The Project Gutenberg eBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. XXVI, July 1852, Vol. V

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. XXVI, July 1852, Vol. V

Author: Various

Release date: May 11, 2013 [eBook #42693]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Judith Wirawan, David Kline, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from scans of public domain works at the
University of Michigan's Making of America collection.)


[Pg 1]


No. XXVI.—JULY, 1852.—Vol. V.




The Connecticut river flows through the State of Massachusetts, from north to south, on a line about half way between the middle of the State and its western boundary. The valley through which the river flows, which perhaps the stream itself has formed, is broad and fertile, and it presents, in the summer months of the year, one widely extended scene of inexpressible verdure and beauty. The river meanders through a region of broad and luxuriant meadows which are overflowed and enriched by an annual inundation. These meadows extend sometimes for miles on either side of the stream, and are adorned here and there with rural villages, built wherever there is a little elevation of land—sufficient to render human habitations secure. The broad and beautiful valley is bounded on either hand by an elevated and undulating country, with streams, mills, farms, villages, forests, and now and then a towering mountain, to vary and embellish the landscape. In some cases a sort of spur or projection from the upland country projects into the valley, forming a mountain summit there, from which the most magnificent views are obtained of the beauty and fertility of the surrounding scene.

There are three principal towns upon the banks of the Connecticut within the Massachusetts lines: Greenfield on the north—where the river enters into Massachusetts from between New Hampshire and Vermont—Northampton at the centre, and Springfield on the south. These towns are all built at points where the upland approaches near to the river. Thus at Springfield the land rises by a gentle ascent from near the bank of the stream to a spacious and beautiful plain which overlooks the valley. The town is built upon this declivity. It is so enveloped in trees that from a distance it appears simply like a grove with cupolas and spires rising above the masses of forest foliage; but to one within it, it presents every where most enchanting pictures of rural elegance and beauty. The streets are avenues of trees. The houses are surrounded by gardens, and so enveloped in shrubbery that in many cases they reveal themselves to the passer-by only by the glimpse that he obtains of a colonnade or a piazza, through some little vista which opens for a moment and then closes again as he passes along. At one point, in ascending from the river to the plain above, the tourist stops involuntarily to admire the view[Pg 2] which opens on either side, along a winding and beautiful street which here crosses his way. It is called Chestnut-street on the right hand, and Maple-street on the left—the two portions receiving their several names from the trees with which they are respectively adorned. The branches of the trees meet in a dense and unbroken mass of foliage over the middle of the street, and the sidewalk presents very precisely the appearance and expression of an alley in the gardens of Versailles.


On reaching the summit of the ascent, the visitor finds himself upon an extended plain, with streets of beautiful rural residences on every hand, and in the centre a vast public square occupied and surrounded by the buildings of the Armory. These buildings are spacious and elegant in their construction, and are arranged in a very picturesque and symmetrical manner within the square, and along the streets that surround it. The grounds are shaded with trees; the dwellings are adorned with gardens and shrubbery. Broad and neatly-kept walks, some graveled, others paved, extend across the green or along the line of the buildings, opening charming vistas in every direction. All is quiet and still. Here and there a solitary pedestrian is seen moving at a distance upon the sidewalk, or disappearing among the trees at the end of an avenue; and perhaps the carriage of some party of strangers stands waiting at a gate. The visitor who comes upon this scene on a calm summer morning, is enchanted by the rural beauty that surrounds him, and by the air of silence and repose which reigns over it all. He hears the distant barking of a dog, the voices of children at play, or the subdued thundering of the railway-train crossing the river over its wooden viaduct, far down the valley—and other similar rural sounds coming from a distance through the calm morning air—but all around him and near him is still. Can it be possible, he asks, that such a scene of tranquillity and loveliness can be the outward form and embodiment of a vast machinery incessantly employed in the production of engines of carnage and death?

It is, however, after all, perhaps scarcely proper to call the arms that are manufactured by the American government, and stored in their various arsenals, as engines of carnage and destruction. They ought, perhaps, to be considered rather as instruments of security and peace; for their destination is, as it would seem, not to be employed in active service in the performance of the function for which they are so carefully prepared; but to be consigned, when once finished, to eternal quiescence and repose. They protect by their existence, and not by their action; but in order that this, their simple existence, should be efficient as protection, it is necessary that the instruments themselves should be fitted for their work in the surest and most perfect manner. And thus we have the very singular and extraordinary operation going on, of manufacturing with the greatest care, and with the highest possible[Pg 3] degree of scientific and mechanical skill, a vast system of machinery, which, when completed, all parties concerned most sincerely hope and believe will, in a great majority of cases, remain in their depositories undisturbed forever. They fulfill their vast function by their simple existence—and thus, though in the highest degree useful, are never to be used.


The general appearance of the buildings of the Armory is represented in the engraving placed at the head of this article. The point from which the view is taken, is on the eastern side of the square—that is, the side most remote from the town. The level and extended landscape seen in the distance, over the tops of the buildings, is the Connecticut valley—the town of Springfield lying concealed on the slope of the hill, between the buildings and the river. The river itself, too, is concealed from view at this point by the masses of foliage which clothe its banks, and by the configuration of the land.

The middle building in the foreground, marked by the cupola upon the top of it, is called the Office. It contains the various counting-rooms necessary for transacting the general business of the Armory, and is, as it were, the seat and centre of the power by which the whole machinery of the establishment is regulated. North and south of it, and in a line with it, are two shops, called the North and South Filing Shops, where, in the several stories, long ranges of workmen are found, each at his own bench, and before his own window, at work upon the special operation, whatever it may be, which is assigned to him. On the left of the picture is a building with the end toward the observer, two stories high in one part, and one story in the other part. The higher portion—which in the view is the portion nearest the observer—forms the Stocking Shop, as it is called; that is the shop where the stocks are made for the muskets, and fitted to the locks and barrels. The lower portion is the Blacksmith's Shop. The Blacksmith's Shop is filled with small forges, at which the parts of the lock are forged. Beyond the Blacksmith's Shop, and in a line with it, and forming, together with the Stocking Shop and the Blacksmith's Shop, the northern side of the square, are several dwelling-houses, occupied as the quarters of certain officers of the Armory. The residence of the Commanding Officer, however, is not among them. His house stands on the west side of the square, opposite to the end of the avenue which is seen opening directly before the observer in the view. It occupies a very delightful and commanding situation on the brow of the hill, having a view of the Armory buildings and grounds upon one side, and overlooking the town and the valley of the Connecticut on the other.

A little to the south of the entrance to the Commanding Officer's house, stands a large edifice, called the New Arsenal. It is the building with the large square tower—seen in the view in the middle distance, and near the centre of the[Pg 4] picture. This building is used for the storage of the muskets during the interval that elapses from the finishing of them to the time when they are sent away to the various permanent arsenals established by government in different parts of the country, or issued to the troops. Besides this new edifice there are two or three other buildings which are used for the storage of finished muskets, called the Old Arsenals. They stand in a line on the south side of the square, and may be seen on the left hand, in the view. These buildings, all together, will contain about five hundred thousand muskets. The New Arsenal, alone, is intended to contain three hundred thousand.



Such is the general arrangement of the Arsenal buildings, "on the hill." But it is only the lighter work that is done here. The heavy operations, such as rolling, welding, grinding, &c., are all performed by water-power. The stream which the Ordnance Department of the United States has pressed into its service to do this work, is a rivulet that meanders through a winding and romantic valley, about half a mile south of the town. On this stream are three falls, situated at a distance perhaps of half a mile from each other. At each of these falls there is a dam, a bridge, and a group of shops. They are called respectively the Upper, Middle, and Lower Water Shops. The valley in which these establishments are situated is extremely verdant and beautiful. The banks of the stream are adorned sometimes with green, grassy slopes, and sometimes with masses of shrubbery and foliage, descending to the water. The road winds gracefully from one point of view to another, opening at every turn some new and attractive prospect. The shops and all the hydraulic works are very neatly and very substantially constructed, and are kept in the most perfect order: so that the scene, as it presents itself to the party of visitors, as they ride slowly up or down the road in their carriage, or saunter along upon the banks of the stream on foot, forms a very attractive picture.


The fundamental, and altogether the most important operation in the manufacture of the musket, is the formation of the barrel; for it is obvious, that on the strength and perfection of the barrel, the whole value and efficiency of the weapon when completed depends. One would suppose, that the fabrication of so simple a thing as a plain and smooth hollow tube of iron, would be a very easy process; but the fact is, that so numerous are the obstacles and difficulties that are in the way, and so various are the faults, latent and open, into which the workman may allow his work to run, that the forming of the barrel is not only the most important, but by far the most difficult of the operations at the Armory—one which requires the most constant vigilance and attention on the part of the workman, during the process of fabrication, and the application of multiplied tests to prove the accuracy and correctness of the work at every step of the progress of it, from beginning to end.

The barrels are made from plates of iron, of suitable form and size, called scalps or barrel plates. These scalps are a little more than two feet long, and about three inches wide. The barrel when completed, is about three feet six inches long, the additional length being gained by the elongating of the scalp under the hammer during the process of welding. The scalps are heated, and then rolled up over an iron rod, and the edges being lapped are welded together,[Pg 5] so as to form a tube of the requisite dimensions—the solid rod serving to preserve the cavity within of the proper form. This welding of the barrels is performed at a building among the Middle Water Shops. A range of tilt hammers extend up and down the room, with forges in the centre of the room, one opposite to each hammer, for heating the iron. The tilt hammers are driven by immense water-wheels, placed beneath the building—there being an arrangement of machinery by which each hammer may be connected with its moving power, or disconnected from it, at any moment, at the pleasure of the workman. Underneath the hammer is an anvil. This anvil contains a die, the upper surface of which, as well as the under surface of a similar die inserted in the hammer, is formed with a semi-cylindrical groove, so that when the two surfaces come together a complete cylindrical cavity is formed, which is of the proper size to receive the barrel that is to be forged. The workman heats a small portion of his work in his forge, and then standing directly before the hammer, he places the barrel in its bed upon the anvil, and sets his hammer in motion, turning the barrel round and round continually under the blows. Only a small portion of the seam is closed at one heat, eleven heats being required to complete the work. To effect by this operation a perfect junction of the iron, in the overlapping portions, so that the substance of iron shall be continuous and homogeneous throughout, the same at the junction as in every other part, without any, the least, flaw, or seam, or crevice, open or concealed, requires not only great experience and skill, but also most unremitting and constant attention during the performance of the work. Should there be any such flaw, however deeply it may be concealed, and however completely all indications of it may be smoothed over and covered up by a superficial finishing, it is sure to be exposed at last, to the mortification and loss of the workman, in the form of a great gaping rent, which is brought out from it under the inexorable severity of the test to which the work has finally to be subjected.



We say to the loss as well as to the mortification of the workman, for it is a principle that pervades the whole administration of this establishment, though for special reasons the principle is somewhat modified in its application to the welder, as will hereafter be explained, that each workman bears the whole loss that is occasioned by the failure of his work to stand its trial, from whatever cause the failure may arise. As a general rule each workman stamps every piece of work that passes through his hands with his own mark—a mark made indelible too—so that even after the musket is finished, the history of its construction can be precisely traced, and every operation performed upon it, of whatever kind, can be carried home to the identical workman who performed it. The various parts thus marked are subject to very close inspection, and to very rigid tests, at different periods, and whenever any failure occurs, the person who is found to be responsible for it is charged with the loss. He loses not only his own pay for the work which he performed upon the piece in question, but for the whole value of the piece at the time that the defect is discovered. That is, he has not only to lose his own labor, but he must also pay for all the other labor expended upon the piece, which through the fault of his work becomes useless. For example, in the case of the barrel, there is a certain amount of labor expended upon the iron, to form it into scalps, before it comes into the welder's hands. Then after it is welded it must be bored and turned, and subjected to some other minor operations before the strength of the welding can be proved. If now, under the test that is applied to prove this strength—a test which will be explained fully in the sequel—the work gives way, and if, on examination of the rent, it proves to have been caused by imperfection in the welding, and not by any original defect in the iron, the welder, according to the general principle which governs in this respect all the operations of the establishment, would have to lose not only the value of his own labor, in welding the barrel, but that of all the other operations which had been performed upon it, and which were rendered worthless by his agency. It is immaterial whether the misfortune in such cases is occasioned by accident, or carelessness, or want of skill. In either case the workman is responsible. This rule is somewhat[Pg 6] relaxed in the case of the welder, on whom it would, perhaps, if rigidly enforced, bear somewhat too heavily. In fact many persons might regard it as a somewhat severe and rigid rule in any case—and it would, perhaps, very properly be so considered, were it not that this responsibility is taken into the account in fixing the rate of wages; and the workmen being abundantly able to sustain such a responsibility do not complain of it. The system operates on the whole in the most salutary manner, introducing, as it does, into every department of the Armory, a spirit of attention, skill, and fidelity, which marks even the countenances and manners of the workmen, and is often noticed and spoken of by visitors. In fact none but workmen of a very high character for intelligence, capacity, and skill could gain admission to the Armory—or if admitted could long maintain a footing there.

The welders are charged one dollar for every barrel lost through the fault of their work. They earn, by welding, twelve cents for each barrel; so that by spoiling one, they lose the labor which they expend upon eight. Being thus rigidly accountable for the perfection of their work, they find that their undivided attention is required while they are performing it; and, fortunately perhaps for them, there is nothing that can well divert their attention while they are engaged at their forges, for such is the incessant and intolerable clangor and din produced by the eighteen tilt hammers, which are continually breaking out in all parts of the room, into their sudden paroxysms of activity, that every thing like conversation in the apartment is almost utterly excluded. The blows of the hammers, when the white-hot iron is first passed under them and the pull of the lever sets them in motion, are inconceivably rapid, and the deafening noise which they make, and the showers of sparks which they scatter in every direction around, produce a scene which quite appalls many a lady visitor when she first enters upon it, and makes her shrink back at the door, as if she were coming into some imminent danger. The hammers strike more than six hundred blows in a minute, that is more than ten in every second; and the noise produced is a sort of rattling thunder, so overpowering when any of the hammers are in operation near to the observer, that the loudest vociferation uttered close to the ear, is wholly inaudible. Some visitors linger long in the apartment, pleased with the splendor and impressiveness of the scene. Others consider it frightful, and hasten away.


From the Middle Water Shops, where this welding is done, the barrels are conveyed to the Upper Shops, where the operations of turning, boring and grinding are performed. Of course the barrel when first welded is left much larger in its outer circumference, and smaller in its bore, than it is intended to be when finished, in order to allow for the loss of metal in the various finishing operations. When it comes from the welder the barrel weighs over seven pounds:[Pg 7] when completely finished it weighs but about four and a half pounds, so that nearly one half of the metal originally used, is cut away by the subsequent processes.

The first of these processes is the boring out of the interior. The boring is performed in certain machines called boring banks. They consist of square and very solid frames of iron, in which, as in a bed, the barrel is fixed, and there is bored out by a succession of operations performed by means of certain tools which are called augers, though they bear very little resemblance to the carpenter's instrument so named. These augers are short square bars of steel, highly polished, and sharp at the edges—and placed at the ends of long iron rods, so that they may pass entirely through the barrel to be bored by them, from end to end. The boring parts of these instruments, though they are in appearance only plain bars of steel with straight and parallel sides, are really somewhat smaller at the outer than at the inner end, so that, speaking mathematically, they are truncated pyramids, of four sides, though differing very slightly in the diameters of the lower and upper sections.

The barrels being fixed in the boring bank, as above described, the end of the shank of the auger is inserted into the centre of a wheel placed at one end of the bank, where, by means of machinery, a slow rotary motion is given to the auger, and a still slower progressive motion at the same time. By this means the auger gradually enters the hollow of the barrel, boring its way, or rather enlarging its way by its boring, as it advances. After it has passed through it is withdrawn, and another auger, a very little larger than the first is substituted in its place; and thus the calibre of the barrel is gradually enlarged, almost to the required dimensions.

Almost, but not quite; for in the course of the various operations which are subsequent to the boring, the form of the interior of the work is liable to be slightly disturbed, and this makes it necessary to reserve a portion of the surplus metal within, for a final operation. In fact the borings to which the barrel are subject, alternate in more instances than one with other operations, the whole forming a system far too nice and complicated to be described fully within the limits to which we are necessarily confined in such an article as this. It is a general principle however that the inside work is kept always in advance of the outside, as it is the custom with all machinists and turners to adopt the rule that is so indispensable and excellent in morals, namely, to make all right first within, and then to attend to the exterior. Thus in the case of the musket barrel the bore is first made correct. Then the outer surface of the work is turned and ground down to a correspondence with it. The reverse of this process, that is first shaping the outside of it, and then boring it out within, so as to make the inner and outer surfaces to correspond, and the metal every where to be of equal thickness, would be all but impossible.

[Pg 8]


After the boring, then, of the barrel, comes the turning of the outside of it. The piece is supported in the lathe by means of mandrels inserted into the two ends of it, and there it slowly revolves, bringing all parts of its surface successively under the action of a tool fixed firmly in the right position for cutting the work to its proper form. Of course the barrel has a slow progressive as well as rotary motion during this process, and the tool itself, with the rest in which it is firmly screwed, advances or recedes very regularly and gradually, in respect to the work, as the process goes on, in order to form the proper taper of the barrel in proceeding from the breech to the muzzle. The main work however in this turning process is performed by the rotation of the barrel. The workman thus treats his material and his tools with strict impartiality. In the boring, the piece remains at rest, and the tool does its work by revolving. In the turning, on the other hand, the piece must take its part in active duty, being required to revolve against the tool, while the tool itself remains fixed in its position in the rest.

Among the readers of this article there will probably be many thousands who have never had the opportunity to witness the process of turning or boring iron, and to them it may seem surprising that any tool can be made with an edge sufficiently enduring to stand in such a service. And it is indeed true that a cutting edge destined to maintain itself against iron must be of very excellent temper, and moreover it must have a peculiar construction and form, such that when set in its proper position for service, the cutting part shall be well supported, so to speak, in entering the metal, by the mass of the steel behind it. It is necessary, too, to keep the work cool by a small stream of water constantly falling upon the point of action. The piece to be turned, moreover, when of iron, must revolve very slowly; the process will not go on successfully at a rapid rate; though in the case of wood the higher the speed at which the machinery works, within certain limits, the more perfect the operation. In all these points the process of turning iron requires a very nice adjustment; but when the conditions necessary to success are all properly fulfilled, the work goes on in the most perfect manner, and the observer who is unaccustomed to witness the process is surprised to see the curling and continuous shaving of iron issuing from the point where the tool is applied, being cut out there as smoothly and apparently as easily as if the material were lead.


One of the most interesting and curious parts of the process of the manufacture of the barrel, is the straightening of it. We ought, perhaps, rather to say the straightenings, for it is found necessary that the operation should be several times performed. For example, the barrel must be straightened before it is turned, and then, inasmuch as in the process of turning it generally gets more or less sprung, it must be straightened again afterward. In fact, every important operation performed upon the barrel is likely to cause some deflection in it, which requires to be subsequently corrected, so that the process must be repeated several times. The actual work of straightening, that is the mechanical act that is performed, is very simple—consisting as it does of merely striking a blow. The whole difficulty lies in determining when and where the correction is required. In other words, the making straight is very easily and quickly done; the thing attended with difficulty is to find out when and where the work is crooked; for the deflections which it is thus required to remedy, are so extremely slight, that all ordinary modes of examination would fail wholly to detect them; while yet they are sufficiently great to disturb very essentially the range and direction of the ball which should issue from the barrel, affected by them.


The above engraving represents the workman in the act of examining the interior of a barrel with a view to ascertaining whether it be straight. On the floor, in the direction toward which the barrel is pointed, is a small mirror, in which the workman sees, through the tube, a reflection of a certain pane of glass in the window. The pane in question is marked by a diagonal line, which may be seen upon it, in the view, passing from one corner to the other. This diagonal line now is reflected by the mirror into the bore of the barrel, and then it is reflected again to the eye of the observer; for the surface of the iron on the inside of the barrel is left in a most brilliantly polished condition, by the boring and the operations connected therewith. Now the[Pg 9] workman, in some mysterious way or other, detects the slightest deviation from straightness in the barrel, by the appearance which this reflection presents to his eye, as he looks through the bore in the manner represented in the drawing. He is always ready to explain very politely to his visitor exactly how this is done, and to allow the lady to look through the tube and see for herself. All that she is able to see, however, in such cases is a very resplendent congeries of concentric rings, forming a spectacle of very dazzling brilliancy, which pleases and delights her, though the mystery of the reflected line generally remains as profound a mystery after the observation as before. This is, in fact, the result which might have been expected, since it is generally found that all demonstrations and explanations relating to the science of optics and light, addressed to the uninitiated, end in plunging them into greater darkness than ever.

The only object which the mirror upon the floor serves, in the operation, is to save the workman from the fatigue of holding up the barrel, which it would be necessary for him to do at each observation, if he were to look at the window pane directly. By having a reflecting surface at the floor he can point the barrel downward, when he wishes to look through it, and this greatly facilitates the manipulation. There is a rest, too, provided for the barrel, to support it while the operator is looking through. He plants the end of the tube in this rest, with a peculiar grace and dexterity, and then, turning it round and round, in order to bring every part of the inner surface to the test of the reflection, he accomplishes the object of his scrutiny in a moment, and then recovering the barrel, he lays it across a sort of anvil which stands by his side, and strikes a gentle blow upon it wherever a correction was found to be required. Thus the operation, though it often seems a very difficult one for the visitor to understand, proves a very easy one for the workman to perform.


In former times a mode altogether different from this was adopted to test the interior rectitude of the barrel. A very slender line, formed of a hair or some similar substance, was passed through the barrel—dropped through, in fact, by means of a small weight attached to the end of it. This line was then drawn tight, and the workman looking through, turned the barrel round so as to bring the line into coincidence successively with every portion of the inner surface. If now there existed any concavity in any part of this surface, the line would show it by the distance which would there appear between the line itself and its reflection in the metal. The present method, however, which has now been in use about thirty years, is found to be far superior to the old one; so much so in fact that all the muskets manufactured before that period have since been condemned as unfit for use, on account mainly of the crookedness of the barrels. When we consider, however, that the calculation is that in ordinary engagements less than one out[Pg 10] of every hundred of the balls that are discharged take effect; that is, that ninety-nine out of every hundred go wide of the mark for which they are intended, from causes that must be wholly independent of any want of accuracy in the aiming, it would seem to those who know little of such subjects, that to condemn muskets for deviating from perfect straightness by less than a hair, must be quite an unnecessary nicety. The truth is, however, that all concerned in the establishment at Springfield, seem to be animated by a common determination, that whatever may be the use that is ultimately to be made of their work, the instrument itself, as it comes from their hands, shall be absolutely perfect; and whoever looks at the result, as they now attain it, will admit that they carry out their determination in a very successful manner.


Various other improvements have been made from time to time in the mode of manufacturing and finishing the musket, which have led to the condemnation or alteration of those made before the improvements were introduced. A striking illustration of this is afforded by the case of what are called cinder holes. A cinder hole is a small cavity left in the iron at the time of the manufacture of it—the effect, doubtless, of some small development of gas forming a bubble in the substance of the iron. If the bubble is near the inner surface of the barrel when it is welded, the process of boring and finishing brings it into view, in the form of a small blemish seen in the side of the bore. At a former period in the history of the Armory, defects of this kind were not considered essential, so long as they were so small as not to weaken the barrel. It was found, however, at length that such cavities, by retaining the moisture and other products of combustion resulting from the discharge of the piece, were subject to corrosion, and gradual enlargement, so as finally to weaken the barrel in a fatal manner. It was decided therefore that the existence of cinder holes in a barrel should thenceforth be a sufficient cause for its rejection, and all the muskets manufactured before that time have since been condemned and sold; the design of the department being to retain in the public arsenals only arms of the most perfect and unexceptionable character.

At the present time, in the process of manufacturing the barrels, it is not always found necessary to reject a barrel absolutely in every case where a cinder hole appears. Sometimes the iron may be forced in, by a blow upon the outside, sufficiently to enable the workman to bore the cinder hole out entirely. This course is always adopted where the thickness of the iron will allow it, and in such cases the barrel is saved. Where this can not be done, the part affected is sometimes cut off, and a short barrel is made, for an arm called a musketoon.


After the barrel is turned to nearly its proper size it is next to be ground, for the purpose of removing the marks left by the tool in turning,[Pg 11] and of still further perfecting its form. For this operation immense grindstones, carried by machinery, are used, as seen in the engraving. These stones, when in use, are made to revolve with great rapidity—usually about four hundred times in a minute—and as a constant stream of water is kept pouring upon the part where the barrel is applied in the grinding, it is necessary to cover them entirely with a wooden case, as seen in the engraving, to catch and confine the water, which would otherwise be thrown with great force about the room. The direct action therefore of the stone upon the barrel in the process of grinding is concealed from view.


The workman has an iron rod with a sort of crank-like handle at the end of it, and this rod he inserts into the bore of the barrel which he has in hand. The rod fits into the barrel closely, and is held firmly by the friction, so that by means of the handle to the rod, the workman can turn the barrel round and round continually while he is grinding it, and thus bring the action of the stone to bear equally upon every part, and so finish the work in a true cylindrical form. One of these rods, with its handle, may be seen lying free upon the stand on the right of the picture. The workman is also provided with gauges which he applies frequently to the barrel at different points along its length, as the work goes on, in order to form it to the true size and to the proper taper. In the act of grinding he inserts the barrel into a small hole in the case, in front of the stone, and then presses it hard against the surface of the stone by means of the iron lever behind him. By leaning against this lever with greater or less exertion he can regulate the pressure of the barrel against the stone at pleasure. In order to increase his power over this lever he stands upon a plate of iron which is placed upon the floor beneath him, with projections cast upon it to hold his feet by their friction; the moment that he ceases to lean against the lever, the inner end of it is drawn back by the action of the weight seen hanging down by the side of it, and the barrel is immediately released.

The workman turns the barrel continually, during the process of grinding, by means of the handle, as seen in the drawing, and as the stone itself is revolving all the time with prodigious velocity, the work is very rapidly, and at the same time very smoothly and correctly performed.


It would seem too, at first thought, that this operation of grinding must be a very safe as well as a simple one; but it is far otherwise. This grinding room is the dangerous room—the only dangerous room, in fact, in the whole establishment. In the first place, the work itself is often very injurious to the health. The premises are always drenched with water, and this makes the atmosphere damp and unwholesome. Then there is a fine powder, which, notwithstanding every precaution, will escape from the stone, and contaminate the air, producing very serious tendencies to disease in the lungs of persons who breathe it for any long period. In former times it was customary to grind bayonets as well as barrels; and this required that the face of the stone should be fluted, that is cut into grooves of a form suitable to receive the bayonet. This fluting of the stone, which of course it was necessary continually to renew, was found to be an exceedingly unhealthy operation, and in the process of grinding, moreover, in the case of bayonets, the workman was much more exposed than in grinding barrels, as it was necessary that a portion of the stone should be open before him and that he should apply the piece in hand directly to the surface of it. From these causes it resulted,[Pg 12] under the old system, that bayonets, whatever might have been their destination in respect to actual service against an enemy on the field, were pretty sure to be the death of all who were concerned in making them.

The system, however, so far as relates to the bayonet is now changed. Bayonets are now "milled," instead of being ground; that is, they are finished by means of cutters formed upon the circumference of a wheel, and so arranged that by the revolution of the wheel, and by the motion of the bayonet in passing slowly under it, secured in a very solid manner to a solid bed, the superfluous metal is cut away and the piece fashioned at once to its proper form, or at least brought so near to it by the machine, as to require afterward only a very little finishing. This operation is cheaper than the other, and also more perfect in its result; while at the same time it is entirely free from danger to the workman.

No mode, however, has yet been devised for dispensing with the operation of grinding in the case of the barrel; though the injury to the health is much less in this case than in the other.


There is another very formidable danger connected with the process of grinding besides the insalubrity of the work; and that is the danger of the bursting of the stones in consequence of their enormous weight and the immense velocity with which they are made to revolve. Some years since a new method of clamping the stone, that is of attaching it and securing it to its axis, was adopted, by means of which the danger of bursting is much diminished. But by the mode formerly practiced—the mode which in fact still prevails in many manufacturing establishments where large grindstones are employed—the danger was very great, and the most frightful accidents often occurred. In securing the stone to its axis it was customary to cut a square hole through the centre of the stone, and then after passing the iron axis through this opening, to fix the stone upon the axis by wedging it up firmly with wooden wedges. Now it is well known that an enormous force may be exerted by the driving of a wedge, and probably in many cases where this method is resorted to, the stone is strained to its utmost tension, so as to be on the point of splitting open, before it is put in rotation at all. The water is then let on, and the stone becomes saturated with it—which greatly increases the danger. There are three ways by which the water tends to promote the bursting of the stone. It makes it very much heavier, and thus adds to the momentum of its motion, and consequently to the centrifugal force. It also makes it weaker, for the water penetrates the stone in every part, and operates to soften, as it were, its texture. Then finally it swells the wedges, and thus greatly increases the force of the outward strain which they exert at the centre of the stone. When under these circumstances the enormous mass is put in motion, at the rate perhaps of five or six revolutions in a[Pg 13] second, it bursts, and some enormous fragment, a quarter or a third of the whole, flies up through the flooring above, or out through a wall, according to the position of the part thrown off, at the time of the fracture. An accident of this kind occurred at the Armory some years since. One fragment of the stone struck the wall of the building, which was two or three feet thick, and broke it through. The other passing upward, struck and fractured a heavy beam forming a part of the floor above, and upset a work-bench in a room over it, where several men were working. The men were thrown down, though fortunately they were not injured. The workman who had been grinding at the stone left his station for a minute or two, just before the catastrophe, and thus his life too was saved.


We have said that the grinding room is the only dangerous room in such an establishment as this. There is one other process than grinding which was formerly considered as extremely unhealthy, and that is the process of polishing. The polishing of steel is performed by means of what are called emery wheels, which are wheels bound on their circumference by a band of leather, to which a coating of emery, very finely pulverized, is applied, by means of a sizing of glue. These wheels, a large number of which are placed side by side in the same room, are made to revolve by means of machinery, with an inconceivable velocity, while the workmen who have the polishing to do, taking their stations, each at his own wheel, on seats placed there for the purpose, and holding the piece of work on which the operation is to be performed, in their hands, apply it to the revolving circumference before them. The surface of the steel thus applied, receives immediately a very high polish—a stream of sparks being elicited by the friction, and flying off from the wheel opposite to the workman.

Now although in these cases the workman was always accustomed to take his position at the wheel in such a manner as to be exposed as little as possible to the effects of it, yet the air of the apartment, it was found, soon became fully impregnated with the fine emery dust, and the influence of it upon the lungs proved very deleterious. There is, however, now in operation a contrivance by means of which the evil is almost entirely remedied. A large air-trunk is laid beneath the floor, from which the air is drawn out continually by means of a sort of fan machinery connected with the engine. Opposite to each wheel, and in the direction to which the sparks and the emery dust are thrown, are openings connected with this air-trunk. By means of this arrangement all that is noxious in the air of the room is drawn out through the openings into the air-trunk, and so conveyed away.

The sparks produced in such operations as this, as in the case of the collision of flint and steel, consist of small globules of melted metal, cut off from the main mass by the force of the friction, and heated to the melting point at the[Pg 14] same time. These metallic scintillations were not supposed to be the cause of the injury that was produced by the operation of polishing, as formerly practiced. It was the dust of the emery that produced the effect, just as in the case of the grinding it was the powder of the stone, and not the fine particles of iron.

The emery which is used in these polishing operations, as well as for a great many similar purposes in the arts, is obtained by pulverizing an exceedingly hard mineral that is found in several of the islands of the Grecian Archipelago, in the Mediterranean. In its native state it appears in the form of shapeless masses, of a blackish or bluish gray color, and it is prepared for use by being pulverized in iron mortars. When pulverized it is washed and sorted into five or six different degrees of fineness, according to the work for which it is wanted. It is used by lapidaries for cutting and polishing stones, by cutlers for iron and steel instruments, and by opticians for grinding lenses. It is ordinarily used in the manner above described, by being applied to the circumference of a leathern covered wheel, by means of oil or of glue. Ladies use bags filled with it, for brightening their needles.

Emery is procured in Spain, and also in Great Britain, as well as in the Islands of the Mediterranean.



When the barrels are brought pretty nearly to their finished condition, they are to be proved, that is to be subjected to the test of actual trial with gunpowder. For this proving they are taken to a very strong building that is constructed for the purpose, and which stands behind the Stocking Shop. Its place is on the right in the general view of the Armory buildings, and near the foreground—though that view does not extend far enough in that direction to bring it in. The exterior appearance of this building is represented in the above engraving. It is made very strong, being constructed wholly of timber, in order to enable it to resist the force of the explosions within. There are spacious openings in lattice work, in the roof and under the eaves of the building, to allow of the escape of the smoke with which it is filled at each discharge; for it is customary to prove a large number of barrels at a time. The barrels are loaded with a very heavy charge, so as to subject them to much greater strain than they can ever be exposed to in actual service. The building on the left, in the engraving, is used for loading the barrels, and for cleaning and drying them after they are proved. The shed attached to the main building, on the right hand, contains a bank of clay, placed there to receive the bullets, with which the barrels are charged.

[Pg 15]

The arrangement of the interior of this building, as well as the manner in which the proving is performed, will be very clearly understood by reference to the engraving below.


On the right hand end of the building, and extending quite across it from side to side, is a sort of platform, the upper surface of which is formed of cast-iron, and contains grooves in which the muskets are placed when loaded, side by side. A train of gunpowder is laid along the back side of this platform, so as to form a communication with each barrel. The train passes out through a hole in the side of the building near the door. The bank of clay may be seen sloping down from within its shed into the room on the left. The artist has represented the scene as it appears when all is ready for the discharge. The barrels are placed, the train is laid, and the proof-master is just retiring and closing the door. A moment more and there will be a loud and rattling explosion; then the doors will be opened, and as soon as the smoke has cleared away the workman will enter and ascertain the result. About one in sixty of the barrels are found to burst under the trial.

The pieces that fail are all carefully examined with a view to ascertain whether the giving way was owing to a defect in the welding, or to some flaw, or other bad quality, in the iron. The appearance of the rent made by the bursting will always determine this point. The loss of those that failed on account of bad welding is then charged to the respective operatives by whom the work was done, at a dollar for each one so failing. The name of the maker of each is known by the stamp which he put upon it at the time when it passed through his hands.

The barrels that stand this first test are afterward subjected to a second one in order to make it sure that they sustained no partial and imperceptible injury at the first explosion. This done they are stamped with the mark of approval, and so sent to the proper departments to be mounted and finished.


The bayonets, and all the other parts of which the musket is composed are subjected to tests, different in character indeed, but equally strict and rigid in respect to the qualities which they are intended to prove, with that applied to the barrel. The bayonet is very carefully gauged and measured in every part, in order to make sure that it is of precisely the proper form and dimensions. A weight is hung to the point of it to try its temper, and it is sprung by the strength of the inspector, with the point of it set into the floor, to prove its elasticity. If it is found to be[Pg 16] tempered too high it breaks; if too low it bends. In either case it is condemned, and the workman through whose fault the failure has resulted is charged with the loss.


The number of pieces which are used in making up a musket is forty-nine, each of which has to be formed and finished separately. Of these there are only two—viz., the sight and what is called the cone-seat, a sort of process connected with the barrel—that are permanently attached to any other part; so that the musket can at any time be separated into forty-seven parts, by simply turning screws, and opening springs, and then put together again as before. Most of these parts are such that they are formed in the first instance by being forged or rather swedged, and are afterward trimmed and finished in lathes, and milling engines, or by means of files. Swedging, as it is called, is the forming of irregular shapes in iron by means of dies of a certain kind, called swedges, one of which is inserted in the anvil, in a cavity made for the purpose, and the other is placed above it. Cavities are cut in the faces of the swedges, so that when they are brought together, with the end of the iron rod out of which the article to be formed between them, the iron is made to assume the form of the cavities by means of blows of the hammer upon the upper swedge. In this way shapes are easily and rapidly fashioned, which it would be impossible to produce by blows directed immediately upon the iron.


The shop where this swedging work is done at the Armory contains a great number of forges, one only of which however is fully represented in the engraving. The apparatus connected with these forges, differing in each according to the particular operation for which each is intended, is far too complicated to be described in this connection. It can only be fully understood when seen in actual operation under the hands of the workman. The visitor however who has the opportunity to see it thus, lingers long before each separate forge, pleased with the ingenuity of the contrivances which he witnesses, and admiring the wonderful dexterity of the workman. There is no appearance of bellows at any of these works. The air is supplied to the fires by pipes ascending through the floor from a fan blower, as it is called, worked by machinery arranged for the purpose below.


The Stocking Shop, so called, is the department in which the stocks to which the barrel and the lock are to be attached, are formed and finished. The wood used for gun stocks in this country is the black walnut, and as this wood requires to be seasoned some years before it is used, an immense store of it is kept on hand at[Pg 17] the Armory—sufficient in fact for four years' consumption. The building in which this material is stored may be seen on the right hand side in the general view placed at the head of this article. It stands off from the square, and behind the other buildings. The operations conducted in the stocking shop are exceedingly attractive to all who visit the establishment. In fact it happens here as it often does in similar cases, that that which it is most interesting to witness is the least interesting to be described. The reason is that the charm in these processes consists in the high perfection and finish of the machines, in the smoothness, grace, and rapidity of their motions, and in the seemingly miraculous character of the performances which they execute. Of such things no mere description can convey any adequate idea. They must be seen to be at all appreciated.

A gun stock, with all the innumerable cavities, grooves, perforations, and recesses necessary to be made in it, to receive the barrel, the lock, the bands, the ramrod, and the numerous pins and screws, all of which require a separate and peculiar modification of its form, is perhaps as irregular a shape as the ingenuity of man could devise—and as well calculated as any shape could possibly be to bid defiance to every attempt at applying machinery to the work of fashioning it. The difficulties however in the way of such an attempt, insurmountable as they would at first sight seem, have all been overcome, and every part of the stock is formed, and every perforation, groove, cavity, and socket is cut in it by machines that do their work with a beauty, a grace, and a perfection, which awaken in all who witness the process, a feeling of astonishment and delight.

The general principle on which this machinery operates, in doing its work, may perhaps be made intelligible to the reader by description. The action is regulated by what are called patterns. These patterns are models in iron of the various surfaces of the stock which it is intended to form. Let us suppose, for example, that the large cavity intended to receive the lock is to be cut. The stock on which the operation is to be performed is placed in its bed in the machine, and over it, pendant from a certain movable frame-work of polished steel above, is the cutting tool, a sort of bit or borer, which is to do the work. This borer is made to revolve with immense velocity, and is at the same time susceptible of various other motions at the pleasure of the workman. It may be brought down upon the work, and moved there from side to side, so as to cut out a cavity of any required shape; and such is the mechanism of the machine that these vertical and lateral motions may be made very freely without at all interfering with the swift rotation on which the cutting power of the tool depends. This is effected by causing the tool to revolve by means of small machinery within its frame, while the frame and all within it moves together in the vertical and lateral motions.

[Pg 18]

Now if this were all, it is plain that the cutting of the cavity in the stock would depend upon the action of the workman, and the form given to it would be determined by the manner in which he should guide the tool in its lateral motions, and by the depth to which he should depress it. But this is not all. At a little distance from the cutter, and parallel to it is another descending rod, which is called the guide; and this guide is so connected with the cutting tool, by means of a very complicated and ingenious machinery, that the latter is governed rigidly and exactly in all its movements by the motion of the former. Now there is placed immediately beneath the guide, what is called the pattern, that is a cavity in a block of iron of precisely the form and size which it is intended to give to the cavity in the wooden stock. All that the workman has to do therefore, when the machine is put in motion is to bring the guide down into the pattern and move it about the circumference and through the centre of it. The cutting tool imitating precisely the motions of the guide, enters the wood, and cutting its way in the most perfect manner and with incredible rapidity, forms an exact duplicate of the cavity in the pattern. The theory of this operation is sufficiently curious and striking—but the wonder excited by it is infinitely enhanced by seeing the work done. It is on this principle substantially that all the machines of the Stocking Shop are constructed; every separate recess, perforation, or groove of the piece requiring of course its own separate mechanism. The stocks are passed from one of these engines to another in rapid succession, and come out at last, each one the perfect fac-simile of its fellow.


We have said that the number of separate parts which go to compose a musket is forty-nine; but this by no means denotes the number of distinct operations required in the manufacture of it—for almost every one of these forty-nine parts is subject to many distinct operations, each of which has its own name, is assigned to its own separate workman, and is paid for distinctly and by itself, according to the price put upon it in the general tariff of wages. The number of operations thus separately named, catalogued and priced, is three hundred and ninety-six.

These operations are entirely distinct from one another—each constituting, as it were, in some sense a distinct trade, so that it might be quite possible that no one man in the whole establishment should know how to perform any two of them. It is quite certain, in fact, that no man can perform any considerable number of them. They are of very various grades in respect to character and price—from the welding of the barrel which is in some points of view the highest and most responsible of all, down to the cutting out of pins and screws of the most insignificant character. They are all however regularly rated, and the work that is performed upon them is paid for by the piece.

[Pg 19]



When the several parts are all finished, the operation of putting them together so as to make up the musket from them complete, is called "assembling the musket." The workman who performs this function has all the various parts before him at his bench, arranged in boxes and compartments, in regular order, and taking one component from this place, and another from that, he proceeds to put the complicated piece of mechanism together. His bench is fitted up expressly for the work which he is to perform upon it, with a vice to hold without marring, and rests to support without confining, and every other convenience and facility which experience and ingenuity can suggest. With these helps, and by means of the dexterity which continued practice gives him, he performs the work in a manner so adroit and rapid, as to excite the wonder of every beholder. In fact it is always a pleasure to see any thing done that is done with grace and dexterity, and this is a pleasure which the visitor to the Armory has an opportunity to enjoy at almost every turn.

The component parts of the musket are all made according to one precise pattern, and thus when taken up at random they are sure to come properly together. There is no individual fitting required in each particular case. Any barrel will fit into any stock, and a screw designed for a particular plate or band, will enter the proper hole in any plate or band of a hundred thousand. There are many advantages which result from this precise conformity to an established pattern in the components of the musket. In the first place the work of manufacturing it is more easily performed in this way. It is always the tendency of machinery to produce similarity in its results, and thus although where only two things are to be made it is very difficult to get them alike, the case is very different where there is a call for two hundred thousand. In this last case it is far easier and cheaper to have them alike than to have them different; for in manufacturing on such a scale a machinery is employed, which results in fashioning[Pg 20] every one of its products on the precise model to which the inventor adapted the construction of it. Then, besides, a great convenience and economy results from this identity of form in the component parts of the musket, when the arms are employed in service. Spare screws, locks, bands, springs, &c., can be furnished in quantities, and sent to any remote part of the country wherever they are required; so that when any part of a soldier's gun becomes injured or broken, its place can be immediately supplied by a new piece, which is sure to fit as perfectly into the vacancy as the original occupant. Even after a battle there is nothing to prevent the surviving soldiers from making up themselves, out of a hundred broken and dismantled muskets, fifty good ones as complete and sound as ever, by rejecting what is damaged, and assembling the uninjured parts anew.

To facilitate such operations as these the mechanism by which the various parts of the musket are attached to each other and secured in their places, is studiously contrived with a view to facilitating in the highest degree the taking of them apart, and putting them together. Each soldier to whom a musket is served is provided with a little tool, which, though very simple in its construction, consists of several parts and is adapted to the performance of several functions. With the assistance of this tool the soldier sitting on the bank by the roadside, at a pause in the middle of his march, if the regulations of the service would allow him to do so, might separate his gun into its forty-seven components, and spread the parts out upon the grass around him. Then if any part was doubtful he could examine it. If any was broken he could replace it—and after having finished his inspection he could reconstruct the mechanism, and march on as before.

It results from this system that to make any change, however slight, in the pattern of the musket or in the form of any of the parts of it, is attended with great difficulty and expense. The fashion and form of every one of the component portions of the arm, are very exactly and rigidly determined by the machinery that is employed in making it, and any alteration, however apparently insignificant, would require a change in this machinery. It becomes necessary, therefore, that the precise pattern both of the whole musket and of all of its parts, once fixed, should remain permanently the same.

The most costly of the parts which lie before the workman in assembling the musket is the barrel. The value of it complete is three dollars. From the barrel we go down by a gradually descending scale to the piece of smallest value, which is a little wire called the ramrod spring wire—the value of which is only one mill; that is the workman is paid only one dollar a thousand for the manufacture of it. The time expended in assembling a musket is about ten minutes, and the price paid for the work is four cents.

[Pg 21]



The New Arsenal, which has already been alluded to in the description of the general view of the Arsenal grounds, is a very stately edifice. It is two hundred feet long, seventy feet wide, and fifty feet high. It is divided into three stories, each of which is calculated to contain one hundred thousand muskets, making three hundred thousand in all. The muskets when stored in this arsenal are arranged in racks set up for the purpose along the immense halls, where they stand upright in rows, with the glittering bayonets shooting up, as it were, above. The visitors who go into the arsenal walk up and down the aisles which separate the ranges of racks, admiring the symmetry and splendor of the display.

The Arsenal has another charm for visitors besides the beauty of the spectacle which the interior presents—and that is the magnificent panorama of the surrounding country, which is seen from the summit of the tower. This tower, which occupies the centre of the building, is about ninety feet high—and as it is about thirty feet square, the deck at the top furnishes space for a large party of visitors to stand and survey the surrounding country. Nothing can be imagined more enchanting than the view presented from this position in the month of June. The Armory grounds upon one side, and the streets of the town upon the other lie, as it were, at the feet of the spectator, while in the distance the broad and luxuriant valley of the Connecticut is spread out to view, with its villages, its fields,[Pg 22] its groves, its bridges, its winding railways, and its serpentine and beautiful streams.



The manufacture of muskets being a work that pertains in some sense to the operations of the army, should be, for that reason, under military rule. On the other hand, inasmuch as it is wholly a work of mechanical and peaceful industry, a civil administration would seem to be most appropriate for it. There is, in fact, a standing dispute on this subject both in relation to the Armory at Springfield and to that at Harper's Ferry, among those interested in the establishments, and it is a dispute which, perhaps, will never be finally settled. The Springfield Armory is at this time under military rule—the present commanding officer, Colonel Ripley, having been put in charge of it about ten years ago, previous to which time it was under civil superintendence. At the time of Col. Ripley's appointment the works, as is universally acknowledged, were in a very imperfect condition, compared with the present state. On entering upon the duties of his office, the new incumbent engaged in the work of improvement with great resolution and energy, and after contending for several years with the usual obstacles and difficulties which men have to encounter in efforts[Pg 23] at progress and reform, he succeeded in bringing the establishment up to a state of very high perfection; and now the order, the system, the neatness, the almost military exactness and decorum which pervade every department of the works are the theme of universal admiration. The grounds are kept in the most perfect condition—the shops are bright and cheerful, the walls and floors are every where neat and clean, the machinery and tools are perfect, and are all symmetrically and admirably arranged, while the workmen are well dressed, and are characterized by an air of manliness, intelligence, and thrift, that suggests to the mind of the visitor the idea of amateur mechanics, working with beautiful tools, for pleasure.

And yet the men at first complained, sometimes, of the stringency of rules and regulations required to produce these results. These rules are still in force, though now they are very generally acquiesced in. No newspapers of any kind can be taken into the shops, no tobacco or intoxicating drinks can be used there, no unnecessary conversation is allowed, and the regulations in respect to hours of attendance, and to responsibility for damaged work are very definite and strict. But even if the workmen should be disposed in any case to complain of the stringency of these requirements, they can not but be proud of the result; for they take a very evident pleasure in the gratification which every visitor manifests in witnessing the system, the order, the neatness, and the precision that every where prevail.

Nothing can be more admirably planned, or more completely and precisely executed than the system of accounts kept at the offices, by which not only every pecuniary transaction, but also, as would seem, almost every mechanical operation or act that takes place throughout the establishment is made a matter of record. Thus every thing is checked and regulated. No piece, large or small, can be lost from among its hundreds of fellows without being missed somewhere in some column of figures—and the whole history of every workman's doings, and of every piece of work done, is to be found recorded. Ask the master-armorer any questions whatever about the workings of the establishment, whether relating to the minutest detail, or to most comprehensive and general results, and he takes down a book and shows you the answer in some column or table.

After all, however, this neatness, precision, and elegance in the appearance and in the daily workings of an establishment like this, though very agreeable to the eye of the observer, constitute a test of only secondary importance in respect to the actual character of the administration that governs it. To judge properly on this point, the thing to be looked at is the actual and substantial results that are obtained. The manufacture of muskets is the great function of the Armory, and not the exhibition of beautiful workshops, and curious processes in mechanics for the entertainment of visitors. When we inquire,[Pg 24] however, into the present arrangement of this establishment, in this point of view, the conclusion seems to be still more decidedly in its favor than in the other. The cost of manufacturing each musket immediately before the commencement of the term of the present commander was about seventeen dollars and a half. During the past year it has been eight dollars and three quarters, and yet the men are paid better wages now per day, or, rather, they are paid at such rates for their work, that they can earn more now per day, than then. The saving has thus not been at all made from the pay of the workmen, but wholly from the introduction of new and improved modes of manufacture, better machines, a superior degree of order, system, and economy in every department, and other similar causes. How far the improvements which have thus been made are due to the intrinsic qualities of military government, and how far to the personal efficiency of the officer in this case intrusted with the administration of it, it might be somewhat difficult to decide.

In fact, when judging of the advancement made during a period of ten years, in an establishment of this kind, at the present age of the world, some considerable portion of the improvement that is manifested is due, doubtless, to the operation of those causes which are producing a general progress in all the arts and functions of social life. The tendency of every thing is onward. Every where, and for all purposes, machinery is improving, materials are more and more easily procured, new facilities are discovered and new inventions are made, the results of which inure to the common benefit of all mankind. It is only so far as an establishment like the Armory advances at a more rapid rate than that of the general progress of the age, that any special credit is due to those who administer its affairs. It always seems, however, to strangers visiting the Armory and observing its condition, that these general causes will account for but a small portion of the results which have been attained in the management of it, during the past ten years.


As was stated at the commencement of the article, it is only a small part of the hundreds of thousands of muskets manufactured, that are destined ever to be used. Some portion of the whole number are served out to the army, and are employed in Indian warfare, others are destined to arm garrisons in various fortresses and military posts, where they are never called to any other service than to figure in peaceful drillings and parades. Far the greater portion, however, are sent away to various parts of the country, to be stored in the national arsenals, where they lie, and are to lie, as we hope, forever, undisturbed, in the midst of scenes of rural beauty and continued peace. The flowers bloom and the birds sing unmolested around the silent and solitary depositories, where these terrible instruments of carnage and destruction unconsciously and forever repose.

[Pg 25]



It was the first great object of Napoleon, immediately upon his accession to power, to reconcile France with Europe, and to make peace with all the world. France was weary of war. She needed repose, to recover from the turmoil of revolution. Napoleon, conscious of the necessities of France, was consecrating Herculean energies for the promotion of peace. The Directory, by oppressive acts, had excited the indignation of the United States. Napoleon, by a course of conciliation, immediately removed that hostility, and, but a short time before the treaty of Luneville, ratified a treaty of amity between France and the United States. The signature of this treaty was celebrated with great rejoicings at the beautiful country seat which Joseph, who in consequence of his marriage was richer than his brother, had purchased at Morfontaine. Napoleon, accompanied by a brilliant party, met the American commissioners there. The most elegant decorations within the mansion and in the gardens, represented France and America joined in friendly union. Napoleon presented the following toast: "The memory of the French and the Americans who died on the field of battle for the independence of the New World." Lebrun, the Second Consul, proposed, "The union of America with the Northern powers, to enforce respect for the liberty of the seas." Cambaceres gave for the third toast, "The successor of Washington." Thus did Napoleon endeavor to secure the friendship of the United States.

About this time Pope Pius VI. died, and the Cardinals met to choose his successor. The respect with which Napoleon had treated the Pope, and his kindness to the emigrant priests, during the first Italian campaign, presented so strong a contrast with the violence enjoined by the Directory, as to produce a profound impression upon the minds of the Pope and the Cardinals.

The Bishop of Imola was universally esteemed for his extensive learning, his gentle virtues, and his firm probity. Upon the occasion of the union of his diocese with the Cisalpine Republic, he preached a very celebrated sermon, in which he spoke of the conduct of the French in terms highly gratifying to the young conqueror. The power of Napoleon was now in the ascendant. It was deemed important to conciliate his favor. "It is from France," said Cardinal Gonsalvi, "that persecutions have come upon us for the last ten years. It is from France, perhaps, that we shall derive aid and consolation for the future. A very extraordinary young man, one very difficult as yet to judge, holds dominion there at the present day. His influence will soon be paramount in Italy. Remember that he protected the priests in 1797. He has recently conferred funeral honors upon Pius VI." These[Pg 26] were words of deep foresight. They were appreciated by the sagacious Cardinals. To conciliate the favor of Napoleon, the Bishop of Imola was elected to the pontifical chair as Pope Pius VII.

Naples had been most perfidious in its hostility to France. The Queen of Naples was a proud daughter of Maria Theresa, and sister of the Emperor of Austria and of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. She surely must not be too severely condemned for execrating a revolution which had consigned her sister to the dungeon and to the guillotine. Naples, deprived of Austrian aid, was powerless. She trembled under apprehension of the vengeance of Napoleon. The King of Austria could no longer render his sister any assistance. She adopted the decisive and romantic expedient of proceeding in person, notwithstanding the rigor of the approaching winter, to St. Petersburg, to implore the intercession of the Emperor Paul. The eccentric monarch, flattered by the supplication of the beautiful queen, immediately espoused her cause, and dispatched a messenger to Napoleon, soliciting him, as a personal favor, to deal gently with Naples. The occurrence was, of course, a triumph and a gratification to Napoleon. Most promptly and courteously he responded to the appeal. It was indeed his constant study at this time, to arrest the further progress of the revolution, to establish the interests of France upon a basis of order and of law, and to conciliate the surrounding monarchies, by proving to them that he had no disposition to revolutionize their realms. A word from him would have driven the King and Queen of Naples into exile, and would have converted their kingdom into a republic. But Napoleon refused to utter that word, and sustained the King of Naples upon his throne.

The Duke of Parma, brother of the King of Spain, had, through the intercession of Napoleon, obtained the exchange of his duchy, for the beautiful province of Tuscany. The First Consul had also erected Tuscany into the kingdom of Etruria, containing about one million of inhabitants. The old duke, a bigoted prince, inimical to all reform, had married his son (a feeble, frivolous young man) to the daughter of his brother, the King of Spain. The kingdom of Etruria was intended for this youthful pair. Napoleon, as yet but thirty years of age, thus found himself forming kingdoms and creating kings. The young couple were in haste to ascend the throne. They could not, however, do this until the Duke of Parma should die or abdicate. The unaccommodating old duke refused to do either. Napoleon, desirous of producing a moral impression in Paris, was anxious to crown them. He therefore allowed the duke to retain Parma until his death, that his son might be placed upon the throne of Etruria. He wished to exhibit the spectacle, in the regicide metropolis of France, of a king created and enthroned by France. Thus he hoped to diminish the antipathy to kings, and to prepare the way for that restoration of the monarchical power which he[Pg 27] contemplated. He would also thus conciliate monarchical Europe, by proving that he had no design of overthrowing every kingly throne. It was indeed adroitly done. He required, therefore, the youthful princes to come to Paris, to accept the crown from his hands, as in ancient Rome vassal monarchs received the sceptre from the Cæsars. The young candidates for monarchy left Madrid, and repaired to the Tuileries, to be placed upon the throne by the First Consul. This measure had two aspects, each exceedingly striking. It frowned upon the hostility of the people to royalty, and it silenced the clamor against France, as seeking to spread democracy over the ruins of all thrones. It also proudly said, in tones which must have been excessively annoying to the haughty legitimists of Europe, "You kings must be childlike and humble. You see that I can create such beings as you are." Napoleon, conscious that his glory elevated him far above the ancient dynasty, whose station he occupied, was happy to receive the young princes with pomp and splendor. The versatile Parisians, ever delighted with novelty, forgot the twelve years of bloody revolutions, which had overturned so many thrones, and recognizing, in this strange spectacle, the fruits of their victories, and the triumph of their cause, shouted most enthusiastically, "Long live the king!" The royalists, on the other hand, chagrined and sullen, answered passionately, "Down with kings!" Strange reverse! yet how natural! Each party must have been surprised and bewildered at its own novel position. In settling the etiquette of this visit, it was decided that the young princes should call first upon Napoleon, and that he should return their call the next day. The First Consul, at the head of his brilliant military staff, received the young monarch with parental kindness and with the most delicate attentions, yet with the universally recognized superiorities of power and glory. The princes were entertained at the magnificent chateau of Talleyrand at Neuilly, with most brilliant festivals and illuminations. For a month the capital presented a scene of most gorgeous spectacles. Napoleon, too entirely engrossed with the cares of empire to devote much time to these amusements, assigned the entertainment of his guests to his ministers. Nevertheless he endeavored to give some advice to the young couple about to reign over Etruria. He was much struck with the weakness of the prince, who cherished no sense of responsibility, and was entirely devoted to trivial pleasures. He was exceedingly interested in the mysteries of cotillions, of leap-frog, and of hide-and-go-seek—and was ever thus trifling with the courtiers. Napoleon saw that he was perfectly incapable of governing, and said to one of his ministers, "You perceive that they are princes, descended from an ancient line. How can the reins of government be intrusted to such hands? But it was well to show to France this specimen of the Bourbons. She can judge if these ancient dynasties are equal to the difficulties of an age like ours." As the young king[Pg 28] left Paris for his dominions, Napoleon remarked to a friend, "Rome need not be uneasy. There is no danger of his crossing the Rubicon." Napoleon sent one of his generals to Etruria with the royal pair, ostensibly as the minister of France, but in reality as the viceroy of the First Consul. The feeble monarch desired only the rank and splendor of a king, and was glad to be released from the cares of empire. Of all the proud acts performed by Napoleon during his extraordinary career, this creation of the Etruscan king, when viewed in all its aspects, was perhaps the proudest.

Madame de Montesson had become the guilty paramour of the Duke of Orleans, grandfather of Louis Phillipe. She was not at all ashamed of this relation, which was sanctioned by the licentiousness of the times. Proud even of this alliance with a prince of the blood, she fancied that it was her privilege, as the only relative of the royal line then in Paris, to pay to the King and Queen of Etruria such honors as they might be gratified in receiving from the remains of the old court society. She therefore made a brilliant party, inviting all the returned emigrants of illustrious birth. She even had the boldness to invite the family of the First Consul, and the distinguished persons of his suite. The invitation was concealed from Napoleon, as his determination to frown upon all immorality was well known. The next morning Napoleon heard of the occurrence, and severely reprimanded those of his suite who had attended the party, dwelling with great warmth upon the impropriety of countenancing vice in high places. Savary, who attended the party, and shared in the reprimand, says, that Madame de Montesson would have been severely punished had it not been for the intervention of Josephine, who was ever ready to plead for mercy.

Napoleon having made peace with continental Europe, now turned his attention earnestly to England, that he might compel that unrelenting antagonist to lay down her arms. "France," said he, "will not reap all the blessings of a pacification, until she shall have a peace with England. But a sort of delirium has seized on that government, which now holds nothing sacred. Its conduct is unjust, not only toward the French people, but toward all the other powers of the Continent. And when governments are not just their authority is short-lived. All the continental powers must force England to fall back into the track of moderation, of equity, and of reason." Notwithstanding this state of hostilities it is pleasant to witness the interchange of the courtesy of letters. Early in January of 1801, Napoleon sent some very valuable works, magnificently bound, as a present to the Royal Society of London. A complimentary letter accompanied the present, signed—Bonaparte, President of the National Institute, and First Consul of France. As a significant intimation of his principles, there was on the letter a finely-executed vignette, representing Liberty sailing on the ocean in an open shell with the following motto:

"liberty of the seas."
[Pg 29]

England claimed the right of visiting and searching merchant ships, to whatever nation belonging, whatever the cargoes, wherever the destination. For any resistance of this right, she enforced the penalty of the confiscation of both ship and cargo. She asserted that nothing was necessary to constitute a blockade but to announce the fact, and to station a vessel to cruise before a blockaded port. Thus all the nations of the world were forbidden by England to approach a port of France. The English government strenuously contended that these principles were in accordance with the established regulations of maritime law. The neutral powers, on the other hand, affirmed that these demands were an usurpation on the part of England, founded on power, unsanctioned by the usages of nations, or by the principles of maritime jurisprudence. "Free ships," said they, "make free goods. The flag covers the merchandise. A port is to be considered blockaded only when such a force is stationed at its mouth as renders it dangerous to enter."

Under these circumstances, it was not very difficult for Napoleon to turn the arms of the united world against his most powerful foe. England had allied all the powers of Europe against France. Now Napoleon combined them all in friendly alliance with him, and directed their energies against his unyielding and unintimidated assailant. England was mistress of the seas. Upon that element she was more powerful than all Europe united. It was one great object of the British ministry to prevent any European power from becoming the maritime rival of England. Napoleon, as he cast his eye over his magnificent empire of forty millions of inhabitants, and surveyed his invincible armies, was excessively annoyed that the fifteen millions of people, crowded into the little island of England, should have undisputed dominion over the whole wide world of waters. The English have ever been respected, above all other nations, for wealth, power, courage, intelligence, and all stern virtues; but they never have been beloved. The English nation is at the present moment the most powerful, the most respected, and the most unpopular upon the surface of the globe. Providence deals in compensations. It is perhaps unreasonable to expect that all the virtues should be centred in one people. "When," exclaimed Napoleon, "will the French exchange their vanity for a little pride?" It may be rejoined, "When will the English lay aside their pride for a little vanity—that perhaps more ignoble, but certainly better-natured foible?" England, abandoned by all her allies, continued the war, apparently because her pride revolted at the idea of being conquered into a peace. And in truth England had not been vanquished at all. Her fleets were every where triumphant. The blows of Napoleon, which fell with such terrible severity upon her allies, could not reach her floating batteries. The genius of Napoleon overshadowed the land. The genius of Pitt swept the seas. The commerce of France was entirely annihilated. The English navy, in[Pg 30] the utter destitution of nobler game, even pursued poor French fishermen, and took away their haddock and their cod. The verdict of history will probably pronounce that this was at least a less magnificent rapacity than to despoil regal and ducal galleries of the statues of Phidias and the cartoons of Raphael.

England declared France to be in a state of blockade, and forbade all the rest of the world from having any commercial intercourse with her. Her invincible fleet swept all seas. Wherever an English frigate encountered any merchant ship, belonging to whatever nation, a shot was fired across her bows as a very emphatic command to stop. If the command was unheeded a broadside followed, and the peaceful merchantman became lawful prize. If the vessel stopped, a boat was launched from the frigate, a young lieutenant ascended the sides of the merchantman, demanded of the captain the papers, and searched the ship. If he found on board any goods which he judged to belong to France, he took them away. If he could find any goods which he could consider as munitions of war, and which in his judgment the ship was conveying to France, the merchantman, with all its contents was confiscated. Young lieutenants in the navy are not proverbial for wasting many words in compliments. They were often overbearing and insolent. England contended that these were the established principles of maritime law. All the nations of Europe, now at peace with France, excessively annoyed at this right of search, which was rigorously enforced, declared it to be an intolerable usurpation on the part of England. Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, France, and Spain united in a great confederacy to resist these demands of the proud monarch of the seas. The genius of Napoleon formed this grand coalition. Paul of Russia, now a most enthusiastic admirer of the First Consul, entered into it with all his soul. England soon found herself single-handed against the world in arms. With sublime energy the British ministry collected their strength for the conflict. Murmurs, however, and remonstrances loud and deep pervaded all England. The opposition roused itself to new vigor. The government, in the prosecution of this war, had already involved the nation in a debt of millions upon millions. But the pride of the English government was aroused. "What! make peace upon compulsion!" England was conscious of her maritime power, and feared not the hostility of the world. And the world presented a wide field from which to collect remuneration for her losses. She swept the ocean triumphantly. The colonies of the allies dropped into her hand, like fruit from the overladen bough. Immediately upon the formation of this confederacy, England issued an embargo upon every vessel belonging to the allied powers, and also orders were issued for the immediate capture of any merchant vessels, belonging to these powers, wherever they could be found. The ocean instantly swarmed with English privateersmen.[Pg 31] Her navy was active every where. There had been no proclamation of war issued. The merchants of Europe were entirely unsuspicious of any such calamity. Their ships were all exposed. By thousands they were swept into the ports of England. More than half of the ships, belonging to the northern powers, then at sea, were captured.

Russia, Denmark, and Sweden, had a large armament in the Baltic. A powerful English fleet was sent for its destruction. The terrible energies of Nelson, so resplendent at Aboukir, were still more resplendent at Copenhagen. A terrific conflict ensued. The capital of Denmark was filled with weeping and woe, for thousands of her most noble sons, the young and the joyous, were weltering in blood. "I have been," said Nelson, "in above a hundred engagements; but that of Copenhagen was the most terrible of them all."

In the midst of this terrific cannonade, Nelson was rapidly walking the quarter-deck, which was slippery with blood and covered with the dead, who could not be removed as fast as they fell. A heavy shot struck the main-mast, scattering the splinters in every direction. He looked upon the devastation around him, and, sternly smiling, said, "This is warm work, and this day may be the last to any of us in a moment. But mark me, I would not be elsewhere for thousands." This was heroic, but it was not noble. It was the love of war, not the love of humanity. It was the spirit of an Indian chieftain, not the spirit of a Christian Washington. The commander-in-chief of the squadron, seeing the appalling carnage, hung out the signal for discontinuing the action. Nelson was for a moment deeply agitated, and then exclaimed to a companion, "I have but one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes." Then, putting the glass to his blind eye, he said, "I really don't see the signal. Keep mine for closer battle still flying. That is the way I answer such signals. Nail mine to the mast." The human mind is so constituted that it must admire heroism. That sentiment is implanted in every generous breast for some good purpose. Welmoes, a gallant young Dane, but seventeen years of age, stationed himself on a small raft, carrying six guns with twenty-four men, directly under the bows of Nelson's ship. The unprotected raft was swept by an incessant storm of bullets from the English marines. Knee deep in the dead this fearless stripling continued to keep up his fire to the close of the conflict. The next day, Nelson met him at a repast at the palace. Admiring the gallantry of his youthful enemy, he embraced him with enthusiasm, exclaiming to the Crown Prince, "He deserves to be made an admiral." "Were I to make all my brave officers admirals," replied the Prince, "I should have no captains or lieutenants in my service."

By this battle the power of the confederacy was broken. At the same time, the Emperor Paul was assassinated in his palace, by his nobles, and Alexander, his son, ascended the[Pg 32] throne. When Napoleon heard of the death of Paul, it is said that he gave utterance, for the first time in his life, to that irreverent expression, "Mon Dieu" (My God), which is ever upon the lips of every Frenchman. He regarded his death as a great calamity to France and to the world. The eccentricities of the Emperor amounted almost to madness. But his enthusiastic admiration for Napoleon united France and Russia in a close alliance.

The nobles of Russia were much displeased with the democratic equality which Napoleon was sustaining in France. They plotted the destruction of the king, and raised Alexander to the throne, pledged to a different policy. The young monarch immediately withdrew from the maritime confederacy, and entered into a treaty of peace with England. These events apparently so disastrous to the interests of France, were on the contrary highly conducive to the termination of the war. The English people, weary of the interminable strife, and disgusted with the oceans of blood which had been shed, more and more clamorously demanded peace. And England could now make peace without the mortification of her pride.

Napoleon was extremely vigilant in sending succor to the army in Egypt. He deemed it very essential in order to promote the maritime greatness of France, that Egypt should be retained as a colony. His pride was also enlisted in proving to the world that he had not transported forty-six thousand soldiers to Egypt in vain. Vessels of every description, ships of war, merchantmen, dispatch-boats, sailed almost daily from the various ports of Holland, France, Spain, Italy, and even from the coast of Barbary, laden with provisions, European goods, wines, munitions of war, and each taking a file of French newspapers. Many of these vessels were captured. Others, however, escaped the vigilance of the cruisers, and gave to the colony most gratifying proof of the interest which the First Consul took in its welfare. While Napoleon was thus daily endeavoring to send partial relief to the army in Egypt, he was at the same time preparing a vast expedition to convey thither a powerful reinforcement of troops and materials of war. Napoleon assembled this squadron at Brest, ostensibly destined for St. Domingo. He selected seven of the fastest sailing ships, placed on board of them five thousand men and an ample supply of all those stores most needed in Egypt. He ordered that each vessel should contain a complete assortment of every individual article, prepared for the colony, so that in the event of one vessel being captured, the colony would not be destitute of the precise article which that vessel might otherwise have contained. He also, in several other places, formed similar expeditions, hoping thus to distract the attention of England, and compel her to divide her forces to guard all exposed points. Taking advantage of this confusion, he was almost certain that some of the vessels would reach Egypt. The plan would have been triumphantly successful,[Pg 33] as subsequent events proved, had the naval commanders obeyed the instructions of Napoleon. A curious instance now occurred, of what may be called the despotism of the First Consul. And yet it is not strange that the French people should, under the peculiar circumstances, have respected and loved such despotism. The following order was issued to the Minister of Police: "Citizen Minister—Have the goodness to address a short circular to the editors of the fourteen journals, forbidding the insertion of any article, calculated to afford the enemy the slightest clew to the different movements which are taking place in our squadrons, unless the intelligence be derived from the official journal." Napoleon had previously through the regularly constituted tribunals, suppressed all the journals in Paris, but fourteen. The world has often wondered why France so readily yielded to the despotism of Napoleon. It was because the French were convinced that dictatorial power was essential to the successful prosecution of the war; and that each act of Napoleon was dictated by the most wise and sincere patriotism. They were willing to sacrifice the liberty of the press, that they might obtain victory over their enemies.

The condition of England was now truly alarming. Nearly all the civilized world was in arms against her. Her harvests had been cut off, and a frightful famine ravaged the land. The starving people were rising in different parts of the kingdom, pillaging the magnificent country seats of the English aristocracy, and sweeping in riotous mobs through the cities. The masses in England and in Ireland, wretchedly perishing of hunger, clamored loudly against Pitt. They alleged that he was the cause of all their calamities—that he had burdened the nation with an enormous debt and with insupportable taxes—that by refusing peace with France, he had drawn all the continental powers into hostility with England, and thus had deprived the people of that food from the Continent which was now indispensable for the support of life. The opposition, seeing the power of Pitt shaken, redoubled their blows. Fox, Tiernay, Grey, Sheridan, and Holland renewed their attacks with all the ardor of anticipated success. "Why," said they, "did you not make peace with France, when the First Consul proposed it before the battle of Marengo? Why did you not consent to peace, when it was again proposed after that battle? Why did you refuse consent to separate negotiation, when Napoleon was willing to enter into such without demanding the cessation of hostilities by sea?" They contrasted the distress of England with the prosperity of France. "France," said they, "admirably governed, is at peace with Europe. In the eyes of the world, she appears humane, wise, tranquil, evincing the most exemplary moderation after all her victories." With bitter irony they exclaimed, "What have you now to say of this young Bonaparte, of this rash youth who, according to the ministerial language, was only doomed to enjoy[Pg 34] a brief existence, like his predecessors, so ephemeral, that it did not entitle him to be treated with?"

Pitt was disconcerted by the number of his enemies, and by the clamors of a famishing people. His proud spirit revolted at the idea of changing his course. He could only reiterate his argument, that if he had not made war against revolutionary France, England would also have been revolutionized. There is an aspect of moral sublimity in the firmness with which this distinguished minister breasted a world in arms. "As to the demand of the neutral powers," said he, "we must envelop ourselves in our flag, and proudly find our grave in the deep, rather than admit the validity of such principles in the maritime code of nations." Though Pitt still retained his numerical majority in the Parliament, the masses of the people were turning with great power against him, and he felt that his position was materially weakened. Under these circumstances, Pitt, idolized by the aristocracy, execrated by the democracy, took occasion to send in his resignation. The impression seemed to be universal, that the distinguished minister, perceiving that peace must be made with France, temporarily retired, that it might be brought about by others, rather than by himself. He caused himself, however, to be succeeded by Mr. Addington, a man of no distinguished note, but entirely under his influence. The feeble intellect of the King of England, though he was one of the most worthy and conscientious of men, was unequal to these political storms. A renewed attack of insanity incapacitated him for the functions of royalty. Mr. Pitt, who had been prime minister for seventeen years, became by this event virtually the king of England, and Mr. Addington was his minister.

Napoleon now announced to the world his determination to struggle hand to hand with England, until he had compelled that government to cease to make war against France. Conscious of the naval superiority of his foes, he avowed his resolve to cross the channel with a powerful army, march directly upon London, and thus compel the cabinet of St. James's to make peace. It was a desperate enterprise; so desperate that to the present day it is doubted whether Napoleon ever seriously contemplated carrying it into effect. It was, however, the only measure Napoleon could now adopt. The naval superiority of England was so undeniable, that a maritime war was hopeless. Nelson, in command of the fleet of the channel, would not allow even a fishing boat to creep out from a French cove. Napoleon was very desirous of securing in his favor the popular opinion of England, and the sympathies of the whole European public. He prepared with his own hand many articles for the "Moniteur," which were models of eloquent and urgent polemics, and which elicited admiration from readers in all countries. He wrote in the most respectful and complimentary terms of the new English ministry, representing them as intelligent, upright, and well-intentioned men.[Pg 35] He endeavored to assure Europe of the unambitious desires of France, and contrasted her readiness to relinquish the conquests which she had made, with the eager grasp with which the English held their enormous acquisitions in India, and in the islands of the sea. With the utmost delicacy, to avoid offending the pride of Britain, he affirmed that a descent upon England would be his last resource, that he fully appreciated the bravery and the power of the English, and the desperate risks which he should encounter in such an undertaking. But he declared that there was no other alternative left to him, and that if the English ministers were resolved that the war should not be brought to a close, but by the destruction of one of the two nations, there was not a Frenchman who would not make the most desperate efforts to terminate this cruel quarrel to the glory of France. "But why," exclaimed he, in words singularly glowing and beautiful, but of melancholy import, "why place the question on this last resort? Wherefore not put an end to the sufferings of humanity? Wherefore risk in this manner the lot of two great nations? Happy are nations when, having arrived at high prosperity, they have wise governments, which care not to expose advantages so vast, to the caprices and vicissitudes of a single stroke of fortune." These most impressive papers, from the pen of the First Consul, remarkable for their vigorous logic and impassioned eloquence, produced a deep impression upon all minds. This conciliatory language was accompanied by the most serious demonstrations of force upon the shores of the Channel. One hundred thousand men were upon the coasts of France, in the vicinity of Boulogne, preparing for the threatened invasion. Boats without number were collected to transport the troops across the narrow channel. It was asserted that by taking advantage of a propitious moment immediately after a storm had scattered the English fleet, France could concentrate such a force as to obtain a temporary command of the channel, and the strait could be crossed by the invaders. England was aroused thoroughly, but not alarmed. The militia was disciplined, the whole island converted into a camp. Wagons were constructed for the transportation of troops to any threatened point. It is important that the reader should distinguish this first threat of invasion in 1801, from that far more powerful naval and military organization executed for the same purpose in 1804, and known under the name of the Camp of Boulogne.

Not a little uneasiness was felt in England respecting the temporary success of the great conqueror. Famine raged throughout the island. Business was at a stand. The taxes were enormous. Ireland was on the eve of revolt. The mass of the English people admired the character of Napoleon; and, notwithstanding all the efforts of the government, regarded him as the foe of aristocracy and the friend of popular rights. Nelson, with an invincible armament, was triumphantly sweeping the Channel, and a[Pg 36] French gun-boat could not creep round a head-land without encountering the vigilance of the energetic hero. Napoleon, in escaping from Egypt, had caught Nelson napping in a lady's lap. The greatest admirers of the naval hero, could not but smile, half-pleased that, under the guilty circumstances, he had met with the misadventure. He was anxious, by a stroke of romantic heroism, to obliterate this impression from the public mind. The vast flotilla of France, most thoroughly manned and armed under the eye of Napoleon, was anchored at Boulogne, in three divisions, in a line parallel to the shore. Just before the break of day on the 4th of August, the fleet of Nelson, in magnificent array, approached the French flotilla, and for sixteen hours rained down upon it a perfect tornado of balls and shells. The gun-boats were, however, chained to one another, and to the shore. He did not succeed in taking a single boat, and retired mortified at his discomfiture, and threatening to return in a few days to take revenge. The French were exceedingly elated that in a naval conflict they had avoided defeat. As they stood there merely upon self-defense, victory was out of the question.

The reappearance of Nelson was consequently daily expected, and the French, emboldened by success, prepared to give him a warm reception. Twelve days after, on the 16th of August, Nelson again appeared with a vastly increased force. In the darkness of the night he filled his boats with picked men, to undertake one of the most desperate enterprises on record. In four divisions, with muffled oars, this forlorn hope, in the silence of midnight, approached the French flotilla. The butchery, with swords, hatchets, bayonets, bullets, and hand grenades, was hideous. Both parties fought with perfect fury. No man seemed to have the slightest regard for limb or life. England was fighting for, she knew not what. The French were contending in self-defense. For four long hours of midnight gloom, the slaughter continued. Thousands perished. Just as the day was dawning upon the horrid scene the English retired, repulsed at every point, and confessing to a defeat. The result of these conflicts diminished the confidence of the English in Nelson's ability to destroy the preparations of Napoleon, and increased their apprehension that the French might be enabled by some chance, to carry the war of invasion to their own firesides.

"I was resolved," said Napoleon, afterward, "to renew, at Cherbourg, the wonders of Egypt. I had already raised in the sea my pyramid. I would also have had my Lake Mareotis. My great object was to concentrate all our maritime forces, and in time they would have been immense, in order to be able to deal out a grand stroke at the enemy. I was establishing my ground so as to bring the two nations, as it were, body to body. The ultimate issue could not be doubtful; for we had forty millions of French against fifteen millions of English. I would have terminated the strife by a battle of Actium."

