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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 26, July 1880

Author: Various

Release date: February 23, 2010 [eBook #31365]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Josephine Paolucci and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at








Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



[Pg 3]

A Chapter of American Exploration. (Illustrated.)William H. Rideing393
Adam and EveAuthor of "Dorothy Fox"42, 147, 290, 411, 547, 666
A Forgotten American WorthyCharles Burr Todd68
A Graveyard IdylHenry A. Beers484
A Great SingerLucy H. Hooper507
American Aëronauts. (Illustrated.)Will O. Bates137
Americans AbroadAlain Gore466
An Episode of Spanish ChivalryProf. T. F. Crane747
An Historical Rocky-Mountain Outpost. (Illustrated.)George Rex Buckman649
An Old English Home: Bramshill HouseRose G. Kingsley163
An Open Look at the Political Situation118
A Pivotal PointWilliam M. Baker559
AutomatismDr. H. C. Wood627, 755
A Villeggiatura in AsisiAuthor of "Signor Monaldini's Niece"308
Bauble WishartAuthor of "Flitters, Tatters and the Counsellor"719
Canoeing on the High Mississippi. (Illustrated.)A. H. Siegfried171, 279
Dungeness, General Greene's Sea-Island PlantationFrederick A. Ober.241
Ekoniah Scrub: Among Florida Lakes. (Illustrated.)Louise Seymour Houghton265
Findelkind of Martinswand: A Child's StoryOuida438
Gas-Burning, and its ConsequencesGeorge J. Varney734
Glimpses of Portugal and the Portuguese. (Illustrated.)473
Heinrich HeineA. Parker604
Horse-Racing in France. (Illustrated.)L. Lejeune321, 452
How she Kept her Vow: A Narrative of FactsS. G. W. Benjamin594
"Kitty"Lawrence Buckley503
Limoges, and its PorcelainGeorge L. Catlin576
Mallston's YoungestM. H. Catherwood189
Mrs. Marcellus. By a Guest at her SaturdaysOlive Logan613
Mrs. Pinckney's Governess336
National Music an Interpreter of National CharacterAmelia E. Barr181
Newport a Hundred Years AgoFrances Pierrepont North351
On Spelling ReformM. B. C. True111
On the Skunk RiverLouise Coffin Jones56
Our Grandfathers' Temples. (Illustrated.)Charles F. Richardson678
Paradise Plantation. (Illustrated.)Louise Seymour Houghton19
Seven Weeks a MissionaryLouise Coffin Jones424
Short Studies in the Picturesque William Sloan Kennedy375
Studies in the Slums—Helen Campbell
        III. Nan; or, A Girl's Life103
        IV. Jack213
        V. Diet and its Doings362
        VI. Jan of the North498
The Απαξ Αεγομενα in ShakespeareProf. James D. Butler742
The Arts of India. (Illustrated.)Jennie J. Young532
The Authors of "Froufrou"J. Brander Matthews711
The Early Days of MormonismFrederic G. Mather198
The Mistakes of Two PeopleMargaret Bertha Wright567
The Palace of the Leatherstonepaughs. (Illustrated.)Margaret Bertha Wright9
The Practical History of a PlayWilliam H. Rideing586
The Price of SafetyE. W. Latimer698
The Ruin of Me. (Told by a Young Married Man.)Mary Dean369
[Pg 4]
The Ruins of the Colorado Valley. (Illustrated.)Alfred Terry Bacon521
Through the Yellowstone Park to Fort CusterS. Weir Mitchell, M. D.29
WestbrookAlice Ilgenfritz218
Where Lightning StrikesGeorge J. Varney232
Will Democracy Tolerate a Permanent Class of National Office-holders?690

Literature of the Day, comprising Reviews of the following Works:

Arr, E. H.—New England Bygones392
Auerbach, Berthold—Brigitta775
Ayres, Anne—The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg135
Black, William—White Wings: A Yachting Romance775
Forrester, Mrs.—Roy and Viola775
Fothergill, Jessie—The Wellfields775
Green, John Richard—History of the English People774
Laffan, May—Christy Carew133
L'Art: revue hebdomadaíre illustrée. Sixième année, Tome II517
Mahaffy, M. A., Rev. J. P.—A History of Classical Greek Literature261
Mrs. Beauchamp Brown518
Nichol, John—Byron. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)645
Piatt, John James—Pencilled Fly-Leaves: A Book of Essays in Town and Country648
Scoones, W. Baptiste—Four Centuries of English Letters647
Smith, Goldwin—William Cowper. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)263
Stephen, Leslie—Alexander Pope. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)389
Symington, Andrew James—Samuel Lover: A Biographical Sketch. With Selections from his Writings and Correspondence391
Taylor, Bayard—Critical Essays and Literary Notes519
        "        "        —Studies in German Literature519
The American Art Review, Nos. 8 and 9520
Walford, L. B.—Troublesome Daughters775
Wikoff, Henry—The Reminiscences of an Idler135

Our Monthly Gossip, comprising the following Articles:

A Child's Autobiography, 770; A Legion of Devils, 257; A Little Ireland in America, 767; A Natural Barometer, 517; An Unfinished Page of History, 764; A Plot for an Historical Novel, 385; A Sermon to Literary Aspirants, 637; Civil-Service Reform and Democratic Ideas, 762; Concerning Night-Noises, 253; Condition of the People in the West of Ireland, 514; Conservatory Life in Boston, 511; Edelweiss, 126; Fate of an Old Companion of Napoleon III., 516; High Jinks on the Upper Mississippi, 515; Our New Visitors, 388; People's Houses: A Dialogue, 640; Prayer-Meeting Eloquence, 129; Seeing is Believing, 642; Spoiled Children, 128; Tabarin, the French Merry-Andrew, 255; The Demidoffs, 259; The Jardin d'Acclimatation of Paris, 130; The Miseries of Camping Out, 387; The Paris Salon of 1880, 381; "Time Turns the Tables," 642; Unreformed Spelling, 388; Wanted—A Real Gainsborough, 772; "Western Memorabilia," 250.


A VengeanceEdgar Fawcett211
DawnJohn B. Tabb612
Delectatio Piscatoria. The Upper KennebecHoratio Nelson Powers367
From FarPhilip Bourke Marston465
LostMary B. Dodge665
My TreasureH. L. Leonard109
PossessionEliza Calvert Hall162
ShelleyJ. B. Tabb18
Teresa di FaenzaEmma Lazarus83
The Home of the GentiansHoward Glyndon350
The King's GiftsEmily A. Braddock718
The Sea's SecretG. A. Davis240
Three RosesJulia C. R. Dorr585
Under the GrassesDora Reed Goodale502

[Pg 9]

Lippincott's Magazine



JULY, 1880.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by J.B. Lippincott & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



Every sentimental traveller to Rome must sometimes wonder if to come to the Eternal City is not, after all, more of a loss than a gain: Rome unvisited holds such a solitary place in one's imaginings. It is then a place around which sweeps a different atmosphere from that of any other city under the sun. One sees it through poetic mists that veil every prosaic reality. It is arched by an horizon against which the figures of its wonderful history are shadowed with scarcely less of grandeur and glory than those the old gods cast upon the Sacred Hill.

One who has never seen Rome is thus led to imagine that those of his country-people who have lived here for years have become in a manner purged of all natural commonplaceness. One thinks of them as refined—sublimated, so to speak—into beings worthy of reverence and to be spoken of with awed admiration.[Pg 10] For have not their feet wandered where the Caesars' feet have trod, till that famous ground has become common earth to them? Have they not dwelt in the shadow of mountains that have trembled beneath the tramp of Goth, Visigoth and Ostrogoth, till those shadows have become every-day shadows to them? Have they not often watched beneath the same stars that shone upon knightly vigils, till the whiteness of those shining hosts has made pure their souls as it purified the heroic ones of old? Have they not listened to the singing and sighing of the selfsame winds that sung and sighed about the spot where kingly Numa wooed a nymph, till it must be that into the commoner natures has entered some of the sweetness and wisdom of that half-divine communion?

Thus the dreamer comes to Rome expecting to enter and become enfolded by those poetic mists, to live an ideal life amid the tender melancholy that broods over stately and storied ruin, and to forget for evermore, while within the wondrous precincts, that aught more prosaic exists than the heroes of history, the fairest visions of art and dreams of poesy.

"GHOSTS OF FLEAS" (Copied From Sketches Of William Blake). "GHOSTS OF FLEAS" (Copied From Sketches Of William Blake).

So came the Leatherstonepaughs. And so have the Leatherstonepaughs sometimes wondered if, after all, to come to Rome is not more of a loss than a gain in the dimming of one of their fairest ideals. For is there another city in the world where certain of the vulgar verities of life press themselves more prominently into view than in the Eternal City? Can one anywhere have a more forcible conviction that greasy cookery is bile-provoking, and that it is because the sylvan bovine ruminates so long upon the melancholy Campagna that one's dinners become such a heavy and sorrowful matter in Rome? Is there any city in the universe where fleas dwarf more colossally and fiendishly Blake's famous "ghosts" of their kind? Does one anywhere come oftener in from wet streets, "a dem'd moist, unpleasant body," to more tomblike rooms? Is one anywhere so ceaselessly haunted by the disagreeable consciousness that one pays ten times as much for everything one buys as a native pays, and that the trousered descendant of the toga'd Roman regards the Western barbarian as quite as much his legitimate prey as the barbarian's barelegged ancestors were the prey of his forefathers before the tables of history were turned, Rome fallen and breeches supplied to all the world? And are any mortal vistas more gorgeously illuminated by the red guidebook of the Tourist than are the stately and storied ruins where the sentimentalist seeketh the brooding of a tender melancholy, and findeth it not in the presence of couriers, cabmen, beggars,[Pg 11] photograph-peddlers, stovepipe hats, tie-backs and bridal giggles?

The dreamer thought to find old Rome crystallized amid its glorious memories. He finds a nineteenth-century city, with gay shops and fashionable streets, living over the heroic scenes of the ancients and the actual woe and spiritual mysticism of the mediæval age; and he is disappointed—nay, even sometimes enraged into a gnashing of the teeth at all things Roman.

But after many weeks, after the sights have been "done," the mouldy and mossy nooks of the old city explored, and the marvellous picturesqueness that hides in strange places revealed—after one has a speaking acquaintance with all the broken bits of old statues that gather moth and rust where the tourist cometh not and the guidebook is not known, and has followed the tiniest thread of legend or tradition into all manner of mysterious regions,—then the sentimentalist begins to love Rome again—Rome as it is, not Rome as it seemed through the glamours of individual imagination.

This is what the Leatherstonepaughs did. But first they fled the companionship of the beloved but somewhat loudly-shrieking American eagle as that proud bird often appears in the hotels and pensions of Europe, and lived in a shabby Roman palace, where only the soft bastard Latin was heard upon the stairs, and where, if any mediæval ghost stalked in rusted armor or glided in mouldering cerements, it would not understand a single word of their foreign, many-consonanted speech.

This palace stands, gay and grim, at the corner of a gay street and a dingy vicolo, the street and alley contrasting in color like a Claude Lorraine with a Nicholas Poussin. Past one side of the palace drifts all day a bright tide of foreign sightseers, prosperous Romans, gay models and flower-venders, handsome carriages, dark-eyed girls with their sallow chaperones, and olive-cheeked, huge-checked jeunesse dorée, evidently seeking for pretty faces as for pearls of great price, as is the manner of the jeunesse dorée of the Eternal City; while down upon the scene looks a succession of dwelling-houses, a gray-walled convent or two, one of the stateliest palaces of Rome—now let out in apartments and hiding in obscure rooms the last two impoverished descendants of a proud race that helped to impoverish Rome—one or two more prosperous palaces, and a venerable church, looking like a sleepy watchman of Zion suffering the enemy to do as it will before his closed eyes.


On the other side is the vicolo, dark of wall and dank of pavement, with petticoats and shirts dangling from numerous windows and fluttering like gibbeted wretches in the air; with frowzy women sewing or knitting in the sombre doorways and squalid urchins screaming everywhere; with humble vegetables and cheap wines exposed for sale in dirty windows; with usually a carriage or two undergoing a washing at some stable-door; and with almost always an amorous Romeo or two from some brighter region wandering hopefully to and fro amid the unpicturesque gloom of this Roman lane to catch a wafted kiss or a dropped letter from the rear window of his Juliet's home. For nowhere else in Europe, Asia, America, the Oceanic Archipelago or the Better Land can the Romeo-and-Juliet business be more openly[Pg 12] and freely carried on than in the by-streets of the Eternal City, where girls are thought to be as jealously secluded from the monster Man as are the women of a Turkish seraglio or the nuns of a European convent. These Romeos and Juliets usually seem quite indifferent to the number of unsympathetic eyes that watch their little drama, providing only Papa and Mamma Capulet are kept in the dark in the shop below. Even the observation of Signor and Signora Montague would disturb them little, for it is only Juliet who is guarded, and Romeo is evidently expected to get all the fun out of life he can. In their dingy vicolo the Leatherstonepaughs have seen three Romeos watching three windows at the same twilight moment. One of them stood under an open window in the third story, from whence a line was dropped down to receive the letter he held in his hand. Just as the letter-weighted line was drawn up a window immediately below Juliet's was thrown violently open, and an unromantic head appeared to empty vials of wrath upon the spectacled Romeo below for always hanging about the windows of the silly pizzicarole girls above and giving the house a ridiculous appearance in the eyes of the passers-by. Romeo answered audaciously that the signora was mistaken in the man, that he had never been under that window before in his life, had never seen the Signorina Juliet, daughter of Capulet the pizzicarole who lived above, but that he was merely accompanying his friend Romeo, who loved Juliet the daughter of the drochiere who lived a story below, and who was now wooing her softly two or three windows away. A shriek was his response as the wrathful head disappeared, while the lying Romeo laughed wickedly and the Leatherstonepaughs immoderately, in spite of themselves, to see Juliet, daughter of the drochiere, electrically abstracted from her window as if by the sudden application of a four-hundred-enraged-mother-power to her lofty chignon from behind, while the three Romeos, evidently all strangers to each other, folded their tents like the Arab and silently stole away.


The Leatherstonepaughs always suspected that no lordly race, from father's father to son's son, had ever dwelt in their immense palace. They suspected rather that it was, like many another mighty Roman pile, reared by plebeian gains to[Pg 13] shelter noble Romans fair and proud whom Fate confined to economical "flats," and whose wounded pride could best be poulticed by the word palazzo.

Hans Christian Andersen knew this palace well, and has described it as the early home of his Improvisatore. In those days two fountains tinkled, one within, the other just outside, the dusky iron-barred basement. One fountain, however, has ceased to flow, and now if a passer-by peeps in at the grated window, whence issue hot strong vapors and bursts of merry laughter, he will see a huge stone basin into whose foaming contents one fountain drips, and over which a dozen washerwomen bend and pound with all their might and main in a bit of chiaroscuro that reminds one of Correggio.

Over this Correggio glimpse wide stone stairs lead past dungeon-like doors up five flights to the skylighted roof. Each of these doors has a tiny opening through which gleams a watchful eye and comes the sound of the inevitable "Chi è?" whenever the doorbell rings, as if each comer were an armed marauder strayed down from the Middle Ages, who must be well reconnoitred before the fortress-gates are unbarred.


It was in the ultimo piano that the Leatherstonepaughs pitched their lodge in a vast wilderness of colorful tiled roofs, moss-grown and lichen-laden, amid a forest of quaintly-shaped and smokeless chimneys. Their floors, guiltless of rugs or carpets, were of earthen tiles and worn into hollows where the feet of the palace-dwellers passed oftenest to and fro. A multitude of undraped windows opened like doors upon stone balconies, whither the inhabitants flew like a startled covey of birds every time the king and queen drove by in the street below, and upon which they passed always from room to room. The outer balcony looks down upon the Piazza Barberini and its famous Spouting Triton, with an horizon-line over the roofs broken by gloomy stone-pines and cypresses that seem to have grown from the buried griefs of Rome's dead centuries. The inner balcony overlooks the court, where through the wide windows of every story, amid the potted plants and climbing vines that never take on a shade of pallor in[Pg 14] an Italian winter, and that adorn every Roman balcony, one could see into the penetralia of a dozen Roman families and wrest thence the most vital secrets—even to how much Romano Alfredo drank at dinner or whether lemon-juice or sour wine gave piquancy to Rosina's salad. Entirely unacquainted with these descendants of ancient patrician or pleb, the Leatherstonepaughs ventilated original and individual theories concerning them, and gave them names of their own choosing.


"Rameses the Great has quarrelled with the Sphinx and is flirting with the Pyramid," whispered young Cain one day as some of the family, leaning over the iron railing, looked into the leafy, azure-domed vault below, and saw into the dining-room of a family whose mysteriousness of habit and un-Italian blankness of face gave them a fanciful resemblance to the eternal riddles of the Orient.

The "Pyramid," whose wide feet and tiny head gave her her triangular title, was evidently a teacher, for she so often carried exercise-books and dog-eared grammars in her hand. She chanced at that moment to glance upward. "Lucia," she cried to the Sphinx, speaking with an Italian accent that she flattered herself was to the down-gazers an unknown tongue, "do look up to the fifth loggia. If there isn't the Huge Bear, the Middle-sized Bear and the Wee Bear looking as if they wanted to come down and eat us up!"

"Y' ain't fat 'nuf," yelled the Wee Bear before the elder Bruins had time to squelch him.

The studio-salon of the Leatherstonepaughs amid the clouds and chimneys of the Eternal City was a chapter for the curious. It was as spacious as a country meeting-house, as lofty as befits a palace. It was frescoed like some of the modern pseudo-Gothic and pine cathedrals that adorn the village-greens of New England hamlets, and its pot-pourri of artistic ideas was rich in helmeted Minervas, vine-wreathed Bacchuses, winged Apollos and nameless classic nymphs, all staring downward from the spandrels of pointed arches with quite as much at-homeness as Olympian heroes would feel amid the mystic shades of the Scandinavian Walhalla. This room was magnificent with crimson upholstery, upon which rested a multitude of scarlet-embroidered cushions that seemed to the color-loving eye like a dream of plum-pudding after a nightmare of mince-pie. Through this magnificence had drifted, while yet the Leatherstonepaughs saw Rome in all its idealizing mists, generations of artists. Sometimes these artists had had a sublime disdain of base lucre, and sometimes base lucre had had a sublime disdain of them. Some of the latter class—whose name is Legion—had marked their passage by busts, statuettes and paintings that served to remind Signora Anina, their landlady, that promises of a remittance can be as fair and false as the song of the Sirens or the guile of the Loreley. Crusaders in armor brandished their lances there in evidence that Michael Angelo Bivins never sent from Manhattan the bit of white paper to redeem them. Antignone—usually wearing a Leatherstonepaugh bonnet—mourned that Praxiteles Periwinkle faded out of the vistas of Rome to the banks of the Thames without her. Dancing Floras seemed joyous that they had not gone wandering among the Theban Colossi with Zefferino, instead of staying to pay for his Roman lodging; while the walls smiled, wept, simpered, threatened and gloomed with Madonnas, Dolorosas, Beatrices, sprites, angels and fiends, the authors of whose being had long ago drifted away on[Pg 15] the ocean of poverty which sweeps about the world, and beneath which sometimes the richest-freighted ships go down. In the twenty years that Signora Anina has let her rooms to artists many such tragedies have written significant and dreary lines upon her walls.

That studio-salon was rich not alone in painting and sculpture. The whatnot was a museum whither might come the Northern Goth and Southern Vandal to learn what a Roman home can teach of the artistic taste that Matthew Arnold declares to be the natural heritage only of the nation which rocked the cradle of the Renaissance when its old Romanesque and Byzantine parents died. That whatnot was covered with tiny china dogs and cats, such as we benighted American Goths buy for ten cents a dozen to fill up the crevices in Billy's and Bobby's Christmas stockings. Fancy inkstands stood cheek by jowl with wire flower-baskets that were stuffed with crewel roses of such outrageous hues as would make the Angel of Color blaspheme. Cut-glass spoon-holders kept in countenance shining plated table-casters eternally and spotlessly divorced from the purpose of their being. There were gaudy china vases by the dozen and simpering china shepherdesses by the score. There were plaster casts of the whole of Signora Anina's family of nine children, from the elder fiery Achilles to the younger hysterical Niobe. There were perfume-bottles enough to start a coiffeur in business, and woolly lambs enough for a dozen pastoral poems or as many bucolic butchers. But the piano was piled high with Beethoven's sonatas and Chopin's delicious dream-music, while a deluge of French novels had evidently surged over that palace of the Leatherstonepaughs.

When the family took possession of their share of the palazzo a corner of this studio-salon was dedicated to a peculiar member of their family. From that corner she seldom moved save as she swept away in some such elegant costume as the others wore only upon gala-occasions, or in some picturesque or wildly-fantastic garb that would have lodged her in a policeman's care had she ever been suffered to escape thus from the palace. All day long, day after day, she tarried in her corner mute and motionless, eying all comers and goers with a haughty stare. Sometimes she leaned there with rigid finger pressed upon her lip, like a statue of Silence; sometimes her hands were pressed pathetically to her breast, like a Mater Dolorosa; sometimes both arms hung lax and limp by her side, like those of a heart-broken creature; and sometimes she wildly clutched empty air, like a Leatherstonepaugh enthusiastically inebriated or gone stark, staring, raving mad!


Yet never, never, never was Silentia Leatherstonepaugh known to break that dreadful silence, even though honored guests spoke to her kindly, and although young Cain Leatherstonepaugh repeatedly reviled her as had she been Abel's wife. One day came an old Spanish monk of whom Leah and Rachel would learn the language of Castile. Silentia gloomed in her dusky corner unseen of the monk, who was left with her an instant alone. A few moments before,[Pg 16] moved perhaps by a dawning comprehension of the unspeakable pathos of her fate, young Cain had given her a dagger. When, two minutes after the monk's arrival, Leah and Rachel entered the room, a black sighing mass cowered in a corner of the sofa, while Silentia rose spectre-like in the dimness, the dagger pointed toward her heart.


"Madonna mia!" giggled the monk hysterically when his petticoats were pulled decorously about him and he was set on his feet again, "I thought I should be arrested for murder—poverino mio!"

Another day came one of the Beelzebub girls—Lady Diavoletta—who wished to coax some of the Leatherstonepaughs to paint her a series of fans with the torments of Dante's Inferno. When the doorbell rang, and while Cain cried "Chi è?" at the peephole, Leah, who was just posing for Rachel's barelegged gypsy, hastily pulled a long silk skirt from haughty but unresisting Silentia and hurried it over her own head before Lady Diavoletta was admitted. The heiress of the Beelzebubs tarried but a moment, then took her departure grimly, without hinting a word of her purpose. Said Lady Diavoletta afterward to the Cherubim sisters, "Would you believe it? I called one day upon those Leatherstonepaughs, and they never even apologized for receiving me in a room where there was an insane American just escaped from her keeper, tray beang arrangée pore doncy le cong cong!"


Dismal and grim though the exterior of that palazzo was, needing but towers and machicolated parapets to seem a fortress, or an encircling wall to seem a frowning monastery where cowled figures met each other only to whisper sepulchrally, "Brother, we must die," it was yet the scene of not a few laughable experiences. And perhaps even in this respect it may not have differed so widely as one might think from cloistered shades of other days, when out of sad, earth-colored[Pg 17] raiment and the habit of dismal speech human sentiment painted pictures while yet the fagots grew apace for their destruction as well as for the funeral-pyre of their scolding and bellowing enemy, Savonarola. For where Fra Angelico, working from the life, could create a San Sebastian so instinct with earthly vitality and earthly bloom that pious Florentine women could not say their prayers in peace in its presence, there were three easels, each bearing a canvas, in different parts of the room. Before each easel worked a Leatherstonepaugh, each clad with classic simplicity in a long blue cotton garment, decorated with many colors and smelling strongly of retouching varnish, that covered her from the white ruffle at her throat to the upper edge of her black alpaca flounce.

The room was silent, and, except for the deft action of brushes, motionless. Only that from below was heard the musical splash of the Barberini Tritons, and that from the windows could be seen the sombre pines of the Ludovisi gardens swaying in solemn rhythmic measure must have been sometimes unbending from the dole and drear of mediæval asceticism into something very like human fun.

One day the Leatherstonepaughs were all at work in the immense studio. Silentia alone was idle, and, somewhat indecorously draped only in a bit of old tapestry, with dishevelled hair and lolling head, leaned against the wall, apparently in the last stages of inebriety. There against the blue sky, all the world would have seemed petrified into the complete passiveness of sitting for its picture.


Marietta was their model. She was posed in a nun's dress, pensive gray, with virginal white bound primly across her brow. Marietta is a capital model, and her sad face and tender eyes were upturned with exactly the desired expression to the grinning mask in the centre of the ceiling. Silentia kindly consented to pose for the cross to which the nun clung; that is, she wobbled weakly into the place where the sacred emblem would have been were this Nature and not Art, and where the cross would be in the picture[Pg 18] when completed. Marietta clung devoutly to Silentia's ankles, and Silentia looked as cross as possible.

"How unusual to see one of Italia's children with a face like that!" said a Leatherstonepaugh as she studied the nun's features. "One would say that she had really found peace only after some terrible suffering."

"She does not give me that impression," said another Leatherstonepaugh. "Her contours are too round, her color too undimmed, ever to have weathered spiritual storms. She seems to me more like one of Giovanni Bellini's Madonnas, those fair, fresh girl-mothers whom sorrow has never breathed upon to blight a line or tint, and yet who seem to have a prophecy written upon their faces—not of the glory of the agony, but of the lifelong sadness of a strange destiny. This girl has some mournful prescience perhaps. Let me talk with her by and by."

"Marietta," said a Leatherstonepaugh in the next repose, "if you were not obliged to be a model, what would you choose to be, of all things in the world?"

This was only an entering-wedge, intended by insidious degrees to pry open the heart of the girl and learn the mystery of her Madonna-like sadness.

Marietta looked up quickly: "What would I be, signorina? Dio mio! but I would wear shining clothes and ride in the Polytheama! Giacomo says I was born for the circus. Will le signorine see?"

In the twinkling of an eye, before the Leatherstonepaughs could breathe, the pensive gray raiment was drawn up to the length of a ballet-skirt and the foot of the Madonna-faced nun was in the open mouth of one of Lucca della Robbia's singing-boys that hung on the wall about five feet from the floor!

"Can any of the signorine do that?" she crowed triumphantly. "I can knock off a man's hat or black his eye with my foot."

All the Leatherstonepaughs groaned in doleful chorus, "A-a-a-h-h!"

And it was not until young Cain, ostracised from the studio during the séance, whistled in through the keyhole sympathetic inquiries concerning the only woe his little soul knew, "Watty matter in yare? Ennybuddy dut e tummuck-ache?" that they chorused with laughter at their "Giovanni-Bellini Madonna."

Margaret Bertha Wright.


Shelley, the wondrous music of thy soul
Breathes in the cloud and in the skylark's song,
That float as an embodied dream along
The dewy lids of Morning. In the dole
That haunts the west wind, in the joyous roll
Of Arethusan fountains, or among
The wastes where Ozymandias the strong
Lies in colossal ruin, thy control
Speaks in the wedded rhyme. Thy spirit gave
A fragrance to all Nature, and a tone
To inexpressive Silence. Each apart—
Earth, Air and Ocean—claims thee as its own,
The twain that bred thee, and the panting wave
That clasped thee like an overflowing heart.
J. B. Tabb.

[Pg 19]



"Of course you will live at the hotel?"

"Not at all. The idea of leaving one's work three times a day to dress for meals!"

"May I ask, then, where you do propose to reside?"

"In the cottage on the place, to be sure."

The Pessimist thrust his hands into his pockets and gave utterance to a long, low whistle.

"You don't believe it? Come over with us and look at it, and let us tell you our plans."

"That negro hut, Hope? You never can be in earnest?"

"She is until she has seen it," said the Invalid, smiling. "You had better go over with her: a sight of the place will be more effectual than all your arguments."

"But she has seen it," said Merry. "Two years ago, when we were here and old Uncle Nat was so ill, we went over there."

"And I remember the house perfectly," added Hope—"a charming long, low, dark room, with no windows and a great fireplace, and the most magnificent live-oak overhanging the roof."

"How enchanting! Let us move in at once." The Invalid rose from his chair, and taking Merry's arm, the four descended the piazza-steps.

"Of course," explained Hope as we walked slowly under the grand old trees of the hotel park—"of course the carpenter and the painter and the glazier are to intervene, and Merry and I must make no end of curtains and things. But it will be ever so much cheaper, when all is done, than living at the hotel, besides being so much more cozy; and if we are to farm, we really should be on the spot."

"Meantime, I shall retain my room at the hotel," said the Pessimist, letting down the bars.

"You are expected to do that," retorted Merry, disdaining the bars and climbing over the fence. "It will be quite as much as you deserve to be permitted to take your meals with us. But there! can you deny that that is beautiful?"

The wide field in which we were walking terminated in a high bluff above the St. John's. A belt of great forest trees permitted only occasional glimpses of the water on that side, but to the northward the ground sloped gradually down to one of the picturesque bays which so frequently indent the shores of the beautiful river. Huge live-oaks stood here and there about the field, with soft gray Spanish moss swaying from their dark branches.[Pg 20] Under the shadow of one more mighty than the rest stood the cottage, or rather the two cottages, which formed the much-discussed residence—two unpainted, windowless buildings, with not a perpendicular line in their whole superficial extent.

The Pessimist withdrew the stick which held the staple and threw open the unshapely door. There were no steps, but a little friendly pushing and pulling brought even the Invalid within the room. There was a moment's silence; then, from Hope, "Oh, the magnificent chimney! Think of a fire of four-foot lightwood on a chilly evening!"

"I should advise the use of the chimney as a sleeping-room: there seems to be none other," said the Pessimist.

"But we can curtain off this entire end of the room. How fortunate that it should be so large! Here will be our bedroom, and this corner shall be for Merry. And when we have put one of those long, low Swiss windows in the east side, and another here to the south, you'll see how pleasant it will be."

"It appears to me," he remarked perversely, "that windows will be a superfluous luxury. One can see out at a dozen places already; and as for ventilation, there is plenty of that through the roof."

"The frame really is sound," said the Invalid, examining with a critical eye.

"Of course it is," said Hope. "Now let us go into the kitchen. If that is only half as good I shall be quite satisfied."

The kitchen-door, which was simply an old packing-box cover, with the address outside by way of doorplate, was a veritable "fat man's misery," but as none of the party were particularly fat we all managed to squeeze through.

"Two rooms!" exclaimed Hope. "How enchanting! I had no idea that there was more than one. What a nice little dining-room this will make! There is just room enough."

"'Us four and no more,'" quoted Merry. "But where will the handmaiden sleep?"

"The kitchen is large," said the Pessimist, bowing his head to pass into the next room: "it will only be making one more curtain, Merry, and she can have this corner."

"He is converted! he really is converted!" cried Merry, clapping her hands. "And now there is only papa, and then we can go to the sawmill to order lumber."

"And to the Cove to find a carpenter," added Hope. "Papa can make up his mind in the boat."

We had visited Florida two years before, and, charmed with the climate, the river, the oaks, the flowers, the sweet do-nothing life, we had followed the example of so many worthy Northerners and had bought an old plantation, intending to start an orange-grove. We had gone over all the calculations which are so freely circulated in the Florida papers—so many trees to the acre, so many oranges to the tree: the results were fairly dazzling. Even granting, with a lordly indifference to trifles worthy of incipient millionaires, that the trees should bear only one-fifth of the computed number of oranges, and that they should bring but one-third of the estimated price, still we should realize one thousand dollars per acre. And there are three hundred and sixty acres in our plantation. Ah! even the Pessimist drew a long breath.

Circumstances had, however, prevented our taking immediate steps toward securing this colossal fortune. But now that it had become necessary for us to spend the winter in a warm climate, our golden projects were revived. We would start a grove at once. It was not until we had been three days at sea, southward bound, that Hope, after diligent study of an old Florida newspaper, picked up nobody knows where, became the originator of the farming plan now in process of development.

"The cultivation of the crop becomes the cultivation of the grove," she said with the sublime assurance of utter ignorance, "and thus we shall get our orange-grove at no cost whatever."

She was so much in earnest that the Invalid was actually convinced by her arguments, which, to do her justice, were not original, but were filched from the enthusiastic journal before alluded to. It was decided that we were to go to[Pg 21] farming. It is true none of us knew anything about the business except such waifs of experience as remained to the Invalid after thirty years' absence from grandpa's farm, where he used to spend the holidays. Holidays were in winter in those times, and his agricultural experience had consisted principally in cracking butternuts and riding to the wood-lot on the ox-sled. But this was of no consequence, as Hope and Merry agreed, since there were plenty of books on the subject, and, besides, there were the Florida newspapers!

"I warn you I wash my hands of the whole concern," the Pessimist had said. "You'll never make farming pay."

"Why not?"

"Because you won't."

"But why, because?"

"The idea of women farming!"

"Oh, well, if you come to that, I should just like to show you what women can do," cried Merry; and this unlucky remark of the Pessimist settles the business. There is no longer any question about farming.

No one could deny that the house was pretty, and comfortable too, when at last the carpenter and painter had done their work, and the curtains and the easy-chairs and the bookshelves had taken their places, and the great fire of pine logs was lighted, and the mocking-bird's song streamed in with the sunlight through the open door and between the fluttering leaves of the ivy-screen at the window. The piano was always open in the evenings, with Merry or the Pessimist strumming on the keys or trying some of the lovely new songs; and Hope would be busy at her table with farm-books and accounts; and the Invalid, in his easy-chair, would be listening to the music and falling off to sleep and rousing himself with a little clucking snore to pile more lightwood on the fire; and the mocking-bird in his covered cage would wake too and join lustily in the song, till Merry smothered him up in thicker coverings.

The first duty was evident. "Give it a name, I beg," Merry had said the very first evening in the new home; and the house immediately went into committee of the whole to decide upon one. Hope proposed Paradise Plantation; Merry suggested Fortune Grove; the Pessimist hinted that Folly Farm would be appropriate, but this proposition was ignominiously rejected; and the Invalid gave the casting-vote for Hope's selection.


The hour for work having now arrived, the man was not slow in presenting himself. "I met an old fellow who used to be a sort of overseer on this very plantation," the Invalid said. "He says he has an excellent horse, and you will need one, Hope. I told him to come and see you."

"Which? the man or the horse?" asked Merry in a low voice.

"Both, apparently," answered the Pessimist in the same tone, "for here they come."

"Ole man Spafford," as he announced himself, was a darkey of ancient and venerable mien, tall, gaunt and weatherbeaten. His steed was taller, gaunter and apparently twice as old—an interesting study for the osteologist if there be any such scientific person.[Pg 22]

"He splendid saddle-hoss, missis," said the old man: "good wuk-hoss too—bery fine hoss."

"It seems to me he's rather thin," said Hope doubtfully.

"Dat kase we didn't make no corn dis year, de ole woman an' me, we was bofe so bad wid de misery in the leaders" (rheumatism in the legs). "But Sancho won't stay pore ef you buys corn enough, missis. He powerful good horse to eat."

Further conversation revealed the fact that old man Spafford was "de chief man ob de chu'ch."

"What! a minister?" asked the Invalid.

"No, sah, not azatly de preacher, sah, but I'se de nex' t'ing to dat."

"What may your office be, then, uncle?" asked the Pessimist.

"I'se de section, sah," answered the old man solemnly, making a low bow.

"The sexton! So you ring the bell, do you?"

"Not azatly de bell, sah—we ain't got no bell—but I bangs on de buzz-saw, sah."

"What does he mean?" asked Merry.

The Pessimist shrugged his shoulders without answering, but the "section" hastened to explain: "You see, missy, when dey pass roun' de hat to buy a bell dey didn't lift nigh enough; so dey jis' bought a buzz-saw and hung it up in de chu'ch-house; an' I bangs on de buzz-saw, missy."

The chief man of the church was found, upon closer acquaintance, to be the subject of a profound conviction that he was the individual predestinated to superintend our farming interests. He was so well persuaded of this high calling that none of us dreamed of questioning it, and he was forthwith installed in the coveted office. At his suggestion another man, Dryden by name, was engaged to assist old man Spafford and take care of Sancho, and a boy, called Solomon, to wait upon Dryden and do chores. A few day-laborers were also temporarily hired, the season being so far advanced and work pressing. The carpenters were recalled, for there was a barn to build, and hen-coops and a pig-sty, not to speak of a fence. Hope and Merry flitted hither and thither armed with all sorts of impossible implements, which some one was sure to want by the time they had worked five minutes with them. As for the Pessimist, he confined himself to setting out orange trees, the only legitimate business, he contended, on the place. This work, however, he performed vicariously, standing by and smoking while a negro set out the trees.

"My duties appear to be limited to paying the bills," remarked the Invalid, "and I seem to be the only member of the family who cannot let out the job."

"I thought the farm was to be self-supporting?" said the Pessimist.

"Well, so it is: wait till the crops are raised," retorted Merry.

"Henderson says," observed Hope, meditatively, "that there are six hundred dollars net profits to be obtained from one acre of cabbages."

"Why don't you plant cabbages, then? In this seven-acre lot, for instance?"

"Oh, that would be too many. Besides, I have planted all I could get. It is too late to sow the seed, but old man Spafford had some beautiful plants he let me have. He charged an extra price because they were so choice, but I was glad to get the best: it is cheapest in the end. I got five thousand of them."

"What sort are they?" asked the Invalid.

"I don't know precisely. Spafford says he done lost the paper, and he didn't rightly understand the name nohow, 'long o' not being able to read; but they were a drefful choice kind."

"Oh, bother the name!" said the Pessimist: "who cares what it is? A cabbage is a cabbage, I presume. But what have you in this seven-acre lot?"

"Those are peas. Dryden says that in North Carolina they realize four hundred dollars an acre from them—when they don't freeze."

The planting being now fairly over, we began to look about us for other amusement.

"Better not ride old Sancho," remarked old man Spafford one day as he observed the Pessimist putting a saddle on the ancient quadruped.[Pg 23]

"Why not, uncle? You ride him yourself, and you said he was a very fine saddle-horse."

"I rides he bareback. Good hoss for lady: better not put man's saddle on," persisted the old man.

The Pessimist vaulted into the saddle by way of reply, calling out, "Open the gate, Solomon," to the boy, who was going down the lane. But the words were not spoken before Sancho, darting forward, overturned the deliberate Solomon, leaped the gate and rushed out into the woods at a tremendous pace. The resounding beat of his hoofs and energetic cries of "Whoa! whoa!" from his rider were wafted back upon the breeze, gradually dying away in the distance, and then reviving again as the fiery steed reappeared at the same "grand galop." The Pessimist was without a hat, and his countenance bore the marks of many a fray with the lower branches of the trees.


"Here, take your old beast!" he said, throwing the bridle impatiently to Spafford. "What sort of an animal do you call him?"

The "section" approached with a grin of delight; "He waw-hoss, sah. Young missis rid he afo' the waw, an' he used to lady saddle; but ole marsa rid he to de waw, an' whenebber he feel man saddle on he back he runs dat a way, kase he t'ink de Yankees a'ter him;" and he exchanged a glance of intelligence with Sancho, who evidently enjoyed the joke.

The Invalid, who during the progress of our planting had spent much time in explorations among our "Cracker" neighbors, had made the discovery of a most disreputable two-wheeled vehicle, which he had purchased and brought home in triumph. Its wheels were of different sizes and projected from the axle at most remarkable angles. One seat was considerably higher than the other, the cushions looked like so many dishevelled darkey heads, and the whole establishment had a most uncanny appearance. It was a perfect match, however, for Sancho, and that intelligent animal, waiving for the time his objection to having Yankees after him, consented to be harnessed into the vehicle and to draw us slowly and majestically about in the pine woods. He never objected to stopping anywhere while we gathered flowers, and we always returned laden with treasures to deck our little home withal, making many a rare and beautiful new acquaintance among the floral riches of pine barren and hammock.

Meantime, peas and cabbages and many a "green" besides grew and flourished under old man Spafford's fostering care. Crisp green lettuce and scarlet radishes already graced our daily board, and were doubly relished from being, so to speak, the fruit of our own toil. Paradise Plantation became the admiration of[Pg 24] all the darkey and Cracker farmers for miles around, and it was with the greatest delight that Hope would accompany any chance visitor to the remotest corner of the farm, unfolding her projects and quoting Henderson to the open-mouthed admiration of her interlocutor.

"Have you looked at the peas, lately, Hope?" asked the Pessimist one lovely February morning.

"Not since yesterday: why?"

"Come and see," was the reply; and we all repaired to the seven-acre lot in company. A woeful sight met our eyes—vines nipped off and trampled down and general havoc and confusion in all the ranks.

"Oh, what is it?" cried Merry in dismay.

"It's de rabbits, missy," replied old man Spafford, who was looking on with great interest. "Dey'll eat up ebery bit o' greens you got, give 'em time enough."

"This must be stopped," said Hope firmly, recovering from her stupor of surprise. "I shall have a close fence put entirely around the place."

"But you've just got a new fence. It will cost awfully."

"No matter," replied Hope with great decision: "it shall be done. The idea of being cheated out of all our profits by the rabbits!"

"What makes them look so yellow?" asked the Invalid as the family was looking at the peas over the new close fence some evenings later.

"Don't they always do so when they blossom?" asked Hope.

"How's that, Spafford?" inquired the Pessimist.

"Dey ain't, not to say, jis' right," replied that functionary, shaking his head.

"Why, what's the matter?" asked Hope quickly.

"Groun' too pore, I 'spec', missis. Mighty pore piece, dis: lan' all wore out. Dat why dey sell so cheap."


"Then won't they bear?" asked Merry in despairing accents.

"Oh yes," said Hope with determined courage. "I had a quantity of fertilizers put on. Besides, I'll send for more. It isn't too late, I'm sure.—We'll use it for top-dressing, eh, Spafford?"

"I declare, Hope, I had no idea you were such a farmer," said the Invalid with a pleasant smile.

"And then, besides, we don't depend upon the peas alone," continued Hope, reflecting back the smile and speaking with quite her accustomed cheerfulness: "there are the corn and the cabbages."

"And the potatoes and cucumbers,"[Pg 25] added Merry as we returned slowly to the house by way of all the points of interest—the young orange trees, Merry's newly-transplanted wisteria and the pig-pen.

"I rather suspect that there is our most profitable crop," said the Invalid as we seated ourselves upon the piazza which the Pessimist had lately built before the house. He was looking toward a tree which grew not far distant, sheltered by two enormous oaks. Of fair size and perfect proportions, this tree was one mass of glossy, dark-green leaves, amid which innumerable golden fruit glimmered brightly in the setting sunlight.


"Our one bearing tree," answered Hope. "Yes, if we only had a thousand like it we might give up farming."

"We shall have them in time," said the Pessimist complacently, looking abroad upon the straight rows of tiny trees almost hidden by the growing crops. "Thanks to my perseverance—"

"And Dryden's," interpolated Merry.

"There are a thousand four-year-old trees planted," continued the Pessimist, not noticing the interruption. "I wonder how many oranges that tree has borne?"

"I suppose we have eaten some twenty a day from it for the last three months," said Merry.

"Hardly that," said the Invalid, "but say fifteen hundred. And the tree looks almost as full as ever."

"What if we should have them gathered and sold?" suggested Hope—"just to see what an orange tree is really worth. Spafford says that the fruit will not be so good later. It will shrivel at last; and we never can eat all those oranges in any case."

Shipping the oranges was the pleasantest work we had yet done. There was a certain fascination in handling the firm golden balls, in sorting and arranging, in papering and packing; and there was[Pg 26] real delight in despatching the first shipment from the farm—the more, perhaps, as the prospect of other shipments began to dwindle. The peas, in spite of the top-dressing, looked yellow and sickly. The cucumbers would not run, and more blossoms fell off than seemed desirable. The Pessimist left off laughing at the idea of farming, and spent a great deal of time walking about the place, looking into things in general.

"Isn't it almost time for those cabbages to begin to head?" he asked one day on returning from a tour of inspection.

"Dryden says," observed Merry, "that those are not cabbages at all: they are collards."

"What, under the sun, are collards?" asked the Invalid.

"They are a coarse sort of cabbage: the colored people like them, but they never head and they won't sell," said Hope, looking up from a treatise on agricultural chemistry. "If those should be collards!"

She laid aside her book and went out to investigate. "At any rate, they will be good for the pigs," she remarked on returning. "I shall have Behavior boil them in that great pot of hers and give them a mess every day. It will save corn."

"'Never say die!'" cried the Pessimist. "'Polly, put the kettle on,-'tle on,-'tle on! Polly, put—'"

The Invalid interposed with a remark. "Southern peas are selling in New York at eight dollars a bushel," he said.

"Oh, those peas! Why won't they grow?" sighed Merry.

The perverse things would not grow. Quotations went down to six dollars and to four, and still ours were not ready to ship. The Pessimist visited the field more assiduously than ever; Merry looked despondent; only Hope kept up her courage.

"Henderson says," she remarked, closing that well-thumbed volume, "that one shouldn't look for profits from the first year's farming. The profits come the second year. Besides, I have learned one thing by this year's experience. Things should not be expected to grow as fast in winter—even a Southern winter—as in summer. Next year we will come earlier and plant earlier, and be ready for the first quotations."

It was a happy day for us all when at last the peas were ready to harvest. The seven-acre lot was dotted over with boys, girls and old women, laughing and joking as they picked. Dryden and old man Spafford helped Hope and Merry with the packing, and the Pessimist flourished the marking-brush with the greatest dexterity. The Invalid circulated between pickers and packers, watching the proceedings with profound interest.

In the midst of it all there came a shower. How it did rain! And it would not leave off, or if it did leave off in the evening it began again in the morning with a fidelity which we would fain have seen emulated by our help. One day's drenching always proved to be enough for those worthies, and we had to scour the country in the pouring rain to beat up recruits. Then the Charleston steamer went by in spite of most frantic wavings of the signal-flag, and our peas were left upon the wharf, exposed to the fury of the elements.

They all got off at last in several detachments, and we had only to wait for returns. The rain had ceased as soon as the peas were shipped, and in the warm, bright weather which followed we all luxuriated in company with the frogs and the lizards. The fields and woods were full of flowers, the air was saturated with sweet odors and sunshine and songs of birds. A messenger of good cheer came to us also by the post in the shape of a cheque from the dealer to whom we had sent our oranges.

"Forty dollars from a single tree!" said Hope exultantly, holding up the slip of paper. "And that after we had eaten from it steadily for three months!"

"The tree is an eighteen-year-old seedling, Spafford says," said the Invalid, looking at the document with interest. "If our thousand do as well in fourteen years, Hope, we may give up planting cabbages, eh?"

"The price will be down to nothing by that time," said the Pessimist, not without a shade of excitement, which he endeavored to conceal, as he looked at the[Pg 27] cheque. "Still, it can't go below a certain point, I suppose. The newspapers are sounder on the orange question than on some others, I fancy."

One would have thought that we had never seen a cheque for forty dollars before, so much did we rejoice over this one, and so many hopes of future emolument did we build upon it.


"What's the trouble with the cucumbers, Spafford?" asked the Pessimist as we passed by them one evening on our way up from the little wharf where we had left our sailboat.

"T'ink it de sandemanders, sah. Dey done burrow under dat whole cucumber-patch—eat all the roots. Cucumbers can't grow widout roots, sah."

"But the Florida Agriculturalist says that salamanders don't eat roots," said Hope: "they only eat grubs and worms."

Spafford shook his head without vouchsafing a reply.

"The grubs and worms probably ate the roots, and then the salamanders ate them," observed the Pessimist. "That is poetical justice, certainly. If we could only eat the salamanders now, the retribution would be complete."

"Sandemanders ain't no 'count to eat," said old man Spafford. "Dey ain't many critters good to eat. De meat I likes best is wile-cat."

"Wild-cat, uncle!" exclaimed Merry.

"Do you mean to say you eat such things as that?"

"Why, missy," replied the old man seriously, "a wile-cat's 'most de properest varmint going. Nebber eats not'ing but young pigs and birds and rabbits, and sich. Yankee folks likes chicken-meat, but 'tain't nigh so good."

"Well, if they eat rabbits I think better of them," said Hope; "and here comes Solomon with the mail-bag."

Among the letters which the Invalid turned out a yellow envelope was conspicuous. Hope seized it eagerly. "From the market-man," she said. "Now we'll see."

She tore it open. A ten-cent piece, a small currency note and a one-cent stamp dropped into her lap. She read the letter in silence, then handed it to her husband.

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the Pessimist, reading it over his shoulder. "This is the worst I ever heard. 'Thirty-six crates[Pg 28] arrived in worthless condition; twelve crates at two dollars; fifty, at fifty cents; freights, drayage, commissions;—balance, thirty-six cents.' Thirty-six cents; for a hundred bushels of peas! Oh, ye gods and little fishes!"

Even Hope was mute.

