he bowed, talked my native tongue so smoothly, drew a glove over the handsome hand upon whose first finger shone the only incongruity of his attire, a broad gold ring, holding a gaudy red stone,—as he stood smiling and expectant before me, a sudden chain of events flashed through my mind, an instantaneous heat, like lightning, welded them into logic. A great problem was resolved. For a second, the breath seemed snatched from my lips; the next, a lighter, freer man never trod in diplomatic shoes.

I really beg your pardon,—but perhaps from long usage, it has become impossible for me to tell a straight story. It is absolutely necessary to inform you of events already transpired.

In the first place, then, I, at this time, possessed a valet, the pink of valets, an Englishman,—and not the less valuable to me in a foreign capital, that, notwithstanding his long residence, he was utterly unable to speak one word of French intelligibly. Reading and writing it readily, his thick tongue could master scarcely a syllable. The adroitness and perfection with which he performed the duties of his place were unsurpassable. To a certain extent I was obliged to admit him into my confidence; I was not at all in his. In dexterity and dispatch he equalled the advertisements. He never condescended to don my cast-off apparel, but, disposing of it, always arrayed himself in plain but gentlemanly garments. These do not complete the list of Hay's capabilities. He speculated. Respectable tenements in London called him landlord; in the funds certain sums lay subject to his order; to a profitable farm in Hants he contemplated future retirement; and passing upon the Bourse, I have received a grave bow, and have left him in conversation with an eminent capitalist respecting consols, drafts, exchange, and other erudite mysteries, where I yet find myself in the A B C. Thus not only was my valet a free-born Briton, but a landed proprietor. If the Rothschilds blacked your boots or shaved your chin, your emotions might be akin to mine. When this man, who had an interest in the India traders, brought the hot water into my dressing-room, of a morning, the Antipodes were tributary to me; to what extent might any little irascibility of mine drive a depression in the market! and I knew, as he brushed my hat, whether stocks rose or fell. In one respect, I was essentially like our Saxon ancestors,—my servant was a villain. If I had been merely a civilian, in any purely private capacity, having leisure to attend to personal concerns in the midst of the delicate specialties intrusted to me from the cabinet at home, the possession of so inestimable a valet might have bullied me beyond endurance. As it was, I found it rather agreeable than otherwise. He was tacitly my secretary of finance.

Several years ago, a diamond of wonderful size and beauty, having wandered from the East, fell into certain imperial coffers among our Continental neighbors; and at the same time some extraordinary intelligence, essential to the existence, so to speak, of that government, reached a person there who fixed as its price this diamond. After a while he obtained it, but, judging that prudence lay in departure, took it to England, where it was purchased for an enormous sum by the Duke of ——, as he will remain an unknown quantity, let us say X. There are probably not a dozen such diamonds in the world,—certainly not three in England. It rejoiced in such flowery appellatives as the Sea of Splendor, the Moon of Milk; and, of course, those who had been scarcely better than jewed out of it were determined to obtain it again at all hazards;—they were never famous for scrupulosity. The Duke of X. was aware of this, and, for a time, the gem had lain idle, its glory muffled in a casket; but finally, on some grand occasion, a few months prior to the period of which I have spoken above, it was determined to set it in the Duchess's coronet. Accordingly, one day, it was given by her son, the Marquis of G., into the hands of their solicitor, who should deliver it to her Grace's jeweller. It lay in a small shagreen case, and, before the Marquis left, the solicitor placed the case in a flat leathern box, where lay a chain of most singular workmanship, the clasp of which was deranged. This chain was very broad, of a style known as the brick-work, but every brick was a tiny gem, set in a delicate filigree linked with the next, and the whole rainbowed lustrousness moving at your will, like the scales of some gorgeous Egyptian serpent:—the solicitor was to take this also to the jeweller. Having laid the box in his private desk, Ulster, his confidential clerk, locked it, while he bowed the Marquis down. Returning immediately, the solicitor took the flat box and drove to the jeweller's. He found the latter so crowded with customers, it being the fashionable hour, as to be unable to attend to him; he, however, took the solicitor into his inner room, a dark fire-proof place, and there quickly deposited the box within a safe, which stood inside another, like a Japanese puzzle, and the solicitor, seeing the doors double-locked and secured, departed; the other promising to attend to the matter on the morrow.

Early the next morning, the jeweller entered his dark room, and proceeded to unlock the safe. This being concluded, and the inner one also thrown open, he found the box in a last and entirely, as he had always believed, secret compartment. Anxious to see this wonder, this Eye of Morning, and Heart of Day, he eagerly loosened the band and unclosed the box. It was empty. There was no chain there; the diamond was missing. The sweat streamed from his forehead, his clothes were saturated, he believed himself the victim of a delusion. Calling an assistant, every article and nook in the dark room was examined. At last, in an extremity of despair, he sent for the solicitor, who arrived in a breath. The jeweller's alarm hardly equalled that of the other. In his sudden dismay, he at first forgot the circumstances and dates relating to the affair; afterward was doubtful. The Marquis of G. was summoned, the police called in, the jeweller given into custody. Every breath the solicitor continued to draw only built up his ruin. He swallowed laudanum, but, by making it an overdose, frustrated his own design. He was assured, on his recovery, that no suspicion attached to him. The jeweller now asseverated that the diamond had never been given to him; but though this was strictly true, the jeweller had, nevertheless, committed perjury. Of course, whoever had the stone would not attempt to dispose of it at present, and, though communications were opened with the general European police, there was very little to work upon. But by means of this last step the former possessors became aware of its loss, and I make no doubt had their agents abroad immediately.

Meanwhile, the case hung here, complicated and tantalizing, when one morning I woke in London. No sooner had G. heard of my arrival than he called, and, relating the affair, requested my assistance. I confess myself to have been interested,—foolishly so, I thought afterward; but we all have our weaknesses, and diamonds were mine. In company with the Marquis, I waited upon the solicitor, who entered into the few details minutely, calling frequently upon Ulster, a young fresh-looking man, for corroboration. We then drove to the jeweller's new quarters, took him, under charge of the officers, to his place of business, where he nervously showed me every point that could bear upon the subject, and ended by exclaiming, that he was ruined, and all for a stone he had never seen. I sat quietly for a few moments. It stood, then, thus:—G. had given the thing to the solicitor, seen it put into the box, seen the box put into the desk; but while the confidential clerk, Ulster, locked the desk, the solicitor saw the Marquis to the door,—returning, took the box, without opening it again, to the jeweller, who, in the hurry, shut it up in his safe, also without opening it. The case was perfectly clear. These mysterious things are always so simple! You know now, as well as I, who took the diamond.

I did not choose to volunteer, but assented, on being desired. The police and I were old friends; they had so often assisted me, that I was not afraid to pay them in kind, and accordingly agreed to take charge of the case, still retaining their aid, should I require it. The jeweller was now restored to his occupation, although still subjected to a rigid surveillance, and I instituted inquiries into the recent movements of the young man Ulster. The case seemed to me to have been very blindly conducted. But, though all that was brought to light concerning him in London was perfectly fair and aboveboard, it was discovered that not long since he had visited Paris,—on the solicitor's business, of course, but gaining thereby an opportunity to transact any little affairs of his own. This was fortunate; for if any one could do anything in Paris, it was myself.

It is not often that I act as a detective. But one homogeneous to every situation could hardly play a pleasanter part for once. I have thought that our great masters in theory and practice, Machiavel and Talleyrand, were hardly more, on a large scale.

I was about to return to Paris, but resolved to call previously on the solicitor again. He welcomed me warmly, although my suspicions had not been imparted to him, and, with a more cheerful heart than had lately been habitual to him, entered into an animated conversation respecting the great case of Biter v. Bit, then absorbing so much of the public attention, frequently addressing Ulster, whose remarks were always pertinent, brief, and clear. As I sat actively discussing the topic, feeling no more interest in it than in the end of that cigar I just cut off, and noting exactly every look and motion of the unfortunate youth, I recollect the curious sentiment that filled me regarding him. What injury had he done me, that I should pursue him with punishment? Me? I am, and every individual is, integral with the commonwealth. It was the commonwealth he had injured. Yet, even then, why was I the one to administer justice? Why not continue with my coffee in the morning, my kings and cabinets and national chess at noon, my opera at night, and let the poor devil go? Why, but that justice is brought home to every member of society,—that naked duty requires no shirking of such responsibility,—that, had I failed here, the crime might, with reason, lie at my door and multiply, the criminal increase himself?

Very possibly you will not unite with me; but these little catechisms are, once in a while, indispensable, to vindicate one's course to one's-self.

This Ulster was a handsome youth;—the rogues have generally all the good looks. There was nothing else remarkable about him but his quickness; he was perpetually on the alert; by constant activity, the rust was never allowed to collect on his faculties; his sharpness was distressing,—he appeared subject to a tense strain. Now his quill scratched over the paper unconcernedly, while he could join as easily in his master's conversation; nothing seemed to preoccupy him, or he held a mind open at every point. It is pitiful to remember him that morning, sitting quiet, unconscious, and free, utterly in the hands of that mighty Inquisition, the Metropolitan Police, with its countless arms, its cells and myrmidons in the remotest corners of the Continent, at the mercy of so merciless a monster, and momently closer involved, like some poor prey round which a spider spins its bewildering web. It was also curious to observe the sudden suspicion that darkened his face at some innocent remark,—the quick shrinking and intrenched retirement, the manifest sting and rancor, as I touched his wound with a swift flash of my slender weapon and sheathed it again, and, after the thrust, the espionage, and the relief at believing it accidental. He had many threads to gather up and hold;—little electric warnings along them must have been constantly shocking him. He did that part well enough; it was a mistake, to begin with; he needed prudence. At that time I owed this Ulster nothing; now, however, I owe him a grudge, for some of the most harassing hours of my life were occasioned me by him. But I shall not cherish enmity on that account. With so promising a beginning, he will graduate and take his degree from the loftiest altitude in his line. Hemp is a narcotic; let it bring me forgetfulness.

In Paris I found it not difficult to trace such a person, since he was both foreign and unaccustomed. It was ascertained that he had posted several letters. A person of his description had been seen to drop a letter, the superscription of which had been read by the one who picked it up for him. This superscription was the address of the very person who was likely to be the agent of the former possessors of the diamond, and had attracted attention. After all,—you know the Secret Force,—it was not so impossible to imagine what this letter contained, despite of its cipher. Such a person also had been met among the Jews, and at certain shops whose reputation was not of the clearest. He had called once or twice on Mme. de St. Cyr, on business relative to a vineyard adjoining her château in the Gironde, which she had sold to a wine-merchant of England. I found a zest in the affair, as I pursued it.

We were now fairly at sea, but before long I found we were likely to remain there; in fact, nothing of consequence eventuated. I began to regret having taken the affair from the hands in which I had found it, and one day, it being a gala or some insatiable saint's day, I was riding, perplexed with that and other matters, and paying small attention to the passing crowd. I was vexed and mortified, and had fully decided to throw up the whole,—on such hairs do things hang,—when, suddenly turning a corner, my bridle-reins became entangled in the snaffle of another rider. I loosened them abstractedly, and not till it was necessary to bow to my strange antagonist, on parting, did I glance up. The person before me was evidently not accustomed to play the dandy; he wore his clothes ill, sat his horse worse, and was uneasy in the saddle. The unmistakable air of the gamin was apparent beneath the superficies of the gentleman. Conspicuous on his costume, and wound like an order of merit upon his breast, glittered a chain, the chain,—each tiny brick-like gem spiked with a hundred sparks, and building a fabric of sturdy probabilities with the celerity of the genii in constructing Aladdin's palace. There, a cable to haul up the treasure, was the chain;—where was the diamond? I need not tell you how I followed this young friend, with what assiduity I kept him in sight, up and down, all day long, till, weary at last of his fine sport, as I certainly was of mine, he left his steed in stall and fared on his way a-foot. Still pursuing, now I threaded quay and square, street and alley, till he disappeared in a small shop, in one of those dark crowded lanes leading eastward from the Pont Neuf, in the city. It was the sign of a marchand des armures, and, having provided myself with those persuasive arguments, a sergent-de-ville and a gendarme, I entered.

A place more characteristic it would be impossible to find. Here were piled bows of every material, ash, and horn, and tougher fibres, with slackened strings, and among them peered a rusty clarion and battle-axe, while the quivers that should have accompanied lay in a distant corner, their arrows serving to pin long, dusty, torn banners to the wall. Opposite the entrance, an archer in bronze hung on tiptoe, and levelled a steel bow, whose piercing flèche seemed sparkling with impatience to spring from his finger and flesh itself in the heart of the intruder. The hauberk and halberd, lance and casque, arquebuse and sword, were suspended in friendly congeries; and fragments of costly stuff swept from ceiling to floor, crushed and soiled by the heaps of rusty firelocks, cutlasses, and gauntlets thrown upon them. In one place, a little antique bust was half hid in the folds of some pennon, still dyed with battle-stains; in another, scattered treasures of Dresden and Sèvres brought the drawing-room into the campaign; and all around bivouacked rifles, whose polished barrels glittered full of death,— pistols, variously mounted, for an insurgent at the barricades, or for a lost millionnaire at the gaming-table,—foils, with buttoned bluntness,—and rapiers, whose even edges were viewless, as if filed into air. Destruction lay everywhere, at the command of the owner of this place, and, had he possessed a particle of vivacity, it would have been hazardous to bow beneath his doorway. It did not, I must say, look like a place where I should find a diamond. As the owner came forward, I determined on my plan of action.

"You have, Sir," I said, handing him a bit of paper, on which were scrawled some numbers, "a diamond in your possession, of such and so many carats, size, and value, belonging to the Duke of X., and left with you by an Englishman, Mr. Arthur Ulster. You will deliver it to me, if you please."

"Monsieur!" exclaimed the man, lifting his hands, and surveying me with the widest eyes I ever saw. "A diamond! In my possession! So immense a thing! It is impossible. I have not even seen one of the kind. It is a mistake. Jacques Noailles, the vender of jewels en gros, second door below, must be the man. One should perceive that my business is with arms, not diamonds. I have it not; it would ruin me."

Here he paused for a reply, but, meeting none, resumed. "M. Arthur
Ulster!—I have heard of no such person. I never spoke with an
Englishman. Bah! I detest them! I have no dealings with them. I repeat,
I have not your jewel. Do you wish anything more of me?"

His vehemence only convinced me of the truth of my suspicions.

"These heroics are out of place," I answered. "I demand the article in question."

"Monsieur doubts me?" he asked, with a rueful face,—"questions my word, which is incontrovertible?" Here he clapped his hand upon a couteau-de-chasse lying near, but, appearing to think better of it, drew himself up, and, with a shower of nods flung at me, added, "I deny your accusation!" I had not accused him.

"You are at too much pains to convict yourself. I charge you with nothing," I said. "But this diamond must be surrendered."

"Monsieur is mad!" he exclaimed, "mad! he dreams! Do I look like one who possesses such a trophy? Does my shop resemble a mine? Look about! See! All that is here would not bring a hundredth part of its price. I beseech Monsieur to believe me; he has mistaken the number, or has been misinformed."

"We waste words. I know this diamond is here, as well as a costly chain"—

"On my soul, on my life, on my honor," he cried, clasping his hands and turning up his eyes, "there is here nothing of the kind. I do not deal in gems. A little silk, a few weapons, a curiosity, a nicknack, comprise my stock. I have not the diamond. I do not know the thing. I am poor. I am honest. Suspicion destroys me!"

"As you will find, should I be longer troubled by your denials."

He was inflexible, and, having exhausted every artifice of innocence, wiped the tears from his eyes,—oh, these French! life is their theatre,—and remained quiet. It was getting dark. There was no gas in the place; but in the pause a distant street-lamp swung its light dimly round.

"Unless one desires to purchase, allow me to say that it is my hour for closing," he remarked, blandly, rubbing his black-bearded chin.

"My time is valuable," I returned. "It is late and dark. When your shop-boy lights up"——

"Pardon,—we do not light."

"Permit me, then, to perform that office for you. In this blaze you may perceive my companions, whom you have not appeared to recognize."

So saying, I scratched a match upon the floor, and, as the sergent-de-ville and the gendarme advanced, threw the light of the blue spirt of sulphurous flame upon them. In a moment more the match went out, and we remained in the demi-twilight of the distant lantern. The marchand des armures stood petrified and aghast. Had he seen the imps of Satan in that instant, it could have had no greater effect.

"You have seen them?" I asked. "I regret to inconvenience you; but unless this diamond is produced at once, my friends will put their seal on your goods, your property will be confiscated, yourself in a dungeon. In other words, I allow you five minutes; at the close of that time you will have chosen between restitution and ruin."

He remained apparently lost in thought. He was a big, stout man, and with one blow of his powerful fist could easily have settled me. It was the last thing in his mind. At length he lifted his head,—"Rosalie!" he called.

At the word, a light foot pattered along a stone floor within, and in a moment a little woman stood in an arch raised by two steps from our own level. Carrying a candle, she descended and tripped toward him. She was not pretty, but sprightly and keen, as the perpetual attrition of life must needs make her, and wore the everlasting grisette costume, which displays the neatest of ankles, and whose cap is more becoming than wreaths of garden millinery. I am too minute, I see, but it is second nature. The two commenced a vigorous whispering amid sundry gestures and glances. Suddenly the woman turned, and, laying the prettiest of little hands on my sleeve, said, with a winning smile,—

"Is it a crime of lèse-majesté?"

This was a new idea, but might be useful.

"Not yet," I said; "two minutes more, and I will not answer for the consequence."

Other whispers ensued.

"Monsieur," said the man, leaning on one arm over the counter, and looking up in my face, with the most engaging frankness,—"it is true that I have such a diamond; but it is not mine. It is left with me to be delivered to the Baron Stahl, who comes as an agent from his court for its purchase."

"Yes,—I know."

"He was to have paid me half a million francs,—not half its worth,—in trust for the person who left it, who is not M. Arthur Ulster, but Mme. de St. Cyr."

Madame de St. Cyr! How under the sun——No,—it could not be possible. The case stood as it stood before. The rogue was in deeper water than I had thought; he had merely employed Mme. de St. Cyr. I ran this over in my mind, while I said, "Yes."

"Now, Sir," I continued, "you will state the terms of this transaction."

"With pleasure. For my trouble I was myself to receive patronage and five thousand francs. The Baron is to be here directly, on other and public business. Reine du ciel, Monsieur! how shall I meet him?"

"He is powerless in Paris; your fear is idle."

"True. There were no other terms."

"Nor papers?"

"The lady thought it safest to be without them. She took merely my receipt, which the Baron Stahl will bring to me from her before receiving this."

"I will trouble you for it now."

He bowed and shuffled away. At a glance from me, the gendarme slipped to the rear of the building, where three others were stationed at the two exits in that direction, to caution them of the critical moment, and returned. Ten minutes passed,—the merchant did not appear. If, after all, he had made off with it! There had been the click of a bolt, the half-stifled rattle of arms, as if a door had been opened and rapidly closed again, but nothing more.

"I will see what detains my friend," said Mademoiselle, the little woman.

We suffered her to withdraw. In a moment more a quick expostulation was to be heard.

"They are there, the gendarmes, my little one! I should have run, but they caught me, the villains! and replaced me in the house. Oh, sacre!"—and rolling this word between his teeth, he came down and laid a little box on the counter. I opened it. There was within a large, glittering, curiously-cut piece of glass. I threw it aside.

"The diamond!" I exclaimed.

"Monsieur had it," he replied, stooping to pick up the glass with every appearance of surprise and care.

"Do you mean to say you endeavored to escape with that bawble? Produce the diamond instantly, or you shall hang as high as Haman!" I roared.

Whether he knew the individual in question or not, the threat was efficient; he trembled and hesitated, and finally drew the identical shagreen case from his bosom.

"I but jested," he said. "Monsieur will witness that I relinquish it with reluctance."

"I will witness that you receive stolen goods!" I cried, in wrath.

He placed it in my hands.

"Oh!" he groaned, from the bottom of his heart, hanging his head, and laying both hands on the counter before him,—"it pains, it grieves me to part with it!"

"And the chain," I said.

"Monsieur did not demand that!"

"I demand it now."

In a moment, the chain also was given me.

"And now will Monsieur do me a favor? Will he inform me by what means he ascertained these facts?"

I glanced at the garçon, who had probably supplied himself with his master's finery illicitly;—he was the means;—we have some generosity;—I thought I should prefer doing him the favor, and declined.

I unclasped the shagreen case; the sergent-de-ville and the gendarme stole up and looked over my shoulder; the garçon drew near with round eyes; the little woman peeped across; the merchant, with tears streaming over his face, gazed as if it had been a loadstone; finally, I looked myself. There it lay, the glowing, resplendent thing! flashing in affluence of splendor, throbbing and palpitant with life, drawing all the light from the little woman's candle, from the sparkling armor around, from the steel barbs, and the distant lantern, into its bosom. It was scarcely so large as I had expected to see it, but more brilliant than anything I could conceive of. I do not believe there is another such in the world. One saw clearly that the Oriental superstition of the sex of stones was no fable; this was essentially the female of diamonds, the queen herself, the principle of life, the rejoicing creative force. It was not radiant, as the term literally taken implies; it seemed rather to retain its wealth,—instead of emitting its glorious rays, to curl them back like the fringe of a madrepore, and lie there with redoubled quivering scintillations, a mass of white magnificence, not prismatic, but a vast milky lustre. I closed the case; on reopening it, I could scarcely believe that the beautiful sleepless eye would again flash upon me. I did not comprehend how it could afford such perpetual richness, such sheets of lustre.

At last we compelled ourselves to be satisfied. I left the shop, dismissed my attendants, and, fresh from the contemplation of this miracle, again trod the dirty, reeking streets, crossed the bridge, with its lights, its warehouses midway, its living torrents who poured on unconscious of the beauty within their reach. The thought of their ignorance of the treasure, not a dozen yards distant, has often made me question if we all are not equally unaware of other and greater processes of life, of more perfect, sublimed, and, as it were, spiritual crystallizations going on invisibly about us. But had these been told of the thing clutched in the hand of a passer, how many of them would have known where to turn? and we,—are we any better?


For a few days I carried the diamond about my person, and did not mention its recovery even to my valet, who knew that I sought it, but communicated only with the Marquis of G., who replied, that he would be in Paris on a certain day, when I could safely deliver it to him.

It was now generally rumored that the neighboring government was about to send us the Baron Stahl, ambassador concerning arrangements for a loan to maintain the sinking monarchy in supremacy at Paris, the usual synecdoche for France.

The weather being fine, I proceeded to call on Mme. de St. Cyr. She received me in her boudoir, and on my way thither I could not but observe the perfect quiet and cloistered seclusion that pervaded the whole house,—the house itself seeming only an adjunct of the still and sunny garden, of which one caught a glimpse through the long open hall-windows beyond. This boudoir did not differ from others to which I have been admitted: the same delicate shades; all the dainty appliances of Art for beauty; the lavish profusion of bijouterie; and the usual statuettes of innocence, to indicate, perhaps, the presence of that commodity which might not be guessed at otherwise; and burning in a silver cup, a rich perfume loaded the air with voluptuous sweetness. Through a half-open door an inner boudoir was to be seen, which must have been Delphine's; it looked like her; the prevailing hue was a soft purple, or gray; a prie-dieu, a book-shelf, and desk, of a dark West Indian wood, were just visible. There was but one picture,—a sad-eyed, beautiful Fate. It was the type of her nation. I think she worshipped it—And how apt is misfortune! to degenerate into Fate!—not that the girl had ever experienced the former, but, dissatisfied with life, and seeing no outlet, she accepted it stoically and waited till it should be over. She needed to be aroused;—the station of an ambassadrice, which I desired for her, might kindle the spark. There were no flowers, no perfumes, no busts, in this ascetic place. Delphine herself, in some faint rosy gauze, her fair hair streaming round her, as she lay on a white-draped couch, half-risen on one arm, while she read the morning's feuilleton, was the most perfect statuary of which a room could boast,—illumined, as I saw her, by the gay beams that entered at the loftily-arched window, broken only by the flickering of the vine-leaves that clustered the curiously-latticed panes without. She resembled in kind a Nymph or Aphrodite just bursting from the sea. Madame de St. Cyr received me with empressement, and, so doing, closed the door of this shrine. We spoke of various things,—of the court, the theatre, the weather, the world,—skating lightly round the slender edges of her secret, till finally she invited me to lunch with her in the garden. Here, on a rustic table, stood wine and a few delicacies,—while, by extending a hand, we could grasp the hanging pears and nectarines, still warm to the lip and luscious with sunshine, as we disputed possession with the envious wasp who had established a priority of claim.

"It is to be hoped," I said, sipping the Haut-Brion, whose fine and brittle smack contrasted rarely with the delicious juiciness of the fruit, "that you have laid in a supply of this treasure that neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, before parting with that little gem in the Gironde."

"Ah? You know, then, that I have sold it?"

"Yes," I replied. "I have the pleasure of Mr. Ulster's acquaintance."

"He arranged the terms for me," she said, with restraint,—adding, "I could almost wish now that it had not been."

This was probably true; for the sum which she hoped to receive from Ulster for standing sponsor to his jewel was possibly equal to the price of her vineyard.

"It was indispensable at the time, this sale; I thought best to hazard it on one more season.—If, after such advantages, Delphine will not marry, why—it remains to retire into the country and end our days with the barbarians!" she continued, shrugging her shoulders; "I have a house there."

"But you will not be obliged to throw us all into despair by such a step now," I replied.

She looked quickly, as if to see how nearly I had approached her citadel,—then, finding in my face no expression but a complimentary one, "No," she said, "I hope that my affairs have brightened a little. One never knows what is in store."

Before long I had assured myself that Mme. de St. Cyr was not a party to the theft, but had merely been hired by Ulster, who, discovering the state of her affairs, had not, therefore, revealed his own,—and this without in the least implying any knowledge on my part of the transaction. Ulster must have seen the necessity of leaving the business in the hands of a competent person, and Mme. de St. Cyr's financial talent was patent. There were few ladies in Paris who would have rejected the opportunity. Of these things I felt a tolerable certainty.

"We throng with foreigners," said Madame, archly, as I reached this point. "Diplomates, too. The Baron Stahl arrives in a day."

"I have heard," I responded. "You are acquainted?"

"Alas! no," she said. "I knew his father well, though he himself is not young. Indeed, the families thought once of intermarriage. But nothing has been said on the subject for many years. His Excellency, I hear, will strengthen himself at home by an alliance with the young Countess, the natural daughter of the Emperor."

"He surely will never be so imprudent as to rivet his chain by such a link!"

"It is impossible to compute the dice in those despotic countries," she rejoined,—which was pretty well, considering the freedom enjoyed by France at that period.

"It may be," I suggested, "that the Baron hopes to open this delicate subject with you himself, Madame."

"It is unlikely," she said, sighing. "And for Delphine, should I tell her his Excellency preferred scarlet, she would infallibly wear blue. Imagine her, Monsieur, in fine scarlet, with a scarf of gold gauze, and rustling grasses in that unruly gold hair of hers! She would be divine!"

The maternal instinct as we have it here at Paris confounds me. I do not comprehend it. Here was a mother who did not particularly love her child, who would not be inconsolable at her loss, would not ruin her own complexion by care of her during illness, would send her through fire and water and every torture to secure or maintain a desirable rank, who yet would entangle herself deeply in intrigue, would not hesitate to tarnish her own reputation, and would, in fact, raise heaven and earth to—endow this child with a brilliant match. And Mme. de St. Cyr seemed to regard Delphine, still further, as a cool matter of Art.

These little confidences, moreover, are provoking. They put you yourself so entirely out of the question.

"Mlle. de St. Cyr's beauty is peerless," I said, slightly chagrined, and at a loss. "If hearts were trumps, instead of diamonds!"

"We are poor," resumed Madame, pathetically. "Delphine is not an heiress. Delphine is proud. She will not stoop to charm. Her coquetry is that of an Amazon. Her kisses are arrows. She is Medusa!" And Madame, her mother, shivered.

Here, with her hair knotted up and secured by a tiny dagger, her gauzy drapery gathered in her arm, Delphine floated down the green alley toward us, as if in a rosy cloud. But this soft aspect never could have been more widely contradicted than by the stony repose and cutting calm of her beautiful face.

"The Marquis of G.," said her mother, "he also arrives ambassador. Has he talent? Is he brilliant? Wealthy, of course,—but gauche?"

Therewith I sketched for them the Marquis and his surroundings.

"It is charming," said Madame. "Delphine, do you attend?"

"And why?" asked Delphine, half concealing a yawn with her dazzling hand. "It is wearisome; it matters not to me."

"But he will not go to marry himself in France," said her mother. "Oh, these English." she added, with a laugh, "yourself, Monsieur, being proof of it, will not mingle blood, lest the Channel should still flow between the little red globules! You will go? but to return shortly? You will dine with me soon? Au revoir!" and she gave me her hand graciously, while Delphine bowed as if I were already gone, threw herself into a garden-chair, and commenced pouring the wine on a stone for a little tame snake which came out and lapped it.

Such women as Mme. de St. Cyr have a species of magnetism about them. It is difficult to retain one's self-respect before them,—for no other reason than that one is, at the moment, absorbed into their individuality, and thinks and acts with them. Delphine must have had a strong will, and perpetual antagonism did not weaken it. As for me, Madame had, doubtless, reasons of her own for tearing aside these customary bands of reserve,—reasons which, if you do not perceive, I shall not enumerate.

"Have you met with anything further in your search, Sir?" asked my valet, next morning.

"Oh, yes, Hay," I returned, in a very good humor,—"with great success.
You have assisted me so much, that I am sure I owe it to you to say that
I have found the diamond."

"Indeed, Sir, you are very kind. I have been interested, but my assistance is not worth mentioning. I thought likely it might be, you appeared so quiet."—The cunning dog!—"How did you find it, Sir, may I ask?"

I briefly related the leading facts, since he had been aware of the progress of the case to that point,—without, however, mentioning Mme. de St. Cyr's name.

"And Monsieur did not inform me!" a French valet would have cried.

"You were prudent not to mention it, Sir," said Hay. "These walls must have better ears than ordinary; for a family has moved in on the first floor recently, whose actions are extremely suspicious. But is this precious affair to be seen?"

I took it from an inner pocket and displayed it, having discarded the shagreen case as inconvenient.

"His Excellency must return as he came," said I.

Hay's eyes sparkled.

"And do you carry it there, Sir?" he asked, with surprised, as I restored it to my waistcoat-pocket.

"I shall take it to the bank," I said. "I do not like the responsibility."

"It is very unsafe," was the warning of this cautious fellow. "Why, Sir! any of these swells, these pickpockets, might meet you, run against you,—so!" said Hay, suiting the action to the word, "and, with the little sharp knife concealed in just such a ring as this I wear, give a light tap, and there's a slit in your vest, Sir, but no diamond!"—and instantly resuming his former respectful deportment, Hay handed me my gloves and stick, and smoothed my hat.

"Nonsense!" I replied, drawing on the gloves, "I should like to see the man who could be too quick for me. Any news from India, Hay?"

"None of consequence, Sir. The indigo crop is said to have failed, which advances the figure of that on hand, so that one or two fortunes will be made to-day. Your hat, Sir?—your lunettes? Here they are, Sir."

"Good morning, Hay."

"Good morning, Sir."

I descended the stairs, buttoning my gloves, paused a moment at the door to look about, and proceeded down the street, which was not more than usually thronged. At the bank I paused to assure myself that the diamond was safe. My fingers caught in a singular slit. I started. As Hay had prophesied, there was a fine longitudinal cut in my waistcoat, but the pocket was empty. My God! the thing was gone. I never can forget the blank nihility of all existence that dreadful moment when I stood fumbling for what was not. Calm as I sit here and tell of it, I vow to you a shiver courses through me at the very thought. I had circumvented Stahl only to destroy myself. The diamond was lost again. My mind flew like lightning over every chance, and a thousand started up like steel spikes to snatch the bolt. For a moment I was stunned, but, never being very subject to despair, on my recovery, which was almost at once, took every measure that could be devised. Who had touched me? Whom had I met? Through what streets had I come? In ten minutes the Prefect had the matter in hand. My injunctions were strict privacy. I sincerely hoped the mishap would not reach England; and if the diamond were not recovered before the Marquis of G. arrived,—why, there was the Seine. It is all very well to talk,—yet suicide is so French an affair, that an Englishman does not take to it naturally, and, except in November, the Seine is too cold and damp for comfort, but during that month I suppose it does not greatly differ in these respects from our own atmosphere.

A preternatural activity now possessed me. I slept none, ate little, worked immoderately. I spared no efforts, for everything was at stake. In the midst of all G. arrived. Hay also exerted himself to the utmost; I promised him a hundred pounds, if I found it. He never told me that he said how it would be, never intruded the state of the market, never resented my irritating conduct, but watched me with narrow yet kind solicitude, and frequently offered valuable suggestions, which, however, as everything else did, led to nothing. I did not call on G., but in a week or so his card was brought up one morning to me. "Deny me," I groaned. It yet wanted a week of the day on which I had promised to deliver him the diamond. Meanwhile the Baron Stahl had reached Paris, but he still remained in private,—few had seen him.

The police were forever on the wrong track. To-day they stopped the old Comptesse du Quesne and her jewels, at the Barrière; to-morrow, with their long needles, they riddled a package of lace destined for the Duchess of X. herself; the Secret Service was doubled; and to crown all, a splendid new star of the testy Prince de Ligne was examined and proclaimed to be paste,—the Prince swearing vengeance, if he could discover the cause,—while half Paris must have been under arrest. My own hotel was ransacked thoroughly,—Hay begging that his traps might be included,—but nothing resulted, and I expected nothing, for, of course, I could swear that the stone was in my pocket when I stepped into the street. I confess I never was nearer madness,—every word and gesture stung me like asps,—I walked on burning coals. Enduring all this torment, I must yet meet my daily comrades, eat ices at Tortoni's, stroll on the Boulevards, call on my acquaintance, with the same equanimity as before. I believe I was equal to it. Only by contrast with that blessed time when Ulster and diamonds were unknown, could I imagine my past happiness, my present wretchedness. Rather than suffer it again, I would be stretched on the rack till every bone in my skin was broken. I cursed Mr. Arthur Ulster every hour in the day; myself, as well; and even now the word diamond sends a cold blast to my heart. I often met my friend the marchand des armures. It was his turn to triumph; I fancied there must be a hang-dog kind of air about me, as about every sharp man who has been outwitted. It wanted finally but two days of that on which I was to deliver the diamond.

One midnight, armed with a dark lantern and a cloak, I was traversing the streets alone,—unsuccessful, as usual, just now solitary, and almost in despair. As I turned a corner, two men were but scarcely visible a step before me. It was a badly-lighted part of the town. Unseen and noiseless I followed. They spoke in low tones,—almost whispers; or rather, one spoke,—the other seemed to nod assent.

"On the day but one after to-morrow," I heard spoken in English. Great Heavens! was it possible? had I arrived at a clue? That was the day of days for me. "You have given it, you say, in this billet,—I wish to be exact, you see," continued the voice,—"to prevent detection, you gave it, ten minutes after it came into your hands, to the butler of Madame——," (here the speaker stumbled on the rough pavement, and I lost the name,) "who," he continued, "will put it in the——" (a second stumble acted like a hiccough) "cellar."

"Wine-cellar," I thought; "and what then?"

"In the——." A third stumble was followed by a round German oath. How easy it is for me now to fill up the little blanks which that unhappy pavement caused!

"You share your receipts with this butler. On the day I obtain it," he added, and I now perceived his foreign accent, "I hand you one hundred thousand francs; afterward, monthly payments till you have received the stipulated sum. But how will this butler know me, in season to prevent a mistake? Hem!—he might give it to the other!"

My hearing had been trained to such a degree that I would have promised to overhear any given dialogue of the spirits themselves, but the whisper that answered him eluded me. I caught nothing but a faint sibillation. "Your ring?" was the rejoinder. "He shall be instructed to recognize it? Very well. It is too large,—no, that will do, it fits the first finger. There is nothing more. I am under infinite obligations, Sir; they shall be remembered. Adieu!"

The two parted; which should I pursue? In desperation I turned my lantern upon one, and illumined a face fresh with color, whose black eyes sparkled askance after the retreating figure, under straight black brows. In a moment more he was lost in a false cul-de-sac, and I found it impossible to trace the other.

I was scarcely better off than before; but it seemed to me that I had obtained something, and that now it was wisest to work this vein. "The butler of Madame——." There were hundreds of thousands of Madames in town. I might call on all, and be as old as the Wandering Jew at the last call. The cellar. Wine-cellar, of course,—that came by a natural connection with butler,—but whose? There was one under my own abode; certainly I would explore it. Meanwhile, let us see the entertainments for Wednesday. The Prefect had a list of these. For some I found I had cards; I determined to allot a fraction of time to as many as possible; my friends in the Secret Service would divide the labor. Among others, Madame de St. Cyr gave a dinner, and, as she had been in the affair, I determined not to neglect her on this occasion, although having no definite idea of what had been, or plan of what should be done. I decided not to speak of this occurrence to Hay, since it might only bring him off some trail that he had struck.

Having been provided with keys, early on the following evening I entered the wine-cellar, and, concealed in an empty cask that would have held a dozen of me, waited for something to turn up. Really, when I think of myself, a diplomate, a courtier, a man-about-town, curled in a dusty, musty wine-barrel, I am moved with vexation and laughter. Nothing, however, turned up,—and at length I retired, baffled. The next night came,—no news, no identification of my black-browed man, no success; but I felt certain that something must transpire in that cellar. I don't know why I had pitched upon that one in particular, but, at an earlier hour than on the previous night, I again donned the cask. A long time must have elapsed; dead silence filled the spacious vaults, except where now and then some Sillery cracked the air with a quick explosion, or some newer wine bubbled round the bung of its barrel with a faint effervescence. I had no intention of leaving this place till morning, but it suddenly appeared like the most woful waste of time. The master of this tremendous affair should be abroad and active; who knew what his keen eyes might detect, what loss his absence might occasion in this nick of time? And here he was, shut up and locked in a wine-cellar! I began to be very nervous; I had already, with aid, searched every crevice of the cellar; and now I thought it would be some consolation to discover the thief, if I never regained the diamond. A distant clock tolled midnight. There was a faint noise,—a mouse?—no, it was too prolonged;—nor did it sound like the fiz of Champagne;—a great iron door was turning on its hinges; a man with a lantern was entering; another followed, and another. They seated themselves. In a few moments, appearing one by one and at intervals, some thirty people were in the cellar. Were they all to share in the proceeds of the diamond? With what jaundiced eyes we behold things! I myself saw all that was only through the lens of this diamond, of which not one of these men had ever heard. As the lantern threw its feeble glimmer on this group, and I surveyed them through my loophole, I thought I had never seen so wild and savage a picture, such enormous shadows, such bold outline, such a startling flash on the face of their leader, such light retreating up the threatening arches. More resolute brows, more determined words, more unshrinking hearts, I had not met. In fact, I found myself in the centre of a conspiracy, a society as vindictive as the Jacobins, as unknown and terrible as the Marianne of to-day. I was thunderstruck, too, at the countenances on which the light fell,—men the loyalest in estimation, ministers and senators, millionnaires who had no reason for discontent, dandies whose reason was supposed to be devoted to their tailors, poets and artists of generous aspiration and suspected tendencies, and one woman,—Delphine de St. Cyr. Their plans were brave, their determination lofty, their conclave serious and fine; yet as slowly they shut up their hopes and fears in the black masks, one man bent toward the lantern to adjust his. When he lifted his face before concealing it, I recognized him also. I had met him frequently at the Bureau of Police; he was, I believe, Secretary of the Secret Service.

I had no sympathy with these people. I had liberty enough myself, I was well enough satisfied with the world, I did not care to revolutionize France; but my heart rebelled at the mockery, as this traitor and spy, this creature of a system by which I gained my fame, showed his revolting face and veiled it again. And Delphine, what had she to do with them? One by one, as they entered, they withdrew, and I was left alone again. But all this was not my diamond.

Another hour elapsed. Again the door opened, and remained ajar. Some one entered, whom I could not see. There was a pause,—then a rustle,—the door creaked ever so little. "Art thou there?" lisped a shrill whisper,—a woman, as I could guess.

"My angel, it is I," was returned, a semitone lower. She approached, he advanced, and the consequence was a salute resonant as the smack with which a Dutch burgomaster may be supposed to set down his mug. I was prepared for anything. Ye gods! if it should be Delphine! But the base suspicion was birth-strangled as they spoke again. The conversation which now ensued between these lovers under difficulties was tender and affecting beyond expression. I had felt guilty enough when an unwilling auditor of the conspirators,—since, though one employs spies, one does not therefore act that part one's-self, but on emergencies,—an unwillingness which would not, however, prevent my turning to advantage the information gained; but here, to listen to this rehearsal of woes and blisses, this ah mon Fernand, this aria in an area, growing momently more fervent, was too much. I overturned the cask, scrambled upon my feet, and fled from the cellar, leaving the astounded lovers to follow, while, agreeably to my instincts, and regardless of the diamond, I escaped the embarrassing predicament.