[Pg 37]

One after another of the obstacles in the way of peace now gradually gave way. Overtures were made to Napoleon. He accepted the advances of England with the greatest eagerness and cordiality. "Peace," said he, "is easily brought about, if England desires it." On the evening of the 21st of October the preliminaries were signed in London. That very night a courier left England to convey the joyful intelligence to France. He arrived at Malmaison, the rural retreat of Napoleon, at four o'clock in the afternoon of the next day. At that moment the three Consuls were holding a government council. The excitement of joy, in opening the dispatches, was intense. The Consuls ceased from their labors, and threw themselves into each other's arms in cordial embraces. Napoleon, laying aside all reserve, gave full utterance to the intense joy which filled his bosom. It was for him a proud accomplishment. In two years, by his genius and his indefatigable exertions he had restored internal order to France, and peace to the world. Still, even in this moment of triumph, his entire, never wavering devotion to the welfare of France, like a ruling passion strong even in death, rose above his exultation. "Now that we have made a treaty of peace with England," said Cambaceres, "we must make a treaty of commerce, and remove all subjects of dispute between the two countries." Napoleon promptly replied, "Not so fast! The political peace is made. So much the better. Let us enjoy it. As to a commercial peace we will make one, if we can. But at no price will I sacrifice French industry. I remember the misery of 1786." The news had been kept secret in London for twenty-four hours, that the joyful intelligence might be communicated in both capitals at the same time. The popular enthusiasm both in England and France bordered almost upon delirium. It was the repose of the Continent. It was general, universal peace. It was opening the world to the commerce of all nations. War spreads over continents the glooms of the world of woe; while peace illumines them with the radiance of Heaven. Illuminations blazed every where. Men, the most phlegmatic, met and embraced each other with tears. The people of England surrendered themselves to the most extraordinary transports of ardor. They loved the French. They adored the hero, the sage, the great pacificator, who governed France. The streets of London resounded with shouts, "Long live Bonaparte." Every stage-coach which ran from London, bore triumphant banners, upon which were inscribed, Peace with France. The populace of London rushed to the house of the French negotiator. He had just entered his carriage to visit Lord Hawkesbury, to exchange ratifications. The tumultuous throng of happy men unharnessed his horses and dragged him in triumph, in the delirium of their joy rending the skies with their shouts. The crowd and the rapturous confusion at last became so great that Lord Vincent, fearing some accident, placed himself at the head of the amiable mob,[Pg 38] as it triumphantly escorted and conveyed the carriage from minister to minister.

A curious circumstance occurred at the festival in London, highly characteristic of the honest bluntness, resolution, and good nature of English seamen. The house of M. Otto, the French minister, was most brilliantly illuminated. Attracted by its surpassing splendor a vast crowd of sailors had gathered around. The word concord blazed forth most brilliantly in letters of light. The sailors, not very familiar with the spelling-book, exclaimed, "Conquered! not so, by a great deal. That will not do." Excitement and dissatisfaction rapidly spread. Violence was threatened. M. Otto came forward himself most blandly, but his attempts at explanation were utterly fruitless. The offensive word was removed, and amity substituted. The sailors, fully satisfied with the amende honorable, gave three cheers and went on their way rejoicing.

In France the exultation was, if possible, still greater than in England. The admiration of Napoleon, and the confidence in his wisdom and his patriotism were perfectly unbounded. No power was withheld from the First Consul which he was willing to assume. The nation placed itself at his feet. All over the Continent Napoleon received the honorable title of "The Hero Pacificator of Europe." And yet there was a strong under-current to this joy. Napoleon was the favorite, not of the nobles, but of the people. Even his acts of despotic authority were most cordially sustained by the people of France, for they believed that such acts were essential for the promotion of their welfare. "The ancient privileged classes and the foreign cabinets," said Napoleon, "hate me worse than they did Robespierre." The hosannas with which the name of Bonaparte was resounding through the cities and the villages of England fell gloomily upon the ears of Mr. Pitt and his friends. The freedom of the seas was opening to the energetic genius of Napoleon, an unobstructed field for the maritime aggrandizement of France. The British minister knew that the sleepless energies of Napoleon would, as with a magician's wand, call fleets into existence to explore all seas. Sorrowfully he contemplated a peace to which the popular voice had compelled him to yield, and which in his judgment boded no good to the naval superiority of England.

It was agreed that the plenipotentiaries, to settle the treaty definitively, should meet at Amiens, an intermediate point midway between London and Paris. The English appointed as their minister Lord Cornwallis. The Americans, remembering this distinguished general at Brandywine, Camden, and at the surrender of Yorktown, have been in the habit of regarding him as an enemy. But he was a gallant soldier, and one of the most humane, high-minded, and estimable of men. Frankly he avowed his conviction that the time had arrived for terminating the miseries of the world by peace. Napoleon has paid a noble tribute to the integrity, urbanity, sagacity,[Pg 39] and unblemished honor of Lord Cornwallis. Joseph Bonaparte was appointed by the First Consul embassador on the part of France. The suavity of his manners, the gentleness of his disposition, his enlightened and liberal political views, and the Christian morality which, in those times of general corruption, embellished his conduct, peculiarly adapted him to fulfill the duties of a peace-maker. Among the terms of the treaty it was agreed that France should abandon her colony in Egypt, as endangering the English possessions in India. In point of fact, the French soldiers had already, by capitulation, agreed to leave Egypt, but tidings of the surrender had not then reached England or France. The most important question in these deliberations was the possession of the Island of Malta. The power in possession of that impregnable fortress had command of the Mediterranean. Napoleon insisted upon it, as a point important above all others, that England should not retain Malta. He was willing to relinquish all claim to it himself, and to place it in the hands of a neutral power; but he declared his unalterable determination that he could by no possibility consent that it should remain in the hands of England. At last England yielded, and agreed to evacuate Malta, and that it should be surrendered to the Knights of St. John.

This pacification, so renowned in history both for its establishment and for its sudden and disastrous rupture, has ever been known by the name of the Peace of Amiens. Napoleon determined to celebrate the joyful event by a magnificent festival. The 10th of November, 1801, was the appointed day. It was the anniversary of Napoleon's attainment of the consular power. Friendly relations having been thus restored between the two countries, after so many years of hostility and carnage, thousands of the English flocked across the channel and thronged the pavements of Paris. All were impatient to see France, thus suddenly emerging from such gloom into such unparalleled brilliancy; and especially to see the man, who at that moment was the admiration of England and of the world. The joy which pervaded all classes invested this festival with sublimity. With a delicacy of courtesy characteristic of the First Consul, no carriages but those of Lord Cornwallis were allowed in the streets on that day. The crowd of Parisians, with most cordial and tumultuous acclamations, opened before the representative of the armies of England. The illustrious Fox was one of the visitors on this occasion. He was received by Napoleon with the utmost consideration, and with the most delicate attentions. In passing through the gallery of sculpture, his lady pointed his attention to his own statue filling a niche by the side of Washington and Brutus. "Fame," said Napoleon, "had informed me of the talents of Fox. I soon found that he possessed a noble character, a good heart, liberal, generous, and enlightened views. I considered him an ornament to mankind, and was much attached to him." Every one who came[Pg 40] into direct personal contact with the First Consul at this time, was charmed with his character.

Nine deputies from Switzerland, the most able men the republic could furnish, were appointed to meet Napoleon, respecting the political arrangements of the Swiss cantons. Punctual to the hour the First Consul entered a neat spacious room, where there was a long table covered with green baize. Dr. Jones of Bristol, the intimate friend of several of these deputies, and who was with them in Paris at the time, thus describes the interview. "The First Consul entered, followed by two of his ministers, and after the necessary salutation, sat down at the head of the table, his ministers on each side of him. The deputies then took their seats. He spread out before them a large map as necessary to the subject of their deliberations. He then requested that they would state freely any objection which might occur to them in the plan which he should propose. They availed themselves of the liberty, and suggested several alterations which they deemed advantageous to France and Switzerland. But from the prompt, clear, and unanswerable reasons which Napoleon gave in reply to all their objections, he completely convinced them of the wisdom of his plans. After an animated discussion of ten hours, they candidly admitted that he was better acquainted with the local circumstances of the Swiss cantons, and with what would secure their welfare than they were themselves. During the whole discussion his ministers did not speak one word. The deputies afterward declared that it was their decided opinion that Napoleon was the most extraordinary man whom they had met in modern times, or of whom they had read in ancient history." Said M. Constant and M. Sismondi, who both knew Napoleon well, "The quickness of his conception, the depth of his remarks, the facility and propriety of his eloquence, and above all the candor of his replies and his patient silence, were more remarkable and attractive than we ever met with in any other individual."

"What your interests require," said Napoleon, at this time, "is: 1. Equality of rights among the whole eighteen cantons. 2. A sincere and voluntary renunciation of all exclusive privileges on the part of patrician families. 3. A federative organization, where every canton may find itself arranged according to its language, its religion, its manners, and its interests. The central government remains to be provided for, but it is of much less consequence than the central organization. Situated on the summit of the mountains which separate France, Italy, and Germany, you participate in the disposition of all these countries. You have never maintained regular armies, nor had established, accredited agents at the courts of the different governments. Strict neutrality, a prosperous commerce, and family administration, can alone secure your interests, or be suited to your wishes. Every organization which could be established among you, hostile to the interests of France, would injure you in the most essential particulars." This was commending[Pg 41] to them a federative organization similar to that of the United States, and cautioning them against the evil of a centralization of power. No impartial man can deny that the most profound wisdom marked the principles which Napoleon suggested to terminate the divisions with which the cantons of Switzerland had long been agitated. "These lenient conditions," says Alison, "gave universal satisfaction in Switzerland." The following extract from the noble speech which Napoleon pronounced on the formation of the constitution of the confederacy, will be read by many with surprise, by all with interest.

"The re-establishment of the ancient order of things in the democratic cantons is the best course which can be adopted, both for you and me. They are the states whose peculiar form of government render them so interesting in the eyes of all Europe. But for this pure democracy you would exhibit nothing which is not to be found elsewhere. Beware of extinguishing so remarkable a distinction. I know well that this democratic system of administration has many inconveniences. But it is established. It has existed for centuries. It springs from the circumstances, situation, and primitive habits of the people, from the genius of the place, and can not with safety be abandoned. You must never take away from a democratic society the practical exercise of its privileges. To give such exercise a direction consistent with the tranquillity of the state is the part of true political wisdom. In ancient Rome the votes were counted by classes, and they threw into the last class the whole body of indigent citizens, while the first contained only a few hundred of the most opulent. But the populace were content, and, amused with the solicitation of their votes, did not perceive the immense difference in their relative value." The moral influence which France thus obtained in Switzerland was regarded with extreme jealousy by all the rival powers. Says Alison, who, though imbued most strongly with monarchical and aristocratic predilections, is the most appreciative and impartial of the historians of Napoleon, "His conduct and language on this occasion, were distinguished by his usual penetration and ability, and a most unusual degree of lenity and forbearance. And if any thing could have reconciled the Swiss to the loss of their independence, it must have been the wisdom and equity on which his mediation was founded."

The English who visited Paris, were astonished at the indications of prosperity which the metropolis exhibited. They found France in a very different condition from the hideous picture which had been described by the London journals. But there were two parties in England. Pitt and his friends submitted with extreme reluctance to a peace which they could not avoid. Says Alison, "But while these were the natural feelings of the inconsiderate populace, who are ever governed by present impressions, and who were for the most part destitute of the information[Pg 42] requisite to form a rational opinion on the subject, there were many men, gifted with greater sagacity and foresight, who deeply lamented the conditions by which peace had been purchased, and from the very first prophesied that it could be of no long endurance. They observed that the war had been abruptly terminated, without any one object being gained for which it was undertaken; that it was entered into in order to curb the ambition, and to stop the democratic propagandism of France." These "many men gifted with greater sagacity," with William Pitt at their head, now employed themselves with sleepless vigilance and with fatal success to bring to a rupture a peace which they deemed so untoward. Sir Walter Scott discloses the feelings with which this party were actuated, in the observations, "It seems more than probable that the extreme rejoicing of the rabble of London, at signing the preliminaries, their dragging about the carriage of Lauriston, and shouting 'Bonaparte forever,' had misled the ruler of France into an opinion that peace was indispensably necessary to England. He may easily enough have mistaken the cries of a London mob for the voice of the British people."

In the midst of all these cares, Napoleon was making strenuous efforts to restore religion to France. It required great moral courage to prosecute such a movement. Nearly all the generals in his armies were rank infidels, regarding every form of religion with utter contempt. The religious element, by nature, predominated in the bosom of Napoleon. He was constitutionally serious, thoughtful, pensive. A profound melancholy ever overshadowed his reflective spirit. His inquisitive mind pondered the mysteries of the past and the uncertainties of the future. Educated in a wild country, where the peasantry were imbued with religious feelings, and having been trained by a pious mother, whose venerable character he never ceased to adore, the sight of the hallowed rites of religion revived in his sensitive and exalted imagination the deepest impressions of his childhood. He had carefully studied, on his return from Egypt, the New Testament, and appreciated and profoundly admired its beautiful morality. He often conversed with Monge, Lagrange, Laplace, sages whom he honored and loved, and he frequently embarrassed them in their incredulity, by the logical clearness of his arguments. The witticisms of Voltaire, and the corruptions of unbridled sin, had rendered the purity of the gospel unpalatable to France. Talleyrand, annoyed by the remembrance of his own apostasy, bitterly opposed what he called "the religious peace." Nearly all the supporters and friends of the First Consul condemned every effort to bring back that which they denominated the reign of superstition. Napoleon honestly believed that the interests of France demanded that God should be recognized and Christianity respected by the French nation.

"Hear me," said Napoleon one day earnestly to Monge. "I do not maintain these opinions through the positiveness of a devotee, but from[Pg 43] reason. My religion is very simple. I look at this universe, so vast, so complex, so magnificent, and I say to myself that it can not be the result of chance, but the work, however intended, of an unknown, omnipotent being, as superior to man as the universe is superior to the finest machines of human invention. Search the philosophers, and you will not find a more decisive argument, and you can not weaken it. But this truth is too succinct for man. He wishes to know, respecting himself and respecting his future destiny, a crowd of secrets which the universe does not disclose. Allow religion to inform him of that which he feels the need of knowing, and respect her disclosures."

One day when this matter was under earnest discussion in the council of state, Napoleon said, "Last evening I was walking alone, in the woods, amid the solitude of nature. The tones of a distant church bell fell upon my ear. Involuntarily I felt deep emotion. So powerful is the influence of early habits and associations. I said to myself, If I feel thus, what must be the influence of such impressions upon the popular mind? Let your philosophers answer that, if they can. It is absolutely indispensable to have a religion for the people. It will be said that I am a Papist. I am not. I am convinced that a part of France would become Protestant, were I to favor that disposition. I am also certain that the much greater portion would continue Catholic; and that they would oppose, with the greatest zeal, the division among their fellow-citizens. We should then have the Huguenot wars over again, and interminable conflicts. But by reviving a religion which has always prevailed in the country, and by giving perfect liberty of conscience to the minority, all will be satisfied."

On another occasion he remarked, "What renders me most hostile to the establishment of the Catholic worship, are the numerous festivals formerly observed. A saint's-day is a day of idleness, and I do not wish for that. People must labor in order to live. I shall consent to four holidays during the year, but to no more. If the gentlemen from Rome are not satisfied with that, they may take their departure." The loss of time appeared to him such a calamity, that he almost invariably appointed any indispensable celebration upon some day previously devoted to festivity.

The new pontiff was attached to Napoleon by the secret chain of mutual sympathy. They had met, as we have before remarked, during the wars of Italy. Pius VII., then the bishop of Imola, was surprised and delighted in finding in the young republican general, whose fame was filling Europe, a man of refinement, of exalted genius, of reflection, of serious character, of unblemished purity of life, and of delicate sensibilities, restraining the irreligious propensities of his soldiers, and respecting the temples of religion. With classic purity and eloquence he spoke the Italian language. The dignity and decorum of his manners, and his love of order, were strangely contrasted with the recklessness[Pg 44] of the ferocious soldiers with whom he was surrounded. The impression thus produced upon the heart of the pontiff was never effaced. Justice and generosity are always politic. But he must indeed be influenced by an ignoble spirit who hence infers, that every act of magnanimity is dictated by policy. A legate was sent by the Pope to Paris. "Let the holy father," said Napoleon, "put the utmost confidence in me. Let him cast himself into my arms, and I will be for the church another Charlemagne."

Napoleon had collected for himself a religious library of well chosen books, relating to the organization and the history of the church, and to the relations of church and state. He had ordered the Latin writings of Bossuet to be translated for him. These works he had devoured in those short intervals which he could glean from the cares of government. His genius enabled him, at a glance, to master the argument of an author, to detect any existing sophistry. His memory, almost miraculously retentive, and the philosophical cast of his mind, gave him at all times the perfect command of these treasures of knowledge. He astonished the world by the accuracy, extent, and variety of his information upon all points of religion. It was his custom, when deeply interested in any subject, to discuss it with all persons from whom he could obtain information. With clear, decisive, and cogent arguments he advocated his own views, and refuted the erroneous systems successively proposed to him. It was urged upon Napoleon, that if he must have a church, he should establish a French church, independent of that of Rome. The poetic element was too strong in the character of Napoleon for such a thought. "What!" he exclaimed, "shall I, a warrior, wearing sword and spurs, and doing battle, attempt to become the head of a church, and to regulate church discipline and doctrine. I wish to be the pacificator of France and of the world, and shall I become the originator of a new schism, a little more absurd and not less dangerous than the preceding ones. I must have a Pope, and a Pope who will approximate men's minds to each other, instead of creating divisions; who will reunite them, and give them to the government sprung from the revolution, as a price for the protection that he shall have obtained from it. For this purpose I must have the true Pope, the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Pope, whose seat is at the Vatican. With the French armies and some deference, I shall always be sufficiently his master. When I shall raise up the altars again, when I shall protect the priests, when I shall feed them, and treat them as ministers of religion deserve to be treated in every country, he will do what I ask of him, through the interest he will have in the general tranquillity. He will calm men's minds, reunite them under his hand, and place them under mine. Short of this there is only a continuation and an aggravation of the desolating schism which is preying on us, and for me an immense and indelible ridicule."

The Pope's legate most strenuously urged[Pg 45] some of the most arrogant and exclusive assumptions of the papal church. "The French people must be allured back to religion," said Napoleon, "not shocked. To declare the Catholic religion the religion of the state is impossible. It is contrary to the ideas prevalent in France, and will never be admitted. In place of this declaration we can only substitute the avowal of the fact, that the Catholic religion is the religion of the majority of Frenchmen. But there must be perfect freedom of opinion. The amalgamation of wise and honest men of all parties is the principle of my government. I must apply that principle to the church as well as to the state. It is the only way of putting an end to the troubles of France, and I shall persist in it undeviatingly."

Napoleon was overjoyed at the prospect, not only of a general peace with Europe, but of religious peace in France. In all the rural districts, the inhabitants longed for their churches and their pastors, and for the rites of religion. In the time of the Directory, a famous wooden image of the Virgin had been taken from the church at Loretto, and was deposited in one of the museums of Paris, as a curiosity. The sincere Catholics were deeply wounded and irritated by this act, which to them appeared so sacrilegious. Great joy was caused both in France and Italy, when Napoleon sent a courier to the Pope, restoring this statue, which was regarded with very peculiar veneration. The same embassador carried the terms of agreement for peace with the church. This religious treaty with Rome was called "The Concordat." The Pope, in secular power, was helpless. Napoleon could, at any moment, pour a resistless swarm of troops into his territories. As the French embassador left the Tuileries, he asked the First Consul for his instructions. "Treat the Pope," said Napoleon, magnanimously, "as if he had two hundred thousand soldiers." The difficulties in the way of an amicable arrangement were innumerable. The army of France was thoroughly infidel. Most of the leading generals and statesmen who surrounded Napoleon, contemplated Christianity in every aspect with hatred and scorn. On the other hand, the Catholic Church, uninstructed by misfortune, was not disposed to abate in the least its arrogant demands, and was clamorous for concessions which even Napoleon had not power to confer. It required all the wisdom, forbearance, and tact of the First Consul to accomplish this reconciliation. Joseph Bonaparte, the accomplished gentleman, the sincere, urbane, sagacious, upright man, was Napoleon's corps de reserve in all diplomatic acts. The preliminaries being finally adjusted, the Pope's legation met at the house of Joseph Bonaparte, and on the 15th of July, 1801, this great act was signed. Napoleon announced the event to the Council of State. He addressed them in a speech an hour and a half in length, and all were struck with the precision, the vigor, and the loftiness of his language. By universal consent his speech was pronounced to be eloquent in the highest degree. But those philosophers, who regarded it as the[Pg 46] great glory of the revolution, that all superstition, by which they meant all religion, was swept away, in sullen silence yielded to a power which they could not resist. The people, the millions of France, were with Napoleon.

The following liberal and noble sentiments were uttered in the proclamation by which Napoleon announced the Concordat to the French people: "An insane policy has sought, during the revolution, to smother religious dissensions under the ruins of the altar, under the ashes of religion itself. At its voice all those pious solemnities ceased, in which the citizens called each other by the endearing name of brothers, and acknowledged their common equality in the sight of Heaven. The dying, left alone in his agonies, no longer heard that consoling voice, which calls the Christian to a better world. God Himself seemed exiled from the face of nature. Ministers of the religion of peace, let a complete oblivion vail over your dissensions, your misfortunes, your faults. Let the religion which unites you, bind you by indissoluble cords to the interests of your country. Let the young learn from your precepts, that the God of Peace is also the God of Arms, and that He throws his shield over those who combat for the liberties of France. Citizens of the Protestant Faith, the law has equally extended its solicitude to your interests. Let the morality, so pure, so holy, so brotherly, which you profess, unite you all in love to your country, and in respect for its laws; and, above all, never permit disputes on doctrinal points to weaken that universal charity which religion at once inculcates and commands."

To foreign nations the spectacle of France, thus voluntarily returning to the Christian faith, was gratifying in the highest degree. It seemed to them the pledge of peace and the harbinger of tranquillity. The Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia publicly expressed their joy at the auspicious event. The Emperor of Austria styled it "a service truly rendered to all Europe." The serious and devout, in all lands, considered the voluntary return of the French people to religion, from the impossibility of living without its precepts, as one of the most signal triumphs of the Christian faith.

On the 11th of April, 1802, the event was celebrated by a magnificent religious ceremony in the cathedral of Nôtre Dame. No expense was spared to invest the festivity with the utmost splendor. Though many of the generals and the high authorities of the State were extremely reluctant to participate in the solemnities of the occasion, the power and the popularity of the First Consul were so great, that they dared not make any resistance. The cathedral was crowded with splendor. The versatile populace, ever delighted with change and with shows, were overjoyed. General Rapp, however, positively refused to attend the ceremony. With the bluntness of a soldier, conscious that his well-known devotion to the First Consul would procure for him impunity, he said, "I shall not attend. But if you do not make these priests your[Pg 47] aids or your cooks, you may do with them as you please."

As Napoleon was making preparations to go to the cathedral, Cambaceres entered his apartment.

"Well," said the First Consul, rubbing his hands in the glow of his gratification, "we go to church this morning. What say they to that in Paris?"

"Many persons," replied Cambaceres, "propose to attend the first representation in order to hiss the piece, should they not find it amusing."

"If any one," Napoleon firmly replied, "takes it into his head to hiss, I shall put him out of the door by the grenadiers of the consular guard."

"But what if the grenadiers themselves," Cambaceres rejoined, "should take to hissing, like the rest?"

"As to that I have no fear," said Napoleon. "My old mustaches will go here to Notre Dame, just as at Cairo, they would have gone to the mosque. They will remark how I do, and seeing their general grave and decent, they will be so, too, passing the watchword to each other, Decency."

"What did you think of the ceremony?" inquired Napoleon of General Delmas, who stood near him, when it was concluded. "It was a fine piece of mummery," he replied; "nothing was wanting but the million of men who have perished to destroy that which you have now re-established." Some of the priests, encouraged by this triumphant restoration of Christianity, began to assume not a little arrogance. A celebrated opera dancer died, not in the faith. The priest of St. Roche refused to receive the body into the church, or to celebrate over it the rites of interment. The next day Napoleon caused the following article to be inserted in the Moniteur. "The curate of St. Roche, in a moment of hallucination, has refused the rites of burial to Mademoiselle Cameroi. One of his colleagues, a man of sense, received the procession into the church of St. Thomas, where the burial service was performed with the usual solemnities. The archbishop of Paris has suspended the curate of St. Roche for three months, to give him time to recollect that Jesus Christ commanded us to pray even for our enemies. Being thus recalled by meditation to a proper sense of his duties, he may learn that all these superstitious observances, the offspring of an age of credulity or of crazed imaginations, tend only to the discredit of true religion, and have been proscribed by the recent concordat of the French Church." The most strenuous exertions were made by the clergy to induce Napoleon publicly to partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It was thought that his high example would be very influential upon others. Napoleon nobly replied, "I have not sufficient faith in the ordinance to be benefited by its reception; and I have too much faith in it to allow me to be guilty of sacrilege. We are well as we are. Do not ask me to go farther. You will never obtain what you wish. I will[Pg 48] not become a hypocrite. Be content with what you have already gained."

It is difficult to describe the undisguised delight with which the peasants all over France again heard the ringing of the church-bells upon the Sabbath morning, and witnessed the opening of the church-doors, the assembling of the congregations with smiles and congratulations, and the repose of the Sabbath. Mr. Fox, in conversation with Napoleon, after the peace of Amiens, ventured to blame him for not having authorized the marriage of priests in France. "I then had," said Napoleon, in his nervous eloquence, "need to pacify. It is with water and not with oil that you must extinguish theological volcanoes. I should have had less difficulty in establishing the Protestant religion in my empire."

The magistrates of Paris, grateful for the inestimable blessings which Napoleon had conferred upon France, requested him to accept the project of a triumphal monument to be erected in his honor at a cost of one hundred thousand dollars. Napoleon gave the following reply. "I view with grateful acknowledgments those sentiments which actuate the magistrates of the city of Paris. The idea of dedicating monumental trophies to those men who have rendered themselves useful to the community is a praiseworthy action in all nations. I accept the offer of the monument which you desire to dedicate to me. Let the spot be designated. But leave the labor of constructing it to future generations, should they think fit thus to sanction the estimate which you place upon my services."

There was an indescribable fascination about the character of Napoleon, which no other man ever possessed, and which all felt who entered his presence. Some military officers of high rank, on one occasion, in these days of his early power, agreed to go and remonstrate with him upon some subject which had given them offense. One of the party thus describes the interview.

"I do not know whence it arises, but there is a charm about that man, which is indescribable and irresistible. I am no admirer of him. I dislike the power to which he has risen. Yet I can not help confessing that there is a something in him, which seems to speak that he is born to command. We went into his apartment determined to declare our minds to him very freely; to expostulate with him warmly, and not to depart till our subjects of complaint were removed. But in his manner of receiving us, there was a certain something, a degree of fascination, which disarmed us in a moment; nor could we utter one word of what we had intended to say. He talked to us for a long time, with an eloquence peculiarly his own, explaining, with the utmost clearness and precision, the necessity for steadily pursuing the line of conduct he had adopted. Without contradicting us in direct terms, he controverted our opinions so ably, that we had not a word to say in reply. We left him, having done nothing else but listen to him, instead of expostulating with him; and fully convinced,[Pg 49] at least for the moment, that he was in the right, and that we were in the wrong."

The merchants of Rouen experienced a similar fascination, when they called to remonstrate against some commercial regulations which Napoleon had introduced. They were so entirely disarmed by his frankness, his sincerity, and were so deeply impressed by the extent and the depth of his views, that they retired, saying, "The First Consul understands our interests far better than we do ourselves." "The man," says Lady Morgan, "who, at the head of a vast empire, could plan great and lasting works, conquer nations, and yet talk astronomy with La Place, tragedy with Talma, music with Cherubini, painting with Gerrard, vertu with Denon, and literature and science with any one who would listen to him, was certainly out of the roll of common men."

Napoleon now exerted all his energies for the elevation of France. He sought out and encouraged talent wherever it could be found. No merit escaped his princely munificence. Authors, artists, men of science were loaded with honors and emoluments. He devoted most earnest attention to the education of youth. The navy, commerce, agriculture, manufactures, and all mechanic arts, secured his assiduous care. He labored to the utmost, and with a moral courage above all praise, to discountenance whatever was loose in morals, or enervating or unmanly in amusements or taste. The theatre was the most popular source of entertainment in France. He frowned upon all frivolous and immodest performances, and encouraged those only which were moral, grave, and dignified. In the grandeur of tragedy alone he took pleasure. In his private deportment he exhibited the example of a moral, simple, and toilsome life. Among the forty millions of France, there was not to be found a more temperate and laborious man. When nights of labor succeeded days of toil, his only stimulus was lemonade. He loved his own family and friends, and was loved by them with a fervor which soared into the regions of devotion. Never before did mortal man secure such love. Thousands were ready at any moment to lay down their lives through their affection for him. And that mysterious charm was so strong that it has survived his death. Thousands now live who would brave death in any form from love for Napoleon.


Among the curious facts which we find in perusing the biographies of great men, are the circumstances connected with the composition of the works which have made them immortal.

For instance, Bossuet composed his grand sermons on his knees; Bulwer wrote his first novels in full dress, scented; Milton, before commencing his great work, invoked the influence of the Holy Spirit, and prayed that his lips might be touched with a live coal from off the[Pg 50] altar; Chrysostom meditated and studied while contemplating a painting of Saint Paul.

Bacon knelt down before composing his great work, and prayed for light from Heaven. Pope never could compose well without first declaiming for some time at the top of his voice, and thus rousing his nervous system to its fullest activity.

Bentham composed after playing a prelude on the organ, or while taking his "ante-jentacular" and "post-prandial" walks in his garden—the same, by the way, that Milton occupied. Saint Bernard composed his Meditations amidst the woods; he delighted in nothing so much as the solitude of the dense forest, finding there, he said, something more profound and suggestive than any thing he could find in books. The storm would sometimes fall upon him there, without for a moment interrupting his meditations. Camoens composed his verses with the roar of battle in his ears; for, the Portuguese poet was a soldier, and a brave one, though a poet. He composed others of his most beautiful verses, at the time when his Indian slave was begging a subsistence for him in the streets. Tasso wrote his finest pieces in the lucid intervals of madness.

Rousseau wrote his works early in the morning; Le Sage at mid-day; Byron at midnight. Hardouin rose at four in the morning, and wrote till late at night. Aristotle was a tremendous worker; he took little sleep, and was constantly retrenching it. He had a contrivance by which he awoke early, and to awake was with him to commence work. Demosthenes passed three months in a cavern by the sea-side, in laboring to overcome the defects of his voice. There he read, studied, and declaimed.

Rabelais composed his Life of Gargantua at Bellay, in the company of Roman cardinals, and under the eyes of the Bishop of Paris. La Fontaine wrote his fables chiefly under the shade of a tree, and sometimes by the side of Racine and Boileau. Pascal wrote most of his Thoughts on little scraps of paper, at his by-moments. Fenelon wrote his Telemachus in the palace of Versailles, at the court of the Grand Monarque, when discharging the duties of tutor to the Dauphin. That a book so thoroughly democratic should have issued from such a source, and been written by a priest, may seem surprising. De Quesnay first promulgated his notion of universal freedom of person and trade, and of throwing all taxes on the land—the germ, perhaps, of the French Revolution—in the boudoir of Madame de Pompadour!

Luther, when studying, always had his dog lying at his feet—a dog he had brought from Wartburg, and of which he was very fond. An ivory crucifix stood on the table before him, and the walls of his study were stuck round with caricatures of the Pope. He worked at his desk for days together without going out; but when fatigued, and the ideas began to stagnate in his brain, he would take his flute or his guitar with him into the porch, and there execute some musical[Pg 51] fantasy (for he was a skillful musician), when the ideas would flow upon him again as fresh as flowers after summer's rain. Music was his invariable solace at such times. Indeed Luther did not hesitate to say, that after theology, music was the first of arts. "Music," said he, "is the art of the prophets; it is the only other art, which, like theology, can calm the agitation of the soul, and put the devil to flight." Next to music, if not before it, Luther loved children and flowers. That great gnarled man had a heart as tender as a woman's.

Calvin studied in his bed. Every morning at five or six o'clock, he had books, manuscripts, and papers, carried to him there, and he worked on for hours together. If he had occasion to go out, on his return he undressed and went to bed again to continue his studies. In his later years he dictated his writings to secretaries. He rarely corrected any thing. The sentences issued complete from his mouth. If he felt his facility of composition leaving him, he forthwith quitted his bed, gave up writing and composing, and went about his out-door duties for days, weeks, and months together. But so soon as he felt the inspiration fall upon him again, he went back to his bed, and his secretary set to work forthwith.

Cujas, another learned man, used to study when laid all his length upon the carpet, his face toward the floor, and there he reveled amidst piles of books which accumulated about him. The learned Amyot never studied without the harpsichord beside him; and he only quitted the pen to play it. Bentham, also, was extremely fond of the piano-forte, and had one in nearly every room in his house.

Richelieu amused himself in the intervals of his labor, with a squadron of cats, of whom he was very fond. He used to go to bed at eleven at night, and after sleeping three hours, rise and write, dictate or work, till from six to eight o'clock in the morning, when his daily levee was held. This worthy student displayed an extravagance equaling that of Wolsey. His annual expenditure was some four millions of francs, or about £170,000 sterling!

How different the fastidious temperance of Milton! He drank water and lived on the humblest fare. In his youth he studied during the greatest part of the night; but in his more advanced years he went early to bed—by nine o'clock—rising to his studies at four in summer and five in winter. He studied till mid-day; then he took an hour's exercise, and after dinner he sang and played the organ, or listened to others' music. He studied again till six, and from that hour till eight he engaged in conversation with friends who came to see him. Then he supped, smoked a pipe of tobacco, drank a glass of water, and went to bed. Glorious visions came to him in the night, for it was then, while lying on his couch, that he composed in thought the greater part of his sublime poem. Sometimes when the fit of composition came strong upon him, he would summon his daughter to[Pg 52] his side, to commit to paper that which he had composed.

Milton was of opinion that the verses composed by him between the autumnal and spring equinoxes were always the best, and he was never satisfied with the verses he had written at any other season. Alfieri, on the contrary, said that the equinoctial winds produced a state of almost "complete stupidity" in him. Like the nightingales he could only sing in summer. It was his favorite season.

Pierre Corneille, in his loftiest flights of imagination, was often brought to a stand-still for want of words and rhyme. Thoughts were seething in his brain, which he vainly tried to reduce to order, and he would often run to his brother Thomas "for a word." Thomas rarely failed him. Sometimes, in his fits of inspiration, he would bandage his eyes, throw himself on a sofa, and dictate to his wife, who almost worshiped his genius. Thus he would pass whole days, dictating to her his great tragedies; his wife scarcely venturing to speak, almost afraid to breathe. Afterward, when a tragedy was finished, he would call in his sister Martha, and submit it to her judgment; as Moliere used to consult his old housekeeper about the comedies he had newly written.

Racine composed his verses while walking about, reciting them in a loud voice. One day, when thus working at his play of Mithridates, in the Tuileries Gardens, a crowd of workmen gathered around him, attracted by his gestures; they took him to be a madman about to throw himself into the basin. On his return home from such walks, he would write down scene by scene, at first in prose, and when he had thus written it out, he would exclaim, "My tragedy is done," considering the dressing of the acts up in verse as a very small affair.

Magliabecchi, the learned librarian to the Duke of Tuscany, on the contrary, never stirred abroad, but lived amidst books, and almost lived upon books. They were his bed, board, and washing. He passed eight-and-forty years in their midst, only twice in the course of his life venturing beyond the walls of Florence; once to go two leagues off, and the other time three and a half leagues, by order of the Grand Duke. He was an extremely frugal man, living upon eggs, bread, and water, in great moderation.

The life of Liebnitz was one of reading, writing, and meditation. That was the secret of his prodigious knowledge. After an attack of gout, he confined himself to a diet of bread and milk. Often he slept in a chair; and rarely went to bed till after midnight. Sometimes he was months without quitting his seat, where he slept by night and wrote by day. He had an ulcer in his right leg which prevented his walking about, even had he wished to do so.

The chamber in which Montesquieu wrote his Spirit of the Laws, is still shown at his old ancestral mansion; hung about with its old tapestry and curtains; and the old easy chair in which the philosopher sat is still sacredly preserved there.[Pg 53] The chimney-jamb bears the mark of his foot, where he used to rest upon it, his legs crossed, when composing his books. His Persian Letters were composed merely for pastime, and were never intended for publication. The principles of Laws occupied his life. In the study of these he spent twenty years, losing health and eye-sight in the pursuit. As in the case of Milton, his daughter read for him, and acted as his secretary. In his Portrait of himself, he said—"I awake in the morning rejoiced at the sight of day. I see the sun with a kind of ecstasy, and for the rest of the day I am content. I pass the night without waking, and in the evening when I go to bed, a kind of numbness prevents me indulging in reflections. With me, study has been the sovereign remedy against disgust of life, having never had any vexation which an hour's reading has not dissipated. But I have the disease of making books, and of being ashamed when I have made them."

Rousseau had the greatest difficulty in composing his works, being extremely defective in the gift of memory. He could never learn six verses by heart. In his Confessions he says—"I studied and meditated in bed, forming sentences with inconceivable difficulty; then, when I thought I had got them into shape, I would rise to put them on paper. But lo! I often entirely forgot them during the process of dressing!" He would then walk abroad to refresh himself by the aspect of nature, and under its influence his most successful writings were composed. He was always leaving books which he carried about with him at the foot of trees, or by the margin of fountains. He sometimes wrote his books over from beginning to end, four or five times, before giving them to the press. Some of his sentences cost him four or five nights' study. He thought with difficulty, and wrote with still greater. It is astonishing that, with such a kind of intellect, he should have been able to do so much.

The summer study of the famous Buffon, at Montbar, is still shown, just as he left it. It is a little room in a pavilion, reached by mounting a ladder, through a green door with two folds. The place looks simplicity itself. The apartment is vaulted like some old chapel, and the walls are painted green. The floor is paved with tiles. A writing-table of plain wood stands in the centre, and before it is an easy chair. That is all! The place was the summer study of Buffon. In winter, he had a warmer room within his house, where he wrote his Natural History. There, on his desk, his pen still lies, and by the side of it, on his easy chair, his red dressing-gown and cap of gray silk. On the wall near to where he sat, hangs an engraved portrait of Newton. There, and in his garden cabinet, he spent many years of his life, studying and writing books. He studied his work entitled Epoques de la Nature for fifty years, and wrote it over eighteen times before publishing it! What would our galloping authors say to that?

Buffon used to work on pages of five distinct columns, like a ledger. In the first column he[Pg 54] wrote out the first draught; in the second he corrected, added, pruned, and improved; thus proceeding until he had reached the fifth column, in which he finally wrote out the result of his labor. But this was not all. He would sometimes re-write a sentence twenty times, and was once fourteen hours in finding the proper word for the turning of a period! Buffon knew nearly all his works by heart.

On the contrary, Cuvier never re-copied what he had once written. He composed with great rapidity, correctness, and precision. His mind was always in complete order, and his memory was exact and extensive.

Some writers have been prodigiously laborious in the composition of their works. Cæsar had, of course, an immense multiplicity of business, as a general, to get through; but he had always a secretary by his side, even when on horseback, to whom he dictated; and often he occupied two or three secretaries at once. His famous Commentaries are said to have been composed mostly on horseback.

Seneca was very laborious. "I have not a single idle day," said he, describing his life, "and I give a part of every night to study. I do not give myself up to sleep, but succumb to it. I have separated myself from society, and renounced all the distractions of life." With many of these old heathens, study was their religion.

Pliny the Elder read two thousand volumes in the composition of his Natural History. How to find time for this? He managed it by devoting his days to business and his nights to study. He had books read to him while he was at meals; and he read no book without making extracts. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, has given a highly interesting account of the intimate and daily life of his uncle.

Origen employed seven writers while composing his Commentaries, who committed to paper what he dictated to them by turns. He was so indefatigable in writing that they gave him the name of Brass Bowels! Like Philip de Comines, Sully used to dictate to four secretaries at a time, without difficulty.

Bossuet left fifty volumes of writings behind him, the result of unintermitting labor. The pen rarely quitted his fingers. Writing became habitual to him, and he even chose it as a relaxation. A night-lamp was constantly lit beside him, and he would rise at all hours to resume his meditations. He rose at about four o'clock in the morning during summer and winter, wrapped himself in his loose dress of bear's skin, and set to work. He worked on for hours, until he felt fatigued, and then went to bed again, falling asleep at once. This life he led for more than twenty years. As he grew older, and became disabled for hard work, he began translating the Psalms into verse, to pass time. In the intervals of fatigue and pain, he read and corrected his former works.

Some writers composed with great rapidity, others slowly and with difficulty. Byron said of[Pg 55] himself, that though he felt driven to write, and he was in a state of torture until he had fairly delivered himself of what he had to say, yet that writing never gave him any pleasure, but was felt to be a severe labor. Scott, on the contrary, possessed the most extraordinary facility; and dashed off a great novel of three volumes in about the same number of weeks.

"I have written Catiline in eight days," said Voltaire; "and I immediately commenced the Henriade." Voltaire was a most impatient writer, and usually had the first half of a work set up in type before the second half was written. He always had several works in the course of composition at the same time. His manner of preparing a work was peculiar. He had his first sketch of a tragedy set up in type, and then rewrote it from the proofs. Balzac adopted the same plan. The printed form enabled them to introduce effects, and correct errors more easily.

Pascal wrote most of his thoughts on little scraps of paper, at his by-moments of leisure. He produced them with immense rapidity. He wrote in a kind of contracted language—like short hand—impossible to read, except by those who had studied it. It resembled the impatient and fiery scratches of Napoleon; yet, though half-formed, the characters have the firmness and precision of the graver. Some one observed to Faguere (Pascal's editor), "This work (deciphering it) must be very fatiguing to the eyes." "No," said he, "it is not the eyes that are fatigued, so much as the brain."

Many authors have been distinguished for the fastidiousness of their composition—never resting satisfied, but correcting and re-correcting to the last moment. Cicero spent his old age in correcting his orations; Massillon in polishing his sermons; Fenelon corrected his Telemachus seven times over.

Of thirty verses which Virgil wrote in the morning, there were only ten left at night. Milton often cut down forty verses to twenty. Buffon would condense six pages into as many paragraphs. Montaigne, instead of cutting down, amplified and added to his first sketch. Boileau had great difficulty in making his verses. He said—"If I write four words, I erase three of them;" and at another time—"I sometimes hunt three hours for a rhyme!"

Some authors were never satisfied with their work. Virgil ordered his Æneid to be burnt. Voltaire cast his poem of The League into the fire. Racine and Scott could not bear to read their productions again. Michael Angelo was always dissatisfied; he found faults in his greatest and most admired works.

Many of the most admired writings were never intended by their authors for publication. Fenelon, when he wrote Telemachus, had no intention of publishing it. Voltaire's Correspondence was never intended for publication, and yet it is perused with avidity; whereas his Henriade, so often corrected by him, is scarcely read. Madame de Sevigní, in writing to her daughter those fascinating letters descriptive of the life of the[Pg 56] French Court, never had any idea of their publication, or that they would be cited as models of composition and style. What work of Johnson's is best known? Is it not that by Boswell, which contains the great philosopher's conversation?—that which he never intended should come to light, and for which we have to thank Bozzy.

There is a great difference in the sensitiveness of authors to criticism. Sir Walter Scott passed thirteen years without reading what the critics or reviewers said of his writings; while Byron was sensitive to an excess about what was said of him. It was the reviewers who stung him into his first work of genius—English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. Racine was very sensitive to criticism; and poor Keats was "snuffed out by an article." Moliere was thrown into a great rage when his plays were badly acted. One day, after Tartuffe had been played, an actor found him stamping about as if mad, and beating his head, crying—"Ah! dog! Ah! butcher!" On being asked what was the matter, he replied—"Don't be surprised at my emotion! I have just been seeing an actor falsely and execrably declaiming my piece; and I can not see my children maltreated in this horrid way, without suffering the tortures of the damned!" The first time Voltaire's Artemise was played, it was hissed. Voltaire, indignant, sprang to his feet in his box, and addressed the audience! At another time, at Lausanne, where an actress seemed fully to apprehend his meaning, he rushed upon the stage and embraced her knees!

A great deal might be said about the first failures of authors and orators. Demosthenes stammered, and was almost inaudible, when he first tried to speak before Philip. He seemed like a man moribund. Other orators have broken down, like Demosthenes, in their first effort. Curran tried to speak, for the first time, at a meeting of the Irish Historical Society; but the words died on his lips, and he sat down amid titters—an individual present characterizing him as orator Mum. Boileau broke down as an advocate, and so did Cowper, the poet. Montesquieu and Bentham were also failures in the same profession, but mainly through disgust with it. Addison, when a member of the House of Commons, once rose to speak, but he could not overcome his diffidence, and ever after remained silent.


The family of birds, of which the ostrich forms the leading type, is remarkable for the wide dispersion of its various members; the ostrich itself spreads over nearly the whole of the burning deserts of Africa—the Cassowary represents it amid the luxuriant vegetation of the Indian Archipelago. The Dinornis, chief of birds, formerly towered among the ferns of New Zealand, where the small Apteryx now holds its place; and the huge Æpyornis strode along the forests of Madagascar. The Emu is confined to the great Australian continent, and the Rhea to the southern extremity of the western[Pg 57] hemisphere; while nearer home we find the class represented by the Bustard, which, until within a few years, still lingered upon the least frequented downs and plains of England.

With the Arabs of the desert, the chase of the ostrich is the most attractive and eagerly sought of the many aristocratic diversions in which they indulge. The first point attended to, is a special preparation of their horses. Seven or eight days before the intended hunt, they are entirely deprived of straw and grass, and fed on barley only. They are only allowed to drink once a day, and that at sunset—the time when the water begins to freshen: at that time also they are washed. They take long daily exercises, and are occasionally galloped, at which time care is taken that the harness is right, and suited to the chase of the ostrich. "After seven or eight days," says the Arab, "the stomach of the horse disappears, while the chest, the breast, and the croup remain in flesh; the animal is then fit to endure fatigue." They call this training techaha. The harness used for the purpose in question is lighter than ordinary, especially the stirrups and saddle, and the martingale is removed. The bridle, too, undergoes many metamorphoses; the mountings and the ear-flaps are taken away, as too heavy. The bit is made of a camel rope, without a throat-band, and the frontlet is also of cord, and the reins, though strong, are very light. The period most favorable for ostrich-hunting is that of the great heat; the higher the temperature the less is the ostrich able to defend himself. The Arabs describe the precise time as that, when a man stands upright, his shadow has the length only of the sole of his foot.

Each horseman is accompanied by a servant called zemmal, mounted on a camel, carrying four goat-skins filled with water, barley for the horse, wheat-flour for the rider, some dates, a kettle to cook the food, and every thing which can possibly be required for the repair of the harness. The horseman contents himself with a linen vest and trowsers, and covers his neck and ears with a light material called havuli, tied with a strip of camel's hide; his feet are protected with sandals, and his legs with light gaiters called trabag. He is armed with neither gun nor pistol, his only weapon being a wild olive or tamarind stick, five or six feet long, with a heavy knob at one end.

Before starting, the hunters ascertain where a large number of ostriches are to be found. These birds are generally met with in places where there is much grass, and where rain has recently fallen. The Arabs say, that where the ostrich sees the light shine, and barley getting ready, wherever it may be, thither she runs, regardless of distance; and ten days' march is nothing to her; and it has passed into a proverb in the desert, of a man skillful in the care of flocks, and in finding pasturage, that he is like the ostrich, where he sees the light there he comes.

The hunters start in the morning. After one or two days' journey, when they have arrived[Pg 58] near the spot pointed out, and they begin to perceive traces of their game, they halt and camp. The next day, two intelligent slaves, almost entirely stripped, are sent to reconnoitre; they each carry a goat-skin at their side, and a little bread; they walk until they meet with the ostriches, which are generally found in elevated places. As soon as the game is in view, one lies down to watch, the other returns to convey the information. The ostriches are found in troops, comprising sometimes as many as sixty: but at the pairing time they are more scattered, three or four couple only remaining together.

The horsemen, guided by the scout, travel gently toward the birds; the nearer they approach the spot the greater is their caution, and when they reach the last ridge which conceals them from the view of their game, they dismount, and two creep forward to ascertain if they are still there. Should such be the case, a moderate quantity of water is given to the horses, the baggage is left, and each man mounts, carrying at his side a chebouta, or goat-skin. The servants and camels follow the track of the horsemen, carrying with them only a little corn and water.

The exact position of the ostriches being known, the plans are arranged; the horsemen divide and form a circle round the game at such a distance as not to be seen. The servants wait where the horsemen have separated, and as soon as they see them at their posts, they walk right before them; the ostriches fly, but are met by the hunters, who do nothing at first but drive them back into the circle; thus their strength is exhausted by being made to continually run round in the ring. At the first signs of fatigue in the birds, the horsemen dash in—presently the flock separates; the exhausted birds are seen to open their wings, which is a sign of great exhaustion; the horsemen, certain of their prey, now repress their horses; each hunter selects his ostrich, runs it down, and finishes it by a blow on the head with the stick above mentioned. The moment the bird falls the man jumps off his horse, and cuts her throat, taking care to hold the neck at such a distance from the body, as not to soil the plumage of the wings. The male bird, while dying, utters loud moans, but the female dies in silence.

When the ostrich is on the point of being overtaken by the hunter, she is so fatigued, that if he does not wish to kill her, she can easily be driven with the stick to the neighborhood of the camels. Immediately after the birds have been bled to death, they are carefully skinned, so that the feathers may not be injured, and the skin is then stretched upon a tree, or on a horse, and salt rubbed well into it. A fire is lit, and the fat of the birds is boiled for a long time in kettles; when very liquid, it is poured into a sort of bottle made of the skin of the thigh and leg down to the foot, strongly fastened at the bottom; the fat of one bird is usually sufficient to fill two of these legs; it is said that in any other vessel the fat would spoil. When, however, the bird is breeding, she is extremely lean, and is[Pg 59] then hunted only for the sake of her feathers. After these arrangements are completed, the flesh is eaten by the hunters, who season it well with pepper and flour.

While these proceedings are in progress, the horses are carefully tended, watered, and fed with corn, and the party remain quiet during forty-eight hours, to give their animals rest; after that they either return to their encampment, or embark in new enterprises.

To the Arab the chase of the ostrich has a double attraction—pleasure and profit; the price obtained for the skins well compensates for the expenses. Not only do the rich enjoy the pursuit, but the poor, who know how to set about it, are permitted to participate in it also. The usual plan is for a poor Arab to arrange with one who is opulent for the loan of his camel, horse, harness, and two-thirds of all the necessary provisions. The borrower furnishes himself the remaining third, and the produce of the chase is divided in the same proportions.

The ostrich, like many other of the feathered tribe, has a great deal of self-conceit. On fine sunny days a tame bird may be seen strutting backward and forward with great majesty, fanning itself with its quivering, expanded wings, and at every turn seeming to admire its grace, and the elegance of its shadow. Dr. Shaw says that, though these birds appear tame and tractable to persons well-known to them, they are often very fierce and violent toward strangers, whom they would not only endeavor to push down by running furiously against them, but they would peck at them with their beaks, and strike with their feet; and so violent is the blow that can be given, that the doctor saw a person whose abdomen had been ripped completely open by a stroke from the claw of an ostrich.

To have the stomach of an ostrich has become proverbial, and with good reason; for this bird stands enviably forward in respect to its wonderful powers of digestion, which are scarcely inferior to its voracity. Its natural food consists entirely of vegetable substances, especially grain; and the ostrich is a most destructive enemy to the crops of the African farmers. But its sense of taste is so obtuse, that scraps of leather, old nails, bits of tin, buttons, keys, coins, and pebbles, are devoured with equal relish; in fact, nothing comes amiss. But in this it doubtless follows an instinct: for these hard bodies assist, like the gravel in the crops of our domestic poultry, in grinding down and preparing for digestion its ordinary food.

There was found by Cuvier in the stomach of an ostrich that died at Paris, nearly a pound weight of stones, bits of iron and copper, and pieces of money worn down by constant attrition against each other, as well as by the action of the stomach itself. In the stomach of one of these birds which belonged to the menagerie of George the Fourth, there were contained some pieces of wood of considerable size, several large nails, and a hen's egg entire and uninjured, perhaps taken as a delicacy from its appetite becoming[Pg 60] capricious. In the stomach of another, beside several large cabbage-stalks, there were masses of bricks of the size of a man's fist. Sparrman relates that he saw ostriches at the Cape so tame that they went loose to and from the farm, but they were so voracious as to swallow chickens whole, and trample hens to death, that they might tear them in pieces afterward and devour them; and one great barrel of a bird was obliged to be killed on account of an awkward habit he had acquired of trampling sheep to death. But perhaps the most striking proof of the prowess of an ostrich in the eating way, is that afforded by Dr. Shaw, who saw one swallow bullet after bullet as fast as they were pitched, scorching hot, from the mould.


Putting up for the night in one of the chiefest towns of Staffordshire, I find it to be by no means a lively town. In fact, it is as dull and dead a town as any one could desire not to see. It seems as if its whole population might be imprisoned in its Railway Station. The Refreshment-room at that station is a vortex of dissipation compared with the extinct town-inn, the Dodo, in the dull High-street.

Why High-street? Why not rather Low-street, Flat-street, Low-spirited-street, Used-up-street? Where are the people who belong to the High-street? Can they all be dispersed over the face of the country, seeking the unfortunate Strolling Manager who decamped from the mouldy little theatre last week, in the beginning of his season (as his play-bills testify), repentantly resolved to bring him back, and feed him, and be entertained? Or, can they all be gathered to their fathers in the two old church-yards near to the High-street—retirement into which church-yards appears to be a mere ceremony, there is so very little life outside their confines, and such small discernible difference between being buried alive in the town, and buried dead in the town-tombs? Over the way, opposite to the staring blank bow windows of the Dodo, are a little ironmonger's shop, a little tailor's shop (with a picture of the fashions in the small window and a bandy-legged baby on the pavement staring at it)—a watchmaker's shop, where all the clocks and watches must be stopped, I am sure, for they could never have the courage to go, with the town in general, and the Dodo in particular, looking at them. Shade of Miss Linwood, erst of Leicester-square, London, thou art welcome here, and thy retreat is fitly chosen! I myself was one of the last visitors to that awful storehouse of thy life's work, where an anchorite old man and woman took my shilling with a solemn wonder, and conducting me to a gloomy sepulchre of needlework dropping to pieces with dust and age, and shrouded in twilight at high noon, left me there, chilled, frightened, and alone. And now, in ghostly letters on all the dead walls of this dead town, I read thy honored name, and find, that thy Last Supper, worked in Berlin Wool, invites inspection as a powerful excitement!

[Pg 61]

Where are the people who are bidden with so much cry to this feast of little wool? Where are they? Who are they? They are not the bandy-legged baby studying the fashions in the tailor's window. They are not the two earthy plow-men lounging outside the saddler's shop, in the stiff square where the Town Hall stands, like a brick-and-mortar private on parade. They are not the landlady of the Dodo in the empty bar, whose eye had trouble in it and no welcome, when I asked for dinner. They are not the turnkeys of the Town Jail, looking out of the gateway in their uniforms, as if they had locked up all the balance (as my American friends would say) of the inhabitants, and could now rest a little. They are not the two dusty millers in the white mill down by the river, where the great water-wheel goes heavily round and round, like the monotonous days and nights in this forgotten place. Then who are they? for there is no one else. No; this deponent maketh oath and saith that there is no one else, save and except the waiter at the Dodo, now laying the cloth. I have paced the streets, and stared at the houses, and am come back to the blank bow-window of the Dodo; and the town-clock strikes seven, and the reluctant echoes seem to cry, "Don't wake us!" and the bandy-legged baby has gone home to bed.

If the Dodo were only a gregarious bird—if it had only some confused idea of making a comfortable nest—I could hope to get through the hours between this and bed-time, without being consumed by devouring melancholy. But the Dodo's habits are all wrong. It provides me with a trackless desert of sitting-room, with a chair for every day in the year, a table for every month, and a waste of sideboard where a lonely China vase pines in a corner for its mate long departed, and will never make a match with the candlestick in the opposite corner if it live till doomsday. The Dodo has nothing in the larder. Even now, I behold the Boots returning with my sole in a piece of paper; and with that portion of my dinner, the Boots, perceiving me at the blank bow-window, slaps his leg as he comes across the road, pretending it is something else. The Dodo excludes the outer air. When I mount up to my bed-room, a smell of closeness and flue gets lazily up my nose like sleepy snuff. The loose little bits of carpet writhe under my tread, and take wormy shapes. I don't know the ridiculous man in the looking-glass, beyond having met him once or twice in a dish-cover—and I can never shave him to-morrow morning! The Dodo is narrow-minded as to towels; expects me to wash on a freemason's apron without the trimming; when I ask for soap, gives me a stony-hearted something white, with no more lather in it than the Elgin marbles. The Dodo has seen better days, and possesses interminable stables at the back—silent, grass-grown, broken-windowed, horseless.

This mournful bird can fry a sole, however, which is much. Can cook a steak, too, which is more. I wonder where it gets its Sherry! If[Pg 62] I were to send my pint of wine to some famous chemist to be analyzed, what would it turn out to be made of? It tastes of pepper, sugar, bitter almonds, vinegar, warm knives, any flat drink, and a little brandy. Would it unman a Spanish exile by reminding him of his native land at all? I think not. If there really be any townspeople out of the church-yards, and if a caravan of them ever do dine, with a bottle of wine per man, in this desert of the Dodo, it must make good for the doctor next day!

Where was the waiter born? How did he come here? Has he any hope of getting away from here? Does he ever receive a letter, or take a ride upon the railway, or see any thing but the Dodo? Perhaps he has seen the Berlin Wool. He appears to have a silent sorrow on him, and it may be that. He clears the table; draws the dingy curtains of the great bow-window, which so unwillingly consent to meet, that they must be pinned together; leaves me by the fire with my pint decanter, and a little thin funnel-shaped wine-glass, and a plate of pale biscuits—in themselves engendering desperation.

No book, no newspapers! I left the Arabian Nights in the railway carriage, and have nothing to read but Bradshaw, and "that way madness lies." Remembering what prisoners and shipwrecked mariners have done to exercise their minds in solitude, I repeat the multiplication table, the pence table, and the shilling table: which are all the tables I happen to know. What if I write something? The Dodo keeps no pens but steel pens; and those I always stick through the paper, and can turn to no other account.

What am I to do? Even if I could have the bandy-legged baby knocked up and brought here, I could offer him nothing but sherry, and that would be the death of him. He would never hold up his head again, if he touched it. I can't go to bed, because I have conceived a mortal hatred for my bedroom; and I can't go away because there is no train for my place of destination until morning. To burn the biscuits will be but a fleeting joy; still it is a temporary relief, and here they go on the fire!


CHAPTER X.—Continued.

Randal walked home slowly. It was a cold moonlit night. Young idlers of his own years and rank passed him by, on their way from the haunts of social pleasure. They were yet in the first fair holiday of life. Life's holiday had gone from him forever. Graver men, in the various callings of masculine labor—professions, trade, the state—passed him also. Their steps might be sober, and their faces careworn; but no step had the furtive stealth of his—no face the same contracted, sinister, suspicious gloom. Only once, in a lonely thoroughfare, and on the opposite side of the way, fell a foot-fall, and glanced[Pg 63] an eye, that seemed to betray a soul in sympathy with Randal Leslie's.

And Randal, who had heeded none of the other passengers by the way, as if instinctively, took note of this one. His nerves crisped at the noiseless slide of that form, as it stalked on from lamp to lamp, keeping pace with his own. He felt a sort of awe, as if he had beheld the wraith of himself; and ever, as he glanced suspiciously at the arranger, the stranger glanced at him. He was inexpressibly relieved when the figure turned down another street and vanished.

That man was a felon, as yet undetected. Between him and his kind there stood but a thought—a vail air-spun, but impassable, as the vail of the Image at Sais.

And thus moved and thus looked Randal Leslie, a thing of dark and secret mischief—within the pale of the law, but equally removed from man by the vague consciousness that at his heart lay that which the eyes of man would abhor and loathe. Solitary amidst the vast city, and on through the machinery of Civilization, went the still spirit of Intellectual Evil.


Early the next morning Randal received two notes—one from Frank, written in great agitation, begging Randal to see and propitiate his father, whom he feared he had grievously offended; and then running off, rather incoherently, into protestations that his honor as well as his affections were engaged irrevocably to Beatrice, and that her, at least, he could never abandon.

And the second note was from the Squire himself—short, and far less cordial than usual—requesting Mr. Leslie to call on him.

Randal dressed in haste, and went at once to Limmer's hotel.

He found the Parson with Mr. Hazeldean, and endeavoring in vain to soothe him. The Squire had not slept all night, and his appearance was almost haggard.

"Oho! Mr. young Leslie," said he, throwing himself back in his chair as Randal entered—"I thought you were a friend—I thought you were Frank's adviser. Explain, sir; explain."

"Gently, my dear Mr. Hazeldean," said the Parson. "You do but surprise and alarm Mr. Leslie. Tell him more distinctly what he has to explain."

Squire.—"Did you or did you not tell me or Mrs. Hazeldean, that Frank was in love with Violante Rickeybockey?"

Randal (as in amaze).—"I! Never, sir! I feared, on the contrary, that he was somewhat enamored of a very different person. I hinted at that possibility. I could not do more, for I did not know how far Frank's affections were seriously engaged. And indeed, sir, Mrs. Hazeldean, though not encouraging the idea that your son could marry a foreigner and a Roman Catholic, did not appear to consider such objections insuperable, if Frank's happiness were really at stake."

[Pg 64]

Here the poor Squire gave way to a burst of passion, that involved, in one tempest, Frank, Randal, Harry herself, and the whole race of foreigners, Roman Catholics, and women. While the Squire himself was still incapable of hearing reason, the Parson, taking aside Randal, convinced himself that the whole affair, so far as Randal was concerned, had its origin in a very natural mistake; and that while that young gentleman had been hinting at Beatrice, Mrs. Hazeldean had been thinking of Violante. With considerable difficulty he succeeded in conveying this explanation to the Squire, and somewhat appeasing his wrath against Randal. And the Dissimulator, seizing his occasion, then expressed so much grief and astonishment at learning that matters had gone as far as the Parson informed him—that Frank had actually proposed to Beatrice, been accepted, and engaged himself, before even communicating with his father; he declared so earnestly, that he could never conjure such evil—that he had had Frank's positive promise to take no step without the sanction of his parents; he professed such sympathy with the Squire's wounded feelings, and such regret at Frank's involvement, that Mr. Hazeldean at last yielded up his honest heart to his consoler—and gripping Randal's hand, said, "Well, well, I wronged you—beg your pardon. What now is to be done?"

"Why, you can not consent to this marriage—impossible," replied Randal; "and we must hope therefore to influence Frank, by his sense of duty."

"That's it," said the Squire; "for I'll not give way. Pretty pass things have come to, indeed! A widow too, I hear. Artful jade—thought, no doubt, to catch a Hazeldean of Hazeldean. My estates go to an outlandish Papistical set of mongrel brats! No, no, never!"

"But," said the Parson, mildly, "perhaps we may be unjustly prejudiced against this lady. We should have consented to Violante—why not to her? She is of good family?"

"Certainly," said Randal.

"And good character?"

Randal shook his head, and sighed. The Squire caught him roughly by the arm—"Answer the Parson!" cried he, vehemently.

"Indeed, sir, I can not speak ill of the character of a woman, who may, too, be Frank's wife; and the world is ill-natured, and not to be believed. But you can judge for yourself, my dear Mr. Hazeldean. Ask your brother whether Madame di Negra is one whom he would advise his nephew to marry."

"My brother!" exclaimed the Squire furiously. "Consult my distant brother on the affairs of my own son!"

"He is a man of the world," put in Randal.

"And of feeling and honor," said the Parson, "and, perhaps, through him, we may be enabled to enlighten Frank, and save him from what appears to be the snare of an artful woman."

[Pg 65]

"Meanwhile," said Randal, "I will seek Frank, and do my best with him. Let me go now—I will return in an hour or so."

"I will accompany you," said the Parson.

"Nay, pardon me, but I think we two young men can talk more openly without a third person, even so wise and kind as you."

"Let Randal go," growled the Squire. And Randal went.

He spent some time with Frank, and the reader will easily divine how that time was employed. As he left Frank's lodgings, he found himself suddenly seized by the Squire himself.

"I was too impatient to stay at home and listen to the Parson's prosing," said Mr. Hazeldean, nervously. "I have shaken Dale off. Tell me what has passed. Oh! don't fear—I'm a man, and can bear the worst."

Randal drew the Squire's arm within his, and led him into the adjacent park.

"My dear sir," said he, sorrowfully, "this is very confidential what I am about to say. I must repeat it to you, because without such confidence, I see not how to advise you on the proper course to take. But if I betray Frank, it is for his good, and to his own father:—only do not tell him. He would never forgive me—it would for ever destroy my influence over him."

"Go on, go on," gasped the Squire; "speak out. I'll never tell the ungrateful boy that I learned his secrets from another."

"Then," said Randal, "the secret of his entanglement with Madame di Negra is simply this—he found her in debt—nay, on the point of being arrested—"

"Debt!—arrested! Jezabel!"

"And in paying the debt himself, and saving her from arrest, he conferred on her the obligation which no woman of honor could accept save from her affianced husband. Poor Frank!—if sadly taken in, still we must pity and forgive him!"

Suddenly, to Randal's great surprise, the Squire's whole face brightened up.

"I see, I see!" he exclaimed, slapping his thigh. "I have it—I have it. 'Tis an affair of money! I can buy her off. If she took money from him, the mercenary, painted baggage! why, then, she'll take it from me. I don't care what it costs—half my fortune—all! I'd be content never to see Hazeldean Hall again, if I could save my son, my own son, from disgrace and misery; for miserable he will be when he knows he has broken my heart and his mother's. And for a creature like that! My boy, a thousand hearty thanks to you. Where does the wretch live? I'll go to her at once." And as he spoke, the Squire actually pulled out his pocket-book and began turning over and counting the bank-notes in it.

Randal at first tried to combat this bold resolution on the part of the Squire; but Mr. Hazeldean had seized on it with all the obstinacy of his straightforward English mind. He cut Randal's persuasive eloquence off in the midst.

"Don't waste your breath. I've settled it;[Pg 66] and if you don't tell me where she lives, 'tis easily found out, I suppose."

Randal mused a moment. "After all," thought he, "why not? He will be sure so to speak as to enlist her pride against himself, and to irritate Frank to the utmost. Let him go."

Accordingly, he gave the information required; and, insisting with great earnestness on the Squire's promise, not to mention to Madam di Negra his knowledge of Frank's pecuniary aid (for that would betray Randal as the informant); and satisfying himself as he best might with the Squire's prompt assurance, "that he knew how to settle matters, without saying why or wherefore, as long as he opened his purse wide enough," he accompanied Mr. Hazeldean back into the streets, and there left him—fixing an hour in the evening for an interview at Limmer's, and hinting that it would be best to have that interview without the presence of the Parson. "Excellent good man," said Randal, "but not with sufficient knowledge of the world for affairs of this kind, which you understand so well."

"I should think so," quoth the Squire, who had quite recovered his good-humor. "And the Parson is as soft as buttermilk. We must be firm here—firm, sir." And the Squire struck the end of his stick on the pavement, nodded to Randal, and went on to Mayfair as sturdily and as confidently as if to purchase a prize cow at a cattle-show.


"Bring the light nearer," said John Burley—"nearer still."

Leonard obeyed, and placed the candle on a little table by the sick man's bedside.

Burley's mind was partially wandering; but there was method in his madness. Horace Walpole said that "his stomach would survive all the rest of him." That which in Burley survived the last was his quaint wild genius. He looked wistfully at the still flame of the candle. "It lives ever in the air!" said he.

"What lives ever?"

Burley's voice swelled—"Light!" He turned from Leonard, and again contemplated the little flame. "In the fixed star, in the Will-o'-the-wisp, in the great sun that illumes half a world, or the farthing rushlight by which the ragged student strains his eyes—still the same flower of the elements. Light in the universe, thought in the soul—ay—ay—Go on with the simile. My head swims. Extinguish the light! You can not; fool, it vanishes from your eye, but it is still in the space. Worlds must perish, suns shrivel up, matter and spirit both fall into nothingness, before the combinations whose union makes that little flame, which the breath of a babe can restore to darkness, shall lose the power to unite into light once more. Lose the power!—no, the necessity:—it is the one Must in creation. Ay, ay, very dark riddles grow clear now—now when I could not cast up an addition sum in the baker's bill! What wise man denied that[Pg 67] two and two made four? Do they not make four? I can't answer him. But I could answer a question that some wise men have contrived to make much knottier." He smiled softly, and turned his face for some minutes to the wall.

This was the second night on which Leonard had watched by his bedside, and Burley's state had grown rapidly worse. He could not last many days, perhaps many hours. But he had evinced an emotion beyond mere delight at seeing Leonard again. He had since then been calmer, more himself. "I feared I might have ruined you by my bad example," he said, with a touch of humor that became pathos as he added, "That idea preyed on me."

"No, no; you did me great good."

"Say that—say it often," said Burley, earnestly; "it makes my heart feel so light."

He had listened to Leonard's story with deep interest, and was fond of talking to him of little Helen. He detected the secret at the young man's heart, and cheered the hopes that lay there, amidst fears and sorrows. Burley never talked seriously of his repentance; it was not in his nature to talk seriously of the things which he felt solemnly. But his high animal spirits were quenched with the animal power that fed them. Now, we go out of our sensual existence only when we are no longer enthralled by the Present, in which the senses have their realm. The sensual being vanishes when we are in the Past or the Future. The Present was gone from Burley; he could no more be its slave and its king.

It was most touching to see how the inner character of this man unfolded itself, as the leaves of the outer character fell off and withered—a character no one would have guessed in him—an inherent refinement that was almost womanly; and he had all a woman's abnegation of self. He took the cares lavished on him so meekly. As the features of the old man return in the stillness of death to the aspect of youth—the lines effaced, the wrinkles gone—so, in seeing Burley now, you saw what he had been in his spring of promise. But he himself saw only what he had failed to be—powers squandered—life wasted. "I once beheld," he said, "a ship in a storm. It was a cloudy, fitful day, and I could see the ship with all its masts fighting hard for life and for death. Then came night, dark as pitch, and I could only guess that the ship fought on. Toward the dawn the stars grew visible, and once more I saw the ship—it was a wreck—it went down just as the stars shone forth."

When he had made that allusion to himself, he sate very still for some time, then he spread out his wasted hands, and gazed on them, and on his shrunken limbs. "Good," said he, laughing low; "these hands were too large and rude for handling the delicate webs of my own mechanism, and these strong limbs ran away with me. If I had been a sickly, puny fellow, perhaps my mind would have had fair play. There was too much of brute body here! Look at this hand now! you can see the light through it! Good, good!"

[Pg 68]

Now, that evening, until he had retired to bed, Burley had been unusually cheerful, and had talked with much of his old eloquence, if with little of his old humor. Among other matters, he had spoken with considerable interest of some poems and other papers in manuscript which had been left in the house by a former lodger, and which, the reader may remember, that Mrs. Goodyer had urged him in vain to read, in his last visit to her cottage. But then he had her husband Jacob to chat with, and the spirit-bottle to finish, and the wild craving for excitement plucked his thoughts back to his London revels. Now poor Jacob was dead, and it was not brandy that the sick man drank from the widow's cruise. And London lay afar amidst its fogs, like a world resolved back into nebulæ. So to please his hostess, and distract his own solitary thoughts, he had condescended (just before Leonard found him out) to peruse the memorials of a life obscure to the world, and new to his own experience of coarse joys and woes. "I have been making a romance, to amuse myself, from their contents," said he. "They may be of use to you, brother author. I have told Mrs. Goodyer to place them in your room. Among those papers is a journal—a woman's journal; it moved me greatly. A man gets into another world, strange to him as the orb of Sirius, if he can transport himself into the centre of a woman's heart, and see the life there, so wholly unlike our own. Things of moment to us, to it so trivial; things trifling to us, to it so vast. There was this journal—in its dates reminding me of stormy events of my own existence, and grand doings in the world's. And those dates there, chronicling but the mysterious unrevealed record of some obscure loving heart! And in that chronicle, O, Sir Poet, there was as much genius, vigor of thought, vitality of being, poured and wasted, as ever kind friend will say was lavished on the rude outer world by big John Burley! Genius, genius; are we all alike, then, save when we leash ourselves to some matter-of-fact material, and float over the roaring seas on a wooden plank or a herring-tub?" And after he had uttered that cry of a secret anguish, John Burley had begun to show symptoms of growing fever and disturbed brain; and when they had got him into bed, he lay there muttering to himself, until toward midnight he had asked Leonard to bring the light nearer to him.

So now he again was quiet—with his face turned toward the wall; and Leonard stood by the bedside sorrowfully, and Mrs. Goodyer, who did not heed Burley's talk, and thought only of his physical state, was dipping cloths into iced water to apply to his forehead. But as she approached with these, and addressed him soothingly, Burley raised himself on his arm, and waved aside the bandages. "I do not need them," said he, in a collected voice. "I am better now. I and that pleasant light understand one another, and I believe all it tells me. Pooh, pooh, I do not rave." He looked so smilingly and so kindly into her face, that the poor[Pg 69] woman, who loved him as her own son, fairly burst into tears. He drew her toward him and kissed her forehead.

"Peace, old fool," said he, fondly. "You shall tell anglers hereafter how John Burley came to fish for the one-eyed perch which he never caught: and how, when he gave it up at the last, his baits all gone, and the line broken among the weeds, you comforted the baffled man. There are many good fellows yet in the world who will like to know that poor Burley did not die on a dunghill. Kiss me! Come, boy, you too. Now, God bless you, I should like to sleep." His cheeks were wet with the tears of both his listeners, and there was a moisture in his own eyes, which, nevertheless, beamed bright through the moisture.

He laid himself down again, and the old woman would have withdrawn the light. He moved uneasily. "Not that," he murmured—"light to the last!" And putting forth his wan hand, he drew aside the curtain so that the light might fall full on his face. In a few minutes he was asleep, breathing calmly and regularly as an infant.

The old woman wiped her eyes, and drew Leonard softly into the adjoining room, in which a bed had been made up for him. He had not left the house since he had entered it with Dr. Morgan. "You are young, sir," said she, with kindness, "and the young want sleep. Lie down a bit: I will call you when he wakes."

"No, I could not sleep," said Leonard. "I will watch for you."

The old woman shook her head. "I must see the last of him, sir; but I know he will be angry when his eyes open on me, for he has grown very thoughtful of others."

"Ah, if he had but been as thoughtful of himself!" murmured Leonard; and he seated himself by the table, on which, as he leaned his elbow, he dislodged some papers placed there. They fell to the ground with a dumb, moaning, sighing sound.

"What is that?" said he, starting.

The old woman picked up the manuscripts and smoothed them carefully.

"Ah, sir, he bade me place these papers here. He thought they might keep you from fretting about him, in case you would sit up and wake. And he had a thought of me, too; for I have so pined to find out the poor young lady, who left them years ago. She was almost as dear to me as he is; dearer perhaps until now—when—when—I am about to lose him."

Leonard turned from the papers, without a glance at their contents: they had no interest for him at such a moment.

The hostess went on—

"Perhaps she is gone to heaven before him: she did not look like one long for this world. She left us so suddenly. Many things of hers besides these papers are still here; but I keep them aired and dusted, and strew lavender over them, in case she ever comes for them again.[Pg 70] You never heard tell of her, did you, sir?" she added, with great simplicity, and dropping a half courtsey.

"Of her?—of whom?"

"Did not Mr. John tell you her name—dear—dear?—Mrs. Bertram."

Leonard started;—the very name so impressed upon his memory by Harley L'Estrange.

"Bertram!" he repeated. "Are you sure?"

"O yes, sir! And many years after she had left us, and we had heard no more of her, there came a packet addressed to her here, from over sea, sir. We took it in, and kept it, and John would break the seal, to know if it would tell us any thing about her; but it was all in a foreign language like—we could not read a word."

"Have you the packet? Pray, show it to me. It may be of the greatest value. To-morrow will do—I can not think of that just now. Poor Burley!"

Leonard's manner indicated that he wished to talk no more, and to be alone. So Mrs. Goodyer left him, and stole back to Burley's room on tiptoe.

The young man remained in deep reverie for some moments. "Light," he murmured. "How often "Light" is the last word of those round whom the shades are gathering!"[C] He moved, and straight on his view through the cottage lattice there streamed light, indeed—not the miserable ray lit by a human hand—but the still and holy effulgence of a moonlit heaven. It lay broad upon the humble floors—pierced across the threshold of the death-chamber, and halted clear amidst its shadows.

Leonard stood motionless, his eye following the silvery silent splendor.

"And," he said inly—"and does this large erring nature, marred by its genial faults—this soul which should have filled a land, as yon orb the room, with a light that linked earth to heaven—does it pass away into the dark, and leave not a ray behind? Nay, if the elements of light are ever in the space, and when the flame goes out, return to the vital air—so thought, once kindled, lives for ever around and about us, a part of our breathing atmosphere. Many a thinker, many a poet, may yet illume the world, from the thoughts which yon genius, that will have no name, gave forth—to wander through air, and recombine again in some new form of light."

Thus he went on in vague speculations, seeking, as youth enamored of fame seeks too fondly,[Pg 71] to prove that mind never works, however erratically, in vain—and to retain yet, as an influence upon earth, the soul about to soar far beyond the atmosphere where the elements that make fame abide. Not thus had the dying man interpreted the endurance of light and thought.

Suddenly, in the midst of his reverie, a low cry broke on his ear. He shuddered as he heard, and hastened forebodingly into the adjoining room. The old woman was kneeling by the bedside, and chafing Burley's hand—eagerly looking into his face. A glance sufficed to Leonard. All was over. Burley had died in sleep—calmly, and without a groan.

The eyes were half open, with that look of inexpressible softness which death sometimes leaves; and still they were turned toward the light; and the light burned clear. Leonard closed tenderly the heavy lids; and, as he covered the face, the lips smiled a serene farewell.