Merry took the document. "It was all because of the rain," she said. "See! those last crates, that were picked dry, sold well enough. If all had done as well as that we should have had our money back; and that's all we expected the first year."

"There's the corn, at any rate," said Hope, rousing herself. "Dryden says it's splendid, and no one else has any nearly as early. We shall have the first of the market."

The corn was our first thought in the morning, and we walked out that way to console ourselves with the sight of its green and waving beauty, old Spafford being of the party. On the road we passed a colored woman, who greeted us with the usual "Howdy?"

"How's all with you, Sister Lucindy?" asked the "section."

"All standin' up, thank God! I done come t'rough your cornfield, Uncle Spafford. De coons is to wuk dar."

We hastened on at this direful news.

"I declar'!" said old Spafford as we reached the fence. "So dey is bin' to wuk! Done tote off half a dozen bushel dis bery las' night. Mought as well give it up, missis. Once dey gits a taste ob it, good-bye!"

"Well, that's the worst I ever heard!" exclaimed the Pessimist, resorting to his favorite formula in his dismay. "Between the coons and the commission-merchants your profits will vanish, Hope."

"Do you think I shall give it up so?" asked Hope stoutly. "We kept the rabbits out with a fence, and we can keep the coons out with something else. It is only a few nights' watching and the corn will be fit for sale. Dryden and Solomon must come out with their dogs and guns and lie in wait."

"Bravo, Hope! Don't give up the ship," said the Invalid, smiling.

"Well, if she doesn't, neither will I," said the Pessimist. "For the matter of that, it will be first-rate sport, and I wonder I haven't thought of coon-hunting before. I'll come out and keep the boys company, and we'll see if we don't 'sarcumvent the rascals' yet."

And we did save the corn, and sell it too at a good price, the hotels in the neighborhood being glad to get possession of the rarity. Hope was radiant at the result of her determination: the Pessimist smiled a grim approval when she counted up and displayed her bank-notes and silver.

"A few years more of mistakes and losses, Hope, and you'll make quite a farmer," he condescended to acknowledge. "But do you think you have exhausted the catalogue of animal pests?"

"No," said Hope, laughing. "I never dared to tell you about the Irish potatoes. Something has eaten them all up: Uncle Spafford says it is gophers."

"What is a gopher?" asked Merry. "Is it any relation to the gryphon?"

"It is a sagacious variety of snapping-turtle," replied the Invalid, "which walks about seeking what it may devour."

"And devours my potatoes," said Hope. "But we have got the better of the rabbits and the coons, and I don't despair next year even of the gophers and salamanders."

"Even victory may be purchased too dearly," said the Pessimist.

"After all, the experiment has not been so expensive a one," said the Invalid, laying down the neatly-kept farm-ledger, which he had been examining. "The orange trees are a good investment—our one bearing tree has proved that—and as for the money our farming experiment has cost us, we should have spent as much, I dare say, had we lived at the hotel, and not have been one half as comfortable."

"It is a cozy little home," admitted the Pessimist, looking about the pretty room, now thrown wide open to the early summer and with a huge pot of creamy magnolia-blooms in the great chimney.

"It is the pleasantest winter I ever spent," said Merry enthusiastically.

"Except that dreadful evening when the[Pg 29] account of the peas came," said Hope, drawing a long breath. "But I should like to try it again: I shall never be quite satisfied till I have made peas and cucumbers profitable."

"Then, all I have to say is, that you are destined to drag out an unsatisfied existence," said the Pessimist.

"I am not so sure of that," said the Invalid.

And so we turned our faces northward, not without a lingering sorrow at leaving the home where we had spent so many sweet and sunny days.

"Good-bye, Paradise Plantation," said Merry as the little white house under the live-oak receded from our view as we stood upon the steamer's deck.

"It was not so inappropriately named," said the Invalid. "Our life there has surely been more nearly paradisiacal than any other we have known."

And to this even the Pessimist assented.

Louise Seymour Houghton.



It was about 8.30 a. m. before the boat was found, some travellers having removed it from the place where Baronette had cachéd it. A half hour sufficed to wrap a tent-cover neatly around the bottom and to tack it fast on the thwarts. Then two oblongs of flat wood were nailed on ten feet of pine-stems and called oars; and, so equipped, we were ready to start.

We had driven or ridden hundreds of miles over a country familiar to any one who chooses to read half a dozen books or reports; but, once across the Yellowstone, we should enter a region of which little has been written since Lewis and Clarke wandered across the head-waters of the Missouri in 1805, and had their perils and adventures told anonymously by one who was to become famous for many noble qualities of mind and heart, for great accomplishments and unmerited misfortunes.[A]

Two or three of us sat on the bluff enjoying our after-breakfast pipes and watching the transport of our baggage. The gray beach at our feet stretched with irregular outline up the lake, and offered one prominent cape whence the boat started for its trips across the stream. By 10.30 all the luggage was over, and then began the business of forcing reluctant mules and horses to swim two hundred yards of cold, swift stream. The bell-mare promptly declined to lead, and only swam out to return again to the shore. Then one or two soldiers stripped and forced their horses in, but in turn became scared, and gave it up amidst chaff and laughter. At last a line of men, armed with stones, drove the whole herd of seventy-five animals into the water with demoniac howls and a shower of missiles. Once in, they took it calmly enough, and, the brave little foal leading, soon reached the farther bank. One old war-horse of recalcitrant views turned back, and had to be towed over.

Finally, we ourselves crossed, and the judge and I, leaving the confusion behind us, struck off into some open woods over an indistinct trail. Very soon Major Gregg overtook us, and we went into camp about 4 p. m. on a rising ground two miles from the lake, surrounded by woods and bits of grass-land. Here Captain G. and Mr. E. left us, going on with Mr. Jump for a two days' hunt.

Next day, at 7 a. m., we rode away over little prairies and across low pine-clad hills, and saw to right and left tiny[Pg 30] parks with their forest boundaries, until, after two miles, we came to Pelican Creek, a broad grayish stream, having, notwithstanding its swift current, a look of being meant by Nature for stagnation. As we followed this unwholesome-looking water eastward we crossed some quaking, ill-smelling morasses, and at last rode out on a spacious plain, with Mounts Langford, Doane and Stevenson far to the south-east, and Mount Sheridan almost south-west of us. The first three are bold peaks, while about them lie lesser hills numberless and nameless. The day seemed absolutely clear, yet the mountains were mere serrated silhouettes, dim with a silvery haze, through which gleamed the whiter silver of snow in patches or filling the long ravines. Striking across the plain, we came upon a tent and the horses of Captain G. and Mr. E., who were away in the hills.

Thence we followed the Pelican Valley, which had broadened to a wide meadowy plain, and about ten miles from the camp we began a rough ride up the lessening creek from the level. The valley was half a mile wide, noisome with sulphur springs and steam-vents, with now and then a gayly-tinted hill-slope, colored like the cañon of the Yellowstone. Some one seeing deer above us on the hills, Dr. T., Mr. K. and Houston rode off in pursuit. Presently came a dozen shots far above us, and the major, who had followed the hunters, sent his orderly back for pack-mules to carry the two black-tailed deer they had killed. After a wild scramble through bogs we began to ascend a narrow valley with the creek on our left. Jack Baronette "guessed some timber might have fell on that trail." Trail there was none in reality, only steep hillsides of soft scoriæ, streaming sulphur-vents and a cat's cradle of tumbled dead trees. Every few minutes the axes were ringing, and a way was cleared; then another halt, and more axe-work, until we slipped and scrambled and stumbled on to a little better ground, to the comfort of man and beast.

Eighteen miles of this savage riding brought us to our next camp, where, as the shooting was said to be good and the cattle needed rest, it was decided to remain two days. Our tents were pitched on a grassy knoll overlooking the main valley, which was bounded by hills of some three or four hundred feet high, between which the Pelican ran slowly with bad water and wormy trout, though there was no lack of wholesome springs on the hill.

Mr. C. and Mr. T. went off with Jack, and Mr. K. with Jump, to camp out and hunt early. The night was clear, the thermometer down to 24° Fahrenheit, and the ice thick on the pails when we rose. One of our parties came in with six deer: the captain and Mr. C. remained out. The camp was pleasant enough to an idling observer like myself, but it was not so agreeable to find the mountain-side, where Mr. T. and I were looking for game, alive with mosquitos. I lit on a place where the bears had been engaged in some rough-and-tumble games: the ground was strewed with what the lad who was with us asserted to be bears' hair. It looked like the wreck of a thousand chignons, and proved, on inspection, to be a kind of tawny-colored moss!

All night long, at brief intervals, our mules were scared by a dull, distant noise like a musket-shot. A soldier told me it was a mud volcano which he had seen the day we arrived. I then found it marked on Hayden's map, but learned that it had not been seen by him, and was only so located on information received from hunters. On the morning of August 1st I persuaded the major to walk over and look for the volcano. We crossed the valley, and, guided by the frequent explosions, climbed the hills to the east, and, descending on the far side, came into a small valley full of sluggish, ill-smelling rills, among which we found the remarkable crater, which, as it has not been hitherto examined by any save hunters, I shall describe at some length.

A gradual rising ground made up of soft sulphureous and calcareous earth was crowned by a more abrupt rise some thirty-five feet high, composed of tough gray clay. This was pierced by a cone of regular form about thirty feet across[Pg 31] at top and five feet at the bottom. On the west, about one-third of the circumference was wanting from a point six feet above the lowest level, thus enabling one to be at a distance or to stand close by, and yet see to the bottom of the pit. The ground all around and the shrubs and trees were dotted thick with flakes of dry mud, which gave, at a distance, a curious stippled look to the mud-spattered surfaces. As I stood watching the volcano I could see through the clouds of steam it steadily emitted that the bottom was full of dark gray clay mud, thicker than a good mush, and that, apparently, there were two or more vents. The outbreak of imprisoned steam at intervals of a half minute or more threw the mud in small fig-like masses from five to forty feet in air with a dull, booming sound, sometimes loud enough to be heard for miles through the awful stillness of these lonely hills. It is clear, from the fact of our finding these mud-patches at least one hundred yards from the crater, that at times much more violent explosions take place. The constant plastering of the slopes of the crater which these explosions cause tends to seal up its vent, but the greater explosions cleanse it at times, and all the while the steam softens the masses on the sides, so that they slip back into the boiling cauldron below. As one faces the slit in the cone there lies to the right a pool of creamy thin mud, white and yellow, feebly boiling. It is some thirty feet wide, and must be not more than twenty feet from the crater: its level I guessed at sixteen feet above that of the bottom of the crater.

After an hour's observation near to the volcano I retired some fifty feet, and, sheltering myself under a stunted pine, waited in the hope of seeing a greater outbreak. After an hour more the boiling lessened and the frequent explosions ceased for perhaps fifteen minutes. Then of a sudden came a booming sound, followed by a hoarse noise, as the crater filled with steam, out of which shot, some seventy-five feet in air, about a cartload of mud. It fell over an area of fifty yards around the crater in large or small masses, which flattened as they struck. As soon as it ended I walked toward the crater. A moment later a second squirt shot out sideways and fell in a line athwart the mud-pool near by, crossing the spot where I had been standing so long, and covering me, as I advanced, with rare patches of hot mud. Some change took place after this in the character and consistency of the mud, and now, at intervals, the curious spectacle was afforded of rings of mud like the smoke-rings cast by a cannon or engine-chimney. As they turned in air they resembled at times the figure 8: once they assumed the form of a huge irregular spiral some ten feet high, although usually the figures were like long spikes, or, more rarely, thin formless leaves, and even like bats or deformed birds.

I walked back over the hills to camp, where we found Captain G. and the commissary with the best of two deer they had shot. Later, Mr. C. and Mr. K. came in with four elk, so that we were well supplied. Of these various meats the deer proved the best, the mountain-sheep the poorest. The minimum of the night temperature was 34° Fahrenheit. At eighty-five hundred feet above tide the change at sundown was abrupt. Our camp-fires had filled the little valley with smoke, and through it the moon rose red and sombre above the pine-clad outlines of the eastward hills.

The next day Mr. E. and I, who liked to break the journey by a walk, started early, and, following a clear trail, soon passed the mules. We left Pelican Creek on our right, and crossed a low divide into a cooly,[B] the valley of Broad Creek: a second divide separated this from Cañon Creek, both of which enter the Yellowstone below the falls.

After some six miles afoot over grassy rolling plains and bits of wood, the command overtook us, and, mounting, we followed the major for an hour or two through bogs and streams, where now and then down went a horse and over went a trooper, or some one or two held back at a nasty crossing until the major smiled a little viciously, when the unlucky[Pg 32] ones plunged in and got through or not as might chance.

About twelve some of us held up to lunch, the train and escort passing us. We followed them soon through dense woods, and at last up a small brook in a deep ravine among boulders big and small. At last we lost the trail at the foot of a slope one thousand feet high of loose stones and earth, from the top of which a cry hailed us, and we saw that somehow the command had got up. The ascent was very steep, but before we made it a mule rolled down. As he was laden with fresh antelope and deer meat, the scattering of the yet red joints as he fell made it look as if the poor beast had been torn limb from limb; but, as a packer remarked, "Mules has got an all-fired lot of livin' in 'em;" and the mule was repacked and started up again. "They jist falls to make yer mad, anyway," added the friendly biographer of the mule.

The sheer mountain-side above us was not to be tried mounted; so afoot, bridle in hand, we started up, pulling the horses after us. I had not thought it could be as hard work as it proved. There was a singular and unfeeling lack of intelligence in the fashion the horse had of differing with his leader. When the man was well blown and stopped, the horse was sure to be on his heels, or if the man desired to move the horse had his own opinion and proved restive. At last, horses and men came out on a bit of level woodland opening into glades full of snow. We were eighty-four hundred feet in air, on a spur of Amethyst or Specimen Mountain. We had meant, having made eighteen miles, to camp somewhere on this hill, but the demon who drives men to go a bit farther infested the major that day; so presently the bugle sounded, and we were in the saddle again, and off for a delusive five-mile ride. As Mr. G. Chopper once remarked, "De mile-stones to hebben ain't set no furder apart dan dem in dis yere land;" and I believed him ere that day was done.

The top of this great hill, which may be some ten thousand feet in height, is large and irregular. Our trail lay over its south-eastern shoulder. After a little ride through the woods we came out abruptly on a vast rolling plain sloping to the north-east, and broadening as it fell away from us until, with intervals of belts of wood, it ended in a much larger plain on a lower level, quite half a mile distant, and of perhaps one thousand acres. About us, in the coolies, the "Indian paint-brush" and numberless flowers quite strange to us all so tinted the dried grasses of these little vales as to make the general hue seem a lovely pink-gray. Below us, for a mile, rolled grassy slopes, now tawny from the summer's rainless heat, and set with thousands of balsam-firs in groups, scattered as with the hand of unerring taste here and there over all the broad expanse. Many of them stood alone, slim, tall, gracious cones of green, feathered low, and surrounded by a brighter green ring of small shoots extending from two to four feet beyond where the lowest boughs, touching the earth, were reflected up from it again in graceful curves. On all sides long vistas, bounded by these charming trees, stretched up into the higher spurs. Ever the same flowers, ever the same amazing look of centuries of cultivation, and the feeling that it would be natural to come of a sudden on a gentleman's seat or basking cows, rather than upon the scared doe and dappled fawn which fled through the coverts near us. We had seen many of these parks, but none like this one, nor any sight of plain and tree and flowers so utterly satisfying in its complete beauty. It wanted but a contrast, and, as we rode through and out of a line of firs, with a cry of wonder and simple admiration the rudest trooper pulled up his horse to gaze, and the most brutal mule-guard paused, with nothing in his heart but joy at the splendor of it.

At our feet the mountain fell away abruptly, pine-clad, and at its base the broad plain of the East Branch of the Yellowstone wandered through a vast valley, beyond which, in a huge semicircle, rose a thousand nameless mountains, summit over summit, snow-flecked or snow-clad, in boundless fields—a grim, lonely, desolate horror of rugged, barren[Pg 33] peaks, of dark gray for the most part, cleft by deep shadows, and right in face of us one superb slab of very pale gray buttressed limestone, perhaps a good thousand feet high. I thought it the most savage mountain-scenery I had ever beheld, while the almost feminine and tender beauty of the parks which dotted these wild hills was something to bear in remembrance.

But the escort was moving, the mules crowding on behind our halted column; so presently we were slipping, sliding, floundering down the hillside, now on steep slopes, which made one a bit nervous to ride along; now waiting for the axemen to clear away the tangle of trees crushed to earth by the burden of some year of excessive snow; now on the horses, now off, through marsh and thicket. I ask myself if I could ride that ride to-day: it seems to me as if I could not. One so fully gets rid of nerves in that clear, dry altitude and wholesome life that the worst perils, with a little repetition, become as trifles, and no one talks about things which at home would make a newspaper paragraph. Yet I believe each of us confessed to some remnant of nervousness, some special dread. Riding an hour or two at night in a dense wood with no trail is an experiment I advise any man to try who thinks he has no nerves. A good steep slope of a thousand feet of loose stones to cross is not much more exhilarating: nobody likes it.

The command was far ahead of two or three of us when we had our final sensation at a smart little torrent near the foot of the hill, a tributary of the main river. The horses dive, in a manner, into a cut made dark by overgrowth of trees, then down a slippery bank, scuttle through wild waters surging to the cinche, over vast boulders and up the farther bank, the stirrups striking the rocks to left or right, till horse and man draw long breaths of relief, and we are out on the slightly-rolling valley of the East Yellowstone, and turn our heads away from Specimen Mountain toward Soda Butte.

Captain G. and I, who had fallen to the rear, rode leisurely northward athwart the open prairie on a clear trail, which twice crossed the shallow river, and, leaving the main valley, carried us up a narrowing vale on slightly rising ground. On either side and in front rose abrupt mountains some two thousand feet above the plain, and below the remarkable outline of Soda Butte marked the line of the Park boundary. Near by was a little corral where at some time herdsmen had settled to give their cattle the use of the abundant grasses of these well-watered valleys. When there are no Indian scares, the cattle herdsmen make immense marches in summer, gradually concentrating their stock as the autumn comes on and returning to the shelter of some permanent ranche. The very severity and steadiness of the winters are an advantage to cattle, which do not suffer so much from low temperature as from lack of food. Farther south, the frequent thaws rot the dried grasses, which are otherwise admirable fodder, but in Montana the steady cold is rather preservative, and the winds leave large parts of the plains so free from snow that cattle readily provide themselves with food.

The cone of Soda Butte stands out on the open and level plain of the valley, an isolated beehive-shaped mass eighty feet high, and presenting a rough appearance of irregular courses of crumbled gray stone. It is a perfectly extinct geyser-cone, chiefly notable for its seeming isolation from other deposits of like nature, of which, however, the nearer hills show some evidence. Close to the butte is a spring, pointed out to us by the major's orderly, who had been left behind to secure our tasting its delectable waters, which have immense credit as of tonic and digestive value. I do not distinctly recall all the nasty tastes which have afflicted my palate, but I am quite sure this was one of the vilest. It was a combination of acid, sulphur and saline, like a diabolic julep of lucifer-matches, bad eggs, vinegar and magnesia. I presume its horrible taste has secured it a reputation for being good when it is down. Close by it kindly Nature has placed a stream of clear, sweet water.

A mile or so more brought us (August[Pg 34] 3d) to camp, which was pitched at the end of the valley of Soda Butte. We had had eleven hours in the saddle, and had not ridden over twenty-eight or thirty miles. The train came straggling in late, and left us time to sharpen our appetites and admire the reach of grassy plain, the bold brown summits around us, and at our feet a grass-fringed lake of two or three acres. This pond is fed by a quick mountain-stream of a temperature of 45° Fahrenheit, and the only outlet is nearly blocked up by a tangled network of weeds and fallen timber which prevents the fish from escaping. The bottom is thick with long grasses, and food must be abundant in this curious little preserve. The shores slope, so that it is necessary to use a raft to get at the deep holes in the middle.

At breakfast next morning some one growled about the closeness of the night air, when we were told, to our surprise, that the minimum thermometer marked 36° as the lowest night temperature. Certain it is, the out-of-door-life changes one's feelings about what is cold and what is not. While we were discussing this a soldier brought in a five-pound trout taken in the lake, which so excited the fishermen that presently there was a raft builded, and the major and Mr. T., with bare feet, were loading their frail craft with huge trout, and, alas! securing for themselves a painful attack of sunburn. I found all these large trout to have fatty degeneration of the heart and liver, but no worms. They took the fly well.

August 5th, under clear skies as usual, we struck at once into a trail which for seventeen miles might have been a park bridle-path, a little steeper, and in places a little boggy. Our way took us east by north into Soda Butte Cañon, a mile wide below, and narrowing with a gradual rise, until at Miner's Camp it is quite closely bounded by high hillsides, the upper level of the trail being over eight thousand feet above the sea. The ride through this irregular valley is very noble. For a mile or two on our left rose a grand mass of basalt quite two thousand feet in height, buttressed with bold outlying rocks and presenting very regular basaltic columns. A few miles farther the views grew yet more interesting, because around us rose tall ragged gray or dark mountains, and among them gigantic forms of red, brown and yellow limestone rocks, as brilliant as the dolomites of the Southern Tyrol. These wild contrasts of form and color were finest about ten miles up the cañon, where lies to the west a sombre, dark square mountain, crowned by what it needed little fancy to believe a castle in ruins, with central keep and far-reaching walls. On the brow of a precipice fifteen hundred feet above us, at the end of the castle-wall, a gigantic figure in full armor seemed to stand on guard for ever. I watched it long as we rode round the great base of the hill, and cannot recall any such striking simulation elsewhere. My guides called it the "Sentinel," but it haunted me somehow as of a familiar grace until suddenly I remembered the old town of Innspruck and the Alte Kirche, and on guard around the tomb of the great Kaiser the bronze statues of knight and dame, and, most charming of all, the king of the Ostrogoths: that was he on the mountain-top.

Everywhere on these hills the mining prospector has roamed, and on the summit of the pass we found a group of cabins where certain claims have been "staked out" and much digging done. As yet, they are as profitable, by reason of remoteness, as may be the mines in the lunar mountains. With careless glances at piles of ore which may or may not be valuable, we rode on to camp, two miles beyond—not very comfortably, finding water scarce, some rain falling and a great wealth of midges, such as we call in upper Pennsylvania "pungies," and needing a smudge for the routing of them. The night was cold and dewy, and our sufferers were wretched with sunburn.

The doctor and George Houston here left us, and went on to a salt-lick famous for game, but this proved a failure, some one having carelessly set fire to the tract. Indeed, in summer it is hard not to start these almost endless fires, since a spark or a bit of pipe-cinder will at once set the[Pg 35] grasses ablaze, to the destruction of hunting and the annoyance of all travellers, to whom a fire is something which suggests man, and the presence of man needs, sad to say, an explanation. At 6 a. m., August 6th, Captain G. and the lad Lee also went off on a side-trail after game, and with lessened numbers we broke camp rather late, and rode into dense woods down a steady descent on a fair trail. The changes of vegetation were curious and sudden—from pines and firs to elders, stunted willows and sparse cottonwood bending over half-dry beds of torrents, with vast boulders telling of the fierce fury of water which must have undermined, then loosened and at last tumbled them from the hillsides. These streams are, in the early spring, impassable until a cold day and night check the thaw in the hills, and thus allow the impatient traveller to ford.

Gradually, as we rode on, the hills to our left receded, and on our right the summits of Index and Pilot stood up and took the morning—long, straggling volcanic masses of deep chocolate-brown, black as against the crystalline purity of cloudless blue skies, rising in the middle to vast rugged, irregular cones fourteen thousand feet above tide. From the bewildering desolateness of these savage peaks the eye wanders to the foot-hills, tree-clad with millions of pines, and lower yet to the wide valley of the West Branch of Clarke's Fork of the Yellowstone, through which a great stream rushes; and then, beyond the river, park over park with gracious boundaries of fir and pine, and over all black peak and snow-clad dome and slope, nameless, untrodden, an infinite army of hills beyond hills. The startling combination of black volcanic peaks with gray and tinted limestone still makes every mile of the way strange and grand. In one place the dark rock-slopes end abruptly in a wall of white limestone one hundred to two hundred feet high and regular as ancient masonry. A little below was a second of these singular dikes, which run for twenty miles or more.

On a rising ground where we halted to lunch a note was found stating that Dr. T., failing to find game at the salt-lick, had gone on ahead. While lingering over our lunch in leisurely fashion, encircled by this great mass of snow and blackness, an orderly suddenly rode up to hasten us to camp, as Indian signs had been seen down the valley. In a moment we were running our horses over a sage-plain, and were soon in camp, which was pitched on the West Branch in the widening valley. Dr. T. and George Houston, it appeared, had seen a column of smoke four miles below on a butte across the river. As the smoke was steady and did not spread, like an accidental fire, it seemed wise to wait for the party. There being no news of Indians, and no probability of white travellers, it was well to be cautious. It might be a hunters' or prospectors' camp, or a rallying-signal for scattered bands of Sioux, or a courier from Fort Custer. The doubt was unpleasant, and its effect visible in the men, two of whom already saw Indians.

"See 'em?" says Jack. "Yes, they're like the Devil: you just doesn't see 'em!"

While we pitched camp sentinels were thrown out, and two guides went off to investigate the cause of the fire. Houston came back in two hours, and relieved us by his statement that no trails led to the fire, and that its probable cause was the lightning of the storm which had overtaken us in camp the day before.

As the day waned the tints of the great mountains before us changed curiously. Of a broken chocolate-brown at noon, as the sun set their eastern fronts assumed a soft velvety look, while little purple clouds of haze settled in the hollows and rifts, fringing with tender grays the long serrated ridges as they descended to the plain. As the sun went down the single huge obelisk of Pilot Mountain seemed to be slowly growing upward out of the gathering shadows below. Presently, as the sun fell lower, the base of the mountain being swarthy with the growing nightfall, all of a sudden the upper half of the bleak cone yet in sunshine cast upward, athwart the blue sky, upon the moisture precipitated by the falling temperature, a great dark, broadening shaft[Pg 36] of shadow, keen-edged and sombre, and spreading far away into measureless space—a sight indescribably strange and solemn.

The next day's ride down Clarke's Fork still gave us morass and mud and bad trails, with the same wonderful views in the distance of snow-clad hills, and, nearer, brown peaks and gray, with endless limestone dikes. We camped at twelve on Crandall's Creek, a mile from the main branch of Clarke's Fork of the Yellowstone, and learned from the guides that no fish exist in these ample waters. The doubts I at first had were lessened after spending some hours in testing the matter. Strange as it may seem, and inexplicable, I am disposed to think the guides are right. We saw two "cow-punchers," who claimed to be starving, and were questioned with some scepticism. In fact, every stranger is looked after sharply with the ever-present fear of horse-thieves and of the possibility of being set afoot by a night-stampede of the stock. Our hunting-parties were still out when I started next morning at 8.30 to climb a huge butte opposite our camp. I reached the top at about twelve, and found on the verge of a precipice some twenty-five hundred feet above the vale a curious semicircle of stones—probably an Indian outlook made by the Nez Percés in their retreat. Sitting with my back against it, I looked around me. A doe and fawn leapt away, startled from their covert close by. Never, even in the Alps, have I so felt the sense of loneliness—never been so held awestruck by the silence of the hills, by the boundlessness of the space before me. No breath of air stirred, no bird or insect hovered near. Away to the north-west Pilot and Index rose stern and dark; across the valley, to the north, out of endless snow-fields, the long regular red-and-yellow pyramid of Bear Tooth Mountain glowed in vivid light with amazing purity of color; while between me and it the hills fell away, crossed by intersecting bands of dark firs, and between marvellous deceits of fertile farm-lands, hedges and orchards. Here and there on the plain tiny lakes lit up the sombre grasses, and lower down the valley the waters of Clarke's Fork, now green, now white with foam, swept with sudden curve to the north-east, and were lost in the walls of its cañon like a scimitar half sheathed. On my right, across the vast grass-slopes of this great valley, on a gradual hill-slope, rose the most remarkable of the lime dikes I have seen. It must enclose with its gigantic wall a space of nearly two miles in width, in the centre of which a wild confusion of tinted limestone strata, disturbed by some old convulsion of Nature, resembles the huge ruins of a great town.

Soon after my return to camp, C. and the doctor came in with great triumph, having slain four bears. I was not present on this occasion, but I am inclined to fancy, as regards the doctor, that he verily believed the chief end and aim of existence for him was to kill bears, while C. had an enthusiasm of like nature, somewhat toned down.

After a wild ride on cayooses across Clarke's Fork and on the glowing pink side-slopes of Bear Tooth, and a camp in the hills, the ponies, which are always astray, were caught, and a game-trail followed among the mountains. Suddenly, Houston, in a stage-whisper, exclaimed, "We've got him! He's an old buster, he is!" He had seen a large gray bear—improperly called a grizzly—feeding a mile away in a long wide cooly. A rough, scrambling ride under cover of a spur, amid snow-drifts and tumbled trees, enabled the bear-hunters to tie up their ponies and push on afoot. If a man desire to lose confidence in his physical powers, let him try a good run with a Winchester rifle in hand nine thousand feet above tidewater. Rounding the edge of a hill and crossing a snow-drift, they came in view of Bruin sixty yards away. He came straight toward them against the wind, when there appeared on the left Bruin No. 2, to which the doctor directed his attention. Both bears fell at the crack of the rifles, and with grunt and snort rolled to the foot of the cooly. Houston climbed a snowbank to reconnoitre, aware, as there were no trees to climb, that an open cooly was no good[Pg 37] place in which to face wounded bears. Away went the doctor.

"Let them alone, doctor," said Houston. "Hold up! That valley's full of bears." For he had seen a third.

The doctor paused a moment, and then there was a rush down the slope. A second shot finished one bear, and then began a running fight of a mile, in which wind was of more value than courage. Finally, Bruin No. 2 stopped. Leaving C. to end his days, the doctor and Houston pursued No. 3. As the bear grew weak and they approached him, the doctor's excitement and Houston's quite reasonable prudence rose together.

"Don't go down that cooly, doctor."

Then a shot or two, a growl, and the doctor gasping, "Do you think I left my practice to let that bear die in his bed?"

"Well, the place is full of bears," said George; and so on they went, now a shot and now a growl, and then a hasty retreat of Bruin, until, utterly blown and in full sight of his prey, the unhappy doctor murmured in an exhausted voice, "Give me one cool shot, George."

"Darn it!" replied George, "who's been warming your shots?"

And this one cool shot ended the fray. Returning, they found the judge had driven his bear into a thicket, and, having probably taken out a ne exeat or an injunction, or some such effective legal remedy against him, awaited reinforcements. As George and the doctor arrived the bear moved out into the open, and was killed by a final shot.

Mr. Jump informs us that one gets an awful price out of the Chinese for bear-galls; and it is the judge's opinion that at this supreme moment the doctor would have taken a contract to supply all China with bile of Bruin. I suspect our friend George has since told at many a camp-fire how the doctor's spurs danced down the coolies, and how the judge corralled his bear.

We broke camp August 10th at four, after a night of severe cold—27° Fahrenheit—but perfectly dry and dewless. E. and I, as usual, pushed on ahead across Lodge Pole Creek, and so down the valley of Clarke's Fork. An increasing luxury of growth gave us, in wood or swamp, cottonwood, alder, willow, wild currants and myriads of snow-white lilies, and, in pretty contrast, the red or pink paint-brush. Losing Pilot and Index as the windings of the main valley hid them, and leaving them behind us, we began to see rocks of bright colors and more and more regular walls of silvery gray stone. At last the widening valley broadened, and from it diverged five valleys, like the fingers from a hand, each the bed of a stream. As we turned to the left and crossed the wildly-rolling hills, and forded Clarke's Fork to camp by Dead Indian Creek, the novelty and splendor of this almost unequalled view grew and grew. As I close my eyes it comes before me as at the call of an enchanter. From the main valley the outlook is down five grass-clad valleys dotted with trees and here and there flashing with the bright reflection from some hurrying stream. The mountains between rise from two to ten thousand feet, and are singular for the contrasts they present. The most distant to the right were black serrated battlements, looking as if their darkness were vacant spaces in the blue sky beyond. The next hill was a mass of gray limestone, and again, on the left, rose a tall peak of ochreous yellows, sombre reds and grays. The hill above our camp was composed of red and yellow rocks, fading below to gray débris, bounded beneath by a band of grasses, and below this another stratum of tinted rock; and so down to the plain. The side-view of this group showed it to be wildly distorted, the strata lying at every angle, coming out against the distant lava-peaks and the green slopes below them in a glory of tenderly-graded colors.

It seems as if it should be easy to describe a landscape so peculiar, and yet I feel that I fail utterly to convey any sense of the emotions excited by the splendid sweep of each valley, by the black fierceness of the lava-peaks thrown up in Nature's mood of fury, by the great "orchestra of colors" of the limestone hills, and by a burning red sunset, filling the spaces between the hills with[Pg 38] hazy, ruddy gold, and, when all was cold and dark, of a sudden flooding each grim lava-battlement with the dim mysterious pink flush of the afterglow, such as one may see at rare times in the Alps or the Tyrol. In crossing the heads of these valleys, some day to be famous as one of the sights of the world, we forded Clarke's Fork, the major, Jack and I being ahead. We came out on the far side upon a bit of strand, above and around which rose almost perpendicularly the eroded banks of the stream, some fifteen feet high. While the guides broke down the bank to allow of our horses climbing it, I was struck with a wonderful bit of water. To my right this tall bank was perforated by numerous holes, out of which flowed an immense volume of water. It bounded forth between the matted roots and welled up below from the sand, and, higher up the bank, had, with its sweet moisture, bribed the ready mosses to build it numerous green basins, out of which also it poured in prodigal flood.

At this point, Dead Indian, we at first decided to await the looked-for scout, but on the next morning the major resolved to leave a note on a tripod for Mr. T., still out hunting, and to camp and wait on top of Cañon Mountain above us. So we left the noisy creek and the broken tepees of Joseph and the Nez Percés, and the buffalo and deer-bones and the rarer bones of men, and climbed some twenty-four hundred feet of the hill above us: then passed over a rolling plain, by ruddy gravel-hills and grasses gray- or pink-stemmed, to camp, on what Mr. Baronette called Cañon Mountain, among scattered groups of trees having a quaint resemblance to an old apple-orchard. Here we held counsel as to whether we should wait longer for the scout, push on rapidly to Custer, or complete our plans by turning southward to see the Black Cañon of the Big Horn River. Our doubt as to the steam-boats, which in the autumn are few and far between, and our failing provisions, decided us to push on to the fort. Having got in all our parties, with ample supplies of game, we started early next day to begin the descent from these delightful hills to the plains below. We rode twenty-eight miles, descending about thirty-seven hundred feet over boundless rolling, grass-clad foot-hills, behind us, to the left, the long mountain-line bounding the rugged cañon of Clarke's Fork, and to the right a march of lessening hills, and all before us one awful vast gray, sad and silent plain, and in dimmest distance again the gray summits about Pryor's Gap. The space before us was a vast park, thick with cactus and sage-brush, lit up here and there—but especially at the point where the cañon sets free the river on to the plain—by brilliant masses of tinted rocks or clays in level strata overlapping one another in bars of red, silver, pink, yellow and gray. With a certain sense of sadness we took a last look at these snowy summits rising out of their green crowns of pine and fir, and, bidding adieu to the wholesome hills, rode on to the grim alkali plain with the thermometer at 92°.

And now the days of bad water had come, each spring being the nastiest, and the stuff not consoling when once down, but making new and unquenchable thirst, and leaving a vile and constant taste of magnesia and chalk. And thus, over sombre prairies and across a wicked ford—where, of course, the captain and T. got their baggage wet—and past bones of men on which were piled stones, and the man's breeches thrown over these for a shroud or as a remembrance of the shrivelled thing below being human, we followed the Nez Percés' trail, to camp at four by the broad rattling waters of Clarke. Jack reported Indians near by—indeed saw them: guessed them to be Bannocks, as Crows would have come in to beg. Sentinels were thrown out on the bluffs near us and the stock watched with redoubled care.

I think every man who has camped much remembers, with a distinct vividness, the camp-fires. I recall happy hours by them in Maine and Canada and on the north shore of Lake Superior, and know, as every lover of the woods knows, how each wood has its character, its peculiar odors—even a language of its[Pg 39] own. The burning pine has one speech, the gum tree another. One friend at least who was with me can recall our camps in Maine,

Where fragrant hummed the moist swamp-spruce,
And tongues unknown the cedar spoke,
While half a century's silent growth
Went up in cheery flame and smoke.

The cottonwood burns with a rich, ruddy, abundant blaze and a faint pleasant aroma. Not an unpicturesque scene, our camp-fire, with the rough figures stretched out on the grass and the captain marching his solemn round with utterly unfatigable legs, Jack and George Houston good-humoredly chaffing, and now and again a howl responsive to the anguish of a burnt boot. He who has lived a life and never known a camp-fire is—Well, may he have that joy in the Happy Hunting-grounds!

The next day's ride was only interesting from the fact that we forded Clarke's Fork five times in pretty wild places, where, of course, Captain G. and the doctor again had their baggage soaked. The annoyance of this when, after ten hours in the saddle, you come to fill your tobacco-bag and find the precious treasure hopelessly wet, your writing-paper in your brushes, the lovely photographs, a desolated family presented on your departure, brilliant with yellow mud—I pause: there are inconceivable capacities for misery to be had out of a complete daily wetting of camp-traps. I don't think the captain ever quite got over this last day's calamity, and I doubt not he mourns over it to-day in England.

The ride of the next two days brought us again to rising ground, the approach to Pryor's Gap. On the 13th I rode on ahead with George Houston, and had an unsuccessful buffalo-hunt. We saw about forty head, but by no device could we get near enough for effective shooting. I had, however, the luck to kill a buck antelope and two does. Rejoining the command in great triumph, I found Jump, to my amusement, waving over his head a red cotton umbrella which some wandering Crow had dropped on the trail. The umbrella being, from the Crow point of view, a highly-prized ornament, it was not strange to find it on our trail. In an evil moment I asked Jump to hand it to me. As he did so it fell, open, over the nose of my cayoose. As to what happened I decline to explain: there have been many calumnies concerning what Mr. Jump called "that 'ere horse-show."

On this day we rode through the last range of considerable hills, past a vast rock which meant "medicine" of some kind for the Indian, as its clefts were dotted with sacrificial beads, arrows and bits of calico. A brief scramble and a long descent carried us through Pryor's Gap, and out again on to boundless plains, thick with the fresh dung of the buffaloes, which must have been here within two days and been hurried southward by Crow hunting-parties. This to our utter disgust, as we had been promised abundance of buffalo beyond Pryor's Gap.

A thirty-mile march brought us to a poor camp by a marshy stream. Man and beast showed the effects of the alkaline waters, which seemed to me more nasty every day. There is no doubt, however, that it is possible to become accustomed to their use, and no lands are more capable of cultivation than these if the water be sufficient for irrigation. The camp was enlivened by an adventure of the major's, which revenged for us his atrocious habit of rising at 3 a. m. and saying "Now, gentlemen!" as he stood relentless at the tent-doors. C. and I had found a cañon near by about one hundred feet deep and having a good bathing stream. As we returned toward it at evening we saw the gallant major standing barelegged on the edge of the cañon, gesticulating wildly, his saddle-bags and toilette matters far below beside the creek. Still suffering with the sunburn, he had been cooling his feet in the water preparatory to a bath, when, lo! a bear standing on his hind legs eating berries at a distance of only about fifteen feet! The major promptly availed himself of the shelter offered by the bank of the stream; but once there, how was he to escape unseen? The water was cold, the bear big, the major shoeless.[Pg 40] Perhaps a bark simulative of a courageous dog might induce the bear to leave. No doubt, under such inspirations, it was well done. The bear, amazed at the resources of the army, fled—alas! not pursued by the happy major, who escaped up the cañon-wall, leaving his baggage to a generous foe, which took no advantage of comb or toothbrush. How the whole outfit turned out to hunt that bear, and how he was never found, I have not space to tell more fully.

All of twelve hours the next day we rode on under a blinding sunlight, a cloudless sky, over dreary, rolling, dusty plains, where the only relief from dead grasses was the gray sage-brush and cactus, from the shelter of which, now and again, a warning rattle arose or a more timid snake fled swiftly through the dry grasses. Tinted cones of red and brown clays or toadstool forms of eroded sandstone added to the strange desolateness of the view; so that no sorrow was felt when, after forty miles of it, we came upon a picturesque band of Crows with two chiefs, Raw Hide and Tin Belly.

It was an amazing sight to fresh eyes—the clever ponies, these bold-featured, bareheaded, copper-tinted fellows with bead-decked leggins, gay shirts or none, and their rifles slung in brilliantly-decorated gun-covers across the saddle-bows. We rode down the bluffs with them to the flat valley of Beauvais Creek, where a few lodges were camped with the horses, twelve hundred or more, in a grove of lordly cottonwood—a wild and picturesque sight. Tawny squaws surrounded us in crowds, begging. A match, a cartridge, anything but a quill toothpick, was received with enthusiasm. I rode ahead to the ford of the Beauvais Creek, and met the squaws driving in the cayooses. Altogether, it was much like a loosely-organized circus. Our own camp being set, we took our baths tranquilly, watched by the squaws seated like men on their ponies. One of them kindly accepted a button and my wornout undershirt.

The cottonwood tree reigns supreme throughout this country wherever there is moisture, and marks with its varied shades of green the sinuous line of every water-course. Despised even here as soft and easily rotted, "warping inside out in a week," it is valuable as almost the sole resource for fuel and timber, and as making up in speed of growth for a too ready rate of decay. Four or five years' growth renders it available for rails, and I should think it must equal the eucalyptus for draining moist lands. Many a pretty face is the more admired for its owner's wealth, and were the now-despised cottonwood of greater market-value it could not, I think, have escaped a reputation for beauty. A cottonwood grove of tall trees ten to eighteen feet in diameter, set twenty to forty feet apart, with dark-green shining leaves spreading high in air over a sod absolutely free of underbrush, struck such of us as had no Western prejudices as altogether a noble sight. Between Forts Custer and Keogh the cottonwoods are still finer, and what a mocking-bird is among birds are these among trees—now like the apple tree, now like the olive, now resembling the cork or the red-oak or the Lombardy poplar, and sometimes quaintly deformed so as to exhibit grotesque shapes,—all as if to show what one tree can do in the way of mimicking its fellows.

To our delight, General Sheridan's old war-scout, Mr. Campbell, rode in with letters at dusk, and we had the happiness to learn that our long absence had made ill news for none of us. By six next day we were up and away to see the great Crow camp, which we reached by crossing a long ford of the swift Big Horn River. There were one hundred and twenty lodges, about one thousand Crows, about two thousand dogs and as many ponies. I think it was the commissary who dared to say that every dog could not have his day among the Crows, as there would not be enough days to go round; but surely never on earth was such a canine chorus. It gave one a respect for Crow nerves. Let me add, as a Yankee, my veneration for the Crow as a bargainer, and you will have the most salient ideas I carried away from this medley of dogs, horses, sullen, lounging braves with pipes, naked children warmly clad[Pg 41] with dirt, hideous squaws, skin lodges, medicine-staffs gay with bead and feathers, and stenches for the describing of which civilized language fails.

Crossing a branch of the Big Horn, we rode away again over these interminable, lonely grass-plains; past the reaping-machines and the vast wagons, with a dozen pairs of oxen to each, sent out to gather forage for the winter use of the fort; past dried-up streams, whitewashed with snowy alkaline deposits, cheating the eye at a distance with mockery of foaming water. Still, mile on mile, across rolling lands, with brief pause at the river to water horses, scaring the gay little prairie-dogs and laughing at the swift scuttle away of jack-rabbits, until by noon the long lines of Custer came into sight.

These three days of sudden descent from high levels to the terrible monotony of the thirsty plains, without shade, with the thermometer still in the nineties, began to show curiously in the morale of the outfit. The major got up earlier and rode farther: our English captain walked more and more around the camp-fire. On one day the coffee gave out, and on the next the sugar, and everything except the commissary's unfailing good-humor, which was, unluckily, not edible. Mr. T. rode in silence beside the judge, grimly calculating how soon he could get a railroad over these plains. Even the doctor fell away in the "talk" line. Says Mr. Jump: "These 'ere plains ain't as social as they might be." Some one is responsible for the following brief effort to evolve in verse the lugubrious elements of a ride over alkali plains with failing provender, weary horses, desiccating heat and quenchless thirst:

Silent and weary and sun-baked, we rode o'er the alkaline grass-plains,
Into and out of the coolies and through the gray green of the sage-brush—
All the long line of the horses, with jingle of spur and of bridle,
All the brown line of the mule-train, tired and foot-sore and straggling;
Nothing to right and to left, nothing before and behind us,
Save the dry yellowing grass, and afar on the hazy horizon,
Sullen, and grim, and gray, sunburnt, monotonous sand-heaps.
So we rode, sombre and listless, day after day, while the distance
Grew as we rode, till the eyeballs ached with the terrible sameness.

By this time the command was straggling in a long broken line, all eyes set on the fort, where, about 1.30, we dismounted from our six hundred miles in the saddle to find in the officers' club-room a hearty welcome and the never-to-be-forgotten sensation of a schooner of iced Milwaukee beer. From Fort Custer we rode a hundred and thirty miles in ambulances to Fort Keogh. This portion of our journey took us over the line to be followed by the Northern Pacific Railroad, and gave us a good idea of the wealthy grass-lands, capable of easy irrigation, bordering the proposed line of rail. The river is navigable to Custer until the middle of September, and in wet seasons still later. Already, much of the best land is taken up, and we were able to buy chickens if we could shoot them, and eggs and potatoes, the latter the best I have seen in any country. The river is marked by ample groves of superb cottonwoods and by immense thickets of the wild prairie-rose and moss-rose, while the shores are endlessly interesting and curious, especially the left bank, on account of the singular forms of the mud and sandstone hills, along which, in places, lie for miles black level strata of lignite. At Fort Keogh we took a steamer to Bismarck, whence we travelled by rail on the Northern Pacific road, reaching home September 9th. We had journeyed sixty-five hundred miles—on horses, six hundred; by ambulances, four hundred; by boat, six hundred and seventy-five.

S. Weir Mitchell, M. D.


[A] Nicholas Biddle.

[B] A little valley—probably from the French coulisse, a narrow channel.

[Pg 42]



Aunt Hepzibah's house stood well up the hill, far enough away from the village to escape the hubbub and confusion which during the removal of any considerable store of spirit were most certain to prevail.

Hidden away in the recesses of a tortuous valley, amid hills whose steep sides bristled with tier after tier of bare, broken rocks, to reach or to leave Polperro by any other mode than on foot was a task of considerable difficulty. Wagons were unknown, carts not available, and it was only at the risk of his rider's life and limbs that any horse ventured along the perilous descents and ascents of the old Talland road. Out of these obstacles, therefore, arose the necessity for a number of men who could manage the drays, dorsals and crooks which were the more common and favored modes of conveyance. With the natural love of a little excitement, combined with the desire to do as you would be done by, it was only thought neighborly to lend a hand at whatever might be going on; and the general result of this sociability was that half the place might be found congregated about the house, assisting to the best of their ability to impede all progress and successfully turn any attempt at work into confusion and disorder.

To add to this tumult, a keg of spirits was kept on tap, to which all comers were made free, so that the crowd grew first noisy and good-tempered, then riotously merry and quarrelsomely drunk, until occasions had been known when a general fight had ensued, the kegs had got burst open and upset, the men who were hired to deliver them lay maddened or helpless in the street, while the spirit for which liberty and life had been risked flowed into the gutters like so much water.

In vain had Adam, to whom these scenes afforded nothing but anger and disgust, used all his endeavors to persuade his fellow-workers to give up running the vessel ashore with the cargo in her. The Polperro men, except under necessity, turned a deaf ear to his entreaties, and in many cases preferred risking a seizure to foregoing the fool-hardy recklessness of openly defying the arm of the law. The plan which Adam would have seen universally adopted here, as it was in most of the other places round the coast, was that of dropping the kegs, slung on a rope, into the sea, and (securing them by an anchor) leaving them there until some convenient season, when, certain of not being disturbed, they were landed, and either removed to a more distant hiding-place or conveyed at once to their final destination. But all this involved immediate trouble and delay, and the men, who without a complaint or murmur would endure weeks of absence from their homes, the moment those homes came in sight grew irritable under control and impatient of all authority.

With a spirit of independence which verged on rebellion, with an uncertain temperament in which good and bad lay jostled together so haphazard that to calculate which at any given moment might come uppermost was an impossibility, these sons of the sea were hard to lead and impossible to drive. Obstinate, credulous, superstitious, they looked askant on innovation and hated change, fearing lest it should turn away the luck which they vaunted in the face of discretion, making it their boast that so many years had gone by since any mischance had overtaken the Polperro folk that they could afford to laugh at the soldiers before their faces and snap their fingers at the cruisers behind their backs.

