The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IX., March,
1862., No. LIII., by Various

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IX., March, 1862., No. LIII.
       A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics,

Author: Various

Release Date: June 28, 2004 [EBook #12760]

Language: English

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The Fruits of Free Labor in The Smaller Islands of The British West Indies.
A Story of To-Day.
Moutain Pictures.
The Use of The Rifle.
Agnes of Sorrento.
Methods of Study in Natural History.
The Southern Cross.
Concerning The Sorrows of Childhood.
The Rehabilitation of Spain.
A Raft That No Man Made.
Fremont's Hundred Days In Missouri.
Birdofredum Sawin, Esq., To Mr. Hosea Biglow.
Voyage of The Good Ship Union.
Recent American Publications


Return to Table of Contents

The emancipation of an enslaved race seems, at first thought, a most uncertain and perilous undertaking. To do away with inherited and constantly strengthening tendencies toward irresponsibility and idleness,—to substitute the pleasure of activity or the distant good from industry for the very palpable influence of compulsion,—to implant forethought and alertness and ingenuity, where, before, labor was stolid and sulky and unthinking,—to confer the habit of self-dependence and the courage for unknown tasks on a people timid, childish, and dependent,—to teach self-control in place of the custom of control by masters, or by caprice and passion,—in a word, to make a free man out of a born slave,—appears at first sight the most difficult task which any legislator or reformer could ever attempt.

Leaving out of view all possible moral changes which might be induced by time and patient labor on such a being, we should say beforehand that at least economically—that is, regarding the production for the wants of the world by the freed man—the experiment of emancipation would prove, in all probability, a failure. We put it to the reader. Suppose that you, an Anglo-American, not born a slave, had by some misfortune been captured fifteen years since by an Algerine pirate, and during those years, under the fear of lash and bayonet, had been vigorously adding to the commodities of the world in the production of cotton. At length, in some moment of Algerine sentiment for human rights, you are set free by the government, and are enabled to possess a little farm of your own in the African mountains. What would probably be your views as to the economic duty of adding to that great benefaction to the human race, the production of cotton? What would be your personal sentiments toward cotton and all species of labor connected therewith? How, especially, would you be apt to view the estate where you had spent so many agreeable years, and the master for whom you had produced so much without reward? Fancy an effort on his part to hire you,—possibly even at lower wages than other laborers receive, in view of your many obligations to him!

It is barely possible that you might prefer even the small farm,—where you were producing nothing but “pumpkin” for the world, to increasing the exports of Algeria on the old property, under the same master and at half-wages. For some years at least, the world’s production would not probably be greatly assisted by you. A certain degree of idleness would have a charm for a time, even to an Anglo-American, after such an experience.

What shall we say, then, of an inferior race, slave-born, ignorant, and undisciplined by moral influences, placed suddenly in such new and strange circumstances? Could we reasonably expect that they would at once labor under freedom as they did under slavery? Could we demand that the properties which had been sprinkled with the sweat of their unrequited toil for so many years, which possibly had witnessed their sufferings under nameless wrongs, where the tone even of the now labor-paying landlord must have something of the old ring of the slave-master,—that these should be cultivated as eagerly as their own little farms by freed men? Especially could we ask it, if the masters undertook to exercise their old sway over political economy, and paid less wages than the market-rate, and even these with irregularity? Should we be rightfully shocked, if the products of these large estates even entirely failed through want of labor? What else could we expect?

Suppose, still further, as years went by, the former masters, all the wealthy and powerful classes of society, united in discouraging the improvement and opposing the general education of this, the lowest and poorest class. What would be the almost certain result?

If we should hear that such an emancipation was an economic failure, we should not be in the least surprised. If we were told that the freed men would not work on the old estates,—that the products were falling off,—that the emancipated slaves were not willing to work at all,—that they were idle, and were growing constantly more ignorant and corrupt in morals, and useless to the world,—we should sigh, but say,—“It is the natural retribution for injustice. These are the harvests of slavery.”

But if—contrary to our expectation—the results of this emancipation were entirely different: if the freed man produced more than the slave,—if he was more industrious, more active, more laborious and self-dependent,—if he even labored for his former master for hire,—if the latter confessed that the hire of the free man was cheaper than the ownership of the slave,—if tables of export and import showed that he added far more to the wealth of the world than ever before,—if the increasing price of land proved the efficiency of his industry,—if independent freeholds were created in large numbers since emancipation,—if additional churches and schools made evident the improvement of character and the desire of advancement: we should be obliged to say that there was but one explanation of this most happy and unexpected improvement, namely,—that the human soul, by virtue of its very nature and capacities, is somehow adapted to freedom, so that the most imbruted and degraded is better and more useful, when he cares and labors for himself, than when another utterly controls him.

That the negro will not work, unless he is forced to, is the strong and almost invincible objection in the minds of multitudes of persons to emancipation.

What, then, are the facts bearing on this important point? We propose, under the guidance of candid observers and travellers, such as Schomburg, Breen, Cochin, Burnley, and, best of all, Sewell, briefly to examine a field where the experiment has been fairly tried, namely, the smaller islands of the British West Indies. A full examination of the larger island, Jamaica,—would of itself demand an entire article, or even a volume.

The remark is often repeated by West Indian travellers, that no sweeping conclusions on economical points can ever be true of the West Indies as a whole,—that each island is distinct from the others, and to be judged on principles which apply to itself alone. This important fact must be borne in mind by the reader, in examining the question of the results of emancipation in the West Indies.

In Barbadoes the governing peculiarities are the dense population to the area, and the great numbers of the laboring class. The number to the square mile is greater than in China, averaging eight hundred. This fact alone placed a much greater power in the masters’ hands after emancipation, as the competition of labor must be so much more severe than with a more sparse population.

With something of the perversity induced by slavery, the planters maintained a species of land-tenure among their freed slaves which could not but have a disastrous effect.

In the first years succeeding the act of emancipation, the tenant worked for twenty per cent. below the market-rate of wages, and his service was considered equivalent to the rent. Now he possesses a house and a land-allotment on an estate for which he pays a stipulated rent; but, as a condition of renting, he must give a certain number of days’ work at certain wages, generally from one-sixth to one-third lower than the market-rate. The usual wages are twenty-four cents a day; by this system of tenancy-at-will, the freed negro in Barbadoes must labor for twenty cents.

What would be the natural results of such a system? Can we wonder at such facts as Mr. Sewell quotes from a Tobago paper, in which the writer “deplores the perverse selfishness of the laborers,” (i.e. in buying farms of their own,) and complains that “the laborers have large patches of land under cultivation, and hire help at higher wages than the estates can afford to pay,” and otherwise oppress their former benefactors? The remedy which the aggrieved correspondent suggests is the immediate importation of Coolies.

The truth is, however, that, owing to the crowded population of Barbadoes, the planters have had everything in their own hands, much more than in other islands. In Trinidad or British Guiana the negroes were not obliged by competition to submit to the obnoxious tenure; and they soon found, where land was so cheap, that a path to independence lay open before them in working their own little properties. The planters became more stubborn and more rigid, and the result was in many cases the absolute abandonment of large estates for want of labor.

The industry of the Barbadoes population is shown in the fact, that, out of the 106,000 acres of the island, 100,000 are under cultivation,1 while the average price of land rises to the unprecedented height of five hundred dollars an acre.

Notwithstanding the high price of land and the low rate of wages, the freed slaves have increased the number of small proprietors with less than five acres from 1100 to 35372 during the last fifteen years,--an increase which alone testifies to the remarkable thrift of the emancipated negro in Barbadoes.

Mr. Sewell has talked with all classes and conditions, and “none are more ready to admit than the planters that the free laborer is a better, more cheerful, and industrious workman than was ever the slave.”

“The colored mechanics and artisans of Barbadoes,” says the same author, “are equal in general intelligence to the artisans and mechanics of any part of the world equally remote from the great centres of civilization. The peasantry will soon equal them, when education is more generally diffused.”

The surest evidences, however, on this question are those of figures. Land has doubled in value on the island since emancipation.3 Of the increased value of estates, we quote, as an example, the case mentioned in a published letter of Governor Hincks, January, 1858:—

“As to the relative cost of slave and free labor in this colony, I can supply facts upon which the most implicit reliance can be placed. They have been furnished to me by the proprietor of an estate containing three hundred acres of land, and situated at a distance of about twelve miles from the shipping port. The estate referred to produced during slavery an annual average of 140 hogsheads of sugar of the present weight, and required 230 slaves. It is now worked by 90 free laborers: 60 adults, and 30 under 16 years of age. Its average product during the last seven years has been 194 hogsheads. The total cost of labor has been £770 16s., or £3 19s. 2d. per hogshead of 1,700 pounds. The average of pounds of sugar to each laborer during slavery was 1,043 pounds, and during freedom 3,660 pounds. To estimate the cost of slave-labor, the value of 230 slaves must be ascertained; and I place them at what would have been a low average,—£50 sterling each,—which would make the entire stock amount to £11,500. This, at six per cent. interest, which on such property is much too low an estimate, would give £690; cost of clothing, food, and medical attendance I estimate at £3 10s., making £805. Total cost, £1,495, or £10 12s. per hogshead, while the cost of free labor on the same estate is under £4.”

In 1853, the French committee charged by the Governor of Martinique to visit the island reported, that “in an agricultural and manufacturing point of view the aspect of Barbadoes is dazzling.”

Sugar is the most important export. The following were the amounts exported before emancipation, according to Schomburg and Sewell:—

Average export, 1720-1800, 23,000 hhds.
"         " 1800-1830, 20,000 "
Particular export, 1830, 22,769 "
Particular export in year of emancipation, 1834, 27,318 "

(The weight of a hogshead of sugar, it should be noted, was only 12 cwt. between 1826 and 1830; from 1830 to 1850, 14 cwt.; and now it is from 15 to 17 cwt.)

Yield in 1852, 48,610 hhds.
" 1853, 38,316 "
" 1854, 44,492 "
" 1855, 39,692 "
" 1856, 43,552 "
" 1857, 38,858 "
" 1858, 50,778 "
Average export, 1835-50, 26,000 "
"         " 1851-58, 43,000 "

That is, an average more than double the export for ten years preceding emancipation.

Besides sugar, other articles are exported now to the value of $100,000. In addition, there is a large production for home-consumption, of such articles as sweet potatoes, eddoes, yams, cassava-root, etc.

If imports are the true expression of a nation’s economic well-being,—as all sound political economists affirm,—then can Barbadoes show most conclusively how much more profitable to a people is freedom than chatteldom.

Average imports, 1822-32, £600,000
Imports, 1845, 682,358
" 1856, 840,000

The imports from America are increasing in rapid measure. Thus they were in

1854 36,416 bbl. flour.
" 1,500 " beef.
" 9,438 " pork.
" 49,106 " meal.
1858 79,766 " flour.
" 2,646 " beef.
" 12,196 " pork.
" 67,053 " meal.

Under slavery, the value of American imports was not more than £60,000 per annum. Under freedom, it is from £300,000 to £400,000.

The shipping before emancipation (in 1832) numbered 689 vessels of 79,000 tons. In 1856, 966 vessels of 114,800 tons.

The population of Barbadoes is supposed to be now about 140,000, of whom 124,000 are blacks. Of these, only 22,000 are believed to be field laborers, against 81,000, just before emancipation, of men, women, and children, who labored in the field,—a fact which shows the aversion slavery had implanted to laboring on the soil, as well as the indiscreet policy of the planters. Yet, despite this decrease of the most profitable kind of labor, so great is the advantage of freedom over slavery, that the island has been enabled to make this prodigious increase in production and wealth since emancipation,—more than doubling its export of sugar, increasing its imports by $1,200,000, quintupling its imports from America, and doubling the value of land.

The progress in education and morality has not been at all so rapid as in wealth. The freed slave could not at once escape from the debasing influences of years of bondage, and the planters have deliberately set themselves against any system of popular education. Crimes against property, Sewell says, are rife, especially thieving; petty acts of anger and cruelty are also common, as well as offences against chastity; while, on the other hand, crimes of violence are almost unknown. From the last census it appears that more than half of the children born in the island are illegitimate. This sad condition of morals Mr. Sewell attributes principally to the imperfect education of the lowest classes,—the schools being mostly church-schools, and somewhat expensive. These schools, however, have increased from 27 in 1834, with 1,574 children, to 70 with 6,180 in 1857, and an infant school with 1,140; the children in Sunday-schools have increased in the same time from 1,679 to 2,071.4

St. Vincent is generally considered by the passing traveller as another example of the axiom that “the freed negro will not work,” and of “the melancholy fruits of emancipation.”

The decline of the wealthier classes began before emancipation, and continued after it. The planters were deeply in debt, and their estates heavily mortgaged. Slavery there, as everywhere, wasted the means of the masters, and exhausted the soil. When the day of freedom came, these gentlemen, instead of prudently endeavoring to retain the laborers on their estates, offered them lower wages than were paid on the neighboring islands. The consequence was, that the negroes preferred to buy their own little properties or to hire farms in the interior, and let the great estates find labor as they could. Mr. Sewell states that he inquired much in regard to the abandoned sugar-estates, and never found one which was deserted because labor could not be procured at fair cost; the more general reason of their abandonment was want of capital, or debt incurred previously to emancipation. That the condition of the island is not caused by the idleness of the negro is shown by the facts, that since emancipation houses have been built by freed slaves for themselves and their families, containing 8,209 persons; that from 10,000 to 12,000 acres have been brought under cultivation by the proprietors of small properties of from one to five acres; that the export of arrowroot (which is one of the small articles raised by the negroes on their own grounds) has risen from 60,000 pounds before emancipation to 1,352,250 pounds in 1857, valued at $750,000, and the cocoa-nut export has also increased largely.

The export of sugar has declined as follows:—Under slavery, (1831-34,) it was 204,095 cwt.; under apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 194,228; under free labor, (1839-45,) 127,364 cwt.; in 1846, 129,870 cwt.; in 1847, 175,615 cwt.5

The moral condition of the island seems most favorable. In a population of 30,000, there are no paupers, and 8,000 is the average church-attendance, while the average school-attendance is 2,000. The criminal records show a remarkable obedience to law; there being only seven convictions in 1857 for assault, six for felony, and 162 for minor offences. The proportion under slavery was far greater.

Grenada presented clear evidences of decline long before emancipation. The slave-population decreased as follows:—

1779, 35,000 slaves.
1827, 24,442 "
1837, 23,641 "

this last number being that for which compensation was made. The total value of all the exports in 1776 was about $3,000,000; in 1823, less than $2,000,000; in 1831, a little over $1,000,000.

The sugar export declined from 24,000,000 pounds in 1776 to 19,000,000 pounds in 1831: or more exactly, under slavery, (1831-34,) it was 193,156 cwt.; during apprenticeship, 161,308 cwt.; under free labor, (1839-45,) 87,161 cwt.; in 1846, 76,931 cwt.; in 1847, 104,952 cwt.: showing in the last year a considerable increase.

The policy of the Grenadian planters in offering low wages—the rate being from 5s. to 5s. 6d. a week—has driven the negroes to their own little properties, and has caused a diminution in the production of sugar on the large organized estates. Yet the production of other smaller articles has greatly increased, and the general well-being of the people is much advanced.

Before 1830 there were no small freeholders; now there are over 2,000. Nearly 7,000 persons live in villages, built since emancipation, and 4,573 pay direct taxes.

Last year there were only 60 paupers on the island, and those were aged and sick persons; only 18 were convicted of felony, 6 of theft, and 2 of other offences. There is an average church-attendance of 8,000, and a school-attendance of 1,600. In 1857, out of 80,000 acres, 43,800 were in a state of cultivation, and 3,800 acres were added to the cultivation of the previous year.

The sugar export of 1857 was only half that of 1831, while the aggregate value of all the exports had risen from £153,175 to £218,352. The imports had risen in the same time from £77,000 to £109,000.6

Tobago also showed a gradual decline before emancipation; and since that event, the production of sugar has fallen off as follows: In 1831-34 it was 99,579 cwt.; 1835-38, 89,332 cwt.; 1839-1845, 52,962 cwt.; 1846, 38,882 cwt.; 1847, 69,240 cwt. One great cause of this decline is the drawing off of capital from the old, worn-out lands to the fresh, rich, and profitable culture of Trinidad, where land is very cheap. Moreover, the climate of Tobago is not entirely favorable to sugar.

Yet a great improvement is manifest among the people. Small proprietors have much increased; even the field-hands now possess houses and lands of their own. There are 2,500 freeholders, and 2,800 tax-payers. The average church-attendance is 41 per cent, of the whole population; the average school-attendance, 1,600. Commerce is rapidly advancing. The imports have risen from £50,307 in 1854 to £59,994 in 1856; and the exports from £49,754 to £79,789 in the same time.

In St. Lucia the planters have followed a more wise and liberal policy towards the emancipated slaves. Better wages have been offered; liberal inducements have been held out to the negroes to cultivate the estates; efforts have been put forth to improve the social and moral condition of the laboring class. Tenancy-at-will is unknown, and the mélairie system (laboring on shares) has been introduced. In other words, the rich and educated have manifested some kind of humane interest for the laborers, and in return the latter have worked well and cheerfully.

Yet, in St. Lucia, as in so many other West India colonies, the financial condition of the planters, at the time of emancipation, was exceedingly embarrassed: their registered debts amounting in 1829, according to Breen, to £1,189,965.

The export of sugar is stated in Cochin’s carefully prepared tables as follows: In the period of slavery, (1831-34,) 57,549 cwt.; during the apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 51,427 cwt.; under free labor, (1839-45,) 57,070 cwt; in 1846, 63,566 cwt.; in 1847, 88,370 cwt.

The imports have not risen till recently, and indicate a greater consumption of articles grown on the island. In 1833,7 they were in value, £108,076; in 1840, £114,537; in 1843, £70,340; in 1851,8 £68,881; in 1857, £90,064.

Of the total value of exports Breen gives tables only to 1843. In that year, they were £96,290 against £71,580 in 1833.

Since emancipation, 2,045 of the negroes have become freeholders, and 4,603 pay direct taxes.

In Trinidad, the question of the effects of emancipation has some peculiar elements. The island is a very large, fertile country, with a sparse population, where of course land is cheap and labor dear. Out of its 1,287,000 acres,9 only some 30,000 are cultivated. Its whole population is but about 80,000, of whom the colored number near 50,000. Emancipation would work upon such a country somewhat as it might on Texas, for instance. There were 11,000 field-hands on the estates when slavery was abolished. The planters undertook to maintain or introduce the tenancy-at-will system, and to reduce the wages below the market-rate. Whenever the negroes retired from the estate-work, they were summarily ejected from their houses and lands, and their little gardens were destroyed. The natural effect of such an injudicious policy was, that the negro preferred squatting on the government lands about him, or buying a small, cheap plot, or hiring a farm, to remaining under the planters, and soon some 7,000 laborers had left the estates.

Many associated the idea of servitude with labor in the fields, and, abandoning agriculture, took to trade in the towns and villages, which they still pursue. Some 4,000 remained on the estates, and have never progressed, like their more independent brethren. The criminal records show a greater proportion of crime among them than among any other class. Of the others, five-sixths became proprietors of farms from one to five acres each, and 4,500 hire themselves occasionally to the estates every year.

One effect of the unfortunate contentions between capital and labor in the island has been, that no general system of public instruction was introduced till recently; education was entirely neglected: though now, under the new system, the people will receive much more general instruction, for which purpose $20,000 were appropriated in 1859.

The public morality under such circumstances is of course of a low order. Out of 136 children born in Port-of-Spain, 100 were illegitimate. The convictions in the island for felony were 63; for misdemeanor, 865; for debt, 230.

The records of material progress show a much better result. The sugar cultivation in the last twenty years has nearly doubled, and the land in cane has risen from 15,000 to 29,000 acres. The production of cocoa has increased, though in a less proportion; while the production and consumption of home necessaries and luxuries have immensely advanced. Great practical improvements are being made everywhere, such as the substitution of steam-power for cattle and water-power. The export of sugar,10 especially since the introduction of Coolie labor, has advanced rapidly. Before emancipation the highest export was 30,000 hhds., equal to 24,000 hhds. at present weight. Late export,—

1854, 27,987 hhds. 1857, 35,523 hhds.
1855, 31,693 " 1858, 37,000 "
1856, 34,411 " 1859, 40,000 "
The molasses trade shows a similar increase. Cocoa, which is entirely a product of negro labor, has advanced from 3,200,000 lbs. before emancipation to 5,200,000 lbs. in 1859.

Leeward Islands. Antigua was almost the first of the British West Indies to emancipate her slaves, and this she had the wisdom to do summarily and at once, without probation or apprenticeship. The consequences have been most happy. She has escaped the vexations and heart-burnings of the other colonies, and has established a better relation between employers and employed. With a small area, a soil not very rich, and a climate not especially adapted to sugar-growing, she has notwithstanding taken a prominent position among the West India islands. The prosperity of the island under free labor has been most encouraging. Of the 70,000 acres, 38,000 are owned by large proprietors, whose estates average 320 acres each. Its only export, with the exception of a little arrow-root, is sugar; of this, the largest crop on record (20,000 hogsheads) has been obtained since the slaves were emancipated. Ten years before emancipation, the average annual export, as given by Sewell, was 12,500 hogsheads, obtained by a field-force of 18,320 hands, of whom one-third were non-effective. From 1840 to 1850, the average was 13,000; from 1850 to 1860, 13,500, of superior weight, with a field-force of 6,000.

The export of sugar, according to Cochin, has been as follows: 1831-34, 180,802 cwt.; 1835-38, 143,878 cwt.; 1839-45, 189,406 cwt.; 1846, 102,644 cwt.; 1847, 200,201 cwt.

Besides this crop, the small proprietors raise arrow-root and provisions.

The imports show the advancing prosperity of the island. From 1822 to 1832, they amounted to £130,000, of which £40,000 were from the United States; in 1856, under free labor, they reached £266,369, of which £106,586 were from the United States,—the American imports being mostly articles of food. This remarkable increase of importations, it should be observed, is not due to an increase of population, as the population of Antigua is less now than it was twenty years since.

In commerce, it appears that ten years before emancipation, 340 vessels of 30,000 tons entered the ports of the island every year; in 1858, there were 688 of 42,534 tons.

Labor costs less in Antigua than in the other islands, wages being 20 cts. a day; while in Barbadoes they are 24 cts., and in Trinidad 30 cts. The production of sugar is more profitable, as respects the labor, than in the slave-islands,—costing but 1-1/5 cts. per lb.

Though the average price of land is fifty dollars an acre, the freed negroes seldom squat on the public lands, but buy little farms of their own. In 1858, the emancipated slaves had built, since 1834, 5187 houses, in which 15,644 people resided. There were that year only 299 paupers in the whole island. Education and morality had advanced. Owing to the wise liberality of the planters, nearly one-third of the whole revenue of the island (£10,000) was appropriated to educational, charitable, and religious purposes. The great proportion of the youth attend school. At the time of emancipation, the whole number of scholars in all the schools was 1886; in 1858, there were 52 schools with 4467 scholars, and 37 Sunday-schools with 6418. The number of illegitimate births was only 53 per cent., which is a much more favorable proportion than exists in the other islands.

The planters all agree that emancipation has been an entire success. The only drawback is a somewhat singular one, and illustrates the dependent habits which slavery generates. Under their masters, the slaves were always provided with sufficient medical attendance; but when free, they had not the means or were not prudent enough to secure this, and the consequence has been a great mortality of children, so that the births now scarcely exceed the deaths.

An intelligent English traveller, writing on “Antigua and the Antiguans” in 1844, says in regard to the question, whether the freed negro will work, that he has often observed, when a piece of land was to be holed for sugar-cane by task-work, the negroes rising by one or two o’clock in the morning during moonlight, going to the field and accomplishing a usual day’s work (300 cane-holes) by five or six o’clock in the forenoon; then, after resting a short time, they were prepared for another task, which they completed; and still had some hours left for their own provision-grounds. When the heat is considered, and the labor of digging one cane-hole, (a trench three or four feet square and one foot deep,) we may imagine what the work of opening 600 in a day must be. The same author states that plantations which could not find a purchaser before emancipation are now worth £10,000. Another writer, quoted by Cochin, says in 1845, with reference to the efficiency of labor of the Antiguan negroes, and their employment of machinery, “The colony has made this year, with a field-force of less than 10,000, a harvest almost equal to that which has employed 30,000 laborers in Barbadoes.”

Of the other Leeward Islands, Sewell says, (p. 164,) “The condition of the free peasant rises infinitely above that of the slave. In all, the people are more happy and contented; in all, they are more civilized; in all, there are more provisions grown for home-consumption than ever were raised in the most flourishing days of slavery; in all, the imports have largely increased; in all, a very important trade has sprung up with the United States; from all, there is an exportation of minor articles which were not cultivated twenty years ago, and which, in estimating the industry of a people under a free system, are often most unjustly overlooked. These are considerations from which the planter turns with contemptuous indifference. Sugar, and sugar alone, is his dream, his argument, his faith.” Yet the following table of exports of sugar shows that even in that free labor has been successful.

Comparative Table of Sugar Exportations in Pounds from the Leeward Islands.11
Islands. Annual average from 1820 to 1832. Exports in 1858.
Antigua, 28,580,000 lbs. 26,174,000 lbs.
Dominica, 6,000,000 6,263,000
Nevis, 5,000,000 4,400,000
Montserrat, 1,840,000 1,308,000
St. Kitt's, 12,000,000 10,000,000
Total, 45,420,000 lbs. 48,145,000 lbs.
Table of Imports in Value.
Islands. Annual average from 1820 to 1832. Value of imports in 1858.
Antigua, £130,000 £266,364
Dominica, 62,000 84,906
Nevis, 28,000 36,721
Montserrat, 18,000 17,844
St. Kitt's, 60,000 109,000
Total, £298,000 £514,835 lbs.
Excess of sugar exportations under free labor, 2,725,000 lbs.
Excess of imports with free labor, £216,835

Of Guiana, a resident writes,—“The portion of the native population which in other countries constitutes the working class is estimated here at 70,000 souls. They present the singular spectacle, which we can contemplate in no other part of the world, of a people hardly escaped from slavery, enjoying already properties in land and houses for which they have paid nearly £100,000.”

In a single county, (Berbice,) says Cochin, there had been built in 1843, since emancipation, 1184 houses, and 7,000 additional acres had been put under cultivation. In the whole colony there were 15,906 landed proprietors among the negroes who had become such since 1834. The imports, according to Lord Stanley, during the last six years of slavery, were about $13,915,000; during apprenticeship, about $17,890,000; in the first year of liberty, over $20,000,000; in the second year, about $17,463,670.

We have given, perhaps, a rather dry account of the effects of emancipation on a portion of the British West Indies. But it should be remembered that this question, as it now stands before the world, is mainly a question of figures. The great and damning argument against emancipation is the supposed experience of the West Indies, that the negro will not work except under slavery. The evidences of labor are in part given by figures: the number of freeholds, the price of land, the amount of the productions, the quantity consumed, and the quantity exported. The amount of imports, too, shows the desire and the means of the people to procure foreign commodities. By these plain and irrefutable evidences, we have proved that free labor in the Windward Islands, Trinidad, the Leeward Islands, and Guiana has “paid” much better than slave labor.

As Mr. Sewell has summed it up with reference to four colonies,—British Guiana, Barbadoes, Trinidad, and Antigua,—the total annual export of sugar before emancipation was 187,300,000 pounds, while now it is 265,000,000 pounds; showing an advantage under free labor of seventy-seven million, seven hundred thousand pounds! The total imports of the same colonies amounted before emancipation to $8,840,000; they are now $14,600,000; showing an excess of imports under free labor, as compared with slave labor, of the value of five million, seven hundred and sixty thousand dollars!

It is a remarkable experience of the West Indies, to be seriously considered in the settlement of our American problem, that the islands which abolished slavery the most summarily and entirely succeeded the best after emancipation. Half-freedom, both there, and in Russia during the last year, has proved a source of jealousy to the freedman and of annoyance to the master, and ultimately, in the West Indies, interfered with production, and the permanent welfare of the islands.

It is true, that the moral curse of slavery upon the habits of the people is not so easily removed, and that we do not behold as favorable a moral and educational condition of the West India Islands as could be desired. But it should be remembered how large a share of the blame for this falls now upon the wealthier classes, who are opposed or indifferent to the education of the lower. Even these evils are being gradually removed, and emancipation is establishing itself, not merely as a grand act of justice, wisely done, but as a successful moral and economical reform, whose fruits are to be seen in the good morals, industry, and increasing wealth of many happy communities.



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It was later than Holmes thought: a gray, cold evening. The streets in that suburb were lonely: he went down them, the new-fallen snow dulling his step. It had covered the peaked roofs of the houses too, and they stood in listening rows, white and still. Here and there a pale flicker from the gas-lamps struggled with the ashy twilight. He met no one: people had gone home early on Christmas eve. He had no home to go to: pah! there were plenty of hotels, he remembered, smiling grimly. It was bitter cold: he buttoned up his coat tightly, as he walked slowly along as if waiting for some one,—wondering dully if the gray air were any colder or stiller than the heart hardly beating under the coat. Well, men had conquered Fate, conquered life and love, before now. It grew darker: he was pacing now slowly in the shadow of a long low wall surrounding the grounds of some building. When he came near the gate, he would stop and listen: he could have heard a sparrow on the snow, it was so still. After a while he did hear footsteps, crunching the snow heavily; the gate clicked as they came out: it was Knowles, and the clergyman whom Dr. Cox did not like; Vandyke was his name.

“Don’t bolt the gate,” said Knowles; “Miss Howth will be out presently.”

They sat down on a pile of lumber near by, waiting, apparently. Holmes went up and joined them, standing in the shadow of the lumber, talking to Vandyke. He did not meet him, perhaps, once in six months; but he believed in the man, thoroughly.

“I’ve just helped Knowles build a Christmas-tree in yonder,—the House of Refuge, you know. He could not tell an oak from an arbor-vitæ, I believe.”

Knowles was in no mood for quizzing.

“There are other things I don’t know,” he said, gloomily, recurring to some subject Holmes had interrupted. “The House is going to the Devil, Charley, headlong.”

“There’s no use in saying no,” said the other; “you’ll call me a lying diviner.”

Knowles did not listen.

“Seems as if I was to go groping and stumbling through the world like some forsaken Cyclops with his eye out, dragging down whatever I touched. If there was anything to hold by, anything certain!”

Vandyke looked at him gravely, but did not answer; rose, and walked indolently up and down to keep himself warm. A lithe, slow figure, a clear face with delicate lips, and careless eyes that saw everything: the face of a man quick to learn and slow to teach.

“There she comes!” said Knowles, as the lock of the gate rasped.

Holmes had heard the slow step in the snow long before. A small woman came out and went down the silent street into the road beyond. Holmes kept his back turned to her, lighting his cigar; the other men watched her eagerly.

“What do you think, Vandyke?” demanded Knowles. “How will she do?”

“Do for what?”—resuming his lazy walk. “You talk as if she were a machine. It is the way with modern reformers. Men are so many ploughs and harrows to work on ‘the classes.’ Do for what?”

Knowles flushed hotly.

“The work the Lord has left for her to do. Do you mean to say there is none to do,—you, pledged to missionary labor?”

The young man’s face colored.

“I know this street needs paving terribly, Knowles; but I don’t see a boulder in your hands. Yet the great Taskmaster does not despise the pavers. He did not give you the spirit and understanding for paving, eh, is that it? How do you know He gave this Margaret Howth the spirit and understanding of a reformer? There may be higher work for her to do.”

“Higher!” The old man stood aghast. “I know your creed, then,—that the true work for a man or a woman is that which develops their highest nature?”

Vandyke laughed.

“You have a creed-mania, Knowles. You have a confession of faith ready-made for everybody, but yourself. I only meant for you to take care what you do. That woman looks as the Prodigal Son might have done when he began to be in want, and would fain have fed himself with the husks that the swine did eat.”

Knowles got up moodily.

“Whose work is it, then?” he muttered, following the men down the street; for they walked on. “The world has waited six thousand years for help. It comes slowly,—slowly, Vandyke; even through your religion.”

The young man did not answer: looked up, with quiet, rapt eyes, through the silent city, and the clear gray beyond. They passed a little church lighted up for evening service: as if to give a meaning to the old man’s words, they were chanting the one anthem of the world, the Gloria in Excelsis. Hearing the deep organ-roll, the men stopped outside to listen: it heaved and sobbed through the night, as if bearing up to God the pain and wrong of countless aching hearts, then was silent, and a single voice swept over the moors in a long, lamentable cry:—“Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us!”

The men stood silent, until the hush was broken by a low murmur:—“For Thou only art holy.” Holmes had taken off his hat, unconscious that he did it; he put it on slowly, and walked on. What was it that Knowles had said to him once about mean and selfish taints on his divine soul? “For Thou only art holy”: if there were truth in that!

“How quiet it is!” he said, as they stopped to leave him. It was,—a breathless quiet; the great streets of the town behind them were shrouded in snow; the hills, the moors, the prairie swept off into the skyless dark, a gray and motionless sea lit by a low watery moon. “The very earth listens,” he said.

“Listens for what?” said the literal old Doctor.

“I think it listens always,” said Vandyke, his eye on fire. “For its King—that shall be. Not as He came before. It has not long to wait now: the New Year is not far off.”

“I’ve no faith in folding your hands, waiting for it; nor have you either, Charley,” growled Knowles. “There’s an infernal lot of work to be done before it comes, I fancy. Here, let me light my cigar.”

Holmes bade them good-night, laughing, and struck into the by-road through the hills. He shook hands with Vandyke before he went,—a thing he scarce ever did with anybody. Knowles noticed it, and, after he was out of hearing, mumbled out some sarcasm at “a minister of the gospel consorting with a cold, silent scoundrel like that!” Vandyke listened to his scolding in his usual lazy way, and they went back into town.

The road Holmes took was rutted deep with wagon-wheels, not easily travelled; he walked slowly therefore, being weak, stopping now and then to gather strength. He had not counted the hours until this day, to be balked now by a little loss of blood. The moon was nearly down before he reached the Cloughton hills: he turned there into a narrow path which he remembered well. Now and then he saw the mark of a little shoe in the snow,—looking down at it with a hot panting in his veins and a strange flash in his eye, as he walked on steadily.

There was a turn in the path at the top of the hill, a sunken wall, with a broad stone from which the wind had blown the snow. This was the place. He sat down on the stone, resting. Just there she had stood, clutching her little fingers behind her, when he came up and threw back her hood to look in her face: how pale and worn it was, even then! He had not looked at her to-night: he would not, if he had been dying, with those men standing there. He stood alone in the world with this little Margaret. How those men had carped, and criticized her, chattered of the duties of her soul! Why, it was his, it was his own, softer and fresher. There was not a glance with which they followed the weak little body in its poor dress that he had not seen, and savagely resented. They measured her strength? counted how long the bones and blood would last in their House of Refuge? There was not a morsel of her flesh that was not pure and holy in his eyes. His Margaret? He chafed with an intolerable fever to make her his, but for one instant, as she had been once. Now, when it was too late. For he went back over every word he had spoken that night, forcing himself to go through with it,—every cold, poisoned word. It was a fitting penance. “There is no such thing as love in real life”: he had told her that! How he had stood, with all the power of his “divine soul” in his will, and told her,—he,—a man,—that he put away her love from him then, forever! He spared himself nothing,—slurred over nothing; spurned himself, as it were, for the meanness, the niggardly selfishness in which he had wallowed that night. How firm he had been! how kind! how masterful!—pluming himself on his man’s strength, while he held her in his power as one might hold an insect, played with her shrinking woman’s nature, and trampled it under his feet, coldly and quietly! She was in his way, and he had put her aside. How the fine subtile spirit had risen up out of its agony of shame, and scorned him! How it had flashed from the puny frame standing there in the muddy road despised and jeered at, and calmly judged him! He might go from her as he would, toss her off like a worn-out plaything, but he could not blind her: let him put on what face he would to the world, whether they called him a master among men, or a miser, or, as Knowles did to-night after he turned away, a scoundrel, this girl laid her little hand on his soul with an utter recognition: she alone. “She knew him for a better man than he knew himself that night”: he remembered the words.

The night was growing murky and bitingly cold: there was no prospect on the snow-covered hills, or the rough road at his feet with its pools of ice-water, to bring content into his face, or the dewy light into his eyes; but they came there, slowly, while he sat thinking. Some old thought was stealing into his brain, perhaps, fresh and warm, like a soft spring air,—some hope of the future, in which this child-woman came close to him and near. It was an idle dream, only would taunt him when it was over, but he opened his arms to it: it was an old friend; it had made him once a purer and better man than he could ever be again. A warm, happy dream, whatever it may have been: the rugged, sinister face grew calm and sad, as the faces of the dead change when loving tears fall on them.

He sighed wearily: the homely little hope was fanning into life stagnant depths of desire and purpose, stirring his resolute ambition. Too late? Was it too late? Living or dead she was his, though he should never see her face, by some subtile power that had made them one, he knew not when nor how. He did not reason now,—abandoned himself, as morbid men only do, to this delirious hope, simple and bonny, of a home, and cheerful warmth, and this woman’s love fresh and eternal: a pleasant dream at first, to be put away at pleasure. But it grew bolder, touched under-deeps in his nature of longing and intense passion; all that he knew or felt of power or will, of craving effort, of success in the world, drifted into this dream and became one with it. He stood up, his vigorous frame starting into a nobler manhood, with the consciousness of right,—with a willed assurance, that, the first victory gained, the others should follow.

It was late; he must go on; he had not meant to sit idling by the road-side. He went through the fields, his heavy step crushing the snow, a dry heat in his blood, his eye intent, still, until he came within sight of the farm-house; then he went on, cool and grave, in his ordinary port.

The house was quite dark; only a light in one of the lower windows,—the library, he thought. The broad field he was crossing sloped down to the house, so that, as he came nearer, he saw the little room quite plainly in the red glow of the fire within, the curtains being undrawn. He had a keen eye; did not fail to see the marks of poverty about the place, the gateless fences, even the bare room with its worn and patched carpet: noted it all with a triumphant gleam of satisfaction. There was a black shadow passing and repassing the windows: he waited a moment looking at it, then came more slowly towards them, intenser heats smouldering in his face. He would not surprise her; she should be as ready as he was for the meeting. If she ever put her pure hand in his again, it should be freely done, and of her own good-will.

She saw him as he came up on the porch, and stopped, looking out, as if bewildered,—then resumed her walk, mechanically. What it cost her to see him again he could not tell: her face did not alter. It was lifeless and schooled, the eyes looking straight forward always, indifferently. Was this his work? If he had killed her outright, it would have been better than this.

The windows were low: it had been his old habit to go in through them, and he now went up to one unconsciously. As he opened it, he saw her turn away for an instant; then she waited for him, entirely tranquil, the clear fire shedding a still glow over the room, no cry or shiver of pain to show how his coming broke open the old wound. She smiled even, when he leaned against the window looking, with a careless welcome.

Holmes stopped, confounded. It did not suit him,—this. If you know a man’s nature, you comprehend why. The bitterest reproach or a proud contempt would have been less galling than this gentle indifference. His hold had slipped from off the woman, he believed. A moment before he had remembered how he had held her in his arms, touched her cold lips, and then flung her off,—he had remembered it, his every nerve shrinking with remorse and unutterable tenderness: now—! The utter quiet of her face told more than words could do. She did not love him; he was nothing to her. Then love was a lie. A moment before he could have humbled himself in her eyes as low as he lay in his own, and accepted her pardon as a necessity of her enduring, faithful nature: now the whole strength of the man sprang into rage and mad desire of conquest.

He came gravely across the room, holding out his hand with his old quiet control. She might be cold and grave as he, but underneath he knew there was a thwarted hungry spirit,—a strong fine spirit as dainty Ariel. He would sting it to life, and tame it: it was his.

“I thought you would come, Stephen,” she said, simply, motioning him to a chair.

Could this automaton be Margaret? He leaned on the mantel-shelf, looking down with a cynical sneer.

“Is that the welcome? Why, there are a thousand greetings for this time of love and good words you might have chosen. Besides, I have come back ill and poor,—a beggar perhaps. How do women receive such,—generous women? Is there no formula? no hand-shaking? nothing more? remembering that I was once—not indifferent to you.”

He laughed. She stood still and grave as before.

“Why, Margaret, I have been down near death since that night.”

He thought her lips grew gray, but she looked up clear and steady.

“I am glad you did not die. Yes, I can say that. As for hand-shaking, my ideas may be peculiar as your own.”

“She measures her words,” he said, as to himself; “her very eye-light is ruled by decorum; she is a machine, for work. She has swept her child’s heart clean of anger and revenge, even scorn for the wretch that sold himself for money. There was nothing else to sweep out, was there?”—bitterly,—“no friendships, such as weak women nurse and coddle into being,—or love, that they live in, and die for sometimes, in a silly way?”


“No, not unmanly. Margaret, let us be serious and calm. It is no time to trifle or wear masks. That has passed between us which leaves no room for sham courtesies.”

“There needs none,”—meeting his eye unflinchingly. “I am ready to meet you and hear your farewell. Dr. Knowles told me your marriage was near at hand. I knew you would come, Stephen. You did before.”

He winced,—the more that her voice was so clear of pain.

“Why should I come? To show you what sort of a heart I have sold for money? Why, you know, little Margaret. You can reckon up its deformity, its worthlessness, on your cool fingers. You could tell the serene and gracious lady who is chaffering for it what a bargain she has made,—that there is not in it one spark of manly honor or true love. Don’t venture too near it in your coldness and prudence. It has tiger passions I will not answer for. Give me your hand, and feel how it pants like a hungry fiend. It will have food, Margaret.”

She drew away the hand he grasped, and stood back in the shadow.

“What is it to me?”—in the same measured voice.

Holmes wiped the cold drops from his forehead, a sort of shudder in his powerful frame. He stood a moment looking into the fire, his head dropped on his arm.

“Let it be so,” he said at last, quietly. “The worn old heart can gnaw on itself a little longer. I have no mind to whimper over pain.”

Something that she saw on the dark sardonic face, as the red gleams lighted it, made her start convulsively, as if she would go to him; then controlling herself, she stood silent. He had not seen the movement,—or, if he saw, did not heed it. He did not care to tame her now. The firelight flashed and darkened, the crackling wood breaking the dead silence of the room.

“It does not matter,” he said, raising his head, laying his arm over his strong chest unconsciously, as if to shut in all complaint. “I had an idle fancy that it would be good on this Christmas night to bare the secrets of crime and selfishness hidden in here to you,—to suffer your pure eyes to probe the sorest depths: I thought perhaps they would have a blessing power. It was an idle fancy. What is my want or crime to you?”

The answer came slowly, but it did come.

“Nothing to me.”

She tried to meet the gaunt face looking down on her with a proud sadness,—did meet it at last with her meek eyes.

“No, nothing to you. There is no need that I should stay longer, is there? You made ready to meet me, and have gone through your part well.”

“It is no part. I speak God’s truth to you as I can.”

“I know. There is nothing more for us to say to each other In this world, then, except good-night. Words—polite words—are bitterer than death, sometimes. If ever we happen to meet, that courteous smile on your face will be enough to speak—God’s truth for you. Shall we say good-night now?”

“If you will.”

She drew farther into the shadow, leaning on a chair.

He stopped, some sudden thought striking him.

“I have a whim,” he said, dreamily, “that I would like to satisfy. It would be a trifle to you: will you grant it?—for the sake of some old happy day, long ago?”

She put her hand up to her throat; then it fell again.

“Anything you wish, Stephen,” she said, gravely.

“Yes. Come nearer, then, and let me see what I have lost. A heart so cold and strong as yours need not fear inspection. I have a fancy to look into it, for the last time.”

She stood motionless and silent.

“Come,”—softly,—“there is no hurt in your heart that fears detection?”

She came out into the full light, and stood before him, pushing back the hair from her forehead, that he might see every wrinkle, and the faded, lifeless eyes. It was a true woman’s motion, remembering even then to scorn deception. The light glowed brightly in her face, as the slow minutes ebbed without a sound: she only saw his face in shadow, with the fitful gleam of intolerable meaning in his eyes. Her own quailed and fell.

“Does it hurt you that I should even look at you?” he said, drawing back. “Why, even the sainted dead suffer us to come near them after they have died to us,—to touch their hands, to kiss their lips, to find what look they left in their faces for us. Be patient, for the sake of the old time. My whim is not satisfied yet.”

“I am patient.”

“Tell me something of yourself, to take with me when I go, for the last time. Shall I think of you as happy in these days?”

“I am contented,”—the words oozing from her white lips in the bitterness of truth. “I asked God, that night, to show me my work; and I think He has shown it to me. I do not complain. It is a great work.”

“Is that all?” he demanded, fiercely.

“No, not all. It pleases me to feel I have a warm home, and to help keep it cheerful. When my father kisses me at night, or my mother says, ‘God bless you, child,’ I know that is enough, that I ought to be happy.”

The old clock in the corner hummed and ticked through the deep silence like the humble voice of the home she toiled to keep warm, thanking her, comforting her.

“Once more,” as the light grew stronger on her face,—“will you look down into your heart that you have given to this great work, and tell me what you see there? Dare you do it, Margaret?”

“I dare do it,”—but her whisper was husky.

“Go on.”

He watched her more as a judge would a criminal, as she sat before him: she struggled weakly under the power of his eye, not meeting it. He waited relentless, seeing her face slowly whiten, her limbs shiver, her bosom heave.

“Let me speak for you,” he said at last. “I know who once filled your heart to the exclusion of all others: it is no time for mock shame. I know it was my hand that held the very secret of your being. Whatever I may have been, you loved me, Margaret. Will you say that now?”

“I loved you,—once.”

Whether it were truth that nerved her, or self-delusion, she was strong now to utter it all.

“You love me no longer, then?”

“I love you no longer.”

She did not look at him; she was conscious only of the hot fire wearing her eyes, and the vexing click of the clock. After a while he bent over her silently,—a manly, tender presence.

“When love goes once,” he said, “it never returns. Did you say it was gone, Margaret?”

One effort more, and Duty would be satisfied.

“It is gone.”

In the slow darkness that came to her she covered her face, knowing and hearing nothing. When she looked up, Holmes was standing by the window, with his face toward the gray fields. It was a long time before he turned and came to her.

“You have spoken honestly: it is an old fashion of yours. You believed what you said. Let me also tell you what you call God’s truth, for a moment, Margaret. It will not do you harm.”—He spoke gravely, solemnly.—“When you loved me long ago, selfish, erring as I was, you fulfilled the law of your nature; when you put that love out of your heart, you make your duty a tawdry sham, and your life a lie. Listen to me. I am calm.”

Was he calm? It was calmness that made her tremble as she had not done before.

“You have deceived yourself: when you try to fill your heart with this work, you serve neither your God nor your fellow-man. You tell me,” stooping close to her, “that I am nothing to you: you believe it, poor child! There is not a line on your face that does not prove it false. I have keen eyes, Margaret !”—He laughed,—a savage, despairing laugh.—“You have wrung this love out of your heart? If it was easy to do, did it need to wring with it every sparkle of pleasure and grace out of your life? Your very hair is gathered out of your sight: you feared to remember how my hand had touched it? Your dress is stingy and hard; your step, your eyes, your mouth under rule. So hard it was to force yourself into an old worn-out woman! Oh, Margaret! Margaret!”

She moaned under her breath.

“I notice trifles, child! Yonder, in that corner, used to stand the desk where I helped you with your Latin. How you hated it! Do you remember?”

“I remember.”

“It always stood there: it is gone now. Outside of the gate there was that elm I planted, and you promised to water while I was gone. It is cut down now by the roots.”

“I had it done, Stephen.”

“I know. Do you know why? Because you love me: because you do not dare to think of me, you dare not trust yourself to look at the tree that I had planted.”

She started up with a cry, and stood there in the old way, her fingers catching at each other.

“It is cruel,—let me go!”

“It is not cruel.”—He came up closer to her.—“You think you do not love me, and see what I have made you! Look at the torpor of this face,—the dead, frozen eyes! It is a ‘nightmare, death in life,’ Good God, to think that I have done this! To think of the countless days of agony, the nights, the years of solitude that have brought her to this,—little Margaret!”