Soon after Cousin Con's marriage, we were invited to stay for a few weeks with the newly-married couple, during the festive winter season; so away we went with merry hearts, the clear frosty air and pleasant prospect before us invigorating our spirits, as we took our places inside the good old mail-coach, which passed through the town of P——, where Cousin Con resided, for there were no railways then. Never was there a kinder or more genial soul than Cousin Con; and David Danvers, the good-man, as she laughingly called him, was, if possible, kinder and more genial still. They were surrounded by substantial comforts, and delighted to see their friends in a sociable, easy way, and to make them snug and cozy, our arrival being the signal for a succession of such convivialities. Very mirthful and enjoyable were these evenings, for Con's presence always shed radiant sunshine, and David's honest broad face beamed upon her with affectionate pride. During the days of their courtship at our house, they had perhaps indulged in billing and cooing a little too freely when in company with others, for sober, middle-aged lovers like themselves; thereby lying open to animadversions from prim spinsters, who wondered that Miss Constance and Mr. Danvers made themselves so ridiculous.

But now all this nonsense had sobered down, and nothing could be detected beyond a sly glance, or a squeeze of the hand now and then; yet we often quizzed them about by-gones, and declared that engaged pairs were insufferable—we could always find them out among a hundred!

"I'll bet you any thing you like," cried Cousin Con, with a good-humored laugh, "that among our guests coming this evening" (there was to be a tea-junketing), "you'll not be able to point out the engaged couple—for there will be only one such present—though plenty of lads and lasses that would like to be so happily situated! But the couple I allude too are real turtle-doves, and yet I defy you to find them out!"

[Pg 72]

"Done, Cousin Con!" we exclaimed; "and what shall we wager?"

"Gloves! gloves to be sure!" cried David. "Ladies always wager gloves; though I can tell you, my Con is on the safe side now;" and David rubbed his hands, delighted with the joke; and we already, in perspective, beheld our glove-box enriched with half-a-dozen pair of snowy French sevens!

Never had we felt more interested in watching the arrivals and movements of strangers, than on this evening, for our honor was concerned, to detect the lovers, and raise the vail. Papas and mammas, and masters and misses, came trooping in; old ladies, and middle-aged; old gentlemen, and middle-aged—until the number amounted to about thirty, and Cousin Con's drawing-rooms were comfortably filled. We closely scrutinized all the young folks, and so intently but covertly watched their proceedings, that we could have revealed several innocent flirtations, but nothing appeared that could lead us to the turtle-doves and their engagement. At length, we really had hopes, and ensconced ourselves in a corner, to observe the more cautiously a tall, beautiful girl, whose eyes incessantly turned toward the door of the apartment; while each time it opened to admit any one, she sighed and looked disappointed, as if that one was not the one she yearned to see. We were deep in a reverie, conjuring up a romance of which she was the heroine, when a little lady, habited in gray, whose age might average threescore, unceremoniously seated herself beside us, and immediately commenced a conversation, by asking if we were admiring pretty Annie Mortimer—following the direction of our looks. On receiving a reply in the affirmative, she continued: "Ah, she's a good, affectionate girl; a great favorite of mine is sweet Annie Mortimer."

"Watching for her lover, no doubt?" we ventured to say, hoping to gain the desired information, and thinking of our white kid-gloves. "She is an engaged young lady?"

"Engaged! engaged!" cried the little animated lady: "no indeed. The fates forbid! Annie Mortimer is not engaged." The expression of the little lady's countenance at our bare supposition of so natural a fact, amounted almost to the ludicrous; and we with some difficulty articulated a serious rejoinder, disavowing all previous knowledge, and therefore erring through ignorance. We had now time to examine our new acquaintance more critically. As we have already stated, she was habited in gray; but not only was her attire gray, but she was literally gray all over: gray hairs, braided in a peculiar obsolete fashion, and quite uncovered; gray gloves; gray shoes; and, above all, gray eyes, soft, large, and peculiarly sad in expression, yet beautiful eyes, redeeming the gray, monotonous countenance from absolute plainness. Mary Queen of Scots, we are told, had gray eyes; and even she, poor lady, owned not more speaking or history-telling orbs than did[Pg 73] this little unknown gossip in gray. But our attention was diverted from the contemplation, by the entrance of another actor on the stage, to whom Annie Mortimer darted forward with an exclamation of delight and welcome. The new comer was a slender, elderly gentleman, whose white hairs, pale face, and benignant expression presented nothing remarkable in their aspect, beyond a certain air of elegance and refinement, which characterized the whole outward man.

"That is a charming-looking old gentleman," said we to the gray lady; "is he Annie's father?"

"Her father! Oh dear, no! That gentleman is a bachelor; but he is Annie's guardian, and has supplied the place of a father to her, for poor Annie is an orphan."

"Oh!" we exclaimed, and there was a great deal of meaning in our oh! for had we not read and heard of youthful wards falling in love with their guardians? and might not the fair Annie's taste incline this way? The little gray lady understood our thoughts, for she smiled, but said nothing; and while we were absorbed with Annie and her supposed antiquated lover, she glided into the circle, and presently we beheld Annie's guardian, with Annie leaning on his arm, exchange a few words with her in an under tone, as she passed them to an inner room.

"Who is that pleasing-looking old gentleman?" said we to our hostess; "and what is the name of the lady in gray, who went away just as you came up? That is Annie Mortimer we know, and we know also that she isn't engaged!"

Cousin Con laughed heartily as she replied: "That nice old gentleman is Mr. Worthington, our poor curate; and a poor curate he is likely ever to continue, so far as we can see. The lady in gray we call our 'little gray gossip,' and a darling she is! As to Annie, you seem to know all about her. I suppose little Bessie has been lauding her up to the skies."

"Who is little Bessie?" we inquired.

"Little Bessie is your little gray gossip: we never call her any thing but Bessie to her face; she is a harmless little old maid. But come this way: Bessie is going to sing, for they won't let her rest till she complies; and Bessie singing, and Bessie talking, are widely different creatures."

Widely different indeed! Could this be the little gray lady seated at the piano, and making it speak? while her thrilling tones, as she sang of 'days gone by,' went straight to each listener's heart, she herself looking ten years younger! When the song was over, I observed Mr. Worthington, with Annie still resting on his arm, in a corner of the apartment, shaded by a projecting piece of furniture; and I also noted the tear on his furrowed cheek, which he hastily brushed away, and stooped to answer some remark of Annie's, who, with fond affection, had evidently observed it too, endeavoring to dispel the painful illusion which remembrances of days gone by occasioned.

We at length found the company separating,[Pg 74] and our wager still unredeemed. The last to depart was Mr. Worthington, escorting Annie Mortimer and little Bessie, whom he shawled most tenderly, no doubt because she was a poor forlorn little old maid, and sang so sweetly.

The next morning at breakfast, Cousin Con attacked us, supported by Mr. Danvers, both demanding a solution of the mystery, or the scented sevens! After a vast deal of laughing, talking, and discussion, we were obliged to confess ourselves beaten, for there had been an engaged couple present on the previous evening, and we had failed to discover them. No; it was not Annie Mortimer; she had no lover. No; it was not the Misses Halliday, or the Masters Burton: they had flirted and danced, and danced and flirted indiscriminately; but as to serious engagements—pooh! pooh!

Who would have conjectured the romance of reality that was now divulged? and how could we have been so stupid as not to have read it at a glance? These contradictory exclamations, as is usual in such cases, ensued when the riddle was unfolded. It is so easy to be wise when we have learned the wisdom. Yet we cheerfully lost our wager, and would have lost a hundred such, for the sake of hearing a tale so far removed from matter-of-fact; proving also that enduring faith and affection are not so fabulous as philosophers often pronounce them to be.

Bessie Prudholm was nearly related to David Danvers, and she had been the only child of a talented but improvident father, who, after a short, brilliant career, as a public singer, suddenly sank into obscurity and neglect, from the total loss of his vocal powers, brought on by a violent rheumatic cold and lasting prostration of strength. At this juncture, Bessie had nearly attained her twentieth year, and was still in mourning for an excellent mother, by whom she had been tenderly and carefully brought up. From luxury and indulgence the descent to poverty and privation was swift. Bessie, indeed, inherited a very small income in right of her deceased parent, sufficient for her own wants, and even comforts, but totally inadequate to meet the thousand demands, caprices, and fancies of her ailing and exigent father. However, for five years she battled bravely with adversity, eking out their scanty means by her exertions—though, from her father's helpless condition, and the constant and unremitting attention he required, she was in a great measure debarred from applying her efforts advantageously. The poor, dying man, in his days of health, had contributed to the enjoyment of the affluent, and in turn been courted by them; but now, forgotten and despised, he bitterly reviled the heartless world, whose hollow meed of applause it had formerly been the sole aim of his existence to secure. Wealth became to his disordered imagination the desideratum of existence, and he attached inordinate value to it, in proportion as he felt the bitter stings of comparative penury. To guard his only child—whom he certainly loved better than any thing else in the world,[Pg 75] save himself—from this dreaded evil, the misguided man, during his latter days, extracted from her an inviolable assurance, never to become the wife of any individual who could not settle upon her, subject to no contingencies or chances, the sum of at least one thousand pounds.

Bessie, who was fancy-free, and a lively-spirited girl, by no means relished the slights and privations which poverty entails. She therefore willingly became bound by this solemn promise; and when her father breathed his last, declaring that she had made his mind comparatively easy, little Bessie half smiled, even in the midst of her deep and natural sorrow, to think how small and easy a concession her poor father had exacted, when her own opinions and views so perfectly coincided with his. The orphan girl took up her abode with the mother of David Danvers, and continued to reside with that worthy lady until the latter's decease. It was beneath the roof of Mrs. Danvers that Bessie first became acquainted with Mr. Worthington—that acquaintance speedily ripening into a mutual and sincere attachment. He was poor and patronless then, as he had continued ever since, with slender likelihood of ever possessing £100 of his own, much less £1000 to settle on a wife. It is true, that in the chances and changes of this mortal life, Paul Worthington might succeed to a fine inheritance; but there were many lives betwixt him and it, and Paul was not the one to desire happiness at another's expense, nor was sweet little Bessie either.

Yet was Paul Worthington rich in one inestimable possession, such as money can not purchase—even in the love of a pure devoted heart, which for him, and for his dear sake, bravely endured the life-long loneliness and isolation which their peculiar circumstances induced. Paul did not see Bessie grow old and gray: in his eyes, she never changed; she was to him still beautiful, graceful, and enchanting; she was his betrothed, and he came forth into the world, from his books, and his arduous clerical and parochial duties, to gaze at intervals into her soft eyes, to press her tiny hand, to whisper a fond word, and then to return to his lonely home, like a second Josiah Cargill, to try and find in severe study oblivion of sorrow.

Annie Mortimer had been sent to him as a ministering angel: she was the orphan and penniless daughter of Mr. Worthington's dearest friend and former college-chum, and she had come to find a shelter beneath the humble roof of the pious guardian, to whose earthly care she had been solemnly bequeathed. Paul's curacy was not many miles distant from the town where Bessie had fixed her resting-place; and it was generally surmised by the select few who were in the secret of little Bessie's history, that she regarded Annie Mortimer with especial favor and affection, from the fact that Annie enjoyed the privilege of solacing and cheering Paul Worthington's declining years. Each spoke of her as a dear adopted daughter, and Annie equally returned the affection of both.

[Pg 76]

Poor solitaries! what long anxious years they had known, separated by circumstance, yet knit together in the bonds of enduring love!

I pictured them at festive winter seasons, at their humble solitary boards; and in summer prime, when song-birds and bright perfumed flowers call lovers forth into the sunshine rejoicingly. They had not dared to rejoice during their long engagement; yet Bessie was a sociable creature, and did not mope or shut herself up, but led a life of active usefulness, and was a general favorite amongst all classes. They had never contemplated the possibility of evading Bessie's solemn promise to her dying father; to their tender consciences, that fatal promise was as binding and stringent, as if the gulf of marriage or conventual vows yawned betwixt them. We had been inclined to indulge some mirth at the expense of the little gray gossip, when she first presented herself to our notice; but now we regarded her as an object of interest, surrounded by a halo of romance, fully shared in by her charming, venerable lover. And this was good Cousin Con's elucidation of the riddle, which she narrated with many digressions, and with animated smiles, to conceal tears of sympathy. Paul Worthington and little Bessy did not like their history to be discussed by the rising frivolous generation; it was so unworldly, so sacred, and they looked forward with humble hope so soon to be united for ever in the better land, that it pained and distressed them to be made a topic of conversation.

Were we relating fiction, it would be easy to bring this antiquated pair together, even at the eleventh hour; love and constancy making up for the absence of one sweet ingredient, evanescent, yet beautiful—the ingredient, we mean, of youth. But as this is a romance of reality, we are fain to divulge facts as they actually occurred, and as we heard them from authentic sources. Paul and Bessie, divided in their lives, repose side by side in the old church-yard. He dropped off first, and Bessie doffed her gray for sombre habiliments of darker hue. Nor did she long remain behind, loving little soul! leaving her property to Annie Mortimer, and warning her against long engagements.

The last time we heard of Annie, she was the happy wife of an excellent man, who, fully coinciding in the opinion of the little gray gossip, protested strenuously against more than six weeks' courtship, and carried his point triumphantly.


It was a lovely day in the month of August, and the sun, which had shone with undiminished splendor from the moment of dawn, was now slowly declining, with that rich and prolonged glow with which it seems especially to linger around those scenes where it seldomest finds admittance. For it was a valley in the north of Scotland into which its light was streaming, and many a craggy top and rugged side, rarely seen without their cap of clouds or shroud of mist,[Pg 77] were now throwing their mellow-tinted forms, clear and soft, into a lake of unusual stillness. High above the lake, and commanding a full view of that and of the surrounding hills, stood one of those countryfied hotels not unfrequently met with on a tourist's route, formerly only designed for the lonely traveler or weary huntsman, but which now, with the view to accommodate the swarm of visitors which every summer increased, had gone on stretching its cords and enlarging its boundaries, till the original tenement looked merely like the seed from which the rest had sprung. Nor, even under these circumstances, did the house admit of much of the luxury of privacy; for, though the dormitories lay thick and close along the narrow corridor, all accommodation for the day was limited to two large and long rooms, one above the other, which fronted the lake. Of these, the lower one was given up to pedestrian travelers—the sturdy, sunburnt shooters of the moors, who arrive with weary limbs and voracious appetites, and question no accommodation which gives them food and shelter; while the upper one was the resort of ladies and family parties, and was furnished with a low balcony, now covered with a rough awning.

Both these rooms, on the day we mention, were filled with numerous guests. Touring was at its height, and shooting had begun; and, while a party of way-worn young men, coarsely clad and thickly shod, were lying on the benches, or lolling out of the windows of the lower apartment, a number of traveling parties were clustered in distinct groups in the room above; some lingering round their tea-tables, while others sat on the balcony, and seemed attentively watching the evolutions of a small boat, the sole object on the lake before them. It is pleasant to watch the actions, however insignificant they may be, of a distant group; to see the hand obey without hearing the voice that has bidden; to guess at their inward motives by their outward movements; to make theories of their intentions, and try to follow them out in their actions; and, as at a pantomime, to tell the drift of the piece by dumb show alone. And it is an idle practice, too, and one especially made for the weary or the listless traveler, giving them amusement without thought, and occupation without trouble; for people who have had their powers of attention fatigued by incessant exertion, or weakened by constant novelty, are glad to settle it upon the merest trifle at last. So the loungers on the balcony increased, and the little boat became a centre of general interest to those who apparently had not had one sympathy in common before. So calm and gliding was its motion, so refreshing the gentle air which played round it, that many an eye from the shore envied the party who were seated in it. These consisted of three individuals, two large figures and a little one.

"It is Captain H—— and his little boy," said one voice, breaking silence; "they arrived here yesterday."

"They'll be going to see the great waterfall," said another.

[Pg 78]

"They have best make haste about it; for they have a mile to walk up-hill when they land," said a third.

"Rather they than I," rejoined a languid fourth; and again there was a pause. Meanwhile the boat party seemed to be thinking little about the waterfall, or the need for expedition. For a few minutes the quick-glancing play of the oars was seen, and then they ceased again; and now an arm was stretched out toward some distant object in the landscape, as if asking a question; and then the little fellow pointed here and there, as if asking many questions at once, and, in short, the conjectures on the balcony were all thrown out. But now the oars had rested longer than usual, and a figure rose and stooped, and seemed occupied with something at the bottom of the boat. What were they about? They were surely not going to fish at this time of evening? No, they were not; for slowly a mast was raised, and a sail unfurled, which at first hung flapping, as if uncertain which side the wind would take it, and then gently swelled out to its full dimensions, and seemed too large a wing for so tiny a body. A slight air had arisen; the long reflected lines of colors, which every object on the shore dripped, as it were, into the lake, were gently stirred with a quivering motion; every soft strip of liquid tint broke gradually into a jagged and serrated edge; colors were mingled, forms were confused; the mountains, which lay in undiminished brightness above, seemed by some invisible agency to be losing their second selves from beneath them; long, cold white lines rose apparently from below, and spread radiating over all the liquid picture: in a few minutes, the lake lay one vast sheet of bright silver, and half the landscape was gone. The boat was no longer in the same element: before, it had floated in a soft, transparent ether; now, it glided upon a plain of ice.

"I wish they had stuck to their oars," said the full, deep voice of an elderly gentleman; "hoisting a sail on these lakes is very much like trusting to luck in life—it may go on all right for a while, and save you much trouble, but you are never sure that it won't give you the slip, and that when you are least prepared."

"No danger in the world, sir," said a young fop standing by, who knew as little about boating on Scotch lakes as he did of most things any where else. Meanwhile, the air had become chill, the sun had sunk behind the hills, and the boating party, tired, apparently, of their monotonous amusement, turned the boat's head toward shore. For some minutes they advanced with fuller and fuller bulging sail in the direction they sought, when suddenly the breeze seemed not so much to change as to be met by another and stronger current of air, which came pouring through the valley with a howling sound, and then, bursting on the lake, drove its waters in a furrow before it. The little boat started, and swerved like a frightened creature; and the sail, distended to its utmost, cowered down to the water's edge.

[Pg 79]

"Good God! why don't they lower that sail? Down with it! down with it!" shouted the same deep voice from the balcony, regardless of the impossibility of being heard. But the admonition was needless; the boatman, with quick, eager motions, was trying to lower it. Still it bent, fuller and fuller, lower and lower. The man evidently strained with desperate strength, defeating, perhaps, with the clumsiness of anxiety, the end in view; when, too impatient, apparently, to witness their urgent peril without lending his aid, the figure of Captain H—— rose up; in one instant a piercing scream was borne faintly to shore—the boat whelmed over, and all were in the water.

For a few dreadful seconds nothing was seen of the unhappy creatures; then a cap floated, and then two struggling figures rose to the surface. One was evidently the child, for his cap was off, and his fair hair was seen; the other head was covered. This latter buffeted the waters with all the violence of a helpless, drowning man; then he threw his arms above his head, sank, and rose no more. The boy struggled less and less, and seemed dead to all resistance before he sank, too. The boat floated keel upward, almost within reach of the sufferers; and now that the waters had closed over them, the third figure was observed, for the first time, at a considerable distance, slowly and laboriously swimming toward it, and in a few moments two arms were flung over it, and there he hung. It was one of those scenes which the heart quails to look on, yet which chains the spectator to the spot. The whole had passed in less than a minute: fear—despair—agony—and death, had been pressed into one of those short minutes, of which so many pass without our knowing how. It is well. Idleness, vanity, or vice—all that dismisses thought—may dally with time, but the briefest space is too long for that excess of consciousness where time seems to stand still.

At this moment a lovely and gentle-looking young woman entered the room. It was evident that she knew nothing of the dreadful scene that had just occurred, nor did she now remark the intense excitement which still riveted the spectators to the balcony; for, seeking, apparently, to avoid all intercourse with strangers, she had seated herself, with a book, on the chair farthest removed from the window. Nor did she look up at the first rush of hurried steps into the room; but, when she did, there was something which arrested her attention, for every eye was fixed upon her with an undefinable expression of horror, and every foot seemed to shrink back from approaching her. There was also a murmur as of one common and irrepressible feeling through the whole house; quick footsteps were heard as of men impelled by some dreadful anxiety; doors were banged; voices shouted; and, could any one have stood by a calm and indifferent spectator, it would have been interesting to mark the sudden change from the abstracted and composed look with which Mrs. H—— (for she it was) first raised her head from her book to the painful restlessness[Pg 80] of inquiry with which she now glanced from eye to eye, and seemed to question what manner of tale they told.

It is something awful and dreadful to stand before a fellow-creature laden with a sorrow which, however we may commiserate it, it is theirs alone to bear; to be compelled to tear away that vail of unconsciousness which alone hides their misery from their sight; and to feel that the faintness gathering round our own heart alone enables theirs to continue beating with tranquillity. We feel less almost of pity for the suffering we are about to inflict than for the peace which we are about to remove; and the smile of unconsciousness which precedes the knowledge of evil is still more painful to look back upon than the bitterest tear that follows it. And, if such be the feelings of the messenger of heavy tidings, the mind that is to receive them is correspondingly actuated. For who is there that thanks you really for concealing the evil that was already arrived—for prolonging the happiness that was already gone? Who cares for a reprieve when sentence is still to follow? It is a pitiful soul that does not prefer the sorrow of certainty to the peace of deceit; or, rather, it is a blessed provision which enables us to acknowledge the preference when it is no longer in our power to choose. It seems intended as a protection to the mind from something so degrading to it as an unreal happiness, that both those who have to inflict misery and those who have to receive it should alike despise its solace. Those who have trod the very brink of a precipice, unknowing that it yawned beneath, look back to those moments of their ignorance with more of horror than of comfort; such security is too close to danger for the mind ever to separate them again. Nor need the bearer of sorrow embitter his errand by hesitations and scruples how to disclose it; he need not pause for a choice of words or form of statement. In no circumstance of life does the soul act so utterly independent of all outward agency; it waits for no explanation, wants no evidence; at the furthest idea of danger it flies at once to its weakest part; an embarrassed manner will rouse suspicions, and a faltered word confirm them. Dreadful things never require precision of terms—they are wholly guessed before they are half-told. Happiness the heart believes not in till it stands at our very threshold; misery it flies at as if eager to meet.

So it was with the unfortunate Mrs. H——; no one spoke of the accident, no one pointed to the lake; no connecting link seemed to exist between the security of ignorance and the agony of knowledge. At one moment she raised her head in placid indifference, at the next she knew that her husband and child were lying beneath the waters. And did she faint, or fall as one stricken? No: for the suspicion was too sudden to be sustained; and the next instant came the thought, This must be a dream; God can not have done it. And the eyes were closed, and the convulsed hands pressed tight over them, as if she would shut out mental vision as well; and groans and sobs burst from the crowd, and men[Pg 81] dashed from the room, unable to bear it; and women, too, untrue to their calling. And there was weeping and wringing of hands, and one weak woman fainted; but still no sound or movement came from her on whom the burden had fallen. Then came the dreadful revulsion of feeling; and, with contracted brow and gasping breath, and voice pitched almost to a scream, she said, "It is not true—tell me—it is not true—tell me—tell me!" And, advancing with desperate gestures, she made for the balcony. All recoiled before her; when one gentle woman, small and delicate as herself, opposed her, and, with streaming eyes and trembling limbs, stood before her. "Oh, go not there—go not there! cast your heavy burden on the Lord!" These words broke the spell. Mrs. H—— uttered a cry which long rang in the ears of those that heard it, and sank, shivering and powerless, in the arms of the kind stranger.

Meanwhile, the dreadful scene had been witnessed from all parts of the hotel, and every male inmate poured from it. The listless tourist of fashion forgot his languor, the way-worn pedestrian his fatigue. The hill down to the lake was trodden by eager, hurrying figures, all anxious to give that which in such cases it is a relief to give, viz., active assistance. Nor were these all, for down came the sturdy shepherd from the hills; and the troops of ragged, bare-legged urchins from all sides; and distant figures of men and women were seen pressing forward to help or to hear; and the hitherto deserted-looking valley was active with life. Meanwhile, the survivor hung motionless over the upturned boat, borne about at the will of the waters, which were now lashed into great agitation. No one could tell whether it was Captain H—— or the Highland boatman, and no one could wish for the preservation of the one more than the other. For life is life to all; and the poor man's wife and family may have less time to mourn, but more cause to want. And before the boat, that was manning with eager volunteers, had left the shore, down came also a tall, raw-boned woman, breathless, more apparently with exertion than anxiety—her eyes dry as stones, and her cheeks red with settled color; one child dragging at her heels, another at her breast. It was the boatman's wife. Different, indeed, was her suspense to that of the sufferer who had been left above; but, perhaps, equally true to her capacity. With her it was fury rather than distress; she scolded the bystanders, chid the little squalling child, and abused her husband by turns.

"How dare he gang to risk his life, wi' six bairns at hame? Ae body knew nae sail was safe on the lake for twa hours thegether; mair fule he to try!" And then she flung the roaring child on to the grass, bade the other mind it, strode half-leg high into the water to help to push off the boat; and then, returning to a place where she could command a view of its movements, she took up the child and hushed it tenderly to sleep. Like her, every one now sought some elevated position, and the progress of the[Pg 82] boat seemed to suspend every other thought. It soon neared the fatal spot, and in another minute was alongside the upturned boat; the figure was now lifted carefully in, something put round him, and, from the languor of his movements, and the care taken, the first impression on shore was that Captain H—— was the one spared. But it was a mercy to Mrs. H—— that she was not in a state to know these surmises; for soon the survivor sat steadily upright, worked his arms, and rubbed his head, as if to restore animation; and, long before the boat reached the shore, the coarse figure and garments of the Highland boatman were distantly recognized. Up started his wife. Unaccustomed to mental emotions of any sudden kind, they were strange and burdensome to her.

"What, Meggy! no stay to welcome your husband!" said a bystander.

"Walcome him yoursal!" she replied; "I hae no the time. I maun get his dry claes, and het his parritch; and that's the best walcome I can gie him." And so, perhaps, the husband thought, too.

And now, what was there more to do? The bodies of Captain H—— and his little son had sunk in seventy fathom deep of water. If, in their hidden currents and movements they cast their victims aloft to the surface, all well; if not, no human hand could reach them. There was nothing to do! Two beings had ceased to exist, who, as far as regarded the consciousness and sympathies of the whole party, had never existed at all before. There had been no influence upon them in their lives, there was no blank to them in their deaths. They had witnessed a dreadful tragedy; they knew that she who had risen that morning a happy wife and mother was now widowed and childless, with a weight of woe upon her, and a life of mourning before her; but there were no forms to observe, no rites to prepare; nothing necessarily to interfere with one habit of the day, or to change one plan for the morrow. It was only a matter of feeling; a great only, it is true; but, as with every thing in life, from the merest trifle to the most momentous occurrence, the matter varied with the individual who felt. All pitied, some sympathized, but few ventured to help. Some wished themselves a hundred miles off, because they could not help her; others wished the same, because she distressed them; and the solitary back room, hidden from all view of the lake, to which the sufferer had been home, after being visited by a few well-meaning or curious women, was finally deserted by all save the kind lady we have mentioned, and a good-natured maid-servant, the drudge of the hotel, who came in occasionally to assist.

We have told the tale exactly as it occurred; the reader knows both plot and conclusion: and now there only remains to say something of the ways of human sorrow, and something, too, of the ways of human goodness.

Grief falls differently on different hearts; some must vent it, others can not. The coldest will be the most unnerved, the tenderest the most possessed; there is no rule. As for this poor[Pg 83] lady, hers was of that sudden and extreme kind for which insensibility is at first mercifully provided; and it came to her, and yet not entirely—suspending the sufferings of the mind, but not deadening all the sensation of the body; for she shivered and shuddered with that bloodless cold which kept her pale, numb, and icy, like one in the last hours before death. A large fire was lighted, warm blankets were wrapped round her, but the cold was too deep to be reached; and the kind efforts made to restore animation were more a relief to her attendants than to her. And yet Miss Campbell stopped sometimes from the chafing of the hands, and let those blue fingers lie motionless in hers, and looked up at that wan face with an expression as if she wished that the eyes might never open again, but that death might at once restore what it had just taken. For some hours no change ensued, and then it was gradual; the hands were withdrawn from those that held them, and first laid, and then clenched together; deep sighs of returning breath and returning knowledge broke from her; the wrappers were thrown off, first feebly, and then restlessly. There were no dramatic startings, no abrupt questionings; but, as blood came back to the veins, anguish came back to the heart. All the signs of excessive mental oppression now began, a sad train as they are, one extreme leading to the other. Before, there had been the powerlessness of exertion, now, there was the powerlessness of control; before she had been benumbed by insensibility, now, she was impelled as if bereft of sense. Like one distracted with intense bodily pain, her whole frame seemed strained to endure. The gentlest of voices whispered comfort, she heard not; the kindest of arms supported her, she rested not. There was the unvarying moan, the weary pacing, the repetition of the same action, the measurement of the same distance, the body vibrating as a mere machine to the restless recurrence of the same thought.

We have said that every outer sign of woe was there—all but that which great sorrows set flowing, but the greatest dry up—she shed no tears! Tears are things for which a preparation of the heart is needful; they are granted to anxiety for the future, or lament for the past. They flow with reminiscences of our own, or with the example of others; they are sent to separations we have long dreaded, and to disappointments we can not forget; they come when our hearts are softened, or when our hearts are wearied; but, in the first amazement of unlooked-for woe, they find no place: the cup that is suddenly whelmed over lets no drop of water escape.

It was evident, however, through all the unruliness of such distress, that the sufferer was a creature of gentle and considerate nature; in the whirlpool which convulsed every faculty of her mind, the smooth surface of former habits was occasionally thrown up. Though the hand which sought to support her was cast aside with a restless, excited movement, it was sought the next instant with a momentary pressure of contrition. Though the head was turned away one instant from the whisper of consolation with a gesture[Pg 84] of impatience, yet it was bowed the next as if in entreaty of forgiveness. Poor creature! what effort she could make to allay the storm which was rioting within her was evidently made for the sake of those around. With so much and so suddenly to bear, she still showed the habit of forbearance.

Meanwhile night had far advanced; many had been the inquiries and expressions of sympathy made at Mrs. H——'s door; but now, one by one, the parties retired each to their rooms. Few, however, rested that night as usual; however differently the terrible picture might be carried on the mind during the hours of light, it forced itself with almost equal vividness upon all in those of darkness. The father struggling to reach the child, and then throwing up his arms in agony, and that fair little head borne about unresistingly by the waves before they covered it over—these were the figures which haunted many a pillow. Or, if the recollection of that scene was lulled for a while, it was recalled again by the weary sound of those footsteps which told of a mourner who rested not. Of course, among the number and medley of characters lying under that roof, there was the usual proportion of the selfish and the careless. None, however, slept that night without confessing, in word or thought, that life and death are in the hands of the Lord; and not all, it is to be hoped, forgot the lesson. One young man, in particular, possessed of fine intellectual powers, but which unfortunately had been developed among a people who, God help them! affect to believe only what they understand, was indebted to this day and night for a great change in his opinions. His heart was kind, though his understanding was perverted; and the thought of that young, lovely, and feeble woman, on whom a load of misery had fallen which would have crushed the strongest of his own sex, roused within him the strongest sense of the insufficiency of all human aid or human strength for beings who are framed to love and yet ordained to lose. He was oppressed with compassion, miserable with sympathy, he longed with all the generosity of a manly heart to do something, to suggest something, that should help her, or satisfy himself. But what were fortitude, philosophy, strength of mind? Mockeries, nay, more, imbecilities, which he dared not mention to her, nor so much as think of in the same thought with her woe. Either he must accuse the Power who had inflicted the wound, and so deep he had not sunk, or he must acknowledge His means of cure. Impelled, therefore, by a feeling equally beyond his doubting or his proving, he did that which for years German sophistry had taught him to forbear; he gave but little, but he felt that he gave his best—he prayed for the suffering creature, and in the name of One who suffered for all, and from that hour God's grace forsook him not.

But the most characteristic sympathizer on the occasion was Sir Thomas ——, the fine old gentleman who had shouted so loudly from the balcony. He was at home in this valley, owned the whole range of hills on one side of the lake[Pg 85] from their fertile bases to their bleak tops, took up his abode generally every summer in this hotel, and felt for the stricken woman as if she had been a guest of his own. Ever since the fatal accident he had gone about in a perfect fret of commiseration, inquiring every half-hour at her door how she was, or what she had taken. Severe bodily illness or intense mental distress had never fallen upon that bluff person and warm heart, and abstinence from food was in either case the proof of an extremity for which he had every compassion, but of which he had no knowledge. He prescribed, therefore, for the poor lady every thing that he would have relished himself, and nothing at that moment could have made him so happy as to have been allowed to send her up the choicest meal that the country could produce. Not that his benevolence was at all limited to such manifestations; if it did not deal in sentiment, it took the widest range of practice. His laborers were dispatched round the lake to watch for any traces of the late catastrophe; he himself kept up an hour later planning how he could best promote the comfort of her onward journey and of her present stay; and though the good old gentleman was now snoring loudly over the very apartment which contained the object of his sympathy, he would have laid down his life to save those that were gone, and half his fortune to solace her who was left.

Some hours had elapsed, the footsteps had ceased, there was quiet, if not rest, in the chamber of mourning; and, shortly after sunrise, a side door in the hotel opened, and she who had been as a sister to the stranger, never seen before, came slowly forth. She was worn with watching, her heart was sick with the sight and sounds of such woe, and she sought the refreshment of the outer air and the privacy of the early day. It was a dawn promising a day as beautiful as the preceding; the sun was beaming mildly through an opening toward the east, wakening the tops of the nearest hills, while all the rest of the beautiful range lay huge and colorless, nodding, as it were, to their drowsy reflections beneath, and the lake itself looked as calm and peaceful as if the winds had never swept over its waters, nor those waters over all that a wife and mother had loved. Man is such a speck on this creation of which he is lord, that had every human being now sleeping on the green sides of the hills, been lying deep among their dark feet in the lake, it would not have shown a ripple the more. Miss Campbell, meanwhile, wandered slowly on, and though apparently unmindful of the beauty of the scene, she was evidently soothed by its influence. All that dreary night long had she cried unto God in ceaseless prayer, and felt that without His help in her heart, and His word on her lips, she had been but as a strengthless babe before the sight of that anguish. But here beneath His own heavens her communings were freer; her soul seemed not so much to need Him below, as to rise to Him above; and the solemn dejection upon a very careworn, but sweet face, became less painful, but perhaps more touching. In her wanderings she had now left the hotel to[Pg 86] her left hand, the boatman's clay cottage was just above, and below a little rough pier of stones, to an iron ring in one of which the boat was usually attached. She had stood on that self-same spot the day before and watched Captain H—— and his little son as they walked down to the pier, summoned the boatman, and launched into the cool, smooth water. She now went down herself, and stood with a feeling of awe upon the same stones they had so lately left. The shores were loose and shingly, many footsteps were there, but one particularly riveted her gaze. It was tiny in shape and light in print, and a whole succession of them went off toward the side as if following a butterfly, or attracted by a bright stone. Alas! they we're the last prints of that little foot on the shores of this world! Miss Campbell had seen the first thunderbolt of misery burst upon his mother; she had borne the sight of her as she lay stunned, and as she rose frenzied, but that tiny footprint was worse than all, and she burst into a passionate fit of tears. She felt as if it were desecration to sweep them away, as if she could have shrined them round from the winds and waves, and thoughtless tread of others; but a thought came to check her. What did it matter how the trace of his little foot, or how the memory of his short life were obliterated from this earth? There was One above who had numbered every hair of his innocent head, and in His presence she humbly hoped both father and child were now rejoicing.

She was just turning away when the sound of steps approached, and the boatman's wife came up. Her features were coarse and her frame was gaunt, as we have said, but she was no longer the termagant of the day before, nor was she ever so. But the lower classes, in the most civilized lands, are often, both in joy and grief, an enigma to those above them; if nature, rare alike in all ranks, speak not for them, they have no conventional imitation to put in her place. The feeling of intense suspense was new to her, and the violence she had assumed had been the awkwardness which, under many eyes, knew not otherwise how to express or, conceal; but she had sound Scotch sense, and a tender woman's heart, and spoke them both now truly, if not gracefully.

"Ye'll be frae the hotel, yonder?" she said; "can ye tell me how the puir leddy has rested? I was up mysel' to the house, and they tell't me they could hear her greeting!"

Miss Campbell told her in a few words what the reader knows, and asked for her husband.

"Oh! he's weel eneugh in body, but sair disquieted in mind. No that he's unmindfu' of the mercy of the Lord to himsel', but he can no just keep the thocht away that it was he wha helped those poor creatures to their end." She then proceeded earnestly to exculpate her husband, assuring Miss Campbell that in spite of the heavy wind and the entangled rope, all might even yet have been well if the gentleman had kept his seat. "But I just tell him that there's Ane above, stronger than the wind, who sunk them in the lake, and could have raised them from it, but it was no His pleasure. The puir leddy[Pg 87] would ha' been nane the happier if Andrew had been ta'en as well, and I and the bairns muckle the waur." Then observing where Miss Campbell stood, she continued, in a voice of much emotion, "Ah! I mind them weel as they came awa' down here; the bairnie was playing by as Andrew loosened the boat—the sweet bairnie! so happy and thochtless as he gaed in his beautiful claes—I see him noo!" and the poor woman wiped her eyes. "But there's something ye'll like to see. Jeanie! gang awa' up, and bring the little bonnet that hangs on the peg. Andrew went out again with the boat the night, and picked it up. But it will no be dry."

The child returned with a sad token. It was the little fellow's cap; a smart, town-made article, with velvet band, and long silk tassel which had been his first vanity, and his mother had coaxed it smooth as she pulled the peak low down over his fair forehead, and then, fumbling his little fingers into his gloves, had given him a kiss which she little thought was to be the last!

"I was coming awa' up wi' it mysel', but the leddy will no just bear to see it yet."

"No, not yet," said Miss Campbell, "if ever. Let me take it. I shall remain with her till better friends come here, or she goes to them;" and giving the woman money, which she had difficulty in making her accept, she possessed herself of the cap, and turned away.

She soon reached the hotel, it was just five o'clock, all blinds were down, and there was no sign of life; but one figure was pacing up and down, and seemed to be watching for her. It was Sir Thomas. His sympathy had broken his sleep in the morning, though it had not disturbed it at night. He began in his abrupt way:

"Madam, I have been watching for you. I heard you leave the house. Madam, I feel almost ashamed to lift up my eyes to you; while we have all been wishing and talking, you alone have been acting. We are all obliged to you, madam; there is not a creature here with a heart in them to whom you have not given comfort!"

Miss Campbell tried to escape from the honest overflowings of the old man's feelings.

"You have only done what you liked: very true, madam. It is choking work having to pity without knowing how to help; but I would sooner give ten thousand pounds than see what you have seen. I would do any thing for the poor creature, any thing, but I could not look at her." He then told her that his men had been sent with the earliest dawn to different points of the lake, but as yet without finding any traces of the late fatal accident; and then his eyes fell upon the cap in Miss Campbell's hand, and he at once guessed the history. "Picked up last evening, you say—sad, sad—a dreadful thing!" and his eyes filling more than it was convenient to hold, he turned away, blew his nose, took a short turn, and coming back again, continued, "But tell me, how has she rested? what has she taken? You must not let her weep too much!"

"Let her weep!" said Miss Campbell; "I wish I could bid her. She has not shed a tear yet, and mind and body alike want it. I left her[Pg 88] lying back quiet in an arm-chair, but I fear this quiet is worse than what has gone before!"

"God bless my heart!" said Sir Thomas, his eyes now running over without control. "God bless my heart! this is sad work. Not that I ever wished a woman to cry before in my life, if she could help it. Poor thing! poor thing! I'll send for a medical man: the nearest is fifteen miles off!"

"I think it will be necessary. I am now going back to her room."

"Well, ma'am, I won't detain you longer, but don't keep all the good to yourself. Let me know if there is any thing that I, or my men, or," the old gentleman hesitated, "my money, madam, can do, only don't ask me to see her;" and so they each went their way—Sir Thomas to the stables to send off man and horse, and Miss Campbell to the chamber of mourning.

She started as she entered; the blind was drawn up, and, leaning against the shutter, in apparent composure, stood Mrs. H——. That composure was dreadful; it was the calm of intense agitation, the silence of boiling heat, the immovability of an object in the most rapid motion. The light was full upon her, showing cheek and forehead flushed, and veins bursting on the small hands. Miss Campbell approached with trembling limbs.

"Where is the servant?"—"I did not want her."

"Will you not rest?"—"I can not!"

Miss Campbell was weary and worn out; the picture before her was so terrible, she sunk on the nearest chair in an agony of tears.

Without changing her position, Mrs. H—— turned her head, and said, gently, "Oh, do not cry so! it is I who ought to cry, but my heart is as dry as my eyes, and my head is so tight, and I can not think for its aching; I can not think, I can not understand, I can not remember, I don't even know your name, then why should this be true? It is I who am ill, they are well, but they never were so long from me before." Then coming forward, her face working, and her breath held tightly, as if a scream were pressing behind, "Tell me," she said, "tell me—my husband and child—" she tried hard to articulate, but the words were lost in a frightful contortion. Miss Campbell mastered herself, she saw the rack of mental torture was strained to the utmost. Neither could bear this much longer. She almost feared resistance, but she felt there was one way to which the sufferer would respond.

"I am weary and tired," she said; "weary with staying up with you all night. If you will lie down, I will soon come and lie by your side."

Poor Mrs. H—— said nothing, but let herself be laid upon the bed.

Three mortal hours passed, she was burnt with a fever which only her own tears could quench; and those wide-open, dry eyes were fearful to see. A knock came to the door, "How is she now?" said Sir Thomas's voice, "The doctor is here: you look as if you wanted him yourself. I'll bring him up."

The medical man entered. Such a case had not occurred in his small country practice before,[Pg 89] but he was a sensible and a kind man, and no practice could have helped him here if he had not been. He heard the whole sad history, felt the throbbing pulse, saw the flush on the face, and wide-open eyes, which now seemed scarcely to notice any thing. He took Miss Campbell into another room, and said that the patient must be instantly roused, and then bled if necessary.

"But the first you can undertake better than I, madam." He looked round. "Is there no little object which would recall?—nothing you could bring before her sight? You understand me?"

Indeed, Miss Campbell did. She had not sat by that bed-side for the last three hours without feeling and fearing that this was necessary; but, at the same time, she would rather have cut off her own hand than undertaken it. She hesitated—but for a moment, and then whispered something to Sir Thomas.

"God bless my heart!" said he: "who would have thought of it? Yes. I know it made me cry like a child."

And then he repeated her proposition to the medical man, who gave immediate assent, and she left the room. In a few minutes she entered that of Mrs. H—— with the little boy's cap in her hand, placed it in a conspicuous position before the bed, and then seated herself with a quick, nervous motion by the bed-side. It was a horrid pause, like that which precedes a cruel operation, where you have taken upon yourself the second degree of suffering—that of witnessing it. The cap lay there on the small stone mantle-piece, with its long, drabbled, weeping tassel, like a funeral emblem. It was not many minutes before it caught those eyes for which it was intended. A suppressed exclamation broke from her; she flew from the bed, looked at Miss Campbell one instant in intense inquiry, and the next had the cap in her hands. The touch of that wet object seemed to dissolve the spell; her whole frame trembled with sudden relaxation. She sank, half-kneeling, on the floor, and tears spouted from her eyes. No blessed rain from heaven to famished earth was ever more welcome. Tears, did we say? Torrents! Those eyes, late so hot and dry, were as two arteries of the soul suddenly opened. What a misery that had been which had sealed them up! They streamed over her face, blinding her riveted gaze, falling on her hands, on the cap, on the floor. Meanwhile the much-to-be-pitied sharer of her sorrow knelt by her side, her whole frame scarcely less unnerved than that she sought to support, uttering broken ejaculations and prayers, and joining her tears to those which flowed so passionately. But she had a gentle and meek spirit to deal with. Mrs. H—— crossed her hands over the cap and bowed her head. Thus she continued a minute, and then turning, still on her knees, she laid her head on her companion's shoulder.

"Help me up," she said, "for I am without strength." And all weak, trembling, and sobbing, she allowed herself to be undressed and put to bed.

Miss Campbell lay down in the same room. She listened till the quivering, catching sobs had given place to deep-drawn sighs, and these again[Pg 90] to disturbed breathings, and then both slept the sleep of utter exhaustion, and Miss Campbell, fortunately, knew not when the mourner awoke from it.

Oh, the dreary first-fruits of excessive sorrow! The first days of a stricken heart, passed through, writhed through, ground through, we scarcely know or remember how, before the knowledge of the bereavement has become habitual—while it is still struggle and not endurance—the same ceaseless recoil from the same ever-recurring shock. It was a blessing that she was ill, very ill; the body shared something of the weight at first.

Let no one, untried by such extremity, here lift the word or look of deprecation. Let there not be a thought of what she ought to have done, or what they would have done. God's love is great, and a Christian's faith is strong, but when have the first encounters between old joys and new sorrows been otherwise than fierce? From time to time a few intervals of heavenly composure, wonderful and gracious to the sufferer, may be permitted, and even the dim light of future peace discerned in the distance; but, in a moment, the gauntlet of defiance is thrown again—no matter what—an old look, an old word, which comes rushing unbidden over the soul, and dreadful feelings rise again only to spend themselves by their own violence. It always seems to us as if sorrow had a nature of its own, independent of that whereon it has fallen, and sometimes strangely at variance with it—scorching the gentle, melting the passionate, dignifying the weak, and prostrating the strong—and showing the real nature, habits, or principles of the mind, only in those defenses it raises up during the intervals of relief. With Mrs. H—— these defenses were reared on the only sure base, and though the storm would sweep down her bulwarks, and cover all over with the furious tide of grief, yet the foundation was left to cling to, and every renewal added somewhat to its strength.

Three days were spent thus, but the fourth she was better, and on Miss Campbell's approaching her bed-side, she drew her to her, and, putting her arms round her neck, imprinted a calm and solemn kiss upon her cheek.

"Oh! what can I ever do for you, dear friend and comforter? God, who has sent you to me in my utmost need, He alone can reward you. I don't even know your name; but that matters not, I know your heart. Now, you may tell me all—all; before, I felt as if I could neither know nor forget what had happened, before, it was as if God had withdrawn His countenance; but now He is gracious, He has heard your prayers."

And then, with the avidity of fresh, hungry sorrow, she besought Miss Campbell to tell her all she knew; she besought and would not be denied, for sorrow has royal authority, its requests are commands. So, with the hand of each locked together, and the eyes of each averted, they sat questioning and answering in disjointed sentences till the whole sad tale was told. Then, anxious to turn a subject which could not be banished, Miss Campbell spoke of the many hearts that had bled, and the many prayers that had ascended[Pg 91] for her, and told her of that kind old man who had thought, acted, and grieved for her like a father.

"God bless him—God bless them all; but chiefly you, my sister. I want no other name."

"Call me Catherine," said the faithful companion.

Passionate bursts of grief would succeed such conversations; nevertheless, they were renewed again and again, for, like all sufferers from severe bereavements, her heart needed to create a world for itself, where its loved ones still were, as a defense against that outer one where they were not, and to which she was only slowly and painfully to be inured, if ever. In these times she would love to tell Catherine—what Catherine most loved to hear—how that her lost husband was both a believer and a doer of Christ's holy word, and that her lost child had learned at her knee what she herself had chiefly learned from his father. For she had been brought up in ignorance and indifference to religious truths, and the greatest happiness of her life had commenced that knowledge, which its greatest sorrow was now to complete.

"I have been such a happy woman," she would say, "that I have pitied others less blessed, though I trust they have not envied me." And then would follow sigh on sigh and tear on tear, and again her soul writhed beneath the agony of that implacable mental spasm.

Sometimes the mourner would appear to lose, instead of gaining ground, and would own with depression, and even with shame, her fear that she was becoming more and more the sport of ungovernable feeling. "My sorrow is sharp enough," she would say, "but it is a still sharper pang when I feel I am not doing my duty under it. It is not thus that he would have had me act." And her kind companion, always at hand to give sympathy or comfort, would bid her not exact or expect any thing from herself, but to cast all upon God, reminding her in words of tenderness that her soul was as a sick child, and that strength would not be required until strength was vouchsafed. "Strength," said the mourner, "no more strength or health for me." And Miss Campbell would whisper that, though "weariness endureth for a night, joy comes in the morning." Or she would be silent, for she knew, as most women do, alike how to soothe and when to humor.

It was a beautiful and a moving sight to see two beings thus riveted together in the exercise and receipt of the tenderest and most intimate feelings, who had never known of each other's existence till the moment that made the one dependent and the other indispensable. All the shades and grades of conventional and natural acquaintanceship, all the gradual insight into mutual character, and the gradual growth into mutual trust, which it is so sweet to look back upon from the high ground of friendship, were lost to them; but it mattered not, here they were together, the one admitted into the sanctuary of sorrow, the other sharing in the fullness of love, with no reminiscence in common but one, and that sufficient to bind them together for life.

Meanwhile the friend without was also unremitting[Pg 92] in his way. He crossed not her threshold in person, nor would have done so for the world, but his thoughts were always reaching Mrs. H—— in some kind form. Every delicate dainty that money could procure—beautiful fruits and flowers which had scarce entered this valley before—every thing that could tempt the languid appetite or divert the weary eye was in turn thought of, and each handed in with a kind, hearty inquiry, till the mourner listened with pleasure for the step and voice. Nor was Miss Campbell forgotten; all the brief snatches of air and exercise she enjoyed were in his company, and often did he insist on her coming out for a short walk or drive when the persuasions of Mrs. H—— had failed to induce her to leave a room where she was the only joy. But now a fresh object attracted Sir Thomas's activity, for after many days the earthly remains of one of the sufferers were thrown up. It was the body of the little boy. Sir Thomas directed all that was necessary to be done, and having informed Miss Campbell, the two friends, each strange to the other, and bound together by the interest in one equally strange to both, went out together up the hill above the hotel, and were gone longer than usual. The next day the intelligence was communicated to Mrs. H——, who received it calmly, but added, "I could have wished them both to have rested together; but God's will be done. I ought not to think of them as on earth."

The grave of little Harry H—— was dug far from the burial-ground of his fathers, and strangers followed him to it; but though there were no familiar faces among those who stood round, there were no cold ones; and when Sir Thomas, as chief mourner, threw the earth upon the lowered coffin, warm tears fell upon it also. Miss Campbell had watched the procession from the window, and told how the good old man walked next behind the minister, the boatman and his wife following him, and how a long train succeeded, all pious and reverential in their bearing, with that air of manly decorum which the Scotch peasantry conspicuously show on such occasions. And she who lay on a bed of sorrow and weakness blessed them through her tears, and felt that her child's funeral was not lonely.

From this time the mourner visibly mended. The funeral and the intelligence that preceded it had insensibly given her that change of the same theme, the want of which had been so much felt at first. She had now taken up her burden, and, for the dear sakes of those for whom she bore it, it became almost sweet to her. She was not worshiping her sorrow as an idol, but cherishing it as a friend. Meanwhile she had received many kind visits from the minister who had buried her child, and had listened to his exhortations with humility and gratitude; but his words were felt as admonitions, Catherine's as comfort. To her, now dearer and dearer, every day she would confess aloud the secret changes of her heart; how at one time the world looked all black and dreary before her, how at another she seemed already to live in a brighter one beyond; how one day life was a burden she knew not how to bear, and[Pg 93] another how the bitterness of death seemed already past. Then with true Christian politeness she would lament over the selfishness of her grief, and ask where Miss Campbell had learned to know that feeling which she felt henceforth was to be the only solace of her life—viz., the deep, deep sympathy for others. And Catherine would tell her, with that care-worn look which confirmed all she said, how she had been sorely tried, not by the death of those she loved, but by what was worse—their sufferings and their sins. How she had been laden with those misfortunes which wound most and teach least, and which, although coming equally from the hand of God, torment you with the idea that, but for the wickedness or weakness of some human agent, they need never have been; till she had felt, wrongly no doubt, that she could have better borne those on which the stamp of the Divine Will was more legibly impressed. She told her how the sting of sorrow, like that of death, is sin; how comparatively light it was to see those you love dead, dying, crippled, maniacs, victims, in short, of any evil, rather than victims of evil itself. She spoke of a heart-broken sister and a hard-hearted brother; of a son—an only one, like him just buried—who had gone on from sin to sin, hardening his own heart, and wringing those of others, till none but a mother's love remained to him, and that he outraged. She told, in short, so much of the sad realities of life, in which, if there was not more woe, there was less comfort, that Mrs. H—— acknowledged in her heart that such griefs had indeed been unendurable, and returned with something like comfort to the undisturbed sanctity of her own.

About this time a summons came which required Sir Thomas to quit the valley in which these scenes had been occurring. Mrs. H—— could have seen him, and almost longed to see him; but he shrunk from her, fearing no longer her sorrow so much as her gratitude.

"Tell her I love her," he said, in his abrupt way, "and always shall; but I can't see her—at least, not yet." Then, explaining to Miss Campbell all the little arrangements for the continuation of the mourner's comfort, which his absence might interrupt, he authorized her to dispose of his servants, his horses, and every thing that belonged to him, and finally put into her hands a small packet, directed to Mrs. H——, with instructions when to give it. He had ascertained that Mrs. H—— was wealthy, and that her great afflictions entailed no minor privations. "But you, my dear, are poor; at least, I hope so, for I could not be happy unless I were of service to you. I am just as much obliged to you as Mrs. H—— is. Mind, you have promised to write to me and to apply to me without reserve. No kindness, no honor—nonsense. It is I who honor you above every creature I know, but I would not be a woman for the world; at least, the truth is, I could not." And so he turned hastily away.

And now the time approached when she, who had entered this valley a happy wife and mother, was to leave it widowed and childless, a sorrowing and heavy-hearted woman, but not an unhappy[Pg 94] one. She had but few near relations, and those scattered in distant lands; but there were friends who would break the first desolation of her former home, and Catherine had promised to bear her company till she had committed her into their hands.

It was a lovely evening, the one before their departure. Mrs. H—— was clad for the first time in all that betokened her to be a mourner; but, as Catherine looked from the black habiliments to that pale face, she felt that there was the deepest mourning of all. Slowly the widow passed through that side-door we have mentioned, and stood once more under God's heaven. Neither had mentioned to the other the errand on which they were bound, but both felt that there was but one. Slowly and feebly she mounted the gentle slope, and often she stopped, for it was more than weakness or fatigue that made her breath fail. The way was beautiful, close to the rocky bed and leafy sides of that sweetest of all sweet things in the natural world, a Scotch burn. And now they turned, for the rich strip of grass, winding among bush and rock, which they had been following as a path, here spread itself out in a level shelf of turf, where the burn ran smoother, the bushes grew higher, and where the hill started upward again in bolder lines. Here there was a fresh-covered grave. The widow knelt by it, while Catherine stood back. Long was that head bowed, first in anguish, and then in submission, and then she turned her face toward the lake, on which she had not looked since that fatal day, and gazed steadily upon it. The child lay in his narrow bed at her feet, but the father had a wider one far beneath. Catherine now approached and was folded in a silent embrace; then she gave her that small packet which Sir Thomas had left, and begged her to open it on the spot. It was a legal deed, making over to Mary H——, in free gift, the ground on which she stood—a broad strip from the tip of the hill to the waters of the lake. The widow's tears rained fast upon it.

"Both God and man are very good to me," she said; "I am lonely but not forsaken. But, Catherine, it is you to whom I must speak. I have tried to speak before, but never felt I could till now. Oh, Catherine! stay with me; let us never be parted. God gave you to me when He took all else beside; He has not done it for naught. I can bear to return to my lonely home if you will share it—I can bear to see this valley, this grave again, if you are with me. I am not afraid of tying your cheerfulness to my sorrow; I feel that I am under a calamity, but I feel also that I am under no curse—you will help to make it a blessing. Oh! complete your sacred work, give me years to requite to you your last few days to me. You have none who need you more—none who love you more. Oh! follow me; here, on my child's grave, I humbly entreat you, follow me."

Catherine trembled; she stood silent a minute, and then, with a low, firm voice, replied, "Here, on your child's grave, I promise you. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God." She kept her promise and never repented it.

[Pg 95]


Robert Blake was born at Bridgewater, in August, 1599. His father, Humphrey Blake, was a merchant trading with Spain—a man whose temper seems to have been too sanguine and adventurous for the ordinary action of trade, finally involving him in difficulties which clouded his latter days, and left his family in straitened circumstances: his name, however, was held in general respect; and we find that he lived in one of the best houses in Bridgewater, and twice filled the chair of its chief magistrate. The perils to which mercantile enterprise was then liable—the chance escapes and valorous deeds which the successful adventurer had to tell his friends and children on the dark winter nights—doubtless formed a part of the food on which the imagination of young Blake, "silent and thoughtful from his childhood," was fed in the "old house at home." At the Bridgewater grammar-school, Robert received his early education, making tolerable acquaintance with Latin and Greek, and acquiring a strong bias toward a literary life. This penchant was confirmed by his subsequent career at Oxford, where he matriculated at sixteen, and where he strove hard, but fruitlessly, for scholarships and fellowships at different colleges. His failure to obtain a Merton fellowship has been attributed to a crotchet of the warden's, Sir Henry Savile, in favor of tall men: "The young Somersetshire student, thick-set, fair-complexioned, and only five feet six, fell below his standard of manly beauty;" and thus the Cavalier warden, in denying this aspirant the means of cultivating literature on a little university oatmeal, was turning back on the world one who was fated to become a republican power of the age. This shining light, instead of comfortably and obscurely merging in a petty constellation of Alma Mater, was to become a bright particular star, and dwell apart. The avowed liberalism of Robert may, however, have done more in reality to shock Sir Henry, than his inability to add a cubit to his stature. It is pleasant to know, that the "admiral and general at sea" never outgrew a tenderness for literature—his first-love, despite the rebuff of his advances. Even in the busiest turmoil of a life teeming with accidents by flood and field, he made it a point of pride not to forget his favorite classics. Nor was it till after nine years' experience of college-life, and when his father was no longer able to manage his res angusta vitæ, that Robert finally abandoned his long-cherished plans, and retired with a sigh and last adieu from the banks of the Isis.

When he returned to Bridgewater, in time to close his father's eyes, and superintend the arrangements of the family, he was already remarkable for that "iron will, that grave demeanor, that free and dauntless spirit," which so distinguished his after-course. His tastes were simple, his manners somewhat bluntly austere; a refined dignity of countenance, and a picturesque vigor of conversation, invested him with a social interest, to which his indignant invectives against[Pg 96] court corruptions gave distinctive character. To the Short Parliament he was sent as member for his native town; and in 1645, was returned by Taunton to the Long Parliament. At the dissolution of the former, which he regarded as a signal for action, he began to prepare arms against the king; his being one of the first troops in the field, and engaged in almost every action of importance in the western counties. His superiority to the men about him lay in the "marvelous fertility, energy, and comprehensiveness of his military genius." Prince Rupert alone, in the Royalist camp, could rival him as a "partisan soldier." His first distinguished exploit was his defense of Prior's Hill fort, at the siege of Bristol—which contrasts so remarkably with the pusillanimity of his chief, Colonel Fiennes. Next comes his yet more brilliant defense of Lyme—then a little fishing-town, with some 900 inhabitants, of which the defenses were a dry ditch, a few hastily-formed earth-works, and three small batteries, but which the Cavalier host of Prince Maurice, trying storm, stratagem, blockade, day after day, and week after week, failed to reduce or dishearten. "At Oxford, where Charles then was, the affair was an inexplicable marvel and mystery: every hour the court expected to hear that the 'little vile fishing-town,' as Clarendon contemptuously calls it, had fallen, and that Maurice had marched away to enterprises of greater moment; but every post brought word to the wondering council, that Colonel Blake still held out, and that his spirited defense was rousing and rallying the dispersed adherents of Parliament in those parts." After the siege was raised, the Royalists found that more men of gentle blood had fallen under Blake's fire at Lyme, than in all other sieges and skirmishes in the western counties since the opening of the war.

The hero's fame had become a spell in the west: it was seen that he rivaled Rupert in rapid and brilliant execution, and excelled him in the caution and sagacity of his plans. He took Taunton—a place so important at that juncture, as standing on and controlling the great western highway—in July, 1644, within a week of Cromwell's defeat of Rupert at Marston Moor. All the vigor of the Royalists was brought to bear on the captured town; Blake's defense of which is justly characterized as abounding with deeds of individual heroism—exhibiting in its master-mind a rare combination of civil and military genius. The spectacle of an unwalled town, in an inland district, with no single advantage of site, surrounded by powerful castles and garrisons, and invested by an enemy brave, watchful, numerous, and well provided with artillery, successively resisting storm, strait, and blockade for several months, thus paralyzing the king's power, and affording Cromwell time to remodel the army, naturally arrested the attention of military writers at that time; and French authors of this class bestowed on Taunton the name of the modern Saguntum. The rage of the Royalists at this prolonged resistance was extreme. Reckoning from the date when Blake first seized the town, to that of[Pg 97] Goring's final retreat, the defense lasted exactly a year, and under circumstances of almost overwhelming difficulty to the besieged party, who, in addition to the fatigue of nightly watches, and the destruction of daily conflicts, suffered from terrible scarcity of provisions. "Not a day passed without a fire; sometimes eight or ten houses were burning at the same moment; and in the midst of all the fear, horror, and confusion incident to such disasters, Blake and his little garrison had to meet the storming-parties of an enemy brave, exasperated, and ten times their own strength. But every inch of ground was gallantly defended. A broad belt of ruined cottages and gardens was gradually formed between the besiegers and the besieged; and on the heaps of broken walls and burnt rafters, the obstinate contest was renewed from day to day." At last relief arrived from London; and Goring, in savage dudgeon, beat a retreat, notwithstanding the wild oath he had registered, either to reduce that haughty town, or to lay his bones in its trenches.

Blake was now the observed of all observers; but, unlike most of his compeers, he abstained from using his advantages for purposes of selfish or personal aggrandizement. He kept aloof from the "centre of intrigues," and remained at his post, "doing his duty humbly and faithfully at a distance from Westminster; while other men, with less than half his claims, were asking and obtaining the highest honors and rewards from a grateful and lavish country." Nor, indeed, did he at any time side with the ultras of his party, but loudly disapproved of the policy of the regicides. This, coupled with his influence, so greatly deserved and so deservedly great, made him an object of jealousy with Cromwell and his party; and it was owing, perhaps, to their anxiety to keep him removed from the home sphere of action, that he was now appointed to the chief naval command.

Hitherto, and for years afterward, no state, ancient or modern, as Macaulay points out, had made a separation between the military and the naval service. Cimon and Lysander, Pompey and Agrippa, had fought by sea as well as by land: at Flodden, the right wing of the English was led by her admiral, and the French admiral led the Huguenots at Jarnac, &c. Accordingly, Blake was summoned from his pacific government at Taunton, to assume the post of "General and Admiral at Sea;" a title afterward changed to "General of the Fleet." Two others were associated with him in the command; but Blake seems at least to have been recognized as primus inter pares. The navy system was in deplorable need of reform; and a reformer it found in Robert Blake, from the very day he became an admiral. His care for the well-being of his men made him an object of their almost adoring attachment. From first to last, he stood alone as England's model seaman. "Envy, hatred, and jealousy dogged the steps of every other officer in the fleet; but of him, both then and afterward, every man spoke well." The "tremendous powers" intrusted to him by the Council of State, he exercised with off-handed[Pg 98] and masterly success—startling politicians and officials of the ancien régime, by his bold and open tactics, and his contempt for tortuous by-paths in diplomacy. His wondrous exploits were performed with extreme poverty of means. He was the first to repudiate and disprove the supposed fundamental maxim in marine warfare, that no ship could attack a castle, or other strong fortification, with any hope of success. The early part of his naval career was occupied in opposing and defeating the piratical performances of Prince Rupert, which then constituted the support of the exiled Stuarts. Blake's utmost vigilance and activity were required to put down this extraordinary system of freebooting; and by the time that he had successively overcome Rupert, and the minor but stubborn adventurers, Grenville and Carteret, he was in request to conduct the formidable war with Holland, and to cope with such veterans as Tromp, De Witt, De Ruyter, &c.

On one occasion only did Blake suffer ever a defeat; and this one is easily explained by—first, Tromp's overwhelming superiority of force; secondly, the extreme deficiency of men in the English fleet; and, thirdly, the cowardice or disaffection of several of Blake's captains at a critical moment in the battle. Notwithstanding this disaster, not a whisper was heard against the admiral either in the Council of State or in the city; his offer to resign was flatteringly rejected; and he soon found, that the "misfortune which might have ruined another man, had given him strength and influence in the country." This disaster, in fact, gave him power to effect reforms in the service, and to root out abuses which had defied all his efforts in the day of his success. He followed it up by the great battle of Portland, and other triumphant engagements.

Then came his sweeping tours de force in the Mediterranean; in six months he established himself as a power in that great midland sea, from which his countrymen had been politically excluded since the age of the Crusades—teaching nations, to which England's very name was a strange sound, to respect its honors and its rights; chastising the pirates of Barbary with unprecedented severity; making Italy's petty princes feel the power of the northern Protestants; causing the pope himself to tremble on his seven hills; and startling the council-chambers of Venice and Constantinople with the distant echoes of our guns. And be it remembered, that England had then no Malta, Corfu, and Gibraltar as the bases of naval operations in the Mediterranean: on the contrary, Blake found that in almost every gulf and island of that sea—in Malta, Venice, Genoa, Leghorn, Algiers, Tunis, and Marseilles—there existed a rival and an enemy; nor were there more than three or four harbors in which he could obtain even bread for love or money.

After this memorable cruise, he had to conduct the Spanish war—a business quite to his mind; for though his highest renown had been gained in his conflicts with the Dutch, he had[Pg 99] secretly disliked such encounters between two Protestant states; whereas, in the case of Popish Spain, his soul leaped at the anticipation of battle—sympathizing as he did with the Puritan conviction, that Spain was the devil's stronghold in Europe. At this period, Blake was suffering from illness, and was sadly crippled in his naval equipments, having to complain constantly of the neglect at home to remedy the exigencies of the service. "Our ships," he writes, "extremely foul, winter drawing on, our victuals expiring, all stores failing, our men falling sick through the badness of drink, and eating their victuals boiled in salt water for two months' space" (1655). His own constitution was thoroughly undermined. For nearly a year, remarks his biographer, "he had never quitted the 'foul and defective' flag-ship. Want of exercise and sweet food, beer, wine, water, bread, and vegetables, had helped to develop scurvy and dropsy; and his sufferings from these diseases were now acute and continuous." But his services were indispensable, and Blake was not the man to shrink from dying in harness. His sun set gloriously at Santa Cruz—that miraculous and unparalleled action, as Clarendon calls it, which excited such grateful enthusiasm at home. At home! words of fascination to the maimed and enfeebled veteran, who now turned his thoughts so anxiously toward the green hills of his native land. Cromwell's letter of thanks, the plaudits of parliament, and the jeweled ring sent to him by his loving countrymen, reached him while homeward bound. But he was not again to tread the shores he had defended so well.

As the ships rolled through the Bay of Biscay, his sickness increased, and affectionate adherents saw with dismay that he was drawing near to the gates of the grave. "Some gleams of the old spirit broke forth as they approached the latitude of England. He inquired often and anxiously if the white cliffs were yet in sight. He longed to behold once more the swelling downs, the free cities, the goodly churches of his native land.... At last, the Lizard was announced. Shortly afterward, the bold cliffs and bare hills of Cornwall loomed out grandly in the distance. But it was too late for the dying hero. He had sent for the captains and other great officers of his fleet, to bid them farewell; and while they were yet in his cabin, the undulating hills of Devonshire, glowing with the tints of early autumn, came full in view.... But the eyes which had so yearned to behold this scene once more were at that very instant closing in death. Foremost of the victorious squadron, the St. George rode with its precious burden into the Sound; and just as it came into full view of the eager thousands crowding the beach, the pier-heads, the walls of the citadel, &c., ready to catch the first glimpse of the hero of Santa Cruz, and salute him with a true English welcome—he, in his silent cabin, in the midst of his lion-hearted comrades, now sobbing like little children, yielded up his soul to God."

The corpse was embalmed, and conveyed to Greenwich, where it lay in state for some days.[Pg 100] On the 4th of September, 1657, the Thames bore a solemn funeral procession, which moved slowly, amid salvos of artillery, to Westminster, where a new vault had been prepared in the noble abbey. The tears of a nation made it hallowed ground. A prince, of whom the epigram declares that, if he never said a foolish thing, he never did a wise one—saw fit to disturb the hero's grave, drag out the embalmed body, and cast it into a pit in the abbey-yard. One of Charles Stuart's most witless performances! For Blake is not to be confounded—though the Merry Monarch thought otherwise—with the Iretons and Bradshaws who were similarly exhumed. The admiral was a moderate in the closest, a patriot in the widest sense.

In the chivalric disposition of the man, there was true affinity to the best qualities of the Cavalier, mingled sometimes with a certain grim humor, all his own. Many are the illustrations we might adduce of this high-minded and generous temperament. For instance: meeting a French frigate of forty guns in the Straits, and signaling for the captain to come on board his flag-ship, the latter, considering the visit one of friendship and ceremony, there being no declared war between the two nations—though the French conduct at Toulon had determined England on measures of retaliation—readily complied with Blake's summons; but was astounded on entering the admiral's cabin, at being told he was a prisoner, and requested to give up his sword. No! was the surprised but resolute Frenchman's reply. Blake felt that an advantage had been gained by a misconception, and scorning to make a brave officer its victim, he told his guest he might go back to his ship, if he wished, and fight it out as long as he was able. The captain, we are told, thanked him for his handsome offer, and retired. After two hours' hard fighting, he struck his flag; like a true French knight, he made a low bow, kissed his sword affectionately, and delivered it to his conqueror. Again: when Blake captured the Dutch herring-fleet off Bochness, consisting of 600 boats, instead of destroying or appropriating them, he merely took a tithe of the whole freight, in merciful consideration toward the poor families whose entire capital and means of life it constituted. This "characteristic act of clemency" was censured by many as Quixotic, and worse. But "Blake took no trouble to justify his noble instincts against such critics. His was indeed a happy fate: the only fault ever advanced by friend or foe against his public life, was an excess of generosity toward his vanquished enemies!" His sense of the comic is amusingly evidenced by the story of his ruse during a dearth in the same siege. Tradition reports, that only one animal, a hog, was left alive in the town, and that more than half starved. In the afternoon, Blake, feeling that in their depression a laugh would do the defenders as much good as a dinner, had the hog carried to all the posts and whipped, so that its screams, heard in many places, might make the enemy suppose that fresh supplies had somehow been obtained.

[Pg 101]

The moral aspects of his character appear in this memoir in an admirable light. If he did not stand so high as some others in public notoriety, it was mainly because, to stand higher than he did, he must plant his feet on a bad eminence. His patriotism was as pure as Cromwell's was selfish. Mr. Dixon, his biographer, alludes to the strong points of contrast, as well as of resemblance between the two men. Both, he says, were sincerely religious, undauntedly brave, fertile in expedients, irresistible in action. Born in the same year, they began and almost closed their lives at the same time. Both were country gentlemen of moderate fortune; both were of middle age when the revolution came. Without previous knowledge or professional training, both attained to the highest honors of their respective services. But there the parallel ends. Anxious only for the glory and interest of his country, Blake took little or no care of his personal aggrandizement. His contempt for money, his impatience with the mere vanities of power, were supreme. Bribery he abhorred in all its shapes. He was frank and open to a fault; his heart was ever in his hand, and his mind ever on his lips. His honesty, modesty, generosity, sincerity, and magnanimity were unimpeached. Cromwell's inferior moral qualities made him distrust the great seaman; yet, now and then, as in the case of the street tumult at Malaga, he was fain to express his admiration of Robert Blake. The latter was wholly unversed in the science of nepotism, and "happy family" compacts; for, although desirous of aiding his relatives, he was jealous of the least offense on their part, and never overlooked it. Several instances of this disposition are on record. When his brother Samuel, in rash zeal for the Commonwealth, ventured to exceed his duty, and was killed in a fray which ensued, Blake was terribly shocked, but only said: "Sam had no business there." Afterward, however, he shut himself up in his room, and bewailed his loss in the words of Scripture: "Died Abner as a fool dieth!" His brother Benjamin, again, to whom he was strongly attached, falling under suspicion of neglect of duty, was instantly broken, and sent on shore. "This rigid measure of justice against his own flesh and blood, silenced every complaint, and the service gained immeasurably in spirit, discipline, and confidence." Yet more touching was the great admiral's inexorable treatment of his favorite brother Humphrey, who, in a moment of extreme agitation, had failed in his duty. The captains went to Blake in a body, and argued that Humphrey's fault was a neglect rather than a breach of orders, and suggested his being sent away to England till it was forgotten. But Blake was outwardly unmoved, though inwardly his bowels did yearn over his brother, and sternly said: "If none of you will accuse him, I must be his accuser." Humphrey was dismissed from the service. It is affecting to know how painfully Blake missed his familiar presence during his sick and lonely passage homeward, when the hand of death was upon that noble heart. To Humphrey he bequeathed the greater[Pg 102] part of the property which he left behind him. In the rare intervals of private life which he enjoyed on shore, Blake also compels our sincere regard. When released for awhile from political and professional duties, he loved to run down to Bridgewater for a few days or weeks, and, as his biographer says, with his chosen books, and one or two devout and abstemious friends, to indulge in all the luxuries of seclusion. "He was by nature self-absorbed and taciturn. His morning was usually occupied with a long walk, during which he appeared to his simple neighbors to be lost in profound thought, as if working out in his own mind the details of one of his great battles, or busy with some abstruse point of Puritan theology. If accompanied by one of his brothers, or by some other intimate friend, he was still for the most part silent. Always good-humored, and enjoying sarcasm when of a grave, high class, he yet never talked from the loquacious instinct, or encouraged others so to employ their time and talents in his presence. Even his lively and rattling brother Humphrey, his almost constant companion when on shore, caught, from long habit, the great man's contemplative and self-communing gait and manner; and when his friends rallied him on the subject in after-years, he used to say, that he had caught the trick of silence while walking by the admiral's side in his long morning musings on Knoll Hill. A plain dinner satisfied his wants. Religious conversation, reading, and the details of business, generally filled up the evening until supper-time; after family prayers—always pronounced by the general himself—he would invariably call for his cup of sack and a dry crust of bread, and while he drank two or three horns of Canary, would smile and chat in his own dry manner with his friends and domestics, asking minute questions about their neighbors and acquaintance; or when scholars or clergymen shared his simple repast, affecting a droll anxiety—rich and pleasant in the conqueror of Tromp—to prove, by the aptness and abundance of his quotations, that, in becoming an admiral, he had not forfeited his claim to be considered a good classic."

The care and interest with which he looked to the well-being of his humblest followers, made him eminently popular in the fleet. He was always ready to hear complaints, and to rectify grievances. When wounded at the battle of Portland, and exhorted to go on shore for repose and proper medical treatment, he refused to seek for himself the relief which he had put in the way of his meanest comrade. Even at the early period of his cruise against the Cavalier corsairs of Kinsale, such was Blake's popularity, that numbers of men were continually joining him from the enemy's fleet, although he offered them less pay, and none of that license which they had enjoyed under Prince Rupert's flag. They gloried in following a leader sans peur et sans reproche—one with whose renown the whole country speedily rang—the renown of a man who had revived the traditional glories of the English navy, and proved that its meteor flag could "yet terrific burn."

[Pg 103]


London possesses two scenes of popular enjoyment on a great scale, in its British Museum and its Zoological Gardens. In the former, the glance is sent over the life of antiquity; in the latter, over that of the present time in the kingdom of nature; and in both may the Englishman enjoy a view of England's power and greatness, because it is the spirit of England which has compelled Egypt and Greece to remove hither their gods, their heroic statues: it is England whose courageous sons at this present moment force their way into the interior of Africa, that mysterious native land of miracles and of the Leviathan; it is an Englishman who held in his hand snow from the clefts of the remote Mountains of the Moon; it is England which has aroused that ancient Nineveh from her thousands of years of sleep in the desert; England, which has caused to arise from their graves, and to stand forth beneath the sky of England, those witnesses of the life and art of antiquity which are known under the name of the Nineveh Marbles, those magnificent but enigmatical figures which are called the Nineveh Bulls, in the immense wings of which one can not but admire the fine artistic skill of the workmanship, and from the beautiful human countenances of which glances Oriental despotism—with eyes such as those with which King Ahasuerus might have gazed on the beautiful Esther, when she sank fainting before the power of that glance. They have an extraordinary expression—these countenances of Nineveh, so magnificent, so strong, and at the same time, so joyous—a something about them so valiant and so joyously commanding! It was an expression which surprised me, and which I could not rightly comprehend. It would be necessary for me to see them yet again before I could fully satisfy myself whether this inexpressible, proudly joyous glance is one of wisdom or of stupidity! I could almost fancy it might be the latter, when I contemplate the expression of gentle majesty in the head of the Grecian Jupiter. Nevertheless, whether it be wisdom or stupidity—these representations of ancient Nineveh have a real grandeur and originality about them. Were they then representatives of life there? Was life there thus proud and joyous, thus unconscious of trouble, care, or death, thus valiant, and without all arrogance? Had it such eyes? Ah! and yet it has lain buried in the sand of the desert, lain forgotten there many thousand years. And now, when they once more look up with those large, magnificent eyes, they discover another world around them, another Nineveh which can not understand what they would say. Thus proudly might Nineveh have looked when the prophet uttered above her his "woe!" Such a glance does not accord with the life of earth.

In comparison with these latest discovered but most ancient works of art, the Egyptian statues fall infinitely short, bearing evidence of a degraded,[Pg 104] sensual humanity, and the same as regarded art. But neither of these, nor of the Elgin marbles, nor of many other treasures of art in the British Museum which testify at the same time to the greatness of foregone ages, and to the power of the English world-conquering intelligence, shall I say any thing, because time failed me rightly to observe them, and the Nineveh marbles almost bewitched me by their contemplation.