Under these circumstances it was not to be supposed that Adam's arguments proved very effective: no proposition he made was ever favorably received, and this one was more than usually unpopular. So, in spite of his prejudice against[Pg 43] a rule which necessitated the sequence of riot and disorder, he had been forced to give in, and to content himself by using his authority to control violence and stem as much as possible the tide of excess. It was no small comfort to him that Eve was absent, and the knowledge served to smooth his temper and keep down his irritability. Besides which, his spirits had risen to no common height, a frequent result of the reaction which sets in after great emotion, although Adam placed his happy mood to the credit of Eve's kind words and soft glances.

It was late in the afternoon before the kegs were all got out and safely cleared off; but at length the last man took his departure, the visitors began to disperse, Uncle Zebedee and Jerrem disappeared with them, and the house was left to the undisturbed possession of Joan and Adam.

"I shall bring Eve back when I come," Adam said, reappearing from the smartening up he had been giving to himself.

"All right!" replied Joan, but in such a weary voice that Adam's heart smote him for leaving her sitting there alone, and with a great effort at self-sacrifice he said, "Would you like to go too?"

"Iss, if I could go two p'r'aps I should," retorted Joan, "but as I'm only one p'r'aps I might find myself one in the way. There, go along with 'ee, do!" she added, seeing him still hesitate. "You knaw if there'd bin any chance o' my goin' you wouldn't ha' axed me."

A little huffed by this home-thrust, Adam waited for nothing more, but, turning away, he closed the door after him and set off at a brisk pace up the Lansallos road, toward Aunt Hepzibah's house.

The light had now all but faded out, and over everything seaward a cloudy film of mist hung thick and low; but this would soon lift up and be blown away, leaving the night clear and the sky bright with the glitter of a myriad stars, beneath whose twinkling light Adam would tell his tale of love and hear the sweet reply; and at the thought a thousand hopes leaped into life and made his pulses quicken and his nerves thrill. Strive as he might, arrived at Aunt Hepzibah's he could neither enter upon nor join in any general conversation; and so marked was his silence and embarrassed his manner that the assembled party came to the charitable conclusion that something had gone wrong in the adjustment of his liquor; and knowing it was ticklish work to meddle with a man who with a glass beyond had fallen a drop short, they made no opposition to Eve's speedy preparations for immediate departure.

"Oh, Eve," Adam exclaimed, giving vent to deep-drawn sighs of relief as, having turned from the farm-gate, they were out of sight and hearing of the house, "I hope you're not vexed with me for seeming such a fool as I've been feeling there. I have been so longing for the time to come when I could speak to you that for thinking of it I couldn't talk about the things they asked me of."

"Why, whatever can you have to say of so much importance?" stammered Eve, trying to speak as if she was unconscious of the subject he was about to broach; and this from no coquetry, but because of an embarrassment so allied to that which Adam felt that if he could have looked into her heart he would have seen his answer in its tumultuous beating.

"I think you know," said Adam softly; and as he spoke he stooped to catch a glimpse of her averted face. "It's only what I'd on my lips to say last night, only the door was opened before I'd time to get the words out, and afterward you wouldn't so much as give me a look, although," he added reproachfully, "you sat up ever so long after I was gone, and only ran away when you thought that I was coming."

"No, indeed I didn't do that," said Eve earnestly: "that was Joan whom you heard. I went up stairs almost the minute after you left."

"Is that really true?" exclaimed Adam, seizing both her hands and holding them tight within his own. "Eve, you don't know what I suffered, thinking you were caught by Jerrem's talk and didn't care whether I felt hurt or pleased. I lay awake most of the night, thinking whether it could ever be that you could care[Pg 44] for me as by some magic you've made me care for you. I fancied—"

But here a rustle in the hedge made them both start. Adam turned quickly round, but nothing was to be discovered. "'Twas, most-like, nothing but a stoat or a rabbit," he said, vexed at the interruption: "still, 'tis all but certain there'll be somebody upon the road. Would you mind crossing over to the cliff? 'Tis only a little bit down the other side."

Eve raised no objection, and, turning, they picked their way along the field, got over the gate and down through the tangle of gorse and brier to the path which ran along the Lansallos side of the cliff. Every step of the way was familiar to Adam, and he so guided Eve as to bring her down to a rough bit of rock which projected out and formed a seat on a little flat of ground overhanging a deep gully.

"There!" he said, in a tone of satisfaction, "this isn't so bad, is it? You won't feel cold here, shall you?"

"No, not a bit," said Eve.

Then there was a pause, which Eve broke by first giving a nervous, half-suppressed sigh, and then saying, "It's very dark to-night, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Adam, who had been thinking how he should best begin his subject. "I thought the mist was going to clear off better than this, but that seems to look like dirty weather blowing up;" and he pointed to the watery shroud behind which lay the waning moon.

"I wish a storm would come on," said Eve: "I should so like to see the sea tossing up and the waves dashing over everything."

"What! while we two are sitting here?" said Adam, smiling.

"No: of course I don't mean now, this very minute, but some time."

"Some time when I'm away at sea?" put in Adam.

Eve gave a little shudder: "Not for the world! I should be frightened to death if a storm came on and you away. But you don't go out in very bad weather, do you, Adam?"

"Not if I can help it, I don't," he answered. "Why, would you mind if I did?" and he bent down so that he could look into her face. "Eh, Eve, would you?"

His tone and manner conveyed so much more than the words that Eve felt it impossible to meet his gaze. "I don't know," she faltered. "What do you ask me for?"

"What do I ask you for?" he repeated, unable longer to repress the passionate torrent which he had been striving to keep under. "Because suspense seems to drive me mad. Because, try as I may, I can't keep silent any longer. I wanted, before I said more, to ask you about somebody you've left behind you at London; but it's of no use. No matter what he may be to you, I must tell you that I love you, Eve—that you've managed in this little time to make every bit of my heart your own."

"Somebody in London?" Eve silently repeated. "Who could he mean? Not Reuben May: how should he know about him?"

The words of love that followed this surprise seemed swallowed up in her desire to have her curiosity satisfied and her fears set at rest. "What do you mean about somebody I've left in London?" she said; and the question, abruptly put, jarred upon Adam's excited mood, strained as his feelings were, each to its utmost tension. This man she had left behind, then, could even at a moment like this stand uppermost in her mind.

"A man, I mean, to whom, before you left, you gave a promise;" and this time, so at variance was the voice with Adam's former tones of passionate avowal, that, coupled with the shock of hearing that word "promise," Eve's heart quailed, and to keep herself from betraying her agitation she was forced to say, with an air of ill-feigned amazement, "A man I left? somebody I gave a promise to? I really don't know what you mean."

"Oh yes, you do;" and by this time every trace of wooing had passed from Adam's face, and all the love so late set flowing from his heart was choked and forced back on himself. "Try and remember[Pg 45] some fellow who thinks he's got the right to ask how you're getting on among the country bumpkins, whether you ain't tired of them yet, and when you're coming back. Perhaps," he added, goaded on by Eve's continued silence, "'twill help you if I say 'twas the one who came to see you off aboard the Mary Jane. I suppose you haven't forgot him?"

Eve's blood boiled at the sneer conveyed in Adam's tone and look. Raising her eyes defiantly to his, she said, "Forgotten him? Certainly not. If you had said anything about the Mary Jane before I should have known directly who you meant. That person is a very great friend of mine."

"Friend?" said Adam.

"Yes, friend—the greatest friend I've got."

"Oh, I'm very glad I know that, because I don't approve of friends. The woman I ask to be my wife must be contented with me, and not want anything from anybody else."

"A most amiable decision to come to," said Eve. "I hope you may find somebody content to be so dictated to."

"I thought I had found somebody already," said Adam, letting a softer inflection come into his voice. "I fancied that at least, Eve, you were made out of different stuff to the women who are always hankering to catch every man's eye."

"And pray what should make you alter your opinion? Am I to be thought the worse of because an old friend, who had promised he would be a brother to me, offers to see me off on my journey, and I let him come? You must have a very poor opinion of women, Adam, or at least a very poor opinion of me."

And the air of offended dignity with which she gave this argument forced Adam to exclaim, "Oh, Eve, forgive me if I have spoken hastily: it is only because I think so much more of you—place you so much higher than any other girl I ever saw—that makes me expect so much more of you. Of course," he continued, finding she remained silent, "you had every right to allow your friend to go with you, and it was only natural he should wish to do so; only when I'm so torn by love as I am I feel jealous of every eye that's turned upon you: each look you give another seems something robbed from me."

Eve's heart began to soften: her indignation was beginning to melt away.

"And when I heard he was claiming a promise, I—"

"What promise?" said Eve sharply.

"What promise did you give him?" replied Adam warily, suspicion giving to security another thrust.

"That's not to the point," said Eve. "You say I gave him a promise: I ask what that promise was?"

"The very question I put to you. I know what he says it was, and I want to hear if what he says is true. Surely," he added, seeing she hesitated, "if this is only a friend, and a friend who is to be looked on like a brother, you can't have given him any promise that if you can remember you can't repeat."

Eve's face betrayed her displeasure. "Really, Adam," she said, "I know of no right that you have to take me to task in this manner."

"No," he answered: "I was going to ask you to give me that right when you interrupted me. However, that's very soon set straight. I've told you I love you: now I ask you if you love me, and, if so, whether you will marry me? After you've answered me I shall be able to put my questions without fear of offence."

"Will you, indeed?" said Eve. "I should think that would rather depend upon what the answer may be."

"Whatever it may be, I'm waiting for it," said Adam grimly.

"Let me see: I must consider what it was I was asked," said Eve. "First, if—"

"Oh, don't trouble about the first: I shall be satisfied of that if you answer the second and tell me you will accept me as a husband."

"Say keeper."

"Keeper, if that pleases you better."

"Thank you very much, but I don't feel quite equal to the honor. I'm not so tired yet of doing what pleases myself[Pg 46] that I need submit my thoughts and looks and actions to another person."

"Then you refuse to be my wife?"

"Yes, I do."

"And you cannot return the love I offer you?"

Eve was silent.

"Do you hear?" he said.

"Yes, I hear."

"Then answer: have I got your love, or haven't I?"

"Whatever love you might have had," she broke out passionately, "you've taken care to kill."

"Kill!" he repeated. "It must have been precious delicate if it couldn't stand the answering of one question. Look here, Eve. When I told you I had given you my heart and every grain of love in it, I only spoke the truth; but unless you can give me yours as whole and as entire as I have given mine, 'fore God I'd rather jump off yonder rock than face the misery that would come upon us both. I know what 'tis to see another take what should be yours—to see another given what you are craving for. The torture of that past is dead and gone, but the devil it bred in me lives still, and woe betide the man or woman who rouses it!"

Instinctively Eve shrank back: the look of pent-up passion frightened her and made her whole body shiver.

"There! there! don't alarm yourself," said Adam, passing his hand over his forehead as if to brush away the traces which this outburst had occasioned: "I don't want to frighten you. All I want to know is, can you give me the love I ask of you?"

"I couldn't bear to be suspected," faltered Eve.

"Then act so that you would be above suspicion."

"With a person always on the watch, looking out for this and that, so that one would be afraid to speak or open one's mouth, I don't see how one could possibly be happy," said Eve. "All one did, all one said, might be taken wrongly, and when one were most innocent one might be thought most guilty. No: I don't think I could stand that, Adam."

"Very well," he said coldly. "If you feel your love is too weak to bear that, and a great deal more than that, you are very wise to withhold it from me: those who have much to give require much in return."

"Oh, don't think I haven't that in me which would make my love equal yours any day," said Eve, nettled at the doubt which Adam had flung at her. "If I gave any one my heart, I should give it all; but when I do that I hope it will be to somebody who won't doubt me and suspect me."

"Then I'd advise you not to give them cause to," said Adam.

"And I'd advise you to keep your cautions for those that need them," replied Eve, rising from where she had been sitting and turning her face in the direction of home.

"Oh, you needn't fear being troubled by any more I shall say," said Adam: "I'm only sorry that I've been led to say what I have."

"Pray don't let that trouble you: such things, with me, go in at one ear and out at the other."

"In that case I won't waste any more words," said Adam; "so if you can keep your tongue still you needn't fear being obliged to listen to anything I shall say."

Eve gave a little scornful inclination of her head in token of the accepted silence between them, and in silence the two commenced their walk and took their way toward home.


Except the long surging roll of the waves, as in monotonous succession they dashed and broke against the rocks, not a sound was to be heard. The night had grown more lowering: the sprinkle of stars was hid behind the dense masses of cloud, through which, ever and anon, the moon, with shadowy face, broke out and feebly cast down a glimmering light. Below, the outspread stretch of water lay dark and motionless, its glassy surface cold and glittering like steel. Walking a little in the rear of Adam, Eve shuddered[Pg 47] as her eyes fell on the depths, over whose brink the narrow path they trod seemed hanging. Instinctively she shrank closer to the cliff-side, to be caught by the long trails of bramble which, with bracken and gorse, made the steep descent a bristly wall. Insensibly affected by external surroundings, unused to such complete darkness, the sombre aspect of the scene filled her with nervous apprehension: every bit of jutting rock she stumbled against was a yawning precipice, and at each step she took she died some different death. The terrors of her mind entirely absorbed all her former indifference and ill-humor, and she would have gladly welcomed any accident which would have afforded her a decent pretext for breaking this horrible silence. But nothing occurred, and they reached the open piece of green and were close on the crumbling ruins of St. Peter's chapel without a word having passed between them. The moon struggled out with greater effort, and, to Eve's relief, showed that the zigzag dangers of the path were past, and there was now nothing worse to fear than what might happen on any uneven grassy slope. Moreover, the buzz of voices was near, and, though they could not see the persons speaking, Eve knew by the sound that they could not be very far distant. Having before him the peculiar want of reticence generally displayed by the Polperro folk, Adam would have given much to have been in a position to ask Eve to remount the hill and get down by the other side; but under present circumstances he felt it impossible to make any suggestion: things must take their course. And without a word of warning he and Eve gained the summit of the raised elevation which formed a sheltered background to this favorite loitering-place, at once to find themselves the centre of observation to a group of men whose noisy discussion they had apparently interrupted.

"Why, 'tis my son Adam, ain't it?" exclaimed the voice of Uncle Zebedee; and at the sound of a little mingled hoarseness and thickness Adam's heart sank within him.—"And who's this he's a got with un, eh?"

"Tis me, Uncle Zebedee," said Eve, stepping down on to the flat and advancing toward where the old man stood lounging—"Eve, you know."

"Awh, Eve, is it?" exclaimed Zebedee. "Why, how long's t'wind veered round to your quarter, my maid? Be you two sweetheartin' then, eh?"

"I've been all day up to Aunt Hepzibah's," said Eve quickly, endeavoring to cover her confusion, "and Adam came to fetch me back: that's how it is we're together."

"Wa-al, but he needn't ha' fetched 'ee 'less he'd got a mind for yer company, I s'pose," returned Zebedee with a meaning laugh. "Come, come now: 't 'ull niver do for 'ee to try to cabobble Uncle Zibedee. So you and Adam's courtyin', be 'ee? Wa-al, there's nuffin' to be said agen that, I s'pose?" and he looked round as if inviting concurrence or contradiction.—"Her's my poor brother Andrer's little maid, ye knaw, shipmates"—and here he made a futile attempt to present Eve to the assembled company—"what's dead—and drownded—and gone to Davy's locker; so, notwithstandin' I'd lashins sooner 'twas our Joan he'd ha' fix'd on—Lord ha' massy!" he added parenthetically, "Joan's worth a horsgead o' she—still, what's wan man's mate's another man's pison; and, howsomedever that lies, I reckon it needn't go for to hinder me fra' drinkin' their healths in a drap o' good liquor. So come along, my hearties;" and, making a movement which sent him forward with a lurch, he began muttering something about his sea-legs, the effect of which was drowned in the shout evincing the ready satisfaction with which this proposal for friendly conviviality was hailed.

Eve drew in her breath, trying to gather up courage and combat down the horrible suspicion that Uncle Zebedee was not quite himself, didn't exactly know what he was saying, had taken too much to drink. With congratulatory intent she found herself jostled against by two or three others near her, whose noisy glee and uncertain gait only increased her fears. What should she do? Where could she go? What had become of[Pg 48] Adam? Surely he would not go and leave her amongst—

But already her question was answered by a movement from some one behind, who with a dexterous interposition succeeded in placing himself between Uncle Zebedee and herself.

"Father," and Adam's voice sounded more harsh and stern than usual, "leave Eve to go home as she likes: she's not used to these sort o' ways, and she will not take things as you mean them."

"Eh! what? How not mane 'em?" exclaimed old Zebedee, taken aback by his son's sudden appearance. "I arn't a said no harm that I knaws by: there's no 'fence in givin' the maid a wet welcome, I s'pose."

A buzz of dissatisfaction at Adam's interference inspired Zebedee with renewed confidence, and with two or three sways in order to get the right balance he managed to bring himself to a standstill right in front of Adam, into whose face he looked with a comical expression of defiance and humor as he said, "Why, come 'long with us, lad, do 'ee, and name the liquor yerself, and see it passes round free and turn and turn about: and let's hab a song or two, and get up Rozzy Treloar wi' his fiddle, and Zeke Orgall there 'ull dance us a hornpipe;" and he began a double-shuffle with his feet, adding, as his dexterity came to a sudden and somewhat unsteady finish, "Tis a ill wind that blows nobody no good, and a poor heart what never rejices."

Eve during this time had been vainly endeavoring to make her escape—an impossibility, as Adam saw, under existing circumstances; and this decided him to use no further argument; but, with his arm put through his father's and in company with the rest of the group, he apparently conceded to their wishes, and, motioning Eve on, the party proceeded along the path, down the steps and toward the quay, until they came in front of the Three Pilchards, now the centre of life and jollity, with the sound of voices and the preparatory scraping of a fiddle to enhance the promise of comfort which glowed in the ruddy reflection sent by the bright lights and cheerful fire through the red window-curtain.

"Now, father," exclaimed Adam with a resolute grip of the old man's arm, "you and me are homeward bound. We'll welcome our neighbors some other time, but for this evening let's say good-night to them."

"Good-night?" repeated Zebedee: "how good-night? Why, what 'ud be the manin' o' that? None o' us ain't agoin' to part company here, I hopes. We'm all goin' to cast anchor to the same moorin's—eh, mates?"

"No, no, no!" said Adam, impatiently: "you come along home with me now."

"Iss, iss, all right!" laughed the old man, trying to wriggle out of his son's grasp; "only not just yet a whiles. I'm agoin' in here to drink your good health, Adam lad, and all here's a-comin' with me—ain't us, hearties?"

"Pack of stuff! Drink my health?" exclaimed Adam. "There's no more reason for drinking my health to-night than any other night. Come along now, father: you've had a hard day of it, you know, and when you get home you can have whatever you want quietly by your own fireside."

But Zebedee, though perfectly good-humored, was by no means to be persuaded: he continued to laugh and writhe about as if the fact of his detention was merely a good joke on Adam's part, the lookers-on abetting and applauding his determination, until Adam's temper could restrain itself no longer, and with no very pleasant explosion of wrath he let go his hold and intimated that his father was free to take what course pleased him most.

"That's right, lad!" exclaimed old Zebedee heartily, shaking himself together. "You'm a good son and a capital sailor-man, but you'm pore company, Adam—verra pore company."

And with this truism (to which a general shout gave universal assent) ringing in his ears, Adam strode away up the street with all possible speed, and was standing in front of the house-door when he was suddenly struck by the thought[Pg 49] of what had become of Eve. Since they had halted in front of the Three Pilchards he had seen nothing of her: she had disappeared, and in all probability had made her way home.

The thought of having to confront her caused him to hesitate: should he go in? What else could he do? where had he to go? So, with a sort of desperation, he pushed open the door and found himself within the sitting-room. It was empty; the fire had burnt low, the wick of the unsnuffed candle had grown long; evidently Eve had not returned; and with an undefined mixture of regret and relief Adam sat down, leaned his arms on the table and laid his head upon them.

During the whole day the various excitements he had undergone had so kept his mind on the stretch that its powers of keen susceptibility seemed now thoroughly exhausted, and in place of the acute pain he had previously suffered there had come a dull, heavy weight of despair, before which his usual force and determination seemed vanquished and powerless. The feeling uppermost was a sense of the injustice inflicted on him—that he, who in practice and principle was so far removed above his neighbors, should be made to suffer for their follies and misdeeds, should have to bear the degradation of their vices. As to any hope of reclaiming them, he had long ago given that up, though not without a certain disappointment in the omniscience of that Providence which could refuse the co-operation of his valuable agency.

Adam suffered from that strong belief in himself which is apt, when carried to excess, to throw a shadow on the highest qualities. Outstepping the Pharisee, who thanked God that he was not like other men, Adam thanked himself, and fed his vanity by the assurance that had the Polperro folk followed his lead and his advice they would now be walking in his footsteps; instead of which they had despised him as a leader and rejected him as a counsellor, so that, exasperated by their ignorance and stung by their ingratitude, he had cast them off and abandoned them for ever; and out of this disappointment had arisen a dim shadow of some far-off future wherein he caught glimpses of a new life filled with fresh hopes and successful endeavors.

From the moment his heart had opened toward Eve her image seemed to be associated with these hitherto undefined longings: by the light of her love, of her presence, her companionship, all that had been vague seemed to take shape and grow into an object which was real and a purpose to be accomplished; so that now one of the sharpest pricks from the thorn of disappointment came of the knowledge that this hope was shattered and this dream must be abandoned. And, lost in moody retrospection, Adam sat stabbing desire with the sword of despair.

"Let me be! let me be!" he said in answer to some one who was trying to rouse him.

"Adam, it's me: do look up;" and in spite of himself the voice which spoke made him lift his head and look at the speaker. "Adam, I'm so sorry!" and Eve's face said more than her words.

"You've nothing to be sorry for," returned Adam sullenly.

"I want you to forgive me, Adam," continued Eve.

"I've nothing to forgive."

"Yes, you have;" and a faint flush of color came into her cheeks as she added with hesitating confusion, "You know I didn't mean you to take what I said as you did, Adam; because"—and the color suddenly deepened and spread over her face—"because I do care for you—very much indeed."

Adam gave a despondent shake of his head. "No, you don't," he said, steadily averting his eyes; "and a very good thing too. I don't know who that wasn't forced to it would willingly have anything to do with such a God-forsaken place as this is. I only know I'm sick of it, and of myself and my life, and everything in it."

"Oh, Adam, don't say that—don't say you're sick of life. At least, not now;" and she turned her face so that he might read the reason.

"And why not now?" he asked stolidly. "What have I now that I hadn't before?"[Pg 50]

"Why, you've got me."

"You? You said you couldn't give me the love I asked you for."

"Oh, but I didn't mean it. What I said was because I felt so hurt that you should suspect me as you seemed to."

"I never suspected you—never meant to suspect you. All I wanted you to know was that I must be all or nothing."

"Of course; and I meant that too, only you—But there! don't let's drift back to that again;" and as she spoke she leaned her two hands upon his shoulders and stood looking down. "What I want to say is, that every bit of love I have is yours, Adam. I am afraid," she added shyly, "you had got it all before ever I knew whether you really wanted it or not."

"And why couldn't you tell me that before?" he said bitterly.

"Why, is it too late now?" asked Eve humbly.

"Too late? You know it can't be too late," exclaimed Adam, his old irritability getting the better of him: then, with a sudden revulsion of his overwrought susceptibilities, he cried, "Oh, Eve, Eve, bear with me to-night: I'm not what I want to be. The words I try to speak die away upon my lips, and my heart seems sunk down so low that nothing can rejoice it. To-morrow I shall be master of myself again, and all will look different."

"I hope so," sighed Eve tremulously. "Things don't seem quite between us as they ought to be. I sha'n't wait for Joan," she said, holding out her hand: "I shall go up stairs now; so good-night, Adam."

"Good-night," he said: then, keeping hold of her hand, he drew her toward him and stood looking down at her with a face haggard and full of sadness.

The look acted as the last straw which was to swamp the burden of Eve's grief. Control was in vain, and in another instant, with Adam's arms around her, she lay sobbing out her sorrow on his breast, and the tears, as they came, thrust the evil spirit away. So that when, an hour later, the two said good-night again, their vows had been exchanged and the troth that bound them plighted; and Adam, looking into Eve's face, smiled as he said, "Whether for good luck or bad, the sun of our love has risen in a watery sky."


Most of the actions and events of our lives are chameleon-hued: their colors vary according to the light by which we view them. Thus Eve, who the night before had seen nothing but happiness in the final arrangement between Adam and herself, awoke on the following morning with a feeling of dissatisfaction and a desire to be critical as to the rosy hues which seemed then to color the advent of their love.

The spring of tenderness which had burst forth within her at sight of Adam's humility and subsequent despair had taken Eve by surprise. She knew, and had known for some time, that much within her was capable of answering to the demands which Adam's pleading love would most probably require; but that he had inspired her with a passion which would make her lay her heart at his feet, feeling for the time that, though he trampled on it, there it must stay, was a revelation entirely new, and, to Eve's temperament, rather humiliating. She had never felt any sympathy with those lovesick maidens whose very existence seemed swallowed up in another's being, and had been proudly confident that even when supplicated she should never seem to stoop lower than to accept. Therefore, just as we experience a sense of failure when we find our discernment led astray in our perception of a friend, so now, although she studiously avoided acknowledging it, she had the consciousness that she had utterly misconceived her own character, and that the balance by which she had adjusted the strength of her emotions had been a false one. A dread ran through her lest she should be seized hold upon by some further inconsistency, and she resolved to set a watch on the outposts of her senses, so that they might not betray her into further weakness.

These thoughts were still agitating her[Pg 51] mind when Joan suddenly awoke, and after a time roused herself sufficiently to say, "Why, whatever made you pop off in such a hurry last night, Eve? I runned in a little after ten, and there wasn't no signs of you nowheres; and then I come upon Adam, and he told me you was gone up to bed."

"Yes," said Eve: "I was so tired, and my foot began to ache again, so I thought there wasn't any use in my sitting up any longer. But you were very late, Joan, weren't you?"

"Very early, more like," said Joan: "'twas past wan before I shut my eyes. Why, I come home three times to see if uncle was back; and then I wouldn't stand it no longer, so I went and fetched un."

"What, not from—where he was?" exclaimed Eve.

Joan nodded her head. "Oh Lors!" she said, "'tain't the fust time by many; and," she added in a tone of satisfaction, "I lets 'em know when they've brought Joan Hocken down among 'em. I had Jerrem out, and uncle atop of un, 'fore they knawed where they was. Awh, I don't stand beggin' and prayin', not I: 'tis 'whether or no, Tom Collins,' when I come, I can tell 'ee."

"Well, they'd stay a very long time before they'd be fetched by me," said Eve emphatically.

"Awh, don't 'ee say that, now," returned Joan. "Where do 'ee think there'd be the most harm in, then—sittin' comfortable at home when you might go down and 'tice 'em away, or the goin' down and doin' of it?"

"I've not a bit of patience with anybody who drinks," exclaimed Eve, evading a direct answer.

"Then you'll never cure anybody of it, my dear," replied Joan. "You'm like Adam there, I reckon—wantin' to set the world straight in one day, and all the folks in it bottommost side upward; but, as I tell un, he don't go to work the right way. They that can't steer 'ull never sail; and I'll bet any money that when it comes to be counted up how many glasses o' grog's been turned away from uncle's lips, there'll be more set to the score o' my coaxin' than ever 'ull be to Adam's bullyraggin'."

"Perhaps so," said Eve; and then, wishing to avoid any argument into which Adam could be brought, she adroitly changed the subject, and only indifferent topics were discussed until, their dressing completed, the two girls were ready to go down stairs.

The first person who answered the summons to breakfast was Uncle Zebedee—not heavy-eyed and shamefaced, as Eve had expected to see him, but bright and rosy-cheeked as an apple. He had been up and out since six o'clock, looking after the repairs which a boat of his was laid up to undergo, and now, as he came into the house fresh as a lark, he chirruped in a quavery treble,

"Tom Truelove woo'd the sweetest fair
That e'er to tar was kind:
Her face was of a booty rare—

That's for all the world what yourn is," he said, breaking off to bestow a smacking kiss on Joan. "So look sharp, like a good little maid as you be, and gi'e us sommat to sit down for;" and he drew a chair to the table and began flourishing the knife which had been set there for him. Then, catching sight of Eve, whose face, in her desire to spare him, betrayed an irrepressible look of consciousness, he exclaimed, "Why, they've bin tellin' up that I was a little over-free in my speech last night about you, Eve: is there any truth in it, eh? I doan't fancy I could ha' said much amiss—did I?"

"Oh, nothing to signify, uncle."

"'Twas sommat 'bout you and Adam, warn't it?" he continued with a puzzled air: "'tis all in my head here, though I can't zackly call it to mind. That's the divil o' bein' a little o'ertook that ways," he added with the assurance of meeting ready sympathy: "'tis so bafflin' to set things all ship-shape the next mornin'. I minds so far as this, that it had somehow to do with me holdin' to it that you and Adam was goin' to be man and wife; but if you axes for the why and the wherefore, I'm blessed if I can tell 'ee."

"Why, whatever put such as that into your head?" said Joan sharply.[Pg 52]

"Wa-al, the liquor, I reckon," laughed Zebedee. "And, somehow or 'nother, Maister Adam didn't seem to have overmuch relish for the notion;" and he screwed up his face and hugged himself together as if his whole body was tickled at his son's discomfiture. "But there! never you mind that, Eve," he added hastily: "there's more baws than one to Polperro, and I'll wager for a halfscore o' chaps ready to hab 'ee without yer waitin' to be took up by my son Adam."

Poor Eve! it was certainly an embarrassing situation to be placed in, for, with no wish to conceal her engagement, to announce it herself alone, and unaided by even the presence of Adam, was a task she naturally shrank from. In the endeavor to avoid any direct reply she sat watching anxiously for Adam's arrival, her sudden change of manner construed by Zebedee into the effect of wounded vanity, and by Joan into displeasure at her uncle's undue interference. By sundry frowns and nods of warning Joan tried to convey her admonitions to old Zebedee, in the midst of which Adam entered, and with a smile at Eve and an inclusive nod to the rest of the party took a chair and drew up to the table.

"Surely," thought Eve, "he intends telling them."

But Adam sat silent and occupied with the plate before him.

"He can't think I can go living on here with Joan, even for a single day, and they not know it;" and in her perplexity she turned on Adam a look full of inquiry and meaning.

Still, Adam did not speak: in his own mind he was casting over the things he meant to say when, breakfast over and the two girls out of the way, he would invite his father to smoke a pipe outside, during the companionship of which he intended taking old Zebedee decidedly to task, and, putting his intended marriage with Eve well to the front, clinch his arguments by the startling announcement that unless some reformation was soon made he would leave his native place and seek a home in a foreign land. Such words and such threats as these could not be uttered to a father by a son save when they two stood quite alone; and Adam, after meeting a second look from Eve, shook his head, feeling satisfied that she would know that only some grave requirement deterred him from immediately announcing the happiness which henceforth was to crown his life. But our intuition, at the best, is somewhat narrow, and where the heart is most concerned most faulty: therefore Eve, and Adam too, felt each disappointed in the other's want of acquiescence, and inclined to be critical on the lack of mutual sympathy.

Suddenly the door opened and in walked Jerrem, smiling and apparently more radiant than usual under the knowledge that he was more than usually an offender. Joan, who had her own reasons for being very considerably put out with him, was not disposed to receive him very graciously; Adam vouchsafed him no notice whatever; Uncle Zebedee, oppressed by the sense of former good fellowship, thought it discreet not to evince too much cordiality; so that the onus of the morning's welcome was thrown upon Eve, who, utterly ignorant of any offence Jerrem had given, thought it advisable to make amends for the pettish impatience she feared she had been betrayed into on the previous morning.

Old Zebedee, whose resolves seldom lasted over ten minutes, soon fell into the swing of Jerrem's flow of talk; a little later on and Joan was forced to put in a word; so that the usual harmony was just beginning to recover itself when, in answer to a remark which Jerrem had made, Eve managed to turn the laugh so cleverly back upon him that Zebedee, well pleased to see what good friends they were growing, exclaimed, "Stop her mouth! stop her mouth, lad! I'd ha' done it when I was your years twenty times over 'fore this. Her's too sarcy—too sarcy by half, her is."

Up started Jerrem, but Adam was before him. "I don't know whether what I'm going to say is known to anybody here already," he burst out, "but I think it's high time that some present should be told by me that Eve has promised to[Pg 53] be my wife;" and, turning, he cast a look of angry defiance at Jerrem, who, thoroughly amazed, gradually sank down and took possession of his chair again, while old Zebedee went through the dumb show of giving a long whistle, and Joan, muttering an unmeaning something, ran hastily out of the room. Eve, angry and confused, turned from white to red and from red to white.

A silence ensued—one of those pauses when some event of our lives seems turned into a gulf to separate us from our former surroundings.

Adam was the first to speak, and with a touch of irony he said, "You're none of you very nimble at wishing us joy, I fancy."

"And no wonder, you've a-tooked us all aback so," said old Zebedee. "'T seems to me I'm foaced to turn it round and round afore I can swaller it for rale right-down truth."

"Why, is it so very improbable, then?" asked Adam, already repenting the abruptness of the disclosure.

"Wa-al, 'twas no later than last night that you was swearin' agen and cussin' everybody from stem to starn for so much as mentionin' it as likely. Now," he added, with as much show of displeasure as his cheery, weatherbeaten old face would admit of, "I'll tell 'ee the mind I've got to'ard these sort o' games: if you see fit to board folks in the smoke, why do it and no blame to 'ee, but hang me if I can stomach 'ee sailin' under false colors."

"There wasn't anything of false colors about us, father," said Adam in a more conciliatory tone; "for, though I had certainly spoken to Eve, it was not until after I'd parted with you last night that she gave me her answer."

"Awh!" said the old man, only half propitiated. "Wa-al, I s'pose you can settle your consarns without my help; but I can tell 'ee this much, that if my Joanna had took so long afore she could make her mind up, I'm blamed if her ever should ha' had the chance o' bein' your mother, Adam—so there!"

Adam bit his lip with vexation. "There's no need for me to enter upon any further explanations," he said: "Eve's satisfied, I'm satisfied, so I don't see why you shouldn't be satisfied."

"Awh, I'm satisfied enough," said Zebedee; "and, so far as that goes, though I ain't much of a hand at speechifyin', I hopes that neither of 'ee 'ull never have no raison to repent yer bargain. Eve's a fine bowerly maid, so you'm well matched there; and so long as she's ready to listen to all you say and bide by all you tells her, why 'twill be set fair and sail easy."

"I can assure you Eve isn't prepared to do anything of the sort, Uncle Zebedee," exclaimed Eve, unable to keep silence any longer. "I've always been told if I'd nothing else I've got the Pascals' temper; and that, according to your own showing, isn't very fond of sitting quiet and being rode over rough-shod."

The whistle which Uncle Zebedee had tried to choke at its birth now came out shrill, long and expressive, and Adam, jumping up, said, "Come, come, Eve: we've had enough of this. Surely there isn't any need to take such idle talk as serious matter. If you and me hadn't seen some good in one another we shouldn't have taken each other, I suppose; and, thank the Lord, we haven't to please anybody but our two selves."

"Wa-al, 'tis to be hoped you'll find that task aisier than it looks," retorted Uncle Zebedee with a touch of sarcasm; while Jerrem, after watching Adam go out, endeavored to throw a tone of regret into the flattering nothings he now whispered by way of congratulation, but Eve turned impatiently away from him. She had no further inclination to talk or to be talked to; and Uncle Zebedee having by this time sought solace in a pipe, Jerrem joined him outside, and the two sauntered away together toward the quay.

Left to the undisturbed indulgence of her own reflections, Eve's mood was no enviable one—the more difficult to bear because she had to control the various emotions struggling within her. She felt it was time for plain speaking between her and Adam, and rightly judged that a proper understanding come to at once would be the safest means of securing future comfort. Turn and twist Adam's[Pg 54] abrupt announcement as she would, she could assign but one cause for it, and that cause was an overweening jealousy; and as the prospect came before her of a lifetime spent in the midst of doubt and suspicion, the strength of her love seemed to die away and her heart grew faint within her. For surely if the demon of jealousy could be roused by the sight of commonplace attentions from one who was in every way like a brother—for so in Eve's eyes Jerrem seemed to be—what might not be expected if at any time circumstances threw her into the mixed company of strangers? Eve had seen very little of men, but whenever chance had afforded her the opportunity of their society she had invariably met with attention, and had felt inwardly gratified by the knowledge that she was attracting admiration; but now, if she gave way to this prejudice of Adam's, every time an eye was turned toward her she would be filled with fear, and each time a look was cast in her direction her heart would sink with dread.

What should she do? Give him up? Even with the prospect of possible misery staring at her, Eve could not say yes, and before the thought had more than shaped itself a dozen suggestions were battling down the dread alternative. She would change him, influence him, convert him—anything but give him up or give in to him. She forgot how much easier it is to conceive plans than to carry them out—to arrange speeches than to utter them. She forgot that only the evening before, when, an opportunity being afforded, she had resolved upon telling Adam the whole circumstance of Reuben May and the promise made between them, while the words were yet on her lips she had drawn them back because Adam had said he knew that the promise was "nothing but the promise of a letter;" and Eve's courage had suddenly given way, and by her silence she had led him to conclude that nothing else had passed between them. Joan had spoken of the envious grudge which Adam had borne toward Jerrem because he had shared in his mother's heart, so that this was not the first time Adam had dropped in gall to mingle with the cup of his love.

The thought of Joan brought the fact of her unexplained disappearance to Eve's mind, and, full of compunction at the bare suspicion of having wounded that generous heart, Eve jumped up with the intention of seeking her and of bringing about a satisfactory explanation. She had not far to go before she came upon Joan, rubbing and scrubbing away as if the welfare of all Polperro depended on the amount of energy she could throw into her work. Her face was flushed and her voice unsteady, the natural consequences of such violent exercise, and which Eve's approach but seemed to lend greater force to.

"Joan, I want to speak to you."

"Awh, my dear, I can't listen to no spakin' now," replied Joan hastily, "and the tables looking as they do."

"But Tabithy always scrubs the tables, Joan: why should you do it?"

"Tabithy's arms ain't half so young as mine—worse luck for me or for she!"

Having by this time gained a little insight into Joan's peculiarities, Eve argued no further, but sat herself down on a convenient seat, waiting for the time when the rasping sound of the brush would come to an end. Her patience was put to no very great tax, for after a few minutes Joan flung the brush along the table, exclaiming, "Awh, drabbit the ole scrubbin'! I must give over. I b'lieve I've had enuf of it for this time, 't all events."

"Joan, you ain't hurt with me, are you?" said Eve, trying to push her into the seat from which she had just risen. "I wanted to be the first to tell you, only that Adam spoke as he did, and took all I was going to say out of my mouth. It leaves you to think me dreadfully sly."

"Awh, there wasn't much need for tellin' me," said Joan with a sudden relax of manner. "When I didn't shut my eyes o' purpose I could tell, from the first, what was certain to happen."

"It was more than I could, then," said Eve. "I hadn't given it a thought that Adam meant to speak to me, and when he asked me I was quite taken aback, and said 'No' for ever so long."

"What made 'ee change yer mind so suddent, then?" said Joan bluntly.[Pg 55]

Eve hesitated. "I hardly know," she said, with a little confusion. "I think it was seeing him so cast down made me feel so dreadfully sorry."

"H'm!" said Joan. "Didn't 'ee never feel no sorrow for t'other poor chap that wanted to have 'ee—he to London, Reuben May?"

"Not enough to make me care in that way for him: I certainly never did."

"And do you care for Adam, then?"

"I think I do."


"Well, I am sure I do."

"That's better. Well, Eve, I'll say this far;" and Joan gave a sigh before the other words would come out: "I'd rather it should be you than anybody else I ever saw."

The struggle with which these words were said, their tone and the look in Joan's face, seemed to reveal a state of feeling which Eve had not suspected. Throwing her arms round her, she cried out, "Oh, Joan, why didn't he choose you? You would have been much better for him than me."

"Lord bless the maid!"—and Joan tried to laugh through her tears—"I wouldn't ha' had un if he'd axed me. Why, there'd ha' bin murder 'tween us 'fore a month was out: us 'ud ha' bin hung for one 'nother. No: now don't 'ee take no such stuff as that into yer head, 'cos there's no sense in it. Adam's never looked 'pon me not more than a sister;" and, breaking down, Joan sobbed hysterically; "and when you two's married I shall feel 'zackly as if he was a brother, and be gladder than e'er a one else to see how happy you makes un."

"That's if I do make him happy," said Eve sadly.

"There's no fear but you'll do that," said Joan, resolutely wiping the tears from her eyes; "and 'twill be your own fault if you bain't happy too yourself, Eve. Adam's got his fads to put up with, and his fancies same as other men have, and a masterful temper to keep under, as nobody can tell better than me; but for rale right-down goodness I shouldn't know where to match his fellow—not if I was to search the place through; and, mind 'ee, after all, that's something to be proud of in the man you've got to say maister to."

Eve gave a little smile: "But he must let me be mistress, you know, Joan."

"All right! only don't you stretch that too far," said Joan warningly, "or no good 'ull come of it; and be foreright in all you do, and spake the truth to un. I've many a time wished I could, but with this to hide o' that one's and that to hush up o' t'other's, I know he holds me for a downright liard; and so I am by his measure, I 'spects."

"I'm sure you're nothing of the sort, Joan," said Eve. "Adam's always saying how much people think of you. He told me only yesterday that he was certain more than half the men of the place had asked you to marry them."

"Did he?" said Joan, not wholly displeased that Adam should hold this opinion. "Awh, and ax they may, I reckon, afore I shall find a man to say 'Yes' to."

"That is what I used to think myself," said Eve.

"Iss, and so you found it till Roger put the question," replied Joan decisively. Then, after a minute's pause, she added, "What be 'ee goin' to do 'bout the poor sawl to London, then—eh? You must tell he somehow."

"Oh, I don't see that," said Eve. "I mean to write to him, because I promised I would; and I shall tell him that I've made up my mind not to go back, but I sha'n't say anything more. There isn't any need for it, that I see—at least, not yet a while."

"Best to tell un all," argued Joan. "Why shouldn't 'ee? 'Tis the same, so far as you'm concerned, whether he's killed to wance or dies by inches."

But Eve was not to be persuaded. "There isn't any reason why I should," she said.

"No reason?" replied Joan. "Oh, Eve, my dear," she added, "don't 'ee let happiness harden your heart: if love is sweet to gain, think how bitter 'tis to lose; and, by all you've told me, you'll forfeit a better man than most in Reuben May."

The Author of "Dorothy Fox."


[Pg 56]


The Lady of Shalott, looking into the mirror which reflected the highway "a bowshot from her bower-eaves," saw the villagers passing to their daily labor in the barley-fields; market-girls in red cloaks and damsels of high degree; curly shepherd-boys and long-haired pages in gay livery; an abbot on an ambling pad and knights in armor and nodding plumes; and her constant pastime was to weave these sights into the magic web on which she wrought. I undertake, in a modest way, to follow her example, and weave a series of pictures from the sights that daily meet my eyes.

The highway which runs a bowshot from my bower-eaves is a much-travelled road, leading from the farms of a prairie country into a prairie town. It is a stripe of black earth fifteen or twenty feet wide, the natural color of the soil, ungraded, ungravelled, and just now half a foot deep in mud from the melting February snows. Looking in the direction from which it comes, a mile or two of rolling prairie-land is visible, divided into farms of one hundred, one hundred and forty or one hundred and sixty acres. Just now it is faded yellow in hue, with patches of snow in the hollows, and bare of trees, stumps or fences, except the almost invisible wire-fences which separate the fields from the road and from each other. Here and there, at wide intervals, a few farm-houses can be seen, sheltered on the north and west by a thickly-set row of cottonwood or Lombardy poplar trees, which serve in a great measure to break the sweep of the pitiless Iowa winds. Most of the houses are large and comfortable, and are surrounded by barns, haystacks and young orchards, denoting a long residence and prosperity; but two or three, far off on the horizon, are small wooden structures, set on the bare prairie, without a tree or outbuilding near them, and looking bleak and lonely. To one who knows something of the straitened lives, the struggles with poverty, that go on in them, they seem doubly pitiful and desolate.

The town into which the highway leads lies straight before my window, flat, unpicturesque, uninteresting, marked by the untidiness of crudeness and the untidiness of neglect. The ungraded streets are trodden into a sticky pudding by horses' feet, the board sidewalks are narrow, uneven and broken, and the crossings are deep in mud. In the eastern part of the town the dwellings are large, comfortable, even elegant, with well-kept grounds filled with trees and shrubbery, and there are a few of the same character scattered here and there throughout the town; but the large majority of houses, those that give the place its discouraged, unambitious look, are small wooden dwellings, a story or a story and a half high, with the end facing the street and a shed-kitchen behind. Those that are painted are white or brown, but many are unpainted, have no window-shutters and are surrounded by untidy yards and fences that need repair.

The centre of the town, both in position and importance, is "The Square." This is an open space planted thickly with trees, which have now grown to a large size and cast a refreshing shade over the crowd that gathers there in summer to hear political speeches or to celebrate the Fourth of July. It is surrounded by hitching-racks, and on Saturdays and other unusually busy days these racks, on all the four sides of the Square, are so full of teams—generally two-horse farm-wagons—that there is not room for another horse to be tied. Facing the Square and extending a block or two down adjacent streets are the business-houses—stores, banks, express-office, livery-stables, post-office, gas-office, the hotels, the opera-house, newspaper and lawyers' offices. Many of the buildings are of brick, three stories high, faced or trimmed with stone, but the general[Pg 57] effect is marred by the contiguity of little wooden shanties used as barber-shops and meat-markets.

Except in the north-east, where the land is rolling and densely wooded, the horizon-line is flat and on a level with our feet. The sun rises from the prairie as he rises from the ocean, and his going down is the same: no far-off line of snowy mountains, no range of green hills nor forest-crest, intercepts his earliest and his latest rays. Over this wide stretch of level land the wind sweeps with unobstructed violence, and more than once in the memory of settlers it has increased to a destructive tornado, carrying buildings, wagons, cattle and human beings like chaff before it. Just now, a sky of heavenly beauty and color bends over it, and through the wide spaces blow delicious airs suggestive of early spring.

Nearly every day, and often many times a day, farm-wagons drawn by two horses pass along the highway in front of my window. The wagon-bed is filled with sacks of wheat or piled high with yellow corn, and on the high spring-seat in front sits the farmer driving, and by him his wife, her head invariably wrapped in a white woollen nubia or a little shawl, worn as a protection against the catarrh-producing prairie winds. Cuddled in the hay at their feet, but keeping a bright lookout with round eager eyes, are two or three stout, rosy children, and often there is a baby in the mother's arms. When "paw" has sold his wheat or corn the whole family will walk around the Square several times, looking in at the shop-windows and staring at the people on the sidewalk. When they have decided in which store they can get the best bargains, they will go in and buy groceries, calico and flannel, shoes for the children, and perhaps a high chair for the baby. Later in the day they rattle by again, the farmer sitting alone on the spring-seat, the wife and children, as a better protection against the wind, on some hay in the now empty wagon-bed behind. So they jolt homeward over the rough, frozen road or toil through sticky mud, as the case may be, well pleased with their purchases and their glimpse of town, and content to take up again the round of monotonous life on their isolated prairie farm.

Sometimes on spring-like days, when the roads are good, two women or a woman and one or two half-grown children drive by in a spring-wagon, bringing chickens, eggs, and butter to market. Heavy wagons loaded with large clear blocks of ice go by every day, the men walking and driving or seated on a board seat at the extreme rear of the wagon. The great crystal cubes look, as they flash in the sunshine, like building-material for Aladdin's palace quarried from some mine of jewels, but they are only brought from the Skunk River, three miles distant, to the ice-houses in town, and there packed away in sawdust for summer use. On two days of the week—shipping days for live-stock—farm-wagons with a high railing round the beds go by, and inside the railing, crowded as thickly as they can stand, are fat black or black-and-white hogs, which thrust their short noses between the boards and squeal to get out. They are unloaded at the cattle-pens near the railroad, and thence shipped to pork-packers at Chicago.