At length it grew to be noon of the appointed day. Nothing had transpired; all our labor was idle. I felt, nevertheless, more buoyant than usual,—whether because I was now to put my fate to the test, or that today was the one of which my black-browed man had spoken, and I therefore entertained a presentiment of good-fortune, I cannot say. But when, in unexceptionable toilet, I stood on Mme. de St. Cyr's steps, my heart sunk. G. was doubtless already within, and I thought of the marchand des armures' exclamation, "Queen of Heaven, Monsieur! how shall I meet him!" I was plunged at once into the profoundest gloom. Why had I undertaken the business at all? This interference, this good-humor, this readiness to oblige,—it would ruin me yet! I forswore it, as Falstaff forswore honor. Why needed I to meddle in the mêlée? Why—But I was no catechumen. Questions were useless now. My emotions are not chronicled on my face, I flatter myself; and with my usual repose I saluted our hostess. Greeting G. without any allusion to the diamond, the absence of which allusion he received as a point of etiquette, I was conversing with Mrs. Leigh, when the Baron Stahl was announced. I turned to look at his Excellency. A glance electrified me. There was my dark-browed man of the midnight streets. It must, then, have been concerning the diamond that I had heard him speak. His countenance, his eager, glittering eye, told that today was as eventful to him as to me. If he were here, I could well afford to be. As he addressed me in English, my certainty was confirmed; and the instant in which I observed the ring, gaudy and coarse, upon his finger, made confirmation doubly sure. I own I was surprised that anything could induce the Baron to wear such an ornament. Here he was actually risking his reputation as a man of taste, as an exquisite, a leader of haut ton, a gentleman, by the detestable vulgarity of this ring. But why do I speak so of the trinket? Do I not owe it a thrill of as fine joy as I ever knew? Faith! it was not unfamiliar to me. It had been a daily sight for years. In meeting the Baron Stahl I had found the diamond.

The Baron Stahl was, then, the thief? Not at all. My valet, as of course you have been all along aware, was the thief.

The Marquis of G. took down Mme. de St. Cyr; Stahl preceded me, with Delphine. As we sat at table, G. was at the right, I at the left of our hostess. Next G. sat Delphine; below her, the Baron; so that we were nearly vis-a-vis. I was now as fully convinced that Mme. de St. Cyr's cellar was the one, as the day before I had been that the other was; I longed to reach it. Hay had given the stone to a butler—doubtless this—the moment of its theft; but, not being aware of Mme. de St. Cyr's previous share in the adventure, had probably not afforded her another. And thus I concluded her to be ignorant of the game we were about to play; and I imagined, with the interest that one carries into a romance, the little preliminary scene between the Baron and Madame that must have already taken place, being charmed by the cheerfulness with which she endured the loss of the promised reward.

As the Baron entered the dining-room. I saw him withdraw his glove, and move the jewelled hand across his hair while passing the solemn butler, who gave it a quick recognition;—the next moment we were seated. It was a dinner à la Russe; that is, only wines were on the table, clustered around a central ornament,—a bunch of tall silver rushes and flag-leaves, on whose airy tip danced fleurs-de-lis of frosted silver, a design of Delphine's,—the dishes being on side-tables, from which the guests were served as they signified their choice of the variety on their cards. Our number not being large, and the custom so informal, rendered it pleasant.

I had just finished my oysters and was pouring out a glass of Chablis, when another plate was set before the Baron.

"His Excellency has no salt," murmured the butler,—at the same time placing one beside him. A glance, at entrance, had taught me that most of the service was uniform; this dainty little salière I had noticed on the buffet, solitary, and unlike the others. What a fool had I been! Those gaps in the Baron's remarks caused by the paving-stones, how easily were they to be supplied!


Madame de St. Cyr.

"The cellar?"

A salt-cellar.

How quick the flash that enlightened me while I surveyed the salière!

"It is exquisite! Am I never to sit at your table but some new device charms me?" I exclaimed. "Is it your design, Mademoiselle?" I said, turning to Delphine.

Delphine, who had been ice to all the Baron's advances, only curled her lip. "Des babioles!" she said.

"Yes, indeed," cried Mme. de St. Cyr, extending her hand for it. "But none the less her taste. Is it not a fairy thing? A Cellini! Observe this curve, these lines! but one man could have drawn them!"—and she held it for our scrutiny. It was a tiny hand and arm of ivory, parting the foam of a wave and holding a golden shell, in which the salt seemed to have crusted itself as if in some secretest ocean-hollow. I looked at the Baron a moment; his eyes were fastened upon the salière, and all the color had forsaken his cheeks,—his face counted his years. The diamond was in that little shell. But how to obtain it? I had no novice to deal with; nothing but delicate finesse would answer.

"Permit me to examine it," I said. She passed it to her left hand for me to take. The butler made a step forward.

"Meanwhile, Madame," said the Baron, smiling, "I have no salt."

The instinct of hospitality prevailed;—she was about to return it. Might I do an awkward thing? Unhesitatingly. Reversing my glass, I gave my arm a wider sweep than necessary, and, as it met her hand with violence, the salière fell. Before it touched the floor I caught it There was still a pinch of salt left,—nothing more.

"A thousand pardons!" I said, and restored it to the Baron.

His Excellency beheld it with dismay; it was rare to see him bend over and scrutinize it with starting eyes.

"Do you find there what Count Arnaklos begs in the song," asked
Delphine,—"the secret of the sea, Monsieur?"

He handed it to the butler, observing, "I find here no"——

"Salt, Monsieur?" replied the man, who did not doubt but all had gone right, and replenished it.

Had one told me in the morning that no intricate manoeuvres, but a simple blunder, would effect this, I might have met him in the Bois de Boulogne.

"We will not quarrel," said my neighbor, lightly, with reference to the popular superstition.

"Rather propitiate the offended deities by a crumb tossed over the shoulder," added I.

"Over the left?" asked the Baron, to intimate his knowledge of another idiom, together with a reproof for my gaucherie.

"À gauche,—quelquefois c'est justement à droit," I replied.

"Salt in any pottage," said Madame, a little uneasily, "is like surprise in an individual; it brings out the flavor of every ingredient, so my cook tells me."

"It is a preventive of palsy," I remarked, as the slight trembling of my adversary's finger caught my eye.

"And I have noticed that a taste for it is peculiar to those who trace their blood to Galitzin," continued Madame.

"Let us, therefore, elect a deputation to those mines near Cracow," said

"To our cousins, the slaves there?" laughed her mother.

"I must vote to lay your bill on the table, Mademoiselle," I rejoined.

"But with a boule blanche, Monsieur?"

"As the salt has been laid on the floor," said the Baron.

Meanwhile, as this light skirmishing proceeded, my sleeve and Mme. de St. Cyr's dress were slightly powdered, but I had not seen the diamond. The Baron, bolder than I, looked under the table, but made no discovery. I was on the point of dropping my napkin to accomplish a similar movement, when my accommodating neighbor dropped hers. To restore it, I stooped. There it lay, large and glowing, the Sea of Splendor, the Moon of Milk, the Torment of my Life, on the carpet, within half an inch of a lady's slipper. Mademoiselle de St. Cyr's foot had prevented the Baron from seeing it; now it moved and unconsciously covered it. All was as I wished. I hastily restored the napkin, and looked steadily at Delphine,—so steadily, that she perceived some meaning, as she had already suspected a game. By my sign she understood me, pressed her foot upon the stone and drew it nearer. In France we do not remain at table until unfit for a lady's society,—we rise with them. Delphine needed to drop neither napkin nor handkerchief; she composedly stooped and picked up the stone, so quickly that no one saw what it was.

"And the diamond?" said the Baron to the butler, rapidly, as he passed.

"It was in the salière!" whispered the astonished creature.

In the drawing-room I sought the Marquis.

"To-day I was to surrender you your property," I said; "it is here."

"Do you know," he replied, "I thought I must have been mistaken?"

"Any of our volatile friends here might have been," I resumed; "for us it is impossible. Concerning this, when you return to France, I will relate the incidents; at present, there are those who will not hesitate to take life to obtain its possession. The diligence leaves in twenty minutes; and if I owned the diamond, it should not leave me behind. Moreover, who knows what a day may bring forth? To-morrow there may be an émeute. Let me restore the thing as you withdraw."

The Marquis, who is not, after all, the Lion of England, pausing a moment to transmit my words from his ear to his brain, did not afterward delay to make inquiries or adieux, but went to seek Mme. de St. Cyr and wish her goodnight, on his departure from Paris. As I awaited his return, which I knew would not be immediate, Delphine left the Baron and joined me.

"You beckoned me?" she asked.

"No, I did not."

"Nevertheless, I come by your desire, I am sure."

"Mademoiselle," I said, "I am not in the custom of doing favors; I have forsworn them. But before you return me my jewel, I risk my head and render one last one, and to you."

"Do not, Monsieur, at such price," she responded, with a slight mocking motion of her hand.

"Delphine! those resolves, last night, in the cellar, were daring; they were noble, yet they were useless."

She had not started, but a slight tremor ran over her person and vanished while I spoke.

"They will be allowed to proceed no farther,—the axe is sharpened; for the last man who adjusted his mask was a spy,—was the Secretary of the Secret Service."

Delphine could not have grown paler than was usual with her of late. She flashed her eye upon me.

"He was, it may be, Monsieur himself," she said.

"I do not claim the honor of that post."

"But you were there, nevertheless,—a spy!"

"Hush, Delphine! It would be absurd to quarrel. I was there for the recovery of this stone, having heard that it was in a cellar,—which, stupidly enough, I had insisted should be a wine-cellar."

"It was, then"——

"In a salt-cellar,—a blunder which, as you do not speak English, you cannot comprehend. I never mix with treason, and did not wish to assist at your pastimes. I speak now, that you may escape."

"If Monsieur betrays his friends, the police, why should I expect a kinder fate?"

"When I use the police, they are my servants, not my friends. I simply warn you, that, before sunrise, you will be safer travelling than sleeping,—safer next week in Vienna than in Paris."

"Thank you! And the intelligence is the price of the diamond? If I had not chanced to pick it up, my throat," and she clasped it with her fingers, "had been no slenderer than the others?"

"Delphine, will you remember, should you have occasion to do so in Vienna, that it is just possible for an Englishman to have affections, and sentiments, and, in fact, sensations? that, with him, friendship can be inviolate, and to betray it an impossibility? And even were it not, I, Mademoiselle, have not the pleasure to be classed by you as a friend."

"You err. I esteem Monsieur highly."

I was impressed by her coolness.

"Let me see if you comprehend the matter," I demanded.

"Perfectly. The arrest will be used to-night, the guillotine to-morrow."

"You will take immediate measures for flight?"

"No,—I do not see that life has value. I shall be the debtor of him who takes it."

"A large debt. Delphine, I exact a promise of you. I do not care to have endangered myself for nothing. It is not worth while to make your mother unhappy. Life is not yours to throw away. I appeal to your magnanimity."

"'Affections, sentiments, sensations!'" she quoted. "Your own danger for the affection,—it is an affair of the heart! Mme. de St. Cyr's unhappiness,—there is the sentiment. You are angry, Monsieur,—that must be the sensation."

"Delphine, I am waiting."

"Ah, well. You have mentioned Vienna, and why? Liberals are countenanced there?"

"Not in the least. But Madame l'Ambassadrice will be countenanced."

"I do not know her."

"We are not apt to know ourselves."

"Monsieur, how idle are these cross-purposes!" she said, folding her fan.

"Delphine," I continued, taking the fan, "tell me frankly which of these two men you prefer,—the Marquis or his Excellency."

"The Marquis? He is antiphlogistic,—he is ice. Why should I freeze myself? I am frozen now,—I need fire!"

Her eyes burned as she spoke, and a faint red flushed her cheek.

"Mademoiselle, you demonstrate to me that life has yet a value to you."

"I find no fire," she said, as the flush fell away.

"The Baron?"

"I do not affect him."

"You will conquer your prejudice in Vienna."

"I do not comprehend you, Monsieur;—you speak in riddles, which I do not like."

"I will speak plainer. But first let me ask you for the diamond."

"The diamond? It is yours? How am I certified of it? I find it on the floor; you say it was in my mother's salière; it is her affair, not mine. No, Monsieur, I do not see that the thing is yours."

Certainly there was nothing to be done but to relate the story, which I did, carefully omitting the Baron's name. At its conclusion, she placed the prize in my hand.

"Pardon, Monsieur," she said; "without doubt you should receive it. And this agent of the government,—one could turn him like hot iron in this vice,—who was he?"

"The Baron Stahl."

All this time G. had been waiting on thorns, and, leaving her now, I approached him, displayed for an instant the treasure on my palm, and slipped it into his. It was done. I bade farewell to this Eye of Morning and Heart of Day, this thing that had caused me such pain and perplexity and pleasure, with less envy and more joy than I thought myself capable of. The relief and buoyancy that seized me, as his hand closed upon it, I shall not attempt to portray. An abdicated king was not freer.

The Marquis departed, and I, wandering round the salon, was next stranded upon the Baron. He was yet hardly sure of himself. We talked indifferently for a few moments, and then I ventured on the great loan. He was, as became him, not communicative, but scarcely thought it would be arranged. I then spoke of Delphine.

"She is superb!" said the Baron, staring at her boldly.

She stood opposite, and, in her white attire on the background of the blue curtain, appeared like an impersonation of Greek genius relieved upon the blue of an Athenian heaven. Her severe and classic outline, her pallor, her downcast lids, her absorbed look, only heightened the resemblance. Her reverie seemed to end abruptly, the same red stained her cheek again, her lips curved in a proud smile, she raised her glowing eyes and observed us regarding her. At too great distance to hear our words, she quietly repaid our glances in the strength of her new decision, and then, turning, began to entertain those next her with an unwonted spirit.

"She has needed," I replied to the Baron, "but one thing,—to be aroused, to be kindled. See, it is done! I have thought that a life of cabinets and policy might achieve this, for her talent is second not even to her beauty."

"It is unhappy that both should be wasted," said the Baron. "She, of course, will never marry."

"Why not?"

"For various reasons."


"She is poor."

"Which will not signify to your Excellency. Another?"

"She is too beautiful. One would fall in love with her. And to love one's own wife—it is ridiculous!"

"Who should know?" I asked.

"All the world would suspect and laugh."

"Let those laugh that win."

"No,—she would never do as a wife; but then as"——

"But then in France we do not insult hospitality!"

The Baron transferred his gaze to me for a moment, then tapped his snuff-box, and approached the circle round Delphine.

It was odd that we, the arch enemies of the hour, could speak without the intervention of seconds; but I hoped that the Baron's conversation might be diverting,—the Baron hoped that mine might be didactic.

They were very gay with Delphine. He leaned on the back of a chair and listened. One spoke of the new gallery of the Tuileries, and the five pavilions,—a remark which led us to architecture.

"We all build our own houses," said Delphine, at last, "and then complain that they cramp us here, and the wind blows in there, while the fault is not in the order, but in us, who increase here and shrink there—without reason."

"You speak in metaphors," said the Baron.

"Precisely. A truth is often more visible veiled than nude."

"We should soon exhaust the orders," I interposed; "for who builds like his neighbor?"

"Slight variations, Monsieur! Though we take such pains to conceal the style, it is not difficult to tell the order of architecture chosen by the builders in this room. My mother, for instance,—you perceive that her pavilion would be the florid Gothic."

"Mademoiselle's is the Doric," I said.

"Has been," she murmured, with a quick glance.

"And mine, Mademoiselle?" asked the Baron, indifferently.

"Ah, Monsieur," she returned, looking serenely upon him, "when one has all the winning cards in hand and yet loses the stake, we allot him un pavilion chinois"—which was the polite way of dubbing him Court Fool.

The Baron's eyes fell. Vexation and alarm were visible on his contracted brow. He stood in meditation for some time. It must have been evident to him that Delphine knew of the recent occurrences,—that here in Paris she could denounce him as the agent of a felony, the participant of a theft. What might prevent it? Plainly but one thing: no woman would denounce her husband. He had scarcely contemplated this step on arrival.

The guests were again scattered in groups round the room. I examined an engraving on an adjacent table. Delphine reclined as lazily in a fauteuil as if her life did not hang in the balance. The Baron drew near.

"Mademoiselle," said he, "you allotted me just now a cap and bells. If two should wear it?—if I should invite another into my pavilion chinois?—if I should propose to complete an alliance, desired by my father, with the ancient family of St. Cyr?—if, in short, Mademoiselle, I should request you to become my wife?"

"Eh, bien, Monsieur,—and if you should?" I heard her coolly reply.

But it was no longer any business of mine. I rose and sought Mme. de St. Cyr, who, I thought, was slightly uneasy, perceiving some mystery to be afloat. After a few words, I retired.

Archimedes, as perhaps you have never heard, needed only a lever to move the world. Such a lever I had put into the hands of Delphine, with which she might move, not indeed the grand globe, with its multiplied attractions, relations, and affinities, but the lesser world of circumstances, of friends and enemies, the circle of hopes, fears, ambitions. There is no woman, as I believe, but could have used it.

The next day was scarcely so quiet in the city as usual. The great loan had not been negotiated. Both the Baron Stahl and the English minister had left Paris,—and there was a coup d'état.

But the Baron did not travel alone. There had been a ceremony at midnight in the Church of St. Sulpice, and her Excellency the Baroness Stahl, née de St. Cyr, accompanied him.

It is a good many years since. I have seen the diamond in the Duchess of X.'s coronet, at the drawing-room, often,—but I have never seen Delphine. The Marquis begged me to retain the chain, and I gave myself the pleasure of presenting it, through her mother, to the Baroness Stahl. I hear, that, whenever she desires to effect any cherished object which the Baron opposes, she has only to wear this chain, and effect it. It appears to possess a magical power, and its potent spell enslaves the Baron as the lamp and ring of Eastern tales enslaved the Afrites.

The life she leads has aroused her. She is no longer the impassive Silence; she has found her fire. I hear of her as the charm of a brilliant court, as the soul of a nation of intrigue. Of her beauty one does not speak, but her talent is called prodigious. What impels me to ask the idle question, If it were well to save her life for this? Undoubtedly she fills a station which, in that empire, must be the summit of a woman's ambition. Delphine's Liberty was not a principle, but a dissatisfaction. The Baroness Stahl is vehement, is Imperialist, is successful. While she lives, it is on the top of the wave; when she dies,—ah! what business has Death in such a world?

As I said, I have never seen Delphine since her marriage. The beautiful statuesque girl occupies a niche into which the blazing and magnificent intrigante cannot crowd. I do not wish to be disillusioned. She has read me a riddle,—Delphine is my Sphinx.

* * * * *

As for Mr. Hay,—I once said the Antipodes were tributary to me, not thinking that I should ever become tributary to the Antipodes. But such is the case; since, partly through my instrumentality, that enterprising individual has been located in their vicinity, where diamonds are not to be had for the asking, and the greatest rogue is not a Baron.

* * * * *


  We sit before the row of evening lamps,
    Each in his chair,
  Forgetful of November dusks and damps,
    And wintry air.

  A little gulf of music intervenes,
    A bridge of sighs,
  Where still the cunning of the curtain screens
    Art's paradise.

  My thought transcends those viols' shrill delight,
    The booming bass,
  And towards the regions we shall view to-night
    Makes hurried pace:

  The painted castle, and the unneeded guard
    That ready stand;
  The harmless Ghost, that walks with helm unbarred
    And beckoning hand;

  And, beautiful as dreams of maidenhood,
    That doubt defy,
  Young Hamlet, with his forehead grief-subdued,
    And visioning eye.

  O fair dead world, that from thy grave awak'st
    A little while,
  And in our heart strange revolution mak'st
    With thy brief smile!

  O beauties vanished, fair lips magical,
    Heroic braves!
  O mighty hearts, that held the world in thrall!
    Come from your graves!

  The Poet sees you through a mist of tears,—
    Such depths divide
  Him, with the love and passion of his years,
    From you, inside!

  The Poet's heart attends your buskined feet,
    Your lofty strains,
  Till earth's rude touch dissolves that madness sweet,
    And life remains:

  Life that is something while the senses heed
    The spirit's call,
  Life that is nothing when our grosser need
    Engulfs it all.

  And thou, young hero of this mimic scene,
    In whose high breast
  A genius greater than thy life hath been
    Strangely comprest!

  Wear'st thou those glories draped about thy soul
    Thou dost present?
  And art thou by their feeling and control
    Thus eloquent?

  'Tis with no feigned power thou bind'st our sense,
    No shallow art;
  Sure, lavish Nature gave thee heritance
    Of Hamlet's heart!

  Thou dost control our fancies with a might
    So wild, so fond,
  We quarrel, passed thy circle of delight,
    With things beyond;

  Returning to the pillows rough with care,
    And vulgar food,
  Sad from the breath of that diviner air,
    That loftier mood.

  And there we leave thee, in thy misty tent
    Watching alone;
  While foes about thee gather imminent,
    To us scarce known.

  Oh, when the lights are quenched, the music hushed,
    The plaudits still,
  Heaven keep the fountain, whence the fair stream gushed,
    From choking ill!

  Let Shakspeare's soul, that wins the world from wrong,
    For thee avail,
  And not one holy maxim of his song
    Before thee fail!

  So, get thee to thy couch as unreproved
    As heroes blest;
  And all good angels, trusted in and loved,
    Attend thy rest!


  De todos los Generales cual es el mejor?
  Es mi General José con su Guardia de Honor!



It is only within a century that the world has become habituated to behold the birth of nations, and already the spectacle has grown too common to attract more than transitory notice. In the sluggish days that preceded the revolutionary efforts of our fathers, a nationality was fixed, seemingly immutable, the growth of scarcely numbered ages, the daughter of immemorial Time. A people then could place its hand upon its title-deeds, and, looking back through half a score of centuries, trace its gradual development from nothingness to power. To-day, on the contrary,—to use a somewhat daring metaphor,—nations have become autochthonous; they have repudiated the feeble processes of conception and tutelage; they spring, armed and full-grown, from the forehead of their progenitors, or rise, in sudden ripeness, from the soil.

Thousands must now be living, the citizens of prosperous states, who can recall the days when they had entered upon manhood and yet the name itself of their nation had no existence. How many, indeed, are still among us, to whom nations owe the impetus that gave them birth! Prominent, at least, among those who can lay claim to such distinction, there still stands one whose career it were well, perhaps, to study. We will endeavor to profit by a glance at it.

With this intent let us transport ourselves in imagination to the Llanos or Plains of Venezuela. It is a region similar in some respects, widely dissimilar in others, to the more celebrated Pampas of the regions to the south. The wonderful plain, covering more than two hundred thousand square miles, and forming the basin of the gigantic Orinoco, is a study in itself. The stranger who descends upon the vast savanna from the mountains that line and defend the coast is impressed with the momentary belief, when his eye for the first time sweeps over the level immensity, that he is again approaching the sea. From the hilly country through which he has toiled, he beholds at his feet a limitless and dusky plain, smooth as an ocean in repose, but undulating, like it, in gigantic sweeps and curves. The Llanos that he sees spread out before him thus are one huge and exuberant pasture. Like the Pampas of Buenos Ayres, they are the support of myriads of roaming cattle; but, unlike them, they are intersected by numerous rivers, and suffer rather from excess than from lack of moisture. The Orinoco sweeps, in turbid magnificence, from west to east, traversing their entire breadth; and its countless tributaries seam in every direction the immense plain thus divided, and frequently by their unmanageable floods turn it for thousands of miles into a lake.

The dwellers in this region have a character no less distinctive than that of the Plains themselves. At long intervals, sometimes scores of miles apart, their habitations are established; but their home is the saddle. Innumerable herds of cattle and of horses turn to account the pasturage of the rich savanna; and the true Llanero exists only as guardian or proprietor of these savage hosts. He is as much at home in this trackless expanse of rank vegetation as the mariner navigating a familiar sea. There are no roads in the Llanos; but he can gallop unerringly to any given point, be it hundreds of miles away. There are no boundaries to the huge estates; but he knows when the cattle he is set to protect are grazing upon their own territory or upon that of a neighbor. He leads a life in which the extremes of solitariness and of activity are combined. Separated from his nearest neighbor by a journey of half a day, visited only rarely at his hato or farm-house by some casual traveller, or by the itinerant Galician peddler, whom he contemptuously denominates the merca-chifles, the silent horseman lives wrapt up in ignorance of all but the care of the roving beasts that are intrusted to his vigilance.

Let us glance somewhat more nearly at the Llanero in his home. If we are able to obtain an elevated view of the savanna,—let us say, in the Llanos which constitute the Province of Barinas, and through which the Apure rolls its rapid current to swell the volume of the Orinoco,—we shall observe, at distant intervals upon the plain, irregular groups of palm-trees surmounting the wavy level of the grass. These isolated clumps or groves, called matas in the provincial idiom, form the landmarks of the Venezuelan Plains; and in the neighborhood of each we shall find the hato or dwelling of a Llanero. The building, we shall find in every case, is a roughly-constructed hut, consisting of a floor raised a couple of feet above the spongy soil, and covered with a steep roof of palm-branches, with perhaps a thatch composed of the leaves of the same invaluable tree. A rough partition of mud-plastered twigs divides the Llanero's dwelling into unequal apartments; the lesser being reserved for the use of the females of the household, while the larger, furnished with half-a-dozen hides, the skin of a jaguar, and a couple of benches or stools ingeniously manufactured from bamboo, is the general reception-room, sleeping-apartment, and workshop for the hatero, when the floods are out, or when he takes a fancy at other times to shelter his head beneath a roof. A few rods from the dwelling is the corral or cattle-pen, a large oval inclosure, into which, at irregular intervals, he drives his herds for purposes of branding or enumeration; and near the corral two or three impatient horses, shackled with a thong confining the forelegs, are grazing.

The cattle-farms or hatos of the Plains are owned, for the most part, by the Creole residents of the cities which dot their outskirts, but are inhabited only by the semibarbarous hateros, who attend to the few requirements of the stock, and slaughter the annual supply. The hatero, although a descendant, and proud that he is so, of the Spanish settlers, has much intermixture of Indian and negro blood in his veins. Few of the Llaneros, indeed, could show a pedigree in which the Castilian blood was not sorely attenuated and diluted with that of half-a-dozen Indian or negro progenitors. He is born on the Llanos, as were his ancestors for many generations; and he has no conception of a land in which cattle-plains are unknown, and where the carcass of an animal is of more value than the hide. His ideas are restricted to his occupation, and his religious notions limited to the traditional instruction handed down from the days when his forefathers lived amid civilized men, or to the casual teaching of some fervent missionary, who devotes himself to the spiritual welfare of these lonely dwellers on the Plains. Eight or ten persons at the utmost form a hato, and suffice for all the requirements of thousands of cattle. The women are as much accustomed to solitude as the men, and spend their time in domestic occupations, or in cultivating the little patch of ground upon which their supply of maize and cassava is grown. The occasion of their marriage is perhaps the only one of their visit to a town,—perhaps their only opportunity of seeing a printed book. Men and women alike are a simple, healthy, ignorant race, borrowing manners, dress, and dialect rather from the Indian than from the Spanish stock.

Such as he is, nevertheless, and for the purposes which his existence subserves, the true Llanero is indeed well placed in his peculiar region. A man of middle stature, usually of broad and powerful build, short-necked, with square head and narrow forehead, and with eyes that would be black, if it were not for the fire that flickers in them with a carbuncle-like intensity. From the hips upward the Llanero is straight and well-proportioned; but his constant equitation curves and bandies his legs in a manner plainly visible whenever he attempts to walk. His distinctive costume consists of the calzones, or cotton breeches, reaching a little below the knee, a tunic or smock-frock of the same material, confined about his waist with a thong of leather, into which he thrusts his formidable machete or cutlass, and the inevitable poncho, that many-colored blanket which the entire Spanish-American race has adopted at the hands of the vanquished Indians, and which he uses as cloak, as pillow, as bed, and sometimes as saddle. Boots he has none, nor shoes; but perhaps he may fasten strips of raw hide to his feet by way of sandals,—and a piece of raw hide covers, in all probability, his head. He cares little for ornament, since there are so few about him to admire display; and all his pride is concentrated in the steed that bears him, the lasso that he can throw with such unerring aim, and the heavy lance that he uses in driving his ferocious cattle, or as a death-dealing weapon when he is called upon to take part in some partisan warfare.

Upon his hato, perhaps, there are between one and two hundred thousand head of cattle and horses, guarded here and there by isolated posts of a nature similar to his own. The animals, savage from their birth, roam the plain in droves of many hundreds, each herd commanded by two or three bulls or stallions, whose authority is no less despotic than that of the colonel of a Russian regiment. They sweep from feeding-ground to feeding-ground, galloping eight or ten abreast, headed by scouts, and suffering no human being or strange animal to cross their path. As the dusky squadron hurries, like an incarnate whirlwind, from one point to another, every one prudently withdraws from their irresistible advance; and instances have occurred in which large bodies of troops, marching across the Plains, have been scattered and routed by an accidental charge of some such wild-eyed regiment. At certain intervals, la hierra, the branding, takes place; when drove after drove are dexterously compelled within the walls of the corral, and there marked with the initials or cipher of the proprietor. This is the great festival of the hatero, and he invites to it all his neighbors for scores of leagues around. The bellowing cattle, the plunging steeds, the excitement of lassoing some bull more refractory than usual, the hissing of the iron as it sears the brand-mark deep into the animal's hide, all these are elements of exquisite enjoyment to the unsophisticated Rarey of the Plains. His great delight, on such occasions, is to display his skill in lassoing an untamed colt, or in performing the feat called to colear a bull. He selects from the suspicious herd some fine young three-year old, grazing somewhat apart from the main body, and creeps silently towards it. Suddenly the lasso flies in snaky coils over the head of the beast, and is drawn with strangulating tightness about its neck. At the first plunge, a brother hatero lassoes the animal's hind legs, and it is permitted to rear and kick as frantically as it can, until it drops to the ground exhausted and strangled. The Llanero immediately approaches the prostrate colt, and deliberately beats its head with a heavy bludgeon until it becomes quite senseless. He then places his saddle upon its back, adjusts a murderous bit in its clammy mouth, and seats himself firmly in the saddle at the moment when the animal recovers strength enough to rise. The fearful plunges, the wild bounds, the vicious attempts at biting, which ensue, are all in vain; in a couple of days he subsides into a mere high-spirited trotter, whom one can ride with ease after once effecting a mount.

The pastime of "tailing" a bull is somewhat singular. Two or three horsemen single out an animal upon which to practise it, and secure a lasso about its horns. Another lasso, deftly thrown about its hind legs, is fastened to a tree, and the strongest of the party then seizes the bellowing beast by its tail, which he twists until his victim falls over on its side and is dispatched. The greatest dexterity is required in this manoeuvre by all practising it, as the slacking of either lasso enables the bull to turn upon his caudal persecutor, who is certain to be gored to death. This, indeed, not unfrequently happens. But a Llanero cares little for death. He faces it daily in his lonely converse with thousands of intractable beasts, in his bath in the river swarming with alligators,—in the swamp teeming with serpents, against whose poison there is no antidote, and whose bite will destroy the life of a man in a single hour. Content with the wild excitement of his daily round of duty and recreation, with his meal of dried beef and cassava-cake, washed down, it is likely, with a gourdful of guarapo, a species of rum, in comparison with which the New England beverage is innocent and weak, and with the occasional recurrence of some such turbulent festival as that of the branding, he cares nothing for the future, and bestows no thought upon the past. The Llanero may be called a happy man.



Two years more than half a century ago there lived a Creole trader of some wealth in the little town of Araure, in the province of Barinas, upon the outskirts of the Llanos. Don José had a stalwart son, aged about sixteen, whom he had trained to active usefulness amid the monotonous ease of the torrid little municipality. Young Jose Antonio had received, it is true, only a scanty education, but he could sign his name, could verify a calculation, and had a shrewd, quick head for business. The doctors-of-law, tolerably numerous even in little Araure, pronounced him born for a jurist, and he was a godsend to the litigious natives of the Captain-Generalcy. The hide-and-tallow merchants nodded knowingly, as he passed them in the street with a good-humored Àdios, and predicted great fortunes for the lad as a future man-of-business. The Cura thought it a pity that he should prefer the society of the dusky beauties of Araure to the more hallowed enjoyments of preparation for a priestly life. And all the while quite other destinies were held in store by Fate. The remissness of a mercantile correspondent of his father altered the current of his life, and mightily influenced, even to the present day, the fortunes of his country.

A sum was owing to Don José by a trader of Capudare, and he intrusted his son with the task of collecting the debt. One fine day, in the spring of 1807, the lad accordingly set out, in high spirits at his important mission, armed with a brace of pistols and a cutlass, and mounted on a trusty mule. The money was duly collected, but, as young José Antonio journeyed home with it, a rumor of his precious charge was spread, and he was beset in a lonely by-path by four highwaymen. The pistols flashed from José's holsters, and one of the churriones fell the next moment with a bullet in his brain. Instantly presenting the second pistol, which was not loaded, he advanced upon the remaining three, who fell back in consternation, and fled, panic-stricken, from the boy. José Antonio was left alone with the highwayman's corpse. It was no light thing in Venezuela to commit a homicide without testimony of innocence, and young José hastened homewards with his treasure, in a state of trepidation far greater than any the living highwaymen could have inspired. Even in his parents' dwelling, he dreaded, every moment, the arrival of an order for his arrest, and to appease his groundless anxiety his father shortly suggested that he should take refuge upon the Llanos,—the Sherwood of Venezuelan Robin Hoods. The youth was delighted with the idea, and engaged himself as herdsman in the service of Don Manuel Pulido, a wealthy proprietor, whom he served so well that he was very quickly advanced to a position of confidence and command. In a few months the slayer of the churrion had learned to smile at his recent apprehensions; but the wild life of the hato had already thrown around him its subtle fascination, and the sprightly youth of Araure had become a naturalized son of the Plains. Soon few were able like young José to break an untried steed; few wielded more dexterously the lasso, or could drive with more unerring force the jagged lance into the side of a galloping bull. Clad in poncho and calzones, he scoured the vast plain of La Calzada, acquiring, at the same time with manual dexterity and physical hardihood, the affections, still more important, of the wild Llaneros with whom only he associated. The lad of eighteen, scarcely two years a denizen of the Plains, possessed all the influence and authority of the hoariest Llanero; and now the predictions ran that this daring José Antonio would one day be the most successful cattle-farmer in Venezuela!



We must leave young José among his comrades of the hato for a while, and glance at the contemporaneous doings of anointed heads, whose destinies were strangely interwoven with his own.

Far away across the Atlantic, in the shadow of the Pyrenees, events had been developing themselves to the consummation that should overturn a splendid throne, shake Europe to its foundations, and electrify Spanish America with a sympathetic current of revolution, flashing from the pines of Oregon to the deserts of Patagonia.

The mysterious treachery of Bayonne was consummated. Joseph, brother of Napoleon, reigned on the throne of which King Charles had been perfidiously despoiled. Ferdinand, heir to the crown of Spain and the Indies, had scarcely heard himself proclaimed as the seventh monarch of that name, when he had resigned his kingly functions to a Regency, and hastened into the snare which already held his father a captive on the soil of France. The astounding intelligence arrived in different parts of South America during the year 1808. The effect was everywhere alike. One moment of utter bewilderment, an instant's reeling under the shock of surprise, and then a magnificent outburst of loyalty from the simple-hearted Creole population! El Rey, the King,—that almost mythical sovereign, who was ignorantly adored as the personification of wisdom and beneficence, no matter how cruelly Viceroys might misgovern, or Captains-General oppress,—was it possible to conceive him a captive, the signer of his own humiliation, the renouncer of his immemorial rights? And Ferdinand, the young monarch of whom so little was known and so much expected,—he, too, a voluntary prisoner, while a Frenchman reigned in Madrid? This was news, indeed, to bewilder nations who had hitherto remained content in infantile tutelage, unconscious, undesirous, of the rights of men! Addresses, fervent with loyalty, were dispatched to Spain, embodying vows of eternal affection towards the King, and of detestation of Joseph, the usurper. French residents in Venezuela were publicly execrated by the excited Creoles; the French flag was insulted, and the French messengers were glad to escape with their lives from the hands of the infuriated Colonists. No Spanish monarch ever had a firmer hold upon the Indies than Ferdinand VII. when Spain was lost to him in July and August, 1808.

But soon there came that inevitable question, first in the catechism of all human society: Whom shall we obey? The King, whose hand had weighed not over lightly these many years, an abdicated prisoner at Bayonne; Ferdinand yielding his authority into the hand of a nameless Regency, and his capital to the brother of the Corsican Emperor; Spain overrun by two hundred thousand foreign troops; messengers at hand from Joseph, from the Regency, from the Junta of the Asturias, from the Junta of Seville, each alike asserting its right to authority over the Colonies, as legitimate possessors of jurisdiction in Spain itself! The accession of Joseph, in fact, gave a momentary independence to Spanish America, and the royal governors were thrown upon their own resources for the maintenance of their power. The Colonies were for the first time called upon to provide for their own defence,—solicited, not commanded, to obey; and they proved their loyalty by dispatching enormous sums in gold and silver to the Junta at Cadiz, as well as by their eagerness to ascertain in whom actually reposed the lawful government of Spain. Gradually, however, the consciousness of their own entity stole over the Venezuelans and New Granadians, and they bethought them of establishing an administrative Junta of their own, until better times should dawn on Spain. Blindly imprudent, the Viceroy violently opposed the project, and with such troops as remained in the Colonies the first Juntas were dispersed or massacred. Squabbles ensued, until the citizens of Caracas quietly deposed the chief Colonial authorities, and appointed a Junta Suprema to administer affairs in the name of Ferdinand VII. Intelligence of this step, however, was received with great alarm by the sapient Junta of Cadiz, and a proclamation was launched, on the 31st of August, 1810, declaring the Province of Caracas in a state of rigorous blockade. A war of manifestoes ensued, until the Provinces became enlightened as to their own importance and strength, and published, on the 5th of July, 1811, the Declaration of their Independence. Scarcely was this done when the Spanish Cortes offered liberal terms of accommodation, but they were rejected. The nation, that in 1808 thought it sweet to be subject, declared itself, three years later, for unqualified independence. The ardent revolutionist, General Miranda, was placed in command of some hastily-levied forces, and took the field against the Spanish commander, Don Domingo Monteverde, who had assumed a hostile attitude immediately after the Declaration.

It is only necessary here to say, that, after some hard-fought and honorable fields, Miranda and his fellow-officers were completely successful. All the principal cities were in the hands of the Patriots before 1812 began. Monteverde, in January of that year, was cooped up in the remote province of Guiana, and Coro on the sea-coast was also held by his troops; but elsewhere the new Republic seemed fully established. Already the point of Constitution-making—the crystallization-point of republics—had been reached. The ports of Venezuela were for the first time opened to foreign trade. Her inhabitants were no longer restricted from the enjoyment of the fruits of their own industry. A gigantic system of taxation had been brushed, like a spider's web, away. Two-thirds of the Captain-Generalcy, in a word, were free.

There was little fear among any of the inhabitants of Caracas, in March, 1812, that they would again fall under the dominion of Spain. The Carnival had been celebrated with greater joyousness than in any year before; the proverbial gayety of the town was doubled during the concluding festival of Shrove Tuesday; and Lent had scarcely thrown as deep a shade as usual over the devoutest inhabitants of the city. Lent drew to a close, and there was every prospect that Passion Week would be succeeded by a season of rejoicing over impending defeats of the Royalist Goths in Coro and Guiana; and Passion Week came. Holy Thursday fell on the 26th of March.

The solemn festival was ushered in with the most imposing rites of the Church. In the great cathedral, which dwarfed all other buildings in the Plaza, there was high mass that day. The famous bell clanged out to all Caracas remembrance of the agony of our Lord. A silent multitude was prostrated all day long before the gorgeous altar. Prelates and priests and acolytes stood, splendid in vestments of purple and white and gold, solemnly celebrating upon the steps of the sanctuary the holiest mysteries of the Roman Catholic communion. Above and around, gigantic tapers flared from candlesticks of beaten gold; and every little while, the glorious anthems floated forth in majestic cadence, eddying in waves of harmony about the colonnade that stretched in dusky perspective from the great door to the altar, soaring above the distant arches, and swelling upwards in floods of melody, until the vast concavity of the vaulted nave was filled with a sea of sound. But a sultry heaviness weighed with the incense upon the air. Elder citizens glanced uneasily at one another, and the thoughts of many wandered anxiously from the sacred building. Outside, the streets were empty. All Caracas was engaged in public worship; and the white dwellings that inclosed the Plaza, with its converging avenues, looked silently down upon deserted pavements, echoing only now and then to the careless tread of a party of negroes, or to the clattering heel of some undevout trooper. The sun had a glow as of molten copper; the atmosphere was dense; but not a cloud occupied the heavens. Towards evening the churches and the cathedral were again emptied, and the throng of worshippers, streaming out into the streets, prepared to witness the great religious procession that was to close the ceremonies of the holy day. Still the declining sun glowed with unnatural intensity of hue; and the evening breeze swept over the town in unusually fitful and stormy gusts. The air seemed to be laden with mysterious melancholy, to sigh with a hidden presage of some awful calamity to come.