He paced the floor, slowly. She sat down on a low stool, leaning her head on her hands. The little figure, the bent head, the quivering chin brought up her childhood to him. She used to sit so when he had tormented her, waiting to be coaxed back to love and smiles again. The hard man’s eyes filled with tears, as he thought of it. He watched the deep, tearless sobs that shook her breast: he had wounded her to death,—his bonny Margaret! She was like a dead thing now: what need to torture her longer? Let him be manly and go out to his solitary life, taking the remembrance of what he had done with him for company. He rose uncertainly,—then came to her: was that the way to leave her?

“I am going, Margaret,” he whispered, “but let me tell you a story before I go,—a Christmas story, say. It will not touch you,—it is too late to hope for that,—but it is right that you should hear it.”

She looked up wearily.

“As you will, Stephen.”

Whatever impulse drove the man to speak words that he knew were useless made him stand back from her, as though she were something he was unfit to touch: the words dragged from him slowly.

“I had a curious dream to-night, Margaret,—a waking dream: only a clear vision of what had been once. Do you remember—the old time?”

What disconnected rambling was this? Yet the girl understood it, looked into the low fire with sad, listening eyes.

“Long ago. That was a free, strong life that opened before us then, little one,—before you and me? Do you remember the Christmas before I went away? I had a strong arm and a hungry brain to go out into the world with, then. Something better, too, I had. A purer self than was born with me came late in life, and nestled in my heart. Margaret, there was no fresh loving thought in my brain for God or man that did not grow from my love of you; there was nothing noble or kindly in my nature that did not flow into that love and deepen there. I was your master, too. I held my own soul by no diviner right than I held your love and owed you mine. I understand it, now, when it is too late.”—He wiped the cold drops from his face.—“Now do you know whether it is remorse I feel, when I think how I put this purer self away,—how I went out triumphant in my inhuman, greedy soul,—how I resolved to know, to be, to trample under foot all weak love or homely pleasures? I have been punished. Let those years go. I think, sometimes, I came near to the nature of the damned who dare not love: I would not. It was then I hurt you, Margaret,—to the death: your true life lay in me, as mine in you.”

He had gone on drearily, as though holding colloquy with himself, as though great years of meaning surged up and filled the broken words. It may have been thus with the girl, for her face deepened as she listened. For the first time for many long days tears welled up into her eyes, and rolled between her fingers unheeded.

“I came through the streets to-night baffled in life,—a mean man that might have been noble,—all the years wasted that had gone before,—disappointed,—with nothing to hope for but time to work humbly and atone for the wrongs I had done. When I lay yonder, my soul on the coast of eternity, I resolved to atone for every selfish deed. I had no thought of happiness; God knows I had no hope of it. I had wronged you most: I could not die with that wrong unforgiven.”

“Unforgiven, Stephen?” she sobbed; “I forgave it long ago.”

He looked at her a moment, then by some master effort choked down the word he would have spoken, and went on with his bitter confession.

“I came through the crowded town, a homeless, solitary man, on the Christmas eve when love comes to every man. If ever I had grown sick for a word or touch from the one soul to whom alone mine was open, I thirsted for it then. The better part of my nature was crushed out, and flung away with you, Margaret. I cried for it,—I wanted help to be a better, purer man. I need it now. And so,” he said, with a smile that hurt her more than tears, “I came to my good angel, to tell her I had sinned and repented, that I had made humble plans for the future, and ask her—God knows what I would have asked her then! She had forgotten me,—she had another work to do!”

She wrung her hands with a helpless cry. Holmes went to the window: the dull waste of snow looked to him as hopeless and vague as his own life.

“I have deserved it,” he muttered to himself. “It is too late to amend.”

Some light touch thrilled his arm.

“Is it too late, Stephen?” whispered a childish voice.

The strong man trembled, looking at the little dark figure standing near him.

“We were both wrong; let us be friends again.”

She went back unconsciously to the old words of their quarrels long ago. He drew back.

“Do not mock me,” he gasped. “I suffer, Margaret. Do not mock me with more courtesy.”

“I do not; let us be friends again.”

She was crying like a penitent child; her face was turned away; love, pure and deep, was in her eyes.

The red fire-light grew stronger; the clock hushed its noisy ticking to hear the story. Holmes’s pale lip worked: what was this coming to him? He dared not hope, yet his breast heaved, a dry heat panted in his veins, his deep eyes flashed fire.

“If my little friend comes to me,” he said, in a smothered voice, “there is but one place for her,—her soul with my soul, her heart on my heart.”—He opened his arms.—“She must rest her head here. My little friend must be—my wife.”

She looked into the strong, haggard face,—a smile crept out on her own, arch and debonair like that of old time.

“I am tired, Stephen,” she whispered, and softly laid her head down on his breast.

The red fire-light flashed into a glory of crimson through the room, about the two figures standing motionless there,—shimmered down into awe-struck shadow: who heeded it? The old clock ticked away furiously, as if rejoicing that weary days were over for the pet and darling of the house: nothing else broke the silence. Without, the deep night paused, gray, impenetrable. Did it hope that far angel-voices would break its breathless hush, as once on the fields of Judea, to usher in Christmas morn? A hush, in air, and earth, and sky, of waiting hope, of a promised joy. Down there in the farm-window two human hearts had given the joy a name; the hope throbbed into being; the hearts touching each other beat in a slow, full chord of love as pure in God’s eyes as the song the angels sang, and as sure a promise of the Christ that is to come. Forever and ever,—not even death would part them; he knew that, holding her closer, looking down into her face.

What a pale little face it was! Through the intensest heat of his passion the sting touched him: it was but one mark of his murderous selfishness. Some instinct made her glance up at him, as he thought this, with a keen insight, and she lifted her head from his breast, and when he stooped to touch her lips, shook herself free, laughing carelessly. Their whole life was before them to taste happiness, and she had a mind they should taste it drop by drop. Alas, Stephen Holmes! you will have little time for morbid questionings in those years to come: your very pauses of silent content and love will be rare and well-earned. No more tranced raptures for to-night,—let tomorrow bring what it would.

“You do not seem to find your purer self altogether perfect?” she demanded. “I think the pale skin hurts your artistic eye, or the frozen eyes,—which is it?”

“They have thawed into brilliant fire,—something looks at me half-yielding and half-defiant,—you know that, you vain child! But, Margaret, nothing can atone”—

He stopped.

“That is right, Stephen. Remorse grows maudlin when it goes into words,” laughing again at his astounded look.

He took her hand,—a dewy, healthy hand,—the very touch of it meant action and life.

“What if I say, then,” he said, earnestly, “that I do not find my angel perfect, be the fault mine or hers? The child Margaret, with her sudden tears and laughter and angry heats, is gone,—I killed her, I think,—gone long ago. I will not take in place of her this worn, pale ghost, who wears clothes as chilly as if she came from the dead, and stands alone, as ghosts do.”

She stood a little way off, her great brown eyes flashing with tears. It was so strange a joy to find herself cared for, when she had believed she was old and hard: the very idle jesting made her youth and happiness real to her. Holmes saw that with his quick tact. He flung playfully a crimson shawl that lay there about her white neck.

“My wife must suffer her life to flush out in gleams of color and light: her cheeks must hint at a glow within, as yours do now. I will have no hard angles, no pallor, no uncertain memory of pain in her life: it shall be perpetual summer.”

He loosened her hair, and it rolled down about the bright, tearful face, shining in the red fire-light like a mist of tawny gold.

“I need warmth and freshness and light: my wife shall bring them to me. She shall be no strong-willed reformer, standing alone: a sovereign lady with kind words for the world, who gives her hand only to that man whom she trusts, and keeps her heart and its secrets for me alone.”

She paid no heed to him other than by a deepening color; the clock, however, grew tired of the long soliloquy, and broke in with an asthmatic warning as to the time of night.

“There is midnight,” she said. “You shall go, now, Stephen Holmes,—quick! before your sovereign lady fades, like Cinderella, into grayness and frozen eyes!”

When he was gone, she knelt down by her window, remembering that night long ago,—free to sob and weep out her joy,—very sure that her Master had not forgotten to hear even a woman’s prayer, and to give her her true work,—very sure,—never to doubt again. There was a dark, sturdy figure pacing up and down the road, that she did not see. It was there when the night was over and morning began to dawn. Christmas morning! he remembered,—it was something to him now! Never again a homeless, solitary man! You would think the man weak, if I were to tell you how this word “home” had taken possession of him,—how he had planned out work through the long night: success to come, but with his wife nearest his heart, and the homely farm-house and the old schoolmaster in the centre of the picture. Such an humble castle in the air! Christmas morning was surely something to him. Yet, as the night passed, he went back to the years that had been wasted, with an unavailing bitterness. He would not turn from the truth, that, with his strength of body and brain to command happiness and growth, his life had been a failure. I think it was first on that night that the story of the despised Nazarene came to him with a new meaning,—One who came to gather up these broken fragments of lives and save them with His own. But vaguely, though: Christmas-day as yet was to him the day when love came into the world. He knew the meaning of that. So he watched with an eagerness new to him the day breaking. He could see Margaret’s window, and a dim light in it: she would be awake, praying for him, no doubt. He pondered on that. Would you think Holmes weak, if he forsook the faith of Fichte, sometime, led by a woman’s hand? Think of the apostle of the positive philosophers, and say no more. He could see a flickering light at dawn crossing the hall: he remembered the old schoolmaster’s habit well,—calling “Happy Christmas” at every door: he meant to go down there for breakfast, as he used to do, imagining how the old man would wring his hands, with a “Holla! you’re welcome home, Stephen, boy!” and Mrs. Howth would bring out the jars of pine-apple preserve which her sister sent her every year from the West Indies. And then——Never mind what then. Stephen Holmes was very much in love, and this Christmas-day had much to bring him. Yet it was with a solemn shadow on his face that he watched the dawn, showing that he grasped the awful meaning of this day that “brought love into the world.” Through the clear, frosty night he could hear a low chime of distant bells shiver the air, hurrying faint and far to tell the glad tidings. He fancied that the dawn flushed warm to hear the story,—that the very earth should rejoice in its frozen depths, if it were true. If it were true!—if this passion in his heart were but a part of an all-embracing power, in whose clear depths the world struggled vainly!—if it were true that this Christ did come to make that love clear to us! There would be some meaning then in the old schoolmaster’s joy, in the bells wakening the city yonder, in even poor Lois’s thorough content in this day,—for it would be, he knew, a thrice-happy day to her. A strange story that of the Child coming into the world,—simple! He thought of it, watching, through his cold, gray eyes, how all the fresh morning told it,—it was in the very air; thinking how its echo stole through the whole world,—how innumerable children’s voices told it in eager laughter,—how even the lowest slave half-smiled, on waking, to think it was Christmas-day, the day that Christ was born. He could hear from the church on the hill that they were singing again the old song of the angels. Did this matter to him? Did he care, with the new throb in his heart, who was born this day? There is no smile on his face as he listens to the words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men”; it bends lower,—lower only. But in the selfish eyes there are warm tears, and on his worn face a sad and solemn joy.

I am going to end my story now, There are phases more vivid in the commonplace lives of these men and women, I do not doubt: love as poignant as pain in its joy; crime, weak and foul and foolish, like all crime; silent self-sacrifices: but I leave them for you to paint; you will find colors enough in your own house and heart.

As for Christmas-day, neither you nor I need try to do justice to that theme: how the old schoolmaster went about, bustling, his thin face quite hot with enthusiasm, and muttering, “God bless my soul!”—hardly recovered from the sudden delight of finding his old pupil waiting for him when he went down in the morning; how he insisted on being led by him, and nobody else, all day, and before half an hour had confided, under solemn pledges of secrecy, the great project of the book about Bertrand de Born; how even easy Mrs. Howth found her hospitable Virginian blood in a glow at the unexpected breakfast-guest,—settling into more confident pleasure as dinner came on, for which success was surer; how cold it was, outside; how Joel piled on great fires, and went off on some mysterious errand, having “other chores to do than idling and duddering”; how the day rose into a climax of perfection at dinner-time, to Mrs. Howth’s mind,—the turkey being done to a delicious brown, the plum-pudding quivering like luscious jelly (a Christian dinner to-day, if we starve the rest of the year!). Even Dr. Knowles, who brought a great bouquet out for the schoolmaster, was in an unwonted good-humor; and Mr. Holmes, of whom she stood a little in dread, enjoyed it all with such zest, and was so attentive to them all, but Margaret. They hardly spoke to each other all day; it quite fretted the old lady; indeed, she gave the girl a good scolding about it out in the pantry, until she was ready to cry. She had looked that way all day, however.

Knowles was hurt deep enough when he saw Holmes, and suspected the worst, under all his good-humor. It was a bitter disappointment to give up the girl; for, beside the great work, he loved her in an uncouth fashion, and hated Holmes. He met her alone in the morning; but when he saw how pale she grew, expecting his outbreak, and how she glanced timidly in at the room where Stephen was, he relented. Something in the wet brown eye perhaps recalled a forgotten dream of his boyhood; for he sighed sharply, and did not swear as he meant to. All he said was, that “women will be women, and that she had a worse job on her hands than the House of Refuge,”—which she put down to the account of his ill-temper, and only laughed, and made him shake hands.

Lois and her father came out in the old cart in high state across the bleak, snowy hills, quite aglow with all they had seen at the farm-houses on the road. Margaret had arranged a settle for the sick girl by the kitchen-fire, but they all came out to speak to her.

As for the dinner, it was the essence of all Christmas dinners: Dickens himself, the priest of the genial day, would have been contented. The old schoolmaster and his wife had hearts big and warm enough to do the perpetual honors of a baronial castle; so you may know how the little room and the faces about the homely table glowed and brightened. Even Knowles began to think that Holmes might not be so bad, after all, recalling the chicken in the mill, and,—

“Well, it was better to think well of all men, poor devils!”

I am sorry to say there was a short thunder-storm in the very midst of the dinner. Knowles and Mr. Howth, in their anxiety to keep off from ancient subjects of dispute, came, for a wonder, on modern politics, and of course there was a terrible collision, which made Mrs. Howth quite breathless: it was over in a minute, however, and it was hard to tell which was the most repentant. Knowles, as you know, was a disciple of Garrison, and the old schoolmaster was (will the “Atlantic” bear it?) a States’-rights man, as you might expect from his antecedents,—suspected, indeed, of being a contributor to “De Bow’s Review.” I may as well come out with the whole truth, and acknowledge that at the present writing the old gentleman is the very hottest Secessionist I know. If it hurts the type, write it down a vice of blood, O printers of New England!—or else, like Uncle Toby’s recording angel, drop a tear upon the word, and blot it out forever.

The dinner, perhaps, was fresher and heartier after that. Then Knowles went back to town; and in the middle of the afternoon, as it grew dusk, Lois started, knowing how many would come into her little shanty in the evening to wish her Happy Christmas, although it was over. They piled up comforts and blankets in the cart, and she lay on them quite snugly, her scarred child’s-face looking out from a great woollen hood Mrs. Howth gave her. Old Yare held Barney, with his hat in his hand, looking as if he deserved hanging, but very proud of the kindness they all showed his girl. Holmes gave him some money for a Christmas gift, and he took it, eagerly enough. For some unexpressed reason, they stood a long time in the snow bidding Lois good-bye; and for the same reason, it may be, she was loath to go, looking at each one earnestly as she laughed and grew red and pale answering them, kissing Mrs. Howth’s hand when she gave it to her. When the cart did drive away, she watched them standing there until she was out of sight, and waved her scrap of a handkerchief; and when the road turned down the hill, lay down and softly cried to herself.

Now that they were alone they gathered close about the fire, while the day without grew gray and colder,—Margaret in her old place by her father’s knee. Some dim instinct had troubled the old man all day; it did now: whenever Margaret spoke, he listened eagerly, and forgot to answer sometimes, he was so lost in thought. At last he put his hand on her head, and whispered, “What ails my little girl?” And then his little girl sobbed and cried, as she had been ready to do all day, and kissed his trembling hand, and went and hid on her mother’s neck, and left Stephen to say everything for her. And I think you and I had better come away. Are not these things written on the fairest page of Stephen Holmes’s remembrance?

It was quite dark before they had done talking,—quite dark; the wood-fire had charred down into a great bed of crimson; the tea stood till it grew cold, and no one drank it. The old man got up at last, and Holmes led him to the library, where he smoked every evening. He held Maggie, as he called her, in his arms a long time, and wrung Holmes’s hand. “God bless you, Stephen!” he said,—“this is a very happy Christmas-day to me.” And yet, sitting alone, the tears ran over his wrinkled face as he smoked; and when his pipe went out, he did not know it, but sat motionless. Mrs. Howth, fairly confounded by the shock, went upstairs, and stayed there a long time. When she came down, the old lady’s blue eyes were tenderer, if that were possible, and her face very pale. She went into the library and asked her husband if she didn’t prophesy this two years ago, and he said she did, and after a while asked her if she remembered the barbecue-night at Judge Clapp’s thirty years ago. She blushed at that, and then went up and kissed him. She had heard Joel’s horse clattering up to the kitchen-door, so concluded she would go out and scold him. Under the circumstances it would be a relief.

If Mrs. Howth’s nerves had been weak, she might have supposed that free-born serving-man seized with sudden insanity, from the sight that met her, going into the kitchen. His dinner, set on the dresser, was flung contemptuously on the ashes; a horrible cloud of burning grease rushed from a dirty pint-pot on the table, and before this Joel was capering and snorting like some red-headed Hottentot before his fetich, occasionally sticking his fingers into the nauseous stuff, and snuffing it up as if it were roses. He was a church-member: he could not be drunk? At the sight of her, he tried to regain the austere dignity usual to him when women were concerned, but lapsed into an occasional giggle, which spoiled the effect.

“Where have you been,” she inquired, severely, “scouring the country like a heathen on this blessed day? And what is that you have burning? You’re disgracing the house, and strangers in it.”

Joel’s good-humor was proof against even this.

“I’ve scoured to some purpose, then. Dun’t tell the mester: it’ll muddle his brains t’-night. Wait till mornin’. Squire More’ll be down hisself t’ ‘xplain.”

He rubbed the greasy fingers into his hair, while Mrs. Howth’s eyes were fixed in dumb perplexity.

“Ye see,”—slowly, determined to make it clear to her now and forever,—“it’s water: no, t’ a’n’t water: it’s troubled me an’ Mester Howth some time in Poke Run, atop o”t. I hed my suspicions,—so’d he; lay low, though, frum all women-folks. So’s I tuk a bottle down, unbeknown, to Squire More, an’ it’s oil!”—jumping like a wild Indian,—“thank the Lord fur His marcies, it’s oil!”

“Well, Joel,” she said, calmly, “very disagreeably smelling oil it is, I must say.”

“Good save the woman!” he broke out, sotto voce, “she’s a born natural! Did ye never hear of a shaft? or millions o’ gallons a day? It’s better nor a California ranch, I tell ye. Mebbe,” charitably, “ye didn’t know Poke Run’s the mester’s?”

“I certainly do. But I do not see what this green ditch-water is to me. And I think, Joel,”—

“It’s more to ye nor all yer States’-rights as I’m sick o’ hearin’ of. It’s carpets, an’ bunnets, an’ slithers of railroad-stock, an’ some color on Margot’s cheeks,—ye’d best think o’ that! That’s what it is to ye! I’m goin’ to take stock myself. I’m glad that gell’ll git rest frum her mills an’ her Houses o’ Deviltry,—she’s got gumption fur a dozen women.”

He went on muttering, as he gathered up his pint-pot and bottle,—

“I’m goin’ to send my Tim to college soon’s the thing’s in runnin’ order. Lord! what a lawyer that boy’ll make!”

Mrs. Howth’s brain was still muddled.

“You are better pleased than you were at the election,” she observed, placidly.

“Politics be darned!” he broke out, forgetting the teachings of Mr. Clinche. “Now, Mem, dun’t ye muddle the mester’s brain t’-night wi’ ‘t, I say. I’m goin’ t’ ‘xperiment myself a bit.”

Which he did, accordingly,—shutting himself up in the smoke-house, and burning the compound in divers sconces and Wide-Awake torches, giving up the entire night to his diabolical orgies.

Mrs. Howth did not tell the master, for one reason: it took a long time for so stupendous an idea to penetrate the good lady’s brain; and for another: her motherly heart was touched by another story than this Aladdin’s lamp of Joel’s wherein burned petroleum. She watched from her window until she saw Holmes crossing the icy road: there was a little bitterness, I confess, in the thought that he had taken her child from her; but the prayer that rose for them both took her whole woman’s heart with it, and surely will be answered.

The road was rough over the hills; the wind that struck Holmes’s face bitingly keen: perhaps the life coming for him would be as cold a struggle, having not only poverty to conquer, but himself. But he is a strong man,—no stronger puts his foot down with cool, resolute tread; and to-night there is a thrill on his lips that never rested there before,—a kiss, dewy and warm. Something, too, stirs in his heart, like a subtile atom of pure fire, that he hugs closely,—his for all time. No poverty or death shall ever drive it away. Perhaps he entertains an angel unaware.

After that night Lois never left her little shanty. The days that followed were like one long Christmas; for her poor neighbors, black and white, had some plot among themselves, and worked zealously to make them seem so to her. It was easy to make these last days happy for the simple little soul who had always gathered up every fragment of pleasure in her featureless life, and made much of it, and rejoiced over it. She grew bewildered, sometimes, lying on her wooden settle by the fire; people had always been friendly, taken care of her, but now they were eager in their kindness, as though the time were short. She did not understand the reason, at first; she did not want to die: yet if it hurt her, when it grew clear at last, no one knew it; it was not her way to speak of pain. Only, as she grew weaker, day by day, she began to set her house in order, as one might say, in a quaint, almost comical fashion, giving away everything she owned, down to her treasures of colored bottles and needlework’s, mending her father’s clothes, and laying them out in her drawers; lastly, she had Barney brought in from the country, and every day would creep to the window to see him fed and chirrup to him, whereat the poor old beast would look up with his dim eye, and try to neigh a feeble answer. Kitts used to come every day to see her, though he never said much when he was there: he lugged his great copy of the Venus del Pardo along with him one day, and left it, thinking she would like to look at it; Knowles called it trash, when he came. The Doctor came always in the morning; he told her he would read to her one day, and did it always afterwards, putting on his horn spectacles, and holding her old Bible close up to his rugged, anxious face. He used to read most from the Gospel of St. John. She liked better to hear him than any of the others, even than Margaret, whose voice was so low and tender: something in the man’s half-savage nature was akin to the child’s.

As the day drew near when she was to go, every pleasant trifle seemed to gather a deeper, solemn meaning. Jenny Balls came in one night, and old Mrs. Polston.

“We thought you’d like to see her weddin’-dress, Lois,” said the old woman, taking off Jenny’s cloak, “seein’ as the weddin’ was to hev been to-morrow, and was put off on ‘count of you.”

Lois did like to see it; sat up, her face quite flushed to see how nicely it fitted, and stroked back Jenny’s soft hair under the veil. And Jenny, being a warm-hearted little thing, broke into a sobbing fit, saying that it spoiled it all to have Lois gone.

“Don’t muss your veil, child,” said Mrs. Polston.

But Jenny cried on, hiding her face in Lois’s skinny hand, until Sam Polston came in, when she grew quiet and shy. The poor deformed girl lay watching them, as they talked. Very pretty Jenny looked, with her blue eyes and damp pink cheeks; and it was a manly, grave love in Sam’s face, when it turned to her. A different love from any she had known: better, she thought. It could not be helped; but it was better.

After they were gone, she lay a long time quiet, with her hand over her eyes. Forgive her! she, too, was a woman. Ah, it may be there are more wrongs that shall be righted yonder in the To-Morrow than are set down in your theology!

And so it was, that, as she drew nearer to this To-Morrow, the brain of the girl grew clearer,—struggling, one would think, to shake off whatever weight had been put on it by blood or vice or poverty, and become itself again. Perhaps, even in her cheerful, patient life, there had been hours when she had known the wrongs that had been done her, known how cruelly the world had thwarted her; her very keen insight into whatever was beautiful or helpful may have made her see her own mischance, the blank she had drawn in life, more bitterly. She did not see it bitterly now. Death is honest; all things grew clear to her, going down into the valley of the shadow; so, wakening to the consciousness of stifled powers and ungiven happiness, she saw that the fault was not hers, nor His who had appointed her lot; He had helped her to bear it,—bearing worse himself. She did not say once, “I might have been,” but day by day, more surely, “I shall be.” There was not a tear in the homely faces turning from her bed, not a tint of color in the flowers they brought her, not a shiver of light in the ashy sky, that did not make her more sure of that which was to come. More loving she grew, as she went away from them, the touch of her hand more pitiful, her voice more tender, if such a thing could be,—with a look in her eyes never seen there before. Old Yare pointed it out to Mrs. Polston one day.

“My girl’s far off frum us,” he said, sobbing in the kitchen,—“my girl’s far off now.”

It was the last night of the year that she died. She was so much better that they all were quite cheerful. Kitts went away as it grew dark, and she bade him wrap up his throat with such a motherly dogmatism that they all laughed at her; she, too, with the rest.

“I’ll make you a New-Year’s call,” he said, going out; and she called out that she should be sure to expect him.

She seemed so strong that Holmes and Mrs. Polston and Margaret, who were there, were going home; besides, old Yare said, “I’d like to take care o’ my girl alone to-night, ef yoh’d let me,”—for they had not trusted him before. But Lois asked them not to go until the Old Year was over; so they waited downstairs.

The old man fell asleep, and it was near midnight when he wakened with a cold touch on his hand.

“It’s come, father!”

He started up with a cry, looking at the new smile in her eyes, grown strangely still.

“Call them all, quick, father!”

Whatever was the mystery of death that met her now, her heart clung to the old love that had been true to her so long.

He did not move.

“Let me hev yoh to myself, Lo, ’t th’ last; yoh’re all I hev; let me hev yoh ’t th’ last.”

It was a bitter disappointment, but she roused herself even then to smile, and tell him yes, cheerfully. You call it a trifle, nothing? It may be; yet I think the angels looking down had tears in their eyes, when they saw the last trial of the unselfish, solitary heart, and kept for her a different crown from his who conquers a city.

The fire-light grew warmer and redder; her eyes followed it, as if all that had been bright and kindly in her life were coming back in it. She put her hand on her father, trying vainly to smooth his gray hair. The old man’s heart smote him for something, for his sobs grew louder, and he left her a moment; then she saw them all, faces very dear to her even then. She laughed and nodded to them all in the old childish way; then her lips moved. “It’s come right!” she tried to say; but the weak voice would never speak again on earth.

“It’s the turn o’ the night,” said Mrs. Polston, solemnly; “lift her head; the Old Year’s goin’ out.”

Margaret lifted her head, and held it on her breast. She could hear cries and sobs; the faces, white now, and wet, pressed nearer, yet fading slowly: it was the Old Year going out, the worn-out year of her life. Holmes opened the window: the cold night-wind rushed in, bearing with it snatches of broken harmony: some idle musician down in the city, playing fragments of some old, sweet air, heavy with love and regret. It may have been chance: yet let us think it was not chance; let us believe that He who had made the world warm and happy for her chose that this best voice of all should bid her goodbye at the last.

So the Old Year went out. The dull eyes, loving to the end, wandered vaguely as the sounds died away, as if losing something,—losing all, suddenly. She sighed as the clock struck, and then a strange calm, unknown before, stole over her face; her eyes flashed open with a living joy. Margaret stooped to close them, kissing the cold lids; and Tiger, who had climbed upon the bed, whined and crept down.

“It is the New Year,” said Holmes, bending his head.

The cripple was dead; but Lois, free, loving, and beloved, trembled from her prison to her Master’s side in the To-Morrow.

I can show you her grave out there in the hills,—a short, stunted grave, like a child’s. No one goes there, although there are many firesides where they speak of “Lois” softly, as of something holy and dear: but they think of her always as gone home; even old Yare looks up, when he talks of “my girl.” Yet, knowing that nothing in God’s just universe is lost, or fails to meet the late fulfilment of its hope, I like to think of her poor body lying there: I like to believe that the great mother was glad to receive the form that want and crime of men had thwarted,—took her uncouth child home again, that had been so cruelly wronged,—folded it in her warm bosom with tender, palpitating love.

It pleased me in the winter months to think that the worn-out limbs, the old scarred face of Lois rested, slept: crumbled into fresh atoms, woke at last with a strange sentience, and, when God smiled permission through the summer sun, flashed forth in a wild ecstasy of the true beauty that she loved so well. In no questioning, sad pallor of sombre leaves or gray lichens: throbbed out rather in answering crimsons, in lilies, white, exultant in a chordant life!

Yet, more than this: I strive to grope, with dull, earthy sense, at her freed life in that earnest land where souls forget to hunger or to hope, and learn to be. And so thinking, the certainty of her aim and work and love yonder comes with a new, vital reality, beside which the story of the yet living men and women of whom I have told you grows vague and incomplete, like an unguessed riddle. I have no key to solve it with,—no right to solve it. Let me lay the pen abruptly down.

My story is coarse, unended, a mere groping hint? It has no conduit of God’s justice running through it, awarding good and ill? It lacks determined concord, and a certain yea and nay? I know: it is a story of To-Day. The Old Year is on us yet. Poor faithful old Knowles will tell you that it is a dark day: that now, as eighteen hundred years ago, the Helper stands unwelcome in the world: that the air is filled with the cry of the slave, and of nations going down into darkness, their message untold, their work undone: that your own heart, as well as the great humanity, asks, even now, an unrendered justice. Does he utter all the problem of To-Day? I think, not all: yet let it be. Other hands are strong to show you how, in the very instant peril of this hour, is lifted clearer into view the eternal, hopeful prophecy; may tell you that the slumbering heaven and the unquiet earth are instinct with it; that the unanswered prayer of your own life should teach it to you; that in that Book wherein God has not scorned to write the history of America we find the quiet surety that the To-Morrow of the world is near at hand.

For me, I have no prophetic insight, as I said before: the homely things of every day wear their old faces. This moment, the evening air thrills with a purple of which no painter has caught the tint, no poet the meaning; not a face passes me in the street on which some human voice has not the charm to call out love or power: the Helper yet waits amongst us; surely, this Old Year you despise holds beauty, work, content yet unmastered. Child-souls, you tell me, like that of Lois, may find it enough to hold no past and no future, to accept the work of each moment, and think it no wrong to drink every drop of its beauty and joy: we who are wiser laugh at them. It may be: yet I say unto you, their angels only do always behold the face of my Father in the New Year.


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Once more, O Mountains of the North, unveil

Your brows, and lay your cloudy mantles by!

And once more, ere the eyes that seek ye fail,

Uplift against the blue walls of the sky

Your mighty shapes, and let the sunshine weave

Its golden net-work in your belting woods,

Smile down in rainbows from your falling floods,

And on your kingly brows at morn and eve

Set crowns of fire! So shall my soul receive

Haply the secret of your calm and strength,

Your unforgotten beauty interfuse

My common life, your glorious shapes and hues

And sun-dropped splendors at my bidding come,

Loom vast through dreams, and stretch in billowy length

From the sea-level of my lowland home!

They rise before me! Last night’s thunder-gust

Roared not in vain: for, where its lightnings thrust

Their tongues of fire, the great peaks seem so near,

Burned clean of mist, so starkly bold and clear,

I almost pause the wind in the pines to hear,

The loose rock’s fall, the steps of browsing deer.

The clouds that shattered on yon slide-worn walls

And splintered on the rocks their spears of rain

Have set in play a thousand waterfalls,

Making the dusk and silence of the woods

Glad with the laughter of the chasing floods

And luminous with blown spray and silver gleams,

While, in the vales below, the dry-lipped streams

Sing to the freshened meadow-lands again.

So, let me hope, the battle-storm that beats

The land with hail and fire may pass away

With its spent thunders at the break of day,

Like last night’s clouds, and leave, as it retreats,

A greener earth and fairer sky behind,

Blown crystal-clear by Freedom’s Northern wind!


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In no branch of manufacture has human ingenuity been taxed more vigorously, for the attainment of the highest possible point of perfection, than in that of rifled guns for the use of the troops, on whose capacity for the destruction of their opponents the throne of the tyrant or the liberty of the people may be dependent. Nations, companies, and individuals have expended years of time and millions of money in testing every conceivable contrivance which offered a hope of improvement in precision, force, facility of loading or firing, or any of the minute details which contribute to render the weapon more serviceable.

And yet, at this day, not only are the troops of different nations armed with rifles differing in size, weight, calibre, and degree of twist, requiring different instruction in their use, and shooting projectiles of widely different pattern, but scarcely any two gun-makers will be found to agree in all the details requisite to the construction of the most serviceable weapon. The reason for this diversity lies in the fact, that perfection in any one of its requirements can be attained only by the sacrifice of some portion at least of its other elements, and the point at which the balance should be fixed is a sliding scale covering as wide a range as that of the mental and physical differences of the men on whom the decision rests.

The objects to be attained are, precision and force at long ranges, facility of loading and firing, and such simplicity and strength in the general construction as to allow the least possible chance of derangement or mistake in the management, at the moment when such error might cost the owner his life. And in addition to these points it is required that the weight shall not exceed the amount which a man of the average strength needed for a soldier can manipulate and carry on the march without over-fatigue.

It will be seen that we have awarded the first place on the list of requisites to precision and force at long ranges; and we presume it is unnecessary to enter into any explanation of the obvious primary necessity for the attainment of those qualities. We find, however, that our progress towards perfection in this direction cannot proceed beyond a certain point, except at the cost of other qualities, which cannot be sacrificed with impunity.

Regarding it as a settled point that any recoil of the gun is just so much taken from the initial velocity of the ball, (and if any one doubts it, let him try the experiment of throwing a stone, and stepping backwards at the moment of propulsion,) it is obvious, that, for the attainment of the longest range, such a preponderance of weight in the gun over that of the projectile is necessary as to secure the least possible recoil, and this point seems to have been fixed by our best gun-makers at the ratio of five hundred to one, which would require a gun weighing nearly sixteen pounds to carry a half-ounce ball or shot. We use the word ball from habit, meaning, merely, the projectile, which will probably never again resume its spherical shape in actual service. We conceive the perfection of precision and range in rifle-practice to have been attained in the American target-ride, carrying a slug or cone of one ounce weight,—the gun itself weighing not less than thirty pounds,—and provided with a telescope-sight, and Clark’s patent muzzle. At three-quarters of a mile this weapon may be said to be entirely trustworthy for an object of the size of a man, and to have force enough at that distance to disable three men. But it is obvious that such weight and such equipments as are required for it must render it utterly useless for ordinary field-service. It becomes, in fact, a species of light artillery, and as such we are firm in the conviction that it is destined to establish for itself a reputation which will render it henceforth a necessity in the composition of an army.

For troops of the line the weight of the gun should not exceed ten pounds. Now, if we reduce the rifle to that weight, and preserve the ratio of 1-500 as that of the ball, we reduce its range; for the momentum being, as every school-boy knows, in proportion to weight as well as velocity, a projectile which may be perfectly sure for two or three hundred yards flies wide of the mark at six hundred, and can hardly be found at a thousand. Here begins the operation of the sliding scale, in the necessity of sacrificing some degree of precision, in order to procure a weapon fulfilling other indispensable requisites for the soldier’s use. In the English and our own service, the Enfield and Springfield rifled muskets have been fixed upon as presenting the nearest attainable approach to perfection in all the desirable elements of a military rifle.

It is out of the question to look for any such nice work with these tools as our best amateur riflemen are constantly in the habit of performing with the heavy thick-barrelled American rifle. The short Enfield is found to shoot better than the long, owing to the increased “spring” of the long, thin barrel of the latter; and the English themselves are becoming aware that they have carried the point of reducing the weight too far, and their best gun-makers are now insisting upon the fact which General Jacobs told them years ago,—that a “heavy conical ball cannot be used effectively from a long, thin barrel like that of the Enfield rifle, which is liable to great vibration.”

The Enfield rifle, however, is a long step in advance of the old smooth-bored musket, concerning which a veteran British officer has declared his opinion that “a man might sit at his ease in an armchair all day long while another at two hundred yards’ distance was blazing away at him with a brown Bess, on the sole condition that he should, on his honor, aim exactly at him at every shot.” Per contra to this, may be stated the fact, mentioned by Lord Raglan in his despatches, that at Balaklava a Russian battery of two guns was silenced by the skill in rifle-shooting of a single officer, (Lieutenant Godfrey,) who, approaching under cover of a ravine within six hundred yards, and having his men hand him their Enfield rifles in turn, actually picked off the artillerymen, one after another, till there were not enough left to serve the guns, and this in spite of the storm of shot and shell which they poured around him in reply, he being under no necessity of exposing a larger target than his head and shoulders for them to aim at.

A trustworthy breech-loading rifle has long been a desideratum with military men; but nothing has yet been produced which offers sufficient advantages, or seems sufficiently free from objections, to authorize its introduction as anything more than an experiment. In fact, the special object of a breech-loading gun—that of enabling its owner to deliver his fire with greater rapidity—is found in actual service to be an objection: the soldier being tempted, in the excitement of battle, to load and fire as rapidly as possible, and thus to waste the greater portion of his shots, whereas the primary object at such a time is to induce the deliberation which alone can insure efficiency. It must be obvious to any one who reflects upon the matter, that in reality the whole question of efficiency in battle must hinge upon the one point of precision of fire. It is well known that in actual service not more than one shot in six hundred takes effect, and, except for the moral effect of the roar of the musketry and the whistling of the balls, the remaining five hundred and ninety-nine might better have been kept in the cartridge-boxes. Upon raw troops, for the most part, this moral effect is sufficient to decide the question, with the addition of a comparatively small number of killed and wounded. But veteran troops are not disturbed by it. They know that a ball which misses by a quarter of an inch is as harmless as if it had never been shot, and they very soon learn to disregard the whistling. When they encounter such a fire, however, as the English met at Bunker’s Hill and at New Orleans,—when the shots which miss are the exceptions, and those which hit, the rule, no amount of discipline or courage can avail. Disciplined soldiers are no more willing to be shot than raw levies; but having learned by experience that the danger in an ordinary action is very trifling in comparison with its appearance to the imagination of a recruit, they face it with a determination which to him is inconceivable. Make the apparent danger real, as in the cases we have cited, and veterans become as powerless as the merest tyros. With the stimulus of the present demand, it is probable that Yankee ingenuity will erelong produce some kind of rifle so far superior to anything yet known as to supersede all others; and indeed we have little doubt that such would already have been the case, but for the fact that comparatively few of our most ingenious mechanics are also expert riflemen, and none but a first-rate shot can thoroughly appreciate all the requirements of the weapon.

Since the Crimean War, the Governments of Europe seem to have become awakened to the fact, that, however important and desirable it may be to secure the best possible implements for the soldier’s use, it is infinitely more so that he should know how to use them. In the hands of a marksman the rifle is an efficient weapon at half a mile’s distance; but to expect on that account that it will do any more execution in the hands of one who is not familiar with it than a smooth-bored musket is as idle as it would be to hope that a person unacquainted with the violin could give us better music from a Cremona than he could from a corn-stalk fiddle.

For years past the European powers have been training men to the use of the rifle. Hundreds of thousands of Englishmen and Frenchmen are at this moment as familiar with the practical application of its powers as if their subsistence had been dependent upon its use. Government and people have perceived that the improvements in small-arms have wrought such a revolution in the art of war as to revive the necessity which existed in the days of archery, of making every man a marksman, and in England the old archery sports of prize-shooting and unremitting private practice have been renewed, with the substitution of the rifle for the bow; and besides the regular standing army, England is now guarded by two hundred thousand volunteers, every one of whom is a good rifleman, and who have all been subjected to such an amount of drilling as would enable them speedily to accomplish themselves in the art of united action. The inciting cause of this great national movement was the apprehension of a French invasion. Whether there was any ground for such apprehension, or whether the preparations which were made in consequence have served to avert the danger, are questions which are irrelevant to our present object, which lies nearer home.

It needs no argument at this moment to prove the possibility that we may become engaged in a foreign war, before we have done with the one we have on our hands at home; but without troubling ourselves with apprehensions of possible contingencies, have we not sufficient motive in the condition of affairs at home to render it an imperative duty to strengthen ourselves by every available means?

We have been so long unused to anything like warlike preparations that we find it difficult to arouse ourselves to a realization of the fact that every able-bodied man is liable to be called upon to render active service for his country; and when a war is raging within our borders, of whose termination the only thing that can be predicted with certainty is that it can be reached only through fearful suffering and destruction of life and property, is it not incumbent on every man to prepare himself by whatever means are within his reach to render his services efficient? That the affirmative would be the popular answer is sufficiently proved by a recurrence to the zeal with which we organized drill-clubs and practised military tactics in the early stages of the war. It was not long before the zeal died away. It soon proved a bore to people who could not help perceiving, that, however perfect they might become in the manual exercise, their efficiency as soldiers could hardly amount to much, when most of them had never fired a gun in their lives. And so the drill-room was quietly abandoned,—the conduct of the war was left to the Government and the army, while we looked on as mere spectators,—and the future was left to take care of itself.

We do not mourn greatly at the decay of the drill-clubs, which, in the form they assumed, were likely to be of little practical benefit; but we do most sincerely regret the decay of the spirit which led to their formation, for it was founded on the universal conviction of the fact, which exists at this moment in still stronger force, that every man ought to make himself ready for the possible contingency of his services being demanded in the field.

No man can foretell the chances and changes which are before us; but he must be ignorant indeed of human nature and human history, who does not perceive, that, even if our success in the present contest is all that we can hope, there are issues involved in the weighty questions which must ensue before the storm subsides, which may render the preservation of our liberties dependent upon our ability to resist the attempts of factions or of ambitious and unprincipled military leaders to overturn them. We have had evidence enough, since the struggle began, (if any one doubted it before,) that selfishness and ambition are not unrepresented among us; and if such spirits are abroad, they are working for evil, and we are worse than foolish to trust to virtue and patriotism to encounter them unarmed. Do we not owe it to that fatal error, that we are in our present condition? Were not ambition and lust of power secretly strengthening their hands for years, in the hope to spring upon us unawares, and bind us fast before we could prepare for resistance?—and can we again suffer ourselves to be caught in the same trap?

The question implies its own answer, and the practical reply should be the immediate and universal instruction of the people in the use of arms; and to this end the readiest and most efficient means lie in the encouragement of rifle-practice, by the organization of rifle-clubs, the institution of shooting-matches for prizes, and the inculcation by all available methods of a taste for the acquirement of an art which constitutes the vital spirit of military efficiency. Wherever clubs can be formed, a course of drilling should be entered upon in connection with target-practice; but thousands of able-bodied men throughout the country may be unable to unite with clubs or attend the drills, who may yet perfect themselves in target-shooting, and the prizes at shooting-matches should be open to all competitors and all weapons.

The volume of instructions for the Hythe School, issued from the Horse-Guards, contains the following preliminary remarks:—“The rifle is placed in the soldier’s hands for the destruction of his enemy; his own safety depends upon his efficient use of it: it cannot, therefore, be too strongly inculcated, that every man who has no defect in his eyes may be made a good shot, and that no degree of perfection he may have attained in the other parts of his drill can upon service remedy any want of proficiency in this; in fact, all his other instructions in marching and manoeuvring can do no more than place him in the best possible situation for using his weapon with effect.”

To the assertion that “every man who has no defect in his eyes may be made a good shot,” we beg leave to object, or at least to accept it with allowances. That every one may attain sufficient skill for ordinary military service, by which we mean according to modern requirements, we have no manner of doubt; but the experience of the great shooting-match at Wimbledon in July last proves conclusively the existence of very wide differences in the powers of men who had enjoyed equal opportunities of perfecting themselves; and we are confident that our best riflemen will sooner indorse the verdict of Frank Forester, who, after a fair statement of the obstacles to the attainment of perfection, concludes with the remark,—“It is impossible, therefore, for one-half at least, if not more, of mankind to become even fair rifle-shots, with any possible amount of practice; but to all men who have good eyes, iron nerves, sufficient physical strength, and phlegmatic tempers, it is a certainty beyond calculation that they can become first-rate rifle-shots with sufficient practice.”12

We not only recognize this difference in the powers of different individuals, but we insist upon the importance of observing it in the military organization of the rifle corps. The men who prove by their work that they possess the skill which is the result of such a combination of moral and physical characteristics as are here enumerated should be selected for special duty, and armed with the most efficient weapons that can be procured, which, even at four times the cost of ordinary infantry muskets, would prove in the end the better economy, by rendering needless the enormous waste of ammunition which seems inseparable from the use of ordinary arms. The sharp-shooters thus selected should be armed in part with the best rifles of ordinary construction and weight, (and we are strongly inclined to believe, if allowed their own choice, they would select the common American hunting-rifle,) and a portion with the best telescope-rifles of the kind we have heretofore described. We are well aware, that, till recently, the introduction of these guns into the service has been scouted at by military men, and the experiment of sending a company of men provided with them and familiar with their use from this State was met with ridicule, which, however, has been changed to admiration by the triumphant manner in which they have vindicated the most sanguine hopes of those who were instrumental in procuring their introduction.

A letter from a member of the company says of them,—“The telescope-rifles more than equalled our expectations. They do good service at a mile, and are certain death at half a mile.” At Edwards’s Ferry, on the 22d of October, seventy men of this company repelled a charge of fifteen hundred of the enemy and drove them from the field, with the loss of more than one hundred killed, while not one of their own men received a scratch. They lay upon the ground behind a fence, resting their guns upon the lower rail, and the enemy came in sight half a mile distant and started towards them at double-quick, loading and firing as they ran; but before they had traversed half the distance, they had learned that the whistle of every bullet was the death-knell of one, and in many instances of more than one of their number, and coming to a slight ravine, the temptation of its shelter from so fearful a storm proved irresistible, and, turning up course, they fled in dismay, leaving their dead upon the ground in windrows. Three standard-bearers in succession fell before the fatal aim of the same rifle, and no man dared repeat the suicidal act of again displaying that ensign. We have seen a letter from an officer high in command who witnessed that action, and, after describing it, he remarks,—“There is more chance of credit to your State in the new gun and men than in twenty drilled regiments.”

But the history of that skirmish proves the capacity of the weapon in question for the performance of more than ought ever to be asked of it. Had the troops who attempted the charge been thoroughly disciplined and accustomed to the work, they could not have been checked by so small a number, and in five minutes more the little handful of riflemen would have been riddled with bayonets. On the other hand, nothing but the confidence inspired by the consciousness of the power they wielded could have enabled such a handful to hold their ground as they did in the face of such overwhelming odds. Two companies of infantry in their rear, who were intended as a support, fired one volley and then fled.

In a close conflict so unwieldy a weapon as the telescope-rifle is of course useless, and its owner must depend upon his side-arms for defence. The same is true of artillery, and, as we said before, these riflemen are to be considered and used in service as light artillery,—requiring a sufficient support to enable them to withdraw from close action, but operating with deadly effect upon individual enemies at a distance at which cannon are serviceable only against masses, and, for the most part, require a series of trials to get the range, which may be constantly shifting. The telescope-rifle is a field-piece possessing such precision and range as no other weapon can boast, and provided with an instrument which reduces the art of aiming to a point of mathematical certainty,—and all within such a compass of size and weight that every man of a company can manage one with nearly the rapidity and with ten times the efficiency of an ordinary musket. We submit the question, whether we can afford to dispense with such advantages,—or rather, whether we are not bound to develop them to their fullest extent, by the adoption and adaptation to field-service of the weapon which combines them? It is obvious that a corps armed with such a weapon would require a peculiar drill, and their sphere of usefulness would necessarily be limited by circumstances which would not affect ordinary infantry; but common sense would readily dictate the positions of attack or defence in which their peculiar powers would render the best service, and military science would suggest the most efficient manner of directing their operations. Such a force, however, would necessarily form but a small portion of any army; and we have dwelt upon the subject solely from the conviction that its importance is too great to allow it to be neglected, while it is yet too little known to be appreciated as it deserves.