And sometimes half a dozen Indians, the roving gypsies of the West, dressed in warm and comfortable clothing and wrapped in red or blue blankets, ride into town on good horses. They belong to the Sacs and Foxes, a friendly, well-disposed remnant of people who live half a day's ride to the north-east of this place. They are better off than the average of white people, for every man, woman and child owns a quarter section of land in the Indian Territory, and receives an annuity of money besides. Immediately after pay-day they visit the neighboring towns, their pockets full of silver dollars, and buy whatever necessity or fancy dictates. The women are generally neat and comely in appearance, and the pappooses that peer from the bags hung on either side of the ponies are bright-eyed, round-faced youngsters, who never cry and seldom cause any trouble. They seem to be born with a certain amount of gravity, and a capacity for patient endurance[Pg 58] that forbids them to lift up their voices at every slight provocation after the manner of white babies. The Indian ponies too are models of endurance. The squaws tie their purchases in blankets and hang them across the backs of their ponies, swing their pappooses to one side and perhaps a joint of fresh meat to the other, then mount on top astride, dig the pony's neck with their moccasined heels and start off at a trot. Sometimes a large party of Indians, men, women and children, camp on Skunk River and fish. In the spring they make a general hegira to a wooded section two or three days' journey to the northward for the purpose of tapping the maple trees and boiling down the syrup into sugar. As before mentioned, they are friendly and inoffensive in their dealings with the white people, but their patience must be sorely tried sometimes. The town-boys hoot at them, throw stones at their ponies, and try in many ways to annoy them. I remember once seeing them pass through another town on their annual spring excursion to the sugar-camps. Two of the pack-ponies had strayed behind the train, and a squaw rode back to drive them ahead. A number of town-boys, thinking this an excellent opportunity to have some fun, threw sticks at them and drove them off on by-streets and up back alleys. The squaw tried patiently again and again to get them together and join the train, but it was not until a brave turned back and came to her assistance that she succeeded. Neither of the Indians uttered a word or betrayed by sign or expression that they noticed the insults of the boys.

Often, when the mud is too deep for teams, farmers go by on horseback, with their horses' tails tied into a knot to keep them out of the mud. They have come to town to learn the price of wheat, corn or hogs, to bargain for some article of farm use, or perhaps to pay the interest on their mortgages. Many of them have not yet paid entirely for their farms, and comparatively few are free from debt in some form. Some, being ambitious to have large farms, have taken more land than they can profitably manage or pay for in a number of years, and are what is called "land poor:" others, though content with modest portions of sixty or a hundred acres, have not yet been able, by reason of poor crops, their own mismanagement or some other cause, to clear their farms of debt. They work along from year to year, supporting their families, paying the interest, and paying off the principal little by little. When the last payment is made and the mortgage released, then the owner can hold the land in spite of all other creditors. His store-bills or other debts may run up to hundreds of dollars, but his homestead cannot be taken to satisfy them by any process of law. This is the homestead law of the State. A single exception is made in favor of one creditor: the mechanic who has erected the buildings can hold what is called a mechanic's lien upon the property until his claim is satisfied. Advantage is often taken of this law for the purpose of defrauding creditors. In one instance a merchant who owned a good residence in a city and a valuable store-property, sold or transferred his residence, moved his family into the rooms above his store, and soon afterward failed. His creditors tried to get possession of his store-property, and entered suit, but the testimony proved that it was his dwelling also, and therefore exempt under the homestead law. The amount of land that can be held in this way is limited to forty acres.

Beginning life in a new country with small capital involves many years of hard work and strict economy, perhaps privation and loneliness. This comes especially hard on the farmers' wives, many of whom have grown up in homes of comfort and plenty in the older States. Ask the men what they think of Iowa, and they will say that it is a fine State; it has many resources and advantages; there is room for development here; the avenues to positions of profit and honor are not so crowded as they are in the older States; a good class of emigrants are settling up the State: that, on the whole, Iowa has a bright future before it. But the women do not deal in such generalities. Their own home and individual life is all the world to them, and if[Pg 59] that is encompassed with toil and hardship, if all their cherished longings and ambitions are denied and their hearts sick with hope deferred, this talk about the undeveloped resources of Iowa and its future greatness has no interest or meaning for them. In their isolated homes on the bleak prairie they have few social opportunities, and their straitened means do not allow them to buy books or pictures, to take papers or magazines, or to indulge in many of the little household ornaments dear to the feminine heart. What wonder, then, if their eyes have a weary, questioning look, as if they were always searching the flat prairie-horizon for some promise or hope of better days, something fresh and stimulating to vary the dull monotony of toil?

"There's a better time coming," the farmer says. "When we get the farm paid for we will build a new house and send the children to town to school;" and so the slow years go by. If every new country is not actually fertilized with the heart's blood of women, the settling and development of it none the less require the sacrifice of their lives. One generation must cast itself into the breach, must toil and endure and wear out in the struggle with elementary forces, in order that those who come after them may begin life on a higher plane of physical comfort and educational and social advantages. They have not, like the settlers of Eastern States, had to fell forests, grub up stumps, and so wrest their farms from Nature; but they have none the less endured the inevitable hardships of life in a new, thinly-settled country, far from markets, railroads, schools, churches and all that puts a market value on man's labor. I see many women who have thus sacrificed, and are sacrificing, their lives. Their faces are wrinkled, their hands are hard with rough, coarse work, they have long ago ceased to have any personal ambitions; but their hopes are centred in their children. Their self-abnegation is pathetic beyond words. Looking at them and musing on their lives, I think truly

The individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Must the old story be repeated over and over again? Must some hearts be denied all their lives long in order that a possible good may come to others in the future? Must some lives, full of throbbing hopes and aspirations, be put down in the dust and mire as stepping-stones, that those who come after may go over dryshod? Is the individual not to be considered, but only the good of the mass? Can there be justice and righteousness in a plan that requires the lifelong martyrdom of a few? Have not these few as much right to a full and free development, to liberty to work out their own ambitions, as have any of the multitude who reap the benefit of their sacrifices? But peace: this little existence is not all there is of life, and in the sphere of wider opportunities and higher activity that awaits us there will be room for these thwarted, stunted lives to grow and flourish and bloom in immortal beauty. With our limited vision, our blind and short-sighted judgment, how can we presume to say what is harsh or what is kind in the discipline of life? The earth as she flies on her track through space deviates from a straight line less than the eighth of an inch in the distance of twenty miles. We, seeing only twenty miles of her course, would declare that it was perfectly straight, that it did not curve in the slightest degree; yet flying on that same course the earth makes every year her vast elliptical journey around the sun. Could we see a hundred million miles of the track, we should discern the curve very plainly. Could we see a part of the boundless future of a life whose circumstances in this little span of existence were limited and depressing, we should discern the meaning of much that viewed separately seems hard and bitter and useless.

The settlers of this State have chiefly emigrated from the older States—Indiana, Ohio and the Eastern and Middle States. There are many foreigners—Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Dutch and Irish—who generally live in colonies. The German element predominates, especially in the cities. In the south-western part of the State there is[Pg 60] a colony of Russian Mennonites, and at Amana, in the eastern part, there are several flourishing German colonies where the members hold all property in common. They preserve to some extent the quaint customs and costumes of the Fatherland, and one set down in the midst of their homes without knowing where he was might well believe himself in Germany. The Swedes and Norwegians bear a good character for industry and sobriety: the young women are in great demand as house-servants and command good wages.

The emigrants from older States were many of them farmers of small means, who came through in covered wagons with their families and household stuff. In pleasant weather this mode of travelling was not disagreeable, but in rainy or cold weather it was very uncomfortable. No one could walk in the deep mud: the whole family were obliged to huddle together in the back part of the wagon, wrapped in bed-quilts or other covers, while the driver, generally the head of the family, sat on the seat in front, exposed to the cold or driving rain. The horses slowly dragged the heavily-laden wagon through the mud, and the progress toward their new home was tedious in the extreme. The wagons were usually common farm-wagons with hoops of wood, larger and stouter than barrel hoops, arched over the bed and covered with white cotton cloth. Sometimes, as a protection against rain, a large square of black oil-cloth was spread over the white cover. The front of the wagon was left open: at the back the cover was drawn together by a string run through the hem. Before leaving his old home the farmer generally held a public sale and disposed of his household furniture, farming utensils and the horses and cattle he did not intend to take with him. Sometimes this property went by private sale to the purchaser of his farm. He reserved the bedding, a few cooking utensils and other necessaries. These were loaded into the wagon, a feed-box for the horses was fastened behind, an axe strapped to it, and a tar-bucket hung underneath. Flour and bacon were stored away in a box under the driver's seat, or, if they expected no chance for replenishing on the way, another wagon was filled with stores. Then, when all was ready, the farmer and his family looked their last upon their old home, bade good-bye to the friends who had gathered to see them off, took their places in the wagon and began the long, tedious journey to "Ioway." Hitherto they had had a local habitation and a name: now, for several months, they were to be known simply as "movers." Among the memories of a childhood spent in a village on the old National 'Pike those pertaining to movers are the earliest. It was the pastime of my playmates and myself to hang on the fence and watch the long train of white-covered wagons go by, always toward the setting sun. Sometimes there were twenty in a train, and the slow creak of the wagons, the labored stepping of the horses, had an important sound to our childish ears. It was

The tread of pioneers
Of nations yet to be.

Looking backward to that time, it seems to me now that they went by every day. It was a common sight, but one which never lost its interest to us. The cry of "Movers! movers!" would draw us from our play to hang idly on the fence until the procession had passed. In some instances nightfall overtook them just as they reached our village, and they camped by the roadside, lighting fires on the ground with which to cook their evening meal. Our timidity was greater than our curiosity, and we seldom went near their camps. Movers, in our estimation, were above "stragglers," the name by which we knew the vagrants—forerunners of the great tribe of tramps—who occasionally passed along the road with a bundle on a stick over their shoulders; but still, they were a vague, unknown class, whose intentions toward us were questionable, and we remained in the vicinity of our mothers' apron-strings so long as they were in the neighborhood.

When the weeks or months of slow travel during the day and camping out by night were over, and the new home[Pg 61] on the prairie was reached, the discomforts and privations of the emigrating family were not ended: they were only fairly begun. There was no house in which to lay their heads, no sawmill where lumber could be obtained, no tree to shelter them, unless they had the good fortune to locate near a stream—nothing but a smooth, level expanse of prairie-sod, bright green and gay with the flowers of early summer or faded and parched with the droughts of autumn. Sometimes they camped in the open air until lumber could be brought from a distance and a rude shanty erected, but often they built a turf house, in which they passed their first winter. These houses were constructed by cutting blocks of turf about eighteen inches square—the roots of prairie-grass being that long—and piling one upon another until the walls were raised to the desired height. Slender poles were then laid across from wall to wall, and on these other strips and squares of turf were piled until a roof thick enough to keep out the rain was formed. A turf fireplace and chimney were constructed at one end; the opening left for entrance was braced with poles and provided with a door; and sometimes a square opening was cut in the end opposite the chimney and a piece of muslin stretched across it to serve as a window. The original earth formed the floor, and piles of turf covered with bedding served as beds. It was only when the family intended to live some time in the turf house that all these pains were taken to make it comfortable. Many of these dwellings were dark huts, with floors a foot or two below the level of the ground and without window or chimney. These were intended for temporary occupation. A few of this kind, still inhabited, are to be seen in the sparsely-settled north-western part of the State. I do not mean this description to apply in a general sense to the early settlers of Iowa. Many parts of the State are heavily wooded, and cabins of hewed logs chinked with mud are still to be seen here and there—specimens of the early homes. In the regions where turf houses were necessary prairie-hay was burned as fuel.

When his family was housed from the weather the farmer turned his attention to his land. The virgin sod had to be broken and the rich black soil turned up in ridges to the air and sunlight. When the ground was prepared the stock of seed-corn was planted or wheat sown, and the farmer's old life began again under new and quite different circumstances. In the eastern and oldest-settled part of the State these beginnings date back a generation: in the western part they are still fresh and recent. In the old part well-cultivated fields, large barns, orchards, gardens and comfortable farm-houses greet the traveller's eye: in the new he may travel for half a day without seeing a single dwelling, and may consider himself fortunate if he does not have to pass the night under the lee side of a haystack.

After a foothold has been gained in a new country and a home established, a generation, perhaps two, must pass away before a fine type of humanity is produced. The fathers and mothers have toiled for the actual necessaries of life, and gained them. The children are supplied with physical comforts. Plenty of food and exercise in the pure air give them stalwart frames, good blood and perfect animal health, but there is a bovine stolidity of expression in their faces, a suggestion of kinship with the clod. They are honest-hearted and well-meaning—stupid, not naturally, but because their minds have never been quickened and stimulated. They grope in a blind way for better things, and wonder if life means no more than to plough and sow and reap, to wash and cook and sew. I see young people of this class by the score, and my heart goes out toward them in pity, though they are all unconscious of needing pity. Perhaps one out of every hundred will break from the slowly-stepping ranks and run ahead to taste of the springs of knowledge reserved for the next generation, but the vast majority will go down to their graves without ever attaining to the ripeness and symmetry of a fully-developed life. Their children perhaps—certainly their grand-children—will attain a fine physical and mental type; and by that time "the prairies"[Pg 62] will cease to be a synonym for lack of society and remoteness from liberal and refining influences.

The land in this vicinity is largely devoted to wheat, corn and oats: much, however, is used for pasturage, and several fine stock-farms lie within a radius of five miles. Sheep-rearing is a profitable industry, the woollen manufactory at this place affording a convenient and ready market for the clip. But the statistics of Iowa show that the rearing of hogs is a more prominent industry than any of these. The agricultural fairs that are held at the county-seats in August or September every year serve to display the growth of these and other industries and the development of the resources of the country, as well as the advance in material comfort. The fair-ground is generally a smooth plat of ground several acres in extent just outside the city limits, and besides the race-track and wooden "amphitheatre" there are sheds for cattle, stalls for horses, pens for hogs and sheep and poultry, a large open shed for the exhibition of agricultural machinery and implements, a long wooden building—usually called "Farmers' Hall"—where fruits, grain and vegetables are displayed, and another, called "Floral Hall," where there is a motley display consisting of flowering plants and cut flowers, needlework, embroidery, pieced bed-quilts, silk chair-cushions and sofa-pillows, jellies, preserves, jams, butter, cake, bread—the handiwork of women. There is generally a crowd of women from the country around these exhibits, examining them and bestowing friendly comment or criticism.

The fair which is held here every year affords a good opportunity for a study of the bucolic character. Farm-wagons, full of men, women and children, come in from the country early in the morning, and by eleven o'clock the halls are crowded with red-faced and dusty sightseers, who elbow their way good-humoredly from one attractive exhibit to another, and gaze with open eyes and mouth and loud and frequent comment. At noon they retire to their wagons or the shade of the buildings to eat their dinner, which they have brought from home in a large basket, and there is a great flourish of fried chicken legs and wings and a generous display of pies, pickles and ginger-bread. The young men and half-grown boys have scorned the slow progress of the farm-wagons, and have come into town early on horseback. They have looked forward to this occasion for months, and perhaps have bought a suit of "store clothes" in honor of it. They have already seen the various exhibits, and now that the dinner-hour has arrived they seek refreshment—not from the family dinner-basket, but from some of the various eating-stands temporarily erected on the grounds—and buy pop-beer, roasted peanuts and candy of the vendors, who understand the art of extracting money from the rural pockets. Then in the afternoon come the races, and, having paid a quarter for a seat in the "amphitheatre," they give themselves up to the great excitement of the day. The incidents of fair-time will serve as food for thought and conversation for weeks afterward. It is the legitimate dissipation of the season.

What character shall I choose as a typical Iowan? Not the occupant of the large brick house with tall evergreens in front which meets my sight whenever I look toward the country. An old woman lives there alone, except for a servant or two, having buried her husband and ten children. She is worth a hundred thousand dollars, but can neither read nor write. Her strong common sense and deep fund of experience supply her lack of education, and one would not think while listening to her that she was ignorant of letters. Her life has been one of toil and sorrow, but her expression is one of brave cheerfulness. She and her husband came to this place forty years ago. They were the first white settlers, and for neighbors they had Indians and wolves. They entered most of the land on which the town now stands, and when other settlers came in and the town was laid out their land became valuable, and thus the foundation of their fortune was laid. But as riches increased, cares also increased: the husband[Pg 63] was so weighed down by responsibility and anxiety that his mind gave way, and in a fit of despondency he committed suicide. The sons and daughters who died, with the exception of two or three, were taken away in childhood. So the large mansion, with its richly-furnished rooms, is shut up from the sunlight and rarely echoes to the patter of childish feet. The mistress lives in the back part, but exercises a care over the whole house, which is kept in a state of perfect order and neatness. Not a speck of dirt is to be seen on the painted wood-work or the window-glass, not a stain mars the floor—long as the deck of a ship—of the porch which extends the length of the ell. The plates in the corner cupboard in the sitting-room are freshly arranged every day, the tins in the kitchen shine till you can see your face in them, and in summer the clean flower-beds, bright with pansies, roses, carnations and geraniums, that border the long walk leading to the front gate and adorn the side yards, attest the care and neatness of the mistress. Though she has lived on the prairie for forty years, yet the expressions that savor of her early life in a densely-wooded State still cling to her, and if you find her in her working-dress among her flowers she will beg you to excuse her appearance, adding, "I look as if I was just out of the timber."

But this character, though interesting, is not a typical one. Neither is that of the pinched, hungry-looking little man whose five acres and small dwelling meet my sight when I look toward the country in another direction. His patch of ground is devoted to market-gardening, and from its slender profits he is trying to support himself and wife and four children and pay off a mortgage of several hundred dollars. He has lately invented an ingenious toy for children, and is trying to raise enough money to get it patented, hoping when that is done to reap large profits from the sale of it. He is like a poor trembling little mouse caught and held in the paws of a cruel cat. Sometimes Fate relaxes her grip on him, and he breathes freer and dares to hope for a larger liberty: then she puts her paw on him again, and tosses him and plays with him in very wantonness.

Neither are the three old-maid sisters whose house I often pass types of Iowa character, but I cannot forbear describing them. Their names are Semira, Amanda and Melvina. There is nothing distinctive in their personal appearance, but their character, as expressed in their home and surroundings, is quite interesting. Their little low house is on a corner lot, and as the other three corners are occupied by large two-story houses, it seems lower still by contrast. It is unpainted, and has a little wooden porch over the front door. The floors are covered with homemade carpet, and braided mats are laid before each door and in front of the old-fashioned bureau, which has brass rings for handles on the drawers. A snow tree made of frayed white cotton or linen cloth adorns the table in the best room; woolly dogs with bead eyes and cotton-flannel rabbits with pink ears stand on the mantel; a bead hanging-basket filled with artificial flowers decorates the window; an elaborate air-castle, made of straw and bright worsted, hangs from the middle of the low ceiling; and hung against the wall, between two glaring woodcuts representing "Lady Caroline" in red and "Highland Mary" in blue, is a deep frame filled with worsted flowers, to which a butterfly and a bumble-bee have been pinned. Paper lacework depends from their kitchen-shelves, and common eggshells, artificially colored, decorate the lilac-bushes in the side yard. They are always making new mats or piecing quilts in a new pattern.

As soon as the first bluebird warbles they begin to work in their flower and vegetable garden, and from then until it is time to cover the verbena-beds in the fall I rarely pass without seeing one or more of them, with sunbonnet on head and hoe in hand, busy at work. Besides keeping their little front yard a mass of gorgeous bloom and their vegetable garden free from weed or stone, they raise canary-birds to sell and take care of a dozen hives of bees. Last fall I frequently[Pg 64] saw all three of them in the yard, with a neighbor or two called in for conference, and all twittering and chattering like blackbirds in March. Finally, the mystery was solved. Going past one day, I saw a carpenter deliberately cutting out the whole end of the house, and soon a large bay-window made its appearance. When this was completed three rows of shelves were put up inside close to the glass, and immediately filled with plants in pots and tin cans. What endless occupation and entertainment the watering and watching and tending of these must afford the sisters during winter!

Neither does another neighbor of mine supply the type I seek—the old Quaker farmer, who is discontented and changeable in his disposition, having lived in Indiana a while, then in Iowa, then in Indiana again, and who is now in Iowa for the second time. He rents some land which lies just across the railroad, and in summer, when he is ploughing the growing corn, I hear him talking to his horse. He calls her a "contrary old jade," and jerks the lines and saws her mouth, and says, "Get over in that other row, I tell thee!" Once I heard him mutter to her, when he was leading her home after the day's work was done, "I came as near killin' thee to-day as ever I did."

I will take for one type a man whom we met last summer in the country. We had driven for miles along the country roads in search of a certain little glen where the maiden-hair ferns grew waist-high and as broad across as the fronds of palms, and having found it and filled our spring-wagon with the treasures, we set out to return home by another road. We lost our way, but did not regret it, as this mischance made known to us the most stately and graceful tree we had ever seen—one that was certainly worth half a day's ride to see. The road left the treeless uplands, where the sunshine reflected from the bright yellow stubble of the newly-cut wheat-fields beat against our faces with a steady glare, and dipped into a cool, green, shady hollow where cows cropped the rich grass or stood knee-deep in the water of a little stream. Well they might stand in quiet contentment: a king might have envied them their surroundings. Overhead rose a dozen or more of the tallest and finest elms we had ever seen, stretching their thick branches till they met and formed a canopy so dense that only a stray sunbeam or two pierced through and fell upon the smooth green sward. Peerless among them stood an elm of mighty girth and lofty height, its widely-stretching branches as large around, where they left the trunk, as a common tree, and clothed to the farthest twig with luxuriant foliage. And all up and down the mossy trunk and around the branches grew young twigs from a few inches to a foot or two in length, half hiding the shaggy bark with their tender green leaves. It was a combination of tree-majesty and grace that is rarely seen. In a tropical forest I have beheld a lofty tree covered thickly all over its trunk and branches with ferns and parasitic plants, but the sight, though beautiful, was suggestive of morbid, unnatural growth. This royal elm out of its own sap had clothed its trunk as with a thickly-twining vine. When, after gazing our fill, we drove reluctantly out of the shady green hollow into the sunshine, and began to climb a hill, we saw at the top a small house surrounded by fruit trees and shaded in front by a grape-arbor. On reaching it we stopped to ask our way of a man who sat in his shirt-sleeves near the front door, fanning himself with his straw hat. He seemed frank and inclined to talk, and asked us to stop and rest a while in the shade. We did so, and his wife brought us some fresh buttermilk to drink, the children gathering about to look at us as if our advent was the incident of the month. In conversation we learned that he was the owner of forty acres, which he devoted largely to the cultivation of small fruits. The land was paid for, with the exception of a mortgage of three hundred dollars, which he hoped to lift in a season or two if the yield was good.

"We're doing well now," he said, "but when we started, eight years ago, it was truly discouraging. There was no house on the place when we came here. We[Pg 65] put up the room we now use as a kitchen, and lived in it for two years and a half. It was so small that it only held a bed, a table, a cook-stove and two or three chairs, and when the table was drawn out for meals my wife had to set the rocking-chair on the bed, because there wasn't room for it on the floor. She helped me on the farm the first year or two. We moved here late in the spring, and I only had time to get the sod broken before corn-planting time. My wife had a lame foot that spring, but I made her a sort of crutch-stilt, and with this she walked over the ground as I ploughed it, making holes in the earth by means of it and dropping in the corn. She also rode the reaper when our wheat was ripe the next year, and I followed, binding and stacking. She has helped me in many other ways on the farm, for she is as ambitious as I am to have a place free from debt which we can call our own. We added these two other rooms in the third year, and when we are out of debt and have money ahead we shall put up another addition: we shall need it as the children grow up. I have a nice lot of small fruit—strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries—and besides these I sell every spring a great many early vegetables. The small fruits pay me more to the acre than anything else I could raise. There is a good market for them in the neighboring towns, and I seldom have to hire any help. My children do most of the picking."

It is only a bit of personal history, to be sure, but it affords an insight into the life of one who, like many others in this State, began with only his bare hands and habits of industry and economy for capital.

Another typical illustration is supplied by a man whose home we visited in the winter. His comfortable farm-house was overflowing with the good things of life: a piano and an organ stood in the parlor, and a well-filled bookcase in the sitting-room; a large bay-window was bright with flowering plants; and base-burner coal-stoves and double-paned windows mocked at the efforts of the wintry winds and kept perpetual summer within. In the large barn were farm-wagons, a carriage, a buggy, a sleigh—a vehicle for every purpose. The farmer invited us one morning to step into a large sled which stood at the door, and took us half a mile to his stock-yards. There we saw fat, sleek cattle by the dozen and fat hogs by the score, great cribs bursting with corn, a windmill pump and other conveniences for watering stock. Besides all these possessions this man owns two or three other good farms, and has money loaned on mortgages; in short, is worth about fifty thousand dollars, every cent of which he has gained by his own exertions in the last twenty years. He said: "When my father died and his estate was divided among his children, each of us received eighty-three dollars as his share. I resolved then that if thrift and energy could avail anything I would have more than that to leave to each of my children when I died. It has required constant hard work and shrewd planning, but I have gained my stake, and am not a very old man yet," passing his hand over his hair, which was thinly sprinkled with gray.

This man gave us a description of a tornado which passed over that portion of the State a number of years ago. It was shortly after he was married and while he was staying at his father-in-law's house. The whole family were away from home that day, and when they returned they found only the cellar. The house had been lifted from its foundation, and carried so far on the mighty wings of the hurricane that nothing pertaining to it was ever found except the rolling-pin and a few boards of the yellow-painted kitchen-floor. Of a new farm-wagon nothing remained but one tire, and that was flattened out straight. The trees that stood in the yard had been broken off at the surface of the ground. The grass lay stretched in the direction of the hurricane as if a flood of water had passed over it. Horses, cattle and human beings had been lifted and carried several rods through the air, then cast violently to earth again. Those who witnessed the course of the tornado said that it seemed to strike the ground, then[Pg 66] go up in the air, passing harmlessly over a mile or two of country, then strike again, all the time whirling over and over, and occasionally casting out fragments of the spoils it had gathered up. After passing east to a point beyond the Mississippi it disappeared.

This part of Iowa has rich deposits of coal, and mining is a regular and important business. The coal-mines lying a few miles south of this place are the largest west of the Mississippi River. A thriving little town has grown up around them, composed chiefly of miners' cottages, stores and superintendents' dwellings. A creek winds through it whose banks are shaded by elms and carpeted in spring and early summer with prairie-flowers; and a range of wooded hills in whose depths the richest coal-deposits lie lends a picturesque aspect to the scene, and partly compensates for the dreary look of the town itself, the comfortless appearance of many of the miners' houses and the great heaps of slag and refuse coal at the mouth of the mines. Mules hitched to little cars serve to draw the coal out of several of the mines, but the largest one is provided with an engine, which, by means of an endless rope of twisted wire, pulls long trains of loaded cars out of the depths of the mine and up to a high platform above the railroad, whence the coal is pitched into the waiting cars beneath. Sixty-five railroad cars are sometimes loaded in one day from this single mine. The coal is soft coal, and is sold by retail at from six to seven cents a bushel.

One April day, when the woods were white and pink with the bloom of the wild plum and crab trees and the ground was blue with violets, we rode over to this place, and, hitching our horses to some trees growing over the principal mine, we descended to the entrance. A miner, an intelligent middle-aged man who was off work just then, volunteered to be our guide, and after providing each of us with a little oil lamp like the one he wore in his hat-brim, he led us into the dark opening that yawned in the hillside. The passage was six or seven feet wide, and so low that we could not stand erect. Under our feet was the narrow track, the space between the ties being slippery with mud: over our heads and on either hand were walls of rock, with a thick vein of coal running through them, braced every few feet with heavy timbers. The track began to descend, and soon we lost sight of the daylight and had to depend entirely on the feeble glimmer of our lamps. We occasionally came to smooth-plastered spaces in the walls, the closed-up mouths of old side-tunnels, and placing our hands upon them felt that they were warm. Fires were raging in the abandoned galleries, but, being shut away from the air and from access to the main tunnel, they were not dangerous. The dangers usually dreaded by the miners are the falling of heavy masses of earth and rock from the roof of the gallery and the sudden flow of water into the mine from some of the secret sources in the hillside. After penetrating about a quarter of a mile into the mine and descending one hundred and twenty feet, we reached the end of the main tunnel and saw the great wheel, fixed in the solid rock, on which the endless steel rope turned. A train of loaded cars had passed out just before we entered the mine, and on a switch near the end of the track stood another train of empty cars. The air thus far on our dark journey had been cool and good, for the main tunnel was ventilated by means of air-shafts that pierced the hillside to the daylight above; but now our guide opened the door of what seemed a subterranean dungeon, closed it behind us when we had passed through, lifted a heavy curtain that hung before us, and ushered us into a branch-tunnel where the air was hot and stifling and heavy with the fumes of powder. At the farther end we saw tiny specks of light moving about. As we neared them we found that they were lamps fastened in the hat-bands of the miners at work in this distant tunnel—literally, "the bowels of the earth." Some were using picks and shovels, others were drilling holes in the solid coal and putting in blasts of gunpowder. When these blasts were fired a subterranean thunder shook the place: it seemed as if the hill were falling in upon[Pg 67] us. Little cars stood upon the track partly filled with coal, and mules were hitched to them. The forms of these animals loomed large and dark in the dim light: they seemed like some monsters of a previous geologic age. The men themselves, blackened with coal and grimy with powder-smoke, might have seemed like gnomes or trolls had we not seen their homes in the plain, familiar sunlight above, and known that they were working for daily bread for themselves and families. They are paid according to the amount of coal they dig. Some have earned as high as one hundred and thirty dollars a month, but half that sum would be nearer the average.

As we left this shaft and came back into the main tunnel we saw a miner sitting by the track with his small tin bucket open. It was noon and he was eating his dinner. It might just as well have been midnight, so dense was the darkness. We seemed to have been an uncomputable time in the depths, yet, glancing at the bunch of wild flowers in my belt, I saw that they were only beginning to wilt. Did poor Proserpine have the same feeling when she was ravished from the sunshine and the green and flowery earth and carried into the dark underground kingdom of Pluto? Remembering her fate, I whispered to my companion, "We will not eat anything while here—no, not so much as one pomegranate-seed."

There are many smaller coal-mines in this vicinity—hardly a hillside but has a dark doorway leading into it—but they are not all worked regularly or by more than a few hands.

On the road leading from town to the Skunk River one has glimpses of another industry. Limekilns, with uncouth signs announcing lime for sale at twenty-five cents a bushel, thrust themselves almost into the road, and the cabins or neatly-whitewashed board huts of the lime-burners border the way. Some have grass-plots and mounds of flowers around them: others are without ornament, if we except the children with blue eyes, red cheeks and hair like corn-silk that hang on the fence and watch us ride by.

Skunk River is a broad, still stream, with hilly banks heavily wooded with willow, oak, maple, sycamore and bass-wood. Here we find the earliest wild flowers in spring: blue and purple hepaticas blossom among the withered leaves on the ground while the branches above are still bare, and a little later crowds of violets and spring-beauties brighten the tender grass; clusters of diacentra—or "Dutchman's breeches," as the children call them—nod from the shelter of decaying stumps to small yellow lilies with spotted leaves and tufts of fresh green ferns.

The place is equally a favorite bird-haunt. The prairie-chicken, the best-known game-bird of the State, chooses rather the open prairie, but wild-ducks settle and feed here in their migratory journeys, attracting the sportsman by their presence; the fish-hawk makes his nest in the trees on the bank; the small blue heron wades pensively along the margin; and the common wood-birds, such as blackbirds, bluebirds, jays, sparrows and woodpeckers, chatter or warble or scold among the branches. Sometimes the redbird flashes like a living flame through the green tree-tops, or the brilliant orange-and-black plumage of the Baltimore oriole contrasts with the lilac-gray bark of an old tree-trunk.

Besides the small wild flowers there are many shrubs and trees that bloom in spring. The haw tree and wild plum put forth masses of small creamy-white flowers, the redbud tree blooms along the water-courses, the dogwood in the woods and the wild crab-apple upon the open hillside. The crab trees often form dense thickets an acre or two in extent, and when all their branches are thickly set with coral buds or deep-pink blossoms they form a picture upon which the eye delights to rest. Spring redeems even the flat prairie from the blank monotony which wearies the eye in winter. There are few places in this vicinity where the virgin sod has not been broken, consequently few spots where the original, much-praised prairie-flowers grow; but a tender green clothes all the plain, hundreds of meadow-larks sing in the grass, the tints and colors of the sky are lovely[Pg 68] beyond words, and the balmy winds breathe airs of Paradise.

Even the town, whose ugliness has offended artistic taste and one's love of neatness all winter, clothes itself in foliage and hides its ungraceful outlines in bowery verdure. Lilacs scent the air, roses crowd through the broken fences, the milky floss of the cottonwood trees is strewed upon the sidewalks or floats like thistledown upon the air. To one sensitive to physical surroundings the change is like that from a sullen face to a smiling one, from a forbidding aspect to a cheerful one. The constant bracing of one's self against the influence of one's surroundings is relaxed: a feeling of relief and contentment comes instead. Our thirst for picturesque beauty may not be satisfied, but we accept with thankful hearts the quiet loveliness of spring. In this, as in deeper experiences, we learn that

At best we gain not happiness,
But peace, friends—peace in the strife.

Louise Coffin Jones.


The pleasant agricultural village of Reading, in Fairfield county, Western Connecticut, presents much that is charming and picturesque in scenery, and is withal replete with historic incidents; but its chief claim to interest rests on the fact that it was the birthplace of Joel Barlow, who has decided claims to the distinction of being the father of American letters. Nearly seventy years have passed since the poet's tragic death, and the story of his life is still untold, while his memory has nearly faded from the minds of the living; nor would it be easy, at this late day, to collect sufficient material for an extended biography if such were demanded. Some pleasant traditions still linger in the sleepy atmosphere of his native village; a few of his letters and papers still remain in his family; contemporary newspapers had much to say both for and against him; the reviewers of his day noticed his poems, sometimes with approbation, sometimes with bitterness. There are fragmentary sketches of him in encyclopædias and biographical dictionaries, and several pigeonholes in the State Department are filled with musty documents written by him when abroad in his country's diplomatic service. From these sources alone is the scholar of our times to glean his knowledge of one who in his day filled as large a space in the public eye as almost any of his contemporaries, and whose talents, virtues and public services entitled him to as lasting a fame as theirs.

Not from any of these sources, but from the Barlow family register in the ancient records of Fairfield, we learn that the poet was born on March 24, 1754, and not in 1755, as is almost universally stated by the encyclopædists. His father was Samuel Barlow, a wealthy farmer of the village—his mother, Elizabeth Hull, a connection of the general and commodore of the same name who figured so prominently in the war of 1812. There is little in the early career of the poet of interest to the modern reader. He is first presented to us in the village traditions as a chubby, rosy-faced boy, intent on mastering the Greek and Latin tasks dealt out to him by Parson Bartlett, the Congregational minister of the village, who, like many of the New England clergy of that day, added the duties of schoolmaster to those of the clergyman. In a year or two he was placed at Moor's school for boys in Hanover, New Hampshire, and on completing his preparatory course he entered Dartmouth College in 1774. His father had died the December previous, and, with the view probably[Pg 69] of being nearer his mother and family in Reading, he left Dartmouth in his Freshman year and was entered at Yale.

Barlow's college career was marked by close application to study, and won for him the respect and confidence of all with whom he came in contact. During his second year the war of the Revolution broke out, but the young poet, though an ardent patriot, clung to his books, resolutely closing his ears to the clamor of war that invaded his sacred cloisters until the long summer vacation arrived. Then he threw aside books and gown and joined his four brothers in the Continental ranks, where he did yeoman's service for his country. He graduated in 1778, and signalized the occasion by reciting an original poem called the "Prospect of Peace," which, in the quaint language of one of his contemporaries, gained him "a very pretty reputation as a poet."

The next year found him a chaplain in the Continental army, in the same brigade with his friend Dwight, later renowned as the poet-president of Yale College, and with Colonel Humphreys, whom we shall find associated with him in a far different mission. The two young chaplains, not content with the performance of their clerical duties, wrote in connection with Humphreys stirring patriotic lyrics that were set to music and sung by the soldiers around the camp-fires and on the weary march, and aided largely in allaying discontent and in inducing them to bear their hardships patiently.

For four years, or until the peace of 1783, Barlow continued to serve his country in the army: he left the service as poor as when he entered it, and a second time the question of a vocation in life presented itself. He at length chose the law, but before being admitted to practice performed an act which, however foolish it may have seemed to the worldly wise, proved to be one of the most fortunate events of his life. Although poor and possessing none of the qualities of the successful bread-winner, he united his fortunes with those of an amiable and charming young lady—Miss Ruth Baldwin of New Haven, daughter of Michael Baldwin, Esq., and sister of Hon. Abraham C. Baldwin, whom the student will remember as a Senator of note from Georgia. After marriage the young husband settled in Hartford, first in the study, and later in the practice, of the law. In Hartford we find him assuming the duties of lawyer, journalist and bookseller, and in all proving the truth of the fact often noted, that the possession of literary talent generally unfits one for the rough, every-day work of the world. As a lawyer Barlow lacked the smoothness and suavity of the practised advocate, while the petty details and trickeries of the profession disgusted him. As an editor he made his journal, the American Mercury, notable for the high literary and moral excellence of its articles, but it was not successful financially, simply because it lacked a constituency sufficiently cultured to appreciate and sustain it. His bookstore, which stood on the quiet, elm-shaded main street of the then provincial village, was opened to dispose of his psalm-book and poems, and was closed when this was accomplished.

As a poet, however, he was more successful, and it was here that the assurance of literary ability, so dear to the heart of the neophyte, first came to him. Dr. Watts's "imitation" of the Psalms, incomplete and inappropriate in many respects, was then the only version within reach of the Puritan churches, and in 1785 the Congregational Association of Connecticut applied to the poet for a revised edition of the work. Barlow readily complied, and published his revision the same year, adding to it several psalms which Dr. Watts had omitted. This work was received with marked favor by the Congregational churches, and was used by them exclusively until rumors of the author's lapse from orthodoxy reached them, when it was superseded by a version prepared by Dr. Dwight.

Two years after, in 1787, Barlow published his Vision of Columbus, a poem conceived while in the army and largely written during the poet's summer vacations at Reading. It was received with unbounded favor by his patriotic countrymen,[Pg 70] and after passing through several editions at home was republished both in London and Paris, and made its author the best known American in the literary circles of his day. There was in Hartford at this time a coterie of literary spirits whose sprightliness and bonhomie had gained for them the sobriquet of the "Hartford Wits." Dr. Lemuel Hopkins was doubtless the chief factor in the organization of this club: Barlow, John Trumbull, Colonel Humphreys, Richard Alsop and Theodore Dwight—all of whom had gained literary distinction—were its chief members. The principal publications of the club were the Anarchiad, a satirical poem, and the Echo, which consisted of a series of papers in verse lampooning the social and political follies of the day. To both of these, it is said, Barlow was a prominent contributor. He was also a prominent figure in the organization, about this time, of the Connecticut Cincinnati, a society formed by Revolutionary officers for urging upon Congress their claims for services rendered in the Revolution.

In these varied pursuits and amid such pleasant associations three years passed away, but during all this time the grim spectre of Want had menaced the poet—first at a distance, but with each succeeding month approaching nearer and nearer, until now, in 1788, it stared him in the face. His patrimony had been nearly exhausted in his education; his law-business was unremunerative; his paper, as we have said, was not a success financially; and his poetry brought him much more honor than cash. And thus it happened that at the age of thirty-four he found himself without money or employment. At this trying juncture there came from the West—fruitful parent of such schemes!—the prospectus of the Scioto Land Company, furnished with glaring head-lines and seductive phrases, and parading in its list of stockholders scores of the best-known names in the community. This company claimed to have become the fortunate possessor of unnumbered acres in the valley of the Scioto, and was anxious to share its good fortune—for a consideration—with Eastern and European capitalists. It was desirous of securing an agent to negotiate its sales in Europe, and, quite naturally, its choice fell on Joel Barlow, the only American having a reputation abroad who was at liberty to undertake the mission; and, since the company bore a good repute and offered fair remuneration, the poet very gladly embraced its offer. He does not seem to have met with much success in England, but in France his reception was much more encouraging. An estate in the New World was a veritable château en Espagne to the mercurial Frenchmen, and they purchased with some avidity; but just as the agent's ground was prepared for a plenteous harvest news came that the Scioto Company had burst, as bubbles will, leaving to its dupes only a number of well-executed maps, some worthless parchments called deeds, and that valuable experience which comes with a knowledge of the ways of the world. Barlow, being the company's principal agent abroad, came in for his full share of the abuse excited by its operations; and yet it is evident that he was as innocent of its real character as any one, and that he had accepted the position of agent with full confidence in the company's integrity. Its collapse left him as poor as ever, and a stranger in a strange land, notwithstanding he was surrounded here by conditions that assured him the generous and honorable career which had been denied him in the New World.

Of the foreigners who then thronged cosmopolitan Paris, none were so popular as Americans. Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, by their courtesy and dignity, joined to republican simplicity, had provided passports for their countrymen to the good graces of all Frenchmen: besides, the name "republican" was a word of magic import in France at that time. Barlow's reputation as a poet was also of great service to him at a time when literature exercised a commanding influence both in society and politics. He was presented at court, admitted to the companionship of wits and savants, and was enabled, by the favor of some financial magnates, to participate[Pg 71] in speculations which proved so successful that in a short time he was raised above the pressure of want. But in less than a year after his arrival the Revolution broke out, and involved him in its horrors. His sympathies were entirely with the Girondists—the party of the literati, and the most patriotic and enlightened of the rival factions. He is said to have entered heartily into the advocacy of their cause, writing pamphlets and addresses in their interest and contributing frequently to their journals: he is also said to have figured prominently at the meetings of the Girondist leaders held in the salon of Madame Roland. The atrocities of the Jacobins, however, so shocked and disgusted him that he shortly withdrew and went into retirement outside of the city. The greater part of the years 1791-92 he spent in England, with occasional visits to France. During one of these visits the privileges of French citizenship were conferred on him—an honor that had been previously conferred on but two Americans, Washington and Hamilton.

In 1795 a crisis in his fortunes occurred, and from this date the story of his life becomes an interesting and important one. He had been for some months on a business-tour through the northern provinces, and, returning to Paris early in September, was surprised at receiving a visit from his old friend Colonel David Humphreys, who had been American minister to Portugal for some years, and was now in Paris on a political mission. He was accompanied on this visit by James Monroe, then American minister at the French court. They bore a commission from President Washington naming Barlow consul at Algiers, and their object was to induce him to accept the appointment. The post was one of extreme difficulty and danger, and had Barlow consulted his own wishes and interests he would undoubtedly have declined it. But by appeals to his philanthropy, and by representations that from his knowledge of courts and experience of the world he was well fitted for the performance of the duties assigned to him, he was at length induced to accept the commission. Preparations were at once made for the journey. His business-affairs were arranged and his will made: then, bidding his wife farewell, he set out with Humphreys on the 12th of September, 1795, for Lisbon, en route for the Barbary coast.

At the time of Barlow's mission Algiers was at the height of its power and arrogance. Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Venice were tributaries of this barbarous state, which waged successful war with Russia, Austria, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, Genoa and Malta. Its first depredation on American commerce was committed on the 25th of July, 1785, when the schooner Maria, Stevens master, owned in Boston, was seized off Cape St. Vincent by a corsair and carried into Algiers. Five days later the ship Dauphin of Philadelphia, Captain O'Brien, was taken and carried into the same port. Other captures quickly followed, so that at the time of Barlow's mission there were one hundred and twenty American citizens in the Algerine prisons, exclusive of some forty that had been liberated by death or ransomed through the private exertions of their friends.

The course pursued by Congress for the liberation of these captives cannot be viewed with complacency even at this late day. After some hesitation it decided to ransom the prisoners, and proceeded to negotiate—first, through Mr. John Lamb, its agent at Algiers, and secondly through the general of the Mathurins, a religious order of France instituted in early times for the redemption of Christian captives from the infidel powers. These negotiations extended through a period of six years, and accomplished nothing, from the fact that the dey invariably demanded double the sum which Congress thought it could afford to pay. In June, 1792, with the hope of negotiating a treaty and rescuing the captives, the celebrated John Paul Jones was appointed consul to Algiers, but died before reaching the scene of his mission. His successor, Mr. Thomas Barclay, died at Lisbon January 19, 1793, while on his way to Algiers. The conduct[Pg 72] of Barbary affairs was next confided to Colonel Humphreys, our minister to Portugal, with power to name an agent who should act under him, and Mr. Pierre E. Skjoldebrand, a brother of the Swedish consul, was appointed under this arrangement; but the latter gentleman seems to have been no more successful than his predecessors. Late in 1794, Humphreys returned to America, and while here it was arranged that Joseph Donaldson should accompany him on his return as agent for Tunis and Tripoli, while Barlow, it was hoped, could be induced to accept the mission to Algiers and the general oversight of Barbary affairs.

The two diplomats left America early in April, 1795, and proceeded to Gibraltar, where they separated, Donaldson continuing his journey to Algiers viâ Alicant, and Humphreys hastening on to Paris in search of Barlow, as has been narrated. Colonel Humphreys and Mr. Barlow did not reach Lisbon until the 17th of November, and when the latter was about prosecuting his journey he was surprised by a visit from Captain O'Brien, who had been despatched by Mr. Donaldson with a newly-signed treaty with Algiers. Mr. Donaldson, it was learned, had reached Algiers on the 3d of September, and finding the dey in a genial mood had forthwith concluded a treaty with him, considering that he had sufficient authority for this under the general instructions of Colonel Humphreys. It was found that some of the conditions of the treaty could not be fulfilled, particularly one stipulating that the first payment of nearly eight hundred thousand dollars should be made by the 5th of January, 1796; and Barlow therefore hastened forward to Algiers to explain the matter to the dey and make such attempts at pacification as were practicable, while Captain O'Brien was sent to London in the brig Sophia for the money. Of his life in Algiers, and of the subsequent fate of the treaty, some particulars are given in a letter from Barlow to Humphreys, dated at Algiers April 5, 1796, and also in a letter to Mrs. Barlow written about the same time. The letter to Humphreys is as follows:

"Sir: We have now what we hope will be more agreeable news to you. For two days past we have been witnesses to a scene of as complete and poignant distress as can be imagined, arising from the total state of despair in which our captives found themselves involved, and we without the power of administering the least comfort or hope. The threat of sending us away had been reiterated with every mark of a fixed and final decision, and the dey went so far as to declare that after the thirty days, if the money did not come, he never would be at peace with the Americans. Bacri the Jew, who has as much art in this sort of management as any man we ever knew, who has more influence with the dey than all the regency put together, and who alone has been able to soothe his impatience on this subject for three months past, now seemed unable to make the least impression, and the dey finally forbade him, under pain of his highest displeasure, to speak to him any more about the Americans. His cruisers are now out, and for some days past he has been occupied with his new war against the Danes. Three days ago the Danish prizes began to come in, and it was thought that this circumstance might put him in good-humor, so that the Jew might find a chance of renewing our subject in some shape or other; and we instructed the Jew that if he could engage him in conversation on his cruisers and prizes he might offer him a new American-built ship of twenty guns which should sail very fast, to be presented to his daughter, on condition that he would wait six months longer for our money. The Jew observed that we had better say a ship of twenty-four guns, to which we agreed. After seeing him three or four times yesterday under pretence of other business, without being able to touch upon this, he went this morning and succeeded.

"The novelty of the proposition gained the dey's attention for a moment, and he consented to see us on the subject; but he told the Jew to tell us that it must be a ship of thirty-six guns or he would not[Pg 73] listen to the proposition. We were convinced that we ought not to hesitate an instant. We accordingly went and assented to his demand, and he has agreed to let everything remain as it is for the term of three months from this day, but desired us to remember that not a single day beyond that will be allowed on any account.

"We consider the business as now settled on this footing, and it is the best ground that we could possibly place it upon. You still have it in your power to say peace or no peace: you have an alternative. In the other case war was inevitable, and there would have been no hope of peace during the reign of this dey....

"In order to save the treaty, which has been the subject of infinite anxiety and vexation, we found it necessary some time ago to make an offer to the Jew of ten thousand sequins (eighteen thousand dollars), to be paid eventually if he succeeded, and to be distributed by him among such great officers of state as he thought necessary, and as much of it to be kept for himself as he could keep consistent with success. The whole of this new arrangement will cost the United States about fifty-three thousand dollars. We expect to incur blame, because it is impossible to give you a complete view of the circumstances, but we are perfectly confident of having acted right."

A few weeks later the long-expected ransom arrived: the prison-doors were thrown open, and the captives came out into the sunlight. How pitifully the poet-diplomatist received them, how tenderly he cared for their wants, and how he exerted himself to secure for them a speedy passage to their native land, may be inferred from the character of the man. Having now accomplished the object of his mission, it was to be expected that he would be free to give up his unpleasant post and return to France. But in the adjacent states of Tunis and Tripoli there were other prisons in which American citizens were confined, and until they were liberated he does not seem to have considered his mission as fully performed. Six months or more were spent in effecting this object, and when it was accomplished he very gladly delivered up his credentials to the government and returned to his home and friends in France.

The succeeding eight years were spent in congenial pursuits, chiefly of a literary and philanthropic character. He purchased the large hôtel of the count Clermont Tonnere, near Paris, which he transformed into an elegant villa: here he lived during his residence in France, dispensing a broad hospitality and enjoying the friendship of the leading minds of the Empire, as well as the companionship of all Americans of note who visited the capital. But at length, in 1805, after seventeen years of absence, the home-longing which sooner or later comes to every exile seized upon him, and, yielding to its influence, he disposed of his estates in France and with his faithful wife embarked for America.

