The Project Gutenberg eBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 12, No. 31, October, 1873

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 12, No. 31, October, 1873

Author: Various

Release date: November 5, 2004 [eBook #13964]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English

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





OCTOBER, 1873.
Vol XII, No. 31.




IV.—A Day In Strasburg. (369)

FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE OHIO. [Illustrated] (382)




Chapter X. (416)

Chaper XI. (422)

Chapter XII. (426)




Chapter XI. (439)

Chapter XII. (445)




Chapter XVI.—Exchanges. (457)

Chapter XVII.—Guesses. (467)

Chapter XVIII.—Sheila's Strategem. (474)



An Evening In Calcutta By W.H.S. (488)

No Danbury For Me By SARSFIELD YOUNG. (490)

Another Ghost By S.C. CLARKE. (492)

NOTES. (493)


Books Received.

























[pg 369]





Behold me, then, with five hours around my neck, like so many millstones, in Strasburg, on the abjured Rhine! Had I not vowed never to visit that bewitched current again? Was it not by Rhine-bank that I learned to quote the minnesingers and to unctuate my hair? From her owl-tower did not old Frau Himmelauen use to observe me, my cane, and my curls, and my gloves? Did not her gossips compare me to Wilhelm Meister? And so, when he thought he was ripe, the innocent Paul Flemming must needs proceed to pour his curls, his songs and his love into the lap of Mary Ashburton; and the discreet siren responded, "You had better go back to Heidelberg and grow: you are not the Magician."

Yet before that little disaster of my calf period I sighed for the Rhine: I used its wines more freely than was perhaps good for me, and when the smoke-colored goblet was empty would declare that if I were a German I should be proud of the grape-wreathed river too. At Bingen I once sat up to behold the bold outline of the banks crested with [pg 370] ruins, which in the morning proved to be a slated roof and chimneys. And when at Heidelberg I saw the Neckar open upon the broad Rhine plain like the mouth of a trumpet, I felt inspired, and built every evening on my table a perfect cathedral of slim, spire-shaped bottles—sunny pinnacles of Johannisberger.

And now, decoyed to the Rhine by a puerile conspiracy, how could I best get the small change for my five hours?


Should I sulk like a bear in the parlor of the Maison Rouge until the departure of the Paris train, or should I explore the city? Some wave from my fond, foolish past flowed over me and filled me with desire. I felt that I loved the Rhine and the Rhine cities once more. And where could I better retie myself to those old pilgrim habits than in this citadel of heroism, a place sanctified by recent woes, a city proved by its endurance through a siege which even that of Paris hardly surpassed? One draught, then, from the epic Rhine! To-morrow, at Marly, I could laugh over it all with Hohenfels.

The Münster was before me—the highest tower in Europe, if we except the hideous cast-iron abortion at Rouen. I recollected that in my younger days I had been defrauded of my fair share of tower-climbing. Hohenfels had a saying that most travelers are a sort of children, who need to touch all they see, and who will climb to every broken tooth of a castle they find on their way, getting a tiresome ascent and hot sunshine for their pains. "I trust we are wiser," he would observe, so unanswerably that I passed with him up the Rhine quite, as I may express it, on the ground floor.

I marched to the cathedral, determined to ascend, and when I saw the look of it changed my mind.

The sacristan, in fact, advised me not to go up after he had taken my fee and obtained a view of my proportions over the tube of his key, which he pretended to whistle into. We sat down together as I recovered my breath, after which I wandered through the nave with my guide, admiring the statue of the original architect, who stands looking at the interior—a kind of Wren "circumspecting" his own monument. At high noon the twelve apostles come out from the famous horologe and take up their march, and chanticleer, on one of the summits of the clock-case, opens his brazen throat and crows loud enough to fill the farthest recesses of the church with his harsh alarum.

A portly citizen was talking to the sacristan. "I hear many objections to that bird, sir," he remarked to me, "from fastidious tourists: one thinks that a peacock, spreading its jewels by mechanism, would have a richer effect. Another says that a swan, perpetually wrestling with its dying song, would be more poetical. Others, in the light of late events, would prefer a phoenix."

The dress of the stout citizen announced a sedentary man rather than a cosmopolitan. He had a shirt-front much hardened with starch; a white waistcoat, like an alabaster carving, which pushed his shirt away up round his ears; and [pg 371] a superb bluebottle-colored coat, with metal buttons. It was the costume of a stay-at-home, and I learned afterward that he was a local professor of geography and political science—the first by day, the last at night only in beer-gardens and places of resort.


"Nay," I said, "the barnyard bird is of all others the fittest for a timepiece: he chants the hours for the whole country-side, and an old master of English song has called him Nature's 'crested clock.'"

"With all deference," said the bourgeois, "I would still have a substitute provided for yonder cock. I would set up the Strasburg goose. Is he not our emblem, and is not our commerce swollen by the inflation of the foie gras? In one compartment I would show him fed with sulphur-water to increase his biliary secretion; another might represent his cage, so narrow that the pampered creature cannot even turn round on his stomach for exercise; another division might be anatomical, and present the martyr opening his breast, like some tortured saint, to display his liver, enlarged to the weight of three pounds; while the apex might be occupied by the glorified, gander in person, extending his neck and commenting on the sins of the Strasburg pastry-cooks with a cutting and sardonic hiss."

You have not forgotten, reader, the legend of the old clock?

Many years ago there lived here an aged and experienced mechanic. Buried in his arts, he forgot the ways of the world, and promised his daughter to his gallant young apprentice, instead of to the hideous old magistrate who approached the maiden with offers of gold and dignity. One day the youth and damsel found the unworldly artist weeping for joy before his completed clock, the wonder of the earth. Everybody came to see it, and the corporation bought it for the cathedral. The city of Basel bespoke another just like it. This order aroused the jealousy of the authorities, [pg 372] who tried to make the mechanic promise that he would never repeat his masterpiece for another town. "Heaven gave me not my talents to feed your vain ambition," said the man of craft: "the men of Basel were quicker to recognize my skill than you were. I will make no such promise." Upon that the rejected suitor, who was among the magistrates, persuaded his colleagues to put out the artist's eyes. The old man heard his fate with lofty fortitude, and only asked that he might suffer the sentence in the presence of his darling work, to which he wished to give a few final strokes. His request was granted, and he gazed long at the splendid clock, setting its wonders in motion to count off the last remaining moments of his sight. "Come, laggard," said the persecuting magistrate, who had brought a crowd of spectators, "you are taxing the patience of this kind audience." "But one touch remains," said the old mechanic, "to complete my work;" and he busied himself a moment among the wheels. While he suffered the agonies of his torture a fearful whir was heard from the clock: the weights tumbled crashing to the floor as his eyes fell from their sockets. He had removed the master-spring, and his revenge was complete. The lovers devoted their lives to the comfort of the blind clockmaker, and the wicked magistrate was hooted from society. The clock remained a ruin until 1842, when parts of it were used in the new one constructed by Schwilgué.


I found my bluebottle professor to be a Swiss, thirty years resident in the city, very accessible and talkative, and, like every citizen by adoption, more patriotic than even the native-born.

"It was a cheerless time for me, sir," said he as we contemplated together the façade of the church, "when I saw that spire printed in black against the flames of the town."

I begged frankly for his reminiscences.

"The bombardment of 1870," said the professor, "was begun purposely, in contempt of the Bonapartist tradition, on the 15th of August, the birthday of Napoleon. At half-past eleven at night, just as the fireworks are usually set off on that evening, a shell came hissing over the city and fell upon the Bank of France, crushing through the skylight and shivering the whole staircase within: the bombardment that time lasted only half an hour, but it found means, after much killing and ruining among the private houses, to reach the buildings of the Lyceum, where we had placed the wounded from the army of Woerth. While the [pg 373] city was being touched off in every direction, like a vast brush heap, we had to take these poor victims down into the cellars."

"Do you think the bombs were purposely so directed?" I asked.

"Don't talk to me of stray shots!" said the burgher, hotly enough. "The enemy was better acquainted with the city than we were ourselves, and his fire was of a precision that extorted our admiration more than once. Cannons planted in Kehl sent their shells high over the citadel, like blows from a friend. An artillery that, after the third shot, found the proper curve and bent the cross on the cathedral, cannot plead extenuating circumstances and stray shots."

"Was the greatest damage done on that first night?"


"Ah no! The bombardment was addressed to us as an argument, proceeding by degrees, and always in a crescendo: after the 15th there was silence until the 18th; after the 18th, silence up to the 23d. The grand victim of the 23d, you know, was the city library, where lay the accumulations of centuries of patient learning—the mediæval manuscripts, the Hortus deliciarum of Herrade of Landsberg, the monuments of early printing, the collections of Sturm. Ah! when we gathered around our precious reliquary the next day and saw its contents in ashes, amid a scene of silence, of people hurrying away with infants and valuable objects, of firemen hopelessly playing on the burned masterpieces, there was one thought that came into every mind—one parallel! It was Omar the caliph and the library of Alexandria."

"And you imagine that this offence to civilization was quite voluntary?" I argued with some doubt.

"It is said that General Werder acted under superior orders. But, sir, you must perceive that in these discretionary situations there is no such dangerous man as the innocent executant, the martinet, the person of routine, the soldier stifled in his uniform. I saw Werder after the capitulation. A little man, lean and bilious. Such was the opponent who reversed for us successively, like the premisses of an argument, the bank, the library, the art-museum, the theatre, the prefecture, the arsenal, the palace of justice, not to speak of our churches. A man like that was quite capable of replying, as he did, to a request that he would allow a safe-conduct for non-combatants, that the presence of [pg 374] women and children was an element of weakness to the fortress of which he did not intend to deprive it.' The night illuminated by our burning manuscripts was followed by the day which witnessed the conflagration of the cathedral. Look at that noble front, sir, contemplating us with the hoary firmness of six hundred years! You would think it a sad experience to see it, as I have seen it, crowned with flames which leaped up and licked the spire, while the copper on the roof curled up like paper in the heat; and to hear, as I heard, the poor beadles and guards, from the height of yonder platform, calling the city to the aid of its cathedral. The next day the mighty church, now so imperfectly restored, was a piteous sight. The flames had gone out for want of fuel. We could see the sky through holes in the roof. The organ-front was leaning over, pierced with strange gaps; the clock escaped as by miracle; and the mighty saints, who had been praying for centuries in the stained windows, were scattered upon the floor. On the 25th the systematic firing of the faubourgs began, and the city was filled with the choking smell of burning goods: on the 28th the citadel was kindled."


"And what opposition," I naturally demanded, "were you able to make to all this? I believe your forces were greatly shortened?"

"We were as short as you can think, sir. Most of the garrison had been withdrawn by MacMahon. The soldiers still among us were miserably demoralized by the entrance of the fugitives from Woerth. Our defence was the strangest of mixtures. The custom-house officers were armed and mobilized: the naval captain Dupetit-Thouars happened to be in the walls, with some of the idle marine. Colonel Fiévée, with his pontoneers, hurriedly tore up the bridge of boats leading over to Kehl, and united himself with the garrison. From the outbreak of the war we civilians had been invited to form a garde nationale, but never was there a greater farce. We [pg 375] were asked to choose our own grades, and when I begged to be made colonel, they inquired if I would not prefer to be lieutenant or adjutant. Most of us, those at least who had voted against the imperial candidates, never received a gun. Our artillery, worthy of the times of Louis XIV., scolded in vain from the ramparts against the finest cannons in the world, and we were obliged to watch the Prussian trenches pushing toward the town, and to hear the bullets beginning to fall where at first were only bombs."

"The capitulation was then imminent."

"There were a few incidents in the mean time. The deputation from Switzerland, of ever-blessed memory, entered the city on the eleventh of September. Angels from heaven could not have been more welcome. You know that a thousand of our inhabitants passed over into Switzerland under conduct of the delegate from Berne, Colonel Büren, and that they were received like brothers. From Colonel Büren also we learned for the first time about Sedan, the disasters of Bazaine and MacMahon, and the hopelessness of the national cause. We learned that, while they were crowning with flowers the statue of our city in Paris, they had no assistance but handsome words to send us. Finally, we learned the proclamation of the French republic—a republic engendered in desolation, and so powerless to support its distant provinces! We too had our little republican demonstration, and on the 20th of September the prefect they had sent us from Paris, M. Valentin, came dashing in like a harlequin, after running the gauntlet of a thousand dangers, and ripped out of his sleeve his official voucher from Gambetta. Alas! we were a republic for only a week, but that week of fettered freedom still dwells like an elixir in some of our hearts. For eight days I, a born Switzer, saw the Rhine a republican river."

"Give me your hand, sir!" I cried, greatly moved. "You are talking to a republican. I am, or used to be, a citizen of free America!"

"I am happy to embrace you," said the burgher; and I believe he was on the point of doing it, literally as well as figuratively. "I, for my part, whatever they make of me, am at least an Alsatian. But I am half ashamed to talk to an American. On the 29th I went to see our troops evacuate the city by the Faubourg National. I found myself elbow to elbow in the throng with the consul from the United States: never in my life shall I forget the indignant surprise of your compatriot."

"Why should our consul be indignant at disaster?" I demanded.


"Why, sir, the throng that rolled toward the grave Prussian troops was composed of desperadoes inflamed with wine, flourishing broken guns and stumps of sabres, and insulting equally, with many a drunken oath, the conquerors and our own loyal general Uhrich. The American consul, blushing with shame for our common humanity, said, 'This is the second time I have watched the capitulation of an army. The first time it was the soldiers of General Lee, who yielded to the Northern troops. Those brave Confederates came toward us silent and dignified, bearing arms reversed, as at a funeral. We respected them as heroes, while here—' But I cannot repeat to you, sir, what your representative proceeded to add. That revolting sight," continued my informant, "was the last glimpse we had of France our protector. When we returned to the city a Prussian band played German airs to us [pg 376] at the foot of Kleber's statue. We are Teutonized now. At least," concluded the burgher, taking me by the shoulders to hiss the words through my ears in a safe corner, "we are Germans officially. But I, for my part, am Alsatian for ever and for ever!"


Greatly delighted to have encountered so near a witness and so minute a chronicler of the disasters of the town, I invited the professor to accompany me in exploring it, my interest having vastly increased during his recital; but he pleaded business, and, shaking both my hands and smiling upon me out of a sort of moulding formed around his face by his shirt-collars, dismissed me. So, then, once more, with a hitch to my tin box, I became a lonely lounger. I viewed the church of Saint Thomas, the public place named after Kleber, who was born here, some of the markets and a beer establishment. In the church of Saint Thomas I examined the monument to Marshal Saxe, by Pigalle. I should have expected to see a simple statue of the hero in the act of breaking a horseshoe or rolling up a silver plate into a bouquet-holder, according to the Guy-Livingstone habits in which he appears to have passed his life, and was more surprised than edified at sight of the large allegorical family with which the sculptor has endowed him. In the same church I had the misfortune to see in the boxes a pair of horrible mummies, decked off with robes and ornaments—a count of Nassau-Saarwerden and his daughter, according to the custodian—an unhappy pair who, having escaped our common doom of corruption by some physical aridity or meagreness, have been compelled to leave their tombs and attitudinize as works of art. In Kleber's square I saw the conqueror of Heliopolis, excessively pigeon-breasted, dangling his sabre over a cowering little figure of Egypt, and looking around in amazement at the neighboring windows: in fact, Kleber began his career as an architect, and there were solecisms in the surrounding structure to have turned a better balanced head than his. In the markets I saw peasants with red waistcoats and flat faces shaded with triangles of felt, and peasant-girls bareheaded, with a gilded arrow apparently shot through their brains. I traversed the Street of the Great Arcades, and saw the statue of Gutenberg, of whom, as well as of Peter Schöffer, the natives seem to be proud, though they were but type-setters. Finally, in the Beer-hall, that of the dauphin, I tasted a thimble-ful of inimitable beer, the veritable beer of Strasburg. Already, at half-past eight on that fine May morning, I persuaded myself that I had seen everything, so painful had my feet become by pounding over the pavements.

My friend the engineer had agreed to breakfast with me at the hotel. When [pg 377] I entered the dining-room with the intention of waiting for him, I found two individuals sitting at table. One was no other than the red-nosed Scotchman, the Eleusinian victim whom I had watched through the bottle-rack at Épernay. Of the second I recognized the architectural back, the handsomely rolled and faced blue coat and the marble volutes of his Ionic shirt-collar: it was my good friend of the cathedral. Every trace of his civic grief had disappeared, and he wore a beaming banquet-room air, though the tear of patriotism was hardly dry upon his cheek.

As I paused to dispose of my accoutrements the red nose was saying, "Yes, my dear sir, since yesterday I am a Mason. I have the honor," he pursued, "to be First Attendant Past Grand. It will be a great thing for me at Edinburgh. Burns, I believe, was only Third Assistant, Exterior Lodge: the Rank, however, in his opinion, was but the guinea's stamp. But the advantages of Masonry are met with everywhere. Already in the train last night I struck the acquaintance of a fine fellow, a Mason like myself."

"Allow me to ask," said the cheerful bluebottle, "how you knew him for a Mason like yourself?"

"I'll tell you. I was unable to sleep, because, you see, I had to drink Moët for my initiation: as I am unaccustomed to anything livelier than whisky, it unnerved me. To pass the time I went softly over the signals."

"What signals, if I may be so indiscreet?"

"Number one, you scratch the nose, as if to chase a fly; number two, you put your thumb in your mouth; number three—"

"H'm!" said the professor doubtfully, "those are singular instructions, scratching the nose and sucking the thumb. It strikes me they have been teaching you nursery signals rather than Masonry signals."


"My good friend," said the Scot with extreme politeness, yet not without dignity, "you cannot understand it, because you were not present. I received a Light which burned my eyelashes. The sage always examines a mystery before he decides upon it. My Masonic friend will be here at breakfast to-day: he promised me. Only wait for him. He can explain these things better than I, you will see. The little experiments with our noses and thumbs, you understand, are symbols—Thummim and Urim, or something of that kind."

"Or else nonsense. You have been quizzed, I fear."

The North Briton bridled his head, knitted his brows and pushed back his [pg 378] chair; then, after a moment of pregnant and stormy silence, he turned suddenly around to me, who was enjoying the comedy—"Hand me the cheese."

To be taken for a waiter amused me. Never in the world would a domestic have dared to present himself in a hotel habited as I was. I was in the same clothes with which I had left Passy the morning previous: my coat was peppered with dust, my linen bruised and dingy, my tie was nodding doubtfully over my right shoulder. A waiter in my condition would have been kicked out without arrears of wages.

The professor, looking quickly around, recognized me with a ludicrous endeavor to relapse into the fiery and outraged patriot. He expended his temper on the red nose. "Take care whom you speak to," he cried in a high, portly voice, and pointing to my japanned box, which I had slung upon a curtain-hook. "Monsieur is not an attaché of the house. Monsieur is doubtless an herb-doctor."


There are charlatans who pervade the provincial parts of France, stopping a month at a time in the taverns, and curing the ignorant with samples according to the old system of simulacra—prescribing kepatica for liver, lentils for the eyes and green walnuts for vapors, on account of their supposed correspondence to the different organs. I settled my cravat at the mirror to contradict my resemblance to a waiter, threw my box into a wine-cooler to dispose of my identity with the equally uncongenial herbalist, and took a seat. Nodding paternally to the coat of Prussian blue, I proceeded to order Bordeaux-Léoville, capon with Tarragon sauce, compôte of nectarines in Madeira jelly—all superfluous, for I was brutally hungry, and wanted chops and coffee; but what will not an unsupported candidate for respectability do when he desires to assert his caste? I was proceeding to ruin myself in playing the eccentric millionaire when the door opened, giving entrance to a group of breakfasters.

"There he is—that's the man!" said the homoeopathist, much excited, and indicating to the blue coat a brisk, capable-looking gentleman of thirty-two in a neat silver-gray overcoat. The latter, after slightly touching his nose, nodded to the Scotchman, who in return drew himself up to his full height and formally wiped his mouth with a napkin, as if preparing himself for an ovation. Happily, he contented himself with rubbing his own nose with each hand in turn, and bowing so profoundly that he appeared ready to break at the knees.

"Kellner!" said the silver-gray, making a grand rattle among the plates and glasses, "some wine! some water! some ink! an omelette! a writing-pad! a filet à la Chabrillant!"

The last-named dish is one which Sciolists are perpetually calling filet à la Chateaubriand, saddling the poetic defender of Christianity with an invention in cookery of which he was never capable. I approved the new-comer, who was writing half a dozen notes with his mouth full, for his nicety in nomenclature: to get the right term, even in kitchen affairs, shows a reflective mind and tenderness of conscience. My friend the engineer arrived, and placed himself in the chair I had turned up beside my own. I was ashamed of the rate at which I advanced through my capon, but I recollected that Anne Boleyn, when she was a maid of honor, used to breakfast off a gallon of ale and a chine of beef.

My canal-maker interrupted me with a sudden appeal. "Listen—listen yonder," he said, jogging my knee, "it is very amusing. He is in a high vein to-day."

The gray coat, who had already directed four or five letters, and was cleaning his middle finger with a lemon over the glass bowl, had just opened a lofty geographical discussion with the blue-bottle. [pg 379] I cannot express how eagerly I, as a theorist of some pretension in Comparative Geography, awoke to a discussion in which my dearest opinions were concerned.

"Geography," the active gentleman was saying as he dipped his finger in water to attach the flaps of his envelopes—"geography, my dear professor, is the most neglected of modern sciences. Excuse me if I take from under you, for a moment, your doctoral chair, and land you on one of the forms of the primary department. I would ask a simple elementary question: How many parts of the globe are there?"

"Before the loss of Alsace and Lorraine," said the professor with plaintive humor, "I always reckoned six."

"Very well: on this point we agree."

"Six!" said the Scotchman in great surprise. "You are liberal: I make but five."

"Not one less than six," said the patriot, vastly encouraged with the support he got: "am I not right, sir? We have, first, Europe—"

"Ah, professor," said the silver-gray, interrupting him, "how is this? You, such a distinguished scholar—you still believe in Europe? Why, my dear sir, Europe no longer exists—certainly not as a quarter of the globe. It is simply, as Humboldt very truly remarks in his Cosmos, the septentrional point of Asia."

The surprise seemed to pass, at this point, from the face of the Scot to that of the Strasburger. After reflecting a moment, "Really," murmured he, "I recollect, in Cosmos—But how, then, do you reach six parts of the globe?"

"Only count, professor: Asia, one; Africa, two; Australia, three; Oceanica, four; North America, five; and South America, six."

"You cut America in two?"

"Nature has taken that responsibility. Each part of the world being necessarily an insulated continent, an enormous island, it is too much to ask me to confound the northern and southern continents of America, hung together by a thread—a thread which messieurs the engineers"—he bowed airily to my companion—"have very probably severed by this time."

The honest professor passed his hand over his forehead. "The deuce!" he said. "That is logic perhaps. Still, sir, I think it is rather hardy in you to double America and annihilate Europe, when Europe discovered America."

"The Europeans did not discover America," replied the young philosopher. "The Americans discovered Europe."

The professor of geography remained stunned: the homoeopathist gave utterance to a cry—one of admiration, doubtless.

"An American colony was settled in Norway long before the arrival of Columbus in Santo Domingo: who will contradict me when Humboldt says so? Only read your Cosmos!"

"The dickens! prodigious! prodigious!" repeated the man of blue. The young silver coat went on:


"I have been three times around the world, professor. The terrestrial globe was my only chart. I have studied in their places its divisions, continents, capes and oceans; also the customs, politics and philosophies of its inhabitants. I have a weakness for learning; I have caused myself to be initiated in all secret and philosophical societies; I have taken a degree from the Brahmans of Benares; I have received the accolade from the emir of the Druses; I have been instructed by the priests of the Grand Lama, and have joined the Society of Pure Illumination, the sole possessors of the Future Light. I have just returned from Persia, where I received the blessing of the great Bâb; and, like Solomon, I can say, Vanitas vanitatum!"

[pg 380]

The red nose was by this time quite inflated and inflamed with disinterested pride. The blue was crushed, but he made a final effort, as the silver-gray made his preparations to depart and adjusted his breakfast-bill. "Pardon me, sir," he said, with a little infusion of provincial pride. "I am not a cosmopolitan, a Constantinopolitan or a Bâbist. But I enjoy your conversation, and am not entirely without the ability to sympathize in your geographical calculations. I am preparing at the present moment a small treatise on Submarine Geography; I am conducting, if that gives me any right to be heard, the geographical department in the chief gymnasium here: in addition, my youngest sister lost her ulnar bone by the explosion of an obus in the seminary on the night of August 18th, when six innocent infants were killed or maimed by the Prussians, who put a bomb in their little beds like a warming-pan."


"Never mind the warming-pan," said the traveler kindly, seeing that the professor was making himself cry, and unconsciously quoting Pickwick.

"I will not dilate on my title to trouble you for a few words more. I perceive that I shall have a good deal to modify in my modest treatise. I beg you to give us your views on some of the modifications now going on in the East, especially the Turkish question and the civilization of China."

"My dear professor," said the youthful Crichton sententiously, "do not disturb yourself with those problems, which are already disposed of. In twenty years the sultan will become a monk, to get rid of the chief sultana, who has pestered his life out with her notions of woman's rights, and who wore the Bloomer costume before the Crimean war. As for the question about China, it is better to let sleeping dogs lie: it has been a great mistake to arouse China, for it is a dog that drags after it three hundred millions of pups. Only see the effect already in Lima and San Francisco! Before a century has elapsed all Asia, with Alaska and the Pacific part of America, to say nothing of that petty extremity you persist in calling Europe, will be in the power of China. Your little girls, professor, will be more liable to lose their feet than their arms, for it is a hundred chances to one but your great-grand-nieces grow up Chinawomen."

"Astonishing!" murmured the professor of geography.

"Admirable!" cried the doctor.

I had hitherto said nothing, though I was capitally entertained. At length I ventured to take up my own parable, and, addressing the pretended disciple of the Brahmans, I asked, "Can you enlighten us, sir, on the true reason of the revolt of the slave States in America?"

The cosmopolitan, by this time standing, turned to me with a courteous motion of acquiescence; and, after having given me to understand by an agreeable smile that he did not confound me with his pair of victims, he said pompously, "The true cause was that each Northern freeholder demanded the use of two planters, now mostly octoroons, for body-servants."

"You don't say so?" said the school-teacher, profoundly impressed.

The Scotchman looked like him who digesteth a pill. I decided quickly on my own rôle, and briskly joined the conversation. Fishing up my botany-box and extracting the little flower, "Nothing is [pg 381] more likely when you know the country," I observed. "I have lived in Florida, gentlemen, where I undertook, as Comparative Geographer and as amateur botanist" (I looked searchingly at the professor, who had called me an herb-doctor), "to fix the location of Ponce de Leon's fountain and observe the medicinal plants to which it owes its virtue. America, I must explain to you, is a country where proportions are greatly changed. The pineapple tree there grows so very tall that it is impossible from the ground to reach the fruit. This little flower now in my hand becomes in that climate a towering and sturdy plant, the tobacco plant. The wild justice of those lawless savannahs uses it as a gibbet for the execution of criminals, whence the term 'Lynchburg tobacco.' You cannot readily imagine the scale on which life expands. It was formerly not necessary to be a great man there to have a hundred slaves. For my part, sixty domestics sufficed me" (I regarded sternly the homoeopathist, who had taken me for a waiter): "it was but a scant allowance, since my pipe alone took the whole time of four."

"Oh," said the Scotchman, "allow me to doubt. I understand the distribution of blood among the planters, because I am a homoeopathist; but what could your pipe gain by being diluted among four men?"

"The first filled it, the second lighted it, the third handed it and the fourth smoked it. I hate tobacco."

The witticism appeared generally agreeable, and I laughed with the rest. The cheerful philosopher in the gray coat passed out: as he left the room, followed subserviently by his interlocutors, he bowed very pleasantly to me and shook hands with my guardian the engineer.

"You know him?" I said to the latter.

"Just as well as you," he replied: "is it possible you don't recognize him? It is Fortnoye."

"What! Fortnoye—the Ancient of the wine-cellar at Épernay?"


"In truth it is the same jolly voice. Then his white beard was a disguise?"

"What would you have?"

"I am glad he is the same: I began to think the mystifiers here were as dangerous as those of the champagne country. At any rate, he is a bright fellow."

"He is not always bright. A man with so good a heart as his must be saddened sometimes, at least with others' woes, and he does not always escape woes of his own."

This sentiment affected me, and irritated me a little besides, for I felt that it was in my own vein, and that it was I who had a right to the observation. I immediately quoted an extract from an Icelandic Saga to the effect that dead bees give a stinging quality to the very metheglin of the gods. We exchanged these remarks in crossing the vestibule of the hotel: a carriage was standing there for my friend.

"I am sorry to leave you. I have a meeting with a Prussian engineer about bridges and canals and the waterworks of Vauban, and everything that would least interest you. I must cross immediately to Kehl. I leave you to finish the geography of Strasburg."

"I know Strasburg by heart, and am burning to get out of it. I want to cross the Rhine, for the sake of boasting that I have set foot in the Baden territory. By the by, how have I managed to come so far without a passport?"

"This did it," said my engineer, tapping the tin box, which a waiter had restored to me in a wonderful state of polish. "I put a plan or two in it, with some tracing muslin, and allowed a spirit-level to stick out. You were asleep. I know all the officials on this route. I had only to tap the box and nod. You passed as my assistant. Nobody could have put you through but I."

"You are a vile conspirator," said I affectionately, "and have all the lower traits of the Yankee character. But I will use you to carry me to Kehl, as Faust used Mephistopheles. By the by, your carriage is a comfortable one and saves my time. I have two hours before I need return to the train."

"It is double the time you will need."



[pg 382]



An old writer who dearly loved excursions, Francis Rabelais, inserted in one of his fables an account of a country where the roads were in motion. He called the place the Island of Odes, from the Greek [Greek: odss], a "road," and explained: "For the roads travel, like animated things; and some are wandering roads, like planets, others passing roads, crossing roads, connecting roads. And I saw how the travelers, messengers and inhabitants of the land asked, Where does this road go to? and that? They were answered, From the south to Faverolles, to the parish, to the city, to the river. Then hoisting themselves on the proper road, without being otherwise troubled or fatigued, they found themselves at their place of destination."

This fancy sketch, thrown off by an inveterate joker three hundred years ago, is justified curiously by any of our modern railways; but to see the picture represented in startling accuracy you should find some busy "junction" among the coal-mountains. Here you may observe, from your perch upon the hill, an assemblage of roads actively reticulating and radiating, winding through the valleys, slinking off misanthropically into a tunnel, or gayly parading away elbow-in-elbow with the streams. These avenues, upon minute inspection, are seen to be obviously moving: they are crawling and creeping with an unbroken joint-work of black wagons, the rails hidden by their moving pavement, and the road throughout advancing, foot by foot, into the distance. It is hardly too fanciful—on seeing its covering slide away, its switches swinging, its turn-tables revolving, its drawbridges opening—to declare that such a road is an animal—an animal proving its nature, according to Aristotle, by the power to move itself. Nor is it at all censurable [pg 383] to ask of a road like this where it "goes to."

The notion of what Rabelais calls a "wayfaring way," a chemin cheminant, came into our thoughts at Cumberland. But Cumberland was not reached until after many miles of interesting travel along a route remarkable for beauties, both natural and improved. A coal-distributor is certain, in fact, to be a road full of attractions for the tourist; for coal, that Sleeping Beauty of our era, always chooses a pretty bed in which to perform its slumber of ages. The road which delivers the Cumberland coal, however, is truly exceptional for splendor of scenery, as well as for historical suggestiveness and engineering science. It has recently become, by means of certain lavish providences established for the blessing of travelers at every turn, a tourist route and a holiday delight.

It is all very well for the traveler of the nineteenth century to protest against the artificial and unromantic guidance of the railway: he will find, after a little experience, that the homes of true romance are discovered for him by the locomotive; that solitudes and recesses which he would never find after years of plodding in sandal shoon are silently opened to him by the engineer; and that Timon now, seeking the profoundest cave in the fissures of the earth, reaches it in a Pullman car.

The silvery Capitoline dome at Washington floats up from among its garden trees, seeming to grow higher and higher as we recede from it. Quickly dominating the low and mean buildings which encumber and try to hide it in its own neighborhood, it gradually rises superior to the whole city, growing greater as Washington grows less. The first part of the course is over the loop of road newly acquired and still improving by the company—a loop hanging downward from Baltimore, so as to sweep over Washington, and confer upon the through traveler the gift of an excursion through the capital. This loop swings southwardly from Baltimore to a point near Frederick, Washington being set upon it like a bead in the midst. The older road, like a mathematical chord, stretches still between the first points, but is occupied with the carrying of freight. The tourist notices the stout beams of the bridges, the new look of the sleepers, and the sheen of the double lines of fresh steel rail: he observes some heavy mason-work at the Monocacy River. Two hours have passed: at Frederick Junction he joins a road whose cuttings are grass-grown, whose quarried rocks are softened with lichen. He is struck by the change, and with reason, for he is now being carried under the privileges of the first railroad charter granted in America.

We may not here undertake the story of the iron track, though it is from this very road that such a story must take its departure, and though we cannot grant that that story would be exceeded by any in the range of the author's skill as a matter of popular interest. This railroad, this "Baltimore and Ohio" artery, connects, through its origin, with the very beginnings of modern progress, and indeed with feudalism; for it was opened in 1828 by Charles Carroll, the patriot who had staked his broad lands of Carrollton in 1776 against the maintenance of feudalism in this country. "I consider this," said Carroll, after his slender and aristocratic hand had relinquished the spade, "among the most important acts of my life—second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence." Railroads, excepting coal-mine trams, were as yet untried; Stephenson had not yet exhibited the Rocket; for travel and transportation the locomotive was unknown, and the Baltimoreans conceived their scheme while yet uncertain whether horse-power or stationary steam-engines would be the best acting force. It was opened as far as Ellicott's Mills as a horse-road, the idlers and beauties of Baltimore participating in the excursion as a novel jest. In 1830, Baron Krudener, the envoy from Russia, rode upon it in a car with sails, called the Æolus, a model of which he sent to the emperor Nicholas as something new and hopeful. Passing the Monocacy, we roll over a rich champaign country, based upon [pg 384] limestone—the garden of the State, and containing the ancient manor of Carrollton, through whose grounds, by one of its branches, this road passes for miles. Near by are quarries of Breccia marble—a conglomerate of cemented variegated pebbles—out of which were cut the rich pillars in the House of Representatives at Washington. The Monocacy is crossed, near whose bank lies the bucolic old Maryland town of Frederick, to attain which a twig of the road wanders off for the few necessary miles. Soon the piquant charms of Potomac scenery are at hand, the mountains are marching upon us, and the road becomes stimulating.

A jagged spur of the Blue Ridge, the Catoctin Mountain, strides out to the river, and the railroad, striking it, wraps itself around the promontory in a sharp curve, like a blow with the flat of an elastic Damascus sword. The broad Potomac sweeps rushing around its base: it is the celebrated Point of Rocks. The nodding precipice, cut into a rough and tortured profile by the engineers, lays its shadow to sleep on the whizzing roofs of the cars as they glitter by, (Shadows always seem to print themselves with additional distinctness upon any moving object, like a waterfall or a foaming stream.) There are a village and a bridge at the Point, and the mountain-range, broken in two by the river, recovers itself gracefully and loftily on the other side.


For half an hour more, as we rush to meet the course of the Potomac, the broad ledges that heave the bed of the river into mounds, and the ascending configuration of the shore, seem to speak of something grand, and directly we are in the cradle of romance, at Harper's Ferry.

To reach this village, perhaps the most picturesque in the country, we must cross the Potomac from Maryland into Virginia. The bridge is peculiar and artistic. It is about nine hundred feet long; its two ends are curved in opposite directions, and at its farther extremity it splits curiously into two bridge-branches, one of which supports the road running up the Shenandoah, while the other carries the main road along the Potomac. The latter fork of the bridge runs for half a mile up the course of the Potomac [pg 385] stream over the water, the road having been denied footing upon the shore on account of the presence there of the government arsenal buildings. The effect to the eye is very curious: the arsenal is at present razed to the level of the ground (having been fired, the reader will remember, by the Federal guard at the beginning of hostilities, and some fifteen thousand stand of arms burnt to prevent their falling into Lee's hands), and there is no topographical reason to prevent the track running comfortably on dry ground. The arrangements, however, for purchasing the right to a road-bed on the arsenal grounds, though under way, are not yet complete, and the road marches on aquatically, as aforesaid.

Harper's Ferry, a town supported of old almost entirely by the arsenal works, is a desolate little stronghold among towering mountains, the ruins being in the foreground. The precipices on either side of the river belong to the Elk Ridge, through which, at some antediluvian period, the colossal current has hewed its way. At the base of the Virginia side of the mountains, hugged in by the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and by Loudon and Bolivar Heights, cowers the town.


Across the river towers the mighty cupola of Maryland Height, far overtopping the other peaks, and farther down the stream, like a diminishing reflection of it, the softer swell of South Mountain. An ordinary rifle-cannon on Maryland Height can with the greatest ease play at bowls to the other summits. From this eminence one Colonel Ford, on September 13, 1862, toppled down his spiked and coward cannon: the hostile guns of the enemy quickly swarmed up the summit he had abandoned, and the Virginia crests of Loudon and Bolivar belched with rebel artillery. The town was surrendered by Colonel Miles at the very moment when McClellan, pressing forward through the passes of South Mountain from Frederick, was at hand to relieve it: Miles was killed, and the considerable military stores left in the village were bagged by Stonewall Jackson. Flushed with this temporary advantage, Jackson proceeded to join Lee, who then advanced from Sharpsburg and gave unsuccessful battle to the Union forces at Antietam Creek.

This stream pours into the Potomac just above, from the Maryland side. It gives its name to one of the most interesting actions of the war. The fields of Antietam and Gettysburg were the only two great battle grounds on which the [pg 386] Confederates played the rôle of invaders and left the protection of their native States. Antietam was the first, and if it could have been made for Lee a more decisive failure, might have prevented Gettysburg. It occurred September 15th to 18th, 1862. Lee had just thoroughly whipped that handsome Western braggart, General Pope, and, elated with success, thought he could assume the offensive, cross the Potomac, and collect around his banner great armies of dissatisfied secessionists to the tune of "Maryland, my Maryland." McClellan (then in the last month of his command over the army of the Potomac) pushed with unwonted vigor over the mountains, inspired, it is said, by the accidental foreknowledge of Lee's whole Maryland plan, and clashed with Lee across the bridges of this pretty highland stream. As an episode he lost Harper's Ferry; but that was a trifle. It was a murderous duel, that which raged around the Dunker church and over the road leading from Sharpsburg to Hagerstown. Lee's forty thousand men were shielded by an elbow of the Potomac; his batteries of horse-artillery under Stuart were murdering the forces of Hooker, when that general was relieved by the support of Mansfield; then Mansfield was killed and Hooker wounded; and then Sedgwick was sent up to replace Mansfield; then, when Sedgwick was getting the better of Jackson and Hood, McLaws and Walker drew up to the Confederate left, and burst completely through Sedgwick's line. Presently, Franklin and Smith came across from the stream and reinforced the Federals, driving the Southern advance back to the church, and Burnside rendered some hesitating assistance; but then rushed up the force which had received the surrender of Harper's Ferry, singing victory, and drove back Burnside; and when McClellan, on the morning of the 19th, found that Lee had withdrawn across the Potomac, he was too much discouraged with his own hurts to venture a pursuit. He had lost twelve thousand men, and Lee eight thousand. But Antietam, though for us a costly and unsatisfactory victory, was for the South a conclusive lesson. The Peter-the-Hermit excursion into Maryland lasted just two weeks, and its failure was signal and instructive. Intended as an invasion that should result in the occupation of Washington and Philadelphia, it led to nothing but to Stuart's audacious raid into Pennsylvania with his thousand troopers—a theatrical flourish to wind up an unsuccessful drama. As for Harper's Ferry, its overwhelming punishment and precipitate conquest were not without their use: the retention by the Federals of the little depot of army stores on the Virginia bank surprised and thwarted Lee. To reduce it, he had to pause, and ere the operation was complete McClellan was upon him, and cornered him before he was enabled to take up a firm position in Western Maryland and prepare for the Pennsylvania invasion. The Ferry fell into our hands again, but as a ruin. As for the elaborate bridge approaching it, its history is the history of the Potomac campaign: three times has it been destroyed by the Confederates, and twice by the Unionists. Eight times it has been carried away by freshets.

An earlier interest, yet intimately connected with the rebellion, belongs to Harper's Ferry. From the car window you see the old engine-house where John Brown fortified himself, and was wounded and captured, while these wooded hills were bathed with October red in 1859. The breaches in the walls where he stood his siege are still apparent, filled in with new brickwork. No single life could have been so effectually paid out as his was, for he cemented in the cause of the North the whole abolition sentiment of the civilized world, and gained our army unnumbered recruits. Truly said the slaves when he died, "Massa Brown is not buried: he is planted."

Of the site of all these storied ruins we can only say again and again that it is beautiful. The rocky steeps that enclose the town have a Scottish air, and traveled visitors, beholding them, are fain to allude to the Trosachs; but the river that rolls through the mountains, [pg 387] and has whirled them into a hollow as the potter turns a vase, is continental in its character, and plunges through the landscape with a swell of eddy and a breadth of muscle that are like nothing amid the basking Scottish waters.

On an eminence immediately overlooking Harper's Ferry, and some four hundred feet thereabove, is the enormous turtle-shaped rock, curiously blocked up over a fissure, on which Jefferson once inscribed his name. Chimney Rock, a detached column on the Shenandoah near by, is a sixty-foot high natural tower, described by Jefferson in his Notes on Virginia. Upon the precipice across the river, on the Maryland side, the fancy of the tourist has discovered a figure of Napoleon: it forms a bas-relief of stupendous proportions, having the broad cliff for background, and clearly defining the hair, the Corsican profile and the bust, with an epaulette on the shoulder. The Blue Ridge, as it traverses from this point the breadth of Virginia, breaks into various natural eccentricities—the Peaks of Otter, rising a mile above the sea, the Natural Bridge, Weyer's Cave, Madison's Cave—and gives issue to those rich heated and mineralized springs for which the State is famous.


The tinge of regret with which we leave Harper's Ferry is mitigated by the hope that greater wonders may lie beyond. In two miles the railroad, as if willing to carve out a picture-frame in which the heroic river may be viewed, excavates the "Potomac Tunnel," as it is named, through which the water is seen like a design in repoussé silver, with two or three emerald islands in it for jewel-work. The perforation is eighty feet through, but in contrast with its rocky breadth our picture-frame is not too deep: whenever we shift our position, the view seems to increase in art-beauty, and as a final comprehensive picture it recedes and crowds under the spandrels of the arch the whole mountain-pass, with the confluence of the two rivers in the finest imaginable aspect.

Poor Martinsburg! during the rebellion a mere sieve, through which the tide of war poured back and forth in the various fluctuations of our fortune! It [pg 388] is said to have been occupied by both armies, alternately, fifteen times. The passenger sees it as a mere foreground of big restaurant and platform, with a conglomeration of village houses in the rear—featureless as the sheep which the painter of Wakefield put in for nothing. One incident, however, supervenes. An old man, with positive voice and manners, and altogether a curious specimen in looks, gait and outfit, comes through the train with a pannier of apples and groundnuts. He is pointed out as one of the men of importance in Martinsburg, owning a row of flourishing houses. With the anxious servility which wealth always commands, we purchase an apple of this capitalist, blandly choosing a knotty and unsalable specimen.

Pretty soon, as we look over into Maryland, we have indicated for us the site of old Fort Frederick, until lately traceable, but now completely obliterated. It was an interesting relic of the old Indian wars. Shortly after Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, when the Indians had become very bold, and had almost depopulated this part of Maryland, Fort Frederick was erected by Governor Sharpe as a menace, and garrisoned with two hundred men. It was an immediate moral victory, awing and restraining the savages, though no decided conflict is known to have occurred from its construction to its quiet rotting away within the present generation. Those were the days when Frederick in Maryland and Chambersburg in Pennsylvania were frontier points, the Alleghanies were Pillars of Hercules, and all beyond was a blank!

Still continuing our course on the Virginia side of the Potomac, through what is known in this State as the Virginia Valley, while in Pennsylvania the same intervale is called the Cumberland Valley, we admire the increasing sense of solitude, the bowery wildness of the river-banks, and the spirited freshness of the hastening water. At a station of delightful loneliness we alight.

Here Sir John's Run comes leaping from the hills to slide gurgling into the Potomac, and at this point we attain Berkeley Springs by a dragging ascent of two miles and a half in a comfortable country stage. Sir John's Run was called after Sir John Sinclair, a quartermaster in the doomed army of Braddock. The outlet into the Potomac is a scene of quiet country beauty, made dignified by the hills around the river. A hot, rustic station of two or three rooms, an abandoned factory building—tall, empty-windowed and haunted-looking—gone clean out for want of commerce, like a lamp for lack of oil. Opposite the station a pretty homespun tavern trellised with grapes, a portrait of General Lee in the sitting-room, and a fat, buxom Virginia matron for hostess. All this quiet scene was once the locality of the hot hopes and anxieties of genius, and it is for this reason we linger here.

When the little harbor at the mouth of Sir John's Run was still more wild and lonely than now, James Rumsey, a working bath-tender at Berkeley Springs, launched upon it a boat that he had invented of novel principle and propulsive force. The force was steam, and Rumsey had shown his model to Washington in 1780. First discoverers of steam-locomotion are turning up every few months in embarrassing numbers, but we cannot feel that we have a right to suppress the claims of honest Rumsey, the protégé of Washington. The dates are said to be as follows: Rumsey launched his steamboat here at Sir John's Run in 1784, before the general and a throng of visitors from the Springs; in 1788, John Fitch launched another first steamboat on the Delaware, and sent it successfully up to Burlington; in 1807, Robert Fulton set a third first steamboat on the Hudson, the Clermont. Rumsey's motion was obtained by the reaction of a current squirted through the stern of the boat against the water of the river, the current being pumped by steam. This action, so primitive, so remote from the principle of the engine now used, seems hardly worthy to be connected with the great revolutionary invention of steam-travel; yet Washington certified his opinion that "the discovery is of vast importance, and may be of the greatest [pg 389] usefulness in our inland navigation." James Rumsey, with just a suspicion of the irritability of talent, accused Fitch of "coming pottering around" his Virginia work-bench and carrying off his ideas, to be afterward developed in Philadelphia. It is certain that the development was great. Rumsey died in England of apoplexy at a public lecture where he was explaining his contrivance.