We turn now to the ordinary rifle-practice, which has come of late years to be considered in Europe almost as the one thing needful for the soldier, while with us it has been gradually sinking into disuse for a quarter of a century. When called upon to send an army into the field, we find that more than half of its members have never fired a gun, and even of those who have, not one in a hundred has had any instruction beyond what he has been able to pick up for himself, while popping at robins and squirrels with a ten-dollar Birmingham shot-gun; and every account we receive of a skirmish with the enemy elicits exclamations of astonishment that so few are hurt on either side. It may relieve in some degree the prevalent dread of fire-arms (which is a primary cause of this general ignorance of their use) to discover that it requires no small amount of skill to hurt anybody with them; and when the fact comes to be equally appreciated, that ignorance lies at the bottom of all the unintended mischief that is done with them, it is probable that proper instruction in their use will be considered, as it ought, a necessary part of a boy’s education. It had been better for us, if this matter had been sooner attended to. Let us lose no time now.

Reader! are you a man, having the use of your limbs and eyes, and do you know how to put a ball into a rifle and bring it out again with a true aim? If not, it is time you were learning. Provide yourself with a rifle and equipments, and find some one to give you the first lessons in their use, and then practise daily at target-shooting. Do not excuse yourself with the plea that you have no intention to enter the service. If the work of preparation is left only to those who mean to become soldiers, it will not be done; but if every man proves his appreciation of its importance by taking an active interest in its promotion, the right men for soldiers will be forthcoming when they are needed, and the most important element of their military education will have been acquired; and it is not impossible that the day may come when you yourself will feel that the power you have thus obtained is worth more to you than all you learned in college. Are you too old and infirm for such service, or are you a woman, and have you the means of equipping another who is unable to do it for himself? If so, it will not be hard to find an able-bodied young man who will gladly take charge of a rifle, on the condition that he is to be its owner at the end of six months, if he can then place ten successive shots in a circle of a foot in diameter at two hundred yards.

“A word to the wise is enough.” The word has been uttered in trumpet-tones from the battle-fields of the South. Let us prove that we are wise, by acting at once upon its suggestions.


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The morning sun rose clear and lovely on the old red rocks of Sorrento, and danced in a thousand golden scales and ripples on the wide Mediterranean. The shadows of the gorge were pierced by long golden shafts of light, here falling on some moist bed of crimson cyclamen, there shining through a waving tuft of gladiolus, or making the abundant yellow fringes of the broom more vivid in their brightness. The velvet-mossy old bridge, in the far shadows at the bottom, was lit up by a chance beam, and seemed as if it might be something belonging to fairy-land.

There had been a bustle and stir betimes in the little dove-cot, for to-morrow the inmates were to leave it for a long, adventurous journey.

To old Elsie, the journey back to Rome, the city of her former days of prosperity, the place which had witnessed her ambitious hopes, her disgrace and downfall, was full of painful ideas. There arose to her memory, like a picture, those princely halls, with their slippery, cold mosaic floors, their long galleries of statues and paintings, their enchanting gardens, musical with the voice of mossy fountains, fragrant with the breath of roses and jessamines, where the mother of Agnes had spent the hours of her youth and beauty. She seemed to see her flitting hither and thither down the stately ilex-avenues, like some gay singing-bird, to whom were given gilded cages and a constant round of caresses and sweets, or like the flowers in the parterres, which lived and died only as the graceful accessories of the grandeur of an old princely family.

She compared, mentally, the shaded and secluded life which Agnes had led with the specious and fatal brilliancy which had been the lot of her mother,—her simple peasant garb with those remembered visions of jewelry and silk and embroideries with which the partial patronage of the Duchess or the ephemeral passion of her son had decked out the poor Isella; and then came swelling at her heart a tumultuous thought, one which she had repressed and kept down for years with all the force of pride and hatred. Agnes, peasant-girl though she seemed, had yet the blood of that proud old family in her veins; the marriage had been a true one; she herself had witnessed it.

“Yes, indeed,” she said to herself, “were justice done, she would now be a princess,—a fit mate for the nobles of the land; and here I ask no more than to mate her to an honest smith,—I that have seen a prince kneel to kiss her mother’s hand,—yes, he did,—entreat her on his knees to be his wife,—I saw it. But then, what came of it? Was there ever one of these nobles that kept oath or promise to us of the people, or that cared for us longer than the few moments we could serve his pleasure? Old Elsie, you have done wisely! keep your dove out of the eagle’s nest: it is foul with the blood of poor innocents whom he has torn to pieces in his cruel pride!”

These thoughts swelled in silence in the mind of Elsie, while she was busy sorting and arranging her household stores, and making those thousand-and-one preparations known to every householder, whether of much or little, who meditates a long journey.

To Agnes she seemed more than ever severe and hard; yet probably there never was a time when every pulse of her heart was beating more warmly for the child, and every thought of the future was more entirely regulated with reference to her welfare. It is no sinecure to have the entire devotion of a strong, enterprising, self-willed friend, as Agnes had all her life found. One cannot gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles, and the affection of thorny and thistly natures has often as sharp an acid and as long prickers as wild gooseberries,—yet it is their best, and must be so accepted.

Agnes tried several times to offer her help to her grandmother, but was refused so roughly that she dared not offer again, and therefore went to her favorite station by the parapet in the garden, whence she could look up and down the gorge, and through the arches of the old mossy Roman bridge that spanned it far down by the city-wall. All these things had become dear to her by years of familiar silent converse. The little garden, with its old sculptured basin, and the ever-lulling dash of falling water,—the tremulous draperies of maiden’s-hair, always beaded with shining drops,—the old shrine, with its picture, its lamp, and flower-vase,—the tall, dusky orange-trees, so full of blossoms and fruit, so smooth and shining in their healthy bark,—all seemed to her as so many dear old friends whom she was about to leave, perhaps forever.

What this pilgrimage would be like, she scarcely knew: days and weeks of wandering,—over mountain-passes,—in deep, solitary valleys,—as years ago, when her grandmother brought her, a little child, from Rome.

In the last few weeks, Agnes seemed to herself to have become wholly another being. Silently, insensibly, her feet had crossed the enchanted river that divides childhood from womanhood, and all the sweet ignorant joys of that first early paradise lay behind her. Up to this time her life had seemed to her a charming dream, full of blessed visions and images: legends of saints, and hymns, and prayers had blended with flower-gatherings in the gorge, and light daily toils.

Now, a new, strange life had been born within her,—a life full of passions, contradictions, and conflicts. A love had sprung up in her heart, strange and wonderful, for one who till within these few weeks had been entirely unknown to her, who had never toiled for, or housed, or clothed, or cared for her as her grandmother had, and yet whom a few short interviews, a few looks, a few words, had made to seem nearer and dearer than the old, tried friends of her childhood. In vain she confessed it as a sin,—in vain she strove against it; it came back to her in every hymn, in every prayer. Then she would press the sharp cross to her breast, till a thousand stings of pain would send the blood in momentary rushes to her pale cheek, and cause her delicate lips to contract with an expression of stern endurance, and pray that by any penance and anguish she might secure his salvation.

To save one such glorious soul, she said to herself, was work enough for one little life. She was willing to spend it all in endurance, unseen by him, unknown to him, so that at last he should be received into that Paradise which her ardent imagination conceived so vividly. Surely, there she should meet him, radiant as the angel of her dream; and then she would tell him that it was all for his sake that she had refused to listen to him here. And these sinful longings to see him once more, these involuntary reachings of her soul after an earthly companionship, she should find strength to overcome in this pilgrimage. She should go to Rome,—the very city where the blessed Paul poured out his blood for the Lord Jesus,—where Peter fed the flock, till his time, too, came to follow his Lord in the way of the cross. She should even come near to her blessed Redeemer; she should go up, on her knees, those very steps to Pilate’s hall where He stood bleeding, crowned with thorns,—His blood, perhaps, dropping on the very stones. Ah, could any mortal love distract her there? Should she not there find her soul made free of every earthly thrall to love her Lord alone,—as she had loved Him in the artless and ignorant days of her childhood,—but better, a thousand times?

“Good morning to you, pretty dove!” said a voice from without the garden-wall; and Agnes, roused from her reverie, saw old Jocunda.

“I came down to help you off,” she said, as she came into the little garden. “Why, my dear little saint! you are looking white as a sheet, and with those tears! What’s it all for, baby?”

“Ah, Jocunda! grandmamma is angry with me all the time now. I wish I could go once more to the Convent and see my dear Mother Theresa. She is angry, if I but name it; and yet she will not let me do anything here to help her, and so I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, at any rate, don’t cry, pretty one! Your grandmamma is worked with hard thoughts. We old folks are twisted and crabbed and full of knots with disappointment and trouble, like the mulberry-trees that they keep for vines to run on. But I’ll speak to her; I know her ways; she shall let you go; I’ll bring her round.”

“So-ho, sister!” said the old soul, hobbling to the door, and looking in at Elsie, who was sitting flat on the stone floor of her cottage, sorting a quantity of flax that lay around her. The severe Roman profile was thrown out by the deep shadows of the interior,—and the piercing black eyes, the silver-white hair, and the strong, compressed lines of the mouth, as she worked, and struggled with the ghosts of her former life, made her look like no unapt personification of one of the Fates reviewing her flax before she commenced the spinning of some new web of destiny.

“Good morning to you, sister!” said Jocunda. “I heard you were off tomorrow, and I came to see what I could do to help you.”

“There’s nothing to be done for me, but to kill me,” said Elsie. “I am weary of living.”

“Oh, never say that! Shake the dice again, my old man used to say,—God rest his soul! Please Saint Agnes, you’ll have a brave pilgrimage.”

“Saint Agnes be hanged!” said Elsie, gruffly. “I’m out with her. It was she put all these notions into my girl’s head. Because she didn’t get married herself, she don’t want any one else to. She has no consideration. I’ve done with her: I told her so this morning. The candles I’ve burned and the prayers I’ve gone through with, that she might prosper me in this one thing! and it’s all gone against me. She’s a baggage, and shall never see another penny of mine,—that’s flat!”

Such vituperation of saints and sacred images may be heard to this day in Italy, and is a common feature of idol-worship in all lands; for, however the invocation of the saints could be vitalized in the hearts of the few spiritual, there is no doubt that in the mass of the common people it had all the well-defined symptoms of the grossest idolatry, among which fits of passionate irreverence are one. That feeling, which tempts the enlightened Christian in sore disappointment and vexation to rise in rebellion against a wise Providence, in the childish twilight of uncultured natures finds its full expression unawed by reverence or fear.

“Oh, hush, now!” said Jocunda. “What is the use of making her angry just as you are going to Rome, where she has the most power? All sorts of ill luck will befall you. Make up with her before you start, or you may get the fever in the marshes and die, and then who will take care of poor Agnes?”

“Let Saint Agnes look after her; the girl loves her better than she does me or anybody else,” said Elsie. “If she cared anything about me, she’d marry and settle down, as I want her to.”

“Oh, there you are wrong,” said Jocunda. “Marrying is like your dinner: one is not always in stomach for it, and one’s meat is another’s poison. Now who knows but this pilgrimage may be the very thing to bring the girl round? I’ve seen people cured of too much religion by going to Rome. You know things a’n’t there as our little saint fancies. Why, between you and me, the priests themselves have their jokes on those who come so far to so little purpose. More shame for ‘em, say I, too; but we common people mustn’t look into such things too closely. Now take it cheerfully, and you’ll see the girl will come back tired of tramping and able to settle down in a good home with a likely husband. I have a brother in Naples who is turning a pretty penny in the fisheries; I will give you directions to find him; his wife is a wholesome Christian woman; and if the little one be tired by the time you get there, you might do worse than stop two or three days with them. It’s a brave city; seems made to have a good time in. Come, you let her just run up to the Convent to bid goodbye to the Mother Theresa and the sisters.”

“I don’t care where she goes,” said Elsie, ungraciously.

“There, now!” said Jocunda, coming out,—“Agnes, your grandmother bids you go to the Convent to say good-bye to the sisters; so run along, there’s a little dear. The Mother Theresa talks of nothing else but you since she heard that you meditated this; and she has broken in two her own piece of the True Cross which she’s carried in the gold and pearl reliquary that the Queen sent her, and means to give it to you. One doesn’t halve such gifts, without one’s whole heart goes with them.”

“Dear mother!” said Agnes, her eyes filling with tears. “I will take her some flowers and oranges for the last time. Do you know, Jocunda, I feel that I never shall come back here to this dear little home where I have been so happy?—everything sounds so mournful and looks so mournful!—I love everything here so much!”

“Oh, dear child, never give in to such fancies, but pluck up heart. You will be sure to have luck, wherever you go,—especially since the mother will give you that holy relic. I myself had a piece of Saint John Baptist’s thumb-nail sewed up in a leather bag, which I wore day and night all the years I was tramping up and down with my old man; but when he died, I had it buried with him to ease his soul. For you see, dear, he was a trooper, and led such a rackety, up-and-down life, that I doubt but his confessions were but slipshod, and he needed all the help be could get, poor old soul! It’s a comfort to think he has it.”

“Ah, Jocunda, seems to me it were better to trust to the free love of our dear Lord who died for us, and pray to Him, without ceasing, for his soul.”

“Like enough, dearie; but then, one can’t he too sure, you know. And there isn’t the least doubt in my mind that that was a true relic, for I got it in the sack of the city of Volterra, out of the private cabinet of a noble lady, with a lot of jewels and other matters that made quite a little purse for us. Ah, that was a time, when that city was sacked! It was hell upon earth for three days, and all our men acted like devils incarnate; but then they always will in such cases. But go your ways now, dearie, and I’ll stay with your grandmamma; for, please God, you must be up and away with the sun tomorrow.”

Agnes hastily arranged a little basket of fruit and flowers, and took her way down through the gorge, under the Roman bridge, through an orange-orchard, and finally came out upon the sea-shore, and so along the sands below the cliffs on which the old town of Sorrento is situated.

So cheating and inconsistent is the human heart, especially in the feminine subject, that she had more than once occasion to chide herself for the thrill with which she remembered passing the Cavalier once in this orange-garden, and the sort of vague hope which she detected that somewhere along this road he might appear again.

“How perfectly wicked and depraved I must be,” she said to herself, “to find any pleasure in such a thought of one I should pray never to meet again!”

And so the little soul went on condemning herself in those exaggerated terms which the religious vocabulary of conventual life furnished ready-made for the use of penitents of every degree, till by the time she arrived at the Convent she could scarcely have been more oppressed with a sense of sin, if she had murdered her grandmother and eloped with the Cavalier.

On her arrival in the Convent court, the peaceful and dreamy stillness contrasted strangely with the gorgeous brightness of the day outside. The splendid sunshine, the sparkling sea, the songs of the boatmen, the brisk passage of gliding sails, the bright hues of the flowers that garlanded the rocks, all seemed as if the earth had been arrayed for some gala-day; but the moment she had passed the portal, the silent, mossy court, with its pale marble nymph, its lull of falling water, its turf snow-dropt with daisies and fragrant with blue and white violets, and the surrounding cloistered walks, with their pictured figures of pious history, all came with a sad and soothing influence on her nerves.

The nuns, who had heard the news of the projected pilgrimage, and regarded it as the commencement of that saintly career which they had always predicted for her, crowded around her, kissing her hands and her robe, and entreating her prayers at different shrines of especial sanctity that she might visit.

The Mother Theresa took her to her cell, and there hung round her neck, by a golden chain, the relic which she designed for her, and of whose genuineness she appeared to possess no manner of doubt.

“But how pale you are, my sweet child!” she said. “What has happened to alter you so much? Your cheeks look so thin, and there are deep, dark circles round your eyes.”

“Ah, my mother, it is because of my sins.”

“Your sins, dear little one! What sins can you be guilty of?”

“Ah, my dear mother, I have been false to my Lord, and let the love of an earthly creature into my heart.”

“What can you mean?” said the mother.

“Alas, dear mother, the cavalier who sent that ring!” said Agnes, covering her face with her hands.

Now the Mother Theresa had never left the walls of that convent since she was ten years old,—had seen no men except her father and uncle, who once or twice made her a short call, and an old hunch-back who took care of their garden, safe in his armor of deformity. Her ideas on the subject of masculine attractions were, therefore, as vague as might be the conceptions of the eyeless fishes in the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky with regard to the fruits and flowers above-ground. All that portion of her womanly nature which might have throbbed lay in a dead calm. Still there was a faint flutter of curiosity, as she pressed Agnes to tell her story, which she did with many pauses and sobs and blushes.

“And is he so very handsome, my little heart?” she said, after listening. “What makes you love him so much in so little time?”

“Yes,—he is beautiful as an angel.”

“I never saw a young man, really,” said the Mother Theresa. “Uncle Angelo was lame, and had gray hair; and papa was very fat, and had a red face. Perhaps he looks like our picture of Saint Sebastian;—I have often thought that I might be in danger of loving a young man that looked like him.”

“Oh, he is more beautiful than that picture or any picture!” said Agnes, fervently; “and, mother, though he is excommunicated, I can’t help feeling that he is as good as he is beautiful. My uncle had strong hopes that he should restore him to the True Church; and to pray for his soul I am going on this pilgrimage. Father Francesco says, if I will tear away and overcome this love, I shall gain so much merit that my prayers will have power to save his soul. Promise me, dear mother, that you and all the sisters will help me with your prayers;—help me to work out this great salvation, and then I shall be so glad to come back here and spend all my life in prayer!”



And so on a bright spring morning our pilgrims started. Whoever has traversed the road from Sorrento to Naples, that wonderful path along the high, rocky shores of the Mediterranean, must remember it only as a wild dream of enchantment. On one side lies the sea, shimmering in bands of blue, purple, and green to the swaying of gentle winds, exhibiting those magical shiftings and changes of color peculiar to these waves. Near the land its waters are of pale, transparent emerald, while farther out they deepen into blue and thence into a violet-purple, which again, towards the horizon-line, fades into misty pearl-color. The shores rise above the sea in wild, bold precipices, grottoed into fantastic caverns by the action of the waves, and presenting every moment some new variety of outline. As the path of the traveller winds round promontories whose mountain-heights are capped by white villages and silvery with olive-groves, he catches the enchanting sea-view, now at this point, and now at another, with Naples glimmering through the mists in the distance, and the purple sides of Vesuvius ever changing with streaks and veins of cloud-shadows, while silver vapors crown the summit. Above the road the steep hills seem piled up to the sky,—every spot terraced, and cultivated with some form of vegetable wealth, and the wild, untamable rocks garlanded over with golden broom, crimson gillyflowers, and a thousand other bright adornments. The road lies through villages whose gardens and orange-orchards fill the air with, sweet scents, and whose rose-hedges sometimes pour a perfect cascade of bloom and fragrance over the walls.

Our travellers started in the dewy freshness of one of those gorgeous days which seem to cast an illuminating charm over everything. Even old Elsie’s stern features relaxed somewhat under the balmy influences of sun and sky, and Agnes’s young, pale face was lit up with a brighter color than for many a day before. Their pilgrimage through this beautiful country had few incidents. They walked in the earlier and latter parts of the day, reposing a few hours at noon near some fountain or shrine by the wayside,—often experiencing the kindly veneration of the simple peasantry, who cheerfully offered them refreshments, and begged their prayers at the holy places whither they were going.

In a few days they reached Naples, where they made a little stop with the hospitable family to whom Jocunda had recommended them. From Naples their path lay through the Pontine Marshes; and though the malaria makes this region a word of fear, yet it is no less one of strange, soft, enchanting beauty. A wide, sea-like expanse, clothed with an abundance of soft, rich grass, painted with golden bands and streaks of bright yellow flowers, stretches away to a purple curtain of mountains, whose romantic outline rises constantly in a thousand new forms of beauty. The upland at the foot of these mountains is beautifully diversified with tufts of trees, and the contrast of the purple softness of the distant hills with the dazzling gold and emerald of the wide meadow-tracts they inclose is a striking feature in the landscape. Droves of silver-haired oxen, with their great, dreamy, dark eyes and polished black horns, were tranquilly feeding knee-deep in the lush, juicy grass, and herds of buffaloes, uncouth, but harmless, might be seen pasturing or reposing in the distance. On either side of the way were waving tracts of yellow fleur-de-lis, and beds of arum, with its arrowy leaves and white blossoms. It was a wild luxuriance of growth, a dreamy stillness of solitude, so lovely that one could scarce remember that it was deadly.

Elsie was so impressed with the fear of the malaria, that she trafficked with an honest peasant, who had been hired to take back to Rome the horses which had been used to convey part of the suite of a nobleman travelling to Naples, to give them a quicker passage across than they could have made on foot. It is true that this was quite contrary to the wishes of Agnes, who felt that the journey ought to be performed in the most toilsome and self-renouncing way, and that they should trust solely to prayer and spiritual protection to ward off the pestilential exhalations.

In vain she quoted the Psalm, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day,” and adduced cases of saints who had walked unhurt through all sorts of dangers.

“There’s no use talking, child,” said Elsie. “I’m older than you, and have seen more of real men and women; and whatever they did in old times, I know that nowadays the saints don’t help those that don’t take care of themselves; and the long and the short of it is, we must ride across those marshes, and get out of them as quick as possible, or we shall get into Paradise quicker than we want to.”

In common with many other professing Christians, Elsie felt that going to Paradise was the very dismallest of alternatives,—a thing to be staved off as long as possible.

After many days of journeying, the travellers, somewhat weary and foot-sore, found themselves in a sombre and lonely dell of the mountains, about an hour before the going down of the sun. The slanting yellow beams turned to silvery brightness the ashy foliage of the gnarled old olives, which gaunt and weird clung with their great, knotty, straggling roots to the rocky mountain-sides. Before them, the path, stony, steep, and winding, was rising upward and still upward, and no shelter for the night appeared, except in a distant mountaintown, which, perched airily as an eagle’s nest on its hazy height, reflected from the dome of its church and its half-ruined old feudal tower, the golden light of sunset. A drowsy-toned bell was ringing out the Ave Maria over the wide purple solitude of mountains, whose varying outlines were rising around.

“You are tired, my little heart,” said old Elsie to Agnes, who had drooped during a longer walk than usual.

“No, grandmamma,” said Agnes, sinking on her knees to repeat her evening prayer, which she did, covering her face with her hands.

Old Elsie kneeled too; but, as she was praying,—being a thrifty old body in the use of her time,—she cast an eye up the steep mountain-path and calculated the distance of the little airy village. Just at that moment she saw two or three horsemen, who appeared to be stealthily observing them from behind the shadow of some large rocks.

When their devotions were finished, she hurried on her grandchild, saying,—

“Come, dearie! it must be we shall find a shelter soon.”

The horsemen now rode up behind them.

“Good evening, mother!” said one of them, speaking from under the shadow of a deeply slouched hat.

Elsie made no reply, but hurried forward.

“Good evening, pretty maid!” he said again, riding still nearer.

“Go your ways in the name of God,” said Elsie. “We are pilgrims, going for our souls to Rome; and whoever hinders us will have the saints to deal with.”

“Who talks of hindering you, mother?” responded the other. “On the contrary, we come for the express purpose of helping you along.”

“We want none of your help,” said Elsie, gruffly.

“See, now, how foolish you are!” said the horseman. “Don’t you see that that town is a good seven miles off, and not a bit of bed or supper to be had till you get there, and the sun will be down soon? So mount up behind me, and here is a horse for the little one.”

In fact, the horsemen at this moment opening disclosed to view a palfrey with a lady’s saddle, richly caparisoned, as if for a person of condition. With a sudden movement, two of the men dismounted, confronted the travellers, and the one who had acted as spokesman, approaching Agnes, said, in a tone somewhat imperative,—

“Come, young lady, it is our master’s will that your poor little feet should have some rest.”

And before Agnes could remonstrate, he raised her into the saddle as easily as if she had been a puff of thistle-down, and then turning to Elsie, he said,—

“For you, good mother, if you wish to keep up, you must e’en be content with a seat behind me.”

“Who are you? and how dare you?” said Elsie, indignantly.

“Good mother,” said the man, “you see God’s will is that you should submit, because we are four to you two, and there are fifty more within call. So get up without more words, and I swear by the Holy Virgin no harm shall be done you.”

Elsie looked and saw Agnes already some distance before her, the bridle of her palfrey being held by one of the horsemen, who rode by her side and seemed to look after her carefully; and so, without more ado, she accepted the services of the man, and, placing her foot on the toe of his riding-boot, mounted to the crupper behind him.

“That is right,” said he. “Now hold on to me lustily, and be not afraid.”

So saying, the whole troop began winding as rapidly as possible up the steep, rocky path to the mountain-town.

Notwithstanding the surprise and alarm of this most unexpected adventure, Agnes, who had been at the very point of exhaustion from fatigue, could not but feel the sensation of relief and repose which the seat in an easy saddle gave her. The mountain air, as they arose, breathed fresh and cold on her brow, and a prospect of such wondrous beauty unrolled beneath her feet that her alarm soon became lost in admiration. The mountains that rose everywhere around them seemed to float in a transparent sea of luminous vapor, with olive-orchards and well-tilled fields lying in far, dreamy distances below, while out towards the horizon silver gleams of the Mediterranean gradually widened to the view. Soothed by the hour, refreshed by the air, and filled with admiration for the beauty of all she saw, she surrendered herself to her situation with a feeling of solemn religious calm, as to some unfolding of the Divine Will, which might unroll like the landscape beneath her. They pursued their way in silence, rising higher and higher out of the shadows of the deep valleys below, the man who conducted them observing a strict reserve, but seeming to have a care for their welfare.

The twilight yet burned red in the sky, and painted with solemn lights the mossy walls of the little old town, as they plunged under a sombre antique gateway, and entered on a street as damp and dark as a cellar, which went up almost perpendicularly between tall, black stone walls that seemed to have neither windows nor doors. Agnes could only remember clambering upward, turning short corners, clattering down steep stone steps, under low archways, along narrow, ill-smelling passages, where the light that seemed so clear without the town was almost extinguished in utter night.

At last they entered the damp court of a huge, irregular pile of stone buildings. Here the men suddenly drew up, and Agnes’s conductor, dismounting, came and took her silently from her saddle, saying briefly, “Come this way.”

Elsie sprang from her seat in a moment, and placed herself at the side of her child.

“No, good mother,” said the man with whom she had ridden, seizing her powerfully by the shoulders, and turning her round.

“What do you mean?” said Elsie, fiercely. “Are you going to keep me from my own child?”

“Patience!” replied the man. “You can’t help yourself, so recommend yourself to God, and no harm shall come to you.”

Agnes looked back at her grandmother.

“Fear not, dear grandmamma,” she said, “the blessed angels will watch over us.”

As she spoke, she followed her conductor through long, damp, mouldering passages and up flights of stone steps, and again through other long passages smelling of mould and damp, till at last he opened the door of an apartment from which streamed a light so dazzling to the eyes of Agnes that at first she could form no distinct conception as to where she was.

As soon as her eyesight cleared, she found herself in an apartment which to her simplicity seemed furnished with an unheard-of luxury. The walls were richly frescoed and gilded, and from a chandelier of Venetian glass the light fell upon a foot-cloth of brilliant tapestry which covered the marble floor. Gilded chairs and couches, covered with the softest Genoese velvet, invited to repose; while tables inlaid with choice mosaics stood here and there, sustaining rare vases, musical instruments, and many of the light, fanciful ornaments with which, in those days, the halls of women of condition were graced. At one end of the apartment was an alcove, where the rich velvet curtains were looped away with heavy cords and tassels of gold, displaying a smaller room, where was a bed with hangings of crimson satin embroidered with gold.

Agnes stood petrified with amazement, and put her hand to her head, as if to assure herself by the sense of touch that she was not dreaming, and then, with an impulse of curious wonder, began examining the apartment. The rich furniture and the many adornments, though only such as were common in the daily life of the great at that period, had for her simple eyes all the marvellousness of the most incredible illusion. She touched the velvet couches almost with fear, and passed from object to object in a sort of maze. When she arrived at the alcove, she thought she heard a slight rustling within, and then a smothered laugh. Her heart beat quick as she stopped to listen. There was a tittering sound, and a movement as if some one were shaking the curtain, and at last Giulietta stood in the doorway.

For a moment Agnes stood looking at her in utter bewilderment. Yes, surely it was Giulietta, dressed out in all the bravery of splendid apparel, her black hair shining and lustrous, great solid ear-rings of gold shaking in her ears, and a row of gold coins displayed around her neck.

She broke into a loud laugh at the sight of Agnes’s astonished face.

“So, here you are!” she said, “Well, now, didn’t I tell you so? You see he was in love with you, just as I said; and if you wouldn’t come to him of your own accord, he must fly off with you.”

“Oh, Giulietta!” said Agnes, springing towards her and catching her hands, “what does all this mean? and where have they carried poor grandmamma?”

“Oh, never worry about her! Do you know you are in high favor here, and any one who belongs to you gets good quarters? Your grandmother just now is at supper, I doubt not, with my mother; and a jolly time they will have of it, gossiping together.”

“Your mother here, too?”

“Yes, simple, to be sure! I found it so much easier living here than in the old town that I sent for her, that she might have peace in her old age.—But how do you like your room? Were you not astonished to see it so brave? Know, then, pretty one, that it is all on account of the good courage of our band. For, you see, the people there in Rome (we won’t say who) had given away all our captain’s lands and palaces and villas to this one and that, as pleased them; and one pretty little villa in the mountains not far from here went to a stout old cardinal. What does a band of our men do, one night, but pounce on old red-hat and tie him up, while they helped themselves to what they liked through the house? True, they couldn’t bring house and all; but they brought stores of rich furnishing, and left him thanking the saints that he was yet alive. So we arranged your rooms right nobly, thinking to please our captain when he comes. If you are not pleased, you will be ungrateful, that’s all.”

“Giulietta,” said Agnes, who had scarcely seemed to listen to this prattle, so anxious was she to speak of what lay nearest her heart, “I want to see grandmamma. Can’t you bring her to me?”

“No, my little princess, I can’t. Do you know you are my mistress now? Well, you are; but there’s one that’s master of us both, and he says none must speak with you till he has seen you.”

“And is he here?”

“No, he has been some time gone Northward, and has not returned,— though we expect him to-night. So compose yourself, and ask for anything in the world, but to see your grandmother, and I will show that I am your humble servant to command.”

So saying, Giulietta curtsied archly and laughed, showing her white, shiny teeth, which looked as bright as pearls.

Agnes sat down on one of the velvet couches and leaned her head on her hand.

“Come, now, let me bring you some supper,” said Giulietta. “What say you to a nice roast fowl and a bottle of wine?”

“How can you speak of such things in the holy time of Lent?” said Agnes.

“Oh, never you fear about that! Our holy Father Stefano sets such matters right for any of us in a twinkling, and especially would he do it for you.”

“Oh, but, Giulietta, I don’t want anything. I couldn’t eat, if I were to try.”

“Ta, ta, ta!” said Giulietta, going out. “Wait till you smell it. I shall be back in a little while.”

And she left the room, locking the door after her.

In a few moments she returned, bearing a rich silver tray, on which was a covered dish that steamed a refreshing odor, together with a roll of white bread, and a small glass flacon containing a little choice wine.

By much entreaty and coaxing, Agnes was induced to partake of the bread, enough to revive her somewhat after the toils of the day; and then, a little reassured by the familiar presence of Giulietta, she began to undress, her former companion officiously assisting her.

“There, now, you are tired, my lady princess,” she said. “I’ll unlace your bodice. One of these days your gowns will be all of silk, and stiff with gold and pearls.”

“Oh, Giulietta,” said Agnes, “don’t!—let me,—I don’t need help.”

“Ta, ta, ta!—you must learn to be waited on,” said Giulietta, persisting. “But, Holy Virgin! what is the matter here? Oh, Agnes, what are you doing to yourself?”

“It’s a penance, Giulietta,” said Agnes, her face flushing.

“Well, I should think it was! Father Francesco ought to be ashamed of himself; he is a real butcher!”

“He does it to save my soul, Giulietta. The cross of our Lord without will heal a deadly wound within.”

In her heart, Giulietta had somewhat of secret reverence for such austerities, which the whole instruction of her time and country taught her to regard as especially saintly. People who live in the senses more than in the world of reflection feel the force of such outward appeals. Giulietta made the sign of the cross, and looked grave for several minutes.

“Poor little dove!” she said at last, “if your sins must needs be expiated so, what will become of me? It must be that you will lay up stores of merit with God; for surely your sins do not need all this. Agnes, you will be a saint some day, like your namesake at the Convent, I truly do believe.”

“Oh, no, no, Giulietta! don’t talk so! God knows I wrestle with forbidden thoughts all the while. I am no saint, but the chief of sinners.”

“That’s what the saints all say,” said Giulietta. “But, my dear princess, when he comes, he will forbid this; he is lordly, and will not suffer his little wife”—

“Giulietta, don’t speak so,—I cannot hear it,—I must not be his wife,—I am vowed to be the spouse of the Lord.”

“And yet you love our handsome prince,” said Giulietta; “and there is the great sin you are breaking your little heart about. Well, now, it’s all of that dry, sour old Father Francesco. I never could abide him,—he made such dismal pother about sin; old Father Girolamo was worth a dozen of him. If you would just see our good Father Stefano, now, he would set your mind at ease about your vows in a twinkling; and you must needs get them loosed, for our captain is born to command, and when princes stoop to us peasant-girls it isn’t for us to say nay. It’s being good as Saint Michael himself for him to think of you only in the holy way of marriage. I’ll warrant me, there’s many a lord cardinal at Rome that isn’t so good; and as to princes, he is one of a thousand, a most holy and religious knight, or he would do as others do when they have the power.”

Agnes, confused and agitated, turned away, and, as if seeking refuge, laid her down in the bed, looking timidly up at the unwonted splendor,—and then, hiding her face in the pillow, began repeating a prayer.

Giulietta sat by her a moment, till she felt, from the relaxing of the little hand, that the reaction of fatigue and intense excitement was beginning to take place. Nature would assert her rights, and the heavy curtain of sleep fell on the weary little head. Quietly extinguishing the lights, Giulietta left the room, locking the door.



Agnes was so entirely exhausted with bodily fatigue and mental agitation that she slept soundly till awakened by the beams of the morning sun. Her first glance up at the gold-embroidered curtains of her bed occasioned a bewildered surprise;—she raised herself and looked around, slowly recovering her consciousness and the memory of the strange event which had placed her where she was. She rose hastily and went to the window to look out. This window was in a kind of circular tower projecting from the side of the building, such as one often sees in old Norman architecture;—it overhung not only a wall of dizzy height, but a precipice with a sheer descent of some thousand feet; and far below, spread out like a map in the distance, lay a prospect of enchanting richness. The eye might wander over orchards of silvery olives, plantations with their rows of mulberry-trees supporting the vines, now in the first tender spring green, scarlet fields of clover, and patches where the young corn was just showing its waving blades above the brown soil. Here and there rose tufts of stone-pines with their dark umbrella-tops towering above all other foliage, while far off in the blue distance a silvery belt of glittering spangles showed where the sea closed in the horizon-line. So high was the perch, so distant and dreamy the prospect, that Agues felt a sensation of giddiness, as if she were suspended over it in the air,—and turned away from the window, to look again at what seemed to her the surprising and unheard-of splendors of the apartment. There lay her simple peasant garb, on the rich velvet couch,—a strange sight in the midst of so much luxury. Having dressed herself, she sat down, and, covering her face with her hands, tried to reflect calmly on the position in which she was placed.

With the education she had received, she could look on this strange interruption of her pilgrimage only as a special assault upon her faith, instigated by those evil spirits that are ever setting themselves in conflict with the just. Such trials had befallen saints of whom she had read. They had been assailed by visions of worldly ease and luxury suddenly presented before them, for which they were tempted to deny their faith and sell their souls. Was it not, perhaps, as a punishment for having admitted the love of an excommunicated heretic into her heart, that this sore trial had been permitted to come upon her? And if she should fail? She shuddered, when she recalled the severe and terrible manner in which Father Francesco had warned her against yielding to the solicitations of an earthly love. To her it seemed as if that holy man must have been inspired with a prophetic foresight of her present position, and warned her against it. Those awful words came burning into her mind as when they seemed to issue like the voice of a spirit from the depths of the confessional:—”If ever you should yield to his love, and turn back from this heavenly marriage to follow him, you will accomplish his damnation and your own.”

Agnes trembled in an agony of real belief, and with a vivid terror of the world to come such as belonged to the almost physical certainty with which the religious teaching of her time presented it to the popular mind. Was she, indeed, the cause of such awful danger to his soul? Might a false step now, a faltering human weakness, indeed plunge that soul, so dear, into a fiery abyss without bottom or shore? Should she forever hear his shrieks of torture and despair, his curses on the hour he had first known her? Her very blood curdled, her nerves froze, as she thought of it, and she threw herself on her knees and prayed with an anguish that brought the sweat in beaded drops to her forehead,—strange dew for so frail a lily!—and her prayer rose above all intercession of saints, above the seat even of the Virgin Mother herself, to the heart of her Redeemer, to Him who some divine instinct told her was alone mighty to save. We of the present day may look on her distress as unreal, as the result of a misguided sense of religious obligation; but the great Hearer of Prayer regards each heart in its own scope of vision, and helps not less the mistaken than the enlightened distress. And for that matter, who is enlightened? who carries to God’s throne a trouble or a temptation in which there is not somewhere a misconception or a mistake?

And so it came to pass. Agnes rose from prayer with an experience which has been common to the members of the True Invisible Church, whether Catholic, Greek, or Protestant. “In the day when I cried Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” She had that vivid sense of the sustaining presence and sympathy of an Almighty Saviour which is the substance of which all religious forms and appliances are the shadows; her soul was stayed on God, and was at peace, as truly as if she had been the veriest Puritan maiden that ever worshipped in a New-England meeting-house. She felt a calm superiority to all things earthly,—a profound reliance on that invisible aid which comes from God alone.

She was standing at her window, deep in thought, when Giulietta entered,—fresh and blooming,—bearing the breakfast-tray.

“Come, my little princess, here I am,” she said, “with your breakfast! How do you find yourself, this morning?”

Agnes came towards her.

“Bless us, how grave we are!” said Giulietta. “What has come over us?”

“Giulietta, have you seen poor grandmamma this morning?”

“Poor grandmamma!” said Giulietta, mimicking the sad tone in which Agnes spoke,—“to be sure I have. I left her making a hearty breakfast. So fall to, and do the same,—for you don’t know who may come to see you this morning.”

“Giulietta, is he here?”

“He!” said Giulietta, laughing. “Do hear the little bird! It begins to chirp already! No, he is not here yet; but Pietro says he will come soon, and Pietro knows all his movements.”

“Pietro is your husband?” said Agnes, inquiringly.

“Yes, to be sure,—and a pretty good one, too, as men go,” said Giulietta. “They are sorry bargains, the best of them. But you’ll get a prize, if you play your cards well. Do you know that the King of Naples and the King of France have both sent messages to our captain? Our men hold all the passes between Rome and Naples, and so every one sees the sense of gaining our captain’s favor. But eat your breakfast, little one, while I go and see to Pietro and the men.”

So saying, she bustled out of the room, locking the door behind her.

Agnes took a little bread and water,—resolved to fast and pray, as the only defence against the danger in which she stood.

After breakfasting, she retired into the inner room, and, opening the window, sat down and looked out on the prospect, and then, in a low voice, began singing a hymn of Savonarola’s, which had been taught her by her uncle. It was entitled “Christ’s Call to the Soul.” The words were conceived in that tender spirit of mystical devotion which characterizes all this class of productions.

“Fair soul, created in the primal hour,

Once pure and grand,

And for whose sake I left my throne and power

At God’s right hand,

By this sad heart pierced through because I loved thee,

Let love and mercy to contrition move thee!

“Cast off the sins thy holy beauty veiling,

Spirit divine!

Vain against thee the hosts of hell assailing:

My strength is thine!

Drink from my side the cup of life immortal,

And love will lead thee back to heaven’s portal!

“I, for thy sake, was pierced with many sorrows,

And bore the cross,

Yet heeded not the galling of the arrows,

The shame and loss.

So faint not thou, whate’er the burden be:

But bear it bravely, even to Calvary!”

While Agnes was singing, the door of the outer room was slowly opened, and Agostino Sarelli entered. He had just returned from Florence, having ridden day and night to meet her whom he expected to find within the walls of his fastness.

He entered so softly that Agnes did not hear his approach, and he stood listening to her singing. He had come back with his mind burning with indignation against the Pope and the whole hierarchy then ruling in Rome; but conversation with Father Antonio and the scenes he had witnessed at San Marco had converted the blind sense of personal wrong into a fixed principle of moral indignation and opposition. He no longer found himself checked by the pleading of his early religious recollections; for now he had a leader who realized in his own person all his conceptions of those primitive apostles and holy bishops who first fed the flock of the Lord in Italy. He had heard from his lips the fearless declaration, “If Rome is against me, know that it is not contrary to me, but to Christ, and its controversy is with God: doubt not that God will conquer”; and he embraced the cause with all the enthusiasm of patriotism and knighthood. In his view, the most holy place of his religion had been taken by a robber, who reigned in the name of Christ only to disgrace it; and he felt called to pledge his sword, his life, his knightly honor to do battle against him. He had urged his uncle in Milan to make interest for the cause of Savonarola with the King of France; and his uncle, with that crafty diplomacy which in those days formed the staple of what was called statesmanship, had seemed to listen favorably to his views,—intending, however, no more by his apparent assent than to withdraw his nephew from the dangers in which he stood in Italy, and bring him under his own influence and guardianship in the court of France. But the wily diplomate had sent Agostino Sarelli from his presence with the highest possible expectations of his influence both with the King of France and the Emperor of Germany in the present religious crisis in Italy.

And now the time was come, Agostino thought, to break the spell under which Agnes was held,—to show her the true character of the men whom she was beholding through a mist of veneration arising entirely from the dewy freshness of ignorant innocence. All the way home from Florence he had urged his horse onward, burning to meet her, to tell her all that he knew and felt, to claim her as his own, and to take her into the sphere of light and liberty in which he himself moved. He did not doubt his power, when she should once be where he could speak with her freely, without fear of interruption. Hers was a soul too good and pure, he said, to be kept in chains of slavish ignorance any longer. When she ceased singing, he spoke from the outer apartment,—“Agnes!”

The name was uttered in the softest tone, but it sent the blood to her heart, as if it were the summons of doom. Everything seemed to swim before her, and grow dark for a moment; but by a strong effort she lifted her heart in prayer, and, rising, came towards him.

Agostino had figured her to himself in all that soft and sacred innocence and freshness of bloom in which he had left her, a fair angel child, looking through sad, innocent eyes on a life whose sins and sorrows, and deeper loves and hates, she scarcely comprehended,—one that he might fold in his arms with protecting tenderness, while he gently reasoned with her fears and prejudices; but the figure that stood there in the curtained arch, with its solemn, calm, transparent paleness of face, its large, intense dark eyes, now vivid with some mysterious and concentrated resolve, struck a strange chill over him. Was it Agnes or a disembodied spirit that stood before him? For a few moments there fell such a pause between them as the intensity of some unexpressed feeling often brings with it, and which seems like a spell.

“Agnes! Agnes! is it you?” at last said the knight, in a low, hesitating tone. “Oh, my love, what has changed you so? Speak!—do speak! Are you angry with me? Are you angry that I brought you here?”

“My Lord, I am not angry,” said Agnes, speaking in a cold, sad tone; “but you have committed a great sin in turning aside those vowed to a holy pilgrimage, and you tempt me to sin by this conversation, which ought not to be between us.”

“Why not?” said Agostino. “You would not see me at Sorrento. I sought to warn you of the dangers of this pilgrimage,—to tell you that Rome is not what you think it is,—that it is not the seat of Christ, but a foul cage of unclean birds, a den of wickedness,—that he they call Pope is a vile impostor”—

“My Lord,” said Agnes, speaking with a touch of something even commanding in her tone, “you have me at advantage, it is true, but you ought not to use it in trying to ruin my soul by blaspheming holy things.” And then she added, in a tone of indescribable sadness, “Alas, that so noble and beautiful a soul should be in rebellion against the only True Church! Have you forgotten that good mother you spoke of? What must she feel to know that her son is an infidel!”

“I am not an infidel, Agnes; I am a true knight of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and a believer in the One True, Holy Church.”

“How can that be?” said Agnes. “Ah, seek not to deceive me! My Lord, such a poor little girl as I am is not worth the pains.”

“By the Holy Mother, Agnes, by the Holy Cross, I do not seek to deceive you! I speak on my honor as a knight and gentleman. I love you truly and honorably, and seek you among all women as my spotless wife, and would I lie to you?”

“My Lord, you have spoken words which it is a sin for me to hear, a peril to your soul to say; and if you had not, you must not seek me as a wife. Holy vows are upon me. I must be the wife of no man here; it is a sin even to think of it.”

“Impossible, Agnes!” said Agostino, with a start. “You have not taken the veil already? If you had”—

“No, my Lord, I have not. I have only promised and vowed in my heart to do so when the Lord shall open the way.”

“But such vows, dear Agnes, are often dispensed; they may be loosed by the priest. Now hear me,—only hear me. I believe as your uncle believes,—your good, pious uncle, whom you love so much. I have taken the sacrament from his hand; he has blessed me as a son. I believe as Jerome Savonarola believes. He it is, that holy prophet, who has proclaimed this Pope and his crew to be vile usurpers, reigning in the name of Christ.”

“My Lord! my Lord! I must not hear more! I must not,—I cannot,—I will not!” said Agnes, becoming violently agitated, as she found herself listening with interest to the pleadings of her lover.

“Oh, Agnes, what has turned your heart against me? I thought you promised to love me a little?”

“Oh, hush! hush! don’t plead with me!” she said, with a wild, affrighted look.

He sought to come towards her, and she sprang forward and threw herself at his feet.

“Oh, my Lord, for mercy’s sake let me go! Let us go on our way! We will pray for you always,—yes, always!” And she looked up at him in an agony of earnestness.

“Am I so hateful to you, then, Agnes?”

“Hateful? Oh, no, no! God knows you are—I—I—yes, I love you too well, and you have too much power over me; but, oh, do not use it! If I hear you talk, I shall yield,—I surely shall, and we shall be lost, both of us! Oh, my God! I shall be the means of your damnation!”


“It is true! it is true! Oh, do not talk to me, but promise me, promise me, or I shall die! Have pity on me! have pity on yourself!”

In the agony of her feelings her voice became almost a shriek, and her wild, affrighted face had a deadly pallor; she looked like one in a death-agony. Agostino was alarmed, and hastened to soothe her, by promising whatever she required.

“Agnes, dear Agnes, I submit; only be calm. I promise anything,—anything in the wide world you can ask.”

“Will you let me go?”


“And will you let my poor grandmamma go with me?”


“And you will not talk with me any more?”

“Not if you do not wish it. And now,” he said, “that I have submitted to all these hard conditions, will you suffer me to raise you?”

He took her hands and lifted her up; they were cold, and she was trembling and shivering. He held them a moment; she tried to withdraw them, and he let them go.

“Farewell, Agnes!” he said. “I am going.”

She raised both her hands and pressed the sharp cross to her bosom, but made no answer.

“I yield to your will,” he continued. “Immediately when I leave you, your grandmother will come to you, and the attendants who brought you here will conduct you to the high-road. For me, since it is your will, I part here. Farewell, Agnes!”

He held out his hand, but she stood as before, pale and silent, with her hands clasped on her breast.

“Do your vows forbid even a farewell to a poor, humble friend?” said the knight, in a low tone.

“I cannot,” said Agnes, speaking at broken intervals, in a suffocating voice,—“for your sake I cannot! I bear this pain for you,—for you! Oh, repent, and meet me in heaven!”

She gave him her hand; he kneeled and kissed it, pressed it to his forehead, then rose and left the room.

For a moment after the departure of the Cavalier, Agnes felt a bitter pang,—the pain which one feels on first realizing that a dear friend is lost forever; and then, rousing herself with a start and a sigh, she hurried into the inner room and threw herself on her knees, giving thanks that the dreadful trial was past and that she had not been left to fail.

In a few moments she heard the voice of her grandmother in the outer apartment, and the old wrinkled creature clasped her grandchild in her arms, and wept with a passionate abandonment of fondness, calling her by every tender and endearing name which mothers give to their infants.