It is to me difficult to imagine a greater pleasure than that of wandering through these halls, or than by a visit to the Zoological Garden which lies on one side of the Regent's Park. I would willingly reside near this park for a time, that I might again and again wander about in this world of animals from all zones, and listen to all that they have to relate, ice-bears and lions, turtles and eagles, the ourang-outang and the rhinoceros! The English Zoological Garden, although less fortunate in its locality than the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, is much richer as regards animals. That which at this time attracted hither most visitors was the new guest of the garden, a so-called river-horse or hippopotamus, lately brought hither from Upper Egypt, where it was taken when young. It was yet not full-grown, and had here its own keeper—an Arab—its own house, its own court, its own reservoir, to bathe and swim in! Thus it lived in a really princely hippopotamus fashion. I saw his highness ascend out of his bath in a particularly good-humor, and he looked to me like an enormous—pig, with an enormously broad snout. He was very fat, smooth, and gray, and awkward in his movements, like the elephant. Long-necked giraffes walked about, feeding from wooden racks in the court adjoining that of the hippopotamus, and glancing at us across it. One can scarcely imagine a greater contrast than in these animals.

The eagles sate upon crags placed in a row beneath a lofty transparent arch of iron work, an arrangement which seemed to me excellent, and which I hope seemed so to them, in case they could forget that they were captives. Here they might breathe, here spread out their huge wings, see the free expanse of heaven, and the sun, and build habitations for themselves upon the rock. On the contrary, the lions, leopards, and such-like noble beasts of the desert, seemed to me particularly unhappy in their iron-grated stone vaults; and their perpetual, uneasy walking backward and forward in their cages—I could not see that without a feeling of distress. How beautiful they must be in the desert, or amid tropical woods, or in the wild caverns of the mountains, those grand, terrific beasts—how fearfully beautiful! One day I saw these animals during their feeding time. Two men went round with wooden vessels filled with pieces of raw meat; these were taken up with a large iron-pronged fork, and put, or rather flung, through the iron grating into the dens. It was terrible to see the savage joy, the fury, with which the food was received and swallowed down by the beasts. Three pieces of meat were[Pg 105] thrown into one great vault which was at that time empty, a door was then drawn up at the back of the vault, and three huge yellow lions with shaggy manes rushed roaring in, and at one spring each possessed himself of his piece of flesh. One of the lions held his piece between his teeth for certainly a quarter of an hour, merely growling and gloating over it in savage joy, while his flashing eyes glared upon the spectators, and his tail was swung from side to side with an expression of defiance. It was a splendid, but a fearful sight. One of my friends was accustomed sometimes to visit these animals in company with his little girl, a beautiful child, with a complexion like milk and cherries. The sight of her invariably produced great excitement in the lions. They seemed evidently to show their love to her in a ravenous manner.

The serpents were motionless in their glass house, and lay, half-asleep, curled around the trunks of trees. In the evening by lamp-light they become lively, and then, twisting about and flashing forth their snaky splendors, they present a fine spectacle. The snake-room, with its walls of glass, behind which the snakes live, reminded me of the old northern myth of Nastrond, the roof of which was woven of snakes' backs, the final home of the ungodly—an unpleasant, but vigorous picture. The most disagreeable and the ugliest of all the snakes, was that little snake which the beautiful Queen Cleopatra, herself false as a serpent, placed at her breast; a little gray, flat-headed snake which liked to bury itself in the sand.

The monkey-family lead a sad life; stretch out their hands for nuts or for bread, with mournful human gestures; contentious, beaten, oppressed, thrust aside, frightening one another, the stronger the weaker—mournfully human also.

Sad, also, was the sight of an ourang-outang, spite of all its queer grimaces, solitary in its house, for it evidently suffered ennui, was restless, and would go out. It embraced its keeper and kissed him with real human tenderness. The countenance, so human, yet without any human intelligence, made a painful impression upon me; so did the friendly tame creature here, longing for its fellows, and seeing around it only human beings. Thou poor animal! Fain would I have seen thee in the primeval woods of Africa, caressing thy wife in the clear moonlight of the tropical night, sporting with her among the branches of the trees, and sleeping upon them, rocked by the warm night wind. There thy ugliness would have had a sort of picturesque beauty. After the strange beast-man had climbed hither and thither along the iron railing, seizing the bars with his hands, and feet which resembled hands, and also with his teeth, he took a white woolen blanket, wrapped it around him in a very complicated manner, and ended by laying himself down as a human being might do, in his chilly, desolate room.

After this, all the more charming was the spectacle presented by the water-fowl from every zone—Ducks, Swans, and Co., all quite at home[Pg 106] here, swimming in the clear waters, among little green islands on which they had their little huts. It was most charmingly pretty and complete. And the mother-duck with her little, lively golden-yellow flock, swimming neck and heels after her, or seeking shelter under her wings, is at all times one of the most lovely scenes of natural life—resembling humanity in a beautiful manner.

Even among the wild beasts I saw a beautiful human trait of maternal affection. A female leopard had in her cage two young cubs, lively and playful as puppies. When the man threw the flesh into her cage, she drew herself back and let the young ones first seize upon the piece.

Crows from all parts of the world here live together in one neighborhood, and that the chattering and laughter was loud here did not surprise me, neither that the European crows so well maintained their place among their fellows. That which, however, astonished and delighted me was, the sweet flute-like melodious tones of the Australian crow. In the presence of this crow from Paradise—for originally it must have come therefrom—it seemed to me that all the other crows ought to have kept silence with their senseless chattering. But they were nothing but crows, and they liked better to hear themselves.

Parrots from all lands lived and quarreled together in a large room, and they there made such a loud screaming, that in order to stand it out one must have been one of their own relations. Better be among the silent, dejected, stealthy, hissing, shining snakes, than in company with parrots! The former might kill the body, but the latter the soul.

Twilight came on, and drove me out of the Zoological Garden each time I was there, and before I had seen all its treasures. Would that I might return there yet a third time and remain still longer!


The most difficult likeness I ever had to take, not even excepting my first attempt in the art of Portrait-painting, was a likeness of a gentleman named Faulkner. As far as drawing and coloring went, I had no particular fault to find with my picture; it was the expression of the sitter which I had failed in rendering—a failure quite as much his fault as mine. Mr. Faulkner, like many other persons by whom I have been employed, took it into his head that he must assume an expression, because he was sitting for his likeness; and, in consequence, contrived to look as unlike himself as possible, while I was painting him. I had tried to divert his attention from his own face, by talking with him on all sorts of topics. We had both traveled a great deal, and felt interested alike in many subjects connected with our wanderings over the same countries. Occasionally, while we were discussing our traveling experiences, the unlucky set-look left his countenance, and I began to work to some purpose; but it was always disastrously sure to return again, before I had[Pg 107] made any great progress—or, in other words, just at the very time when I was most anxious that it should not re-appear. The obstacle thus thrown in the way of the satisfactory completion of my portrait, was the more to be deplored, because Mr. Faulkner's natural expression was a very remarkable one. I am not an author, so I can not describe it. I ultimately succeeded in painting it, however; and this was the way in which I achieved my success:

On the morning when my sitter was coming to me for the fourth time, I was looking at his portrait in no very agreeable mood—looking at it, in fact, with the disheartening conviction that the picture would be a perfect failure, unless the expression in the face represented were thoroughly altered and improved from nature. The only method of accomplishing this successfully, was to make Mr. Faulkner, somehow, insensibly forget that he was sitting for his picture. What topic could I lead him to talk on, which would entirely engross his attention while I was at work on his likeness?—I was still puzzling my brains to no purpose on this subject, when Mr. Faulkner entered my studio; and, shortly afterward, an accidental circumstance gained for me the very object which my own ingenuity had proved unequal to compass.

While I was "setting" my pallet, my sitter amused himself by turning over some portfolios. He happened to select one for special notice, which contained several sketches that I had made in the streets of Paris. He turned over the first five views rapidly enough; but when he came to the sixth, I saw his face flush directly; and observed that he took the drawing out of the portfolio, carried it to the window, and remained silently absorbed in the contemplation of it for full five minutes. After that, he turned round to me; and asked, very anxiously, if I had any objection to part with that sketch.

It was the least interesting drawing of the series—merely a view in one of the streets running by the backs of the houses in the Palais Royal. Some four or five of these houses were comprised in the view, which was of no particular use to me in any way; and which was too valueless, as a work of Art, for me to think of selling it to my kind patron. I begged his acceptance of it, at once. He thanked me quite warmly; and then, seeing that I looked a little surprised at the odd selection he had made from my sketches, laughingly asked me if I could guess why he had been so anxious to become possessed of the view which I had given him?

"Probably"—I answered—"there is some remarkable historical association connected with that street at the back of the Palais Royal, of which I am ignorant."

"No"—said Mr. Faulkner—"at least, none that I know of. The only association connected with the place in my mind, is a purely personal association. Look at this house in your drawing—the house with the water-pipe running down it from top to bottom. I once passed a night there—a night I shall never forget to the[Pg 108] day of my death. I have had some awkward traveling adventures in my time; but that adventure—! Well, well! suppose we begin the sitting. I make but a bad return for your kindness in giving me the sketch, by thus wasting your time in mere talk."

He had not long occupied the sitter's chair (looking pale and thoughtful), when he returned—involuntarily, as it seemed—to the subject of the house in the back street. Without, I hope, showing any undue curiosity, I contrived to let him see that I felt a deep interest in every thing he now said. After two or three preliminary hesitations, he at last, to my great joy, fairly started on the narrative of his adventure. In the interest of his subject he soon completely forgot that he was sitting for his portrait—the very expression that I wanted, came over his face—my picture proceeded toward completion, in the right direction, and to the best purpose. At every fresh touch, I felt more and more certain that I was now getting the better of my grand difficulty; and I enjoyed the additional gratification of having my work lightened by the recital of a true story, which possessed, in my estimation, all the excitement of the most exciting romance.

This, as nearly as I can recollect, is, word for word, how Mr. Faulkner told me the story:—

Shortly before the period when gambling-houses were suppressed by the French Government, I happened to be staying at Paris with an English friend. We were both young men then, and lived, I am afraid, a very dissipated life, in the very dissipated city of our sojourn. One night, we were idling about the neighborhood of the Palais Royal, doubtful to what amusement we should next betake ourselves. My friend proposed a visit to Frascati's; but his suggestion was not to my taste. I knew Frascati's, as the French saying is, by heart; had lost and won plenty of five-franc pieces there, "merely for the fun of the thing," until it was "fun" no longer; and was thoroughly tired, in fact, of all the ghastly respectabilities of such a social anomaly as a respectable gambling-house. "For Heaven's sake"—said I to my friend—"let us go somewhere where we can see a little genuine, blackguard, poverty-stricken gaming, with no false gingerbread glitter thrown over it at all. Let us get away from fashionable Frascati's, to a house where they don't mind letting in a man with a ragged coat, or a man with no coat, ragged or otherwise."—"Very well," said my friend, "we needn't go out of the Palais Royal to find the sort of company you want. Here's the place, just before us; as blackguard a place, by all report, as you could possibly wish to see." In another minute we arrived at the door, and entered the house, the back of which you have drawn in your sketch.

When we got up-stairs, and had left our hats and sticks with the doorkeeper, we were admitted into the chief gambling-room. We did not find many people assembled there. But, few as the men were who looked up at us on our entrance,[Pg 109] they were all types—miserable types—of their respective classes. We had come to see blackguards; but these men were something worse. There is a comic side, more or less appreciable, in all blackguardism—here, there was nothing but tragedy; mute, weird tragedy. The quiet in the room was horrible. The thin, haggard, long-haired young man, whose sunken eyes fiercely watched the turning up of the cards, never spoke; the flabby, fat-faced, pimply player, who pricked his piece of pasteboard perseveringly, to register how often black won, and how often red—never spoke; the dirty, wrinkled old man, with the vulture eyes, and the darned great coat, who had lost his last sous, and still looked on desperately, after he could play no longer—never spoke. Even the voice of the croupier sounded as if it were strangely dulled and thickened in the atmosphere of the room. I had entered the place to laugh; I felt that if I stood quietly looking on much longer, I should be more likely to weep. So, to excite myself out of the depression of spirits which was fast stealing over me, I unfortunately went to the table, and began to play. Still more unfortunately, as the event will show, I won—won prodigiously; won incredibly; won at such a rate, that the regular players at the table crowded round me; and staring at my stakes with hungry, superstitious eyes, whispered to one another that the English stranger was going to break the bank.

The game was Rouge et Noir. I had played at it in every city in Europe, without, however, the care or the wish to study the Theory of Chances—that philosopher's stone of all gamblers! And a gambler, in the strict sense of the word, I had never been. I was heart-whole from the corroding passion for play. My gaming was a mere idle amusement. I never resorted to it by necessity, because I never knew what it was to want money. I never practiced it so incessantly as to lose more than I could afford, or to gain more than I could coolly pocket, without being thrown off my balance by my good luck. In short, I had hitherto frequented gambling-tables—just as I frequented ball-rooms and opera-houses—because they amused me, and because I had nothing better to do with my leisure hours.

But, on this occasion, it was very different—now, for the first time in my life, I felt what the passion for play really was. My success first bewildered, and then, in the most literal meaning of the word, intoxicated me. Incredible as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that I only lost, when I attempted to estimate chances, and played according to previous calculation. If I left every thing to luck, and staked without any care or consideration, I was sure to win—to win in the face of every recognized probability in favor of the bank. At first, some of the men present ventured their money safely enough on my color; but I speedily increased my stakes to sums which they dared not risk. One after another they left off playing, and breathlessly looked[Pg 110] on at my game. Still, time after time, I staked higher and higher; and still won. The excitement in the room rose to fever pitch. The silence was interrupted, by a deep, muttered chorus of oaths and exclamations in different languages, every time the gold was shoveled across to my side of the table—even the imperturbable croupier dashed his rake on the floor in a (French) fury of astonishment at my success. But one man present preserved his self-possession; and that man was my friend. He came to my side, and whispering in English, begged me to leave the place, satisfied with what I had already gained. I must do him the justice to say, that he repeated his warnings and entreaties several times; and only left me and went away, after I had rejected his advice (I was to all intents and purposes gambling-drunk) in terms which rendered it impossible for him to address me again that night.

Shortly after he had gone, a hoarse voice behind me cried: "Permit me, my dear sir!—permit me to restore to their proper place two Napoleons which you have dropped. Wonderful luck, sir!—I pledge you my word of honor as an old soldier, in the course of my long experience in this sort of thing, I never saw such luck as yours!—never! Go on, sir—Sacré mille bombes! Go on boldly, and break the bank!"

I turned round and saw, nodding and smiling at me with inveterate civility, a tall man, dressed in a frogged and braided surtout. If I had been in my senses, I should have considered him, personally, as being rather a suspicious specimen of an old soldier. He had goggling, bloodshot eyes, mangy mustaches, and a broken nose. His voice betrayed a barrack-room intonation of the worst order, and he had the dirtiest pair of hands I ever saw—even in France. These little personal peculiarities exercised, however, no repelling influence on me. In the mad excitement, the reckless triumph of that moment, I was ready to "fraternize" with any body who encouraged me in my game. I accepted the old soldier's offered pinch of snuff; clapped him on the back, and swore he was the honestest fellow in the world; the most glorious relic of the Grand Army that I had ever met with. "Go on!" cried my military friend, snapping his fingers in ecstasy—"Go on, and win! Break the bank—Mille tonnerres! my gallant English comrade, break the bank!"

And I did go on—went on at such a rate, that in another quarter of an hour the croupier called out: "Gentlemen! the bank has discontinued for to-night." All the notes, and all the gold in that "bank," now lay in a heap under my hands; the whole floating capital of the gambling-house was waiting to pour into my pockets!

"Tie up the money in your pocket-handkerchief, my worthy sir," said the old soldier, as I wildly plunged my hands into my heap of gold. "Tie it up, as we used to tie up a bit of dinner in the Grand Army; your winnings are too heavy for any breeches pockets that ever were sewed. There! that's it!—shovel them in, notes[Pg 111] and all! Credié! what luck!—Stop! another Napoleon on the floor! Ah! sacré petit polisson de Napoleon! have I found thee at last? Now, then, sir—two tight double knots each way with your honorable permission, and the money's safe. Feel it! feel it, fortunate sir! hard and round as a cannon ball—Ah, bah! if they had only fired such cannon balls at us at Austerlitz—nom d'une pipe! if they only had! And now, as an ancient grenadier, as an ex-brave of the French army, what remains for me to do? I ask what? Simply this: to entreat my valued English friend to drink a bottle of champagne with me, and toast the goddess Fortune in foaming goblets before we part!"

Excellent ex-brave! Convivial ancient grenadier! Champagne by all means! An English cheer for an old soldier! Hurrah! hurrah! Another English cheer for the goddess Fortune! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

"Bravo! the Englishman; the amiable, gracious Englishman, in whose veins circulates the vivacious blood of France! Another glass? Ah, bah!—the bottle is empty! Never mind! Vive le vin! I, the old soldier, order another bottle, and half a pound of bon-bons with it!"

No, no, ex-brave; never—ancient grenadier! Your bottle last time; my bottle this. Behold it! Toast away! The French Army!—the great Napoleon!—the present company! the croupier! the honest croupier's wife and daughters—if he has any! the Ladies generally! Every body in the world!

By the time the second bottle of champagne was emptied, I felt as if I had been drinking liquid fire—my brain seemed all a flame. No excess in wine had ever had this effect on me before in my life. Was it the result of a stimulant acting upon my system when I was in a highly-excited state? Was my stomach in a particularly disordered condition? Or was the champagne particularly strong?

"Ex-brave of the French Army!" cried I, in a mad state of exhilaration. "I am on fire! how are you? You have set me on fire! Do you hear; my hero of Austerlitz? Let us have a third bottle of champagne to put the flame out!" The old soldier wagged his head, rolled his goggle-eyes, until I expected to see them slip out of their sockets; placed his dirty forefinger by the side of his broken nose; solemnly ejaculated "Coffee!" and immediately ran off into an inner room.

The word pronounced by the eccentric veteran, seemed to have a magical effect on the rest of the company present. With one accord they all rose to depart. Probably they had expected to profit by my intoxication; but finding that my new friend was benevolently bent on preventing me from getting dead drunk, had now abandoned all hope of thriving pleasantly on my winnings. Whatever their motive might be, at any rate they went away in a body. When the old soldier returned, and sat down again opposite to me at the table, we had the room to ourselves. I could see the croupier, in a sort of vestibule which[Pg 112] opened out of it, eating his supper in solitude. The silence was now deeper than ever.

A sudden change, too, had come over the "ex-brave." He assumed a portentously solemn look; and when he spoke to me again, his speech was ornamented by no oaths, enforced by no finger-snapping, enlivened by no apostrophes, or exclamations.

"Listen, my dear sir," said he, in mysteriously confidential tones—"listen to an old soldier's advice. I have been to the mistress of the house (a very charming woman, with a genius for cookery!) to impress on her the necessity of making us some particularly strong and good coffee. You must drink this coffee in order to get rid of your little amiable exaltation of spirits, before you think of going home—you must, my good and gracious friend! With all that money to take home to-night, it is a sacred duty to yourself to have your wits about you. You are known to be a winner to an enormous extent, by several gentlemen present to-night, who, in a certain point of view, are very worthy and excellent fellows; but they are mortal men, my dear sir, and they have their amiable weaknesses! Need I say more? Ah, no, no! you understand me! Now, this is what you must do—send for a cabriolet when you feel quite well again—draw up all the windows when you get into it—and tell the driver to take you home only through the large and well-lighted thoroughfares. Do this; and you and your money will be safe. Do this; and to-morrow you will thank an old soldier for giving you a word of honest advice."

Just as the ex-brave ended his oration in very lachrymose tones, the coffee came in, ready poured out in two cups. My attentive friend handed me one of the cups, with a bow. I was parched with thirst, and drank it off at a draught. Almost instantly afterward, I was seized with a fit of giddiness, and felt more completely intoxicated than ever. The room whirled round and round furiously; the old soldier seemed to be regularly bobbing up and down before me, like the piston of a steam-engine. I was half-deafened by a violent singing in my ears; a feeling of utter bewilderment, helplessness, idiotcy, overcame me. I rose from my chair, holding on by the table to keep my balance; and stammered out, that I felt dreadfully unwell—so unwell, that I did not know how I was to get home.

"My dear friend," answered the old soldier; and even his voice seemed to be bobbing up and down, as he spoke—"My dear friend, it would be madness to go home, in your state. You would be sure to lose your money; you might be robbed and murdered with the greatest ease. I am going to sleep here: do you sleep here, too—they make up capital beds in this house—take one; sleep off the effects of the wine, and go home safely with your winnings, to-morrow—to-morrow, in broad daylight."

I had no power of thinking, no feeling of any kind, but the feeling that I must lie down somewhere, immediately, and fall off into a cool, refreshing, comfortable sleep. So I agreed eagerly[Pg 113] to the proposal about the bed, and took the offered arms of the old soldier and the croupier—the latter having been summoned to show the way. They led me along some passages and up a short flight of stairs into the bedroom which I was to occupy. The ex-brave shook me warmly by the hand; proposed that we should breakfast together the next morning; and then, followed by the croupier, left me for the night.

I ran to the wash-hand stand; drank some of the water in my jug; poured the rest out, and plunged my face into it—then sat down in a chair, and tried to compose myself. I soon felt better. The change for my lungs, from the fetid atmosphere of the gambling-room to the cool air of the apartment I now occupied; the almost equally refreshing change for my eyes, from the glaring gas-lights of the "Salon" to the dim, quiet flicker of one bedroom candle; aided wonderfully the restorative effects of cold water. The giddiness left me, and I began to feel a little like a reasonable being again. My first thought was of the risk of sleeping all night in a gambling-house; my second, of the still greater risk of trying to get out after the house was closed, and of going home alone at night, through the streets of Paris, with a large sum of money about me. I had slept in worse places than this, in the course of my travels; so I determined to lock, bolt, and barricade my door.

Accordingly, I secured myself against all intrusion; looked under the bed, and into the cupboard; tried the fastening of the window; and then, satisfied that I had taken every proper precaution, pulled off my upper clothing, put my light, which was a dim one, on the hearth among a feathery litter of wood ashes; and got into bed, with the handkerchief full of money under my pillow.

I soon felt, not only that I could not go to sleep, but that I could not even close my eyes. I was wide awake, and in a high fever. Every nerve in my body trembled—every one of my senses seemed to be preternaturally sharpened. I tossed, and rolled, and tried every kind of position, and perseveringly sought out the cold corners of the bed, and all to no purpose. Now, I thrust my arms over the clothes; now, I poked them under the clothes; now, I violently shot my legs straight out, down to the bottom of the bed; now, I convulsively coiled them up as near my chin as they would go; now, I shook out my crumpled pillow, changed it to the cool side, patted it flat, and lay down quietly on my back; now, I fiercely doubled it in two, set it up on end, thrust it against the board of the bed, and tried a sitting posture. Every effort was in vain; I groaned with vexation, as I felt that I was in for a sleepless night.

What could I do? I had no book to read. And yet, unless I found out some method of diverting my mind, I felt certain that I was in the condition to imagine all sorts of horrors; to rack my brains with forebodings of every possible and impossible danger; in short, to pass the night in suffering all conceivable varieties of nervous terror.[Pg 114] I raised myself on my elbow, and looked about the room—which was brightened by a lovely moonlight pouring straight through the window—to see if it contained any pictures or ornaments, that I could at all clearly distinguish. While my eyes wandered from wall to wall, a remembrance of Le Maistre's delightful little book, "Voyage autour de ma Chambre," occurred to me. I resolved to imitate the French author, and find occupation and amusement enough to relieve the tedium of my wakefulness by making a mental inventory of every article of furniture I could see, and by following up to their sources the multitude of associations which even a chair, a table, or a wash-hand stand, may be made to call forth.

In the nervous, unsettled state of my mind at that moment, I found it much easier to make my proposed inventory, than to make my proposed reflections, and soon gave up all hope of thinking in Le Maistre's fanciful track—or, indeed, thinking at all. I looked about the room at the different articles of furniture, and did nothing more. There was, first, the bed I was lying in—a four-post bed, of all things in the world to meet with in Paris!—yes, a thorough clumsy British four-poster, with the regular top lined with chintz—the regular fringed valance all round—the regular stifling, unwholesome curtains, which I remembered having mechanically drawn back against the posts, without particularly noticing the bed when I first got into the room. Then, there was the marble-topped wash-hand stand, from which the water I had spilt, in my hurry to pour it out, was still dripping, slowly and more slowly, on to the brick floor. Then, two small chairs, with my coat, waistcoat, and trowsers flung on them. Then, a large elbow chair covered with dirty-white dimity: with my cravat and shirt-collar thrown over the back. Then, a chest of drawers, with two of the brass handles off, and a tawdry, broken china inkstand placed on it by way of ornament for the top. Then, the dressing-table, adorned by a very small looking-glass, and a very large pincushion. Then, the window—an unusually large window. Then, a dark old picture, which the feeble candle dimly showed me. It was the picture of a fellow in a high Spanish hat, crowned with a plume of towering feathers. A swarthy sinister ruffian, looking upward; shading his eyes with his hand, and looking intently upward—it might be at some tall gallows at which he was going to be hanged. At any rate he had the appearance of thoroughly deserving it.

This picture put a kind of constraint upon me to look upward, too—at the top of the bed. It was a gloomy and not an interesting object, and I looked back at the picture. I counted the feathers in the man's hat; they stood out in relief; three, white; two, green. I observed the crown of his hat, which was of a conical shape, according to the fashion supposed to have been favored by Guido Fawkes. I wondered what he was looking up at. It couldn't be at the stars; such a desperado was neither astrologer nor[Pg 115] astronomer. It must be at the high gallows, and he was going to be hanged presently. Would the executioner come into possession of his conical crowned hat, and plume of feathers? I counted the feathers again; three, white; two, green.

While I still lingered over this very improving and intellectual employment, my thoughts insensibly began to wander. The moonlight shining into the room reminded me of a certain moonlight night in England—the night after a pic-nic party in a Welsh valley. Every incident of the drive homeward through lovely scenery, which the moonlight made lovelier than ever, came back to my remembrance, though I had never given the pic-nic a thought for years; though, if I had tried to recollect it, I could certainly have recalled little or nothing of that scene long past. Of all the wonderful faculties that help to tell us we are immortal, which speaks the sublime truth more eloquently than memory? Here was I, in a strange house of the most suspicious character, in a situation of uncertainty, and even of peril, which might seem to make the cool exercise of my recollection almost out of the question; nevertheless remembering, quite involuntarily, places, people, conversations, minute circumstances of every kind, which I had thought forgotten forever, which I could not possibly have recalled at will, even under the most favorable auspices. And what cause had produced in a moment the whole of this strange, complicated, mysterious effect? Nothing but some rays of moonlight shining in at my bedroom window.

I was still thinking of the pic-nic; of our merriment on the drive home; of the sentimental young lady, who would quote Childe Harold because it was moonlight. I was absorbed by these past scenes and past amusements, when, in an instant, the thread on which my memories hung, snapped asunder; my attention immediately came back to present things more vividly than ever, and I found myself, I neither knew why or wherefore, looking hard at the picture again.

Looking for what? Good God, the man had pulled his hat down on his brows!—No! The hat itself was gone! Where was the conical crown? Where the feathers; three, white; two green? Not there! In place of the hat and feathers, what dusky object was it that now hid his forehead—his eyes—his shading hand? Was the bed moving?

I turned on my back, and looked up. Was I mad? drunk? dreaming? giddy again? or, was the top of the bed really moving down—sinking slowly, regularly, silently, horribly, right down throughout the whole of its length and breadth—right down upon me, as I lay underneath?

My blood seemed to stand still; a deadly paralyzing coldness stole all over me, as I turned my head round on the pillow, and determined to test whether the bed-top was really moving or not, by keeping my eye on the man in the picture. The next look in that direction was[Pg 116] enough. The dull, black, frowsy outline of the valance above me was within an inch of being parallel with his waist. I still looked breathlessly. And steadily, and slowly—very slowly—I saw the figure, and the line of frame below the figure, vanish, as the valance moved down before it.

I am, constitutionally, any thing but timid. I have been, on more than one occasion, in peril of my life, and have not lost my self-possession for an instant; but, when the conviction first settled on my mind that the bed-top was really moving, was steadily and continuously sinking down upon me, I looked up for one awful minute, or more, shuddering, helpless, panic-stricken, beneath the hideous machinery for murder, which was advancing closer and closer to suffocate me where I lay.

Then the instinct of self-preservation came, and nerved me to save my life, while there was yet time. I got out of bed very quietly, and quickly dressed myself again in my upper clothing. The candle, fully spent, went out. I sat down in the arm-chair that stood near, and watched the bed-top slowly descending. I was literally spell-bound by it. If I had heard footsteps behind me, I could not have turned round; if a means of escape had been miraculously provided for me, I could not have moved to take advantage of it. The whole life in me, was, at that moment, concentrated in my eyes.

It descended—the whole canopy, with the fringe round it, came down—down—close down; so close that there was not room now to squeeze my finger between the bed-top and the bed. I felt at the sides, and discovered that what had appeared to me, from beneath, to be the ordinary light canopy of a four-post bed was in reality a thick, broad mattress, the substance of which was concealed by the valance and its fringe. I looked up, and saw the four posts rising hideously bare. In the middle of the bed-top was a huge wooden screw that had evidently worked it down through a hole in the ceiling, just as ordinary presses are worked down on the substance selected for compression. The frightful apparatus moved without making the faintest noise. There had been no creaking as it came down; there was now not the faintest sound from the room above. Amid a dead and awful silence I beheld before me—in the nineteenth century, and in the civilized capital of France—such a machine for secret murder by suffocation, as might have existed in the worst days of the Inquisition, in the lonely Inns among the Hartz Mountains, in the mysterious tribunals of Westphalia! Still, as I looked on it, I could not move; I could hardly breathe; but I began to recover the power of thinking; and, in a moment, I discovered the murderous conspiracy framed against me, in all its horror.

My cup of coffee had been drugged, and drugged too strongly. I had been saved from being smothered, by having taken an over-dose of some narcotic. How I had chafed and fretted at the fever fit which had preserved my life by keeping[Pg 117] me awake! How recklessly I had confided myself to the two wretches who had led me into this room, determined, for the sake of my winnings, to kill me in my sleep, by the surest and most horrible contrivance for secretly accomplishing my destruction! How many men, winners like me, had slept, as I had proposed to sleep, in that bed; and never been seen or heard of more! I shuddered as I thought of it.

But, erelong, all thought was again suspended by the sight of the murderous canopy moving once more. After it had remained on the bed—as nearly as I could guess—about ten minutes, it began to move up again. The villains, who worked it from above, evidently believed that their purpose was now accomplished. Slowly and silently, as it had descended, that horrible bed-top rose toward its former place. When it reached the upper extremities of the four posts, it reached the ceiling too. Neither hole nor screw could be seen—the bed became in appearance, an ordinary bed again, the canopy, an ordinary canopy, even to the most suspicious eyes.

Now, for the first time, I was able to move, to rise from my chair, to consider of how I should escape. If I betrayed by the smallest noise, that the attempt to suffocate me had failed, I was certain to be murdered. Had I made any noise already? I listened intently, looking toward the door. No! no footsteps in the passage outside; no sound of a tread, light or heavy, in the room above—absolute silence every where. Besides locking and bolting my door, I had moved an old wooden chest against it, which I had found under the bed. To remove this chest (my blood ran cold, as I thought what its contents might be!) without making some disturbance, was impossible; and, moreover, to think of escaping through the house, now barred-up for the night, was sheer insanity. Only one chance was left me—the window. I stole to it on tiptoe.

My bedroom was on the first floor, above an entresol, and looked into the back street, which you had sketched in your view. I raised my hand to open the window, knowing that on that action hung, by the merest hair's-breadth, my chance of safety. They keep vigilant watch in a House of Murder—if any part of the frame cracked, if the hinge creaked, I was, perhaps, a lost man! It must have occupied me at least five minutes, reckoning by time—five hours, reckoning by suspense—to open that window. I succeeded in doing it silently, in doing it with all the dexterity of a house-breaker; and then looked down into the street. To leap the distance beneath me, would be almost certain destruction! Next, I looked round at the sides of the house. Down the left side, ran the thick water-pipe which you have drawn—it passed close by the outer edge of the window. The moment I saw the pipe, I knew I was saved; my breath came and went freely for the first time since I had seen the canopy of the bed moving down upon me!

To some men the means of escape which I had discovered might have seemed difficult and dangerous enough—to me, the prospect of slipping[Pg 118] down the pipe into the street did not suggest even a thought of peril. I had always been accustomed, by the practice of gymnastics, to keep up my schoolboy powers as a daring and expert climber; and knew that my head, hands, and feet would serve me faithfully in any hazards of ascent or descent. I had already got one leg over the window-sill, when I remembered the handkerchief, filled with money, under my pillow. I could well have afforded to leave it behind me; but I was revengefully determined that the miscreants of the gambling-house should miss their plunder as well as their victim. So I went back to the bed, and tied the heavy handkerchief at my back by my cravat. Just as I had made it tight, and fixed it in a comfortable place, I thought I heard a sound of breathing outside the door. The chill feeling of horror ran through me again as I listened. No! dead silence still in the passage—I had only heard the night air blowing softly into the room. The next moment I was on the window-sill—and the next, I had a firm grip on the water-pipe with my hands and knees.

I slid down into the street easily and quietly, as I thought I should, and immediately set off, at the top of my speed, to a branch "Prefecture" of Police, which I knew was situated in the immediate neighborhood. A "Sub-Prefect" and several picked men among his subordinates, happened to be up, maturing, I believe, some scheme for discovering the perpetrator of a mysterious murder, which all Paris was talking of just then. When I began my story, in a breathless hurry and in very bad French, I could see that the Sub-Prefect suspected me of being a drunken Englishman, who had robbed somebody, but he soon altered his opinion, as I went on; and before I had any thing like concluded, he shoved all the papers before him into a drawer, put on his hat, supplied me with another (for I was bare-headed), ordered a file of soldiers, desired his expert followers to get ready all sorts of tools for breaking open doors and ripping up brick-flooring, and took my arm, in the most friendly and familiar manner possible, to lead me with him out of the house. I will venture to say, that when the Sub-Prefect was a little boy, and was taken for the first time to the Play, he was not half as much pleased as he was now at the job in prospect for him at the "Gambling-House!"

Away we went through the streets, the Sub-Prefect cross-examining and congratulating me in the same breath, as we marched at the head of our formidable posse comitatus. Sentinels were placed at the back and front of the gambling-house the moment we got to it; a tremendous battery of knocks were directed against the door; a light appeared at a window; I waited to conceal myself behind the police—then came more knocks, and a cry of "Open in the name of the law!" At that terrible summons, bolts and locks gave way before an invisible hand, and the moment after, the Sub-Prefect was in the passage, confronting a waiter, half-dressed[Pg 119] and ghastly pale. This was the short dialogue which immediately took place:

"We want to see the Englishman who is sleeping in this house?"

"He went away hours ago."

"He did no such thing. His friend went away; he remained. Show us to his bedroom!"

"I swear to you, Monsieur le Sous-Préfet, he is not here! he—"

"I swear to you, Monsieur le Garçon, he is. He slept here—he didn't find your bed comfortable—he came to us to complain of it—here he is, among my men—and here am I, ready to look for a flea or two in his bedstead. Picard! (calling to one of the subordinates, and pointing to the waiter) collar that man, and tie his hands behind him. Now, then, gentlemen, let us walk up-stairs!"

Every man and woman in the house was secured—the "Old Soldier," the first. Then I identified the bed in which I had slept; and then we went into the room above. No object that was at all extraordinary appeared in any part of it. The Sub-Prefect looked round the place, commanded every body to be silent, stamped twice on the floor, called for a candle, looked attentively at the spot he had stamped on, and ordered the flooring there to be carefully taken up. This was done in no time. Lights were produced, and we saw a deep raftered cavity between the floor of this room and the ceiling of the room beneath. Through this cavity there ran perpendicularly a sort of case of iron, thickly greased; and inside the case appeared the screw, which communicated with the bed-top below. Extra lengths of screw, freshly oiled—levers covered with felt—all the complete upper works of a heavy press, constructed with infernal ingenuity so as to join the fixtures below—and, when taken to pieces again, to go into the smallest possible compass, were next discovered, and pulled out on the floor. After some little difficulty, the Sub-Prefect succeeded in putting the machinery together, and, leaving his men to work it, descended with me to the bedroom. The smothering canopy was then lowered, but not so noiselessly as I had seen it lowered. When I mentioned this to the Sub-Prefect, his answer, simple as it was, had a terrible significance. "My men," said he, "are working down the bed-top for the first time—the men whose money you won, were in better practice."

We left the house in the sole possession of two police agents—every one of the inmates being removed to prison on the spot, The Sub-Prefect, after taking down my "procès-verbal" in his office, returned with me to my hotel to get my passport. "Do you think," I asked, as I gave it to him, "that any men have really been smothered in that bed, as they tried to smother me?"

"I have seen dozens of drowned men laid out at the Morgue," answered the Sub-Prefect, "in whose pocket-books were found letters, stating that they had committed suicide in the Seine, because they had lost every thing at the gaming-table.[Pg 120] Do I know how many of those men entered the same gambling-house that you entered? won as you won? took that bed as you took it? slept in it? were smothered in it? and were privately thrown into the river, with a letter of explanation written by the murderers and placed in their pocket-books? No man can say how many, or how few, have suffered the fate from which you have escaped. The people of the gambling-house kept their bedstead machinery a secret from us—even from the police! The dead kept the rest of the secret for them. Good-night, or rather good-morning, Monsieur Faulkner! Be at my office again at nine o'clock—in the mean time, au revoir!"

The rest of my story is soon told. I was examined, and re-examined; the gambling-house was strictly searched all through, from top to bottom; the prisoners were separately interrogated; and two of the less guilty among them made a confession. I discovered that the Old Soldier was the master of the gambling-house—justice discovered that he had been drummed out of the army, as a vagabond, years ago; that he had been guilty of all sorts of villainies since; that he was in possession of stolen property, which the owners identified; and that he, the croupier, another accomplice, and the woman who had made my cup of coffee, were all in the secret of the bedstead. There appeared some reason to doubt whether the inferior persons attached to the house knew any thing of the suffocating machinery; and they received the benefit of that doubt, by being treated simply as thieves and vagabonds. As for the Old Soldier and his two head-myrmidons, they went to the galleys; the woman who had drugged my coffee was imprisoned for I forget how many years; the regular attendants at the gambling-house were considered "suspicious," and placed under "surveillance"; and I became, for one whole week (which is a long time), the head "lion" in Parisian society. My adventure was dramatized by three illustrious playmakers, but never saw theatrical daylight; for the censorship forbade the introduction on the stage of a correct copy of the gambling-house bedstead.

Two good results were produced by my adventure, which any censorship must have approved. In the first place, it helped to justify the government in forthwith carrying out their determination to put down all gambling-houses; in the second place, it cured me of ever again trying "Rouge et Noir" as an amusement. The sight of a green cloth, with packs of cards and heaps of money on it, will henceforth be forever associated in my mind with the sight of a bed-canopy descending to suffocate me, in the silence and darkness of the night.

Just as Mr. Faulkner pronounced the last words, he started in his chair, and assumed a stiff, dignified position, in a great hurry. "Bless my soul!" cried he—with a comic look of astonishment and vexation—"while I have been telling you what is the real secret of my interest in the sketch you have so kindly given to me, I have[Pg 121] altogether forgotten that I came here to sit for my portrait. For the last hour, or more, I must have been the worst model you ever had to paint from!"

"On the contrary, you have been the best," said I. "I have been painting from your expression; and, while telling your story, you have unconsciously shown me the natural expression I wanted."


Heat, or the caloric portion of the sunbeam, is the great cause of life and motion in this our world. As it were with a magical energy, it causes the winds to blow and the waters to flow, vivifies and animates all nature, and then bathes it in refreshing dew. The intensity of the heat which we receive depends on the distance of the earth from the sun, its great source, and still more on the relative position of the two orbs; since in winter we are nearer the sun than we are in summer, yet, in consequence of the position of the earth at that season, the sun's rays fall obliquely on its northern hemisphere, rendering it far colder than at any other period of the year.

A great portion of the heat-rays which are emitted by the sun are absorbed in their passage through the atmosphere which surrounds our globe. It is calculated that about one-third of the heat-rays which fall on it never reach the earth, which fact adds another to the many beneficent purposes fulfilled by our gaseous envelope, screening us from the otherwise scorching heat. It is curious to trace the varied fates of the calorific rays which strike on the surface of the earth. Some at once on falling are reflected, and, passing back through the atmosphere, are lost amid the immensity of space; others are absorbed or imbibed by different bodies, and, after a time, are radiated from them; but the greater part of the beams which reach the earth during the summer are absorbed by it, and conveyed downward to a considerable distance, by conduction from particle to particle. Heat also spreads laterally from the regions of the equator toward the poles, thereby moderating the intense cold of the arctic and antarctic circles, and in winter, when the forest-trees are covered with snow, their deeply-penetrating roots are warmed by the heat, which, as in a vast store-house, has been laid up in the earth, to preserve life during the dreary winter. The rays which fall on the tropical seas descend to the depth of about three hundred feet. The sun's attraction for the earth, being also stronger at that quarter of the world, the heated waters are drawn upward, the colder waters from the poles rush in, and thus a great heated current is produced, flowing from the equator northward and southward, which tends to equalize the temperature of the earth. The sailor also knows how to avail himself of this phenomenon. When out at sea, despite his most skillful steering, he is in constant danger of shipwreck, if he fails to estimate truly the force and direction of those currents which are dragging[Pg 122] him insensibly out of the true course. His compass does not help him here, neither does any log yet known give a perfectly authentic result. But he knows that this great gulf-stream has a stated path and time, and, by testing from hour to hour the temperature of the water through which he is proceeding, he knows at what point he is meeting this current, and reckons accordingly.

We have already said that heat was the producer of the winds, which are so essential to the preservation of the purity of the atmosphere. In order to understand their action, we shall consider the stupendous phenomenon of the trade-winds, which is similar to that of the current we have described. The rays of the sun falling vertically on the regions between the tropics, the air there becomes much heated. It is the property of air to expand when heated, and, when expanded, it is necessarily lighter than the cooler air around it. Consequently it rises. As it rises, the cooler air at once takes its place. Rushing from the temperate and polar regions to supply the want, the warm air which has risen flows toward the poles, and descends there, loses its heat, and again travels to the tropics. Thus a grand circulation is continually maintained in the atmosphere. These aerial currents, being affected by the revolution of the earth, do not move due north and south, as they otherwise would. Hence, while they equalize the temperature of the atmosphere, they also preserve its purity; for the pure oxygen evolved by the luxuriant vegetation of the equatorial regions is wafted by the winds to support life in the teeming population of the temperate zones, while the air from the poles bears carbonic acid gas on its wings to furnish food for the rich and gorgeous plants of the tropics. Thus the splendid water-lily of the Amazon, the stately palm-tree of Africa, and the great banyan of India, depend for nourishment on the breath of men and animals in lands thousands of miles distant from them, and, in return, they supply their benefactors with vivifying oxygen.

Little less important, and still more beautiful, is the phenomenon of dew, which is produced by the power of radiating heat, possessed in different degrees by all bodies. The powers both of absorbing and of radiating heat, in great measure, depend on the color of bodies—the darker the color, the greater the power; so that each lovely flower bears within its petals a delicate thermometer, which determines the amount of heat each shall receive, and which is always the amount essential to their well-being. The queenly rose, the brilliant carnation, the fair lily, and the many-colored anemone, all basking in the same bright sunshine, enjoy different degrees of warmth, and when night descends, and the heat absorbed by day is radiated back, and bodies become cooler than the surrounding air, the vapor contained in the atmosphere is deposited in the form of dew. Those bodies which radiate most quickly receive the most copious supply of the refreshing fluid. This radiating power depends on the condition of the surface, as well as upon[Pg 123] color, so that we may often see the grass garden bathed in dew, while the gravel walks which run through it are perfectly dry, and, again, the smooth, shining, juicy leaves of the laurel are quite dry, while the rose-tree beneath it is saturated with moisture.

The great effect produced on the vegetable kingdom by the heat-rays may be judged of from the fact, that almost all the plants which exhibit the remarkable phenomena of irritability, almost approaching to animal life, are confined to those regions where the heat is extreme. On the banks of the Indian rivers grows a plant in almost constant motion. In the hottest of the conservatories at Kew is a curious plant, whose leaflets rise by a succession of little starts. The same house contains Venus's fly-trap. Light seems to have no effect in quickening their movements; but the effect of increased heat is at once seen. They exhibit their remarkable powers most during the still hot nights of an Indian summer.

Heat is of essential importance in the production and ripening of fruit. Many trees will not bear fruit in our cold climate, which are most productive in the sunny south. Animal as well as vegetable life is in great measure dependent on heat. Look at the insect tribes. The greater number of them pass their winter in the pupa state. Hidden in some sheltered nook, or buried in the earth, they sleep on, until the warmth of returning spring awakens them to life and happiness; and if, by artificial means, the cold be prolonged, they still sleep on, whereas, if they he exposed to artificial heat, their change is hastened, and butterflies may be seen sporting about the flowers of a hothouse, when their less favored relatives are still wrapped in the deepest slumber. To judge of the influence of heat on the animal and vegetable economy, we need but contrast summer and winter—the one radiant and vocal with life and beauty, the other dark, dreary, and silent.

The third constituent of the sunbeam is actinism—its property being to produce chemical effects. So long ago as 1556, it was noticed by those strange seekers after impossibilities, the alchemists, that horn silver, exposed to the sunbeam, was blackened by it. This phenomenon contained the germ of those most interesting discoveries which have distinguished the present age; but, in their ardent search for the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life, they overlooked many an effect of their labors which might have led them to important truths.

As yet, the effects of actinism have been more studied in the inanimate than the organic creation. Still, in the vegetable kingdom, its power is known to be of the utmost importance. A seed exposed to the entire sunbeam will not germinate; but bury it in the earth, at a depth sufficient to exclude the light, yet enough to admit actinism, which, like heat, penetrates the earth to some distance, and soon a chemical change will take place; the starch contained in the seed is converted into gum and water, forming the nutriment of the young plant; the tiny root[Pg 124] plunges downward, the slender stem rises to the light, the first leaves, or cotyledons, then unfold, and now fully expand to the light, and a series of chemical changes of a totally different nature commence, which we have before noticed, when speaking of light. Experiments clearly prove that this change is to be attributed to actinism, and not to heat. Glass has been interposed of a dark blue color, which is transparent to actinism, though opaque to light and heat, and germination has been thereby quickened. Gardeners have long known this fact practically, and are accustomed to raise their cuttings under blue shades. There is no doubt that actinism exercises a powerful and beneficent influence on plants during their whole existence, but science has yet to demonstrate its nature; and it is curious to observe that the actinic element is most abundant in the sunbeam in the spring, when its presence is most essential in promoting germination—in summer the luminous rays are in excess, when they are most needed for the formation of woody fibre—and in autumn the heat-rays prevail, and ripen the golden grain and the delicious fruit; in each day the proportions of the different rays vary—in the morning the actinic principle abounds most, at noon the light, and at eventide the heat.

The influence of actinism on the animal world is not well known; but it is probable that many of the effects hitherto referred to light are in reality due to actinism. It has the strange power of darkening the human skin, causing the deep color of those tribes who inhabit the sunniest regions of the earth; and even in our own country, in summer, that darkening of the skin called sun-burning. Doubtless, more careful investigation will discover this principle to be equally important to the life and health of animals as either of its closely allied powers of light and heat.

Our knowledge of actinic influence on inanimate nature is not so scanty, for it is now a well established fact, that the sunbeam can not fall on any body, whether simple or compound, without producing on its surface a chemical and molecular change. The immovable rocks which bound our shores, the mountain which rears its lofty head above the clouds, the magnificent cathedral, the very triumph of art, and the beautiful statue in bronze or marble, are all acted on destructively by the sunbeam, and would soon perish beneath its irresistible energy, but for the beautiful provision made for their restoration during the darkness of night—the repose of darkness being no less essential to inorganic, than it is to animated nature. During its silent hours, the chemical and molecular changes are all undone, and the destruction of the day repaired, we know not how.

The art of painting by the sunbeam has been rather unfortunately called photography, which means light-painting, for the process is not due to light, but is rather interfered with by it; and, contrary to all preconceived ideas, the pictures taken in our comparatively sombre country, are[Pg 125] more easily and brilliantly produced than in brighter and more sunny lands—so much so, that a gentleman, who took the requisite materials to Mexico, in order to take views of its principal buildings, met with failure after failure, and it was not until the darker days of the rainy season that he met with any measure of success.


A fresh, bright dawn, the loveliest hour of an English summer, was rousing the slumbering life in woods and fields, and painting the heavens and the earth in the gorgeous hues of the sunrise.

Beautiful it was to see the first blush of day mantling over the distant hills, tinging them with a faint crimson, and the first smile shooting, in one bright beam through the sky, while it lit up the fair face of nature with a sparkling light. Lilias Randolph stood on the flight of steps which led from the Abbey to the park, and looked down on the joyous scene. She seemed herself a very type of the morning, with her sunny eyes, and her golden hair; and her gaze wandered glad and free over the spreading landscape, while her thoughts roamed far away in regions yet more bright—even the sunlit fields of fancy.

It was the day and the hour when she was to go and meet Richard Sydney, in order to have, at length, a full revelation of his mysterious connection with her cousin. She knew that it was an interview of solemn import to both of those, in whom she felt so deep an interest; yet, so entirely were one thought and one feeling alone gaining empire over her spirit that, even then, in that momentous hour, they had no share in the visions with which her heart was busy.

So soon, therefore, as Lilias came within sight of Richard Sydney, who had arrived first at the place of rendezvous, she resolutely banished the thoughts that were so absorbing to her own glad heart, and set herself seriously to give her entire attention to the work now before her, if, haply, it might be given her, in some degree, to minister unto their grievous misery. And truly her first glance upon the face of the man who stood there, with his eyes fixed on the path which was to bring her and her hoped-for succor near to him, would have sufficed to have driven all ideas from her mind, save the one conviction, that in that look alone she had acquired a deeper knowledge of suffering than her own past life, in all its details, had ever afforded her. Sydney heard her step, long before she believed it possible, and, bounding toward her, he seized her hand with a grasp which was almost convulsive. He drew her aside to some little distance from her nurse, who sat down on a bank to wait for them.

Lilias bent down her head that she might not seem to note the workings of his countenance, as he laid bare before her the most hidden springs of his soul, and he began:

"I was born heir to a curse. Centuries ago an ancestor of mine murdered a woman he once[Pg 126] had loved, because his neglect had driven her mad, and that in her ravings she revealed his many crimes. With her dying breath she invoked the curse of insanity on him and his house forever, and the cry of her departing soul was heard. There has not been a generation in our family since that hour which has not had its shrieking maniac to echo in our ears the murdered woman's scream. Some there have been among the Sydneys of peculiar constitution, as it would seem, who have not actually been visited with the malady; but they have never failed to transmit it to their children. Of such am I; while my father died a suicide by his own senseless act, and his only other child besides myself, my sister, wears her coronet of straw in the Dublin Asylum, and calls herself a queen.

"It would appall you to hear the fearful calamities which each succeeding family has undergone through this awful curse. At last, as the catalogue of tragic events grew darker and darker, it became a solemn matter of discussion to our unhappy race, whether it were not an absolute duty that the members of a house so doomed, should cease at last to propagate the curse, and by a resolute abandonment of all earthly ties, cause our name and misery to perish from the earth. The necessity for this righteous sacrifice was admitted; but the resolution in each separate individual to become the destined holocaust, has hitherto forever failed before the power of the mighty human love that lured them ever to its pure resistless joys. It was so with my father—like myself he was an only son; and, in the ardor of a generous youth, he vowed to be the offering needful to still the cry of that innocent blood for vengeance; but the sweet face of my mother came between him and his holy vow. He married her, and the punishment came down with fearful weight on both, when her fond heart broke at sight of his ghastly corpse. Then it was she knew the retribution in their case had been just; and on her dying bed, with the yet unclosed coffin of her husband by her side, she made me vow upon the holy cross that I, myself, would be the sacrifice—that never would I take a wife unto my heart or home; and that never, from my life, should any helpless being inherit existence with a curse. That vow I took, that vow I kept, and that vow I will keep, though Aletheia, beloved of my heart and soul, dearer than all beneath the skies, were to lay herself down beneath my very feet to die. Oh! shall we not rest in heaven."

He bowed his head for a moment, and his frame shook with emotion, but driving back the tide of anguish, he went on: "After my mother's death and my sister's removal, who had been insane almost from childhood, I shut myself up entirely at Sydney Court, and gave way to a species of morbid melancholy which was thought to be fearfully dangerous for one in my position. I had friends, however; and the best and truest was Colonel Randolph, my Aletheia's father, the early companion of my own poor, hapless parent. He was resolved to save me from the miserable[Pg 127] condition in which I then was. He came to me and told me, with all the authority of his long friendship, that I must go with him to the M——, where he had been appointed governor. He said it was a crime to waste a life, which, though unblest by human ties, might be made most useful to my fellow-creatures. I had studied much in brighter days, and given to the world the fruits of my labors. These had not passed unheeded; he told me they had proved that talents had been committed to me whereby I might be a benefactor to my race, all the more that no soft endearments of domestic joys would wean my thoughts from sterner duties. I was to go with him; he insisted it would benefit myself, and would injure none. His family consisted of his one daughter, his precious, beloved Aletheia, for he doated on her with more than the ordinary love of a father. She knew my history, and would be to me a sister. Alas! alas! for her destruction, I consented."

Again, a momentary pause. Lilias gently raised her compassionate eyes, but he saw her not; he seemed lost in a vision of the past, and soon went on:

"That lovely land where I dwelt with her, it seems a type of the beauty and happiness which was around me then! And, oh! what a dream it is to think of now—the cloudless sky—the glorious sun—and her eyes undimmed, her smile unfaded! Oh! Aletheia—my Aletheia—treasure of many lives! bright and joyous—light to the eyes that looked on her, blessing to the hearts that loved her—would that I had died or ever I drew her very soul into mine, and left her the poor, crushed, helpless being that she is! You can not picture to yourself the fascination that was around her then—high-minded, noble in heart, lofty in soul; her bright spirit stamped its glory on her face, and she was beautiful, with all spiritual loveliness. None ever saw her who loved her not—her rare talents—her enchanting voice; that voice of her very soul, which spoke in such wonderful music, drew to her feet every creature who knew her; for with all these gifts, this wonderful intellect, and rarest powers of mind, she was playful, winning, simple as an innocent child. I say none saw her, and loved her not; how, think you, I loved her?—the doomed man, the desolate being, whose barren, joyless life walked hand in hand with a curse. Let this anguish tell you how I loved her;" and he turned on Lilias a face of ghastly paleness, convulsed with agony, and wet with the dews of suffering; but he did not pause, he went on rapidly: "I was mad, then, in one sense, though it was the madness of the heart, and not the brain. Poor wretch, I thought I would wring a joy out of my blasted life in spite of fate, and, while none other claimed her as their own, I would revel in her presence, and in the rapture of her tenderness. I knew it was mockery when I bid her call me brother—a sister truly is loved with other love than that I gave her. I would have seen every relation I had ever known laid dead at my feet, could I[Pg 128] have thereby purchased for her, my thrice-beloved one, one moment's pleasure.

"Lilias, does a passion of such fearful power shock and terrify you, who have only known the placid beating of a gentle, childlike heart? Take a yet deeper lesson, then, in the dark elements of which this life may be composed, and learn that deep, and true, and mighty as was my love for her, it is as a mere name, a breath, a vapor, compared with that most awful affection which Aletheia had already, even then, vowed unto me, in the depth of her secret heart. Ah! it needed, in truth, such an agony as that which is now incorporate with it in her heart, to cope with its immensity; for, truly, no weak happiness of earth could have had affinity with it—a love so saint-like must needs have been a martyr. I will not attempt to tell you what her devotion to me was, and is, and shall be, while one faintest throb of life is stirring in her noble heart. You have seen it—you have seen that love looking through those eyes of hers, like a mighty spirit endowed with an existence separate from her own, which holds her soul in its fierce, powerful grasp.

"I must hurry on now, and my words must be rapid as the events that drove us from the serene elysian fields of that first dear companionship, through storm and whirlwind, to this wilderness of misery where I am sent to wander to and fro, like a murderer, as I am; condemned to watch the daily dying of the sweet life I have destroyed. You may think me blind and senseless, for so I surely was, but it is certain that I never suspected the love she bore me. I saw that she turned away from the crowds that flocked around, and was deaf to all the offers that were made to her, of rank, and wealth, and station, and many a true heart's love; but I thought this was because her own was yet untouched, and when I saw that I alone was singled out to be the object of her attention and solicitude, I fancied it was but the effect of her deep, generous pity for my desolate condition—and pity it was, but such as the mother feels for the suffering of the first-born, whom she adores. And the day of revelation came!

"I told you how Colonel Randolph doated on his daughter; truly, none ever loved Aletheia with a common love. When he was released from the duties of his high office, it was one of his greatest pleasures to walk, or ride with me, that he might talk to me of her. One morning he came in with a packet of letters from England, and, taking me by the arm, drew me out into the garden, that he might tell me some news, which, he said, gave him exceeding joy. The letters announced the arrival of the son of an old friend of his, who had just succeeded to his title and estates, the young Marquis of L——, and further communicated, in the most unreserved manner, that his object in coming to the M—— was to make Aletheia his wife, if he could win her to himself; he had long loved her, and had only delayed his offer till he could install her in his lordly castle with all the honors[Pg 129] of his station. To see this union accomplished, Colonel Randolph said, had been his one wish since both had played as children at his feet, and he now believed the desired consummation was at hand. Aletheia's consent was alone required, and there seemed no reason to doubt it would be given, for there was not, he asserted, in all England, one more worthy of her, by every noble gift of mind, than the high-born, generous-hearted L——.

"Why, indeed, should she not, at once, accept the brilliant destiny carved out for her!—I did not doubt it more than the exulting father, and I heard my doom fixed in the same senseless state of calm with which the criminal who knows his guilt and its penalty, hears the sentence of his execution. I had long known this hour must come; and what had I now to do but gather, as it were, a shroud round my tortured soul, and, like the Cæsars, die decently to all earthly happiness! Even in that tremendous hour, I had a consciousness of the dignity of suffering—suffering, that is, which comes from the height of heaven above, and not from the depths of crime below! I resolved that the lamp of my life's joy should go out without a sigh audible to human ears, save hers alone, who had lit that pure flame in the black night of my existence.

"Lilias, I enter into no detail of what I felt in that momentous crisis, for you have no woman's heart if you have not understood it, in its uttermost extent of misery. One thought, however, stood up pre-eminent in that chaos of suffering—the conviction that I must not see Aletheia Randolph again, or the very powers of my mind would give way in the struggle that must ensue. This thought, and one other—one solitary gleam of dreary comfort, that alone relieved the great darkness which had fallen upon me, were all that seemed distinct in my mind: that last mournful consolation was the resolution taken along with the vow to see her no more, that ere I passed forever from her memory, she should know what was the love with which I loved her.

"Quietly I gave her father my hand when I quitted him, and he said, 'We shall meet in the evening;' my own determination was never to look upon his face again. I went home, and sitting down, I wrote to Aletheia a letter, in which all the pent-up feelings of the deep, silent devotion I cherished for her, were poured out in words to which the wretchedness of my position gave a fearful intensity—burning words, indeed! She has told me since, that they seemed to eat into her heart like fire. I left the letter for her and quitted the house; and I believed my feet should never pass that beloved threshold again. There was a spot where Aletheia and I had gone almost day by day to wander, since we had dwelt in that land. She loved it, because she could look out over the ocean in its boundlessness, whose aspect soothed her, she said, as with a promise of eternity. It was a huge rock that rose perpendicularly from the sea, and sloped[Pg 130] down on the other side, by a gentle declivity, to the plain. I have often thought what a type of our life it was; we saw nothing of the precipice as we ascended the soft and verdant mount, and suddenly it was at our feet, and if the blast of heaven had driven us another step, it had been into destruction.

"Thither, when I had parted, as I believed, forever, with that darling of my heart, I went with what intent I know not: it was not to commit suicide; although in that form, in the mad longing for it, the curse of my family has ever declared itself. I was yet sane, and my soul acknowledged and abhorred the tremendous guilt of that mysterious crime, wherein the created dashes back the life once given, in the very face of the Creator; not for suicide I went, yet, Lilias, as I stood within an inch of death, and looked down on the placid waters that had so swiftly cooled the burning anguish of my heart and brain, I felt, in the intense desire to terminate my life, and in that desire resisted, a more stinging pain than any which my bitter term of years has ever offered me. Oh, how shall I tell you what followed? I feel as though I could not: and briefly, and, indeed, incoherently, must I speak; for on the next hour—the supreme, the crowning hour of all my life—my spirit enters not, without an intensity of feeling which well-nigh paralyzes every faculty.

"I stood there, and suddenly I heard a sound—a soft, breathing sound, as of a gentle fawn wearied in some steep ascent—a sound coming nearer and nearer, bringing with it ten thousand memories of hours and days that were to come no more: a step, light and tremulous, falling on the soft grass softly, and then a voice.—Oh, when mine ears are locked in death, shall I not hear it?—a voice uttering low and sweet, my well-known name. I turned, and when I saw that face, on whose sweet beauty other eyes should feed, yea, other lips caress, for one instant the curse of my forefather seemed upon me; my brain reeled, and I would have sprung from the precipice to die. But ere I could accomplish the sudden craving of this momentary frenzy, Aletheia, my own Aletheia, was at my feet, her clinging arms were round me, her lips were pressed upon my hands, and her voice—her sweet, dear voice—went sounding through my soul like a sudden prophecy of most unearthly joy, murmuring, 'Live, live for me, mine own forever!'

"Oh, Lilias, how can I attempt with human words to tell you of these things, so far beyond the power of language to express! I felt that what she said was true—that in some way, by some wonderful means, she was in very deed and truth, 'mine own, forever,' though, in that moment of supremest joy, no less firmly than in the hour of supremest sorrow by my mother's dying bed, my heart and soul were faithful to the vow then taken, that never on my desolate breast a wife should lay her head to rest. 'Mine own forever!'—as I looked down, and met the gaze of fathomless, unutterable love with which[Pg 131] her tearful eyes were fastened full upon my own, I was as one who having long dwelt in darkest night, was blinded with the sudden glare of new returning day. I staggered back, and leant against the rock; faint and shivering I stretched out my hands on that beloved head, longing for the power to bless her, and said, 'Oh, Aletheia, what is it you have said: have you forgotten who and what I am!'

"'No!' was her answer, steady and distinct; 'and for that very reason, because you are a stricken man, forever cut off from all the common ties of earth, have I been given to you, to be in heart and soul peculiarly your own, with such a measure of entire devotion as never was offered to man on earth before.'

"I looked at her almost in bewilderment. She rose up to her full height, perfectly calm, and with a deep solemnity in her words and aspect.

"'Richard,' she said, 'the lives of both of us are hanging on this hour; by it shall all future existence on this earth be shaped for us, and its memory shall come with death itself to look us in the face, and stamp our whole probation with its seal; it becomes us, therefore, to cast aside all frivolous rules of man's convention, and speak the truth as deathless soul with deathless soul. Hear me, then, while I open up my inmost spirit to your gaze, and then decide whether you will lay your hand upon my life, and say—'Thou art my own;' or whether you will fling it from you to perish as some worthless thing?'

"I bowed my head in token that she should continue, for I could not speak. I, Lilias, who had looked death and insanity in the face, under their most frightful shapes, trembled, like a reed in the blast, before the presence of a love that was mightier than either! Aletheia stretched out her hand over the precipice, and spoke—

"'Hear me, then, declare first of all, solemnly as though this hour were my last, that, not even to save you from that death which, but now, you dared to meditate, would I ever consent to be your wife, even if you wished it, as utterly as I doubt not you abhor the idea of such perjury—not to save you from death—I say—the death of the mortal body, for by conniving at your failure in that most righteous vow, once taken on the holy cross itself, I should peril—yea, destroy, it may be, the immortal soul, which is the true object of my love. Hear me, in the face of that pure sky announce this truth, and then may I freely declare to you all that is in my heart—all the sacred purpose of my life for you, without a fear that my worst enemy could pronounce me unmaidenly or overbold, though I have that to say which few women ever said unasked.'

"Unmaidenly! Oh, Lilias, could you have seen the noble dignity of her fearless innocence in that hour, you would have felt that never had the impress of a purer heart been stamped upon a virgin brow."

"'Have you understood and well considered this my settled purpose never to be your wife?' she continued.

"And I said—'I have.'"

[Pg 132]

"'Then speak out, my soul,' she exclaimed, lifting up her eyes as if inspired. 'Tell him that there is a righteous Providence over the life that immolates itself for virtue's sake! and that another existence hath been sent to meet it in the glorious sacrifice, in order that this one may yield up its treasures to the heart that would have stript itself of all! Richard, Richard Sydney, you have made a holocaust of your life, and lo! by the gift of another life, it is repaid to you.'

"Slowly she knelt down, and took my hand in both of hers, while with an aspect calm and firm, and a voice unfaltering, she spoke this vow:

'I, Aletheia Randolph, do most solemnly vow and promise to give myself, in heart and soul, unto the last day of my life, wholly and irrevocably, to Richard Sydney. I devote to him, and him alone, my whole heart, my whole life, and my whole love. I do forever forswear, for his sake, all earthly ties, all earthly affections, and all earthly hopes. I will love him only, live for him only, and make it my one happiness to minister to him in all things as faithfully and tenderly as though I were bound to him by the closest of human bonds—in spite of all obstacles and the world's blame—in defiance of all allurements, which might induce me to abandon him. I will seek to abide ever as near to him as may be, that I may bestow on him all the care and tender watchfulness which the most faithful wife could offer; but absent or present, living or dying, no human being on this earth shall ever have known such an entire devotion as I will give to him till the last breath pass from this heart in death!'

"I was speechless, Lilias—speechless with something almost of horror at the sacrifice she was making! I strove to withdraw my hand—I could have died to save her from thus immolating herself; but she clung to me, and a deadly paleness spread itself over her countenance as she felt my movement.

"'Hear me! hear me yet again, Richard Sydney!' she exclaimed; 'you can not prevent me taking this vow; it was registered in the record of my fate—uttered again and again deep in my soul, long before it was spoken by these mortal lips!—it is done—I am yours forever, or forever perjured! But hear me!—hear me!—although the offering of my life is made, yea, and it shall be yours in every moment, in every thought, in every impulse of my being, yet I can not force you to accept this true oblation, made once for all, and forever! I can not constrain you to load your existence with mine. Now, now, the consummation of all is in your own hands; you may make this offering, which is never to be recalled, as you will—a blessing or a curse to yourself as unto me! I am powerless—what you decree I must submit to; but hear me, hear me!—although you now reject, and scorn, and spurn me—me, and the life which I have given you—although you drive me from you, and command me never to appear before your eyes again, yet,[Pg 133] Richard Sydney, I will keep my vow! Even in obeying you, and departing to the uttermost corner of the earth that you may never look upon my face again; yet will I keep my vow, and the life shall be yours, and the love shall be around you; and the heart, and the soul, and the thoughts, and the prayers of her, who is your own forever, shall be with you night and day, till she expires in the agony of your rejection.

"'This were the curse, and curse me if you will, I yet will bless you! And now hear, hear what the blessing might be if you so willed it. In spiritual union we should be forever linked, soul with soul, and heart with heart—all in all to one another in that wedding of our immortal spirits only, as truly and joyously as though we had been bound in an earthly bridal at the altar; abiding forever near each other in sweetest and most pure companionship, while my father lives under the same roof, and afterward still meeting daily; one in love, in joy, in hope, in sorrow; one in death (for if your soul were first called forth, I know that mine would take that summons for its own), and one, if it were so permitted, in eternity itself. This we may be, Richard Sydney, this we shall be, except you will, this day, trample down beneath your feet the life that gives itself to you. But wherefore, oh, wherefore would you do so? Why cast away the gift which hath been sent, in order that, by a wondrous and most just decree, the righteous man who, in his noble rectitude, abandoned every earthly tie, should be possessed, instead thereof, of such a deep, devoted love as never human heart received before? Wherefore, oh! wherefore? Yet, do as you will, now you know all; and I, who still, whatever be your decree, happen what may, am verily your own forever, must here abide the sentence of my life.'

"Slowly her dear head fell down upon her trembling hands, and, kneeling at my feet, she waited my acceptance or rejection of the noblest gift that ever one immortal spirit made unto another. Lilias, I told you when I commenced this agonizing record, that there were portions of it which I would breathe to no mortal ears, not even to yours, good and gentle as you are. And now, of such is all that followed in the solemn, blessed hours of which I speak; you know what my answer was; it can not be that you doubt it—could it have been otherwise, indeed? She had said truly, that the deed was done—the sacrifice was made—the life was given. What would it have availed if I, by my rejection, had punished her unparalleled devotion with unexampled misery? and for myself, could I—could I—should I have been human if I, who, till that hour, had believed myself of all men most accursed on earth—had suddenly refused to be above all men blest?

"When the sun went down that night, sinking into the sea, whose boundlessness seemed narrow to my infinity of joy, Aletheia lay at my feet like a cradled child; and as I bent down over her, and scarcely dared to touch, with deep respect, the long, soft tresses of her waving hair,[Pg 134] which the light breeze lifted to my lips, I heard her ever murmuring, as though she could never weary of that sound of joy—'Mine own, mine own forever.'

"The period which followed that wonderful hour was one of an Eden-like happiness, such as, I believe, this fallen world never could before have witnessed—it was the embodiment, in every hour and instant, of that blessing of which my Aletheia had so fervently spoken—the spiritual union which linked us in heart and soul alone, was as perfect as it was unearthly; and the intense bliss which flowed from it, on both of us, could only have been equaled by the love, no less intense, that made us what we were.

"But, Lilias, of this brief dream of deep delight I will not and I can not speak. This is a record of misery and not of joy," he continued, turning round upon her almost fiercely. "It becomes not me, who have been the murderer of Aletheia's joyous life, to take so much as the name of happiness between my lips. It passed—it departed—that joy, as a spirit departs out of the body; unseen, unheard; you know not it is gone, till suddenly you see that the beautiful living form has become a stark and ghastly corpse!—and so, in like manner, our life became a hideous thing....

"Colonel Randolph asked me to go on an embassy to a distant town; the absence was to be but for a fortnight. We were to write daily to one another, and we thought nothing of it. Nevertheless, in one sense, we felt it to be momentous. Aletheia designed, if an opportunity occurred, to inform her father of the change in her existence, and the irrevocable fate to which she had consigned herself. She had delayed doing so hitherto, because his mind had been fearfully disturbed by grievous disappointments in public affairs; and as he was a man of peculiarly sensitive temperament, she would not add to his distresses by the announcement of the fact, which she knew he would consider the great misfortune of his life. It was impossible, indeed, that the doating father could fail to mourn bitterly over the sacrifice of his one beloved daughter, to the man who dared not so much as give her barren life the protection of his name lest haply, he wed her to a maniac.

"It was within two days of my proposed return to their home, that an express arrived in fiery haste to tell me Colonel Randolph had fallen from his horse, had received a mortal injury, and was dying. I was summoned instantly. He had said he would not die in peace till he saw me. One hurried line from Aletheia, in addition to the aid-de-camp's letter, told how even, in that awful hour, I was first and last in his thoughts. It ran thus: 'He is on his death-bed, and I have told him all. I could not let him die unknowing the consecration of his child to one so worthy of her. But, alas! I know not why, it seems almost to have maddened him. He says he will tell you all; come, then, with all speed.'

"In two hours I was by the side of the dying man. Aletheia was kneeling with her arms[Pg 135] round him, and he was gazing at her with sombre, mournful fondness. The instant he saw me he pushed her from him. 'Go,' he said, 'I must see this man alone.' The epithet startled me. I saw he was filled with a bitter wrath. His daughter obeyed; she rose and left the room; but as she passed me she took my hand, and bowing herself as to her master, pressed it to her lips, then turning round she said. 'Father, remember what I have told you: he is mine own forever; not even your death-bed curse could make me falter in my vow.' He groaned aloud: 'No curse, no curse, my child,' he cried; 'fear not; it is not you whom I would curse. Come—kiss me; we may perhaps not meet again; and if you find me dead at your return—' He waited till she closed the door, and then added, 'Say that Richard Sydney killed me, and you will speak the truth! Madman, madman, indeed! What is it you have done? Was it for this I took you into my home, and was to you a father? That you might slay my only daughter—that you might make such havoc of her life as is worse than a thousand deaths.'

"I would have spoken; he fiercely interrupted me: 'I know what you would say—that she gave herself to you—that she offered this oblation of a whole existence—but I tell you, if one grain of justice or of generosity had been within your coward heart, you would have flung yourself over that precipice, and so absolved her from her vow, rather than let her immolate herself to a doom so horrible; for you know not, yourself, what is that doom! Yes, poor wretch,' he added, more gently, 'you knew not what you did; but I know, and now will I tell. I, who have watched over the soul of Aletheia Randolph for well-nigh twenty years, know well of what fire it is made; I tell you I have long foreknown that there was a capacity of love in her which is most awful, and which would most infallibly work her utter woe, except its ardent immensity found a perpetual outlet in the many ties which weave themselves around a happy wife and mother. And now, oh! was there none to have mercy on her, and save her noble heart and life from such destruction; this soul of flame, fathomless as the deep, burning and pure as the spotless noonday sky, hath gone forth to fasten itself upon a desolating, barren, mournful love, where, hungering forever after happiness, and never fed, it will be driven to insanity or death! Yes, I tell you, it will be so; my departing spirit is almost on my lips, and my words must be few, but they are words of fearful truth. I know her, and I know that thus it will be; one day's separation from you, whom the world will never admit to be her own—one cloud upon your brow, which she has not the power to disperse, will work in her a torment that will sap her noble mind, and will make her, haply, the lunatic, and youyou, descendant of the maniac Sydneys, her keeper! Oh, what had she done to you that you should hate her so? Oh, wherefore have you cursed her, my innocent child, my only daughter?'

"I fell on my knees; I gasped for breath;[Pg 136] Lilias, I felt that every word he said was true, that all would come to pass as he foretold; for he spoke with the prophetic truth of the dying; he saw my utter agony. Suddenly he lifted himself up in the bed, and the movement broke the bandage on his head, whence the blood streamed suddenly with a destructive violence; he heeded it not, but grasped my arm with the last energy of life.

"'I see you are in torments,' he said, 'and fitly so; but if you have this much of grace left, now at least to suffer, it may be that every spark of justice is not dead within you, and that you will save her yet.'

"'Save her!' I almost shrieked. 'Yes, if by any means upon this earth such a blessing be possible! Shall I die? I am ready—oh, how ready.'

"'No; to die were but to carry her into your grave,' the cruel voice replied; 'but living, I believe that you may save her. From what I know of that most noble child's pure soul, I do believe that you may save her yet. Man! who have been her curse and mine, will you swear to do so, by any means I may command?'

"'I will swear!' was my answer, and his glazing eyes were suddenly lit up with a fierce delight. 'And how?' I cried.

"'Thus,' he answered, drawing me close to him, and putting his lips to my ear: 'by rendering yourself hateful to her! To quit her were to bid her lament you unto the death; but by her very side to render yourself abhorrent to her, thus shall you save her! You have sworn—remember, you have sworn! Go! When I am dead, give up that voice and look of love; put on a stern aspect; treat her as a cruel taskmaster treats a slave; be harsh; be merciless; tell her the love she bears you, by its depth of passion, hath become a crime, and you have vowed to crush it out of her; but say not I commanded it; let her believe it is your own free will; punish her for that love; let her think you hate her for it; trample her soul beneath your haughty feet; let her hear naught but bitterest words—see naught but sternest looks—feel naught but a grasp severe and torturing—to tear her clinging arms from around you!—so shall you save her; for she will suffer but a little while at first, and then will leave you to be forever blest;—so shall you crush her love, and send her out from your heart to seek a better. Sydney, you have sworn to do it—you have sworn!'

"He repeated the words with fearful vehemence, for life was ebbing with the blood that flowed. Gathering up his last energies, he shrieked into my ear—'Say that you have sworn!—answer, or my spirit curses you forever!' and I answered: 'I have sworn!'

"He burst into a laugh of awful triumph, sunk back, and expired....

"Lilias, I have kept that vow!"

At these words, uttered in a hoarse and ominous tone, which seemed to convey a volume of fearful meaning, a cold shiver crept over the frame of the young Lilias: a horror unspeakable[Pg 137] took possession of her, as the vail seemed suddenly lifted up from the mysterious agony which had made Aletheia's life, even to the outward eye, a mere embodiment of perpetual suffering; and her deep and womanly appreciation of what her unhappy cousin had endured, caused her to shrink almost in fear from the wretched man by her side, who had thus been constrained to become the cruel tyrant of her he loved so fondly. But he spoke again in such broken, faltering accents, that her heart once more swelled with pity for him.

"Yes, Lilias, I kept that fearful vow: the grasp of the dead man's hand, which, even as he stiffened into a mass of senseless clay, still locked my own as with an iron gripe, seemed to have bound it on my soul, and I, alas! believed in the efficacy of this means for her restoration from the destructive madness of her love to such an one as I. I believed I thus should save her, and turn her pure affection to a salutary hate. Yes; with energy, with fierce determination, I did keep that vow, because it was to bind myself unto such untold tortures, that it seemed a righteous expiation; and what, oh, what has been the result! Her father thought he knew her. He thought the intensity of her tenderness would brave insanity or death; but, not my hatred and contempt! and he knew her not, in her unparalleled generosity! for behold her glorious devotion hath trampled even my contumely under foot, and hath risen faithful, changeless, all perfect as before.

"Oh, Lilias, I can not tell you the detail of the cruelties I have perpetrated on her—redoubled, day by day, as I saw them all fall powerless before her matchless love. I told her that because of its intensity, her affection had become a crime, for one whose eternal abiding place was not within this world, and that it inspired me with horror and with wrath; and since she had taken me for her master, as her master, I would drive this passion from her soul, by even the sternest means that fancy can devise; and then, I dare not tell you all that I have done; but she, with her imploring voice, her tender, mournful eyes, forever answered that if she were hateful to me I had better leave her, only with me should go her love, her life, her very soul! Alas! alas! I could not leave her till my fearful task was done. I have labored—oh, let the spirit of that dead father witness—I have labored according to his will, and what has been the up-shot of it all? Lilias," he spoke with sudden fierceness, "I have learnt to crush the life out of her, but not the love! the pure, devoted, boundless love is there, still, true and tender as before, only it abides my torture, day and night, chained to the rack by these cruel hands."

He buried his face on his knees, and a strong convulsion shook his frame.


