The Project Gutenberg eBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 12, No. 29, August, 1873

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 12, No. 29, August, 1873

Author: Various

Release date: October 22, 2004 [eBook #13828]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Patricia Bennett and the PG Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.





AUGUST, 1873.
Vol XII, No. 29.




II.—The Two Chickens. (129)





CHAPTER I. (161)




CHAPTER V. (170)



I. (182)

II. (184)

III. (185)

IV. (186)




TWO PAPERS.—I. (197)


CHAPTER XII.—Transformation. (206)

CHAPTER XIII.—By The Waters Of Babylon. (214)





Washington's Birthplace In 1873 By R.B.E. (235)

Vicissitudes In High Life. (236)

A Glass Of Old Madeira. (238)

At A Matinée: A Monologue. By C.A.D. (240)

NOTES. (242)


Books Received. (248)


The Flowers of War.

The Invaders of Romiainville.

Story of an Old Man and An Elder.

Merchandise in the Temple.

Father Joliet.

The Two Chickens.

Love Left Alone.

"Fond of Chicken."

The Wife.

The Lone Crusade.

Tender Charity.

Necessity Knowing Law.

The Ferry.

Jove's Thunder.


On With the Dance!


How the Modern Dog Treats Lazarus.

The Laughing Lackey.

The Present.

The Convalescent.

The Divided Burden.

Share My Cup.

Breaking Stones.

Sickness and Courtship.

The Wagon.



A Little Visitor.


"Don't Wring My Heart!"

View of Taufers Valley.

Schloss Taufers.

Happy Souls in Paradise.

Crossing the Torrent.

[pg 129]





"Thou art no less a man because thou wearest no hauberk nor mail sark, and goest not on horseback after foolish adventures."

So I said, reassuring myself, thirty years ago, when, as Paul Flemming the Blond, I was meditating the courageous change of cutting off my soap-locks, burning my edition of Bulwer and giving my satin stocks to my shoemaker: I mean, when I was growing up—or, in the more beauteous language of that day, when Flemming was passing into the age of bronze, and the flowers of Paradise were turning to a sword in his hands.

Well, I say it again, and I say it with boldness, you can wear a tin botany-box as bravely as a hauberk, and foolish adventures can be pursued equally well on foot.

[pg 130]

Stout, grizzled and short winded, I am just as nimble as ever in the pretty exercise of running down an illusion. Yet I must confess, as I passed the abattoirs of La Villette, whence blue-smocked butcher-boys were hauling loads of dirty sheepskins, I could not but compare myself to the honest man mentioned in one of Sardou's comedies: "The good soul escaped out of a novel of Paul de Kock's, lost in the throng on the Boulevard Malesherbes, and asking the way to the woods of Romainville."


Romainville! And hereabouts its tufts of chestnuts should be, or were wont to be of old. I am in the grimy quarter of Belleville. Scene of factories, of steam-works and tall bleak mansions as it is to-day, Belleville was once a jolly country village, separated on its hilltop from Paris, which basked at its feet like a city millionaire sprawling before the check apron and leather shoes of a rustic beauty. Inhabited by its little circle of a few thousand souls, it looked around itself on its eminence, seeing the vast diorama of the city on one side, and on the other the Près-Saint-Gervais, and the woods of Romainville waving off to the horizon their diminishing crests of green. A jolly old tavern, the Ile d'Amour, hung out its colored lamps among the trees, and the orchestra sounded, and the feet of gay young lovers, who now are skeletons, beat the floor. The street was a bower of lilacs, and opposite the Ile d'Amour was the village church.

Then the workmen of the Paris suburbs were invaders: they besieged the village on Sundays in daring swarms, to be beaten back successfully by the duties of every successive Monday. Now they are fixed there. They are the colorless inhabitants of these many-storied houses. The town's long holiday is over. Where the odorous avenues of lilacs stretched along, affording bouquets for maman and the children and toothpicks for ferocious young warriors from the garrisons, are odious lengths of wall. Everything is changed, and from the gardens the grisettes of Alfred de Musset are with sighing sent. Their haunts are laboratories now, and the Ile d'Amour is a mayor's office.

I, to whom the beer-scandals of the Rhine and the students' holidays of the Seine were among the Childe-Harold enormities of a not over-sinful youth, was sadly disappointed. Thinking of the groves of an Eden, I ran against the furnaces of a Pandemonium. For a stroll back toward my adolescence, Belleville was a bad beginning. I determined to console myself with the green meadows of Saint-Gervais and the pretty woods of Romainville. Attaining the latter was half an hour's affair among long walls and melancholy houses: at Saint-Gervais, a double file of walls and houses—at Romainville, houses and walls again. In the latter, where formerly there were scarcely three watches distributed amongst the whole village, I was incensed to find the shop of a clockmaker: it was somewhat consoling, [pg 131] though, to find it a clockmaker's of the most pronounced suburban kind, with pairs of wooden shoes amongst the guard-chains in the window, and pots of golden mustard ranged alternately with the antiquated silver turnips.

Before the church I found yet standing a knotty little elder tree, a bewitched-looking vegetable. A beadle in a blouse, engaged in washing one of the large altar-candles with soap and water at the public pump, gave me the following history of the elder tree. I am passionately fond of legends, and this is one quite hot and fresh, only a hundred years old. Hear the tale of the elder of Romainville.

The excellent curé of Romainville in the last century was a man of such a charitable nature that his all was in the hands of the poor. The grocer of the village, a potentate of terrific powers and inexorable temper, finally refused to trust him with the supply of oil necessary for the lamp in the sanctuary. Soon the sacred flame sputtered, palpitated, flapped miserably over the crusted wick: the curé, responsible before Heaven for the life of his lamp, tottered away from the altar with groans of anguish. Arrived in the garden, he threw himself on his knees, crying Meâ culpâ, and beating his bosom. The garden contained only medicinal plants, shaded by a linden and an elder: completely desperate, the unhappy priest fixed his moist eyes on the latter, when lo! the bark opened, the trunk parted, and a jet of clear aromatic liquid spouted forth, quite different from any sap yielded by elder before. It was oil. A miracle!

The report spread. The grocer came and humbly visited the priest in his garden, his haughty hat, crammed with bills enough to have spread agony through all the cottages of Romainville, humbly carried between his legs. He came proposing a little speculation. In exchange for a single spigot to be inserted in the tree, and the hydraulic rights going with the same, he offered all the bounties dearest to the priestly heart—unlimited milk and honey, livers of fat geese and pies lined with rabbit. The priest, though hungry—hungry with the demoniac hunger of a fat and paunchy man—turned his back on the tempter.



One day a salad, the abstemious relish yielded by his garden herbs, was set on the table by Jeanneton. At the first mouthful the good curé made a terrible face—the salad tasted of lamp-oil. The unhappy girl had filled a cruet with the sacred fluid. From that day the bark closed and the flow ceased.

There is one of the best oil-stories you ever heard, and one of the most recent of attested miracles. For my part, I am half sorry it is so well attested, and that I have the authority of that beadle in the blouse, who took my little two-franc piece with an expression of much intelligence. I love the Legend.



The environs of Paris are but chary of Legend. I treasure this specimen, then, [pg 132] as if it had been a rare flower for my botany-box.

But the botany-box indeed, how heavy it was growing! The umbrella, how awkward! The sun, how vigorous and ardent! Who ever supposed it could become so hot by half-past eight in the morning?



Certainly the ruthless box, which seemed to have taken root on my back, was heavier than it used to be. Had its rotundity developed, like its master's? I stopped and gathered a flower, meaning to analyze it at my next resting-place. I opened my box: then indeed I perceived the secret of its weightiness. It revealed three small rolls of oatmeal toasted, a little roast chicken, a bit of ham, some mustard in a cleaned-out inkstand! This now was the treachery of Josephine. Josephine, who never had the least sympathy for my botanical researches, and who had small comprehension of the nobler hungers and thirsts of the scientific soul, had taken it on her to convert my box into a portable meat-safe!

Bless the old meddler, how I thanked her for her treason! The aspect of the chicken, in its blistered and varnished brown skin, reminded me that I was clamorously hungry. Shade of Apicius! is it lawful for civilized mortals to be so hungry as I was at eight or nine in the morning?

At last I saw the end of that dusty, featureless street which stretches from the barrier to the extremity of Romainville. I saw spreading before me a broad plain, a kind of desert, where, by carefully keeping my eyes straight ahead, I could avoid the sight of all houses, walls, human constructions whatever.

My favorite traveler, the celebrated Le Vaillant, to whom I am indebted for so many facts and data toward my great theory of Comparative Geography, says that in first reaching the solitudes of Caffraria he felt himself elated with an unknown joy. No traced road was before him to dictate his pathway—no city shaded him with its towers: his fortune depended on his own unaided instincts.

I felt the same delight, the same liberty. Something like the heavy strap of a slave seemed to break behind me as I found myself quite clear of the metropolis. Mad schemes of unanticipated journeys danced through my head; I might amble on to Villemonble, Montfermeil, Raincy, or even to the Forest of Bondy, so dear to the experimental botanist. Had I not two days before me ere my compact with Hohenfels at Marly? And in two days you can go from Paris to Florence. Meantime, from the effects of famine, my ribs were sinking down upon the pelvic basin of my frame.

The walk, the open air, the sight of the fowl, whose beak now burned into my bosom's core, had sharpened my appetite beyond bearing. Yet how could I eat without some drop of cider or soft white wine to drink? Besides, slave of convention that I have grown, I no [pg 133] longer understand the business of eating without its concomitants—a shelter and something to sit on.

The plain became wearisome. There are two things the American-born, however long a resident abroad, never forgives the lack of in Europe. The first I miss when I am in Paris: it is the perpetual street-mending of an American town. Here the boulevards, smeared with asphaltum or bedded with crunched macadam, attain smoothness without life: you travel on scum. But in the dear old American streets the epidermis is vital: what strength and mutual reliance in the cobbles as they stand together in serried ranks, like so many eye-teeth! How they are perpetually sinking into prodigious ruts, along which the ponderous drays are forced to dance on one wheel in a paroxysm of agony and critical equipoise! But the perpetual state of street-mending, that is the crowning interest. What would I not sometimes give to exchange the Swiss sweeping-girls, plying their long brooms desolately in the mud, for the paviors' hammers of America, which play upon the pebbles like a carillon of muffled bells? As for the other lack, it is the want of wooden bridges. Far away in my native meadows gleams the silver Charles: the tramp of horses' hoofs comes to my ear from the timbers of the bridge. Here, with a pelt and a scramble your bridge is crossed: nothing addresses the heart from its stony causeway. But the low, arched tubes of wood that span the streams of my native land are so many bass-viols, sending out mellow thunders with every passing wagon to blend with the rustling stream and the sighing woods. Shall I never hear them again?

A reminiscence more than ten years old came to give precision to my ramblings in the past. Beyond the rustic pathway I was now following I could perceive the hills of Trou-Vassou. Hereabouts, if memory served me, I might find a welcome, almost a home, and the clasp of cordial if humble hands. Here I might find folks who would laugh when I arrived, and would be glad to share their luncheon with me But—ten years gone by!



This computation chilled my hopes. What family remains ten years in a spot—above all, a spot on that fluctuating periphery of Paris, where the mighty capital, year after year, bursts belt after belt? Where might they have gone? Francine!—Francine must be twenty-two. Married, of course. Her husband, no doubt, has dragged her off to some other department. Her parents have followed. March, volunteer, and disentangle yourself from these profitless speculations!

Ten minutes farther on, in the shade of the fort at Noisy-le-Sec, I saw a red gable and the sign of a tavern. As a tourist I have a passion for a cabaret: in practice, I find Véfours to unite perhaps a greater number of advantages.



Some soldiers of the Fortieth were drinking and laughing in a corner. I took a table not far off, and drew my cold victuals out of my box of japanned tin, which they doubtless took for a new form of canteen. The red-fisted garçon, without waiting for orders, set up before me, like ten-pins, a castor in wood with two enormous bottles, and a litre of that rinsing of the vats which, under the name [pg 134] "wine of the country," is so distressingly similar in every neighborhood. Resigned to anything, I was about drawing out my slice of ham, the chicken seeming to me just there somewhat too proud a bird and out of harmony with the local color, when my glance met two gray eyes regarding my own in the highest state of expansion. The lashes, the brows, the hair and the necklace of short beard were all very thick and quite gray. The face they garnished was that of the tavern-keeper.



"Why, it is you, after all, Father Joliet!" I said, after a rapid inspection of his figure.



"Ah, it is Monsieur Flemming, the Américain-flamand!" cried the host, striking one hand into the other at the imminent risk of breaking his pipe. In a trice he trundled off my bottle of rinsings, and replaced it by one of claret with an orange seal, set another glass, and posted himself in front of me.

I asked the waiter for two plates, and with a slight blush evoked the chicken from my box. The soldiers of the Fortieth opened a battery of staring and hungry eyes.

"And how came you here?" asked I of Joliet.

"It is I who am at the head of the hotel," he replied, proudly pointing out the dimensions of the place by spreading his hands. "My old establishment has sunk into the fosses of the fort: it was a transaction between the government and myself."

"And was the transaction a good one for you?"

"Not so bad, not so bad," said he, winking his honest gray eyes with a world of simple cunning. "It cannot be so very bad, since I owe nothing on the hotel, and the cellar is full, and I am selling wholesale and retail."

The vanity which a minute since had expanded his hands now got into his legs, and set them upright under his body. He stood upon them, his eyes proudly lowered upon the seal of the claret. A pang of envy actually crossed my mind. I, simple rentier, with my two little establishments pressing more [pg 135] closely upon my resources with every year's increase of house-rates, how could I look at this glorious small freeholder without comparisons?

"So, then, Father Joliet," said I, "you are rich?"

"At least I depend no longer on my horse, and that thanks to you and the government."

"To me! What do you mean?"

"Why, have you forgotten the two chickens?"



At the allusion to the chickens we caught each other's eye, and laughed like a pair of augurs. But the mysterious fowls shall be explained to the reader.





I need not explain that I have cast my lot with the Colonial Americans of Paris, and taken their color. It is a sweet and luxurious mode of life. The cooks send round our dinners quite hot, or we have faultless servants, recommended from one colonist to another: these capital creatures sometimes become so thoroughly translated into American that I have known them shift around from flat to flat in colonized households of the second and third stories without ever touching French soil for the best part of a lifetime. At our receptions, dancing-teas and so on we pass our time in not giving offence. Federals and Confederates, rich cotton-spinners from Rhode Island and farmers from thousand-acre granges in the West, are obliged to mingle and please each other. Naturally, we can have no more political opinions than a looking-glass. We entertain just such views as Galignani gives us every morning, harmonized with paste from a dozen newspapers. Our grand national effort, I may say, the common principle that binds us together as a Colony, is to forget that we are Americans. We accordingly give our whole intellects to the task of [pg 136] appearing like Europeans: our women succeed in this particularly well. Miss Yuba Sequoia Smith, whose father made a fortune in water-rights, is now afraid to walk a single block without the attendance of a chambermaid in a white cap, though she came up from California quite alone by the old Panama route. Everybody agrees that our ladies dress well. Shall I soon forget how proud Mrs. Aquila Jones was when a gentleman of the emperor's body-guard took her for Marguerite Bellanger in the Bois? Our men, not having the culture of costume to attend to, are perhaps a little in want of a stand-point. Still, we can play billiards in the Grand Hôtel and buy fans at the Palais Royal. We go out to Saint-Cloud on horseback, we meet at the minister's; and I contend that there was something conciliatory and national in a Southern colonel offering to take Bigelow to see Menken at the Gaîté, or when I saw some West Pointers and a nephew of Beauregard's lighting the pipe of peace at a handsome tobacconist's in the Rue Saint-Honoré. The consciousness that we have no longer a nationality, and that nobody respects us, adds a singular calm, an elevation, to our views. Composed as our cherished little society is of crumbs from every table under heaven, we have succeeded in forming a way of life where the crusty fortitude and integrity of patriotism is unnecessary. Our circle is like the green palace of the magpies in Musset's Merle Blanc, and like them we live "de plaisir, d'honneur, de bavardage, de gloire et de chiffons."





I confess that there was a period, between the fresh alacrity of a stranger's reception in the Colony and the settled habits I have now fallen into, when I was rather uneasy. A society of migrators, a system woven upon shooting particles, like a rainbow on the rain, was odd. Residents of some permanency, like myself, were constantly forming eternal friendships with people who wrote to them in a month or two from Egypt. In this way a quantity of my friendships were miserably lacerated, until I learned by practice just how much friendship to give. At this period I was much occupied with vain conciliations, concessions and the reconciling of inconsistencies. A brave American from the South, an ardent disciple of Calhoun, was a powerful advocate of State Rights, and advocated them so well that I was almost convinced; when it appeared one day that the right of States to individual action was to cease in cases where a living chattel was to escape from the South to the North.



In this case the State, in violation of its own [pg 137] laws unrecognizant of that kind of ownership, was to account for the property and give it back, in obedience to general Congressional order and to the most advanced principles of Centralization. Before I had digested this pill another was administered to me in that small English section of our circle which gave us much pride and an occasional son-in-law. This was by no less a person than my dear old friend Berkley, now grown a ruddy sexagenarian, but still given to eating breakfast in his bath-tub. The wealthy Englishman, who had got rich by exporting china ware, was sound on the subject of free commerce between nations. That any industry, no matter how young might be the nation practicing it, or how peculiar the difficulties of its prosecution, should ever be the subject of home protection, he stamped as a fallacy too absurd to be argued. The journals venturing such an opinion were childish drivelers, putting forth views long since exploded before the whole world. He was still loud in this opinion when his little book of epigrams, The Raven of Zurich and Other Rhymes, came out, and being bright and saucy was reprinted in America. The knowledge that he could not tax on a foreign soil his own ideas, the plastic pottery of his brain, was quite too much for his mental balance, and he took to inveighing against free trade in literary manufactures without the slightest perception of inconsistency, and with all the warmth, if not the eloquence, of Mr. Dickens on the same theme. The gradual accumulation of subjects like these—subjects taboo in gentle society—soon made it apparent that in a Colony of such diverse colors, where every man had a sore spot or a grievance, and even the Cinderellas had corns in their little slippers, harmony could only be obtained by keeping to general considerations of honor, nobility, glory, and the politics of Beloochistan; on which points we all could agree, and where Mr. Berkley's witty eloquence was a wonder.



It is to my uneasy period, when I was sick with private griefs and giddy with striving to reconcile incompatibilities, that the episode of the Chickens belongs. I was looking dissatisfied out of one of my windows. Hohenfels, disappointed of a promenade by an afternoon shower, was looking dissatisfied out of the other. Two or three people, waiting for four o'clock lunch, were lounging about. I had just remarked, I believe, that I was a melancholy man, for ever drinking "the sweet wormwood of my sorrows." A dark phantom, like that of Adamastor, stood up between me and the stars.

"Nonsense, you ingrate!" responded [pg 138] the baron from his niche, "you are only too happy. You are now in the precise position to define my old conception of the Lucky Dog. The Lucky Dog, you know, in my vocabulary, is he who, free from all domestic cares, saunters up and down his room in gown and slippers, drums on the window of a rainy afternoon, and, as he stirs his evening fire, snaps his fingers at the world, saying, 'I have no nor children, good or bad, to provide for.'"



I replied that I did not willingly give way to grief, but that the main-spring of my life was broken.

"Did you ever try," spoke up a buxom lady from a sofa—it was the Frau Kranich, widow of the Frankfort banker, the same who used to give balls while her husband was drugged to sleep with opium, and now for a long time in Paris for some interminable settlement with Nathan Rothschild—"Did you ever try the tonic of a good action? I never did, but they actually say it rejuvenates one considerably."

I avowed that I had more faith in the study of Geography. Nevertheless, to oblige her, I would follow any suggestion.



"Benefit the next person who applies to you."

"Madame, I will obey."

At this moment a wagon of singular appearance drew up before my windows. I knew it well enough: it was the vehicle of a handy, convenient man who came along every other morning to pick up odd jobs from me and my neighbors. He could tinker, carpenter, mend harness: his wife, seated in the wagon by his side, was good at a button, or could descend and help Josephine with her ironing. A visit at this hour, however, was unprecedented.

As Charles was beginning a conversation under the hood of the wagon, I opened the window. "Come into the room," I said.

Hohenfels maliciously opened his. "Come in," he added "Monsieur Flemming is especially anxious to do you a benefit."

The man, uncovering, was now standing in the little garden before the house—a man with a face at once intelligent and candid, which is unfortunately rare among the poor rascals of his grade. Although still young, he was growing gray: his blouse, patched and re-sewed at all the seams, was clean and whole. Poverty had tested him, but had as yet picked no flaws in him. By this time my windows were alive with faces.

[pg 139]

The man, humble but not awkward, made two or three respectful bows. "Monsieur," he said to me, "I hope you are fond of chickens. I am desirous to sell you a fine pair."



Chickens for me! and what was it supposed I should do with them? At this point the voice of the Frau Kranich was heard, clear and malicious: "It is a bargain: bring them in."

At the same time the canvas cover of the wagon puffed outward, giving issue to a heavy sigh.

The man went to a sort of great cage in lattice-work occupying the back of the vehicle. Then he backed his wagon up to the sidewalk, and we saw, sitting on the cage and framed by the oval of the wagon-cover, a young woman of excellent features, but sadly pale. She now held the two chickens in her lap, caressing them, laying their heads against her cheek, and enwreathing them in the folds of her great shawl. I could only close the bargain with the utmost speed, to be safe from ridicule.

"Your price?" I asked.

"Fix it yourself, sir," said the man, determined to confuse me. "You are doubtless thoroughly acquainted with poultry."

"The nankeen—colored one," spoke up again the bell-like and inexorable voice from the other window, "is a yellow Crèvecoeur, very well formed and lively-looking: the slate-colored one is a Cochin-China, with only a few of the white feathers lacking from the head. They are chef-d'oeuvres, and are worth fully forty francs apiece."

"Only look, sir, at their claws and bills, see their tongues, and observe under their wings: they are young, wholesome and of fine strain—"

He was running on when I stopped him: "Here are a hundred francs for you, brave man."

The patchwork blouse cut a caper, a look of lively joy shot from the man's eyes, where a tear was gathering, and the wagon, from its bursting cover, gave utterance to a sob.

"Why sell them," I asked, touched in spite of myself, "if you are so attached to them? Is the money indispensable to you? I might possibly make an advance."

"Ah, you are a real Christian—you are now," said the honest Joliet, polishing his eyeball with his coat-cuff. "The good woman holds by them, it is true. Holy Virgin! it's she that has raised them, and I may say brooded over them in the coop. The eggs were for our salad when we had nothing better than nettles and sorrel. But, day in and night in, we have no other lodging than our wagon, and the wife is promising to give me a dolly; and if we don't take out the cage, where will the cradle go, sir?"



[pg 140]

The calculation appeared reasonable. I received the birds, and they were the heroes, in their boudoir under the piano, of that night's conversazione.





How hard it is for a life cast upon the crowded shores of the Old World to regain the place once lost is shown by the history of my honest friend Joliet. Born in 1812, of an excellent family living twenty miles from Versailles, the little fellow lost his mother before he could talk to her. When he was ten years old, his father, who had failed after some land speculations, and had turned all he had into money, tossed him up to the lintel of the doorway, kissed him, put a twenty-franc gold-piece into his little pocket, and went away to seek his fortune in Louisiana: the son never heard of him more. The lady-president of a charitable society, Mademoiselle Marx, took pity on the abandoned child: she fed him on bones and occasionally beat him. She was an ingenious and inventive creature, and made her own cat-o'-nine-tails: an inventor is for ever demonstrating the merits of his implement. Soon, discovering that he was thankless and unteachable, she made him enter, as youngest clerk, the law-office of her admirer and attorney, Constabule. This gentleman, not finding enough engrossing work to keep the lad out of mischief, allowed him to sweep his rooms and blacken his boots. Little Joliet, after giving a volatile air to a great many of his employer's briefs by making paper chickens of them, showed his imperfect sense of the favors done him by absconding. In fact, proud and independent, he was brooding over boyish schemes of an honorable living and a hasty fortune. He soon found that every profession required an apprenticeship, and that an apprenticeship could only be bought for money. He was obliged, then, to seek his grand fortune through somewhat obscure avenues. If I were to follow my poor Joliet through all his transmigrations and metempsychoses, as I have learned them by his hints, allusions and confessions, I should show him by turns working a rope ferry, where the stupid and indolent cattle, whose business it is to draw men, were drawn by him; then letter-carrier; supernumerary and call-boy in a village theatre; road-mender on a vicinal route; then a beadle, a bell-ringer, and a sub-teacher in an infant school, where he distributed his own ignorance impartially amongst his little patrons at the end of a stick; after this, big drum in the New Year's festivals, and ready at a moment's opportunity to throw down the drumstick [pg 141] and plunge among the dancers, for Joliet was a well-hinged lad, and the blood of nineteen years was tingling in his heels. After fluttering thus from branch to branch, like the poor birdling that cannot take its flight, discouraged by his wretched attempts at life, he plunged straight before him, hoping for nothing but a turn of luck, driving over the roads and fields, lending a hand to the farmers, sleeping in stables and garrets, or oftener in the open air; sometimes charitably sheltered in a kind man's barn, and perhaps—oh bliss!—honestly employed with him for a week or two; at others rudely repulsed as a good-for-nothing and vagabond. Vagabond! That truly was his profession now. He forgot the charms of a fixed abode. He came to like his gypsy freedom, the open air and complete independence. He laughed at his misery, provided it shifted its place occasionally.





One day, when Hazard, his ungenerous guardian, seemed to have quite forgotten him, he walked—on an empty stomach, as the doctors say—past the lofty walls of a château. A card was placed at the gate calling for additional hands at a job of digging. Each workman, it was promised, had a right to a plate of soup before beginning. This article tempted him. At the gate a lackey, laughing in his face, told him the notice had been posted there six months: workmen were no longer wanted. "Wait, though," said the servant, and in another minute gave the applicant a horse!—a real, live horse in blood and bones, but in bones especially. [pg 142] "There," said the domestic, "set a beggar on horseback and see him ride to the devil!" And, laughing with that unalloyed enjoyment which one's own wit alone produces, he retired behind his wicket.



The horse thus vicariously fulfilling the functions of a plate of soup was a wretched glandered beast—not old, but shunned on account of the contagious nature of his disease. Having received the order to take him to be killed at the abattoir, monsieur the valet, having better things to do, gave the commission to Joliet, with all its perquisites.

Joliet did not kill the steed: he cured it. He tended it, he drenched it, he saved it. By what remedy? I cannot tell. I have never been a farrier, though Joliet himself made me perforce a poulterer. Many a bit of knowledge is picked up by those who travel the great roads. The sharp Bohemian, by playing at all trades, brushing against gentry of all sorts and scouring all neighborhoods, becomes at length a living cyclopaedia.



Joliet, like Democritus and Plato, saw everything with his own eyes, learned everything at first hand. He was a keen observer, and in our interviews subsequent to the affair of the chickens I was more than once surprised by the extent of his information and the subtlety of his insight. His wits were tacked on to a number of remote supports. In our day, when each science has become so complicated, so obese, that a man's lifetime may be spent in exercising round one of them, there are hardly any generalizers or observers fit to estimate their relativity, except among the two classes called by the world idlers and ignorants—the poets and the Bohemians.

Joliet, now having joined the ranks of the cavalry, found his account in his new dignity. He became an orderly, a messenger. He carried parcels, he transported straw and hay. If the burden was too heavy for the poor convalescent, the man took his own portion with a good grace, and the two mutually aided each other on the errand. Thanks to his horse, the void left by his failure to learn a trade was filled up by a daily and regular task: what was better, an affection had crept into his heart. He loved his charge, and his charge loved him.

This great hotel, the world, seemed to be promising entertainment then for both man and beast, when an epoch of disaster came along—a season of cholera. In the villages where Joliet's business lay the doors just beginning to be [pg 143] hospitable were promptly shut against him. Where the good townsmen had recognized Assistance in his person, they now saw Contagion.



If he had been a single man, he could have lain back and waited for better times. But he now had two mouths to feed. He kissed his horse and took a resolution.

He had never been a mendicant. "Beggars don't go as hungry as I have gone," said he. "But what will you have? Nobility obliges. My father was a gentleman. I have broken stones, but never the devoirs of my order."

He left the groups of villages among which his new industry had lain. The cholera was behind him: trouble, beggary perhaps, was before him. As night was coming on, Joliet, listlessly leading his horse, which he was too considerate to ride, saw upon the road a woman whom he took in the obscurity for a farmer's wife of the better class or a decent villager. For an introduction the opportunity was favorable enough. On her side, the quasi farmer's wife, seeing in the dusk an honest fellow dragging a horse, took him for a "gentleman's gentleman" at the least, and the two accosted each other with that easy facility of which the French people have the secret. Each presented the other with a hand and a frank smile.



Joliet, whom I have erred perhaps in comparing to Democritus, was nevertheless a laugher and a philosopher. But his grand ha-ha! usually infectious, was not shared on this occasion. The wanderer could not show much merriment. A sewing-woman with a capacity for embroidery, her needle had given [pg 144] her support, but now a sudden warning of paralysis, and symptoms of cholera added to that, had driven her almost to despair. She was without home, friend or profession.



Joliet set her incontinently on horseback, and walked by her side to a good village curé's two miles off—the same who had assisted him to his first communion, and for whom he subsequently became a beadle. The kind priest opened his arms to the man, his heart to the woman, his stable to the horse. For his second patient my Bohemian set in motion all his stock of curative ideas. In a month she was well, and the curé no longer had three pensioners, for of two of them he made one.

Two poverties added may make a competence. Monsieur and Madame Joliet were good and willing. The man began to wear a strange not unbecoming air of solidity and good morals. The girls now saluted him respectfully when he passed through a village.

One thing, however, in the midst of his proud honeymoon perplexed him much. Hardly married, and over head and ears in love, he knew not how to invite his bride to some wretched garret, himself deserting her to resume his former life in the open air. To give up the latter seemed like losing existence itself.

One morning, as he asked himself the difficult question, a pair of old wheels at the door of a cartwright seemed of their own accord to resolve his perplexity. He bought them, the payment to be made in labor: for a week he blew the wheelwright's bellows. The wheels were his own: to make a wagon was now the affair of a few old boards and a gypsy's inventiveness.

Thus was conceived that famous establishment where, for several years, lived the independent monarch and his spouse, rolling over the roads, circulating through the whole belt of villages around Paris, and carrying in their ambulant home, like the Cossacks, their utensils, their bed, their oven, their all.

From town to town they carried packages, boxes and articles of barter. At dinner-time the van was rolled under a tree. The lady of the house kindled a fire in the portable stove behind a hedge or in a ditch. The hen-coop was opened, and the sage seraglio with their sultan prudently pecked about for food. At the first appeal they re-entered their cage.



At the same appeal came flying up the dog of the establishment, a most [pg 145] piteous-looking griffin, disheveled, moulted, staring out of one eye, lame and wild. For devotion and good sense his match could be found nowhere. Like his horse, his wife, his house and the pins in his sleeve, Joliet had picked the collie up on the road.

The arrival of a tiny visitor to the Bohemian's address made a change necessary. Little Francine's dowry was provided by my humorous acquisition of the yellow and slate-colored chickens.

With his savings and my banknote Joliet determined to have a fixed residence. He succeeded of course. The walls, the windows, the doors, everything but the garden-patch, he picked up along the roads.



Buried in eglantine and honeysuckle, soon no one would suspect the home-made character of Joliet's château. It became the centre of my botanizing excursions. Francine grew into a fair, slim girl, like the sweetest and most innocent of Gavarni's sketches, and sold flowers to the passers-by.

Such were the souvenirs I had of this brave tavern-keeper in his old capacity of roadster and tramp. Now, after an hiatus of years, I found him before me in a different character at the beginning of my roundabout trips to Marly.

But what had become of my favorite little rose-merchant?

"Francine?" asked Joliet briskly, as if he was wondering whom I could mean by such a name. "You mean my wife? Poor thing! She is dead."

"I am speaking of your daughter, Father Joliet."

"Oh, my daughter, my girl Francine? She went to live with her godmother. It was ten years ago."

"And you have not seen her since?"

"Yes—yes—two years back. She has gone again."

"To her godmother?"


"Why so?"

"Her godmother would not receive her. Don't wring my heart so, sir!"




[pg 146]



We left the Hof one August Friday—we were not superstitious—a goodly company, sufficient to freight the rumbling old stage-wagon which jolted daily between Bruneck and Taufers, a distance of nine miles. At this village the sedater portion of the party were to settle down with books, pencils and drawing-paper until the Alpine visit should have been paid.

The valley of Taufers, running northward with a grand vista to the north-west of the vast Zillerthal snow-fields, suggests at a distance the idea of a stern, joyless district. When in the broader Pusterthal the sunshine floods upland plain and slope, this important but narrow tributary valley lies steeped in its gloomy shade, the dark sides of the Sambock frowning grimly on the opposite shadowy Tesselberg. Great, therefore, was the surprise of some of the party to find, as we drove along, instead of melancholy solitude, prosperous villages basking in sunshine, whilst little children skipped merrily, and men and women worked amongst the golden stooks as if enjoying the labor of their hands. Yes, strange to say, effulgent sunshine everywhere on acre and meadow, and slanting down upon a wayside cottage garden, where a freshly-painted Christ lay drying between tall sunflowers. This cottage seemed the only shadow in this unexpectedly bright picture, for, occupied by a religious image-maker, crucifixes and wooden saints peeped wholesale out of the windows. Is it a want of sensibility in these poor Tyrolese peasants which causes them to cling tenaciously to such frightful material forms of religion, making them give prominence to every conceivable sign of sacred sorrow and suffering? But the jolting stage-wagon allowed us no time to analyze this painful, ever-recurring feature of the Tyrol. When we next looked up we saw above us, on a wooded crag, a square gray tower, which, once a stronghold, appears, as if exhausted with old age, to be tottering into the midst of lesser ruins.

It was Neuhaus, once a fortress of the rigid old barons of Tuvers. Hugo, the sixth lord, died there in 1309, and in the chapel, which still stands, mass is said at stated periods for the salvation of his soul and the souls of his relations. The whole place would undoubtedly have been given over to the owls and the bats had not two adjacent springs—one of iron, the other of chalk and alum—been considered, a quarter of a century since, either as preventives or as cures for the cholera, then raging. A chalet was therefore planted on the rocks between the chapel and the castle, and a bath-house opened, which would probably be still much frequented on account of the beauty of the situation were the bath-owner only a little more attentive to the comfort of his humble guests.

The valley, apparently so gloomy, proved not only cheerful, but full of romance and old-world memories. Other castles there were, perched gracefully on their crags; and thus, much sooner than we had anticipated, we found ourselves stopping at the Post in Taufers. Rather Sand in Taufers, the single appellation being used chiefly for the parent church, which, with a mortuary chapel and a house for the "young and sick," stands apart. Sand and Moritz, two prosperous villages, cluster with this group of buildings at the head of the valley, gathering like fiefs at the foot of the fine old castle, still one of the grandest feudal remains in ruin-bestrewn Tyrol. A third village, Müklen, though quite distinct, lies sufficiently near to deserve being included in the circle.

The Post, in prospect of the increase of custom occasioned by the Pusterthal railway, had enlarged its borders during the past winter. Nor had it been deceived in the speculation, for, although only one up-and-down train in the day crawls along the valley, the news of the comfortable inn in the midst of beautiful scenery had already brought custom enough. Thus all our powers of persuasion were lost upon the handsome sister of the young wirth, a noted beauty of the neighborhood. "Their house was full already. Nine guests, who had never sent word beforehand, were quite out of the question, but the Herrschaft could be accommodated at the [pg 147] Elephant opposite, which was related to the Post."

So, crossing over to the Elephant, the house being entirely empty, we found space and cleanliness, and might have found perfect comfort withal, had not the landlord and landlady proved in a perpetual state of somnolency, their few waking intervals being barely sufficient for the supply of the simplest wants. In spite of these and other unsatisfactory auspices, such as the tea being served in a soup-tureen, the stayers voted to remain at the Elephant in our absence, making up for all inward deficiencies by outdoor enjoyment.

A country clown with an honest face, Ignaz by name, agreed for a trifle to carry our bundles and ample provision of food to the Olm. He made a serious matter of it, however, when he pertinaciously insisted on four in the morning being the hour for starting. The dispute finally ended by the agreement to allow Ignaz to carry our belongings at the hour he chose, seeing that all the village was ready to take an affidavit as to his honesty, and we being allowed the same freedom of choice for ourselves. All having thus been comfortably arranged, we sallied forth for an evening stroll.

A turn in the quiet village street soon revealed the great massive castle on its plateau of rock—shattered towers, broken battlements, oriel and bay windows jutting out here and there, its bulwarks running down the precipice, but not, as formerly, shutting in the narrow gorge leading into the Ahrnthal, a busy, populous valley, closed in its turn by the snow-clad bulk of the Tauern, down which, on the farther side, the noted Kriml waterfall plunges. Remembering, from a visit paid to the castle in the former year, that an easy winding road, shaded by trees and commanding splendid mountain-views, led through the fortifications by the back of the castle to the great gateway, we chose it in preference to the steep, perpendicular path, which, always taken by the natives, led equally to the drawbridge and main entrance. To our extreme regret, however, we soon found [pg 148] our course impeded by the huge trunks of mighty pine trees lying in a perfect pell-mell above and on both sides of us. A glance up the hillside showed scores more of these slain giants. To proceed was almost hopeless, and we were forced to rest upon some timber and mark our future course between piles oozing with turpentine.

Whilst we were engaged in our calculations, an old crone, who had been groping about in the crevices for chips and sticks, stopped, and seeing us thus penned in by tree boles, eyed us with a compassionate look. "Ja, ja!" said she, "with fallen trees all jumbled together it is hard for the Herrschaft to move on; but it's harder for us poor folks, who have seen the trees growing here ever since we were born, to hear day and night the axe going hack, hack, and the trees come thudding down. Sixteen strong Welschers from a distance do the work: they knew well enough a Taufern would have looked long at the sixers (ten-kreuzer pieces) before he would have shorn the mighty forests. Look you!" and she pointed to the sky. "As far as you can see they are felling."

We looked, and sure enough the vast woods that clothed the lofty mountainsides were being ruthlessly cleared away. We suggested that a protest should be made.

"Oh, na, na! The woods are none of ours. The graf de Ferraris too has sold the estate to a gesellschaft from Vienna. They care nothing for the castle, but are hungry for timber. The count lives a long way off, and does not feel it, but it must eat the heart of his aged lady mother to the fibres—she lives in the village—to know that foreigners are sweeping down masses of trees by wholesale—trees that have always kept the poor man's noodles boiling. And where are the planks to come from for our houses, our barns, our stables? And how can the cattle be kept from straying without fences of wood? Then, too, avalanches of snow and of stones will fall, and maybe overwhelm the village. Thanks to the Mother of God! they will drop on my grave, but, Lord Jesus, the children and the children's children!"

Having given us these sad scraps of information, and heaving a big sigh, the poor old soul lifted up her bundle of chips and went fumbling forward over her stumbling-blocks.

Sad and true was the picture which she had drawn. Nor does it, alas! belong exclusively to Taufers, but to the whole Tyrol. In many instances the people are themselves eager for this reckless clearing. They hope thereby to secure more pasturage, the feeding and rearing of cattle being the great idea of wealth to the Tyroler. So they make ready money of their timber, which now in the form of masts floats on the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. The Venetians, requiring timber, have turned the once beautiful, richly-wooded Dalmatia into a dreary, barren land. In the Tyrol it is not generally foreigners, but the natives, who unhesitatingly sweep away woods, which, causing grass and plants to grow, have enabled human habitations to be erected on spots that would otherwise be but dreary wildernesses, the battle-fields of chilling winds and scorching sunshine. The precious timber, which like refuse they cart into the clumsy yawning craters called stoves, or else sell out of the country for economy so called, might not only supply the land for centuries with a proper amount of fuel, either as wood or charcoal, but bring prosperity to many a sequestered village if turned into tools and kitchen utensils, whilst still leaving thousands of trees for export. "The supply has never failed yet," say the Tyrolese: "why should we replant forests to have to cut them down again, when the ground, too, is good for grass or corn?" So the axe lies ruthlessly at the root of every tree, for a heavy reckoning hereafter to the Tyroler.

With a weighing and balancing over every step which we took worthy of a diplomatist, we finally stood upon the drawbridge of the castle. Here the savage customs of the rude days in which it was built immediately impress the beholder. Traces remain of the ponderous iron portcullis, heavy wooden bars, arrow-holes, and slits in the masonry for the pouring of boiling water or oil upon adverse knight or lordly freebooter. A steep path leads through two great entrance-gates into the large inner court, which is erected upon the virgin rock. A roof of old wooden shingles shelters the well, and ancient rotting timber mingles everywhere with the impervious stone in the massive buildings of the castle, conveying a sense of weakness and decay in the midst of the strongest durability.

Not only was the old castle dismantled, but apparently entirely abandoned this summer evening. We were preparing to return without seeing the interior when a little maiden arrived from the village, who with flushed face and timid mien drew the castle key from under a big stone, stood on tiptoe and turned the heavy lock, and the door creaking on its hinges we were left to wander at our will through old wainscoted rooms in the dreamy twilight. No spirit of modern restoration had ever reached them: they were allowed to remain just as inconvenient, but also just as quaint, as on the day of their erection. There were gloomy recesses enough, but there were likewise graceful carvings, mottoes, rare tracery and wood-work; while, strange to say, in several chambers grotesque wooden birds were suspended from the ceiling like malformed ducks, conveying at first no idea of the Holy Dove which the old lords had desired to symbolize, yet probably in those unquiet days their best conception of this emblem of peace.

The barons not only fought, squabbled and feasted, but prayed too in their fashion; so we came upon the chapel, disfigured by barbaric effigies, tawdry ornamentation and flimsy modern artificial flowers. It is still used for the weekly mass which, as at Neuhaus, is read here for the peace of the turbulent lords of Tuvers. Still, within the memory of man a hermit occupied some narrow chambers adjoining the chapel. He had retired amongst these ruins of transitory greatness to warn his fellow-creatures against carnal passions, prayed [pg 149] for the dead and shrived the living. The old anchorite has passed, we hope, into heavenly repose, but cinders, which may almost be called holy ashes, still lie scattered on his deserted little hearth.

The banqueting-hall, a fine though low room, supported on solid rounded arches, contains innumerable flour-and corn-bins, which, though dating from the Middle Ages, are still in perfect condition. Here knight and baron caroused, here mummers have played and bears have danced, whilst sword and spur clanked upon the rude stone floor. In the ladies' bower above many a minne-singer has struck his lyre. Nay, Oswald von Wolkenstein, a prince amongst troubadours, wearing his golden chain and brilliant orders, has brought tears from many a gentle eye as he sang to his harp his pathetic elegies, the cruelty of Sabina his lady, and his adventures in England, Spain and Persia. He was a noble, courtly knight, conversing in French, Moorish, Catalonian, Castilian, German, Latin, Wendisch, Lombardic and Russian; and his bones lie in the great cloister of Neustift, not half a day's journey from Taufers.