Of a sudden it came. A shudder, a tremor, a quivering shock ran, for hundreds of miles simultaneously, through Venezuela. A groan, swelling thunderously and threateningly into a hollow roar, burst from the tortured earth, and swallowed up in its convulsive rumbling the shrieks of an entire nation suddenly inwrapt in the shadow and agony of death. For a moment,—as if a supernatural hand were painfully lifting it from its inmost core,—the earth rocked and heaved through all Venezuela; and then, almost before the awful exclamation, El temblor! had time to burst from the lips of that stricken nation, it bounded from the bonds that held it, and in a moment was quaking, heaving, sliding, surging, rolling, in awful semblance to the sea. Great gulfs opened and closed their jaws, swallowing up and again belching forth dwellings, churches, human beings, overtaken by instantaneous destruction.

A flash and a roar passed through the earth, and a jagged chasm followed in its track, creating others in its rapid clash and close. Whole cities shivered, tottered, reeled, and fell in spreading heaps of undistinguishable ruin. In one minute and fifteen seconds, twenty thousand human beings perished in Venezuela; and then the Earthquake of Caracas ceased.

It was after four o'clock in the afternoon when the first subterranean shock was felt; and long before five the agonized earth was still. Long before five, the stupefied survivors stood slowly recovering their faculties of speech and motion. Long before five, a piteous wail ascended to heaven from fathers and husbands and wives and mothers, desolately mourning the dead in the streets of Caracas, La Guayra, Mérida, San Felipe, and Valencia. In this manner the Holy Thursday of 1812 drew toward its close. But the physical disasters consequent upon the great earthquake were of insignificant import as compared with its moral effect. Colonist and Spaniard had shared alike in suffering and death during those dreadful moments; but the superstitious population readily accepted the interpretation which an eager priesthood placed upon the event, and bowed in the belief that they had suffered the infliction in punishment of their rebellion against the King. Nine-tenths of the clergy and monastic brotherhood inwardly hated and feared the Revolution, and their practised tongues drew terrible auguries for rebellious Venezuela from the recent throes and upheaval of the earth. Preachers solemnly proclaimed the fact, that this, without doubt, was a catastrophe akin to the memorable convulsion which once had swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, for mutiny against the Lord; and the proximate wrath of God could be appeased only by a retrogression into his chosen paths. The people listened to the fathers, and obeyed trembling. Miranda, who had struggled against and overcome the material power of his enemies, was impotent when confronted by spiritual terrors; and after a few languid combats, his troops deserted, leaving Monteverde to triumph once more in the assertion of Spanish authority over every province of Venezuela. His headquarters were established at Caracas, and there, as well as elsewhere, his troops revelled in the perfidious torture and execution of their capitulated foes. During nearly two years, Monteverde reigned in Venezuela.



Yet, towards the close of 1813, the star of liberty glimmered once more from the summits of the Western Cordillera. During and after the memorable earthquake, the city of Puerto Cabello, at that time held by the Patriots, was under the command of a young colonel in the Republican service, who had devoted a portion of his immense patrimonial wealth to the culture of his intellectual powers in European travel, (not, however, without subsequently applying a large share to the necessities of his country,) and whose name was Simon Bolívar. The treachery of an officer delivered the citadel of Puerto Cabello into the hands of some Spanish prisoners who were there confined, and in June, 1812, Colonel Bolívar was compelled to evacuate the town with all his force. While Monteverde lorded it over his country, he took refuge in the neighboring islands, and afterwards in New Granada, where he conceived the daring project which freed Venezuela, and has perpetuated, with his name, the simple but expressive title: Liberator, Libertador.

It is not our purpose here to follow the intrepid partisan in his descent, with six hundred New Granadian adherents, from the Andes, upon the astounded Spaniards. We cannot follow him, nor the generals whom he created, in their marvellous marches, and still more marvellous triumphs, during many succeeding years. Suffice it to say, that he fell like a thunderbolt from a sunny sky upon the confident Royalist troops,—that he defeated and routed them time after time, broke, with his terrible lancers, upon encampments which believed him a hundred miles away, and drove the Royal commanders, with varying success, from one point to another of Venezuela. His watchword was, Guerra á la muerte, "War unto death!" Every battle-ground became a shamble, every flight a butchery. The system was inaugurated by his antagonists, who cruelly slew eight Patriot officers, and eight citizens of Barinas, shortly after the commencement of hostilities, under circumstances of peculiar barbarity. Thenceforward Bolívar's men took no prisoners.

In the mean time, Wellington had driven the French across the Pyrenees, and Ferdinand the Adored ruled once more in Madrid. Even now, judicious management might have secured again the allegiance of the Colonies; but the first action of Ferdinand was to vituperate his American subjects as rebels, whom he commanded to lay down their arms at once; and on the 18th of February, 1815, there sailed from Cadiz a stately armament intended to enforce this peremptory order. Sixty-five vessels composed the fleet, bearing six regiments of infantry, one of dragoons, the Queen's hussars, artillery, sappers and miners, engineers, and eighteen pieces of cannon, besides incalculable quantities of arms and munitions of war. The expedition numbered fifteen thousand men, and was commanded in chief by the famous soldier, General Don Pablo Morillo, the guerilla champion, the opposer of the French.

On the 4th of April, this redoubtable army effected a landing; and once more, all but an insignificant fraction of Venezuela fell under the hand of Spain. The flood of successful rebellion was rolled back from the coast, and Bolívar, with his dauntless partisans, was soon confined to the Llanos, which stretch away in level immensity from the marshy banks of the Orinoco, the Apure, and their tributaries.

Our readers have already been introduced to these Llanos, and have beheld their wild inhabitants amid the monotonous avocations of a time of peace. Let us now approach them while the "blood-red blossom of war" blazes up from their torrid vegetation. Let us descend upon them at night, here, at no great distance from the banks of the cayman-haunted Apure, and we shall gaze upon a different scene. All around us, the plain extends in the same desolate immensity that we noticed when we looked upon it from the hato; still, as before, we see it covered with a dense wilderness of reedy grasses that overtop the tallest trooper in Morillo's army; as before, we notice the scattered palm-islands, breaking here and there the uniformity of level; and hosts of cattle and wild horses are still roaming over the plain.

Near a mata, or grove of palm-trees, there is a sound of merry voices to-night. Fires are crackling here and there; huge strips of fresh beef are roasting on wooden spits; the long grass has been trodden flat in a wide circumference, and three or four rudely-constructed huts of palm-branches close the scene on one side. Five hundred men are collected here,—the élite of the liberators of Venezuela. Gathered about their camp-fires, these troopers, who have ridden a hundred miles since morning, are enjoying rest, refreshment, and recreation. But the word trooper must not conjure up a vision of belted horsemen, rigid in uniform, with clanking sabres, and helmets of brass. Of a far different stamp are the figures reclining before us. These are improvised warriors, hateros, cattle-farmers, who, grasping their lances and lassos, have eagerly exchanged the monotony of pastoral life for the wild excitement of the charge upon Spanish squadrons, and the ferocious slaughter of fellow-men. No two of this invincible band are clad alike. Here is a sergeant, wearing an old and dilapidated blanket poncho-fashion, with the remains of a palm-leaf hat sheltering his head, and with limbs which a pair of ragged calzones make only a pretence of covering. Yet over his left shoulder is slung a gorgeous hussar jacket, which he wears with the greater pride since it belonged last night to a lieutenant in the Queen's regiment, whom he slew in cold blood after the fight! Next to him leans a private, bare-legged and bare-headed, wearing only an old piece of carpet about his waist, a flannel shirt, and the uniform coat of a Spanish officer, from which he has cut the right sleeve in order to secure greater freedom for his arm. A third has made himself a suit which Robinson Crusoe might have envied. Helmet, jerkin, breeches, sandals, all have been cut from the same raw bull's hide! His neighbor, a new recruit, still wears the national dress of his order, which has not yet been tattered and torn from him by long service; and he is the envy of the motley troop. But the lack of uniformity in no wise detracts from valor, nor does it diminish the gayety of these terrible lancers as they lie idly grouped about the flickering fires. Half-a-dozen circles are absorbed in as many games at cards; others are swallowing greedily some improvised fantastic tale; and some are singing, in wild, irregular cadence, the favorite songs of the Plains. Their example soon becomes contagious, and group after group chimes in with the uproarious chant. Listen! From the farthest extremity of the encampment comes a querying solo:—

"De todos los Generales cual es el valiente?"

and from five hundred throats the response is thundered:—

"Mi General Paez con toda su gente!"

Again the solo demands:—

"De todos los Generales cual es el major?"

and the tumultuous answer is vociferated:—

"Es mi General José con su guardia de honor!"

And who may be the valiant General, the General with his guard of honor, excelling all the rest? This, we learn, is the guard of honor; the General is José Antonio Paez, little José Antonio who killed the highwayman and betook himself to cattle farming on the Plains! Now, however, he is the famous Llanero chieftain, favorite champion of Venezuela, brother-in-arms of Bolívar, who allows him, alone of all the military leaders, the privilege of an especial body-guard. Since 1810,—for five years,—he has been fighting constantly in his country's service, and has won himself fame while our eyes have been turned in other directions. Look! he is standing there, at the entrance to his hut, while the chorus yet echoes among the palm-branches. Scarcely of middle stature, certainly not more than five feet four in height,—but broad-shouldered, muscular, with a constitution of iron, equal to perpetual exertion, capable of every fatigue. His countenance is open and prepossessing, his features rounded, forehead square, eyes piercing and intelligent. Like his men, he wears a motley garb,—part Spanish uniform, part costume of the Llanos; and he leans upon a lance, decorated with a black bannerol, which has carried death already to innumerable Loyalist hearts. Thus José Antonio Paez stands before us, on the banks of the Apure, in the twenty-fifth year of his age.

He has perhaps been hitherto too much neglected by us, and we must look backwards in order to take up the thread of his career. At the very first outbreak of insurrection in 1810, Paez took service as a volunteer in the hastily-levied militia of Barinas, and was quickly promoted to the post of sergeant in a corps of lancers. His influence and example attracted multitudes of Llanero horsemen to the Revolutionary ranks, but the calamitous period of the earthquake put an end to his military service, and he returned, in 1812, to his pastoral post. Soon, however, came news of Bolívar fighting from the mountains of New Granada; and in 1813 Paez was once more in the saddle, with the commission, this time, of captain in the Patriot service. The Spaniards soon learned to dread the fiery lancer of Barinas. They were never safe from his sudden onslaught; and Puy, the commandant of the Province, rejoiced loudly when an unlucky defeat placed the indefatigable guerrillero in his power. Paez was condemned to be shot, and was actually led out, with other prisoners, to the place of execution; but a concatenation of extraordinary accidents saved his life, and he escaped once more to the head of his command. It was not long before he was brought in immediate contact with the now famous Bolívar, and he rapidly rose to independent command. In 1815, he was second only to the Liberator. Thousands of grim Llaneros acknowledged no chieftain beside el Tio Pepe,—Uncle Joe. When Morillo landed, in 1815, with his overwhelming force, only the Llaneros of Paez held out for the Republic; everywhere else in Venezuela the banner of Spain waved in triumph, but on the Plains of the Apure there was neither submission nor peace. Yet, after a while, as the victorious legions of Morillo flooded, in successive waves from the coast, the level region of his refuge, Paez was compelled to evacuate the Plains, and leave them to the invader. With a few hundred of his horsemen he established himself on the Plains of New Granada. Scarcely had he grown familiar with his new centre of action when the troops of Morillo were turned westward for the purpose of curbing the rebellious spirits in the neighboring Vice-Royalty,—when, quicker than thought, Paez was once more over the mountains, and recovered by a sudden swoop the Llanos of Barinas. Thenceforward, this region remained the surest foothold of the revolution in Venezuela. Encircled with Spanish troops, it remained, nevertheless, a practical republic in itself, and the vast basin of the Orinoco was the cradle of Venezuelan freedom. The Provisional Government consisted of a mere council of generals, who, in 1816, created Paez General and Supreme Chief of the Republic. A vast stride from the hatero's hut that we saw him inhabiting in 1808!

Paez resigned this dignity in favor of Bolívar in the following year, contenting himself with his great military command. Surrounded by the body-guard we have seen, through all the years 1816, 1817, and 1818, now in Venezuela, now in New Granada, in the Plains to-day, in the mountains to-morrow, enduring every privation, braving odds apparently the most overwhelming, fighting pitched battles at midnight, and triumphantly effecting surprises in the open day, he maintained alive, in the midst of general discouragement, the cause he had espoused. Bolívar, the Liberator, was meanwhile endeavoring to make head against the Spaniards elsewhere, and gathered a considerable force in the interior province of Guiana. In 1818, the vanguard of the British legion—troops browned by the sun of Spain, who had marched with Wellington from Lisbon to the Pyrenees, and who gladly accepted the offers of the Patriots when Waterloo had put an end to European strife—sailed up the Orinoco, and effected a junction with the assembled Patriot forces.

At this time, not only the whole of New Granada, but the entire sea-coast of Venezuela and every important city in the Republic were possessed by Morillo. Yet the Royalist cause made no progress. Morillo's dominion was like that famous Haarlem lake which occupied so large an extent of the lands of Holland; it might be great and threatening, but barriers insurmountable, though unpretending, forbade its expansion, and perseverance gradually succeeded in curtailing its limits. Whatever the hand of Morillo covered, he possessed; but his authority ceased outside the range of his guns. His men were growing weary of the struggle; few reinforcements came from Spain; and the troops suffered frightfully, through their constant fatigues and hardships. The war had become that most terrible of all wars,—a deliberate system of surprises and skirmishes. Paez here, Bolívar there, Monágas, Piar, Urdaneta, and a score of other chieftains, at every vulnerable point, harassed, without ceasing, the common foe.

In 1819, Bolívar set out upon that marvellous expedition across the Andes in which, by marching one thousand miles and fighting three pitched battles in somewhat less than eleven weeks, he finally liberated New Granada, and secured a vast amount of Spanish treasure and munitions of war. During his absence, Paez was left to keep Morillo in check on the east of the Cordillera. His plan of operations was, to be everywhere, and to do everything with his lancers. Venezuela clung with terrible tenacity to the idea of freedom; and the Republic was converted into two great camps, perpetually shifting their boundaries, yet ever presenting the same features. Trade and commerce were at an end; the only business thought of was that of war unto death. Death, everywhere; death, at all times; death, in every shape. By the sword and the lance, by famine, by drowning, by fire, decimated by fever, worn out by fatigue, the Spaniards perished. When their convoys failed or were intercepted, it was impossible to obtain food; no foraging-party dared venture forth from the fortified encampment; it was necessary that an entire division should march out into the Llanos, and seek for the nearest herd of cattle. It not unfrequently happened, in these expeditions, that the very cattle were enlisted on the Patriot side. Herds of several thousands of the savage beasts were sometimes driven headlong upon the Spanish lines, throwing them into confusion, and trampling or goring great numbers to death. Close in the rear of the resistless herd then charged the lancers of Paez, with the terrible black bannerol fluttering in the van. Before the scattered Royalists have time to rally, they are attacked in every direction by their merciless foes,—and in another minute the battle is over, and the men of the Plains are out of sight! Sometimes, too, a detachment traversing the savanna would notice with affright a column of thin smoke stealing up into the sky a mile to windward; and almost before the bugle or the drum could summon them to arms, the flames would be seething and crackling around them, and roaring away, in an ocean of fire, across the savanna beyond. And then, in the rear of the flames, dashed the bloodthirsty lancers, and the blackened embers of the grass turned red with the richness of Spanish veins! No venture was too arduous for the Llanero chieftain. He accomplished at one time an exploit in which only the multiplicity of witnesses who have testified to the achievement permits us to believe. San Fernando, an important town on the Apure, was strongly fortified, and was held by the Spaniards as a potent means of annoying the Patriots in any attempts they might make to cross the river. In order further to defend the passage, six large river-boats, each containing a piece of artillery, were anchored at a short distance below the only ford. But it became necessary that the Apure should be crossed, and Paez quietly undertook to secure the passage. With a few of his lancers, he rode to the river-bank, and there gave the command, Al agua, muchachos! "To the water, boys!" which he was accustomed to use when ordering his men to bathe. His meaning was at once apprehended. The men, stripping off their upper clothing, and holding their swords under their arms, plunged into the stream, shouting loudly to keep off the alligators, and partly rode, partly swam, nearly half a mile towards the gun-boats. Only the heads of horses and men were visible above the water, and the crews of the gun-boats, after a single discharge, which wounded none of the extraordinary attacking party, threw themselves into the river and made the best of their way to San Fernando, where they alleged that it was useless to contest possession of their charge with incarnate devils, to whom water was the same us dry land, and who butchered all their prisoners. The gun-boats were navigated in triumph to the Patriot camp, and did excellent service in ferrying the troops across the Apure.



By the year 1820 the Revolutionists had for the third time perceptibly gained ground, and Morillo's force, spread like a fan at the inland base of the sierra, was gradually yielding to the unceasing pressure;—in a word, the Patriots were at length driving their enemies into the sea. Towards the close of 1820, Morillo opened negotiations with their chiefs, and a suspension of hostilities was commenced on the 26th of November, when the Spanish general gladly quitted the scene of his fruitless efforts, and retired to Spain with the title of Count of Carthagena, leaving Generals Morales and La Torre in authority behind him. The armistice was not prolonged. The Congress of Colombia, as the united republics of Venezuela and New Granada were then termed, demanded unqualified independence as the price of peace; and in June—the Battle Month—of 1821, Bolívar and Paez took up arms once more. The Spanish troops were concentrated at the base of the mountains, with Valencia and Caracas in their rear. Before them, the road wound westward, through tortuous passes, towards Tinaquilla and Barinas, at the former of which places Bolívar with his forces was now halting. Six thousand men were in arms on either side; but the troops of the Republic, though ragged, ill-fed, and badly armed, were flushed with the consciousness of success and the presentiment of triumph, while those of Spain were dispirited, worn out, and malcontent.

It was plain to the meanest trooper, however, that Carabobo must be held; and on intelligence of the Patriot advance, the position, of amazing strength, was resolutely occupied. It seemed, indeed, that a regiment could defend such a pass with ease against an army. In order to debouch upon the Plain of Carabobo, the Patriots must penetrate a defile, forming a narrow and tortuous pass, the road through which was a mere seam at the base of a deep ravine. This narrow passage, through which, of necessity, Bolívar's troops must march in straggling line, terminated abruptly in a basin or valley shut in by hills, except upon the northeast, where it opened upon the boundless expanse of the contested plain. At the mouth of this gorge La Torre lay with all his force. Despite the unfavorable condition of his men, with whom, moreover, he was not popular, the odds seemed overwhelmingly in his favor. He stood on the defensive, in one of the strongest of military positions, and well provided with artillery, while his adversary was to struggle through a narrow valley in the face of his opponents, before a single man could be made available. The mouth of this valley was blockaded by the Spanish infantry, who stretched in silent lines from side to side in the evening of the 23d of June. On either flank, the hills were occupied by corps of riflemen, and the artillery was posted at their base. No force, it appeared, could enter the beleaguered valley and live. Bolívar commenced his passage through the defile on the morning of the 24th, and halted in dismay as he reached the outlet. It was too apparent that such a conflict as lay before him could not be braved. At this moment Paez learned that a narrow side-path existed, permitting the passage of a single file, which led, by a détour, to the plain. It was one of those curious accidents on which the fate of battles seems to hang; and after some hesitation, Bolívar permitted Paez to venture the passage. Heading the famous Battalion of Apure, he at once wheeled to the left, and commenced the toilsome march. One by one the veterans struggled through the pass, but they were discovered by La Torre before they issued upon the plain.

Although taken entirely by surprise, the Spaniards had time for a partial change of front, and before the veterans of Apure had assembled at the mouth of the pass, a volley of musketry rang out from the Spanish lines, and the gleaming of bayonets told of a wall of steel across the path. The scanty force of Paez, however, dashed from the ravine, and, forming hastily, rushed upon the enemy. Four Royalist battalions converged upon them, and they were crushed. They fell back, flying in disorder, and the Spaniards were on the point of securing the pass, when a shout arose before them that made the stoutest quail. With one ever-memorable cheer, a long hurrah, which spoke of well-known unconquerable determination, the British legion, less than eight hundred strong, with their Colonel, John Ferrier, at their head, appeared at the mouth of the ravine. Forming instantaneously and in perfect silence, but with the accuracy of a regiment on parade, they threw forward their bayonets, and knelt down, sedately, calmly, immovably, to confront destruction. The remaining troops of Bolívar were in their rear, traversing slowly the defile; and until they reached its mouth, that living wall of Anglo-Saxon valor neither stirred nor blenched. Volley after volley enfiladed their ranks, and, after each discharge, the mass of men was smaller. Still their cool and ceaseless firing rolled death into the ranks of the enemy, until at length the troops whom they had saved from destruction rallied once more. Then, what remained of the legion, headed by the two or three officers whose lives had been marvellously preserved, rushed fiercely forward like an avenging flame, and swept before them the affrighted Spaniards, wildly scattering at the onslaught which it was impossible to withstand. In another moment, eighty or ninety of the lancers of Paez issued from the ravine, and, hurling themselves upon the broken enemy, turned the defeat into an utter rout. La Torre's troops, with the exception of one regiment, fled in disgraceful confusion, or perished by hundreds under the lances of the implacable pursuers; and on the evening of the 24th of June, Bolívar, encamped upon the Plain of Carabobo, laid his hand upon the shoulder of José Antonio Paez, thenceforward General-in-chief of the Armies of the Republic of Colombia!

Carabobo decided the War of Independence throughout South America. It snapped the chain which held Venezuela down, and the Spaniards, hemmed in for two years longer at Puerto Cabello, which place they defended with honorable pertinacity, were finally expelled from the free Republic in November, 1823. The city was taken by storm on the 7th of that month, and on the 9th the citadel surrendered. General Calzada, the commandant, with all his officers, and four hundred men, was shortly afterwards shipped for Spain.

Here the career of the Llanero closes. A new and still more brilliant avenue to distinction opens before Paez. At this, however, we can scarcely glance. Our business has been to study him in the saddle, wielding lasso and sword and lance; nor have we left ourselves room for adequate allusion to his subsequent life as President and private citizen, deliverer of his country, and exile in these Northern States. Yet the record could not be called complete, unless we passed briefly in review the vicissitudes of the past thirty years.

After the taking of Puerto Cabello, Paez administered the affairs of Venezuela as Provisional Chief of the State, and held that office under the Congress of Colombia, until the two republics were dissevered in 1830, when he was elected first President of Venezuela. Only partially disturbed by a military insurrection, headed by the turbulent General José T. Monágas, which was soon suppressed, the administration of Paez was such as surprised all lookers-on in America and Europe. He displayed administrative talents of a high order, with all the firmness and resolution of a soldier, yet with all the business capacity and peaceful proclivities of a civilian.

Laying down the Presidential office in 1834, he was again called upon to assume it four years later, and until the close of 1842 Venezuela prospered under his direction. The foreign and domestic debt was liquidated by the products of national industry, and three millions of dollars were left in the treasury on the accession to the Presidency of General Soublette, in 1843. Honors had rained on the ci-devant impetuous horseman, whose shout had once so frequently been the prelude to slaughter and devastation. William the Fourth of England presented General Paez, in 1837, with a sword of honor; Louis Philippe of France invested him, in 1843, with the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor; and two years later, there arrived from Oscar of Sweden the Cross of the Military Order of the Sword.

But in 1850, and thenceforward, until 1858, José Antonio Paez trod the streets of New York as an exile from his native land.

General José T. Monágas was elected President of Venezuela in 1848, and created dissatisfaction by his course of action. Paez placed himself at the head of an insurrectionary movement against him, and, being defeated, was imprisoned in the city of Valencia. General Monágas, influenced, it is probable, by feelings of ancient friendship, and remembering the pardon extended to himself on a former similar occasion, contented himself with a decree of exile against the captive veteran, and Paez embarked for St. Thomas on the 24th of May, 1850. He passed from St. Thomas to the United States.

All, whose memories extend so far back as the year 1850, remember the ovation received in New York by the exiled chief. New York grants an ovation to every one; and Monágas would, doubtless, have been received with the same demonstration, had the breath of adverse fortune blown him hither, instead of his antagonist.

After the first effervescence produced by the dropping of a notability into the caldron of New York, the Llanero general was permitted to enjoy his placid domesticity without molestation; and in a pleasant street, far up-town among the Twenties, he lived in the midst of us for eight quiet years. A curious serenity of evening, for a life so turbulent and incarnadined in its beginning! How many of the thousands who were wont to pass the stout old soldier, with his seamed forehead and gray moustache, as he enjoyed his quiet stroll down Broadway, thought of him as the lad of Araure, the horseman of Barinas, terror of the Spaniard, victor of Carabobo, and President of Venezuela? But though retired and unpretending in his exile, Paez was not neglected in New York; and the procession which followed him, but a few weeks since, to the steamer destined to bear him back to his native land,—a procession saddened, it is true, by the feeble condition to which an accident had temporarily reduced the chieftain,—showed that his solid worth was recognized and honored.

Not yet, however, is it time for the summing-up of his history. The exile of 1850 has been solicited to return to his country, and the ninth anniversary of banishment may find him occupying once more the Presidential chair. General Monágas having been deposed in March, 1858, repeated invitations were dispatched, by the Provisional Government, to Paez, entreating his return; and, after much cautious hesitation, he resolved, in the following September, to comply with the request. Subsequent events belong rather to the chronology of the day than to the page of history we have thrown open here. Our task is at an end; the career of the Llanero has been unfolded; we have placed ourselves in the presence of the comrade of Bolívar, and have witnessed the rise of the Venezuelan Republic.





The boat lay at the wharf, a pretty little craft of six or eight tons, with a mainsail and jib. It was a delightful afternoon; a gentle westerly wind swept over a placid sea, and the sky was as clear as the mirror that reflected its exquisite blue. Greenleaf and Miss Sandford took their seats amidships, leaving the stern for the boatman. The ropes were cast off, and the sailor was about stepping aboard, when it was discovered that the fishing-lines had been left behind. Old Tarry was dispatched to bring them, and he rolled off as fast as his habitual gait allowed him. When he was fairly up the hill, Miss Sandford said,—

"You know how to sail a boat, don't you?"

"Yes," said Greenleaf, "I have frequently been out alone; but I thought
I would not take the responsibility of a more precious freight."

"It would be delightful to have a sail by ourselves."

"Charming, truly! Our salt-water friend may be a very estimable person, but we should be freer to talk in his absence."

"Suppose you try it. I will sit here, and you take his place."

Greenleaf hesitated; the proposal was a tempting one, but he had no great confidence in his own skill.

"The sea is like a pond," continued his companion. "We can sail out a short distance, and then return for our pilot, if we like."

Greenleaf allowed himself to be persuaded. He shoved off the boat, hoisted sail, and they were soon lightly skimming the waters of the bay. They rounded the rocky point and stood for the eastward. Their boatman soon appeared on the shore and made frantic gestures to no purpose; they looked back and rather enjoyed his discomfiture.

Never did the sea have such a fascination for Greenleaf. He held the rudder and drew the sheets with a feeling of proud mastery, deeper and more exciting than the horseman feels on the back of his steed. These first emotions, however, gradually lost their intensity, and he resigned himself to the measureless content which the gentle motion, the bland air, and the sunny sky inspired.

What had been the character of Miss Sandford's regard for Greenleaf hitherto would he a difficult question to answer; it is doubtful whether she knew, herself. She had been pleased with his conversation and manners, flattered by his graceful and not too obsequious attentions, and proud of his success in his art. Living upon the pleasures of the day, without a thought of the future, she had never seriously reflected upon the consequences of her flirtation, supposing that, as in every former case, there would come a time of ennui and coolness. Besides, she had felt the force of her prudent sister-in-law's suggestion, that a man without an estate would never be able to supply the necessities of a woman of fashion. With all her quasi advances a degree of reserve was mingled, and she persuaded herself that she should never become entangled beyond the power of retreat. But Greenleaf was not an easy conquest. She was aware of her influence over him, and employed all her arts to win and secure his devotion; as long as the least indifference on his part remained, she was unsatisfied. But in this protracted effort she had drifted unconsciously from her own firm anchorage. Day by day his society had grown more and more necessary to her, and her habitual caution was more and more neglected. The conduct of Greenleaf, without any design on his part, had been such as to draw her on irresistibly, until their positions had become reversed; she was now fascinated beyond self-control, and without a thought of the future, while he was merely agreeable, but inwardly cool and self-possessed. Still at times the strange thrills returned as the soft light of her eyes fell upon him, and the intoxication he felt at his first meeting with her again drowned his senses in delight.

They did not talk very freely that summer's day. The heart when full rarely pours itself out in words. A look, a pressure of the hand, or (if such improprieties are to be imagined) a kiss, expresses the emotions far better than the most glowing speech. It was enough for Marcia, steeped in delicious languor, to sway with the rocking boat, to feel the soft wind dallying with her hair, and to look with unutterable fondness at her companion.

As long as the ceremonies of society are observed, and people are kept asunder a room's distance, so that only the mind acts, and the senses are in repose, reserve may keep up its barrier. Words lose their electricity in passing through a cool tract of air, and Reason shows all things in her own clear white light. But establish a magnetic circle by contact, let hand rest in quivering hand, while eye looks into melting eye, and Reason may as well resign her sway. When the nerves tingle, the heart bounds, and the breath quickens, estates, honors, family, prudence, are of little worth. The Grundys, male and female, may go hang; the joy of the present so transcends all memory, so eclipses hope even, that all else is forgotten.

The boat careened somewhat, and Marcia changed her seat to the opposite side, quite near to Greenleaf. His right hand held the tiller,—his left, quite unconsciously, it would seem, fell into her open palm. The subtile influence ran through every fibre. What he said he did not know, only that he verged towards the momentous subject, and committed himself so far that he must either come plainly to the point or apologize and withdraw as best he might. Could he withdraw, while, as he held her soft hand, that lambent fire played along his nerves? He did not give up the hand.

Poor little Alice! Her picture in his breast-pocket no longer weighed upon his heart.

The breeze freshened, the boat rose and fell with easy motion over the whitening waves. The sun all at once was obscured. They looked behind them; a heavy black cloud was rising rapidly in the west. Greenleaf put the boat about, and, as it met the shock of the sea, they were covered with spray. To go back in the wind's eye was clearly impossible; they must beat up, and, hauling as close to the wind as possible, they stood towards Swampscot. For a mile or two they held this course, and then tacked. But making very little headway in that direction, the bow was turned northward again. In coming about they shipped so much water, that Marcia, though by no means a coward, screamed out, "We are lost!" She flung herself into the bottom of the boat and laid her head in Greenleaf's lap like a frightened child. He soothed her and denied that there was danger; he did not venture to tack again, however, for fear of being swamped, but determined to run northwardly along the coast in the hope of getting ashore on some sandy beach before the fury of the storm should come. The boat now careened so far that her gunwale was under water; he saw that he must take in the mainsail. With some difficulty he persuaded Marcia to hold the tiller while he let go the halliards. The mainsail came down with a run, and the boat kept on with the jib only, though of course at a slower rate. They were still two or three miles from shore, and the storm increased momently. They saw Lynn Beach without hope of gaining it, the wind driving them northward. Neither could Greenleaf run into the little bay of Swampscot. In spite of his efforts the boat shot by Phillips's Point, and he must therefore run upon the rocks beyond the Point or make for Marblehead harbor. But the latter was an untried and dangerous course for an inexperienced boatman, and, grim as the coast looked, he was obliged to trust to its tender mercies for the chance of getting ashore. The rain now fell in blinding torrents and a blackness as of night brooded over the sea. Greenleaf was utterly bewildered, but held on to the tiller with his aching, stiffening hand, and strove to inspire his companion with courage. The boat was "down by the head," on account of the wind's drawing the jib, and rolled and plunged furiously. Behind were threatening billows, and before were ragged, precipitous rocks, around which the surges boiled and eddied. Greenleaf quailed as he neared the awful coast; his heart stood still as he thought of the peril to a helpless woman in clambering up those cliffs, even if she were not drowned before reaching them. Every flash of lightning seemed to disclose some new horror. If life is measured by sensations, he lived years of torture in the few minutes during which he waited for the shock of the bows against the granite wall. Marcia, fortunately, had become insensible, though her sobbing, panting breath showed the extremity of terror that had pursued her as long as consciousness remained. Nearer and nearer they come; an oar's length, a step; they touch now! No, a wave careens the boat, and she lightly grazes by. Now opens a cleft, perhaps wide enough for her to enter. With helm hard down the bow sweeps round, and they float into a narrow basin with high, perpendicular walls, opening only towards the sea. When within this little harbor, the boat lodged on a shelving rock and heeled over as the wave retreated. Greenleaf and his companion, who had now recovered from her swoon, kept their places as though hanging at the eaves of a house. They were safe from the fury of the storm without, but there was no prospect of an immediate deliverance. The rock rose sheer above them thirty or forty feet, and they were shut up as in the bottom of a well. The waves dallied about the narrow entrance, shooting by, meeting, or returning on the sweep of an eddy; but at intervals they gathered their force, and, tumbling over each other, rushed in, dashing the spray to the top of the basin, and completely drenching the luckless voyagers. This, however, was not so serious a matter as it would have been if their clothes had not been wet before in the heavy rain. The tide slowly rose, and the boat floated higher and higher against the rock, as the shadows began to settle over the gulf.

In spite of the peril they had encountered, and their present discomfort and perplexity, Greenleaf now experienced an indescribable pleasure. Marcia was exhausted with fatigue and terror, and rested her head upon his shoulder. Unconsciously, he used the cheering, caressing tones which the circumstances naturally prompted. It was an occasion to draw out what was most manly, most tender, most chivalric in him. The pride of the woman was gone, her artifices forgotten. In that hour she had looked beyond the factitious distinctions of society; she had found herself face to face with her companion without disguise, as spirit looks upon spirit, and she felt herself drawn to him by the loyalty which a superior nature inevitably inspires.

A slight movement of the boat caused Greenleaf to turn his head. Just behind him there was a shelf not three feet above the gunwale; beyond that was a second step, and still farther a winding fissure. After measuring the distances again with his eye, to be sure that he should raise no illusive hope, he pointed out to Marcia the way of escape. Their conversation had naturally taken an affectionate turn, and Greenleaf's delicate courtesy and hardly ambiguous words had raised a tumult in her bosom which could no longer be repressed. She flung herself into his arms, and with tears exclaimed,—

"Dear George, you have saved my life! It is yours! Take me!"

The rush of emotion swept away the last barrier; he yielded to the impulse; he clasped her fondly in his arms and gave his heart and soul to her keeping. Carefully he assisted her up by the way he had found, and when at last they reached the top of the cliff, both fell on their knees in gratitude to Heaven for their preservation. Then new embraces and protestations. Rain and salt spray, hunger and fatigue, were of little moment in that hour.

Near the cliff stood a gentleman's villa, and to that they now hastened to procure dry clothing before returning home. They found the welcome hospitality they expected, and after rest and refreshment started to walk to Swampscot, where they could obtain a carriage for Nahant. But at the gate they met Easelmann and Mrs. Sandford, who, alarmed at their long absence, had driven in a barouche along the coast in hope of hearing some tidings of the boat.

The wanderers were overwhelmed with congratulations, mingled with deserved reproofs for their rashness in venturing forth without their pilot. On the way home, Greenleaf told the story which the reader already knows, omitting only some few passages. Easelmann turned and said, with a meaning emphasis,—

"I thought so. I thought what would happen. You aren't drowned, to be sure; but some people can't be drowned; better for them, if they could!"

Greenleaf made no reply to the brusque sarcasm, but drew Marcia closer to his side. He could not talk after such an adventure, especially while in contact with the woman for whom he had risked so much.

Poor little Alice!



The flurry in the money-market gradually increased to a storm. Confidence was destroyed, and business at a stand. The daily bulletins of failures formed the chief topic of conversation. The merchants and bankers, especially those who held Western lands, Western securities, or Western credits, went down one after another. Houses tumbled like a row of bricks. No class was safe at a time when the relations of debtor and creditor were so complicated and so universal. Stocks went down with a run. Bullion was not disappointed in his calculations, and Fletcher, in spite of his insane whims upon the subject of chances, proved himself shrewd, vigilant, and energetic. Flushed with success, he made bolder ventures, and the daily balances grew to be enormous. Within the first fortnight, Bullion had given Fletcher notes for over five thousand dollars as his share of the profits. The brokers, even, were astonished at the silent but all-powerful influence that pressed upon the market, bringing the best stocks down till they sold like damaged goods at a sheriff's auction. But Tonsor, the lucky agent, kept his counsel. Daily he attended the sales at the Board, with apparently exhaustless resources, _bear_ing pitilessly, triumphantly, until the unlucky bulls came to think the sight of his face was an ill omen.

Of all men, Sandford felt this steady, determined pressure most keenly. To sustain the credit of those in whose affairs he was concerned, he was obliged from time to time to put under the hammer stocks which had been placed in his hands. Every sale showed the value of these securities to be sinking, until it really seemed that they would come to be as worthless as the old Continental currency. But neither he nor other sufferers had any remedy;—stocks were worth only what they would bring; prices must take care of themselves; and the calm, determined bids of Tonsor were like the voice of Fate.

In his extremity, Sandford thought of Monroe, and remembering his own personal responsibility for the sum he had received, he determined to "hedge." So he sent for Monroe; he showed him the notes, all amply secured, if any man's name could be said to give security.

"You see," said Sandford, "how careful I have been. Two good names on every note. They may fail, it is true. So stocks may go for a song, and universal bankruptcy follow. See, there is a note signed by Flint, Steel, & Co., and indorsed by Lameduck, another by Kiteflyer and Co., indorsed by Burntwick, and this by Stearine & Star, indorsed by Bullion. Every dollar will yield at least the eight per cent. I promised."

"The names are good, I should think.—as long as anybody is good," said Monroe. "Still I should feel safer with a mortgage, or even with stocks; for if these do go down, they will come up again."

"Stocks!" said Sandford, with an air of contempt. "There isn't a bank that is worth that"—snapping his fingers. "They keep on their legs only by sufferance; if put to the test, they could not redeem their notes a day. The factories are worse yet,—rotten, hollow. Railroads, —eaten up with bonds and mortgages."

"Well, perhaps you have done wisely. Time will show."

"I sent for you," said Sandford, "because I knew you must be anxious. I gave you a part of the interest, you know. You'll take these notes? You approve of my judgment?"

"I must, I suppose. Yes,—you can make the transfers to me, if you like.
They may as well remain with you, however."

Sandford drew a long breath with a sense of relief. If he were to be hard pushed, these notes would serve for collateral securities.

Monroe left the office, not quite so cheerful as when he came. He remembered his mother's regrets at the disposition of the money,—their all. His own health had been failing. His relative, whom he went to see, was dead; and now that his cousin had accepted his invitation to come and live with him, he felt an increased solicitude about the future.

Sandford's main anxiety now was to provide for Stearine's note, which he felt assured the promisor could not meet. He dared not let the loss fall upon the Vortex until every expedient had been tried; for such an affair would lead at once to an unwelcome investigation of the Company's accounts. He determined first to see Bullion, to whom the note was due. He found that gentleman cool, tranquil, and not at all frightened, as he supposed he would be, at the idea of a protest. The truth was, that Bullion had already made so much in his operations, that he could easily "lift" the note; but as long as his capital was yielding such golden returns, he was not disposed to use it in that way until obliged to do so. Besides, he believed, from Sandford's anxiety, that he would himself make an effort to raise the money elsewhere. He was quite easy, therefore.

"Stearine must look out for his own paper; if he don't, he must go down. If I have to pay it, I shall any way get a dividend out of him, and, what is better, get a few days' time. Time is money, these days."

There was no course for Sandford, then, but to sell or hypothecate the shares of stock he held. Then the thought of the still falling prices frightened him. The stocks he had to sell were already quoted far below their usual price, and he, in common with all the street, had heard of the secret irresistible influence that was bearing down upon the daily sales. If Tonsor should come into market against him, the consequences might be ruinous. It was out of the question for him to stand up against any further serious depreciation.