Great changes had occurred in his native land during these seventeen years. Washington was gone, and with him the power and prestige of Federalism; Jefferson and Burr had led the Republican hosts to victory; Presbyterianism as a political force was dead; and everywhere in society the old order was giving place to the new. This was more markedly the case in New England, where the Puritan crust was being broken and pulverized by the gradual upheaval of the Republican strata. Withal, it was an era of intense political feeling and of partisan bitterness without a parallel.

This will explain, perhaps, the varying manner in which Barlow was received by the different parties among his countrymen. The Republicans greeted him with acclamation as the honored citizen of two republics, the man who had perilled life and health in rescuing his countrymen from slavery. The Federalists, on the other hand, united in traducing him—an assertion which may be gainsaid, but which can be abundantly proved by reference to the Federal newspapers and magazines of the day. In evidence, and as a curious instance of the political bitterness of the times, I will adduce the[Pg 74] following article from the Boston Repertory, printed in the August after the poet's return:


"In our last paper was announced, and that with extreme regret, the return of Joel Barlow, Esq., to this country. This man, the strong friend of Mr. Jefferson and confidential companion of his late warm defender, Tom Paine, is one of the most barefaced infidels that ever appeared in Christendom. Some facts respecting these distinguished personages may serve to show the votaries of Christianity what a band of open enemies (to the faith) is now assembling in this country.

"Mr. Jefferson, in his famous Notes on Virginia, advances opinions incompatible with Mosaic history. This cannot be disputed, nor will Mr. Jefferson dare to deny that he has, since he has been President of the United States, publicly made the Eucharist a subject of impious ridicule. Tom Paine has written two books for the express purpose of combating the Holy Scriptures. His Age of Reason is but too common, and his letter to the late Samuel Adams still evinces his perverse adherence to his infidel system.

"Joel Barlow is said to have written the following shocking letter to his correspondent, John Fellows, dated Hamburg, May 23, 1805: 'I rejoice at the progress of good sense over the damnable imposture of Christian mummery. I had no doubt of the effect of Paine's Age of Reason: it may be cavilled at a while, but it must prevail. Though things as good have been often said, they were never said in so good a way,' etc. Mr. Barlow can now answer for himself: if this letter be a forgery, let him inform the public. It has never yet been contradicted, though it has been four years published in America."

From which we gather that in the political code of that day the grossest calumnies if uncontradicted were to be accepted as truth. There is not the slightest evidence, however, in his writings or public utterances that the poet ever renounced the faith of his fathers, although it is not probable that he was a very strict Presbyterian at this time.

Barlow seems not to have returned with any hopes of political preferment: at least he made no attempt to enter the field of politics, but after spending several months in travel took up his residence in Washington and devoted himself to philosophical studies and the cultivation of the Muses. He had purchased a beautiful site on the banks of the Potomac within the city limits, and here he erected a mansion whose beauty and elegance made it famous throughout the country. This mansion he called Kalorama, and the wealth and correct taste of its owner were lavishly employed in its adornment. Broad green lawns, shaded by forest trees, surrounded the house, fountains sparkled and gleamed amid the shrubberies, and gay parterres of flowers added their beauty to the scene. Within, French carpets, mirrors, statuary, pictures and bric-à-brac betokened the foreign tastes of the owner. In the library was gathered the most extensive private collection of foreign books which the country then contained. Kalorama was the Holland House of America, where were to be met all the notables of the land, political, literary or philanthropic. The President, heads of departments, Congressmen, foreign ambassadors, poets, authors, reformers, inventors, were all to be seen there. Robert Fulton, the father of steam-navigation, was the poet's firm friend, and received substantial aid from him in his enterprise. Jefferson, throwing off the cares of state, often paid him informal visits, and the two sages had a pet plan which was generally the subject of conversation on these occasions. This was the scheme of a national university, to be modelled after the Institute of France, and to combine a university, a learned society, a naval and military school and an academy of fine arts. The movement had been originated by Washington, and Jefferson and Barlow, with many other leading men of the day, were its warm friends and promoters. In 1806, Barlow, at Jefferson's suggestion, drew up a prospectus, which was printed and[Pg 75] circulated throughout the country. So great a public sentiment in favor of the scheme was developed that a bill for its endowment was shortly after introduced in Congress; but New England exerted her influence against it in favor of Yale and Harvard so successfully that it was defeated.

The chief literary work which occupied the poet in this classic retreat was The Columbiad, which appeared in 1808. He also busied himself with collecting materials for a general history of the United States—a work which, if he had been permitted to finish it, would have proved no doubt a valuable contribution to this department of literature. But in the midst of this scholarly retirement he was surprised at receiving a note from Mr. Monroe, then Secretary of State, offering him the position of minister to France, and urging his acceptance of it in the strongest terms.

Our relations with France were then (1811) in a very critical state, owing to the latter's repeated attacks on American commerce, and it was of vital moment to the government that a man so universally respected by the French people, and so familiar with the French court and its circle of wily diplomats, as was Barlow, should have charge of American interests in that quarter. A man less unselfish, less patriotic, would have refused the burden of such a position, especially one so foreign to his tastes and desires; but the poet in this case, as in 1795, seems not to have hesitated an instant at the call of his country. Kalorama was closed—not sold, for its owner hoped that his absence would not be of long duration—preparations for the journey were speedily made, and early in August, 1811, Barlow, accompanied by his faithful wife, was set down at the port of Annapolis, where the famous frigate Constitution, Captain Hull, had been lying for some time in readiness to receive him. In Annapolis the poet was received with distinguished honor: at his embarkation crowds thronged the quay, and a number of distinguished citizens were gathered at the gang-plank to bid him God-speed on his journey. Captain Hull received his guest with the honor due his station: then the Constitution spread her sails, and, gay with bunting and responding heartily to the salutes from the forts on shore, swept gallantly down the bay and out to sea. The beautiful city, gleaming amid the foliage of its stately forest trees, and the low level shores, green with orchards and growing corn, were the last objects that the poet beheld ere the outlines of his native land sank beneath the waters. Happily, he could not foresee the untimely death in waiting for him not eighteen months distant, nor the lonely sepulchre in the Polish waste, nor the still more bitter fact that ere two generations should pass an ungrateful country would entirely forget his services and martyrdom.

Barlow's correspondence with Mr. Monroe and the duke de Bassano while abroad on this mission forms an interesting and hitherto unpublished chapter in our history. It has rested undisturbed in the pigeonholes of the State Department for nearly a century, and if published in connection with a brief memoir of the poet would prove a valuable addition to our annals. The first of the series is Mr. Monroe's letter of instruction to the newly-appointed minister, defining the objects of his mission, which were, in brief, indemnity for past spoliations and security from further depredations. The second paper is Mr. Barlow's first letter from Paris, under date of September 29, 1811, and is as follows:

"I seize the first occasion to announce to you my arrival, though I have little else to announce. I landed at Cherbourg the 8th of this month, and arrived at Paris the 19th. The emperor has been residing for some time at Compiègne, and it unluckily happened that he set out thence for the coast and for Holland the day of my arrival here. The duke de Bassano, Minister of Foreign Relations, came the next day to Paris for two days only, when he was to follow the emperor to join him in Holland. General Turreau and others, who called on me the morning after I reached Paris, assured me that the duke was desirous of seeing me as soon as possible and with as little ceremony.

"On the 21st I made my first visit to[Pg 76] him, which of course had no other object than that of delivering my credentials. I expressed my regret at the emperor's absence, and the consequent delay of such business as was rendered particularly urgent by the necessity of sending home the frigate and by the approaching session of Congress, as well as by the distressed situation of those American citizens who were awaiting the result of decisions which might be hastened by the expositions I was charged to make on the part of the President of the United States. He said the emperor had foreseen the urgency of the case, and had charged him to remedy the evil, as far as could be done, by dispensing with my presentation to His Majesty till his return, and that I might immediately proceed to business as if I had been presented. He said the most flattering things from the emperor relative to my appointment. He observed that His Majesty had expected my arrival with some solicitude, and was disposed to do everything that I could reasonably ask to maintain a good intelligence between the two countries.... I explained to him with as much precision as possible the sentiments of the President on the most pressing objects of my mission, and threw in such observations as seemed to arise out of what I conceived to be the true interests of France. He heard me with patience and apparent solicitude, endeavored to explain away some of the evils of which we complain, and expressed a strong desire to explain away the rest. He said that many of the ideas I suggested were new to him, and were very important—that he should lay them before the emperor with fidelity and in a manner calculated to produce the most favorable impression; desired me to reduce them to writing, to be presented in a more solemn form; and endeavored to convince me that he doubted not our being able on the return of the emperor to remove all obstacles to a most perfect harmony between the two countries."

In a letter dated December 19, 1811, he writes:

"Since the date of my last I have had many interviews with the Minister of Foreign Relations. I have explained several points, and urged every argument for as speedy an answer to my note of the 10th as its very serious importance would allow. He always treats the subject with apparent candor and solicitude, seems anxious to gain information, and declares that neither he nor the emperor had before understood American affairs, and always assures me that he is nearly ready with his answer. But he says the emperor's taking so long a time to consider it and make up his decision is not without reason, for it opens a wide field for meditation on very interesting matters. He says the emperor has read the note repeatedly and with great attention—that he told him the reasoning in it was everywhere just and the conclusions undeniable, but to reconcile its principles with his continental system presented difficulties not easy to remove. From what the emperor told me himself at the last diplomatic audience, and from a variety of hints and other circumstances remarked among the people about his person, I have been made to believe that he is really changing his system relative to our trade, and that the answer to my note will be more satisfactory than I had at first expected."

Several other letters from the poet to Monroe follow, all of the same general tenor—complaining of delay, yet hopeful that the treaty would shortly be secured. February 8, 1812, he writes to the Secretary of State that the duke is "at work upon the treaty, and probably in good earnest, but the discussions with Russia and the other affairs of this Continent give him and the emperor so much occupation that I cannot count upon their getting on very fast with ours."

Amid these delays the summer passed away, and the emperor, intent on mapping out his great campaign against Russia, still neglected to sign the important instrument. Early in the summer Napoleon left Paris for Wilna to take command of the vast armies that had been collected for the invasion, and from that place, on the 11th of October, the duke de Bassano addressed the following note to Mr. Barlow in Paris:[Pg 77]

"Sir: I have had the honor to make known to you how much I regretted, in the negotiation commenced between the United States and France, the delays which inevitably attended a correspondence carried on at so great a distance. Your government has desired to see the epoch of this arrangement draw near: His Majesty is animated by the same dispositions, and, willing to assure to the negotiation a result the most prompt, he has thought that it would be expedient to suppress the intermediaries and to transfer the conference to Wilna. His Majesty has in consequence authorized me, sir, to treat directly with you; and if you will come to this town I dare hope that, with the desire which animates us both to conciliate such important interests, we shall immediately be enabled to remove all the difficulties which until now have appeared to impede the progress of the negotiation. I have apprised the duke of Dalberg that his mission was thus terminated, and I have laid before His Majesty the actual state of the negotiation, to the end that when you arrive at Wilna, the different questions being already illustrated either by your judicious observation or by the instructions I shall have received, we may, sir, conclude an arrangement so desirable and so conformable to the mutually amicable views of our two governments."

Barlow could do no less than comply with this invitation, since, as he remarked in a letter to Monroe under date of October 25, "it was impossible to refuse it without giving offence." His letter accepting the duke's invitation was probably the last ever written by him, and is dated Paris, October 25, 1812:

"Sir: In consequence of the letter you did me the honor to write me on the 11th of this month, I accept your invitation, and leave Paris to-morrow for Wilna, where I hope to arrive in fifteen or eighteen days from this date. The negotiation on which you have done me the honor to invite me at Wilna is so completely prepared in all its parts between the duke of Dalberg and myself, and, as I understand, sent on to you for your approbation about the 18th of the present month, that I am persuaded that if it could have arrived before the date of your letter the necessity of this meeting would not have existed, as I am confident His Majesty would have found the project reasonable and acceptable in all its parts, and would have ordered that minister to conclude and sign both the treaty of commerce and the convention of indemnities."

Barlow left Paris for Wilna on the 26th of October in his private carriage, yet travelling night and day and with relays of horses at the post-towns to expedite his progress. His sole companion was his nephew and secretary of legation, Thomas Barlow, who had been educated and given an honorable position in life through the poet's munificence. Their route, the same as that pursued by Napoleon a few weeks before, led across the Belgian frontiers and through the forests and defiles of the German principalities. Once across the Niemen, they met with rumors of the emperor's disaster at Moscow, and that portions of his army were then in full retreat, but, discrediting them, pushed on to Wilna, which they reached about the 1st of December. Wilna is the only considerable village in Russia between the Niemen and Moscow: it is a quaint and venerable town, capital of the ancient province of Lithuania, and played an important part in Napoleon's Russian campaign, being the rendezvous of his legions after crossing the Niemen and the site of his army-hospitals. When our travellers entered it, it was filled with a horde of panic-stricken fugitives, who made the town a temporary resting-place before continuing their flight to the frontiers; nor were they long in learning the, to them, distressing news that the French army was in swift retreat, and that the duke de Bassano, so far from being at leisure to attend a diplomatic conference at Wilna, was then on the frontiers hurrying forward reinforcements to cover the retreat of his emperor across the Beresina.

The perilous journey had been made in vain, and the treaty was doomed to still further delay. It now only remained for Barlow to extricate himself from[Pg 78] his dangerous position and to reach the frontiers before the fleeing army and the pursuing Cossacks should close every avenue of escape.

Thomas Barlow on his return to America sometimes favored his friends with vivid pictures of the sufferings and privations endured by the travellers in their flight from Wilna. The passage of so many men had rendered the roads well-nigh impassable; food, even of the meanest kind, could only be procured with the greatest difficulty; and often the travellers were mixed up with the flying masses, as it seemed inextricably. Ruined habitations, wagons and provision-vans overturned and pillaged, men dying by scores from hunger and starvation, and frozen corpses of men and horses, were objects that constantly presented themselves. At length they crossed the Niemen and pursued their journey through Poland, still suffering terribly from the cold and from the insufficient nature of the food obtainable; but on reaching Zarrow,[C] an obscure village near Cracow, the poet was seized with a sudden and fatal attack of pneumonia, the result, no doubt, of privation and exposure. He was borne to a little Jewish cottage, the only inn that the village afforded, and there died December 26, 1812. His remains were interred in the little churchyard of the village where he died. It is rarely that an American visits his grave, and the government has never taken interest enough in its minister to erect a memorial slab above his dust; but wifely devotion has supplied the omission, and a plain monument of marble, on which are inscribed his name, age and station and the circumstances of his death, marks the poet's place of sepulture.

The news of his death seems not to have reached the United States until the succeeding March. The Federal journals merely announced the fact without comment: the Republican papers published formal eulogiums on the dead statesman. President Madison, in his inaugural of 1813, thus referred to the event: "The sudden death of the distinguished citizen who represented the United States in France, without any special arrangement by him for such a conclusion, has kept us without the expected sequel to his last communications; nor has the French government taken any measures for bringing the depending negotiations to a conclusion through its representative in the United States."

In France the poet's demise excited a more general feeling of regret, perhaps, than in his own country. A formal eulogy on his life and character was pronounced by Dupont de Nemours before the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry, and the year succeeding his death an account of his life and writings was published at Paris in quarto form, accompanied by one canto of The Columbiad, translated into French heroic verse. The American residents of Paris also addressed a letter of condolence to Mrs. Barlow, in which is apparent the general sentiment of respect and affection entertained for the poet in the French capital.

"In private life," says one of his eulogists, "Mr. Barlow was highly esteemed for his amiable temperament and many social excellences. His manners were generally grave and dignified, and he possessed but little facility of general conversation, but with his intimate friends he was easy and familiar, and upon topics which deeply interested him he conversed with much animation."

Another thus refers to his domestic relations: "The affection of Mr. Barlow for his lovely wife was unusually strong, and on her part it was fully reciprocated. She cheerfully in early life cast in her lot with his 'for better or for worse'—and sometimes the worst, so far as their pecuniary prospects were concerned. In their darkest days Barlow ever found light and encouragement at home in the smiles, sympathy and counsel of his prudent, faithful wife. No matter how dark and portentous the cloud that brooded over them might be, she always contrived to give it a silver lining, and his subsequent success in life he always attributed more to her influence over him than to anything else."[Pg 79]

Barlow lived a dual life—the life of a poet as well as of a diplomatist—and this paper can scarcely be considered complete unless it touches somewhat on his literary productions. It will be the verdict of all who study his life carefully that he was a better statesman than poet, and a better philanthropist than either; yet as a poet he surpassed his contemporaries, producing works that fairly entitle him to the distinction of being the father of American letters. His Hasty Pudding would be a valuable addition to any literature, and in his Advice to the Privileged Orders and his Conspiracy of Kings much poetic power and insight is apparent. It was on his epic of The Columbiad that he no doubt founded his hopes of fame, but, though the book was extensively read in its day and passed through several editions on both continents, no reprint has been demanded in modern times, and it long since dropped out of the category of books that are read.

Barlow's private letters from abroad would have possessed undoubted interest to the present generation, but, so far as is known, none of them have been preserved—with one exception, however. There is in existence a long letter of his, written to his wife while he was in Algiers in imminent danger from the plague, and which was to be forwarded to her only in case of his death. It was found among his papers after his death nearly sixteen years later. This letter has already appeared in print, but it will be new to most of our readers, and it is so remarkable in itself, and throws such light on the character of the writer, that, in spite of its length, no apology is required for inserting it here:

"To Mrs. Barlow in Paris:
"Algiers, 8th July, 1796.

"My dearest Life and only Love: I run no risk of alarming your extreme sensibility by writing this letter, since it is not my intention that it shall come into your hands unless and until, through some other channel, you shall be informed of the event which it anticipates as possible. For our happy union to be dissolved by death is indeed at every moment possible; but at this time there is an uncommon degree of danger that you may lose a life which I know you value more than you do your own. I say I know this, because I have long been taught, from our perfect sympathy of affection, to judge your heart by mine; and I can say solemnly and truly, as far as I know myself, that I have no other value for my own life than as a means of continuing a conjugal union with the best of women—the wife of my soul, my first, my last, my only love. I have told you in my current letters that the plague is raging with considerable violence in this place. I must tell you in this, if it should be your fortune to see it, that a pressing duty of humanity requires me to expose myself more than other considerations would justify in endeavoring to save as many of our unhappy citizens as possible from falling a sacrifice, and to embark them at this cruel moment for their country. Though they are dying very fast, it is possible that my exertions may be the means of saving a number who otherwise would perish. If this should be the case, and I should fall instead of them, my tender, generous friend must not upbraid my memory by ever thinking I did too much. But she cannot help it: I know she cannot. Yet, my dearest love, give me leave, since I must anticipate your affliction, to lay before you some reflections which would recur to you at last, but which ought to strike your mind at first, to mingle with and assuage your first emotions of grief. You cannot judge at your distance of the risk I am taking, nor of the necessity of taking it; and I am convinced that were you in my place you would do more than I shall do, for your kind, intrepid spirit has more courage than mine, and always had.

"Another consideration: Many of these persons have wives at home as well as I, from whom they have been much longer separated, under more affecting circumstances, having been held in a merciless and desponding slavery: if their wives love them as mine does me (a thing I cannot believe, but have no right to deny), ask these lately disconsolate and now joyous[Pg 80] families whether I have done too much.

"Since I write this as if it were my last poor demonstration of affection to my lovely friend, I have much to say; and it is with difficulty that I can steal an hour from the fatigue of business to devote to the grateful, painful task. But tell me (you cannot tell me) where shall I begin? where shall I end? how shall I put an eternal period to a correspondence which has given me so much comfort? With what expression of regret shall I take leave of my happiness? with what words of tenderness, of gratitude, of counsel, of consolation, shall I pay you for what I am robbing you of—the husband whom you cherish, the friend who is all your own?

"But I am giving vent to more weakness than I intended: this, my dear, is a letter of business, not of love, and I wonder I cannot enter upon it and keep to my subject. Enclosed is my last will, made in conformity to the one I left in the hands of Doctor Hopkins of Hartford, as you may remember. The greater part of our property now lying in Paris, I thought proper to renew this instrument, that you might enter immediately upon the settlement of your affairs, without waiting to send to America for the other paper.

"You will likewise find enclosed a schedule of our property debts and demands, with explanations, as nearly just as I can make it from memory in the absence of my papers. If the French Republic is consolidated, and her funds rise to par, or near it, as I believe they will do soon after the war, the effects noted in this schedule may amount to a capital of about one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, besides paying my debts; which sum, vested in the American funds or mortgages equally solid, would produce something more than seven thousand dollars a year perpetual income.

"If the French should fund their debt anew at one-half its nominal value (which is possible), so that the part of your property now vested in those funds should diminish in proportion, still, taking the whole together, it will not make a difference of more than one-third, and the annual income may still be near five thousand dollars. Events unforeseen by me may, however, reduce it considerably lower. But, whatever may be the value of what I leave, it is left simply and wholly to you.

"Perhaps some of my relations may think it strange that I have not mentioned them in this final disposition of my effects, especially if they should prove to be as considerable as I hope they may. But, my dearest love, I will tell you my reasons, and I hope you will approve them; for if I can excuse myself to you in a point in which your generous delicacy would be more likely to question the propriety of my conduct than in most others, I am sure my arguments will be convincing to those whose objections may arise from their interest.

"First. In a view of justice and equity, whatever we possess at this moment is a joint property between ourselves, and ought to remain to the survivor. When you gave me your blessed self you know I was destitute of every other possession, as of every other enjoyment: I was rich only in the fund of your affectionate economy and the sweet consolation of your society. In our various struggles and disappointments while trying to obtain a moderate competency for the quiet enjoyment of what we used to call the remainder of our lives, I have been rendered happy by misfortunes, for the heaviest we have met with were turned into blessings by the opportunities they gave me to discover new virtues in you, who taught me how to bear them.

"I have often told you since the year 1791, the period of our deepest difficulties (and even during that period), that I had never been so easy and contented before; and I have certainly been happier in you during the latter years of our union than I was in former years; not that I have loved you more ardently or more exclusively, for that was impossible, but I have loved you better: my heart has been more full of your excellence and less agitated with objects of ambition, which used to devour me too much.

"I recall these things to your mind to convince you of my full belief that the[Pg 81] acquisition of the competency which we seem at last to have secured is owing more to your energy than my own: I mean the energy of your virtues, which gave me consolation, and even happiness, under circumstances wherein, if I had been alone or with a partner no better than myself, I should have sunk.

"These fruits of our joint exertions you expected to enjoy with me, else I know you would not have wished for them. But if by my death you are to be deprived of the greater part of the comfort you expected, it would surely be unjust and cruel to deprive you of the remainder, or any portion of it, by giving any part of this property to others. It is yours in the truest sense in which property can be considered; and I should have no right, if I were disposed, to take it from you.

"Secondly. Of my relations, I have some thirty or forty, nephews and nieces and their children, the greater part of whom I have never seen, and from whom I have had no news for seven or eight years. Among them there may be some necessitous ones who would be proper objects of particular legacies, yet it would be impossible for me at this moment to know which they are. It was my intention, and still is if I live, to go to America, to make discrimination among them according to their wants, and to give them such relief as might be in my power, without waiting to do it by legacy. Now, my lovely wife, if this task and the means of performing it should devolve upon you, I need not recommend it: our joint liberality would have been less extensive and less grateful to the receivers than yours will be alone.

"Your own relations in the same degree of affinity are few in number. I hope I need not tell you that in my affections I know no difference between yours and mine. I include them all in the same recommendation, without any other distinction than what may arise from their wants and your ability to do them good.

"If Colonel B—— or his wife (either of them being left by the other) should be in a situation otherwise than comfortable, I wish my generous friend to render it so as far as may be in her power. We may have had more powerful friends than they, but never any more sincere. He has the most frank and loyal spirit in the world, and she is possessed of many amiable and almost heroic virtues.

"Mary——, poor girl!—you know her worth, her virtues, and her talents, and I am sure you will not fail to keep yourself informed of her circumstances. She has friends, or at least had them, more able than you will be to yield her assistance in case of need. But they may forsake her for reasons which to your enlightened and benevolent mind would rather be an additional inducement to contribute to her happiness. Excuse me, my dearest life, for my being so particular on a subject which, considering to whom it is addressed, may appear superfluous; but I do it rather to show that I agree with you in these sentiments than to pretend that they originate on my part. With this view I must pursue them a little further. One of the principal gratifications in which I intended, and still intend to indulge myself if I should live to enjoy with you the means of doing it, is to succor the unfortunate of every description as far as possible—to encourage merit where I find it, and try to create it where it does not exist. This has long been a favorite project with me; but, having always been destitute of the means of carrying it into effect to any considerable degree, I have not conversed with you upon it as much as I wish I had. Though I can say nothing that will be new to you on the pleasure of employing one's attention and resources in this way, yet some useful hints might be given on the means of multiplying good actions from small resources; for I would not confine my pleasure to the simple duties of charity in the beggar's sense of the word.

"First. Much may be done by advising with poor persons, contriving for them, and pointing out the objects on which they can employ their own industry.

"Secondly. Many persons and families in a crisis of difficulty might be extricated and set up in the world by little loans of[Pg 82] money, for which they might give good security and refund within a year; and the same fund might then go to relieve a second and a third; and thus a dozen families might be set on the independent footing of their own industry in the course of a dozen years by the help of fifty dollars, and the owner lose nothing but the interest. Some judgment would be necessary in these operations, as well as care and attention in finding out the proper objects. How many of these are to be found in prisons, thrown in and confined for years, for small debts which their industry and their liberty would enable them to discharge in a short time! Imprisonment for debt still exists as a stain upon our country, as most others. France, indeed, has set us the example of abolishing it, but I am apprehensive she will relapse from this, as I see she is inclined to do from many other good things which she began in her magnanimous struggle for the renovation of society.

"Thirdly. With your benevolence, your character and connections, you may put in motion a much greater fund of charity than you will yourself possess. It is by searching out the objects of distress or misfortune, and recommending them to their wealthy neighbors in such a manner as to excite their attention. I have often remarked to you (I forget whether you agree with me in it or not) that there is more goodness at the bottom of the human heart than the world will generally allow. Men are as often hindered from doing a generous thing by an indolence either of thought or action as by a selfish principle. If they knew what the action was, when and where it was to be done and how to do it, their obstacles would be overcome. In this manner one may bring the resources of others into contribution, and with such a grace as to obtain the thanks both of the givers and receivers.

"Fourthly. The example of one beneficent person, like yourself, in a neighborhood or a town would go a great way. It would doubtless be imitated by others, extend far, and benefit thousands whom you might never hear of.

"I certainly hope to escape from this place and return to your beloved arms. No man has stronger inducements to wish to live than I have. I have no quarrel with the world: it has used me as well as could be expected. I have valuable friends in every country where I have put my foot, not excepting this abominable sink of wickedness, pestilence and folly—the city of Algiers. I have a pretty extensive and dear-bought knowledge of mankind; a most valuable collection of books; a pure and undivided taste for domestic tranquillity, the social intercourse of friends, study, and the exercise of charity. I have a moderate but sufficient income, perfect health, an unimpaired constitution, and, to give the relish to all enjoyments and smooth away the asperities that might arise from unforeseen calamities, I have the wife that my youth chose and my advancing age has cherished—the pattern of excellence, the example of every virtue—from whom all my joys have risen, in whom all my hopes are centred.

"I will use every precaution for my safety, as well for your sake as mine. But if you should see me no more, my dearest friend, you will not forget I loved you. As you have valued my love, and as you believe this letter is written with an intention to promote your happiness at a time when it will be for ever out of my power to contribute to it in any other way, I beg you will kindly receive the last advice I can give you, with which I am going to close our endearing intercourse.... Submitting with patience to a destiny that is unavoidable, let your tenderness for me soon cease to agitate that lovely bosom: banish it to the house of darkness and dust, with the object that can no longer be benefited by it, and transfer your affections to some worthy person who shall supply my place in the relation I have borne to you. It is for the living, not the dead, to be rendered happy by the sweetness of your temper, the purity of your heart, your exalted sentiments, your cultivated spirit, your undivided love. Happy man of your choice should he know and prize the treasure of such a wife! Oh, treat her tenderly, my dear sir: she is used to nothing but[Pg 83] kindness, unbounded love and confidence. She is all that any reasonable man can desire. She is more than I have merited, or perhaps than you can merit. My resigning her to your charge, though but the result of uncontrollable necessity, is done with a degree of cheerfulness—a cheerfulness inspired by the hope that her happiness will be the object of your care and the long-continued fruit of your affection.

"Farewell, my wife; and though I am not used to subscribe my letters addressed to you, your familiarity with my writing having always rendered it unnecessary, yet it seems proper that the last characters which this hand shall trace for your perusal should compose the name of your most faithful, most affectionate and most grateful husband,

"Joel Barlow."

After her husband's decease Mrs. Barlow returned to America, and continued to reside at Kalorama until her death in 1818.

Charles Burr Todd.


[C] The name is variously written Zarrow, Zarniwica and Zarrowitch.


If he should wed a woman like a flower,
Fresh as the dew and royal as a rose,
Veined with spring-fire, mesmeric in repose,
His world-vext brain to lull with mystic power,
Great-souled to track his flight through heavens starred,
Upborne by wings of trust and love, yet meek
As one who has no self-set goal to seek,
His inspiration and his best reward,
At once his Art's deep secret and clear crown,
His every-day made dream, his dream fulfilled,—
If such a wife he wooed to be his own,
God knows 'twere well. Even I no less had willed.
Yet, O my heart! wouldst thou for his dear sake
Frankly rejoice, or with self-pity break?
What could I bring in dower? A restless heart,
As eager, ardent, hungry, as his own,
Face burned pale olive by our Southern sun,
A mind long used to musings grave apart.
Gold, noble name or fame I ne'er regret,
Albeit all are lacking; but the glow
Of spring-like beauty, but the overflow
Of simple, youthful joy. And yet—and yet—
A proud voice whispers: Vain may be his quest,
What fruit soe'er he pluck, what laurels green,
Through all the world, for just this prize unseen
I in my deep heart harbor quite unguessed:
I alone know what full hands I should bring
Were I to lay my wealth before my king.
Emma Lazarus.

[Pg 84]


I am only Pipistrello. Nothing but that—nothing more than any one of the round brown pebbles that the wind sets rolling down the dry bed of the Tiber in summer.

I am Pipistrello, the mime, the fool, the posturer, the juggler, the spangled saltinbanco, the people's plaything, that runs and leaps and turns and twists, and laughs at himself and is laughed at by all, and lives by his limbs like his brother the dancing bear and his cousin the monkey in a red coat and a feathered cap.

I am Pipistrello, five-and-twenty years old, and strong as you see, and good to look at, the women have said. I can leap and run against any man, and I can break a bar of iron against my knee, and I can keep up with the fastest horse that flies, and I can root up a young oak without too much effort. I am strong enough, and my life is at the full, and a day's sickness I never have known, and my mother is living. Yet I lie under sentence of death, and to-morrow I die on the scaffold: if nothing come between this and the break of dawn, I am a dead man with to-morrow's sun.

And nothing will come: why should it?

I am only Pipistrello. The people have loved me, indeed, but that is no reason why the law should spare me. Nor would I wish that it should—not I. They come and stand and stare at me through the grating, men and women and maidens and babies. A few of them cry a little, and one little mite of a child thrusts at me with a little brown hand the half of a red pomegranate. But for the most part they laugh. Why, of course they do. The street-children always laugh to see a big black steer with his bold horned head go down under the mace of the butcher: the street always finds that droll. The strength of the bull could scatter the crowd as the north wind scatters the dust, if he were free; but he is not, and his strength serves him nothing: the hammer fells him and the crowd laughs.

The people of this old Orte know me so well. Right and left, up and down, through the country I have gone all the years of my life. Wherever there was fair or festa, there was I, Pipistrello, in the midst. It is not a bad life, believe me. No life is bad that has the sun and the rain upon it, and the free will of the feet and the feel of the wind, and nothing between it and heaven.

My father had led the same kind of life before me: he died at Genoa, his spine broken in two, like a snapped bough, by a fall from the trapeze before the eyes of all the citizens. I was a big baby in that time, thrown from hand to hand by the men in their spectacles as they would have thrown a ball or an orange.

My mother was a young and gentle creature, full of tenderness for her own people, with strangers shy and afraid. She was the daughter of a poor weaver. My father had found and wooed her in Etruria, and although he had never taken the trouble to espouse her before the mayor, yet he had loved her and had always treated her with great respect. She was a woman very pure and very honest. Alas, the poor soul! To-day her hair is white as the snow, and they tell me she is mad. So much the better for her if she know nothing; but I fear the mad and the imbecile know all and see all, crouching in their hapless gloom.

When my father died thus at Genoa my mother took a hatred for that manner of living, and she broke off all ties with the athletes who had been his comrades, and, taking the little money that was hers in a little leather bag, she fled away with me to the old town of Orte, where my grandmother still lived, the widow of the weaver. The troop wished to keep me with them, for, although I[Pg 85] was but five years old, I was supple and light and very fearless, and never afraid of being thrown up in the air, a living ball, in their games and sports.

Orte was just the same then as it is now. These very aged towns I think never change: if you try to alter them you must break them up and destroy them utterly. Orte has known the Etruscans: she can very well do without modern folk. At Orte my mother and grandmother dwelt together in one room that looked over the river—a large vaulted chamber with grated casements, with thick stone walls—a chamber in what had once been a palace. My mother was then still very young and beautiful—of a pale, serious beauty, full of sadness. She smiled on me sometimes, but never once did I hear her laugh. She had never laughed since that awful day when, in the full sunlight, in the midst of the people, in the sight of the sea, in Genoa, a man had dropped from air to earth like an eagle fallen stone dead from the skies, struck by lightning.

My mother had many suitors. She was beautiful of face, as I say, like one of the Madonnas of our old painters: she was industrious, and all her little world knew very well that she would one day inherit the strip of field and the red cow that my grandmother owned outside the gates of Orte. All these pretty suitors of course made a great fuss with me, caressed me often, and brought me tomatoes, green figs, crickets in wire cages, fried fish and playthings. But my mother looked at none of them. When a woman's eyes are always looking downward on a grave, how should their tear-laden lids be lifted to see a fresh lover? She repulsed them all, always. She lived, lonely and sad, as well as she could in our great garret: we ate little, our bed was hard, and she and my grandam labored hard to get a pittance. But when a rich bailiff sought her in honest marriage, she kissed me and wept over me, and said again and again, "No, no! To your father I will be faithful, let what will chance to us."

The bailiff soon consoled himself: he married a big country wench who had a fine rope of pearls and gold bracelets, and I continued to grow up by my mother's side where the Tiber is gilded with the gold of the dawns and rolls its heavy waves under the weeping boughs of its willows. My boyish strength increased in the heat of the summers, and I grew like a young brown stalk of the tall maize. I herded the cow, cut the rushes and hewed wood, and I was always happy, even when my mother would send me to the old priest to learn things out of books. She wished to make a monk of me, but the mere idea made me shudder with fear. I loved to climb the oaks, to swing in the maples, to scale the roofs and the towers and the masts of the vessels. What had I to do with a monkish frock and a whitewashed cell? Ouf! I put my fingers in my ears and ran away whenever my poor mother talked of the cloister.

My limbs were always dancing, and my blood was always leaping, laughing, boiling merrily in my veins. A priest? What an idea! I had never wholly forgotten the glad, bright days of childhood when my father had thrown me about in the air like a ball: I had never wholly forgotten the shouts of the people, the sight of the human sea of faces, the loud, frank laugh of the populace, the sparkle of the spangled habit, the intoxication of the applause of a crowd. I had only been five years old then, yet I remembered, and sometimes in the night I cried bitterly for those dead days. I had only been a little brown thing, with curls as black as the raven's wing, and they had thrown me from one to the other lightly, laughingly, like a ripe apple, like a smooth peach. But I had known what it was to get drunk on the "hurrahs" of the multitude, and I did not forget them as I grew up here a youth in old Orte.

The son of an athlete can never rest quiet at home and at school like the children of cobblers and coppersmiths and vine-dressers. All my life was beating in me, tumbling, palpitating, bubbling, panting in me—moving incessantly, like the wings of a swallow when the hour draws near for its flight and the thirst for the south rises in it. With all[Pg 86] my force I adored my pale, lovely, Madonna-like mother, but all the same, as I trotted toward the priest with a satchel on my back, I used to think, Would it be very wicked to throw the books into the river and run away to the fields? And, in truth, I used to run away very often, scampering over the country around Orte like a mountain-hare, climbing the belfries of the churches, pulling off their weathercocks or setting their bells a-ringing—doing a thousand and one mischievous antics; but I always returned at nightfall to my mother's side. It seemed to me it would be cruel and cowardly to leave her, for she had but me in the world.

"You promise to be sensible and quiet, Pippo?" the poor soul always murmured. And I used to say "Yes," and mean it. But can a bird promise not to fly when it feels in its instincts the coming of spring? Can a young colt promise not to fling out his limbs when he feels the yielding turf beneath his hoofs?

I never wished to be disobedient, but, somehow, ten minutes after I was out of her sight I was high above on some tower or belfry, with the martens and the pigeons circling about my curly head. I was so happy on high there, looking down on all the old town misty with dust, the men and women like ants on an antheap, the historic river like a mere ribbon, yellow and twisted, the palaces and the tombs all hidden under the same gray veil of summer dust! I was so happy there!—and they spoke of making me into a monk, or, if I would not hear of that, of turning me into a clerk in a notary's office!

A monk? a clerk? when all the trees cried out to me to climb and all the birds called to me to fly! I used to cry about it with hot tears that stung my face like lashes, lying with my head hidden on my arms in the grass by the old Tiber water. For I was not twelve years old, and to be shut up in Orte always, growing gray and wrinkled as the notary had done over the wicked, crabbed, evil-looking skins that set the neighbors at war! The thought broke my heart. Nevertheless, I loved my mother, and I mended my quills, and tried to write my best, and said to the boys of the town, "I cannot bend iron or leap or race any more. I am going to write for my bread in the notary's office a year hence, for my mother wishes it, and so it must be."

And I did my best not to look up to the jackdaws circling round the towers or the old river running away to Rome. For all the waters cried to me to leap, and all the birds to fly. And you cannot tell, unless you have been born to do it as I was, how good it is to climb and climb and climb, and see the green earth grow pale beneath you, and the people dwindle till they are small as dust, and the houses fade till they seem like heaps of sand. The air gets so clear around you, and the great black wings flap close against your face; and you sit astride where the bells are, with some quaint stone face beside you that was carved on the pinnacle here a thousand years and more ago, and has hardly been seen of man ever since; and the white clouds are so near you that you seem to bathe in them; and the winds toss the trees far below, and sweep by you as they go down to torment the trees and the sea, the men that work, and the roofs that cover them, and the sails of their ships in the ocean. Men are so far from you, and heaven seems so near! The fields and the plains are lost in the vapors that divide you from them, and all their noise of living multitudes comes very faintly to your ear, and sweetly like the low murmuring of bees in the white blossoms of an acacia in the month of May.

But you do not understand, you poor toilers in cities who pace the street and watch the faces of the rich.

I was to be a notary's clerk—I, called Pipistrello (the bat) because I was always whirling and wheeling in air. I was to be a clerk, so my mother and grandmother decided for me, with the old notary himself who lived at the corner, and made his daily bread by carrying fire and sword where he could through the affairs of his neighbors. He was an old rascal, but my mother did not know that: he promised to be a safe and trustworthy guardian[Pg 87] of my youth, and she believed he had power to keep me safe from all dangers of destiny. She wanted to be sure that I should never run the risks of my father's career: she wanted to see me always before the plate of herb soup on her table. Poor mother!

One day in Orte chance gave me another fate than this of her desires.

One fine sunrise on the morning of Palm Sunday I heard the sharp sound of a screeching fife, the metallic clash of cymbals, the shouts of boys, the rattle of a little drum. It was the rataplan beating before a troop of wrestlers and jugglers who were traversing the Marche and Reggio Emilia. The troop stationed themselves in a little square burnt by the sun and surrounded by old crumbling houses: I ran with the rest of the lads of Orte to see them. Orte was in holiday guise: aged, wrinkled, deserted, forgotten by the world as she is, she made herself gay that day with palms and lilies and lilac and the branches of willow; and her people, honest, joyous, clad in their best, who filled the streets and the churches and wine-houses, after mass flocked with one accord and pressure around the play-place of the strollers.

It was in the month of April: outside the walls and on the banks of Tiber, still swollen by the floods of winter, one could see the gold of millions of daffodils and the bright crimson and yellow of tulips in the green corn. The scent of flowers and herbs came into the town and filled its dusky and narrow ways; the boatmen had green branches fastened to their masts; in the stillness of evening one heard the song of crickets, and even a mosquito would come and blow his shrill little trumpet, and one was willing to say to him "Welcome!" because on his little horn he blew the good news, "Summer is here!" Ah, those bright summers of my youth! I am old now—ay, old, though I have lived through only twenty-five years.

This afternoon, on Palm Sunday, I ran to see the athletes as a moth flies to the candle: in Italy all the world loves the saltinbanco, be he dumb or speaking, in wood or in flesh, and all Orte hastened, as I hastened, under the sunny skies of Easter. I saw, I trembled, I laughed: I sobbed with ecstasy. It was so many years that I had not seen my brothers! Were they not my brothers all?

This day of Palm, when our Orte, so brown and so gray, was all full of foliage and blossom like an old pitcher full of orange-flowers for a bridal, it was a somewhat brilliant troop of gymnasts which came to amuse the town. The troop was composed of an old man and his five sons, handsome youths, and very strong, of course. They climbed on each other's shoulders, building up a living pyramid; they bent and broke bars of iron; they severed a sheep with one blow of a sword; in a word, they did what my father had done before them. As for me, I watched them stupefied, fascinated, dazzled, drunk with delight, and almost crazy with a torrent of memories that seemed to rain on me like lava as I watched each exploit, as I heard each shout of the applauding multitudes.

It is a terrible thing, a horrible thing, those inherited memories that are born in you with the blood of others. I looked at them, I say, intoxicated with joy, mad with recollection and with longing;—and my mother destined me to a notary's desk, and wished me to be shut there all my life, pen in hand, sowing the seeds of all the hatreds, of all the crimes, of all the sorrows of mankind, lighting up the flames of rage and of greed in human souls for an acre of ground, for a roll of gold! She wished to make me a notary's clerk! I gazed at these men who seemed to me so happy—these slender, agile, vigorous creatures in their skins that shone like the skins of green snakes, in their broidered, glittering, spangled vests, in their little velvet caps with the white plume in each. "Take me! take me!" I shrieked to them; and the old king of the troop looked hard at me, and when their games were finished crossed the cord that marked their arena and threw his strong arms about me, and cried, "Body of Christ! you are little Pippo!" For he had been my father's mate. To be brief, when the little band left Orte I went with them.[Pg 88]

It was wickedly done, for my poor mother slept, knowing nothing, when in the dusk before daybreak I slipped through the bars of the casement and noiselessly dropped on to a raft in the river below, and thence joined my new friends. It was wickedly done; but I could not help it. Fate was stronger than I.

The old man did not disturb himself as to whether what he had encouraged me to do was ill or well. He foresaw in me an athlete who would do him honor and make the ducats ring merrier in his purse. Besides, I had cost him nothing.

From this time life indeed began for me. I wept often; I felt the barb of a real remorse; when I passed a crucifix on the road I trembled with true terror and penitence; but I fled away, always. I drew my girdle closer about my spangled coat, and, despite all my remorse, I was happy. When I was very, very far away I wrote to my mother, and she understood, poor soul! that there were no means of forcing me back to her. Children are egotists: childhood has little feeling. When the child suffers he thirsts for his mother, but when he is happy, alas! he thinks little and rarely about her.

I was very happy, full of force and of success: the men kept their word and taught me all their tricks, all their exploits. Soon I surpassed my teachers in address and in temerity. I soon became the glory of their band. In the summertime we wandered over the vast Lombard plains and the low Tuscan mountains; in winter we displayed our prowess in Rome, in Naples, in Palermo; we loitered wherever the sun was warm or the people liked to laugh.

From time to time I thought of my mother: I sent her money. I shivered a little when I saw a Madonna, for all Madonnas have the smile that our mother has for our infancy. I thought of her, but I never went home. I was Pipistrello the champion-wrestler. I was a young Hercules, with a spangled tunic in lieu of a lion-skin. I was a thousand years, ten thousand leagues, away from the child of Orte. God is just. It is just that I die here, for in my happy years I forgot my mother. I lived in the sunlight—before the crowds, the nervous crowds of Italy—singing, shouting, leaping, triumphing; and I forgot my mother alone in the old chamber above the Tiber—quite alone, for my grandam was dead. That I have slain what I have slain—that is nothing. I would do the same thing again had I to live my life again. Yes, without pause or mercy would I do it. But my mother—she has lived alone, and she is mad. That is my crime.

I was a tall, strong youth, full of courage and handsome to the eye of women: I led a life noisy and joyous, and for ever in movement. I was what my father had been before me. So they all said. Only I liked to finger a book, and my father never had looked inside one, and out of remembrance of the belief of my mother I uncovered my head as I passed a church or saw a shrine, and to do this had not been in my father's habits. In these years I made a great deal of money—a great deal, at least, for a stroller—but it went as fast as it came. I was never a vicious man, nor a great gambler or drinker, yet my plump pieces soon took wing from my pocket, for I was very gay and I liked to play a lover's part. My life was a good life, that I know: as for the life of the rich and of the noble, I cannot tell what it is like, but I think it is of a surety more gloomy and mournful than mine. In Italy one wants so little. The air and the light, and a little red wine, and the warmth of the wind, and a handful of maize or of grapes, and an old guitar, and a niche to sleep in near a fountain that murmurs and sings to the mosses and marbles,—these are enough, these are happiness in Italy. And it is not difficult to have thus much, or was not so in those days. I was never very poor, but whenever money jingled in my purse I treated all the troop and half the town, and we laughed loud till daybreak.

I was never aught save Pipistrello—Pipistrello the wrestler, who jumped and leaped, and lifted an ox from the ground as easily as other men lift a child. No doubt to the wise it seems a fool's life, to the holy a life impure. But I had been born for it: no other was possible to me;[Pg 89] and when money rained upon me, if I could ease an aching heart, or make a sick lad the stouter for a hearty meal, or make a tiny child the gladder for a lapful of copper coins, or give a poor stray dog a friend and a bed of straw, or a belabored mule a helpful push to the wheels of his cart,—well, that was all the good a mountebank could look to do in this world, and one could go to sleep easy upon it.

When the old man died who had been my father's comrade the troop fell to pieces, quarrelling over his leavings. The five brothers came to a common issue of stabbing. In Italy one takes to the knife as naturally as a child to the breast. Tired of their disputes, I left them squabbling and struck off by myself, and got a little band together, quite of youths, and with them made merry all across the country from sea to sea. We were at that time in the south. I was very popular with the people. When my games were done I could sing to the mandoline, and improvise, and make them laugh and weep: some graver men who heard me said I might have been a great actor or a great singer. Perhaps: I never was anything but Pipistrello the stroller. I wanted the fresh air and the wandering and the sports of my strength too much ever to have been shut in a roofed theatre, ever to have been cooped up where lamps were burning.

One day, when we were in dusty, brown Calabria, parching just then under June suns, with heavy dust on its aloe-hedges and its maize-fields, a sudden remorse smote me: I thought of my mother, all alone in Orte. I had thought of her scores of times, but I had felt ashamed to go and see her—I who had left her so basely. This day my remorse was greater than my shame. I was master of my little troop. I said to them, "It is hot here: we will go up Rome-way, along the Tiber;" and we did so.

I have never been out of my own land: I fancy it must be so dark there, the other side of the mountains. I know the by-roads and the hill-paths of Italy as a citizen knows the streets and lanes of his own contrada. We worked and played our way now up through the Basilicata and Campania and Latium, till at last we were right near Orte—dull, old, gray-colored Orte, crumbling away on the banks of Tiber. Then my heart beat and my knees shook, and I thought, If she is dead?

I left my comrades drinking and resting at a wine-shop just outside the town, and went all alone to look for her. I found the house—the gloomy barred window hanging over the water, the dark stone walls frowning down on the gloomy street. There was a woman, quite old, with white hair, who was getting up water at the street-fountain that I had gone to a thousand times in my childhood. I looked at her. I did not know her: I only saw a woman feeble and old. But she, with the brass secchia filled, turned round and saw me, and dropped the brazen pitcher on the ground, and fell at my feet with a bitter cry. Then I knew her.