How often, too, has the shrill sound of the bugle called to feats of arms in the court, to hawking and hunting in valley and mountain-forest! How many a crusader against Turk, infidel, Prussian and Hussite has crossed the wooden drawbridge upon his war-horse! Yes, and what an excitement in the noble Catholic household when in the adjoining Ahrnthal the peasants, becoming enamored of Lutheranism, rose in the peasant war of 1525! How darkly, too, must they have painted the fanatical bauer Barthlmä Duregger of St. Peter's in the Ahrnthal, who, after being taken prisoner, escaped near their postern gate to circulate threats of fire and murder throughout the neighborhood, vowing to reduce Bruneck to ashes! Reappearing with a band of twelve poachers and twenty-six laborers, and accompanied by Peter Baszler of Antholz, he robbed and plundered the clergy, stripping the worthy priest Andreas Spaat of all his worldly goods, so that [pg 150] he died in the utmost poverty. Although much blood was shed in their pursuit, this lawless, misguided man and his band were never taken. Great as their sin would naturally seem to the noble family at the castle, no less lamentable and equally worthy of torture and death would the heretics of Bruneck appear. About the same time the sacrilegious books, as they were called, of Zwingli and Luther were sold there openly, conventicle hymns were sung in the streets, and the priest Stephan Gobi preached against the holy doctrine of confession and the invocation of saints; whilst the schoolmaster Bartholomew Huber, though he could not find time to teach the children the catechism, puzzled their innocent minds with Virgil's Georgics and Cicero's Letters. Toward the end of the sixteenth century the heresy was suppressed, when the lords and ladies of Taufers Castle sang no doubt a triumphant Te Deum in their chapel. The inmates were not then barons of Tuvers proper, for the title having early become extinct the castle passed into many noble hands, sometimes reaching those of royalty. Such a booty never remained unoccupied, until, coming into the possession of Hieronymus, count of Ferraris, in 1685, his descendants gradually permitted it to fall into ruin, its evil days culminating under the present count, who sold the estate a few years since to a speculating company, who merely value it for the timber. The rooms which still remain habitable are tenanted by peasants and by the sixteen pitiless wood-cutters.

Seven o'clock the next morning found Frau Anna, E——, the two Margarets and our good Moidel bound full of life and spirits for the Eder Olm. We had soon left the village of Moritz behind us, and were climbing a shady wood-path, when we met a peasant-woman with her daughter, and she exclaimed, "What! Herrschaft going to Rein! What big eyes they will make over the stones!"

Sure enough, very big eyes were made by some of the Herrschaft. After ascending to a meadow amphitheatre, then resting in a sunny wood, redolent of pine odors, near the foundations of a ruined stronghold, the Burgkofel, we came upon a realm of gigantic boulders. Some, in the shape of huge granite slabs, formed a rude, continuous broadway; others, scarred and furrowed, but softened and beautified by golden and silver lichen, torn by storms and snow from the cyclopean mountain-walls, were scattered topsy-turvy on either hand; many had become lodged in the river, where they carried on a steady defence against the tumultuous Giessbach, which, having its rise in mountains ten thousand feet high, leapt, foaming milky white, over and between them, forming a long series of bold cascades for a distance of half a dozen miles. The road continued by the boisterous rapids, hemmed in on the other hand by woods and threatening mountain-walls. The thunder of the waters prevented continuous conversation: we therefore admired in silence the grandeur of the scene and the magnificent glimpses which slight curves in the road afforded ever and anon of neighboring mountain-peaks and wooded valleys below.

No carriage of any kind can ascend this road. It would be difficult indeed for horses; nevertheless, the herds of cattle traverse it in the journey to and from the Olm, their hoofs being able to find foothold on the rock. Moidel said that the cattle were so delighted to go to the Alps for the summer after the winter's confinement in the stall that they made the journey with a kind of joyful impatience, going on still more eagerly as they approached the end. "Not so, however," added Moidel, "with the pigs. I have often sat and cried on these rocks at their perverse ways when I have had to bring them up. They would only stand still and grunt while I begged and prayed and pushed. When they reached the top a new spirit soon seized them: they were here, there and everywhere—in a week's time leaping like goats, as if they had taken to wine."

We made the climb slowly, and noon was long passed when we reached the saw-mills, the first houses in the mountain parish of St. Wolfgang or Rein. The busy, purring mills stood on the edge of the Sarine at the extremity of a flat mountain-valley intersected by innumerable brooks, which, continually overflowing, turn it constantly into a lake. The grass had been under water a week previously, but was now sufficiently dry for us to sit and rest. Whilst we were so doing, Ignaz, our träger, stood before us, his empty basket on his back.

"The barn is swept and garnished in readiness for the Herrschaft, and their bundles and parcels are arranged there in beautiful order—many bundles, and far heavier than they looked last night." Ignaz, however, was of opinion that though the pay was small the gentry meant well by him, and therefore he had not scrupled to take the food the worthy farmer's wife had offered him, leaving the Christian soul to be repaid by the gentlefolks when they came. And, moreover, he had advised the landlord at Rein that the gentry were passing through, so that they should not fail to find eatables ready, seeing hunger and weariness were best consoled by food.

After which communication we regarded Ignaz as much less a clown than he looked. Pushing forward, we soon saw the little inn shining forth a mile farther up the valley—a small white chalet, with the pink-checked feather beds hanging to air in the upper gallery.

Moidel looked grave over the dinner which the interposition of Ignaz had prepared for us. "The place is called Rein (clean)," she said, "but it is none of the cleanest. A Graf once reached Rein, and he thought it so pastoral that he asked at the inn for a drink of new milk, but the landlord shook his head and asked for other orders, seeing there was none in the house. Then the Graf said he would take cream, but the landlord shook his head and asked for other orders. Fresh eggs? Yes, the landlord said there were eggs, and begged him to step into the zechstube until they were boiled. When they came they made the very room smell, and the Graf in disgust ordered wine. This was speedily forthcoming, but with so [pg 151] dirty a glass that the Graf, making a long face, angrily called for the reckoning and departed."

After Moidel's tale, and certain recollections of our own concerning the little hostel last year, we all approached the house with very humble expectations. The wirth, already on the lookout, received Moidel and two of the party as old friends, and hearing no nay he marshaled us up stairs, and flinging open a bed-room door, looked proudly triumphant as even Moidel uttered an exclamation of surprise.

Whether constant reminders from his neighbors of the Graf's unfortunate visit, or a wave of civilization from the Pusterthal had reached this secluded mountain-inn, certain it is that twelve months had wrought a marvelous change here. Whilst the rest of the house remained rough, dirty and primitive, the landlord had devoted all his powers of taste and judgment upon this upper chamber. Leaning complacently against the door, he received our congratulations on the pretty ceiling and walls of carved deal wainscot, on the grand new bed, and the bouquet of fresh Edelweiss in a wash-basin, but showed surprise that the fiery tigers and gliding serpents which in a couple of gilt frames adorned the walls received no flattering comments from our lips. He next displayed a visitors' book, containing already some half dozen names, watching closely the astonishment it should produce in us as he prepared the table for our meal. But even the study of the names had to be interrupted, for he had purchased some steel knives and forks, which were, he considered, to bring him great credit and reputation; nor could he complete his work without hinting at the superiority of his table-cloth and napkins. Fortunately, a call from below that the pancakes were ready enabled us to have a little laugh to ourselves. Linen being used in all peasant houses, he had discarded it as vulgar, wearing himself an unbleached cotton shirt with an incipient frill, and supplying his guests with a table-cloth and napkins of the same material from an empty wash-basin.

[pg 152]

We had already discussed two dishes of hot pancakes—really worthy of commendation—enjoyed an hour's rest, taken coffee, and were rising to depart, when the landlady appeared with a hop, skip and jump. She was a lively, voluble little woman, who, though she had attired herself for us in two enormous cloth petticoats, a stuff bodice and yards of Bohemian lace in frills and ruffles, by way of displaying the wealth of her wardrobe, bobbed and curtseyed as if set on wires. Great was the difficulty, between the amusing, friendly wife and the husband proud of her and his inn, either to pay our bill or get away. They declared there was no hurry about the reckoning, and pressed us still to stay. Seeing our resolution, the wirth with a sigh produced a brown painted board from under his arm, a piece of chalk from his pocket, made the bill, gave us change out of a tea-cup, and amidst reiterated invitations to return if not satisfied with the barn, we tore ourselves away, their friendly good-byes and good wishes floating after us.


We now left the Reinthal and turned into the side-valley of Bachernthal. It was the 17th of August, but the little plots of corn still waved long and green, giving a feeling of early summer. We were in a perfect paradise of an Alpine valley. Before us the great near-lying mountains, the princely Hoch Gall and the Gross Lengstein Glacier, shone like molten silver against the intense blue sky, whilst the Schnebige Nock rose pure and isolated across the narrow valley, suggesting to one of the party the simile of the swan-breasted maiden of Northern mythology.

After passing several chalets we came to that of the Eder Olm. It belonged to the Hofbauer, and was occupied by his pächter or bailiff the year round. Here, too, was the barn which we were to use as our night-quarters during our stay. It was a great wooden building, divided into three compartments, one being two-thirds filled with hay, on which we were intended to sleep. It was true that Josef the pächter had succeeded by means of sweeping and a little arrangement in making the barn really attractive; but, alas! alas! we had hardly begun preparing our beds when the horrible discovery was made that under the surface the hay was soaking wet. Josef could hardly be blamed for not telling us, as in the Tyrol the people regard lying on wet or dewy grass as a natural system of hydropathy.

We had not shawls and cloaks enough to construct beds upon the barn floor, and the pächter's house, though substantial, was but a dark den, already stuffed full with wife and children. Must we, then, really return to the inn at Rein with its ornamental snakes and lions?

It was dusk out of doors, but pitch dark within, save for the dim, uncertain light of a horn lantern, and, all regularly worn out with our ten miles' climb, we sighed for bed. It was futile, however, simply to exchange expressions of dismay; so, groping about, to our joy we alighted suddenly upon several bundles of clean, fresh straw stowed away in the farthest recess of the opposite division. In a trice a dangerous corn-chopping machine had been removed, the straw loosened and spread out, and, covered with shawls and water-proof, it formed as comfortable a great bed of Ware as ever weary bones could desire. Forming a row, the tired wanderers were soon sleeping the sleep of five just persons, the sound of several neighboring waterfalls soothing rather than disturbing slumber.

In the early morning it was put to the vote and carried that eider down and spring mattresses were useless innovations after luxurious straw, and that whilst some benighted people might regard us as having been in purgatory, we had been in paradise, and hoped to be there again within twenty-four hours. And the barn, too! How poor in comparison seemed a conventional house on this sweet Sunday morning! We had prudently filled all the large apertures in the eaves and wooden sides the night before [pg 153] with hay, but there were plenty of crevices for the sun to peep in by, whilst with wafts of mountain-air it entered freely by the folding barn door as Moidel gently passed in and out, on breakfast matters intent. Corn- and grain-bins, sieves, flails and ladders pleased us better for the nonce than formal furniture, although none the less convenient did we find the great square wooden table and the benches which the pächter had thoughtfully placed on the threshing-floor which formed the central division.



On one side of the barn a small room had been boarded off. It contained empty milk-pans, ox-bells, old ropes and cords, together with two chests and two pairs of men's strong leather boots. [pg 154] This, Moidel suggested, should be used as joint store-room and dressing-room. Fortunately, however, we had applied it to neither requirement, when a singular occurrence took place which might be classed as a ghost-story at night or an optical delusion by day. The great barn-door quietly opened, Moidel having gone out and shut it, and two figures—one in soiled homespun shirt and loden trousers, wooden clogs, with a little black leather skull-cap on his head and a pipe in his mouth; the other older, in leather breeches, brown knitted worsted jacket, and an old black silk handkerchief tied round his neck—glided in. We could have sworn that they were Jakob and the old senner Franz, but no response came to our exclamation of recognition, and in a second they had vanished into the said little room, where all remained, however, as silent as before. Two of us now began even to doubt, but the other two were positive, that figures had floated in. Ten minutes later the mystery was solved by the identical Jakob, attended by Franz, reappearing from the chamber, not, however, in the hard-working dress in which they had entered, but in full Sunday array, the leather boots upon their feet and broad-brimmed, flower-bedecked beavers in their hands. Poor Jakob! sore must have been his perplexity when, in the hope of slinking into his wardrobe-room unobserved, we had come open-eyed upon him in his soiled array. At the cost of apparent rudeness, arising chiefly from shyness, he had silently disappeared, the old servant following his example. Now, however, they could both freely welcome us to the Olm, expressing the pleasure it would give them to accompany us to the senner huts on their return with Moidel at ten o'clock from church.

This was Jakob's first introduction to Frau Anna and E——. He eyed them closely and silently for some minutes; then said, "I like them: they look good!" and so they went to mass.

The barn and chalet called Eder formed part of the Hofbauer's lower Alp, where a little later in the season the cattle were brought down for several weeks of pasturage before they descended to their winter home. We were now bound in company with the returning church-goers for the group of senner huts belonging to the larger still more elevated tract, which the Hofbauer rented in company with five other bauers. Leaving the meadows very shortly after quitting our night-quarters, where we seemed already in the very bosom of the snow-mountains, we began again to ascend through a wood of primeval pines and fir trees, long gray moss hanging from their hoary branches like patriarchs' beards, whilst round their stems, amidst a chaos of rocks, were spread the softest carpets of moss and lichen. In the centre of the wood, where an opening covered with the finest turf afforded an agreeable resting-place, as usual a cross—that most familiar object in a Tyrolese landscape—had been erected. In this instance, more striking and melancholy than ever, for this general point of attraction to peasants seemed here, in the very heart of the mountains, to be forgotten and despised. Small in size, as if wood had been grudged in this land of wood, the writing on the cross erased by storms, the dissevered arms and limbs were painfully scattered on the sward below—type indeed as of a powerless Saviour unable to save or to bless. Indeed, so offensive and discordant did this pitiable emblem appear, and in such mocking contrast to the sublimity of the scene, that we spoke of it to Moidel, as, laden with our eatables, she came slowly up behind. "Ah," she replied, "it is not that the cross is left unregarded, nor is it age which has thus damaged it, but the wild storms and lasting snows. A new cross is often erected, but it has not long been exposed before it is again utterly defaced. The herdsmen and senners, however, see the meaning under it, and it keeps them straight, Fräulein."

Well-intentioned but slow of apprehension, these poor peasants cling to a carved Christ, and feel a horrible alarm, as if you were offering them a vacant creed, when you touch upon anything [pg 155] higher. Thus Moidel, though very intelligent, looked somewhat grave and quiet until the woods opened and she had to point out the senner huts. These were rude but very picturesque log cabins, built in a clearing amongst a steep chaos of rocks, with the glaciers and the majestic peak of the Hoch Gall shining above all. Five were dwelling-houses, the rest cattle-sheds and barns: our people's hut was the highest of the group, and we had a long climb over the boulders before we reached it.

Seeing us approaching, good old Franz, who had gone forward in advance, fastened on his apron and fried marvelous monograms and circles of cream batter, of which we, the guests, were soon partaking in the best room, otherwise the store-room and dairy. The hut was divided into two compartments, both entered by adjoining doors from the outside. Seated on milking-stools in somewhat dangerous proximity to pans of rich cream, balls of butter and cheeses, the salt and meal-bin served as our dining table. In the kitchen, Franz, resting from his successful culinary labors, sat with Moidel and Jakob by the hearth, where huge blocks of stone kept the fire in compass, the smoke curling out of the door, and enjoyed in return some of our ham, wine and almond cake.



The hut was close quarters, even for the two ordinary inmates: there were, however, innumerable contrivances for stowing away all kinds of useful things, besides notches in the thick wooden partition for hands and feet when at night they crept to their burrow of hay under the low eaves. Everything with the exception of the old stone floor was scrupulously clean: without, the pigs dabbled in the mire between the rugged rocks, and nettles grew, but beyond, mountains, woods and illimitable space were spread in uninterrupted fullness.

Resting after dinner at a little distance from the huts, we learned from Jakob, who was full of excitement on the subject, that shortly after we left the inn at Rein the preceding evening a gentleman from Bohemia arrived. He immediately communicated to the wirth his intention of ascending one of the three great mountains rising from the Bachernthal, either the Hoch Gall (11,283 feet high), the Wild Gall or the Schnebige Nock, both some thousand feet lower, but perhaps even more attractive, as still possessing the charm of untrodden summits. The wirth consequently sent for a fine, clever young fellow, Johann Ausserkofer, [pg 156] a friend of Jakob's, and whose home we had passed on the previous night before reaching the Eder Olm. He had ascended the Hoch Gall with two gentlemen in the August of the former year, and now recommended an attempt at the still virgin Wild Gall. The arrangement being speedily made, for extra help and security Johann fetched his younger brother, Josef, as a companion, and the little party started by torchlight at two o'clock in the morning.

Jakob now produced a telescope, through which he hoped we might detect moving figures amongst the snow of the Wild Gall. In vain we strained our eyes through the greasy old telescope, for neither moving figures nor stationary black dots were visible. Even Jakob with his eagle eye confessed to seeing no trace of man either amongst the irregular ash-colored rocks or upon the snowy curves of the Wild Gall, which, like a huge white-crested breaker at sea, upheaved itself in the air as in the very act of turning. Quite as solitary and untrodden did it look as its still more stately sister, the Hoch Gall, a mountain deservedly the especial pride of the district, its lofty pinnacle piercing the sky, whilst a vast sheet of thick, pure snow hung straight and smooth down its concave sides, a huge mountain-buttress linking the lower portion of this snow pyramid to the white, glittering expanse of the Gross Lengstein Glacier—a buttress of many thousand feet, standing prominently forth like an antediluvian monster, on whose gigantic pachydermatous flanks the shattered, blasted stems of dead uniform fir trees shone out a silvery gray, mingling in color with the loose, glittering débris which had slidden into the upland valley just below. Two silver threads descending from the glaciers of the Hoch Gall wound through these fallen stones into the green turf of the Bachernthal, but whether formed of snow or water it would have been difficult to decide, had not ever and anon a sound as of a distant train been borne upon the breeze, proving them to be brooks, which helped to swell the roaring, tumbling Giessbach, whose boisterous acquaintance we had already made.

The Hoch Gall, which has been twice ascended, was first attempted in 1869 by a very adventurous, clever young Alpine climber, Karl Hofmann, the only son of a well-known physician of Munich—a youth of whom it is said that no study was too difficult, no danger too great, no peak too high for him. Innumerable were the mountains which he scaled between 1866 and 1870, and of which he wrote excellent, accurate descriptions: then laying down his young life—he was but twenty-three—on September 2, 1870, in the fierce battle of Sedan, his spirit passed away to mightier slopes, to more delectable mountains.

Again, in the August of 1871, after our first visit to the Olm, the ascent was repeated by two other members of the Tyrolese Alpine Club, Herr Richter and Herr Strüdl. They brought with them two experienced men—one the chief guide of the Gross Glockner, the other of the Venediger Spitze—and, except for Hofmann's written description, had to plan and calculate for themselves, there being no local knowledge of the mountain attainable, as the two guides who accompanied the young explorer were also dead.

Although well provided with their own guides, they thought it right to take some active young man of the neighborhood with them, in order that he in his turn might help future climbers. At the recommendation of the landlord of Rein—who on this important occasion commenced his visitors' book—they chose for the purpose Jakob's friend, Johann Ausserkofer. They started by torchlight one Monday morning, and after a steep climb through a wild mountain-forest on the opposite side of the Bachernthal, crossing a vast glacier and the crevasse between the Hoch Gall and the Wild Gall, began the real ascent, which proved so perpendicular as to be achieved principally with the aid of ropes. After a toilsome nine hours and a quarter they had the good fortune to reach the summit in safety. The weather was favorable, and the view, in Richter's [pg 157] opinion, far surpassed the much-vaunted panorama from the Kriml Tauern. A long rest, and raising a cromlech in memory of their bold achievement, and then the steep descent over snow and glaciers was effected, and St. Wolfgang reached after fourteen hours of toil and great danger.



At half-past four, Jakob, having crossed the valley in search of his oxen, came upon the Bohemian gentleman—whose name afterward proved to be Dr. Hecht—with the two Ausserkofers, and learned their adventures in the ascent of the Wild Gall. After clambering over steep, slippery glaciers they had begun the climb proper at five o'clock in the morning, Dr. Hecht pushing forward in order to be the first human being who had ever placed his foot upon the summit of the mountain. He had indeed almost reached the highest point when a dark, terrific chasm suddenly yawned beneath him, entirely cutting off all farther progress. The three explorers, although considerably dejected by the disagreeable check and the waste of labor and time which it had involved, determining not to be baffled, resolved to make a considerable détour. After having, with much trouble, reached a lower plateau, they attacked the precipitous, almost invincible mountain from another side, the still early hour of the day alone permitting the renewal of the attempt. Leaving their telescope and provisions to await their return, they boldly scrambled, crept and worked their way up the scaly side, and finally reached the summit in safety. The view thence they declared to be magnificent. They too raised a cromlech, and then a giddy descent followed. However, all three were full of spirits when Jakob met them, and the Ausserkofers declared that they were ready henceforth to pilot any other tourist to the summit for a moderate four or five gulden apiece.

Jakob, as herdsman, had left us at three o'clock to look after the cattle, we strolling with him as far as a wild old wood which formed a strange contrast to this Sunday afternoon, as lovely an August day as ever rejoiced the earth. The near yet unattainable Hoch Gall glittered coldly white between the stems and branches of gigantic pines, which, scathed and bleached by lightning and storm, rose in the form of ruined towers or lay tumbled about in the wildest, dreariest confusion amongst the rugged enormous rocks, fit emblems of the forest in the Inferno inhabited by the souls of the lost. Nor was this stern, [pg 158] forbidding scene enlivened when a melancholy man, carrying the dead body of a goat across his shoulders, crossed the torrent on a fallen tree and advanced slowly up the craggy path, followed by a little boy timidly picking his way behind.

"Ach, Mathies, in God's name, another goat!" said Moidel, lifting her eyes from a little book, the life of the odd, humane Joseph II., which, bought for a few kreuzers at a fair, was worth as many guldens in the pleasure which it gave her.

The man glanced from under his eyebrows, and answered with a sigh, "Gott hat's so wölln, Diendl" ("God would have it so, maiden"); and then he added in dialect, "It was a beautiful creature. I missed it in the reckoning last night. After mass I strode far and wide searching it, until an hour since I found the body hanging by a hind hoof from a cleft in the Auvogl Nock. See, it has broken its leg in its struggles. Ah, poor beast! A solitary, cruel death, und hast ma g'nomma mei Ruah" ("and it has taken my rest from me").

"Poor Mathies! his half dozen goats are all that he has in the world. He rents one of father's huts, but since he has brought them to the Olm two or three are already dead." This Moidel explained to us as he moved dejectedly forward. "Father, however, told him that our Olm was bad for goats. They not only slip from the rocks, but grow thin and weakly. Just the reverse of the cattle. Onkel Johann—there is no one so deep as he in cattle—says that every blade of grass on our Olm is worth half a pint of milk. And it's not the air, nor the water, nor the winds that make it wholesome, but some law that he cannot understand. Who can? There is Jagdhaus, a wonderfully fertile sennerei an hour beyond Rein. It is far finer than our Olm, which is so mountainous that timid new-comers amongst the cattle must first teach themselves to walk about; but at Jagdhaus, which is as large as a village, all the land is smooth, fat pasturage for miles. Yet a curse rests on the place for which neither priests nor farmers can account. Some seasons, it is true, all goes well, but in others the cattle are suddenly bitten, fall dead, and their flesh then turns black and rustles like paper. Some say that it is an insect or animal that attacks them; others, that it is caused by the grass which they eat; and there are again others who are sure that it is a phantom which, touching them, blasts them. And there seems reason in the idea, because when the priest of Taufers, who has an Olm there, goes and says mass and prays for the cattle, or when the Sterniwitz (landlord of the Stern), who has acres of pasturage and many heads of cattle at Jagdhaus, pays a Capuchin to go thither and pray, the murrain ceases."

In Moidel's tale we had almost forgotten our long walk back to the barn and the arrangement for supper previously at the huts. Now, it curiously happened that whilst waiting for the tea-pan—rather than tea-kettle—to boil, I accidentally alighted upon a people's calendar, published at Brixen for the current year, protruding its somewhat greasy pages from behind a churn; and after turning over long black-and red-lettered lists of fasts and feasts, came upon some pertinent advice to the Tyrolese farmers by Adolph Trientl, concerning Milzbrand. He described it as a dreadful pestilence, the scourge of many a mountain-pasture. Hundreds of cattle, he tells them, are sacrificed to it yearly. Even the deer and lesser game die from the contagion, as well as human beings; death in the latter case being occasioned either by eating the meat of diseased animals or by having cuts or wounds which have come in contact with the victims. Even the bite of a fly which has fed on the contaminated meat will propagate the malady. Hides or reins made of the skins are known years after to reproduce Milzbrand. Where the body of an affected animal has been buried the ground becomes contagious for a long run of years, the cattle pasturing there being attacked. The only remedy consists in burning the contaminated body, and then keeping the live-stock from the place where the victim fell. When Milzbrand appears the farmer feels he has no option between sacrificing his cattle and abandoning for a season his rich pastures. And yet a little attention might soon cause a remedy, the evil often arising from the water of a particular pool or brook, which if carefully guarded against makes the rest of the Alp perfectly secure.

When I ventured to quote from the calendar to Moidel, suggesting that at Jagdhaus it might certainly be the water, she remained impervious to any new views on the subject. "There was Milzbrand, and that might arise from the water, for all she knew, but at Jagdhaus it was a rod of God, which only prayer averted."

Adolf Trientl appears to be a Tyrolese priest, who travels annually through his native land watching closely the agriculture and domestic economy, and trying, countenanced by government, to help his country people to an easier working life, healthier houses and more profitable land. To the credit of the clergy of Brixen, his practical often pithy remarks are published in their church calendar. He and his colleagues must, however, use almost supernatural patience and energy before they can move a Tyroler one jot from the beaten path which his ancestors have taken for a thousand years before him. The people are perfectly content, it is pleaded, with the existing state of things: why should they change their sowing or ploughing any more than the sun his course or the mountains their position? Changes, like bad weather, breed discontent.

We had brought no books with us for our five days at the Olm, and in the pauses of our out-door enjoyment the calendar, greasy rather from contact with butter and milk than with fingers, afforded amusing, profitable reading: a lecture may often be pleasant to hear when not addressed to one's self.

Moidel, Jakob and Franz, though they had looked with blind eyes on the print, did not turn deaf ears when we spoke; only we had to manage that all we said and thought did not come as a quoted [pg 159] sermon, but as suggestions and inquiries from us, who did not know half as much about a dairy and farm-life as they did. First of all, we tried to make them believe that the staff of life need not of necessity be rye bread of so hard and flinty a nature as to require in every house a square wooden board and iron chopper to cut it.

"Yes," said Moidel, "it is very hard for old people, who must needs sop it, but while one's teeth are good the crunching is a pleasure. And then it must needs be dry, because the oven can only be heated once in three months. I wish it could come round oftener, for there is no going to bed on baking nights, with some three hundred loaves to pop into the oven."

"How could the poor bake often," suggested Jakob, "when there is only one oven amongst them in the village?"

"Why," said we, looking very learned, "you have a common schoolmaster, and a common swineherd, and a common goose-boy: why not have a common baker, who knew how to make good, light dough, and could bake a good batch of bread for each family weekly?"

To Franz, eating good bread only a few days old appeared woeful extravagance. "Bread," he said, "should be like rocks to last, not like snow to melt away. The rye meal would fly before the wind at that rate, and where would the poor man then be?"

Butter and cheese-making, however, involved hours of deep discussion. You would indeed have thought that man merely came into the world to make butter and cheese. Personal experience after two summers in the Tyrol had made us reflect very much upon the butter and cheese question. Whether regarded as a luxury or a necessity, the Swiss Gruyère and Emmenthal cheese and the fresh dainty pats of butter made the contrast striking in the Tyrol. The milk and cream were rich and delicious, but became simply loathsome when transformed into butter or cheese. We wondered how and why it was that we could never obtain perfectly palatable butter, until we discovered the universal [pg 160] practice of churning it, without salt, into huge oblong balls, large as the nave of a wheel, which naturally soon turn rancid. It does not on this account lose its value to the natives, who use very little butter, melting it down into a clarified dripping called Schmalz for their endless fryings and frizzlings. This badly made butter is, however, often adorned with the emblems of the Passion, such as the cross, ladder, crown of thorns and nails. It was so at the Hofbauer's Olm. It is considered to enhance the value of the butter Kugel or ball, especially when given to the priest in payment for masses said for dead relations. The Ursuline Sisters were paid for Moidel's education in butter.

And the native cheese!—meagre cheese, as it is justly called—a poor, insipid, not overclean curd cheese. The curds are often merely squeezed in a cloth, then turned out and placed upon an upper shelf to dry, where they look like the back portions of gigantic skulls until damp and mould somewhat destroy the resemblance. The kind called fat cheese is not much better. It is, however, made with greater care, and dried in bands of pine bark in the Alpine kitchen. This distasteful butter and cheese, the sole result of gallons of rich milk and cream and many a long summer week upon the lofty Alp, becomes still more distasteful when the milk and cream are kept in the one hot, over-crowded sleeping-room, or in a dairy where the goatherd sleeps amongst the milk-dishes. The mountain dwellings are dark and badly constructed, and if furnished with a proper dairy, the prejudiced housewife often refuses to use it, believing that cream will not set unless the milk is warm; thus, much becomes sour, and is either thrown away or turned into a still more inferior cheese. Or she purposely lets the cream become rancid before she churns, that the children may not take too great a fancy to the Schmalz, and thus it may last longer!

We had tasted already too much of this milky tree of knowledge not to learn with pleasure from the Brixen calendar that in different parts of the Tyrol co-operative sennereien had been started with the greatest success. A manager was employed in each who understood perfectly the Swiss mode of cheese-making and the best manner of churning. Thus, the most excellent produce was gained from the same, or rather from a smaller, quantity of milk, when the reckless waste was deducted. Each shareholder had the right of skimming the milk from his own cows, taking what he required for his personal use, or he might send his entire share of butter, cheese, whey and goats' milk with the common stock to market, where such co-operative wares already brought the highest price. Thus, the farmer gained both ways, not only receiving more money, but saving in dairy utensils, house room and fuel, and his wife in labor.

Great was our glee over these enlightened and successful efforts; but a friendly dispute immediately arose when one amongst us expressed a surprise that the half dozen bauers who shared the Olm in common did not manage matters on this improved principle. They would find themselves richer, more care-free men. Moidel declared her inability to form an opinion. Old Franz, however, had much to say. He thought it would be foolish. Why need the Hofbauer mix himself up with others, when he only wanted to make meagre cheese for family use, while if there were any over it always brought its worth in kreuzers at the market? And then the pounds and pounds of butter were all wanted for Schmalz. It might be sweeter, it is true, if they could melt it down at the hut, but then there was the fear of setting the place on fire, and the home-melted Schmalz went fast enough, as Moidel knew. And as for the artificial Schmalz which was being sold in the towns now, it was made of palm-oil, fresh suet and butter, and colored with the yellow dye called Orleans; and people praised this machine-made Schmalz and talked of progress! But he hoped, so long as he handled a frying-pan, to stick to good old Schmalz and good old ways.




[pg 161]


What a picture she was as she sat there, my own Bessie! and what a strange place it was to rest on, those church steps! Behind us lay the Woolsey woods, with their wooing fragrance of pine and soft rushes of scented air; and the lakes were in the distance, lying very calm in the cloud-shadows and seeming to wait for us to come. But to-day Bessie would nothing of lakes or ledges: she would sit on the church steps.

In front of us, straight to the gate, ran a stiff little walk of white pebbles, hard and harsh as some bygone creed.

"Think of little bare feet coming up here, Bessie!" I said with a shiver. "It is too hard. And every carriage that comes up the hill sees us."

"And why shouldn't they see us?" said my lady, turning full upon me. "I am not ashamed to be here."

"Churches should always have soft walks of turf; and lovers," I would fain have added, "should have naught but whispering leaves about them."

But Bessie cut me short in her imperious way: "But we are not lovers this morning: at least," with a half-relenting look at my rueful face, "we are very good friends, and I choose to sit here to show people that we are."

"What do you care for people—the Bartons or the Meyricks?" as I noticed a familiar family carriage toiling up the hill, followed by a lighter phaeton. I recognized already in the latter vehicle the crimson feather of Fanny Meyrick, and "the whip that was a parasol."

"Shall I step out into the road this minute, and stop those ladies like a peaceable highwayman, and tell them you have promised to marry me, and that their anxiety as to our intimacy may be at rest? Give me but leave and I will do it. It will make Mrs. Barton comfortable. Then you and I can walk away into those beckoning woods, and I can have you all to myself."

Indeed she was worth having. With the witchery that some girls know, she had made a very picture of herself that morning, as I have said. Some soft blue muslin stuff was caught up around her in airy draperies—nothing stiff or frilled about her: all was soft and flowing, from the falling sleeve that showed the fair curve of her arm to the fold of her dress, the ruffle under which her little foot was tapping, impatiently now. A little white hat with a curling blue feather shaded her face—a face I won't trust myself to describe, save by saying that it was the brightest and truest, as I then thought, in all the world.

She said something rapidly in Italian—she is always artificial when she uses a foreign tongue—and this I caught but imperfectly, but it had a proverbial air about it of the error of too hasty assumptions.

"Well, now I'll tell you something," she said as the carriages disappeared over the top of the hill. "Fanny Meyrick is going abroad in October, and we shall not see her for ever so long."

Going abroad? Good gracious! That was the very thing I had to tell her that morning—that I too was ordered abroad. An estate to be settled—some bothering old claim that had been handed down from generation to generation, and now springing into life again by the lapsing of two lives on the other side. But how to tell her as she looked up into my face with the half-pleading, half-imperious smile that I knew so well? How to tell her now?

So I said nothing, but foolishly pushed the little pebbles aside with my stick, fatuously waiting for the subject to pass. Of course my silence brought an instant criticism: "Why, Charlie, what ails you?"

"Nothing. And really, Bessie, what [pg 162] is it to us whether Fanny Meyrick go or stay?"

"I shouldn't have thought it was anything. But your silence, your confusion—Charlie, you do care a little for her, after all."

Two years ago, before Bessie and I had ever met, I had fluttered around Fanny Meyrick for a season, attracted by her bright brown eyes and the gypsy flush on her cheek. But there were other moths fluttering around that adamantine candle too; and I was not long in discovering that the brown eyes were bright for each and all, and that the gypsy flush was never stirred by feeling or by thought. It was merely a fixed ensign of health and good spirits. Consequently the charm had waned, for me at least; and in my confessions to Bessie since our near intimacy it was she, not I, who had magnified it into the shadow even of a serious thought.

"Care for her? Nonsense, Bessie! Do you want me to call her a mere doll, a hard, waxen—no, for wax will melt—a Parian creature, such as you may see by the dozens in Schwartz's window any day? It doesn't gratify you, surely, to hear me say that of any woman."

And then—what possessed me?—I was so angry at myself that I took a mental résumé of all the good that could be said of Fanny Meyrick—her generosity, her constant cheerfulness; and in somewhat headlong fashion I expressed myself: "I won't call her a dolt and an idiot, even to please you. I have seen her do generous things, and she is never out of temper."

"Thanks!" said Bessie, nodding her head till the blue feather trembled. "It is as well, as Aunt Sloman says, to keep my shortcomings before you."

"When did Aunt Sloman say that?" I interrupted, hoping for a diversion of the subject.

"This morning only. I was late at breakfast. You know, Charlie, I was so tired with that long horseback ride, and of course everything waited. Dear aunty never will begin until I come down, but sits beside the urn like the forlornest of martyrs, and reads last night's papers over and over again."

"Well? And was she sorry that she had not invited me to wait with her?"

"Yes," said Bessie. "She said all sorts of things, and," flushing slightly, "that it was a pity you shouldn't know beforehand what you were to expect."

"I wish devoutly that I had been there," seizing the little hand that was mournfully tapping the weatherbeaten stone, and forcing the downcast eyes to look at me. "I think, both together, we could have pacified Aunt Sloman."

It was a diversion, and after a little while Bessie professed she had had enough of the church steps.

"How those people do stare! Is it the W——s, do you think, Charlie? I heard yesterday they were coming."

From our lofty position on the hillside we commanded the road leading out of the village—the road that was all alive with carriages on this beautiful September morning. The W—— carriage had half halted to reconnoitre, and had only not hailed us because we had sedulously looked another way.

"Let's get away," I said, "for the next carnage will not only stop, but come over;" and Bessie suffered herself to be led through the little tangle of brier and fern, past the gray old gravestones with "Miss Faith" and "Miss Mehitable" carved upon them, and into the leafy shadow of the waiting woods.

Other lovers have been there before us, but the trees whisper no secrets save their own. The subject of our previous discussion was not resumed, nor was Fanny Meyrick mentioned, until on our homeward road we paused a moment on the hilltop, as we always did.

It is indeed a hill of vision, that church hill at Lenox. Sparkling far to the south, the blue Dome lay, softened and shining in the September sun. There was ineffable peace in the faint blue sky, and, stealing up from the valley, a shimmering haze that seemed to veil the bustling village and soften all the rural sounds.

Bessie drew nearer to me, shading her eyes as she looked down into the valley: "Charlie dear, let us stay here always. We shall be happier, better here than to go back to New York."

"And the law-business?" I asked like a brutal bear, bringing the realities of life into my darling's girlish dream.

"Can't you practice law in Foxcroft, and drive over there every morning? People do."

"And because they do, and there are enough of them, I must plod along in the ways that are made for me already. We can make pilgrimages here, you know."

"I suppose so," said Bessie with a sigh.

Just then Fanny Kemble's clock in the tower above us struck the hour—one, two, three.

"Bless me! so late? And there's that phaeton coming back over the hill again. Hurry, Charlie! don't let them see us. They'll think that we've been here all the time." And Bessie plunged madly down the hill, and struck off into the side-path that leads into the Lebanon road. The last vibrations of the bell were still trembling on the air as I caught up with her again.

But again the teasing mood of the morning had come over her. Quite out of breath with the run, as we sat down to rest on the little porch of Mrs. Sloman's cottage she said, very earnestly, "But you haven't once said it."

"Said what, my darling?"

"That you are glad that Fanny is going abroad."

"Nonsense! Why should I be glad?"

"Are you sorry, then?"

If I had but followed my impulse then, and said frankly that I was, and why I was! But Mrs. Sloman was coming through the little hall: I heard her step. Small time for explanation, no time for reproaches. And I could not leave Bessie, on that morning of all others, hurt or angry, or only half convinced.

"No, I am not sorry," I said, pulling down a branch of honeysuckle, and making a loop of it to draw around her neck. "It is nothing, either way."

"Then say after me if it is nothing—feel as I feel for one minute, won't you?"

[pg 163]

"Yes, indeed."

"Say, after me, then, word for word, 'I am glad, very glad, that Fanny Meyrick is to sail in October. I would not have her stay on this side for worlds!"

And like a fool, a baby, I said it, word for word, from those sweet smiling lips: "I am glad, very glad, that Fanny Meyrick is to sail in October. I would not have her stay on this side for worlds!"


The next day was Sunday, and I was on duty at an early hour, prepared to walk with Bessie to church. My darling was peculiar among women in this: her church-going dress was sober-suited; like a little gray nun, almost, she came down to me that morning. Her dress, of some soft gray stuff, fell around her in the simplest folds, a knot of brown ribbon at her throat, and in her hat a gray gull's wing.

I had praised the Italian women for the simplicity of their church-attire: their black dresses and lace veils make a picturesque contrast with the gorgeous ceremonials of the high altar. But there was something in this quiet toilet, so fresh and simple and girl-like, that struck me as the one touch of grace that the American woman can give to the best even of foreign taste. Not the dramatic abnegation indicated by the black dress, but the quiet harmony of a life atune.

Mrs. Sloman was ready even before Bessie came down. She was a great invalid, although her prim and rigid countenance forbore any expression save of severity. She had no pathos about her, not a touch. Whatever her bodily sufferings may have been—and Bessie dimly hinted that they were severe to agony at times—they were resolutely shut within her chamber door; and when she came out in the early morning, her cold brown hair drawn smoothly over those impassive cheeks, she looked like a lady abbess—as cold, as unyielding and as hard.

There was small sympathy between the aunt and niece, but a great deal of [pg 164] painstaking duty on the one side, and on the other the habit of affection which young girls have for the faces they have always known.

Mrs. Sloman had been at pains to tell me, when my frequent visits to her cottage made it necessary that I should in some fashion explain to her as to what I wanted there, that her niece, Bessie Stewart, was in nowise dependent on her, not even for a home. "This cottage we rent in common. It was her father's desire that her property should not accumulate, and that she should have nothing at my hands but companionship, and"—with a set and sickly smile—"advice when it was called for. We are partners in our expenses, and the arrangement can be broken up at any moment."

Was this all? No word of love or praise for the fair young thing that had brightened all her household in these two years that Bessie had been fatherless?

I believe there was love and appreciation, but it was not Mrs. Sloman's method to be demonstrative or expansive. She approved of the engagement, and in her grim way had opened an immediate battery of household ledgers and ways and means. Some idea, too, of making me feel easy about taking Bessie away from her, I think, inclined her to this business-like manner. I tried to show her, by my own manner, that I understood her without words, and I think she was very grateful to be spared the expression of feeling. Poor soul! repression had become such a necessity to her!

So we talked on gravely of the weather, and of the celebrated Doctor McQ——, who was expected to give us an argumentative sermon that morning, until my argument came floating in at the door like a calm little bit of thistledown, to which our previous conversation had been as the thistle's self.

The plain little church was gay that morning. Carriage after carriage drove up with much prancing and champing, and group after group of city folk came rustling along the aisles. It was a bit of Fifth Avenue let into Lenox calm. The World and the Flesh were there, at least.

In the hush of expectancy that preceded the minister's arrival there was much waving of scented fans, while the well-bred city glances took in everything without seeming to see. I felt that Bessie and I were being mentally discussed and ticketed. And as it was our first appearance at church since—well, since—perhaps there was just a little consciousness of our relations that made Bessie seem to retire absolutely within herself, and be no more a part of the silken crowd than was the grave, plain man who rose up in the pulpit.

I hope the sermon was satisfactory. I am sure it was convincing to a brown-handed farmer who sat beside us, and who could with difficulty restrain his applauding comment. But I was lost in a dream of a near heaven, and could not follow the spoken word. It was just a quiet little opportunity to contemplate my darling, to tell over her sweetness and her charm, and to say over and again, like a blundering school-boy, "It's all mine! mine!"

The congregation might have been dismissed for aught I knew, and left me sitting there with her beside me. But I was startled into the proprieties as we stood up to sing the concluding hymn. I was standing stock-still beside her, not listening to the words at all, but with a pleasant sense of everything being very comfortable, and an old-fashioned swell of harmony on the air, when suddenly the book dropped from Bessie's hand and fell heavily to the floor. I should have said she flung it down had it been on any other occasion, so rapid and vehement was the action.