A sun-burnt, dark-eyed young Virginian now guides us up the mountain-road to the Springs, where we find a full-blown Ems set in the midst of the wilderness. The Springs of Berkeley, originally included in the estates of Lord Fairfax, and by him presented to the colony, were the first fashionable baths opened in this country. One half shudders to think how primitive they were in the first ages, when the pools were used by the sexes alternately, and the skurrying nymphs hastened to retreat at the notification that their hour was out and that the gentlemen wanted to come in. They were populous and civilized in the pre-Revolutionary era when Washington began to frequent them and became part owner in the surrounding land. The general's will mentions his property in "Bath," as the settlement was then called. The Baroness de Reidesel (wife of the German general of that name taken with Burgoyne at Saratoga) spent with her invalid husband the summer of 1779 at Berkeley, making the acquaintance of Washington and his family; and whole pages of her memoirs are devoted to the quaint picture of watering-place life at that date.


Berkeley Springs are probably as enjoyable as any on the continent. There is none of that aspect of desolation and pity-my-sorrows so common at the faded resorts of the unhappy South, yet a pleasant rurality is impressed on the entertainment. The principal hotel is a vast building, curiously rambling in style: the dining-room, for instance, is a house in itself, planted in a garden. Here, when the family is somewhat small and select, will be presented the marvels of Old Dominion cooking—the marrowy flannel-cake, the cellular waffle, the chicken melting in a beatitude of cream gravy: when the house is pressed with its hundreds of midsummer guests these choice individualities of kitchen chemistry are not attainable; but even then the bread, the roast, the coffee—a great chef is known by the quality of his simples—are of the true Fifth Avenue style of excellence. Captain [pg 390] Potts (we have come to the lands where the hotel-keepers are military officers), an old moustache of the Mexican war, broods over the large establishment like the father of a great family. With the men he is wise on a point of horseflesh or the quality of the brandy; with the matrons he is courtly, gallant, anecdotic: the young women appear to idolize him, and lean their pretty elbows on his desk half the day, for he is their protector, chevalier, entertainer, bonbon-holder, adviser and elder brother, all in one. Such is the landlord, as that rare expert is understood in the South. As for the regimen, it is the rarest kind of Pleasure made Medicinal, and that must be the reason of its efficacy. There is a superb pool of tepid water for the gentlemen to bathe in: a similar one, extremely discreet, for the ladies. Besides these, of which the larger is sixty feet long, there are individual baths, drinking fountains in arbors, sulphur and iron springs, all close to the hotel. The water, emerging all the year round at a temperature of about seventy-five degrees, remains unfrozen in winter to the distance of a mile or more along the rivulet by which it escapes. The flavor is so little nauseous that the pure issue of the spring is iced for ordinary table use; and this, coupled with the fact that we could not detect the slightest unusual taste, gave us the gravest doubts about the trustworthiness of this mineral fountain's old and unblemished reputation: another indication is, that they have never had the liquid analyzed. But the gouty, the rheumatic, the paralyzed, the dyspeptic, who draw themselves through the current, and let the current draw itself through them, are content with no such negative virtues for it, and assign

To Berkeley every virtue under heaven.

The mountain-village known to Washington as "Bath" is still a scene of fashionable revel: the over-dressed children romp, the old maids flirt, the youthful romancers spin in each other's arms to music from the band, and dowagers carefully drink at the well from the old-fashioned mug decorated with Poor Richard's maxims; but the festivities have a decorous and domestic look that would meet the pity of one of the regular ante-rebellion bloods. After the good people have retired at an early hour, we fancy the ghost of a lofty Virginia swell standing in the moonlight upon the piazza, which he decorates with gleams of phantom saliva. Attended by his teams of elegant horses, and surrounded by a general halo of gambling, racing, tourneying and cock-fighting, he seems to shake his lank hair sadly over the poor modern carnival, and say, "Their tameness is shocking to me."

There is a good deal of honest sport still to be had in the adjacent hills: the streams yield trout, and various larger prey, for which the favorite bait is a small ugly fish called helgamite. The woods contain turkeys, pheasants, quail and woodcock. The region has a valuable interpreter in the person of General David H. Strother, so agreeably known to the public as "Porte Crayon," whose father was lessee of the Springs, and who at one period himself conducted the hotel. He addicts himself now to pen and pencil solely. In the village, where he presides over a pretty cottage home, he has quite a circle of idolaters: the neighbors' houses display on their walls his sketches of the village eccentrics, attended by those accessories of dog or gun or nag which always stamp the likeness, and make the rustic critic cry out, "Them's his very features!" A large, boisterous painting in the hotel represents his impressions of the village arena in his youth; and ancient gamesters, gray-headed now, like to stroll in and contemplate their own portraits grouped around the cock-pit in all the hot blood of betting days and in the green dress-coats of 1840. Strother (now an active graybeard) was profoundly stirred by the outbreak of the rebellion. His friends were slaveholders and Confederates: he lived upon the mountain-line dividing the rich, proud, noble rebels of the eastern counties from the hungry and jealous loyalists of West Virginia. He himself loved the State as Bruce loved Scotland, but he loved country better. [pg 391] He shut himself up with his distracting problem for three days in utter privacy: he emerged with his mind made up, a Union soldier.

"It must have been awkward for a Virginian to cast his lot against Virginia," we observed to the stagedriver who bore us back to the station—an ex-Federal soldier and a faithful devotee of Crayon's.

"No awkwarder than for Virginia to go against her country: that's how we looked at it," retorted the patriot.

Bidding adieu to Berkeley and its paternal landlord, we resume the steel road (that well-worn phrase of the "iron way" is a complete misnomer) with another glance of familiarity at the beautiful confluence of Sir John's Run with the Potomac, where the sunny waters still seem to murmur of the landing of Braddock's army and the novel disturbance of James Rumsey's steamer. The mountains extending from this point, the recesses of the Blue Ridge, in their general trend south-westerly through the State, are one great pharmacy of curative waters. Jordan and Capper Springs, in the neighborhood of Winchester, lie thirty or forty miles to the south; and beneath those are imbedded the White, Black, Yellow, and we know not how many other colors in the general spectrum of Sulphurs. It would perhaps be our duty to indicate more exactly the Bethesdas of this vast natural sanitarium, to which our present course gives us the key, but that task has already been performed, in a complete and very attractive manner, by Mr. Edward A. Pollard in his little work The Virginia Tourist. Our present task is to attain the main wall of the Alleghany Mountains, which we do at the town of Cumberland, after passing through the grand curved tunnel at Pawpaw Ridge, and crossing Little Cacapon Creek, and traversing the South Branch, which is the larger and true Potomac, and admiring the lofty precipices, with arched and vaulted strata, on South Branch Mountain and at Kelly's Rocks and Patterson Creek.


It is but a prosaic consideration, but the bracing air of the mountain-ride from Berkeley Springs down to the railway station, and the rapid career thence to Cumberland, have given us the appetites of ogres. We carry our pilgrim scrip into the town of Cumberland without much hope of having it generously filled, for this coaly capital, lost among its mountains, had formerly the saddest of reputations for hospitality. The three or four little taverns were rivals in the [pg 392] art of how not to diet. Accordingly, our surprise is equal to our satisfaction when we find every secret of a grand hotel perfectly understood and put in practice at the "Queen City," the large house built and conducted by the railway company. A competent Chicago purveyor, Mr. H.M. Kinsley, who has the office of general manager of the hotels belonging to the corporation, resides here as at the head-quarters of his department, and is blessed every day by the flying guests from the railway-trains, as well as the permanent boarders who use Cumberland as a mountain-resort. The choicest dainties from the markets of Baltimore, laid tenderly on ice in that city and brought as freight in the lightning trains of the road, are cooked for the tables, and the traveler "exercised in woes," who used to groan over salt pork and dreadful dodgers, now finds the "groaning" transferred to the overloaded board. The house is now in all the charm of freshness and cleanliness, hospitably furnished, with deep piazza, a pretty croquet-lawn with fountain, and other modern attractions, the whole surrounded with what is no small gain in a muddy Maryland town—a broad Schillinger cement pavement, which, like Mr. Wopsle's acting, may be praised as "massive and concrete."

By day, Cumberland is quite given over to carbon: drawing her supplies from the neighboring mining-town of Frostburg, she dedicates herself devoutly to coals. All day long she may be seen winding around her sooty neck, like an African queen, endless chains and trains and rosaries of black diamonds, which never tire of passing through the enumeration of her jeweled fingers. At night the scene is more beautiful. We clambered up the nearest hill at sunset, while the colored light was draining into the pass of Wills' Mountain as into a vase, and the lamps of the town sprang gradually into sight beneath us. The surrounding theatre of mountains had a singularly calm and noble air, recalling the most enchanted days of Rome and the Campagna. The curves of the hills are marvels of swaying grace, depending from point to point with the elegance of draperies, and seating the village like a gem in the midst of "great laps and folds of sculptor's work." The mechanics and miners, as twilight deepened, began to lead their sweethearts over these beautiful hills, so soft in outline that no paths are necessary. The clouds of fireflies made an effect, combining with the village lights below. Then as night deepened, as if they were the moving principle of all the enchantment, the company's rolling-mills, like witches' kettles, began to spirt enormous gouts of flame, which seemed to cause their heavy roofs to flutter like the lids of seething caldrons.

The commanding attraction of the western journey is necessarily the passage of the Alleghanies. The climb begins at Piedmont, and follows an ascent which in eleven consecutive miles presents the rare grade of one hundred and sixteen feet per mile. The first tableau of real sublimity, perhaps, occurs in following up a stream called Savage River. The railway, like a slender spider's thread, is seen hanging at an almost giddy height up the endless mountain-side, and curved hither and thither in such multiplied windings that enormous arcs of it can always be seen from the flying window of the car. The woods, green with June or crimson with November, clamber over each other's shoulders up the ascent; but as we attain the elevation of two hundred feet above the Savage, their tufted tops form a soft and mossy embroidery beneath us, diminishing in perspective far down the cleft of the ravine. As we turn the flank of the great and stolid Backbone Mountain we command the mouth of another stream, pouring in from the south-west: it is a steeply-enclosed, hill-cleaving torrent, which some lover of plays and cider, recollecting Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's slumber beneath the crabapple boughs, has named Crabtree Creek. There is a point where the woody gorges of both these streams can be commanded at once by the eye, and Nature gives us few landscape pendants more primitively wild and magnificent than these.

[pg 393]

This ascent was made by the engineers of the company in the early days of railroads, and when no one knew at what angle the friction of wheels upon rails would be overcome by gravity. On the trial-trip the railroad president kept close to the door, meaning, in the case of possible discomfiture and retrogression, to take to the woods! But all went well, and in due time was reached, as we now reach it, Altamont, the alpine village perched two thousand six hundred and twenty-six feet above the tide.

The interest of the staircase we have run up depends greatly on its pioneer character. No mountain-chain had been crossed by a locomotive before the Alleghanies were outraged, as we see them, here and by this track. As the railroad we follow was the first to take existence in this country, excepting some short mining roads, so the grade here used was the first of equal steepness, saving on some English roads of inferior length and no mountainous prestige. Here the engineer, like Van Arnburgh in the lion's den, first planted his conqueror's foot upon the mane of the wilderness; and 'in this spot modern science first claimed the right to reapply that grand word of a French monarch, "Il n'y a plus de Pyrenées!"


We are on the crest of the Alleghanies. On either side of the mountain-pass we have threaded rise the higher summits of the range; but, though we seem from the configuration of the land to be in a valley, we are met at every turn by the indications familiar to mountain-tops—indications that are not without a special desolation and pathos. Though all is green with summer, we can see that the vegetation has had a dolorous struggle for existence, and that the triumph of certain sparse trees here and there is but the survival of the strongest. They stand scattered and scraggy, like individual bristles on a bald pate. Their spring has been borrowed from summer, for the leafage here does not begin until late in June. The whole scenery seems to array itself for the tourist like a country wife, with many an incompleteness in its toilet, and with a kind of haggard apology for being late. Rough log-houses stand here and there among the laurels. The tanned gentlemen standing about look like California miners, as you see them in the illustrations to Bret Harte's stories. Through this landscape, roughly blocked out, and covered still with Nature's chips and shavings—and seeming for that very reason singularly fresh and close to her mighty hand—we [pg 394] fly for twenty miles. We are still ascending, and the true apex of our path is only reached at the twentieth. This was the climax which poet Willis came out to reach in a spirit of intense curiosity, intent to peer over and see what was on the other side of the mountains, and with some idea, as he says, of hanging his hat on the evening star. His disgust, as a bard, when he found that the highest point was only named "Cranberry Summit," was sublime.

"Willis was particularly struck," said the landlord of the Glades Hotel, "with a quality of whisky we had hereabouts at the time of his visit. In those days, before the 'revenue,' an article of rich corn whisky was made in small quantities by these Maryland farmers. Mr. Willis found it agree with him particularly well, for it's as pure as water, and slips through your teeth like flaxseed tea. I explained to him how it gained in quality by being kept a few years, becoming like noble old brandy. Mr. Willis was fired with the idea, and took a barrel along home with him, in the ambitious intention of ripening it. In less than six months," pursued the Boniface with a humorous twinkle in his eyes, "he sent for another barrel."

The region where we now find ourselves among these mountain-tops is known as the Glades—a range of elevated plateaux marked with all the signs of a high latitude, but flat enough to be spread with occasional patches of discouraged farms. The streams make their way into the Youghiogheny, and so into the Ohio and Gulf of Mexico, for we have mounted the great watershed, and have long ago crossed both branches of the sun-seeking Potomac! We are in a region that particularly justifies the claim of the locomotive to be the great discoverer of hidden retreats, for never will you come upon a place more obviously disconcerted at being found out. The screams of the whistle day by day have inserted no modern ideas into this mountain-cranium, which, like Lord John Russell's, must be trepanned before it can be enlightened. The Glades are sacred to deer, bears, trout. But the fatal [pg 395] rails guide to them an unceasing procession of staring citizens, and they are filled in the fine season with visitors from Cincinnati and Baltimore. For the comfort of these we find established in the Glades two dissimilar hotels.

The first hostelry is the Deer Park Hotel, just finished, and really admirable in accommodations. It is a large and very tasteful structure, with the general air of a watering-place sojourn of the highest type—a civilized-looking fountain playing, and the familiar thunder of the bowling-alley forming bass to the click of the billiard-room. Here, as in Cumberland, we find an artificial forwardness of the dinner-table in the midst of the most unpromising circumstances. The daintiest meats and cates are served by the deftest waiters. The fact is, the hotel is owned by the company, and the dinners are wafted over, in Arabian Nights fashion, from the opulent markets of Baltimore. To prepare a feast, in this desolation, fit for the nuptials of kings and emperors, would be a very simple matter of the telegraph. Altogether, the aspect of this ornate, audacious-looking summer palace is the strangest thing, just where it is, to be seen on the mountains. The supreme sweetness of the air, the breath of pine and hemlock, the coolness of midsummer nights, make the retreat a boon for July and August. In autumn, among the resplendent and tinted mountain-scenery, with first-rate sport in following the Alleghany deer, the charms are perhaps greater.

The other resting-place of which we spoke is at the Glades Hotel in the town of Oakland—the same in which Mr. Willis quenched his poetic thirst. Oakland, looking already old and quaint, though it is a creation of the railroad, sits immediately under the sky in its mountain, in a general dress and equipage of whitewashed wooden houses. A fine stone church, however, of aspiring Gothic, forms a contrast to the whole encampment, and seems to have been quickly caught up out of a wealthy city: it is a monumental tribute by the road-president, Mr. Garrett, to a deceased brother; the county, too, in its name of Garrett, bears testimony to the same powerful and intelligent family. As for the "Glades," it is kept by Mr. Dailey in the grand old Southern style, and the visitor, very likely for the first time in his life, feels that he is at home. It is a curious thing that the sentiment of the English inn, the priceless and matchless feeling of comfort, has now completely left the mother-country to take refuge with some fine old Maryland or Virginia landlord, whose ideas were formed before the war. We have at the "Glades" a specimen. In Captain Potts of Berkeley we found another. This kind of landlord, in fact, should be a captain, a general or a major, in order to fill his rôle perfectly. He is the patron and companion of his guests, looking to their amusement with all the solicitude of a private householder. His manners are filled with a beaming, sympathetic and exquisite courtesy. He is necessarily a gentleman in his manners, having all his life lived that sporting, playful, supervisory and white-handed existence proper at once to the master of a plantation and the owner of a hotel. His society is constantly sought, his table is pounced upon by ladies with backgammon in the morning, by gentlemen with decks of cards at night. Always handsome, sunburnt, and with unaffected good-breeding, he is the king of his delicious realm, the beloved despot of his domain. We have left ourselves, in sketching the general character, no space to descend to particulars on Mr. Dailey; but he was all the time before us as a sitter when we made the portrait. A stroll with him around his farm, and to his limpid little chalybeate spring, after one of his famously-cooked, breakfasts of trout and venison, leaves an impression of amity that you would not take away from many private country-houses.


The affluents of the Little and Great Yok (so the Youghiogheny is locally called) are still stocked with trout, while a gentleman of Oakland has abundance of the fish artificially breeding in his "ladders," and sells the privilege of netting them at a dollar the pound. As for the wild fish, we were informed by a sharp boy who volunteered to show us the chalybeate spring, and who guided us through the woods barefoot, making himself ill with "sarvice" berries as he [pg 396] went,—we were instructed by this naturalist that the trout were eaten away from the streams "by the alligators." This we regarded as a sun-myth, or some other form of aboriginal superstition, until we were informed by several of the gravest and most trustworthy gentlemen of several different localities on the mountains that there really is a creature infesting these streams supposed by them to be a young alligator, reaching a length of twelve inches, and doubtless subsisting on fish. An alligator as a mountain-reptile had not entered into our conception: can these voracious saurians, playing in the alpine affluents of the Mississippi, possibly be identical with the vast and ugly beasts of the lower bayous and the Gulf? We leave the identification for some reptile-loving philosopher.


Descending the western slope of the mountains, we prick up our attention, although the grade is gradual and easy. We know that we are coming to the crowning glory of the ride, the region celebrated for its more than Arcadian beauty, and consecrated by the earliest glories of our war—by the mountain Iliad of McClellan, the initial action at Philippi, and the prompt trampling out of West Virginia secession by the victories of Cheat River. This tameless, mountain-lapped, hemlock-tinted river had long been our fancied cynosure. "Each mortal has his Carcassonne," said, after a French poet, the late lamented John R. Thompson, using the term for what is long desired and never attained; and Mr. Matthew Arnold, in writing of a "French Eton," says, "Whatever you miss, do not miss seeing Carcassonne." As Carcassonne exists in French landscape, exists in the tourist's mind and desire, a standard of beauty and historic suggestion, such to us had become this swart and noble river. Now it happens that Thompson has left a description, in his most polished prose, of glorious Cheat River. As our own powers of description are very inferior, we make no scruple of borrowing, or, as Reade calls it, "jewel-setting:" "The grandest achievement of the engineer (whose name, Benjamin H. Latrobe, should always be stated in connection with the road) is to be found, however, in the region of Cheat River, where to the unscientific eye it would appear almost [pg 397] impossible that a road-bed could ever have been built. For two miles beyond Rowlesburg, where the Cheat River is crossed on a massive bridge of iron, there is a continuous succession of marvels in railway-work, of which the Tray Run viaduct is a dream of lightness and grace, yet so firm in its welded strength that thousands of tons of merchandise pass over it daily without causing, the slightest oscillation of its airy arches. Here, too, the wonders of mechanical skill are placed in striking juxtaposition with the wonders of Nature, whose obduracy has been so signally overcome. The sense of security was heightened in our case by a furious storm which burst upon us. We were seated on the fender or' cow-catcher,' watching the majestic marshaling of the thunder-clouds over the mountain-tops, and enjoying to the full the excitement of the moment, when suddenly the wind blew a terrific gust, filling the air with dust and dry leaves, and threatening to carry us individually over the precipice. The train was stopped, and we sought shelter in the comfortable car, which then moved on through the driving floods that continued to descend for half an hour, forming cataracts on every side of us. But the water ran off harmlessly from the solid track, and our engine bade defiance to the tempest, which hurled huge branches of the trees into the angry abyss beneath. The triumph of Science over Nature was complete; and as the sinking sun threw a glow over the Glades where the clouds had parted, I think my companions caught some inspirations of the 'Poetry of the Rail-way.'"


At Grafton we have choice of two routes: one, to Wheeling, leads us by the beautiful scenery of the Tygart, where the Valley River Falls are laughing and glistening all day and all night, and by the stupendous Bollman bridge at Bellaire, almost two miles long, to Wheeling. But we continue on a straight course to Cincinnati, having promised ourselves to see the contrast between the City of Monuments and the Metropolis of Pork. Grafton offers us the accommodations of another of the company's hotels, where, as at Cumberland, we are daintily and tenderly fed. At Parkersburg we find another superb bridge, over a mile in length; at Athens an imposing insane asylum, to take care of us if all these engineering wonders have deprived us of our senses; and finally in Cincinnati, just a day after our departure from Baltimore, the gleam of the Ohio River and the fulfillment of our intention.

[pg 398]


Extracts from a Journal.

November 1, 18——. It is just three years to-day since I began to keep this journal. I am so glad now that I persisted in doing so, in spite of the temptations that have often assailed me to throw it aside. How else could I realize, bring home to myself, these past three years, strong and vivid as my remembrance of them is? No effort of mere recollection could have preserved for me as this book has done a record of my struggles and failures, and of my victories. Yes, I write the word proudly, victories, for I have been beyond my hopes successful. How well I remember my dear mother's distress at my queer notions, as she called them—her entreaties, her tender illogical protests against my making myself "conspicuous"! Dear mother! I can see now that it was very natural she should have disliked and dreaded my becoming a "strong-minded woman," for anything narrower than her ideas of a woman's education and sphere one cannot imagine. She was an excellent specimen of the old-fashioned mother and wife, and I believe sincerely thought her whole duty in life and the intention of her creation was "to suckle fools and chronicle small beer."

Let me see: yes, here it is at the very beginning—November 1, 18——. How faded the ink looks! Let me read it: "To-day I told mother I meant to attend a course of medical lectures: we had a scene, and she called in Cousin Jane to reason with me. How I detest Cousin Jane! She is nothing but a mass of orthodox dogmatism. Of course we quarreled over it, and she ended by telling me I was disgracing the family, and was no true woman. Well, we shall see which of us has the truer comprehension of a woman's sphere."

It is three years since I wrote that. Those lectures were my first step, and, like all first steps, cost me more of a struggle than anything I have done since. As I look back over these three years, I see that every hope and aspiration I then cherished has been more than realized. I can trace the steady progress of my intellect. I can go back to the days when I started to earn my own living—when I thought it a great thing to have gained a few dollars by my own labor. Yes, I am very glad to have this record of the past: it makes me strong and hopeful of the future. I have never regretted my decision to make an independent life for myself. I have sought only to do that for which Nature had gifted me, and from which nothing but custom and prejudice debarred me; and in claiming my own position I am conscious of having helped other women, and of having led the way for those who may be less courageous than I am.

All this might sound very conceited and self-confident to any one who should read it, but I do not write to be read by other eyes than my own: my journal is the reflex of my thoughts and feelings; so I may be frank with myself. And why should I not be proud of my independence, as well as any other human creature?

But I must prepare my speech for to-morrow. They say they can't do without me, and I really believe they mean it; for though some women besides myself have opinions, and can put them into words, they mostly lack the courage that I certainly possess. What a delicious sense of freedom and unfettered action I have in my life! I don't think I have laid down the special powers of my sex in asserting my freedom; but you must wait, little book, for the confession that is on the tip of my pen. Work first: that is my motto.

Nov. 10. Ten days since I opened my journal, and such busy days as they have been! Three speeches, and half a pamphlet written! I have done what [pg 399] people commonly term "a man's work" this week. How I despise all these time-honored phrases, which, dead letters as they are, act as links to strengthen the chain that binds women in a state of inferiority. Why not say "a woman's work"? But that is a different sort of thing, I should be told: a woman should stay at home and take care of her house and children. Why so, say I, if she has no house, and does not wish for husband and children, feeling that they would impede her in her work? All women are not born to be wives and mothers: some have other work to do. But I need not argue with my journal: it is of my way of thinking; my ideas meet no opposition here. "But this is not at all womanly," my critic would say, had I one, which I have not: "you have not said a word of the really important event of the week." Dare I say that I had half forgotten it? A man has asked me to marry him! The great event of a woman's life has been within my reach, and I refused it. Mr. Whitaker is a very nice fellow, but too adoring by half. I want an equal, not a slave—a friend, a companion, not a man drawn to me by his imagination and desiring to put me on a pedestal before marriage, that he may reverse our position afterward. And then, too, marriage would hamper and restrict me. I must not give up to mankind what is meant for a party. But here I have a reflection to make, the result of my three years' experience since I became a "strong-minded woman." It is always maintained that a woman who chooses the life and holds the views that I do destroys her attraction and charm for the other sex, and that no man, however clever and successful she may be, will want to marry a woman who puts her intellect into trousers instead of petticoats. There was never a greater mistake. I have had four offers of marriage since I "unsexed" myself (that's the proper expression, I believe), and all from most respectable, well-to-do, worthy men; and I really think they all cared for me. I cannot help having a certain sense of gratified vanity about this, for, in spite of my critics, I am a woman still. I have earned a rest to-night, so I'll stop writing and go to bed.

Nov. 16. I feel lonely to-night. I am not often lonely: perhaps my little book will comfort me. Sometimes I have said to myself that my motto was that of a star: "Einsam bin ich, nicht allein." To-night it is not so. That Mr. Lawrence who was introduced to me to-night had a striking face, but there was a sort of masculine manner about him that I don't fancy. Manliness I like, but he seemed to be so sure that I was not his equal; and yet he treated me with perfect respect and courtesy. Some one whispered in my ear, "He is a great society swell." I have never seen anything of what is called society: I was not born with a title to admission within its circle, and I have always been too proud to seek it; yet I confess I have a curiosity to see what it is like. I suppose I should see the best result that the old way of looking at women can produce—the pink-cotton system, I call it. I don't believe that man would ever dream of contradicting me in a question of fact, or of using his strongest logical weapons against me in a discussion: he would only play with me mentally. How angry the very thought makes me! And yet he would defer to my opinion, and pay me all respect, and listen to everything I said, however silly, because I am a woman. What a strange, inconsistent mingling of discordant ideas! A toy and a divinity! His manners were, however, very agreeable: I suppose he is what is called a man of the world. Rather a poor thing to be: his manners are dearly bought. He said something about his cousin Mrs. Fordyce calling on me. Well, if she does, I shall perhaps have a glimpse at the beau monde. I wonder if all the men in society look as high-bred as he does? He is probably narrow-minded naturally, but he is one result of our scheme of civilization, which has its good as well as its bad points. Dear me! I certainly did not mean to make an analysis of Mr. Lawrence's character. Good-night, my little book!

Nov. 20. I cannot write to-night, and [pg 400] yet I must, I must. My head is bursting with thoughts and visions, my heart is swelling with new sensations. What an evening I have had! I shall never, never think myself courageous again. I, who have faced crowds with calmness, to quail before forty or fifty men and women, not one of whom was more intelligent or better educated than myself! But let me write it out if I can. I accepted Mrs. Fordyce's invitation to a little party. It was graciously given, and I, fool that I was, thought it was to do me honor that I was asked. I did not know then that these women of society will commit a baseness for a new sensation or to gratify an emotion of curiosity. I have been so admired, so looked up to by the men who have surrounded me, I never dreamed of being the object of mere curiosity or amusement. Well, I went. The room was half full of men and women, talking, laughing, moving about. I was alone, and from the moment of my entrance into that blaze of light I felt lonely and weak; but I crossed the room and spoke to my hostess. She greeted me graciously, and then some one else came up, and I stood aside. Suddenly the sense of eyes upon me came over me. How those women stared! Never before had I been among women and felt no bond of sisterhood. How was it? was I unsexed, or they? There seemed a gulf between us: I read it in their eyes, it came to me in the air, a subtle but keen conviction. And how exquisite they were!—so soft and smooth and white, with no lines on their foreheads or creases round their mouths. I had never had such a sense of beauty given me before by anything but pictures. I wondered the men did not kneel to them: I felt as if I could myself if they would let me. As I stood there, my heart beating quick, and something in my throat beginning to choke me, dazzled and bewildered by the scene, a voice said—oh how gently!—in my ear, "Miss Linton, will you let me take you into the other rooms? There are one or two pictures you will enjoy." I tried not to start, but I trembled in spite of myself, the relief was so great. There we stood—he, Henry Lawrence, taller and handsomer and prouder-looking than any man in the room, looking down upon me and offering me his arm! I think I felt as I should if a lifeboat came to take me off a wreck—in a modified degree, I mean. I took his arm with a few rather inarticulate words of thanks, and we strolled through the other rooms, he listening to me with such earnest attentiveness, bending his head at every word, seeming so absorbed in me, so forgetful of the women who gazed at me as if I were a pariah, and the men who smiled on them as they did so. I confess it, I felt as if he stood between me and the mocking, coldly scrutinizing glances about me. I felt guarded, protected, and I could not struggle against the feeling, weak though I knew it was: it seemed irresistible. I suppose, being a woman like other women, I inherit traditional weakness, and cannot break the bonds of former generations in a day. Be it as it may, he did not seem to know or notice that I was not myself: he only seemed interested and absorbed. I did not feel as if I were taxing his courtesy, and soon I recovered my self-possession and talked naturally: my spirits rose, and my natural self-assertion returned to me. I enjoyed looking at the women, watching their ways and listening to the sound of their voices. It was a revelation of a new world to me, and I said as much to him.

"What in particular is it," he said, "that strikes you so?"

"I think," I answered, "it is the harmony of the whole effect."

"A thorough-bred woman always produces an harmonious effect," he said.

Something in his tone jarred me, and I said hastily, "I don't think development should be sacrificed to harmony: incompleteness is better than perfection sometimes."

He smiled sweetly: "Yes, but I am afraid we should hardly agree about the development of women, though I should like to hear you talk of it."

"Why should we not discuss and disagree?"

[pg 401]

"I do not like to disagree with a woman at all, especially with a woman whom I admire," he said, bending his blue eyes on me with a look such as I had never seen before in a man's eyes. It was what I suppose would be called a chivalric look; and yet chivalry was only an improved barbarism.

Mrs. Fordyce came up just then, and introduced some gentlemen to me; and while they were talking Mr. Lawrence turned away. In a few moments he was back again with a lovely-looking young girl on his arm, blushing and yet self-possessed, with the same exquisite simplicity of manner he has himself. "My cousin Alice Wilton asks me to introduce her to you, Miss Linton," he said.

I have always—shall I confess it?—patted young girls on the head: this one I could no more have patronized than I could a statue of Diana. She was very charming to look at as she stood beside her cousin, and yet—No, I will make no exception: she was charming in every way, and I felt more at my ease that a woman had been presented to me.

Mr. Lawrence put me in my carriage. As he closed the door he said, "Your maid is not with you?"

I replied that I had none; on which he said to the driver, "Drive slowly: I mean to walk as far as the hotel with the carriage."

"Won't you get in?" I cried from the window.

He seemed not to hear me, but started off at a rapid pace, and I gave up the attempt, wondering at what seemed to me an eccentric choice. It was unnecessary for him to go with me at all, but I thought, "He has been, I suppose, brought up to think no woman can take care of herself." He was ready to open the door as I got out, and I longed to ask him why he had not driven with me; but I hesitated: something tied my tongue, and in a moment he had said "Good-night," and was gone with hasty steps into the darkness. I must stop, I am so tired.

December 3. It seems to me I am growing to be a dreadful egotist. I put nothing down now in this little book but just what concerns myself—nothing of the great subjects of universal interest which have always absorbed most of my thoughts, but just my own doings and sayings. At this very moment I desire only to write about my afternoon, and the way in which I spent it. I will indulge myself, and the record may serve me. How it had snowed all day! how it did snow this afternoon when I started out, wrapped in my waterproof, accoutred to encounter the storm, and rejoicing in the absence of long skirts and hooped petticoats! With my India-rubber boots I felt I could plod through any snow-drift, and I gained a pervading sense of exhilaration from the beating of the storm in my face. I chose a certain street I had come to know, which ran straight through the town and on into a more thinly-settled suburb. It was a good, clear path, and I should be able to have a splendid walk without meeting probably more than a dozen people in the course of it. Just as I passed the last square of closely-built town-houses, and began to come upon the stretching white landscape before me, as I trudged along, turning my head a little aside to escape the brunt of the driving snow, I heard an exclamation of surprise, and a man's voice said, "You here, Miss Linton?"

It was he, Mr. Lawrence. There he stood, his eyes brilliant with the excitement of the storm, his cheek aglow with exercise, looking, as the old women say, "the very picture of a man." I am very sensitive to beauty, and his seems to me very great: it draws me to him.

"Yes it is I," I said (we had both stopped). "I wanted exercise and air, and something to change my frame of mind; so I came out for a tramp."

He turned with me, and we walked on. In a moment more he said, "Will you take my arm? It will be easier to keep step and walk fast then."

I took it, and he looked down at me and said, with an inscrutable smile, which haunts me yet, I suppose because [pg 402] I can't make out its meaning, "Do you believe in fate?"

"If you mean by fate something which the will is powerless to resist, against which it is unavailing to struggle, I do not," I answered. "Do you, Mr. Lawrence?"

He laughed, not a pleasant laugh, albeit musical, but as if his smile had been one with some hidden meaning in it: "I hardly know what I believe. Certainly some power seems to lay traps for our wills at times, and waylay us when they are off duty. As, for instance," he went on, "I wanted to see you to-day, and I did not go to see you: my will acted perfectly well, and I seemed able to resist any temptation. I came out here to walk alone, thinking that I should be even farther away from you here than elsewhere, when, lo! you start up in my path, and here we are together. It is just as if some malicious spirit had mocked me with an idea of my own strength, only to betray me the better through my weakness." He spoke with an intensity which seemed out of place, and strangely unlike his usual calm manner. Somehow, a feeling of great delight had come over me as he spoke. I felt pleased—why I do not know—at his evident impatience and annoyance.

"But why," said I, "did you turn with me? There would have been the moment for your will to act."

"You think so? That is hardly fair, Miss Linton. Does one brand a soldier as a coward and a laggard who has fought and won a battle, and has sunk exhausted upon his arms to sleep, if he is discomfited and dismayed when, just as slumber has him in its arms, a fresh foe sets upon him? No, I could not turn back."

His eyes were bent on me again, and something in them stirred my soul to its depths. Such a delicious feeling seemed stealing over me—a feeling of mixed power and weakness. I felt my color rise, but I looked ahead over the snowfields and said, "I don't see why you should have turned back. Why should you want to be with me and not be with me? I wanted to see you too."

I started as he spoke again, for his voice and manner were both changed—all the quiver and intensity gone out of them. "The 'reason why' of a mood is hard to find sometimes, and when found one has a conviction that no one but one's self would see its reasonableness," he said with a laugh cold and musical. "Let us talk of something we can both be sure to understand."

He seemed far away again. For a moment he had seemed so near—nearer, I think, than I ever remember to have felt a man to be. Then he talked, and talked very well, and made me talk, though it was not as easy as it usually is to me, and though we spoke of things that are generally to me like the sound of a trumpet to the war-horse. My spirit did not rise: the words would hardly come. I wanted to be alone and think it over—think over his words, his manner, his voice, the look in his eyes, and see what they meant, and, if I could, why he had changed so suddenly to me.

When we had walked some distance farther he himself proposed turning back, and took me home. As we neared the hotel I could not resist asking him why he had not come home with me that night in the carriage instead of walking, or running rather, beside it.

Such a strange look came over his face as I asked him, and his lips set with a stern expression as he said stiffly, icily, "I had realized, Miss Linton, how utterly different our ways of looking at life must be; or else perhaps it is that you do not hold me to be enough of a knight to consider a woman's position before my own comfort and pleasure."

"I don't understand you," said I, bewildered. "I asked you to get into the carriage."

"I know it," he replied; "but in such matters no gentleman can allow a woman's kindly impulse of courtesy to compromise her in any way: he must think first of her, and all the more because she has thought of him."

"What do you mean by compromise?" I exclaimed. "I am quite independent enough of public opinion to be a free agent in such matters: you must not [pg 403] forget that I am a very different woman from a society belle."

"Quite true," he answered, stung by my tone, "but I do not claim to be unsexed because—because—" He stammered.

"Because I am? You are very right to live according to your lights, Mr. Lawrence, but I must decline to see life by them. Good-night!" His tone was more than I could bear, and I turned abruptly from him: we had reached the hotel, and without a word more I ran up stairs to my parlor. The door was ajar: I entered hastily and pushed it to, but he had followed me on the instant, and now stood with it in his hand.

"I cannot let you send me away without saying one word," he said. "I never meant to say that you were unsexed. I beg you will forgive me if I offended you. I had no right in the world to judge for you. It was a presumptuous impulse to protect, to guard you that prompted my action the other night—my words just now. Forgive me. As for my prejudices, they shall not displease you again: only remember as my excuse that a man of my class has but one way of looking at a woman whom—he—" He drew a long breath, hesitated, and then said with an effort—"admires."

The word was cold and formal, but his voice and manner were warm and earnest. His mood seemed changed: he seemed again near me, and an irresistible attraction toward him possessed me, body and soul. There was something in his very attitude, as he stood by the door with his head bent down, that seemed to win me. What was it that came over me? What subtle power is it by which one nature draws another without any apparent or audible summons? I do not know; but this I know, that as he said the words I have just written down a floodgate within me seemed raised, and with a mighty rush my spirit bounded toward him. And yet I did not move.

"Forgive you?" I said. "Yes, a thousand times!"

He looked up, said, "Thank you!" very softly, and turned to the door. When he reached it he stopped, turned again, and came up to me. "Will you give me your hand in token of forgiveness and friendship?" he said.

I said nothing, but held out my hand. He took it in both of his, and then in a moment more my arms were about his neck, and our lips had met. He kissed me again and again, held me very close for an instant, and then, untwining my arms from their hold, he abruptly left the room. That was three hours ago, and I have sat here thinking, thinking, ever since. What does it all mean? Writing it out has helped me, as I thought it would. Two things have become clear to me: I am quite conscious that I have sought Mr. Lawrence at least as much as he has me. I have always believed it to be as natural for a woman who was once freed from the foolish prejudices of education and tradition to hold out her hand to any one who attracted her as for a man to seek a woman. Now I have proved it to be true. He does attract me. Why deny it, either to myself or him? I do not, I will not. This I see and know to be true. The other thing which seems clear to me is, that he is only drawn by one side of his nature—that he does not want to love me, perhaps can only half love me. Then, if that be so, I have done wrong to show him my feelings. With his ideas about women, he would feel it to be almost unmanly to fold his arms on his breast if a woman put hers about his neck, as I did; and I fear I forced my love upon him. I feel as I should think a man feels who has taken an unfair advantage of a woman's fancy for him, and got from her graces and favors to which her whole heart does not assent. I am not ashamed of loving him: bear me witness, little book, I am not ashamed of loving him, nor indeed of telling him so; only I would not "betray his will," as he said this afternoon. No, no: if he comes to me, it must be with a whole and willing heart. Now that's resolved, what next? Write to him of course, and tell him I am sorry to have led him into this position, and say, "I won't do so again." Did a woman ever write to a [pg 404] man before and beg his pardon for letting him kiss her? for throwing her arms about his neck? I doubt it, but what does that matter? I belong to the new era, and I will be the "Coming Woman." I laugh, but I feel, after all, more like crying. Good-night, little book. I will write to Mr. Lawrence in the morning. Now for bed.

Dec. 4. I wrote to him this morning, and sent my note by a messenger. I could not work, I could neither think nor write, till his answer came. He had made the bearer of my note wait, and wrote me just a few words to ask if he might not see me to-night. I wrote back "Yes," and now it is only four o'clock: he will not come till eight. It seems an impossible time to wait, and I must not waste the afternoon as I did the morning. Let me see: shall I finish that article on English love-poetry, past and present, in which I mean to show how the germ of degradation and decay always existed, even in the chivalric idea of woman's nature and sphere, and how it has gone on developing itself in the poetry which is its truest expression, till we have got its different stages from the ideal of the school which really had a gloss of elevation and fine sentiment about it—the woman of Herrick and Ben Jonson, and later on of Lovelace and Montrose, to the woman of Owen Meredith and Swinburne, who, instead of inspiring men to die for her honor, makes them rather wish her to live to be the instrument of their pleasure? It was not a bad idea, and I think I could have traced the gradations very well. But I cannot write, I cannot think. Let me recall my letter to him. Ah, here is one of the dozen copies I made before I could make it what I wanted:

"MY DEAR MR. LAWRENCE: I must ask you to forgive me, for I am conscious of having been thoughtless and selfish. I yielded to an impulse yesterday, and I put you in an unfair position. I never meant to do it, and I will never do it again. I trust we may be friends, and I am

"Yours truly,


That was all I said: I wish now I had said more. Ah me! will evening never come?

Before I go to bed I must write a word or two. Ah, how much happier I am than I was last night! He came at eight punctually. I trembled all over when I shook hands with him: I think he must have seen it, but he said nothing. What a wonderful thing this thing they call high breeding is! One feels it in a moment, and yet it seems intangible, indescribable. He has it, I should think, in perfection, and he is the only person I have ever known who possessed it, except, perhaps that young girl, his cousin, whom he presented to me at the party. For a while we talked—at least he did—easily and pleasantly, and then suddenly he said, smiling at me, "Do you know, I think you are a very generous woman?"

"Do you? Why?" said I.

"Because you are willing to shoulder other people's peccadilloes. Don't you know a woman should never do that, especially for a man, who is naturally selfish and can always take care of himself?"

I did not like the word peccadilloes, but I only said, "So can a woman take care of herself."

"Do you really believe that?" he said with a gleam in his blue eyes.

"Really, I do. I am sure, at least, that I can take care of myself."

"Are you?" said he. We were sitting beside each other on the sofa, and in another moment he had put his arm about me and drawn me to him. I could not resist him—his voice, his eyes, his sweet words. I loved him and was happy. It was a heaven of delight to be so near him; and how natural it seemed! He said little, nor did I speak many words: he held me in his arms, kissed me many times on my hands, cheeks and lips; and then suddenly, almost abruptly, he left me, pleading an engagement. But my happiness did not go with him. I am happy in the conviction that he loves me, and I feel strong to make him all my own. He will come again to-morrow. He did not say so: [pg 405] no need to say so—he will surely come. He is poor, I know. What of that? I earn a good income, and together we can defy the world. I shall be able to convert him from his prejudices and narrow notions, now that he loves me. What an acquisition to our cause! He loves me as I am. I have yielded nothing, I have sacrificed nothing—not one iota of principle, not an inch of ground. He has come to me because he loves me. I can influence him to think as I do of woman's nature and sphere. My single life will convince him of the justice of my ideas, and having known me, he can never "decline on a lower range of feelings and a narrower sphere than mine."

I am triumphant, I am successful: I could sing a song of rejoicing. Have I not always felt sure that a woman's true attraction does not depend on the false attitude in which she is placed by men? This man has seen me as I am, and I have drawn him to me.

Dec. 11. It seems scarcely possible that it is but one week since I wrote those words above, yet the date stares me in the face, and tells me that but seven days and seven nights have passed since then. It seems to me as if all my past life held less of emotion, of sensation, less of living, than this one week; and what absolute, uncompromising pain it has all been! It seems to me as if I had been through every stage of suffering in succession; yet to what does it all amount? what has caused it all? what has racked me with all these various gradations of torture? Just this: since that night, that triumphant, happy night, I have neither heard from nor seen Mr. Lawrence. Silence, unbroken silence, has been between us. I have borne it, but oh how badly!—not calmly or with quiet self-control and strength; but I have borne it with passionate out-cry and restless struggles. I have sobbed myself to sleep at night: I have roamed aimlessly about during the day, or lain on a lounge, book in hand, pretending to read, but in reality listening, waiting, longing to hear his step, his knock, to have some message, some sign, come to me from him. Then it has seemed to me as if there was but one other human creature in the world, and that was he—as if all the manifold needs and wants, losses and gains, of humanity had no longer the slightest meaning for me. I have no sense of any ambition, any aim, any obligation pressing upon me. I find nothing within myself to feed upon but a few pale memories of him, and my whole future seems concentred in his existence. I do not think I can bear to live as I am now. It is all profoundly dark to me. Why does he not come? I can think of no possible explanation—none. I am resolved to think it out to an end, and then act: it is this passiveness which is killing me.

I am resolved: I will write, and will ask him to come to me, and when he comes I will say what I feel. Some mistaken hesitation is keeping him away. I will say, "We love one another: let us unite our lives and live them together, yoked in all exercise of noble end."

Letter from Henry Lawrence to George Manning.

DEAR GEORGE: I will begin by telling the truth, and here it is: I am in a scrape. I know you won't think much of the simple fact, but the scrape is very different from any of my former ones, and I don't see how I can get out of it honorably. I can see you raise your eyebrows, and hear you say with an incredulous smile, "Why, Harry, I have heard you ridicule honor a thousand times where women are concerned, and of course this scrape involves a woman." You are right there—it does; or rather a woman has involved me, and there lies the scrape. As for honor, I laugh at most of the things I believe in, just because it's the fashion of the day—and I belong to the day I live in—not to wear one's heart on one's sleeve. Then, too, sometimes one finds that logically one thinks a thing, an idea, a feeling absurd, and yet when one's life comes into collision with it, somehow up springs something within you which I suppose might be called an instinct, and forces you to respect and [pg 406] cherish and uphold the very feeling or idea which you have always ridiculed.

Well, I'll tell you my story, and then perhaps you'll tell me what to do. About—let me see—a month ago I went with some men one evening, out of pure idleness, to a public meeting. The men who spoke were all stupid, and roared and mouthed stuff "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," and I was thinking how I could get away and have a game of cards at the club, when suddenly a voice like music smote upon my astonished ears. I looked up, and there on the platform stood a woman, speaking, by Jove! and doing it well, too. I listened and looked, and should have enjoyed it if it had not disgusted me so in theory. I must confess, barring the fact of her being there, there was nothing objectionable about her. She was handsome, and had a magnificent voice: she talked a hundred per cent, better than the men who preceded her; and it was well for the meeting that it was over when she stopped: any other speaker would have made a terrible anti-climax. The two fellows with me proposed our being introduced to her, and half from curiosity, half—I swore to speak the truth—half, George, from attraction (hear me out, old fellow: she was feminine-looking and very handsome)—I went forward and was presented. She interested and attracted me, the more so perhaps that from the moment our eyes met I was conscious that there existed between us a strong natural affinity, latent, but capable of being developed. I called on her the next day, and made my cousin Clara invite her to a party. Clara, who is thoroughly unconventional, and would do anything to please me, did so without a second thought. But imagine my distress when, as I entered the drawing-room a little late, I saw my fair Amazon standing in a doorway, not only alone, but alone in the midst of curious and scornful glances. My courtesy was at stake, my chivalry was roused, and she looked very handsome and very like any other woman brought to bay. She had the most charming expression, compounded of bewilderment and defiance, on her face when my eyes fell on her, and it changed to one that pleased me still better (which I won't describe) when our eyes met. You, you unbelieving dog, think that because she is "strong-minded" she must be repulsive and immodest. But there is a charming inconsistency about female human nature.