To Tonsor he went, in the hope of persuading or buying him off from his destructive course. As he entered the broker's door he saw Fletcher hand over a package of bills, and just caught the words, "Forty-five thousand." What was Fletcher doing? He remembered that he had not met his old agent for some days, and he knew well that such a scheming brain would not be idle in a time like this. A light flashed upon him. Was Fletcher in the conspiracy? If he knew and shared in the scheme, the secret should be wrenched from him.

Mr. Sandford affected, therefore, to have come to see Fletcher only, and drew him into a corner.

"Fletcher, what's in the wind? Don't Danforth & Co. do their own buying and selling? They don't employ Tonsor, do they?"

"You don't expect me to tell their business, do you?"

"Well, no,—not exactly. I thought you might have dipped in on your own account."

"That's a good joke. How should I have the funds?"

"Any chances to invest, Fletcher? I'll give liberal commissions."

"Chances are plenty for those that have money."

Fletcher started as though he would return to his place of business. But
Sandford dropped his smooth and honeyed tone and spoke more decidedly.

"You can't blind me, Fletcher. You know what the bears are doing. They are ruining everything, knocking down prices, destroying credit, using what little money there is for speculation, thriving on the distress of the public. It's no better than highway-robbery; and it's my belief you are concerned in the plot."

"You had better go to the nobs, and not talk to me. You might as well pitch into the tellers or messengers when the banks suspend payment."

"No,—I shan't let you off. The 'nobs,' as you call them, dare not be seen in this matter; they will pocket the chestnuts, but they will get some cat's-paw to rake them out of the ashes."

"Well, what are you going to do about it?"

Fletcher was astonished at his own temerity as soon as he had uttered the words; but his prosperity and the support of Bullion had given him some courage.

"Do? you scoundrel!" said Sandford, in a rage that rarely overtook him. "What am I going to do? I'll break every bone in your skin, if you don't give up this plot you are in. Do you dare to set yourself to put me down? Don't let any of your tools dare to run my stocks! If you do, I'll go to a magistrate and have you arrested."

"When I am arrested, my good Sir," said Fletcher, with a face pale as death, but with lips firmly set, "I advise you to have your accounts ready. For I shan't be in the jug a minute before you'll have to show your papers and your cash-book to the Company."

Sandford staggered as though he had received a blow from a bruiser. He gasped for breath,—turned pale, then red,—at length with difficulty said, "You defy me, then? We shall see!"

"You have it;—I defy you, hate you, despise you! I have been your slave long enough. Do your worst. But the instant you move, I promise you that a man will look after you, d—d quick."

Sandford looked around. Tonsor was calmly counting the pile of bank-notes before him. It was near eleven. This Board would soon commence its session. He stepped into the street, slamming the door after him.

"Pretty well, for a beginning!" said Fletcher, meditating, "a shot betwixt wind and water. So much for Bullion's advice. Bullion is a trump, and Sandford be hanged!"



The fatigue, drenching, and terror of the unlucky day's sail produced their natural effects upon a rather delicate constitution. Miss Sandford was ill the following day, and, in spite of the doctors, a fever set in. Her sister-in-law was assiduous in her attentions, and Greenleaf called daily with inquiries and tender messages. While thus occupied, he had little time to consider the real state of his feelings towards the new love, still less to reflect upon his conduct towards the old. For the first time in his life he became a coward. If he meant to abide by his last engagement, honor should have led him to break the unwelcome news to Alice as best he might, and extricate himself from his false and embarrassing position. If he still loved the girl of his first choice, and felt that his untruth to her was only the result of a transient, sensuous passion, it was equally plain that he must resolutely break away from the beautiful tempter. But he oscillated, pendulum-like, between the two. When Marcia began to recover, and he was allowed to see her in her chamber, the influence she had at first exerted returned upon him with double force. In her helplessness, she appealed powerfully to the chivalric sentiment which man feels towards the dependent; her tones, softened by affection and tremulous from weakness, thrilled his soul; and the touch of her hand was electric. When he returned to his studio, as he thought of the trustful, unsuspecting, generous heart of Alice, he was smitten with a pang of remorse too keen to be borne. He tried to look at her picture, but the face was to him like the sight of a reproving angel. He could not look steadily upon the placid features; the calm eyes turned his heart to stone; the sweet mouth was an accuser he dared not face. But when next he saw Marcia, all was forgotten; while under her spell he could have braved the world, only too happy to live and die for her.

For days this struggle continued. His art had no power to amuse him or engross his thought. His friends were neglected,—Easelmann with the rest. His enemy could not have wished to see him more completely miserable. He knew that he must decide, must act; but whatever might be his determination, he had a most painful duty to perform. Let him do what he might, he must prove himself a villain. He loathed, detested himself. Sometimes he was tempted to fly; but then he reflected that he should in that way prove a scoundrel to two women instead of one. For three weeks he had not written to Alice, and the last letter he had received from her was now a month old. He took it from his pocket, where it lay among the perfumed and tinted evidences of his unfaithfulness. It was a simple thing, but how the gentle words smote upon his heart!

"MY DEAR GEORGE, (her dear George!)—How I wish I could be with you, to rejoice over your success! You are really a great artist, the papers say, and are becoming famous! Not that I love you the more for that. If you were still unknown to the world, still only a lover of beauty for its own sake, and content with painting for your own pleasure, I am not sure that I should not love you the more. But you will believe me, that I am proud of your success. If I am ambitious, it is for you. I would have the world see and know you as I do. Yet not as I do,—nobody can do that. To the world you are a great painter. To me—ah, my dearest George!—you are the noblest and truest heart that ever woman rested upon. Nobody but me knows that. I shall be proud of the homage the world gives you, because at the same time I shall say, 'That is my betrothed, my husband, whom they praise; what his heart is, no woman knows but me'"——

He could read no farther. His emotions were too powerful to be borne in silence. He yielded, and, strong man as he was, bowed his head and wept. The tears of childhood, and oftentimes the tears of woman, lie shallow; they come at the first bidding of sorrow or sympathy. But it is no common event, no common feeling, that prevails over man; nothing less than a convulsion like an earthquake unseals the fountain of tears in him. Whoever has seen the agony of a manly nature in groans and tears and sobs has something to remember for a life-time.

It was a long night,—a night of unutterable suffering, struggle, and doubt. The hours seemed shod with lead. Sleep seemed banished from the universe. But with the coming of dawn the tempest was stilled. In the clear light of day the path of duty seemed plain. He felt sure that in his heart of hearts he loved Alice, and her only. He would go at once to Marcia and tell her of his perfidy, implore the forgiveness of silence and charity, and bid her farewell. When he had reached this conclusion he became calm. As he looked out from his window, he saw the world awake from slumber, and he shared in the gladness of Nature. He even rejoiced in the prospect of deliverance from his wretched condition, although he well knew the humiliation he must pass through to attain it. He waited impatiently for the hour when he could present himself before Marcia, own his duplicity, and take leave of her. He felt strong in his new resolution. All vacillation was past. He could face any temptation without one flutter of inconstancy towards his first-love.

Greenleaf was not the only one in the city with whom the night had passed heavily. The cloud still hung over the mercantile world. Failures, by dozens, were announced daily. Men heard the dismal intelligence, as in time of pestilence they would hear the report of the dead and dying. No business-man felt secure. No amount of property, other than ready money, was any safeguard. Neighbor met neighbor, asking, with doleful accent, "Where is this going to end?" The street, at 'change hours, presented a crowd of haggard faces, furrowed with care, their eyes fixed and despairing. Some looked white with apprehension, some crushed and tearful, others stony, sullen, or defiant. Whatever was bravest had been drawn out in manly endeavor; whatever was most generous was excited to sympathy and brotherly-kindness; whatever was most selfish was stimulated by the fierce desire for self-preservation; whatever was most fiendish was roused by blind rage and useless resentment. In the halcyon days of plenty and prosperity men know little of each other; trade has its accustomed way; balances are smoothly adjusted; notes are given and paid with smiling faces; one would think that honor and manliness were the commonest of qualities. Now, every man was put to the severest proof, and showed the inborn and essential traits of his nature. Like a ship's crew on a raft, alone on the ocean without provisions, they looked at each other as they were. There, in their extremity, were to be seen calm resignation, unmanly terror, moody despair, turbulent passion, and stealthy, fiendish glances that blinked not at cannibalism itself.

Mr. Sandford, almost for the first time in his life, had been rendered nervous with apprehension. To be sure, he was not one of the "sleek-headed men that sleep o' nights"; he was always busy with some scheme; but, heretofore, success had followed every plan, and he had gone on with steadfast confidence. Now the keenest foresight was of no avail; events defied calculation; misfortunes came without end and without remedy. It was the moment of fate to him. He had gone to the last verge, exhausted every resource, and, if there were not some help, as unlooked for as a shower of gold from heaven, he must stop payment —he, whose credit had been spotless and without limit, whose name in the financial world was honor itself, whose influence had been a tower of strength in every undertaking. It was not without a struggle that he brought himself to look this inexorable fact in the face. Marcia and his sister-in-law heard him as he paced the room through the night; they had noticed his abstracted and downcast air the preceding evening; and at breakfast the few words that escaped from between his firm-set lips were sufficiently ominous. It was the first morning that Marcia had appeared at the table, and in her feeble condition the apprehension of danger was intense and overpowering. Mrs. Sandford tried in vain to change the conversation, by significant glances towards the invalid; but the brother was too much absorbed to notice anything outside of the gloomy circle that hemmed him in. Muttering still of "ruin," "beggary," and similar topics, so admirably adapted to cheer the convalescent, he swallowed his breakfast like an animal, left the room without his usual bland "good morning," and slammed the street-door after him.

A fit of hysterics was the natural consequence. The kind and sisterly widow bore, rather than led, Marcia to an upper room, propped her with pillows in an arm-chair, and employed every tender and womanly art to soothe her excited nerves. Calmness came, but only with exhaustion. The door-bell rang. Mrs. Sandford gave an inaudible direction to the servant. But Marcia exclaimed, "It is George! I heard his step on the pavement. I must see him. Let him in." Mrs. Sandford remonstrated to no purpose, and then went to her own room.

It was "George." He entered the room with a pale face, and a look betokening both suffering and resolution. He was evidently struck by the appearance of Miss Sandford, rightly judging that she was not able to bear what he had come to tell her. He would have uttered a few commonplace courtesies, and deferred his weighty communication to another time. But Marcia's senses were preternaturally sharpened; weak as a vine without its trellis, instinct seemed to guide her to clasp by every tendril the support to which she had been wont to cling. She noticed a certain uneasiness in Greenleaf's demeanor; ready to give the worst interpretation to everything, she exclaimed, in a quick, frightened manner, "George, dear George, what is the matter? You are cold, you are distant. Are you in trouble, too, like all the world?"

"Deeply in trouble," he answered gravely,—still standing, hat in hand.

"Trouble that I cannot soothe?"

"I am afraid not."

"And you won't tell me?"

"Not to-day."

"Then you don't love me."

Greenleaf was silent; his lips showing the emotion he strove to control. Her voice took a more cheerful tone, as if she would assure herself, and, with a faint smile, she said,—

"You are silent; but I am only childish. You do love me,—don't you,

"As much as I ever did."

A mean subterfuge; for though it was true, perhaps, to him, he knew it was a falsehood to her. She attempted to rise from her chair; he sprang to support her.

"You are so gloomy, reserved, to-day!" she continued.

Still Greenleaf was silent. He aided her to resume her seat; but when he had done so, she detained him, seizing his arm and then his hand. His heart beat rapidly, and he turned away his head to avoid the fond but keen scrutiny of her eyes,—at the same time gently, but ineffectually, attempting to free his hand. Once more he resolved, since the conversation had taken such a turn, to risk the consequences, and prepare her mind for a separation. But a sudden thought struck her, and, before he could frame a sentence, she spoke:—

"You have heard bad news this morning?"

He shook his head.

"No,—I know you are not mercenary; I would not wrong you with the suspicion."

"What suspicion, pray?" he asked, turning suddenly towards her.

"You have not heard?"

"I have heard nothing."

"Pity my foolishness. But my brother is in difficulty; he may fail; perhaps has failed even now. Pray, don't chide me for my fears. All the world goes with the rich and the prosperous."

"The world has very little company just now, then," said Greenleaf, with a grim smile. "But assure yourself," he continued; "the dowry of my wife is a matter I have never considered. With the woman I love," said he, with deep emphasis, "honest poverty is what I do not dread."

Interpreting this fervent declaration in the natural way, Marcia reached forth her arms with sudden fervor, drew him nearer, and covered his forehead, lips, and cheeks with kisses. Every kiss fell like a spot of mildew on his flesh; her caresses filled him with shame. Could he undeceive her? In her feeble condition, the excitement into which she had been thrown by her brother's danger was all she could bear. False as his position was, heartless and empty as his soothing words and caresses were, he must continue to wear the mask, and show himself as he was at some time when she had no other trouble to weigh her down. Still she chid his gloomy reserve, his absent air, and mechanical movements. Was he weak, if under such influences his fixed resolves bent?—if his nerves felt the old thrill?—if his voice took a softer tone?—and if he parted from her with something of his former tenderness? He tried to excuse himself to his conscience by the plea, that the deception once begun must be kept up until it could be ended with safety. For he saw that her heart was really bound up in him. She no longer kept up the brilliant fence of repartee; she had abandoned all coquettish arts, and, for once at least, was sincerely, fondly, even foolishly, in love. Home he went, sadder than before, his conscience yet more aroused, and his resolutions farther than ever from accomplishment.

Poor little Alice!



Mr. Sandford walked towards his office, that fine autumn morning, in no amiable mood. Nature seemed to protest against his angry violence; the very stones of the pavement seemed to say,—"He need not thump us in that way; we can't pay his notes." The trees along Mount Vernon Street rustled their leaves with a shudder, as he passed under them; they dropped no benison upon a face which even the golden morning could not lighten. "Let him stride on!" said they; "we shall be more cheerful in company with the maids washing the sidewalks or taking out the children (blessed darlings!) for an airing." Canaries ceased their songs in the windows; urchins stopped their hoops and stood on the curbstones, eyeing the gloomy man askance. When he passed the Granary Burying-Ground, he saw a squirrel dart down a tree, and scamper over the old graves in search of some one of his many stores; then rising on his haunches, he munched the pea-nut which he had unearthed, (the gift of some schoolboy, months ago,) as much as to say, "We know how to look out for hard times; but what have you done with your pea-nuts, old fellow, that you look so cross? Can't get 'em, eh? You should put 'em where you'll know where they are." A whisk of his tail and he flew up the tree. The lesson was lost upon the financier. At the office-door he met Bullion,—his face a trifle more ruddy, his eye with a colder glitter, and his queer eyebrow pointing with an odder significance.

"How are you, Sandford?"—A very short nod.—"Cool, this morning."— Standing with his dumpy legs apart, he nibbled at the ivory head of his cane.

"Mr. Bullion," said Sandford, "you must help me. You must lift that note. Come, I know you can do it,—and I'll make it worth your while."

"Can't do it; you want a long extension, I s'pose."

"Say three or four months."

"Time is money, as I told you before. In four months, with forty thousand dollars, I could—do pretty well," ending the sentence in a lower tone, that indicated a desire to keep his first thought back.

"In a time like this, Mr. Bullion, it is the duty of every man to assist his neighbor to the extent of his ability. If there is no forbearance, no brotherly aid, how are the complicated settlements of a mad community like this to be made? There is not money enough to pay what must be paid."

The eyebrow was stiffly pointed as Bullion answered,—

"I do forbear. I must forbear. Stearine owes me; you indorse; you can't pay, neither of you. I sha'n't get the money. I must go without."

It was an injured tone.

"Then why do you let it go to protest?"

"Only a form, Sandford. Usage of the mercantile world. Very irregular not to do it. Sorry, but can't help it."

Mr. Sandford's patience was exhausted.

"It is my turn to-day, Bullion; I have no further resource; I am ruined. You feel strong and look upon my distress in triumph. But your turn will come. Mark my words. Within a fortnight I shall see you rushing down State Street in despair; your property will be swept away with a flood, and you will be a beggar,—as you deserve to be. Damn your stony heart!"

It was the first outburst of profanity from Mr. Sandford,—too fastidious, usually, to allow himself the use of such expletives.

"Sorry to see you excited, Sandford. Best to keep temper. Guess you and Fayerweather will raise the money. Pity Stearine hadn't wick enough in him to stand alone. Rather a poor candle, he is,—he! he! Morning!"

The gray eyes twinkled, the eyebrow whisked, and the sturdy legs bore the creditor away.

Entering the office, Mr. Sandford tried to assume a cheerful look. He looked over the list of failures, in the "Independent," with something of the interest which a patient in a hospital would feel when overhearing the report from the dead-house. Was there no one of the bald or grizzly-haired gentlemen who smiled so benignly whom he could ask for aid? Not one; he knew their circumstances; they had no money at command; all their property was locked up in investments. He thought of the many chairmen and directors in benevolent associations with whom he was connected. No,—they were either men of moderate means, or had some son or nephew or brother in business whose credit they must uphold. How gladly would he barter all his parchment testimonials for one good "promise to pay"! He groaned almost audibly, and wondered how he could pass the time till the close of bank-hours. The suspense was a torture as keen as the calamity itself.

A visitor entered; it was Plotman. He came with a cheerful, even exulting, look.

"Good news, Sandford!"

"News!" exclaimed Sandford, impetuously. "What news? How much?"

In his absent state he forgot that Plotman was not aware of his thoughts, and associated good news only with an accommodation to serve his present need. But his fluttering expectations were dashed to the ground with the reply.

"'How much,' did you say? A clean majority over all. Your name stands at the head of the ticket."

"I am obliged to you," replied Sandford, sadly, "but I don't think I can accept the nomination."

"Well, that is rather strong," said Plotman. "You'd best keep your modesty for the papers; it's thrown away on me."

"I really can't bother with politics."

"Why in the Devil, then, did you lay your corns to get the place, and make me all this trouble for nothing?"

"I am really sorry, Plotman; but, to tell you just how it is, I am so much involved in this fearful monetary pressure that I have no time nor heart for anything else."

"Confounded spooney!" muttered Plotman, between his teeth. "If I'd known he was so weak in the knees. I'd have gone in for Spreadeagle, who offered a handsome figure."

"Come in to-morrow, Plotman, and we'll talk about it. I can't think about it now. I'll make all right with you."

Still muttering, the disappointed politician departed, leaving Sandford in a deeper abyss than before. To prevent unwelcome visits, the latter left word with his clerks that he could see no one whatever.

To wile away the time, he took out his cash-book and private papers.
There was about a thousand dollars in bank.

"It will be best to draw that," thought he, "for there's no knowing what may happen."

And the office-boy was dispatched with a check for the amount.

"Let us see what other resources. There are Monroe's notes,—ten thousand dollars. I can raise something on them. I'll borrow from Tonsor, who seems to have funds enough."

He sent a clerk and succeeded in obtaining eight thousand dollars for five days, by depositing the notes.

"If worst comes to worst, I have nine thousand to fall back upon. Now, what next? Fletcher's note for five hundred, with the rather peculiar admission at the beginning. I wonder, now, what he would give for this little paper? Possibly he is in funds. He's a scheming devil and hasn't been idle in this gale of wind. I'll send for him."

Fletcher entered with an air of confidence.

"Well, Mr. Sandford, you don't bear malice, I see. If you didn't want to get a saucy answer, you shouldn't have threatened, the other day."

"You were hardly civil, Fletcher," said Sandford, gravely, "and rather forgetful, besides. If I were you, I wouldn't bluster until a certain piece of paper was safe in my possession."

"Do you suppose I ever forget that paper, or how you bullied it out of me? But you know that at the time when I used that five hundred dollars, I had money enough, and felt as sure of returning it the next day as you do of paying the ten thousand you had of Monroe."

Sandford started.

"How did you know whose money I had?"

"Never mind. I hear a great many things. As I was saying, I didn't steal the money, for you didn't miss it till I told you; and if I hadn't been a coward and a fool to boot, I should never have signed that cursed paper."

"I have it, though. The law calls it a confession of theft."

Fletcher winced.

"You have told me that often enough before. You needn't touch me on the raw to make me remember it."

He waited, but Sandford made no reply. Fletcher continued:—

"Well, what is it? You've something on hand, or you wouldn't have sent for me."

"You propose to pay sometime, I believe?"

"Of course, I do. I've offered to pay times enough, you know. I can get the money in ten minutes."

"Can you! How much?"

"Why, the five hundred and interest."

"I rather think the document is worth more money."

"You'd take my heart's blood for it, I know. But you can't get any more money than I have got."

"You were very ready in promising five hundred in ten minutes. It seems to me that in an hour you might raise a larger sum."

"Do you suppose I am a capitalist?—that I own Fogarty, Danforth, and

"I'm sure, I can't tell. Stranger things have happened."

"I wonder if he suspects my connection with old Bullion?" thought

"I'll make you a fair proposition, Fletcher. I need some money, for a few days. Get me thirty thousand dollars for a week, say; I'll pay a liberal interest and give up the paper."

"I can't do it. The figure is altogether above me. You don't want me to rob my employers?"

"'Rob' is a hard word, Fletcher. No, I counsel no crime. You don't want anything more to think of. But you may know some chance to borrow that sum?"

Fletcher mused. "If Sandford comes to a man like me for such a sum, it must be because he is devilish hard up; and if I get him the money, it would likely be sunk. I can't do it."

"No, Mr. Sandford, it's out of the question. Everybody that has money has twenty applications for every dollar."

"Then you'd rather see this paper in an officer's hands?"

Fletcher's face blanched and his knees shook, but he kept his resolution in spite of his bodily tremor.

"I have been like a mouse cuffed between a cat's paws so long that I don't care to run. If you mean to pounce up on me and finish me, go ahead. I may as well die as to be always dreading it. But you'll please remember what I said about overhauling your accounts."

Sandford found his man firmer than he had expected. He changed his tactics.

"Fletcher, as you can't do what I want, how much will you give outright for the little obligation? You shall have it for fifteen hundred dollars. Come, now, that's reasonable."

"Reasonable as the fellow who puts a pistol to your head on a dark night in the middle of Cambridge bridge."

"Tut, tut! Don't talk of highway-robbery! I think I am letting you off cheap."

"How do you suppose I can raise fifteen hundred dollars?"

"That is your affair."

"You are as cruel as a bloodhound after a runaway nigger."

"I have once or twice remonstrated against your use of harsh words."

"What's the use of being mealy-mouthed? I owe you five hundred dollars. Every dollar beyond that you get from me you rob me of; and it doesn't matter whether it is a pistol or a writ that you threaten me with."

"You persist in a violent tone."

"I can't talk to suit you, and I shall stop. We shall never agree. I'll tell you, though, what I will do. I'll give you a note, to-morrow, for a thousand dollars, on short time, with a good name."

"Money, Fletcher!—money! I don't want any note."

"Well, I'll see what I can do. Perhaps I can get the money."

"And, Fletcher, I advise you to settle the affair to-day. It has stood quite long enough. Just devote to-day to this little matter. Come in before two,—not later than three, at any rate. Perhaps your employers might advance it,—that is, rather than have their clerk compromised. Suppose I lay the matter before them?"

Fletcher's rage broke out afresh. He gnashed his teeth and foamed at the mouth. If he had had a weapon, it might have fared hard with his oppressor. But his anger was inarticulate,—too mighty, too tumultuous, for words. He left the office, his eyes glowing like a cat's, and his fringy moustache trembling over his white teeth.

Mr. Sandford was somewhat exhilarated, and rubbed his smooth hands with energy. "I think he'll come back," thought he. "Failure is inevitable. Let it come! We must bear it as we can. And for a ruined man I don't know of any consolation like a little ready money. Now to play my last cards. These shares which I own in the Vortex are worth more to-day than they are likely to be to-morrow. It would be a shame not to dispose of them while they will bring something. Fayerweather and the others who have agreed to buy at ninety per cent. are at the Board. I'll get a new hand to take them in. They won't suspect, for they think Stearine's note has been extended."

He called a junior clerk and dispatched the shares to a broker to be sold for cash on account of whom it might concern. He then locked himself in the back office to be free from troublesome visitors, keeping a cautious lookout for Fletcher, whom he expected, and for the clerk who was to bring the money. His chief anxiety was lest Mr. Fayerweather should come before the sale was effected; and he was in a fever until the money was brought to him. Through the window he saw his friends Monroe, Bullion, and others, who called for him and were denied by his order; he chose to remain unseen.

Fletcher did not return. In going out he met Bullion, and, telling him that he had to pay Sandford a thousand dollars, asked for a part of the money due him.

"Don't be a fool," replied that sturdy financier, "Sandford will fail to-day, probably. That's the reason for his hurry to get the money. Let him sweat. Keep your funds. You can pay his assignee any time these six months to come."

It was near two o'clock. Mr. Sandford had in his pocket the proceeds of the Vortex shares, the loan from Tensor, and his balance from bank,—a comfortable sum altogether; and he thought it not prudent to risk the whole by waiting for Fletcher, who, after all, might not come. So, seeing the coast clear, he put on his surtout and walked out of the front door with an unconcerned air.

The notary came with the inevitable protest. Mr. Fayerweather was the astounded individual who received it. A sudden light broke upon him. He was swindled. He took out the Vortex shares which he had just bought by agreement, and, turning to the transfer-book, found that they were Sandford's. The Secretary had weathered the President with a vengeance.

The lawyer to whom the protested note came happened to hold other claims against Mr. Fayerweather and the Vortex, and, naturally judging that the Company might be involved in the difficulties of its officers, he commenced suit without a moment's delay. Ill news flies fast. In an hour after the first writs were served, suit was brought by Tonsor and other creditors, and the office was shut. The safe was found to hold nothing more valuable than duplicates of policies, the Company's bank-account was overdrawn, its stocks and bonds were sold or pledged, and its available assets consisted of the office-furniture, a few reams of paper, and half a dozen sticks of sealing-wax.

[To be continued.]

* * * * *




Were the author of the "Vita Nuova" unknown, its story of youth and love would still possess a charm, as standing in the dawn of modern literature,—the first book in which modern sentiment finds free expression. It would be of interest, as contrasted with the later growth of the sentimental element in literature, which speedily exhibits the influence of factitious feeling, of self-conscious effort, and of ambitious display. The sentiment of the "Vita Nuova" is separated by the wide gulf that lies between simplicity and affectation from the sentimentality of Petrarch's sonnets. But connected as it is with Dante's life,—the first of that series of works in which truth, intensity, and tenderness of feeling are displayed as in the writings of no other man,—its interest no longer arises merely from itself and from its place in literature, but becomes indissolubly united with that which belongs by every claim to the "Divina Commedia" and to the life of Dante.

When the "Vita Nuova" was completed, Dante was somewhat less than twenty-eight years old. Beatrice had died between two and three years before, in 1290; and he seems to have pleased himself after her loss by recalling to his memory the sweet incidents of her life, and of her influence upon himself. He begins with the words:—

"In that part of the book of my memory before which little can be read is found a rubric which says: Incipit Vita Nova ['The New Life begins']. Under which rubric I find the words written which it is my intention to copy into this little book,—if not all of them, at least their meaning."

This introduction, short as it is, exhibits a characteristic trait of Dante's mind, in the declaration of his intention to copy from the book of his memory, or, in other words, to write the true records of experience. Truth was the chief quality of his intellect, and upon this, as upon an unshaken foundation, rest the marvellous power and consistency of his imaginations. His heart spoke clearly, and he interpreted its speech plainly in his words. His tendency to mysticism often, indeed, led him into strange fancies; but these, though sometimes obscure, are never vague. After these few words of preface, the story begins:—

"Nine times now, since my birth, the heaven of light had turned almost to the same point in its gyration, when first appeared before my eyes the glorious lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice, by many who did not know why they thus called her.[A] She had now been in this life so long, that in its time the starred heaven had moved toward the east one of the twelve parts of a degree;[B] so that about the beginning of her ninth year she appeared to me, and I near the end of my ninth year saw her. She appeared to me clothed in a most noble color, a becoming and modest crimson, and she was girt and adorned in the style that suited her extreme youth. At that instant, I say truly, the spirit of life, which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart, began to tremble with such violence, that it appeared horribly in the least pulses, and, trembling, said these words: Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur mihi! [Behold a god, stronger than I, who, coming, shall rule me![C]]

[Footnote A: It may be that Dante here refers to the meaning of the name
Beatrice,—She who renders happy. She who blesses.]

[Footnote B: According to the astronomy of the times, the sphere of the stars moved from west to east one degree in a hundred years. The twelfth of a degree was, therefore, eight and a half years. See the Convito, Tratt. II. c. vi.]

[Footnote C: Compare with this passage Canzone x, st. 5, 6. Especially the lines,

  "E, se 'l libro non erra,
  Lo spirito maggior tremò si forte,
  Che parve ben, che morte
  Per lui in questo mondo giunta fosse."

"And, if the book errs not, the chief spirit so greatly trembled, that it plainly appeared that death for him had arrived in this world."

When Dante meets Beatrice in Purgatory, he says, referring to this time,—and it is pleasant to note these connections between his earliest and his latest works,—

  "Tosto che nella vista mi percosse
  L' alta virtù, che già m' avca trafitto
  Prima ch' io fuor di puerizia fosse."
               Canto xxx. l. 40-42.

"At that instant, the spirit of the soul, which dwells in the high chamber to which all the spirits of the senses bring their perceptions, began to marvel greatly, and, addressing the spirits of the sight, said these words: Apparuit jam beatitudo vestra. [Now hath appeared your bliss.] At that instant the natural spirit, which dwells in that part where the nourishment is supplied, began to weep, and, weeping, said these words: Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps. [Woe is me wretched! because frequently henceforth shall I be hindered.]

"From this time forward I say that Love lorded over my soul, which had been thus quickly put at his disposal;[D] and he began to exercise over me such control and such lordship, through the power which my imagination gave to him, that I was obliged to perform completely all his pleasure. He commanded me many times that I should seek to see this youthful angel, so that I in my boyhood often went seeking her, and saw her of such noble and praiseworthy deportment, that truly of her might be said that saying of the poet Homer: 'She does not seem the daughter of a mortal, but of God.' And it befell that her image, which stayed constantly with me, inspired boldness in Love to hold lordship over me; but it was of such noble virtue, that it never suffered that Love should rule without the faithful counsel of Reason in those matters in which such counsel could be useful."

[Footnote D: The text of the Vita Nuova is often uncertain. Here, for example, many authorities concur in the reading, "la quale fu si tosto a lui disponsata," "which had been so quickly betrothed to him." But we prefer to read "disposta," as being more in accordance with the remainder of the figure concerning Love. Many other various readings will be passed over without notice,—but a translation might be exposed to the charge of inaccuracy, if it were judged by the text of any special edition of the original, without comparison with others. The text usually followed in these versions is that of Fraticelli.]

Such is the account which Dante gives of the beginning of his love for Beatrice. The tenderness and purity of his passion are obscured, but not concealed, by quaintness of expression and formality of learning. In literary style the passage displays the uncertain hand of youth, and in a translation something is lost of the charm of simplicity which pervades the original. But in this passage the keynote of Dante's life is struck.

Passing over many things, he says that exactly nine years were completed after the above-described appearance of this most gentle lady, when it happened that "she appeared before me clothed in purest white between two noble ladies, and, passing along the street, she turned her eyes toward that place where I stood very timidly, and, by her ineffable courtesy, which is now rewarded in eternity, saluted me with such virtue, that I seemed to behold all the bounds of bliss. The hour when her most sweet salutation reached me was exactly the ninth of that day; and since it was the first time that her words came to my ears, I felt such great delight, that, as it were intoxicated, I turned away from the crowd, and, betaking myself to the solitary place of my chamber, sat myself down to think of this most courteous lady, and, thinking of her, a sweet slumber came upon me, in which a marvellous vision appeared to me." After describing this vision, he says, that, thinking of what had appeared to him, he "proposed to bring it to the knowledge of many who were famous poets at that time; and since I had already seen in myself the art of speaking words in rhyme, I proposed to write a sonnet, in which I would salute all the vassals of Love; and praying them to give an interpretation of my vision, I wrote to them that which I had seen in my slumber. And I began then this sonnet:—

  "To every captive soul and gentle heart
     Before whose sight may come the present
     That they may thereupon their thoughts
     Be greeting in Love's name, who is their

  "Now of those hours wellnigh one third had
     In which each star appears in heaven most
     When on a sudden Love before me shone,
     To think upon whose being gives me fright.

  "Joyful seemed Love, and he was keeping
     My heart within his hands, while on his arm
     He held my Lady, covered o'er and sleeping.

  "Then waking her, he with this flaming heart
     Did humbly feed her, fearful of some harm.
     Sudden I saw him weep, and quick depart."

This sonnet is somewhat obscure in the details of its meaning, and has little beauty, but it is of interest as being the earliest poetic composition by Dante that has been preserved for us, and it is curious as being the account of a vision. In our previous article on the "New Life," we referred to the fact of this book being in great part composed of the account of a series of visions, thus connecting itself in the form of its imaginations with the great work of Dante's later years. As a description of things unseen except by the inward eye, this sonnet is bound in poetic connection to the nobler visions of the "Divina Commedia." The private stamp of Dante's imagination is indelibly impressed upon it.

He tells us that many answers were made to this sonnet, and "among those who replied to it was he whom I call the first of my friends, and he wrote a sonnet which began,

'Thou seest in my opinion every worth.'

This was, as it were, the beginning of our friendship when he knew that it was I who had sent these verses to him." This first of Dante's friends was Guido Cavalcanti. Their friendship was of long duration, beginning thus in Dante's nineteenth year, and ending only with Guido's death, in 1300, when Dante was thirty-five years old. It may be taken as a proof of its intimacy and of Dante's high regard for the genius of his friend, that, when Dante, in his course through Hell, at Easter in 1300, represents himself as being recognized by the father of Guido, the first words of the old man to him are,

"If through this blind prison thou goest through loftiness of soul, where is my son? oh, why is he not with thee?"[E]

[Footnote E: Inferno, x. 58-60.]

The sonnet of Guido, in reply to that sent him by Dante, has been preserved, together with the replies by two other contemporary poets; but Dante says of them all,—"The true meaning of my sonnet was not then seen by any one, though now it is plain to the simplest."

After this vision, the poet, whose soul was wholly devoted to his most gentle lady, was brought by Love into so frail a condition of health, that his friends became anxious for him, and questioned him about that which he most wished to conceal. Then he told them that it was Love which had brought him to this pass. But when they asked him, "For whom has Love thus wasted thee?" he looked at them smiling, and said nothing.

"One day it happened," he goes on to relate, "that this most gentle lady sat where words concerning the Queen of Glory are heard, and I was in a place from which I beheld my bliss. Between her and me in a direct line sat a gentle lady of most pleasing aspect, who looked at me often, wondering at my gaze, which seemed to terminate upon her; and many observed her looks. So great attention, indeed, was paid to this, that when I went out from the place I heard some one say, 'Behold how that lady wastes the life of this man!'—and naming her, I heard that they spoke of her who had been in the path of the straight line which, parting from my most gentle Beatrice, had ended in my eyes." Then he says he thought to make this lady serve as a screen for his real love, and he did this so well that in a short time many persons fancied they knew his secret. And in order to deceive them still more, he addressed to this lady many trifles in rhyme, of which he will insert in this account of his "New Life" only those which bear reference to Beatrice.

Some time after this, "it was the pleasure of the Lord of the Angels to call to his glory a young and beautiful lady, who had been very lovely in the city of Florence. And I saw her body lying without its soul, surrounded by many ladies who wept grievously. Then remembering that I had formerly seen her in company with that most gentle lady, I could not restrain some tears; and, weeping, I proposed to say some words about her death, as a return for that I had seen her sometimes with my lady." Then, he says, he wrote two poems, of which we give the last, adding to it his verbal comment, as an example of the style of commentary with which he has accompanied all the poems of the "Vita Nuova":—

  "O villain Death, compassion's foe,
     The Mother from of old of woe,
     Inexorable judge severe,
     Thou givest sorrow for the heart to bear;
     Wherefore in grief I go,
     And blaming thee my very tongue outwear.

  "And if of every grace thou wouldst be
     It only needs that I declare
     The guilt of this thy sinful blow,
     So that all those shall know,
     And each shall be thy foe,
     Who erst were nurtured with Love's tender

  "For thou hast taken from the world the
     And virtue which are woman's praise,
     And in youth's gayest days
     The charm of loveliness thou dost deface.

  "Who is this lady is not to be told,
     Save as these qualities do make her known.
     He who deserves salvation may alone
     Have hope companionship with her to hold.

"This sonnet is divided into four parts.[F] In the first I address Death by certain of her proper names; in the second, speaking to her, I tell the reason why I am moved to blame her; in the third, I revile her; in the fourth, I speak to a person undefined, although definite as regards my intention. The second part begins at Thou givest; the third at And if of every grace; the fourth at He who deserves."

[Footnote F: Dante calls this little poem a sonnet, although, strictly, the name does not belong to it.]

After this, Dante tells of a journey he was forced to take, in the direction of the city to which the lady who had afforded him the means of disguising his real love had gone. He says, that, on the way, which he calls the way of sighs, he met Love, who was sad in aspect, and clad like a pilgrim, and that Love told him the name of another lady who must thenceforth serve as his screen to conceal his secret. He goes on to relate, that, after his return,[G] he sought out this lady, and made her his defence so effectually, that many persons spoke of it beyond the terms of courtesy, which weighed on him heavily. And on account of this lying talk which defamed him greatly, he says that Beatrice, "the most gentle lady, who was the enemy of all the vices, and the queen of virtue, passing by a certain place, denied me her most sweet salute, in which consisted all my bliss. And departing a little from the present subject, I will declare that which her salutation effected within me. I say, then, that, whenever she appeared, in my hope for her admirable salutation I no longer had an enemy, for a flame of charity possessed me which made me pardon every one who had done me wrong; and if at that time any one had asked anything of me, my only answer would have been Love, and my face would have been clothed with humility. And when she was near to giving me a salutation, a spirit of Love, destroying all the other spirits of the senses, drove out the feeble spirits of the sight, and said to them, 'Go and do honor to your lady,' and he stayed in their place. And whoever had wished to know Love might have done so by looking at the trembling of my eyes."

[Footnote G: In his few words of introduction to the Vita Nuova, Dante implies that he shall not copy out into his book all his compositions relating to its subject. Some of the poems of this period, not included in the Vita Nuova, have been preserved, and we propose to refer to them in their appropriate places. Compare with this passage Sonnet lxxix., Poesie Liriche, ed. Fraticelli,—

"Se 'l bello aspetto non mi fosse tolto,"—

which was apparently written during Dante's absence from Beatrice.]

After the salutation which had been wont to bring to him a joy almost beyond his capacity had been refused to him, Dante went weeping to his chamber, where he could lament without being heard; and there he fell asleep, crying like a little child who has been beaten. And in his sleep he had a vision of Love, who entered into talk with him, and bade him write a poem, adorned with sweet harmony, in which he should set forth the truth and fidelity of his love for Beatrice, and should sue for her pardon. Dante awoke at the ninth hour of the day, and at once began the poem, of which the following is a portion. He personifies his poem, and he bids it

  "Tell her,—'O Lady, this his heart is stayed
  On faithfulness so sure and firm,
  Save to serve you it has no other care:
  Early 'twas yours, and never has it strayed.'
  But if she trust not what thou dost affirm,
  Tell her to ask of Love, who will the truth declare;
  And at the end, beg her, with humble prayer,
  That she her pardon of its wrong would give;
  Then let her bid that I no longer live,
  And she shall see her servant quick obey."[H]

[Footnote H: Compare Canz. x. and xi.]

After this poem was finished, Dante describes what he calls "a battle of thoughts" concerning Love within his mind, and then goes on to relate that it happened one day that he was taken, by a friend who thought to give him pleasure, to a feast at which many ladies were present. "They were assembled," he says, "to attend a lady who was married that day, and, according to the custom of the city, they bore her company at her first sitting at table in the dwelling of her new husband." Dante, believing thus to do pleasure to his friend, proposed to stand in waiting upon these ladies. But at the moment of this intention he felt a sudden tremor, which caused him to lean for support against a painting which ran round the wall,[I] and, raising his eyes, he beheld Beatrice. His confusion became apparent; and the ladies, not excepting Beatrice herself, laughed at his strange appearance. Then his friend took him from their presence, and having asked him what so ailed him, Dante replied, "I have set my feet on that edge of life beyond which no man can go with intent to return." Then leaving him, he went to the chamber of tears, weeping and ashamed; and in his trouble he wrote a sonnet to Beatrice, in which he says, that, if she had known the cause of his trouble, he believes that she would have felt pity for him.[J]

[Footnote I: This is, perhaps, the earliest reference in modern literature to the use of painting as a decoration for houses. It is probable that it was a recent application of the art, and resulted from the revival of interest in its works which accompanied the revival of the art. We shall have occasion again to note a reference to painting.]