“After all,” said Elsie, “these are not such bad people, and I have been right well entertained among them. They are of ourselves,—they do not prey on the poor, but only on our enemies, the princes and nobles, who look on us as sheep to be shorn and slaughtered for their wearing and eating. These men are none such, but pitiful to poor peasants and old widows, whom they feed and clothe out of the spoils of the rich. As to their captain,—would you believe it?—he is the same handsome gentleman who once gave you a ring,—you may have forgotten him, as you never think of such things, but I knew him in a moment,—and such a religious man, that no sooner did he find that we were pilgrims on a holy errand than he gave orders to have us set free with all honor, and a band of the best of them to escort us through the mountains; and the people of the town are all moved to do us reverence, and coming with garlands and flowers to wish us well and ask our prayers. So let us set forth immediately.”

Agnes followed her grandmother through the long passages and down the dark, mouldy stair-way to the court-yard, where two horses were standing caparisoned for them. A troop of men in high peaked hats, cloaked and plumed, were preparing also to mount, while a throng of women and children stood pressing around. When Agnes appeared, enthusiastic cries were heard: “Viva Jesù!” “Viva Maria!” “Viva! viva Jesù! nostro Rè!” and showers of myrtle-branches and garlands fell around. “Pray for us!” “Pray for us, holy pilgrims!” was uttered eagerly by one and another. Mothers held up their children; and beggars and cripples, aged and sick,—never absent in an Italian town,—joined with loud cries in the general enthusiasm. Agnes stood amid it all, pale and serene, with that elevated expression of heavenly calm on her features which is often the clear shining of the soul after the wrench and torture of some great interior conflict. She felt that the last earthly chain was broken, and that now she belonged to Heaven alone. She scarcely saw or heard what was around her, wrapt in the calm of inward prayer.

“Look at her! she is beautiful as the Madonna!” said one and another, “She is divine as Santa Catarina!” said others. “She might have been the wife of our chief, who is a nobleman of the oldest blood, but she chose to be the bride of the Lord,” said others: for Giulietta, with a woman’s love of romancing, had not failed to make the most among her companions of the love-adventures of Agnes.

Agnes meanwhile was seated on her palfrey, and the whole train passed out of the court-yard into the dim, narrow street,—men, women, and children following. On reaching the public square, they halted a moment by the side of the antique fountain to water their horses. The groups that surrounded it at this time were such as a painter would have delighted to copy. The women and girls of this obscure mountain-town had all that peculiar beauty of form and attitude which appears in the studies of the antique; and as they poised on their heads their copper water-jars of the old Etruscan pattern, they seemed as if they might be statues of golden bronze, had not the warm tints of their complexion, the brilliancy of their large eyes, and the bright, picturesque colors of their attire given the richness of painting to their classic outlines. Then, too, the men, with their finely-moulded limbs, their figures so straight and strong and elastic, their graceful attitudes, and their well-fitting, showy costumes, formed a no less imposing feature in the scene. Among them all sat Agnes waiting on her palfrey, seeming scarcely conscious of the enthusiasm which surrounded her. Some admiring friend had placed in her hand a large bough of blossoming hawthorn,—which she held unconsciously, as, with a sort of childlike simplicity, she turned from right to left, to make reply to the request for prayers, or to return thanks for the offered benediction of some one in the crowd.

When all the preparations were at last finished, the procession of mounted horsemen, with a confused gathering of the population, passed down the streets to the gates of the city, and as they passed they sang the words of the Crusaders’ Hymn, which had fluttered back into the traditionary memory of Europe from the knights going to redeem the Holy Sepulchre.

“Fairest Lord Jesus,

Ruler of all Nature,

O Thou of God and man the Son!

Thee will I honor,

Thee will I cherish,

Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!

“Fair are the meadows,

Fairer still the woodlands,

Robed in the pleasing garb of spring:

Jesus shines fairer,

Jesus is purer

Who makes the woful heart to sing!

“Fair is the sunshine,

Fairer still the moonlight,

And all the twinkling starry host;

Jesus shines fairer,

Jesus is purer,

Than all the angels heaven can boast!”

They were singing the second verse, as, emerging from the dark old gate-way of the town, all the distant landscape of silvery olive-orchards, crimson clover-fields, blossoming almond-trees, fig-trees, and grape-vines, just in the tender green of spring, burst upon their view. Agnes felt a kind of inspiration. From the high mountain elevation she could discern the far-off brightness of the sea— all between one vision of beauty,—and the religious enthusiasm which possessed all around her had in her eye all the value of the most solid and reasonable faith. With us, who may look on it from a colder and more distant point of view, doubts may be suggested whether this naïve impressibility to religious influences, this simple, whole-hearted abandonment to their expression, had any real practical value. The fact that any or all of the actors might before night rob or stab or lie quite as freely as if it has not occurred may well give reason for such a question. Be this as it may, the phenomenon is not confined to Italy or the religion of the Middle Ages, but exhibits itself in many a prayer-meeting and camp-meeting of modern days. For our own part, we hold it better to have even transient upliftings of the nobler and more devout element of man’s nature than never to have any at all, and that he who goes on in worldly and sordid courses, without ever a spark of religious enthusiasm or a throb of aspiration, is less of a man than he who sometimes soars heavenward, though his wings be weak and he fall again.

In all this scene Agostino Sarelli took no part. He had simply given orders for the safe-conduct of Agnes, and then retired to his own room. From a window, however, he watched the procession as it passed through the gates of the city, and his resolution was immediately taken to proceed at once by a secret path to the place where the pilgrims should emerge upon the high-road.

He had been induced to allow the departure of Agnes, from seeing the utter hopelessness by any argument or persuasion of removing a barrier that was so vitally interwoven with the most sensitive religious nerves of her being. He saw in her terrified looks, in the deadly paleness of her face, how real and unaffected was the anguish which his words gave her; he saw that the very consciousness of her own love to him produced a sense of weakness which made her shrink in utter terror from his arguments.

“There is no remedy,” he said, “but to let her go to Rome and see with her own eyes how utterly false and vain is the vision which she draws from the purity of her own believing soul. What Christian would not wish that these fair dreams had any earthly reality? But this gentle dove must not be left unprotected to fly into that foul, unclean cage of vultures and harpies. Deadly as the peril may be to me to breathe the air of Rome, I will be around her invisibly to watch over her.”



A vision rises upon us from the land of shadows. We see a wide plain, miles and miles in extent, rolling in soft billows of green, and girded on all sides by blue mountains, whose silver crests gleaming in the setting sunlight tell that the winter yet lingers on their tops, though spring has decked all the plain. So silent, so lonely, so fair is this waving expanse with its guardian mountains, it might be some wild solitude, an American prairie or Asiatic steppe, but that in the midst thereof, on some billows of rolling land, we discern a city, sombre, quaint, and old,—a city of dreams and mysteries,—a city of the living and the dead. And this is Rome,—weird, wonderful, ancient, mighty Rome,—mighty once by physical force and grandeur, mightier now in physical decadence and weakness by the spell of a potent moral enchantment.

As the sun is moving westward, the whole air around becomes flooded with a luminousness which seems to transfuse itself with pervading presence through every part of the city, and make all its ruinous and mossy age bright and living. The air shivers with the silver vibrations of hundreds of bells, and the evening glory goes up and down, soft-footed and angelic, transfiguring all things. The broken columns of the Forum seem to swim in golden mist, and luminous floods fill the Coliseum as it stands with its thousand arches looking out into the city like so many sightless eye-holes in the skull of the past. The tender light pours up streets dank and ill-paved,—into noisome and cavernous dens called houses, where the peasantry of to-day vegetate in contented subservience. It illuminates many a dingy court-yard, where the moss is green on the walls, and gurgling fountains fall into quaint old sculptured basins. It lights up the gorgeous palaces of Rome’s modern princes, built with stones wrenched from ancient ruins. It streams through a wilderness of churches, each with its tolling prayer-bell, and steals through painted windows into the dazzling confusion of pictured and gilded glories that glitter and gleam from roof and wall within. And it goes, too, across the Tiber, up the filthy and noisome Ghetto, where, hemmed in by ghostly superstition, the sons of Israel are growing up without vital day, like wan white plants in cellars; and the black mournful obelisks of the cypresses in the villas around, it touches with a solemn glory. The castle of St. Angelo looks like a great translucent, luminous orb, and the statues of saints and apostles on the top of St. John Lateran glow as if made of living fire, and seem to stretch out glorified hands of welcome to the pilgrims that are approaching the Holy City across the soft, palpitating sea of green that lies stretched like a misty veil around it.

Then, as now, Rome was an enchantress of mighty and wonderful power, with her damp, and mud, and mould, her ill-fed, ill-housed populace, her ruins of old glory rising dim and ghostly amid her palaces of to-day. With all her awful secrets of rapine, cruelty, ambition, injustice,—with her foul orgies of unnatural crime,—with the very corruption of the old buried Roman Empire steaming up as from a charnel-house, and permeating all modern life with its effluvium of deadly uncleanness,—still Rome had that strange, bewildering charm of melancholy grandeur and glory which made all hearts cleave to her, and eyes and feet turn longingly towards her from the ends of the earth. Great souls and pious yearned for her as for a mother, and could not be quieted till they had kissed the dust of her streets. There they fondly thought was rest to be found,—that rest which through all weary life ever recedes like the mirage of the desert; there sins were to be shriven which no common priest might forgive, and heavy burdens unbound from the conscience by an infallible wisdom; there was to be revealed to the praying soul the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Even the mighty spirit of Luther yearned for the breast of this great unknown mother, and came humbly thither to seek the repose which he found afterwards in Jesus.

At this golden twilight-hour along the Appian Way come the pilgrims of our story with prayers and tears of thankfulness. Agnes looks forward and sees the saintly forms on St. John Lateran standing in a cloud of golden light and stretching out protecting hands to bless her.

“See, see, grandmother!” she exclaimed,—“yonder is our Father’s house, and all the saints beckon us home! Glory be to God who hath brought us hither!”

Within the church the evening-service is going on, and the soft glory streaming in reveals that dizzying confusion of riches and brightness with which the sensuous and color-loving Italian delights to encircle the shrine of the Heavenly Majesty. Pictured angels in cloudy wreaths smile down from the gold-fretted roofs and over the round, graceful arches; and the floor seems like a translucent sea of precious marbles and gems fused into solid brightness, and reflecting in long gleams and streaks dim intimations of the sculptured and gilded glories above. Altar and shrine are now veiled in that rich violet hue which the Church has chosen for its mourning color; and violet vestments, taking the place of the gorgeous robes of the ecclesiastics, tell the approach of that holy week of sadness when all Christendom falls in penitence at the feet of that Almighty Love once sorrowful and slain for her.

The long-drawn aisles are now full to overflowing with that weird chanting which one hears nowhere but in Rome at this solemn season. Those voices, neither of men nor women, have a wild, morbid energy which seems to search every fibre of the nervous system, and, instead of soothing or calming, to awaken strange yearning agonies of pain, ghostly unquiet longings, and endless feverish, unrestful cravings. The sounds now swell and flood the church as with a rushing torrent of wailing and clamorous supplication,—now recede and moan themselves away to silence in far-distant aisles, like the last faint sigh of discouragement and despair. Anon they burst out from the roof, they drop from arches and pictures, they rise like steam from the glassy pavement, and, meeting, mingle in wavering clamors of lamentation and shrieks of anguish. One might fancy lost souls from out the infinite and dreary abysses of utter separation from God might thus wearily and aimlessly moan and wail, breaking into agonized tumults of desire, and trembling back into exhaustions of despair. Such music brings only throbbings and yearnings, but no peace; and yonder, on the glassy floor, at the foot of a crucifix, a poor mortal lies sobbing and quivering under its pitiless power, as if it had wrenched every tenderest nerve of memory, and torn open every half-healed wound of the soul.

When the chanting ceases, he rises slow and tottering, and we see in the wan face turning towards the dim light the well-remembered features of Father Francesco. Driven to despair by the wild, ungovernable force of his unfortunate love, weary of striving, overborne with a hopeless and continually accumulating load of guilt, he had come to Rome to lay down at the feet of heavenly wisdom the burden which he can no longer bear alone; and rising now, he totters to a confessional where sits a holy cardinal to whom has been deputed the office to hear and judge those sins which no subordinate power in the Church is competent to absolve.

Father Francesco kneels down with a despairing, confiding movement, such as one makes, when, after a long struggle of anguish, one has found a refuge; and the churchman within inclining his ear to the grating, the confession begins.

Could we only be clairvoyant, it would be worth our while to note the difference between the two faces, separated only by the thin grating of the confessional, but belonging to souls whom an abyss wide as eternity must forever divide from any common ground of understanding.

On the one side, with ear close to the grate, is a round, smoothly developed Italian head, with that rather tumid outline of features which one often sees in a Roman in middle life, when easy living and habits of sensual indulgence begin to reveal their signs in the countenance, and to broaden and confuse the clear-cut, statuesque lines of early youth. Evidently, that is the head of an easy-going, pleasure-loving man, who has waxed warm with good living, and performs the duties of his office with an unctuous grace as something becoming and decorous to be gone through with. Evidently, he is puzzled and half-contemptuous at the revelations which come through the grating in hoarse whispers from those thin, trembling lips. That other man, who speaks with the sweat of anguish beaded on his brow, with a mortal pallor on his thin, worn cheeks, is putting questions to the celestial guide within which seem to that guide the ravings of a crazed lunatic; and yet there is a deadly, despairing earnestness in the appeal that makes an indistinct knocking at the door of his heart, for the man is born of woman, and can feel that somehow or other these are the words of a mighty agony.

He addresses him some words of commonplace ghostly comfort, and gives a plenary absolution. The Capuchin monk rises up and stands meekly wiping the sweat from his brow, the churchman leaves his box, and they meet face to face, when each starts, seeing in the other the apparition of a once well-known countenance.

“What! Lorenzo Sforza!” said the churchman. “Who would have thought it? Don’t you remember me?”

“Not Lorenzo Sforza,” said the other, a hectic brilliancy flushing his pale cheek; “that name is buried in the tomb of his fathers; he you speak to knows it no more. The unworthy Brother Francesco, deserving nothing of God or man, is before you.”

“Oh, come, come!” said the other, grasping his hand in spite of his resistance; “that is all proper enough in its place; but between friends, you know, what’s the use? It’s lucky we have you here now; we want one of your family to send on a mission to Florence, and talk a little reason into the citizens and the Signoria. Come right away with me to the Pope.”

“Brother, in God’s name let me go! I have no mission to the great of this world; and I cannot remember or be called by the name of other days, or salute kinsman or acquaintance after the flesh, without a breach of vows.”

“Poh, poh! you are nervous, dyspeptic; you don’t understand things. Don’t you see you are where vows can be bound and loosed? Come along, and let us wake you out of this nightmare. Such a pother about a pretty peasant-girl! One of your rank and taste, too! I warrant me the little sinner practised on you at the confessional. I know their ways, the whole of them; but you mourn over it in a way that is perfectly incomprehensible. If you had tripped a little,—paid a compliment, or taken a liberty or two,—it would have been only natural; but this desperation, when you have resisted like Saint Anthony himself, shows your nerves are out of order and you need change.”

“For God’s sake, brother, tempt me not!” said Father Francesco, wrenching himself away, with such a haggard and insane vehemence as quite to discompose the churchman; and drawing his cowl over his face, he glided swiftly down a side-aisle and out the door.

The churchman was too easy-going to risk the fatigue of a scuffle with a man whom he considered as a monomaniac; but he stepped smoothly and stealthily after him and watched him go out.

“Look you,” he said to a servant in violet livery who was waiting by the door, “follow yonder Capuchin and bring me word where he abides.—He may be cracked,” he said to himself; “but, after all, one of his blood may be worth mending, and do us good service either in Florence or Milan. We must have him transferred to some convent here, where we can lay hands on him readily, if we want him.”

Meanwhile Father Francesco wends his way through many a dark and dingy street to an ancient Capuchin convent, where he finds brotherly admission. Weary and despairing is he beyond all earthly despair, for the very altar of his God seems to have failed him. He asked for bread, and has got a stone,—he asked a fish, and has got a scorpion. Again and again the worldly, almost scoffing, tone of the superior to whom he has been confessing sounds like the hiss of a serpent in his ear.

But he is sent for in haste to visit the bedside of the Prior, who has long been sick and failing, and who gladly embraces this opportunity to make his last confession to a man of such reputed sanctity in his order as Father Francesco. For the acute Father Johannes, casting about for various means to empty the Superior’s chair at Sorrento, for his own benefit, and despairing of any occasion of slanderous accusation, had taken the other tack of writing to Rome extravagant laudations of such feats of penance and saintship in his Superior as in the view of all the brothers required that such a light should no more be hidden in an obscure province, but be set on a Roman candlestick, where it might give light to the faithful in all parts of the world. Thus two currents of worldly intrigue were uniting to push an unworldly man to a higher dignity than he either sought or desired.

When a man has a sensitive or sore spot in his heart, from the pain of which he would gladly flee to the ends of the earth, it is marvellous what coincidences of events will be found to press upon it wherever he may go. Singularly enough, one of the first items in the confession of the Capuchin Superior related to Agnes, and his story was in substance as follows. In his youth he had been induced by the persuasions of the young son of a great and powerful family to unite him in the holy sacrament of marriage with a protégée of his mother’s; but the marriage being detected, it was disavowed by the young nobleman, and the girl and her mother chased out ignominiously, so that she died in great misery. For his complicity in this sin the conscience of the monk had often troubled him, and he had kept track of the child she left, thinking perhaps some day to make reparation by declaring the true marriage of her mother, which now he certified upon the holy cross, and charged Father Francesco to make known to one of that kin whom he named. He further informed him, that this family, having fallen under the displeasure of the Pope and his son, Cæsar Borgia, had been banished from the city, and their property confiscated, so that there was none of them to be found thereabouts except an aged widowed sister, who, having married into a family in favor with the Pope, was allowed to retain her possessions, and now resided in a villa near Rome, where she lived retired, devoting her whole life to works of piety. The old man therefore conjured Father Francesco to lose no time in making this religious lady understand the existence of so near a kinswoman, and take her under her protection.—Thus strangely did Father Francesco find himself again obliged to take up that enchanted thread which had led him into labyrinths so fatal to his peace.


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It is in the search after the true boundaries and characteristics of orders that we may expect the greatest advance by the naturalists of the present day; and yet there is now much discrepancy among them, some mistaking orders for classes, others raising families to the dignity of orders. This want of agreement in their results is not strange, however; for the recognition of orders is indeed exceedingly difficult. If they are, as I have defined them, groups in Nature founded upon a greater or less complication of structure, they must of course form a regular gradation within the limits of their class, since comparative perfection implies comparative rank, and a correct estimate of these degrees of complication requires an intimate and extensive knowledge of structure throughout the class. There would seem to be an arbitrary element here,—that of our individual appreciation of structural character. If one man holds a certain kind of structural characters superior to another, he will establish the rank of the order upon that feature, while some other naturalist, appreciating a different point of the structure more highly, will make that the test character of the group. Let us see whether we can eliminate this arbitrary element in our estimate of these groups, and find any mode of determining orders that shall be unquestionable, and give us results as positive as a chemical analysis according to quantitative elements. I believe that there are such absolute tests of structural relations. It is my conviction, that orders, like all the other groups of the Animal Kingdom, have a positive existence in Nature with definite limits, that no arbitrary element should enter into any part of our classifications, and that we have already the key by which to solve this question about orders.

To illustrate this statement, I must return to the class of Insects. We have seen that they are divided into three orders: the long cylindrical Centipedes, with the body divided throughout in uniform rings, like the Worms; the Spiders, with the body divided into two regions; and the Winged Insects, with head, chest, and hind body distinct from each other, forming three separate regions. In the first group, the Centipedes, the nervous system is scattered through the whole body, as in the Worms; in the Spiders it is concentrated in two nervous swellings, as in the Crustacea, the front one being the largest; and in the Insects there are three nervous centres, the largest in the head, a smaller one in the chest, and the smallest in the hind body. Now according to this greater or less individualization of parts, with the corresponding localization of the nervous centres, naturalists have established the relative rank of these three groups, placing Centipedes lowest, Spiders next, and Winged Insects highest. But naturalists may, and indeed they actually do, differ as to this estimation of the anatomical structure. Have we, then, any means of testing its truth to Nature? Let us look at the development of these animals, taking the highest order as an illustration, that we may have the whole succession of changes. All know the story of the Butterfly with its three lives, as Caterpillar, Chrysalis, and Winged Insect. I speak of its three lives, but we must not forget that they make after all but one life, and that the Caterpillar is as truly the same being with the future Butterfly as the child is the same being with the future man. The old significance of the word metamorphosis—the fabled transformation of one individual into another, in which so much of the imagination and poetical culture of the ancients found expression—still clings to us; and where the different phases of the same life assume such different external forms, we are apt to overlook the fact that it is one single continuous life. To a naturalist, metamorphosis is simply growth; and in that sense the different stages of development in animals that undergo their successive changes within the egg are as much metamorphoses as the successive phases of life in those animals that complete their development after they are hatched.

But to return to our Butterfly. In its most imperfect, earliest condition, it is Worm-like, the body consisting of thirteen uniform rings; but when it has completed this stage of its existence, it passes into the Chrysalis state, during which the body has two regions, the front rings being soldered together to form the head and chest, while the hind joints remain distinct; and it is only when it bursts from its Chrysalis envelope, as a complete Winged Insect, that it has three distinct regions of the body. Do not the different periods of growth in this highest order explain the relation of all the orders to each other? The earliest condition of an animal cannot be its highest condition,—it does not pass from a more perfect to a less perfect state of existence. The history of its growth is, on the contrary, the history of its progress in development; and therefore, when we find that the first stage of growth in the Winged Insect transiently represents a structural character that is permanent in the lowest order of its class, that its second stage of growth transiently represents a structural character that is permanent in the second order of its class, and that only in the last stage of its existence does the Winged Insect attain its complete and perfect condition, we may fairly infer that this division of the class of Insects into a gradation of orders placing Centipedes lowest, Spiders next, and Winged Insects highest, is true to Nature.

This is not the only instance in which the embryological evidence confirms perfectly the anatomical evidence on which orders have been distinguished, and I believe that Embryology will give us the true standard by which to test the accuracy of our ordinal groups. In the class of Crustacea, for instance, the Crabs have been placed above the Lobsters by some naturalists, in consequence of certain anatomical features; but there may easily be a difference of individual opinion as to the relative value of these features. When we find, however, that the Crab, while undergoing its changes in the egg, passes through a stage in which it resembles the Lobster much more than it does its own adult condition, we cannot doubt that its earlier state is its lower one, and that the organization of the Lobster is not as high in the class of Crustacea as that of the Crab. While using illustrations of this kind, however, I must guard against misinterpretation. These embryological changes are never the passing of one kind of animal into another kind of animal: the Crab is none the less a Crab during that period of its development in which it resembles a Lobster; it simply passes, in the natural course of its growth, through a phase of existence which is permanent in the Lobster, but transient in the Crab. Such facts should stimulate all our young students to embryological investigation as a most important branch of study in the present state of our science.

But while there is this structural gradation among orders, establishing a relative rank between them, are classes and branches also linked together as a connected chain? That such a chain exists throughout the Animal Kingdom has long been a favorite idea, not only among naturalists, but also in the popular mind. Lamarck was one of the greatest teachers of this doctrine. He held not only that branches and classes were connected in a direct gradation, but that within each class there was a regular series of orders, families, genera, and species, forming a continuous chain from the lowest animals to the highest, and that the whole had been a gradual development of higher out of lower forms. I have already alluded to his division of the Animal Kingdom into the Apathetic, Sensitive, and Intelligent animals. The Apathetic were those devoid of all sensitiveness except when aroused by the influence of some external agent. Under this head he placed five classes, including the Infusoria, Polyps, Star-Fishes, Sea-Urchins, Tunicata, and Worms,—thus bringing together indiscriminately Radiates, Mollusks, and Articulates. Under the head of Sensitive he had also a heterogeneous assemblage, including Winged Insects, Spiders, Crustacea, Annelids, and Barnacles, all of which are Articulates, and with these he placed in two classes the Mollusks, Conchifera, Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda. Under the head of Intelligent he brought together a natural division, for he here united all the Vertebrates. He succeeded in this way in making out a series which seemed plausible enough, but when we examine it, we find at once that it is perfectly arbitrary; for he has brought together animals built on entirely different structural plans, when he could find characters among them that seemed to justify his favorite idea of a gradation of qualities. Blainville attempted to establish the same idea in another way. He founded his series on gradations of form, placing together, in one division, all animals that he considered vague and indefinite in form, and in another all those that he considered symmetrical. Under a third head he brought together the Radiates; but his symmetrical division united Articulates, Mollusks, and Vertebrates in the most indiscriminate manner. He sustained his theory by assuming intermediate groups,—as, for instance, the Barnacles between the Mollusks and Articulates, whereas they are as truly Articulates as Insects or Crabs. Thus, by misplacing certain animals, he arrived at a series which, like that of Lamarck, made a strong impression on the scientific world, till a more careful investigation of facts exposed its fallacy.

Oken, the great German naturalist, also attempted to establish a connected chain throughout the Animal Kingdom, but on an entirely different principle; and I cannot allude to this most original investigator, so condemned by some, so praised by others, so powerful in his influence on science in Germany, without attempting to give some analysis of his peculiar philosophy. For twenty years his classification was accepted by his countrymen without question; and though I believe it to be wrong, yet, by the ingenuity with which he maintained it, he has shed a flood of light upon science, and has stimulated other naturalists to most important and interesting investigations. This famous classification was founded upon the idea that the system of man, the most perfect created being, is the measure for the whole Animal Kingdom, and that in analyzing his organization we have the clue to all organized beings. The structure of man includes two systems of organs: those which maintain the body in its integrity, and which he shares in some sort with the lower animals,—the organs of digestion, circulation, respiration, and reproduction; and that higher system of organs, the brain, spinal marrow, and nerves, with the organs of sense, on which all the manifestations of the intelligent faculties depend, and by which his relations to the external world are established and controlled: the whole being surrounded by flesh, muscles, and skin. On account of this fleshy envelope of the hard parts in all the higher animals, Oken divided the Animal Kingdom into two groups, the Vertebrates and Invertebrates, or, as he called them, the “Eingeweide und Fleisch Thiere”—which we may translate as the Intestinal Animals, or those that represent the intestinal systems of organs, and the Flesh Animals, or those that combine all the systems of organs under one envelope of flesh. Let us examine a little more closely this singular theory, by which each branch of the Invertebrates becomes, as it were, the exponent of a special system of organs, while the Vertebrates, with man at their head, include all these systems.

According to Oken, the Radiates, the lowest type of the Animal Kingdom, embody digestion. They all represent a stomach, whether it is the simple sac of the Polyps, or the cavity of the Acalephs, with its radiating tubes traversing the gelatinous mass of the body, or the cavity and tubes of the Echinoderms, inclosed within walls of their own.

The Mollusks represent circulation; and his division of this type into classes, according to what he considers the higher or lower organization of the heart, agrees with the ordinary division into Acephala, Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda.

The Articulates are the respiratory animals in this classification: they represent respiration. The Worms, breathing, as he asserts, through the whole surface of the skin, without special breathing organs, are the lowest; the Crustacea, with gills, or aquatic breathing organs, come next; and he places the Insects highest, with their branching tracheæ, admitting air to all parts of the body. The Vertebrates, or Flesh Animals, with their four classes, represent the Bones, the Muscles, the Nerves, and the Organs of Sense.

This theory, according to which there are as many great divisions as there are structural systems or combinations of systems in the Animal Kingdom, seemed natural and significant, and there was something attractive in the idea that man represents, as it were, the synthetic combination of all these different systems. Oken also, in his exposition of his mode of classification, showed an insight into the structure and relations of animals that commended it to the interest of all students of Nature, and entitles him to their everlasting gratitude. Nevertheless, his theory fails, when it is compared with facts. For instance, there are many Worms that have no respiration through the skin, while his appreciation of the whole class is founded on that feature; and in his type representing circulation, the Mollusks, there are those that have no heart at all. It would carry me too far into scientific details, were I to explain all the points at which this celebrated classification fails. Suffice it to say that there is no better proof of the discrepancy between the system and the facts than the constant changes in the different editions of Oken’s own works and in the publications of his followers founded upon his views, showing that they were themselves conscious of the shifting and unstable character of their scientific ground.


What, then, is the relation of these larger groups to each other, if they do not stand in a connected series from the lowest to the highest? How far are each of the branches and each of the classes superior or inferior one to another? All agree, that, while Vertebrates stand at the head of the Animal Kingdom, Radiates are lowest. There can be no doubt upon this point; for, while the Vertebrate plan, founded upon a double symmetry, includes the highest possibilities of animal organization, there is a certain monotony of structure in the Radiate plan, in which the body is divided into a number of identical parts, bearing definite relations to a central vertical axis. But while all admit that Vertebrates are highest and Radiates lowest, how do the Articulates and Mollusks stand to these and to each other? To me it seems, that, while both are decidedly superior to the Radiates and inferior to the Vertebrates, we cannot predicate absolute superiority or inferiority of organization of either of these groups as compared with each other; they stand on one structural level, though with different tendencies,—the body in Mollusks having always a soft, massive, concentrated character, with great power of contraction and dilatation, while the body in Articulates has nothing of this compactness and concentration, but on the contrary is usually marked by a conspicuous external display of limbs and other appendages, and by a remarkable elongation of the body,—that feature characterized by Baer when he called them the Longitudinal type. There is in the Articulates an extraordinary tendency toward outward expression, singularly in contrast to the soft, contractile bodies of the Mollusks. We need only remember the numerous Insects with small bodies and enormously long wings, or the Spiders with little bodies and long legs, or the number and length of the claws in the Lobsters and Crabs, as illustrations of this statement for the Articulates, while the soft compact body of the Oyster or of the Snail is equally characteristic of the Mollusks; and though it may seem that this assertion cannot apply to the highest class of Mollusks, the Cephalopoda, including the Cuttle-Fishes with their long arms or feelers, yet even these conspicuous appendages have considerable power of contraction and dilatation, and in the Nautili may even be drawn completely within the shell. If this view be correct, these two types occupy an intermediate position between the highest and the lowest divisions of the Animal Kingdom, but are on equal ground when compared with each other.

But is there a transition from Radiates to Mollusks, or from Articulates to Vertebrates, or from any one of these divisions into any other? Let us first consider the classes as they stand within their divisions. We have seen that there are three classes of Radiates,—Polyps, Acalephs, and Echinoderms; three classes of Mollusks,—Acephala, Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda; three classes of Articulates,—Worms, Crustacea, and Insects; and, according to the usually accepted classification, four classes of Vertebrates,—Fishes, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammalia. If there is indeed a transition between all these classes, it must become clear to us, when we have accurately interpreted their relative standing. Taking first the lowest branch, how do the classes stand within the limits of the type of Radiates? I think I have said enough of these different classes to show that Polyps as a whole are inferior to Acalephs as a whole, and that Acalephs as a whole are inferior to Echinoderms as a whole. But if they are linked together as a connected series, then the lowest Acaleph should stand next in structure above the highest Polyp, and the lowest Echinoderm next above the highest Acaleph. So far from this being the case, there are, on the contrary, many Acalephs which, in their specialization, are unquestionably lower in the scale of life than some Polyps, while there are some Echinoderms lower in the same sense than many Acalephs. This remark applies equally to the classes within the other types; they stand, as an average, relatively to each other, lower and higher, but considered in their diversified specification, there are some members of the higher classes that are inferior in organization to some members of the lower classes. The same is true of the great divisions as compared with each other. Instead of the highest Radiates being always lower in organization than the lowest Mollusks, there are many Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins higher in organization than some Mollusks; and so when we pass from this branch to the Articulates, if we assume for the moment, as some naturalists believe, that the Mollusks are the inferior type, the Cuttle-Fishes are certainly very superior animals to most of the Worms; and passing from Articulates to Vertebrates, not only are there Insects of a more complex organization than the lowest Fishes, but we bring together two kinds of animals so remote from each other in structure that the wildest imagination can scarcely fancy a transition between them. A comparison may make my meaning clearer as to the relative standing of these groups. The Epic Poem is a higher order of composition than the Song,—yet we may have an Epic Poem which, from its inferior mode of execution, stands lower than a Song that is perfect of its kind. So the plan of certain branches is more comprehensive and includes higher possibilities than that of others, while at the same time there may be species in which the higher plan is executed in so simple a manner that it places their organization below some more highly developed being built on a lower plan. It is a poor comparison, because everything that God has made is perfect of its kind and in its place, though relatively lower or higher; yet it is only by comparison of what is after all akin,—of mind with mind,—even though so far apart as the works of the divine and the human reason, that we may arrive at some idea, however dim, of the mental operations of the Creative Intellect.

It is, then, in their whole bulk that any one of these groups is above any other. We may represent the relative positions of the classes by a diagram in which each successive class in every type starts at a lower point than that at which the preceding class closes. Taking the Polyps as the lowest class of Radiates, for instance, its highest animals rise above the lowest members of the Acalephs, but then the higher members of the class of Acalephs reach a point far above any of the Polyps,—and so on.

| | | |
| | | | |
| | | | Mammalia.
| | | | | | | |
| | Echinoderms. | | Cephalopoda. | | Insects. | | Birds.
| | | | | | | |
| Acalephs. | Gasteropoda. | Crustacea. | Reptiles.
| | | |
Polyps. Acephala. Worms. Fishes.

If this view be correct, it sets aside the possibility of any uninterrupted series based on absolute superiority or inferiority of structure, on which so much ingenuity and intellectual power have been wasted.

But it is not merely upon the structural relations established between these groups by anatomical features in the adult that we must decide this question. We must examine it also from the embryological point of view. Every animal in its growth undergoes a succession of changes: is there anything in these changes implying a transition of one type into another? Baer has given us the answer to this question. He has shown that there are four distinct modes of development, as well as four plans of structure; and though we have seen that higher animals of one class pass through phases of growth in which they transiently resemble lower animals of the same class, yet each one of these four modes of development is confined within the limits of the type, and a Vertebrate never resembles, at any stage of its growth, anything but a Vertebrate, or an Articulate anything but an Articulate, or a Mollusk anything but a Mollusk, or a Radiate anything but a Radiate.

Yet, although there is no embryological transition of one type into another, the gradations of growth within the limits of the same type and the same class, already alluded to, are very striking throughout the Animal Kingdom. There are periods in the development of the germs of the higher members of all the types, when they transiently resemble in their general outline the lower representatives of the same type, just as we have seen that the higher orders of one class pass through stages of development in which they transiently resemble lower orders of the same class. This gradation of growth corresponds to the gradation of rank in adult animals, as established upon comparative complication of structure. For instance, according to their structural character, all naturalists have placed Fishes lowest in the scale of Vertebrates. Now all the higher Vertebrates have a Fish-like character at first, and pass successively through phases in which they vaguely resemble other lower forms of the same type before they assume their own characteristic form; and this is equally true of the other great divisions, so that the history of the individual is, in some sort, the history of its type.

There is still another aspect of this question,—that of time. If neither the gradation of structural rank among adult animals, nor the gradation of growth in their embryological development gives us any evidence of a transition between types, does not the sequence of animals in their successive introduction upon the globe afford any proof of such a connection? In this relation, I must briefly allude to the succession of geological formations that compose the crust of our globe. The limits of this article will not allow me to enter at any length into the geological details connected with this question; but I will, in the most cursory manner, give a sketch of the great geological periods, as generally accepted now by geologists. The first of these periods has been called the Azoic or lifeless period, because it is the only one that contains no remains of organic life, and it is therefore supposed that at that early stage of the world’s history the necessary conditions for the maintenance of animals and plants were not yet established. After this, every great geological period that follows has been found to be characterized by a special set of animals and plants, differing from all that follow and all that precede it, till we arrive at our own period, when Man, with the animals and plants that accompany him on earth, was introduced.

There is, then, an order of succession in time among animals; and if there has been any transition between types and classes, any growth of higher out of lower forms, it is here that we should look for the evidence of it. According to this view, we should expect to find in the first period in which organic remains are found at all only the lowest type, and of that type only the lowest class, and, indeed, if we push the theory to its logical consequences, only the lowest forms of the lowest class. What are now the facts? This continent affords admirable opportunities for the investigation of this succession, because, in consequence of its mode of formation, we have, in the State of New York, a direct, unbroken sequence of all the earliest geological deposits.

The ridge of low hills, called the Laurentian Hills, along the line of division between Canada and the States was the first American land lifted above the ocean. That land belongs to the Azoic period, and contains no trace of life. Along the base of that range of hills lie the deposits of the next great geological period, the Silurian; and the State of New York, geologically speaking, belongs almost entirely to this Silurian period, with its lowest Taconic division, and the Devonian period, the third in succession of these great epochs. I need hardly remind those of my readers who have travelled through New York, and have visited Niagara or Trenton, or, indeed, any of the localities where the broken edges of the strata expose the buried life within them, how numerous this early population of the earth must have been. No one who has held in his hand one of the crowded slabs of sand—or lime-stone, full of Crustacea, Shells, and Corals, from any of the old Silurian or Devonian beaches which follow each other from north to south across the State of New York, can suppose that the manifestation of life was less multitudinous then than now. Now, what does this fossil creation tell us? It says this: that, in the Silurian period, the first in which organic life is found at all, there were the three classes of Radiates, the three classes of Mollusks, two of the classes of Articulates, and one class of Vertebrates. In other words, at the dawn of life on earth, the plan of the animal creation with its four fundamental ideas was laid out,—Radiates, Mollusks, Articulates, and Vertebrates were present at that first representation of life upon our globe. If, then, all the primary types appeared simultaneously, one cannot have grown out of another,—they could not be at once contemporaries and descendants of each other.

The diagram on the opposite page represents the geological periods in their regular succession, and the approximate time at which all the types and all the classes of the Animal Kingdom were introduced; for there is still some doubt as to the exact period of the introduction of several of the classes, though all geologists are agreed respecting them, within certain limits, not very remote from each other, according to geological estimates of time.

Polyps. Acalephs. Echinoderms. Acephala. Gasteropoda. Cephalopoda. Worms. Crustacea. Insects. Fishes. Reptiles. Birds. Mammalia.
TERTIARY. Present, | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Pliocene, | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Miocene, | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Eocene, | | | | | | | | | | | | True Mammalia.
| | | | | | | | | | | | |
SECONDARY. Cretaceous, | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Jurassic, | | | | | | | | | | | | Marsupials.
Triassic, | | | | | | | | | | | Birds.
Permian, | | | | | | | | | | |
Carboniferous, | | | | | | | | Insects. | Reptiles.
| | | | | | | | |
PRIMARY. Devonian, | | | | | | | | |
Silurian, Polyps. Acalephs. Echinoderms. Acephala. Gasteropoda. Cephalopoda. Worms. Crustacea. Fishes.

If such discussions were not inappropriate here from their technical character, I think I could show upon combined geological and zoological evidence that the classes which are not present with the others at the beginning, such as Insects among Articulates, or Reptiles, Birds, and Mammalia among Vertebrates, are always introduced at the time when the conditions essential to their existence are established,—as, for instance, Reptiles, at the period when the earth was not fully redeemed from the waste of waters, and extensive marshes afforded means for the half-aquatic, half-terrestrial life even now characteristic of all our larger Reptiles, while Insects, so dependent on vegetable growth, make their appearance with the first forests; so that we need not infer, because these and other classes come in after the earlier ones, that they are therefore a growth out of them, since it is altogether probable that they would not be created till the conditions necessary for their maintenance on earth were established. From a merely speculative point of view it seems to me natural to suppose that the physical and the organic world have progressed together, and that there is a direct relation between the successive creations and the condition of the earth at the time of those creations. We know that all the beings of the Silurian and Devonian periods were marine; the land, so far as it existed in their time, was a great beach, and along those shores, wherever any part of the continents was lifted above the level of the waters, the Silurian and Devonian animals lived. Later, in the marshes and the fern-forests of the Carboniferous period, Reptiles and Insects found their place; and only when the earth was more extensive, when marshes had become dry land, when islands had united to form continents, when mountain-chains had been thrown up to make the inequalities of the surface, were the larger quadrupeds introduced, to whose mode of existence all these circumstances are important accessories.

But while all the types and most of the classes were introduced upon the earth simultaneously at the beginning, these types and classes have nevertheless been represented in every great geological period by different sets or species of animals. In this sense, then, there has been a gradation in time among animals, and every successive epoch of the world’s physical history has had its characteristic population. We have found that there is a correspondence between the gradation of structural complication among adult animals as known to us to-day, which we may call the Series of Rank, and the gradation of embryological changes in the same animals, which we may call the Series of Growth; and there is also a correspondence between these two series and the order of succession in time, that establishes a certain gradation in the introduction of animals upon earth, and which we may call the Series of Time. Take as an illustration the class of Echinoderms. The first representatives of this class were a sort of Star-Fishes on stems; then were introduced animals of the same order without stems; in later periods come in the true Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins; and the highest order of the class, the Holothurians, are introduced only in the present geological epoch. Compare now with this the ordinal division of the class as it exists today. The present representative of those earliest Echinoderms on stems is an animal that upon structural evidence stands lowest in the class; next above it are the Comatulæ, corresponding to the early Echinoderms without stems; next in our classification are the Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins; and the Holothurians stand highest, on account of certain structural features that place them at the head of their class. The Series of Time and the Series of Rank, then, accord perfectly, and investigations of the embryological development of these animals have shown that the higher Echinoderms pass through changes in the egg that indicate the same kind of gradation, for the young in some of them have a stem which is gradually dropped, and their successive phases of development recall the adult forms of the lower orders. Take as another illustration the class of Polyps. First in time we find a kind of Polyp Coral, one among the early Reef-Builders, who built their myriad lives into the solid crust of our globe then as their successors do now. These old Corals have their representatives among the present Polyps, and from their structure they are placed lowest in their class, while the embryological development of the higher ones recalls in the younger condition of the germ the same peculiar character. I might multiply examples, and draw equally striking illustrations from the other classes; and though these correspondences cannot be fully established while our knowledge of the embryological growth of animals is so scanty, and information about their geological succession, yet wherever we have been able to trace the connected history of any group of animals in time, and to compare it with the history of their embryological development and their structural relations as they exist to-day, the correspondence is found to be so complete that we are justified in believing that it will not fail in other instances. I may add that a gradation of exactly the same character controls the geographical distribution of animals over the surface of the globe. Here again I must beg my readers to take much of the evidence, which, if expanded, would fill a volume, for granted, since it would be entirely inappropriate here. But I may briefly state that animals are not scattered over the surface of our globe at random, but that they are associated together in what are called faunæ, and that these faunæ have their homes within certain districts—called by naturalists zoölogical provinces. The limits of these provinces are absolutely fixed, in the ocean as well as on the land, by certain physical conditions connected with climate, with altitude, with the pressure of the atmosphere, the weight of the water, etc.; and this is true even for animals of migratory habits, for all such migrations are periodical, and have boundaries as definite and impassable as those that limit the permanent homes of animals. There is a certain series established by the relations between different kinds of animals, as thus distributed over the globe, which agrees with the gradation in their rank, their growth, and their succession in time;—the law which distributes animals in successive faunæ, and in accordance both with their relative superiority or inferiority, and with the physical conditions essential to their existence, being the same as that which controls their structural relations, their embryological development, and their succession in time.

What, then, does this correspondence between the Series of Rank, the Series of Growth, the Series of Time, and the Series of Geographical Distribution in the life of animals teach us? Surely not that the connection between animals is a material one; for the same kind of relation exists between lower and higher animals of one type or one class to-day, in their structural features, in their embryological growth, and in their geographical distribution, as we trace in their order of succession in time; and therefore, if this kind of evidence proves that the later animals are the descendants of the earlier in any genealogical sense, it should also prove that the animals living in one part of the earth at present grow out of animals living in another part, and that the higher animals of one class as it exists now are developed out of the lower ones. The first of these propositions needs no refutation; and with regard to the second, all our investigations go to show that every being born into the world to-day adheres to its individual law of life, and though it passes through transient phases of growth that resemble other beings of its own kind, never pauses at a lower stage of development, or passes on to a higher condition than the one it is bound to fill. If, then, this connection is not a material one, what is it?—for that such a connection does exist throughout the Animal Kingdom, as intimate, as continuous, as complex as any series which the development theorists have ever contended for, is not to be denied. What can it be but an intellectual one? These correspondences are correspondences of thought,—of a thought that is always the same, whether it is expressed in the history of the type through all time, or in the life of the individuals that represent the type at the present moment, or in the growth of the germ of every being born into that type to-day. In other words, the same thought that spans the whole succession of geological ages controls the structural relations of all living beings as well as their distribution over the surface of the earth, and is repeated within the narrow compass of the smallest egg in which any being undergoes its growth.


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Deem not the ravished glory thine;

Nor think the flag shall scathless wave

Whereon thou bidd’st its presage shine,—

Land of the traitor and the slave!

God never set that holy sign

In deathless light among His stars

To make its blazonry divine

A scutcheon for thine impious wars!

And surely as the Wrong must fail

Before the everlasting Right,

So surely thy device shall pale

And shrivel in the Northern Light!

Look, where its coming splendors stream!

The red and white athwart the blue,—

While far above, the unconquered gleam

Of Freedom’s stars is blazing through!

Hark to the rustle and the sweep,

Like sound of mighty wings unfurled,

And bearing down the sapphire steep

Heaven’s hosts to help the imperilled world!

Light in the North! Each bristling lance

Of steely sheen a promise bears;

And all the midnight where they glance

A rosy flush of morning wears!

Yon symbol of your Southern sky

Shall surely mean but grief and loss;

Then tremble, as ye raise on high,

In sacrilege, the Southern Cross!

O brothers! we entreat in pain,

Take ye the unblessed emblem down!

Or purge your standard of its stain,

And join it with the Northern Crown!


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Once upon a time, Mr. Smith, who was seven feet in height, went out for a walk with Mr. Brown, whose stature was three feet and a half. It was in a distant age, in which people were different from what they are now, and in which events occurred such as do not usually occur in these days. Smith and Brown, having traversed various paths, and having passed several griffins, serpents, and mail-clad knights, came at length to a certain river. It was needful that they should cross it; and the idea was suggested that they should cross it by wading. They proceeded, accordingly, to wade across; and both arrived safely at the farther side. The water was exactly four feet deep,—not an inch more or less. On reaching the other bank of the river, Mr. Brown said,—

“This is awful work; it is no joke crossing a river like that. I was nearly drowned.”

“Nonsense!” replied Mr. Smith; “why make a fuss about crossing a shallow stream like this? Why, the water is only four feet deep: that is nothing at all!”

“Nothing to you, perhaps,” was the response of Mr. Brown, “but a serious matter for me. You observe,” he went on, “that water four feet deep is just six inches over my head. The river may be shallow to you, but it is deep to me.”

Mr. Smith, like many other individuals of great physical bulk and strength, had an intellect not much adapted for comprehending subtile and difficult thoughts. He took up the ground that things are what they are in themselves, and was incapable of grasping the idea that greatness and littleness, depth and shallowness, are relative things. An altercation ensued, which resulted in threats on the part of Smith that he would throw Brown into the river; and a coolness was occasioned between the friends which subsisted for several days.

The acute mind of the reader of this page will perceive that Mr. Smith was in error; and that the principle asserted by Mr. Brown was a sound and true one. It is unquestionable that a thing which is little to one man may be great to another man. And it is just as really and certainly great in this latter case as anything ever can be. And yet, many people do a thing exactly analogous to what was done by Smith. They insist that the water which is shallow to them shall be held to be absolutely shallow; and that, if smaller men declare that it is deep to themselves, these smaller men shall be regarded as weak, fanciful, and mistaken. Many people, as they look back upon the sorrows of their own childhood, or as they look round upon the sorrows of existing childhood, think that these sorrows are or were very light and insignificant, and their causes very small. These people do this, because to them, as they are now, big people, (to use the expressive phrase of childhood,) these sorrows would be light, if they should befall. But though these sorrows may seem light to us now, and their causes small, it is only as water four feet in depth was shallow to the tall Mr. Smith. The same water was very deep to the man whose stature was three feet and a half; and the peril was as great to him as could have been caused by eight feet depth of water to the man seven feet high. The little cause of trouble was great to the little child. The little heart was as full of grief and fear and bewilderment as it could hold.