When in the light of the hot, strong sun I saw how in those ten years my mother had grown old—old, bent, broken, white-haired, in those ten years that had been all glow and glitter, and pleasure and pastime, and movement and mirth to me—then I knew that I had sinned against her with a mighty sin—a sin of cruelty, of neglect, of selfish wickedness. She had been young still when I had left her—young and fair to look at, and without a silver line in her ebon hair, and with suitors about her for her beauty like bees about the blossoms of the ivy in the autumn-time. And now—now she was quite old.

She never rebuked me: she only said, "My son! my son! God be praised!" and said that a thousand times, weeping and trembling. Some women are like this.

When the bright, burning midsummer day had grown into a gray, firefly-lighted night, I laid me down on the narrow bed where I had slept as a child, and my mother kissed me as though I were a child. It seemed to purify me from all the sins of all the absent years, except, indeed, of that one unpardonable sin against her. In the morning she opened[Pg 90] the drawers of an old bureau and showed me everything I had sent her all those years: all was untouched, the money as well as the presents. "I took nothing while you did not give me yourself," she said. I felt my throat choke.

It was early day: she asked me to go to mass with her. I did so to please her. All the while I watched her bent, feeble, aged figure and the white hair under the yellow kerchief, and felt as if I had killed her. This lone old creature was not the mother like Raffaelle's Madonna I had left: I could never make her again what she had been.

"It is my son," she said to her neighbors, but she said it with pain rather than with pride, for she hated my calling; but Orte was of another way of thinking. Orte flocked to see me, having heard of Pipistrello, its own Pipistrello, who had plagued it with his childish tricks, having grown into fame amongst the cities and villages as the strongest man in all Italy. For indeed I was that; and my mother, with dim, tear-laden eyes, looked at me and said, "You are the image of your father. Oh, my dear, my love! take care."

She, poor soul! saw nothing but the fall she had seen that day at Genoa of a strong man who dropped like a stone. But I fear to weary you. Well! I had left my spangled dress and all insignia of my calling with my comrades at the wine-shop, fearing to harass my mother by sight of all those things which would be so full of bitter recollection and dread to her. But Orte clamored for me to show it my powers—Orte, which was more than half asleep by Tiber's side, like that nymph Canens whom I used to read of in my Latin school-books—Orte, which had no earthly thing to do this long and lazy day in the drought of a rainless June.

I could not afford to baulk the popular will, and I was proud to show them all I could do—I, Pipistrello, whom they had cuffed and kicked so often in the old time for climbing their walnut trees and their pear trees, their house-roofs and their church-towers. So, when the day cooled I drew a circle with a red rope round myself and my men on a piece of waste ground outside the town, and all Orte flocked out there as the sun went down, shouting and cheering for me as though Pipistrello were a king or a hero. The populace is always thus—the giddiest-pated fool that ever screamed, as loud and as ignorant as a parrot, as changeful as the wind in March, as base as the cuckoo. The same people threw stones at me when they brought me to this prison—the same people that feasted and applauded me then, that first day of my return to Orte. To-day, indeed, some women weep, and the little child brings me half a pomegranate. That is more remembrance than some fallen idols get, for the populace is cruel: it is a beast that fawns and slavers, then tears.

It was a rainless June, as I say. It was very warm that evening; the low west was vermilion and the higher sky was violet; bars of gold parted the two colors; the crickets were hooting, the bats were wheeling, great night-moths were abroad. I felt very happy that night. With us Italians pain rarely stays long. We feel sharply, but it soon passes. I had drowned my remorse in the glory and vanity of showing Orte all I could do by the sheer force of my muscles and sinews. We are not a very brave people, nor a strong one, and so strength and bravery seem very rare and fine things on our soil, and we make a great clatter and uproar when we ever find them amidst us. I had them both, and the people were in ecstasies with all I did. I put out all my powers, and in the circle of red rope exerted all my might, as though I had been performing before kings. After all, there is no applause that so flatters a man as that which he wrings from unwilling throats, and I know Orte had been long set against me by reason of my boyish mischief and my flight.

In real truth, I did nothing now in my manhood so really perilous as I had done in my childhood, when I had climbed to the top of the cross on the church and sat astride of it. But they had called that mischief and blasphemy: they called[Pg 91] the things I did now gymnastics, and applauded them till the noise might have wakened the Etrurian dead under the soil.

At last I came to the feat which, though far from the hardest to me, always looked to the crowd the most wonderful: it was my old master's trick of holding his five sons on his shoulder. Only I outshone him, and sustained on mine seven men in four tiers, and the topmost had on his head little Febo.

The mite whom we called Phœbus, because we had found him at sunrise and he had such yellow locks—yellow as the dandelion or the buttercup—was a stray thing picked up on the seashore in Apulia—a soft, merry, chirping little fellow, of whom we were all fond, and to whom we had easily taught that absence of fear which enabled us to play ball with him in our spectacles. He always delighted the people, he was such a pretty little lad, and not, perhaps, more than four years old then, and always laughing, always ready. To him it was only fun, as it had been to me at his years. I never thought it was cruel to use him so, I had been so happy in it myself. All at once, as I stood erect sustaining the men on my shoulders, the topmost one holding on his head our tiny Phœbus—all at once as I did this, which I had done a hundred times, and had always done in safety—all at once, amongst the sea of upturned faces in the glowing evening light, I saw one woman's eyes. She was leaning a little forward, resting her cheek on her hand. She had black lace about her head and yellow japonica-flowers above her left ear. She was looking at me and smiling a little.

I met her eyes, full, across the dust reddened by the sunset glow as the dust of a battlefield is reddened with blood. I felt as if I were stabbed; the red dust seemed to swim round me; I staggered slightly: in another instant I had recovered myself, but the momentary oscillation had terrified my comrades. The seventh and highest, feeling the human pyramid tremble beneath him, involuntarily, unconsciously, opened his arms to save himself. He did not lose his balance, but he let the child fall. It dropped as an apple broken off the bough falls to the earth.

There was a moment of horrible silence. Then the men leaped down, tumbling and huddling one over another, not knowing what they did. The audience rose screaming; and broke the rope and swarmed into the arena. I stooped and took up the child. He was dead. His neck had been broken in the fall. He had struck the earth with the back of his head; he was rolled up on the sand like a little dead kid; his tiny tinsel crown had fallen off his curls, his tiny tinselled limbs were crushed under him, his blossom-like mouth was half open. It was horrible.

People spoke to me: I did not see or hear them. The crowd parted and scattered, some voluble, some dumb, with the shock of what they had seen. I lifted up what a moment before had been little Phœbus, and bore him in my arms to my mother's house.

She was sitting at home alone, as she had been alone these ten years and more. When she saw the dead baby in those glistening spangled clothes she shuddered, and understood without words. "Another life?" she said, and said nothing more: she was thinking of my father. Then she took the dead child and laid him on her knees as if he had been a living one, and rocked him on her breast and smoothed the sand out of his pretty yellow curls. "The people go always in the hope of seeing something die," she said at length. "That is what they go for: you killed the baby for their sport. It was cruel."

I went out of the house and felt as if I had murdered him—the little fair, innocent thing who had run along with us over the dusty roads, and along the sad seashores, and under the forest trees, laughing and chirping as the birds chirp, and when he was tired lifting up his arms to be carried on the top of the big drum, and sitting there throned like a king. Poor little dead Phœbus! It was true what my mother had said: the people throng to us in hope of seeing our death, and yet when they do see it they are[Pg 92] frightened and sickened and sorrowful. Orte was so this night.

"Could I help it?" I cried to my comrades fiercely; and in my own soul I said to myself, "Could I help it? That woman looked at me."

Who was she? All through the pain that filled me for the death of the child that wonder was awake in me always. She had looked so strange there, so unlike the rest, though she was all in black and had the lace about her head which is common enough in our country. All the night long I saw her face—a beautiful face, with heavy lids and drooping hair, like that marble head they call the Braschi Antinous down in Rome.

Little Phœbus was laid that night in my mother's house, with lilies about him, while a little candle that the moths flickered into burnt at his feet. As I sat and watched by him to drive away the rats which came up in hordes at night from Tiber into the rooms that overhung the river, I only saw that face. It had been a bad home-coming.

I would play no more in Orte, nor go with these men any more. I disbanded my troop and let them pass their own ways. I had coin enough to live on for months: that was enough for the present. I felt as if the sight of the red rope and the spangled vest and the watching crowd would be horrible to me—those things which I had loved so well. Little Phœbus was put away in the dark earth, as the little Etruscan children had been so many hundred years before him, and I buried his little crown and his little coat with him, as the Etruscans buried the playthings. Poor little man! we had taught him to make Death his toy, and his toy had been stronger than he.

After his burial I began my search for the woman whose face I had seen in the crowd. My mother never asked me whence I came or where I went. The death of Phœbus had destroyed the trembling joy with which she had seen me return to her: happiness came to her too late. When grief has sat long by one hearth, it is impossible to warm the ashes of joy again: they are cold and dead for ever. My time passed sadly; a terrible calmness had succeeded to the gayety and noise of my life; a frightful silence had replaced the frenzied shouts, the boisterous laughter, of the people: sometimes it seemed to me that I had died, not Phœbus.

The constant hope of finding the woman I had seen but once occupied me always. I roamed the country without ceasing, always with that single hope before me. Days became weeks: I wandered miserably, like a dog without master or home.

One day I saw her. Having on my shoulder my girella, which gave me a pretext for straying along the river-side, I came to that part of Etruria where (so I had used to learn from the school-books in my childhood) the Etruscans in ancient times drew up in order of battle to receive Fabius. The country is pretty about there, or at least it seemed so to me. The oak woods descend to the edge of the Tiber: from them one sees the snow of the Apennines; the little towns of Giove and Penna are white on the Umbrian hills; in the low fields the vine and the olive and the maize and the wheat grow together. Here one finds our Lagherello, which I had heard scholars say is no other than the Lake Vadimon of which Pliny speaks. Of that I know nothing: it is a poor little pool now, filled with rushes, peopled with frogs. By the side of this pool I saw her again: she looked at me. Like a madman I plunged into the water, but the reeds and the lilies entangled me in their meshes: the long grasses and water-weeds were netted into an impenetrable mass. I stood there up to my waist in water, incapable of movement, like the poor cattle of which Pliny tells, who used to mistake all this verdure for dry land, and so drifted out into the middle of the lake. She looked at me, laughed a little, and disappeared.

Before sunset I had learned who she was from a peasant who came there to cut the reeds.

Near to the Lagherello is a villa named Sant' Aloïsa: about its walls there is a sombre, melancholy wood, a remnant of that famous forest which in the ancient times the Romans dreaded as the borders[Pg 93] of hell. The Tiber rolls close by, yellow and muddy with the black buffaloes descending to its brink to drink, and the snakes and the toads in its brakes counting by millions—sad, always sad, whether swollen by flood in autumn and vomiting torrents of mud, or whether with naked sands and barren bed in summer, with the fever-vapors rising from its shallow shoals. The villa is dull and mournful like the river—built of stone, fortified in bygone centuries, without color, without light, without garden or greenery, all its casements closed like the eyelids of a living man that is blind.

This was and is Sant' Aloïsa. In the old times, no doubt, the villa had been strong and great, and peopled with a brilliant feudal pomp, and noisy with the clash and stir of soldiery: now it is poverty-stricken and empty, naked and silent, looking down on the tawny, sullen swell of the Tiber—the terrible Tiber, that has devoured so much gold, so much treasure, so much beauty, and hidden so many dead and so many crimes, and flows on mute and gloomy between its poisonous marshes. Of Tiber I have always felt afraid.

Sant' Aloïsa has always been a fief of the old counts Marchioni. One of that race lived still, and owned the old grounds and the old walls, though the fortunes of the family had long fallen into decay. Taddeo Marchioni was scarcely above his own peasants in his manners and way of life. He was ugly, avaricious, rustic, cruel. He was lord of the soil indeed, but he lived miserably, and this beautiful woman had been his wife seven years. At fifteen her father, a priest who passed as her uncle, had wedded her to Taddeo Marchioni. She had dwelt here seven mortal years, in this gloomy wood, by these yellow waters, amidst these pestilential marshes. Her marriage had made her a countess, that was all. For the rest, it had consigned her, living, to a tomb.

The lives of our Italian women are gay enough in the cities, but in the country these women grow gray and pallid as the wings of the night-moth. They have no love for Nature, for air, for the woods, for the fields: flowers say nothing to them. They look neither at the blossoms nor the stars. The only things which please them are a black mask and a murmur of love, a hidden meeting, the noise of the streets, the bouquets of a carnival. What should they do in the loneliness and wildness of the broad and open country—our women, who only breathe at their ease in the obscurity of their palco or under the shelter of a domino?

The travellers who run over our land and see our women laughing with wide-opened rose-red mouths upon their balconies at Berlingaccio or at Pentolaccia can never understand the immense, the inconsolable, desolation of dulness which weighs on the lives of these women in the little towns of the provinces and the country-houses of the hills and plains. They have the priest and the chapel; that is all.

In Italy we have no choice between the peasant-woman toiling in the ploughed fields, and growing black with the scorch of the sun, and bowed and aged with the burdens she bears, and the ladies who live between the alcove and the confessional, only going forth from their chambers by night as fireflies glisten, and living on secret love and daily gossip. What can these do in their gaunt, dull villas—they who detest the sough of the wind and the sight of a tree, who flee from a dog and scream at a tempest, who will not read, and whose only lore is the sweet science of the passions?

This I came to know later. All I saw that day, as I tramped around it wet and cold, was the gloomy evil shadow of the great place that had once been a fortress, the barred and shattered windows, the iron-studded doors, the grass-grown bastions. She had made me kill Phœbus, and yet I only lived to see her face again.

Sometimes I think love is the darkest mystery of life: mere desire will not explain it, nor will the passions or the affections. You pass years amidst crowds and know naught of it: then all at once you meet a stranger's eyes, and never again are you free. That is love. Who shall say whence it comes? It is a bolt from the gods that descends from heaven[Pg 94] and strikes us down into hell. We can do nothing.

I went home slowly when evening fell. I had seen her eyes across the crowd in Orte once, and once across the pool that was the Vadimon, and I was hers for evermore. Explain that, ye wise men, who in your pride have long words for all things. Nay, you may be wise, but it is beyond you.

My mother and I spoke but little at this time. That home was a sad one: the death of the child and the absence of long years had left a chill in it. We ate together, chiefly in silence: it was always a pain to her that I was but Pipistrello the gymnast—not a steadfast, deep-rooted, well-loved citizen of Orte, with a trade to my hand and a place in church and market. Every day she thought I should wander again; every day she knew my savings shrank in their bag; every day she heard her neighbors say, "And your Pippo? will he not quiet down and take a wife and a calling?"

Poor mother! Other women had their sons safe stay-at-homes, wedded fathers of children, peaceable subjects of the king, smoking at their own doors after the day's work was done. She would have been so blessed had I been like them—I, who was a wrestler and a roysterer, a mere public toy that had broken down in the sight of all Orte. My father had never failed as I had failed. He had never killed a child that trusted in his strength: he had fallen himself and died. That difference between us was always in her eyes. I saw it when I met them; and she would make up little knots of common flowers and carry them to the tiny grave of Phœbus, my victim. Once I said to her, "I could not help it: I would have given my life to save him." She only replied, "If you had consented to bide at home the child would be living."

Nay, I thought, if she had not looked at me—But of that I said nothing. I kept the memory of that woman in my heart, and went night and day about the lake and the river and the marshes of Sant' Aloïsa. Once or twice I saw Taddeo Marchioni, the old count—a gray, shrunken, decrepit figure of a man, old, with a lean face and a long hard jaw—but of her, for days that lengthened into weeks, I saw nothing. There are fish in the Lagherello. I got the square huge net of our country, and set it in the water as our habit is, and watched in the sedges from dawn to eve. What I watched for was the coming of the vision I had once seen there: the fish came and went at their will for me.

One day, sick of watching vainly, and having some good fish in the net, I dragged them out into the reeds, and pushed them in a creel, and shouldered them, and went straight to the gloomy walls of Sant' Aloïsa. There were no gates: the sedges of the low lands went along the front of the great pile, almost touching it. Around it were fields gray with olives, and there was neither garden nor grass-land: all had been ploughed up that was not marsh and swamp.

The great doors were close fastened. I entered boldly by a little entrance at the side, and found myself in the great naked hall of marble, empty and still and damp. There was a woman there, old and miserable, who called her master. Taddeo Marchioni came and saw the fish, and chaffered for them with long hesitation and shrewd greed, as misers love to do, and then at last refused them: they were too dear, he said. I threw them down and said to him, "Count, give me a stoup of wine and they are yours." That pleased him: he bade the serving-woman carry the fish away, and told me to follow him. He took me into a vaulted stone chamber, and poured with a niggard hand a glass of mezzo-vino. I looked at him: he was lean, gray, unlovely. I could have crushed him to death with one hand.

These great old villas in the lone places of Italy are usually full at least of pleasant life—of women hurrying to the silk-worms and the spinning and the linen-press, of barefooted men loitering about on a thousand pleas or errands to their master. But Sant' Aloïsa was silent and empty.

Passing an open door, I saw her. She was sitting, doing nothing, in a room whose faded tapestries were gray as[Pg 95] spiders' webs, and she was beautiful as only one woman is here and there in a generation. She looked at me, and I thought she smiled.

I went out with my brain on fire and my sight dim. I saw only that smile—that sudden, momentary smile whose fellow had brought death to little Phœbus. And I felt she had known me again, though she had seen me but once, in my spangled coat of velvet and silver, and now I had my legs bare to the knee, and was clad in a rough blue shirt and woollen jacket, like any other country-fellow upon Tiber's side.

As I was going out the serving-wench plucked my sleeve and whispered to me, "Come back a moment: she wishes to see you."

My heart leaped, then stood still. I turned back into the house, and with trembling knees went into that chamber where the dusky tapestry mouldered on the walls. She looked at me, sitting idly there herself in the bare, melancholy room—a woman with the face of our Titian's Venus.

"Did the child die?" she asked.

I stammered something, I knew not what.

"Why did you tremble that day?" she said, with the flicker of a smile about her lovely mouth: "you look strong—and bold."

How the words had courage and madness enough to leap to my lips I know not, but I do know I said to her, "You looked at me."

She frowned a moment: then she laughed. No doubt she had known it before. "Your nerves were not of iron, then, as they should be," she said carelessly. "Well! the people wanted to see something die. They always do: you must know that. Bring more fish for my husband to-morrow. Now go."

I trembled from head to foot. I had said this bold and insolent thing to her face, and she still bade me return!

No doubt had I been a man well born I should have fallen at her feet and sworn a midsummer madness: I should have been emboldened to any coarse avowal, to any passionate effrontery. But I was only a stroller—a poor ignorant soul, half Hercules, half fool. I trembled and was mute.

When the air blew about me once more I felt as if I had been drunk—drunk on that sweet yeasty wine of a new vintage which makes the brain light and foolish. She had bade me return!

That day my mother ate alone at home. When night fell it found me by the Lagherello. I set my nets: I slept in a shepherd's hut. I had forgotten Phœbus: I only saw her face. What was she like? I cannot tell you. She was like Titian's Venus. Go and look at it—she who plays with the little dog in the Tribune at Pitti: that one I mean. With all that beauty, half disclosed like the bud of a pomegranate-flower, she had been given to Taddeo Marchioni, and here for seven years she had dwelt, shut in by stone walls.

Living so, a woman becomes a saint or a devil. Taddeo Marchioni forgot or never knew that. He left her in his chamber as he left the figures of the tapestry, till her bloom should fade like theirs, and time write wrinkles on her as it wove webs on them. He forgot! he forgot! He was old and slow of blood and feeble of sight: she was scarcely beautiful to him. There were a few poor peasants near, and a priest as old as Taddeo Marchioni was; and though Orte was within five miles, the sour and jealous temper of her husband shut her up in that prison-house as Pia Tolomei was shut in the house of death in the Maremma.

That night I watched impatient for the dawn. Impatient I watched the daybreak deepen into day. All the loveliness of that change was lost on me: I only counted the hours in restless haste. Poor fools! our hours are in sum so few, and yet we for ever wish them shorter, and fling them, scarcely used, behind us roughly, as a child flings his broken toys.

The sultry morning was broad and bright over the land before I dared take up such fish as had entered my girella in the night and bend my steps to Sant' Aloïsa. Fever-mists hung over the cane-brakes and the reedy swamps; the earth[Pg 96] was baked and cracked; everything looked thirsty, withered, pallid, dull, decaying: in the heats of August it is always so desolate wherever Tiber rolls. "Marchioni is out," said the old brown crone whom I had seen the day before. "But come in: bring your fish to Madama Flavia."

It was a strange, gaunt wilderness of stone, this old villa of the Marchioni. It would have held hundreds of serving-men—it had as many chambers as one of the palaces down in Rome—but this old woman was all the servitor it had, and in the grand old hall, with sculptured shields upon the columns of it and Umbrian frescoes in the roof, she spread their board and brought them their onion-soup and their dish of pasta, and while they ate it looked on and muttered her talk and twirled her distaff, day after day, year after year, the same. Life is homely and frugal here, and has few graces. The ways of life in these grand old places are like nettles and thistles set in an old majolica vase that has had knights and angels painted on it. You know what I mean, you who know Italy. Do you remember those pictures of Vittorio Carpaccio and of Gentiléo? They say that this is the life our Italy saw once in her cities and her villas: that is the life she wants. Sometimes, when you are all alone in these vast deserted places, the ghosts of all that pageantry pass by you, and they seem fitter than the living people for these courts and halls.

"Madama Flavia will see the fish," said the old crone, and hobbled away.

Madama Flavia! How many times has Tiber heard such a name as that breathed on a lover's mouth to the sigh of the mandoline, uttered in revel or in combat, or as a poisoner whispered it stealing to mix the drug with the wine in the goblet. Madama Flavia! All Italy seemed in it—all love, all woe! There is a magic in some names.

Madama Flavia! Just such a woman as this it needs would be to fitly wear such a name—a woman with low brows and eyes that burn, and a mouth like the folded leaves that lie in the heart of a rose—a woman to kneel at morn in the black shadows of the confessional, and to go down into the crowd of masks at night and make men drunk with love.

"Madama Flavia!" The name (so much it said to me) halted stupidly on my lips: I stood in her presence like a foolish creature. I never before had lacked either courage or audacity: I trembled now. I had been awake all the night, gazing at the dim, dusky pile of her roof as it rose out from the olives black against the stars; and she knew it—she knew it very well. That I saw in her face. And she was Madama Flavia, and I was Pipistrello the juggler. What could I say to her? I could have fallen at her feet and kissed her or killed her, but I could not speak. No doubt I looked but a poor boor to her—a giant and a dolt.

She was leaning against a great old marble vase—leaning her hands on it, and her chin on her hands. She had some red carnations in her breast: their perfume came to me. She was surrounded by decay, dusty desolation, the barrenness of a poverty that is drearier than any of the poverty of the poor; but so might have looked Madama Lucrezia in those old days when the Borgia was God's vicegerent.

At the haul of fish she never glanced: she gazed at me with meditation in her eyes. "You are very strong," she said abruptly.

At that I could do no less than laugh. It was as if she had said the ox in the yoke was strong or the Tiber strong at flood.

"Why are you a fisherman now?" she said. "Why do you leave your arena?"

I shuddered a little. "Since the child fell"—I muttered, thinking she would understand the remorse that made my old beloved calling horrible to me.

"It was no fault of yours," she said with a dreamy smile. "They say I have the evil eye—"

"You have, madama," I said bluntly, and then felt a choking in my throat, fearing my own rashness.

Her beautiful eyes had a bright scorn in them, and a cold mockery of me. "Why do you stay, then?" she asked,[Pg 97] and smiled at the red carnations carelessly.

"Because—rather would I die of beholding you than live shut out from sight of you," I said in my madness. "Madama, I am a great useless fool: I have done nothing but leap and climb and make a show. I am big and strong as the oxen are, but they work, and I have never worked. I have shown myself, and the people have thrown me money—a silly life, good to no man or beast. Oh yes, that I know full well now; and I have killed Phœbus because you looked at me; and my mother, who has loved me all her life, is old before her time through my fault. I am a graceless fool, a mountebank. When I put off my spangles and stand thus, you see the rude peasant that I am. And yet in all the great, wide, crowded world I know there does not live another who could love you as I love—seeing you twice."

I stopped; the sound of my own voice frightened me; the dull tapestries upon the wall heaved and rocked round me. I saw her as through a mist, leaning there with both arms on the broken marble vase.

A momentary smile passed over her face. She seemed diverted, not angered as I feared. She had listened without protest. No doubt she knew it very well before I spoke. "You are very strong," she said at length. "Strong men are always feeble—somewhere. If the count Taddeo heard you he would—" Then some sudden fancy struck her, and she laughed aloud, her bright red lips all tremulous and convulsed with laughter. "What could he do? You could crush him with one hand, as you could crush a newt! Poor Taddeo! did he not beat your fish down, give you watered wine, the rinsings of the barrel, yesterday? That is Taddeo always."

She laughed again, but there was something so cruel in that laughter that it held me mute. I dared not speak to her. I stood there stupidly.

"Do you know that he is rich?" she said abruptly, gnawing with her lovely teeth the jagged leaf of one of her carnations. "Yes, he is rich, Taddeo. That is why my father sold me to him. Taddeo is rich: he has gold in the ground, in the trees, in the rafters and the stones of the house; he has gold in Roman banks; he has gold in foreign scrip, and in ships, and in jewels, and in leases: he is rich. And he lives like a gray spider in the cellar-corner. He shuts me up here. We eat black bread, we see no living soul: once in the year or so I go to Orte or to Penna. And I am twenty-three years old, and I can read my own face in the mirror." She paused; her breast heaved, her beautiful low brows drew together in bitter fury at her fate: she had no thought of me.

I waited, mute. I did not dare to speak.

It was all true: she was the wife of Taddeo Marchioni, shut here as in a prison, with her youth passing and her loveliness unseen, and her angry soul consuming itself in its own fires. I loved her: what use was that to her—a man who had naught in all the world but the strength of his sinews and muscles?

She remembered me suddenly, and gave me a gesture of dismissal: "Take your fish to the woman; I cannot pay you for them; I have never as much as a bronze coin. But—you may come back another day. Bring more—bring more." Then with a more imperious gesture she made me leave her.

I stumbled out of the old dark, close-shuttered house into the burning brilliancy of the August day, giddy with passion and with hope. She knew I loved her, and yet she bade me return!

I know not how much, how little, that may mean in other lands, but here in Italy it has but one language—language enough to make a lover's heart leap like the wild goat. Yet hope is perhaps too great a word to measure rightly the timid joy that filled my breast. I lay in the shepherd's hut wide awake that night, hearing the frogs croak from the Lagherello and the crickets sing in the hot darkness. The hut was empty: shepherd and sheep and dogs were all gone up to the higher grounds amongst the hills. There were some dry fern-plants in a corner of it. I lay on these and stared at the planets[Pg 98] above me throbbing in the intense blue of the skies: they seemed to throb, they seemed alive.

A mile away, between me and the stars, was the grand black pile of Sant' Aloïsa.

Christ! it was strange! I had led a rough life, I had been no saint. I had always been ready for jest or dance or intrigue with a pretty woman, and sometimes women far above me had cast their eyes down on the arena, as in Spain ladies do in the bull-ring to pick a lover out thence for his strength; but I had never cared. I had loved, laughed and wandered away with the stroller's happy liberty, but I had never cared. Now, all at once, the whole world seemed dead—dead heaven and earth—and only one woman's two eyes left living in the universe, living and looking into my soul and burning it to ashes. Do you know what I mean? No? Ah, then you know not love.

All the night I lay awake—the short hot night when the western gold of sunset scarce fades into dark ere the east seems to glow luminous and transparent with the dawn. Ah! the sunrise! I shall see it once more, only once more! I shall see it through those bars, a hand's breadth of it above Tiber, no more; and when again it spreads its rosy warmth over the sky and reddens the river and the plain, I shall be dead—a headless thing pushed away under the earth and lime, and over my brain and skull the wise men will peer with knife and scalpel, and pour the plaster over its bones to take a cast, and say most likely to one another, as I heard them say once before a cast in a museum, "A good face, a fair brow, fine lines: strange that he should have been a murderer!" Well! so be it. Even though I lived for fourscore years and ten, the sun would nevermore rise for me as it rose before Phœbus died.

At that time I lived only to see a shadow on the barred windows, a hand open a lattice, a veiled head glide by through the moonbeams. I was wretched, yet never had I been so happy. The bolt of the gods stuns as it falls, but it intoxicates also.

I had been such a fool! such a fool! When she had said so much I had said nothing: that last moment haunted me with unending pain. If I had been bolder, if I had only known what to answer, if I had only seized her in my arms and kissed her! It would have been better to have had that one moment, and have died for it, than have been turned out of her presence like a poor cowardly clod.

I cannot tell how the long hot days went on: they were days of drought to the land, but they were days of paradise to me. The fever-mists were heavy and the peasants sickened. Tiber was low, and had fetid odors as its yellow shallows dried up in the sun, clouds of gnats hovered over the Lagherello and its beds of rushes, and the sullen wind blew always from the south-east, bringing the desert sand with it. But to me this sickly summer was so fair that I continued to live in the absent shepherd's empty hut. I continued to net the fish when I could, and now and again I saw her. I lived only in the hope of seeing her face. She had the evil eye. Well, let it rest on me and bring me all woe, so that only I might live in its light one day! So I said in my madness, not knowing.

I must have looked mad at that time to the few scattered peasants about the pool. I lived on a handful of maize, a crust of bread. I cast my nets in the water, and once or twice went up to Sant' Aloïsa with the small fish, and was sent away by the crone Marietta. August passed, and the time drew nigh for the gathering of the grapes, ripe here sooner than in the Lombard and the Tuscan plains. But the vintage of Sant' Aloïsa was slight, for the ground was covered with olives in nearly every part. When they were stripping what few poor vines there were I offered myself for that work. I thought so I might behold her. There was no mirth on the lands of Taddeo Marchioni: the people were poor and dull. Fever that came from the river and the swamps had lessened their numbers by death and weakened those who were living: my strength was welcome to those ague-stricken creatures.

The day of the gathering was very[Pg 99] hot: no rain had fallen. The oxen in the wains were merely skin and bone: their tongues were parched and swollen in their muzzled mouths. The grass had been long all burnt up, and the beasts famished: the air was stifling, pregnant with storm.

Amidst the sere and arid fields, and the woods, black and gray, of ilex and of olive, the great old square house rose before us, pale, solitary, mysterious—a mausoleum that shut in living creatures: it terrified me.

Night fell as the last wagon, loaded with the last casks of grapes, rolled slowly with heavy grinding wheels toward the cellars of Sant' Aloïsa. With the wagon there were a few men enfeebled with fever, a few women shivering with ague. I walked behind the wagon, pushing it to aid the weary oxen. There was no moon: here and there a torch flickered in a copper sconce filled with oil. The courtyard and the cellar were of enormous size: in the old times Sant' Aloïsa had sheltered fifteen hundred men. In the darkness, where a torch flared when he passed, I saw now and then Taddeo Marchioni coming and going, giving orders in his high, thin voice, screaming always, swearing sometimes, always suspecting some theft. He did not see me. He was entirely absorbed in his vintage and in the rebukes he hurled at his peasants. I drew back into the shadow, leaning against the column of the gateway, a huge wall blackened with time and damp. The bell of the old clock-tower sounded the nineteenth hour of the night. All at once the servant Marietta muttered in my ear, "Go in: she wants to speak with you. Go in to the tapestry-room on the other side of the house: you remember."

My blood bounded in my veins. I asked nothing better of Fate. I glided along the old walls, leaving the central court and the master there absorbed in his work, and I found with some difficulty the little side-door by which I had entered the house before. I trembled from head to foot, as in that hour. I felt myself all at once to be ugly, heavy, stupid, a brute to frighten any woman—sweating from the labors of the day, covered with dust, poor and frightful in my rough hempen shirt, with my naked legs and my bare knees impregnated with the juice of the grapes. And I dared to love this woman—I! Loved her, though she had slain Phœbus.

My mind was all in confusion: I was no longer master of myself. I scarcely drew breath; my head was giddy; I staggered as I went along those endless galleries and passages, as I had done that day when Phœbus had fallen on the sand of my arena. At last I reached—how I knew not—the room of the arazzi, scarcely lighted by a lamp of bronze that hung from the ceiling by a chain. In the twilight I saw the woman with the fatal gaze, with the lips of rose, with the features of Lucrezia, of Venus, the woman who in all ages has destroyed man.

Then I forgot that I was a laborer, a peasant, a juggler, a wrestler, a vagabond—that I was clad in coarse linen of hemp—that I was dirty and filthy and ignorant and coarse. I forgot myself: I only remembered my love—my love immense as the sky, omnipotent as Deity. I fell on my knees before her. I only cried with stifled voice, "I am yours! I am yours!" I did not even ask her to be mine. I was her slave, her tool, her servitor, her thing, to be cherished or rejected as she would. I shivered, I sobbed. I had never known before, it seemed to me, what love could be; and it made a madman of me.

All the while she said nothing: she let me kiss her gown, her feet, the stone floor on which she stood. Suddenly and abruptly she said only, "You are a droll creature: you love me, really—you?"

Then I spoke, beside myself the while. I remember nothing that I said: she heard me in silence, standing erect above me where I kneeled. The light was very faint; the lamp swung to and fro on its bronze chain; I saw only the eyes of the woman burning their will into mine. She bent her head slightly: her voice was very low. She said only, "I have known it a long time. Yes, you love me, but how? How?"

How? I knew no words that could[Pg 100] tell her. Human tongues never have language enough for that: a look can tell it. I looked at her.

She trembled for a moment as though I had hurt her. Soon she regained her empire over herself. "But how?" she muttered very low, bending over me her beautiful head, nearly touching mine. "But how? Enough to—?"

She paused. Enough? Enough for what? Enough to deny heaven, to defy hell, to brave death and torment, to do all that a man could do: who could do more?

"And I love you—I." She murmured the words very low: the evening wind which touches the roses was never softer than her voice. She brushed my hair with her lips. "I love you," she repeated. "For you are strong, you are strong."

Kneeling before her there, I took her in my arms. I drew her close to me: I drank the wine of Paradise—the wine that makes men mad.

But she stopped me, drew herself away from me, yet gently, without wrath. "No," she said, "not yet, not yet." Then she added, lower still, "You must deserve me."

Deserve her? I did not comprehend. I knew well that I did not deserve my joy, poor fool that I was, mere man of the people, with the trestles of the village fair for all my royal throne. But, since she loved me, a crowd of ideas confused and giddy thronged on my brain and whirled madly together. Up above in the belfries and the towers in my infancy, with the clear blue air about me and the peopled world at my feet, I had dreamed so many foolish gracious things—things heroical, fantastical, woven from the legends of saints and the poems of wandering minstrels. When she spoke to me thus these old beautiful fancies came back to my memory. If she wished me to become a soldier for her sake, I thought—

She looked at me, burning my soul with her eyes, that grew sombre yet brilliant, like the Tiber water lighted by a golden moon. "You must deserve me," she repeated: "you must deliver me. You are strong."

"I am ready," I answered. I was still kneeling before her. I had at my throat a rude cross that my mother had hung there in my childish years. I touched the cross with my right hand in sign of oath and steadfastness. "I am ready," I said to her. "What do you wish?"

She answered, "You must free me. You are strong."

Even then I did not understand. "Free?" I repeated. "You would fly with me?"

She gave a gesture, superb, impatient, contemptuous. She drew herself backward and more erect. Her eyes had a terrible brilliancy in them. She was so beautiful, but as fierce in that hour as the wild beast that I saw once at a fair break from its cage and descend amidst the people, and which I strangled in my arms unaided.

She murmured through her closed teeth, "You must kill him. You are strong."

With a bound I rose to my feet. In the burning night an icy cold chilled my blood, my limbs, my heart.

Kill him? Whom? The old man? I, young and strong as I was, and his wife's lover?

I looked at her. What will be the scaffold to-morrow to me, since I have lived through that moment?

She looked at me, always with her sorceress's eyes. "You must kill him," she said briefly. "It will be so easy to you. If you love me it will be done. If not—farewell."

A horrible terror seized on me. I said nothing. I was stupefied. The gloomy shadows of the chamber surrounded us like a mystic vapor; the pale figures of the tapestries seemed like the ghosts arisen from the grave to witness against us; the oppressive heat of the night hour lay on our heads like an iron hand.

A phantom parted us: the spectre of a cowardly crime had come between us.

"You do not love me," she said slowly. She grew impatient, angered, feverish: a dumb rage began to work in her. She had no fear.

I drew my breath with effort. It seemed as if some one were strangling me.[Pg 101] Kill him! Kill him! These ghastly words re-echoed in my ears. Kill an old and feeble man? It was worse than a crime: it was a cowardice.

"You do not love me," she repeated with utter scorn. "Go—go!"

A cry to her sprang from my very soul: "Anything else, anything but that! Ask my own life, and you shall have it."

"I ask what I wish."

As she answered me thus she drew herself in all her full height upward under the faint radiance from the lamp. Her magnificent beauty shone in it like a grand white flower of the datura under the suns of autumn. A disdain without bounds, without limit, without mercy, gleamed from her eyes. She despised me—a man of the people, a public wrestler, a bravo, only made to kill at his mistress's order, only of use to draw the stiletto in secrecy at the whim and will of a woman.

I was Italian, yet I dared not slay a feeble old man in the soft dark of a summer night, to find my reward on the breast of his wife.

Silence fell between us. Her eyes of scorn glanced over me, and all her beauty tempted me and cried to me, "Kill, kill, kill! and all this is thine!"

Then her eyes filled with tears, her proud loveliness grew humble, and, a supplicant, she stretched out her arms to me: she cried, "Ah, you love me not: you have no pity. I may live and die here: you will not save me. You are strong as the lions are—you are so strong, and yet you are afraid."

I shook in all my limbs. Yes, I was afraid—I was afraid of her, afraid of myself. I shivered: she looked at me always, her burning eyes now humid and soft with tears.

"In open war, in combat, all you wish," I said to her slowly. "But an old man—in secret—to be his assassin—"

My voice failed me. I saw the light in the lamp that swung above, oscillating between us: it seemed to me like the frail life of Taddeo Marchioni that swung on a thread at our will.

She drew herself upward once more. Her tears were burned up in the fires of a terrible dumb rage. She cried aloud, "You are a coward. Go!"

I fell once more at her feet; I seized her by her gown; I kissed her feet. "Any other thing!" I cried to her in my anguish—"any other thing! But the life of a weak old man! It would be horrible. I am not a coward: I am brave. It is for cowards to kill the feeble: I cannot. And you would not wish it? No, no, you would not wish it? It is a dream, a nightmare! It is not possible. I adore you! I adore you! I am a madman. I am yours; I give you my life; I give you my body and my soul. But to kill a feeble old man that I could crush in my arms as a fly is stifled in wine! No, no, no! Any other thing, any other thing! But not that."

She thrust me from her with her foot. "That or nothing," she said coldly.

The sweat fell from my brow in the agony of this horrible hour. I was ready to give my life for her, but an old man, a murder done in secret! All my soul revolted.

"But you love me!" I cried to her; and a great sob rose in my throat.

"You refuse to do this thing?" she answered.


Then she threw me away from her with the strength of a tigress: "Imbecile! You thought I loved you? I should have used you: that is all."

The lamp went out: the darkness was complete. I stretched my hands out, to meet but empty air. If I were alone I could not tell: I touched nothing, I heard nothing, I saw nothing. A strange giddiness came upon me; my limbs trembled under the weight of my body and gave way; I lost consciousness. It is what we call in this country a stroke of the blood.

When my senses revived I opened my eyes. It was still night about me, but a pallid light shone into the chamber, for the moon had risen, and its rays penetrated through the iron bars of the high windows. I remembered all.

I rose with pain and effort: the heavy fall on the stone floor had bruised and strained me. A great stupor, the stupor[Pg 102] of horror, had fallen upon me. I felt all at once old, quite old. The thought of my mother passed through my mind for the first time for many days. My poor mother!

By the light of the moon I tried to find my way out of this chamber—a chamber accursed. I gained the entrance of the gallery. Silence reigned everywhere. I could not tell what hour it was. The lustre from the skies sufficed to illumine fitfully the vast and sombre passages. I found the door by which I had entered the house, and I felt the hot air of the night blow upon my forehead, as hot now as it had been at noonday.

I passed into the great open court. Above it hung the moon, late risen, round, yellow, luminous. I looked upward at it: this familiar object seemed to me a strange and unknown thing. I walked slowly across the pavement of the courtyard on a sheer instinct, as you may see a wounded dog walk, bearing death in him. My heart seemed like a stone in my breast: my blood seemed like ice in my veins. All around me were the walls of Sant' Aloïsa, silent, gray, austere.

My foot touched something on the ground. I looked at it. It was a thing without form—a block of oak wood or a slab of marble?—yet I looked at it, and my eyes were rooted there and could not look elsewhere. The moon shed a sinister white light upon this thing. I looked long, standing there motionless and without power to move. Then I saw what it was, this shapeless thing: it was the body of Taddeo Marchioni—dead, horribly dead, fallen face downward, stretched out upon the stones, a knife plunged into the back of the throat, and left there. He had been stabbed from behind.

I looked, I saw, I understood: it was her act.

I stooped; I touched the corpse; I turned the face to the light; I searched for a pulse of life, a breath. There was none: he was dead. A single blow had been given, and the blow had been sure. A ghastly grimace distended the thin lips of the toothless mouth; the eyes were starting from their orbits; the hands were clenched: it had been a death swift, silent, violent, terrible.

I drew out the knife, deep buried in the bone of the throat below the skull. It was my knife, the same with which I had slashed asunder the boughs of the vines in the day just gone in the vintage-fields. She had taken it, no doubt, from my girdle when I had fallen at her feet.

"I understand," I said to the dead man: "it is her work."

The dead mouth seemed to laugh.

A casement opened on the court. A voice cried aloud. The voice was hers: it cried for help. From the silent dwelling came a sound of hurrying feet: the flame of a torch borne in a peasant's hand fell red on the livid moonlight.

She came with naked feet, with unloosed hair, as though roused from her bed, beautiful in her disarray, and crying aloud, "An assassin! an assassin!"

I understood all. She meant to send me to the scaffold in her place. It was my knife: that would be testimony enough for a tribunal. Justice is blind.

She cried aloud: they seized me, and the dead man lay between us, stretched on the stones and bathed in blood. I looked at her: she did not tremble.

But she had forgotten that I was strong—strong with the strength of the lion, of the bull, of the eagle. She had forgotten. With a gesture I flung far away from me, against the walls, the men who had seized me: with a bound I sprang upon her. I took her in my arms in her naked loveliness, scarcely veiled by the disordered linen, by the loosened hair, and shining like marble in the glisten of the moon. I seized her in my arms; I kissed her on her lips; I pressed against my heart her beautiful white bosom. Then between her two breasts I plunged my knife, red with the blood of her dead lord. "I avenge Phœbus," I said to her.

Now you know why to-morrow they will kill me, why my mother is mad.

Hush! I am tired. Let me sleep in peace.

And on the morrow he slept.


[Pg 103]



"An' this one? Lord have mercy on her, an' forgive me for saying it the way I do every time I look at her! It comes out of itself, an' there's times when I could think for a minute that He will; an' then it comes over me like a blackness on everything that her chance is gone. Look at that one by her. Ain't he a rough? Ain't he just fit for the Rogues' Gallery, an' nowhere else? And yet—Well, it's a long story, an' you won't want to hear it all."

"Every word," I said. "For once, we are all alone, and the rain pours down so nobody is likely to interrupt. Such a face as that could hardly help having a story, and a strange one."

"The most of it happens often enough, but I'll tell you. You think it's pretty, but that black an' white thing doesn't tell much. If you could once have looked at her, you'd have wanted to do something, same as 'most everybody did when the time for doin' was over. Let me get my bit of work, an' then I'll tell you."

It was in the "McAuley Mission-parlor." The street below, cleared by the pouring rain, was comparatively silent, though now and then a sailor swung by unmindful of wet, or the sound of a banjo came from the tenement-houses opposite. Below us, in the chapel, the janitor scrubbed vigorously to the tune which seems for some unknown reason to be always a powerful motive-power,

"I'm goin' home, no more to roam,"

the brush coming down with a whack at each measure. In my hands was the mission album, a motley collection of faces, as devoid of Nature or any clew to the real characteristics of the owners as the average photograph usually is, but here and there one with a suggestion of interest and, in this special case, of beauty—a delicate, pensive face, with a mass of floating hair, deep, dark eyes, and exquisite curves in cheek and lip and chin—the face of some gently born and nurtured maiden, looking dreamily out upon a world which thus far, at least, could have shown her only its tender, never its cruel or unfriendly, side, and not, as its place would indicate, that of one who had somehow and at some strange time found a home in these slums. Beauty of a vulgar, striking sort is common enough there—vivid coloring, even a sparkle and light poverty has had no power to kill—but this face had no share in such dower, and the dark, soft eyes had a compelling power which made mine search them for their secret,—not theirs, after all, it might prove, but only a gift from some remote ancestor, who could transmit outline, and even expression, but not the soul that had made them.

Mrs. McAuley slipped the picture from its place as she sat down by me again. "I ought to have done that long ago," she said. "Jerry is always telling me I've no business to keep it where everybody can look at it an' ask about her; an' I hadn't, indeed, for it brings up a time I'd hardly think or talk about unless I had to for some good. I'll put it away with two or three more I keep for myself; an' Jerry'll be glad of it, for he hates to think of her, 'most as much as I do.

"Her father and mother? Ah, that's it: if she'd had them! But, you see, her mother was a young thing that wasn't used to roughing it, an' this Nan only a baby then. They were decent English folks, an' he looked like a gentleman; but all we know was that she died of ship-fever on the passage over, an' was buried at sea; an' he had it too, an' came 'most as nigh dyin', an' just had strength to crawl ashore with Nan in his arms. He'd a cousin in the Bowery, a woman that kept a little store for notions, but didn't make any headway on account of two drinkin' sons; an' he went to her, an' just fell on the floor before he'd half finished his story. She put him to bed,[Pg 104] and, though the sons swore he shouldn't stay, an' said they'd chuck him out on the sidewalk, she had her way. It didn't take him long to die, an' he'd a good bit of money that reconciled them; but when he was gone there was the baby, just walkin' an' toddlin' into everything, an' would scream if Pete came near her. He was the oldest, an' he hated her worse than poison, an' about once in so often he'd swear he'd send her to the orphan asylum or anywhere that she'd be out of his sight. Jack didn't care one way or another, but the mother was just bound up in the little thing; an' she was, they said, just that wonderful-lookin' that people stopped an' stared at her. Her eyes weren't black, as they look there, but gray, with those long curly lashes that looked innocent an' baby-like to the very last minute; and her hair—oh, you never saw such hair! Not bleached out, as they do it now, to a dead yellow, but a pure gold-color, an' every thread of it alive. I've taken hold of it many a time to see it curl round my finger, an' the little rings of it lying round her forehead; an' her face to the last as pure-lookin' as a pearl—clear an' soft, you know—an', when I saw her first, with a little color in her cheeks no deeper than the pink in a pink rose.

"Now, it'll seem to you like a bit out of the Police Gazette or those horrid story-papers, but, do you know, when she wasn't three Pete came home one night just drunk enough to be cunnin', an' he said, after he'd had his supper, he wanted to take the child a little way, only round the corner, to show her to some friends of his. Mrs. Simpson said No—whoever wanted to see her could come there, but she shouldn't let her be taken round. The shop-bell rang that minute, an' she went out. It wasn't ten minutes, but when she came back Pete an' the child weren't there. She ran to the door an' looked up an' down the street, but it was twelve years before she ever saw that child again. Pete was gone a week, an' when he come home not a word would he say but that the child was safe enough, an' he'd had enough of her round under foot. They had high words. She told him he should never have another cent till Nan was brought back, an' he went out swearin' an' cursin', to be brought home in half an hour past any tellin' in this world. He'd been knocked down an' run over by a fire-engine, an', though there was life enough left to look at his mother an' try to speak, speak he couldn't.

"Well, there was nothin' that woman didn't do, far as her money would go. She'd a nephew was a policeman, an' he hunted, an' plenty more, but never a sign or a word. She couldn't get out much on account of the shop, but whenever she did there wasn't a beggar with a child that she wouldn't stop an' look with all her eyes to see if it might be Nan. You wouldn't think anybody would take a child that way to be tormented with, when there's hundreds runnin' round loose that nobody claims; but, for all that, it's done. Not as often as people think. There's more kidnappin' in the story-papers than ever gets done really, but it does happen now and then. An' New York's a better place to hide in than anywheres out of it. I know plenty of places this minute where the police couldn't find a man if they hunted a month.

"Pete Simpson took this child to a hole in the Five Points, rag-pickers an' beggars an' worse, an' gave her to a woman that took children that was wanted out o' the way. He paid her a dollar, an' said she could make enough out of her to pay for the trouble, she was so fair-lookin'. She was one of the women that sit round with a baby an' one or two children close to her, mostly with laudanum enough to make 'em stupid.