[Footnote J: To this period, apparently, belong Sonnets xxix. and xxx. of the general collection. The last may not unlikely have been omitted in the Vita Nuova on account of the tenderness with which the death of Beatrice had invested every memory of her, preventing the insertion of a poem which might seem harsh in its expression:—

  "I curse the day on which I first beheld
  The light of thy betraying eyes."

The foregoing passage, like many others in the "Vita Nuova," is full of the intense and exaggerated expressions of passionate feeling. But this feeling is recorded with a frank simplicity which carries conviction of the sincerity of emotion. It may be laughed at, but it cannot be doubted. It is possible, though hardly probable, that the scene took place at the wedding festival of Beatrice herself. She was married sometime previous to 1287, and unless a reference to this event be found here, no notice of it is taken by Dante in what he has written concerning her. That the fact of her marriage changed in no degree the feeling with which Dante regarded her is plain. His love was of no low quality, to be altered by earthly circumstance. It was a love of the soul. No change or separation that left the being untouched could part him from it. To the marriage of true souls there was no impediment, and he would admit none, in her being the wife of another. The qualities which she possessed as a maiden belonged to her no less as a wife.

It was in the same year, probably, as that in which the "Vita Nuova" was composed and published, that Dante himself was married to Gemma Donati. There are stories that their married life was unhappy. But these stories have not the weight of even contemporary gossip. Possibly they arose from the fact of the long separation between Dante and his wife during his exile. Boccaccio insinuates more than he asserts, and he concludes a vague declamation about the miseries of married life with the words, "Truly I do not affirm that these things happened to Dante, for I do not know." Dante keeps utter silence in his works,—certainly giving no reason to suppose that domestic trials were added to his other burdens. One thing is known which deserves remembrance,—that, when, after some years, a daughter was born to him, the name which she received was Beatrice.

In the next few pages of the "Vita Nuova" Dante describes various thoughts which came to his mind concerning his appearance when in presence of his lady; but, passing over these, we come to a passage which we give in full, as containing a delightful picture from Florence in its old time, and many sentences of sweet and characteristic feeling.

"Many persons had now learned from my looks the secret of my heart. And it happened that certain ladies, who well knew my heart, each of them having witnessed many of my discomfitures, had assembled together, taking pleasure in each other's company. And I, by chance passing near them, was addressed by one of these gentle ladies. She who called to me was very graceful in her speech, so that when I reached them, and saw well that my most gentle lady was not with them, reassuring myself, I saluted them, and asked what might be their pleasure. The ladies were many, and some of them were laughing together, and others looked at me, waiting for what I might say, while others spoke among themselves, and one of them, turning her eyes toward me, and calling me by name, said, 'To what end dost thou love this lady, since thou canst not support her presence? Tell us, for it is certain that the object of such a love must be a very strange one.' And when she had said these words to me, not only she, but all the others, began to attend in expectation of my reply. Then I said to them, 'Ladies, the object of my love was, in truth, the salutation of that lady of whom perhaps you speak; and in that dwelt the bliss which was the end of all my desires. But since it has pleased her to deny it to me, my lord Love, thanks be to him, has placed all my bliss in that which cannot be taken from me.' Then these ladies began to speak together, and, as we sometimes see rain falling mingled with beautiful snow, so, it seemed to me, I saw their words mingled with sighs. And after they had spoken for some time among themselves, the same lady who had first spoken to me said to me, 'We pray thee that thou wouldst tell us in what consists this thy bliss.' And I, replying to her, said, 'In those words which speak my lady's praise.' And she answered, 'If thou sayest truth in this, those words which thou hast spoken concerning thine own condition must have been written with another intention.'[K] Then I, thinking on these words, and, as it were, ashamed of myself, departed from them, and went, saying to myself, 'Since there is such bliss in those words which praise my lady, why has my speech been of other things?' And I proposed to take always for my subject, henceforward, the praise of this most gentle lady. And thinking much on this, I seemed to myself to have taken too lofty a subject for my power, so that I did not dare to begin. Thus I delayed some days, with the desire to speak, and with a fear of beginning.

[Footnote K: This refers to the sonnets Dante had written about his own trouble and the conflict of his thoughts. It will be observed that the words "speak" and "speech" are used in reference to poetic compositions. In those days the poet was commonly called il dicitore in rima, "the speaker in rhyme," or simply il dicitore.]

"Then it happened, that, walking along a road, at the side of which ran a very clear stream, so great a wish to speak came to me, that I began to think on the method I should observe; and I thought that to speak of her would not be becoming, unless I addressed my words to ladies,—and not to every lady, but only to those who are gentle, and not mere women.[L] Then I say that my tongue spoke as if moved by its own accord, and said, 'Ladies who have intelligence of Love.' These words I laid by in my mind with great joy, thinking to take them for my beginning. And returning to the city, after some days I began this Canzone:—[M]

[Footnote L: The epithet which Dante constantly applies to Beatrice is "most gentle," gentillisima, while other ladies are called gentile, "gentle." Here he makes the distinction between the donna and the donna gentile. The word is used with a signification similar to that which it has in our own early literature, and fuller than that which it now retains. It refers both to race, as in the phrase "of gentle birth," and to the qualities of character. "Gentleness means the same as nobleness," says Dante, in the Convito; "and by nobleness is meant the perfection of its own nature in anything." Tratt. iv. c. 14 16.

The delicacy and the dignity of meaning attaching to the word render it an epithet especially appropriate to Beatrice, as implying all that is loveliest in person and character. Its use in the Vita Nuova is the more to be remarked, as in the Divina Commedia it is never applied to Beatrice. Its appropriateness ceased with her earthly life, for there was "another glory of the celestial body."]

[Footnote M: This Canzone is one of the most beautiful of Dante's minor poems. We have preferred to give it in a literal translation, rather than to attempt one in which the involved rhyme of the original should be preserved, fearing lest this could not be done without sacrifice of the meaning to the form. The original must be read by those who would understand its grace of expression combined with its depth of feeling. Dante himself prized this Canzone, and represents Buonagiunta da Lucca in Purgatory as addressing him,—

"Ma di s' io veggio qui colui che fuore Trasse le nuove rime, cominciando: _Donne, ch' avete intelletto d'Amore."

"But tell me if I see him who wrote the new rhymes, beginning, 'Ladies who have intelligence of Love.'" Purgat. c. xxiv. l. 49-51.]

  "Ladies who have intelligence of Love,
  I of my lady wish with you to speak;
  Not that to tell her praise in full I think,
  But to discourse that I may ease my mind.

  "I say that when I think upon her worth,
  So sweet doth Love make himself feel to me,
  That if I then did not my courage lose,
  Speaking I would enamor all mankind.
  I do not wish so loftily to speak,
  Lest I should fail and fall through very fear.
  But of her gentle nature I will treat
  With lightest touch compared with her desert,
  Ladies and damsels bound to Love, with you;
  For unto others this may not be told.

  "An Angel cries aloud in tongue divine,
  And says, 'O Sire! in the world is seen
  A miracle in action, that proceeds
  From out a soul which far as here doth shine.'
  The Heavens, which have no other want, indeed,
  But that of her, demand her of her Lord,
  And every Saint doth for this favor beg;
  Only Compassion our part defends.
  What sayeth God? what of Madonna means?
  'O my delights, now be content in peace
  That, while I please, your hope should there remain
  Where dwelleth one who loss of her awaits,
  And who shall say in Hell to the condemned,
  I have beheld the hope of those in bliss.'"[N]

  [Footnote N: Note the reference implied in these words
  to the journey of Dante through Hell.]

  "My lady is desired in high heaven.
  Her virtues now will I make known to you.
  I say, whoso a gentle lady would appear
  Should go with her: for when she passeth by,
  Love casts a frost upon all villain hearts,
  So that their every thought doth freeze and die;
  And whoso bears to stay and look on her
  Will nobler thing become or else will die;
  And when one finds that he may worthy be
  To look on her, he doth his virtue prove:
  For then that comes to him which gives him health,
  And humbleth him till he forgets all wrong;
  And God hath given a still greater grace,
  That who hath spoke with her cannot end ill.

  "Love says of her, 'How can a mortal thing
  Be thus in every part adorned and pure?'
  Then, gazing on her, to himself he swears
  That God in her a creature new designs.
  Color of pearl doth clothe her, as it were,—
  Not in excess, but most becomingly.
  Whate'er of good Nature can make she is;
  And by her model Beauty proves itself.
  From out her eyes, wherever they may move,
  Spirits inflamed with love do issue forth,
  Which strike the eyes of whoso looks on her,
  And enter so that every heart they find.
  Love you behold depicted on her face,
  On which with fixed look no one can gaze.

  "I know, Canzone, thou wilt go to speak
  With many ladies, when I send thee forth;
  And now I bid thee, having bred thee up
  Like to a young and simple child of Love,
  That where thou goest thou shouldst praying say,
  'Teach me which way to go, for I am sent
  To her with praise of whom I am adorned.'
  And if thou wishest not to go in vain,
  Remain not there where villain folk may be;
  Endeavor, if thou mayst, to be acquaint
  Only with ladies, or with courteous men,
  Who thee will guide upon the quickest way.
  Love thou wilt find in company with her,
  And to them both commend me as thou shouldst."

After explaining, according to his custom, and marking the divisions of this poem, Dante copies out a sonnet in which he answers the question of one of his friends, who, he says, perhaps entertaining an expectation of him beyond what was due, asked him, 'What is Love?' Many of the poets of that time tried their hands in giving an answer to this difficult question, and Dante begins his with confirming the opinion expressed by one of them:—

  "Love is but one thing with the gentle heart,
  As in the saying of the sage we find."[O]

[Footnote O: it is probable that Dante refers to the first of a Canzone by Guido Guinicelli, which says,

"Within the gentle heart Love always stays,"

—a verse which he may have had still in his memory when he makes Francesca da Rimini say, (Inf. v. 100,)

"Love which by gentle heart is quickly learned."

For other definitions of Love as understood by the Italian poets of the trecento, see Guido Cavalcanti's most famous and most obscure Canzone, Donna mi priega; the sonnet (No. xlii.) falsely ascribed to Dante, Molti volendo dir che fosse Amore; the sonnet by Jacopo da Lentino, Amore è un desio che vien dal core; and many others.]

Another sonnet follows upon this, telling how this Love was awakened by
Beatrice and beginning with the exquisite praise,

  "Within her eyes my lady beareth Love,
  So that who looks on her is gentle made."[P]

[Footnote P: Compare with this Sonnet xl.,—

"Dagli occhi della mia donna si muove." ]

Not many days after this, the father of Beatrice died.[Q] "And inasmuch as it is the custom in the above-mentioned city for ladies to assemble with ladies, and men with men, in such affliction, many ladies assembled at the house where Beatrice was weeping piteously. And seeing certain of them returning from her, I heard them speak of this most gentle lady, how she was lamenting…. When these ladies had passed, I remained in such grief that tears began to fall, and, putting my hands before my eyes, I covered my face. And if it had not been that I expected to hear further of her, for I stood near by where most of the ladies who came from her passed, I should have hidden myself as soon as the tears assailed me. While I still delayed, more ladies passed by, talking together and saying, 'Who of us should ever be joyful after hearing this lady speak so piteously?' After these others passed, who said, as they went by, 'This one who is here weeps neither more nor less than if he had seen her as we have.' And then others said of me, 'See! so overcome is he, that he seems not himself.' And thus these ladies passing by, I heard speech of her and of myself." And going away, after this, he wrote two sonnets, telling of what he had seen and heard.[R]

[Footnote Q: Folco Portinari died December 31, 1289.]

[Footnote R: Compare with this passage Sonnet xlvi., which seems to have been written on this occasion;—

"Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate,"

and Sonnet xlvii.,—

"Onde venite voi, cosi pensose?" ]

It happened not long after this time that Dante was seized with grievous illness, which reduced him to such a state of weakness that he lay as one unable to move. And on the ninth day, suffering greatly, he thought of his lady, and, reflecting on the frailty of life even at its best, the thought struck him that even the most gentle Beatrice must at some time die. And upon this, such consternation seized him that his fancy began to wander, and, he says, "It seemed to me that I saw ladies, with hair dishevelled, and marvellously sad, pass weeping by, and that I saw the sun grow dark, so that the stars showed themselves of such a color as to make me deem they wept. And it appeared to me that the birds as they flew fell dead, and that there were great earthquakes. And struck with wonder at this fantasy, and greatly alarmed, I imagined that a friend came to me, who said, 'Dost thou not know? Thy admirable lady has departed from this world.' Then I began to weep very piteously, and wept not only in imagination, but with my eyes shedding real tears. Then I imagined that I looked toward heaven, and it seemed to me that I saw a multitude of angels who were returning upwards, having before them a little cloud of exceeding whiteness. It seemed to me that these angels sang gloriously, and that the words of their song were these: 'Osanna in excelsis!'—and other than these I did not hear.[S]

[Footnote S: In the Divina Commedia frequent reference is made to the singing of Osanna by the Angels. See Purgat. xi. 11; xxix. 51; Par. vii. 1; xxviii. 94, 118; xxxii. 135; and especially viii. 28.]

"Then the heart in which abode such great love seemed to say to me, 'It is true that our lady lies dead.' And thereupon I seemed to go to behold the body in which that most noble and blessed soul had been. And the erring fancy was so powerful that it showed to me this lady dead, and it appeared to me that ladies were covering her head with a white veil, and that her face had such an aspect of humility that it seemed to say, 'I behold the beginning of peace.'"

Then Dante called upon Death to come to him; and when he had beheld in his imagination the sad mysteries which are performed for the dead, he seemed to return to his own chamber. And so strong was his imagining, that, weeping, he said with his true voice, "O most beautiful soul! how is he blessed who beholds thee!" Upon this, a young and gentle lady, who was watching by his bed, thinking that he was grieving for his own pain, began to weep; whereon other ladies who were in the chamber drew near and roused him from his dream. Then they asked him by what he had been troubled; and he told all that he had seen in fancy, keeping silence only with regard to the name of Beatrice; and when, some time after, he recovered from his illness, he wrote a poem which related his vision.

The next incident of his new life which Dante tells is one of a different nature, and of pleasant character. One day he saw Love coming to him full of joy; and his own heart became so joyful that it seemed to him it could not be his heart, so changed was its condition. Then he saw approaching him a lady of famous beauty, who had been the lady of his first friend. Her name was Giovanna, but on account of her beauty she was called Primavera, which means Spring. And with her was Beatrice. Then Love, after they had passed, explained the hidden meaning of the name Primavera, and said, that, by one considering subtilely, Beatrice would be called Love, on account of the great resemblance she bore to him. Then Dante, thinking over these things, wrote this sonnet to his friend, believing that he still admired the beauty of this gentle Primavera:—

  "An amorous spirit in my heart who lay
    I felt awaken from his slumber there;
    And then I saw Love come from far away,
    But scarce I knew him for his joyous air.

  "'Honor to me,' he said, 'think now to pay,'
    And all his words with smiles companioned were.
    Then as my lord awhile with me did stay,
    Along the way whence he appeared whilere

  "The Lady Joan and Lady Bice I see,
    Coming toward the place wherein I was;
    And the two marvels side by side did move.

  "Then, as my mind now tells it unto me,
    Love said, 'This one is Spring, and this, because
    She so resembleth me, is named Love.'"[T]

[Footnote T: See the charming Sonnet lii.:—

"Guido vorrei che tu, e Lappo, ed io." ]

After this sonnet, Dante enters on a long and fanciful discourse on the use of figurative language, to explain how he speaks of Love as if it were not a mere notion of the intellect, but as if it had a corporeal existence. There is much curious matter in this dissertation, and it is one of the most striking examples that could be found of the youthful character of the literature at the time in which Dante was writing, and of the little familiarity which those in whose hands his book was likely to fall possessed of the common forms of poetry, and of the style of the ancient Latin poets.

Returning from this digression, he says: "This most gentle lady, of whom there has been discourse in what precedes, reached such favor among the people, that when she passed along the way persons ran to see her, which gave me wonderful delight. And when she was near any one, such modesty took possession of his heart, that he did not dare to raise his eyes or to return her salutation; and to this, should any one doubt it, many, as having experienced it, could bear witness for me. She, crowned and clothed with humility, took her way, displaying no pride in that which she saw and heard. Many, when she had passed, said, 'This is not a woman; rather is she one of the most beautiful angels of heaven.' Others said, 'She is a miracle. Blessed be the Lord who can perform such a marvel!' I say that she showed herself so gentle and so full of all beauties, that those who looked on her felt within themselves a delight so pure and sweet that they could not smile; nor was there any who could look at her and not feel need at first to sigh. These and more wonderful things proceeded from her, marvellously and in reality. Wherefore I, thinking on all this, proposed to say some words, in which I would exhibit her marvellous and excellent influences, to the end that not only those who might actually behold her, but also others, might know of her whatever words could tell. Then I wrote this sonnet:—

  "So gentle and so modest doth appear
  My lady when she giveth her salute,
  That every tongue becometh trembling
  Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.

  "And though she hears her praises, she doth
  Benignly clothèd with humility,
  And like a thing come down she seems
     to be
  From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.

  "So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
  She gives the heart a sweetness through
     the eyes,
  Which none can understand who doth
     not prove.

  "And from her lip there seems indeed to move
  A spirit sweet and in Love's very guise,
  Which goeth saying to the soul, 'Ah,

[Footnote U: Perhaps the spirit of the latter part of this sonnet may be better conveyed by rendering thus:—

  "So pleaseth she all those approaching nigh
         * * * * *
  Which goeth saying to the soul, 'Aspire!'"

Compare the very beautiful Ballata vi. and Sonnet xlviii., beginning,

"Di donne io vidi una gentile schiera." ]

With this incomparable sonnet we close that part of the "Vita Nuova" which relates to the life of Beatrice. It fitly completes the golden record of youth. Its tender lines are the epitaph of happy days, and in them is found that mingled sweetness and sadness which in this world are always the final expression of love. Its tone is that of the wind of autumn sighing among the leaves of spring. Beneath its outward meaning lies a prophecy of joy,—but that joy is to be reached only through the gates of death.

* * * * *


  "A draught of water, maiden fair,"
    I said to the girl beside the well.
  Oh, sweet was the smile on her face of guile,
    As she gave me to drink,—that witch of hell!

  I drank, and sweet was the draught I drank,
    And thanked the giver, and still she smiled;
  And her smile like a curse on my spirit sank,
    Till my face grew wan, and my heart grew wild.

  And lo! the light from the day was gone,
    And gone was maiden, and gone was well:
  The dark instead, like a wall of stone,
    And rivers that roared through the dark, and fell.

  Was it the draught, or was it the smile,
    Or my own false heart? Ah, who shall tell?
  But the black waves beat at my weary feet,
    And sits at my side the witch of hell.


"Giorno d'orrore."

Wheels rolled away in the distance; the corner of a gray cloak fluttered where the drive turns down hill. From under the fore-wheel of Juggernaut I struggled back to life with a great sob, that died before it sounded. I looked about the library for some staff to help me to my feet again. The porphyry vases were filled with gorgeous boughs, leaves of deep scarlet, speckled, flushed, gold-spotted, rimmed with green, dashed with orange, tawny and crimson, blood-sprinkled, faint clear amber; all hues and combinations of color rioted and revelled in the crowded clusters. To what hand but hers could so much beauty have gathered? to what eye but hers did the magnificent secrets of Nature reveal themselves, so that out of a whole forest her careless straying hand should bring only its culminating glories, its most perfect results, whether of leaf or flower or fruit. For in an urn of tintless alabaster, that had lain centuries in the breathless dust and gloom of an Egyptian tomb, that hand had set a sheaf of gentians, every fringed cup blue as the wild river when a noon sky tints it, or as the vaulted azure of a June midnight on the edge of the Milky Way,—a sheaf no Ceres owned, no foodfull garner coveted, but the satiating aliment of beauty, fresh as if God that hour had pronounced them good, and set his sign-manual upon each delicate tremulous petal, that might have been sapphire, save for its wistful translucence. And on the teapoy in the window stood two dainty baskets of clean willow, in which we had that day brought home chestnuts from the wood;—mine was full of nuts, but they were small and angular and worm-eaten, as the fruitage of a wet season might well be; hers scantily freighted, but every nut round, full, and glossy, perfect from its cruel husk, a specimen, a type of its kind. And on the handle of the basket hung a little kid glove. I looked at it closely; the tiny finger-tops and oval nails had left light creases on the delicate leather, and an indescribable perfume, in which violet predominated, drove away the vile animal scent that pervades such gloves. I flung it on the fire.

All about the room lay books that were not of my culling, from the oak cases, whose every door stood ajar,—novels innumerable,—"The Arabian Nights," Vaughan's "Silex Scintillans," with a scarlet leaf laid in against "Peace," and "Tennyson" turned on its face at "Fatima," a heavy volume of French moral philosophy, a Methodist hymn-book, Sir Thomas Browne's "Hydriotaphia," and a gilded red-bound history of "Five Little Pigs."

I rang the bell, and ordered all the books to be gathered up and put into an old bookcase, long banished to a dark attic. I walked to the fire and leaned my head against the mantel. The embers were all dead; in the gray ashes was the print of a little foot, whose arched instep had left no trace between the light track of the small heel and the deeper impression that the slender toe had left. That footprint told the secret of her airy motion,—that step so akin to flight, that on an overhanging mountain-ledge I had more than once held my breath, looking to see her extended wings float over the silent tree-tops below, or longed to grasp her carelessly trailed shawl, that I might detain her upon earth. To me the track had yet another language. An hour before, as I stood there beside her, the bitter passion of a man solitary and desperate shaking every faculty before the level rays of her scornful eye, she had set her embroidered slipper in the ashes, and said,—"Look! I leave a print there which the first breath of air shall dissipate; all fire becomes ashes, and ashes blow away,"—and so left me. I stood before the fire, that had been, still looking at that foot-mark; my brain was stunned and stupid, my heart beat slow and loud; I knew nothing, I felt nothing. I was nothing. Presently a bell rang.

The world is full of magicians, transformations, magnetic miracles, juggling, chemical astonishments, moral gymnastics, hypocrisies, lies of wonder,—but what is so strange, so marvellous, so inexplicable, as the power of conventions? One minute found me tempting the blackness of darkness, every idea astray and reeling, every emotion benumbed; the next, a bell rang, and I went to the tea-table, sat in my own place, answered my mother's questions, resumed the politenesses and habits of daily life, seemed to be myself to those who had known me always,—ate, drank, jested,—was a man,—no more the trodden ashes under a girl's foot, no longer the sport of a girl's cool eye, no slave, no writhing idolater under the car-wheel; and this lasted-half an hour! You have seen the horses of Pharaoh following the glittering sand-track of the Judaean host, walled in with curling beryl battlements, over whose crests the white sea-foam dares no more laugh and threaten? You know those curved necks clothed with strength, the bent head whose nostrils flare with pride, the tossed and waving mane, the magnificent grace of the nervous shoulder, the great, intelligent, expectant eyes? Suddenly the roar of waves at the farther shore! Look at that head! strong and quiet no more; terror erects the quivering ears; the nostril sinks and contracts with fear; the eye glares and glances from side to side, mad with prescient instinct; the corded veins that twist forkedly from the lip upward swell to the utmost tension of the fine skin; that sweeping mane rises in rough undulations, the forelock is tossed back, the shoulder grows rigid with horror, the chest rises with a long indrawn breath of dismay. Horrible beyond all horrid sounds, the yell of a horse in mortal fear. Do you hear it? No,—it is a picture,—the picture of a moment between one animal that sees the impending fate, and another that has not yet caught it;—it is human that such moments interpose between two oceans of agony, that man can momentarily control the rush of a sea which the brute must yield to.—So the sea rushed back.

All night long, all the long night!—long as lifetimes are, measured with slow-dropping arteries that drip away living blood. Once I watched by a dying woman; wild October rains poured without, but all unheard; in the dim-lit room, scented with quaint odors of lackered cases and chests of camphor-wood, heavy with perfumes that failed to revive, and hushed with whispers of hopeless comment, that delicate frame and angelic face, which the innumerable lines of age could only exalt and sweeten, shivered with the frosts of death; every breath was a sob; every sigh, anguish; the terrible restlessness of the struggle between soul and body in their parting writhed in every limb;—but there were no words other than broken cries of prayer, only half-heard on earth, till at length the tender, wistful eyes unclosed, and in a hoarse whisper, plaintive beyond expression, full of a desolate and immortal weariness, bearing a conviction of eternity and exhaustion that words cannot hope to utter, she said, "Will it never be morning?" And so this night stayed its pace; my room grew narrow and low; the ceiling pressed on my head; the walls forever clasped me, yet receded ever as I paced the floor; the floor fell in strange waves under me,—yet I walked steadily, up and down, up and down! Still the night stayed. Fever set its hurried pulses fleeting like wild-fire through every vein; a band of hot iron pressed above my eyes;—but these were adjuncts; the curse consumed me within. In every moment I heard those calm and fatal words, "I do not love you," sounding clear and sweet through the dull leaden air of night,—an air full of ghostly sounds, sighs about the casements, creaking stairs, taps at the window, light sounds of feet in the long hall below; all falling heedless on my ear, for my ghost walked and talked with me, a ghastly reality, the galvanized corpse of a murdered life.

Still the night stayed. A weight of lead pressed on my brain and concentrated it to frantic power; the months in which I had known her, the only months I could call life, came back to me inch by inch, grain by grain. I recalled our first meeting,—the sudden springing into acquaintance,—the sympathetic power that had transfused those cold blue eyes into depths of tenderness and pity,—the gay and genial manner that aroused and charmed me,—the scornful lip that curled at the world for its worldliness,—that fresh imagination, which, like the spirit of frost, decked the commonest things with beauty; and I recalled those early letters that had passed between us,—mine, insipid enough,—hers, piquant, graphic, refined, tender, delicately passionate, sparkling, full of lofty thought and profound feeling. Good God! could she not have taken my heart, and wrung it, and thrown it away, under some more commonplace pretext than the profaned name of Friendship? Her friend! It is true I had called myself her friend; I had been strenuous in the nomenclature to quiet my own conscience,—to satisfy her conventional scruples; but had she no instinct to interpret the pretence? What friend ever lived on every look, studied every phrase, watched every action and expression, was so torn with jealousy and racked with doubt, bore so humbly with caprices, and forgave every offence so instantly and utterly,—nay, was scarce conscious that anything her soul entertained could be an offence, could be wrong? Friendship!—ah, that deity is calm and serene; that firm lip and pale cheek do not flush with apprehension or quiver with passion; that tranquil eye does not shine with anything but quiet tears. Rather call the dusky and dark-haired Twilight, whose pensive face is limned against the western hills, by the name of that fierce and fervid Noon that stands erect under the hot zenith, instinct with the red blood of a thousand summers, casting her glittering tresses abroad upon the south-wind, and holding in her hands the all-unfolded rose of life. And if I was only her friend, was that a reason why she should permit in me the thousand intimacies of look and caress that are the novitiate of love? Was it a friend's calm duty to give me her tiny hand to hold in mine, that I might fold and unfold the rosy fingers, and explore the white dimples that were its ornamenting gems,—to rest her tired head against my shoulder, even,—watching all day by the chair where pain, life-long ministrant, held me on the rack?—was it only friendly that she should press her soft little mouth to mine, and soothe me into quiet as a mother soothes her last, her dearest child? No! no! no! never could that be! She knew, she had known, that I loved her! Deliberate cruelty outlined those lovely lips; every statue-like moulding of that proud face told the hard and unrelenting nature of the soul within. God forgive her!—the exclamation escaped me unaware, and recoiled in a savage exultation that such treachery had no forgiveness in heaven or on earth,—one gleam of desperate satisfaction in that black night. But in its light, what new madness seized me? I had held her stainless and holy, intact of evil or deceit; what was she now? My whole brain reeled; the foundations were taken away; earth and heaven met; even as when the West forges tempest and lightning-bolts upon its melancholy hills, brooding and muttering hour by hour, till at length the livid gloom rushes upward against sun and stars, and the blackening sky shuts down upon the blackened earth, cowering at the shock, and the torrents and flames are let loose upon their prey,—so an accumulated storm of unutterable agony flung wave on wave above me, wrecked and alone.

Still the night stayed; the black mass of forest that swept up the hill-side stood in mystical gloom, in silence that could be felt; when at once,—not suddenly,—as if the night could forbear no more, but must utter some chord with the culmination of midnight horrors, a bird uttered one sharp cry, desolate utterly, hopeless, concentred, as if a keen blade parted its heart and the outraged life within remonstrated and despaired,—despaired not of life, for still the note repeated its monotone, but of death, of period to its pangs. That cry entered into my brain; it was unjust of Nature so to taunt me, so to express where I was speechless; yet I could not shut it out. A pitiful chill of flesh and sense seized me; I was cold,—oh, how cold!—the fevered veins crept now in sluggish ice; sharp thrills of shivering rigor racked me from head to foot; pain had dulled its own capacity; wrapped in every covering my room afforded, with blunted perceptions, and a dreadful consciousness of lost vitality, which, even when I longed to die, appalled me with the touch of death's likeness, I sunk on the floor,—and it was morning!

Morning! "a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains!" A pale sun lit the earth, but earth and sky were black,—no sun touched me in heart or eye; I saw nothing, felt nothing, but heavy and impenetrable gloom. Yet again the ceremonies of life prevailed, and my real life slept undiscovered. Whatever pallor or shadow lined my face was no stranger there at that hour. The gray morning passed away; the village on the hill sent down busy sounds of labor and cheer; flies buzzed on the sunny pane, doors clicked and slammed in the house, fires crackled behind the shining fire-dogs. I went to the library,—the first breath of air had—dissipated it! What a mockery! I went away,—out of the house,—on, anywhere. Dry leaves rustled in my path and sent up a faint aromatic breath as they were crushed in the undried dew; squirrels chattered in the wood; here and there a dropping nut stirred the silence with deliberate fall, or an unseen grouse whirred through the birches at my approaching step. The way was trodden and led me by gradual slope and native windings through the dull red oaks downward to the river. Once on the path, a low cluster of sweet fern attracted me;—strange assertion of human personality, that in the deepest grief a man knows and notices the trivial features of Nature with microscopic fidelity! that the veining of a leaf or the pencilling of a blossom will attract the eye that no majesty or beauty of unwonted manifestation could light with one appreciative spark! Is it that the injured and indignant soul so vindicates its own essential and divine strength, and says, unconsciously, to the most uncontrolled anguish, "There is in me a life no mortal accident can invade; the breath of God is not altogether extinct in any blast of man's devising; shake, torture, assault the outer tenement,—darken its avenues with fire to stifle, and drench its approaches with seas to drown,—there is that within that God alone can vanquish,—yours is but a finite terror"? Half-crazed as I was, the fern-bed attracted me, as I said, and I flung myself wearily down on the leaves, whose healing and soothing odor stole up like a cloud all about me; and I lay there in the sun, noting with pertinacious accuracy every leaf or bloom that was within the range of sight,—the dark green leaves of the wax-flower springing from their red stem, veined and threaded with creamy white, stiff and quaint in form and growth,—the bending sprays of goldenrod that bowed their light and brittle stems over me, swaying gently to and fro in the gentle wind,—the tiny scarlet cups of moss that held a little drop of dew brimming over their rims of fire, a spark in the ashy gray moss-beds where they stood,—the shrinking and wan wood-asters, branched out widely, but set with meagre bloom,—every half-tint of the lichens, that scantily fed from the relentless granite rock, yet clung to its stern face with fearless persistence,—the rough seams and velvet green moss-tufts of the oak-trunks,—the light that pierced the dingy hue of oak-leaves with vivid and informing crimson: all these stamped themselves on my mind with inevitable minuteness; the great wheel of Fate rolled over me, and I bore the marks even of its ornamental rim; the grooves in its tire left traces of its track.

At length the minuteness of Nature oppressed me. The thousand odors, spicy, acrid, aromatic, honeyed, that an autumnal dew expressed from every herb, through that sense that is the slave of association, recalled my youth, my boyhood, the free and careless hours I knew no more, when, on just such mornings of hazy and splendid autumns, I had just so lain on the fern-beds, heedless of every beauty that haunted the woods, full of fresh life, rejoicing in dog and gun and rod as no man ever rejoices in title-deeds or stocks or hoarded gold. The reminiscence stung me to the quick; I could endure no more. Rising, I went on, and through the oak-wood came to the brink of the river, and in a vague weariness sat down upon the massive water-wall, and looked over into the dark brown stream. It was deep below me; a little above were clear shallows, where the water-spider pursued its toil of no result, and cast upon the yellow sand beneath a shadow that was not a shadow, but, refracted from the broken surface, spots of glittering light, clustered like the diamonds of a brooch, separate, yet linked, and tremulously bright. This, also, did I note; but below my feet the river flowed darker and more deeply, darkness and depth broken only by the glancing fins of little fishes, that slanted downward, catching a gleam as they went. No other light pierced the sullen, apprehensive flood that rolled past in tranquil gloom, leaden from the skies above, and without ripple or fall to break its glassy quiet. Beside the wall grew a witch-hazel; in my vague grasp at outside objects I saw it, full of wrinkled and weird bloom, as if the golden fleece had strayed thereby, and caught upon the ungainly twigs of the scragged bush, and left glittering curled threads in flecked bunches scattered on every branch; the strange spell-sweet odor of the flowers struck me before I saw them, and the whole expression of their growth affected me with helpless admiration, so brave as it was!—defying all Autumn to daunt the immortal Spring ever surviving in its soul,—here, on October's edge, putting out its freshness and perfume, as if seasons were an accident, and circumstance a chimera,—as if will, good-will, will to be of strength and cheer, were potent enough to laugh at Nature, and trust the God-given consciousness within, whatever adverse fate ruled and triumphed without. Not that all these ideas came to me then, else perhaps I had been spared that morning's experience; but they entered my brain as lightning is sometimes said to enter a tree and stamp some image from without upon its heart, thereafter to be revealed by the hewing axe and the persistent saw. No! I sat by the river and looked down into its dark serenity, and again the horror of the past day swept over me with fresh force. Could I live? The unswerving river lay before me; in its bed nothing stirred; neither pang nor passion in those chill depths could utter a cry; there she could not come; there was rest. I did not yield; oh, no, I did not yield! I resisted,—passively. I laid hold upon the eternal fact that there was a God; the blind and blank universe spun about me; its pillars of support wavered like waterspouts; all that I had ever believed or loved whirled up and down in one howling chaos, and circled through all space in clouds of dust and floating atoms; but through all I knew there was a God,—feel it I could not, neither did I see nor did one of Nature's tongues spell me the lesson,—I only knew it. And I did not, no, I did not rush before Him; but I lay at the bottom of the river.

I have heard it said that drowning persons recall, as by a sudden omniscience, all their past lives, as soon as the water closes above them and the first shock of horror is past. It was not so with me. I remembered nothing beyond the events of the past week; but, by some strange action of the mind, as soon as the gasping sense of an unnatural element passed away, my thoughts went forward. I became, as it were, another man; and above me on the bank I saw calmly the stone where my living double had left his cripple's cane, and thought to myself for one sharp moment, "Fool!"—for I looked forward. If I had not drowned, that was the key-note of the theme. Something that was me and was not me rose up from the water-wall and went away,—a man racked and broken by a great sorrow, it is true, but a man conscious of God. Life had turned its darkest page for him, but there was the impassable fact that it was the darkest; no further depths remained to dread; the worst had come, and he looked it in the face and studied it; suffer he might, but with full knowledge of every agony. Life had been wrecked, but living remained. Calmly he took up the cripple's cane and went home; the birds sang no song,—after tempests they do not sing until the sun shines,—neither did the blossoms give him any greeting. Nature wastes no trivialities on such grief; the mother, whose child comes in to her broken-limbed and wounded, does not give it sugar-plums and kisses, but waits in silence till the surgeon has done his kindly and appalling office,—then, it may be, she sings her boy to sleep!

But this man took up life again and conquered it. Home grew about him into serenity and cheer; as from the roots of a felled tree a thousand verdant offshoots spring, tiny in stature, but fresh and vivid in foliage, so out of this beheaded love arose a crowd of sweet affections and tender services that made the fraternity of man seem possible, and illustrated the pervasive care of God. He went out into life, and from a heart wrung with all man can endure, and a brain tested in the fire, spoke burning and fluent words of strength and consolation to hundreds who, like him, had suffered, but were sinking under what he had borne. And these words carried in them a reviving virtue. Men blessed him silently, and women sang him in their hearts as they sing hymns of prayer. Honors clustered about him as mosses to a rock; Fame relented, and gave him an aureole in place of a crown; and Love, late, but sweeter than sweet, like the last sun-ripened fruit of autumn, made honors and fame alike endurable. This man conquered, and triumphed in the victory.

I held out my hand in that water and touched—a skeleton! What! had any other man preceded me? I looked at it; it was the water-washed frame of a horse,—brutes together! And death was at hand; the grasp tightened on my breast with that acrid sense of weight and suffocation that the redundant blood suffusing the lungs must needs produce. "The soul of the brute goeth downward." Coward! what might not life have been? and I had lost it!—lost it for the sting of a honey-bee!—for the contempt of a woman! Every magnificent possibility, every immortal power, every hope of a future, tantalizing in its grand mystery, all lost! What if that sweeping star-seraph that men call a comet, speeding through heaven in its lonely splendor, with nitent head, and pinions trailing with the very swiftness and strength of its onward flight, should shudder from its orbit, fling into star-strewn space its calm and awful glory, and go crashing down into the fury and blackness of chaos, carrying with it wrecks of horror, and the yelling fragments of spheres no longer choral, but smitten with the lawless stroke of a creature regardless of its Creator, an orb that made its solitary fate, and carried across the order and the law of God ruin and wreck embodied?

And I had a soul;—I had flung it away; I had set my will up for my destiny, and the one had worked out the other. But had I? When that devilish suggestion came to me on the bank, did I entertain it? Have I not said how I grasped at the great idea of a God, and held it with a death-gripe in the midst of assault? How did I come in the water? I did not plunge nor fall. No shock of horror chilled me; no remembrance of a voluntary assent to the Tempter could I recall. I was there, it was true; but was I guilty? Did I, in the eyes of any watching angel, consciously cast my life, brittle and blind as it was, away in that fashion? In the water, helpless now for any effort after upper air, side by side with the fleshless anatomy of a brute, over-sailed by gray fishes with speckled sides, whose broad, unwinking eyes glared at me with maddening shine and stare,—oppressed, and almost struggling, yet all unable to achieve the struggle with the curdling blood that gorged every vein and air-cell with the hurried rush of death,—did I go out of this life red with the sin of murder? Did I commit suicide?

Who knows?

* * * * *





It is seldom that man and woman come together in intimate association, unless influences are at work more subtile and mysterious than the subjects of them dream. Even in cases where the strongest ruling force of the two sexes seems out of the question, there is still something peculiar and insidious in their relationship. A fatherly old gentleman, who undertakes the care of a sprightly young girl, finds, to his astonishment, that little Miss spins all sorts of cobwebs round him. Grave professors and teachers cannot give lessons to their female pupils just as they give them to the coarser sex, and more than once has the fable of "Cadenus and Vanessa" been acted over by the most unlikely performers.

The Doctor was a philosopher, a metaphysician, a philanthropist, and in the highest and most earnest sense a minister of good on earth. The New England clergy had no sentimental affectation of sanctity that segregated them from wholesome human relations; and consequently our good Doctor had always resolved, in a grave and thoughtful spirit, at a suitable time in his worldly affairs, to choose unto himself a helpmeet. Love, as treated of in romances, he held to be a foolish and profane matter, unworthy the attention of a serious and reasonable creature. All the language of poetry on this subject was to him an unknown tongue. He contemplated the entrance on married life somewhat in this wise:—That at a time and place suiting, he should look out unto himself a woman of a pleasant countenance and of good repute, a zealous, earnest Christian, and well skilled in the items of household management, whom accosting as a stranger and pilgrim to a better life, he should loyally and lovingly entreat, as Isaac did Rebekah, to come under the shadow of his tent and be a helpmeet unto him in what yet remained of this mortal journey. But straitened circumstances, and the unsettled times of the Revolution, in which he had taken an earnest and zealous part, had delayed to a late bachelorhood the fulfilment of this resolution.

When once received under the shadow of Mrs. Scudder's roof, and within the provident sphere of her unfailing housekeeping, all material necessity for an immediate choice was taken away; for he was exactly in that situation dearest to every scholarly and thoughtful man, in which all that pertained to the outward life appeared to rise under his hand at the moment he wished for it without his knowing how or why.