But to go on with my story. I felt quite like a champion, I assure you, for, after all, it was shabby of the women to give her the cold shoulder, and cowardly of the men to stand aloof; so I devoted myself to her, and asked Alice Wilton to be presented to her. Miss Linton has not a particle of usage du monde, nor is she what would be called high-bred; but she is self-possessed and gentle in her manner, and makes a good enough figure in the company of ladies and gentlemen. Here I confess my weakness. I did think her very attractive, and I was conscious that I had a power over her which I did not forbear to exercise. The result of this was that when we parted she had every reason to expect to see me very soon again, and I had inwardly resolved never to see her again if I could help it. I did keep away, and then luck would have it that I met her taking a walk one snowy afternoon. I suspected she had come out to get away from the remembrance of me, as I had to get away from the desire to see her; and she was so moved by seeing me that I could not help showing her that I cared for her, and perhaps seemed to care more than I did. It was a sore temptation, and I yielded to it. Wrong? Do you think I don't know that it was wrong? But the worst is to come. I walked back with her, and an accident led to our having one of those conversations that people have when they are under the influence of emotion and cannot give it vent in its natural way, but must do something or talk. If I could have put my arms about her and kissed her, we could have got on without words: as it was, I said I hardly know what, and she, being very much in earnest and very unsophisticated, showed me how much she cared for me. I vow, George, if I had had a moment to think, to gather my self-control—But [pg 407] I had not, and so we ended by my finding her arms round my neck, after all. I rushed away with hardly a word, and walked and walked, and thought and thought. The next day comes a note from her—what one would call a manly, straightforward acknowledgment that she had led me into a position that was an unfair one, and that she regretted it. Nothing franker or more generous could have been conceived, but somehow it roused within me the impulse to make her conscious of the weakness of her sex. My masculine conceit rose and demanded an opportunity of self-assertion. I went to her, and she seemed more attractive than ever. Her independence and self-reliance nettled me, and I was mean enough to yield to the desire to see if she could resist me. But I was richly punished, for the knowledge rolled over me like a wave that she loved me, and I left her, stung by the consciousness of having taken an unworthy advantage of a simple and trustful nature. I know that this is high tragedy, and will meet with your displeasure. I can hear you say, "Confound you, Harry! why don't you marry her?"

Very easy to say; but look at the situation, which is not so simple as you probably think. Of course any girl of my own class would never build an edifice of eternal and sacred happiness on such a foundation as a few warm looks and eloquent words, or even a caress, might furnish. In plain words, neither she nor I would think marriage a necessary or even likely sequence to such a preamble. But it is different with Miss Linton. I am sure, I am confident—laugh if you like—that she has never given any man what she has given me, either in degree or kind. Her eccentric notions about women's nature and position would protect her from tampering with her own feelings or those of another; and then, too, there has been so much hard reality, so much serious business, in her life that the sweet follies of girlhood have not been hers. Shall I say that I cannot help feeling her innocence and inexperience make her more attractive? I am not sure, even, that they do not balance her self-reliance and independence, which certainly repel me. All this I did not dream of at first. I am not a scoundrel or a coxcomb. It came to me the other afternoon all at once, when she threw her arms about my neck. I have been selfish, and perhaps stupid. "Why not marry her?" you say. I have asked myself that question, and this is my answer: No passion in the world could make me insensible to the humiliation of her career, and I should be obliged not only to accept it in the past, but to recognize it in the future. My wife must be my social equal and the natural associate of high-bred women. I must be able to take any man by the throat who looks at or speaks of her as does not please me. This woman's character, intellect, manners and appearance are public property for all purposes of criticism and comment. She is unsexed. My wife must be dependent on me, clinging to me. This woman has always stood, and will always stand alone; and yet I have thought that she was capable of such deep, strong, concentrated feeling that the man who owned her heart might do with her as he liked. This, I admit, has tempted me to think of marriage, for, after all, George, it would be a luxury to be very much loved. This woman would love a man in another fashion from that which prevails in society.

But I have put the idea away from me, and here I am, determined not to marry her, and yet feeling that I have unintentionally wronged her. I have not been near her these seven days. I know she expects me—she has every right to expect me—but I will not go till I have decided what to say and do. I am too weak to go otherwise. Write to me, George, and advise me; and remember that she is not like the women of whom we have both known so many. She has no more idea of flirting than had Hippolyta queen of the Amazons or Zenobia queen of Palmyra—those two strong-minded women of old days. I am joking, but I assure you I am not jolly. I am afraid, George, that she truly loves me, and, unsexed though she [pg 408] be, love has made a woman of her, and I fear is unmanning me.

Yours always, HENRY LAWRENCE.

P.S. I open my letter to say that it is too late for you to write when you receive this: it will be over. I have just got a note from her asking to see me. I shall speak frankly, but I feel like a hound. As ever, H.L.


Dec. 11. I am resolved to write it all down as it happened. I wrote him a note this afternoon, and this evening he came—handsome, pale and quiet. He walked up to me, took my hand in his, pressed it and let it go. He did not wait for me to speak, fortunately, for I could not have spoken: I could not have commanded my voice. He said—oh so quietly and steadily!—"I should have come to see you to-night, I think, if you had not asked me: I had so much to say."

"I thought you would never come," I answered.

He rose and walked hurriedly up and down the room, then paused in front of me and said—his words seem burned into my brain—"You are a woman who deserves frankness, and I will be utterly and absolutely frank with you. I have done very wrong in behaving as I have done. I had no right, no justification, for it, and I beg you to forgive me—humbly I beg it on my knees;" and he knelt before me.

I was bewildered and pained beyond measure. I thought I knew not what, but a tissue of wild absurdities rushed through my brain to account for his words—anything rather than think he did not love me.

"With many women this confession would be unnecessary," he went on. "You are genuine and simple, and attach a real meaning to every word and act, because you do not yourself speak or act without meaning. How can I, then, part from you without asking your forgiveness for what I have said and done?"

"Part from me!" I exclaimed, holding out my hands to him: he had risen now. "Oh, Mr. Lawrence, let us be frank with one another. There is no need to part. Do you think your poverty is any barrier between us? It is but an added bond. Can I not work too? And we will learn to think alike where we now differ. Why should we part? We love each other. Why should we not marry? What can part us but our own wills? I love you, you know it, and I think you love me; at least I am sure I could teach you to love me." He stood while I spoke, his arms hanging by his sides. What more I said I hardly know. I think—I am sure, indeed—I told him, standing there, how I loved him. I felt I must speak it once to one human being. A great foresight came to me: I seemed to see my life stretching before me, long, lonely, desolate: no other love like this could come, full well I knew that, and I could not enter on that dreary path without setting free my soul. Yes, I spoke out to him. Words of power they were—power and fire and longing. Perhaps I alone, of all women, have told a man of my love when I knew it to be hopeless. My hope had died when he first spoke. Had he loved me, he had spoken otherwise. That I was woman enough to see; but if it be unwomanly to feel in every pulse-throb the need of expression, to know that I should die of suppressed passion, tenderness, love, if I did not speak it all, did not tell him once how I loved him, how I could have lived his servant, his slave, happy and content—how his smile seemed the sun and his caresses heaven to me—how I was hungry with the hunger of my very soul to spend on him the garnered treasure of my heart,—if this be unwomanly, I was indeed unsexed. I seemed exalted out of myself, and full of power.

He heard me, and it moved him. He spoke again when I had finished. He had not lifted his eyes to mine, and did not then. He said, "I could not marry you: it would be the worst possible thing for both of us. Your life would be miserable—mine most wretched. You must see that there are other things in life besides love, and other things which [pg 409] influence its happiness. Everything would separate us except our personal affinity. Our education, our ideas, beliefs, our past lives, our aims for the future, make a gulf between us. We could never bridge it," He paused.

I laughed aloud: he looked at me then in surprise. "I laugh," said I, "because I see how absurd it was to fancy that you loved me. A bridge between us! If you loved me as I love you, our love would turn water into land, melt mountains into plains: we would cross dry-shod to one another."

"Do you love me so?" he said, his blue eyes gleaming, and making a step toward me. I had power enough to make him feel, and feel strongly, but that was not enough.

"No," I said, "Mr. Lawrence, you must take nothing from me now: I can give nothing now."

"But if I want all?" he said.

I laughed again. "But you do not," I said. "I have told you I love you and would marry you. You cannot, you say. Then that ends all between us. I love you too much to be able to give you only what you give me."

"We cannot marry," he repeated: "it would be ruin to both of us."

"Go away!" I said: "I would rather be alone." I was spent, and felt feeble and weak.

"Let me tell you, first, that I admire you, esteem you, infinitely: let me say this before I go; and you will think of me kindly." He said this pleadingly.

I looked at him wonderingly. Did he not yet know how much I loved him? My courage and pride were ebbing fast away. Faintly I said, "Before you go kneel down in front of me, and let me touch your forehead with my lips." He did so, and I bent forward and took his head in both my hands and kissed it. Somehow as I did it the strange thought came to me that if I had ever had a son, just so I have kissed his head. It was a yearning feeling, with such tenderness in it that my heart seemed dissolving. Many times. I kissed it and held it, and then, "Good-bye, my only love," I said. "I could have loved you very well."

His eyes were wet with tears as he raised his head. "I shall never forget you: you are nobleness itself," he said. "God bless and prosper you, Miss Linton!" Then he went.

That is all, all, and life is where it was a month ago; only, "I wear my rue with a difference." He was my inferior. I was higher and nobler and purer than he, but I loved him, and the greatest joy I could know would have been to lead my life with him. So it is over, and this book had best be put away. I will go back to my old life, and see what I can make of it. I am glad to have known what love meant: I shall be gladder after a while, when this ache is over. If he could but have loved me as I loved him—if he could! But he could not, and it was not to be. I must learn to be again a strong-minded woman.

Letter from Henry Lawrence to George Manning.

DEAR GEORGE: I'm off for Europe to-morrow. I behaved like a man and broke the whole thing off. She behaved like a man too, told me how much she loved me, and then accepted the position. I feel like a girl who has jilted a fellow, and it's a very poor way to feel. Never flirt with a strong-minded woman. I believe she cared for me, and I think very likely when I'm fifty I shall think I was a fool not to have braved it out and married her. I'm sure if I don't think it then, I shall when I reach the next world; but then, like the girl in Browning's poem, "she will pass, nor turn her face."

I feel very blue, and I think I'd better ask Alice to marry me. Yours, H.L.


[pg 410]


Of all the prominent personages who, through their official position or individual power, or both combined, occupy at present the eye of the public, probably not one is more unjustly criticised or more generally misunderstood than Ludwig II., king of Bavaria. As a reigning monarch, young, handsome, secluded in his habits and unmarried, he is of course exposed to all the inquisitive observation and exaggerated gossip which the feminine curiosity and masculine envy of a court and capital can supply—gossip which is eagerly listened to by the annual crowd of foreigners who spend a few days in Munich to visit the Pinakothek, listen to a Wagner opera, and catch, if possible, a glimpse of the romantic young king; and is by them carried home to find public circulation at third hand through the columns of sensation newspapers. And when to this personal criticism is added the strife of opinion over his political acts, and the ill-will of the extreme Church party in consequence of his liberal tendencies, it may easily be believed that his real character is but little known, and is in many cases deliberately falsified. A brief review of the facts and circumstances of his reign may serve to correct, in some degree, the false impressions which have so long prevailed.

In 1864, in the midst of the confusion of the Schleswig-Holstein war, which was then agitating all Germany, King Max died, and his eldest son, Ludwig, only nineteen years old, was summoned from the quiet routine of his university studies to ascend the throne of Bavaria. In childhood his health had been extremely delicate, and on that account he had been educated in unusual privacy—training which, joined to his naturally reserved and meditative disposition, and the various disenchantments of his public career, may satisfactorily account for his present confirmed love of solitude. The position to which he was so unexpectedly called was an exceedingly difficult one for a mind filled, as his was, with ideal visions of liberty and progress, and totally inexperienced in the ways of a selfish world and in the profundity of Jesuitical intrigues; and the unavoidable embarrassments of the time had been increased by the course of his immediate predecessors. Ludwig I., through a sentimental love of the picturesque, had encouraged the multiplication of monasteries and convents and brotherhoods of wandering friars, and Maximilian, though naturally tolerant, and still more liberalized by the influence of his Protestant queen, was a firm believer in the divine right of kings; and having joined hands with the clerical party in putting down the revolution of 1848, found himself afterward so far compromised in their behalf that he was unable to oppose their aggrandizing plans; so that in his reign the priests, and especially the Jesuits, attained to a greater degree of power than they had ever before known.

The young king for a while carried on the government after his father's policy, and with the same ministerial officers; but he soon began to show signs of independence of character, the first manifestation of which was an attempt to curtail the power of the Jesuits, especially in the matter of public instruction. This was, of course, enough to rouse the enmity of the whole Society of Jesus against him, and its members have been busy ever since in thwarting all his plans and doing their utmost to render him unpopular with his subjects.

Unfortunately, the king soon gave his people a plausible excuse for fault-finding by the unbounded favor which he bestowed upon Wagner, whose ideas and whose music were at that time alike obnoxious to the majority of Germans. The favorite theory of this great genius, but arrogant and unscrupulous man, was the elevation of the German nation through the aesthetic and moral influence of a properly developed theatre; and [pg 411] the king was ready to offer every facility for the practical realization of this visionary plan. But the Jesuits scented heresy in the alliance between the experienced composer and the youthful dreamer, and the liberal party were indignant that Wagner's affairs should be made a cabinet question at a time of such great national anxiety. The dissatisfaction rose to such a height at last that it became necessary for Wagner to leave Munich, and for his royal patron to break off, apparently at least, the unpopular intimacy. The people were right, to some extent, in denouncing Wagner, whose course in Munich, as elsewhere, had been selfish and ungrateful, and in blaming the king for indulging his individual tastes to the neglect of his duties as a ruler; but the youth and inexperience of the latter were a sufficient excuse for excess of enthusiasm, and reproach may well be forgotten in astonishment and admiration at the capacity of this mere boy to understand and feel those wonderful musical dramas which were then almost universally laughed at or condemned, though their gradual but steady rise in public appreciation seems now to warrant their claim to be considered as "the music of the future."

In December, 1865, a little more than a year after his accession, King Ludwig acknowledged the union of Italy under Victor Emmanuel—an important step, which at once arrayed the Catholic Church against him as its enemy. He also endeavored to effect a reconciliation between Vienna and Berlin, but his mediation did not avail; nor could he hinder the alliance of Bavaria with Austria in the war of 1866. But as soon as peace was concluded he quitted the policy of his father, which he had hitherto, for the most part, followed, and selected as members of his cabinet men of liberal principles and progressive ideas, calling to, its head Prince Hohenlohe, a known friend of Prussia and a firm opposer of the Austrian alliance.

One of the first projects of the new ministry was to free the public schools, as far as possible, from the influence of the clergy. These and other liberal movements aroused the whole force of the Ultramontane party, and a terrible strife ensued, resulting in Hohenlohe's resignation, which the king was unwillingly obliged to accept. Hohenlohe was succeeded by Count Bray, a man devoted to feudalism and the Church, who had been minister under Ludwig I. and Maximilian II. The clerical party were exultant in their triumph. They saw that trouble was brewing between France and Prussia, and trusted that Count Bray would be able to prevent any alliance between the latter state and Bavaria. They would have preferred a coalition with France and Austria against Prussia and the kingdom of Italy, with the ultimate purpose of reinstating the pope as a temporal sovereign. To this end they were willing to degrade Bavaria to a province of Rome, and would gladly have dethroned the king if they could have done so; their hatred of him having been increased in the mean time by his public recognition of Dr. Döllinger's protest against the decree of papal infallibility. But when the crisis came their hopes were speedily frustrated by the king's prompt decision to stand by Prussia in the contest. He at once declared his intention to Parliament, which had until then appeared willing to grant only the supplies necessary to maintain Bavaria in a state of armed neutrality. The decision was the king's alone—"My word is sacred" was his principle of action—but after he had taken the first step his ministers supported him throughout the struggle with patriotic zeal. He immediately issued a proclamation calling his people to arms against their hereditary enemy, and his message, "We South Germans are with you" was the first pledge of sympathy and assistance that cheered the king and the citizens at Berlin.

King Ludwig's conduct in this matter is especially deserving of praise, because his kingdom is of sufficient size and importance to make its absorption into the empire a great sacrifice of individual pride; particularly when it is remembered that Prussia, of which Bavaria had [pg 412] long been jealous, was to be the leading power in the new union of states, and Prussia's king the emperor. But from the time of Ludwig's accession he had looked forward with hope to a consolidation of the numerous states of Germany into one nation; and the opportunity, though coming sooner than he or any one else had anticipated, found him not unprepared for the change. When the storm against Hohenlohe was at its height, he said, "Does that party really think that the steps which have already been taken toward the unity of Germany will be retracted? Then they do not know me. I have not read Schiller in vain. I too can say, 'All the power, all the influence, which belongs to me as a constitutional prince I will lay in the scale of the idea of the unity of Germany.' I should greatly prefer to devote myself to peaceful pursuits, to clear the way for my people to elevate themselves through education and material prosperity, and to help them open the noble treasure of ideas bequeathed to them by our thinkers and poets; but when a foreign enemy is standing at Germany's gates I hold it my duty not only to give my army, my lands and my property for the public good, but to offer myself to the commander in-chief as a common soldier of the united German empire." On another occasion he said, "I acknowledge in my country only one party—that of truly noble men, who, through extensive knowledge, pure thoughts and useful deeds, serve the commonwealth, whether these be skillful workmen, citizens, peasants, scholars, honest magistrates, who, like myself, serve the people conscientiously, officers who are friends as well as leaders of the soldiers, worthy priests of all confessions, who are real physicians of souls, righteous judges, teachers of my people, or noblemen who add to the distinction of title that of true nobility of soul, and set a worthy example in all good things: all these, and only these, are of my party."

And again: "I desire of my Creator not the satisfaction of gratified ambition, but the joy of knowing that after my death it will be said of me, 'Ludwig II. strove to be a true friend to his people, and he succeeded in making them happier." And again: "It would gratify me more to obtain a true solution of my country's social problems than to become, by force of arms, ruler of all Europe; nor should I be willing to incur the responsibility of a single life lost through my pursuit of any selfish plan."

These quotations are sufficient to show the enlightened views of the king in regard to his duties as a ruler; and his whole conduct since his accession has proved his desire to free his subjects from the chains of bigotry and superstition in which they have so long been bound. His constant opposition to the machinations of the Jesuits, his increasing neglect of the religious shows and ceremonies in which Munich delights, and his open support of Döllinger and the liberal Catholics, indicate plainly enough that he is no slave of the Church of which he is by birth and training a member; but his example and influence cannot, as yet, effect much against the strong majority of Ultramontanists in Parliament and the crowds of priests who still hold spiritual sway over the greater portion of his people. One peculiar hindrance to the success of any progressive measure in Bavaria lies in the absurd regulation which makes every ex-cabinet minister a member of a separate government council, the consent of which must be obtained before any new royal or parliamentary decree can be put in force; and as the majority of these ex-ministers are Ultramontanists or otherwise behind the times, it will be seen that the progressive party, though with the king at their head, are constantly thwarted by this auxiliary force of the Jesuits and old fogies outside the government.

With regard to the private life of the king, his secluded habits are a source of general complaint. The Bavarians, and especially the citizens of Munich, would like him to mix freely with his people in the streets and at places of public resort, as Ludwig I. was in the habit of doing, and to settle down with wife and children around him, after the manner of [pg 413] good King Max; to head all their festive processions, preside at the opening of their annual fairs, and lend himself to legendary customs which have long lost their significance, and to social gayeties in which he can find no pleasure. And because he refuses to take his airings in the crowded streets, to head the processions on Corpus Christi and St. John's Day, to wash the disciples' feet on Holy Thursday, to preside at the Michaelmas horse-races and puppet-shows, and to marry for the sake of increasing the brilliancy of the court and perpetuating the Wittelsbach dynasty, he is denounced alike by devotees and worldlings, who judge him, not by what he does that is good and useful, but by what he does not do to gratify them. Because he spends the greater part of the year in retirement at his castles in the country, coming to Munich only for the session of Parliament in the winter, he is accused of indifference to the prosperity of his state and the welfare of his subjects.

But he himself says, "It is incumbent upon a prince to meditate upon the duties of his calling, which he can surely do better when alone with God and Nature than in the confusion of a court." His ministers and all who have occasion to approach him in a business capacity declare that at every such interview they are surprised at his thorough knowledge of the subject under discussion, as also at his keen insight into character and motives.

To an unprejudiced observer—say to an intelligent foreigner who remains in Bavaria long enough, not only to hear all the gossip, but to see and judge for himself as to the merits of the case—the career of this young king is exceedingly interesting and worthy of admiration. It is something, in these times of political intrigue and diplomatic evasion, that a king can say, "My word is sacred," without awakening in any mind a remembrance of broken faith and forgotten obligations. It is something, amid the corruptions of a dissolute capital and the temptations of a royal court, that the sovereign, young, full of tender sentiment, and unprotected by the marriage tie, lives on with virtue unimpeached; not even the bitterest enemy daring to breathe a word against the purity of this modern Lohengrin. It is something that a man born to the splendors of a throne should prefer to these the simplicity of Nature, the solitude of woods and mountains, the companionship of music that searches the soul's sincerity, and of books that have no recognition of royalty in their announcement of immortal and universal truths.

In the endless criticism of which the king is the subject attention is often called, sometimes in pity, sometimes in blame, to the fact that he has no intimate friend or friends. Those who make this reproach forget that his station demands a certain degree of isolation, unless he would lay himself open to the charge of favoritism, and the object of his preference to the flatteries and manoeuvrings of the parasites that infest a court. Of the men of his own age whose rank would entitle them to associate with the king on terms of familiarity, there is not one who has sufficient sympathy with his tastes and pursuits to be chosen by him as a companion; and the tyranny of etiquette and custom forbids him to seek out a congenial friend from among the untitled scholars and thinkers who judge him tenderly and justly from afar. Moreover, his early unfortunate essays in this direction may well have taught him to be reserved and cautious in be-stowing his confidence and love. The man whose splendid genius enthralled, and still enthralls, the intellect of the king had not the moral qualities to secure his esteem; the woman whose beauty once took his senses captive he soon found to be unworthy of his heart; and disappointments such as these are a lesson for a lifetime to a character such as his.

Fortunately, he has abundant resources within himself for the entertainment of his self-chosen solitude. The education which was so early interrupted by a summons to the throne has been continued with zeal through the study of the best authors in various languages. He always has some favorite work at hand for the [pg 414] edification of a chance mood or unoccupied moment; and in his frequent short journeys, however slight provision he may make for his wardrobe, a port-manteau well filled with books is sure to accompany him. When in the country a good portion of his time is spent on horseback. With a single attendant at some distance behind him, he rides for hours, stopping occasionally at some peasant's cottage or roadside inn to refresh himself with a glass of water or a simple meal, treating his temporary entertainers the while with an unreserved friendliness which has won him the devoted affection of his lowly neighbors, and which he never displays within the precincts of the court.

The king's favorite residence is Hohenschwangau, where he is building a noble castle upon the site of a ruin which was originally a Roman fortress and afterward a feudal stronghold. The new building is modeled after the style of the Wartburg, and is composed of various kinds of stone brought from different parts of Germany and Switzerland, and selected for their beauty and durability. The work has been in progress for about two years, and will probably require ten or twelve years more to finish it, as the season for outdoor labor in that mountainous region is necessarily short.. The surrounding scenery is magnificent: lakes, mountains, gorges, waterfalls, gloomy forests, sunny meadows, all that is grand and beautiful in Nature, are here comprised within a single view.

The present castle stands on the spur of an adjacent hill, and commands the same extensive prospect. Though of moderate size (too small, indeed, to accommodate at the same time the king and the queen-mother with their respective suites, for which reason it is occupied by each only during the absence of the other), the appearance of the castle is imposing, and its interior decorations render it a most interesting point for the tourist, as well as a delightful residence for its proprietors. The walls of all the principal apartments are adorned with frescoes painted by some of the best German artists, each room being devoted to a special subject. There is the "Hall of the Swan-Knight," containing illustrations of that most charming legend, the foundation of the world's best opera, Lohengrin; the "Schwangau Chamber," with pictures concerning the history of the locality; the "Bertha Chamber," containing the story of the parents of Charlemagne; the "Ladies' Chamber," portraying the life of German women in the Middle Ages, the principal figure being a portrait of Agnes, wife of Otto von Wittelsbach, an ancestor of the royal house; the "Hall of Heroes," containing illustrations of the Vilkina Saga, Dietrich of Berne being supposed to have lived at Hohenschwangau; the "Knights' Chamber," representing the knightly customs of the Middle Ages; the "Oriental Chamber," with frescoes recalling King Maximilian's travels in the East; and several other rooms, in each of which is commemorated some striking point of German history or some interesting record of national manners. The furniture of all these apartments is rich and tasteful; and scattered here and there are little indications of home-life which lend a new charm to the stately abode. Thus, upon a table loaded with costly and beautiful objects are two exquisite portraits, on porcelain, of the king and his brother, suggesting at once the usual vicinity of their affectionate mother; while the abundance of books in the king's private sitting-room is a pleasant reminder of his studious habits. It is curious to see how the swan, the device of this ancient property, which was formerly called "Schwanstein", is represented in every possible manner and material in the adornment of the castle. Swans are pictured upon the armorial bearings at the entrance-gate; a bronze swan spouts water from its uplifted beak in the garden fountain; while below, upon the two lakes that enclose the park, groups of living swans are floating about, as if to testify to the abiding characteristics of the place. Within the building not only is the swan a prominent figure in the frescoed story, but whichever way one turns one sees a counterfeit presentment of the graceful [pg 415] bird. There is Lohengrin in his enchanted boat impelled by his beloved swan, an exquisite group in silver, and another like it in porcelain; swans are carved upon the furniture, moulded upon the dishes, painted upon cups and saucers, embroidered upon cushions and footstools: they serve as ornaments to antique goblets, as covers to match-boxes, as handles to vases. The paper-knife upon His Majesty's writing-table is carved into the same likeness, and swans adorn the top of the pen-handle and preside over the ink and sand bottles.

Besides the castle of Hohenschwangau, the king has a hunting-lodge at Linderhof, which is being fitted up with great elegance in the Renaissance style, and a palace on Lake Starnberg, where he spends the greater part of his time, its nearness to Munich making it a convenient residence.

As a consolation for the severities of winter and the utter lack of beauty in the situation and surroundings of Munich, he has his winter-garden, that mysterious enclosure at the top of the palace, which is a perpetual irritant to the curiosity of the public, who grudge to their ruler every token of that possession of his which he seems to value above all the rest—his privacy. Now and then some noted scholar or privileged acquaintance is invited to enter this green retreat, so that its delights are not all unknown to the outside world. The garden opens from the private apartments of the king, and encloses a space of two hundred and thirty-four feet in length by fifty (in one part ninety) feet in breadth, being, in fact, the upper story of the west wing of the palace, with a raised and vaulted roof of iron and glass. The landscape is arranged after the king's own idea, and is entirely Oriental in vegetation and effect, the long perspective of tropical luxuriance being closed by a distant view of the Himalaya Mountains, so admirably executed that the illusion is not dispelled until the beholder approaches very near to the wall upon which it is painted. The garden is agreeably diversified by groups of palms, plantains and other trees, by open lawns adorned with beds of brilliant flowers, and by sheltered walks and secluded arbors. A considerable space is occupied by a lake bordered with reeds, the home of several swans, which float up and down in the dreamy silence: a little way from the shore stands a small pavilion entirely hidden in the dense shrubbery that surrounds it; and farther off a gorgeous kiosk raises its glittering cupolas and slender minarets above the neighboring bushes and blossoming plants.

During the king's stay in Munich in the winter he takes but little part in the gayeties of the season. He conforms, indeed, to the customs of a court in giving the stated number of balls, dinners and concerts; but it is easy to see that necessity, and not inclination, prompts him to the task. There is plenty of work to occupy his mind during the session of Parliament, and books enough to read and ponder over in the solitude of his chamber; and so long as he is alert and well prepared on every question of business to which his attention is called, affable and polite to persons with whom he is brought into official contact, gentle and generous to the poor and oppressed who appeal to him in person—and no one can deny that he is all this—why should he be blamed for preferring to spend his time as

A being breathing thoughtful breath,

instead of making himself a gazing-stock for the curious and a companion of the gay and the foolish of his generation?

It may be that in the far-off future, long after the titles and prerogatives of royalty shall have been done away with and wellnigh forgotten, the virtues of this king, who is so poorly appreciated by his contemporaries, will be commemorated in some beautiful legend, like that of his favorite story of the Swan-Knight; since even now, when that chaste hero appears in the dazzling purity of his enchanted armor upon the Munich stage, one turns involuntarily to recognize his counterpart in the solitary occupant of the royal box.


[pg 416]



Lenox again, and bluebirds darting to and fro among the maples. I had reached the hotel at midnight. Our train was late, detained on the road, and though my thoughts drove instantly to the Sloman cottage, I allowed the tardier coach-horses to set me down at the hotel. I had not telegraphed from New York. I would give her no chance to withhold herself from me, or to avoid me by running away. There was no time for her, as yet, to have read of the ship's arrival. I would take her unawares.

So, after the bountiful Nora, who presides over the comfort of her favorites, had plied me with breakfast-cakes and milk and honey, I sauntered down toward the Lebanon road. Yes, sauntered, for I felt that a great crisis in my life was at hand, and at such times a wonderful calmness, almost to lethargy, possesses me. I went slowly up the hill. The church-clock was striking nine—calm, peaceful strokes. There was no tremor in them, no warning of what was coming. The air was very still, and I stopped a moment to watch the bluebirds before I turned into the Lebanon road.

There was the little gray cottage, with its last year's vines about it, a withered spray here and there waving feebly as the soft April air caught it and tossed it to and fro. No sign of life about the cottage—doors and windows tight shut and barred. Only the little gate swung open, but that might have been the wind. I stepped up on the porch. No sound save the echo of my steps and the knocking of my heart. I rang the bell. It pealed violently, but there were no answering sounds: nothing stirred.

I rang again, more gently, and waited, looking along the little path to the gate. There was snow, the winter's snow, lingering about the roots of the old elm, the one elm tree that overhung the cottage. Last winter's snow lying there, and of the people who had lived in the house, and made it warm and bright, not a footprint, not a trace!

Again I rang, and this time I heard footsteps coming round the corner of the house. I sat down on the rustic bench by the door. If it had been Bessie's self, I could not have stirred, I was so chilled, so awed by the blank silence. A brown sun-bonnet, surmounting a tall, gaunt figure, came in sight.

"What is it?" asked the owner of the sun-bonnet in a quick, sharp voice that seemed the prelude to "Don't want any."

"Where are Mrs. Sloman and Miss Stewart? Are they not in Lenox?"

"Miss' Sloman, she's away to Minnarsoter: ben thar' all winter for her health. She don't cal'late to be home afore June."

"And Miss Stewart?—is she with her?"

"Miss Stewart? I dunno," said the woman, with a strange look about the corners of her mouth. "I dunno: I never see her; and the family was all away afore I came here to take charge. They left the kitchen-end open for me; and my sister-in-law—that's Hiram Splinter's wife—she made all the 'rangements. But I did hear," hesitating a moment, "as how Bessie Stewart was away to Shaker Village; and some does say "—a portentous pause and clearing of her throat—"that she's jined."

"Joined—what?" I asked, all in a mist of impatience and perplexity.

"Jined the Shakers."

"Nonsense!" I said, recovering my breath angrily. "Where is this Hiram's wife? Let me see her."

"In the back lot—there where you see the yaller house where the chimney's smoking. That's Hiram's house. He has charge of the Gold property on the hill. [pg 417] Won't you come in and warm yourself by the fire in the kitchen? I was away to the next neighbor's, and I was sure I hear our bell a-ringin'. Did you hev' to ring long?"

But I was away, striding over the cabbage-patch and climbing the worm-fence that shut in the estate of Hiram. Some wretched mistake: the woman does not know what she's talking about. These Splinters! they seem to have had some communication with Mrs. Sloman: they will know.

Mrs. Splinter, a neat, bright-eyed woman of about twenty-five, opened the door at my somewhat peremptory knock. I recollected her in a moment as a familiar face—some laundress or auxiliary of the Sloman family in some way; and she seemed to recognize me as well: "Why! it's Mr. Munro! Walk in, sir, and sit down," dusting off a chair with her apron as she spoke.

"Miss Stewart—where is she? You know."

"Miss Stewart?" said the woman, sinking down into a chair and looking greatly disturbed. "Miss Stewart's gone to live with the Shakers. My husband drove her over with his team—her and her trunk."

"Why, where was her aunt? Did Mrs. Sloman know? Why isn't Miss Bessie with her?"

"Miss' Sloman said all she could—afterward I guess," said the woman, wiping her eyes, "but 'twan't no use then. You see, Miss' Sloman had jined a party that was goin' to Minnesota—while she was in Philadelfy, that was—and Miss Stewart she wasn't goin'. She reckoned she'd spend the winter here in the house. Miss' Sloman's maid—that's Mary—was goin' with her to the West, and I was to hire my sister-in-law to take charge of things here, so that Miss Bessie could have her mind free-like to come and go. But afore ever Mary Jane—that's my sister-in-law—could come over from Lee, where she was livin' out, Miss Bessie comes up and opens the house. She stayed there about a week, and she had lots of company while she was here. I think she got tired. They was people that was just goin' to sail for Europe, and as soon as they went she just shut up and told me to send for Mary Jane to take care of things. So Mary Jane never see her, and perhaps she giv' you a crooked answer, sir, if you was inquirin' of her over to the cottage."

"Where's Hiram? where's your husband? Can I have his team this morning?"

"I guess so," said the sympathetic Mrs. Splinter. "He'll show you the very house he druv' her to."

Hiram was hunted for and found; and an hour later I was bowling along the Lebanon road behind the bay team he was so proud of. I had concluded to take him' with me, as he could identify places and people, and I knew well what castles the Shaker houses are for the world's people outside. Hiram was full of talk going over. He seemed to have been bottling it up, and I was the first auditor for his wrath. "I know 'm," he said, cracking his whip over his horses' heads. "They be sharp at a bargain, they be. If they've contrived to get a hold on Bessie Stewart, property and all, it'll go hard on 'em to give her up."

"A hold on Bessie!" What dreadful words! I bade him sharply hold his tongue and mind his horses, but he went on muttering in an undertone, "Yo'll see, yo'll see! You're druv' pretty hard, young man, I expect, so I won't think nothing of your ha'sh words, and we'll get her out, for all Elder Nebson."

So Hiram, looked out along the road from under his huge fur-cap, and up hill and down. The miles shortened, until at last the fair houses and barns of the Shaker village came in sight. A sleeping village, one would have thought. Nobody in the road save one old man, who eyed us suspiciously through the back of a chair he was carrying.

"It must be dinner-time, I think," said Hiram as he drove cautiously along. Stopping at a house near the bridge: "Now this is the very house. Just you go right up and knock at that 'ere door."

I knocked. In a twinkling the door [pg 418] was opened by a neat Shaker sister, whose round, smiling face was flushed, as though she had just come from cooking dinner. I stepped across the threshold: "Bessie Stewart is here. Please say to her that a friend—a friend from England—wishes to see her."

"Sure," said the motherly-faced woman, for she was sweet and motherly in spite of her Shaker garb, "I'll go and see."

Smilingly she ushered me into a room at the left of the hall. "Take seat, please;" and with a cheerful alacrity she departed, closing the door gently behind her.

"Well," thought I, "this is pleasant: no bolts or bars here. I'm sure of one friend at court."

I had leisure to observe the apartment—the neatly-scrubbed floor, with one narrow cot bed against the wall, a tall bureau on which some brown old books were lying, and the little dust-pan and dust-brush on a brass nail in the corner. There was a brightly polished stove with no fire in it, and some straight-backed chairs of yellow wood stood round the room. An open door into a large, roomy closet showed various garments of men's apparel hanging upon the wall. The plain thermometer in the window casement seemed the one article of luxury or ornament in the apartment. I believe I made my observations on all these things aloud, concluding with, "Oh, Bessie! Bessie! you shall not stay here." I know that I was startled enough by the apparition of a man standing in the open closet door. He must have been within it at my entrance, and had heard all I said.

He came forward, holding out his hand—very friendly apparently. Then, requesting me to be seated, he drew out a chair from the wall and sat down, tilting it back on two legs and leaning against the wall, with his hands folded before him. Some commonplace remark about the weather, which I answered, led to a rambling conversation, in which he expressed the greatest curiosity as to worldly matters, and asked several purely local questions about the city of New York. Perhaps his ignorance was feigned. I do not know, but I found myself relating, à la Stanley-Livingstone, some of the current events of the day. His face was quite intelligent, tanned with labor in the fields, and his brown eyes were kind and soft, like those of some dumb animals. I note his eyes here especially, as different in expression from those of others of his sect.

Several times during the conversation I heard footsteps in the hall, and darted from my seat, and finally, in my impatience, began to pace the floor. Kindly as he looked, I did not wish to question the man about Bessie. I would rely upon the beaming portress, whose "Sure" was such an earnest of her good-will. Moreover, a feeling of contempt, growing out of pity, was taking possession of me. This man, in what did he differ from the Catholic priest save in the utter selfishness of his creed? Beside the sordid accumulation of gain to which his life was devoted the priest's mission among crowded alleys and fever-stricken lanes seemed luminous and grand. A moral suicide, with no redeeming feature. The barns bursting with fatness, the comfortable houses, gain added to gain—to what end? I was beginning to give very short answers indeed to his questions, and was already meditating a foray through the rest of the house, when the door opened slowly and a lady-abbess entered. She was stiff and stately, with the most formal neckerchief folded precisely over her straitened bust, a clear-muslin cap concealing her hair, and her face, stony, blue-eyed and cold—a pale, frozen woman standing stately there.

"Bessie Stewart?" said I. "She is here—I know it. Do not detain her. I must see her. Why all this delay?"

"Dost thou mean Sister Eliza?" she asked in chilling tones.

"No, nobody's sister—least of all a sister here—but the young lady who came over here from Lenox two months ago—Bessie Stewart, Mrs. Sloman's niece." (I knew that Mrs. Sloman was quite familiar with some of the Shakeresses, and visited them at times.)

[pg 419]

Very composedly the sister took a chair and folded her hands across her outspread handkerchief before she spoke again. I noticed at this moment that her dress was just the color of her eyes, a pale, stony blue.

"Sister Eliza: it is the same," in measured accents. "She is not here: she has gone—to Watervliet."

Can this be treachery? I thought, and is she still in the house? Will they hide from her that I am here? But there was no fathoming the woman's cold blue eyes.

"To Watervliet?" I inquired dismally. "How? when? how did she go?"

"She went in one of our wagons: Sister Leah and Brother Ephraim went along."

"When will they return?"

"I cannot say."

All this time the man was leaning back against the wall, but uttered not a word. A glance of triumph shot from the sister's eyes as I rose. But she was mistaken if she thought I was going away. I stepped to the window, and throwing it open called to Hiram, who was still sitting in his wagon, chewing composedly a bit of straw. He leaped out in an instant, and leaning out to him I rapidly repeated in an undertone the previous conversation: "What would you do?"

"Ten chances to one it's a lie. Tell 'em you'll set there till you see her. They can't shake us off that way."

I drew in my head. The pair still sat as before. "Well," said I, "as I must see her, and as you seem so uncertain about it, I will wait here."

And again I took my seat. The sister's face flushed. I had meant no rudeness in my tone, but she must have detected the suspicion in it. She crimsoned to her temples, and said hastily, "It is impossible for us to entertain strangers to-day. A brother is dying in the house: we are all waiting for him to pass away from moment to moment. We can submit to no intrusion."

Well, perhaps it was an intrusion. It was certainly their house if it did hold my darling. I looked at her steadily: "Are you sure that Bessie Stewart has gone away from here?"

"To Watervliet—yea," she answered composedly. "She left here last week."

My skill at cross-examination was at fault. If that woman was lying, she would be a premium witness. "I should be sorry, madam," I said, recalling the world's etiquette, which I had half forgotten, "to intrude upon you at this or any other time, but I cannot leave here in doubt. Will you oblige me by stating the exact hour and day at which Miss Stewart is expected to return from Watervliet, and the road thither?"

She glanced across the room. Answering the look, the man spoke, for the first time since she had entered: "The party, I believe, will be home to-night."

"And she with them?"

"Yea, unless she has elected to remain."

"At what hour?"

"I cannot tell."

"By what road shall I meet her?"

"There are two roads: we generally use the river-road."

"To-night? I will go to meet her. By the river-road, you say?"


"And if I do not meet her?"

"If thou dost not meet her," said the lady-abbess, answering calmly, "it will be because she is detained on the road."

I had to believe her, and yet I was very skeptical. As I walked out of the door the man was at my heels. He followed me out on to the wooden stoop and nodded to Hiram.

"Who is that, Hiram?" I whispered as he leaned across the back of a horse, adjusting some leathern buckle.

"That?" said Hiram under his breath. "That's a deep 'un: that's Elder Nebson."

Great was the dissatisfaction of the stout-hearted Splinter at my retreat, as he called it, from the enemy's ground.

"I'd ha' liked nothin' better than to beat up them quarters. I thought every minit' you'd be calling me, and was ready to go in." And he clenched his fist in a way that showed unmistakably how he would have "gone in" had he [pg 420] been summoned. By this time we were driving on briskly toward the river-road. "You wa'n't smart, I reckon, to leave that there house. It was your one chance, hevin' got in. Ten chances to one she's hid away som'eres in one of them upper rooms," and he pointed to a row of dormer-windows, "not knowin' nothin' of your bein' there."

"Stop!" I said with one foot on the shafts. "You don't mean to say she is shut up there?"

"Shet up? No: they be too smart for that. But there's plenty ways to shet a young gal's eyes an' ears 'thout lockin' of her up. How'd she know who was in this wagon, even if she seed it from her winders? To be sure, I made myself conspicuous enough, a-whistlin' 'Tramp, tramp,' and makin' the horses switch round a good deal. But, like enough, ef she'd be down-spereted-like, she'd never go near the winder, but just set there, a-stitchin' beads on velvet or a-plattin' them mats."

"Why should she work?" I asked, with my grasp still on the reins.

"Them all does," he answered, taking a fresh bite of the straw. "It's the best cure for sorrow, they say. Or mebbe she's a-teachin' the children. I see a powerful sight of children comin' along while you was in there talkin', a-goin' to their school, and I tried to ask some o' them about her. But the old sheep who was drivin' on 'em looked at me like vinegar, and I thought I'd better shet up, or mebbe she'd give the alarm that we was here with horses and wagon to carry her off."

I had a painful moment of indecision as Hiram paused in his narrative and leisurely proceeded to evict a fly from the near horse's ear. "I think we'll go on, Hiram," I said, jumping back to my seat again. "Take the river-road."

Hiram had brought plentiful provision for his horses in a bag under the seat. "Victualed for a march or a siege," he said as he dragged out a tin kettle from the same receptacle when we drew up by the roadside an hour after. "We're clear of them pryin' Shakers, and we'll just rest a spell."

I could not demur, though my impatience was urging me on faster than his hungry horses could go.

"I told Susan," he said, "to put me up a bit of pie and cheese—mebbe we wouldn't be back afore night. Won't you hev' some?—there's a plenty."

But I declined the luncheon, and while he munched away contentedly, and while the horses crunched their corn, I got out and walked on, telling Hiram to follow at his leisure. My heart beat fast as I espied a wagon in the distance with one—yes, two—Shaker bonnets in it. Bessie in masquerade! Perhaps so—it could not be the other: that would be too horrible. But she was coming, surely coming, and the cold prim sister had told the truth, after all.

The wagon came nearer. In it were two weather-beaten dames, neither of whom could possibly be mistaken for Bessie in disguise; and the lank, long-haired brother who was driving them looked ignorant as a child of anything save the management of his horses. I hailed them, and the wagon drew up at the side of the road.

It was the women who answered in shrill, piping voices: "Ben to Watervliet? Nay, they'd ben driving round the country, selling garden seeds."

"Did they know Bessie Stewart, who was staying in the Shaker village, in the house by the bridge?"

"Sure, there had ben a stranger woman come there some time ago: they could not tell—never heerd her name."

I was forced to let them drive on after I had exhausted every possible inquiry, trusting that Hiram, who was close behind, would have keener wit in questioning them, but Hiram, as it happened, did not come up to them at all. They must have turned off into some farm-house lane before they passed him. The afternoon wore on. It grew toward sunset, and still we kept the river-road. There was no trace of the Shaker wagon, and indeed the road was growing wild and lonely.

"I tell you what," said Hiram, stopping suddenly, "these beasts can't go on for ever, and then turn round and [pg 421] come back again. I'll turn here, and drive to the little tavern we passed about two mile back, and stable 'em, and then you and me can watch the road."

It was but reasonable, and I had to assent, though to turn back seemed an evil omen, and to carry me away from Bessie. The horses were stabled, and I meanwhile paced the broad open sweep in front of the tavern, across which the lights were shining. Hiram improved the opportunity to eat a hearty supper, urging me to partake. But as I declined, in my impatience, to take my eyes off the road, he brought me out a bowl of some hot fluid and something on a plate, which I got through with quickly enough, for the cool evening air had sharpened my appetite. I rested the bowl on the broad bench beside the door, while Hiram went backward and forward with the supplies.

"Now," said he as I finished at last, still keeping my eye upon the road, "you go in and take a turn lyin' down: I'll watch the road. I'm a-goin' to see this thing out."

But I was not ready to sleep yet; so, yielding to my injunction, he went in, and I seated myself, wrapped in a buffalo robe from the wagon. The night was damp and chill.

"Hedn't you better set at the window?" said the kind-hearted landlady, bustling out. Hiram had evidently told her the story.

"Oh no, thank you;" for I was impatient of walls and tongues, and wanted to be alone with my anxiety.