In a cottage in the valley of Sallanches near the foot of Mont Blanc, lived old Bernard and his three sons. One morning he lay in bed[Pg 138] sick, and, burning with fever, watched anxiously for the return of his son, Jehan, who had gone to fetch a physician. At length a horse's tread was heard, and soon afterward the Doctor entered. He examined the patient closely, felt his pulse, looked at his tongue, and then said, patting the old man's cheek, "It will be nothing, my friend—nothing!" but he made a sign to the three lads, who open-mouthed and anxious, stood grouped around the bed. All four withdrew to a distant corner, the doctor shook his head, thrust out his lower lip, and said "Tis a serious attack—very serious—of fever. He is now in the height of the fit, and as soon as it abates he must have sulphate of quinine."

"What is that, doctor?"

"Quinine, my friend, is a very expensive medicine, but which you may procure at Sallanches. Between the two fits your father must take at least three francs' worth. I will write the prescription. You can read, Guillaume?"

"Yes, doctor."

"And you will see that he takes it?"


When the physician was gone, Guillaume, Pierre, and Jehan looked at each other in silent perplexity. Their whole stock of money consisted of a franc and a half, and yet the medicine must be procured immediately.

"Listen," said Pierre, "I know a method of getting from the mountain before night three or four five-franc pieces."

"From the mountain?"

"I have discovered an eagle's nest in a cleft of a frightful precipice. There is a gentleman at Sallanches, who would gladly purchase the eagles; and nothing made me hesitate but the terrible risk of taking them; but that's nothing when our father's life is concerned. We may have them now in two hours."

"I will rob the nest," said Guillaume.

"No, no, let me," said Jehan, "I am the youngest and lightest."

"I have the best right to venture," said Pierre, "as it was I who discovered it."

"Come," said Pierre, "let us decide by drawing lots. Write three numbers, Guillaume, put them into my hat, and whoever draws number one will try the venture."

Guillaume blackened the end of a wooden splinter in the fire; tore an old card into three pieces; wrote on them one, two, three, and threw them into the hat.

How the three hearts beat! Old Bernard lay shivering in the cold fit, and each of his sons longed to risk his own life, to save that of his father.

The lot fell on Pierre, who had discovered the nest; he embraced the sick man.

"We shall not be long absent, father," he said, "and it is needful for us to go together."

"What are you going to do?"

"We will tell you as soon as we come back."

Guillaume took down from the wall an old sabre, which had belonged to Bernard when he served as a soldier; Jehan sought a thick cord[Pg 139] which the mountaineers use when cutting down trees; and Pierre went toward an old wooden cross, reared near the cottage, and knelt before it for some minutes in fervent prayer.

They set out together, and soon reached the brink of the precipice. The danger consisted not only in the possibility of falling several hundred feet, but still more in the probable aggression of the birds of prey, inhabiting the wild abyss.

Pierre, who was to brave these perils, was a fine athletic young man of twenty-two. Having measured with his eye the distance he would have to descend, his brothers fastened the cord around his waist, and began to let him down. Holding the sabre in his hand, he safely reached the nook that contained the nest. In it were four eaglets of a light yellowish-brown color, and his heart beat with joy at the sight of them. He grasped the nest firmly in his left hand, and shouted joyfully to his brothers, "I have them! Draw me up!"

Already the first upward pull was given to the cord, when Pierre felt himself attacked by two enormous eagles, whose furious cries proved them to be the parents of the nestlings.

"Courage, brother! defend thyself! don't fear!"

Pierre pressed the nest to his bosom, and with his right hand made the sabre play around his head.

Then began a terrible combat. The eagles shrieked, the little ones cried shrilly, the mountaineer shouted and brandished his sword. He slashed the birds with its blade, which flashed like lightning, and only rendered them still more enraged. He struck the rock and sent forth a shower of sparks.

Suddenly he felt a jerk given to the cord that sustained him. Looking up he perceived that, in his evolutions, he had cut it with his sabre, and that half the strands were severed!

Pierre's eyes, dilated widely, remained for a moment immovable, and then closed with terror. A cold shudder passed through his veins, and he thought of letting go both the nest and the sabre.

At that moment one of the eagles pounced on his head, and tried to tear his face. The Savoyard made a last effort, and defended himself bravely. He thought of his old father, and took courage.

Upward, still upward, mounted the cord: friendly voices eagerly uttered words of encouragement and triumph; but Pierre could not reply to them. When he reached the brink of the precipice, still clasping fast the nest, his hair, which an hour before had been as black as a raven's wing, was become so completely white, that Guillaume and Jehan could scarcely recognize him.

What did that signify? the eaglets were of the rarest and most valuable species. That same afternoon they were carried to the village and sold. Old Bernard had the medicine, and every needful comfort beside, and the doctor in a few days pronounced him convalescent.

[Pg 140]


The strength and courage of the lion is so great that, although he is seldom four feet in height, he is more than a match for fierce animals of three or four times his size, such as the buffalo. He will even attack a rhinoceros or an elephant, if provoked. He possesses such extraordinary muscular power, that he has been known to kill and carry off a heifer of two years old in his mouth, and, after being pursued by herdsmen on horseback for five hours, it has been found that he has scarcely ever allowed the body of the heifer to touch the ground during the whole distance. But here is an instance of strength in a man—a different sort of strength—which surpasses all we ever heard of a lion:

Three officers in the East Indies—Captain Woodhouse, Lieutenant Delamain, and Lieutenant Laing—being informed that two lions had made their appearance, in a jungle, at some twenty miles' distance from their cantonment, rode off in that direction to seek an engagement. They soon found the "lordly strangers," or natives, we should rather say. One of the lions was killed by the first volley they fired; the other retreated across the country. The officers pursued, until the lion, making an abrupt curve, returned to his jungle. They then mounted an elephant, and went in to search for him. They found him standing under a bush, looking directly toward them. He sought no conflict, but seeing them approach, he at once accepted the first challenge, and sprang at the elephant's head, where he hung on. The officers fired; in the excitement of the onset their aim was defeated, and the lion only wounded. The elephant, meanwhile, had shaken him off, and, not liking such an antagonist, refused to face him again. The lion did not pursue, but stood waiting. At length the elephant was persuaded to advance once more; seeing which, the lion became furious, and rushed to the contest. The elephant turned about to retreat, and the lion, springing upon him from behind, grappled his flesh with teeth and claws, and again hung on. The officers fired, while the elephant kicked with all his might; but, though the lion was dislodged, he was still without any mortal wound, and retired into the thicket, content with what he had done in return for the assault. The officers had become too excited to desist; and in the fever of the moment, as the elephant, for his part, now directly refused to have any thing more to do with the business, Captain Woodhouse resolved to dismount, and go on foot into the jungle. Lieutenant Delamain and Lieutenant Laing dismounted with him, and they followed in the direction the lion had taken. They presently got sight of him, and Captain Woodhouse fired, but apparently without any serious injury, as they saw "the mighty lord of the woods" retire deeper into the thicket "with the utmost composure." They pursued, and Lieutenant Delamain got a shot at the lion. This was to be endured no longer, and forth[Pg 141] came the lion, dashing right through the bushes that intervened, so that he was close upon them in no time. The two lieutenants were just able to escape out of the jungle to re-load, but Captain Woodhouse stood quietly on one side, hoping the lion would pass him unobserved. This was rather too much to expect after all he had done. The lion darted at him, and in an instant, "as though by a stroke of lightning," the rifle was broken and knocked out of his hand, and he found himself in the grip of the irresistible enemy whom he had challenged to mortal combat. Lieutenant Delamain fired at the lion without killing him, and then again retreated to re-load. Meantime, Captain Woodhouse and the lion were both lying wounded on the ground, and the lion began to craunch his arm. In this dreadful position Captain Woodhouse had the presence of mind, and the fortitude, amid the horrible pain he endured, to lie perfectly still—knowing that if he made any resistance now, he would be torn to pieces in a minute. Finding all motion had ceased, the lion let the arm drop from his mouth, and quietly crouched down with his paws on the thigh of his prostrate antagonist. Presently, Captain Woodhouse, finding his head in a painful position, unthinkingly raised one hand to support it, whereupon the lion again seized his arm, and craunched it higher up. Once more, notwithstanding the intense agony, and yet more intense apprehension of momentary destruction, Captain Woodhouse had the strength of will and self-command to lie perfectly still. He remained thus, until his friends, discovering his situation, were hastening up, but upon the wrong side, so that their balls might possibly pass through the lion, and hit him. Without moving, or manifesting any hasty excitement, he was heard to say, in a low voice, "To the other side!—to the other side!" They hurried round. Next moment the magnanimous lion lay dead by the side of a yet stronger nature than his own.

Diedrik Müller, during his hunting time in South Africa, came suddenly upon a lion. The lion did not attack him, but stood still, as though he would have said, "Well, what do you want here in my desert?" Müller alighted from his horse, and took deliberate aim at the lion's forehead. Just as he drew the trigger, his horse gave a start of terror, and the hunter missed his aim. The lion sprang forward; but, finding that the man stood still—for he had no time either to remount his horse, or take to his heels—the lion stopped within a few paces, and stood still also, confronting him. The man and the lion stood looking at each other for some minutes; the man never moved; at length the lion slowly turned, and walked away. Müller began hastily to re-load his gun. The lion looked back over his shoulder, gave a deep growl, and instantly returned. Could words speak plainer? Müller, of course, held his hand, and remained motionless. The lion again moved off, warily. The hunter began softly to ram down his bullet. Again the lion looked back, and gave a threatening[Pg 142] growl. This was repeated between them until the lion had retired to some distance, when he bounded into a thicket.

A very curious question is started by the worthy vicar of Swaffham Bulbec on the mortality of birds. The mortality must be enormous every year, yet how seldom in our country rambles do we find a dead bird. One, now and then, in the woods or hedgerows, is the utmost seen by any body, even if he search for them. Very few, comparatively, are destroyed by mankind. Only a few species are killed by sportsmen; all the rest can not live long, nor can they all be eaten by other birds. Many must die from natural causes. Immense numbers, especially of the smaller birds, are born each year, yet they do not appear to increase the general stock of the species. Immense numbers, therefore, must die every year; but what becomes of the bodies? Martins, nightingales, and other migratory birds, may be supposed to leave a great number of their dead relations in foreign countries; this, however, can not apply to our own indigenous stock. Mr. Jenyns partly accounts for this by saying, that no doubt a great many young birds fall a prey to stronger birds soon after leaving the nest, and probably a number of the elder birds also; while the very old are killed by the cold of winter; or, becoming too feeble to obtain food, drop to the earth, and are spared the pain of starvation by being speedily carried off by some hungry creature of the woods and fields. Besides these means for the disposal of the bodies, there are scavenger insects, who devour, and another species who act as sextons, and bury the bodies. During the warm months of summer, some of the burying beetles will accomplish "the humble task allotted them by Providence," in a surprisingly short time. Mr. Jenyns has repeatedly, during a warm spring, placed dead birds upon the ground, in different spots frequented by the necrophorus vespillo, and other allied beetles, who have effected the interment so completely in four-and-twenty hours, that there was a difficulty in finding the bodies again.

All this goes a great way to account for our so very seldom seeing any dead birds lying about, notwithstanding the immense mortality that must take place every year; but it certainly is not satisfactory; for although the birds of prey, and those which are not devoured by others, are comparatively small in number, how is it that none of these are ever found? Once in a season, perhaps, we may find a dead crow, or a dead owl (generally one that has been shot), but who ever finds hawks, ravens, kites, sparrow-hawks, or any number of crows, out of all the annual mortality that must occur in their colonies? These birds are for the most part too large for the sexton beetle to bury; and, quickly as the foxes, stoats, weasels, and other prowling creatures would nose out the savoury remains, or the newly-fallen bodies, these creatures only inhabit certain localities—and dead[Pg 143] birds may be supposed to fall in many places. Still, they are not seen.

A pair of robins built their nest in the old ivy of a garden wall, and the hen shortly afterward sat in maternal pride upon four eggs. The gardener came to clip the ivy; and, not knowing of the nest, his shears cut off a part of it, so that the four eggs fell to the ground. Dropping on leaves, they were not broken. Notice being attracted by the plaintive cries of the hen bird, the eggs were restored to the nest, which the gardener repaired. The robins returned, the hen sat upon the eggs, and in a few days they were hatched. Shortly afterward the four little ones were all found lying upon the ground beneath, cold, stiff, and lifeless. The gardener's repairs of the nest had not been according to the laws of bird-architecture, and a gap had broken out. The four unfledged little ones were taken into the house, and, efforts being made to revive them by warmth, they presently showed signs of life, recovered, and were again restored to the nest. The gap was filled up by stuffing a small piece of drugget into it. The parent robins, perched in a neighboring tree, watched all these operations, without displaying any alarm for the result, and, as soon as they were completed, returned to the nest. All went on well for a day or two: but misfortune seemed never weary of tormenting this little family. A violent shower of rain fell. The nest being exposed, by the close clipping of the ivy leaves, the drugget got sopped, the rain half filled the nest, and the gardener found the four little ones lying motionless in the water. Once more they were taken away, dried near the fire, and placed in the nest of another bird fixed in a tree opposite the ivy. The parent birds in a few minutes occupied the nest, and never ceased their attentions until the brood were able to fly, and take care of themselves.

The story we have already related of Diedrik Müller's lion, is surpassed by another of a similar kind, which we take to be about the best lion-story that zoological records can furnish.

A hunter, in the wilds of Africa, had seated himself on a bank near a pool, to rest, leaving his gun, set upright against a rock, a few feet behind him. He was alone. Whether he fell asleep, or only into a reverie, he did not know, but suddenly he saw an enormous lion standing near him, attentively observing him. Their eyes met, and thus they remained, motionless, looking at each other. At length the hunter leaned back, and slowly extended his arm toward his gun. The lion instantly uttered a deep growl, and advanced nearer. The hunter paused. After a time, he very gradually repeated the attempt, and again the lion uttered a deep growl, the meaning of which was not to be mistaken. This occurred several times (as in the former case), until the man was obliged to desist altogether. Night approached; the lion never left him the whole night. Day broke; the lion still was there, and remained there the whole day. The hunter had ceased to make any attempt to seize his gun, and[Pg 144] saw that his only hope was to weary the lion out by the fortitude of a passive state, however dreadful the situation. All the next night the lion remained. The man, worn out for want of sleep, dared not to close his eyes, lest the lion, believing him to be dead, should devour him. All the provision in his wallet was exhausted. The third night arrived. Being now utterly exhausted, and having dropped off to sleep, several times, and as often come back to consciousness with a start of horror at finding he had been asleep, he finally sunk backward, and lay in a dead slumber. He never awoke till broad day, and then found that the lion was gone.

On the question of "best" stories of animals, there are so many excellent stories of several species that the superlative degree may be hard to determine. Setting down the above, however, as the best lion-story, we will give what we consider to be (up to this time) the best elephant-story. In one of the recent accounts of scenes of Indian warfare (the title of the book has escaped us, and perhaps we met with the narrative in a printed letter), a body of artillery was described as proceeding up a hill, and the great strength of elephants was found highly advantageous in drawing up the guns. On the carriage of one of these guns, a little in front of the wheel, sat an artilleryman, resting himself. An elephant, drawing another gun, was advancing in regular order close behind. Whether from falling asleep, or over-fatigue, the man fell from his seat, and the wheel of the gun-carriage, with its heavy gun, was just rolling over him. The elephant comprehending the danger, and seeing that he could not reach the body of the man with his trunk, seized the wheel by the top, and, lifting it up, passed it carefully over the fallen man, and set it down on the other side.

The best dog-story—though there are a number of best stories of this honest fellow—we fear is an old one; but we can not forbear telling it, for the benefit of those who may not have met with it before. A surgeon found a poor dog, with his leg broken. He took him home, set it, and in due time gave him his liberty. Off he ran. Some months afterward the surgeon was awoke in the night by a dog barking loudly at his door. As the barking continued, and the surgeon thought he recognized the voice, he got up, and went down stairs. When he opened the door, there stood his former patient, wagging his tail, and by his side another dog—a friend whom he had brought—who had also had the misfortune to get a leg broken. There is another dog-story of a different kind, told by Mr. Jenyns, which we think very amusing. A poodle, belonging to a gentleman in Cheshire, was in the habit of going to church with his master, and sitting with him in the pew during the whole service. Sometimes his master did not come; but this did not prevent the poodle, who always presented himself in good time, entered the pew, and remained sitting there alone: departing with the rest of the congregation. One Sunday, the dam at the head of a lake in the neighborhood gave way, and the whole[Pg 145] road was inundated. The congregation was therefore reduced to a few individuals, who came from cottages close at hand. Nevertheless, by the time the clergyman had commenced reading the Psalms, he saw his friend the poodle come slowly up the aisle, dripping with water: having been obliged to swim above a quarter of a mile to get to church. He went into his pew, as usual, and remained quietly there to the end of the service. This is told on the authority of the clergyman himself.

A hungry jackdaw once took a fancy to a young chicken which had only recently been hatched. He pounced upon it accordingly, and was carrying it off, when the hen rushed upon him, and beat him with her wings, and held him in her beak, until the cock came up, who immediately attacked the jackdaw, and struck him so repeatedly that he was scarcely able to effect his escape by flight. But the best hen-story is one in Mr. Jenyns' "Observations." A hen was sitting on a number of eggs to hatch them. An egg was missing every night; yet nobody could conjecture who had stolen it. One morning, after several had been lost in this way, the hen was discovered with ruffled feathers, a bleeding breast, and an inflamed countenance. By the side of the nest was seen the dead body of a large rat, whose skull had been fractured—evidently by blows from the beak of the valiant hen, who could endure the vile act of piracy no longer.

Mr. Jenyns relates a good owl-story. He knew a tame owl, who was so fond of music that he would enter the drawing-room of an evening, and, perching on the shoulder of one of the children, listen with great attention to the tones of the piano-forte: holding his head first on one side, then on the other, after the manner of connoisseurs. One night, suddenly, spreading his wings, as if unable to endure his rapture any longer, he alighted on the keys, and, driving away the fingers of the performer with his beak, began to hop about upon the keys himself, apparently in great delight with his own execution. This pianist's name was Keevie. He was born in the woods of Northumberland, and belonged to a friend of the Reverend Mr. Jenyns.

Good bear-stories are numerous. One of the best we take from the "Zoological Anecdotes." At a hunt in Sweden, an old soldier was charged by a bear. His musket missed fire, and the animal being close upon him, he made a thrust, in the hope of driving the muzzle of his piece down the bear's throat. But the thrust was parried by one of huge paws with all the skill of a fencer, and the musket wrested from the soldier's hand, who was forthwith laid prostrate. He lay quiet, and the bear, after smelling, thought he was dead, and then left him to examine the musket. This he seized by the stock, and began to knock about, as though to discover wherein its virtue consisted, when the soldier could not forbear putting forth one hand to recover his weapon. The bear immediately seized him by the back of the head, and tore his scalp over his crown, so that it fell over the[Pg 146] soldier's face. Notwithstanding his agony, the poor fellow restrained his cries, and again pretended death. The bear laid himself upon his body, and thus remained, until some hunters coming up relieved him from this frightful situation. As the poor fellow rose, he threw back his scalp with his hand, as though it had been a peruke, and ran frantically toward them, exclaiming—"The bear! the bear!" So intense was his apprehension of his enemy, that it made him oblivious of his bodily anguish. He eventually recovered, and received his discharge in consequence of his loss of hair. There is another bear-story in this work, which savors—just a little—of romance. A powerful bull was attacked by a bear in a forest, when the bull succeeded in striking both horns into his assailant, and pinning him to a tree. In this situation they were both found dead—the bear, of his wounds; the bull (either fearing, or, from obstinate self-will, refusing, to relinquish his position of advantage) of starvation!

The beat cat-and-mouse story (designated "Melancholy Accident—a Cat killed by a Mouse") is to be found in "The Poor Artist," the author of which seems to have derived the story from a somewhat questionable source, though we must admit the possibility. "A cat had caught a mouse on a lawn, and let it go again, in her cruel way, in order to play with it; when the mouse, inspired by despair, and seeing only one hole possible to escape into—namely, the round red throat of the cat, very visible through her open mouth—took a bold spring into her jaws, just escaping between her teeth, and into her throat he struggled and stuffed himself; and so the cat was suffocated." It reads plausibly; let us imagine it was true.

The best spider-and-fly story we also take from the last-named book. "A very strong, loud, blustering fellow of a blue-bottle fly bounced accidentally into a spider's web. Down ran the old spider, and threw her long arms round his neck; but he fought, and struggled, and blew his drone, and fuzzed, and sung sharp, and beat, and battered, and tore the web in holes—and so got loose. The spider would not let go her hold round him—and the fly flew away with the spider!" This is related on the authority of Mr. Thomas Bell, the naturalist, who witnessed the heroic act.


This is Harrow Weal Common; and a lovely spot it is. Time was when the whole extent lay waste, or rather covered with soft herbage and wild flowers, where the bee sought her pasture, and the lark loved to hide her nest. But since then, cultivation has trenched on much of Harrow Weal. Cottages have risen, and small homesteads tell of security and abundance. It is pleasant to look upon them from this rising ground; to follow the windings of the broad stream, with pastures on either side, where sheep and cattle graze. Look narrowly toward yonder group of trees, and that slight elevation of the[Pg 147] ground covered with wild chamomile; if the narrator who told concerning the miser of Harrow Weal Common has marked the spot aright, that mound and flowers are associated with the history of one whose profitless life affords a striking instance of the withering effects of avarice.

On that spot stood the house of Daniel Dancer; miserable in the fullest conception of the word: desolate and friendless, for no bright fire gleamed in winter on the old man's hearthstone; nor yet in spring, when all nature is redolent of bliss, did the confiding sparrow build her nest beside his thatch. The walls of his solitary dwelling were old and lichen-dotted; ferns sprung from out their fissures, and creeping ivy twined through the shattered window-panes. A sapling, no one knew how, had vegetated in the kitchen; its broken pavement afforded a free passage, and, as time went on, the sapling acquired strength, pushing its tall head through the damp and mouldering ceiling; then, catching more of air and light, it went upward to the roof, and, finding that the tiles were off and part of the rafters broken, that same tree looked forth in its youth and vigor, throwing its branches wide, and serving, as years passed on, to shelter the inmates of the hut.

Other trees grew round; unpruned and thickly-tangled rank grass sprang up wherever the warm sunbeams found an entrance; and as far as the eye could reach, appeared a wilderness of docks and brambles, with huge plantains and giant thistles, inclosed with a boundary hedge of such amazing height as wholly to exclude all further prospect.

Eighty acres of good land belonged to Dancer's farm. An ample stream once held its winding course among them, but becoming choked at the further end with weeds and fallen leaves, and branches broken by the wind, it spread into a marsh, tenanted alike by the slow, creeping blind-worm, and water-newt, the black slug, and frogs of portentous size. The soil was rich, and would have yielded abundantly; the timber, too, was valuable, for some of the finest oaks, perhaps, in the kingdom grew upon the farm; but the cultivation of the one, and the culling of the other, was attended with expense, and both were consequently left uncared for.

In the centre of this lone and wretched spot, dwelt the miserable Dancer and his sister, alike in their habits and penuriousness. The sister never went from home; the brother rarely, except to sell his hay. He had some acres of fine meadow-land, upon which the brambles had not trenched, and his attention was exclusively devoted to keeping them clear of weeds. Having no other occupation, the time of hay-harvest seems to have been the only period at which his mind was engrossed with business, and this too was rendered remarkable by the miser's laying aside his habits of penuriousness—scarcely any gentleman in the neighborhood gave his mowers better beer, or in greater quantity; but at no other time was the beverage of our Saxon ancestors found within his walls.

[Pg 148]

Some people thought that the old man was crazed; but those who knew him spoke well of his intelligence. As his father had been before him, so was he; his mantle had descended in darkness and in fullness on all who bore his name, and while that of Daniel Dancer was perhaps the most familiar, his three brothers were equally penurious. One sordid passion absorbed their every faculty; they loved money solely and exclusively for its own sake, not for the pleasures it could procure, nor yet because of the power it bestowed, but for the love of hoarding.

When the father of Daniel Dancer breathed his last, there was reason to believe that a large sum, amounting to some thousands, was concealed on the premises. This conjecture occasioned his son no small uneasiness, not so much from the fear of loss, as from the apprehension lest his brothers should find the treasure and divide it among themselves. Dancer, therefore, kept the matter as much as possible to himself. He warily and secretly sought out every hole and corner, thrusting his skinny hand into many a deserted mouse-hole, and examining every part of the chimney. Vain were all his efforts, till at length, on removing an old grate, he discovered about two hundred pounds, in gold and bank-notes, between two pewter dishes. Much more undoubtedly there was, but the rest remained concealed.

Strange beings were Dancer and his sister to look upon. The person of the old man was generally girt with a hay-band, in order to keep together his tattered garments; his stockings were so darned and patched that nothing of the original texture remained; they were girt about in cold and wet weather with strong bands of hay, which served instead of boots, and his hat having been worn for at least thirteen years, scarcely retained a vestige of its former shape. Perhaps the most wretched vagabond and mendicant that ever crossed Harrow Weal Common was more decently attired than this miserable representative of an ancient and honorable house.

The sister possessed an excellent wardrobe, consisting not only of wearing apparel, but table linen, and twenty-four pair of good sheets; she had also clothes of various kinds, and abundance of plate belonging to the family, but every thing was stowed away in chests. Neither the brother nor the sister had the disposition or the heart to enjoy the blessings that were liberally given them; and hence it happened that Dancer was rarely seen, and that his sister scarcely ever quitted her obscure abode.

The interior of the dwelling well befitted its occupants. Furniture, and that of a good description, had formerly occupied a place within the walls, but every article had long since been carefully secluded from the light, all excepting two antique bedsteads which could not readily be removed. These, however, neither Dancer nor his sister could be prevailed to occupy; they preferred sleeping on sacks stuffed with hay, and covered with horse-rugs. Nor less miserable was their daily fare. Though possessed of at least[Pg 149] ten thousand pounds, they lived on cold dumplings, hard as stone, and made of the coarsest meal; their only beverage was water; their sole fire a few sticks gathered on the common, although they had abundance of wood, and noble trees that required lopping.

Thus they lived, isolated from mankind, while around them the desolation of their paternal acres, and the rank luxuriance of weeds and brambles, presented a mournful emblem of their condition. Talents, undoubtedly they had; kindly tempers in early life, which might have conduced to the well-being of society. Daniel especially possessed many admirable qualities, with good sense and native integrity; his manners, too, though unpolished by intercourse with the world, were at one time both frank and courteous, but all and each were absorbed by one master passion—sordid avarice took possession of his soul, and rendered him the most despicable of men.

At length Dancer's sister died. They had lived together for many years, similar in their penuriousness, though little, perhaps, of natural affection subsisted between them. The sister was possessed of considerable wealth, which she left to her brother. The old man greatly rejoiced at its acquisition; he resolved, in consequence, that her funeral should not disgrace the family, and accordingly contracted with an undertaker to receive timber in exchange for a coffin, rather than to part with gold.

Lady Tempest, who resided in the neighborhood, compassionating the wretched condition of an aged woman, sick, and destitute of even pauper comforts, had the poor creature conveyed to her house. Every possible alleviation was afforded, and medical assistance immediately obtained; but they came too late. The disease, which proceeded originally from want, proved mortal, and the victim of sordid avarice was borne unlamented to her grave.

There was crowding on the funeral day beside the road that led to Lady Tempest's. People came trooping from far and near, with a company of boys belonging to Harrow School, thoughtless, and amused with the strangeness of a spectacle which might rather have excited feelings of sorrow and commiseration. First came a coffin of the humblest kind, containing the emaciated corpse of one who had possessed ample wealth—a woman to whom had been committed the magnificent gift of life, fair talents, and health, with faculties for appropriating each to the glory of Him who gave them, but who, on dying, had no soothing retrospect of life, no thankfulness for having been the instrument of good to others, no hope beyond the grave. Behind that coffin, as chief-mourner, followed the brother, unbeloved, and heedless of all duties either to God or man—a miserable being; the possessor of many thousands, yet too sordid to purchase even decent mourning. It was only by the importunate entreaties of his relatives that he consented to unbind the hay-bands with which his legs were covered, and to put on a second-hand[Pg 150] pair of black worsted stockings. His coat was of a whitish brown color, his waistcoat had been black about the middle of the last century, and the covering of his head was a nondescript kind of wig, which had descended to him as an heirloom. Thus attired, and followed and attended by a crowd whom curiosity had drawn together, went on old Daniel and the coffin of his sister toward the place of its sojourn. When there, the horse's girth gave way, for they were past all service, and the brother was suddenly precipitated into his sister's grave; but the old man escaped unhurt. The service proceeded; and slowly into darkness and forgetfulness went down the remains of his miserable counterpart.

One friend, however, remained to the miser—and this was Lady Tempest. That noble-minded woman had given a home to the sister, and sought by every possible means to alleviate her sufferings; now also, when the object of her solicitude was gone, she endeavored to inspire the brother with better feelings, and to ameliorate his miserable condition. This kindly notice by Lady Tempest, while it soothed his pride, served also to lessen the sufferings and sorrows of his declining age; and so far did her representations prevail, that, having given him a comfortable bed, she actually induced him to throw away the sack on which he slept for years. Nay, more, he took into his service a man of the name of Griffith, and allowed him an ample supply of food, but neither cat nor dog purred or watched beneath his roof; he had no kindliness of heart to bestow upon them, nor occasion for their services, for he still continued to live on crusts and fragments; even when Lady Tempest sent him better fare, he could hardly be prevailed to partake of it.

In his boyish days, he possessed, it might be, some natural feelings of affection toward his kind; but as years passed on, and his sordid avarice increased, he manifested the utmost aversion for his brother, who rivaled himself in penury and wealth, and still continued to pasture sheep on the same common. To his niece, however, he once presented a guinea, on the birth of a daughter, but this he made conditional, she was either to name the child Nancy, after his mother, or forfeit the whole sum.

Still, with that strange contrariety which even the most penurious occasionally present, gleams of kindness broke forth at intervals, as sunbeams on a stony waste. He was known secretly to have assisted persons whose modes of life and appearance were infinitely superior to his own; and though parsimonious in the extreme, he was never guilty of injustice, or accused of attempting to overreach his neighbors. He was also a second Hampden in defending the rights and privileges of those who were connected with his locality. While old Daniel lived, no infringements were permitted on Harrow Weal Common; he heeded neither the rank nor wealth of those who attempted to act unjustly, but, putting himself at the head of the villagers, he resisted such aggressions with uniform success.[Pg 151] On one occasion, also, having been reluctantly obliged to prosecute a horse-stealer at Aylesbury, he set forth with one of his neighbors on an unshod steed, with a mane and tail of no ordinary growth, a halter for a bridle, a sack instead of a saddle. Thus equipped, he went on, till, having reached the principal inn at Aylesbury, the miser addressed his companion, saying,

"Pray, sir, go into the house and order what you please, and live like a gentleman, I will settle for it readily; but as regards myself, I must go on in my old way."

His friend entreated him to take a comfortable repast, but this he steadily refused. A penny-worth of bread sufficed for his meal, and at night he slept under his horse's manger; but when the business that brought him to Aylesbury was ended, he paid fifteen shillings, the amount of his companion's bill, with the utmost cheerfulness.

Grateful too, he was, as years went on, to Lady Tempest for her unwearied kindness, and he resolved to leave her the wealth which he had accumulated. His sister, too, expressed the same wish; and when, after six months of continued attention from that lady, Miss Dancer found her end approach, she instructed her brother to give their benefactress an acknowledgment from the one thousand six hundred pounds which she had concealed in an old tattered petticoat.

"Not a penny of that money," said old Dancer, unceremoniously to his sister. "Not a penny as yet. The good lady shall have the whole when I am gone."

At length the time came when the old man must be gone; when his desolate abode and neglected fields should bear witness no longer against him. Few particulars are known concerning his death. The fact alone is certain, that the evening before his departure, he dispatched a messenger to Lady Tempest requesting to see her ladyship, and that, being gratified by her arrival, he expressed great satisfaction. Finding himself somewhat better, his attachment to the hoarded pelf, which he valued even more than the only friend he had on earth, overcame the resolution he had formed of giving her his will; and though his hand was scarcely able to perform its functions, he took hold of the precious document and replaced it in his bosom.

The next morning he became worse, and again did the same kind lady attend the old man's summons; when, having confided to her keeping the title-deeds of wealth which he valued more than life, his hand suddenly became convulsed, his head sunk upon the pillow, and the miser breathed his last.

The house in which he died, and where he first drew breath, exhibited a picture of utter desolation. Those who crossed the threshold stood silent, as if awe-struck. Yet that miserable haunt contained the hoarded wealth of years. Gold and silver coins were dug up on[Pg 152] the ground-floor; plate and table-linen, with clothes of every description, were found locked up in chests; large bowls, filled with guineas and half-guineas came to light, with parcels of bank-notes stuffed under the covers of old chairs. Some hundred-weights of waste-paper, the accumulation of half a century, were also discovered; and two or three tons of old iron, consisting of nails and horse-shoes, which the miser had picked up.

Strange communings had passed within the walls—sordid, yet bitter thoughts, the crushing of all kindly yearnings toward a better state of mind. The outer conduct of the man was known, but the internal conflict between good and evil remains untold.

Nearly sixty-four years have elapsed since the miser and his sister passed from among the living. Perchance some lichen-dotted stone, if carefully sought for and narrowly examined, may give the exact period of their death, but, as yet, no record of the kind has been discovered. Collateral testimonies, however, go far to prove that the death of the miser took place about the year 1775, and that his sister died a few months previous.


In journeying from Dublin westward, by the banks of the Liffey, we pass the village of Chapelizod, and hamlet of Palmerstown. The water-power of the Liffey has attracted manufacturers at different times, who with less or greater success, but, unfortunately, with a general ill-success, have established works there. Paper-making, starch-making, cotton-spinning and weaving, bleaching and printing of calicoes, have been attempted. But all have been in turn abandoned, though occasionally renewed by some new firm or private adventurer. Into the supposed causes of failure it is not here necessary to inquire. The manufacture of starch has survived several disasters.

The article British gum, which is now so extensively used by calico-printers, by makers-up of stationery, by the Government in postage-stamp making, and in various industrial arts, was first made at Chapelizod. Its origin and history are somewhat curious.

The use of potatoes in the starch factories excited the vehement opposition of the people, whose chief article of food was thus consumed and enhanced in price. These factories were several times assailed by angry multitudes, and on more than one occasion set on fire by means never discovered. The fires were not believed to have been always accidental.

On the fifth of September, 1821, George the Fourth, on his return to England from visiting Ireland, embarked at Dunleary harbor, near Dublin. On that occasion the ancient Irish name of Dunleary was blotted out, and in honor of the royal visit that of Kingston was substituted. In the evening the citizens of Dublin sat late in taverns and at supper parties. Loyalty and punch[Pg 153] abounded. In the midst of their revelry a cry of "fire" was heard. They ran to the streets, and some, following the glare and the cries, found the fire at a starch manufactory near Chapelizod. The stores not being of a nature to burn rapidly, were in great part saved from the fire, but they were so freely deluged with water, that the starch was washed away in streams ankle-deep over the roadways and lanes into the Liffey.

Next morning one of the journeymen block-printers—whose employment was at the Palmerstown print-works, but who lodged at Chapelizod—woke with a parched throat and headache. He asked himself where he had been. He had been seeing the King away; drinking, with thousands more, Dunleary out of, and Kingston into, the map of Ireland. Presently, his confused memory brought him a vision of a fire: he had a thirsty sense of having been carrying buckets of water; of hearing the hissing of water on hot iron floors; of the clanking of engines, and shouts of people working the pumps, and of himself tumbling about with the rest of the mob, and rolling over one another in streams of liquefied wreck, running from the burning starch stores.

He would rise, dress, go out, inquire about the fire, find his shopmates, and see if it was to be a working day, or once again a drinking day. He tried to dress; but—a—hoo!—his clothes were gummed together. His coat had no entrance for his arms until the sleeves were picked open, bit by bit; what money he had left was glued into his pockets; his waistcoat was tightly buttoned up with—what? Had he been bathing with his clothes on, in a sea of gum-arabic—that costly article used in the print-works?

This man was not the only one whose clothes were saturated with gum. He and four of his shopmates held a consultation, and visited the wreck of the starch factory. In the roadway, the starch, which, in a hot, calcined state, had been watered by the fire-engines the night before, was now found by them lying in soft, gummy lumps. They took some of it home; they tested it in their trade; they bought starch at a chandler's shop, put it in a frying-pan, burned it to a lighter or darker brown, added water, and at last discovered themselves masters of an article, which, if not gum itself, seemed as suitable for their trade as gum-arabic, and at a fraction of the cost.

It was their own secret; and, could they have conducted their future proceedings as discreetly as they made their experiments, they might have realized fortunes, and had the merit of practically introducing an article of great utility—one which has assisted in the fortune-making of some of the wealthiest firms in Lancaster (so long as they held it as a secret), and which now the Government of the British empire manufacture for themselves.

Its subsequent history is not less curious than that just related. Unfortunately for the operative block-printers, who discovered it, their share in its history is soon told.

[Pg 154]

It is said that six of them subscribed money to send one of their number to Manchester with samples of the new gum for sale; the reply which he received from drysalters and the managers of print-works, was either that they would have nothing to do with his samples, or an admonition to go home for the present, and return when he was sober. His fellow-workmen, hearing of his non-success and fearing the escape of the secret, sent another of their number to his aid with more money. The two had no better success than the one. The remaining four, after a time, left their work at Dublin, and joined the two in Manchester. They now tried to sell their secret. Before this was effected one died; two were imprisoned for a share in some drunken riots; and all were in extreme poverty. What the price paid for the secret was, is not likely to be revealed now. Part of it was spent in a passage to New Orleans, where it is supposed the discoverers of British gum did not long survive their arrival.

The secret was not at first worked with success. It passed from its original Lancashire possessor to a gentleman who succeeded in making the article of a sufficiently good quality; and at so low a price that it found a ready introduction in the print-works. But he could not produce it in large quantity without employing assistants, whom he feared to trust with a knowledge of a manufacture so simple and so profitable. In employing men to assist in some parts of the work, and shutting them out from others, their curiosity, or jealousy, could not be restrained. On one or two occasions they caused the officers of Excise to break in upon him when he was burning his starch, under the allegation that he was engaged in illicit practices. His manufactory was broken into in the night by burglars, who only wanted to rob him of his secret. Once the place was maliciously burned down. Other difficulties, far too numerous for present detail, were encountered. Still, he produced the British gum in sufficient quantities for it to yield him a liberal income. At last, in a week of sickness, he was pressed by the head of a well-known firm of calico-printers for a supply. He got out of bed; went to his laboratory; had the fire kindled; put on his vessel of plate-iron; calcined his starch, added the water, observed the temperature; and all the while held conversation with his keen-eyed customer, whom he had unsuspectingly allowed to be present. It is enough to say that this acute calico-printer never required any more British gum of the convalescent's making. Gradually the secret spread, although the original purchaser of it still retained a share of the manufacture.

When penny postage came into operation, it was at first doubtful whether adhesive labels could be made sufficiently good and low-priced, which would not have been the case with gum-arabic. British gum solved the difficulty; and the manufacturer made a contract to supply it for the labels. In the second year of his contract, a rumor was spread, that the adhesive[Pg 155] matter on the postage stamps was a deleterious substance, made of the refuse of fish, and other disgusting materials. The great British gum secret was then spread far and wide. The public was extensively informed that the postage-label poison was made simply of—potatoes.


Mademoiselle Honorine is a teacher of her own language in a cathedral town south of the Loire, celebrated for the finest church and the longest street in France; at least, so say the inhabitants, who have seen no others. The purest French is supposed to be spoken hereabouts, and the reputation thus given has for many years attracted hosts of foreigners anxious to attain the true accent formerly in vogue at the court of the refined Catherine de Medici. It is true that this extreme grace of diction and tone is not acknowledged by Parisians; who, when they had a court, imagined the best French was spoken in the capital where that court resided; and they have been long in the habit of sneering at the pretensions of their rivals; who, however, among foreigners, still keep their middle-age fame.

Mademoiselle Honorine is not a native of this remarkable town; and the French she teaches is of a different sort, for she comes from a far-off province, by no means so remarkable for purity of accent. She is an Alsatian, and her natal town is no other than Vancouleurs, where the tree under which Joan of Arc saw angels and became inspired, once existed.

As may be imagined, Mademoiselle Honorine is proud of this accident of birth, and tells with much exultation of having, at the age of fifteen, some thirty-five years ago, borne the part of La Pucelle in the grand procession to Domremy, formerly an annual festival. She relates that she attracted universal attention on that occasion, chiefly from the circumstance of her hair, which is now of silvery whiteness, having been equally so then, much to the admiration of all who beheld her.

"I was always," she remarks, with satisfied vanity, "celebrated for my hair, and I had at all times a high color and bright eyes; so that, though some people preferred the beauty of my sisters, I always got more partners than they at all our fêtes. It is true they all married, and no one proposed to me, except old Monsieur de Monzon, who suffered from the gout and a very bad temper; but I had no respect for his character and though he was rich, and I might have been a châtelaine, instead of such a poor woman as I am, still I refused him, for I preferred my liberty; and that, also, was the reason I left my uncle's domain, because I like independence. We used, my aunt, my uncle, and I, to spend most of our time at his country place, going out every day lark-catching, which we did with looking-glasses: they held the glasses and lured the birds, while I was ready with the net to throw over them. My uncle, however, was always scolding me for talking and frightening the birds[Pg 156] away; so I got tired of this amusement and of the dependence in which I lived."

The independence preferred by Mademoiselle Honorine to lark-catching and snubbing, consists in giving lessons to the English. As, of late, we islanders have been as hard to catch as the victims of the looking-glasses, her occupation is not lucrative; and although she sometimes devotes her energies to the arts, in the form of twisted colored paper tortured into the semblance of weeping willows, and nondescript flowers, yet these specimens of ingenuity do not bring in a very large revenue. In fact, her income, when I knew her, could not be considered enormous; for, to pay house-rent, board, washing, and sundry little expenses, she possessed twelve francs a month: yet with these resources, nevertheless, she contrived to do more benevolent and charitable acts than any person I ever met with. She has always halfpence for the poor's bag at church—always farthings for certain regular pensioners, who expect her donation as she passes them, at their begging stations, on her way to her pupils. Moreover, on New-year's day, she has always the means of making the prettiest presents to a friend who for years has shown her countenance, and put little gains in her way.

She obtains six francs per month from a couple of pupils, whose merit is as great in receiving, as hers in giving lessons. These are two young workwomen who desire to improve their education, and daily devote to study the only unoccupied hour they possess. From six o'clock till seven, Mademoiselle Honorine, therefore, on her return from the five o'clock mass—which she never misses—calls at the garret of these devotees, and imparts her instruction in reading and writing to the zealous aspirants for knowledge.

"I would not," she says, "miss their lessons for the world; because, you see, I have thus always an eye upon their conduct, and have an opportunity of throwing in a little good advice, and making them read good books."

As these young damsels go out to their work directly after the lesson is over—taking breakfast at a late hour in the day—Mademoiselle Honorine provides herself, before starting to the five o'clock mass, with a bit of dry bread, which she puts in her pocket, ready to eat when the moment of hunger arrives. She never allows herself any other breakfast; and, as she drinks only cold water, no expenditure of fuel is necessary for this in her establishment. Except it occurs to any of her pupils—few of whom are much richer than her earliest-served—to offer her some refreshment to lighten her labors, Mademoiselle Honorine contrives to walk, and talk, and laugh, and be amusing on an empty stomach, till dinner-time, when she is careful to provide herself with an apple and another slice of bread, which she enjoys in haste, and betakes herself to other occupations, chiefly unremunerative—such as visiting a sick neighbor, reading to a blind friend, or taking a walk on the fashionable[Pg 157] promenade with an infirm invalid, who requires the support of an arm.

Fire in France is an expensive luxury which she economizes—not that she indulges, when forced to allow herself in comfort, in much besides turf or pine-cones, with perhaps a sprinkling of fagot-wood if a friend calls in. She is able, however, to keep a little canary in a cage, who is her valued companion; and she nourishes, besides, several little productive plants in pots, such as violets and résida; chiefly, it must be owned, with a view of having the means of making floral offerings, on birthdays and christenings, to her very numerous acquaintances.

She is never seen out of spirits, and is welcomed as an object of interest whenever she flits along with her round, rosy, smiling face, shrined in braids of white hair, and set off with a smart fashionable-shaped bonnet; for she likes being in the fashion, and is proud of the slightness of her waist, which her polka shows to advantage. The strings of her bonnet, and the ribbons and buttons of her dress, are sometimes very fresh, and her mittens are sometimes very uncommon: this she is particular about, as she shows her hands a good deal in accompanying herself on the guitar, which she does with much taste, for her ear is very good and her voice has been musical. There are few things Mademoiselle Honorine can not do to be useful. She can play at draughts and dominos, can knit or net, knowing all the last new patterns; her satin stitch is neatness itself. It is suspected that she turns some of these talents to advantage; but that is a secret, as she considers it more dignified to be known only as a teacher.

She had a curious set of pupils when I became acquainted with her. Those whom I knew were English; who were, rather late in their career, endeavoring to become proficients in a tongue positively necessary for economical, useful, or sentimental purposes, as the case might be, but which in more early days they had not calculated on requiring.

They were of those who encourage late ambition—

"And from the dregs of life think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give."

The first of these was a bachelor of some fifty-five, formerly a medical practitioner, now retired, and living in a lively lodging, in a premier that overlooked the Loire; which reflected back so much sun from its broad surface on a bright winter's day, that the circumstance greatly diminished his expenses in the dreaded article of fuel—a consideration with both natives and foreigners. Economy was strictly practiced by Dr. Drowler. Nevertheless, as he was very gallant, and loved to pay compliments to his fair young French friends, whom he did not suspect of laughing at him, he became desirous of acquiring greater facility in the lighter part of a language which served him indifferently well in the ordinary concerns of his bachelor house-keeping. He therefore resolved to take advantage of the low terms and obliging disposition of Mademoiselle[Pg 158] Honorine, and placed himself on her form. There was much good-will on both sides, and his instructress declared that she should have felt little fear of his ultimate success, but for his defective hearing; which considerably interfered with his appreciation of those shades of pronunciation which might be necessary to render him capable of charming the attentive ears of the young ladies, who were on the tiptoe of expectation to hear what progress he had made in the language of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Another of Mademoiselle Honorine's charges was Mrs. Mumble, a widow of uncertain age, whose early education had been a good deal left to nature; and who—her income being small—had sought the banks of the poetical Loire (in, she told her Somersetshire friends, the south of France) to make, as she expressed it, "both ends meet." "One lesson a week at a franc," she reflected, "won't ruin me, and I shall soon get to speak their language as well as the best of 'em." Mademoiselle Honorine herself would not have despaired of her pupil arriving at something approaching to this result, could she have got the better of a certain indistinctness of utterance caused by the loss of several teeth.

Miss Dogherty was a third pupil; a young lady of fifty, with very youthful manners, and a slight figure. She had labored long to acquire the true "Porris twang," as she termed it; but, finding her efforts unavailing, she had resolved during her winter in Touraine, to devote herself to the language, drawing it pure from the source; and agreed to sacrifice ten francs per month, in order, by daily hours of devotion, to reach the goal. An inveterate Tipperary accent interfered slightly with her views, but she hit on an ingenious expedient for concealing the defect; this was, never to open her mouth to more than half its size in speaking; and always to utter her English in a broken manner, which might convey to the stranger the idea of her being a foreigner. She had her cards printed as Mademoiselle Durté, which made the illusion complete.

But these pupils were not to be entirely relied on for producing an income—Mademoiselle Honorine could scarcely reckon on the advantages they presented for a continuance, sanguine as she was. In fact, she may be said to have, as a certainty, only one permanent pupil, whom she looks upon as her chief stay, and her gratitude for this source of emolument is such, that she is always ready to evince her sense of its importance by adopting the character of nursemaid, classical teacher—although her knowledge of the dead languages is not extensive—or general governess, approaching the maternal character the nearer from the compassion she feels for the pretty little orphan English boy, who lives under the care of an infirm old grandmother. With this little gentleman, whose domicile is situated about two miles from her own, at the top of a steep hill, she walks, and talks, and laughs, and teaches, and enjoys herself so much, that she considers it but right to reward him for the pleasure[Pg 159] he gives her by expending a few sous every day in sweetmeats for his delectation; this sum making a considerable gap in the monthly salary his grandmother is able to afford. However, her disinterestedness is not thrown away here, and I learn with singular satisfaction that Mademoiselle Honorine having been detected in the act of devouring her dry crust, by way of breakfast, and her pupil having won from her the confession that she never had any other, a cup of hot chocolate was always afterward prepared and offered to her by the little student as soon as she entered his study. When I had an opportunity of judging—a fact which more than once occurred to me—of the capabilities of Mademoiselle Honorine's appetite, I was gratified, though surprised, to find that nothing came amiss to her; that she could enjoy any thing in the shape of fish, flesh, or fowl, and drank a good glass of Bordeaux, or even Champagne, with singular glee.

It happened, not long since, that the friend who had revealed to me the secret of her manner of life, was suddenly called upon to pay a sum of money on some railway shares she possessed; and, being unprepared, was lamenting in the presence of Mademoiselle Honorine, the inconvenience she was put to.

The next day, the lively little dame appeared with a canvas bag in her hand, containing no less a sum than five hundred francs. "Here," she said, smiling, "is the exact sum you want. It is most lucky I should happen to have as much. I have been collecting it for years; for, you know, in case of sickness, one likes to avoid being a burden to one's friends. It is at your service for as long a time as you like, and you will relieve me from anxiety in taking it into your hands." It was impossible to refuse the offer; and the good little woman was thus enabled to repay the many kindnesses she had received, and to add greatly to her own dignity; of which she is very tenacious.

"Ah!" said a Parisian lady to her one day, after hearing of her thousand occupations and privations, "how do you contrive to live; and what can you care about life? I should have had recourse to charcoal long ago, if I had been in your situation. Yet you are always laughing and gay, as if you dined on foie-gras and truffles every day of your existence!"

"So I do," replied the little heroine—"at least on what is quite as good—for I have all I want, all I care about, never owing a sous, and being a charge to no one. Besides, I have a secret happiness which nothing can take away; and, when I go into the church of a morning to mass, I thank God with all my heart for all the blessings he gives me, and, above all, for the extreme content which makes all the world seem a paradise of enjoyment. I never know what it is to be dull, and as for charcoal, I have no objection to it in a foot-warmer, but that is all the acquaintance I am likely to make with it."

"Poor soul!" returned the Parisienne, "how I pity you!"

[Pg 160]


CHAPTER XI.—Our Dear Brother.

A touch on the lawyer's wrinkled hand, as he stands in the dark room, irresolute, makes him start and say, "What's that?"

"It's me," returns the old man of the house, whose breath is in his ear. "Can't you wake him?"


"What have you done with your candle?"

"It's gone out. Here it is."

Krook takes it, goes to the fire, stoops over the red embers, and tries to get a light. The dying ashes have no light to spare, and his endeavors are vain. Muttering, after an ineffectual call to his lodger, that he will go down stairs, and bring a lighted candle from the shop, the old man departs. Mr. Tulkinghorn, for some new reason that he has, does not await his return in the room, but on the stairs outside.

The welcome light soon shines upon the wall, as Krook comes slowly up, with his green-eyed cat following at his heels. "Does the man generally sleep like this?" inquires the lawyer, in a low voice. "Hi! I don't know," says Krook, shaking his head, and lifting his eyebrows. "I know next to nothing of his habits, except that he keeps himself very close."

Thus whispering, they both go in together. As the light goes in, the great eyes in the shutters, darkening, seem to close. Not so the eyes upon the bed.

"God save us!" exclaims Mr. Tulkinghorn. "He is dead!"

Krook drops the heavy hand he has taken up, so suddenly that the arm swings over the bedside.

They look at one another for a moment.

"Send for some doctor! Call for Miss Flite up the stairs, sir. Here's poison by the bed! Call out for Flite, will you?" says Krook, with his lean hands spread out above the body like a vampire's wings.

Mr. Tulkinghorn hurries to the landing, and calls, "Miss Flite! Flite! Make haste, here, whoever you are! Flite!" Krook follows him with his eyes, and, while he is calling, finds opportunity to steal to the old portmanteau, and steal back again.

"Run, Flite, run! The nearest doctor! Run!" So Mr. Krook addresses a crazy little woman, who is his female lodger: who appears and vanishes in a breath: who soon returns, accompanied by a testy medical man, brought from his dinner—with a broad snuffy upper lip, and a broad Scotch tongue.

"Ey! Bless the hearts o' ye," says the medical man, looking up at them, after a moment's examination. "He's just as dead as Phairy!"

Mr. Tulkinghorn (standing by the old portmanteau) inquires if he has been dead any time.

"Any time, sir?" says the medical gentleman.[Pg 161] "It's probable he wull have been dead aboot three hours."

"About that time, I should say," observes a dark young man, on the other side of the bed.

"Air you in the maydickle prayfession yourself, sir?" inquires the first.

The dark young man says yes.

"Then I'll just tak' my depairture," replies the other; "for I'm nae gude here!" With which remark, he finishes his brief attendance, and returns to finish his dinner.

The dark young surgeon passes the candle across and across the face, and carefully examines the law-writer, who has established his pretensions to his name by becoming indeed No one.

"I knew this person by sight, very well," says he. "He has purchased opium of me, for the last year and a half. Was any body present related to him?" glancing round upon the three bystanders.

"I was his landlord," grimly answers Krook, taking the candle from the surgeon's outstretched hand. "He told me once, I was the nearest relation he had."

"He has died," says the surgeon, "of an over-dose of opium, there is no doubt. The room is strongly flavored with it. There is enough here now," taking an old teapot from Mr. Krook, "to kill a dozen people."

"Do you think he did it on purpose?" asks Krook.

"Took the over-dose?"

"Yes!" Krook almost smacks his lips with the unction of a horrible interest.

"I can't say. I should think it unlikely, as he has been in the habit of taking so much. But nobody can tell. He was very poor, I suppose?"

"I suppose he was. His room—don't look rich," says Krook; who might have changed eyes with his cat, as he casts his sharp glance around. "But I have never been in it since he had it, and he was too close to name his circumstances to me."

"Did he owe you any rent?"

"Six weeks."

"He will never pay it!" says the young man, resuming his examination. "It is beyond a doubt that he is indeed as dead as Pharaoh; and to judge from his appearance and condition, I should think it a happy release. Yet he must have been a good figure when a youth, and I dare say good-looking." He says this, not unfeelingly, while sitting on the bedstead's edge, with his face toward that other face, and his hand upon the region of the heart. "I recollect once thinking there was something in his manner, uncouth as it was, that denoted a fall in life. Was that so?" he continues, looking round.

Krook replies, "You might as well ask me to describe the ladies whose heads of hair I have got in sacks down stairs. Than that he was my lodger for a year and a half, and lived—or didn't live—by law-writing, I know no more of him."

During this dialogue, Mr. Tulkinghorn has[Pg 162] stood aloof by the old portmanteau, with his hands behind him, equally removed, to all appearance, from all three kinds of interest exhibited near the bed—from the young surgeon's professional interest in death, noticeable as being quite apart from his remarks on the deceased as an individual; from the old man's unction; and the little crazy woman's awe. His imperturbable face has been as inexpressive as his rusty clothes. One could not even say he has been thinking all this while. He has shown neither patience nor impatience, nor attention nor abstraction. He has shown nothing but his shell. As easily might the tone of a delicate musical instrument be inferred from its case, as the tone of Mr. Tulkinghorn from his case.

He now interposes; addressing the young surgeon, in his unmoved, professional way.

"I looked in here," he observes, "just before you, with the intention of giving this deceased man, whom I never saw alive, some employment at his trade of copying. I had heard of him from my stationer—Snagsby of Cook's Court. Since no one here knows any thing about him, it might be as well to send for Snagsby. Ah!" to the little crazy woman, who has often seen him in Court, and whom he has often seen, and who proposes, in frightened dumb-show, to go for the law stationer. "Suppose you do!"

While she is gone, the surgeon abandons his hopeless investigation, and covers its subject with the patchwork counterpane. Mr. Krook and he interchange a word or two. Mr. Tulkinghorn says nothing; but stands, ever, near the old portmanteau.

Mr. Snagsby arrives hastily, in his gray coat and his black sleeves. "Dear me, dear me," he says; "and it has come to this, has it! Bless my soul!"

"Can you give the person of the house any information about this unfortunate creature, Snagsby?" inquires Mr. Tulkinghorn. "He was in arrears with his rent, it seems. And he must be buried, you know."

"Well, sir," says Mr. Snagsby, coughing his apologetic cough behind his hand; "I really don't know what advice I could offer, except sending for the beadle."

"I don't speak of advice," returns Mr. Tulkinghorn. "I could advise—"

("No one better, sir, I am sure," says Mr. Snagsby, with his deferential cough.)

"I speak of affording some clew to his connections, or to where he came from, or to any thing concerning him."

"I assure you, sir," says Mr. Snagsby, after prefacing his reply with his cough of general propitiation, "that I no more know where he came from, than I know—"

"Where he has gone to, perhaps," suggests the surgeon, to help him out.

A pause. Mr. Tulkinghorn looking at the law-stationer. Mr. Krook, with his mouth open, looking for somebody to speak next.

"As to his connections, sir," says Mr. Snagsby,[Pg 163] "if a person was to say to me, 'Snagsby, here's twenty thousand pound down, ready for you in the Bank of England, if you'll only name one of 'em, I couldn't do it, sir! About a year and a half ago—to the best of my belief at the time when he first came to lodge at the present Rag and Bottle Shop—"

"That was the time!" says Krook, with a nod.

"About a year and a half ago," says Mr. Snagsby, strengthened, "he came into our place one morning after breakfast, and, finding my little woman (which I name Mrs. Snagsby when I use that appellation) in our shop, produced a specimen of his handwriting, and gave her to understand that he was in wants of copying work to do, and was—not to put too fine a point upon it—" a favorite apology for plain-speaking with Mr. Snagsby, which he always offers with a sort of argumentative frankness, "hard up! My little woman is not in general partial to strangers, particular—not to put too fine a point upon it—when they want any thing. But she was rather took by something about this person; whether by his being unshaved, or by his hair being in want of attention, or by what other ladies' reasons, I leave you to judge; and she accepted of the specimen, and likewise of the address. My little woman hasn't a good ear for names," proceeds Mr. Snagsby, after consulting his cough of consideration behind his hand, "and she considered Nemo equally the same as Nimrod. In consequence of which, she got into a habit of saying to me at meals, 'Mr. Snagsby, you haven't found Nimrod any work yet!' or 'Mr. Snagsby, why didn't you give that eight-and-thirty Chancery folio in Jarndyce, to Nimrod?' or such like. And that is the way he gradually fell into job-work at our place; and that is the most I know of him, except that he was a quick hand, and a hand not sparing of night-work; and that if you gave him out, say five-and-forty folio on the Wednesday night, you would have it brought in on the Thursday morning. All of which—" Mr. Snagsby concludes by politely motioning with his hat toward the bed, as much as to add, "I have no doubt my honorable friend would confirm, if he were in a condition to do it."

"Hadn't you better see," says Mr. Tulkinghorn to Krook, "whether he had any papers that may enlighten you? There will be an Inquest, and you will be asked the question. You can read?"

"No, I can't," returns the old man, with a sudden grin.

"Snagsby," says Mr. Tulkinghorn, "look over the room for him. He will get into some trouble or difficulty, otherwise. Being here, I'll wait, if you make haste; and then I can testify on his behalf, if it should ever be necessary, that all was fair and right. If you will hold the candle for Mr. Snagsby, my friend, he'll soon see whether there is any thing to help you."

"In the first place, here's an old portmanteau, sir," says Snagsby.

[Pg 164]

Ah, to be sure, so there is! Mr. Tulkinghorn does not appear to have seen it before, though he is standing so close to it, and though there is very little else, Heaven knows.

The marine-store merchant holds the light, and the law-stationer conducts the search. The surgeon leans against a corner of the chimney-piece; Miss Flite peeps and trembles just within the door. The apt old scholar of the old school, with his dull black breeches tied with ribbons at the knees, his large black waistcoat, his long-sleeved black coat, and his wisp of limp white neck-kerchief tied in the bow the Peerage knows so well, stands in exactly the same place and attitude.

There are some worthless articles of clothing in the old portmanteau; there is a bundle of pawnbrokers' duplicates, those turnpike tickets on the road of Poverty, there is a crumpled paper, smelling of opium, on which are scrawled rough memoranda—as, took, such a day, so many grains; took, such another day, so many more—begun some time ago, as if with the intention of being regularly continued, but soon left off. There are a few dirty scraps of newspapers, all referring to Coroners' Inquests; there is nothing else. They search the cupboard, and the drawer of the ink-splashed table. There is not a morsel of an old letter, or of any other writing, in either. The young surgeon examines the dress on the law-writer. A knife and some odd halfpence are all he finds. Mr. Snagsby's suggestion is the practical suggestion after all, and the beadle must be called in.

So the little crazy lodger goes for the beadle, and the rest come out of the room. "Don't leave the cat there!" says the surgeon: "that won't do!" Mr. Krook therefore drives her out before him; and she goes furtively down stairs, winding her lithe tail and licking her lips.

"Good-night!" says Mr. Tulkinghorn; and goes home to Allegory and meditation.

By this time the news has got into the court. Groups of its inhabitants assemble to discuss the thing; and the outposts of the army of observation (principally boys) are pushed forward to Mr. Krook's window, which they closely invest. A policeman has already walked up to the room, and walked down again to the door, where he stands like a tower, only condescending to see the boys at his base occasionally; but whenever he does see them, they quail and fall back. Mrs. Perkins, who has not been for some weeks on speaking terms with Mrs. Piper, in consequence of an unpleasantness originating in young Perkins having "fetched" young Piper "a crack," renews her friendly intercourse on this auspicious occasion. The pot-boy at the corner, who is a privileged amateur, as possessing official knowledge of life, and having to deal with drunken men occasionally, exchanges confidential communications with the policeman, and has the appearance of an impregnable youth, unassailable by truncheons and unconfinable in station-houses. People talk across the court out of window, and bare-headed[Pg 165] scouts come hurrying in from Chancery Lane to know what's the matter. The general feeling seems to be that it's a blessing Mr. Krook warn't made away with first, mingled with a little natural disappointment that he was not. In the midst of this sensation, the beadle arrives.

The beadle, though generally understood in the neighborhood to be a ridiculous institution, is not without a certain popularity for the moment, if it were only as a man who is going to see the body. The policeman considers him an imbecile civilian, a remnant of the barbarous watchmen-times; but gives him admission, as something that must be borne with until Government shall abolish him. The sensation is heightened, as the tidings spread from mouth to mouth that the beadle is on the ground, and has gone in.

By-and-by the beadle comes out, once more intensifying the sensation, which has rather languished in the interval. He is understood to be in want of witnesses, for the Inquest to-morrow, who can tell the Coroner and Jury any thing whatever respecting the deceased. Is immediately referred to innumerable people who can tell nothing whatever. Is made more imbecile by being constantly informed that Mrs. Green's son "was a law-writer his-self, and knowed him better than any body"—which son of Mrs. Green's appears, on inquiry, to be at the present time aboard a vessel bound for China, three months out, but considered accessible by telegraph, on application to the Lords of the Admiralty. Beadle goes into various shops and parlors, examining the inhabitants; always shutting the door first, and by exclusion, delay, and general idiotcy, exasperating the public. Policeman seen to smile to potboy. Public loses interest, and undergoes re-action. Taunts the beadle, in shrill, youthful voices, with having boiled a boy; choruses fragments of a popular song to that effect, and importing that the boy was made into soup for the workhouse. Policeman at last finds it necessary to support the law, and seize a vocalist; who is released upon the flight of the rest, on condition of his getting out of this then, come! and cutting it—a condition he immediately observes. So the sensation dies off for the time; and the unmoved policeman (to whom a little opium, more or less, is nothing), with his shining hat, stiff stock, inflexible great-coat, stout belt and bracelet, and all things fitting, pursues his lounging way with a heavy tread: beating the palms of his white gloves one against the other, and stopping now and then at a street-corner, to look casually about for any thing between a lost child and a murder.

Under cover of the night, the feeble-minded beadle comes flitting about Chancery Lane with his summonses, in which every Juror's name is wrongly spelt, and nothing is rightly spelt, but the beadle's own name which nobody can read or wants to know. His summonses served, and his witnesses forewarned, the beadle goes to Mr. Krook's, to keep a small appointment he has made with[Pg 166] certain paupers; who, presently arriving, are conducted up-stairs; where they leave the great eyes in the shutter something new to stare at, in that last shape which earthly lodgings take for No one—and for Every one.

And, all that night, the coffin stands ready by the old portmanteau; and the lonely figure on the bed, whose path in life has lain through five-and-forty years, lies there, with no more track behind him, that any one can trace, than a deserted infant.

Next day the court is all alive—is like a fair, as Mrs. Perkins, more than reconciled to Mrs Piper, says, in amicable conversation with that excellent woman. The coroner is to sit in the first-floor room at the Sol's Arms, where the Harmonic Meetings take place twice a week, and where the chair is filled by a gentleman of professional celebrity, faced by little Swills, the comic vocalist, who hopes (according to the bill in the window) that his friends will rally round him and support first-rate talent. The Sol's Arms does a brisk stroke of business all the morning. Even children so require sustaining, under the general excitement, that a pieman, who has established himself for the occasion at the corner of the court, says his brandy-balls go off like smoke. What time the beadle, hovering between the door of Mr. Krook's establishment and the door of the Sol's Arms, shows the curiosity in his keeping to a few discreet spirits, and accepts the compliment of a glass of ale or so in return.

At the appointed hour arrives the Coroner, for whom the Jurymen are waiting, and who is received with a salute of skittles from the good dry skittle-ground attached to the Sol's Arms. The Coroner frequents more public-houses than any man alive. The smell of sawdust, beer, tobacco-smoke, and spirits, is inseparable in his vocation from death in its most awful shapes. He is conducted by the beadle and the landlord to the Harmonic Meeting Room, where he puts his hat on the piano, and takes a Windsor-chair at the head of a long table, formed of several short tables put together, and ornamented with glutinous rings in endless involutions, made by pots and glasses. As many of the Jury as can crowd together at the table sit there. The rest get among the spittoons and pipes, or lean against the piano. Over the Coroner's head is a small iron garland, the pendant handle of a bell, which rather gives the Majesty of the Court the appearance of going to be hanged presently.

Call over and swear the Jury! While the ceremony is in progress, sensation is created by the entrance of a chubby little man in a large shirt-collar, with a moist eye, and an inflamed nose, who modestly takes a position near the door as one of the general public, but seems familiar with the room too. A whisper circulates that this is little Swills. It is considered not unlikely that he will get up an imitation of the Coroner, and make it the principal feature of the Harmonic Meeting in the evening.

"Well, gentlemen—" the Coroner begins.

[Pg 167]

"Silence there, will you!" says the beadle. Not to the Coroner, though it might appear so.

"Well, gentlemen!" resumes the Coroner. "You are impaneled here, to inquire into the death of a certain man. Evidence will be given before you, as to the circumstances attending that death, and you will give your verdict according to the—skittles; they must be stopped, you know, beadle!—evidence, and not according to any thing else. The first thing to be done, is to view the body."

"Make way there!" cries the beadle.

So they go out in a loose procession, something after the manner of a straggling funeral, and make their inspection in Mr. Krook's back second floor, from which a few of the Jurymen retire pale and precipitately. The beadle is very careful that two gentlemen not very neat about the cuffs and buttons (for whose accommodation he has provided a special little table near the Coroner, in the Harmonic Meeting Room), should see all that is to be seen. For they are the public chroniclers of such inquiries, by the line; and he is not superior to the universal human infirmity, but hopes to read in print what "Mooney, the active and intelligent beadle of the district," said and did; and even aspires to see the name of Mooney is familiarly and patronizingly mentioned as the name of the Hangman is, according to the latest examples.

Little Swills is waiting for the Coroner and Jury on their return. Mr. Tulkinghorn, also. Mr. Tulkinghorn is received with distinction, and seated near the Coroner; between that high judicial officer, a bagatelle board, and the coal-box. The inquiry proceeds. The Jury learn how the subject of their inquiry died, and learn no more about him. "A very eminent solicitor is in attendance, gentlemen," says the Coroner, "who, I am informed, was accidentally present, when discovery of the death was made; but he could only repeat the evidence you have already heard from the surgeon, the landlord, the lodger, and the law-stationer; and it is not necessary to trouble him. Is any body in attendance who knows any thing more?"

Mrs. Piper pushed forward by Mrs. Perkins. Mrs. Piper sworn.

Anastasia Piper, gentlemen. Married woman. Now, Mrs. Piper—what have you got to say about this?

Why, Mrs. Piper has a good deal to say, chiefly in parenthesis and without punctuation, but not much to tell. Mrs. Piper lives in the court (which her husband is a cabinet-maker) and it has long been well beknown among the neighbors (counting from the day next but one before the half-baptizing of Alexander James Piper aged eighteen months and four days old on accounts of not being expected to live such was the sufferings gentlemen of that child in his gums) as the Plaintive—so Mrs. Piper insists on calling the deceased—was reported to have sold himself. Thinks it was the Plaintive's air in which that report originatinin. See the Plaintive often, and[Pg 168] considered as his air was feariocious, and not to be allowed to go about some children being timid (and if doubted hoping Mrs. Perkins may be brought forard for she is here and will do credit to her husband and herself and family). Has seen the Plaintive wexed and worrited by the children (for children they will ever be and you can not expect them specially if of playful dispositions to be Methoozellers which you was not yourself). On accounts of this and his dark looks has often dreamed as she see him take a pick-ax from his pocket and split Johnny's head (which the child knows not fear and has repeatually called after him close at his heels). Never however see the plaintive take a pick-ax or any other wepping far from it. Has seen him hurry away when run and called after as if not partial to children and never see him speak to neither child nor grown person at any time (excepting the boy that sweeps the crossing down the lane over the way round the corner which if he was here would tell you that he has been seen a speaking to him frequent).

Says the Coroner, is that boy here? Says the beadle, no, sir, he is not here. Says the Coroner, go and fetch him, then. In the absence of the active and intelligent, the Coroner converses with Mr. Tulkinghorn.

O! Here's the boy, gentlemen!

Here he is, very muddy, very hoarse, very ragged. Now, boy!—But stop a minute. Caution. This boy must be put through a few preliminary paces.

Name, Jo. Nothing else that he knows on. Don't know that every body has two names. Never heerd of sich a thing. Don't know that Jo is short for a longer name. Thinks it long enough for him. He don't find no fault with it. Spell it? No. He can't spell it. No father, no mother, no friends. Never been to school. What's home? Knows a broom's a broom, and knows it's wicked to tell a lie. Don't recollect who told him about the broom, or about the lie, but knows both. Can't exactly say what'll be done to him arter he's dead if he tells a lie to the gentlemen here, but believes it'll be something wery bad to punish him, and serve him right—and so he'll tell the truth.

"This won't do, gentlemen!" says the Coroner, with a melancholy shake of the head.

"Don't you think you can receive his evidence, sir?" asks an attentive Juryman.

"Out of the question," says the Coroner. "You have heard the boy. 'Can't exactly say' won't do, you know. We can't take that, in a Court of Justice, gentlemen. It's terrible depravity. Put the boy aside."

Boy put aside; to the great edification of the audience;—especially of Little Swills, the Comic Vocalist.

Now. Is there any other witness? No other witness.

Very well, gentlemen! Here's a man unknown, proved to have been in the habit of taking opium in large quantities for a year and a[Pg 169] half, found dead of too much opium. If you think you have any evidence to lead you to the conclusion that he committed suicide, you will come to that conclusion. If you think it is a case of accidental death, you will find a Verdict accordingly.

Verdict Accordingly. Accidental death. No doubt. Gentlemen, you are discharged. Good afternoon.

While the Coroner buttons his great coat, Mr. Tulkinghorn and he give private audience to the rejected witness in a corner.

That graceless creature only knows that the dead man (whom he recognized just now by his yellow face and black hair) was sometimes hooted and pursued about the streets. That one cold winter night, when he, the boy, was shivering in a doorway near his crossing, the man turned to look at him, and came back, and, having questioned him and found that he had not a friend in the world, said, "Neither have I. Not one!" and gave him the price of a supper and a night's lodging. That the man had often spoken to him since; and asked him whether he slept sound at night, and how he bore cold and hunger, and whether he ever wished to die; and similar strange questions. That when the man had no money, he would say in passing, "I am as poor as you to-day, Jo;" but that when he had any he had always (as the boy most heartily believes) been glad to give him some.

"He wos wery good to me," says the boy, wiping his eyes with his wretched sleeve. "Wen I see him a layin' so stritched out just now, I wished he could have heerd me tell him so. He wos wery good to me, he wos!"

As he shuffles down stairs, Mr. Snagsby, lying in wait for him, puts a half-crown in his hand. "If ever you see me coming past your crossing with my little woman—I mean a lady—" says Mr. Snagsby, with his finger on his nose, "don't allude to it!"

For some little time the Jurymen hang about the Sol's Arms colloquially. In the sequel, half a dozen are caught up in a cloud of pipe-smoke that pervades the parlor of the Sol's Arms; two stroll to Hampstead: and four engage to go half-price to the play at night, and top up with oysters. Little Swills is treated on several hands. Being asked what he thinks of the proceedings, characterizes them (his strength lying in a slangular direction) as "a rummy start." The landlord of the Sol's Arms, rinding Little Swills so popular, commends him highly to the Jurymen and public; observing that, for a song in character, he don't know his equal, and that that man's character-wardrobe would fill a cart.

Thus, gradually the Sol's Arms melts into the shadowy night, and then flares out of it strong in gas. The Harmonic Meeting hour arriving, the gentleman of professional celebrity takes the chair; is faced (red-faced) by Little Swills; their friends rally round them, and support first-rate talent. In the zenith of the evening, Little Swills says, Gentlemen, if you'll permit me, I'll[Pg 170] attempt a short description of a scene of real life that came off here to-day. Is much applauded and encouraged; goes out of the room as Swills; comes in as the Coroner (not the least in the world like him); describes the Inquest, with recreative intervals of piano-forte accompaniment to the refrain—With his (the Coroner's) tippy tol li doll, tippy tol lo doll, tippy tol li doll, Dee!

The jingling piano at last is silent, and the Harmonic friends rally round their pillows. Then there is rest around the lonely figure, now laid in its last earthly habitation; and it is watched by the gaunt eyes in the shutters through some quiet hours of night. If this forlorn man could have been prophetically seen lying here, by the mother at whose breast he nestled, a little child, with eyes upraised to her loving face, and soft hand scarcely knowing how to close upon the neck to which it crept, what an impossibility the vision would have seemed! O, if, in brighter days, the now-extinguished fire within him ever burned for one woman who held him in her heart, where is she, while these ashes are above the ground!

It is any thing but a night of rest at Mr. Snagsby's, in Cook's Court; where Guster murders sleep, by going, as Mr. Snagsby himself allows—not to put too fine a point upon it—out of one fit into twenty. The occasion of this seizure is, that Guster has a tender heart, and a susceptible something that possibly might have been imagination, but for Tooting and her patron saint. Be it what it may, now, it was so direfully impressed at tea-time by Mr. Snagsby's account of the inquiry at which he had assisted, that at supper-time she projected herself into the kitchen preceded by a flying Dutch-cheese, and fell into a fit of unusual duration: which she only came out of to go into another, and another, and so on through a chain of fits, with short intervals between, of which she has pathetically availed herself by consuming them in entreaties to Mrs. Snagsby not to give her warning "when she quite comes to;" and also in appeals to the whole establishment to lay her down on the stones, and go to bed. Hence, Mr. Snagsby, at last hearing the cock at the little dairy in Cursitor-street go into that disinterested ecstasy of his on the subject of daylight, says, drawing a long breath, though the most patient of men, "I thought you was dead, I am sure!"

What question this enthusiastic fowl supposes he settles when he strains himself to such an extent, or why he should thus crow (so men crow on various triumphant public occasions, however) about what can not be of any moment to him, is his affair. It is enough that daylight comes, morning comes, noon comes.

Then the active and intelligent, who has got into the morning papers as such, comes with his pauper company to Mr. Krook's and bears off the body of our dear brother here departed, to a hemmed-in church-yard, pestiferous and obscene, whence malignant diseases are communicated to the bodies of our dear brothers and sisters who have not departed; while our dear brothers and[Pg 171] sisters who hang about official backstairs—would to Heaven they had departed!—are very complacent and agreeable. Into a beastly scrap of ground which a Turk would reject as a savage abomination, and a Caffre would shudder at, they bring our dear brother here departed, to receive Christian burial.

With houses looking on, on every side, save where a reeking little tunnel of a court gives access to the iron gate—with every villainy of life in action close on death, and every poisonous element of death in action close on life—here, they lower our dear brother down a foot or two: here, sow him in corruption, to be raised in corruption; an avenging ghost at many a sick-bedside; a shameful testimony to future ages, how civilization and barbarism walked this boastful island together.

Come night, come darkness, for you can not come too soon, or stay too long, by such a place as this! Come, straggling lights into the windows of the ugly houses; and you who do iniquity therein, do it at least with this dread scene shut out! Come, flame of gas, burning so sullenly above the iron gate, on which the poisoned air deposits its witch-ointment slimy to the touch! It is well that you should call to every passer-by, "Look here!"

With the night, comes a slouching figure through the tunnel-court, to the outside of the iron gate. It holds the gate with its hands, and looks in between the bars; stands looking in, for a little while.

It then, with an old broom it carries, softly sweeps the step, and makes the archway clean. It does so, very busily and trimly; looks in again, a little while; and so departs.

Jo, is it thou? Well, well! Though a rejected witness, who "can't exactly say" what will be done to him in greater hands than men's, thou art not quite in outer darkness. There is something like a distant ray of light in thy muttered reason for this:

"He wos wery good to me, he wos!"

CHAPTER XII.—On the Watch.

It has left off raining down in Lincolnshire, at last, and Chesney Wold has taken heart. Mrs. Rouncewell is full of hospitable cares, for Sir Leicester and my Lady are coming home from Paris. The fashionable intelligence has found it out, and communicates the glad tidings to benighted England. It has also found out, that they will entertain a brilliant and distinguished circle of the élite of the beau monde (the fashionable intelligence is weak in English, but a giant-refreshed in French), at the ancient and hospitable family seat in Lincolnshire.