He was not at the head of a prosperous church and society, rich and well-to-do in the world,—but, as the pioneer leader of a new theology, in a country where theology was the all-absorbing interest, he had to breast the reaction that ever attends the advent of new ideas. His pulpit talents, too, were unattractive. His early training had been all logical, not in the least aesthetic; for, like the ministry of his country generally, he had been trained always to think more of what he should say than of how he should say it. Consequently, his style, though not without a certain massive greatness, which always comes from largeness of nature, had none of those attractions by which the common masses are beguiled into thinking. He gave only the results of thought, not its incipient processes; and the consequence was, that few could follow him. In like manner, his religious teachings were characterized by an ideality so high as quite to discourage ordinary virtue.

There is a ladder to heaven, whose base God has placed in human affections, tender instincts, symbolic feelings, sacraments of love, through which the soul rises higher and higher, refining as she goes, till she outgrows the human, and changes, as she rises, into the image of the divine. At the very top of this ladder, at the threshold of paradise, blazes dazzling and crystalline that celestial grade where the soul knows self no more, having learned, through a long experience of devotion, how blest it is to lose herself in that eternal Love and Beauty of which all earthly fairness and grandeur are but the dim type, the distant shadow. This highest step, this saintly elevation, which but few selectest spirits ever on earth attain, to raise the soul to which the Eternal Father organized every relation of human existence and strung every chord of human love, for which this world is one long discipline, for which the soul's human education is constantly varied, for which it is now torn by sorrow, now flooded by joy, to which all its multiplied powers tend with upward hands of dumb and ignorant aspiration,—this Ultima Thule of virtue had been seized upon by our sage as the all of religion. He knocked out every round of the ladder but the highest, and then, pointing to its hopeless splendor, said to the world, "Go up thither and be saved!"

Short of that absolute self-abnegation, that unconditional surrender to the Infinite, there was nothing meritorious,—because, if that were commanded, every moment of refusal was rebellion. Every prayer, not based on such consecration, he held to be an insult to the Divine Majesty;—the reading of the Word, the conscientious conduct of life, the performance of the duties of man to man, being, without this, the deeds of a creature in conscious rebellion to its Eternal Sovereign, were all vitiated and made void. Nothing was to be preached to the sinner, but his ability and obligation to rise immediately to this height.

It is not wonderful that teaching of this sort should seem to many unendurable, and that the multitude should desert the preacher with the cry, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" The young and gay were wearied by the dryness of metaphysical discussions which to them were as unintelligible as a statement of the last results of the mathematician to the child commencing the multiplication-table. There remained around him only a select circle,—shrewd, hard thinkers, who delighted in metaphysical subtilties,—deep-hearted, devoted natures, who sympathized with the unworldly purity of his life, his active philanthropy and untiring benevolence,—courageous men, who admired his independence of thought and freedom in breasting received opinion,—and those unperceiving, dull, good people who are content to go to church anywhere as convenience and circumstance may drift them,—people who serve, among the keen feeling and thinking portion of the world, much the same purpose as adipose matter in the human system, as a soft cushion between the nerves of feeling and the muscles of activity.

There was something affecting in the pertinacity with which the good Doctor persevered in saying his say to his discouraging minority of hearers. His salary was small; his meeting-house, damaged during the Revolutionary struggle, was dilapidated and forlorn,—fireless in winter, and in summer admitting a flood of sun and dust through those great windows which formed so principal a feature in those first efforts of Puritan architecture.

Still, grand in his humility, he preached on,—and as a soldier never asks why, but stands at apparently the most useless post, so he went on from Sunday to Sunday, comforting himself with the reflection that no one could think more meanly of his ministrations than he did himself. "I am like Moses only in not being eloquent," he said, in his simplicity. "My preaching is barren and dull, my voice is hard and harsh; but then the Lord is a Sovereign, and may work through me. He fed Elijah once through a raven, and he may feed some poor wandering soul through me."

The only mistake made by the good man was that of supposing that the elaboration of theology was preaching the gospel. The gospel he was preaching constantly, by his pure, unworldly living, by his visitations to homes of poverty and sorrow, by his searching out of the lowly African slaves, his teaching of those whom no one else in those days had thought of teaching, and by the grand humanity, outrunning his age, in which he protested against the then admitted system of slavery and the slave-trade. But when, rising in the pulpit, he followed trains of thought suited only to the desk of the theological lecture-room, he did it blindly, following that law of self-development by which minds of a certain amount of fervor must utter what is in them, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.

But the place where our Doctor was happiest was his study. There he explored, and wandered, and read, and thought, and lived a life as wholly ideal and intellectual as heart could conceive.

And could Love enter a reverend doctor's study, and find his way into a heart empty and swept of all those shreds of poetry and romance in which he usually finds the material of his incantations?

Even so;—but he came so thoughtfully, so reverently, with so wise and cautious a footfall, that the good Doctor never even raised his spectacles to see who was there. The first that he knew, poor man, he was breathing an air of strange and subtile sweetness,—from what paradise he never stopped his studies to inquire. He was like a great, rugged elm, with all its lacings and archings of boughs and twigs, which has stood cold and frozen against the metallic blue of winter sky, forgetful of leaves, and patient in its bareness, calmly content in its naked strength and crystalline definiteness of outline. But in April there is a rising and stirring within the grand old monster,—a whispering of knotted buds, a mounting of sap coursing ethereally from bough to bough with a warm and gentle life; and though the old elm knows it not, a new creation is at hand. Just so, ever since the good man had lived at Mrs. Scudder's, and had the gentle Mary for his catechumen, a richer life seemed to have colored his thoughts,—his mind seemed to work with a pleasure as never before.

Whoever looked on the forehead of the good Doctor must have seen the squareness of ideality giving marked effect to its outline. As yet ideality had dealt only with the intellectual and invisible, leading to subtile refinements of argument and exalted ideas of morals. But there was lying in him, crude and unworked, a whole mine of those artistic feelings and perceptions which are awakened and developed only by the touch of beauty. Had he been born beneath the shadow of the great Duomo of Florence, where Giotto's Campanile rises like the slender stalk of a celestial lily, where varied marbles and rainbow-glass and gorgeous paintings and lofty statuary call forth, even from childhood, the soul's reminiscences of the bygone glories of its pristine state, his would have been a soul as rounded and full in its sphere of faculties as that of Da Vinci or Michel Angelo. But of all that he was as ignorant as a child; and the first revelation of his dormant nature was to come to him through the face of woman,—that work of the Mighty Master which is to be found in all lands and ages.

What makes the love of a great mind something fearful in its inception is that it is often the unsealing of a hitherto undeveloped portion of a large and powerful being; the woman may or may not seem to other eyes adequate to the effect produced, but the man cannot forget her, because with her came a change which makes him forever a different being. So it was with our friend. A woman it was that was destined to awaken in him all that consciousness which music, painting, poetry awaken in more evenly developed minds; and it is the silent breathing of her creative presence that is even now creating him anew, while as yet he knows it not.

He never thought, this good old soul, whether Mary were beautiful or not; he never even knew that he looked at her; nor did he know why it was that the truths of his theology, when uttered by her tongue, had such a wondrous beauty as he never felt before. He did not know why it was, that, when she silently sat by him, copying tangled manuscript for the press, as she sometimes did, his whole study seemed so full of some divine influence, as if, like St. Dorothea, she had worn in her bosom, invisibly, the celestial roses of paradise. He recorded honestly in his diary what marvellous freshness of spirit the Lord had given him, and how he seemed to be uplifted in his communings with heaven, without once thinking from the robes of what angel this sweetness had exhaled.

On Sundays, when he saw good Mrs. Jones asleep, and Simon Brown's hard, sharp eyes, and Deacon Twitchel mournfully rocking to and fro, and his wife handing fennel to keep the children awake, his eye glanced across to the front gallery, where one earnest young face, ever kindling with feeling and bright with intellect, followed on his way, and he felt uplifted and comforted. On Sunday mornings, when Mary came out of her little room, in clean white dress, with her singing-book and psalm-book in her hands, her deep eyes solemn from recent prayer, he thought of that fair and mystical bride, the Lamb's wife, whose union with her Divine Redeemer in a future millennial age was a frequent and favorite subject of his musings; yet he knew not that this celestial bride, clothed in fine linen, clean and white, veiled in humility and meekness, bore in his mind those earthly features. No, he never had dreamed of that! But only after she had passed by, that mystical vision seemed to him more radiant, more easy to be conceived.

It is said, that, if a grape-vine be planted in the neighborhood of a well, its roots, running silently underground, wreathe themselves in a net-work around the cold, clear waters, and the vine's putting on outward greenness and unwonted clusters and fruit is all that tells where every root and fibre of its being has been silently stealing. So those loves are most fatal, most absorbing, in which, with unheeded quietness, every thought and fibre of our life twines gradually around some human soul, to us the unsuspected wellspring of our being. Fearful it is, because so often the vine must be uprooted, and all its fibres wrenched away; but till the hour of discovery comes, how is it transfigured by a new and beautiful life!

There is nothing in life more beautiful than that trancelike quiet dawn which precedes the rising of love in the soul. When the whole being is pervaded imperceptibly and tranquilly by another being, and we are happy, we know not and ask not why, the soul is then receiving all and asking nothing. At a later day she becomes self-conscious, and then come craving exactions, endless questions,—the whole world of the material comes in with its hard counsels and consultations, and the beautiful trance fades forever.

Of course, all this is not so to you, my good friends, who read it without the most distant idea what it can mean; but there are people in the world to whom it has meant and will mean much, and who will see in the present happiness of our respectable friend something even ominous and sorrowful.

It had not escaped the keen eye of the mother how quickly and innocently the good Doctor was absorbed by her daughter, and thereupon had come long trains of practical reflections.

The Doctor, though not popular indeed as a preacher, was a noted man in his age. Her deceased husband had regarded him with something of the same veneration which might have been accorded to a divine messenger, and Mrs. Scudder had received and kept this veneration as a precious legacy. Then, although not handsome, the Doctor had decidedly a grand and imposing appearance. There was nothing common or insignificant about him. Indeed, it had been said, that, when, just after the declaration of peace, he walked through the town in the commemorative procession side by side with General Washington, the minister, in the majesty of his gown, bands, cocked hat, and full flowing wig, was thought by many to be the more majestic and personable figure of the two.

In those days, the minister united in himself all those ideas of superior position and cultivation with which the theocratic system of the New England community had invested him. Mrs. Scudder's notions of social rank could reach no higher than to place her daughter on the throne of such preëminence.

Her Mary, she pondered, was no common girl. In those days, it was a rare thing for young persons to devote themselves to religion or make any professions of devout life. The church, or that body of people who professed to have passed through a divine regeneration, was almost entirely confined to middle-aged and elderly people, and it was looked upon as a singular and unwonted call of divine grace when young persons came forward to attach themselves to it. When Mary, therefore, at quite an early age, in all the bloom of her youthful beauty, arose, according to the simple and impressive New England rite, to consecrate herself publicly to a religious life, and to join the company of professing Christians, she was regarded with a species of deference amounting even to awe. Had it not been for the childlike, unconscious simplicity of her manners, the young people of her age would have shrunk away from her, as from one entirely out of their line of thought and feeling; but a certain natural and innocent playfulness and amiable self-forgetfulness made her a general favorite.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Scudder knew no young man whom she deemed worthy to have and hold a heart which she priced so highly. As to James, he stood at double disadvantage, because, as her cousin's son, he had grown up from childhood under her eye, and all those sins and iniquities into which gay and adventurous youngsters will be falling had come to her knowledge. She felt kindly to the youth; she wished him well; but as to giving him her Mary!—the very suggestion made her dislike him. She was quite sure he must have tried to beguile her,—he must have tampered with her feelings, to arouse in her pure and well-ordered mind so much emotion and devotedness as she had witnessed.

How encouraging a Providence, then, was it that he was gone to sea for three years!—how fortunate that Mary had been prevented in any way from committing herself with him!—how encouraging that the only man in those parts, in the least fitted to appreciate her, seemed so greatly pleased and absorbed in her society!—how easily might Mary's dutiful reverence be changed to a warmer sentiment, when she should find that so great a man could descend from his lofty thoughts to think of her!

In fact, before Mrs. Scudder had gone to sleep the first night after James's departure, she had settled upon the house where the minister and his young wife were to live, had reviewed the window-curtains and bed-quilts for each room, and glanced complacently at an improved receipt for wedding-cake which might be brought out to glorify a certain occasion!



Mr. Zebedee Marvyn, the father of James, was the sample of an individuality so purely the result of New England society and education, that he must be embodied in our story as a representative man of the times.

He owned a large farm in the immediate vicinity of Newport, which he worked with his own hands and kept under the most careful cultivation. He was a man past the middle of life, with a white head, a keen blue eye, and a face graven deeply with the lines of energy and thought. His was one of those clearly-cut minds which New England forms among her farmers, as she forms quartz crystals in her mountains, by a sort of gradual influence flowing through every pore of her soil and system.

His education, properly so called, had been merely that of those common schools and academies with which the States are thickly sown, and which are the springs of so much intellectual activity. Here he had learned to think and to inquire,—a process which had not ceased with his school-days. Though toiling daily with his sons and hired man in all the minutiae of a farmer's life, he kept an observant eye on the field of literature, and there was not a new publication heard of that he did not immediately find means to add it to his yearly increasing stock of books. In particular was he a well-read and careful theologian, and all the controversial tracts, sermons, and books, with which then, as ever since, New England has abounded, not only lay on his shelves, but had his pencilled annotations, queries, and comments thickly scattered along their margins. There was scarce an office of public trust which had not at one time or another been filled by him. He was deacon of the church, chairman of the school-committee, justice of the peace, had been twice representative in the State legislature, and was in permanence a sort of adviser-general in all cases between neighbor and neighbor. Among other acquisitions, he had gained some knowledge of the general forms of law, and his advice was often asked in preference to that of the regular practitioners.

His dwelling was one of those large, square, white, green-blinded mansions, cool, clean, and roomy, wherein the respectability of New England in those days rejoiced. The windows were shaded by clumps of lilacs; the deep yard with its white fence inclosed a sweep of clean, short grass, and a few fruit-trees. Opposite the house was a small blacksmith's-shed, which, of a wet day, was sparkling and lively with bellows and ringing forge, while Mr. Zebedee and his sons were hammering and pounding and putting in order anything that was out of the way in farming-tools or establishments. Not unfrequently the latest scientific work or the last tractate of theology lay open by his side, the contents of which would be discussed with a neighbor or two as they entered; for, to say the truth, many a neighbor, less forehanded and thrifty, felt the benefit of this arrangement of Mr. Zebedee, and would drop in to see if he "wouldn't just tighten that rivet," or "kind o' ease out that 'ere brace," or "let a feller have a turn with his bellows, or a stroke or two on his anvil,"—to all which the good man consented with a grave obligingness. The fact was, that, as nothing in the establishment of Mr. Marvyn was often broken or lost or out of place, he had frequent applications to lend to those less fortunate persons, always to be found, who supply their own lack of considerateness from the abundance of their neighbors.

He who is known always to be in hand, and always obliging, in a neighborhood, stands the chance sometimes of having nothing for himself. Mr. Zebedee reflected quietly on this subject, taking it, as he did all others, into grave and orderly consideration, and finally provided a complete set of tools, which he kept for the purpose of lending; and when any of these were lent, he told the next applicant quietly, that the axe or the hoe was already out, and thus he reconciled the Scripture which commanded him to "do good and lend" with that law of order which was written in his nature.

Early in life Mr. Marvyn had married one of the handsomest girls of his acquaintance, who had brought him a thriving and healthy family of children, of whom James was the youngest. Mrs. Marvyn was, at this time, a tall, sad-eyed, gentle-mannered woman, thoughtful, earnest, deep-natured, though sparing in the matter of words. In all her household arrangements, she had the same thrift and order which characterized her husband; but hers was a mind of a finer and higher stamp than his.

In her bed-room, near by her work-basket, stood a table covered with books,—and so systematic were her household arrangements, that she never any day missed her regular hours for reading. One who should have looked over this table would have seen there how eager and hungry a mind was hid behind the silent eyes of this quiet woman. History, biography, mathematics, volumes of the encyclopaedia, poetry, novels, all alike found their time and place there,—and while she pursued her household labors, the busy, active soul within travelled cycles and cycles of thought, few of which ever found expression in words. What might be that marvellous music of the Miserere, of which she read, that it convulsed crowds and drew groans and tears from the most obdurate? What might be those wondrous pictures of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci? What would it be to see the Apollo, the Venus? What was the charm that enchanted the old marbles,—charm untold and inconceivable to one who had never seen even the slightest approach to a work of art? Then those glaciers of Switzerland, that grand, unapproachable mixture of beauty and sublimity in her mountains!—what would it be to one who could see it? Then what were all those harmonies of which she read,—masses, fugues, symphonies? Oh, could she once hear the Miserere of Mozart, just to know what music was like! And the cathedrals, what were they? How wonderful they must be, with their forests of arches, many-colored as autumn-woods with painted glass, and the chants and anthems rolling down their long aisles! On all these things she pondered quietly, as she sat often on Sundays in the old staring, rattle-windowed meeting-house, and looked at the uncouth old pulpit, and heard the choir faw-sol-la-ing or singing fuguing tunes; but of all this she said nothing.

Sometimes, for days, her thoughts would turn from these subjects and be absorbed in mathematical or metaphysical studies. "I have been following that treatise on Optics for a week, and never understood it till to-day," she once said to her husband. "I have found now that there has been a mistake in drawing the diagrams. I have corrected it, and now the demonstration is complete.—Dinah, take care, that wood is hickory, and it takes only seven sticks of that size to heat the oven."

It is not to be supposed that a woman of this sort was an inattentive listener to preaching so stimulating to the intellect as that of Dr. H. No pair of eyes followed the web of his reasonings with a keener and more anxious watchfulness than those sad, deep-set, hazel ones; and as she was drawn along the train of its inevitable logic, a close observer might have seen how the shadows deepened over them. For, while others listened for the clearness of the thought, for the acuteness of the argument, she listened as a soul wide, fine-strung, acute, repressed, whose every fibre is a nerve, listens to the problem of its own destiny,—listened as the mother of a family listens, to know what were the possibilities, the probabilities, of this mysterious existence of ours to herself and those dearer to her than herself.

The consequence of all her listening was a history of deep inward sadness. That exultant joy, or that entire submission, with which others seemed to view the scheme of the universe, as thus unfolded, did not visit her mind. Everything to her seemed shrouded in gloom and mystery; and that darkness she received as a token of unregeneracy, as a sign that she was one of those who are destined, by a mysterious decree, never to receive the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Hence, while her husband was a deacon of the church, she, for years, had sat in her pew while the sacramental elements were distributed, a mournful spectator. Punctilious in every duty, exact, reverential, she still regarded herself as a child of wrath, an enemy to God, and an heir of perdition; nor could she see any hope of remedy, except in the sovereign, mysterious decree of an Infinite and Unknown Power, a mercy for which she waited with the sickness of hope deferred.

Her children had grown up successively around her, intelligent and exemplary. Her eldest son was mathematical professor in one of the leading colleges of New England. Her second son, who jointly with his father superintended the farm, was a man of wide literary culture and of fine mathematical genius; and not unfrequently, on winter evenings, the son, father, and mother worked together, by their kitchen fireside, over the calculations for the almanac for the ensuing year, which the son had been appointed to edit.

Everything in the family arrangements was marked by a sober precision, a grave and quiet self-possession. There was little demonstrativeness of affection between parents and children, brothers and sisters, though great mutual affection and confidence. It was not pride, nor sternness, but a sort of habitual shamefacedness, that kept far back in each soul those feelings which are the most beautiful in their outcome; but after a while, the habit became so fixed a nature, that a caressing or affectionate expression could not have passed the lips of one to another without a painful awkwardness. Love was understood, once for all, to be the basis on which their life was built. Once for all, they loved each other, and after that, the less said, the better. It had cost the woman's heart of Mrs. Marvyn some pangs, in the earlier part of her wedlock, to accept of this once for all, in place of those daily outgushings which every woman desires should be like God's loving-kindness, "new every morning"; but hers, too, was a nature strongly inclining inward, and, after a few tremulous movements, the needle of her soul settled, and her life-lot was accepted,—not as what she would like or could conceive, but as a reasonable and good one. Life was a picture painted in low, cool tones, but in perfect keeping; and though another and brighter style might have pleased better, she did not quarrel with this.

Into this steady, decorous, highly-respectable circle the youngest child, James, made a formidable irruption. One sometimes sees launched into a family-circle a child of so different a nature from all the rest, that it might seem as if, like an aërolite, he had fallen out of another sphere. All the other babies of the Marvyn family had been of that orderly, contented sort who sleep till it is convenient to take them up, and while awake suck their thumbs contentedly and look up with large, round eyes at the ceiling when it is not convenient for their elders and betters that they should do anything else. In farther advanced childhood, they had been quiet and decorous children, who could be all dressed and set up in chairs, like so many dolls, of a Sunday morning, patiently awaiting the stroke of the church-bell to be carried out and put into the wagon which took them over the two-miles' road to church. Possessed of such tranquil, orderly, and exemplary young offshoots, Mrs. Marvyn had been considered eminent for her "faculty" in bringing up children.

But James was destined to put "faculty," and every other talent which his mother possessed, to rout. He was an infant of moods and tenses, and those not of any regular verb. He would cry of nights, and he would be taken up of mornings, and he would not suck his thumb, nor a bundle of caraway-seed tied in a rag and dipped in sweet milk, with which the good gossips in vain endeavored to pacify him. He fought manfully with his two great fat fists the battle of babyhood, utterly reversed all nursery maxims, and reigned as baby over the whole prostrate household. When old enough to run alone, his splendid black eyes and glossy rings of hair were seen flashing and bobbing in every forbidden place and occupation. Now trailing on his mother's gown, he assisted her in salting her butter by throwing in small contributions of snuff or sugar, as the case might be; and again, after one of those mysterious periods of silence which are of most ominous significance in nursery experience, he would rise from the demolition of her indigo-bag, showing a face ghastly with blue streaks, and looking more like a gnome than the son of a respectable mother. There was not a pitcher of any description of contents left within reach of his little tiptoes and busy fingers that was not pulled over upon his giddy head without in the least seeming to improve its steadiness. In short, his mother remarked that she was thankful every night when she had fairly gotten him into bed and asleep; James had really got through one more day and killed neither himself nor any one else. As a boy, the case was little better. He did not take to study,—yawned over books, and cut out moulds for running anchors when he should have been thinking of his columns of words in four syllables. No mortal knew how he learned to read, for he never seemed to stop running long enough to learn anything; and yet he did learn, and used the talent in conning over travels, sea-voyages, and lives of heroes and naval commanders. Spite of father, mother, and brother, he seemed to possess the most extraordinary faculty of running up unsavory acquaintances. He was hail-fellow well-met with every Tom and Jack and Jim and Ben and Dick that strolled on the wharves, and astonished his father with minutest particulars of every ship, schooner, and brig in the harbor, together with biographical notes of the different Toms, Dicks, and Harrys by whom they were worked.

There was but one member of the family that seemed to know at all what to make of James, and that was their negro servant, Candace.

In those days, when domestic slavery prevailed in New England, it was quite a different thing in its aspects from the same institution in more southern latitudes. The hard soil, unyielding to any but the most considerate culture, the thrifty, close, shrewd habits of the people, and their untiring activity and industry, prevented, among the mass of the people, any great reliance on slave labor. It was something foreign, grotesque, and picturesque in a life of the most matter-of-fact sameness; it was even as if one should see clusters of palm-trees scattered here and there among Yankee wooden meeting-houses, or open one's eyes on clumps of yellow-striped aloes growing among hardhack and huckleberry bushes in the pastures.

Added to this, there were from the very first, in New England, serious doubts in the minds of thoughtful and conscientious people in reference to the lawfulness of slavery; and this scruple prevented many from availing themselves of it, and proved a restraint on all, so that nothing like plantation-life existed, and what servants were owned were scattered among different families, of which they came to be regarded and to regard themselves as a legitimate part and portion,—Mr. Marvyn, as a man of substance, numbering two or three in his establishment, among whom Candace reigned chief. The presence of these tropical specimens of humanity, with their wide, joyous, rich physical abundance of nature and their hearty abandon of outward expression, was a relief to the still clear-cut lines in which the picture of New England life was drawn, which an artist must appreciate.

No race has ever shown such infinite and rich capabilities of adaptation to varying soil and circumstances as the negro. Alike to them the snows of Canada, the hard, rocky land of New England, with its set lines and orderly ways, or the gorgeous profusion and loose abundance of the Southern States. Sambo and Cuffy expand under them all. New England yet preserves among her hills and valleys the lingering echoes of the jokes and jollities of various sable worthies, who saw alike in orthodoxy and heterodoxy, in Dr. This-side and Dr. That-side, only food for more abundant merriment;—in fact, the minister of those days not unfrequently had his black shadow, a sort of African Boswell, who powdered his wig, brushed his boots, defended and patronized his sermons, and strutted complacently about as if through virtue of his blackness he had absorbed every ray of his master's dignity and wisdom. In families, the presence of these exotics was a godsend to the children, supplying from the abundant outwardness and demonstrativeness of their nature that aliment of sympathy so dear to childhood, which the repressed and quiet habits of New England education denied. Many and many a New Englander counts among his pleasantest early recollections the memory of some of these genial creatures, who by their warmth of nature were the first and most potent mesmerisers of his childish mind.

Candace was a powerfully built, majestic black woman, corpulent, heavy, with a swinging majesty of motion like that of a ship in a ground-swell. Her shining black skin and glistening white teeth were indications of perfect physical vigor which had never known a day's sickness; her turban, of broad red and yellow bandanna stripes, had even a warm tropical glow; and her ample skirts were always ready to be spread over every childish transgression of her youngest pet and favorite, James.

She used to hold him entranced long winter-evenings, while she sat knitting in the chimney-corner, and crooned to him strange, wild African legends of the things that she had seen in her childhood and early days,—for she had been stolen when about fifteen years of age; and these weird, dreamy talks increased the fervor of his roving imagination, and his desire to explore the wonders of the wide and unknown world. When rebuked or chastised, it was she who had secret bowels of mercy for him, and hid doughnuts in her ample bosom to be secretly administered to him in mitigation of the sentence that sent him supperless to bed; and many a triangle of pie, many a wedge of cake, had conveyed to him surreptitious consolations which his more conscientious mother longed, but dared not, to impart. In fact, these ministrations, if suspected, were winked at by Mrs. Marvyn, for two reasons: first, that mothers are generally glad of any loving-kindness to an erring boy, which they are not responsible for; and second, that Candace was so set in her ways and opinions that one might as well come in front of a ship under full sail as endeavor to stop her in a matter where her heart was engaged.

To be sure, she had her own private and special quarrels with "Massa James" when he disputed any of her sovereign orders in the kitchen, and would sometimes pursue him with uplifted rolling-pin and floury hands when he had snatched a gingernut or cooky without suitable deference or supplication, and would declare, roundly, that there "never was sich an aggravatin' young un." But if, on the strength of this, any one else ventured a reproof, Candace was immediately round on the other side:—"Dat ar' chile gwin' to be spiled, 'cause dey's allers a-pickin' on him;—he's well enough, on'y let him alone."

Well, under this miscellaneous assortment of influences,—through the order and gravity and solemn monotone of life at home, with the unceasing tick-tack of the clock forever resounding through clean, empty-seeming rooms,—through the sea, ever shining, ever smiling, dimpling, soliciting, like a magical charger who comes saddled and bridled and offers to take you to fairyland,—through acquaintance with all sorts of foreign, outlandish ragamuffins among the ships in the harbor,—from disgust of slow-moving oxen, and long-drawn, endless furrows round the fifteen-acre lot,—from misunderstandings with grave elder brothers, and feeling somehow as if, he knew not why, he grieved his mother all the time just by being what he was and couldn't help being,—and, finally, by a bitter break with his father, in which came that last wrench for an individual existence which some time or other the young growing mind will give to old authority,—by all these united, was the lot at length cast; for one evening James was missing at supper, missing by the fireside, gone all night, not at home to breakfast,—till, finally, a strange, weird, most heathenish-looking cabin-boy, who had often been forbidden the premises by Mr. Marvyn, brought in a letter, half-defiant, half-penitent, which announced that James had sailed in the "Ariel" the evening before.

Mr. Zebedee Marvyn set his face as a flint, and said, "He went out from us because he was not of us,"—whereat old Candace lifted her great floury fist from the kneading-trough, and, shaking it like a large snowball, said, "Oh, you go 'long, Massa Marvyn; ye'll live to count dat ar' boy for de staff o' your old age yet, now I tell ye; got de makin' o' ten or'nary men in him; kittles dat's full allers will bile over; good yeast will blow out de cork,—lucky ef it don't bust de bottle. Tell ye, der's angels has der hooks in sich, and when de Lord wants him dey'll haul him in safe and sound." And Candace concluded her speech by giving a lift to her whole batch of dough and flinging it down in the trough with an emphasis that made the pewter on the dresser rattle.

This apparently irreverent way of expressing her mind, so contrary to the deferential habits studiously inculcated in family discipline, had grown to be so much a matter of course to all the family that nobody ever thought of rebuking it. There was a sort of savage freedom about her which they excused in right of her having been born and bred a heathen, and of course not to be expected to come at once under the yoke of civilization. In fact, you must all have noticed, my dear readers, that there are some sorts of people for whom everybody turns out as they would for a railroad-car, without stopping to ask why, and Candace was one of them.

Moreover, Mr. Marvyn was not displeased with this defence of James, as might be inferred from his mentioning it four or five times in the course of the morning, to say how foolish it was,—wondering why it was that Candace and everybody else got so infatuated with that boy,—and ending, at last, after a long period of thought, with the remark, that these poor African creatures often seemed to have a great deal of shrewdness in them, and that he was often astonished at the penetration that Candace showed.

At the end of the year James came home, more quiet and manly than he had ever been known before,—so handsome with his sunburnt face, and his keen, dark eyes, and glossy curls, that half the girls in the front gallery lost their hearts the first Sunday he appeared in church. He was tender as a woman to his mother, and followed her with his eyes, like a lover, wherever she went; he made due and manly acknowledgments to his father, but declared his fixed and settled intention to abide by the profession he had chosen; and he brought home all sorts of strange foreign gifts for every member of the household. Candace was glorified with a flaming red and yellow turban of Moorish stuff, from Mogadore, together with a pair of gorgeous yellow morocco slippers with peaked toes, which, though there appeared no call to wear them in her common course of life, she would put on her fat feet and contemplate with daily satisfaction. She became increasingly strengthened thereby in the conviction that the angels who had their hooks in Massa James's jacket were already beginning to shorten the line.

[To be continued.]


  When Peter led the First Crusade,
  A Norseman wooed an Arab maid.

  He loved her lithe and palmy grace,
  And the dark beauty of her face:

  She loved his cheeks, so ruddy fair,
  His sunny eyes and yellow hair.

  He called: she left her father's tent;
  She followed whereso'er he went.

  She left the palms of Palestine
  To sit beneath the Norland pine.

  She sang the musky Orient strains
  Where Winter swept the snowy plains.

  Their natures met like night and morn
  What time the morning-star is born.

  The child that from their meeting grew
  Hung, like that star, between the two.

  The glossy night his mother shed
  From her long hair was on his head:

  But in its shade they saw arise
  The morning of his father's eyes.

  Beneath the Orient's tawny stain
  Wandered the Norseman's crimson vein:

  Beneath the Northern force was seen
  The Arab sense, alert and keen.

  His were the Viking's sinewy hands,
  The arching foot of Eastern lands.

  And in his soul conflicting strove
  Northern indifference, Southern love;

  The chastity of temperate blood,
  Impetuous passion's fiery flood;

  The settled faith that nothing shakes,
  The jealousy a breath awakes;

  The planning Reason's sober gaze,
  And Fancy's meteoric blaze.

  And stronger, as he grew to man,
  The contradicting natures ran,—

  As mingled streams from Etna flow,
  One born of fire, and one of snow.

  And one impelled, and one withheld,
  And one obeyed, and one rebelled.

  One gave him force, the other fire;
  This self-control, and that desire.

  One filled his heart with fierce unrest;
  With peace serene the other blessed.

  He knew the depth and knew the height,
  The bounds of darkness and of light;

  And who these far extremes has seen
  Must needs know all that lies between.

  So, with untaught, instinctive art,
  He read the myriad-natured heart.

  He met the men of many a land;
  They gave their souls into his hand;

  And none of them was long unknown:
  The hardest lesson was his own.

  But how he lived, and where, and when,
  It matters not to other men;

  For, as a fountain disappears,
  To gush again in later years,

  So natures lost again may rise
  After the lapse of centuries,—

  May track the hidden course of blood
  Through many a generation's flood,

  Till, on some unsuspected field,
  The latent lineage is revealed.

  The hearts that met in Palestine,
  And mingled 'neath the Norland pine.
  Still beat with double pulse in mine.



Back again!—A turtle—which means a tortoise—is fond of his shell; but if you put a live coal on his back, he crawls out of it. So the boys say.

It is a libel on the turtle. He grows to his shell, and his shell is in his body as much as his body is in his shell.—I don't think there is one of our boarders quite so testudinous as I am. Nothing but a combination of motives, more peremptory than the coal on the turtle's back, could have got me to leave the shelter of my carapace; and after memorable interviews, and kindest hospitalities, and grand sights, and huge influx of patriotic pride,—for every American owns all America,—

"Creation's heir,—the world, the world is"

his, if anybody's,—I come back with the feeling which a boned turkey might experience, if, retaining his consciousness, he were allowed to resume his skeleton.

Welcome, O Fighting Gladiator, and Recumbent Cleopatra, and Dying Warrior, whose classic outlines (reproduced in the calcined mineral of Lutetia) crown my loaded shelves! Welcome, ye triumphs of pictorial art (repeated by the magic graver) that look down upon me from the walls of my sacred cell! Vesalius, as Titian drew him, high-fronted, still-eyed, thick-bearded, with signet-ring, as beseems a gentleman, with book and carelessly-held eyeglass, marking him a scholar; thou, too, Jan Kuyper, commonly called Jan Praktiseer, old man of a century and seven years besides, father of twenty sons and two daughters cut in copper by Houbraken, bought from a portfolio on one of the Paris quais; and ye Three Trees of Rembrandt, black in shadow against the blaze of sunlight; and thou Rosy Cottager of Sir Joshua,—thy roses hinted by the peppery burin of Bartolozzi; ye, too, of lower grades in nature, yet not unlovely nor unrenowned, Young Bull of Paulus Potter, and Sleeping Cat of Cornelius Visscher; welcome once more to my eyes! The old books look out from the shelves, and I seem to read on their backs something besides their titles,—a kind of solemn greeting. The crimson carpet flushes warm under my feet. The arm-chair hugs me; the swivel-chair spins round with me, as if it were giddy with pleasure; the vast recumbent fauteuil stretches itself out under my weight, as one joyous with food and wine stretches in after-dinner laughter.

The boarders were pleased to say that they were glad to get me back. One of them ventured a compliment, namely,—that I talked as if I believed what I said.—This was apparently considered something unusual, by its being mentioned.

One who means to talk with entire sincerity,—I said,—always feels himself in danger of two things, namely,—an affectation of bluntness, like that of which Cornwall accuses Kent in "Lear," and actual rudeness. What a man wants to do, in talking with a stranger, is to get and to give as much of the best and most real life that belongs to the two talkers as the time will let him. Life is short, and conversation apt to run to mere words. Mr. Hue I think it is, who tells us some very good stories about the way in which two Chinese gentlemen contrive to keep up a long talk without saying a word which has any meaning in it. Something like this is occasionally heard on this side of the Great Wall. The best Chinese talkers I know are some pretty women whom I meet from time to time. Pleasant, airy, complimentary, the little flakes of flattery glimmering in their talk like the bits of gold-leaf in eau-de-vie de Dantzic; their accents flowing on in a soft ripple,—never a wave, and never a calm; words nicely fitted, but never a colored phrase or a high-flavored epithet; they turn air into syllables so gracefully, that we find meaning for the music they make as we find faces in the coals and fairy palaces in the clouds. There is something very odd, though, about this mechanical talk.

You have sometimes been in a train on the railroad when the engine was detached a long way from the station you were approaching? Well, you have noticed how quietly and rapidly the cars kept on, just as if the locomotive were drawing them? Indeed, you would not have suspected that you were travelling on the strength of a dead fact, if you had not seen the engine running away from you on a side-track. Upon my conscience, I believe some of these pretty women detach their minds entirely, sometimes, from their talk,—and, what is more, that we never know the difference. Their lips let off the fluty syllables just as their fingers would sprinkle the music-drops from their pianos; unconscious habit turns the phrase of thought into words just as it does that of music into notes.—Well, they govern the world, for all that,—these sweet-lipped women,—because beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.

——The Bombazine wanted an explanation.

Madam,—said I,—wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.

——All this, however, is not what I was going to say. Here am I, suppose, sealed—we will say at a dinner-table—alongside of an intelligent Englishman. We look in each other's faces,—we exchange a dozen words. One thing is settled: we mean not to offend each other,—to be perfectly courteous,—more than courteous; for we are the entertainer and the entertained, and cherish particularly amiable feelings to each other. The claret is good; and if our blood reddens a little with its warm crimson, we are none the less kind for it.

——I don't think people that talk over their victuals are like to say anything very great, especially if they get their heads muddled with strong drink before they begin jabberin'.

The Bombazine uttered this with a sugary sourness, as if the words had been steeped in a solution of acetate of lead.—The boys of my time used to call a hit like this a "side-winder."

——I must finish this woman.—

Madam,—I said,—the Great Teacher seems to have been fond of talking as he sat at meat. Because this was a good while ago, in a far-off place, you forget what the true fact of it was,—that those were real dinners, where people were hungry and thirsty, and where you met a very miscellaneous company. Probably there was a great deal of loose talk among the guests; at any rate, there was always wine, we may believe.

Whatever may be the hygienic advantages or disadvantages of wine,—and I for one, except for certain particular ends, believe in water, and, I blush to say it, in black tea,—there is no doubt about its being the grand specific against dull dinners. A score of people come together in all moods of mind and body. The problem is, in the space of one hour, more or less, to bring them all into the same condition of slightly exalted life. Food alone is enough for one person, perhaps,—talk, alone, for another; but the grand equalizer and fraternizer, which works up the radiators to their maximum radiation, and the absorbents to their maximum receptivity, is now just where it was when

"The conscious water saw its Lord and blushed,"

—when six great vessels containing water, which seems to have been carefully purified, so as to be ready for the marriage-feast, were changed into the best of wine. I once wrote a song about wine, in which I spoke so warmly of it, that I was afraid some would think it was written inter pocula; whereas it was composed in the bosom of my family, under the most tranquillizing domestic influences.

——The divinity-student turned towards me, looking mischievous.—Can you tell me,—he said,—who wrote a song for a temperance celebration once, of which the following is a verse?—

  Alas for the loved one, too gentle and fair
  The joys of the banquet to chasten and share!
  Her eye lost its light that his goblet might shine,
  And the rose of her cheek was dissolved in his wine!

I did,—I answered.—What are you going to do about it?—I will tell you another line I wrote long ago:—

Don't be "consistent,"—but be simply true.

The longer I live, the more I am satisfied of two things: first, that the truest lives are those that are cut rose-diamond-fashion, with many facets answering to the many-planed aspects of the world about them; secondly, that society is always trying in some way or other to grind us down to a single flat surface. It is hard work to resist this grinding-down action.—Now give me a chance. Better eternal and universal abstinence than the brutalities of those days that made wives and mothers and daughters and sisters blush for those whom they should have honored, as they came reeling home from their debauches! Yet better even excess than lying and hypocrisy; and if wine is upon all our tables, let us praise it for its color and fragrance and social tendency, so far as it deserves, and not hug a bottle in the closet and pretend not to know the use of a wine-glass at a public dinner! I think you will find that people who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be "consistent." But a great many things we say can be made to appear contradictory, simply because they are partial views of a truth, and may often look unlike at first, as a front view of a face and its profile often do.

Here is a distinguished divine, for whom I have great respect, for I owe him a charming hour at one of our literary anniversaries, and he has often spoken noble words; but he holds up a remark of my friend the "Autocrat,"—which I grieve to say he twice misquotes, by omitting the very word which gives it its significance,—the word fluid, intended to typify the mobility of the restricted will,—holds it up, I say, as if it attacked the reality of the self-determining principle, instead of illustrating its limitations by an image. Now I will not explain any farther, still less defend, and least of all attack, but simply quote a few lines from one of my friend's poems, printed more than ten years ago, and ask the distinguished gentleman where he has ever asserted more strongly or absolutely the independent will of the "subcreative centre," as my heretical friend has elsewhere called man.