Yes, I stand up against the common belief that childhood is our happiest time. And whenever I hear grown-up people say that it is so, I think of Mr. Smith, and the water four feet deep. I have always, in my heart, rebelled against that common delusion. I recall, as if it were yesterday, a day which I have left behind me more than twenty years. I see a large hall, the hall of a certain educational institution, which helped to make the present writer what he is. It is the day of the distribution of the prizes. The hall is crowded with little boys, and with the relations and friends of the little boys. And the chief magistrate of that ancient town, in all the pomp of civic majesty, has distributed the prizes. It is neither here nor there what honors were borne off by me; though I remember well that that day was the proudest that ever had come in my short life. But I see the face and hear the voice of the kind-hearted old dignitary, who has now been for many years in his grave. And I recall especially one sentence he said, as he made a few eloquent remarks at the close of the day’s proceedings.

“Ah, boys,” said he, “I can tell you this is the happiest time of all your life!”

“Little you know about the matter,” was my inward reply.

I knew that our worries, fears, and sorrows were just as great as those of any one else.

The sorrows of childhood and boyhood are not sorrows of that complicated and perplexing nature which sit heavy on the heart in after-years; but in relation to the little hearts that have to bear them, they are very overwhelming for the time. As has been said, great and little are quite relative terms. A weight which is not absolutely heavy is heavy to a weak person. We think an industrious flea draws a vast weight, if it draw the eighth part of an ounce. And I believe that the sorrows of childhood task the endurance of childhood as severely as those of manhood do the endurance of the man. Yes, we look back now, and we smile at them, and at the anguish they occasioned, because they would be no great matter to us now. Yet in all this we err just as Mr. Smith the tall man erred, in that discussion with the little man, Mr. Brown. Those early sorrows were great things then. Very bitter grief may be in a very little heart. “The sports of childhood,” we know from Goldsmith, “satisfy the child.” The sorrows of childhood overwhelm the poor little thing. I think a sympathetic reader would hardly read without a tear, as well as a smile, an incident in the early life of Patrick Fraser Tytler, recorded in his biography. When five years old, he got hold of the gun of an elder brother and broke the spring of its lock. What anguish the little boy must have endured, what a crushing sense of having caused an irremediable evil, before he sat down and printed in great letters the following epistle to his brother, the owner of the gun:—“Oh, Jamie, think no more of guns, for the main-spring of that is broken, and my heart is broken!” Doubtless the poor little fellow fancied that for all the remainder of his life he never could feel as he had felt before he touched the unlucky weapon. And looking back over many years, most of us can remember a child crushed and overwhelmed by some trouble which it thought could never be got over; and we can feel for our early self as though sympathizing with another being.

What I wish in this essay is, that we should look away along the path we have come in life; and that we should see, that, though many cares and troubles may now press upon us, still we may well be content. I speak to ordinary people, whose lot has been an ordinary lot. I know there are exceptional cases; but I firmly believe, that, as for most of us, we never have seen better days than these. No doubt, in the retrospect of early youth, we seem to see a time when the summer was brighter, the flowers sweeter, the snowy days of winter more cheerful, than we ever find them now. But, in sober sense, we know that it is all an illusion. It is only as the man travelling over the burning desert sees sparkling water and shady trees where he knows there is nothing but arid sand.

I dare say you know that one of the acutest of living men has maintained that it is foolish to grieve over past suffering. He says, truly enough in one sense, that the suffering which is past is as truly non-existent as the suffering which has never been at all; that, in fact, past suffering is now nothing, and is entitled to no more consideration than that to which nothing is entitled. No doubt, when bodily pain has ceased, it is all over: we do not feel it any more. And you have probably observed that the impression left by bodily pain passes very quickly away. The sleepless night, or the night of torment from toothache, which seemed such a distressing reality while it was dragging over, looks a very shadowy thing the next forenoon. But it may be doubted whether you will ever so far succeed in overcoming the fancies and weaknesses of humanity as to get people to cease to feel that past sufferings and sorrows are a great part of their present life. The remembrance of our past life is a great part of our present life. And, indeed, the greater part of human suffering consists in its anticipation and in its recollection. It is so by the inevitable law of our being. It is because we are rational creatures that it is so. We cannot help looking forward to that which is coming, and looking back on that which is past; nor can we suppress, as we do so, an emotion corresponding to the perception. There is not the least use in telling a little boy who knows that he is to have a tooth pulled out to-morrow, that it is absurd in him to make himself unhappy to-night through the anticipation of it. You may show with irrefragable force of reason, that the pain will last only for the two or three seconds during which the tooth is being wrenched from its place, and that it will be time enough to vex himself about the pain when he has actually to feel it. But the little fellow will pass but an unhappy night in the dismal prospect; and by the time the cold iron lays hold of the tooth, he will have endured by anticipation a vast deal more suffering than the suffering of the actual operation. It is so with bigger people, looking forward to greater trials. And it serves no end whatever to prove that all this ought not to be. The question as to the emotions turned off in the workings of the human mind is one of fact. It is not how the machine ought to work, but how the machine does work. And as with the anticipation of suffering, so with its retrospect. The great grief which is past, even though its consequences no longer directly press upon us, casts its shadow over after-years. There are, indeed, some hardships and trials upon which it is possible that we may look back with satisfaction. The contrast with them enhances the enjoyment of better days. But these trials, it seems to me, must be such as come through the direct intervention of Providence; and they must be clear of the elements of human cruelty or injustice. I do not believe that a man who was a weakly and timid boy can ever look back with pleasure upon the ill-usage of the brutal bully of his school-days, or upon the injustice of his teacher in cheating him out of some well-earned prize. There are kinds of great suffering which can never be thought of without present suffering, so long as human nature continues what it is. And I believe that past sorrows are a great reality in our present life, and exert a great influence over our present life, whether for good or ill. As you may see in the trembling knees of some poor horse, in its drooping head, and spiritless paces, that it was overwrought when young: so, if the human soul were a thing that could be seen, you might discern the scars where the iron entered into it long ago,—you might trace not merely the enduring remembrance, but the enduring results, of the incapacity and dishonesty of teachers, the heartlessness of companions, and the idiotic folly and cruelty of parents. No, it will not do to tell us that past sufferings have ceased to exist, while their remembrance continues so vivid, and their results so great. You are not done with the bitter frosts of last winter, though it be summer now, if your blighted evergreens remain as their result and memorial. And the man who was brought up in an unhappy home in childhood will never feel that that unhappy home has ceased to be a present reality, if he knows that its whole discipline fostered in him a spirit of distrust in his kind which is not yet entirely got over, and made him set himself to the work of life with a heart somewhat soured and prematurely old. The past is a great reality. We are here the living embodiment of all we have seen and felt through all our life,—fashioned into our present form by millions of little touches, and by none with a more real result than the hours of sorrow we have known.

One great cause of the suffering of boyhood is the bullying of bigger boys at school. I know nothing practically of the English system of fagging at public schools, but I am not prepared to join out and out in the cry against it. I see many evils inherent in the system; but I see that various advantages may result from it, too. To organize a recognized subordination of lesser boys to bigger ones must unquestionably tend to cut the ground from under the feet of the unrecognized, unauthorized, private bully. But I know that at large schools, where there is no fagging, bullying on the part of youthful tyrants prevails to a great degree. Human nature is beyond doubt fallen. The systematic cruelty of a school-bully to a little boy is proof enough of that, and presents one of the very hatefullest phases of human character. It is worthy of notice, that, as a general rule, the higher you ascend in the social scale among boys, the less of bullying there is to be found. Something of the chivalrous and the magnanimous comes out in the case of the sons of gentlemen: it is only among such that you will ever find a boy, not personally interested in the matter, standing up against the bully in the interest of right and justice. I have watched a big boy thrashing a little one, in the presence of half a dozen other big boys, not one of whom interfered on behalf of the oppressed little fellow. You may be sure I did not watch the transaction longer than was necessary to ascertain whether there was a grain of generosity in the hulking boors; and you may be sure, too, that that thrashing of the little boy was, to the big bully, one of the most unfortunate transactions in which he had engaged in his bestial and blackguard, though brief, life. I took care of that, you may rely on it. And I favored the bully’s companions with my sentiments as to their conduct, with an energy of statement that made them sneak off, looking very like whipped spaniels. My friendly reader, let us never fail to stop a bully, when we can. And we very often can. Among the writer’s possessions might be found by the curious inspector several black kid gloves, no longer fit for use, though apparently not very much worn. Surveying these integuments minutely, you would find the thumb of the right hand rent away, beyond the possibility of mending. Whence the phenomenon? It comes of the writer’s determined habit of stopping the bully. Walking along the street, or the country-road, I occasionally see a big blackguard fellow thrashing a boy much less than himself. I am well aware that some prudent individuals would pass by on the other side, possibly addressing an admonition to the big blackguard. But I approve Thomson’s statement, that “prudence to baseness verges still”; and I follow a different course. Suddenly approaching the blackguard, by a rapid movement, generally quite unforeseen by him, I take him by the arm, and occasionally (let me confess) by the neck, and shake him till his teeth rattle. This, being done with a new glove on the right hand, will generally unfit that glove for further use. For the bully must be taken with a grip so firm and sudden as shall serve to paralyze his nervous system for the time. And never once have I found the bully fail to prove a whimpering coward. The punishment is well deserved, of course; and it is a terribly severe one in ordinary cases. It is a serious thing, in the estimation both of the bully and his companions, that he should have so behaved as to have drawn on himself the notice of a passer-by, and especially of a parson. The bully is instantly cowed; and by a few words to any of his school-associates who may be near, you can render him unenviably conspicuous among them for a week or two. I never permit bullying to pass unchecked; and so long as my strength and life remain, I never will. I trust you never will. If you could stand coolly by, and see the cruelty you could check, or the wrong you could right, and move no finger to do it, you are not the reader I want, nor the human being I choose to know. I hold the cautious and sagacious man, who can look on at an act of bullying without stopping it and punishing it, as a worse and more despicable animal than the bully himself.

Of course, you must interfere with judgment; and you must follow up your interference with firmness. Don’t intermeddle, like Don Quixote, in such a manner as to make things worse. It is only in the case of continued and systematic cruelty that it is worth while to work temporary aggravation, to the end of ultimate and entire relief. And sometimes that is unavoidable. You remember how, when Moses made his application to Pharaoh for release to the Hebrews, the first result was the aggravation of their burdens. The supply of straw was cut off, and the tale of bricks was to remain the same as before. It could not be helped. And though things came right at last, the immediate consequence was that the Hebrews turned in bitterness on their intending deliverer, and charged their aggravated sufferings upon him. Now, my friend, if you set yourself to the discomfiture of a bully, see you do it effectually. If needful, follow up your first shaking. Find out his master, find out his parents; let the fellow see distinctly that your interference is no passing fancy. Make him understand that you are thoroughly determined that his bullying shall cease. And carry out your determination unflinchingly.

I frequently see the boys of a certain large public school, which is attended by boys of the better class; and judging from their cheerful and happy aspect, I judge that bullying among boys of that condition is becoming rare. Still, I doubt not, there yet are poor little nervous fellows whose school-life is embittered by it. I don’t think any one could read the poet Cowper’s account of how he was bullied at school, without feeling his blood a good deal stirred, if not entirely boiling. If I knew of such a case within a good many miles, I should stop it, though I never wore a glove again that was not split across the right palm.

But, doubtless, the greatest cause of the sorrows of childhood is the mismanagement and cruelty of parents. You will find many parents who make favorites of some of their children to the neglect of others: an error and a sin which is bitterly felt by the children who are held down, and which can never by possibility result in good to any party concerned. And there are parents who deliberately lay themselves out to torment their children. There are two classes of parents who are the most inexorably cruel and malignant: it is hard to say which class excels, but it is certain that both classes exceed all ordinary mortals. One is the utterly blackguard: the parents about whom there is no good nor pretence of good. The other is the wrong-headedly conscientious and religious: probably, after all, there is greater rancor and malice about these last than about any other. These act upon a system of unnatural repression, and systematized weeding out of all enjoyment from life. These are the people whose very crowning act of hatred and malice towards any one is to pray for him, or to threaten to pray for him. These are the people who, if their children complain of their bare and joyless life, say that such complaints indicate a wicked heart, or Satanic possession; and have recourse to further persecution to bring about a happier frame of mind. Yes: the wrong-headed and wrong-hearted religionist is probably the very worst type of man or woman on whom the sun looks down. And, oh! how sad to think of the fashion in which stupid, conceited, malicious blockheads set up their own worst passions as the fruits of the working of the Blessed Spirit, and caricature, to the lasting injury of many a young heart, the pure and kindly religion of the Blessed Redeemer! These are the folk who inflict systematic and ingenious torment on their children: and, unhappily, a very contemptible parent can inflict much suffering on a sensitive child. But of this there is more to be said hereafter; and before going on to it, let us think of another evil influence which darkens and embitters the early years of many.

It is the cruelty, injustice, and incompetence of many schoolmasters. I know a young man of twenty-eight, who told me, that, when at school in a certain large city in Peru, (let us say,) he never went into his class any day without feeling quite sick with nervous terror. The entire class of boys lived in that state of cowed submission to a vulgar, stupid, bullying, flogging barbarian. If it prevents the manners from becoming brutal diligently to study the ingenuous arts, it appears certain that diligently to teach them sometimes leads to a directly contrary result. The bullying schoolmaster has now become an almost extinct animal; but it is not very long since the spirit of Mr. Squeers was to be found, in its worst manifestations, far beyond the precincts of Dotheboys Hall. You would find fellows who showed a grim delight in walking down a class with a cane in their hand, enjoying the evident fear they occasioned as they swung it about, occasionally coming down with a savage whack on some poor fellow who was doing nothing whatsoever. These brutal teachers would flog, and that till compelled to cease by pure exhaustion, not merely for moral offences, which possibly deserve it, (though I do not believe any one was ever made better by flogging,) but for making a mistake in saying a lesson, which the poor boy had done his best to prepare, and which was driven out of his head by the fearful aspect of the truculent blackguard with his cane and his hoarse voice. And how indignant, in after-years, many a boy of the last generation must have been, to find that this tyrant of his childhood was in truth a humbug, a liar, a fool, and a sneak! Yet how that miserable piece of humanity was feared! How they watched his eye, and laughed at the old idiot’s wretched jokes! I have several friends who have told me such stories of their school-days, that I used to wonder that they did not, after they became men, return to the schoolboy spot that they might heartily shake their preceptor of other years, or even kick him!

If there be a thing to be wondered at, it is that the human race is not much worse than it is. It has not a fair chance. I am not thinking now of an original defect in the material provided: I am thinking only of the kind of handling it gets. I am thinking of the amount of judgment which may be found in most parents and in most teachers, and of the degree of honesty which may be found in many. I suppose there is no doubt that the accursed system of the cheap Yorkshire schools was by no means caricatured by Mr. Dickens in “Nicholas Nickleby.” I believe that starvation and brutality were the rule at these institutions. And I do not think it says much for the manliness of Yorkshire men and of Yorkshire clergymen, that these foul dens of misery and wickedness were suffered to exist so long without a voice raised to let the world know of them. I venture to think, that, if Dr. Guthrie of Edinburgh had lived anywhere near Greta Bridge, Mr. Squeers and his compeers would have attained a notoriety that would have stopped their trade. I cannot imagine how any one, with the spirit of a man in him, could sleep and wake within sight of one of these schools without lifting a hand or a voice to stop what was going on there. But without supposing these extreme cases, I can remember what I have myself seen of the incompetence and injustice of teachers. I burn with indignation yet, as I think of a malignant blockhead who once taught me for a few months. I have been at various schools; and I spent six years at one venerable university (where my instructors were wise and worthy); and I am now so old, that I may say, without any great exhibition of vanity, that I have always kept well up among my school- and college-companions: but that blockhead kept me steadily at the bottom of my class, and kept a frightful dunce at the top of it, by his peculiar system. I have observed (let me say) that masters and professors who are stupid themselves have a great preference for stupid fellows, and like to keep down clever ones. A professor who was himself a dunce at college, and who has been jobbed into his chair, being quite unfit for it, has a fellow-feeling for other dunces. He is at home with them, you see, and is not afraid that they see through him and despise him. The injustice of the malignant blockhead who was my early instructor, and who succeeded in making several months of my boyhood unhappy enough, was taken up and imitated by several lesser blockheads among the boys. I remember particularly one sneaking wretch who was occasionally set to mark down on a slate the names of such boys as talked in school; such boys being punished by being turned to the bottom of their class. I remember how that sneaking wretch used always to mark my name down, though I kept perfectly silent: and how he put my name last on the list, that I might have to begin the lesson the very lowest in my form. The sneaking wretch was bigger than I, so I could not thrash him; and any representation I made to the malignant blockhead of a schoolmaster was entirely disregarded. I cannot think but with considerable ferocity, that probably there are many schools to-day in Britain containing a master who has taken an unreasonable dislike to some poor boy, and who lays himself out to make that poor boy unhappy. And I know that such may be the case where the boy is neither bad nor stupid. And if the school be one attended by a good many boys of the lower grade, there are sure to be several sneaky boys among them who will devote themselves to tormenting the one whom the master hates and torments.

It cannot be denied that there is a generous and magnanimous tone about the boys of a school attended exclusively by the children of the better classes, which is unknown among the children of uncultivated boors. I have observed, that, if you offer a prize to the cleverest and most industrious boy of a certain form in a school of the upper class, and propose to let the prize be decided by the votes of the boys themselves, you will almost invariably find it fairly given: that is, given to the boy who deserves it best. If you explain, in a frank, manly way, to the little fellows, that, in asking each for whom he votes, you are asking each to say upon his honor whom he thinks the cleverest and most diligent boy in the form, nineteen boys out of twenty will answer honestly. But I have witnessed the signal failure of such an appeal to the honor of the bumpkins of a country school. I was once present at the examination of such a school, and remarked carefully how the boys acquitted themselves. After the examination was over, the master proposed, very absurdly, to let the boys of each class vote the prize for that particular class. The voting began. A class of about twenty was called up: I explained to the boys what they were to do. I told them they were not to vote for the boy they liked best, but were to tell me faithfully who had done best in the class-lessons. I then asked the first boy in the line for whom he gave his vote. To my mortification, instead of voting for a little fellow who had done incomparably best at the examination, he gave his vote for a big sullen-looking blockhead who had done conspicuously ill. I asked the next boy, and received the same answer. So all round the class: all voted for the big sullen-looking blockhead. One or two did not give their votes quite promptly; and I could discern a threatening glance cast at them by the big sullen-looking blockhead, and an ominous clenching of the blockhead’s right fist. I went round the class without remark; and the blockhead made sure of the prize. Of course this would not do. The blockhead could not be suffered to get the prize; and it was expedient that he should be made to remember the occasion on which he had sought to tamper with justice and right. Addressing the blockhead, amid the dead silence of the school, I said: “You shall not get the prize, because I can judge for myself that you don’t deserve it. I can see that you are the stupidest boy in the class; and I have seen reason, during this voting, to believe that you are the worst. You have tried to bully these boys into voting for you. Their votes go for nothing; for their voting for you proves either that they are so stupid as to think you deserve the prize, or so dishonest as to say they think so when they don’t think so.” Then I inducted the blockhead into a seat where I could see him well, and proceeded to take the votes over again. I explained to the boys once more what they had to do; and explained that any boy would be telling a lie who voted the prize unfairly. I also told them that I knew who deserved the prize, and that they knew it too, and that they had better vote fairly. Then, instead of saying to each boy, “For whom do you vote?” I said to each, “Tell me who did best in the class during these months past.” Each boy in reply named the boy who really deserved the prize: and the little fellow got it. I need not record the means I adopted to prevent the sullen-looking blockhead from carrying out his purpose of thrashing the little fellow. It may suffice to say that the means were thoroughly effectual; and that the blockhead was very meek and tractable for about six weeks after that memorable day.

But, after all, the great cause of the sorrows of childhood is unquestionably the mismanagement of parents. You hear a great deal about parents who spoil their children by excessive kindness; but I venture to think that a greater number of children are spoiled by stupidity and cruelty on the part of their parents. You may find parents who, having started from a humble origin, have attained to wealth, and who, instead of being glad to think that their children are better off than they themselves were, exhibit a diabolical jealousy of their children. You will find such wretched beings insisting that their children shall go through needless trials and mortifications, because they themselves went through the like. Why, I do not hesitate to say that one of the thoughts which would most powerfully lead a worthy man to value material prosperity would be the thought that his boys would have a fairer and happier start in life than he had, and would be saved the many difficulties on which he still looks back with pain. You will find parents, especially parents of the pharisaical and wrong-headedly religious class, who seem to hold it a sacred duty to make the little things unhappy; who systematically endeavor to render life as bare, ugly, and wretched a thing as possible; who never praise their children when they do right, but punish them with great severity when they do wrong; who seem to hate to see their children lively or cheerful in their presence; who thoroughly repel all sympathy or confidence on the part of their children, and then mention as a proof that their children are possessed by the Devil, that their children always like to get away from them; who rejoice to cut off any little enjoyment,—rigidly carrying out into practice the fundamental principle of their creed, which undoubtedly is, that “nobody should ever please himself, neither should anybody ever please anybody else, because in either case he is sure to displease God.” No doubt, Mr. Buckle, in his second volume, caricatured and misrepresented the religion of Scotland as a country; but he did not in the least degree caricature or misrepresent the religion of some people in Scotland. The great doctrine underlying all other doctrines, in the creed of a few unfortunate beings, is, that God is spitefully angry to see his creatures happy; and of course the practical lesson follows, that they are following the best example, when they are spitefully angry to see their children happy.

Then a great trouble, always pressing heavily on many a little mind, is that it is overtasked with lessons. You still see here and there idiotic parents striving to make infant phenomena of their children, and recording with much pride how their children could read and write at an unnaturally early age. Such parents are fools: not necessarily malicious fools, but fools beyond question. The great use to which the first six or seven years of life should be given is the laying the foundation of a healthful constitution in body and mind; and the instilling of those first principles of duty and religion which do not need to be taught out of any books. Even if you do not permanently injure the young brain and mind by prematurely overtasking them,—even if you do not permanently blight the bodily health and break the mind’s cheerful spring, you gain nothing. Your child at fourteen years old is not a bit farther advanced in his education than a child who began his years after him; and the entire result of your stupid driving has been to overcloud some days which should have been among the happiest of his life. It is a woful sight to me to see the little forehead corrugated with mental effort, though the effort be to do no more than master the multiplication table: it was a sad story I lately heard of a little boy repeating his Latin lesson over and over again in the delirium of the fever of which he died, and saying piteously that indeed he could not do it better. I don’t like to see a little face looking unnaturally anxious and earnest about a horrible task of spelling; and even when children pass that stage, and grow up into school-boys who can read Thucydides and write Greek iambics, it is not wise in parents to stimulate a clever boy’s anxiety to hold the first place in his class. That anxiety is strong enough already; it needs rather to be repressed. It is bad enough even at college to work on late into the night; but at school it ought not to be suffered for one moment. If a lad takes his place in his class every day in a state of nervous tremor, he may be in the way to get his gold medal, indeed; but he is in the way to shatter his constitution for life.

We all know, of course, that children are subjected to worse things than these. I think of little things early set to hard work, to add a little to their parents’ scanty store. Yet, if it be only work, they bear it cheerfully. This afternoon, I was walking through a certain quiet street, when I saw a little child standing with a basket at a door. The little man looked at various passers-by; and I am happy to say, that, when he saw me, he asked me to ring the door-bell for him: for, though he had been sent with that basket, which was not a light one, he could not reach up to the bell. I asked him how old he was. “Five years past,” said the child, quite cheerfully and independently. “God help you, poor little man!” I thought; “the doom of toil has fallen early upon you!” If you visit much among the poor, few things will touch you more than the unnatural sagacity and trustworthiness of children who are little more than babies. You will find these little things left in a bare room by themselves,—the eldest six years old,—while the poor mother is out at her work. And the eldest will reply to your questions in a way that will astonish you, till you get accustomed to such things. I think that almost as heart-rending a sight as you will readily see is the misery of a little thing who has spilt in the street the milk she was sent to fetch, or broken a jug, and who is sitting in despair beside the spilt milk or the broken fragments. Good Samaritan, never pass by such a sight; bring out your two-pence; set things completely right: a small matter and a kind word will cheer and comfort an overwhelmed heart. That child has a truculent step-mother, or (alas!) mother, at home, who would punish that mishap as nothing should be punished but the gravest moral delinquency. And lower down the scale than this, it is awful to see want, cold, hunger, rags, in a little child. I have seen the wee thing shuffling along the pavement in great men’s shoes, holding up its sorry tatters with its hands, and casting on the passengers a look so eager, yet so hopeless, as went to one’s heart. Let us thank God that there is one large city in the empire where you need never see such a sight, and where, if you do, you know how to relieve it effectually; and let us bless the name and the labors and the genius of Thomas Guthrie! It is a sad thing to see the toys of such little children as I can think of. What curious things they are able to seek amusement in! I have known a brass button at the end of a string a much prized possession. I have seen a grave little boy standing by a broken chair in a bare garret, solemnly arranging and rearranging two pins upon the broken chair. A machine much employed by poor children in country places is a slate tied to a bit of string: this, being drawn along the road, constitutes a cart; and you may find it attended by the admiration of the entire young population of three or four cottages standing in the moorland miles from any neighbor.

You will not unfrequently find parents who, if they cannot keep back their children from some little treat, will try to infuse a sting into it, so as to prevent the children from enjoying it. They will impress on their children that they must be very wicked to care so much about going out to some children’s party; or they will insist that their children should return home at some preposterously early hour, so as to lose the best part of the fun, and so as to appear ridiculous in the eyes of their young companions. You will find this amiable tendency in people intrusted with the care of older children. I have heard of a man whose nephew lived with him, and lived a very cheerless life. When the season came round at which the lad hoped to be allowed to go and visit his parents, he ventured, after much hesitation, to hint this to his uncle. Of course the uncle felt that it was quite right the lad should go, but he grudged him the chance of the little enjoyment, and the happy thought struck him that he might let the lad go, and at the same time make the poor fellow uncomfortable in going. Accordingly he conveyed his permission to the lad to go by roaring out in a savage manner, “Begone!” This made the poor lad feel as if it were his duty to stay, and as if it were very wicked in him to wish to go; and though he ultimately went, he enjoyed his visit with only half a heart. There are parents and guardians who take great pains to make their children think themselves very bad,—to make the little things grow up in the endurance of the pangs of a bad conscience. For conscience, in children, is a quite artificial thing: you may dictate to it what it is to say. And parents, often injudicious, sometimes malignant, not seldom apply hard names to their children, which sink down into the little heart and memory far more deeply than they think. If a child cannot eat fat, you may instil into him that it is because he is so wicked; and he will believe you for a while. A favorite weapon in the hands of some parents, who have devoted themselves diligently to making their children miserable, is to frequently predict to the children the remorse which they (the children) will feel after they (the parents) are dead. In such cases, it would be difficult to specify the precise things which the children are to feel remorseful about. It must just be, generally, because they were so wicked, and because they did not sufficiently believe the infallibility and impeccability of their ancestors. I am reminded of the woman mentioned by Sam Weller, whose husband disappeared. The woman had been a fearful termagant; the husband, a very inoffensive man. After his disappearance, the woman issued an advertisement, assuring him, that, if he returned, he would be fully forgiven; which, as Mr. Weller justly remarked, was very generous, seeing he had never done anything at all.

Yes, the conscience of children is an artificial and a sensitive thing. The other day, a friend of mine, who is one of the kindest of parents and the most amiable of men, told me what happened in his house on a certain Fast-day. A Scotch Fast-day, you may remember, is the institution which so completely puzzled Mr. Buckle. That historian fancied that to fast means in Scotland to abstain from food. Had Mr. Buckle known anything whatever about Scotland, he would have known that a Scotch Fast-day means a week-day on which people go to church, but on which (especially in the dwellings of the clergy) there is a better dinner than usual. I never knew man or woman in all my life who on a Fast-day refrained from eating. And quite right, too. The growth of common sense has gradually abolished literal fasting. In a Oriental climate, abstinence from food may give the mind the preeminence over the body, and so leave the mind better fitted for religious duties. In our country, literal fasting would have just the contrary effect: it would give the body the mastery over the soul; it would make a man so physically uncomfortable that he could not attend with profit to his religious duties at all. I am aware, Anglican reader, of the defects of my countrymen; but commend me to the average Scotchman for sound practical sense. But to return. These Fast-days are by many people observed as rigorously as the Scotch Sunday. On the forenoon of such a day, my friend’s little child, three years old, came to him in much distress. She said, as one who had a fearful sin to confess, “I have been playing with my toys this morning”; and then began to cry as if her little heart would break. I know some stupid parents who would have strongly encouraged this needless sensitiveness; and who would thus have made their child unhappy at the time, and prepared the way for an indignant bursting of these artificial trammels when the child had grown up to maturity. But my friend was not of that stamp. He comforted the little thing, and told her, that, though it might be as well not to play with her toys on a Fast-day, what she had done was nothing to cry about. I think, my reader, that, even if you were a Scotch minister, you would appear with considerable confidence before your Judge, if you had never done worse than failed to observe a Scotch Fast-day with the Covenanting austerity.

But when one looks back and looks round, and tries to reckon up the sorrows of childhood arising from parental folly, one feels that the task is endless. There are parents who will not suffer their children to go to the little feasts which children occasionally have, either on that wicked principle that all enjoyment is sinful, or because the children have recently committed some small offence, which is to be thus punished. There are parents who take pleasure in informing strangers, in their children’s presence, about their children’s faults, to the extreme bitterness of the children’s hearts. There are parents who will not allow their children to be taught dancing, regarding dancing as sinful. The result is, that the children are awkward and unlike other children; and when they are suffered to spend an evening among a number of companions who have all learned dancing, they suffer a keen mortification which older people ought to be able to understand. Then you will find parents, possessing ample means, who will not dress their children like others, but send them out in very shabby garments. Few things cause a more painful sense of humiliation to a child. It is a sad sight to see a little fellow hiding round the corner when some one passes who is likely to recognize him, afraid to go through the decent streets, and creeping out of sight by back-ways. We have all seen that. We have all sympathized heartily with the reduced widow who has it not in her power to dress her boy better; and we have all felt lively indignation at the parents who had the power to attire their children becomingly, but whose heartless parsimony made the little things go about under a constant sense of painful degradation.

An extremely wicked way of punishing children is by shutting them up in a dark place. Darkness is naturally fearful to human beings, and the stupid ghost-stories of many nurses make it especially fearful to a child. It is a stupid and wicked thing to send a child on an errand in a dark night. I do not remember passing through a greater trial in my youth than once walking three miles alone (it was not going on an errand) in the dark, along a road thickly shaded with trees. I was a little fellow; but I got over the distance in half an hour. Part of the way was along the wall of a church-yard, one of those ghastly, weedy, neglected, accursed-looking spots where stupidity has done what it can to add circumstances of disgust and horror to the Christian’s long sleep. Nobody ever supposed that this walk was a trial to a boy of twelve years old: so little are the thoughts of children understood. And children are reticent: I am telling now about that dismal walk for the very first time. And in the illnesses of childhood, children sometimes get very close and real views of death. I remember, when I was nine years old, how every evening, when I lay down to sleep, I used for about a year to picture myself lying dead, till I felt as though the coffin were closing round me. I used to read at that period, with a curious feeling of fascination, Blair’s poem, “The Grave.” But I never dreamed of telling anybody about these thoughts. I believe that thoughtful children keep most of their thoughts to themselves, and in respect of the things of which they think most are as profoundly alone as the Ancient Mariner in the Pacific. I have heard of a parent, an important member of a very strait sect of the Pharisees, whose child, when dying, begged to be buried not in a certain foul old hideous church-yard, but in a certain cheerful cemetery. This request the poor little creature made with all the energy of terror and despair. But the strait Pharisee refused the dying request, and pointed out with polemical bitterness to the child that he must be very wicked indeed to care at such a time where he was to be buried, or what might be done with his body after death. How I should enjoy the spectacle of that unnatural, heartless, stupid wretch tarred and feathered! The dying child was caring for a thing about which Shakspeare cared; and it was not in mere human weakness, but “by faith,” that “Joseph, when he was a-dying, gave commandment concerning his bones.”

I believe that real depression of spirits, usually the sad heritage of after-years, is often felt in very early youth. It sometimes comes of the child’s belief that he must be very bad, because he is so frequently told that he is so. It sometimes comes of the child’s fears, early felt, as to what is to become of him. His parents, possibly, with the good sense and kind feeling which distinguish various parents, have taken pains to drive it into the child, that, if his father should die, he will certainly starve, and may very probably have to become a wandering beggar. And these sayings have sunk deep into the little heart. I remember how a friend told me that his constant wonder, when he was twelve or thirteen years old, was this: If life was such a burden already, and so miserable to look back upon, how could he ever bear it when be had grown older?

But now, my reader, I am going to stop. I have a great deal more marked down to say; but the subject is growing so thoroughly distressing to me, as I go on, that I shall go on no farther. It would make me sour and wretched for the next week, if I were to state and illustrate the varied sorrows of childhood of which I intended yet to speak: and if I were to talk out my heart to you about the people who cause these, I fear my character for good-nature would be gone with you forever. “This genial writer,” as the newspapers call me, would show but little geniality: I am aware, indeed, that I have already been writing in a style which, to say the least, is snappish. So I shall say nothing of the first death that comes in the family in our childish days,—its hurry, its confusion, its awe-struck mystery, its wonderfully vivid recalling of the words and looks of the dead; nor of the terrible trial to a little child of being sent away from home to school,—the heart-sickness, and the weary counting of the weeks and days before the time of returning home again. But let me say to every reader who has it in his power directly or indirectly to do so, Oh, do what you can to make children happy! oh, seek to give that great enduring blessing of a happy youth! Whatever after-life may prove, let there be something bright to look back upon in the horizon of their early time! You may sour the human spirit forever, by cruelty and injustice in youth. There is a past suffering which exalts and purifies; but this leaves only an evil result: it darkens all the world, and all our views of it. Let us try to make every little child happy. The most selfish parent might try to please a little child, if it were only to see the fresh expression of unblunted feeling, and a liveliness of pleasurable emotion which in after-years we shall never know, I do not believe a great English barrister is so happy when he has the Great Seal committed to him as two little and rather ragged urchins whom I saw this very afternoon. I was walking along a country-road, and overtook them. They were about five years old. I walked slower, and talked to them for a few minutes, and found that they were good boys, and went to school every day. Then I produced two coins of the copper coinage of Britain: one a large penny of ancient days, another a small penny of the present age. “There is a penny for each of you,” I said, with some solemnity: “one is large, you see, and the other small; but they are each worth exactly the same. Go and get something good.” I wish you had seen them go off! It is a cheap and easy thing to make a little heart happy. May this hand never write another essay, if it ever wilfully miss the chance of doing so! It is all quite right in after-years to be careworn and sad. We understand these matters ourselves. Let others bear the burden which we ourselves bear, and which is doubtless good for us. But the poor little things! I can enter into the feeling of a kind-hearted man who told me that he never could look at a number of little children but the tears came into his eyes. How much these young creatures have to bear yet! I think you can, as you look at them, in some degree understand and sympathize with the Redeemer, who, when he “saw a great multitude, was moved with compassion toward them”! Ah, you smooth little face, (you may think,) I know what years will make of you, if they find you in this world! And you, light little heart, will know your weight of care!

And I remember, as I write these concluding lines, who they were that the Best and Kindest this world ever saw liked to have near him; and what the reason was he gave why he felt most in his element when they were by his side. He wished to have little children round him, and would not have them chidden away; and this because there was something about them that reminded him of the Place from which he came. He liked the little faces and the little voices,—he to whom the wisest are in understanding as children. And oftentimes, I believe, these little ones still do his work. Oftentimes, I believe, when the worn man is led to him in childlike confidence, it is by the hand of a little child.


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Three hundred and fifty years ago, a Spanish gentleman sailed on a cruise that may be considered remarkable even in the history of the wonderful adventures of the age of Columbus and Da Gama. Juan Ponce de Leon, having lost the government of Porto Rico, resolved to discover a world for himself, and so become as renowned as “The Admiral.” With the strong fanaticism of his time and his race, he believed that there was a third world to be found, and that it “had been saved up” for him, a gentleman of Leon, and a loyal subject of their Catholic Majesties, who had done good service for his sovereigns and the faith in Granada, and later in the Indies. While he was thinking of the course in which he should sail, he was told that to the North there lay a land which not only contained unlimited gold, and many other material good things, but also a fountain of such marvellous nature that to bathe in it was to secure the return of youth. This revival of an old classic story13 fired the imagination of the adventurous cavalier, and he sailed forthwith (March 3, 1512) in search of a land so rich in things that all men, from philosophers to politicians, desire to have,—perfect health and boundless wealth. We need not say that Ponce de Leon failed as completely as if he had sailed in search of the Northwest Passage, for he died in less than ten years, a worn-out old man, aged beyond his years, leaving little gold behind him, and presenting at his parting hour anything but the appearance of youth. He was a type of the Spaniards of those days, who believed everything, and whose valor was as great as their credulity; and his cruise in search of the Fontaine de Jouvence was quite worthy of a native of a country which seems to be allowed the privilege of an occasional “dip” into that fountain, though at long intervals, but is denied the power of constantly bathing in it.

Spain, unlike most other countries, rises and falls, and apparently is never so near to degradation as when she is most strong, and never so near to power as when she is at the weakest point to which a nation can sink and still remain a nation. All states have had both good and evil fortune, but no other great European kingdom has known the extreme and extraordinary changes that have been experienced by Spain. France has met with heavy reverses, but she has been a great and powerful country ever since the days of Philip Augustus, whose body was turned up the other day, after a repose of more than six centuries. Even the victories of the English Plantagenets could but temporarily check her growth; and notwithstanding the successes of Eugène and Marlborough, Louis XIV. left France a greater country than he found it. England’s lowest point was reached during the reigns of her first four Stuart monarchs, but her weakness was exhibited only on the side of foreign politics: it being absurd to suppose that the country which could produce Hampden and Cromwell, Strafford and Falkland, and the men who formed the Cavalier and Roundhead armies, was then in a state of decay. At the worst, she was but depressed, and the removal of such dead weights from her as Charles I. and James II. was all that was necessary to enable her to vindicate her claim to a first-rate place in the European family. In 1783, at the close of the American War, men said that all was over with England; but so mistaken were they, that at that very time were growing up the men who were to lead her fleets and armies with success in contests compared with which the combats of Gates and Burgoyne, of Cornwallis and Washington, were but as skirmishes. No other nation, perhaps, ever had so sudden and so great a fall as that which France met with in 1814-15. It was the most perfect specimen of the “grand smash” order of things that history mentions, if we consider both what was lost, and how quickly it was lost. But it was humiliating merely, and was attended with no loss of true strength. There was taken from France that which she had no right to hold, any more than England has at this moment to hold Gibraltar and Aden and India. France remained much as she had been under the old monarchy, and there were some millions more of Frenchmen than had ever lived under a Bourbon of former days, and they were of a better breed than the political slaves, and in some instances the personal serfs, who had existed under kings that misruled at Versailles and Marly. How rapidly France rose above the effects of her fall we have seen, as her recovery belongs to contemporary history. Her various mind was never more vigorous than it has been since 1815. As to her political and military greatness, millions of men who were living on Waterloo’s day, and who read of that “dishonest victory” as “news,” lived to read the details of Solferino, and of the redemption of Italy.

Not so has it been with Spain. Unlike all other nations in all other respects, she could not allow herself to resemble them even in the matter of making sacrifices to Mutability. Had Juan Ponce de Leon been so unlucky as to find the Fountain of Youth, and had he been so unwise as to reserve its waters for his own private washing and drinking, and so have lived from the age of American discovery to the age of American secession, he would, as a Spaniard, have been forced to undergo many mortifications in the course of the dozen generations that he would then have survived beyond his originally appointed time. Spain has been a greater country than any other in Europe, but she has experienced greater changes than any other European country. She has never known such a catastrophe as that which befell France in the early part of our century, but her losses have been far beyond those which France has ever met with. It was the lot of France to fall at once, to pass from the highest place in the world to the lowest at one step, to abdicate her hegemony with something of that rapidity which is common in dreams, but which is of rare occurrence in real life. It has been the lot of Spain to perish by the dry rot, and to lose imperial positions through the operation of internal causes. So situated as to be almost beyond the reach of effective foreign attack, Spain has had to contend against the processes of domestic decay more than any other leading nation of modern times. To these she has often had to succumb, but she has never failed in due time to redeem herself, and, after having been a by-word for imbecility, to rise again to a commanding place. Three times in less than three centuries have the Spaniards fallen so low as to become of less account in the European system than the feeblest of the Northern peoples; and on each occasion has the native, inherent vigor of the race enabled it to astonish mankind by entering again upon the career of greatness, not always, it must be allowed, after the wisest fashion, but so as to testify to the continued existence of those high qualities which made the Castilian the Roman of the sixteenth century.

Spain was of considerable importance in Europe from a very early period of modern history; but the want of union among her communities, and the presence of Mussulman power in the Peninsula, prevented her from exercising more influence in the Old World than would fall to our share in the New, should the principles of the Secession party prevail. It was not until a union had been effected through the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, that the power of Christian Spain was brought to bear upon the remnant of the Mussulmans of that country, and rounded and completed the work of redeeming it from the dominion of the followers of the Prophet, who had, on the whole, ruled their possessions better than the Christian states had been ruled. The fall of Granada, in 1492, was hailed throughout Christendom as a great triumph for the Cross, as in one sense it was; but there was not a Christian country which would not have been the gainer, if the Mussulmans of Spain had risen victorious from the last game which they played with the adversaries of their religion in a duel that had endured for more than seven hundred years. Many a Pagan country, too, which had never heard either of Jesus or of Mahomet, was interested in the event of the War of Granada. Montezuma and Atahuallpa, who never had so much as dreamed of Europe, had their fate determined by the decision of the long struggle between the rival religions and peoples of the Peninsula; and Boabdil was not the only monarch, by many, who then and there had his lot decided. Much of America, and not a little of Europe, were conquered on the Plains of Granada; and “the Last Sigh of the Moor” may have been given, not so much to his own sad fate, as over the evil that was to come, and which was to affect popes and princes and peoples alike. There was not a country in the world but might have served itself well, if it had sent aid to the struggling Moors. Instead of rejoicing over the victory of the Spanish Christians, the world might have sent forth a wail in consequence of it, as best expressing the sense that should have existed of the woes which that victory was to be the means of bringing upon mankind. The issue of that Peninsular contest was in every way bad, and no good has ever come from it, but evil in abundance. The fountain that was then unsealed was one of bitter waters only. The sympathies of men should be with the Moors, who were the more enlightened, the more liberal, and the wiser of the two races that then grappled for a final encounter. Being the weaker party, they fell, but they were destined to have grand funeral games.

Freed from the presence of any Mussulman states, Spain was enabled to begin a grand European career in the latter years of the fifteenth century, the conquest of Granada and the discovery of America having given her a degree of power that gained for her the world’s profoundest respect. Partly by success in war, and partly through a series of fortunate marriages, she became the first member of the European commonwealth in a quarter of a century after the overthrow of the Moors. The first of her Austro-Burgundian kings was made Emperor of Germany, and by birth he was lord of the Netherlands. In a few years, and after the conquest of Mexico, he had a French king among his captives, and the Pope was shut up by one of his armies in the Castle of St. Angelo. Yet a few years more, and Peru was added to the dominions of Spain. The position and principles of the Emperor-King made him the champion of the old order of things in Europe as against the Reformation, which added immensely to his power. Spain was then, as she is now, and as probably she ever will be, intensely Catholic, and as Papal as any country valuing its independence well could be. How she regarded Protestantism, and all other forms of “heresy,” we know from the fiery energy—it was literally of a fiery character—with which she disposed of all the Reformers, of every degree, upon whom her iron hand could be laid. Had Charles V. been inclined to favor the Reformation, from his position as Emperor of Germany, he would soon have been diverted from any such thought by considerations drawn from his position as King of the Spains. A Mussulman, or a Hebrew, or an avowed atheist would have had a better chance of being a powerful and popular sovereign at Valladolid than a pious man who should have been inclined to look with favor upon Dr. Luther. It may be doubted if even a king could have been safe from the inquiries of the Inquisition. Thus Spain was not only at the head of Europe because of her military superiority and the extent of her home territory and foreign dominion, but, as the champion of the Church, she had a moral power such as no other country has ever possessed, her championship of the Pope being something very different from Napoleon III.’s championship of the Pope of to-day. The German aristocracy might be after the loaves and fishes of the Church, when they professed readiness to aid in warfare against the Reformers; but no one could doubt the zeal of the Spanish patricians, when they dedicated their swords and lances to the work of extirpating all enemies of the faith. An Englishman of 1857 could not have been more hostile to a Sepoy than a Spaniard of 1557 was to a Protestant. Religious power, political power, military power, and long-continued success in the cabinet and in the field, all combined to place Spain in a position such as no other nation had ever known, such as no other nation ever will know. Even the failures of Charles V.—his flight before Maurice of Saxony, and his defeat at Metz—did not sensibly abate the power of Spain, for they concerned Germany more than they did the Peninsular subjects of the disappointed monarch.

When Philip II. succeeded to most of his father’s abdicated thrones, there was no diminution of Spanish pretensions, and he became the mightiest sovereign that Europe had known since Charlemagne. Philip’s failure to obtain the Imperial throne was a personal disappointment to both father and son, but it was no loss of real power to the elder branch of the House of Austria. The death of Mary of England, though it prevented Philip from availing himself of the men and money of his wife’s kingdom, was rather beneficial to him, as chief of the Spanish dominion, than otherwise. What could he have done with the haughty, arrogant, self-sufficient islanders, who were as proud as the Castilians themselves, without any of the imperial pretensions of the Castilians to justify their pride, had Mary lived and reigned, while he alone should have ruled? There would have been civil war in England but for Mary’s death, which occurred at a happy time both for her and for her subjects. Philip also lost a portion of his Northern hereditary dominions, because he would have a tyranny established in the Netherlands. But all that he lost in Germany, in the Netherlands, and in Britain was compensated by his easy conquest of Portugal after the extinction of the House of Avis. The Portugal of those times was a very different country from the Portugal of these times. It was not only Portugal and the Algarves that Philip added to the dominions of Spain,—and that alone would have been a great thing, for it would have perfected the Spanish rule of the Peninsula, always a most desirable event in the eyes of Castilians,—but the enormous and wide-spread possessions of Portugal in Africa, in America, and in Asia became subject to the conqueror. Portugal alone was of far more value to Spain than England could have been; but Portugal and her colonies together made a greater prize than England, Holland, and Germany could have made, recollecting how full of “heretics” those countries were, and that the more heretical subjects Philip should have had, the less powerful he would have been. Portugal was as “Faithful” as Spain was “Catholic,” and both titles now belonged to Philip. At that time, Philip’s power, to outward seeming, was at its height. It was not certain that he would lose Holland, and it was certain that he had gained Portugal and all her dependencies. He was absolute master of the Spanish Peninsula, and his will was law over nearly all the Italian Peninsula except that portion of it which was ruled by Venice. He alone of European sovereigns had vast possessions in both Indies, the East and the West. He was monarch of no insignificant part of Africa, and in America he was the Great King, his dominion there being almost as little disputed as was that of Selkirk in his island. He was still master of the best part of the Low Countries, and the Hollanders were regarded as nothing more than his rebellious subjects. He was the sole Western potentate who had lieutenants in the East, who ruled over Indian territories that never had been reached even by the Macedonian Alexander. From his cabinet in Madrid, he fixed the fate of many millions of the first peoples in the world, members of the races most advanced in all the arts of war and of peace. His least whisper could affect the every-day life of men in the principal cities of both hemispheres. He who was sovereign at Madrid and Lisbon, at Naples and Milan, at Brussels and Antwerp, was sovereign also at Mexico and Lima, at Goa and Ormuz.