What madness was this in Bessie? She could not, oh she could not, have thrown her life away! What grief and disquiet must have driven her into this refuge! Poor little soul, scorched and racked by distrust and doubt! if she could not trust me, whom should she trust?

The household noises ceased one by one; the clump of willows by the river grew darker and darker; the stars came out and shone with that magnetic brilliancy that fixes our gaze upon them, leading one to speculate on their influence, and—

A hand on my shoulder: Hiram with a lantern turned full upon my face. "'Most one o'clock," he said, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Come to take my turn. Have you seen nothing?"

"Nothing," I said, staggering to my feet, which felt like lead—"nothing."

I did not confess it, but to this hour I cannot tell whether I had been nodding for one minute or ten. I kept my own counsel as I turned over the watch to Hiram, but a suspicion shot through me that perhaps that wagon had gone by, after all, in the moment that I had been off guard.

Hiram kept the watch faithfully till five that morning, when I too was stirring. One or two teams had passed, but no Shaker wagon rattling through the night. We breakfasted in the little room that overlooked the road. Outside, at the pump, a lounging hostler, who had been bribed to keep a sharp lookout for a Shaker wagon, whistled and waited too.

"Tell you what," said Hiram, bolting a goodly rouleau of ham and eggs, "I've got an idee. You and me might shilly-shally here on this road all day, and what surety shall we hev' that they hevn't gone by the other road. Old gal said there was two?"

"Yes, but the folks here say that the other is a wild mountain-road, and not much used."

"Well, you see they comes down by the boat a piece, or they may cut across the river at Greenbush. They have queer ways. Now, mebbe they have come over that mountain-road in the night, while you and me was a-watchin' this like ferrits. In that case she's safe and sound at Shaker Village, not knowin' anything of your coming; and Elder Nebson and that other is laughin' in their sleeves at us."

"Perhaps so."

"Now, this is my advice, but I'll do just as you say. 'Tain't no good to lay around and watch that ere house to day. Ef we hedn't been in such a white heat, we might just hev' hid round in the neighborhood there till she came along. But it's too late, for that now. Let's you [pg 422] and me lay low till Sunday. She'll be sure to go to meetin' on Sunday ef she's there, and you can quietly slip in and see if she is. And to shut their eyes up, so that they won't suspect nothin', we'll leave a message on one of your pasteboards that you're very sorry not to hev' seen her, drefful sorry, but that you can't wait no longer, and you are off. They'll think you're off for York: you've got York on your cards, hevn't you?"


"You just come and stay to my house: we'll make you comfortable, and there's only one day longer to wait. This is Friday, be'ent it? You'd best not be seen around to the hotel, lest any of their spies be about. They do a powerful sight o' drivin' round the country this time o' year. And then, you see, ef on Sunday she isn't there, you can go over to Watervliet, or we'll search them houses—whichever you choose."

There seemed no help for it but to take Hiram's advice. We drove homeward through the Shaker village, and drew up at the house again. This time the door was opened by a bent, sharp little Creole, as I took her to be: the beaming portress of the day before had been relieved at her post.

"Nay, Bessie Stewart was not at home: she would go and inquire for me when she was expected."

"No," I said carelessly, not wishing to repeat the scene of yesterday and to present myself, a humiliated failure, before the two elders again—"no: give her this card when she does come, and tell her I could stay no longer."

I had not written any message on the card, for the message, indeed, was not for Bessie, but for the others. She would interpret it that I was in the neighborhood, anxious and waiting: she would understand.

"Home, then, Hiram," as I took my seat beside him. "We'll wait till Sunday."


"You'd better eat sum'thin'," said Hiram over the breakfast-table on Sunday morning. "Got a good long drive afore you, and mebbe a good day's work besides. No? Well, then, Susan, you put the apple-brandy into the basket, and some of them rusks, for I reckon we'll hev' work with this young man afore night."

Susan, bless her good heart! wanted to go along, and as Hiram's excitement was evidently at the highest pitch, he consented that she should occupy the back seat of the wagon: "P'raps Miss Stewart'll feel more comfortable about leavin' when she sees there's a woman along."

It was a rainy morning, and there were but few wagons on the road. Arrived at the village, we encountered one little procession after another of broadbrim straws and Shaker bonnets turning out of the several houses as we drove past. They stepped along quickly, and seemed to take no notice of us.

"Reckon we're the only visitors to-day," whispered Hiram as he stopped at the horseblock in front of the meeting-house. "You know where you hev' to set—on the left-hand side; and Susan, she goes to the right."

I followed Susan up the steps, and she hastened, as ordered, to the right, while I took my seat on one of the back benches of the left, against the wall. It was a barn-like structure, large, neat and exquisitely chill. Two large stoves on either side possibly had fire in them—an old man who looked like an ancient porter went to them from time to time and put on coal—but the very walls reflected a chill, blue glare. The roof was lofty and vaulted, and added to the hollow coldness of the hall. The whole apartment was clean to sanctity, and in its straitness and blank dreariness no unfit emblem of the faith it embodied.

Around three sides of the hall, and facing the benches for visitors, the Shaker fraternity were ranged. The hats and straight straw bonnets hung decorously upon the wall over their heads: here and there a sky-blue shawl or one of faded lilac hung beneath the headgear. Across the wide apartment it was difficult to distinguish faces. I scanned [pg 423] closely the sisterhood—old, withered faces most of them, with here and there one young and blooming—but no Bessie as yet. Still, they were coming in continually through the side door: she might yet appear. I recognized my lady-abbess, who sat directly facing me, in a seat of state apparently, and close to her, on the brethren's side of the house, was Elder Nebson.

The services began. All rose, and sisters and brethren faced each other and sang a hymn, with no accompaniment and no melody—a harsh chant in wild, barbaric measure. Then, after a prayer, they entered upon the peculiar method of their service. Round and round the room they trooped in two large circles, sister following sister, brother brother, keeping time with their hanging hands to the rhythm of the hymn. Clustered in the centre was a little knot of men and women, the high dignitaries, who seemed to lead the singing with their clapping hands.

The circles passed each other and wove in and out, each preserving its unbroken continuity. I looked for Elder Nebson: could it be that he was joining in these gyrations? Yes, he was leading one of the lines. But I noticed that his hands moved mechanically, not with the spasmodic fervor of the rest, and that his eyes, instead of the dull, heavy stare of his fellows, sought with faithful yet shy constancy the women's ranks. And as the women filed past me, wringing their hands, I scrutinized each face and figure—the sweet-faced portress, the shrunken little creole ("A mulatto, she is," Hiram whispered—he had taken his seat beside me—"and very powerful, they say, among 'em"), and some fair young girls; two or three of these with blooming cheeks bursting frankly through the stiff bordering of their caps. But I saw not the face I sought.

"Them children! Ain't it awful?" muttered Hiram as a file of blue-coat boys shambled past, with hair cut square across their foreheads and bleached white with the sun. "Ain't got a grain of sense! Look at 'em!—all crowded clean out by the Shaker schools."

And surely they were a most unpromising little crowd. Waifs, snatched probably from some New York whirlpool of iniquity, and wearing the brute mark on their faces, which nothing in this school of their transplanting tended to erase—a sodden little party, like stupid young beasts of burden, uncouth and awkward.

As the girls came round again, and I had settled it in my mind that there was certainly no Bessie in the room, I could watch them more calmly. Eagerly as I sought her face, it was a relief, surely, that it was not there. Pale to ghastliness, most of them, with high, sharpened shoulders, and features set like those of a corpse, it was indeed difficult to realize that these ascetic forms, these swaying devotees, were women—women who might else have been wives and mothers. Some of them wore in their hollow eyes an expression of ecstasy akin to madness, and there was not a face there that was not saintly pure.

It was a strange union that assembled under one roof these nun-like creatures, wasted and worn with their rigid lives, and the heavy, brutish men, who shambled round the room like plough-horses. Wicked eyes some of them had, mere slits through which a cunning and selfish spirit looked out. Some faces there were of power, but in them the disagreeable traits were even more strongly marked: the ignorant, narrow foreheads were better, less responsible, it seemed.

The singing ended, there was a sermon from a high priest who stood out imperious among his fellows. But this was not a sermon to the flock. It was aimed at the scanty audience of strangers with words of unblushing directness. How men and women may continue pure in the constant hearing and repetition of such revolting arguments and articles of faith is matter of serious question. The divine instincts of maternity, the sweet attractions of human love, were thrown down and stamped under foot in the mud of this man's mind; and at each peroration, exhorting his hearers to shake off Satan, a strong convulsive shiver ran through the assembly. "Bessie is certainly not here: possibly [pg 424] she's still at Watervliet," I whispered to; Hiram as the concluding hymn began. "But I'll have a chance at Elder Nebson and that woman before they leave; the house."

The rain had ceased for some time, and as again the wild chant went up from those harsh strained voices, a stray sunbeam, like a gleam of good promise, shot across the floor. But what was this little figure stealing in through a side-door and joining the circling throng?—a figure in lilac gown, with the stiff muslin cap and folded neckerchief. She entered at the farthest corner of the room, and I watched her approach with beating heart. Something in the easy step was familiar, and yet it could not be. She passed around with the rest in the inner circle, and, leaning forward, I held my breath lest indeed it might be she.

The circle opened, and again the long line of march around the room. The lilac figure came nearer and nearer, and now I see her face. It is Bessie!

With a cry I sprang up, but with a blow, a crash, a horrible darkness swept over me like a wave, and I knew nothing.

When I came to myself I was lying on a bed in a room that was new to me. A strong light, as of the setting sun, shone upon the whitewashed wall. There was a little table, over which hung a looking-glass, surmounted by two fans of turkey feathers. I stared feebly at the fans for a while, and then closed my eyes again.

Where was I? I had a faint remembrance of jolting in a wagon, and of pitying faces bent over me, but where was I now? Again I opened my eyes, and noted the gay patchwork covering of the bed, and the green paper curtain of the window in the golden wall—green, with a tall yellow flower-pot on it, with sprawling roses of blue and red. Turning with an effort toward the side whence all the brightness came, in a moment two warm arms were round my neck, and a face that I could not see was pressed close to mine.

"Oh, Charlie, Charlie! forgive, forgive me for being so bad!"

"Bessie," I answered dreamingly, and seemed to be drifting away again. But a strong odor of pungent salts made my head tingle again, and when I could open my eyes for the tears they rested on my darling's face—my own darling in a soft white dress, kneeling by my bedside, with both her arms round me. A vigorous patting of the pillow behind me revealed Mrs. Splinter, tearful too: "He's come to now. Don't bother him with talk, Miss Bessie. I'll fetch the tea."

And with motherly insistance she brought me a steaming bowl of beef-tea, while I still lay, holding Bessie's hand, with a feeble dawning that the vision was real.

"No," she said as Bessie put out her arm for the bowl, "you prop up his head. I've got a steddyer hand: you'd just spill it all over his go to-meetin' suit."

I looked down at myself. I was still dressed in the clothes that I had worn—when was it? last week?—when I had started for the Shaker meeting.

"How long?" I said feebly.

"Only this morning, you darling boy, it all happened; and here we are, snug at Mrs. Splinter's, and Mary Jane is getting the cottage ready for us as fast as ever she can."

How good that beef-tea was! Bessie knew well what would give it the sauce piquante. "Ready for us!"

"Here's the doctor at last," said Hiram, putting his head in at the door. "Why, hillo! are we awake?"

"The doctor! Dr. Wilder?" I said beamingly. How good of Bessie! how thoughtful!

"Not Dr. Wilder, you dear old boy!" said Bessie, laughing and blushing, "though I sha'n't scold you, Charlie, for that!" in a whisper in my ear. "It's Dr. Bolster of Lee. Hiram has been riding all over the country for him this afternoon."

"I'll go down to him," I said, preparing to rise.

"No you won't;" and Mrs. Splinter's strong arm, as well as Bessie's soft hand, patted me down again.

Dr. Bolster pronounced, as well he might, that all danger was over. The [pg 425] blow on my head—I must have struck it with force against the projecting window-shelf as I sprang up—was enough to have stunned me; but the doctor, I found, was inclined to theorize: "A sudden vertigo, a dizziness: the Shaker hymns and dances have that effect sometimes upon persons viewing them for the first time. Or perhaps the heat of the room." He calmly fingered my pulse for a few seconds, with his fat ticking watch in his other hand, and then retired to the bureau to write a prescription, which I was indignantly prepared to repudiate. But Bessie, in a delightful little pantomime, made signs to me to be patient: we could throw it all out of the window afterward if need be.

"A soothing draught, and let him keep quiet for a day or so, will be all that is required. I will call to-morrow if you would prefer it."

"We will send you a note, doctor, to-morrow morning: he seems so much stronger already that perhaps it will not be necessary to make you take such a long drive."

"Yes, yes, I'm very busy. You send me word whether to come or not."

And bustlingly the good doctor departed, with Mrs. Splinter majestically descending to hold whispered conference with him at the gate.

"Charlie, I will send for Dr. Wilder if you are ready, for I'm never going to leave you another minute as long as we live."

"I think," said I, laughing, "that I should like to stand up first on my feet; that is, if I have any feet."

What a wonderful prop and support was Bessie! How skillfully she helped me to step once, twice, across the floor! and when I sank down, very tired, in the comfortable easy-chair by the window, she knelt on the floor beside me and bathed my forehead with fragrant cologne, that certainly did not come from Mrs. Splinter's tall bottle of lavender compound on the bureau.

"Oh, my dear boy, I have so much to say! Where shall I begin?"

"At the end," I said quietly. "Send for Dr. Wilder."

"But don't you want to hear what a naughty girl—"

"No, I want to hear nothing but 'I, Elizabeth, take thee—'"

"But I've been so very jealous, so suspicious and angry. Don't you want to hear how bad I am?"

"No," I said, closing the discussion after an old fashion of the Sloman cottage, "not until we two walk together to the Ledge to-morrow, my little wife and I."

"Where's a card—your card, Charlie? It would be more proper-like, as Mrs. Splinter would say, for you to write it."

"I will try," I said, taking out a card-case from my breast-pocket. As I drew it forth my hand touched a package, Fanny Meyrick's packet. Shall I give it to her now? I hesitated. No, we'll be married first in the calm faith that each has in the other to-day, needing no outward assurance or written word.

I penciled feebly, with a very shaky hand, my request that the doctor would call at Hiram Splinter's, at his earliest convenience that evening, to perform the ceremony of marriage between his young friend, Bessie Stewart, and the subscriber. Hiram's eldest son, a youth of eight, was swinging on the gate under our window. To him Bessie entrusted the card, with many injunctions to give it into no other hands than the doctor's own.

In less time than we had anticipated, as we looked out of the window at the last pink glow of the sunset, the urchin reappeared, walking with great strides beside a spare little-figure, whom we recognized as the worthy doctor himself.

"Good gracious! he is in a hurry!" said Bessie, retiring hastily from the window; "and we have not said a word to Mrs. Splinter yet!"

We had expected the little doctor would wait below until the bridal-party should descend; but no, he came directly up stairs, and walked into the room without prelude. He took Bessie in his arms with fatherly tenderness: "Ah, you runaway! so you've come back at last?"

"Yes, doctor, and don't you let go of her until you have married her fast to me."

[pg 426]

"Ahem!" said the doctor, clearing his throat, "that is just what I came to advise you about. Hiram told me this afternoon of the chase you two had had, and of your illness this morning. Now, as it is half over the village by this time that Bessie Stewart has been rescued from the Shaker village by a chivalrous young gentleman, and as everybody is wild with impatience to know the dénoûment, I want you to come down quietly to the church this evening and be married after evening service."

"To please everybody?" I said, in no very pleasant humor.

"I think it will be wisest, best; and I am sure this discreetest of women," still holding Bessie's hand, "will agree with me. You need not sit through the service. Hiram can bring you down after it has begun; and you may sit in the vestry till the clerk calls you. I'll preach a short sermon to-night," with a benignant chuckle.

He had his will. Some feeling that it would please Mrs. Sloman best, the only person besides ourselves whom it concerned us to please, settled it in Bessie's mind, although she anxiously inquired several times before the doctor left if I felt equal to going to church. Suppose I should faint on the way?

I was equal to it, for I took a long nap on the sofa in Mrs. Splinter's parlor through the soft spring twilight, while Bessie held what seemed to me interminable conferences with Mary Jane.

It was not a brilliant ceremony so far as the groom was concerned. As we stood at the chancel-rail I am afraid that the congregation, largely augmented, by this time, by late-comers—for the doctor had spread the news through the village far and wide—thought me but a very pale and quiet bridegroom.

But the bride's beauty made amends for all. Just the same soft white dress of the afternoon—or was it one like it?—with no ornaments, no bridal veil. I have always pitied men who have to plight their troth to a moving mass of lace and tulle, weighed down with orange-blossoms massive as lead. This was my own little wife as she would walk by my side through life, dressed as she might be the next day and always.

But the next day it was the tartan cloak that she wore, by special request, as we climbed the hill to the Ledge. It was spring indeed—bluebirds in the air, and all the sky shone clear and warm.

"Let me begin," said my wife as she took her old seat under the sheltering pine. "You can't have anything to say, Charlie, in comparison with me."

There was a short preliminary pause, and then she began.


"Well, after you wouldn't take me to Europe, you know—"

"You naughty girl!"

"No interruptions, sir. After you couldn't take me to Europe I felt very much hurt and wounded, and ready to catch at any straw of suspicion. I ran away from you that night and left you in the parlor, hoping that you would call me back, and yet longing to hide myself from you too. You understand?"

"Yes, let us not dwell on that."

"Well, I believe I never thought once of Fanny Meyrick's going to Europe too until she joined us on the road that day—you remember?—at the washerwoman's gate."

"Yes; and do you remember how Fidget and I barked at her with all our hearts?"

"I was piqued then at the air of ownership Fanny seemed to assume in you. She had just come to Lenox, I knew; she could know nothing of our intimacy, our relations; and this seemed like the renewal of something old—something that had been going on before. Had she any claim on you? I wondered. And then, too, you were so provokingly reticent about her whenever her name had been mentioned before."

"Was I? What a fool I was! But, Bessie dear, I could not say to even you, then, that I believed Fanny Meyrick was in—cared a great deal for me."

"I understand," said Bessie nodding. "We'll skip that, and take it for granted. [pg 427] But you see I couldn't take anything for granted but just what I saw that day; and the little memorandum-book and Fanny's reminiscences nearly killed me. I don't know how I sat through it all. I tried to avoid you all the rest of the day. I wanted to think, and to find out the truth from Fanny."

"I should think you did avoid me pretty successfully, leaving me to dine coldly at the hotel, and then driving all the afternoon till train-time."

"It was in talking to Fanny that afternoon that I discovered how she felt toward you. She has no concealment about her, not any, and I could read her heart plainly enough. But then she hinted at her father's treatment of you; thought he had discouraged you, rebuffed you, and reasoned so that I fairly thought there might be truth in it, remembering it was before you knew me."

"Listen one minute, Bessie, till I explain that. It's my belief, and always was, that that shrewd old fellow, Henry Meyrick, saw very clearly how matters were all along—saw how the impetuous Miss Fanny was—"

"Falling in love: don't pause for a 'more tenderer word,' Charlie. Sam Weller couldn't find any."

"Well, falling in love, if you will say it—and that it was decidedly a difficult situation for me. I remember so well that night on the piazza, when Fanny clung about me like a mermaid, he bade her sharply go and change her dripping garments, and what Fanny calls 'a decidedly queer' expression came into his face. He could not say anything, poor old chap! and he always behaved with great courtesy to me. I am sure he divined that I was a most unimpassioned actor in that high-comedy plunge into the Hudson."

"Very well: I believe it, I'm sure, but, you see, how could I know then what was or was not true? Then it was that I resolved to give you leave—or rather give her leave to try. I had written my note in the morning, saying no finally to the Europe plan, and I scrawled across it, in lead-pencil, while Fanny stood at her horse's head, those ugly words, you remember?"

"Yes," I said: "'Go to Europe with Fanny Meyrick, and come up to Lenox, both of you, when you return.'"

"Then, after that, my one idea was to get away from Lenox. The place was hateful to me, and you were writing those pathetic letters about being married, and state-rooms, and all. It only made me more wretched, for I thought you were the more urgent now that you had been lacking before. I hurried aunt off to Philadelphia, and in New York she hurried me. She would not wait, though I did want to, and I was so disappointed at the hotel! But I thought there was a fate in it to give Fanny Meyrick her chance, poor thing! and so I wrote that good-bye note without an address."

"But I found you, for all, thanks to Dr. R——!"

"Yes, and when you came that night I was so happy. I put away all fear: I had to remind myself, actually, all the time, of what I owed to Fanny, until you told me you had changed your passage to the Algeria, and that gave me strength to be angry. Oh, my dear, I'm afraid you'll have a very bad wife. Of course the minute you had sailed I began to be horribly jealous, and then I got a letter by the pilot that made me worse."

"But," said I, "you got my letters from the other side. Didn't that assure you that you might have faith in me?"

"But I would not receive them. Aunt Sloman has them all, done up and labeled for you, doubtless. She, it seems—had you talked her over?—thought I ought to have gone with you, and fretted because she was keeping me. Then I couldn't bear it another day. It was just after you had sailed, and I had cut out the ship-list to send you; and I had worked myself up to believe you would go back to Fanny Meyrick if you had the chance. I told Aunt Sloman that it was all over between us—that you might continue to write to me, but I begged that she would keep all your letters in a box until I should ask her for them."

"But I wrote letters to her, too, asking what had become of you."

[pg 428]

"She went to Minnesota, you know, early in February."

"And why didn't you go with her?"

"She scolded me dreadfully because I would not. But she was so well, and she had her maid and a pleasant party of Philadelphia friends; and I—well, I didn't want to put all those hundreds of miles between me and the sea."

"And was Shaker Village so near, then, to the sea?"

"Oh, Charlie," hiding her face on my shoulder, "that was cowardice in me. You know I meant to keep the cottage open and live there. It was the saddest place in all the world, but still I wanted to be there—alone. But I found I could not be alone; and the last people who came drove me nearly wild—those R——s, Fanny Meyrick's friends—and they talked about her and about you, so that I could bear it no longer. I wanted to hide myself from all the world. I knew I could be quiet at the Shaker village. I had often driven over there with Aunt Sloman: indeed, Sophia—that's the one you saw—is a great friend of Aunt Maria's."

"So the lady-abbess confessed, did she?" I asked with some curiosity.

"Yes: she said you were rudely inquisitive; but she excused you as unfamiliar with Shaker ways."

"And were you really at Watervliet?"

"Yes, but don't be in a hurry: we'll come to that presently. Sophia gave me a pretty little room opening out of hers, and they all treated me with great kindness, if they did call me Eliza."

"And did you," I asked with some impatience, remembering Hiram's description—"did you sew beads on velvet and plait straw for mats?"

"Nonsense! I did whatever I pleased. I was parlor-boarder, as they say in the schools. But I did learn something, sir, from that dear old sister Martha. You saw her?"

"The motherly body who invited me in?"

"Yes: isn't she a dear? I took lessons from her in all sorts of cookery: you shall see, Charlie, I've profited by being a Shakeress."

"Yes, my darling, but did you—you didn't go to church?"

"Only once," she said, with a shiver that made her all the dearer, "and they preached such dreary stuff that I told Sophia I would never go again."

"But did you really wear that dress I saw you in?"

"For that once only. You see, I was at Watervliet when you came. If you had only gone straight there, dear goose! instead of dodging in the road, you would have found me. I had grown a little tired of the monotony of the village, and was glad to join the party starting for Niskayuna, it was such a glorious drive across the mountain. I longed for you all the time."

"Pretty little Shakeress! But why did they put us on such a false track?"

"Oh, we had expected to reach home that night, but one of the horses was lame, and we did not start as soon as we had planned. We came back on Saturday afternoon—Saturday afternoon, and this is Monday morning!", leaning back dreamily, and looking across the blue distance to the far-off hills. "Then I got your card, and they told me about you, and I knew, for all the message, that you'd be back on Sunday morning. But how could I tell then that Fanny Meyrick would not be with you?"

"Bessie!" and my hand tightened on hers.

"Oh, Charlie, you don't know what it is to be jealous. Of course I did know that—no, I didn't, either, though I must have been sure underneath that day. For it was more in fun than anything else, after I knew you were in the meeting-house—"

"How did you know?"

"I saw you drive up—you and Hiram and Mrs. Hiram."

"You didn't think, then, that it was Mrs. Charles?"

"So I stole into Sophia's room, and put on one of her dresses. She is tall too, but it did not fit very well."

"I should think not," I answered, looking down admiringly at her.

"In fact," laughing, "I took quite a time [pg 429] pinning myself into it and getting the neckerchief folded prim. I waited till after the sermon, and then I knew by the singing that it was the last hymn, so I darted in. I don't know what they thought—that I was suddenly converted, I suppose, and they would probably have given thanks over me as a brand snatched from the burning. Did I do the dance well? I didn't want to put them out."

"My darling, it was a dreadful masquerade. Did you want to punish me to the end?"

"I was punished myself, Charlie, when you fell. Oh dear! don't let's talk about the dreadful thing any more. But I think you would have forgiven Elder Nebson if you had seen how tenderly he lifted you into the wagon. There, now: where are we going to live in New York, and what have we got to live on besides my little income?"

"Income! I had forgotten you had any."

"Ask Judge Hubbard if I haven't. You'll see."

"But, my dear," said I gravely, drawing forth the packet from my breast, "I, too, have my story to tell. I cannot call it a confession, either; rather it is the story of somebody else—Hallo! who's broken the seal?" For on shipboard I had beguiled the time by writing a sort of journal to accompany Fanny's letter, and had placed all together in a thick white envelope, addressing it, in legal parlance, "To whom it may concern."

"I did," said Bessie faintly, burying her face on my arm. "It fell out of your pocket when they carried you up stairs; and I read it, every word, twice over, before you came to yourself."

"You little witch! And I thought you were marrying me out of pure faith in me, and not of sight or knowledge."

"It was faith, the highest faith," said Bessie proudly, and looking into my eyes with her old saucy dash, "to know, to feel sure, that that sealed paper concerned nobody but me."

And so she has ever since maintained.



A nodule of amygdaloid, a coarse pebble enveloped in a whitish semi-crystalline paste, lies on the table before me. I know that a blow of the hammer will reveal the beauties of its crystal interior, but I do not crush it. It is more to me as it is—more than a letter plucked from the stone pages of time. Coarse and plain, it is an index to a chapter of life. In the occupations of a busy existence we forget how much we owe to the sweet emotional nature which, by mere chance association, retains the dearer part of the past fixed in memory, just as the graceful volutes of a fossil shell are preserved in the coarse matrix of a stony paste. In this way the nodule connects itself with my emotional life, and recalls the incidents of this sketch.

We were journeying over the mountains in the autumn of 1869. Our camp was pitched in a valley of the ascending ridges of the Cumberland range, on the south-east border of Kentucky. At this point the interior valley forms the letter J, the road following the bend, and ascending at the foot of the perpendicular.

It is nearly an hour since sunset, but the twilight still lingers in softened radiance, mellowing the mountain-scenery. The camp-wagons are drawn up on a low pebbly shelf at the foot of the hills, and the kindled fire has set a great carbuncle in the standing pool. A spring branch oozes out of the rocky turf, and flows down to meet a shallow river fretting over shoals. The road we have followed hangs like a rope-ladder from the [pg 430] top of the hills, sagging down in the irregularities till it reaches the river-bed, where it flies apart in strands of sand. The twilight leans upon the opposite ridge, painting its undulations in inconceivably delicate shades of subdued color. Although the night is coming on, the clear-obscure of that dusk, like a limpid pool, reveals all beneath. A road ascending the southern hill cuts through a loamy crust a yellow line, which creeps upward, winding in and out, till nothing is seen of it but a break in the trees set clear against the sky. No art of engineer wrought these graceful bends: it is a wild mountain-pass, followed by the unwieldy buffalo in search of pasturage. Beyond, the mountain rises again precipitously, a ragged tree clinging here and there to the craggy shelves. Around and through the foliage, like a ribbon, the road winds to the top. A blue vapor covers it and the hills melting softly in the distance. At the base of the hills a little river winds and bends to the west through a low fertile bottom, the stem of the J, which is perhaps a mile in width. It turns again, its course marked by a growth of low water-oaks and beeches, following the irregular fold in the hills which has been described.

Leaning against the bluffs hard by the camp is a low white cottage, with its paddock and pinfold, and the cattle are coming up, with bells toning irregularly as they feed and loiter on the way. The supper-horn sends forth a hoarse but mellow fugue in swells and cadences from the farm-house. Over all this sweet rural scene of mountain, valley, river and farm, and over the picturesque camp, with stock, tent and wagons, now brightened by the grace of a young girl, the twilight lingers like love over a home. As I listen and look a soft voice from the carriage at my side says, "Is the ground damp? May I get out?"

I turn to my little prisoner, and as the mingled lights cross her features I see that her wide, dark-gray eyes are swimming in tears. "Why, what is it?" I ask.

"Nothing: everything is so sweet and tranquil. I was wondering if our new home would be like this—not the hills and valleys, you know, but so quiet and homelike."

So homelike! With that vague yearning, we, like so many Southerners of the period, were wagoning from old homesteads, a thousand miles of travel, to a resting-place.

"It will be like home if you are there," I think as I assist her to alight—the burden daily growing lighter in my arms and heavier on my heart—but I say nothing.

Pretty soon she is at her usual relaxation, looking for shells, ivy berries and roots of wild vines to adorn that never-attainable home. The kindly, generous twilight, so unlike the swift shrift of the Florida levels, still lingers; and presently, amid bits of syenite, volcanic tuff and scoria, she has found this nodule of amygdaloid. It differs from the fossil shells and alluvial pebbles she is used to find, and she is curious about it.

I tell the story of the watershed of the Ohio as well as I can—how it was the delta of a great river, fed by the surfage of a continent lying south—eastwardly in the Atlantic; of the luxuriant vegetation that sprang up as in the cypress-swamps of her old home in Louisiana, passing, layer by layer, into peat, to be baked and pressed into bituminous coal, that slops over the flared edges of the basin in Pennsylvania, like sugar in the kettles, and is then burnt to anthracite. I promise her that in some dawn on the culminating peak, when the hills below loom up, their tops just visible like islands in a sea of dusk, I will show her a natural photograph of that old-world delta, with the fog breaking on the lower cliffs like the surf of a ghostly sea. She listens as to a fairy tale, and then I tell her of the stellar crystals concealed in the rough crust of the amygdaloid. She puts it away, and says I shall break it for her when we get home. We have traveled a long way, by different paths, since then, but it has never been broken—never will be broken now.

In addition to the geological and botanical curiosities the mountains afford, my companion had been moved alternately to tears and smiles by the scenes [pg 431] and people we met—their quaint speech and patient poverty. We passed eleven deserted homesteads in one day. Sometimes a lean cur yelped forlorn welcome: at one a poor cow lowed at the broken paddock and dairy. We passed a poor man with five little children—the eldest ten or twelve, the youngest four or five—their little stock on a small donkey, footing their way over the hills across Tennessee into Georgia. It was so pitiful to see the poor little babes-in-the-wood on that forlorn journey; and yet they were so brave, and the poor fellow cheered them and praised them, as well he might. Another miserable picture was at the white cottage near our camp. The lawn showed evidences of an old taste in rare flowers and vines, now choked with weeds. I knocked, and a slovenly negress opened the door and revealed the sordid interior—an unspread bed; a foul table, sickly with the smell of half-eaten food and unwashed dishes; the central figure a poor, helpless old man sitting on a stool, I asked the negress for her master: she answered rudely that she had no master, and would have slammed the door in my face. Why tell the story of a life surrounded by taste and womanly adornments, followed by a childless, wifeless old age? The poor, wizened old creature was rotting in life on that low stool among his former dependants, their support and scorn. The Emancipation Proclamation did not reach him. But one power could break his bonds and restore the fallen son and the buried wife—the great liberator, Death.

The natives of this region are characterized by marked peculiarities of the anatomical frame. The elongation of the bones, the contour of the facial angle, the relative proportion or disproportion of the extremities, the loose muscular attachment of the ligatures, and the harsh features were exemplified in the notable instance of the late President Lincoln. A like individuality appears in their idiom. It lacks the Doric breadth of the Virginian of the other slope, and is equally removed from the soft vowels and liquid intonation of the southern plain. It has verbal and phraseological peculiarities of its own. Bantering a Tennessee wife on her choice, she replied with a toss and a sparkle, "I-uns couldn't get shet of un less'n I-uns married un." "Have you'uns seed any stray shoats?" asked a passer: "I-uns's uses about here." "Critter" means an animal—"cretur," a fellow-creature. "Longsweet-'nin'" and "short sweet'nin'" are respectively syrup and sugar. The use of the indefinite substantive pronoun un (the French on), modified by the personals, used demonstratively, and of "done" and "gwine" as auxiliaries, is peculiar to the mountains, as well on the Wabash and Alleghany, I am told, as in Tennessee. The practice of dipping—by which is meant not baptism, but chewing snuff—prevails to a like extent.

In farming they believe in the influence of the moon on all vegetation, and in pork-butchering and curing the same luminary is consulted. Leguminous plants must be set out in the light of the moon—tuberous, including potatoes, in the dark of that satellite. It is supposed to govern the weather by its dip, not indicate it by its appearance. The cup or crescent atilt is a wet moon—i.e., the month will be rainy. A change of the moon forebodes a change of the weather, and no meteorological statistics can shake their confidence in the superstition. They, of course, believe in the water-wizard and his forked wand; and their faith is extended to the discovery of mineral veins. While writing this I see the statement in a public journal that Richard Flannery of Cumberland county (Kentucky) uses an oval ball, of some material known only to himself, which he suspends between the forks of a short switch. As he walks, holding this extended, the indicator announces the metal by arbitrary vibrations. As his investigations are said to be attended with success, possibly the oval ball is highly magnetized, or contains a lode-stone whose delicate suspension is affected by the current magnetism, metallic veins being usually a magnetic centre. Any mass of soft iron in the position of the dipping-needle is sensibly magnetic, [pg 432] and a solution of continuity is thus indicated by the vibrations of the delicately poised instrument. Flaws in iron are detected with absolute certainty by this method. More probably, however, the whole procedure is pure, unadulterated humbug. In all such cases the failures are unrecorded, while the successes are noted, wondered at and published. By shooting arrows all day, even a blind man may hit the mark sometimes.

During this journey it was a habit with me to relate to my invalid companion any fact or incident of the day's travel. She came to expect this, and would add incidents and observations of her own. In this way I was led to compile the following little narrative of feminine constancy and courage during the late war.

It begins with two boys and a girl, generically divided into brother and sister and their companion, living on the divide-range of mountains between Kentucky and Tennessee. The people raised hogs, which were fattened on the mast of the range, while a few weeks' feeding on corn and slops in the fall gave the meat the desired firmness and flavor. They cultivated a few acres of corn, tobacco and potatoes, and had a kitchen-garden for "short sass" and "long sass"—leguminous and tuberous plants. Apples are called "sour sass." The chief local currency was red-fox scalps, for which the State of Kentucky paid a reward: the people did not think of raising such vermin for the peltry, as the shrewder speculator of a New England State did. They sold venison and bear-meat at five cents a pound to the lame trader at Jimtown, who wagoned it as far as Columbia, Kentucky, and sold it for seventy-five cents. They went to the log church in the woods on Sundays, and believed that Christ was God in the flesh, with other old doctrines now rapidly becoming heretical in the enlightened churches of the East. Living contentedly in this simple way, neither rich nor poor, the lads grew up, nutting, fishing, hunting together, and the companion naturally looked forward to the day when he would sell enough peltry and meat to buy a huge watch like a silver biscuit, such as the schoolmaster wore, make a clearing and cabin in the wild hills, and buy his one suit of store clothes, in which to wed the pretty sister of his friend.

Then came the war. Although it divided the two friends, the old kindness kept their difference from flaming forth in the vendetta fashion peculiar to the region. It was a great deal that these two young fellows did not believe that military morality required them to shoot each other on sight. Yet, on reconsideration, I will not be so sure of their opinion on this point. Perhaps they thought that, morally and patriotically, they ought to do this, and were conscious of weakness and failure of duty in omitting to do it. Perhaps the old good-will survived for the girl's sake; and if so, I do not think the Union was the worse preserved on that account.

The young lover went into the ranks of Wolford's regiment of loyal mountaineers, and rose—slowly at first, more rapidly as his square sense and upright character became known.

The girl, in her retirement, heard of her lover's advancement with pride and fear. She distrusted her worth, and found the hard menial duties of life more irksome than before. Not that she shrank from labor, but she feared its unfitting her for the refinement required by her lover's new social position. She had few examples to teach her the small proprieties of small minds, but a native delicacy helped her more than she was conscious of. She read her Bible a great deal, and used to wonder if Mary and "the other Mary" were ladies. She thought Peter was probably an East Tennesseean, or like one, for when he denied his Lord they said he did not talk like the others. It seemed hard that to say "we-uns" and "you-uns," as she habitually did, though she tried not, and to use the simple phrases of her childhood, should be thought coarse or wrong. Such matters were puzzles to her which she could not solve. She got an old thumbed Butler's Grammar and tried hard to correct the vocables of her truant tongue. I [pg 433] am afraid she made poor progress. She had a way of defying that intolerable tyrant, the nominative singular, and put all her verbs in the plural, under an impression, not without example, that it was elegant language. She had enough hard work to do, poor girl! to have been quit of these mental troubles. Her brother was away, her parents were old, and all the irksome duties of farm-house and garden fell upon her. She had to hunt the wild shoats on the range, and to herd them; to drive up the cows, and milk them; to churn and make the butter and cheese. She tapped the sugar trees and watched the kettles, and made the maple syrup and sugar; she tended the poultry, ploughed and hoed the corn field and garden, besides doing the house-work. Her old parents could help but little, for the "rheumatiz," which attacks age in the mountains, had cramped and knotted their limbs, and they were fit for nothing except in fine dry weather. Surely, life was hard with her, without her anxieties about her lover's constancy and her own defects. Letter-writing was a labor not to be thought of. She tried it, and got as far as "I am quite well, and I hope these few lines will find you the same," and there stopped. She ascribed the difficulty to her own mental and clerical defects, but I think it lay quite as much in the nature of the relation. How was she to express confidence when she distrusted? how express distrust when her maidenly promptings told her it was an indelicate solicitation? She could say Brindle had gone dry and the blind mare had foaled, or that crops were good; but what was that to say when her heart was thirsting and drying up? She blotted the paper and her eyes and her hands, but she could not write a line. She was a sensible girl, and gave it up, leaving her love to grow its own growth. The tree had been planted in good ground, and watered: it must grow of itself.

By and by military operations brought her lover into the old neighborhood. I cannot say he put on no affectations with his new rank, that he did not air his shoulder-straps a taste too much; but the manly nature was too loyal to sin from mere vanity. He seemed natural, easy, pleased with her, and urged a speedy wedding.

We may guess how the Lassie—we must give her a name, and that will do—worshiped her King Cophetua in shoulder-straps. Had he not stooped from his well-won, honorable height, the serene azure of his blue uniform, to sue for her? In all the humility of her pure loving heart she poured out her thankfulness to the Giver of all good for this supreme blessing of his love.

In the midst of this peace and content her brother appeared with a flag of truce. He was hailed as a prosperous prodigal, for he too was a lad of metal, but he brought one with him that made poor Lassie start and tremble. It was a lady, young and beautiful, clad in deep mourning. Although sad and retiring, there was that dangerous charm about her which men are lured by, and which women dread—a subtle influence of look and gesture and tone that sets the pulses mad. She was going for the remains of her husband, and told a pathetic story, but only too well. She used always the same language, cried at the same places, and seemed altogether too perfect in her part for it to be entirely natural. So, at least, Lassie thought, even while reproaching herself for being hard on a sister in affliction. Yet she could not escape the bitterness of the thought that the widow, Mrs. G——, was "a real lady"—that ideal rival she had been so long dreading in her lover's absence; and now that he had come, the rival had also come.

Her brother dropped a hint or two about the lady: Mrs. G—— had the "shads," "vodles" of bank-stock and niggers, and she paid well for small service. If King Cophetua could get leave to escort her to head-quarters, Mrs. G—— would foot the bills and do the handsome thing. It was hard such a woman should have to go on such a sad business alone.

What could his sister say? She had herself put off the wedding a month: she wanted to get her ample store of [pg 434] butter, eggs and poultry to the trader at Jimtown, or, better still, to the brigade head-quarters at Bean's Station. With her own earnings she could then buy such simple muslins for her wedding-dress as became her and would not shame her lover. She wished she had married him, as he had urged, in her old calico gown. If he had asked her now, if he had pressed a little, she would have yielded; but he did not. He seemed to accept the proprieties and woman's will as unalterable. In fact, he did follow Mrs. G——'s motions with only too lively an admiration. Perhaps he did not know himself what his feelings were—what this new fever in his pulses meant. Besides the calm, holy connubial love there is a wild animal passion that tears through moral creeds and laws. Once, Lassie saw her brother give him a half-angry stare, that passed into a laugh of cool scorn. "Take care of Mrs. G——," he said to King Cophetua. "You will get bit there if you don't look out."

How the sister would have pressed that warning had she dared! Innocent as her lover might be, she believed that Mrs. G—— saw the growing passion and encouraged it. But there was nothing to take hold of. There was nothing bold, forward or inviting in her manner. If a lady has long lashes, must she never droop them lest she be charged with coquetry? May not a flush spring as naturally from shy reserve as from immodesty?

Lassie's lover did take charge of this dangerous siren to escort her to the head-quarters at Louisville. But just before starting he came to Lassie with a certain eagerness, as one who is going into battle might, and assured her, again and again, of his faith. Did he do this to assure her or himself? I think the last.

How weary the month was! She occupied herself as well as she could with her sales and purchases, making a very good trade. The brigade had been at Bean's Station long enough to eat up all the delicacies to be found there, so that the little maid, who was a sharp marketer, got fabulous prices. She made up her simple wedding furniture, gave her mother a new gown and underwear, and pleased her old father with a handsome jean suit, the labor of her own nimble fingers. All that belonged to her would appear well on that day, as became them and her.

At any other time she would have followed up that thrifty market at Bean's Station. She would have huckstered around the neighborhood, and made a little income while it lasted; but now she had no heart for it. Her lover's leave was out, yet his regimental associates knew nothing about him.

A week after the day set for her marriage her brother came again with the flag of truce. He too was vexed—not so much at Cophetua's absence as at not meeting the widow, whom he had been sent to escort to the Confederate lines. But he treated his sister's jealous suspicions with a dash of scorn: "There was nothing of that kind, but if Cophetua would fool with a loaded gun, he must expect to be hurt. If ever there was a hair-trigger, it was Mrs. G——."

"Who is she?" asked his sister eagerly. "Tell me: you say there is something strange, dangerous about her, and I can see it. Who is she?"

"Humph!" said her brother. "She is a lady, and that is enough. If she is dangerous, keep out of her way."

This only deepened the mystery. But she had no time to think. Her brother left in the morning. In the afternoon the colonel of her lover's regiment came to see her with a very grave face. The young man had been arrested for dealing with the enemy, harboring spies and furnishing information of the disposition and number of the Federal forces. "If we could get at the true story of his connection with that woman," said the colonel, "I am satisfied he has only been indiscreet, not treacherous. He is one of my best, most trusted officers, and his arrest is a blot on the regiment. If he will tell anybody, he will tell you. Can you go to Louisville at once?"

Yes, at once. The traveling-dress, made up for so different an occasion, was donned, and under escort she went, by a hundred miles of horseback ride, [pg 435] to the nearest railway station. There was no tarrying by the way: the colonel's influence provided relays. On the evening of the third day she was with her lover.

It was as the colonel had supposed: the woman had got her lover in her toils, and he had been imprudent. He had every reason for believing that her story of her husband's remains was false. She was a dealer in contraband goods: this much he knew. Other officers, of higher rank, knew as much, and corresponded with her. If they chose to wink at it, was he, a subordinate, to interfere? She had trusted him, depended on him, and he had a feeling that it would be disloyal to her confidence to betray her, to pry into what she concealed, and expose what his superiors seemed to know. But after she was gone the story leaked out: she was not only a smuggler, but a very dangerous spy. Some one must be the scapegoat, and who so fit as the poor, friendless Tennesseean who had escorted her to head-quarters and acted for her in personal matters?

That was his story, but what a poor story to tell to a court-martial! What was she to do? Poor, simple child of the woods! what did she know of the wheels within wheels, and the rings of political influence by which a superior authority was to be invoked? She knew nothing of these things, and there was no one to tell her. She thought of but one plan: her brother could find that woman. She would seek her out—she would appeal to her.

We need not follow her on that return journey and her visit to the Confederate camp. Fortunately, the Confederates were nearer than she supposed. She came upon their pickets, and was taken into the commanding officer's presence. Her brother was sent for, and when he came she told him she was looking for his friend, Mrs. G——.

"Looking for her!" said her brother. "Why, that is what we moved out this way for! She is in camp now. We brought her and her luggage in last night."

She eagerly entreated to be taken to her, and was carried to a pavilion, or marquee, a little apart from the officers' quarters. Mrs. G—— came in richly but simply dressed, attended by a portly, handsome, but rather dull-looking officer.

"Why, Lassie!" said Mrs. G—— in surprise. "So you have come to see me? Here are the remains of my poor dear," she added with a little laugh, presenting the gentleman. "Do you think he is worth all the trouble I took to get him?"

"Ha! much pleased! Devilish proper girl!" said the man with a stupid blush, justifying the stolidity of his good looks.

"But where is your preux chevalier, Captain Cophetua? I declare, I almost fell in love with him myself. Frank here is quite jealous."

"Oh, Mrs. G——," broke out the poor girl, "you have killed him! They are going to try him and hang him for helping you to spy."

"Nonsense!" said the lady with a little start. "The poor fellow did nothing but what, as a gentleman, he was compelled to do. But how can I help you?"

"Save him," said Lassie. "You have your wealth, your wit, your husband: I have but him!" and she sank down in tears.

"Stupid," said the lady, turning sharply on her husband, "tell me what to do? Don't you see we must not let them hang the poor fellow?"

"Of course not," said the big man dryly. "Just countermand the order of execution. No doubt the Yankees will obey: I would."

"Of course you would: a precious life you would lead if you did not," said his wife, who evidently commanded that squad. "Never mind: there is more sense in what you said than I expected of you—Jane," to the smart maid who attended on her, "pen, ink, paper and my portfolio."