"Nan was spirited, an' she screamed an' fought, but blows soon hushed her. She remembered, she's told me. She didn't know where she'd come from, but she knew it was clean an' decent, an' she wouldn't eat till hunger made her. Then there was a long time she came up with three or four that made a kind of a livin' pickin' pockets an' a turn now an' then as newsboys, or beggin' cold victuals an' pickin' up any light thing they could see if they were let in. Nan changed hands a dozen times, an' she never would have[Pg 105] known where she come from if Charley Calkins hadn't kept half an eye to her. He was six years older, an' nobody knew who he belonged to; an' he an' Nan picked rags together, an' whatever trick he knew he taught her. They cropped her hair, an' dirt hid all the prettiness there was, but by ten she'd learned enough to get any bit of finery she could, an' to fight 'em off when they wanted to cut her hair still. She'd dance an' sing to any hand-organ that come along; an' that was where I saw her first—when she was twelve, I should think—with a lot o' men an' boys standin' round, an' she dancin' an' singin' till the very monkey on the organ danced too. I was in a house on Cherry street then, with some girls that played at a variety theatre on the Bowery, an' Nan by this time was so tall they'd made her a waiter-girl in one of the beer-shops. It was there the theatre-man saw her one day goin' down to the ferry. He thought she was older, for she never let on, an' she was tall as she ever was, an' her hair floatin' back the way she would always have it. She could read. She'd been to school one term, because she would, an' she had a way with her that you'd think she was twenty. So it didn't take long. The variety-man said he'd make her fortune, an' she thought he would; an' next day she come an' told me she had agreed for three years.

"She didn't know there was work in it, but she soon found there was just as much drudgery as in the rag-pickin' or a beer-shop. But she had an ambition. She said she'd started here, an' she would stay an' learn everything there was, but she believed she should be an actress in the Old Bowery yet. That seemed a great thing to me in those days, an' I looked at her an' wondered if she knew enough, an' if she'd speak to us when she got there. She was so silent sometimes that it daunted us, an' then she'd have spells of bein' wilder than the wildest; but she said straight enough, 'I'm not goin' to stay down in this hole: I'm goin' to be rich an' a lady; an' you'll see it.'

"The time came when she did get to the Old Bowery, an' the manager glad to have her too. The variety-man swore he'd kill her for leavin', for she drew at the last bigger houses than he ever had again. How she learned it all you couldn't tell, but the night we all turned out to see her in The Rover's Bride you'd have said yourself she was wonderful—painted of course, and fixed off, but a voice that made you cry, an' a way just as natural as if she believed every word she said. An' when she came out the third time, after such a stampin' an' callin' as you never heard, with her eyes shinin' an' such a smile, I cried with all my might.

"It was the very next day. Charley Calkins was bar-tender in a saloon, but getting off whenever he could to see Nan act. That was another thing. She wouldn't take any fancy name, but was Nan Evans straight through—on the bills an' everywhere—an' every one she'd grown up with went to see her, an' felt sort of proud to think she belonged to the Fourth Ward. An' a strange thing was, that, though so many were after her, she never seemed to care for anybody but this Charley, that had knocked her round himself, though he wouldn't let anybody else.

"Well, the old woman that had taken her first was dyin'. She was Charley's aunt, an' so she sent for him, for want of any other relation, an' told him she'd a little money for him, an' was a mind to give a little to Nan. Charley said, 'All right!' He knew she most likely had a good bit, for they often do, but then he said, 'You've always kept to yourself where you got Nan, an' I'm a mind to know.'—'Simpson's, up the Bowery,' she said; an' that was the very last word she ever spoke. She left thirteen hundred dollars in the Bowery Bank, an' it seemed as if there were odd sums in every bunch of rags in the room, so that Charley had enough to set him up pretty well. An' it didn't take him long after he started his own saloon near the theatre to find out, among all the Simpsons, the woman that had had Nan. She had her store still, an' a young woman to help her, an' she cried a little when Charley told her.[Pg 106] But she was a member of the Mott Street Church, an' when she said, 'Where is she now? and why don't she come herself?' an' Charley said, 'She couldn't, because rehearsal's going on,' she looked at him.

"'Re-what?' says she.

"'Re-hearsal: she's an actress,' says he; an' she shut her eyes up as if the sight of him after such words was poison.

"'I want nothing to do with her,' says she. 'I've had my fill of sorrow an' trouble from wickedness. You can go, an' say no more.'

"This didn't suit Charley, for he knew how Nan kept herself sort of respectable even when she was with the worst, an' he was bound to find out all he could.

"Well, he hung on an' asked questions till he'd found out all there was, an' that was little, as you know. But Nan had wondered many a time where she came from, an' if she'd ever belonged to anybody, an' he wanted to be the first one to tell her. He scared the old lady, for he wasn't long from the Island, where he'd been sent up for assault an' battery, an', do what you would to him, clothes nor nothin' could ever make him look like anything but a rough. But he was bound to know, for he thought there might be money belonging to her or folks that would do for her. There wasn't a soul, though, that he could find out, an' the next thing was to go to Nan an' tell her about it. They'd have been wiser to have waited a day, till the old lady'd a chance to quiet down and think it all over; but he went straight to Nan an' told her he'd found some of her folks; an' she, without a word, put on her hat an' went with him. If she'd been alone it might have been better, for Charley seemed worse than he was. The old lady was in the room back of the shop, neat as a pin, an' Nan looked as if she was looking through everything to see if she could remember.

"An' when the old lady saw her there was a minute she cried again an' took hold of Nan. 'It's her very look,' she said, 'an' her hair an' all;' but then she stiffened. 'I've no call to feel sure,' she said, 'but if you are Nan, an' want to be decent, an' will give up all your wickedness, an' come here an' repent, I'll keep you.'

"'Wickedness?' Nan says, sort of bewildered—'repent?'

"'I don't know as it would do, either,' the old lady said, beginning to be doubtful again. 'A lost creature, that's only a disgrace, so that I couldn't hold my head up, any more'n I can when I think how Pete went: I couldn't well stand it.'

"'You won't have to,' said Nan, with her head high. 'I did think I'd found some folks, but it seems not;' an' out she went.

"Charley shook his fist an' swore. 'Nice folks, Christians are!' he said. 'I like 'em,——'em! I'd like to burn her shop over her head!'

"'Nonsense!' Nan said, as if she didn't mind a bit. 'I thought it would feel good to have somebody I belonged to, but it wouldn't. I never could stand anything like her shaking her head over me; but it's strange how I've always been hoping, an' now how I don't care.'

"Then Charley told her she'd better go home with him: he'd got a comfortable, nice place, an' he'd never bother her. They'd talked it over many a time, but she'd held off, always thinking she might find her folks.

"Marriage didn't mean anything to either of them. How could it, coming up the way they had? though she'd never been like the other girls. You can't think how they could be the heathen they were? Remember what you've seen an' heard in this very place, an' then remember that ten years ago, even, a decent man or woman didn't dare go up these alleys even by daylight, an' the two or three missionaries were in danger of their lives; an' you'll see how much chance they'd had of learning.

"Nan wasn't sixteen then, an' she didn't think ahead, though if she had likely she would have done the same. She had her choice, but she'd always known Charley, an' so it ended that way.

"Then came a long time when my own troubles were thick, an' I went off to the country an' lost sight of her. It was two years before I came back, an'[Pg 107] then everything was changed. All that set I'd known seemed to have gone to the bad together—some in prison and some dead. Jerry was out then, an' we were married an' began together in the little room down the street; an' now I thought often of Nan. They told me Charley was drinkin' himself to death, an' that she was at the theatre still, an' kept things goin' with her money, an' that he knocked her round, when he was out of his head, the worst way. It wasn't long before I went to her. She looked so beautiful you wouldn't think a fiend could want to hurt her, an' her eyes had just the look of that picture. I told her how I had turned about, an' how happy we both were, in spite of hard times an' little work; but she listened like one in a dream, an' I knew enough to see that I should have to tell her many times before she would understand or care. But she seemed so frail I couldn't bear to leave her so. An' the worst of it was, that she'd begun to wish Charley would marry her, an' he thought it was all nonsense, an' swore at her if she said a word about it. She'd been gettin' more and more sensible, an' he'd just been goin' the other way, but she kept her old fondness for him. I said nothing then, but one day I found her cryin', an' her arm so she could hardly move it; an' it came out he'd knocked her down, an' told her she could clear out when she liked, for he was sick of her pale face an' her big eyes an' her airs, an' meant to bring a woman there with some life in her."

"'Things don't come out as we plan,' she said. 'I was going to be a lady, but I forgot that anybody had anything to do with it but myself. An' now I can't go to any decent place, an' Charley doesn't want me any longer. See how nice it all looks here, Maria. I've fixed it myself, an' I've always been so glad that after the play was over I could come home—not to somebody else's room, but my own place—an' I never thought there was any reason why it wouldn't always be my place. Men aren't like women. I was true to Charley, and I'll never think of anybody else; but he says I must get out of this.'

"Well, I wanted her to understand that I knew plenty would help her, an' I tried to tell her she could begin a different life; but she just opened her eyes, astonished at me.

"'You think I'd go to one of those Homes?' she said. 'You're crazy. I can make my livin' easy enough at the theatre, even if I'm not so strong as I was. What have I done more than anybody, after all? Do you think I'd be pointed at an' talked over the way those women are? I'd throw myself in the river first! I've learned enough these years. I go to church sometimes, an' hear men in the pulpit talk about things I know better than they do. I've found out what the good people, the respectable people, are like. I've found out, too, what I might have been, an' that if I live a thousand years I never can be it in this world; an' that's one reason I thought Charley might be willing to marry me. But I shall never say anything more now, for, you see, it isn't goin' to make so very much matter. I had a bad cold in the spring, an' the doctor said then I must be very careful or I should go with consumption. See my arm? They said the other day I'd have to do something to plump up, but I never shall: I'm goin', an' I'm glad of it.'

"'Then, if that's got to be, let it be goin' home,' I said. 'Nan, there's everything waitin' for you if you'll only take it. Come down to one of the meetin's an' you'll hear. Won't you?'

"'I don't understand it,' she said. 'Everything's in a twist. Years an' years and never hear of God, an' not a soul come near you to tell about Him, an' all at once they say He loves you, and always has. Bah! If He loved, an' people think about it as they pretend, how dare they let there be such places for us to come up in? If God is what they say, He ought to strike the people dead that keep Him to themselves till it is too late for us ever to be helped. There! I won't talk about it. I don't care: all I want is quiet, an' I'll have it soon.'

"I saw there was no use then, an' I made up my mind. I'd seen this Mrs.[Pg 108] Simpson, for Nan had told me when it all happened, an' I'd gone to the store on purpose; an' I went straight there. 'I've come from Nan,' I said, 'but she doesn't know it. She's a dyin' girl, an' as you helped the father I want you to help the daughter. You're a Christian woman, an' the only soul belongin' to her, an' the time's come to do something.'

"'The father was decent,' she said: 'I've nothing to do with street-women.'

"'It's through your own son that she grew up to know no better,' I said, for I knew the whole story then, though nobody did when she was down there. 'It's for you to give her your hand now, an' not throw it up to her, any more'n the Lord when he said, "Go, and sin no more." She's in trouble an' sick, and doesn't know what way to turn, an' sore-hearted; an' if you would go to her in the right way you might save a soul, for then she'd believe people meant what they said.'

"'She's the same to me as dead,' she said. 'I mourned her sharp enough, but it ain't in nature to take one again after they've been thought dead; an' you know they're straight from corruption itself. There's places for her to go if she's tired of wickedness, but I don't want to see her bold face, an' her head high, as if she was respectable. An' I don't want to be plagued no more. I don't deny I lotted on her before she was took away, but I never want to think about her again; so you needn't come nor send. I've said my say, an' I hope the Lord will save her.'

"'It's good He's more merciful than His creatures,' I said; an' I went away more angry than I ever want to get. I couldn't quite make it out—I can't to this day—how she could mourn so over the child, an' yet never have a thought for all the years she'd had to suffer.

"There came a month that everything crowded. I thought of Nan, but couldn't go up, till one day Tom Owens came in—you know him—an' he said, 'It's all up with Charley Calkins.'

"'How?' I said.

"'Smallpox,' he said, 'an' Nan's dropped everything to nurse him. She'd left there, they said, an' the woman he brought in to take her place cut the minute she found he had the smallpox. He won't live, they say.'

"This was before they were so particular about carrying them off to hospital. The house was cleared an' the saloon shut up, but Nan was allowed to stay because she'd been exposed anyway, an' it was no use to send her off. He had it the worst way, an' he'd scream an' swear he wouldn't die, an' strike out at her, though he couldn't see, his face and eyes bein' all closed up. It didn't last but a week, and then he died, but Nan hadn't taken off her clothes or hardly slept one instant. He was stupid at the last, an' when she saw he was gone she fell on the floor in a faint; an' when she come to the blood poured from her mouth, an' all they could do was to take her off to the hospital. She didn't take the smallpox, but it was a good while before she could be let to see anybody. When they thought it was safe she sent for me, but it was hard to think it could be the same Nan I'd known. Every breath come with pain, and she was wasted to a shadow, but she smiled at me an' drew me down to kiss her. 'You see, I sha'n't be troubled or make trouble much longer,' she said, 'but oh, if I only could rest!'

"Poor soul! She couldn't breathe lyin' down, nor sleep but a bit at a time, an' it was awful to have her goin' so, an' she not twenty.

"I knelt down by her. She had a little room to herself, for she had some money yet, and I prayed till I couldn't speak for crying. 'Nan, Nan!' I said, 'you're goin' straight to the next world, an' you've got to be judged. What will you do without a Saviour? Try to think about it.'

"She patted my hand as if I were the one to be quieted. 'Don't bother,' she said: 'I don't mind, an' you mustn't. If He's as good as you say He'll see that it's all right. I'm too tired to care: I only want to get through. There's nothing to live for, an' I'm glad it's 'most over. I want you to come every day, for it won't be long.'

"'Let me bring Jerry,' I said, but she[Pg 109] only laughed. She'd known him at his hardest, an' couldn't realize he might be different; but after a week or two she let him come, an' she'd lie an' listen with a sort of wonder as she watched him. But nothing seemed to take hold of her. She looked like a flower lyin' there, an' you'd think her only a child, for they'd cut her hair, and it lay in little rings all over her head; an' Jerry just cried over her, to think that unless she hearkened she was lost. She liked to be read to, but you couldn't make her believe, somehow, that any of it was real. 'I'd believe it if I could,' she said, 'but why should I? I don't see why you do. It sounds good, but it doesn't seem to mean anything. Why hasn't anybody ever told me before?'

"'Try to believe, only try!' I'd say. 'Ask God to make you. He can, and He will if you only ask;' but all she'd say was, 'I don't seem to care enough. How can I? If it is true He will see about it.'

"That was only a day or two before the end. The opium, maybe, hindered her thinkin', but she looked quiet an' no sign of trouble between the coughing-times. The last night of all I stayed with her. They said she would go at daybreak, an' I sat an' watched an' prayed, beggin' for one word or sign that the Lord heard us. It never came, though. She opened her eyes suddenly from a half sleep, and threw out her hands. I took one, but she did not know me. She looked toward the east and smiled. 'Why! are you coming for me?' she said, and then fell back, but that look stayed—a smile as sweet as was ever on a mortal face. An' that's why I never can help sayin', 'Lord have mercy on her!' and do you wonder even when I know better? But—"

Helen Campbell.


Under the sea my treasure lies—
Only a pair of starry eyes,
That looked out from their azure skies
With innocent wonder, sweet surprise,
That they should have strayed from Paradise.
Under the sea lies my treasure low—
Little white hands like flakes of snow,
Once soft and warm; and I loved them so!
Ah! the tide will come and the tide will go,
But their tender touch I shall never know.
Under the sea—oh, wealth most rare!—
Are silken tresses of golden hair,
Each amber thread, each lock so fair,
Gleaming out from the darkness there,
With the same soft light they used to wear.
Under the sea—oh, treasure sweet!—
Lies a curl-crowned head and tiny feet[Pg 110]
That in days gone by, when the shadows fleet
Were growing long in the darkening street,
Came bounding forth their love to meet.
And I sometimes think, as down by the sea
I sit and dream, that there comes to me
From my darling a message that none may see,
Save those who can read love's mystery
By Nature written on leaf and tree.
Strange things to my spirit-eyes lie bare
In the azure depths of the summer air:
Through the snowy leaves of the lily fair
Gleams her pure white soul, and I compare
Its golden heart to her sunny hair.
The perfume nestling among the leaves,
Or blown on the wind from the autumn sheaves,
Is her spirit of love, my soul believes;
And while my stricken heart still grieves
That gentle presence its pang relieves.
A shell is cast by the waves at my feet,
With its wondrous music low and sweet;
And in its murmuring tones I greet
The voice of my love, while its crimson flush
From her fair young cheek has stolen the blush.
Mid white foam, tossed on the pebbly strand,
I catch a glimpse of a waving hand:
'Tis a greeting that well I understand;
But to those who see not the soul of things
'Tis only the spray which the wild wave flings.
The pearl's rare whiteness, the coral's red,
From the brow and the lip of my beautiful dead
Their soft tints stole when her spirit fled;
And it seems to me that sweet words, unsaid
By my darling, gleam through the light they shed.
Thus down by the sea, in the white sunshine,
While the winds and the waves their sighs combine,
I sit, and wait from my love a sign;
And a message comes to my waiting eyes
From under the sea where my treasure lies.
H. L. Leonard.

[Pg 111]


The agitation for "reform" in English spelling continues, but, so far, without involving anything that can be properly called discussion. Discussion implies argument on both sides—a striking by twos. Most of the appeals to the public on this subject, whether through the newspapers and magazines or on the platform, have been made by the advocates of the movement. The other side, if another side there be, has been comparatively silent, uttering occasionally only words of dissent. I presume this follows a law of Nature: those who favor movement move, and those who desire peace keep it and are still. But it ought not to be inferred that the noise made by the "spelling reformers" is representative of the scholarship of the country, or that the silence of the conservatives indicates acquiescence in all the propositions suggested and urged by the radicals. There is much that can be said that has not been said. Some late announcements on the part of those who advocate the evisceration of the English language and literature are of a kind to call for some reply. I have no desire, at present, to enter into an elaborate discussion of the merits or demerits of the new departure in literature. The present agitation is only a skirmish, and ought not to be dignified by the title of a battle: whether we shall have a battle on this skirmish-line remains to be seen.

In the January number of the Princeton Review there appeared a paper from the pen of Professor Francis A. March in commendation of the "reform." The professor is one of the most active as well as able of those who have spoken on that side, and, while he incidentally and modestly crowns Mr. George P. Marsh as chief of the movement, his fellow-soldiers, if they are wise, will bestow the crown upon him. In the article referred to the professor emphasizes his earnestness by securing the printing of his admirable paper in the peculiar orthography he advocates. This orthography is practically the same as that advocated and contended for by the American Philological Association and the Spelling-Reform Association. Any criticism, therefore, of the peculiar orthography of the professor's paper is a criticism of the adopted orthography of the whole body of "reformers," so far as they are agreed, for in some details they still disagree.

The readers of the professor's paper will notice that in a large number of words the usual terminal ed is changed to t. This is in accordance with one of the rules recommended by the Spelling-Reform Association and laid down authoritatively by the American Philological Association. The phraseology of the rule is to make the substitution where-ever the final ed "has the sound of t." It is to the professor's application of this rule that I now desire to call the attention of the reader. The "reformers" write broacht, ceast, distinguisht, establisht, introduçt, past, prejudiçt, pronounçt, rankt, pluckt, learnt, reduçt, spelt, trickt, uneartht, and assert that they write the words as they pronounce them. In the rule given by the A.P.A. for the substitution of ed for t, lasht and imprest are given as examples.

All of us are undoubtedly aware of the ease with which the sound represented by ed can be reduced to a t-sound in vocalization. But even if the sound of t is given at the termination of the words named, not much is gained by the "reform" in the actual use of the words. On the contrary, it adds another tangle in the skein which children at school must untangle. It either forms another class of regular verbs, or swells the already almost unmanageable list of irregular verbs. In either case it is shifting the burden from the shoulders of adults to those of children, already, as the reformers tell us, overburdened and overworked. When a man really and sincerely asks himself the question, "Do I pronounce[Pg 112] lashed as though written lasht?" and tests his own practice in that respect, it will not take him long to determine that he does not know. It requires a very delicate ear to make the determination. This may also be said of most of the words quoted above. The terminal ed means something: it means what it purports to mean when used. The t may have a meaning, but that meaning cannot accompany it when it acts as a substitute for ed. The common-sense view would be, in cases of doubt, to use letters with a significance you desire to convey by their use.

In the paper to which I have referred Professor March informs us that "what the scholars want for historical spelling is a simple and uniform fonetic system, which shall record the current pronunciation." This assumption is not accidental, I think, nor is the spirit of the Pharisee confined to Professor March. Nearly all of the advocates of this special "reform" assume the prerogative of determining who are and who are not "scholars." In the same paper the professor says: "The scholars proper have, in truth, lost all patience with the etymological objection. 'Save us from such champions!' says Professor Whitney: 'they may be allowed to speak for themselves, since they know best their own infirmity of back and need of braces: the rest of the guild, however, will thank them for nothing.'" Again: "In conclusion, it may be observed that it is mainly among half-taught dabblers in filology that etymological spelling has found its supporters. All true filologists and filological bodies have uniformly denounçt it as a monstrous absurdity, both from a practical and a scientific point of view." The professor also quotes approvingly Professor Lounsbury as saying that the "spelling reform numbers among its advocates every linguistic scholar of any eminence whatever." Of course, these statements, whether made by Professor March or by the distinguished scholars whom he cites, are strong arguments. That the professor so considers them is attested by the logical conclusion drawn from them in the very next paragraph after the one in which they are given. There he says: "It may be taken, then, as certain, and agreed by all whose judgment is entitled to consideration, that there are no sound arguments against fonetic spelling to be drawn from scientific and historical considerations."

We always forgive something to enthusiasts and reformers. They are expected to effervesce once in a while, and when they indulge in gush and self-appreciation it is taken as a matter of course. Whether or not it strengthens or weakens their arguments is yet to be determined. At any rate, the exhibit that is made of them and of their intemperance is furnished by themselves.

There is an illogical argument for the new spelling drawn from the published facts of illiteracy. We are told that the last national census reports 5,658,144 persons, ten years of age and over, who cannot read and write, and this number is said to be "one-fifth of the whole population." The census of 1870 reports a total population of 38,558,371, and a total of illiterates, ten years of age and over, of 5,660,074, which is only 14-1/2 per cent. of the total population. This is nearer one-seventh than one-fifth. This "one-fifth" the professor compares with the number of illiterates in other countries in order to bring discredit upon the English language, showing by the comparison that there is a larger percentage of illiterates where the English language is spoken and written than in non-English Protestant countries. He reports illiterates in England at 33 per cent. of the population. "In other Protestant countries of Europe they are comparatively few. In Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway there are none to speak of; in Germany, as a whole, they count 12 per cent., but some of the states have none." Professor March asserts that "one of the causes of the excessive illiteracy among the English-speaking people is the difficulty of the English spelling;" and his argument proceeds on the assumption that this is in fact the main cause.

Even if assent be given to the statement[Pg 113] that the difficulty attendant upon the acquisition of correctness in English orthography is one of the causes of English and American illiteracy, the next step is to determine the force and efficiency of the cause in that direction; and this determination cannot be had on the basis of bald, unguarded and extravagant statements such as I have cited. The illiteracy of the American people must not be judged by the bare figures given above. The census returns furnish data for a more just discrimination. The statistician must not forget the item of 777,864 illiterates of foreign birth going to swell the grand total. This leaves 4,882,210 native-born illiterates—a percentage of less than 13. Of the native-born illiterates reported by the census returns, there are 2,763,991 reported as colored. This number is more than one-half the colored population, and also over one-half of the whole number of reported native illiterates. I think none of the reformers would insist that the illiteracy of the colored population ought to be charged to "the difficulties of English spelling "—I hardly need to state why: the reason will readily suggest itself to all.

Eliminating from the problem the foreign and colored factors, we find a native white population in 1870 of 28,121,816, and native white illiterates, of ten years of age and over, to the number of 2,102,670—less than 7-1/2 per cent. Of this number of native white illiterates, 1,443,956—two-thirds of the whole—are reported from the States lately known as Slave States. In these States, as is well known, there are peculiar reasons for the illiteracy of the white as well as of the colored native, outside of any consideration of the difficulty of mastering English orthography. This survey takes no account of the native children with foreign parents, as it would not materially disturb the percentage, nor of the populations of New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California and Colorado, all largely settled by Mexicans and Spaniards, among whom there is doubtless a larger percentage of illiterates than among the same number of native whites in the Northern States. If account be taken of all these elements, I think the percentage of illiterates proper to be charged up to the English language and American institutions would be reduced to about 3-1/4 per cent.

The next consideration is as to the cause of this large percentage of illiterates among the native white population of the United States. Professor March ascribes it in part to "the difficulties of the English spelling," and he adds: "We ar now having ernest testimony to this fact from scholars and educators in England." He names Max Müller and "Dr. Morell, one of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools," and quotes from both of them. Dr. Morell states that in some examinations for the civil service, out of 1972 failures, "1866 candidates were pluckt for spelling; that is, eighteen out of every nineteen who faild, faild in spelling." Max Müller, as quoted, bears testimony to the fact that in the public schools of England 90 per cent. fail "to read with tolerable ease and expression a passage from a newspaper, and spell the same with tolerable accuracy." This is the substance of the "ernest testimony" from "scholars and educators in England." All this testimony has been previously given by the same "reformer" and by others without variation or corroboration. The facts stated seem to be isolated ones, as well as "grand, gloomy and peculiar." One swallow does not make a summer, nor do one eminent philologist and one uneminent educator make "scholars and educators." But when the testimony is carefully viewed, what does it amount to? Some of the very elements necessary in the consideration of the testimony are wanting. What was the extent of the failures by the candidates for civil service? Did they miss one word or more? Were they more deficient in spelling than in other branches? Of the 90 per cent. of the public-school pupils who failed, what is the class composing those pupils? Were they as deficient in other branches as in spelling? What were the newspaper passages selected for trial? What is meant by "tolerable ease and expression" and "tolerable accuracy"? According to the testimony itself, the reference of Max Müller is to the "new[Pg 114] schools" established since the late extension of education in England. Confessedly, then, this applies to classes of pupils who had formerly been deprived of educational advantages and privileges. It is a wonder that 10 per cent. were successful. The testimony furnished is more "ernest" than valuable.

The state of education in Protestant countries where other languages than the English are spoken is taken as a conclusive argument for the efficiency of phonetic orthography. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are named as shining exemplars in this regard. It is because the languages of those countries are orthographic models that the people are so highly educated. The general fact is incontrovertible that among those people there is less illiteracy than among those who speak the English language. As Switzerland has no national language, the Swiss people should not have been named except in company with those others whose languages they use. But the bare fact of the smaller percentage of illiteracy among the people above named is not conclusive as to the retarding and depressing influence which the "difficulties of English spelling" have upon the spread of education among the American people. In Denmark attendance upon school for seven years by every child of school age is compulsory. The number of children of school age for 1876 was 200,761, while the number in attendance upon the public schools was 194,198, the attendance being 96 per cent. of the whole number of children of school age. In addition to the attendance upon the public schools, there were 13,994 in attendance upon private schools: some of these evidently were above or below school age. We thus see how efficiently the compulsory system is enforced. This system is not new to that country, but has been in existence for many years, and the results seem to justify the statement in the Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1871, that "even among the lower classes a remarkable knowledge of general history and geography, but more especially of Scandinavian literature and history," is found.

In Norway, as in Denmark, from the eighth to the fifteenth year attendance upon school is obligatory. In 1866, of a total of 212,137 country children of school age, 206,623, or more than 97 per cent. of the whole, were in attendance at school. In the towns and cities less than 1 per cent. failed to attend school. In Sweden compulsory attendance upon school is the rule. In 1868, of the whole number of children of school age, the average attendance amounted to 97 per cent.

There is no general or national system of common-school instruction in Switzerland. Each canton regulates its own schools. There, as in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, attendance upon schools is made compulsory. In 1870 the attendance of children between six and thirteen years of age was between 95 and 96 per cent. of the whole school population.

Now, what kind of a school system have we in the United States? Here, as in Switzerland, there is no general or national system of school instruction. Each State regulates its own schools in all details. In 1870 the total school population, excluding the Territories, in the United States was 14,093,778; the number actually enrolled in the public schools was 8,881,848, or 63 per cent. of the whole; and the average daily attendance upon the public schools was 4,886,289, or a little over 34-1/2 per cent. of the school population. An inclusion of the Territories in the computation does not vary the percentage in any appreciable degree. In the Northern States only, excluding the Territories, and excluding also Minnesota and Wisconsin, whose returns I have not at hand, there were 8,364,841 school population, while the average daily attendance was only 3,720,133, a trifle over 44 per cent.

In the United States there is practically no compulsory attendance upon school. Schools are provided by the State, and the children attend or refrain from attendance as suits the convenience or wish of the pupils or their parents. That compulsory attendance upon school is productive of a wider and more thorough diffusion of knowledge is probably conceded by all. At least, educators so[Pg 115] urge. What would Professor March have? Does he expect to find education as thorough and general among a people of whose school population less than one-half are in usual attendance at school, and less than two-thirds even enrolled as occasional attendants at school, as among a people with whom over 95 per cent. of the school population are in constant and habitual attendance? When we consider the published school statistics of this nation, it is no wonder that about one-seventh of the whole are unable to read and write. Shall we give no credit to compulsory systems of education, and still insist that the illiteracy of the United States is caused in any appreciable degree by the "difficulties of English spelling"?

Early in 1879, Professor Edward North assured us that the Italians and Spaniards have discarded ph for f in philosophy and its fellows. Professor March gleefully records that "the Italians, like the Spaniards, have returned to f. They write and print filosofia" for philosophia, and tisica for phthisica. Professor Lounsbury, in his elaborate articles in Scribner lately, commends the Italians for writing tisico and the Spaniards for writing tisica. These of course are commendations of those peoples for the simplicity of their orthography, and they are mentioned as worthy examples for us. Yet we are not advised by either of the three professors named that the Italians and Spaniards are for that reason gaining upon the English people in intelligence, educational progress and culture. No statistics are advanced disclosing the narrow percentage of illiteracy found in Italy and Spain, and a comparison made between that narrow percentage and the wide percentage already advertised as existing in English-speaking states. If "the difficulties of English spelling" be a serious cause of illiteracy in England and the United States, the simplicity of the Italian and Spanish spelling ought to be a cause of high proficiency in literary and educational attainments among the people of Italy and Spain. A commendation of those two nations for their taste in discarding "Greek orthography" to be effective ought to be supplemented with some evidence of the usefulness of that operation. Unless so supplemented, the commendation can have no weight as an argument. The Anglo-Saxon race has not been accustomed to follow the Latins in literary and educational matters. The past and present condition of those two countries affords no guarantee that their adoption of the so-called simpler spelling is commendable. There are persons whose corroboration of a statement adds no weight to it with their neighbors. It adds no force to the arguments of the "reformers" that the Italians and Spaniards endorse them.

The demand for "spelling reform" is based upon the assumption that the pronunciation constitutes the word—in other words, that the real word is the breath by means of which it is uttered. In the word wished philologists assure us that the letters e d are remains of did, as if it were written did wish; and it certainly has that sense. It is proposed to substitute t for the ed, because, we are told by the "reformers," the t represents the sound given to those two letters. Of course the t stands for nothing: it does not represent any idea. It is only a character, and its pronunciation only a breath, without any significance. The new word cannot mean did wish. The "reformers" must contend that wisht is the real word, or their position cannot be maintained for an instant. If the word still remains wished—"did wish"—though pronounced wisht, their proposition to conform the spelling to the pronunciation is laughable. There can be no conformation and the old words remain. Whenever a change is made in a single letter of a word, the word is broken: it is no longer the same word. The new form becomes a new word, and there can be no objection to any one giving to it any significance he chooses. In a certain sense, and also to a certain extent, letters are representative, and are not the real words. Before the arts of writing and printing were invented the sound of course constituted the representative of the idea sought to be conveyed. The invention of the arts of writing and printing brought into use other representatives[Pg 116] of ideas. The cuneiform characters and the hieroglyphics were representatives of ideas, though there could be no pronunciation of them. Letters came into use as representatives merely. In an age of printing it is hardly correct to say that they are only used to signify sounds. They are now more than that: they have become more important than the sounds even. They are now representatives of ideas, and not of sound. Modifications of pronunciation are taking place, and there are variations in the pronunciation of many words, but the word as written and printed is the arbiter.

In the Sanscrit we find the verb kan to see, and the later word gna, to know, as the result of seeing. The words are practically spelled alike, each beginning with a guttural sound. The latter could only have, at first, the idea of acquiring or possessing knowledge by sight. It is evident that the Greek γιγνωσχω and the Latin gnosco came directly from the Sanscrit gna, after the vowel between the guttural g, or k and n, had been eliminated; and it is also evident that the g, or guttural sound, with which gna and its Greek and Latin children began, was vocalized. The other branch of the Aryan family retained the vowel between the guttural sound and the terminal n. Hence we have the Gothic kunnan, kænna, Anglo-Saxon cunnan, German kennen, to examine, to know. Hence, also, our can, to know, to be able; cunning, knowing, skilful; and know, to perceive, to have knowledge of. While we pronounce know without the guttural sound, the word itself and the significance it embodies necessitate the continued use of the k. The sound of know, as we use it, gives no idea of sight or of knowledge or of ability. When we hear it articulated, and we understand that know is the word meant, we then recognize the sense intended to be conveyed. We are able to do this because of our ability to construct and give arbitrary significance to new words, and to transfer the sense of an old word to one newly formed. When any word is used in speech of which the pronunciation does not correspond with the letters with which the word is written, we instinctively image the written or printed word in the mind, and others apprehend the sense intended. I am aware of a certain answer that may be made to this—namely, that illiterate persons are able to understand a word only from its sound as it falls on their ears; but I am speaking now of a civilized language as used by a civilized people, and illiterates and their language do not come under this purview.

The movement inaugurated by Professor March and his associates contemplates the displacement of the k or guttural sound from know and knowledge, both in writing and speaking. They say, in effect, if not in so many words, that because there is no guttural sound in the pronunciation, therefore there is none in the word. Some people say again, pronouncing the word as it is spelled: others say agen, as, I believe, Professor March does. These two classes mean the same thing, but it is quite evident that they do not say the same thing. Ai cannot be the equivalent of e. To so hold would be to make "confusion worse confounded" in English orthography. By one class of literary people neither is pronounced as though the e were absent, and by another class as though the i were not present. No one, I think, will contend for the identity, or even equivalence, of i and e. If not identical or equivalent, they must be different. If ai is different from e, then again and agen cannot be the same word, and if i and e are neither identical nor equivalent, nither and neether are two different words. The logic of the "reformers" would bring the utmost confusion into the language. It would make two separate words identical in significance. It would make into one word with four different meanings the four words right, rite, write, wright. The words signet and signature are formed from the stem sign, and yet the stem when standing alone has a different vocalization from what it has when used in the derivative words. By the logic of the "reformers" the word sign when used alone is not the same as the same letters, arranged in the same order, when used in signature, signet, resignation and the like. The word is[Pg 117] changed, but the original significance remains. When a person responds, even in writing, "It is me," grammarians say he is incorrect—that he ought to say "I." But he means the person and thing he would mean if he said "I." He simply spells "I" in a different way. Is he not just as correct as he who writes no when he means know? or he who writes filosofer when he means philosopher?

But Professor March dogmatically says that "fonetic spelling does not mean that every one is to write as he pronounces or as he thinks he pronounces. There ar all sorts of people. We must hav something else written than 'confessions of provincials.'" This may be understood as modifying the idea expressed earlier in the same paper, that the proper function of writing "is truthfully to represent the present speech." But the difficulties to be encountered in an effort to make the present speech homogeneous will baffle the wisdom of the reformers. I will not answer the question now—I will only ask it: What is the present speech? Who is to determine that? "The scholars formally recognize that there is and ought to be a standard speech and standard writing." I do not quite seize the idea embodied in the above-quoted sentences about writing as we think we pronounce and about "confessions of provincials." We may agree that there ought to be, probably, a standard speech, both spoken and written. That we have the standard written speech must be confessed, or did have until Professor March and his colaborers began the publication of their ideas in "bad spelling." The spoken speech is far from homogeneity. Some of the most pretentious scholars assume that we have a standard of pronunciation. That the standard is not adhered to, and is therefore, to all intents and purposes, no standard at all, is evident. The learned or college-bred use one pronunciation, and for that class that is the standard. Those who are deficient in education do not follow that standard. As the educated seem to drift naturally to centres of population, there is assumed to be a city standard and a country standard of pronunciation. The professor tells us that the country standard must be abolished, the city standard adopted, and then the new era will open out in beauty. Or does he mean, as his words are open to this meaning, that a spoken word is not the word unless it is spoken in accordance with the city or college-bred standard? But sound is sound, by whomsoever uttered, and if the word is mere sound a provincial can make words as well as any one else. The proposition is, the word is the word spoken and not the word written, unless the word is spoken by a provincial. To be the word, it must be intoned and articulated in accordance with the intonation and articulation of the literati. If this is the logical outcome of the position taken by the "spelling reformers," then we know our soundings.

We speak of progress in connection with intellectual, moral, religious, social and political matters and civilization. In the use of the word we discard its true meaning, "stepping forward" in a physical sense. We cannot have an idea that the mind or the morals or the manners take steps. So when we say we will consider a matter we do not necessarily mean that two or more of us will sit together about the matter. When we meet for deliberation there is no process of weighing intended, no proposal to use the scales, in arriving at a conclusion in the matter we have in mind. We say "stepping forward," "sitting together" and "weighing," but we mean something else. When Professor Whitney, in the quotation I have given in the early part of this paper, says of the spelling conservatives, "They know best their own infirmity of back," he has no idea that the back has anything to do with their refusal to follow him in his chimerical ramble after an ideal orthography. When Professor March, in the paper from which I have quoted, says that "a host of scholars are pursuing the historical study of the English language," he means something more than, and different from, what his words indicate, and he certainly doesn't mean what his words do indicate. The matter of pursuit is altogether one of physics. These words of an intellectual significance[Pg 118] which I have noted are so used because we have no words in our language which have meanings such as those we attach to them. We are obliged to take words of a physical and material significance and use them as intimations of the sense we wish to convey. As men take a material substance—gold, silver, ivory, wood or stone—and use it as an image or symbol of the deity they worship, so we use words of a material sense to express, in some faint degree, the intellectual and moral ideas we desire to disclose.

The bald statement, expressed or implied, that the sounds we produce in our attempts to utter a word constitute the true word, requires some material modification, but to what extent it is not for me now to discuss. When that necessity for modification is admitted by the reformers, it is for them to survey its limits. They are the aggressors in the contest that is precipitated. They must outline and define their own case.

There are many considerations favorable to a modification of the present spelling of several classes of words. A reform is needed, and must come, but it will not come, and ought not to come, with the character and to the extent desired by the "reformers." A reform that shall make the spelling better, and not merely make it over, should be aided by all admirers of the English language. The just limitations of that reform have not been indicated yet by any of the "reformers." That those limitations will soon be surveyed and marked I do not doubt.

M. B. C. True.


Macaulay, in describing the rise of the two great parties which have alternately governed England during the last two centuries, traces the division to a fundamental distinction which "had always existed and always must exist," causing the human mind "to be drawn in opposite directions by the charm of habit and the charm of novelty," and separating mankind into two classes—those who are "anxious to preserve" and those who are "eager to reform." It seems to us extremely doubtful whether this theory, so neat and compact, so simple to state and so easy to illustrate, would suffice to explain all the struggles, great and small, that have agitated society, varying in character and circumstances, and ranging from fervent emulation to violent collision—from the ferment of ideas which is the surest sign of vitality to the selfish and aimless convulsions that portend dissolution. Applied to that condition of things by which it was suggested, the theory may be allowed to stand. The history of parliamentary government in England, in recent times at least, presents a tolerably fair example of a contest between two parties composed respectively of men who desired and men who resisted innovation—of those who looked forward to an ideal future and those who looked back to an ideal past. That the former should triumph in the long run lay in the very necessity of things; but, whatever may be thought of the changes that have taken place, no one would venture to assert that the contest has ever been conducted with purely selfish aims; that no great principles were involved in it; that the general mass of the voters have been the mere tools of artful leaders; that appeals to the reason, or at least to the interests or the prejudices, of the whole nation or of different classes have been wanting on either side; that at any crisis there has been no discussion of measures, past or prospective, no talk of any question concerning the honor or welfare of the country; or that victory has ever been[Pg 119] achieved or contemplated by the employment of mere cunning or fraud. But in a state of things of which one might assert all this without fear of contradiction the existence of two parties, however evenly balanced, could hardly be accounted for by the sway in opposite directions of the charms of habit and of novelty and the natural antagonism between men who are anxious to preserve and men who are eager to reform. That such a state of things may actually exist there can be no doubt, since, if history had no example to offer in the past, one which is equally undeniable and conspicuous is presented by the United States at the present moment. Here is a people divided into two great parties, neither of which is anxious to preserve what the other would seek to destroy, or eager to reform anything which the other would leave untouched; no principle involving any question or policy of the present or the future is inscribed on the banner of either; no discussions are held, no appeals are put forth, with the object of convincing opponents, stimulating supporters, creating public opinion or arousing public sentiment: a great struggle is at hand, and all that any one knows about the nature of it is, that it concerns the possession of the government, and that the chiefs of the winning faction will reward as many as possible of their most active adherents by confirming them in office or appointing them to office—this being the one feature of the matter in which the "charm of habit" and "the charm of novelty" have a visible influence.

We shall probably be told in reply that this state of things is only momentary; that there is now a suspension of arms preparatory to the decisive conflict; that on each side, while the great host of warriors is at rest, the chiefs are in consultation, counting up their resources, preparing the plan of battle—above all, selecting the generalissimo; and that when these arrangements are completed and the time of action draws near the trumpets will give forth no uncertain sound, banners emblazoned with the most heart-stirring devices will be advanced, and we shall fall into line according as our temperaments and sympathies incline us to join with those who are "anxious to preserve" or with those who are "eager to reform." It is of course certain that a few weeks hence the aspect will have changed in some respects: we shall have been told the names of the "candidates" whom we are to support or oppose; we shall hear all that can be learned or imagined about their characters and acts, and see them painted by turns as angels and demons; we shall also be reminded of the traditions which they represent or are figured as representing, and shall be assured that certain shibboleths and watchwords should be the objects of our veneration and certain others of our abhorrence, and that on our choice between them will depend the ruin or salvation of the country. But we shall be no wiser then than we are now in regard to any one measure or set of measures affecting the welfare of the nation, and tending either to preserve or to reform, which one party proposes to carry out and the other to reject. The proclamations of each will be full of promises and disavowals, but these, it is very certain, will not touch a single principle of the least importance which will be disputed by the other. Each party will parade its "record," its glorious achievements in the past, when it carried the country triumphantly through dangers in which the other party had involved it; but on neither side will any distinctive line of policy be enunciated, for the simple reason that on neither side has any distinctive line of policy been conceived or even thought of. Finally, it is not at all certain that the battle will be decided by the usual and regular methods of political warfare—that "the will of the majority" will be allowed to express itself or suffered to prevail—that fraudulent devices or actual violence may not ultimately determine the result.

The inquiry naturally suggests itself how this state of things has been brought about—above all, whether it is, as many intelligent persons seem to suspect, an unavoidable outgrowth of democratic institutions. This, indeed, is a question important not only to us, but to all the[Pg 120] civilized nations of the world, for there is nothing more certain in regard to the present tendencies of civilization than that they are setting rapidly and irresistibly toward the general adoption of democratic forms of government. The oldest and greatest of the European nations, after trying almost every conceivable system, has returned, not so much from a deliberate preference as from the breakdown of every other, to that which had twice before failed as an experiment, but which now gives fair promise of successful and permanent operation—a republic based on universal suffrage. In many other countries what is virtually the same system in a somewhat different form seems to be firmly established, and in these the ever-potent example of France may be expected at some more or less remote conjuncture to bring about the final change that shall make the form and the name coincide with the reality. England, which at one time led the van in this movement, has been outstripped by several of the continental nations, but its constant, though somewhat zigzag, advances in the same direction cannot be doubted, while community of race and former relations make the comparison between its condition and prospects and those of the United States more mutually interesting and instructive than any that could be instituted between either and another foreign country.

We are aided in making this comparison by a lecture delivered recently before the Law Academy of Philadelphia, and since published as a pamphlet, in which form we hope it may obtain the wide circulation and general attention which it well merits. In a rapid sketch of the development and present working of the English constitution the author, Judge Hare, shows how the government, which, in theory at least, was originally a personal one, has come to be parliamentary and in the strictest sense popular, that branch of the legislature which is elected by the people having raised itself from a subordinate position "to be the hinge on which all else depends, controlling the House of Lords, selecting the ministers and wielding through them the power of the Crown." Hence a complete harmony, which whenever it is broken is instantly restored, between the executive and the legislature, the latter in turn being the organ of the public sentiment, which acts through unobstructed channels and can neither be defied nor evaded. In America, on the other hand, to say nothing of those organic provisions of the Constitution which render the executive and the two branches of the legislature mutually independent, and sometimes, consequently, out of harmony with each other, divergent in their action and liable to an absolute deadlock, the method by which it was directly intended to secure the result that has been fortuitously obtained in England—namely, the selection of an executive by a deliberative assembly chosen by the people—has been practically subverted and its purpose utterly frustrated. The Electoral Colleges do not elect, but merely report the result of an election. This, on the surface, is a change in the direction of a more complete democracy. What was devised as a check on the popular impulse of the moment has broken down, and the people have taken into their own hands the mission they were expected to entrust to a small representative body. But, while thus assuming an apparently absolute freedom of choice, they virtually, and we may say necessarily, surrendered to small, nominally representative, bodies the designation of the persons between whom the choice must be made. These bodies, unknown to the Constitution, not elected or convoked or regulated by any processes or forms of law, have taken upon themselves all the functions of the electors, except that it is left to the people to throw the casting vote. Now, whatever may be thought of the actual workings of this system, it seems to us to be in itself the result of a change as natural and legitimate as any that has taken place in the practice of the English constitution. The Electoral College was one of those devices which are theoretically simple and beautiful, but which have never worked beneficially since the world began; and we have perhaps some reason to be grateful that it was virtually[Pg 121] superseded before it had time to become the focus of intrigue and corruption which was otherwise its inevitable fate. Since the choice of a President could not be remitted to one or both Houses of Congress—which would have been the least objectionable plan—and has devolved upon the people, some previous process of sifting and nominating is indispensable in order that there may be a real and effective election; and we do not see that any method of accomplishing this object could have been devised more suitable in itself or more conformable to the general character of our political system than that which has been adopted. Conventions representing the great mass of the electors and various shades of opinion might be counted upon to select the most eligible candidates—eligible, that is to say, in the sense of having the best chance amongst the members of their respective parties of being elected. For a long period this system worked sufficiently well. If the ablest men were not put forward, this was understood to be because they were not also the most popular. If the mass of the voters were not represented in the conventions, this was attributed to their own indifference or negligence. If a split occurred, leading to the nomination of different candidates by the same party, this was the result of a division of sentiment on some great question, and might be considered a healthy indication—a proof that the interests, real or supposed, of the country or some section of the country were the objects of prime consideration.

We do not, therefore, agree with those who hold that our institutions have deteriorated, or with those who think that democracy has proved a failure. On the contrary, we believe that a simpler democratic system, with fewer checks and balances, would be an improvement on our present Constitution. The framers of that Constitution had two apprehensions constantly before their minds—one, that of a military usurper overthrowing popular freedom; the other, that of an insurrectionary populace overthrowing law and government. Experience has shown that neither of these dangers could be realized in a country and with a population like ours: the elements of them do not exist, nor are the occasions in the least likely to arise. The two great evils to which we are exposed are a breakdown of national unity and a decay of political life. The former evil—resulting from the magnitude of the country, the conflict of interests in its different sections, the State organizations and semi-sovereignty, and the consequent lack of that strong centralization of administrative powers and functions which, however much of a bugbear to many people's imaginations, is indispensable to a complete nationality—has threatened us in the past and may be expected to threaten us in the future. The latter evil threatens us now.