  —Thought, conscience, will, to make them all thy own
  He rent a pillar from the eternal throne!
  —Made in His image, thou must nobly dare
  The thorny crown of sovereignty to share.
  —Think not too meanly of thy low estate;
  Thou hast a choice; to choose is to create!

If he will look a little closely, he will see that the profile and the full-face views of the will are both true and perfectly consistent.

Now let us come back, after this long digression, to the conversation with the intelligent Englishman. We begin skirmishing with a few light ideas,—testing for thoughts,—as our electro-chemical friend, De Sauty, if there were such a person, would test for his current; trying a little litmus-paper for acids, and then a slip of turmeric-paper for alkalies, as chemists do with unknown compounds; flinging the lead, and looking at the shells and sands it brings up to find out whether we are like to keep in shallow water, or shall have to drop the deep-sea line;—in short, seeing what we have to deal with. If the Englishman gets his Hs pretty well placed, he comes from one of the higher grades of the British social order, and we shall find him a good companion.

But, after all, here is a great fact between us. We belong to two different civilizations, and, until we recognize what separates us, we are talking like Pyramus and Thisbe,—without any hole in the wall to talk through. Therefore, on the whole, if he were a superior fellow, incapable of mistaking it for personal conceit, I think I would let out the fact of the real American feeling about Old-World folks. They are children to us in certain points of view. They are playing with toys we have done with for whole generations. That silly little drum they are always beating on, and the trumpet and the feather they make so much noise and cut such a figure with, we have not quite outgrown, but play with much less seriously and constantly than they do. Then there is a whole museum of wigs, and masks, and lace-coats, and gold-sticks, and grimaces, and phrases, which we laugh at, honestly, without affectation, that are still used in the Old-World puppet-shows. I don't think we on our part ever understand the Englishman's concentrated loyalty and specialized reverence. But then we do think more of a man, as such, (barring some little difficulties about race and complexion which the Englishman will touch us on presently,) than any people that ever lived did think of him. Our reverence is a great deal wider, if it is less intense. We have caste among us, to some extent, it is true; but there is never a collar on the American wolf-dog such as you often see on the English mastiff, notwithstanding his robust, hearty individuality.

This confronting of two civilizations is always a grand sensation to me; it is like cutting through the isthmus and letting the two oceans swim into each other's laps. The trouble is, it is so difficult to let out the whole American nature without its self-assertion seeming to take a personal character. But I never enjoy the Englishman so much as when he talks of church and king like Manco Capac among the Peruvians. Then you get the real British flavor, which the cosmopolite Englishman loses. The best conversation I have had with one of them for a long time, lively, fluent, courteous, delightful, was a variation and illustrative development in elegant phrases of the following short sentences.

Englishman.—Sir, your New-World civilization is barbarism.

American.—Sir, your Old-World development is infancy.

How much better this thorough interpenetration of ideas than a barren interchange of courtesies, or a bush-fighting argument, in which each man tries to cover as much of himself and expose as much of his opponent as the tangled thicket of the disputed ground will let him!

——My thoughts flow in layers or strata, at least three deep. I follow a slow person's talk, and keep a perfectly clear under-current of my own beneath it. My friend the Autocrat has already made a similar remark. Under both runs obscurely a consciousness belonging to a third train of reflections, independent of the two others. I will try to write out a mental movement in three parts.

A.—First part, or Mental Soprano,—thought follows a woman talking.

B.—Second part, or Mental Barytone,—my running accompaniment.

C.—Third part, or Mental Basso,—low grumble of an importunate self-repeating idea.

A.—White lace, three skirts, looped with flowers, wreath of apple-blossoms, gold bracelets, diamond pin and earrings, the most delicious berthe you ever saw, white satin slippers——

B.—Deuse take her! What a fool she is! Hear her chatter! (Look out of window just here.—Two pages and a half of description, if it were all written out, in one tenth of a second.)—Go ahead, old lady! (Eye catches picture over fireplace.) There's that infernal family nose! Came over in the "Mayflower" on the first old fool's face. Why don't they wear a ring in it?

C.—You'll be late at lecture,—late at lecture,—late,—late,—late——

I observe that a deep layer of thought sometimes makes itself felt through the superincumbent strata, thus:—The usual single or double currents shall flow on, but there shall be an influence blending with them, disturbing them in an obscure way, until all at once I say,—Oh, there! I knew there was something troubling me,—and the thought which had been working through comes up to the surface clear, definite, and articulates itself,—a disagreeable duty, perhaps, or an unpleasant recollection.

The inner world of thought and the outer world of events are alike in this, that they are both brimful. There is no space between consecutive thoughts or between the never-ending series of actions. All pack tight, and mould their surfaces against each other, so that in the long run there is a wonderful average uniformity in the forms of both thoughts and actions,—just as you find that cylinders crowded all become hexagonal prisms, and spheres pressed together are formed into regular polyhedra.

Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped by him. So, to carry out, with another comparison, my remark about the layers of thought, we may consider the mind, as it moves among thoughts or events, like a circus-rider whirling round with a great troop of horses. He can mount a fact or an idea, and guide it more or less completely, but he cannot stop it. So, as I said in another way at the beginning, he can stride two or three thoughts at once, but not break their steady walk, trot, or gallop. He can only take his foot from the saddle of one thought and put it on that of another.

——What is the saddle of a thought? Why, a word, of course.—Twenty years after you have dismissed a thought, it suddenly wedges up to you through the press, as if it had been steadily galloping round and round all that time without a rider.

The will does not act in the interspaces of thought, for there are no such interspaces, but simply steps from the back of one moving thought upon that of another.

——I should like to ask,—said the divinity-student,—since we are getting into metaphysics, how you can admit space, if all things are in contact, and how you can admit time, if it is always now to something.

—I will thank you for the dry toast,—was my answer.

——I wonder if you know this class of philosophers in books or elsewhere. One of them makes his bow to the public, and exhibits an unfortunate truth bandaged up so that it cannot stir hand or foot,—as helpless, apparently, and unable to take care of itself, as an Egyptian mummy. He then proceeds, with the air and method of a master, to take off the bandages. Nothing can be neater than the way in which he does it. But as he takes off layer after layer, the truth seems to grow smaller and smaller, and some of its outlines begin to look like something we have seen before. At last, when he has got them all off, and the truth struts out naked, we recognize it as a diminutive and familiar acquaintance whom we have known in the streets all our lives. The fact is, the philosopher has coaxed the truth into his study and put all those bandages on; of course it is not very hard for him to take them off. Still, a great many people like to watch the process,—he does it so neatly!

Dear! dear! I am ashamed to write and talk, sometimes, when I see how those functions of the large-brained, thumb-opposing plantigrade are abused by my fellow-vertebrates,—perhaps by myself. How they spar for wind, instead of hitting from the shoulder!

——The young fellow called John arose and placed himself in a neat fighting attitude.—Fetch on the fellah that makes them long words!—he said,—and planted a straight hit with the right fist in the concave palm of the left hand with a click like a cup and ball.—You small boy there, hurry up that "Webster's Unabridged!"

The little gentleman with the malformation, before described, shocked the propriety of the breakfast-table by a loud utterance of three words, of which the two last were "Webster's Unabridged," and the first was an emphatic monosyllable.—Beg pardon,—he added,—forgot myself. But let us have an English dictionary, if we are to have any. I don't believe in clipping the coin of the realm, Sir! If I put a weathercock on my house, Sir, I want it to tell which way the wind blows up aloft,—off from the prairies to the ocean, or off from the ocean to the prairies, or any way it wants to blow! I don't want a weathercock with a winch in an old gentleman's study that he can take hold of and turn, so that the vane shall point west when the great wind overhead is blowing east with all its might, Sir! Wait till we give you a dictionary, Sir! It takes Boston to do that thing, Sir!

——Some folks think water can't run down-hill anywhere out of
Boston,—remarked the Koh-i-noor.

I don't know what some folks think so well as I know what some fools say,—rejoined Little Boston.—If importing most dry goods made the best scholars, I dare say you would know where to look for 'em.—Mr. Webster couldn't spell, Sir, or wouldn't spell, Sir,—at any rate, he didn't spell; and the end of it was a fight between the owners of some copyrights and the dignity of this noble language which we have inherited from our English fathers,—language!—the blood of the soul, Sir! into which our thoughts run and out of which they grow! We know what a word is worth here in Boston. Young Sam Adams got up on the stage at Commencement, out at Cambridge there, with his gown on, the Governor and Council looking on in the name of his Majesty, King George the Second, and the girls looking down out of the galleries, and taught people how to spell a word that wasn't in the Colonial dictionaries! R-e, re, s-i-s, sis, t-a-n-c-e, tance, Resistance! That was in '43, and it was a good many years before the Boston boys began spelling it with their muskets;—but when they did begin, they spelt it so loud that the old bedridden women in the English almshouses heard every syllable! Yes, yes, yes,—it was a good while before those other two Boston boys got the class so far along that it could spell those two hard words, Independence and Union! I tell you what, there are a thousand lives, aye, sometimes a million, go to get a new word into a language that is worth speaking. We know what language means too well here in Boston to play tricks with it. We never make a new word till we have made a new thing or a new thought, Sir! When we shaped the new mould of this continent, we had to make a few. When, by God's permission, we abrogated the primal curse of maternity, we had to make a word or two. The cutwater of this great Leviathan clipper, the OCCIDENTAL,—this thirty-masted wind-and-steam wave-crusher,—must throw a little spray over the human vocabulary as it splits the waters of a new world's destiny!

He rose as he spoke, until his stature seemed to swell into the fair human proportions. His feet must have been on the upper round of his high chair;—that was the only way I could account for it.

Puts her through fust-rate,—said the young fellow whom the boarders call John.

The venerable and kind-looking old gentleman who sits opposite said he remembered Sam Adams as Governor. An old man in a brown coat. Saw him take the Chair on Boston Common. Was a boy then, and remembers sitting on the fence in front of the old Hancock house. Recollects he had a glazed 'lection-bun, and sat eating it and looking down on to the Common. Lalocks flowered late that year, and he got a great bunch off from the bushes in the Hancock front-yard.

Them 'lection buns are no go,—said the young man John, so called.—I know the trick. Give a fellah a fo'penny bun in the mornin', an' he downs the whole of it. In about an hour it swells up in his stomach as big as a football, and his feedin's sp'ilt for that day. That's the way to stop off a young one from eatin' up all the 'lection dinner.

Salem! Salem! not Boston,—shouted the little man.

But the Koh-i-noor laughed a great rasping laugh, and the boy Benjamin Franklin looked sharp at his mother, as if he remembered the bun-experiment as a part of his past personal history.

Little Boston was holding a fork in his left hand. He stabbed a boulder of home-made bread with it, mechanically, and looked at it as if it ought to shriek. It did not,—but he sat as if watching it.

——Language is a solemn thing,—I said.—It grows out of life,—out of its agonies and ecstasies, its wants and its weariness. Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined. Because time softens its outlines and rounds the sharp angles of its cornices, shall a fellow take a pickaxe to help time? Let me tell you what comes of meddling with things that can take care of themselves.—A friend of mine had a watch given him, when he was a boy,—a "bull's eye," with a loose silver case that came off like an oyster-shell from its contents; you know them,—the cases that you hang on your thumb, while the core or the real watch lies in your hand as naked as a peeled apple. Well, he began with taking off the case, and so on from one liberty to another, until he got it fairly open, and there were the works, as good as if they were alive,—crown-wheel, balance-wheel, and all the rest. All right except one thing,—there was a confounded little hair had got tangled round the balance-wheel. So my young Solomon got a pair of tweezers, and caught hold of the hair very nicely, and pulled it right out, without touching any of the wheels,—when,—buzzzZZZ! and the watch had done up twenty-four hours in double magnetic-telegraph time!—The English language was wound up to run some thousands of years, I trust; but if everybody is to be pulling at everything he thinks is a hair, our grandchildren will have to make the discovery that it is a hair-spring, and the old Anglo-Norman soul's-timekeeper will run down, as so many other dialects have done before it. I can't stand this meddling any better than you, Sir. But we have a great deal to be proud of in the lifelong labors of that old lexicographer, and we mustn't be ungrateful. Besides, don't let us deceive ourselves, the war of the dictionaries is only a disguised rivalry of cities, colleges, and especially of publishers. After all, the language will shape itself by larger forces than phonography and dictionary-making. You may spade up the ocean as much as you like, and harrow it afterwards, if you can,—but the moon will still lead the tides, and the winds will form their surface.

——Do you know Richardson's Dictionary?—I said to my neighbor the divinity-student.

Haöw?—said the divinity-student.—He colored, as he noticed on my face a twitch in one of the muscles which tuck up the corner of the mouth, (zygomaticus major,) and which I could not hold back from making a little movement on its own account.

It was too late.—A country-boy, lassoed when he was a half-grown colt. Just as good as a city-boy, and in some ways, perhaps, better,—but caught a little too old not to carry some marks of his earlier ways of life. Foreigners, who have talked a strange tongue half their lives, return to the language of their childhood in their dying hours. Gentlemen in fine linen, and scholars in large libraries, taken by surprise, or in a careless moment, will sometimes let slip a word they knew as boys in homespun and have not spoken since that time,—but it lay there under all their culture. That is one way you may know the country-boys after they have grown rich or celebrated; another is by the odd old family names, particularly those of the Hebrew prophets, which the good old people have saddled them with.

——Boston has enough of England about it to make a good English dictionary,—said that fresh-looking youth whom I have mentioned as sitting at the right upper corner of the table.

I turned and looked him full in the face,—for the pure, manly intonations arrested me. The voice was youthful, but full of character.—I suppose some persons have a peculiar susceptibility in the matter of voice.—Hear this.

Not long after the American Revolution, a young lady was sitting in her father's chaise in a street of this town of Boston. She overheard a little girl talking or singing, and was mightily taken with the tones of her voice. Nothing would satisfy her but she must have that little girl come and live in her father's house. So the child came, being then nine years old. Until her marriage she remained under the same roof with the young lady. Her children became successively inmates of the lady's dwelling; and now, seventy years, or thereabouts, since the young lady heard the child singing, one of that child's children and one of her grandchildren are with her in that home, where she, no longer young, except in heart, passes her peaceful days.—Three generations linked together by so light a breath of accident!

I liked the sound of this youth's voice, I said, and his look when I came to observe him a little more closely. His complexion had something better than the bloom and freshness which had first attracted me;—it had that diffused tone which is a sure index of wholesome lusty life. A fine liberal style of nature it seemed to be: hair crisped, moustache springing thick and dark, head firmly planted, lips finished, as one commonly sees them in gentlemen's families, a pupil well contracted, and a mouth that opened frankly with a white flash of teeth that looked as if they could serve him as they say Ethan Allen's used to serve their owner,—to draw nails with. This is the kind of fellow to walk a frigate's deck and bowl his broadsides into the "Gallant Thunderbomb," or any forty-portholed adventurer who would like to exchange a few tons of iron compliments.—I don't know what put this into my head, for it was not till some time afterward I learned the young fellow had been in the naval school at Annapolis. Something had happened to change his plan of life, and he was now studying engineering and architecture in Boston.

When the youth made the short remark which drew my attention to him, the little deformed gentleman turned round and took a long look at him.

Good for the Boston boy!—he said.

I am not a Boston boy,—said the youth, smiling,—I am a Marylander.

I don't care where you come from,—we'll make a Boston man of you,—said the little gentleman.—Pray, what part of Maryland did you come from, and how shall I call you?

The poor youth had to speak pretty loud, as he was at the right upper corner of the table, and Little Boston next the lower left-hand corner. His face flushed a little, but he answered pleasantly,—telling who he was, as if the little man's infirmity gave him a right to ask any questions he wanted to.

Here is the place for you to sit,—said the little gentleman, pointing to the vacant chair next his own, at the corner.

You're go'n' to have a young lady next you, if you wait till to-morrow,—said the landlady to Little Boston.

He did not reply, but I had a fancy, that he changed color. It can't be that he has susceptibilities with reference to a contingent young lady! It can't be that he has had experiences which make him sensitive! Nature could not be quite so cruel as to set a heart throbbing in that poor little cage of ribs! There is no use in wasting notes of admiration. I must ask the landlady about him.

These are some of the facts she furnished.—Has not been long with her. Brought a sight of furniture,—couldn't hardly get some of it up-stairs. Hasn't seemed particularly attentive to the ladies. The Bombazine (whom she calls Cousin something or other) has tried to enter into conversation with him, but retired with the impression that he was indifferent to ladies' society. Paid his bill the other day without saying a word about it. Paid it in gold,—had a great heap of twenty-dollar pieces. Hires her best room. Thinks he is a very nice little man, but lives dreadful lonely up in his chamber. Wants the care of some capable nuss. Never pitied anybody more in her life,—never see a more interestin' person.

——My intention was, when I began making these notes, to let them consist principally of conversations between myself and the other boarders. So they will, very probably; but my curiosity is excited about this little boarder of ours, and my reader must not be disappointed, if I sometimes interrupt a discussion to give an account of whatever fact or traits I may discover about him. It so happens that his room is next to mine, and I have the opportunity of observing many of his ways without any active movements of curiosity. That his room contains heavy furniture, that he is a restless little body and is apt to be up late, that he talks to himself, and keeps mainly to himself, is nearly all I have found out.

One curious circumstance happened lately, which I mention without drawing an absolute inference.—Being at the studio of a sculptor with whom I am acquainted, the other day, I saw a remarkable cast of a left arm. On my asking where the model came from, he said it was taken direct from the arm of a deformed person, who had employed one of the Italian moulders to make the cast. It was a curious case, it should seem, of one beautiful limb upon a frame otherwise singularly imperfect.—I have repeatedly noticed this little gentleman's use of his left arm. Can he have furnished the model I saw at the sculptor's?

——So we are to have a new boarder to-morrow. I hope there will be something pretty and pleasant about her. A woman with a creamy voice, and finished in alto rilievo, would be a variety in the boarding-house,—a little more marrow and a little less sinew than our landlady and her daughter and the bombazine-clad female, all of whom are of the turkey-drumstick style of organization. I don't mean that these are our only female companions; but the rest being conversational non-combatants, mostly still, sad feeders, who take in their food as locomotives take in wood and water, and then wither away from the table like blossoms that never come to fruit, I have not yet referred to them as individuals.

I wonder what kind of a young person we shall see in that empty chair to-morrow!

——I read this song to the boarders after breakfast the other morning.
It was written for our fellows;—you know who they are, of course.


  Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys?
  If there has, take him out, without making a noise!
  Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite!
  Old Time is a liar! We're twenty to-night!

  We're twenty! We're twenty! Who says we are more?
  He's tipsy,—young jackanapes!—show him the door!—
  "Gray temples at twenty?"—Yes! white, if we please;
  Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there's nothing can freeze!

  Was it snowing I spoke of? Excuse the mistake!
  Look close,—you will see not a sign of a flake;
  We want some new garlands for those we have shed,—
  And these are white roses in place of the red!

  We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told,
  Of talking (in public) as if we were old;—
  That boy we call "Doctor," and this we call "Judge";—
  It's a neat little fiction,—of course it's all fudge.

  That fellow's the "Speaker,"—the one on the right;
  "Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you to-night?
  That's our "Member of Congress," we say when we chaff;
  There's the "Reverend"—What's his name?—don't make me laugh!

  That boy with the grave mathematical look
  Made believe he had written a wonderful book,
  And the ROYAL ACADEMY thought it was true!
  So they chose him right in; a good joke it was, too!

  There's a boy,—we pretend,—with a three-decker-brain,
  That could harness a team with a logical chain;
  When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire,
  We called him "The Justice," but now he's "The Squire."

  And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith,—
  Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith,—
  But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,—
  —Just read on his medal,—"My country,"—"of thee!"

  You hear that boy laughing?—You think he's all fun,—
  But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done.
  The children laugh loud as they troop to his call,
  And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all!

  Yes, we're boys,—always playing with tongue or with pen,—
  And I sometimes have asked,—Shall we ever be men?
  Shall we always be youthful and laughing and gay,
  Till the last dear companion drops smiling away?

  Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its gray!
  The stars of its Winter, the dews of its May!
  And when we have done with our life-lasting toys
  Dear Father, take care of thy children, the Boys!

* * * * *


[Footnote A: The Works of William Shakespeare. Edited, etc., by RICHARD GRANT WHITE. Vols. II., III., IV., and V. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1858]


We doubt if posterity owe a greater debt to any two men living in 1623 than to the two obscure actors who in that year published the first folio edition of Shakspeare's plays. But for them, it is more than likely that such of his works as had remained to that time imprinted would have been irrecoverably lost, and among them were "Julius Caesar," "The Tempest," and "Macbeth." But are we to believe them when they assert that they present to us the plays which they reprinted from stolen and surreptitious copies "cured and perfect of their limbs," and those which are original in their edition "absolute in their numbers as he [Shakspeare] conceived them"? Alas, we have read too many theatrical announcements, have been taught too often that the value of the promise was in an inverse ratio to the generosity of the exclamation-marks, too easily to believe that! Nay, we have seen numberless processions of healthy kine enter our native village unheralded save by the lusty shouts of drovers, while a wretched calf, cursed by stepdame Nature with two heads, was brought to us in a triumphal car, avant-couriered by a band of music as abnormal as itself, and announced as the greatest wonder of the age. If a double allowance of vituline brains deserve such honor, there are few commentators on Shakspeare that would have gone afoot, and the trumpets of Messieurs Heminge and Condell call up in our minds too many monstrous and deformed associations.

What, then, is the value of the first folio as an authority? We are inclined to think that Mr. Collier (for obvious reasons) underrates it, and that Mr. White sometimes errs in the opposite direction. For eighteen of the plays it is the only authority we have, and the only one also for four others in their complete form. It is admitted that in several instances Heminge and Condell reprinted the earlier quarto impressions with a few changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse; and it is most probable that copies of those editions (whether surreptitious or not) had taken the place of the original prompter's books, as being more convenient and legible. Even in these cases it is not safe to conclude that all or even any of the variations were made by the hand of Shakspeare himself. And where the players printed from manuscript, is it likely to have been that of the author? The probability is small that a writer so busy as Shakspeare must have been during his productive period should have copied out their parts for the actors, himself, or that one so indifferent as he seems to have been to the mere literary fortunes of his works should have given any great care to the correction of such copies, if made by others. The copies exclusively in the hands of Heminge and Condell were, it is manifest, in some cases, very imperfect, whether we account for the fact by the burning of the Globe Theatre or by the necessary wear and tear of years, and (what is worthy of notice) they are plainly more defective in some parts than in others. "Measure for Measure" is an example of this, and we are not satisfied with being told that its ruggedness of verse is intentional, or that its obscurity is due to the fact that Shakspeare grew more elliptical in his style as he grew older. Profounder in thought he doubtless became; though, in a mind like his, we believe that this would imply only a more absolute supremacy in expression. But, from whatever original we suppose either the quartos or the first folio to have been printed, it is more than questionable whether the proof-sheets had the advantage of any revision other than that of the printing-office. Steevens was of opinion that authors in the time of Shakspeare never read their own proof-sheets; and Mr. Spedding, in his recent edition of Bacon, comes independently to the same conclusion.[B] We may be very sure that Heminge and Condell did not, as vicars, take upon themselves a disagreeable task which the author would have been too careless to assume.

[Footnote B: Vol. III. p. 348, note. He grounds his belief, not on the misprinting of words, but on the misplacing of whole paragraphs. We were struck with the same thing in the original edition of Chapman's Biron's Conspiracy and Tragedy. One of the misprints which Mr. Spedding notices affords both a hint and a warning to the conjectural emendator. In the edition of The Advancement of Learning printed in 1605 occurs the word dusinesse. In a later edition this was conjecturally changed to business; but the occurrence of vertigine in the Latin translation enables Mr. Spedding to print rightly, dizziness.]

Nevertheless, however strong a case may be made out against the Folio of 1623, whatever sins of omission we may lay to the charge of Heminge and Condell, or of commission to that of the printers, it remains the only text we have with any claims whatever to authenticity. It should be deferred to as authority in all cases where it does not make Shakspeare write bad sense, uncouth metre, or false grammar, of all which we believe him to have been more supremely incapable than any other man who ever wrote English. Yet we would not speak unkindly even of the blunders of the Folio. They have put bread into the mouth of many an honest editor, publisher, and printer, for the last century and a half; and he who loves the comic side of human nature will find the serious notes of a variorum edition of Shakspeare as funny reading as the funny ones are serious. Scarce a commentator of them all, for more than a hundred years, but thought, as Alphonso of Castile did of Creation, that, if he had only been at Shakspeare's elbow, he could have given valuable advice; scarce one who did not know off-hand that there was never a seaport in Bohemia,—as if Shakspeare's world were one which Mercator could have projected; scarce one but was satisfied that his ten finger-tips were a sufficient key to those astronomic wonders of poise and counterpoise, of planetary law and cometary seeming-exception, in his metres; scarce one but thought he could gauge like an ale-firkin that intuition whose edging shallows may have been sounded, but whose abysses, stretching down amid the sunless roots of Being and Consciousness, mock the plummet; scarce one but could speak with condescending approval of that prodigious intelligence so utterly without congener that our baffled language must coin an adjective to qualify it, and none is so audacious as to say Shakspearian of any other. And yet, in the midst of our impatience, we cannot help thinking also of how much healthy mental activity this one man has been the occasion, how much good he has indirectly done to society by withdrawing men to investigations and habits of thought that secluded them from baser attractions, for how many he has enlarged the circle of study and reflection; since there is nothing in history or politics, nothing in art or science, nothing in physics or metaphysics, that is not sooner or later taxed for his illustration. This is partially true of all great minds, open and sensitive to truth and beauty through any large arc of their circumference; but it is true in an unexampled sense of Shakspeare, the vast round of whose balanced nature seems to have been equatorial, and to have had a southward exposure and a summer sympathy at every point, so that life, society, statecraft serve us at last but as commentaries on him, and whatever we have gathered of thought, of knowledge, and of experience, confronted with his marvellous page, shrinks to a mere footnote, the stepping-stone to some hitherto inaccessible verse. We admire in Homer the blind placid mirror of the world's young manhood, the bard who escapes from his misfortune in poems all memory, all life and bustle, adventure and picture; we revere in Dante that compressed force of lifelong passion which could make a private experience cosmopolitan in its reach and everlasting in its significance; we respect in Goethe the Aristotelian poet, wise by weariless observation, witty with intention, the stately Geheimerrath of a provincial court in the empire of Nature. As we study these, we seem in our limited way to penetrate into their consciousness and to measure and master their methods;—but with Shakspeare it is just the other way; the more we have familiarized ourselves with the operations of our own consciousness, the more do we find, in reading him, that he has been beforehand with us, and that, while we have been vainly endeavoring to find the door of his being, he has searched every nook and cranny of our own. While other poets and dramatists embody isolated phases of character and work inward from the phenomenon to the special law which it illustrates, he seems in some strange way unitary with human nature itself, and his own soul to have been the law- and life-giving power of which his creations are only the phenomena. We justify or criticize the characters of other writers by our memory and experience, and pronounce them natural or unnatural; but he seems to have worked in the very stuff of which memory and experience are made, and we recognize his truth to Nature by an innate and unacquired sympathy, as if he alone possessed the secret of the "ideal form and universal mould," and embodied generic types rather than individuals. In this Cervantes alone has approached him; and Don Quixote and Sancho, like the men and women of Shakspeare, are the contemporaries of every generation, because they are not products of an artificial and transitory society, but because they are animated by the primeval and unchanging forces of that humanity which underlies and survives the forever-fickle creeds and ceremonials of the parochial corners which we who dwell in them sublimely call The World.

But the dropping of our variorum volume upon the floor recalls us from our reverie, and, as we pick it up, we ask ourselves sadly, Is it fitting that we should have a Shakspeare according to plodding Malone or coarse-minded Steevens, both of whom would have had the headache all their lives after, could one of the Warwickshire plebeian's conceptions have got into their brains and stretched them, and who would have hidden under their bedclothes in a cold-sweat of terror, could they have seen the awful vision of Macbeth as he saw it? No! and to every other commentator who has wantonly tampered with the text, or obscured it with his inky cloud of paraphrase, we feel inclined to apply the quadrisyllable name of the brother of Agis, king of Sparta. Clearly, we should be grateful to an editor who feels it his chief duty to scrape away these barnacles from the brave old hull, to replace with the original heart-of-oak the planks where these small but patient terebrators have bored away the tough fibre to fill the gap with sawdust!

This task Mr. White has undertaken, and, after such conscientious examination of his work as the importance of it demands, after a painful comparison, note by note, and reading by reading, of his edition with those of Messrs. Knight, Collier, and Dyce, our opinion of his ability and fitness for his task has been heightened and confirmed. Not that we always agree with him,—not that we do not think that in respect of the Folio text he has sometimes erred on the side of superstitious reverence for it, and sometimes in too rashly abandoning it,—but, making all due exceptions, we think that his edition is, in the phrase of our New England fathers in Israel, for substance, scope, and aim, the best hitherto published. The chief matter must in all cases be the text, and the faults we find in him do not, as a general rule, affect that. Some of them are faults which his own better judgment, we think, will lead him to avoid in his forthcoming volumes; and in regard to some, he will probably honestly disagree with us as to their being faults at all. No conceivable edition of Shakspeare would satisfy all tastes;—sometimes we have attached associations to received readings which make impartial perception impossible; sometimes we have imparted our own meaning to a passage by too steady pondering over it, just as in twilight an inanimate thing will seem to move, if we look at it long, though the wavering be truly in our own overstrained vision; sometimes our personal temperament will insensibly warp our judgment;—but Mr. White has generally shown so just a discrimination, that there are few instances where we dissent, and in these a pencil will enable every one to edit for himself. Any criticism of an edition of Shakspeare must necessarily concern itself with seemingly insignificant matters, often with a comma or a syllable,—and the danger is always of degenerating into a captiousness and word-catching unworthy the lover of truth for its own sake. We shall endeavor to be minute without being small.

Mr. White reserves for a first volume (not yet published) his notices of Shakspeare's life, his remarks upon the text, and other general introductory topics. In the second volume, he gives us an excellent copy of the Droeshout portrait, the preliminary matter of the Folio of 1628, with notices of the writers of commendatory verses thereto prefixed, and of the principal actors who performed parts in Shakspeare's plays. We notice particularly his discussion of the authorship of the verses signed J.M.S. as a good example of the delicacy and acuteness of his criticism. Though he has the great authority of Coleridge against him, we think that he has constructed a very ingenious, strong, and even convincing argument against the Milton theory. Each play is preceded by an Introduction, remarkably well digested and condensed, giving an account of the text, and of the sources from which Shakspeare helped himself to plots or incidents. We cannot but commend highly the self-restraint which marks these brief and pithy prefaces, and the pertinency of every sentence to the matter in hand. The Germans, (to whom we are undeniably indebted for the first philosophic appreciation of the poet,) being debarred by their alienage from the tempting parliament of verbal commentary and conflict, have made themselves such ample amends by expatiations in the unfenced field of aesthetics and of that constructive criticism which is too often confined to the architecture of Castles in Spain, that we feel as if Dogberry had charged us in relation to them with that hopelessly bewildering commission to "comprehend all vagrom men" which we have hitherto considered applicable only to peripatetic lecturers. Mr. White wisely and kindly leaves us to Shakspeare and our own imaginations,—two very potent spells to conjure with,—and seems to be aware of the fact, that, in its application to a creative mind like that of the great Poet, the science of teleology may sometimes find itself as much at fault as it so often is in attempting to fathom the designs of the Infinite Creator. Rabelais solves the grave problem of the goodliness of Friar John's nose by the comprehensive formula, "Because God willed it so"; and it is well for us in most cases to enjoy Shakspeare in the same pious way,—to smell a rose without bothering ourselves about its having been made expressly to serve the turn of the essence-peddlers of Shiraz. We yield the more credit to Mr. White's self-denial in this respect, because his notes prove him to be capable of profound as well as delicate and sympathetic exegesis. Shakspeare himself has left us a pregnant satire on dogmatical and categorical esthetics (which commonly in discussion soon lose their ceremonious tails and are reduced to the internecine dog and cat of their bald first syllables) in the cloud-scene between Hamlet and Polonius, suggesting exquisitely how futile is any attempt at a cast-iron definition of those perpetually metamorphic impressions of the beautiful, whose source is as much in the man who looks as in the thing he sees. And elsewhere more directly,—Mr. White must allow us the old reading for the sake of our illustration,—he has told us how

  Master of passion, sways it to the mood
  Of what it likes or loathes."

We are glad to see, likewise, with what becoming indifference the matter of Shakspeare's indebtedness to others is treated by Mr. White in his Introductions. There are many commentators who seem to think they have wormed themselves into the secret of the Master's inspiration when they have discovered the sources of his plots. But what he took was by right of eminent domain; and was he not to resuscitate a theme and make it immortal, because some botcher had tried his hand upon it before, and left it for stone-dead? Because he could not help throwing sizes, was he to avoid the dice which for others would only come up ames-ace?

Up to the middle of 1854,[C] there had been published in England and on the Continent eighty-eight complete editions of Shakspeare in English, thirty-two in German, six in French, and five, more or less complete, in Italian. Beside these, his works had been translated into Dutch, (1778-82,) into Danish, (1807-28,) into Hungarian, (1824,) into Polish, (1842,) and into Swedish (1847-51). The numerous American editions are not reckoned in this statement; and, to give an adequate notion of the extent of the Shakspeare-literature, we should add that the number of separately-printed comments and other illustrative publications already exceeds five hundred. No other poet except Dante has received such appreciation,—and not even he, if we consider in Shakspeare's case the greater bulk of the works and the difficulty of the language. After so many people had used their best wit and had their say, could there be any unconsidered trifle left for a new editor? Could the sharpest eyes find more needles in this enormous haystack? We do not pretend to have examined the whole of this polyglot library, nay, but for Herr Sillig, we had never heard of most of the books in it, but we are tolerably familiar with the more important English editions, and with some of the German comments,[D] and we must say that the freshness of many of Mr. White's observations struck us with very agreeable surprise. We are not fond of off-hand opinions on any subject, much more on one so multifarious and complex as this,—we are a great deal too ready with them in America, and pronounce upon pictures and poems with a b'hoyish nonchalance that would be amusing, were it not for its ill consequence to Art,—but we love the expression of honest praise, of sifted and considerate judgment, and we think that a laborious collation justifies us in saying that in acute discrimination of aesthetic shades of expression, and often of textual niceties, Mr. White is superior to any previous editor.

[Footnote C: Die Shakspere-Literatur bis Mitte 1854. Zusammengestellt und herausgegeben von P.H. SILLIG. Leipzig. 1854.]

[Footnote D: Among which (setting aside a few remarks of Goethe) we are inclined to value as highly us anything Tieck's Essay on the Element of the Wonderful in Shakspeare.]

In proof of what we have said, we will refer to a few of the notes which have particularly pleased us, and which show originality of view.

(Tempest, Act ii. Sc. 2.)

"'Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash, dish.'

"Dryden, Theobald, Dyce, Halliwell, and Hudson would have 'trenchering' a typographical error for 'trencher,' which they introduce into the text. Surely they must all have forgotten that Caliban was drunk, and, after singing 'firing' and 'requiring,' would naturally sing 'trenchering.' There is a drunken swing in the original line which is entirely lost in the precise, curtailed rhythm of—

'Nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish.'"

Other editors had retained "trenchering," but none, that we know, ever gave so good a reason for it. Equally good is his justification of himself for omitting Theobald's interpolation of "Did she nod?" in "Two Gentlemen of Verona," Act i. Sc. 1. Other examples may be found in the readings, "There is a lady of Verona here," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 1); "Yet reason dares her on," (Measure for Measure, Act iv. Sc. 4); "Hark, how the villain would glose now," (same play, Act v. Sc. 1); "The forced fallacy," (Comedy of Errors, Act ii. Sc. 1); in the note on "Cupid is a good hare-finder," (Much Ado, Act i. Sc. 3); the admirable note on "Examine those men," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 1); the readings, "Out on thee! Seeming!" (same play, Act iv. Sc. 1); "For I have only silent been," (ibid.); "Goodly Count-Confèct," and note, (same play, Act iv. Sc. 2); the note on "I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy," (Love's Labor's Lost, Act v. Sc. 1); on "Mounsieur Cobweb," and "Help Cavalery Cobweb to scratch," (Mid. Night's D., Act iv. Sc. 1); on "Or in the night," etc. (same play, Act v. Sc. 1); on "Is sum of nothing," (Merchant of Venice, Act iii. Sc. 2); on "Stays me here at home unkept," (As you like it, Act i. Sc. 1); on "Unquestionable spirit," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 2); on "Move the still-piecing air," (All's Well, etc., Act ii. Sc. 2); and on "What is not holy," (same play, Act iv. Sc. 2). We have referred to a few only out of the many instances that have attracted our notice, and these chiefly for their bearing on what we have said of the editor's refinement of appreciation and originality of view. The merely illustrative and explanatory notes are also full and judicious, containing all that it is important the reader should know, and a great deal which it will entertain him to learn. In the Introductions to the several plays, too, we find many obiter dicta of Mr. White which are excellent in their clearness of critical perception and conciseness of phrase. From that to the "Comedy of Errors" we quote the following sentence:—

"Concerning the place and the period of the action of this play, it seems that Shakspeare did not trouble himself to form a very accurate idea. The Ephesus of "The Comedy of Errors" is much like the Bohemia of "The Winter's Tale,"—a remote, unknown place, yet with a familiar and imposing name, and therefore well suited to the purposes of one who, as poet and dramatist, cared much for men and little for things, and to whose perception the accidental was entirely eclipsed by the essential. Anachronisms are scattered through it with a profusion which could only be the result of entire indifference,—in fact, of an absolute want of thought on the subject."—Vol. III. 189.

We think this could not be better said, if only we might supplant "things" with the more precise word "facts"; for about things Shakspeare was never careless. It is only that deciduous foliage of facts which every generation leaves heaps of behind it dry, and dead, that he rustles through with eyes so royally unconcerned. As a good example of Mr. White's style, we should be inclined to cite the Introduction to "Love's Labor's Lost," from which we detach this single crystal:—

"It is ever the ambitious way of youthful genius to aim at novelty of form in its first essays, while yet in treatment it falls unconsciously into a vein of reminiscence; afterward it is apt to return to established forms, and to show originality of treatment."

The temptation which too easily besets an editor of Shakspeare is to differ, if possible, from everybody who has gone before him, though but as between the N.E. and N.N.E. points in the circumference of a hair. We do not find Mr. White guilty in this respect for what he has done, but sometimes for what he has left undone in allowing the Folio text to remain. The instance that has surprised us most is his not admitting (As You Like it, Act iv. Sc. 1) the reading,—"The foolish coroners of that age found it was Hero of Sestos," instead of the unmeaning one, "chroniclers." He has been forced, for the sake of sense, to make some changes in the Folio text which seem to us quite as violent, and we cannot help thinking that the gain in aptness of phrase and coherence of meaning would have justified him in doing as much here. He admits, in his note on the passage, that the change is "very plausible"; but adds, "If we can at will reduce a perfectly appropriate and uncorrupted word of ten letters to one of eight, and strike out such marked letters as h, l, and e, we may re-write Shakspeare at our pleasure." Mr. White has already admitted that "chroniclers" is not perfectly appropriate in admitting that the change is "very plausible"; and he has no right to assume that the word is uncorrupted,—for that is the very point in question. As to the disparity in the number of letters, no one familiar with misprints will be surprised at it; and Mr. Spedding, in the edition of Bacon already referred to, furnishes us with an example of blunder[E] precisely the reverse, in which one word of eight letters is given for two of ten, (sciences for six princess,)—the printer in both cases having set up his first impression of what the word was for the word itself. Had this occurred in Shakspeare, instead of Bacon, we should have had a series of variorum notes like this:—

[Footnote E: Bacon's Works, by Ellis, Spedding, & Heath. Vol. III. p. 303, note.]

"That sixpence was the word used by our author scarcely admits of doubt. From a number of parallel passages we select the following:—

'Live on sixpence a day, and earn it.'—Abernethy.

'I give thee sixpence? I will see thee and-so-forthed first!'—Canning.

'Be shot for sixpence on a battlefield.'—Tennyson.

'Half a crown, two shillings and sixpence.'—Niemand's Dictionary.

Moreover, we find our author using precisely the same word in the
'Midsummer Night's Dream':—

'Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life.'" JONES.