Philip’s power was by no means to be measured solely by the extent and various character of his dominions. His position, as a great monarch, and as the chief champion of the Catholic cause, made him, at times, master of many European countries over which he could exercise no direct rule. England trembled before him even after the “Armada’s pride” had been rebuked, and Elizabeth came much nearer being vanquished by him than is generally supposed. Nothing but the blockade of Parma’s forces by the Dutch, and the occurrence of storms, saved England from experiencing that sad fate which she has ever been so ready, with cause and without cause, to visit upon other countries. In Ireland the Spanish monarch was more respected than Elizabeth, its nominal ruler, and he was regarded by the Irish not only with reverence as the first of Catholic princes, but also with that affection which men ever feel for the enemies of their enemies. Whoso hates England is sure of Irish affection, and as it is today so was it three hundred years ago, and so will it ever be, unless the very human heart itself shall undergo a complete change. Scotland furnished a Spanish party that might have become formidable to England, had events taken a slightly different turn; and the old Caledonian hatred of Southrons had not been extinguished by the success of the Reform party in both countries. The Scotch Catholics called Philip “the pillar of the Christian commonwealth,” (Totius reipublicæ Christianæ columen,) and sought his assistance to restore the old religion to their country. France was for several years more at the command of Philip than at that of any of its own sovereigns, the weak dregs of the line of Valois. The League would willingly have transferred the French crown to any person whom he might have named to wear it; and perhaps nothing but the sensible decision of Henry IV., that Paris was worth a mass, prevented that crown from passing to some member of the Spanish branch of the House of Austria. In Germany Philip had an influence corresponding to his power, which was all the greater because he was the head of a Germanic house that under him seemed destined to develop an old idea that it should become ruler of the world. If anything marred his strength in that quarter, it was the fact that the junior branch of the Austrian family was at that time inclined to liberalism in politics,—an offence against the purposes and traditions of the whole family of which few members of it have ever been guilty, before or since.

But this mighty Spanish power came to an end with the monarch in whom it was represented. The sources of Spanish strength had been drying up for a century, but the personal character of the successive monarchs, and vast foreign acquisitions, had disguised the fact from the world. Philip died in 1598, and in reality left his empire but a skeleton to his son, a youth of feeble mind, but under whose rule a change of policy was effected, not, as has been sometimes supposed, from any deep views on the part of the Count-Duke Lerma, but because it was impossible for Spain to maintain the place she had held under Philip II. Even had Philip III. been as able a man as his father, or his grandfather, he could not have preserved the ascendency of Spain,—that country having changed much, and Europe more. Every European nation, with the exception of Turkey,—and the Turks were only encamped in Europe,—had advanced during the sixteenth century, except Spain, which had declined. Thus had she become weak, positively and relatively. Rest was necessary to her, and under the rule of Lerma she obtained it. He supported the peace policy of that old aristocratical party of which Ruy Gomez had been the chief, but which had been hardly heard of in the last twenty years of Philip II.’s reign. That monarch, on his death-bed, regretted that “to his grace in bestowing on him so great a realm, God had not been pleased to add the grace of granting him a successor capable of continuing to rule it”; but had his son been all that the most unreasonable parent could have desired, he could not have pursued his father’s policy. Lerma did but act as he was forced to act. The circumstance that the Catholic Reaction had triumphed was alone sufficient to make a change necessary. Spanish greatness was no longer the leading political interest of the Church, and Rome was at liberty to have some regard to the new powers that were growing up in Europe. Pacific ideas prevailed. Spain ceased to make war in every direction, and husbanded her resources, and began to renew her native strength. The skeleton bequeathed by Philip II. became clothed with flesh, and sinewy. Could this policy have been continued for a generation, Spanish history might have been made to read differently from the melancholy text it now presents. But the process of rehabilitation was not allowed to go on. There had always been a strong party opposed to Lerma, and that statesman’s friendliness to the English and the Dutch made him liable to the charge of favoring heresy,—a charge that was the heaviest that could be brought against any one in the estimation of Philip III., who was as bigoted as his father. The Catholic and warlike policy of Idiaquez, Granvella, and Moura was revived. The two branches of the Austrian family were again brought into the closest alliance, and at a time when the German branch had become even more Catholic than the elder branch. Spain stepped once more into the European arena, and her generals and armies by their abilities and exploits revived recollections of what had been done by Parma and his hosts. Spinola, who was scarcely inferior to Farnese, conquered the Palatinate, and so began the Thirty Years’ War favorably to the Catholic cause. The great victory of Nordlingen, won by the Catholics in 1635, was due to the valor of the Spanish troops in the Imperial army. Spain appeared to be as powerful as at any former period, and the revival of her ascendency might have been expected by those who judged only from external indications of strength. Yet a few years, however, and it was clear to all politicians at least that Spain was far gone into a decline, and that the course of Olivarez had been fatal to her greatness; and the mass of mankind, who judge only from glaring actions, could not fail to appreciate the nature of such events as the defeat of Rocroi and the loss of Portugal, the latter including the loss of all the dependencies of the Portuguese in Africa, America, and India. No historical transaction of the seventeenth century testifies so strongly to the weakness of a first-class power as the Revolution of Portugal. Though Portugal lay at the very door of Spain, that country slipped from her feeble hands, and she never could recover it. Having resumed her encroaching, domineering course before she had fairly recovered her strength, she broke down in less than a quarter of a century, though even then the full extent of her weakness was not generally understood. It is an amusement to read works that were written in the reigns of Philip IV. and Charles II., in which Spain is spoken of as a great power, and to compare the words of their writers with the actual facts of the case. If we were to fix upon any one date as indicating the final breaking down of Austrian Spain, it would be the year 1659, when the treaty of the Pyrenees was made, and when the old rival of France became virtually her vassal. From that time we must date the beginning of that strange interference in Spanish affairs which has formed so much of the public business of France, whereby one of the proudest of peoples have become, as it were, provincials to one of the vainest of peoples. It is true that there were more wars between Austrian Spain and France, but they served only to show that the former had lost the power to contend with her rival, who might look forward to the day when the empire of Philip II. should fall to pieces, and furnish spoil to those strong nations that watch over the beds of sick men in purple.

The state of decay in which the first Bourbon king of Spain found his inheritance, in 1701, is well known. The War of the Succession soon followed, and Spain was shorn of some of her most magnificent foreign possessions. All that she had held in Flanders was lost,—and so were Naples, and Sicily, and Sardinia, and the Milanese, and other lands that had been ruled, and wellnigh ruined, by the Austro-Burgundian kings. The English had Gibraltar, and were holding Minorca also. Bourbon Spain was not to be Austrian Spain,—that was clear. But this trimming and pruning of the Peninsular monarchy were very useful to it; and Spain, having been ploughed up by the sword for twelve successive years, was in condition to yield something beyond what it had produced since the death of Philip II. Accordingly, under the ascendency of the Italian Alberoni, Spain became rapidly powerful; and could that remarkable statesman have confined his labors to affairs purely Spanish in their character and purpose, that country might have taken, and have continued to hold, the first place in Europe. He, however, with all his talents, was intellectually deficient in some important respects, and so all his schemes came to nought, and he fell. He tried to effect too much, and though fully sensible of the necessity of peace to Spain, he plunged into war. He did, in fact, what the rulers of Spain are doing to-day: he sought to restore the old Castilian influence by engaging the country in wars that would have been foolish, even if they had not been unjust, when he should have continued to direct all his attention to its internal affairs. Had he been at the head of any other than a Spanish ministry, Alberoni would probably have borne himself rationally; but there is something in the politics of Spain that affects even the wisest of heads, often turning them, as it were, and rendering their owners the strangest of caricatures. It is sometimes said that the most Irish of the people of Ireland are those who have come latest into the green island, there being something in its air and soil that soon converts the stranger into a true Hibernian in all moral respects; but the remark is more applicable to Spain than to Ireland, as in the former country foreign statesmen have more than once made Spanish policy ridiculous by taking that one step which separates that quality from the sublime. What in the person of a Castilian is at the worst but Quixotic becomes in the foreigner, or man of foreign descent, the merest burlesque upon statesmanship.

Alberoni’s fall did not imply the fall of Spain. The renewal of vigor that she had gained under his direction was sufficiently great to carry her well through more than seventy years, during which she stood on an equal footing with France, the Empire, and Great Britain, and for most of the time was the superior of Russia and Prussia, whose European greatness did not begin until the second half of the eighteenth century had become somewhat advanced. It is difficult for the men of to-day to understand that Spain was really a great power under the Bourbon kings, down to the first years of the French Revolution. We have seen her, until very recently, a country of little more European account than Portugal; and that she should, but eighty years since, have treated with England as equal with equal, after having assisted at the work of England’s humiliation, it is hard to comprehend. But such was the fact. Several of the Spanish statesmen of the last Century were very superior men, the kingdom itself was strong, and the Indies did not experience any disturbances calculated seriously to embarrass the mother-country. Then the close union that was brought about between France and Spain, in the early days of Charles III. and the last days of Louis XV., had no unimportant effect on the fortunes of Spain. The Pacte de Famille was one of the greatest political transactions of those days. It was effected just a hundred years ago, and but for the occurrence of the French Revolution it would have proved most fruitful of remarkable events. Had it never been made, it may well be doubted if the American Revolution could have been a successful movement. That Revolution France was bound to support, both by interest and by sentiment; and the Family-Compact enabled her to take Spain on to the side of America, where it is evident that her interests scarcely could have taken her; and Spain’s aid, which was liberally afforded, was necessary to the success of our ancestors. That it was possible thus to place Spain was owing to one of those displays of English insolence that have made the islanders abhorred by the rulers and the ruled of almost every land. “Charles III. of Spain,” says Macaulay, “had early conceived a deadly hatred of England. Twenty years before, when he was King of the Two Sicilies, he had been eager to join the coalition against Maria Theresa. But an English fleet had suddenly appeared in the Bay of Naples. An English captain had landed, had proceeded to the palace, had laid a watch on the table, and had told his Majesty that within an hour a treaty of neutrality must be signed, or a bombardment would commence. The treaty was signed; the squadron sailed out of the bay twenty-four hours after it had sailed in; and from that day the ruling passion of the humbled prince was aversion to the English name. He was at length in a situation in which he might hope to gratify that passion. He had recently become King of Spain and the Indies. He saw, with envy and apprehension, the triumphs of our navy, and the rapid extension of our colonial empire. He was a Bourbon, and sympathized with the distress of the house from which he sprang. He was a Spaniard; and no Spaniard could bear to see Gibraltar and Minorca in the possession of a foreign power. Impelled by such feelings, Charles concluded a secret treaty with France. By this treaty, known as the Family-Compact, the two powers bound themselves, not in express words, but by the clearest implication, to make war on England in common.” Such was the origin of an alliance that changed the fate of America, and which might have done as much for Europe but for the fall of the French Bourbons. The statesmen of England, with that short-sightedness which is the badge of all their tribe, were nursing the power of Russia, at an enormous expense, in order that, at a still greater expense, their grandsons might attempt the bridling of that power, in which they succeeded about as well as did Doria in bridling the horses of St. Mark. The partition of Poland showed what Europe had most to fear, and French statesmen were preparing for the Northern blast, while those of England, according to one of their own number, who was a Secretary of State, spoke of it as something indeed inconsistent with national equity and public honor, and therefore engaging their master’s disapprobation, but as not so immediately interesting as to deserve his interposition. Time, however, would have brought England right, from regard to her own safety, and she would have united herself with France, Spain, and Naples to resist Russian encroachments; and Austria, it may be assumed, would have gone with the West and the South against the North, for her statesmen had the sagacity to see that the partition of Poland was adverse to their country’s interests, and the part they had in that most iniquitous of modern transactions was taken rather from fear than from ambition. They could not prevent a robbery, and so they aided in it, and shared in the spoil. But the revolutionary storm came, and broke up the old European system. Passional politics took the place of diplomacy, and party-spirit usurped that of patriotism. It was the age of the Reformation repeated, and men could hail the defeats of their own country with joy, because their country and their party were on opposite sides in the grand struggle which opinions were making for supremacy.

In that storm Spain broke down, but not until she had exhibited considerable power in war, first with France, and then as the ally of France. Her navy was honorably distinguished, though unfortunate, at St. Vincent and Trafalgar, and elsewhere, showing that Spanish valor was not extinct. Napoleon I., unequal to bearing well the good-fortune that had been made complete at Tilsit, and maddened by the success of England in her piratical attack on Denmark, resolved to add Spain to his empire, virtually, if not in terms. He was not content with having her as one of his most useful and submissive dependencies, whose resources were at his command as thoroughly as were those of Belgium and Lombardy, but must needs insist upon having her throne at his disposal. Human folly never perpetrated a grosser blunder than this, and he established that “Spanish ulcer” which undermined the strength of the most magnificent empire that the world had seen for ten centuries; for, if his empire was in some respects inferior to that of Philip II., in others it was superior to the Castilian dominion. Out of his action in the Peninsula grew the Peninsular War, which was to the Spain of our age what the Succession War had been to the Spain of a century earlier. That country was prepared by it for another revival, which came at last, but which also came slowly. Had Ferdinand VII. been a wise and truthful man, or had there been Spanish statesmen capable of governing both monarch and monarchy, the days of Alberoni would have been repeated before 1820. But there was neither an honest monarch nor a great statesman in the kingdom, and Spain daily became weaker and more contemptible. Her colonial empire disappeared, with a few exceptions, such as Cuba and the Philippines. The sun ceased to shine constantly on that empire which had been warmed by his beams through three centuries, and transferred that honor to England. Spanish politics became the world’s scorn; and a French army, acting as the police of the Holy Alliance, crossed the Pyrenees, and made Ferdinand VII. once more an absolute king. After his death, a civil war raged for a long time between the Christinos and the Carlists, parties which took their names from the Queen-Mother and from Don Carlos, who claimed to be the legitimate King of the Spains. At length that war was brought to an end, and the throne of Isabella II. appears to be as well established as was that of Isabella I.

During all those unhappy years, Spain had, to use the common phrase, been making progress. Foreign war and civil war, and political convulsions of every kind, had been eminently useful to her. The Arachne webs and dust of ages had been blown away by the cannon of France and England. Old ideas were exploded. Young Spain had displaced Old Spain. A generation had grown up who had no sympathy with the antique world. In spite of repeated invasions, and almost unbroken bad government, and colonial losses such as no other country ever had experienced, the material power of Spain had vastly advanced between 1808 and 1850. Since 1850 the Spaniards have been prosperous people, and every year has seen their power increased; and they are now demanding for their country admission into the list of the Great Powers of Europe. They have formed a numerous army, and a navy that is more than respectable. They are constructing railways, and encouraging business in all its forms. The public revenue is equal to about ninety millions of our money, which would liberally provide for every expenditure that the Government ought to make, but which cannot meet the wants of that Government, because the Spanish statesmen of 1862 are as unwise as were any of their predecessors, most of whom treated the dollar as if it contained twelve dimes. “To spend half a crown out of sixpence a day” requires the possession of as much ingenuity as would, if rationally employed, serve to convert the sixpence into a crown; but Spain rarely permits common sense to govern her action, and prefers debt to prosperity, when she can fairly make her choice between the two. As to her public morality, a very little observation proves that she is not an iota more merciful or consistent now than she was when she banished the Moriscos. At the very time when she is engaged in making war on Mexico because of alleged wrongs received at the hands of that country, she refuses to pay her own debts, thus placing herself on the level of Mississippi, which can raise money to aid in warring against the Union, and yet will not liquidate its bonds, which are held by the English allies of American rebels. This does not promise much for the future of Spain, and she may find her armies brought to a stand in Mexico from the want of money; and thus will be repeated the blunder of the sixteenth century, when the victories of the Spaniards in the Low Countries were made fruitless because their sovereign was unable to pay his soldiers, and so they became mutineers at the very time when it was most requisite that their loyalty should be perfect, in order that the Castilian ascendency might be entirely restored. Spain walks in a circle, and she repeats the follies of her past with a pertinacity that would seem to indicate, that, while she has forgotten everything, she has learned nothing.

This third revival of Spain has been attended with a liberal exhibition of the same follies which we know it was her custom to display after preceding revivals. Instead of attending to her internal affairs, which demanded all her attention and the use of all her means, she has plunged into the great sea of foreign politics, with the view, it should seem, of being admitted formally into the list of leading European Powers. That she should desire a first place is by no means discreditable to her; but her manner of seeking it is to the last degree childish, and unworthy of a country that has had so much experience. That place which she seeks can never long be denied to any European nation which is really strong, and modern strength does not consist merely in great fleets and armies, to be employed in attacking the weak, and in promoting a system of intervention in the affairs of foreign countries. Such, however, is not the opinion of Spanish statesmen, if they are to be judged by their actions. No sooner did Spain begin to feel her strength, than she determined to make other countries feel it, in a very disagreeable fashion. She directed her attention to Italy, and nothing but a salutary dread of Napoleon III prevented her from becoming the champion of all the tyrants and abuses of that country. It was at one time supposed that she meant to revive her pretensions to territorial rule in the Italian Peninsula, and to contend for the restoration of the state of things which there ended with the ending of the Austro-Burgundian rule of the Spanish Empire in 1700; and though it would have been preposterous to have thought such pretensions possible in the case of any other country,—as preposterous as it would be to suppose England capable of thinking of the restoration of her power over the United States,—yet it was perfectly reasonable to believe that Spain would revive claims that were barred by the lapse of one hundred and fifty years. No statute of limitations is known to her, and what she has held once she thinks herself entitled to reclaim on any day through all time. Weakness may prevent her from enforcing her title, but that title never becomes weak. What is ridiculous in the eyes of the statesmen of Paris and London is eminently commonplace in those of the statesmen of Madrid, who are the most industrious of builders, Châteaux en Espagne employing their energies. Although it is more than two centuries since Portugal threw off the Spanish yoke, they have never yet given up the hope in Spain of adding that spirited little kingdom to the Peninsular monarchy. They would absorb it, as so many other kingdoms have been absorbed by the power that has issued its decrees from Madrid and Valladolid. The attack made by Spain on Morocco was a silly affair, and was resolved upon only to convince the world that Spain could make war abroad, a point in which the world felt but small interest, as at that time it was not thought that the Spaniards would seriously endeavor to regain their old American possessions. That what had been lost through one class of errors would be sought through resort to another class of errors, it entered not the minds of men to conceive. They would as soon have thought of Spain making a demand on Holland, with the view of restoring in that country the rule that was lost there in the days of Alva and Parma, as of her entering upon a war for a second conquest of Mexico. Nor would they have been astonished by the breaking out of such a war, had it not been for the breaking down of the American Republic. America’s calamity was Spain’s opportunity. She had been successful in her crusade against the modern Moors, because bad government had unfitted those Mussulmans to make effectual resistance to her well-led and well-appointed armies, which were supported by well-equipped ships. Then, flushed with victory, and beholding America in convulsions, she resolved to direct her energies against Mexico, where, unfortunately, bad government had done its work even more perfectly than it had been done in Morocco. The Spaniards are a brave and a spirited people, but their conduct in St. Domingo and their attack on Mexico cannot be cited as evidence of their bravery and spirit. They never would have dared to move against the Mexicans, if our condition had remained what it was but eighteen months ago; and yet they had just as good cause to assail them in the summer of 1860 as they now have in the winter of 1862. All the grounds of complaint that they have against Mexico were in existence then,—but we heard of no modern Spanish Armada at that time, and might then as rationally have expected to see a French fleet in the St. Lawrence as a Spanish fleet in the Mexican Gulf. The American sword was then sharp, and the American shield broad, and so Spain stayed her chivalrous hand. Her conduct is as bad as was our own, when we “picked a quarrel” with Mexico, and bestowed upon her weak back the blows we should have visited on the stout shoulders of England. Our Mexican contest was the effect of our fear of a stronger adversary. We had brought the Oregon question to such a point that it was difficult to avoid war with Great Britain. The West had been cheated by the cry for “the whole of Oregon,” and the men who had got up that cry were afraid to face the people whom they had deceived by the light of common day; and so we had the Mexican War improvised, to distract public attention from the lame and impotent manner in which we had settled the Oregon question. Having kissed the Briton’s boot, it became necessary to soothe our exasperated feelings by applying our own boot to the person of the Aztec. The man having been too much for us, we were bound to give the boy a sound beating, and that beating he received. True, we had cause of quarrel with Mexico, which we had long overlooked, and which had seldom moved us to anger, and never to the point of falling foul, until we had become excessively angry both with the English and ourselves; and equally true is it that Spain has some reason to make Mexico feel the weight of her arm, now that it has become strong again,—but, imitating our prudence, she has chosen her own time for calling Mexico to account. All chivalrous nations are partial to this form of shabbiness; and though we are told that honor is the distinction of a monarchy, we see that under the Spanish monarchy its requirements can be dispensed with when a gain can be secured by walking in the path of dishonor.

But though the policy of Spain is base toward Mexico, it has the merit of being perfectly intelligible, which is generally the case with things of the kind. Much fault has been found with Spain by our Unionists because she has exhibited some partiality for the Secessionists, and apparently is ready to go as far as England means to go in helping them to the full enjoyment of independence and national life. It has been pointed out, that it was the South, not the North, which favored the “acquisition” of Cuba by force, fraud, or falsehood, according to circumstances; that the men who met at Ostend, and proclaimed that Cuba must be ours, were Democrats, not Republicans; and that the buccaneers who used to fit out expeditions for the redemption of the “faithful” island from Spanish rule were Southrons, while other Southrons refused to convict those buccaneers who were tried at New Orleans, and elsewhere in Secessia, of being guilty of crimes against the laws of America and of nations. And it is asked, with looks of wonder, “How can Spain be so blind to her interests, and so regardless of insults that ordinarily disturb even the mildest of nations, as to sympathize with and aid her enemies, men who, if successful in their present purpose, would be sure to attack Cuba, to help themselves to Mexico, and to become masters of all the Spanish-American countries on this continent?” Pertinent to the matter as this question is, Spain has an answer to give that would be very much to the point. “True,” she might say, “it was the South that sent land pirates to Cuba, and it was a Federal Government that was dominated by Southrons that used to insult us semiannually by insisting that we should part with Cuba, though we should as soon have thought of selling Cadiz. But it was the American Government, which spoke in the name of the whole American nation, that made the demand for Cuba, and which protected the pirates. Had you made war on us to obtain possession of Cuba, as you would have done but for the occurrence of your civil troubles, that war would have been waged by the United States, and not by the South and by the Democratic party. It would have been the work of you all, of Republicans as well as Democrats, of Yankees as well as Southrons, of Abolitionists as well as Slaveholders. There would have come soldiers from your Southern States, to tear from the Spanish monarchy its most valuable foreign possession; but whence would have come the men who would have manned your fleets, that would have acted with your armies, protecting their landing, and thus alone making Cuba’s conquest possible? They would have been Northern men, New-Englanders and New-Yorkers, perhaps descendants of some of the very men who helped to conquer a portion of the island a century ago. It was American strength that we feared, not the strength of the North or that of the South, for neither of which do we care. Who would have furnished the capital to pay the expenses of the war? Who but the rich men of the North? Money is the sinew of all war, foreign and civil, and not a little of that Northern capital which we have seen so lavishly poured out in aid of the Union would have been subscribed in aid of a project to bring the curse of disunion upon our country. You know this to be the fact, and we challenge you as truthful men to deny it, that for many years it has been a favorite idea with some of your statesmen, and not of leaders of the Democratic party only, to stave off the troubles that were rapidly growing out of the slavery question, by having recourse to a ‘distraction’ based on the acquisition of Cuba. You know, or ought to know, that the very man who is now at the head of the Southern Confederacy was advised, at the North, in 1853, to pursue such a course with regard to Cuba, he being then the most influential member of the Pierce administration, as should ‘distract’ American attention from slavery as a local matter; and that he thought this Northern advice good, and would have given the administration’s support to the project it involved, and probably with success, and to our great loss and disgrace, when a new turn was given to your strange politics by the movement in behalf of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, a movement that has brought safety to us, and loss and disgrace upon yourselves. We admit that your cause is the cause of law, of order, and of constitutional freedom; but why should we desire the triumph of the cause of law, of order, and of constitutional freedom in the United States, when that triumph would be but preliminary to a triumph over our own country? Had your internal peace been continued for ten years longer, your free population would have reached to forty millions, and your wealth would have grown at a greater rate than your population. You would have been able to give law to America, and you would, under one plausible pretext or another, have taken possession of all the European colonies of the Occident. Nothing short of a European alliance could have prevented your becoming supreme from the region of eternal snows to the regions of eternal bloom; and such an alliance it would have been difficult to form, as there are nations in Europe that would have been as ready to back you in your day of strength as they are now both ready and anxious to back your enemy in this your hour of weakness. In plain words, it is for our interest that you should fall; and as your fall can be best promoted through the success of the Secessionists, therefore do we give them our moral support, and sympathize with them in their struggle to establish their national freedom on the basis of everlasting slavery. Why should we not sympathize with them, and even aid, at an early day, in raising the blockade of their ports? Are they not doing our work? As to their seizure of Spanish-American countries, it would be long before they could attempt an extension of their dominion; and by reëstablishing our rule over Mexico we shall be in condition to bridle them for fifty years to come, even if they should remain united. But it is not at all probable that they would continue united. What Mexico has been, that the Southern Confederacy would be. The revolutions, the pronunciamientos, the murders, and the robberies which it is our intention to banish from Mexico, would take up their abode in the Southern Confederacy, in which Secession would do its perfect work. Such things are the natural fruits of the Secession tree, which is as poisonous as the upas and as productive as the palm. You we shall have no occasion to fear, as, once cut down, Europe would never again permit you to endanger the integrity of the possessions of any of her countries in the West.”

Such might be the language of Spain in reply to the remonstrances of our Unionists, and although it embodies nothing but the intensest selfishness, it would not be the worse diplomatic expression on that account. When was diplomacy otherwise than sordid in its nature? When was it the custom with nations to “spare the humble and subdue the proud”? Never. The Romans said that such was their practice, but every page of their bloody history gives the lie to the poetical boast. It is the humble who are subdued, and the proud who are spared. Good Samaritans are rare characters among men, but who ever heard of a Good Samaritan among nations? The custom of nations is far worse than was the conduct of those persons who would not relieve the man who had fallen among thieves. They simply abstained from doing good, while nations unite their powers to annoy and annihilate the distressed. There is, it is probable, an understanding existing between France, England, and Spain to aid the Southern Confederacy at an early day, and when we shall have become sufficiently reduced to admit of their giving such aid without hazard to themselves, they being little inclined to engage in hazardous wars.

In one respect the reconquest of Mexico by Spain would prove beneficial to us. If the Southern Confederacy should be established through the action of foreign powers, it would be for our interest that Mexico should have a strong government ruling over a united people. If the anarchical condition of Mexico should be continued, that country would afford a fine field for the energy and enterprise of all the lawless spirits of the South, who could be precipitated upon it to the great gain of their countrymen; and England, in pursuance of her great Christian principle of creating markets for cotton and cottons, would encourage the Confederates to enter Mexico. But if Mexico should be converted into an orderly country, and have an army capable of treating buccaneers as the Spanish army treated Lopez and his followers, it would be no place for the discharged soldiers of Davis and Stephens. They would have to stay at home, and they would make of that home a hell. The welfare of the North would be promoted by the misery of the Southrons, who ought to be made to pay the full penalty of their extraordinary crime. Without provocation, and making of that want of provocation an absolute boast, they have brought war upon their country, and are endeavoring to spread its flames over the world. The misery they have wrought is incalculable, and no narrative of it, let it be as minute and as detailed as it could be made, will ever furnish a full picture of it. It would be but the merest justice, that men who make war in the spirit of wantonness be compelled to drink off the red cup they have filled, to the very lees. Such would probably be their doom, should they prevail. The least successful thing to them would be success.

It is not certain, however, that the revival of Spanish power is to be lasting in its nature; and if Spain should fall as suddenly as she has risen, the way to Mexico would be open to the Southrons, who might then and there add so tremendously to the dominions of King Cotton as to make him even more powerful than ever he has been in the imagination of his votaries,—and they have ranked him only one step below the Devil. Spanish revivals are so much like certain other revivals, that they are apt to be followed by reaction, leaving the unduly excited subject in a worse condition than ever. European affairs, too, may demand Spain’s attention, and require her to leave Mexico to take care of herself. Europe is full of causes of war, occasion for waging which must soon arise. The American war has tended to the promotion of peace in Europe, but that cannot be much longer maintained. Let war break out in Europe, and Spain would probably feel herself called upon to assume a principal part in it, and then the Southern Confederacy would be at liberty to spread slavery over the finest cotton country on earth, under the patronage of England, which hates slavery, but worships its results. The future of Mexico it lies in the power of the American Union to decide, and our armies are contending as much for Mexican freedom as they are for American nationality.


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I am a soldier: but my tale, this time, is not of war.

The man of whom the Muse talked to the blind bard of old had grown wise in wayfaring. He had seen such men and cities as the sun shines on, and the great wonders of land and sea; and he had visited the farther countries, whose indwellers, having been once at home in the green fields and under the sky and roofs of the cheery earth, were now gone forth and forward into a dim and shadowed land, from which they found no backward path to these old haunts, and their old loves:—

Ήέρι καὶ νεφέλη κεκαλυμμένοι οὐδέ ποτ΄ αύτοὺς

Ήέλιος φαέυων καταδέρκεται ἀκτίνεσσιν.

Od. XI.

At the Charter-House I learned the story of the King of Ithaca, and read it for something better than a task; and since, though I have never seen so many cities as the much-wandering man, nor grown so wise, yet have heard and seen and remembered, for myself, words and things from crowded streets and fairs and shows and wave-washed quays and murmurous market-places, in many lands; and for his Κιμμερίων ἀνδρῶν δῆμος,—his people wrapt in cloud and vapor, whom “no glad sun finds with his beams,”—have been borne along a perilous path through thick mists, among the crashing ice of the Upper Atlantic, as well as sweltered upon a Southern sea, and have learned something of men and something of God.

I was in Newfoundland, a lieutenant of Royal Engineers, in Major Gore’s time, and went about a good deal among the people, in surveying for Government. One of my old friends there was Skipper Benjie Westham, of Brigus, a shortish, stout, bald man, with a cheerful, honest face and a kind voice; and he, mending a caplin-seine one day, told me this story, which I will try to tell after him.

We were upon the high ground, beyond where the church stands now, and Prudence, the fisherman’s daughter, and Ralph Barrows, her husband, were with Skipper Benjie when he began; and I had an hour by the watch to spend. The neighborhood, all about, was still; the only men who were in sight were so far off that we heard nothing from them; no wind was stirring near us, and a slow sail could be seen outside. Everything was right for listening and telling.

“I can tell ’ee what I sid14 myself, Sir,” said Skipper Benjie. “It isn’ like a story that’s put down in books: it’s on’y like what we planters15 tells of a winter’s night or sech: but it’s feelun, mubbe, an’ ’ee won’t expect much off a man as couldn’ never read,—not so much as Bible or Prayer-Book, even.”

Skipper Benjie looked just like what he was thought: a true-hearted, healthy man, a good fisherman, and a good seaman. There was no need of any one’s saying it. So I only waited till he went on speaking.

“’T was one time I goed to th’ Ice, Sir. I never goed but once, an’ ’t was a’most the first v’yage ever was, ef ’t wasn’ the very first; an’ ’t was the last for me, an’ worse agen for the rest-part o’ that crew, that never goed no more! ’T was tarrible sad douns wi’ they!”

This preface was accompanied by some preliminary handling of the caplin-seine, also, to find out the broken places and get them about him. Ralph and Prudence deftly helped him. Then, making his story wait, after this opening, he took one hole to begin at in mending, chose his seat, and drew the seine up to his knee. At the same time I got nearer to the fellowship of the family by persuading the planter (who yielded with a pleasant smile) to let me try my hand at the netting. Prudence quietly took to herself a share of the work, and Ralph alone was unbusied.

“They calls th’ Ice a wicked place,—Sundays an’ weekin days all alike; an’ to my seemun it’s a cruel, bloody place, jes’ so well,—but not all thinks alike, surely.—Rafe, lad, mubbe ’ee’d ruther go down cove-ways, an’ overhaul the punt a bit.”

Ralph, who perhaps had stood waiting for the very dismissal that he now got, assented and left us three. Prudence, to be sure, looked after him as if she would a good deal rather go with him than stay; but she stayed, nevertheless, and worked at the seine. I interpreted to myself Skipper Benjie’s sending away of one of his hearers by supposing that his son-in-law had often heard his tales; but the planter explained himself:—

“’Ee sees, Sir, I knocked off goun to th’ Ice becase ’t was sech a tarrible cruel place, to my seemun. They swiles16 be so knowun like,—as knowun as a dog, in a manner, an’ lovun to their own, like Christens, a’most, more than bastes; an’ they’m got red blood, for all they lives most-partly in water; an’ then I found ’em so friendly, when I was wantun friends badly. But I s’pose the swile-fishery’s needful; an’ I knows, in course, that even Christens’ blood’s got to be taken sometimes, when it’s bad blood, an’ I wouldn’ be childish about they things: on’y,—ef it’s me,—when I can live by fishun, I don’ want to go an’ club an’ shoot an’ cut an’ slash among poor harmless things that ’ould never harm man or ’oman, an’ ’ould cry great tears down for pity-sake, an’ got a sound like a Christen: I ’ouldn’ like to go a-swilun for gain,—not after beun among ’em, way I was, anyways.”

This apology made it plain that Skipper Benjie was large-hearted enough, or indulgent enough, not to seek to strain others, even his own family, up to his own way in everything; and it might easily be thought that the young fisherman had different feelings about sealing from those that the planter’s story was meant to bring out. All being ready, he began his tale again:—

“I shipped wi’ Skipper Isra’l Gooden, from Carbonear: the schooner was the Baccaloue, wi’ forty men, all told. ’T was of a Sunday morn’n ’e ’ould sail, twel’th day o’ March, wi’ another schooner in company,—the Sparrow. There was a many of us wasn’ too good, but we thowt wrong of ’e’s takun the Lord’s Day to ’e’sself.—Wull, Sir, afore I comed ’ome, I was in a great desert country, an’ floated on sea wi’ a monstrous great raft that no man never made, creakun an’ crashun an’ groanun an’ tumblun an’ wastun an’ goun to pieces, an’ no man on her but me, an’ full o’ livun things,—dreadful!

“About a five hours out, ’t was, we first sid the blink,17 an’ comed up wi’ th’ Ice about off Cape Bonavis’. We fell in wi’ it south, an’ worked up nothe along: but we didn’ see swiles for two or three days yet; on’y we was workun along; pokun the cakes of ice away, an’ haulun through wi’ main strength sometimes, holdun on wi’ bights o’ ropes out o’ the bow; an’ more times, agen, in clear water: sometimes mist all round us, ’ee couldn’ see the ship’s len’th, sca’ce; an’ more times snow, jes’ so thick; an’ then a gale o’ wind, mubbe, would a’most blow all the spars out of her, seemunly.

“We kep’ sight o’ th’ other schooner, most-partly; an’ when we didn’ keep it, we’d get it agen. So one night ’t was a beautiful moonlight night: I think I never sid a moon so bright as that moon was; an’ such lovely sights a body ’ouldn’ think could be! Little islands, an’ bigger, agen, there was, on every hand, shinun so bright, wi’ great, awful-lookun shadows! an’ then the sea all black, between! They did look so beautiful as ef a body could go an’ bide on ’em, in a manner; an’ the sky was jes’ so blue, an’ the stars all shinun out, an’ the moon all so bright! I never looked upon the like. An’ so I stood in the bows; an’ I don’ know ef I thowt o’ God first, but I was thinkun o’ my girl that I was troth-plight wi’ then, an’ a many things, when all of a sudden we comed upon the hardest ice we’d a-had; an’ into it; an’ then, wi’ pokun an’ haulun, workun along. An’ there was a cry goed up,—like the cry of a babby, ’t was, an’ I thowt mubbe ’t was a somethun had got upon one o’ they islands; but I said, agen, ‘How could it?’ an’ one John Harris said ’e thowt ’t was a bird. Then another man (Moffis ’e’s name was) started off wi’ what they calls a gaff, (‘t is somethun like a short boat-hook,) over the bows, an’ run; an’ we sid un strike, an’ strike, an’ we hard it go wump! wump! an’ the cry goun up so tarrible feelun, seemed as ef ’e was murderun some poor wild Inden child ’e’d a-found, (on’y mubbe ’e wouldn’ do so bad as that: but there’ve a-been tarrible bloody, cruel work wi’ Indens in my time,) an’ then ’e comed back wi’ a white-coat18 over ’e’s shoulder; an’ the poor thing wasn’ dead, but cried an’ soughed like any poor little babby.”

The young wife was very restless at this point, and, though she did not look up, I saw her tears. The stout fisherman smoothed out the net a little upon his knee, and drew it in closer, and heaved a great sigh: he did not look at his hearers.

“When ’e throwed it down, it walloped, an’ cried, an’ soughed,—an’ its poor eyes blinded wi’ blood! (‘Ee sees, Sir,” said the planter, by way of excusing his tenderness, “they swiles were friends to I, after.) Dear, oh, dear! I couldn’ stand it; for ’e might ha’ killed un’, an’ so ’e goes for a quart o’ rum, for fetchun first swile, an’ I went an’ put the poor thing out o’ pain. I didn’ want to look at they beautiful islands no more, somehow. Bumby it comed on thick, an’ then snow.

“Nex’ day swiles bawlun19 every way, poor things! (I knowed their voice, now,) but ’t was blowun a gale o’ wind, an’ we under bare poles, an’ snow comun agen, so fast as ever it could come: but out the men ’ould go, all mad like, an’ my watch goed, an’ so I mus’ go. (I didn’ think what I was goun to!) The skipper never said no; but to keep near the schooner, an’ fetch in first we could, close by; an’ keep near the schooner.

“So we got abroad, an’ the men that was wi’ me jes’ began to knock right an’ left: ’t was heartless to see an’ hear it. They laved two old uns an’ a young whelp to me, as they runned by. The mother did cry like a Christen, in a manner, an’ the big tears ’ould run down, an’ they ’ould both be so brave for the poor whelp that ’ould cuddle up an’ cry; an the mother looked this way an’ that way, wi’ big, pooty, black eyes, to see what was the manun of it, when they’d never doned any harm in God’s world that ’E made, an’ would n’, even ef you killed ’em: on’y the poor mother baste ketched my gaff, that I was goun to strike wi’, betwixt her teeth, an’ I could n’ get it away. ’T was n’ like fishun! (I was weak-hearted like: I s’pose ’t was wi’ what was comun that I did n’ know.) Then comed a hail, all of a sudden, from the schooner; (we had n’ been gone more ’n a five minutes, ef’t was so much,—no, not more ’n a three;) but I was glad to hear it come then, however: an’ so every man ran, one afore t’ other. There the schooner was, tearun through all, an’ we runnun for dear life. I failed among the slob,20 and got out agen. ’T was another man pushun agen me doned it. I could n’ ’elp myself from goun in, an’ when I got out I was astarn of all, an’ there was the schooner carryun on, right through to clear water! So, hold of a bight o’ line, or anything! an’ they swung up in over bows an’ sides! an’ swash! she struck the water, an’ was out o’ sight in a minute, an’ the snow drivun as ef’t would bury her, an’ a man laved behind on a pan of ice, an’ the great black say two fathom ahead, an’ the storm-wind blowun ’im into it!”

The planter stopped speaking. We had all gone along so with the story, that the stout seafarer, as he wrought the whole scene up about us, seemed instinctively to lean back and brace his feet against the ground, and clutch his net. The young woman looked up, this time; and the cold snow-blast seemed to howl through that still summer’s noon, and the terrific ice-fields and hills to be crashing against the solid earth that we sat upon, and all things round changed to the far-off stormy ocean and boundless frozen wastes.

The planter began to speak again:—

“So I failed right down upon th’ ice, sayun, ‘Lard, help me! Lard, help me!’ an’ crawlun away, wi’ the snow in my face, (I was afeard, a’most, to stand,) ‘Lard, help me! Lard, help me!’

“‘T was n’ all hard ice, but many places lolly;21 an once I goed right down wi’ my hand-wristès an’ my armes in cold water, part-ways to the bottom o’ th’ ocean; and a’most head-first into un, as I’d a-been in wi’ my legs afore: but, thanks be to God! ’E helped me out of un, but colder an’ wetter agen.

“In course I wanted to folly the schooner; so I runned up along, a little ways from the edge, an’ then I runned down along: but ’t was all great black ocean outside, an’ she gone miles an’ miles away; an’ by two hours’ time, even ef she’d come to, itself, an’ all clear weather, I could n’ never see her; an’ ef she could come back, she could n’ never find me, more’n I could find any one o’ they flakes o’ snow. The schooner was gone, an’ I was laved out o’ the world!

“Bumby, when I got on the big field agen, I stood up on my feet, an’ I sid that was my ship! She had n’ e’er a sail, an’ she had n’ e’er a spar, an’ she had n’ e’er a compass, an’ she had n’ e’er a helm, an’ she had n’ no hold, an’ she had n’ no cabin. I could n’ sail her, nor I could n’ steer her, nor I could n’ anchor her, nor bring her to, but she would go, wind or calm, an’ she’d never come to port, but out in th’ ocean she’d go to pieces! I sid ’t was so, an’ I must take it, an’ do my best wi’ it. ’T was jest a great, white, frozen raft, driftun bodily away, wi’ storm blowun over, an’ current runnun under, an’ snow comun down so thick, an’ a poor Christen laved all alone wi’ it. ’T would drift as long as anything was of it, an’ ’t was n’ likely there’d be any life in the poor man by time th’ ice goed to nawthun; an’ the swiles ’ould swim back agen up to the Nothe!

“I was th’ only one, seemunly, to be cast out alive, an’ wi’ the dearest maid in the world (so I thought) waitun for me. I s’pose ’ee might ha’ knowed somethun better, Sir; but I was n’ larned, an’ I ran so fast as ever I could up the way I thowt home was, an’ I groaned, an’ groaned, an’ shook my handès, an’ then I thowt, ‘Mubbe I may be goun wrong way.’ So I groaned to the Lard to stop the snow. Then I on’y ran this way an’ that way, an’ groaned for snow to knock off.22 I knowed we was driftun mubbe a twenty leagues a day, and anyways I wanted to be doun what I could, keepun up over th’ Ice so well as I could, Noofundland-ways, an’ I might come to somethun,—to a schooner or somethun; anyways I’d get up so near as I could. So I looked for a lee. I s’pose ’ee’d ha’ knowed better what to do, Sir,” said the planter, here again appealing to me, and showing by his question that he understood me, in spite of my pea-jacket.

I had been so carried along with his story that I had felt as if I were the man on the Ice, myself, and assured him, that, though I could get along pretty well on land, and could even do something at netting, I should have been very awkward in his place.

“Wull, Sir, I looked for a lee. (‘T wouldn’ ha’ been so cold, to say cold, ef it hadn’ a-blowed so tarrible hard.) First step, I stumbled upon somethun in the snow, seemed soft, like a body! Then I comed all together, hopun an’ fearun an’ all together. Down I goed upon my knees to un, an’ I smoothed away the snow, all tremblun, an’ there was a moan, as ef ’t was a-livun.

“‘O Lard!’ I said, ‘who’s this? Be this one of our men?’

“But how could it? So I scraped the snow away, but ’t was easy to see ’t was smaller than a man. There wasn’ no man on that dreadful place but me! Wull, Sir, ’t was a poor swile, wi’ blood runnun all under; an’ I got my cuffs23 an’ sleeves all red wi’ it. It looked like a fellow-creatur’s blood, a’most, an’ I was a lost man, left to die away out there in th’ Ice, an’ I said, ‘Poor thing! poor thing!’ an’ I didn’ mind about the wind, or th’ ice, or the schooner goun away from me afore a gale, (I wouldn’ mind about ’em,) an’ a poor lost Christen may show a good turn to a hurt thing, ef ’t was on’y a baste. So I smoothed away the snow wi’ my cuffs, an’ I sid ’t was a poor thing wi’ her whelp close by her, an’ her tongue out, as ef she’d a-died fondlun an’ lickun it; an’ a great puddle o’ blood,—it looked tarrible heartless, when I was so nigh to death, an’ wasn’ hungry. An’ then I feeled a stick, an’ I thowt, ‘It may be a help to me,’ an’ so I pulled un, an’ it wouldn’ come, an’ I found she was lyun on it; so I hauled agen, an’, when it comed, ’t was my gaff the poor baste had got away from me, an’ got it under her, an’ she was a-lyun on it. Some o’ the men, when they was runnun for dear life, must ha’ struck ’em, out o’ madness like, an’ laved ’em to die where they was. ’T was the whelp wasn’ quite dead. ’Ee’ll think ’t was foolish, Sir, but it seemed as though they was somethun to me, an’ I’d a-lost the last friendly thing there was.

“I found a big hummock an’ sheltered under it, standun on my feet, wi nawthun to do but think, an’ think, an’ pray to God; an’ so I doned. I couldn’ help feelun to God then, surely. Nawthun to do, an’ no place to go, tull snow cleared away; but jes’ drift wi’ the great Ice down from the Nothe, away down over the say, a sixty mile a day, mubbe. I wasn’ a good Christen, an’ I couldn’ help a-thinkun o’ home an’ she I was troth-plight wi’, an’ I doubled over myself an’ groaned,—I couldn’ help it: but bumby it comed into me to say my prayers, an’ it seemed as thof she was askun me to pray, (an’ she was good, Sir, al’ays,) an’ I seemed all opened, somehow, an’ I knowed how to pray.”

While the words were coming tenderly from the weather-beaten fisherman, I could not help being moved, and glanced over toward the daughter’s seat; but she was gone, and, turning round, I saw her going quietly, almost stealthily, and very quickly, toward the cove.

The father gave no heed to her leaving, but went on with his tale:—

“Then the wind began to fall down, an’ the snow knocked off altogether, an’ the sun comed out; an’ I sid th’ Ice, field-ice an’ icebargs, an’ every one of ’em flashun up as ef they’d kendled up a bonfire, but no sign of a schooner! no sign of a schooner! nor no sign o’ man’s douns, but on’y ice, every way, high an’ low, an’ some places black water, in-among; an’ on’y the poor swiles bawlun all over, an’ I standun amongst ’em.

“While I was lookun out, I sid a great icebarg (they calls ’em) a quarter of a mile away, or thereabouts, standun up,—one end a twenty fathom out o’ water, an’ about a forty fathom across, wi’ hills like, an’ houses,—an’ then, jest as ef ’e was alive an’ had tooked a notion in ’e’sself, seemunly, all of a sudden ’e rared up, an’ turned over an’ over, wi’ a tarrible thunderun noise, an’ comed right on, breakun everything an’ throwun up great seas: ’t was frightsome for a lone body away out among ’em! I stood an’ looked at un, but then agen I thowt I may jes’ so well be goun to thick ice an’ over Noofundland-ways a piece, so well as I could. So I said my bit of a prayer, an’ told Un I could n’ help myself; an’ I made my confession how bad I’d been, an’ I was sorry, an’ ef ’E’d be so pitiful an’ forgive me; an’ ef I mus’ loss my life, ef ’E’d be so good as make me a good Christen first,—an’ make they happy, in course.

“So then I started; an’ first I goed to where my gaff was, by the mother-swile an’ her whelp. There was swiles every two or three yards a’most, old uns an’ young uns, all round, everywhere; an’ I feeled shamed in a manner: but I got my gaff, an’ cleaned un, an’ then, in God’s name, I took the big swile, that was dead by its dead whelp, an’ hauled it away, where the t’ other poor things could n’ si’ me, an’ I sculped24 it, an’ took the pelt;—for I thowt I’d wear un, now the poor dead thing did n’ want to make oose of un no more,—an’ partly becase’t was sech a lovun thing. An’ so I set out, walkun this way, for a spurt, an’ then t’ other way, keepun up mostly a Nor-norwest, so well as I could: sometimes away round th’ open, an’ more times round a lump of ice, an’ more times, agen, off from one an’ on to another, every minute. I did n’ feel hungry, for I drinked fresh water off th’ ice. No schooner! no schooner!