I stooped to pick it up, when with a decided gesture she stopped me. I looked at her surprised. Her face was flushed, indignant, I thought, and instantly my conscience was on the rack. What had I done, for my lady was evidently angry?

Glancing down once more toward the book, I saw that she had set her foot upon it, and indeed her whole attitude was one of excitement, defiance. Why did she look so hot and scornful? I was disturbed and anxious: what was there in the book or in me to anger her?

As quickly as possible I drew her away from the bustling crowd when the service was concluded. Fortunately, there was a side-door through which we could pass out into the quiet churchyard, and we vanished through it, leaving Mrs. Sloman far behind. Over into the Lebanon road was but a step, and the little porch was waiting with its cool honeysuckle shade. But Bessie did not stop at the gate: she was in no mood for home. And yet she would not answer my outpouring questions as to whether she was ill, or what was the matter.

"I'll tell you in a minute. Come, hurry!" she said, hastening along up the hill through all the dust and heat.

At last we reached that rustic bit of ruin known popularly as the "Shed." It was a hard bit of climbing, but I rejoiced that Bessie, so flushed and excited at the start, grew calmer as we went; and when, the summit reached, she sat down to rest on a broken board, her color was natural and she seemed to breathe freely again.

"Are they all hypocrites, do you think, Charlie?" she said suddenly, looking up into my face.

"They? who? Bessie, what have I done to make you angry?"

"You? Nothing, dear goose! I am angry at myself and at everybody else. Did it flash upon you, Charlie, what we were singing?"

Then she quoted the lines, which I will not repeat here, but they expressed, as the sole aspiration of the singer, a desire to pass eternity in singing hymns of joy and praise—an impatience for the time to come, a disregard of earth, a turning away from temporal things, and again the desire for an eternity of sacred song.

"Suppose I confess to you," said I, astonished at her earnestness, "that I did not at all know what I was singing?"

"That's just it! just what makes it so dreadful! Nobody was thinking about it—nobody! Nobody there wanted to give up earth and go straight to heaven [pg 165] and sing. I looked round at all the people, with their new bonnets, and the diamonds, and the footmen in the pews up stairs, and I thought, What lies they are all saying! Nobody wants to go to heaven at all until they are a hundred years old, and too deaf and blind and tired out to do anything on earth. My heaven is here and now in my own happiness, and so is yours, Charlie; and I felt so convicted of being a story-teller that I couldn't hold the book in my hand."

"Well, then," said I, "shall we have one set of hymns for happy people, and another for poor, tired-out folks like that little dressmaker that leaned against the wall?" For Bessie herself had called my attention to the pale little body who had come to the church door at the same moment with us.

"No, not two sets. Do you suppose that she, either, wants to sing on for ever? And all those girls! Sorry enough they would be to have to die, and leave their dancing and flirtations and the establishments they hope to have! It wouldn't be much comfort to them to promise them they should sing. Charlie, I want a hymn that shall give thanks that I am alive, that I have you."

"Could the dressmaker sing that?"

"No;" and Bessie's eyes sought the shining blue sky with a wistful, beseeching tenderness. "Oh, it's all wrong, Charlie dear. She ought to tell us in a chant how tired and hopeless she is for this world; and we ought to sing to her something that would cheer her, help her, even in this world. Why must she wait for all her brightness till she dies? So perfectly heartless to stand up along side of her and sing that!"

"Well," I said, "you needn't wait till next Sunday to bring her your words of cheer."

In a minute my darling was crying on my shoulder. I could understand the outburst, and was glad of it.

All athrill with new emotions, new purposes, an eternity of love, she had come to church to be reminded that earth was naught, that the trials and tempests here would come to an end some day, and after, to the patiently victorious, [pg 166] would come the hymns of praise. Earth was very full that morning to her and me; earth was a place for worshipful harmonies; and yet the strong contrast with the poor patient sufferer who had passed into church with us was too much for Bessie: she craved an expression that should comprehend alike her sorrow and our abundant joy.

The tempest of tears passed by, and we had bright skies again. Poor Mrs. Sloman's dinner waited long that day; and it was with a guilty sense that she was waiting too that we went down the hill at a quickened pace when the church clock, sounding up the hillside, came like a chiding voice.

And a double sense of guiltiness was creeping over me. I must return to New York to-morrow, and I had not told Bessie yet of the longer journey I must make so soon. I put it by again and again in the short flying hours of that afternoon; and it was not until dusk had fallen in the little porch, as we sat there after tea, and I had watched the light from Mrs. Sloman's chamber shine down upon the honeysuckles and then go out, that I took my resolution.

"Bessie," I said, leaning over her and taking her face in both my hands, "I have something to tell you."


"I have something to tell you;" and without an instant's pause I went on: "Mr. D—— has business in England which cannot be attended to by letter. One of us must go, and they send me. I must sail in two weeks."

It was a thunderbolt out of a clear sky, and Bessie gave a little gasp of surprise: "So soon! Oh, Charlie, take me with you!" Realizing in the next instant the purport of the suggestion, she flung away from my hands and rushed into the parlor, where a dim, soft lamp was burning on the table. She sat down on a low chair beside it and hid her face on the table in her hands.

Like a flash of lightning all the possibilities of our marriage before many days—arranging it with Mrs. Sloman, and satisfying my partners, who would expect me to travel fast and work hard in the short time they had allotted for the journey,—all came surging and throbbing through my brain, while my first answer was not given in words.

When I had persuaded Bessie to look at me and to answer me in turn, I hoped we should be able to talk about it with the calm judgment it needed.

"To leave my wife—my wife!"—how I lingered on the word!—"in some poky lodgings in London, while I am spending my day among dusty boxes and files of deeds in a dark old office, isn't just my ideal of our wedding-journey; but, Bessie, if you wish it so—"

What was there in my tone that jarred her? I had meant to be magnanimous, to think of her comfort alone, of the hurry and business of such a journey—tried to shut myself out and think only of her in the picture. But I failed, of course, and went on stupidly, answering the quick look of question in her eyes: "If you prefer it—that is, you know, I must think of you and not of myself."

Still the keen questioning glance. What new look was this in her eyes, what dawning thought?

"No," she answered after a pause, slowly withdrawing her hand from mine, "think of yourself."

I had expected that she would overwhelm me in her girlish way with saucy protestations that she would be happy even in the dull London lodgings, and that she would defy the law-files to keep me long from her. This sudden change of manner chilled me with a nameless fear.

"If I prefer it! If I wish it! I see that I should be quite in your way, an encumbrance. Don't talk about it any more."

She was very near crying, and I wish to heaven she had cried. But she conquered herself resolutely, and held herself cold and musing before me. I might take her hand, might kiss her unresisting cheek, but she seemed frozen into sudden thoughtfulness that it was impossible to meet or to dispel.

"Bessie, you know you are a little goose! What could I wish for in life but to carry you off this minute to New York? Come, get your hat and let's walk over to the parsonage now. We'll get Doctor Wilder to marry us, and astonish your aunt in the morning."

"Nonsense!" said Bessie with a slight quiver of her pretty, pouting mouth. "Do be rational, Charlie!"

I believe I was rational in my own fashion for a little while, but when I ventured to say in a very unnecessary whisper, "Then you will go abroad with me?" Bessie flushed to her temples and rose from the sofa. She had a way, when she was very much in earnest, or very much stirred with some passionate thought, of pacing the parlor with her hands clasped tightly before her, and her arms tense and straining at the clasping hands. With her head bent slightly forward, and her brown hair hanging in one long tress over her shoulder, she went swiftly up and down, while I lay back on the sofa and watched her. She would speak it out presently, the thought that was hurting her. So I felt secure and waited, following every movement with a lover's eye. But I ought not to have waited. I should have drawn her to me and shared that rapid, nervous walk—should have compelled her with sweet force to render an account of that emotion. But I was so secure, so entirely one with her in thought, that I could conceive of nothing but a passing tempest at my blundering, stupid thoughtfulness for her.

Suddenly at the door she stopped, and with her hand upon it said, "Good-night, Charlie;" and was out of the room in a twinkling.

I sprang from the sofa and to the foot of the stairs, but I saw only a glimpse of her vanishing dress; and though I called after her in low, beseeching tones, "Bessie! Bessie!" a door shut in the distant corridor for only answer.

What to do? In that decorous mansion I could not follow her; and my impulse to dash after her and knock at her door till she answered me, I was forced to put aside after a moment's consideration.

[pg 167]

I stood there in the quiet hall, the old clock ticking away a solemn "I-told-you-so!" in the corner. I made one step toward the kitchen to send a message by one of the maids, but recoiled at the suggestion that this would publish a lovers' quarrel. So I retreated along the hall, my footsteps making no noise on the India matting, and entered the parlor again like a thief. I sat down by the table: "Bessie will certainly come back: she will get over her little petulance, and know I am here waiting."

All about the parlor were the traces of my darling. A soft little coil of rose-colored Berlin wool, with its ivory needle sheathed among the stitches, lay in a tiny basket. I lifted it up: the basket was made of scented grass, and there was a delicious sweet and pure fragrance about the knitting-work. I took possession of it and thrust it into my breast-pocket. A magazine she had been reading, with the palest slip of a paper-knife—a bit of delicate Swiss wood—in it, next came in my way. I tried to settle down and read where she had left off, but the words danced before my eyes, and a strange tune was repeating in my ears, "Good-night, Charlie—good-night and good-bye!"

One mad impulse seized me to go out under her window and call to her, asking her to come down. But Lenox nights were very still, and the near neighbors on either side doubtless wide awake to all that was going on around the Sloman cottage.

So I sat still like an idiot, and counted the clock-strokes, and nervously calculated the possibility of her reappearance, until I heard, at last, footsteps coming along the hall in rapid tread. I darted up: "Oh, Bessie, I knew you would come back!" as through the open door walked in—Mary, Mrs. Sloman's maid!

She started at seeing me: "Excuse me, sir. The parlor was so—I thought there was no one here."

"What is it, Mary?" I asked with assumed indifference. "Do you want Miss Bessie? She went up stairs a few moments ago."

"No, sir. I thought—that is—" glancing [pg 168] down in awkward confusion at the key she held in her hand. She was retiring again softly when I saw in the key the reason of her discomposure.

"Did you come in to lock up, Mary?" I asked with a laugh.

"Yes, sir. But it is of no consequence. I thought you had gone, sir."

"Time I was, I suppose. Well, Mary, you shall lock me out, and then carry this note to Miss Bessie. It is so late that I will not wait for her. Perhaps she is busy with Mrs. Sloman."

Something in Mary's face made me suspect that she knew Mrs. Sloman to be sound asleep at this moment; but she said nothing, and waited respectfully until I had scribbled a hasty note, rifling Bessie's writing-desk for the envelope in which to put my card. Dear child! there lay my photograph, the first thing I saw as I raised the dainty lid.

"Bessie," I wrote, "I have waited until Mary has come in with her keys, and I suppose I must go. My train starts at nine to-morrow morning, but you will be ready—will you not?—at six to take a morning walk with me. I will be here at that hour. You don't know how disturbed and anxious I shall be till then."


Morning came—or rather the long night came to an end at last—and at twenty minutes before six I opened the gate at the Sloman cottage. It was so late in September that the morning was a little hazy and uncertain. And yet the air was warm and soft—a perfect reflex, I thought, of Bessie last night—an electric softness under a brooding cloud.

The little house lay wrapped in slumber. I hesitated to pull the bell: no, it would startle Mrs. Sloman. Bessie was coming: she would surely not make me wait. Was not that her muslin curtain stirring? I would wait in the porch—she would certainly come down soon.

So I waited, whistling softly to myself as I pushed the withered leaves about with my stick and drew strange patterns among them. Half an hour passed.

"I will give her a gentle reminder;" so I gathered a spray from the honeysuckle, a late bloom among the fast-falling leaves, and aimed it right at the muslin curtain. The folds parted and it fell into the room, but instead of the answering face that I looked to see, all was still again.

"It's very strange," thought I. "Bessie's pique is not apt to last so long. She must indeed be angry."

And I went over each detail of our last night's talk, from her first burst of "Take me with you!" to my boggling answers, my fears, so stupidly expressed, that it would be anything but a picturesque bridal-trip, and the necessity that there was for rapid traveling and much musty, old research.

"What a fool I was not to take her then and there! She is myself: why shouldn't I, then, be selfish? When I do what of all things I want to, why can't I take it for granted that she will be happy too?" And a hot flush of shame went over me to think that I had been about to propose to her, to my own darling girl, that we should be married as soon as possible after I returned from Europe.

Her love, clearer-sighted, had striven to forestall our separation: why should we be parted all those weary weeks? why put the sea between us?

I had accepted all these obstacles as a dreary necessity, never thinking for the moment that conventional objections might be overcome, aunts and guardians talked over, and the whole matter arranged by two people determined on their own sweet will.

What a lumbering, masculine plan was mine! After I returned from Europe! I grew red and bit my lips with vexation. And now my dear girl was shy and hurt. How should I win back again that sweet impulse of confidence?

Presently the household began to stir. I heard unbarring and unbolting, and craftily retreated to the gate, that I might seem to be just coming in, to the servant who should open the door.

It was opened by a housemaid—not the Mary of the night before—who stared a moment at seeing me, but on my asking if Miss Bessie was ready yet to walk, promised smilingly to go and see. She returned in a moment, saying that Miss Bessie begged that I would wait: she was hurrying to come down.

The child! She has slept too soundly. I shall tell her how insensate she must have been, how serenely unconscious when the flower came in at the window.

The clock on the mantel struck seven and the half hour before Bessie appeared. She was very pale, and her eyes looked away at my greeting. Passively she suffered herself to be placed in a chair, and then, with something of her own manner, she said hurriedly, "Don't think I got your note, Charlie, last night, or I wouldn't, indeed I wouldn't, have kept you waiting so long this morning."

"Didn't Mary bring it to you?" I asked, surprised.

"Yes: that is, she brought it up to my room, but, Charlie dear, I wasn't there: I wasn't there all night. I did shut my door, though I heard you calling, and after a little while I crept out into the entry and looked over the stairs, hoping you were there still, and that I could come back to you. But you were not there, and everything was so still that I was sure you had gone—gone without a word. I listened and listened, but I was too proud to go down into the parlor and see. And yet I could not go back to my room, next Aunt Sloman's. I went right up stairs to the blue room, and stayed there. Mary must have put your note on my table when she came up stairs. I found it there this morning when I went down."

"Poor darling! And what did you do all night in the blue room? I am afraid," looking at her downcast eyes, "that you did not sleep—that you were angry at me."

"At you? No, at myself," she said very low.

"Bessie, you know that my first and only thought was of the hurry and worry this journey would cost you. You know [pg 169] that to have you with me was something that I had scarce dared to dream."

"And therefore," with a flash of blue eyes, "for me to dare to dream it was—" and again she hid her face.

"But, my precious, don't you know that it was for you to suggest what I wanted all the time, but thought it would be too much to ask?" For I had discovered, of course, in my morning's work among the dead leaves on the porch, that I had desired it from the moment I had known of my journey—desired it without acknowledging it to myself or presuming to plan upon it.

At this juncture breakfast was announced, and the folding doors thrown open that led into the breakfast-parlor, disclosing Mrs. Sloman seated by the silver urn, and a neat little table spread for three, so quick had been the housemaid's intuitions.

"Good-morning, Charles: come get some breakfast. You will hardly be in time for your train," suggested Aunt Sloman in a voice that had in it all the gloom of the morning. Indeed, the clouds had gathered heavily during the parlor scene, and some large drops were rattling against the window.

I looked at my watch. After eight! Pshaw! I will let this train go, and will telegraph to the office. I can take the night train, and thus lose only a few hours. So I stayed.

What rare power had Bessie in the very depths of her trouble, and with her face pale and eyes so heavy with her last night's vigil—what gift that helped her to be gay? Apparently not with an effort, not forced, she was as joyous and frank as her sunniest self. No exaggeration of laughter or fun, but the brightness of her every-day manner, teasing and sparkling round Aunt Sloman, coquetting very naturally with me. It was a swift change from the gloomy atmosphere we had left behind in the parlor, and I basked in it delighted, and feeling, poor fool! that the storm was cleared away, and that the time for the singing of birds was come.

I was the more deceived. I did not know all of Bessie yet. Her horror of a [pg 170] scene, of any suspicion that there was discord between us, and her rare self-control, that for the moment put aside all trouble, folded it out of sight and took up the serene old life again for a little space.

"Aunt Maria," said Bessie, pushing aside her chair, "won't you take care of Mr. Munro for a little while? I have a letter to write that I want him to take to New York."

Aunt Maria would be happy to entertain me, or rather to have me entertain her. If I would read to her, now, would I be so kind, while she washed up her breakfast cups?

How people can do two things at once I am sure I cannot understand; and while the maid brought in the large wooden bowl, the steam of whose household incense rose high in the air, I watched impatient for the signal to begin. When the tea-cups were all collected, and Aunt Sloman held one by the handle daintily over the "boiling flood," "Now," she said with a serene inclination of her head, "if you please."

And off I started at a foot-pace through the magazine that had been put into my hands. Whether it was anything about the "Skelligs," or "Miss Sedgwick's Letters," or "Stanley-Livingstone," I have not the remotest idea. I was fascinated by the gentle dip of each tea-cup, and watched from the corner of my eye the process of polishing each glittering spoon on a comfortable crash towel.

Then my thoughts darted off to Bessie. Was she indeed writing to her old trustee? Judge Hubbard was a friend of my father's, and would approve of me, I thought, if he did not agree at once to the hurried marriage and ocean journey.

"What an unconscionable time it takes her! Don't you think so, Mrs. Sloman?" I said at last, after I had gone through three several papers on subjects unknown.

I suppose it was scarcely a courteous speech. But Mrs. Sloman smiled a white-lipped smile of sympathy, and said, "Yes; I will go and send her to you."

"Oh, don't hurry her," I said falsely, hoping, however, that she would.

Did I say before that Bessie was tall? Though so slight that you always wanted to speak of her with some endearing diminutive, she looked taller than ever that morning; and as she stood before me, coming up to the fireplace where I was standing, her eyes looked nearly level into mine. I did not understand their veiled expression, and before I had time to study it she dropped them and said hastily, "Young man, I am pining for a walk."

"In the rain?"

"Pshaw! This is nothing, after all, but a Scotch mist. See, I am dressed for it;" and she threw a tartan cloak over her shoulder—a blue-and-green tartan that I had never seen before.

"The very thing for shipboard," I whispered as I looked at her admiringly.

Her face was flushed enough now, but she made no answer save to stoop down and pat the silly little terrier that had come trotting into the room with her.

"Fidget shall go—yes, he shall go walking;" and Fidget made a gray ball of himself in his joy at the permission.

Up the hill again we walked, with the little Skye terrier cantering in advance or madly chasing the chickens across the road.

"Did you finish your letter satisfactorily?" I asked, for I was fretting with impatience to know its contents.

"Yes. I will give it to you when you leave to-night."

"Shall we say next Saturday, Bessie?" said I, resolving to plunge at once into the sea of our late argument.

"For what? For you to come again? Don't you always come on Saturday?"

"Yes, but this time I mean to carry you away."

A dead pause, which I improved by drawing her hand under my arm and imprisoning her little gray glove with my other hand. As she did not speak, I went on fatuously: "You don't need any preparation of gowns and shawls; you can buy your trousseau in London, if need be; and we'll settle on the ship, coming over, how and where we are to live in New York."

"You think, then, that I am all ready to be married?"

"I think that my darling is superior to the nonsense of other girls—that she will be herself always, and doesn't need any masquerade of wedding finery."

"You think, then," coldly and drawing her hand away, "that I am different from other girls?" and the scarlet deepened on her cheek. "You think I say and do things other girls would not?"

"My darling, what nonsense! You say and do things that other girls cannot, nor could if they tried a thousand years."

"Thanks for the compliment! It has at least the merit of dubiousness. Now, Charlie, if you mention Europe once in this walk I shall be seriously offended. Do let us have a little peace and a quiet talk."

"Why, what on earth can we talk about until this is settled? I can't go back to New York, and engage our passage, and go to see Judge Hubbard—I suppose you were writing to him this morning?"

She did not answer, but seemed bent on making the dainty print of her foot in the moist earth of the road, taking each step carefully, as though it were the one important and engrossing thing in life.

"—Unless," I went on, "you tell me you will be ready to go back with me this day week. You see, Bessie dear, I must sail on the fixed day. And if we talk it over now and settle it all, it will save no end of writing to and fro."

"Good-morning!" said a gay voice behind us—Fanny Meyrick's voice. She was just coming out of one of the small houses on the roadside. "Don't you want some company? I've been to call on my washerwoman, and I'm so glad I've met you. Such an English morning! Shall I walk with you?"


If I could have changed places with Fidget, I could scarce have expressed [pg 171] my disapproval of the new-comer more vehemently than he. Miss Meyrick seemed quite annoyed at the little dog's uncalled-for snapping and barking, and shook her umbrella at him in vain. I was obliged to take him in hand myself at last, and to stand in the road and order him to "Go home!" while the two young ladies walked on, apparently the best of friends.

When I rejoined them Fanny Meyrick was talking fast and unconnectedly, as was her habit: "Yes, lodgings in London—the dearest old house in Clarges street. Such a butler! He looks like a member of Parliament. We stayed there once before for three days. I am just going to settle into an English girl. Had enough of the Continent. Never do see England now-a-days, nobody. All rush off. So papa is going to have a comfortable time. Embassy? Oh, I know the general well."

I looked beseechingly at Bessie. Why wouldn't she say that we too would be there in London lodgings? Perhaps, then, Fanny Meyrick might take the hint and leave us soon.

But Bessie gave no sign, and I relapsed into a somewhat impatient résumé of my own affairs. Yes: married quietly on Saturday; leave here on Monday morning train; take, yes, Wednesday's steamer. I could arrange it with my law-partners to be absent a little longer perhaps, that there might be some little rest and romance about the wedding-journey.

Two or three times in the course of that morning—for she stayed with us all the morning—Fanny Meyrick rallied me on my preoccupation and silence: "He didn't use to be so, Bessie, years ago, I assure you. It's very disagreeable, sir—not an improvement by any means."

Then—I think without any malice prepense, simply the unreasoning rattle of a belle of two seasons—she plunged into a description of a certain fête at Blankkill on the Hudson, the occasion of our first acquaintance: "He was so young, Bessie, you can't imagine, and blushed so beautifully that all the girls [pg 172] were jealous as could be. We were very good friends—weren't we?—all that summer?"

"And are still, I hope," said I with my most sweeping bow. "What have I done to forfeit Miss Meyrick's esteem?"

"Nothing, except that you used to find your way oftener to Meyrick Place than you do now. Well, I won't scold you for that: I shall make up for that on the other side."

What did she mean? She had no other meaning than that she would have such compensation in English society that her American admirers would not be missed. She did not know of my going abroad.

But Bessie darted a quick glance from her to me, and back again to her, as though some dawning suspicion had come to her. "I hope," she said quietly, "that you may have a pleasant winter. It will be delightful, won't it, Charlie?"

"Oh, very!" I answered, but half noting the under-meaning of her words, my mind running on deck state-rooms and the like.

"Charlie," said Miss Meyrick suddenly, "do you remember what happened two years ago to-day?"

"No, I think not."

Taking out a little book bound in Russia leather and tipped with gold, she handed it to Bessie, who ran her eye down the page: it was open at September 28th.

"Read it," said Fanny, settling herself composedly in her shawl, and leaning back against a tree with half-shut eyes.

"'September 28th'" Bessie read, in clear tones which had a strange constraint in them, "'Charlie Munro saved my life. I shall love him for ever and ever. We were out in a boat, we two, on the Hudson—moonlight—I was rowing. Dropt my oar into the water. Leaned out after it and upset the boat. Charlie caught me and swam with me to shore.'"

A dead silence as Bessie closed the book and held it in her hand.

"Oh," said I lightly, "that isn't worth chronicling—that! It was no question of saving lives. The New York boat was coming up, if I remember."

"Yes, it was in trying to steer away from it that I dropped my oar."

"So you see it would have picked us up, any how. There was nothing but the ducking to remember."

"Such a figure, Bessie! Imagine us running along the road to the gate! I could scarcely move for my dripping skirts; and we frightened papa so when we stepped up on the piazza out of the moonlight!"

To stop this torrent of reminiscences, which, though of nothings, I could see was bringing the red spot to Bessie's cheek, I put out my hand for the book: "Let me write something down to-day;" and I hastily scribbled: "September 28. Charles Munro and Bessie Stewart, to sail for Europe in ten days, ask of their friend Fanny Meyrick her warm congratulations."

"Will that do?" I whispered as I handed the book to Bessie.

"Not at all," said Bessie scornfully and coldly, tearing out the leaf as she spoke and crumpling it in her hand.—"Sorry to spoil your book, Fanny dear, but the sentiment would have spoiled it more. Let us go home."

As we passed the hotel on that dreary walk home, Fanny would have left us, but Bessie clung to her and whispered something in a pleading voice, begging her, evidently, to come home with us.

"If Mr. Munro will take word to papa," she said, indicating that worthy, who sat on the upper piazza smoking his pipe.

"We will walk on," said Bessie coldly. "Come, Fanny dear."

Strange, thought I as I turned on my heel, this sudden fond intimacy! Bessie is angry. Why did I never tell her of the ducking? And yet when I remembered how Fanny had clung to me, how after we had reached the shore I had been forced to remind her that it was no time for sentimental gratitude when we both were shivering, I could see why I had refrained from mentioning it to Bessie until our closer confidences would allow of it.

No man, unless he be a downright coxcomb, will ever admit to one woman that another woman has loved him. To his wife—perhaps. But how much Fanny Meyrick cared for me I had never sought to know. After the dismal ending of that moonlight boat-row—I had been already disenchanted for some time before—I had scarce called at Meyrick Place more than civility required. The young lady was so inclined to exaggerate the circumstance, to hail me as her deliverer, that I felt like the hero of a melodrama whenever we met. And after I had met Bessie there were pleasanter things to think about—much pleasanter.

How exasperating girls can be when they try! I had had my congé for the walk home, I knew, and I was vexed enough to accept it and stay at the hotel to dinner.

"I will not be played upon in this way. Bessie knows that I stayed over the morning train just to be with her, and piled up for to-morrow no end of work, as well as sarcastic remarks from D. & Co. If she chooses to show off her affection for Fanny Meyrick in these few hours that we have together—Fanny Meyrick whom she hated yesterday—she may enjoy her friendship undisturbed by me."

So I loitered with my cigar after dinner, and took a nap on the sofa in my room. I was piqued, and did not care to conceal it. As the clock struck five I bethought me it was time to betake me to the Sloman cottage. A sound of wheels and a carriage turning brought me to the window. The two young ladies were driving off in Fanny Meyrick's phaeton, having evidently come to the hotel and waited while it was being made ready.

"Pique for pique! Serves me right, I suppose."

Evening found me at the Sloman cottage, waiting with Mrs. Sloman by the [pg 173] tea-table. Why do I always remember her, sitting monumental by the silver urn?

"The girls are very late to-night."

"Yes." I was beginning to be uneasy. It was nearing train-time again.

"Such lovely moonlight, I suppose, has tempted them, or they may be staying at Foxcroft to tea."

Indeed? I looked at my watch: I had ten minutes.

A sound of wheels: the phaeton drove up.

"Oh, Charlie," said Bessie as she sprang out, "you bad boy! you'll miss your train again. Fanny here will drive you to the hotel. Jump in, quick!"

And as the moonlight shone full on her face I looked inquiringly into her eyes.

"The letter," I said, "for Judge Hubbard?" hoping that she would go to the house for it, and then I could follow her for a word.

"Oh! I had almost forgotten. Here it is;" and she drew it from her pocket and held it out to me in her gloved hand. I pressed the hand to my lips, riding-glove and all, and sprang in beside Fanny, who was with some difficulty making her horse stand still.

"Good-bye!" from the little figure at the gate. "Don't forget, Fanny, to-morrow at ten;" and we were off.

By the wretched kerosene lamp of the car, going down, I read my letter, for it was for me: "I will not go to Europe, and I forbid you to mention it again. I shall never, never forget that I proposed it, and that you—accepted it. Come up to Lenox once more before you go."

This was written in ink, and was sealed. It was the morning's note. But across the envelope these words were written in pencil: "Go to Europe with Fanny Meyrick, and come up to Lenox, both of you, when you return."




[pg 174]

A double pleasure rewards the pioneer who is the first to penetrate into the midst of a new people. Besides the rare exhilaration felt in treading soil virgin to alien feet, it acts like mental oxygen to look upon and breathe in a unique civilization like that of Japan. To feel that for ages millions of one's own race have lived and loved, enjoyed and suffered and died, living the fullness of life, yet without the religion, laws, customs, food, dress and culture which seem to us to be the vitals of our social existence, is like walking through a living Pompeii.

I confess to a chronic desire to explore the Island Empire in which I dwell. Having already, in the central provinces of Japan, trodden many a path never before touched by foreign foot, I yearned to explore the twin provinces of Kadzusa and Awa, which form the peninsula lying between the Gulf of Yeddo and the Pacific Ocean. A timely holiday and a passport from the Japanese foreign office enabled me to start toward the end of March, the time when all Japan is glorious with blossoming plum trees, and the camellia trees in forests of bloom are marshaled by thousands on the mountain-slopes.

I was glad to get away from Yeddo: I had a fit of anti-Caucasianism, and wished to dwell a while amidst things purely Japanese. There were too many foreigners in Yeddo. In that city of only eight hundred thousand Japanese there are now full two hundred foreigners of all nationalities; and of these, fifty or more are Americans. It was too much like home and too little like Japan. Should I go to Yokohama, the case was worse. Nearly twelve hundred of the sons of Japheth dwelt there, and to reach that upstart European city one must travel on a railway and see telegraph-poles all along the line. What was the use of living in Japan? Every young Japanese, too, in the capital is brainful of "civilization," "progress," "reform," etc. I half suspect a few cracks in the craniums belonging to some of the youths who wish to introduce law, religion, steam, language, frock-coats and tight boots by edict and ordinance. There was too much civilization. I yearned for something more primitive, something more purely Japanese; and tramping into the country I should find it. I should eat Japanese food—profanely dubbed "chow-chow;" sleep in Japanese beds—on the floor; talk Japanese—as musical as Italian; and live so much like an old-time native that I should feel as one born on the soil. By that time, returning to Yeddo as a Japanese of the period, I should of course burn to adopt railways, telegraphs and balloons, codify the laws, improve upon United States postage, coinage and dress-coats, and finish off by annexing the English language after I had cut out all irregularities and made all the crooked spelling straight.

So, resolving to be a heathen for a week at least, I left Yeddo one afternoon, though it took several hours to do so: the big city is one of distances more magnificent than those of Washington. I started in a jin-riki-sha, which baby-carriage on adult wheels has already been described, so as to be tolerably familiar to all American readers. The "team" of this "man-power carriage" consists of two men, pulling tandem—one in the shafts, the other running ahead with a rope over his shoulder, and, until the recent passage of a law commanding decency, attired only in his cuticle and a loin-cloth two inches wide. You take three coolies when you wish to be stylish, while four are not an unknown sensation in Yeddo. With these and fresh relays you can travel sixty, or even eighty, miles a day; and I have known one man to run thirty miles on the stretch.

Of all the modes of traveling in Japan, the jin-riki-sha is the most pleasant. The kago is excruciating. It is a flat basket, swung on a pole and carried on the shoulders of two men. If your neck does not break, your feet go hopelessly to sleep. Headaches seem to lodge somewhere in the bamboos, to afflict every victim entrapped in it. To ride in a kago is as pleasant as riding in a washtub or a coffin slung on a pole. In some mountain-passes stout native porters carry you pickapack. Crossing the shallow rivers, you may sit upon a platform borne on men's shoulders as they wade. Saddle-horses are not to be publicly hired, but pack-horses are pleasant means of locomotion. These animals and their leaders deserve a whole chapter of description for themselves. Fancy a brass-bound peaked pack-saddle rising a foot above the animal's back, with a crupper-strap slanting down to clasp the tail. The oft-bandied slur, that in Japan everything goes by contraries, has a varnish of truth on it when we notice that the most gorgeous piece of Japanese saddlery is the crupper, which, even on a pack-horse, is painted crimson and gilded gloriously. The man who leads the horse is an animal that by long contact and companionship with the quadruped has grown to resemble him in disposition and ejaculation: at least, the equine and the human seem to harmonize well together. This man is called in Japanese "horse side." He is dressed in straw sandals and the universally worn kimono, or blue cotton wrapper-like dress, which is totally unfitted for work of any kind, and which makes the slovens of Japan—a rather numerous class—always look as if they had just got out of bed. At his waist is the usual girdle, from which hangs the inevitable bamboo-and-brass pipe, the bowl of which holds but a pellet of the mild fine-cut tobacco of the country. The pipe-case is connected with a tobacco-pouch, in which are also flint, steel and tinder. All these are suspended by a cord, fastened to a wooden or ivory button, which is tucked up through the belt. On his head, covering his shaven mid-scalp and right-angled top-knot, [pg 175] is a blue cotton rag—not handkerchief, since such an article in Japan is always made of paper. This head-gear is usually fastened over the head by twisting the ends under the nose. With a rope six feet long he leads his horse, which trusts so implicitly to its master's guidance that we suspect the prevalence of blindness among the Japanese pack-horses arises from sheer lack of the exercise of their eyesight. These unkempt brutes are strangers to curry-combs and brushes, though a semi-monthly scrubbing in hot water keeps them tolerably clean. Their shoes are a curiosity: the hoofs are not shod with iron, but with straw sandals, tied on thrice or oftener daily. Grass is scarce in Japan, and oats are unknown. The nags live on beans, barley, and the stalks, leaves and tops of succulent plants, with only an occasional wisp of hay or grass.

In certain districts horses of one or the other sex, as the law determines, are kept exclusively. Horses of the gentler sex in Japan are usually led by women. During part of my journey to the place which I am about to describe the leader of the mare I bestrode was a maiden of some forty summers—a neat, spare, vinegar-faced sylph, who had evidently long since left the matrimonial market, and had devoted herself to making one horse happy for the rest of her pilgrimage. That she was neither wife nor widow I discovered, not by asking questions, but by the manner in which her hair was dressed. Japanese virgins and wives have each distinct coiffures, by which, apart from the shaven eyebrows and the teeth dyed black of the married women, the musume or young maiden may be known. The widow who has resolved never to marry again (always too old or ugly) is distinguished by her smooth skull, every hair of which is shaved off. A lady of rank may also be known by her coiffure; and many other distinctions are thus noted.

I waited three-quarters of an hour for my horse and its leader to appear at the post-relay at which I sat down, and was stared at during that time by about three hundred pairs of eyes. The [pg 176] populace of each village turned out en masse to see the foreigner, and they diligently improved their time in examining him from crown to boot-sole. Like everything else in the rural districts of Japan, my guide was not in a hurry, and could not understand why a foreigner should be. But finally arriving, she bowed very low and invited me to climb up on the saddle, and off we started for a mountain ride of eight miles.

A Japanese pack-horse, at his best, seems always swaying between two opinions: his affection for the bestower of his beans and that for the repose of the stable mutually attract him. On this occasion the little woman gently led the horse over the rough places and down the steep paths with the ejaculation, Mite yo! Mite yo! but when the beast stopped too long to meditate or to chew the bit, as if vainly trying to pick its teeth, a lively jerk of the rope and a "You old beast! come on," started the animal on its travels. Finally, when the creature stopped to deliberate upon the propriety of going forward at all, the vials of the wrath of the Japanese spinster exploded, and I was tempted to believe her affections had been blighted. But when we met any of her friends on the road, or passed the wayside shops or farm-houses, the scolder of horses was the lady who wished all Ohaio ("Good-morning"), or remarked that the weather was very fine; and when joked for carrying a foreigner, replied, "Yes, it is the first time I have had the honor."

I need not trouble the reader with many details of geography. My trip lasted eight days, during which I passed over two hundred miles, two-thirds of the way on foot. I made the entire circuit of the lower half of the peninsula, but shall dwell only on my visit to Kanozan (Deer Mountain), famous for its lovely scenery, temple and Booddhist monastery. From the top of the mountain there are visible innumerable valleys, nearly the whole of the Gulf of Yeddo, and the white-throned Foosiyama, called the highest mountain in Japan and the most beautiful in the world. We spent the night previous in Kisaradzu, the capital of the now united provinces, and a neat little city, just beginning to introduce foreign civilization. Its streets were lighted with Yankee lamps and Pennsylvania petroleum. Postal boxes after the Yankee custom were erected and in use. Gingham umbrellas were replacing those made of oiled paper. Barbers' poles, painted white with the spiral red band, were set up, and within the shops Young Japan had his queue cut off and his hair dressed in foreign style. Ignorant of the significance of the symbolic relic of the old days, when the barber was doctor and dentist also, and made his pole represent a bandage wound around a broken limb, the Japanese barber has, in many cases, added a green or blue band. Not being an adept in the use of that refractory language which Young Japan would so like to flatten out and plane down for vernacular use, the Japanese barber is not always happy in executing the English legend for his sign-board. The following are specimens:




Passing out of Kisaradzu, and winding up to Kanozan over the narrow bridle-path, we pass the usual terraced rice-fields watered by descending rivulets, and the usual thatched and mud-walled cottages, which characterize every landscape in Japan, besides long rows of tall tsubaki (camellia) trees, forty feet high and laden with their crimson and white splendors. Along the road are the little wayside shrines and sacred portals of red wood which tell where the worshipers of the Shintoo faith adore their gods and offer their prayers without image, idol or picture. The far more numerous images and shrines of Booddha the sage, Amida the queen of heaven, and hundred-armed Kuannon, tell of the popular faith of the masses of Japan in the gentle doctrines of the Indian sage. The student of comparative religions is interested in noticing how a code of morals founded upon atheistic humanitarianism, in its origin utterly destitute of theology, has developed into a colossal system of demonology, dogmatics, eschatology, myths and legends, with a pantheon more populous than that of old Rome. Many of the images by the wayside are headless, cloven by frost, overturned by earthquakes, and so pitted by time as to resemble petrified smallpox patients rather than divinities. Nature neither respects dogma nor worships the gods made by men, and the moss and the lichens have muffled up the idols and eaten the substance of the sacred stone. Here Booddha wears a robe of choicest green, and there the little saxafrage waves its white blossoms from the shoulder of Amida, rending asunder her stone body. Even the little stone columns which contain a guiding hand pointing out the road to Kanozan are dedicated to Great Shaka (Booddha). Passing one of the larger temples, we meet a company of pilgrims. Actual sight and reasoning from experience in other lands agree in telling me that they are women, and most of them old women. They return my salute, politely striving to conceal their wonder at the first to-jin they have ever looked upon.

I would wager that these people, like most of the rustics in Japan, have always believed the foreigners from Europe and America to be certainly ruffians, and most probably beasts. Many of them, without having heard; of Darwin or Monboddo, believe all the "hairy foreigners" to be descendants of dogs. Their first meeting with a foreigner sweeps away the cobwebs of prejudice, and they are ashamed of their former ignorance. In extorting from Japanese friends their first ideas about foreigners, I have been forcibly reminded of some popular ideas concerning the people of China and Japan which are still entertained at home, especially by the queens of the kitchen and the lords of the hod.

After the fashion in Japan, I inquire of the pilgrims whence they came and whither they are going. Leaning upon their staves and unslinging their huge [pg 177] round, conical hats, they give me to know that they have come on foot from Muja, nearly one hundred and fifty miles distant, and that they will finish their pilgrimage at Kominato—where the great founder of the Nichiren sect (one of the last developments of Booddhism in Japan) was born—twenty-seven miles beyond the point at which we met. I inform them that I have come over seven thousand miles, and will also visit Nichiren's birthplace. "Sayo de gozarimos! Naru hodo?" ("Indeed, is it possible?")

I have reached their hearts through the gates of surprise. A foreigner visiting Nichiren's birthplace! And coming seven thousand miles too! The old ladies become loquacious. They pour out their questions by dozens. Do you have Booddhist temples in America? Of course the Nichiren sect flourishes there? When I politely answer No to both questions, a look of disappointed surprise and pity steals over both the ruddy and the wrinkled faces. "Then he is a heathen!" says the expression on their faces. How strange that no Booddhist temples exist in the foreigner's country! Ah, perhaps, then, the Shintoo religion is the religion of the foreigner's country? "No? Naru hodo! Then what do you believe in?"

It did not take long to answer that question. There is no country in the world in which Christianity has been more publicly and universally advertised. For three centuries, in every city, village and hamlet and on every highway, the names of Christianity and its Founder have been proclaimed on the edict-boards and in the public law-books of the empire as belonging to a corrupt and hateful doctrine; which should a man believe, he would be punished on earth by fines, imprisonment, perhaps death, and in jigoku (hell) by torments eternal. "Whosoever believeth in Christ shall be damned—whosoever believeth not shall be saved," was the formula taught by the priests for centuries. I pointed to the board on which hung the edicts prohibiting Christianity, and told them I believed in that doctrine, and that [pg 178] Christ was the One adored and loved by us. A volley of naru hodos, spoken with bated breath, greeted this announcement, and I could only understand the whispered "Why, that is the sect whose followers will go to hell!" The old ladies could not walk fast, and we soon parted, after many a strange question concerning morals, customs and the details of civilization in the land of the foreigner. Be it said, in passing, that the present liberal and enlightened government of Japan, in spite of priestly intolerance and the bigotry of ignorance, resisting even to blood, has decided upon the recission of the slanderous falsehoods against the faith of Christendom; and Japan, though an Asiatic nation, will soon grant toleration to all creeds.

The path wound up through higher valleys, revealing bolder scenery. Afar off, in the sheen of glorified distance, the water slanted to the sky. The white bosoms of the square-sailed junks heaved with breezy pulses, the mountains were thrones of stainless blue, the floods of sunny splendor and the intense fullness of light, for which the cloudless sky of Japan is remarkable, told the reason for the naming of Niphon, of which "Japan" is but the foreigner's corruption, "Great Land of the Fountain of Light." Anon we entered the groves of mountain-pines anchored in the rocks, and with girths upon which succeeding centuries had clasped their zones. They seemed like Nature's senators in council as they whispered together and murmured in the breeze that reached us laden with music and freighted with resinous aroma. Reaching a hamlet called Mute ("six hands"), I sit outside an inn on one of the benches which are ever ready for the traveler, and shaded overhead by a screen of boughs. A young girl brings me water, the ever-ready cup of tea, and fire for the pipe which I am supposed to smoke. A short rest, another hour's climb and walk, and we are in the village of Kanozan, which is scarcely more than a street of hotels. Situated on the ridge of the mountain, it rises like an island in a sea of pines.