For the greater honor of the brilliant and distinguished circle, and of Chesney Wold into the bargain, the broken arch of the bridge in the park is mended; and the water, now retired within its proper limits and again spanned gracefully, makes a figure in the prospect from the house. The clear cold sunshine glances into the brittle[Pg 172] woods, and approvingly beholds the sharp wind scattering the leaves and drying the moss. It glides over the park after the moving shadows of the clouds, and chases them, and never catches them, all day. It looks in at the windows, and touches the ancestral portraits with bars and patches of brightness, never contemplated by the painters. Athwart the picture of my Lady, over the great chimney-piece, it throws a broad bend-sinister of light that strikes down crookedly into the hearth, and seems to rend it.

Through the same cold sunshine and the same sharp wind, my Lady and Sir Leicester, in their traveling chariot (my Lady's woman, and Sir Leicester's man affectionate in the rumble), start for home. With a considerable amount of jingling and whip-cracking, and many plunging demonstrations on the part of two bare-backed horses, and two Centaurs with glazed hats, jack-boots, and flowing manes and tails, they rattle out of the yard of the Hôtel Bristol in the Place Vendôme, and canter between the sun-and-shadow-checkered colonnade of the Rue de Rivoli and the garden of the ill-fated palace of a headless king and queen, off by the Place of Concord, and the Elysian Fields, and the Gate of the Star, out of Paris.

Sooth to say, they can not go away too fast, for, even here, my Lady Dedlock has been bored to death. Concert, assembly, opera, theatre, drive, nothing is new to my Lady, under the worn-out heavens. Only last Sunday, when poor wretches were gay—within the walls, playing with children among the clipped trees and the statues in the Palace Garden; walking, a score abreast, in in the Elysian Fields, made more Elysian by performing dogs and wooden horses; between whiles filtering (a few) through the gloomy Cathedral of Our Lady, to say a word or two at the base of a pillar, within flare of a rusty little gridiron-full of gusty little tapers—without the walls encompassing Paris with dancing, love-making, wine-drinking, tobacco-smoking, tomb-visiting, billiard card and domino playing, quack-doctoring, and much murderous refuse, animate and inanimate—only last Sunday, my Lady in the desolation of Boredom and the clutch of Giant Despair, almost hated her own maid for being in spirits.

She can not, therefore, go too fast from Paris. Weariness of soul lies before her, as it lies behind—her Ariel has put a girdle of it round the whole earth, and it can not be unclasped—but the imperfect remedy is always to fly, from the last place where it has been experienced. Fling Paris back into the distance, then, exchanging it for endless avenues and cross-avenues of wintry trees! And, when next beheld, let it be some leagues away, with the Gate of the Star a white speck glittering in the sun, and the city a mere mound in a plain: two dark square towers rising out of it, and light and shadow descending on it aslant, like the angels in Jacob's dream!

Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to[Pg 173] do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society.

"You have an unusual amount of correspondence this morning?" says my Lady, after a long time. She is fatigued with reading. Has almost read a page in twenty miles.

"Nothing in it, though. Nothing whatever."

"I saw one of Mr. Tulkinghorn's long effusions, I think?"

"You see every thing," says Sir Leicester, with admiration.

"Ha!" sighs my Lady. "He is the most tiresome of men!"

"He sends—I really beg your pardon—he sends," says Sir Leicester, selecting the letter, and unfolding it, "a message to you. Our stopping to change horses, as I came to his postscript, drove it out of my memory. I beg you'll excuse me. He says—" Sir Leicester is so long in taking out his eye-glass and adjusting it, that my Lady looks a little irritated. "He says 'In the matter of the right of way—' I beg your pardon, that's not the place. He says—yes! Here I have it! He says, 'I beg my respectful compliments to my Lady, who, I hope, has benefited by the change. Will you do me the favor to mention (as it may interest her), that I have something to tell her on her return, in reference to the person who copied the affidavit in the Chancery suit, which so powerfully stimulated her curiosity. I have seen him.'"

My Lady, leaning forward, looks out of her window.

"That's the message," observes Sir Leicester.

"I should like to walk a little," says my Lady, still looking out of her window.

"Walk?" repeats Sir Leicester, in a tone of surprise.

"I should like to walk a little," says my Lady, with unmistakable distinctness. "Please to stop the carriage."

The carriage is stopped, the affectionate man alights from the rumble, opens the door, and lets down the steps, obedient to an impatient motion of my Lady's hand. My Lady alights so quickly, and walks away so quickly, that Sir Leicester, for all his scrupulous politeness, is unable to assist her, and is left behind. A space of a minute or two has elapsed before he comes up with her. She smiles, looks very handsome, takes his arm, lounges with him for a quarter of a mile, is very much bored, and resumes her seat in the carriage.

The rattle and clatter continue through the greater part of three days, with more or less of bell-jingling and whip-cracking, and more or less plunging of Centaurs and bare-backed horses. Their courtly politeness to each other, at the Hotels where they tarry, is the theme of general admiration. Though my Lord is a little aged for my Lady, says Madame, the hostess of the Golden Ape, and though he might be her amiable father,[Pg 174] one can see at a glance that they love each other. One observes my Lord with his white hair, standing, hat in hand, to help my Lady to and from the carriage. One observes my Lady, how recognizant of my Lord's politeness, with an inclination of her gracious head, and the concession of her so-genteel fingers! It is ravishing!

The sea has no appreciation of great men, but knocks them about like the small fry. It is habitually hard upon Sir Leicester, whose countenance it greenly mottles in the manner of sage-cheese, and in whose aristocratic system it effects a dismal revolution. It is the Radical of Nature to him. Nevertheless, his dignity gets over it, after stopping to refit; and he goes on with my Lady for Chesney Wold, lying only one night in London on the way to Lincolnshire.

Through the same cold sunlight—colder as the day declines—and through the same sharp wind—sharper as the separate shadows of bare trees gloom together in the woods, and as the Ghost's Walk, touched at the western corner by a pile of fire in the sky, resigns itself to coming night—they drive into the park. The Rooks, swinging in their lofty houses in the elm-tree avenue, seem to discuss the question of the occupancy of the carriage as it passes underneath; some agreeing that Sir Leicester and my Lady are come down; some arguing with malcontents who won't admit it; now, all consenting to consider the question disposed of; now, all breaking out again in violent debate, incited by one obstinate and drowsy bird, who will persist in putting in a last contradictory croak. Leaving them to swing and caw, the traveling chariot rolls on to the house; where fires gleam warmly through some of the windows, though not through so many as to give an inhabited expression to the darkening mass of front. But the brilliant and distinguished circle will soon do that.

Mrs. Rouncewell is in attendance, and receives Sir Leicester's customary shake of the hand with a profound courtesy.

"How do you do, Mrs. Rouncewell? I am glad to see you."

"I hope I have the honor of welcoming you in good health, Sir Leicester?"

"In excellent health, Mrs. Rouncewell."

"My Lady is looking charmingly well," says Mrs. Rouncewell, with another courtesy.

My Lady signifies, without profuse expenditure of words, that she is as wearily well as she can hope to be.

But Rosa is in the distance, behind the housekeeper; and my Lady, who has not subdued the quickness of her observation, whatever else she may have conquered, asks:

"Who is that girl?"

"A young scholar of mine, my Lady. Rosa."

"Come here, Rosa!" Lady Dedlock beckons her, with even an appearance of interest. "Why, do you know how pretty you are, child?" she says, touching her shoulder with her two forefingers.

Rosa, very much abashed, says "No, if you[Pg 175] please, my Lady!" and glances up, and glances down, and don't know where to look, but looks all the prettier.

"How old are you?"

"Nineteen, my Lady."

"Nineteen," repeats my Lady, thoughtfully. "Take care they don't spoil you by flattery."

"Yes, my Lady."

My Lady taps her dimpled cheek with the same delicate gloved fingers, and goes on to the foot of the oak staircase, where Sir Leicester pauses for her as her knightly escort. A staring old Dedlock in a panel, as large as life and as dull, looks as if he didn't know what to make of it—which was probably his general state of mind in the days of Queen Elizabeth.

That evening, in the housekeeper's room, Rosa can do nothing but murmur Lady Dedlock's praises. She is so affable, so graceful, so beautiful, so elegant; has such a sweet voice, and such a thrilling touch, that Rosa can feel it yet! Mrs. Rouncewell confirms all this, not without personal pride, reserving only the one point of affability. Mrs. Rouncewell is not quite sure as to that. Heaven forbid that she should say a syllable in dispraise of any member of that excellent family; above all, of my Lady, whom the whole world admires; but if my Lady would only be "a little more free," not quite so cold and distant, Mrs. Rouncewell thinks she would be more affable.

"'Tis almost a pity," Mrs. Rouncewell adds—only "almost," because it borders on impiety to suppose that any thing could be better than it is, in such an express dispensation as the Dedlock affairs; "that my Lady has no family. If she had had a daughter now, a grown young lady, to interest her, I think she would have had the only kind of excellence she wants."

"Might not that have made her still more proud, grandmother?" says Watt; who has been home and come back again, he is such a good grandson.

"More and most, my dear," returns the housekeeper with dignity, "are words it's not my place to use—nor so much as to hear—applied to any drawback on my Lady."

"I beg your pardon, grandmother. But she is proud, is she not?"

"If she is, she has reason to be. The Dedlock family have always reason to be."

"Well," says Watt, "it's to be hoped they line out of their Prayer-Books a certain passage for the common people about pride and vain-glory. Forgive me, grandmother! Only a joke!"

"Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, my dear, are not fit subjects for joking."

"Sir Leicester is no joke, by any means," says Watt; "and I humbly ask his pardon. I suppose, grandmother, that, even with the family and their guests down here, there is no objection to my prolonging my stay at the Dedlock Arms for a day or two, as any other traveler might?"

"Surely, none in the world, child."

"I am glad of that," says Watt, "because I—because[Pg 176] I have an inexpressible desire to extend my knowledge of this beautiful neighborhood."

He happens to glance at Rosa, who looks down, and is very shy, indeed. But, according to the old superstition, it should be Rosa's ears that burn, and not her fresh bright cheeks; for my Lady's maid is holding forth about her at this moment, with surpassing energy.

My Lady's maid is a Frenchwoman of two-and-thirty, from somewhere in the Southern country about Avignon and Marseilles—a large-eyed, brown woman with black hair; who would be handsome, but for a certain feline mouth, and general uncomfortable tightness of face, rendering the jaws too eager, and the skull too prominent. There is something indefinably keen and wan about her anatomy; and she has a watchful way of looking out of the corners of her eyes without turning her head, which could be pleasantly dispensed with—especially when she is in an ill-humor and near knives. Through all the good taste of her dress and little adornments, these objections so express themselves, that she seems to go about like a very neat She-Wolf imperfectly tamed. Besides being accomplished in all the knowledge appertaining to her post, she is almost an Englishwoman in her acquaintance with the language—consequently, she is in no want of words to shower upon Rosa for having attracted my Lady's attention; and she pours them out with such grim ridicule as she sits at dinner, that her companion, the affectionate man, is rather relieved when she arrives at the spoon stage of that performance.

Ha, ha, ha! She, Hortense, been in my Lady's service since five years, and always kept at the distance, and this doll, this puppet, caressed—absolutely caressed—by my Lady on the moment of her arriving at the house! Ha! ha! ha! "And do you know how pretty you are, child?"—"No, my Lady."—You are right there! "And how old are you, child? And take care they do not spoil you by flattery, child!" O how droll! It is the best thing altogether.

In short, it is such an admirable thing, that Mademoiselle Hortense can't forget it; but at meals for days afterward, even among her countrywomen and others attached in like capacity to the troop of visitors, relapses into silent enjoyment of the joke—an enjoyment expressed in her own convivial manner, by an additional tightness of face, thin elongation of compressed lips, and sidewise look: which intense appreciation of humor is frequently reflected in my Lady's mirrors, when my Lady is not among them.

All the mirrors in the house are brought into action now: many of them after a long blank. They reflect handsome faces, simpering faces, youthful faces, faces of threescore-and-ten that will not submit to be old; the entire collection of faces that have come to pass a January week or two at Chesney Wold, and which the fashionable intelligence, a mighty hunter before the Lord, hunts with a keen scent, from their breaking[Pg 177] cover at the Court of St. James's to their being run down to Death. The place in Lincolnshire is all alive. By day guns and voices are heard ringing in the woods, horsemen and carriages enliven the park-roads, servants and hangers-on pervade the Village and the Dedlock Arms. Seen by night, from distant openings in the trees, the row of windows in the long drawing-room, where my Lady's picture hangs over the great chimney-piece, is like a row of jewels set in a black frame. On Sunday, the chill little church is almost warmed by so much gallant company, and the general flavor of the Dedlock dust is quenched in delicate perfumes.

The brilliant and distinguished circle comprehends within it, no contracted amount of education, sense, courage, honor, beauty, and virtue. Yet there is something a little wrong about it, in despite of its immense advantages. What can it be?

Dandyism? There is no King George the Fourth now (more's the pity!) to set the dandy fashion; there are no clear-starched jack-towel neckcloths, no short-waisted coats, no false calves, no stays. There are no caricatures, now, of effeminite Exquisites so arrayed, swooning in opera boxes with excess of delight, and being revived by other dainty creatures, poking long-necked scent-bottles at their noses. There is no beau whom it takes four men at once to shake into his buckskins, or who goes to see all the Executions, or who is troubled with the self-reproach of having once consumed a pea. But is there Dandyism in the brilliant and distinguished circle notwithstanding, Dandyism of a more mischievous sort, that has got below the surface and is doing less harmless things than jack-toweling itself and stopping its own digestion, to which no rational person need particularly object!

Why, yes. It can not be disguised. There are at Chesney Wold this January week, some ladies and gentlemen of the newest fashion, who have set up a Dandyism—in Religion, for instance. Who, in mere lackadaisical want of an emotion, have agreed upon a little dandy talk about the Vulgar wanting faith in things in general; meaning, in the things that have been tried and found wanting, as though a low fellow should unaccountably lose faith in a bad shilling, after finding it out! Who would make the Vulgar very picturesque and faithful, by putting back the hands upon the Clock of Time, and canceling a few hundred years of history.

There are also ladies and gentlemen of another fashion, not so new, but very elegant, who have agreed to put a smooth glaze on the world, and to keep down all its relations. For whom every thing must be languid and pretty. Who have found out the perpetual stoppage. Who are to rejoice at nothing, and be sorry for nothing. Who are not to be disturbed by ideas. On whom even the Fine Arts, attending in powder and walking backward like the Lord Chamberlain, must array themselves in the milliners' and tailors' patterns of past generations, and be particularly[Pg 178] careful not to be in earnest, or to receive any impress from the moving age.

Then there is my Lord Boodle, of considerable reputation with his party, who has known what office is, and who tells Sir Leicester Dedlock with much gravity, after dinner, that he really does not see to what the present age is tending. A debate is not what a debate used to be; the House is not what the House used to be; even a Cabinet is not what it formerly was. He perceives with astonishment, that supposing the present Government to be overthrown, the limited choice of the Crown, in the formation of a new Ministry, would lie between Lord Coddle and Sir Thomas Doodle—supposing it to be impossible for the Duke of Foodle to act with Goodle, which may be assumed to be the case in consequence of the breach arising out of that affair with Hoodle. Then, giving the Home Department and the Leadership of the House of Commons to Joodle, the Exchequer to Koodle, the Colonies to Loodle, and the Foreign Office to Moodle, what are you to do with Noodle? You can't offer him the Presidency of the Council; that is reserved for Poodle. You can't put him in the Woods and Forests; that is hardly good enough for Quoodle. What follows? That the country is shipwrecked, lost, and gone to pieces (as is made manifest to the patriotism of Sir Leicester Dedlock), because you can't provide for Noodle!

On the other hand, the Right Honorable William Buffy, M.P., contends across the table with some one else, that the shipwreck of the country—about which there is no doubt; it is only the manner of it that is in question—is attributable to Cuffy. If you had done with Cuffy what you ought to have done when he first came into Parliament, and had prevented him from going over to Duffy, you would have got him into an alliance with Fuffy, you would have had with you the weight attaching as a smart debater to Guffy, you would have brought to bear upon the elections the wealth of Huffy, you would have got in for three counties Juffy, Kuffy, and Luffy; and you would have strengthened your administration by the official knowledge and the business habits of Muffy. All this, instead of being, as you now are, dependent on the mere caprice of Puffy!

As to this point, and as to some minor topics, there are differences of opinion; but it is perfectly clear to the brilliant and distinguished circle, all round, that nobody is in question but Boodle and his retinue, and Buffy and his retinue. These are the great actors for whom the stage is reserved. A People there are, no doubt—a certain large number of supernumeraries, who are to be occasionally addressed, and relied upon for shouts and choruses, as on the theatrical stage; but Boodle and Buffy, their followers and families, their heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, are the born first-actors, managers, and leaders, and no others can appear upon the scene for ever and ever.

[Pg 179]

In this, too, there is perhaps more dandyism at Chesney Wold than the brilliant and distinguished circle will find good for itself in the long run. For it is, even with the stillest and politest circles, as with the circle the necromancer draws around him—very strange appearances may be seen in active motion outside. With this difference; that, being realities and not phantoms, there is the greater danger of their breaking in.

Chesney Wold is quite full, any how; so full, that a burning sense of injury arises in the breasts of ill-lodged ladies' maids, and is not to be extinguished. Only one room is empty. It is a turret chamber of the third order of merit, plainly but comfortably furnished, and having an old-fashioned business air. It is Mr. Tulkinghorn's room, and is never bestowed on any body else, for he may come at any time. He is not come yet. It is his quiet habit to walk across the park from the village, in fine weather; to drop into this room, as if he had never been out of it since he was last seen there; to request a servant to inform Sir Leicester that he is arrived, in case he should be wanted; and to appear ten minutes before dinner, in the shadow of the library door. He sleeps in his turret, with a complaining flag-staff over his head; and has some leads outside, on which, any fine morning when he is down here, his black figure may be seen walking before breakfast like a larger species of rook.

Every day before dinner, my Lady looks for him in the dusk of the library, but he is not there. Every day at dinner, my Lady glances down the table for the vacant place, that would be waiting to receive him if he had just arrived; but there is no vacant place. Every night, my Lady casually asks her maid:

"Is Mr. Tulkinghorn come?"

Every night the answer is: "No my Lady, not yet."

One night, while having her hair undressed, my Lady loses herself in deep thought after this reply, until she sees her own brooding face in the opposite glass, and a pair of black eyes curiously observing her.

"Be so good as to attend," says my Lady then, addressing the reflection of Hortense, "to your business. You can contemplate your beauty at another time."

"Pardon! It was your Ladyship's beauty."

"That," says my Lady, "you needn't contemplate at all."

At length, one afternoon a little before sunset, when the bright groups of figures, which have for the last hour or two enlivened the Ghost's Walk, are all dispersed, and only Sir Leicester and my Lady remain upon the terrace, Mr. Tulkinghorn appears. He comes toward them at his usual methodical pace, which is never quickened, never slackened. He wears his usual expressionless mask—if it be a mask—and carries family secrets in every limb of his body, and every crease of his dress. Whether his whole soul is devoted to the great, or whether he yields them nothing beyond the services he sells, is his[Pg 180] personal secret. He keeps it, as he keeps the secrets of his clients; he is his own client in that matter, and will never betray himself.

"How do you do, Mr. Tulkinghorn?" says Sir Leicester, giving him his hand.

Mr. Tulkinghorn is quite well. Sir Leicester is quite well. My Lady is quite well. All highly satisfactory. The lawyer, with his hands behind him, walks, at Sir Leicester's side, along the terrace. My Lady walks upon the other side.

"We expected you before," says Sir Leicester. A gracious observation. As much as to say, "Mr. Tulkinghorn, we remember your existence when you are not here to remind us of it by your presence. We bestow a fragment of our minds upon you, sir, you see!"

Mr. Tulkinghorn, comprehending it, inclines his head, and says he is much obliged.

"I should have come down sooner," he explains, "but that I have been much engaged with those matters in the several suits between yourself and Boythorn."

"A man of a very ill-regulated mind," observes Sir Leicester, with severity. "An extremely dangerous person in any community. A man of a very low character of mind."

"He is obstinate," says Mr. Tulkinghorn.

"It is natural to such a man to be so," says Sir Leicester, looking most profoundly obstinate himself. "I am not at all surprised to hear it."

"The only question is," pursues the lawyer, "whether you will give up anything."

"No, sir," replies Sir Leicester. "Nothing. I give up?"

"I don't mean any thing of importance; that, of course, I know you would not abandon. I mean any minor point."

"Mr. Tulkinghorn," returns Sir Leicester, "there can be no minor point between myself and Mr. Boythorn. If I go farther, and observe that I can not readily conceive how any right of mine can be a minor point, I speak not so much in reference to myself as an individual, as in reference to the family position I have it in charge to maintain."

Mr. Tulkinghorn inclines his head again. "I have now my instructions," he says. "Mr. Boythorn will give us a good deal of trouble—"

"It is the character of such a mind, Mr. Tulkinghorn," Sir Leicester interrupts him, "to give trouble. An exceedingly ill-conditioned, leveling person. A person who, fifty years ago, would probably have been tried at the Old Bailey for some demagogue proceeding, and severely punished—if not," adds Sir Leicester, after a moment's pause, "if not hanged, drawn, and quartered."

Sir Leicester appears to discharge his stately breast of a burden, in passing this capital sentence; as if it were the next satisfactory thing to having the sentence executed.

"But night is coming on," says he, "and my Lady will take cold. My dear, let us go in."

As they turned toward the hall-door, Lady[Pg 181] Dedlock addresses Mr. Tulkinghorn for the first time.

"You sent me a message respecting the person whose writing I happened to inquire about. It was like you to remember the circumstance; I had quite forgotten it. Your message reminded me of it again. I can't imagine what association I had with a hand like that; but I surely had some."

"You had some?" Mr. Tulkinghorn repeats.

"Oh, yes!" returns my Lady, carelessly. "I think I must have had some. And did you really take the trouble to find out the writer of that actual thing—what is it!—Affidavit?"


"How very odd!"

They pass into a sombre breakfast-room on the ground-floor, lighted in the day by two deep windows. It is now twilight. The fire glows brightly on the paneled wall, and palely on the window-glass, where, through the cold reflection of the blaze, the colder landscape shudders in the wind, and a gray mist creeps along: the only traveler besides the waste of clouds.

My Lady lounges in a great chair in the chimney-corner, and Sir Leicester takes another great chair opposite. The lawyer stands before the fire, with his hand out at arm's length, shading his face. He looks across his arm at my Lady.

"Yes," he says, "I inquired about the man, and found him. And, what is very strange, I found him—"

"Not to be any out-of-the-way person, I am afraid!" Lady Dedlock languidly anticipates.

"I found him dead."

"Oh, dear me!" remonstrated Sir Leicester. Not so much shocked by the fact, as by the fact of the fact being mentioned.

"I was directed to his lodging—a miserable, poverty-stricken place—and I found him dead."

"You will excuse me, Mr. Tulkinghorn," observes Sir Leicester. "I think the less said—"

"Pray, Sir Leicester, let me hear the story out;" (it is my Lady speaking.) "It is quite a story for twilight. How very shocking! Dead?"

Mr. Tulkinghorn re-asserts it by another inclination of his head. "Whether by his own hand—"

"Upon my honor!" cries Sir Leicester. "Really!"

"Do let me hear the story!" says my Lady.

"Whatever you desire, my dear. But, I must say—"

"No, you mustn't say! Go on, Mr. Tulkinghorn."

Sir Leicester's gallantry concedes the point; though he still feels that to bring this sort of squalor among the upper classes is really—really—

"I was about to say," resumes the lawyer, with undisturbed calmness, "that whether he had died by his own hand or not, it was beyond my power to tell you. I should amend that phrase, however, by saying that he had unquestionably died of his own act; though whether by[Pg 182] his own deliberate intention, or by mischance, can never certainly be known. The coroner's jury found that he took the poison accidentally."

"And what kind of man," my Lady asks, "was this deplorable creature?"

"Very difficult to say," returns the lawyer, shaking his head. "He had lived so wretchedly, and was so neglected, with his gipsy color, and his wild black hair and beard, that I should have considered him the commonest of the common. The surgeon had a notion that he had once been something better, both in appearance and condition."

"What did they call the wretched being?"

"They called him what he had called himself, but no one knew his name."

"Not even any one who had attended on him?"

"No one had attended on him. He was found dead. In fact, I found him."

"Without any clew to any thing more?"

"Without any; there was," says the lawyer, meditatively, "an old portmanteau; but—No, there were no papers."

During the utterance of every word of this short dialogue, Lady Dedlock and Mr. Tulkinghorn, without any other alteration in their customary deportment, have looked very steadily at one another—as was natural, perhaps, in the discussion of so unusual a subject. Sir Leicester has looked at the fire, with the general expression of the Dedlock on the staircase. The story being told, he renews his stately protest, saying, that as it is quite clear that no association in my Lady's mind can possibly be traceable to this poor wretch (unless he was a begging-letter writer), he trusts to hear no more about a subject so far removed from my Lady's station.

"Certainly, a collection of horrors," says my Lady, gathering up her mantles and furs; "but they interest one for the moment! Have the kindness, Mr. Tulkinghorn, to open the door for me."

Mr. Tulkinghorn does so with deference, and holds it open while she passes out. She passes close to him, with her usual fatigued manner, and insolent grace. They meet again at dinner—again, next day—again, for many days in succession. Lady Dedlock is always the same exhausted deity, surrounded by worshipers, and terribly liable to be bored to death, even while presiding at her own shrine. Mr. Tulkinghorn is always the same speechless repository of noble confidences: so oddly out of place, and yet so perfectly at home. They appear to take as little note of one another, as any two people, inclosed within the same walls, could. But, whether each evermore watches and suspects the other, evermore mistrustful of some great reservation; whether each is evermore prepared at all points for the other, and never to be taken unawares; what each would give to know how much the other knows—all this is hidden, for the time, in their own hearts.

CHAPTER XIII.—Esther's Narrative.

We held many consultations about what Richard was to be; first, without Mr. Jarndyce, as[Pg 183] he had requested, and afterward with him; but it was a long time before we seemed to make progress. Richard said he was ready for any thing. When Mr. Jarndyce doubted whether he might not already be too old to enter the Navy, Richard said he had thought of that, and perhaps he was. When Mr. Jarndyce asked him what he thought of the Army, Richard said he had thought of that, too, and it wasn't a bad idea. When Mr. Jarndyce advised him to try and decide within himself, whether his old preference for the sea was an ordinary boyish inclination, or a strong impulse, Richard answered, Well, he really had tried very often, and he couldn't make out.

"How much of this indecision of character," Mr. Jarndyce said to me, "is chargeable on that incomprehensible heap of uncertainty and procrastination on which he has been thrown from his birth, I don't pretend to say; but that Chancery, among its other sins, is responsible for some of it, I can plainly see. It has engendered or confirmed in him a habit of putting off—and trusting to this, that, and the other chance, without knowing what chance—and dismissing every thing as unsettled, uncertain, and confused. The character of much older and steadier people may be even changed by the circumstances surrounding them. It would be too much to expect that a boy's, in its formation, should be the subject of such influences, and escape them."

I felt this to be true; though, if I may venture to mention what I thought besides, I thought it much to be regretted that Richard's education had not counteracted those influences, or directed his character. He had been eight years at a public school, and had learnt, I understood, to make Latin Verses of several sorts, in the most admirable manner. But I never heard that it had been any body's business to find out what his natural bent was, or where his failings lay, or to adapt any kind of knowledge to him. He had been adapted to the Verses, and had learnt the art of making them to such perfection, that if he had remained at school until he was of age, I suppose he could only have gone on making them over and over again, unless he had enlarged his education by forgetting how to do it. Still, although I had no doubt that they were very beautiful, and very improving, and very sufficient for a great many purposes of life, and always remembered all through life, I did doubt whether Richard would not have profited by some one studying him a little, instead of his studying them quite so much.

To be sure, I knew nothing of the subject, and do not even now know whether the young gentlemen of classic Rome or Greece made verses to the same extent—or whether the young gentlemen of any country ever did.

"I haven't the least idea," said Richard, musing, "what I had better be. Except that I am quite sure I don't want to go into the Church, it's a toss-up."

"You have no inclination in Mr. Kenge's way?" suggested Mr. Jarndyce.

[Pg 184]

"I don't know that, sir!" replied Richard. "I am fond of boating. Articled clerks go a good deal on the water. It's a capital profession!"

"Surgeon—" suggested Mr. Jarndyce.

"That's the thing, sir!" cried Richard.

I doubt if he had ever once thought of it before.

"That's the thing, sir!" repeated Richard, with the greatest enthusiasm. "We have got it at last. M.R.C.S.!"

He was not to be laughed out of it, though he laughed at it heartily. He said he had chosen his profession, and the more he thought of it, the more he felt that his destiny was clear; the art of healing was the art of all others for him. Mistrusting that he only came to this conclusion, because, having never had much chance of finding out for himself what he was fitted for, and having never been guided to the discovery, he was taken by the newest idea, and was glad to get rid of the trouble of consideration, I wondered whether the Latin Verses often ended in this, or whether Richard's was a solitary case.

Mr. Jarndyce took great pains to talk with him, seriously, and to put it to his good sense not to deceive himself in so important a matter. Richard was a little grave after these interviews; but invariably told Ada and me "that it was all right," and then began to talk about something else.

"By Heaven!" cried Mr. Boythorn, who interested himself strongly in the subject—though I need not say that, for he could do nothing weakly; "I rejoice to find a young gentleman of spirit and gallantry devoting himself to that noble profession! The more spirit there is in it, the better for mankind, and the worse for those mercenary taskmasters and low tricksters who delight in putting that illustrious art at a disadvantage in the world. By all that is base and despicable," cried Mr. Boythorn, "the treatment of Surgeons aboard ship is such, that I would submit the legs—both legs—of every member of the Admiralty Board to a compound fracture, and render it a transportable offense in any qualified practitioner to set them, if the system were not wholly changed in eight-and-forty hours!"

"Wouldn't you give them a week?" asked Mr. Jarndyce.

"No!" cried Mr. Boythorn, firmly. "Not on any consideration! Eight-and-forty hours! As to Corporations, Parishes, Vestry-Boards, and similar gatherings of jolter-headed clods, who assemble to exchange such speeches that, by Heaven! they ought to be worked in quicksilver mines for the short remainder of their miserable existence, if it were only to prevent their detestable English from contaminating a language spoken in the presence of the Sun—as to those fellows, who meanly take advantage of the ardor of gentlemen in the pursuit of knowledge, to recompense the inestimable services of the best years of their lives, their long study, and their expensive education, with pittances too small for the acceptance of clerks, I would have the necks[Pg 185] of every one of them wrung, and their skulls arranged in Surgeons' Hall for the contemplation of the whole profession—in order that its younger members might understand from actual measurement, in early life, how thick skulls may become!"

He wound up this vehement declaration by looking round upon us with a most agreeable smile, and suddenly thundering, Ha, ha, ha! over and over again, until any body else might have been expected to be quite subdued by the exertion.

As Richard still continued to say that he was fixed in his choice, after repeated periods for consideration had been recommended by Mr. Jarndyce, and had expired; and as he still continued to assure Ada and me, in the same final manner that it was "all right;" it became advisable to take Mr. Kenge into council. Mr. Kenge therefore, came down to dinner one day, and leaned back in his chair, and turned his eye-glasses over and over, and spoke in a sonorous voice, and did exactly what I remembered to have seen him do when I was a little girl.

"Ah!" said Mr. Kenge. "Yes. Well? A very good profession, Mr. Jarndyce; a very good profession."

"The course of study and preparation requires to be diligently pursued," observed my Guardian, with a glance at Richard.

"O, no doubt," said Mr. Kenge. "Diligently."

"But that being the case, more or less, with all pursuits that are worth much," said Mr. Jarndyce, "it is not a special consideration which another choice would be likely to escape."

"Truly," said Mr. Kenge. "And Mr. Richard Carstone, who has so meritoriously acquitted himself in the—shall I say the classic shades?—in which his youth had been passed, will, no doubt, apply the habits, if not the principles and practice, of versification in that tongue in which a poet was said (unless I mistake) to be born, not made, to the more eminently practical field of action on which he enters."

"You may rely upon it," said Richard, in his off-hand manner, "that I shall go at it, and do my best."

"Very well, Mr. Jarndyce!" said Mr. Kenge, gently nodding his head. "Really, when we are assured by Mr. Richard that he means to go at it, and to do his best," nodding feelingly and smoothly over those expressions; "I would submit to you, that we have only to inquire into the best mode of carrying out the object of his ambition. Now, with reference to placing Mr. Richard with some sufficiently eminent practitioner. Is there any one in view at present?"

"No one, Rick, I think?" said my Guardian.

"No one, sir," said Richard.

"Quite so!" observed Mr. Kenge. "As to situation, now. Is there any particular feeling on that head?"

"N—no," said Richard.

"Quite so!" observed Mr. Kenge again.

"I should like a little variety," said Richard; "—I mean a good range of experience."

[Pg 186]

"Very requisite, no doubt," returned Mr. Kenge "I think this may be easily arranged, Mr. Jarndyce? We have only, in the first place, to discover a sufficiently eligible practitioner; and, as soon as we make our want—and, shall I add, our ability to pay a premium?—known, our only difficulty will be in the selection of one from a large number. We have only, in the second place, to observe those little formalities which are rendered necessary by our time of life, and our being under the guardianship of the Court. We shall soon be—shall I say, in Mr. Richard's own light-hearted manner, 'going at it'—to our heart's content. It is a coincidence," said Mr. Kenge, with a tinge of melancholy in his smile, "one of those coincidences which may or may not require an explanation beyond our present limited faculties, that I have a cousin in the medical profession. He might be deemed eligible by you, and might be disposed to respond to this proposal. I can answer for him as little as for you; but he might?"

As this was an opening in the prospect, it was arranged that Mr. Kenge should see his cousin. And as Mr. Jarndyce had before proposed to take us to London for a few weeks, it was settled next day that we should make our visit at once, and combine Richard's business with it.

Mr. Boythorn leaving us within a week, we took up our abode at a cheerful lodging near Oxford-street, over an upholsterer's shop. London was a great wonder to us, and we were out for hours and hours at a time, seeing the sights; which appeared to be less capable of exhaustion than we were. We made the round of the principal theatres, too, with great delight, and saw all the plays that were worth seeing. I mention this, because it was at the theatre that I began to be made uncomfortable again, by Mr. Guppy.

I was sitting in front of the box one night with Ada; and Richard was in the place he liked best, behind Ada's chair; when, happening to look down into the pit, I saw Mr. Guppy, with his hair flattened down upon his head, and woe depicted in his face, looking up at me. I felt, all through the performance, that he never looked at the actors, but constantly looked at me, and always with a carefully prepared expression of the deepest misery and the profoundest dejection.

It quite spoiled my pleasure for that night, because it was so very embarrassing and so very ridiculous. But, from that time forth, we never went to the play, without my seeing Mr. Guppy in the pit—always with his hair straight and flat, his shirt-collar turned down, and a general feebleness about him. If he were not there when we went in, and I began to hope he would not come, and yielded myself for a little while to the interest of the scene, I was certain to encounter his languishing eyes when I least expected it, and, from that time, to be quite sure that they were fixed upon me all the evening.

I really can not express how uneasy this made me. If he would only have brushed up his hair, or turned up his collar, it would have been bad[Pg 187] enough; but to know that that absurd figure was always gazing at me, and always in that demonstrative state of despondency, put such a constraint upon me that I did not like to laugh at the play, or to cry at it, or to move, or to speak. I seemed able to do nothing naturally. As to escaping Mr. Guppy by going to the back of the box, I could not bear to do that; because I knew Richard and Ada relied on having me next them, and that they could never have talked together so happily if any body else had been in my place. So there I sat, not knowing where to look—for wherever I looked, I knew Mr. Guppy's eyes were following me—and thinking of the dreadful expense to which this young man was putting himself, on my account.


Sometimes I thought of telling Mr. Jarndyce. Then I feared that the young man would lose his situation, and that I might ruin him. Sometimes, I thought of confiding in Richard; but was deterred by the possibility of his fighting Mr. Guppy, and giving him black eyes. Sometimes, I thought, should I frown at him, or shake my head. Then I felt I could not do it. Sometimes, I considered whether I should write to his mother, but that ended in my being convinced that to open a correspondence would be to make the matter worse. I always came to the conclusion, finally, that I could do nothing. Mr. Guppy's perseverance, all this time, not only produced him regularly at any theatre to which we went, but caused him to appear in the crowd as we were coming out, and even to get up behind our fly—where I am sure I saw him, two or three times, struggling among the most dreadful spikes. After we got home, he haunted a post opposite our house. The upholsterer's where we lodged, being at the corner of two streets, and my bedroom window being opposite the post, I was afraid to go near the window when I went up-stairs, lest I should see him (as I did one moonlight night) leaning against the post, and evidently catching[Pg 188] cold. If Mr. Guppy had not been, fortunately for me, engaged in the day-time, I really should have had no rest from him.

While we were making this round of gayeties in which Mr. Guppy so extraordinarily participated, the business which had helped to bring us to town was not neglected. Mr. Kenge's cousin was a Mr. Bayham Badger, who had a good practice at Chelsea, and attended a large public Institution besides. He was quite willing to receive Richard into his house, and to superintend his studies; and as it seemed that those could be pursued advantageously under Mr. Badger's roof, and as Mr. Badger liked Richard, and as Richard said he liked Mr. Badger "well enough," an agreement was made, the Lord Chancellor's consent was obtained, and it was all settled.

On the day when matters were concluded between Richard and Mr. Badger, we were all under engagement to dine at Mr. Badger's house. We were to be "merely a family party," Mrs. Badger's note said; and we found no lady there but Mrs. Badger herself. She was surrounded in the drawing-room by various objects, indicative of her painting a little, playing the piano a little, playing the guitar a little, playing the harp a little, singing a little, working a little, reading a little, writing poetry a little, and botanizing a little. She was a lady of about fifty, I should think, youthfully dressed, and of a very fine complexion. If I add, to the little list of her accomplishments, that she rouged a little, I do not mean that there was any harm in it.

Mr. Bayham Badger himself was a pink, fresh-faced, crisp-looking gentleman, with a weak voice, white teeth, light hair, and surprised eyes: some years younger, I should say, than Mrs. Bayham Badger. He admired her exceedingly, but principally, and to begin with, on the curious ground (as it seemed to us) of her having had three husbands. We had barely taken our seats, when he said to Mr. Jarndyce quite triumphantly.

"You would hardly suppose that I am Mrs. Bayham Badger's third!"

"Indeed?" said Mr. Jarndyce.

"Her third!" said Mr. Badger. "Mrs. Bayham Badger has not the appearance, Miss Summerson, of a lady who has had two former husbands?"

I said "Not at all!"

"And most remarkable men!" said Mr. Badger, in a tone of confidence. "Captain Swosser of the Royal Navy, who was Mrs. Badger's first husband, was a very distinguished officer indeed. The name of Professor Dingo, my immediate predecessor, is one of European reputation."

Mrs. Badger overheard him, and smiled.

"Yes, my dear!" Mr. Badger replied to the smile, "I was observing to Mr. Jarndyce and Miss Summerson, that you had had two former husbands—both very distinguished men. And they found it, as people generally do, difficult to believe."

"I was barely twenty," said Mrs. Badger, "when I married Captain Swosser of the Royal[Pg 189] Navy. I was in the Mediterranean with him; I am quite a Sailor. On the twelfth anniversary of my wedding-day, I became the wife of Professor Dingo."

("Of European reputation," added Mr. Badger in an under tone.)

"And when Mr. Badger and myself were married," pursued Mrs. Badger, "we were married on the same day of the year. I had become attached to the day."

"So that Mrs. Badger has been married to three husbands—two of them highly distinguished men," said Mr. Badger, summing up the facts; "and, each time, upon the twenty-first of March at Eleven in the forenoon!"

We all expressed our admiration.

"But for Mr. Badger's modesty," said Mr. Jarndyce, "I would take leave to correct him, and say three distinguished men."

"Thank you, Mr. Jarndyce! What I always tell him!" observed Mrs. Badger.

"And, my dear," said Mr. Badger, "what do I always tell you? That without any affectation of disparaging such professional distinction as I may have attained (which our friend Mr. Carstone will have many opportunities of estimating), I am not so weak—no, really," said Mr. Badger to us generally, "so unreasonable—as to put my reputation on the same footing with such first-rate men as Captain Swosser and Professor Dingo. Perhaps you may be interested, Mr. Jarndyce," continued Mr. Bayham Badger, leading the way into the next drawing room, "in this portrait of Captain Swosser. It was taken on his return home from the African Station, where he had suffered from the fever of the country. Mrs. Badger considers it too yellow. But it's a very fine head. A very fine head!"

We all echoed, "A very fine head!"

"I feel when I look at it," said Mr. Badger, "'that's a man I should like to have seen!' It strikingly bespeaks the first-class man that Captain Swosser pre-eminently was. On the other side, Professor Dingo. I knew him well—attended him in his last illness—a speaking likeness! Over the piano, Mrs. Bayham Badger when Mrs. Swosser. Over the sofa, Mrs. Bayham Badger when Mrs. Dingo. Of Mrs. Bayham Badger in esse, I possess the original, and have no copy."

Dinner was now announced, and we went down stairs. It was a very genteel entertainment, very handsomely served. But the Captain and the Professor still ran in Mr. Badger's head, and, as Ada and I had the honor of being under his particular care, we had the full benefit of them.

"Water, Miss Summerson? Allow me! Not in that tumbler, pray. Bring me the Professor's goblet, James!"

Ada very much admired some artificial flowers, under a glass.

"Astonishing how they keep!" said Mr. Badger. "They were presented to Mrs. Bayham Badger when she was in the Mediterranean."

[Pg 190]


He invited Mr. Jarndyce to take a glass of claret.

"Not that claret," he said. "Excuse me! This is an occasion, and on an occasion I produce some very special claret I happen to have. (James, Captain Swosser's wine!) Mr. Jarndyce, this is a wine that was imported by the Captain, we will not say how many years ago. You will find it very curious. My dear, I shall be happy to take some of this wine with you. (Captain Swosser's claret to your mistress, James!) My love, your health!"

After dinner when we ladies retired, we took Mrs. Badger's first and second husband with us. Mrs. Badger gave us, in the drawing-room a Biographical sketch of the life and services of Captain Swosser before his marriage, and a more minute account of him dating from the time when he fell in love with her, at a ball on board the Crippler, given to the officers of that ship when she lay in Plymouth harbor.

"The dear old Crippler!" said Mrs. Badger, shaking her head. "She was a noble vessel. Trim, ship-shape, all a taunto, as Captain Swosser used to say. You must excuse me if I occasionally introduce a nautical expression; I was quite a sailor once. Captain Swosser loved that craft for my sake. When she was no longer in commission, he frequently said that if he were rich enough to buy her old hulk, he would have an inscription let into the timbers of the quarter-deck where we stood as partners in the dance, to mark the spot where he fell—raked fore and aft (Captain Swosser used to say) by the fire from my tops. It was his naval way of mentioning my eyes."

[Pg 191]

Mrs. Badger shook her head, sighed, and looked in the glass.

"It was a great change from Captain Swosser to Professor Dingo," she resumed, with a plaintive smile. "I felt it a good deal at first. Such an entire revolution in my mode of life! But custom, combined with science—particularly science—inured me to it. Being the Professor's sole companion in his botanical excursions, I almost forgot that I had ever been afloat, and became quite learned. It is singular that the Professor was the Antipodes of Captain Swosser, and that Mr. Badger is not in the least like either!"

We then passed into a narrative of the deaths of Captain Swosser and Professor Dingo, both of whom seemed to have had very bad complaints. In the course of it, Mrs. Badger signified to us that she had never madly loved but once; and that the object of that wild affection, never to be recalled in its fresh enthusiasm, was Captain Swosser. The Professor was yet dying by inches in the most dismal manner, and Mrs. Badger was giving us imitations of his way of saying, with great difficulty, "Where is Laura? Let Laura give me my toast and water!" when the entrance of the gentlemen consigned him to the tomb.

Now, I observed that evening, as I had observed for some days past, that Ada and Richard were more than ever attached to each other's society; which was but natural, seeing that they were going to be separated so soon. I was therefore not very much surprised, when we got home, and Ada and I retired up-stairs, to find Ada more silent than usual; though I was not quite prepared for her coming into my arms, and beginning to speak to me, with her face hidden.

"My darling Esther!" murmured Ada. "I have a great secret to tell you!"

A mighty secret, my pretty one, no doubt!

"What is it, Ada?"

"O Esther, you would never guess!"

"Shall I try to guess?" said I.

"O no! Don't! Pray, don't!" cried Ada, very much startled by the idea of my doing so.

"Now, I wonder who it can be about?" said I, pretending to consider.

"It's about," said Ada, in a whisper. "It's about—my cousin Richard!"

"Well, my own!" said I, kissing her bright hair, which was all I could see. "And what about him?"

"O, Esther, you would never guess!"

It was so pretty to have her clinging to me in that way, hiding her face; and to know that she was not crying in sorrow, but in a little glow of joy, and pride, and hope; that I would not help her just yet.

"He says—I know it's very foolish, we are both so young—but he says," with a burst of tears, "that he loves me dearly, Esther."

"Does he indeed?" said I. "I never heard of such a thing! Why, my pet of pets, I could have told you that, weeks and weeks ago!"

[Pg 192]

To see Ada lift up her flushed face in joyful surprise, and hold me round the neck, and laugh, and cry, and blush, and laugh, was so pleasant!

"Why, my darling!" said I, "what a goose you must take me for! Your cousin Richard has been loving you as plainly as he could, for I don't know how long!"

"And yet you never said a word about it!" cried Ada, kissing me.

"No, my love," said I. "I waited to be told."

"But now I have told you, you don't think it wrong of me; do you?" returned Ada. She might have coaxed me to say No, if I had been the hardest-hearted Duenna in the world. Not being that yet, I said No, very freely.

"And now," said I, "I know the worst of it."

"O, that's not quite the worst of it, Esther dear!" cried Ada, holding me tighter, and laying down her face again upon my breast.

"No?" said I. "Not even that?"

"No, not even that!" said Ada, shaking her head.

"Why, you never mean to say—!" I was beginning in joke.

But Ada looking up, and smiling through her tears, cried. "Yes, I do! You know, you know I do!" and then sobbed out, "With all my heart I do! With all my whole heart, Esther!"

I told her, laughing, why, I had known that, too, just as well as I had known the other! And we sat before the fire, and I had all the talking to myself for a little while (though there was not much of it); and Ada was soon quiet and happy. "Do you think my cousin John knows, dear Dame Durden?" she asked.

"Unless my cousin John is blind, my pet," said I, "I should think my cousin John knows pretty well as much as we know."

"We want to speak to him before Richard goes," said Ada, timidly, "and we wanted you to advise us, and to tell him so. Perhaps you wouldn't mind Richard's coming in, Dame Durden?"

"O! Richard is outside, is he, my dear?" said I.

"I am not quite certain," returned Ada, with a bashful simplicity that would have won my heart, if she had not won it long before; "but I think he's waiting at the door."

There he was, of course. They brought a chair on either side of me, and put me between them, and really seemed to have fallen in love with me, instead of one another; they were so confiding, and so trustful, and so fond of me. They went on in their own wild way for a little while—I never stopped them; I enjoyed it too much myself—and then we gradually fell to considering how young they were, and how there must be a lapse of several years before this early love could come to any thing, and how it could come to happiness only if it were real and lasting, and inspired them with a steady resolution to do their duty to each other, with constancy, fortitude, and perseverance: each always for the other's sake. Well! Richard said that he would work his fingers[Pg 193] to the bone for Ada, and Ada said that she would work her fingers to the bone for Richard, and they called me all sorts of endearing and sensible names, and we sat there, advising and talking, half the night. Finally, before we parted, I gave them my promise to speak to their cousin John to-morrow.

So, when to-morrow came, I went to my Guardian after breakfast, in the room that was our town-substitute for the Growlery, and told him that I had it in trust to tell him something.

"Well, little woman," said he, shutting up his book, "if you have accepted the trust, there can be no harm in it."

"I hope not, Guardian," said I. "I can guarantee that there is no secresy in it. For it only happened yesterday."

"Ay? And what is it, Esther?"

"Guardian," said I, "you remember the happy night when we first came down to Bleak House? When Ada was singing in the dark room?"

I wished to recall to his remembrance the look he had given me then. Unless I am much mistaken, I saw that I did so.

"Because," said I, with a little hesitation.

"Yes, my dear!" said he. "Don't hurry."

"Because," said I, "Ada and Richard have fallen in love. And have told each other so."

"Already?" cried my Guardian, quite astonished.

"Yes!" said I, "and to tell you the truth, Guardian, I rather expected it."

"The deuce you did!" said he.

He sat considering for a minute or two; with his smile, at once so handsome and so kind, upon his changing face; and then requested me to let them know that he wished to see them. When they came, he encircled Ada with one arm, in his fatherly way, and addressed himself to Richard with a cheerful gravity.

"Rick," said Mr. Jarndyce, "I am glad to have won your confidence. I hope to preserve it. When I contemplated these relations between us four which have so brightened my life, and so invested it with new interests and pleasures, I certainly did contemplate, afar off, the possibility of you and your pretty cousin here (don't be shy, Ada, don't be shy, my dear!) being in a mind to go through life together. I saw, and do see, many reasons to make it desirable. But that was afar off, Rick, afar off!"

"We look afar off, sir," returned Richard.

"Well!" said Mr. Jarndyce. "That's rational. Now, hear me, my dears! I might tell you that you don't know your own minds yet; that a thousand things may happen to divert you from one another; that it is well this chain of flowers you have taken up is very easily broken, or it might become a chain of lead. But I will not do that. Such wisdom will come soon enough, I dare say, if it is to come at all. I will assume that, a few years hence, you will be in your hearts to one another, what you are to-day. All I say before speaking to you according to that assumption is, if you do change—if you do come to find[Pg 194] that you are more commonplace cousins to each other as man and woman, than you were as boy and girl (your manhood will excuse me, Rick!)—don't be ashamed still to confide in me, for there will be nothing monstrous or uncommon in it. I am only your friend and distant kinsman. I have no power over you whatever. But I wish and hope to retain your confidence, if I do nothing to forfeit it."

"I am very sure, sir," returned Richard, "that I speak for Ada, too, when I say that you have the strongest power over us both—rooted in respect, gratitude, and affection, strengthening every day."

"Dear cousin John," said Ada, on his shoulder, "my father's place can never be empty again. All the love and duty I could ever have rendered to him, is transferred to you."

"Come!" said Mr. Jarndyce. "Now for our assumption. Now we lift our eyes up, and look hopefully at the distance! Rick, the world is before you; and it is most probable that as you enter it, so it will receive you. Trust in nothing but in Providence and your own efforts. Never separate the two, like the heathen wagoner. Constancy in love is a good thing; but it means nothing, and is nothing, without constancy in every kind of effort. If you had the abilities of all the great men, past and present, you could do nothing well, without sincerely meaning it, and setting about it. If you entertain the supposition that any real success, in great things or in small, ever was or could be, ever will or can be, wrested from Fortune by fits and starts, leave that wrong idea here, or leave your cousin Ada here."

"I will leave it here, sir," replied Richard, smiling, "if I brought it here just now (but I hope I did not), and will work my way on to my cousin Ada in the hopeful distance."

"Right!" said Mr. Jarndyce. "If you are not to make her happy, why should you pursue her?"

"I wouldn't make her unhappy—no, not even for her love," retorted Richard, proudly.

"Well said!" cried Mr. Jarndyce; "that's well said! She remains here, in her home with me. Love her, Rick, in your active life, no less than in her home when you revisit it, and all will go well. Otherwise, all will go ill. That's the end of my preaching. I think you and Ada had better take a walk."

Ada tenderly embraced him, and Richard heartily shook hands with him, and then the cousins went out of the room—looking back again directly, though, to say that they would wait for me.

The door stood open, and we both followed them with our eyes, as they passed down the adjoining room on which the sun was shining, and out at its farther end. Richard, with his head bent, and her hand drawn through his arm, was talking to her very earnestly; and she looked up in his face, listening, and seemed to see nothing else. So young, so beautiful, so full of hope and promise, they went on lightly through the sunlight,[Pg 195] as their own happy thoughts might then be traversing the years to come, and making them all years of brightness. So they passed away into the shadow, and were gone. It was only a burst of light that had been so radiant. The room darkened as they went out, and the sun was clouded over.

"Am I right, Esther?" said my Guardian, when they were gone.

He who was so good and wise, to ask me whether he was right!

"Rick may gain, out of this, the quality he wants. Wants, at the core of so much that is good!" said Mr. Jarndyce, shaking his head. "I have said nothing to Ada, Esther. She has her friend and counselor always near." And he laid his hand lovingly upon my head.

I could not help showing that I was a little moved, though I did all I could to conceal it.

"Tut tut!" said he. "But we must take care, too, that our little woman's life is not all consumed in care for others."

"Care? My dear Guardian, I believe I am the happiest creature in the world!"

"I believe so too," said he. "But some one may find out, what Esther never will—that the little woman is to be held in remembrance above all other people!"

I have omitted to mention in its place, that there was some one else at the family dinner party. It was not a lady. It was a gentleman. It was a gentleman of a dark complexion—a young surgeon. He was rather reserved, but I thought him very sensible and agreeable. At least, Ada asked me if I did not, and I said yes.



Just after breakfast one fine spring morning in 1837, an advertisement in the Times for a curate caught and fixed my attention. The salary was sufficiently remunerative for a bachelor, and the parish, as I personally knew, one of the most pleasantly situated in all Somersetshire. Having said that, the reader will readily understand that it could not have been a hundred miles from Taunton. I instantly wrote, inclosing testimonials, with which the Rev. Mr. Townley, the rector, was so entirely satisfied, that the return-post brought me a positive engagement, unclogged with the slightest objection to one or two subsidiary items I had stipulated for, and accompanied by an invitation to make the rectory my home till I could conveniently suit myself elsewhere. This was both kind and handsome; and the next day but one I took coach, with a light heart, for my new destination. It thus happened that I became acquainted, and in some degree mixed up, with the train of events it is my present purpose to relate.

The rector I found to be a stout, portly gentleman, whose years already reached to between sixty and seventy. So many winters, although they had plentifully besprinkled his hair with gray, shone out with ruddy brightness in his still handsome face, and keen, kindly, bright-hazel[Pg 196] eyes; and his voice, hearty and ringing, had not as yet one quaver of age in it. I met him at breakfast on the morning after my arrival, and his reception of me was most friendly. We had spoken together but for a few minutes, when one of the French windows, that led from the breakfast-room into a shrubbery and flower-garden, gently opened and admitted a lady, just then, as I afterward learned, in her nineteenth spring. I use this term almost unconsciously, for I can not even now, in the glowing summer of her life, dissociate her image from that season of youth and joyousness. She was introduced to me, with old-fashioned simplicity, as "My grand-daughter, Agnes Townley." It is difficult to look at beauty through other men's eyes, and, in the present instance, I feel that I should fail miserably in the endeavor to stamp upon this blank, dead paper, any adequate idea of the fresh loveliness, the rose-bud beauty of that young girl. I will merely say, that her perfectly Grecian head, wreathed with wavy bandeaux of bright hair, undulating with golden light, vividly brought to my mind Raphael's halo-tinted portraitures of the Virgin—with this difference, that in place of the holy calm and resignation of the painting, there was in Agnes Townley, a sparkling youth and life, that even amid the heat and glare of a crowded ball-room, or of a theatre, irresistibly suggested and recalled the freshness and perfume of the morning—of a cloudless, rosy morning of May. And, far higher charm than feature-beauty, however exquisite, a sweetness of disposition, a kind gentleness of mind and temper, was evinced in every line of her face, in every accent of the low-pitched, silver voice, that breathed through lips made only to smile.

Let me own, that I was greatly struck by so remarkable a combination of rare endowments; and this, I think, the sharp-eyed rector must have perceived, or he might not, perhaps, have been so immediately communicative with respect to the near prospects of his idolized grand-child, as he was the moment the young lady, after presiding at the breakfast-table, had withdrawn.

"We shall have gay doings, Mr. Tyrrel, at the rectory shortly," he said. "Next Monday three weeks will, with the blessing of God, be Agnes Townley's wedding-day."


"Yes," rejoined the rector, turning toward and examining some flowers which Miss Townley had brought in and placed on the table. "Yes, it has been for some time settled that Agnes shall on that day be united in holy wedlock to Mr. Arbuthnot."

"Mr. Arbuthnot, of Elm Park?"

"A great match, is it not, in a worldly point of view?" replied Mr. Townley, with a pleasant smile at the tone of my exclamation. "And much better than that: Robert Arbuthnot is a young man of a high and noble nature, as well as devotedly attached to Agnes. He will, I doubt not, prove in every respect a husband deserving[Pg 197] and worthy of her; and that from the lips of a doting old grandpapa must be esteemed high praise. You will see him presently."

I did see him often, and quite agreed in the rector's estimate of his future grandson-in-law. I have not frequently seen a finer-looking young man—his age was twenty-six; and certainly one of a more honorable and kindly spirit, of a more genial temper than he, has never come within my observation. He had drawn a great prize in the matrimonial lottery, and, I felt, deserved his high fortune.

They were married at the time agreed upon, and the day was kept not only at Elm Park, and in its neighborhood, but throughout "our" parish, as a general holiday. And, strangely enough—at least I have never met with another instance of the kind—it was held by our entire female community, high as well as low, that the match was a perfectly equal one, notwithstanding that wealth and high worldly position were entirely on the bridegroom's side. In fact, that nobody less in the social scale than the representative of an old territorial family ought, in the nature of things, to have aspired to the hand of Agnes Townley, appeared to have been a foregone conclusion with every body. This will give the reader a truer and more vivid impression of the bride, than any words or colors I might use.

The days, weeks, months of wedded life flew over Mr. and Mrs. Arbuthnot without a cloud, save a few dark but transitory ones which I saw now and then flit over the husband's countenance as the time when he should become a father drew near, and came to be more and more spoken of. "I should not survive her," said Mr. Arbuthnot, one day in reply to a chance observation of the rector's, "nor indeed desire to do so." The gray-headed man seized and warmly pressed the husband's hand, and tears of sympathy filled his eyes; yet did he, nevertheless, as in duty bound, utter grave words on the sinfulness of despair under any circumstances, and the duty, in all trials, however heavy, of patient submission to the will of God. But the venerable gentleman spoke in a hoarse and broken voice, and it was easy to see he felt with Mr. Arbuthnot that the reality of an event, the bare possibility of which shook them so terribly, were a cross too heavy for human strength to bear and live.

It was of course decided that the expected heir or heiress should be intrusted to a wet-nurse, and a Mrs. Danby, the wife of a miller living not very far from the rectory, was engaged for that purpose. I had frequently seen the woman; and her name, as the rector and I were one evening gossiping over our tea, on some subject or other that I forgot, came up.

"A likely person," I remarked; "healthy, very good-looking, and one might make oath, a true-hearted creature. But there is withal a timidity; a frightenedness in her manner at times, which, if I may hazard a perhaps uncharitable conjecture, speaks ill for that smart husband of hers."

[Pg 198]

"You have hit the mark precisely, my dear sir. Danby is a sorry fellow, and a domestic tyrant to boot. His wife, who is really a good, but meek-hearted person, lived with us once. How old do you suppose her to be?"

"Five-and-twenty perhaps."

"Six years more than that. She has a son of the name of Harper by a former marriage, who is in his tenth year. Anne wasn't a widow long. Danby was caught by her good looks, and she by the bait of a well-provided home. Unless, however, her husband gives up his corn speculations, she will not, I think, have that much longer."

"Corn speculations! Surely Danby has no means adequate to indulgence in such a game as that?"

"Not he. But about two years ago he bought, on credit, I believe, a considerable quantity of wheat, and prices happening to fly suddenly up just then, he made a large profit. This has quite turned his head, which, by-the-by, was never, as Cockneys say, quite rightly screwed on." The announcement of a visitor interrupted any thing further the rector might have had to say, and I soon afterward went home.

A sad accident occurred about a month subsequent to the foregoing conversation. The rector was out riding upon a usually quiet horse, which all at once took it into its head to shy at a scarecrow it must have seen a score of times, and thereby threw its rider. Help was fortunately at hand, and the reverend gentleman was instantly conveyed home, when it was found that his left thigh was broken. Thanks, however, to his temperate habits, it was before long authoritatively pronounced that, although it would be a considerable time before he was released from confinement, it was not probable that the lusty winter of his life would be shortened by what had happened. Unfortunately, the accident threatened to have evil consequences in another quarter. Immediately after it occurred, one Matthews, a busy, thick-headed lout of a butcher, rode furiously off to Elm Park with the news. Mrs. Arbuthnot, who daily looked to be confined, was walking with her husband upon the lawn in front of the house, when the great burly blockhead rode up, and blurted out that the rector had been thrown from his horse, and it was feared killed!

The shock of such an announcement was of course overwhelming. A few hours afterward, Mrs. Arbuthnot gave birth to a healthy male-child; but the young mother's life, assailed by fever, was for many days utterly despaired of—for weeks held to tremble so evenly in the balance, that the slightest adverse circumstance might in a moment turn the scale deathward. At length the black horizon that seemed to encompass us so hopelessly, lightened, and afforded the lover-husband a glimpse and hope of his vanished and well-nigh despaired of Eden. The promise was fulfilled. I was in the library with Mr. Arbuthnot, awaiting the physician's morning report, very anxiously expected at the rectory, when[Pg 199] Dr. Lindley entered the apartment in evidently cheerful mood.

"You have been causelessly alarmed," he said. "There is no fear whatever of a relapse. Weakness only remains, and that we shall slowly, perhaps, but certainly remove."

A gleam of lightning seemed to flash over Mr. Arbuthnot's expressive countenance. "Blessed be God!" he exclaimed. "And how," he added, "shall we manage respecting the child? She asks for it incessantly."

Mr. Arbuthnot's infant son, I should state, had been consigned immediately after its birth to the care of Mrs. Danby, who had herself been confined, also with a boy, about a fortnight previously. Scarlatina being prevalent in the neighborhood, Mrs. Danby was hurried away with the two children to a place near Bath, almost before she was able to bear the journey. Mr. Arbuthnot had not left his wife for an hour, and consequently had only seen his child for a few minutes just after it was born.

"With respect to the child," replied Dr. Lindley, "I am of opinion that Mrs. Arbuthnot may see it in a day or two. Say the third day from this, if all goes well. I think we may venture so far; but I will be present, for any untoward agitation might be perhaps instantly fatal." This point provisionally settled, we all three went our several ways: I to cheer the still suffering rector with the good news.

The next day but one, Mr. Arbuthnot was in exuberant spirits. "Dr. Lindley's report is even more favorable than we had anticipated," he said; "and I start to-morrow morning, to bring Mrs. Danby and the child—" The postman's subdued but unmistakable knock interrupted him. "The nurse," he added, "is very attentive and punctual. She writes almost every day." A servant entered with a salver heaped with letters. Mr. Arbuthnot tossed them over eagerly, and seizing one, after glancing at the post-mark, tore it eagerly open, muttering as he did so, "It is not the usual handwriting; but from her, no doubt—" "Merciful God!" I impulsively exclaimed, as I suddenly lifted my eyes to his. "What is the matter?" A mortal pallor had spread over Mr. Arbuthnot's before animated features, and he was glaring at the letter in his hand as if a basilisk had suddenly confronted him. Another moment, and the muscles of his frame appeared to give way suddenly, and he dropped heavily into the easy-chair from which he had risen to take the letters. I was terribly alarmed, and first loosening his neckerchief, for he seemed choking, I said: "Let me call some one;" and I turned to reach the bell, when he instantly seized my arms, and held me with a grip of iron. "No—no—no!" he hoarsely gasped; "water—water!" There was fortunately some on a side table. I handed it to him, and he drank eagerly. It appeared to revive him a little. He thrust the crumpled letter into his pocket, and said in a low, quick whisper: "There is some one coming! Not a word, remember—not a word!" At the same time, he wheeled his[Pg 200] chair half round, so that his back should be toward the servant we heard approaching.

"I am sent, sir," said Mrs. Arbuthnot's maid, "to ask if the post has arrived?"

"Yes," replied Mr. Arbuthnot, with wonderful mastery of his voice. "Tell your mistress I shall be with her almost immediately, and that her—her son is quite well."

"Mr. Tyrrel," he continued, as soon as the servant was out of hearing, "there is, I think a liqueur-stand on the sideboard in the large dining-room. Would you have the kindness to bring it me, unobserved—mind that—unobserved by any one?"

I did as he requested; and the instant I placed the liqueur-frame before him, he seized the brandy carafe, and drank with fierce eagerness. "For goodness' sake," I exclaimed, "consider what you are about, Mr. Arbuthnot; you will make yourself ill."

"No, no," he answered, after finishing his draught. "It seems scarcely stronger than water. But I—I am better now. It was a sudden spasm of the heart; that's all. The letter," he added, after a long and painful pause, during which he eyed me, I thought, with a kind of suspicion—"the letter you saw me open just now, comes from a relative, an aunt, who is ill, very ill, and wishes to see me instantly. You understand?"

I did understand, or at least I feared that I did too well. I, however, bowed acquiescence; and he presently rose from his chair, and strode about the apartment in great agitation, until his wife's bedroom bell rang. He then stopped suddenly short, shook himself, and looked anxiously at the reflection of his flushed and varying countenance in the magnificent chimney-glass.

"I do not look, I think—or, at least shall not, in a darkened room—odder, more out of the way—that is, more agitated—than one might, that one must appear after hearing of the dangerous illness of—of—an aunt?"

"You look better, sir, than you did a while since."

"Yes, yes; much better, much better. I am glad to hear you say so. That was my wife's bell. She is anxious, no doubt, to see me."

He left the apartment; was gone perhaps ten minutes; and when he returned, was a thought less nervous than before. I rose to go. "Give my respects," he said, "to the good rector; and as an especial favor," he added, with strong emphasis, "let me ask of you not to mention to a living soul that you saw me so unmanned as I was just now; that I swallowed brandy. It would appear so strange, so weak, so ridiculous."

I promised not to do so, and almost immediately left the house, very painfully affected. His son was, I concluded, either dead or dying, and he was thus bewilderedly casting about for means of keeping the terrible, perhaps fatal tidings, from his wife. I afterward heard that he left Elm Park in a post-chaise, about two hours after I came away, unattended by a single servant!

He was gone three clear days only, at the end of which he returned with Mrs. Danby and—his[Pg 201] son—in florid health, too, and one of the finest babies of its age—about nine weeks only—I had ever seen. Thus vanished the air-drawn Doubting Castle and Giant Despair which I had so hastily conjured up! The cause assigned by Mr. Arbuthnot for the agitation I had witnessed, was doubtless the true one; and yet, and the thought haunted me for months, years afterward, he opened only one letter that morning, and had sent a message to his wife that the child was well.

Mrs. Danby remained at the Park till the little Robert was weaned, and was then dismissed very munificently rewarded. Year after year rolled away without bringing Mr. and Mrs. Arbuthnot any additional little ones, and no one, therefore, could feel surprised at the enthusiastic love of the delighted mother for her handsome, nobly-promising boy. But that which did astonish me, though no one else, for it seemed that I alone noticed it, was a strange defect of character which began to develop itself in Mr. Arbuthnot. He was positively jealous of his wife's affection for their own child! Many and many a time have I remarked, when he thought himself unobserved, an expression of intense pain flash from his fine, expressive eyes, at any more than usually fervent manifestation of the young mother's gushing love for her first and only born! It was altogether a mystery to me, and I as much as possible forbore to dwell upon the subject.

Nine years passed away without bringing any material change to the parties involved in this narrative, except those which time brings ordinarily in his train. Young Robert Arbuthnot was a healthy, tall, fine-looking lad of his age; and his great-grandpapa, the rector, though not suffering under any actual physical or mental infirmity, had reached a time of life when the announcement that the golden bowl is broken, or the silver cord is loosed, may indeed be quick and sudden, but scarcely unexpected. Things had gone well, too, with the nurse, Mrs. Danby, and her husband; well, at least, after a fashion. The speculative miller must have made good use of the gift to his wife for her care of little Arbuthnot, for he had built a genteel house near the mill, always rode a valuable horse, kept, it was said, a capital table; and all this, as it seemed, by his clever speculations in corn and flour, for the ordinary business of the mill was almost entirely neglected. He had no children of his own, but he had apparently taken, with much cordiality, to his step-son, a fine lad, now about eighteen years of age. This greatly grieved the boy's mother, who dreaded above all things that her son should contract the evil, dissolute habits of his father-in-law. Latterly, she had become extremely solicitous to procure the lad a permanent situation abroad, and this Mr. Arbuthnot had promised should be effected at the earliest opportunity.

Thus stood affairs on the 16th of October, 1846. Mr Arbuthnot was temporarily absent in Ireland, where he possessed large property, and was making personal inquiries as to the extent of the[Pg 202] potato-rot, not long before announced. The morning's post had brought a letter to his wife, with the intelligence that he should reach home that very evening; and as the rectory was on the direct road to Elm Park, and her husband would be sure to pull up there, Mrs. Arbuthnot came with her son to pass the afternoon there, and in some slight degree anticipate her husband's arrival.

About three o'clock, a chief-clerk of one of the Taunton banks rode up in a gig to the rectory, and asked to see the Rev. Mr. Townley, on pressing and important business. He was ushered into the library, where the rector and I were at the moment rather busily engaged. The clerk said he had been to Elm Park, but not finding either Mr. Arbuthnot or his lady there, he had thought that perhaps the Rev. Mr. Townley might be able to pronounce upon the genuineness of a check for £300, purporting to be drawn on the Taunton Bank by Mr. Arbuthnot, and which Danby the miller had obtained cash for at Bath. He further added, that the bank had refused payment and detained the check, believing it to be a forgery.

"A forgery!" exclaimed the rector, after merely glancing at the document. "No question that it is, and a very clumsily executed one, too. Besides, Mr. Arbuthnot is not yet returned from Ireland."

This was sufficient; and the messenger, with many apologies for his intrusion, withdrew, and hastened back to Taunton. We were still talking over this sad affair, although some hours had elapsed since the clerk's departure—in fact, candles had been brought in, and we were every moment expecting Mr. Arbuthnot—when the sound of a horse at a hasty gallop was heard approaching, and presently the pale and haggard face of Danby shot by the window at which the rector and myself were standing. The gate-bell was rung almost immediately afterward, and but a brief interval passed before "Mr. Danby" was announced to be in waiting. The servant had hardly gained the passage with leave to show him in, when the impatient visitor rushed rudely into the room in a state of great, and it seemed angry excitement.

"What, sir, is the meaning of this ill-mannered intrusion?" demanded the rector, sternly.

"You have pronounced the check I paid away at Bath to be a forgery; and the officers are, I am told, already at my heels. Mr. Arbuthnot, unfortunately, is not at home, and I am come, therefore, to seek shelter with you."

"Shelter with me, sir!" exclaimed the indignant rector, moving, as he spoke, toward the bell. "Out of my house you shall go this instant."

The fellow placed his hand upon the reverend gentleman's arm, and looked with his bloodshot eyes keenly in his face.

"Don't!" said Danby; "don't, for the sake of yourself and yours! Don't! I warn you; or, if you like the phrase better, don't, for the sake of me and mine."

[Pg 203]

"Yours, fellow! Your wife, whom you have so long held in cruel bondage through her fears for her son, has at last shaken off that chain. James Harper sailed two days ago from Portsmouth for Bombay. I sent her the news two hours since."

"Ha! is that indeed so?" cried Danby, with an irrepressible start of alarm. "Why, then—But no matter: here, luckily, comes Mrs. Arbuthnot and her son. All's right! She will, I know, stand bail for me, and, if need be, acknowledge the genuineness of her husband's check."

The fellow's insolence was becoming unbearable, and I was about to seize and thrust him forcibly from the apartment, when the sound of wheels was heard outside. "Hold! one moment," he cried with fierce vehemence. "That is probably the officers: I must be brief, then, and to the purpose. Pray, madam, do not leave the room for your own sake: as for you, young sir, I command you to remain!"

"What! what does he mean?" exclaimed Mrs. Arbuthnot bewilderedly, and at the same time clasping her son—who gazed on Danby with kindled eyes, and angry boyish defiance—tightly to her side. Did the man's strange words give form and significance to some dark, shadowy, indistinct doubt that had previously haunted her at times? I judged so. The rector appeared similarly confused and shaken, and had sunk nerveless and terrified upon a sofa.

"You guess dimly, I see, at what I have to say," resumed Danby with a malignant sneer. "Well, hear it, then, once for all, and then, if you will, give me up to the officers. Some years ago," he continued, coldly and steadily—"some years ago, a woman, a nurse, was placed in charge of two infant children, both boys: one of these was her own; the other was the son of rich, proud parents. The woman's husband was a gay, jolly fellow, who much preferred spending money to earning it, and just then it happened that he was more than usually hard up. One afternoon, on visiting his wife, who had removed to a distance, he found that the rich man's child had sickened of the small-pox, and that there was no chance of its recovery. A letter containing the sad news was on a table, which he, the husband, took the liberty to open and read. After some reflection, suggested by what he had heard of the lady-mother's state of mind, he re-copied the letter, for the sake of embodying in it a certain suggestion. That letter was duly posted, and the next day brought the rich man almost in a state of distraction; but his chief and mastering terror was lest the mother of the already dead infant should hear, in her then precarious state, of what had happened. The tidings, he was sure, would kill her. Seeing this, the cunning husband of the nurse suggested that, for the present, his—the cunning one's—child might be taken to the lady as her own, and that the truth could be revealed when she was strong enough to bear it. The rich man fell into the artful trap, and that which the husband of the nurse had speculated upon, came to pass even[Pg 204] beyond his hopes. The lady grew to idolize her fancied child—she has, fortunately, had no other—and now, I think, it would really kill her to part with him. The rich man could not find it in his heart to undeceive his wife—every year it became more difficult, more impossible to do so; and very generously, I must say, has he paid in purse for the forbearance of the nurse's husband. Well now, then, to sum up: the nurse was Mrs. Danby; the rich, weak husband, Mr. Arbuthnot; the substituted child, that handsome boy, my son!"

A wild scream from Mrs. Arbuthnot broke the dread silence which had accompanied this frightful revelation, echoed by an agonized cry, half tenderness, half rage, from her husband, who had entered the room unobserved, and now clasped her passionately in his arms. The carriage-wheels we had heard were his. It was long before I could recall with calmness the tumult, terror, and confusion of that scene. Mr Arbuthnot strove to bear his wife from the apartment, but she would not be forced away, and kept imploring with frenzied vehemence that Robert—that her boy should not be taken from her.

"I have no wish to do so—far from it," said Danby, with gleeful exultation. "Only folk must be reasonable, and not threaten their friends with the hulks—"

"Give him any thing, any thing!" broke in the unhappy lady. "O Robert! Robert!" she added with a renewed burst of hysterical grief, "how could you deceive me so?"

"I have been punished, Agnes," he answered in a husky, broken voice, "for my well-intending but criminal weakness; cruelly punished by the ever-present consciousness that this discovery must one day or other be surely made. What do you want?" he after awhile added with recovering firmness, addressing Danby.

"The acknowledgment of the little bit of paper in dispute, of course; and say a genuine one to the same amount."

"Yes, yes," exclaimed Mrs. Arbuthnot, still wildly sobbing, and holding the terrified boy still strained in her embrace, as if she feared he might be wrenched from her by force. "Any thing—pay him any thing!"

At this moment, chancing to look toward the door of the apartment, I saw that it was partially opened, and that Danby's wife was listening there. What might that mean? But what of helpful meaning in such a case could it have?

"Be it so, love," said Mr. Arbuthnot, soothingly. "Danby, call to-morrow at the Park. And now, begone at once."

"I was thinking," resumed the rascal with swelling audacity, "that we might as well at the same time come to some permanent arrangement upon black and white. But never mind: I can always put the screw on; unless, indeed, you get tired of the young gentleman, and in that case, I doubt not, he will prove a dutiful and affectionate son—Ah, devil! What do you here? Begone, or I'll murder you! Begone, do you hear?"

[Pg 205]

His wife had entered, and silently confronted him. "Your threats, evil man," replied the woman quietly, "have no terrors for me now. My son is beyond your reach. Oh, Mrs. Arbuthnot," she added, turning toward and addressing that lady, "believe not—"

Her husband sprang at her with the bound of a panther. "Silence! Go home, or I'll strangle—" His own utterance was arrested by the fierce grasp of Mr. Arbuthnot, who seized him by the throat, and hurled him to the further end of the room. "Speak on, woman; and quick! quick! What have you to say?"

"That your son, dearest lady," she answered, throwing herself at Mrs. Arbuthnot's feet, "is as truly your own child as ever son born of woman!"

That shout of half-fearful triumph seems even now as I write to ring in my ears! I felt that the woman's words were words of truth, but I could not see distinctly: the room whirled round, and the lights danced before my eyes, but I could hear through all the choking ecstasy of the mother, and the fury of the baffled felon.

"The letter," continued Mrs. Danby, "which my husband found and opened, would have informed you, sir, of the swiftly approaching death of my child, and that yours had been carefully kept beyond the reach of contagion. The letter you received was written without my knowledge or consent. True it is that, terrified by my husband's threats, and in some measure reconciled to the wicked imposition by knowing that, after all, the right child would be in his right place, I afterward lent myself to Danby's evil purposes. But I chiefly feared for my son, whom I fully believed he would not have scrupled to make away with in revenge for my exposing his profitable fraud. I have sinned; I can hardly hope to be forgiven, but I have now told the sacred truth."

All this was uttered by the repentant woman, but at the time it was almost wholly unheard by those most interested in the statement. They only comprehended that they were saved—that the child was theirs in very truth. Great, abundant, but for the moment, bewildering joy! Mr. Arbuthnot—his beautiful young wife—her own true boy (how could she for a moment have doubted that he was her own true boy!—you might read that thought through all her tears, thickly as they fell)—the aged and half-stunned rector, while yet Mrs. Danby was speaking, were exclaiming, sobbing in each other's arms, ay, and praising God too, with broken voices and incoherent words it may be, but certainly with fervent, pious, grateful hearts.