Opening the last, she took out a bundle of letters, and, running them rapidly over as a gambler does his cards, she selected one. "This," she said to Lassie, "is a note from General ——. It is written without the slightest suspicion [pg 436] of my character as a spy; but you will see it involves him far more dangerously than your friend. He cannot well explain it away. Keep the letter. I will write to him that you have it to deliver over in return for his kind assistance in effecting the release of your friend. Don't fear: I ask him to do nothing he ought not to do without asking, and you give him a letter that would be misconstrued if it fell into other hands."

Armed with these instructions and the letters, Lassie returned home, passed on to Louisville, and delivered her message. The general promptly interfered, thanking her for calling his attention to the matter. His influence, and a more exact understanding of the means and appliances of the artful widow in obtaining information, effected her lover's acquittal and restoration to his former position.

"I owe her my life and good name," said the tall Tennesseean, taking Baby No. 2 from her arms. "I-uns ain't wuth such a gal."

"No," say I drily. "What did you take him for?" to her. Then I get the answer before quoted. But my companion, with a truer perception, went quietly up and kissed her Tennessee sister, a little to the surprise of both, I think, but they seemed touched by the silent little tribute more than by any words.

I have spoken of the character of the hostilities in that "debatable land." War is a bad thing always, but when it gets into a simple neighborhood, and teaches the right and duty of killing one's friends and relatives, it becomes demoniac. Down about Knoxville they practiced a better method. There it was the old game of "Beggar your Neighbor," and they denounced and "confiscated" each other industriously. Up in the poor hills they could only kill and burn, and rob the stable and smoke-house. We were shown the scene of one of these neighborhood vengeances. It is a low house at the side of a ravine, down whose steep slope the beech forest steps persistently erect, as if distrusting gravitation. Thirty Confederates had gathered in that house at a country-side frolic, and the fiddle sang deep in the night. The mountain girls are very pretty, having dark, opalescent eyes, with a touch of gold in them at a side glance, slight, rather too fragile figures, and the singular purity of complexion peculiar to high lands.

The moon went down, and the music of the dance, the shuffle of feet on the puncheon floor, died away into that deep murmurous chant, the hymn of Nature in the forest. The falling water, sleeping in the dam or toiling all day at the mill, gurgles like the tinkling of castanets. Every vine and little leaf is a harp-string; every tiny blade of grass flutes its singly inaudible treble; the rustling leaves, chirping cricket, piping batrachian, the tuneful hum of insects that sleep by day and wake by night, mingle and flow in the general harmony of sound. The reeds and weeds and trunks of trees, like the great and lesser pipes of an organ, thunder a low bass. The melancholy hoot of the owl and the mellow complaint of the whippoorwill join in the solemn diapason of the forest, filling the solitudes with grand, stately marches. There are no sounds of Nature or art so true in harmony as this ceaseless murmur of the American woods. So accordant is it with the solemn majesty of form and color that the observer fails to separate and distinguish it as an isolated part in the grand order of Nature. He has felt an indescribable awe in the presence of serene night and unbounded shadow, but to divide and distinguish its constituent causes were as vain as in the contour and color of a single tree to note the varied influence of rock, soil and river.

Over the little farm-house in the ravine in the fall of 1863 there fell with the sinking moon these solemn dirges of the great dark woods. The stars brightened their crowns till Via Lactea shone a highway of silver dust or as the shadow of that primeval river rolling across the blue champaign of heaven. The depths of repose that follow the enjoyment of the young irrigated their limbs, filling the sensuous nerves and arteries with a delicious narcotism—a deep, quiet, healthful sleep, lulled by the chant of the serene mother-forest.

[pg 437]

Hush! A light step, like a blown leaf: the loose wooden latch rises at the touch of a familiar hand; familiar feet, that have trodden every inch of that poor log floor, lead the way; and then all at once, like a bundle of Chinese crackers, intermingled with shrieks and groans and deep, vehement curses, the rapid reports of pistols fill the chambers. The beds, the floors, the walls, the doors are splashed with blood, and the chambers are cumbered with dead and dying men in dreadful agony. Happy those who passed quietly from the sweet sleep of Nature to the deeper sleep of death! Of thirty young men in the flush of youth, not one escaped. Six Federal scouts had threaded their way since sunset from the Federal lines to do this horrible work. Oh, Captain Jack, swart warrior of the Modocs! must we hang you for defending your lava-bed home in your own treacherous native way, when we, to preserve an arbitrary political relation, murder sleeping men in their beds?

Let me close with an incident of that great game of war in which the watershed of the Ohio was the gambler's last stake.

The Confederacy was a failure in '62, held together by external pressure of hostile armies. It converted civil office into bomb-proofs for the unworthy by exempting State and Federal officials; it discouraged agriculture by levying on the corn and bacon of the small farmers, while the cotton and sugar of the rich planter were jealously protected; it discouraged enlistment by exempting from military service every man who owned twenty negroes, one hundred head of cattle, five hundred sheep—in brief, all who could afford to serve; it discouraged trade by monopolies and tariffs. But for the ubiquitous Jew it would have died in 1862-'63, as a man dies from stagnation of the blood. It was the rich man's war and the poor man's fight.

This suicidal policy had its effect. Cut off from all markets, the farmer planted only for family use. At the close of the war the people of Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas had to be fed by the government. The farmers in 1864 refused to feed the Southern army. Seventy thousand men deserted east of the Mississippi between October 1, 1864, and February 3, 1865. They were not recalled: the government could not feed them. The Confederacy was starved out by its own people—rather by its own hideous misgovernment, for the people were loyal to the cause.

One fact was apparent as early as 1863: the South would not feed the armies—the North must. That plan, so far as the Atlantic coast States were involved, was foiled at Gettysburg. The only resource left was in the West, the watershed of the Ohio, which Sherman was wrenching out of General Johnston's fingers. In a military point of view, the great Confederate strategist was right: he was conducting the campaign on the principle Lee so admirably adopted in Virginia. But President Davis had more than a military question to solve. If he could not seize the granaries of the watershed, the Confederacy would die of inanition.

That was what caused the change of commanders in Georgia, and the desperate invasion that blew to pieces at Nashville; and it introduces a little scouting incident upon which the event of that campaign may have partially turned. General Hood was in camp at Jonesborough: Forrest and Wheeler were detached to destroy Sherman's single thread of supplies. Prisoners pretended to have been on half rations, and the sanguine opinion at head-quarters was that Sherman was on the grand retreat. That able strategist had disappeared, enveloping himself in impenetrable vidette swarms of cavalry. He had pocketed one hundred thousand men in the Georgia hills, and no one could find them; at least, General Hood could not.

But others were not sanguine about Sherman's falling back. General Jackson selected a major, a trusted scout, with twenty-five men, with instructions to find Sherman. Again and again the scout and his little band tried to pierce that impenetrable cloud, and could not. Then he tried another plan. He snapped [pg 438] up a Federal squad, clothed a select part of his little band in their uniform, and sent the others back with the prisoners. Then he plunged boldly into the cloud, a squad of Federals, bummers, pioneers. Does the reader reflect upon the fine fibre of the material requisite for such an exploit? It is not strength, courage or tactical cunning that is most wanted, but that most difficult art, to be able to put off your own nature and put on another's—to play a part, not as the actor, who struts his hour in tinsel and mouths his speeches as no mortal man ever walked or talked in real life, but as one who stakes his life upon a word, an accent; requiring subtlety of analytic sense and quickness of thought. Polyglot as was the speech of the Federal forces, suspicion, started by that test, would run rapidly to results. Then there was the danger of collision with the regiment whose uniform they had assumed. Swift, constant motion was required. They swept to the head of the column, and, to be brief, the first Federal pontoon thrown across the Chattahoochee was laid with the assistance of these spies. The leader threw himself on the bank and counted the regiments by their insignia as they passed, until he saw the linen duster and the glittering staff of the great commander himself as they clattered over the bridge. Then to Campbellton, hard by, where their horses were rendezvoused, and whip and spur to Jonesborough.

A council of war was sitting when the scout arrived. He was hurried into its presence, and told his story with laconic, military precision. Sherman's whole force was across the Chattahoochee and marching on Jonesborough, twenty miles away.

"I have sure information to the contrary," said the commanding general, singularly deceived by a strong conviction, enforced by scouts who depended on rumor for authority. "It is some feint to cover the general movement."

"I counted the flags, guidons, regimental insignia—such force of cavalry, artillery, infantry," giving the numbers. "I saw and recognized General Sherman," said the scout briefly.

His report was not, even then, credited, but, as a precaution, a brigade of cavalry, with his battalion in the van, was sent out to beat up the enemy. A short distance beyond Flint River they struck the Federal line, which attacked at once, without feeling—a sure indication of strength. The battalion was hurled back on the brigade, the brigade rushed across Flint River, and back into the infantry line, now throwing up tardy entrenchments at Jonesborough. The rest is historical. It was but one of the rash throws of the dice for that great stake, the watershed of the Ohio, and helps to show the principles of military action by which it was lost.




On every mountain-crest

Is rest:

In every vale beneath,

No breath

Stirs in the quietude:

The little birds are silent in the wood.

Soon, patient, weary breast,

Thou too wilt rest.


[pg 439]



One great feature of the Hof has hitherto been passed over in silence—the other lodgers; for, truth to say, there happened to be a large family of tourists, who, following in the wake of their parents and grandparents before them, strenuously adhered year after year to the peaceful old Hof as their summer residence. Schwalben by name, they had English and American cousins, the swallows and martins: they pursued a yearly routine of spending the winter months with other connexions in Algeria or the Levant, then, dividing into groups, returned to their various mountain or pastoral homes in cooler, more verdant lands. Thus, on the second Wednesday in the month of May one family always arrived at the old castle of Neuhaus, giving a sentiment to the forsaken ruin which it could not otherwise possess, and about the same week a number of their cousins and distant connexions took up their quarters at the Hof.


The swallows in the Tyrol pass for holy birds. There is a tradition that their forefathers helped the Lord Almighty to build the firmament, but how and in what manner popular tradition does not tell us. Being blessed by God and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the simple peasant often leaves his doors and windows open to attract such valued inmates, seeing that peace and happiness enter with them, and lightning never strikes the roof where swallows build. Should they forsake a house in the course of the summer, it is a sign of coining misfortune. He who kills a swallow will lose father or mother.

A firm belief in the goodness of the swallows made Kathi honor and welcome the familiar visitants. "They were no greedy guests," she said, "for they always arrived when the bins of meal and winter provisions were empty, and in the autumn, as soon as they were filled again, they were off without bite or bit."

Many an old deserted room in the high-pitched roof was given over to these inoffensive, man-loving birds. Hundreds of nests, some in good condition, [pg 440] others deserted and out of repair, clung to old beams, rafters and wainscots. A steady sound of fluttering and juvenile chirping issued through the closed doors, contrasting with the silence of the long stone corridor, whilst parent birds whirled gracefully in and out through the dusty open windows, or poised themselves on the warm shingles of the roof. The grandest, most comfortable quarters were afforded in a large unused chamber occupying the front gable; and, curiously enough, either in reality or fancy, we could not help observing that whilst the various members of the community lived fraternally together, there still seemed to be a distinction between the swallows who dwelt in these spacious quarters and those who lived in humbler lodgings behind. You might imagine that the dwellers in front had become rich through trade, for they suffered no more from the perpetual booming of the great house-clock above their heads, or from the ever-moving pendulum which pulsated like a living thing in their midst, than a manufacturer from the constant sound of his busy steam-engines and rattling machinery. This swallow domain soon became known as Castle Clock-Tower, and the chief inmates as the Herr and Frau von Schwalbe and family, whilst, oddly enough, if it was our daily pleasure to watch them, they showed an equal curiosity and interest in us.

I do not know whether they considered that the fly-papers in our sitting-room might be thwarting the designs of Providence on their behalf, but we had hardly begun using them for the destruction of the flies, when Herr von Schwalbe flew down from his castle through the open window, apparently sent as a deputy to remonstrate with us on this reckless waste of their legitimate game. He fluttered about, glancing at the dead bodies strewn on the floor; then, taking his post on the top of a picture hanging on the wall, remained several hours, drawing his own deductions, but always too timid to raise a complaint. In vain we tried to encourage him, to induce him to leave his lofty position: the lonely visitant remained timidly stationary, so that night came on before he ventured his flight.

Although Herr von Schwalbe might not approve of our unscrupulous destruction of flies, he must have reported us a well-meaning family, seeing that his wife ever afterward treated us with the greatest confidence. She was an elegant lady, with the most approved Grecian bend. She gave a kettle-drum once to her friends and relations at the unseasonable hour of four o'clock in the morning, but in all other cases observed her character of a wise, prudent little matron. Day by day she conducted her happy family to a horizontal pole suitably fastened to the upper gallery, where she cultivated their intellects, and, assisted by her devoted husband, gave them flying and singing lessons, each vocal attempt being rewarded by a liberal supply of flies.

We likewise became interested in a couple of redstarts, who, waxing bold, would tap at the casement, bidding us come and admire their young in the nest under the portico. This was during our first visit: on our second we found some dire misfortune had befallen the mother, the children and the nest. The Hofbauer feared some servant must have destroyed them. The poor little father remained attached to the melancholy spot, and, refusing to be comforted because his dear ones were not, flew round perpetually with a worm in his bill. In his despair he would drop it untouched with piteous laments, until, as if his small instinct had become crazed, he would go in search of a fresh dainty morsel, and the sad scene was enacted over again. Poor forlorn bird! Like the swallows, the redstarts are dedicated to the Virgin: such high patronage, however, in this case availed nothing.

Neither did Anton's crossbill, which dwelt in the stube, have a much happier fate. Although its master was very fond of it and tended it well, it had, like others of its race, to live in a very small prison suspended but a short way from the centre of the dark paneled ceiling. Thus, in the winter between our two visits it died, suffocated by the hot air [pg 441] of the overheated, ill-ventilated stube. Many poor pet birds of this species are thus killed, the victims of ignorance; for when a crossbill becomes sickly from its dark, hot, confined quarters, the peasant does not wish to cure it, believing that this holy bird, which tried to free the Lord from the cross, so sympathizes with redeemed humanity that whenever illness or epidemic threatens the household the devoted creature itself immediately takes the disease and dies, the family escaping unharmed.

It would be wearisome to enumerate all the different features and dispositions of the farm-yard inhabitants. Let us rather pass on to Moro. Perhaps it was no pleasant surprise to some of us when the Hof bauer having made the purchase of a house-dog, it proved to be none other than a large, handsome rusty-black hound which had once sprung out of a house near a crossing of the new railway, trying to attack my father, who had to defend himself with his stick against the disagreeable customer, until a voice from the house made the dog instantly and quietly shrink away. The Hofbauer expressed his regret. He, knowing nothing of the circumstances, had bought the animal out of good-nature, as his master, an Italian and the overseer of the railway, removing to a great distance, was forced to part with it. He was anything but a savage dog, proving, on the contrary, easily cowed; so that the fact of his ever having made such a sally soon surprised us. Whether he missed the occupation of looking after the work-people and guarding the line, or whether he only understood dialectical Italian, certain it is that he proved a most inert, taciturn dog. He would wander about for weeks in listless despondency, doing nothing for his living, and showing no intelligence except in the way of hiding bones. Although really young, his extreme slowness and apathy conveyed the idea of an old dog. He crept sluggishly along in search of some sunny nook where he might snooze in his melancholy. Now, it fell to Moidel's duty to feed this silent, heavy dog, whereupon he, rising gradually out of his secret woes, became her constant docile companion, following her seriously and silently like a shadow, and looking gravely mortified when she refused his attendance at church. He disliked the least approach to a liberty, and, showing no interest in what passed around him, was regarded by the family rather as a pensioner than an active, useful member of the community.

With E——'s arrival, however, a strange though gradual change came over Moro. He seemed from the first to perceive the strong sympathy which she possessed for all dumb creatures; and had he been the spellbound mortal of the fairy tale the transformation could hardly have been more remarkable. As he felt he was no longer unappreciated or misunderstood, he began to divide his attentions between Moidel and his new friend. He became lively and active, condescending to take walks in any direction but Bruneck—a place which, for some inscrutable reason, he persistently avoided. He took to opening his huge mouth and uttering a sonorous bark; unfurled his tail, which, losing its stiffness, wagged incessantly; whilst, developing his liveliness still more, he actually took to committing flying leaps over a five-barred gate, and running wildly backward and forward in the most ludicrous manner in front of the house whenever he perceived his favorite E—— or some of her friends watching him.

Autumn had stepped in with the month of September. The harvest was carried, and, according to an old custom, the village held a thanksgiving service before the sowing of the seed-corn began; and, whilst all were generous to their relations, none showed greater hospitality than the worthy Hofbauer, who expected not only all his own connexions, but also those of his dead wife, to share in the annual jubilee.

Arduous were now the labors of the womankind preparatory to the feast. Nanni No. I and Nanni No. 2 of the establishment might be met carrying pounds and pounds of fresh meat into the cellar. In the stube sat Kathi, seated [pg 442] on one of the wooden settees which surrounded the room, her good old face bent silently over a paste board placed on one of the square tables at which the large family took their meals. This was more convenient than in the gewölbe, or huge pantry, which was half buried in provender: besides, Kathi thought, it struck damp. But Moidel might be found there, with a quiet smile on her dear ruddy face, whilst her healthy bare brown arm moved backward and forward with marvelous agility in the beating of eggs. Let us step into the gewölbe, Kathi's domain proper. It is a marvelous place. Look at the gayly-painted chests of the lowest decorative style of art, choking with flour and buckwheat-meal; look at the racks full of heavy, flinty household bread; at the pyramid of oblong bladder-like pastry, called krapfen, which covers the table; at the smoked tongues, pig-cheeks, feet and bologna sausage hanging from the ceiling. Light and air are admitted by a large open window, but the atmosphere is so impregnated with the odor of cummin (the favorite spice of the Tyrol, found in bread, in dishes of vegetables, in puddings and pastry) that any sense of great freshness is excluded. Rudely-made presses contain lint and linen for accidents or sprains, whilst endless lotions and remedies are carefully preserved in a long range of little drawers—cloves, ginger, dried hyssop, fennel, anis and sage, all excellent remedies for keeping the cold out of the stomach, to say nothing of a discreet bottle of schnapps for the same purpose. There is many another herb, dried by the careful Kathi between the two Lady Days, Mary's ascension and Mary's birthday, which may usefully be employed for man or beast—mullein, a very amulet against every kind of cough and sore-throat; plantain, wormwood, red and white mugwort; nor are the scrapings of hartshorn bought from a mountain huntsman forgotten. At this moment, however, no one is dreaming for an instant of being ill: that might happen after, but must not precede the feast.

Kathi and Moidel, experienced cooks and housewives, work steadily on, without feeling the least anxiety for the success of their stupendous efforts. They are only amazed that we should be surprised at the quantity of their work—that they can remain, in fact, so cool in the midst of their hundred and one boilings, singeings, choppings and fryings. Kathi certainly wipes the perspiration off her brow, but Moidel cannot even allow herself leisure for the act. The dinner would not be in time if they stopped to enter the chapel, even for Rosenkranz. So all the womankind repeat their Hail Marys hurrying backward and forward. Then Moidel retires to snatch a few hours of rest, wakes with a start, and is again alert at midnight, when, attended, rather than aided, by two maids in waking stupefaction, the baking, boiling and steaming receive a continuous impetus, Kathi reappearing at four for the last triumphant efforts.

In good time the Hofbauer and Anton are equipped in their gala attire for church, Moidel and the maids, in spite of their nocturnal labors, following them briskly; so that they have not only said their prayers and endeavored to understand the sermon, but actually joined in a procession before the guests arrive. The sweet notes of a processional hymn still float on the silent, balmy air as the sound of advancing wheels is heard. Then several one-horse gigs are seen approaching, and the geese hiss drowsily at the happy-faced bauers and bauerins, and their flocks of healthy, chubby children stuffed in before and behind; and so they drive carefully into the large yard, where Onkel Johann, acting as hostler, proudly though bashfully receives them.

There is a sober gayety and rejoicing about the elders, a suppressed merriment about the youngsters. They do not expect much waiting upon before the feast. They know that a strong but silent friendship exists between them all and their host—that they are ready to help each other in any possible emergency without making a fuss about it. So the Hofbauer can walk back leisurely from church, and Kathi can attend to [pg 443] her onerous duties in the kitchen, without a single visitor feeling slighted.

Soon the crowd of simple guests is seated at table in the large sitting-room, which we have vacated for the occasion. The Hofbauer stands at a side-table and carves, and Anton in his long white apron and bib waits as serving-man. Onkel Johann, however, sits at table. The aunt and Moidel are busy dishing below: they will have their share of good things when they go to the return feasts. Of pickings and leavings there are none: it would be an insult to send away a half-emptied plate; and for the same reason no dish is left untouched, though it is a banquet that might even satiate a work-house. Soup, sausage, roast veal, baked apples and stewed prunes; stewed liver, fried liver, millet pudding; boiled beef with horseradish and beet-root; hung beef; cabbage dished with tongue and pork; noodles; and then a second soup to wash down what has gone before, but followed by more substantial in the form of liver-cake, in which that ingredient has been baked with bread-crumbs, eggs, onions and raisins. Then come batter dumplings, one sort of knödel sprinkled with poppy-seeds, roast beef with salad, and finally coffee.

There is little talking; only a clatter of plates, dishes, knives and forks as the honest guests deliberately but persistently vanquish each stage of the feast.

After coffee, "the mother's own sister" is called aside by Kathi, in order that she, for her own and the dear dead Hofbauerin's sake (of whom, bless her! in Kathi's eyes she is the very image), may be privately presented to us, the foreign Herrschaft. A comely, compact little figure, with delicate features, small hands and feet, and a pair of dove-like eyes.

Wishing to be polite, she says it is gar curios that any of the Herrschaft should understand German. Immediately she fears this implies ignorance on our part, and adds an apology: "But certainly such Herrschaft who are so up in things of heaven and earth would know German."

Then she waits with a sense of relief for one of us to speak. At this moment, however, a bevy of bright, cheerful little peasant-girls, who have been hovering in the distance, taking courage, approach and cluster in a ring around her. She shows by her face that she fears this is a liberty, but is nevertheless relieved by their supporting her. We ask their names, and she goes off into a string of Madels, Lisies, Nannies, who all smile spontaneously, and have not only to set her right as to their ages, but, to their infinite astonishment, as to their relationship to herself.

"Why, mother, I am your daughter!" says one little girl reproachfully. "Why, aunt, my mother is dead, you know!" adds another, pulling at her sleeve and whispering this correction. Then the whole group burst into a shy titter.

The good soul stands calmly this battery of juvenile reproaches: "Ho, are not you all my children? Have I not brought you all through the measles, knitted the stockings for all your feet, until I taught you to knit for yourselves? Souls and bodies, you are all dear to me: I treat you all alike."

She looks so lovingly on them that they are not quite sure whether they have done right or wrong in correcting her. So they stand a dumb, admiring circle, whilst she adds:

"If the Herrschaft ever could get as far as Pfalzen, where I and the children live, they would find no great big house like the Hof, but plenty of small, snug farms amidst corn-fields, in any one of which the Hof-Herrschaft would be made welcome, but more especially in mine. It is not so very far. See from the window! There, over Sankt Jörgen and over the woods rises our tall spire with two other spires; only these are quite a long way from each other, though they are all mixed-like at a distance, just as I mix up the young people. The Herrschaft will not forget the name—Pfalzen?"

Having brought out this invitation with a great effort, she now plunges into a sea of fears as to the liberty she has taken. So one of the Herrschaft, rashly coming to her assistance, assured her it would be impossible for her at least [pg 444] to forget the name of Pfalzen. Somebody had told her of a certain tailor of Pfalzen who, within memory of man, returning from a wedding at Percha, and having passed St. George on his homeward way at eight o'clock of the evening, suddenly saw the road divide before him. This made him stop in astonishment, and before he could decide which way to take it had grown dark. Then he became sore afraid, especially when he espied a group of ladies dressed in white, who came up to him, and, addressing him in playful tones, encompassed and stopped him. He, however, could not stand this, and speaking in a loud tone he reproached them, for, though they were ladies, he soon saw by their rude looks that they meant him mischief. Then they began abusing and tormenting him, until he laid himself down on the ground with his face to the earth. Now the spell seemed broken, for, though the spiteful women remained, they were restrained from hurting him; and with the first sound of the morning Angelus these white ladies, who were nothing but tormenting spirits, fled, and he, rising up, went on his way home.

"Herr Je!" said the gentle little woman, "could it have been the Hof Moidel who told you that? Or could you have heard it at Percha? or by the fire some winter evening? But you have never been in these parts in winter. The tailor, you see, must have found the wedding-wine too strong."

"Barbara the sewing-woman—" began a young voice, which immediately collapsed, the speaker retreating with great impetuosity behind her mother or aunt, whichever it might be.

Then each little member of the maidenly circle looked very odd, and their good relative uttered hurriedly but mildly, "Oh, it's nothing. How could you, Lisi? Behave yourselves, children!"

However, an explanation of the sewing-woman Barbara being pleaded for on our part, the good woman nervously continued: "It is only a foolish story. Only that the sewing-woman Barbara was sweet on Weaver Thomas, and he could not abide her. 'I would rather,' he told her, 'be a beast in the stall than be your wedded husband.' The sewing-woman said he should rue the day he thus insulted her. And sure enough, from that time he could neither eat nor drink, growing poor and thin in the body. Everybody said, 'Sewing-woman Barbara has struck him with the evil eye.' I am not sure but that his teeth chattered, which they say is a sign. A miller urged him to have the letters I.N.R.I. stitched into his clothes (it is a wonderful preservative on corn-bins and stable doors against the evil eye), but Weaver Thomas replied he was sick of stitching. Yet what is to become of the man? Not a drop of wine does he touch now but it flies to his head—not a kreuzer of his hard-earned money does he put into his pocket but it oozes away like water. Ah, it is an ugly story! I wish there were no such fearsome, boggy things. The world would be better without them."

By this time a fat lad had ventured up, and stood gaping behind the maidens. He was not of Pfalzen, but the girls spoke to him as a cousin of the house. In spite of their encouragement, he merely gaped and stared, without answering a word. The pleasures of the table had, in fact, brought him into a state of speechless discomfort. It was not of wine that he had partaken, though it had freely circulated, to judge by the great empty gallon bottles, but he had stuck loyally to the principles laid down and acted on by his elders, of doing full justice to the dishes. Feeling now, therefore, exceedingly the worse for his praiseworthy exertions, he remained leaning disconsolately with his back against the wall long after the church-bells had struck up a merry clang, vigorously calling the Hofbauer, his men-servants and maid-servants and the strangers who were within his gates, to church. Good Kathi, however, whilst clearing away the empty glasses, looked compassionately upon him as on one of her fattening chickens in danger of pip, and patiently inveigled him to a cozy nook down stairs, where his heavy breathing and steady snorts kept time to her monotonous dish-washing. On he slept during prayers, during the hour [pg 445] spent at the Blauen Bock, when the Hofbauer treated the priest and his guests on this auspicious thanksgiving-day. He woke up, however, to do his duty like a man "with a mouthful of supper" whilst the horses were being put into the gigs. Then, in a state of heavy, speechless resignation, he was conveyed to his seat between a bauer and his wife, which, though a tight fit in the morning, had strangely become tighter, and where, circumstances thus pinning his arms to his side, and with his aching head upon his breast in the most uncomfortable of attitudes, the poor fat boy was jolted away in the twilight.

The other relations, all weightier mortals, more or less, than when they arrived, were packed and squeezed into their creaking vehicles; the very small vacuums remaining on or under the seats, to say nothing of broad laps, being filled with krapfen. You would indeed have supposed that the Hof were one great patent krapfen manufactory, with the sole right of making, baking by steam and selling these indigestible, leathery, yet brittle puffs so dear to the Tyrolese palate, had not the figures of men, women and children, humble guests at more modest dwellings, been seen filing along the highway or crossing the moorland slopes, each bearing a light but bulging bundle of krapfen tied up in a gay blue, crimson or yellow handkerchief.

It was indeed a krapfen dispensation. A piled-up offering stood in the little oratory employed as a store-room by us; the cock crowed and the hens clucked for their share of the Herrschaft's krapfen under the parlor windows in the early morning; the men- and maid-servants hurried buoyantly into town to sell their krapfen perquisites to less favored mortals; the pedestrian bricklayer and carpenter, respectable men with money stored away in their broad belts—portions of that great army of Tyrolese who, possessing neither trade nor manufactures in their native land, are forced in an ant-like manner to stray into Bavaria and Austria until they can return laden with their winter store, since the mere fattening of cattle cannot support a nation,—these respectable but footsore men, wending their way from Steiermark, were received with a hearty welcome and krapfen; and the wandering family, who were not at all respectable, but were treated with some distrust and more commiseration—the traveling tinker, his dark-eyed, dark-skinned wife and saucy, grimy children, who were barred and bolted with their barrow, their rags and their kettles in the barn that night as in a traveler's rest—ate with marvelous relish their bountiful-gleanings of this great krapfen harvest.


Cold rain and mist have now set in. The landscape, which has from the first possessed a peculiar charm for us, is often blotted from view. The varied, undivided yet most individual range of dolomites which rises on the edge of the eastern horizon, instead of melting under the soft influences of warm sunshine and quivering air into glowing crimson, purple, palpitating mountains—which only with advancing night turn into gray, motionless pinnacles and battlements of the great dolomitic land that stretches beyond—now remain, whenever visible, cold, hard masses of snow, like rigid nuns of some ascetic order.

It is time to be gone. And Fanni, the sturdy, devoted attendant specially engaged to wait upon us during the last season, is wild to accompany us to Italy—comfortable Italy, where the washing water does not freeze in winter, and where maize polenta is as cheap and plentiful as the brown buckwheat plenten of Tyrol. She has a good stock of clothes: she wants no wages, only her journey paid. Surely we will take her? We give her no hopes, merely promising that if we come another year and she be then out of place, we will gladly employ her. This is a drop of comfort, and she rushes down stairs to convey at least this bit of good news to Kathi.

A few minutes later we find the [pg 446] two women, joined by Moidel, standing; against the cellar door, which is kept closely shut, that the smell emitted by a vat of sauerkraut may not offend the fastidious nostrils of the gentry. Kathi has a sprig of rosemary behind her ear, and her bare arms wrapped up in her blue apron, always in her case a sign of ease and relaxation. She is saying, "Ja, ja, very worrying. Such side ways to get hold of the place!"

"And Munichers too!" adds Moidel—"so pushing, so clamorous!"

The sight of some brown veils and gentlemen's hats above the garden wall leads to the following explanation from Fanni: "Herr Je, just when the Fräulein was speaking of coming back next year, and I was thinking to myself how I would help the Kathi to scrub and clean beforehand, there were four strange Herrschaft below, who would insist on seeing the Hofbauer. And he all in a Schwitz! However, he came out of the stube very slowly, wiping his forehead, and waited to hear their errand. But when they said they had come to secure part of the house from Martini day, and all the rooms not wanted by the Hofbauer from Ascension, he had to wipe his forehead again before he answered. And then he spoke just like a Herr Curat: 'This is no lodging-house, where any one can be quartered, my Herrschaft. Nor believe that those who occupy my spare rooms are casual visitors. Oh no! They are particular friends of mine. This old place stands at their disposal: I wish them to be free to come or to stay away, but I desire no other faces here.' And then," continues Fanni, "out they slunk, quite sheepish, for the Hofbauer looked so tall."

"Freilich" added Kathi, "it is not once nor twice, but ever since our Herrschaft have had an awning of their own on the balcony, and the miller's mule has stood with a lady's saddle at the entrance—ever since the Hofbauer had the plasterer, and let the joiner make some wardrobes and bedsteads this spring, that barefaced strangers have hankered to get the place."

We have to calm Kathi, bidding her remember that we once came as strangers and asked to be taken in.

Well, so the Herrschaft might. There must be a beginning to all good friendships. But it is not for people to thrust themselves in when they see the house inhabited, entering even the bed-rooms, and stripping the currant bushes without once saying, "With your leave." Why, the Grossmutterli had told her as a child that even the empress Maria Theresa—who took a vast fancy to Edelsheim, and passed some nights there—when she walked up the village by herself, and stopped before the Grossmutterli, who was ranging her milk-pans on the bench to dry,—even the stately empress said, "My good woman, you live in an uncommonly handsome house—a schloss, in fact. But I won't give you the trouble to show me the inside. Let me rather go into the orchard, for I see a young apple tree there marvelously full of fruit." Grossmutterli never showed herself disturbed. She pressed down the latch, led the empress to the tree—it's standing yet, but is almost worn out—and Maria Theresa said it was a perfect show: there was not a tree at her castle of Schönbrunn that bore so well; and she gave the Grossmutterli a shining half thaler, which she never parted with.

The next day, Sunday, Kathi stood before us at noon with tears in her eyes. The Jakobi, she said, had not only sent down for the cow's crown and ornaments to go on Tuesday, but word as well that beautiful Nageli, the queen cow, knocking her head against a rock, had broken one horn off. "There's a pretty go!" she continued. "I wish it would bud again. How she will take on! I know her ways: she is greedy of praise. I should not wonder if the vexation dries her milk, for she knows she can never wear a crown again. And Zottel, she's to be queen—a sleek, comely cow, but never used to a crown. However, Jakobi sends word we need not fear her disgracing herself, for he is training her up and down with a milking-stool on her head. Cows are more like mortals than brute beasts. See the way the two that have stayed at the Hof behave when [pg 447] the rest come back. They make the stall purgatory to them through their spite or jealousy. But they grow more good-tempered after a time."

The glittering crown of which poor Nageli's unfortunate accident had deprived her was now produced from its box for us to see—a barbaric structure, in spite of the Christian symbols attached. It was two feet high, a foot and a half wide—all gold wire, tinsel, artificial flowers, tassels, fringes of colored worsted, and surrounded by a halo of spun glass gay as a slice of the rainbow. There was a medallion of the Virgin and Child, and another of Saint Anthony, tutelar saint of the Hofbauer's father, himself and his son—patron, too, of the chapel, and a great helper in the recovery of lost calves and sheep, as well as of household goods. A red velvet gold-fringed pendant in the form of a heart, handsomely embroidered with the cross and sacred initials I.H.S., was suspended to all this grandeur. The great massive cow- and ox-bells, some tulip-shaped, while others were of the ordinary form, appeared better adapted for a belfry than the neck of cattle, and the gay leather collars, embroidered with bright worsteds, had likewise sacred symbols; thus displaying, when worn at the annual procession, both the pride and piety of the bauer.

The wreaths made at the Olm for the chief oxen, of clustering berries, leaves and ribbons, hung, as visible though withered trophies of each triumphant descent, amongst the rakes, flails and other farm implements in the lower hall; whilst great closets safely hid not only the bells and the rest of the substantial properties now to be despatched to the Olm, but other brazen pomps and vanities of an age gradually becoming obsolete—the heavy harness, for instance, used for the bridal horse when the Hofbauer was married—antiquities suitable for a national museum. The good aunt and Moidel, amused by our interest and astonishment, attired the latter the same evening, for our gratification, in her mother's wedding-dress. Strong indeed must be the bride who can bear so heavy a burden, nor would any but a Tyrolese girl desire thus to be attired for the altar: a cloth petticoat ten yards wide, laid in narrow, regular folds like an enormous unopened fan; a heavy square-cut boddice of dark-green velvet, handsomely worked, and not meeting in front, in order to reveal a smart silk stomacher beneath; full white linen sleeves, trimmed at the elbow with broad somewhat coarse Bohemian lace; and a square collar, with a ruffle of the same to match. The cloth dress is, however, completely concealed, except a few inches at the bottom, by the huge apron, which is on all occasions considered an indispensable addition, no Tyrolese woman feeling modest without it. The dainty white knitted cotton stockings, with the large fancy clocks and the low-cut, boat-shaped leather slippers, with rosettes, are clearly visible. The hair is drawn tightly back à la Chinoise, and made into a knot, which is surmounted by a little green-and-red cushion, like a bunch of strawberries encircled in their leaves.

Thus Moidel first appeared, followed by Kathi, bidding her walk slow and not laugh, for a bride who did so could never be a seemly matron. Her niece, consequently suppressing her merriment, again disappeared. She returned, however, having replaced the queer little cushion by a large black beaver hat, and with a leather belt adorned with tin, copper and glass ornaments fastened round her waist, to which was attached a richly-ornamented knife-and-fork case, hanging down at her side. Thus she was supposed to have returned from church, these being the insignia of the wife. And Kathi, seeing our interest increase rather than diminish, at her intimation Anton speedily appeared attired in his father's long wedding-coat, an enormous broad-brimmed, flapping felt hat of a green canary shade on his head, and displaying prominently a large bouquet of artificial flowers on his left arm, upon the summit of which the initials of the bride and bridegroom quivered in long tinsel sprays.

Looking at this handsome young brother and sister standing side by side in [pg 448] bridal array, we could not help wondering privately whether a certain good and pretty young Madel, whose brother possessed neighboring acres and fat mountain-pastures, came into Anton's head at that moment as a Madel whom it would be a right and a pleasant thing to go to church with, he and she in similar or perhaps more modern costumes; and whether our comely Moidel thought it no sin to let her heart flutter off into a little romance of its own under that bridal stomacher. Still, even should our pseudo bride and bridegroom each indulge in a rapid day-dream, it must quickly come to an end, seeing that they have speedily to put off their fancy attire and attend that night to the flax-dressing.

Oh, the constant care and trouble which the little flax-plant occasions! In August it had been cut and hung to dry in small bundles on stakes. It had thus been left out several weeks. Then in September it had been carried to the barn and the seed beaten out like corn and stowed away, the empty little husks being given to the hens and the voracious pig. The stalks—hairs, as Anton called them—were again carried to the field, and spread this time on the ground, neither too thick nor too thin, so that sun and moon could shine through them, and alternate rain and sun could rot them. The sooner the stalks decay and the fibres are loosened, the sooner the "hairs" can be carried to the kiln. This busy time had now come.

In many places an oblong-shaped brick pit, half under ground, but often at the top, is used. The people of Edelsheim, however, stuck by preference to a deserted stone hut belonging to the parish, which, standing alone, could not, when used as a kiln, set fire to other houses. The night between Sunday and Monday was the time appointed for the Hof flax to be dried; so Moidel, Anton and the two Nannis—the grossdirn and the kleindirn in household parlance—carried it down to the hut, where old Traudl, a village crone and the parochial "hair-dryer," had already made the vast oven red hot with a load of wood. Moidel and the servant-girls acting as the flax-dressers, the grummelfuhr spread the flax on planks in the furnace-like room, and returned home with cheerful steps. Through the dead hours of the night a silent watcher sat at the closed hut door. It was no other than Moro: he had, as usual, attended Moidel to the spot and noticed the proceedings. This she remembered clearly afterward, when in the morning, returning to her labors, he greeted her half reproachfully yet full of affection, as much as to say he had been quietly rectifying any short-comings on her part. All that day, whilst the industrious grummelfuhr hackled and received good cheer in the form of krapfen, for hackling is hard work, Moro attended in the character of a kind but strict overseer. Let us hope that when the fairies sat spinning in the stube in the twilight between last Christmas and Epiphany they amply rewarded Moro with an unlimited supply of magic bones, for did he not to the best of his ability help to make the flax "white as chalk, soft as silk and long as the ship's sail"?

A mild excitement reigned in the Hof about the return of the cattle, and it was confided to us that Jakob greatly hoped that we should still be at Edelsheim to witness the triumphal entry. The bitter cold and rain, however, whilst it made it a necessity for us to leave, impeded the downward journey from the Eder Olm, which was still further retarded by Zottel, the new queen, not taking as cleverly to her dignity as Jakob had in the first instance fondly imagined.

Thus, there was nothing for it but to fix the day of departure, besides having in readiness the parting gifts and surprises intended for each member of the worthy family. Such farewell occupations had, however, been long in progress, for it required great management, labor and forethought to hit on the right thing, and have it ready, with only the resources of a very small town. The handsome chromo-lithographs had been smuggled to the stationer's, and framed for the embellishment of the great sitting-room; the snuff-box for the Hofbauer [pg 449] the pipe and beer-mug for Onkel Johann, the satin kerchiefs for Kathi and Moidel, were all ready and ticketed; so were the neckties and tobacco-pouches for Anton and Jakob, when a bright idea struck E——. She would subscribe for the illustrated Alpenfreund, to afford reading in the stube in the long snowy winter evenings. There was no time to be lost: the next day we were leaving; so, the rain having ceased, we started for the town to pay the subscription.

We knew that it was two o'clock as we crossed the fields, by the bell of the Capuchin monastery tolling for vespers: at the same moment the metallic, rattling sound of cattle-bells mixing with the ringing, and the sight of the peasants leaving their work and running in the direction of the high-road, told us that a herd of cattle was returning from the mountains. Other bells immediately became audible in the contrary direction, the tinkling and rattling continued, and just as we reached the shrine the two triumphant processions met. The one approaching from the west was headed by a very queen of Sheba. What a golden heart-shaped bell clanged from her proud neck! What a tall, beautiful crown, shining like a great sun in a bed of crimson ribbons, blazed on her head! Her little princess-calf, adorned with streamers, followed close at her regal heels: her courtiers attended in regular order in their purple and fine linen, or, in other words, their grand red-and-orange collars and their ponderous bells. When the queen saw the advancing herd she turned round her ample forehead and gave a significant low, bidding her attendants imitate her. And then, whilst the senners and herdsmen looked evidently fearful of an encounter between the two factions, she steadily but defiantly maintained the middle of the road, forcing by her lofty airs the other queen, who was young and inexperienced, to slink ignominiously into the ditch; so that after the proud conquering herd had swept on, she was with difficulty brought into the road and induced to proceed at the head of her literally cowed followers. It was but an illustration of what may often be seen in society, when some proud, overbearing chaperone at the head of her party sweeps past some pretty, shy young woman.

The high-road was reported to be wonderfully lively with cattle this afternoon; consequently we came upon Onkel Johann, that most experienced man in the stall, seated by another judge of cattle on a wall, wearing their very longest white aprons and bibs, so that they almost touched the ground. You could tell the Hansel's keen relish of the spectacle by his mustering courage to urge our staying, since the great Jagdhaus herd belonging to the Sterniwitz (landlord of the Star) was approaching. We therefore lingered, and thus saw the beautiful herd. It had suffered from no cruel phantom this year. There were senners and herdsmen in their holiday costumes, with flowers and ribbons in their hats; there were leiterwagen returning with the chests of clothes and the now empty meal-sacks; but more than this, there were four pretty little lads, each leading the bonniest, cleanest little calf ever seen. What, however, made Onkel Johann rub his hands with glee and give a big chuckle was the sight of a great black ox, wearing, instead of the usual verdant wreath round its neck, a real cow's crown. It was as ludicrous in his eyes as the sight of some sober gentleman in a Parisian bonnet would be in ours. Such jokes seemed rife amongst the senners, for later on another black ox, in a fresh but smaller herd, tramped along with a rosette of scarlet ribbon on its head. The herdsman, seeing us smile, adjusted the ends as carefully as a lady's maid would put the last finishing-touches to the toilet of her mistress. That was the final stroke to Hansel's hilarity.

That night the presents were given amidst endless expressions of surprise and affectionate gratitude, which were brought to a climax by E—'s kind mother presenting Kathi with a pair of china vases adorned with carefully painted clusters of flowers. They brought great tears of admiration into the good soul's eyes. She vowed she would treasure [pg 450] them as long as she lived, and then they should be Moidel's. As soon as our plots were revealed, we found that counterplots had been carried on by the Hof family. Thus, Jakob had managed a clandestine journey from the Olm to Bruneck, and met Anton there, where they had both been photographed expressly for the Herrschaft, occasioning Anton to blush up to the roots of his hair when he, with a smile on his slightly pathetic face, presented each of us, as he said, with "a very humble Andenken". Thus, too, a great many flowers with which to laden us had been carefully tended through this inclement season. The next morning, carrying away flowers and good wishes, and filled with thoughts of mingled pleasure and pain, we bade adieu to the quaint, quiet pastoral Hof, to arrive at nightfall in the fortified Italian city of Verona.



For days and weeks upon the lip has hung

A precious something for an absent ear—

Some tender confidence but lately sprung,

Some dear confession that but one must hear.

The heart repeats it over day by day,

And fancies how and when the words will fall—

What answering smile upon the face will play,

What tender light will linger over all.

But eager eyes that watch for one alone

May grow reluctant; for the open gate

Lets in, with him, perchance a guest unknown,

On whom slow words of courtesy must wait.

Or when the presence waited for has come,

It may be dull or cold, too sad or light:

A look that shows the heart away from home

Can often put the dearest words to flight.

Perhaps the time of meeting, or the form,

May chill or wither what we've longed to say:

What fits the sunshine will not fit the storm—

What blends with twilight, jars with noon of day.

Again, when all things seem our wish to serve,

Full opportunity may strike us dumb—

May sink our precious thoughts in deep reserve,

And to the surface bid the lightest come.

And often ere our friend is out of sight,

We start: the thing can scarce be credited—

We have been silent, or our words been trite,

And here's the dearest thing of all unsaid!


[pg 451]


If anybody ever could have enjoyed living in heathen times, it must have been Pliny the Younger. A friend of ours calls him the gentlemanly letter writer, and so he was. He wrote letters which must have been treats to his correspondents. It is well that some of his notes did not require answers, for, as the letters of "the parties of the second part" are irretrievably lost, the annoyance one feels over a one-sided record is somewhat abated. Only the imperial replies are preserved. But, as we have said, Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (nephew to the ponderously fat and still more ponderously learned C. Plinius Secundus, who, like Leibnitz in latter times, sat, wrote, was read to, slept, and ate in his arm-chair for days together) must have enjoyed living. If he had not had so gentle a disposition and so loving a recollection of his uncle, we might have fancied him terribly bored by that worthy; for the elder Pliny was a heluo miraculorum, believing in and jotting down everything he heard, saw or read, like the immortal Mr. Pickwick. A book or a reader was ever at his elbow—a tablet or parchment ever within reach. And all this was undertaken or done for his nephew's advantage. There could have been but little pleasure in having such a guardian, though the nephew's easy, loving temper and delicate constitution caused him to be petted a good deal. A lucky dyspepsia (the Romans must have had the dyspepsia from eating the messes their Greek cooks put upon their tables) spared him from continuous attendance upon his uncle's studies. Then, too, Pliny was under his uncle's charge only for a few years, for Pliny the Elder lost his life in the famous eruption of Vesuvius. He was lord high admiral of the Mediterranean west of Italy; and of course when the eruption was reported at Misenum, at the admiralty-house, he must needs view it. It was too remarkable a thing not to have a high place in his Natural History. He ordered out his light galley. The rest we all know—how the admiral was as brave as he was fat, and seeing the danger in which so many friends with whom he had often supped were put, attempted to help some of them. So, because of the widow Rectina and his good friend Pomponianus, he came to his sad death.