If we turn to England, we see political life in its fullest vigor. The recent election called forth nearly the entire force of the voting population, and the contest was carried on with well-directed vigor and amid almost unparalleled excitement. Questions affecting both domestic and foreign policy, and felt to be vital by the whole community, were ardently, persistently and minutely discussed in public meetings and at the hustings; and the general nature of the issue indicated with sufficient clearness the maintenance of the old division throughout the bulk of the nation between a party anxious to preserve and a party eager to reform. Men of the highest character and distinction in every walk of life were among the most ardent participants in the struggle; but no crowds of office-holders and office-seekers opposed each other en masse or were prominent in the struggle, the former having as a class nothing to fear, and the latter as a class nothing to hope, from the result. So far was the leader of the opposition from being suspected of a mere selfish desire to grasp the position to which in case of victory his pre-eminent ability and activity entitled him that it was altogether doubtful whether he would be willing to accept it. He and all the other men who marshalled or exhorted the opposing lines stood forth as the acknowledged representatives of certain principles and public measures,[Pg 122] and in that capacity alone were they assailed or defended. The contest was decided by strictly legal methods; no suspicion existed as to the inviolability of the ballot-boxes or the correctness and validity of the returns; and the cases in which corrupt or undue influence was charged were reserved for the adjudication of impartial tribunals.

No one supposes that the impending struggle in the United States will be of this nature. There is no question before the country involving the policy of the government or the interests of the nation. There are no leaders who are the representatives of any principle or idea. The ardor of the contest will be confined to the men whose individual interests are directly or indirectly at stake: the management of the contest will be wholly in their hands, and no security will be felt as to the legality of the result. Whatever display of popular enthusiasm may be made will be chiefly of a factitious nature. Such excitement as may be felt will be to a large extent of the kind which is awakened by a "big show" or an athletic contest. The general mass of the voters will no doubt fall into line in response to signals and cries which, though they have lost their original meaning, still retain a certain efficacy, but a great falling off from the old fervor and discipline will, we venture to think, be almost everywhere apparent. More intelligent persons will either stand aloof with conscious powerlessness or strike feebly and wildly from a sense of embitterment. The energy put forth will indicate disease rather than health; the activity exhibited will be not so much that of a great organism as of the parasites that are preying on it.

It cannot be denied that there is in this country a natural tendency toward political stagnation. With the exception of slavery and the questions arising from it—which fill, it is true, a large space in our history, but which must be considered abnormal in their origin—there has never been any great and potent cause of dissension, such as rises periodically in almost every country in Europe, setting class against class, changing the form or character of the government and shaking the foundations of society. In England a gradual revolution has been always going on, and there have been several struggles even in the present century where a popular insurrection loomed in the background and was averted only by concession. Our institutions, on the contrary, have undergone no change and been exposed to no danger in any fundamental point. They were accepted by the whole people, and their stability was a subject of national pride. There were two great parties, each of which scented in every measure projected by the other a design to unsettle the balance between the States and the general government, but both claimed to be the guardians of the Constitution, and their mutual rancor was founded mainly on jealousy. But for the existence of slavery, and the inevitable antagonism provoked by it, there must have been a constant decrease of interest in political questions as it became more apparent that these could not affect the freedom and security which, coupled with the natural advantages of the country, afforded the fullest scope and strongest stimulant to industrial activity. The extinction of slavery was the cutting away of an excrescence: the wound under a proper treatment was sure to heal, and even under unwise treatment Nature has been doing her work until only a scar remains. Painful, too, as was the operation, its success has given the clearest proof of the health and vigor of our system, thus increasing the tendency to political inactivity and an over-exertion of energy in other directions. This in itself seems not to be a matter for alarm: if the latent strength be undiminished we can dispense with displays of mere nervous excitement. And, in point of fact, the latent strength is, we believe, undiminished; only, there is no general consciousness that it needs to be put forth, still less any general agreement as to how it should be put forth.

What has happened is, that not only has the stream of political activity been growing languid, but its channel is becoming choked. The noisome atmosphere that exhales from it causes delicate[Pg 123] people to avert their nostrils, timid people to apprehend a universal malaria, and many people of the same and other classes to assert that the sluices are not merely defective, but constructed on a plan totally and fatally wrong. Some bold and sagacious spirits have, however, taken the proper course in such cases by examining the obstructions and determining their nature and origin. According to their report, the difficulty lies not in any general unsoundness of the works, but in the failure to detect and stop a side issue from certain foul subterranean regions, the discharge from which becomes copious and offensive in proportion as the regular flood is feeble and low. In plainer words, we are told that the mode in which places in the public service are filled and held has made the active pursuit of politics a mere trade, attracting the basest cupidities, conducted by the most shameless methods, and putting the control of public affairs, directly or indirectly, into impure and incompetent hands. This view has been so fully elaborated, and the facts that confirm it are so abundant and notorious, that further argument is unnecessary. It is equally clear that the state of things thus briefly described has no necessary connection with democratic institutions. The spread of democracy in Europe has been attended by a gradual purification in the political atmosphere. The system of "patronage" had its origin in oligarchy, and wherever it is found oligarchy must exist in reality if not in name. Instead of being an inherent part of our institutions, it is as much an excrescence, an abnormal feature, as slavery was; but, unlike that, it might be removed with perfect safety and by the simplest kind of operation.

Here, then, is a question worthy to come before the nation as an issue of the first magnitude. Here is a thing affecting the interests of the whole country which some men are anxious to preserve and which others are eager to reform. It remains only to consider how it can best be brought before the nation.

We shall perhaps be told that it is already before the nation; that the account we have given of the nature of the approaching contest is incorrect or incomplete; that on the skirts of the two parties is a body of "Independents," carrying the banner of Reform and strong enough to decide the contest and give the victory to whichever party will adopt that standard as its own.

Now, we have to remark that the tactics thus proposed have been tried twice before. Eight years ago the Reformers allied themselves with the Democratic party, which accepted their leader—chosen, apparently, because he was neither a Reformer nor a Democrat—and the result was not only defeat, but disgrace, with disarray along the whole of the combined line. Four years ago they adhered to the Republican party, having secured, by a compromise, the nomination of Mr. Hayes. Apart from the fact that Mr. Hayes was not elected, but obtained the position which he holds through, we will say, "the accident of an accident," his possession of the Presidency has not advanced the cause of Reform by a hair's-breadth. We do not need to discuss his appointments or his views or his consistency: it is sufficient to say that he has had neither the power nor the opportunity to institute Reform, and that no President, while other things are unchanged, can have that power and opportunity. The truth is, that there is a great confusion, both as to the object they have to aim at and as to the means of accomplishing it, in the minds of the Reformers. They talk and act continually as if their sole and immediate object were to secure the appointment to office of men of decent character and ability, and as if the election of a particular candidate for the Presidency, or even the defeat of a particular candidate, would afford a sufficient guarantee on this point. They are "ready to vote for any Republican nominee but Grant," and, in case of his nomination, to vote, we suppose, for any Democratic nominee but Tilden—certainly for Mr. Bayard. It may be safely admitted that no possible candidate for the Presidency enjoys a higher reputation for probity and general fitness for the place than Mr. Bayard—one reason, unhappily,[Pg 124] why he is not likely to be called upon to fill it. But, supposing him to be raised to it, what is one of the first uses he may be expected to make of it if not to turn out the solid mass of Republican office-holders and fill their places with Democrats? If Mr. Hayes, with whom the Reformers have been at least partially satisfied, had succeeded to a Democratic administration, can it be doubted that he would have made a similar change in favor of the Republicans? Is not every President bound by fealty to his party, consequently by a regard for his honor and reputation, to perpetuate a system which the true aim of Reform is to abolish?

Even if we should concede, what it is impossible to believe, that a President personally irreproachable might be trusted to make no unfit appointments, this would not reach the source of the evils of which we have to complain, which lies in the method by which appointments are made and in the tenure by which they are held. So long as the system of "patronage" and "rotation in office" prevails, little real improvement even in the civil service can be looked for. But improvement of the civil service, important as it is in itself, is an insignificant object of aspiration compared with the general purification of political life, the elevation of the public sentiment, the creation of a school of statesmanship in that arena which is now only a mart for hucksters, bargaining and wrangling, drowning all discussions and impeding all transactions of a legitimate nature. The class who fill that arena and block every avenue to it cannot be dispossessed so long as the system which furnishes the capital and material for their traffic remains unchanged. It is a matter of demonstration that if the civil service were put on the same footing as in England and other European countries, the machinery by which parties are now governed, not led, public spirit stifled, not animated, legislation misdirected or reduced to impotence, and "politics" and "politician" made by-words of reproach and objects of contempt, must decay and perish. We are not setting up any ideal state of things as the result, but only such as shall show a conformity between our political life and our social life, exhibiting equal defects but also equal merits in both, affording the same scope to honorable ambition, healthy activity and right purpose in the one as in the other. We are not calling for any change in the character of our institutions or one which they afford no means of effecting, but the removal by a method which they themselves provide of an incumbrance which impairs their nature and impedes their working. No partial measure will suffice—none that will depend for its efficacy on the disposition of those whose duty it will be to enforce it—none that will be exposed to the attacks of those whose interest it will be to reverse it. The end can be secured neither by the action of the President nor by that of Congress. Reform, in order that it may endure and bear fruit, must be engrafted on the organic law, its principles made the subject of an amendment to the Constitution, in which they should have been originally incorporated.

It may be urged in reply that the present action of those who desire Reform is of a preliminary character; that they are simply grasping the instruments with which the work is to be done; that the ultimate object can be achieved only in the distant future, when the nation has been aroused to a sense of its necessity. But the question arises, Is their present action consistent with their principles and suited to advance their purpose? When they stand between the opposite parties, dickering with each in turn, ready to accept any candidate but one that either may put forward, inciting people by the prospect of their support to violate their pledges, are they introducing purer methods or giving their sanction to those which are now in use? Will any nomination they may obtain by such means bring the question squarely before the nation? Would a President elected by their aid be recognized by the country as the champion of Reform? Are they more likely to "capture" the party with which they connect themselves or to be captured by it? If they give their aid to the Democrats, will they expect the Democrats in[Pg 125] return to give aid to the cause of Reform? If they support a Republican candidate satisfactory to themselves, will not the lukewarmness or disaffection of large sections of the party ensure his defeat? If the "best man" on each side be nominated, are the Reformers secure against a division and melting away of their own unorganized and easily-disheartened ranks? Will the victory, in any case, be other than a party victory, leaving the fruits to be reaped and further operations to be planned by those who have organized and conducted the campaign?

We know well that it is only in a distant future that Reform can hope for a complete and assured success. But it is in a distant future that the greatest need for it, and with that need its opportunity, will arise. Serious as are the present effects of the virus that has stolen into our system, its malignant character and fatal tendency are apparent only to those who have made it the subject of a careful diagnosis. This in part accounts for the apathy of the great mass of the people under a state of things which in almost any other country would lead to a profound and general agitation. Another cause lies in the consciousness of a power to remedy all such evils by peaceful and ordinary methods; and a third, in the present lack of any organization for applying those methods. This lack will be supplied, and the first step toward a remedy taken, when, instead of a body of "Independents" making no direct appeal to the people, treating alternately with each of the two existing organizations, and liable to be merged in one or the other, we have a Reform Party standing on its own ground, assuming a distinctive character, refusing any junction or compromise with other parties, and trusting to the only means consistent with its aim and capable of attaining it. Eight years ago there was a junction with the Democrats, four years ago a compromise with the Republicans, and one or other of these courses is the only choice presented now. This policy can lead only to defeat or to an empty and illusive victory, worse than defeat.

Had a different policy been pursued in the past, the situation at present would, we believe, be a very hopeful one. It is impossible not to see that the existing parties are undergoing a disintegration which was inevitable from several causes, and which on one side at least would be far more rapid if a third party stood ready to profit by it. One cause of this disintegration is the natural tendency to decay of organizations that have lost their raison d'être—that have ceased to embody any vital principle and consequently to appeal to any strong and general sentiment. Another is the disgust inspired by the base uses to which they have been turned—a feeling shared by a far larger number of voters than those who have already proclaimed their independence. A third lies in the feuds among the leaders and managers of each party, who, having no longer any principle to represent or any common cause to contend for, have thrown away all pretence of disinterestedness and generous emulation and engaged in a strife of which the nature is undisguised and the effect easy to foresee. Thus it is that outraged principles work out their revenge, making their violators mutually destructive, and clearing a way for those who are prepared to assert and maintain them. In the Democratic party the breach may possibly be skinned over, though it can hardly be healed: in the Republican party it must widen and deepen. The latter stands now in a position analogous to that of the Whig party when it made its last vain attempt to elect its candidate, and shortly after went to pieces, the mass of its adherents going over to that meagre band which in the same election had stood firm around the standard of Liberty. It is for the Reformers to say whether they will contend for the inheritance which is legitimately theirs. With a cause so clear they have no right to intrigue and no reason to despair. They have on their side the best intelligence of the country, and consequently at their command the agencies which have ever been the most potent in the long run. What they need is faith, concert and consistency.

[Pg 126]



Everybody has heard of it, and those who have been in Switzerland have seen in the shop-windows, if nowhere else, or in the hat of the man who leads their horse over the Wengern Alp, the little irregular, star-shaped flower with thick petals that look as if they were cut out of white flannel. People may not be certain how its name is pronounced—may call it eedelwise, or even idlewise—but as to its habits every one is fully persuaded in his own mind; that is to say, if one person believes that it grows on rocks, another is equally sure that it blooms under the snow, while in either case there is apt to be an impression that it is found only in regions where the foot of the ordinary tourist may not venture. The writer has found it, however, in various places perfectly accessible to good walkers or where a horse could carry those not in that category. Edelweiss certainly likes to grow among rocks, on the brink of a precipice or down the face of it, and out of reach if possible; but it will also nestle in the grass at some distance from the brink, and may be found even where there is no precipice at all.

The village of Zweisimmen is a quiet summer resort in the Upper Simmenthal, in the canton of Berne. The valley is green and peaceful, with chalets dotted over all the mountain-sides: the rocks of the Spielgarten tower on the one hand, the snow of the Wildstrubel closes the view to the south, where the Rawyl Pass leads to Sion in the valley of the Rhone, and, looking northward, the mountains grow more and more blue and distant in the direction of Thun. From Zweisimmen, on four excursions, the writer and others have had the pleasure of picking edelweiss. First, at the Fromattgrat. Horses and saddles are forthcoming when required, and the four legs go as far as the scattered chalets of Fromatt, the wide mountain-pasture which is reached after a steady ascent of two hours and a half. Across from the chalets rises the grat or ridge where we have to seek our edelweiss. As we mount higher the gray masses of the Spielgarten seem very near: a fresh vivifying wind, the breath of the Alps, makes one forget how warm it was toiling up the gorge. The clouds are drawing around in white veils and sweeping down into the valley, quite concealing our destination at times, hiding even the members of the party from each other if they separate themselves a little. Our fine day takes on a decidedly doubtful aspect: nevertheless, after the first cry, "Here's some!" nobody thinks of impending discomforts. Here and there in the grass the soft white petals have opened, but where the grat sinks straight down for hundreds of feet it grows more abundantly, on the edge, and, alas! chiefly over the edge; and here a steady head and common prudence come in play. Furnished with those requisites, we can collect a bunch of edelweiss, and go on our way rejoicing even though the rain-drops begin to fall, the wind grows wilder, and presently hail comes in cutting dashes anything but agreeable to one's features. We go back along the ridge and descend to the broad-roofed chalet that lies invitingly below. It goes by the name of the Stierenberger Wirthschaft, and is known to all the cow-herds round; but we want no doubtful wine, only fresh milk and thick cream in a wooden bowl, and a brown fluid called coffee. Bread we brought with us, not caring to exercise our teeth on last month's bake. In any case, nothing more solid than bread and cheese is to be found here, tavern though it is. A fire blazes in the first room, which has no window, and might properly be styled the antechamber of the cow-house, into which there is a fine view through an open door. Sixty tails are peacefully whisking to and fro, for in the middle of the day the cattle are housed to protect them[Pg 127] from flies. All the implements of cheese-making—the immense copper kettle, the presses, pails, etc.—are kept in the antechamber. After trying to dry ourselves at the hearth, and discovering that much hail comes down the great square chimney and very little smoke goes up, we are shown into the "best room," the furniture of which consists of a bed, a pine table and benches. In the adjoining apartment are two beds, the gayly-painted chest in which our hostess brought home her bridal outfit, and another table; while in both rooms the knives and forks are stuck in the chinks of the beams over the benches—a convenient arrangement by which one has only to stretch up an arm and take down from the ceiling whatever implement is needed. In most of these chalets a tall man might be embarrassed what to do with his head: it is only necessary to go into their houses to perceive that the Swiss mountaineers are short of stature. When the hail and rain have ceased we start downward over the hilly pastures, through pine woods and beside a rushing stream, into the valley, and so back to Zweisimmen.

Another excursion was to go up to the same inn, and thence to a little lake at the foot of the Seeberg, where edelweiss is again to be found. At Iffigen Lake it may also be had in abundance; and the fourth and last occasion on which we picked it was on the Rawyl Pass. From Zweisimmen one drives to Lenk, whence the fine glaciers of the Wildstrubel are in full view, then through the village and up a steep ascent, but a good carriage-road still, to the beautiful Iffigen Fall. The water descends almost perpendicularly over picturesque rocks from a great height, falling in long arrows that seem to hesitate and linger in mid-air, and then take a fresh swoop down: a rainbow spans it at the foot, where the mist rises. Here the carriage is left, and those who intend to ride take to the saddle. The way goes up steeply to the broad Iffigen Alp, shut in on either hand by Nature's towering gray battlements. Having reached the chalets at the farther end of the pasture, we find ourselves facing the solid rock and wondering what next. Over the brow of the lofty parapet falls a little stream, looking like a white ribbon as it foams on its dizzy way. "The path certainly cannot be there," we say; but, as it happens, it is just there. It zigzags up, cut with infinite labor in the face of the mountain, like the famous Gemmi road from Loèche-les-Bains, only that it is not so smooth and more picturesque. The Rawyl, like the Gemmi, is sometimes given the reputation of a dangerous pass, but in our party a lady rode the whole way without feeling the least uneasiness. The path goes up and up until it crosses the waterfall, where one is showered with cooling spray: soon after we are over the top of the rock and on plainer ground, but still mounting. A hut is passed where the guide says travellers can spend the night should it overtake them. There is indeed nothing to prevent their spending the night there, but also nothing to aid them in so doing: the place is uninhabited and unfurnished, the only sign that it is a shelter for human beings and not for cattle being a tiny stove in one corner, with a pile of wood. Now a small green lake lies beside the way, and then the chalet on the summit is in sight, and a cross that marks the boundary between the cantons of Berne and Valais. There the highest point of our journey is reached in two and three-quarter hours from where the carriage was left, and we walk nearly another hour on the level. Snow lies in wide fields in several places across the path: the pass is never wholly free from it, for what is rain in the valley is apt to be snow at seven thousand nine hundred feet, the height of the Rawyl. During this part of the way the scene is most wild and impressive: the dark masses of the Mittaghorn, the Rohrbachstein and Rawylhorn, and the dazzling glacier of the Wildhorn rise majestically into blue space, while from the granite summits to the very path under our feet there is nothing but rock, rock, rock! It is as if we were passing where the foot of man had never trod before, so solemn is the stillness here in the midst of the "everlasting hills." To see one solitary bird flitting fitfully from point to point only makes the loneliness seem[Pg 128] greater, and it is absolutely touching to find in a place like this the lovely little Ranunculus alpestris and Ranunculus glacialis forcing a way between the shingly stones and opening their delicate white petals to light and air. The purple Linaria alpina keeps them company, but it is only farther on, and as we come to green again, that asters, pansies and gentians gem the grass. Where the way begins to descend to Sion there is an enchanting view into the valley of the Rhone, and for a background to the picture a superb line of glaciers and snow-peaks, among them the Matterhorn. The path to Sion can be traced for some distance down, but our party intended to go back by the way it came; and while we still lingered, wandering among the knolls and rocks, we discovered edelweiss, faded and gray, however, for in these regions the latter part of August is too late to find it in perfection.

As American ladies have the reputation of being poor pedestrians, it may be of interest to add that ladies walked on all these excursions.

G. H. P.


It will always remain a mystery to sensible people why, when they are held to a rigid consistency, compelled to face palpable and indisputable facts, and to acknowledge that under all circumstances two and two make four, and never five, there is another class who from childhood to old age thrive on their mistakes, are never forced to pay the piper, and are granted the privilege of counting the sum of two and two as four when convenient, and five when they like, or a hundred if so it should please them.

These are the spoiled children of the world, whose fate it is to get the best of everything without regard to their deserts. Others may be warm, may shiver with cold, may be weary, may be ill, but they must not complain. The burden of lamentation comes from those who were never too warm or too cold, never weary or ill, but who tremble lest in some cruel way they should be forced to suffer, and thus provide against it beforehand. To these spoiled children the system of things in general has no other design than to give them comfort in particular. And by some subtle law of attraction the good things of the world are almost certain naturally to gravitate toward them. They sleep well; they dine well; they are petted by everybody; they have no despairs; they never suffer from other people's mishaps.

A woman who marries one of these spoiled children may be sure of an opportunity to practise all the feminine virtues. She is certain to have been very much in love with him, for he was handsome, could dance and flirt to perfection, and was the very ideal of a charming lover. The little dash of selfishness in his ante-nuptial imperiousness and tender tyranny pleased her, for it seemed to be the expression of a more ardent love than that of every-day men. It depends very much upon her generosity and largeness of heart whether she soon wakes up to the fact that she has married a being destitute of sympathy, wholly careless and ignorant of others' needs and requirements, full of caprices, allowing every impulse to carry him away, and thoroughly bent on having his own will and bending everybody about him to his own purposes. Self-renunciation and absolute devotion and self-sacrifice are natural to women of a certain quality of intellect and heart, and possess the most powerful charm to their imagination, provided they can have a dash of romance or a kindling of sentiment. Hence this form of martyrdom offers the female sex the pose in which it has sat for its portrait all the centuries since civilization began, and the picture stands out impressively against a background we all can recognize. As a school for heroism nothing can equal marriage with a spoiled child.

But, although probably quite as many instances may be found in one sex as in the other, the characteristics of a spoiled child are distinctly feminine, and in no measure belong to robust masculinity. Thus, for a study, let us take a girl who from her cradle has found everything subordinate to her princess-like whims, inclinations and caprices, and has had her way by smiles and cajoleries[Pg 129] or sobs and tears, as the case may be. She finds out at an early age that it is pleasanter and more profitable to be petted and pampered than to be forced to shift for herself. She learns that an easy little pitiful curve of her coral lips and upward glance of her baby orbs is answered by certain manifestations of tenderness and concern: thus she "makes eyes," flirts, as it were, before she can talk, and studies the art of successful tyranny. The nursery—in fact, the entire house—rejoices when she rejoices and trembles when she weeps. She wants everything she sees, and sulks at any superiority of circumstances in another; but then she sulks bewitchingly. Wherever she goes she carries an imperious sway, and keeps her foot well on the necks of her admirers.

The spoiled child blossoms into perfection as a young lady. That is her destiny, and to the proper fulfilment of it her family and friends stand ready to devote themselves. It may be they are a trifle weary of her incalculable temper, that her fascinations have palled a little upon them, and that her mysterious inability to put up with the lot of every-day mortals and bear disagreeables contentedly has worn out their patience. They want her to marry, and, without wasting any empty wishing upon a result so certain to come, she wants to marry herself. She is not likely to have unattainable ideals: what she demands is a continuation of her petted existence—a lifelong adorer to minister to her vanity and desires, to find her always beautiful, always precious, and to smooth away the rough places of life for her.

Nothing can be more bewitching than she is on her entrance into society. Nothing could seem more desirable to an admirer than the possession of the beautiful creature, who, with her alternations of sweetness and imperiousness, tenderness, and cruelty, stimulates his ardor and appears more like a spirit of fire and dew than a real woman. It seems to him the most delightful thing in the world when she confesses that she never likes what she has, but always craves what she has not—that she hates everything useful and prosaic and likes everything which people declare she ought to renounce. She is unreasonable, and he loves her unreason—it bewitches him: she is obstinate, and he loves to feel the strength of her tiny will, as if it were the manifestation of some phenomenal force in her nature. Her scorn for common things, her fastidiousness, her indifference to the little obligations which compel less dainty and spirited creatures,—all act as chains and rivet his attachment to her.

A few months later, when she has become his wife, and he is forced to look at her tempers and her caprices, at her fastidiousness and expensiveness, from an altered standpoint, her whole character seems to be illuminated with new light. He no longer finds her charming when she has an incurable restlessness and melancholy: her pretty negations of the facts life present to her begin to seem to him the product of a mind undisciplined by any actual knowledge that she is "a human creature, subject to the same laws as other human creatures." He has hitherto considered that her scorn for the common and usual indicated an appreciation of the rarest and loftiest, but she seems to have no appreciation for anything save enjoyment. She has no idea of the true purposes of life: she likes everything dwarfed to suit her own stature. It is not by compliance that her husband can give her more than temporary pleasure. If she wants to see Europe, Europe will not satisfy her. "Sense will support itself handsomely in most countries," says Carlyle, "on eighteen pence a day, but for fantasy planets and solar systems will not suffice."

L. W.


Weekly prayer-meetings in New England villages offer a variety of singular experiences to the unaccustomed listener, and it seems almost incredible at times that they can furnish spiritual sustenance even to the devout. There are apt to be two or three among the regular attendants who being, according to their own estimate, "gifted in prayer," raise their voices loud and long with many a mellifluous[Pg 130] phrase and lofty-sounding polysyllable. Mr. Eli Lewis is one of the most eloquent among the church-members in the village of C——, and if left to his own way would engross the entire evening with his prayers and exhortations. Nothing is too large for his imagination to grasp nor too small for his observations to consider. "O Lord, Thou knowest!" he repeats endlessly, sometimes qualifying this statement by putting into the next phrase, "O Lord, Thou art probably aware!" He is fond of poetry too, and frequently interpolates into his petition and thanksgiving his favorite verses. His fellow-worshippers are fully conscious of his excellent intentions, but there is some jealousy of the surpassing length of his prayers. The other evening he was standing, as his custom is, with his long arms upraised with many a strange gesture. He had been on his feet half an hour already, and there began to be signs of restlessness among the bowed heads around him. Still, there was no sign of any let up. He was engaged in drawing a vivid picture of the condition of the universe in the abstract, the world in general and his country and native village in particular, and required ample time fully to elucidate his views regarding their needs, but proposed to illustrate it by quotations. "O Lord," said he, "Thou knowest what the poet Cowper says—" He paused and cleared his throat as if the better to articulate the inspired strains of poetry, and began again more emphatically: "O Lord, Thou art probably aware what the poet Cowper says—" but the second time broke off. He could not remember what it was the poet Cowper said, but with a view to taking the place his memory halted at, went back to the starting-place and recommenced: "O Lord, Thou recollectest what the poet Cowper says—" It was of no use: he could not think of it, and with a wild gesture put his hand to his head. "O Lord," he exclaimed in a tone of excessive pain, "I cannot remember what the poet Cowper says," and prepared to go on with other matter; but Deacon Smith had been watching his opportunity for twenty minutes, and was already on his feet. "Let us pray," he said in a deep voice, which broke on Brother Lewis's ears with preternatural power, and he was obliged to sit down while the senior deacon held forth. No sooner, however, had Deacon Smith's amen sounded than Mr. Eli Lewis started up. "O Lord," he cried in a tone of heartfelt satisfaction, "I remember now what the poet Cowper says;" and, repeating it at length, he finished his remarks.

It was Deacon Smith who one Sunday asked his pastor to put a petition for rain into his afternoon prayer, as moisture was very much needed by the deacon's parched fields and meadows. Accordingly, Dr. Peters, who was something of a rhetorician, alluded in his prayer to the melancholy prospects of the harvest unless rain should soon be sent, and requested that the Almighty would consider their sufferings and dispense the floods which He held in His right hand. After service, as the reverend doctor left the church, he saw Mr. Smith standing rigid in the porch, perhaps looking for a rising cloud, and remarked to him, "Well, deacon, I hope our petition may be answered." He received only a snort of wrath and defiance in reply. Rather puzzled as to what had vexed his parishioner, Dr. Peters said blandly, "You heard my prayer for a shower, Deacon Smith?" The deacon turned grimly: "I heard you mention the matter of rain, Dr. Peters, but, good Heavens, sir! you should have insisted upon it!"

A. T.


This beautiful garden, one of the most attractive places in the world, was established in the Bois de Boulogne in 1860. It was in the most flourishing condition at the time of the breaking out of the war with Germany. That war nearly ruined it. During the siege elephants and other valuable animals were sacrificed for food. The carrier-pigeons that did such noble service during the siege were mostly raised in this establishment, and those that survived the war are kept there and most tenderly preserved. "Many died[Pg 131] gloriously on the field of honor," as we read in the records of the society, which preserve a full account of their wonderful feats. Some of them again and again dared the Prussian lines, carrying those precious microscopic despatches photographed upon pellicles of collodion—so light that the whole one hundred and fifteen thousand received during the siege do not weigh over one gramme, a little over fifteen grains!

The great greenhouse of these gardens for plants that cannot endure a temperature lower than two degrees below zero centigrade (28.4° Fahr.) would enchant even the most indifferent observer. The building itself is one of the finest structures of its kind. It was once the property of the Lemichez Brothers, celebrated florists at Villiers, at which place it was known as the Palais des Flors. The Acclimatation Society purchased it in 1861, and every winter since then there has been a magnificent and unfailing display of flowers there. Masses of camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses, bruyères, pelargoniums constantly succeed each other. These are merely to delight the visitors, the great object of the hothouse being to nurse foreign plants and experiment with them. Among the rare ones are the paper-plant of the Aralia family; the Chamærops, or hemp-plant; the Phormium tenax, or New Zealand flax; and the Eucalyptus of Australia, that wonderful tree introduced lately into Algeria, where it grows six mètres a year, and yields more revenue than the cereals. This, at least, is what the official handbook of the garden says. It may be that the famous "fever-plant" has lost some of the faith accorded to it at first.

At the end of this great greenhouse there is a beautiful grotto where a little brook loses itself playing hide-and-seek among the fronds of the maiden-hair and other lovely ferns. At the right of this grotto is a reading-room where visitors may find all the current periodicals—on the left, the library of the society, rich in works upon agriculture, zootechnie, natural history, travels, industrial and domestic economy, etc., in several languages. The remarkable thing about this great greenhouse is the ever-flourishing, ever-perfect condition of its vegetation. Of course this effect must be secured by succursal hothouses, not always open to visitors. No tree, no plant, ever appears there in a sickly condition, but this may be said also of the animals in the gardens. I shall not soon forget a great wire canary cage some sixteen or more feet square, enclosing considerable shrubbery and scores of birds. There I received my first notion of the natural brilliancy of the plumage of these birds: its golden sheen literally dazzled the eyes.

The garden does excellent work for the French people besides furnishing a popular school and an inimitable pleasure resort: it assures the preservation of approved varieties of fruits, grains, animals. Whoever questions the absolute purity of his stock, from a garden herb up to an Arabian steed, can place this beyond question by substituting those furnished by the Society of Acclimatation. Eggs of birds packed in its garden have safely crossed the Atlantic, seventy-five per cent. hatching on their arrival. So immensely has the business of the society increased that more ground has had to be secured for nursery and seed-raising purposes, and the whole vast Zoological Gardens of Marseilles have been secured and turned into a "tender," as it were, to the Jardin d'Acclimatation at Paris. This was a very important acquisition. Marseilles, the great Mediterranean sea-port of France, is necessarily the spot where treasures from Africa, Asia and the South Sea Islands have to be landed, and they arrive often in a critical condition and need rest and careful nursing before continuing their journey.

One of the functions of the garden is to restock parks with game when the pheasants, hares, wild-boars, deer, etc. become too rare for good sport: another is to tame and break to the harness certain animals counted unmanageable. The zebra is one of these. The society has succeeded perfectly in breaking the zebra and making him work in the field quite like the horse. An ostrich also[Pg 132] allows itself to be harnessed to a small carriage and to draw two children in it over the garden. Still another work of the society is to breed new species. A very beautiful animal has been bred by crossing the wild-ass of Mongolia with the French variety.

Among the rare animals of the garden may be mentioned the apteryx, the only bird existing belonging to the same family as the Dinornis giganteus and the still larger Epyornis maximus of Madagascar—monstrous wingless birds now extinct. One of the eggs of the latter in a fossil condition is preserved in the museum of the Garden of Plants in Paris. Its longer axis is sixteen inches, I think. It is, for an egg, a most wonderful thing, and on account of its size the bird laying it has been supposed to be of very much greater size than even the Dinornis giganteus, a perfect skeleton of which exists; but this seems to be a too hasty conclusion, for the apteryx, a member of the same family, has laid an egg or two in captivity, and one of these on being weighed proved to be very nearly one-fourth the whole weight of the bird, the bird weighing sixty ounces and the egg fourteen and a half.

The Tallegalla Lathami, or brush-turkey of Australia, is another rare bird. It does not sit upon its eggs, but constructs a sort of hot-bed for them, which it watches during the whole term as assiduously as a wise florist does his seeds planted under glass or as a baker does his ovens. As in the ostrich family, it is the male that has the entire care of the family from the moment the eggs are laid—a fairer division of labor than we see in most ménages. The interesting process of constructing the hot-bed has been observed several times in Europe. It is as follows: When the time arrives for the making of the nest the enclosure is supplied with sticks, leaves and detritus of various kinds. The male then, with his tail to the centre of the enclosure, commences with his powerful feet to throw up a mound of the materials furnished. To do this he walks around in a series of concentric circles. When the mound is about four feet high the female adds a few artistic touches by way of smoothing down, evening the surface and making a depression in the centre, where the eggs in due time are laid in a circle, each with the point downward and no two in contact. The male tends this hot-bed most unweariedly. "A cylindrical opening is always maintained in the centre of the circle"—no doubt for ventilation—and the male will often cover and uncover the eggs two or three times a day, according to the change of temperature. The observer, noting how intelligently this bird watches the temperature, almost expects to see him thrust a thermometer into his mound! On the second day after it is hatched the young bird leaves the nest, but returns to it in the afternoon, and is very cozily tucked up by his devoted papa.

One thing in the garden that used to greatly attract visitors was the Gaveuse Martin, a machine for cramming fowls in order to fatten them rapidly. The society considered Martin's invention of so much importance to the world that it granted him a building in the garden and permission to charge a special admission. The machine has since been introduced into the artificial egg-hatching establishment of Mr. Baker at Catskill-on-the-Hudson; at least, he has a machine for "forced feeding" which must greatly resemble Martin's. Specimens fattened by the Gaveuse Martin, all ready for the broche, used to be sold on the premises. The interior of the building was occupied by six gigantic épinettes, each holding two hundred birds. A windlass mounted upon a railroad enabled the operator (gaveur, from gaver, to cram, an inelegant term) very easily to raise himself to any story of the épinette. The latter was a cylinder turning upon its axis, and thus passing every bird in review. "An india-rubber tube introduced into the throat, accompanied by the pressure of the foot upon a pedal, makes the bird absorb its copious and succulent repast in the wink of an eye." Four hundred an hour have been thus fed by one operator. Fowls thus fattened are said to possess a delicacy of flavor entirely their own.

M. H.

[Pg 133]


Christy Carew. By May Laffan, author of "The Honorable Miss Ferrard," etc. (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.

The novels to which Miss Laffan gives a sponsor in affixing her signature to the latest, Christy Carew, present two strong and distinct claims to our notice in the vigor and realism with which they are written, and the thorough picture they give of Ireland, politically and socially, at the present day. They are no mere repetitions of hackneyed Irish stories, no sketches drawn from a narrow or partial phase of life, but the result of large and penetrating observation among all classes, made in a thoroughly systematized manner, so as to form a thoughtful and almost exhaustive study of a country which is more dogmatized over than understood. Ireland has never been depicted with so much interest and sympathy by any novelist since Miss Edgeworth wrote her Moral Tales, and both the country and the art of novel-writing have advanced since then, the latter possibly more than the former. Miss Edgeworth, indeed, has been singularly unfortunate. She drew from life, and her talent and observation were worthy of a more lasting shrine, while the artificiality of her books has caused them to decay even faster than those of some of her contemporaries. Her successors in Irish fiction, with no lack of talent, have been too often careless in using it, or have preferred story-telling to observation. Miss Laffan wields a genuine Irish pen, graphic, keen of satire, with plenty of sharp Hibernian humor, but she shows in its exercise a care and directness of aim which are not the common qualities of Irish writers. In beginning her career as a novelist she had the courage to refrain from the pursuit of those finer artistic beauties which lure to failure so many writers incapable of seizing them: she even put aside the question of plot, and strove to give a sound and truthful representation of life and manners.

That end was gained with masterly success. No one reading the anonymous novel Hogan, M.P., would have been likely to set it down from internal evidence as a woman's book: it is one of the stoutest and most vigorous pieces of fiction which have appeared for years. We can find no trace of its having been reprinted in this country, and are at a loss to account for the omission: its distinctively Irish character ought to form an attraction. Hogan, M.P., is a political novel as realistic as Anthony Trollope's, but more incisive in tone and wider in scope. Instead of confining her energies to the doings and conversations of one set of people, Miss Laffan looks at politics as they are mirrored in society, sketching not alone the wire-pulling and petty diplomacies, but phases of life resulting therefrom. In Hogan, M.P., we have a vivid coup d'œil of Dublin society, with its sharp, irregular boundaries, its sects and sets, its manner of comporting and amusing itself. The field is a wide one, but Miss Laffan has the happy art of generalization—of portraying a whole society in a few well-marked types. There is no confusion of character, and though we seem to have shaken hands with all Dublin in her pages, from great dignitaries to school-boys, the picture is never overcrowded.

"A drop of ditch-water under a microscope" Hogan calls the society of his native city—"everybody pushing upward on the social ladder kicking down those behind." This zoological spectacle is not confined to Dublin, but there appears to be a combination of strictness and indefiniteness of precedence belonging peculiarly to that place. At the top of the ladder, though not so firmly fixed there as before the Disestablishment, is the Protestant set, regarding the Castle as its stronghold and looking down on the Roman Catholic set, who reciprocate the contempt. These grand divisions are separated by a strict line of demarcation, even the performance of the marriage ceremony between Protestants and Catholics being forbidden in Dublin. They contain an endless ramification of lesser groups, whose relations we may attempt to illustrate by quoting from the book before us an account of the mutual position of Mrs. O'Neil and Mrs. Carew, the former the wife of a tradesman shortly to become lord mayor, the latter a "'vert" from Protestantism and the spouse of a Crown solicitor in debt to his future mayorship. "The[Pg 134] lady mayoress elect, conscious of her prospective dignity in addition to the heavy bill due by the Carews, was the least possible shade—not patronizing, for that would have been impossible—but perhaps independent in manner. She did not turn her head toward her companion as she addressed her; she put more questions to her and in a broader accent than she usually did in conversation; and she barely gave her interlocutor time to finish the rather curt contributions she vouchsafed toward the conversation. On her side, Mrs. Carew, mindful of her position and of her superior accent, which implied even more, wanting to be condescending and patronizing, and half afraid to be openly impertinent, was calm and self-possessed. She grew more freezingly courteous as the other lady grew less formal."

We have said that Miss Laffan began with realism pure and simple. Hogan, M.P., remains, so far, to our mind, her strongest book, but there are finer and sweeter qualities in her other writings. We should be inclined to rank The Honorable Miss Ferrard as an artistic rather than a realistic book, though it is based on the same soundness of observation as its predecessor. It is an episode, suggestive, rather analytic in treatment, with the freshness of a first impression—le charme de l'inachevé. The heroine is a singularly original, fresh and attractive conception. The book deals almost wholly with the outside aspects of things, with picturesque rather than moral traits, though a breath of feeling true and sweet is wafted across it and heightens its fine vague beauty.

A deeper humanity is shown in the short story Flitters, Tatters and the Counsellor, which made its first appearance in this magazine in January, 1879. This sketch gained a quicker popularity than her longer novels, and drew forth warm eulogies from critics so far apart in standard as Ruskin, Leslie Stephen and Bret Harte.

Christy Carew, in its picture of two middle-class Catholic families in Dublin, takes us back to the society described in Hogan, M.P., but its range is narrower and its theme rather social than political. It is a softer and more attractive book than Hogan, M.P., though, like that novel, it is devoted to a realistic picture of life. Miss Laffan's characters have the merit of being always real. They are often types, but they are never mere abstractions. Whatever their importance or qualities, they stand firmly on their feet, are individual and alive. Her men are drawn with a vigor which ought to ensure them from the reproach of being ladies' men. They may display traits of weakness, but these are due to no faltering on the author's part. In Christy Carew the men are in a minority as far as minuteness of portraiture goes, and the most elaborate touches are bestowed on the two young girls who act as heroines, for the one is as prominent as the other. Christy and her friend Esther O'Neil present two types of girlhood. Esther, dévote and gentle, is a very tender, lovable figure, but there is perhaps more skill shown in the more contradictory character of Christy, a pretty girl addicted to flirting, keenly intelligent and impatient of the restraints and inconsistencies of her religious teaching, yet with an earnestness which makes her feel the emptiness of her life and vaguely seek for something higher. When each of the friends is sought by a Protestant lover their different ways of regarding the calamity are in keeping with their characters, and though any reader will agree with Christy that Esther was the more deserving of happiness, no one will be sorry that her own love-story should find a pleasant dénouement. As an argument in favor of mixed marriages the book would have been stronger if Esther's lover had been separated from her only by prejudice, and not by unworthiness as well, but the pathos of the story is in no way marred by the neglect to clinch an argument. Like all Miss Laffan's novels, it is simple in plot. Construction is not her strong point, and though Christy Carew has more story to it than her former books, it is by no means technically perfect. There is a certain hurry about it: its good things are not driven home, and effects upon which more skilful artists would dwell at length are dropped in a concentration upon other objects. The book, in the American edition, is also marred by numerous typographical defects that betray a singular laxity in proof-reading.

Hogan, M.P., was published in 1876: Miss Laffan's career as a novelist is therefore only four years old. We will not attempt to cast its future: we have simply endeavored, as far as space would admit, to point out the soundness of its foundation and the method by which it has been laid. In all that she has written there is a reserved strength, a sincerity and conscientiousness,[Pg 135] which mark her work as unmistakably genuine. A large store of observation lies behind all her writing, and an intellectual power of a very high order is apparent throughout. What she lacks is a mellowness and breadth of art which would enable her to blend and concentrate her qualities—to bring the realism of Hogan, M.P., into unison with the grace of The Honorable Miss Ferrard and the pathos and sympathy of Christy Carew—to give form and completeness to her work. Then Ireland would have a great novelist.

The Reminiscences of an Idler. By Henry Wikoff. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert.

The reminiscences of idle men are apt to be more entertaining than those of busy men. The idler, passing his time in search of amusement, can hardly fail to communicate it when he yields up his store of experiences. Being disengaged, his mind is more observant and more retentive of the by-play of life, which is the only amusing part of it, than that of one of the chief actors can possibly be. Moreover, idlers are the natural confidants of the busy: they are consulted, made useful as go-betweens, entrusted with those little services which, being transient and disconnected, are precisely suited to their disposition and secure them a place in the economy of Nature. Mr. Wikoff has been a model idler, with large opportunities of this description. From boyhood he has, according to his own account, shirked all regular application and devoted himself to the pursuit of pleasure, including the gratification of an intelligent but superficial curiosity in regard to men and manners. He has come in close contact with a great variety of people, especially of a class whose private lives and public careers react in the production of a piquant interest. These associations kept his hands full of what only a very rigid censor would denominate mischief. His intimacy with Forrest gained him a suitable companion in a journey to the Crimea, and the tragedian a not less suitable negotiator in the arrangements for his marriage and his professional engagements in London. He aided Lady Bulwer in her fight with her husband's family and the recovery of her stolen lap-dog. His friendly offices to Fanny Ellsler were more important and fruitful. He had the chief share in bringing her to America, smoothing away the difficulties, assuming the responsibilities, and escorting her in person, while taking charge at the same time of two other interesting and otherwise unprotected females. It was, indeed, we need hardly say, in feminine affairs that Mr. Wikoff was most at home. But his obliging disposition made him equally ready to execute commissions for members of the Bonaparte family, his relations with whom grew closer and more interesting at a period subsequent to that which is embraced in this volume. Many other notabilities, both American and European, have more or less prominence in its pages. Some letters from Mrs. Grote are especially deserving of notice. As long as it is confined to personal topics the narrative is never dull. Without being distinguished for vigor or wit, it has the graceful and sprightly garrulity characteristic of the well-preserved veteran. Unfortunately, it betrays also the tendency to tediousness which belongs to a revered epoch, much of it, being devoted to persons and things seen only from a distance and without the powers of vision requisite for penetrating their true character. But, in spite of this defect, the book is exceedingly readable and enjoyable, and we trust to have a continuation of it which may show a restraining influence exercised with kindness and tact, such as were so often exerted by the author for the benefit of his friends.

The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg. By Anne Ayres. New York: Harper & Brothers.

There could not well be a stronger contrast than between the subject of this book and that of the one just noticed. We have called Mr. Wikoff a model idler, and with at least equal truth we may call Dr. Muhlenberg a model worker, not because he was unremitting and methodical in labor or because his work was his delight, but because it was consecrated by a devoted singleness of purpose and crowned by the noblest achievements. The life of the founder of St. Luke's Hospital and St. Johnland, as exhibited in this faithful record, has the simplicity and grandeur of an antique statue, and in the contemplation of it the marvel of its rare perfection grows, till we are half inclined to ask whether it, too, be not some relic of the remote past rather than a product of our own age. Saintly purity, unbounded beneficence,[Pg 136] intense earnestness and great-hearted liberality of sentiment were never more symmetrically blended than in the character of "the great presbyter," whose ministrations were neither inspired nor confined by any narrower dogma than "that love to man, flowing from love to God," which, as he himself, with no lack of humility, said, "had been their impulse." It has been justly observed that "he was eminently the common property of a common Christianity," and not less truly that "there is, and ever will be, more of Christian charity in the world because Dr. Muhlenberg has lived in it as he did." He was perhaps not a man of extraordinary intellect, but his singularly healthy mind, with its union of resoluteness and candor, sound sense and lively fancy, gave the needed counterpoise to his moral qualities, keeping his enterprises within the domain of the useful and the practical, and thus saving him from the disappointments that too often checker the career of the philanthropist. This biography, written from long and intimate knowledge and admirable alike in spirit and execution, will find, we may trust, a multitude of readers among members of all sects and those who belong to none. Its interest is of a far more absorbing kind than any that can be excited by gossip or anecdote. It is that of a vivid portraiture, in which nothing characteristic is missing, in which the details are all harmonious, and which awakens not only our admiration, but our warmest sympathies.

Books Received.

History of Political Economy in Europe. By Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui. Translated from the fourth French edition by Emily J. Leonard. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Pure Wine—Fermented Wine and Other Alcoholic Drinks in the Light of the New Dispensation. By John Ellis, M. D. New York: Published by the Author.

Shakespeare's History of King Henry the Fourth. Parts 1 and 2. Edited, with Notes, by William J. Rolfe, A. M. New York: Harper & Brothers.

A History of New York. By Diedrich Knickerbocker. (New "Geoffrey-Crayon" Edition of Irving's Works.) New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Card Essays: Clay's Decisions and Card-table Talk. By "Cavendish." (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.

William Ellery Channing: His Opinions, Genius and Character. By Henry W. Bellows. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Virginia Bohemians: A Novel. By John Esten Cooke. (Library of American Fiction.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

Nana: Sequel to "L'Assommoir." By Émile Zola. Translated by John Stirling. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

The Hair, its Growth, Care, Diseases and Treatment. By C. Henri Leonard, M. A., M. D. Detroit: C. Henri Leonard.

The Amazon. By Franz Dingelstedt. Translated from the German by J. M. Hart. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Reminiscences of Rev. William Ellery Channing, D. D. By Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Around the World with General Grant. By John Russell Young. Parts 19 and 20. New York: American News Co.

Proverbial Treasury. English and Select Foreign Proverbs. By Carl Seelbach. New York: Seelbach Brothers.

The Princess Elizabeth: A Lyric Drama. By Francis H. Williams. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger.

A Foreign Marriage; or, Buying a Title. (Harpers' Library of American Fiction.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

William Ellery Channing: A Centennial Memory. By Charles T. Brooks. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Rev. Mr. Dashwell, the New Minister at Hampton. By E. P. B. Philadelphia: John E. Potter & Co.

History of the Administration of John De Witt. By James Geddes. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Masterpieces of English Literature. By William Swinton. New York: Harper & Brothers.

The Theory of Thought: A Treatise on Deductive Logic. New York: Harper & Brothers.

The Logic of Christian Evidences. By G. Frederick Wright. Andover: Warren F. Draper.

Modern Communism. By Charles W. Hubner. Atlanta, Ga.: Jas. P. Harrison & Co.

Free Land and Free Trade. By Samuel S. Cox. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Only a Waif. By R. A. Braendle ("Pips"). New York: D. and J. Sadlier & Co.

Life: Its True Genesis. By R. W. Wright. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Joan of Arc, "The Maid." By Janet Tuckey. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Mrs. Beauchamp Brown. (No-Name Series.) Boston: Roberts Brothers.