"Had the passage read 'two princes,' we might have thought it genuine; since 'the two kings of Brentford' must have been familiar to our great poet, and he was also likely to have that number deeply impressed on his mind by the awful tragedy in the tower, (see Richard the Third,) where, it is remarkable, precisely that number of royal offspring suffered at the hands of the crook-backed tyrant. The citation from Niemand's Dictionary, by the Rev. Mr. Jones, tells as much in favor of two princes as of sixpence; for how could the miseries of a divided empire be more emphatically portrayed than in the striking, and, as it seems to me, touching phrase, HALF a crown? Could we in any way read 'three princes,' we should find strong support in the tradition of 'the three kings of Cologne,' and in the Arabian story of the 'Three Calenders.' The line quoted by Thomson, (Shakspeare, by Thomson, Vol. X. p. 701.) 'Under which King Bezonian, speak or die!' (though we agree with him in preferring his pointing to the ordinary and meaningless 'Under which King, Bezonian,' etc.) unhappily can throw no light on the present passage till we know how many King Bezonians are intended, and who they were. Perhaps we should read Belzonian, and suppose a reference to the Egyptian monarchs whose tombs were first explored by the intrepid Belzoni. The epithet would certainly be appropriate and in Shakspeare's best manner; but among so many monarchs, a choice of two, or even three, would be embarrassing and invidious." BROWN.

"As for the 'Three Calenders,' there can be no reasonable question that Shakspeare was well acquainted with the story; for that he had travelled extensively in the East I have proved in my 'Essay to show that Sir Thomas Roe and William Shakspeare were identical'; and that he was familiar with the Oriental languages must be apparent to any one who has read my note on 'Concolinel' (Love's Labor's Lost, Act iii. Sc. 1). But that 'six princes' is the true reading is clear from the parallel passage in "Richard the Third," which I am surprised that the usually accurate Mr. Brown should have overlooked,—'Methinks there be Six Richmonds in the field.'" ROBINSON.

"I was at first inclined to the opinion of the late Mr. Robinson, but maturer consideration has caused me to agree with the eloquent and erudite Jones. There is a definite meaning in the word sixpence; and a similar error of the press in Lord Bacon's 'Advancement of Learning,' where the context shows that sixpences and not sciences was the word intended, leads me to suspect that the title of his opus magnum should be De Augmentis Sixpenciarum. Viewing the matter as a political economist, such a topic would have been more worthy of the Lord Chancellor of England; it would have been more in accordance with what we know of the character of 'the meanest of mankind'; and the exquisite humor of the title would tally precisely with what Ben Jonson tells us in his 'Discoveries,' under the head Dominus Verulamius, that 'his language (where he could spare or pass by a jest) was nobly censorious.' Sir Thomas More had the same proneness to merriment, a coincidence the more striking as both these great men were Lord Chancellors. A comic stroke of this description would have been highly attractive to a mind so constituted, and might easily escape the notice of a printer, who was more likely to be intent upon the literal accuracy of the Latin than on the watch for extraordinary flights of humor." SMITH.

But we must return from our excursion into an imaginary variorum, delightful because it requires no eyesight and no thought, to the more serious duty of examining the notes of Mr. White. We have mentioned a single instance in which we differ with him as to the propriety of a fanatical adherence to the text of the Folio of 1623. We differ, because we think that sense is not all that we have a right to expect from Shakspeare,—that it is, indeed, merely the body in which his genius creates a soul of meaning, nay, oftentimes a double one, exoteric and esoteric, the spiritus astralis and the anima caelestis. Had the passage been in verse, where the change might have damaged the rhythm, —had it been one of those ecstasies of Shakspearian imagination, to tamper with which because we could not understand it would be Bottom-like presumption,—one of those tempests of passion where every word reeks hot and sulphurous, like a thunderstone new-fallen,—in any of these cases we should have agreed with Mr. White that to abstain was a duty. But in a sentence of lightsome and careless prose, and where the chances are great that the word to be changed is the accident of the printer and not the choice of the author, we say, give us a text that is true to the context and the aesthetic instinct rather than to the Folio, even were that Pandora-box only half as full of manifest corruptions as it is.

In the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," (Act iii. Sc. 1,) Mr. White prefers, "She is not to be fasting in respect of her breath," to "She is not to be kissed fasting in respect of her breath,"—an emendation made by Rowe,[F] and found also in Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio of 1632. We cannot agree with him in a reading which seems to us to destroy all the point of the passage.

[Footnote F: Mr. Dyce says the word supplied by Rowe was "fasting," a manifest slip of the pen, and worth notice only as showing how easily errors may be committed.]

In Dumain's ode, (Love's Labor's Lost, Act iv. Sc. 3,) beginning,

  "On a day, (alack the day!)
  Love, whose month is ever May,"

Mr. White chooses to read

  "Thou, for whom Jove would swear
  Juno but an Ethiop were,"

rather than accept Pope's suggestion of "ev'n Jove," or the far better "great Jove" of Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio,—affirming that "the quantity and accent proper to 'thou' make any addition to the line superfluous." We should like to hear Mr. White read the verse as he prints it. The result would be something of this kind:—

Thou-ou for whom Jove would swear,—

which would be like the 'bow-wow-wow before the Lord' of the old country-choirs. To our ear it is quite out of the question; and, moreover, we affirm that in dissyllabic (which we, for want of a better name, call iambic and trochaic) measures the omission of a half-foot is an impossibility, and all the more so when, as in this case, the preceding syllable is strongly accented. Even had the poem been meant for singing, which it was not, for Dumain reads it, the quantity would be false, though the ear might more easily excuse it. Such an omission would be not only possible, but sometimes very effective, in trisyllabic measures,—as, for instance, in anapests like these,—

  "'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
  And the owls have awakened the crowing cock,"—

where iambs or spondees may take the place of the first or second foot with no shock to the ear, though the change of rhythm be sensible enough,—as

  'Tis th[)e] d[=e][=e]p midnight by the castle clock,
  And [)o]wls have awakened the crowing cock.

We quite agree with Mr. White and Mr. Knight in their hearty dislike of the Steevens-system of versification, but we think that Coleridge (who, although the best English metrist since Milton, often thought lazily and talked loosely) has misled both of them in what he has said about the pauses and retardations of verse. In that noblest of our verses, the unrhymed iambic pentameter, two short or lightly-accented syllables may often gracefully and effectively take the place of a long or heavily-accented one; but great metrists contrive their pauses by the artistic choice and position of their syllables, and not by leaving them out. Metre is the solvent in which alone thought and emotion can perfectly coalesce,—the thought confining the emotion within decorous limitations of law, the emotion beguiling the thought into somewhat of its own fluent grace and rebellious animation. That is ill metre which does not read itself in the mouth of a man thoroughly penetrated with the meaning of what he reads; and only a man as thoroughly possessed of the meaning of what he writes can produce any metre that is not sing-song. Not that we would have Shakspeare's metre tinkered where it seems defective, but that we would not have palpable gaps defended as intentional by the utterly unsatisfactory assumption of pauses and retardations. Mr. White has in many cases wisely and properly made halting verses perfect in their limbs by easy transpositions, and we think he is perfectly right in refusing to interpolate a syllable, but wrong in assuming that we have Shakspeare's metre where we have no metre at all. We are not speaking of seeming irregularities, of lines broken up by rapid dialogue or cut short by the gulp of voiceless passion, nor do we forget that Shakspeare wrote for the tongue and not the eye, but we do not believe he ever left an unmusical period. Especially is this true of passages where the lyrical sentiment predominates, and we beg Mr. White to reconsider whether we owe the reading

"All overcanopied with luscious woodbine" (instead of lush)

to the printers of the Folio or to Shakspeare. Even if we accept Steevens's "whereon" instead of "where" in the first verse of this exquisite piece of melody, and read (as Mr. White does not)

"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme grows,"

it leaves the peculiar lilt of the metre unchanged. The varied accentuation of the verses is striking; and would any one convince himself of the variety of which this measure is capable, let him try to read this passage, and the speech of Prospero, beginning "Ye elves of hills," to the same tune. In the verses,

  "And ye that on the sands with printless foot
  Do chase the ebbing Neptune, | and do fly him
  When he comes back,"

observe how the pauses are contrived to echo the sense and give the effect of flux and reflux. Versification was understood in that day as never since, and no treatise on English verse so good, in all respects, as that of Campion (1602) has ever been written. Coleridge learned from him how to write his "Catullian hendeca-syllables," and did not better his instruction.[G]

[Footnote G: For the comprehension of the laws of some of the lighter measures, no book is so instructive as Mother Goose's Melodies. That excellent lady was one of the best metrists the language has produced.]

In "Measure for Measure," (Act i. Sc. 1,) in this passage,—

"what's open made To justice, that justice seizes: what knows the law That thieves do pass on thieves?"

does Mr. White believe the "that" and "what" are Shakspeare's? Does he consider

"To justice, that justice seizes: what knows the law"

an alexandrine,—and an alexandrine worthy of a student and admirer of Spenser? Should we read it thus, we should dread Martial's sarcasm of, Sed male cum recitas. We believe that Shakspeare wrote

    "What's open made
  To Justice, Justice seizes; knows the Law
  That thieve do pass on thieves?"

We have pointed out a passage or two where we think Mr. White follows the Folio text too literally. Two instances we have noted where he has altered, as we think, for the worse. The first is (Tempest, Act iii. Sc. 3) where Mr. White reads,

  "You are three men of sin whom Destiny
  (That hath to instrument this lower world
  And what is in't) the never-surfeited sea
  Hath caused to belch you up,—and on this island
  Where man doth not inhabit; you 'mongst men
  Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad."

The Folio reads, "Hath caused to belch up you"; and Mr. White says in his note, "The tautological repetition of the pronoun was a habit, almost a custom, with the Elizabethan dramatists." This may be true, (though we think the assertion rash,) but certainly never as in this case. We think the Folio right, except in its punctuation. The repetition of the "you" is emphatic, not tautological, and is demanded by the whole meaning of the passage. Ariel is taunting the persons she addresses, with the intention of angering them; and the "you" is repeated, because those highly respectable men cannot at first bring their minds to believe that such unsavory epithets are addressed to them. We should punctuate thus, following the order of the words in the Folio,—

  "Hath caused to belch up,—you! and on this island,
  Where man doth not inhabit;—you 'mongst men
  Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad."

In the "Comedy of Errors," (Act ii. Sc. 2,) Adriana, suspecting her husband of unfaithfulness, says to him,—

  "For, if we two be one, and thou play false,
  I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
  Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
  Keep, then, fair league and truce with thy
       true bed;
  I live distained, thou undishonored."

Such is the reading of the Folio. Mr. White reads,

"I live distained, thou one dishonored."

But we cannot help thinking that the true reading should be,

"I live distained, though undishonored,"

which is a less forced construction, and coincides with the rest of the passage,—"I am contaminate through thee, though in myself immaculate."

In "As You Like it," (Act ii. Sc. 3,) Mr. White (with the Folio and some recent editors) calls the Duke's wrestler, "the bonny priser of the Duke." The common reading is "bony," which seems to us better, though we believe brawny to be the word intended. We likewise question Mr. White's explanation of the word priser, which, he says, "is prize-fighter, one who wins prizes." One who "fights for prizes" would have been better; but we suspect that the word is more nearly akin with the French prise (in the sense of venir aux prises) than with prix. We should prefer also "Aristotle's ethicks" (Taming of the Shrew, Act i. Sc. 1) to the ordinary "Aristotle's checks," which is retained by Mr. White. In "Much Ado about Nothing," (Act ii. Sc. 1,) we have no doubt that Mr. Collier's corrector is right in reading "sink apace," though Mr. White states authoritatively that Shakspeare would not have so written. It is only fair to Mr. White, however, to say that he is generally open-minded toward readings suggested by others, and that he accepts nearly all those of Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio on which honest lovers of Shakspeare would be likely to agree. In comparing his notes with the text, our eye was caught by a verse in which there seems so manifest a corruption that we shall venture to throw down the discord-apple of a conjectural emendation. In the "Merchant of Venice," (Act iii. Sc. 2,) where Bassanio is making his choice among the caskets, after a long speech about "outward shows" and "ornament," he is made to say that ornament is,

"in a word, The seeming truth which cunning times put on To entrap the wisest."

We find it hard to believe that times is the right word here, and strongly suspect that it has stolen the place of tires. The whole previous tenor of the speech, and especially of the images immediately preceding that in question, appears to demand such a word.

We have said, that we considered the style and matter of Mr. White's notes excellent. Indeed, to the purely illustrative notes we should hardly make an exception. There are two or three which we think in questionable taste, and one where the temptation to say a sharp thing has led the editor to vulgarize the admirable Benedick, and to misinterpret the text in a way so unusual for him that it is worth a comment. When Benedick's friends are discussing the symptoms which show him to be in love, Claudio asks,

"When was he wont to wash his face?"

Mr. White annotates thus:—

"That the benign effect of the tender passion upon Benedick in this regard should be so particularly noticed, requires, perhaps, the remark, that in Shakspeare's time our race had not abandoned itself to that reckless use of water, whether for ablution or potation, which has more recently become one of its characteristic traits."

Now, if there could be any doubt that "wash" means cosmetic here, the next speech of Don Pedro ("Yea, or to paint himself?") would remove it. The gentlemen of all periods in history have been so near at least to godliness as is implied in cleanliness. The very first direction in the old German poem of "Tisch-zucht" is to wash before coming to table; and in "Parzival," Gurnamanz specially inculcates on his catechumen the social duty of always thoroughly cleansing himself on laying aside his armor. Such instances could be multiplied without end.

In annotating Shakspeare, it would, perhaps, be asking too much of an editor to give credit to its first finder for every scrap of illustration. The immense mass of notes already existing may, perhaps, be fairly looked upon as a kind of dictionary, open to every one, and the use of which implies no indebtedness. Mr. White, in general, indicates the source whence he has drawn, though we have sometimes found him negligent in this respect. He says, in the Advertisement prefixed to his second volume, "that in every case, where no such credit is given for a restoration, a conjecture, or a quotation, the editor is responsible for it; and as he is disinclined to the giving of much prominence to claims of this sort, he has, in those cases, merely remarked, that 'hitherto' the text has stood thus or so." We have not been at the trouble of verifying every one of Mr. White's "hithertos," but we did so in two plays, and found in "Midsummer Night's Dream" four, and in "Much Ado" two cases, where the reading claimed as a restoration occurred also in Mr. Knight's excellent edition of 1842. These oversights do not affect the correctness of Mr. White's text, but they diminish our confidence in the accuracy of the collation to which he lays claim.

The chief objection which we have to make against Mr. White's text is, that he has perversely allowed it to continue disfigured by vulgarisms of grammar and spelling. For example, he gives us misconster, and says, "This is not a mis-spelling or loose spelling of 'misconstrue,' but the old form of the word." Mr. Dyce insisted on the same cacographical nicety in his "Remarks" on the editions of Mr. Collier and Mr. Knight, but abandons it in his own with the artless admission that misconstrue also occurs in the Folio. In one of the Camden Society's publications is a letter from Friar John Hylsey to Thomas Cromwell, in which we find "As God is my jugge";[H] but we do not believe that jug was an old form of judge, though a philological convict might fancy that the former word was a derivative of the latter. Had the phrase occurred in Shakspeare, we should have had somebody defending it as tenderly poetical. We cannot but think it a sacrifice in Mr. White that he has given up the whatsomeres of the Folio. He does retain puisny as the old form, but why not spell it puisné and so indicate its meaning? Mr. White informs us that "the grammatical form in use in Shakspeare's day" was to have the verb govern a nominative case! Accordingly, he perpetuates the following oversight of the poet or blunder of the printer:—

[Footnote H: Suppression of the Monasteries, p. 13.]

            "What he is, indeed,
  More suits you to conceive, than I to speak of."

Again, he says that who, as an objective case, "is in accordance with the grammatical usage of Shakspeare's day," (Vol. II. p. 86,) and that, "considering the unsettled state of minor grammatical relations in Shakspeare's time," it is possible that he wrote whom as a nominative (Vol. V. p. 393). But the most extraordinary instance is where he makes a nominative plural agree with a verb in the second person singular, (Vol. III. p. 121,) and justifies it by saying that "such disagreements … are not uncommon in Shakspeare's writings, and those of his contemporaries." The passage reads as follows in Mr. White's edition:—

            "A breath thou art,
  Servile to all the skiey influences
  That dost this habitation where thou keep'st
  Hourly afflict."

Hanmer (mistaking the meaning) read do. Porson objected, on the ground that it was thou and not influences which governed dost. Porson was certainly right, and we wonder how any one could ever have understood the passage in any other way. The mediaevals had as much trouble in reconciling free-will with judicial astrology as we with the divine foreknowledge. A passage in Dante, it appears to us, throws light on the meaning of the Duke's speech:—

  "Lo cielo i vostri movimenti inizia;
  Non dico tutti; ma posto ch' io 'l dica
  Lume v' è dato a bene ed a malizia,
  E libero voler che, se fatica
  Nelle prime battaglie col ciel dura,
  Poi vince tutto se ben si notrica."

Purg., Cant. xvi.

Cielo is here used for the influence of the stars, as is clear from a parallel passage in the "Convito." Accordingly, "Though servile to all the skyey influences, it is thou, breath as thou art, that dost hourly afflict thy body with the results of sin." But even if this be not the meaning, is Mr. White correct in saying that influence had no plural at that time?[I] Had he forgotten "the sweet influences of Pleiades"? The word occurs in this form not only in our version of the Bible, but in that of Cranmer, and in the "Breeches" Bible. So in Chapman's "Byron's Conspiracy," (Ed. 1608, B. 3,)

  "Where the beames of starres have carv'd
  Their powerful influences."

[Footnote I: Mr. White cites Dr. Richardson, but the Doctor is not always a safe guide.]

Mr. White repeatedly couples together the translators of the Bible and Shakspeare, but he seems to have studied their grammar but carelessly. "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you," is a case in point, and we ought never to forget our danger from that dusky personage who goes about "seeking whom he may devour." At a time when correction of the press was so imperfect, one instance of true construction should outweigh twenty false, and nothing could be easier than the mistake of who for whom, when the latter was written wh[=o]. A glance at Ben Jonson's English Grammar is worth more than all theorizing. Mr. White thinks it probable that Shakspeare understood French, Latin, and Italian, but not—English!

The truth is, that, however forms of spelling varied, (as they must where both writers and printers spelt phonographically,) the forms of grammatical construction were as strict then as now. There were some differences of usage, as where two nominatives coupled by a conjunction severally governed the verb, and where certain nouns in the plural were joined with a verb in the singular,—as dealings, doings, tidings, odds, and as is still the case with news. It is not impossible that the French termination in esse helped to make the confusion. We have in the opposite way made a plural of riches, which was once singular. Some persons used the strong preterites, and some the weak,—some said snew, thew, sew, and some snowed, thawed, sowed. Bishop Latimer used the preterite shew, which Mr. Bartlett, in his "Dictionary of Americanisms," pronounces to be the shibboleth of Bostonians. But such differences were orthoepic, and not syntactic.

We regret Mr. White's glossological excursions the more because they are utterly supererogatory, and because they seem to imply a rashness of conclusion which can very seldom be laid to his charge as respects the text. He volunteers, without the least occasion for it, an opinion that abye and abide are the same word, (which they are not,) suggests that vile and vild (whose etymology, he says, is obscure) may be related to the Anglo-Saxon hyldan, and tells us that dom is Anglo-Saxon for house. He pronounces ex cathedrâ that besides is only a vulgar form of beside, though the question is still sub judice, and though the language has contrived adverbial and prepositional forms out of the distinction, as it has, in the case of the compounds with ward and wards, adverbial and adjectival ones.[J] He declares that the distinction between shall and will was imperfectly known in Shakspeare's time, though we believe it would not be difficult to prove that the distinction was more perfect in some respects than now. We the less value his opinion on these points as he himself shows an incomplete perception of the difference between would and should. (See Vol. V. pp. 114, 115, "We would now say, 'all liveliness,'" and "We would now write, 'the traits of,'" etc.) He says that the pronunciation commandèment was already going out of use two centuries and a half ago. Mr. Pegge speaks of it as a common Cockneyism at the beginning of this century. Sometimes this hastiness, however, affects the value of an elucidatory note, as where he tells us that a principality is "an angel of the highest rank next to divinity" [deity], and quotes St. Paul, breaking off the passage at the word in question. But St. Paul goes on to say powers,—and there were, in fact, three orders of angels above the principalities, the highest being the Seraphim. An editor should be silent or correct, especially where there is no need of saying anything.

[Footnote J: It is singular, if the s be a corruption, that the Germans should have fallen into the same in their vorwärts and rückwärts. We are inclined to conjecture the s a genitival one, supplying the place of a missing of and von respectively. We formerly said, "of this side," "of that side," etc.; but the idiomatic sense of of is so entirely lost, that Mr. Craik (English of Shakspeare) actually supposes o'clock and o'nights to be contractions of "on the clock," "on nights," and that, although we still say habitually, "of late," "of old." The French use of de, and the Italian of di, is parallel. The Italians have also their avanti and davante, and no one forgets Dante's

"Di quà, di là, di su, dí giù, gli mena." ]

But it is after Mr. White has been bitten by the oestrum of Shakspearian pronunciation that he becomes thoroughly contradictory of himself, especially after he has taken up the notion that "Much Ado about Nothing" is "Much Ado about Noting," and that the th was not sounded in the England of Shakspeare. After that, his theory of rhetorical variety seems to become that of Geoffroy, "dire, redire, et se contredire." First he tells us, (Vol. II. p. 94,) that "the old form 'murther' should be retained because it is etymologically correct, and because it was the uniform orthography of the day, [a hasty assumption,] and the word was pronounced in accordance with it." Next, (in order to sustain his anti-th theory,) he says, (Vol. III. p. 227,) that "the last syllable of 'murder,' then written _mur_th_er_, seems to have been pronounced somewhat like the same syllable of the French meurtre." He assures us (Vol. III. p. 340) that raisin was pronounced as we now pronounce reason, and adds, "The custom has not entirely passed away." Certainly not, as any one who knows Thackeray's "Mulligan of Ballymulligan" is aware. But Mr. White (having forgotten for a moment his conclusion that swears was anciently sweers) quotes (Vol. V. pp. 399-400) from the "Haven of Health" as follows:—"Among us in England they be of two sorts, that is to say, great Raysons and small Raysons" (the Italics are our own). In "Love's Labor's Lost," he spells Biron Birone, (Chapman spelt it Byron,) as being nearer the supposed pronunciation of Shakspeare's day; but finding it rhyming with moon, he is obliged also to assume that moon was called mown, and is severe on Mr. Fox for saying Touloon. He forgets that we have other words of the same termination in English for whose pronunciation Mr. Fox did not set the fashion. The French termination on became oon in bassoon, pontoon, balloon, galloon, spontoon, raccoon, (Fr. raton,) Quiberoon, Cape Bretoon, without any help from Mr. Fox. So also croon from (Fr.) carogne,—of which Dr. Richardson (following Jamieson) gives a false etymology. The occurrence of pontoon in Blount's "Glossographia," published before Mr. Fox was born, shows the tendency of the language.[K] Or did Mr. Fox invent the word boon?

[Footnote K: Let us remark, in passing, that the spellings "Berowne," "Petruchio," and "Borachio" are strong indications that the manuscript copies of the plays in which they occur were dictated to an amanuensis.]

The pronunciation of words in Shakspeare's time is a matter of no particular consequence, except that it may be made the basis of conjectural emendation. This consideration gives the question some importance, and, as error is one of those plants which propagate themselves from the root, it is well to attempt its thorough eradication at the outset.

Autolycus sings,—

  "If tinkers may have leave to live,
    And bear the sow-skin bowget;

  Then my account I well may give,
    And in the stocks avouch it."

Upon this Mr. White has the following note:—

"'The sow-skin bowget':—i.e. budget; the change of orthography being made for the sake of the rhyme; about which our early writers, contrary to the received opinion, were very particular. Even Ben Jonson, scholar and grammarian as he was, did not hesitate to make radical changes in orthography to obtain a perfect, in place of an imperfect rhyme. The fact is important in the history of our language." (Vol. V. pp. 398-9.)

Readers of our older literature are familiar with what the early writers of treatises on poetry say upon this subject, concerning which, under the head of licentia poetica, they give some rather minute directions. But we think Mr. White's expression "radical changes" a little strong. The insurmountable difficulty, however, in the way of forming a decided judgment, is plain at the first glance. You have not, as Dr. Kitchener would say, caught your hare; you have no standard. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? How shall you determine how your first word is pronounced? and which of two rhyming words shall dominate the other? In the present instance how do we know that avouch was sounded as it is now? Its being from the French would lead us to doubt it. And how do we know that bowget was not pronounced boodget, as it would be, according to Mr. White, if spelt budget? Bishop Hall makes fool rhyme with cowl. That ou was sometimes pronounced oo is certain. Gill (of whom infra) says that the Boreales pronounced wound, waund, and gown, gaun or geaun.

Mr. White supposes that ea was sounded like ee. We are inclined to question it, and to think that here again the French element in our language has made confusion. It is certain that ea represents in many words the French e and ai,—as in measure and pleasure. The Irish, who were taught English by Anglo-Normans, persist in giving the ea its original sound (as baste for beast); and we Northern Yankees need not go five miles in any direction to hear maysure and playsure. How long did this pronunciation last in England? to how many words did it extend? and did it infect any of Saxon root? It is impossible to say. Was beat called bate? One of Mr. White's variations from the Folio is "bull-baiting" for "bold-beating." The mistake could have arisen only from the identity in sound of the ea in the one with ai in the other. Butler, too, rhymes drum-beat with combat. But beat is from the French. When we find least, (Saxon,) then, rhyming with feast, (French,) and also with best, (Shakspeare has beast and blest,) which is more probable, that best took the sound of beest, or that we have a slightly imperfect rhyme, with the [=a] somewhat shorter in one word than the other? We think the latter. One of the very words adduced by Mr. White (yeasty) is spelt yesty in the Folio. But will rhymes help us? Let us see. Sir Thomas Wyat rhymes heares and hairs; Sir Walter Raleigh, teares and despairs; Chapman, tear (verb) with ear and appear; Shakspeare, ear with hair and fear, tears with hairs, and sea with play; Bishop Hall, years with rehearse and expires, and meales with quailes. Will Mr. White decide how the ea was sounded? We think the stronger case is made out for the [=a] than for the ee,—for swears as we now pronounce it, than for sweers; though we fear our tired readers may be tempted to perform the ceremony implied by the verb without much regard to its orthoëpy.

Mr. White tells us that on and one were pronounced alike, because Speed puns upon their assonance. He inclines to the opinion that o had commonly the long sound, as in tone, and supposes both words to have been pronounced like own. But was absolute identity in sound ever necessary to a pun, especially in those simpler and happier days? Puttenham, in his "English Poesy," gives as a specimen of the art in those days a play upon the words lubber and lover, appreciable now only by Ethiopian minstrels, but interesting as showing that the tendency of b and v to run together was more sensible then than now.[L] But Shakspeare unfortunately rhymes on with man, in which case we must either give the one word the Scotch pronunciation of mon, or Hibernicize the other into ahn. So we find son, which according to Mr. White would be pronounced sone, coquetting with sun; and Dr. Donne, who ought to have called himself Doane, was ignorant enough to remain all his life Dr. Dunn. But the fact is, that rhymes are no safe guides, for they were not so perfect as Mr. White would have us believe. Shakspeare rhymed broken with open, sentinel with kill, and downs with hounds,—to go no farther. Did he, (dreadful thought!) in that imperfect rhyme of leap and swept, (Merry Wives,) call the former lape and the latter (Yankicè) swep'? This would jump with Mr. White's often-recurring suggestion of the Elizabethanism of our provincial dialect.

[Footnote L: Everybody remembers how Scaliger illustrated it in the case of the Gascons,—Felices, quibus vivere est bibere.]

Mr. White speaks of the vowels as having had their "pure sound" in the Elizabethan age. We are not sure if we understand him rightly; but have they lost it? We English have the same vowel-sounds with other nations, but indicate them by different signs. Slight changes in orthoëpy we cannot account for, except by pleading the general issue of custom. Why should foot and boot be sounded differently? Why food and good? Why should the Yankee mark the distinction between the two former words, and blur it in the case of the latter, thereby incurring the awful displeasure of the "Autocrat," who trusses him, falcon-like, before his million readers and adorers? Why should the Frenchman call his wooden shoe a sabot and his old shoe a savate, both from the same root? Alas, we must too often in philology take Rabelais's reason for Friar John's nose! With regard to the pronunciation of the vowels in Queen Bess's days, so much is probable,—that the a in words from the French had more of the ah sound than now, if rhymes may be trusted. We find placed rhyming with past; we find the participle saft formed from save. One relic of this occurs to us as still surviving in that slang which preserves for us so many glossologic treasures,—chauffer,—to chafe, (in the sense of angering,)—to chaff. The same is true of our Yankee ch[)a]mber, d[)a]nger, and m[)a]nger, cited by Mr. White.

If we have apprehended the bearing of Mr. White's quotation from Butler's English Grammar, we think he has misapprehended Butler. We wish he had not broken the extract off so short, with an etc. What did Butler mean by "oo short"? Mr. White draws the inference that Puck was called Pook, and that, since it was made to rhyme with luck, that word and "all of similar orthography" were pronounced with an oo. Did our ancestors have no short u, answering somewhat to the sound of that vowel in the French un? We have little doubt of it; and since Mr. White repeats so often that we Yankees have retained the Elizabethan words and sounds, may we not claim their pronunciation of put (like but) and sut for soot, as relics of it? If they had it not, how soon did it come into the language? Already we find Lord Herbert of Cherbury using pundonnore, (point d'honneur,) which may supply Dr. Richardson with the link he wants between pun and point, for the next edition of his Dictionary. Alexander Gill, head-master of St. Paul's School and Milton's teacher, published his "Logonomia Anglica" in 1621, a book which throws more light on the contemporary pronunciation of English than any other we know of. He makes three forms of u: the tenuis, as in use,—the crassa brevis, as in us,—and the longa, as in ooze. The Saxons had, doubtless, two sounds of oo, a long and a short; and the Normans brought them a third in the French liquid u, if they had it not before. We say if, because their organs have boggled so at the sound in certain combinations, ending in such wine-thick success as piktcher, portraitcher.

"On earth's green cinkcher fell a heavy Jew!"

That the u had formerly, in many cases, the sound attributed to it by Mr. White, we have no question; that it had that sound when Shakspeare wrote "Midsummer Night's Dream," and in such words as luck, is not so clear to us. We suspect that form of it was already retreating into the provincial dialects, where it still survives.

Another of Mr. White's theories is that moon was pronounced mown. Perhaps it was; but, if so, it is singular that this pronunciation is not found in any dialect of our language where almost every other archaism is caught skulking. And why was it spelt moon? When did soon and spoon take their present form and sound? That oo was not sounded like o long is certain from Webbe's saying, that, to make poore and doore rhyme with more, they must be written pore and dore. Mr. White says also that shrew was pronounced shrow, and cites as parallel cases sew and shew. If New England authority be worth anything, we have the old sound here in the pronunciation soo, once universal, and according both with Saxon and Latin analogy. Moreover, Bishop Hall rhymes shew with mew and sue; so that it will not do to be positive.

We come now to the theory on which Mr. White lays the greatest stress, and for being the first to broach which he even claims credit. That credit we frankly concede him, and we shall discuss the point more fully because there is definite and positive evidence about it, and because we think we shall be able to convince even Mr. White himself that he is wrong. This theory is, that the th was sounded like t in the word nothing, and in various other words, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. This certainly seems an unaccountable anomaly at very first sight; for we know that two sounds of th existed before that period, and exist now. What singular frost was it that froze the sound in a few words for a few years and left it fluent in all others?

Schoolmaster Gill, in his "Logonomia," already referred to, gives an interesting and curious reason for the loss from our alphabet of the Anglo-Saxon signs for the grave and acute th. He attributes it to the fact, that, when Henry VII. invited Wynken de Word over from Germany to print for the first time in English, the foreign fount of types was necessarily wanting in signs to express those Saxon sounds. Accordingly, the form th was required to stand for both. For the Germans, he says, call thing, Ding, and father, Vater.[M] In his alphabet he gives though and thistle as expressing the two sounds, which is precisely consonant with present usage. On page 152, speaking of the difficulties of English pronunciation to a foreigner, he says, "Etenim si has quinque voculas, What think the chosen judges? quid censent electi judices? rectè protuleris, omnem loquendi difficultatem superâsti." Ben Jonson in his Grammar gives similar examples, and speaks also of the loss of the Saxon signs as having made a confusion. It is certain, then, at least, that Shakspeare did not pronounce thing, ting,—or, if he did, that others did not, as we shall presently show.

[Footnote M: Praefatio, p. 6. We abridge his statement.]

Most of Mr. White's arguments in support of his opinion are theoretic; the examples by which he endeavors to sustain it tell, with one exception, against him. That exception is his quoting from one of Shakspeare's sonnets the rhyme doting and nothing. But this proves nothing (noting?); for we have already shown that Shakspeare, like all his contemporaries, was often content with assonance, where identity could not be had, in rhyming. Generally, indeed, the argument from rhymes is like that of the Irishman who insisted that full must be pronounced like dull, because he found it rhyming with b[)u]ll. Mr. White also brings forward the fact, that moth is spelt mote, and argues therefrom that the name of the Page Moth has hitherto been misconceived. But how many th sounds does he mean to rob us of? And how was moth really pronounced? Ben Jonson rhymes it with sloth and cloth; Herrick, with cloth. Alexander Gill tells us (p. 16) that it was a Northern provincialism to pronounce cloth long (like both), and accordingly we are safe in believing that moth was pronounced precisely as it is now. Mr. White again endeavors to find support in the fact that Armado and renegado are spelt Armatho and renegatho in the Folio. Of course they were, (just as the Italian Petruccio and Boraccio are spelt Petruchio and Borachio,) because, being Spanish words, they were so pronounced. His argument from the frequent substitution of had for hath is equally inconclusive, because we may either suppose it a misprint, or, as is possible, a mistake of the printer for the Anglo-Saxon sign for th, which, as many contractions certainly did, may have survived in writing long after it was banished from print, and which would be easily confounded with d. Can Mr. White find an example of dod for doth, where the word could not be doubtful to the compositor? The inability of foreigners to pronounce the th was often made a source of fun on the stage. Puttenham speaks of dousand for thousand as a vulgarism. Shakspeare himself makes Caius say dat, and "by my trot"; and in Marston's "Dutch Courtezan," (Act ii. Sc. 1,) we find Francischina, (a Dutch woman,) saying, "You have brought mine love, mine honor, mine body, all to noting!"—to which her interlocutrix answers, "To nothing!" It is plain that Marston did not harden his _th_s into _t_s, nor suppose that his audience were in the habit of doing so. How did Ben Jonson pronounce the word? He shall answer for himself (Vision of Delight).—

  "Some that are proper find signify o'thing,
  And some another, and some that are nothing."

But perhaps he pronounced thing, ting? If he did, Herrick as surely did not, for he has

  "Maides should say, or virgins sing,
  Herrick keeps, as holds, nothing,"

where the accent divides the word into its original elements, and where it is out of the question that he should lay the emphasis on a bit of broken English. As to the _h_s which Mr. White adduces in such names as Anthony and such words as authority, they have no bearing on the question, for those words are not English, and the h in them is perhaps only a trace of that tendency in t to soften itself before certain vowels and before r, as d also does, with a slight sound of theta, especially on the thick tongues of foreigners. Shakspeare makes Fluellen say athversary; and the Latin t was corrupted first to d and then to dth in Spanish. The h here has not so much meaning as the h which has crept into Bosporus, for that is only the common change of p to f, corresponding to v for b. So when Mr. White reads annotanize rather than anatomize, because the Folio has annothanize, we might point him to Minsheu's "Spanish Dictionary," where, in the earlier editions, we find anathomia. In lanthorn, another word adduced by Mr. White, the h is a vulgarism of spelling introduced to give meaning to a foreign word, the termination being supposed to be derived from the material (horn) of which lanterns were formerly made,—like Bully Ruffian for Bellerophon in our time, and Sir Piers Morgan for Primaguet three centuries ago. As for t'one and t'other, they should be 'tone and 'tother, being elisions for that one and that other, relics of the Anglo-Saxon declinable definite article, still used in Frisic.

We have been minute in criticizing this part of Mr. White's notes, because we think his investigations misdirected, the results at which he arrives mistaken, and because we hope to persuade him to keep a tighter rein on his philological zeal in future. Even could he show what the pronunciation of Shakspeare's day was, it is idle to encumber his edition with such disquisitions, for we shall not find Shakspeare clearer for not reading him in his and our mother-tongue. The field of philology is famous for its mare's-nests; and, if imaginary eggs are worth little, is it worth while brooding on imaginary chalk ones, nest-eggs of delusion?

Life is short and Shakspeare long. We believe the pronunciation of Shakspeare's day to have been so qualified with perfectly understood provincialisms as to have allowed puns and rhymes impossible now. It is not eighty years since you could tell the county[N] of every country member of Parliament by his speech. Speculations like Mr. White's would be better placed in a monograph by themselves. We have subjected his volumes to a laborious examination such as few books receive, because the text of Shakspeare is a matter of common and great concern, and they have borne the trial, except in these few impertinent particulars, admirably. Mr. Dyce and Mr. Singer are only dry commonplace-books of illustrative quotations; Mr. Collier has not wholly recovered from his "Corr. fo."-madness; Mr. Knight (with many eminent advantages as an editor) is too diffuse; and we repeat our honest persuasion, that Mr. White has thus far given us the best extant text, while the fulness of his notes gives his edition almost the value of a variorum. We shall look with great interest for his succeeding volumes.

[Footnote N: Mr. White is mistaken in thinking that to say "my country" for "my county" was a peculiarity of Shallow. It was common in the last century in England. He is wrong also in thinking that he was restoring a characteristic vulgarism in aleven. Gabriel Harvey uses it, and says there is no difference in sound between that and a leaven.]

* * * * *

In the introductory part of this article, we said that it was doubtful if Shakspeare had any conscious moral intention in his writings. We meant only that he was purely and primarily poet. And while he was an English poet in a sense that is true of no other, his method was thoroughly Greek, yet with this remarkable difference,—that, while the Greek dramatists took purely national themes and gave them a universal interest by their mode of treatment, he took what may be called cosmopolitan traditions, legends of human nature, and nationalized them, by the infusion of his perfectly Anglican breadth of character and solidity of understanding. Wonderful as his imagination and fancy are, his perspicacity and artistic discretion are more so. This country tradesman's son, coming up to London, could set high-bred wits, like Beaumont, uncopiable lessons in drawing gentlemen such as are seen nowhere else but on the canvas of Titian; he could take Ulysses away from Homer and expand the shrewd and crafty islander into a statesman whose words are the pith of history. But what makes him yet more exceptional was his utterly unimpeachable judgment, and that poise of character which enabled him to be at once the greatest of poets and so unnoticeable a good citizen as to leave no incidents for biography. His material was never far-sought; (it is still disputed whether the fullest head of which we have record were cultivated beyond the range of grammar-school precedent!) but he used it with a poetic instinct which we cannot parallel, identified himself with it, yet remained always its born and question-less master. He finds the Clown and Fool upon the stage,—he makes them the tools of his pleasantry, his satire, and even his pathos; he finds a fading rustic superstition, and shapes out of it ideal Pucks, Titanias, and Ariels, in whose existence statesmen and scholars believe forever. Always poet, he subjects all to the ends of his art, and gives in Hamlet the churchyard-ghost, but with the cothurnus on,—the messenger of God's revenge against murder; always philosopher, he traces in Macbeth the metaphysics of apparitions, painting the shadowy Banquo only on the o'erwrought brain of the murderer, and staining the hand of his wife-accomplice (because she was the more refined and higher nature) with the disgustful blood-spot that is not there. We say he had no moral intention, for the reason, that, as artist, it was not his to deal with the realities, but only with the shows of things; yet, with a temperament so just, an insight so inevitable as his, it was impossible that the moral reality, which underlies the mirage of the poet's vision, should not always be suggested. His humor and satire are never of the destructive kind; what he does in that way is suggestive only,—not breaking bubbles with Thor's hammer, but puffing them away with the breath of a Clown, or shivering them with the light laugh of a genial cynic. Men go about to prove the existence of a God! Was it a bit of phosphorus, that brain whose creations are so real, that, mixing with them, we feel as if we ourselves were but fleeting magic-lantern shadows?

But higher even than the genius, we rate the character of this unique man, and the grand impersonality of what he wrote. What has he told us of himself? In our self-exploiting nineteenth century, with its melancholy liver-complaint, how serene and high he seems! If he had sorrows, he has made them the woof of everlasting consolation to his kind; and if, as poets are wont to whine, the outward world was cold to him, its biting air did but trace itself in loveliest frost-work of fancy on the many windows of that self-centred and cheerful soul.

* * * * *


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