It was not so very great a loss to his nephew, now turned of eighteen—a likely youth, of course well connected, and now his uncle's heir. Caius Pliny went through the steps of the civil service with credit to himself, though his advancement was checked during Domitian's reign. He was indeed a consul, but then many consuls were appointed during the year. But it was much more prudent for him to keep quiet. He had a good practice—for this, though not strictly accurate, is the nearest term by which to designate his legal employment—and, to take a leap beyond the time we are speaking of, he was about twenty-five years afterward governor of Bithynia, whence he wrote his famous letter to the emperor Trajan about the Christians in his province. Of this letter much has been said, but we think that Pliny has not always been rightly judged about it. He was too conservative a man to be a persecutor, but was not much above or beyond his own time. And he wrote of the Christians as being a religio illicita—an illegal assembly of heretics—as regarded the state religion, which it was his duty to defend. It was wrong to persecute the Christians—wrong on general principles, wrong on particular axioms. But, alas! it has taken nearly seventeen more centuries of fiercer persecutors than Pliny proved to be to learn this little fact. All this is, as he would have said, obiter—by the way. It has, however, a good deal to do indirectly with his good living; for, as we were saying, C.P.C. Secundus [pg 452] lived very well indeed—not extravagantly, but comfortably.

Now, to live well or comfortably, it is needful to have something wherewith to live thus comfortably. The start which C.P. Secundus gave C.P.C. Secundus lifted him up into a successful lawyer, a sort of public orator. As heir to his uncle's estate, and as coheir to estates of deceased friends, and as a public man, he amassed considerable property. He could undoubtedly—and we undoubtingly believe he did—do this with scrupulous honesty. His fees, salaries and legacies he took pains to earn. Legacies he claimed as they were left him, though he stooped to no fawning to obtain them, and in at least one instance returned the property to the natural (though he says undeserving) heir. If so, let us give him due credit for generosity. Certainly, he was not selfish or illiberal. He assisted his friends with money and influence, as well as advice, and he gave to his native town, Comum, a public library, besides an endowment of three hundred thousand sesterces ($12,000) yearly for ever to maintain children born of free parents. How long this endowment lasted we cannot say, but it must, at any rate, have disappeared in the dilapidations caused three hundred and fifty years afterward by the Gothic invaders of Italy. Then he had two villas at least, besides his town-house, with slaves, attendants and following to match. This will suffice to show that he had the wherewithal. But could he enjoy it? He was a literary man: his uncle had settled that for him. He was an oratorical light in the Senate. His letters show that he was a gentleman, whose delicacy of feeling was as fine as the lauded courtesies of modern times. As proof that he was a gentleman, and that he knew how to distinguish a good from a poor dinner, and as proof, too, of the good advice he was wont to give away as freely as good money, we will put in his letter to Avitus upon occasion of a dinner he had just attended:

"Cains Pliny to his own Avitus, greeting: It would take too long, and do no good, to tell you how, though not on familiar terms, I came to dine with a man who piques himself upon his elegant and correct, though sordid and profuse, entertainments. They are so in this: he placed before the select few some rare delicacies—before the rest he put indifferent or little food. Even of the wine there were but three sorts, and these, besides, in little flagons—evidently not that you should choose" but to prevent your choosing—one sort for himself and us, another for his poorer friends, a third for his and our freedmen. A neighbor on the same couch asked me what I thought of it: Did I approve? 'No.' 'Then what is your rule?' 'I put the same things before all my guests, for I ask them to sup, not to grade them in my esteem: I equalize in all things those I invite to my table.' 'Even the freedmen?' 'Yes, for then they are my guests, and not freedmen.' He replied,' It must cost you a good deal.' 'Very little.' 'How so?' 'Thus: I drink then what my freedmen drink, not they my wines.' And truly, if you will but restrain your taste a little, it is not hard to join in drinking with the many at your table. To be sure, fastidious taste must be repressed, and, as it were, brought under control, if you spare that expense in which one consults rather his own gratification than the feelings of others. But why all this? I write, so that the luxury of some under the specious guise of economy may not impose upon you as a well-disposed youth. And so, out of pure good-will to you, I draw instances from my experience to advise or warn you. There is nothing to be more carefully avoided than that upstart society compounded of meanness and luxury, for these twain, bad enough apart, are abominable when joined together. Vale!"

Now, gentle reader, yourself being judge, we submit to your honor that here are good sense, delicate taste and refinement combined. Two things also must be noted: First, we are glad to find that the well-disposed youth to whom we were introduced in Mr. Adams's Latin Grammar some twenty-odd years ago turns out to be this kindly [pg 453] young man in whom C.P.C. Secundus, Jr., takes such an interest: we are sure he is a deserving young man, and will turn out a brilliant diner-out; only it would have been more ingenuous in Mr. Adams to have told us plainly that it was Avitus whose character was being formed by the famous C.P.C. Secundus, generally known as Pliny the Younger; and then we might have profited by the tuition. Again, the freedman was not one in the sense in which we use the term, but one who was emancipated and a member (not always a menial member) of his patron's family. The African as a slave had just begun to be a common servant in wealthy households, but the libertus was often of better blood than many a citizen. You will remember that Horace was the son of such a freedman. So again we hold it proven that Pliny knew how to enjoy his opportunities of good living—opportunities acquired partly by inheritance, partly by his ability and deserts. He had a well-balanced, self-poised character, and so could trust himself temperare gulce—to eat, drink and enjoy life temperately. He was tested in the troublous times of Domitian. By living quietly, by adroitly parrying pointed and dangerous questions, by avoiding public life, he managed to pass through a very difficult reign; for it was a difficult time under an emperor who spared not even flies: certainly it was the only way in which he ever battled with Beelzebub. Now we hold that had C.P.C. Secundus been anything beyond an amateur epicure—if he had been a gourmand—he would have fatally said or done something that would have prevented his ever writing any more letters to friends or to General Trajanus. To be a well-balanced eater is, cceteris paribus, to be a well-balanced man. Perhaps Pliny was too fastidious to be a proper epicure even—too fastidious in other directions, we mean. And he had learned some habits from his early training which would interfere materially with habitual attention to the pleasures of the table. But we protest we did not intend, even as a first object, to bring up the table as the main proof of Pliny's enjoyment of the good things of this life. We wanted to show you, courteous reader, something of how he lived, and it is necessary to learn his habits in order to decide whether he enjoyed the things which Providence had given him. He had learned of his uncle the bad habit of reading or of being read to at meal-times. He did not indulge in it, he says, when he had company, but only when his family was present. His protestation does not avail him: this plea rather aggravated the rudeness. For, however formal etiquette may be laid aside in the bosom of his family, a paterfamilias is none the less bound to observe the laws of courtesy. But it yet leads us to notice that C.P.C. loved his wife and children. His wife was the daughter of one Fabatus, who would most undoubtedly have been long since forgotten but that his son-in-law wrote him model letters, sometimes on business, sometimes on his health, sometimes about visits that had been delayed—generally complimentary, always short, always implying high reverence for the father of a well-loved wife. But he carried the family passion for reading to excess. One of his regrets is that his favorite reader is consumptive, and, despite a season in Egypt for his health, was still suffering. So he sends him to the country-seat of a friend, to see if the country air and good nursing will not restore him. It was an accomplishment to read well that added to the value of a slave, and Pliny prized his "boy" accordingly. This is but a slight indication of the excess to which he carried his love for reading and scribbling. If he could not read, he must scribble; so he scribbled when out hunting! If he had been fishing with a book in his hand, that had been excusable. But we do not believe that the Romans took kindly to fishing as a sport. They bred their fish in private fish-ponds—piscinae—and they had a revolting habit of fattening their fish. Old Izaak would have abhorred the very thought of casting a line for such prey: sickening thoughts of cannibalism would have filled him [pg 454] with horror. But C.P.C. consented to hunt one day, so he writes to Tacitus. Did he ride after the dogs, spear in hand, to kill the fierce wild-boar? Not he. He; sat down by the nets with tablets on his knee, under the quiet shade, and meditated and enjoyed the solitude, and scribbled to his heart's content. Here a doubt arises. Let us whisper it: Did he inherit the avuncular tendency to obesity? We have seen no hint of this, and of course it would not enter into his correspondence; but it is possible. At all events, our natural conclusion is, that he was too literary to be merely a bon vivant. No, he was a shrewd reader of human nature, a man of rare taste, of strong sense, and fond of an equable life. He had means, and often, if not always, the proper leisure to live well. And by living well we mean, not that he indulged in a greedy enjoyment of the good things of this life, nor yet in a profuse and gaudy display, but that, being a heathen, he lived as an upright heathen lawyer, magistrate, statesman and millionaire should live.

It was needful for him, then, having the wherewithal, and being a refined and well-balanced man, to have the place where to live well. Did he have this? Yes: he had two villas—one a summer residence near the mountains, and a winter one sixteen miles from Rome, near Laurentum. This was the villa of Laurentinum. It was fitted up with every then known comfort and convenience which a man of wealth, pleasure and taste could want and thoroughly enjoy. As he was fond of showing his winter-house, we may go back just seventeen hundred and eighty years and introduce you as his friend Gallus. It is so long since that Pliny would not detect you, and we shall have the benefit of his own guidance in the intricacies of his spacious villa. We will take his advice, and instead of traveling in the clumsy rheda over the sandy road, we will ride out on horseback. The views along the road are pretty—now in a woody skirt, now by meadows in which the sheep and cattle find a later pasturage than higher up the country; so, by a winding path, we come upon a roomy and hospitable villa. This is Laurentinum, near Laurentum. We come before the atrium: a slave announces us, and the courteous master welcomes us on the steps of a porch shaped like the letter D, with pleasant transparent mica windows, and roofed over as a protection against showers. Thence he ushers us into a cheerful entrance-hall: "Let me show you my winter retreat. Your room is in rather a distant part of my little villa, and it is nearly time to bathe. Let me conduct you." We see that our friend is rather proud of his home, and so he ought to be, for we find it a snug retreat for a vacation. Now let us see when and how he enjoys himself after his labors in either of the courts. Let us follow him out of the hall into the dining-room, which has a pleasant southern outlook upon the sea. The murmuring waves echo in it. It has innumerable doors, and windows reaching to the floor, and is as pleasant as the banquet-room of the Americus Club-house. You look out upon, as it were, triple seas: so too from the atrium, the portico and the hall you can look over woods, hills or the sea. Through the hall again, into an ample chamber, then out to a smaller one, which lets in the rising sunlight on the one side and the purple glow of sunset on the other. Here, too, is a partial view of the sea. These rooms are protected from all but fair-weather winds. The great dining-room is the pleasant—weather room. Then next beyond is the apsidal chamber, which admits continuous sunshine through its many windows. Book-presses stand against the partition wall, to hold the books in constant use. "My uncle, good Gallus, taught me not to lose an hour. Behind this is the dormitory, properly tempered according to the season: farther on are the servants' and freedmen's apartments. But here is your room. After the bath we will see the rest. The bath is here between these cool dressing-rooms: you must need it after your dusty ride, my Gallus.

"My friend Spurenna lives pleasantly. I spent a few days with him not long ago. Early in the morning he takes a [pg 455] stroll of three miles. If he has visitors, he chats with them on some improving subject—if not, he reads. Then with books and conversation he fills up the interval till it is time to ride, when, with his wife and a friend or two—perhaps myself—he takes a drive of seven or eight miles. Till it is time to bathe he amuses us with his graceful lyrics, in Greek as well as in Latin. He bathes about two or three o'clock, and then suns himself; for by bathing and rubbing and sunning he fights off the ills of advancing years. Then a lunch. Then dinner, which is served on antique solid silver. Have you enjoyed your bath, my Gallus? The tank is large enough, certainly, for one to swim in. Now, as we pass back, see how conveniently the bathing-house, heater and perfuming-rooms adjoin. Here are my fish-ponds: the poor things can look out upon the sea if they choose. And now my tennis-court, quite a warm place late in the afternoon. Here is a turret with two sunny rooms under it: that one yonder is a pleasant sunlit supper-room, with views of sea and beaches and villas. Yonder is the villa once owned by Hortensius, Cicero's great rival, you remember. It is not in good repair, and is rather old-fashioned too. A third turret has under it a large larder and store-room, and a spacious bed-chamber. In that sunny room, again, you can escape the crash of the surges, which only penetrates here as a gentle murmur. In truth, good Gallus, where there are so many wintry changes on a coast like this, I like to be able to change too. High winds and storms on a seashore compel us to have protected dining-rooms. This one we are now in looks out upon my garden and the shaded alley round it. We will dine early, and in the front triclinium this pleasant evening.... In the country here we have not all the delicacies that the city commands, but by the aid of Ostia and yonder village we manage tolerably.... Some wine? Falernian, that my good uncle bought forty years ago. The wax on the jar is stiff with age. There is nothing I delight in more than in gathering my wife and children around me, as you see. And I make you a member of my household at once by not laying aside my rule. My reader is hoarse to-day, or I would have some interesting extracts out of my uncle's notebook read. Some grapes? They are late October vines. We can look out of those side windows upon the white-sailed galleys that go by. My uncle was admiral of the western fleet, you know, and though I have only been a civil officer, yet I have a sort of love for the sea; and this is one thing that makes Laurentinum so dear to me. Have you dined so simply? Your ride has not given you the appetite it gives me. Fatigue is your true appetizer, and if that fails I cannot hope that these autumn figs will tempt you."

Our host runs on thus at a great rate, and is evidently bent on showing us the rest of his comfortable villa before the daylight fails us:

"So you would see the retreat I claim as my own den? Let us pass back into the box-alley. The box does not grow well unless sheltered from the winds and the beating sunshine; so the gaps in the hedge I fill up with rosemary. You see that the inside of the alley is formed by vines. The shadowy, tender lawn under them is a pleasant place to walk on barefoot. The fig and mulberry are the only trees that grow well here. The garden is backed by two sunny rooms again, and behind that is the kitchen garden. And here is the long covered way near the public work. It has twice as many windows opening out as it has opposite opening into my garden, and on blowing as well as windless days the shutters are ever open. In front is my colonnade, fringed with violets. Here is my basking-walk. You see how it shelters one, too, from the African winds. It cuts off the wind from the other side in winter. It has advantages both for winter and summer: according to the season and the shade, you can enjoy the sea-view or can get the cool of the garden and alley. Then those open windows always keep the air astir. This summer-like place is my special delight, for I planned it myself."

[pg 456]

And indeed, my pseudo Gallus, let me remark that, being myself a native of the Mediterranean, I can enter better than you can into the childish delight that our friend Caius Plinius expresses. It is a joy which is not to be found in the nature of the American to sleep in the tropic heats of a July sun. Winter is abhorrent to the nature of every Levanter. To bask upon the shore of the Mediterranean, with the calm lazy sea at your feet and the winds cut off from your back, is the only decent way of hibernating. But this is in your ear as we pass along, and you will have to repress the smile on your lips or change it into a sign of courteous pleasure, or he will detect the impostor.

Now then: "Here is my sun-chamber. It looks out on the colonnade, the sea and the sunshine. It leads into the covered walk by this window, and into my bed-chamber by this door. But hither. Seaward there is a letter cabinet on the division wall. It is entered from the bed-chamber, and can be separated effectually by these curtains and this transparent door. You see it has only a lounge and a couple of arm-chairs. At your feet is the sea, behind you the house, over head the woods: windows look out on either side. My bed-room is convenient, and yet I am far from the babble of the household. Not the trampling of the waves, no sounds of storm, no flash of lightning, even daylight cannot penetrate here unless the shutters are opened. It is so secret and quiet and hidden because it is in the corridor between the bed-room walls and the garden wall, and so every sound is deadened. A small oven is added to the bed-chamber, which by this narrow opening admits heat when required. There lie the antechamber and the bed-room, which get the sun all the day long. What do you think of my den, my Gallus? When I betake myself to this retreat I seem to have left my home behind me; and especially in the Saturnalia I delight in it. When the rest of the house is given up to the license of noisy festivals, no noises can disturb my reveries, no clamors interfere with my studies."

Let us express our admiration of so well-appointed an abode with cautious terms, and let us say that we might wonder if any one could help longing for such a home. Let us be careful that we do not betray ourselves by asking after modern improvements, as you, O Mask, might do, but you are not house-hunting to-day.

"Yes, this is comfortable and delightful, but it has one drawback. There is no spring in the whole enclosure; but we try to make up for it by wells, or rather fountains. But along this wonderful shore you have only to dig a little and there oozes out at once—I cannot call it water, a humor rather, which is unsophisticated brine, on account of the sea so near by, I suppose. Those forests supply us with wood: Ostia supplies us with everything else that cannot be got in yonder village. You see how I live and enjoy myself, and you must be a very ingrained cit indeed if you do not instantly decide to settle down amongst us. There is a little farm not far off: let me negotiate it for you."

It is time for us to vanish, for he will next propose to buy the Hortensian villa from the improvident prodigal who holds it, and will make you settle down here in spite of yourself, and so make a respectable heathen out of you; for of course you have not the courage to whisper in his ear that you are a Christian: his oven is not yet cooled down.

But now own, as we are back in the nineteenth century without a single hair singed, does not C.P.C. Secundus live well as a man who is upright, just, loving his family, honoring and serving the emperor, attending to his own business and enjoying his vacations in a gentlemanly way, though he will become a heathen persecutor before he dies?


[pg 457]





Just as Frank Lavender went down stairs to meet Ingram, a letter which had been forwarded from London was brought to Sheila. It bore the Lewis postmark, and she guessed it was from Duncan, for she had told Mairi to ask the tall keeper to write, and she knew he would hasten to obey her request at any sacrifice of comfort to himself. Sheila sat down to read the letter in a happy frame of mind. She had every confidence that all her troubles were about to be removed now that her good friend Ingram had come to her husband; and here was a message to her from her home that seemed, even before she read it, to beg of her to come thither light-hearted and joyous. This was what she read:

"BORVABOST, THE ISLAND OF LEWS, "the third Aug., 18——.

"HONORED MRS. LAVENDER,—It waz Mairi waz sayin that you will want me to write to you, bit I am not good at the writen whatever, and it was 2 years since I was writen to Amerika, to John Ferkason that kept the tea-shop in Stornoway, and was trooned in coming home the verra last year before this. It waz Mairi will say you will like a letter as well as any one that waz goin to Amerika, for the news and the things, and you will be as far away from us as if you waz living in Amerika or Glaska. But there is not much news, for the lads they hev all pulled up the boats, and they are away to Wick, and Sandy McDougal that waz living by Loch Langavat, he will be going too, for he was up at the sheilings when Mrs. Paterson's lasses waz there with the cows, and it waz Jeanie the youngest and him made it up, and he haz twenty-five pounds in the bank, which is a good thing too mirover for the young couple. It was many a one waz sayin when the cows and the sheep waz come home from the sheilings that never afore waz Miss Sheila away from Loch Roag when the cattle would be swimmin across the loch to the island; and I will say to many of them verra well you will wait and you will see Miss Sheila back again in the Lews, and it wazna allwas you would lif away from your own home where you was born and the people will know you from the one year to the next. John McNicol of Habost he will be verra bad three months or two months ago, and we waz thinkin he will die, and him with a wife and five bairns too, and four cows and a cart, but the doctor took a great dale of blood from him, and he is now verra well whatever, though wakely on the legs. It would hev been a bad thing if Mr. McNicol waz dead, for he will be verra good at pentin a door, and he haz between fifteen pounds and ten pounds in the bank at Stornoway, and four cows too and a cart, and he is a ferra religious man, and has great skill o' the psalm-tunes, and he toesna get trunk now more as twice or as three times in the two weeks. It was his dochter Betsy, a verra fine lass, that waz come to Borvabost, and it waz the talk among many that Alister-nan-Each he waz thinkin of makin up to her, but there will be a great laugh all over the island, and she will be verra angry and say she will not have him no if his house had a door of silfer to it for she will have no one that toesna go to the Caithness fishins wi the other lads. It waz blew verra hard here the last night or two or three. There is a great deal of salmon in the rivers; and Mr. Mackenzie he will be going across to Grimersta, the day after to-morrow, or the next day before that, and the English gentlemen have been there more as two or three weeks, and they will be getting verra good sport whatever. Mairi she will be writen a letter to you to-morrow, Miss Sheila, and she will be [pg 458] telling you all the news of the house. Mairi waz sayin she will be goin to London when the harvest was got in, and Scarlett will say to her that no one will let her land on the island again if she toesna bring you back with her to the island and to your own house. If it waz not too much trouble, Miss Sheila, it would be a proud day for Scarlett if you waz send me a line or two lines to say if you will be coming to the Lews this summer or before the winter is over whatever. I remain, Honored Mrs. Lavender, your obedient servant,


"This summer or winter," said Sheila to herself, with a happy light on her face: "why not now?" Why should she not go down stairs to the coffee-room of the hotel and place this invitation in the hand of her husband and his friend? Would not its garrulous simplicity recall to both of them the island they used to find so pleasant? Would not they suddenly resolve to leave behind them London and its ways and people, even this monotonous sea out there, and speed away northwardly till they came in sight of the great and rolling Minch, with its majestic breadth of sky and its pale blue islands lying far away at the horizon? Then the happy landing at Stornoway—her father and Duncan and Mairi all on the quay—the rapid drive over to Loch Roag, and the first glimpse of the rocky bays and clear water and white sand about Borva and Borvabost! And Sheila would once more—having cast aside this cumbrous attire that she had to change so often, and having got out that neat and simple costume that was so good for walking or driving or sailing—be proud to wait upon her guests, and help Mairi in her household ways, and have a pretty table ready for the gentlemen when they returned from the shooting.

Her husband came up the hotel stairs and entered the room. She rose to meet him, with the open letter in her hand.

"Sheila," he said (and the light slowly died away from her face), "I have something to ask of you."

She knew by the sound of his voice that she had nothing to hope: it was not the first time she had been disappointed, and yet this time it seemed especially bitter somehow. The awakening from these illusions was sudden.

She did not answer, so he said in the same measured voice, "I have to ask that you will have henceforth no communication with Mr. Ingram: I do not wish him to come to the house."

She stood for a moment, apparently not understanding the meaning of what he said. Then, when the full force of this decision and request came upon her, a quick color sprang to her face, the cause of which, if it had been revealed to him in words, would have considerably astonished her husband. But that moment of doubt, of surprise and of inward indignation was soon over. She cast down her eyes and said meekly, "Very well, dear."

It was now his turn to be astonished, and mortified as well. He could not have believed it possible that she should so calmly acquiesce in the dismissal of one of her dearest friends. He had expected a more or less angry protest, if not a distinct refusal, which would have given him an opportunity for displaying the injuries he conceived himself to have suffered at their hands. Why had she not come to himself? This man Ingram was presuming on his ancient friendship, and on the part he had taken in forwarding the marriage up in Borva. He had always, moreover, been somewhat too much of the schoolmaster, with his severe judgments, his sententious fashion of criticising and warning people, and his readiness to prove the whole world wrong in order to show himself to be right. All these and many other things Lavender meant to say to Sheila so soon as she had protested against his forbidding Ingram to come any more to the house. But there was no protest. Sheila did not even seem surprised. She went back to her seat by the window, folded up Duncan's letter and put it in her pocket; and then she turned to look at the sea.

Lavender regarded her for a moment, [pg 459] apparently doubting whether he should himself prosecute the subject: then he turned and left the room.

Sheila did not cry or otherwise seek to compassionate and console herself. Her husband had told her to do a certain thing, and she would do it. Perhaps she had been imprudent in having confided in Mr. Ingram, and if so, it was right that she should be punished. But the regret and pain that lay deep in her heart were that Ingram should have suffered through her, and that she had no opportunity of telling him that, though they might not see each other, she would never forget her friendship for him, or cease to be grateful to him for his unceasing and generous kindness to her.

Next morning Lavender was summoned to London by a telegram which announced that his aunt was seriously ill. He and Sheila got ready at once, left by a forenoon train, had some brief luncheon at home, and then went down to see the old lady in Kensington Gore. During their journey Lavender had been rather more courteous and kindly toward Sheila than was his wont. Was he pleased that she had so readily obeyed him in this matter of giving up about the only friend she had in London? or was he moved by some visitation of compunction? Sheila tried to show that she was grateful for his kindness, but there was that between them which could not be removed by chance phrases or attentions.

Mrs. Lavender was in her own room. Paterson brought word that she wanted to see Sheila first and alone; so Lavender sat down in the gloomy drawing-room by the window, and watched the people riding and driving past, and the sunshine on the dusty green trees in the Park.

"Is Frank Lavender below?" said the thin old woman, who was propped up in bed, with some scarlet garment around her that made her resemble more than ever the cockatoo of which Sheila had thought on first seeing her. "Yes," said Sheila. "I want to see you alone: I can't bear him dawdling about a room, and staring at things, and saying nothing. Does he speak to you?"

Sheila did not wish to enter into any controversy about the habits of her husband, so she said, "I hope you will see him before he goes, Mrs. Lavender. He is very anxious to know how you are, and I am glad to find you looking so well. You do not look like an invalid at all."

"Oh, I'm not going to die yet," said the little dried old woman with the harsh voice, the staring eyes and the tightly-twisted gray hair. "I hope you didn't come to read the Bible to me: you wouldn't find one about in any case, I should think. If you like to sit down and read the sayings of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, I should enjoy that; but I suppose you are too busy thinking what dress you'll wear at my funeral."

"Indeed, I was thinking of no such thing," said Sheila indignantly, but feeling all the same that the hard, glittering, expressionless eyes were watching her.

"Do you think I believe you?" said Mrs. Lavender. "Bah! I hope I am able to recognize the facts of life. If you were to die this afternoon, I should get a black silk trimmed with crape the moment I got on my feet again, and go to your funeral in the ordinary way. I hope you will pay me the same respect. Do you think I am afraid to speak of these things?"

"Why should you speak of them?" said Sheila despairingly.

"Because it does you good to contemplate the worst that can befall you, and if it does not happen you may rejoice. And it will happen. I know I shall be lying in this bed, with half a dozen of you round about trying to cry, and wondering which will have the courage to turn and go out of the room first. Then there will be the funeral day, and Paterson will be careful about the blinds, and go about the house on her tiptoes, as if I were likely to hear! Then there will be a pretty service up in the cemetery, and a man who never saw me will speak of his dear sister departed; and then you'll all go home and have your dinner. Am I afraid of it?"

"Why should you talk like that?" said [pg 460] Sheila piteously. "You are not going to die. You distress yourself and others by thinking of these horrible things."

"My dear child, there is nothing horrible in nature. Everything is part of the universal system which you should recognize and accept. If you had but trained yourself now, by the study of philosophical works, to know how helpless you are to alter the facts of life, and how it is the best wisdom to be prepared for the worst, you would find nothing horrible in thinking of your own funeral. You are not looking well."

Sheila was startled by the suddenness of the announcement: "Perhaps I am a little tired with the traveling we have done to-day."

"Is Frank Lavender kind to you?" What was she to say with those two eyes scanning her face? "It is too soon to expect him to be anything else," she said with an effort at a smile.

"Ah! So you are beginning to talk in that way? I thought you were full of sentimental notions of life when you came to London. It is not a good place for nurturing such things."

"It is not," said Sheila, surprised into a sigh.

"Come nearer. Don't be afraid I shall bite you. I am not so ferocious as I look."

Sheila rose and went closer to the bedside, and the old woman stretched out a lean and withered hand to her: "If I thought that that silly fellow wasn't behaving well to you—"

"I will not listen to you," said Sheila, suddenly withdrawing her hand, while a quick color leapt to her face—"I will not listen to you if you speak of my husband in that way."

"I will speak of him any way I like. Don't get into a rage. I have known Frank Lavender a good deal longer than you have. What I was going to say is this—that if I thought that he was not behaving well to you, I would play him a trick. I would leave my money, which is all he has got to live on, to you; and when I died he would find himself dependent on you for every farthing he wanted to spend."

And the old woman laughed, with very little of the weakness of an invalid in the look of her face. But Sheila, when she had mastered her surprise and resolved not be angry, said calmly, "Whatever I have, whatever I might have, that belongs to my husband, not to me."

"Now you speak like a sensible girl," said Mrs. Lavender. "That is the misfortune of a wife, that she cannot keep her own money to herself. But there are means by which the law may be defeated, my dear. I have been thinking it over—I have been speaking of it to Mr. Ingram; for I have suspected for some time that my nephew, Mr. Frank, was not behaving himself."

"Mrs. Lavender," said Sheila, with a face too proud and indignant for tears, "you do not understand me. No one has the right to imagine anything against my husband and to seek to punish him through me. And when I said that everything I have belongs to him, I was not thinking of the law—no—but only this: that everything I have, or might have, would belong to him, as I myself belong to him of my own free will and gift; and I would have no money or anything else that was not entirely his."

"You are a fool."

"Perhaps," said Sheila, struggling to repress her tears.

"What if I were to leave every farthing of my property to a hospital? Where would Frank Lavender be then?"

"He could earn his own living without any such help," said Sheila proudly; for she had never yet given up the hope that her husband would fulfill the fair promise of an earlier time, and win great renown for himself in striving to please her, as he had many a time vowed he would do.

"He has taken great care to conceal his powers in that way," said the old woman with a sneer.

"And if he has, whose fault is it?" the girl said warmly. "Who has kept him in idleness but yourself? And now you blame him for it. I wish he had never had any of your money—I wish he were never to have any more of it."

[pg 461]

And then Sheila stopped, with a terrible dread falling over her. What had she not said? The pride of her race had carried her so far, and she had given expression to all the tumult of her heart; but had she not betrayed her duty as a wife, and grievously compromised the interests of her husband? And yet the indignation in her bosom was too strong to admit of her retracting those fatal phrases and begging forgiveness. She stood for a moment irresolute, and she knew that the invalid was regarding her curiously, as though she were some wild animal, and not an ordinary resident in Bayswater.

"You are a little mad, but you are a good girl, and I want to be friends with you. You have in you the spirit of a dozen Frank Lavenders."

"You will never make friends with me by speaking ill of my husband," said Sheila with the same proud and indignant look.

"Not when he ill uses you?" "He does not ill use me. What has Mr. Ingram been saying to you?"

The sudden question would certainly have brought about a disclosure if any were to have been made; but Mrs. Lavender assured Sheila that Mr. Ingram had told her nothing, that she had been forming her own conclusions, and that she still doubted that they were right.

"Now sit down and read to me. You will find Marcus Antoninus on the top of those books."

"Frank is in the drawing-room," observed Sheila mildly.

"He can wait," said the old woman sharply.

"Yes, but you cannot expect me to keep him waiting," with a smile which did not conceal her very definite purpose.

"Then ring, and bid him come up. You will soon get rid of those absurd sentiments."

Sheila rang the bell, and sent Mrs. Paterson down for Lavender, but she did not betake herself to Marcus Antoninus. She waited a few minutes, and then her husband made his appearance, whereupon she sat down and left to him the agreeable duty of talking with this toothless old heathen about funerals and lingering death.

"Well, Aunt Lavender, I am sorry to hear you have been ill, but I suppose you are getting all right again, to judge by your looks."

"I am not nearly as ill as you expected."

"I wonder you did not say 'hoped,'" remarked Lavender carelessly. "You are always attributing the most charitable feelings to your fellow-creatures."

"Frank Lavender," said the old lady, who was a little pleased by this bit of flattery, "if you came here to make yourself impertinent and disagreeable, you can go down stairs again. Your wife and I get on very well without you."

"I am glad to hear it," he said: "I suppose you have been telling her what is the matter with you."

"I have not. I don't know. I have had a pain in the head and two fits, and I dare say the next will carry me off. The doctors won't tell me anything about it, so I suppose it is serious."

"Nonsense!" cried Lavender. "Serious! To look at you, one would say you never had been ill in your life."

"Don't tell stories, Frank Lavender. I know I look like a corpse, but I don't mind it, for I avoid the looking-glass and keep the spectacle for my friends. I expect the next fit will kill me."

"I'll tell you what it is, Aunt Lavender: if you would only get up and come with us for a drive in the Park, you would find there was nothing of an invalid about you; and we should take you home to a quiet dinner at Notting Hill, and Sheila would sing to you all the evening, and to-morrow you would receive the doctors in state in your drawing-rooms, and tell them you were going for a month to Malvern."

"Your husband has a fine imagination, my dear," said Mrs. Lavender to Sheila. "It is a pity he puts it to no use. Now I shall let both of you go. Three breathing in this room are too many for the cubic feet of air it contains. Frank, bring over those scales and put them on the table, and send Paterson to me as you go out."

[pg 462]

And so they went down stairs and out of the house. Just as they stood on the steps, looking for a hansom, a young lad came forward and shook hands with Lavender, glancing rather nervously at Sheila.

"Well, Mosenberg," said Lavender, "you've come back from Leipsic at last? We got your card when we came home this morning from Brighton. Let me introduce you to my wife."

The boy looked at the beautiful face before him with something of distant wonder and reverence in his regard. Sheila had heard of the lad before—of the Mendelssohn that was to be—and liked his appearance at first sight. He was a rather handsome boy of fourteen or fifteen, of the fair Jew type, with large, dark, expressive eyes, and long, wavy, light-brown hair. He spoke English fluently and well: his slight German accent was, indeed, scarcely so distinct as Sheila's Highland one, the chief peculiarity of his speaking being a preference for short sentences, as if he were afraid to adventure upon elaborate English. He had not addressed a dozen sentences to Sheila before she had begun to have a liking for the lad, perhaps on account of his soft and musical voice, perhaps on account of the respectful and almost wondering admiration that dwelt in his eyes. He spoke to her as if she were some saint, who had but to smile to charm and bewilder the humble worshiper at her shrine.

"I was intending to call upon Mrs. Lavender, madame," he said. "I heard that she was ill. Perhaps you can tell me if she is better."

"She seems to be very well to-day, and in very good spirits," Sheila answered.

"Then I will not go in. Did you propose to take a walk in the Park, madame?"

Lavender inwardly laughed at the magnificent audacity of the lad, and, seeing that Sheila hesitated, humored him by saying, "Well, we were thinking of calling on one or two people before going home to dinner. But I haven't seen you for a long time, Mosenberg, and I want you to tell me how you succeeded at the Conservatoire. If you like to walk with us for a bit, we can give you something to eat at seven."

"That would be very pleasant for me," said the boy, blushing somewhat, "if it does not incommode you, madame."

"Oh no: I hope you will come," said Sheila most heartily; and so they set out for a walk through Kensington Gardens northward.

Precious little did Lavender learn about Leipsic during that walk. The boy devoted himself wholly to Sheila. He had heard frequently of her, and he knew of her coming from the wild and romantic Hebrides; and he began to tell her of all the experiments that composers had made in representing the sound of seas and storms and winds howling through caverns washed by the waves. Lavender liked music well enough, and could himself play and sing a little, but this enthusiasm rather bored him. He wanted to know if the yellow wine was still as cool and clear as ever down in the twilight of Auerbach's cellar, what burlesques had lately been played at the theatre, and whether such and such a beer-garden was still to the fore; whereas he heard only analyses of overtures, and descriptions of the uses of particular musical instruments, and a wild rhapsody about moonlit seas, the sweetness of French horns, the King of Thule, and a dozen other matters.

"Mosenberg," he said, "before you go calling on people you ought to visit an English tailor. People will think you belong to a German band."

"I have been to a tailor," said the lad with a frank laugh. "My parents, madame, wish me to be quite English: that is why I am sent to live in London, while they are in Frankfort. I stay with some very good friends of mine, who are very musical, and they are not annoyed by my practicing, as other people would be."

"I hope you will sing something to us this evening," said Sheila.

"I will sing and play for you all the evening," he said lightly, "until you are tired. But you must tell me when you [pg 463] are tired, for who can tell how much music will be enough? Sometimes two or three songs are more than enough to make people wish you away."

"You need have no fear of tiring me," said Sheila. "But when you are tired I will sing for you."

"Yes, of course you sing, madame," he said, casting down his eyes: "I knew that when I saw you."

Sheila had got a sweetheart, and Lavender saw it and smiled good-naturedly. The awe and reverence with which this lad regarded the beautiful woman beside him were something new and odd in Kensington Gardens. Yet it was the way of those boys. He had himself had his imaginative fits of worship, in which some very ordinary young woman, who ate a good breakfast and spent an hour and a half in arranging her hair before going out, was regarded as some beautiful goddess fresh risen from the sea or descended from the clouds. Young Mosenberg was just at the proper age for these foolish dreams. He would sing songs to Sheila, and reveal to her in that way a passion of which he dared not otherwise speak. He would compose pieces of music for her, and dedicate them to her, and spend half his quarterly allowance in having them printed. He would grow to consider him, Lavender, a heartless brute, and cherish dark notions of poisoning him, but for the pain it might cause to her.

"I don't remember whether you smoke, Mosenberg," Lavender said after dinner.

"Yes—a cigarette sometimes," said the lad; "but if Mrs. Lavender is going away perhaps she will let me go into the drawing-room with her. There is that sonata of Muzio Clementi, madame, which I will try to remember for you if you please."

"All right," said Lavender: "you'll find me in the next room on the left when you get tired of your music and want a cigar. I think you used to beat me at chess, didn't you?"

"I do not know. We will try once more to-night."

Then Sheila and he went into the drawing-room by themselves, and while she took a seat near the brightly-lit fire-place, he opened the piano at once and sat down. He turned up his cuffs, he took a look at the pedals, he threw back his head, shaking his long brown hair; and then, with a crash like thunder, his two hands struck the keys. He had forgotten all about that sonata: it was a fantasia of his own, based on the airs in Der Freischütz, that he played; and as he played Sheila's poor little piano suffered somewhat. Never before had it been so battered about, and she wished the small chamber were a great hall, to temper the voluminous noise of this opening passage. But presently the music softened. The white, lithe fingers ran lightly over the keys, so that the notes seemed to ripple out like the prattling of a stream, and then again some stately and majestic air or some joyous burst of song would break upon this light accompaniment, and lead up to another roar and rumble of noise. It was a very fine performance, doubtless, but what Sheila remarked most was the enthusiasm of the lad. She was to see more of that.

"Now," he said, "that is nothing. It is to get one's fingers accustomed to the keys you play anything that is loud and rapid. But if you please, madame, shall I sing you something?"

"Yes, do," said Sheila.

"I will sing for you a little German song which I believe Jenny Lind used to sing, but I never heard her sing. You know German?"

"Very little indeed."

"This is only the cry of some one who is far away about his sweetheart. It is very simple, both in the words and the music."

And he began to sing, in a voice so rich, so tender and expressive that Sheila sat amazed and bewildered to hear him. Where had this boy caught such a trick of passion, or was it really a trick that threw into his voice all the pathos of a strong man's love and grief? He had a powerful baritone, of unusual compass and rare sweetness; but it was not the finely-trained art of his singing, but the [pg 464] passionate abandonment of it, that thrilled Sheila, and indeed brought tears to her eyes. How had this mere lad learned all the yearning and despair of love, that he sang,

Dir bebt die Brust,

Dir schlägt dies Herz,

Du meine Lust!

O du, mein Schmerz!

Nur an den Winden, den Sternen der Höh,

Muss ich verkünden mein süsses Weh!—

as though his heart were breaking? When he had finished he paused for a moment or two before leaving the piano, and then he came over to where Sheila sat. She fancied there was a strange look on his face, as of one who had been really experiencing the wild emotions of which he sang; but he said, in his ordinary careful way of speaking, "Madame, I am sorry I cannot translate the words for you into English. They are too simple; and they have, what is common in many German songs, a mingling of the pleasure and the sadness of being in love that would not read natural perhaps in English. When he says to her that she is his greatest delight and also his greatest grief, it is quite right in the German, but not in the English."

"But where have you learned all these things?" she said to him, talking to him as if he were a mere child, and looking without fear into his handsome boyish face and fine eyes. "Sit down and tell me. That is the song of some one whose sweetheart is far away, you said. But you sang it as if you yourself had some sweetheart far away."

"So I have, madame," he said, seriously: "when I sing the song, I think of her then, so that I almost cry for her."

"And who is she?" said Sheila gently. "Is she very far away?"

"I do not know," said the lad absently. "I do not know who she is. Sometimes I think she is a beautiful woman away at St. Petersburg, singing in the opera-house there. Or I think she has sailed away in a ship from me."

"But you do not sing about any particular person?" said Sheila, with an innocent wonder appearing in her eyes.

"Oh no, not at all," said the boy; and then he added, with some suddenness, "Do you think, madame, any fine songs like that, or any fine words that go to the heart of people, are written about any one person? Oh no! The man has a great desire in him to say something beautiful or sad, and he says it—not to one person, but to all the world; and all the world takes it from him as a gift. Sometimes, yes, he will think of one woman, or he will dedicate the music to her, or he will compose it for her wedding, but the feeling in his heart is greater than any that he has for her. Can you believe, madame, that Mendelssohn wrote the Hochzeitm—the Wedding March—for any one wedding? No. It was all the marriage joy of all the world he put into his music, and every one knows that. And you hear it at this wedding, at that wedding, but you know it belongs to something far away and more beautiful than the marriage of any one bride with her sweetheart. And if you will pardon me, madame, for speaking about myself, it is about some one I I never knew, who is far more beautiful and precious to me than any one I ever knew, that I try to think when I sing these sad songs, and then I think of her far away, and not likely ever to see me again."

"But some day you will find that you have met her in real life," Sheila said. "And you will find her far more beautiful and kind to you than anything you dreamed about; and you will try to write your best music to give to her. And then, if you should be unhappy, you will find how much worse is the real unhappiness about one you love than the sentiment of a song you can lay aside at any moment."

The lad looked at her. "What can you know about unhappiness, madame?" he said with a frank and gentle simplicity that she liked.

"I?" said Sheila. "When people get married and begin to experience the cares of the world, they must expect to be unhappy sometimes."

"But not you," he said with some touch of protest in his voice, as if it were impossible the world should deal harshly with so young and beautiful and [pg 465] tender a creature. "You can have nothing but enjoyment around you. Every one must try to please you. You need only condescend to speak to people, and they are grateful to you for a great favor. Perhaps, madame, you think I am impertinent?"

He stopped and blushed, while Sheila, herself with a little touch of color, answered him that she hoped he would always speak to her quite frankly, and then suggested that he might sing once more for her.

"Very well," he said as he sat down to the piano: "this is not any more a sad song. It is about a young lady who will not let her sweetheart kiss her, except on conditions. You shall hear the conditions, and what he says."

Sheila began to wonder whether this innocent-eyed lad had been imposing on her. The song was acted as well as sung. It consisted chiefly of a dialogue between the two lovers; and the boy, with a wonderful ease and grace and skill, mimicked the shy coquetries of the girl, her fits of petulance and dictation, and the pathetic remonstrances of her companion, his humble entreaties and his final sullenness, which is only conquered by her sudden and ample consent. "What a rare faculty of artistic representation this precocious boy must have," she thought, "if he really exhibits all those moods and whims and tricks of manner without having himself been in the position of the despairing and imploring lover!"

"You were not thinking of the beautiful lady in St. Petersburg when you were singing just now," Sheila said on his coming back to her.

"Oh no," he said carelessly: "that is nothing. You have not to imagine anything. These people, you see them on every stage in the comedies and farces."

"But that might happen in actual life," said Sheila, still not quite sure about him. "Do you know that many people would think you must have yourself been teased in that way, or you could not imitate it so naturally?"

"I! Oh no, madame," he said seriously: "I should not act that way if I were in love with a woman. If I found her a comedy-actress, liking to make her amusement out of our relations, I should say to her, 'Good-evening, mademoiselle: we have both made a little mistake.'"

"But you might be so much in love with her that you could not leave her without being very miserable."

"I might be very much in love with her, yes; but I would rather go away and be miserable than be humiliated by such a girl. Why do you smile, madame? Do you think I am vain, or that I am too young to know anything about that? Perhaps both are true, but one cannot help thinking."

"Well," said Sheila, with a grandly maternal air of sympathy and interest, "you must always remember this—that you have something more important to attend to than merely looking out for a beautiful sweetheart. That is the fancy of a foolish girl. You have your profession, and you must become great and famous in that; and then some day, when you meet this beautiful woman and ask her to be your wife, she will be bound to do that, and you will confer honor on her as well as secure happiness to yourself. Now, if you were to fall in love with some coquettish girl like her you were singing about, you would have no more ambition to become famous, you would lose all interest in everything except her, and she would be able to make you miserable by a single word. When you have made a name for yourself, and got a good many more years, you will be better able to bear anything that happens to you in your love or in your marriage."

"You are very kind to take so much trouble," said young Mosenberg, looking up with big, grateful eyes. "Perhaps, madame, if you are not very busy during the day, you will let me call in sometimes, and if there is no one here I will tell you about what I am doing, and play for you or sing for you, if you please."

"In the afternoons I am always free," she said.

"Do you never go out?" he asked.

[pg 466]

"Not often. My husband is at his studio most of the day."

The boy looked at her, hesitated for a moment, and then, with a sudden rush of color to his face, "You should not stay so much in the house. Will you sometimes go for a little walk with me, madame, to Kensington Gardens, if you are not busy in the afternoon?"

"Oh, certainly," said Sheila, without a moment's embarrassment. "Do you live near them?"

"No: I live in Sloane street, but the underground railway brings me here in a very short time."

That mention of Sloane street gave a twinge to Sheila's heart. Ought she to have been so ready to accept offers of new friendship just as her old friend had been banished from her?

"In Sloane street? Do you know Mr. Ingram?"

"Oh yes, very well. Do you?"

"He is one of my oldest friends," said Sheila bravely: she would not acknowledge that their intimacy was a thing of the past.

"He is a very good friend to me—I know that," said young Mosenberg, with a laugh. "He hired a piano merely because I used to go into his rooms at night; and now he makes me play over all my most difficult music when I go in, and he sits and smokes a pipe and pretends to like it. I do not think he does, but I have got to do it all the same; and then afterward I sing for him some songs that I know he likes. Madame, I think I can surprise you."

He went suddenly to the piano and began to sing, in a very quiet way,

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.

It was the lament of the young girl whose lover had been separated from her by false reports, and who died before he could get back to Lochaber when the deception was discovered. And the wild, sad air that the girl is supposed to sing seemed so strange with those new chords that this boy-musician gave it that Sheila sat and listened to it as though it were the sound of the seas about Borva coming to her with a new voice and finding her altered and a stranger.

"I know nearly all of those Highland songs that Mr. Ingram has got," said the lad.

"I did not know he had any," Sheila said.