When we had time to look about us, it was found that the felon had disappeared—escaped. It was well, perhaps, that he had; better, that he has not been heard of since.


From the time of King Solomon downward, laughter has been the subject of pretty general abuse. Even the laughers themselves sometimes[Pg 206] vituperate the cachinnation they indulge in, and many of them

"Laugh in such a sort,
As if they mocked themselves, and scorned the spirit
That could be moved to laugh at any thing."

The general notion is, that laughter is childish, and unworthy the gravity of adult life. Grown men, we say, have more to do than to laugh; and the wiser sort of them leave such an unseemly contortion of the muscles to babes and blockheads.

We have a suspicion that there is something wrong here—that the world is mistaken not only in its reasonings, but its facts. To assign laughter to an early period of life, is to go contrary to observation and experience. There is not so grave an animal in this world as the human baby. It will weep, when it has got the length of tears, by the pailful; it will clench its fists, distort its face into a hideous expression of anguish, and scream itself into convulsions. It has not yet come up to a laugh. The little savage must be educated by circumstances, and tamed by the contact of civilization, before it rises to the greater functions of its being. Nay, we have sometimes received the idea from its choked and tuneless screams, that they were imperfect attempts at laughter. It feels enjoyment as well as pain, but has only one way of expressing both.

Then, look at the baby, when it has turned into a little boy or girl, and come up in some degree to the cachinnation. The laughter is still only rudimental: it is not genuine laughter. It expresses triumph, scorn, passion—anything but a feeling of natural amusement. It is provoked by misfortune, by bodily infirmities, by the writhings of agonized animals; and it indicates either a sense of power or a selfish feeling of exemption from suffering. The "light-hearted laugh of children!" What a mistake! Observe the gravity of their sports. They are masters or mistresses, with the care of a family upon their hands; and they take especial delight in correcting their children with severity. They are washerwomen, housemaids, cooks, soldiers, policemen, postmen; coach, horsemen, and horses, by turns; and in all these characters they scour, sweep, fry, fight, pursue, carry, whirl, ride, and are ridden, without changing a muscle.

At the games of the young people there is much shouting, argument, vituperation—but no laughter. A game is a serious business with a boy, and he derives from it excitement, but no amusement. If he laughs at all, it is at something quite distinct from the purpose of the sport; for instance, when one of his comrades has his nose broken by the ball, or when the feet of another make off from him on the ice, and he comes down upon his back like a thunderbolt. On such occasions, the laugh of a boy puts us in mind of the laugh of a hyæna: it is, in fact, the broken, asthmatic roar of a beast of prey.

It would thus appear that the common charge brought against laughter, of being something[Pg 207] babyish, or childish, or boyish—something properly appertaining to early life—is unfounded. But we of course must not be understood to speak of what is technically called giggling, which proceeds more from a looseness of the structures than from any sensation of amusement. Many young persons are continually on the giggle till their muscles strengthen; and indeed, when a company of them are met together, the affection aggravated by emulation, acquires the loudness of laughter, when it may be likened, in Scripture phrase, to the crackling of thorns. What we mean is a regular guffaw; that explosion of high spirits, and the feeling of joyous excitement, which is commonly written ha! ha! ha! This is altogether unknown in babyhood; in boyhood, it exists only in its rudiments; and it does not reach its full development till adolescence ripens into manhood.

This train of thought was suggested to us a few evenings ago, by the conduct of a party of eight or ten individuals, who meet periodically for the purpose of philosophical inquiry. Their subject is a very grave one. Their object is to mould into a science that which as yet is only a vague, formless, and obscure department of knowledge; and they proceed in the most cautious manner from point to point, from axiom to axiom—debating at every step, and coming to no decision without unanimous conviction. Some are professors of the university, devoted to abstruse studies; some are clergymen; and some authors and artists. Now, at the meeting in question—which we take merely as an example, for all are alike—when the hour struck which terminates their proceedings for the evening, the jaded philosophers retired to the refreshment-room; and here a scene of remarkable contrast occurred. Instead of a single deep, low, earnest voice, alternating with a profound silence, an absolute roar of merriment began, with the suddenness of an explosion of gunpowder. Jests, bon-mots, anecdotes, barbarous plays upon words—the more atrocious the better—flew round the table; and a joyous and almost continuous ha! ha! ha! made the ceiling ring. This, we venture to say it, was laughter—genuine, unmistakable laughter, proceeding from no sense of triumph, from no self-gratulation, and mingled with no bad feeling of any kind. It was a spontaneous effort of nature coming from the head as well as the heart; an unbending of the bow, a reaction from study, which study alone could occasion, and which could occur only in adult life.

There are some people who can not laugh, but these are not necessarily either morose or stupid. They may laugh in their heart, and with their eyes, although by some unlucky fatality, they have not the gift of oral cachinnation. Such persons are to be pitied; for laughter in grown people is a substitute devised by nature for the screams and shouts of boyhood, by which the lungs are strengthened and the health preserved. As the intellect ripens, that shouting ceases, and we learn to laugh as we learn to[Pg 208] reason. The society we have mentioned studied the harder the more they laughed, and they laughed the more the harder they studied. Each, of course, to be of use, must be in its own place. A laugh in the midst of the study would have been a profanation; a grave look in the midst of the merriment would have been an insult to the good sense of the company.

If there are some people who can not laugh, there are others who will not. It is not, however, that they are ashamed of being grown men, and want to go back to babyhood, for by some extraordinary perversity, they fancy unalterable gravity to be the distinguishing characteristic of wisdom. In a merry company, they present the appearance of a Red Indian whitewashed, and look on at the strange ways of their neighbors without betraying even the faintest spark of sympathy or intelligence. These are children of a larger growth, and have not yet acquired sense enough to laugh. Like the savage, they are afraid of compromising their dignity, or, to use their own words, of making fools of themselves. For our part, we never see a man afraid of making a fool of himself at the right season, without setting him down as a fool ready made.

A woman has no natural grace more bewitching than a sweet laugh. It is like the sound of flutes on the water. It leaps from her heart in a clear, sparkling rill; and the heart that hears it feels as if bathed in the cool, exhilarating spring. Have you ever pursued an unseen fugitive through the trees, led on by her fairy laugh; now here, now there—now lost, now found? We have. And we are pursuing that wandering voice to this day. Sometimes it comes to us in the midst of care, or sorrow, or irksome business; and then we turn away, and listen, and hear it ringing through the room like a silver bell, with power to scare away the ill-spirits of the mind. How much we owe to that sweet laugh! It turns the prose of our life into poetry; it flings showers of sunshine over the darksome wood in which we are traveling; it touches with light even our sleep, which is no more the image of death, but gemmed with dreams that are the shadows of immortality.

But our song, like Dibdin's, "means more than it says;" for a man, as we have stated, may laugh, and yet the cachinnation be wanting. His heart laughs, and his eyes are filled with that kindly, sympathetic smile which inspires friendship and confidence. On the sympathy within, these external phenomena depend; and this sympathy it is which keeps societies of men together, and is the true freemasonry of the good and wise. It is an imperfect sympathy that grants only sympathetic tears: we must join in the mirth as well as melancholy of our neighbors. If our countrymen laughed more, they would not only be happier, but better, and if philanthropists would provide amusements for the people, they would be saved the trouble and expense of their fruitless war against public-houses. This is an indisputable proposition. The French and Italians, with wine growing at[Pg 209] their doors, and spirits almost as cheap as beer in England, are sober nations. How comes this? The laugh will answer that leaps up from group after group—the dance on the village-green—the family dinner under the trees—the thousand merry-meetings that invigorate industry, by serving as a relief to the business of life. Without these, business is care; and it is from care, not from amusement, men fly to the bottle.

The common mistake is to associate the idea of amusement with error of every kind; and this piece of moral asceticism is given forth as true wisdom, and, from sheer want of examination, is very generally received as such. A place of amusement concentrates a crowd, and whatever excesses may be committed, being confined to a small space, stand more prominently forward than at other times. This is all. The excesses are really fewer—far fewer—in proportion to the number assembled, than if no gathering had taken place How can it be otherwise? The amusement is itself the excitement which the wearied heart longs for; it is the reaction which nature seeks; and in the comparatively few instances of a grosser intoxication being superadded, we see only the craving of depraved habit—a habit engendered, in all probability, by the want of amusement.

No, good friends, let us laugh sometimes, if you love us. A dangerous character is of another kidney, as Cæsar knew to his cost:

"He loves no plays,
As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
Seldom he laughs;"

and when he does, it is on the wrong side of his mouth.

Let us be wiser. Let us laugh in fitting time and place, silently or aloud, each after his nature. Let us enjoy an innocent reaction rather than a guilty one, since reaction there must be. The bow that is always bent loses its elasticity, and becomes useless.

Monthly Record of Current Events.


The past month has been one of unusual activity. The proceedings of Congress have not been without importance:—political Conventions have been held, shaping to a certain extent public movements for the coming season: and numerous religious and benevolent associations, as well as ecclesiastical assemblies for business purposes, have held their annual meetings.

In the United States Senate, the debate upon an amendment to the Deficiency Bill, by which it was proposed to grant a large increase of pay annually to the Collins line of Atlantic steamers, continued for several days. On the 30th of May, Senator Rusk spoke in favor of it, and on the 6th, Senator James made an argument upon the same side. Senator Jones, of Tennessee, opposed so large a grant as that suggested, though he declared himself desirous of sustaining the line. He moved to strike out $33,000, and insert $25,000, as the increase each trip. On the 7th, Mr. Cass spoke at length in favor of the appropriation. The amendment of Mr. Jones was then rejected, by a vote of 20 to 28. Senator Brooke moved an amendment, granting the whole amount of postages received in place of all other compensation: this was rejected by 9 to 38. Mr. Rusk moved that Congress shall have the power at any time after December, 1854, to discontinue the extra allowance, on giving six months' notice. This was agreed to. Mr. Mallory moved, that the contract be transferred from the Naval to the Post Office Department: this was lost, 18 to 19. On the 13th, Senator Borland spoke in opposition to the increased grant. On the 19th, the amendment, giving the line $33,000 additional pay for each trip, was agreed to, by a vote of 23 ayes to 21 noes: and on the 21st, upon a motion to agree to this amendment, as reported by the Committee of the whole, it was decided in the affirmative by an increased vote.

In the House of Representatives the only action taken, worthy of special record, was the passage, on the 12th, of the Bill granting to each head of a family, who may be a native citizen of the United States or naturalized previous to January, 1852, the right to enter upon and cultivate one quarter-section of the Public Lands, and directing the issue to him of a patent for such land after five years of actual residence and cultivation. The Bill was passed by a vote of 107 to 56.——The other debates of the House have turned so exclusively upon unimportant topics, or upon temporary matters relating to the approaching Presidential election, as to render further reference to them here unnecessary.

In reply to the call of the Senate, the closing correspondence of Chevalier Hulsemann, Austrian Chargé, with the State Department, has been published. Under date of April 29, Mr. H. writes to the Secretary, stating that the time had arrived for carrying into effect the intentions of his government in regard to his official connection with that of the United States. He complains that the Secretary had not answered his communication of December 13, in regard to the public reception given to Kossuth, and that, in spite of verbal encouragements given him to expect different treatment, his movements had been derisively commented on by the public journals. He had deemed it his duty on the 21st of November, to complain of these annoyances, and on the 28th the Secretary had thereupon notified him that no further communication would be held with him except in writing. On the 7th of January, the Secretary of State had seen fit to mate a speech encouraging revolution in Hungary. This demonstration he considered so strange that he immediately inquired of the President whether it was to be considered an expression of the sentiments of the government of the United States. The Austrian government had expressed itself satisfied with the assurances given in return by the President on the 12th of April, and had instructed him no longer to continue official relations with the "principal promoter of the Kossuth episode." He closed his letter by stating that Mr. A. Belmont, Consul-general of Austria at New York, would continue in the exercise of his[Pg 210] functions. Under date of May 3, Mr. Hunter, acting Secretary of State, acknowledged the receipt of this communication, and informed Chevalier Hulsemann that, "as Mr. Belmont is well known to the Secretary of State as a gentleman of much respectability, any communication which it may be proper for him to address to the department in his official character, will be received with entire respect."

The Democratic National Convention, for the nomination of candidates for the coming canvass, met at Baltimore on the 1st of June, and was organized by the election of Hon. John W. Davis, of Indiana, President. The number of delegates present was 288, and a rule was adopted requiring a vote of two-thirds (192) for a nomination. Unsuccessful ballotings were had for four days, and it was not until the forty-ninth ballot that General Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, received the nomination. Upon the forty-eighth ballot he received 55 votes, the remainder being divided among Messrs. Cass, Buchanan, Douglass, and Marcy:—upon the next trial he received 282 votes. Hon. William R. King, of Alabama, was then nominated for Vice President. A series of resolutions was adopted, rehearsing the leading principles of the Democratic party, and declaring resistance to "all attempts at renewing in Congress, or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question under whatever shape or color the attempt may be made"—and also a determination to "abide by, and adhere to, a faithful execution of the acts known as the Compromise measures settled by the last Congress—the act reclaiming fugitives from service or labor included." The Convention adjourned on the 5th.

Mr. Webster, being upon a brief visit to his place of residence, accepted an invitation of the citizens of Boston to meet them at Faneuil Hall, on the 22d of May, when he made a brief address. He spoke of the pleasure which it always gave him to meet the people of Boston—of the astonishing progress and prosperity of that city, and of the many motives her citizens had to labor strenuously for her advancement. He spoke also of the general nature and functions of government, and of the many causes which the people of this country have to reverence and cherish the institutions bequeathed to them by their fathers.

In the State of New York, the Court of Appeals has decided against the constitutionality of the law of 1851, for the more speedy completion of the State canals. It will be recollected that the Constitution of the State directs that the surplus revenues of the Canals shall in each fiscal year be applied to these works, in such manner as the Legislature may direct; and it also forbids the contracting of any debt against the State, except by an act to be submitted to the people, and providing for a direct tax sufficient to pay the interest and redeem within eighteen years the principal of the debt thus contracted. The Bill in question provided for the issue of certificates to the amount of nine millions of dollars, to be paid exclusively out of the surplus revenues thus set apart, and stating on their face that the State was to be in no degree responsible for their redemption; and for the application of moneys that might be raised from the sale of these certificates, to the completion of the Canals. Under the law contracts had been made for the whole work, which were pronounced valid by the last Legislature. The Court of Appeals decides that the law conflicts with that clause of the Constitution which requires the application of the revenues in each fiscal year, as also with that which forbids the incurring of a debt except in the mode specified.[Pg 211] The decision was concurred in by five out of the eight judges of that Court.

In South Carolina the State Convention of delegates elected to take such measures as they might deem expedient against the encroachments and aggressions of the Federal Government, met at Columbia on the 29th of April. It adopted a resolution, declaring that the wrongs sustained by the State, especially in regard to slavery, amply "justify that State, so far as any duty or obligation to her confederates is involved, in dissolving at once all political connection with her co-States, and that she forbears the exercise of that manifest right of self-government, from considerations of expediency only." This resolution was accompanied by an ordinance asserting the right of secession, and declaring that for the sufficiency of the causes which may impel her to such a step, she is responsible solely to God and to the tribunal of public opinion among the nations of the earth. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 135 to 20.

A bill has been passed by the Legislature of Massachusetts, forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors within the limits of the State. As originally passed, it provided for its submission to the popular vote, and was vetoed by the Governor, because it did not provide for taking that vote by secret, instead of by an open ballot. The Legislature then enacted the law without any clause submitting it to the people; and in this form it received the assent of the Governor. A similar law, has been enacted in Rhode Island.

During the second week in May all the Missionary, Bible, and other benevolent associations connected with the several religious denominations having their centres of operation in the city of New York, held their anniversary celebrations in that city. They were so numerous, and their proceedings, except as given in detail, would prove so uninstructive, that it would be useless to make any extended mention of them here. They were attended with even more than the ordinary degree of public interest: very able and eloquent addresses were made by distinguished gentlemen, clergymen and others, from various parts of the country; and reports of their proceedings—of results accomplished and agencies employed—were spread before the public. The history of their labors during the year has been highly encouraging. Largely increased contributions of money have augmented their resources and their ability to prosecute their labors which have been attended with marked success.——During the week succeeding, similar meetings were held in Boston of all the associations which have their head-quarters in that city.——The two General Assemblies, which constitute the government of the two divisions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, have held their sessions during the month. That representing the Old School met at Charleston, S.C., on the 20th of May. Rev. John C. Lord, of Buffalo, N.Y., was chosen Moderator. That of the New School met at Washington on the same day, and Rev. Dr. Adams, of New York, was elected Moderator. Both were engaged for several days in business relating to the government and organization of their respective organizations.——The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North) met at Boston on the 1st of May, and held a protracted session—extending through the whole month. Most of the business transacted related of course to matters of temporary or local interest. Special reports were made and action taken upon the interests of the Church in various sections of the country, and in the fields of missionary labor. It was decided that the[Pg 212] next General Conference should meet at Indianapolis. Steps were taken to organize a Methodist Episcopal Tract Society. On the 25th of May the four new bishops were elected by ballot—Rev. Drs. Levi Scott, Matthew Simpson, Osmond C. Baker, and Edward R. Ames being chosen. Dr. T. E. Bond was elected editor of the Christian Advocate and Journal, the recognized organ of the Church; Dr. J. M'Clintock, editor of the Quarterly Review; D. P. Kidder, of the Sunday School publications; W. Nast, of the Christian Apologist; and Rev. Dr. Charles Elliott, of the Western Christian Advocate. Rev. Dr. J. P. Durbin was chosen Missionary Secretary.

Kossuth, after visiting the principal towns in Massachusetts, had a public reception at Albany, and spent a week in visiting Buffalo, Niagara, Syracuse, Troy, and other cities. He was expected at New York when our Record closed.——Thomas Francis Meagher, Esq., one of the Irish State prisoners, effected his escape from Van Dieman's Land in February, and arrived, in an American vessel, at New York on the 1st of June. He was very warmly welcomed by the public, especially by his countrymen.

From California we have intelligence to the 6th of May. The total shipments of gold for April were $3,419,817; for March, $2,549,704. Great numbers of Chinese continued to arrive, and they had become so numerous in the country as to excite serious disaffection, and to lead to various propositions for their exclusion. The Governor sent in a special message to the Legislature, urging the necessity of restricting emigration from China, to enhance the prosperity and preserve the tranquillity of the State. He objects especially to those who come under contracts for a limited time—returning to China with the products of their labor after their term is out, and adding nothing to the resources or industry of the country. He says that they are not good American citizens, and can not be; and that their immigration is not desirable. By a reference to statistics he shows that China can pour in upon our coast millions of her population without feeling their loss; that they live upon the merest pittance; and that while they spend comparatively nothing in the country, the tendency of their presence is to create an unhealthy competition with our own people, and reduce the price of labor far below our American living standard. Governor Bigler also expresses a doubt, whether the Celestials are entitled to the benefit of the naturalization laws. He proposes as a remedy—1st. Such an exercise of the taxing power by the State as will check the present system of indiscriminate and unlimited Asiatic emigration. 2d. A demand by the State of California for the prompt interposition of Congress, by the passage of an Act prohibiting "Coolies," shipped to California under contracts, from laboring in the mines of this State. Measures have been taken in several of the mining localities to exclude the Chinese from them.——The Legislature adjourned on the 4th; the bill proposing a Convention to revise the Constitution of the State was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 11 to 9.——Serious Indian difficulties have occurred again in the interior. In Trinity County a company of armed citizens went in pursuit of a band of Indians who were supposed to have been concerned in the murder of one of their fellow-citizens. On the 22d of April they overtook them, encamped on the south fork of Trinity river, and taking them by surprise, shot not less than a hundred and fifty of them in cold blood. Men, women, and children were alike destroyed.——Accounts of murders, accidents, &c., abound. The accounts from the mining districts continue to be encouraging.

[Pg 213]

From the Sandwich Islands, we have news to the 10th of April. Parliament was opened on the 7th. In the Society group, the people of Raiatea have rebelled against the authority of Queen Pomare. She had just appointed one of her sons to the government of Raiatea, but before his arrival the inhabitants had assembled, as those of the others had previously done, elected a Governor of their own choice for two years, and formed a Republic of confederated States, each island to constitute a separate State. Military preparations had been made to resist any attempt on the part of the Queen to regain her authority. It was said that she had applied ineffectually for assistance to the French, English, and American authorities at Tahiti. There seemed to be little doubt that all the Leeward islands would establish their independence.


We have news from the city of Mexico to the 10th of May. The news of the rejection of the Tehuantepec treaty is fully confirmed. The vote was almost unanimous against it, and is fully sustained by the press and public sentiment. The Government, however, has appointed Mr. Larrainzas a special envoy to the United States, and has given him, it is said, instructions for arranging this difficulty upon some mutually-satisfactory basis. It is reported that Mexico is not unwilling to grant a right of way across the Isthmus, but that the very large grants of land embraced in the original treaty led to its rejection. Upon this point, however, nothing definite is known.——A difficulty has arisen between the Legislature of the State of Vera Cruz and the Mexican Congress. The former insists upon a greater reduction of the tariff of 1845 than the ten per cent. allowed by the National Senate. The Senate will allow this reduction of ten per cent., but refuses to do away with any of the duties. The Lower House of Congress, on the contrary, is in favor of abolishing some of the duties. Zacatecas and Durango, besides being ravaged by the savages, are suffering from the visitation of a general famine.


From Buenos Ayres we have news to the 5th of April. The upper provinces have sent in felicitations to General Urquiza upon his accession to power. It is thought that the provinces will unite in a General Confederacy, under a Central Government, framed upon the model of that of the United States: and it is suggested that General Urquiza will probably aspire to the position of President. He is conducting affairs firmly and successfully, though against great difficulties in the province, and has issued several proclamations calling upon the people to sustain him in maintaining order and tranquillity. It is said that a rupture has occurred between the Brazilian authorities and the Oriental government, in regard to the execution of late treaties made and ratified by President Suarez. Negotiations had been suspended.

From Chili we hear of the execution, at Valparaiso, on the 4th of April, of Cambiaso, the brigand leader of the convict insurrection at the Straits of Magellan, together with six of his accomplices. They all belonged to the army, Cambiaso being a lieutenant, and were stationed at the garrison. The insurrection which he headed resulted in the seizure of two American vessels, and the murder of all on board. Several others connected with him were convicted, but pardoned on proof that they had been forced to join him.

From Rio Janeiro the only news of interest, is that of the ravages of the yellow-fever, which has been very severe, especially among the shipping. At the middle of April, there were great numbers of[Pg 214] American ships in port, unable to muster hands enough to get out of port.

In Peru the Government has issued a decree against Gen. Flores's expedition, dated the 14th of March, and stated that having received repeated information of the warlike preparations taking place in Peru, they have ordered the Prefects of the different provinces to take all possible measures to put a stop to them; that government will not afford protection to any Peruvian citizen who should embark on this expedition, or take any part in it, and that all Peruvian vessels engaged in the expedition, would no longer be considered as bearing the national flag.

From New Grenada we learn that the President has issued a Message concerning the Flores expedition against Ecuador. From this it appears that, according to a treaty of peace, amity, and alliance, established between the Government and that of Ecuador, in December, 1832, the one power is at all times bound to render aid to the other, both military and pecuniary, in case of foreign invasion. To this end, the President has proclaimed that there be raised in this country, either by loan or force, the sum of sixteen millions of reals, or two millions dollars; and further, that twenty thousand men be called to serve under arms, in order to assist the sister republic. The President declares his intention to oppose Flores and all countries rendering him aid, and accuses Peru of fitting out two vessels, and Valparaiso one, to assist in his expedition; he also demands authority to confiscate the property of all natives and foreigners residing in New Grenada, who may be found to have aided or abetted Flores in any way in his present revolutionary movement. He further states his belief that Flores is merely endeavoring to carry out his revolutionary movement of 1846, in which he was defeated by the British Government, and that the object of the present revolution is to re-establish a monarchical government on the South Pacific coast, under the old Spanish rule. He also expresses his fears that Flores, if successful in Ecuador, will immediately come into New Grenada, and therefore deems it not only a matter of honor, but also of policy, to assist Ecuador. Among the documents submitted, is an official letter to the Ecuadorian Government, from the United States Chargé d'Affairs at Guayaquil, the Hon. C. Cushing; in which he says that "he believes himself sufficiently authorized to state that the Government of the United States will not look with indifference at any warlike movements against Ecuador, likely to effect its independence or present government." At the latest dates, the 27th of April, Flores was still at Puna, delaying his attack upon that place until the war he had endeavored to excite between Peru and Ecuador, should break out. He then expected sufficient aid from Peru to render his capture of the place easy. Other accounts represent his forces as being rapidly diminished by desertion; but these can scarcely be deemed authentic. Reliable intelligence had reached Guayaquil that Peru had sent reinforcements to the fleet of Flores, and this had created so great an excitement that the residence of the Peruvian Consul was attacked and demolished by a mob.


The intelligence from England extends from the 19th of April to the 22d of May, and embraces several items of more than ordinary interest. Parliament re-assembled on the day first named, after the holiday recess. In the House of Commons a committee was appointed, to inquire into the condition of the British Empire in India,—after a speech upon that subject from the President of the Board of[Pg 215] Control, who took occasion to say that the affairs of that country had never before stood upon so good a footing, or in a position so well calculated to develop its resources. There were now 2846 natives employed in administrative offices, and forty educational establishments had been endowed, in which the instruction given was of the highest character.——On the 22d, Mr. Milner Gibson submitted a motion adverse to continuing the duty upon paper, the stamp duties upon newspapers, and the advertisement taxes. The proposition gave rise to a protracted discussion, in which the injurious character of these duties, in restricting the general diffusion of knowledge among the poorer classes of the English people, was very generally admitted, and a wish was expressed on all sides to have them removed. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer feared the effect of such a step upon the revenue of the kingdom—which the proposal would sacrifice to the extent of a million and a half of pounds. Upon his motion the debate was adjourned until the 12th of May, when it was renewed. Mr. Gladstone spoke earnestly in exposition of the depressing influence of these taxes upon the production and sale of books, but conceded full weight to the financial reasons which had been urged against their removal. The vote was then taken, first, upon the motion to abolish the paper duty as soon as it could be done with safety to the revenue: which received ayes, 107—noes, 195; being lost by a majority of 88; next, upon the abolition of the stamp duty on newspapers; for which there were ayes, 100—noes, 199: majority against it, 99; and lastly, upon the motion to abolish the tax upon advertisements, for which there were 116 ayes, and 181 noes, and which was thus rejected by a majority of 65.——On the 23d of April, the Militia Bill came up; and was supported by the Ministerial party, and opposed by the late Ministers. Lord John Russell opposed it, because he deemed it inadequate to the emergency. The 41,000 infantry which it proposed to raise, he deemed insufficient, and the character of the force provided, he feared would make it unreliable. Lord Palmerston vindicated the bill against Lord John's objections, and thought it at once less expensive and more efficient than the one submitted by the late government. On the 26th, to which the debate was adjourned, after further discussion, the second reading of the bill was carried by 315 to 105.——The bill came up again on the 6th, when Mr. Disraeli declared that its main object was to habituate the people of Great Britain to the use of arms, and thus to lay the foundation of a constitutional system of national defense. He did not claim that the bill would at once produce a disciplined army, able to encounter the veteran legions of the world; but it would be a step in the right direction. After the debate, an amendment, moved by Mr. Gibson, that the words 80,000 should not form part of the bill, was rejected, 106 to 207. On the 13th, the debate was renewed, and several other amendments, designed to embarrass the bill, were rejected. But up to our latest dates, the vote on its final passage had not been taken.——On the 10th of May, the Ministry was defeated, upon a motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for leave to bring in a bill to assign the four seats in Parliament, which would be vacated if the bill for the disfranchisement of the borough of St. Albans should pass. He proposed to assign two of these seats to the West-Riding of Yorkshire, and the other two to the southern division of the county of Lancaster. The motion was lost: receiving 148 votes in favor, and 234 against it—being an anti-Ministerial majority of 86.——The Tenant[Pg 216] Right Bill, intended to meliorate the condition of land cultivators in Ireland, was rejected on the 5th, by a vote of 57 to 167, upon the second reading.——The Court of Exchequer having decided against the right of Alderman Salomons to take his seat in Parliament, Lord Lyndhurst has introduced a bill to remove Jewish disabilities.——The Duke of Argyle called attention, on the 17th, to the case of Mr. Murray, an Englishman, who was said to have been imprisoned for several years in Rome, without a trial, and to be now lying under sentence of death. The Earl of Malmesbury said that strenuous efforts had been made to procure reliable information upon this case; but that great difficulty had been experienced, in consequence of the very defective and unworthy provisions which existed for diplomatic intercourse with the Roman government. The Duke of Argyle thought that the English government owed to its own dignity some energetic action upon this case. The correspondence upon this subject, as also that with Austria upon the expulsion of Protestant missionaries from that country, was promised at an early day. On the 27th of April, Mr. Disraeli, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made the annual statement of the financial condition and necessities of the kingdom, which had been awaited with great interest, as an official announcement of the intended course of the new Ministry upon the subject of taxation. He discussed, in succession, the three modes of deriving income—from duties on imports, duties on domestic manufactures, and direct taxation. During the last ten years, under the policy established in 1842 by Sir Robert Peel, the duties upon corn and other articles of import, have been reduced, in the aggregate, upward of nine million pounds sterling; and this reduction had been so steadily and regularly made every year, that any proposition to restore them would now have very slight chances of success. In the excise duties, also, there had been reductions to the amount of a million and a half; and it was clear that the Minister who should propose to increase the revenue by adding to the duties on domestic manufactures, could not expect to be sustained by the House or the country. The income tax had been very unpopular, and could only be renewed last year, for a single year, and then with very considerable modifications. Comparing the actual income of the past year, with that which had been estimated, Mr. Disraeli said that, while it had been estimated at £52,140,000, the actual income had been £52,468,317, notwithstanding the loss of £640,000 by the change of the house tax for the window duty, and the reduction in the coffee, timber, and sugar duties. The customs had been estimated to produce £20,000,000. After deducting the anticipated loss, £400,000, on account of the three last-named duties, they had produced £20,673,000; and the consumption of the articles on which the duties had been reduced had increased—foreign coffee by 3,448,000 lbs., as compared with 1851, when the higher and differential duty prevailed; and colonial coffee from 28,216,000 lbs. to 29,130,000 lbs. Foreign sugar had increased in the last year by 412,000 cwts., and since 1846 (when the first reduction took place) by 1,900,000 cwts. a year; British colonial sugar, by upward of 114,000 in 1852, as compared with 1851; and during the last six years the consumption had increased 95,000 tons, or 33 per cent. on the consumption of 1846; and in timber the result was the same. The other heads of revenue had been thus estimated: Excise, £14,543,000; stamps, £6,310,000; taxes, £4,348,000; property tax, £5,380,000; Post-office, £830,000; Woods and Forests,[Pg 217] £160,000; miscellaneous, £262,000; old stores, £450,000; and had produced respectively £14,543,000, £6,346,000, £3,691,000, £5,283,000, £1,056,000, £150,000, £287,000, and £395,000. The expenditure of the year, estimated at £50,247,000, had been £50,291,000, and the surplus in hand was £2,176,988. The expenditure for the current year he estimated at £51,163,979, including an additional vote to be proposed of £200,000 for the Kaffir war, and another of £350,000 for the expenses of the militia. The income, which in some items had been increased by the Exhibition last year, was estimated for the next year thus—Customs, £20,572,000; Excise, £14,604,000; stamps, £6,339,000; taxes, £3,090,000; property tax (the half-year), £2,641,500; Post-office, £938,000; Woods and Forests, £235,000; miscellaneous, £260,000; old stores, £400,000; total, £48,983,000, exhibiting a deficiency of £2,180,479, which would be increased in the next year by the total loss of the income tax, supposing it not to be renewed, to £4,400,000. If, however, that tax were re-imposed, he calculated it would produce net £5,187,000, which would give a gross income, from all sources, of £51,625,000, the surplus would then be £461,021. And though it would give him great pleasure to re-adjust the burdens of taxation fairly and equally on all classes, and all interests, yet, seeing the position of the finances, and the difficulty, if not impossibility, of dealing with the subject in the present state of feeling in the House and the country, he felt bound to propose the re-imposition of the property and income tax for a further limited period of one year. This statement was received by the House, as by the whole country, as embodying a substantial tribute from the Protectionist Ministry to the soundness of the Free Trade policy and to the necessity of leaving it undisturbed.

The annual dinner of the Royal Academy was attended on the 1st with more than usual eclat. Sir Charles Eastlake presided, and proposed the health of the Duke of Wellington, who duly acknowledged the compliment. The Earl of Derby was present, and spoke encouragingly of the prospect of having a better building soon erected for the accommodation of the Academy's works. Pleasant compliments were exchanged between Disraeli and Lord John Russell, and speeches were made by sundry other dignitaries who were in attendance.——At the Lord Mayor's dinner, on the 8th, the festivities partook more of a political character. The Earl of Derby spoke long and eloquently of the nature of the British Government, urging that in all its various departments it was a compromise between conflicting expedients and a system of mutual concessions between apparently conflicting interests. Count Walewski, the French Minister, congratulated the company on the good understanding which prevailed between France and England, and Mr. Disraeli spoke of the House of Commons as a true republic—"the only republic, indeed, that exists founded upon the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity; but liberty there was maintained by order—equality is mitigated by good taste, and fraternity takes the shape of cordial brotherhood."——The anniversary dinner of the Royal Literary Fund took place on the 12th, and was chiefly distinguished by an amusing speech from Thackeray.

An important collision has occurred between the book publishers in London and the retail booksellers, which has engrossed attention to no inconsiderable extent. The publishers, it seems, have been in the habit of fixing a retail price upon their books, and then selling them to dealers at a deduction of twenty-five[Pg 218] per cent. Some of the latter, thinking to increase their sales thereby, have contented themselves with a smaller rate of profit, and have sold their books at less than the price fixed by the publishers. Against this the latter have taken active measures of remonstrance, having formed an association among themselves, and agreed to refuse to deal with booksellers who should thus undersell the regular trade. On the other hand the retail dealers have held meetings to assert their rights, and one of them, held on the 4th, was attended by a very large number of the authors and men of letters interested in the question. Mr. Dickens presided, and a characteristic letter was read from Mr. Carlyle, who was warmly in favor of the objects of the meeting, though he thought many other things necessary to give authors their proper position in society. The rights of the case were submitted to Lord Campbell, Mr. Grote, and Dr. Milman, who heard both sides argued, and gave a decision on the 18th, on all points against the regulations for which the publishers contended.

Very sad intelligence has reached England of the fate of a party of seven missionaries, who were sent out by the Protestant Missionary Society, in 1850, to Patagonia. Captain Gardiner was at the head of the band. The vessel that took them out landed at Picton Island, off the southern coast of Terra del Fuego, on the 6th of December, 1850, and kept hovering about to see how they were likely to be received. The natives seemed menacing: but on the 18th of December the missionaries left the ship, and with their stores of provisions, Bibles, &c., embarked in two boats, meaning to make for the coast of Terra del Fuego. On the 19th the ship sailed; and no news of them having reached England, the ship Dido was ordered by the Admiralty in October, 1850, to touch there, and ascertain their fate. The Dido reached the coast in January, and after ten or twelve days of search, on a rock near where they first landed on Picton Island, a writing was found directing them to go to Spaniard Harbor, on the opposite Fuegan coast. Here were found, near a large cavern, the unburied bodies of Captain Gardiner and another of the party; and the next day the bodies of three others were found. A manuscript journal, kept by Captain Gardiner, down to the last day when, only two or three days before his death, he became too weak to write, was also found, from which it appeared that the parties were driven off by the natives whenever they attempted to land; that they were thus compelled to go backward and forward in their boats, and at last took refuge in Spaniard harbor, as the only spot where they could be safe; that they lived there eight months, partly in a cavern and partly under shelter of one of the boats, and that three of them died by sickness, and the others by literal and lingering starvation. Four months elapsed between the death of the last of the party and the discovery of their bodies. The publication of the journal of Captain Gardiner, in which profound piety is shown mingled with his agonizing grief, has excited a deep sensation throughout England.——An explosion occurred in a coal pit in the Aberdare valley, South Wales, on the 10th, by which sixty-four lives were lost; another pit near Pembrey filled with water the same night, and twenty-seven men were drowned.——The fate of the Crystal Palace was sealed by a vote in the House of Commons of 103 to 221 on a proposition to provide for its preservation. It has been sold, and is to be forthwith taken down, and re-erected out of town, for a winter garden.——A memorial numerously and most respectably signed, was presented to the Lord Lieutenant[Pg 219] of Ireland, on the 17th of May, praying that the Queen would extend clemency to the Irish State prisoners now in exile at Van Dieman's Land. The Lord Lieutenant, in a brief and direct speech, declined to lay the memorial before her Majesty, on the ground that the exiles in question deserved no further clemency at her hands. He noticed, with censure, the fact that one of them had effected his escape.


The fêtes of May 10th, were attended with great splendor and eclat; but the non-proclamation of the Empire on that occasion is the feature most remarked upon by the foreign press. The number of troops present is estimated at 80,000. The whole Champ de Mars had been prepared especially for the occasion. The President was received with loud applause. After distributing the eagles among the various regiments, he addressed them briefly, saying that the history of nations was, in a great measure, the history of armies—that on their success or reverse depends the fate of civilization and of the country; that the Roman eagle adopted by the Emperor Napoleon at the commencement of the century was the most striking signification of the regeneration and the grandeur of France; and that it should now be resumed, not as a menace against foreign powers, but as the symbol of independence, the souvenir of an heroic epoch, and as the sign of the nobleness of each regiment. After this address the standards were taken to the chapel and blessed by the Archbishop. The ceremonies were protracted and attended by an immense concourse of spectators.——General Changarnier has addressed a remarkable letter to the Minister of the Interior in reply to his demand that he should take the oath of allegiance to Louis Napoleon. He says that the President had repeatedly endeavored to seduce him to his support—that he had offered not only to make him Marshal but to confer upon him another military dignity unknown since the Empire, and to attach to it immense pecuniary rewards; that when he perceived that personal ambition had no effect upon him, he endeavored to gain him over, by pretending a design to prepare the way for the restoration of the Monarchy to which he supposed him to be attached. All these attempts had been without effect. He had never ceased to be ready to defend with energy the legal powers of Louis Napoleon, and to give every opposition to the illegal prolongation of those powers. The exile he had undergone in solitude and silence had not changed his opinion of the duties he owed to France. He would hasten to her defense should she be attacked, but he refused the oath exacted by the perjured man who had failed to corrupt him. In reply to this letter, M. Cassagnac, editor of the Constitutionnel, brought against General Changarnier specific charges—that in March, 1849, he demanded from Louis Napoleon written authority to throw the Constituent Assembly out of the window—that he subsequently urged him in the strongest manner to make a coup d'etat; and that in November, 1850, he assembled a number of political personages, and proposed to them to arrest Louis Napoleon and send him to prison, to prorogue the Assembly for six months, and to make him Dictator. It was further alleged that one of the persons present at this meeting was M. Molé, who refused to sanction the scheme and immediately disclosed it to the President. Count Molé immediately published an indignant denial of the whole story, so far as his name had been connected with it.——General Lamoriciere has, also, in a published letter, refused to take the oath required; he declares[Pg 220] his readiness to defend France against foreign foes whenever she shall be attacked, but he will not take the oath of fidelity to a perjured chief.——The venerable astronomer, Arago, has also refused to take the oath of allegiance required of all connected in any way with the government. He wrote a firm and dignified letter to the Minister notifying him of his purpose, and calling on him to designate the day when it would be necessary for him to quit the Bureau of Longitude with which he had been so closely connected for half a century. He also informed him that he should address a circular letter to scientific men throughout the world, explaining the necessity which drove him from an establishment with which his name had been so long associated, and to vindicate his motives from suspicion. The Minister informed him that, in consideration of his eminent services to the cause of science, the government had decided not to exact the oath, and that he could therefore retain his post.——These examples of non-concurrence in the new policy of the President have been followed by inferior magistrates in various parts of France. In several of the departments members of the local councils have refused to take the oaths of allegiance, and in the towns of Havre, Thiers, and Evreux the tribunals of commerce have done likewise. The civil courts of Paris have also, in one or two instances, asserted their independence by deciding against the government in prosecutions commenced against the press. On the 23d of April, moreover, the civil tribunal gave judgment on the demand made by the Princes of the Orleans family to declare illegal the seizure by the Prefect of the Seine, of the estates of Neuilly and Monceaux, under the decree of the 22d of January, relative to the property of the late king, Louis Philippe. In answer to this demand, the Prefect of the Seine, in the name of the government, called on the tribunal to declare that the decree of 22d January was a legislative act, and the seizure of the property an administrative act, and that consequently the tribunal had no jurisdiction. The case was pleaded at great length; and the court pronounced a judgment declaring itself competent, keeping the case before it, fixing a day for discussing it on its merits, and condemning the Prefect in costs. These movements indicate a certain degree of reaction in the public mind, and have prepared the way for the favorable reception of a letter which the Bourbon pretender, the Count de Chambord, has issued to the partisans of monarchy throughout France. This letter is dated at Venice, April 27, and is designed as an official declaration of his wishes to all who wish still to remain faithful to the principles which he represents. He declares it to be the first duty of royalists to do no act, to enter into no engagement, in opposition to their political faith. They must not hesitate, therefore, to refuse all offices where promises are required from them contrary to their principles, and which would not permit them to do in all circumstances what their convictions impose upon them. Still, important and active duties are devolved upon them. They should reside as much as possible in the midst of the population on whom they can exercise influence, and should try, by rendering themselves useful to them, to acquire, each day, still greater claims to their gratitude and confidence. They ought also to aid the government in its struggles against anarchy and socialism, and to show themselves in all emergencies the most courageous defenders of social order. Even in case of an attempt to re-establish the Empire, they are exhorted to abstain from doing any thing to endanger the repose[Pg 221] of the country, but to protest formally against any change which can endanger the destinies of France, and expose it once more to catastrophes and perils from which the legitimate monarchy alone can save it. He urges them to be unalterable on matters of principle, but at the same time calm, patient, and ever moderate and conciliating toward persons. "Let your ranks, your hearts," he says, "like mine, remain continually open to all. We are all thrown on times of trials and of sacrifices; and my friends will not forget that it is from the land of exile that I make this new appeal to their constancy and their devotedness. Happier days are yet in store for France and for us. I am certain of the fact. It is in my ardent love for my country—it is in the hope of serving it—of being able to serve it—that I gather the strength and the courage necessary for me to accomplish the great duties which have been imposed on me by Providence."——Additional importance is ascribed to this proclamation from the fact that it was made just after a visit from the Grand Dukes of Russia and Venice, and just before the arrival of the Emperor Nicholas at Vienna. The death of Prince Schwarzenberg is supposed to have led to a still closer union of interest and of policy between Austria and Russia, as the personal leanings both of the Austrian Emperor, and the new prime Minister are known to be in that direction.

Some further developments have been made of the sentiments of the three allied powers, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, concerning the re-establishment of the Empire in France. It is represented that the late Minister of Austria was in favor of encouraging such a step, but that both the other powers concurred in saying that the accomplishment of it would be a "violation of the treaties of 1814 and 1815, inasmuch as those treaties have excluded for ever the family of Bonaparte from the government of France." Now, those treaties form the basis of the whole policy of Europe; and it is the duty of the powers to demand that they shall be respected by the President of the Republic himself in all their provisions, and particularly not to permit any infraction of them as to the point in question, which has reference to him personally. Nevertheless, the sovereigns of Prussia and Russia would not perhaps be disposed to refuse to recognize Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of the French Republic—if that title were conferred on him by a new plébiscite—as had been spoken of but they should only recognize him as an elective Emperor, and for life, with only a status analogous to that of the former kings of Poland. If the two cabinets of St. Petersburg and Berlin consented to such a recognition, it was the utmost that it was possible to do; but, most certainly, beyond that point they should never go. At the same time, the cabinets formally declare, that they would only recognize the Emperor of the French Republic on the condition of his election being the result of the mode already announced (the plébiscite). They will not admit any other manner of re-establishing in France an imperial throne, even were it but for life; the two sovereigns being firmly resolved never to accept in the person of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, any other than the supreme elective chief of the Republic, and to oppose by all the means in their power the pretension of establishing the actual President of the French Republic as Emperor, in the sense of an hereditary transmitter or founder of a Napoleonian dynasty. They add, that Louis Napoleon Bonaparte not being the issue of a sovereign or reigning family, can not become a real sovereign, or assimilate himself to reigning houses.——The pictures belonging[Pg 222] to the late Marshal Soult were sold at auction on the 19th. The collection consisted of 157 paintings, and among them were many of the master-pieces of the old masters. The most celebrated was Murillo's 'Conception of the Virgin,' for which the chief competitors were the Emperor of Russia, the Queen of Spain, and the Director of the Louvre. It was bought by the latter at the enormous price of 586,000 francs,—or about $117,200.


In Prussia, a communication was made on the 28th of April by the King to the Chambers, transmitting a bill to abolish the articles of the Constitution and regulate the organization of the peerage. In the First Chamber it was referred to the existing committee on the constitution of the body concerned. In the Second Chamber a committee was appointed to consider the measure. The minister desired that the matter might be quickly dispatched. In the same sitting of the 28th, the Second Chamber came to two other important votes. It rejected, by a majority of 186 to 82, the resolution of the First Chamber, and which, dividing the budget of ordinary and extraordinary expenses, decided that the first should be no longer fixed annually, but once for all, and that no future modification should take place, except by a law. It also rejected, by 225 to 57, another decision of the First Chamber, by which it had declared, in opposition to the Constitution, that it could vote the budget, article by article, like the Second Chamber.

In Tuscany a decree of the Grand Duke has abolished the Constitution and Civic Guard, and constituted the government on the same basis as before 1848. The ministers are henceforward responsible to the Grand Duke; the Council of State is separated from that of the Ministers; the communal law of 1849 and the law on the press are to be revised.

The Danish question has been settled in London, by conferences of the representatives of the several powers concerned. Prince Christian of Glucksberg is to succeed to the crown on the death of the present King and his brother, both of whom are childless.

In Turkey all differences with Egypt have been adjusted. Fuad-Effendi, it is announced by the Paris Presse, justifying all the hopes which his mission had given birth to, has come to a complete understanding with the Egyptian government, whose good intentions and perfect fair dealing he admits. The Viceroy accepts the code with the modifications called for by the state of the country, and which the Turco-Egyptian Commissioners had already fixed in their conferences at Constantinople. On its side, the Porte accords to the Viceroy the right of applying the punishment of death during seven years, without reference to the divan.

Editor's Table.

The birth-day of a nation is not merely a figurative expression. Nations are born as well as men. The very etymology of the word implies as much. Social compacts may be declarative of their independence, or definitive of their existence, but do not create them. In truth, all such compacts and conventions do in themselves imply a previous natural growth or organization lying necessarily still farther back, as the ground of any legitimacy they may possess. There can be no con-vening unless there is something to determine, a priori, who shall come together, and how they shall come together—as representatives of what principals—as parts of what ascertained whole—with what powers, on what terms, and for what ends. There can no more be an artificial nation than an artificial language. Aside from other influences, all attempts of the kind must be as abortive in politics as they have ever been in philology. Nations are not manufactured, either to order or otherwise, but born—born of other nations, and nurtured in those peculiar arrangements of God's providence which are expressly adapted to such a result. The analogy between them and individuals may be traced to almost any extent. They have, in general, some one event in which there may be discovered the conceptive principle, or principium, of their national life. They have their embryo or formative period. They have their birth, or the time of their complete separation from the maternal nationality to which they were most nearly and dependently united. They have their struggling infancy—their youth—their growth—their heroic period—their iron age of hardship and utility—their manhood—their silver age of luxury and refinement—their golden age of art and science and literature—their acme—their decline—their decay—their final extinction, or else their dissolution into those fragmentary organisms from which spring up again the elements or seeds of future nationalities.

We need not trace our own history through each of these periods. The incipient stages have all been ours, although, in consequence of a more healthy and vigorous maternity, we have passed through them with a rapidity of which the previous annals of the world present no examples. Less than a century has elapsed since that birth, whose festive natal day is presented in the calendar of the present month, and yet we are already approaching the season of manhood. We have passed that proud period which never comes but once in a nation's life, although it may be succeeded by others far surpassing it in what may be esteemed the more substantial elements of national wealth and national prosperity. Almost every state has had its heroic age. We too have had ours, and we may justly boast of it as one equaling in interest and grandeur any similar period in the annals of Greece and Rome—as one which would not shrink from a comparison with the chivalrous youth of any of the nations of modern Europe. It is the unselfish age, or rather, the time when the self-consciousness, both individual and national, is lost in some strong and all-absorbing emotion—when a strange elevation of feeling and dignity of action are imparted to human nature, and men act from motives which seem unnatural and incredible to the more calculating and selfish temperaments of succeeding times. It is a period which seems designed by Providence, not for itself only, or the great effects of which it is the immediate cause, but for its influence upon the whole after-current of the national existence.[Pg 223] The strong remembrance of it becomes a part of the national life; it enters into its most common and constant thinking, gives a peculiar direction to its feeling; it imparts a peculiar character to its subsequent action; it makes its whole historical being very different from what it would have been had there been no such epic commencement, no such superhuman or heroic birth. It furnishes a treasury of glorious reminiscences wherewith to reinvigorate from time to time the national virtue when impaired, as it ever is, by the factious, and selfish, and unheroic temper produced by subsequent days of merely economical or utilitarian prosperity.

This heroic age must pass away. It is sustained, while it lasts, by special influences which can not have place in the common life and ordinary work of humanity. Its continuance, therefore, would be inconsistent with other benefits and other improvements of a more sober or less exciting kind, but which, nevertheless, belong to the proper development of the state. The deep effects, however, still remain. It inspires the poet and the orator. It furnishes the historian with his richest page. It tinges the whole current of the national literature. In fact, there can be no such thing as a national literature, in its truest sense—there can be no national poetry, no true national art, no national music, except as more or less intimately connected with the spirit of such a period.

It was not the genius of democracy simply, as Grote and some other historians maintain, but the heroic remembrances of the Persian invasion, that roused the Grecian mind, and created the brilliant period of the Grecian civilization. The new energy that came from this period was felt in every department—of song, of eloquence, of art, and even of philosophy. Marathon and Salamis still sustained the national life when it was waning under the mere political wisdom of Pericles, the factious recklessness of Alcibiades, and the still more debasing influence of the venal demagogues of later times. When this old spirit had gone out, there was nothing in the mere forms of her free institutions that could prevent Athens from sinking down into insignificance, or from being absorbed in the growth of new and rising powers.

Rome would never have been the mistress of the world, had it not been for the heroic impetus generated in the events which marked her earliest annals. Even if we are driven to regard these as in a great measure mythical, they still, in the highest and most valid sense, belong to Roman history, and all the efforts of Niebuhr and of Arnold have failed, and ever will fail, to divest them of the rank they have heretofore maintained among the formative influences in the Roman character. They entered into the national memory. They formed for ages the richest and most suggestive part of the national thinking. They became thus more really and vitally incorporated into the national being than many events whose historical authenticity no critic has ever called in question. But we can not believe them wholly or even mainly mythical. Some of the more modern theories on this subject will have to be re-examined. With all their plausibility they are open to the objection of presenting the mightiest effects without adequate or corresponding causes. Twelve hundred years of empire, such as that of Rome, could not well have had its origin in any period marked by events less strangely grand and chivalrous than those that Livy has recorded. Brutus, and Cincinnatus, and Fabricius, must have been as real as the splendid reality which could only have grown out of so heroic an ancestry.[Pg 224] The spirit of Numa more truly ruled, even in the later Roman empire, than did ever that of Augustus. It was yet powerful in the days of Constantine. It was still present in that desperate struggle which made it difficult, even for a Christian senate, to cast out the last vestiges of the old religion, and to banish the Goddess of Victory from the altars and temples she had so long occupied.

A similar view, drawn from the Jewish history, must commend itself to every one who has even an ordinary knowledge of the Scriptures. The glorious deliverances from Egyptian bondage, the sublime reminiscences of Sinai, the heroic, as exhibited in Moses, and Joshua, and Jephthah, and Gideon, are ever reappearing in the Hebrew prophetic and lyrical poetry. These proud recollections cheer them in the long years of the captivity. Even in the latest and most debasing periods of their history, they impart an almost superhuman energy to their struggle with Rome; and what is more than all, after having sustained the Jewish song, and the Jewish eloquence, during ages of depressing conflict, their influence is still felt in all the noblest departments of Christian art and Christian literature.

No, we may almost say it, there can not truly be a nation without something that may be called its heroic age; or if there have been such, the want of this necessary fountain of political vitality has been the very reason why they have perished from the pages of history. We, too, have had such a period in our annals, and we are all the better for it, and shall be all the better for it, as long as our political existence shall endure. Some such chapter in our history seems necessary to legitimate our claim to the appellation; and however extravagant it may seem, the assertion may, nevertheless, be hazarded, that one borrowed from the maternal nationality, or from a foreign source, or even altogether mythical, would be better than none at all. If we had not had our Pilgrim Fathers, our Mayflower band, our Plymouth Rock, our Bunker Hill, our Saratoga, our Washingtons, our Warrens, our Putnams, our Montgomerys, our heroic martyr-Congresses, voting with the executioner and the ax before their eyes, we might better have drawn upon the epic imagination for some such introduction to our political existence, than regard it as commencing merely with prosaic paper compacts, or such artificial gatherings as are presented in your unheroic, though very respectable Baltimore and Harrisburg Conventions.

Some such chivalrous commencement is, moreover, absolutely essential to that great idea of national continuity, so necessary for the highest ends of political organization; and yet so liable to be impaired or wholly lost in the strife of those ephemeral parties, those ever-gathering, ever-dissolving factions, which, ignoring both the future and the past, are absorbed solely in the magnified interests of the present hour. For this purpose, we want an antiquity of some kind—even though it may not be a distant one—something parted from us by events so grand, so unselfish, so unlike the common, every-day acts of the current years, as to have the appearance at least of a sacred and memory-hallowed remoteness. We need to have our store of glorious olden chronicles, over which time has thrown his robe of reverence—a reverence which no profane criticism of after days shall be allowed to call in question, no subsequent statistics be permitted to impair. We need to have our proud remembrances for all parties, for all interests, for all ages—our common fund of heroic thought, affording a constant supply for the common mind of the state, thus ever living in the[Pg 225] national history, connecting each present not only with such a heroic commencement, but, through it, with all the past that intervenes, and in this way furnishing a historical bond of union stronger than can be found in any amount of compromises or paper constitutions.

If we would be truly a State, we must have "the Fathers," and the revered "olden time." It is in some such veneration for a common glorious ancestry that a political organization finds its deepest root. Instead of being absurd, it is the most rational, as well as the most conservative of all feelings in which we can indulge. The more we are under its influence, the higher do we rise in the scale of being above the mere animal state, and that individualism which is its chief characteristic. It is a "good and holy thought" thus to regard the dead as still present with us, and past generations as still having an interest in our history—still justly claiming some voice in the administration of that inheritance they have transmitted to us, and in respect to which our influence over the ages to come will be in proportion to our reverential remembrance of those that have preceded. Such a feeling is the opposite of that banefully radical and disorganizing view which regards the state as a mere aggregation of individual local fragments in space, and a succession of separately-flowing drops in time—which looks upon the present majority of the present generation as representing the whole national existence, and which is, of course, not only inconsistent with any true historical life, but with any thing which is really entitled to the name of fundamental or constitutional law. It is the opposite, both in its nature and its effects, of that contemptible cant now so common in both political parties, and which is ever talking of "Young America" as some new development, unconnected with any thing that has ever gone before it. The heroic men of our revolution, they were "Young America;" the gambling managers of modern political caucuses, to whatever party they may belong, or whatever may be their age or standing, are the real and veritable "old fogies."

We can not attach too much importance to this idea of inheritance, so deeply grounded in the human mind. The Sancti Patres are indispensable to a true historical nationality. Hence the classical name for country—Patria a patribusThe Father-land. We love it, not simply for its present enjoyments and present associations, but for its past recollections—

Land of the Pilgrims' pride,
Land where our fathers died.

Without some such thought of transmitted interest continually carrying the past into the present, and both into the future, patriotism is but the cant of the demagogue. Our country is our country, not only in space, but in time—not only territorially, but historically; and it is in this latter aspect it must ever present its most intense and vital interest. Where such an interest is excluded, or unappreciated, there is nothing elevated, nothing heroic, to which the name of patriotism can be given. There is nothing but the most momentary selfishness which can bind our affections to one spot on earth more than to any other.

Opposed to this is a species of cosmopolitanism, which sometimes claims the Scriptures as being on its side. The opinion, however, will not stand the test of fair interpretation. The Bible, it is true, enjoins love to all mankind, but not as a blind and abstract philanthropy which would pass over all the intermediate gradations that Infinite Wisdom has appointed. Love of "the fathers," love of family,[Pg 226] love of kindred, love of "our own people"—"our own, our native land"—our "own Zion," nationally, as well as ecclesiastically, are commended, not only as good in themselves, but as the foundation of all the other social virtues, as the appointed means, in fact, by which the circle of the affections is legitimately expanded, and, at the same time, with a preservation of that intensity of feeling which is never found in any inflating abstract cosmopolitan benevolence.

In no book, too, do we find more distinctly set forth that idea which we have styled the root of all true patriotism—the idea of the national continuance from generation to generation, as a living, responsible whole—as one ever-flowing stream, in which the individual parts are passing away, it is true but evermore passing to that "congregation of the fathers" which still lives in the present organic life. It is presented, too, not as any difficult or transcendental or mystical conception, but as a thought belonging everywhere to the common mind, and necessarily underlying all those dread views the Scripture so often give us of national accountability and national retribution.

Every country distinguished for great deeds has ever been proud of its ancestors; has ever gloried in the facts of its early history; has ever connected them with whatever was glorious in its later annals has ever made them the boast of its eloquence, the themes of its poetry, and the subjects of festal rejoicings. In the preservation of such feelings and such ideas, our annual Fourth of July celebrations instead of being useless, and worse than useless periods of noisy declamation, as some would contend, are, in fact, doing more to preserve our union than the strongest legislative acts. This may hold when every other cable in the vessel has parted. The bare thought that our glorious old Fourth of July could never more be celebrated in its true spirit (and it would be equally gone for each and every sundered fragment) is enough to check the wildest faction, and to stay the hand of the most reckless disunionist.

It was in view of such an effect, that one of our wisest statesmen, one the farthest removed from the demagogue, and himself a participator in our heroic struggle, is represented as so enthusiastically commending this annual festival to the perpetual observation of posterity, "Through the thick gloom of the present," he exclaims, "I see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return, they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears of exultation of gratitude, and of joy." "And so that day shall be honored," continues his eloquent eulogist—"And so that day shall be honored, illustrious prophet and patriot! so that day shall be honored, and as often as it returns thy renown shall come along with it, and the glory of thy life, like the day of thy death, shall not fail from the remembrance of men!"

The highest reason, then, as well as the purest feeling, bid us not be ashamed of glorying in our forefathers. Scripture is in unison here with patriotism in commending the sacred sentiment. There is a religious element in the true love of race and country. "The God of our Fathers" becomes a prime article of the national as well as of the ecclesiastical creed, and without the feeling inspired by it, nationality may turn out to be a mere figment, which all political bandages will fail to sustain against the disorganizing[Pg 227] influence of factious or sectional interests. It is not absurd, too, to cherish the belief that our ancestors were better men than ourselves, if we ourselves are truly made better by thus believing.

As we have remarked before, there may be mythical exaggeration attending such tradition, but if so, this very exaggeration must have had its ground in something really transcending what takes place in the ordinary course of a nation's life. Some late German scholars have been hunting out depreciating charges against the hero of Marathon, and, for this purpose, have subjected his very ashes to the most searching critical analysis. Truth, it may be said, is always sacred. We would not wish to undervalue the importance of the sentiment. But Miltiades the patriot is the real element that exerted so heroic an effect upon the subsequent Grecian history. Miltiades charged with political offenses lives only as the subject of antiquarian research, or a humiliating example of the common depravity appearing among the most lauded of mankind. And so, in our own case, what political utility can there be in discovering, even if it were so, that Washington was not so wise, or Warren so brave, or Putnam so adventurous, or Bunker Hill so heroically contested, as has been believed? Away with such skepticism, we say, and the mousing criticism by which it is sometimes attempted to be supported. Such beliefs have at all events become real for us by entering into the very soul of our history, and forming the staple of our national thought. To take them away would now be a baneful disorganizing of the national mind. Their influence has been felt in every subsequent event. Saratoga and Monmouth have reappeared in Chippewa, and New Orleans, and Buena Vista. May it not be hoped, too, that something of the men who convened in Philadelphia on the 4th of July, 1776, or of that earlier band on whom Burke pronounced his splendid eulogy, may still live, even in the worst and poorest of our modern Congresses!

Again, this reverence for "the fathers" is the most healthfully conservative of all influences, because it presents the common sacred ground on which all political parties, all sectional divisions, and all religious denominations can heartily unite. Every such difference ought to give way, and, in general, does give way, in the presence of the healing spirit that comes to us from the remembrance of those old heroic times. The right thinking Episcopalian not only acquiesces, but rejoices cordially in the praises of the Pilgrim Fathers. He can glory even in their stern puritanism, without losing a particle of reverence or respect for his own cherished views. The Presbyterian glows with pride at the mention of the cavaliers of Virginia, and sees in their ancient loyalty the strength and consistency of their modern republicanism. The most rigid Churchman of either school—whether of Canterbury or Geneva—finds his soul refreshed by the thought of that more than martial heroism which distinguished the followers of Penn and the first colonists of Pennsylvania.

Our rapid editorial view has been suggested by the great festal period of the current month; but we can not close it without the expression of one thought which we deem of the highest importance. If the influences coming from this heroic age of our history are so very precious, we should be careful not to diminish their true conservative power, by associating them with every wretched imitation for which there may be claimed the same or a similar name. The memory of our revolution (to which we could show, if time permitted, there should be given a truer and a nobler epithet) is greatly lowered by being compared[Pg 228] continually with every miserable Cuban expedition and Canadian invasion, or every European émeute, without any reference to the grounds on which they are attempted, or the characters and motives of those by whom they are commenced. We may indeed sympathize with every true effort to burst the hard bonds of irresponsible power; but we should carefully see to it that our own sacred deposit of glorious national reminiscences lose not all its reverence by being brought out for too common uses, or profaned by too frequent comparison with that which is really far below it, if not altogether of a different kind. When Washington and Greene and Franklin are thus placed side by side with Lopez, and Ledru-Rollin, and Louis Blanc, or a profane parallel is run between the Pilgrim colonists and modern Socialists and St. Simonians, there is only an inevitable degradation on the one side without any true corresponding elevation on the other. They are the enemies of our revolution, and of its true spirit, who are thus for making it subservient to all purposes that may be supposed to bear the least resemblance. Our fathers' struggle, be it ever remembered, was not for the subversion but the conservation of constitutional law, and, therefore, even its most turbulent and seemingly lawless acts acquire a dignity placing them above all vulgar reference, and all vulgar imitation. He is neither a patriot nor a philanthropist who would compare the destruction of the tea in the harbor of Boston with every abolition riot, or every resistance to our own solemnly enacted laws, or every lynching mob that chooses to caricature the forms of justice, or every French émeute, or revolutionary movement with its mock heroics—its burlesque travestie of institutions it can not comprehend, and of a liberty for which it so soon shows itself utterly unqualified. It is our mission to redeem and elevate mankind, by showing that the spirit of our heroic times lives constantly in the political institutions to which they gave birth, and that republican forms are perfectly consistent, not only with personal liberty, but with all those higher ideas that are connected with the conservation of law, of reverence, of loyalty, of rational submission to right authority—in a word, of true self-government, as the positive antithesis to that animal and counterfeit thing—the government of self. It is not the conservative who is staying the true progress of mankind. A licentious press, a corrupt and gambling spirit of faction in our political parties, and, above all, frequent exhibitions of vulgar demagoguism in our legislative bodies, may do more to strengthen and perpetuate the European monarchies, than all the ignorance of their subjects, and all the power of their armies.

Editor's Easy Chair.

An Easy Chair for July, and specially for such hot July, as we doubt not is just now ripening over our readers' heads, should be a cool chair, with a lining of leather, rather than the soft plushes which beguile the winter of its iciness. Just so, we should be on the look-out in these hap-hazard pages, that close our monthly labors, for what may be cooling in the way of talk; and should make our periods wear such shadows as will be grateful to our sun-beaten readers.

If by a touch of the pen, we could, for instance, build up a grove of leaf-covered trees, with some pebble-bottomed brook fretting below—idly, carelessly, impetuously—even as our pen goes fretting over this Paris feuille; and if we could steep our type in[Pg 229] that summer fragrance which lends itself to the country groves of July; and if we could superadd—like so many fragmentary sparkles of verse—the songs of July birds—what a claimant of your thanks we should become?

Much as a man may be street-ridden, after long city experience—even as the old and rheumatic become bed-ridden—yet the far-off shores of Hoboken, and the tree-whispers of St. John's and Grammercy Parks, do keep alive somewhat of the Eden longings, which are born into the world with us, and which can only die when our hearts are dead.

And hence it is that we find it a loving duty to linger much and often as we may in this sunny season of the year (alas, that it should be only in imagination!) around rural haunts—plucking flowers with broad-bonneted girls—studying shadows with artist eye—brushing the dews away with farmers' boys—lolling in pools with sleek-limbed cattle—dropping worms or minnow with artist anglers, and humming to ourselves, in the soft and genial spirit of the scene, such old-time pleasant verses as these:

The lofty woods, the forests wide and long,
Adorned with leaves and branches fresh and green,
In whose cool bowers the birds with many a song
Do welcome with their quire the summer's queen;
The meadows fair, where Flora's gifts among
Are intermixed with verdant grass between;
The silver-scaled fish that softly swim
Within the sweet brook's crystal watery stream.
All these and many more of His creation
That made the Heavens, the angler oft doth see;
Taking therein no little delectation,
To think how strange, how wonderful they be;
Framing, thereof, an inward contemplation,
To set his heart from other fancies free;
And while he looks on these with joyful eye,
His mind is rapt above the starry sky.

And since we are thus in the humor of old and rural-imaged verse—notwithstanding the puff and creak of the printing enginery is coming up from the caverns below us (a very Vulcan to the Venus of our thought) we shall ask your thanks for yet another triad of verses, which will (if you be not utterly barren) breed daisies on your vision.

The poet has spoken of such omnibus drives and Perrine pavements as offended good sense two or three hundred years ago:

Let them that list these pleasures then pursue,
And on their foolish fancies feed their fill;
So I the fields and meadows green may view,
And by the rivers fresh may walk at will,
Among the daizies and the violets blue,
Red hyacinth, and yellow daffodil,
Purple narcissus like the morning rayes,
Pale ganderglas, and azure culverkayes.
I count it better pleasure to behold
The goodly compass of the loftie skie;
And in the midst thereof, like burning gold,
The flaming chariot of the world's great eye;
The wat'ry clouds that in the ayre up rolled
With sundry kinds of painted colors flie;
And faire Aurora lifting up her head,
All blushing rise from old Tithonus' bed.
The hills and mountains raised from the plains,
The plains extended level with the ground,
The ground divided into sundry vaines,
The vaines enclosed with running rivers round,
The rivers making way through Nature's chaines,
With headlong course into the sea profound;
The surging sea beneath the vallies low,
The vallies sweet, and lakes that gently flow.

The reader may thank us for a seasonable bouquet—tied up with old ribbon indeed, and in the old free and easy way—but the perfume is richer than the artificial scents of your modern verse.

[Pg 230]

We do not know who first gave the epithet "leafy June;" but the goodness of the term was never so plain, as through that twelfthlet of the year which has just shadowed our paths. Whether it be the heavy rains of the early spring, or an over-luxurious outburst from the over-stiff chains of the last winter—certain it is, that the trees never bore up such heaviness of green, or the grass promised such height and "bottom." And we can not forbear the hope, that the exceeding beauty of the summer will stimulate the activity and benevolence of those guardians of our city joy, in whose hands lies the fate of the "Up-town Park."

And as we speak of parks, comes up a thought of that very elegant monument to the memory of Washington, which has risen out of the brains of imaginative and venturesome people, any time during the last fifty years. The affair seems to have a periodic and somewhat whimsical growth. We suffer a kind of intermittent Washingtonianism, which now and then shows a very fever of drawings, and of small subscriptions; and anon, the chill takes us, and shakes the whole fabric to the ground.

We can not but regard it as a very unfavorable symptom, that a corner-stone should have been laid some two or three years ago in a quarter called Hamilton Square, and that extraordinary energy should have pushed forward the monumental design to the height of a few feet.

Since that period a debility has prevailed. The Washington sentiment has languished painfully—proving to our mind most satisfactorily, that the true Washington enthusiasm is periodic in its growth; and that to secure healthful alternations of recruit and exuberance, it should—like asparagus—be cut off below ground.

Meantime, the strangers and office-seekers of our great capital, are doing somewhat toward redeeming the fame of the country. In connection with their design, a suggestion is just now bruited of calling upon clergymen, this coming Fourth of July (three days hence, bear in mind) to drop a hint to the memory of the hero who has made that day the Sunday of our political year, and furthermore, to drop such pennies, as his parishioners will bestow, into the Washington monumental fund.

We should be untrue to the chit-chat of the hour—as well as to our Washington fervor—if we did not give the suggestion a record, and the purpose a benison!

It is fortunate for all minor matters—such as Jenny Lind, Kossuth, green-peas, strawberries, and Lola Montez—that our President-making comes only by quartettes of years. It is painful to think of the monotone of talk which would overtake the world, if Baltimore Conventions were held monthly or even yearly.

We are writing now in the eye of the time; and can give no guess as to what candidates will emerge from the Baltimore ballot-boxes; but when this shall come under our reader's eye, two names only will form the foci of his political fears and hopes. Without any predilections whatever, we most ardently wish that our reader may not be disappointed—however his hopes may tend: and if any editor in the land can "trim" to his readers' humor, with greater sincerity, and larger latitude, we should like to know it.

Ole Bull has been delighting the musical world, in his way, for the month last gone, and has made[Pg 231] more converts to the violin, by the fullness of his faith, and the fervor of his action, than many preachers can win over, by like qualities, to any labor of love.

The truth is, there lies in this Scandinavian a heartiness of impulse, and an exuberance of soul, which makes the better part of what men call genius. You have a conviction—as you listen—that you are dependent for your delight upon no nice conformity with rules—no precision of compliance—no formulary excellence, but only and solely upon the spirit of the man, creeping over him to the very finger-tips, and making music and melody of very necessity.

There is a freshness, a wildness, a fierté in the harmonies that Ole Bull creates, which appeal not alone to your nice students of flats and sharps, but to every ear that ever heard a river flowing, or the soughing of pine woods. It is a make-piece—not of Donizetti's arias—but of that unceasing and musical hum which is going up every summer's day in the way of bee-chants, and bird-anthems, and which the soul-wakened Scandinavian has caught, and wrought and strung upon five bits of thread!

The papers (they are accountable for whatever may not be true in our stories) have told us strange, sad things of the musical hero's life. First, that he has been a great patron of the arts—nor is it easy to believe that he could be otherwise. Next, they have told us, that he is an earnest lover of such liberty as makes men think, and read, and till their own lands—nor is this hard to believe. Again they tell us that he has sometimes rendered himself obnoxious to the powers that be—that his estates, once very large, have been confiscated, and that he has come hitherward only for the sake of repairing his altered fortunes.

If the truth lie indeed so hardly upon him, we wish him even more success than his merit will be sure to win.

Among the on dits of the time, we must not pass by the good and ill-natured comments upon the new-passed Liquor Laws of Massachusetts and of Rhode Island. When the reader remembers that Nahant and Newport are within the limits of these two States, and that summer visitors to the favorite watering places are not unapt to call for a wine-card, and to moisten their roast lamb and peas (especially after an exhilarating sea-bath) with a cup of Heidseck, or of Longworth's sparkling Catawba, they may readily imagine the consternation that has crept over certain portions of the visiting world. We (meaning we as Editors) are of course without any preferences either for watering places or—for that matter—liquoring places. Yet we are curious to see how far the new system will favor the fullness and the gayety of the old summer resorts.

Persistent Newport visitors, who have grown old with their sherry and their port, are arranging for the transportation of "small stores," as a portion of their luggage; and are negotiating with the landlords their rates of "corkage." Whether this side-tax on the matter will not render host and guest obnoxious to the new-started laws, is a matter we commend to the serious attention of the hopeful lawyers of Newport.

What the reformatory legal enactments may do with the wine-growers of Ohio, and with the distillers of Pennsylvania and Indiana, we are curious to see. As for the latter, we can not say (speaking now in our individual capacity) that we should greatly regret the downfall of those huge distillery pig-yards, which spend their odors over the Ohio river; but as for the Cincinnati wines and vineyards, we[Pg 232] must confess that we have a lurking fondness that way—first, because the grape culture is Scriptural, beautiful, healthful; and next, because it is clothing the hill-sides of our West with a purple and bountiful product, that develops nobly the agricultural resources of the country, and throws the gauntlet in the very face of Burgundy. Still again, we have a fancy—perhaps a wrong one—that pure wines, well made, and cheapened to the wants of the humblest laborer, will outgrow and overshadow that feverish passion for stronger drink which vitiates so sadly our whole working population: and yet once again, we have charity for western vineyards, for a very love of their products; and have felt ourselves, after a wee bit of the quiet hock which Zimmermann presses out of the ripe Catawba—a better feeling toward our fellows, and a richer relish for such labor of the office as now hampers our pen.

Under story of pleasure-seeking for the summer, some Journalists record the intent of a southern party to broach—in the August that now lies thirty days into the sunshine—the passage of the Rocky Mountains, skirting by the way the miniature valley of the Missouri—wearing weapons of defense and offense—carrying parlors upon wheels, and kitchens in their carts—shooting rabbits and Indians as the seasons vary, and dining upon buffalo and corn bread à volanté.

We wish them much pleasure of the trip—meaning good roads, few Indians, and musquito bars.

Seriously, however, when shall we see the valley of the Missouri form a pleasant tangent to summer travel, and the sportsman who now camps it by Long Lake, or shoots coot by Moniment Point—oiling his rifle for a range at the stalking varmint by St. Joseph's, and along the thousand forked branches of the Missouri waters?

At Minnessota, they say (the doubtful newspapers again,) people have discovered a gem of a lake,—so still, that the bordering trees seem growing root upward, and the islands are all Siamesed where they float; and so clear that you count your fish before you throw them the bait, and make such selections among the eager patrons of your hook, as you would do at the City market on the corner of Spring-street.

When Professor Page's Galvanic Railroad will take us there in a day, we will wash the ink from our fingers in the lake of Minnessota; and if the fates favor us, will stew a trout in Longworth's Catawba; meantime, we wait hopefully feeding upon Devoe's, moderately fatted mutton, and great plenty of imaginative diet.

Among the rest, old Markham's "Summer Contentments" has furnished us with rare meals, and inveigled us into trying with inapt hands the metier of the rod and angle. We flatter ourselves that we have won upon the character of the angler, however little we may win upon his fish.

"He must," says pleasant old Markham, "neither be amazed with storms, nor frighted with thunder; and if he is not temperate, but has a gnawing stomach, that will not endure much fasting, and must observe hours, it troubleth the mind and body, and loseth that delight which only maketh pastime pleasing.

"He must be of a well-settled and constant belief, to enjoy the benefit of his expectation; for than to despair, it were better never to be put in practice: and he must ever think, when the waters are pleasant, and any thing likely, that there the Creator of all good things, hath stored up much of plenty; and[Pg 233] though your satisfaction be not as ready as your wishes, yet you must hope still, that with perseverance you shall reap the fullness of your harvest with contentment. Then he must be full of love both to his pleasure, and his neighbor—to his pleasure, which will otherwise be irksome and tedious—and to his neighbor, that he never give offense in any particular, nor be guilty of any general destruction; then he must be exceeding patient, and neither vex nor excruciate himself with any losses or mischances, as in losing the prey when it is almost in hand, or by breaking his tools by ignorance or negligence; but with pleased sufferance amend errors, and think mischances instructions to better carefulness."

We commend all this to the trout fishers among the musquitos, and black flies of Hamilton County—for even into that dim, and barbarian region, our monthly budget finds its way.

Among other things of the hour, we must spare a note for those pleasant statistics of author-and-bookdom, which the international discussion of Copyright has called into print.

Heretofore, the man of books has been reckoned as a liver, for the most part, upon such manna as rained down from time to time, from a very imaginative heaven; he has lived, by a certain charitable courtesy of the world, (which is coy of ferreting out its injustices) beyond the tongue of talk, and his pride and poverty have suffered an amiable reprieve.

The time, it seems, is now gone by; and we find Prescott and Irving submitted to the same fiscal measurement, as are the brokers upon 'Change. We wish the whole author fraternity might come as bravely out of it as the two we have named: and should it ever come to pass, that the fraternity were altogether rich, we hope they will not neglect the foundation of some quiet hospital for the poor fellows (like ourselves) who record their progress, and chronicle their honors.

In old times a fancy held men's minds, that the payment for poetry came only from Heaven: and that so soon as the Divine fingers which caught the minstrelsy of the angel world, touched upon gold, they palsied, and lost their power. Under the present flattering condition of the author world (of which, alas, we only read!) it may be well to revive the caution: the poor may, at the least, console themselves thereby; and as for the rich—they need no consolation.

Time and time again, we believe, spicy authors have threatened to take the publisher's business off his hands; and in lieu of half the profits, to measure them all with themselves. But, unfortunately for the credit of the calling, authors are, in the general way, blessed with very moderate financial capacity; and from Scott to Lamartine, they have in such venture, to the best of our observation, worked very hard—for very little pay.

Speaking of Lamartine, reminds us of a little episode of French life, which has latterly crept into the French papers, and which would have made (as the publishers say) a "companion volume" to Lamartine's Raphael—always provided it were as well written out. The episode is dismissed in two or three lines of the journals, and is headed in very attracting way—"Died of Love."

Such a kind of death being mostly unheard of—especially in New York—it will be necessary to justify the title by a somewhat fuller résumé of the story, than the journalist favors us with.