In imagining a Japanese hotel, good reader, please dismiss all architectural ideas derived from the Continental or the Fifth Avenue. Our hotels in Japan, outwardly at least, are wooden structures, two stories high, often but one. Their roofs are usually thatched, though the city caravansaries are tiled. They are entirely open on the front ground floor, and about six feet from the sill or threshold rises a platform about a foot and a half high, upon which the proprietor may be seen seated on his heels behind a tiny railing ten inches high, busy with his account-books. If it is winter he is engaged in the absorbing occupation of all Japanese tradesmen at that time of year—warming his hands over a charcoal fire in a low brazier. The kitchen is usually just next to this front room, often separated from the street only by a latticed partition. In evolving a Japanese kitchen out of his or her imagination, the reader must cast away the rising conception of Bridget's realm. Blissful, indeed, is the thought as I enter the Japanese hotel that neither the typical servant-girl nor the American hotel-clerk is to be found here. The landlord comes to meet me, and, falling on his hands and knees, bows his head to the floor. One or two of the pretty girls out of the bevy usually seen in Japanese hotels comes to assist me and take my traps. Welcomes, invitations and plenty of fun greet me as I sit down to take off my shoes, as all good Japanese do, and as those filthy foreigners don't who tramp on the clean mats with muddy boots. I stand up unshod, and am led by the laughing girls along the smooth corridors, across an arched bridge which spans an open space in which is a rookery, garden, and pond stocked with goldfish, turtles and marine plants. The room which my fair guides choose for me is at the rear end of the house, overlooking the grand scenery for which Kanozan is justly famous all over the empire. Ninety-nine valleys are said to be visible from the mountain-top on which the hotel is situated, and I suspect that multiplication by ten would scarcely be an exaggeration. A world of blue water and pines, and the detailed loveliness of the rolling land, form a picture which I lack power to paint with words. The water seemed the type of repose, the earth of motion.

Enjoying to the full that rapture of first vision which one never feels twice, I turned and entered the room, which made up in neatness what it lacked in luxury. Furniture in a Japanese house there is none. Like all the others, the floor of my room was covered with soft matting two inches thick, made into sections six feet long and three feet wide, and bound with a black border. The dimensions of a room may always be expressed by the number of mats. The inside of the mats is of rice straw, the outside is of the finest and smoothest matting. There are no chairs, stools, sofas or anything to sit down upon, though, having long since forgotten the fact, we find a ready seat on the floor. On one side of the room, occupying one-half of its space, is the tokonoma, a little platform anciently used for the bed, two feet wide and five or six inches high. In one corner is a large vase containing four or five boughs broken from a plum tree crowded with blossoms, and a large bunch of white, crimson and dappled camellias, both single and double. In the centre is the sword-rack, found in every samurai's house, yet now obsolete, since Japan's chivalry have laid aside their two swords. On the other half of the room, occupying the same side as the tokonoma, is a series of peculiar shelves like those of an open Japanese cabinet, though larger; and at the top of these is a little closet closed by sliding doors. The other three sides of the room are of sliding partitions six feet high, made of fine white wood, latticed in small squares and covered with paper, through which mellow, softened light fills the room. On the plastered wall above the latticed sliding doors hangs a framed tablet on which are written Chinese characters, which, having the Japanese letters at the side, tell in terse and poetical phrase that "This room is the chamber of peaceful meditation, into which the moonlight streams." Some of the lattice and other work is [pg 179] handsomely carved and wrought, and a paper screen along the wall which separates this room from the next is covered with verses of Japanese poetry. Were it cold weather, a brazier, with some live coals in it, would be brought for us to toast our hands and feet and to shiver over, as stoves and hard coal are not Japanese institutions. First of all, however, at present, one of the musumes brings me a tobacco-bon or tray, in which is fire to light my pipe, the Japanese scarcely having a conception of a man who does not smoke.

My description of a Japanese room will answer, in the main, for any in Japan as it was—from the artisan's to the emperor's. Even the palaces of the mikado in Kioto never contained tables, chairs, bedsteads or any such inconvenient and space-robbing thing. The tables upon which they ate, played chess or wrote were six inches or a foot high. A Japanese of the old style thinks the cumbrous furniture in our Western dwellings impertinent and unnecessary. In the eye of aesthetic Japanese a room crowded with luxurious upholstery is a specimen of barbaric pomp, delighting the savage and unrefined eye of the hairy foreigners, but shocking to the purged vision and the refined taste of one born in great Niphon. No such tradesman as an upholsterer or furniture-dealer exists in Japan. The country is a paradise for young betrothed couples who would wed with light purses. One sees love in a cottage on a national scale here. That terrible lion of expense, the furnishing of a house, that stands ever in the way of so many loving pairs desirous of marriage and a home of their own, is a bugbear not known in Japan. A chest of drawers for clothing, a few mats, two or three quilts for a bed on the floor, some simple kitchen utensils, and the house is furnished. Why should we litter these neatly matted rooms, why cover with paint and gilding virgin wood of faultless grain, or mar the sweet simplicity and airy roominess of our (Japanese) chambers by loading them with all kinds of unnecessary luxuries?

[pg 180]

These reflections are broken in upon by Miss Cherry-blossom, one of the maids, who glides in, kneels upon the floor, and sets down a tiny round tray with a baby tea-pot and a cup the size of an egg. Pouring out some tea, enough to half fill one of these porcelain thimbles, she sets it in the socket of another yet tinier tray, and bowing her head coquettishly, begs me to drink. Having long since learned to quaff Japan's fragrant beverage guiltless of milk or sugar, I drain the cup. Miss Cherry-blossom, sitting upright upon her heels, folds her dress neatly under her knees, gives her loose robe a twitch, revealing to advantage her white-powdered neck, the prized point of beauty in a Japanese maiden, and then asks the usual questions as to whence I came, whither I am going, and to what country I belong. These, according to the Japanese code of etiquette, are all polite questions; and in return, violating no dictum which the purists of Kioto or Yeddo have laid down, I inquire her age ("Your honorable years, how many?"). The answer, "Ju-hachi," makes known that she is eighteen years of age. Chatting further, I learn what things there are to be seen in the neighborhood, whether foreigners have been there before, the distance to the next village, the history of the old temple near by, etc. All this is told with many a laugh and a little pantomime—she naturally committing the mistake of speaking louder and faster to the foreigner who cannot fully understand her dialect or allusions—when a new character appears upon the scene.

A very jolly, matronly-looking woman, evidently the landlady, pulls aside one of the sliding paper doors, and bowing low on her hands and knees, smiles cavernously with her jet-black teeth, which, like all correct and cleanly women in Japan, she dyes on alternate days. She asks concerning dinner, and whether it is the honorable wish of the visitor to eat Japanese food. The answer being affirmative, both matron and maiden disappear to prepare the meal, evidently thinking it a fine joke. No such thing as a common dining-room exists in Japanese hotels. Caste has hitherto been too strictly observed to allow of such an idea. Every guest eats in his own room, sitting on his calves and heels. The preparations are simple, though of course I speak now of every-day life.

Miss Peach-blossom appears, bearing in her hand a table four inches high, one foot square, and handsomely lacquered red and black. Behind her comes a young girl carrying a rice-box and plate of fish. Most gracefully she sets it down with the apology, "I have kept you long waiting," and the invitation, "Please take up."

On the table are four covered bowls, two very small dishes containing pickles and soy, and a little paper bag in which is a pair of chopsticks. The place of each article is foreordained by gastronomic etiquette, and rigidly observed. In the first bowl is soup, in the second a boiled mixture consisting of leeks, mushrooms, lotus-root and a kind of sea-weed. In a third are boiled buckwheat cakes or dumplings, and tofu or bean-curd. In the porcelain cup is rice. In an oblong dish, brought in during the meal, is a broiled fish in soy. Lifting off the covers and adjusting my chopsticks deftly, I begin. The bowl of rice is first attacked, and quickly finished. The attendant damsel proffers her lacquered waiter, and uncovering the steaming tub of rice paddles out another cupful. It is etiquette to dispose of unlimited cups of rice and soup, but a deadly breach of good manners to ask to have the other two bowls replenished. Of course at the hotels whatever the larder affords can be ordered. Boiled eggs, cracked and peeled before you by the tapering fingers of the damsels, are considered choice articles of food. Raw fish, thinly sliced and eaten with radish, sauce, ginger sprouts, etc., is highly enjoyed by the Japanese, who are surprised to find the dish disliked by their foreign guests. A member of one of the embassies sent to Europe confessed that amid the luxuries of continental tables, he longed for the raw fish and grated radish of his native land. Some articles of our own diet, especially cheese and butter, are as heartily detested by the Japanese as their raw fish is by us. The popular idea at home, that the Japanese live chiefly on mice and crawfish, and that the foreigners are in chronic danger of starvation, is matched by that of some Japanese, who, finding that the "hairy foreigners" do not eat the food of human beings—i.e. Japanese—wonder what they do eat. A member of the present embassy in Europe, when first leaving his native land, was thus addressed by his anxious mother: "Now, Yazirobe, you are going to those strange countries, where I am afraid you will get very little to eat: do take some rice with you." I confess that on first landing in Japan I could not relish Japanese diet and cookery. Barring eggs and rice, everything tasted like starch or sawdust. The flavors seemed raw and earthy, or suggested dishcloths not too well scalded. I suspect that a good deal of Philadelphia and Caucasian pride lined the alimentary canal of the writer. Now, after a ten-mile tramp, a Japanese meal tastes very much as it does to one native and to the diet born.

Besides the young damsel who presides, there is another, less neatly dressed. Her apron is suggestive of the kitchen, and altogether she seems a Cinderella by the fireplace. This damsel is evidently a supe or scullion. She is not so self-possessed as her superior companion, and while observing the foreigner with a mild stare, unskillfully concealing her mirth, she finally explodes when he makes a faux pas with the chopsticks and drops a bit of fish on the clean matting. Thereupon she is dispatched to the kitchen for a floor-cloth, and severely lectured for laughing aloud, and is told to stay among the pots and pans till she learns better manners.

Dinner over, a siesta on the soft mats is next in order. These mats seem made for sleep and indolence. No booted foot ever defiles them. Every one leaves his clogs on the ground outside, and glides about in his mitten-like socks, which have each a special compartment [pg 181] for the great toe. My waiting damsel having gone out, and there being no such things as bells, I do as the natives and clap my hands. A far-off answer of Hei—i—i is returned, and soon the shuffling of feet is heard again. The housewife appears with the usual low bow, and, smiling so as to again display what resembles a mouthful of coal, she listens to the request for a pillow. Opening the little closet before spoken of, she produces the desired article. It is not a ticking bag of baked feathers enclosed in a dainty, spotless case of white linen, but a little upright piece of wood, six inches high and long, and one wide, rounded at the bottom like the rockers of a cradle. On the top, lying in a groove, is a tiny rounded bag of calico filled with rice-chaff, about the size of a sausage. The pillow-case is a piece of white paper wrapped around the top, and renewed in good hotels daily for each guest. One can rest about four or six inches of the side of his os occipitis on a Japanese pillow, and if he wishes may rock himself to sleep, though the words suggest more than the facts warrant. By sleeping on civilized feathers one gets out of training, and the Japanese pillows feel very hard and very much in one place. The dreams which one has on these pillows are characteristic. In my first some imps were boring gimlet-holes in the side of my skull, until they had honeycombed it and removed so much brain that I felt too light-headed to preserve my equilibrium. On the present occasion, after falling asleep, I thought that the pillow on which I lay pressed its shape into my head, and the skull, to be repaired, was being trepanned. My head actually tumbling off the pillow was the cause of the fancied operation being suddenly arrested. A short experience in traveling among the Japanese has satisfied me that they are one of the most polite, good-natured and happy nations in the world. By introducing foreign civilization into their beautiful land they may become richer: they need not expect to be happier.


[pg 182]



This is a story of love for love, and how it came to naught. In it there shall be no marrying from mercenary motives; the manoeuvering mother-in-law is suppressed; Nature takes her course; and in the climax I strive to prove how sad a thing it is that men are modest and women weak.

Still, I do not lose faith in humanity, but hope for better things in the broad, bright future. I would respectfully call attention to the moral of this tale, and, as for the heroes and heroines of the hereafter, I cheerfully leave them to regulate their affairs upon a different basis; which basis, I devoutly believe, will be one of the inevitable results of time.

But, lo! the heroine approaches and the story begins!

Life with some of us is but the grouping of a few brilliant or sombre tableaux, which are like the famous lines in an epic that immortalize the whole. Maud's life was such a one, and her years had been rather unpicturesque until now, when the shadows began to deepen and the lights to grow more intense. In fact, she seemed to be approaching some sort of a climax, and she began to grow nervous about it, being just woman enough to dwell somewhat anxiously upon her anticipated début, and to hope for at least a decent appearance in her extremity.

The good-hearted, commonplace people of a pleasant country down the coast—which I will call Dreamland for convenience' sake—thought of Maud only as a gentle and humane little lady, with a comfortable income and a character above reproach. So Maud abode in peace with her maids at the seaside cottage, spending the still hours of Dreamland between her rose-garden on the sunny slope to the southward and the conservatory of lily-like nuns on the hill toward the sea.

Maud was unhappy in a world which had treated her very kindly indeed, and it was simply because she had a dove's heart, that was always fluttering in a strange place, and the face of a nun, that was for ever getting looked at by all sorts of people, much as it disliked that kind of treatment from the best of them.

The only reason why Maud preferred such a dull place as Dreamland to the splendid metropolis up the coast was that she might have a quiet time of it, and not be annoyed by the impudent metropolitans. In fact, she was tired of her lovers—all save one, a fine young fellow named Jason, but better known in Dreamland as John. I have mentioned, I believe, that Maud was in very good circumstances: I am sorry to add that Jason wasn't. He was rich only in his untried youth and the promises of a glorious manhood.

Jason loved Maud, and she knew it as well as she ever knew anything in her life—she knew it without his having told her. Had she not divined it by the infallible intuition of the heart, she might have lived believing herself unloved, for Jason hadn't the remotest idea of mentioning the fact. He could barely live comfortably by himself, frugal as he was; and he would not go to her empty-handed, though Heaven knows she had enough for two, and was dying to share it with him. He went his way, and the way was tedious enough in those days. Like a mirage, happiness glimmered before him, but his upright and patient steps brought him no nearer to its alluring vista.

Youth is impatient and sanguine, and Jason, in his impetuous and hopeful youth, besought the oracle, whose prophetic utterances seemed to imply that his future and his fortune lay in some distant land, and that it would be wise for him to seek it at once. Jason, like his illustrious predecessor, resolved to go over the sea in search of the golden fleece. It was the most adventurous thing he ever did, and Maud thought it a hopeless and a willful act; yet she could do nothing but hold her peace, while her poor heart was as near to breaking as possible—much nearer to breaking than it is usually safe for a maiden's heart to be.

So Jason gathered his mates—a reckless lot they were, too—and, having laden his barque and swung into the stream, his men said their final adieux, receiving quantities of pincushions and bookmarks, so indispensable to Argonauts, as testimonials of eternal fidelity from the maids of Dreamland.

Jason strode to the cottage and kissed the hand of Maud as if it were the hand of a princess; after which, with much embarrassment, he plucked a rose from her garden, while a pang pierced his heart till it ached again, and a thorn probed his finger till a drop of blood fell upon a myrtle leaf; which leaf Maud coveted, and keeps to this day—hugged to her in her grave-clothes.

It is of course best that this life should not be perfect, for the life to come might suffer by comparison; yet it is one of the cruelest decrees of Nature—if Nature has really decreed what seems so wholly against her—that a woman's heart must bide its time and be silent in the presence of its natural mate while every attribute of her being implores his recognition; and that the truest men are too honorable or too proud to yield themselves, having no offering but their honest love to lay at the feet of their mistresses. If it were not so, the princess would not have mourned in her garden for her flown mate, and there would have been much happiness on short notice.

Driven forth by the propitious winds, the barque fled from the shore, while Maud, seated among her roses, with weeping and wringing of hands, poured out upon the winds the burden of her love.

Why didn't Jason catch a syllable of that fervent prayer, reef, and come home to her? Then I need not have written this history, and all would have [pg 183] been well in Dreamland. But he didn't. He heard nothing but the sibilant waters as they rushed under his keel: he thought of nothing but the rose that was withering in the secret locker of his cabin, and of the wound in his heart that was gaping and as fresh as ever. So the night-winds hurried him onward, and the darkness absorbed the outlines of the dear Dreamland coast.

Maud watched the barque while it lessened and lessened in the distance, and the clouds blew over her, and it grew chilly and damp in the rose-garden—as chilly and damp as though it were not the abode of a princess who was beloved of the noblest of men. She watched the sail till it faded suddenly beyond the headland, and between it and her loomed the dark towers of the convent. Out on that troubled sea, seeking the golden fleece in some remote kingdom, tossed on the treacherous waves for her sake, in her white and radiant dreams she beheld Jason. Yet ever between him and her, hiding the lessening barque from the slope of the rose-garden, loomed the dark towers of the convent.


Jason and his fellows coursed the seas, scanning with eager eyes the cloudy belt of the horizon, hopefully seeking some signs of the Fortunate Islands, of whose indescribable beauty and untold wealth they had heard many surmises. Day after day they pressed on between the same blank sky and the same blank sea, but there was no token to gladden the eyes of the watchers. Jason grew impatient at last: he had called upon nearly all the saints in the calendar, and was growing to be a very poor sort of a Catholic, inasmuch as he doubted the efficacy of his prayers and the ability of saints to answer them. He didn't realize that there might be good reasons for their not being answered under the existing circumstances; which is a matter worthy of the consideration of all of us.

The fact was, the Fortunate Islands were not one-half so wonderful as had been represented; and the saints knew [pg 184] it well enough. Had Jason invested there, as he purposed doing at the time of his embarkment, he might have sunk all that he possessed—which was little enough to float, as one would think—and then Maud might have tended her rose-garden and carried fruit-offerings to the sweet-faced nuns till she was gray and limping, for all Jason's fine notions of independence—namely, a good income from the rise of stocks in the Fortunate Islands, and two souls and two hearts doing the same sort of thing at the same time, with complete and unqualified success, in that sweet rose-garden on the sunny slope to the southward.

That was the way life went with Captain Jason of the Argonauts, called John, for short, in Dreamland, while the crew growled a good deal at their ill-luck, and began to fear that if things went on in that way much longer they would have more fasts than Fridays in the week. Those were trying times for all of them, and when land was made at last, and it proved to be a temptation and a snare, Jason ordered a special fast and a mass for the salvation of the souls in imminent peril. Out in the world at last, thousands of miles from the unsophisticated people of Dreamland, Jason beheld the dread Symplegades rocking their enormous bulks upon the waves, and liable at any moment to swing together with a terrific and deadly crash. Probably they were whales at play: it may have been two currents of the sea rushing into each other's arms: at all events, it was something deluding, though temporary, and perhaps the selfsame difficulty experienced by the original J. when he went after the original fleece.

My hero was young and unschooled in the world's wickedness, but he knew that where two opposing elements come together with much force, whatever happens to lie between them must suffer. What should be done was a question of no little importance to the Argonauts. Most of them were in favor of running the risk of a collision and letting the vessel drive straight through. Jason thought this a judgment worthy of young men whose lady-loves give expression to their most sacred sentiments by gifts of pincushions and bookmarks. But he had something to consider more than they—yea, more than any other living man—in exemplification of the pleasing fallacy that besets all lovers in all ages. Blessed be God that it is so!

The original Jason in the fable let loose a dove upon the waters, and the dove lost only a tail-feather or two when the clashing islands clashed their worst, and in the moment of the rebound the Argo swept through in safety. The modern J. thought of this in his predicament, and having turned it in his mind, he concluded that whereas the pioneer Argonaut did not meet his princess till after his encounter with the elements, he was not worthy of consideration; for had he known her and loved her as some one knew and loved some one else at that moment, most likely he would not have valued his life so slightly. He clewed up his canvas like a wise mariner, and lay to while the Symplegades butted one another with their foreheads of adamant, and the sea was white with terror all about them. Jason was no coward: he would have braved the passage had he alone been concerned in the result; but for Maud in her rose-garden and for the future, dear to him as his hope of heaven, he paused and trembled.

It is a pity there should be so little pausing and trembling among the clashing islands when life hangs in the balance and the odds are against it. But there always has been and always will be this little, because we believe that nothing but experience is capable of teaching us, and experience invariably teaches it all wrong end to, so that we begin our lesson with a disaster and conclude it with a slow recovery.

During Jason's hour of deliberation his guardian angel, who was the only one having his interests really at heart, and who loved him unselfishly,—this angel advised him in the similitude of a dream to "luff a little and go round the obstacles." Jason luffed, and passed on with colors flying; which was doubtless much better than trying to squeeze through the floating islands in the midst of an exceedingly disagreeable sea.

Then came the land beyond, the long-sought kingdom, full of arts and wiles. Jason was beset with ten thousand temptations, and was more than once upon the point of falling into a snare, when, however, he seemed to behold the apparition of his withered rose, which bloomed and blushed again at such times, and gave out a faint fragrance, so like a breath from that Eden on the sunny slope that he paused and grew strong, and was saved.

His troubles were not yet over. There was the bargaining for the golden fleece, and the tempting offer of the dragons' teeth which he was to sow. They were the lusts of the body, that, once planted, spring up an armed force of bloody and persistent accusers. But that precious rose! How it blossomed over and over for his especial benefit, a perpetual warning and an unfailing talisman—a very profitable sort of blossom to wear in one's button-hole in these times! But such blossoms are scarce indeed.

In due course of time that potent charm got him the golden fleece in a very natural and business-like way, and, rejoicing in his possessions, Jason returned to his vessel and trimmed his sails for home.

Merry the hearts that sailed with him, and fresh the winds that wafted them onward, while, as is usual at sea, nothing occurred during the voyage worth mentioning an hour after its occurrence. Jason in his new joy had almost forgotten that withered token. In deep remorse at his thoughtlessness, he sought his treasure, and, horror of horrors! every leaf had fallen from the stem, the blossom was annihilated for ever. He dwelt upon this episode morbidly, as upon a presentiment: he pictured in his mind the hill-slope cottage deserted, the rose-garden wasted and full of tares, and the bleak wind blowing whither it listed through those avenues of beauty, for desolation possessed them all. He groaned in spirit and wrestled with his new and invisible adversary, beseeching the Most Merciful, from the bitterness [pg 185] of his suspense, a speedy deliverance or a happy death.


There were thistles and tares in the unkept rose-garden, and the cottage was abandoned to a sisterhood of doves, who mourned perpetually for their lost princess. The place was desolate, yet there had been no sudden desertion of it. For many months no news had been heard of the Argonauts. They were considerably overdue: the sages of Dreamland shook their grizzly heads. They were just as sage and shaky in those days as in these degenerate times. The maids of the hamlet wept for a season, then turned from sorrowing, dried their tears, took unto themselves new lovers, and the world wagged well in Dreamland.

But Maud was a truer soul than any amongst them: she prayed hourly for Jason's prosperity, and was trusting and hopeful until it seemed almost that something had whispered to her the fate of the voyagers. Then she mourned night and day: she went into retirement with the sweet-faced nuns at the headland, whose secluded life had ever been very grateful to her. She gave out of her bounty to all who asked, and rested not then, but sought the sick and the suffering, and they were comforted, and blessed her who had blessed them. They began to think her half an angel in Dreamland, and it seemed as though she were not made for this world at all. The same thing happens now occasionally, and in this way we acknowledge our shortcomings before our fellow-men and women when we find some one considerably above the average who shames us into confessing it. I hope the Recording Angel is within hearing at these precious moments.

The world certainly possessed no charms for one of Maud's temperament: it never did possess any for her. She was as out of place in it as a mourning dove in a city mob. Her spirit sought tranquillity, and she found it in the serene and changless convent life. You and I might seek in vain for anything like peace of spirit in such a place: we [pg 186] might find it a stale and profitless imprisonment; and perhaps it speaks badly for both of us that it is so. The violet finds its silent cell in the earth-crevice by the hidden spring a sufficient refuge, and rejoices in it, but the sea-grass that has all its life tossed in the surges would think that a very dull sort of existence. There are human violets in the world, and human sunflowers and poppies, and doves also, and apes and alligators; and some of them come within one of being inhuman; and sometimes that one drops out, and the inhuman swallows up the human.

Maud was the mourning dove seeking its bower of shade: she used to fancy herself a nun, and followed the prescribed duties of the house as faithfully as Sister Grace herself. She knelt in the little chapel of the convent till her back ached and her knees were lame, but it was a never-failing joy in time of trouble, and her time of tremble had come. Maud said many prayers before an altar of exceeding loveliness, where fresh flowers seemed to breathe forth an unusual fragrance. There was a statue of the Virgin, said to possess some miraculous qualities: tradition whispered that on two or three occasions the expression on the face of the statue had been seen to change visibly. Maud heard of this, and was very eager to witness the miracle, for it was thought to be nothing less than miraculous by the good Sisters. She bowed before the altar for hours, and dreamed of the marble face till she seemed to see its features smiling upon her and its small, slim hand beckoning her back to prayer. She grew nervous and pale and almost ill with watching and waiting, and at last was found prostrate and insensible at the foot of the statue, overcome with excitement and exhaustion. When she grew better she vowed she had seen the head bowing to her, and the hands spread over her in benediction: no one could deny it, for she was alone in the chapel. After that there was a feast of lilies at the convent, and Maud became Sister Somebody or other, and never again set foot beyond the great gates of the convent wall.

The consecration was doubtless a blessing to her, for she was happy in her new home, and found a sphere of usefulness that employed her hours to the best advantage. Moreover, she grew to be a sensible nun, and ceased to look for supernatural demonstrations in the neighborhood of the chapel. She grew hearty, and was cheerful, and sang at her work, and prayed with more honesty and less sentiment. Her life was as placid as a river whose waters are untroubled by tempestuous winds, and upon her bosom light cares, like passing barges, left but a momentary wake.

As Maud mused in her cell one day, through the narrow barred window she caught a glimpse of the burnished sea bearing upon its waves a weather-beaten barque inward bound. There was danger that her mind might wander off, piloted by her dreamy and worshipful eyes. She arose, drew across the opening a leathern curtain, and returned with undisturbed complacence to her prayers.


Jason, having among his freights the veritable golden fleece, still coursed the seas, but beheld with rapture the fair outlines of the Dreamland coast traced in the far blue and mysterious horizon. The wind freshened: hour after hour they were nearing port, and as the whole familiar picture grew more and more distinct, Jason saw the convent towers looming like a great shadow, and afterward the sunny slope whereon the rose-garden grew.

The manner of his quitting the barque before she was fairly within communication with the shore was hardly worthy of his calling. I forbear to dwell upon this exhibition of human weakness, for almost any one in Jason's shoes would have been equally regardless of the regulations, and in consequence proportionally unseamanlike.

With soiled garments and unshorn beard Jason ran to the hill. No one of the idlers in port recognized the returned wanderer, and he assured himself of the fact before venturing upon his visit to the dove-cot where Maud dwelt, for he wished to gaze upon her from afar, and in silence to worship her, unknown and unregarded. When he reached the wicket, breathless with haste and excitement, he at once beheld the ruin of his hopes—the thistles in the paths, the roses overgrown and choked with weeds, the sad and general decay. Jason smote his breast in a paroxysm of despair, while the doves fluttered out from the porch of the cottage in amazement at the approach of a human foot to their domains.

What could it mean? he asked himself again and again, while suspicions taunted him almost to madness. Up and down that disordered garden he paced like a ghostly sentinel; the doves fluttered to and fro, and were dismayed; the night-winds came in from the chilly sea, and the dews gathered in his beard. Through the deepening dusk he beheld the lights of the little town below him: across the solemn silence floated the clear notes of the vesper-bell. Jason turned toward the tower on the headland. A single ray of light stealing from one of the high, narrow windows shot through the mist toward heaven. "The ladder of Jacob's dream," said Jason: "on it the angels are ascending and descending in their visitations. Oh that I, like Jacob, might receive intelligence from these!"

With the heaviest heart that ever burdened man he returned to the town and entered the open doors of the church, seeking a few moments of repose. An alien in his own land and unwelcomed of any, Jason sought the good priest and learned the fate of Maud. She was dead to the world and to him. It was but the realization of his fears, and he was in some measure prepared for it; yet the best part of the man was killed with the force of that blow. His only hope was gone. He set his house in order, like one about to leave it, never to return: his golden fleece was made over to enrich the convent, and, as the magnanimous offering of a homelesss and nameless voyager, it delights the happy creatures within those walls, and the shrine of the Virgin was made more [pg 187] wonderfully beautiful than it is possible to conceive.

That night Jason walked in the shadow of the lofty walls and poured out his sorrowful prayers upon the winds that swept about them. Once in his agony he beat at the massive gates, demanding in the name of God and of mercy admittance for a lost soul that had no shelter save under that roof, and no salvation away from it; but his bleeding hands made no impression upon the ponderous doors, and the silent inmates at prayer heard nothing save their own whispers, or dreamed in their cells of heaven and of peace.

So the cry of that hopeless soul rang up to the stars unanswered, and the night frowned down upon him with impenetrable darkness.

End of the tragedy of Jason's Quest, which might easily have been a pleasant comedy if Maud had only spoken her mind in the right place. Will women never learn—since God has given them the same instincts with man, to love, to trust, to doubt, to hate and to make themselves at times disagreeable, even with a more complete success than men in each of these lines of dramatic business—that God must have intended also that they should have the equal right to choose the particular object upon which they may exercise those various offices of love, trust, etc., etc.? I shall never cease to wonder why they are persistently and stupidly silent through six thousand years, content to let their hearts wither and die within them, or surrender at last to the wretched apology for a lover who offers himself as a substitute, and is surprised at rinding himself accepted.

To be sure, it is less dramatic. Jason might have come back and married Maud: there would have been a pretty wedding and some delightful hours before things grew dull and commonplace, as they must have done ultimately. That rose-garden would have come to grief when once the children got to playing in it; Jason, on some tedious afternoon, when overhauling old letters [pg 188] and the like, would have thrown out that withered rose (of precious memory), quite forgetful of its significance; Maud would have lost her myrtle leaf in house-cleaning. Yet what were the odds? A withered rose and a myrtle leaf are scarcely worth the keeping.

You will remember how it turned out in the days of the gods: Jason wearied of Medea and the children; Medea was disgusted with such conduct, and behaved like a savage; there was general unhappiness in the family; and I blush for my sex—which is Jason's—whenever I think of it. Now, if my Jason had married his Maud, it would have scarcely been worth noticing beyond the simple register in the Daily Dreamlander, after having been thrice published from the pulpit between the Gospel and the Creed—"Jason to Maud."

As Jason was not heard of after the windy night under the wall of the convent, there were many surmises concerning his disappearance. It was thought that he had again embarked upon some voyage of discovery. I believe he had, and it was a desperate one for him. The other Argonauts married such maids as were left unmarried, and they did well to do so. Some of the old sweethearts regretted their haste, and looked enviously upon the new brides of Dreamland; but most of them were satisfied with their children, and contented with such husbands as Heaven had sent them.

Life grew slow in the little drowsy seaport; the old tales of the Symplegades were stale and tedious; the Argonauts had become spiritless and corpulent and lazy. One night a great gale swept in from the sea: the earth fairly trembled under the repeated shocks of the breakers. Old people looked troubled and young people looked scared, and on the worst night of all the convent bell was heard to toll, and then everybody feared something dreadful was happening to the nuns, and everybody lay still and hoped it would soon be over. The nuns wondered who rang the bell; and when every one had denied all knowledge of it, it was known that most likely the devil had rung it, for it was a dreadful night, and such a one as he best likes to be out in.

In the morning, when the wind and the sea had gone down somewhat, the wreckers found a stark corpse among the rocks under the headland, lying with its face to the tower. It was dreadfully mangled: no one could identify it as being any one in particular, and it was impossible to know whether death had occurred by accident or intentionally; so it was shrouded and put away out of Christian burial in the common field of the unfortunate. The nuns sang a requiem, as was their custom, and Maud prayed earnestly for all followers of the sea; and the echo of her miserere is the saddest line in the story of Jason's Quest.



What weight is this which presses on my soul?

Powerless to rise, I sink amidst the dust:

The days in solemn cycle o'er me roll,

While, praying, I can only wait and trust.

—Trust the dear Hand that all my life has led

Through pastures green, by waters pure and still:

If now He leads me through dark ways and dread,

Shall I dare murmur, whatsoe'er His will?


[pg 189]

There is nothing in England at the present day much more distinctly an institution of that country than its deer-parks. Although it seems probable that the Saxons had some sort of enclosed or partially enclosed chases where deer were hunted or taken in the toils, the regular and systematic enclosure of parks would appear to have come in with the Normans. According to the old Norman law, no subject could form a park without a grant from the Crown, or immemorial prescription, which was held presumptive evidence of such a grant.

On the Continent there would appear to have been much more strictness in this respect than in England. "In April, 1656," says Reresby in his travels, "I returned to Saumur, where I stayed two months: then I went to Thouars in Brittany, where the duke of Trémouille hath his best house. Thouars is looked upon as one of the best manors in all France, not so much for profit (a great extent of land there sometimes affording not much rent), but for greatness of tenure; five hundred gentlemen, it is said, holding their lands from it. Going to wait on the duke, I found him very kind when I told him my country, the late earl of Derby having married his sister.1 He commanded me to dine with him, and the next time mounted me upon one of his horses to wait on him a-hunting in his park, which, not being two miles about, I thought of little compass to belong to so great a person, till I found that few are allowed to have any there save the princes of the blood. So true is it that there are more parks in England than in all Europe besides."

A large park would appear to have been among the many luxuries of the princely Medici, for Reresby says: "Ten miles from Florence the duke hath another country-house, nothing so considerable in itself as in its situation, standing betwixt several hills on one side, covered with vines and olive trees, and a valley divided into many walks by rows of trees leading different ways: one leads to a park where the great duke hath made a paddock course by the direction of Signior Bernard Gascoigne, an Italian, who, having served our late king in his wars, carried the pattern from England. Near to this house, Poggio-Achaiano, is another park, the largest in Italy, or rather chase, said to be thirty miles in compass."

Foremost amongst English parks is Windsor. The immense tracts by which Windsor was formerly surrounded consisted of park and forest. Windsor Forest has gradually diminished in size. In the time of Charles I. it contained twelve parishes, and probably covered not less than 100,000 acres. According to a survey in 1789-92, it amounted to 59,600 acres, of which the enclosed property of the Crown amounted to 5454. Like all the other forests in England, it has been much encroached on, and now consists of only some 1450 acres adjoining Windsor Great Park. The rest of the land formerly composing it has been sold or leased. Enough of the forest remains, in conjunction with the park, to enable the visitor to make many delightful excursions. The most agreeable way of seeing this sylvan country is on horseback. Perhaps nowhere in the world can one get a more delicious canter. By a little management it is easy to take a ride of twenty-five miles without more than a couple of miles off the turf. In 1607 the Great Park was stated at 3650 acres: it consists now of about one thousand acres less.

The principal royal park in modern days, next to Windsor, is Richmond. [pg 190] This covers more than two thousand acres, and, thanks to the railway, may almost be regarded as a lung of London, being only eight miles distant from the city. Richmond Park is as replete as Windsor with historical association, and came into especial importance in the reign of Charles I. That king, who was excessively addicted to the sports of the field, had a strong desire to make a great park, for red as well as fallow deer, between Richmond and Hampton Court, where he had large wastes of his own, and great parcels of wood, which made it very fit for the use he designed it for; but as some parishes had rights of commonage in the wastes, and many gentlemen and farmers had good houses and farms intermingled with them which they had inherited or held on lease, and as, without including all these, the park would not be large enough for Charles's satisfaction, the king, who was willing to pay a very high price, expected people to gratify him by parting with their property. Many did so, but—like the blacksmith of Brighton who utterly refused to be bought out when George IV. was building his hideous pavilion, and the famous miller of Potsdam, that Mordecai at the gate of Sans Souci—"a gentleman who had the best estate, with a convenient house and gardens, would by no means part with it, and made a great noise as if the king would take away men's estates at his own pleasure." The case of this gentleman and his many minor adherents soon caused a regular row. The lord treasurer, Juxon, bishop of London, who accompanied Charles to the scaffold, and other ministers were very averse to the scheme, not only on account of the hostile feeling it had evoked, but because the purchase of the land and making a brick wall of ten miles around it, which was what the king wanted, was a great deal too costly for his depleted exchequer. However, Charles, with his usual fatal obstinacy, would not hear of abandoning the scheme, and told Lord Cottington, who did his utmost to dissuade him from it, "he was resolved to go through with it, and had already caused brick to be burned and much of the wall to be built." This beginning of the wall before people consented to part with their land or common rights, increased the public feeling on the subject, and, happening at a time when public opinion was growing strongly against arbitrary rule, was no doubt one of the circumstances which contributed to Charles's fall.

George II. and Queen Caroline lived much at Richmond, and the interview between Jeanie Deans and Her Majesty took place here. Jeanie, it will be remembered, told her ducal friend that she thought the park would be "a braw place for the cows"—a sentiment similar to that of Mr. Black's Highland heroine, Sheila, who pronounced it "a beautiful ground for sheep."

The practice of hunting deer in a park, now quite a thing of the past, appears to have been very prevalent at Richmond during this reign, and apparently was attended with considerable risk. In a chronicle of 1731 we read:

"August 13, 1731. The royal family hunted a stag in Richmond new park: in the midst of the sport, Sir Robert Walpole's horse fell with him just before the queen's chaise, but he was soon remounted, and Her Majesty ordered him to bleed by way of precaution.

"Aug. 28, 1731. The royal family hunted in Richmond Park, when the Lord Delaware's lady and Lady Harriet d'Auverquerque, daughter to the earl of Grantham, were overturned in a chaise, which went over them, but did no visible hurt. Mr. Shorter, one of the king's huntsmen, had a fall from his horse, and received a slight contusion in his head.

"Sept. 13, 1731. Some of the royal family and persons of quality hunted a stag in Richmond Park. A stag gored the horse of Coulthorp Clayton, Esq., and threw him. The Lady Susan Hamilton was unhorsed.

"Sept. 14, being Holy Rood Day, the king's huntsmen hunted their free buck in Richmond new park with bloodhounds, according to custom."

It will be noted that this sport took place at a season when no hunting is now done in England.

There are two other small royal parks within a walk of Richmond—Bushy and Hampton Court. Both contain magnificent trees.

The New Forest is now the only royal appanage of the kind, and the House of Hanover has never made use of it for hunting purposes, although the Stuart kings were very fond of going there. It was to enjoy this territory that Charles II. commenced the magnificent palace at Winchester, the finished portions of which are now used as barracks. Nell Gwyn's quarters at the deanery are still shown. Up to 1779 there was a great tract of royal forest-ground near London, on the Essex side, known as Enfield Chase, containing numbers of deer. If we remember rightly, it is alluded to in The Fortunes of Nigel.

There are many more parks in the south than in the north of England—a circumstance which is remarkable, having regard to the wilder character of the ground in the former.

According to a valuable work on parks published a few years ago by Mr. Shirley, a large landed proprietor, there are three hundred and thirty-four parks still stocked with deer in the different counties of England, and red deer are found in about thirty-one. It is supposed that the oldest is that attached to Eridge Castle, near that celebrated and most ancient of English watering-places, Tonbridge Wells, in Sussex. It is very extensive, and there are no less than ninety miles of grass drives cut through the park and woods. Almost the largest park is that attached to the present duke of Marlborough's famous seat, Blenheim. A large proportion of this magnificent demesne formed part of Woodstock Chase, a favorite hunting-seat of British sovereigns from an early date up to the time of Queen Anne. It was then granted by the Crown to the hero of Blenheim, far more fortunate in respect of the nation's gift than the hero of Waterloo, whose grant of lands lay in a swamp which it cost him a little fortune to drain. Next to Blenheim, in point of size, stands [pg 191] Tatton in Cheshire, the seat of Lord Egerton. It contains 2500 acres, and the portion appropriated to deer is far larger than at Blenheim. Tatton is from ten to eleven miles around.

Another extensive park, 1500 acres, is that at Stowe, the duke of Buckingham's. When in 1848 the family misfortunes reached a climax which necessitated the sale of everything in Stowe House, the deer in the park were sold off. But twenty-five years have rolled by, and restored in a great degree the prosperity of the family. The duke is again living at his splendid ancestral seat, is by degrees restoring to their former home as the opportunity offers many of its scattered treasures, and has restocked the park with deer.

Two parks pre-eminently famous for the magnificence of their oak timber are Keddleston, Lord Scarsdale's, in Derbyshire, and Bagot's Park, Lord Bagot's, in Staffordshire. The latter, which contains a thousand acres, is a very ancient enclosure. It contains, besides the deer, a herd of wild goats said to have been presented by Richard II. to an ancestor of the present owner.

Parks vary from a paddock of twenty-one acres to twenty-eight hundred, but the most usual dimensions are from one hundred and fifty to four hundred acres. For a multum in parvo of beautiful park scenery the traveler in search of these charming specimens of the picturesque may be advised to take a tour in Herefordshire and Worcestershire; and if he be a horseman he will do well to ride through the country. "Anyone," says Mr. Shirley, "who ascends the steep crest of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, and looks down from the summit of the ridge on the western side of the hills upon the richly wooded and beautifully undulating country which lies stretched beneath as far as the mountains of South Wales, would at once be struck with the 'bosky' nature of the scenery, and its perfect adaptation for the formation of deer-parks and sylvan residences."

Grimsthorpe, Lady Aveland's (inherited from the dukes of Ancaster, extinct); Thoresby, Earl Manvers's, formerly the [pg 192] duke of Kingston's, father of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; and Knowsley, Lord Derby's, are also very large parks.

A writer on Grimsthorpe in 1774 says: "On a former visit I was told that the park was sixteen miles and three quarters in circumference, and esteemed the largest in England: since then it has, nevertheless, been somewhat enlarged, but different spots in it are cultivated."

A few parks have been created and others restocked during the present century. In Norfolk, Lord Kimberley, the present secretary of state for the colonies, has restored the deer which were removed during the present century, saying, it is reported, that "a place is not a place without deer"—a sentiment shared by many of his countrymen regarding an ancient grand-seigneur home. In the same county a new park has been created at Sandringham, the seat of the prince of Wales, the deer having been brought from Windsor. Sandringham Park and Woods were half a century ago a sandy waste, but fell into judicious hands and were admirably planted. The modern history of the place is remarkable. Toward the close of the century it became the property of a French refugee, Mr. Matou. This gentleman having been driven from his native country by the Revolution, conceived somehow the idea of importing from Sicily immense quantities of rabbit skins, which were used for making hats of a cheap kind which passed for beaver. In this way he acquired a large fortune. In England he mixed in the best society, and became very intimate with Earl Cowper, first husband of the well-known Lady Palmerston, and at his death bequeathed Sandringham to the Honorable Spencer Cowper, that nobleman's younger son, who married Lady Blessington's stepdaughter, Lady Harriet Gardiner, after her divorce from Count d'Orsay. When the prince of Wales was casting round for a country-seat, Sandringham was selected. Lord Palmerston was then in office, and some ill-natured things were said as to the sale of his stepson's place having been a much better thing for Mr. Cowper than for the prince of Wales. Vast sums have since been spent here.

Where a deer-park has long existed on his paternal estate, it goes to an Englishman's heart to give it up. An incident in point occurred about twenty years ago. In a secluded part of Devonshire, approached by the narrow, high-hedged, tortuous lanes characteristic of that part of the country, stands a magnificent old Tudor mansion known as Great Fulford Hall. Here for upward of six hundred years have been seated the Fulfords, a family of Saxon origin, the rivals of the Tichbornes in antiquity. The mansion of Fulford was garrisoned by Charles I., and taken by a detachment of Cromwell's army in 1645. The marks they left behind them may be seen to this day. The Fulfords have supporters to their arms, a very rare circumstance in the case of commoners. These supporters are two Saracens, and were granted in consideration of services in the Crusades. "Sir Baldwin de Fulford fought a combat with a Saracen, for bulk and bigness an unequal match (as the representation of him cut in the wainscot at Fulford doth plainly shew), whom yet he vanquished, and rescued a lady." This gentleman's granddaughter was the mother of Henry VIII.'s favorite, Russell, first earl of Bedford, and the Fulfords are connected with a hundred other ancient and honorable houses. But for a long time the heads of the house have failed "to marry money;" and when this happens for two or three generations in the case of a country gentleman with a large family to portion off, the result must usually be impecuniosity. Thus, when the late Mr. Fulford succeeded to the family property in 1847, he found himself the owner of a majestic old dilapidated mansion, surrounded by a deer-park, which had been gradually growing less until the portion of the park devoted to this purpose was little more than a big field.

Like his ancestor in the time of "the troubles," Mr. Baldwin Fulford was a Conservative, and had been very useful to his party. It was intended, therefore, to reward his services when the time came by a county office, which would have placed him at ease pecuniarily. When this office fell vacant the Tories were "in," and all seemed secure for Mr. Fulford's interest. But there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip. A gentleman applied to the prime minister for the place for a friend of his, whose services to the party he duly dilated on. "I understood," said his lordship, "that Mr. Fulford's claims are considered paramount." "Mr. Fulford!" was the rejoinder. "I scarcely thought that such a place as this would be an object to Mr. Fulford—a gentleman of great position, with a deer-park and all that sort of thing." "A deer-park! You surprise me. I understood that Mr. Fulford's circumstances were extremely reduced. This alters the matter." Unfortunately, the, minister committed himself too far to draw back before making inquiries, when he learned that a deer-park having existed at Fulford for some four or five centuries, its owner had kept as a memento of grand old days a little remnant of the herd in a paddock, as before mentioned. He never recovered the blow of this disappointment. The heir to the property is, we believe, a son of the late bishop of Montreal. The family motto is "Bear up"—one eminently suited to its present condition, and we may hope that it will be followed so successfully that this ancient stock, which has held for so long a high place among the worthies of Devon, may once more win the smiles of Fortune.

Many of the most picturesque parks are but little known, lying as they do remote from railway stations. Mr. Nesfield, the great landscape-gardener, considers that Longleat, the marquis of Bath's, near Warminster, has greater natural advantages than any park in England, and that these have been made the most of.

Lord Stamford's park of Bradgate, in Leicestershire, is in the highest degree interesting. It is mostly covered with the common fern or brakes, and the projecting bare and abrupt rocks rising here and there, with a few gnarled and shivered oaks in the last stage of decay, [pg 193] present a scene of wildness and desolation in striking contrast to some of the beautiful adjoining valleys and fertile country.

Another gem of its kind is Ugbrook. This is situated a few miles from the Newton-Abbot station of the South Devon Railway, and lies in a rocky nook on the confines of Dartmoor. Macaulay, whose brother was vicar of the neighboring parish of Bovey-Tracey, knew it well, and tells us in his History that Clifford (a member of the Cabal ministry) retired to the woods of Ugbrook. He was a lucky man to have such paternal acres to retire to, but probably the visitor to-day sees this park in a condition which Charles's minister would indeed have enjoyed. There is no place in England where a man may feel more grateful to those who have gone before him for their taste and forethought in creating a sylvan paradise. Although not very large, this park contains almost every variety of scenery. There is a grove gloomy from the heavy shadows of the magnificent trees which compose it, glorious avenues of lime and beech, and monarch-like trees, which, standing alone amid an expanse of sward, show to the fullest advantage their superb proportions. Entering the park on one side, the road winds beside a river, to which the bank gently slopes on the one hand, whilst on the other it rises precipitately, clad with the greenest foliage. An especial feature of this place is what is known as "the riding park," a stretch of smooth turf extending some miles, from which you may get a view over thirty miles, with the rocky heights of Dartmoor Forest, where the autumn manoeuvres take place this year, on the one hand, and the Haldon Hills on the other. This ancient heritage is still the property of the Cliffords, the present peer being eighth baron in direct descent from the lord treasurer. The Cliffords have always remained constant to the Roman Catholic faith, and a Catholic chapel adjoins the mansion.

A discriminating foreign tourist writes of Lord Hill's park, Hawkstone, in Shropshire, which, also lying rather off [pg 194] the beaten track, is comparatively little known: "I must in some respects give Hawkstone the preference over all I have seen. It is not art nor magnificence nor aristocratic splendor, but Nature alone to which it is indebted for this pre-eminence, and in such a degree that were I gifted with the power of adding to its beauty, I should ask, What can I add? Imagine a spot so commandingly placed that from its highest point you can let your eye wander over fifteen counties. Three sides of this wide panorama rise and fall in constant change of hill and dale like the waves of an agitated sea, and are bounded at the horizon by the strangely formed, jagged outline of the Welsh mountains, which at either end descend to a fertile plain shaded by thousands of lofty trees, and in the obscure distance, where it blends with the sky, is edged with a white misty line—the Atlantic Ocean."

Moor Park, in Hertfordshire, is remarkable for the following tradition concerning it: In Charles II.'s reign it was bought by the duke of Monmouth, whose widow—she who

In pride of youth, in beauty's bloom,

Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb—

is said to have ordered the heads of the trees in the park to be cut off on being informed of her husband's execution. This tradition is strengthened by the condition of many of the oaks here, which are decayed from the top. The duchess sold the place in 1720, thirty-five years after the duke's death. This is the Moor Park of apricot fame, but not the one where Sir William Temple lived when Swift was his secretary.

Most of the oldest and finest trees in England are naturally to be found in the deer-parks. At Woburn, the duke of Bedford's, is the largest ash—ninety feet high and twenty-three feet six inches in circumference at the base. The Abbot's Oak, on which the last abbot was hung, stands, or lately stood, here. It is remarkable that oaks are more often struck by lightning than any other trees. At Tortworth, Lord Ducie's, in Gloucestershire, is a chestnut asserted to have been a boundary tree in the time of King John. So late as 1788 it produced great quantities of chestnuts. At five feet from the ground this tree measured fifty feet in circumference.

The lover of fine trees should wander through the glades of Lord Leigh's park at Stoneleigh, in Warwickshire, where tall and shapely oaks grow with such symmetry that you do not guess their size, and are surprised to discover on measuring them how great it is.

Oh, how I love these solitudes

And places silent as the night—

There where no thronging multitudes

Disturb with noise their sweet delight!

Oh, how mine eyes are pleased to see

Oaks that such spreading branches bear,

Which, from old Time's nativity,

And th' envy of so many years,

Are still green, beautiful and fair

As at the world's first day they were!

Writing of the confines of the ancient forest of Sherwood, Mr. Howitt says of those sylvan delights: "The great woods have fallen under the axe, and repeated enclosures have reduced the open forests, but at the Clipstone end still remains a remnant of its ancient woodlands, unrifled except of deer—a specimen of what the whole once was, and a specimen of consummate beauty and interest. The part called Bilhaghe is a forest of oaks, and is clothed with the most impressive aspect of age that can be presented to the eye in these kingdoms. Stonehenge does not give you a feeling of greater eld, because it is not composed of a material so easily acted on by the elements. But the hand of Time has been on these woods, and has stamped them with a most imposing character. The tempests, lightnings, winds and wintry violence of a thousand years have flung their force on these trees, and there they stand, trunk after trunk, scathed, hollow, gray, gnarled, stretching out their bare, sturdy arms, or their mingled foliage and ruin, a life in death. All is gray and old. The ground is gray beneath, the trees are gray with clinging lichens—the very heather and fern that spring beneath them have a character of the past. If you turn aside and step amongst them, your feet sink in a depth of moss and dry vegetation that is the growth of ages, or rather that ages have not been able to destroy. You stand and look round, and in the height of summer all is silent: it is like the fragment of a world worn out and forsaken. These were the trees under which King John pursued the red deer six hundred years ago, these were the oaks beneath which Robin Hood led up his bold band of outlaws.... Advance up this long avenue, which the noble owner of the forest tract has cut through it, and, looking right and left as you proceed, you will not be able long to refrain from turning into the tempting openings that present themselves. Enter which you please, you cannot be wrong. These winding tracks, just wide enough for a couple of people on horseback or in a pony phaeton, carpeted with a mossy turf which springs under your feet with a delicious elasticity, and closed in with shadowy trunks and flowery thickets—are they not lovely?"

In the time of Elizabeth the largest park in Warwickshire, and one of the very finest in England, was that which surrounded the castle rendered classic ground by the immortal limning of Scott—Kenilworth. In a survey taken in the time of James I. it is stated that "the circuit of the castle mannours, parks and chase lying round together contain at least nineteen or twenty miles in a pleasant country, the like both for strength, state and pleasure not being within the realme of England." Kenilworth came to an end in Cromwell's time, a period very unfavorable to these sylvan paradises. He had the park cut up and divided amongst various grantees. How much damage was done to the park interest by the civil wars the following extract from the Life of Margaret, duchess of Newcastle, attests: "Of eight parks which my lord had before the wars, there was but one left that was not quite destroyed—viz. Welbeck Park of about four miles compass; for my lord's brother, Sir Charles Cavendish, who bought out the life of my lord in that lordship, saved most part of it from being cut down; and in Blore Park there were some few deer left. The rest of the parks were totally defaced [pg 195] and destroyed, both wood, pales and deer; amongst which was also Clipston Park of seven miles compass, wherein my lord had taken much delight formerly, it being rich of wood, and containing the greatest and tallest timber trees of all the woods he shad; insomuch that only the pale-row was valued at two thousand pounds. It was watered by a pleasant river that runs through it, full of fish and otters; was well stocked with deer, full of hares, and had great store of partridges, poots, pheasants, etc., besides all sorts of water-fowl; so that this park afforded all manner of sports, for hunting, hawking, coursing, fishing, etc., for which my lord esteemed it very much. And although his patience and wisdom is such that I never perceived him sad or discontented for his own losses and misfortunes, yet when he beheld the ruins of that park I observed him troubled, though he did little express it, only saying he had been in hopes it would not have been so much defaced as he found it, there being not one timber tree in it left for shelter."

The number of deer-parks in Scotland and Ireland is small. The principal park in the former is that of the duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace, near Edinburgh. At Hamilton, belonging to the duke of that ilk, are wild cattle similar to those at Chillingham.

A wonderfully picturesque Irish park is Rockingham, the Hon. L. King Harinan's, in the county Roscommon. The traveler will observe this beautiful and very extensive demesne as he goes from Boyle to Sligo. It is at the foot of the Curlew Mountains, and contains a magnificent sheet of water surrounding an island on which stands an ancient castle, still inhabitable. At Strokestown, in the same county, is a small park, where Mr. Mahon, its former owner, planted many years ago all sorts of forest trees, to see how far the deer would eat them: the only tree they entirely avoided was the beech.

There is nothing grander in the three kingdoms than Lord Waterford's seat, Curraghmore. Taken with the adjoining woods, the demesne contains five [pg 196] thousand acres. The special feature of this superb place is grandeur; "not that arising from the costly and laborious exertions of man, but rather the magnificence of Nature. The beauty of the situation consists in the lofty hills, rich vales and almost impenetrable woods, which deceive the eye and give the idea of boundless forests. The variety of the scenery is calculated to please in the highest degree, and to gratify every taste."

At Lyme Park, the splendid old seat of the Leghs in Cheshire, "a very remarkable custom," says Lysons, "of driving the red deer, which has not been practiced in any other park, either in England or abroad, was established about a century ago by an old park-keeper, who occupied that position for seventy years, dying at over one hundred years of age. It was his custom in May and June, when the animals' horns were tender, to go on horseback, with a rod in his hand, round the hills of this extensive park, and, having collected the deer, to drive them before him like a herd of common horned cattle, sometimes even opening a gate for them to pass through. When they came to a place before the hall called the Deer-Clod, they would stand in a collected body as long as the spectators thought fit; the young ones following their dams, and the old stags rising one against another and combating with their fore feet, not daring at this season of the year to make use of their horns. At the command of the keeper they would then move forward to a large piece of water and swim through the whole length of it, after which they were allowed to disperse."

Following the example of the abbots, many of the bishops formerly had deer-parks, and up to 1831 the bishop of Durham, a prince-palatine in his diocese, had a park at his country-seat, still his residence, Bishops-Auckland; but now the only prelate enjoying this distinction is the bishop of Winchester, at Farnham Castle, in Hampshire.

"There are some," says a writer in an early number of the Westminster Review, "who enclose immense possessions with walls and gates, and employ keepers with guns to guard every avenue to the vast solitudes by which they choose to be surrounded. Let such men pitch their tents in the deserts of Sahara or the wild prairies of America. What business have they here in the midst of a civilized community, linked together by chains of mutual obligation and dependence?" These observations apply to few private parks now-a-days. Permission to drive, ride or walk through them is rarely refused. Almost the only cases where there is much strictness in this respect are those of parks situated near a great watering place, such as Brighton or Tonbridge Wells. Thus, at the former, Lord Chichester's rule is that all persons on horseback or in carriages may pass through his ground, but foot-passengers are not allowed. The late Lord Abergavenny, a man of very shy and retiring disposition, was the least liberal park-owner in England. The gates of his superb demesne of Eridge very rarely revolved on their hinges; and this was the more remarkable, inasmuch as he did not reside there more than three months in the year. The story was told that at his accession to the property he had been more liberal, but that one day he was seated at luncheon alone when, suddenly looking up, he observed to his horror three proletarians flattening their noses against the window-pane, and gaping with exasperating interest at the august spectacle of a live lord at luncheon. To pull the bell and issue an order for the immediate removal of the intruders was, in the graphic language of the dime novel, the work of a moment; and from that hour the gates of Eridge were so rigorously sealed that it was often a matter of difficulty even for invited guests to obtain admittance.

It may seem very ill-natured sometimes to refuse admittance on easy terms to such places, and to act apparently in a sort of dog-in-the-manger spirit. But it should be borne in mind that the privilege when accorded has not unfrequently been abused, more especially by the "lower middle class" of the English people, [pg 197] whose manners are often very intrusive. Such persons will approach close to the house, peer into the windows of private apartments, or push in amongst the family and guests while engaged in croquet or other out-door amusements. Another common offence is leaving a disgusting débris lying about after a picnic in grounds which it costs the owners thousands of pounds yearly to keep in order. The sentiment from which such places are kept up is not that of vulgar display. They are hallowed by associations which are well depicted by the late Lord Lytton in an eloquent passage in Earnest Maltravers:

"It is a wild and weird scene, one of those noble English parks at midnight, with its rough forest-ground broken into dell and valley, its never-innovated and mossy grass overrun with fern, and its immemorial trees, that have looked upon the birth, and look yet upon the graves, of a hundred generations. Such spots are the last proud and melancholy trace of Norman knighthood and old romance left to the laughing landscapes of cultivated England. They always throw something of shadow and solemn gloom upon minds that feel their associations, like that which belongs to some ancient and holy edifice. They are the cathedral aisles of Nature, with their darkened vistas, and columned trunks, and arches of mighty foliage. But in ordinary times the gloom is pleasing, and more delightful than all the cheerful lawns and sunny slopes of the modern taste."


Footnote 1: (return) [This was the famous Charlotte de la Trémouille, so admirably portrayed by Scott in Peveril of the Peak. Her direct male heirs terminated in her grandson, the tenth earl, and she is now represented in the female line by the duke of Atholl, who through her claims descent from the Greek emperors.]



"Well, Abdallah, what have you in view that can tempt one to a ramble on such a breezeless morning as this?" was my question of the turbaned exquisite who had just presented himself on the balcony where we sat at sunrise inhaling the fragrant breath of a thousand flowers. We were at Singapore, that little ocean gem at the foot of the Malayan peninsula, where, fair as a pearl, she nestles in the crested coronet of the deep blue sea. The whole island is but twenty-seven miles long, with a width varying from three to twelve; but in no other area of such limited dimensions can the tourist find so much of enchanting beauty and picturesqueness, or such a variety of tropical products, as in this "garden of the East." Without mountains, but with its central peak of Bookit Timá rising about six hundred feet above the sea, the scenery is diversified with richly-wooded hills, evergreen dales, and luxuriant jungle-growth drooping over and reflecting its graceful fringes in many a little babbling brook. The fruits of the island are varied and luscious, the foliage perennial, and its myriads of flowers so gorgeously tinted, so redolent of balmy odors, that one is fairly bewildered with the superabundance of sweets. Of course we were nothing loath to tarry a few weeks on this fairy isle, and we gladly availed ourselves of the opportunity thus afforded to enrich our herbariums and sketchbooks with new specimens by making occasional excursions to the jungles, and now and then a picnic to some of the thirty smaller islands that surround Singapore. But as the foreign tourist in those enervating tropical regions is not slow to acquire the Oriental love of ease and inveterate aversion to fatigue even in pleasure-seeking, we usually left our Mussulman comprador to seek out [pg 198] objects of interest and report to us beforehand, thus saving us from the weariness of many a bootless expedition, and catering to the precise tastes and desires of each of us in the way of adding to our treasures.

On the morning in question Abdallah had just brought in the invariable morning coffee, served in the purest and tiniest of porcelain cups; and while we listlessly sipped the fragrant Mocha he seemed scanning our faces with more than usual interest, evidently expecting just such a question as I had asked. What a picture he was as he stood there in flowing robes and huge turban, with his jet black moustache and bronze-brown complexion, one small hand placed over the heart in token of his absolute devotion to the foreign sahibs, and his lithe, supple form leaning forward in the most obsequious attitude imaginable! His answer was characteristic:

"Well, Madam Sahib, I find much beautiful flower, but not all where lady sahib can go, unless she can ride in sampán. Some roads too small for palanquin, and lady sahib's satin slipper must not be soiled with dust or mud. But I engage one big sampán with six men to pull, and, if the foreign sahibs all please, we make one grand picnic to Pulo Nánas (Pineapple Island) and Pulo Panjan. They can ride first to where boat is waiting, visit Pulo Nánas, take breakfast under orange tree, see much fine fruit trees, and then go to Pulo Panjan, where I gave orders for dinner to be served for the sahibs."

"But pray tell us who is to serve it," laughingly responded one of our party. "Are we to have monkeys or wild squirrels for caterers? It must be one or the other, as I am sure I have been informed that neither of those islands are inhabited by human beings."

"No man there, true, sahib," was our Mussulman's ready rejoinder. "But I send small boat with two men to pull, and two cooks, with rice, fowls, and everything wanted for breakfast and dinner. I believe they already at Pulo Nánas, cooking breakfast; the palanquins are also at the door; and so, if it be the sahibs' pleasure, it is better to start before the sun gets very high."

All this certainly promised well for us pleasure-seekers, and was no doubt quite as satisfactory an arrangement for our scheming comprador, who always took care to add to every charge a very liberal commission for his own valuable services. We well knew that he was cheating us on a grand scale, but of what avail was such knowledge? We should gain nothing by discharging one who had at least the merit of being good-looking, well-mannered and pleasant-speaking, only to engage another less civil and probably no more honest. And in India all disbursements for personal and household expenses are made through these compradors or stewards—not of necessity, but because it is the custom of the country, and in the East one never rebels against established usage.

Our preparations were soon made: sketchbooks, drawing materials and covered baskets for specimens were transferred to the keeping of our faithful Mussulman, and we set out, anticipating a day of rare enjoyment. We were fortunate in securing the company of Mr. M——, the accomplished president of the Anglo-Chinese College, who had spent some thirty years in Singapore, and was well acquainted with its localities and objects of interest. He was like a complete volume with illustrations on everything pertaining to the East, could answer all manner of unheard-of questions about things that everybody else had forgotten, and had always ready an appropriate anecdote or story just to the point. His very dress was characteristic. It consisted of loose trousers of gray linen, and an old-fashioned white hunting-coat with Quaker collar, and huge pockets that would have answered very well for the saddle-bags of an itinerant surgeon. These were designed as receptacles for such stray "specimens" in botany, geology or conchology as he might chance to discover en route; while thrust into a smaller breast-pocket he carried a brace of huntsman's pistols, with antique powder-horn and shot-pouch slung over the shoulder. His hat was a Panama with low, round crown and a rim nearly as large as an ordinary umbrella. A Chinese youth, an orphan adopted by Mr. M—— years before, accompanied his patron in a full suit of yellow nankin made à la Chinoise, with broad-brimmed straw hat, long, braided queue, and the inevitable Chinese fan. The rest of us donned our white linen "fatigue suits," and leghorn hats of such vast dimensions as bade the wearers have no thought for umbrellas. Thus equipped, we were ready for all sorts of emergencies—climbing rocks, diving into jungles or wading through muddy creeks.

The drive was for the most part through spice plantations and groves of orange and palm, and, without delays, would have brought us in an hour's time to the coast. But we could not consent to press onward to the goal ahead without pausing for at least a glimpse of the many objects of interest on the way. First we strolled over a plantation of black pepper cultivated by Chinamen. The vine is a creeper with a knotty stem that if unpruned will reach the height of near thirty feet, but in order to render the vines more productive they are kept down to about a dozen or fifteen feet, and each is trained over a separate pole or prop. At each joint of the stem the plant puts out its fibrous tendrils, grasping the prop, and so climbing to the top. Whenever a vine happens to trail on the ground these tendrils, like strawberry "runners," shoot into the earth, but then they bear no fruit. The branches are short, brittle and easily broken, the leaves deep-green, heart-shaped and very abundant, and the blossom a cluster of small white flowers, almost destitute of odor. The fruit hangs in long clusters of some forty or fifty grains each, somewhat after the fashion of the wild grape, though much more diminutive in size. Until after it has reached its full size it is green, when at maturity of a bright red, and black only after it has become thoroughly dry. When the berries begin to redden the bunches are gathered and spread upon mats in the [pg 199] sun to dry: then the corns soon wither, turn black and drop from the stems, becoming thus the shriveled black pepper known in commerce. What is known among us as white pepper was formerly supposed to be a different species from the black; but the sole difference is in the curing, that intended for white pepper being placed in baskets under water until sufficiently swollen for the exterior pellicle to rub off by rolling in the hands after being again dried in the sun. The plants are propagated by cuttings, which are generally placed some six feet apart, sometimes being trained over the trunk of an old tree, and at others over a strong stake. The vines commence bearing the third year, and continue to do so for a dozen or more, when they are rooted up, new ones having been previously planted to take their places.

We next called at two gambier plantations, both owned and conducted by Chinamen who came to the island a few years before as common coolies. The gambier (Funis uncatis) was formerly called terra japonica, from being supposed to be an earth and to come from Japan. It is grown on sandy soil or dry hills, and requires very little labor in cultivation. It is a slender-stemmed, vine-like shrub with oval-shaped leaves and pale purplish flowers in clusters. The seeds germinate in forty days, and the seedlings are transplanted when about nine inches high. When full grown they reach a height of ten feet or more, and after the first year the leaves and branches are regularly gathered and prepared for the market. Men and boys were engaged in plucking the leaves and conveying them, in mat-bags suspended on each end of a bamboo staff, to the boiling-ground. Here they were boiled until the water was evaporated, and the inspissated juice deposited, which we afterward saw drying in little squares. It is a powerful astringent, having one-tenth more tannin than any other substance known. It is used by the natives as a dye, also as a salve for wounds and for chewing with betel-nut and tobacco, besides being largely exported to Europe for tanning [pg 200] leather and for dyeing. All through the gambier plantations, and in every department of the labor of preparing it for the boiler, I observed that not a female was to be seen, and on inquiring the reason was gravely told that gambier plants would not flourish if touched by a woman! "Sensitive plants" indeed, so readily to discern the difference between the handling of the two sexes!

Our next call was at a coffee plantation, where we saw sixty thousand young and healthy coffee trees, and two-thirds of them in a bearing condition, yielding in the aggregate not less than fifty thousand pounds of dry coffee per annum. The trees are beautifully formed, and rise naturally to the height of sixteen feet or more, but when under culture are kept at five or six feet for the convenience of collecting the ripe fruit. They are planted in rows, the leaves grow opposite each other, and many sessile flowers are produced at their insertion. The blossoms are pure white, and when the plants are in full bloom nothing can exceed their beauty or fragrance, the branches looking as if frosted with snow, while the air is filled with the delicate perfume. But the scene is brief as enchanting: the flowers fade a few hours after they are full blown, to be succeeded by tiny berries that are at first green, then a yellowish red, and finally ripen into a rich crimson or purple; after which, unless gathered at once, they shrivel and drop from the tree. This is about seven months after the blooms make their appearance. The pulp is torn off and separated from the seeds by means of a machine, and the grains, after being thoroughly washed, are dried in the sun and put up in bags. Chek Kongtwau, the Chinese proprietor of the plantation, not only walked with us over his grounds, and answered all our questions with exemplary patience, but insisted that we should go into the house, be presented to his wife and partake of a lunch. He regaled us with tea and coffee of his own growing and curing, excellent turtle steaks, boiled rice, and curry made of shrimps and cucumbers stewed together. For vegetables there were the Malay lobak, a tender white radish, and the cocoa-nut bud stewed in the milk of the ripe fruit; and as dessert we had placed before us, for the first time, the far-famed durian, so universal a favorite among Orientals as to command a higher price than any other fruit in market, yet so abominably disgusting in smell that the olfactories of few strangers can tolerate its approach. To me the odor seemed precisely that supposed to be produced by the admixture of garlic and assafoetida; and as a plate piled with the rich golden pulp was placed before me by our hostess, I came so near fainting as to be compelled to seek the open air. The old Chinaman followed me, and when he had learned the cause of my indisposition, laughed heartily, saying, "Wait a year or two. You have not been in the country long enough to appreciate this rare luxury. But when you have become initiated into a knowledge of its surpassing excellences, never an orange, pineapple or other fruit will you touch when a durian can be had."

Just as we were re-entering our palanquins, Chek Kongtwau inquired whether we had yet seen the anoo palm or sago tree, of which he said there was but a solitary specimen in the island, most of the sago manufactured at Singapore being brought in its crude state from the swamps of Sumatra. He told us the famous tree was several miles from his house, out of our direct route, but if we had time to visit it he would undertake to guide us safely through the jungle to and from the tree. We found it standing in solitary grandeur in a low swamp, and lifting its long pinnated leaves from the extreme top of a trunk full thirty feet high and twenty-eight inches in diameter. Its general appearance is not unlike the cocoa-nut palm. Our conductor called the sago tree sibla, but the Malays give it the name of rumbiga. They say that each tree, if kept properly pruned down, will produce at least five hundred pounds of pith per annum; but it soon degenerates if suffered to grow to any considerable height. The pith is soaked in large troughs of running water until it dissolves and afterward settles, the sand and heavy dirt sinking beneath it, and the fibres and scum floating on top. After being separated from these impurities the sago is dried, and then granulated by passing it through perforated plates till it becomes smooth and polished like so many pearls, when it is packed in boxes and bags for sale. We did not see the process that day, of course, but afterward at the large factory on the river a few miles above the settlement.

One more plantation, a grove of the stately areca-nut or betel trees, we determined to visit before taking the boat. The smooth road was bordered everywhere with the beautiful melastoma or Singapore rose, of perennial foliage and always in bloom, underneath acacias and palms; and the very earth was carpeted with beauty and fragrance enough to have formed the bridal-couch of a fairy queen. Over such a highway three miles were quickly made, and we alighted at the entrance of a narrow lane that led to the abode of Cassim Mootoo, the Malay owner and cultivator of the betel-nut plantation. At the outer door a stone monster of huge proportions and uncouth features kept guard against the uncanny spirits that are supposed to frequent out-of-the-way lanes and dreary passages. The planter received us pleasantly, accepted our apologies for troubling him, and offered to show us over the grounds. He was far less courtly in manners than the Chinese coffee-cultivator, to whom we should scarcely have ventured to offer a fee, while out of the Malay's cunning eyes there gleamed the evident expectation of a snug bonus of silver rupees, which he received as a matter of course when we bade him adieu, and having counted them over and jingled them for a moment in his fingers, he thrust them into his pouch as he re-entered the house.

We found the areca trees planted in rows, and growing to the height of some forty feet, with straight, branchless trunks, terminated at the top with ten or twelve pinnated leaves, each of which is full five feet long. The fruit grows in clusters immediately below the tuft of leaves. The outer shell is of a bright [pg 201] golden hue, that gradually deepens to crimson as the fruit matures, and when opened shows a brown, astringent nut about the size of a nutmeg. This is the portion chewed with chunám and tobacco all over the East; and its use is so universal that one seldom meets a man, woman or child of any Oriental nation whose mouth is not filled, always and everywhere, with the execrable mixture. Pepper leaves are sprinkled with chunám (lime) and rolled up: a slice of betel-nut with a quid of tobacco is placed in the mouth first, and then the rolled-up leaf is bitten off, and all masticated together. When a visitor calls the betel-box is immediately passed to him; and as in regard to the eating of salt in Western Asia, so, in the eastern and southern portions, those who have once partaken of betel-nut together are ever after sworn to faithful and undying friendship. The use of the areca-nut preserves the teeth from decay, but keeps them stained of a disgusting brick-red color.

On the outer edge of Cassim's plantation, where the soil was damp, we noticed several long rows of the nepah palm, generally known as attap, and extensively used for thatching houses in the East. It has the same huge pinnated leaves as most of the other palms, but is destitute of the long straight trunk, the leaves commencing from near the root, and the entire height being seldom more than twelve or fourteen feet. We saw also a few specimens of the hutan, a strange-looking palmate shrub with leaves fifteen feet long, which are generally used by the Malays for sails, in lieu of canvas, for their piratical proas. But the strangest of all the palms we saw was the talipát, so called from the Bali word talipoin, a priest; and the name was originally derived from the fact that the sacred fans used by Booddhist priests in their religious ceremonies are formed of its leaves. This fan is a prescribed item of clerical costume, and no conscientious Booddhist priest ever appears without this long-handled fan held directly in front of his face, to prevent the sacred countenance from coming [pg 202] in contact with anything unclean. The sacred books of the Booddhists and Brahmins are also written on the talipát palm leaves, as are many of their historical records and scientific works. This mammoth tree sometimes reaches the height of nearly two hundred feet, and its trunk the circumference of twelve feet. It lives to the age of nearly a century, but blossoms only a single time; during the whole period of its existence. The flower, some thirty feet in length, bursts with a loud explosion at maturity, and in dying scatters the seeds that are to produce the next generation of trees. A single leaf will sometimes measure forty feet in circumference; and it is no unusual sight on the Malabar coast, where storms are so fierce and sudden, to see ten or fifteen men finding shelter in a boat over which is spread a single; palm leaf, which effectually shields all from both wind and rain. When the storm has subsided the huge leaf may be folded up like a lady's fan, and is so light as to be readily carried by a man under one arm. The talipát never grows wild, it is said, as do most of the other palms; and it reaches its greatest perfection in the island of Ceylon. All that I ever met with were under cultivation, being tended and nursed with the utmost care. Indeed, half a dozen talipát palm trees are a fortune in themselves, the leaves being very profitable as merchandise, while a crop may be gathered every year during a long life, and then the tree be of sufficient value to be bequeathed to the heirs of the owner.

Bidding adieu to our Malayan host, we once more entered the palanquins, and in a little while were set down on the coast, where lay our sampán with flag hoisted and pennons gayly flaunting in the breeze. First we passed Battu Bliah, "the sailing rock"—so called from its fancied resemblance to a ship under widespread canvas; then around an abrupt projection of Erskine's Hill, in a narrow passage between Singapore and Baltan Máteo, we came in full view of the promontory upon the highest point of which is built the palace-bungalow of the old sultan-rajah who held sway over the island previous to its purchase by Sir Stamford Raffles for the British government, in 1819. The old rajah has passed away, but the bungalow is still occupied by his son, a pensioner on the English Crown, and one of the most daring pirates in all that region—successful enough to have achieved a fame for prowess, but too crafty ever to be caught.

At Pulo Nánas, where we were to lunch, we found the cloth was already laid on the green grass under the protecting shadow of a huge orange tree, whose ripe golden fruit offered a dainty dessert. We took our seats with the "professor" at the head, and were soon discussing the merits of boiled chicken, fried fish, omelette, oysters, turtle eggs and sundry fruits and confections with the zest created by seven hours of active exercise in the open air. Then came the reaction, inclining every one more to repose than research, and the hours would probably have been dreamed away barren of adventures, had it not been for our indomitable professor. We had missed him but a moment, when suddenly he reappeared, holding at arm's length what seemed in the distance about a dozen brown, scaly snakes a yard long, all strung together. Simultaneously the entire company sprang to their feet and started for a race as this regiment of frightful reptiles was thrust into their midst by the radiant "dominie," whose face was fairly aglow with mischief. "Where did they come from? What are you going to do with them?" exclaimed everybody at once, turning to look at the monsters as they lay passive and motionless where the professor had thrown them. "Give them to Saint Patrick, to keep company with those he drove out of the Emerald Isle; or we'll have them for dinner if you prefer," was the laughing response. Reassured by the non-combatant air of the dreaded reptiles, we ventured a nearer approach, and our astonishment may readily be imagined when we found not snakes, but simply a cluster of the pendent blossoms of the rattan tree (Arundo bambos), one of the strangest of all the floral products of the tropics. They hang from the tree in clusters usually of ten or twelve, each a yard or more in length, looking like a soldier's aigrettes suspended among the green leaves, or perhaps still more like a string of chestnut-colored scales threaded through the centre. Waving to and fro in the summer breeze, as I afterward saw them, intertwined with the graceful tendrils of the beautiful passion-flower with its rare feathery chalice of purple and gold, and flanked on every side by ferns of exquisite symmetry, reflecting their dainty fringes in the clear waters, the tout ensemble is one of radiant loveliness, seemingly too fair to be hidden away among lonely jungles.

Consigning our newly acquired treasure to the keeping of the comprador, we sauntered forth in search of other discoveries, and were richly rewarded by finding several perfect specimens of the monkey-cup or pitcher-plant (Nepenthes distillatoria). This plant is found in moist places, such as are suited to the growth of ferns, mangroves and palmate shrubs. It has pendent from each leaf a natural pitcher or elongated cup, growing perfectly upright and capable of holding a pint or more of liquid. It is provided also with a natural cover, which when closed prevents the ingress of leaves or rubbish falling from other trees. The most curious circumstance connected with this strange plant is, that it is nearly always found full of pure, sparkling water, and that the lid closes of itself as soon as the receptacle is full, and opens whenever it is empty. The water is thus protected from dust, and kept always fit for the use of thirsty travelers, as well as of the immense troops of monkeys that inhabit tropical jungles. When the dainty cup has been drained of its refreshing contents, this wonderful little plant again throws wide the portals of its exhausted receptacle for the free entrance of rain or dew. Another plant, one we had often heard of, and sought for without success, the so-called oyster tree, was found, and proved to be nothing very wonderful after all. It is simply [pg 203] an ordinary oyster or other shell-fish, that, tired of lying in the mud, concludes by way of variety to try swinging in the air for a while, and so fastens itself to the long, pendent branches of the mangroves that grow luxuriantly on the shores of most tropical islands.

There seeming to be no more objects of interest to detain us at Pulo Nánas, and our chuliahs having already gone on to prepare dinner at Pulo Panjan, we rallied our forces and followed suit. It was already four o'clock, and so near the equinoctial line, where there is no twilight, it is dark soon after six; but then Pulo Panjan was on our route homeward, and we should have time at least to dine and gather some of the beautiful flowers for which the island is famous, as well as to taste the white pineapple, a rare and exquisite variety that grows here in great abundance. Both rind and pulp are of a pale straw-color; hence the name, to distinguish this species from the ordinary golden-colored fruit, which is far inferior to the white. Those we obtained were magnificent specimens—large and juicy, with a flavor to tempt the appetite of the veriest epicure. Abdallah peeled them in such a way as to remove the bur entire, and brought them to our grassy "board" on pure white porcelain plates garnished with wreaths of fragrant flowers. Never were the gods feasted on nectar and ambrosia more divinely luscious than the white pines and golden mangoes, the rich juicy grapes and sparkling sherbet, with which we were regaled on that bright summer eve at the base of the old flagstaff towering above our heads.

We had not much time for roaming, but gathered whole handfuls of the lotus or water-lily, with its pale-blue, golden or rose-tinted blooms gleaming up from the sparkling waters like the fabled charms of mermaid or sea-nymph. There are many varieties of this exquisite flower—blue, pink, carnation, bright yellow, royal purple fringed with gold, and, more beautiful than all, pure, virgin white, with the faintest possible rose tinge in the centre of each section of the corolla, [pg 204] a just perceptible blush, as of its own conscious loveliness. This last variety is the royal flower of Siam: it is borne before the king at weddings, funerals and all state festivals, and the royal reception-rooms are always beautifully decorated with the young buds arranged in costly vases of exquisite workmanship. The costly silk and lace canopies over the cradles of the infants of the king's family are also made in the form of a lotus reversed; and it is said that in cases of fever or eruptive diseases the leaves of the fresh lotus are spread over the royal couches, as being not only sanitary, but more agreeable to the invalid than the ordinary linen or silk bedding. Guided by the rare rich perfume of its waxen buds, we found a choice specimen of the bride-like moon-creeper, and bore if off, vine, blooms and all, to a place among the floral adornments of our own home.

We reached home at eight o'clock, after a cruise, by sea and by land, of thirteen hours; but the day had been so replete with enjoyment that we scarcely felt conscious of fatigue, and were off again the next morning, soon after sun-rise, for a ride to Bookit Timá ("hill of tin"), the central and loftiest peak of Singapore Island. It is nine miles from the city, with a smooth road to the very summit, so that we might go either in pony palanquins or on horseback. We chose the latter, as affording us better opportunity for observation and the collection of "specimens," and, as we could readily gain the mountain-top in season for a nine o'clock breakfast, the heat would not be oppressive. Abdallah despatched the chuliahs, each with a stout load of provisions, table-ware and cooking-utensils, at dawn, and when we arrived our déjeuner was ready to be served. The viands were tempting and the cookery faultless, but we could scarce do justice to either, so eager were we to begin our explorations on the summit and sides of this beautiful hill, or rather hills, for there are twin peaks closely connected, and each presenting an enchanting view of verdant fields and fertile valleys, of the neighboring city, the wide expanse of blue waters beyond, and the shipping in the harbor. Having satisfied ourselves with gazing at the distant prospect, we began to descend in search of adventures, sending our ponies ahead to await us at the base of the mountain, where we were to dine. Onward we strolled, gradually descending, every step marked by novelties—flowers, grasses, weeds and shrubs vieing with each other in varied and glad-some beauty. At length we sat down to rest beneath a huge bombax or cotton tree (Bombax ceiba), its widespread branches and thick foliage shielding us effectually from the noonday sun, a fragrant blossom falling occasionally into our laps or pelting us over head and shoulders, while with every passing zephyr the fleecy down from the ripe bolls floated hither and thither, looking for all the world like a snow-storm, except that the sun was shining luminously in the clear heavens. This tree must have been sixty feet in height, a grand, noble type of a green old age after scores of years well and usefully spent, still vigorous and productive. We met specimens afterward even taller and larger than this, and they are said sometimes to reach the height of a hundred feet. The timber is light and porous, and is in great demand for boats. Lower down, the various palms, especially the cocoa-nut and cabbage, were all about us. The former is found in nearly every tropical clime, and is of all trees the one most indispensable to the East Indian, furnishing him with meat, drink, medicine, clothing, lodging and fuel. The ripe kernel of the nut, besides being eaten, has expressed from it an excellent oil, that feeds all the lamps in an Oriental house, supplies the table with a most palatable substitute for butter, and the belle with a choice article of perfumery; the green nut affords a delicious beverage to the thirsty traveler; the fibrous covering of the nut is readily converted into strong and durable cordage, and the polished shells into drinking-cups, ladles and spoons; the leaves are frequently used for thatch, the wood for lathing and musical instruments, and the sap for toddy, an intoxicating drink very common in the East. The tree is graceful and pretty, with a tuft of large pinnated leaves at the top, and nestled cosily in their midst are the clusters of fruit. It grows to the height of forty or fifty feet, is long-lived, and bears fruit nearly the whole year round. The cabbage palm is much less common in a wild state, and few planters will take the trouble to cultivate it, since a whole tree must be destroyed to obtain a single dish. The edible part consists of snow-white flakes found just inside the bark near the top of the tree. When stewed in the expressed juice of the cocoa-nut it constitutes one of the most luscious dishes I have ever eaten. The tree is tall and large, and the pinnated leaves very long.

In the moist portions of the jungle toward the foot of the hill were whole groves of the fragrant pandanus, ferns of infinite variety, and a species of wild mignonette with a perfume like that of commingled strawberries and lemon. Now and then we paused beneath the thick green foliage of the Magnolia grandiflora, as it towered in stately grandeur above its sister flowers, acknowledged queen of the parterre, and dispensing with genuine Oriental profusion its rare and delicious perfume. A step farther and our gaze was riveted by the modest purity of the spotless japonica, the fragrant tuberose and Cape jessamine, the graceful passion-flower, with its royal beauty and storied reminiscences, the peerless dauk-málé, fragrant and fair, the Kalla Indica, with its five long petals of heavenly blue, the gold-plant of the Chinese, and crimson boon-gah-riah of the Malays, the last two consecrated symbols in the religious rites of those nations. What a medley of sweets, flaunting their gay colors in the bright tropical sunshine! Then the innumerable company of roses—tea, moss, perpetual, cluster, climbing, variegated, and a score of others—how fair, fresh and fragrant they are, peerless, queen-like still, even amid such a gorgeous [pg 205] array of ripe floral charms! These, and a thousand others for which we have no names in our language, are scattered profusely over those sunny lands of dreamy beauty, vieing with each other in rare, rich perfume, exquisite grace of form and matchless blending of their warm, ripe colors.

The next day we dined at Dr. Almeida's, and in his magnificent garden found several choice specimens of both the Victoria regia and the Rafflesia Arnoldi, the two largest flowers in the world, each bloom measuring two feet in diameter. But the rarest of all the doctor's treasures was the night-blooming cereus. There were six blooms in full maturity—four on one stalk and two on another—creamy, waxen flowers of exquisite form, the leaves of the corolla of a pale golden hue and the petals intensely white. The calyx rises from a long, hollow footstalk, which is formed of rough plates overlapping each other like tiles on a roof. From the centre of this footstalk rises a bundle of filaments that encircle the style, stamens springing also from the insertion of the leaves of the corolla, lining it with delicate beauty and waving their slender forms with exquisite grace. But the real charm of the cereus is its wondrous perfume, exhaled just at night-fall, and readily discernible over the circuit of a mile. The peculiar odor cannot be understood by mere description, but partakes largely of that of sweet lilies, violets, the tuberose and vanilla. After the bud appears the growth is very rapid, often two or three inches a day—that is, in the height of the stalk, the flower expanding proportionately. When fully grown it begins to unfold its charms as the twilight deepens into night, and reaches perfect maturity about an hour before midnight: at three o'clock its glory is already beginning to wane, though scarcely perceptibly; but at dawn it is fading rapidly, and by sun-rise only a wilted, worthless wreck remains, good for nothing but to be "cast out and trodden under foot of men."


[pg 206]





Had Sheila, then, Lavender could not help asking himself, a bad temper, or any other qualities or characteristics which were apparent to other people, but not to him? Was it possible that, after all, Ingram was right, and that he had yet to learn the nature of the girl he had married? It would be unfair to say that he suspected something wrong about his wife—that he fancied she had managed to conceal something—merely because Mrs. Lavender had said that Sheila had a bad temper; but here was another person who maintained that when the days of his romance were over he would see the girl in another light.

Nay, as he continued to ask himself, had not the change already begun? He grew less and less accustomed to see in Sheila a beautiful wild sea-bird that had fluttered down for a time into a strange home in the South. He had not quite forgotten or abandoned those imaginative scenes in which the wonderful sea-princess was to enter crowded drawing-rooms and have all the world standing back to regard her and admire her and sing her praises. But now he was not so sure that that would be the result of Sheila's entrance into society. As the date of a certain dinner-party drew near he began to wish she was more like the women he knew. He did not object to her strange sweet ways of speech, nor to her odd likes and dislikes, nor even to an unhesitating frankness that nearly approached rudeness sometimes in its scorn of all compromise with the truth; but how would others regard these things? He did not wish to gain the reputation of having married an oddity.

"Sheila," he said on the morning of the day on which they were going to this dinner-party, "you should not say like-a-ness. There are only two syllables in likeness. It really does sound absurd to hear you say like-a-ness."

She looked up to him with a quick trouble in her eyes. When had he spoken to her so petulantly before? And then she cast down her eyes again, and said submissively, "I will try not to speak like that. When you go out I take a book and read aloud, and try to speak like you; but I cannot learn all at once."

"I don't mind," he said. "But you know other people must think it so odd. I wonder why you should always say gyarden for garden now, when it is just as easy to say garden?"

Once upon a time he had said there was no English like the English spoken in Lewis, and had singled out this very word as typical of one peculiarity in the pronunciation. But she did not remind him of that. She only said in the same simple fashion, "If you will tell me my faults I will try to correct them."

She turned away from him to get an envelope for a letter she had been writing to her father. He fancied something was wrong, and perhaps some touch of compunction smote him, for he went after her and took her hand, and said, "Look here, Sheila. When I point out any trifles like that, you must not call them faults, and fancy I have any serious complaint to make. It is for your own good that you should meet the people who will be your friends on equal terms, and give them as little as possible to talk about."

"I should not mind their talking about me," said Sheila with her eyes still cast down, "but it is your wife they must not talk about; and if you will tell me anything I do wrong I will correct it."

"Oh, you must not think it is anything so serious as that. You will soon pick up from the ladies you will meet some notion of how you differ from them; and if you should startle or puzzle them a little at first by talking about the chances of the fishing or the catching of wild-duck, or the way to reclaim bogland, you will soon get over all that."

Sheila said nothing, but she made a mental memorandum of three things she was not to speak about. She did not know why these subjects should be forbidden, but she was in a strange land and going to see strange people, whose habits were different from hers. Moreover, when her husband had gone she reflected that these people, having no fishing and no peat-mosses and no wild-duck, could not possibly be interested in such affairs; and thus she fancied she perceived the reason why she should avoid all mention of those things.

When in the evening Sheila came down dressed and ready to go out, Lavender had to admit to himself that he had married an exceedingly beautiful girl, and that there was no country gawkiness about her manner, and no placid insipidity about her proud and handsome face. For one brief moment he triumphed in his heart, and had some wild glimpse of his old project of startling his small world with this vision from the northern seas. But when he got into the hired brougham, and thought of the people he was about to meet, and of the manner in which they would carry away such and such impressions of the girl, he lost faith in that admiration. He would much rather have had Sheila unnoticeable and unnoticed—one who would quietly take her place at the dinner-table, and attract no more special attention than the flowers, for example, which every one would glance at with some satisfaction, and then forget in the interest of talking and dining. He was quite conscious of his own weakness in thus fearing social criticism. He knew that Ingram would have taken Sheila anywhere in her blue serge dress, and been quite content and oblivious of observation. But then Ingram was independent of those social circles in which a married man must move, and in which his position is often defined for him by the disposition and manners of his wife. Ingram did not know how women talked. [pg 207] It was for Sheila's own sake, he persuaded himself, that he was anxious about the impression she should make, and that he had drilled her in all that she should do and say.

"Above all things," he said, "mind you take no notice of me. Another man will take you in to dinner, of course, and I shall take in somebody else, and we shall not be near each other. But it's after dinner, I mean: when the men go into the drawing-room don't you come and speak to me or take any notice of me whatever."

"Mayn't I look at you, Frank?"

"If you do you'll have half a dozen people all watching you, saying to themselves or to each other, 'Poor thing! she hasn't got over her infatuation yet. Isn't it pretty to see how naturally her eyes turn toward him?'"

"But I shouldn't mind them saying that," said Sheila with a smile.

"Oh, you mustn't be pitied in that fashion. Let them keep their compassion to themselves."

"Do you know, dear," said Sheila very quietly, "that I think you exaggerate the interest people will take in me? I don't think I can be of such importance to them. I don't think they will be watching me as you fancy."

"Oh, you don't know," he said. "I know they fancy I have done something romantic, heroic and all that kind of thing, and they are curious to see you."

"They cannot hurt me by looking at me," said Sheila simply. "And they will soon find out how little there is to discover."

The house being in Holland Park they had not far to go; and just as they were driving up to the door a young man, slight, sandy-haired and stooping, got out of a hansom and crossed the pavement.

"By Jove!" said Lavender, "there is Redburn, I did not know he knew Mrs. Lorraine and her mother. That is Lord Arthur Redburn, Sheila: mind, if you should talk to him, not to call him 'my lord.'"

Sheila laughed and said, "How am I to remember all these things?"

[pg 208]

They got into the house, and by and by Lavender found himself, with Sheila on his arm, entering a drawing-room to present her to certain of his friends. It was a large room, with a great deal of gilding and color about it, and with a conservatory at the farther end; but the blaze of light had not so bewildering an effect on Sheila's eyes as the appearance of two ladies to whom she was now introduced. She had heard much about them. She was curious to see them. Many a time had she thought over the strange story Lavender had told her of the woman who heard that her husband was dying in a hospital during the war, and started off, herself and her daughter, to find him out; how there was in the same hospital another dying man whom they had known some years before, and who had gone away because the girl would not listen to him; how this man, being very near to death, begged that the girl would do him the last favor he would ask of her, of wearing his name and inheriting his property; and how, some few hours after the strange and sad ceremony had been performed, he breathed his last, happy in holding her hand. The father died next day, and the two widows were thrown upon the world, almost without friends, but not without means. This man Lorraine had been possessed of considerable wealth, and the girl who had suddenly become mistress of it found herself able to employ all possible means in assuaging her mother's grief. They began to travel. The two women went from capital to capital, until at last they came to London; and here, having gathered around them a considerable number of friends, they proposed to take up their residence permanently. Lavender had often talked to Sheila about Mrs. Lorraine—about her shrewdness, her sharp sayings, and the odd contrast between this clever, keen, frank woman of the world and the woman one would have expected to be the heroine of a pathetic tale.

But were there two Mrs. Lorraines? That had been Sheila's first question to herself when, after having been introduced to one lady under that name, she suddenly saw before her another, who was introduced to her as Mrs. Kavanagh. The mother and daughter were singularly alike. They had the same slight and graceful figure, which made them appear taller than they really were, the same pale, fine and rather handsome features, the same large, clear gray eyes, and apparently the same abundant mass of soft fair hair, heavily plaited in the latest fashion. They were both dressed entirely in black, except that the daughter had a band of blue round her slender waist. It was soon apparent, too, that the manner of the two women was singularly different; Mrs. Kavanagh bearing herself with a certain sad reserve that almost approached melancholy at times, while her daughter, with more life and spirit in her face, passed rapidly through all sorts of varying moods, until one could scarcely tell whether the affectation lay in a certain cynical audacity in her speech, or whether it lay in her assumption of a certain coyness and archness, or whether there was any affectation at all in the matter. However that might be, there could be no doubt about the sincerity of those gray eyes of hers. There was something almost cruelly frank in the clear look of them; and when her face was not lit up by some passing smile the pale and fine features seemed to borrow something of severity from her unflinching, calm and dispassionate habit of regarding those around her.

Sheila was prepared to like Mrs. Lorraine from the first moment she had caught sight of her. The honesty of the gray eyes attracted her. And, indeed, the young widow seemed very much interested in the young wife, and, so far as she could in that awkward period just before dinner, strove to make friends with her. Sheila was introduced to a number of people, but none of them pleased her so well as Mrs. Lorraine. Then dinner was announced, and Sheila found that she was being escorted across the passage to the room on the other side by the young man whom she had seen get out of the hansom.

This Lord Arthur Redburn was the younger son of a great Tory duke; he represented in the House a small country borough which his father practically owned; he had a fair amount of ability, an uncommonly high opinion of himself, and a certain affectation of being bored by the frivolous ways and talk of ordinary society. He gave himself credit for being the clever member of the family; and if there was any cleverness going, he had it; but there were some who said that his reputation in the House and elsewhere as a good speaker was mainly based on the fact that he had an abundant assurance and was not easily put out. Unfortunately, the public could come to no decision on the point, for the reporters were not kind to Lord Arthur, and the substance of his speeches was as unknown to the world as his manner of delivering them.

Now, Mrs. Lorraine had intended to tell this young man something about the girl whom he was to take in to dinner, but she herself had been so occupied with Sheila that the opportunity escaped her. Lord Arthur accordingly knew only that he was beside a very pretty woman, who was a Mrs. Somebody—the exact name he had not caught—and that the few words she had spoken were pronounced in a curious way. Probably, he thought, she was from Dublin.

He also arrived at the conclusion that she was too pretty to know anything about the Deceased Wife's Sister bill, in which he was, for family reasons, deeply interested, and considered it more likely that she would prefer to talk about theatres and such things.

"Were you at Covent Garden last night?" he said.

"No," answered Sheila. "But I was there two days ago, and it is very pretty to see the flowers and the fruit; and then they smell so sweetly as you walk through."

"Oh yes, it is delightful," said Lord Arthur. "But I was speaking of the theatre."

"Is there a theatre in there?"

He stared at her, and inwardly hoped she was not mad.

[pg 209]

"Not in among the shops, no. But don't you know Covent Garden Theatre?"

"I have never been in any theatre, not yet," said Sheila.

And then it began to dawn upon him that he must be talking to Frank Lavender's wife. Was there not some rumor about the girl having come from a remote part of the Highlands? He determined on a bold stroke: "You have not been long enough in London to see the theatres, I suppose."

And then Sheila, taking it for granted that he knew her husband very well, and that he was quite familiar with all the circumstances of the case, began to chat to him freely enough. He found that this Highland girl of whom he had heard vaguely was not at all shy. He began to feel interested. By and by he actually made efforts to assist her frankness by becoming equally frank, and by telling her all he knew of the things with which they were mutually acquainted. Of course by this time they had got up into the Highlands. The young man had himself been in the Highlands—frequently, indeed. He had never crossed to Lewis, but he had seen the island from the Sutherlandshire coast. There were very many deer in Sutherlandshire, were there not? Yes, he had been out a great many times, and had had his share of adventures. Had he not gone out before daylight, and waited on the top of a hill, hidden by some rocks, to watch the mists clear along the hillsides and in the valley below? Did not he tremble when he fired his first shot, and had not something passed before his eyes so that he could not see for a moment whether the stag had fallen or was away like lightning down the bed of the stream? Somehow or other, Lord Arthur found himself relating all his experiences, as if he were a novice begging for the good opinion of a master. She knew all about it, obviously, and he would tell her his small adventures if only that she might laugh at him. But Sheila did not laugh. She was greatly delighted to have this talk about the hills and the deer and the wet mornings. She forgot all about the dinner [pg 210] before her. The servants whipped off successive plates without her seeing anything of them: they received random answers about wine, so that she had three full glasses standing by her untouched. She was no more in Holland Park at that moment than were the wild animals of which she spoke so proudly and lovingly. If the great and frail masses of flowers on the table brought her any perfume at all, it was a scent of peat-smoke. Lord Arthur thought that his companion was a little too frank and confiding, or rather that she would have been had she been talking to any one but himself. He rather liked it. He was pleased to have established friendly relations with a pretty woman in so short a space; but ought not her husband to give her a hint about not admitting all and sundry to the enjoyment of these favors? Perhaps, too, Lord Arthur felt bound to admit to himself there were some men who more than others inspired confidence in women. He laid no claims to being a fascinating person, but he had had his share of success, and considered that Sheila showed discrimination as well as good-nature in talking so to him. There was, after all, no necessity for her husband to warn her. She would know how to guard against admitting all men to a like intimacy. In the mean time he was very well pleased to be sitting beside this pretty and agreeable companion, who had an abundant fund of good spirits, and who showed no sort of conscious embarrassment in thanking you with a bright look of her eyes or by a smile when you told her something that pleased or amused her.

But these flattering little speculations were doomed to receive a sudden check. The juvenile M.P. began to remark that a shade occasionally crossed the face of his fair companion, and that she sometimes looked a little anxiously across the table, where Mr. Lavender and Mrs. Lorraine were seated, half hidden from view by a heap of silver and flowers in the middle of the board. But though they could not easily be seen, except at such moments as they turned to address some neighbor, they could be distinctly enough heard when there was any lull in the general conversation. And what Sheila heard did not please her. She began to like that fair, clear-eyed young woman less. Perhaps her husband meant nothing by the fashion in which he talked of marriage and the condition of a married man, but she would rather have not heard him talk so. Moreover, she was aware that in the gentlest possible fashion Mrs. Lorraine was making fun of her companion, and exposing him to small and graceful shafts of ridicule; while he seemed, on the whole, to enjoy these attacks.

The ingenuous self-love of Lord Arthur Redburn, M.P., was severely wounded by the notion that, after all, he had been made a cat's-paw of by a jealous wife. He had been flattered by this girl's exceeding friendliness; he had given her credit for a genuine impulsiveness which seemed to him as pleasing as it was uncommon; and he had, with the moderation expected of a man in politics who hoped some day to assist in the government of the nation by accepting a junior lordship, admired her. But was it all pretence? Was she paying court to him merely to annoy her husband? Had her enthusiasm about the shooting of red-deer been prompted by a wish to attract a certain pair of eyes at the other side of the table? Lord Arthur began to sneer at himself for having been duped. He ought to have known. Women were as much women in a Hebridean island as in Bayswater. He began to treat Sheila with a little more coolness, while she became more and more preoccupied with the couple across the table, and sometimes was innocently rude in answering his questions somewhat at random.

When the ladies were going into the drawing-room, Mrs. Lorraine put her hand within Sheila's arm and led her to the entrance to the conservatory. "I hope we shall be friends," she said.

"I hope so," said Sheila, not very warmly.

"Until you get better acquainted with your husband's friends you will feel rather lonely at being left as at present, I suppose."

"A little," said Sheila.

"It is a silly thing altogether. If men smoked after dinner I could understand it. But they merely sit, looking at wine they don't drink, talking a few common-places and yawning."

"Why do they do it, then?" said Sheila.

"They don't do it everywhere. But here we keep to the manners and customs of the ancients."

"What do you know about the manners of the ancients?" said Mrs. Kavanagh, tapping her daughter's shoulder; as she passed with a sheet of music.

"I have studied them frequently, mamma," said the daughter with composure, "—in the monkey-house at the Zoological Gardens."

The mamma smiled, and passed on to place the music on the piano. Sheila did not understand what her companion had said; and indeed Mrs. Lorraine immediately turned, with the same calm, fine face and careless eyes, to ask Sheila whether she would not, by and by, sing one of those northern songs of which Mr. Lavender had told her.

A tall girl, with her back hair tied in a knot and her costume copied from a well-known pre-Raphaelite drawing, sat down to the piano and sang a mystic song of the present day, in which the moon, the stars and other natural objects behaved strangely, and were somehow mixed up with the appeal of a maiden who demanded that her dead lover should be reclaimed from the sea.

"Do you ever go down to your husband's studio?" said Mrs. Lorraine.

Sheila glanced toward the lady at the piano.

"Oh, you may talk," said Mrs. Lorraine, with the least expression of contempt in the gray eyes. "She is singing to gratify herself, not us."

"Yes, I sometimes go down," said Sheila in as low a voice as she could manage without falling into a whisper, "and it is such a dismal place. It is very hard on him to have to work in a big bare room like that, with the windows [pg 211] half blinded. But sometimes I think Frank would rather have me out of the way."

"And what would he do if both of us were to pay him a visit?" said Mrs. Lorraine. "I should so like to see the studio! Won't you call for me some day and take me with you?"

Take her with her, indeed! Sheila began to wonder that she did not propose to go alone. Fortunately, there was no need to answer the question, for at this moment the song came to an end, and there was a general movement and murmur of gratitude.

"Thank you," said Mrs. Lorraine to the lady who had sung, and who was now returning to the photographs she had left—"thank you very much. I knew some one would instantly ask you to sing that song: it is the most charming of all your songs, I think, and how well it suits your voice, too!"

Then she turned to Sheila again: "How did you like Lord Arthur Redburn?"

"I think he is a very good young man."

"Young men are never good, but they may be very amiable," said Mrs. Lorraine, not perceiving that Sheila had blundered on a wrong adjective, and that she had really meant that she thought him honest and pleasant.

"You did not speak at all, I think, to your neighbor on the right: that was wise of you. He is a most insufferable person, but mamma bears with him for the sake of his daughter, who sang just now. He is too rich. And he smiles blandly, and takes a sort of after-dinner view of things, as if he coincided with the arrangements of Providence. Don't you take coffee? Tea, then. I have met your aunt—I mean, Mr. Lavender's aunt: such a dear old lady she is!"

"I don't like her," said Sheila.

"Oh, don't you, really?"

"Not at present, but I shall try to like her."

"Well," said Mrs. Lorraine calmly, "you know she has her peculiarities. I wish she wouldn't talk so much about Marcus Antoninus and doses of medicine. [pg 212] I fancy I smell calomel when she comes near. I suppose if she were in a pantomime, they'd dress her up as a phial, tie a string round her neck and label her 'POISON.' Dear me, how languid one gets in this climate! Let us sit down. I wish I was as strong as mamma."

They sat down together, and Mrs. Lorraine evidently expected to be petted and made much of by her new companion. She gave herself pretty little airs and graces, and said no more cutting things about anybody. And Sheila somehow found herself being drawn to the girl, so that she could scarcely help taking her hand, and saying how sorry she was to see her so pale and fine and delicate. The hand, too, was so small that the tiny white fingers seemed scarcely bigger than the claws of a bird. Was not that slender waist, to which some little attention was called by a belt of bold blue, just a little too slender for health, although the bust and shoulders were exquisitely and finely proportioned?

"We were at the Academy all the morning, and mamma is not a bit tired. Why has not Mr. Lavender anything in the Academy? Oh, I forgot" she added, with a smile. "Of course, he has been very much engaged. But now I suppose he will settle down to work."

Sheila wished that this fragile-looking girl would not so continually refer to her husband; but how was any one to find fault with her when she put a little air of plaintiveness into the ordinarily cold gray eyes, and looked at her small hand as much as to say, "The fingers there are very small, and even whiter than the glove that covers them. They are the fingers of a child, who ought to be petted."

Then the men came in from the dining-room. Lavender looked round to see where Sheila was—perhaps with a trifle of disappointment that she was not the most prominent figure there. Had he expected to find all the women surrounding her and admiring her, and all the men going up to pay court to her? Sheila was seated near a small table, and Mrs. Lorraine was showing her something. She was just like anybody else. If she was a wonderful sea-princess who had come into a new world, no one seemed to observe her. The only thing that distinguished her from the women around her was her freshness of color and the unusual combination of black eyelashes and dark blue eyes. Lavender had arranged that Sheila's first appearance in public should be at a very quiet little dinner-party, but even here she failed to create any profound impression. She was, as he had to confess to himself again, just like anybody else.

He went over to where Mrs. Lorraine was, and sat down beside her. Sheila, remembering his injunctions, felt bound to leave him there; and as she rose to speak to Mrs. Kavanagh, who was standing by, that lady came and begged her to sing a Highland song. By this time Lavender had succeeded in interesting his companion about something or other, and neither of them noticed that Sheila had gone to the piano, attended by the young politician who had taken her in to dinner. Nor did they interrupt their talk merely because some one played a few bars of prelude. But what was this that suddenly startled Lavender to the heart, causing him to look up with surprise? He had not heard the air since he was in Borva, and when Sheila sang

Hark, hark! the horn

On mountain-breezes borne!

Awake, it is morn,

Awake, Monaltrie!—

all sorts of reminiscences came rushing in upon him. How often had he heard that wild story of Monaltrie's flight sung out in the small chamber over the sea, with a sound of the waves outside and a scent of sea-weed coming in at the door and the windows! It was from the shores of Borva that young Monaltrie must have fled. It must have been in Borva that his sweetheart sat in her bower and sang, the burden of all her singing being "Return, Monaltrie!" And then, as Sheila sang now, making the monotonous and plaintive air wild and strange—

What cries of wild despair

Awake the sultry air?

Frenzied with anxious care,

She seeks Monaltrie—

he heard no more of the song. He was thinking of bygone days in Borva, and of old Mackenzie living in his lonely house there. When Sheila had finished singing he looked at her, and it seemed to him that she was still that wonderful princess whom he had wooed on the shores of the Atlantic. And if those people did not see her as he saw her, ought he to be disappointed because of their blindness?

But if they saw nothing mystic or wonderful about Sheila, they at all events were considerably surprised by the strange sort of music she sang. It was not of a sort commonly heard in a London drawing-room. The pathos of its minor chords, its abrupt intervals, startling and wild in their effect, and the slowly subsiding wail in which it closed, did not much resemble the ordinary drawing-room "piece." Here, at least, Sheila had produced an impression; and presently there was a heap of people round the piano, expressing their admiration, asking questions and begging her to continue. But she rose. She would rather not sing just then. Whereupon Lavender came out to her and said, "Sheila, won't you sing that wild one about the farewell—that has the sound of the pipes in it, you know?"

"Oh yes," she said directly.

Lavender went back to his companion.

"She is very obedient to you," said Mrs. Lorraine with a smile.

"Yes, at present," he said; and he thought meanly of himself for saying it the moment the words were uttered.

Oh, soft be thy slumbers, by Tigh-na-linne's waters;

Thy late-wake was sung by Macdiarmid's fair daughters;

But far in Lochaber the true heart was weeping

Whose hopes are entombed in the grave where thou'rt sleeping.

So Sheila sang; and it seemed to the people that this ballad was even more strange than its predecessor. When the song was over, Sheila seemed rather anxious to get out of the crowd, and indeed walked away into the conservatory to have a look at the flowers.

[pg 213]

Yes, Lavender had to confess to himself, Sheila was just like anybody else in this drawing-room. His sea-princess had produced no startling impression. He forgot that he had just been teaching her the necessity of observing the ways and customs of the people around her, so that she might avoid singularity.

On one point, at least, she was resolved she would attend to his counsels: she would not make him ridiculous by any show of affection before the eyes of strangers. She did not go near him the whole evening. She remained for the most part in that half conservatory, half ante-room at the end of the drawing-room; and when any one talked to her she answered, and when she was left alone she turned to the flowers. All this time, however, she could observe that Lavender and Mrs. Lorraine were very much engrossed in their conversation; that she seemed very much amused, and he at times a trifle embarrassed; and that both of them had apparently forgotten her existence. Mrs. Kavanagh was continually coming to Sheila and trying to coax her back into the larger room, but in vain. She would rather not sing any more that night. She liked to look at flowers. She was not tired at all, and she had already seen those wonderful photographs about which everybody was talking.

"Well, Sheila, how did you enjoy yourself?" said her husband as they were driving home.

"I wish Mr. Ingram had been there," said Sheila.

"Ingram! He would not have stopped in the place five minutes, unless he could play the part of Diogenes and say rude things to everybody all round. Were you at all dull?"

"A little."

"Didn't somebody look after you?"

"Oh yes, many persons were very kind. But—but—"


"Nobody seemed to be better off than myself. They all seemed to be wanting something to do; and I am sure they were all very glad to come away."

"No, no, no, Sheila. That is only [pg 214] your fancy. You were not much interested, that is evident; but you will get on better when you know more of the people. You were a stranger—that is what disappointed you—but you will not always be a stranger."

Sheila did not answer. Perhaps she contemplated with no great hope or longing the possibility of her coming to like such a method of getting through an evening. At all events, she looked forward with no great pleasure to the chance of her having to become friends with Mrs. Lorraine. All the way home Sheila was examining her own heart to try to discover why such bitter feelings should be there. Surely that girl was honest: there was honesty in her eyes. She had been most kind to Sheila herself. And was there not at times, when she abandoned the ways and speech of a woman of the world, a singular coy fascination about her, that any man might be excused for yielding to, even as any woman might yield to it? Sheila fought with herself, and resolved that she would cast forth from her heart those harsh fancies and indignant feelings that seemed to have established themselves there. She would not hate Mrs. Lorraine.

As for Lavender, what was he thinking of, now that he and his young wife were driving home from their first experiment in society? He had to confess to a certain sense of failure. His dreams had not been realized. Every one who had spoken to him had conveyed to him, as freely as good manners would admit, their congratulations and their praises of his wife. But the impressive scenes he had been forecasting were out of the question. There was a little curiosity about her on the part of those who knew her story, and that was all. Sheila bore herself very well. She made no blunders. She had a good presence, she sang well, and every one could see that she was handsome, gentle and honest. Surely, he argued with himself, that ought to content the most exacting. But, in spite of all argument, he was not content. He did not regret that he had sacrificed his liberty in a freak of romance; he did not even regard the fact of a man in his position having dared to marry a penniless girl as anything very meritorious or heroic; but he had hoped that the dramatic circumstances of the case would be duly recognized by his friends, and that Sheila would be an object of interest and wonder and talk in a whole series of social circles. But the result of his adventure was different. There was only one married man the more in London, and London was not disposed to pay any particular heed to that circumstance.



If Frank Lavender had been told that his love for his wife was in danger of waning, he would have laughed the suggestion to scorn. He was as fond of her and as proud of her as ever. Who knew as well as himself the tenderness of her heart, the delicate sensitiveness of her conscience, the generosity of self-sacrifice she was always ready to bestow? and was he likely to become blind, so that he should fail to see how fair and frank and handsome she was? He had been disappointed, it is true, in his fancies about the impression she would produce on his friends; but what a trifle was that! The folly of those fancies was his own. For the rest, he was glad that Sheila was not so different from the other women whom he knew. He hit upon the profound reflection, as he sat alone in his studio, that a man's wife, like his costume, should not be so remarkable as to attract attention. The perfection of dress was that you should be unconscious of its presence: might that not be so with marriage? After all, it was better that he had not bound himself to lug about a lion whenever he visited people's houses.

Still, there was something. He found himself a good deal alone. Sheila did not seem to care much for going into society; and although he did not much like the notion of going by himself, nevertheless one had certain duties toward one's friends to perform. She did not even care to go down to the Park of a forenoon. She always professed her readiness to go, but he fancied it was a trifle tiresome for her; and so, when there was nothing particular going on in the studio, he would walk down through Kensington Gardens himself, and have a chat with some friends, followed generally by luncheon with this or the other party of them. Sheila had been taught that she ought not to come so frequently to that studio. Bras would not lie quiet. Moreover, if dealers or other strangers should come in, would they not take her for a model? So Sheila stayed at home; and Mr. Lavender, after having dressed with care in the morning—with very singular care, indeed, considering that he was going to his work—used to go down to his studio to smoke a cigarette. The chances were that he was not in a humor for working. He would sit down in an easy-chair and kick his heels on the floor for a time, watching perhaps the sunlight come in through the upper part of the windows and paint yellow squares on the opposite wall. Then he would go out and lock the door behind him, leaving no message whatever for those crowds of importunate dealers who, as Sheila fancied, were besieging him with offers in one hand and purses of gold in the other.

One morning, after she had been indoors for two or three days, and had grown hopelessly tired of the monotony of watching that sunlit square, she was filled with an unconquerable longing to go away, for however brief a space, from the sight of houses. The morning was sweet and clear and bright, white clouds were slowly crossing a fair blue sky, and a fresh and cool breeze was blowing in at the open French windows.

"Bras," she said, going down stairs and out into the small garden, "we are going into the country."

The great deer-hound seemed to know, and rose and came to her with great gravity, while she clasped on the leash. He was no frisky animal to show his delight by yelping and gamboling, but he laid his long nose in her hand, and [pg 215] slowly wagged the down-drooping curve of his shaggy tail; and then he placidly walked by her side up into the hall, where he stood awaiting her.

She would go along and beg of her husband to leave his work for a day and go with her for a walk down to Richmond Park. She had often heard Mr. Ingram speak of walking down, and she remembered that much of the road was pretty. Why should not her husband have one holiday?

"It is such a shame," she had said to him that morning as he left, "that you will be going into that gloomy place, with its bare walls and chairs, and the windows so that you cannot see out of them!"

"I must get some work done somehow, Sheila," he said, although he did not tell her that he had not finished a picture since his marriage.

"I wish I could do some of it for you," she said.

"You! All the work you're good for is catching fish and feeding ducks and planting things in gardens. Why don't you come down and feed the ducks in the Serpentine?"

"I should like to do that," she answered. "I will go any day with you."

"Well," he said, "you see, I don't know until I get along to the studio whether I can get away for the fore-noon; and then if I were to come back here, you would have little or no time to dress. Good-bye, Sheila."

"Good-bye," she had said to him, giving up the Serpentine without much regret.

But the forenoon had turned out so delightful that she thought she would go along to the studio, and hale him out of that gaunt and dingy apartment. She should take him away from town: therefore she might put on that rough blue dress in which she used to go boating in Loch Roag. She had lately smartened it up a bit with some white braid, and she hoped he would approve.

Did the big hound know the dress? He rubbed his head against her arm and hand when she came down, and looked up and whined almost inaudibly.

[pg 216]

"You are going out, Bras, and you must be a good dog and not try to go after the deer. Then I will send a very good story of you to Mairi; and when she comes to London after the harvest is over, she will bring you a present from the Lewis, and you will be very proud."

She went out into the square, and was perhaps a little glad to get away from it, as she was not sure of the blue dress and the small hat with its sea-gull's feather being precisely the costume she ought to wear. When she got into the Uxbridge road she breathed more freely, and in the lightness of her heart she continued her conversation with Bras, giving that attentive animal a vast amount of information, partly in English, partly in Gaelic, which he answered only by a low whine or a shake of his shaggy head.

But these confidences were suddenly interrupted. She had got down to Addison Terrace, and was contentedly looking at the trees and chatting to the dog, when by accident her eye happened to light on a brougham that was driving past. In it—she beheld them both clearly for a brief second—were her husband and Mrs. Lorraine, so engaged in conversation that neither of them saw her. Sheila stood on the pavement for a couple of minutes absolutely bewildered. All sorts of wild fancies and recollections came crowding in upon her—reasons why her husband was unwilling that she should visit his studio, why Mrs. Lorraine never called on her, and so forth and so forth. She did not know what to think for a time; but presently all this tumult was stilled, and she had resolved her doubts and made up her mind as to what she should do. She would not suspect her husband—that was the one sweet security to which she clung. He had made use of no duplicity: if there were duplicity in the case at all, he could not be the author of it. The reasons for his having of late left her so much alone were the true reasons. And if this Mrs. Lorraine should amuse him and interest him, who ought to grudge him this break in the monotony of his work? Sheila knew that she herself disliked going to those fashionable gatherings to which Mrs. Lorraine went, and to which Lavender had been accustomed to go before he was married. How could she expect him to give up all his old habits and pleasures for her sake? She would be more generous. It was her own fault that she was not a better companion for him; and was it for her, then, to think hardly of him because he went to the Park with a friend instead of going alone?

Yet there was a great bitterness and grief in her heart as she turned and walked on. She spoke no more to the deer-hound by her side. There seemed to be less sunlight in the air, and the people and carriages passing were hardly so busy and cheerful and interesting as they had been. But all the same, she would go to Richmond Park, and by herself; for what was the use in calling in at the studio? and how could she go back home and sit in the house, knowing that her husband was away at some flower-show or morning concert, or some such thing, with that young American lady?

She knew no other road to Richmond than that by which they had driven shortly after her arrival in London; and so it was that she went down and over Hammersmith Bridge, and round by Mortlake, and so on by East Sheen. The road seemed terribly long. She was an excellent walker, and in ordinary circumstances would have done the distance without fatigue; but when at length she saw the gates of the Park before her, she was at once exceedingly tired and almost faint from hunger. Here was the hotel in which they had dined: should she enter? The place seemed very grand and forbidding: she had scarcely even looked at it as she went up the steps with her husband by her side. However, she would venture, and accordingly she went up and into the vestibule, looking rather timidly about. A young gentleman, apparently not a waiter, approached her and seemed to wait for her to speak. It was a terrible moment. What was she to ask for? and could she ask it of this young man? Fortunately, he spoke first, and asked her if she wished to go into the coffee-room, and if she expected any one.

"No, I do not expect any one," she said; and she knew that he would perceive the peculiarity of her accent; "but if you will be kind enough to tell me where I may have a biscuit—"

It occurred to her that to go into the Star and Garter for a biscuit was absurd; and she added wildly, "—or anything to eat."

The young man obviously regarded her with some surprise; but he was very courteous, and showed her into the coffee-room and called a waiter to her. Moreover, he gave permission for Bras to be admitted into the room, Sheila promising that he would lie under the table and not budge an inch. Then she looked round. There were only three persons in the room—one, an old lady seated by herself in a far corner, the other two being a couple of young folks too much engrossed with each other to mind any one else. She began to feel more at home. The waiter suggested various things for lunch, and she made her choice of something cold. Then she mustered up courage to ask for a glass of sherry. How she would have enjoyed all this as a story to tell to her husband but for that incident of the morning! She would have gloried in her outward bravery, and made him smile with a description of her inward terror. She would have written about it to the old man in Borva, and bid him consider how she had been transformed, and what strange scenes Bras was now witnessing. But all that was over. She felt as if she could no longer ask her husband to be amused by her childish experiences; and as for writing to her father, she dared not write to him in her present mood. Perhaps some happier time would come. Sheila paid her bill. She had heard her husband and Mr. Ingram talk about tipping waiters, and knew that she ought to give something to the man who had attended on her. But how much? He was a very august-looking person, with formally-cut whiskers [pg 217] and a severe expression of face. When he had brought back the change to her she timidly selected a half crown and offered it to him. There was a little glance of surprise: she feared she had not given him enough. Then he said "Thank you!" in a vague and distant fashion, and she knew that she had not given him enough. But it was too late. Bras was summoned from under the table, and again she went out into the fresh air.

"Oh, my good dog!" she said to him as they together walked up to the gates and into the Park, "this is a very extravagant country. You have to pay half a crown to a servant for bringing you a piece of cold pie, and then he looks as if he was not paid enough. And Duncan, who will do everything about the house, and will give us all our dinners, it is only a pound a week he will get, and Scarlett has to be kept out of that. And wouldn't you like to see poor old Scarlett again?"

Bras whined as if he understood every word.

"I suppose now she is hanging out the washing on the gooseberry bushes, and you know the song she always used to sing then? Don't you know that Scarlett carried me about long before you were born, for you are a mere infant compared with me? and she used to sing to me—

Ged' bheirte mi' bho'n bhas so,

Mho Sheila bheag òg!

And that is what she is singing just now in the garden; and Mairi she is bringing the things out of the washing-house. Papa is over in Stornoway this morning, arranging his accounts with the people there; and perhaps he is down at the quay, looking at the Clansman, and wondering when she is to bring me into the harbor. The castle is all shut up, you know, with cloths over all the wonderful things, and the curtains all down, and most of the shutters shut. Do you think papa has got my letter in his pocket, and does he read it over and over again, as I read all his letters to me over and over again? Ah—h! You bad dog!"

[pg 218]

Bras had forgotten to listen to his mistress in the excitement of seeing in the distance a large herd of deer under certain trees. She felt by the leash that he was trembling in every limb with expectation, and straining hard on the collar. Again and again she admonished him in vain, until she had at last to drag him away down the hill, putting a small plantation between him and the herd. Here she found a large, umbrageous chestnut tree, with a wooden seat round its trunk, and so she sat down in the green twilight of the leaves, while Bras came and put his head in her lap. Out beyond the shadow of the tree all the world lay bathed in sunlight, and a great silence brooded over the long undulations of the Park, where not a human being was within sight. How strange it was, she fell to thinking, that within a short distance there were millions of men and women, while here she was absolutely alone! Did they not care, then, for the sunlight and the trees and the sweet air? Were they so wrapped up in those social observances that seemed to her so barren of interest?

"They have a beautiful country here," she said, talking in a rambling and wistful way to Bras, and scarcely noticing the eager light in his eyes, as if he were trying to understand. "They have no rain and no fog; almost always blue skies, and the clouds high up and far away. And the beautiful trees they have too! you never saw anything like that in the Lewis, not even at Stornoway. And the people are so rich and beautiful in their dress, and all the day they have only to think how to enjoy themselves and what new amusement is for the morrow. But I think they are tired of having nothing to do; or perhaps, you know, they are tired because they have nothing to fight against—no hard weather and hunger and poverty. They do not care for each other as they would if they were working on the same farm, and trying to save up for the winter; or if they were going out to the fishing, and very glad to come home again from Caithness to find all the old people very well and the young ones ready for a dance and a dram, and much joy and laughing and telling of stories. It is a very great difference there will be in the people—very great."

Bras whined: perhaps he understood her better now that she had involuntarily fallen into something of her old accent and habit of speech.

"Wouldn't you like, Bras, to be up in Borva again—only for this afternoon? All the people would come running out; and it is little Ailasa, she would put her arms round your neck; and old Peter McTavish, he would hear who it was, and come out of his house groping by the wall, and he would say, 'Pless me! iss it you, Miss Sheila, indeed and mir-over? It iss a long time since you hef left the Lewis.' Yes, it is a long time—a long time; and I will be almost forgetting what it is like sometimes when I try to think of it. Here it is always the same—the same houses, the same soft air, the same still sunlight, the same things to do and places to see—no storms shaking the windows or ships running into the harbor, and you cannot go down to the shore to see what has happened, or up the hill to look how the sea is raging. But it is one day we will go back to the Lewis—oh yes, we will go back to the Lewis!"

She rose and looked wistfully around her, and then turned with a sigh to make her way to the gates. It was with no especial sort of gladness that she thought of returning home. Here, in the great stillness, she had been able to dream of the far island which she knew, and to fancy herself for a few minutes there: now she was going back to the dreary monotony of her life in that square, and to the doubts and anxieties which had been suggested to her in the morning. The world she was about to enter once more seemed so much less homely, so much less full of interest and purpose, than that other and distant world she had been wistfully regarding for a time. The people around her had neither the joys nor the sorrows with which she had been taught to sympathize. Their cares seemed to her to be exaggerations of trifles—she could feel no pity for them: their satisfaction was derived from sources unintelligible to her. And the social atmosphere around her seemed still and close and suffocating; so that she was like to cry out at times for one breath of God's clear wind—for a shaft of lightning even—to cut through the sultry and drowsy sameness of her life.

She had almost forgotten the dog by her side. While sitting under the chestnut she had carelessly and loosely wound the leash round his neck in the semblance of a collar, and when she rose and came away she let the dog walk by her side without undoing the leash and taking proper charge of him. She was thinking of far other things, indeed, when she was startled by some one calling to her, "Look out, miss, or you'll have your dog shot!"

She turned and caught a glimpse of what sent a thrill of terror to her heart. Bras had sneaked off from her side—had trotted lightly over the breckans, and was now in full chase of a herd of deer which were flying down the slope on the other side of the plantation. He rushed now at one, now at another: the very number of chances presented to him proving the safety of the whole herd. But as Sheila, with a swift flight that would have astonished most town-bred girls, followed the wild chase and came to the crest of the slope, she could see that the hound had at length singled out a particular deer—a fine buck with handsome horns that was making straight for the foot of the valley. The herd, that had been much scattered, were now drawing together again, though checking nothing of their speed; but this single buck had been driven from his companions, and was doing his utmost to escape from the fangs of the powerful animal behind him.

What could she do but run wildly and breathlessly on? The dog was now far beyond the reach of her voice. She had no whistle. All sorts of fearful anticipations rushed in on her mind, the most prominent of all being the anger of her father if Bras were shot. How could she go back to Borva with such a tale? [pg 219] and how could she live in London without this companion who had come with her from the far North? Then what terrible things were connected with the killing of deer in a royal park! She remembered vaguely what Mr. Ingram and her husband had been saying; and while these things were crowding in upon her, she felt her strength beginning to fail, while both the dog and the deer had disappeared altogether from sight.

Strange, too, that in the midst of her fatigue and fright, while she still managed to struggle on with a sharp pain at her heart and a sort of mist before her eyes, she had a vague consciousness that her husband would be deeply vexed, not by the conduct or the fate of Bras, but by her being the heroine of so mad an adventure. She knew that he wished her to be serious and subdued and proper, like the ladies whom she met, while an evil destiny seemed to dog her footsteps and precipitate her into all sorts of erratic mishaps and "scenes." However, this adventure was likely soon to have an end. She could go no farther. Whatever had become of Bras, it was in vain for her to think of pursuing him. When she at length reached a broad and smooth road leading through the pasture, she could only stand still and press her two hands over her heart, while her head seemed giddy, and she did not see two men who had been standing on the road close by until they came up and addressed her.

Then she started and looked round, finding before her two men who were apparently laborers of some sort, one of them having a shovel over his shoulder.

"Beg your pardon, miss, but wur that your dawg?"

"Yes," she said eagerly. "Could you get him? Did you see him go by? Do you know where he is?"

"Me and my mate saw him go by, sure enough; but as for getting him—why the keepers'll have shot him by this time."

"Oh no!" cried Sheila, almost in tears, "they must not shoot him. It was my fault. I will pay them for all the harm he has done. Can't you tell me which way he will go past?"

[pg 220]

"I don't think, miss," said the spokesman quite respectfully, "as you can go much furder. If you would sit down and rest yourself, and keep an eye on this 'ere shovel, me and my mate will have a hunt arter the dawg."

Sheila not only accepted the offer gratefully, but promised to give them all the money she had if only they would bring back the dog unharmed. She made this offer in consequence of some talk between her husband and her father which she had overheard. Lavender was speaking of the civility he had frequently experienced at the hands of Scotch shepherds, and of the independence with which they refused to accept any compensation even for services which cost them a good deal of time and trouble. Perhaps it was to please Sheila's father, but at any rate, the picture the young man drew of the venality and the cupidity of folks in the South was a desperately dark one. Ask the name of a village, have your stick picked up for you from the pavement, get into a cab or get out of it, and directly there was a touch of the cap and an unspoken request for coppers. Then, as the services rendered rose in importance, so did the fees—to waiters, to coachmen, to game-keepers. These things and many more sank into Sheila's heart. She heard and believed, and came down to the South with the notion that every man and woman who did you the least service expected to be paid handsomely for it. What, therefore, could she give those two men if they brought back her deer-hound but all the money she had?

It was a hard thing to wait here in the greatest doubt and uncertainty while the afternoon was visibly waning. She began to grow afraid. Perhaps the men had stolen the dog, and left her with this shovel as a blind. Her husband must have come home, and would be astonished and perplexed by her absence. Surely, he would have the sense to dine by himself, instead of waiting for her; and she reflected with some glimpse of satisfaction that she had left everything connected with dinner properly arranged, so that he should have nothing to grumble at.

"Surely," she said to herself as she sat there, watching the light on the grass and the trees getting more and more yellow—"surely I am very wicked or very wretched to think of his grumbling in any case. If he grumbles, it is because I will attend too much to the affairs of the house, and not amuse myself enough. He is very good to me, and I have no right to think of his grumbling. And I wish I cared to amuse myself more—to be more of a companion to him; but it is so difficult among all those people."

The reverie was interrupted by the sound of footsteps on the grass behind, and she turned quickly to find the two men approaching her, one of them leading the captive Bras by the leash. Sheila sprang to her feet with a great gladness. She did not care even to accuse the culprit, whose consciousness of guilt was evident in his look and in the droop of his tail. Bras did not once turn his eyes to his mistress. He hung down his head, while he panted rapidly, and she fancied she saw some smearing of blood on his tongue and on the side of his jaw. Her fears on this head were speedily confirmed.

"I think, miss, as you'd better take him out o' the Park as soon as may be, for he's got a deer killed close by the Robin Hood Gate, in the trees there; and if the keepers happen on it afore you leave the Park, you'll get into trouble."

"Oh, thank you!" said Sheila, retaining her composure bravely, but with a terrible sinking of the heart; "and how can I get to the nearest railway station?"

"You're going to London, miss?"


"Well, I suppose the nearest is Richmond; but it would be quieter for you—don't you see, miss?—if you was to go along to the Roehampton Gate and go to Barnes."

"Will you show me the gate?" said Sheila, choosing the quieter route at once.

But the men themselves did not at all like the look of accompanying her and this dog through the Park. Had they not already condoned a felony, or done something equally dreadful, in handing to her a dog that had been found keeping watch and ward over a slain buck? They showed her the road to the Roehampton Gate, and then they paused before continuing on their journey.

The pause meant money. Sheila took out her purse. There were three sovereigns and some silver in it, and the entire sum, in fulfillment of her promise, she held out to him who had so far conducted the negotiations.

Both men looked frightened. It was quite clear that either good feeling or some indefinite fear of being implicated in the killing of the deer caused them to regard this big bribe as something they could not meddle with; and at length, after a pause of a second or two, the spokesman said with great hesitation, "Well, miss, you've kep' your word; but me and my mate—well, if so be as it's the same to you—'d rather have summut to drink your health."

"Do you think it is too much?"

The man looked at his neighbor, who nodded.

"It was only for ketchin' of a dawg, miss, don't you see?" he remarked slowly, as if to impress upon her that they had had nothing to do with the deer.

"Will you take this, then?" and she offered them half a crown each.

Their faces lightened considerably: they took the money, and with a formal expression of thanks moved off, but not before they had taken a glance round to see that no one had been a witness of this interview.

And so Sheila had to walk away by herself, knowing that she had been guilty of a dreadful offence, and that at any moment she might be arrested by the officers of the law. What would the old King of Borva say if he saw his only daughter in the hands of two policemen? and would not all Mr. Lavender's fastidious and talkative and wondering friends pass about the newspaper report of her trial and conviction? A man was approaching her. As he drew near her heart failed her, for might not this [pg 221] be the mysterious George Ranger himself, about whom her husband and Mr. Ingram had been talking? Should she drop on her knees at once and confess her sins, and beg him to let her off? If Duncan were with her or Mairi, or even old Scarlett Macdonald, she would not have cared so much, but it seemed so terrible to meet this man alone.

However, as he drew near he did not seem a fierce person. He was an old gentleman with voluminous white hair, who was dressed all in black and carried an umbrella on this warm and bright afternoon. He regarded her and the dog in a distant and contemplative fashion, as though he would probably try to remember some time after that he had really seen them; and then he passed on. Sheila began to breathe more freely. Moreover, here was the gate, and once she was in the high road, who could say anything to her? Tired as she was, she still walked rapidly on; and in due time, having had to ask the way once or twice, she found herself at Barnes Station.

By and by the train came in: Bras was committed to the care of the guard, and she found herself alone in a railway-carriage for the first time in her life. Her husband had told her that whenever she felt uncertain of her where-abouts, if in the country, she was to ask for the nearest station and get a train to London; if in town, she was to get into a cab and give the driver her address. And, indeed, Sheila had been so much agitated and perplexed during this afternoon that she acted in a sort of mechanical fashion, and really escaped the nervousness which otherwise would have attended the novel experience of purchasing a ticket and of arranging about the carriage of a dog in the break-van. Even now, when she found herself traveling alone, and shortly to arrive at a part of London she had never seen, her crowding thoughts and fancies were not about her own situation, but about the reception she should receive from her husband. Would he be vexed with her? Or pity her? Had he called with Mrs. Lorraine to take her somewhere, and found her gone? Had he brought home [pg 222] some bachelor friends to dinner, and been chagrined to find her not in the house?

It was getting dusk when the slow four-wheeler approached Sheila's home. The hour for dinner had long gone by. Perhaps her husband had gone away somewhere looking for her, and she would find the house empty.

But Frank Lavender came to meet his wife in the hall, and said, "Where have you been?"

She could not tell whether there was anger or kindness in his voice, and she could not well see his face. She took his hand and went into the dining-room, which was also dusk, and standing there told him all her story.

"This is too bad, Sheila!" he said in a tone of deep vexation. "By Jove! I'll go and thrash that dog within an inch of his life."

"No," she said, drawing herself up; and for one brief second—could he but have seen her face—there was a touch of old Mackenzie's pride and firmness about the ordinarily gentle lips. It was but for a second. She cast down her eyes and said meekly, "I hope you won't do that, Frank. The dog is not to blame. It was my fault."

"Well, really, Sheila," he said, "you are very thoughtless. I wish you would take some little trouble to act as other women act, instead of constantly putting yourself and me into the most awkward positions. Suppose I had brought any one home to dinner, now? And what am I to say to Ingram? for of course I went direct to his lodgings when I discovered you were nowhere to be found. I fancied some mad freak had taken you there; and I should not have been surprised. Indeed, I don't think I should be surprised at anything you do. Do you know who was in the hall when I came in this afternoon?"

"No," said Sheila.

"Why that wretched old hag who keeps the fruit-stall. And it seems you gave her and all her family tea and cake in the kitchen last night."

"She is a poor old woman," said Sheila humbly.

"A poor old woman!" he said impatiently. "I have no doubt she is a lying old thief, who would take an umbrella or a coat if only she could get the chance. It is really too bad, Sheila, your having all those persons about you, and demeaning yourself by amending on them. What must the servants think of you?"

"I do not heed what any servants think of me," she said.

She was now standing erect, with her face quite calm.

"Apparently not," he said, "or you would not go and make yourself ridiculous before them."

Sheila hesitated for a moment, as if she did not understand; and then she said, as calmly as before, but with a touch of indignation about the proud and beautiful lips, "And if I make myself ridiculous by attending to poor people, it is not my husband who should tell me so."

She turned and walked out, and he was too surprised to follow her. She went up stairs to her own room, locked herself in and threw herself on the bed. And then all the bitterness of her heart rose up as if in a flood—not against him, but against the country in which he lived, and the society which had contaminated him, and the ways and habits that seemed to create a barrier between herself and him, so that she was a stranger to him, and incapable of becoming anything else. It was a crime that she should interest herself in the unfortunate creatures round about her—that she should talk to them as if they were human beings like herself, and have a great sympathy with their small hopes and aims; but she would not have been led into such a crime if she had cultivated from her infancy upward a consistent self-indulgence, making herself the centre of a world of mean desires and petty gratifications. And then she thought of the old and beautiful days up in the Lewis, where the young English stranger seemed to approve of her simple ways and her charitable work, and where she was taught to believe that in order to please him she had only to continue to be what she was then. There was no great gulf of time between that period and this; but what had not happened in the interval? She had not changed—at least she hoped she had not changed. She loved her husband with her whole heart and soul: her devotion was as true and constant as she herself could have wished it to be when she dreamed of the duties of a wife in the days of her maidenhood. But all around her was changed. She had no longer the old freedom—the old delight in living from day to day—the active work, and the enjoyment of seeing where she could help and how she could help the people around her. When, as if by the same sort of instinct that makes a wild animal retain in captivity the habits which were necessary to its existence when it lived in freedom, she began to find out the circumstances of such unfortunate people as were in her neighborhood, some little solace was given to her; but these people were not friends to her, as the poor folk of Borvabost had been. She knew, too, that her husband would be displeased if he found her talking with a washerwoman over her family matters, or even advising one of her own servants about the disposal of her wages; so that, while she concealed nothing from him, these things nevertheless had to be done exclusively in his absence. And was she in so doing really making herself ridiculous? Did he consider her ridiculous? Or was it not merely the false and enervating influences of the indolent society in which he lived that had poisoned his mind, and drawn him away from her as though into another world?

Alas! if he were in this other world, was not she quite alone? What companionship was there possible between her and the people in this new and strange land into which she had ventured? As she lay on the bed, with her head hidden down in the darkness, the pathetic wail of the captive Jews seemed to come and go through the bitterness of her thoughts, like some mournful refrain: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea we wept when we remembered Zion." She almost heard [pg 223] the words, and the reply that rose up in her heart was a great yearning to go back to her own land, so that her eyes were filled with tears in thinking of it, and she lay and sobbed there in the dusk. Would not the old man living all by himself in that lonely island be glad to see his little girl back again in the old house? And she would sing to him as she used to sing, not as she had been singing to those people whom her husband knew. "For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion." And she had sung in the strange land, among the strange people, with her heart breaking with thoughts of the sea and the hills and the rude and sweet and simple ways of the old bygone life she had left behind her.


She thought it was her father calling to her, and she rose with a cry of joy. For one wild moment she fancied that outside were all the people she knew—Duncan and Scarlett and Mairi—and that she was once more at home, with the sea all around her, and the salt, cold air.

"Sheila, I want to speak to you."

It was her husband. She went to the door, opened it, and stood there penitent and with downcast face.

"Come, you must not be silly," he said with some kindness in his voice. "You have had no dinner. You must be hungry."

"I do not care for any: there is no use troubling the servants when I would rather lie down," she said.

"The servants! You surely don't take so seriously what I said about them, Sheila? Of course you don't need to care what the servants think. And in any case they have to bring up dinner for me, so you may as well come and try."

"Have you not had dinner?" she said timidly.

"Do you think I could sit down and eat with the notion that you might have tumbled into the Thames or been kidnapped, or something?"

"I am very sorry," she said in a low [pg 224] voice, and in the gloom he felt his hand taken and carried to her lips. Then they went down stairs into the dining-room, which was now lit up by a blaze of gas and candles.

During dinner of course no very confidential talking was possible, and indeed Sheila had plenty to tell of her adventures at Richmond. Lavender was now in a more amiable mood, and was disposed to look on the killing of the roebuck as rather a good joke. He complimented Sheila on her good sense in having gone in at the Star and Garter for lunch; and altogether something like better relations was established between them.

But when dinner was finally over and the servants dismissed, Lavender placed Sheila's easy-chair for her as usual, drew his own near hers, and lit a cigarette.

"Now, tell me, Sheila," he said, "were you really vexed with me when you went up stairs and locked yourself in your room? Did you think I meant to displease you or say anything harsh to you?"

"No, not any of those things," she said calmly: "I wished to be alone—to think over what had happened. And I was grieved by what you said, for I think you cannot help looking at many things not as I will look at them. That is all. It is my bringing up in the Highlands, perhaps."

"Do you know, Sheila, it sometimes occurs to me that you are not quite comfortable here? And I can't make out what is the matter. I think you have a perverse fancy that you are different from the people you meet, and that you cannot be like them, and all that sort of thing. Now, dear, that is only a fancy. There need be no difference if only you will take a little trouble."

"Oh, Frank!" she said, going over and putting her hand on his shoulder, "I cannot take that trouble. I cannot try to be like those people. And I see a great difference in you since you have come back to London, and you are getting to be like them and say the things they say. If I could only see you, my own darling, up in the Lewis again, with rough clothes on and a gun in your hand, I should be happy. You were yourself up there, when you were helping us in the boat, or when you were bringing home the salmon, or when we were all together at night in the little parlor, you know—"

"My dear, don't get so excited. Now sit down, and I will tell you all about it. You seem to have the notion that people lose all their finer sentiments simply because they don't, in society, burst into raptures over them. You mustn't imagine all those people are selfish and callous merely because they preserve a decent reticence. To tell you the truth, that constant profession of noble feelings you would like to see would have something of ostentation about it."

Sheila only sighed. "I do not wish them to be altered," she said by and by, with her eyes grown pensive: "all I know is, that I could not live the same life. And you—you seemed to be happier up in the Highlands than you have ever been since."

"Well, you see, a man ought to be happy when he is enjoying a holiday in the country along with the girl he is engaged to. But if I had lived all my life killing salmon and shooting wild-duck, I should have grown up an ignorant boor, with no more sense of—"

He stopped, for he saw that the girl was thinking of her father.

"Well, look here, Sheila. You see how you are placed—how we are placed, rather. Wouldn't it be more sensible to get to understand those people you look askance at, and establish better relations with them, since you have got to live among them? I can't help thinking you are too much alone, and you can't expect me to stay in the house always with you. A husband and wife cannot be continually in each other's company, unless they want to grow heartily tired of each other. Now, if you would only lay aside those suspicions of yours, you would find the people just as honest and generous and friendly as any other sort of people you ever met, although they don't happen to be fond of expressing their goodness in their talk."

"I have tried, dear—I will try again," said Sheila.

She resolved that she would go down and visit Mrs. Lavender next day, and try to be interested in the talk of such people as might be there. She would bring away some story about this or the other fashionable woman or noble lord, just to show her husband that she was doing her best to learn. She would drive patiently round the Park in that close little brougham, and listen attentively to the moralities of Marcus Aurelius. She would make an appointment to go with Mrs. Lavender to a morning concert; and she would endeavor to muster up courage to ask any ladies who might be there to lunch with her on that day, and go afterward to this same entertainment. All these things and many more Sheila silently vowed to herself she would do, while her husband sat and expounded to her his theories of the obligations which society demanded of its members.

But her plans were suddenly broken asunder.

"I met Mrs. Lorraine accidentally to-day," he said.

It was his first mention of the young American lady. Sheila sat in mute expectation.

"She always asks very kindly after you."

"She is very kind."

He did not say, however, that Mrs. Lorraine had more than once made distinct propositions, when in his company, that they should call in for Sheila and take her out for a drive or to a flower-show, or some such place, while Lavender had always some excuse ready.

"She is going to Brighton to-morrow, and she was wondering whether you would care to run down for a day or two."

"With her?" said Sheila, recoiling from such a proposal instinctively.

"Of course not. I should go. And then at last, you know, you would see the sea, about which you have been dreaming for ever so long."

The sea! There was a magic in the very word that could, almost at any moment, [pg 225] summon tears into her eyes. Of course she accepted right gladly. If her husband's duties were so pressing that the long-talked-of journey to Lewis and Borva had to be repeatedly and indefinitely postponed, here at least would be a chance of looking again at the sea—of drinking in the freshness and light and color of it—of renewing her old and intimate friendship with it that had been broken off for so long by her stay in this city of perpetual houses and still sunshine.

"You can tell her you will go when you see her to-night at Lady Mary's. By the way, isn't it time for you to begin to dress?"

"Oh, Lady Mary's!" repeated Sheila mechanically, who had quite forgotten about her engagement for that evening.

"Perhaps you are too tired to go," said her husband.

She was a little tired, in truth. But surely, just after her promises, spoken and unspoken, some little effort was demanded of her; so she bravely went to dress, and in about three-quarters of an hour was ready to drive down to Curzon street. Her husband had never seen her look so pleased before in going out to any party. He flattered himself that his lecture had done her good. There was fair common sense in what he had said, and although, doubtless, a girl's romanticism was a pretty thing, it would have to yield to the actual requirements of society. In time he should educate Sheila.

But he did not know what brightened the girl's face all that night, and put a new life into the beautiful eyes, so that even those who knew her best were struck by her singular beauty. It was the sea that was coloring Sheila's eyes. The people around her, the glare of the candles, the hum of talking, and the motion of certain groups dancing over there in the middle of the throng,—all were faint and visionary, for she was busily wondering what the sea would be like the next morning, and what strange fancies would strike her when once more she walked on sand and heard the roar of waves. That, indeed, was the sound [pg 226] that was present in her ears while the music played and the people murmured around her. Mrs. Lorraine talked to her, and was surprised and amused to notice the eager fashion in which the girl spoke of their journey of the next day. The gentleman who took her in to supper found himself catechised about Brighton in a manner which afforded him more occupation than enjoyment. And when Sheila drove away from the house at two in the morning she declared to her husband that she had enjoyed herself extremely, and he was glad to hear it; and she was particularly kind to himself in getting him his slippers, and fetching him that final cigarette which he always had on reaching home; and then she went off to bed to dream of ships and flying clouds and cold winds, and a great and beautiful blue plain of waves.



A day of bright reflections on the pond,

And wavering shadows over moss and frond:

A wayward breeze, the summer's latest born,

Teased the stiff grain and bent the stately corn,

Or rocked the bird-nests in the prickly thorn.

Above, the lavish sun filled air with gold;

Again, below, on mimic waves it rolled,

And hid in lily cups. Her netted hair

Gleamed in the splendor, bright beyond compare,

Forming about her head a nimbus rare.

The velvet mullen raised its yellow head,

The buttercups like precious ore were spread:

Like golden shuttles flung by spirit hands,

Weaving invisible their magic strands,

Darted quick orioles in joyous bands.

Fond helianthus turned her fervent face,

Meek antirrhinum paled and grew apace;

Late dandelions, robed in cloth of gold,

With golden-rod, upsprung from out the mould,

And pensive, gold-eyed daisies pranked the wold.

As snowy, gold-rimmed cloudlets hide the sky,

So hid her eyelid's golden fringe her eye:

As every growing beauty of the earth

But figures forth great Nature's hidden worth,

So my love's charms from her pure heart had birth.

Pure heart of gold to me that day was given,

And promise true as gold made earth a heaven;

Then far away fled every doubt forlorn;

We felt for us the Golden Age reborn,

And envied none their gold from labor torn.

[pg 227]


It is no longer the fashion to scoff at tales of the supernatural. On the contrary, there is a growing tendency to investigate subjects which were formerly pooh-poohed by most persons claiming to be well informed and capable of reasoning. It is, however, without propounding any theory or advancing any opinion that I record a few instances of apparently supernatural, or at least inexplicable, occurrences. I can vouch for the truth of nearly all the stories I am about to relate, one of them only not being either my personal experience or narrated to me by some one of the actors in the scene.

My first story shall be one that was told to me by an aged lady who was one of the friends of my youth, and who often mentioned this strange incident of her placid, yet busy life. She was a sensible, practical woman, the last person in the world likely to be led astray by an overheated imagination or deceived by hallucinations. Her early youth had been passed in the country, her father being a wealthy farmer. She had formed a close intimacy with the daughter of a gentleman living at some distance from her father's farm, and the two were seldom apart. An invitation given to my friend (whom I shall call Mrs. L——) to visit some relatives in a neighboring city caused a brief separation between the two girls, and they parted with many protestations of enduring affection. On the day appointed for Mrs. L——'s return she set out at the prescribed hour. The latter part of her journey was to be performed on horseback. On a bright sunny afternoon in June she found herself, about five o'clock, drawing near her father's house. Suddenly in the broad road before her she perceived a female form walking rapidly toward her, and, to her delight, recognized her friend coming, as she thought, to meet her.

"I will make her go back with me and take tea," was Mrs. L——'s thought as she whipped up her horse in her haste to greet the dear one, who was all the more beloved on account of their temporary separation. But as she approached the figure, and before she had had time to speak, or indeed to do more than notice that her friend looked very pale and ill, her horse, an unusually quiet, steady animal, seemed struck with sudden terror, reared, shied, and finally plunged into a hollow by the roadside, from which she had some difficulty in extricating him. When she did succeed in bringing him back to the level road she found, to her astonishment, that the young girl had disappeared. Around her lay the open fields, before her and behind her the road—all in the bright lustre of the summer afternoon—but no trace of the figure could she see. Completely mystified, she hastened home, there to learn that her friend had died suddenly that very morning.

The next incident I shall narrate was told me by a German gentleman whose mother was the heroine of the tale. His father had been appointed to some public office in a small German town, and among the emoluments of the place was the privilege of residing in a large, old-fashioned, but very handsome mansion. The husband and wife set off in high spirits to inspect their new abode, to which some portion of their furniture had already been transferred. They went from room to room, inspecting and planning, till they came to an apartment the ceiling of which was elaborately decorated with plaster Cupids, baskets of flowers, etc., modeled in high relief, and with a centre-piece of unusual size and magnificence. A small table, the only article of furniture the room contained, was placed directly under this centre-piece. The young wife, rather weary of her researches, was standing beside this table, and was leaning on it while she went on talking with her husband, [pg 228] when suddenly a loud, imploring voice called from down stairs, "Caroline! Caroline! come down to me—come!"

"Who can that be?" asked the husband in amazement. "I fastened all the doors and windows before we left the lower rooms."

Again came the loud call, this time with an accent of agonized entreaty: "Caroline! oh, Caroline! come down—do come!"

The young couple hesitated no longer, but hastened down stairs. There was no one there. Doors and windows were securely fastened, and the old house looked as solitary as when they had first entered it.

"Very strange!" said the gentleman. "But now that we are down here, Caroline, suppose we take a look at the garden?" So they sallied forth to examine that portion of their new domain, but scarcely had they entered it when they were startled by a loud crash within the house. Looking up, they saw volumes of what appeared to be smoke issuing from the window of the room they had just quitted, and fearing that the room was on fire, they quickly returned to it. There was no fire: what had appeared to be smoke was only a cloud of dust, for the massive and elaborately ornamented ceiling had fallen, and the heavy centre-piece had crushed to fragments the table against which the young wife had so lately been leaning. But for the warning voice her destruction would have been inevitable. My informant went on to state that the pieces of the shattered table were preserved as sacred relics by his parents, and that his mother always declared that she had recognized in the mysterious voice that of a dear relative long before deceased.

It was once my fortune to pass some weeks in a "haunted house." I was quite young then, a mere school-girl in fact, and the friend whom I came to visit was also very young; and both of us were too gay and frolicsome to care much for whatever was strange or startling in our surroundings. Not that we ever saw anything—my friend herself, the daughter of the house, had never done so—but the sounds we heard were sufficiently odd and inexplicable to fill us with astonishment, if not with terror. Twice during my visit I was roused from a sound slumber by a loud, heavy crash, resembling that which might be caused by the overthrow of a marble-topped washstand or bureau, or some other equally ponderous piece of furniture. The room actually vibrated, and yet a close scrutiny of that and the adjoining apartments failed to reveal any cause for the peculiar noise. It was a sound which could not possibly have been produced by cracking furniture, falling bricks, scampering rats, or any other of the numerous causes of supposed ghostly sounds. The room overhead was used as a linen-room, and was always kept locked; and besides, the noise (which I afterward heard on another occasion in broad daylight, when I was wide awake) was unmistakably in the room where we found ourselves. My friend told me that she had heard it very often—so often, in fact, that she had got quite used to it, and no longer felt any emotion save that of curiosity.

There was another room in which (also in broad daylight) I heard a strange crackling sound like the rustling of a large sheet of stiff paper or parchment turned slowly in the reader's hands. This noise also was one of frequent occurrence. Among the things seen by other members of the family was a light that glided over walls and ceiling in points inaccessible to outside light or reflection. Then there was a lady in black silk who had more than once been seen gliding about the house, but who always disappeared when accosted or followed. Three slow, solemn raps sometimes sounded at dead of night at the door of one member of the family, a skeptical and irascible old gentleman.

But, strange to say, all these uncanny sights and sounds portended nothing, and seemed to be utterly without a purpose or a cause. The house was a cheerful modern one, and the father of my friend was its first occupant; so there was nothing in the past to which these unearthly occurrences could refer. Nor were they warnings of coming misfortune. Neither death nor disaster ever followed in their train, and in due course of time the family ceased to trouble their heads about them—were not at all frightened, and scarcely even annoyed. There were other sounds which I did not myself hear, but of which I was told—stealthy footsteps that paced a certain corridor at dead of night; a sharp, rattling noise like hail dashing against the window-panes, and one or two other trifling yet equally unaccountable occurrences. Once, too, a young lady visiting the house heard in the next room to that in which she was loud and lamentable sounds, as of a woman weeping bitterly and in sore distress. She listened in considerable perplexity for some time, fearing to intrude on the sorrows of some member of the family; but at last she resolved to go and proffer aid, if not consolation. As he approached the door between the two rooms the sound suddenly ceased, and, to her amazement, she found the adjoining apartment not only empty, but with the door locked and bolted on the inside.

I once knew a young lady who, on going to pay a visit to a friend who had recently moved into a new house, was asked to walk up stairs, and on complying saw an old woman preceding her up the staircase. Supposing her to be one of the servants, she took but little notice of her, though struck by the peculiarity of her gait, a sort of jerky limp, as though one leg was shorter than the other. In the course of conversation with her friend she mentioned the old woman, and asked if she was the housekeeper. "Housekeeper? no," said the lady: "we have no such person about our house. You must have been mistaken." The visitor then described the person she had seen, and when she mentioned the peculiar limp her hostess seemed startled. After a pause she said: "No such person lives here now, but the woman who took care of this house before we rented it was exactly such a person as you describe, and was lame in just such a manner. But she died here [pg 229] about six weeks ago—I think in this very room—so your eyes must certainly have deceived you." The lady still persisted that she had seen the old woman; so the servants were called and the house thoroughly searched, but no intruder was discovered.

I have known several instances of persons who have seen the "fetch" or apparition of a living person, called in Germany the "Doppelgänger;" yet, though such appearances are usually supposed to portend the death or illness of the person thus strangely "doubled," I have never yet heard of a case where any unpleasant consequences followed. For instance, an old friend of mine, a gentleman of undoubted veracity, once told me that on one occasion he entered his house about five o'clock in the afternoon, and ran up stairs to his mother's bed-chamber, where he saw her standing near the centre of the room, clad in a loose white gown and engaged in combing out her long black hair. He remained looking at her for some moments, expecting that she would speak to him, but she did not take notice in any way of his presence, and neither spoke nor looked at him. He then addressed her, but, receiving no reply, became indignant and went down stairs, where, to his amazement, he found his mother seated by the parlor window, dressed and coiffée as usual. It was some years before he would trust himself to tell her of what he had seen, fearing that she might consider it an omen of approaching death, and indeed, though not a superstitious man, he was inclined so to view it himself; but his mother lived for many years after the appearance of her wraith. I also knew a young gentleman to whom the unpleasant experience of beholding his own double was once vouchsafed. He had been spending a quiet evening with some young ladies, and returned home about eleven o'clock, let himself into the house with his latch-key and proceeded to his own room, where he found the gas already lighted, though turned down to a mere blue spark. He turned it up, and the full light of the jet shone on his [pg 230] bed, which stood just beside the burner, and there, extended at full length, lay—himself. His first idea was of a burglar or some such intruder. But his second glance dispelled that impression. He stood for some moments gazing at the prostrate figure with feelings which must have been anything but agreeable: he noticed little peculiarities of his own dress and features, and marked the closed eyelids and easy respiration of slumber. At length, plucking up courage, he attempted to pass his hand under the pillow to draw out a small revolver which he usually kept there, and as he did so he felt the pressure of the pillow as though weighed down by a reclining head. This completely unnerved him. He went out of the room, locking the door on the outside, and spent the remainder of the night on a sofa in the parlor. He did not re-enter his chamber till broad daylight, when, to his delight, he found that his ghostly visitor had vanished.

The next story on my list was narrated to me by one of the most sensible and intelligent women I ever met—a lady of great strength of character, joined to a fine and highly cultivated mind. During her childhood my friend (whom I shall call Mrs. X——) dwelt with her parents in a large, roomy house in the vicinity of one of our inland cities. The house was a double one, a solid, substantial structure built of stone, and had been purchased by her father a short time before the occurrences which I am about to relate. A wide lawn at the back of the mansion sloped down to the bank of a small stream, along the verge of which, without intervening bank or path, ran the terminating wall of the grounds. The stables were also situated at the foot of this lawn, and the back windows of these stables looked out on the water. Mrs. X—— had several brothers and sisters, all of whom, as well as herself, were still children at the period of which she spoke.

One summer evening her parents accepted an invitation to take tea with a friend, and went out, leaving the children at play in the library, a room which opened on the main hall on the ground floor. The front door was open, and as it grew dark a large hanging lamp which fully illuminated the hall was lighted, so that every part of it, as well as the staircase, was fully illuminated. Late in the evening the children were disturbed at their play in the library by the sound of heavy footsteps ascending the outer steps and then pacing along the hall. Imagining that it was their parents who had returned earlier than they expected, they rushed to the door to greet them, but to their astonishment they could see no one, though the heavy steps were still heard traversing the hall, ascending the staircase, and finally resounding on the floor of a room overhead. The children summoned the servants, who merely laughed at their story, till one of the maids, who had been busy up stairs, came down and said that her master and mistress must surely have returned, as she had heard them walking along the entry and afterward entering one of the rooms. Upon this, one of the men-servants went up stairs and made a careful search, but without rinding any one. In the midst of the excitement the lady and gentleman of the house returned home, and upon hearing the story the gentleman himself instituted a second and more vigorous search, which, like the first, was wholly without result.

Some time after this the children were playing under their nurse's care on the lawn at the back of the house one gray, dismal afternoon in the early autumn. The attention of the whole party was suddenly attracted by the figure of a man passing slowly outside of the stone wall that stretched along the foot of the lawn, and finally disappearing behind the stable. As he did so a tremendous uproar arose among the horses in the stable, and on examination one of them, a remarkably fine and docile animal, whose stall happened to be next the window that opened on the water, was found to be in a perfect ecstasy of terror, plunging, rearing and struggling to get loose in a manner that rendered the task of releasing and removing him anything but an easy or even a safe one. After the horse was got out of the stable and led away, the question arose, What had frightened him? Could the man they had seen passing behind the stable have done anything to terrify him? Then, for the first time, it dawned on the minds of the whole party that no human being could have walked where they had seen the passing figure, as the wall rose straight from the verge of the water, and there was no pathway between the wall and the stream, which in that spot was deep, though not very wide. Strange to say, the horse could never be induced to re-enter that stable, but always manifested signs of wild alarm and excitement when brought even to the door, though in all other respects he was perfectly gentle and tractable.

Owing to the size of the family, one of the large garret-rooms had been fitted up as a bed-room for one of the younger boys, who preferred having a chamber of his own to sharing the apartment of one of his brothers. He had not occupied it long before he began to complain of frightful dreams, and more than once he came trembling down stairs and took refuge in his mother's room, terrified by something horrible—what, he could not define, but something that came into his room at night and roused him from his slumbers. Thinking that the child was merely nervous and excitable, she changed the arrangements, put him to sleep in the bed-room of one of his brothers, and gave up the apartment in the garret to one of the servants. But in a very short time the complaints were renewed: the girl could not sleep on account of that vague, strange horror, which often drove her shrieking and half awakened from her bed. So the lady had the room dismantled, and used it as a lumber-room, and during the remaining years of her occupancy of the house was troubled no more.

As time passed on, the increasing exigencies of his growing family induced Mrs. X——'s father to purchase a house in town, and he accordingly rented his country-mansion to a childless pair, a clergyman and his wife. The new residents [pg 231] had not been long installed when a series of ghostly disturbances began in real earnest. I believe that nothing more was ever seen, but the kitchen at night, when all the family had retired, would at times become the seat of an appalling uproar of inarticulate voices and clashing dishes and dragging furniture. If any one was bold enough to venture down stairs, the noise would suddenly cease, and the kitchen itself never showed any trace of these unearthly revels, every plate, dish, cup and chair remaining in its accustomed place. Then, too, the footsteps of the invisible intruder were heard again, and often while the minister was writing in his study the steps would be heard coming through the door and across the room, and the unseen visitor would seat himself in the chair that usually stood opposite to that of the clergyman at the writing-table, when a sound as of the pages of a large book with stiff paper leaves being slowly turned would usually ensue. The minister often addressed his invisible companion, but never received any reply to his questions or his appeals.

On hearing these strange stories, Mrs. X——'s father determined upon trying to trace out the history of the house before it came into his possession. He learned that it had originally been occupied by the person who built it, a man of low origin, who, being looked upon as a pillar of the Church by the congregation to which he belonged, had been entrusted with the task of collecting certain sums due to it—whether actual income or subscriptions I do not now recollect. At all events, he never paid over the money, but launched out into sundry extravagances rather unusual for a man in his station of life, amongst which was the erection of this large and handsome house. But from the time the house was finished a blight seemed to fall upon his life. He gave up all his religious and regular habits, frequented evil company, took to drinking, and finally, in a fit of delirium tremens, hanged himself in the very garret room of which I have before spoken. [pg 232] The scenes at his funeral were said to baffle description. The corpse was laid out in the kitchen, and thither all his late boon-companions repaired and turned the sad ceremonial into a hideous orgy. Among other horrible deeds, they took the corpse from the coffin, propped it up in a chair and poured whisky down its throat.

The incidents which I have related happened when Mrs. X—— was a child, and she is now in the prime of womanhood. When she finished her story I recollected that scarce a year ago I had read in a Philadelphia paper an extract from one of the journals of the town near which this house stood, giving an account of an investigation which was then taking place of the cause of sundry strange disturbances occurring in this very house. The extract closed with the history of its builder and first occupant, tallying exactly with what she related to me, though with fewer details. So, after all these years, the perturbed spirit still refuses to rest.

The narrative with which I shall conclude this chapter of ghostly experiences is one for the truth of which I am not prepared to vouch, as I was neither an actor in its scenes nor was it related to me by one who was. Yet were the incidents of any other than a supernatural nature I should consider the authority from which I learned them as unquestionable.

A few years ago a lady in quest of summer lodgings for herself, her sister and her children (her husband being absent) was offered a large, old-fashioned house in the vicinity of one of our seashore resorts on highly advantageous terms. Having inspected the house and found it, though old, in good repair, she engaged it joyfully, and a few weeks after the date of her first negotiations she was settled there with her family. For some time nothing occurred to mar the peace of the household. The children enjoyed the fresh sea-breezes, their pleasant sports on the beach and the large airy rooms, while the ladies sewed and read and looked after household matters and took long walks after the fashion of most people during the summer season by the seaside. One night, when the mother was about to retire to rest, one of her younger children, a bright little boy, called to her from his sleeping-room. Fearing that he was ill, she hastened to him.

"Mamma," he said very earnestly, "I wish you would tell that strange woman to keep out of my room."

"What woman, dear?" asked his mother, convinced that he had been dreaming.

"I don't know her name, and I can't see her face because she wears a big sun-bonnet, but she comes and stands at the foot of my bed, and she frightens me."

"Well, never mind, dear. Go to sleep, and if ever she troubles you again, come into my room and sleep with me," answered the mother, still thinking that the child had been wakened by an uneasy dream. The little fellow, thus soothed and consoled, soon fell asleep, and slept soundly till morning. But a few nights afterward the child came running into his mother's room at dead of night, panting and terrified, and exclaiming, "Mamma! mamma! she has come again!" His mother took him into her arms, and soon caressed away his fears, but thinking that the child's uneasiness was caused by his sleeping alone, she had his bed moved into her own chamber, and fitted up the vacant apartment as a guest-chamber. Soon after this the servants began to complain of strange sights and sounds for which they could not account, and one burning July day the sister, who was seated by the parlor window, happened to say, "Oh, I am so warm!" when a voice, seemingly from the cellar, made answer, "And I am so cold!" Struck with amazement, she called, but no one replied, and subsequent investigation proved that there was no one in the cellar at that moment, nor could there have been, as its only door was always kept locked.

I cannot now recall the details of various strange occurrences which afterward took place, but will pass on to the final one, which may be considered as the dénoûment of the whole story. The lady of the house, a strong-minded, practical woman, had always sternly rejected the theory that the odd incidents that annoyed her had any supernatural origin; so, disregarding them wholly, she sent an invitation to an old friend of hers, a clergyman, to pay her a visit of some weeks' duration. Her invitation was accepted, and in due time her guest arrived and was put in possession of the spare bed-room. Night coming on, the whole household retired to rest. Early in the morning the active hostess rose to see that all was in order for the further entertainment of her guest, when, on going into the parlor to unfasten the shutters, what was her amazement to find him there extended on the sofa, and looking very ill, as though he had passed a wretched night! In answer to her anxious questioning he stated that on retiring to rest he had fallen into a profound slumber, from which he suddenly woke, and saw a woman wearing a large sun-bonnet, which completely concealed her face, standing beside his bed, the moonlight which shone into the room rendering every detail of her figure distinctly visible. Supposing that she was one of the servants who had come to his room to see that he was perfectly comfortable and wanted nothing, he spoke to her. What she replied, or how he first became convinced that the Thing before him was no form of flesh and blood, I cannot now remember; but I recollect two particulars of the interview: one was, that she told him to look for her in the cellar; the other, that he asked her why she wore a sun-bonnet, and she answered, "Because the lime has spoilt my face." At this his failing senses forsook him, and when consciousness returned his ghostly visitor had disappeared.

His hostess heard him in silence. As soon as breakfast was over she requested him to accompany her to the cellar. Careful examination soon revealed a spot where some of the stones with which it was paved had been removed and afterward replaced. Assistants with proper tools were procured, the stones [pg 233] were lifted, and after a few minutes of vigorous digging a mass of lime was disclosed, in which was found imbedded a quantity of calcined fragments of bone, which medical authority afterward pronounced to be portions of a human skeleton. These poor remains were carefully removed, placed in a box and interred in a neighboring cemetery, and the "woman in a sun-bonnet" was seen no more.

Subsequent investigation into the history of the old house revealed the following facts. It had originally been occupied by a retired sea-captain and his only son, the latter a wild, reckless youth of evil character and confirmed bad habits. A young girl went to live there as a servant, and for some months seemed well contented with her place, but afterward she became gloomy and unhappy, and was frequently seen in tears by the neighbors. At last she disappeared, and it was given out by her employers that she had gone to visit some friends at a distance, but she did not return, and suspicion was already directed toward the old man and his son, when one morning the house was found to be shut up, its inhabitants having found it expedient to remove as silently and secretly as possible. The girl was never heard of afterward. The discovery of the bones led to the supposition that the younger man had seduced her, had afterward murdered her to conceal his original crime, and that he had then buried the body in the cellar, taking the precaution to cover it with quicklime.

As I said at the beginning of this article, I neither wish to propound any theories nor to deduce any conclusions from the relations I have given. I can only reiterate my statement that they came to me from sources the reliability of which I cannot question. I have carefully excluded everything relating to the supernatural which I ever heard from the lips of ignorant and superstitious persons, and have only recorded such incidents as bore an added weight of evidence in the shape of the sense, intelligence and unquestionable veracity of their relators.


[pg 234]


Small, shapeless drifts of cloud

Sail slowly northward in the soft-hued sky,

With blue half-tints and rolling summits bright,

By the late sun caressed; slight hazes shroud

All things afar; shineth each leaf anigh

With its own warmth and light.

O'erblown by Southland airs,

The summer landscape basks in utter peace:

In lazy streams the lazy clouds are seen;

Low hills, broad meadows, and large, clear-cut squares

Of ripening corn-fields, rippled by the breeze,

With shifting shade and sheen.

Hark! and you may not hear

A sound less soothing than the rustle cool

Of swaying leaves, the steady wiry drone

Of unseen crickets, sudden chirpings clear

Of happy birds, the tinkle of the pool,

Chafed by a single stone.

What vague, delicious dreams,

Born of this golden hour of afternoon,

And air balm-freighted, fill the soul with bliss,

Transpierced like yonder clouds with lustrous gleams,

Fantastic, brief as they, and, like them, spun

Of gilded nothingness!

All things are well with her.

'Tis good to be alive, to see the light

That plays upon the grass, to feel (and sigh

With perfect pleasure) the mild breezes stir

Among the garden roses, red and white,

With whiffs of fragrancy.

There is no troublous thought,

No painful memory, no grave regret,

To mar the sweet suggestions of the hour:

The soul, at peace, reflects the peace without,

Forgetting grief as sunset skies forget

The morning's transient shower.

[pg 235]



Was George Washington born in Great Britain or America? Absurd as this question must sound to an American, it has been gravely discussed within the last few months by a writer in the London Notes and Queries, who has the effrontery to say that Washington's own brief assertion in a letter to the effect that he was born in Virginia cannot be conclusive. "No man's unsupported testimony," he adds, "as to the place of his birth would be taken in evidence in a court of justice, for his knowledge of the event must necessarily be from hearsay or from records." This is silly enough. I did not see the whole article, or learn by what arguments the writer endeavored to substantiate his doubts, if he really had any, as to the true birthplace of the Pater Patriae, but, feeling some interest in the matter, I cut out the slip containing the quotation just given, and enclosed it in a letter to a prominent gentleman living in Westmoreland not far from Wakefield, the estate on which the birthplace—or rather the site of it—is situated, with a request that he would reply to it. He did so promptly and almost indignantly.

"I am amazed," says he, "at the contents of the printed slip you send me. That any man of ordinary intelligence, living within the bounds of civilization, could be ignorant of or doubt the fact that General Washington was born in America, I did not for a moment suppose." He goes on to say that if Washington's biography, written by so many competent hands, and founded upon sources the most authentic, and particularly the Lives of Marshall, Sparks and Irving, were not sufficient to convince incredulity itself, he is at a loss to know what would. Certainly, he would not attempt the task himself. In addition to the well-known biographies, traditions and memoranda attest the fact beyond the possibility of enlightened doubt. Other credible and corroborative records are not wanting. "Had the question," he concludes, "been asked of Dr. Livingstone by some savage in the depths of the African jungles, it would not have been surprising; but to come from a writer in London, it is inexpressibly marvelous, and looks like a relapse into barbarism."

Among the memoranda alluded to is a fac-simile of the entry of the birth of Washington in the Bible of his mother, which is given in Howe's Historical Collections of Virginia, as follows:

"George Washington son to Augustine and Mary his Wife was Born 11'th Day of February 173-1/2 about 10 in the Morning and was Baptized the 3'th (sic) of April following M'r Beverley Whiting and Cap'n Christopher Brooks godfathers and M'rs Mildred Gregory God-mother."

There are no marks of punctuation, and Howe states that the original entry is supposed to have been made by Washington's mother. If so, the handwriting, not very unlike Washington's own, is unusually masculine, compact, even and clear for a woman's. Howe's book was published in 1836. At that time the old family Bible, a much dilapidated quarto with the title-page missing, and covered with the striped Virginia cloth so common in old days, was in the possession of George W. Bassett, Esq., of Farmington, Hanover county, who married a grand-niece of Washington. At that time, too, the birthplace, which had been destroyed previous to the Revolution, was much more plainly marked than it is now. From its associations, and from its natural beauties as well, the place was doubly interesting. Standing half a mile from the junction of Pope's Creek with the Potomac River, it commanded a view of the Maryland shore and of the course of the Potomac for many miles. The house was a low-pitched, [pg 236] single-storied frame dwelling, with four rooms on the first floor, and a huge chimney at each end on the outside—the style of the better class of houses of those days. A stone, placed there to mark its site by G.W.P. Custis, bore the simple inscription:


Such was its appearance in 1834 or '35, when Howe visited it. Its present condition may be gathered from what the writer of the letter in response to the London querist has to say about the site itself, that being all that is left of a place so memorable and so deserving of perpetuation:

"I have had no opportunity to obtain the sketch I promised you. Indeed, there is virtually no material to make a sketch of. The birthplace is now simply an old field lying waste, with indistinct vestiges of a human habitation. An old chimney stands which belonged to an outhouse (kitchen or laundry), some remains of a cellar, and the foundations of a house in which tradition states Washington was born. There was a stone slab, with a simple inscription, placed on the spot some sixty years ago by G. W: P. Custis, to denote the place, but it was long ago removed from its original position, mutilated and broken, so that only a fragment remains."

That a place of such interest—one might call it sacred—should be left to decay and obliteration is no new thing in Virginia. Enemies might well declare that neglect of her mighty dead is characteristic of the old commonwealth. The truth is, she has a great many dead to care for, and of late years all her time has been absorbed in the care of her living. But something has been done, or attempted to be done, to rescue Washington's birthplace from oblivion. As far back as 1858 an act was passed by the General Assembly of Virginia, accepting from Lewis Washington a grant of the "site of the birthplace of George Washington, and the home and graves of his progenitors in America," and appropriating five thousand dollars "to enclose the same in an iron fence," etc. Hon. Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia at the time this act was passed, entered with zeal and alacrity upon the work, the execution of which was entrusted to him by the Legislature—went in person to Westmoreland, examined carefully the sites, negotiated with the owner of the adjacent farm for right of way, adopted a plan for the enclosures and tablets, and began a correspondence with mechanics and artisans at the North with a view to the speedy completion of the work, and—just then his term expired, the war soon followed, and the matter was of course dropped.

The money appropriated, together with the accrued interest, is now in the treasury of Virginia, and although Governor Walker in his late message did not bring the subject to the attention of the Legislature, the long-delayed work will be consummated sooner or later, and "a neat iron fence" with a few plain slabs will be erected on the hallowed spot. But it strikes the present writer that five thousand dollars, or even ten thousand dollars, form rather a small sum for such an object, and that "a neat iron fence" is not exactly the thing that the place and its memories demand. But not a dollar more may be expected of Virginia at this time. She owes too much, and has too little. If one of the many Northern gentlemen who are lavishing their hundreds of thousands on colleges and other charities would come to Westmoreland and put something a little better than a "neat iron fence" around the birthplace of Washington, he would do a noble deed for himself and for both sections of his lately estranged country.



The London papers lately recorded the death of a lady who was the representative and last descendant, save one sister, of a house famous in English history. This was Lady Langdale, widow of Bickersteth, first and last Lord Langdale, and sister of Harley, last earl of Oxford. Lady Langdale had but one child, who married Count Teleki, a Hungarian nobleman, and pre-deceased her mother, dying childless. Lord Langdale was the son of Mr. Bickersteth, surgeon, of Kirby-Lonsdale, Westmoreland. He was brought up to his father's vocation, and traveled, as physician, with the earl of Oxford.

Impressed, no doubt, with Mr. Bickersteth's extraordinary abilities, Lord Oxford advised him to go to college and read for the law, which offered greater prizes than the medical profession. Accordingly, he entered at Cambridge, and in 1808 graduated as senior wrangler. Twenty-seven years later, in 1835, he married the daughter and heiress of his friend and patron, and the year following was created a peer.

His brother Edward was the celebrated evangelical leader in the Church of England. Bred to the law, he abandoned that profession for holy orders. Their nephew, son of their brother John, is the present bishop of Ripon.

The Harleys have been seated for six or seven centuries in Herefordshire, at Brampton-Bryan and Egwood, properties which in part remained in Lady Langdale's possession. By marriage! with the heiress of the Vaughans in the fifteenth century, they became possessed of Wigmore Castle, the ancient heritage of the extinct earls of Mortimer, and great estates which added to their consequence.

When Charles II. made a batch of peers on his restoration, the Harley of that day displayed a rare modesty. The king offered him a viscounty, but he declined the honor, "lest his zeal and services for the restoration of the ancient government should be reproached as proceeding from ambition, and not conscience;" and so scrupulous was he that his being made a knight of the Bath even was done without his knowledge, he being then at Dunkirk, and Charles inserting with his own hand his name in the list. But his son was destined for a higher dignity, for he it was who became in the tenth year of the reign of Charles II.'s niece, Queen Anne, earl of Oxford and Mortimer, being the famous Harley of that reign, linked in our memories [pg 237] with St. John Lord Bolingbroke, the Mashams, Marlboroughs, Swift, Addison, Pope, and the host of brilliant men which makes the reign of one of the feeblest women who ever sat on a throne a period of almost pre-eminent interest in English annals to men of cultivated mind subject to the influence of association. By Elizabeth Foley, daughter of the first Lord Foley, of Witley Court (sold, about thirty-five years ago, with the bulk of the Foley estates, for £990,000 to Lord Dudley, who married Lady Mordaunt's sister), the famous lord treasurer, Oxford, had one son, the second earl. He was the friend of Swift, to whom the dean addressed so many letters. A man of literary tastes, he spent a portion of his immense fortune in forming the finest library of the period, and it is to him the student is indebted for the magnificent collection known as the "Harleian," which subsequently became, by purchase, the property of the nation, and is deposited in the British Museum. He married the greatest heiress of the day, Lady Henrietta Cavendish-Holies, only daughter and heir of the duke of Newcastle (of the Holies creation—the present duke, a Pelham-Clinton, derives from a different descent). He left but one daughter. She married the second duke of Portland, grandson of Dutch William's pet page Bentinck, whom he imported into England, and loaded with honors and emolument until even the House of Commons of that day cried out loudly, "Enough! stop!" Through this lady the Bentincks got Welbeck, the duke of Portland's chief seat to-day.

Meanwhile, the Oxford honors and patrimonial estates in Herefordshire passed to the second earl's first cousin, and so on, in regular succession, until the earldom became extinct by the death of Lady Langdale's brother a few years ago. One of Lady Langdale's sisters married a General Bacon. At the time of the marriage he was but a poor captain, and his wealth did not much increase, whilst his family did, and his wife, the once beautiful Lady Charlotte, Byron's "Ianthe"—to whom he addressed [pg 238] the famous lines which form the prelude of Childe Harold, beginning,

Not in those climes where I have late been straying—

had to see her daughter a governess in the family of a Cornishman, once a common miner! One of her daughters is now married to the son of Lord Mount Edgecumbe's agent. It seems that the sisters could not forgive the mesalliance, as they deemed it, for Lady Langdale's will shows no bequest to the Bacons.

Lady Langdale had another sister, who married a son of Doctor Vernon-Harcourt, long archbishop of York, grandfather of "Historicus," the well-known political letter-writer of the London Times. This lady died about the same time as Lady Langdale. One sister only, the wife of a foreign nobleman, survives. She is the last of the Harleys of the great minister's line.


We had met in Europe some dozen years ago—I from Massachusetts, he from Carolina. We both looked grave for an instant as a friend presented us to each other, naming our respective residences, and then both laughed cheerily, and were good friends ever after. We enjoyed Tartuffe and the Mariage de Figaro in company with each other at the Theatre Francois, heard Mario, Grisi, Gratiano and Borghi Mamo in Verdi's Trovatore at the Opéra Italien, danced with les filles de l'Opéra at Cellarius's saloons, and had many a midnight carouse afterward at the Maison Doré. Nor had our time always been unprofitably spent. Toward Easter we journeyed together to Rome, and stood side by side before the masterpieces of Raphael and Domenichino in the Vatican, strolled by moonlight amid the ruins of the Coliseum, and drank out of the same cup from the Fountain of Trevi; often visited Crawford's studio, where then stood the famous group which now adorns the frieze of the Capitol at Washington, and by actual observation agreed in thinking his Indian not unworthy of comparison with the famous statue of the Dying Gladiator. We stood together on the Tarpeian Rock, and, looking down upon the mutilated Column of Trajan and all the ruins of ancient Rome, read out of the same copy of Horace the famous ode beginning, "Exegi monumentum aere perennius." We were both passionately fond of sculpture and of painting, and often sat for hours before the glorious Descent from the Cross of Daniel da Volterra in the Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti, the principal figure in which is said to have been sketched by Michael Angelo, and which, although less widely known, appeared to our minds equal in execution and superior in grandeur to any other painting in the world.

After our return to this country I happened to go South one winter, and spent a month with my friend on his plantation in the low country of Carolina. It seemed to be our fate to meet amid the ruins of the past. But the war had not then occurred, and we had many a hunt together, in which, after a glorious burst of the hounds through the open savannas, I brought down more than one noble buck. On other days we would drive with the ladies along the broad beach upon which stood the summer residences of the neighboring planters. And sometimes we would stroll lazily about the lanes of his estate, basking in the mellow sunshine in the midst of February, and chatting of Capri and Sorrento in a climate equal to that of Italy.

And we met again the other day in the streets of a Northern city. He looked older certainly, and very careworn, but his eye was as bright as ever and his voice as cheery.

"Come and dine with me," he said after we had given each other a hurried account of our present abodes and occupations. "You will find me in rather modest and decidedly airy lodgings, and I cannot offer you either wild-ducks or venison. A rasher of bacon and a glass of madeira as we chat over old times: what say you to the bill-of fare? You remember the old French adage, 'Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime, faut bien aimer ce que l'on a.'"

"A quelle heure, mon ami?"

"Four o'clock."

And at five that afternoon we were seated together, the remnants of our frugal repast removed, and on the scrupulously polished old mahogany table which separated us stood a cut-glass decanter of old Carolina madeira, the bouquet of which filled the room with its fragrance.

"Fill your glass, Harry: 'tis not the fragrance of the wine, but the sentiment connected with it, which prevents me from offering you a pipe. The odor of the best Virginia would seem to me a desecration. There are only a dozen bottles left in that cupboard. I never uncork one except for a near friend. 'Tis out of fashion now: hock and champagne have taken its place; but, do you know, I like it the better on that account. It reminds me of the past, and, though still a young man, it is one of my greatest pleasures to dwell on the picture which a glass of it never fails to recall to my imagination. You remember Woodlawn? For five-and-twenty years, during the whole of a long minority and subsequent travels abroad, those old bottles stood wreathed with cobwebs in the garret of the old mansion. You drank one with me in 1859. The rest were buried at the commencement of the war, and this is one of the few which survived it. There are not many of your compatriots to whom I would tell the story of its preservation, for it illustrates a feature of feudal attachment which they persistently refuse to believe possible.

"You remember the stately old negro who occupied the porter's lodge at Woodlawn, and who told you with such pride that he and his ancestors had always occupied a favored post near the great house? You remember, too, his grand air, fashioned after the gentlemen of the olden time, the contemporaries of Washington, Rutledge and Pinckney? And in what awe and reverence his fellow-servants stood of him! Well, when the war fairly began, and all hope of amicable adjustment was exhausted, I did what every true man on either side was bound to do—raised a company for the [pg 239] service, removed my family to an up-country farm, and left Old John in charge of my residence and interests in the low country. The Federal gunboats soon appeared upon the coast, entered the bay and ran up the rivers. Many of the younger people went off with them, but during the long and dreary four years which ensued Old John remained staunch at his post, cultivating the land as best he might, and sending constantly supplies of money and provisions to his mistress. At last the whole thing broke down: Lee surrendered, Johnston surrendered. Troops as well as gunboats swarmed in all directions. Not only regular soldiers, but raw negro levies, occupied the towns and were posted through the country. Stories were circulated that I was killed, that I was captured; and the latter statement was true. There were rumors that the land was to be divided among the negroes, and one dark night in the early summer of 1865 some drunken sailors, escaped from the gunboats lying in the bay, raised a mob of negroes from the various plantations and gutted nearly every house in the parish. Among others they came to mine eager for wine, and John was pointed out by some of the neighboring negroes as knowing where it was concealed. The sailors threatened his life: he refused to tell. They held a pistol to his head, but the old man remained staunch in his refusal. Provoked by his fidelity, at length they brutally beat him with the butts of their pistols until his gray hairs were dabbled in gore, and went off to other plunder, telling their followers to take what they wanted from my residence. But, bruised, bleeding and crippled though he was, Old John still defended his master's property, and sitting on the front steps of the house kept the whole crowd at bay by the firmness and dignity of his attitude. I heard of the affair first from a white man who lived in the neighborhood, and it was not until I asked him about it that he told me himself. The next day he gave to my own people the furniture remaining in the house to keep until I came back, but positively refused to [pg 240] allow them to take of the crops that had been gathered any more than was required for their subsistence, and this he regularly shared out to them at stated intervals. And when, after a long imprisonment and much enfeebled myself, I landed one evening at the wharf which leads up to the house, the first figure which met my sight was the old man faithfully guarding the barns. His eyesight was too dim for him to see me, but as soon as he heard my voice he seized my hand with passionate fervor, pressing it repeatedly to his lips and bedewing it with tears. Can you wonder if he has shared my fortunes ever since? But not at Woodlawn. The negroes generally were wild with the notion of freedom, and utterly ignorant of the practical meaning of the term. To me they were always civil and affectionate, but I preferred that some other than myself should teach them its rugged lesson, and immediately leased the place for a term of years to one better fitted than I to derive profit from it under the new system. The gentlemen and the negroes are the two classes upon whom the first results of the fearful revolution in society caused by the war fell with heaviest weight. Both were totally unprepared for it, and both have so far suffered cruelly. A year ago Old John died, faithful and cared for to the last. A few months ago the lease I had executed expired, and I visited the estate again. All the glamour of the past had disappeared. The home of my fathers knew me no more, and I have sold it. Cuffee, whom you remember as my body-servant, who followed me through the war, and bore me on his back from the battlefield upon which I was severely wounded, and who would have come with me here had circumstances permitted of my retaining his services,—Cuffee has taken to politics, and now represents the county in the Legislature of the State; and the last figure that I remember seeing as I left the place was that of old Sary, the sick nurse, her long black hair streaming in the wind (you remember she was an Indian half-breed), her feet bare, her petticoat ragged and limp, standing in the lane which leads from the house—her arms akimbo, a sort of miniature Meg Merrilies—screaming out to me, 'You left you own plantashun.' Yes, I have left my own plantation, and am grubbing out a modest and sometimes a rather precarious existence elsewhere. But for all that, it is more wholesome than mouldering among the ruins of a past that can never return. The fight has been fairly fought, and New England has won the day. Germany is up, France is down; Italy united, the pope existing on sufferance in the palace where erstwhile emperors did him homage. I don't quarrel with Fortune. Nay, in many things I dare say the world has benefited by the change. And so, when I take my children sometimes to look at Crawford's famous group, I even enjoy the spirit of pride with which they look upon the figure of America, and the zest with which they enjoy the vigorous onslaught of the pioneer on the forest tree; but my own eyes seek the Indian chieftain reclining in mute despair on the right of the group, and I have a strange sympathy with the fortune which his very attitude so forcibly indicates. Our battle of Dorking has been fought, and, whatever may be the fate of the next generation, all that is left to me of home or of country are the golden drops which sparkle in this tiny glass."



Oh Dear! I meant to be very early, people do look so cross when you squeeze by them. I don't think it is exactly proper, either, when they are men. Here is my seat, No. 10: that girl has piled all her waterproofs on it. Why don't she take them away quicker? and I wish she wouldn't grope about my feet for her overshoes.

I never sat right next to the orchestra before. What a convenient railing to hang my umbrella on! Provoking it should rain so to-day. There now! my waterproof is all disposed of, and I know my dress is all right, so I shall enjoy myself.

What a ridiculous girl beside me! Such a bunch of curls! The two young men on the other side look like gentlemen: the one this way especially nice—lovely eyes and moustache. I'll look round the house as far as I can without moving. Can't see much, though, for I'm so near the front. Why on earth didn't brother Bob put me where I could see the people?

Why, there's Lucy Morris! I can't bear that girl: her hair is almost the color of mine. A vacant seat beside her, too; so she came with some one. Wonder who it is? I hope she won't see me.

Oh, how funny! The musicians come up out of a hole just like the tame rats at the Museum, nasty things!—the rats, I mean. The man right in front of me has a trombone. I know what it is, because the name is written on his music. I'm so glad, for I never knew exactly what a trombone was until now. And what a funny instrument! He doesn't blow at all for ever so long, and then suddenly comes in with two or three toots.

But, good gracious! there's Dick Livingstone! I saw him come in at that door. I'm so glad I came! He asked me night before last at Mrs. Harris's if I was coming to the matinée, and of course I said "Yes," though I didn't have the slightest idea of doing so until he spoke. But what—! He has taken the seat by that Lucy Morris, and has given her a programme. I hate that girl!

There goes the curtain. What a stupid play! Why did I come? The damp will ruin my dress. Oh, that horrid girl! Well, of all the ridiculous acting I ever saw, this is the worst! I should think they would be ashamed to put such people on the stage. He is opening her fan. A fan to-day! absurd! I won't look again. How that man rants! I'm sure I don't know why I came: I might have known how poor it would be. Even I can see that Leicester and Mortimer have dresses at least a hundred years apart. I wonder if their legs are stuffed? Oh dear! that's hardly proper. What Dick can see to admire in that [pg 241] girl is beyond my comprehension. Such airs and graces!—all put on; and how she makes eyes at him! I can feel it behind my back.

How absurdly Queen Elizabeth is dressed! and what a fright she is! And I wore my new hat, too: he said he liked blue so much. I could just cry, I am so provoked. It's all her fault, I know. Oh! the play! Yes, Dudley is making love. Ridiculous! There, the curtain's down at last, and—what—! Dick is getting up: he looks as if he were saying good-bye. There's Lucy's uncle: he sits down beside her—he must have brought her. Oh, what a relief! After all, it was very natural for Dick to take the vacant seat, he is so thoughtful always. Lucy can talk pretty well sometimes, too. If she only had some idea of dress! There! I'm sure Dick saw me, but of course I shall take no notice.

Upon my word, the young man next me is admiring the girl's hair on the other side of me. It's hideous—red as a carrot, and stuck on at that. Thank Goodness! my hair hasn't a tinge of red in it—pure blonde cendré—but I have to pay awfully to match it. Wish I could tell that young fellow her hair is all stuck on. Hark! the nice one says,

"Why, it is all her own—I see it growing" "S-s-s-h!" says the other: "she'll hear you." "Loveliest hair I ever saw," continues No. 1: "pure gold, not a tinge of red—" It's my hair they are discussing. What a nice fellow he is! I'll just turn a little away, so he can study that curl which really does grow out of my head. It is worth all the trouble it gives me, for it makes the others seem so natural. I declare, he is looking right at me: suppose he should speak? I should die! Nonsense! he is bowing to a lady in the dress-circle. I know he'd like to do something for me. Brother Bob says girls can't be too careful. I might drop something. Not my handkerchief—that would be improper—but my opera-glass case: nothing could be said against that. Oh my! I haven't used my glasses yet, I'm so near the stage. I'll look round the house; so here goes. "Thank you, sir," [pg 242] with my sweetest smile and such a nice flutter. I saw him nudge his friend.

There goes the curtain again. Mary queen of Scots: I thought she was prettier. Oh, the act is really over; I actually forgot everything but the stage. My eyes are all wet. But it won't do to cry: they would be red. I don't quite like some of the words they use, though—they make one feel queer. Now, why couldn't they say "illegitimate child"? It means just the same; besides, it's longer.

I wonder how Dick Livingstone liked it? Mr. Livingstone, I should say. Brother Bob doesn't think it nice for girls to speak of young men by their first names. But then brothers are so particular about their own sisters, though, Goodness knows, they flirt enough with other people's. Bob and Kate Harris, for example, and yet he preaches at me!

Oh, the young men are going out. They push by as well as they can, but still they crowd unpleasantly. I am sure I've seen that nice one somewhere. They are going to stay away, too, I think, for they have taken their over-coats. If only Dick—Mr. Livingstone, I mean—

Oh, there's the curtain again. It's really quite interesting. I was mistaken about the actors: they do very well indeed. Queen Elizabeth is excellent, and so are they all. It shows how careful one ought to be not to judge too hastily. That's what mother always says. I won't do so again.

Well, that play is over—now for the comedy. Some one says it is still raining. I hate a waterproof, my figure looks so well in this suit. I might carry my cloak over my arm, but then I'm afraid the rain will ruin my dress. I must wear the waterproof and be a dowdy. I don't believe, after all, that it would hurt the underskirt, and then, with the umbrella up, I should have to take his arm. I shouldn't like to get this dress spoiled, either. I know mother wouldn't give me another. Brother Bob says men don't care so much about women's dress: they like to see a sensible girl. I don't believe that; besides, I have thick boots, and I'm sure that's sensible. I don't care: I won't wear the waterproof unless it is a perfect deluge. My goodness! I don't see Dick anywhere! Suppose, after all, he didn't come to meet me? and I gave him that flower at Mrs. Leslie's, too! I wish the thing was over.

But oh, what a pretty dress! and how sweet she is! I had no idea she could be so cunning, after being such a tragedy queen. The man on the stage actually kissed her. Bob says they don't really kiss, though.

I'm sorry it's over. Oh dear! I don't like being alone in such a crowd. Brother Bob wouldn't have let me come, I know, only he thought I should meet the Davidsons. No matter: I'll never tell him. I do believe Dick hasn't stayed, after all. I'll just put on my waterproof and thick veil, and go home and have a good cry.

Oh, Mr. Livingstone, how you startled me! I had no idea you were here. Yes, I am by myself: certainly you may escort me home. Take a walk in this pouring rain? Why, it's all sunshine!



Wellnigh half a century has elapsed since the discovery of the beautiful Venus of Milo (the exact year was 1825), and yet now, for the first time, the endless discussions regarding two doubtful and interesting points in its history have been set at rest. These two points are—first, the original pose of the statue; and, secondly, the reason of its being armless. After so many years of dispute over these questions, it occurred at length to M. Jules Ferry to do what of course ought to have been done long ago—namely, go to the very spot whence the statue was exhumed, and there talk with all the surviving witnesses of the exhumation. M. Ferry not long since put his idea into execution, went to Milo, took into consultation with him M. Brest, son of the consul who procured the statue for France, and found and cross-questioned two Greeks who were present at the unearthing of the statue. M. Ferry has collected the details of his labors in an elaborate communication to the Académie des Beaux Arts, but a brief indication of the results obtained may be made as follows:

First, then, the Venus was found in 1825 at the foot of a little hill, where it had been covered up by successive crumblings of the earth above. The proprietor of the ground, wishing to clear a little more of the soil for his planting, chanced to strike the statue with his shovel. "It was on its base, erect," said the two Greek peasants to the French minister. "With one hand she held together her draperies, and in the other an apple"—the same, doubtless, that Paris had just given her. Such, very briefly, is the clear, short, definite, decisive story which puts an end to ten thousand disquisitions and hypotheses about the pose. The evidence thus given is that of people who actually saw what they describe. But, secondly, what of those "long-lost arms"? and how came they to be lost? The body of the Venus was formed of two blocks, and the arms were afterward fastened upon the trunk. When discovered, it was intact. M. Brest, the French consul, instantly bought the Venus for five hundred dollars, while the Turkish government on its part hurried off a small vessel to bring it away, offering the owner of the farm fivefold the French price, or something like two thousand five hundred dollars. A French aviso, sent by M. de Rivière, the ambassador at Constantinople, arrived on the scene at the very moment when the Turks had got possession of the statue, and were embarking it on their vessel. A dispute arose at once, and in the material as well as legal confusion the arms of the Venus, which had been detached for safer transportation, were missed. The people of the neighborhood got up a story that the arms were carried off by the Turkish vessel out of chagrin and spite, but this seems to be mere surmise where all else is clear.

The story of Demosthenes and the pebbles is familiar. Less familiar, we [pg 243] venture to say, is the theory that declamation is sometimes the cause of stammering; or, rather, that stuttering impels a man to talkativeness, and the yielding to this tendency fixes the habit of stammering and makes it worse. Hence it might plausibly be argued that it is the rostrum, or the very emotion of speaking in public, which makes some orators become stammerers. At all events, in Paris an institution has been founded expressly to remedy stuttering; and M. Chervin, its director, not long ago presented before a meeting of the learned societies at the Sorbonne some interesting statistics on his specialty. These statistics seem to show that stuttering is in direct proportion with the habit of speaking, and that the more one speaks the more one stutters. This is certainly an unexpected result of the restoration of freedom of speech in France. M. Chervin mentions a village of eighteen hundred souls where everybody, without exception, undeniably stutters. What strange dialogues, says Jules Claretie (who cites these points in l'Indépendance Belge), must take place there! A very curious fact is, that stammering is less frequent in the north of France than in the south. In the north-east it is least known, and most in the south-east. For example, all things being equal, for six stammerers in Paris there would be twenty-five in Lyons and seventy in Marseilles. The admitted garrulity or fluency of southern speaking is often the cause or the preface to stammering. Thus, comically concludes M. Claretie, oratorical habits threaten to make stammering become the order of the day, and for one Vergniaud there will be ten stutterers, and ten more stutterers for one General Foy. Nevertheless, in earlier days, Camille Desmoulins stammered, and yet spoke but little at the Convention. It does not appear that Charles Lamb was a garrulous person, and in the familiar experience of daily life we rarely find stutterers to be rapid talkers. Still, this latter fact really helps M. Chervin's theory, since we may conclude it is precisely because stammerers find that a very rapid utterance [pg 244] increases their defect that they force themselves to speak deliberately, and also not to tire the vocal muscles. Hence, apart from the jesting inference which M. Claretie, in French journalist's fashion, is bent son twisting out of the scientific statistics, there would appear to be a mutual influence, perfectly comprehensible, of rapidity in utterance and a tendency to stammering. We could not safely go on to generalize that only voluble people become stutterers, or that all stutterers are unusually garrulous and unusually eager in enunciation; but we may conclude that if they are thus careless and rattling in delivery, their peculiarity will be likely to grow more marked, and that accordingly a natural tendency to the same defect is developed by the same habits or necessities of much and rapid talking.

Two illustrations of nineteenth-century precocity, rather superior to the generality of anecdotes regarding the wisdom of the rising generation, we find in recent French papers. One of them is originated by the Moulin-à-Parole. Madame de B. was visiting, with her baby, her friend Madame X. After chattering three-quarters of an hour, without giving anybody else a chance to put in a word, Madame X. pauses, when Baby immediately takes up the burden of conversation. Madame X., getting tired at last, says, "Why do you talk so much, mignonne? It isn't nice for a little girl like you to do so." "Oh," replies Baby very graciously, "it is only so that mamma may rest!" A little lad furnishes the other instance of the premature sagacity of modern childhood. A famous merchant has four children, three daughters and a boy named Arthur. Two of the former die successively of consumption, and at the funeral of the second a friend of the family comes to offer his compliments of condolence, and, patting little Arthur's head, tells the poor lad the house must seem lonely to him now. "Yes," briskly replies Arthur, whom his father has brought up to accurate ideas, "here we children are reduced fifty per cent." Worthy to take charge of these children would have been the prudent bonne of whom Charivari speaks. The morning after engaging herself to Madame R. she hastened to that lady with her finger wrapped in a handkerchief, and in an agitated voice asked if the converts were real silver. "Why so, Nannette?" "Because, I just pricked my finger with a fork, and I know that if it is plated copper I ought to take the precaution of having the place bled." "Don't be alarmed," replies the lady, smiling despite herself at the young girl's innocence, "my plate is all solid." "Ah," says the bonne with a sigh of relief, "I am so glad!" The day after, the simple young lady disappeared with all the silver. It is not every bonne that would take such precautions.

Paris has always been famous among modern cities for its genius and industry in adding variety to its cuisine, either by the audacious invention of new dishes or the felicitous combination of old ones—either by discovering new sources of food or new methods of preparing it. It was a curious incident in the late history of the city that what had been a fashionable whim became a hard necessity—that after Saint-Hilaire and the hippophagists had struggled to introduce horseflesh as regular provender, the siege of Paris made horseflesh a prized rarity. But the zest resulting from the enforced diet of dogs, cats, rats and monkeys in bombardment days appears to have been so great that we now hear of an enterprise worthy to have a Brillat-Savarin to celebrate it—namely, the formation of a society under the presidency of the naturalist Lespars, designed to bring into vogue as eatable a great class of living creatures whose presence now inspires ordinary persons only with disgust. A naturalist who devotes himself to eating such creatures with a motive so philanthropic deserves our praise, though we may not be able to personally imitate his heroic example. Among the choice dishes mentioned by one paper as selected to figure at the first public banquet of M. Lespars are a plate of white worms, a bushel of grasshoppers, [pg 245] and a broil of magpies seasoned with the slugs that infest certain green berries. One regards this announcement with more or less incredulity; but little doubt seems to hang over the assertion that the dormouse has just been introduced into the list of French game-dishes. The puzzle for the cooks seems to be with regard to the proper sauce for the new delicacy; but this matter does not trouble the little chimney-sweeps, who find the animal so long associated in poetry and in fact chiefly with their own humble career, now rising to the dignity of game, and commanding a price for the table. Piedmont has thus far furnished the larger part of the displays of marmottes in Paris stalls. The chief trouble in making rats, magpies and other delicacies of that sort really popular amongst the poorer classes is that the latter do not possess adroit cooks to disguise the original flavor under aromatic adjuncts, nor yet the money to buy the necessary spices and side-dishes, nor the high grade of champagne wines with which the wealthy and noble patrons of "food reform" commonly wash down unpalatable viands.


Rousseau. By John Morley. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall.

It was in the natural course of things that modern criticism, ever aiming at a wider comprehension, a keener analysis, a greater independence of judgment and expression, should test itself anew on a subject affording so full a scope and so sure a touchstone as the life and writings of Rousseau. The character of Rousseau, with its strange blending of delicate beauty and repulsive infirmity, requires to be handled with the firm but tender and sympathetic touch which the nurse or the physician lays upon a child afflicted with sores. His career, with its alternations of obscurity and conspicuousness, of tumult and torpidity, of wretchedness and rapture, must be followed with an eye keen to detect the springs and alive to the subtle play of circumstance and impulse. His influence, if not more profound, more varied, extensive and direct than that of any thinker and writer since Luther, is to be traced in the whole history of his own and of later times, under manifold aspects and amid momentous changes of spirit and of form. In the case of most men who have helped to mould the ideas and direct the tendencies of an age, it would be difficult to determine what each has contributed to the general result, or to say with certainty that the work performed by one would not, if he had been wanting, have been equally accomplished by others. On the other hand, there are a few master-spirits—men not of an age but for all time—whose power has been so deeply infused, so generally and silently absorbed, that it would be vain to inquire how it has operated in detail. We cannot indicate the course or fix the limits of its action: we perceive only that without it our intellectual life must have been dormant or extinct. Rousseau belongs to neither of these classes. His power was not general but specific, not creative but stimulative, not a source of perennial light but the torch of a conflagration; yet it was original and independent, it did not co-operate but clashed with that of his contemporaries, and while it acted upon minds far higher and broader than his own, it received no aid except from disciples and imitators. Of the French Revolution we may say with precision and confidence that it owed primarily its peculiar character—its austere ideals and wild distortions, its illimitable aspirations and chaotic endeavors—to the extent to which the nation had become imbued with his spirit and theories. In regard to literature, it is not sufficient to point to a long list of celebrated writers, from Chateaubriand and De Staël to Lamartine and George Sand, whose works have reflected the characteristic [pg 246] hues of his sentiment and style; or to adduce particular instances of his influence upon writers of higher and more contrasted genius, such as Goethe and Byron, Schiller and Richter: what is to be noted, as underlying all such examples and illustrations, is the fact that a literature distinguished from that which had immediately preceded it by earnestness, simplicity and depth, by spontaneous and vivid conceptions and freedom from conventional restraints, had its beginning with him, appealing to emotions and ideas which he was the first to call into renewed and general activity. In education, in art, in modifications of religious opinion and of social life, the same force, if less measurable and distinct, is everywhere apparent either as an active participant or a strong original impulse.

It need hardly be said that, as productions of genius, the writings of Rousseau cannot hold any rank proportionate to the effect which they thus produced. They are not among the treasures that constitute our intellectual capital, the possessions which we could not lose without becoming bankrupt. They are rather among the instruments which, having served their purpose, may be laid aside, however interesting as mementoes or admirable as curiosities. Their highest qualities—their fervor, simplicity and grace—do not of themselves disclose the secret of their power. From the point of view of mere literary criticism we are apt to be more observant of their defects than their beauties. By the side of earlier and later models they are seen to be deficient in the very qualities—force of passion and depth of thought—by which they startled or enthralled contemporary readers.

If we turn to the man himself, we might imagine at the first glance that none could have been less fitted for the position of a leader of thought, a founder of systems and schools, the apostle of a new era. The career for which Nature seemed to have destined him, and which, in truth, he may almost be said to have followed, was that of a vagabond, or at the best a recluse. Of all the advantages we desire and anxiously seek for our children, Rousseau enjoyed none. Poverty, degradation and neglect weighed upon him from his birth. The evil in him was unchecked, the good unfostered, by any training hand. The opportunity and the faculty of acquiring any substantial nutriment from books seemed alike denied him. His intercourse with mankind through all his earlier and the greater part of his later life was confined to the ignorant, and with these alone was he ever able to hold any harmonious relations or any grateful interchange of sentiment. Physically, mentally and morally diseased, weak yet stern, sensitive but unpliant, equally devoid of courage and of tact, he could not come in contact with the world without suffering a shock and swift recoil that drove him back to the refuge of solitude—to the mute companionship of external Nature or the brooding contemplation of himself. Even the ideals which, despite his practical aberrations from them, he yet intensely worshiped, had, in his conception of them, little connection with the activities of life: truth, simplicity, order, purity and peace were ideas that occupied his soul only to fill it with a horror of reality, with yearnings for an idyllic repose, with dreams of a state which he persuaded himself had been the original condition of the race, in which virtue and right must prevail through the mere absence of occasion for wrong or temptation to evil.

Yet it is not in some radiance breaking through this cloudy environment, it is not in this or that faculty overcoming all obstacles, it is in the entirety of his nature as originally formed, and as moulded or marred by circumstance and fate, that we shall find the secret of that spell which he exercised over men of all classes and characters. The culture which might have sweetened and perhaps ennobled his life would have unfitted him for his mission. It would have brought him more or less into harmony with his age; and it was by his utter and vehement opposition to its habits and opinions that he turned the stream into a different channel. Not only his finer intuitions and purer tastes, but his unsatisfied desires, his errors, his remorse, urged him to make war upon it, as the step-mother that had sought to enervate or brutalize his mind while defrauding him of his inheritance. He held up the image of its corruption, shallowness and false refinement, and that of a life of simple manners and unperverted instincts. That he depicted this as the real life of a primitive epoch only gave greater pungency to the contrast. The eighteenth century, aroused to the consciousness of its own degeneracy, its false and artificial existence, readily accepted an idealized Geneva, an idealized Sparta, as the type of a primitive community, the model on which society was to be refashioned. What the "pure word of God" had been to the Reformers, that "Nature" became to the revolutionists in all departments of thought and action, in poetry and music as in philosophy and politics—a shibboleth to rally and unite all the elements of discontent and aspirations for change, a universal test by which to try all doctrines and systems. In either case, as was soon discovered, the test would itself admit of diverse interpretations; but in the mean while the solvent had taken effect, the authority of custom and tradition had been overthrown, old organizations had crumbled into dust.

That the agitation thus evoked should have produced many grotesque, many frightful results, cannot seem strange. Long before the lower strata had been reached the surface was in a state of ebullition. Polite society was delightfully thrilled with a feeling of its own depravity, and found in the novel sensation the zest that had been wanting to its jaded powers of enjoyment. Nor was it awakened from its illusions by the first eruption from below. In a transport of delirium it threw away, as if they had been idle gems, of use only when cast into the public treasury, the privileges and prerogatives that had formed the basis of the monarchy. Thenceforth the only effort was to secure a tabula rasa on which to rear that new and perfect state of which the model was at hand, if only the proper materials could be found and the foundations be laid. Of the men who acquired a temporary mastery, three only, by the massive force of practical genius, were able to free themselves from the fascination of the common ideal. But Mirabeau and Danton were overborne by the full tide, and Napoleon, when he arrested it in its languor, turned it into depths from which it emerged the other day to sweep away his column in the Place Vendôme.

In thus glancing at the vast proportions of the subject, we have wandered far from the range of Mr. Morley's work, which has a special purpose with well-defined limits. It is not a complete biography of Rousseau, much less a history of his times. It gives no full or vivid portraiture of character, no adequate narrative of events, no summary even of results. It is an analytical study, an examination of the life and works of [pg 247] Rousseau with a view to determine their precise nature and quality, rather than their relative value or bearings. Within these limits it exhibits ample knowledge and skill, combined with a searching but tolerant judgment. Without labored discussion or passionate apology, it clears away entangling prejudices and current misconceptions, to assume a position from which undistorted views may be obtained. At times, indeed, Mr. Morley carries his impartiality to the verge of indifference. His certificate of Grimm's "integrity" rests on very slender grounds, and the Memoirs of Madame d'épinay are subjected to no such scrutiny as the circumstances of their composition and preservation call for, before their statements can be accepted as authority. But whatever minor defects may be found in the book, the general spirit and execution are admirable. It is full of interest and suggestiveness both for readers to whom the subject may not be unfamiliar, and for those who may hitherto have neglected to explore it. Above all, it is valuable as marking the line to which English criticism has advanced, its capacity for treating complicated and delicate questions with clearness, frankness and entire fairness.

Pascarel: Only a Story. By "Ouida," author of "Tricotrin," "Folle-Farine," "Under Two Flags," etc. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

The genius of "Ouida" is sui generis, and must in part create the standards by which it is to be judged. Her works are so different from the common type of modern novels that they demand to be looked at from a different point of view. The present standard of excellence in prose fiction seems to be the conformity of character and incident to what is actually seen in life. It is a good test for all mere stories, but is manifestly not the test by which to gauge the recent works of "Ouida." She does not aim at this pre-Raphaelite delineation of men and things as they are. Her characters are idealizations: her later books are prose-poems, not only in the affluence and rhythm of their style, but in the allegoric form and purpose which, pervade them. This characteristic is plain enough in Tricotrin and Folle-Farine, but finds its most marked expression in Pascarel. "Only an Allegory" would be a more expressive sub-title for the book than "Only a Story," [pg 248] for the story is the mere thread which sustains and binds together a series of parables and crystallized truths. Most of these, indeed, she has embodied in former works, but nowhere as in Pascarel is the author's design to teach them made so manifest.

The book is almost wholly free from that extravagance of expression and recklessness of all established codes of taste which have diverted attention from her purpose, and led to a false estimate of the character and tendency of her writings. It has none of the hindrances, for instance, which prevent many from seeing the magnificence of the conception in Folle-Farine. Its object is to enforce the lesson that the only true greatness is that which loses sight of self—that Love, and Love alone, is, both in its insight and its purpose, divine. "Love sees as God sees, and with infinite wisdom has infinite pardon." "Laughter and love are all that are really worth having in the world," but to gain them "one must seek them first for others, with a wish pure from the greed of self." "The world owes nothing to so personal a passion as ambition." "The first fruits of a man's genius are always pure of greed." What makes a great artist is the "vital, absolute absorption of personality in his love of art." The experience of the donzella (which constitutes what there is of the story), a nobler, and, we think, a truer, type of womanhood than Viva, yet with a like over-estimate of the advantages of wealth and position, brings her to the conviction that Pascarel is right. These truths, however, find their most effective illustration in the wealth of Italian tradition and history with which the pages abound. "Here is the secret of Florence, sublime aspiration—the aspiration which gave her citizens force to live in poverty and clothe themselves in simplicity, so as to give up their millions of florins to bequeath miracles in stone and metal and color to the future." "In her throes of agony she kept always within her that love of the ideal, impersonal, consecrate, void of greed, which is the purification of the individual life and the regeneration of the body politic." "Her great men drew their inspiration from the very air they breathed, and the men who knew they were not great had the patience and unselfishness to do their minor work for her zealously and perfectly." The workmen who chiseled the stones and the boys who ground the colors "did their part mightily and with reverence." The unrivaled works of art which are the true greatness of Italy owe their existence to the self-forgetfulness of their makers. So the love of Italy is in its essence a love for that which is best and noblest in human nature—"the consecration of self to an object higher than self." This love, however, to be true, must be more than perception or sentiment—it must bear fruit in likeness to that which it admires. "Each gift which men receive imposes a corresponding duty." "We are Italians," says Pascarel after recounting the glories of Italian achievement: "great as the heritage is, so great the duty likewise." As a companion-book of Italian travel, Pascarel has a special value, suffused as it is throughout with the blended charm of picturesque beauty and magical associations that belongs to the country and the people.

Books Received.

The Great Events of History, from the Creation of Man till the Present Time. By William Francis Collier, LL.D., Trinity College, Dublin. Edited by an experienced American Teacher, New York: J.W. Schermerhorn & Co.

Words and their Uses, Past and Present: A Study of the English Language. By Richard Grant White. New edition, revised and corrected. New York: Sheldon & Co.

Manual of Land Surveying, with Tables. By David Murray, A.M., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics in Rutgers College. New York: J.W. Schermerhorn & Co.

The Greatest Plague of Life; or, The Adventures of a Lady in Search of a Good Servant. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers.

Snatches of Song. By Jeanie Morison (Mrs. Campbell of Ballochyle). London: Longmans, Green & Co.

The Life and Times of Philip Schuyler. By Benson J. Lossing, LL.D. New York: Sheldon & Co.

Lewis Arundel: A Novel. By Frank E. Smedley. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers.

Our Forest Home. By the author of "Robert Joy's Victory." Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Philip Earnscliffe: A Novel. By Mrs. Annie Edwards. New York: Sheldon & Co.

Heart's Delight. By Mrs. Caroline E.K. Davis. Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt. Henry Hoyt.