"Sometimes he tries to sing one himself," said the boy with a smile, "but he does not sing very well, and he gets vexed with himself in fun, and flings things about the room. But you will sing some of those songs, madame, and let me hear how they are sung in the North?"

"Some time," said Sheila. "I would rather listen just now to all you can tell me about Mr. Ingram—he is such a very old friend of mine, and I do not know how he lives."

The lad speedily discovered that there was at least one way of keeping his new and beautiful friend profoundly interested; and indeed he went on talking until Lavender came into the room in evening dress. It was eleven o'clock, and young Mosenberg started up with a thousand apologies and hopes that he had not detained Mrs. Lavender. No, Mrs. Lavender was not going out: her husband was going round for an hour to a ball that Mrs. Kavanagh was giving, but she preferred to stay at home.

"May I call upon you to-morrow afternoon, madame?" said the boy as he was leaving.

"I shall be very glad if you will," Sheila answered.

And as he went along the pavement young Mosenberg observed to his companion that Mrs. Lavender did not seem to have gone out much, and that it was very good of her to have promised to go with him occasionally into Kensington Gardens.

"Oh, has she?" said Lavender.

"Yes," said the lad with some surprise.

"You are lucky to be able to get her to leave the house," her husband said: "I can't."

[pg 467]

Perhaps he had not tried so much as the words seemed to imply.



"Mr. Ingram," cried young Mosenberg, bursting into the room of his friend, "do you know that I have seen your princess from the island of the Atlantic? Yes, I met her yesterday, and I went up to the house, and I dined there and spent all the evening there."

Ingram was not surprised, nor, apparently, much interested. He was cutting open the leaves of a quarterly review, and a freshly-filled pipe lay on the table beside him. A fire had been lit, for the evenings were getting chill occasionally; the shutters were shut; there was some whisky on the table; so that this small apartment seemed to have its share of bachelors' comforts.

"Well," said Ingram quietly, "did you play for her?"


"And sing for her too?"


"Did you play and sing your very best for her?"

"Yes, I did. But I have not told you half yet. This afternoon I went up, and she went out for a walk with me; and we went down through Kensington Gardens, and all round by the Serpentine—"

"Did she go into that parade of people?" said Ingram, looking up with some surprise.

"No," said the lad, looking rather crestfallen, for he would have liked to show off Sheila to some of his friends, "she would not go: she preferred to watch the small boats on the Serpentine; and she was very kind, too, in speaking to the children, and helping them with their boats, although some people stared at her. And what is more than all these things, to-morrow night she comes with me to a concert in the St. James's Hall—yes."

"You are very fortunate," said Ingram with a smile, for he was well pleased to hear that Sheila had taken a fancy to the boy, and was likely to find his society amusing. "But you have not told me yet what you think of her."

"What I think of her?" said the lad, pausing in a bewildered way, as if he could find no words to express his opinion of Sheila. And then he said, suddenly, "I think she is like the Mother of God."

"You irreverent young rascal!" said Ingram, lighting his pipe, "how dare you say such a thing?"

"I mean in the pictures—in the tall pictures you see in some churches abroad, far up in a half-darkness. She has the same sweet, compassionate look, and her eyes are sometimes a little sad; and when she speaks to you, you think you have known her for a long time, and that she wishes to be very kind to you. But she is not a princess at all, as you told me. I expected to find her grand, haughty, willful—yes; but she is much too friendly for that; and when she laughs you see she could not sweep about a room and stare at people. But if she was angry or proud, perhaps then—"

"See you don't make her angry, then," said Ingram. "Now go and play over all you were practicing in the morning. No! stop a bit. Sit down and tell me something more about your experiences of Shei—of Mrs. Lavender."

Young Mosenberg laughed and sat down: "Do you know, Mr. Ingram, that the same thing occurred the night before last? I was about to sing some more, or I was asking Mrs. Lavender to sing some more—I forget which—but she said to me, 'Not just now. I wish you to sit down and tell me all you know about Mr. Ingram.'"

"And she no sooner honors you with her confidence than you carry it to every one?" said Ingram, somewhat fearful of the boy's tongue.

"Oh, as to that," said the lad, delighted to see that his friend was a little embarrassed—"As to that, I believe she is in love with you."

"Mosenberg," said Ingram with a flash of anger in the dark eyes, "if you were half a dozen years older I would [pg 468] thrash the life out of you. Do you think that is a pretty sort of joke to make about a woman? Don't you know the mischief your gabbling tongue might make? for how is every one to know that you are talking merely impertinent nonsense?"

"Oh," said the boy audaciously, "I did not mean anything of the kind you see in comedies or in operas, breaking up marriages and causing duels? Oh no. I think she is in love with you as I am in love with her; and I am, ever since yesterday."

"Well, I will say this for you," remarked Ingram slowly, "that you are the cheekiest young beggar I have the pleasure to know. You are in love with her, are you? A lady admits you to her house, is particularly kind to you, talks to you in confidence, and then you go and tell people that you are in love with her!"

"I did not tell people," said Mosenberg, flushing under the severity of the reproof: "I told you only, and I thought you would understand what I meant. I should have told Lavender himself just as soon—yes; only he would not care."

"How do you know?"

"Bah!" said the boy impatiently. "Cannot one see it? You have a pretty wife—much prettier than any one you would see at a ball at Mrs. Kavanagh's—and you leave her at home, and you go to the ball to amuse yourself."

This boy, Ingram perceived, was getting to see too clearly how matters stood. He bade him go and play some music, having first admonished him gravely about the necessity of keeping some watch and ward over his tongue. Then the pipe was re-lit, and a fury of sound arose at the other end of the room.

So Lavender, forgetful of the true-hearted girl who loved him, forgetful of his own generous instincts, forgetful of the future that his fine abilities promised, was still dangling after this alien woman, and Sheila was left at home, with her troubles and piteous yearnings and fancies as her only companions? Once upon a time Ingram could have gone straight up to him and admonished him, and driven him to amend his ways. But now that was impossible.

What was still possible? One wild project occurred to him for a moment, but he laughed at it and dismissed it. It was that he should go boldly to Mrs. Lorraine herself, ask her plainly if she knew what cruel injury she was doing to this young wife, and force her to turn Lavender adrift. But what enterprise of the days of old romance could be compared with this mad proposal? To ride up to a castle, blow a trumpet, and announce that unless a certain lady were released forthwith death and destruction would begin,—all that was simple enough, easy and according to rule; but to go into a lady's drawing-room without an introduction, and request her to stop a certain flirtation,—that was a much more awful undertaking. But Ingram could not altogether dismiss this notion from his head. Mosenberg went on playing—no longer his practicing-pieces, but all manner of airs which he knew Ingram liked—while the small sallow man with the brown beard lay in his easy-chair and smoked his pipe, and gazed attentively at his toes on the fender.

"You know Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter, don't you, Mosenberg?" he said during an interval in the music.

"Not much," said the boy. "They were in England only a little while before I went to Leipsic."

"I should like to know them."

"That is very easy. Mr. Lavender will introduce you to them: Mrs. Lavender said he went there very much."

"What would they do, do you think, if I went up and asked to see them?"

"The servant would ask if it was about beer or coals that you called."

A man will do much for a woman who is his friend, but to be suspected of being a brewer's traveler, to have to push one's way into a strange drawing-room, to have to confront the awful stare of the inmates, and then to have to deliver a message which they will probably consider as the very extreme of audacious and meddling impertinence! The prospect was not pleasant, and yet Ingram, [pg 469] as he sat and thought over it that evening, finally resolved to encounter all these dangers and wounds. He could help Sheila in no other way. He was banished from her house. Perhaps he might induce this American girl to release her captive and give Lavender back to his own wife. What were a few twinges of one's self-respect, or risks of a humiliating failure, compared with the possibility of befriending Sheila in some small way?

Next morning he went early in to Whitehall, and about one o'clock in the forenoon started off for Holland Park. He wore a tall hat, a black frock-coat and yellow kid gloves. He went in a hansom, so that the person who opened the door should know that he was not a brewer's traveler. In this wise he reached Mrs. Kavanagh's house, which Lavender had frequently pointed out to him in passing, about half-past one, and with some internal tremors, but much outward calmness, went up the broad stone steps.

A small boy in buttons opened the door.

"Is Mrs. Lorraine at home?"

"Yes, sir," said the boy.

It was the simplest thing in the world. In a couple of seconds he found himself in a big drawing-room, and the youth had taken his card up stairs. Ingram was not very sure whether his success, so far, was due to the hansom, or to his tall hat, or to a silver-headed cane which his grandfather had brought home from India. However, here he was in the house, just like the hero of one of those fine old farces of our youth, who jumps from the street into a strange drawing-room, flirts with the maid, hides behind a screen, confronts the master, and marries his daughter, all in half an hour, the most exacting unities of time and place being faithfully observed.

Presently the door was opened, and a young lady, pale and calm and sweet of face, approached him, and not only bowed to him, but held out her hand.

"I have much pleasure in making your acquaintance, Mr. Ingram," she said, gently and somewhat slowly. "Mr. Lavender has frequently promised to bring you to see us, for he has spoken to us so much about you that we had begun to think we already knew you. Will you come with me up stairs, that I may introduce you to mamma?"

Ingram had come prepared to state harsh truths bluntly, and was ready to meet any sort of anger or opposition with a perfect frankness of intention. But he certainly had not come prepared to find the smart-tongued and fascinating American widow, of whom he had heard so much, a quiet, self-possessed and gracious young lady, of singularly winning manners and clear and resolutely honest eyes. Had Lavender been quite accurate, or even conscientious, in his garrulous talk about Mrs. Lorraine?

"If you will excuse me," said Ingram, with a smile that had less of embarrassment about it than he could have expected, "I would rather speak to you for a few minutes first. The fact is, I have come on a self-imposed errand; and that must be my apology for—for thrusting myself—"

"I am sure no apology is needed," said the girl. "We have always been expecting to see you. Will you sit down?"

He put his hat and his cane on the table, and as he did so he recorded a mental resolution not to be led away by the apparent innocence and sweetness of this woman. What a fool he had been, to expect her to appear in the guise of some forward and giggling coquette, as if Frank Lavender, with all his faults, could have suffered anything like coarseness of manners! But was this woman any the less dangerous that she was refined and courteous, and had the speech and bearing of a gentlewoman?

"Mrs. Lorraine," he said, lowering his eyebrows somewhat, "I may as well be frank with you. I have come upon an unpleasant errand—an affair, indeed, which ought to be no business of mine; but sometimes, when you care a little for some one, you don't mind running the risk of being treated as an intermeddler. You know that I know Mrs. Lavender. She is an old friend of mine. She was [pg 470] almost a child when I knew her first, and I still have a sort of notion that she is a child, and that I should look after her, and so—and so—"

She sat quite still. There was no surprise, no alarm, no anger when Sheila's name was mentioned. She was merely attentive, but now, seeing that he hesitated, she said, "I do not know what you have to say, but if it is serious may not I ask mamma to join us?"

"If you please, no. I would rather speak with you alone, as this matter concerns yourself only. Well, the fact is, I have seen for some time back that Mrs. Lavender is very unhappy. She is left alone; she knows no one in London; perhaps she does not care to join much in those social amusements that her husband enjoys. I say this poor girl is an old friend of mine: I cannot help trying to do something to make her less wretched; and so I have ventured to come to you to see if you could not assist me. Mr. Lavender comes very much to your house, and Sheila is left all by herself; and doubtless she begins to fancy that her husband is neglectful, perhaps indifferent to her, and may get to imagine things that are quite wrong, you know, and that could be explained away by a little kindness on your part."

Was this, then, the fashion in which Jonah had gone up to curse the wickedness of Nineveh? As he had spoken he had been aware that those sincere, somewhat matter—of-fact and far from unfriendly eyes that were fixed on him had undergone no change whatever. Here was no vile creature who would start up with a guilty conscience to repel the remotest hint of an accusation; and indeed, quite unconsciously to himself, he had been led on to ask for her help. Not that he feared her. Not that he could not have said the harshest things to her which there was any reason for saying. But somehow there seemed to be no occasion for the utterance of any cruel truths.

The wonder of it was, too, that instead of being wounded, indignant and angry, as he had expected her to be, she betrayed a very friendly interest in Sheila, as though she herself had nothing whatever to do with the matter.

"You have undertaken a very difficult task, Mr. Ingram," she said with a smile. "I don't think there are many married ladies in London who have a friend who would do as much for them. And, to tell you the truth, both my mamma and myself have come to the same conclusion as yourself about Mr. Lavender. It is really too bad, the way in which he allows that pretty young thing to remain at home, for I suppose she would go more into society if he were to coax her and persuade her. We have done what we could in sending her invitations, in calling on her, and in begging Mr. Lavender to bring her with him. But he has always some excuse for her, so that we never see her. And yet I am sure he does not mean to give her pain; for he is very proud of her, and madly extravagant wherever she is concerned; and sometimes he takes sudden fits of trying to please her and be kind to her that are quite odd in their way. Can you tell me what we should do?"

Ingram looked at her for a moment, and said gravely and slowly, "Before we talk any more about that I must clear my conscience. I perceive that I have done you a wrong. I came here prepared to accuse you of drawing away Mr. Lavender from his wife, of seeking amusement, and perhaps some social distinction, by keeping him continually dangling after you; and I meant to reproach you, or even threaten you, until you promised never to see him again."

A quick flush, partly of shame and partly of annoyance, sprang to Mrs. Lorraine's fair and pale face; but she answered calmly, "It is perhaps as well that you did not tell me this a few minutes ago. May I ask what has led you to change your opinion of me, if it has changed?"

"Of course it has changed," he said, promptly and emphatically. "I can see that I did you a great injury, and I apologize for it, and beg your forgiveness. But when you ask me what has led me to change my opinion, what am I to say? Your manner, perhaps, more than what [pg 471] you have said has convinced me that I was wrong."

"Perhaps you are again mistaken," she said coldly: "you get rapidly to conclusions."

"The reproof is just," he said. "You are quite right. I have made a blunder: there is no mistake about it."

"But do you think it was fair," she said with some spirit—"do you think it was fair to believe all this harm about a woman you had never seen? Now, listen. A hundred times I have begged Mr. Lavender to be more attentive to his wife—not in these words, of course, but as directly as I could. Mamma has given parties, made arrangements for visits, drives and all sorts of things, to tempt Mrs. Lavender to come to us, and all in vain. Of course you can't thrust yourself on any one like that. Though mamma and myself like Mrs. Lavender very well, it is asking too much that we should encounter the humiliation of intermeddling."

Here she stopped suddenly, with the least show of embarrassment. Then she said frankly, "You are an old friend of hers. It is very good of you to have risked so much for the sake of that girl. There are very few gentlemen whom one meets who would do as much."

Ingram could say nothing, and was a little impatient with himself. Was he to be first reproved, and then treated with an indulgent kindness, by a mere girl?

"Mamma," said Mrs. Lorraine, as an elderly lady entered the room, "let me introduce to you Mr. Ingram, whom you must already know. He proposes we should join in some conspiracy to inveigle Mrs. Lavender into society, and make the poor little thing amuse herself."

"Little!" said Mrs. Kavanagh with a smile: "she is a good deal taller than you are, my dear. But I am afraid, Mr. Ingram, you have undertaken a hopeless task. Will you stay to luncheon and talk it over with us?"

"I hope you will," said Mrs. Lorraine; and naturally enough he consented.

Luncheon was just ready. As they were going into the room on the opposite side of the hall, the younger lady said to Ingram in a quiet undertone, but with much indifference of manner, "You know, if you think I ought to give up Mr. Lavender's acquaintance altogether, I will do so at once. But perhaps that will not be necessary."

So this was the house in which Sheila's husband spent so much of his time, and these were the two ladies of whom so much had been said and surmised? There were three of Lavender's pictures on the walls of the dining-room, and as Ingram inadvertently glanced at them, Mrs. Lorraine said to him, "Don't you think it is a pity Mr. Lavender should continue drawing those imaginative sketches of heads? I do not think, myself, that he does himself justice in that way. Some bits of landscape, now, that I have seen seemed to me to have quite a definite character about them, and promised far more than anything else of his I have seen."

"That is precisely what I think," said Ingram, partly amused and partly annoyed to find that this girl, with her clear gray eyes, her soft and musical voice and her singular delicacy of manner, had an evil trick of saying the very things he would himself have said, and leaving him with nothing but a helpless "Yes."

"I think he ought to have given up his club when he married. Most English gentlemen do that when they marry, do they not?" said Mrs. Kavanagh.

"Some," said Ingram. "But a good deal of nonsense is talked about the influence of clubs in that way. It is really absurd to suppose that the size or the shape of a building can alter a man's moral character."

"It does, though," said Mrs. Lorraine confidently. "I can tell directly if a gentleman has been accustomed to spend his time in clubs. When he is surprised or angry or impatient you can perceive blanks in his conversation which in a club, I suppose, would be filled up. Don't you know poor old Colonel Hannen's way of talking, mamma? This old gentleman, Mr. Ingram, is very fond of speaking to you about political liberty [pg 472] and the rights of conscience; and he generally becomes so confused that he gets vexed with himself, and makes odd pauses, as if he were invariably addressing himself in very rude language indeed. Sometimes you would think he was like a railway-engine, going blindly and helplessly on through a thick and choking mist; and you can see that if there were no ladies present he would let off a few crackers—fog-signals, as it were—just to bring himself up a bit, and let people know where he was. Then he will go on again, talking away until you fancy yourself in a tunnel, with a throbbing noise in your ears and all the daylight shut out, and you perhaps getting to wish that on the whole you were dead."


"I beg your pardon, mamma," said the younger lady with a quiet smile "you look so surprised that Mr. Ingram will give me credit for not often erring in that way. You look as though a hare had turned and attacked you."

"That would give most people a fright," said Ingram with a laugh. He was rapidly forgetting the object of his mission. The almost childish softness of voice of this girl, and the perfect composure with which she uttered little sayings that showed considerable sharpness of observation and a keen enjoyment of the grotesque, had an odd sort of fascination for him. He totally forgot that Lavender had been fascinated by it too. If he had been reminded of the fact at this moment he would have said that the boy had, as usual, got sentimental about a pretty pair of big gray eyes and a fine profile, while he, Ingram, was possessed by nothing but a purely intellectual admiration of certain fine qualities of wit, sincerity of speech and womanly shrewdness.

Luncheon, indeed, was over before any mention was made of the Lavenders; and when they returned to that subject it appeared to Ingram that their relations had in the mean time got to be very friendly, and that they were really discussing this matter as if they formed a little family conclave.

"I have told Mr. Ingram, mamma," Mrs. Lorraine said, "that so far as I am concerned I will do whatever he thinks I ought to do. Mr. Lavender has been a friend of ours for some time, and of course he cannot be treated with rudeness or incivility; but if we are wounding the feelings of any one by asking him to come here—and he certainly visited us pretty often—why, it would be easy to lessen the number of his calls. Is that what we should do, Mr. Ingram? You would not have us quarrel with him?"

"Especially," said Mrs. Kavanagh with a smile, "that there is no certainty he will spend more of his time with his wife merely because he spends less of it here. And yet I fancy he is a very good-natured man."

"He is very good-natured," said Ingram with decision. "I have known him for years, and I know that he is exceedingly unselfish, and that he would do a ridiculously generous thing to serve a friend, and that a better-intentioned fellow does not breathe in the world. But he is at times, I admit, very thoughtless and inconsiderate."

"That sort of good-nature," said Mrs. Lorraine in her gentlest voice, "is very good in its way, but rather uncertain. So long as it shines in one direction, it is all right and quite trustworthy, for you want a hard brush to brush sunlight off a wall. But when the sunlight shifts, you know—"

"The wall is left in the cold. Well," said Ingram, "I am afraid it is impossible for me to dictate to you what you ought to do. I do not wish to draw you into any interference between husband and wife, or even to let Mr. Lavender know that you think he is not treating Shei—Mrs. Lavender—properly. But if you were to hint to him that he ought to pay some attention to her—that he should not be going everywhere as if he were a young bachelor in chambers; if you would discourage his coming to see you without bringing her also, and so forth—surely he would see what you mean. Perhaps I ask too much of you, but I had intended to ask more. The fact is, [pg 473] Mrs. Kavanagh, I had done your daughter the injustice of supposing—"

"I thought we had agreed to say no more about that," said Mrs. Lorraine quickly, and Ingram was silent.

Half an hour thereafter he was walking back through Holland Park, through the warm light of an autumn afternoon. The place seemed much changed since he had seen it a couple of hours before. The double curve of big houses had a more friendly and hospitable look: the very air seemed to be more genial and comfortable since he had driven up here in the hansom.

Perhaps Mr. Ingram was at this moment a little more perturbed, pleased and bewildered than he would have liked to confess. He had discovered a great deal in these two hours, been much surprised and fascinated, and had come away fairly stupefied with the result of his mission. He had indeed been successful: Lavender would now find a different welcome awaiting him in the house in which he had been spending nearly all his time, to the neglect of his wife. But the fact is, that as Edward Ingram went rapidly over in his own mind everything that had occurred since his entrance into that house, as he anxiously recalled the remarks made to him, the tone and looks accompanying them, and his own replies, it was not of Lavender's affairs alone that he thought. He confessed to himself frankly that he had never yet met any woman who had so surprised him into admiration on their first meeting.

Yet what had she said? Nothing very particular. Was it the bright intelligence of the gray eyes, that seemed to see everything he meant with an instant quickness, and that seemed to agree with him even before he spoke? He reflected, now that he was in the open air, that he must have persecuted these two women dreadfully. In getting away from Lavender's affairs they had touched on pictures, books and what not—on the young poet who was playing Alfred de Musset in England; on the great philosopher who had gone into the House to confuse and bewilder the country gentlemen there; on all sorts of topics, indeed, except those which, as Ingram had anticipated, such a creature as Mrs. Lorraine would naturally have found interesting. And he had to confess to himself that he had lectured his two helpless victims most unmercifully. He was quite conscious that he sometimes laid down the law in an authoritative and even sententious manner. On first going into the house certain things said by Mrs. Lorraine had almost surprised him into a mood of mere acquiescence; but after luncheon he had assumed his ordinary manner of tutor in general to the universe, and had informed those two women, in a distinct fashion, what their opinions ought to be on half the social conundrums of the day.

He now reflected, with much compunction, that this was highly improper. He ought to have asked about flower-shows, and inquired whether the princess of Wales was looking well of late. Some reference to the last Parisian comedy might have introduced a disquisition on the new grays and greens of the French milliners, with a passing mention made of the price paid for a pair of ponies by a certain marquise unattached. He had not spoken of one of these things: perhaps he could not if he had tried. He remembered, with an awful consciousness of guilt, that he had actually discoursed of woman suffrage, of the public conscience of New York, of the extirpation of the Indians, and a dozen different things, not only taking no heed of any opinions that his audience of two might hold, but insisting on their accepting his opinions as the expression of absolute and incontrovertible truth.

He became more and more dissatisfied with himself. If he could only go back now, he would be much more wary, more submissive and complaisant, more anxious to please. What right had he to abuse the courtesy and hospitality of these two strangers, and lecture them on the Constitution of their own country? He was annoyed beyond expression that they had listened to him with so much patience.

And yet he could not have seriously offended them, for they had earnestly [pg 474] besought him to dine with them on the following Tuesday evening, to meet an American judge; and when he had consented Mrs. Lorraine had written down on a card the date and hour, lest he should forget. He had that card in his pocket: surely he could not have offended them? If he had pursued this series of questions, he might have gone on to ask himself why he should be so anxious not to have offended these two new friends. He was not ordinarily very sensitive to the opinions that might be formed of him—more especially by persons living out of his own sphere, with whom he was not likely to associate. He did not, indeed, as a general rule, suffer himself to be perturbed about anything; and yet, as he went along the busy thoroughfare at this moment, he was conscious that rarely in his life had he been so ill at ease.

Something now occurred that startled him out of his reverie. Communing with himself, he was staring blankly ahead, taking little note of the people whom he saw. But somehow, in a vague and dreamlike way, he seemed to become aware that there was some one in front of him—a long way ahead as yet—whom he knew. He was still thinking of Mrs. Lorraine, and unconsciously postponing the examination of this approaching figure, or rather pair of figures, when, with a sudden start, he found Sheila's sad and earnest eyes fixed upon him. He woke up as from a dream. He saw that young Mosenberg was with her, and naturally the boy would have approached Ingram, and stopped and spoken. But Ingram paid no attention to him. He was, with a quick pang at his heart, regarding Sheila, with the knowledge that on her rested the cruel decision as to whether she should come forward to him or not. He was not aware that her husband had forbidden her to have any communication with him; yet he had guessed as much, partly from his knowledge of Lavender's impatient disposition, and partly from the glance he caught of her eyes when he woke up from his trance.

Young Mosenberg turned with surprise to his companion. She was passing on: he did not even see that she had bowed to Ingram, with a face flushed with shame and pain and with eyes cast down. Ingram, too, was passing on, without even shaking hands with her or uttering a word. Mosenberg was too bewildered to attempt any protest: he merely followed Sheila, with a conviction that something desperate had occurred, and that he would best consult her feelings by making no reference to it.

But that one look that the girl had directed to her old friend before she bowed and passed on had filled him with dismay and despair. It was somehow like the piteous look of a wounded animal, incapable of expressing its pain. All thoughts and fancies of his own little vexations or embarrassments were instantly banished from him: he could only see before him those sad and piteous eyes, full of kindness to him, he thought, and of grief that she should be debarred from speaking to him, and of resignation to her own lot.

Gwdyr House did not get much work out of him that day. He sat in a small room in a back part of the building, looking out on a lonely little square, silent and ruddy with the reflected light of the sunset.

"A hundred Mrs. Kavanaghs," he was thinking to himself bitterly enough, "will not save my poor Sheila. She will die of a broken heart. I can see it in her face. And it is I who have done it—from first to last it is I who have done it; and now I can do nothing to help her."

That became the burden and refrain of all his reflections. It was he who had done this frightful thing. It was he who had taken away the young Highland girl, his good Sheila, from her home, and ruined her life and broken her heart. And he could do nothing to help her!



"We met Mr. Ingram to-day," said young Mosenberg ingenuously.

He was dining with Lavender, not at [pg 475] home, but at a club in St. James's street; and either his curiosity was too great, or he had forgotten altogether Ingram's warnings to him that he should hold his tongue.

"Oh, did you?" said Lavender, showing no great interest. "Waiter, some French mustard. What did Ingram say to you?"

The question was asked with much apparent indifference, and the boy stared. "Well," he said at length, "I suppose there is some misunderstanding between Mrs. Lavender and Mr. Ingram, for they both saw each other, and they both passed on without speaking: I was very sorry—yes. I thought they were friends—I thought Mr. Ingram knew Mrs. Lavender even before you did; but they did not speak to each other, not one word."

Lavender was in one sense pleased to hear this. He liked to hear that his wife was obedient to him. But, he said to himself with a sharp twinge of conscience, she was carrying her obedience too far. He had never meant that she should not even speak to her old friend. He would show Sheila that he was not unreasonable. He would talk to her about it as soon as he got home, and in as kindly a way as was possible.

Mosenberg did not play billiards, but they remained late in the billiard-room, Lavender playing pool, and getting out of it rather successfully. He could not speak to Sheila that night, but next morning, before going out, he did.

"Sheila," he said, "Mosenberg told me last night that you met Mr. Ingram and did not speak to him. Now, I didn't mean anything like that. You must not think me unreasonable. All I want is, that he shall not interfere with our affairs and try to raise some unpleasantness between you and me, such as might arise from the interference of even the kindest of friends. When you meet him outside or at any one's house, I hope you will speak to him just as usual."

Sheila replied calmly, "If I am not allowed to receive Mr. Ingram here, I cannot treat him as a friend elsewhere. I would rather not have friends whom I can only speak to in the streets."

"Very well," said Lavender, wincing under the rebuke, but fancying that she would soon repent her of this resolve. In the mean time, if she would have it so, she should have it so.

So that was an end of this question of Mr. Ingram's interference for the present. But very soon—in a couple of days, indeed—Lavender perceived the change that had been wrought in the house in Holland Park to which he had been accustomed to resort.

"Cecilia," Mrs. Kavanagh had said on Ingram's leaving, "you must not be rude to Mr. Lavender." She knew the perfect independence of that gentle young lady, and was rather afraid it might carry her too far.

"Of course I shall not be, mamma," Mrs. Lorraine had said. "Did you ever hear of such a courageous act as that man coming up to two strangers and challenging them, all on behalf of a girl married to some one else? You know that was the meaning of his visit. He thought I was flirting with Mr. Lavender and keeping him from his wife. I wonder how many men there are in London who would have walked twenty yards to help in such a matter?'

"My dear, he may have been in love with that pretty young lady before she was married."

"Oh no," said the clear-eyed daughter quietly, but quite confidently. "He would not be so ready to show his interest in her if that were so. Either he would be modest, and ashamed of his rejection, or vain, and attempt to make a mystery about it."

"Perhaps you are right," said the mother: she seldom found her daughter wrong on such points.

"I am sure I am right, mamma. He talks about her as fondly and frequently and openly as a man might talk about his own daughter. Besides, you can see that he is talking honestly. The man couldn't deceive a child if he were to try. You see everything in his face."

"You seem to have been much [pg 476] interested in him," said Mrs. Kavanagh, with no appearance of sarcasm.

"Well, I don't think I meet such men often, and that is the truth. Do you?" This was carrying the war into the enemy's country.

"I like him very well," said Mrs. Kavanagh. "I think he is honest. I do not think he dresses very carefully; and he is perhaps too intent on convincing you that his opinions are right." "Well, for my part," said her daughter, with just the least tinge of warmth in her manner, "I confess I like a man who has opinions, and who is not afraid to say so. I don't find many who have. And for his dressing, one gets rather tired of men who come to you every evening to impress you with the excellence of their tailor. As if women were to be captured by millinery! Don't we know the value of linen and woolen fabrics?"

"My dear child, you are throwing away your vexation on some one whom I don't know. It isn't Mr. Lavender?" "Oh dear, no! He is not so silly as that: he dresses well, but there is perfect freedom about his dress. He is too much of an artist to sacrifice himself to his clothes."

"I am glad you have a good word for him at last. I think you have been rather hard on him since Mr. Ingram called; and that is the reason I asked you to be careful."

She was quite careful, but as explicit as good manners would allow. Mrs. Lorraine was most particular in asking about Mrs. Lavender, and in expressing her regret that they so seldom saw her.

"She has been brought up in the country, you know," said Lavender with a smile; "and there the daughters of a house are taught a number of domestic duties that they would consider it a sin to neglect. She would be unhappy if you caused her to neglect them: she would take her pleasure with a bad conscience."

"But she cannot be occupied with them all day."

"My dear Mrs. Lorraine, how often have we discussed the question! And you know you have me at a disadvantage, for how can I describe to you what those mysterious duties are? I only know that she is pretty nearly always busy with something or other; and in the evening, of course, she is generally too tired to think of going out anywhere."

"Oh, but you must try to get her out. Next Tuesday, now, Judge —— is going to dine with us, and you know how amusing he is. If you have no other engagement, couldn't you bring Mrs. Lavender to dine with us on that evening?"

Now, on former occasions something of the same sort of invitation had frequently been given, and it was generally answered by Lavender giving an excuse for his wife, and promising to come himself. What was his astonishment to find Mrs. Lorraine plainly and most courteously intimating that the invitation was addressed distinctly to Mr. and Mrs. Lavender as a couple! When he regretted that Mrs. Lavender could not come, she said quietly, "Oh, I am so sorry! You would have met an old friend of yours here, as well as the judge—Mr. Ingram."

Lavender made no further sign of surprise or curiosity than to lift his eyebrows and say, "Indeed!"

But when he left the house certain dark suspicions were troubling his mind. Nothing had been said as to the manner in which Ingram had made the acquaintance of Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter, but there was that in Mrs. Lorraine's manner which convinced Lavender that something had happened. Had Ingram carried his interference to the extent of complaining to them? Had he overcome a repugnance which he had repeatedly admitted, and thrust himself upon these two people for this very purpose of making him, Lavender, odious and contemptible? Lavender's cheeks burned as he thought of this possibility. Mrs. Lorraine had been most courteous to him, but the longer he dwelt on these vague surmises the deeper grew his consciousness that he had been turned out of the place, morally [pg 477] if not physically. What was that excess of courtesy but a cloak? If she had meant less, she would have been more careless; and all through the interview he had remarked that, instead of the free warfare of talk that generally went on between them, Mrs. Lorraine was most formally polite and apparently watchful of her words.

He went home in a passion, which was all the more consuming that it could not be vented on any one. As Sheila had not spoken to Ingram—as she had even nerved herself to wound him by passing him without notice in the street—she could not be held responsible; and yet he wished that he could have upbraided some one for this mischief that had been done. Should he go straight down to Ingram's lodgings and have it out with him? At first he was strongly inclined to do so, but wiser counsels prevailed. Ingram had a keen and ready tongue, and a way of saying things that made them rankle afterward in the memory. Besides, he would go into court with a defective case. He could say nothing unless Ingram admitted that he had tried to poison the mind of Mrs. Lorraine against him; and of course if there was a quarrel, who would be so foolish as to make such an admission? Ingram would laugh at him, would refuse to admit or deny, would increase his anger without affording him an opportunity of revenging himself.

Sheila could see that her husband was troubled, but could not divine the cause, and had long ago given up any habit of inquiry. He ate his dinner almost in silence, and then said he had to make a call on a friend, and that he would perhaps drop in to the club on his way home, so that she was not to sit up for him. She was not surprised or hurt at the announcement. She was accustomed to spend her evenings alone. She fetched down his cigar-case, put it in his top-coat pocket and brought him the coat. Then he kissed her and went out.

But this evening, at least, she had; abundant occupation, and that of a sufficiently pleasant kind. For some little time she had been harboring in her mind a dark and mysterious plot, and she was glad of an opportunity to think it out and arrange its details. Mairi was coming to London, and she had carefully concealed the fact from her husband. A little surprise of a dramatic sort was to be prepared for him—with what result, who could tell? All of a sudden Lavender was to be precipitated into the island of Lewis as nearly as that could be imitated in a house at Notting Hill.

This was Sheila's scheme, and on these lonely evenings she could sit by herself with much satisfaction and ponder over the little points of it and its possible success. Mairi was coming to London under the escort of a worthy Glasgow fishmonger whom Mr. Mackenzie knew. She would arrive after Lavender had left for his studio. Then she and Sheila would set to work to transform the smoking-room, that was sometimes called a library, into something resembling the quaint little drawing-room in Sheila's home. Mairi was bringing up a quantity of heather gathered fresh from the rocks beside the White Water; she was bringing up some peacocks' feathers, too, for the mantelpiece, and two or three big shells; and, best of all, she was to put in her trunk a real and veritable lump of peat, well dried and easy to light. Then you must know that Sheila had already sketched out the meal that was to be placed on the table so soon as the room had been done up in Highland fashion and this peat lit so as to send its fragrant smoke abroad. A large salmon was to make its appearance first of all. There would be bottles of beer on the table; also one of those odd bottles of Norwegian make, filled with whisky. And when Lavender went with wonder into this small room, when he smelt the fragrant peat-smoke—and every one knows how powerful the sense of smell is in recalling bygone associations—when he saw the smoking salmon and the bottled beer and the whisky, and when he suddenly found Mairi coming into the room and saying to him, in her sweet Highland fashion, "And are you ferry well, sir?"—would [pg 478] not his heart warm to the old ways and kindly homeliness of the house in Borva, and would not some glimpse of the happy and half-forgotten time that was now so sadly and strangely remote cause him to break down that barrier between himself and Sheila that this artificial life in the South had placed there?

So the child dreamed, and was happy in dreaming of it. Sometimes she grew afraid of her project: she had not had much experience in deception, and the mere concealment of Mairi's coming was a hard thing to bear. But surely her husband would take this trick in good part. It was only, after all, a joke. To put a little barbaric splendor of decoration into the little smoking-room, to have a scent of peat-smoke in the air, and to have a timid, sweet-voiced, pretty Highland girl suddenly make her appearance, with an odor of the sea about her, as it were, and a look of fresh breezes in the color of her cheeks,—what mortal man could find fault with this innocent jest? Sheila's moments of doubt were succeeded by long hours of joyous confidence, in which a happy light shone on her face. She went through the house with a brisk step; she sang to herself as she went; she was kinder than ever to the small children who came into the square every forenoon, and whose acquaintance she had very speedily made; she gave each of her crossing-sweepers threepence instead of twopence in passing. The servants had never seen her in such good spirits; she was exceptionally generous in presenting them with articles of attire; they might have had half the week in holidays if Mr. Lavender had not to be attended to. A small gentleman of three years of age lived next door, and his acquaintance also she had made by means of his nurse. At this time his stock of toys, which Sheila had kept carefully renewed, became so big that he might, with proper management, have set up a stall in the Lowther Arcade. Just before she left Lewis her father had called her to him, and said, "Sheila, I wass wanting to tell you about something. It is not every one that will care to hef his money given away to poor folk, and it wass many a time I said to myself that when you were married maybe your husband would think you were giving too much money to the poor folk, as you wass doing in Borva. And it iss this fifty pounds I hef got for you, Sheila, in ten banknotes, and you will take them with you for your own money, that you will not hef any trouble about giving things to people. And when the fifty pounds will be done, I will send you another fifty pounds; and it will be no difference to me whatever. And if there is any one in Borva you would be for sending money to, there is your own money; for there is many a one would take the money from Sheila Mackenzie that would not be for taking it from an English stranger in London. And when you will send it to them, you will send it to me; and I will tek it to them, and will tell them that this money is from my Sheila, and from no one else whatever."

This was all the dowry that Sheila carried with her to the South. Mackenzie would willingly have given her half his money, if she would have taken it or if her husband had desired it; but the old King of Borva had profound and far-reaching schemes in his head about the small fortune he might otherwise have accorded to his daughter. This wealth, such as it was, was to be a magnet to draw this young English gentleman back to the Hebrides. It was all very well for Mr. Lavender to have plenty of money at present: he might not always have it. Then the time would come for Mackenzie to say, "Look here, young man: I can support myself easily and comfortably by my farming and fishing. The money I have saved is at your disposal so long as you consent to remain in Lewis—in Stornoway if you please, elsewhere if you please—only in Lewis. And while you are painting pictures, and making as much money as you can that way, you can have plenty of fishing and shooting and amusement; and my guns and boats and rods are all at your service." Mr. Mackenzie [pg 479] considered that no man could resist such an offer.

Sheila, of course, told her husband of the sum of money she owned, and for a longtime it was a standing joke between them. He addressed her with much respect, and was careful to inform her of the fluctuations of the moneymarket. Sometimes he borrowed a sovereign of her, and never without giving her an I O U, which was faithfully reclaimed. But by and by she perceived that he grew less and less to like the mention of this money. Perhaps it resembled too closely the savings which the overcautious folks about Borvabost would not entrust to a bank, but kept hid about their huts in the heel of a stocking. At all events, Sheila saw that her husband did not like her to go to this fund for her charities; and so the fifty pounds that her father had given her lasted a long time. During this period of jubilation, in which she looked forward to touching her husband's heart by an innocent little stratagem, more frequent appeals were made to the drawer in which the treasure was locked up, so that in the end her private dowry was reduced to thirty pounds.

If Ingram could have but taken part in this plan of hers! The only regret that was mingled with her anticipations of a happier future concerned this faithful friend of hers, who seemed to have been cut off from them for ever. And it soon became apparent to her that her husband, so far from inclining to forget the misunderstanding that had arisen between Ingram and himself, seemed to feel increased resentment, insomuch that she was most careful to avoid mentioning his name.

She was soon to meet him, however. Lavender was resolved that he would not appear to have retired from the field merely because Ingram had entered it. He would go to this dinner on the Tuesday evening, and Sheila would accompany him. First, he asked her. Much as she would have preferred not visiting these particular people, she cheerfully acquiesced: she was not going to be churlish or inconsiderate on the very eve of her dramatic coup. Then he went to Mrs. Lorraine and said he had persuaded Sheila to come with him; and the young American lady and her mamma were good enough to say how glad they were she had come to this decision. They appeared to take it for granted that it was Sheila alone who had declined former invitations.

"Mr. Ingram will be there on Tuesday evening," said Lavender to his wife.

"I was not aware he knew them," said Sheila, remembering, indeed, how scrupulously Ingram had refused to know them.

"He has made their acquaintance for his own purposes, doubtless," said Lavender. "I suppose he will appear in a frock-coat, with a bright blue tie, and he will say 'Sir' to the waiters when he does not understand them."

"I thought you said Mr. Ingram belonged to a very good family," said Sheila quietly.

"That is so. But each man is responsible for his own manners; and as all the society he sees consists of a cat and some wooden pipes in a couple of dingy rooms in Sloane street, you can't expect him not to make an ass of himself."

"I have never seen him make himself ridiculous: I do not think it possible," said Sheila, with a certain precision of speech which Lavender had got to know meant much. "But that is a matter for himself. Perhaps you will tell me what I am to do when I meet him at Mrs. Kavanagh's house."

"Of course you must meet him as you would any one else you know. If you don't wish to speak to him, you need not do so. Saying 'Good-evening' costs nothing."

"If he takes me into dinner?" she asked calmly.

"Then you must talk to him as you would to any stranger," he said impatiently. "Ask him if he has been to the opera, and he won't know there is no opera going on. Tell him that town is very full, and he won't know that everybody has left. Say you may meet him again at Mrs. Kavanagh's, and you'll see that he doesn't know they mean to [pg 480] start for the Tyrol in a fortnight. I think you and I must also be settling soon where we mean to go. I don't think we could do better than go to the Tyrol."

She did not answer. It was clear that he had given up all intention of going up to Lewis, for that year at least. But she would not beg him to alter his decision just yet. Mairi was coming, and that experiment of the enchanted room had still to be tried.

As they drove round to Mrs. Kavanagh's house on that Tuesday evening, she thought, with much bitterness of heart, of the possibility of her having to meet Mr. Ingram in the fashion her husband had suggested. Would it not be better, if he did take her in to dinner, to throw herself entirely on his mercy, and ask him not to talk to her at all? She would address herself, when there was a chance, to her neighbor on the other side: if she remained silent altogether, no great harm would be done.

When she went into the drawing-room her first glance round was for him, and he was the first person whom she saw; for, instead of withdrawing into a corner to make one neighbor the victim of his shyness, or concealing his embarrassment in studying the photographic albums, Mr. Ingram was coolly standing on the hearth-rug, with both hands in his trousers pockets, while he was engaged in giving the American judge a great deal of authoritative information about America. The judge was a tall, fair, stout, good-natured man, fond of joking and a good dinner, and he was content at this moment to sit quietly in an easy-chair, with a pleasant smile on his face, and be lectured about his own country by this sallow little man, whom he took to be a professor of modern history at some college or other.

Ingram, as soon as he found that Sheila was in the room, relieved her from any doubt as to his intentions. He merely came forward, shook hands with her, and said, "How do you do, Mrs. Lavender?" and went back to the judge. She might have been an acquaintance of yesterday or a friend of twenty years' standing: no one could tell by his manner. As for Sheila, she parted with his hand reluctantly. She tried to look, too, what she dared not say; but whatever of regret and kindness and assurance of friendship was in her eyes he did not see. He scarcely glanced at her face: he went off at once, and plunged again into the Cincinnati Convention.

Mrs. Kavanagh and Mrs. Lorraine were exceedingly and almost obtrusively kind to her, but she scarcely heard what they said to her. It seemed so strange and so sad to her that her old friend should be standing near her, and she so far removed from him that she dared not go and speak to him. She could not understand it sometimes: everything around her seemed to get confused, until she felt as if she were sinking in a great sea, and could utter but one despairing cry as she saw the light disappear above her head. When they went in to dinner she saw that Mr. Ingram's seat was on Mrs. Lorraine's right hand, and, although she could hear him speak, as he was almost right opposite to her, it seemed to her that his voice sounded as if it were far away. The man who had taken her in was a tall, brown-whiskered and faultlessly-dressed person who never spoke, so that she was allowed to sit and listen to the conversation between Mrs. Lorraine and Ingram. They appeared to be on excellent terms. You would have fancied they had known each other for years. And as Sheila sat and saw how preoccupied and pleased with his companion Mr. Ingram was, perhaps now and again the bitter question arose to her mind whether this woman, who had taken away her husband, was seeking to take away her friend also. Sheila knew nothing of all that had happened within these past few days. She knew only that she was alone, without either husband or friend, and it seemed to her that this pale American girl had taken both away from her.

Ingram was in one of his happiest moods, and was seeking to prove to Mrs. [pg 481] Lorraine that this present dinner-party ought to be an especially pleasant one. Everybody was going away somewhere, and of course she must know that the expectation of traveling was much more delightful than the reality of it. What could surpass the sense of freedom, of power, of hope enjoyed by the happy folks who sat down to an open atlas and began to sketch out routes for their coming holidays? Where was he going? Oh, he was going to the North. Had Mrs. Lorraine never seen Edinburgh Castle rising out of a gray fog, like the ghost of some great building belonging to the times of Arthurian romance? Had she never seen the northern twilights, and the awful gloom and wild colors of Loch Coruisk and the Skye hills? There was no holiday-making so healthy, so free from restraint, as that among the far Highland hills and glens, where the clear mountain-air, scented with miles and miles of heather, seemed to produce a sort of intoxication of good spirits within one. Then the yachting round the wonderful islands of the West—the rapid runs of a bright forenoon, the shooting of the wild sea-birds, the scrambled dinners in the small cabin, the still nights in the small harbors, with a scent of sea-weed abroad, and the white stars shining down on the trembling water. Yes, he was going yachting this autumn: in about a fortnight he hoped to start. His friend was at present away up Loch Boisdale, in South Uist, and he did not know how to get there except by going to Skye, and taking his chance of some boat going over. Where would they go then? He did not know. Wherever his friend liked. It would be enough for him if they kept always moving about, seeing the strange sights of the sea and the air and the lonely shores of those northern islands. Perhaps they might even try to reach St. Kilda—

"Oh, Mr. Ingram, won't you go and see my papa?"

The cry that suddenly reached him was like the cry of a broken heart. He started as from a trance, and found Sheila regarding him with a piteous appeal in her face: she had been listening intently to all he had said.

"Oh yes, Sheila," he said kindly, and quite forgetting that he was speaking to her before strangers: "of course I must go and see your papa if we are any way near the Lewis. Perhaps you may be there then?"

"No," said Sheila, looking down.

"Won't you go to the Highlands this autumn?" Mrs. Lorraine asked in a friendly way.

"No," said Sheila in a measured voice as she looked her enemy fair in the face: "I think we are going to the Tyrol."