[Pg 234]

Marie of Montauban was as pretty a girl as the traveler might see in going through all of southern France; and a pretty girl of southern France, is more than pretty in any other quarter of France.

Her father had been a small propriétaire, and had married a descendant of an old family, under circumstances of that vague and wild romance which grew up a little after the old Revolution. Both the parents, however, died early in life: she inherited from the mother exceeding delicacy, and a refinement, which agreed very poorly with the poverty to which her father's improvidence had left her an heir.

Admired and beloved, and sometimes courted by those about her, she resolutely determined to secure her own support. She commenced in a romantic way—by quitting secretly her home, and throwing herself upon a very broad and a very wicked world. Fortune guided her to the home of a worthy baker; she here learned the smaller mysteries of his craft, and made such show in the front shop of her new-found patron, as bewitched the provincial gailliards, and made its tale upon the heart of the baker's son.

In short, the son wooed in earnest; the baker protested: and whether it was the protest (which is sure to kindle higher flame) or the honest heart of the wooer himself, Marie forgot the earnest longings, which her mother's nature had planted in her, and became the runaway wife of the runaway baker's son.

All French runaways (except from Government) go to Paris: therefore it was, that in a year's time, you might have seen the humble sign of the baker's son upon a modest shop of the Boulevard Beaumarchais. Beauty is always found out in Paris, and it is generally admired. Therefore it was, that the baker's son prospered, and the Café de Paris heard mention of the beautiful baker's wife of the Beaumarchais.

But, with the sight of the Louvre, the Tuileries, and all the elegancies of metropolitan life, the old longings of the motherly nature came back to the humiliated Marie. She stole hours for reading and for music, and quieted her riotous ambition with the ambition of knowledge.

Still, however, her admirers besieged her; but thanks to her birth, besieged in vain. From month to month she attended her shop; and from month to month beguiled her mission with reading of old stories, and with the music of her guitar.

Now, it happened that in this time, a certain Jacques Arago (well known to fame) chanced upon a day to visit the baker's shop of the Boulevard Beaumarchais; and it further happened, that as the customer was a traveler and a savant, that he fell into talk with the beautiful Marie, who even then held in her fingers some work of the visitor himself.

Talk ripened into conversation, and conversation into interest. The heart of Marie—always dutiful at home—now went wandering under the guide of her mind. She admired the distinguished traveler, and from admiring, she came presently—in virtue of his kind offices and of his instructions continued day after day—to love him.

Therefore it was that Jacques Arago, when he came to depart upon new voyages (and here we follow his own story, rather than probability), did not whisper of his leave to the beautiful Marie, who still held her place in the baker's shop upon the Boulevard Beaumarchais.

But she found her liking too strong to resist; and when she heard of his departure, she hurried away to Havre—only to see the sails of his out-bound ship glimmering on the horizon.

[Pg 235]

She bore the matter stoutly as she could—cherishing his letters each one as so many parts of the mind that had enslaved her; and, finally, years after, met him calmly, on his return. "I have lived," she said, "to see you again."

But in a little while, Arago, sitting one day in his bureau, receives a letter from Marie of Beaumarchais.

"You deceived me when you went away over the sea; I forgive you for it! Will you forgive me now another deception? I was not well when you saw me last; I am now in the Hospital Beaujon; I shall die before tomorrow. But I die faithful to my religion—God—you! Adieu!


Jacques Arago himself writes so much of the story as has served to make the back-bone for this; and we appeal to the ninety thousand readers of our gossip if Jacques Arago needed any thing more than the finesse of Lamartine, and a touch of his poetic nature, to weave the story of poor Marie into another Raphael?


Dear Sir—I now resume the very interesting tale I wished to tell you; but from which, in my last, I was diverted in a manner requiring some apology.

You know, however, that this failing of being carried away to collaterals, is frequent in old gentlemen and nurses; and you must make excuses for my age and infirmity. Now, however, you shall have the story of "The Bride of Landeck." A bride is always interesting, and therefore I trust that my bride will not be less so than others. There is something so touching in the confidence with which she bestows the care of her whole fate and happiness on another, something so strangely perilous, even in her very joy, such a misty darkness over that new world into which she plunges, that even the coarsest and most vulgar are moved by it.

I recollect an almost amusing instance of this. The very words employed by the speakers will show you that they were persons of inferior condition; and yet they were uttered with a sigh, and with every appearance of real feeling.

I was one day walking along through the streets of a great city, where it is the custom, in almost all instances, for marriages to take place in church. My way lay by the vestry of a fashionable church, and I was prevented for a minute or two from passing by a great throng of carriages, and a little crowd gathered to see a bride and bridegroom set out upon their wedding tour. There were two mechanics immediately before me—carpenters apparently—and, being in haste, I tried to force my way on. One of the men looked round, saying quietly, "There's no use pushing, you can't get by;" and in a moment after, the bridal party came forth. The bridegroom was a tall, fine-looking, grave young man; and the bride a very beautiful, interesting creature, hardly twenty. They both seemed somewhat annoyed by the crowd, and hurried into their carriage and drove away.

When the people dispersed, the two carpenters walked on before me, commenting upon the occurrence. "Well," said the one, "she's as pretty a creature as ever I saw; and he's a handsome man; but he looks a little sternish, to my mind. I hope he'll treat her well."

"Ah, poor thing," said the other, "she has tied a knot with her tongue, that she can not untie with her teeth."

[Pg 236]

It is not, however, only sentiment which is occasionally elicited at weddings. I have known some of the most ludicrous scenes in the world occur on these solemn occasions. One, especially, will never pass from my mind, and I must try to give you an account of it, although the task will be somewhat difficult.

Some fifty years ago, in the good city of Edinburgh, many of the conveniences, and even necessaries of household comfort were arranged in a very primitive manner. It was about this time, or a little before it, that a gentleman, whom I afterward knew well, Mr. J—— F——, wooed and won a very beautiful girl of the best society in the city. His doing so was, indeed, a marvel to all; for, though young, witty, and well-looking, he was perhaps the most absent man upon the face of the earth; and the wonder was that he could ever recollect himself sufficiently to make love to one woman for two days consecutively. However, so it was; and a vast number of mistakes and blunders having been got over, the wedding day was appointed and came. The ceremony was to be performed in the house of the bride's father; and a large and fashionable company was assembled at the hour appointed. The bridegroom was known to have been in the house some time; but he did not appear; and minister, parents, bride, bridesmaids, and bridesmen, all full dressed, the ladies in court lappets, and the gentlemen with chapeaux bras under their arms, began to look very grave.

The bride's brother, however, knew his friend's infirmity, and was also aware that he had an exceedingly bad habit of reading classical authors in places the least fitted for such purposes. He stole out of the room, then, hurried to the place where he expected his future brother-in-law might be found; and a minute after, in spite of doors and staircases, his voice was heard exclaiming, "Jimmy—Jimmy; you forget you are going to be married, man. Every one is waiting for you."

"I will come directly—I will come directly," cried another voice—"I quite forgot—go and keep them amused."

The young gentleman returned, with a smile upon his face; but announced that the bridegroom would be there in an instant; and the whole party arranged themselves in a formidable semi-circle. This was just complete, when the door opened, and the bridegroom appeared. All eyes fixed upon him—all eyes turned toward his left arm, where his chapeau bras should have been; and a universal titter burst from all lips. Poor F—— stood confounded, perceived the direction of their looks, and turned his own eyes to his left arm also. Close pressed beneath it, appeared, instead of a neat black chapeau bras, a thin, flat, round piece of oak, with a small brass knob rising from the centre of one side. In horror, consciousness, and confusion, he suddenly lifted his arm. Down dropped the obnoxious implement, lighted on its edge, rolled forward into the midst of the circle, whirled round and round, as if paying its compliments to every body, and settled itself with a flounder at the bride's feet. A roar, which might have shook St. Andrews, burst from the whole party.

The bride married him notwithstanding, and practiced through life the same forbearance—the first of matrimonial virtues—which she showed on the present occasion.

Poor F——, notwithstanding the sobering effects of matrimony, continued always the most absent man in the world; and one instance occurred, some[Pg 237] fifteen or sixteen years after his marriage, which his wife used to tell with great glee. She was a very notable woman, and good housekeeper. Originally a Presbyterian, she had conformed to the views of her husband, and regularly frequented the Episcopal church. One Sunday, just before the carriage came to the door to take her and her husband to the morning service, she went down to the kitchen, as was her custom, in mercantile parlance, to take stock, and give her orders. She happened to be somewhat longer than usual: the carriage was announced, and poor F——, probably knowing that if he gave himself a moment to pause, he should forget himself, and his wife, and the church, and all other holy and venerable things, went down after her, with the usual, "My dear, the carriage is waiting; we shall be very late."

Mrs. F—— went through her orders with customary precision, took up her prayer-book, entered the carriage with her husband, and rolled away toward the church.

"My dear, what an extraordinary smell of bacon there is in the carriage," said Mr. F——.

"I do not smell it, my dear," said Mrs. F——.

"I do," said Mr. F——, expanding his nostrils emphatically.

"I think I smell it too, now," said Mrs. F——, taking a sniff.

"Well, I hope those untidy servants of ours do not smoke bacon in the carriage," said Mr. F——.

"Oh, dear, no," replied his wife, with a hearty laugh. "No fear of that, my dear."

Shortly after, the carriage stopped at the church door; and Mr. and Mrs. F—— mounted the stairs to their pew, which was in the gallery, and conspicuous to the whole congregation. The lady seated herself, and laid her prayer-book on the velvet cushion before her. Mr. F—— put his hand into his pocket, in search of his own prayer-book, and pulled out a long parallelogram, which was not a prayer-book, but which he laid on the cushion likewise.

"I don't wonder there was a smell of bacon in the carriage, my dear," whispered Mrs. F——; and, to his horror, he perceived lying before him, in the eyes of a thousand persons, a very fine piece of red-and-white streaky bacon, which he had taken up in the kitchen, thinking it was his prayer-book.

On only one subject could Mr. F—— concentrate his thoughts, and that was the law, in the profession of which he obtained considerable success, although occasionally, an awful blunder was committed; but, strange to say, never in the strictly legal part of his doings. He would forget his own name, and write that of some friend of whom he was thinking instead. He would confound plaintiff with defendant, and witnesses with counsel; but he never made a mistake in an abstract legal argument. There, where no collateral, and, as he imagined, immaterial circumstances were concerned—such as, who was the man to be hanged, and who was not—the reasoning was clear, acute, and connected; and for all little infirmities of mind, judges and jurors, who generally knew him well, made due allowance.

Other people had to make allowance also; and especially when, between terms, he would go out to pay a morning visit to a friend, Mrs. F—— never counted, with any certainty, upon his return for a month. He would go into the house where his call was to be made, talk for a few minutes, take up a book, and read till dinner time—dine—and lucky if he did not fancy himself in his own house, and take the head of the table. Toward night he might find[Pg 238] out his delusion, and the next morning proceed upon his way, borrowing a clean shirt, and leaving his dirty one behind him. Thus it happened, that at the end of a twelvemonth, his wardrobe comprised a vast collection of shirts, of various sorts and patterns, with his own name on very few of them.

The stories of poor Jimmy F——'s eccentricities in Edinburgh were innumerable. On one occasion, seeing a lady, on his return home, coming away from his own door, he handed her politely into her carriage, expressing his regret that she had not found Mrs F—— at home.

"I am not surprised, my dear," said the lady, who was in reality his own wife, "that you forget me, when you so often forget yourself."

"God bless me," cried Jimmy, with the most innocent air in the world. "I was quite sure I had seen you somewhere before; but could not tell where it was."

Dear old Edinburgh, what a city thou wert when I first visited thee, now more than forty years ago! How full of strange nooks and corners, and, above all, how full of that racy and original character which the world in general is so rapidly losing! Warm hearted hospitality was one of the great characteristics of Auld Reekie in those times, and it must be admitted that social intercourse was sometimes a little too jovial. This did not indeed prevent occasional instances of miserly closeness, and well laughed at were they when they were discovered. There was a lady of good station and ample means in the city, somewhat celebrated for the not unusual combination of a niggard spirit, and a tendency to ostentatious display. Large supper parties were then in vogue; and I was invited to more than one of these entertainments at the house of Lady C—— G——, where I remarked that, though the table was well covered, the guests were not very strenuously pressed to their food. She had two old servants, a butler and a foot-man, trained to all her ways, and apparently participating in her economical feelings. These men, with the familiarity then customary in Scotch servants, did not scruple to give their mistress any little hints at the supper table in furtherance of her saving propensities, and as the old lady was somewhat deaf, these asides were pretty much public property. On one occasion, the butler was seen to bend over his mistress's chair, saying, in a loud whisper, and good broad Scotch, "Press the jeelies, my leddy—press the jeelies. They'll no keep."

Lady C—— G—— did not exactly catch his words, and looked up inquiringly in his face, and the man repeated, "Press the jeelies, my leddy: they're getting mouldy."

"Shave them, John—shave them," said Lady C—— G——, in a solemn tone.

"They've been shaved already, my leedy," roared John; and the company of course exploded.

But to return to my tale. The small village of Landeck, is situated in the heart of the Tyrol, and in that peculiar district, called the Vorarlberg. It is as lovely a spot as the eye of man can rest upon, and the whole drive, in fact, from Innspruck is full of picturesque beauty. But—

But I find this is the last page of the sheet, when I fondly fancied that I had another whole page, which I think would be sufficient to conclude the tale. I had probably better, therefore, reserve the story of The Bride of Landeck for another letter, and only beg you to believe me

Yours faithfully,


[Pg 239]

Editor's Drawer.

It is not a very long time ago, that "bustles" formed a very essential part of a fashionable lady's dress; nor has this singular branch of the fine arts altogether fallen into decadence at the present day. And, as apropos of this, we find in the "Drawer" a description of the uses of this article in Africa, which we think will awaken a smile upon the fair lips of our lady-readers. "The most remarkable article of dress," says the African traveler, from whom our extract is quoted, "that I have seen, is one which I have vaguely understood to constitute a part of the equipment of my fair countrywomen; in a word, the veritable 'Bustle!' Among the belles here, there is a reason for the excrescence which does not exist elsewhere; for the little children ride astride the maternal bustle, which thus becomes as useful as it is an ornamental protuberance. Fashion, however, has evidently more to do with the matter than convenience; for old wrinkled grandmothers wear these beautiful anomalies, and little girls of eight years old display protuberances that might excite the envy of a Broadway belle. Indeed, Fashion may be said to have its perfect triumph and utmost refinement in this article; it being a positive fact that some of the girls hereabout wear merely the bustle, without so much as the shadow of a garment! Its native name is "Tarb-Koshe.""

Here is a formula for all who can couple "love" and "dove," by which they may rush into print as "poets" of the common "water." The skeleton may be called any thing—"Nature," "Poesy," "Woman," or what not:

Twilight.....moon.....mellow ray,
Tint.....glories.....parting day.
Lion.....anger.....taméd dove.
Loved one.....horror.....haste.....delay,,

Not long since a young English merchant took his youthful wife with him to Hong-Kong, China, where the couple were visited by a wealthy Mandarin. The latter regarded the lady very attentively, and seemed to dwell with delight upon her movements. When she at length left the apartment, he said to the husband, in broken English (worse than broken China):

"What you give for that wifey-wife yours?"

"Oh," replied the husband, laughing at the singular error of his visitor, "two thousand dollars."

This the merchant thought would appear to the Chinese rather a high figure; but he was mistaken.

"Well," said the Mandarin, taking out his book with an air of business, "s'pose you give her to me; give you five thousand dollar!"

It is difficult to say whether the young merchant was more amazed than amused; but the very grave and solemn air of the Chinaman convinced him that he was in sober earnest; and he was compelled, therefore, to refuse the offer with as much placidity[Pg 240] as he could assume. The Mandarin, however, continued to press his bargain:

"I give you seven thousand dollar," said he: "You take 'em?"

The merchant, who had no previous notion of the value of the commodity which he had taken out with him, was compelled, at length, to inform his visitor that Englishmen were not in the habit of selling their wives after they once came in their possession—an assertion which the Chinaman was very slow to believe. The merchant afterward had a hearty laugh with his young and pretty wife, and told her that he had just discovered her full value, as he had that moment been offered seven thousand dollars for her; a very high figure, "as wives were going" in China at that time!

Nothing astonishes a Chinaman so much, who may chance to visit our merchants at Hong-Kong, as the deference which is paid by our countrymen to their ladies, and the position which the latter are permitted to hold in society. The very servants express their disgust at seeing American or English ladies permitted to sit at table with their lords, and wonder why men can so far forget their dignity!

We have seen the thought contained in the following Persian fable, before, in the shape of a scrap of "Proverbial Philosophy," by an eastern sage; but the sentiment is so admirably versified in the lines, that we can not resist presenting them to the reader:

"A little particle of rain,
That from a passing cloud descended,
Was heard thus idly to complain:
'My brief existence now is ended.
Outcast alike of earth and sky,
Useless to live—unknown to die.'
"It chanced to fall into the sea,
And then an open shell received it,
And, after-years, how rich was he
Who from its prison-house relieved it!
That drop of rain had formed a gem,
To deck a monarch's diadem."

There is a certain London cockneyism that begins to obtain among some persons even here—and that is, the substitution of the word "gent," for gentleman. It is a gross vulgarism. In England, however, the terms are more distinctive, it seems. A waiting-maid at a provincial inn, on being asked how many "gents" there were in the house, replied, "Three gents and four gentlemen." "Why do you make a distinction, Betty?" said her interrogator. "Oh, why, the gents are only half gentlemen, people from the country, who come on horseback; the others have their carriages, and are real gentlemen!"

Most readers will remember the ill-favored fraternity mentioned by Addison, known as "The Ugly Club," into which no person was admitted without a visible queerity in his aspect, or peculiar cast of countenance. The club-room was decorated with the heads of eminent ogres; in short, every thing was in keeping with the deformed objects of the association. They have a practice at the West of giving to the ugliest man in all the "diggins" round about, a jack-knife, which he carries until he meets with a man uglier than himself, when the new customer "takes the knife," with all its honors. A certain notorious "beauty" had carried the knife for a long time, with no prospect of ever being called upon to "stand and deliver" it. He had an under-lip, which hung down like a motherless colt's, bending into a sort of pouch for a permanent chew of tobacco[Pg 241] his eyes had a diabolical squint each way; his nose was like a ripe warty tomato; his complexion like that of an old saddle-flap; his person and limbs a miracle of ungainliness, and his gait a cross between the slouch of an elephant and the scrambling movement of a kangaroo. Yet this man was compelled to give up the knife. It happened in this wise: He was kicked in the face by a horse! His "mug," as the English cockney would call it, was smashed into an almost shapeless mass. But so very ugly was he before the accident, that, when his face got well, it was found to be so much improved that he was obliged to surrender up the knife to a successful competitor! He must have been a handsome man, whom a kick in the face by a horse would "improve!"

Some years ago the Queen of England lost a favorite female dog. It was last seen, before its death, poking its nose into a dish of sweet-breads on the pantry-dresser. Foul play was suspected; the scullery-maid was examined; the royal dog-doctor was summoned; a "crowner's quest" was held upon the body; and the surgeon, after the evidence was "all in," assuming the office of coroner, proceeded to "sum up" as follows:

"This affair was involved, apparently, in a good deal of doubt until this inquisition was held. The deceased might have been poisoned, or might not; and here the difficulty comes in, to determine whether he was or wasn't. On a post-mortem examination, there was a good deal of vascular inflammation about the coats of the nose; and I have no doubt the affair of the sweet-bread, which was possibly very highly peppered, had something to do with these appearances. The pulse had, of course, stopped; but, as far as I could judge from appearances, I should say it had been pretty regular. The ears were perfectly healthy, and the tail appeared to have been recently wagged; showing that there could have been nothing very wrong in that quarter. The conclusion at which, after careful consideration, I have arrived, is, that the royal favorite came to his death from old age, or rather from the lapse of time; and a deodand is therefore imposed on the kitchen-clock, which was rather fast on the day of the dog's death, and very possibly might have accelerated his demise!"

It is no small thing to be called on suddenly to address a public meeting, of any sort, and to find all your wits gone a-wool-gathering, when you most require their services. "Such being the case," and "standing admitted," as it will be, by numerous readers, we commend the following speech of a compulsory orator at the opening of a free hospital:

"Gentlemen—Ahem!—I—I—I rise to say—that is, I wish to propose a toast—wish to propose a toast. Gentlemen, I think that you'll all say—ahem—I think, at least, that this toast is, as you'll say, the toast of the evening—toast of the evening. Gentlemen, I belong to a good many of these things—and I say, gentlemen, that this hospital requires no patronage—at least, you don't want any recommendation. You've only got to be ill—got to be ill. Another thing—they are all locked up—I mean they are shut up separate—that is, they've all got separate beds—separate beds. Now, gentlemen, I find by the report (turning over the leaves in a fidgety manner), I find, gentlemen, that from the year seventeen—no, eighteen—no, ah, yes, I'm right—eighteen hundred and fifty—No! it's a 3, thirty-six—eighteen hundred and thirty-six, no less than one hundred and ninety-three millions—no! ah! (to a committee-man at his side,) Eh?—what?—oh,[Pg 242] yes—thank you!—thank you, yes—one hundred and ninety-three thousand—two millions—no (looking through his eye-glass), two hundred and thirty-one—one hundred and ninety-three thousand, two hundred and thirty-one! Gentlemen, I beg to propose—

"Success to this Institution!"

Intelligible as Egyptian hieroglyphics, and "clear as mud" to the "most superficial observer!"

That was a touch of delicate sarcasm which is recorded of Charles Lamb's brother, "James Elia." He was out at Eton one day, with his brother and some other friends; and upon seeing some of the Eton boys, students of the college, at play upon the green, he gave vent to his forebodings, with a sigh and solemn shake of the head: "Ah!" said he, "what a pity to think that these fine ingenuous lads in a few years will all be changed into frivolous members of parliament!"

Some spendthrifts belonging to "The Blues" having been obliged to submit their "very superior long-tailed troop horses" to the arbitrament of a London auctioneer's hammer, a wag "improves the occasion" by inditing the following touching parody:

"Upon the ground he stood,
To take a last fond look
At the troopers, as he entered them
In the horse-buyer's book.
He listened to the neigh,
So familiar to his ear;
But the soldier thought of bills to pay,
And wiped away a tear.
"Beside the stable-door,
A mare fell on her knees;
She cocked aloft her crow-black tail,
That fluttered in the breeze,
She seemed to breathe a prayer—
A prayer he could not hear—
For the soldier felt his pockets bare,
And wiped away a tear.
"The soldier blew his nose—
Oh! do not deem him weak!
To meet his creditors, he knows
He's not sufficient 'cheek.'
Go read the writ-book through,
And 'mid the names, I fear,
You're sure to find the very Blue
Who wiped away the tear!"

We believe it is Dryden who says, "It needs all we know to make things plain." We wonder what he would have thought of this highly intelligible account of blowing up a ship by a submarine battery, as Monsieur Maillefert blew up the rocks in Hellgate:

"There is no doubt that all submarine salts, acting in coalition with a pure phosphate, and coagulating chemically with the sublimate of marine potash, will create combustion in nitrous bodies. It is a remarkable fact in physics, that sulphurous acids, held in solution by glutinous compounds, will create igneous action in aquiferous bodies; and hence it is, therefore, that the pure carbonates of any given quantity of bituminous or ligneous solids will of themselves create the explosions in question."

We have heard men listen to such lucid, pellucid "expositions" as this, with staring eyes:

"And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew."

He was a keen observer and a rare discriminator of children, who drew this little picture, in a work upon "Childhood and its Reminiscences:"

"See those two little girls! You hardly know which is the elder, so closely do they follow each[Pg 243] other. They were born to the same routine, and will be bred in it for years, perhaps, side by side, in unequal fellowship; one pulling back, the other dragging forward. Watch them for a few moments as they play together, each dragging her doll about in a little cart. Their names are Cecilia and Constance, and they manage their dolls always as differently as they will their children. You ask Cecilia where she is going to drive her doll to, and she will tell you, 'Through the dining-room into the hall, and then back into the dining-room,' which is all literally true. You ask Constance, and with a grave, important air, and a loud whisper, for Doll is not to hear on any account, she answers, 'I am going to take her to London, and then to Brighton, to see her little cousin: the hall is Brighton, you know,' she adds, with a condescending look. Cecilia laments over a dirty frock, with a slit at the knee, and thinks that Mary, the maid, will never give her the new one she promised. Constance's doll is somewhat in the costume of the king of the Sandwich Islands; top-boots and a cocked-hat, having only a skein of worsted tied round her head, and a strip of colored calico or her shoulders; but she is perfectly satisfied that it is a wreath of flowers and a fine scarf; bids you smell of the "rose-oil" in her hair, and then whips herself, to jump over the mat.

"In other matters, the case is reversed. When fear is concerned, Cecilia's imagination becomes active, and Constance's remains perfectly passive. A bluff old gentleman passes through that same hall. The children stop their carts and stare at him, upon which he threatens to put them in his pocket. Poor Cecilia runs away, in the greatest alarm; but Constance coolly says: "You can't put us in your pocket; it isn't half big enough!"

It strikes us that there is an important lesson to parents in this last passage. Because one child has no fear to go to bed in the dark, how many poor trembling children, differently constituted, have passed the night in an agony of fear!

There are few more striking things in verse, in the English Language, than "The Execution of Montrose." The author has not, to our knowledge, been named, and the lines appeared for the first time many years ago. The illustrious head of the great house of Grahame in Scotland was condemned to be hung, drawn, and quartered; his head to be affixed on an iron pin and set on the pinnacle of the Tolbooth in Edinburgh; one hand to be set on the port of Perth, the other on the port of Stirling; one leg and foot on the port of Aberdeen, the other on the port of Glasgow. In the hour of his defeat and of his death he showed the greatness of his soul, by exhibiting the most noble magnanimity and Christian heroism. The few verses which follow will enable the reader to judge of the spirit which pervades the poem:

"'Twas I that led the Highland host
Through wild Lochaber's snows,
What time the plaided clans came down
To battle with Montrose:
I've told thee how the Southrons fell
Beneath the broad claymore,
And how we smote the Campbell clan
By Inverlochy's shore:
I've told thee how we swept Dundee,
And tamed the Lindsay's pride!
But never have I told thee yet,
How the Great Marquis died!
"A traitor sold him to his foes;
Oh, deed of deathless shame!
I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet
With one of Assynt's name[Pg 244]
Be it upon the mountain side,
Or yet within the glen,
Stand he in martial gear alone,
Or backed by armed men—
Face him, as thou would'st face the man
Who wronged thy sire's renown;
Remember of what blood thou art,
And strike the caitiff down!"

The poet goes on to describe his riding to the place of execution in a cart, with hands tied behind him, and amidst the jeers and taunts of his enemies; but his noble bearing subdued the hearts of many even of his bitter foes. Arrived at the place of execution, the "Great Marquis" looks up to the scaffold, and exclaims:

"Now by my faith as belted knight,
And by the name I bear,
And by the red St. Andrew's cross
That waves above us there—
Ay, by a greater, mightier oath,
And oh! that such should be!—
By that dark stream of royal blood
That lies 'twixt you and me—
I have not sought on battle-field
A wreath of such renown,
Nor dared I hope, on my dying day,
To win a martyr's crown!
"There is a chamber far away,
Where sleep the good and brave,
But a better place ye have named for me
Than by my father's grave.
For truth and right 'gainst treason's might,
This hand has always striven,
And ye raise it up for a witness still
In the eye of earth and heaven.
Then raise my head on yonder tower,
Give every town a limb,
And God who made, shall gather them;
I go from you to Him!"

We know of few sublimer deaths than this, in which the poet has taken no liberties with historical facts.

A cunning old fox is Rothschild, the greatest banker in the world. He said, on one occasion, to Sir Thomas Buxton, in England, "My success has always turned upon one maxim. I said, 'I can do what another man can;' and so I am a match for all the rest of 'em. Another advantage I had: I was always an off-hand man. I made a bargain at once. When I was settled in London, the East India Company had eight hundred thousand pounds in gold to sell. I went to the sale, and bought the whole of it. I knew the Duke of Wellington must have it. I had bought a great many of his bills at a discount. The Government sent for me, and said they must have it. When they had got it, they didn't know how to get it to Portugal, where they wanted it. I undertook all that, and I sent it through France; and that was the best business I ever did in my life.

"It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a great fortune, and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much wit to keep it. If I were to listen to one half the projects proposed to me, I should ruin myself very soon.

"One of my neighbors is a very ill-tempered man. He tries to vex me, and has built a great place for swine close to my walk. So when I go out, I hear first, 'Grunt, grunt,' then 'Squeak, squeak.' But this does me no harm. I am always in good-humor. Sometimes, to amuse myself, I give a beggar a guinea. He thinks it is a mistake, and for fear I should find it out, he runs away as hard as he can. I advise you to give a beggar a guinea sometimes—it is very amusing."

Travelers by railroad, who stop at the "eating[Pg 245] stations," and are hurried away by the supernatural shriek of the locomotive before they have begun their repast, will appreciate and laugh at the following:

"We have sometimes seen in a pastry-cook's window, the announcement of 'Soups hot till eleven at night,' and we have thought how very hot the said soups must be at ten o'clock in the morning; but we defy any soup to be so red-hot, so scorchingly and so intensely scarifying to the roof of the mouth, as the soup you are allowed just three minutes to swallow at the railway stations. In the course of our perigrinations, a day or two ago, we had occasion to stop at a distant station. A smiling gentleman, with an enormous ladle, said insinuatingly:

"'Soup, sir?'

"'Thank you—yes.'

"Then the gigantic ladle was plunged into a caldron, which hissed with hot fury at the intrusion of the ladle.

"We were put in possession of a plateful of a colored liquid, that actually took the skin off our face by mere steam. Having paid for the soup, we were just about to put a spoonful to our lips when a bell was rung, and the gentleman who had suggested the soup, ladled out the soup, and got the money for the soup, blandly remarked:

"'Sir, the train is just off!'

"We made a desperate thrust of a spoonful into our mouth, but the skin peeled off our lips, tongue, and palate, like the 'jacket' from a hot potato."

Probably the same soup was served out to the passengers by the next train. Meanwhile the "soup-vendor smiled pleasantly, and evidently enjoyed the fun!"

One of the best of the minor things of Thackeray's—thrown off, doubtless before his temporarily-suspended cigar had gone out—is the following. It is a satire upon the circumstance of some fifty deer being penned into the narrow wood of some English nobleman, for Prince Albert to "hunt" in those confined limits. The lines are by "Jeems, cousin-german on the Scotch side," to "Chawls Yellowplush, Igsquire":


"sejested by prince halbert gratiously killing the stags at jacks cobug gothy.

"Some forty Ed of sleak and hantlered dear,
In Cobug (where such hanimels abound)
Was shot, as by the newspaper I 'ear,
By Halbert, Usband of the British crownd.
Britannia's Queen let fall the pretty tear,
Seeing them butchered in their sylvan prisns;
Igspecially when the keepers standing round,
Came up and cut their pretty innocent whizns.
Suppose, instead of this pore Germing sport,
This Saxon wenison wich he shoots and bags,
Our Prins should take a turn in Capel Court,
And make a massyker of Henglish stags.
Poor stags of Hengland! were the Untsman at you,
What havoc he would make, and what a tremenjus battu.

What is pleasure? It is an extremely difficult thing to say what "pleasure" means. Pleasure bears a different scale to every person. Pleasure to a country girl may mean a village ball, and "so many partners that she danced till she could scarcely stand." Pleasure to a school-boy means tying a string to his school-fellow's toe when he is asleep, and pulling it till he wakens him. Pleasure to a "man of inquiring mind" means, "a toad inside of a stone," or a beetle running around with his head off. Pleasure to a hard-laboring man means doing nothing;[Pg 246] pleasure to a fashionable lady means, "having something to do to drive away the time." Pleasure to an antiquary means, an "illegible inscription." Pleasure to a connoisseur means, a "dark, invisible, very fine picture." Pleasure to the social, the "human face divine." Pleasure to the morose, "Thank Heaven, I shan't see a soul for the next six months!"

"Why don't you wash and dress yourself when you come into a court of justice?" asked a pompous London judge of a chimney-sweep, who was being examined as a witness. "Dress myself, my lord," said the sweep: "I am dressed as much as your lordship: you are in your working-clothes, and so am I!"

A good while ago that inimitable wag, Punch had some very amusing "Legal Maxims," with comments upon them; a few of which found their way into the "Drawer," and a portion of which we subjoin:

"A personal action dies with the person."—This maxim is clear enough; and means that an action brought against a man, when he dies in the middle of it, can not be continued. Thus, though the law sometimes, and very often, pursues a man to the grave, his rest there is not likely to be disturbed by the lawyers. If a soldier dies in action, the action does not necessarily cease, but is often continued with considerable vigor afterward.

"Things of a higher nature determine things of a lower nature."—Thus a written agreement determines one in words; although if the words are of a very high nature, they put an end to all kinds of agreement between the parties.

"The greater contains the less."—Thus, if a man tenders more money than he ought to pay, he tenders what he owes: for the greater contains the less; but a quart wine-bottle, which is greater than a pint and a half, does not always contain a pint and a half; so that, in this instance, the less is not contained in the greater.

"Deceit and fraud shall be remedied on all occasions."—It may be very true, that deceit and fraud ought to be remedied, but whether they are, is quite another question. It is much to be feared, that in law, as well as in other matters, ought sometimes stands for nothing.

"The law compels no one to impossibilities."—This is extremely considerate on the part of the law; but if it does not compel a man to impossibilities, it sometimes drives him to attempt them. The law, however, occasionally acts upon the principle of two negatives making an affirmative; thus treating two impossibilities as if they amounted to a possibility. As, when a man can not pay a debt, law-expenses are added, which he can not pay either; but the latter being added to the former, it is presumed, perhaps, that the two negatives, or impossibilities may constitute one affirmative or possibility, and the debtor is accordingly thrown into prison, if he fails to accomplish it.

Some country readers of the "Drawer," unacquainted with the dance called the "Mazurka," may like to know how to accomplish that elaborate and fashionable species of saltation. Here follows a practical explanation of the figures:

Get a pair of dress-boats, high heels are the best,
And a partner; then stand with six more in a ring;
Skip thrice to the right, take two stamps and a rest,
[Pg 247] Hop thrice to the left, give a kick and a fling;
Be careful in stamping some neighbor don't rue it,
Though people with corns had better not do it.
Your partner you next circumnavigate; that
Is, dance all the way round her, unless she's too fat;
Make a very long stride, then two hops for poussette;
Lastly, back to your place, if you can, you must get.
A general mêlée here always ensues,
Begun by the loss of a few ladies' shoes;
A faint and a scream—"Oh, dear, I shall fall!"
"How stupid you are!"—"We are all wrong!" and that's all.

Truly to appreciate such a dancing scene as this, one should see it through a closed window, at a fashionable watering-place, without being able to hear a note of the music, the "moving cause" of all the frisking.


Miss Trephina and Miss Trephosa, two ancient ladies of virgin fame, formerly kept a boarding-house in the immediate neighborhood of the Crosby-street Medical College. They took in students, did their washing, and to the best of their abilities mended their shirts and their morals. Miss Trephina, in spite of the numerous landmarks which time had set up upon her person, was still of the sentimental order. She always dressed "de rigueur" in cerulean blue, and wore false ringlets, and teeth (miserabile dictu!) of exceedingly doubtful extraction. Miss Trephosa, her sister, was on the contrary an uncommonly "strong-minded" woman. Her appearance would have been positively majestic, had it not been for an unfortunate squint, which went far to upset the dignified expression of her countenance. She wore a fillet upon her brows "à la Grecque," and people did say that her temper was as cross as her eyes. Bob Turner was a whole-souled Kentuckian, for whom his professorial guardian obtained lodgings in the establishment presided over by these two fascinating damsels. Somehow or other, Bob and his hostesses did not keep upon the best of terms very long. Bob had no notion of having his minutest actions submitted to a surveillance as rigid as (in his opinion) it was impertinent. One morning a fellow-student passing by at an early hour, saw the Kentuckian, who was standing upon the steps of the dragons' castle, from which he had just emerged, take from his pocket a slip of paper, and proceed to affix the same, with the aid of wafers, to the street door. The student skulked about the premises until Bob was out of sight, and he could read without observation the inscription placarded upon the panel. It was as follows—we do not vouch for its originality, although we know nothing to the contrary:

"To let or to lease, for the term of her life,
A scolding old maid, in the way of a wife;
She's old and she's ugly—ill-natured and thin;
For further particulars, inquire within!"

An hour afterward the paper had disappeared from the door. Whether Bob was ever detected or not we can not tell, but he changed his lodgings the next term.

The Spaniards have a talent for self-glorification which throws that of all other nations, even our own, into the shade. Some allowance should be made, perhaps, for conventional hyperbolism of style, but vanity has as much to do with it as rhetoric. A traveled friend saw performed at Barcelona a play called "Españoles sobre todos"—"Spaniards before all"—in which the hero, a Spanish knight, and a perfect paladin in prowess, overthrows more English and French knights with his single arm than would constitute the entire regular army of this country. All[Pg 248] these absurdities were received by the audience with a grave enthusiasm marvelous enough to witness. The play had a great run in all the cities of Spain, until it reached Madrid, where its first representation scandalized the French embassador to such a degree, that, like a true Gaul as he was, he made it a national question, interfered diplomatically, and the Government suppressed the performance.

There is a light-house at Cadiz—a very good light-house—but in no respect an extraordinary production of art. There is an inscription carved upon it, well peppered with notes of exclamation, and which translated reads as follows:

"This light-house was erected upon Spanish soil, of Spanish stone, by Spanish hands."

An old farmer from one of the rural districts—we may be allowed to say, from one of the very rural districts—recently came to town to see the sights, leaving his better-half at home, with the cattle and the poultry. Among various little keepsakes which he brought back to his wife, on his return to his Penates, was his own daguerreotype. "Oh! these men, these men! what creturs they are!" exclaimed the old lady, on receiving it; "just to think that he should fetch a picture of himself all the way from York, and be so selfish as not to fetch one of me at the same time!"

The following good story is told of George Hogarth, the author of musical history, biography, and criticism, and of "Memoirs of the Musical Drama." It seems that Mr. Hogarth is an intimate friend of Charles Dickens. Upon one occasion, Mr. Dickens had a party at his house, at which were present, among other notabilities, Miss ——, the famous singer, and her mother, a most worthy lady, but not one of the "illuminated." Mr. Hogarth's engagement as musical critic for some of the leading London Journals kept him busy until quite late in the evening; and to Mrs. ——'s reiterated inquiries as to when Mr. Hogarth might be expected, Mr. Dickens replied that he could not venture to hope that he would come in before eleven o'clock. At about that hour the old gentleman, who is represented as being one of the mildest and most modest of men, entered the rooms, and the excited Mrs. —— solicited an immediate introduction. When the consecrated words had been spoken by the amused host, fancy the effect of Mrs. ——'s bursting out with the hearty exclamation, "Oh, Mr. Hogarth, how shall I express to you the honor which I feel on making the acquaintance of the author of the 'Rake's Progress!'"

We wish it had been our privilege to see Dickens' face at that moment.

Dr. Dionysius Lardner married an Irish lady, of the city of Dublin, we believe, whose name was Cicily. The Doctor is represented not to have treated her with all conceivable marital tenderness. Among the University wags, he went by the name of "Dionysius, the Tyrant of Cicily" (Sicily.)

The late Pope of Rome, Gregory XVI., was once placed in an extremely awkward dilemma, in consequence of his co-existing authority as temporal and spiritual prince. A child of Jewish parentage was stolen from its home in early infancy. Every possible effort was made to discover the place of its concealment, but for many years without any success. At length, after a long lapse of time, it was accidentally ascertained that the boy, who had now almost grown a man, was residing in a Christian family, in a[Pg 249] section of the town far removed from the "Ghetto," or Jews' quarter. The delighted parents eagerly sought to take their child home at once, but his Christian guardians refused to give him up; and the Pope was applied to by both parties, to decide upon the rival claims. On the one hand it was urged, that, as the head of the State, his Holiness could never think of countenancing the kidnapping of a child, and the detaining him from his natural friends. On the other hand it was contended, that, as head of the Church, it was impossible for him to give back to infidelity one who had been brought up a true believer. The case was a most difficult one to pass upon, and what might have been the result it would be hard to tell, had not the voice of habit been stronger than the voice of blood, and the subject of the dispute expressed an earnest desire to cling to the Church rather than be handed over to the Synagogue.

The famous humorist, Horne Tooke, once stood for Parliament in the Liberal interest. His election was contested by a person who had made a large fortune as a public contractor. This gentleman, in his speech from the hustings, exhorted the constituency not to elect a man who had no stake in the country. Mr. Tooke, in reply, said that he must confess, with all humility, that there was, at least, one stake in the country which he did not possess, and that was a stake taken from the public fence.

Upon another occasion, the blank form for the income-tax return was sent in to Mr. Tooke to be filled up. He inserted the word "Nil," signed it, and returned it to the board of county magistrates. Shortly afterward he was called before this honorable body of gentlemen to make an explanation. "What do you mean by 'Nil,' sir?" asked the most ponderous of the gentlemen upon the bench. "I mean literally 'Nil,'" answered the wag.

"We perfectly understand the meaning of the Latin word Nil—nothing," rejoined the magistrate, with an air of self-congratulation upon his learning. "But do you mean to say, sir, that you live without any income at all—that you live upon nothing?"

"Upon nothing but my brains, gentlemen," was Tooke's answer.

"Upon nothing but his brains!" exclaimed the presiding dignitary to his associates. "It seems to me that this is a novel source of income."

"Ah, gentlemen," retorted the humorist, "it is not every man that has brains to mortgage."

In nothing is the irregularity of our orthography shown more than in the pronunciation of certain proper names. The English noble names of Beauchamp, Beauvoir, and Cholmondeley are pronounced respectively Beechum, Beaver, and Chumley.

One of the "Anglo-Saxun" reformers, meeting Lord Cholmondeley one day coming out of his own house, and not being acquainted with his Lordship's person, asked him if Lord Chol-mon-de-ley (pronouncing each syllable distinctly), was at home? "No," replied the Peer, without hesitation, "nor any of his pe-o-ple."

Before commons were abolished at Yale College, it used to be customary for the steward to provide turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner. As visits of poultry to the "Hall" table were "few and far between," this feast was looked forward to with anxious interest by all the students. The birds, divested of their feathers, were ordinarily deposited over-night[Pg 250] in some place of safety—not unfrequently in the Treasurer's office.

Upon one occasion a Vandal-like irruption, by some unknown parties, was made in the dead of night upon the place of deposit. By the next morning the birds had all flown—been spirited away, or carried off—we give the reader his choice. A single venerable specimen of antiquity, the stateliest of the flock, was found tied by the legs to the knocker of the steward's door. And, as if to add insult to injury (or injury to insult, as you please), a paper was pinned upon his breast with the significant motto written upon it: E pluribus unum—"One out of many."

At one corner of the Palazzo Braschi, the last monument of Papal nepotism, near the Piazza Navona, in Rome, stands the famous mutilated torso known as the Statue of Pasquin. It is the remains of a work of art of considerable merit, found at this spot in the sixteenth century, and supposed to represent Ajax supporting Menelaus. It derives its modern name, as Murray tells us, from the tailor Pasquin, who kept a shop opposite, which was the rendezvous of all the gossips in the city, and from which their satirical witticisms on the manners and follies of the day obtained a ready circulation. The fame of Pasquin is perpetuated in the term pasquinade, and has thus become European; but Rome is the only place in which he flourishes. The statue of Marforio, which stood near the arch of Septimus Severus, in the Forum, was made the vehicle for replying to the attacks of Pasquin; and for many years they kept up an incessant fire of wit and repartee. When Marforio was removed to the Museum of the Capitol, the Pope wished to remove Pasquin also; but the Duke di Braschi, to whom he belongs, would not permit it. Adrian VI. attempted to arrest his career by ordering the statue to be burnt and thrown into the Tiber, but one of the Pope's friends, Ludovico Sussano, saved him, by suggesting that his ashes would turn into frogs, and croak more terribly than before. It is said that his owner is compelled to pay a fine whenever he is found guilty of exhibiting any scandalous placards. The modern Romans seem to regard Pasquin as part of their social system; in the absence of a free press, he has become in some measure the organ of public opinion, and there is scarcely an event upon which he does not pronounce judgment. Some of his sayings are extremely broad for the atmosphere of Rome, but many of them are very witty, and fully maintain the character of his fellow-citizens for satirical epigrams and repartee. When Mezzofante, the great linguist, was made a Cardinal, Pasquin declared that it was a very proper appointment, for there could be no doubt that the "Tower of Babel," "Il torre di Babel," required an interpreter. At the time of the first French occupation of Italy, Pasquin gave out the following satirical dialogue:

"I Francesi son tutti ladri,
"Non tutti—ma Buonaparte."
"The French are all robbers.
"Not all, but a good part;" or,
"Not all—but Buonaparte."

Another remarkable saying is recorded in connection with the celebrated Bull of Urban VIII., excommunicating all persons who took snuff in the Cathedral of Seville. On the publication of this decree, Pasquin appropriately quoted the beautiful passage in Job—"Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?"

[Pg 251]

Literary Notices.

The Naval Dry Docks of the United States. By Charles B. Stuart.—This elegant volume, by the Engineer-in-Chief of the United States Navy, is dedicated with great propriety to President Fillmore. It is an important national work, presenting a forcible illustration of the scientific and industrial resources of this country, and of the successful application of the practical arts to constructions of great public utility. The Dry Docks at the principal Navy Yards in the United States are described in detail—copious notices are given of the labor and expense employed in their building—with a variety of estimates, tables, and plans, affording valuable materials for reference to the contractor and engineer. Gen. Stuart has devoted the toil of many years to the preparation of this volume, which forms the first of a series, intended to give a history and description of the leading public works in the United States. He has accomplished his task with admirable success. Every page bears the marks of fidelity, diligence, and skill. The historical portions are written in a popular style, and as few professional technicalities have been employed as were consistent with scientific precision. In its external appearance, this publication is highly creditable to American typography; a more splendid specimen of the art has rarely, if ever been issued from the press in this country. The type, paper, and binding are all of a superior character, and worthy of the valuable contents of the volume. The scientific descriptions are illustrated by twenty-four fine steel engravings, representing the most prominent features of the Dry Docks at different stages of their construction. We trust that this superb volume, in which every American may well take an honest pride, will not only attract the attention of scientific men, but find its way generally into our public and private libraries.

A unique work on the manners of gentlemen in society has been issued by Harper and Brothers, entitled, The Principles of Courtesy. The author, George Winfred Hervey, whom we now meet for the first time in the domain of authorship, seems to have made a specialty of his subject, judging from the completeness of detail and earnestness of tone which he has brought to its elucidation. It is clearly his mission to "catch the living manners as they rise" to submit them to a stringent search for any thing contraband of good feeling or good taste. He is an observer of no common acuteness. While he unfolds with clearness the great principles of courtesy, few trifles of detail are too unimportant to escape his notice. He watches the social bearing of men in almost every imaginable relation of life—detects the slight shades of impropriety which mar the general comfort—points out the thousand little habits which diminish the facility and grace of friendly intercourse—and spares no words to train up the aspirants for decency of behavior in the way they should go. We must own that we have usually little patience with works of this description. The manners of a gentleman are not formed by the study of Chesterfield. A formal adherence to written rules may make dancing-masters, or Sir Charles Grandisons; but the untaught grace of life does not come from previous intent. This volume, however, somewhat modifies our opinion. It is no stupid collection of stereotype precepts, but a bold, lively discussion of the moralities of society, interspersed with frequent dashes of caustic humor, and occasional sketches of character in the style of La Bruyere. Whatever effect it may have in mending the manners of our social circles, it is certainly a shrewd, pungent book, and may be read for amusement as well as edification.

An Exposition of some of the Laws of the Latin Grammar, by Gessner Harrison, M.D. (Published by Harper and Brothers.) This is a treatise on several nice topics of Latin philology, which are discussed with great sagacity and analytic skill. It is not intended to take the place of any of the practical grammars now in use, but aims rather to supply some of their deficiencies, by presenting a philosophical explanation of the inflections and syntax of the language. Although the subtle distinctions set forth by the author may prove too strong meat for the digestion of the beginner, we can assure the adept in verbal analogies, that he will find in this volume a treasure of rare learning and profound suggestion. While professedly devoted to the Latin language, it abounds with instructive hints and conclusions on general philology. It is one of those books which, under a difficult exterior, conceals a sweet and wholesome nutriment. Whoever will crack the nut, will find good meat.

An excellent aid in the acquisition of the French language may be found in Professor Fasquelle's New Method, published by Newman and Ivison. It is on the plan of Woodbury's admirable German Grammar, and for simplicity, copiousness, clearness, and accuracy, is not surpassed by any manual with which we are acquainted.

The Two Families is the title of a new novel by the author of "Rose Douglas," republished by Harper and Brothers. Pervaded by a spirit of refined gentleness and pathos, the story is devoted to the description of humble domestic life in Scotland, perpetually appealing to the heart by its sweet and natural simplicity. The moral tendency of this admirable tale is pure and elevated, while the style is a model of unpretending beauty.

A Greek Reader, by Professor John J. Owen (published by Leavitt and Allen), is another valuable contribution of the Editor to the interests of classical education. It comprises selections from the fables of Æsop, the Jests of Hierocles, the Apophthegms of Plutarch, the Dialogues of Lucian, Xenophon's Anabasis and Cyropædia, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and the Odes of Anacreon. With the brief Lexicon and judicious Notes by the Editor, it forms a highly convenient text-book for the use of beginners.

The Second Volume of Lamartine's History of the Restoration (issued by Harper and Brothers), continues the narrative of events from the departure of Napoleon from Fontainebleau to his escape from Elba, his defeat at Waterloo, and his final abdication. The tone of this volume is more chaste and subdued, than that of the previous portions of the work. The waning fortunes of the Emperor are described with calmness and general impartiality, though the author's want of sympathy with the fallen conqueror can not be concealed. Many fine portraitures of character occur in these pages. In this department of composition, Lamartine is always graphic and felicitous. We do not admit the charge that he sacrifices accuracy of delineation to his love of effect. His sketches will bear the test of examination. Among others, Murat, Talleyrand, and Benjamin Constant are hit[Pg 252] off with masterly boldness of touch. In fact, whatever criticisms may be passed upon this work as a history, no one can deny its singular fascinations as a picture-gallery.

Clifton, by Arthur Townley (published by A. Hart, Philadelphia), is an American novel, chiefly remarkable for its lively portraitures of fashionable and political life in this country. The plot has no special interest, and is in fact subservient to the taste for dissertation, in which the writer freely indulges. His sketches of manœuvres and intrigues in society and politics are often quite piquant, betraying a sharp observer and a nimble satirist. We do not know the position of the author, but he is evidently familiar with the sinuosities of Washington and New York society.

The Fourth Volume of Cosmos by Humboldt (republished by Harper and Brothers), continues the Uranological portion of the Physical Description of the Universe, completing the subject of Fixed Stars, and presenting a thorough survey of the Solar Region, including the Sun as the central body, the planets, the comets, the ring of the zodiacal light, shooting stars, fireballs, and meteoric stones. This volume, like those already published, is distinguished for its profuse detail of physical facts and phenomena, its lucid exhibition of scientific laws, and the breadth and profoundness of view with which the unitary principles of the Universe are detected in the midst of its vast and bewildering variety. Nor is Humboldt less remarkable for the impressive eloquence of his style, than for the extent of his researches, and the systematic accuracy of his knowledge. The sublime facts of physical science are inspired with a fresh vitality as they are presented in his glowing pages. He awakens new conceptions of the grandeur of the Universe and the glories of the Creator. No one can pursue the study of his luminous and fruitful generalizations, without a deep sense of the wonderful laws of the divine harmony, and hence, his writings are no less admirable in a moral point of view, than they are for the boldness and magnificence of their scientific expositions.

Dollars and Cents, by Amy Lothrop (published by G. P. Putnam), is a new novel of the "Queechy" school, in many respects bearing such a marked resemblance to those productions, that it might almost be ascribed to the same pen. Like the writings of Miss Wetherell, its principal merit consists in its faithful descriptions of nature, and its insight into the workings of the human heart in common life. The dialogue is drawn out to a wearisome tenuity, while the general character of the plot is also fatiguing by its monotonous and sombre cast. The story hinges on the reverses of fortune in a wealthy family, by whom all sorts of possible and impossible perplexities are endured in their low estate, till finally the prevailing darkness is relieved by a ray of light, when the curtain rather abruptly falls. In the progress of the narrative, the writer frequently displays an uncommon power of expression; brief, pointed sentences flash along the page; but the construction of the plot, as a whole, is awkward; and the repeated introduction of improbable scenes betrays a want of invention, which finally marks the work as a failure in spite of the talent which it occasionally reveals.

The Study of Words by Richard Chenevix Trench (Published by Redfield.) A reprint of a curious, but not very profound English work on the derivation of words. The author presents a variety of specimens of ingenious verbal analysis; always suggestive; but not seldom fanciful; relying on subtle[Pg 253] hypotheses, rather than on sound authority. Still his book is not without a certain utility. It enforces the importance of a nice use of language as an instrument of thought. The hidden meaning wrapped up in the derivation of terms is shown to be more significant than is usually supposed; and the numerous instances of cunning etymology which it brings forward tend to create a habit of tracing words to their origin, which directed by good sense, rather than fancy, can not fail to exert a wholesome influence in the pursuit of truth.

Life and Correspondence of Lord Jeffrey, by Lord Cockburn. (Published by Lippincott, Grambo, and Co.) The best part of this book is that in which Jeffrey is made to speak for himself. Except on the ground of intimate friendship, Lord Cockburn had no special vocation for the present task. He exhibits little skill in the arrangement of his materials, and none of the graces of composition. His narrative is extremely inartificial, and fails to present the subject in its most commanding and attractive aspects. He often dwells upon trifles with a zeal quite disproportioned to their importance. These defects, however, are in some degree compensated by the thorough sincerity and earnestness of the whole performance. It is altogether free from pretension and exaggeration. Lord Cockburn writes like a plain, hard-headed, common-sense Scotchman. He tells a straightforward story, leaving it to produce its own effect, without superfluous embellishment. His relations with Jeffrey were of the most familiar character. Their friendship commenced early in life, and was continued without interruption to the last hour. The difference in their pursuits seemed only to cement their intimacy. Hence, on the whole, the biography was placed in the right hands. We thus have a more transparent record of the character of Jeffrey, than if the work had been prepared in a more ambitious literary spirit. In fact, his letters reveal to us the best parts of his nature, far more than could have been done by any labored eulogy. The light they throw on his affections is a perpetual surprise. His reputation in literature depends so much on the keenness and severity of his critical judgments, that we have learned to identify them with the personal character of the writer. We think of him almost as a wild beast, lurking in the jungles of literature, eager, with blood-thirsty appetite, to pounce upon his prey. He seems to roll the most poignant satire "as a sweet morsel under his tongue." But, in truth, this was not his innate disposition. When prompted by a sense of critical justice to slay the unhappy victim, "dividing asunder the joints and the marrow," he does not spare the steel. No compunctuous visitings of nature are permitted to stay the hand, when raised to strike. But, really, there never was a kinder, a more truly soft-hearted man. He often displays a woman's gentleness and wealth of feeling. The contrast between this and his sharp, alert, positive, intellectual nature is truly admirable. With his confidential friends, he lays aside all reserve. He unbosoms himself with the frank artlessness of a child. His letters to Charles Dickens are among the most remarkable in these volumes. He early detected the genius of the young aspirant to literary distinction. His passion for the writings of Dickens soon ripened into a devoted friendship for the author, which was cordially returned. Never was more enthusiastic attachment expressed by one man for another than is found in this correspondence. It speaks well for the head and heart of both parties. Incidental notices of the progress of English literature during the last half-century are, of course, profusely[Pg 254] scattered throughout these volumes. The exceeding interest of that period, the variety and splendor of its intellectual productions, and the personal traits of its celebrities, furnish materials of rare value for an attractive work. With all its defects of execution, we must welcome this as one of the most delightful publications of the season.

Eleven Weeks in Europe, by James Freeman Clarke. (Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields.) We never should be surfeited with books of travels, if they all evinced the frankness, intelligence, and cultivated taste which characterize this readable volume. Mr. Clarke shows how much can be done in a short time on a European tour. His book is valuable as a guide to the selection of objects, no less than for its excellent descriptions and criticisms. Without claiming any great degree of novelty, it has an original air from the freedom with which the author uses his own eyes and forms his own judgments. He speaks altogether from personal impressions, and does not aim to echo the opinions of others, however wise or well-informed. His volume is, accordingly, a rarity in these days, when every body travels, and all copy.

Messrs. Lippincott, Grambo, and Co., of Philadelphia, are now publishing a library edition of the Waverley Novels, to be complete in 12 monthly volumes, neatly bound in cloth, with illustrations, at one dollar per volume. They also issue the work in semi-monthly parts, at fifty cents, each part embracing a complete novel. The above will take the place of the edition recently proposed by Harper and Brothers.

The third volume of Douglas Jerrold's writings contains some of his most popular and remarkable pieces. The "Curtain Lectures, as suffered by the late Job Caudle," and "The Story of a Feather" appeared originally in Punch—and they have since been repeatedly reprinted, the former in several editions. The thousands of readers who have profited by the lectures of Mrs. Caudle may be glad to learn Mr. Jerrold's characteristic account of the manner in which that household oracle first addressed herself to his own mind. "It was a thick, black wintry afternoon, when the writer stopt in the front of the play-ground of a suburban school. The ground swarmed with boys full of the Saturday's holiday. The earth seemed roofed with the oldest lead; and the wind came, sharp as Shylock's knife, from the Minories. But those happy boys ran and jumped, and hopped, and shouted, and—unconscious men in miniature!—in their own world of frolic, had no thought of the full-length men they would some day become; drawn out into grave citizenship; formal, respectable, responsible. To them the sky was of any or all colors; and for that keen east-wind—if it was called the east-wind—cutting the shoulder-blades of old, old men of forty—they in their immortality of boyhood had the redder faces, and the nimbler blood for it. And the writer, looking dreamily into that play-ground, still mused on the robust jollity of those little fellows, to whom the tax-gatherer was as yet a rarer animal than baby hippopotamus. Heroic boyhood, so ignorant of the future in the knowing enjoyment of the present! And the writer, still dreaming and musing, and still following no distinct line of thought, there struck upon him, like notes of sudden household music, these words—Curtain Lectures. One moment there was no living object save those racing, shouting boys; and the next, as though a white dove had alighted on the[Pg 255] pen-hand of the writer, there was—Mrs. Caudle. Ladies of the jury, are there not, then, some subjects of letters that mysteriously assert an effect without any discoverable cause? Otherwise, wherefore should the thought of Curtain Lectures grow from a school-ground?—wherefore, among a crowd of holiday schoolboys should appear Mrs. Caudle? For the Lectures themselves, it is feared they must be given up as a farcical desecration of a solemn time-honored privilege; it may be exercised once in a life-time—and that once having the effect of a hundred repetitions; as Job lectured his wife. And Job's wife, a certain Mohammedan writer delivers, having committed a fault in her love to her husband, he swore that on his recovery he would deal her a hundred stripes. Job got well, and his heart was touched and taught by the tenderness to keep his vow, and still to chastise his helpmate; for he smote her once with a palm-branch having a hundred leaves." To the "Curtain Lectures" and the "Story of a Feather" Mr. Jerrold has added a very beautiful and characteristic "tale of faëry," entitled, "The Sick Giant and the Doctor Dwarf."

A new edition of Professor Anthon's Anabasis of Xenophon, with English notes, is published in London, under the revision of Dr. John Doran. "Dr. Anthon," says the Athenæum, "has edited, and elucidated by notes, several of the ancient classics, and whatever he has undertaken he has performed in a scholarly style. At the same time his books are entirely free from pedantry, and the notes and comments are so plain and useful, that they are as popular with boys as they are convenient for teachers."

The same Journal has rather a left-handed compliment to American literature in general, to which, however, it is half inclined to make our popular Ik. Marvel an exception.

"There is no very startling vitality in any other of Mr. Marvel's 'daydreams.' Still, at the present period, when the writers of American belles-lettres, biography and criticism, show such a tendency to mould themselves into those affected forms by which vagueness of thought and short-sightedness of view are disguised, and to use a jargon which is neither English nor German—a writer unpretending in his manner and simple in his matter is not to be dismissed without a kind word; and therefore we have advisedly loitered for a page or two with Ik. Marvel."

At a meeting of the Edinburgh Town Council, the following letter, addressed to the Lord Provost, magistrates, and council, was read from Professor Wilson, resigning the Professorship of Moral Philosophy in the University: "My Lord and Gentlemen—When the kindness of the patrons, on occasion of my sudden and severe illness in September last, induced, and the great goodness of the learned Principal Lee enabled them to grant me leave of absence till the close of the ensuing session now about to terminate, the benefit to my health from that arrangement was so great as to seem to justify my humble hopes of its entire and speedy restoration; but, as the year advances, these hopes decay, and I feel that it is now my duty to resign the chair which I have occupied for so long a period, that the patrons may have ample time for the election of my successor."

Among the candidates for the chair of Moral Philosophy in Edinburgh, vacant by the resignation of Professor Wilson, are Professor Ferrier, of St. Andrews; Professor Macdougall, of New College,[Pg 256] Edinburgh; Professor M'Cosh, of Belfast; Mr. J. D. Morell; Mr. George Ramsay, late of Trin. Col., Cam., now of Rugby; and Dr. W. L. Alexander, of Edinburgh.

Dr. Maclure, one of the masters of the Edinburgh Academy, has been appointed by the Crown to the Professorship of Humanity in Marischal College, Aberdeen, vacant by the translation of Mr. Blackie to the Greek chair at Edinburgh.

The motion for abolishing tests in regard to the non-theological chairs of the Scottish universities has been thrown out, on the second reading in the House of Commons, by 172 to 157.

Mr. W. Jerdan, late editor of The Literary Gazette, is to become editor of "The London Weekly Paper," an "organ of the middle classes."

The department of MSS. in the British Museum has been lately enriched with a document of peculiar interest to English literature—namely, the original covenant of indenture between John Milton, gent., and Samuel Symons, printer, for the sale and publication of Paradise Lost, dated the 27th of April, 1667. By the terms of agreement, Milton was to receive £5 at once, and an additional £5 after the sale of 1300 copies of each of the first, the second, and the third "impressions" or editions—making in all the sum of £20 to be received for the copy of the work and the sale of 3900 copies.

The Athenæum thus notices the death of a late traveler in this country. "The world of literature has to mourn the untimely closing of a career full of promise—and which, short as it has been, was not without the illustration of performance. Mr. Alexander Mackay, known to our readers as the author of 'The Western World,' has been snatched from life at the early age of thirty-two. Besides the work which bears his name before the world, Mr. Mackay had already performed much of that kind of labor which, known for the time only to the scientific few, lays the ground for future publicity and distinction. Connected as a special correspondent with the Morning Chronicle he had been employed by that journal in those collections of facts and figures on the aggregate and comparison of which many of the great social and statist questions of the day are made to depend. In 1850 Mr. Mackay was commissioned by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to visit India for the purpose of ascertaining by minute inquiries on the spot what obstacles exist to prevent an ample supply of good cotton being obtained from its fields, and devising the means of extending the growth of that important plant in our Eastern empire."

Granier de Cassagnac, long known to France as an impudent, unveracious, reckless journalist and critic, has published some critical Essays, written in his obscurer days. He calls them Œuvres Litéraires. The volume contains articles on Chateaubriand, Lamennais, Lacordaire, Corneille, Racine, Dumas, Hugo, &c.

The readers of the Débats will remember a series of violent, bigoted, conceited, but not unimportant articles in the feuilleton, signed Cuvillier Fleury, devoted principally to the men and books of the Revolutions of '89 and '48. Written with asperity and passion, they have the force and vivacity of passion, although their intense conceit and personality[Pg 257] very much abates the reader's pleasure. M. Fleury has collected them in two volumes, under the title, Portraits Politiques et Révolutionnaires. Politicians will be attracted toward the articles on Louis-Philippe, Guizot, the Duchess of Orleans, the Revolution of 1848, &c.; men of letters will turn to the articles on Lamartine, Sue, Louis Blanc, Daniel Stern, Proudhon, and Victor Hugo, or to those on Rousseau, St. Just, Barère, and Camille Desmoulins.

Baron de Walkaener, Perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, of Paris, died April 27. In addition to eminence in what the French call the Moral and Political Sciences, he was a very laborious homme de lettres, and has given to the world interesting biographies of La Fontaine and other French writers, together with correct editions of their works. He was a member of the Institute, and was one of the principals of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

The first number of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's German Dictionary is just out. It would be premature to criticise the work in its present stage; it seems, however, to be most carefully and accurately compiled. It is printed in large octavo form, in double columns, on good paper, and in a clear print. Some idea may be formed of the labor which has been expended on this work, from the fact that all the leisure time of a learned professor has been devoted for the last three years to reading through the works of Goethe alone in connection with it. The first number consists of one hundred and twenty pages, and contains about half the letter A. It is announced to us that 7000 copies had been subscribed for up to the 20th of April. This is a result almost unparalleled in the German book-trade, and not often surpassed in England.

The library of the convent at Gaesdorf, in Germany, is in possession of a most interesting MS. of Rempen's De Successione Christi. It contains the whole of the four books, and its completion dates from the year 1427. This MS. is therefore the oldest one extant of this work, for the copy in the library of the Jesuits at Antwerp, which has generally been mistaken for the oldest MS., is of the year 1440. The publication of this circumstance also settles the question as to the age of the fourth book of Rempen's work, which some erroneously assumed had not been written previous to 1440.

The new Catalogue of the Leipzig Easter Book-Fair contains, according to the German papers, 700 titles more than the previous Catalogue for the half year ending with the Fair of St. Michael. The latter included 3860 titles of published books, and 1130 of forthcoming publications. The present Catalogue enumerates 4527 published works and 1163 in preparation. These 5690 books represent 903 publishers. A single house in Vienna contributes 113 publications. That of Brockhaus figures for 95.

From Kiel it is stated that Germany has lost one of her most celebrated natural philosophers in the person of Dr. Pfaff, senior of the Professors of the Royal University of Kiel—who has died at the age of seventy-nine. M. Pfaff is the author of a variety of well-known scientific works—and of others on Greek and Latin archæology. Since his death, his correspondence with Cuvier, Volta, Kielmayer, and and other celebrated men, has been found among his papers.

[Pg 258]

Comicalities, Original and Selected.



"'Tis true, there is a slight difference in our ages, but with hearts that love, such considerations become frivolous. The world! Pshaw! Did you but love as I do, you would care but little for its opinion. Oh! say, beautiful being, will you be mine?"


Never drink any thing but water.

Never eat any thing but oatmeal.

Wear the thickest boots.

Walk fifteen miles regularly every day.

Avoid all excitement; consequently it is best to remain single, for then you will be free from all household cares and matrimonial troubles, and you will have no children to worry you.

The same rule applies to smoking, taking snuff, playing at cards, and arguing with an Irishman. They are all strong excitements, which must be rigidly avoided, if you value in the least your health.

By attending carefully to the above rules, there is every probability that you may live to a hundred years, and that you will enjoy your hundredth year fully as much as your twenty-first.


Taxes on knowledge are objected to, and taxes on food are objected to; in fact, there is so much objection to every species of taxation, that it is very difficult to determine what to tax. The least unpopular of imposts, it has been suggested, would be a tax on vanity and folly, and accordingly a proposition has been made to lay a tax upon stays; but this is opposed by political economists on the ground that such a duty would have a tendency to check consumption.

[Pg 259]



[Pg 260]



[Pg 261]



The following letter has been sent to our office, evidently in mistake:

"Matrimonial Office, Union Court, Love Lane.

"(strictly private and confidential.)

"Sir—Your esteemed favor of the 10th ult. came duly to hand, and, agreeably to your desire, we have the honor to forward to you our quarterly sheet of photographic likenesses of our Female Clients. We were very sorry that the Ladies you fixed upon in our last year's sheets were all engaged before your duly honored application arrived at our Office; but we hope to be more fortunate in our present sheet, which we flatter ourselves contains some highly eligibles. We should, however, recommend as early an application as possible, as, this being leap-year, Ladies are looking up, and considerably risen in the Market, and shares in their affections and fortunes are now much above par. Should you not be particular to a shade, we should respectfully beg leave to recommend No. 7, her father having very large estates near Timbuctoo, to which she will be sole heiress in case of her twenty-seven brothers dying without issue. And should the Great African East and West Railway be carried forward, the value of the Estates would be prodigiously increased. No. 8 is a sweet poetess, whose 'Remains' would probably be a fortune to any Literary Gent. to publish after her decease. No. 9 has been much approved by Gents., having buried eight dear partners, and is an eighth time inconsolable.

"Further particulars may be had on application at our Office.

"We beg also, respectfully, to inform you that your esteemed portrait was duly received and appeared in our last Gent.'s sheet of Clients; but we are sorry to say as yet no inquiries respecting it have come to hand.

"Permit us further to remind you that a year's subscription was due on the 1st of January, which, with arrears amounting to £4 4s., we shall be greatly obliged by your remitting by return of post.

"With most respectful impatience, awaiting a renewal of your ever-esteemed applications, and assuring you that they shall be duly attended to with all dispatch, secrecy, and punctuality,

"We have the honor to be, esteemed Sir,

"Your most obedient Servants,

"Hookham and Splicer,

"Sole Matrimonial Agents for Great Britain.

"P.S.—We find our female clients run much on mustaches. Would you allow us humbly to suggest the addition of them to your portrait in our next Quarterly Sheet? It could be done at a slight expense, and would probably insure your being one of our fortunate clients."

[Pg 262]



Lady.—"Goodness Bridget! what is that you have on?"

Bridget.—"Shure! an' didn't I hear you say these Weskitts was all the fashion? An' so I borrer'd me bruther Pathrick's to wait at the table in."



Fascinating Young Lady.—"I dare say you think me a very odd Girl—and indeed, mamma always says I am a giddy, thoughtless creature—and—"

Partner.—"Oh, here's a vacant seat, I think."

[Pg 263]



Young Gentleman.—"I don't want to hurry you out of the room, old girl, but the fact is—I am going to wash myself."



Proprietor of the Dog.—"Has he been a bitin' on you, sir?"


Proprietor.—"Vell, I thought as there was somethink the matter with him, cos he wouldn't drink nuffin for two days, and so I vos jist a-goin to muzzle him."


Air—"Dunois the Brave."

Old Hermit Peter was a goose
To preach the first Crusade,
And skase e'en Godfrey of Bouillon
The speculation paid;
They rose the banner of the Cross
Upon a foolish plan—
Not like we hists the Stars and Stripes,
To go agin Japan.
All to protect our mariners
The gallant Perry sails,
Our free, enlightened citizens
A-cruisin' arter whales;
Who, bein' toss'd upon their shores
By stormy winds and seas,
Is wus than niggers used by them
Tarnation Japanese.
Our war-cries they are Breadstuffs, Silks.
With Silver, Copper, Gold,
And Camphor, too, and Ambergris,
All by them crittars sold:
And also Sugar, Tin, and Lead,
Black Pepper, Cloves likewise.
And Woolen Cloths and Cotton Thread,
Which articles they buys.
We shan't sing out to pattern saints
Nor gals, afore we fights,
Like, when they charged the Saracens,
Did them benighted knights:
But "Exports to the rescue, ho!"
And "Imports!" we will cry;
Then pitch the shell, or draw the bead
Upon the ene—my.
We'll soon teach them unsocial coon
Exclusiveness to drop;
And stick the hand of welcome out,
And open wide their shop;
And fust, I hope we shant be forced
To whip 'em into fits,
And chaw the savage loafers right
Up into little bits.


Air—"My Heart and Lute."

I give thee all my kitchen lore,
Though poor the offering be;
I'll tell thee how 'tis cooked, before
You come to dine with me:
The Duck is truss'd from head to heels,
Then stew'd with butter well;
And streaky bacon, which reveals
A most delicious smell.
When Duck and Bacon in a mass
You in a stewpan lay,
A spoon around the vessel pass,
And gently stir away:
A table-spoon of flour bring,
A quart of water plain,
Then in it twenty onions fling,
And gently stir again.
A bunch of parsley, and a leaf
Of ever-verdant bay,
Two cloves—I make my language brief—
Then add your Peas you may!
And let it simmer till it sings
In a delicious strain:
Then take your Duck, nor let the string
For trussing it remain.
The parsley fail not to remove,
Also the leaf of bay;
Dish up your Duck—the sauce improve
In the accustom'd way,
With pepper, salt, and other things,
I need not here explain:
And, if the dish contentment brings,
You'll dine with me again.
[Pg 264]

Fashions for Summer.

Figures 1 and 2. Costumes for Home and for the Promenade. Figures 1 and 2.—Costumes for Home and for the Promenade.

Novelty is the distinguishing characteristic of the prevailing fashions. Give us something new in material, is the cry to the manufacturer. Give us something new in form, is the demand made upon the modiste. Both do their best to meet this demand; and both have succeeded. For the present, whatever is new, fantastic, striking, and odd, is admired and adopted. It will doubtless be a work of time to return to simplicity again.

The costumes which we present for the present month, combine originality enough to meet even the present demand, with good taste and elegance—a union not always attainable.

Fig. 1.—Dress of white taffeta with colored figures, a particular pattern for each part of the dress. The ground of the skirt and body is sprinkled with small Pompadour bouquets en jardinière, that is to say, with flowers of different colors in graduated shades. The flounces have scolloped edges; the ground is white, and over each scollop is a rich bouquet of various flowers. The body is very high behind; it opens square in front, and the middle of the opening is even a little wider than the top (this cut is more graceful than the straight one). The waist is very long, especially at the sides; the front ends in a rounded point not very long. The bottom of the body is trimmed with a ruche, composed of small white ribbons mixed with others. This ruche is continued on the waist, and meets at the bottom of the point. There are three bows of chiné ribbon on the middle of the body. The upper one has double bows and ends; the other two gradually smaller. The sleeves are rather wide, and open a little behind at the side. The opening is rounded; the edge is trimmed with a ruche, like the body. There is a small lace at the edge of the body. The lace sleeves are the same form as those of the stuff, but they are longer. Coiffure, à la jeune Femme—the parting on the left side; the hair lying in close curls on each side.

Fig. 2.—Redingote of moire antique; body high, with six lozenge-shaped openings in front, diminishing in size toward the waist. The edges of these lozenges are trimmed with velvet; the points meet like bands under a button. Through these lozenge openings there appears a white muslin habit-shirt, gathered in small flutes (this muslin, however close, always projects through the openings, under the pressure of the body). The habit-shirt is finished at the neck by two rows of lace. The sleeve, which increases in size toward the bottom, has also lozenge[Pg 265] openings, confined by buttons, and through the opening is seen a muslin under-sleeve, puffing a little, plaited length-wise in small flutes and held at the wrist by an embroidered band with lace at the edge. The skirt has nine graduated openings down the front from top to bottom, buttoned like the others, through which is seen a nansouk petticoat, worked with wheels linked together, small at top and larger at bottom. Drawn bonnet of blond and satin. The brim is very open at the sides and lowered a little in front. It is transparent for a depth of four inches, and consists of five rows of gathered blond, on each of which is sewed a narrow white terry velvet ribbon, No. 1. The brim, made of Lyons tulle, is edged with a white satin roll. The band of the crown is Tuscan straw on which are five drawings of white satin. The top of the crown is round, and of white satin; it is puffed in crevés. The curtain is blond, like the brim. The ornament consists of a white satin bow, placed quite at the side of the brim and near the edge.—The inside of the brim is trimmed with four rows of blond, each having a narrow pink terry velvet, and a wreath of roses, small near the forehead, larger near the cheeks. Blond is likewise mixed with the flowers.

Fig. 3. Bonnet. Fig. 3.—Bonnet.
Fig. 5. Cap. Fig. 5.—Cap.
Fig. 4. Carriage Costume. Fig. 4.—Carriage Costume.
Fig. 6. Sleeve. Fig. 6.—Sleeve.

Fig. 3.—Bonnet. Foundation of crèpe; trimming of blond and satin; the curtain of crèpe, edged with narrow blond.

Fig. 4.—Dress of white muslin, the skirt with three deep flounces, richly embroidered. The body, à basquine, is lined with pale blue silk; it has a small pattern embroidered round the edge; which is finished by a broad lace set on full. The sleeves have three rows of lace, the bottom one forming a deep ruffle.—Waistcoat of pale blue silk, buttoning high at the throat, then left open, about half way, to show the chemisette; the waist is long, and has small lappets. White lace bonnet, the crown covered with a fanchonnette of lace; rows of lace, about two inches wide, form the front. The bonnet is appropriately trimmed with light and extremely elegant flowers.

Fig. 5.Fanchon of India muslin, trimmed with pink silk ribbons, forming tufts near the cheek, and a knot on the head.

Fig. 6.Pagoda sleeve of jaconet, with under-sleeves; trimming relieved with small plaits.

The new materials of the season include some elegant printed cashmeres, bareges, and broche silks, in endless variety as to pattern, and combination of color. There are some beautiful dresses of lampas, broché, with wreaths and bouquets in white, on a blue, green, or straw-colored ground. Among the lighter textures, adapted for both day and evening wear, are some very pretty mousselines de soie, and grenadines. The new bareges are in every variety of color and pattern.


[A] Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by Harper and Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

[B] Continued from the June Number.

[C] Every one remembers that Goethe's last words are said to have been, "More Light;" and perhaps what has occurred in the text may be supposed a plagiarism from those words. But, in fact, nothing is more common than the craving and demand for light a little before death. Let any consult his own sad experience in the last moments of those whose gradual close he has watched and tended. What more frequent than a prayer to open the shutters and let in the sun? What complaint more repeated, and more touching, than "that it is growing dark?" I once knew a sufferer—who did not then seem in immediate danger—suddenly order the sick-room to be lit up as if for a gala. When this was told to the physician, he said gravely, "No worse sign."

[D] Continued from the June Number.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious printer's errors have been repaired, other inconsistent spellings have been kept, including:
- use of accent (e.g. "Notre" and "Nôtre");
- use of hyphen (e.g. "bed-room" and "bedroom").

Pg 198, word "was" removed from sentence "He was [was] the first..."

Pg 248, sentence "(TO BE CONTINUED.)" added to the end of article.

Pg 279, word "or" changed into "of" in sentence "...election of my successor..."