“Bumby the sun was goun down:’t was slow work feelun my way along, an’ I did n’ want to look about: but then agen I thowt God ’ad made it to be sid; an’ so I come to, an’ turned all round, an’ looked; an’ surely it seemed like another world, someway,’t was so beautiful,—yellow, an’ different sorts o’ red, like the sky itself in a manner, an’ flashun like glass. So then it comed night: an’ I thowt I should n’ go to bed, an’ I may forget my prayers, an’ so I’d, mubbe, best say ’em right away; an’ so I doned: ‘Lighten our darkness,’ and others we was oosed to say: an’ it comed into my mind the Lard said to Saint Peter, ‘Why did n’ ’ee have faith?’ when there was nawthun on the water for un to go on; an’ I had ice under foot,—‘t was but frozen water, but’t was frozen,—an’ I thanked Un.

“I could n’ help thinkun o’ Brigus an’ them I’d laved in it, an’ then I prayed for ’em; an’ I could n’ help cryun, a’most: but then I give over agen, an’ would n’ think, ef I could help it; on’y tryun to say an odd psalm, all through singun-psalms an’ other, for I knowed a many of ’em by singun wi’ Patience, on’y now I cared more about ’em: I said that one,—

‘Sech as in ships an’ brickle barks

Into the seas descend,

Their merchantun, through fearful floods,

To compass an’ to end:

They men are force-put to behold

The Lard’s works, what they be;

An’ in the dreadful deep the same

Most marvellous they see.’

An’ I said a many more, (I can’t be accountable how many I said,) an’ same uns many times over: for I would keep on; an’ ’ould sometimes sing ’em very loud in my poor way.

“A poor baste (a silver fox ’e was) comed an’ looked at me; an’ when I turned round, he walked away a piece, an’ then ’e comed back, an’ looked.

“So I found a high piece, wi’ a wall of ice atop for shelter, ef it comed on to blow; an’ so I stood, an’ said, an’ sung, I knowed well I was on’y driftun away.

“It was tarrible lonely in the night, when night comed: it’s no use! ’T was tarrible lonely: but I ’ouldn’ think, ef I could help it; an’ I prayed a bit, an’ kep’ up my psalms, an’ varses out o’ the Bible, I’d a-larned. I had n’ a-prayed for sleep, but for wakun all night, an’ there I was, standun.

“The moon was out agen, so bright; an’ all the hills of ice shinun up to her; an’ stars twinklun, so busy, all over; an’ No’ther’ Lights goun up wi’ a faint blaze, seemunly, from th’ ice, an’ meetun up aloft; an’ sometimes a great groanun, an’ more times tarrible loud shriekun! There was great white fields, an’ great white hills, like countries, comun down to be destroyed; an’ some great bargs a-goun faster, an’ tearun through, breakun others to pieces; an’ the groanun an’ screechun,—ef all the dead that ever was, wi’ their white clothès—-But no!” said the stout fisherman, recalling himself from gazing, as he seemed to be, on the far-off ghastly scene, in memory.

“No!—an’ thank ’E’s marcy, I’m sittun by my own room. ’E tooked me off: but ’t was a dreadful sight,—it’s no use,—ef a body’d let ’e’sself think! I sid a great black bear, an’ hard un growl; an’ ’t was feelun, like, to hear un so bold an’ so stout, among all they dreadful things, an’ bumby the time ’ould come when ’e couldn’ save ’e’sself, do what ’e woul’.

“An’ more times ’t was all still: on’y swiles bawlun, all over. Ef it hadn’ a-been for they poor swiles, how could I stan’ it? Many’s the one I’d a-ketched, day-time, an’ talked to un, an’ patted un on the head, as ef they’d a-been dogs by the door, like; an’ they’d oose to shut their eyes, an’ draw their poor foolish faces together. It seemed neighbor-like to have some live thing.

“So I kep’ awake, sayun an’ singun, an’ it wasn’ very cold; an’ so—first thing I knowed, I started, an’ there I was lyun in a heap; an’ I must have been asleep, an’ didn’ know how ’t was, nor how long I’d a-been so: an’ some sort o’ baste started away, an’ ’e must have waked me up; I couldn’ rightly see what ’t was, wi’ sleepiness: an’ then I hard a sound, sounded like breakers; an’ that waked me fairly. ’T was like a lee-shore; an’ ’t was a comfort to think o’ land, ef ’t was on’y to be wrecked on itself: but I didn’ go, an’ I stood an’ listened to un; an’ now an’ agen I’d walk a piece, back an’ forth, an’ back an’ forth; an’ so I passed a many, many longsome hours, seemunly, tull night goed down tarrible slowly, an’ it comed up day o’ t’ other side: an’ there wasn’ no land; nawthun but great mountains meltun an’ breakun up, an’ fields wastun away. I sid ’t was a rollun barg made the noise like breakers, throwun up great seas o’ both sides of un; no sight nor sign o’ shore, nor ship, but dazun white,—enough to blind a body,—an’ I knowed ’t was all floatun away, over the say. Then I said my prayers, an’ tooked a drink o’ water, an’ set out agen for Nor-norwest: ’t was all I could do. Sometimes snow, an’ more times fair agen; but no sign o’ man’s things, an’ no sign o’ land, on’y white ice an’ black water; an’ ef a schooner wasn’ into un a’ready, ’t wasn’ likely they woul’, for we was gettun furder an’ furder away. Tired I was wi’ goun, though I hadn’ walked more ’n a twenty or thirty mile, mubbe, an’ it all comun down so fast as I could go up, an’ faster, an’ never stoppun! ’T was a tarrible long journey up over the driftun ice, at sea! So, then I went on a high bit to wait tull all was done: I thowt ’t would be last to melt, an’ mubbe, I thowt, ’e may capsize wi’ me, when I didn’ know (for I don’ say I was stout-hearted): an’ I prayed Un to take care o’ them I loved; an’ the tears comed. Then I felt somethun tryun to turn me round like, an’ it seemed as ef she was doun it, somehow, an’ she seemed to be very nigh, somehow, an’ I didn’ look.

“After a bit, I got up to look out where most swiles was, for company, while I was livun: an’ the first look struck me a’most like a bullet! There I sid a sail! ‘T was a sail, an’ ’t was like heaven openun, an’ God settun her down there. About three mile away she was, to nothe’ard, in th’ Ice.

“I could ha’ sid, at first look, what schooner’t was; but I did n’ want to look hard at her. I kep’ my peace, a spurt, an’ then I runned an’ bawled out, ‘Glory be to God!’ an’ then I stopped, an’ made proper thanks to Un. An’ there she was, same as ef I’d a-walked off from her an hour ago! It felt so long as ef I’d been livun years, an’ they would n’ know me, sca’ce. Somehow I did n’ think I could come up wi’ her.

“I started, in the name o’ God, wi’ all my might, an’ went, an’ went,—‘t was a five mile, wi’ goun round,—an’ got her, thank God! ’T was n’ the Baccaloue, (I sid that long before,) ’t was t’ other schooner, the Sparrow, repairun damages they ’d got day before. So that kep’ ’em there, an’ I’d a-been took from one an’ brought to t’ other.

“I could n’ do a hand’s turn tull we got into the Bay agen,—I was so clear beat out. The Sparrow kep’ her men, an’ fotch home about thirty-eight hundred swiles, an’ a poor man off th’ Ice: but they, poor fellows, that I went out wi’, never comed no more; an’ I never went agen.

“I kep’ the skin o’ the poor baste, Sir: that’s ’e on my cap.”

When the planter had fairly finished his tale, it was a little while before I could teach my eyes to see the things about me in their places. The slow-going sail, outside, I at first saw as the schooner that brought away the lost man from the Ice; the green of the earth would not, at first, show itself through the white with which the fancy covered it; and at first I could not quite feel that the ground was fast under my feet. I even mistook one of my own men (the sight of whom was to warn me that I was wanted elsewhere) for one of the crew of the schooner Sparrow of a generation ago.

I got the tale and its scene gathered away, presently, inside my mind, and shook myself into a present association with surrounding things, and took my leave. I went away the more gratified that I had a chance of lifting my cap to a matron, dark-haired and comely, (who, I was sure, at a glance, had once been the maiden of Benjie Westham’s “troth-plight,”) and receiving a handsome curtsy in return.


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Bolivar, October 26th. Zagonyi’s success has roused the enthusiasm of the army. The old stagers took it coolly, but the green hands revealed their excitement by preparing for instant battle. Pistols were oiled and reloaded, and swords sharpened. We did all this a month ago, before leaving St. Louis. We then expected a battle, and went forth with the shadow and the sunshine of that expectation upon our hearts; but up to this time we have not seen a shot fired in earnest. Now the blast of war blows in our ears, and we instinctively “stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood.”

Captain H., the young chevalier of the staff, whom we have named Le Beau Capitaine, went this morning to St. Louis with intelligence of the victory. He has ninety miles to ride before midnight, to catch to-morrow’s train.

Under the influence of the excitement which prevailed, we were on horseback this morning long before it was necessary, when the General sent us word that the staff might go forward, and he would overtake us. The gay and brilliant cavalcade which marched out of Jefferson City is destroyed,—the maimed and bleeding Guard is reposing a few miles south of Bolivar,—the detachment which was left at head-quarters has gone on to join the main body,—and the staff, broken into small parties, straggles along the road. A more beautiful day never delighted the earth. The atmosphere is warm, the sky cloudless, and the distance is filled with a soft dreamy haze, which veils, but does not conceal, the purple hills and golden forests.

A few miles south of our last night’s camp we came out upon a large prairie, called the Twenty-Five Mile Prairie. It is an undulating plain, seven miles wide and twenty-five long. It was the intention to concentrate the army here. A more favorable position for reviewing and manoeuvring a large force cannot be found. But the plan has been changed. We must hasten to Springfield, lest the Rebels seize the place, capture White and our wounded, and throw a cloud over Zagonyi’s brilliant victory.

Passing from the prairie, we entered a broad belt of timber, and soon reached a fine stream. We drew rein at a farmhouse on the top of the river-bank, where we found a pleasant Union family. The farmer came out, and, thinking Colonel Eaton was the General, offered him two superb apples, large enough for foot-balls. He was disappointed to find his mistake, and to be compelled to withdraw the proffered gift. Sigel encamped here last night;, and the débris of his camp-fires checker the hill-side and the flats along the margin of the creek. After waiting an hour, the General not coming up, Colonel Eaton and myself set out alone over a road which was crowded with Sigel’s wagons. Everything bears witness to the extraordinary energy and efficiency of that officer. This morning he started before day, and he will be in Springfield by noon to-morrow. His train is made up of materials which would drive most generals to despair. There are mule-teams, and ox-teams, and in some cases horses, mules, and oxen hitched together. There are army-wagons, box-wagons, lumber-wagons, hay-racks, buggies, carriages,—in fact, every kind of animal and every description of vehicle which could be found in the country. Most of our division-commanders would have refused to leave camp with such a train; but Sigel has made it answer his purpose, and here he is, fifty miles in advance of any other officer, tearing after Price.

We were jogging painfully over the incumbered road, and through clouds of dust, when an officer rode up in great haste, and asked for Dr. C., who was needed at the camp of the Guards. By reason of the broken order in which the staff rode to-day, he could not be found. For two mortal hours unlucky aides-de-camp dashed to the front and the rear, and scoured the country for five miles upon the flanks, visiting the farm-houses in search of the missing surgeon. At last he was found, and hurried on to the relief of the Guard. At this moment the General came up, and, to our astonishment, Zagonyi was riding beside him, bearing upon his trim person no mark of yesterday’s fatigue and danger. The Major fell behind, and rode into Bolivar with me. On the way we met Lieutenant Maythenyi of the Guard.

Our camp is on the farm of a member of the State legislature who is now serving under Price. His white cottage and well-ordered farm-buildings are surrounded by rich meadows, bearing frequent groups of noble trees; the fences are in good condition, and the whole place wears an air of thrift and prosperity which must be foreign to Missouri even in her best estate.

Springfield, October 28th. Few of those who endured the labor of yesterday will forget the march into Springfield. At midnight of Saturday, the Sharp-shooters were sent on in wagons, and at two in the morning the Benton Cadets started, with orders to march that day to Springfield, thirty miles. Their departure broke the repose of the camp. To add to the confusion, a report was spread that the General intended to start at daybreak, and that we must have breakfast at four o’clock and be ready for the saddle at six. This programme was carried out. Long before day our servants called us; fires were lighted, and breakfast eaten by starlight. Before dawn the wagons were packed and horses saddled. But the General had no intention of going so early; the report had its origin in the uneasy brain of some officer who probably thought the General ought to leave at daybreak. Some of the old heads paid no attention to the report, or did not hear it, and they were deep in the pleasures of the morning nap while we poor fellows were shivering over our breakfast.

Colonel Wyman reported himself at Bolivar, having marched from Rolla and beaten the Rebels in three engagements. The General set out at nine o’clock for our thirty-mile ride. The black horse fell into his usual scrambling gait, and we pounded along uneasily after him. As we passed through Bolivar, the inhabitants came into the streets and greeted us with cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs,—a degree of interest which is not often exhibited. Fording a small stream, we came into Wyman’s camp, and thence upon a long, rolling prairie. An hour’s ride brought us to the place where the Guard encamped the night before. The troops had left, but the wounded officers were still in a neighboring house, waiting for our ambulances. Those who were able to walk came out to see the General. He received them with marked kindness. At times like this, he has a simple grace and poetry of expression and a tenderness of manner which are very winning. He spoke a few words to each of the brave fellows, which brought smiles to their faces and tears into their eyes. Next came our turn, and we were soon listening to the incidents of the fearful fray. None of them are severely wounded, except Kennedy, and he will probably lose an arm. We saw them all placed in the ambulances, and then fell in behind the black pacer.

A short distance farther on, a very amusing scene occurred. The road in front was nearly filled by a middle-aged woman, fat enough to have been the original of some of the pictures which are displayed over the booths at a county fair.

“Are you Gin’ral Freemount?” she shouted, her loud voice husky with rage.

“Yes,” replied the General in a low tone, somewhat abashed at the formidable obstruction in his path, and occupied in restraining the black pacer, who was as much frightened at the huge woman as he could have been at a park of artillery.

“Waal, you’re the man I want to see. I’m a widder. I wus born in Old Kentuck, and am a Union, and allers wus a Union, and will be a Union to the eend, clear grit.”

She said this with startling earnestness and velocity of utterance, and paused, the veins in her face swollen almost to bursting. The black pacer bounded from one side of the road to the other, throwing the whole party into confusion.

The General raised his cap and asked,—

“What is the matter, my good woman?”

“Matter, Gin’ral! Ther’s enough the matter. I’ve allers gi’n the sogers all they wanted. I gi’n ‘em turkeys and chickens and eggs and butter and bread. And I never charged ‘em anything for it. They tuk all my corn, and I never said nuthing. I allers treated ‘em well, for I’m Union, and so wus my man, who died more nor six yeah ago.”

She again paused, evidently for no reason except to escape a stroke of apoplexy.

“But tell me what you want now. I will see to it that you have justice,” interrupted the General.

“You see, Gin’ral, last night some sogers come and tuk my ox-chains,—two on ‘em,—all I’ve got,—and I can’t buy no more in these war-times. I can’t do any work without them chains; they’d ‘a’ better uv tuk my teams with ‘em, too.”

“How much were your ox-chains worth,” said the General, laughing.

“Waal now,” answered the fat one, moderating her tone, “they’re wuth a good deal jes’ now. The war has made such things dreffle deah. The big one wus the best I ever see; bought it last yeah, up at Hinman’s store in Bolivar; that chain was wuth—waal now—Ho, Jim! ho, Dick! come y’ere! Gin’ral Freemount wants to know how much them ox-chains wus wath.”

A lazy negro and a lazier white man, the latter whittling a piece of cedar, walked slowly from the house to the road, and, leaning against the fence, began in drawling tones to discuss the value of the ox-chains, how much they cost, how much it would take to buy new ones in these times. One thought “may-be four dollars wud do,” but the other was sure they could not be bought for less than five. There was no promise of a decision, and the black pacer was floundering about in a perfect agony of fear. At last the General drew out a gold eagle and gave it to the woman, asking,—

“Is that enough?”

She took the money with a ludicrous expression of joy and astonishment at the rare sight, but exclaimed,—

“Lor’ bless me! it’s too much, Gin’ral! I don’t want more nor my rights. It’s too much.”

But the General spurred by her, and we followed, leaving the “Union” shouting after us, “It’s too much! It’s more nor I expected!” She must have received an impression of the simplicity and promptitude of the quartermaster’s department which the experience of those who have had more to do with it will hardly sustain.

Our road was filled with teams belonging to Sigel’s train, and the dust was very oppressive. At length it became so distressing to our animals that the General permitted us to separate from him and break up into small parties. I made the rest of the journey in company with Colonel Eaton. Our road lay through the most picturesque region we had seen. The Ozark Mountains filled the southern horizon, and ranges of hills swept along our flanks. The broad prairies, covered with tall grass waving and rustling in the light breeze, were succeeded by patches of woods, through which the road passed, winding among picturesque hills covered with golden forests and inlaid with the silver of swift-running crystal streams.

As we came near the town, we saw many evidences of the rapid march Sigel had made. We passed large numbers of stragglers. Some were limping along, weary and foot-sore, others were lying by the road-side, and every farmhouse was filled with exhausted men. A mile or two from Springfield we overtook the Cadets. They had marched thirty miles since morning, and had halted beside a brook to wash themselves. As we approached, Colonel Marshall dressed the ranks, the colors were flung out, the music struck up, and the Cadets marched into Springfield in as good order as if they had just left camp.

It was a gala-day in Springfield. The Stars and Stripes were flying from windows and house-tops, and ladies and children, with little flags in their hands, stood on the door-steps to welcome us. This is the prettiest town I have found in Missouri, and we can see the remains of former thrift and comfort worthy a village in the Valley of the Merrimack or Genesee. It has suffered severely from the war. From its position it is the key to Southern Missouri, and all decisive battles for the possession of that region must be fought near Springfield. This is the third Union army which has been here, and the Confederate armies have already occupied the place twice. When the Federals came, the leading Secessionists fled; and when the Rebels came, the most prominent Union men ran away. Thus by the working of events the town has lost its chief citizens, and their residences are either deserted or have been sacked. War’s dreary record is written upon the dismantled houses, the wasted gardens, the empty storehouses, and the deserted taverns. The market, which stood in the centre of the Plaza, was last night fired by a crazy old man, well known here, and previously thought to be harmless: it now stands a black ruin, a type of the desolation which broods over the once happy and prosperous town.

Near the market is a substantial brick edifice, newly built,—the county courthouse. It is used as a hospital, and we were told that the dead Guardsmen were lying in the basement. Colonel Eaton and myself dismounted, and entered a long, narrow room in which lay sixteen ghastly figures in open coffins of unpainted pine, ranged along the walls. All were shot to death except one. They seemed to have died easily, and many wore smiles upon their faces. Death had come so suddenly that the color still lingered in their boyish cheeks, giving them the appearance of wax-figures. Near the door was the manly form of the sergeant of the first company, who, while on the march, rode immediately in front of the General. We all knew him well. He was a model soldier: his dress always neat, his horse well groomed, the trappings clean, and his sabre-scabbard bright. He lay as calm and placid as if asleep; and a small blue mark between his nose and left eye told the story of his death. Opposite him was a terrible spectacle,—the bruised, mangled, and distorted shape of a bright-eyed lad belonging to the Kentucky company. I had often remarked his arch, mirthful, Irish-like face; and the evening the Guard left camp he brought me a letter to send to his mother, and talked of the fun he was going to have at Springfield. His body was found seven miles from the battle-field, stripped naked. There was neither bullet—nor sabre-wound upon him, but his skull had been beaten in by a score of blows. The cowards had taken him prisoner, carried him with them in their flight, and then robbed and murdered him.

After leaving the hospital we met Major White, whom we supposed to be a prisoner. He is quite ill from the effects of exposure and anxiety. With his little band of twenty-four men he held the town, protecting and caring for the wounded, until Sigel came in yesterday noon.

Head-quarters were established at the residence of Colonel Phelps, the member of Congress from this district, and our tents are now grouped in front and at the sides of the house. The wagons did not come up until midnight, and we were compelled to forage for our supper and lodging. A widow lady who lives near gave some half-dozen officers an excellent meal, and Major White and myself slept on the floor of her sitting-room.

This afternoon the Guardsmen were buried with solemn ceremony. We placed the sixteen in one huge grave. Upon a grassy hill-side, and beneath the shade of tall trees, the brave boys sleep in the soil they have hallowed by their valor.

We are so far in advance that there is some solicitude lest we may be attacked before the other divisions come up. Sigel has no more than five thousand men, and the addition of our little column makes the whole force here less than six thousand. Asboth is two days’ march behind. McKinstry is on the Pomme-de-Terre, seventy miles north, and Pope is about the same distance. Hunter—we do not know precisely where he is, but we suppose him to be south of the Osage, and that he will come by the Buffalo road: he has not reported for some time. Price is at Neosho, fifty-four miles to the southwest. Should he advance rapidly, it will need energetic marching to bring up our reinforcements. Price and McCulloch have joined, and there are rumors that Hardee has reached their camp with ten thousand men. The best information we can get places the enemy’s force at thirty thousand men and thirty-two pieces of artillery. Deserters are numerous. I have interrogated a number of them to-day, and they all say they came away because Price was retreating, and they did not wish to be taken so far from their homes. They also say that the time for which his men are enlisted expires in the middle of November, and if he does not fight, his army will dissolve.


Springfield, October 30th. Asboth brought in his division this morning, and soon after Lane came at the head of his brigade. It was a motley procession, made up of the desperate fighters of the Kansas borders and about two hundred negroes. The contrabands were mounted and armed, and rode through the streets rolling about in their saddles with their shiny faces on a broad grin.

The disposition to be made of fugitive slaves is a subject which every day presents itself. The camps and even head-quarters are filled with runaways. Several negroes came from St. Louis as servants of staff-officers, and these men have become a sort of Vigilance Committee to secure the freedom of the slaves in our neighborhood. The new-comers are employed to do the work about camp, and we find them very useful,—and they serve us with a zeal which is born of their long-baffled love of liberty. The officers of the regular army here have little sympathy with this practical Abolitionism; but it is very different with the volunteers and the rank and file of the army at large. The men do not talk much about it; it is not likely that they think very profoundly upon the social and legal questions involved; they are Abolitionists by the inexorable logic of their situation. However ignorant or thoughtless they may be, they know that they are here at the peril of their lives, facing a stern, vigilant, and relentless foe. To subdue this foe, to cripple and destroy him, is not only their duty, but the purpose to which the instinct of self-preservation concentrates all their energies. Is it to be supposed that men who, like the soldiers of the Guard, last week pursued Rebellion into the very valley and shadow of death, will be solicitous to protect the system which incited their enemies to that fearful struggle, and hurried their comrades to early graves? What laws or proclamations can control men stimulated by such memories? The stern decrees of fact prescribe the conditions upon which this war must be waged. An attempt to give back the negroes who ask our protection would demoralize the army; an order to assist in such rendition would be resented as an insult. Fortunately, no such attempt will be made. So long as General Fremont is in command of this department, no person, white or black, will be taken out of our lines into slavery. The flag we follow will be in truth what the nation has proudly called it, a symbol of freedom to all.

The other day a farmer of the neighborhood came into our quarters, seeking a runaway slave. It happened that the fugitive had been employed as a servant by Colonel Owen Lovejoy. Some one told the man to apply to the Colonel, and he entered the tent of that officer and said,—

“Colonel, I am told you have got my boy Ben, who has run away from me.”

“Your boy?” exclaimed the Colonel; “I do not know that I have any boy of yours.”

“Yes, there he is,” insisted the master, pointing to a negro who was approaching. “I want you to deliver him to me: you have no right to him; he is my slave.”

“Your slave?” shouted Colonel Lovejoy, springing to his feet. “That man is my servant. By his own consent he is in my service, and I pay him for his labor, which it is his right to sell and mine to buy. Do you dare come here and claim the person of my servant? He is entitled to my protection, and shall have it. I advise you to leave this camp forthwith.”

The farmer was astounded at the cool way in which the Colonel turned the tables upon him, and set his claim to the negro, by reason of having hired him, above the one which he had as the negro’s master. He left hastily, and we afterwards learned that his brother and two sons were in the Rebel army.

As an instance of the peculiar manner in which some of the fugitive slaves address our sympathies, I may mention the case of Lanzy, one of my servants. He came to my tent the morning after I arrived here, ragged, hungry, foot-sore, and weary. Upon inquiry, I have found his story to be true. He is nearly white, and is the son of his master, whose residence is a few miles west of here, but who is now a captain under Price,—a fact which does not predispose me to the rendition of Lanzy, should he be pursued. He is married, after the fashion in which slaves are usually married, and has two children. But his wife and of course her children belong to a widow lady, whose estate adjoins his master’s farm, and several months ago, by reason of the unsettled condition of the country, Lanzy’s wife and little children were sold and taken down to the Red River. Fearing the approach of the Federal forces, last week the Rebel captain sent instructions to have Lanzy and his other slaves removed into Arkansas. This purpose was discovered, and Lanzy and a very old negro, whom he calls uncle, fled at night. For several days they wandered through the forests, and at last succeeded in reaching Springfield. How can a man establish a stronger claim to the sympathy and protection of a stranger than that which tyranny, misfortune, and misery have given to this poor negro upon me? Bereft of wife and children, whose love was the sunshine of his dark and dreary life, threatened with instant exile from which there was no hope of escape,—what was there of which imagination can conceive that could increase the load of evil which pressed upon this unhappy man? Is it strange that he fled from his hard fate, as the hare flies from the hounds?

His case is by no means extraordinary. Go to any one of the dusky figures loitering around yonder fire, and you will hear a moving story of oppression and sorrow. Every slave who runs breathless into our lines and claims the soldier’s protection, not only appeals to him as a soldier struggling with a deadly foe, but addresses every generous instinct of his manhood. Mighty forces born of man’s sympathy for man are at work in this war, and will continue their work, whether we oppose or yield to them.

Yesterday fifty-three Delaware Indians came from Kansas to serve under the General. Years ago he made friends of the Delawares, when travelling through their country upon his first journey of exploration; and hearing that he was on the war-path, the tribe have sent their best young warriors to join him. They are descendants of the famous tribe which once dwelt on the Delaware River, and belonged to the confederacy of the Six Nations, for more than two centuries the most powerful Indian community in America. Their ancient prowess remains. The Delawares are feared all over the Plains, and their war-parties have often penetrated beyond the Rocky Mountains, carrying terror through all the Indian tribes. These men are fine specimens of their race,—tall, lightly formed, and agile. They ride little shaggy ponies, rough enough to look at, but very hardy and active; and they are armed with the old American rifle, the traditional weapon which Cooper places in the hands of his red heroes. They are led by the chief of their tribe, Fall-Leaf, a dignified personage, past the noon of life, but showing in his erect form and dark eye that the fires of manhood burn with undiminished vigor.


Springfield, November 1st. It is certain that Price left Neosho on Monday and is moving towards us. He probably heard how small the force was with which the General arrived here, and thinks that he can overwhelm us before the other divisions come up. We have had some fear of this ourselves, and all the dispositions have been made for a stubborn defence in case we are attacked. The last two nights we have slept on our arms, with our horses saddled and baggage packed. Now all danger is past: a part of Pope’s division came in this morning, and McKinstry is close at hand. He has marched nearly seventy miles in three days. The evidence that Price is advancing is conclusive. Our scouts have reported that he was moving, and numerous deserters have confirmed these reports; but we have other evidence of the most undoubted reliability. During the last two days, hundreds of men, women, and children have come into our lines,—Union people who fled at the approach of the Rebels. I have talked with a number of these fugitives who reside southwest from here, and they all represent the roads to be filled with vast numbers of men and teams going towards Wilson’s Creek. They give the most exaggerated estimates of the number of the enemy, placing them at from fifty thousand to one hundred and twenty-five thousand men; but the scouts and deserters say that the whole force does not exceed thirty-two thousand, and of these a large number are poorly armed and quite undisciplined. Hunter has not come up, nor has he been heard from directly, but there is a report that yesterday he had not left the Osage: if this be true, he will not be here in time for the battle.

The Rebel generals must now make their choice between permitting themselves to be cut off from their base of operations and sources of supply and reinforcement, and attempting to reach Forsyth, in which case they will have to give us battle. The movement from Neosho leaves no doubt that they intend to fight. It is said by the deserters that Price would be willing to avoid an engagement, but he is forced to offer battle by the necessities of his position, the discontent of his followers, the approaching expiration of their term of enlistment, and the importunities of McCulloch, who declares he will not make another retreat.

We are now perfectly prepared. Hunter’s delay leaves us with only twenty-two thousand men, seventy pieces of artillery, and about four thousand cavalry. In view of our superiority as respects armament, discipline, and ordnance, we are more than a match for our opponent. We sleep to-night in constant expectation of an attack: two guns will be fired as a signal that the enemy are at hand.


Springfield, November 2d. The catastrophe has come which we have long dreaded, but for which we were in no degree prepared. This morning, at about ten o’clock, while I was standing in front of my tent, chatting with some friends, an officer in the uniform of a captain of the general staff rode up, and asked the orderly to show him to the General. He went into the house, and in a few moments came out and rode off. I soon learned that he had brought an order from General Scott informing General Fremont that he was temporarily relieved of his command, and directing him to transfer it to Major-General Hunter and report himself to the head-quarters of the army by letter. The order was originally dated October 7th, but the date had been altered to October 24th, on which day it left St. Louis,—the day the Guards started upon their expedition, to Springfield.

This order, which, on the very eve of consummation, has defeated the carefully matured plans upon which the General’s fortunes and in so large a measure the fortunes of the country depended,—which has destroyed the results of three months of patient labor, transferring to another the splendid army he has called together, organized, and equipped, and giving to another the laurel wreath of victory which now hangs ready to fall at the touch,—this order, which has disappointed so many long-cherished hopes, was received by our magnanimous General without a word of complaint. In his noble mind there was no doubt or hesitation. He obeyed it promptly and implicitly. He at once directed Colonel Eaton to issue the proper order transferring the command to General Hunter, and having prepared a brief address to the soldiers, full of pathos and patriotic devotion, he rode out accompanied by the Delawares to examine the positions south of the village.

Hunter has not yet been heard from: three couriers have been sent after him. General Pope is now in command here. It is understood, that, until the Commanding General arrives, the army will stand upon the defensive, and that no engagement will take place, unless it is attacked. General Fremont and his staff will leave to-morrow for St. Louis.

This evening I rode through Sigel’s and McKinstry’s camps. The general order and the farewell address had been read to the regiments, and the camp-fires were surrounded by groups of excited soldiers, and cheers for Fremont were heard on every side.

November 3d, 8 P.M. This morning it became apparent that the departure of the General before the arrival of Hunter would endanger the discipline of the army. Great numbers of officers have offered their resignations, and it has required the constant and earnest efforts of General Fremont to induce them to retain their positions. The slightest encouragement upon his part of the discontent which prevails will disorganize the divisions of Sigel and Asboth.

The attitude of the enemy is threatening, and it does not seem possible to avoid a battle more than a few hours. Great numbers of people, flying before Price, have come in to-day. A reconnaissance in the direction of Springfield has been made, and the following report rendered by General Asboth.


Springfield, November 3d, 1861.

“To MAJOR-GENERAL J.C. FREMONT, Commanding Western Department.

“GENERAL:—The captain commanding the company of Major Wright’s battalion, which was sent out on a scouting party to Wilson’s Creek, has just sent in his report by a runner. He says, last night the enemy’s advanced guard, some two thousand strong, camped at Wilson’s Creek. Price’s forces are at Terrill’s Creek on the Marionsville road, nine miles behind Wilson’s Creek, and McCulloch’s forces are at Dug Springs.

“Both these forces were expected to concentrate at Wilson’s Creek to-night, and offer battle there.

“The scout depicts every road and path covered with moving troops, estimating them at forty thousand men.

“Very respectfully,

“Your obedient serv’t,


“Act. Maj.-Gen’l Com’d’g 4th Div.”

According to this report, the whole of Price’s army is within twenty miles of us, and probably nearer. Hunter has not been heard from, and it is impossible to discover his whereabouts. This afternoon General McKinstry designed to make a reconnaissance in force with his whole division towards Wilson’s Creek; but yielding to the solicitations of the chief officers, and in view of the imminence of battle, to-day General Fremont resumed the command, and ordered McKinstry not to make his reconnoissance,—not wishing to bring on a general engagement during the absence of Hunter.

All day long officers have visited General Fremont and urged him to give battle, representing, that, if this opportunity were permitted to pass, Price, after ascertaining our force, would retire, and it would be impossible to catch him again. This evening one hundred and ten officers called upon him in a body. They ranged themselves in semicircular array in front of the house, and one of their number presented an address to the General full of sympathy and respect, and earnestly requesting him to lead them against the enemy. At the close of the interview, the General said, that, under all the circumstances, he felt it to be his duty not to decline the battle which our foe offers us,—and that, if General Hunter did not arrive before midnight, he would lead the army forward to-morrow morning at daybreak; and that they might so inform their several commands. This announcement was received with loud cheers. The staff-officers were at once despatched with directions to the division and brigade commanders to repair forthwith to head-quarters and receive their orders. The Generals assembled at eight o’clock, and the following order of battle was then published.


Springfield, November 3,1861.

“The different divisions of the army shall be put in the following order of battle.

“Act’g Maj.-Gen. Asboth, right wing. ” ” McKinstry, centre. ” ” Sigel, left. ” ” Pope, reserve.

“General McKinstry’s column to leave camp at six o’clock, and proceed by the Fayetteville road to the upper end of the upper cornfield on the left, where General Lyon made his first attack.

“General Sigel to start at six o’clock by Joakum’s Mill, and follow his old trail, except that he is to turn to the right some two miles sooner, and proceed to the old stable on the lower end of the lower cornfield.

“General Asboth to start at six and one-half o’clock, by the Mount Vernon road, then by a prairie road to the right of the ravine opposite the lower field.

“General Pope to start at seven o’clock by the Fayetteville road, following General McKinstry’s column.

“General Lane to join General Sigel’s division. General Wyman to join General Asboth’s division.

“One regiment and two pieces of artillery of General Pope’s division to remain as a reserve in Springfield.

“The different divisions to come into their positions at the same time, about eleven o’clock, at which hour a simultaneous attack will be made.

“The baggage-trains to be packed and held in readiness at Springfield. Each regiment to carry three two-horse wagons to transport the wounded.


“Maj.-Gen’l Com’d’g.”

The General and staff, with the Body-Guard, Benton Cadets, Sharp-shooters, and Delawares, will accompany McKinstry’s column.

The news has spread like wildfire. As I galloped up the road this evening, returning from McKinstry’s quarters, every camp was astir. The enthusiasm was unbounded. On every side the eager soldiers are preparing for the conflict. They are packing wagons, sharpening sabres, grooming horses, and cleaning muskets. The spirit of our men promises a brilliant victory.

Midnight. At eleven o’clock General Hunter entered the Council of Generals at head-quarters. General Fremont explained to him the situation of affairs, the attitude of the enemy, and the dispositions which had been made for the following day, and then gracefully resigned the command into his hands. And thus our hopes are finally defeated, and in the morning we turn our faces to the north. General Hunter will not advance to-morrow, and the opportunity of catching Price will probably be lost, for it is not likely the Rebel General will remain at Wilson’s Creek after he has learned that the whole Federal army is concentrated.

The news of the change has not yet reached the camps. As I sit here, wearied with the excitement and labors of the day, the midnight stillness is broken by the din of preparation, the shouting of teamsters, the clang of the cavalry anvils, and the distant cheers of the soldiers, still excited with the hope of to-morrow’s victory.

The Body-Guard and Sharp-shooters return with us; and all the officers of General Fremont’s staff have received orders to accompany him.


In camp, twenty-five miles north of Springfield, November 4th. At nine o’clock this morning we were in the saddle, and our little column was in marching order. The Delawares led, then came our band, the General and his staff followed, the Body-Guard came next, and the Sharp-shooters in wagons brought up the rear. In this order we proceeded through the village. The Benton Cadets were drawn up in line in front of their camp, and saluted us as we passed, but none of the other regiments were paraded. The band had been directed to play lively airs, and we marched out to merry music. The troops did not seem to know that the General was to leave; but when they heard the band, they ran out of their camps and flocked into the streets: there was no order in their coming; they came without arms, many of them without their coats and bareheaded, and filled the road. The crowd was so dense that with difficulty the General rode through the throng. The farewell was most touching. There was little cheering, but an expression of sorrow on every face. Some pressed forward to take his hand; others cried, “God bless you, General!” “Your enemies are not in the camp!” “Come back and lead us to battle; we will fight for you!” The General rode on perfectly calm, a pleasant smile on his face, telling the men he was doing his duty, and they must do theirs.

We travelled with great rapidity and circumspection; for there was some reason to suppose that parties of the enemy had been thrown to the north of Springfield, in which case we might have been interfered with.

Sedalia, November 7th. We are waiting for the train which is to take us to St. Louis. Our journey here has been made very quickly. Monday we marched twenty-five miles. Tuesday we started at dawn, and made thirty miles, encamping twenty-five miles south of the Osage. Wednesday we were in the saddle at six o’clock, crossed the Osage in the afternoon, and halted ten miles north of that river, the day’s journey being thirty-five miles. We pitched our tents upon a high, flat prairie, covered with long dry grass.

In the evening the Delawares signified, that, if the General would consent to it, they would perform a war-dance. Permission was easily obtained, and, after the Indian braves had finished their toilet, they approached in formal procession, arrayed in all the glory and terror of war-paint. A huge fire had been built. The inhabitants of our little camp quickly gathered, officers, soldiers of the Guard, and Sharp-shooters, negroes and teamsters. The Indians ranged themselves on one side of the fire, and the rest of us completed the circle. The dancing was done by some half-dozen young Indians, to the monotonous beating of two small drums and a guttural accompaniment which the dancers sang, the other Indians joining in the chorus. The performance was divided into parts, and the whole was intended to express the passions which war excites in the Indian nature,—the joy which they feel at the prospect of a fight,—their contempt for their enemies,—their frenzy at sight of the foe,—the conflict,—the operations of tomahawking and scalping their opponents,—and, finally, the triumph of victory. The performances occupied over two hours. Fall-Leaf presided with an air of becoming gravity, smoking an enormous stone pipe with a long reed stem.

After rendering thanks in proper form, Fall-Leaf was told, that, by way of return for their civility, and in special honor of the Delawares, the negroes would dance one of their national dances. Two agile darkies came forward, and went through with a regular break-down, to the evident entertainment of the red men. Afterwards an Irishman leaped into the ring, and began an Irish hornpipe. He was the best dancer of all, and his complicated steps and astonishing tours-de-force completely upset the gravity of the Indians, and they burst into loud laughter. It was midnight before the camp was composed to its last night’s sleep. This morning we started an hour before day, and marched to this place, twenty miles, by noon.

Thus ended the expedition of General Fremont to Springfield.

In bringing these papers to a close, the writer cannot refrain from expressing his regret that circumstances have prevented him from making that exposition of affairs in the Western Department which the country has long expected. While he was in the field, General Fremont permitted the attacks of his enemies to pass unheeded, because he held them unworthy to be intruded upon more important occupations, and he would not be diverted from the great objects he was pursuing; since his recall, considerations affecting the public service, and the desire not at this time to embarrass the Government with personal matters, have sealed his lips. I will not now disregard his wishes by entering into any detailed discussion of the charges which have been made against him,—but I cannot lay down my pen without bearing voluntary testimony to the fidelity, energy, and skill which he brought to his high office. It will be hard for any one who was not a constant witness of his career to appreciate the labor which he assumed and successfully performed. From the first to the last hour of the day, there was no idle moment. No time was given to pleasure,—none even to needed relaxation. Often, long after the strength of his body was spent, the force of his will bound him to exhausting toil. No religious zealot ever gave himself to his devotions with more absorbing abandonment than General Fremont to his hard, and, as it has proved, most thankless task. Time will verify the statement, that, whether as respects thoroughness or economy, his administration of affairs at the West will compare favorably with the transactions of any other department of the Government, military or civil, during the last nine months. Let it be contrasted with the most conspicuous instance of the management of military affairs at the East.

The period between the President’s Proclamation and the Battle of Manassas was about equal in duration to the career of Fremont in the West. The Federal Government had at command all the resources, in men, material, and money, of powerful, wealthy, and populous communities. Nothing was asked which was not promptly and lavishly given. After three months of earnest effort, assisted by the best military and civil talent of the country, by the whole army organization, by scientific soldiers and an accomplished and experienced staff, a column of thirty thousand men, with thirty-four pieces of artillery and but four hundred cavalry, was moved a distance of twenty-two miles. Though it had been in camp several weeks, up to a few days before its departure it was without brigade or division organization, and ignorant of any evolutions except those of the battalion. It was sent forward without equipage, without a sufficient commissariat or an adequate medical establishment. This armed mob was led against an intrenched foe, and driven back in wild and disgraceful defeat,—a defeat which has prolonged the war for a year, called for a vast expenditure of men and treasure, and now to our present burdens seems likely to add those of a foreign war. The authors of this great disaster remain unpunished, and, except in the opinions of the public, unblamed; while nearly all the officers who led the ill-planned, ill-timed, and badly executed enterprise have received distinguished promotions, such as the soldier never expects to obtain, except as the reward of heroic and successful effort.

When General Fremont reached St. Louis, the Federal militia were returning to their homes, and a confident foe pressed upon every salient point of an extended and difficult defensive position. Drawing his troops from a few sparsely settled and impoverished States, denied expected and needed assistance in money and material from the General Government, he overcame every obstacle, and at the end of eight weeks led forth an army of thirty thousand men, with five thousand cavalry and eighty-six pieces of artillery. Officers of high rank declared that this force could not leave its encampments by reason of the lack of supplies and transportation; but he conveyed them one hundred and ninety miles by rail, marched them one hundred and thirty-five miles, crossing a broad and rapid river in five days, and in three months from his assumption of the command, and in one month after leaving St. Louis, placed them in presence of the enemy,—not an incoherent mass, but a well-ordered and compact army, upon whose valor, steadfastness, and discipline the fate of the nation might safely have been pledged.

If General Fremont was not tried by the crowning test of the soldier—the battle-field—it was not through fault of his. On the very eve of battle he was removed. His army was arrested in its triumphal progress, and compelled to a shameful retreat, abandoning the beautiful region it had wrested from the foe, and deserting the loyal people who trusted to its protection, and who, exiles from their homes, followed its retreating files,—a mournful procession of broken-hearted men, weeping women, and suffering children. With an unscrupulousness which passes belief, the authors of this terrible disaster have denied the presence of the enemy at Springfield. The miserable wretches, once prosperous farmers upon the slopes of the Ozark Hills, who now wander mendicants through the streets of St, Louis, or crouch around the campfires of Holla and Sedalia, can tell whether Price was near Springfield or not.

Forty-eight hours more must have given to General Fremont an engagement. What the result would have been no one who was there doubted. A victory such as the country has long desired and sorely needs,—a decisive, complete, and overwhelming victory,—was as certain as it is possible for the skill and valor of man to make certain any future event Now, twenty thousand men are required to hold our long line of defence in Missouri; then, five thousand at Springfield would have secured the State of Missouri, and a column pushed into Arkansas would have turned the enemy’s position upon the Mississippi. In the same time and with the same labor that the march to the rear was made, two States might have been won, and the fate of the Rebellion in the Southwest decided.

While I am writing these concluding pages, the telegraph brings information that another expedition has started for Springfield. Strong columns are marching from Bolla, Sedalia, and Versailles, to do the work which General Fremont stood ready to do last November. After three months of experience and reflection, the enterprise which was denounced as aimless, extravagant, and ill-judged, which was derided as a wild hunt after an unreal foe, an exploration into desert regions, is now repeated in face of the obstacles of difficult roads and an inclement season, and when many of the objects of the expedition no longer exist,—for, unhappily, the loyal inhabitants of those fertile uplands, the fruitful farms and pleasant homes, are no longer there to receive the protection of our armies. General Fremont’s military conduct could not have received more signal approval. The malignant criticisms of his enemies could in no other manner have been so completely refuted. Unmoved by the storm of calumny and detraction which raged around him, he has calmly and silently awaited the unerring judgment, the triumphant verdict, which he knew time and the ebb of the bad passions his success excited would surely bring.


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With the following Letter from the REVEREND HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

To the Editors of the ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 7th Feb., 1862.

Respected Friends,—If I know myself, and surely a man can hardly be supposed to have overpassed the limit of fourscore years without attaining to some proficiency in that most useful branch of learning, (e cælo descendit, says the pagan poet,) I have no great smack of that weakness which would press upon the publick attention any matter pertaining to my private affairs. But since the following letter of Mr. Sawin contains not only a direct allusion to myself, but that in connection with a topick of interest to all those engaged in the publick ministrations of the sanctuary, I may be pardoned for touching briefly thereupon. Mr. Sawin was never a stated attendant upon my preaching,—never, as I believe, even an occasional one, since the erection of the new house (where we now worship) in 1845. He did, indeed, for a time supply a not unacceptable bass in the choir, but, whether on some umbrage (omnibus hoc vitium est cantoribus) taken against the bass-viol, then, and till his decease in 1850, (æt. 77,) under the charge of Mr. Asaph Perley, or, as was reported by others, on account of an imminent subscription for a new bell, he thenceforth, absented himself from all outward and visible communion. Yet he seems to have preserved, (altâ mente repostum,) as it were, in the pickle of a mind soured by prejudice, a lasting scunner, as he would call it, against our staid and decent form of worship: for I would rather in that wise interpret his fling, than suppose that any chance tares sown by my pulpit discourses should survive so long, while good seed too often fails to root itself. I humbly trust that I have no personal feeling in the matter; though I know, that, if we sound any man deep enough, our lead shall bring up the mud of human nature at last. The Bretons believe in an evil spirit which they call ar c’houskesik, whose office it is to make the congregation drowsy; and though I have never had reason to think that he was specially busy among my flock, yet have I seen enough to make me sometimes regret the hinged seats of the ancient meeting-house, whose lively clatter, not unwillingly intensified by boys beyond eyeshot of the tithing-man, served at intervals as a wholesome réveil. It is true, I have numbered among my parishioners some whose gift of somnolence rivalled that of the Cretan Rip van Winkle, Epimenides, and who, nevertheless, complained not so much of the substance as of the length of my (by them unheard) discourses. Happy Saint Anthony of Padua, whose finny acolytes, however they might profit, could never murmur! Quare fremuerunt gentes? Who is he that can twice a week be inspired, or has eloquence (ut ita dicam) always on tap? A good man, and, next to David, a sacred poet, (himself, haply, not inexpert of evil in this particular,) has said,—

“The worst speak something good: if all want sense,

God takes a text and preacheth patience.”

There are one or two other points in Mr. Sawin’s letter which I would also briefly animadvert upon. And first concerning the claim he sets up to a certain superiority of blood and lineage in the people of our Southern States, now unhappily in rebellion against lawful authority and their own better interests. There is a sort of opinions, anachronisms and anachorisms, foreign both to the age and the country, that maintain a feeble and buzzing existence, scarce to be called life, like winter flies, which in mild weather crawl out from obscure nooks and crannies to expatiate in the sun, and sometimes acquire vigour enough to disturb with their enforced familiarity the studious hours of the scholar. One of the most stupid and pertinacious of these is the theory that the Southern States were settled by a class of emigrants from the Old World socially superiour to those who founded the institutions of New England. The Virginians especially lay claim to this generosity of lineage, which were of no possible account, were it not for the fact that such superstitions are sometimes not without their effect on the course of human affairs. The early adventurers to Massachusetts at least paid their passages; no felons were ever shipped thither; and though it be true that many deboshed younger brothers of what are called good families may have sought refuge in Virginia, it is equally certain that a great part of the early deportations thither were the sweepings of the London streets and the leavings of the London stews. On what the heralds call the spindle side, some, at least, of the oldest Virginian families are descended from matrons who were exported and sold for so many hogsheads of tobacco the head. So notorious was this, that it became one of the jokes of contemporary playwrights, not only that men bankrupt in purse and character were “food for the Plantations,” (and this before the settlement of New England,) but also that any drab would suffice to wive such pitiful adventurers. “Never choose a wife as if you were going to Virginia,” says Middleton in one of his comedies. The mule is apt to forget all but the equine side of his pedigree. How early the counterfeit nobility of the Old Dominion became a topick of ridicule in the Mother Country may be learned from a play of Mrs. Behn’s, founded on the Rebellion of Bacon: for even these kennels of literature may yield a fact or two to pay the raking. Mrs. Flirt, the keeper of a Virginia ordinary, calls herself the daughter of a baronet “undone in the late rebellion,”—her father having in truth been a tailor,—and three of the Council, assuming to themselves an equal splendour of origin, are shown to have been, one “a broken exciseman who came over a poor servant,” another a tinker transported for theft, and the third “a common pickpocket often flogged at the cart’s-tail.” The ancestry of South Carolina will as little pass muster at the Herald’s Visitation, though I hold them to have been more reputable, inasmuch as many of them were honest tradesmen and artisans, in some measure exiles for conscience’ sake, who would have smiled at the high-flying nonsense of their descendants. Some of the more respectable were Jews. The absurdity of supposing a population of eight millions all sprung from gentle loins in the course of a century and a half is too manifest for confutation. The aristocracy of the South, such as it is, has the shallowest of all foundations, for it is only skin-deep,—the most odious of all, for, while affecting to despise trade, it traces its origin to a successful traffick in men, women, and children, and still draws its chief revenues thence. And though, as Doctor Chamberlayne says in his Present State of England, “to become a Merchant of Foreign Commerce, without serving any Apprentisage, hath been allowed no disparagement to a Gentleman born, especially to a younger Brother,” yet I conceive that he would hardly have made a like exception in favour of the particular trade in question. Nor do I believe that such aristocracy as exists at the South (for I hold, with Marius, fortissimum quemque generosissimum) will be found an element of anything like persistent strength in war,—thinking the saying of Lord Bacon (whom one quaintly called inductionis dominus et Verulamii) as true as it is pithy, that, “the more gentlemen, ever the lower books of subsidies.” It is odd enough as an historical precedent, that, while the fathers of New England were laying deep in religion, education, and freedom the basis of a polity which has substantially outlasted any then existing, the first work of the founders of Virginia, as may be seen in Wingfield’s Memorial, was conspiracy and rebellion,—odder yet, as showing the changes which are wrought by circumstance, that the first insurrection in South Carolina was against the aristocratical scheme of the Proprietary Government. I do not find that the cuticular aristocracy of the South has added anything to the refinements of civilization except the carrying of bowie-knives and the chewing of tobacco,—a high-toned Southern gentleman being commonly not only quadrumanous, but quidruminant.

I confess that the present letter of Mr. Sawin increases my doubts as to the sincerity of the convictions which he professes, and I am inclined to think that the triumph of the legitimate Government, sure sooner or later to take place, will find him and a large majority of his newly-adopted fellow-citizens (who hold with Dædalus, the primal sitter-on-the-fence, that medium tenere tutissimum) original Union men. The criticisms toward the close of his letter on certain of our failings are worthy to be seriously perpended, for he is not, as I think, without a spice of vulgar shrewdness. As to the good-nature in us which he seems to gird at, while I would not consecrate a chapel, as they have not scrupled to do in France, to Nótre Dame de la Haine, Our Lady of Hate, yet I cannot forget that the corruption of good-nature is the generation of laxity of principle. Good-nature is our national characteristick; and though it be, perhaps, nothing more than a culpable weakness or cowardice, when it leads us to put up tamely with manifold impositions and breaches of implied contracts, (as too frequently in our publick conveyances,) it becomes a positive crime, when it leads us to look unresentfully on peculation, and to regard treason to the best Government that ever existed as something with which a gentleman may shake hands without soiling his fingers. I do not think the gallows-tree the most profitable member of our Sylva; but, since it continues to be planted, I would fain see a Northern limb ingrafted on it, that it may bear some other fruit than loyal Tennesseeans.

A relick has recently been discovered on the east bank of Bushy Brook in North Jaalam, which I conceive to be an inscription in Runic characters relating to the early expedition of the Northmen to this continent. I shall make fuller investigations, and communicate the result in due season.

Your obedient servant,

P.S. I inclose a year’s subscription from Deacon Tinkham.

I hed it on my min’ las’ time, when I to write ye started,

To tech the leadin’ featurs o’ my gittin’ me convarted;

But, ez my letters hez to go clearn roun’ by way o’ Cuby,

’T wun’t seem no staler now than then, by th’ time it gits where you be.

You know up North, though sees an’ things air plenty ez you please,

Ther’ warn’t nut one on ’em thet come jes’ square with my idees:

I dessay they suit workin’-folks thet ain’t noways pertic’lar,

But nut your Southun gen’leman thet keeps his perpendic’lar;

I don’t blame nary man thet casts his lot along o’ his folks,

But ef you cal’late to save me, ’t must be with folks thet is folks;

Cov’nants o’ works go ’ginst my grain, but down here I’ve found out

The true fus’-fem’ly A 1 plan,—here’s how it come about.

When I fus’ sot up with Miss S., sez she to me, sez she,—

“Without you git religion, Sir, the thing can’t never be;

Nut but wut I respeck,” sez she, “your intellectle part,

But you wun’t noways du for me athout a change o’ heart:

Nothun religion works wal North, but it’s ez soft ez spruce,

Compared to ourn, for keepin’ sound,” sez she, “upon the goose;

A day’s experunce’d prove to ye, ez easy ’z pull a trigger,

It takes the Southun pint o’ view to raise ten bales a nigger;

You’ll fin’ thet human natur, South, ain’t wholesome more ’n skin-deep,

An’ once’t a darkie’s took with it, he wun’t be wuth his keep.”

“How shell I git it, Ma’am?” sez I. “Attend the nex’ camp-meetin’,”

Sez she, “an’ it’ll come to ye ez cheap ez onbleached sheetin’.”

Wal, so I went along an’ hearn most an impressive sarmon

About besprinklin’ Afriky with fourth-proof dew o’ Harmon:

He did n’ put no weaknin’ in, but gin it tu us hot,

’Z ef he an’ Satan’d ben two bulls in one five-acre lot:

I don’t purtend to foller him, but give ye jes’ the heads;

For pulpit ellerkence, you know, ’most ollers kin’ o’ spreads.

Ham’s seed wuz gin to us in chairge, an’ shouldn’t we be li’ble

In Kingdom Come, ef we kep’ back their priv’lege in the Bible?

The cusses an’ the promerses make one gret chain, an’ ef

You snake one link out here, one there, how much on’t ud be lef’?

All things wuz gin to man for’s use, his sarvice, an’ delight;

An’ don’t the Greek an’ Hebrew words thet mean a Man mean White?

Ain’t it belittlin’ the Good Book in all its proudes’ featurs

To think ’t wuz wrote for black an’ brown an’ ’lasses-colored creaturs,

Thet could n’ read it, ef they would, nor ain’t by lor allowed to,

But ough’ to take wut we think suits their naturs, an’ be proud to?

Warn’t it more prof’table to bring your raw materil thru

Where you can work it inta grace an’ inta cotton, tu,

Than sendin’ missionaries out where fevers might defeat ’em,

An’ ef the butcher did n’ call, their p’rishioners might eat ’em?

An’ then, agin, wut airthly use? Nor ’t warn’t our fault, in so fur

Ez Yankee skippers would keep on a-totin’ on ’em over.

’T improved the whites by savin’ ’em from ary need o’ workin’,

An’ kep’ the blacks from bein’ lost thru idleness an’ shirkin’;

We took to ’em ez nat’ral ez a barn-owl doos to mice,

An’ hed our hull time on our hands to keep us out o’ vice;

It made us feel ez pop’lar ez a hen doos with one chicken,

An’ fill our place in Natur’s scale by givin’ ’em a lickin’:

For why should Cæsar git his dues more ’n Juno, Pomp, an’ Cuffy?

It’s justifyin’ Ham to spare a nigger when he’s stuffy.

Where’d their soles go tu, like to know, ef we should let ’em ketch

Freeknowledgism an’ Fourierism an’ Speritoolism an’ sech?

When Satan sets himself to work to raise his very bes’ muss,

He scatters roun’ onscriptur’l views relatin’ to Ones’mus.

You’d ough’ to seen, though, how his face an’ argymunce an’ figgers

Drawed tears o’ real conviction from a lot o’ pen’tent niggers!

It warn’t like Wilbur’s meetin’, where you’re shet up in a pew,

Your dickeys sorrin’ off your ears, an’ bilin’ to be thru;

Ther’ wuz a tent clost by thet hed a kag o’ sunthin’ in it,

Where you could go, ef you wuz dry, an’ damp ye in a minute;

Au’ ef you did dror off a spell, ther’ wuzn’t no occasion

To lose the thread, because, ye see, he bellered like all Bashan.

It’s dry work follerin’ argymunce, an’ so, ’twix’ this an’ thet,

I felt conviction weighin’ down somehow inside my hat;

It growed an’ growed like Jonah’s gourd, a kin’ o’ whirlin’ ketched me,

Ontil I fin’lly clean giv out an’ owned up thet he’d fetched me;

An’ when nine-tenths the perrish took to tumblin’ roun’ an’ hollerin’,

I did n’ fin’ no gret in th’ way o’ turnin’ tu an’ follerin’.

Soon ez Miss S. see thet, sez she, “Thet ’s wut I call wuth seein’!

Thet ’s actin’ like a reas’nable an’ intellectle bein’!”

An’ so we fin’lly made it up, concluded to hitch hosses,

An’ here I be ’n my ellermunt among creation’s bosses;

Arter I’d drawed sech heaps o’ blanks, Fortin at last hez sent a prize,

An’ chose me for a shinin’ light o’ missionary enterprise.

This leads me to another pint on which I’ve changed my plan

O’ thinkin’ so ’s ’t I might become a straight-out Southun man.

Miss S. (her maiden name wuz Higgs, o’ the fus’ fem’ly here)

On her Ma’s side ’s all Juggernot, on Pa’s all Cavileer,

An’ sence I’ve merried into her an’ stept into her shoes,

It ain’t more ’n nateral thet I should modderfy my views:

I’ve ben a-readin’ in Debow ontil I’ve fairly gut

So ’nlightened thet I’d full ez lives ha’ ben a Dook ez nut;

An’ when we’ve laid ye all out stiff, an’ Jeff hez gut his crown,

An’ comes to pick his nobles out, wun’t this child be in town!

We’ll hev an Age o’ Chivverlry surpassin’ Mister Burke’s,

Where every fem’ly is fus’-best an’ nary white man works:

Our system’s sech, the thing’ll root ez easy ez a tater;

For while your lords in furrin parts ain’t noways marked by natur’,

Nor sot apart from ornery folks in featurs nor in figgers,

Ef ourn’ll keep their faces washed, you’ll know ’em from their niggers.

Ain’t sech things wuth secedin’ for, an’ gittin’ red o’ you

Thet waller in your low idees, an’ will till all is blue?

Fact is, we air a diff’rent race, an’ I, for one, don’t see,

Sech havin’ ollers ben the case, how w’ ever did agree.

It’s sunthin’ thet you lab’rin’-folks up North hed ough’ to think on,

Thet Higgses can’t bemean themselves to rulin’ by a Lincoln,—

Thet men, (an’ guv’nors, tu,) thet hez sech Normal names ez Pickens,

Accustomed to no kin’ o’ work, ’thout ’t is to givin’ lickins,

Can’t masure votes with folks thet git their livins from their farms

An’ prob’ly think thet Law ’s ez good ez hevin’ coats o’ arms.

Sence I’ve ben here, I’ve hired a chap to look about for me

To git me a transplantable an’ thrifty fem’ly-tree,

An’ he tells me the Sawins is ez much o’ Normal blood

Ez Pickens an’ the rest on ’em, an’ older ’n Noah’s flood.

Your Normal schools wun’t turn ye into Normals, for it’s clear,

Ef eddykatin’ done the thing, they’d be some skurcer here.

Pickenses, Boggses, Pettuses, Magoffins, Letchers, Polks,—

Where can you scare up names like them among your mudsill folks?

Ther’ ’s nothin’ to compare with ’em, you’d fin’, ef you should glance,

Among the tip-top femerlies in Englan’, nor in France:

I’ve hearn from ’sponsible men whose word wuz full ez good’s their note,

Men thet can run their face for drinks, an’ keep a Sunday coat,

Thet they wuz all on ’em come down, an’ come down pooty fur,

From folks thet, ’thout their crowns wuz on, ou’doors would n’ never stir,

Nor thet ther’ warn’t a Southun man but wut wuz primy fashy

O’ the bes’ blood in Europe, yis, an’ Afriky an’ Ashy:

Sech bein’ the case, is ’t likely we should bend like cotton-wickin’,

Or set down under anythin’ so low-lived ez a lickin’?

More ’n this,—hain’t we the literatoor an’ science, tu, by gorry?

Hain’t we them intellectle twins, them giants, Simms an’ Maury,

Each with full twice the ushle brains, like nothin’ thet I know,

’Thout ’t wuz a double-headed calf I see once to a show?

For all thet, I warn’t jest at fast in favor o’ seeedin’;

I wuz for layin’ low a spell to find out where’t wuz leadin’,

For hevin’ South-Carliny try her hand at seprit-nationin’,

She takin’ resks an’ findin’ funds, an’ we cooperationin’,—

I mean a kin’ o’ hangin’ roun’ an’ settin’ on the fence,

Till Prov’dunce pinted how to jump an’ save the most expense;

I reccollected thet ’ere mine o’ lead to Shiraz Centre

Thet bust up Jabez Pettibone, an’ didn’t want to ventur’

’Fore I wuz sartin wut come out ud pay for wut went in,

For swappin’ silver off for lead ain’t the sure way to win;

(An’, fact, it doos look now ez though—but folks must live an’ larn—

We should git lead, an’ more ’n we want, out o’ the Old Consarn;)

But when I see a man so wise an’ honest ez Buchanan

A-lettin’ us hev all the forts an’ all the arms an’ cannon,

Admittin’ we wuz nat’lly right an’ you wuz nat’lly wrong,

Coz you wuz lab’rin’-folks an’ we wuz wut they call bong-tong,

An’ coz there warn’t no fight in ye more ’n in a mashed potater,

While two o’ us can’t skurcely meet but wut we fight by natur’,

An’ th’ ain’t a bar-room here would pay for openin’ on ’t a night,

Without it giv the priverlege o’ bein’ shot at sight,

Which proves we’re Natur’s noblemen, with whom it don’t surprise

The British aristoxy should feel boun’ to sympathize,—

Seein’ all this, an’ seein’, tu, the thing wuz strikin’ roots

While Uncle Sam sot still in hopes thet some one ’d bring his boots,

I thought th’ ole Union’s hoops wuz off, an’ let myself be sucked in

To rise a peg an’ jine the crowd thet went for reconstructin’,—

Thet is, to hev the pardnership under th’ ole name continner

Jest ez it wuz, we drorrin’ pay, you findin’ bone an’ sinner,—

On’y to put it in the bond, an’ enter ’t in the journals,

Thet you’re the nat’ral rank an’ file an’ we the nat’ral kurnels.

Now this I thought a fees’ble plan, thet ’ud work smooth ez grease,

Suitin’ the Nineteenth Century an’ Upper Ten idees,

An’ there I meant to stick, an’ so did most o’ th’ leaders, tu,

Coz we all thought the chance wuz good o’ puttin’ on it thru;

But Jeff he hit upon a way o’ helpin’ on us forrard

By bein’ unannermous,—a trick you ain’t quite up to, Norrard.

A baldin hain’t no more ’f a chance with them new apple-corers

Than folks’s oppersition views aginst the Ringtail Roarers;

They’ll take ’em out on him ’bout east,—one canter on a rail

Makes a man feel unannermous ez Jonah in the whale;

Or ef he’s a slow-moulded cuss thet can’t seem quite t’ agree,

He gits the noose by tellergraph upon the nighes’ tree:

Their mission-work with Afrikins hez put ’em up, thet’s sartin,

To all the mos’ across-lot ways o’ preachin’ an’ convartin’;

I’ll bet my hat th’ ain’t nary priest, nor all on ’em together,

Thet cairs conviction to the min’ like Reveren’ Taranfeather;

Why, he sot up with me one night, an’ labored to sech purpose,

Thet (ez an owl by daylight ’mongst a flock o’ teazin’ chirpers

Sees clearer ’n mud the wickedness o’ eatin’ little birds)

I see my error an’ agreed to shen it arterwurds;

An’ I should say, (to jedge our folks by facs in my possession,)

Thet three’s Unannermous where one’s a ’Riginal Secession;

So it’s a thing you fellers North may safely bet your chink on,

Thet we’re all water-proofed agin th’ usurpin’ reign o’ Lincoln.

Jeff’s some. He’s gut another plan thet hez pertic’lar merits,

In givin’ things a cherfle look an’ stiffnin’ loose-hung sperits;

For while your million papers, wut with lyin’ an’ discussin’,

Keep folks’s tempers all on eend a-fumin’ an’ a-fussin’,

A-wondrin’ this an’ guessin’ thet, an’ dreadin’, every night,

The breechin’ o’ the Univarse’ll break afore it’s light,

Our papers don’t purtend to print on’y wut Guv’ment choose,

An’ thet insures us all to git the very best o’ noose:

Jeff hez it of all sorts an’ kines, an’ sarves it out ez wanted,

So’s’t every man gits wut he likes an’ nobody ain’t scanted;

Sometimes it’s vict’ries, (they’re ’bout all ther’ is thet’s cheap down here,)

Sometimes it’s France an’ England on the jump to interfere.

Fact is, the less the people know o’ wut ther’ is a-doin’,

The hendier ’t is for Guv’ment, sence it henders trouble brewin’;

An’ noose is like a shinplaster,—it’s good, ef you believe it,

Or, wut’s all same, the other man thet’s goin’ to receive it:

Ef you’ve a son in th’ army, wy, it’s comfortin’ to hear

He’ll hev no gretter resk to run than seein’ th’ in’my’s rear,

Coz, ef an F.F. looks at ’em, they ollers break an’ run,

Or wilt right down ez debtors will thet stumble on a dun

(An’ this, ef an’thin’, proves the wuth o’ proper fem’ly pride,

Fer sech mean shucks ez creditors are all on Lincoln’s side);

Ef I hev scrip thet wun’t go off no more ’n a Belgin rifle,

An’ read thet it’s at par on ’Change, it makes me feel deli’fle;

It’s cheerin’, tu, where every man mus’ fortify his bed,

To hear thet Freedom’s the one thing our darkies mos’ly dread,

An’ thet experunce, time ’n’ agin, to Dixie’s Land hez shown

Ther’ ’s nothin’ like a powder-cask f’r a stiddy corner-stone;

Ain’t it ez good ez nuts, when salt is sellin’ by the ounce

For its own weight in Treash’ry-bons, (ef bought in small amounts,)

When even whiskey’s gittin’ skurce, an’ sugar can’t be found,

To know thet all the ellerments o’ luxury abound?

An’ don’t it glorify sal’-pork, to come to understand

It’s wut the Richmon’ editors call fatness o’ the land?

Nex’ thing to knowin’ you’re well off is nut to know when y’ ain’t;

An’ ef Jeff says all’s goin’ wal, who’ll ventur’ t’ say it ain’t?

This cairn the Constitooshun roun’ ez Jeff doos in his hat

Is hendier a dreffle sight, an’ comes more kin’ o’ pat.

I tell ye wut, my jedgment is you’re pooty sure to fail,

Ez long ’z the head keeps turnin’ back for counsel to the tail:

Th’ advantiges of our consarn for bein’ prompt air gret,

While, ’long o’ Congress, you can’t strike, ’f you git an iron het;

They bother roun’ with argooin’, an’ var’ous sorts o’ foolin’,

To make sure ef it’s leg’lly het, an’ all the while it’s coolin’,

So ’s ’t when you come to strike, it ain’t no gret to wish ye j’y on,

An’ hurts the hammer ’z much or more ez wut it doos the iron.

Jeff don’t allow no jawin’-sprees for three months at a stretch,

Knowin’ the ears long speeches suits air mostly made to metch;

He jes’ ropes in your tonguey chaps an’ reg’lar ten-inch bores

An’ lets ’em play at Congress, ef they’ll du it with closed doors;

So they ain’t no more bothersome than ef we’d took an’ sunk ’em,

An’ yit enj’y th’ exclusive right to one another’s Buncombe

’Thout doin’ nobody no hurt, an’ ’thout its costin’ nothin’,

Their pay bein’ jes’ Confedrit funds, they findin’ keep an’ clothin’;

They taste the sweets o’ public life, an’ plan their little jobs,

An’ suck the Treash’ry, (no gret harm, for it’s ez dry ez cobs,)

An’ go thru all the motions jest ez safe ez in a prison,

An’ hev their business to themselves, while Buregard hez hisn:

Ez long ’z he gives the Hessians fits, committees can’t make bother

’Bout whether ’t’s done the legle way or whether ’t’s done the t’other.

An’ I tell you you’ve gut to larn thet War ain’t one long teeter

Betwixt I wan’ to an’ ’T wun’t du, debatin’ like a skeetur

Afore he lights,—all is, to give the other side a millin’,

An’ arter thet’s done, th’ ain’t no resk but wut the lor’ll be willin’;

No metter wut the guv’ment is, ez nigh ez I can hit it,

A lickin’s constitooshunal, pervidin’ We don’t git it.

Jeff don’t stan’ dilly-dallyin’, afore he takes a fort,

(With no one in,) to git the leave o’ the nex’ Soopreme Court,

Nor don’t want forty-’leven ’weeks o’ jawin’ an’ expoundin’

To prove a nigger hez a right to save him, ef he’s drowndin’;

Whereas ole Abram’d sink afore he’d let a darkie boost him,

Ef Taney shouldn’t come along an’ hedn’t interdooced him.

It ain’t your twenty millions thet’ll ever block Jeff’s game,

But one Man thet wun’t let ’em jog jest ez he’s takin’ aim:

Your numbers they may strengthen ye or weaken ye, ez ’t heppens

They’re willin’ to be helpin.’ hands or wuss’n-nothin’ cap’ns.

I’ve chose my side, an’ ’t ain’t no odds ef I wuz drawed with magnets,

Or ef I thought it prudenter to jine the nighes’ bagnets;

I’ve made my ch’ice, an’ ciphered out, from all I see an’ heard,

Th’ ole Constitooshun never’d git her decks for action cleared,

Long ’z you elect for Congressmen poor shotes thet want to go

Coz they can’t seem to git their grub no otherways than so,

An’ let your bes’ men stay to home coz they wun’t show ez talkers,

Nor can’t be hired to fool ye an’ sof’-soap ye at a caucus,—

Long ’z ye set by Rotashun more ’n ye do by folks’s merits,

Ez though experance thriv by change o’ sile, like corn an’ kerrits,—

Long ’z you allow a critter’s “claims” coz, spite o’ shoves an’ tippins,

He’s kep’ his private pan jest where’t would ketch mos’ public drippins,—

Long ’z A.’ll turn tu an’ grin’ B.’s exe, ef B.’ll help him grin’ hisn,

(An’ thet’s the main idee by which your leadin’ men hev risen,)—

Long ’z you let ary exe be groun’; ’less ’L is to cut the weasan’

O’ sneaks thet dunno till they’re told wut is an’ wut ain’t Treason,-

Long ’z ye give out commissions to a lot o’ peddlin’ drones

Thet trade in whiskey with their men an’ skin ’em to their bones,—

Long ’z ye sift out “safe” canderdates thet no one ain’t afeared on

Coz they’re so thund’rin’ eminent for bein’ never heard on,

An’ hain’t no record, ez it’s called, for folks to pick a hole in,

Ez ef it hurt a man to hev a body with a soul in,

An’ it wuz ostenstashun to be showm’ on’t about,

When half his feller-citizens contrive to do without,—

Long ’z you suppose your votes can turn biled kebbage into brain,

An’ ary man thet’s pop’lar’s fit to drive a lightnin’-train,—

Long ’z you believe democracy means I’m ez good ez you be,

An’ thet a feller from the ranks can’t be a knave or booby,—

Long ’z Congress seems purvided, like yer street-cars an’ yer ’busses,

With oilers room for jes’ one more o’ your spiled-in-bakin’ cusses,

Dough’thout the emptins of a soul, an’ yit with means about ’em

(Like essence-peddlers25) thet ’ll make folks long to be without ’em,

Jest heavy ’nough to turn a scale thet’s doubtfle the wrong way,

An’ make their nat’ral arsenal o’ bein’ nasty pay,—

Long ’z them things last, (an’ I don’t see no gret signs of improvin’,)

I sha’n’t up stakes, not hardly yit, nor’t wouldn’t pay for movin’;

For, ’fore you lick us, it ’ll be the long’st day ever you see.

Yourn, (ez I ’xpec’ to be nex’ spring,)



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Milton, in his superb sonnet to Sir Henry Vane the Younger, declares that Rome, in the most prosperous age of the Republic, never possessed a better senator,—

“Whether to settle peace, or to unfold

The hollow drift of States, hard to be spelled;

Then to advise how war may, best upheld,

Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,

In all her equipage.”

The list of his writings appended by Mr. Upham to his instructive biography of our quondam fellow-citizen and governor26 does not enable us to judge to which of his twenty-five works Milton particularly refers, in this magnificent commendation of Sir Henry Vane’s financial skill. It might be inferred, however, from the significant union of iron and gold, as the “main nerves” of war, that he understood the importance of a specie currency, which in fact, in those days, was the only currency known.

Our business, however, at present, is not with currency, but with taxes, which as long ago as Cicero’s time were pronounced “the nerves of the State,” and which, whether paid in gold or in what can in the present condition of the country be best substituted, must be allowed to be the great sympathetic nerve of the body-politic. Introduce a wise and efficient system of taxation, and life and energy will pervade the country. Without such a system it will soon sink into a general and fatal paralysis.

The country is engaged at this moment in a struggle of unexampled magnitude. The great wars of the last generation in Europe gathered no army equal in magnitude to that which the Government of the United States has, within little more than six months, called into being. Its naval operations, so far as concerns the extent of sea-coast effectively blockaded, and considering the condition of that branch of the service at the breaking out of the war, will not suffer in comparison with those of England in the wars of the French Revolution. England is now threatening to take part against us in this war, waged by the first State (according to Mr. Vice-president Stephens) ever avowedly founded on Slavery as its corner-stone, on the ground that our blockade of the Southern ports is not effectual,—forgetting, apparently, that our last war with her was in part to resist her pretended right to seal up with a paper blockade every port in the French Empire.

The great practical question which presses most heavily upon the mind, not only of every person responsible for the conduct of affairs, but of every intelligent and thoughtful citizen, is, in what way the vast expenditure is to be met, which is necessary to bring this gigantic struggle to a prompt and successful issue. It has been customary, from the first, to estimate this expenditure at a million and a half of dollars per diem, and it will not be lessened while the war lasts. How is this frightful expenditure to be met?

The answer is simple, and is contained in the one little word “Taxation.” Without this, all else will be of no avail. Our civil rulers may have the wisdom of Solomon; our generals and admirals may equal in skill and courage the greatest captains of ancient or modern times; we may place in the field the bravest and best-disciplined armies that ever battled in a righteous cause,—but without an amount of taxation adequate to sustain the credit of the Government, all this show of counsel and strength will pass away, and that at no distant period, like a morning cloud and the early dew.

“Adequate to sustain the credit of the Government,”—for that is all that is required. It is by no means necessary, as it is by no means just, that the whole of this vast expenditure should fall upon the shoulders of the present generation. Engaged in a contest of which the result, for good or for evil, is, if possible, more important to posterity than to ourselves,—a struggle in which the great cause of civil liberty, as embodied and regulated by the Constitution and laws, is more deeply involved, not only for this, but for all future generations, than in any other war ever waged,—it is not right that the burden should fall exclusively on ourselves. Nor is it necessary. There is, perhaps, no feature in our modern civilization in which its beauty, flexibility, and strength, as compared with that of antiquity, is more signally displayed, than the well-organized credit-system of a prosperous State: the system which makes men not only willing, but desirous, to forego the actual possession of that darling property which has been the great object of desire through life,—which they have sought by all honest and, unhappily too often, dishonest means, to gain and accumulate,—provided only they can receive a fair equivalent for its use. By the wise application of this almost mysterious principle, the members of modern civilized States are not only, for the time being, much more effectually consociated in the joint life and action of the country than would have been possible without it, but even distant generations—men separated from each other by years, not to say ages—are brought into a noble partnership of effort in great and generous undertakings and sacrifices.

Dr. Johnson somewhat cynically says, that

“Mortgaged States, in everlasting debt,

From age to age their grandsires’ wreaths regret.”

This may be true of debts incurred in wars of ambition and conquest; but what citizen of the United States, at the present day, would not, with a willing mind, if it were still necessary, bear his part of the pecuniary burdens of the American Revolution?

It is a well-established law of public credit, that it can be carried to any length to which it is sustained by an efficient system of taxation. So long as provision is made to secure in this way the regular payment of the interest on the sums borrowed, the Government holds the purse-strings of the capitalist, and has nothing to do but to call for whatever amount is needed for the public service. This, however, is the essential condition, and nothing else will, for any length of time, produce the desired result. In the first fervor of a great popular movement, and in confident reliance that effective provision to sustain it will eventually be made, a large loan may be obtained from the banks, from capitalists, or the mass of the people; but this will be a temporary, probably a solitary, effort. No Government can permanently sustain its credit, but by providing the means (independent of credit) to pay the interest on its public debt. To borrow more money in order to pay the interest on that already borrowed is bankruptcy in disguise.

With these general principles established and clearly borne in mind, we perceive the absurdity of the language which has been so freely used abroad and is even sometimes heard at home, since the suspension of specie-payments, that the United States are on the verge of bankruptcy. Let the expenses of the war in which we are now engaged against the “disappointed aspirants” of the South be estimated as high as six hundred millions of dollars. A loan to this amount implies, at the usual rate, the payment of an interest of thirty-six millions, certainly a large amount in addition to the ordinary expenditure of the Government, but not more than a fifth part of the annual interest on the public debt of England,—by no means a formidable percentage, allowing for a short war, on the annual surplus income of the country.

In fact, when we cast our eyes over the continent and contemplate the vast extent of fertile land already brought or capable of being readily brought into cultivation,—the productive agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial investments,—our internal and foreign trade,—our fisheries, and our mining operations,—the rapid increase of labor (the great creative source of wealth) by the growth of our own native population and the steady flow of immigration from abroad,—when we contemplate these things, the draughts which must be made upon the resources of the country in the successful prosecution of the war, great as they are, are really insignificant Let us take a single item, but one which may serve as a fair index of the resources of the loyal States. In the American Circular of Messrs. Hallett & Co. of New York, for the 6th of November last, the value of the tonnage of all kinds annually moved upon the public works (railroads and canals) of the Northern and Middle States is estimated in even figures at $4,620,000,000. This enormous sum, of course, represents only that part of the internal and foreign trade of the country which is moved upon the canals and railroads. All that portion of trade which is not transacted in this way,—all that moves exclusively on the lakes, rivers, and coastwise, without coming in contact with artificial communications,—the retail business of every kind in the large cities, and all that is transported in moderate parcels by animal power in the neighborhood of the places of production, is in addition to this vast amount.

The Secretary of the Treasury, in his patriotic appeal to the country last summer, calculates “the real and personal values, in the States now loyal to the Union, at eleven thousand millions of dollars,” while he remarks that “the yearly surplus earnings of the loyal people are estimated at more than four hundred millions of dollars.” A tax of nine per cent, on this surplus would pay an interest of six per cent, on a loan of six hundred millions. Now in this country, where we are so little accustomed to taxation, such a tax may seem to be a very serious affair; but the man who in times like these, and for objects like those for which we are struggling, is not willing to pay nine per cent—of his surplus earnings, does not deserve to enjoy the blessings of a free government.

It is therefore a gross exaggeration to say that the country is bankrupt, or on the verge of bankruptcy. Nothing more is true than that the Government of the country—the legislative power—has not as yet shown the sagacity and vigor to apply a moderate portion of its abundant resources to the preservation of all we hold dear. The wealth is here,—not merely what is locked up in the vaults of the banks, (for this, though ample for all the purposes of these institutions, is but a very small portion of the wealth of the country, not much over one-half of the annual surplus earnings,) but the entire accumulations of town and country, the whole vast aggregate of the property having a marketable value or capable of being applied in kind or by exchange for its equivalent to the public service. All this fund belongs to the people, to be levied upon and appropriated to the service of the country by the people’s representatives and servants. It belongs only sub modo to those who are commonly deemed its owners. They are the stewards to whom Providence has confided it, subject to the condition, in time of need, of being employed, under equitable and equal laws, to defend the life of the country. And when we consider how small a portion of it is required to answer the demands of the public service, we cannot but be amazed at the language of despondency which is sometimes uttered at the state of the public finances. We call the individual man of wealth a miser, who hoards his income, instead of spending a portion of it in deeds of charity and public spirit, or even on his own comforts and those of his family. This expressive use of that word, says Bishop South, is peculiar to the English language. Although the word is Latin, we have improved on the Romans, in the bitter sarcasm of this application. But a Government deserves the same stigma or worse, which, with the exuberant wealth of a loyal people at its command, wants the moral courage to apply a moderate portion of it to obtain ample means for feeding, clothing, and arming the brave men who, on the land and the water, are risking their lives in the public service.

We speak of “the moral courage” to establish an efficient system of taxation, more in deference to the traditionary unpopularity of the tax-gatherer than because, in the present state of affairs, there is any just cause to doubt the willingness of the people to make the necessary sacrifices for the support of the Government and the defence of the country. In peaceful times and in an ordinary state of affairs, it may be admitted that the tax-gatherer is an unwelcome visitant. Mr. Jefferson relied upon him in 1799 to bring about a change of parties and administrations. But the country was then poor, the parties equally divided, and the political issues matters of temper and theory, on which men delight to differ and to argue, rather than those stern realities in which, at the present time, the very being of the State is wrapt up. Accordingly, it is a most remarkable fact at the present day, and one certainly without example in this country, perhaps in any country, that the unanimous desire of the people is for taxation, adequate, efficient taxation. Although the emergencies of the service, and the large amounts which it requires, are daily commented on by the public journals, and are perfectly well understood, not a voice has been uttered on the subject which does not call for taxation. The Secretary of the Treasury is censured, the Committee of Ways and Means rebuked, the patriotism of Congress called in question, because the absolute necessity for heavy taxation is not urged with sufficient warmth by the Executive, and the requisite laws for laying the tax are delayed in their introduction and passage. And reason good; for, while the legislation required to impose a tax lingers, the whole mass of the country’s property is incurring the fearful peril of a prostration of the public credit.

But though the loyal people of the country are more than willing—are ardently desirous—to be taxed for the public service, they are not willing to be taxed for the benefit of fraudulent contractors, or to enrich the miscreants who, not content with plundering the Treasury by exorbitant prices, put the health and lives of our brave men in peril, and the success of the war at hazard, by furnishing arms that have been condemned as unserviceable, clothes and shoes that drop to pieces in a fortnight’s wear, water poisoned by filthy casks, horses too feeble to be ridden, and vessels known by their vendors to be of a draught too great for the intended service. It is not unlikely that there may be exaggeration in the accounts of this kind that find their way into the public journals; but if any reliance can be placed on the reports of our legislative committees, frauds like those alluded to have been carried to a stupendous length. If we mistake not, a bill has been introduced into Congress for the condign punishment of the wretches guilty of these abominable crimes. The offences which have filled Forts Lafayette and Warren with their inmates are venial, compared with the guilt of the man who is willing to fatten on the sufferings of the country and the health and lives of its patriotic defenders. But the evil, enormous as it is, admits of an easy remedy. If, on the one hand, one or two cases of gross fraud, highly prejudicial to the public service, were summarily dealt with by a court-martial, while, on the other hand, fifty per cent, of the contract-price were habitually retained for three or four months, till the value of the article furnished was ascertained by trial, the evil would soon be brought within manageable limits. A little of the wholesome severity with which Bonaparte, in 1797, carried on what he called “la guerre aux voleurs27 would not only save millions to the Treasury of the United States, but protect the country from consequences still more disastrous.

In fact, it will be one of the incidental benefits of an efficient system of taxation, that it will induce greater care in the expenditure of the public money. Fraudulent contracts are not the only, nor even the chief cause of our financial embarrassments. It may be hoped that what is extracted from it by downright swindling, however considerable in amount, does not cause the great drain upon the Treasury. But if money can be obtained by the simple issue of evidences of debt, and without any provision to sustain the credit of the Government by taxation, the process of supply is too facile. The funds so easily procured are in danger of being too profusely spent. Individual responsibility in money-matters, aided by direct self-interest, is usually more efficient in imposing limits to improvidence than a general sense of duty on the part of official personages. But if funds could be obtained ad libitum by the speculator, without the necessity of giving security for the payment of principal or interest, bankruptcy would soon become the rule and solvency the exception. Still more urgently, in the administration of the National Treasury, is the wholesome corrective of taxation required, to make economy a necessity as well as a virtue.

Much must be pardoned to the urgency of the public service, in a crisis like that of last summer, when the Government was compelled to improvise the forces, military and naval, required for the suppression of a gigantic rebellion, long concocted and matured in treacherous secrecy. With the capital of the country beleaguered by open foes without, swarming with hardly concealed traitors within, who privately thwarted and paralyzed when they could not openly defeat the measures of the Government, and conveyed information of them to the enemy with the regularity of official returns, some degree of improvident hurry in every branch of the service was inevitable, and must not be too severely scanned. You cannot stand chaffering at a bargain as to the cheapest mode of extinguishing a fire kindled by a red-hot cannon-ball at the door of the magazine. But the crisis and the necessity for precipitate action are past. The rebellion, dragged to the light of day, has assumed definite proportions. The means for its suppression are ample, and nothing is requisite but the firmness and sagacity to apply them. In other words, the one thing needful for the successful prosecution of the war is a judicious system of taxation.

With such a system, as we have already intimated, there is no limit to the credit of the Government With an efficient system of taxation to sustain its loans, the entire property of the country—that is, all that is needed of it—may be consecrated to the public service. We must not be terrified by the ghost of the paper-money with which the country was Hooded daring the Revolutionary War. It became worthless because there was no limit to its issue and no provision for its redemption or the payment of Interest. The Congress of the Confederation possessed no power to lay a tax, and the States which had the power were destitute of resources, without mutual concert, and often moved by influences at variance with each other. In this state of things taxation was out of the question, and the paper-money, which had been manufactured by wholesale rather than issued on any system of finance, steadily and at length rapidly sank to its intrinsic worthlessness. Its memory has left behind a wholesome dread of paper-money, but ought not to create a prejudice against a well-organized system of credit, sustained by efficient taxation.

No one will be better pleased than the writer of this article, if, before it sees the light, the vigorous action of Congress shall render its suggestions superfluous and unseasonable.


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’T is midnight: through my troubled dream

Loud wails the tempest’s cry;

Before the gale, with tattered sail,

A ship goes plunging by.

What name? Where bound?—The rocks around

Repeat the loud halloo.

—The good ship Union, Southward bound:

God help her and her crew!

And is the old flag flying still

That o’er your fathers flew,

With bands of white and rosy light,

And field of starry blue?

—Ay! look aloft! its folds full oft

Have braved the roaring blast,

And still shall fly when from the sky

This black typhoon has past!

Speak, pilot of the storm-tost bark!

May I thy peril share?

—O landsman, these are fearful seas

The brave alone may dare!

—Nay, ruler of the rebel deep,

What matters wind or wave?

The rocks that wreck your reeling deck

Will leave me nought to save!

O landsman, art thou false or true?

What sign hast thou to show?

—The crimson stains from loyal veins

That hold my heart-blood’s flow!

—Enough! what more shall honor claim?

I know the sacred sign;

Above thy head our flag shall spread,

Our ocean path be thine!

The bark sails on; the Pilgrim’s Cape

Lies low along her lee,

Whose headland crooks its anchor-flukes

To lock the shore and sea.

No treason here! it cost too dear

To win this barren realm!

And true and free the hands must be

That hold the whaler’s helm!

Still on! Manhattan’s narrowing bay

No Rebel cruiser scars;

Her waters feel no pirate’s keel

That flaunts the fallen stars!

—But watch the light on yonder height,—

Ay, pilot, have a care!

Some lingering cloud in mist may shroud

The capes of Delaware!

Say, pilot, what this fort may be,

Whose sentinels look down

From moated walls that show the sea

Their deep embrasures’ frown?

The Rebel host claims all the coast,

But these are friends, we know,

Whose footprints spoil the “sacred soil,”

And this is?—Fort Monroe!

The breakers roar,--how bears the shore?

--The traitorous wreckers' hands

Have quenched the blaze that poured its rays

Along the Hatteras sands.

--Ha! say not so! I see its glow!

Again the shoals display

The beacon light that shines by night,

The Union Stars by day!

The good ship flies to milder skies,

The wave more gently flows,

The softening breeze wafts o’er the seas

The breath of Beaufort’s rose.

“What fold is this the sweet winds kiss,

Fair-striped and many-starred,

Whose shadow palls these orphaned walls,

The twins of Beauregard?

“What! heard you not Port Royal’s doom?

How the black war-ships came

And turned the Beaufort roses’ bloom

To redder wreaths of flame?

How from Rebellion’s broken reed

We saw his emblem fall,

As soon his cursèd poison-weed

Shall drop from Sumter’s wall?

On! on! Pulaski’s iron hail

Falls harmless on Tybee!

Her topsails feel the freshening gale,

She strikes the open sea;

She rounds the point, she threads the keys

That guard the Land of Flowers,

And rides at last where firm and fast

Her own Gibraltar towers!

The good ship Union’s voyage is o’er,

At anchor safe she swings,

And loud and clear with cheer on cheer

Her joyous welcome rings:

Hurrah! Hurrah! it shakes the wave,

It thunders on the shore,—

One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,

One Nation, evermore!



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For Better, for Worse. A Story from “Temple Bar” and “Tales of the Day.” Complete. Boston. T.O.H.P. Burnham. 8vo. paper. pp. 165. 25 cts.

Prayers. By Theodore Parker. Boston. Walker, Wise, & Co. 16mo. pp. 200. 75 cts.

Lilliesleaf: being a Concluding Series of Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland, of Sunnyside. Written by Herself. Boston. T.O.H.P. Burnham. 16mo. pp. 398. $1.00.

The Seven Sons of Mammon. By George Augustus Sala, Author of “A Journey due North,” etc. Boston. T.O.H.P. Burnham. 8vo. paper, pp. 212. 50 cts.

Pilgrims of Fashion. A Novel. By Kinanan Cornwallis. New York. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. xvi., 337. $1.00.

Religio Medici, A Letter to a Friend, Christian Morals, Urn-Burial, and other Papers. By Sir Thomas Browne, Kt., M.D. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. $1.50.

The Magnet Stories for Summer Days and Winter Nights. By the Author of “A Trap to Catch a Sunbeam,” etc. With Illustrations. Boston. J. Munroe & Co. 16mo. pp. 296. 75 cts.

Report of a Committee of the Boston Society for Medical Improvement, on the Alleged Dangers which accompany the Inhalation of the Vapor of Sulphuric Ether. Boston. David Clapp. 8vo. paper. pp. 36. 25 cts.

Montrose, and other Biographical Sketches. Boston. Soule & Williams. 16mo. pp. 400. $1.00.

Notice to Quit. By W.G. Wills, Author of “Life’s Foreshadowings.” New York. Harper & Brothers. 8vo. paper. pp. 156. 50 cts.

Tales of a Grandfather. History of Scotland. By Sir Walter Scott, Bart. With Notes. In Six Volumes. Vols. III., IV., V., and VI. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. 291; 298; viii., 283; viii., 310. per vol., 75 cts.

Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Bigelow Monument, Worcester, Massachusetts, April 19, 1861. Boston. Printed by John Wilson & Son. 8vo. paper. pp. 37. 25 cts.

Streaks of Light; or, Fifty-Two Facts from the Bible for the Fifty-Two Sundays of the Year. By the Author of “More about Jesus,” “Peep of Day,” etc. New York. Harper & Brothers. 16mo. pp. 344. 75 cts.

Spare Hours. By John Brown, M.D. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. 458. $1.50.

Cheap Cotton by Free Labor. By a Cotton-Manufacturer. Second Edition. Boston. A. Williams & Co. 8vo. paper. pp. 52. 12 cts.

Manual for Heavy Artillery, for the Use of Volunteers. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 16mo. pp. 72. 75 cts.

Providence in War. A Thanksgiving Discourse, delivered at the Thirteenth-Street Presbyterian Church, New York, November 28, 1861. By the Rev. S.D. Burchard, D.D. New York. E.D. Barker. 16mo. paper. pp. 24. 10 cts.

Thanksgiving. A Sermon preached in the Arch-Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, on Thursday, November 28, 1861. By Charles Wadsworth. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. paper. pp. 32. 15 cts.

War and Emancipation. A Thanksgiving Sermon, preached in the Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., on Thursday, November 28, 1861. By Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. paper. pp. 31. 15 cts.


  1. Schomburg. (return)
  2. Governor Hincks. (return)
  3. B.T. Young’s Letter of January 12th, 1858, and other letters from planters, published in the National Era, August, 1858. (return)
  4. Letter from the Bishop of Barbadoes, February 23, 1858. It appears in the same letter that the church-attendants have increased from 5,000 in 1825 to 28,000 in 1853. (return)
  5. Cochin’s L’Abolition de l’Esclavage. (return)
  6. Sewell’s Ordeal of Free Labor, etc. (return)
  7. Breen. (return)
  8. Sewell. (return)
  9. Burnley’s Trinidad. (return)
  10. Cochin’s tables give the sugar export of Trinidad as follows: Under slavery, (1831-34,) 316,338 cwt.; during apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 295,787 cwt.; under free labor, (1839-45,) 292,023 cwt.; in 1846, 353,293 cwt.; in 1847, 393,537 cwt. (return)
  11. Sewell’s Ordeal of Free Labor, etc. (return)
  12. Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen. (return)
  13. The belief in the existence of the Fountain of Youth belongs to many countries and to all times. Not to mention other instances, Herodotus, in his third book, (23,) tells of a fountain of the kind which was possessed by “the long-lived Ethiopians,” and which caused the bather’s flesh to become sleek and glossy, and sent forth an odor like that of violets. Peter Martyr, to whom we owe so many lively pictures of the effect on the European mind of the discovery of America and its consequences, wrote to Leo X. of the marvellous fountain which was sought by Ponce de Leon, and in terms that leave no doubt that he was well inclined to place considerable faith in the truth of the common story. The clever Pope probably believed as much of it as he did of the New Testament. Peter Martyr does not, we think, mention the Ethiopian fountain, of which, as he was a good scholar, and that was the age of the revival of classic learning, he must have read. (return)
  14. Saw. (return)
  15. Fishermen. (return)
  16. Seals. (return)
  17. A dull glare on the horizon, from the immense masses of ice. (return)
  18. A young seal. (return)
  19. Technical word for the crying of the seals. (return)
  20. Broken ice, between large cakes, or against the shore. (return)
  21. Snow in water, not yet frozen, but looking like the white ice. (return)
  22. To stop. (return)
  23. Mittens. (return)
  24. Skinned. (return)
  25. A rustic euphemism for the American variety of the Mephitis.—H.W. (return)
  26. Sir Henry Vane the Younger, being then twenty-three years of age, arrived in Boston in 1635, was chosen governor of the Colony in 1636, and returned to England the next year. His house stood, within the recollection of the writer, on what is now Tremont Street, on a spot opposite the Museum. (return)
  27. Thiers, Tome II., p. 337. (return)

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IX., March,
1862., No. LIII., by Various


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