If the child had only known what occurred to Mrs. Lorraine's mind at this moment! Not a triumphant sense of Lavender's infatuation, as Sheila probably fancied, but a very definite resolution that if Frank Lavender went to the Tyrol, it was not with either her or her mother he should go.

"Mrs. Lavender's father is an old friend of mine," said Ingram, loud enough for all to hear; "and, hospitable as all Highlanders are, I have never met his equal in that way, and I have tried his patience a good many times. What do you think, Mrs. Lorraine, of a man who would give up his best gun to you, even though you couldn't shoot a bit, and he particularly proud of his shooting? And so if you lived with him for a month or six months—each day the best of everything for you, the second best for your friend, the worst for himself. Wasn't it so, Lavender?"

It was a direct challenge sent across the table, and Sheila's heart beat quick lest her husband should say something ungracious.

"Yes, certainly," said Lavender with a readiness that pleased Sheila. "I, at least, have no right to complain of his hospitality."

"Your papa is a very handsome man," said Mrs. Lorraine to Sheila, bringing the conversation back to their own end of the table. "I have seen few finer heads than that drawing you have. Mr. Lavender did that, did he not? Why has he never done one of you?"

"He is too busy, I think, just now," [pg 482] Sheila said, perhaps not knowing that from Mrs. Lorraine's waist-belt at that moment depended a fan which might have given evidence as to the extreme scarcity of time under which Lavender was supposed to labor.

"He has a splendid head," said Ingram. "Did you know that he is called the King of Borva up there?"

"I have heard of him being called the King of Thule," said Mrs. Lorraine, turning with a smile to Sheila, "and of his daughter being styled a princess. Do you know the ballad of the King of Thule in Faust, Mrs. Lavender?'"

"In the opera?—yes," said Sheila.

"Will you sing it for us after dinner?"

"If you like."

The promise was fulfilled, in a fashion. The notion that Mr. Ingram was about to go away up to Lewis, to the people who knew her and to her father's house, with no possible answer to the questions which would certainly be showered upon him as to why she had not come also, troubled Sheila deeply. The ladies went into the drawing-room, and Mrs. Lorraine got out the song. Sheila sat down to the piano, thinking far more of that small stone house at Borva than of the King of Thule's castle overlooking the sea; and yet somehow the first lines of the song, though she knew them well enough, sent a pang to her heart as she glanced at them. She touched the first notes of the accompaniment, and she looked at the words again:

Over the sea, in Thule of old,

Reigned a king who was true-hearted,

Who, in remembrance of one departed—

A mist came over her eyes. Was she the one who had departed, leaving the old king in his desolate house by the sea, where he could only think of her as he sat in his solitary chamber, with the night-winds howling round the shore outside? When her birthday had come round she knew that he must have silently drank to her, though not out of a beaker of gold. And now, when mere friends and acquaintances were free to speed away to the North, and get a welcome from the folks in Borva, and listen to the Atlantic waves dashing lightly in among the rocks, her hope of getting thither had almost died out. Among such people as landed on Stornoway quay from the big Clansman her father would seek one face, and seek it in vain. And Duncan and Scarlett, and even John the Piper—all the well-remembered folks who lived far away across the Minch—they would ask why Miss Sheila was never coming back.

Mrs. Lorraine had been standing aside from the piano. Noticing that Sheila had played the introduction to the song twice over in an undetermined manner, she came forward a step or two and pretended to be looking at the music. Tears were running down Sheila's face. Mrs. Lorraine put her hand on the girl's shoulder, and sheltered her from observation, and said aloud, "You have it in a different key, have you not? Pray don't sing it. Sing something else. Do you know any of Gounod's sacred songs? Let me see if we can find anything for you in this volume."

They were a long time finding anything in that volume. When they did find it, behold! it was one of Mrs. Lorraine's songs, and that young lady said if Mrs. Lavender would only allow herself to be superseded for a few minutes—And so Sheila walked, with her head down, to the conservatory, which was at the other end of the piano; and Mrs. Lorraine not only sung this French song, but sang every one of the verses; and at the end of it she had quite forgotten that Sheila had promised to sing.

"You are very sensitive," she said to Sheila, coming into the conservatory.

"I am very stupid," Sheila said with her face burning. "But it is a long time since I will see the Highlands—and Mr. Ingram was talking of the places I know—and—and so—"

"I understand well enough," said Mrs. Lorraine tenderly, as if Sheila were a mere child in her hands. "But you must not get your eyes red. You have to sing some of those Highland songs for us yet, when the gentlemen come in. Come up to my room and I will make your eyes all right. Oh, do not be afraid! I shall not bring you down like Lady [pg 483] Leveret. Did you ever see anything like that woman's face to-night? It reminds me of the window of an oil-and-color shop. I wonder she does not catch flies with her cheeks."

So all the people, Sheila learned that night, were going away from London, and soon she and her husband would join in the general stampede of the very last dwellers in town. But Mairi? What was to become of her after that little plot had been played out? Sheila could not leave Mairi to see London by herself: she had been enjoying beforehand the delight of taking the young girl about and watching the wonder of her eyes. Nor could she fairly postpone Mairi's visit, and Mairi was coming up in another couple of days.

On the morning on which the visitor from the far Hebrides was to make her appearance in London, Sheila felt conscious of a great hypocrisy in bidding good-bye to her husband. On some excuse or other she had had breakfast ordered early, and he found himself ready at half-past nine to go out for the day.

"Frank," she said, "will you come in to lunch at two?"

"Why?" he asked: he did not often have luncheon at home.

"I will go into the Park with you in the afternoon if you like," she said: all the scene had been diligently rehearsed on one side, before.

Lavender was a little surprised, but he was in an amiable mood.

"All right!" he said. "Have something with olives in it. Two, sharp."

With that he went out, and Sheila, with a wild commotion at her heart, saw him walk away through the square. She was afraid Mairi might have arrived before he left. And, indeed, he had not gone above a few minutes when a four-wheeler drove up, and an elderly man got out and waited for the timid-faced girl inside to alight. With a rush like that of a startled deer, Sheila was down the stairs, along the hall and on the pavement; and it was, "Oh, Mairi! and have you come at last? And are you very well? And how are all the people in Borva? And Mr. M'Alpine, how are you? and will you come into the house?"

Certainly, that was a strange sight for a decorous London square—the mistress of a house, a young girl with bare head, coming out on the pavement to shake hands in a frantic fashion with a young maid-servant and an elderly man whose clothes had been pretty well tanned by sunlight and sea-water! And Sheila would herself help to carry Mairi's luggage in. And she would take no denial from Mr. M'Alpine, whose luggage was also carried in. And she would herself pay the cabman, as strangers did not know about these things, Sheila's knowledge being exhibited by her hastily giving the man five shillings for driving from Euston Station. And there was breakfast waiting for them both as soon as Mairi could get her face washed; and would Mr. M'Alpine have a glass of whisky after the night's traveling?—and it was very good whisky whatever, as it had come all the way from Stornoway. Mr. M'Alpine was nothing loath.

"And wass you pretty well, Miss Sheila?" said Mairi, looking timidly and hastily up, and forgetting altogether that Sheila had another name now. "It will be a great thing for me to go back to sa Lewis, and tell them I wass seeing you, and you wass looking so well. And I will be thinking I wass neffer coming to any one I knew any more; and it is a great fright I hef had since we came away from sa Lewis; and I wass thinking we would neffer find you among all sa people and so far away across sa sea and sa land. Eh—!" The girl stopped in astonishment. Her eyes had wandered up to a portrait on the walls; and here, in this very room, after she had traveled over all this great distance, apparently leaving behind her everything but the memory of her home, was Mr. Mackenzie himself, looking at her from under his shaggy eyebrows.

"You must have seen that picture in Borva, Mairi," Sheila said. "Now come with me, like a good girl, and get yourself ready for breakfast. Do you know, Mairi, it does my heart good to hear you [pg 484] talk again? I don't think I shall be able to let you go back to the Lewis."

"But you hef changed ferry much in your way of speaking, Miss—Mrs. Lavender," said Mairi with an effort. "You will speak just like sa English now."

"The English don't say so," replied Sheila with a smile, leading the way up stairs.

Mr. M'Alpine had his business to attend to, but, being a sensible man, he took advantage of the profuse breakfast placed before him. Mairi was a little too frightened and nervous and happy to eat much, but Mr. M'Alpine was an old traveler, not to be put out by the mere meeting of two girls. He listened in a grave and complacent manner to the rapid questions and answers of Mairi and her hostess, but he himself was too busy to join in the conversation much. At the end of breakfast he accepted, after a little pressing, half a glass of whisky; and then, much comforted and in a thoroughly good-humor with himself and the world, got his luggage out again and went on his way toward a certain inn in High Holborn.

"Ay, and where does the queen live, Miss Sheila?" said Mairi. She had been looking at the furniture in Sheila's house, and wondering if the queen lived in a place still more beautiful than this.

"A long way from here."

"And it iss no wonder," said Mairi, "she will neffer hef been in sa Lewis. I wass neffer thinking the world wass so big, and it wass many a time since me and Mr. M'Alpine hef come away from Styornoway I wass thinking it wass too far for me effer to get back again. But it is many a one will say to me, before I hef left the Lewis, that I wass not to come home unless you wass coming too, and I wass to bring you back with me, Miss Sheila. And where is Bras, Miss Sheila?"

"You will see him by and by. He is out in the garden now." She said "gyarden" without knowing it.

"And will he understood the Gaelic yet?"

"Oh yes," Sheila said. "And he is sure to remember you."

There was no mistake about that. When Mairi went into the back garden the demonstrations of delight on the part of the great deerhound were as pronounced as his dignity and gravity would allow. And Mairi fairly fell upon his neck and kissed him, and addressed to him a hundred endearing phrases in Gaelic, every word of which it was quite obvious that the dog understood. London was already beginning to be less terrible to her. She had met and talked with Sheila. Here was Bras. A portrait of the King of Borva was hung up inside, and all round the rooms were articles which she had known in the North, before Sheila had married and brought them away into this strange land.

"You have never asked after my husband, Mairi," said Sheila, thinking she would confuse the girl.

But Mairi was not confused. Probably she had been fancying that Mr. Lavender was down at the shore, or had gone out fishing, or something of that sort, and would return soon enough. It was Sheila, not he, whom she was concerned about. Indeed, Mairi had caught up a little of that jealousy of Lavender which was rife among the Borva folks. They would speak no ill of Mr. Lavender. The young gentleman whom Miss Sheila had chosen had by that very fact a claim upon their respect. Mr. Mackenzie's son-in-law was a person of importance. And yet in their secret hearts they bore a grudge against him. What right had he to come away up to the North and carry off the very pride of the island? Were English girls not good enough for him, that he must needs come up and take away Sheila Mackenzie, and keep her there in the South so that her friends and acquaintances saw no more of her? Before the marriage Mairi had a great liking and admiration for Mr. Lavender. She was so pleased to see Miss Sheila pleased that she approved of the young man, and thanked him in her heart for making her cousin and mistress so obviously happy. Perhaps, indeed, Mairi managed to fall in love with him a little bit herself, merely by force of example and through sympathy with Sheila; and [pg 485] she was rapidly forming very good opinions of the English race and their ways and their looks. But when Lavender took away Sheila from Borva a change came over Mairi's sentiments. She gradually fell in with the current opinions of the island—that it was a great pity Sheila had not married young Mr. Maclntyre of Sutherland, or some one who would have allowed her to remain among her own people. Mairi began to think that the English, though they were handsome and good-natured and free with their money, were on the whole a selfish race, inconsiderate and forgetful of promises. She began to dislike the English, and wished they would stay in their own country, and not interfere with other people.

"I hope he is very well," said Mairi dutifully: she could at least say that honestly.

"You will see him at two o'clock. He is coming in to luncheon; and he does not know you are here, and you are to be a great surprise to him, Mairi. And there is to be a greater surprise still; for we are going to make one of the rooms into the drawing-room at home; and you must open your boxes, and bring me down the heather and the peat, Mairi, and the two bottles; and then, you know, when the salmon is on the table, and the whisky and the beer, and Bras lying on the hearth-rug, and the peat-smoke all through the room, then you will come in and shake hands with him, and he will think he is in Borva again."

Mairi was a little puzzled. She did not understand the intention of this strange thing. But she went and fetched the materials she had brought with her from Lewis, and Sheila and she set to work.

It was a pleasant enough occupation for this bright forenoon, and Sheila, as she heard Mairi's sweet Highland speech, and as she brought from all parts of the house the curiosities sent her from the Hebrides, would almost have fancied she was superintending a "cleaning" of that museum-like little drawing-room at Borva. Skins of foxes, seals and deer, stuffed eagles and strange fishes, masses of coral and wonderful carvings in wood brought from abroad, shells of every size from every clime,—all these were brought together into Frank Lavender's smoking-room. The ordinary ornaments of the mantelpiece gave way to fanciful arrangements of peacocks' feathers. Fresh-blown ling and the beautiful spikes of the bell-heather formed the staple of the decorations, and Mairi had brought enough to adorn an assembly-room.

"That is like the Lewis people," Sheila said with a laugh: she had not been in as happy a mood for many a day. "I asked you to bring one peat, and of course you brought two. Tell the truth, Mairi: could you have forced yourself to bring one peat?"

"I wass thinking it was safer to bring sa two," replied Mairi, blushing all over the fair and pretty face.

And indeed, there being two peats, Sheila thought she might as well try an experiment with one. She crumbled down some pieces, put them on a plate, lit them, and placed the plate outside the open window, on the sill. Presently a new, sweet, half-forgotten fragrance came floating in, and Sheila almost forgot the success of the experiment in the half-delighted, half-sad reminiscences called up by the scent of the peat. Mairi failed to see how any one could willfully smoke a house—any one, that is to say, who did not save the smoke for his thatch. And who was so particular as Sheila had been about having the clothes come in from the washing dried so that they should not retain this very odor that seemed now to delight her?

At last the room was finished, and Sheila contemplated it with much satisfaction. The table was laid, and on the white cloth stood the bottles most familiar to Borva. The peat-smoke still lingered in the air: she could not have wished anything to be better.

Then she went off to look after the luncheon, and Mairi was permitted to go down and explore the mysteries of the kitchen. The servants were not accustomed to this interference and oversight, and might have resented it, only that [pg 486] Sheila had proved a very good mistress to them, and had shown, too, that she would have her own way when she wanted it. Suddenly, as Sheila was explaining to Mairi the use of some particular piece of mechanism, she heard a sound that made her heart jump. It was now but half-past one, and yet that was surely her husband's foot in the hall. For a moment she was too bewildered to know what to do. She heard him go straight into the very room she had been decorating, the door of which she had left open. Then, as she went up stairs, with her heart still beating fast, the first thing that met her eye was a tartan shawl belonging to Mairi that had been accidentally left in the passage. Her husband must have seen it.

"Sheila, what nonsense is this?" he said.

He was evidently in a hurry, and yet she could not answer: her heart was throbbing too quickly.

"Look here," he said: "I wish you'd give up this grotto-making till to-morrow. Mrs. Kavanagh, Mrs. Lorraine and Lord Arthur Redmond are coming here to luncheon at two. I suppose you can get something decent for them. What is the matter? What is the meaning of all this?"

And then his eyes rested on the tartan shawl, which he had really not noticed before.

"Who is in the house?" he said. "Have you asked some washerwoman to lunch?"

Sheila managed at last to say, "It is Mairi come from Stornoway. I was thinking you would be surprised to see her when you came in."

"And these preparations are for her?"

Sheila said nothing: there was that in the tone of her husband's voice which was gradually bringing her to herself, and giving her quite sufficient firmness.

"And now that this girl has come up, I suppose you mean to introduce her to all your friends; and I suppose you expect those people who are coming in half an hour to sit down at table with a kitchen-maid?"

"Mairi," said Sheila, standing quite erect, but with her eyes cast down, "is my cousin."

"Your cousin! Don't be ridiculous, Sheila. You know very well that Mairi is nothing more or less than a scullery-maid; and I suppose you mean to take her out of the kitchen and introduce her to people, and expect her to sit down at table with them. Is not that so?" She did not answer, and he went on impatiently: "Why was I not told that this girl was coming to stay at my house? Surely I have some right to know what guests you invite, that I may be able at least to ask my friends not to come near the house while they are in it."

"That I did not tell you before—yes, that was a pity," said Sheila, sadly and calmly. "But it will be no trouble to you. When Mrs. Lorraine comes up at two o'clock there will be luncheon for her and for her friends. She will not have to sit down with any of my relations or with me, for if they are not fit to meet her, I am not; and it is not any great matter that I do not meet her at two o'clock."

There was no passion of any sort in the measured and sad voice, nor in the somewhat pale face and downcast eyes. Perhaps it was this composure that deceived Frank Lavender: at all events, he turned and walked out of the house, satisfied that he would not have to introduce this Highland cousin to his friends, and just as certain that Sheila would repent of her resolve and appear in the dining-room as usual.

Sheila went down stairs to the kitchen, where Mairi still stood awaiting her. She gave orders to one of the servants about having luncheon laid in the dining-room at two, and then she bade Mairi follow her up stairs.

"Mairi," she said, when they were alone, "I want you to put your things in your trunk at once—in five minutes if you can: I shall be waiting for you."

"Miss Sheila!" cried the girl, looking up to her friend's face with a sudden fright seizing her heart, "what is the matter with you? You are going to die!"

"There is nothing the matter, Mairi. I am going away."

[pg 487]

She uttered the words placidly, but there was a pained look about the lips that could not be concealed, and her face, unknown to herself, had the whiteness of despair in it.

"Going away!" said Mairi, in a bewildered way. "Where are you going, Miss Sheila?"

"I will tell you by and by. Get your trunk ready, Mairi. You are keeping me waiting."

Then she called for a servant, who was sent for a cab; and by the time the vehicle appeared Mairi was ready to get into it, and her trunk was put on the top. Then, clad in the rough blue dress that she used to wear in Borva, and with no appearance of haste or fear in the calm and death-like face, Sheila came out from her husband's house and found herself alone in the world. There were two little girls, the daughters of a neighbor, passing by at the time: she patted them on the head and bade them good-morning. Could she recollect, five minutes thereafter, having seen them? There was a strange and distant look in her eyes.

She got into the cab and sat down by Mairi, and then took the girl's hand. "I am sorry to take you away, Mairi," she said; but she was apparently not thinking of Mairi, nor of the house she was leaving, nor yet of the vehicle in which she was so strangely placed. Was she thinking of a certain wild and wet day in the far Hebrides, when a young bride stood on the decks of a great vessel and saw the home of her childhood and the friends of her youth fade back into the desolate waste of the sea? Perhaps there may have been some unconscious influence in this picture to direct her movements at this moment, for of definite resolves she had none. When Mairi told her that the cabman wanted to know whither he was to drive, she merely answered, "Oh yes, Mairi, we will go to the station;" and Mairi added, addressing the man, "It was the Euston Station." Then they drove away.

"Are you going home?" said the young girl, looking up with a strange foreboding and sinking of the heart to the pale face and distant eyes—"Are you going home, Miss Sheila?"

"Oh yes, we are going home, Mairi," was the answer she got, but the tone in which it was uttered filled her mind with doubt, and something like despair.



"Ended at last

Those wondrous dreams, so beautifully told!

It seems that I have through enchantment passed,

And lived and loved in that fair court of old.

"Yes, yes, I know—

The old Greek idylls about which you rave,

Theocritus and his melodious flow

Of verse, and all that Moschus sang o'er Bion's grave.

"You've shown me oft

How far superior all that they have said—

That Tennyson has learned to soar aloft

By seeking inspiration from the greater dead.

[pg 488]

"And yet in me

A pulse is never stirred by what they sing:

The reason I know not, unless it be

Their idylls are not Idylls of the King.

"You smile: no doubt

You think I've never learned to criticise.

Perhaps so, yet I feel that which I speak about.

And Enim is the last! Well, no more sighs;

"For spring is here:

I have no time to waste in dreamings vain.

After our marriage—nay, you need not sneer—

We will read all the idylls through again."

"So shall it be

So long as lives the love which poets sing.

The harp is still, yet is begun for thee

A lifelong dream—the idyll of thy king."




About six o'clock every evening the beau monde of Calcutta begins to take the air on the Course, a very pleasant drive which runs along the bank of the river. It is usually crowded with carriages, but it must be confessed that none of them would be likely to excite the envy of an owner of a fashionable turn-out at home, unless indeed it might be now and then for the sake of the occupants.

Long before the Course begins to thin it is almost dark, and then, if the poor lounger is "unattached," and is sharing his buggy with a friend as unfortunate as himself, the general effect of the scene before him is the most interesting object for his gaze. The carriages continue to whirl past, but one sees hardly more of them than their lamps. The river glides, cold and shining, a long silvery light under the opposite bank, while trees and masts and rigging relieve themselves against the golden bars of the distant sky. But the band ceases to play, and every one goes home to dress.

If the traveler chooses, he may find many an amusing drive in the native parts of the town. Tall Sikhs, whose hair and beards have never known scissors or razor, and who stride along with a swagger and high-caste dignity; effeminate Cingalese; Hindoo clerks, smirking, conceited and dandified too, according to their own notions; almost naked palkee-bearers, who nevertheless, if there is the slightest shower, put up an umbrella to protect their shaven crowns; up-country girls with rings in their noses and rings on their toes; little Bengalee beauties; Parsees, Chinese, Greeks, Jews and Armenians, in every variety of costume, are to be seen bargaining on the quays, chaffering in the bazaars, loading and unloading the ships, trotting along under their water-skins, driving their bullock-carts, smoking their hookahs or squatting in the shade.

We have had the good fortune, thanks to our interest in native manners and customs, to make the acquaintance of a Hindoo merchant, a millionaire and a [pg 489] bon vivant, on whom his religion sits somewhat lightly. We might, if we had not been otherwise engaged, have dined with him this evening. He would have been delighted to receive us, and would have treated us with abundant hospitality and kindness. The dinner would have been of a composite character, partly European, partly native. A sort of rissole of chicken would certainly have been one of the dishes, and with equal certainty would have met with your approval: the curry, too, would have satisfied you, even if you had just come from Madras or Singapore. There would have been knives and forks for us: our convives would not have made much use of the latter, and some of the dishes on which they would have exercised their fingers would hardly have tempted us. The champagne and claret are excellent, and our host, Hindoo as he is, is not sparing in his libations; and at the same time he and his countrymen would have been vociferous in pressing us to eat and drink, filling our glasses the moment they were empty, and heaping our plates with the choicest morsels. After all, however, perhaps we have had no great loss in missing the dinner. We shall enjoy the pleasant drive, and by being a little late shall escape the not very delightful sound of various stringed instruments being tuned. Arrived, we leave our horse and buggy to the care of some most cutthroat-looking individuals, who crowd round with much noise and gesticulation, wondering who and what we are, while the noise brings out a sort of majordomo, who recognizes us as friends of the master, and soon clears a way for us across the courtyard, takes us up a flight of steps, and ushers us into a long and tolerably well-lighted room. Our host comes forward with outstretched hands, and with great cordiality welcomes and presents us to his friends. We can't understand all he says, for his English at the best is not always intelligible, and he is now particularly talkative and jolly: it is evident he has dined. There is a great noise; every one is talking and laughing; and the talking is loud, for it has to overcome the sounds made by sundry musicians seated at the other end of the room, who are striking their tomtoms and singing a most doleful chant. The baboo bustles about, and makes vacant for us two sofas, the places of honor. Little marble tables are before them, on which are placed wine, brandy and soda-water. The other guests resume their seats along the two sides of the room on our right and left. There are eight or ten men and two or three ladies; the ladies very handsomely dressed. Lower down are several young girls in light drapery, laughing, talking and smoking their hookahs. The fair sex look rather scared and shyly at the foreigners, but some of the men are evidently trying to reassure them. Order being at length restored, our cheroots lighted and our iced brandy-pawnee made ready, the performance recommences. The corps de ballet are not hired for the occasion, but form part of the establishment of our friend the baboo. One of the girls seated near the musician advances slowly, in time with the music, to within a few feet of one of our sofas, and she is followed by another, who places herself opposite the other sofa. Others in the same way prepare to dance before the other guests. They all stand for a moment in a languid and graceful attitude, the music strikes up a fresh air, and each nautch-girl assumes the first position of her dance. She stands with outstretched arm and hand, quivering them, and allowing her body very slightly to partake of the same movement. Her feet mark the time of the music, not by being raised, but by merely pressing the floor with the toes. The action and movement thus seem to run like a wave through the body, greatest where it begins in the hand, and gradually diminishing as it dies away in the foot. With a change of time in the accompaniment the girl drops her arm, advances a step or two nearer the person before whom she is dancing, and leans back, supporting her whole weight on one foot, with the other put forward, and pressing against the floor the border of her drapery.

In her hands she holds a little scarf, [pg 490] which serves to give a motive to the action of the arms and head. The movement in this figure, which admits of great variety, no two performers being at all alike in it, is somewhat stronger than in the first. The undulation, too, instead of dying away gradually from its commencement, runs with equal force, like the line of an S, through the body. Without any pause in the music the dancer sometimes glides imperceptibly into, sometimes begins with startling suddenness, the next movement. The general position remains what it was before, but to describe how its principle of life and motion seems concentrated below the dancer's waist, and from thence flows in undulating streams, to flash from or to dull, according to her organization, the eyes, and to crisp the child-like feet with which she grasps the carpet, is for me impossible. A Gavarni might draw what would recall this wonderful pantomime to the brain of one who had seen it, but nothing but his own imagination could suggest it to him who had not. One of these girls is a perfect actress: numberless shades of expression pass over her delicate features, but the prevailing one is a beseeching, supplicating look. We administer to her, as the custom is, some rupees in token of our admiration, and with an arch smile the no longer supplicating damsel passes on.

A vague notion prevails that a nautch is a very naughty and improper exhibition. My experience is limited, but I must say that in the few I have seen there was nothing that a sergent de mile at Mabille could have objected to. Certainly, no one who retains a seat during the performance of a ballet can say a word on the subject. If the charge of indelicacy is to be brought against either, it would, I think, weigh most heavily against the latter. The Indian dance is voluptuous and graceful, as a dance should be; which is more than can be affirmed of a ballet of the French school, some of the attitudes of which are certainly not addressed only to the sense of beauty. But it was now late, and, although the festivities showed no signs of abatement, we bade our host adieu and returned home.



Not in Danbury. No: life has too many vicissitudes in that Connecticut borough. It presents too kaleidoscopic an appearance to suit my style. Family catastrophes succeed each other at a brisker rate than I am used to. I shouldn't relish being a Danbury man on North street or South street: indeed, if you urge the thing, not even on East, West or any other street. I could by no manner of means hope to get reconciled to the accidents, you know. It is climatic, I suppose—an exhilarating air. I should be attempting all sorts of impossible feats, my sickly failures would of course get into the papers, and chagrin, dismay and general discomfort would be my earthly lot. I am not ambitious to undertake teaching the family to rock the cradle, fry doughnuts, do the family ironing and coax our stray hens into the coop, all in one motion. Nor am I impatient to get up in the moonlight with the idea buzzing in my brain that burglars have arrived, and after putting two or three pounds of lead into our best cow, to creep back to bed feeling badly, like a second Alexander, that there's no more glory. Really, I haven't enterprise enough for Danbury.

Now, there are men who ought to start off at once and move into that town. A wide-awake, bustling fellow, who craves excitement, who is never happy unless whirling around like a bobbin with a ten-per-cent. semi-annual dividend to earn, who is on hand at all the dog-fights, Irish funerals, runaway teams, tenement fires, razor-strop matinées, and public convulsions generally,—such a man, if he went well recommended, would be likely to find, I imagine, constant employment in the town of Danbury. He might make arrangements to take his meals on the jump, and would sleep of course with his hat and boots on. Browne is mercurial. Browne would be happy in Danbury. Till he died. For a fortnight, say—one brief, glowing, ecstatic fortnight. Fourteen giddy days [pg 491] would surely finish him. Imagine Browne (him of the eagle eye) up in the morning, his face washed, hair combed, breakfast taken aboard, and everything trim and tight for sailing out into the surging whirlpool of Danbury locals. We see him fold the substantial Mrs. B. to his manly bosom and discharge a parent's duty toward the little Brownes. We see him tear himself from the bosom of his family. It is affecting, as those things usually are.

Browne gains the street, backing out of his gate as he blows a superfluous kiss to Miss Tilly Browne, his youngest. He lurches, just as you may expect, into a stout market-woman laden with eggs and garden vegetables. She careens wildly, and plunges into a baby-cart that is pushing by. The darling occupant of fourteen months is smothered in a raw omelet and frescoed over the eye by bunches of asparagus. The cries of the sweet little cherub would melt the stoutest heart. The market-lady caracoles around, and leads Browne to infer that his conduct is not approved, from her festooning that gentleman's eyes with heavy lines of crape. Mrs. Browne arrives on the scene. The baby goes into fits. The fast-assembling crowd cry "Shame!" and Browne, after trying in vain to apologize, seeks the shelter of a hack and makes good his escape.

He descends at Main street, just in time to observe the man with the ladder and paint-pot working his way up along. That genius is smashing in store fronts and dropping paint liberally on the population. However, as he does this twice a day regularly through the week, it does not appear to attract much attention, except from strangers.

The fat gentleman who is in training to remove pieces of orange-peel from the sidewalk has already begun his labor of love for the day. He is just getting up and dusting himself as Browne goes by. There is nothing fresh in this either, so Browne does not stop. He merely nods and hurries on.

That Danbury youth who gets snarled up so badly when he is sent to do anything, and who has lived through no end of mustard plaster and other soothing applications, is standing in a doorway whistling. Browne conceives it to be a capital idea to waylay this boy and interview him. But, as if divining Browne's purpose, the young hero gives a war-whoop and dives down a side alley. Browne will write up the interview just the same, though.

Browne sees something lively now, something Danburian. A fire company in lobster-colored shirts turn into Main street, aided and abetted by a brass band hired by the job to play furiously. Browne admires the gallant firemen as they step along bravely, winking at the pretty girls on either side—at the machine which glistens in the sun, and maintains a lively jingling of bells and brass-work as it joggles over the pavement. "Ah," thinks Browne, "this is gorgeous!" It is. Browne's instincts are generally correct.

The man who assists in carrying the bass drum has a sore thumb, a sensitively sore thumb. Nothing more natural, when Sherman goes "marching through Georgia," than that this thumb should come in for a share of attention. The bang it gets sends the acutest pain running up and down its owner's spine. In a frenzy (in a moment, we may say, of emotional insanity) he draws a tomahawk and buries it in the head of the captain of that bass drum. The infuriated musician, supposing it to be the cornet who has mutinied, at once gets his Smith & Wesson in range. When the smoke has cleared away three shots are found to have taken effect—two of them in a span of high-stepping horses attached to the elegant turnout of old Mrs. P——. That estimable lady is spilled into the third-story window of an establishment where sits our old friend Hannah binding shoes. The shock so far upsets poor Hannah's reason that she turns a blood-curdling somersault out upon an awning, bounces back, and on her return trip carries away a swinging sign and a barber's pole. These heavy articles strike on a copper soda-fountain, which explodes with a fearful noise, and mortally wounds a colored man [pg 492] uninsured against accident. (Full particulars for the next twelve months in the insurance journals.) The gallant boys in red flannel, assuming from the commotion that a fire must be under way in the neighborhood, set the machine to work in a twinkling. The leading hoseman in his hurry rams his bouquet into the fire-box, tries to screw his silver trumpet on the end of the hose, and stands on his stiff glazed hat to find out what kind of strategy is needed. Then they proceed to drown out an ice-cream saloon on the wrong side of the street.

Browne is happy. He climbs a lamppost, and sets to work taking notes as fast as his pencil can fly. Somebody, mistaking his coat-tail pockets for the post-office, drops in a set of public documents (it is the last day of franking), which so interferes with Browne's equilibrium that he falls over backward into an ash-barrel, after getting out of which he finds it rests him to write with his pencil in his teeth. At last order is restored, the thumb is repaired, and the procession, getting untangled, moves off to the inspiriting strains of "Ain't you glad," etc.

Browne mixes in two more scenes before lunch. In the afternoon there's a balloon ascension, where everything goes up but the balloon; and a croquet-party brim full of eccentricities. Browne picks up half a dozen juvenile and domestic incidents, hardly worth alluding to, and goes home, through a series of adventures, to find a tall, raw-boned horse, a total stranger, walking over his flower-beds and occasionally looking in at the windows. Browne's skirmishes around the animal (the whole campaign together) cost him about thirty dollars.

I resign Danbury to Browne. Though there's a capital fellow there whom I should like to see, I'd rather not go down there and pay taxes.



In the August number of this magazine a narrative is given of a ghostly appearance which haunted a house in a seaside town. The writer states that she was not an actor in its scenes, nor was it related to her by one who was. Having more than once heard the story from the lips of the principal witness of the events, Mrs. M—— of Newport, I can confirm the correctness of the narrative, in the main. Some of the particulars, however, having been altered in the transmission, I will give my version, to the best of my remembrance.

When Mrs. M—— hired the house, which had been for some time vacant, she found it difficult to procure or keep servants. This in itself is not uncommon, but in this case there was something more. The servants complained of being disturbed at night by a woman who walked the chambers with a white hood upon her head—not a sun-bonnet, as I am glad to state, which is certainly a more commonplace head-dress. Some of the neighbors were also asking from time to time who that woman was who sat at the upper hall window in a white hood. It could not have been a little boy who was disturbed by the strange woman, for Mrs. M—— had no son, but one of the daughters when sitting in the upper hall on a hot evening, and making the remark that it was very warm, heard the reply from out of the darkness, "I am so cold!"

As in Mrs. Hooper's version, the dénoûment was brought about by the aid of a clergyman. Men of this profession have always been considered the most efficient guardians against the powers of darkness. He, with the help of Mrs. M——, made the excavation in the cellar which brought to light the half-consumed skeleton. Here, unfortunately, is a gap in the evidence. The remains were pronounced by medical authority to be human, but was that authority reliable? was that doctor skilled in comparative anatomy? If not, the bones might have been those of a sheep, buried perchance in the cellar by a provident dog.

The house still stands, or did recently, in Washington street. The builder was a sea-captain returning after a long absence with plenty of money, supposed by the townspeople to have been [pg 493] acquired in the slave-trade or by piracy. There was also a young woman, house-keeper to this Captain Kidd, who disappeared about the time that he did himself.

Mrs. M—— was fond of narrating this story, and, having a pretty talent that way, she had versified it; though I am bound to say that in plain prose it was much more effective. She was an Englishwoman, had seen much of the world, and was a person of considerable reading and cultivation. She had moral and physical courage in an uncommon degree, and was thoroughly reliable, so that this story is to me as well authenticated as one can well be at second hand.

I have another incident of the same shadowy and quasi-supernatural kind to relate, which took place in the same street of that town, formerly much affected by ghosts and other supernatural appearances. I say formerly, for what spirit, however perturbed, could revisit the glimpses of the moon in a modern villa, or abide long within the sound of the steam-whistle?

Some years ago I was living in Newport in an old-fashioned house, also built by a retired sea-captain in the early part of the century, but, unlike the other, there were no tales of terror connected with it that I ever heard of. At 1 p.m. on a winter's day, in the midst of a furious snow-storm, as we sat at dinner, we heard a commotion in the kitchen. Instead of the expected joint, enter a pallid woman: "Oh, please come out and see Martha!" The lady of the house hastened to the kitchen, and found Martha, the cook, almost fainting upon a chair. "What is the matter?" As soon as she could speak she gasped out, "Oh, that face at the window!" The window of the kitchen looked out upon the garden, which had a high fence all around it. I at once ran out to see if any person was there: the ground was covered with a pure and untrodden surface of snow six or eight inches deep. This was rather startling, when inside the window a woman was fainting at the sight of some fearful appearance on the outside. I looked out on the street, which ran alongside the garden fence, and which was not much of a thoroughfare. There were no tracks to be seen in the snow. No human foot had lately been in the garden.

When the woman came to herself, she said that, suddenly looking up, she saw a female face with an agonized expression looking in at her from the window. On being asked if it was any one whom she knew, she replied that the face seemed familiar, but that she could not recall the name that belonged to it. After reflection she said that it looked like a daughter of hers whom she had not seen since she was a child. The girl had been brought up by a lady in another State, and was now a married woman, living in Vermont.

About a week afterward, Martha received a letter from the lady who had brought up her daughter, informing her that the young woman had recently died after a short illness, and that her great anxiety seemed to be to see her mother before she died. Some time after I wrote to the town indicated to ascertain the exact time of the young woman's death. The husband had moved away immediately after the funeral, but the town clerk replied that a person of the name mentioned had died there about the time mentioned in my letter. Here came the fatal gap in the evidence, which always seems to prevent the chain being perfect. If I could have obtained a certificate of the death having occurred on the day of the snow-storm, I should have found myself nearer to a ghost than I ever expect to be again till I become one myself.



Treatises on the "language of flowers" should, to be complete, give a chapter on their political significance. England had her War of the Roses; and of this contest a mild travesty may possibly be furnished in a French "Strife of the Flowers". The violet is the Bonapartist badge, and when, last spring, the emperor died in exile, and his partisans sought to show some outward token of their fidelity to his memory and his [pg 494] cause, violets began to bloom profusely in buttonholes as the half disguised emblem of the outlawed party. But there was one unexpected result of this demonstration, for in republican Marseilles the flower-merchants found their trade in violets declining, owing to the popular distrust of this once favorite and unassuming flower. It is almost incredible that the third city of France should have so thrown down the gauntlet to one of the sweetest gifts of Nature. But if upon the innocent violet is to be heaped the curse of Sedan, then when Bourbonism lifts its abashed head are lilies to be proscribed in the Lyons market as violets were darkly suspected in Marseilles? And if the radicals should make the red poppy their symbol, would it in turn be scorned by the lovers of the lily? If so, with the numerous parties, new and old, in France, what flower could a Frenchman wear or cultivate without danger of being mobbed by the partisans of some other emblem in politics?

Thousands of people who have passed the summer in the country, and have been accustomed to take long drives, will testify to noticing one great lack on the highways of our country. This lack is that of guide-posts. There is no more effectual way of giving a traveler a vivid impression of the sparsity of settlement in a rural district than to let him lose his way. Regions which he might otherwise have fancied to be densely peopled will seem to him strangely depopulated. In cities, where a hundred people can always be found between any two streets to tell you your whereabouts, we yet scrupulously post up signs at every corner; but in the country, where you may travel a mile before meeting a man or a house, hardly one in five of the junctions of thoroughfares are marked with guide-boards. This lack is perhaps more serious in the suburbs of large cities than elsewhere, since in thinly-settled districts the main road at least is generally easy to keep. Occasionally the post is a mocker, its painted letters being suffered to grow so dim with time as not to be decipherable; or perhaps the board has been carried off by a gale, or else turned the wrong way by some joker, who relies on the authorities to neglect the mischief. It would save much time and temper for wayfarers were guide-boards multiplied fourfold in all parts of the country.

When Von Moltke had conquered France, his first care for the future was to protect Germany, by the seizure of the French frontier fortresses, from all danger of successful attack in time to come; yet at Belfort one gap in the line has been left in the keeping of France—possibly, like the heel of Achilles, the point at which a hostile shaft may one day wound the German empire. The Berlin Börsenzeitung, which claims that with Metz, Strasburg, Mayence, Coblentz and Cologne, and with the enlargement of Ulm and Ingoldstadt and the new line of Bavarian defence, "Germany has a barrier of fortresses unequaled in the world," yet admits that the project of establishing a new German fortress near Mulhouse or Huningue, "so as to take the place of Belfort," has now been abandoned—a fact which seems to show that there is one little loophole in the defensive armor of Germany, otherwise invulnerable.

"A man may steal the livery of Heaven to serve the devil in." It has always been a favorite device of Napoleonism to dress itself up in the garb of popular government, and to appropriate the peculiar phrases of democracy, with a view to confound the distinction between the sovereign will of one and the sovereign will of the many. Napoleon III. enjoyed proclaiming himself the great champion of universal suffrage, although what his plébiscites really were the caustic pen of Kinglake has told us. The other day the French imperialists celebrated at Chiselhurst the fête of the late emperor; and there Prince Louis had the audacity to say: "Planting myself as an exile near the tomb of the emperor, I represent his teachings, which may be summarized in the motto, 'Govern for the people, by the people.'" The motto was a double plagiarism—a plagiarism [pg 495] in idea from the republican theory, and a plagiarism in expression from the immortal phrase, "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," pronounced by Lincoln at Gettysburg.

The most sensible, manly and independent address made to the shah during his European tour was, we think, the speech of welcome delivered by the president of the Swiss Confederation. We may premise that the shah is the first sovereign who, as such, has become the guest of Switzerland since the meeting of the Council of Constance in the fifteenth century. Still, the Swiss people did not show themselves overcome, but received their guest with a sober and dignified cordiality—a sail, a dinner without speeches, and a magnificent illumination of Geneva and the lake providing the entertainment. On arriving at the railroad station the shah was greeted by the Swiss president in words which we render literally as follows: "Royal Majesty: I welcome you in the name of the authorities of the Swiss Confederation. You do not expect to find here the sumptuous greeting of the great nations which surround us. We have to show you neither a standing army nor the splendors of a fleet. You come into the midst of a people that owes to liberty and to labor the place that it has made for itself in Europe, and it is in the name of this free people that the Federal Council offers you hospitality." The severe simplicity of this address is the more tasteful since its strength and manliness do not rob it of a tithe of its courtesy, which last quality becomes indeed all the more striking from the absence of that Oriental profusion of epithets and compliments which the shah had received at every previous step in his European travels.


The Intellectual Life. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

A man of fair culture and a frequenter of cultured society pleads in these pages the attractions of an intellectual bias or life-training: he pleads to all accessible classes—to the curate and to the nobleman, "to a country gentleman who regretted that his son had the tendencies of a dilettante," "to a lady of high culture who found it difficult to associate with persons of her own sex," and so on. Over seventy different addresses are included, each in the form of a letter, which, though not necessarily ever posted, is really aimed at a specific person known to the author and distinctively spoken to. The effort is to reconcile culture with the world of practice and morals, and answer or forestall the objections of religion or utilitarianism. Mr. Hamerton talks with great self-possession to the highest class within ear-shot, and matches a late stricture of Mr. Ruskin's—that English noblemen exist to shoot little birds—with another on the influence of railways in sending back the upper ranks to a state of nomadic barbarism. "Their life," he says, "may be quite accurately described as a return, on a scale of unprecedented splendor and comfort, to the life of tribes in that stage of human development which is known as the period of the chase: they migrate from one hunting-ground to another as the diminution of the game impels them." He points out a curious reaction in the spirit of this class: formerly they loved to lard their speech with Latin and Greek to keep the ignorant in their places; but now, that cheap education has endowed the tradesman with Latin and Greek, there is a tendency to feel toward intellectual culture much as the barons did away back in the Dark Ages, and to outdazzle by mere show of costly pleasure the class they can no longer excel in learned polish. After all, the great question in recommending culture is the question of its effect on morals: if the effect of poetry and art is weakening to the moral sense, as many [pg 496] have claimed from Socrates to Augustine, then letters have no ethical reason for existence. Our author, who has a habit of continually turning his tapestry to see the aspect of the other side, is very sensible of a characteristic in people of extreme culture to allow Nature her most contradictory reactions. This tendency, opposed as it is to all our ideal conceptions of the intellectual life, is the merest commonplace of biography. "The most exquisitely delicate artists in literature and painting have frequently had reactions of incredible coarseness. Within the Chateaubriand of Atala there existed an obscene Chateaubriand that would burst forth in talk that no biographer would repeat. I have heard the same thing of the sentimental Lamartine. We know that Turner, dreamer of enchanted landscapes, took the pleasures of a sailor on the spree. A friend said to me of one of the most exquisite living geniuses, 'You can have no conception of the coarseness of his tastes: he associates with the very lowest women, and enjoys their rough brutality.'" To this specious and damaging objection our author makes the excellent reply, that in observing whole classes we generally see an advance in morals go along with an advance in culture. The gentleman of the present day is superior to his forefather whom Fielding described: he is better read and better educated, and at the same time more sober and more chaste. The man of genius does not, then, by his oscillations of temperament, retard or misdirect the company whose course he points. It is an interesting question, nevertheless, what are the moral standards of our apologist for the intellectual life, and what degree of ethical perfection would satisfy him in a world of various spheres all regenerated by culture. There is one letter in which he undertakes to pick out the special virtue which most helps his ideal way of life, and here, in chanting the praises of disinterestedness, he takes rather a superior tone toward so homespun a grace as honesty: "The truth is, that mere honesty, though a most respectable and necessary virtue, goes a very little way toward the forming of an effective intellectual character." This refinement of ethics, which leaves the humdrum commandments away out of sight, is doubtless very fine, but we cannot be sure that Mr. Hamerton has the same standard for all the different strata of people whom he addresses. Pretty soon we find him addressing a young clergyman, who appears to have apprehensions lest intellectual doubts may come to disturb his satisfaction in Bible-teaching. To this the author replies with the following odd encouragement: "It may be observed, however, that the regular performance of priestly functions is in itself a great help to permanence in belief by connecting it closely with practical habit, so that the clergy do really and honestly often retain through life their hold on early beliefs which as laymen they might have lost." This hint on the efficacy of continued rowing for stopping a leak in the bottom, if it be really meant for encouragement, shows an odd principle of honor, if not of "honesty." When it comes to the large and attractive class which some persons call "females," Mr. Hamerton abandons with ready grace his moral colors, and falls at once into the easiest tones proper to a man of the world. "You must not be didactic with ladies," he says; and in the capital story about the mother-in-law he appears to side with the polite French gendre who said to every proposition, "Yes, mother dear, you are quite right," and to have much sympathy with the learned Scotch lawyer who observed that there was not whisky enough in all Scotland to make him frank with his wife. Mr. Hamerton, in fact, spoiled son of fortune that he is, cannot keep for a long time the austerity of tone which belongs to a deliberate apology for culture: he therefore does what is better in taking the desirableness of his ideal for granted, and in lifting it out of the sloughs into which it has fallen in the muddy minds of many sorts of people, by pleasantly talking and chatting, en attendant that Hercules shall come down and shoulder on the car of progress.

Books Received.

The City of Mocross, and its Famous Physician. By the author of "Morcroft Hatch," etc. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Tom Racquet, and his Three Maiden Aunts. By Frank E. Smedley. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

Miriam Rosenbaum: A Story of Jewish Life. By Rev. Dr. Edersheim. Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Frank Fairleigh. By Frank E. Smedley. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers.

Jessie's Work: A Story for Girls. Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt. Jessie's Work: A Story for Girls. Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt.